Trailers of the Week: Let the Madness Begin

So I completely forgot to do this post last week, because I was too busy, um, actually going to see movies. We’ve officially hit that time of year where I have to literally spend 5 hours at the theater just to keep up with all the new releases I want to see. Man, I love fall, even if my wallet hates me. So we’ve got plenty of stuff for you to look at today, let’s get it started with one of my new favorite trailers of the year:

Holy Motors

Thanks to a reputation for going wildly over-budget, Leos Carax hasn’t made a film in 12 years. The eccentric French director already had his own peculiar style, and it looks like he’s marked his return to the screen by going completely insane. Seriously, it looks like he’s just thrown every single idea he’s had in the past decade into one film. Musicals, monster movies, mo-cap dancing, talking cars, accordian bands… it’s all in there.

Don’t take that as a criticism. “Holy Motors” received plenty of rave reviews out of Cannes for its pure balls-to-the-wall energy and startling chameleon performance by Denis Lavant. If someone edgier than Nanni Moretti had been head of the jury, I’m sure it would’ve taken home at least one prize. But it will have to settle for being called “best of the year” by numerous critics.

In case you can’t tell from the trailer (gosh, what’s wrong with you?), “Holy Motors” follows a mysterious man, Oscar (Lavant) as he travels from place to place in Paris in a white limo, each time emerging with a completely new face and personality. The whole thing almost certainly seems like a meta-commentary on cinema and acting – but it sure looks like there will be plenty of individual moments of hilarity, thrills and audacity if meta-textuality isn’t your thing. Plus, you gotta love any movie that bills Edith Scob over Eva Mendes. I love the French.

Hitchcock

I’m extremely hesitant about this movie. I feel like there’s too much going on here: a Great Man picture, a domestic drama, a self-referential Hollywood love-fest, an attempt to liven up a staid biopic by cribbing from Hitchcock’s own imagery… I guess I just don’t see how the best idea to pay tribute to one of film’s greatest innovators is in a tired-looking actor’s showcase.

The talent on display is certainly top-notch (well, Scarlett Johannson as Janet Leigh…let’s not think about that one too hard). It’s nice to see Anthony Hopkins not completely mailing in a performance, and who doesn’t love watching Helen Mirren, even if it looks like she’s pretty much replicating what she did in “The Last Station.” In any case, I would pencil in Oscar nominations for both Hopkins and Mirren, and probably the movie too, because it seems like the sort of thing that the Academy will eat up.

Gangster Squad

Get this one back on your radar. “Gangster Squad” was slated for an August release until the horrific shooting in Aurora this summer got way too close to comfort to a scene from Ruben Fleischer’s film. Re-shoots became necessary, delaying the project to January – but on the bright side, that means we’ll hopefully have some pulpy fun to look forward to in the winter doldrums. This trailer’s a little longer than the first one, giving us a better look at Sean Penn’s scenery-chewing and the smoldering chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone – I wouldn’t have seen that pairing coming, but there’s some Bogie-Bacall potential there. C’mon, Ryan – at some point you’re going to have to pop the question and break the hearts of millions of girls around the world. Might as well get it over with.

Zero Dark Thirty

Finally, a better look at Kathryn Bigelow’s latest. This trailer really reminds us that Bigelow originally made her name as a director of thrillers like “Point Break.” “The Hurt Locker” may have played to critics as well, but she’s a very visceral filmmaker, and “Zero Dark Thirty” looks like an intense ride. I’m also highly intrigued by how much of Jessica Chastain we’re seeing here – could she be an under-the-radar awards play, like Jeremy Renner before her?

Not Fade Away

The film debut of David Chase, creator of “The Sopranos,” “Not Fade Away” basically looks like “Nowhere Boy” but without the creepy incestuous undertones. Which would be a good thing. Between this, “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Killing Them Softly,” could James Gandolfini also make a splash on this year’s awards scene?

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