by Gabriel Valdez
It’s a light week for good trailer announcements, but there were still some standouts. Let’s dive right in:
LOVE & MERCY
I’m a hard sell on biopics, but the combination of Paul Dano and John Cusack playing Beach Boys’ singer and songwriter Brian Wilson is too intriguing to pass up. This is Bill Pohlad’s first film as director since his debut in 1990, but he’s served as a producer on some of the best films of recent years – Brokeback Mountain, A Prairie Home Companion, Chicago 10, Into the Wild, The Tree of Life, and 12 Years a Slave. This might clue us into the direction he’ll take as a director, having worked with luminaries like Ang Lee, Robert Altman, and Terrence Malick, who prefer to take longer views on the lives of their characters by understanding how they see the world, and in turn sacrifice the quicker, melodramatic moments inside of it.
How far can novelty take you? Turbo Kid is the movie to test it out. Thankfully, it’s Canadian, and if anybody knows how to treat 1997 like it’s the future, it’s Canada. OK, sorry, that was uncalled for. But Turbo Kid looks like a hell of a lot of fun so long as it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Of course, that might be true of the new Mad Max as well.
This is actually a 2011 film out of Spain that simply hasn’t seen a U.S. release yet. Daniel Bruhl is a terrifically underrated actor, who has an uncanny knack not so much for developing his characters, but rather for transforming your understanding of them across a film. That combined with the A.I. component of the film, a topic on which Spain has been developing some of the best movies, makes this a truly intriguing concept movie when it finally does arrive in the U.S. later this month.
KILL ME THREE TIMES
Something about this trailer feels off – maybe it’s the focus on violence over context. I can’t quite pin it, but the idea of Simon Pegg let loose in a Coen-style ensemble caper (and why is there a Hemsworth in each of them nowadays) is promise enough. There just has to be enough comedy to justify the violence and make it properly over-the-top, or else it’s not as much my kind of film.
THE DEAD LANDS
One of the most overlooked qualities in martial arts films is their tendency to dive deep into a culture’s history. This trailer might look a little cheesy to us, but how familiar are we with New Zealand filmmaking outside Peter Jackson, or historical films featuring Maori? Have you ever seen a movie spoken entirely in Maori? These are the qualities that make The Dead Lands rare, and something worth seeing, even before we get to its quality as a film (and it’s been very well reviewed abroad). It’s the opportunity to be introduced to someone else’s mythology, to understand how another culture seeks to tell a story in ways that differ from our own.
Other trailers of note include:
Maggie Smith manners comedy The Lady in the Van.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead in a coming of middle-age tale Alex of Venice.
Found footage narrative about a boy investigating the suicide of a bullied teen, A Girl Like Her.
A documentary on online bullying and one woman’s unique journey, A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story.
A slightly confusing trailer for a very intriguing project, a Danish story of a police detective kidnapping an abused child to raise as his own, A Second Chance.