Welcome to the Weekly Trailer Roundup, where we count down the top five trailers released in the past week, “top” being defined any way we want to at the moment…exciting, ridiculous, best, worst…
These are the trailers that, for one reason or another, you should be paying attention to.
If you follow sports at all, then you know there are few things fans get more excited about than a highly-touted rookie. With each promising newcomer there’s a sense that the sky is the limit – you might be witnessing the beginning of true greatness. The same can be said about the film industry and a first-time director. You hope that one day you’ll look back and remember seeing the first movie from a master filmmaker, knowing that you were seeing something special.
#5 – Alex of Venice
Chris Messina might not quite be a household name yet, but he’s an actor that nearly everyone recognizes when they see him – and with good reason, as he seems to pop up everywhere. Messina recently wrapped up work on Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom for HBO, and can be seen weekly on the Fox sitcom The Mindy Project. He has appeared in a never-ending stream of indie films like Cake, Palo Alto, Ruby Sparks, and Greenberg, and even shows up in the occasional high-profile movie, like Argo. Now Messina takes his turn behind the camera, with this appealingly small-scale dramedy about a woman (the criminally underrated Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who must start her life over after her husband (Messina) leaves her.
#4 – Get Hard (Red Band)
You’ve likely seen Etan Cohen’s name – not to be confused with Ethan Coen, one half of the heralded Coen brothers filmmaking team – on screen before, as he was the writer behind hit comedies like Tropic Thunder, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, and Men in Black 3. Now he gets a chance to direct his own script with this Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart buddy comedy. It doesn’t look like Cohen exactly reinvented the genre here, but pairing two of the most popular comedians on the planet makes it a sure thing that this directorial debut will not go unnoticed.
#3 – The Forger
To be fair, this is not director Philip Martin’s first feature-length film, as he was the man behind 2012’s Japan in a Day, which compiled survivors’ own footage from the tsunami and its ensuing wreckage in Japan. This is, however, his first narrative feature, and it seems a reasonably safe bet that it was a job-for-hire and not a passion project. It will be interesting to see if Martin elevates the material beyond the seemingly by-the-numbers setup and storyline. Recruiting veteran Christopher Plummer (Beginners) and the fantastic Tye Sheridan (Mud) for his cast is a good sign. Mr. Handsy McTouchestoomuch and his ridiculous wig and accent are not .
#2 – The Road Within
Gren Wells has been a stand-up comedian, actress, and screenwriter, and now she tries her hand at directing with this indie dramedy. While the story looks like it might be a bit derivative of countless other similar movies from the recent past (The Perks of Being a Wallflower and It’s Kind of a Funny Story come to mind), she has recruited a talented cast that includes Zoë Kravitz (Divergent), Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), and Kyra Sedgwick (The Possession). And yes, fine, Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day).
#1 – Ex Machina
Of all the movies featured this week, this one definitely looks like it has the most potential to be something special. Alex Garland makes his directorial debut here, though it seems like a misnomer to call him a rookie. Garland has worked on a number of high-profile projects over the years, forging a relationship with filmmaker Danny Boyle that saw Garland write the screenplays for The Beach, 28 Days Later, and Sunshine. He also wrote the adaptation of Never Let Me Go and 2012’s Judge Dredd reboot, Dredd. He is the writer and director behind Ex Machina, and from the trailer it seems clear that he has a vision. Whether or not is able to successfully share that vision remains to be seen.
And the rest: