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 eight new trailers for your Friday viewing enjoyment; check ’em all out after the jump.
It’s only February, but it’s already been a very good year for utterly insane exploitation movie trailers. First we had FDR: American Badass!, with the New Deal president hunting down the Nazi werewolves that gave him polio; then came the space Nazi epic Iron Sky. And now we have Osombie, in which an undead Osama Bin Laden comes out of the sea to lead a zombie apocalypse in Afghanistan. Tasteful, eh? But that’s not the problem (neither of the earlier trailers were exactly models of tact and restraint). The problem is, once the premise is explained, there are not actual laughs in this teaser; most of it plays as some kind of straight-up action thriller. Maybe they’re just exhibiting their poker face, or the joke of the film is that the action clichés are trotted out in service of a ridiculous story. But whatever the case, we were a lot more interested in this movie before we saw any of it.
The Amazing Spider-Man
We keep going back and forth on this new Spider-Man thing. On one hand, the trend of rushing a franchise sequel into production for a quick buck, putting out something not very good (like, say, Spider-Man 3), and then doing a “reboot” to make it all better is a tiresome one indeed; TAS-M is retelling us an origin story that we were just told barely a decade ago. On the other hand, the effects appear stellar, Andrew Garfield is looking like a smarter and smarter choice, and who can resist the idea of Emma Stone and Denis Leary in a superhero movie? So, yeah, we’re split on this one. It’]’s almost like we have two identities when it comes to Spider-Man, one the practical, bespectacled, logical type, the other… oh, never mind.
The Bourne Legacy
There are few films we’ve been less excited about than The Bourne Legacy, Tony Gilroy’s Damon-less reboot of our favorite action franchise — I mean, seriously, how the hell do you make a Bourne movie without Bourne? And let it be said: you’re not doing yourself any favors with dialogue like “Jason Bourne was just the tip of the iceberg,” which is a line that exists solely for the trailer if I’ve ever heard one. But, all of that said: this trailer’s got our interest up a little. Putting Edward Norton in what amounts to the Chris Cooper role is fairly inspired, we’re happy to see the rest of the spook supporting cast (Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Albert Finney) back, and the action beats have the series’ distinctive kick. Gilroy is a dependable filmmaker (in addition to co-writing the three previous films, he also wrote and directed Michael Clayton and Duplicity), and Jeremy Renner is, of course, terrific. We’re still not sure this movie needed to be made, but if they were insisting on making it, it may not be half bad.
Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo won a great many fans here in the States with his 2007 time-travel film Timecrimes, though this writer wasn’t one of them; though it’s got a clever initial concept, its second half is spent merely running the plot in circles to little effect. But his new, smirky sci-fi comedy is hardly recognizable as the same filmmaker; it’s quite the departure from his dour breakthrough, and shows some real promise, with a quirky style and some big laughs.
This tough thriller from Belgium is up for Best Foreign Film at this year’s Academy Awards, and while it probably doesn’t stand a chance against the critical favorite, A Separation, this trailer certainly got our attention — it begins with an idea that sounds more than a little ridiculous (“the hormone mafia underworld”? All righty), and pulls that idea taut into a gripping little narrative.
Let the Bullets Fly
For those of us who grew to love him in the John Woo films of the late 1980s, there’s something wildly comforting about the idea of Chow Yun Fat shaking off the Dragonball and Pirates of the Caribbean movies of his past few years and doing what he does best: fronting a fast-paced Asian action movie. This Chinese blockbuster from Jiang Wen (who co-wrote, directed, and stars) looks like someone put Woo’s gunplay, Zhang Yimou’s period pageantry, and Stephen Chow’s slapstick into a blender and pressed puree; the result looks ridiculous, and we can’t wait to see it.
Take This Waltz
We’ve been waiting a good long while for a look at the latest from Sarah Polley, the masterful young actress who proved an astonishingly accomplished director with her 2006 debut feature, the heartbreaking Away from Her. This is an intriguing two-part trailer, the first half a melancholy Michelle Williams drama, the second a peppy ensemble relationship comedy with Williams, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman, and Luke Kirby. It leaves us a bit uncertain about what the movie itself is, but we’re betting Polley is a savvy enough filmmaker to navigate something in between.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
I had a sneaking suspicion something was askew early on, but when Gillian Jacobs kissed Keira Knightley, the jig was up: Who’s been reading my LiveJournal? Seriously, this end-of-the-world comedy/drama from writer/director Lorene Scafaria (who penned Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) is chock-a-block with people we love: besides Knightley and Steve Carell in the leads, it’s got Jacbos, Patton Oswalt, Melanie Lynskey, Adam Brody, Connie Britton, and Rob Corddry in supporting roles. The premise is clever, the dialogue snippets are funny, and if the “Road to Nowhere” music cue is a bit shopworn (that song is quickly becoming the “Bad to the Bone” of our generation, trailer ubiquity-wise), that’s a forgivable offense. Genuinely looking forward to this one.