Movie Trailers

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Director John Curran’s Tracks had solid showings at both Telluride and Venice film festivals, and with The Weinstein Company having snagged the epic Aussie adventure for US distribution rights, a theatrical drop date should be forthcoming. For now, we at least get our first look in a new trailer. The movie is adapted from Robyn Davidson’s autobiography of the same name, telling the story of her solo trek through almost two thousand miles of Australian desert, from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean. With only the companionship of four camels and her dog, Diggity, during her adventure she met the unique folk you’d only find making a home of the desert and also, eventually, National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan, who documented her journey. Screenwriter Marion Nelson handled screen adaptation duties.

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  So far it has only been seen at Sundance, but The East is giving those of us not in Park City a glimpse of what it has to offer, in the form of a trailer. This is the latest collaboration between director Zal Batmanglij and his co-writer/star Brit Marling, the duo who brought us the weird and interesting cult movie Sound of My Voice last year. The East casts Marling as a private intelligence operative who protects the interests of big corporations and sends her off on a mission to infiltrate and take down a cell of dangerous eco-terrorists. Sounds easy enough, right? Not when you start to fall in love with the operation’s charismatic leader and your loyalties begin to be pulled in two different directions. The trailer for the film doesn’t tell us all of this, though. Instead it masquerades as a sort of propaganda video/audio-visual threat aimed at rich people and big business. A mission statement gets read as we see images of big companies polluting the Earth and oppressing the poor and of this organization of revolutionaries making preparations to fight back. Threats are made and creepy masks are worn. If you’re a business owner with a bursting bank account, you might want to skip this one for fear of it making you squirm in your seat. But for everyone else, prepare to catch glimpses of Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgård, and Patricia Clarkson. For an indie movie, The East boasts a pretty impressive cast.

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Happy People

After spending time the jungle to film Fitzcarraldo, legendary director Werner Herzog came away from the experience with the unique perspective that instead of being a landscape that represents life and beauty, the lushness of the jungle was an obscene, vile place that exhibited interconnection only in its collective murder. Given his apparent distaste for the jungle’s denseness, which leads to the screeching of the birds and the screaming of the trees, maybe he would have a better time traveling in the frozen vastness of Siberia? Seeing as that’s where he’s gone to film his latest documentary, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, we’re likely to get our chance to find out. We’re going to have to wait until the film is actually released to get his full impressions of this gigantic expanse of wilderness, however, because while the film’s new trailer does open with the soothing sounds of that patented Herzog voice over narration, he mostly just introduces the setting and then let’s the gorgeous landscape photography he and co-director Dmitry Vasyukov have captured do the rest of the talking.

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42 Trailer

The historical drama, the meditation on race relations, and the inspirational sports story: separately they’re all crowd-pleasing film genres that tend to do well at the box office and earn plenty of recognition during awards season. But put them all together and you get some kind of unstoppable super movie. Or, at least, that’s probably what writer/director Brian Helgeland was hoping when he made 42, a biopic of baseball player Jackie Robinson. For anyone out there whose nerdom doesn’t travel over into the sports world, Robinson was the first black player to cross the color line and play in Major League Baseball during the modern era. Which, you might imagine, was something that a number of tobacco-spitting ballplayers and drunken fans in the stands didn’t take kindly to back in the late 1940s. 42 seems to focus on the struggle of going somewhere you’re not wanted, so that you might pave the way toward opportunity for those who come after you; a noble goal that’s ripe with dramatic potential.

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Wrong

If you don’t recognize the name Quentin Dupieux at first glance, you may better know him as the totally strange film director who made Rubber, a movie about a car tire that could kill people with its mind. The last time we heard about his latest film, Wrong—which appears to be a movie about a character played by Jack Plotnick losing his dog and discovering more than he was bargaining for during the quest to find him—it was wowing people after playing at Sundance, but it had yet to find itself a North American distribution deal. Now the film is back, and not only does it have a VOD premiere date of February 1 and a limited theatrical release date of March 29, it’s also brought along a fancy new trailer that makes it look a little less like an abstract art film like the first one did, and a little bit more like an absurd though hilarious romp instead. But maybe romp isn’t putting it strongly enough. This trailer takes the rhythms of Plotnick’s character’s experiences and mixes them into a funky electronic beat that’s likely to make you wiggle in your seat while you’re watching it. That’s just fun.

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Aftershock

Normally when pretty young people are getting tortured and mutilated in a horror movie it’s because they’ve run afoul of some sort of creature, spirit, or at least a mass-murdering psycho who’s developed a unique gimmick. The things doing all of the killing are just fantastical enough, just far enough apart from reality, that you can disengage your moral compass and have a good time watching the slaughter. Director Nicolás López’s new film, Aftershock, takes a different approach. It takes an earthquake, the sort of natural calamity that would usually be the jumping off point for a disaster movie, and uses it as its big scary monster. In the process, he’s made a movie in a sub genre that feels unique and fresh next to recent horror offerings: a disaster horror. The basic story of this one seems to be that Eli Roth is some dopey American bro looking for a good time down in Chile. His problems start when his ogling of scantily clad ladies at the local nightclub gets cut short by an Earthquake. Suddenly lighting rigs are collapsing on dancers, shards of glass are cutting up people at the bar, and the whole place is turned into a gory splatter fest. That isn’t the end of the horror that López and Roth have in store for us, though.

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The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

If there’s anything that The Incredible Burt Wonderstone has going for it that makes it look really exciting, it’s that it offers us up the opportunity to watch Jim Carrey getting completely off the wall with character work for the first time in forever. In recent years we’ve seen his attempts to do dramatic work, we’ve seen his attempts to star in corporate, family films, but none of these efforts have been able to touch the manic energy of his first few projects—the goofy shit like Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber that people fell in love with, and that made him a star. From the looks of this trailer for Burt Wonderstone, it seems like his work as a douchey, Criss Angel lookalike here might be the first taste of classic Jim Carrey we’ve gotten in a long time.

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Temptation

Given its incredibly long, semi-coloned title, you would probably think that Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor was a sequel to something, or at least an adaptation of one in a series of popular books, right? Nope. It turns out this movie is just an original story by Tyler Perry, and its title is just the latest monument that this master of self-promotion has built in honor of himself. Perry’s ridiculous promotional tactics aside, how does the movie look? He’s not starring in it himself, and there’s no cross-dressing humor, so maybe it’s not going to be all that bad, right? Nah, actually, from the looks of this trailer, it seems like Confessions of a Marriage Counselor is probably going to be one of the early contenders for worst movie of 2013.

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The Great Gatsby

If there’s one thing our culture never gets tired of, it’s tabloid news. Taking a promising young pretty person, anointing them with almost mythic stature, and then feasting on their misery like psychic vampires when they eventually succumb to scandal and fall from grace…that’s the name of the game! Seeing as the new trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby sticks pretty closely to this formula, and presents things with the flashy, kinetic visual style that the director has become famous for, chances are it’s going to do a good job of selling this story to a wider audience than was willing to read Fitzgerald’s novel in their high school English class. When it was first announced that Luhrmann was going to be tackling material as generally dry as Gatsby, and filming it in 3D no less, the entire notion seemed kind of absurd. But after watching this trailer, it starts to make a bit of sense. Leonardo DiCaprio’s character is getting what he wants by entering and mastering a world of artifice. The main drama in the story is generally concerned with who’s sleeping with who. Plus, this is a period piece that affords its director the opportunity to stage several lavish parties. All of that isn’t too far off from what Luhrmann has already done with Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!

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Identity Thief

Given the fact that Identity Thief stars Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, it wasn’t all that much of a surprise that its first trailer was full of laughs. But what kind of came out of nowhere was how many cars got crashed in it and how much serious physical trauma Bateman and McCarthy endured during just two minutes of footage. It got to the point where it started to look like they were starring in an action movie. The second trailer that just got released for the film doesn’t do anything to contradict that notion either. As a matter of fact, it gives us another scene where McCarthy gets hit by a car, and one where she gets her head smacked against a passenger seat window; and that’s in addition to the part where Bateman hits her with an acoustic guitar. Is it possible that this year’s rekindling of the Three Stooges franchise was so inspiring to people that it’s going to usher in a full-on slapstick revival in comedy?

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Welcome to the Punch Trailer

Over the last half-decade or so James McAvoy (Atonement, X-Men: First Class) has proven himself to be one of the most relatable young lead actors currently making a name in the film world. Conversely, Mark Strong (The Guard, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) has spent his time playing a steady stream of dastardly villains. What would happen if you took the positive and negative forces of these two guys’ careers? It turns out you’d get a trailer for an action movie called Welcome to the Punch, and, honestly, the results look to be pretty generic. Sure, this movie seems to be full of enough gun fights and explosions to keep your attention, and there’s a mystery about some scribblings on a hand to add some extra intrigue, but other than that Welcome to the Punch seems to be the same urban crime drama with tough cops and slick robbers scowling at each other—all presented in an icy blue color palate—that you’ve seen a thousand times before.

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Black Rock Trailer

As if relations between the sexes weren’t strained enough already, along comes Black Rock, a new thriller from writer Mark Duplass (from everything) and director Katie Aselton (The Freebie) that looks like it’s going to fan the flames further, ensuring that we get at least another year of clueless nincompoops publicly declaring their unsettling opinions about rape. The basic story follows three ladies (Aselton, Lake Bell, and Kate Bosworth) who trek out to an isolated island where they used to have camping trips when they were young; you know, to rekindle lost youth or something. When they’re out there though, the island proves to not be as isolated as they thought. They happen upon a group of three very male hunters (Will Bouvier, Jay Paulson, and Anslem Richardson), one of the ladies gets a little frisky with a bearded gentleman around the campfire, and then he gets way handsy and his buddies suddenly turn super-psychotic. While it doesn’t seem like this story ever reaches Straw Dogs or I Spit on Your Grave levels of grossness, things then degenerate into a battle of survival between the sexes that seems to have more than a little bit of that revenge movie/backwoods horror vibe crossed with a smidge of the Surviving the Game/Hunger Games man-being-hunted trope.

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Dark Skies Trailer

Over the years we’ve seen so many alien home invasions in movies that we’ve grown to believe that visits from extraterrestrial beings aren’t necessarily a big deal. Maybe the alien who comes for a visit could even be a cute little friend who lives in your closet and develops an addiction to Reese’s Pieces! And heck, worst case scenario you get pulled out of your bed, anally probed up on the mothership, and then they drop you right back off like nothing happened, right? Maybe not. Scott Charles Stewart’s (Priest) new thriller Dark Skies asks what it would be like if the aliens stuck around for a while and tortured your family. If the new trailer for this film is to be believed, an extended occupation of your home by extraterrestrial forces would not just include objects in your kitchen being mysteriously stacked and dazzling lights glimmering off of your ceiling, but it would also bring an unwelcome plague of birds, brandings and blackouts. Oh my. Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton are starring here as a suburban couple who get tormented by the little green menace, and watching them deal with flocks of birds mysteriously slamming into their windows, strange marks being burnt into their kids’ skin, and their minds getting repeatedly taken over by some mysterious force can be some pretty harrowing stuff.

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Admission Trailer

How could a modern woman possibly handle becoming a mother when it already takes all of your focus to reach your goals in the professional world? It’s a question that’s been one of the major preoccupations of Tina Fey’s work as an actress, and while there are no easy answers to it, watching Fey struggle is usually fertile grounds for comedy. It will always be true that taking someone who’s generally bumbling and self-centered and forcing a kid upon them—while traumatic for the child—is hilarious for the casual observer. But, by the looks of its new trailer, it seems like Fey’s new starring vehicle, Admission, might be treading on familiar ground one time too many. The deal here is that Fey’s character gave up a kid when she was in college, and now that said kid is teenaged and attending a hippie school run by Paul Rudd, Rudd has taken it upon himself to reunite mother and son. While Fey is generally incredulous about the idea at first, eventually she finds herself becoming attached to her long lost progeny…and she might even be developing some feelings for that charming and handsome guy who brought them back together.

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Now You See Me

Seeing as it’s a Louis Leterrier movie, of course the first trailer for Now You See Me is high energy and loud. Jesse Eisenberg is yelling into a microphone, people are disappearing with flashes of electricity, Isla Fisher’s smile is blinding you, and the contents of a bank’s vault are raining down on a jacked up theater audience. And this is all before the action starts. Then you gets showdowns and chase scenes, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine trading dialogue about grizzled old man doom and gloom, and Mark Ruffalo looking like he’s right in his wheelhouse playing a frazzled and out of sorts police inspector trying to keep up with a team of ultra-competent, bank robbing magicians. Sounds like this movie has something for everyone, no? Check it out after the break, and let us know what you think.

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If you’ve ever spent any extended time in a coffee shop or a freshman dorm, chances are you’ve seen a good number of young people with open hearts and confused eyes dutifully thumbing through the pages of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.” It’s one of those books you just have to get into when you’re coming of age, like “The Catcher in the Rye,” or, if you’re a sociopath, Ayn Rand’s stuff. Given the book’s enduring popularity, it’s strange that it’s taken so long for Hollywood to make a big screen adaptation, but, nevertheless, the wait is over, and the first trailer for the film is here. How does it look? Well, it looks like director Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries) and his camera crew have shot a beautiful film. And seeing as the narration put over this trailer quotes one of the most famous passages from Kerouac’s novel, it looks like he’s made a film that’s very much On the Road. This seems to be a straight adaptation; the essence of the book put up on the screen, without any unexpected detours.

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Any Day Now Trailer

Every once in a while a movie gets made that’s quite clearly designed for the express purpose of making everyone who watches it bawl their eyes out. Any Day Now is one of those movies. The first few seconds of its new trailer make it look like it might be a fun, ’70s-set romance about a newly out of the closet gay man learning something about life and love thanks to a new relationship with a free spirit – a manic pixie dreamboy movie, if you will – but once it introduces the drama, it goes full bore with it and just refuses to stop. More than being a simple tearjerker, this one looks like it’s going to leave your tear ducts sore and feeling violated. The basic story is that Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt are a gay couple trying to navigate the murky and prejudiced waters of the ’70s court system so that they can adopt a mentally challenged boy who lives down the hall from them and is being neglected by his crappy, awful mother. I know, right?

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The Canyons

Paul Schrader’s next film, The Canyons, was written by famed author Bret Easton Ellis and stars Lindsay Lohan and some male porn star, which earned the project some hype right from the very moment it was announced that held straight through its production. But, despite all of its marquee talent, the movie put out a weird teaser trailer that didn’t seem to have any actual footage from the film and was mostly just a bunch of abstract images shot around L.A. Well, now the film has released a full trailer, and instead of being street photography stuff that doesn’t feature Lindsay Lohan, it’s…something else that’s completely weird as well. It would seem that either The Canyons was shot in black and white, its images have been altered to make this vintage-style trailer, or what we’re looking at still isn’t actual footage from the film. Which of these possibilities sounds most believable?

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21 & Over Trailer

Jon Lucas and Scott Moore hit a goldmine when they wrote the script for The Hangover. It turns out young people like to watch movies where the characters on screen are partying so much that they’ll even buy tickets to retreads like The Hangover Part II, or movies that barely even qualify as being movies, like Project X. It’s gotten to the point where party-gone-out-of-control is pretty much a genre onto itself. Enter Lucas and Moore’s new film, which they’ve both written and directed, 21 & Over. Jeff Chang is newly turned 21, and despite the fact that he has an important interview tomorrow morning, a couple of his crazy friends have decided to take it upon themselves to take him out drinking and give him the night of his life. The results are a derivative mix of those aforementioned party films, a little bit of the journey aspect of the Harold & Kumar films, and a sprinkling of the way they kept repeating the name McLovin in Superbad (though here it’s repetition of the protagonist, Jeff Chang’s, name, Jeff Chang).

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Unless you were living under a rock during the ’90s, the new trailer for Jurassic Park 3D probably seems pretty familiar to you. It’s basically just a trailer for Steven Spielberg’s ubiquitous 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park, with some stuff about the film being re-released in 3D tacked on at the end. But, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to watch it. Chances are it’s been quite a while since you’ve last watched Jurassic Park, and chances are you’ve forgotten how much a movie like this lends itself to making great trailers. The sense of grandeur, the big reveals, the breakthrough special effects, Jeff Goldblum draped across various things all shirtless and sexy, the ripple in the glass of water, Samuel L. Jackson saying “Hold on to your butts,” it’s all here. But, what strikes you about watching this trailer more than anything else, is the music. The second the first few notes of John Williams‘ iconic score for this dinosaurs run amok adventure start playing, you find yourself instantly transported back to being however old you were when you first saw this movie. And by the time the song gets to the soaring crescendo, well, it’s done its job of convincing you that you’re going to want to shell out some money to experience this classic up on the big screen one more time pretty effectively.

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