Staying on top of the trailer circuit is a full-time job in and of itself. We're here to help.
Rest assured that the summer movie season doesn't only include Hollywood blockbusters and overly test-marketed entertainment designed for mass consumption. There are a number of festival favorites set to hit theaters very soon, as well as daring new works from celebrated American auteurs and first-time feature filmmakers. It should be a strong season, especially, as you will notice below, a particularly compelling string of weeks in mid-August. Let's dive in.
Sorry to Bother You (dir. Boots Riley)
The talk of this past January's Sundance Film Festival, the first feature from musical artist Boots Riley arrives this summer on the wave of rapturous reviews and mounting anticipation. Starring Lakeith Stanfield as a telemarketer who has to resort to some rather otherworldy (and supremely impressive) techniques to improve his job performance, the trailer implies a film both realistic in its searing social critique and fantastical in the way it sees them through.
This is the newly released red-band trailer that quite impressively implements critical pull-quotes into the film itself—cutting a trailer is not a creatively-lacking endeavour—and hopefully, the film is as wildly inventive and provocative as it initially appears. This one is kind of NSFW. Release Date: July 6th, 2018, via Annapurna Pictures.
Never Goin' Back (dir. Augustine Frizzell)
Premiering in the Next Section of the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, the debut feature from director and often-actress Augustine Frizzell screened to awe and a shared enthusiasm for rebellion against the status quo ("Frizzell's film says 'Fuck 'em all,'" is a pull-quote displayed in the trailer). Starring Maia Mitchell and Camila Morrone are two friends who like to hang out, get high, and do their best to come to work somewhat functional, the plot feels like a series of terrible happenings laid upon two relatable people.
Is it a road trip movie? A series of continuously unfolding unfortunate events? Since it's being released by A24, comparisons to Spring Breakers have already been made, but it feels like something else, for one: many of the prominent behind-the-camera roles are made up of women. Release Date: August 3rd, 2018, via A24.
BlacKkKlansman (dir. Spike Lee)
Spike Lee is back, and judging by the story of his latest narrative feature not a moment too soon. Based on Ron Stallworth's novel Black Klansman, the film recounts the "wait, this is really true?" story of two police officers, one African-American and one a Jewish Caucasian, who attempt to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan lead by an all-too-real David Duke. If this sounds like a pretty serious, socially-relevant story, it is, but what seems apparent from this trailer (and from the critical response out of Cannes, where the film premiered), is that the tone of the film is also pretty comical (in a jaw-dropping, flabbergasted kind of way).
The cast includes Adam Driver and John David Washington (yep, Denzel's son) as the two cops, and Topher Grace as the aforementioned Duke. After working with Lee on the recently released filmed stage production of Passing Over, cinematographer Chayse Irvin (one of the cinematographers on Beyoncé's Lemonade) rejoins Lee for this narrative feature, and Jordan Peele and Jason Blum are onboard as producers. The film opens, uncoincidentally, 364 days after the White nationalist-led protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. Release Date: August 10th, 2018, via Focus Features.
The Happytime Murders (dir. Brian Henson)
It's not every day that an R-rated raunchfest primarily led by puppets graces American cinemas, but when those days do arrive, they mustn't go uncelebrated. From director Brian Henson (the son of Jim) comes this foul-mouthed comedy that's part crime mystery and part Animal House.
That the film comes from a member of the Henson family is notable, for, while not being released by Disney—there are no Muppets present here—the puppet designs clearly recall the felt epidermis of those beloved characters. These simply happen to snort more drugs (via Twizzlers), have more sex, and cuss a lot more. Melissa McCarthy leads the human cast, and this looks completely bizarre, like a 1980s buddy comedy crossed with an early Peter Jackson sense of well, bad taste. Release Date: August 18th, 2018, via STX Entertainment.
Bohemian Rhapsody (dir. Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher)
First a note on the directorial credit: Bryan Singer had apparently shot most of the film before being let go two weeks before the production commenced. Numerous reasons have been reported as to why Singer departed/was let go from the production, but nevertheless, filmmaker Dexter Fletcher came on to finish the shoot, hence the appearance of both names on the final credit.
If you're a big fan of Queen, the British group responsible for some of the most iconic pop hits of the past century, this biopic is for you. While Rami Malek's starring as Freddie Mercury, feels like inspired casting, we're a little more intrigued by the closing title card that concludes the trailer with an opportunity to have your voice included in the final film. So while it's a first for the Trailer Watch column to bring to your attention an opportunity to be in an upcoming movie that we're featuring, you can do just that here. Good luck! Release Date: November 2, 2018, via 20th Century Fox.