The 20 Best Trailers of 2014

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10. Edge of Tomorrow
Every big budget action film should come with a trailer in which a gorgeous, syrupy ambient song—may I recommend Justin Bieber’s “Baby” slowed down 1,000%?—plays over the expertly edited, muted devastation of a battle scene. Because: cue goosepimples, right? In two minutes, Edge of Tomorrow’s high concept is made clear, Tom Cruise is suitably mechanized as the super-athletic asexual cyborg everyone knows he is, and Emily Blunt kicks ass, takes names, wonders where her bubblegum is, and does yoga. Over and over and over again. Watching this preview feels like reading a Philip K. Dick novel and then braining Vladimir Putin with a toaster. —Dom Sinacola

9. Inherent Vice
Narrated like an Elmore Leonard novel and stylized as if it takes place in three groovy decades at once, the trailer to P.T. Anderson’s soon-to-be classic paints the director’s latest as a timeless yarn populated by everything you’d ever want out of a neo-noir with such starpower: insipid mooks, blockheaded brutes (Joch Brolin literally looks as if his dome is carved out of a rectangle of soap), witty repartee, and the kind of intense humor for which Anderson’s so adept, tonally all over the place and almost guaranteed to brush up against tragedy. The trailer, like any trailer, promises us the Moon, but if all the film turns out to be is The Long Goodbye for Millennials, then this is the scuzzy X-mas present which we’d secretly buy ourselves—because God forbid you open this under the tree with all your relatives looking. —Dom Sinacola

8. American Sniper
In which a chipmunk-cheeked Bradley Cooper with a dumb haircut probably shoots a baby. It will win all the Oscars. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! —Dom Sinacola

7. Birdman
Loaded with brassy kitsch—from two leading men in their underwear to an uncomfortable remix of “Crazy,” which is uncomfortable when we remember what Cee-Lo said about rape—Birdman’s trailer changes genre gears so often that by the time two minutes and 50 seconds has passed, you’ve previewed at least four different films. And in case you’re not breathlessly confused enough, a too-long They Live punch-em-out concludes whatever it was we just caught a fleeting glimpse of. Part Godzilla, part Terry Gilliam, and all surrealist self-exploration, the trailer superbly reflects the fearless, toothy, all-over ambition of a film that you assume wants to be everything.—Melissa Weller

6. John Wick
What do we talk about when we talk about trailers? This. Fast cars, danger, fire and knives. But then it leaps over conventional pitfalls, expertly building tension and even making bath houses and pink strobe lights breathe with ultra-masculine heat. Also, there’s something to be said for offing the dog in the trailer. And that something: as a defense tactic, it claims the audience before they’re inevitably left to their own sentimental devices. Because in the film, killing the dog is an emotionally draining and mentally handicapping experience for an audience (for real, folks cried in the theater), and for the better part of 15 minutes, we’re potatoes. This trailer at least allows the mourning process to begin before anyone steps inside a theater. This way we can get over the puppy depression and focus better on all the point-blank face-shootings to follow. —Melissa Weller

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