Trailers of the Week: Upside Down, Somebody Up There Likes Me, Super Bowl Teasers, and More

Upside Down (March 15)

Silver: Item no. 17 in my work in progress, Guidelines to Successful Movie Consumption: Theatrical Edition, reads as follows:

“Relatively unheard of, quaint-feeling, and seemingly silly science fiction films should never be disregarded outright. That said, they can, more often than not, be accurately judged by their trailers. Don’t let a solid cast fool you. Look specifically to see if the high-concept conceit appears to live organically in or get swallowed up by overly stylized visuals. Sometimes you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised with a film like Equilibrium. But more often than not you’re going to be sitting through a film like Ultraviolet or Paycheck. So look at the trailer carefully.”

With this in mind, Upside Down’s trailer leads me to believe this film is going to be a disaster. The visuals are trying way too hard to make up for a story device that would have been better suited for a short film. And even though I like both Jim Sturgess and Mary Jane Watson; they’re simply not enough to get me into a theater. Pass.

Browne: I really prefer movies that don’t have half the characters walking on the ceiling for two hours. Beyond the plot, this just seems like an unpleasant viewing experience, unless somehow I can lie on my side at the theaters, which usually isn’t a thing.


Somebody Up There Likes Me (March 8 — Theatrical / March 12 — VOD)

Silver: It would be very easy for me to sit here and wax on about the merits of indie comedies. How the genre (yes, “indie comedy” is now a genre) is an ideal space to champion the cinema voices of the future, and to weed out the rest. I could do that, but would that have anything to do with Somebody Up There Likes Me? Maybe, slightly. But what I’d really be doing is talking around the fact that although this trailer had a few smile-worthy moments, and one laugh-out-loud moment (watch till the end), I don’t think I’m ever going to see this film, much less think about it after I reread this post once it’s up on Grantland. I, like most, am a big fan of Nick Offerman (who’s also a producer on this film), and a bigger fan of the combo pack of Nick Offerman and his wife Megan Mullally, so it saddens me a little. Am I just now realizing how cynical I am, or, to reference Debi Newberry, did I just receive a Shockabuku, and my reality is forever altered? Because that would be good … I think?

Browne: Offerman’s line “You know how you know you’re old? When you sneeze and lose a tooth” might be enough to get me to this film, because I can only assume he has a few more lines of that caliber in the movie. This film excites me. But maybe that’s because I’m a giant rom-com sap.


Phil Spector (March 24 – HBO)

Silver: This teaser pretty much says it all: Pacino, Mirren, Mamet, Phil Spector. And if you’ve seen the photo of Pacino with “the hair,” there should really not be much keeping you from tuning in on March 24. Although Pacino now seems like a caricature of himself when he screams, it’s going to be nice to see an aged Ricky Roma spittin’ Mamet’s staccato text once again. And as an added bonus, Jeffrey Tambor is in the film. So I’m assuming Ricky Jay was unavailable.

Browne: I hadn’t seen a picture of Pacino with “the hair,” but now that I have, I will be tuning in on March 24. Also, bravo to HBO for that sequence with the records breaking, culminating in the stencil of Spector’s face. Really well done.


Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons (TBD)

Silver: Yes, this trailer looks like a dream one might have after eating that four-days-out-of-the-fridge yogurt you found sitting on the windowsill. So why is something this bizarre and seemingly discountable included in this post? Two words: Stephen Chow. Who? Did you see Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle, or CJ7? No? Well, your loss. Chow’s unique blend of action, humor, and heart, mixed with his ability to write, direct, produce, star in, and compose the music for his films, makes him the Hong Kong cinema equivalent of Charlie Chaplin and Robert Rodriguez’s love child. So wipe that quizzical look off your face, because regardless of how many pig people, dancing albinos, spear-wielding monkeys, or hyperkinetic headache-inducing visuals are packed into a Stephen Chow film, the dude is truly one of the few true auteurs currently working in the global film space. Like Tarantino and the two Andersons (Paul Thomas and Wes), each one of his films is a distinctive moviegoing experience, which I greatly anticipate every time.

Browne: I don’t care what this film is about, I want to see it in the most grandiose scale possible. The biggest screen, the loudest volume, everything. There’s something great, and increasingly rare, about going into a film completely cold, with such little knowledge of the premise, but this has the potential to be that film for a lot of people, myself included. That’s exciting.


Super Bowl Teasers

Silver: Rem, we’ve often voiced our disdain for Hollywood’s new practice of releasing a teaser for a trailer. Gone are the days when you sometimes went to the bathroom during the game because you didn’t want to miss the commercials. On February 1, 1999, I watched the Denver Broncos beat the Atlanta Falcons 34 to 19 to be crowned Super Bowl XXXIII champions (sorry, buddy, not a good memory for you). A mostly forgettable game, but what I remember most about that night was a short, hypercut, 30-second teaser spot for a mysterious film featuring booming music, a guy in a duster running up a wall, a woman clad in tight leather, impossibly leaping off a rooftop over a cavernous gap, and, as if verbalizing the perplexed thoughts running through my head, a dumbfounded Keanu Reeves uttering a single word: “Whoa.” That was the world’s first glimpse of The Matrix. And like much of the Super Bowl audience that day, my mind was blown, and my interest was piqued.

Because it was a surprise!

Now studios issue press releases listing the films that will have trailers during “the big game,” and release these worthless teasers for the trailers. So Rem, unless you disagree, let’s provide some brief thoughts on these empty vessels before seeing their full counterparts on Sunday. Next week, we can delve a little deeper into the full versions.

Browne: I’m game, but let’s hurry. I need gumbo.


Oz The Great and Powerful (March 8 )

Silver: I still don’t understand the difference between the three witches, and don’t have a good sense of this film’s plot. I’m just going to continue to live under the delusion that Raimi directed the Evil Dead remake.

Browne: This is the best Oz trailer yet, because it’s the shortest.


The Lone Ranger (July 3)

Silver: There’s bound to be a “love interest” in this film. Is it strange that we haven’t seen that actress yet? Is it indeed Helena Bonham Carter? And if so, does she fall for Hammer or Depp? By that way, that’s a great band name — Hammer & Depp.

Browne: This is the best Lone Ranger trailer yet, because it’s the shortest.


Iron Man 3 (May 3)

Silver: Cheadle in the patriotic War Machine getup is pretty hilarious. And it’s nice to see the great Guy Pearce in a role in which he will undoubtedly be underused. I blame Rollo Tomasi.



World War Z (June 21)

Silver: After finally getting around to reading the source material, my opinion of this project has definitely changed. Instead of just ho-humming its recycled generic action-horror DNA, I’m now just sad, because this film is clearly going be a wasted opportunity.

Browne: Brad Pitt saving humanity is more believable than John Cusack saving humanity, and on about the same level as Tom Cruise saving humanity, but isn’t anywhere near Will Smith saving humanity. Just trying to put things in perspective.

Filed Under: HBO, Nick offerman, Oz the Great and Powerful, Phil Spector, Trailers of the Week, World War Z

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert