Monday, February 18, 2008

AFT Awards: Best Trailer

This is the twenty-second category of the 1st Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are listed in alphabetical order by film title. Winners will be announced in late February.

The films themselves may have been a letdown, but this category recognizes the quality of the trailers. The trailers referred to are usually specific, especially in the case of “Atonement” and “I Am Legend”, which had brilliant later versions of the trailers which were simply stunning. Watch out for minor spoilers, especially in the write-up for “Atonement”.


The nominees:
From its first appearance around the same time as the trailer for “We Own the Night”, it seemed clear that this film would be this year’s “The Departed”. A loud, thrashing score fueled the energy of both Denzel Washington’s mobster and Russell Crowe’s dogged investigator. The two appeared to be a perfect match, perfectly paralleling each other in a story where it might not be clear who was the hero and who was the villain. Terrific editing wrapped this film up like a pre-holiday present.

ATONEMENT Watch Trailer
It opens with the sound of typewriter keys and dazzling shots of Keira Knightley and James McAvoy sauntering and sweating in the heat. This version of the trailer in particular gives away little of the plot, summing up the film’s early half in a mere thirty seconds or so. After that, there is very little dialogue, save for Briony’s apology, and the film’s beautiful score is utilized so effectively and paired with both beautiful and chilling shots, culminating in that haunting scene of Knightley looking up as water floods in. A trailer that captures the best elements of the film and is even better to watch after seeing the movie.

I AM LEGEND Watch Trailer
This is an evenly split trailer which spends its first half explaining what happened (“I’m not infected! I’m not infected!) without giving away too much, and showing Will Smith walking around the desolate, deserted New York City. Pure imagery and a word or two here and there does the trick. It is the trailer’s second half that really gets the blood flowing. A frightening declaration of “Night” sends the film into a montage of action scenes accompanied by remixed music from “The Fountain”. A ten-second sequence of Smith running from the infected zombies starts it off, and right before the title shows up, a whole lot of those things swarm out of the fountain in Washington Square Park. This is going to be one hell of a ride.

THE SAVAGES Watch Trailer
The interplay of colors and alert levels is charming, and the seemingly aloof attitudes of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney contrast perfectly. Music originally used effectively in the “Stranger than Fiction” trailer works just as well here, previewing what looks like a dramedy with a sharply comedic edge. A great trailer which picks out the only funny moments in a deeply dramatic film.

WAITRESS Watch Trailer
It is hard to go wrong with pie and the half-smile Keri Russell carries around on her face. What is especially great about this trailer is that it creates its own individualistic style, which exists also in the film but becomes readily apparent in only two minutes here. Russell’s amusing “Flambé, of course” in response to her smartly-named delicacies complete the comedy of this amusing and heartwarming preview.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great category. did you come up with htis on your own abe? either way american gangster gets my vote. the action is so cool and perfect. the trailer really draws you in and makes you have to see the movie. Jay Z's 'heart of the city' really captures the mood in the trailer.