Friday, June 22, 2012
Trailers of the Week: Anna Karenina, Monsters University, Taken 2, and More
By Rembert Browne and Dan Silver
2 Days in New York (August 12)
Silver: Since the French have been unwavering in their love and support for Woody Allen, it seems apropos that this overt Allen homage would come from a Frenchman. Well, to be specific, a Frenchwoman. And to be even more specific, a super-talented Frenchwoman named Julie Delpy. 2 Days in New York looks adorable and hilarious. Delpy has carved out a nice place for herself in the contemporary adult film space. She goes away for a while, people forget about her, and then she releases a new film and reminds everyone how talented a filmmaker she is. And good for Delpy for remembering that Chris Rock is also an actor. (Don’t believe me? See Nurse Betty.)
And let’s continue to talk about Rock for a moment — as someone who seemingly will cast anyone in his films as long as they’re available, why hasn’t Woody Allen worked with Chris Rock yet? Throughout his career, Rock’s continually professed his love for Woody. One of the most endearing moments of that American Masters documentary about Allen was when Rock said the highlight of his career was having dinner with Woody.
Woody … make this happen!
Browne: I love it when Chris Rock is put in "racial" situations. I also love it when Chris Rock is agitated. Because of those two factors, there's no way I won't enjoy this film. Even as far back as seeing CB4 for the first time, I could help but think to the future, salivating in anticipation for when Chris would finally get the part where he had crazy white in-laws in town, interacting with his crazy black parents. Even if this movie isn't good, I will enjoy myself.
Dredd (September 21)
Silver: Just as audiences are most likely (definitely?) going to do when Dredd is released, I was ready to quietly dismiss this film. But the second I saw that Dredd not so subtly is ripping off (at least in part) the conceit of the super-brilliant The Raid: Redemption — cops go after a crime lord at the top of a tall, criminal-infested building — I now have to expend time and energy publicly and actively hating on this movie. Why, Dredd? Why do this to me? I would have giggled at your video game visuals and silly Karl Urban scowls, and simply written you off as yet another unnecessary C-level action-movie money-grab. But no. You had to go and stir it up.
Rem ... I sat next to you during The Raid. We were giddy like schoolchildren. You have to agree with me on this one, right?
Browne: Silver, it looks like we're entering a new era in cinema, called "the vertical justice era." In this era, in which Dredd is now the second film of many sure to come, the characters will start at the bottom floor, be outnumbered 100-to-1, and have to make their way to the top floor, where the final boss is hanging in the penthouse suite. Every movie in 2013 will follow this formula. Get ready, world. Oh, and just a note on Dredd: BOOOOOOOOOO.
The Dark Knight Rises — Final Trailer (July 20)
Silver: I want to treat my Dark Knight Rises experience similarly to how Bruce Wayne regards the bats in Batman Begins after he discovers the Bat Cave. He’s almost Zen-like as he’s enveloped by a swarm of the winged. So just as Bruce Wayne channels his fears and uses it as his strength to be Batman, I am now silencing my outward excitement for this film and internalizing it to fill up my internal geek tank. This will be the fuel that keeps me from watching new promos or reading spoilers and profiles in magazines. As the film unspools in the theater I want it engulf me like the bats do Wayne, and I want to bathe in its would-be “awesomeness.” And I want that “awesomeness” to be as thick as maple syrup.
Browne: I don't care about these trailers anymore, just release the movie right now so I can reach bliss. Thanks.
The Master — "Hopelessly Inquisitive" (October 12)
Silver: There are two things that stand out in this latest teaser for The Master. The first is how cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr.'s camera angles and movements seem to mirror the emotional foundations of each scene — voyeuristic, as Joaquin Phoenix sneaks across a river and hitches a ride on the back of a truck; still and proud, as Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a photo portrait; and brash and intense, tracking a distraught Phoenix down a sidewalk. This emotional mirroring is a trait inherent in all of Paul Thomas Anderson’s films, and one that has become more effective and pinpointed as he’s matured as a filmmaker. The other element I love is the almost archival feel of the visuals, as if they were shot in the '40s or '50s. There’s a timeless quality to them.
Browne: So, one of the reasons I'm glad films like this exist is that it reminds us that some people are so much better at their professions than others. Some actors' entire careers aren't as captivating as Phoenix and Hoffman are in this two-minute trailer. Wow, these dudes are good at acting. I can't wait for this.
Monsters University (June 21, 2013)
Silver:Monsters, Inc. marked a transition for Pixar, as its narrative construction, subject matter, and humor were much more adult than their previous outings (Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and A Bug’s Life). We’ve now come to expect this from Pixar films, but when it was released, Monsters, Inc. took a lot of people by surprise. Take away the animation and monsters and it’s a film that could be viewed as a traditional buddy comedy. A buddy comedy that just so happens to also deal with themes like loss of childhood innocence and personal growth and maturity. The teaser for Monsters University focuses on the playfulness of the film’s two leads, Mike and Sulley, but I have to believe that this film is going to be something deeper than animated Animal House or Van Wilder. Well, now that I think about it, that would be pretty innovative — an R-rated Pixar film. Who knows? As long as it doesn’t have talking cars in it, I’m willing to give it a chance.
Browne: That time we threw that party freshman year and it was awesome:
That time we threw that party freshman year and then the cops came:
This film is about to take me back to the good old days. Can't wait.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part II (November 16)
Silver: I’ve not seen the Twilight films, but I have seen all of their trailers. And outside of the trailer for the first film, which teased an origin story, my perception of these films (again, solely based on their trailers) is that they’re about people who like to stare sternly at each other, occasionally say something ominous, and at some point run really fast, and, clothes and bodily physics be dammed, transform, mid-stride, into a howling and angry wolf. And every once in a while credible actors like Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning, Lee Pace, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Anna Kendrick show up just to muck with perceptions. Am I right? Is that what these films are?
Browne: I thought I was done with these films. I thought The Hunger Games made them go away the way Justin Bieber told Jesse McCartney to politely never show his face around those who fall in the 9-58 demographic. But I was wrong, per usual, because I don't know anything. Vampires are the worst. I hope all of you who love these films have a horrible time at the cinema.
The Watch — International Trailer (July 27)
Silver: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the more I see of this film, the more I think it’s going to be great. But with that comes the fear that all the good stuff is being used in the trailer. Nevertheless, Stiller, Vaughn, and Hill together are worth $14 on a hot summer night. And some things, no matter how many times you see them, remain funny. Like Jonah Hill whispering his apology to his mom: “I was trying to be a big man.” What’s more, I just noticed on the film’s IMDB page that Doug Jones is playing the “Hero Alien” in the film (in plain English, that means, he’s the guy in the suit). Who’s Doug Jones? Well, he’s the brilliant physical performer who Guillermo Del Toro has used to play the creatures in almost all of his films.
And even this guy (who still gives me nightmares) ...
So The Watch may not only be just a funny film. There might even be some cool sci-fi in there a well.
Rem, I know you’re not keen on scary movies, but you have to have seen Pan’s Labyrinth. This Doug Jones wrinkle is cool, right?
Browne: I have seen Pan's Labyrinth and I actually enjoyed it, but I can't go there right now. I can't, because of one fact about this film. They could have named Richard Ayoade's character anything, but they went with:
Sometimes the world is perfect. Silver, I hope you understand why I couldn't go there with you. They named him "Jamarcus." That's the best. Ever.
Anna Karenina (November 9)
Silver: Although I appreciate their necessary place in the cinema landscape, I’m not the biggest fan of sappy period dramas. Yet I’m intrigued by Anna Karenina. It has a lot going for it: a solid director (Joe Wright), a superb writer (Tom Stoppard), an inspired choice for cinematographer (Anthony Dod Mantle), and a really good cast. But despite all this, while watching the trailer, I couldn’t help but think that at any moment I was going to see a smash-cut to a fish-eyed lens shot of an overzealous MC screaming some thing to the extent to “Let’s Party!,” thusly revealing that this was actually the work of Baz Luhrmann all along. Everything seen in this trailer, from the costumes, to the sets, and even the lighting, feel like they were castoffs from Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! and The Great Gatsby.
Browne: Did Keira Knightly even have to audition, or did she just show up on the first day, accurately assuming that she was the one to play the title role? Beyond that typecasting decision, I am convinced every film like this is just stalling what will be the greatest film of all time, the big-budget release of Wuthering Heights. What are you waiting on, Hollywood, give me the people what I we want. Ugh.
Celeste and Jesse Forever (August 3)
Silver: Until I saw the Celeste and Jesse Forever trailer I had no idea that I needed the bucket in my geekdom shed previously occupied by Garden State to be refilled. How whimsical and endearing does this film look? The modern indie rock in the trailer, and no doubt the film, drips like droplets off leaves of the hipster-tree after an emo-rain storm. In my eternal quest to be emotionally touched, films like this are crack to me; they tickle the same nerve that young-adult, coming-of-age films do. Similar to how certain people believe in fortune-telling and tarot cards, if you want to believe in (or in this case, relate to) something, then you’ll always find a way to simply by projecting elements of your own life onto the film you’re watching. Dime-store psych evals aside, I really like the film laid out in this trailer. Jones is always great to watch, and Samberg looks like he’s playing an actual human, not a caricature of one. And man, with all the great supporting faces — Ari Graynor, Elijah Wood, Emma Roberts, Eric Christian Olsen, Rich Sommer — Celeste and Jesse Forever might just be worth watching to see who pops up next.
Browne: I can't.
Just stop it.
I'm right here.
It's like she goes out of her way to make me writhe with jealousy. What did I do to deserve this? Is what happens when you pay your rent a week late? Dammit.
Taken 2 (October 5)
Silver: With Taken 2, Liam Neeson is signaling to all of us that he’s now officially wielding the crotchety, near-geriatric, badass cricket stick left behind by Charles Bronson. There’s no doubt that Neeson’s the man, rivaled only by The Stath (a.k.a. Jason Statham). If all Neeson did for the rest of his career was make films like this and The Grey, then I’d be one happy little moviegoer. My dream film would be an Expendables-like movie with all the dudes who’ve played vigilantes gunning for each other — Neeson, Denzel, Michael Douglas, Mel Gibson, and of course Statham. Here’s the plot: Each one of these guys finds out one of their loved ones has been kidnapped by one of the other guys, and then they just hunt each other for 90 minutes.
Rem, we have to write that movie.
Browne: I'll write that movie with you, but can Rashida be in it and can I be in it and can we do that heart-single thing from Celeste and Jesse Forever?