The midair union of motorcycle and helicopter was first consummated in 1991's Stone Cold, starring NFL bad boy (and worse haircut) Brian Bosworth. Were it not for that very moment, nobody would remember that movie at all. You can see it here. Years later, homage was paid in Live Free or Die Hard, aka Die Hard 4, only this time a police car got to enjoy an aerial smooch with a chopper. But in the new trailer for The Expendables 2, proper tribute is paid once again at 0:53. Does this tell you everything you need to know about the movie? That old tropes are being wheeled out so we can remember the way they used to make us feel? Or is the real lesson of these Expendables movies that the fellows in them didn't used to know that they weren't supposed to be taken seriously? And that now that they're finally in on the joke, they are laughing way too hard. "HA HAA HA," as Arnold says, all the way to the bank. Take a look at the website for the movie: A very grumpy-looking Dolph Lundgren (frankly, he doesn't have another look) and a comically grumpy Terry Crews tell you not to press a red button in the middle of the screen. When you do press it, a short video of an explosion from the movie is triggered, and then the fellows scorn you for your stupidity. The same thing should apply if you buy a ticket to see the movie.
When CGI animation was rocketed into the future by Pixar back in the mid-1980s, some of the early work looked like stop-motion animation, Luxo Jr. being the perfect example. A quarter century later, the people behind Coraline have created ParaNorman, a stop-motion movie that looks almost exactly like CGI. Its sounds like one, too, the perky script seemingly written to a scrupulously studied Pixar/DreamWorks-ish formula. It's even been filmed in 3-D, on one of those ubiquitous Canon 5D cameras, and it looks great, if a little on the dark side. But even in this brief trailer, there is the feeling of a thing that is wearing another thing's skin, appropriately enough for a kids movie with a ghoulish twist (the hero can see dead people). You do feel, though, that stop motion may have a deeper potential beyond paying homage to the pixel.
A remake of a '70s cult hit inspired by the story of Diana Ross and the Supremes, Sparkle, to contemporary audiences, is Dreamgirls by another name. Jordin Sparks looks made for the part (her name certainly seems to have been), Cee Lo Green does a crazy cameo, and even from this brief trailer, you can tell that as the mother of the aspiring diva, Whitney Houston was on her way to becoming an entertaining, larger-than-life character actor as opposed to an entertaining, larger-than-life tragedy.
What is it with Jesse Eisenberg playing slightly nerdish young men who get themselves caught up in criminal scrapes? After 30 Minutes or Less, his new movie, Why Stop Now, has him united with everyone's favorite mother, Melissa Leo, in a strange, mutually dependent relationship with a drug dealer played by 30 Rock's Tracy Morgan. Since Jesse is a classical pianist, there's a hint of James Toback's Fingers in this trailer, even more of Jacques Audiard's superior The Beat That My Heart Skipped, but it's hard to tell where this is all going other than as a nice showcase for the cast—Morgan, in a serious role, especially.
Beginning in the early '90s, the so-called McDonald's strip-search scam was a series of prank calls to a number of fast-food outlets across the U.S. Someone would phone the store claiming to be a cop and then persuade managers to conduct strip searches of employees. Homestar Runner creator Craig Zobel's movie Compliance imagines how that would play out in one scenario, as cheesy and exploitative as that sounds. The trailer utterly dismisses such doubts in a glimpse of a work that is poised, highly intelligent, occasionally laugh-out-loud funny and has an awful lot to say about our attitude to authority. Unmissable, probably.
Cosmopolis is David Cronenberg's post-banking-crisis realization of Don DeLillo's 2003 novella about a yuppie banker caught in the thick of crosstown traffic and moral turpitude. As the billionaire banker in question, Robert Pattinson appears to have the requisite glacial stare, and for a movie that all happens inside one vehicle, there's evidently a decent-size cast, including Juliette Binoche and Samantha Morton, no less. But the big question for this latter-day American Psycho is: Does this mean RPatz is the next Batman?
Some years back, a willowy Nicole Kidman was rather marvelous in Alejandro Amenábar's The Others, a clever and atmospheric reinterpretation of classic Brit country-house horror movie The Turn of the Screw. The Awakening seems to be what happened when someone looked at Sir Peter Hall's even willowier daughter, Rebecca, and said, Why don't we put her in something like that movie The Others? As the paranormal investigator in turn-of-the-century England tasked with solving the mystery of a ghost at a posh public school deep in the English countryside, Bex is a persuasive blue-stocking Sherlock Holmes. But even on the briefest evidence, The Awakening looks at best like a cheesy Hammer horror movie. Gleefully representing the Ham in Hammer, supporting players Dominic West and Imelda Staunton somewhat undermine Sir Peter's girl's attempts to take the thing seriously, at least according to this trailer.