Trailer Takes: <i>American Assassin</i>, <i>The Beguiled</i>, and <i>Wakefield</i>

Trailer Takes: American Assassin, The Beguiled, and Wakefield


American Assassin – teaser trailer #1:

EmanAmerican Assassin is based on the prequel to a very popular series of spy thriller novels, which I’m told are pretty mature gritty novels. Here’s hoping they don’t try to rob it of the novels’ tension and themes in order to tone it down just for that oh-so-coveted PG-13 rating. Dylan O’Brien is a great actor, despite the sometimes sub-par material he’s given, so I’ve no qualms with his competence for gravitas (and somebody needs to give his plastic surgeon an award). Lil’ Dyl here was robbed of his gf and has apparently trained himself to be an amateur Punisher, which gets the attention of actual maniac ass-kicker Michael Keaton, who is instantly impressed with O’Brien’s ability to naturally spit out very long and awkward sentences. Seriously, the dude needs to restructure his verbiage. The trailer itself is pretty bland up until Michael Keaton shows up. Some of us around here live and breathe Keaton. Anyway, not all the ingredients here are slam dunks; but once the trailer does get going, it looks like some good stuff could be hiding under all that weird tonal presentation. Also, did I see Taylor Kitsch in there too? Five bucks says he’s the former best agent who ended up going rogue.

BrynnI think I’d rather watch American Assassin on the couch in my pajamas than rush to see it in the theaters. The suspenseful plot lures me in, and the juxtaposition of high action shots with the calm intensity of both Dylan O’Brien and Michael Keaton captivates me. However, the trailer makes it seem as though Dylan O’Brien’s character is more one-dimensional than he should be. As someone who has lost everything only to spend his life targetting his fiancé’s killers, he seems to have completely stopped feeling emotion. The fact that the trailer does not include any scenes of O’Brien feeling regret or pain later on makes me suspect that the movie will be action heavy rather than exploring deeper into the character’s psyches. I was very intrigued at the beginning of the trailer, but I became more and more disinterested after O’Brien gets to Keaton’s camp. It seems to end on kind of a weird note since I would think that the camp is just a pit stop on the way to the climax.

BrynneI’ll echo what Brynn mentioned about the character development of the O’Brien character. The first few moments of this trailer are packed with quick cuts and sound effects that make me think he might be mentally unstable, but then the trailer settles into a slower, less enticing pace and the chaotic effects of the first part give way to piano music. Gunshots cut in to give the whole thing an action picture vibe, but there’s no return to the hints dropped earlier that the O’Brien character may be something more than a plot device. Michael Keaton’s character feels like a mix between Fletcher from Whiplash (2014) and Locke from Lost (2004); he’s drill-sergeant harsh and unbelievably capable with a knife. Where I’m worried the O’Brien character will disappoint, I’m sure Keaton’s will at least be entertaining. Overall, the bugs of the trailer aren’t enough to keep me away. This movie looks like it will be a fun ride, albeit you may have to ignore its potential problems to really enjoy it.


The Beguiled – official trailer:

EmanColin Farrell screaming “what have you done to me, you vengeful bitches!” is all I ever needed in my life. If anything, the absurdity of that hooked me right up. I’ve seen the 1971 film starring Clint Eastwood, of which this is a remake of, and it features this scene. Yeah! And that’s just in the beginning of the movie! Do with that information what you will. With that knowledge, this seems to be the best kind of do-over, examining the same material from a completely different point of view. Sofia Coppola is a keen filmmaker and it looks like she’s really nailing the Southern Gothic vibes here, as well as the distinct dynamics of the relationships between each of the characters. Five bucks says Colin Farrell turns into Johnny Depp by the end of this one.

BrynnAlthough I have never seen the original Clint Eastwood version of The Beguiled, I will definitely be watching it before the release date of the remake in June. This movie has everything: suspense, mystery, love, betrayal, gore, and a hint of horror. The overarching darkness that lurks physically in the isolated schoolhouse and literally in the vengeful hearts of the girls that were heartbroken by Colin Farrell sets a creepy tone that, quite honestly, gave me the chills. This is one of those trailers that I watch and think: “I need to know how this ends immediately.” However, my big problem with the plot is that the idea that one attractive man has the ability to walk into a house of women and make them all go mad with lust. It makes me roll my eyes a little bit. That said, I will definitely still go see this and cannot wait to find out what happens.

BrynneThis film looks ridiculous. I haven’t seen the original, however I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the 1971 version did well because it had Clint Eastwood’s charm and a plot that was further developed than the one presented in this trailer. The shift from normal, calm women to absolutely insane and torture-happy is too quick for me, even giving it allowances for being a trailer. The only reason given for the shift is infidelity and then BAM- torture, blood, poison. The film itself may prove to be interesting, there are certainly intriguing parts of the trailer, including Colin Farrell’s character’s escape attempt and the historical setting, but this trailer is a bad introduction. Anyone who sees this and is unfamiliar with the fact that it’s based on the 1971 film will find this trailer absurd. Hopefully that doesn’t damper its audience numbers too much.


Wakefield – trailer #1:

EmanSomebody took hide and seek a bit too far. When Howard Wakefield begins to suffer from the monotony of suburban life, he just puts his life “on hold” by moving into an attic across the street. I think. Yeah, there’s gotta be something more to it, and I’m super curious but not yet sold. Bryan Cranston’s experience as Walter White already shows us that he’s a master of breaking down a character, and his gravelly narration is somehow soothing. A voyeuristic spin on solitude is a risky concept, especially if it takes a misanthropic route, and I wonder how the supporting cast is utilized if the entire film is through Wakefield’s eyes. I just hope it’s not an Oscar-bait movie or, even worse, a movie attempting to search for and explain the core of a universal moral dilemma. Movies just aren’t good at that when it’s their main objective. Five bucks says we never even really get that resolution anyway.

BrynnAmidst the same tired love stories and action lines coming out of Hollywood, this movie sticks out for sheer originality. The plot looks incredible if not seriously depressing, but it’s enough to make one pause and think about what would happen if one day we just disappeared. While I felt my heart breaking for Howard Wakefield while I watched this trailer, I had to take a step back and remember that Wakefield chose to disappear from him life. He decided one morning that he would do this social experiment and took it way too far, damaging the lives of all his loved ones. In the wise words of Caroline Kline, “It’s like Gone Girl. He is literally Gone Girl-ing himself.” However messed up that concept may be, it’s still an intriguing one. I’m curious to see how this movie ends and what kind of controversy it raises for viewers.

BrynneI would have liked this trailer much better had it not progressed to the point that it did. This film looked very interesting for the first half, but after it became clear that Cranston’s character was intending to stay hidden, the trailer lost its punch. I’m interested to see what is sure to be a deep look into questions of relationships and identity, however I would have seen the midnight premier of this film had the trailer left off the back half. It transforms from a filmic thought-experiment with a voyeuristic appeal into an introspective, one-man show that the majority of the audience will see on the promise that Cranston can make the phone book interesting. I’ll be there, but this trailer shouldn’t have set up a much more interesting film just to sike out viewers and leave them wishing that seeing this film will be more than paying homage to Cranston’s ability and getting a large dose of introspection.

Image Credits: IMDb

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