Trailer #2: Lawless

We here in the third row have been closely following the production of Lawless – previously known as The Wettest County, previously known as The Wettest County in the World – since it was announced a few years ago and Ryan Gosling was still attached. While Gosling was replaced a long time ago, I’m convinced that Tom Hardy was a much better choice for the role of Forrest Bondurant. This year, I’m thinking, is going to be a very generous one for Hardy, whose stock is going to skyrocket after the latest Batman entry and now this.

The last time I wrote about Lawless, I spent the whole post bitching about the terrible title change. I think I said something like it conjured “images of Gerard Butler or some other abnormally beefy star kicking ass through some bland action flick.” While I still feel that way, the first trailer was enough to convince me that, despite the change to a bland title, this movie was going to kick some stylish period drama ass.

A film directed by John Hillcoat from a screenplay adaptation by Nick Cave always needs to be seen. It doesn’t hurt that the cast includes not only Hardy, but Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, and Mia Wasikowska.

If you haven’t read the book yet – and I highly recommend you do – you can buy it used off Amazon for $2.59. Do it. It’s really, really, really good. Plus, for the most part, it’s a true story.

Lawless hits theaters on August 29, 2012.

Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher

Could this be the next big action series? One thing is for sure: despite all of the craziness and the bad press he’s received since the couch-jumping occasion, Tom Cruise still has the ability to pull in the box office numbers. While Knight and Day did not perform to expectations (although $261 million worldwide on a $117 million budget certainly ain’t bad), the $693 million worldwide box office ($209 million in North America) for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol demonstrates that people still want to see the guy if he’s in the right kind of movie – a little more serious of an action flick, a little less silly like Knight and Day.

Could Jack Reacher be that next serious action movie?

With Werner Herzog as the villain, I’m curious. With a supporting cast of Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, and Richard Jenkins, there’s promise. With the trailer, I’m not sold. It doesn’t do anything for me. I feel like I’ve seen it before and I feel like I’ve seen it done better. Then again, perhaps when I see Herzog in action, I’ll change my mind.

The film opens up in North American theaters on December 21, 2012.

What do you think?

Trailer: Red Hook Summer

Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer got a few minutes trimmed off its run time after its Sundance debut, and is coming along in August of this year. A more neighborhood driven effort for Lee, who seems to be going for a opposite sides of the tracks family drama vibe, somewhere between culture shock and endless summer nostalgia (note the super 8 styled processed footage on display often in the below trailer. Things look great, and the two central performances (Clarke Peters, Jules Brown) look to be flat out fantastic.

The latest in Spike Lee’s Chronicles of Brooklyn anthology – which also includes “She’s Gotta Have It” (1986), “Do The Right Thing” (1989), “Crooklyn” (1994), “Clockers” (1995), and “He Got Game” (1998) – RED HOOK SUMMER tells the story of Flik Royale, a sullen young boy from middle-class Atlanta who has come to spend the summer with his deeply religious grandfather, Bishop Enoch Rouse , in the housing projects of Red Hook. Having never met before, things quickly get off on the wrong foot as Bishop Enoch relentlessly attempts to convert Flik into a follower of Jesus Christ. Between his grandfather’s constant preaching and the culture shock of inner-city life, Flik’s summer appears to be a total disaster until he meets a pretty girl his age, who shows Flik the brighter side of Brooklyn. Through her love and the love of his grandfather, Flik begins to realize that the world is a lot bigger, and perhaps a lot better, than he’d ever imagined.

We Suggest You Do Not Watch The New Trailer for Time-Travel Action Film Looper

Actually, it is not only us; the director himself, Rian Johnson, tweeted: “If you’re already set on seeing Looper, I’d avoid any trailers from here on out. They don’t ruin the movie, but they tip a few little things” a few minutes ago. If you are already committed to seeing this film in September, as most of us in the third row most certainly are, then hey, why spoil things by watching the below advert for the film.

(But then again, I could not help myself and it is flat out fantastic!)

Trailer: Arbitrage

Today is the day for trailers from recent Sundance entries featuring Susan Sarandon. Arbitrage is a crime thriller that mixes infidelity, family loyalty and corporate shenanigans with good old fashioned 1970s style storytelling. Richard Gere stars as a financial power broker who betrays the trust of his family (Brit Marling, Susan Sarandon) for the purposes of not corrupting the sale of a major corporate asset when he and his mistress suffer a major car accident. Whew! Cover-up Time! Tim Roth, who is sorely missed from film endeavors due to the actor favouring steady TV work for the past five years, looks top-notch as a cop on the scent of a big case. The production looks handsome, albeit a tad over-dramatic (more Wall Street than Michael Clayton) and it certainly has my attention come September when Arbitrage is getting a simultaneous theatre and VOD release.

Trailer: Robot & Frank

What a bizarre genre defying Indie film. Frank and Robot is an Asimov-ian robot science fiction inflected Sundance dramedy mixed with a Winter-Winter romance and is also a heist movie to boot. The film has a quality cast including Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler, Jeremy Sisto and Peter Saarsgard. Wrap your head around this oddity of a trailer which is already 1 x 1014 times better than Bicentennial Man.

Set sometime in the future, Robot & Frank is a delightful dramatic comedy, a buddy picture, and, for good measure, a heist film. Curmudgeonly old Frank lives by himself. His routine involves daily visits to his local library, where he has a twinkle in his eye for the librarian. His grown children are concerned about their father’s well-being and buy him a caretaker robot. Initially resistant to the idea, Frank soon appreciates the benefits of robotic support—like nutritious meals and a clean house—and eventually begins to treat his robot like a true companion. With his robot’s assistance, Frank’s passion for his old, unlawful profession is reignited, for better or worse.

Trailer for Epic is Epic, Until it Isn’t.

Blue Sky Studios have a spotty, but profitable resume with films like the Ice Age franchise (currently at its fourth entry) as well as Robots, Rio and Horton Hears a Who. Outside of the Looney Tunes inspired sabretoothed squirrel bits in their tentpole series (which all added together might start to approach feature length), their best feature is certainly the Dr. Seuss one for capturing of the size and earnest, but slightly subversive tone of Geisel’s creations. For much of the teaser trailer (below) for their 2013 featre, Epic it looks to be a straight up ‘war going in the deep forest that people do not know about,’ well, epic. But then the darn thing includes a bit of dialogue at the end, and well, not so epic.

“Epic tells the story of an ongoing battle deep in the forest between the forces of good and the forces of evil. When a teen age girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe, she must band together with a rag-tag team of fun and whimsical characters in order to save their world…and ours.”

Do you consider Pixar to be the still-undisputed-king of the latter-day animated feature, or are you looking to DreamWorks Animation (How To Train Your Dragon, Rise of the Guardians), Blue Sky (Ice Age, Rio), Sony Animation (Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, Pirates!), Nikelodeon (Rango, TinTin), Animal Logic (Happy Feet, Ga’Hoole) or any of the other CGI animation (or stop Motion, or 2D cel) house to offer the next great animated classic?

Trailer #4: The Dark Knight Rises

If the first three theatrical trailers for The Dark Knight Rises didn’t make your loins ache with desire, maybe the fourth one will. Focusing more on the movie’s action as well as Bruce Wayne’s retirement and subsequent reemergence as Batman, this trailer has a slightly different feel than the others.

What stands out to me is how distinct these trailers make the movie seem from the previous two. If people were worried how another Batman movie could survive without the Joker (of course it could, but hey, I hear this all of the time), I think these trailers do a good job of demonstrating that in Nolan we can trust and all will be well. Except for Batman. All will not be well for him, as most who know Batman lore have already recognized from these trailers.

The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters on July 20. The only question remains: can it beat The Avengers at the box office?

Teaser #2 for P.T. Anderson’s The Master

They sure know how to cut a teaser trailer over at the Anderson camp. The second look at the upcoming film The Master is a great showcase of the very, very L. Ron Hubbard-ish character – Philip Seymour Hoffman looks to be astounding – as he works his charisma on the hapless (but awesome) Joaquin Phoenix in a tour-de-force bit of overlapping audio. Also, a first look at Amy Adams, but all eyes are on the Hoffman/Phoenix dynamic. This movie cannot hit the cinema soon enough.