With the Super Bowl right around the corner, the studios are gearing up to make their mark on the hottest TV commercial night of the year. Paramount Pictures already jumped the gun releasing their entire spots for G.I. Joe: Retaliation and The Dictator, while The Avengers and John Carter both got sneak previews. However, none of those highly anticipated releases stand a chance against the return of Ferris Bueller. Honda’s “Matthew’s Day Off” spot has already hit the web and it makes for a pretty smart marketing tool while still honoring the beloved film.
Over in trailer land, we’ve got a few to note that didn’t manage to crack the top three, but are still worth taking a look at. Actually, maybe this first one doesn’t even qualify as a trailer. Step Up 4 recently released an “announcement piece.” Regardless of what that really means, the video comes packed with exactly what you’d want in a new Step Up film, complete with some wicked cool dance sequences and bad acting. Speaking of bad acting, Crooked Arrows looks to lay on the cheese rather thick, but hey -- it’s an inspirational sports movie, so perhaps that’ll be enough of an excuse. On the other hand, the material in The Hunter is as stark as it comes, with Willem Dafoe putting on one heck of a mug while hunting a Tasmanian Tiger.
The best of the best in posters this week (but not in the promotional department overall, of course) is certainly 21 Jump Street thanks to that absolutely hilarious expression on Jonah Hill’s face. Friends with Kids finds some success with its new poster, squeezing in all of its famous faces while still sending a message. The new poster for Bel Ami, on the other hand, pushes its lead actress to the background to say just one thing – Robert Pattinson.
Enough with the so-so, it’s onto the best of the best and worst of the worst. Here are your top and bottom movie promos of the week.
The Best Stuff
1. 7500 Teaser: There’s nothing creepier than something that’s not meant to be creepy – kids, toys, lovely songs. This beautiful yet eerie rendition of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” will undoubtedly send chills down your spine. Not only is it wildly appropriate in terms of the subject matter of 7500, but it helps this teaser nail a foreboding tone, bringing to the forefront the thought that this flight is doomed, which, of course, is downright terrifying. And then, just as your unease hits a peak, the music cuts out and things really do get scary. However, rather than letting screams and chaos consume the rest of the piece, “Leaving on a Jet Plane” returns, practically assuming a whole new quality, going from eerie to downright menacing. On top of all that, the 7500 teaser also has a hint of Final Destination to it, and who doesn’t love that opening midair disaster?
2. Act of Valor Featurettes: Hello, smart marketing. The folks pushing Act of Valor clearly know who their target audience is because not one, but two more featurettes have arrived, both of which focus on production elements that make Act of Valor stand out from the large majority of action films – the use of live ammo and real Navy SEALs. Even better, both of these videos are just really well done. They’re well paced, absolutely jam-packed with riveting visuals and not a second of material is wasted. Rather than show something happening and then merely narrate that action, the cast and crewmembers explain how it works, making us appreciate the material even more. Regardless of whether or not these non-actors can really act, the collaboration between the real SEAL stars and co-directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh is wildly fascinating and involves filmmaking tactics you’ve never seen before.
3. God Bless America Red-Band Trailer: Where did this movie come from? I remember hearing rumblings back during the Toronto Film Festival and have been paying little attention to the tweets that have been popping up now and again, but now that I’ve actually sat down and watched the God Bless America trailer ... um, wow. This film looks like an absolute blast! The funny thing is, I wasn’t a fan of James Gunn’s’ Super because it was so violent and mean spirited. Yes, the leading duo in God Bless America seems to walk a similar line, but thanks to the way this trailer’s structured, we get a sense of Frank’s world and what’s at stake for him before he arms up. No, it still doesn’t justify his behavior, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, one of the issues presented here has irked us at one time or another. On the technical side, the trailer is particularly well cut, keeping a stellar pace, rocking pitch-perfect comedic timing and showing God Bless America might have a little heart in between gunshots.
The Worst Stuff
1. Safe House Featurette: The point of a featurette is to offer moviegoers a little something they can’t get from a trailer or from clips. This Safe House featurette, on the other hand, is merely a trailer with interviews reiterating what we see in the trailer. And it’s really too bad, too, because Safe House is absolutely oozing with spectacular action sequences and intriguing details. How about a behind-the-scenes featurette showing how director Daniel Espinosa pulled it all off? Or maybe a making-of-the-movie one detailing the CIA research that was necessary to create the story and bring the characters to life? Nope, we just get a trailer play-by-play.
2. Deadline Trailer: This isn’t just a bad trailer; this is a promotion that suggests the movie itself might not be very good. The first red flag pops up around the 20-second mark when it’s noted that “Wallace was gunned down in cold blood;” tacky editing decision, bad performance. Cue bad performance #2 at 27 seconds in: Footage that looks like it was shot with a consumer camcorder at :41 and a shot of Eric Roberts that looks like it’s come from a completely different film at :45. In fact, you know what that shot reminds me of? Lee Trevino in Happy Gilmore. Sprinkle lame dialogue and some melodrama throughout the rest of the video and you’ve got a film that appears to take its true roots far too seriously and yet not seriously enough all at the same time.
3. The Cold Light of Day Poster: I didn’t think it was possible for anything Henry Cavill’s face was on to be ugly, but this poster for The Cold Light of Day is definitely ugly. As is that title for that matter. Not only is the image awkwardly proportioned, but what does one section have to do with another? This is one of those cut-and-paste jobs that merely slaps the biggest stars of the film on the poster simply to have them there, without giving any thought to how to allude to the plot of the film through the imagery. Then just look at Sigourney Weaver. Based on that shot of her, I’d guess she plays a blind secret agent who blows up buildings and has the power to conjure storms with her mind. And, to top it all off, could that tagline get any more generic?