The teaser trailer for one of fall’s more interesting films — Alejandro Iñárritu’s Birdman, starring Michael Keaton as an actor famous for once portraying an iconic superhero but now going through an existential crisis — reveals it to be a jazzy, audacious, gleefully deranged slice of high-art cinema, and seemingly certainly a lot more loose-limbed than Biutiful, Babel, 21 Grams or Amores Perros. Opening to a downbeat version of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” this looks like a case study in slipping-knot sanity entertainingly rendered. Great subtitle on its poster, too: “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance.” Amy Ryan, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Andrea Riseborough and Zach Galifianakis co-star. The film releases October 17 via Fox Searchlight.
Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring drops on June 14 from A24 Films, based on the true story of a bunch of young, party-happy fame junkies who take to knocking off the homes of tabloid celebs like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom and the like. Its teaser poster, below, is a catchy thing, stacked up as it is with five pairs designer sunglasses. For auteur filmmakers and young ensembles, as is the case here, this is the type of imagination for which more one-sheets should be aiming.
That’s the movie’s visual shorthand selling, though. Its trailer is a slightly more conventional thing, pitching it as a gum-snapping, bubbleheaded heist version of The Perfect Score, with maybe a pinch of Spring Breakers. We’ll see if it possesses the latter’s allegorical punching power. Time will tell. I’ll say this, though — Emma Watson totally nails that voice of vacuous, proudly blithe entitlement, for whom demi-celebrity is an occupational aim. For more information, click here to visit the movie’s website.
I’ve returned to Los Angeles to find, among other things, this bullet in the mail awaiting me. It’s a novelty USB drive, but neither its Quicktime file nor the touted website on the back of the accompanying card (“Blood demands blood,” reads its wooden keepsake box) works/loads — via Firefox, Internet Explorer, nada. After a bit of noodling around, it seems it might be the trailer for Dead Man Down (FilmDistrict, March 8), starring Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace. This would make some sense, given that the otherwise unmarked package did have FilmDistrict’s name on it in small letters. So it seems I’m a marked man. Marked for exactly what I’m not sure, however.
UPDATE, 1/2/2013: My instincts were spot-on. A placeholder page now exists for the website, and Dead Man Down‘s trailer is available here, with Kendra Morris’ enchanting cover version of Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” providing the mood underneath lots of gunfire and Terrence Howard‘s threats.
The newly released trailer for Compliance (Magnolia, August 17) does little to undermine the film’s advance reputation as an unnerving conversation-starter, and status as one of the most talked-about and controversial films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Based on true events, it looks and feels like a gripping and complex little psychological drama that trips wires of present-day sociological relevance, no doubt. And no matter whether it remains a critics’ darling or punches through with a slightly-wider-than-indie-avenue audience, it should definitely give Dreama Walker a nice autumnal one-two punch, alongside the return of ABC sitcom Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23.
So the trailer for Arbitrage (Roadside Attractions, September 14), the feature-directing debut of writer Nicholas Jarecki, is now online, and it looks like a slick, engaging, well-oiled thing — a casserole of hubris, high finance, fraud, infidelity, deception, loyalty and criminal complicity. Richard Gere is the hedge-fund magnate looking to broker a big sale of his trading empire; Susan Sarandon his wife; Brit Marling his brilliant daughter and heir-apparent; Laetitia Casta the smoking hot mistress whose untimely passing occasions a cover-up; and Tim Roth the cop doggedly in pursuit of the truth, of which Nate Parker seems to represent a telling loose thread. “Can’t wait,” as Bart Scott once barked. For more on the film, click here to visit its web site.
The trailer for Sinister (Summit, October 5), starring Ethan Hawke as a true crime novelist dad who discovers a box of terrifying home videos in his family’s new home, thus triggering supernatural horror, is now online. That it gives off major Insidious and Paranormal Activity vapors is an unsurprising and intentional thing, given that it is from the producer of same. Solid box office ducats seem fairly certain. It just holds the trailer presently, but for more information on the film, hit up its web site here.
So the trailer for The Babymakers (Millennium Entertainment, August 3) is now online, and it feels like a loser in the August comedy sweeptakes, up against For a Good Time, Call… and The Campaign, just to name two other films off the top of my head.
It’s a jizz-heist laffer, from the Beerfest and Super Troopers guys, in which Paul Schneider’s character tries to break into a sperm bank to get back his donated seed so that he can get his wife (Olivia Munn) pregnant. Notwithstanding the weird-match factor and seemingly dubious chemistry on display between the two, can Munn really convincingly play sweet, or basically a straight woman, after the leak of all those delicious sexts to ex-boyfriend Chris Pine? That mode wasn’t exactly her forte to begin with.
And the film’s poster is atrocious, let’s just be honest. Any one-sheet that features a guy with that look on his face is just announcing its knuckle-dragging intentions and phoned-in lack of ambition, honestly, or making a misguided play for female sympathies. “Dumb,” i.e., ribald and loose-limbed and full of bong rips, is all fine and good (it’s what the Broken Lizard guys have made a career out of, after all), but the repartee here feels stale. If one feels like cycling through its wonky set-up that features other movies’ preview clips, though, The Babymakers‘ red-band trailer, inclusive of boobs, is also over at Yahoo, here. So there’s that.
If one is of the opinion that Julie Delpy is a delight, which is very much the correct opinion to have if one is an open-hearted person rightly familiar with her flirty, thoughtful collaborations with Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke, as well as 2 Days in Paris, then the trailer for the latter’s sequel, 2 Days in New York (Magnolia, August 10), co-starring Chris Rock, will bring a smile to your face, if only for the deliciously oddball pairing it seemingly augurs. Cultural differences, unwitting racism and uncomfortable sexual candor get a comedic workout in this tale of a radio deejay and the visiting family of his live-in French girlfriend. Again, the trailer is here for those wishing to take a gander.
If one is over 18 or can figure out a way to lie about their age and peg it to a phony email account, the new red-band trailer for For a Good Time, Call… (Focus, August 31) is online now, over at YouTube. The trailer sells the concept and nicely spotlights a few naughty bits, but, having seen the movie, I can say it doesn’t fully get at and convey the effervescent charm and chemistry of Lauren Anne Miller and Ari Graynor, which is its true strongest selling point.
Quentin Tarantino‘s imaginative and bawdy faux-historical exorcising of demons past will continue this Christmas, in the form of Django Unchained. If Inglourious Basterds was Tarantino’s biggest domestic hit to date, this one seems to have the ability to track right along in its wake — swagger, gunplay and extracted vengeance against unambiguously despicable villains.
The trailer for Red Lights (Millennium Entertainment, July 13), from Buried director Rodrigo Cortés, is out now, and it seems a mildly insane thing, yeah? Robert De Niro is a legendary blind psychic who comes out of retirement; Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy are a pair of paranormal debunkers who cross (paths with) him; and Elizabeth Olsen is the girl who no doubt moves the plot forward and speaks of ominous stuff. It at first seems like a creepy yet character-rooted cat-and-mouse psychological thriller. And then it just goes batshit crazy from the 1:30 mark, at which point it seems a lot less interesting and lot more hokey, over-the-top and Stigmata-y… which I believe was the gist of the reviews from its Sundance Film Festival bow earlier this year.
The folks over at Coatwolf Productions have posted an old-as-new trailer for the superlative Bellflower, which may seem an odd thing to do for a movie making its DVD debut this week. As director Evan Glodell explains, though, it’s also kind of an appropriate time to finally loose this version, the narration of which was written before the entire screenplay was even finished, upon the world. Also, for those rich and interested, you can purchase your own custom-made Medusa from the collective creative team for a pretty penny. Huzzah!
Needlepoint, claymation and Lego recreations, plus angry nerds? Yes, please! The full-length trailer for The People Vs. George Lucas has me stoked for its release, which is May 13 in Los Angeles, at the Landmark Nuart.
The trailer for Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, a first-person curated documentary of awakened health consciousness from Australian director Joe Cross, is online, and looks to promise a fairly nice emotive punch (even if some curious all-juice diet advocacy), something certainly on par with the sort of feel-good uplift on display week in and week out on NBC’s hit show The Biggest Loser. But then there’s the whole issue of trying to mobilize folks to see a film with two such unappealing words in its moniker. Titles matter, wildly — and especially so with documentaries, I’d argue. That makes the incline that much steeper here. The film should be available for DVD purchase in March, according to its website, but also hitting theaters in April.
Well, after a litany of delays it looks like I Love You Phillip Morris (Roadside Attractions, December 3) is really, truly, finally coming out. And no, that wasn’t a gay joke. The furiously maintained high-wire vulgar insolence of Bad Santa earns writer-directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa a lifetime ticket from me, as long as it’s not a Cats & Dogs movie. Their directorial follow-up, Crazy, Stupid, Love, has already started test screening locally, and will be nipping on the heels of this film with an April 2011 release via Warner Bros., despite shooting almost two years later. Phillip Morris, meanwhile, looks like a romp; I can’t wait.
The trailer for director Josh Sternfeld’s Meskada (Red Flag, December 3), starring Nick Stahl and Rachel Nichols as detectives whose investigation into a small town murder leads them into an adjoining burgh with dark secrets, is online and available for viewing, and I’ll say this: it looks to be a delight for young female meth addicts, and/or those with daddy issues. Stahl, Norman Reedus and Kellan Lutz all belong to that subset of recessed- and bleary-eyed knuckle-draggers that so delight girls looking to fill the void in their heart born of an absentee father. These three guys could be freshly showered and dressed in designer suits, but still look a bit beat-up, boozy, damaged, dangerous and, let’s be honest, reeking of cigarette smoke.
The trailer for Alex Gibney’s Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, is online, and the documentary detailing the ex-New York governor’s tumble from elected office in the wake of his dalliance(s?) with high-end call girl Ashley Dupre looks to be a crackling piece of entertainment, just based on all the narrative gristle. Sex, money, power, politics, revenge — it’s all there, as on the surface as it is on the poster. This thing should be a Beltway/arthouse smash. For the trailer, click here.
I want to give Ray Grigg’s I Want Your Money, a new documentary about our national financial debt, runaway deficit spending, impending doom and all that, a fair shake, because its message is (or could be) an important one. I really do. Unfortunately, stupid, jerkily-animated Reagan-lecturing-Obama cartoons is just not a good start, nor is the whole “schools” versus “real life” strain of intellectual attack. Also, by making President Obama the focal point of caricature and by overtly pre-selling itself as controversial (code: the movie “they” don’t want you to see), I Want Your Money tips its hand, and indicates that it almost certainly will not be at all a serious thing, but instead a partisan Molotov cocktail designed to pump sunshine up the skirts of agitated
diabetic mall walkers Tea Partiers. (Forget, even, for a moment, the dizzying reality of lectures on discredited supply-side economics from a talking head from the Heritage Foundation.) For more information on the film, which hits theaters October 15, click here.
I’ve now twice watched the new minute-long teaser trailer for I’m Still Here (Magnolia, September 10), Casey Affleck’s documentary about a
performance art stunt by strange year in the life of brother-in-law Joaquin Phoenix, and the phrase that most comes to mind is “metaphysical wankery.” That doesn’t mean that’s all it is or has to offer, of course, but that’s what it feels like right now, from this proffering. Regardless of whether it’s “real” or a bone-deep mockumentary, what’s the film’s through line, that’s the question. And if it’s the rap career thing, that’s a problem. For more information, click here.
The trailer for The Romantics (Paramount Famous, September 10) plays as a chatty, lit-leaning, femme-sympathetic younger version of a cross between The Big Chill and Rachel Getting Married (no surprise, given the fact that it’s adapted by Galt Niederhoffer from her own novel), but reintroduces the Katie Holmes Problem™, namely that she’s never found a way to translate her eye-batting small screen experience at emoting to something approaching convincing, subdued film acting, where there’s a bit more nuance. Again, for the trailer, click here.
The Jackass films are so nakedly designed to provoke that many critics reflexively pooh-pooh them, when at their core these ribald stunt flicks say something about the inherently human (or is it just masculine?) appreciation of prankish absurdity. And the creative stagings on display in the new trailer for Jackass 3D certainly deliver: fish slaps, porta-potty launches, and a human “duck shoot.” Sign me up.
George Gallo’s Middle Men opens next week, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it from the mainstream marketing (of which there is little, if any), or the outreach of any studio publicity department representative. It’s an orphaned Paramount Vantage release, with parent corporation Paramount handling in shrugging fashion what I gather is a contractual theatrical release to an unknown number of theaters.
But do they have reason to shrug it off? I checked out the trailer, and it plays — there’s a nice mix of music (Deee-Lite, Biggie, “Super Bon-Bon”), strippers, porn stars, hammy fisticuffs, a cross-bow, someone “making it rain” and all other manner of montage-captured material excess. Smart use of the phrase “mad men,” too, in the trailer’s voiceover; trying to
gravy-train some of the love for AMC’s small screen series is certainly not a bad strategy.
Starring Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi and Gabriel Macht (oh, and Laura Ramsey), it’s one of these “I’m-comin’-up,” fratty-bratty business guy tales, like a boozy cross between The Social Network and The Boiler Room. It doesn’t look cheap, either, given all the locations and extras involved. So despite the presence of Wilson — seemingly the default star every studio project that can’t attract a heavy hitter — and despite the suicide release date against The Other Guys, another guys-guy flick with a much bigger profile, it’s a bit curious that this isn’t getting more of a push. After all, you have a movie, based on a true story, about the early-days intersection of the web and porn, with political blackmail and other commercial intrigue thrown in to boot. If you’re a major studio that can’t sell that (or, weirder still, don’t even really try) what exactly constitutes “mainstream” to you?