Now that Halloween is completely out of the picture, we’ve got a nice amalgamation of material to look at – comedy, drama, action and, of course, seasonal fair.
With Christmas fast approaching, a clip from Arthur Christmas is welcomed with open arms. Narrated by a little girl writing a letter to Santa, the piece gives a nice overview of the Santa Clause lineage as well as the great deal of warmth Arthur’s got to offer. On the sillier and less festive side is yet another clip from The Muppets. Sure, this opening dance sequence is well done and will certainly bring back that Muppet-loving sensation, but, by the time the film hits theaters, will there be any new material left to see?
On the more realistic comedic side (to a point at least), we’ve got a brand new red band trailer for Goon, which goes beyond the teaser, humanizing Seann William Scott’s character before getting into the hockey-fighting lunacy, which actually makes it even more brutal. Then there’s the first trailer for Wanderlust, which surprisingly both stars Jennifer Aniston and shows signs of actually being quite funny.
Moving into more childish terriorty, we get the trailer for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Just about everything in this video from the visuals to the dialogue is quite juvenile, but I guess this one's made for the Spy Kids-type of crowd, so perhaps it's appropriate. Then again, I'm somewhat embaressed to admit Dwayne Johnson's "peck pop of love" did make me giggle the slightest bit.
Let’s cut this introduction short because, this week, we’ve got a little extra material to get through. Here come the best stuff, the worst stuff and a bit of a bonus.
The Best Stuff
1. 21 Jump Street Trailer: As I was a little on the young side for 21 Jump Street when it aired on Fox back in the late 80s and early 90s, since the news of the big screen adaptation broke, all I really had to go on was some light research, and, after watching a few episodes, I basically wrote off the Channing Tatum/Jonah Hill version entirely. But, thanks to the recently released red band and this green band trailer, it’s clear that 21 Jump Street the movie isn’t just an action film; it’s downright hilarious. Not only is the trailer backed with laughs, but it also shows off Hill’s impressive new look as well as the fact that Tatum actually has quite a bit of charisma. Even better? The duo has an incredible amount of chemistry and some stellar comedic timing. If the feature film is as slickly edited as this trailer, 21 Jump Street could easily trump last year’s buddy cop action comedy, The Other Guys – quality-wise, at least.
2. We Bought A Zoo Poster: Now this is the kind of poster I’m talking about! Just last week We Bought A Zoo found itself in the lowest of the low courtesy of a lame international poster that more closely resembled a promotional effort for a Lifetime movie. However, this brand new domestic design ditches the need to show off its über famous cast to go with something that’s creative and quite appealing. It’s simple, rather sweet and has a warm texture to it that not only conveys the tone of the film, but also turns this marketing tool into a piece of art. Plus, Fox still gets the added benefit of having Matt Damon’s name right above the title.
3. Happy Feet Two Featurette: Alecia Moore, also known as Pink, says it herself, “It’s fun to watch everybody act like idiots.” Many movies come with behind-the-scenes featurettes and unless you’re particularly interested in the film or perhaps are familiar with the source material, they tend to come across as more of the same – generic interviews, vague behind-the-scenes B-roll, etc. However, as someone who’s actually never even seen the first Happy Feet, the fact that I watched this entire featurette and still wanted more speaks to its power of engagement. Super cute talking penguins are inherently amusing and so is the amount of energy the voice actors put into bringing them to life, especially when the cast consists of Robin Williams, Elijah Wood, Common, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and many more very familiar faces. After sitting through this nearly five-minute piece with the silliest grin on my face, not only am I itching to catch Happy Feet Two, but I think it might be time to finally check out the first.
The Worst Stuff
1. Snow White and the Huntsman Banner: Clearly part of the appeal of Snow White and the Huntsman is the set and costume design, so wouldn’t that be the smartest thing to show off in a massive banner? Instead, what we get is a lame, awkwardly blended good vs. evil design that feels a bit lopsided. Obviously another one of this film’s assets is the stars, and while they are present and accounted for in this image, every single one of their faces is semi-masked. In fact, I didn’t even realize that was Chris Hemsworth at first. There’s a lot of gorgeous and interesting imagery here that works well when giving it a closer look, but when this piece is hanging in the rafters of a movie theater or perhaps even on a highway billboard, it’s going to come across as one big mishmash of colors.
2. Safe House Trailer: This trailer isn’t all that bad, but it finds itself in the lesser group for two reasons - it’s not much of a tease and is drowning in plot spoilers. First off, clearly this two minute and 30 second piece is not a teaser, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to leave you with the need for more. This trailer could have been far more compelling and intriguing had they kept the material in the confines of the safe house and then teased us by seeing a bit of Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds’ characters on the run together. Instead, the video holds back little and rams through what seems to be the entire plot of the film – Reynolds hates his job in the safe house, bad guy Washington comes in, Reynolds’ ethics are tested by illegal torture techniques, the facility is attacked, Reynolds and Washington escape together, the attack could be a government conspiracy, but is Washington manipulating Reynolds, blah, blah, blah, cue rap song.
3. J. Edgar Clips: Thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood and the source material, J. Edgar has Oscar written all over it – but that doesn’t guarantee it’ll become an Academy Award winner, or nominee for that matter. The best way to describe these eight new clips from the film? It’s simple – boring. Well, this one clip does offer a bit of character development and this one here is quite engaging, but, otherwise, all we’ve got here is a slew of dull table conversations. Even worse, the color palette is also quite dull, making the material even drearier. For example, this exterior scene practically looks as though it’s merely black and white. Then there’s the problem of “old DiCaprio,” or old Hoover, I guess. Sure, he’s got to look like an older version of himself, but it’s tough to discern the character from simply being Leonardo DiCaprio with some silly prosthetics on.
Caught In The Middle
Immortals R-Rated Clip: While I do tend to get caught in the middle in terms of deciding whether to include a piece of material in the top three or not at all and deciding whether to include an item in the bottom three or not at all, this brutal clip from Immortals deserves some attention as I wasn’t weighing whether or not to include it in the best or worst, rather the best and the worst. Clearly I opted out of both options. So, the good? In true Tarsem Singh form, the imagery is incredible. Even in 2D, the material has a wonderful 3D quality that’s sure to pop big time on screen. Plus, if you’re a fan of gore, this clip doesn’t fall short in the least, showing off a vivid display of bodily slicing and dicing as well as blood flow to the max. So, the bad? How dare the studio release this clip without a major spoiler alert! I imagine this is a primary battle sequence in the film and, thanks to this clip, just about every element of it is ruined. Why not just cut it after the gods ravage the titans just before the minute mark? Not cool. You’ve been warned; watch at your own risk.