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Trailers of the Week: Shame, Haywire, and This Means War

Shame (December 2)

With Shame, writer/director Steve McQueen (a.k.a. “Not the one in the car”) reunites with his muse Michael Fassbender, who here plays a successful New York businessman who goes to great lengths to keep his sexual deviancy a secret. Although Shame debuted to critical acclaim in both the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, there was concern that a film so graphic and raw (emotionally and sexually) would be hard to sell to American audiences. Great trailer, though.

Verdict: Hints of Blue Valentine, so prepare for a gut punch.

Haywire (January 20)

The U.K. trailer for Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire dropped this week. The previously released U.S. one had a less abrasive voice-over, provided slightly more context, was more successful at delineating the multiple characters, and gave a much better idea of the film’s plot. But who cares? It’s probably safe to assume that Haywire — with a cast that includes Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Douglas, plus a script by The Limey writer Lem Dobbs — will deliver.

Verdict: Thank you sir, may I have another?

This Means War (February 17)

If the trailer for This Means War — in which Tom Hardy and Chris Pine play CIA agents who discover they’re both dating Reese Witherspoon — gives off a strong Mr. and Mrs. Smith 2 vibe, it could be because War writer Simon Kinberg also penned the aforementioned actioner.

Verdict: This one’s probably a rental. (Also, a bold prediction: Witherspoon is a spy, too.)

Carnage (December 16)

In Carnage’s first real domestic trailer, the film’s prestigious director (Roman Polanski), cast (Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, and John C. Reilly), and source material (the award-winning play God of Carnage) are all bragged about, reasonably. Thankfully all footage here looks worthy of the movie’s pedigree.

Verdict: Oscar Bait.

Sleeping Beauty (TBD)

In this one, Emily Browning (Sucker Punch) plays a college student moonlighting as a prostitute who drugs herself and lets men to do whatever they want to her.

Verdict: Eyes Wide Shut meets Lost in Translation.

The Divide (January 13)

After the lackluster Hit Man, expectations were low for Xavier Gens’ upcoming The Divide. But the trailer for this post-apocalyptic thriller makes it look halfway decent. Bonus: the triumphant return of eighties icon Michael Biehn to genre movies. Verdict: 3 ½ out of 5 Biehns.

Act of Valor (February 17)

Act of Valor not only borrows its fictional narrative from real-life Navy SEAL missions, it stars active SEALS in lead roles.

Verdict: This probably would have made a better documentary.

From a Mess to the Masses (TBD)

This rockumentary focuses Phoenix during the band’s recent promotional tour in support of their album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

Verdict: This looks like it’s for fans only.

Angels Crest (December 30)

In the disengaging and melodramatic trailer for Angels Crest a small town is rocked by the death of a small boy, whose father (Thomas Dekker) is suspected of murder by a local prosecutor (Jeremy Piven).

Verdict: 1 out of … [snoring]

Albert Nobbs (January 27)

Glenn Close plays a 19th-century Irish woman posing as a male butler. The Sinead O’Connor soundtrack doesn’t quite sync here and it’s hard to tell if this is a drama or comedy.

Verdict: 2 out of 5 girdles.

The Muppets (November 23)

The Muppets hit the big screen early this weekend, at least at AMC theaters, in this pre-movie ad. Oh, and here’s the film’s final trailer. Verdict: Go see this movie!

Daniel Silver is the Director of Development for ESPN Films. Follow him on Twitter at @Danielsilver11.