David Ayer tries to atone for U-571 with tank drama Fury, while Michael Keaton loses his precious mind in Birdman.
Up against Pixar and Dreamworks, stop-motion animation house Laika haven’t had that much success at the box office yet – their previous features, Coraline and ParaNorman, received acclaim but barely scraped their budgets back – but The Boxtrolls, Laika’s latest, looks set to be the studio’s most commercially viable film to date. It has a distinct underdog fairytale vibe to it, and that earthy darkness that’s already unmistakeably Laika. Meanwhile, the week’s other big family movie trailer, for Paddington, has shown up in better shape than expected, but that problem of sticking obviously CGI’d characters into a live-action environment persists.
In something of a big week for pulpy tough guy movie trailers, we got a second look at The Equalizer, starring Denzel Washington as a psychopath, and the first look at No Good Deed, starring Idris Elba as a different kind of psychopath. Reigning over both of them, though, by including more pulp and more tough guy than either, was the trailer for Sin City 2, in which Mickey Rourke’s face prosthetics alone look like they could beat the living shit out of someone. The trailer’s mostly an excuse to show off the visuals, which admittedly look less shiny and exciting then they did back in 2005, but the new members of the cast add to a force that was already to be reckoned with.
In a lame for week for comedy, The Interview trailer has arrived with no prior buzz to completely underwhelm, looking as it does like a vanity project headed up by Judd Apatow’s best friend and a man who can’t stop saying yes to everything. Think a more political (kind of?) This is the End, in that Seth Rogen and James Franco were hanging out one night and getting chonged, when they came up with an idea about a movie in which they get to act like spies and kill Kim Jong-Un. This is what comedy looks like when you’re sufficiently famous enough to probably greenlight a movie about the ingredients of your cereal.
Slightly better – and that’s only very slightly – is the trailer for Dumb and Dumber To. The Farrelly brothers have built a career on films that critics hate and audiences generally put up with, but it’s been 16 years since There’s Something About Mary, and it’s probably about time they had another hit. Enter Dumb and Dumber To, a film where the title is regrettably funnier than anything in the promo. The opening gag here isn’t bad, but it quickly descends into Jim Carrey’s Lloyd Christmas fisting an old woman to ecstasy, the low point of the trailer, but oddly enough not even in the bottom ten moments of the Farrellys’ career.
It’s not exactly a trailer, but this week’s early look at David Ayer’s WWII tank drama Fury is worth a mention. It’s the first time one of Ayer’s films have left LA, never mind the US (we’re opting to forget about Ayer’s co-writing duties on U-571, because he has), so the hope is that this change in scope and time period inspires him to deliver something fresh. Ayer has praised Shia LaBeouf’s performance in this, which is a relief considering he pulled his own tooth out and didn’t wash during the shoot, and he’s complemented by an outstanding ensemble, including Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman and Jon Bernthal. There’ve been some great thrillers lately set almost entirely within one claustrophobic location, including Buried and the Tom Hardy-starring Locke, but this one’s set inside a goddamn tank, so it’s your move Hardy.
Edgar Ramirez has what looks like a meaty starring role in the visually luminous Libertador, and Christ knows he deserves it. As Simon Bolivar, the Venezuelan military leader who fought for independence from Spanish rule in 19th century South America, Ramirez might get to banish memories of Wrath of the Titans, The Counsellor and generally just not being given the fame and fortune he should’ve been handed on a plate after 2010’s Carlos. Libertador could just be written as another standard biopic, but on the plus side we know two things: the film looks stunning, and occasionally even Malick-like, while Ramirez knows only how to kill it when he’s given the opportunity.
Trailer of the week goes to Birdman. It’s Michael Keaton, getting to satirise his past as Batman and take a rare lead (in a comedy, which any fan of Keaton’s will know he excels at), but most exciting of all is the fact that the king of the morbid and the dishearteningly bleak, director Alejando Gonzalez Inarritu, is making his first stab at comedy. On paper, the filmmaker behind Amores Perros and Biutiful attempting a Hollywood laffer seemed ludicrous, but his style appears remarkably matched – the pathetic fight between a biker-stached Keaton and a tiny underwear-wearing Edward Norton shows just how well comedy can sit with tragedy.
Featured image: Fox Searchlight Pictures/20th Century Fox Film Corporation