Compliments are wonderful, but bragging about them totally undercuts the achievement. The new Inside Llewyn Davis trailer was shaping up to be another winner, but then, in came the critical praise – time and time again. Eleven quotes? Is that really necessary? Just a few would have made the point and then we could have focused on what really matters: the material from the film. Considering Inside Llewyn Davis already has enough accolades, there’s no need to give it Best Stuff honors this week, too.
The Best Stuff
1. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: The first trailer for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was a unique little gem because it managed to accomplish so much without dialogue, but, even with a more familiar format, the film’s latest promo is a standout. Similar to the opening presentation of Walter Mitty’s monotonous routine in the first trailer, this one establishes an instant connection through his dating-site woes. From there, the piece hits you with the appeal of dreams come true, upping the intensity each step of the way with a significant boost from the build in Of Monsters and Men’s “Dirty Paws.”
2. Out of the Furnace: The November 27 release Out of the Furnace is back with another beautifully unnerving sneak peek at the full feature. Yet again, the song choice is absolutely impeccable, but so strikingly different from the music in the first trailer, it suggests the full film could have an especially wide breadth of emotion. The editing here is also commendable. The narrative is stitched together seamlessly, but it’s thanks to very specific timing and shot choices that the piece doesn’t just tell the story, it makes you feel it. (My favorite instance of this is the cut from the shot looking out a window to a full view of the mountain at 1:11.)
3. Charlie Countryman: After all that mindless Transformers nonsense, it’s easy to forget that Shia LaBeouf is a very talented actor, but this new trailer for Charlie Countryman could change that because LaBeouf absolutely owns it. The piece doesn’t even do a particularly good job at formulating a cohesive story, but LaBeouf’s natural commanding presence pulls you right in and leaves you needing to know what happens to him.
The Worst Stuff
1. American Hustle: I’m a big fan of David O. Russell, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence, so why can’t I get into American Hustle? We can blame the inability to connect to the first promo on the fact that it was essentially just a montage of famous faces, but this one aims to build interesting characters within a riveting scenario and just fails.
2. The Starving Games: There’s nothing worse than a trailer failure due to abysmal content. There was just no hope whatsoever for the editor(s) assigned to cut together this promo for Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer’s The Starving Games. It does manage to build a little momentum riding The Hunger Games’ coattails, but once it comes time to prove its worth and unleash a joke, it becomes a total disaster.
3. Journey to the South Pacific: Say hello to the worst trailer of 2013. Yes, we’ve still got about three months to go, but just watch this promo for Journey to the South Pacific. It’s hard to imagine any other feature delivering an advertisement that’s so laughably uninteresting. This isn’t a trailer for a riveting IMAX 3D adventure; it’s more like a tacky commercial begging you to come down to the South Pacific for a starry-eyed and totally unrealistic version of family fun.
What are your favorite and least favorite movie trailers this week?
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