Trailer Mash

Bond, Abe Lincoln and the rest of the week's new movies, judged by their trailers

In 1962's From Russia with Love, the best James Bond movie to date, 007 was matched against his toughest enemy ever, British jailbird turned thug for hire Red Grant. Portrayed by Robert Shaw, Grant was the anti-Bond: a stone-faced, blond, over-muscled killing machine. Rather witty of the franchise producers, then, to recreate Bond in Grant's image for Casino Royale back in 2005. But that was a good while ago, and by now Daniel Craig is having to make grizzled and knackered a key component of the Bond identity. But he's not as grizzled and knackered as the plot for Skyfall, which on the basis of this trailer shamelessly reassembles a raft of old spy-movie pilots. There's the stolen list of undercover agents from the first Mission: Impossible movie (the NOC List), there's a rogue spy gone bad from Pierce Brosnan's first Bond, and that explosion at MI5 HQ from his second to last. But none of this actually matters when matched against what seem to be a series of properly epic Bond set pieces. That one shot of the Honda 250 powering along the raised footpath in Istanbul has more excitement than the entire running time of (also Istanbul-set) Taken 2.

The trailer for Lincoln is a psychological device brilliantly designed to offer no temptation whatsoever to anyone who wasn't going to go see the film anyway. Channeling the style notes of educational biographies published between 1890 and 1910, it is clearly an impressive, portentous piece of work targeted exclusively at Civil War buffs, historians, people who like very, very slow tracking shots, and elderly couples, all of whom will download this and watch bits of it in years to come. There is no doubt that the venerable Daniel Day-Lewis will be brilliant in the title role, that Sally Field will defy the effects of time to be almost convincing as his child bride, and that Tommy Lee Jones will look and sound exactly like Tommy Lee Jones while representing somebody also probably very famous.

Low-budget, irresistible oddity of the week is The Comedy, its trailer an impressionistic series of vignettes in the life of a hopeless fat Brooklyn hipster and his equally high-achieving buddies. Scene after scene shows them doing things that are superficially fun but that are revealed in every close-up of our slob hero Tim Heidecker's face to be as nightmarish as the worst of all life's horrors. Which already makes this simultaneously hilarious, accurate and invaluable. The rest of director Rick Alverson's oeuvre must now be consumed.

Low-budget, irresistible oddity of the week No. 2 is Starlet, in which a flaky L.A. stoner builds an unlikely friendship with a much older woman when she finds a stash of cash hidden in the latter's home. The film also seems to have something to do with the porn industry, but on the basis of this trailer seems chiefly to be a rather successful vehicle for the talents of Dree Hemingway, daughter of Mariel, granddaughter of Ernie, and the evidence that neither model-caliber looks nor the entropy typically associated with talent spread over three generations need stymie pretty decent acting ability.

You may remember Common as a supporting tough in that McG parody of a Terminator movie starring the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz. You may know him from his music career. But in LUV, he should henceforth be known mainly as someone very capable of playing a father compromised in his relationship with his son by his suited and booted gangster life, but who can hold his own against a most extraordinary child actor playing the kid.

It being the new Bond week, why not release a foreign-language movie starring former Bond villain Mads Mikkelsen? One of those candlelit period pieces that owes its entire existence to Kubrick's unsurpassed Barry Lyndon, A Royal Affair offers us Mads as the man behind the man in the court of an 18th-century Danish king. All goes well until he falls for said king's bride, an English girl whose dubbed-over voice is apparently that of a much, much older woman, at least according to this trailer.