Pun Trailer of the Week: Promised Land
Well, I guess Gus Van Sant is officially out of his art-film phase and tackling the blood-red meat of the cinema American social consciousness — though I suppose we can track that back to Milk in 2008. If there’s anything hotter than gay rights right now, it’s hydraulic fracking, and Promised Land follows a corporate stooge played by Matt Damon, who travels to farm country to convince a town to sell out and get rich while his company roots around for natural gas. John Krasinski plays the rabble-rousing local pushing back against the drilling (they really couldn’t have just gotten Mark Ruffalo?), Rosemarie DeWitt plays his lady who has a roving eye for Damon’s character, and Frances McDormand might as well have a sign around her neck saying “I’m Going to Be Underutilized.” The Up in the Air vibes I’m getting are both a blessing (lots of people liked that movie!) and a curse (I wasn’t really one of them!), but the cast is likeable and Gas Land was a good enough documentary that I’ll sign up for the fictionalized version.
Inappropriately Sexy Trailer of the Week: Stoker
When you’re talking about the English-language debut of Oldboy director Park Chan-wook, you shouldn’t be surprised when things get twisted. And a sexual triangle between grieving mother and daughter Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska, and interloping uncle Matthew Goode, is pretty much exactly what you should have been expecting. It all seems deliciously melodramatic, and the showdown between Kidman and Wasikowska promises to define icy. All that, plus twinky Lucas Till is hanging around, as is Oscar-nominee Jacki Weaver, playing someone named “Aunt Gin.” Aunt Gin!
Best Performance By a Wig: Identity Thief
You had to figure that Bridesmaids would lead to bigger and more prominent roles for Melissa McCarthy, and this comedy from the people who brought us Horrible Bosses (well … not US; maybe they brought YOU Horrible Bosses) looks like just such an opportunity. With Jason Bateman playing his usual “ineffective everyman” character, it looks like McCarthy’s going to be the one to shine as a trashy con artist with a helmet of hair to rival anything the B-52s ever attempted. On a construction level, also, props to whoever chose N.E.R.D.’s “Lapdance” to score the trailer. Super solid choice.
Red Band Trailer of the Week: Nature Calls
I’m a huge supporter of red-band trailers, if only because they give you a more accurate representation of the movie you’re going to get, and if this trailer is any indication, Nature Calls is mostly about kids swearing and getting swore at. Patton Oswalt and Johnny Knoxville play rival brothers who jostle for the hearts and minds of Oswalt’s scouting troop, and things apparently escalate to the point where people are being set on fire and crucified, so nobody’s going to be able to say this movie didn’t go for it.
Horror Trailer of the Week: Paranormal Activity 4
I’m going to be honest: I haven’t seen the second and third Paranormal Activities. But from everything I heard — and from what this trailer has to offer — it seems like the franchise is content to lean on the same door-slamming and sleep-disturbing scares, all while maintaining the most tenuous of throughlines via the character of Katie. The series has progressed to the point where a new family is introduced to adopt the cursed child that Katie … abducted (?), and then the weird stuff starts happening. Like doors slamming! And tremendously un-subtle Kinect product-placement!
Your Trailer Boyfriend of the Week:
The contenders: Jason Bateman in Identity Thief, who seems like a responsible guy but not very exciting, and now he doesn’t even have a car anymore; Matt Damon and John Krasinski in Promised Land, who are cute as all get-out but would probably spend all their time one-upping each other instead of spending any time with you. Ditto Patton Oswalt and Johnny Knoxville in Nature Calls. There’s Matt Shively in Paranormal Activity 4, who has the healthy mistrust of small children that we’re looking for in a guy, but he’s only 22 and probably playing even younger in the movie, and we don’t need any of that business. No, we’re taking a bit of a chance this week with boyfriend Matthew Goode in Stoker. Sure, he’s unscrupulous and quite possibly murderous, but my GOSH, would you look at him? It might be worth the threat of unspeakable harm, at least for a little while. Mia Wasikowska had better back off.
Joe Reid is a writer in New York. He thinks the trailer for The Hours is the second-greatest artistic achievement in history, behind only the film The Hours. You should follow him on Twitter.