Welcome to “Trailer Park,” our regular Friday feature where we collect the week’s new trailers all in one place and do a little “judging a book by its cover,” ranking them from worst to best and taking our best guess at what they may be hiding. We’ve got ten new trailers for you this week; check ’em all out after the jump.
Step Up 4
Wait, they made a Step Up 4? WHEN DID THEY MAKE STEP UP 3?
“Didn’t you ever want to be part of something special?” the handsome vanilla boy asks. And what we’d give for her to respond, “Yeah, but here I am in the fourth Step Up movie.”
Get the Gringo
Any optimists who thought Mel Gibson’s career could recover after his last round of toxic PR (including, presumably, Mr. Gibson himself) saw those hopes dashed by the miserable, under-$1 million gross of his would-be comeback vehicle, last year’s The Beaver. Those numbers are presumably the reason that Get The Gringo (originally titled How I Spent My Summer Vacation), after sitting on a shelf for well over a year (it was shot back in 2009), is skipping theatres altogether and getting a rather less than illustrious DirectTV premiere. The movie itself looks neither good nor bad; it looks like a self-conscious attempt by Gibson (who also co-wrote and co-produced) to pretend like Voicemail-gate and “Sugar Tits” never happened by making an innocuous action-comedy that could play on a double-bill with Bird on a Wire or Air America. Good luck with that.
The Cold Light of Day
Okay, is it just us or does this look an awful lot like that laughable Taylor Lautner Abduction thing, down to the casting of a slumming Sigourney Weaver as the enigmatic villain? That is, until the leaping-out-the-European window thing, when it looks an awful lot like a Bourne movie. And if leading man Henry Cavill (your next Superman, by the by) were just a little younger, it’d look like a Spy Kids movie. Point is, a lot of spare parts here, and some pretty dopey dialogue (“You’re CIA. How could you not tell me this?” UM, BECAUSE THAT WOULD MAKE HIM A BAD SPY), though the action beats look competent enough to get some people into the theater.
In spite of a cast filled with usually-interesting actors (Giovanni Ribisi, Selma Blair, Jason Lee doing the villain thing), this one’s going straight-to-DVD as well, and while it certainly doesn’t look as bad as some of the stuff we’ve seen recently (hey there, One for the Money), it doesn’t appear than an injustice has been done, either. As New Yorkers, we’re mostly trying to wrap our heads around Kevin Pollak’s line, “Well, this is Columbus Circle, sir, nothing seems strange around here.” What the hell does that even mean? Your author walks through Columbus Circle all the time. Are there strange things happening around me? Do I not realize that they’re happening? What’s going on over there?
The phrase “from the director of The Grudge” is not one that warms our hearts or whets our appetites, but credit where due: this is a pretty well-done trailer, pairing a creepy, slowed-down cover of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” with the rituals of boarding and take-off, which we know are only a precursor to the terror that awaits these passengers, etc. The cast is a little C-listy (Leslie Bibb, Amy Smart, that guy who plays Jason Stackhouse), and the longer it goes, the sillier it gets; one gets the impression like this could end up being Snakes on A Plane without the sense of humor (or Samuel L. Jackson).
This paranormal thriller from director Rodrigo Cortés (who made the wonderful, and underrated, Buried a couple of years back) was one we kept meaning to get to at Sundance, but it kept showing opposite other, more pressing films. Reaction there was mixed, with most opinions seemingly tied to the viewer’s willingness to go along with a way-out ending that we’ve thus far managed to keep from getting spoiled. Whatever the reservations that have followed it out of Park City, the picture’s got an intriguing premise and a top-notch cast: Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Elizabeth Olsen, Toby Jones, and Robert DeNiro all come out to play.
Just so we get our timeline straight: last weekend, The Grey, a man-against-nature tale fronted by an acclaimed actor opens in the top slot at the box office. Now, this week, we have a new trailer for The Hunter… a man-against-nature tale fronted by an acclaimed actor. Instead of Liam Neeson hunting wolves, this one’s got Willem Dafoe hunting tigers, albeit under much less desperate circumstances. The Hunter screened at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, where reviewers say it’s less an action film than an intellectual character drama. Hmmm, that sounds familiar too…
Matt Walsh is one of the most important figures in contemporary comedy that most people have never heard of; he’s one of the co-founders (with Amy Poehler) of the Upright Citizens Brigade, the comedy troupe that begat theatres in New York and LA which are basically a gym for stand-up, sketch, and improv comics. Several UCB alums (including Abby Elliot, Rob Riggle, Horatio Sanz, and Zach Woods) and funny TV folks (Ed Helms, Lizzy Caplan) pop up in this Walsh-directed, improvised comedy, and that cast and pedigree have got us very excited for this one.
Casual observers freaked out a bit when the Academy Award nominees for Best Documentary were announced last week. Wait a minute, people started asking, wasn’t “Undefeated” that horrifying Sarah Palin “documentary”? That got an Oscar nomination? Yeah, not so much; the Palin movie was The Undefeated, ha ha. Undefeated is an up-close look at a high school football team going through a particularly tough season. It looks, in all honesty, like a nonfiction Friday Night Lights. And this trailer just might’ve given us goosebumps.
God Bless America
Bob Goldthwait is an interesting case. He rocketed to stardom in the 1980s as a gimmick comic (he and Sam Kinison were the guys who screamed) and a supporting player in the Police Academy movies, but at the tail end of that spurt of fame, he directed Shakes the Clown, a broad and dumb yet oddly fascinating alcoholic clown movie with a surprising dark streak. He directed loads of TV in the years between that and his second feature, Sleeping Dogs Lie, a low-budget indie with a shock premise but a real comic voice. That voice flourished in his next film, the brilliant dark comedy bombshell World’s Greatest Dad; now we have his latest effort, in which a terminal patient (played by Joel Murray — yep, Bill’s brother) and an angry teenager go on a killing rampage against vapid celebrities, reality TV stars, and Westboro picketers. It looks twisted, subversive, angry… and funny, and maybe more than a little bit cathartic.