Friday, May 11, 2012
Trailers of the Week: Gangster Squad, Argo, The Campaign, and More
By Rembert Browne
Gangster Squad (2012)
Silver: A star-studded cast featuring a mix between established Hollywood stars and fresh up-and-coming faces, some badass gangster dialogue, visceral imagery, and violence, violence, violence. But enough about The Untouchables. Sub out Chicago for Los Angeles, Penn for DeNiro, Brolin for Costner, Gosling for Garcia, and Nolte for Connery. The only difference here is that The Untouchables was directed by Brian DePalma when he was at the top of his game and Gangster Squad is helmed by Ruben Fleischer, who’s coming off the unwatchable 30 Minutes or Less. And something tells me that Gangster Squad writer Will Beall’s credits (ABC’s Castle) aren’t quite what David Mamet’s were when he wrote The Untouchables. Gangster Squad appears to be lifting so much from The Untouchables that I’d be disappointed if it didn’t contain a scene where a baby carriage rolls down the steps of a train station during a bloody gun fight. (Which, for you film fans, was lifted from Eisenstein’sBattleship Potemkin.)
Browne: Everything you just said is true, but that doesn't make me want to skip over Gangster Squad. Not one bit. I don't mind a copycat if it's watchable, and if this film is half as fantastic as The Untouchables, I'll consider it a success. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to watch the baby carriage/Andy Garcia/Derek Jeter gun flip 100 times in a row.
Argo (October 12)
Silver: When I first heard about Argo I was worried. Ben Affleck’s work, both in front of and behind the camera, over the past five years has been so solid that I did not want his recent career resurgence to take its first hit.
Argo’s cast and conceit signals comedy — funnymen Affleck, Goodman, Arkin, and Cranston play CIA agents posing as filmmakers who sneak into Iran to rescue hostages — but the film was going to be a drama. But if this trailer is any indication of how Argo is going to play out, I feel my apprehension will quickly slide away.
This trailer flawlessly flows from heavy drama where the human stakes are high to a Wag the Dog–esque comedy, then fusing the two to sell this film as a triumph of the human spirit. A lot of this is due to the inspired use of “Dream On.” It sets a perfect tone. Other than David Fincher and Spike Jonze, I don’t think I’ve been this excited to see the evolution of a director. It’s quite possible Affleck is about to go three-for-three.
Browne: The things you liked about the trailer (the back-and-forth between high drama and potential comedy and the use of "Dream On") I didn't really enjoy, but I still think that this is going to be incredible. When the lighthearted part in the middle of the trailer started, it felt a little too happy to be a movie about rescuing hostages. That confusion left me a little unsettled by the time "Dream On" kicked in, but even with all of that said, I still can't wait until October 12. I'm not even worried about it being great or not. Not in the slightest.
The Campaign (August 10)
Silver: OK. So the trailer changes nothing for me. I’m still incredibly weary that this is going to be a retread of familiar jokes and Ferrell/Galifianakis antics. And is it me, or does this trailer give off a particular Grumpy Old Men vibe? Which I’m not sure is a good thing. (Admittedly, I did like the punching-the-baby bit. But can’t help but feel that it probably should have been saved for Anchorman 2. You can’t tell me that the the line, “Is anyone asking how my hand feels after punching that iron-like jaw of that baby?” would be much funnier if delivered by Ron Burgundy.)
Browne: I'm weirdly more excited about Jason Sudeikis and Dylan McDermott than the two main stars. They could be what turns this film from a good to great comedy.
Also: Galifianakis antics = Galifianantics. Just know that from here on out, Dan.
The Watch – Red Band Trailer (July 27)
Silver: Vince Vaughn has no idea how close he was to being written in blood on my “I don’t give a shit” list. But the trailer for The Watch has given the guy a brief reprieve. He made me laugh out loud at least three or four times in this trailer (my favorite being the double-fist jerk-off gesturing @ 1:32). This feels like the old Vaughn, the one from Swingers, Old School, and Dodgeball. Another revelation I had was that if the final film can live up to this trailer, then Ben Stiller should just stick to R-rated movies. No one has any interest in seeing him bumble around acting awkwardly with Eddie Murphy or DeNiro anymore. He’s already got plenty of “F You Money,” so why not pull a Clooney and only do films that will help further solidify his legacy like Tropic Thunder and Greenberg?
Browne: This makes The Campaign look significantly less funny. Vaughn will never get on that "I don't give a shit" list with me, but he did have a few fails. This probably won't be Wedding Crashers–esque Vince, but it could potentially approach it. Also, I feel like this will give us some great cameos from the rest of their crew. Be excited for this, Earth. I am.
Killer Joe (July 27)
Silver: The poster for Killer Joe puts it best. This film looks like a “totally twisted deep-fried Texas Redneck trailer park murder story." And I honestly need to know little more about it, because based on that tagline and this trailer, I’m all in. So the early buzz indicating that this is McConaughey’s best performance or that this film seems to have awoken the inspiration in William Friedkin is just hot sauce on the proverbial chicken wing. I also like seeing Emile Hirsch all beat up. I’d like to believe it’s his fictional comeuppance for The Darkest Hour.
Browne: A cast of Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon, and Thomas Haden Church doesn't exactly scream "classic," but everything about this looks unbelievable. "Thrillers" are so often not that thrilling, but this definitely seems as if it will do the genre justice.
The Dictator – Red Band Trailer (May 16)
Silver: Rem, this one’s all you. As I already have great trepidation that this film is going to be a huge, unfunny mess, I’d rather go into it as oblivious as possible. I want to give myself (and the film) the best chance of making sweet cinematic love as content and content-consumer. So I respectfully decline. Have at it.
Browne: This film never should have had a trailer. They should have just advertised it on hype alone and hoped for the best. If I see him throw that trash can into the cab one more time before the film comes out, I'm done.
End of Watch (September 28)
Silver: First-person, video-game POV visuals aside, I’m looking forward to End of Watch. Parlaying his success as scribe of Training Day, writer/director David Ayer carved out a small yet respectable place in the urban-crime genre. I liked both Harsh Times and Street Kings, and am one of the few who never jumped off the Jake Gyllenhaal bandwagon. The dude’s no Pacino, but he’s exceedingly charming and funny.
Browne:Prince of Persia made it really easy to do a barrel roll off the Gyllenhaal, Jake bandwagon (never Maggie; I love you, girl). This looks like it could be cool, though. Jumping back on that bandwagon, I'll leave that to the post-film decision process, but for now I'm at least entertaining the idea.
Silver: In four short years, 15-year-old (yeah 15) Chloe Grace Moretz has quickly established herself as one of Hollywood’s most promising up-and-coming actresses. She left a significant mark on (500) Days of Summer (in what I believe was less than six minutes of screen time), she stole the entire film of Kick-Ass away from scenery eaters like Nicolas Cage and Mark Strong, made us all cry for a vampire in Let Me In, and has subsequently worked with the likes of Scorsese and Burton. Chloe already has a similar look to a young Jodie Foster, so I don’t think it’s a mistake that based on the subject matter (and trailer) for Hick, director Derick Martini has dressed her similarly to Foster’s character from Taxi Driver. All she needs is the hat and she could be a dead ringer.
Browne: Chloe is either going to be Lohan or Meryl. There is no third option. We should all do everything in our collective powers to make sure it's not the former.