Trailers of the Week: The Impossible, Stolen, Bullet to the Head, Passion, and More

The Impossible (December 21)

Silver: As a husband and a father, the events of The Impossible are my greatest fear. So it should come as no surprise that this trailer wrecked me (I’m talking real tears). It’s a weird feeling to be both eager and terrified to see a film. Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage) seems to have crafted the epic disaster film Roland Emmerich has only dreamed of — one displaying sincere human emotion. And the casting of the immensely talented and always endearing Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor will help guarantee that the enormity of the horrors from the unfolding action be grounded and truthful. From what we can see in the trailer, the tsunami doesn’t appear overdone or gratuitous, but only slightly exaggerated (mostly through camera angles) from the shocking images we all witnessed on the news. I’m hoping that with heartbreaking/warming moments like the one of the brothers darting through the miles of devastation and into each other’s arms, The Impossible is going to appeal to a much broader audience than just us terrified parents.

Rem … tell me I’m not wrong. You’re IN on this as much as I am, right?

Browne: As a non-husband and non-father, the events of The Impossible are also my greatest fear. I don’t want to watch any of the other trailers. I just want to sit here and continue this good cry. Yes, of course I’m 100 percent IN on this. Back to crying.

Stolen (September 14)

Silver: I couldn’t organize my thoughts into a complete write-up on this trailer because my mind was clogged with too many disjointed quips. So instead of struggling, I figured I’d just list them all for you:

  • I’d like to think that Stolen is not about Nicolas Cage having to steal $10 million to save his daughter, but to in fact steal the money to get his wig back from Josh Lucas (who appears to be playing an amalgamation of all of Cage’s craziest characters).
  • Nicolas Cage is a perfect basis for a debate I’ve longed to have: Should a criterion be established to determine if a now-embarrassing Oscar-winning performer can and should still be listed as “Academy Award Winner”? At this point, labeling Cage like this is laughable, an insult to the Academy, and I’d go as far as saying counterproductive to any film.
  • As The Expendables 2 proved, sometimes it’s worth the price of admission just to see an over-the-hill action star suck air and struggle while running in wide shots. Stolen looks like it’s filled with these.
  • As a picture is worth a thousand words, I don’t think I could write anything as potent for Stolen as the dumbfounded, gawking, slack-jawed, Nicolas Cage screenshots my buddy Rembert is bound to select.

Browne: I tried to take a screenshot and then my computer got a virus. So I’m typing this from a payphone. Thanks, Nic. Thanks, Silver.

Frozen Ground (November 30)

Silver: By not featuring any studio/distributor banding at the top, or any release indicators (even something as general as “Coming Soon”) at the end, it’s safe to assume that this shoddy and disjointed 2:47 is not Frozen Ground’s official trailer. (It’s probably some kind of sales or marketing reel. So, Rem, get ready to cover this one all over again, sometime soon.) But for the sake of this post, let’s imagine it’s official. I’m going to say that the disclosure of pretty much the whole plot, and its comical soundtrack mixing — hard cuts or almost nonexistent dissolves between worn-out commercial tracks, cheaply synthesized metronomic tones, and bombastic and overly emo horn and string compositions — are welcoming signals that this trailer is attempting to truthfully represent this 50 Cent–produced, part–Insomnia, part–One Hour Photo (a.k.a “The Crazy Robin Williams Two-fer”) B-level thriller replica. And speaking of 50 Cent: Let’s give the guy some credit as a producer. He must pay extremely well, as the casts of his films have consisted of such performers as Ray Liotta, Val Kilmer, Ryan Phillippe, Robert De Niro, Forest Whitaker, John Cusack, Nicolas Cage, Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Josh Duhamel, and Bruce Willis (TWICE).

Browne: My problem with this film is that John Cusack and Nic Cage kind of look alike. So I really don’t know what’s going on. Are there two bad guys? Are there two good guys? Is John Cusack even in this film? Also, two Nic Cage trailers in one roundup = #MAYANS.

10 Years (September 14)

Silver: There aren’t a lot of new narrative nuances to mine out of the reunion movie genre, so the ultimate success or failure of a film like 10 Years rests directly on the shoulders of the cast. These performers need to be likable and relatable so the viewers can imagine themselves being friends with these people, thereby subconsciously transferring and projecting their own emotions and memories through them into the film’s unfolding story line. When it works, you get Beautiful Girls, Grosse Pointe Blank, and The Big Chill; and when it doesn’t you get Indian Summer and American Reunion. 10 Years has a great cast, so the big box is checked. And its trailer plays like a big, frothy mug of nostalgia. Which is dangerous, because at least for me, that leads to hours of Google and Facebook stalking.

Browne: Only one thing matters with this film:

I guess that was two things. Two GREAT things.

Bullet to the Head (February 1)

Silver: I’d strongly suggest that when Bullet to the Head is released, audiences be given smocks to protect themselves from the barrage of action-hero schmaltz, borderline racist banter, and hackneyed ageist humor. With 48 Hrs, director Walter Hill helmed one of the greatest buddy-cop movies of all time, so with the aforementioned narrative devices in tow, I can understand why Hill was chosen to direct this film. But based simply on this trailer, Bullet doesn’t contain any of the balance and nuance of Hours, and in turn, feels much more like that film’s much-maligned successor, Another 48 Hrs. But for all this, I couldn’t help but smile when I saw Sly in an ax fight. In this digital age we’ve unfortunately substituted the crude absurdity of two guys in an empty warehouse wielding axes for an orgy of special effects. Man, I do miss the hyperbolic simplicity of ’80s action films.

Browne: I love how this is Rush Hour. And Taken. And Rush Hour 2. Silver, I know you love Sly and he holds a special place in your heart, but this is bad. Just horrible. There is NO way that Sly wins an ax fight against THIS GUY:

I’m going to go watch Wild Things. Bye.

The Barrens (TBD)

Silver: A clear signal the bottom of the horror genre barrel has been sufficiently scraped is when “the evil spirits of the Pine Barrens” are viewed as viable scare options. And come on, even if you’re running for your life from murderous tree creatures, who stays out in the woods for that long? The main characters could have built a log cabin based on the timeline roughly established in this trailer. And I know he’s really a Brit, but it’s distracting to hear Vampire Bill speak without his Louisiana accent. There’s really nothing in this trailer that in any way entices me to see this film.

Browne: I’ll be honest, I didn’t listen to the whole trailer. After 30 seconds, I turned on “Pop That” and watched what appeared to be family drama in the woods. I highly recommend digesting this trailer in a similar fashion. It’s awesome.

Passion — Toronto Film Festival Trailer (TBD)

Silver: Brian De Palma hasn’t had a commercially successful film since 1996’s Mission: Impossible (yeah, the first one) or a truly relevant film since 1993’s Carlito’s Way (back when Penelope Ann Miller was considered a sex symbol), so with Passion, it’s nice to see him back doing what he does best — shoddily remaking (reinterpreting, appropriating, ripping off?) someone else’s film. Passion is De Palma’s “Americanized” version of Alain Corneau’s erotic corporate thriller Crime d’amour. Passion does have one thing going for it: its two stars. Both Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace are highly talented and appear perfectly cast as Yin and Yang adversaries. As Costner, Connery, and De Niro did in The Untouchables, maybe these two actresses can shine in spite of their director.

Browne: I haven’t missed a McAdams film since seeing Mean Girls. I SAW THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE, PEOPLE. So yeah, definitely in on this. Excited, even.

Butter (September 7 — VOD / October 5 — Theatrical)

Silver: Spanning the full alphabetical spectrum of celebrity, Butter’s trailer makes the film feel like the love child of Thank You for Smoking, The Campaign, and the documentary Hands on a Hard Body. As seen in such films as Juno and The Invention of Lying, Jennifer Garner shines when playing the type A with a hint of delusion (she’s also one of the film’s producers). And it’ll be nice to see Olivia Wilde flex her broader acting and comedic chops, which up to this point have been hidden underneath a slew of doe-eyed damsel roles, and only seen on the small screen while in the friendly confines of House’s Princeton Plainsboro Hospital. In recent years, quirky comedies like Butter have struggled, but with a dynamic and tiered multi-platform release, and Rob Corddry’s crazy bug eyes, maybe this one can break through.

Browne: There’s a chance they did everything right in making this film. The gave Garner the role perfect for her personality (her personality), they seem to have a clever script on their hands, and they picked the correct Olivia. I’m excited for this film, if for no other reason than to see that wonderful little black girl make masterpieces out of butter. There’s no way I’m missing that.

Filed Under: Sylvester Stallone, Trailers of the Week

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert