Trailers of the Week: Machete Kills, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Scenic Route, and More
Machete Kills (September 13)
Silver: Robert Rodriguez has a very odd predilection for weaponized body parts. There was Tom Savini’s penis gun in From Dusk Till Dawn, Rose McGowan’s leg gun in Planet Terror, and with Machete Kills comes Sofia Vergara’s bullet breasts. Super weird.
I really wanted to like the first Machete, just like I wanted to like Planet Terror. But both wound up being better trailers than feature films (Machete, Planet Terror). After I got through the first 15 to 20 minutes of both films, and the grindhouse quality of both wore off, I was just bored. And I honestly don’t think it’s a grindhouse thing because I loved Death Proof. I don’t think Rodriguez has been able to successfully craft one of these films past its presentation as schlock fun.
And just like Planet Terror and the first Machete, I’ll wind up seeing this. But this time, maybe I can hold out for VOD. We’ll see.
Browne: I’m not well-versed on Rodriguez and his body-part-weapon movies. What I will say is, for better or worse, I’m a sucker for big cast movies as long as they don’t revolve around a holiday (Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve). So, even with the inclusion of Charlie Sheen (credited with birth name Carlos Estevez here), I was still semi-amped about this, even though I know it’ll probably be a letdown.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (August 16)
Browne: THROW SOME MOVIES AT ’EM, SILVER.
Silver: The trailer starts out as a blend of Bonnie and Clyde and The Sugarland Express, as seen through Terrence Malick’s Badlands lens. Then it turns into some kind of warped mishmash of O Brother, Where Art Thou? and In the Name of the Father, mixed with a little Les Misérables, The Shawshank Redemption, countless Westerns, and any number of films where someone is released from prison for wrongly serving time and is seeking “something.”
I say all this with the utmost love, though. This film looks pretty darn good. I’m a fan of both Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, and ever since the release of the remake of 3:10 to Yuma, I’m like Pavlov’s dog anytime I see Ben Foster put on a cowboy hat and speak in a drawl.
The Best Man Holiday (November 15)
Silver: This is one of those puzzling sequels. I don’t think it’s at all necessary and never would have even thought it possible. But I’m thrilled it’s being made, and I’ll be seeing it.
Malcolm D. Lee’s 1999 film The Best Man is one of those wickedly underrated and sadly overlooked movies. Its tone and interpersonal dynamic is akin to other greats like Beautiful Girls and The Big Chill. It’s the film that I recommended most to adrift couples on lazy Saturday nights back when I worked at a video store. And there was never a time I wasn’t thanked for the reference upon the film’s return. (Fully rewound, of course.)
Yet even I had pretty much forgotten about this movie. I think it’s been close to four years since I saw it last. So this impending sequel is a great excuse to revisit it. Lee’s been hit-or-miss since the release of The Best Man (Misses: Soul Men and the fifth Scary Movie; Hitt: Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins and Roll Bounce; Foul Ball: Undercover Brother), but like Kevin Smith is with the world of Clerks, Lee may be at his best when he’s creatively expressing himself through these characters. We soon shall see. I’m very much IN on this one.
(Note: I dare anyone to find a better looking cast than this. Wowzer.)
Browne: Even though I laughed aloud when the voice-over guy said “the film that started it all,” because that statement actually means nothing, I am very excited to finally see this trailer. The original, along with The Wood, holds a very special place in my heart. My only message to the director and cast: If you mess up this sequel, there will be hell to pay.
No pressure, though.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (August 7)
Silver: I’d like to start by noting that this film was directed by a dude named “Thor.” Yup, Thor Freudenthal, of Hotel for Dogs and Diary of a Wimpy Kid fame. (But I didn’t need to tell you that, right?) And considering I have peculiar criteria for what excites me about a film, a director with an awesome name like “Thor” might actually be enough to get me into the theater.
The presence of the always great Nathan Fillion doesn’t hurt, either. But as my fingers dance across this keyboard, I can tell that my better judgment is going to rule the day here, and I’ll just rewatch the sections of the Harry Potter movies this film is so unashamedly stealing from.
Browne: I will never forgive this franchise for naming the main character “Percy Jackson.” I’ll never be able to take movies about “Percy Jackson” seriously. Sorry.
Scenic Route (TBD)
Browne: This isn’t a real movie. I promise. Where is the Lonely Island?
Silver: I actually thought this was a Funny or Die parody trailer at first. What an odd pairing — Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler. These two are like the indie version of Schwarzenegger and DeVito in Twins.
But as far as concepts go, I’m definitely digging Scenic Route. I’ve long felt that creativity flourishes when faced with either self-imposed or unintentional boundaries and/or limitations. The shark’s not working, well, let’s just lean more heavily on John Williams’s score, an ominous fin cutting through the water, a few yellow barrels, and some clever photography. Or more specifically to location limitations, Das Boot (or any great submarine movie for that matter); Walt and Jesse chasing a fly in the great Breaking Bad episode “Fly”; and of course, The Office was at its best when the A-story was mostly INT: DUNDER MIFFLIN — DAY.
So I’m curious to see how first-time directors Kevin and Michael Goetz handle this narrative.
Browne: No, seriously: This can’t be a drama. At what point do best friends start eating each other’s ankles, just because they’re in the desert? I feel like I’m getting punked.
Planes — Trailer 2 (August 9)
Silver: Both Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards are credited as lending their voices to this Disney,* non-Pixar (but really Pixar) movie. But not as planes named Ice Man or Goose. How can that be? I otherwise don’t see much in this trailer to get me excited about this film. Yet, prior to its release, if I’m told that Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside, Kelly McGillis, Tim Robbins, Meg Ryan, and the indomitable Rick Rossovich also are not voicing planes, well, hoist up the volleyball net, spray on the tanning oil, and cue the Kenny Loggins. But until then, I think I’ll pass.
Browne: I think even little kids might find Planes to be corny. Which is saying something, because little kids love everything.
[*Disclosure: Disney owns Grantland, Pixar, and many other fine entertainment products.]
Monsters University — Final Trailer (June 21)
Silver: And now here’s your trailer for the real Disney/Pixar** film. I never thought I’d say this about anything connected to Pixar, but ENOUGH ALREADY with the trailers. This is supposedly the “Final Trailer”? We can only hope. Just release the film already!
Browne: If you ever want a red flag that a movie won’t be good, try “we release a trailer every five minutes, so you don’t forget about us, the movie that will ultimately disappoint.”
[**Disclosure: Disney still owns Grantland, Pixar, and many other fine entertainment products.]
This Is the End – International Trailer (June 12)
Silver: I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this movie looks funny. I know, I know, I’m a nutter. But trust me. I think this is a comedy.
Browne: Laughter will be had. Also: Everyone will continue to crush on Emma Watson. I know, I know, silly me. But yes. I think I’m right.
How to Make Money Selling Drugs (VOD – June 18 / Theaters – June 26)
Silver: Aww, shucks. I was all excited to pull out the notebook and take notes. And then this trailer had to get all socially conscious on me and turn into a critique of America’s drug war. Oh, well. Breaking Bad comes back in August. I’ll get the info I need then. This looks interesting though.
(Note: I’m done with the Breaking Bad references. Really.)
Browne: I was actually all in, until the last line, when the ominous voice says, “Are you unemployed or stuck in a dead-end job?” Immediately, I was transported from a movie on drugs to a commercial about getting pre-approved for a car loan.
Walking With Dinosaurs (December 20)
Silver: So is this going to be like Bambi, where a seemingly sweet film about maturity leads to a devastating ending that scars children emotionally for their entire lives? Meaning, the “walking” noted in the title, are these dinosaurs actually walking to extinction? Because if that’s the case, screw the cheap-looking special effects, I’m sitting my kid down opening day in order for him to learn some tough lessons. Bring it on!
(Note: I’m kidding, of course. I’d never do that to my son. I’m going to emotionally damage him in proper fashion. By strapping him into the Clockwork Orange chair and head gear and screening him Old Yeller, Charlotte’s Web, The Iron Giant, Dumbo, that scene in Toy Story 3 where they all hold hands and accept their imminent demise, and of course Bambi. Can’t wait!!)
Browne: This movie needs a real villan. Like Scar. Or humans. Or something, because right now, I’m completely uninvested in their survival. Which is rude, but true.
Prisoners (September 20)
Silver: Remember back when I was talking about how limitations encouraged creativity? Well, this trailer is another excellent example. For all we know Prisoners is a complete mess of a movie (with a cast and awards-friendly subject matter like this combined with a September graveyard release date, that could actually be the case), but this is an extremely well-put-together trailer. The minimalistic heartbeat score and the heavy reliance on quiet, natural sound is so contradictory to today’s customary trailer tropes that when juxtaposed with the emotionally elevated performances it creates a truly unfamiliar, unexpected, and ominous tone. It’s a relentless tenor that builds all the way till the title card appears. This is a great trailer.
Browne: I think Gyllenhaal stole the kids. Why would Paul Dano steal two little girls? Jake definitely did it. Someone arrest Jake Gyllenhaal.