Here’s the thing. I have no real excuse for why I’m weeks’ behind on this, just forgive me (all two of you who read these) and move along. Have fun reading trailers for two movies that are out in theaters and not doing well. Oh, and I’ve found two trailers that weren’t tagged with “Trailer” when I searched my main source of entertainment news so there might be other ones out there. My b, I guess.

Alita: Battle Angel

This movie is super not my thing, at least the way that they are doing it. The effects are a weird mix of straight up bad and too human looking to not terrify me.  The really frustrating part of all of this is that there are some really talented actors in this movie, especially Christoph Waltz and Mahershala Ali (he’ll at least be redeemed a little bit further down here). I think people who dig this look will probably be fine (cyborg fighting other cyborgs is an inherently interesting idea) but the overall look is just so unsatisfying to me that I will not even come close to watching this thing.

What They Had

I feel like it’s hard to make trailers for movies that are basically playing more to an awards crowd, rather than a popular crowd. A family drama about a mother dealing with dementia, with four recognizable but not quite household-name actors, isn’t something that exactly screams “marketing lay-up.” That said, this trailer does a really good job. The cast here is strong, with Swank looking to be back to her Boys Don’t Cry/Million Dollar Baby-caliber performances, alongside the always welcome Michael Shannon (my interest in this movie sky-rocketed when I saw his face). Forster and Danner both appear to be doing good work, with Danner having the difficult task of portraying someone dealing with dementia. This movie could really tip one way or another based on how that is played, but it appears to be played appropriately here, so I think this is something to keep an eye out for early next year.

Mid90s

I’m not sure if this movie has a direct story-line outside of the general coming-of age feeling, but first-time director really seems to be nailing it here. From the overall quality of the filming to just the overall feel of these characters. The older brother/younger brother relationship particularly feels to be personal and difficult. The lead performance out of Stevie seems like it could be a breakout for, so I’m interested to see what becomes of this movie after it comes out (although the A24 production tag) will certainly do the movie some favors.

Peterloo

With barely over a minute, the trailer for this movie is somehow able to buy my attention without really revealing what the movie is about (unless you know about the “infamous Peterloo Massacre of 1819,” which I do not). With strong period imagery, showing the differences between royalty, the military and the people they are supposed to represent. It wraps up with the ominous chanting of “Liberty or Death” as the literal cavalry arrives and circles a crowd. What I’m saying is that this looks like a grand ol’ time at the movies.

I Think We’re Alone Now

Uh. Okay. There really isn’t a whole lot to this to react to, but I do usually love me some Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning? I don’t know. I feel like the trailer thinks the imagery of an empty small-town road is more striking than it actually is. The build-up with the strings as we slowly go around the car suggests some level of wonder, and then the trailer just kind of ends before we see what I’m going to presume is Fanning’s character. This isn’t nearly as strong as it could have been.

Slender Man

Me writing about this particular trailer, for a movie that is already out, feels like the most appropriate way to right above a movie whose subject matter hasn’t been popular for good reasons for several years, and that has been mostly newsworthy after actual children murdered their actual friend as a sort of sacrifice to the titular character. So yea, this movie should super not exist. The trailer itself isn’t even particularly haunting, it’s a bunch of non-scares that the movie thinks is creepy or eerie. Also, the line delivery of “once you see him, you can’t unsee him” feels like a first take reading of the line, by someone who has never acted in their life. So yeah, this is stupid.

Operation Finale

This was one of the first movies I wrote about, and this trailer sells the movie better than the first one. The first one seemed to suggest that the movie focused mostly on the search for Eichmann, while this movie suggests that it’s actually more about the taut relationship between Eichmann and Oscar Isaac’s Peter Malkin, which is something I am way more interested in. Getting to see Ben Kingsley and Oscar Isaac play off each other in a bit of mental back and forth is something that I am deeply excited to see, and this movie really seems to promise that it’s going to be a really tense, good time.

Hunter Killer

Oh my God, what is any of this? Is this a real movie? Why is this movie bragging about Gary Oldman having won an Oscar? Why not saying Academy-Award winner Common, too? Yeah, it was for a song, but I’m sure that makes as much sense as suggesting that Gary Oldman is bringing his Darkest Hour A-Game to a movie called Hunter Killer. This just looks so deeply silly, without knowing it looks deeply silly. Also, it’s called Hunter Killer. And it’s apparently based on a book called Firing Point. Which is nowhere near as stupid. Hunter Killer. Oh my God.

Mile 22

Much like Slender Man, this movie is already out, and this trailer really doesn’t seem to add anything to any of the other trailers that came out about this movie. You see one trailer for this movie and you get the basic idea of what this movie is trying to sell, which is a pretty standard Peter Berg/Mark Whalberg pairing. Again, this movie just really isn’t super my thing, just a bunch of big guns going off and people running from them. The brief glimpses of hand-to-hand combat are exciting, but I’m guessing are also just that, brief. If this is your thing, neat. If not, join me in moving along.

Venom

Chances are you have already heard about this trailer because of the beautiful “Turd in The Wind” speech, which will almost certainly become this generation’s “Tears in The Rain.” Everything else is basically what you would expect from a Venom movie, for better or for worse. This movie is probably going to be terrifically bad, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t even a little bit excited. I really love Tom Hardy, and, he does seem to be having fun in this role, which really might be enough to carry me through the sure-to-be silly script and less than exciting CGI.

If Beale Street Could Talk

Straight up, after Moonlight, this trailer legit could have just said “Barry Jenkins is making another movie,” and it would almost certainly be my favorite trailer. But, we obviously get more than that, and this movie looks to be just as striking and beautiful as Jenkins’ last film. From the drama in those first and last moments, as Kiki Layne’s character looks to speak to her mother, played by Regina King, to the striking imagery showing her relationship with Stephan James, I was hooked. Also, Bryan Tyree Henry showed up, and I’m always excited to see Alfred/Paper Boi. But, yeah this movie looks to be another terrific effort from a terrific filmmaker.

Smallfoot

I mean as far as movies intended for children go, this could be way worse. It looks pleasantly cute, the character design is kind of cute (watching LeBron’s voice come out of a giant purple fuzz ball is a genuine joy), and the gags of how the humans and yetis misunderstand each other could be kind of funny if not overused. The pig roasting bit at the end is also enjoyable silly. This is not a movie I am going to see on my own accord, but as far as movies I might someday have to see with my potential kids, I could probably do way worse than this.

Lizzie

I admittedly do not know a lot about these fairly famous murders, and I understand that this is a reimagining of them. And while I can get into Lizzie (Chloe Sevigny) having a romantic affair with the maid (Kristen Stewart), assuming that the movie doesn’t imply that homosexuality played into her murdering her parents (which I doubt, because that doesn’t seem like something K-Stew would be chill with), but making her dad feel deeply gross (stroking the maid) is an interesting route to take. Maybe this has some legitimacy to it (like I said, I don’t know a lot about it, but Wikipedia doesn’t super go into that side of her father), but it just feels kind of thrown in here, and it’s not comfortable to watch. Stewart and Sevigny both look like they’re giving some solid performances in this, and I’m interested to see a telling of this story that seems interested in making it even more dramatic, but that one moment of perversion with her father reallllly weirded me out.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

I don’t know. I’m getting to the point in this where I’ve been writing about so many trailers that I’m just really disinterested. This could be okay, I guess. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the Nutcracker, but I don’t remember most of this happening, although maybe it happens more in the original book. I don’t know. I know we’re getting into the world of adapting things for adaptation sake, but I really don’t think anyone wanted this. Also, Keira Knightley’s Sugar Plum Fairy voice is an odd choice.

The Happytime Murders (Red Band)

Twitter reactions on a movie trailer always make me really nervous, just because it feels like they’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel in order to get positive reactions, and that’s most of what this trailer is, combined with puppets doing what you wouldn’t expect puppets to do. That said, I like that genre of movie, and this could be really stupid fun that I instantly forget, or at least try to. Or it could be Sausage Party, which ended up just being stupid.

Climax

I will say, this is an incredibly effective trailer for what it is trying to sell, which is a Gaspar Noe movie that has a lot of dancing in it. I haven’t actually seen any of Noe’s films, but I know of him and the very adult-themed content that he makes, and this seems to be more of that. And it really is intelligently shot and compiled in this trailer, but good God, this looks like a lot of things that will leave me feeling very gross after seeing. Which usually isn’t something I look for in a movie.

What Men Want

The idea of a remake of What Women Want, 19 years after it came out, does not strike me as a great idea, even with the gender swap they initially announced. The “isn’t it funny how different the genders are” plot could work at the turn of the century but in 2019 it feels deeply dated, and even though I like a lot of the people in this trailer, none of the comedy feels particularly groundbreaking. I hope this movie can surprise me like Game Night did this year, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

Green Book

This is an interesting-looking thing. I actually think this looks really good, although I’m uncertain of how much of that is the actual content of the movie, and how much of it is just that you have two immensely talented individuals as the lead actors. The plot itself, based on a true story, seems like it will probably end up being a fairly run of the mill story of overcoming differences, and how these two men are both able to teach each other and turn them into better people. Which is fine, if a bit uninspired (and kind of concerning to see in the hands of Peter Farrelly, who has spent his career doing mostly slapstick comedies). But, we have Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen as the two actors, who can probably carry a very weak script and turn it into a movie worth seeing.

Widows

This was also one of the first movies I wrote a trailer for, and, like Operation Finale, the follow-up trailer does a better job of selling the movie. Here, we see more of who these characters are and what is driving them to do what they are doing. Because of this, we get to see more performance work from the cast, particularly the great Viola Davis, and then some really creepy vibes from Henry and Kaluuya. I’m not sure if these trailers are selling a movie with that cast and with this writer (Gillian Flynn) and director (Steve McQueen) as well as it could, but at least its putting those names and faces on display, which goes a long way.

ROMA

This movie is an exception to my regular rules of what I talk about in these posts because its main release will be streaming only, which is something that I have typically avoided. But like I wasn’t going to talk about Alfonso Cuaron’s first movie since the gorgeous and terrific Gravity. This trailer doesn’t reveal much in terms of plot, but it does promise me Cuaron returning to a more grounded film (pun kind of intended) as he tells a story about a family, all surrounded by themes of Love, Courage, Hope, Change, and Home, all of which ideals our world needs in a big way. Outside of The Cloverfield Pardox, I have not actually watched a Netflix-only release. This movie will change that, as I am 100% going to watch it the day it drops.

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

Like I said when the first trailer came out, this movie seems to forget what apparently made the first movie work, despite the fact that it was based on a property well past its heyday: the originality of the meta-factor and the presence of the always game Jack Black. Here, it appears to be the exact same idea as the first, with all of the characters from the book series coming to life and needing to be put back into the books or something, so it loses the originality, and then Jack Black has been replaced by the equally-always game Ken Jeong, although his role appears to be more featured than a starring role. This movie could end up surprising me, but nothing in these trailers are really catching my eye.

The Oath

This looks fine? It’s a strong cast in a Thanksgiving movie about how political differences can make holidays a little bit tense. Fairly run of the mill stuff, but I’ll be interested to see if the movie can focus on how both sides of the political spectrum can be a bit much, or it ends up focusing on one side being wrong and bringing out the worst of the other side. Additionally, something like this could probably benefit from being absurd, which the trailer seems to suggest (there are appearances from a taser and someone who appears to have a pretty serious head injury), but it will likely need to commit to in order to really make a lasting impression.

Rankings and Summaries

  1. If Beale Street Could Talk– Barry Jenkins is making another movie.
  2. Roma- Alfonso Cuaron is making another movie.
  3. Climax – Realistically, if I was into the director’s stuff, this frantic trailer would probably be the best trailer of the bunch, but I’m very much not into his stuff, but I want to give a shoutout to the actual technique of the trailer itself.
  4. Operation Finale – A mental back and forth between Oscar Isaac and Sir Ben Kingsley is what this trailer promises, and, yeah, I’m sold.
  5. Peterloo– Based on a historical event I know nothing about, this teaser sets up the tension and drama that will lead up to the titular massacre with panache.
  6. Widows– While still not quite selling this movie as well as it should, this trailer brings a marked improvement over the first, by further showcasing what looks to be a typically great performance from Viola Davis.
  7. What They Had – An Alzheimer’s movie with four strong performers, one of whom is Michael Shannon, is more than enough to convince me that this could earn itself some nominations in a few months.
  8. Green Book – The trailer promises two strong performances, but I’m not certain that the story around them will do enough to make this the great movie that it could and probably should be.
  9. Mid-90s– Jonath Hill’s directorial debut is off to a strong start, as this trailer feels straight up lifted from the time period from which it takes its title.
  10. Venom– This trailer is benefitting from a strong Tom Hardy curve because what looks to be a deeply stupid movie just happens to have one of my favorite actors as the titular character.
  11. Smallfoot – A kids movie that doesn’t do enough to sell me on seeing it without a kid (The Lego Movie), but certainly could be way worse.
  12. The Oath – A quick teaser that suggests a potentially strong comedy that could also fairly easily fall into being too one-sided or too tame.
  13. Lizzie – A different take on an infamous murder, a strong romantic subplot gets corrupted by a weird moment of perversion from Borden’s father.
  14. The Happytime Murders- Don’t put Twitter reactions on your trailer, please, even if puppets doing things puppets wouldn’t normally do does make me happy.
  15. Goosebumpbs 2: Haunted Halloween – Trying to recapture a surprise success by removing components that made it a success makes this movie feel deeply pointless.
  16. What Men Want– A remake of a comedy with a dated premise seems to waste the comedic talent that surrounds it.
  17. I Think We’re Alone Now– A kind of nothing teaser, even as far as teasers go, misses the opportunity to set up the real loneliness of the world.
  18. Mile 22– More of the same that every other trailer for this movie has shown, which, as I’ve mentioned before, just isn’t really my thing.
  19. Alita: Battle Angel – If these cyborgs looked closer to the ones from Ex Machina, I might have been interested, but they look just off enough that it deeply is not my thing.
  20. The Nutcracker and The Four Realms- Don’t want this.
  21. Hunter Killer– It says a lot about Slender Man that a movie called Hunter Killer is not the worst trailer I had to watch for this.
  22. Slender Man- Pass.
Cover Photo
If Beale Street Could Talk  https://i2.wp.com/www.culturetype.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/if_beale_street_could_talk_film.jpg?ssl=1

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