Django Unchained - International Trailer (December 25)
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Dan Silver: I admire Quentin Tarantino for a great many reasons, but none more than his skillful employment of hyperbole. Not so much in his dialogue or set pieces, but as an overarching motif in all his films. Genre and time period aside, Q.T. has consistently played out the events of his film in a heightened reality. Where we, as audience members, have no choice but to accept that someone can fight 88 assassins solo and run up a banister, or that an exchange like ...
Honey Bunny: I love you, Pumkin.
Pumkin: I love you, Honey Bunny.
A few weeks ago when writing about The Master, I mentioned there weren’t many modern-day auteurs (much less American ones). Well, Tarantino should be on that list, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Paul Thomas Anderson. Even in a two-minute trailer, the uniqueness of Q.T.’s cinematic point of view, and the clarity and specificity of Django’s world is evident. I’m not going to go so far as to say it’s inspiring (I’ll, hopefully, let the movie do that), but it sure does strum at an entirely different, and rarely used, excitement chord on my geek guitar. The one reserved primarily for nights spent viewing classic films for the first time on 35mm.
Rembert Browne: My feelings on the movie haven't changed between the first and second trailer, but it does warm my heart to learn that Samuel L. Jackson is in this film. You can't make a film about hunting slave masters without Samuel L. If I put an ad in the paper today that said, "Need mentor and/or tutor. Topic: REVENGE," I would have a text from Sam by lunchtime. I'm so excited for "and Samuel L. Jackson."
The Queen of Versailles (July 20)
Silver: This is a very astutely constructed trailer, because it treats this documentary as if it were a Christopher Guest mockumetary. The film is sold like an extended pilot for a new Real Housewives series. It’s evident that director Lauren Greenfield had some fun at her subject’s expense — see the off-center framing of Jackie Siegel sitting on her couch, seemingly being swallowed by her ornate surroundings, or the image of her husband conducting his talking-head interview from his throne — but that’s the easy part. Her challenge, and what will ultimately make this movie stand out, is if she can make a seemingly vapid and out-of-touch upper 1 percent couple dealing with “money troubles” relatable. We’ll see.
Browne: I just can't imagine the "struggles" in this film being relatable to many, but that doesn't mean it won't be a well-done documentary. I think for the most part, we'll laugh at the ridiculous, and still kind of laugh when they falter. The only real thing they have going in their favor is that it's 2012 and not 2010. You can't release this at a time when all we think about is the economy. Now that we, at times, forget that they're still around, maybe the sight of a house the size of Epcot won't make people mad. Probably will, though. I hope it does. Because it should.
360 (August 3)
Silver: As far as I’m concerned, the multiple and interweaving story line genre of filmmaking died with Robert Altman. And before that, the last great film of this type was Magnolia (1999). Films like Crash and Babel have felt pretentious and thin to me, so I’ve avoided these types of films. Until now. There’s no way I am going to skip a film from the director of City of God and The Constant Gardener and the writer of Frost/Nixon and The Last King of Scotland. Not a chance.
Browne: So I can't stop laughing, because Anthony Hopkins just said "You only live once." And then a minute later, this happened:
YOLO has finally made it to the big screen. I will not be convinced that the writer and director aren't huge Drake fans. There's nothing they could say to prove they weren't aware of this reference. Nothing.
Everyone Has a Plan – Spanish Trailer (TBD)
Silver: With having only understood a single word in this trailer (“Hola” @ 1:08) I can still tell you why this film is going to be awesome.
- Viggo Mortensen is in it.
- Viggo Mortensen is in it, and he only speaks Spanish.
- Viggo Mortensen is in it, he only speaks Spanish, and he seems to be playing two roles — him and his identical twin.
- Viggo Mortensen is in it, he only speaking Spanish, he plays both identical twin roles, and he goes to his mental G.I. Jane crazy-eyed place and possibly kills people.
So what is it about what I just wrote that makes you not want to see this movie. Nothing? That’s what I thought.
Browne: Definitely did not catch the fact that he might have an identical twin, which leaves me more in the dark than even you. So I'm just going to shut up and merely note that I'm impressed how Viggo can pretty much look any ethnicity that a part calls for. A beard and a tan can really change a guy.
Savages – Interrogations (July 6)
Silver: Oliver Stone’s most effective films are the ones where he forces himself to tell a story first, and over the course of an unfolding narrative allows his social commentary and beliefs to subtly seep out (Natural Born Killers, Wall Street, and Born on the Fourth of July, to name a few). When Stone’s ideology is too overt, his films tend to be tonal and narrative messes (Nixon, Heaven & Earth, and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps). So it’s rather exciting that with Savages I can only surmise what Stone’s agenda is. To me it looks simply like a fun little crime story. But if these little character trailers are any indication, Stone will inevitably find a way to insert himself and/or his viewpoint into the proceedings (yes, that’s his voice as the interrogator).
Browne: Silver, I love you. Without you, I never would have known that was Stone's voice, which now makes these trailers 50 times cooler. This looks awesome. I like the way they split up the trailers, and most importantly, I think this film will salvage Riggins post-FNL. It's going to take a miracle to make up for John Carter and Battleship, but I think this might be it.
Sinister (October 5)
Silver: I’ve talked a lot of smack about the hackneyed nature of the modern horror milieu, so it might seem a little odd that I think Sinister looks great and I can’t wait to see it. I’ll admit straight up that I’m knowingly disregarding the all-too-typical cookie-cutter construction of this trailer and the seemingly familiar haunting/possession story line (the tropes and beats are all there), but for some reason the moments and images showcased in this trailer actually scare me. In film, many times solid direction and execution are the best antidotes to mediocrity (see Insidious ... which just so happens to be by the same producers are Sinister). Also, like comedy, horror is a totally subjective thing. I could get all self-analytical, but let’s just accept the fact that I can’t tell you what you think is funny, and there’s no way you can tell me why the birthday scene from Signs still gives me nightmares.
Browne: I like Ethan Hawke as dad. That was really my only takeaway from this. Oh, and I'll never see it because I'll poop myself.
For a Good Time, Call ... (August 31)
Silver: Plot-wise, For a Good Time, Call ... feels a lot of like an episode of ABC’s Don’t Trust the B---- in Apt 23 — strapped for cash, the gals decide to make a few bucks by starting their own phone sex business. Alas, this isn’t a 22-minute episode, it’s a feature length film. My unrequited love for Ari Graynor aside, I’m going to choose to happen upon this Little Engine That Could indie one night on HBO. And for those of you wondering why Seth Rogen randomly pops up in this preview: Well, it’s because the co-lead with Graynor (a.k.a. the brunette actress), not only happens to be the producer and co-writer of the film, she’s also Mrs. Seth Rogen. So here’s wishing her luck.
Browne: I was ready to just destroy this film after the first minute and because of the way in which they reunite, but it definitely picked up some steam in the second half. The premise is weirdly unique, it's extremely crude, both leading ladies seem extremely invested in their characters, and I actually laughed a few times. And was that Tina Fey for two seconds? If not, was that Mariska Hargitay for two seconds? If not, kudos to you, anonymous woman, for looking a lot like a hybrid Fey-Hargitay. But yeah, I may actually see this. Go figure.
Pitch Perfect (October 5)
Silver: Here’s how the conversation leading up the greenlight of Pitch Perfect went down.
INT. ANY HOLLYWOOD STUDIO BOARD ROOM – EARLY MORNING
A bleary-eyed STUDIO HEAD, half-awake and holding a ginormous plastic cup of something green, addresses his MINIONS at their weekly Monday-morning meeting.
STUDIO HEAD: Um. Wow. Did you guys see those box-office numbers on that Kristen Wiig movie? That thing made a lot of money. Men AND women went to go see it. [He slightly dozes off and catches himself.] So, umm, what can we do to capitalize? What are some other things in this genre people like? [He finally dozes off.]
His four MINIONS, simultaneously:
MINION 1: You mean Bridesmaids?
MINION 2: Glee!
MINION 3: Bring It On!
MINION 4: Step Up!
[The Studio Head jolts awake.]
STUDIO HEAD: Great! Go make that!
Confused as to what their boss actually wants, the minions leave the room. And 18 months later ... voila ... Pitch Perfect.
Come on! Those minions must have taken that order seriously. Just look at its Bridesmaids-esque poster. And Anna Kendrick? What are you doing? I’ve given you a pass on the Twilight films because you took those prior to showing the world you could out-act George Clooney. But between this and What to Expect When You’re Expecting, you’re either telling us you want to be the next Sandra Bullock or you just don’t choose your projects based on their titles (maybe you thought this film was about the first female MLB pitcher). Can you please come back to the 50/50s of the world? You’re so good on those.
Browne: I will do everything in my power to make sure this film fails. The weekend it comes out, I will stand outside of theaters and pay people to go see something else. I'd see Crash: On Ice before I sit through five minutes of this film. This is the absolute worst. There are no competitors. I'm furious.