This Week in Trailers: ‘Monsters University,’ ‘The Master,’ and One Last ‘Dark Knight Rises’

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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 new trailers from Pixar, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Christopher Nolan, plus vehicles for Liam Neeson, Andy Samberg, and Rashida Jones. Check ’em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments.

Dredd

We’d be lying if we said we’d been eagerly anticipating this “reboot” of Stallone’s notorious 1995 flop, and this trailer has done absolutely nothing to inspire our confidence. First of all, the filmmakers appear to have made the mistake of thinking that Stallone (and his co-stars, including a cringe-inducing Rob Schneider) was the cause of the first film’s failure — not the goofy premise of the original British comic book, which was present there and here in dialogue like “I am the law.” Secondly, through no fault of the filmmakers (who have been working on the picture for several years now), Dredd appears to have basically the exact same plot of the spring Indonesian barn-burner The Raid: Redemption, and if there’s one action movie this year you don’t want to get yourself compared to, it’s The Raid: Redemption (or, for that matter, Attack the Block, which it also bears a passing resemblance to). Throw in Olivia Thirlby with bad hair and a Dredd who makes Stallone’s interpretation look sensitive and charismatic, and you can count us out.

Taken 2

The original, 2008 Taken was woefully silly and written with something bordering on incompetence, but credit where due: once Maggie Grace got snatched and Liam Neeson went to work, it was a bluntly effective and frequently thrilling action picture. Producer/co-writer Luc Besson doesn’t have the best of luck with sequels (as anyone who sat through The Transporter 2 can tell you), and his last effort was Lockout, easily one of the year’s worst movies, but the big grosses of the first film all but guaranteed a sequel. And they appear to have spent about four seconds figuring out how to extend the story: with bad guys out to avenge the deaths of all the guys Neeson killed in the first movie. (The line “We will have our revenge” is even included, for all of you fans of comically on-the-nose dialogue.) Still, it’s Liam Neeson kicking ass, so we’ll probably give it a shot.

Celeste and Jesse Forever

Rashida Jones is pretty much irresistible, and we’re not immune to the charms of Mr. Andy Samberg, so we’ve been looking forward to seeing this one ever since missing it at Sundance — where everyone who saw it had nothing but lovely things to say. (Plus, Jones co-wrote it, so hurray for hyphenates.) That said, we wish the trailer had us a little more excited; as always seems to happen with indie rom-coms, Sony is playing down the indie and plays up the rom-com, making it look suspiciously similar to your average studio Heigl-type swill. Not that it’s going to discourage us from going or anything.

Monsters University

Toy Story 3 notwithstanding, we’re not wild about Pixar’s growing reliance on sequels to their earlier hits. But kudos to them for going the prequel route with this follow-up to Monsters, Inc., which finds Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman) in college, learning how to scare kids — and how to party. The teaser only gives us one joke, and it’s not exactly a side-splitter, but that Thompson Twins cue is perfection.

V/H/S

We’d just about had it with “found footage” horror movies — the style has been all but bludgeoned to death by schlock like The Devil Inside and the Paranormal Activity sequels—until we got the bejeesus scared out of us by the trailer for this horror anthology film, which played to terrified and rhapsodic audiences at Sundance. It’s the work of eight directors (including “mumblecore” stalwart Joe Swanberg and House of the Devil mastermind Ti West), and if the movie itself is half as creepy as the trailer, we might be watching the bulk of this one through our fingers.

The Dark Knight Rises

We usually refrain from chiming in on multiple trailers for films we’ve already covered over previous weeks, yet every damn piece of teasing they’ve done for The Dark Knight Rises has warranted a post and analysis. What do you want, it’s our most anticipated movie of the summer. This final (presumably!) trailer replaces the ghostly quiet of the third with a blast of action and noise right off the bat, before going appropriately epic and heroic — it trades, as much of the film’s publicity has, on our knowledge that this is Nolan and Bale’s last ride in the Batmobile, and goes for the grandiose. And, as before, we’ve got the goosebumps they’re shooting for.

The Master

We watch so many trailers for these Friday posts — so many recycled repackagings of the same explosions and crotch-kicks and Inception blares, different names and different titles but the same images and the same ideas — that maybe these teasers (this is the second) for Paul Thomas Anderson’s new movie feel more quietly revolutionary than they are. But what Anderson is doing here (and word is that he’s cutting these trailers himself) is somewhat astonishing, in the modern media marketing world: he’s creating fascinatingly abstract short films that are light on exposition and heavy on mood, crafting trailers that jangle, unnerve, and pique curiosity without giving away the farm. Maybe it won’t work; maybe people won’t respond. Whatever happens, we’re not only excited about the film, but excited for these little films that we’re seeing in advance of it.