Trailer Mash

'Hotel Transylvania' meets 'Looper' in our weekly review of movie previews

When the fates decree that a big-budget animation opens the same weekend as a much-anticipated action sci-fi spectacle, then it is also decreed that their trailers will be mashed together as one, and that no such mashing will be better effected than by our own Mac Smullen. Viewers, please enjoy Hotel Looper.

Back when he was on Saturday Night Live, in his pre-bloated, self-parody days, Adam Sandler had a character known as Opera Man who used to sing news bulletins during Weekend Update. A hint of the vestigial warmth toward Sandler that Opera Man recalls is in the design of Hotel Transylvania's Count,  the comedically compromised protagonist at the center of what is essentially an agreeably rambunctious excuse to make a 3-D toon about every horror-movie character that ever became a dime-store Hallowe'en outfit. Timely, eh? Adam Sandler has a net worth of $350 million.

At the moment Joseph Gordon-Levitt was emerging from the cocoon that followed his pupal stage in Third Rock from the Sun, the super-smart Rian Johnson spotted potential and cast him in Brick, the best high-school murder movie ever made that isn't Heathers. Seriously. Check it out. Some years later and such is Levitt's success that he seems to be in permanent residence on a red carpet wearing a sharp suit and a vaguely familiar smirk. The super-smart Rian Johnson saw that smirk, and in a eureka moment cast Gordon-Levitt as a young Bruce Willis in Looper, his long-gestated take on a Philip K. Dick tribute movie. Were the director not Johnson, it might be hard to trust a trailer that is so fundamentally satisfying, but fortunately it is Johnson, so be advised that this will be the best sci-fi action film of the year, bar none.

In 1987, The Hole was called The Gate and starred little Stephen Dorff. The story of a hole/gate that leads to hell, this updating is also a tribute to that more innocent time. Remember when movie siblings were not necessarily the same age, when parents were not the villains but utterly oblivious, when the music score had a gentle edge of mystery to it rather than sounding like Einstürzende Neubauten rehearsing in a sewer? This trailer promises old-school American chills and laughs, and that's because it's by Joe Dante, the Gremlins man. Probably the best Hallowe'en movie in a while, even if it is in 3-D.

How many BearCity movies will it take for the world to realize that giant fat gay men who like loving other giant fat gay men don't have to be hairy to be called bears? That's right: Two is enough.

There is an opus to be written on the cross-fertilization of Eastern and Western action-movie cinema, and you might only need The Raid and Dredd to do the subject justice. But if you wanted to add a cerebral flavor, Headshot, a Thai thriller about a hitman who sees the world upside down after a Buddhist monk shoots him in the head, might be the soupcon of lemongrass you need, at least according to this trailer.