'ParaNorman' and 'The Tall Man' Lead Our Best and Worst Movie Promos of the Week

'ParaNorman' and 'The Tall Man' Lead Our Best and Worst Movie Promos of the Week

Aug 03, 2012

ParaNorman Olympics TV Spot

I like sports, but I wouldn’t say I was particularly excited to watch the Olympics. However, now that the event is underway, I can’t stop watching! Assuming quite a few of you may be indulging in swimming, gymnastics, beach volley and more, I can’t help but wonder why ParaNorman and Wreck-It Ralph are the only two features seizing the marketing opportunity.

While those two reap the benefits of airing between high-stakes Olympic events, the The Paper Boy and Killing Them Softly try to consume Web-based viewers via Web-based trailers. Both generate a great deal of intrigue courtesy of big name players and riveting visuals, but neither cross the barrier into truly alluring material that leaves you wanting more. Bachelorette and Taken 2 take steps in the right direction; Bachelorette earning more laughs courtesy of red-band privileges and Taken 2 looking less like a desperate attempt at earning a buck by milking a successful concept and suggesting there actually is some room for this story to grow.

The Big Wedding trailer looks like one big, fat star-studded flop while Anna Karenina dazzles with a new featurette showing off its grandiose setting, costumes, characters and more. The worst and best of the week? Close, but not quite. Check out what made the cut below.

The Best Stuff

1. ParaNorman Olympics TV Spot: Holidays and worldwide events make for excellent marketing opportunities. However, all we tend to wind up with are tacky posters of characters posing with Easter eggs or wearing Santa hats. ParaNorman, on the other hand, nailed it. The film’s diving-themed Olympics TV spot is a bit too clunky and anticlimactic to make an impression, but the “Nailed It” version rocks notably crisp and thoughtful stop-motion imagery as well as a mini-scenario that’s fun to watch and genuinely amusing.

2. Total Recall Featurette: When you’ve got a production element like semi-practical hover cars, it absolutely deserves its own featurette, and Total Recall delivers. Regardless of how you feel about the full feature, putting a car on top of a car to make a futuristic chase scene look and feel as real as possible is an impressive feat. If you’ve got any interest in behind-the-scenes material and understanding what it takes to create out-of-this-world moments, this is prime viewing material.

The piece seamlessly integrates the final footage with the behind-the-scenes video as well as cast and crew interviews to provide an informative but exciting experience. While I’m sure there could be a deeply technical version of this featurette for the DVD and Blu-ray release, this video makes for some very well-done pre-release hype.

3. House at the End of the Street Trailer: You’d think by the third trailer enough would be enough, but the release format of the set of trailers for House at the End of the Street has led us to a third piece that feels just as fresh and exhilarating as the first. It all started back in March with that nifty rewind trailer, but then we had to wait until June to get a more traditional piece, which wound up providing a fresh perspective simply by making us wait, then pushing play and throwing in a few never-before-seen clips. Just about two months later this brand-new trailer arrives, and while it provides an equally insightful and exhilarating taste of the feature, the Jennifer Lawrence-sung tune in the background gives it a noticeably different feel yet again, offering up something fresh and suggesting House at the End of Street has more to offer than your average horror movie.

The Worst Stuff

1. The Tall Man Clip: Based on the synopsis and the trailers, it’s pretty clear that The Tall Man is nothing special. It’s a creepy story that takes place in an isolated town featuring a bad guy named the Tall Man. Not only does it have that been-there-done-that feeling, but the Tall Man? Seriously? Nobody could come up with a more creative or even slightly disconcerting name?

Still, for the sake of Best/Worst Promos, the issue here is the film’s new clip. As much as I despise Martyrs for how truly horrifying it is, there’s no denying that the film features some top-notch filmmaking. Perhaps director Pascal Laugier used up all his good ideas on that one because this clip is plagued with typical horror-movie behavior and imagery, overacting, and poor shot selection that results in a total lack of suspense. Rather than use some movie magic to make the truck look like it’s going faster, raising the stakes that much more, some shots actually make it look as though it’s creeping down the road with a hysterical shrieking Jessica Biel desperately trying to make it look like she’s holding on for dear life.

2. The Odd Life of Timothy Green Clip: Do I not have a heart or is this clip from The Odd Life of Timothy Green as annoying as I think it is? Clearly the film is meant to have that overemotional Lifetime quality to it, but this might be a bit much for anyone who isn’t deliberately seeking an idealistic scenario destined to turn on the waterworks. Sure it’s sweet that Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton are coming up with their dream kid, but their behavior is so over the top that it comes across as unrealistic and silly. I can already see the Saturday Night Live sketch now – Abby Elliott and Taran Killam charmingly toss top-notch kid qualities into a hat only to have a bonnet-wearing Bobby Moynihan be the result.

3. Paranormal Activity 4 Trailer: As a diehard Paranormal Activity fan, the stakes were high for the first trailer for the new film -- perhaps a little too high. The viral campaign for Paranormal Activity was infectious, the promotional material for the second film benefited from the desperation to return and the inclusion of baby Hunter, and then the trailer for Paranormal Activity 3 gave fans chills, offering up a look at little Katie and Kristi as well as some very poignant moments. This new trailer for Paranormal Activity 4, on the other hand, just doesn’t spark much of a reaction. It isn’t a bad trailer by any means, but it also doesn’t suggest that we needed a fourth installment and a statement like that coming from such an intense series fan is problematic.

What were your favorite -- and least favorite -- movie promos of the week?

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