August 16, 2018
Trailer Watch

Alfonso Cuarón, Gaspar Noé & More Trailers You May Have Missed

Staying on top of the trailer circuit is a full-time job in and of itself. We're here to help.

The fall movie season is inarguably in full swing, at least as much as movie trailers are concerned. This week, we're highlighting a few features that we'd hedge our bets on as being awards contenders by year's end, although if they're not, don't let that dissuade you of their worth and quality.

Heavy-hitters such as Alfonso Cuarón, Gaspar Noé, and Michael Moore headline this week's slate along with a new feature starring recent Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali and a sequel/remake to a popular Mel Gibson film. 

Fahrenheit 11/9 (dir. Michael Moore)

Love 'em or hate 'em—there appears to be little inbetween—documentary filmmaker Michael Moore is back with his latest feature, Fahrenheit 11/9, a sequel (in title, at least) to his 2004 expose' of George W. Bush, Fahrenheit 9/11. The 11/9 stands for the day after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a day that was, to put it mildly, a frightening realization for a number of Americans. It's been a tumultuous two years since that fateful day, and you'd be hardpressed to find anyone on either side of the aisle that doesn't claim that things are drastically different in this country than they were pre-election The debate is whether or not that's a good thing.

After a successful stint on Broadway last year in his one-man, autobiographical show, The Terms of My Surrender, Moore is ready to take on Big Government in a big way; spraying the infected water of his hometown (Flint, Michigan) on the Governor's lawn is nothing if not an effectively dramatic touch. And while Trump remains the most decisive figure in the White House since...George Washington (?), Moore has always been persistent in calling out each President for their wrongdoings. His style can be abrasive, but there are enough good points made in each new entry that deem his filmography worth taking seriously. Release Date: September 21st, 2018, via the filmmaker.

Green Book (dir. Peter Farrelly)

Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali star in this film "based on a true friendship," recounting the story of an African-American musician, Don Shirley, enlisting the help of a white bodyguard/driver to accompany him on a tour through the Deep South.

A period piece set when all men and women were not considered equal (you could say we're still awaiting that monumental day), the film appears well-cast—the banter between Ali and the street-smart Mortensen (playing Tony Lip, whose son co-wrote the film's screenplay) feels chummy and likeable—and professionally directed: Peter Farrelly (of Farrelly Brothers fame (i.e. Dumb and Dumber and There's Something About Mary) is the man in charge behind the camera, and it feels remarkably competent, the sort of fall movie that yes, it's okay to bring mom along to.  Release Date: November 21st, 2018, via Universal Pictures

Climax (dir. Gaspar Noé)

A party located in the deep, dark corners of your subconscious, cinema provocateur Gaspar Noé's latest film looks like a visually stunning, photographically daring, narratively stimulating exercise that focuses on the sexiest of all the artforms: dance. Having premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, the film was greeted with some of the director's most positive reviews and (surprising given the innuendo implied by the title) commended for being one of his more tame excursions into depravity.

The trailer is itself a riveting piece of work, featuring what may be a first: a film critic's pull-quote being scooped up and swallowed by a thirsty young partygoer hanging out by the punch bowl; positive reviews truly are a thing to savor. This trailer, although lite on plot details, sells the movie full-stop, its freakish visuals—someone's hair gets engulfed in flames?—making an immediate impact. Noé teaming with distributor A24 feel like a match made in heaven, and the French director's fans will no doubt show up in droves.  Release Date: Fall 2018, via A24.

ROMA (dir. Alfonso Cuarón)

A period piece set in the director's home country of Mexico, Roma has been quickly gaining momentum as one of this year's top awards contenders, premiering in Venice and then serving as the Opening Night Film of the New York Film Festival next month. Shot in black and white, the film looks gorgeous, and the trailer reveals very little: a family (or two) is certainly involved, as is some form of separation, the birth of a newborn, firearms being used, and a water puddle that reflects (quite literally) the struggles of life itself.

Alfonso Cuarón's feature follow-up his Oscar-winning Best Director turn for Gravity, ROMA appears both intimate and epic, as large as a country and as small and personal as a single person's vision. That makes sense, given that the film was written and directed by Cuarón, as well as co-produced, co-shot, and co-edited by him as well. The film is a Netflix production, meaning that it will most likely have a day-and-date release strategy by the end of the year, and its award-qualifying theatrical run will most likely be worth it; expect Best Cinematography honors to be headed its way throughout the upcoming winter season.

 Release Date: December 14th, 2018, via Netflix.

What Men Want (dir. Adam Shankman)

A sequel(ish) to the 2000 Mel Gibson-starring comedy, What Women Want, this follow-up apparently 18 years in the making swaps the sexes and casts Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson as our lead who can hear the internal thoughts of the opposite sex. Is it a gift or a curse? Depending on the company you keep, it might prove a little bit of both. Henson plays a sports agent who, given the male-dominance of the profession, is rarely given her due, being passed over for company appreciation awards and late night, employee poker games. As luck would have it, she takes a magical potion (a tea?), bumps her head at a club, and wakes up in a hospital with powers that would surely be illegal if made public.

Filmmaker Nancy Meyers (the director of the first installment) is credited with coming up with the story for this new feature, but it feels like a rehashing of the original, except only this time directed by a man (Adam Shankman, the director of everything from The Wedding Planner to The Pacifier, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, Hairspray, and Rock of Ages). Tracy Morgan and basketball hall-of-famers Shaquille O'Neal and Grant Hill co-star.  Release Date: January 11th, 2019 via Paramount Pictures.     

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August 19, 2018 at 2:44AM, Edited August 19, 2:44AM

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