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. We’ve got six new trailers for you this week, featuring Robert Redford, Susan Sarandon, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Shannon, Anna Kendrick, Sarah Polley, Ray Liotta, Aubrey Plaza, Winona Ryder, James Franco, and Chris Evans; check ’em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments.
The To-Do List
We’ve been looking forward to this Aubrey Plaza-fronted sex comedy since we first heard about it last year (under its original — and, let’s face it, better — title The Hand Job). But we’re surprisingly underwhelmed by this first, red-band teaser. Don’t get us wrong, the premise still sounds juicy, and Plaza is as likable as all get out, and the idea of an on-screen hook-up with her Mystery Team co-star (and fellow NBC supporting player) Donald Glover is mighty promising. But there aren’t as many laughs as it seems there should be, and Plaza’s promo wraparound material is strained. We’ll withhold judgment on this one until we’ve seen a full, proper trailer.
Here in the trailer roundup, we often find ourselves complaining about the formulaic leanings of the clips we see (and the films they’re from), and martial arts pictures certainly don’t tend to break the mold, story-wise. This new film from Jean-Marc Minéo trots out one of the oldest chestnuts they’ve got: an orphaned boy who learns to fight so he can exact his revenge. But with this genre, story is less important than style, and this one’s got plenty to burn; this short but bluntly effective trailer is unquestionably exciting.
The story of the loving family man with a sideline in vicious murders is also one we may have heard a time or two before, though Ariel Vromen’s film takes its inspiration from the true tale of Mafia hitman Richard Kuklinski (whose confessions were compiled for two HBO documentaries). What makes this one seem worth the effort is the cast: the versatile — and increasingly ubiquitous — Michael Shannon in the title role, Winona Ryder as his wife, and Ray Liotta as his boss, with James Franco and Chris Evans in supporting roles. Plus, we gotta admit, we’re suckers for goofy period duds and facial hair.
The Company You Keep
One of the pleasures of fall prestige movies with big ensemble casts is watching their trailers unveil the personnel, with a mixture of disbelief and amazement, and if you don’t know what we’re talking about, check out the trailer for this political thriller from Robert Redford. Okay, there’s Redford, and Susan Sarandon, Shia LaBeouf, Terrence Howard, Stanley Tucci, Nick Nolte shows up… Oh, and Anna Kendrick’s in it, went this viewer’s inner monologue. Wait, and Brendan Gleeson? AND Chris Cooper? And so on, and so on; when they unfurl all of them at the end, you realize that he also got (but didn’t show, unless I missed it) Julie Christie, Sam Elliot, and Richard Jenkins. It’s not that it’s impossible that a bad movie could attract this kind of a cast — it just seems highly unlikely. And while Redford’s last attempt to mix politics and cinema resulted in the unfortunate and forgotten Lions for Lambs, this one sports a screenplay by the great Lem Dobbs (The Limey — another film deeply rooted in the ’60s), which has got us all the more excited for it.
This pitch-black comedy from director Ben Wheatley (Kill List) and producer Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) seems an irresistible mixture of their sensibilities; based on this lunatic trailer, it looks both very right and very, very wrong. Steve Oram and Alice Lowe (who also wrote the screenplay) play a couple taking a vacation that quickly turns into something of a rampage — one illustrated, surely for the first time in film history, by the strains of Soft Cell’s Tainted Love. It looks dark and twisted and disturbing and hilarious, so obviously we can’t wait.
Stories We Tell
Sarah Polley went from being one of our favorite actors to being one of our favorite filmmakers a few years back; her two features to date, Away from Her and this summer’s Take this Waltz, have established her as a director of skill and power. Now we have the trailer for her first documentary feature, and it looks just as astonishing as her narrative fare. The focus here is on her family, the story of her enigmatic mother, but this doesn’t have the feel of a self-indulgent vanity project; the trailer’s use of home movies, family interviews, and self-awareness hints that Polley may well be equally proficient in films fiction and non.
Those are the films we’re looking forward to — what about you? Let us know in the comments.