UPDATE: It seems WB has yoinked every copy of the Upside Down trailer from the internet. Thankfully, the other two trailers here remain untouched, and when I find a new version of Upside Down I’ll update again with the link. Thanks.
What’s that, internet?
You wanted me to discuss MORE movie trailers, here on this blog?
That could work.
And so, with massive audiences (consisting solely of me) clamoring for more trailer writeups, here I am.
With more trailer writeups. This time with picking from a basket that’s a little less ‘big budget spectacle’ and a little more ‘strange stuff off the beaten path.’
For the most part.
Hit ‘Continue Reading’ to… continue reading
So first off is Paolo Sorrentino’s This Must Be The Place.
You can watch the trailer at this link.
First things first: This is quirky. Really quirky. We’ve got off-the-charts quirk levels here, people. And usually, quirkyness of this nature is somewhat off-putting to me, but not in this case: for all the weird and dryly goofy stuff here, I find myself actually wanting to see the film. So score one in that department (score two for Sean Penn and Frances McDormand as a couple- that seems like a very natural pairing).
So plot-wise, we’ve got Sean Penn as an aging, Robert Smith-esque rock star traveling across America to hunt down the Nazi war criminal that humiliated Penn’s now-deceased father in Auschwitz. That’s all well and good as far as having a spectacular premise is concerned, but how will the film balance the darkness of the plot with the light, silly tone we’re seeing in this trailer? I think that’s my biggest concern here. Other than the shot of the tattoo on Penn’s father’s arm and a quick look at a gun, there’s no real heavy dramatic content in a trailer for a film where a major plot point centers around the Holocaust. Even most of the exposition about Penn’s father (in the trailer, at least) is handled with a joke.
But if This Must Be The Place can pull that off, than I have the feeling it’ll be spectacular. All of the lighter stuff in this trailer has a fun, easygoing bent to it that looks like it’ll lock in perfectly with Penn’s weirdly subdued performance. Plus the photography looks superb and David Byrne’s handling the music. I’m pretty much sold on this one.
Next up: Juan Diego Solanas’s Upside Down.
(I’ll link to it again once it comes back online).
Again we’ve got something of a high-concept premise here, but the execution looks a little… lacking. Although, really, the premise itself seems a little lacking too. The idea of two parallel, upside-down worlds could have some interesting potential, but all we really get here is Romeo and Juliet with a bunch of CGI effects and big action set pieces. And frankly, that really doesn’t look like enough to get my butt in the theater.
Plus during the trailer more and more questions kept popping up in my brain about the logic in this fantasy setting and plot holes that might come up in the film itself. If the mere act of a lower world citizen traveling to the upper world is enough for elite forces to violently hunt him down, why are there plenty of little rail-pod thingies going back and forth between each world? The same applies to the construction-y, connect-y stuff our two leads leap upon in the trailers big final action sequence. Why is this stuff even here if it’s so taboo to travel in between worlds?
Also, is every shot of an upper world person going to actually be upside down? that’s the impression I got from the trailer, and it looks just a little bit nauseating. That might also be because I was eating lunch while I watched this, but that’s not the point.
So overall: not impressed.
So for a taste of something very, very different, let’s watch the mega-low budget Danny Trejo vehicle entitled: Bad Ass.
Wow. Basically, it’s Danny Trejo in a fanny pack, beating on dudes, becoming a viral video sensation, then beating on more dudes for some reason. On the one hand, there seems to be almost nothing of value here besides dude-beatings, but on the other hand, at least this is a film that clearly knows itself and its audience. Honestly, if you like Danny Trejo and feel the need for something cheap and shlocky with lots of stupid fun, Bad Ass seems like it could be your ticket to a pleasant night of mindless entertainment.
And the trailer clearly reflects that. Clocking in at a mere fifty seconds, we get only the most basic of story beats, plenty of shots of Trejo in cheap shorts throwing people into walls, a bus explosion, and a quick snippet of dialogue from fellow sexagenarian B-movie vets Ron Perlman and Charles S. Dutton (as a stamp of approval that this is bona fide C-list grade action spectacle). Bad Ass knows what it is and knows that its audience needs very little to jump on board here. And frankly, trashy as it looks, I’d much rather spend a night in a run-down theater watching Danny Trejo scowl for ninety minutes than sit through Upside Down’s expensive, flashy-looking take on beating a horse that died a century ago. At least Bad Ass looks like fun. Stupid fun. But fun nonetheless.
And there you go. See you next time, folks!