Trailers of the Week: The Master, Frankenweenie, The Campaign and the Return of Billy Bob Thornton

The Master — Theatrical Trailer (October 12)

Silver: With this first official trailer, we’re finally given a better understanding of The Master’s plot, and a much clearer sense of the film’s three leads and the roles they’ll play in the action. My previously written thoughts (based on the first two teasers) were further solidified. Here are my two new takeaways from this trailer: First, my newfound love for cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. His 65mm visuals are striking, and he seems to have perfectly filled the role after Paul Thomas Anderson’s longtime DP, Robert Elswit, was unavailable because of prior commitments. The other takeaway is how perfect Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Joaquin Phoenix appear to be in their roles. The quiet menace of Hoffman, the demure malevolence of Adams, and the inner and outward psychosis and rage of Phoenix. Even without seeing the film, I honestly can’t picture anyone else playing these characters.

Browne: Everything about this film is creeping me out, in the best possible way. From the characters to the conversations to the era on which it was based to the plot, I haven’t quite figured out anything, which makes me so excited for what appears to be a great film. But yeah, still creeped out.

But like I said, in the best way possible.

Frankenweenie (October 5)

Silver: The people in the Frankenweenie camp have to pump the breaks on the trailers. October 5 is a long way off, and they’re getting dangerously close to overexposing the film. And it’s only July. If cinema marketing history has taught us anything, it that overexposure almost always leads to box office indifference (I’m looking at you MIB3 and John Carter). So although this latest trailer was produced and released last weekend at Comic-Con, I would have suggested it be held and released in September. It’s the most creative of the three spots produced, and definitely has the broadest appeal. It’s got enough “kiddie” stuff in it to make the young ‘uns forget they hate movies in black and white, and its 1950s Sunday matinee homage construction is the perfect reminder to us older folk of the Burton of days gone by.

Browne: They’re not close to overexposing the film. They’ve overexposed the film. I don’t want to see it anymore.

Jayne Mansfield’s Car (TBD)

Silver: The following might sound like a sarcastic statement, but I assure you it’s not. The other day on my walk to work I thought to myself, “Where the hell did Billy Bob Thornton go? And when the hell is he going to make another film?” He’s popped up in bit parts in forgettable films like Eagle Eye and Faster, but he’s not had a major role either in front of or behind the camera since 2007’s dreadful Mr. Woodcock. But let’s not forget Billy Bob wrote, directed, and completely transformed himself for Sling Blade, and won a much-deserved Oscar for it (well, for the writing, at least). And he’s the guy who actually found a way to deliver a restrained and human performance in Michael Bay’s killer-asteroid movie Armageddon. So despite its seemingly familiar “dysfunctional family forced to confront their issues after the death of a parental figure” narrative, to me, it’s rather exciting to see a new film written, directed, and co-staring the former Mr. Jolie. Because when invested, the guy flat-out delivers. I’m really looking forward to this one.

Browne: Robert Duvall is 81 years old and there’s a scene in this film in which he’s on LSD while waving a hunting rifle around. Yes, please. I will have a serving of that, always.

Drew: The Man Behind the Poster (TBD)

Silver: A feature-length doc on legendary movie poster artist Drew Struzan is neither one I thought I wanted nor ever thought was necessary. But after seeing this trailer, I don’t know how I ever functioned without it being a part of my geek canon. It should come as no surprise that I was a kid who lined his walls with movie posters. Every morning I woke up to the faces in all three Indiana Joneses, all three Star Wars (episodes IV, V, and VI. Come on!), all three Back to the Futureses, and Blade Runner staring back at me. It’s true what’s said in this trailer, “You (do) get the whole movie by looking at that one image,” and “That one image, really (did make) you want to run out and see that movie.” This doc might just be a bunch of insider anecdotes, so it may not be for everyone, but simply based on the posters featured in this trailer I can safely say it’s perfectly suited for me. So in the words of Bart Scott, “Can’t wait!”

Browne: Unsure if this will captivate me as a full-length documentary, but Drew’s story is one that should be told. Connecting a face to such familiar, nostalgia-driven imagery is a very cool prospect, especially when those most tied to the films are present to give their own testimonials. Excited to see at least some (if not all) of this doc.

Dinosaur Project (August 12)

Silver: Since I don’t see Roger Corman’s name in the credits of this film, I’m choosing to outright reject its existence. I’m even going to say that the final death nail in the “found footage” genre will be hammered down on August 12 when the first frame of Dinosaur Project is projected on a screen in a darkened theater filled with paying customers. But who am I kidding, no one’s actually going to pay to see this movie … right? #Greatgooglymoogly

Browne: I have the Internet now. I know what happened to the dinosaurs. They all died. Don’t be ridiculous, Dinosaur Project.

The Campaign — Trailer No. 3 (August 10)

Silver: Although I still believe this concept, and these characters would be better served in a series of mock campaign ads on Funny or Die, the more I see of this film, the more I’m warming up to it. I liked the “Push It” bit, and giggled at the dinner table business. So like The Watch, I just hope that if I’m going to fork over $14, the best stuff isn’t in the trailer.

Browne: These trailers for The Campaign are really bad. I can’t imagine there’s a reason to see this in theaters. Will it be bad? I doubt it, just because the individuals are too sharp to make a complete dud. But theaters? I don’t know. I’m just praying that Ferrell isn’t about to start a second Sandler phase. Doubt any of us can handle that again.

Grabbers (TBD)

Silver: Even if I never clicked on the trailer and witnessed the mayhem and cheekiness of Grabbers, I believe the film’s IMDb synopsis would have sold me: “When an island off the coast of Ireland is invaded by bloodsucking aliens, the heroes discover that getting drunk is the only way to survive.” It’s Shaun of the Dead, mixed with Gremlins and Attack the Block. Oh, I’m very much in.

Browne: This film looks amusing, but more importantly it has inspired my new, foolproof plan for dealing with the imminent end of the world. All I have to do is drink a bottle of Jameson every day, starting today, and come December, I’ll be one of the chosen few who survives the Mayans’ prediction. Can’t wait. Get involved.

Crave (TBD)

Silver: Stay with me on this. If Crave were a jawbreaker, its flavors would be Breaking Down, Fight Club, A Beautiful Mind, Taxi Driver, and Death Wish. I’m a little shocked that the lead in Crave (Josh Lawson) is the same guy who plays the uptight and straitlaced management consultant on Showtime’s (underrated) House of Lies. At least from what I saw in this trailer, this dude’s no joke. He can go dark.

Rem, Ron Perlman apparently playing a creepier version of Ron Perlman aside, I also believe I caught a glimpse of a 34-year-old Edward Furlong in this trailer. That’s at least … something, right?

Browne: My only takeaway from this trailer was that I saw Edward Furlong, so I’m glad we’re on the same, John Connor–related page.

Filed Under: Billy Bob Thornton, The Master, Tim Burton, Trailers of the Week

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Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

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