Trailer Trash – Office Christmas Party, Rogue One, Passengers & Assassin’s Creed

As we emerge from our 18 month slumber, crawling out from the warm and safe womb of inactivity and straining our eyes against the bright and cold of 2016, it’s safe to say that we wish we hadn’t.

Waking nightmares and the almost systematic genocide of our nation’s most loved TV and film personalities aside (thanks, cancer), it’s nice to see that the relentless conveyor belt of sex, violence, hyperviolence, high concepts, jump scares, belly laughs and tears continues unabated.

Ahh, oh how we’ve missed you. Here’s some stuff that’s happening over an indeterminate period of time.

Office Christmas Party

UK Release – 7th December 2016

If we ever have The Hangover franchise to thank for anything, it’ll be the oh-so-longed for backlash against the deluge of midlife crisis porn those films coughed up like a vodka, blood and shame-soaked hairball.

In the meantime we’ve got Office Christmas Party, starring Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman and a whole host of other actors who are of course in this film.

It’s written by Jon Lucas – the creator of the aforementioned trilogy. We can only assume that his life is so suffocatingly repressed that he needs to live vicariously through these obnoxious, self-indulgent bro-fests, grinning like a frat boy while his cast drink and grope away decades of gender politics like they’re in a Donald Trump wet dream.

So, yeah. Merry Christmas.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

UK Release – 14th December 2016

If you’re one of the five people to have read Think Outside the Box regularly in the past you may well have noticed that we struggle to be sincere about anything, instead favouring sardonic disdain and swearing. Mainly because it’s both big and clever.

However, we’re simply unable to muster anything other than wide-eyed, childlike wonder at the Rogue One trailer.

Though narratively similar to A New Hope, The Force Awakens was a huge departure tonally, especially when compared with the Rancor-sized catastrophe that was the prequels. Significantly darker and boasting an approach to special effects that demonstrated just how much the franchise had grown up since the CGI-heavy second trilogy, J.J. Abrams’ contribution to the saga seemed to acknowledge the advanced years of the original Star Wars fanbase.

Judging by the trailer, Rogue One is following suit, combining that more mature tone with all the joy of the originals. Go on, try to deny that you’re anything other than feverishly excited about this.

Passengers

UK Release – 21st December 2016

Passengers follows on exactly one week from Rogue One in what will probably prove to be either Box Office suicide or a smart move, capitalising on the world’s sci-fi hype.

It’s got a lot going for it in its attempts to be the latter though: the always fantastic Jennifer Lawrence; the hugely likeable Chris Pratt (who was so great in Guardians of the Galaxy); and Michael Sheen, who’s never in anything rubbish (almost).

It’s riffing on that lost in space theme that has been done so many times before, but with that cast, as well as the director of The Imitation Game at the helm, this could very well be excellent.

Assassin’s Creed

UK Release – 1st January 2017

You know that feeling of frustration – nay, betrayal – when a film has flat out failed to meet the expectations built up by its trailer? Don’t you just hate that?

Us too.

It’s refreshing therefore that the makers of Assassin’s Creed have decided to forego that facade, instead making it clear from the off just how fucking terrible this film is.

Based on the popular video game franchise of the same name, Assassin’s Creed’s plot is ridiculous, albeit in keeping with the original mechanics of the game’s narrative. It’s one saving grace could be an unfathomably excellent cast, considering it looks for all the world like it is going to be filed away alongside Super Mario Bros., Max Payne and Mortal Kombat as a dreadful video game movie adaption.

A line-up of Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling would often be cause for optimism, and yet… well, just watch that trailer and try to feel optimistic.

Trailer Trash: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Let’s face it – this time of year for movies is fucking shit. Awards season is gone, it’s still too early for the spring/summer blockbusters and the Valentines Day Rom-Com dross is still clinging on in multiplexes everywhere, causing even the most devoted of couples question whether it’s really worth it.

It’s not all bad news though, as it’s around about now that the year’s most exciting trailers start coming thick and fast, so what better time for another edition of Trailer Trash? A long awaited Marvel sequel; George Clooney; The Rock in a helicopter; Finland. What more could you possibly want?

Avengers: Age of Ultron, released 23rd April

Whenever a new Marvel film is released it’s about as close to a box office sure thing as you can get – little wonder then that the Avengers Assemble sequel will be the 11th Marvel Studios release in 7 years. The Marvel executives are so cocksure and delirious as they roll around on their piles of cash that they’re even releasing something called Ant Man, just for a fucking laugh.

Recent output from the studio (the terrifically fun Guardians of the Galaxy notwithstanding) has been a little disappointing if we’re honest with ourselves, even given the orgasms of explosions and CGI they are always chock-full of.

Avengers Assemble though, helmed brilliantly by Joss Whedon, was an exception, and so it is with more than a degree of excitement that this preview smashes us in the face like a huge cyborg dildo. With AI.

The whole gang is back together – this time with the addition of none other than Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany and Idris Elba to name just a few – and Ultron looks like it has the potential to be a great villain.

San Andreas, released 29th May

Speaking of humanity getting a hammering, San Andreas will arrive kicking, screaming and generally making a right old fuss in May.

We’ve seen a few films here at TOTB that have made us wish the ground would open up and swallow Hollywood whole, and in this latest offering from Brad Peyton – a director whose previous output includes Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, and not much else – looks to do just that.

It’s more than a little reminiscent of 2012, the movie that bored the infamous Mayan prophecy into not happening, except this one’s got Dwayne Johnson in it! The bloody Rock, flying a helicopter, dragging women out of rubble, dodging earthquakes and punching tsunamis square in the face.

It probably won’t take itself too seriously, but then these big budget disaster movies rarely do, and it’s still typically not enough to stop them from being as dull as they are loud. Stay in and watch Sharknado instead.

Tomorrowland: A World Beyond, released 22nd May

“What if there was a place. A secret place – where NOTHING was impossible?”

If that line isn’t enough to make you want to reach inside your brain and take out whichever bit is responsible for hearing before you are subjected to anymore of it, then the fact that Tomorrowland: A World Beyond is based on one of Disney World’s five theme parks just might tip you over the edge.

This of course isn’t the first time Disney has based a film around one of their attractions – the fifth instalment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is due in 2017 – and we probably have a certain Ms. Everdeen to thank, at least in part, for spawning this George Clooney vehicle. An unlikely young heroine chosen to fight against… something or other. It’s the sort of narrative that Hollywood has been gorging itself on recently, and a full franchise is no doubt planned if this becomes a commercial success.

Big Game, released 8th May

Absolutely everything about Big Game looks completely, intelligence-insultingly ridiculous – from the leather-attired bad guy to Samuel L. Jackson being the President – so how come we’re sort of looking forward to it?

It debuted at last year’s Toronto film festival and was reasonably well received by critics – considering how low it’s aiming – who embraced its over-the-top entertainment value.

Big Game may well hit that particular ‘So-good-it’s-bad’ sweet spot which made Snakes on a Plane such a cult favourite.

TRAILER TRASH: Jurassic World Special

Just like the syringe that penetrated that droplet of tree sap and brought the dinosaurs back to life over 20 years ago, Universal are resurrecting the Jurassic Park franchise with what is sure to be next summer’s biggest blockbuster.

The original inspired a sense of awe and wonder in an entire generation, and so it is unsurprising that the world took a collective shit when the trailer for Jurassic World dropped this week, but TOTB can’t help feel that the hysteria-excrement will just end up on all of our childhoods.

So why such cynicism based on a 2 minute trailer?

Part of the problem from the off – and this is in fact not the fault of the film itself – is that modern CGI has rendered seeing incredible things on the big screen no longer that incredible. Jurassic Park was released in a pre-Marvel world, before the special effects movie boom of the late 90s (think Armageddon, Deep Impact, Godzilla and Independence Day) made witnessing big stuff getting blown up routine, while the pseudo-science within the narrative actually had you thinking – if you were young, or stupid, enough – that it could really happen. Jurassic World will not have this in its favour.

Still, Guardians of the Galaxy was a feast of visual effects and that was bloody great fun. And look, there’s Chris Pratt playing the same sort of loveable rogue that we loved in Marvel’s surprise hit this summer.

Of course one of the best things about the original was that the ground-breaking CGI was actually used quite sparingly, and one of the early criticisms of the new trailer is that they seem to have gone in the opposite direction. Director Colin Trevorrow has come out and defended the film claiming that some of the scenes were created especially for the trailer, but then even if the effects prove to be solid, there’s something about the plot itself that just feels a little bit late-night Sci-Fi channel.

John Hammond

John Hammond: misses Jeff Goldblum

Everything appears to be going just splendidly at Jurassic World, with all kinds of entertainment for the whole family including driving around in glass spheres right underneath the enormous feet of brachiosaurs and watching, what we can only assume are big whales, eating dead sharks.

Frankly their insurance premiums must be ridiculous – and why? Because dinosaurs are fucking dangerous. They’re fucking dinosaurs. So why oh why did Trevorrow and Derek Connolly (screenwriter) feel the need to make the main prehistoric antagonist a ‘genetically modified hybrid’? Aren’t velociraptors – such terrifying enemies in the original – and Tyrannosaurus Rex, menace to cups of water everywhere, not enough?

Apparently “she’ll kill anything that moves”, which is the sort of generic monster movie trope that you’d expect from Zombie Shark versus Ghost Baboon, not a reboot of one of the world’s favourite science fiction franchises. June 12 is when we’ll find out whether the DNA of Jurassic Park should’ve been left in the sap.


 

Trailer Trash: The Lego Movie, Winter’s Tale, 300: Rise of an Empire, Noah

Following a rather excessive two month Christmas/New Year break from posting anything – during which time TOTB descended into a fairly extreme acid-induced festive hellscape where half-human, half-reindeer creatures marauded the land enslaving the population (never EVER take LSD while watching The One Show’s Christmas Special) – we return to a world that is just as bereft of hope and optimism as the nightmarish unreality we have just emerged from.

Yes, the ‘post-Awards Season’ Season is very much upon us, and my word did we find it hard to bring together a collection of trailers that would encourage only mild feelings despair.

The Lego Movie, released 14th February 2014

Hand’s up who didn’t love Lego when they were a kid?

You there, with your hand up, take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror. Now jab yourself in the eye.

Lego is awesome, but the obvious question to ask when you first hear about a Lego movie is ‘why, exactly?’ That being said, this film does look like it might be some fun – even for grown-up versions of humans – and it is worth noting that the Lego videogames have proven very popular.

Winter’s Tale, released 21st February 2014

IMDB.com’s synopsis of Winter’s Tale, describes it as thus:

“A burglar falls for an heiress as she dies in his arms. When he learns that he has the gift of reincarnation, he sets out to save her.”

It’s fair to say that Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe’s latest vehicle sounds pretty saccharine, but just wait until you watch the trailer, which offers up some of the cheesiest dialogue we’ve ever had the misfortune of listening to. It is a veritable cheese board in fact.

Our highlights include:

“What’s the best thing you’ve ever stolen?”
“I’m beginning to think I haven’t stolen it yet”

and…

“Is it possible to love someone so completely they simply can’t die?”

No. No it’s not.

300: Rise of an Empire, released 7th March 2014

Set in the aftermath of the first film, 300: Rise of an Empire is director Noam Murro’s first major release with previous helmsman Zack Snyder shifting to a producer role, and although it looks stylistically at least much like the successful first film, we can’t shake the feeling that this will prove to be an absolute turkey.

In terms of the action and battle sequences the blood and guts all seem to be present and correct, but it does help for that action to be punctuated by some half-decent narrative. We won’t be holding our breath.

Noah, released 4th April 2014

You’d never really have thought of the story of Noah making for a great film – not unless you’re really into nature or the inevitable inter-family relations – but it looks as though Darren Aronofsky has looked to sex things up a bit with an angry Ray Winstone and fighting and stuff. There’s even water flowing out of the ground towards the end of the trailer, so God must have been really pissed.

There wasn’t even the internet back then so the global population must have been really debauched. Nowadays we can legalise gay marriage, sexualise everyone that is old enough to stand up and watch all the porn we like and all that happens is Cornwall gets a bit flooded.

It must be a more liberal God now, like the Pope. Amen.


 

Trailer Trash: Insidious: Chapter 2, The Call, Thor: The Dark World & Gravity

Where would we all be without movie trailers? In their absence, to find out what the upcoming movie releases were going to be like we’d have to… I don’t know, read something. Or something.

Well, good news ‘Subjective Advertising Dressed Up as Exclusive Preview’ fans, as Think Outside the Box brings you Trailer Trash, an exciting combination of both video and words. Don’t know which upcoming feature you should spend your money on? As long as you only want to see one of the following four films you now have your answer…

Insidious: Chapter 2, released 13th September 2013

Without even pressing play you can see that the second (presumably, of many) installment in the Insidious franchise is going to be a scary one. I mean just look at that woman. She’s ominously pointing – with her mouth all open and dark. She’s either very bad news or she’s just seen that Miley Cyrus VMA appearance and is thoroughly disapproving.

Anyway, Insidious: Chapter 2 picks up where the last movie left off (well, not exactly – as previously Patrick Wilson’s character seemed to be possessed and about to butcher his family – but let’s gloss over that) with the Lambert family continuing to be tormented by the malevolent spirit world. The original was essentially a horror designed by committee, with all of the standard clichés included, and TOTB doesn’t suggest you expect much different second time around, with the trailer itself full of the tropes that you can tick off like some kind of unsettling bingo.

The Call, released 20th September 2013

TOTB doesn’t know about you, but we love a good trailer. A little teaser of all the exciting movie action to come really whets our appetite, but with the trailer for The Call the studio has basically shoved a 10oz steak in our face before giving us a chance to enjoy the aperitif.

This 2 minute 31 second preview of Halle Berry’s latest thriller essentially takes us through the narrative of the entire movie and leaves us in no uncertain terms as to where the film is going. She plays a 9-1-1 operator who feels she is responsible for the death of a young girl at the hands of a serial killer – and she’s back at the centre of the case when she is on the call of a seventh potential victim where she must make up for previous mistakes. If you’re intrigued by the premise we suggest clicking stop after 45 seconds.

Thor: The Dark World, released 30th October 2013

The general worldwide consensus is that if you didn’t love Avengers Assemble then you don’t have a soul – but then if you are going to find a humanity vacuum anywhere it will probably be the internet so it may be some of you are unmoved by the thought of a second edition to the Thor franchise. Even so, it can’t be denied that the trailer to Thor: The Dark World is action packed.

The one concern would be that it doesn’t look as though it has that same sense of fun as Avengers Assemble or indeed the first Thor film, which could be it’s undoing, but then given the stock the Marvel universe is receiving nowadays the trailer could be 5 minutes of Chris Hemsworth blow drying his hair and it would still be a box office hit.

Gravity, released 8th November 2013

Starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock Gravity appears, from the trailer at least (which by the way is an example of how to make a great teaser), to have a similar sensibility as Open Water and Buried, in as much as it is about human isolation and generally desperate circumstances.

It is director Alfonso Cuarón’s first helming of a major film (his only other notable credit is as writer of the Children of Men screenplay), but the cinematography and score give the impression of a movie that could prove to be stunning.