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TrailerTown: Taking a Look at the First Looks

April 10, 2012

Trailers can be great or they can be awful. That’s just a fact. For every trailer that piques one’s interest, there’s another dozen which give away just about everything in a film, rendering it unsurprising on all levels. Still, the movie trailer is a creature not going away anytime soon, so today TBTS looks at what’s to come as we run down the current glut of trailers hiding around the internet.

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The House at the End of the Street: Karate Kid-girlfriend Elisabeth Shue and The Hunger Games’ Jennifer Lawrence star in this horror film about a mother and her daughter who move into a spooky home where a double murder occurred several years before. I know, right? Zzzzzzz. But wait: check out the trailer to see, finally, an interesting gimmick in film promotion — the entire trailer runs, it would seem, backward. While the movie looks rather standard, I think we can all agree the trailer’s anything but.

Link: The House at the End of the Street 

Looper: May I interest you in a trippy Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis sci-fi film about a time-traveling mob hit man who is assigned to kill his future self? Though the “trailer for a trailer” schtick is beyond awful and a terrible sign of  what Hollywood expects us to swallow (“here’s a sneak preview advertisement of two shots you’ll see in the full advertisement on Thursday!), the film’s premise seems to have some delightful Twelve-Monkeys-esque facets. Bruce Willis is [usually] solid, and JG-L is quickly becoming the go-to guy for our generation of actors.

Link: Looper

To Rome With Love: If you’re like me, you forgive Woody Allen’s past missteps (Cassandra’s Dream, Scoop, Whatever Works) and still delight in his home runs (Match Point, Midnight in Paris, Vicky Cristina Barcelona). The director’s latest features Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg and Ellen Page — among others — in what seems to be a sort of anthology all taking place in the famed Italian city. It’s a strong cast, to be sure, and the trailer has a great, true Woody Allen vibe to it. With Allen seeming to be at 100% these days in his films which take place abroad — London, Paris, Spain — this could be great fun.

Link: To Rome with Love 

Moonrise Kingdom — Oh, Wes Anderson, you beautiful bastard; your quirky, dry stylings never fail to amuse. Moonrise Kingdom is stacked, with Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Francis McDormand and Tilda Swinton alongside Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Jason Schwarzman. It deals with a couple of children, blinded by love, who run off together and cause a stir in their small hometown. For me, Wes Anderson films can’t come soon enough, but we’ll have to wait until May for this one.

Link: Moonrise Kingdom

Ted — Seth MacFarlane has put himself on the map as the assumed singular voice and creative talent behind Fox’s Family Guy, and now he takes his one-man show to the big screen with Ted, the tale of a single fella (Mark Wahlberg) who still lives with his teddy bear — and said teddy bear is a walking, talking sleazebag. Wahlberg continues to show he’s got some comedy chops (Date Night, The Other Guys), and admittedly the trailer is crudely funny. Ted’s blue sense of humor could score big in theaters and gain some great word of mouth. Shakespeare it ain’t, but I think even the most hoity-toity of us can agree there’s always a place for the well-timed raunchy comedy. I’m linking to the red-band trailer here, which contains language, but only because it’s much funnier than the public trailer and probably gives a better idea of the film.

Link: Ted

That’s My Boy: I will unabashedly say that the early work of Adam Sandler still tickles me; feel free to judge me if you want to, I don’t care. I believe Billy Madison to be a piece of absurd art, and Happy Gilmore is just plain lowbrow funny. That said, I’ll freely admit that the Sandman has slipped — mightily. When he and Andy Samberg showed up at the Super Bowl this year to announce this new film together, about a young dad trying to reconnect with his son, a lot of folks probably hoped this might be a return for Sandler to past glories. Then the trailer hit. Yikes. I can’t keep defending you forever, dude. You’re making it really, really hard. Help a brother out.

Link: That’s My Boy

Safety Not Guaranteed: This shoestring-budget rom-com was the buzz of Sundance this year. The do-no-wrong Aubrey Plaza joins Jake Johnson (The New Girl) and Mark Duplass (The League) in a small film about a team of journalists sent to cover the man behind a mysterious Craigslist ad seeking a partner to time travel with him. The trailer’s slight and without much information, just as a trailer should be, and those of you familiar with Duplass’ work know he brings a great, shaggy realness to all he gets behind. This may not get a huge release with a big marketing push, but by all accounts it’s going to be worth seeking out.

Link: Safety Not Guaranteed

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