Trailers of the Week: The Bourne Legacy, Premium Rush, The Expendables 2, and More

The Bourne Legacy (August 3)

Silver: For as good as the Bourne films are, they inexplicably always seem to get lost in the shuffle of summer movie marketing. So I was treating The Bourne Legacy just like I did the previous three, as a film that was just going to magically appear to be the perfect late-summer, high-quality digestif after a long summer of gorging on sugary and fatty cinematic fair.

Until now. I just circled August 3 on my calendar in red marker.

I am now pumped for this film. This trailer blew me away. Not necessarily the action (which looks sufficiently Bourne), but what I believe to be the narrative structure of the film. If I followed the trailer correctly, The Bourne Legacy’s story line unfolds roughly parallel to the second and third Bourne films. But even more exciting is that it appears we’ll see how the actions in Legacy ultimately weave into and affect the plot of Supremacy and Ultimatum.

It’s the perfect way to do a reboot without actually rebooting, because it’s not a prequel, it’s not a sequel, it’s actually a perfect flash sideways because it deepens an already preexisting narrative (take note, Damon and Carlton). It’s a tricky and courageous task to pull off, but if executed properly The Bourne Legacy is going to be something special.

My one concern is the hint in the trailer that this film is going to give some awful genetic tampering midi-chlorian-esque explanation of how these super-agents came to be. I really hope this is not a major plot point, because to quote Patton Oswalt, “I don’t give a shit about where the stuff I love comes from. I just love the stuff I love. Just give me a cool spy story with cool action, please.”

Browne: I don’t really circle stuff on my calendar in red marker, because it would be really awkward on my laptop monitor, but I have the same level of excitement for this film as Comrade Silver. One aside: Is Matt Damon going to be in this film? You can’t just show me Matt Damon and then that’s it. He best make a cameo.

Indie Game: The Movie (June 12)

Silver: How does a documentary that focuses on a bunch of artists striving to create and release independent video games appeal to a broad audience? It creates a trailer that successfully sells the struggle of the seemingly fringe and niche “indoor kids” as a metaphor for anyone who’s risked it all for the sake of a vision or their passion. I’m pumped to see this film.

Browne: Whoa. Covered in goose bumps. Yeah, it’s about making video games but it’s 1,000 times bigger than that. I will watch anything that involves people “going for it.” This is like nerd Rudy. If done properly (which the trailer suggests it will be), this could be quite special.

Premium Rush (August 24)

Silver: Since everything in my life unhealthily revolves around movies, it should be no surprise that I (sometimes) choose my friends based on what movies they like or dislike. I’ll even go so far as to choose my dining company by what references they make. I was at a lunch yesterday and someone used the phrase, “That about nuked the fridge for that series,” and let me tell you, I nearly leaped across the lunch table to kiss that fine gentleman (for those of you who don’t know, that idiom is in reference to this, and is the updated version of this).

Based only on this trailer, I can safely say that Premium Rush is going to be an excellent “Friend Barometer” for me for years to come. I’ve said it before, but I’m a sucker for lower A, high-level B movies that just “are.” They exist solely to entertain — respectability and accolades be damned. And what makes a movie like this even better? To start, when said movie sprinkles in a few really good actors, in clearly defined protagonist and antagonist roles, who take the schlocky material seriously and provide it with some dramatic weight (Premium Rush couldn’t have done better than with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon). But mostly, a film like Premium Rush just needs to come through on its promise to bestow upon a late-summer audience some good bike-messenger parkour.

Side note: With just about four weeks separating them, it’ll be interesting to see how Premium Rush and Looper not only affect each other at the box office, but also how they intend to draft off Levitt’s “hotness” post–Dark Knight Rises.

Browne: I laughed throughout 90 percent of this trailer. I’m sorry, but the idea of 2 Fast 2 Furious on bicycles is absolutely hilarious. JGL has been on an unbelievable hot streak over the past three years, but this might slow it him down a tad. Or maybe it won’t. Maybe he’s just that hot. Basically, all I’m trying to say is watch this trailer and try not to giggle. I don’t think you’ll succeed.

Les Misérables (December 14)

Silver: If you haven’t read my buddy Rem’s first-rate coverage of this trailer earlier in the week, (1) you and I have beef, and (2) stop what you’re doing and read it now.

I only have a few things to add …

I would not consider myself a theater geek, but I would consider myself a voracious theater fan who was raised by a theater-geek mother. And growing up just 20 minutes outside of Manhattan, I was going to the theater with my mom and then by myself from the time I was 6 years old. Subsequently, I had the privilege of seeing Les Mis (yeah, I’m one of those people who call it that) four times. And each time I wept — not cried, wept. Wept from somewhere deep in my soul.

To experience Les Mis onstage is to allow yourself to sit through a grueling three-and-a-half-hour Silkwood shower, only to end up emotionally reborn. It’s the theater equivalent of a juice cleanse.

Because of this, I had my extreme doubts about adapting something so perfectly constructed to be experienced live (with an intermission) into a film. Where do you cut? How can you cut when every song advances the plot? Would there be an intermission? Was it going to feel like a Rob Marshall hyper-stylized musical?

But this first teaser gives me hope.

I think Tom Hooper is a great choice as director. Between his work on HBO’s John Adams and his film work on The Dammed United and The King’s Speech, he’s clearly found a way to modernize historical pieces through his visuals — lots of wide angles, Dutch angles, and handheld cameras. (And it’s on me that I currently hate him so much. It wasn’t his fault that he beat The Social Network’s David Fincher for best director. I think by the time this film is released I’ll be over it.)

I’m also very excited by what I saw … and heard … in this cleverly constructed teaser. Hooper’s visuals look to not contain a single strand of stereotypical Hollywood musical flair. They appear grimy and utterly human. I loved, loved, loved the fact that Anne Hathaway was actually singing on set, and not over a track. That’s a bold choice, but one that I feel fits Les Mis’s story line and themes quite well, and will ultimately ground the film more in the characters’ (literal) voices.

And although Hathaway’s Fantine is a minor (yet extremely important) character, it was a good decision by the marketers to craft the trailer around her and Susan Boyle’s famous song (kidding). She’s clearly the biggest box office draw in this period musical. (Face it, no one cares about Hugh Jackman unless he has knives coming out of his hands, and who’s this Russell Crowe guy?)

Browne: If you haven’t read my third-rate coverage of this trailer earlier in the week, (1) you and I have beef, and (2) stop what you’re doing, get a free doughnut at Dunkin’ today, and read it at your leisure.

Trishna (July 13)

Silver: I can’t recall the last time I turned (for the good) on a trailer like I did here. Despite the fact that Trishna is directed by the “I’ll follow you anywhere” Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People, A Mighty Heart, and The Trip), I was completely disinterested in this trailer for the first 0:60. I just assumed Winterbottom wanted to find a way to get a paid vacation in India. But then the film revealed itself to be an enticing and potentially distressing tale of dependence and mental abuse. Those are traits I can see Winterbottom taking and running with. I’m thoroughly intrigued by this film.

Browne: I had the exact same reaction, Mr. Silver. I wasn’t complaining about watching a sappy love story with Ms. Pinto, but in the beginning it looked like a movie I wouldn’t come close to paying for. The second half of the trailer changed that. Now I could potentially see myself borrowing some money and seeing this. Also, for those of you keeping score: Tess of the d’Urbervilles adaptations > Great Gatsby adaptations.

Expendables 2 – TV Spot (August 17)

Silver: My top three moments from this 0:60:

  1. Norris’s approving head nod (and I think wink) @ :33
  2. Lundgren’s grimace/”Grrrr” @ :28
  3. Crews to Schwarzenegger, “You’re terminated” @ :15

My bottom three moments from this 0:60:

  1. Not enough Statham
  2. Not enough Statham
  3. Not enough Statham

Browne: I’ve long been curious about not only the politics behind the order of listing actors in a film, but also the people at the end that warrant the “with ________” or “and _______” or “also _________.” I know there’s a level of stardom that gets you those prime spots, but I want to know everything about how they’re decided upon. In this trailer, after the laundry list of large men listed, the final three go “ALSO Van Damme, WITH Willis, AND Schwarzenegger.” It’s all very interesting.

Sorry, I’m just trying to find a way to not actually talk about this film.

Filed Under: Les Miserables, The Bourne Legacy, The Expendables 2, Trailers, Trailers of the Week

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert