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Trailer Round-Up (Lesser-Knowns)

This has been quite a month for advertising in movies. Thanks to the mammoth blockbusters released in July (Transformers, Harry Potter, Captain America, et al.) and the ongoing San Diego Comic-Con, a whole ton of trailers have been released in the past few weeks. If you’ve been on the internet or to a movie theater for any length of time recently, then chances are good that you’ve already seen the trailers and teasers for The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, John Carter, The Thing, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and Hugo (my personal favorite of the bunch, believe it or not).

However, these are just the heavy hitters. There have been some great trailers recently that probably slipped in under your radar. Outstanding glimpses of some apparently great movies that got lost in the shuffle of multi-million-dollar ad campaigns. I’d like to show you some of them now.

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The use of an unknown contagious virus as allegory for paranoia and fear is hardly new, but the scale that I’m seeing here is nonetheless impressive. More than that, the talent behind this is unquestionably awesome. Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Bryan Cranston, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne and John Hawkes, all under the direction of Stephen Soderbergh. I don’t know about you, but I know I’ll be there when Contagion hits on September 9th.

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This one has been on the edge of my radar for a while now. It’s been in development for quite a long time and it’s gone through several names (Im.Mortal was my personal favorite). Through it all, the movie has a wonderfully original premise that’s rich with potential for commentary on society and the human condition (immortality, the value of life and death, the conflict between rich and poor, society’s dependence on commerce, etc.). Also, it’s penned and directed by Andrew Niccol, perhaps best known for creating one of the most definitive movies on the subject of genetics in all of science fiction cinema (I refer, of course, to Gattaca). Even better, the movie is being shot by none other than the great Roger Deakins.

The cast includes such talents as Cilian Murphy, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde, and also Neal Caffrey himself, Matt Bomer. The star of the show is Justin Timberlake, who’s rapidly climbing up the Hollywood ladder. Only a year ago, he was in an Oscar-nominated drama with one of the most talented directors working today (The Social Network), then he proved his comedy chops (Bad Teacher, his guest appearances on SNL), and now he gets to prove that he’s an action star. If Timberlake pulls this off, get ready to step back and watch his career reach still-greater heights.

In Time is set for release on October 28th.

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I’m not even entirely sure what the movie is about, but I know I’m going to see it. I hate to keep listing the casts as a selling point for these trailers, but how can I resist with a cast like this? For God’s sake, this movie has Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, and God knows who else, all under the man who made Let the Right One In. The film is already an Oscar contender, and can you blame the Academy?

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy comes to American shores this November 18th.

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Another superhero satire film. This one looks like it falls somewhere between Super and Kick-Ass, but not nearly as grim as either of them. After all, a film that features yellow as such a prominent color can’t be entirely dramatic. It’s just an unspoken rule or something (see also: Little Miss Sunshine, and The Producers).

Where most superhero satires I’ve seen were focused on the ethics of vigilantism, this one seems more focused on the romantic side of it. Instead of portraying our protagonist as a thrill-seeker or a disturbed mind, this one seems to depict its hero as an introverted and creative soul, which is a very interesting angle. It also seems to satire the strange urge that superheroes often have toward “saving” their love interests by pushing them away (see also: Spider-Man 1 & 2). Most importantly, the film seems to use the superhero mantle as a metaphor for identity, focusing on a man who feels insignificant and overlooked among society. There are a lot of intriguing possibilities there.

Griff the Invisible has already premiered to positive responses at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival. It’s set for a limited release on August 19th. Keep an eye on your local arthouses and see if this one’s coming near you.

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Here’s one that just hit today:

This one was clearly made for a specific kind of person. Specifically, the kind of person who will gladly see Summer Glau, Danny Pudi, or Peter Dinklage in anything, and also the kind of person who starts salivating at the mere thought of a Bear McCreary score. If you’re not such a person… well, congrats for making better life choices than I did. As for the rest of you, my fellow geeks, get thee to theaters when Knights of Badassdom hits in late 2011 (sorry, I can’t find a more specific release date).

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WARNING: This next one is a red-band.

I think I may be the only person alive who heard this title and thought of that Nathan Fillion TV show that only lasted three episodes. Luckily, this trailer looks so much more awesome.

It’s a gritty crime drama about a stunt driver/getaway driver who knows too much. Right away, the premise has me hooked. Then of course, there’s the cast. Ryan Gosling was last seen breaking hearts in Blue Valentine, and he looks absolutely badass here. Carey Mulligan appears after doing some remarkable dramatic work last year, and I hope that this movie gives her a chance to finally lighten up. Then you’ve got Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Oscar Isaac, and Albert Brooks as a crime boss.

Drive debuted last May at Cannes, later going on to the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Melbourne International Film Festival. So far, it’s picked up rave reviews at every one. Those attending this year’s SDCC can see it at the FilmDistrict studio panel and the rest of us will get a look at it this September 16.

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We now come full circle, with another Soderbergh film that boasts an amazing cast. The trailer seems to paint this as “Hanna with grown-ups” (as if we didn’t have another one of those coming up), but it should be enough that this is Soderbergh’s first real attempt at a full-out action flick.

Then there’s the matter of the actors present. Leaving aside the over-rated blandness of Channing Tatum, we’ve still got Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas and Bill Paxton. Michael Fassbender also appears, and it always pleases me to see that man get more work. The inclusion of Gina Carano is a head-scratcher, as she’s the only one in the cast (aside from Tatum) without a respectable list of acting accomplishments, and she’s playing the lead. Don’t be alarmed: Though it’s true that Carano is an acting newcomer, she’s an accomplished MMA fighter and an expert in Muay Thai, formerly ranked #3 of her weight class in the world. I’ve no idea how this translates into acting talent, but I’ll be eager to find out when Haywire comes out in… wait, January 20th of 2012? This thing has a January release date?!

…Well, that doesn’t bode well, but okay.

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So, that just about wraps it up for now. Which movies are you looking forward to this year?

One Comment

  1. Ping from Ariel:

    A slow morning at work has provided me with the opportunity to finally watch every single one of these trailers… I’m so glad to have you to guide me through the Hollywood maze 🙂

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