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 weeks, we’ve got new trailers from the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Leonardo DiCaprio, Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emma Watson, John C. Reilly, and more; check ’em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments.
We first saw a trailer for this Joseph Gordon-Levitt vehicle clear back in September, when it was slated to hit theaters on January 13 — not a release date that usually inspires hope and anticipation, quality-wise. But before it could reach that date, somebody over at Columbia apparently put their thinking cap on and said, “Hey! Isn’t the guy who stars in our movie in one of the biggest movies of the summer?” And thus, Premium Rush was moved into a post-Dark Knight Rises slot in August (which is, we must note, still the month where the weakest summer movies tend to go and die). Our thoughts on the second trailer aren’t too different from the first — in spite of our well-documented JGL love, this looks like a maddeningly generic action “thriller,” and the plethora of extreme biking makes it look less like a movie trailer than a 90-second Mountain Dew ad.
You gotta give Kevin Smith this: he’s a man of his word. When he made the perhaps ill-advised decision to self-distribute his last film, Red State, he also announced a plan to use his distribution network to put out the work of up-and-coming indie filmmakers. Now we have (via Slashfilm) the trailer for the first release from Smodcast Pictures, Bindlestiffs, a low-budget guy-talk comedy with a more-than-passing resemblance to Smith’s breakthrough picture Clerks. The movie doesn’t exactly look like a model for good taste and/or restraint, and it certainly seems more than a little rough around the edges. But we’re more than willing to tip our hat to Smith for coming through on his pledge to pay it forward.
Broken Lizard, the comedy troupe behind Super Troopers and Club Dread, haven’t made a film since 2009’s flop The Slammin’ Salmon, and The Babymakers isn’t exactly a Lizard flick, since the troupe didn’t write it. But it is helmed by frequent Lizard director Jay Chandrasekhar, and features several Lizard members in supporting roles. The Babymakers debuted at SXSW, where buzz was borderline toxic, but the trailer looks promising — the premise has possibility and there are some decent laughs, though we all know how easy it can be to get a good trailer out of a mediocre comedy. There are enough people we like in this one, however, to warrant at least giving it a shot.
John C. Reilly seems like such a natural fit to voice a Disney character, it’s a little odd he hasn’t done it before now. This Disney (but not Pixar) release finds Reilly playing the villain of an old, Donkey Kong-style video game who, sick of being the bad guy, strikes out to find a new home. The gaming premise should prove irresistible to younger viewers, while older audiences may be drawn to the comic-heavy voice cast (that’s certainly what’s got this one intrigued). Some dubious music choices in this trailer (seriously, can we put “Once in a Lifetime” on the same trailer music embargo list as “Bad to the Bone” and “Solsbury Hill”?), but other than that, another solid-looking effort from the folks at Disney.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Sure, it’s a movie you’ve maybe, probably (definitely) seen before. But if the trailer for Stephen Chbosky’s film adaptation of his novel is any indication, we could have a film here that digs into some of the rich territory of being a young outcast, and does so in a fresh and interesting way. That said, we may just be giving the picture the benefit of the doubt because of its cast, which is lousy with people we like: Emma Watson (doing a credible, at least in this small dose, American accent), We Need to Talk About Kevin’s excellent Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd, Melanie Lynskey, and Mae Whitman (from Scott Pilgrim and Parenthood, but still most beloved as Ann “Her?” Veal on Arrested Development).
There are few filmmakers in more dire need of a career change-up than Robert Zemeckis, who went from directing some of our favorite films of the ’80s and ’90s (Romancing the Stone, Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and yes, with some reservations, Forrest Gump) to a decade-long obsession with “motion capture.” He’s directed three films in the past ten years: The Polar Express, Beowulf, and Disney’s A Christmas Carol, each one causing those of us who admired his earlier work to wonder when he was gonna stop screwing around with his toys and make a real movie again. Well, our prayers have been answered. Zemeckis directs Denzel Washington in this story of a pilot who pulls of a miracle landing and finds himself under the microscope (echoes of not only Sully, but Denny Fitch, whose story was told on a magnificent episode of Errol Morris’ First Person). These tortured hero roles are often Washington’s best (see Courage Under Fire), and Zemeckis proved in Cast Away that he can stage one helluva scary plane crash. And sure, “Gimme Shelter” is also a member in good standing of the “overused trailer music” club, but it’s nicely utilized here. It’s been a long decade in the wilderness for Zemeckis, but we’re eagerly anticipating his return to the real world.
It was just a couple of weeks back that we were dismissing the trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby for (among other reasons) its use of wildly incongruent music, so it would probably be more than a touch hypocritical of us to embrace the trailer for Tarantino’s latest, which puts James Brown’s “The Payback” into the Antebellum-era South. And we’re just going to have to live with that. This is a terrific trailer — and let’s be honest, Tarantino makes the kind of gun-and-wit heavy pictures that always make for good trailers. Django Unchained was already high on our must-see list for this year, and this teaser has only increased our anticipation: Jamie Foxx being cool, Christoph Waltz being smug, and Leonardo DiCaprio hamming it up. Plus, you get the feeling that QT might’ve made the whole movie just to get to do that shot of blood splattering across the cotton.
What do you think of this week’s trailers? Which ones will you be seeing, and which will you steer clear of?