Trailers of the Week: 50/50, Drive, and Lots of Sam Worthington

Headed to the movie theater this weekend? Here are the new trailers you might miss while waiting in line for popcorn.
50/50 (September 30)

In 50/50, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays an urban twenty-something battling cancer. This is the film’s second trailer, and though the first one was by no means a downer, the new one is noticeably more upbeat. Gone are the tumors, sterile doctor’s offices, and old men receiving chemotherapy. In their place are more Seth Rogen, upbeat music, and a title card that says, “From the guys who brought you Superbad.”

Page Eight (Release date: TBA)

Cutting a good teaser trailer is a lost art. A successful teaser should give an idea of the tone of the film, show the cast, and provide a small taste of the plot. The teaser for Page Eight — about an MI5 officer whose boss dies, leaving him with a strange case file — does exactly this. A sense of foreboding is established in the first moments, there are shots of the killer cast (led by Rachel Weisz and Bill Nighy), and hints of the larger story. With David Hare (The Hours) writing and directing and Scott Rudin producing, Page Eight is definitely one to watch out for.

Hysteria (TBD)

For anyone waiting with bated breath for a film about the invention of the vibrator, your day has finally arrived. When Hugh Dancy’s character turns on the feather-duster-on-a-drill device, one half expects Graham Chapman to cut in and scream “Stop that. It’s silly. Very silly, indeed!”

Drive (September 16)

Drive’s trailer perfectly teases this urban-noir tale about a movie stunt man (Ryan Gosling) who moonlights as get-away driver. Hipsters are advised to jump on the bandwagon for this one now, because once it’s released, it’s going to go big and mainstream fast.

Faces in the Crowd (TBD)

The trailer for Milla Jovovich’s new psychological thriller, Faces in the Crowd — about a woman living with “face-blindness” after surviving a serial killer’s attack — is pretty uninspired. Do yourself a favor and discover (or rediscover) Elia Kazan’s identically titled (yet totally different) 1958 classic A Face in the Crowd.

Red Tails (January 20, 2012)

Rookie feature director Anthony Hemingway’s visuals are the focus of the second trailer for Red Tails, the George Lucas-produced Tuskegee Airmen movie.

Father of Invention (October)

In Father of Invention, Kevin Spacey plays an inventor trying to piece his life back together after being sent to jail when one of his products turns on its owners. The trailer is Spacey-heavy, so fans of deliberate delivery and quirky “actory” business should take note.

Immortals (November 11)

The first two trailers for Immortals showcased Tarsem Signh’s stunning visuals, but didn’t reveal much of the plot. The voice-over in the newly released third trailer provides some background. Unfortunately, this thing sounds pretty pedestrian — gods and titans battling each other in the realm of man, etc.

Underworld: Awakening (January 20, 2012)

Vampires, werewolves, Kate Beckinsale in a leather jumpsuit, and lots of monster-on-monster action. The dialogue here — “Something has escaped”; “Whatever it is, it’s more powerful than any of us” — sounds like it’s been lifted straight from Monster Movies for Dummies. At least this franchise has kept the makers of blue lighting gels in business.

Puncture (TBD)
Puncture follows a pill-popping, smart-alecky lawyer (Captain America’s Chris Evans) who takes on a case that forces him to turn things around and fight for what’s right. Here’s hoping Evans can elevate Puncture beyond its hacky premise (and lackluster trailer).

The Debt (August 31)

The action in John Madden’s (Shakespeare in Love) new thriller The Debt unfolds in two different time periods: Three Israeli Mossad agents attempt to capture a Nazi war criminal in 1966, then deal with the aftermath in 1997.

Texas Killing Fields (October 7)

Sam Worthington and Jeffery Dean Morgan play detectives investigating a series of unsolved murders in the bayous outside of Texas City. The trailer for this small “who done it” is well executed. The respectable supporting cast of Jessica Chastain, Chloe Moretz and Jason Clarke are well-represented, and the energetic final montage builds to a satisfying crescendo. And although Worthington and Chastain take on Texas accents here, the Texas Killing Fields should not be mistaken for a B-Side of The Debt trailer.

Mardi Gras: Spring Break (September 23)

In this trailer, Mardi Gras: Spring Break not so subtly attempts to position itself as The Hangover’s second cousin. The boxes are all checked — extreme party location, clichéd reason for going, half-naked fat guy doing half-naked-fat-guys things, etc. But the casting directors did good work — Josh Gad (Broadway’s The Book of Mormon), Nicholas D’Agosto (Fired Up), Bret Harrison (TV’s Reaper and The Loop) may not be “top of the marquee” names, but each of these guys are talented and legitimately funny.

Machine Gun Preacher (September 23)

Gerard Butler suddenly decided to start acting again in Marc Forster’s (Finding Neverland, Quantum of Solace) Machine Gun Preacher, about a former drug-dealer who finds God and attempts to help a group of Sudanese orphans.

Johnny English Reborn (October 28)

As with the 2003 original, Johnny English Reborn is being dumped in American theaters after it’s already made a bunch of money overseas. Watching Rowan Atkinson mug his was through this trailer, it’s easy to forget that he’s the man behind such classic characters as Mr. Bean and Edmund Blackadder. And based on the footage here, it’s hard to believe that the strong supporting cast — The Wire’s Dominic West, Gillian Anderson (doing a British accent, as usual), and five-time James Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade — will be elevate this above just a standard, paint-by-numbers spy spoof. Here’s hoping, though.

Previously: Trailers of the Week: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Ralph Fiennes and Roland Emmerich do Shakespeare

Read more Hollywood Prospectus.

Filed Under: Drive, Trailers of the Week