Archive for the 'Trailers' Category

Sneak peeks, teasers, and trailers for films still to come.

Filming the holidays with iMovie trailers

21-Dec-11 11:35 AM by
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When I first saw Apple's iMovie '11 demonstrated, I knew I had to have it. Even though I don't do much video editing, I had to play with this edition of the popular movie-making software's exciting new feature: a trailer-making workflow. By choosing a film genre and dragging and dropping predefined types of shots (wide, group, action), anyone could effortlessly make a coming attraction for the movie of their lives.

My first outing with this functionality was a promotional video for an annual fundraising event. Since the fundraiser had already been held by the time I got my hands on iMovie, I didn't have any footage of my own to work with. I instead downloaded existing YouTube videos and recut them for my purpose, using the "sports" genre of film. When I showed the final product to the original videographer, she responded, "I just saw your movie trailer and I LOVE IT!!  You created a great, professional quality, energetic piece. I might bug you to do this again with what we['ll shoot next year]!"

My most recent trailer is the only one I've shot for fun. On June 12, 2011, two friends joined me in my annual ascent of Mount Monadnock, the world's most-climbed mountain. It was a last-second impulse to bring my video camera, a Kodak Zi8, and I got several candid and staged shots throughout the state park. I originally tried casting it as a horror film, but in the end, it worked best as an adventure.

But the trailer that was most meaningful is the one I made as a gift. I spent Christmas 2010 with friends, and I wanted to show my appreciation for letting me into their home to share this special holiday. Over the course of a week and as innocuously as possible, I shot several clips of B-roll. Most of them were no longer than five seconds, though one, a Christmas pageant, was fifteen minutes. Altogether, I ended up with about thirty minutes of film, which I whittled down to a brief trailer.

When I debuted a rough cut to the friends, they were extremely moved, immediately wanting to watch it again — and again — and again! They shared it with everyone in their immediate and extended family, and I could tell from my online analytics that the video was viewed every day for at least a month. As its audience was not computer savvy, they had no idea that the quality of what they were seeing wasn't the result of me being a professional video editor. Thanks to iMovie, I was able to keep my secret!

Just in time for me to re-create this gift for my own family this year, Vimeo, my video-hosting service of choice, has offered these tips for shooting great holiday video. Their suggestions are simple yet effective and will give you plenty of grist for later editing.

Happy holiday filming!

Avengers Assemble

11-Oct-11 10:08 PM by
Filed under Trailers; 2 comments.

Ladies and gentlemen… boys and girls… I present to you: the summer blockbuster of 2012.

Marvel superheroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, and Thor join forces as the Avengers, under the direction of Joss Whedon of Buffy and Firefly fame. The team's individual films have, on the whole, been good to great, so even I, only an occasional fan of Marvel Comics, find myself with high hopes and expectations for this collaboration.

This raises the question: Why can't DC Comics do this with their stable of legendary heroes? Their Batman franchise is going gangbusters, but they've so far failed to gain traction with Superman (though a reboot is coming in 2013) or Green Lantern. The IMDb lists a Wonder Woman TV show coming later this year, with a movie in 2015. By contrast, Marvel assembled their team in just four years.

We'll likely not have an answer until well after The Avengers' May 4, 2012, debut.

UPDATE: Do not be fooled by cheap imitations!

Or wanna-bes!

In Brightest Day

17-Jun-11 10:51 AM by
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This is a day that will be long remembered: the release of a highly anticipated film adaptation of one of the most popular comic books ever.

When I started reading comics in 1996, I was immediately drawn to a superhero I wasn't very familiar with. His abilities and adventures were stunning and made me an instant fan. I've long hoped to see him brought to life by Nathan Fillion, and someone in power must've seen the fan trailer that demonstrated the power of that union, as he's been cast in a direct-to-DVD animated film. But the live action take on this storied character debuts today with an entirely different cast:

Yes, I want to see Green Lantern — but the casting and the reception have both been poor. So I'm psyched to see the perennial favorites from Sesame Street ride the wave of public awareness to promote their upcoming film. The above is one of many misleading trailers that suggest terrible films in alternative genres. Here's the romantic comedy approach:

SImply named The Muppets, the film returns Jim Henson's creations to the silver screen on November 23, 2011.

Yuri Gagarin's First Orbit

05-Apr-11 9:00 AM by
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Today is First Contact Day, marking only 52 years until Dr. Zefram Cochrane conducts the first successful test flight of a warp drive engine, attracting the attention of a passing Vulcan scout ship and thus engaging humanity in first contact with an alien race.

A week from today marks an equally significant event: the fiftieth anniversary of the first manned space flight, that being Yuri Gagarin's orbit of the planet Earth. At the age of 27 and seven years before his death, Gagarin made history by literally going where no man had gone before, opening a new frontier for countless other brave men and women to explore.

The anniversary of that occasion is known as Yuri's Night, and to commemorate the fiftieth such celebration, this year's Yuri's Night will see the debut of a documentary dedicated to Gagarin's accomplishment. Dubbed First Orbit, the film will be shown on April 12th for free online as well as at over 220 parties hosted across the globe. It's a day- and night-long celebration of a 108-minute flight that changed history.

For a moving documentary that captures many of NASA's accomplishments after Gagarin's precedent, I highly recommend In the Shadow of the Moon. This film and those like it capture a rare and exciting era in exploration that those alive today may not ever see again.

X-Men: First Class First Look

11-Feb-11 2:38 PM by
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Comic books have been adapted to film for decades, but it was Sony's adaptations of X-Men (2000) and Spider-Man (2002) that seems to have kicked off the popularity the genre is currently enjoying. Now everything under the sun is getting the silver screen treatment, with 2011 in particular experiencing a glut. This year's lineup includes Thor, Captain America, and Green Lantern, all of which have potential to be great summer blockbusters.

The X-Men? Not so much.

The trilogy that ended in 2006 is getting a prequel. Well, another prequel: we already got the cleverly named X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which told the, uh, origins of Wolverine. By contrast, on June 3, we'll see the beginnings of the leaders of the two tribes of mutants that waged war across that trilogy. Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr are set to become Professor X and Magneto in X-Men: First Class, directed by Matthew Vaughn.

As trailers go, this one is mediocre. The use of clips from the first film, without showing the actors' faces, is clever. Their new avatars are James McAvoy, who played Mr. Tumnus the faun in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Michael Fassbender, from Inglourious Basterds and Jonah Hex. The trailer doesn't show us enough of Kevin Bacon as villain Sebastian Shaw. I'm also not sure I remember any history books acknowledging the role mutants played in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Wanting more details, I checked out the film's official Web site, which disappointingly is simply a redirect to a Facebook fan page.

Although the original X-Men film showed only the first manifestation of Magneto's powers, we didn't see any of the intervening fifty-plus years in which he met Professor X then strayed from the path of justice. It's an interesting story — but with the four X-Men movies thus far being 50/50, I'm inclined to sit this one out.

(Hat tip to Erik Davis)

Ice Age 4 begins breaking ground

14-Jan-11 11:21 AM by
Filed under Trailers; 1 comment.

Fox's Ice Age trilogy of films will become a quadrilogy on July 13, 2012, with the release of Ice Age: Continental Drift. The films thus far have successfully used CGI animation to present a family-friendly series of tales of slick action, witty dialogue, and heartwarming themes, courtesy the voice acting of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Denis Leary. But Rotten Tomatoes shows a trend of declining ratings with each release, which isn't surprising when a series reaches so many installments. It seems inevitable that gimmicks that were once original will eventually be worn and tired.

Will the fourth film continue the slide into mediocrity? It's too soon to say, but I found its trailer — in essence, a stand-alone animated short — as cute and quick as ever. Well in advance of the film's release next year, it is now available for free online:

What are your hopes for this series? Did you already stop counting after the first or second film?

Reimagining TRON 1.0

21-Apr-10 9:52 AM by
Filed under Films, Trailers; 1 comment.

In the eight months before the release of TRON Legacy, fans are whetting their need for new media by reinterpreting the franchise's origin. TRON, now 28 years old, reflects the era in which it was crafted: crude CGI and evil supercomputers aren't as much en vogue now as they were when both fields were nascent. What if it had been made thirty years later … or earlier?

Trailers have also changed a great deal over the decades, having once been more verbose, lackluster, and narrated, as evidenced by this 1982 preview for TRON:

Now let's take that same source material and recut it into something a bit more exciting:

A drastic improvement, no? The new trailer even runs the same length as the original, showing how much more effectively one can use an equal amount of time. But imagine how disappointed it would be to have been enticed into the theater by such a stunning an action-packed film, only to witness these opening credits:



These credits are designed in the style of Saul Bass, the graphic designer and filmmaker whose credits include North by Northwest, West Side Story, and Love in the Afternoon. As stylistic as TRON itself was, I don't find it's one that meshes well with this colorful intro.

How much of these design aspects can we expect to see in TRON Legacy? Will it be a successor in aesthetic as well as plot? Its first trailer bodes well; it's not long until we'll know conclusively.

(Hat tip to 8 Bit Weapon)

GET LAMP Text Adventure Documentary Coming in March

18-Feb-10 1:11 PM by
Filed under Films, Trailers; 2 comments.

When I was young, documentaries were the droll presentations that grade school students were subjected to. Usually making no pretense about their supposed educational value, these films rarely made any effort to be engaging or even entertaining. But in the last decade or two, the genre has matured (or maybe I have). The likes of An Inconvenient Truth, March of the Penguins, Welcome to Macintosh, and King of Kong have invigorated the medium to the point of making theatrical releases viable. It doesn't hurt that their topics have grown beyond their scientific and historical roots to encompass popular culture topics.

One recent example is BBS: The Documentary, which tells the stories of telecommunications' early adopters who ran dial-up bulletin boards, some of the first consumer-accessible pre-Internet networks. As a participant of that era, I was fascinated by the film's people and personalities and how vibrant their memories of that unique period was. The documentary was almost exclusively the product of one man: Jason Scott, digital archivist extraordinaire. As I wrote in my review in retrocomputing publication Juiced.GS (Volume 11, Issue 1), his inspired editing turned hundreds of hours of raw footage into several elegant and thematic chapters of computer history.

Since that film's release, Mr. Scott has been slowly chipping away at his next project: GET LAMP, a history of text adventures, or interactive fiction. As described on the film's Web site: "[using] limited sound, simple graphics, and tiny amounts of computing power, the first games on home computers … [gave birth to] an entire industry [that] rose over the telling of tales, the solving of intricate puzzles and the art of writing. Like living books, these games described fantastic worlds to their readers, and then invited them to live within them." Here's some early footage of the interviews that preserve that early entertainment art form and its responsible parties:

Mr. Scott recently gave himself a deadline for GET LAMP's publication; as a result, it is being fast-tracked for release at PAX East, a video gaming expo held March 26–28, 2010, in Boston. As the date approaches, more details about the two-disc set are being revealed. Besides ten hours of interviews, the documentary will sport several unique features:

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