This Week in Trailers: ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ ‘On the Road,’ and Sequels No One Asked For

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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. We’ve got eight new trailers for you this week, featuring Jeremy Renner, Penelope Cruz, Emile Hirsch, Marion Cotillard, Kristen Stewart, and Peter O’Toole; check ’em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments.

Atlas Shrugged Part II

Look, the Randians can make all the damn movies they want out of Atlas Shrugged, and fill ’em to the brim with far-right dog whistles and red meat (“The government takes what they want, and taxes what they leave behind!”) — that’s their prerogative, everybody deserves their own preaching to the choir movie, etc. What’s funny about Atlas Shrugged Part II, which we’re far from the first ones to point out, is that Atlas Shrugged Part I was a spectacular failure on not just a critical level, but a financial one; it barely grossed a quarter of its $20 million budget. And yet wealthy businessman turned film producer John Aglialoro believes so strongly in his projected trilogy of Atlas adaptations that he’s ponied up again for part two. It’s strange: the free market rejected his initial offering, yet he’s carrying on with his mission. For the common good, we presume?

So, that’s hilarious. And so is the trailer, which — in spite of the replacement of pretty much every cast member and the director of Part I — looks about as subtle as a tea-bagging.

A Christmas Story 2

The direct-to-DVD sequel is one of the less reputable pursuits of Hollywood studios, wherein they crank out barely competent follow-ups and outright rip-offs to their most profitable hits, preying on consumer ignorance for a quick buck. But it’s one thing to spit out disposable sequels to the likes of American Pie and Bring it On — it’s quite another to sully the good name of a great movie like A Christmas Story. It’s also inaccurate to give it this title — there was already a Christmas Story sequel, 1994’s It Runs in the Family (given the more direct title My Summer Story for its home video release), which actually included parties involved with the original, like director Bob Clark and co-writer/narrator Jean Shepherd. None of that here — A Christmas Story 2: Official Sequel (yep, that appears to be the actual title) is helmed by Brian Levant, the distinguished auteur of Snow Dogs, Jingle All the Way, and the Flintstones movies. Based on the sheer misery we’re seeing in this trailer, would it be cruel to ask Santa to shoot his eye out?

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

Two and a half minutes ago, we’d have said our love for Jeremy Renner knows no bounds. Then we watched the Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters trailer, and guess what — we found those bounds! It’s hard to know where to start with this one, so let’s just dive right in with some important questions: After Red Riding and Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman, are we done with the revamped fairy tales yet? Also, are they really trying to do some kind of “bullet time” with an arrow thing in there? And do they realize that the “walking away from an explosion without looking back or even flinching” move is no longer an indication of badassery, but just a tired visual cliché? Yes, these questions and more remain unanswered, but don’t worry, because OH GOODY IT’S IN 3D ARROWS AND SHIT FLYIN’ OUT THE SCREEN CAN’T WAIT.

Twice Born

We love Penelope Cruz, and we like Emile Hirsch, but this trailer doesn’t tell us much aside from that fact that they’re in a movie together — and someone needed to pull aside whoever cut this thing and inform them that the lingering-letters-on-screen-that-are-in-the-next-word thing only works if there are letters in common from one screen to the next. Instead of looking at the images, this viewer kept getting distracted by how they had to modify the letters to make them work. That’s a really nitpicky thing, and a nerdy confession, but time is precious in a trailer, and the more time I spent focusing on that, the less time I spent thinking about how I might or might not like to see Twice Born.

The Bay

We see more than our fair share of horror trailers around here, and have pretty much had it up to here with the “found footage” style, but we’ll fess up; the trailer for The Bay legitimately made us jump, with that scare around the 1:11 mark. Actually, there are two shocks in this trailer: that, and the onscreen credit for “Academy Award-winning director Barry Levinson.” Yes, though The Bay looks much closer to the work of producers Jason Blum and Steven Schneider (Paranormal Activity), the picture is directed by Rain Man and Diner’s Levinson, who hasn’t had a hit in quite a little while. If he finds it by making a Paranormal knock-off, more power to him, and he can pack it with jolts like that thing with the fish, well, maybe he’s found himself a new calling.

On the Road

Potential film adaptations of On the Road has been bandied about for so long, and the book has become so iconic, that it almost feels like trying to make one now is a no-win proposition — and for those who idolize the book, who have seen it in their head already, over and over for years, it probably is. But we have to say, Walter Selles (The Motorcycle Diaries) certainly looks to be the man for the job, the Kristen Stewart who can act (last seen in Adventureland, we think?) appears to have shown up, and the trailer’s got a good, nervous energy that bodes well for the film.

Rust and Bone

Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet was one of the best films of 2010, a scorching hybrid of prison drama and crime saga, so we’re pretty much signed on for whatever he does. His latest, Rust and Bone, was a bit of a love it or hate it proposition when it screened at Cannes this year, but this (thankfully non-specific) trailer hints at a big, bold, operatic love story, and we can’t wait to see it. Plus, y’know, Marion Cotillard, am I right?

Lawrence of Arabia

You could get all depressed about the fact that this week’s best new trailer is for a fifty-year-old movie — but in all fairness, it’s for an exceptional fifty-year-old movie. Fresh from its unexpected appearance in Prometheus, here’s a trailer for the new anniversary 4K restoration of David Lean’s epic, and that “the way it was meant to be seen” line isn’t just hyperbole; if you haven’t ever had the experience of drinking in Lawrence on a giant screen, holy cow.

What do you think of this week’s new trailers? Let us know in the comments!