Trailers follow an industry schedule all their own. Furious 7 will dominate the box office for weeks, until Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out. Then it’s Mad Max: Fury Road, until a host of blockbusters opens up in late May and June. The box office is dictated for the rest of summer. That changes a trailer’s job. It’s time for the Autumn films that want to plant themselves in your head for later, and the movies that will fight over the Summer scraps. It’s an interesting time for trailers to debut – you can find some real gems among the chaff.
When we remember heroes in war, we tend to recall best the soldiers that historians and governments prioritize. Should you look up lists of the most effective snipers in history, it’s no surprise that you won’t often see Major Lyudmila Pavlichenko’s name. A Soviet sniper with the third most confirmed kills in history (309), her’s is a story that hasn’t often been told. Male snipers have been favored, like Jude Law’s Vasily Zaytsev in Enemy at the Gates, and Bradley Cooper’s Chris Kyle in American Sniper. This makes Battle for Sevastopol a movie to keep an eye on. It’s also a joint Russian-Ukrainian production that finished filming just as war (unofficially) broke out between those two countries. It will be interesting to see if the movie makes any political statements about the current conflict. Most of the film takes place in the Ukraine, and Pavlichenko was herself Ukrainian.
This is the story of NWA, the revolutionary hip hop group that introduced Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, and Ice Cube, among others. They introduced gangsta rap and its incisive social commentary to the world, finally representing in art an under-served African-American community that had for too long been voiceless. They also each encountered their own legal problems, some bigger than others. F. Gary Gray is one of the more unsung directors working today, The Negotiator remains one of the ’90’s best action movies, and he’s more recently helmed The Italian Job and Law Abiding Citizen. Turning to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, after Rodney King’s beating, offers a chance to reflect on the issue of police brutality against African-Americans as it continues today.
In 2010, the world held its collective breath as 33 miners were trapped after a collapse in Chile. The 33 stars Antonio Banderas, Lou Diamond Phillips, and an impressive ensemble of Latin American actors – Rodrigo Santoro, Kate del Castillo, Jacob Vargas, Jorge Diaz, and Adriana Barraza among them. You may not have heard of director Patricia Riggen, but her Under the Same Moon was a hidden treasure in 2007, and she has a superb grasp of emotion. I can’t think of a better director to tell this story.
This would be higher on this list, but it’s the half dozenth trailer released for the film. It only continues to look more insane, more colorful, and more powerful. I want to know what the story is behind the man with the flame-spewing guitar. He looks a little superfluous for a high-speed chase, but who am I to judge? I can’t wait until May 15. This is going to be a great birthday present.
The first trailer for Poltergeist needed to hearken back to the original movie and show audiences that all the classic moments are still there. That frees up the second to deliver more style and quite a few more scares. I’m a little less nervous about the result, and Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt remain a genius bit of casting as the overwhelmed parents. If they can’t carry a film together, I don’t know who can.
Pierce Brosnan made a pretty good James Bond, but I always thought he’d make an even better Bond villain. Here, we get two incredible action stars in one movie as Brosnan plays an assassin hunting down spy Milla Jovovich. 10 years ago, this would’ve been a big deal. Now, it’ll fall in between a host of bigger action films. Director James McTeigue has one great movie under his belt (V for Vendetta) and one horrible one (Ninja Assassin). Survivor could go either way.
Joel Edgerton terrorizes Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall. Where do I sign up? Edgerton is most famous as an actor – his Ramses, despite how racially miscast the entire ensemble was, remains the only watchable role in last year’s middling Exodus: Gods and Kings. Edgerton impressed me more as co-writer of one of my top films last year, the Australian post-apocalypse movie The Rover. Such a unique film intrigues me about the stories he wants to tell behind the camera; and he writes and directs The Gift, as well as stars in it.