Staying on top of the trailer circuit is a full-time job in and of itself. We're here to help.
As we gear up for the summer movie season, Trailer Watch returns to highlight a few titles that are poised to break out in a big way.
Below you will find a pretty full-balanced meal: a new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a moving story about a father and his daughter, two films that highlight police brutality in heartbreaking ways, and a romantic studio comedy that's a big step forward toward furthering inclusion in Hollywood. Which are you most looking forward to?
Leave No Trace (dir. Debra Granik)
After an eight-year hiatus from fiction filmmaking (she made the documentary Stray Dog in 2015), Winter's Bone director Debra Granik returns with another story involving a young girl living in the woods, although this time literally so. Based on the novel My Abandonment by Peter Rock, the film follows a father and daughter (Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie) living off-the-grid in an Oregon national park.
Once discovered by local authorities touting that it's illegal to live on public land, the two are forced to domesticate. Conflict between father and daughter erupt. This sounds similar to the recent Captain Fantastic, but the tone feels more grounded, and the inclusion of the father's intense suffering from PTSD (and his daughter's suffering as a result of his suffering), appears to add pathos to an already endearing story. The trailer doesn't reveal everything, and you can rest assured that Granik will dig to the core of this emotionally complex story. Release Date: June 29th, 2018, via Bleecker Street.
Ant-Man and The Wasp (dir. Peyton Reed)
Any trailer that's accompanied by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock's 1988 hit single It Takes Two deserves a significant amount of praise, and it's an appropriate choice given the introduction of a crimefighting partner for our lead ant played by Paul Rudd. For non-comic book fans, no, Ant-Man isn't teaming up with a bourgeois yacht club wasp, but rather one of the winged variety (played by the returning Evangeline Lilly), continuing to battle bad guys and adjust his size in the process.
Shot by two-time Oscar nominee Dante Spinotti (L.A. Confidential and The Insider), the trailer implies that the 20th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will also include a shot of a giant salt shaker (!) used to stifle a villain's exit and a scene of Rudd and Laurence Fishburne bragging about how big they can grow their bodies (insert your own risque, R-rated joke here). Peyton Reed returns to the director's chair, and, although the trailer provides no mention of her, Catwoman herself, Michelle Pfeiffer, has a supporting role as Janet van Dyne. Release Date: July 6th, 2018, via Marvel Entertainment.
Blindspotting (dir. Carlos López Estrada)
Premiering at Sundance earlier this year, Blindspotting is the debut feature of Carlos López Estrada, a 29-year old Oakland-based music video director whose work with .clipping has made the filmmaker skyrocket to his first feature. Starring .clipping's Daveed Diggs (a Tony winner for the uber-successful Broadway musical Hamilton) and long-time collaborator Rafael Casal, the film is an expertly paced, claustrophobic, in-your-face work that, if there's any goodwill left in the world, should break out in a big way this summer.
Hot button issues of police brutality, gun violence, racial discrimination, and cultural appropriation are all addressed and challenged here, even while the film is, in some respects, a "buddy comedy," one extremely funny in parts and unflinchingly intense in others. We spoke with Diggs and Estrada at SXSW about the film, and are eager to see it again; it's certainly ripe for repeated viewings. Given the musical backgrounds of the film's collaborators, Blindspotting is hip-hop infused and feels as much lead by its visuals as it does its rhythmic dialogue. Release Date: July 20th, 2018, via Lionsgate.
Crazy Rich Asians (dir. Jon M. Chu)
In case you're a little confused by the title, the characters are "crazy rich," not "crazy." Based on a 2013 novel by Kevin Kwan, this big screen adaption is something quite rare: an opportunity for some of our most celebrated Asian and Asian-American actors to lead a non-comic-book summer movie. A comedy about a woman (Constance Wu) who travels to Singapore to meet her boyfriend's extremely rich (okay, "crazy rich") family at an upcoming wedding, the film feels like a cross between My Fair Lady and Monster-in-Law.
Will our heroine be able to convince her beau's mom (played by Michelle Yeoh) that she's worthy of her son's love? Should she even have to? The late summer release date feels ripe to encourage positive word-of-mouth and long legs art the box office, and this is an inspired follow-up for director Jon M. Chu after his Now You See Me 2 two years prior. Release Date: August 17th, 2018, via Warner Bros Pictures.
Monsters and Men (dir. Reinaldo Marcus Green)
Director Reinaldo Marcus Green makes his feature directorial debut with Monsters and Men, a riveting triptych that kicks off with an unarmed African-American man being shot and killed by police, the aftereffects of the murder rippling throughout the community in introspective ways. As cell phone footage of the shooting is uploaded online by an innocent bystander, Green expands the scope of his story to show how the public perception of men-in-blue affects the officers themselves, and the filmmaker challenges the audience to explore the complexities involved in evaluating an aggressively policed society.
The film won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Outstanding First Feature at Sundance back in January, and for good reason: Green shows a commanding sense of tone that other filmmakers might struggle with balancing. As a thorough extension of the filmmaker's short, Stop, Green's film is as much about the endless cycle of police brutality as it is the ramifications for those who dare to uncover it. No specific release date has been announced, but a fall release is official. Release Date: Fall 2018, via NEON.