24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Trailers

With their new movie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen make it a '50/50' proposition [Trailer]

June 1, 2011 |  8:30 am

A few years ago, Joseph Gordon-Levitt mixed vulnerability with a deadpan sense of humor in "(500) Days of Summer." He seems to be back in strong form with his upcoming cancer dramedy "50/50," whose trailer debuted over the weekend.

That performance looks to be enough to offset the presence of Seth Rogen, back as a slacker buddy making weed and anatomy jokes for the 347th time. Is Rogen's acting limited by the roles he keeps getting, or does keep getting those roles because his acting is limited? Either way, it's easy to see past the Rogen-ness of it all with the rest of the stellar Gen Y lineup -- in addition to Gordon-Levitt, Anna Kendrick ("Up in the Air") makes a welcome return as a therapist. And the whole thing comes from director Jonathan Levine," the young filmmaker who turned in a well-received debut with "The Wackness" in 2008.

Based on the real life (and script), of real-life cancer survivor Will Reiser, "50/50" does face a marketing challenge: convincing a comedy audience to see a movie about cancer. So far, it's doing that by playing up the humor (even the part when Gordon-Levitt's Will learns the bad news has a joke in it)
and playing down the illness. (The title, for instance, was changed from "I'm with Cancer.") Studio Summit has some time to get the message out -- the movie doesn't come out until Sept. 30.

-- Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

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With new trailer, The Girl with the DRagon Tattoo begins to breathe its fire

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With new trailer, 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' begins to breathe its fire

May 29, 2011 |  5:46 pm

 
Crai
There's already a debate about how this trailer for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" got online: Was it leaked from a European theater or stealthily put there by Sony? Whatever your conspiracy theory, the source is perhaps less important than the content of this so-called "feel-bad" Christmas movie, all of which comes at us fast, gritty and stylish. (We link to the trailer here instead of embedding it because it's been red-banded, apparently owing to a blink-and-you'll-miss-it nudity shot; please use your discretion in clicking through.)

Shrewdly assuming knowledge of the Stieg Larsson literary series, the spot for the David Fincher movie eschews traditional setup and exposition in favor of quick cuts and a driving Led Zeppelin cover by Trent Reznor and Karen O. This one's for the devotees.

Still, if you pause the spot or watch it multiple times, you'll see many allusions to the mystery that Daniel Craig's Mikael Blomkvist and Rooney Mara's Lisbeth Salander are trying to solve in the Swedish snow. It's a smart approach: The story is there for those who want it, but it's not laid out in a way that could subject it to scrutiny.

The trailer's cumulative effect is to make the movie feel both polished and raw, a sophisticated product that moves miles beyond the made-for-TV feel of the Swedish-language original. If the book and the casting already have fans excited for the first installment this December, this one will make them rapturous.

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-- Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Rooney Mara on the set of  "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Credit: Vanity Fair

 


New 'Smurfs' trailer looks, oh, what's the word we're looking for? [Video]

May 25, 2011 |  2:04 pm

It was something of a question: would the reboot of "The Smurfs" return to the whimsy of the source material or go down the familiar talking-animal route? The new trailer for the hybrid animated-live action film confirms the latter -- cute creatures trying to make it in a human world, with a human friend, pursued by an evil threat -- and with a  "Muppets Take Manhattan" vibe to boot. There's a  frenetic quality to the trailer that suggests that viewing the full film when it hits theaters in July might be hard for anyone past the early grade-school years.

The trailer does showcase at least a few mildly clever moments -- a Blue Man Group reference,  Neil Patrick Harris calling out the little creatures for overusing the word "Smurf" -- but will it be enough? Let's just say the trailer makes the Columbia Pictures release look ... Smurfy.

 

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-- Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT


'X-Men: First Class' looks to live up to its name [Video]

April 27, 2011 |  7:22 pm

Compared to other comic-book movies, "X-Men: First Class" hasn't made much noise ahead of its June release. But that's starting to change, and will likely continue to change, with the release of the below trailer, which makes the Matthew Vaughn film look like the best of the summer superhero lot.

Some of the Professor X-Magneto back story we've seen in prior spots, but that doesn't diminish the trailer's virtues: subtly creepy special effects as humans become mutants, a keen sense of pacing -- things actually don't explode until well into the the trailer! -- and even the suggestion of some rich themes.

As with some prequels, the movie does seem to require knowledge about the films that came before (er, after). Still, it's hard to find fault with a more organic integration of a historical event (the Cuban missile crisis) than its "Captain America" competitor, or with one of the more intriguing casts this side of "Iron Man"; Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence are all here and have, apparently, been given something interesting to do.

-- Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

 


'The Hangover: Part II' trailer takes us back to an earlier day [Video]

April 1, 2011 |  7:00 am

Mike Tyson doesn't appear in the trailer for "The Hangover Part II," but his tattoo does, materializing on the face of Ed Helms' Stu. It's one of a number of callbacks to the original movie in the first full trailer, which hit the Web late Thursday.

In Todd Phillips' new installment, the group again raises their glasses in the air before a night of drinking and wakes up the next morning in unfamiliar and messy surroundings. There's an animal lurking about, although this time it's a monkey instead of a tiger. A man goes missing, only this time it's the brother of Stu's fiancee, instead of Justin Bartha's Doug. A mystery is once again pieced together with items found in pockets. And Ken Jeong's Mr. Chow is back, still rhyming and laughing maniacally.

At least the setting is different, as the drunken night brings the group to Bangkok, where they take in some tuk tuk rides and meet the locals.

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-- Steven Zeitchik
Twitter.com / ZeitchikLAT

 

 


Exclusive clip: Kim Cattrall brings sex to the trailer park in 'Meet Monica Velour'

March 28, 2011 |  5:20 pm

We've grown so accustomed to seeing Kim Cattrall tarted up in the New York fashion world's latest as Samantha in the "Sex and the City" movies that it's a bit of a shock to see her dressed like a normal person. But that's exactly how she appears in this clip from the upcoming comedy "Meet Monica Velour," opening April 8.

Cattrall plays Monica Velour, '80s-era porn star turned trailer park single mom, who has been reduced to stripping in grimy clubs across America's heartland to make ends meet. But that kind of tough reality doesn't mean much to geeky Tobe, played by Dustin Ingram, who seeks her out and eventually befriends her.

The film has been playing the film festival circuit since premiering at the Tribeca Film Fest last spring, where it recieved better than average reviews.

In this exclusive clip, young Tobe gets to see a bit of the salty reality by behind his adolescent fantasies.

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-- Patrick Kevin Day


Dead Island publisher: We haven't sold rights for a Dead Island movie -- but we are talking to name directors

February 22, 2011 |  7:46 pm

Deadi
Few trailers in any entertainment medium have gripped the Internet the way the trailer for the zombie video game Dead Island did last week. So feverish was the reaction that a number of stories claimed that a set of Hollywood producers had bought film rights that the game's publisher, which controls those rights, said they never bought.

We caught up with Malte Wagener, the Munich-based head of global business development for said publisher -- Koch Media and its Deep Silver label -- to find out exactly what was happening on the movie front. Will Dead Island, which comes out as a game later this year, become a film, and what shape will it take if it does? Read on...
 
24 Frames: The Internet was abuzz this past weekend that that you had sold Dead Island film rights to 'Mummy' producer Sean Daniel and the financier Union Entertainment. Did you?

Malte Wagener: There are a lot of different stories out there but the bottom line is that neither Union nor Sean Daniel has ever talked to Koch Media. Richard [Leibowitz, of Union] and [game developer] Techland agree there was never any rights. There was some misrepresentation on Techland's part about what rights they have and what they can organize, but Richard confirmed in an e-mail that these were just talks and he doesn't have the rights. [Leibowitz declined comment.] To be honest, I'm surprised that someone of Richard's caliber would even go out there and say this, if he did say it.

So where does that leave a Dead Island movie?

MW:  We've had a lot of inquiries, not only from Union but from other major players for film adaptation. The talks are very early and there's no deal whatsoever. Right now I'd say it boils down to three or four opportunities. Some are studios, not just bonders [financiers] like Union. We'd rather go with a big studio that can bring the creative side.

Do you have firm studio offers, and what do they look like?

MW: We had a couple of big-name directors come to us. One of the top directors in Hollywood sent a studio his link to the trailer and said he was interested in this, and the studio contacted us. There are different opinions of course in how to do this. The first is that you find a producer and then he brings in a creative team. The other is to find a director first and he'll bring people along. My feeling is we should find a director first.

Would casting be a key component of a Dead Island film?

Continue reading »

'Cedar Rapids': Can Ed Helms pull off a leading-man role? [Trailer]

December 23, 2010 |  1:01 pm

Cedar-Rapids-movie-trailerUntil now, Ed Helms has largely been an endearing but supporting character on both the small and big screens: as a correspondent on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," as the whipped boyfriend in "The Hangover," as a sweet but slightly pathetic salesman on "The Office."

But Helms finally gets his turn as a leading man in February's "Cedar Rapids," in which he again plays what's becoming his stock-in-trade character of the lovable loser.

In the newly-released trailer for Miguel Arteta's film, we meet Helms' character Tim Lippe, an up-the-middle, uptight Midwestern insurance agent whose company sends him to a convention in Cedar Rapids. There he meets a group of agents with a penchant for partying (played by John C. Reilly, Anne Heche and Isiah Whitlock Jr.).

The movie, which will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, seeks to augur a comeback for Arteta ("The Good Girl") after his ambivalently received "Youth In Revolt" this year.

In a way, Arteta's new film almost seems like an indie version of "The Hangover," except that the cast of zany characters here seems more square. (Helms' character is the kind of person who finds that the car he’s rented is a run-of-the-mill Chevy and seems genuinely tickled.)

The movie hinges on the idea that Tim attends the conference as a last-ditch effort to save his struggling company. Instead, he becomes distracted by his new wild cohorts and a budding romance with Heche’s character. The stakes don’t seem all that high, but there appear to be plenty of enjoyable moments.

While Reilly is as amusingly over-the-top as he was in "Step Brothers," it's Helms who shines. He's reprising the entertaining role of naive goofball , and, fortunately, this time we're getting a lot more of him.

--Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

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Photo: Ed Helms, far right, stars in "Cedar Rapids." Credit: Fox Searchlight.


'Water for Elephants': Can Robert Pattinson perform under the big top? [trailer]

December 16, 2010 |  5:19 pm

Robertpattinsonwfetrailer Though Robert Pattinson has slowly begun to carve out his post-"Twilight" acting career, many critics still wonder whether the young star has the acting chops to successfully move past the world of vampires. While it wasn't a flop at the box office, Pattinson's latest non-"Twilight" film, "Remember Me," barely registered with filmgoers.

But next year, it seems the actor will finally have a real chance to show audiences what he's got: he'll star opposite Uma Thurman in "Bel Ami" and with Reese Witherspoon in April's "Water for Elephants," for which a trailer was released Thursday.

Based on a bestselling historical novel released in 2006, "Elephants" centers around a veterinary school student named Jacob (Pattinson) who falls for circus performer Marlena (Witherspoon). Despite their shared affinity for the big top, the pair and their burgeoning romance are threatened by Marlena's husband (Christoph Waltz).

Neither of the romantic leads says much of anything in the trailer. Instead, it's filled with hazy, glowing shots of life in the circus: Jacob peeking in to catch a glimpse of Marlena in the center of the ring, delicately laying her svelte body across a horse; the two together, gently stroking one of animals.

We like the langorous, moody tone, though it's nearly impossible to judge from the trailer if Pattinson has any acting skills beyond that longing gaze thing. It's also mildly difficult to believe the 34-year-old Witherspoon could truly be wooed by a young man a decade her junior, but that's a conceit we think we'd be able to get over.

One definite bright spot in the trailer? Hal Holbrook, who plays an older version of Pattinson's character. [UPDATE, 7:05 PM: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Holbrook's character is a mentor to Pattinson's character.] We loved the 85-year-old's performance in "Into the Wild" a few years ago, and it seems his presence here will add weight to the film beyond the romance at its center.

-- Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: "Water for Elephants" poster. Credit: 20th Century Fox.

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From a black swan, a tree grows

December 2, 2010 | 10:30 am

Mal
Trailers are supposed to entice those of us who come for the main attraction to see another movie. But every once in a while it works in reverse: People come to see the main attraction because they're interested in the trailer. (Last year Summit savvily got filmgoers to buy tickets to "Bandslam" by putting a "Twilight: New Moon" teaser in front of it.)

That could be just what happens this weekend when "Black Swan" opens with "The Tree of Life" trailer attached. The Natalie Portman supernatural ballet movie already has an off-the-charts level of interest for an art-house film, or for any film. (Did we really hear a non-cinephile local radio host frothing about it the other day?)

But the interest in the Terrence Malick epic has been so high that we wouldn't be surprised if a few fans turn up just for the chance to see a little bit of footage. (Smart move by distributor Fox Searchlight to hold back and not make the trailer available online; it gets filmgoers into theaters and keeps an added air of mystery around the movie.)

It actually hasn't been that long since Malick's work was last on the big screen -- "The New World" opened in 2005 -- but for those who've followed the stops and starts on "Tree," it may well feel that way.

Trailers can be a tease in all sorts of ways. But the info on Malick's new work has been so minimal and mysterious -- Midwestern childhoods! dinosaurs! the meaning of life! -- that even the smallest revelations about it will be welcome. Then again, this is probably the one film in which the trailer won't give away the movie.

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-- Steven Zeitchik

Twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Terrence Malick. Credit: Getty Images


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