Rambo (2008)

•January 3, 2008 • Leave a Comment

If you care about the new Rambo flick you’ve seen this already. But let’s revisit it, shall we?

Dude. Dude.

Later, MPAA-approved trailers were much slicker and less filled with gushers of red meat. But this one, tossed together to build buzz last May, makes the movie look like a fucking Ruggerio Deodato flick. And I’m not ashamed to say I loved it.

Why? Because it promises what you go to a Rambo film for: blatant zesty gore. And this looks splattier than any of the previous three entries. (When I first clocked this trailer, I said “Yeah, good luck getting an R rating with that, Sly,” but according to a recent AICN Q&A, Stallone said he talked the MPAA into leaving the brutality intact.)

In any event, this was released on the web about a month after Grindhouse came out. And, goddammit, this is a fuckin’ grindhouse movie. It’s Machete for real. It’s definitely a grindhouse trailer, anyway, right down to “STALLONE. IS. JOHN RAMBO.” If Stallone had contacted Tarantino and Rodriguez and asked to include this as one of the faux trailers in Grindhouse — and they’d have enthusiastically agreed, probably while jacking off — it would’ve fit right in.

Speaking of grindhouse trailers: here, have some Hobo with a Shotgun. A closer approximation of grindhouse than almost anything in Grindhouse.

Aaah, that never gets old, does it?

I’m ’bout to get all up in your shit. Absolutely.


Dead Ringers (1988)

•January 2, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Coming as it did two years after The Fly, this trailer harks back to a time when mainstream audiences could reasonably be expected to know who David Cronenberg was.

The trailer kind of tries to sell the film to fans of The Fly — with lots of creepy shots of operating rooms and funky tools “designed for use on mutant women,” not to mention Mr. Narrator driving the point home — but audiences found instead a relatively sedate, rather depressing (but still great) drama about psychotic obsession and death. Yay, make the popcorn!

Jeremy Irons wasn’t exactly a major star — he never has been — but the trailer sells him pretty much exclusively, as it should, since he is more or less the movie. It’s stylishly edited, though — I like the placement of the shot of Irons being lifted on the operating table.


New Year’s Evil (1981)

•January 1, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Gonna try to start this up again on a daily basis. And what better trailer to start the new year than:

Could it be more ’80s? Could it be more cheesy? “Call me…eeeeeevil.” No, we’ll just call you a nerdy non-actor.

New Year’s Evil stars Roz Kelly, the one-time Pinky Tuscadero, who in real life is way scarier than any ’80s psycho:

“On November 29, 1999, she was arrested for firing a 12-gauge shotgun into the living room window of a neighbor’s house after a car alarm woke her up; she also shot the neighbor’s car and another car nearby. The neighbor was not home at the time. She pleaded no contest to the charge of firing into the house and was sentenced to three years’ felony probation on October 20, 2000. Roz Kelly was also ordered to receive psychiatric counseling and pay restitution as ordered by the probation department.”


Do not mess with this woman.


•October 12, 2007 • Leave a Comment

First off, John Waters implores you not to smoke in the theater:

Then we have this one for Waters’ Pink Flamingos. How do you cut a trailer for that film in 1972 without breaking various decency laws? Answer: don’t show a frame of actual footage, but instead get reactions from lucky moviegoers who’ve seen it:

And along those lines, here’s the brilliantly footage-avoidant Minus Man trailer. You’ll talk so much about the film, you’ll … no, why spoil it?

Actually one of Owen Wilson’s best performances. Too bad most of you haven’t seen it. Rent it!

Funny Games (1997 and 2008)

•October 10, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Like many, I saw the trailer for 2008’s upcoming Funny Games first:

And then I looked at the trailer for 1997’s Funny Games:

…and said “Wait a minute, this is the 2008 trailer,” until it cuts to the family in the car and it’s not Naomi Watts and Tim Roth.

Up to a certain point, the trailer for the 2008 remake remakes the trailer for the 1997 original. Awesome.

The 1997 trailer is shorter and nastier. There’s blood. There are weird things going on we can just barely glimpse. We get the sense that the trailer can’t actually show us very much. That there’s deviant shit in the movie that you can’t show in a trailer.

Same with the 2008 trailer. This one’s a bit longer, and is edited like the Clockwork Orange trailer (which inspired the Rules of Attraction trailer). The “action beats” of the 2008 trailer are weirdly…inactive. You see a lot of cuts to things that don’t look especially violent. Which suggests — to me, anyway — that the actual movie is pretty rough stuff. Why? Well, look at some of the Rotten Tomatoes blurbs for the 1997 film:

“Alternately infuriating and harrowing” … “Sadistic, insufferable, clever, and relentlessly compelling” … “A firestarter for post-screening arguments, alight with ghastly images and actions” … “A loathsome experiment in violence. Enter at your own risk.”

The 1997 film was directed by Michael Haneke. Who also directed the 2008 remake. Will the remake be as harsh as the original? Someone reviewed it for AICN, but who knows whether anything on AICN is legit? We’ll have to wait till February to see…

Hi, can I get a sandwich?

Iron Man (2008)

•September 17, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Let’s talk about a great recent trailer. Let’s talk Iron Man.

(For shiny QuickTime version, go here.)

As readers of current Marvel comics know, Tony Stark is a prick. A rich, arrogant prick with no qualms about using his vast knowledge and wealth to create instruments of death. Robert Downey Jr. nails this aspect dead center. If you didn’t know going in what the movie was, you’d think this was a Lord of War retread, but a much wittier one, with Downey Jr. getting lots of crowd-pleasing lines.

Then we flip into Tony’s capture and captivity, with deft, ominous use of “Hey Man Nice Shot.” We see him building…something…and then, boo-yah!, we get the crude first suit, with the blaring accompaniment of… “Iron Man.” Yes. How obvious. How cheesy. And yet it works.

After that, we get glimpses of the rest of the cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, a bearded and bald Jeff Bridges, and Terrence Howard. Then, oh then, we get the familiar red and yellow suit in action, racing a couple of jets.

The trailer puts across the humanity as well as the comic-book grandeur of a film everyone is hoping will be as good as the trailer. Paramount put this out waaay early, but it has already stoked anticipation, which is what a trailer is there for.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

•September 14, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Mr. Serious Narrator does his best to reduce this trailer to cheese, but it’s still a powerful inducement sixteen years later.

I apologize for the pixellated YouTube version here. There’s another one on YouTube, but the audio sync is way off.

This trailer gets us jittery right from the start, with near-subliminal flashes of Dr. Hannibal Lecter of Baltimore. That style is continued throughout, with flashes of Buffalo Bill during Agent Crawford’s run-down of Bill’s M.O. The flashes at 00:34 are, respectively, a shot of the headless mannequin in Benjamin Raspail’s car and Clarice looking at a photo of victim Frederica Bimmel.

I enjoy spotting stuff in the trailer that didn’t make it into the movie; in this case it’s the exchange at 1:08 — “You told me you didn’t spook easily.” “You call this easy, sir?”

Oddly, the trailer seems to imply that Lecter escapes and goes after Clarice — something she scarcely worries about in the actual movie (“He would consider it rude”). It’s probably done that way by design, to keep you uncomfortable, since theoretically you don’t know the plot yet (if you hadn’t read Thomas Harris’ bestseller).

Overall, a tense 104-second compression of an intense movie; belying Jonathan Demme’s school days under Roger Corman’s tutelage, the trailer sells the film as action-packed and thrill-loaded, though by now we know it does its work more subtly than that. So the trailer sort of misrepresents the movie, but not enough to be outright lying.

BONUS CLIP: The meet-cute between Starling and Lecter. One of the greatest introductions to a movie character in history.

It puts the lotion in the basket.