Trailers of the Week: Shut Up and Play the Hits, Moonrise Kingdom, and More
Shut Up and Play the Hits (2012)
Dan Silver: The pain. The agony. I had tickets to this show, but for reasons to not be shared with the general public I could not attend. So seeing the joy, celebration, and pathos in/around/during LCD Soundsystem’s final show leaves me feeling both sad that I missed what looked like a once-in-a-lifetime event, but also thankful that filmmakers Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern appear to have beautifully captured all the emotion and music of the event (not to mention a festive and crazy-looking Reggie Watts). Our colleague Chuck Klosterman’s line, “When you start a band, do you imagine how it will end?” is still roller coastering around my head. It’s really no surprise that Shut Up and Play the Hits is one of the hottest tickets at this year’s Sundance. I know my buddy Rembert was in attendance that night, so I’m dying to hear what he has to say.
Rembert Browne: I WAS IN THE SECOND ROW, SILVER. I BEST BE IN THIS FILM. Even if somehow I’m not, however, I’m seeing this and weeping all the way through it. For those of us there, it’s the rare chance to relive something special that has been swirling around in our heads and YouTube histories for nine months now. And for those who are simply fans of LCD and couldn’t make it, sure you’ll initially be sad, but you’ll get through it. Trust me. My favorite concert movie is Jay-Z’s Fade to Black, and although the initial bitterness of missing the concert hurt, by the end of the film I was just privileged to have witnessed it at all. I think this will be a shockingly similar experience.
Chronicle (February 3)
Silver: Chronicle looks like one big origin story, and in my opinion, those are usually the best part of any superhero movie. So although this short trailer holds nothing back and essentially tells everything about the film, I’m still going to give Chronicle the benefit of the doubt. But I’d like to pose this question: Is the stylistic and narrative use of “found footage” now the death-knell signal that a genre is on its way into a dark transition period? It’s an immensely easy story device to implement, and always adds a distinct level of nuance to even the most hackneyed of plots. Horror films took a good five to six years to recover from The Blair Witch Project, and destruction/monster movies have not really been the same since Cloverfield. Just something to think about.
Browne: Silver, you’re right, we know about 95 percent of what happens in this movie just from the trailer. Can’t lie, though, that leftover 5 percent has me pretty excited to see this film. Also, America’s most accomplished actor, Michael B. Jordan (The Wire, Friday Night Lights), is in it, so it’s destined to be a winner.
Browne: Wow, this looks bad, Silver. Wow. A movie about some twentysomethings trapped in one of those ATM rooms that you need a card to swipe into after-hours. Oh, and there is a guy in a jacket with a fur hood outside tormenting them. Every aspect of this looks horrible. I’m not even mildly invested in whether or not the characters live or die, which is the last thing you want in a movie where 80 percent of it centers around whether or not the characters live or die.
Silver: In spite of the marketers’ best efforts and a cast made up of appealing up-and-comers (She’s Out of My League’s Alice Eve, The Hurt Locker’s Brian Geraghty, and The Wackness’ Josh Peck), ATM still feels like a film which could have been made and released alongside its other ignored counterparts Phone Booth and Cellular.
Girl in Progress (April 27)
Silver: In the evolution from hot young starlet playing eye candy next to Nicolas Cage in a Bruckheimer action film to mature, respected female thespian, it’s almost necessary for an actress to try to play the sassy-but-troubled single mom (it snagged Julia Roberts her Oscar for Erin Brockovich, after all). So it’s no surprise to see Eva Mendes in Girl in Progress. I happen to be a big fan of Mendes — she’s obviously beautiful, but I think she can hold her own in both comedy and drama — so I’m happy to see her taking a role where the focus of an entire movie will be on her. From the director of the wonder Under the Same Moon, I have to believe that this heavy-handed, modern pop-laden trailer is not properly representing this film.
Browne: Silver, I unfortunately disagree with you (it always hurts) and think this subpar trailer is accurately depicting a subpar movie. The young starlet in the film might be the only chance it has to be watchable, because two-plus hours of Eva Mendes on camera is almost guaranteed to be a pretty rough ride.
Thin Ice (February 17)
Silver: If you could purchase a cake mix to bake a Thin Ice cake, here are the ingredients you’d find on the box.
— 1 Cup of A Simple Plan
— 3 Tbs of Fargo
— 2 jiggers of Little Miss Sunshine
— A pinch of washed-up ’80s teen stars (Yeah, that was Leah Thompson)
Kinnear, Arkin, and Crudup are all solid in quirky fare like this, but the trailer for the film is filled with way too many familiar elements to keep optimism levels high.
Browne: You forgot 3 eggs, flour, and 4 gallons of Rat Race.
Silent House (March 9)
Silver: It’s less overt and gnarly, and much more subtle and atmospheric, but the effectiveness of the Silent House trailer is due in large part to its appropriation of the sound design (camera machinery, jarring transitions from silence to terror) and narrator/text from the original 1974 trailer for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Staring Hollywood’s current “It” girl, Elizabeth Olsen, and written and directed by the duo who produced the terrifying 2003 shark-infested-water film Open Water, Silent House is poised to potentially be the early surprise hit of the spring.
Browne: This might finally be the film where my fear of scary movies is overcome by my obsession with a certain woman, that being Elizabeth Olsen. This movie looks awesome, and I mean that in the most nightmarish way possible. Silver, if I see it you must be there and you must repeatedly remind me that no matter what happens in the film, Elizabeth is going to be okay. Okay?
Moonrise Kingdom (May 25)
Silver: For film-school geeks and art-house snobs, the trailer for any new Wes Anderson film is the equivalent of some over-the-clothes heavy petting — titillating to a point, but it never goes far enough. Anderson’s modernized French New Wave style is so distinctive — from the emo-European music, to the matter-of-fact dialogue delivery, the long lens shots, and center foreground action framed by a proscenium of mise en scene (cinephile alert) — that nothing else feels quite like it (even when featured in a trailer). But after a subpar outing with The Darjeeling Limited, the trailer for Moonrise Kingdom appears to indicate a return to form for Anderson in the live action space (as we’re not counting The Fantastic Mr. Fox). It’s nice to see Ed Norton strapping back on his quirky-comedy Death to Smoochy suspenders, as he’s totally underrated in the genre. And I’m already giddy to see the CUT TO: after a shirtless, ax-and-open-wine-bottle-wielding Bill Murray says, “I’ll be out back. I’m going to find a tree to cut down” to youngsters playing a board game.
Browne: I can’t stop smiling. I sent this trailer to everyone I know that enjoys happiness. Man, if this movie is half as good as the trailer, it will definitely be a classic. Face hurts. Can’t stop smiling.