Here are the Best and Worst Movie Promos of the Week

Here are the Best and Worst Movie Promos of the Week

Jun 29, 2012

Robot & Frank

In preparation for the box office spike that’s sure to accompany the holiday weekend, we’ve got a ton of new trailers for a number of big upcoming films to note (click on the links to watch).

Total Recall unleashed a new one, honing in on some plot details and highlighting Colin Farrell’s relationships in the movie. Also in the action department is the very first trailer for the book-to-film adaptation, Alex Cross. While Tyler Perry does make an impression playing a character who doesn’t require him to don a fat suit, it’s Matthew Fox that steals the show as the disturbingly sadistic villain. Need even more brutality and carnage in your life? Check out some wicked action in the red-band trailer for RZA's directorial debut, The Man with the Iron Fists. Veering towards the tamer and more dramatic side is the Richard Geer-starrer Arbitrage, which hints at a notably powerful lead performance.

While animated movies are generally kid-friendly, this is Tim Burton we’re talking about and the new Frankenweenie trailer shows off some pretty disconcerting looking characters. As a big baby when it comes to anything remotely sad happening to animals, Frankenweenie looks as though it’ll have no trouble making this 25-year-old cry. In the silly teen comedy section we’ve got the first trailer for Fun Size, a movie that looks to straddle the line between purely juvenile and a piece that might have something to offer to adults. Speaking of childish adults, Kevin James is back in Here Comes the Boom. Based on the new trailer, the film will boast James’ typical absurdities, but also quite a bit of heart à la cheesy sports/troubled school movies.

The first trailer for Silver Linings Playbook has also arrived and while it does exhibit a somewhat comedic tone, it’s the honest chemistry and odd connection between Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence that really strikes a chord.

However, as successful as some of these promotional pieces are, they didn’t manage to crack the top, and, fortunately, steered far clear of the bottom.

The Best Stuff

1. Sleepwalk with Me Poster: In an industry filled with floating heads and cartoonish characters, floating people on cartoon sets are rather refreshing. Perhaps that’s not the best way to put it, but still, the new poster for Mike Birbiglia’s Sleepwalk with Me is simple, charming and clearly conveys the subject matter and the tone of the film. The image placement is also key to the poster’s effectiveness. Where else but to start than the top, and from there the imagery takes on a comic book panel like form, enticing you to move from left to right. Taking a cue from the amusing text, the only place to go from there is down, bringing you straight to the core details of the production. But this isn’t even a poster you give the once-over and dub it cute; it presents this wonderful double entendre that suggests the full film has an extra layer to it.

Sleepwalk with Me Poster

2. Robot & Frank Poster: Apparently dogs and cute little robots have the same effect on me. A simple shot of Frank Langella and his robot having a moment is all that’s necessary to sell this one. The white and yellow coloring choice not only highlights the two main players, but also hints at the film’s light and comedic tone, which is then balanced out by both Langella’s rather serious expression and the tagline, “Friendship doesn’t have an off switch.” It’s just too bad the recently released trailer doesn’t exactly follow suit, putting the focus on Frank’s human relationships moreso than his bond with this adorable little robot.

Robot & Frank Poster

3. Looper Trailer: The Looper premise has been incredibly captivating from trailer one, but this brand-new edition expresses it in an exponentially more effective manner. The key here is the opening. While trailers are meant to highlight snippets of a feature, a quick montage of various scenes rarely has the same impact as wading in a moment for a full 40 seconds, especially a moment like this showdown between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis. Before moving on, the trailer appropriately gives time to establish points some of us have already learned from previous trailers, but doing so with a fresh shot selection and a notably powerful pace. From there the stakes continue to rise until we conclude with an all-out barrage of action, explosions, flying furniture, guns shots and a slew of stunning visuals.  

The Worst Stuff

1. Savages Trailer: Oliver Stone, you’re starting to lose me. A priority of just about every movie is to truly immerse a viewer in the story, making them feel like the people on screen are real. Sure, once in awhile we get a successful breaking of the fourth wall, but not in an intense crime thriller like Savages. We’ve already suffered through those awful interview videos in which some incredibly talented actors can’t even seem to make the videos feel like more than a full costume test run and now we get this trailer in which the stars flat out break out of character announcing “I’m a savage.” Is that supposed to rouse emotion? Featurettes and interviews are fun to watch, but not in conjunction with the narrative. The moment the actors proclaim their real names and that silly declaration, anything established in the footage beforehand is reduced to playing characters, not them actually being the character.

2. The Campaign Character Posters: Character posters featuring the faces of Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis? Great! Promoting The Campaign with mock campaign buttons? Good idea! Designing a poster that looks like Ferrell and Galifianakis have had their buttons jabbed into their cheeks? A really careless design flaw. It’s that simple.

The Campaign Poster

3. Epic Trailer: Perhaps an animated movie can get away with a trailer providing little story information if the visuals are that mesmerizing, but that’s far from the case with Epic. This isn’t How to Train Your Dragon or even Brave, where the environments look different enough to reveal a little of what to expect by simply getting a glimpse of the terrain and main characters. Plant-like creatures, talking slugs and tiny people? Can you say FernGully? However, had we gotten a sense of how those character fit into this battle between good and evil deep within the forest, perhaps that might have sparked something to suggest Epic has something new and exciting to offer. Instead we get a music video that merely comes to an end, leaving you with no reason to wonder what happens next.

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