In this week of movie trailers, two timeless action touchstones, "Red Dawn" and Arnold Schwarzenegger, return; "The Master" remains the master of making us scratch our heads; and Tom Waits may or may not be kidnaping dogs with the rest of the "Seven Psychopaths." Roll 'em!
Release Date: Nov. 21
The first 20 seconds of the trailer to this remake of the 1984 action classic are all "Friday Night Lights," but, as indicated by an upended snowglobe, the North Koreans are in town, and they aren't happy! After the country takes over parts of the U.S. with a single, apparently incredible air raid, Chris "Thor" Hemsworth and his tough-talking pals team up to go rogue. This first trailer has some stirring moments, like when the hero's dad talks smack to his captors to inspire his sons. But the set pieces look a little lackluster, and even fans of the original have to feel a little queasy watching teenage assassination attempts be glorified in such a straightforward manner.
Release Date: Sept. 14
The trailer for "10 Years" is almost like an alternate version of last April's "American Reunion": what if the audience walked into the story of a high school reunion without knowing all of the backstories first? From these two and a half minutes, "10 Years" appears to be a down-the-middle split of alcohol-fueled hijinks and regret-fueled high school reconnections. This may turn out to be as unsavory of a mix as a bowl of red reunion punch, but that cast sure is likable: Justin Long, Anthony Mackie, Kate Mara, "Parks & Recreation" co-stars Aubrey Plaza and Chris Pratt, and of course, Channing Tatum and Rosario Dawson, equally smoldering as the ones that got away. With a lineup this stacked, we might just have to RSVP.
THE LAST STAND
Release Date: Jan. 18, 2013
Sure, he's had the "Expendables" movie. But when was the last absolutely ludicrous Arnold Schwarzenegger starring vehicle? Invoking the ghosts of "The Sixth Day," "Collateral Damage" and "End of Days," the Artist Formerly Known as Governator stars as Sheriff Ray Owens, the kind of man who hears "We got a situation" when he curdmudgeonly answers the phone and handles a shotgun with ease. He has to stop a Faceless Drug Kingpin from crossing the border, while protecting his citizens and cracking old jokes. This trailer previews what will surely be a ridiculous time at the cinema, but in that way, it's pitch-perfect: from the car chase scenes to the collective "Hey! That's Johnny Knoxville!" realization to the "I know what's coming" badassery, "The Last Stand" feels like the necessarily bombastic, overdue return of a genre star.
Release Date: Sept. 21
Another confounding look at the next opus of Paul Thomas Anderson ("Boogie Nights," "There Will Be Blood"), which focuses on the tutelage of a wayward soul (Joaquin Phoenix) roped into a religious organization by a charismatic leader played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. The latest clip features some striking images -- Phoenix leaning over a ship's balcony chief among them -- but little in the way of plot exposition, as Hoffman can be heard talking about the pureness of "processing" and Phoenix twisting his face around while remembering a letter from his past. We're confused, and intrigued, but mostly confused. "The Master's" release date is quickly approaching, though, so we won't have to wait a while to figure out what Anderson is yakking about.
Release Date: Dec. 7
On paper, the plot looks paper-thin: a brother and sister are fugitives! With a lot of cash! In the snow! But on screen, "Deadfall" is compelling in extremely unexpected ways. Visually, this trailer is breathtaking, using the blinding white of the snow as a "Fargo"-esque backdrop of isolation while individual images (the cash soaring across the free-falling car, Eric Bana slamming a stake down on a dinner table) become immediately memorable. Most surprising is the use of Bana as a morality-free villain, wielding a gun around Sissy Spacek's house while his sister (Olivia Wilde) falls in love with her patsy. "Deadfall" probably can't live up to the quality of this trailer, but the clip instantly puts this drama on our radar for the holiday season.
Release Date: Oct. 12
The top YouTube comment for this trailer says it all: "I thought it looked great until Tom Waits came on the screen. Now it looks f--kin awesome!" Indeed, "Seven Psychopaths," director Martin McDonagh's rollicking follow-up to the genius "In Bruges," gets explicitly revealed as a quirky caper involving kidnaped dogs, overly sensitive mobsters and Pacifist Christopher Walken. And then Tom Waits shows up, calls the whole situation "dandy," and our tickets are punched. In a world where Guy Ritchie is stuck making "Sherlock Holmes" sequels instead of another "Snatch," let's raise our pints to this feisty British director, who can apparently make action-tinged underworld comedies with the same sort of entertainingly offbeat characters.