Posts tagged "Trailers"

TrailerBytes: This Is 40 and more!

TrailerBytes with Dan Spritz

This Is 40

Based on Judd Apatow’s recent projects (well, Girls mostly) and the frankness of this trailer, it seems like This Is 40 is going to take a real-life view of marriage that will draw its comedy from real-life discomfort. Having never been married, I can’t say for sure is this trailer is offering an accurate depiction of marriage. I certainly hope it is though, because it will be a weird film otherwise. Even though this is a pseudo-sequel to Knocked Up, it doesn’t appear have the same comedic sensibility. This trailer leans heavily towards dramedy, it looks more like it will be a good movie than it will be a good comedy. This may be because of a concerted effort from Apatow to move away from the kind of movies that he hung his hat on for so many years. What other explanation could there be for Paul Rudd’s outright repudiation of Chris O’Dowd’s bachelorific behavior? If that is the direction this film is going, it will be interesting for reasons that have nothing to do with comedy. On top of that, how could Paul’s character possibly not know who Tom Petty is? If he is in fact forty, Petty should be in his wheelhouse.

This Is 40

Zero Dark Thirty

This trailer has the appropriate tone for a film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. It’s dark, foreboding, and constantly feels like it’s on the edge of breaking down. It also has a fantastic cast (Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Kyle Chandler, Mark Strong), although they are largely obscured from this trailer. From a technical standpoint, it really works. Do we need to keep making movies about the War on Terror though? They feel divisive at best, and jingoistic at worst. I’m cool with The Newsroom having a triumphant episode about killing Bin Laden, because no one takes The Newsroom seriously. This looks like an awfully serious film though, and I can’t imagine it will be a positive contribution to what we already know about May 1, 2011


This is a disgusting, possibly nausea-inducing trailer. It is a mess, both in terms of content and organization. As if the concept of intentionally acquiring diseases isn’t bad enough, the trailer also ventures into cannibalism, and it appears to depict a character dining on brains. This would not be appealing if it was in service of a story that made sense or tried to make a worthwhile statement about society. Instead, it trots out a tired criticism of celebrity obsession and then draws a connection that simply isn’t there. I would agree that people want to achieve the faux-perfection celebrities convey. That’s not what happens here though. Diseases are in many ways the antithesis of human perfection, so acquiring the same diseases as celebrities obscures any sort of statement to the point that it doesn’t make sense. It’s really just a gross-out film, I can’t imagine I’ll ever watch it.

Dan Spritz / Cherry On Top / @DanSpritz

TrailerBytes: The Paperboy, Skyfall and Nobody Walks

TrailerBytes with Dan Spritz

The Paperboy

This is the movie where Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron. That very fact probably makes any associated marketing strategy superfluous. If it doesn’t though, this trailer isn’t going to do it any favors. In the opening clip, Kidman, Efron, and Matthew McConaughey appear to be engaging in some sort of competition to use the most ludicrous southern accent imaginable. It’s not a good look, but it also might be the most lucid part of the trailer. After that, it’s just a mess. Kidman wants to get her fiancé (John Cusack) out of jail, and she enlists journalists Efron and McConaughey to help her. I don’t believe she understands the legal process. Regardless, they seem to do very little, while Efron and Kidman do have an affair. Then, to everyone’s surprise, Cusack is let free. Why? I suppose the better question is, why not? He emerges from jail, and violence ensues, because what else is a movie going to do with a character who’s just been set free? (No, Nicole does not pee on Zac in this trailer.)

The Paperboy


I don’t believe this trailer is two and a half minutes. Only time dilation could allow so much information to be so clearly conveyed in such a short period of time. It sounds like an amazing movie, so let’s just run down the beats:

  • After a lack of room forces a sniper to shoot at someone James Bond (Daniel Craig) is fighting with, Bond is hit with the bullet, forcing him to fall off a train, presumably to his death. Why didn’t they trust Bond to kill the thug himself? It’s what he does, and pushing someone else off would certainly have been easy.
  • A flash drive with the identity of every agent embedded in a terrorist organization has fallen into the wrong hands. Why would they put all of that information on something like that? That’s just asking for trouble.
  • Bond comes back from the dead, because resurrection is apparently his only hobby. Aren’t drinking and womanizing his hobbies? Whatever.
  • There’s a new Q (Ben Whisaw), and he looks like he’s 24. Precocity is hilarious!
  • Bond is given a gun that only responds to his signature. I imagine this will come into play at a climactic moment.
  • Javier Bardem plays a villain (and brothel owner) who traffics in a deeper fear that anyone can imagine. Settle down Cillian Murphy, I’m sure he also has tricks up his sleeve.
  • Bond meets a blond Bardem who is, in fact, terrifying.
  • Bond has a sex scene where a woman shaves his beard. I have no further comments.

Nobody Walks

This movie, co-written by Lena Dunham(!!!) offers up the rare love sextet. In the top tier of maybe-philandering, we have filmmaker/producer/rich LA person John Krasinski helping young filmmaker/not-yet producer/up-and-coming LA person Olivia Thirlby with the sound on her movie. In the next tier of maybe-philandering we have Rosemarie DeWitt entering into a doubly-forbidden relationship with Justin Kirk (she plays Krasinski’s wife / Kirk’s therapist). I don’t predict it will end well. In the third tier we have not philandering, but a relationship that is presumably frowned upon between DeWitt’s (and Krasinski’s?) daughter and Krasinski’s assistant. Amazingly, Dylan McDermott shows up and has no romantic interactions with anyone. As convoluted as that may all sound, it makes for a compelling trailer. It’s amazingly sensual, to the point that it sexualizes a lemon in a way that makes sense. I’d be worried about the acidity. though More importantly, this trailer introduces angry John Krasinski. Have you ever seen John angry? I certainly haven’t, and I want to see more. The potential there is limitless.

Dan Spritz / Cherry On Top / @DanSpritz

TrailerBytes: Life Of Pi and more!

TrailerBytes with Dan Spritz

Life of Pi

I’ve not read the book this movie is based on, so I’m going in cold. This trailer only traffics in broad strokes, vaguely highlighting “triumph.” That’s fine, teaser trailers aren’t supposed to give too much away. They are, however, supposed to present a tiny morsel of the movie in a way that makes people want more. This trailer doesn’t really do that. Although the rest of the trailer looks beautiful, it opens in a driving rainstorm where the rain does not look real. Rain has to look real. After that, we see our protagonist in a lifeboat with a tiger. It appears he takes great pains to make sure the tiger doesn’t eat him, but it seems to me that the tiger would be able to eat him if he wanted to. The rest of the trailer then revolves their dual survival, which seems unlikely. They don’t appear to have any food, and they’re in the middle of the ocean. Instead of lingering on this though, the trailer throws magic at us. Why? Obviously because this coming of age story is so magical. What a mess. I need to see another trailer, this isn’t doing it for me.

Life Of Pi

Chasing Mavericks

It’s a sharp contrast to switch from Life of Pi to Chasing Mavericks. The former is weird and unconventional, while the later is filled with clichés. The A plot is that someone (Jonny Weston) who wants to do something no one believes he can do. After intense preparation against a probably-contrived time limit and a setback or two, he will of course succeed. In this case, he is trying to surf the biggest wave in the world. That could lend itself to some cool visuals, but nothing about the trailer makes it seem like an exciting topic. Meanwhile, the B plot is Weston finding a father figure in Gerard Butler, who is his surfing mentor. It is probably better to say that they find each other, because that’s what the trailer hints at. Also, that’s the way clichéd stories always go. If you like surfing, see this movie. If you like Gerard Butler, see this movie. Otherwise, you’ll be able to predict what’s going to happen.

Cloud Atlas

I’ve not read the book this movie is based on either. I need to read more. While I was able to muddle through the Life of Pi trailer, I have no hope of comprehending this trailer. Here’s what I have been able to comprehend: bad things have always happened and always will happen. Also, people tend to follow patterns. I don’t have any idea how any of these time periods will be interwoven, but I am looking forward to seeing Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Jim Sturgess try.

Dan Spritz / Cherry On Top / @DanSpritz

TrailerBytes: ‘Man Of Steel’ and ‘The Master’

TrailerBytes with Dan Spritz

Man of Steel

It was a weak week for trailers, so I wanted to make sure I saw the week’s only signature trailer in theatres for Man Of Steel. It’s suitably aloof for a teaser trailer, and its dark tone seems to give a sense of what the movie will be like. In those large ways, it is effective. Christopher Nolan is the producer (hence the attachment to DKR), and that connection reveals itself with the very first shot in which water is flowing over rocks. He loves water. The specifics of the trailer are not without fault though. Between the voiceover and the background music, there is a heavy implication that Superman has in fact just killed Gandalf. I’m not ready for that. Then, the first third of the trailer presents as Deadliest Catch: The Movie. This is the only time we see anyone else in the trailer, but it’s only for a second. Right after, a logging truck elects not to stop when Clark Kent is hitchhiking, which makes me wonder if he has a contract with the Discovery networks. Does he go work on Ax Men next? He probably doesn’t, because the next shot is of him flying into space, which is totally awesome. It is an exhilarating ending to the trailer. It also serves to drive home just how isolated and alone he really is. If the movie is going to focus on the emotional impact of his otherness, as opposed to how he can help the world, it could be amazing. I’m excited.

Man Of Steel

The Master

This film has earned more buzz from (probably) being about Scientology than from anything that has happened in any of the trailers. It’s hard to see it as a standalone film. Because Scientology is so obviously terrible, I can’t separate my feelings about it from my feelings about this trailer. It depicts what seems to be a cult based on nonsense (aren’t they all?). Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as the L. Ron Hubbard figure, preying on returning war veterans. They almost certainly have PTSD, and he successfully appeals to the alienation they feel as a result. This alone would cast “Scientology” in a dark enough light for me, but it’s only the beginning. The cult is presented as a collective based on nonsense. As Jesse Plemons’ character puts it, “He’s making all this up as he goes along — you don’t see that?” He’s playing Hoffman’s son, and his disbelief speaks to the nonsense that surrounds this trailer. What kind of crazy person is so far out there that they can’t brainwash their own son? Amy Adams also shows up, as Hoffman’s probably-wife, who expresses her own uncertainty. She seems to be a believer, but she has questions. The movie revolves around Joaquin Phoenix’s Freddie, a possibly-insane man the rest of the cult is striving to save. This trailer does a poor job contrasting his craziness with the rest of the craziness. It all seems to come from the same place. Still, it paints “Scientology” as the manic machinations of a lunatic, and that’s the biggest takeaway. Also, as you can tell, I don’t have a definitive answer for most of what’s going on in this trailer. I guess that means … it’ll keep me on my seat? I’m guardedly optimistic.

Dan Spritz / Cherry On Top / @DanSpritz

TrailerBytes: Jack Reacher, Oz and more!

TrailerBytes with Dan Spritz

Jack Reacher

I was completely prepared for this to be the signature trailer of the last two weeks. It was the buzziest, and Tom Cruise doesn’t do that many movies. I suppose the buzz is all attributed to him because of Katie Holmes’ recent return to sanity though. There is nothing unique about this trailer. Cruise plays some sort of vigilante ex-cop. He doesn’t care about the law, he only cares about what’s right. Given the subjectivity of “rightness”, that’s true of every person in the world, but whatever. In addition, he has a cool car. Also, he is an ultra-competent fighter.  Also, he has nothing to lose. Stop me when I throw a new idea past you.


…still waiting.

Don’t see this movie. You’ve seen it before.

Don’t be a Scientologist. Just because.

Why Stop Now

It’s never good when movies create tension by causing all of the climactic events happen at the same time. That’s what this trailer appears to be doing, and it worries me. There are deeper problems though. Jesse Eisenberg needs to get his mother, played by Melissa Leo, into rehab, which is reasonable. However, since she’s sober she is apparently not eligible for rehab. So, he needs to find drugs for her. This raises a few questions.

A)   If she has been sober long enough that she can pass a drug test, how much does she really need rehab?

B)   Are rehab centers really that stringent about who they help? Shouldn’t they offer assistance to everyone who asks?

C)   If she is, in fact, a drug addict, why is it so difficult for them to find drugs over the rest of the trailer? Shouldn’t she have a pretty consistent supply?

Instead, Eisenberg winds up with drug dealer Tracy Morgan, who somehow enlists him for the day to run errands. Don’t they have money? Why is that arrangement necessary? Whatever the explanation is, chaos ensues, culminating in Eisenberg having an Oxy-influenced piano tryout. None of this seems necessary. On top of that, Leo’s character seems awfully gung-ho about going to rehab, further obscuring my belief that the character is an addict. They should have edited this script more to clear up all this nonsense. I suppose it’s good they didn’t though, otherwise the movie would just have Eisenberg and Morgan staring at each other.

Oz: The Great and Powerful

How did this movie not make any waves before the trailer came out? It’s a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, America’s first great movie, but it almost feels like an afterthought. I can’t imagine that will remain the case. Although it is woefully thin on plot or dialogue, it looks absolutely fantastic. It’s Alice in Wonderland without the drug influences. On top of that, the cast includes James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, and Rachel Weisz. Kunis looks a little out of place in her massive hat, yet it’s hard to imagine that quartet combining on a bad movie. Even more, Spiderman’s Sam Raimi is directing, and he knows how to go big. By next spring, this movie should be a monster. I’m getting on the bandwagon right now, how about you?

Oz: The Great and Powerful

Dan Spritz / Cherry On Top / @DanSpritz

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