Friday, June 8, 2012
Trailers of the Week: Django Unchained, Flight, Magic Mike, and More
By Rembert Browne and Dan Silver
Django Unchained (December 25)
[Note: If you can't see the videos, please try another browser. We put the trailers in this post, we promise.]
Silver: Here’s how you know you’re watching a trailer for a new Quentin Tarantino movie.
Stylized banter (“Last chance, fancypants”) broken by brutal violence (0:47)
Off a cut, horn-laden archival mainstream music cue (0:55)
Slow motion (Bad Mother Fracker) reveal/hero shot of main character (0:57)
Slight camera tilt with power zoom (1:03 / 1:21)
Cutesy play on words (alliteration) for name of a main character(s) (i.e., "The Brittle Brothers") (1:10)
Schlocky piece of business on music beat/cut. Head not between Foxx and Waltz (1:17)
Hyperbolic A-Lister (1:41)
Film critic/film school boner shot — Blood splattering on the white cotton plants (1:55)
Dialogue delivered devoid of emotion, thus making it both funny and menacing (2:07)
With Django, QT inches his way closer to becoming our modern-day Howard Hawks (a director who famously made a film in almost every genre). Let’s be honest, this film is going to be fantastic. But here’s what I want. After this film is released, can someone please make me a shirt with the Colonel Sanders–looking Christoph Waltz at 2:04? That’s tremendous stuff.
"Apparently, shooting a slave master is only funny to me and Neal; if I could, I'd do it every episode."
No, David, it's not just funny to you. Add Quentin Tarantino to this list, because I think he would agree 100 percent. Seeing this and Les Misérables on Christmas Day is going to be one of the strangest days of my life, but I can't wait. I can't believe this film is happening. I'm so excited. Also, this face:
Flight (November 2)
Silver: I don’t know what’s more surprising, getting a glimpse at Robert Zemeckis’s first live-action film in 12 years, or that this is a Denzel Washington preview that doesn’t contain a Jay-Z song.
It would be strange to call Flight a throwback, but at a time when all Oscar fodder (and don’t fool yourself, that is exactly what this film is) feels like either a small piece with big themes or a sweeping period piece, it’s almost comforting to see a big-budget adult drama return to the screen. Turn the sound off and this preview could play like a tentpole summer thriller. Narratively, Flight’s a little “ho-hum” (I feel this film will be told non-linearly, and that should help), but I’ll definitely be purchasing my ticket opening weekend to see the Devil in a Blue Dress reunion of Don Cheadle and Denzel. And what’s not to like when John Goodman and Bruce Greenwood co-star to chew up some scenery?
Side note: The last live-action film Zemeckis directed was 2000’s Castaway. And although I downright loathe that film, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t contain the greatest plane crash ever executed in film. So it’s a little odd that for Zemeckis's first trip back behind the “true” camera in over a decade, he felt it necessary to drop another A-lister out of the sky. With CGI and camera advancements it’ll be interesting to see how the he separates the Castaway crash from the Flight crash. We can already see one clear difference: Castaway was at night, in the dark, where some visual flaws could be hidden, where Flight’s crash takes place during a clear sunny day.
Browne: When the trailer for Safe Housecame out in November, I had this to say about Denzel's performance:
"This has everything I want in a trailer: Denzel, Violent Denzel, Captured Denzel, Graying Denzel, Arrogant Denzel, Smiling Denzel, Wise Denzel, Sweating Denzel, Life Lessons Denzel, Squinting Denzel, Running Denzel, Gun-Toting Denzel, Driving Denzel, Malcolm X-looking Denzel, and the first track off of Watch the Throne. I think Ryan Reynolds is also in the film."
Safe House was entertaining, but it wasn't great. Flight actually looks like the next great Denzel film, mainly because it actually has a great plot, a great cast, and Denzel, Hero Denzel, Cigarette-Smoking Denzel, Pilot Denzel, Drunk Denzel, Potential Criminal Denzel, and Father Figure Denzel. There's also:
Bone Collector Denzel:
"Say Whaaa?" Denzel:
And of course, Pouty-Aviators Denzel:
Wreck It Ralph (November 2)
Silver: I notice that the producers of Wreck It Ralph have read my underground leaflet on “The Kiddy Conundrum: How to Bleed Parents of Their Time and Money.”
In short, make a movie that's a guaranteed two-ticketer (an 8-year-old can’t see a movie by himself, after all and hey, he wants to bring a friend), and then make sure it’s highly merchandisable. Wreck It Ralph not only accomplishes this, but even gets points for its high-degree-of-difficulty move into nostalgia (better known as “Checking the Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Box”). This expands the ticket and merchandise sales base exponentially. My fear with this film is that the part of my brain that believed Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was going to be a huge mainstream hit is clouding my judgment (I was all in on this film the minute they spoke Qbert). So, fingers crossed.
Browne: Outside of that whole Scott Pilgrim thing you just uttered, I completely agree with you. Nostalgia is everywhere in this trailer, but for me, it was less Qbert and more watching Zangief come to life. That's just a genius move, because Street Fighter nostalgia is one of the strongest forms of nostalgia. I don't have an 8-year-old, but I might borrow one so I have an excuse to see this film four times. I'm blown away by how clever this film could be. Please don't be bad. For my sake. And Zangief's.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (September 14)
Silver: If films like this were snake oil, I’d be their biggest customer. I’m a sucker for emo-teen coming-of-age tales that present themselves as slightly more erudite than a prolonged Disney Channel show. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Juno, Say Anything, blah, blah, blah the list of films with which I have chosen to emotionally and mentally equate my formative teen years is endless. So there’s no way I am not going to like The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
But what I’m really looking forward to is the onslaught of former outwardly, now closeted uber-geeks, who can now safely, and publicly, profess their love for Emma Watson. Emma Stone, Aubrey Plaza, Kristen Bell, Emily Blunt, and Alison Brie are going to need to find room on that “cutesy, quirky, funny, seemingly attainable” starlet bench. The mother-frackin’ House Elf-Defending, Ginger-Lovin’ Witch is in the house. No longer will it seem wrong for us I mean THOSE geeks to have a crush on a character from the Harry Potter series, or better yet a teenage character from the Harry Potter series. At least from what we see of her in the trailer, she looks downright adorable (and adult) in this film.
Browne: The late teen shallowly buried inside my twentysomething self just fell in love with twentysomething Emma Watson portraying a late teen. There's a smidgen of Breakfast Club in this, and that's more than enough to keep me interested. Feelings are everywhere right now. I love and have feelings. Everywhere.
The Babymakers (August 3)
Silver: Here’s an S.A.T. question for you movie fans:
The Babymakers is to Beerfest as The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is to ________
(A) The Meaning of Life
(B) Monty Python’s Life of Brian
(C) Erik the Viking
(D) A Fish Called Wanda
(E) Both A & B
If you guessed (E), you’re correct. Let’s hang out.
But first, let me explain.
2009’s The Slammin’ Salmon was the last officially branded Broken Lizard film (for those who don’t know, Broken Lizard is a comedy troupe best know for films like Super Troopers, Club Dread, and Beerfest). And although The Babymakers is directed by Broken Lizard helmer and performer Jay Chandrasekhar, and features Mr. Chandrasekhar as well as fellow Broken Lizard member Kevin Heffernan and Lizard regulars M.C. Gainey and Nat Faxon, it is not an official Lizard production. Per the trailer and IMDb, the rest of the Lizard troupe does not show up in the film (if they do appear, I’m assuming it’ll be in some small uncredited fashion). This is just as The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, A Fish Called Wanda, and Erik the Viking are not true Python films just because they were directed by one of the Terrys and feature Python members.
But dissimilar to Munchausen, Wanda, and Erik, The Babymakers appears to be devoid of any humor or appealing qualities that would warrant a $12 ticket or $4.99 VOD purchase. I am a fan of the previously mentioned Broken Lizard films, but Monty Python they are not. So my suggestion is that the Lizard members read the tea leaves, quit these branch-off quasi-Lizard features and the bit-part acting and mercenary TV directing gigs, and get back to making the silly stoner movies they were put on this earth to do.
Browne: What you just read were 287 words about The Babymakers, which, let me tell you, is a hard thing to pull off. I don't see my take lasting more than 80, so here are my two cents. Like the show Happy Endings, the supporting cast will be the real stars of this film, but unlike the show Happy Endings, not even they are that great. It doesn't look bad, and potentially has a long shelf life on FX come 2013, but nothing more. Not even close.
The House at the End of the Street (September 21)
Silver: I’m assuming that Jennifer Lawrence now looks back at The House at the End of the Street similar to the way celebrities see their overzealous canned encouragements to teams played prior to crucial moments in sporting arenas and immediately regret their actions. At the time, I’m sure both The Zookeeper and ridiculously bellowing “Let’s Go Mets!!!” felt right to Kevin James, but now I’m assuming he looks back upon those choices with immense disdain (you and us both, Kevin).
I’m not hating on J-Law (yup, I wrote that) for being in this film. Not at all. I’d like to believe (but can’t confirm) that The House at the End of the Street was shot sometime just before, or directly after, Lawrence’s Oscar nom, and after she won Panem Lottery. This way I could at least justify it as a hold-back money grab by the producers. And more so, I resolutely believe it’s necessity, not a right of passage, for up-and-coming actresses like Lawrence to take on the commonplace doe-eyed, halter-top-wearing heroine role. With their low budgetary range and ease of production, films like these are the equivalent of cinema’s dandelion weeds. There’s an unnatural surplus, so if a young actress wants to work, she’ll undoubtedly have to wind up in a The House at the End of the Street equivalant.
So there’s nothing but love coming from me to J-Law (is it catching on yet?), I just don’t have any interest in this movie whatsoever.
(Side note: I totally believe that Elisabeth Shue would be Jennifer Lawrence’s mom. She looks exactly like an older version of her. Well done, casting person.)
Browne: I don't like scary movies, mainly because I think they are highly disrespectful to cabins and dark hamlets across this great country, but there is one awesomely hilarious thing about this film that has nothing to do with the plot, actors, or actual film.
This hashtag for this film is #HATES. HOUSE AT THE END of the STREET. That's just the cutest thing I've ever seen. #HATES. I wonder which came first, #HATES or the title of this film. I need to get to the bottom of this. Katniss, do respond to my tribute texts, won't you?
Magic Mike (June 29)
Silver: I don’t know and I honestly don’t care if I am the targeted demographic for Magic Mike. The more I see and read about this film, the more I want to see it. It looks like a party, and appears to feature Matthew McConaughey in the second role he was born to play (you know, aside from “All right all right all right”).
Browne: I think Will Smith will see this trailer and immediately kick himself for never making that mid-'90s stripper film. What a missed opportunity.