Trailers of the Week: The Master, The To Do List, Seven Psychopaths, and More

The Company You Keep — TIFF Trailer (TBD)

Silver: No matter how talented or versatile a performer is, sometimes they get pigeonholed into a genre. Audiences have all but refused to pay to see Vin Diesel in anything but a tight white T-shirt and souped-up roadster. And Jim Carrey was amazing in The Truman Show, Man on the Moon, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but all three of those film’s box office grosses combined still fall short of Bruce Almighty’s haul. As celebrities begin to fade, sometimes audiences just want to see their favorite stars do what they do best (see: both Expendables). So despite the quality of his last two directorial outings (Lions for Lambs and The Conspirator), I’m always intrigued when Robert Redford is attached to a political drama/thriller. Based on far too many films for me to list (but All the President’s Men, Ordinary People, and The Candidate to name a few), as far as I’m concerned, if Redford is in a film, much less directs a film, with any kind of “weight,” I’ll see it. And yet, The Company You Keep doesn’t stop with Redford. The film’s written by the talented Lem Dobbs (Haywire, The Limey, and Dark City) and stars a veritable menagerie of Hollywood’s best character actors. We’ll get a better indication of how good this film is after it’s been picked up and its distributor sets a release date (Oscar season = good, anything else = bad). But the inclusion of Shia LeBeouf aside, I’m really looking forward to seeing this one.

Browne: I know it’s easy to hate on the inclusion of Shia in anything positive, but I think this is the role that he’s supposed to play. There’s nothing worse than confident, macho Shia. Nothing. In this, he appears to be courageous, but at his core be nervous and timid. That’s a LeBeouf I can get behind.

And then on top of that, this movie involves fugitives. There’s nothing more exciting than a fugitive trying to clear his name while running, especially when he’s old and clever.


The To Do List (February 14, 2013)

Silver: Here’s a statement I never thought I’d say, much less write in a post thousands of people read (or hundreds, I don’t know): The trailer for Aubrey Plaza’s new movie evoked memories of Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles. Plaza, playing “herself” and speaking directly to the camera about her film, is evocative of an old movie-marketing tool regularly used by both Hitch and Mr. Frozen Peas. Plaza’s is less of a “short film” and much more of a clip reel framed by her on-camera address, but her intimate appeal elicits the same reaction as Hitch’s Psycho and The Birds trailers, and Welles’s Citizen Kane trailer. The audience feels like they’re being addressed, and personally invited, instead of talked at. It’s a method unfortunately long-lost, but one I wish was used in more trailers.

Oh, and this subversive piece of Valentine’s Day counterprogramming looks hilarious, and appears to be a perfect vehicle to raise Plaza’s comedy power ranking.

Browne: In the fantasy world you create in your head, all the young, funny people know each other and are friends. Sure, one’s on Parks and the other’s on Community, but you love the scenario when both of their shows are done shooting for the day and Aubrey Plaza and Donald Glover go out for drinks. Or at the NBC holiday party, when Bill Hader and Andy Samberg peel off from their SNL crew to take shots with the Glover and the Plaza. Or when the announcement that Arrested was coming back and Alia Shawkat received congratulatory texts from all of the aforementioned people, because they’re all such fans.


They’re all BFFs unless proven otherwise. Also, Aubrey is a star, and I’m not just saying that because she’s perfect. I’m saying it because she’s a star.

The Master (September 21)

Silver: The underlying metronomic banging enveloping The Master’s latest trailer elicits memories of the trailer for the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man. In both instances this audio tactic is employed to methodically pump air into the proverbial “drama balloon.” With the help of some clever editing, A Serious Man’s trailer plays it for humor, absurdity, and anxiety, ultimately popping the balloon with Jefferson Airplane’s abrasive “Somebody to Love.” The Master’s trailer is more careful. It fills the balloon to the brink, with a concoction of denial, deceit, mania, and a great sense of foreboding. But the trailer ends before the balloon bursts. Leaving all us viewers with an even greater sense of curiosity about the film. The marketers for The Master have teased us enough. The fire, that is, our curiosity for this film, is sufficiently stoked. Let’s just see it already.

Browne: Reason no. 125,352 that The Master is doing things better than every other film out there: “Final Theatrical Trailer.” This isn’t simply trailer no. 3 of however many they decide to make. They’ve made it clear that, after this, it’s showtime. They’ve chosen to do quality over quantity, and it’s worked. Yes, the film looks amazing, but the controlled manner in which they’ve created excitement is a revelation and something that should (and I’m guessing, will) be copied from here on out. Well done.

The Hole (September 28)

Silver: Piranha, The Howling, Twilight Zone: The Movie (third segment, “It’s a Good Life”), Gremlins, Explorers, Innerspace, The ‘Burbs, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Matinee, Small Soldiers, and Looney Toons: Back in Action. That’s director Joe Dante’s filmography from 1978 to 2003. Looney Toons: Back in Action (and arguably Small Soldiers) aside, I’d argue that Dante was as influential on modern-day filmmaking as any of his more known contemporaries. A former Corman protégé, his sense of humor, tone, and visual style can now be seen in the work of such filmmakers as Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, Edgar Wright, and Eli Roth. Although it was originally slated for 2009, The Hole is just now being released in the United States. The trailer is chock-full of Dante iconography, with my personal favorite being the juxtaposition of the horror with the wholesome, bright colors and patterns of the midcentury-style kitchen and the young blond boy’s costume. For me, Dante is in the same bucket as John Landis — for what they gave to me when I was a young and impressionable cinephile in the making, they deserve my attention, support, and viewership. Even if they’re not throwing heat like they used to.

Browne: I think I missed something, Silver. This looked horrible. Let me go watch it again.

[Cues up trailer for The Master.]

Chinese Zodiac (TBD)

Silver: If this film isn’t 90 minutes of Jackie Chan flying down one long road in his high-tech roller suit, then we all lose. What was this? And when can I see the whole thing? If anything, this is a throwback to such Chan classics as Supercop, The Legend of Drunken Master, and Operation Condor, so maybe we’ll even get some title-sequence bloopers. It’s (maybe) good to have you back, Mr. Chan.

Browne: Sorry, did you say “Jackie Chan” and “bloopers” in the same paragraph, Mr. Silver? Did you?

Never forget the sequence:

1. Kelsey Clinton
2. Chelsea Carter
3. Chelsea Grammar
4. Chelsea Clinton

The Sapphires — TIFF Trailer (TBD)

Silver: Recipe for The Sapphires:

  • ½ teaspoon A League of Their Own
  • 1 tablespoon Good Morning Vietnam
  • ½ teaspoon My Fair Lady
  • ¼ cup Bad News Bears
  • 1 cup Bridesmaids love interest
  • 2 cups Dreamgirls

Now who wouldn’t want to see that film?

Here ya go, Rem …

Browne: That’s almost the perfect recipe, Dan. All you forgot was:

  • 6 gallons The Jacksons: An American Dream
  • An additional tablespoon of Good Morning Vietnam


Seven Psychopaths (October 12)

Silver: This is a huge waste of a red band. This trailer is two minutes and 18 seconds long, and the first 1:10 is spent elongating recycled moments from the first Seven Psychopaths trailer so the words “shit” and “fuck” can now be heard. Not until Farrell assures us that “it’s fucking great” does this trailer start to truly sing. Once again, McDonagh’s dialogue sticks every landing when uttered by such scenery chompers as Walken, Rockwell, and Farrell. Along with The Master, Seven Psychopaths is the film I want to see the most at this year’s Toronto Film Festival. And I’m pretty sure that when the end credits start to roll, I’m going to want a YouTube mash-up of all of Walken’s lines. And I still can’t figure out what’s with Tom Waits and his rabbit?

Browne: I’m going to print out this face and put it on my wall.

He’s perfect. As for Tom Waits, I’m still not sure how to talk about his inclusion in his film. I’ll wait until the next trailer, which should give us 20 new seconds of footage. Maybe then will I be able to express myself. Not now, though. Not yet.

Filed Under: Aubrey Plaza, Seven Psychopaths, The Company You Keep, The Master, Trailers of the Week

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert