See all this week's opening movies in a 60-second mashup here.
Does Tom "Draco Malfoy" Felton have a career beyond Harry Potter? He wasn't terribly persuasive in last year's Planet of the Apes reboot, but then, neither were James Franco or Freida Pinto. With no disrespect to Andy Serkis, you could have cast a cardboard cutout of Curious George as the superchimp Caeser and he would have been nowhere near the worst actor on screen. But in the trailer for The Apparition, Felton is entirely agreeable as the nerdy type whose curiosity triggers the titular monster into action. The trailer promises lots of original effects and scares, the more so since the premise is such a good one and so obvious you can't believe it hasn't been done before: If you believe in evil, it becomes real, or as the tagline has it, "Once you believe, you die." Like a hipster Freddy Krueger movie, this seems to be a suitable diversion for self-aware post-Potter teenagers. Even the top YouTube quote is friendly: "Enough with the Harry Potter jokes guys. Siriusly." Zing.
Joseph Gordon Levitt is by now a very long way from Third Rock from the Sun. Soon to play a young Bruce Willis in Rian Johnson's eagerly anticipated Looper, he was the heart and soul of Christopher Nolan's final (one hopes) Batman movie, and now shows up out of the blue as a hyper-caffeinated dispatch cyclist in Premium Rush. As trailers go, this one falls squarely into the category of satisfying short film that risks obviating the need to see the whole thing. There is more than enough point-of-view cycling through the mean streets of Manhattan to please anyone, very much more than enough lycra, a good reveal of the plot—which inevitably has to do with a package that must be protected at all costs—and adequate eyeball rolling from Michael Shannon as the villain. There's even one of those breathtaking traffic sideswipes you always get in movies that pit two wheels against four. Whether or not it actually matters how all this comes together isn't something the trailer feels compelled to make a call on.
Hit and Run
Looking for a string of ghastly dirty jokes to try out in the sports bar? Hit and Run has plenty. Somewhere around the taste level of those Hangover movies but with testosterone in place of fraternity, this notional and seemingly overcomplicated comedy about a getaway driver hijacked by his old partner in crime for one last job looks grim. All the elements seem to be in place: There's Bradley Cooper, charmingly fey as ever despite a set of ridiculously unfunny dreads; there's blast from the past Tom Arnold; and as the girl there's the eternally gamine Kristen Bell. But it all feels as though it's trying too hard. Apparently sprung from the mind of star Dax Shephard, it may well be a brilliant satire of something, but the trailer does nothing so much as recall the sensation of a drunk jock shouting a joke in your face that he's not sure you understand or if he can remember the punch line.
Robot & Frank
If you're going to have an android carer at the end of your days, you may want something with a little more personality than the glorified Magic Robot Frank Langella gets lumbered with in Robot & Frank. Fortunately, Frank is a retired jewel thief and soon puts the machine to good use. Set slightly in the future, this is seemingly a well-mannered if modish meditation on old age. It even throws in Susan Sarandon as a sexy librarian to add some autumnal romance to the proceedings. The voice of the robot is supplied by Peter Sarsgaard, apparently paying homage to Kevin Spacey's performance as the artificial intelligence GERTY in Duncan Jones's Moon.
Sleepwalk With Me
Sleepwalk With Me looks as though it may have been a standup routine that has been turned into a movie. The subject matter—how the dread threat of marriage causes a fellow to start sleepwalking—certainly seems like standup material, and director/writer/star Mike Birbiglia is, apparently a standup comic. Suffice it to say, the trailer suggests the film may actually stand up.
Back in the glorious '80s, Godfrey Reggio and Philip Glass united to create one of the most inspiring cinematic experiences of the decade, Koyaanisqatsi. Apparently a Hopi Indian word meaning "world out of balance," Koyaanisqatsi set some of Glass's most memorable music to a mind-blowing montage of brilliantly shot footage illustrating the terrifying environmental impact of human progress (undermined only somewhat by the obvious fact that the film itself is as good an argument for human progress as any). A genre was spawned, and 30 years later we have Samsara, which, as your yoga teacher will tell you, is a Sanskrit word that has something to do with the flow of life through rebirth, reincarnation and so on. There's an HDelicious montage going on, but with neither Reggio's vision nor an overarching intelligence to the music, this looks a bit like a glorified screensaver. If you happen to like your holiday snaps set to generic ethnic chants and drums, you're in luck, at least according to this trailer.