Trailers of the Week: Iron Man 3, Much Ado About Nothing, Frances Ha, and More
The Hangover Part III (May 24)
Silver: Because of its blatant recycling of plot points and gags, at one point I considered The Hangover Part II one of the biggest wasted opportunities to hit the big screen. But I’m not gonna lie, I’ve warmed up to it quite a bit. After subsequent (and multiple) cable viewings, I’ve come around and really appreciate Stu’s “there’s a demon in me” story line. It’s a disturbing yet oddly moving comment on the mental state of these three shallow, weak-minded men. More than this, as deplorable as they are, I’ve grown to genuinely like hanging out with these guys. So, like re-watching Inception or Prometheus, with expectations properly set the second time around, I’m at the point where I can also sit back and enjoy The Hangover Part II for what it is. Each time I see the film my enjoyment from spending time with Phil, Stu, and Alan slowly weakens my initial disappointment.
So without even seeing a frame of footage, my enthusiasm for Part III starts with my desire to simply hang with the wolfpack again. Then came this highly entertaining trailer, chock full of mayhem, laughs, and glimpses at a killer supporting cast (John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy, and our returning champions Heather Graham and Ken Jeong). Todd Phillips and his gang of merry men and women look determined to deliver a very different and fresh adventure to cap off this trilogy. I can’t wait.
Browne: While I’ll never forgive them for ruining the original with the second, at least they made up some new jokes for this one. I’m still not happy, but at least I’m not furious.
Much Ado About Nothing (June 7 – Limited / June 21 – Wide)
Browne: I’m going to let you take this one, Silver, because my pro-Whedon bias is super strong. All-in on this film, though. Also: Shakespeare. Great guy.
Silver: “I cannot tell; I think not: I will not be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster; but I’ll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool.”
Given the trailer this writeup is attached to, it should be obvious which Bard play the above prose was lifted from. But what you might not know is that I typed those words from memory, and could have continued (“Check out the big brain on Braaad!”) (Yeah, I was a theater geek). I consider the play to be one of the Bard’s finest. Beatrice and Benedick’s flirting disguised as quarreling laid the groundwork for such classic onscreen romances as Sam and Diane, and Han and Leia. Although I am quite partial to Kenneth Branagh’s more traditional version (sans the jiggle-inducing opening horse riding sequence and Keanu Reeves as Don John), I’m awfully curious to see what Sir Joss Whedon (we can call him that now, right?) does with Bill-iam’s classic story. Mostly because this very glossy and rom-commy trailer does not in any way hint at the seriously dark and quite monotonous final act of the play. But forget about all that — bring on Nathan Fillion speaking in iambic pentameter.
After Earth (June 7)
Silver: OK, I see. This is the spawn that’s brought forth after the progeny of 10,000 BC, the original Planet of the Apes, and Alien mates with The Last Airbender and The Pursuit of Happyness. But all kidding aside, I’m the one guy who liked, and still likes, Lady in the Water, and who doesn’t want to see Will Smith in a hard-core sci-fi film. So snark aside, I’m in.
Browne: Oh, the “Will Smith with a Chattanooga accent” film. Great. Just great.
Iron Man 3 (May 3)
Browne: JUST PUT THE MOVIE OUT.
Dan, say things.
Silver: Let’s start with this — what is that random shot of Gwyneth Paltrow in her bra doing in this trailer (@ 1:56)? The two Iron Mans and The Avengers have grossed a combined worldwide total of approximately $2.7 billion (B-I-L-L-I-O-N), so I truly doubt there’s a key demographic out there that’s still holding out for an enticing reason to see the third installment in the Tony Stark saga. So why include such a gratuitous sexual image?
If that shot and this high-stakes trailer are any indication, maybe a chief goal in Marvel’s “Phase 2” plan is to get a little dirty with their core cinematic heroes. Although the action has been intense and the drama sincere, Marvel’s “Phase 1” films have been mostly family-friendly. So if the intention is to slowly infuse the Marvel movie space with more grit, rawness, and maturity, it would make sense to start that evolution with their most popular character (in box office terms), and the one who kicked off “Phase 1.”
This is an intense and intensely good two minutes and 25 seconds. The dramatic weight and immense sense of impending doom penetrate this trailer as if Stark’s own Arc Reactor powered them (a cheesy forced metaphor, but an accurate one, no?). In the entire trailer, Stark doesn’t deliver any of his patented snarky remarks or one-liners. The one moment that could be considered as such — a flippant remark about “his boys” — is more of a setup for the “Hey, fanboy. You better be wearing your diaper, because we’re about to launch an army of pissed-off Iron Men at you” shot.
If the final film delivers even half the emotion and depth teased at in this trailer, then not only will Iron Man 3 make up in a big way for Iron Man 2, it’ll usher in a new, more mature type of Marvel film. (But honestly, none of this makes that shot of Gwyneth in her bra feel any less out of place.)
Disconnect (April 12)
Silver: It’s Crash meets Babel meets Magnolia meets The Net. And it’s not a comedy (even though Jason Bateman is in it), and it’s not a vampire movie (even though Alexander Skarsgard is in it), but it could be awesome, because Frank Grillo is in it and it’s directed by Murderball’s Henry Alex Rubin. So, who knows.
Browne: Why curse this film by starting off your review with “It’s Crash meets … “? I read that before pushing play on the trailer and, I kid you not, I still haven’t watched it.
Rude, I know, but at least I stand for something.
Frances Ha (May 17)
Silver: Although they can be immensely funny, Noah Baumbach’s films tend to be more plodding, quiet, and sullen than their trailers let on. The term “dramedy” is overused, but is actually quite a fitting label for his movies. And even with this bait-and-switch, I’ve enjoyed most of the projects Baumbach has been associated with. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to fall prey (again) to the ruse that a trailer cut for his film is in any way a tonally accurate representation of the final product.
Don’t believe me? Check out the trailers for The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding, or Greenberg. If you’ve seen any or all of those films, you know that what you saw was not what was sold to you.
I appreciate the tough job marketers for small films like these have. It’s becoming tougher and tougher to get their targeted demo off the couch, out the door, and into the theater. So cutting a trailer like this for Frances Ha, which makes it look like more of a quirky rom-com, makes sense. I certainly don’t mind having to change my mental outlook for a film as I’m watching, and in summer chock-full of bombastic Hollywood fare, Frances Ha looks to be a welcome piece of substantive counter-programming.
Browne: Greta Gerwig’s a star. I want her to be huge, and based off this trailer, I think this will help.
Rapturepalooza (May 10 – In Theaters and VOD)
Silver: What is this movie? And with a cast like this, how have I not heard about it till now? Sure, it’s now the fourth Apocalypse comedy (that we know of) being released in 2013 — the other three being The World’s End; the final Flavour of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright’s Cornetto trilogy; the seemingly disastrous It’s a Disaster; and This Is the End, also starring Craig Robinson … and James Franco, and Seth Rogen, and Jonah Hill, and Jay Baruchel, and Danny McBride, and literally everyone else who’s been in a Judd Apatow movie. But if you’ve got a quiet night in, it might be worth taking a flyer out on a film written by one half of the Bill & Ted writing team, in which Robinson plays a wisecracking devil with a proclivity for “dick-shaped food.” (And am I mistaken, or is that Ken Jeong playing God?)
Browne: These two seconds won me over:
Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey (Today)
Silver: Great googly moogly. I’d be IN on a simple rock doc on the history of the band Journey, but the verité subplot of a young Filipino singer-songwriter getting plucked from obscurity (via YouTube!) to front the band because he’s somehow reembodied Steve Perry’s vocal chords makes this doc a literal can’t-miss. And what a great excuse to listen to Journey music for 90 minutes. #ImAWhiteJewWhoGrewUpInThe80s
Browne: As #ABlackNonJewWhoLovesJewsAndOtherPeopleTooAndGrewUpInThe90s, I might camp out for this film.
Epic (June 13)
Silver: This latest trailer certainly makes the film feel more “epic” (Boo, 10 points deducted from Gryffindor!), but by removing the looming menace of Snow Patrol’s song “The Lightning Strikes,” which was used to great effect in the previous trailers, Epic also now feels a little bit more generic. Even worse: Now that more of the film’s plot details have been revealed, is it just me, or is Epic just an animated and larger-scale version of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (with a little Braveheart mixed in?) A scientist dad, a kid who accidentally miniaturizes himself, adventures in the grass, a bit with the enormous family dog. So not only does the new music selection result in an adverse shift in tonal positioning, the revelation of new plot points makes me want to see this film less, and in fact has nurtured a latent desire to go back and watch a Rick Moranis movie that isn’t Ghostbusters 1 or 2. So when you look at it that way, this trailer should be placed in the “loss” column.
Browne: Doing this trailer without the Snow Patrol song is like Batman fighting crime without his utility belt. Huge mistake. HUGE MISTAKE.