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DAILY BULLETIN: Yet more trailers, plus Stoker talk

I don’t know what it is, but a whole lot of trailers have been coming out lately. I didn’t envision so many of these daily updates being about trailers when I started doing this. But, you play the cards you’re dealt, so off we go.

This Is The End

Maybe I’m just forgetting some titles, but there haven’t been that many comedies about the apocalypse this year, have there? You’d think this would be the time, it being 2012 and all… The only one I can really recall is Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, which came out back in June. But then, that movie broke even at best, so it didn’t exactly unleash a flood of imitators…

Now we have This Is The End. As the trailer points out, this movie doesn’t actually come out until after the world ends (which as you know happens today – hmm, better get this post done fast). It seems like it might be fun. The story centers around a party at James Franco’s house, which is interrupted by, you guessed it, the end of the world.

This Is The End sports a cast that’s basically a who’s who of Hollywood funnymen: Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, Paul Rudd, Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari… And I think the idea of everyone playing themselves is has some possibilities. As we can see just from the trailer, the guys are definitely going to be making fun of themselves (and each other) a lot. Love the Cera shit-talking! He doesn’t appear in the trailer, but he’s in the movie (for awhile at least).

It’s too early to say for sure, but the party where all this goes down seems to be a bit of a sausage fest. Seriously, where are the ladies? A look at the cast list shows Mindy Kaling is included in the proceedings, but there’s no sign of her in this trailer. Ditto Rihanna. But we do get a peek at Emma Watson wielding an axe, so… That’s pretty awesome. Hopefully she knows how to use it. It’ll be awhile before we find out; This Is The End opens June 13th, 2013.

Pain & Gain

I didn’t plan on discussing this one originally, because bleh Michael Bay. But due to popular demand (by which I mean one request), here goes!

I don’t know what to make of this trailer. It seems funny, more or less, but that doesn’t seem right, somehow. As we’re told in the trailer, this movie’s based on true events. And if you’ve read the excellent (and very long) series of articles by Pete Collins in the Miami New Times about said true events, you’ll know they’re pretty horrifying. The guys being portrayed by Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie, and to a lesser extent The Rock (I’m sorry I know his name’s Dwayne Johnson but I feel weird calling him anything other than “The Rock”) are human scum. To glorify and make light of their criminal deeds is a bit messed up, on some level.

Maybe it’s just striking me as weird because the true story is so grim and now I’m seeing the same stuff played for laughs not that long after reading such a detailed account of what really happened. I have a hard time picturing the awful people I spent an hour or more reading about as “the good guys” (or the antiheroes, or whatever).

Ah, screw it. Hollywood is all about glamorizing bad behavior… Let’s just stick to judging the trailer on its own merits. With that in mind, I actually like the look of this. Mark Wahlberg is surprisingly likeable, and I enjoy it when The Rock plays unassuming, which he very much is here. In fact, Pain & Gain looks shot through with an unassuming vibe. Anthony Mackie doesn’t have many lines in the trailer, but I love the sincere way he responds when asked, “You ever just get sick and tired of being where you are?”

If you can put aside the reality of what this film is based on and just look at it as the story of a bunch of dumb criminals looking to get rich quick, I think there’s definitely fun to be had here. The cast certainly has the talent to pull it off. I’ve only mentioned Wahlberg, Mackie, and The Rock, but Pain & Gain also stars the likes of Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris, Rebel Wilson, Ken Jeong, Rob Corddry, and Michael Rispoli. And in case you were saying to yourself, “Self, this movie sounds okay, but why only one professional wrestler in the cast?” Fear not! Kurt Angle is also on board. I’m sure his two-second cameo will be riveting.

I didn’t expect to say this, but sign me up. Pain & Gain opens April 26th, 2013, and unless the critics lay the smack down on it (sorry), I’ll be buying a ticket.

stoker-poster-1Stoker gets a poster
Posters for South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook’s English language debut Stoker have been popping up all over in the last few weeks, but today we got a look at the official North American poster, seen to the right.

Okay, you know what? This news item is nothing more than an excuse for me to talk about Stoker, which I’m now really excited to see. I’ve known this movie was happening for a long time (I even made a very brief mention of it in my post about the best movies of 2011 when I got talking about South Korean movies via I Saw The Devil). But somehow it fell off my radar. I guess I hadn’t been following movie news super closely for awhile there. I mean, I didn’t even realize Stoker already has a trailer. Check that, two trailers. What else haven’t you told me?!

So yeah, sorry to be late to the party, but Stoker looks fucking nuts. Park Chan-wook has made some crazy stuff in the past, but this will be his first film in English, so I can’t wait to see people who weren’t familiar with him from before lose their minds. It certainly appears he’s not going to be dulling things down or softening anything for a wider audience, which is great. Compare this to the trailer for Jee-woon Kim’s English language debut The Last Stand (starring Ahnold), and I think Park wins hands down (though The Last Stand looks like it has potential to be dumb fun). But I’ll reserve judgment in the battle of the South Korean filmmakers coming to North America until I get a look at Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer, which doesn’t have a trailer yet.

Anyway, back to Stoker. Holy hell, talk about creepy. Park has done some weird uncomfortable stuff within the confines of stories about families in the past (Oldboy, anyone?) so I can’t wait to see what he’s got up his sleeve this time. The three members of the family look to be really well cast. Nicole Kidman is great at playing characters who are haunted (either figuratively or literally), Mia Wasikowska is one of the best young actresses around (or if she hasn’t earned that praise yet, she could after this), and Matthew Goode is virtually radiating a bizarre mixture of charisma and unpleasantness.

On a random note, the script for Stoker was written by actor Wentworth Miller, which is… odd? I actually couldn’t place that name when I saw it on the IMDb page for the movie. After looking him up, the first words out of my mouth were, “The Prison Break guy?” I’m not sure what that says about him. I really haven’t seen Miller in anything since Prison Break (which I bailed on after maybe half a season), but to be fair he hasn’t done much. This film will be his first credit as a writer, so I’m not sure what to make of that either. I’m hopeful that it’ll turn out well. Miller actually wrote the script under a pseudonym, later commenting that he wanted it to sink or swim on its own. So that’s cool. So far, it’s swimming. Case in point: it landed on the Black List in 2010, making the #5 spot with 39 votes. Another script on that list? Argo, which was #9 with 28 votes. I’m gonna go ahead and take that as a good sign.

Stoker premieres at Sundance next month, and then goes into limited release starting March first. I’ll be awaiting those early reviews with anticipation.

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