The Best Stuff
1. The Possession Clip: Jump-scares and bloody massacres make for good horror movie material, but there’s nothing better than that little something – a concept or visual – that’s so subtle, but sticks with you long after the credits role. The title of this clip from The Possession, “Mouth Fingers,” certainly ruins the surprise, but the moment boasts such a powerful build and heart-wrenching performance from Madison Davenport, that when the footage finally does make due on that title, it’ll leave you rattled.
2. 10 Years Trailer: Even though 10 Years is explicitly billed as a drama, there’s something about the high school reunion plot (and the fact that 10 Years stars Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson, Kate Mara, Chris Pratt, Justin Long and Anthony Mackie) that leads you to expect something more along the lines of American Pie -- lots of raunchy humor with a twinge of emotion. Yes, this reaction is partially due to my misconception, but the degree of heart and authenticity conveyed in this trailer really is quite rousing. We only get two minutes and 30 seconds of material, but the piece manages to give us enough of each character to both humanize them and make them memorable.
3. The Expendables 2 Clip: Now this is what I’m talking about! Why release clips like this sloppy water-tower scene when you’ve got material that actually gives you access to the star-studded cast while offering up impressively coordinated action sequences? Two new clips from The Expendables 2 dropped this past week and both show off some solid filmmaking and smart marketing decisions. Jean-Claude Van Damme’s villainous entrance is tacky to the max, but then we get a scene packed with the most famous faces decimating the enemy. And isn’t that what The Expendables is all about? Even if seeing an action hero conglomeration isn’t your dream come true, the material is exhilarating enough that you’ll still want more, and the studio actually gives you more!
The Worst Stuff
1. The Letter Trailer: Winona Ryder and James Franco in this? This trailer just has incompetent filmmaking written all over it. First off, the footage looks horrendous. It’s got that ugly video quality to it, with the majority of shots appearing like they could have come straight out of a TV soap opera. And what’s going on with the color? Some scenes look decent, but then we get others with washed-out palettes and some with awkward hues that look as though they might have been altered deliberately. Even worse, the story is just flat-out confusing, and comes across as silly and melodramatic. It’s one thing to have a voiceover explaining some of the details of the plot, but when that voiceover hits the exact image it’s describing in a manner that’s too on the nose, it can feel like a parody. Then, to top it all off, what’s the deal with that post-title snippet? Can anyone even figure out what she’s saying?
2. Premium Rush Featurette: Not a terrible featurette by any means, but certainly a letdown after last week’s stunt piece. In order to make a character-based featurette interesting and entertaining, you’ve got to have pretty extraordinary leads. Wilee is a great bike rider and all, but it’s just not all that exciting to hear Joseph Gordon-Levitt repeat what we already learned from the trailers. Featurettes are about getting things you can’t get from trailers and other non-behind-the-scenes promotional material. Sadly this new one for Premium Rush is really just a trailer with interviews, and considering intercutting with interviews generally slows the pace and dulls tension, this featurette is basically just a less exhilarating trailer.
3. Dredd Featurette: Again, not a bad piece, but something that’s just not appealing to someone who doesn’t care for Dredd’s source material. Even though I didn’t enjoy Dredd all that much, the film does move to a perfect beat, and rocks a solid and enthralling tone. Why not put that to use to spice up some drier material like the Dredd 101 offered up in this featurette? Some terser sound bites, snazzy effects and a shorter running time and this could have been a piece that not only is a bit more fun to watch, but also one that could leave a viewer curious about the source material in addition to the feature.
What are your favorite and least favorite movie promos this week?