Inside Llewyn Davis (TBD)
Silver: This is a teaser in the truest sense. Aside from an invite-only industry screening of the film in early February, this new film from the brothers Coen does not have a release date — but in all likelihood, it won’t hit theaters until after its all-but-certain debut at Cannes this summer, and then a possible Toronto Film Festival showing in September, making the approximate date of first consumption by the general public sometime in late fall/winter of 2013. And if this trailer weren’t so darn delectable I’d be fine waiting. But I’m like a rabid dog who’s just gotten his first taste of blood. A little is already far too much. I now have to go through some Renton-level detoxing in order to make it to release day. Ugh! This looks so good.
And yet it’s not J.C. and E.C. enveloping yet another genre of film with their distinctive sensibilities and tone that excites me, it’s the new stuff. First and foremost is the look: With the exception of 2008’s Burn After Reading, the Coens have worked with cinematographer Roger Deakins on every one of their feature films since 1994’s The Hudsucker Proxy. That’s 19 years and 10 films. (Burn’s DP was the equally skilled Emmanuel Lubezki.) But Llewyn’s DP, Bruno Delbonnel, is no stranger to the Coens; he shot their short “Tuileries” in the anthology film Paris, Je T’aime. Before that he racked up two Oscar nominations for his work with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet on the films Amelié and A Very Long Engagement. And with his more recent work on big-budget fare like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and the underrated Dark Shadows, he has gone on to perfect a rather complex over-the-top style, overwrought with washed-out greens, blacks, and blues. And from what we see in this trailer, this style elevates the Coens' visuals beautifully.
I’m also quite looking forward to seeing Oscar Isaac in this film. This guy was just another bit player in random movies for me until I saw 10 Years. In that film he takes the rather trite “famous celebrity who really just wants a normal life” role and elevates it. When the credits to that film rolled, I not only had a man-crush on the guy, I knew that with the right role, he could break out and be a huge star. Maybe this is that role.
Browne: I'm shocked, Dan, that you wrote all of those (beautiful) words and failed to mention one Justin Timberlake seeming to play a prominent role in the film. Did you not like "Suit and Tie"? Still recovering from In Time? I just want some answers.
As for the film, I'm at a place — a great place — where the inclusion of John Goodman is enough to excite me for a film. For better or worse, I trust his movie-picking decisions of late, and therefore I expect this folksy movie to be a delight.
Olympus Has Fallen (March 22)
Silver: Well, this sucks. It appears the cycle has finally looped back around, and “Die Hard on/in” movies are back in fashion (keeping in mind that with the release of A Good Day to Die Hard on February 14, Die Hard itself seemingly never went out of the public’s favor). Rem, back when we were just youngsters sneaking into R-rated films, every other action movie was some kind of a Die Hard knockoff — Speed, Die Hard on a bus; Speed 2, Die Hard on a Willem Dafoe–ed cruise ship; Cliffhanger, Die Hard on a mountain; Executive Decision, Die Hard on a plane; Under Siege, Die Hard on a battleship; and Under Siege 2, Die Hard on an Eric Bogosian–ed train. And now, in 2013, Olympus Has Fallen is the first of two (yes, 2, T-W-O) films coming out in which a wannabe and/or former Secret Service agent helps save POTUS after 1600 Penn finds itself under siege (a.k.a. Steven Seagal–ed). The other film is Roland Emmerich’s next cinematic bowel movement, White House Down (June 28). Once again, his cast (who probably just see an Emmerich movie as an opportunity to set up their trust funds for their kids) will be the only reason I'll see this: Jamie Foxx as POTUS, Channing “I’ll follow you anywhere” Tatum as the would-be John McClane, and co-stars Jason Clarke, James Woods (welcome back, buddy), Richard Jenkins, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Based solely on the lack of Gerard Butler in White House, Olympus Has Fallen (which wins in the movie-title contest) feels like it should be the straight-to-VOD B-movie knockoff released just days after White House Down.
Browne: You're a jaded man, Dan Silver. You take in this trailer and immediately do the logical thing of showing how it's a carbon copy of so many movies before it. You know, like a movie critic. I see this, however, and am thrilled to have my next disaster-y film.
There's nothing better than films about America possibly becoming weaker at the hands of others, because you know at the end WE'RE GOING TO WIN. It's the best feeling on Earth. Sure, they might blow up the White House and fly planes into the Washington Monument and kill FLOTUS, but at the end of they day our enemies will not win.
Because this is America.
Also, Morgan Freeman getting a chance to be president again? That had to have brought a smile to your face.
Die Hard Marathon (February 13)
Silver: It already feels like we’re a little Die Hard–heavy this week, but this is too good a promo to turn our backs on. When edited tightly together in chronological order, it’s not the absurdity of the plots or set pieces that stand out, it’s that as the Die Hard franchise has progressed, Bruce Willis’s look has evolved to the point where he now resembles a Die Hard villain more than he does the hero. He’s Blofeld bald now. So all he needs is a weird accent or affectation and, poof, bad guy.
Browne: When they finally make Rush Hour 4, this is the way I want to build up to it, with the other three in the theaters. Die Hard? Not so much.
The Sweeney (March 1)
Silver: First off, for those who don’t partake in awards shows or behind-the-scenes featurettes, I’ll take a moment for you to get over the shock of hearing Sgt. Brody speak in his native accent. Yes, like almost every other great actor working in Hollywood, Damian Lewis is an import.
OK, that’s enough of this foolishness. On to the trailer.
Kudos to cowriter/director Nick Love and his entire production team for spot-on casting. At least from what we can gather from this trailer, the character of Jack Regan is the role the great Ray Winstone was born to play. His gruff demeanor, quick wit, and devotion to special police units with a propensity for violence make this character feel like the Cockney version of Michael Chiklis’s Vic Mackey from The Shield (minus all that corruption, of course). My preference for all things Anglo has been well-documented, so with The Sweeney’s apparently strong roots in the British crime/gangster genre tradition, there’s no need to go on and on about my eagerness to see the film.
(Side note/remake pitch: My Dinner With Andre starring Morgan Freeman and Ray Winstone. Two of the greatest voices working in Hollywood today.)
Browne: There's no reason this trailer needed to be 2:30. If it were 30 seconds, I would have been left in suspense about what this shoot-'em-up thriller would become, but instead we're given a long trailer that explains the entire film. Unfortunately for them, the more we learned about the film, the less excited I became about ever seeing it. Poor execution.
At Any Price (April 26)
Silver: I’m choosing not to read too much into this uneven and unfocused trailer. Writer/director Ramin Bahrani’s freshman release was the small, yet poignant, Man Push Cart. That film, along with his two follow-up features (Chop Shop and Goodbye Solo), were deeply American stories that played out through the experiences of characters from other countries. As a result, audiences were treated to stories that felt both foreign and familiar. With At Any Price, Bahrani appears to be leaving this practice behind to focus specifically on American characters, yet the themes prevalent in his other films — family, honor, responsibility — seem to remain. With this slight tweak of narrative concentration, Bahrani, a native North Carolinian, places more of the onus for that unique perspective on his performance as a director.
Browne: I'll admit, over the course of these two minutes, I came around on this trailer. The beginning (seeing Zac Efron, seeing Zac Efron make out with a girl in a car, seeing Zac Efron rebel against his father) seemed a little too Zac Efron–y for me, but I was pleased to see the film take a more adult tone and not just pander to young women who want to see Zac Efron be tough. It looks like a fine film, with Dennis Quaid staying firmly in his lane of "American dad," but there's something about it that still leaves me worried.
Day of the Falcon (February 1 — VOD / March 1 — Limited Theatrical)
Silver: I remember seeing this trailer almost a year ago, back when the film was titled Black Gold. A change of title still does not change the fact that Antonio Banderas (from Spain) is playing an Arab prince whose main adversary is Sultan Amar, played by Englishman Mark Strong. Also, is it me, or does Banderas sound like he’s reading all his lines as if he’s still in character for Puss in Boots?
Browne: I had the same Puss-related thoughts about Banderas. Also, halfway through, it is revealed that the film will also be a love story. I thought I wonder if the girl is Freida Pinto. And two seconds later, the girl was Freida Pinto. I don't know how I feel about that — both having that thought and being correct — but I know it's not great.
The Heat — International Trailer (April 5)
Silver: I feel like I’m in the minority on this one, but I really want to see this film. If the trailers haven’t given all the funny stuff away, I believe it’s got the potential to be really good. A modern-day, softer, bizzaro version of Lethal Weapon.
And I know this is the “international trailer,” and I’m not going to pretend to know how marketing works “internationally,” but that voice-over line is hilarious — “She’s a tight-ass federal agent.” You don’t often hear the V.O. guy mocking the characters.
Browne: Hearing McCarthy curse throughout this second trailer took it up about 10 notches (50-notch scale). It's amazing what one lewd, f-beginning word can do to the comedic level of a film. I, too, am pumped for this.
Top Gun 3D (February 8 )
Silver: Minus the post-converted 3-D, I’m a big advocate of rereleasing big films like this or Jurassic Park in the IMAX format. I can’t wait to see Rick Rossovich’s sand-and-sweat-coated body blown up in 70mm.
Browne: I hate everything about this. I don't want to jump back in my seat as Val Kilmer's 3-D sweat is launched in my direction. Nothing is sacred. Not even beach volleyball.
Side Effects — U.K. Trailer (February 8 )
Silver: This is a much more effective trailer than the one released back in November, but since this is a Soderbergh film, I’m sure Side Effects won’t be as straight-forward and taut a thriller as this trailer makes it out to be. Regardless, this looks like The China Syndrome compared to other films released in the vapid cinematic vortex that is February. So I’m in.
Browne: Rooney's really fantastic when playing a disturbed, slightly off-kilter human, so it seems as if this role was written for her. I can't even imagine who else could play it so convincingly. As you noted, Dan, this trailer is a step in the right direction from the first one, but I hope that's all we get. I don't want to know anything more about it, because it's clearly chock-full of twists we've yet to see. Excited.
Also, great to see you make it to 2013, Channing. Wasn't sure if all the Ablixa I'm taking caused me to make up that whole 2012 you had.