Trailer Mash

Crime, horror, war and peace at the multiplex this weekend

Essential elements of a noir tribute crime flick: Lantern jaws under snap brim hats. Redheads bursting out of sheath dresses. And tommy guns blazing crazily. (Let's ignore that firearms debate for 30 seconds.) All are present and correct in the blistering trailer for Gangster Squad, along with rap music (blame Baz Luhrmann) and also Sean Penn, apparently sporting the same prosthetic William Forsythe used in that Warren Beatty Dick Tracy movie. 

Someone forgot to cast Marlon Wayans in the latest Scary Movie flick, so he scraped up about $40, on this evidence, and made his own found-footage horror-flick parody, A Haunted House. Close your eyes, imagine what it looks like, then watch the trailer. Spooky, right? Those gang bangers scared by ghosts? Didn't see them coming, did you.

Seems like ages since there's been a based-on-an-unbelievable-yet-true-story-of-WWII movie in the picture houses, but at long last Nazi fetishists can breathe a sigh of relief. Elegantly sporting the Hugo Boss in My Best Enemy is the reliable Moritz Bleibtreu, whose recent career seems to demand that he does so in every other movie.

The surprise commercial hit of last year was The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, an ensemble flick starring an army of ancient British luvvies including Dowager Queen of Thespia, Maggie Smith. In Quartet, Dustin Hoffman arranges a not-dissimilar cast around the Downton icon expressly for an audience who will barely remember what the film is about by the time they get home from the cinema.

You have Heathers and Means Girls, and then there are all the other high-school movies. Struck by Lightning, a different extrapolation of the concept of the Kurt Hummel character from Glee, looks as though it could fall either way depending on your mood or the time of day. Good stunt casting, though: Allison Janney, Christina Hendricks and Rebel Wilson.

For high-concept horror movies with the budget of Storage 24, pretty much everything that happens in the plot will be in the trailer. So, the rest of the running time has to be fleshed out with something else. And on the evidence of this trailer, the answer here is acting, particularly by former Dr. Who sidekick Noel Clarke. As an everyday schlub trying to survive the night in a storage facility with a mutated beast on the loose, he gives off an aura of dyspeptic resignation that is strangely persuasive. It's as though Sartre's Huis Clos had a prosthetic monster in it, at least according to this trailer.