Anyone can tell you if a trailer "looks good" or not. But Drew Magary, who spent over a decade working in advertising, is here to tell you whether or not a trailer WORKS. This week's trailer? "London Boulevard".
The triumphant comeback of Colin Farrell hit a bit of snag this summer when people stayed away from "Fright Night" in droves. Ah, but the plucky Irish lad is ready to win your heart all over again with "London Boulevard," a British crime thriller that puts Farrell back in his comfort zone (rent "In Bruges") and teams him up with William Monahan, the Oscar-winning writer of "The Departed," now assuming the director's chair. Will this trailer help get Farrell back on track? We find out by answering a few questions.
Does the "IFC FILMS" logo upfront cut this movie's potential box office haul by 40%? Oh, yes. That logo pretty much rules out any red-state voters showing up at your multiplex. "What's that? An INDEPENDENT film company? Sounds like the work of hippies and furriners!!!"
Does the presence of cockney accents in the trailer cut this movie's potential box office haul by an additional 40%? Yep! For annoying anglophiles such as myself, those British accents let me know I'm on the same turf as "Sexy Beast," "Snatch," and Layer Cake," and man that is right in my sweet spot. Unfortunately, I do not properly represent the average American moviegoer's taste, which is why this movie will fail to outgross "Yogi Bear".
Colin's eyebrows: groomed or ungroomed? Groomed! That could help draw in the ladies. They'll take a groomed Colin over a unibrowed Colin any day of the week.
What's with Keira Knightley's bangs? I don't know. I think it's to distract you from her shoulders, which have been known to take a man's eye out. Such pointy shoulders.
Does the trailer let us know what the movie's about? Yes. Colin Farrell is an ex-con who swears he's never going back to jail, which of course means he's going to get drawn into one last job. He has to guard Knightley, they like each other, and things get nutty from there. The usual stuff. All it needed was a cameo from Brendan Gleeson to complete the circle.
Are we promised violence? And how! I love me a really long handgun.
Is there lots of pithy British gallows humor that British people do so well? Yes.
Is it made clear that one of "The Departed" guys is behind this? Yes, but they're smart enough to leave it vague, so stupid people will assume it's a Scorsese movie even though it isn't.
Does the trailer have cool music? It features "Club Foot," by Kasabian, which is a bad-ass song I wish they'd used in a James Bond movie. They also use "London Calling" by the Clash, because I totally wouldn't have known this movie was set in London otherwise, what with the title and all the British people involved.
Does this trailer work? Yes. This is clearly a movie of modest ambitions. The goal here was to let people know that they're in for a fun British crime caper in the vein of "Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels," and the trailer does that nicely. This thing isn't gonna make $300 million, but that was never its aim. The actors and Monahan's name promise high quality, and the trailer delivers on it. Our only concern is that this thing was finished ages ago, so if it were as good as the trailer leads us to believe, it would've come out by now.