In this week's movie trailer round-up, Alicia Silverstone gets her undead on; Ang Lee takes a journey to the center of the zoo; Nicole Kidman is probably the worst mom ever; and the "Paranormal Activity" franchise gives us another trailer to lose sleep to. Roll 'em!
LIFE OF PI
Release Date: November 21
A few things to note before writing off "Life of Pi," which is previewed in a whimsy-packed new trailer: it's based off of Yann Martel's elegant 2001 novel, and it's directed by Ang Lee, an ace whose last major work was "Brokeback Mountain." Lee's attachment alone prevents a snap judgment such as "Hey, this looks like 'Cast Away' but with animals instead of a volleyball," but this trailer sure smacks of too much syrup. Following a stunningly shot shipwreck sequence, the viewer is treated to leaping CGI whales, star clusters that look like ravishing ladies, and Coldplay. It's a deadly combination that makes us pray "Life of Pi" is not the 2012 version of "We Bought A Zoo," which showcased another talented director, Cameron Crowe, taking an uninteresting walk on the wild side.
Release Date: March 1, 2013
This royally f-ed up family drama looked enticing enough based upon Nicole Kidman's nasty opening takedown of her character's daughter (played by Mia Wasikowska), but the involvement of Chan-wook Park, the South Korean director behind the sensationally sadistic 2003 film "Oldboy," makes "Stoker" a must-see. Park's deft knack of composition guides this extended clip, which utilizes household objects -- a shower head, garden clippers, a ticking metronome -- to terrifying effect. Meanwhile, the story of a daughter watching her mother fall for her dead husband's brother (and then seemingly falling for the bastard himself?) is set up without revealing too much, and at least we know Wasikowska gets to brandish a huge rifle at some point in the story. Despite its mediocre title, "Stoker" should be marked down as a winter popcorn flick with the potential to transcend. Just stay the hell away from phone booths after you see it.
Release Date: February 8, 2013
Well... the plot's all there: Jason Bateman's uptight character gets his credit card identity stolen by Melissa McCarthy's brash Floridian, and when they meet up, they start attacking each other. The first trailer for Seth Gordon's "Horrible Bosses" follow-up lays all of its cards on the table -- if you like watching the always-enjoyable McCarthy beat the crap out of the perpetually-befuddled-straight-man Bateman, then "Identity Thief" is the winter comedy for you. Aside from the genius use of Rick Ross' "Hustlin'," though, this trailer is unimaginative, and bereft of any charm or memorable dialogue. Also, is it really that much fun watching a man throw a metal pot at the back of a woman's neck, in any circumstance? "Identity Thief" looks like less of a "Hangover" and more of a "Due Date" -- which isn't the worst fate, but it's certainly not something to aspire to.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4
Release Date: October 19
Last month offered the first look
MUST-SEE TRAILER OF THE WEEK
Release Date: November 2
"Vamps," a comedy that reunites Alicia Silverstone with her "Clueless" director Amy Heckerling, has had a hellish trip to securing an actual release date -- and after months of delays, the film will be released on November 2, only to hit Blu-Ray and DVD on November 13. But in spite of the negative cloud that has seemingly followed the film around, this trailer makes "Vamps" look like a blast. Silverstone and "Don't Trust The B---- in Apartment 23" star Krysten Ritter star as gal pal vampires, hopscotching around the modern New York dating scene before returning to their coffins when the sun comes up. The twist? Ritter's character falls for a guy who goes by "Joey Van Helsing," a name that makes Silverstone spit out her mouthful of blood. From there, the trailer only gets better: "Do you plan to suck the life out of him?" asks Van Helsing's crossbow-wielding father, played for full effect by Wallace Shawn. "No more than any other girlfriend!" Ritter replies. Justin Kirk, Sigourney Weaver and Malcolm McDowell all stop by, and who doesn't love a good Time Warner joke? But the real boon here is the sight of Silverstone having a grand old time in another stakes-free comedy. Somehow, it's been 17 years since "Clueless" was released; "Vamps" isn't exactly the actress' comeback vehicle, but this trailer (and hopefully the movie) is Silverstone's delightful return visit.