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.
Silver: What I loved about the first Kick-Ass (and I did loooove the first Kick-Ass) was that despite its cheeky tone and comic-book sheen, the film never shied away from depicting how deeply disturbed each of its characters were. These were mortal humans, who felt pain, bled, and suffered broken bones, but because of their warped sense of justice, they had an unsettling predilection for violence and killing. And yet, despite all its mayhem, the film still felt quaint, comical, and focused. Positioning-wise, it was a tough road to travel down, yet writer-director Matthew Vaughn pulled it off. (I might be a little biased; of all the directors working in the studio system, I believe Vaughn is one of the best. Layer Cake is one of my top five favorite films of all time; his X-Men: First Class was a ton of fun and is immensely rewatchable; and Stardust is an underrated modern-cinema fairy tale — the love child of an uglier The Princess Bride and The NeverEnding Story.)
Vaughn moves into the producer role for Kick-Ass’s sequel, handing over the steering wheel to Jeff Wadlow. (Who?) You know, the guy who directed Never Back Down? (Huh?) You know, that Cam Gigandet underground high school fighting movie? (Blank stare.) Still nothing? Oh well.
Silver: Forget the Oscars (Seriously. We should. It’s gotten to the point where the hype in/around awards season is more appealing than the telecast. Which at this point feels more like required DMV orientation-video viewing.) Each year, I look to the Super Bowl to be my cultural shepherd, guiding me toward a transition from the pomp, circumstance, and elevated significance surrounding six minutes of Anne Hathaway singing and Daniel Day-Lewis’s beard to the glut of (mostly) vapid movie theater butter–glazed summer tentpole movies. The overmarketed celluloid morsels crammed down moviegoers' throats by studios, if even remotely entertaining and able to garner a reasonable three-day box office gross, are considered successful. But also on rare occasions they get stamped as genuinely good cinema. So enough talk about Tommy Lee Jones’s scowl let’s start debating which, if any, Marvel Phase 2 characters will be showing up in Iron Man 3, or how Wolverine will play into 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Browne: It's like Party City on my keyboard right now. Let's do this.
Note: This will be our last Trailers of the Week of 2012. We thank you for tuning in for more than 50 trailer roundups with us this year, and can't wait to get back to overanalyzing (Dan) and always being afraid of everything (Rembert) in 2013. — Dan and Rem
Pacific Rim (July 12)
Silver: If I ever had to be placed into a medically induced coma because my cine-geek meter went into overdrive, I truly believe that Pacific Rim would be what I’d dream about. And this got me thinking, Rem: We’ve been buddies for a while now, but how well do you really know me? Let’s find out.
I’m most excited about this movie because
A. It contains giant fracking monsters fighting giant fracking robots
B. It’s the first Guillermo del Toro move since 2008
C. By casting Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, and Charlie Day, it's clear that Guillermo and I like and watch the same TV shows
D. All of the above
My favorite part of this trailer
A. Glimpses at all of the original del Toro creature/robot designs
B. Giant frackin' robot-rocket-propelled punch
C. Idris Elba’s reboot of Bill Pullman’s “Today is our Independence Day” speech
D. All of the above
Upon release of this trailer my wife
A. Was annoyed with me because I couldn’t stop exuding random guttural pleasure sounds or screaming “Yes!” and “Oh, hell yeah!”
B. Was annoyed with me because I watched the trailer eight times in 30 minuntes — on my iPhone, my iPad, my MacBook, and in ginormous and glorious HD via my Apple TV
C. Told me I was nuts for looking to see if tickets were already available for pre-sale
D. None of the above. She was doing all of the above right alongside me because she’s as big of a geek as I am.
Silver:Die Hard is the Joan Rivers of film franchises. It’s had so much work done to it that 1988’s taut, straightforward, hardcore cat-and-mouse action thriller would gasp in horror if it ever saw what it would become in 2013. With each passing film, Die Hard’s kernels of plausibility and decorum seem to shrivel away. It’s ironic, because there was a time when action films were maligned for being too Die Hard (Speed = Die Hard on a bus; Cliffhanger = Die Hard on a mountain), yet now it appears that for Bruce Willis to top-line an action film solo it needs to be connected in some way to Die Hard (and if the third and fourth installments are any indication, all a film needs to be called Die Hard is Willis playing someone called John McClane, a grandiose situation McClane is unwillingly shoved into, and a moment where he can shoot the bad guy and say “yippee ki-yay, motherfucker”). And speaking as someone who views the original Die Hard as one of the greatest action films ever made, don’t think any of this is a good thing. Labeling a film Die Hard brings too many expectations with it, and the more the title is used, the more it’s going to become diluted. As a summer action film, I did not dislike Live Free or Die Hard. But as a Die Hard film, I hated it, and I’m shocked that 20th Century Fox still feels there’s equity left in the Die Hard brand. This film looks ridiculous and makes me sad. What’s sadder is that, regardless of all this, I’ll be first in line on opening day to see it.
This week, The Hollywood Reporter brings word of two massive, star-studded Hollywood productions experiencing some, um, technical difficulties. One of the pair, The Lone Ranger, is no surprise: The re-teaming of Pirates of the Caribbean power duo Johnny Depp and director Gore Verbinski has already been grounded once, when its budget escalated beyond $250 million. Eventually (and surprisingly) the project got back on its feet by slashing its budget all the way down to $215 million — but, now, amazingly, costs have crept right back up to the original mark. Meanwhile, World War Z — an adaptation of Max Brooks's postapocalyptic zombie novels whose star/producer Brad Pitt was hoping would be utilized as a "Trojan horse for [depicting] sociopolitical problems" — has been unmoored.
Jack White has never been one to stand still, but his post–White Stripes era has elevated his all-purpose restlessness to bold new heights: There have been appearances on American Pickers, collaborations with Insane Clown Posse, even an actual solo album. And now, his latest endeavor, as reported by Variety: The score for The Lone Ranger, the Jerry Bruckheimer–produced adaptation of the '50s TV show starring Armie Hammer as the title character and Johnny Depp as his sidekick, Tonto.
Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace movie has been in the works for years, and now it’s got both a home and big-name lead actors. HBO has picked up Behind the Candelabra and set Michael Douglas to star as Liberace, with Matt Damon playing his live-in lover Scott Thorson; the movie will revolve around their relationship. This is great news and everything, but now we’re going to have to come up with a new title for our candelabra documentary. Grade: A [HR]
Like a binge-drinker rousing himself from an 8 a.m. Coors puddle and staggering to the nearest AA meeting, Hollywood may have finally sobered up over the weekend. How else to characterize Disney putting the kibosh on its planned big-screen adaptation of The Lone Ranger, with Pirates of the Caribbean helmer Gore Verbinski behind the camera and Johnny Depp behind the brown facepaint as Tonto? Until Friday evening, the long-gestating picture seemed as close to a sure thing as exists in the industry these days, mainly because it ticked the two necessary boxes for a contemporary blockbuster: a pre-existing property paired with a massive celebrity. Without these two key ingredients, it’s notoriously hard to get anything made in Hollywood — soaring CGI budgets are dependent on expensive stars whose involvement is, in turn, dependent on said budgets. More than anything, it’s the forward momentum of clearing that conundrum that’s responsible for green-lighting DOA stinkers like Green Lantern and, especially, Cowboys & Aliens. But after a summer of bomb-dropping reminiscent of the London Blitz, it was clear that something had to give, and Disney’s shocking rebuff of regular cash-cow Jerry Bruckheimer — coupled with the surprise steeliness of other studios in turning down Ron Howard’s planned adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower and Eminem’s boxing flick Southpaw — raises the question: has Hollywood finally come to its senses?