Once the burden of acknowledging the grave importance of its subject matter has been palliated by a series of high-tensile, all-star cameos (Oprah Winfrey, Robin Williams, Jane Fonda), there are two main takeaways from the trailer for the "inspired by a true" story of a black butler working at the White House through times of social upheaval.
First, it shows once again just how fine an actor Forest Whitaker is, and how he never, ever looks as though he is not going for an Oscar. Second, it's a reminder of the importance of punctuation. Had Lee Daniels' name not been suffixed with an 's,' then we might have been watching Lee Daniel's The Butler, which could have been confusing. Perhaps for this reason, his earlier films were neither Lee Daniels' Precious nor Lee Daniels' The Paperboy.
Simultaneously genuflecting to and mocking comic book movie conventions, Kick Ass is a film that eats the cake it has with such joy it bites through its own tongue. Director Matthew Vaughn gifts Nicolas Cage the superhero moment of his life, then kneecapps it by showing how ultra-violent action sequences are such arrant nonsense that one might as well have an 11-year-old girl performing them. For this, he was rewarded with X-Men: First Class.
On the evidence of a relentless storm of red-band trailers, Kick Ass 2 looks like more of the same, but with the focus shifted from the eponymous Kick Ass to Chloë Moretz's Hit Girl, and in the hands of another director, Jaff Wadlow, seemingly lacking in the original's ruthless, clinical vision. No less helpful to the publicity was star Jim Carrey's disowning of the film for of its excessive violence.
Elsewhere this week, in Jobs, the tech guru is impersonated by snack salesman and Internet investor Ashton Kutcher, with Book of Mormon alum Josh Gad taking on Steve Wozniak. There's Conspiracy, apparently a mugging sandwich made from one slice of Harrison Ford and another of Gary Oldman with one of the Hemsworths of Australia as the ham in the middle.
Finally, there's the documentary Drew: The Man Behind the Poster, a powerful reminder of the transformative power of a single movie-marketing image. In the movie Conspiracy, the camera reveals a crotchety old bald man—but in the moviegoer's mind, there's that awesome image of a swashbuckling Indiana Jones waving a whip.
Or as Michael J. Fox, recalling the Back to the Future poster, puts it: "It's not just an ad—it's the first notes of the piece."