The Half Dozen

Review Of 2016: The Half-Dozen Most Viewed Trailers Of 2016

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Half Dozen Doughnuts
In the olden days, I’d put a suggestive image at the top of each blog post. This is a half dozen doughnuts, and it’s also making me hungry.

Ah, the olden days. I remember when all this was fields, it wasn’t like this when I was a lad, you could get a racehorse and a speedboat for two shillings and sixpence, men were men, boys were small men and women were men with different dangly bits. But most importantly, in the olden days I used to write a film blog.

That, of course, was in the days before I became the regular reviewer on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s drive time show with the esteemed Chris Mann, started writing a column in the Cambridge News and found 1,000,001 other distractions, most of them watching films. In fact, I ended up watching films so much that I didn’t really have time to watch trailers, at least in the cinema.

I also feel that the trailer is becoming a lost art form. The gravelly voice man is now just the province of Honest Trailers, and trailers are now just a window for all of the best bits of the film, desperately trying to recruit you to the cinema where you’ll see them again with lots of boring, superficial context dragging them out to two hours or more.

The rise of internet advertising and the use of the Skip button has also seen another change to trailers when viewed online: the trailer trailer. Not to be confused with the teaser trailer, which is a shorter trailer released before the main trailer, or the trailer preview, where they release part of the trailer a few days before unveiling all of it in an attempt to induce a Pavlovian response from fanboys and girls worldwide, but where you get a trailer in five seconds with lots of rapid cuts in the even that your trailer is being used as an advert; this way, you get to see a trailer even if you click “Skip in…” when it counts down to zero. If you don’t, you get two trailers for the price of one. If you watch a trailer with a trailer trailer attached before watching the film it’s trailing, you can make yourself feel like you’re being sucked into a black hole where time is gradually dilating to the point of infinity. Or you can watch five minutes of a Transformers movie to achieve the same effect. But I digress. (Ah, how I’ve missed digressing in my blog again. But I digress from my digress. A digress digress, if you will. ANYway…)

Traditionally I would at this point pick out my six, or twelve favourite trailers of the year, but they’re all so much of a muchness I’ve struggled to find that many I’d even care about. I will pick out a favourite of the year before this is over, but as I’ve not blogged all year – apart from spewing out two brief flirtations at Oscar time – I think it would be useful to review what you’re actually getting from the big trailers these days.

Let’s take the six biggest trailers of 2016, coincidentally six of the seven biggest trailers ever, and see what we can learn from them about their films, and about the increasingly lost art of the trailer.

6. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (released December 3, 81 million views in 24 hours)

So this trailer is all about reassurance. You liked the first one, because it was very slightly different from all of those other Marvel movies, in that it was funnier and set off Earth and had a tree with a five word vocabulary and a weird throwback soundtrack. So the trailer is designed to reassure you that you’ll be getting all of this again this time round, by showing you a funny scene and some spaceships and the tree being cute and awesome and with a slightly different throwback soundtrack. It doesn’t actually show you any plot, but maybe that’s a good thing?

5. Transformers: The Last Knight (released December 5, 93.6 million views in 24 hours)

*types name of film into YouTube to find official trailer*

*wades through pages and pages of people reposting the trailer, trailer reactions and trailer breakdowns*

*notices that one of the trailer reaction videos has over half a million hits*

*wonders if I’m wasting my life*

*watches trailer*

*wonders why I even bothered asking that previous question when the answer is self-evident*

4. Captain America: Civil War (released March 10, 94.7 million views in 24 hours)

It’s another entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the thirteenth in fact, and the third with Captain America in the title. So this has to fight against the law of diminishing returns and convince you that you have to be sat in the cinema. But, rather than a plot driven trailer, this is all about the stakes. Stakes that bring back Bucky (who we’ve seen before), that show off six Avengers either sitting at tables looking serious or doing cool action sequences (who we’ve seen before), that show a new character that looks like some form of Panther in a black costume (that we don’t know about yet so it’s harder to care), that shows Captain America and Iron Man fighting (we’ve seen Avengers fighting lots of times before), that puts in a cool dialogue reference to the first Captain America movie (seen that before – check) and has an inordinate amount of things blowing up. I’m not even going to say it.

But wait – who’s that wall-crawling web-slinger? We haven’t seen him before, have we? Sigh.

3. Fifty Shades Darker (released September 13, 114 million views in 24 hours)

Fifty things I learned from the Fifty Shades Darker trailer:

  1. There are, apparently, more than fifty shades of grey. Forget your Turtledove Grey or Light French Grey, we’re in Monument Grey and Forest Grey territory here, people.
  2. Jamie Dornan’s back. So despite lots of stories about “disillusionment” and “creative friction”, looks like something called a “paycheck” won out.
  3. So’s Dakota Johnson. Yes, this is the same as point two, I’m trying to make fifty points here, cut me some slack.
  4. This is the official trailer, as opposed to the unofficial trailer. (Well, that trailer doesn’t make me want to watch the film any less, anyway.)
  5. It’s made by Universal, who made $570 million dollars from a $40 million budget on the first one. Bet there were a lot of executives agonising about whether to greenlight this sequel…
  6. It’s coming on Valentine’s Day. Because what could be better than a little bondage and misogyny for the most romantic holiday of them all?
  7. We have to “forget the past”, i.e. “the first one was terrible but this will be better.”
  8. It’s personally disappointing when someone doesn’t follow slipping on a black mask by saying “I’m Batman.”
  9. There’s no way Ana could be Batman, though. Her mask is see-through. What use is that for a crime-fighting superhero?
  10. Well, the characters are back together, so presumably something’s happened since the last film. Or will happen in this one. Guessing is fun.
  11. The way to really tell someone you throw extravagant parties is with someone who breathes fire. Nothing less will do.
  12. Apparently there is no limit to the number of slowed-down cover versions of “Crazy Right Now” you can cut a trailer to.
  13. This trailer is not in order. Or some of it’s from a previous film. Look, I’ve tried really hard to forget it, OK?
  14. If you’re really rich, you can install a shower big enough to host a whole rugby team, just in case you want the dramatic effect of taking your lover against the wall to have more theatre.
  15. There’s fireworks. That’s probably symbolic.
  16. Jamie Dornan can do more chin-ups than me, and by that I mean Jamie Dornan can do a chin-up.
  17. After being stalked repeatedly by Christian, Ana is only mildly surprised when a stranger turns up in her flat unannounced while she’s sleeping, rather than freaking out and throwing things and calling the police.
  18. Oh wait, it was her imagination, which is surely even more disturbing.
  19. There’s another man on the scene, and he seems as much of a depressing manwaste as Christian.
  20. Kim Basinger, if you walk into a room and then hold up your mask, it’s missing the point, we know who you are already.
  21. Either there’s not much footage in this trailer, or Ana is practically living in that silver dress.
  22. There’s a helicopter out of control, which is probably a metaphor as well.
  23. There’s that imaginary woman again. Is this actually a horror movie? (Might be more interesting if it is.)
  24. This version of Crazy In Love is performed by Miguel. That’s lovely. (I barely know who Beyoncé is, never mind Miguel. Getting old.)
  25. It’s coming out on Valentine’s Day 2017, in case you were wondering which year it would be released based on the ambiguous card earlier that said Valentine’s Day but not the year.
  26. James Foley is on directorial duties. He did Glengarry Glen Ross, and nothing else much good. This will go one of two ways.
  27. Which means that Sam Taylor-Johnson has had a lucky escape this time.
  28. Danny Elfman is once again composing. How I would love it if his score was closer to a Tim Burton score. Or just The Simpsons theme on a loop.
  29. The screenplay is by Niall Leonard, who’s also written for Spender, Ballykissangel, Monarch Of The Glen and Wild At Heart. (All of which would have been livened up by some light spanking and dubious sex contracts.)
  30. This also means that E.L. James didn’t get to write the screenplay, so we may be denied some of her usual zingers.
  31. Somewhat unsurprisingly, I didn’t manage to find 50 things to mock in a two minute trailer, so I will complete the list with some of those actual E.L. James zingers from the book. Here’s hoping they make it into the film.
  32. “His eyebrows widen in surprise.”
  33. “I wasn’t aware we were fighting. I thought we were communicating…”
  34. “Just smell that new car smell. This is even better than the Submissive Special … um, the A3.”
  35. “Ah, Mr. Grey, your perpetually twitching palm. What are we going to do with that?”
  36. “He’s like several different people in one body. Isn’t that a symptom of schizophrenia?” (No, it isn’t.)
  37. “Not today. I was late getting in, and my boss is like an angry bear with a sore head and poison ivy up his ass.”
  38. “Sooners rather than laters, baby.”
  39. “My mother had a mantra: musical instrument, foreign language, martial art.”
  40. “I’m talking about the heavy shit, Anastasia. You should see what I can do with a cane or a cat.”
  41. “He smirks and cranks his glorious smile up another notch so it’s in full HD IMAX.”
  42. “Yes, I’ll get wrong sometimes – I’ll make mistakes, but I have to learn.”
  43. “What! Sex in the car? Can’t we just do it on the cool marble of the lobby floor…please?”
  44. “What a time to have a brain-to-mouth filter malfunction.”
  45. “My subconscious has her arms crossed and is wearing Burberry check . . . jeez.”
  46. “You are going to unman me, Ana … You — take me. Ana, touch me … please.”
  47. After a while, he sighs, and in a soft voice he says, “I had a horrific childhood. One of the crack whore’s pimps . . .” His voice trails off, and his body tenses as he recalls some unimaginable horror. “I can remember that,” he whispers, shuddering.
  48. My inner goddess is doing a triple axel dismount off the uneven bars, and abruptly my mouth is dry.
  49. I take a deep breath and head back out into the club. I mean, it’s not as if I haven’t gone panty less before.
  50. Oh! Hesitantly I pull the drawer open, not taking my eyes off his beautiful but rather smug face. Inside there are an assortment of metal items and some clothespins. Clothespins! I pick up a large metal clip-like device. “Genital clamp,” Christian says.

2. Beauty And The Beast (released November 14, 127.6 million views in 24 hours)

So you know that live action Disney film based on Cinderella that made a lot of money that wasn’t all that much like the animated Cinderella? And that live action The Jungle Book film based on The Jungle book that was a lot more like the animated The Jungle Book that made a lot more money? Well here comes a live action Disney film based on Beauty And The Beast which is a tragedy starring Danny De Vito as Beauty and Jennifer Lawrence as the voice of The Beast, who will be portrayed by a sock puppet. Only kidding, its EXACTLY THE SAME as the animated Beauty And The Beast but with added Emma Watson, so it’s probably a bit more modern and feminist. Ker-CHING!

1. The Fate Of The Furious (released December 11, 139 million views in 24 hours)

I would have watched this trailer more closely, but after their amazing F-eight pun I was trying to thing up puns for the inevitable next film. Maybe one with dogs? (The Canine And The Furious, obvs.) One based on proverbs? (A Furious Stitch In Time Saves Nine?) One where the cars give up driving on roads completely and dispense with the laws of physics all together? (On Cloud Nine With The Furious?) Or maybe just The AssiNine And The Furious? Anyway, this has a chase on ice, so apparently we’ve learned nothing from Die Another Day. If this has bad CGI surfers, invisible cars and any kind of reference to Madonna then I’m officially bailing.

Well, that’s it, the best trailers of 2016, as judged by the number of times people with low standards have watched them forty times in the first hour and a half of their upload. Which only leaves me to pick out my favourite trailer of the year.

The Best Trailer Of 2016 – Dunkirk

Simplicity is the key here. Just enough to give you a flavour, and then the construction of the shot where the soldiers react closer to the camera, then further away, felt a world away from the trailers for the generic blockbusters I’ve just been dissecting. After the disappointment of Interstellar, this got me excited for Christopher Nolan’s next immediately, and for its instant power and effect, this gets my vote for the best trailer of 2016.

Previous years:

The 12 Best Trailers Of 2015 WINNER – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The 12 Best Trailers Of 2014 WINNER – The Babadook

The 12 Best Trailers Of 2013 WINNER – Gravity

The 12 Best Trailers Of 2012 WINNER – The Imposter

The Dozen Best Trailers Of 2011 WINNER – Submarine

The Half Dozen Best Trailers Of 2010 WINNER – The Social Network

 

Review Of 2015: The 12 Best Trailers Of 2015

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It’s that time of year again: it’s next year. Sorry, been a bit busy to say the least, but I will at least attempt to get my review of 2015 completed for your reading pleasure. Normally this takes a couple of weeks to lovingly craft and compile; this year I’m going to attempt to do it in a day and a bit. Wish me luck.

To start with, when I used to have time to write this blog regularly – something I’m aiming to do again in 2016 – I used to pick out the six trailers each month I was most interested in. Then at this time of year I’d then reflect on the dozen that had left the most lasting impression. Having resolutely failed to do this most months this year, it’s given me a slightly different perspective on the year this year, but I’ve still managed to find the usual handful which intrigued and excited in equal measure.

Best Trailer For A Mediocre Film: SPECTRE

After the triumph of Skyfall, the Bond producers did the only sensible thing they could and brought back Sam Mendes and many of the same team responsible for that triumph. This trailer strongly suggested that they were on course to replicate the success of the earlier film; evidence, if any were needed, that trailers can be somewhat misleading.

Best Action Trailer Of The Year: Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation

The trailer for Spectre promised high octane stunts, intense drama, attractive, empowered women and a good hit of nostalgia and failed on at least two of those counts. The trailer for this fifth incredibly-tricky-but-actually-achievable mission promised high octane stunts, the same brand of spying nonsense the other films have delivered, an attractive, empowered woman and – crucially – fun. It’s fair to say that this trailer did a much better job of delivering commitments that the film could fulfill.

Best Summing Up Of The Film In A Single Scene: Inside Out

The trailer was actually released in December 2014, but my house, my rules. A trailer for 2015’s best animation that perfectly sells the concept of the film without a word of exposition.

Best Documentary Trailer: Amy

This teaser for the slightly uneven but still compelling documentary sells you on the concept in a little over a minute. Efficient.

Best Trailer That Doesn’t Undersell The Weirdness: The Lobster

And a good Colin Farrell movie, reminding us all that they do happen from time to time.

Best Trailer That Completely Missells The Film (And Kind Of Spoils The Ending): Eden

As good as this trailer is, it suggests that a large proportion of the film is in English (it’s not), suggests that it’s generally a lively music movie (when it’s a more reflective, soul-searching film that knows its garage from its trance) and also has a decent clip of the dramatic ending of the movie thrown in for good measure. Way to go, trailer peeps.

Best Aaron Sorkin Movie Trailer: Steve Jobs

Following in the footsteps of my 2010 trailer of the year for The Social Network comes a trailer so finely honed it could have been produced by Apple themselves. Film’s not bad either (spoiler: it’s just missed out on m top 40 of the year by a whisker).

Creepiest Trailer Of The Year: The Witch

That kid going “ba-ba-baaa” is proper freaking me out.

Best (NSFW) Marketing Campaign Of The Year: Deadpool

For this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And so much more.

Most Promising Trailer For Next Year If They Don’t Screw It Up: Suicide Squad

While I am distinctly underwhelmed by the Batman vs Superman trailers and have almost no personal desire to see the film after enduring the gratingly stupid Man Of Steel, this actually looks like it might succeed in being dark but not gloomy. Anyway, the internet melted when it came out so it’ll probably make dump-trucks full of money.

Best Trailer With No Dialogue And Lots Of Star Ratings: Carol

All of the plaudits are correct as seen in this trailer, and you’ll be hearing more about this film before my end of year review is done. A delightful way to summarise the film’s style and tone without needing to use half of the plot and dialogue too.

Best Trailer Of 2015: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

To get audiences back onside, after a decade of CGI meddling and indifferent prequels and a further decade where we all thought “oh well, that’s that then”, Disney needed a marketing campaign to get the hardcore fans back onside and to convince the casual viewer that there was something worth checking out here. For me, the core of the trailer will have sold the casual viewer but it’s the two bookends that sold me on this relaunch: the opening tracking shot which gradually reveals the crashed Star Destroyer, and the final, punch-the-air reveal of Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew, together again after all these years. These two moments have made this particular trailer my favourite of 2015. And yes, I am a little biased, as I type this while wearing odd Star Wars socks. (An R2-D2 and a Yoda, thanks for asking.)

Previous Years:

The 12 Best Trailers Of 2014 WINNER – The Babadook

The 12 Best Trailers Of 2013 WINNER – Gravity

The 12 Best Trailers Of 2012 WINNER – The Imposter

The Dozen Best Trailers Of 2011 WINNER – Submarine

The Half Dozen Best Trailers Of 2010 WINNER – The Social Network

The Half Dozen: 6 Most Interesting Looking Trailers For April 2015

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April’s here, and thankfully the first of the month has been and gone without me falling for too many April Fool jokes. I would like to say I didn’t fall for any, but I am sweet and naive and I cannot tell a lie. That said, if anyone does want to assemble a fake trailer for something for next year, it would be greatly appreciated, as I need anything I can to hook me into the barrage of trailers I’m faced with every month.

I do try to watch as many trailers as possible, but with 65 films scheduled for release in UK cinemas in some form this month and 64 less Movie Evangelists to watch all those trailers, some pruning has to take place before I even fire up the YouTube. This month I took in a total of 28 trailers, and in each one I’m looking for the hook, that indefinable quality which will keep the trailer in my mind once I’ve watched so many that I’m struggling to remember my own name.

So this month, I present my half dozen trailers (plus a buy one, get one free special) with what made the film stand out before I watched the trailer, and then the hook which helped this make the list once I’d seen the respective promo. Not a fast (and furious) car, an Action Keanu or a horde of Avengers in sight, but I’m sure they’ll all be good too.

The Indian-Produced Mexican Film: Broken Horses

Vidhu Vinod Chopra, director of India’s biggest ever box office sensation 3 Idiots as well as a number of critically acclaimed Hindi films, has turned his hand to something completely different, a Western set on the Mexican-US border. Most of the promotional material online is from the Indian wing of Fox’s distribution, and it’s taken some unexpected angles.

You had me at: Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. James Cameron. But of course.

Broken Horses is on limited release from Friday 10th April.

The Not Quite Best Foreign Language Oscar Nominee: Force Majeure

The Oscars are a curious beast, and few awards are more curious than Best Foreign Language Film. Putting aside the fact that four of this year’s nominees that I’ve seen (Ida, Leviathan, Wild Tales, Timbuktu) are a country mile better than half of the actual Best Picture nominations (The Imitation Game, American Sniper, Birdman, The Theory Of Everything), you have to jump through a remarkable number of hoops even to get into the top five.

First, each country must choose one and only film and submit it, leaving the likes of Goodbye To Language and We Are The Best! falling short. The 83 films submitted then get reviewed by a committee who narrow it down to nine, and who this year ruled out Two Days, One Night, Mommy, Winter Sleep and Norte, The End Of History. (Funnily enough, they’re all better than the four Best Pictures nominees I listed as well.) And then, for reasons best known to themselves, they publish the list of nine a week before the full nominations before then cutting it down to five a week later. This year Corn Island, Accused, The Liberator and Force Majeure were the four to face last minute heartbreak.

I dream of a day when awards ceremonies just give prizes to the best films, rather than performing their current bizarre language segregation, but I also know it’s just a dream.

You had me at: Avalanche!

Force Majeure will be in art house cinemas and online at Curzon Home Cinema from Friday 10th April.

The Danish Western Set In Patagonia: Jauja

It’s got Viggo Mortensen and a brief synopsis which reads: “A father and daughter journey from Denmark to an unknown desert that exists in a realm beyond the confines of civilization.” If you’re not sold on that, maybe we shouldn’t be friends any more. No, wait, come back, only kidding! Of course we can watch Transformers again. (Sigh.)

You had me at: You’ve rounded the corners! Just like an old-timey photograph. Crazy.

Jauja is on limited release from Friday 10th April. 

Buy One, Get One Free Special On Danish Westerns: The Salvation

Quite often I’ll make a snap judgement on whether or not a film’s worth a watch based on the quality of its cast. Aside from the Casino Royale reunion of Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green you’ve also got Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jonathan Pryce and the bloke who was Beorn in The Hobbit. That would do me even before…

You had me at: Eric Cantona. I know he’s been in films before, and I’m a Liverpool supporter so shouldn’t like him, but come on, he gets his name in the credits!

The Salvation is on limited release from Friday 17th April.

The Ryan Gosling Film You Wondered If You’d Ever See In A Cinema: Lost River

Another amazing cast list (Saiorse Ronan, Ben Mendelsohn, Christina Hendricks, Eva Mendes, the geeky bloke from Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.), but the big name here was always going to be the director. Sadly Ryan Gosling’s behind-the-camera debut has picked up poor to middling reviews, but most of them claim it to be at least an interesting failure.

You had me at: So that’s what you were keeping under the fez, Doctor. (Yes, I will watch anything with a former Doctor Who in it, what of it?)

Lost River is on limited release from Friday 10th April.

The Thickest Accent In The World Competition: Child 44

Oh, so it’s who’s got the best cast time, is it? Well, I see your Mads Mikkelsen and your Saoirse Ronan and I raise you Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Charles Dance, Vincent Cassel, Jason Clarke, Tara Fitzgerald and Paddy Considine! I believe that’s a full house.

You had me at: The last time I think I heard Russian accents that thick was probably in Muppets Most Wanted.

Child 44 is on general release from Friday 17th April.

In Any Other Month This Would Seem Strange: A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence

If you want me to be all “ooh, Iron Man fighting the Hulk, and lots of other giant fighty robots”, then you’ve come to the wrong place. This trilogy capper from the man that brought you Songs From The Second Floor and You, The Living is what’s getting me most excited come the end of the month. If you’ve never seen either of those films, then go and rectify that now.

You had me at: IN THE NAME OF SANITY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO THAT MONKEY?!?!

A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence is probably the only thing you’ll find in cinemas that isn’t Avengers 2 from Friday 24th April.

The Half Dozen: 6 Most Interesting Looking Trailers For January 2015

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2015 is a year that I fear for having to hunt harder than ever for the true gems of cinema amid the overly scripted neon morass of increasingly formulaic blockbusters that will clog up cinemas of all sizes more than ever before this year. With major film shunting themselves into next year to avoid the crush, it’ll be harder than ever for the smaller films to find sufficient two hour slots in cinemas to be seen before they must disappear, and I fear for quality getting trampled in the rush.

However, we shouldn’t be too disheartened: if January is anything to go by, quality film making is far from a thing of the past, it’s just going to have to work a teensy bit harder to be seen this year than ever before. Based on my first look at the two minute promos for January – for I do try to watch trailers for every single film being released before settling on six each month – then 2015 should at least be a good year for the art form of the trailer, and it’s good to see those involved in promotion stepping up their game to get behind films looking to wrestle their way into cinemas near you.

Here for the first time this year are the six trailers that, for better or worse, caught my eye this month.

National Gallery

As a regular in London for the cinema, and particularly my frequent visits to Leicester Square, I am often conscious that I overlook some of London’s greater treasures in favour of more time at the cinema. Thankfully, documentarian Frederick Wiseman has come up with a way for me to do both. Just a shame that I couldn’t make a preview screening offered in the gallery itself, as watching a film about a place being showing as a film in the place is just delightfully perverse.

National Gallery is on limited release from 9th January.

American Sniper

Normally trailers are just a compilation of often spoiler filled clips from the film, but American Sniper has taken a different route. You might call this a clip rather than a trailer if you were being pedantic – and if you were, I’d of course applaud you – but it would seem to encapsulate enough about the film to help your decision on whether or not to buy a ticket without having to see another second of footage.

American Sniper is on wide release from 16th January. 

Whiplash

You wait ages for a film with massive amounts of drumming and then two come along at once. I hope my Birdman fatigue, some of which related to the incessant jazz drum score which underpinned the film and occasionally broke through the fourth wall, doesn’t diminish my enjoyment this time. I also hope that Miles Teller can redeem himself a little, for despite being one of the better things in last year’s That Awkward Moment, it was still one of 2014’s lowlights for me. The only way is up.

Whiplash is on wide release from 16th January. 

Beyond Clueless

When I started blogging, I tried to read as many other blogs as I could, and three in particular became regular reading. As well as Your Turn Heather and The Incredible Suit, Charlie Lyne’s Ultra Culture became required reading for his style, forthrightness and absolute willingness to pursue his own particular predilections, such as his fondness for the film Eurotrip. He’s now channelled his broader fascination with teen movies into a documentary and the trailer is as distinctive as the voice of his blog (seemingly now retired, at least for the time being, as he’s crossed over into film making).

Beyond Clueless is touring the country before its release on 23rd January.

No Manifesto: A Film About Manic Street Preachers

One of the first things I did this year was to book tickets to see one of my two favourite bands play their most iconic album in full, with the Manic Street Preachers playing The Holy Bible at Cardiff Castle. (Oddly, One Direction are playing at the Millennium Stadium the same night, so Cardiff will be a strange place to be that weekend.) I’ve not only booked my hotel as well as my ticket, but true to form I’ve already checked the release schedule for that weekend, so I may also sample Insidious Chapter 3, Spy or Electric Boogaloo while I’m down, having last been to the cinema in Cardiff nineteen years ago as a student.

No Manifesto will receive some limited cinema screenings from January 30th before being released on DVD in February.

Pelo Malo (Bad Hair)

This is my list of interesting trailers. This trailer looked interesting. Sadly my waffle about it isn’t turning out that way, but you can’t win them all. Look, a puppy! *points in the other direction* *runs away*

Pelo Malo is released in most of the UK on 30th January and in Scotland on 6th February, presumably to give Scotland chance to get over Burns Night the week before or something.

Review Of 2014: The (Half) Dozen Best Trailers Of 2014

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Time to start yet another trawl through the cinematic wonders of the year, the fifth time I’ve broken down the cinema year in blog post form, and as has now become traditional I’m starting with my look at the best trailers of 2014. I have to say that 2014 hasn’t struck me as a golden year in the art of the cinematic promo, not least because of an ever increasing avalanche of marquee names and tentpole sequels that have a very precise series of beats to hit. I’ve probably also reached a point where I don’t watch very many of these in cinemas, partly because the tendency to keep the house lights up means most people tend to sit and chat through them, but also down to the fact that the standard diet of ads and trailers at the multiplex is twenty-five to thirty minutes of my life I’ll never get back, so I try to dip in as close to the start of the film as I possibly can.

All that said, there have still been a few highlights of the year, so in tribute to my normal Half Dozen trailer run-down I’ve pulled together another double dose of the best of the year’s trailers.

Best Trailer That Condenses The Movie Into Two Minutes: The Grand Budapest Hotel

What you’re really looking for from a trailer is something that sums up the tone and the spirit of the film without giving the game away. Recent trailers for Wes Anderson’s films have got this down to the finest of fine arts, not least because they tend to use the score from their respective films, and this picks off a selection of crowd-pleasing moments and also captures the true sense of the lighter moments of the film while not giving away too many of the highlights for when you come to watch the film.

Best Trailer For Teasing Just The Right Level: Godzilla

Just as with the Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla, this trailer was doing its best to keep back the detail of the grumpy green giant until you were sat watching the film. This probably worked more effectively, not least because the reveal of the actual creature leaves you breathing a sigh of relief rather than disappointment. Most of us who remember the travesty of Matthew Broderick charging round after a bunch of humourless Godzookies were relieved that this offered up the possibility of something just a little less emotionally scarring.

Best Trailer Earworm Of The Year: Guardians Of The Galaxy

Marvel couldn’t really lose here, as few people would have had too many expectations of this very minor property before James Gunn was offered the director’s chair. Even the eccentric (if expensive) casting wouldn’t have done too much more to raise hopes, but then this first trailer hit, with the film’s secret weapon revealed: the killer throwback soundtrack, and if you weren’t oonga-chakkaing to yourself after hearing Blue Suede’s Hooked On A Feeling, it’s possible you either hate the Seventies or you have no soul.

Best Comedy Trailer Of The Year: What We Do In The Shadows

I had a few issues with What We Do In The Shadows, mainly around the lack of big laughs, but that was possibly also down to the fact that many of the film’s best moments ended up in the trailer. Conversely, this is a two minute breakdown of the film that still hasn’t failed to put a smile on my face every time I’ve watched it.

Best Action Trailer Of The Year: The Raid 2

The Raid 2 suffered from being a subtitled action movie so it failed to crack either the art houses or the multiplexes and I ended up performing a 120 mile round trip just to see it. But when this trailer was offering up so much (all of which was delivered on in spades in the film), it was hard to resist. It helps when your two and a half hour action movie has probably close to an hour of action so that you’re not losing too many important beats to the need to drum up an audience.

Best Ronseal* Trailer: Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie

No, wait, come back! I haven’t taken leave of my senses: Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie is almost certainly a terrible film – I haven’t actually seen it – but there’s something about the trailer: you could not possibly watch it, and then sit down and watch the film saying you weren’t warned what you’re getting. Having been forced to endure some of the TV series, all of the staples are present and correct: the sub-music hall humour, the fourth wall breaking, the corpsing mid-joke, the self-referential digs, and in terms of pitching the finished product, you can’t fault it.

* does exactly what it says on the tin

Most Horrific Flashback Of The Year: Edge Of Tomorrow

You learn something every day. In this case, I discovered that the mind-numbing flashbacks I was having to the Battle: Los Angeles trailer caused by the use of the same music in this trailer wasn’t caused by the same music at all, just a common reliance on heavy use of autotune. For the record, the trailer for my least favourite film of the current decade was accompanied by Johann Johannsson’s The Sum’s Gone Dim and the Edge Of Tomorrow trailer is underscored by Fieldwork’s This Is Not The End. Feel free to tell me that I’m getting old and should be able to tell the difference.

Best Reveal In A Trailer: Citizenfour

Citizenfour has a trump card up its sleeve, and both the trailer and the film manage the reveal in an understated but effective way.

Yeah, not much more I can say than that.

Move along. Nothing more to see here.

Best Underdog Trailer (also Best Use Of Eighties Music): We Are The Best

I’ve not managed to catch everything I’d hoped to this year, I never do, but if one film stands out as being one I regret missing, it’s We Are The Best, and hopefully this trailer shows you exactly why. Out of the films I’ve not seen (at time of writing; it’s on Netflix so may yet appear in the top 40), this one seems to have been cropping up on as many end of year lists as anything.

Best Trailer For A Film Not Out Until 2015 First Runner-Up: Inherent Vice

I’ll be honest, I’d not paid much attention to Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film, partly because you don’t need to: it’s a name that’s become as reliable a stamp of quality as Scorcese or Spielberg at their peak. Consequently, this trailer – showing how Anderson set about capturing the feel of Thomas Pynchon’s novel – took me by surprise. Some top quality falling over from Joaquim Phoenix there.

Best Trailer For A Film Not Out Until 2015 Winner: Mad Max: Fury Road

The first trailer created a real buzz around the internet with its incredible looking action scenes, but it was just a string of action scenes with a cool techno soundtrack and a two-headed lizard. But this second promo was a perfect storm of fast cuts, giant logos, Nicholas Hoult going a bit mad and when the Dies Irae from Verdi’s Requiem drops, it’s the trailer equivalent of snorting pure speed. Seven million YouTube views in a week have surely guaranteed this a big opening weekend next year.

The Best Trailer Of 2014 is The Babadook

There could only really be one winner this year. Preparing to watch The Guest on the opening night of FrightFest, in a room full of hardened horror movie fans, the fact that they were freaking out over a trailer spoke volumes about what was to come, and by the time the film played two nights later there were actual screams. This brings us nicely full circle, as this trailer also does a great job of nailing the concept without giving away too many of the big moments, and I’m not only adding The Babadook to my Trailer Of The Year roll of honour, but I’m still sleeping with the lights on and I’ve stopped reading books. Can’t take any chances.

Previous years:

The 12 Best Trailers Of 2013 WINNER – Gravity

The 12 Best Trailers Of 2012 WINNER – The Imposter

The Dozen Best Trailers Of 2011 WINNER – Submarine

The Half Dozen Best Trailers Of 2010 WINNER – The Social Network

The Half Dozen: 6 Most Interesting Looking Trailers For December 2014

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It’s December again. You can’t open up a blog without having an avalanche of year-end lists fall out on your head – mine will follow in due course – and awards films and family entertainments are jostling for position in the screens of our local fleapits and shiny multiplexes. It’s a time for traditions, from mince pies to mistletoe and this blog is no different: I present my third annual review of trailers in December with each one accompanied by a reworked seasonal ditty of some variety and dubious quality. If you like, get yourself a reminder of my efforts in 2012 and 2013 to get the idea before embarking on this year’s collection of dodgy poetry and vague puns.

And whatever you get up to in this season of peace and goodwill, whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Saturnalia, the winter solstice or simply worshipping at the altar of the early January sales, may you have a lovely time, ready to come back refreshed for 2015 which features new Bond, Star Wars, Avengers, Terminator, Taken, Ted, Mission: Impossible and pretty much any other franchise you’d care to name. But first, this.

The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies

To the tune of Jona Lewie’s Stop The Cavalry

Hey, Mr. Jackson comes over here
With more Tolkien trilogy,
But it’s going on for far, far too long
Marching round and round pointlessly
Oh, I say it’s tough, I have had enough
Can you stop the hobbits, please?

I have had to fight, almost every night
Just to stay awake through these
Silmarillion? No thanks, Jackson
Can you stop the hobbits, please?

Longer versions seen at home
More appendices shoe-horned in
Wish I could edit them down
To a single film I’d love

Dub a dub a dum dum dub a dub a dum dub a dum dum dub a dub dub a dub a dum
Dub a dub a dum dum dub a dub a dum dub a dum dum dub a dub dub a dub a dum

Can we have some more Bad Taste films?

Manakamana

To the tune of the carol We Three Kings

Visit Manakamana
You can ride the cable car
Up the mountain, then back down again
Quicker than foot by far

O car of wonder, car of light
Car where conversation’s slight
Upward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy temple right

Glorious now behold it arise
Bearing folks of all shapes and size
Men and women, some with goats in
That one’s a big surprise

O car of wonder, car of light
Arty insight or just trite?
Upward leading, but we’re needing
To work out our own insight

Dumb And Dumber To

To the tune of Little Drummer Boy

Come they told me, so dumb a dumb dumb
The brothers Farrelly, so dumb a dumb dumb
Have made a sequel see, so dumb a dumb dumb
We didn’t want really, so dumb a dumb dumb,
dumb a dumb dumb, dumb a dumb dumb,

Daniels and Carrey being really dumb,
Will we come?

Little joy you’ll see, so dumb a dumb dumb
It’s gone a bit nasty, still dumb a dumb dumb
They have no jokes to bring, no sense of fun,
But they’ll still flog this thing to us if we’re dumb,
That makes me glum; I’ll not succumb…

We’ll be spared Dumb 3, so dumb a dumb dumb,
If we don’t come.

Annie

To the tune of John Lennon’s Happy Christmas (War Is Over)

So, this is Christmas
And what have you done?
A new film of Annie
Even worse than the last one

And so this is awful
It doesn’t look fun
The cast all look lost here
The old and the young

Quevenzhané Wallis
Doesn’t act well, I fear
Let’s hope that this bad one
Won’t kill her career

And so this is pointless
Just completely wrong
Not one of these actors
Will be winning a gong

So unhappy Christmas
This Annie’s not right
Will Gluck, you’ve gone wrong here,
Your film just looks shite

Big Eyes

To the tune of Wizzard’s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day

Thanks to Q. Tarantino,
He’s a man we’d like to know
He’s put a great big smile, on everybody’s face
If you need an Austrian friend
Then your casting’s at an end
Open up the doors
You know that sweet Christoph Waltz is on the way

Well I wish it could be Chris Waltz, every day
‘Cos the films he’s in are invariably great **
Oh, I don’t think there’s a role he couldn’t play
Let him be in every film, please

He has quickly made his mark
He can do both light and dark
Now Tim Burton’s gonna let him have his say
Even though he’ll be quite mean
As the real life Walter Keane
We just know he and Amy Adams
Will blow the critics all away

Well I wish it could be Chris Waltz, every day
‘Cos the films he’s in are invariably great
Oh, I wish it could be Chris Waltz, every day
And I bet he will be Blofeld

** I haven’t seen Water For Elephants, but I liked The Green Hornet. So sue me.

Exodus: Gods And Kings

To the tune of White Christmas

I’m dreaming of a white Egypt
Just like the ones I used to know
With old Charlton Heston
Credibility testing,
And others skin as white as snow,

I’m dreaming of a white Egypt
Someone tell Ridley it’s not right
May your films have casts that look right
And may all your Egypts not be white

The Half Dozen: 6 Most Interesting Trailers For November 2014

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It seems everyone wants to grab your attention these days. From double evictions on The X Factor to Lord Sugar firing people before they’ve even got out of bed in this year’s The Apprentice, reality shows are increasingly loading up their casts, then casting them aside like so much dead wood, purely in the hunt for ratings. So how to keep up with the pack in this increasingly cut-throat world? This month I present to you seven trailers, all eager for you to chew heavily processed snack foods loudly while watching them in your nearest cinemaplex. By the end of this post, one of you will be fired.

Leviathan

Once you’ve won an award, your ability to open doors into cinemas increases noticeably. Leviathan follows in the footsteps of We Need To Talk About Kevin, Rust And Bone, A Prophet, Ida and, er, Tulpan as the best film at the London Film Festival, and also has a best screenplay award from Cannes in its trophy cabinet. The danger is that you come to the film judging it purely on reputation, or in this case that you confuse it with an unusual documentary about fishermen and trawlers from a year or two ago.

Sacro Gra

A documentary about an Italian ring road seems simple enough, but this is a film I’ve already tried to watch twice this year. On both occasions the subtitles malfunctioned, so I now need to decide whether to chance a third trip to the well. I might just take the Italian-English dictionary to be on the safe side.

The Imitation Game

Keira Knightley wins the award for the poshest English accent ever, no contest. Also, next Saturday Bletchley Park will be showing a day’s worth of sci-fi films at their Station X event, including previews, classics and even the Doctor Who finale. What better time to watch a film about the work that took place there at the height of its powers?

Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey

So I was more than a bit sniffy about the sequel, Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger, on Twitter, at which point director Debbie Isitt slapped my wrists via the social media website. I put my money where my mouth was, and can confirm that the David Tennant / Joanna Page sequel lacked the awkward charm of the Martin Freeman / Ashley Jensen original. Hopefully for everyone’s sake this Martin Clunes / Catherine Tate version will restore some of that, and that Marc Wootton will be allowed to hang up the teacher’s assistant parka after this one. Rest assured that I’ll take another one for the team if I feel the need to be sniffy again.

What We Do In The Shadows

Vampire comedy. Two-thirds of Flight Of The Conchords. SOLD!

2001: A Space Odyssey

I have a fairly strained relationship with this Kubrick classic, having tried half a dozen times to watch it on VHS at university and barely even getting to the space bits. This re-release is the ideal opportunity to give this a retry where it should be watched, and this trailer spin on the Avengers sequel’s promo just sweetened the deal.

Stations Of The Cross

My favourite new film shown at the Cambridge Film Festival this year. I’m not sure the title of Best Film According To Local Blogger at the UK’s third oldest film festival carries quite the same cachet as the gongs Leviathan’s picked up, but I’m happy to buy a tiny trophy if it would make a difference.

The Apprentice

Sacro Gra, you’ve let me down before, but The Imitation Game you seem to be giving away most of the plot. But Nativity 3, you look like nothing more than an excuse for a jolly to New York, so it is with regret that you, and this tortuous excuse for a framing device, are fired.