The Great Gatsby (December 25)
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Silver: Let’s start with a tweet by Parks and Recreation creator Michael Schur. On May 22, he tweeted, “Just watched the Great Gatsby trailer. It looks like some of Scorsese’s and Vinny Chase’s best work.” In just 40 characters Schur succinctly and accurately summed up both the grandeur and ludicrousness of Baz Luhrmann’s latest visual assault. No way can I do better (Rem, maybe. Me, no).
So instead of a full writeup, I’m going to just point out a few things
• Outside of Tobey Maguire nonsensically screaming, “Get out of here!” why is everyone whispering in this trailer? Are we to believe this entire film is a secret played out over Jay-Z music?
• A decision needs to be made right now. Either Carey Mulligan or Michelle Williams needs to get a new hairstyle. These two talents are going to be around for a long time, and for the past two years they’ve looked exactly the same.
• FACT: This movie is going to be awful. As my top three worst films of all time go, it’s:
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon
So I’m shocked a studio would allow Luhrmann to make another self-indulgent, big-budget period piece. At least Moulin Rouge! had decent music and Ewan McGregor.
Browne: It won’t be that bad, Silver. Leo is in the film, we can’t forget that. Yes, he’s slipped up before, but there’s no way he’s playing Jay Gatsby and will let it become a legendary dud. I just can’t live in a world where that’s true. Some other notes (because Schur did say pretty much everything in a short tweet):
• “No Church in the Wild” worked for Safe House. Not The Great Gatsby. Not once did Nick Carraway wake up after a night of partying and say “Sunglasses and Advil. Last night was mad real.” Not a once.
• “Love Is Blindness” should have been used for the entire trailer.
• PLEASE DON’T BE AS BAD AS EVERYONE NOW THINKS IT WILL BE. PLEASE.
Skyfall (November 9)
Silver: 2008’s Quantum of Solace was the last time James Bond appeared on-screen. And aside from Quantum being Bond’s worst title since Octopussy, the film itself was late–Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton bad. Even though we don’t gain a lot of plot from this Skyfall teaser, the good news is that the film appears to be much more Casino Royale than it does Quantum. Daniel Craig is the best Bond since Connery appeared on-screen as the suave secret agent 50 years ago (yup, Dr. No was released in 1962), and with Sam Mendes (American Beauty huh? yup, that guy) helming, I’m really looking forward to a more brooding and human Bond than we might have seen in the past. My one gripe with the trailer is that John Barry’s iconic Bond theme was not more prominently used. There’s a muddled and almost indecipherable “version” of it in the film’s button, but for me, nothing gets me more excited for a Bond film than hearing the ”Da Da, Du.”
Browne: Daniel Craig can do no wrong in my book, and this film looks like it will be more of the same. Also, the way he responds to the word “Skyfall” by simply saying “DONE” is incredible. I’ve never had that reaction when it comes to a mission or something of utmost importance, but if you say “Biscuits” or “Denny’s” or “Crossfire,” my response will always mirror that of Bond’s. DONE.
The Master (October 12)
Silver: “Well, let’s just see if we can make you remember what happened.”
Hell yeah! Let’s!
The term “auteur” applies to very few working American directors. From his first film (Hard Eight, 1996) Paul Thomas Anderson’s name has been on this short list of American auteurs. It’s evident from his thematically varied body of work, and the deeply personal nature of his narratives, that Anderson only makes films he feels immensely passionate about. Unlike some other heralded directors, he does not churn out films regularly, so when one is creeping up on the horizon, there’s a certain level of excitement in the cinema community usually only reserved for a new Malick or (when he was still alive) a new Kubrick film. Which, based on the teaser for The Master, feels very appropriate; as a chameleon in style and form, the visuals for this film have hints of both Malick and Kubrick. In their beauty, yes, but more specifically in their lens selection, color scheme, and ostensibly deliberate constructions.
And the score. Jonny Greenwood’s music once again creates an ominous tone that immediately places the audience on the edge of their seats by complementing Anderson’s visuals to establish a world in which it feel like something awful is about to happen any minute.
I am quietly counting the days till I can see this film.
Browne: Joaquin Phoenix’s face in this trailer is simultaneously going to give me dreams and nightmares until this film comes out, at which point (depending on the plot of the movie) I will continue to have dreams or nightmares. I don’t know what this film is about, but I like it. Joaquin’s the evil genius. So glad to see him back.
The Words (September 12)
Silver: As the The Words trailer started, I initially asked myself, “Didn’t Bradley Cooper already make this movie? Take out the sci-fi and the drugs, and doesn’t The Words feel thematically a lot like Limitless?” But ultimately, as the melodramatic fiction vs. reality dueling narrative began to reveal itself, my confusion disappeared, and left in its place was a big lump of “Ho-Hum” and “Who Cares?” Is this a drama, is this a thriller, and has this trailer shown me that would make me want to fork over $12? And the answers to those questions are: “I don’t know,” “I don’t know,” and “Absolutely not.” I like Cooper, but not enough to see him in an amalgamated version of Limitless, The Notebook, and Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.
Browne: I would see this for Zoe and Zoe alone. I don’t really understand what’s going on in this film, and to be quite honest, I’m not that upset by that, because it looks kind of silly. Also, that song used in the trailer is just miserable. Very confused about why a song from Watch the Throne wasn’t used.
Hyde Park on Hudson (December 7)
Silver: The presence of Bill Murray, playing an immensely endearing FDR, instantly lifts this film above the level of “just another The King’s Speech knockoff.” There’s nothing unique about the way this trailer is put together, and yet for the entire 2:30 I found myself thoroughly engaged and smiling. I haven’t seen enough to say that this could be Murray’s career-defining performance, but even in small snippets (specifically the private moments between Roosevelt and the King of England) Murray’s lively demeanor and playful spirit are engrossing.
Browne: Even though at this point, “based on true events/a true story” doesn’t really drive me to the edge of my seat like it used to (because I think the tagline is vague and slightly misleading), I’m into the idea of a fictional account of the actual time FDR and the King of England were hanging out. All the characters in the film are intriguing and I can’t really imagine this being a bad film. Great? Who knows, but it looks quite entertaining and watchable.
The Apparition (August 24)
Silver: This is a horror movie. It stars some hot girl and the guy who played Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies.
Browne: The tagline “Once you believe, you die” is hilarious. I love it. This movie looks so bad, but there’s no denying the greatness that is the connection between believing and not living. I love that. Wow, I hope no one sees this. Not one person.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (June 22)
Silver: It’s sad that in order to justify their bloated production budgets, and the insane amount of money spent to market a film to relevancy, studios have had to resort to ideas that feel more like SNL sketches than they do foundations for feature films (Will Forte was born to play this role at 11:45 p.m. on any given Saturday night). And I know Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is based on a book (and from what I’ve heard, a rather clever book), but I’m choosing to ignore that and use this oil-and-water conceit as a way to rant against “the system.” But here’s the saddest part of it all when it comes to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I now actually don’t even believe in anything I just wrote. Have you watched this red band trailer? Screw the ridiculous shoehorned concept, there’s nothing better on a hot summer day than some good night-walker-killing action washed down with buckets of blood.
Browne: I can’t wait for 40 years from now, when they make Barack Obama: Recession Whisperer.