Chris Hicks: There's an art to summing up movie hype in a brief, snappy tagline

Published: Thursday, Jan. 3 2013 5:00 p.m. MST

Matt Damon in "Promised Land," which carries the tagline, "What's your price"?

Focus Features

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The best bonus features on DVDs are the trailers, those previews of coming attractions with over-the-top hyperbole. Every new film is “spectacular” or “amazing” and each one promises that “you’ve never seen anything like it” and that the stars’ performances are their best yet.

Movie posters, which are also sometimes shown as DVD extras, are even better, each with a short tagline that is meant to lure in audiences — some of which have become rather famous in their own right:

“In space no one can hear you scream.” (“Alien”)

“The ultimate trip.” (“2001: A Space Odyssey”)

“The Birds is coming!” (“The Birds”)

“The snobs against the slobs!” (“Caddyshack”)

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.” (“Jaws 2”)

Those are all great, and there are many more, too many to gather here. (Another quiz for the future, perhaps?)

But I must admit to being surprised that a lot of 2013 movies already have their own taglines, each trying to get an early jump on the competition.

This was discovered while trolling online for information about upcoming releases, and it was interesting to see so many ads illustrating that movie-poster hype is not a lost art in the 21st century. It still has punch, it’s still over the top and it’s often amusing — sometimes on purpose.

One of my favorites is “Retirement is for sissies,” for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first starring role in 10 years, “The Last Stand” (opening Jan. 18).

“Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D,” which opens today, uses this tagline: “Evil has many faces.” Which is, of course, a double-entendre alluding to Leatherface’s nickname.

Surely, 2013 won’t be yet another year of supercops and gory horror and superheroes and silly sequels and superspies and still more remakes and supercilious raunchy comedies … and Hobbits?

Well, actually, it will.

Coming soon to a theater near you are lots of action movies, lots of revenge plots, lots of fantasies and lots of sci-fi, the latter category including many more about the popular sub-genre, the end of the world. Maybe the Mayans were a year off.

But don’t take my word for it. Check out these taglines for titles scheduled to be released in the coming months, and see if they help you discern what each movie is about in just a few words.

“What’s your price?” (“Promised Land,” today)

“No names. No badges. No mercy.” (“Gangster Squad,” Jan. 11)

“Proof can be a powerful weapon.” (“Broken City,” Jan. 18)

“Classic tale. New twist.” (“Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters,” Jan. 25)

“To get away clean, you have to play dirty.” (“Parker,” Jan. 25)

“Cold body. Warm heart.” (“Warm Bodies,” Feb. 1)

“They don’t make ’em like they used to.” (“Stand Up Guys,” Feb. 1)

“Revenge never gets old.” (“Bullet to the Head,” Feb. 1)

“Some people want to get better in the worst way.” (“Side Effects,” Feb. 8)

“She’s having the time of his life.” (“Identity Thief,” Feb. 8)

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