The Hunger Games: Catching Fire — Teaser (November 22)
Silver: The withholding of imagery from the actual Hunger Games themselves was blatant in the marketing of the first film — the trailer gave only a brief glimpse of Tributes darting off their posts, choosing instead to focus on the characters, and specifically on Katniss’s plight.
This tactic worked so well the first time around that Lionsgate appears to be running it back for the sequel, since this (long) teaser is put together with moments from the first third of the book. It’s a nice reintroduction to the leads, but it also gets that “What the hell is Philip Seymour Hoffman doing in this movie?” moment out of the way, so as not to distract us too much later.
Now, I’m not one who feels that adaptations need to slavishly stay true to their source material. Not in the least. But for me, the most enjoyable part of reading this series was seeing the story unfold from Katniss's perspective. Since Jennifer Lawrence doesn't necessarily have the best voice for V.O., I understand why this narration device was not employed for the films. But the loss of this first-person point of view simply makes the Hunger Games movies well, just movies. And not something deeper. And that’s fine. It really is. I enjoyed the first film, and I’m looking forward to seeing this one. But of all the movies I’ve seen adapted from books that I’ve loved, The Hunger Games are the ones for which I’m finding it hardest to separate the two. I’m just saying.
Browne: First off, a 2:26 "teaser" leaves me very excited for the 10-minute trailer and 17-hour film. Secondly, the first Hunger Games film is one of my favorite movies in recent memory. With that said, I know my unbiased critique of film no. 2 won't exist, because I could watch Katniss do long division for two hours, as long as she was wearing a Mockingjay.
VERY EXCITED FOR THIS.
R.I.P.D. (July 19)
Browne: Here's an image:
Keep going, Dan.
Silver: Here’s how I see it:
Bridges wraps 2010’s True Grit, but just can't shake the character of Rooster Cogburn from his psyche. Months after the film’s release, he’s still sporting the facial hair and even walks around his house growling “Hun, can you pass me the "Metro" section of the Times?”
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, director Robert Schwentke, hot off the successful and highly entertaining tonal tight rope that was Red, attaches himself to Universal’s version of Men in Black. After sufficiently licking his post–Green Lantern wounds, Ryan Reynolds signs on for the Will Smith Role. And now all the production needed was a K to Reynolds’s J.
The part of K in the R.I.P.D. universe is a grizzled dead cowboy who gargles his dialogue. Enter Bridges, who only really takes the role to facilitate the exorcism of Rooster from his psyche (and I’m sure a nice paycheck and cut of the back end helped as well).
So there you have it. And although I’m sure all of the above is complete B.S., I guarantee you that it’s more creative than the final product of R.I.P.D. No skillfully constructed Schwentke set pieces or quirky Bridges performance will outweigh the fact that I’ve seen this film countless times before. Pass. (At least in the theaters. This could be solid cross-country flight material.)
Only God Forgives — International Trailer (NSFW) (July 19)
Silver: Refn, Gosling, Red Gels, Swords, Guns, Slow-Motion Violence, Debauchery, Evil Mothers, Revenge, and a musical score that sounds like a mash-up of discarded tracks from The Terminator, Blade Runner, and Risky Business. “Thank you, sir. May I have another?”
Browne: All you forgot is Kristin Scott Thomas and the soundtrack mash-up also having aspects of Koyaanisqatsi.
Star Trek Into Darkness — Trailer 3 (May 17)
Silver: This is one of the two capital-G Great “A Hero Will Rise” trailers released this week (more on Man of Steel in a minute). After months of setting up this film as the brooding and menacing step-cousin of The Dark Knight, J.J. (in lieu of actual facts, I’m just going to give him all the credit) has decided to finally let the hairs on the back of our necks stand up, and inspire us. Between all the previous trailers and this one, we’ve emotionally already felt what this film has to offer. So all I have to say is, “Well played, J.J. Well played indeed.” (Again, knowing the kind of clout he has, and how he likes to control the messaging of his films, is it that far-fetched that he's responsible for the tone of this trailer? Why not give the guy all the credit?)
Browne: These trailers are making me want to quickly (and in a binge-like spree) become a Trekkie before the film is released. I'm so impressed with the way they've modernized this futuristic imprint from the past.
Man of Steel (June 14)
Browne: It's really funny to watch the Man of Steel trailer right after Star Trek Into Darkness, because now I have zero desire to be a Trekkie. There's no question which film to pick, if you're looking for your one "A Hero Will Rise" film. (There's no law saying you have to pick, I promise; I've checked.)
Silver: I only have a few thoughts to add to our colleague Alex Pappademas’s insightful and thorough critique of this trailer a few days ago.
Deep down I always knew that the deciding factor for me to come around on Man of Steel was going to be the musical score. Of all the many elements that need to coalesce to ensure a film’s success, it might seem rather trivial to focus on the music. But for certain films, the accompanying music is as important to the final product and viewing experience as the performances and direction.
Batman’s been toyed with so many times that I don’t believe he’s had a sustainable melodic identifier. But like Indiana Jones, or Harry Potter, or Darth Vader, and all the way back to Richard Donner’s rightfully revered Superman (1978), the title character has always been associated with a rousing, John Williams–penned theme. So much so that parts of Williams’s original score were used in Bryan Singer’s admirable but ultimately unsuccessful 2006 reboot of the ol’ Supes.
So although I’m IN on Goyer/Nolan, and IN on Snyder (under the tutelage of Nolan), and IN on Zimmer as composer, I was going to withhold judgment on this film because I was not sure I would be able to believe in Superman without Williams’s score. Then came this visually stunning and thematically alluring trailer. And when Zimmer’s music swelled at 1:58, and I felt the shivers travel down my spine, I knew that I was ready to fully accept this Superman as the Man of Steel.
(SIDE NOTE: I’m giddy to see Costner as Jonathan ("Pa") Kent. At 1:05, when he chokes back tears and proclaims, “You are my son,” I’m reminded of how great this guy used to be as an actor.)
The Lone Ranger (July 3)
Silver: I can’t point to exactly when, or exactly what it was, but I’ve come all the way around on The Lone Ranger.
Silver: I now really want to see this film.
Silver: This latest trailer paints the film like the first Pirates, but with trains instead of ships, and cowboys and Indians instead of swashbucklers and soldiers.
Browne: Not good.
Silver: If it doesn’t try to do too much —
Browne: It will.
Silver: — and winds up being a straightforward adventure film with some cheek —
Browne: It won't.
Silver: — then The Lone Ranger could wind up being the hidden, “just plain fun" gem of the summer.
Browne: No chance.
The Internship (June 7)
Silver: Longer look. Still not funny.
Browne: I'll see The Lone Ranger before I see this. I think I've made it clear what that means for The Internship.