Movie trailers released throughout October preview some huge titles coming to theaters in near weeks and months. Everything from quirky independent romance to blockbuster action adventure is represented here. Which trailer came out on top? You’ll be surprised.
#10. Life Partners
A narrative born of modern themes, to be sure, Life Partners follows the relationship between two female friends, one of whom happens to be gay. As each wind their way in and out of romantic entanglements with others, the relationship between them is tested and reevaluated.
It will be curious to see how sexual orientation is handled in this film. If these two friends end up together in spite of one of them being straight, which certainly seems to be the trajectory drawn in this trailer, doesn’t that kind of run up against the militant “born that way” narrative?
If you just walked up and told me there’s a movie coming out with Steve Carell and Channing Tatum that’s all about wrestling, my imagination would go in a completely different direction than Foxcatcher. This is no spoof, but a likely Oscar contender with dramatic turns from these traditionally comedic actors. Carell undergoes a physical transformation which punctuates his acting chops, while Tatum leverages his athletic physicality to portray an Olympic wrestler who you can believe is “the best in the world.” Rounding out the cast is Bruce Banner himself, actor Mark Ruffalo.
#8. Exodus: Gods and Kings
Recent comments from director Ridley Scott and actor Christian Bale cast doubt upon whether this pseudo-biblical epic will respect the scripture it’s derived from. Bale referred to his character, Moses, as “barbaric” and “schizophrenic.” Scott called the biblical account of the parting of the Red Sea “childish,” and said his version will be explained by an earthquake rather than any attribution to God. It’s unclear why the director of Aliens and the star of The Dark Knight think a Bible story is too unbelievable for audiences. Whether the film ends up being heretical or not, there’s little doubt it will boast dazzling visuals, strong performances, and thrilling action scenes.
#7. Avengers: Age of Ultron Sneak Peek
Marvel Studios was undercut by pirates recently. They had planned to release the first trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron during an episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., their languishing television show on ABC. Alas, the trailer was leaked early, and Marvel was forced to roll with the punch.
Still looking to do something for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., they released this modified trailer with a sneak peak at a party scene in Tony Stark’s Avenger Tower. It’s an intimate little scene with our heroes at ease, which has a lot of fun with the Marvel mythology.
#6. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
The first half of the last Hunger Games film has dominated our popular trailer lists month after month. This final trailer hits many of the same beats released before, tying them all together and punctuating the extent to which war is upon Katniss. After two films spent trying to negotiate a tyrannical system and protect her loved ones, Katniss must now come to terms with the inevitability of full-scale conflict.
It’s a deeply relevant message for our times. War isn’t a choice for those on the receiving end and, once it’s declared, the only path to peace is victory.
#5. Insidious: Chapter 3
There’s not much to say here. The trailer speaks for itself. The third installment of a modern horror franchise goes back in time to explore the origins of its mythology. Expect plenty of jump scares and a dash of psychological horror.
A clue to one such scare can be found in the casting. Elder actor Tom Fitzpatrick plays something called “The Bride in Black.” I’m sure she’s lovely.
#4. American Sniper
If movie trailers had their own Oscar category, this would be a favorite to win. It’s the perfect promotion, plugging us right into the emotional stakes of this character, immediately dispelling any political or ideological prejudices. This is a man who has to make heart-wrenching decisions with life-and-death consequences. Unlike so many action films, the decisions in this picture won’t be easy for the hero.
The film is adapted from the autobiography of real-life sniper Chris Kyle, who was killed tragically in an altercation at a gun range after returning safely from deployment overseas. His widow recently lost a defamation lawsuit brought against her husband’s estate by Jesse Ventura.
#3. Taken 3
I have to confess, I haven’t seen the first two Taken films. That said, this third installment looks like a refreshing departure from the established formula. It would have been tough for audiences to swallow another kidnapping plot. This time, Liam Neeson’s Bryan Mills is framed for his wife’s murder and becomes a fugitive looking for the real killer. While that’s not necessarily the most original plot, it’s at least fresh to this particular mythology and raises the stakes beyond what has been seen before.
#2. Avengers: Age of Ultron
We finally got a peak at the next Avengers film, and it is glorious. The whole roster is back, joined by new characters Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, joined in battle against a seemingly unstoppable artificial intelligence known as Ultron. Deliciously voiced by James Spader, Ultron presents a threat which may overwhelm Earth’s mightiest heroes.
There’s a lot of speculation on the origin of Ultron, which will necessarily deviate from the comic books due to the status of different rights split between different movie studios. The official synopsis tells us that Iron Man Tony Stark resurrects an old peacekeeping program which results in Ultron’s emergence. The good money is on that old program having something to do with Stark’s father Howard and scientist Hank Pym, who will be portrayed in next year’s Ant-Man by Michael Douglas.
Taking the top spot on our list this month, Will Smith returns to form in Focus. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Smith in the kind of role which propelled his original rise to prominence. Here he plays a con artist, a character befitting his trademark charm.
Relative newcomer Margot Robbie, last seen prominently in The Wolf of Wall Street, steals scenes as the stunningly attractive protégé to Smith’s character. The rest of the story practically writes itself. How do you trust your fellow con artists? Will Robbie’s feminine wiles beat Smith at his own game? Can anything good come out of a relationship built upon the art of lying?