Poor The Expendables 2. G.I. Joe Retaliation beat you to it. Both summer blockbusters delivered a slew of character posters this past week and not only were they released in a similar format, the collection of posters being distributed amongst a selection of online outlets, but both sets look quite similar. It’s tough to call one set better than the other, but G.I. Joe certainly stole some of The Expendables thunder.
We’ve got three new red-band trailers fighting for potty mouth glory. There’s the one for John Stalberg’s High School, which continues to look like an entertaining high school throwback, and then there’s the one for The Five-Year Engagement, which might incite a spike in the sale of the peony flower. Last up is the one from Hick and it proves that you don’t want to mess with Chloe Moretz. Forget all of Hit Girl’s crazy toys; all she needs here is a little firepower.
In somewhat tamer trailer territory, there’s a new one for the home invasion film Stash House. It looks tacky to the max, but the idea of Sean Faris and Briana Evigan battling with Dolph Lundgren just screams guilty pleasure. On the other hand, Lawless might be the real deal. The film was just selected to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and now it's got a trailer with enough tension and drama to show it might be worthy of the honor.
The Best Stuff
1. Hotel Transylvania Poster: Sure the voices of Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Steve Buscemi and more are promotional pluses for Hotel Transylvania, but I’d like to bet a number of moviegoers will catch this one based on the premise alone. Iconic monsters hitting a secluded resort for some much needed rest and relaxation? It’s an idea prime for an animated feature and this brand new poster rocks it. The only element that could perhaps sell the concept just the slightest bit more was if Frankenstein and co. were standing there in their tropical-style shirts staring at a hotel under a dark and ominous sky.
2. The Impossible Spanish Trailer: I’ve got absolutely no idea what anyone is saying in this trailer, but I’m still aching to catch Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Impossible. There’s no better way to start this one than with a home video of a loving family. It looks sweet and innocent until the piece rolls into its first text frame backed by the eerie sound of a wave. Now that the ominous undertone is established, all of the happy images to come take on a somewhat painful sensation. And then it hits: the trailer cuts to black and the sheer horror breaks loose in what’s guaranteed to be heart-wrenching material made all the more powerful courtesy of Bayona’s incredible imagery.
3. Prometheus Featurette: I guess we could just call this the Prometheus effect at this point; there’s something about this material and the film’s promotional campaign that leaves you desperate for more. No, the tribute to director Ridley Scott isn’t what makes this featurette so appealing, but rather the footage from Prometheus and the glimpse at what happens behind the scenes. Yes, Prometheus is packed with “movie magic,” but it’s downright incredible how much of this world was physically erected. And, even then, it’s mind-blowing comparing the behind-the-scenes footage to what it becomes when it’s inserted into the full feature. I’d listen to hours of actors singing Scott’s praise if it meant more Prometheus.
The Worst Stuff
1. Hotel Transylvania Trailer: The basic premise is still great, but the latest trailer for Hotel Transylvania suggests the execution didn’t do it justice. The opening scenes showing our favorite monsters sneaking off into the night is still rather cute, but once they get to their destination, Hotel Transylvania becomes a disaster. As mentioned in a previous edition of Best/Worst Promos, Adam Sandler’s voice is a killer; it’s distractingly obvious. Making matters worse his jokes are lame, drawing a line between this feature and Sandler’s recent string of misfortunes. But whether Sandler’s character is involved or not, Hotel Transylvania lacks any charm thanks to irritating voice work and dismally childish gags.
2. The Road Red-Band Trailer: If you’re getting rave reviews, of course you’re going to drop some quotes in the trailer. However, that doesn’t give you the excuse to use them as a crutch. Rather than use its latest red-band trailer to offer up a gorier version of the story, we just get gore and nothing more. And the trouble is, if all you’ve got is horrifying imagery, those quotes noting how terrifying the film is wind up having a reverse effect. I’m not one to shy away from blood and guts, but after watching The Road’s red-band trailer, I get the impression that the goal of this film isn’t to scare while telling a moving story, rather to disturb and nothing more.
3. Hope Springs Trailer: Sure, anything starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones has promise, but then we get trailers like this one for Hope Springs and that promise is consumed by embarrassment for the top-notch talent. This one’s a comedy/drama hybrid, but the comedy far outweighs the drama. The tone of the material makes it feel far too silly when in fact more humor would have come from upping the drama. And the fact that this trailer is packed with completely unfunny jokes doesn’t help. Clearly we’re supposed to find humor in the awkward touchy-feely moments between Streep and Jones, but it’s really just plain old awkward.