Tag Archives: movie trailers

Trailer Alert: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Elizabeth Olsen was one of the breakout stars of this year’s Sundance festival, and this trailer for her upcoming film, Martha Marcy May Marlene, hit the internet today.

In the film, Olsen plays a young woman fleeing an abusive cult, whose leader is played by John Hawkes. She has difficulty distinguishing between dreams and actual memories, and I like how the trailer plays on the hazy, muddled headspace that she’s in.

This looks like an all-around intriguing film, but I am the most excited to see John Hawkes’ performance here. He was absolutely fantastic in Winter’s Bone, I thought. His character in that film, Teardrop, was one of the most morally ambiguous characters I’ve seen in a long time. Even as you learn that Teardrop’s intentions may not be as dark as they initially seem, Hawkes is still a very sinister onscreen presence. And though he seems to play a more traditional villain in Martha Marcy May Marlene, Hawkes looks equally as deep and magnetic. He’s cornered the market on sinister backwoods dudes in indie films recently, and it’s a type of role that I love for him.

Olsen also looks quite good here, and the whole film seems to have a tense, suspenseful vibe. I guess comparisons to Winter’s Bone are inevitable since both are Sundance favourites that feature young female protagonists in poor American circumstances attempting to deal with John Hawkes. There are definitely differences, too, though, and I am intrigued by Martha/Marcy May’s relationship with who I am assuming is her sister (Sarah Paulson) and her sister’s boyfriend/husband (the always delightful Hugh Dancy). I am now very excited for this one.

Martha Marcy May Marlene is scheduled for limited release on October 7.

Trailer Round-Up: Melancholia, Anonymous, Warrior, etc.

There have been a crapload of trailers released in the past couple of days, so I thought I’d give a quick rundown on my thoughts about a few of them. (You can also check out my take on the Crazy, Stupid, Love trailer – with a bonus mini-career retrospective on Ryan Gosling – here, if you’re so inclined.)

Melancholia

I’ll admit it: I’ve never seen a Lars Von Trier film. But I’m now quite excited for Melancholia, because this trailer is GORGEOUS. I love Charlotte Gainsbourg, and she looks great here, but the standout, surprisingly, is Kirsten Dunst. It’s hard to tell from a trailer, but this looks like quite a demanding and impressive performance from her.

The whole thing intrigues me, from the intimate human drama to the sweeping sci-fi elements. The cinematography looks beautiful, too (between this and The Tree of Life, it seems like film fans will be salivating at the theatre this year). I’ve gotten chills both times I’ve watched this trailer, and it leaves me with a very unsettled feeling by the end.

Anonymous

Consider that Roland Emerich’s last three films were 2012, 10,00BC, and The Day After Tomorrow, I was pretty surprised to hear that his upcoming project is about Shakespeare. Anonymous explores the accusations that William Shakespeare did not actually write his works, which is an interesting concept. I was confused by the modern-day setting at the beginning of the trailer, and not sold at first, but it kind of hooked me by the end. The use of Radiohead’s “Everything in its Right Place”, while not time period appropriate, is very effective, and this is one of those trailers that will probably end up being more exciting than the film itself. Nonetheless, the fast editing and drama got me.

Warrior

Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton were two of 2010’s breakout actors, so it makes sense that the two buff young actors would play brothers in a film. And it makes even more sense that they’re playing mixed marital art fighters. But unfortunately, it all seems a bit too tidy and predictable in this trailer. Warrior looks like every sports movie ever made, and not an especially great one at that. The dialogue is hammy and the plot is predictable. Edgerton looks really good here, though (I thought he was fantastic in Animal Kingdom), as does Nick Nolte. But to be honest, I’m still not totally sold on Tom Hardy. To be fair, all I’ve seen him in was Inception, and he was charming in that, but I need to be convinced. Maybe I need to check out Bronson from a few years back.

Monte Carlo

I didn’t know much about this film, other than that it stars a few people who do not excite me (Selena Gomez and Leighton Meester) and one that somewhat does (Cory Monteith). And at first while watching the trailer, I thought, “Oh, this looks like a harmless enough little movie about some girls who go to France”. But then the identity-switching started, and I nearly vomited. It looks like The Parent Trap, She’s the Man, and every Shakespeare comedy ever written. Except much, much worse. And to add insult to injury, Cory Monteith was only in the trailer for about two seconds.

Hesher

It seems like I’ve been hearing about Hesher forever (probably because it played at last year’s Sundance), but I guess it’s finally coming out. However, this is a rather strange trailer that tells us virtually nothing about the movie. But hey, Joseph-Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, and Rainn Wilson are in it, so it must be good…right?

Trailer Alert: Crazy, Stupid, Love

Ryan Gosling is a serious actor who makes serious movies. He’s not just some Hollywood hunk for hire!

Wha – oh. Scratch that.

In Crazy, Stupid, Love Gosling plays a young womanizer who tries to help a hapless middle-aged stuffed shirt (played by Steve Carrell) save his marriage. Along the way, he also happens to take his shirt off multiple times.

Let it be said that I have no problem with the objectification of Ryan Gosling. That may seem hypocritical, seeing as I decry the amount of actors who settle for easy, hollow movie roles. But let’s consider the past roles that Gosling has taken on (as spoiler-free as possible):

  • The Believer – neo-Nazi
  • The Slaughter Rule – neglected teenager
  • Murder By Numbers – murderous teenager
  • The United States of Leland – (possibly) murderous teenager
  • The Notebook – tortured romantic separated from his true love for years
  • Stay – suicidal college student
  • Half Nelson – crack-addicted history teacher
  • Fracture – tireless investigator on the heels of a murderer
  • Lars and the Real Girl – lonely, strange man who befriends a blow up doll
  • All Good Things – deeply sinister and corrupt business man
  • Blue Valentine – miserable, balding father in a crumbling marriage

I think the dude has earned the right to have a little fun and take his shirt off once in a while. I’m certainly not going to complain.

And on top of that, Crazy, Stupid, Love actually looks pretty good. Yes, it looks like a somewhat standard rom-com, but it at least looks like it’s done well. And I would go see pretty much any movie with Gosling, Steve Carrell, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, and Kevin Bacon. That’s a mighty fine cast.

I’m already cheering for Gosling and Stone’s relationship, and Carrell and Moore seem like a very believable married couple. It looks funny and cute, and sometimes that’s enough.

(I also really like the use of Grizzly Bear’s “Two Weeks” and Muse’s “Black Holes and Revelations” in the trailer. Good music has been known to bring out my biases.)

Trailer Alert: The Hangover Part II

Truth be told, I was avoiding the trailer for The Hangover: Part II. The whole movie just seemed like a bad idea. But I caved. And while there are some laughs to be had in the trailer, my fears were generally confirmed for one major reason – it looks like the same movie as The Hangover. Like, exactly the same, pretty much. Even more than I was expecting. Let’s take a look at the similarities:

  • It’s the same bachelor party plot. Sure, this time it’s Stu getting married. But they really couldn’t think of a slightly different situation for them to get into? The storyline doesn’t have to be exclusive to weddings. There are SO many other scenarios they could put them in with similar outcomes.
  • It’s the same “we lost the _____” plot. It may be the bride’s little brother this time, but it’s way too similar to the first film. Either pick the bachelor party OR the “we lost the _____” storyline. You could go so many different places with either while still keeping the spirit of the first film.
  • Ken Jeong’s character is back. I didn’t even love his character in the first movie, and to make him a (seemingly) more major character this time around is overkill/
  • Justin Bartha still isn’t in on the fun. Surely after the misadventures last time around, Doug would be allowed to get in on the fun. I get that it’s about the main three guys, but why both putting Doug in the movie if you’re just going to sideline him again?
  • Monkey = baby
  • Some of the scenes in the trailer look like they’re straight out of the first film (such as them waking up the morning after). Obviously, it’s fine to reference the original (and I did like Alan’s rehearsal speech about the “pact” at the beginning), but it seems pointless to completely recreate it.
  • Tyson tattoo. Ugh.

Oh, and setting your movie in a foreign location doesn’t make it funnier or more interesting. If fact,
it’s usually quite the opposite. See: Sex and the City 2 (which this trailer reminded me of) and Couples Retreat.

Trailer Alert: The Bang Bang Club

I vaguely heard about Steven Silver’s new film, The Bang Bang Club, when it played at TIFF, though it didn’t seem to make much of a splash. Now, it’s finally getting a theatrical run, and Tribeca films has released the first official trailer.

If you’d asked me who was in this movie before watching the trailer, I could not have told you. But it turns out that the film stars Ryan Phillippe and Tim Riggins Taylor Kitsch as two photographers working among poverty and strife in South Africa during the mid-1990’s. Malin Akerman also stars as an editor that the team works with.

Phillippe, Kitsch, and Akerman are not three people that I generally associate with top-notch acting. And not knowing much about the film’s premise before watching the trailer, I had expected something rather different. But this actually looks pretty good. Silver’s previous work has been mainly in documentaries, and it shows here in what seems to be an effectively filmed and edited movie (or trailer, at least). Yes, it does have the Hollywood sheen, but The Bang Bang Club actually looks to be more heavily focussed on the moral implications of what these photographers are doing, rather than a bunch of cool explosions.

And maybe I’m being too harsh on these actors, because they look decent here (aside from some dubious accents). The jury is still out as to whether Akerman can act, but Phillippe can be good, and to me, Kitsch is one of the most fascinating young “heartthrob” actors around. I haven’t seen him in anything besides the first season of Friday Night Lights, and I couldn’t decide if his acting was awful or legitimately good on that show. He obviously has tons of charisma, and he brought a strange understated humour. But even if Kitsch is not a good actor (which is entirely possible), I have to give him credit for creating such a bizarrely compelling character in Tim Riggins.

But I could go on all day about my love for Tim Riggins. Let’s not get into that. Instead, I’ll simply say that I am now a lot more interested in The Bang Bang Club.