January slump? Definitely not in the promotional department. Then again, of all the new material that’s dropped in the past seven days, nothing from a January release managed to crack the top three and almost nothing from February either.
I imagine the Underworld diehards are, well, dying for Awakening to arrive, but for someone who hasn’t paid much attention to the franchise, these new clips don’t really impress. Similarly, The Grey premiered a new clip and, having seen the film, it’s most certainly one of the tamer moments, which might disappoint those who are looking forward to seeing Liam Neeson go head-to-head with man-eating wolves.
Things improve exponentially as we move into February territory. The Woman in Black got a brand new poster that fits in beautifully with Hammer Films’ collection and the new featurette for Act of Valor shows off one of the film’s most incredible assets, working with real Navy SEALs and real firepower.
March got a new poster for Friends with Kids and sadly, it’s your typical attempt at slapping every member of a massive all-star cast’s face on the design. Then again, the majority of the faces come straight from Bridesmaids, so a lackluster design certainly won’t hold it back. Then there’s the new trailer for Casa de mi Padre, which stays in line with the rest of the campaign and makes the film look as odd as ever.
Further down the line for September, the first teaser for Resident Evil: Retribution is here, but hopefully people will actually watch it and not shut it right off thinking it's an ad for a wireless Internet provider. Then again, there isn't much footage to see anyway. And, lastly, over in no man’s land, we’ve got the release date-less Sassy Pants which makes the intro cut simply because it stars Ashley Rickards and Anna Gunn and looks wonderfully odd. But still, its presence here does mean it didn’t make The Best Stuff cut. What did? Check it out …
THE BEST STUFF
1. Moonrise Kingdom Trailer: No, I’m not entirely sure of what to make of this trailer for Moonrise Kingdom, but that’s the beauty of it. Clearly it’s highly stylistic, packed with off-kilter characters and strikingly colorful imagery, but at the same time, there’s an honesty to it that still makes it feel somewhat real. At a running time of nearly two minutes, this trailer flows impeccably well, enrapturing you in what looks to be stellar performances, only letting you resurface when the piece fades to black in the end, reminding you that this is just a trailer. If the full feature packs the power to pull an audience in like this promotion, we’re in for one heck of a unique treat from Wes Anderson come May.
2. Undefeated Clips: Are you a fan of Friday Night Lights? Well then you absolutely must check out these clips from the upcoming documentary Undefeated, a piece that shows what happens when coach Bill Courtney turns a failing football team around. It’s really impossible not to watch them without seeing the parallel between Courtney and Coach Eric Taylor and that could be key to pulling in audiences who normally take a pass on documentaries. Plus, the footage looks incredible. The camera operator(s) doesn’t hold back in the least, getting so up close and personal with the subjects, it’s impossible not to absorb some of their feelings. Then there’s the fact that Courtney seems to be an incredibly compelling lead. Time and time again, we get dreary and uninspiring dialogue when we arrive at a sport film’s big moment and the coach has to give a speech. Perhaps screenwriters should just turn to Courtney to write something authentic up for them.
3. 21 Jump Street TV Spot: If the full feature rocks editing this snappy, 21 Jump Street could be in pretty good shape. The jokes themselves are on point as is the chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, but it’s the cuts and those bold title cards that really solidify the tone and give this TV spot the punch it needs to pack in order to make an impression in just 30 seconds. Following in the footsteps of the film’s entire promotional campaign, this videos shows the film is a departure from the original and in the best way possible.
THE WORST STUFF
1. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Poster: The designers behind this image had the right idea, but should have taken it further. As well known as the Lincoln Memorial is, on first glance, this Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter poster, merely looks like an angry Abe chilling in a chair. After a double take, you realize the image brings the memorial to life which might earn a chuckle, but you’ve actually got to look to find the axe, as the blade blends into the white memorial making the handle look more like a cane than a weapon. For folks who don’t know a vampire-hunting Abraham Lincoln movie is on the way, this poster will merely get a quick glance and that’s all. Now, splatter some blood all over that Memorial and then we’d have something eye-catching, or maybe that’s just the horror-lover in me talking.
2. MS One – Maximum Security Featurette: If you’re going to make a featurette, don’t just have the director be the talking head because he’s the director; you’ve absolutely got to find someone who’s eloquent. It’s incredible how little information this two-minute piece conveys and that’s largely due to the fact that Stephen St. Leger takes quite a while to get a simple point across, and in a dull manner nonetheless. And what’s with his hand? Why must he eat his hand the entire interview? A featurette is meant to give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a film; this piece is merely the trailer stitched together with three inarticulate sound bites.
MS ONE - Maximum Security : Making-of Snow the... by Lyricis
3. One for the Money Clip: Can’t anyone just make Katherine Heigl go away? Okay, maybe she’s not a terrible actress, but her tendency to choose dismal material is dragging her down the Jennifer Anniston hole – and Heigl doesn’t have Friends to back her up. You know a comedy is in trouble when the promotional clip isn’t funny in the least and is also trying so damn hard. And here, poor Debbie Reynolds really takes quite the blow in this lame attempt at a laugh. The shot selection here also hints at some run of the mill coverage in general. The scene opens with a standard establishing shot and then jumps to singles and two shots that are all used for the sake of simply showing who’s speaking, rather than to enhance a particular moment of the scene. Based on this, One for the Money has thoughtless commercial comedy written all over it.