Movies & TV

In this week’s round-up of trailers, we have a classic Christmas tale receiving an oddly timed sequel, Jeremy Renner in bad-ass fable mode, Sean Penn looking like a homeless man, and Edward throwing Bella into enemies one last time. Roll ‘em! HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS Release Date: January 11, 2013 “That past made us stronger. We’ve got a taste for blood… witch blood.” This line from the trailer for “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters,” which looks like the “Rugrats: All Growed Up” version of the classic Brothers Grimm fable, is either one of the most terrible dramatic lines in recent memory or one of the funniest pieces of tongue-in-cheek exposition in any trailer this year. It all depends on who you hear it. Sure, “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” looks terrible, with its convoluted plot, arrow-dodging (it’s like “The Matrix,” but medieval!) and double-sided lady monsters. But the action-adventure flick also looks like a hilarious, so-bad-it’s-good popcorn picture. Heck, Gemma Arterton’s head-butt of Peter Stormare in this trailer is an incredible laugh-out-loud moment on its own. Before you write “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” off for good, there needs to be investigation as to whether the film makers are in on the joke, too; if so, this could be some essential January viewing.

CLOUD ATLAS Release Date: October 26 The second official trailer for the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer’s upcoming mind-meld of a movie is not 5 minutes and 42 seconds, like the first official trailer released in late July. Instead, this normal-sized preview attempts to boil down the adaptation of David Mitchell’s 2004 novel in a few sweeping minutes, and while the shots of past, present and future worlds still entice, trying to decipher any actual plot points remain practically impossible. The Wachowskis have always been masters of masking substance with tricked-out style — even the original “The Matrix” has some howl-worthy dialogue — but “Cloud Atlas” is one of the most ambitious, thought-provoking books of the 21st century, not “Speed Racer.” The film looks like it bites off more than it can chew, but either way, we’re going to be there to see it bite.
A CHRISTMAS STORY 2 Release Date: October 30 (DVD) Does anyone want a sequel to “A Christmas Story” in 2012? Is anyone going to buy this straight-to-video sequel as a “Blu-ray combo pack” when it’s released with the classic original? The answer to those questions are “Yes” and “yes,” but we’re still not convinced that a new update on Ralphie and friends is not the most unnecessary sequel of the year. Gone, of course, are all of the old actors, with Daniel Stern returning to his “Home Alone” roots for some more wacky holiday cheer. There are some moments that sniff around the charm of the first “Christmas Story” — Ralphie gets to drive, but uh oh, but it doesn’t go so well! — yet it’s hard to imagine these well-worn characters springing back to life in a story written in the age of Twitter. “A Christmas Story” is trapped in time, in the best way possible; let’s leave it there, shall we?
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2 Release Date: November 16 This is it, guys: the final trailer for the last “Twilight” movie! No more “Twilight” trailers ever! Take a second and let that sink in… grab a handkerchief if you feel so inclined. Now that we’re all composed again, let’s admit that this trailer, which premiered during the MTV Video Music Awards, doesn’t offer too much new material from the previously released looks at the mega-hit-in-waiting. Bella tackles a mountain lion, which is pretty cool. Jacob says “I’ve never been afraid of vampires,” which is pretty funny. And there’s just a ton of general running in the final 30 seconds — people running toward each other, wolves chasing humans, and maybe even some human chasing wolves. The latest “Breaking Dawn – Part 2″ clip doesn’t offer anything for non-“Twilight” fans… right until the last five seconds, when Robert Pattinson looks at Kristen Stewart, picks her up and throws her foot into some villain’s head. Even without the swirling tabloids to think about, that move was pretty damn cool.
THIS MUST BE THE PLACE Release Date: November 2 We’re going to let the IMDB page for “This Must Be The Place,” a movie that’s seen its release date pushed back for years, handle its plot: “Cheyenne, a wealthy former rock star (Penn), now bored and jaded in his retirement embarks on a quest to find his father’s persecutor, an ex-Nazi war criminal now hiding out in the U.S.” Now that that’s out of the way, we can talk about how crazy Sean Penn appears in this offbeat drama. Black hair tweezed out and liner surrounding his sullen eyes, the two-time Oscar winner looks like Robert Smith’s cracked-out cousin, and sounds like the dweeby brother of Kevin Spacey’s killer in “Seven.” The general atmosphere of quirkiness and ongoing release problems are reminiscent of Jim Carrey’s oft-delayed passion project “I Love You Phillip Morris,” but at least this one has music by — and a cameo from! — former Talking Heads leader David Byrne. Penn and Frances McDormand can play as much metaphorical handball as they want, as long as we get to listen to “Naive Melody” a few times.
MUST-SEE TRAILER OF THE WEEK THE BAY Release Date: November 2 Two things separate “The Bay” trailer from the rest of the found-footage horror clips floating around the Internet: Barry Levinson is directing, and some of these scenes look actually terrifying. The story of a parasite outbreak in Claridge, Maryland, “The Bay” is built similarly to a movie like “Quarantine,” where what we’re witnessing is footage the “government” didn’t want us to see. But Levinson, the veteran mastermind of “Rain Man,” “Wag The Dog” and “The Natural,” offers creepy-crawly images that all seem to revolve around black worm-like creatures that make their way from fish mouths into human bodies. From the 911 call at the beginning to the final zombie attack in the car, “The Bay” trailer goes for the jugular in a way that “Paranormal Activity 4’s” clip did not. Levinson has never directed a film like this before, and we’re excited to see what fresh hell he’s conjured up.