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 seven new trailers for your Friday viewing enjoyment; check ’em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments.
The moment to examine comes at around the 1:10 mark of the trailer for this shark-bait thriller. Full screen of text, and the raspy-voiced narrator: “Academy Award winner Halle Berry,” followed immediately — immediately — by a slow-motion image of said Oscar winner stuffing her bikini-clad torso in to a wetsuit. How’s that incongruity work for ya, folks? Yes, it’s the latest from director John Stockwell, the auteur of Blue Crush and Into the Blue (why wasn’t this one called Blue Tide?), and it appears to provide plenty of opportunities for his primary cinematic motif: insanely good-looking actresses wearing bikinis for a couple of hours.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
This week’s entry in the batshit-crazy exploitation trailer derby (following FDR: American Badass!, Iron Sky, and Osombie) is the much-hyped adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel, produced by Tim Burton and directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted). And as juicy as the premise is, this brief teaser makes the same fundamental error as Osombie’s: it assumes that the premise is so funny, the trailer itself doesn’t have to be. The title gets us giggling, but none of the footage does; with the exception of a couple of glances at our 16th prez, these images could come from any low-rent action movie. Is the incongruity the joke? Because that can’t sustain a minute and a half here, much less an entire feature’s running time.
No, it’s not a prequel to Marley and Me. Marley is a new documentary from director Kevin McDonald (The Last King of Scotland), and its subject is Bob Marley — have you heard of him? Why, he has over 34 million Facebook fans! No, seriously, that’s in the trailer, right at the beginning, as though that’s why he’s a doc-worthy subject. (Those must be old numbers — he’s currently at 26 million, ranking behind Katy Perry, Family Guy, YouTube, Coca-Cola, and, um, Facebook.) Not sure what to tell you about the rest of the trailer; honestly, they kinda lost me after that. (Okay, one other thing: the release date is 4-20, ha ha.)
On one hand, this looks like a boilerplate horror thriller; on the other, it’s from 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, who is anything but a boilerplate filmmaker, and it stars Clive Owen, who tends to steer clear of dumb films (Killer Elite aside, obviously). Maybe Intruders will turn out to be formula pap, the Candyman rip-off it appears, at first glance, to be — but if anybody can make it more, it’s the guy who turned a zombie sequel into an Iraq War allegory. Also, those “hollow face” villains are just horrifying.
Damsels in Distress
It has been a very long time since we’ve seen a new Whit Stillman film; The Last Days of Disco, the third of his ’90s chronicles of young WASP angst (following Metropolitan and Barcelona) came out clear back in 1998. (For not-entirely-fair comparison’s sake, Soderbergh has directed something like 16 films in that same time frame.) And while we’re a little concerned about the absence of his usual on-screen alter ego Chris Eigeman, it’s good to have him back — particularly with the delightful Greta Gerwig taking the lead. Sure, it looks a little heavy on the whimsy (and the white people!), but we’re still looking forward to Stillman’s long-awaited return.
Beyond the Black Rainbow
I’ve seldom seen the kind of cinematic mass exodus that occurred during last year’s Tribeca Film Festival press screening for this trippy throwback, and it was hard to blame them; it’s one weird, inert little movie, with infinitely more interest in look and mood than story. But on that level, it’s kind of fascinating — Rainbow is sort of a sci-fi House of the Devil, its gaudy colors, ugly costumes, antiseptic sets, and synth score paying visual homage to early-’80s sci-fi thrillers. That’s all present in this outstanding trailer, along with the cult-marketable Kubrick (and THX 1138) influence.
It’s been nearly a year since Robbie Pickering’s comedy/drama swept SXSW, nabbing the audience award for narrative feature, the Grand Jury award for Best Narrative Feature, and the competition awards for Best Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Score, and for the Breakthrough Performances of its leads, Matt O’Leary and Rachael Harris. Harris has been a valuable film and television supporting player for years now — as with Melanie Lynskey in the Sundance entry Hello I Must Be Going, it’s just lovely to see her in a leading role for a change. The trailer is warm and inviting; we’re definitely looking forward to this one.