I’m not usually a fan of horror movies. But every once and a while there are films like The Witch that, instead of going for straight-up horror, are just dark and tense through and through — and that I kind of love. The latest is It Comes at Night, and I’ll just point you to my colleague Bryan Bishop’s review, which I think nails the film’s creepy strengths and thematic shortcomings.
What I actually want to talk about very quickly is how It Comes at Night uses multiple aspect ratios to tell its story. To signify dream sequences (well, nightmares), it cuts out to a wider perspective that makes you feel a bit more claustrophobic, since black bars suddenly border the screen. But the film also mixes things up at one point, using those black bars to represent a metaphorical nightmare, too.
Another of my colleagues, Tasha Robinson, asked the director about this, and he basically just said it’s a tonal trick that no one is meant to notice. I think he’s right that most people won’t notice — and it does work how he intended it — but I’m not convinced that changing aspect ratios like that is a great idea; at least not how it’s used here.
There’s something really heavy-handed about literally changing how much the audience is able to see that kind of bothers me. More importantly, changing why the technique is being used (dream vs. not a dream) leaves the film open to some very interesting interpretations, which, from this interview at least, it sounds like the director didn’t intend for. On a film analysis level, I’m torn between finding this fascinating and infuriating. But perhaps unintentionally, it may make the movie even more interesting.
Check out 11 trailers from this week below.
Flatliners, a sequel to / remake of the 1990 film Flatliners, is about med school students getting high by nearly killing themselves, also possibly gaining super intelligence (I can’t really tell), and then being chased by demons. I think it’s basically just Final Destination, but with Ellen Page. It comes out September 29th.
Amazon has a short and simple first trailer out for Transparent season four. It’s not much, but it pulls together a good mix of the characters, family, and humor that’s made the show’s first three seasons such a hit. Also, there are weed gummies. There’s no premiere date yet for the new season.
Kathryn Bigelow’s latest is an intense, scary look at the 1967 Detroit riot. This new trailer is far more tense than the last one, and I think it plays better for it. The violence feels claustrophobic and impossible to escape, and it’s pretty clear nothing good’s coming out of it. The film comes out August 4th.
Despite the name, Insecure hit HBO with an extremely strong and confident first season last year. And now, we’re getting an early first look at season two. This teaser seems like it may not actually be from the show, but it’s a cool overview of the cast and relationships set up over the past year. There’ll be more starting July 23rd.
This looks like it could be really good. After Louie is about an artist struggling with the generational differences between gay men like himself who lived through the AIDS epidemic and younger men who grew up in a safer time. The film looks intimate and beautiful in this first trailer, but there doesn’t appear to be a release date for it just yet.
In This Corner of the World
After picking up the animated feature award from this year’s Japan Academy Prize, In This Corner of the World is starting to hit theaters across the globe. The film is an animated World War II story from the perspective of a Japanese woman, who appears to be getting accustomed to a new world of her own after marrying a man she doesn’t know. It’s supposed to hit theaters in the US on August 11th.
The Defiant Ones
HBO has a new documentary looking at the partnership of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, the co-founders of Beats and two of the biggest players in the music industry for decades. The Defiant Ones sits down with both men, as well as plenty of huge musicians to paint a portrait of their work together. It looks like it’ll be a fun one. It comes out July 9th.
If you missed the Hulk Hogan–Gawker battle last year, it looks like this Netflix documentary will be able to catch you up. Nobody Speak is about the “trials of the free press,” which feels especially relevant in the age of Trump, but it seems to primarily center on the Gawker trial and the potential fallout from it. It comes out June 23rd.
Goodbye Christopher Robin
Much like Finding Neverland, the film Goodbye Christopher Robin looks at the people behind a classic set of stories. In this case, Winnie-the-Pooh. This first trailer is a little on the happy-go-lucky side — which, alright, that mostly makes sense — but it makes me wonder if it’s all setting up some kind of greater drama as the family hits fame. It comes out the UK on September 29th and in the US on October 13th.
On its own, I’m not sure this trailer would have me convinced to watch Okja. But since the film comes from Bong Joon Ho, the director behind Snowpiercer, Mother, and The Host, I’m going to be sold on this no matter what. And as this trailer makes pretty clear, the movie’s gotten some great early responses. It comes out on Netflix on June 28th.
I have zero idea. It stars Kyle Mooney. And also apparently Mark Hamill and Claire Danes are in it.