July 27, 2013: Trailer Round-up

I found myself sitting in a dark auditorium this morning waiting for Fruitvale Station — the review for which is coming down the pipe later today — to come on, when a green screen flashed in front of me and notified me that a preview was about to be shown on the screen. Lately, I have done my best to avoid trailers and clips for films I want to see (I don’t watch them online at all), but sometimes it’s difficult to just get up and exit the theater.

And so, right before the first trailer came on, I wondered: which films will I see previews of today? My favorite thing about seeing small, independent films is that the trailers before them are generally for prominent upcoming films I want to see. Today was no exception, though I’ll definitely say the first three are films I anticipate far more than the last two.

Without further ado, here are the five films I saw trailers for today, including a brief description of my thoughts on the trailer and my anticipation level of the film itself.

inside_llewyn_davis poster1. Inside Llewyn Davis
A trailer I was really hoping I wouldn’t see, but one that made me even more excited for a film that already sits atop my must-see list. The Coen brothers’ next feature, Inside Llewyn Davis looks equal parts dramatic and comedic, though much more straight-laced than most of their other work. I’ll be interested to see how exactly it turns out, but one thing is for sure: I’ll be seeing it at the earliest possible moment I can.

Anticipation Level: Very High


12-years-a-slave-poster2. 12 Years a Slave
Acclaimed director Steve McQueen’s third outing alongside male-muse Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave looks like a solid, provocative film. McQueen loves telling very difficult, personal tales — 2008’s Hunger followed hunger-striker Bobby Sands, 2011’s Shame followed a New York City sex addict — and this one is likely no different, telling the true story of free-man-turned-slave Solomon Northup. The cast here looks astonishing, and while I was only intrigued by this one before, I’m now standing at attention.

Anticipation Level: High


spectacular-now-final-poster3. The Spectacular Now
I love a good coming-of-age tale, and while 2013 has already presented a couple standouts in this genre in Frances Ha and The Way, Way Back, there is surely room for one more. Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller star, and from the looks of it, they have some fantastic on-screen chemistry. This looks like one that will be equally heart-wrenching and uplifting, much like most people’s formative years, but it also looks really, really good.

Anticipation Level: Very High


mandela-long-walk4. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Star Idris Elba looks fantastic here, as he always is, but something just feels off about the first half of this trailer. It looks too uplifting where I was expecting something a bit more dramatic. The second half of the clip shown seems to veer more in the “important things are at stake here” direction, but I can’t say I’m any more inclined to see this movie after watching the trailer. However, as I said, Elba does look well-cast here.

Anticipation Level: Low to Medium


butler 15. Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Fresh from its new renaming due to an extremely dumbfounding legal situation, the trailer for Lee Daniels’ The Butler — formerly known simply as The Butler — is one of those that makes me think the film could be really good or it could, well, not. The cast is extremely well-rounded, and Forest Whitaker looks ripe to take on this role, but I’m just not fully sold. The brief shot of Alan Rickman, however, as Ronald Reagan? That looks like the real freakin’ deal.

Anticipation Level: Low to Medium


And there you have it, a roundup of five trailers I saw before seeing Ryan Coogler’s fantastic Fruitvale Station. I’d have loved to see zero trailers, but I just really didn’t feel like getting up and walking out of the theater after I sat down.

I’m sure it sounds absurd to some, but lately I find myself wanting to walk into a movie as fresh and unknowing as possible, my thoughts and opinions left completely uninformed, with nothing but the film to shape my thoughts. The first movie I have actively done this for was Before Midnight, which proved to be a massive exercise in self-control but was ultimately beneficial, as I watched the trailer after seeing the film and realized all that was spoiled in those brief couple minutes. Hopefully none of the trailers I’ve seen today do the same.

Perhaps I just need to start arriving at the theater later.


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