Movie Trailers

Into the Woods

In the new trailer for Rob Marshall‘s Into the Woods, all is rightly in place. Emily Blunt is beautiful and kind, Chris Pine is a charming prince, Meryl Streep is an absolutely flawless being with supernatural powers, Johnny Depp is exercising his passion for fashion and Anna Kendrick is Anna Kendrick. In order to master a Disney adaptation of this beloved Sondheim musical before the theatre kids angrily descend from the catwalks, sound booths, trap doors, costume labs, right and left wings and that part of the stage where they think nobody in the audience can see them (I’ve done a lot of tech theatre; I know all the good backstage hangouts), a few things need to be nailed down in the trailer. They have to hit that title song, and as those first few “I wish!” moments ring out in the terrible, terrible woods, it’s clear that this isn’t going to be a problem. Nice sell, Jack and Little Red. Now the next thing that must work is that The Witch needs to be fearsome, worthy of respect and able to pull off being both fabulous and draped in grey rags at the same time. You guys ever heard of this Meryl Streep? Needless to say, The Witch is everything she needs to be and more, if this trailer is any indication of what’s to come for the rest of the film.

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Universal

It’s been years since I read the Bible, but if I recall correctly one of the plagues that Charlton Heston sent down on the Romans involved souped-up muscle cars raining from the sky. That image so indelibly burned into my impressionable young mind has now been brought to life by director James Wan in the first trailer for the seventh installment in the world’s most improbable blockbuster franchise, Furious 7. The entire gang is back again — Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Chris Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, Elsa Pataky… hell, they even brought back Lucas Black. They’re joined (or opposed) this time by the likes of Tony Jaa, Djimon Hounsou and Kurt Russell. Kurt Russell I said. The plot appears to pick up after Furious 6‘s stinger ending that saw Jason Statham offing a member of the family in explosive fashion. His personal vendetta continues and the gang is forced to join the FBI and fight back or something. I don’t know. Does it matter? It looks like another ridiculously-fun offense to physics, and I’m already looking forward to seeing it on the big screen. Check out the first trailer below.

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A24

Alex Garland is an excellent writer. The screenwriter behind Never Let Me Go, 28 Days Later, Sunshine and Dredd has tremendous range, and the fact that he can go from breaking your heart with a tragic Kazuo Ishiguro adaptation to writing a ridiculously good action movie shows he has discovered few limits so far. Some may argue he has a problem landing third acts, but those final 30 minutes of Sunshine are completely built up to and valid. Seriously. Garland tackles high-concepts with real humanity, and his characters are generally as fascinating as his big ideas. He may strike that balance once again with his directorial debut, Ex Machina. The sci-fi film stars Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Domhnall Gleeson (In Time) and Alicia Vikander (Anna Karenina). Gleeson plays Caleb, a coder who wins a contest to spend time with a private CEO, Nathan (Isaac), and his A.I. creation. When Caleb arrives at Nathan’s home he’s awe-struck by what he finds… but that sense of wonder soon turns to horror. Checkout the trailer released by A24 to see why.

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Hulkbuster in Avengers 2

Earlier this evening the first teaser trailer for Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron leaked onto the internet. In a move that makes sense, but is still unexpected based on the way most studios handle leaks, they bypassed the chasing down of legal notices and getting leaks pulled from YouTube and just released the official version. What does this mean for me and you? It means we’ve got our first look at Avengers: Age of Ultron! Official, polished, and in glorious high definition. Overwhelming excitement is the appropriate reaction here.

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Mark Wahlberg in The Gambler

Last year Mark Wahlberg was on a roll. He showed he hadn’t lost any of his comedic chops from I Heart Huckabees in his comically sincere work in Pain & Gain and he delivered a refreshingly unshowy performance in Lone Survivor. What followed those two performances, which displayed what a wide-range he has, was Transformers: Age of Extinction, where Wahlberg played a Texan with a slippery Boston accent. After recently trying to revisit that film — which I gave up on 20 minutes into its 20 hour hour running time — it became noticeably clear that, strangely, Wahlberg isn’t really an action star. He undoubtably has the presence for those roles, but when you look at his track record in the genre — Max Payne, Planet of the Apes, and more — he never delivers the caliber of performances we know he’s capable of. Of course that kind of material generally doesn’t offer the juiciest of characters, but nonetheless, it’s rarely a role he seems comfortable in. Where Wahlberg seems at home is in this red band trailer for The Gambler. The actor plays Jim Bennett, an English professor with a serious gambling problem. Wahlberg is stepping in the shoes of James Caan, who played the lead role 40 years ago in Karel Reisz’s original film.

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Tomorrowland

If we’re being completely honest, we’ll do just about anything George Clooney says. Last year alone he saved art from the Nazis in The Monuments Men and inspired Sandra Bullock to get her ass back to Earth with a pep talk from the great beyond in Gravity. So when he shows up in this Tomorrowland trailer and asks us to come along with him to “a secret place where nothing is impossible,” we’re so in…

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Inside Out

Pixar’s Inside Out, coming from Up director Pete Docter in 2015, is all about emotion. In its first teaser trailer, it’s being called a “major emotion picture.” Get it? The tease plays out like a Pixar clip reel, showing off the many emotions we’ve felt over the years for movies like Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story, Up and the emotional powerhouse that was Wall-E. Pixar is very good at pulling on those heartstrings. Now they’ll take us into the mind of a teenage girl, where as we all know, emotions can be intense. Watch the first trailer. Feel the emotion. Remember all the wonders of Pixar before they introduce their alien-like new characters.

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taken_liam_neeson_gun

Above you can enjoy the Taken 3 trailer (or Tak3n, I suppose), the third film in the Taken franchise starring Liam Neeson. This time it’s really really really personal — someone has framed him for murdering his wife (Famke Janssen) and is threatening to take out his daughter (Maggie Grace) as well. So now he is on the run trying to unravel this web of lies while being pursued by what sounds like every law enforcement agency imaginable. It’ll be here in January, directed by Taken 2 helmer Olivier Megaton. Gird. Your. Loins.

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Universal

For most of us, everything we know about hackers comes from the movies. They exist in a couple different variations — the good ones are young, geeky and capable of doing anything, and the evil ones are a little bit older, still geeky and even more capable of doing anything. Michael Mann‘s take on the character was bound to be a little bit different from the norm, but who knew he’d find inspiration in 2001’s Huge Ackman-starrer Swordfish? Blackhat stars Chris Hemsworth as Nicholas Hathoway, a legendary hacker currently serving time for, well, hacking. He’s released early in order to help the feds identify and apprehend a far more dangerous hacker who’s wreaking havoc on the world’s financial infrastructure, but lest you think Hemsworth’s going to be stuck behind a keyboard for the whole movie think again. This hacker is also a field agent with weapons and hand-to-hand combat skills to spare. Check out the first trailer below.

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Listen Up Philip

“I’m told to expect big things out there.” Imagine what it would look like — what he would look like — if Rushmore‘s Max Fischer grew up without adhering to any of the lessons he learned in Wes Anderson‘s high school-set charmer. All that youthful striving, the gung-ho attitude, the self-involvement, well, that’s just not a good look for a grown-up, which is kind of the point of Alex Ross Perry‘s Jason Schwartzman-starring Listen Up Philip, an indie outing that looks to be taking Schwartzman’s Fischer in a terrible — and hilarious — new direction. In the feature, Schwartzman plays the eponymous Philip (who, yes, definitely looks like he needs to “listen up” to just about everyone else in his life), a self-obsessed novelist on the cusp of delivering his second book. That may sound promising, but things are not going so well for Philip, and his bad attitude and latent anger issues aren’t helping matters. See? He’s an adult-sized monster Max Fischer. Get to know Philip after the break, thanks to the first Listen Up Philip trailer.

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The Hunger Games Mockingjay

Near the opening of the trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss points out that she didn’t set out to cause massive social disruption; she only wanted to protect her little sister from certain death at the hand’s of an oppressive regime. It’s an excellent thematic introduction to a penultimate series entry that should radically change what the franchise is all about. What she did by volunteering was intimate and fiercely personal, but it resonated in a way that opened everyone else’s eyes. When one person stands up, the question is why everyone else isn’t on their feet. Donald Sutherland’s President Snow responds with a poetic zen koan about the things we love killing us. Undoubtedly, he loves power, so we’ll see how that all works out for him. Before you watch the trailer, a fair warning: it shows how one character has significantly changed — altering the lines in the sand and blurring what everyone is fighting for. For some, it’ll be more interesting to watch the transition in the film itself, but, if you need a shot of confident adrenaline to get you going and don’t mind the information, this should do it.

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ABCs of Death 2

Promising 26 new ways to die, the red band trailer for The ABCs of Death 2 is another hodgepodge of violent imagery and delightful snacking options. It lives up to its NSFW coloration, too. People are shot, stabbed and axed, cheeks are bitten clean through, and one woman performs an homage to either Clockwork Orange or penises in general. It’s another trailer to press play on just as your boss walks by your office/cubicle/fry station.

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Carla Juri in Wetlands

Never in my life have I been so engrossed in that which is gross. That’s perhaps my second thought after seeing David Wnendt’s Wetlands at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival. My first thought: “Ewww…” I wasn’t alone: Nothing at SXSW has topped Wetlands, aka Ewww Is the Warmest Color. — Britt Hayes, Esq. (@MissBrittHayes) March 13, 2014 According to the PR email accompanying this new “pink band” trailer for the film’s theatrical release, Wetlands is “an unapologetically vulgar coming-of-age tale about divorce, first love and anal fissures.” That pretty much sums it up. The story of an eighteen year-old girl named Helen (Carla Juri) who is into skateboarding and rebelling against the tenets of personal hygiene. As she explains in the film’s opening monologue, she’s decided to treat her body like an active science experiment. She’s out to break the glass ceilings of society’s taboos and we’re along for the ride. Just bring your dramamine.

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Pixar Lava

It’s still nearly a year away, but Pixar wants you to meet the smiling earth pimple who will sing his way into your heart. Lava will play in front of Inside Out in June 2015, and it features two volcanoes in love. If IMDB is to be trusted, it also takes place over millions of years (most likely lived in land-bound, cloud-envying frustration). On its own, the teaser trailer is sweet and lightweight with some excellent time-lapse-aping visuals, but as yet another sign of Pixar’s return to originality and experimentation, it’s also a mountain-sized sigh of relief. Uku (singing in Kuana Torres Kahele‘s unmistakable voice) sings a song that’s essentially “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with different lyrics that still have the same wishful meaning. He wants someone to wrap his foliage-covered arms around. Check it out for yourself:

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Open Road Films

When Jon Stewart first announced he was taking time off to write and direct a feature film the expectation was for some kind of comedy. Sure it would probably be smart and most likely woven through with political or social commentary, but the main narrative would surely be something goofy. Happily that wasn’t what Stewart was interested in pursuing though and instead took up a far greater challenge. Maziar Bahari is an Iranian-born journalist who was arrested in Tehran while covering the elections and subsequent riots for Newsweek. His jail time lasted several months and included both physical and emotional torture, and the story Stewart wanted to tell on film is the one Bahari told in his memoir, “Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival.” It’s an alternately engaging, terrifying and inspiring story, and while that’s enough of a reason to bring it to the screen Stewart had another motive as well. Clips of Bahari being interviewed on The Daily Show were used as evidence against him during his “trial” in Iran. Check out the first trailer for Rosewater below.

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Rhymes for Young Ghouls

It’s easy enough to pinpoint when Jennifer Lawrence broke out. Long before American Hustle or the X-Men films or even the Hunger Games series, there was Winter’s Bone. At some point in January of 2010, Lawrence became a bonafide star — or, at least, a star-in-the-making, one to watch — thanks to Debra Granik’s acute study of the kind of hard knock life that few people ever even have a basic awareness of. Lawrence was eventually nominated for an Oscar for her part in the film — her first — and the film picked up nods for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (the phenomenal John Hawkes). It was a small-scale indie juggernaut, and it made it clear that Lawrence was someone to watch. We suspect something similar is about to happen to Devery Jacobs after her turn in Jeff Barnaby‘s Rhymes for Young Ghouls. Did you miss the Lawrence bust-out? Don’t make that same mistake twice.

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Michael Shannon in Young Ones

There wasn’t much hype surrounding Young Ones at Sundance. It was a movie on people’s radar, but after it screened, it didn’t generate much buzz. That’s a shame, because Jake Paltrow‘s second directorial effort is an excellent film. It’s a western with a twist of science-fiction. The sci-fi elements are mostly left in the background, though. Young Ones is a movie that could mostly do without all the futuristic machinery, it’s just an immensely cool cherry on the top. That CGI tech, by the way, is seamlessly rendered into these beautiful desert landscapes. They have a worn down, used quality that suits this old-fashioned story. Young Ones is about a family. At the beginning we see a father, played with charm and warmth by Michael Shannon, protecting his land from thieves. They’re there to steal his water supply. In this future — what year isn’t stated and doesn’t matter — there’s a serious drought going on. The father and his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) hope one day to get some of the water that’s left to run through their land. Their journey leans more heavily on drama than genre thrills, but the trailer would lead us to believe otherwise.

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Ben Affleck in GONE GIRL

We already know that David Fincher‘s Gone Girl will be slightly different than author Gillian Flynn‘s original novel — at least, different when it comes to some third act tweaks — but that doesn’t mean that the filmmaker and writer have abandoned all the stuff that made the bestelling tale of a missing wife (Rosamund Pike) and her maybe-guilty husband (Ben Affleck) so good. That would be, in simple terms, really stupid. Most of our looks at the film so far — and there have been plenty, thanks to two juicy trailers — have focused on the film’s basic premise, which sounds like an obvious thing to do, but one that doesn’t exactly reflect the twisting and twisted nature of Flynn’s book. Yes, Amy Elliott Dunne (Pike) is missing, but no, this isn’t a film about a husband (Affleck) who offs his wife and tries to get away with it (and, no, that’s really not a spoiler). The latest trailer for the film finally starts layering on the creepy, weird mystery that starts to seep through in Flynn’s novel somewhere around the hundred page mark, and it just doesn’t let up. Basically, for people who loved the book, this is catnip (and assurance that the final film won’t be too far off the mark from the original). Let’s break it down.

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Sin City 2

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Kink Movie

Out this weekend in New York City, Kink seeks to tell the behind-the-scenes story of Kink.com, a successful fetish website that trades in pornography where people let themselves go by being tied up. If the little hairs are starting to stand up, just wait until you get a load of a trailer filled with super sexy talking heads speaking with dry maturity about orgasmic necessities and liking what they do. Also, there’s going to be a lot of moaning. They really, really like what they do. The film comes from director Christina Voros, who has done a large amount of camera and cinematography work in only a little under a decade. She’s now a go-to DP for James Franco’s projects (As I Lay Dying, Child of God, Maladies), and he’s also a producer on her sexploratory project here. Check out the trailer for yourself, and make sure your office door is closed.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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