Trailer Wednesday: Paul and Restless

The middle of fall means the middle of nowhere trailer land. All the biggest trailers that tease next spring’s films and the summer blockbusters won’t hit theaters until November (much of them packed in with “Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows Pt. 1” I’m sure).

However, these two new trailers come from two respected filmmakers in Greg Mottola (“Superbad,” “Adventureland”) and Gus Van Sant (“Good Will Hunting,” “Milk”). Mottola is behind the road trip alien comedy “Paul” and Van Sant a Hollywood film with an indie vibe: the young adult romance “Restless.”


“Paul” teams up Greg Mottola, the brilliant coming-of-age director, with comedy duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz”). The film features the two as comic geeks who on a road trip back from Comic Con in San Diego travel by Area 51 and find themselves face-to-face with a skinny bulbous-headed alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen). Naturally, Paul is secret government property and some people out there (Jason Bateman) want to bring him back.

The teaser offers just a glimpse into the concept with a few shots of Paul and a humorous outro clip as well as a quick reveal of the many supporting roles in the film from Bateman to Sigourney Weaver. It’s a bit early to get excited, but Mottola in tandem with Pegg and Frost is something you have to be excited about if you enjoyed any, most or all of their films. “Paul” comes to Earth on Mar. 18.


Gus Van Sant has had his triumphs (“Good Will Hunting, “Milk”) and failures (’90s remake of “Psycho”), but you simply can’t blow off anything he does. This film definitely falls into the “different” category. Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland,” “The Kids Are All Right”) stars as a terminally ill girl who falls for a young man (Henry Hopper, son of the late Dennis Hopper) who enjoys attending funerals and happens to be followed around by the ghost of a Japanese Kamikaze fighter pilot.

The film was produced by the Ryan Howard/Brian Grazer duo and will be distributed by Sony/Columbia Pictures’ main label, so here’s an example of what comes across as definitive indie drama being produced Hollywood style. That must mean they really like first-time writer Jason Lew’s script. I mean, it worked out pretty well when Van Sant decided to direct a script from first-time screenwriter Dustin Lance Black who went on to win a best screenplay Oscar for “Milk.” The film is scheduled for January 28, so we’re not looking at Oscar-worthy material, but a good drama at a notoriously bad time of year is not out of the question.


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