Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Did Someone Say Trailers?

We're smack dab in the middle of summer, and you know what that means. Holiday movie trailers! I know that there have been a lot of teasers for films coming out next year, like "John Carter," "The Dark Knight Rises," "The Amazing Spider-Man," and "The Avengers," and the upcoming Comic-Con is sure to unleash a few more, but let's take a look at this year's big titles first. As always, all links lead to Trailer Addict.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - Oh look, Robert Downey Jr's other franchise is back for round two. Nothing too different here from round one, as the sequel's trailer follows almost identical humor and action beats as the original "Sherlock Holmes" trailer. However, this will mark the Hollywood debut of Noomi Rapace, star of the original "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," and we get a few good glimpses of her here. Ironically, "Sherlock," will be going up against the American remake of "Dragon Tattoo" at the box office this Christmas.

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - Tom Cruise is still believable as a daredevil secret agent, but he's getting awfully long in the tooth. Thank goodness Jeremy Renner is along for this outing, and according to some reports will be taking over the reins of the franchise if this does well enough to warrant another sequel. This is also the first live-action film directed by Brad Bird, best known for animated wonders "The Incredibles" and "The Iron Giant." I'm very curious to see what he's going to do with "Mission: Impossible."

Arthur Christmas - Considering the audience reactions I've seen to this teaser, Aardman may be in trouble. We've seen the modernized Christmas elf schtick so often, from the "Santa Clause" movies, to "Prep and Landing," the concept feels old and played out. Also, the marketing folks made the mistake of not explaining who Arthur Christmas is, or at least getting us to wonder who he is. Still plenty of time to fix that though, and the next Aardman movie coming in spring, "The Pirates! Band of Misfits," looks like a lot of fun.

War Horse - This is a terrible trailer, which is surprising considering that it's a Steven Spielberg film and presumably being positioned as Oscar bait. Who the hell cut this thing? Dump the awful, corny onscreen text, and it would have played ten times better. There's some beautiful cinematography on display, but everything else comes across as so generic and uninspired. The film itself may not be so bad. "War Horse" has a lot of prestige on its side, based on a beloved children's book and stage play that just trotted off with a cartload of statuettes at the Tonys this year.

Hugo - Here we have the movie formerly known as "The Invention of Hugo Cabret." I know they're trying to sell this one to kids and parents, but it worries me a little that I hardly see a sign of Martin Scorsese's hand as a director here. Instead, we have Sacha Baron Cohen playing a broad comic villain, Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz being adorable scamps, and Jude Law settling into the character actor phase of his career. Toss in some shiny visuals, and I suppose that's enough for a kids' film. To the film's credit, those visuals do look pretty shiny.

The Adventures of Tintin - So many talented people are involved in "Tintin," but I can't get over the fact that this is being done in that creepy Robert Zemeckis motion-capture animation style that just about every other studio in town has given up on. Even Zemeckis himself has been shut down after "Mars Needs Moms." At the beginning of the year, it looked like Spielberg was going to have a great holiday season with two big releases. Now I'm not sure that either is going to connect with audiences.

The Iron Lady - Will Meryl Streep bag her seventeenth Oscar nomination for playing Margaret Thatcher? One line and about ten seconds of screen time is not enough to tell. I'm sure a full trailer will be out soon, but I wanted to include the teaser here because this will probably be one of those performances you're going to be hearing a lot about in the run-up to awards season.

Jack & Jill - I may be the only one who thinks this Adam Sandler comedy doesn't look so bad. Or maybe I've been subjected to so many of these mindless farces, I've just become immune. Sandler will cross-dress to play an obnoxious female version of himself, which at least gives the audience something new to gawk at. And look, Al Pacino is going to cameo - though I can't help wondering if what we saw of him in the trailer is actually the entirety of his appearance in the film. Yeah, I'm not the target audience for these films, and I've stopped trying to figure out why they're popular. Eh, live and let live.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - My favorite trailer of the year so far, for its simplicity and the paranoid mood it achieves. This is exactly what a trailer should be, a quick introduction that lays out the film's premise and the reasons why the audience should see it. In this case, we have a tense British spy thriller with a stellar cast, including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, and many more. I can't wait.

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