Monday, December 27, 2010

Movie Trailers: 2011's Movies to Be Excited About Part 2

Here’s a guide to some of the most intriguing trailers out there right now. This is part one of however many installments it takes to cover the good stuff.  I’m going to try and be chronological, but no promises.  These may not intrigue everybody, but I think they all have something promising in them that merits at least a look when the films arrive, though what that “something” is varies wildly from one film to the next.  If you’re scrolling through here looking for the Transformers 3 trailer, don’t waste your time.  And also, stop being excited about Michael Bay movies.

KEY to Anticipation Factor:
1=Looks good, but probably a rental
2=One more good trailer will put me in the theater
3=Definitely a trip to the theater
4=I visited the official site and marked my calendar
5=Working on my costume to wear to the midnight premiere

Movie:  Barney’s Version (January 14th)
Trailer Type:  The old “let the actors sell the movie while we just outline a little story with some typewriter-font cue cards every once in a while” routine.
Persons of Interest:  Paul Giamatti as an irascible, grouchy, unlikable lout is what we call “perfect casting”.  Giamatti always owns in these odd, quirky roles that allow him to quietly run away with his line delivery and facial expressions.  The trailer seems to suggest he does so in this movie.
Moments of Intrigue:  All the moments where Giamatti is on screen, basically.  Dustin Hoffman looks pleasantly ridiculous as well; hopefully he doesn’t just go with the lazy stereotype it looks like he’s flirting with in the trailer.
Possible Signs o’ Trouble:  Nothing major, although the old “hey that baby you thought was yours is actually black” gag which leads to the angry white guy chasing/hitting/yelling at his black friend is just the worst.
Anticipation Factor (out of 5):  3

Movie:  Company Men (January 21st)
Trailer Type:  The old “play inspiring music as characters realize life has other plans for them” routine.  Seriously, the trailer actually has a shot of the words “life has other plans” floating across a building. 
Persons of Interest:  Tommy Lee Jones doing something respectable is always something to treasure, and Chris Cooper must be tracked down in these small roles until more directors realize he deserves some leads.  Ben Affleck should also have your respect by now—he’s put out a series of films on both sides of the camera which should wash away any bad taste from his choices of 10 years ago.
Moments of Intrigue:  This film has a nice look to it, and it seems like all the leads play well off of each other here; the brief moment between Tommy Lee Jones and Craig T. Nelson discussing the lives of people they’ve just fired looked particularly good.
Possible Signs o’ Trouble:  I’m sorry, this is unfair, but every time I see Kevin Costner I just see it as another pathetic comeback attempt.  And seeing him doing a poor New England accent makes it even worse.  And I OWN “Open Range”!
Anticipation Factor (out of 5):  3

Movie:  The Way Back (January 21st)
Trailer Type:  The old “you’re not going to believe what these people go through to escape evil” routine with special guest  the old “lets break the tension with inserts of characters saying blackly humorous things every once in a while” routine.
Persons of Interest: Director Peter Weir should be a name you recognize and look forward to; every shot in this trailer seems to prove that fact hasn’t changed.  Ed Harris and Colin Farrell also look great as usual here.
Moments of Intrigue:  The abstract for this movie describes the main players as being trapped in a “hellish gulag”.  Movies set in gulags, let alone hellish ones, deserve your attention.
Possible Signs o’ Trouble:  Very few. 
Anticipation Factor (out of 5):  4

Movie:  The Mechanic (January 28th)
Trailer Type:  The fairly new “Let’s pretend this is a NEW Jason Statham movie concept and ignore completely the fact that it’s clearly just “The Transporter” with a different title” routine.
Persons of Interest:  Jason Statham is a solid action star who fits into the slick, ultra-frenetic world of modern action films incredibly well.  Whether that’s a good or bad thing to say about an actor depends on what sorts of movies you’re into.  The more haggard and gritty Donald Sutherland gets, the greater his screen presence becomes.  He will swallow movie screens whole if he lives another ten years.
Moments of Intrigue:  Statham shooting people, blowing things up, telling people ahead of time that he’s going to shoot them or blow them up, slow motion explosions, slow motion gun cartridges ejecting from high powered weapons, etc.
Possible Signs o’ Trouble:  Action movies are stupid.  They’re fun.  But they’re stupid.
Anticipation Factor (out of 5):  2

Movie:  Paul (February 14th)
Trailer Type:  The Old “let’s use the dramatic opening music cue from “2001:  A Space Odyssey” to lead up to something totally anti-climactic and totally, hilariously ironic” routine.
Persons of Interest:  Simon Pegg and Nick Frost should have more than earned your interest with “Shaun of the Dead” and the equally phenomenal “Hot Fuzz”.  And the trailer is worth rewatching to catch all of the big comedy names filling in the small roles in this one—Jason Bateman is always great, and Bill Hader is just one of the other faces here that should at least get you somewhat interested in this one.
Moments of Intrigue:  There are some nice little touches in the trailer—an “E.T.” moment, some mildly funny moments between alien-butt-and-wiener jokes, and a great piece at the end with a dead bird which was just clever enough to leave me grinning.
Possible Signs o’ Trouble:  Seth Rogen is wearing thin, and I say that as someone who liked him a lot.  But he just stands out here—you can’t separate that gravelly voice from the person behind it, which doesn’t work so well for this sort of concept.  Another problem, there are a LOT of potty jokes in this trailer.  Also, Simon Pegg was heavily involved in “Run, Fatboy, Run” which, you know, what the hell was THAT supposed to be?
Anticipation Factor (out of 5):  3, based on the assumption that this trailer is playing to the “dumb crowd” and the movie will prove much more clever.
Watch it here  (you'll have to select it from the list)

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