This Week in Trailers: ‘This is 40,’ ‘Spider-Man,’ ‘Dark Knight,’ and More!

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Every Friday here at Flavorwire, we like to gather up the week’s new movie trailers, give them a look-see, and rank them from worst to best — while taking a guess or two about what they might tell us (or hide from us) about the movies they’re promoting. This week we’ve got the latest from Judd Apatow, the big buzz object at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and the final trailers for Nolan’s new Batman film and Marc Webb’s Spidey reboot.

Check ’em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments.

Harmless

Last year, we brought you the trailer for The Life Zone, a low-budget effort that aimed to be Saw for pro-lifers. Well, it appears that the culture warriors have discovered, in the words of this film’s website, “the popular found footage style,” because here we have Harmless, which is apparently Paranormal Activity for the anti-porn brigade. (That’s right, it’s a horror movie for the Rick Santorums in all of us!) It tells the story of a perfect, picket-fence family torn asunder by the evils of — yes, seriously — Dad’s box of porn. (There’s something sort of charming about a film that uses the tech-based storytelling tool of found footage, yet still acts like porn is quaintly kept in a box in Dad’s closet. It’s called a hard drive, people.) It’s all pretty ridiculous; you’d be forgiven for thinking the trailer was some sort of wacky YouTube parody of the genre, but no, they’re dead serious. Back to the website: “Society learns their (sic) morals and values through music, film, and television. Pornography is such a huge problem that simply telling someone how dangerous it is usually doesn’t work. You have to tell a compelling story to catch someone’s attention and educate them while they’re being entertained.” Amen. (h/t to the fine folks at Movieline for bringing this one to our attention.)

The Expendables 2

Even fans of the period who were just looking for some fun ’80s cheeseball thrills were disappointed by the original Expendables, so we’re not sure why there’s any reason to hold higher hopes for the sequel; they’ve added Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme to this mix this time, but the action looks generic (and all pretty obliquely shot, what with all the doubles being used) and the gags are lame (“man and knife”? Seriously?) The Cannon Group watchers among us are, yes, a little geeked out by this cast, but we’ve got a feeling that — as with the first film — the fun of seeing them together can be had in the trailer, for about 12 bucks less.

Inseparable

The “regular guy tries to be a superhero” movie has kinda been done to death over the past couple of years (Kick Ass, Super, Griff the Invisible, Defendor), but you gotta say this: we haven’t seen the Chinese cinema’s take on it. Thus, here is Inseparable, which not only offers an Eastern take on the story, but is (according to the press materials, anyway) the first fully Chinese-financed film with a Hollywood star in the lead. To be fair, Kevin Spacey’s last few Hollywood films haven’t exactly set the world on fire, but that’s neither here nor there. What’s relevant is that Inseparable looks bananas — not good, particularly, but just peculiar enough to check out whenever it makes its way to our shores.

End of Watch

David Ayer is a filmmaker who hasn’t quite lived up to our high hopes — he wrote Training Day, Dark Blue, and S.W.A.T. (two solid dramas and a fun popcorn flick), but his two efforts thus far as writer/director, Harsh Times and Street Kings, have been stillborn. (We’re gonna ignore The Fast and the Furious in this discussion, or at least write it off as a youthful indiscretion.) His new film could be a return to form — he’s certainly got the cast for it. What’s tough to call here is what to make of the Cops-style documentary format; it could either be a tiresome, look-at-me gimmick or an effective way to ramp up the picture’s immediately. Or it could just be Ayer trying to find a new way to make yet another cop movie.

Klown

Here’s something to know before you press play: that red screen at the beginning of the trailer for the latest release from Lars von Triers’s Zentropa Productions is serious. This one is, as the kids say, NSFW, unless your W is cool with graphic sex scenes. That warning aside, this is a pretty funny clip, and advance word is that the film itself, while filthy, is also hilarious. And in the least surprising footnote imaginable, it’s also worth mentioning that the film has already been pegged for an American remake by director Todd Phillips (The Hangover) and star Danny McBride (Eastbound and Down).

The Amazing Spider-Man

Our well-documented hesitations about the new Spidey flick have been, we’ll admit, primarily theoretical ones — it’s just bothersome to “re-boot” the franchise a mere ten years after it started, and just five years after it went into the toilet, which only happened because they rushed out a less-than-stellar installment in an attempt to just put out more product, which they now know they can do because they can always just turn around and announce that they’re “re-booting” and blah de blah blah blah. But y’know what? We can only complain for so long about this one. This is a fine trailer — the action looks exciting, the effects are impressive, Andrew Garfield is definitely going to pull it off, and boy that Emma Stone sure is purty.

This is 40

Judd Apatow’s “sort-of sequel to Knocked Up” is one we’ve been anticipating all year, and the trailer delivers — it’s great to see Rudd and Mann together again, the Apatow/Mann kids are still charming, and Melissa McCarthy and Jason Segel (the latter presumably also reprising his Knocked Up role) are welcome bonuses. Only one complaint: the cast also includes Lena Dunham, Chris O’Dowd, and Albert Brooks, all of whom are MIA in the trailer. C’mon, Apatow, at least give us a taste. Okay, two complaints: We really have to wait until Christmas to see this? Really?

Beasts of the Southern Wild

This tiny indie came out of nowhere and became the sensation of Sundance this year, winning the Grand Jury Prize and prompting comparisons to Malick and early David Gordon Green. Fox Searchlight snapped it up for domestic distribution, and now, five months later, here’s the first trailer — an evocative and memorable mixture of eye-catching imagery, far-out mysticism, and all-out emotion. Occasionally a film can descend from the Utah mountains and play far less impressively outside of the rarefied festival air, but this one looks like the real deal.

The Dark Knight Rises

Well, here we are again: another month closer to The Dark Knight Rises, another new trailer to knock us out. What we’ve got here is a fine example of the trailer as crescendo: it opens with a remarkable stillness, a quiet that contradicts the explosions and gunfire, then slowly builds the imagery and tempo to match the increasing intensity of the music. Sure, that last “my mother warned me” line is a pretty cheap joke to end so impressive a trailer on, but still… if the idea was to remind us, in the midst of Avengers-fever, about the summer’s other big superhero movie, then consider that job done.