This week, Denzel and Neeson get deadly, while the Annie trailer will make you want to punch your own face.
It’s a thing in Hollywood to cover up the flaws of recycled, banal ‘comedy’ scripts by hiring all-star casts to feature – they’ll at least elevate the awful material goes the logic and, more importantly, appeal to the audience demographics that their varying fanbases cover. On an unrelated note, the trailer for This Is Where I Leave You was released this week, and though the rest of this paragraph could be taken up reeling off the names of its stars alone, just know that Rose Byrne is one of them, because she’s contractually obliged to appear in everything now. Night at the Museum and The Internship filmmaker Shawn Levy directed this, and though his movies have come in for criticism in the past, expect this one to be no different.
Probably regretful This Is Where I Leave You cast member Adam Driver takes another supporting role in What If, as a buoyant love-hound opposite a post-Potter Daniel Radcliffe and thinking man’s quirky love interest, Zoe Kazan. Driver looks to be in safer hands with this one, a sweet-looking rom-com with what appears to be genuine chemistry between the leads. It’s easy to be cynical about the trailer above, but it’s so bloody charming that you’ll probably grudgingly end up accepting that you’ll see the movie at some point.
The last time Denzel Washington got furious and turned vigilante, he shoved a bomb up a guy’s ass and slo-mo walked away as it detonated, in 2004’s Man on Fire. The Equalizer looks like similar territory, with Denzel maiming his enemies in order to save another young girl from the clutches of criminals. Marton Csokas is the villain, as he almost always is, what with his unique ability to turn the most inane chit-chat into what sounds like an awful threat. Director Antoine Fuqua’s last film was Olympus Has Fallen, so expect this to be guilty fun, but also very, very stupid.
Another trailer, another ageing Hollywood star gung-hoing his way through life. Except Liam Neeson going lone ranger, submerging himself in murky unknown waters and handily dealing with the scum that comes his way has almost become a sub-genre in itself by now. A Walk Among the Tombstones looks like more of the same, plot-wise at least, but the trailer hints at something altogether moodier, and perhaps even a little bloodier (the Taken films, Unknown and Non-Stop have all been PG-13 – this one’s rated R). Remarkably, despite being double co-star Dan Stevens’s age, Neeson is still the most handsome man in the room.
OK, let’s get this one out of the way. There probably wasn’t much hope for the Annie remake when they decided to cast Cameron Diaz and frankly insufferable sprog actor Quvenzhane Wallis as the leads, but by some divine miracle, the film looks even more sickeningly twee that anyone could ever have imagined. Jamie Foxx does his “I’m Jamie Foxx and I love it” thing, as a character based on Daddy Warbucks but renamed Bill Stacks because why would you even care anymore, Diaz gives it her best and provides all the screen presence of a spoon, while the music has been remixed so that it’s more annoying than it was even in its original incarnation. It’s a hard knock life, for anyone who’s made to endure this sulphurous aural assault more than once.
What once seemed like an awards contender lands with a bit of a thud in the trailer for Kill the Messenger. The supporting cast is a knockout, and Jeremy Renner momentarily halting his quest to become king of the franchises by instead taking a juicy dramatic lead is exciting, but the trailer makes the film look like some generic thriller. The true story of disgraced journalist Gary Webb is fascinating, and actually rather tragic, while the film presented here looks closer to an upbeat, American Hustle-style jetsetter, so maybe the trailer editor saw the period setting and Jeremy Renner and just got confused.
Produced by Guillermo del Toro, this week’s trailer of the week recipient, The Book of Life, looks absolutely gorgeous, its animation imbued with so much vibrant colour and intricate detail that it, on the basis of the trailer, gives even John Lasseter and co a run for their money. The plot involves a typical animated love story given a darker twist, like a Pixar movie as helmed by Tim Burton, but the real kicker here is the opulence on display, as well as a promising cast of celeb voices – Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum and craggy living legends Ron Perlman and Danny Trejo all lend their inimitable pipes.
Featured image: 20th Century Fox