A mediocre first trailer likely won’t keep anyone from catching David O. Russell’s American Hustle, but simply showing off Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence and loads of pretty period costumes isn’t going to get you into the Best Stuff.
The Best Stuff
1. Lone Survivor
It’s officially time to shake Battleship off, because based on Lone Survivor’s first trailer, Peter Berg’s latest could be some quality work. The promo is artfully constructed, offering up an introduction and then a compelling, inciting incident before building up to a climactic blowout. On top of that, the material is notably visceral, suggesting the film will have many layers and earn all of that gunfire and violence.
2. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
I may not consider myself a Jackass fan, but there’s still no denying the appeal of doing something downright dangerous, disgusting and ridiculous, and getting to see how unsuspecting onlookers react. There are a number of bits in this Bad Grandpa trailer that are off-putting and borderline offensive, but they’re worth overlooking for the laughs.
3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
It’s a trailer that successfully conveys the film’s tone, provides a thorough sense of who this character is and delivers the basics of his curious predicament, all in a neat and absolutely stunning little package. And that’s all without a single drop of dialogue-driven exposition.
The Worst Stuff
There's nothing worse than a horror trailer that isn’t scary and makes you feel like you’ve seen that movie before, and that’s certainly the case with the new promo for the Abigail Breslin-starrer Haunter. The piece is generally one-note, there’s no innovative hook, and out of context the performances aren’t enough to sell terror.
2. 2 Guns
The new red-band trailer for 2 Guns is actually exciting and rather funny, but the problem is the first 30 seconds could be a complete turnoff. Narration is generally the easy way out, and people know it. No good can come from spoon-feeding an audience information, especially in such a hokey manner. (Warning: this trailer is NSFW!)
3. All Is Lost
Robert Redford and the core concept are appealing enough, but the first trailer for All Is Lost is still disappointingly weak. It’s a story about a guy stranded and alone in the middle of the ocean. That should involve an incredible amount of emotion and an overwhelming sense of isolation, but neither is present in the film’s trailer. I’m tempted to say such a scenario is just difficult to convey in a short promo, but Gravity managed to do so just fine.
What are your favorite and least favorite movie trailers this week?