Magic Mike (June 29)
Silver: After seeing Channing Tatum’s comedy chops in 21 Jump Street, it was clear that this guy was 3-5 years away from Will Smith-level superstardom. He’s a quadruple threat; action hero (G.I. Joe), dramatic actor (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints), funny man (21 Jump Street), and sex symbol (name any of his films). So although a small character piece about a male stripper doesn’t feel like the logical follow-up to Tatum’s newly upped Q Score, I’d argue that this film is exactly what he needs as it fulfills his final requirement to the “I’d like to inquire about the cost of that island” club, as this is the film that will highlight the sensitive and vulnerable side of Tatum. As a result, millions of women around the world will subconsciously view him as “attainable.” So let the comparisons to current and future mates begin. It also doesn’t hurt that in Magic Mike Tatum and his abs play a successful male stripper, or that the film is semi-autobiographical and is a result of conversations between Mike’s director Steven Soderbergh and Tatum while on the set of Haywire. If this movie has any success, look for Tatum to be a dark horse for an Oscar nomination in the fall.
Browne: I can't believe I'm saying this, but the trailer's use of Rihanna's "We Found Love" was not good. It came off cheesy, and lessened the tender points of the trailer. This is the first time that I've ever been disappointed to hear "We Found Love," and honestly I didn't think that was possible. To put this in perspective, a few weeks ago I heard it out at a bar seven times in one night. And loved it. So yeah, that's something negative that I feel and I thought everyone should know. Outside of that, this is Channing's year. He's pulling a 2011 Fassbender on us, but arguably doing it better. The Will Smith comparison is spot on, Silver, but I'm not so sure it's going to take him 3-5 years to get there. For Will's sake, I hope MiB 57 doesn't tank, because in a few months he might start hearing those footsteps.
Silver: Virginia will probably fall victim to the recent, and unfortunate, trend of smaller indie films arriving D.O.A because some of the distribution market is dried up, and the filmmakers needed to settle on a deal with some upstart, inexperienced distributor who buries (or forgoes) a theatrical release and prays to the cinema gods that disgruntled married couples happen to find the film on VOD after putting their screaming kids to bed. But as the trailer concluded, I quickly glimpsed that this film was written and directed by Dustin Lance Black - the Oscar winning writer of Milk and the writer of some of the best episodes of HBO’s Big Love – so despite its unlucky release, Virginia might actually be a film to seek out.
Browne: I can't lie, I watched the trailer three times and still don't really understand what's going on. That was partially because it jumped around a lot and partially because I was just so excited to see Ed Harris. I happen to believe this guy is a national treasure and is often forgotten when we think about the great male actors of the past 25 years. And, as you mentioned, Dustin Lance Black directed (and more importantly, wrote) this film, so the combo of these two guys can't produce that bad of a film. I just hope by the 10th viewing of the trailer, I can figure out what's going on.
Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap (June 15)
Silver: I was lucky enough to see this film at Sundance this past year. And I could go on and on about all the ways it’s pure awesome sauce drizzled on pancakes, but I’ll just say this: It doesn’t matter if you’re a hard-core or casual fan of hip hop, you should go see move on opening weekend. It needs to be experienced is a packed house with like-minded people…and LOUD. It’s a celebration, bitches!
Browne: if this movie was 11 days long, I wouldn't even consider leaving seat. This is so important. Bless you, Ice.
The Amazing Spider-Man – Japanese Trailer (July 3)
Silver: There’s ot much new stuff in this Japanese trailer, but its recent release does give me the opportunity to say this:
1. Poor Spidey. There was a time when the release of a new web-slinger flick was considered an event. But despite its July 3rd opening, our friendly neighborhood arachnid is going to have a real hard time separating itself from The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Battleship, Men in Black III, Prometheus, and so on and so on. What a crummy summer to be released in. Was there ever a consideration to hold this one until Christmas, and have it be the 2012 equivalent of Ghost Protocol?
2. For all the reasons previously discussed I didn’t think this reboot was necessary. That said, I’m actually getting excited to see some of the practical (non-CGI) web-work Marc Webb has been talking up. The glimpses of it in the trailer look pretty cool.
3. Every time I hear Denis Leary deliver a line of dialogue I feel like they should be followed by the guitar strums from “Asshole.”
Browne: The Amazing Spider-Man being released in this stacked of a summer reminds me of the time I tried to impress a girl with a handwritten poem on the same day another dude got her a $75 gift certificate to Anthropologie. That's all I have to say about this non-Batman film.
Looper (September 28)
Silver: Major studios take note. This is what a proper teaser trailer looks like. It aptly sets up the narrative, establishes the tone, then shows enough to leave us wanting more. Simple and easy. So why do most of yours suck so much, hmmm?
Looper writer/director Rian Johnson is like a modern day Howard Hawks, the dude just does not live in one genre. Brick, The Brothers Bloom, and now this. He certainly likes to challenge himself. Let’s start labeling him an auteur now, shall we?
I love the look of this film. For a sci-fi movie it does not have the all-too-typical glossy, hyper-real sheen to it. The film’s visuals feel grounded in the now, which in turn elevates the unusual nature of the unfolding events. Based on this trailer, Looper comes off as Blade Runner, but if it was produced like Midnight Run or The Professional.
I cannot wait for this one.
Browne: I remember watching the trailer for Minority Report for the first time, being extremely excited about the futuristic-yet-simple premise, and then not being let down by the film. This is exactly the way I feel about Looper, and while I'm usually worried when trailers are too good, I have very few doubts that this will be fantastic. Also, Emily Blunt gets to have a huge gun. I, too, cannot wait.
Savages (July 6)
Silver: There are two Oliver Stones. The one who thinks he makes provocative, anti-establishment, issue-based movies, who lets the plot take a back seat to his overarching agenda. (Simplest example - Wall Street vs. Wall Street 2). But the Stone who endeavors to focus primarily on the story (Natural Born Killers and U Turn) usually falls into social commentary, and as a result these films tend to be more entertaining and less preachy.
From the trailer, Savages looks to be the latter. I was sold just on Salma Hayek as a drug lord and Benicio Del Toro as a silent and menacing henchman. But my favorite part of the trailer comes when Taylor Kitsch stabs Travolta. For some unknown reason I love hearing that dude scream. No matter how he delivers a screaming line all I ever hear is “Cah Mahn!”
Browne: Riggins and Blake Lively in the same movie is almost too much for me to handle. I know they're supposed to be lovers in the film, but I hope at some point they have a Zoolander-esque walk-off to see who's more beautiful (there is no right answer).
Ted – Red Band (July 13)
Silver: Family Guy has never made me laugh out loud. When I catch an episode I’m always entertained and smiling, but never laughing. And there are even some bits (references) which I find to be so inside I can’t believe they made it onto a network TV show. So even though I’m a devout South Park guy, I respect Family Guy, and what’s more, I have a ton of respect for its creator Seth MacFarlane. What I’ve seen or read with him have always been entertaining. So I’m intrigued, and somewhat excited to see what he does in the feature film space where he’s got to play within a narrative (and not just a series of bits). I think the guy’s smart and talented enough to pull it off. And this red band trailer is a great first indicator, the film shows real promise.
And as far as actors playing outside their comfort zones go, none have been more enjoyable to watch than Mark Wahlberg doing comedy. He was the best part of the unwatchable Date Night and completely held his own (and then some, “Good night Sheila!”) opposite Will Ferrell in The Other Guys. I can safely say that the bit where he rambles off all the white trash girl names will be one of my favorite moments from any trailer this year.
Browne: Seth MacFarlane is such a genius, seeing this trailer reminds me that I need to stop throwing around "genius" so liberally when I talk about people who aren't named Seth MacFarlane. On paper the plot of this film makes no sense, but watching it unfold was beautiful. And on top of all of that, Mila--Ms. Kunis if you're nasty--has a supporting role. Yes. In my inexpert opinion, this trailer is easily a top-3 short of 2012 thus far. Sorry I'm not sorry, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
To Rome with Love (June 22)
Silver: I bow at the altar of Woody Allen. I’m his biggest apologist and will always find the redeeming qualities in his works (oh yeah, even Curse of the Jade Scorpion). With that said, it would only feel indulgent to bore you with some forced film school write-up on how this feels like a perfect Woody comedy because it’s clearly rooted in the love of a city and features quirky and neurotic characters intermingling through multiple storylines. No, I’m not going to do that.
But I will say this: for hard core Woody-ites it’s pretty exciting to see him back on screen. And even better, his regular shtick is being countered by one of his best leading ladies, the great Judy Davis. They haven’t been on-screen together since 1997’s Deconstructing Harry.
Browne: I, too, love Woody Allen, but was not a fan of 2011's "thing" they called Midnight in Paris. I wasn't a terrible film, but for better or worse, I compare everything he produces to his best works, and that was a movie I thought I could have written (that is not a compliment). Anyway, I was happy to see another Woody Allen film where Woody actually acts, but I hope the this lives up to the trailer. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't skeptical.
A Fantastic Fear of Everything (TBD)
Silver: (Note: The following was written after deviously giggling while rubbing my hands together like a mad scientist). To me, A Fantastic Fear of Everything feels like an homage to and amalgamation of classic Tim Burton and early Jeunet et Caro films, mixed with an Edgar Wright modern sensibility. If that rightfully geeky statement made any sense to you, then you undoubtedly are salivating like me to see this film.
Browne: Silver, I have no idea who "Early Jeunet" is, but your excitement makes me excited. What I do know is that I could have watched tweaked-out Simon Pegg for hours. It's phenomenal.
The Magic of Belle Isle (VOD: June 1 / Theaters: July 6)
Silver: It’s a sad thing when a new Rob Reiner film is no longer an event. This is the guy who brought us Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride, Stand By Me, and A Few Good Men. What’s sadder is that Morgan Freeman appears to have come to a point where all his dialogue sounds like it’s being delivered as voiceover.
Browne: Every line that Morgan Freeman delivers before the scene changes becomes the new "worst line Morgan has ever delivered." When the clown goes "Do you like magic tricks?" and God Freeman counters with "Can you make yourself disappear?" I almost punched myself. Then there's a line about sitting up taller in the saddle, and then another line about seeing clearer and liking the view. I just can't with this. It's like he's reading Chicken Soup for the Graying Old Black Man's Soul. I actually makes me pretty sad, watching Morgan like this, for about two seconds, and then I remember that he's got that Dark Knight money and I immediately get over it.