Yeah, I know.
I wish I was more excited about a Gina Rodriguez-led action thriller, but from what I can tell, she is the only thing really worth getting excited about here. The story itself, a remake of a Mexican film from 2011, seems like it could be exciting, but could also lend itself to being a bit confusing as to which side that Rodriguez’s character is really playing. Rodriguez, who is excellent as the titular character on the CW’s Jane the Virgin, will certainly play the part well, but this movie will likely live or die outside of her performance, based on how well the “play both sides” story-line is execute, and this trailer does not do the movie any favors on that front.
As for as the trailer that this story tells, it feels very similar to Clint Eastwood’s The Mule. A parent talking to a child or a loved one and trying to help them explain that they want to do better for them. Whereas Eastwood’s film showed an old man who appears to be in a game he does not want to be in, and looks downright frightened to be involved in, this move shows lead Nicole Kidman doing whatever it takes to succeed, no matter the consequence. It’s dark, and uses quotes from reviews to laud Kidman’s performance, and they are used smartly here. A lot of times, those quotes turn me off because they laud an actor’s performance while they seem to be giving the same performance I typically expect of them, or they are tweets from random people, which is never encouraging. Here, the reviews laud Kidman’s transformative and atypical-seeming performance, and that is exactly what makes this trailer standout. She barely looks like herself and she looks tired, but is still pushing herself to do what she needs to do. This looks great.
The Kid Who Would Be King
So this could plausibly be an endearing take on the King Arthur mythology, where a kid finds the sword in the stone in present day and leads an army. But the thing is, I need to be endeared to the kids in this movie, and none of them really seem to be capturing me in any real way. Which seems unfair because they’re children and this is a two minute snippet of what their performances will have to offer, but I don’t care. If Detective Pikachu can make me believe that Mr. Mime is probably an escaped ghost from Hill House, then I should be able to feel something for the lead characters in this trailer, but it just isn’t there. Throw in some less than inspired looking character designs and action sequences, and none of this really works for me. Even the round table gag doesn’t land the way I would want it to, because, on paper, someone talking about a round table while at a rectangular one, and then lifting up hidden leaves to make it a circle should be funny, but this just feels so flat.
The Curse of La Llorana
Listen. 2018 has been a great year for horror. We got Hereditary, Suspiria, The Haunting of Hill House, Mr. Mime in Detective Pikachu. But this trailer has a scare similar to one from the first trailer for The Nun, wants me to be afraid of crank windows, and spends most of its run time setting up a scare that is executed because a kid’s blanket was stuck in his car. Also the whole setup for the two scares of the trailer are based on kids being left in a car so their mom can investigate a recent murder scene, which, like, just seems like bad parenting.
It was really only a matter of time until we got an Escape Room themed horror movie, and this looks exactly like you would expect it to look. Which is to say, it’s a lot. Mostly because there are for sure way more questions that should have been asked before these people went into this escape room. Like. Why did we get invited? How did they get our addresses? Why would they offer a million dollars to finish an escape room? The mystery of it all will probably end up being either too complicated for its own good or too simplistic to really setup a mystery. I think if the movie were legit just “Ha I built a murder escape room, have fun, I truly have zero ulterior motives, I’m just insane, who gave me this loan, Mr. Mime?” I’d be a bit more into it, because then it could just be some fun murder set pieces like late stage Final Destination movies. But instead, the movie has to have a little more on its mind, which really turns me off to the whole thing.
This trailer is so all over the place, and at times I love it, and other times I am very much not into it. If the humor of this trailer can pull through into the actual movie, this could actually be a fun little follow-up/soul sibling to Neeson’s Taken films. But the humor also just feels like it benefits from the cutting of the trailer itself, and it could lose that edge in the actual run of the film. Without it, it’s just man goes on revenge tour to avenge the murder of his son, which just isn’t enough to sell me on something. And yeah, sometimes stuff like that can surprise me, like John Wick did, this movie doesn’t seem to promise the smooth, close quartered violence of Keanu Reeves’ revenge flick. This promises Liam Neeson dropping a tree on a dude. Which sounds objectively funny, and the trailer uses it as a punchline, but I am worried the movie will play it differently.
The first casualty of me getting over a month behind on these, this biopic about one of my favorite bands has already been in theaters for a few weeks. Also, I’m glad that after a few missed attempts, that this movie got a trailer that seems worthy of the band itself. The use of “Under Pressure,” the band’s duet with David Bowie, is a nice touch that really seems to add more drama to the film that the rest of the trailers have been lacking. From my understanding, this movie does end up falling into a lot of the issues that most music biopics do, and never really does a great job of being as interesting as it should, but at least this trailer suggests that the music scenes along the way can have a little bit of fun, all anchored by a particularly strong performance from Rami Malek.
How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Much like Bohemian Rhapsody, this trailer does a much better job of selling the movie than its predecessors. Although the Toothless finds love plot line still doesn’t not feel as seamless into the overall arc of the story as I would like it to be, the main confrontation feels much more real and dramatic than in the first trailer, and the affect that this series has used so well in the past feels much more on the forefront in this trailer. The earlier frustration I had with female characters feeling mostly like love interests here is very much still an issue, but maybe the movie itself will surprise me on that front. That said, it feels good to be excited about this franchise again.
Y’all this looks wonderfully wild. Portman seems to be giving her best performance since Black Swan here, and I’m kind of excited to see what she is able to do while acting as a pop star. What this trailer doesn’t necessarily make clear is that Portman’s character survived a mass shooting as a teenager, which, in its own way, led to her success as a pop star, and that the film is told over both of those arcs, which honestly sounds like a lot, but the idea of someone using their art to cope with a tragedy is an interesting one, and I’m excited to see how that coping strategy plays out throughout the film. The fact that we are witnessing it through the very talented Natalie Portman makes it all the more exciting. Add in the fact that her collapsing in the hallway is probably the hardest I’ve laughed at a single moment in a trailer in a long while.
In a prior post, I talked about how Lucas Hedges has an incredible filmography, where most of his movies are of an award caliber, and I have to wonder how much of that is the choices he and his agent are making and how much of that is his presence. Not to say things like Lady Bird or Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri wouldn’t work without him, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. That said, his skill is almost certainly at play in something like this, where the weight of an extremely important (and apparently all too current, based on the stat provided here) story is placed firmly on his shoulders. There’s a whole lot that we need to confront as a country, but the idea of conversion camps existing, and holding almost 80 thousand individuals, is one that has kind of faded from the limelight, and hopefully a movie like this will open up that conversation. With strong performances from Hedges, Kidman, Crowe and writer/director Edgerton, this feels like a movie that would not go quietly into the night, so hopefully it’s one that people notice.
Spies in Disguise
Y’all, if you thought a Detective Pikachu was going to be the weirdest animated thing you were going to see in this post, you were wrong. That said, Mr. Mime is still the weirdest thing, but Will Smith as a bird spy is pretty much up there on weirdness levels. I really don’t know what else to say about this trailer. The first part suggests a fairly fun little spy movie that probably could have been live action if it weren’t for some robots and stuff, and then all of a sudden Will Smith is a bird. One more time to really make sure this gets into your heads: animated Will Smith as a spy gets turned into a bird. That’s the movie. Roll credits.
Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Another movie that is already out, this one available on Netflix, which in itself is against what I typically aim for in these posts. This one is still a bit more challenging than other trailers because it is an anthology, so trying to capture a story is something that isn’t going to happen here. That said, the tone still feels exactly like one would expect from the Coen Brothers at this point, and seeing them go Western against, after the success of True Grit and the more modern No Country For Old Men is an exciting prospect. That said, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about anthology films, as the medium feels more appropriate for television, but I’m sure this is still a worthwhile venture from the writers/directors.
Secret Life of Pets 2- Max Trailer
I admittedly never saw the first film, but I give credit to the filmmakers for doing the right thing and recasting their lead character after Louis CK revealed himself to be a creep, and I’m always excited to hear Patton Oswalt’s voice. This seems cute enough, with animals basically explaining their odd traits as to explain why they are going to a behavioral vet. The reveal of the twin cats stating that they start fires got a genuine laugh from me, a nice little intentionally creepy moment that’s played for laughs, unlike the horror of Mr. Mime, who we are supposed to accept as a totally normal thing.
I haven’t seen as much of Laika’s movies as I would like, but what I have seen has been great, and this seems to be a nice little addition to their great filmography. The titular character punching through a window in an effort to open it gave me a nice little laugh, as was his human friend full on crashing into the ice wall at the end of the trailer. I think what is especially important to keep in mind is that Laika has a tendency to hide the best of their movies from the trailers. I liked the Paranorman trailer quite a bit, but was blown away by the movie, and my understanding is that the trailers for Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings don’t even begin to capture the magic that the movies themselves hold. If that’s the case here, I can’t wait to see what Laika has up their sleeves.
Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle
This is the second trailer for this particular movie that I have covered, although the first since it was announced that it would not be released in theaters, but would instead be a Netflix original. The only other movie that had a similar life is The Cloverfield Paradox, so, needless to say, I’m about as scared of the quality of this movie as I am of Mr. Mime. That said, this darker take on the story actually has me pretty excited. I’m particularly excited to see what kind of interaction that Mowgli has with other humans, something other adaptations have not quite looked at. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Disney remake from a few years ago, and the jungle stuff looks similar enough here that it doesn’t quite grasp my attention (even with the, in my opinion, better voice cast), but the movie feels different enough from other things that we’ve seen, that I’m more excited.
Two things: what in God’s name is this, and why was I endeared to it? When I saw the screencap for this one, I thought I was going to come down here and just rag on this thing for five to six sentences and then move on to the other 5,000 trailiers that I have to write about, but I found it oddly charming, in its own weird way. It’s predominantly just one song, with different parts of UglyTown on display, but the song is kind of catchy, even it is a little too poppy (but it’s a kids’ movie so whatever). Honestly my one concern is just the overall idea of the creatures being ugly. They are odd-looking, but ugly feels like too strong of a word. And I feel like this movie is probably going to end up being about just being okay with yourself no matter what, and no matter the world’s definition of “attractive,” but I think for it to work, the creatures should look more like live action Mr. Mime, and less like a stuffed animal that I would debate getting at a Build a Bear.
Toy Story 4
This movie does not need to exist, and honestly it befuddles me that it does. The third film seemed to be the more appropriate ending that one could ever imagine for a franchise about sentient toys. There is still a weird part of me that is excited to see these characters again, because they were such a part of my childhood and my going to college, but the main reveal of this trailer is the presence of Forky, a spork with pipe-cleaner arms, which honestly haunts me, Mr. Mime-style. Like. What are the rules of this world? What makes something a toy to the point of it gaining sentience? Are sporks always sentient? Does just naming something a toy make it sentiment? Explain your sentience laws, cowards.
I’ve been not-subtly alluding to this trailer, particularly one component, through the early stages of this post, and here we finally are. The trailer for the first live action Pokemon movie, based on the Detective Pikachu game from 2016. And just like we all expected, the first live action Pokemon movie features sad Pikachu, a missing father who almost died in a mysterious explosion, another explosion, Pikachu almost getting straight-up ate by a Charizard. Finally, and most horrifyingly of all, the too-human looking Mr. Mime. I don’t know why he exists, but he has not left my brain since. He is my Bent Neck Lady. He will forever haunt me until the day I get some deeply troubling news about how I relate to live action Mr. Mime. People are going to see this, and it could very well be a pleasant surprise, but the tone of this trailer plays most of the things as cute, but a father’s attempted murder is pretty wild for this movie to be coming out of the gate with. Also hearing Deadpool’s voice coming out of an admittedly adorable Pikachu is something I never could have prepared myself for, even though I had heard about the casting sometime ago. It’s really just a strange sensation.
I am so excited to see the great Alfonso Cuaron (director of the best franchise movie, non Empire Strikes Back category) return to a more personal story after the immense success of Gravity. The black and white imagery, at times calm and human, at other times horrifying and tense, but all feeling very human and honest, is all incredible. I’m excited that this is something that a lot of people are going to be able to see on Netflix, but I feel like being able to see it on a big screen will add that extra level of truly special. Cuaron is an one of the best filmmakers that we have right now and getting to see him tell a story that feels so deeply personal feels like a gift that nobody should pass up.
Alita: Battle Angel
This is still very much not my thing, but I’m sure it’s someone’s thing, and that’s okay. The character design, which I’m sure is very intentional and is calling back to whatever the original medium was, but she just looks too fake to be believable as a cyborg. Like, Ex Machina is about cyborgs and that design was incredible and was made for practically nothing, at least relatively when compared to something like a Robert Rodriguez movie, so surely we can get something that looks more real than this. That said, this trailer makes the character seem the most interesting and the most in control of whatever her fate is when compared to other trailers, where she seemed less like a character and more like the ideal of “the one who can save everything.” I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing Mahershala Ali in something like this, either, especially after Luke Cage did him so dirty. This movie’s release date got smartly pushed back to February to avoid a very crowded holiday season, so it wouldn’t surprise me if we got one more of these, which actually might be okay, mostly because I still don’t totally understand what the overall arc of this movie is, which is mostly me hoping that it’s not just “Alita is powerful and must survive.”
The first trailer for this movie, I talked about how it instilled a true sense of wonder, which then lost some points when the trailer steered into more standard slapstick kids’ movie fare. This movie has the same pros and cons but seems to lean more heavily into the cons. The weird antagonist of chimpanzombies doesn’t do it any favors (although the long stare between one and the lead character before he shatters some glass did get a little laugh out of me because I love awkward tension). The more the movie moves away from the general wonderment/imagination of its core, by favoring standard bland child’s comedy, the less likely I am to like it, and as the trailer focuses on the latter, I’m left with a poor taste in my mouth.
Fighting with My Family
Wresting is very much not my thing, so this trailer doesn’t do a whole lot for me. The story itself, of someone who grew up loving something with her family, and then getting an opportunity to be a part of that thing professionally, is pretty neat, but when that thing is something I have little to no interest in, it doesn’t super work. I just watched this trailer and mostly all I remember about it is Nick Frost is the dad, The Rock plays himself and is kind of a dick, which is a fun choice, and that Stephen Merchant, of all people, is the writer and director of it. Also, wrestling happens. So, that’s cool, I guess. Just not my thing.
This trailer is pleasant enough, even if it doesn’t particularly add anything to the teaser that came out a few months ago. Yes, there is new footage, but we aren’t really learning anything new from that new footage. The weirdest thing is that movie seems to be setting up to the same reveal as the teaser trailer, that being one of Dumbo’s most dramatic flights, but then this trailer doesn’t finish showing the flight, whereas the teaser does. Just an odd choice. That said, the elephant still looks very cute, which, I mean, is at least half the battle on Dumbo. Like, I would die for that elephant, so good job there. But outside of that, I think the original teaser is superior, and will hopefully be what they focus on when playing promotional material for this in theaters.
Of all the ways to introduce someone as a family man, this is one of the weirdest, right? But even beyond that, the rest of this trailer is just a series of very confusing reveals, and I don’t entirely understand whose side everyone is on or what the point of any of this is. So, yeah, despite a castI mostly like, this is just something I have no real interest in. Moving on.
Once Upon A Deadpool
To avoid the bloodbath that will be this holiday season (with basically every major production company releasing something, including Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns and Warner Bros. Aquaman), Fox pushed back its expensive Alita Battle Angel to February and will instead be re-releasing an edited cut of Deadpool 2. This is such a weird idea, taking a movie and character that almost needs its R-rating to truly work and editing it into something PG-13. That said, seeing Fred Savage in that Princess Bride bedroom again does make a very weird part of me want to see this movie in theaters, and the fact that they are donating some of the proceeds to Cancer research makes it seem all the more reasonable. I’m somewhat concerned what a PG-13 Deadpool will look like, but that framing device might be just enough to make me enjoy it even more.
Again, it doesn’t say a whole lot about this cinematic universe that I still get really excited when things are colorful and bright, but that’s basically where we are. I also admittedly get a deep enjoyment seeing Willem Dafoe play anything other than an antagonist, because that man is a horror to look upon, so seeing him being a teacher is pretty entertaining. The other issues I have with other trailers, most notably that this already feels like there is way too much going on, especially with two villains on entirely different planes of battle. Also, the end of the trailer is just a mishmash of CGI, which, like, yes it’s an issue with this genre in general, but it’s also not entirely clear what is happening in that particular mishmash, which also isn’t encouraging. This will still end up being top tier DCEU, but that’s really not saying much.
Secret Life of Pets 2: Chloe Trailer
Again, this movie looks pleasant enough for kids, I’m not sure it would hold my attention for a full movie. It would honestly be better as a bunch of videos like this instead of a full movie. And I feel like they could have done better for the cat trailer instead of “cats are kind of annoying” and “cats act weird on catnip,” but it’s cute enough for kids, I suppose.
This movie was one of the first that I wrote about way back when I started these posts at the start of the summer. At the time, I felt like the movie had a bunch of nothing masquerading as a taut thriller. Almost six months later, and that’s basically where I still am. I feel like this should be more interesting, but it just seems like a weird combination of too complicated while still being tremendously bland. Also, I think the last line of this trailer is “where in the world are we?” which just really steers into my overall feelings for this nonsense.
Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
I feel like I would have much better reactions to these trailers if it spent more time with Lucy/WildStyle, instead of Emmett trying to save her. Playing the Damsel in Distress-style plot bums me out, and from the brief glimpses we get of Lucy when she is kidnapped suggests that there is much more going on with that than meets the eye, but we don’t get enough of it for me to feel confident about it. I do enjoy Chris Pratt playing double-duty as Rex, who is a mix of Pratt’s other more famous characters (including the rumored idea of him being Indiana Jones some day), and Tiffany Haddish as Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi morphing into some horrifying alien creature to try to placate the other characters also got a nice little laugh. The first movie caught me by surprise, and I feel like this one has enough here to suggest that it has more going on than it wants to show, but it’s not enough for me to say that with total confidence.
Stan & Ollie
This movie looks pleasant enough, even if it does feel like a run of the mill biopic. But seeing really strong performers like Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as the famed comedy duo does help make it feel a little more special. Coogan and Reilly are probably best known for their comedic prowess, but have both been nominated for Oscars for more dramatic roles, so seeing them play the dramatic side of a famed comedy duo feels like a match made in heaven. I don’t think there will be too much special beyond their performances and chemistry, but at least this will have that.
The Lion King
Sure, this movie doesn’t need to exist, and if Disney had used its incredible cast on almost anything else, I would have been even more hyped. However, this *looks* incredible, and getting to hear James Earl Jones give Mufasa’s speech about how “everything the light touches is our kingdom” gave me genuine chills, as does that terrifying shot of a wildebeest stampede. And damnit, if seeing the kingdom bowing to baby Simba while the chanting of “Circle of Life” happens didn’t get me to maximum hype. So yeah, just like Alladin and The Beauty and The Beast before it, this movie has no real reason to exist, but unlike those movies’ first trailers, this one shows us exactly what it needed to show us in order to get us excited, instead of just teasing everything. So, yeah, I’ma be there opening weekend.
“Fifty Shades but for teens” is apparently both a successful book and movie pitch, and the human race is the worst. I don’t have anything else to say about this. I prefer Mr. Mime.
What Men Want Red Band
I enjoyed watching this trailer. Yeah, it’s not a game-changing comedy, and the 2000 version with a trash bag that we are normalizing again enjoyed its own bit of success. Henson has shown herself to be a solid talent, and the men that she is reading seem to all be providing their own moments of solid comedy (Shaq commenting on how much he likes pretzels is inexplicably my favorite moment in this trailer). I’m not sure I can see myself going to a theater to see this, but it could be a pleasant enough movie to experience at home one night.
Rankings and Summaries
- The Lion King– I know I am fully The Problem when it comes to Disney remaking movies that are younger than me when I put this trailer this high, but did you *watch* that trailer?!
- Roma– Black and white, deeply personal Alfonso Cuaron is more than enough to be deeply excited for.
- Vox Lux– Tragedy, art, and what looks like Natalie Portman’s best performance since her Oscar is enough to have me deeply intrigued by this movie.
- Destroyer– As the critics say, Nicole Kidman seems to be on another level in this movie, and it really makes what could seem like an overly dark trailer feel like a must watch.
- Once Upon A Deadpool– An edited version of a famously filthy superhero seems like a weird idea, but the Princess Bride framing does make me very excited.
- Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle– Although the switch to Netflix worries me, this trailer seems to have a different take than we’ve typically seen of The Jungle Book, so I’m still very excited.
- Boy Erased– Showcasing a typically great performance from Lucas Hedges, this too prevalent story is one that will hopefully catch the attention of people who need it the most.
- Missing Link– Laika seems to continue their hot streak out of the gate, with a charming and funny look at the human evolutionary chain.
- Ballad of Buster Scruggs- I’m not sure I like anthology films, but seeing the Coen Brothers is still an exciting prospect.
- Bohemian Rhapsody- If this had the movie’s first or second trailer, instead of its last, I would have seen the movie by now.
- How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – An improvement over the first trailer, the stakes feel more real here, even if the female characters still feel shortchanged.
- UglyDolls– A surprisingly charming trailer with characters who could honestly bear to be a bit uglier.
- Dumbo– Although it adds basically nothing to the film’s previous teaser, this trailer still has my interest, especially with a strong design on that elephant.
- Toy Story 4– This trailer haunts me more than it should, and I’m still excited to see these characters again, even if their stories feel like they already came to a worthwhile close.
- Stan & Ollie– A run of the mill biopic would normally be lower, but having two knockout performances helps this stand out a bit more.
- What Men Want- A solid enough comedy trailer that suggests enough humor to make the movie worth watching, even if its a few months after its release date.
- Lego Movie 2: The Second Part – Teasing at more than meets the eye, but not showing enough for me to believe it will be a worthy predecessor.
- Secret Life of Pets 2- Max – A cute enough little scene, that has a nice little laugh with the creepy cats, helps this random sequel feel slightly more worthwhile.
- Detective Pikachu- Not quite what I expected out of the gate from a live-action Pokemon movie, at least the character designs are pretty cute (except Mr. Mime, who will haunt me to my death).
- Wonder Park– Focusing less on the wonder that helped the first trailer stand out, this is starting to feel more like a standard kids movie.
- Miss Bala- A Gina Rodriguez-led action thriller should be more enticing than this trailer suggests.
- Cold Pursuit– If the movie can execute on the comedy of the trailer, this might be a worthwhile little action flick, otherwise it feels like it belongs in the forgotten tale end of Neeson’s Taken franchise.
- Aquaman– When the best I have to say is “it’s pleasant to look at” and “good guy Willem Dafoe makes me laugh,” things aren’t great.
- Spies In Disguise- Will Smith turns into a bird, and talks about seeing his butt, so, yeah, that’s something I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life.
- Secret Life of Pets 2: Chloe– Not particularly inspired, but cute enough for what the movie is.
- Fighting With My Family– This movie is very much not my thing, but if you are into wrestling, it looks pleasant enough.
- Alita: Battle Angel– Still very much not my thing, this movie at least improves on its predecessors by giving its titular character more actual character.
- The Kid Who Would Be King– There is really nothing about this live action, kids version of the Sword In The Stone story to make me believe that it will endear me the way that it should.
- Escape Room– Although it could set up some fun murder set pieces, the implied mystery it sets up will likely only lead to disappointment.
- Serenity– Impressively confuses me and bores me at the same time.
- The Curse of La Llorana– Ah, crank windows!
- The Informant- I don’t understand this trailer and will not respond to it.
- After– Fork no.