It’s so easy to miss a AAA trailer these days, even with all the endless marketing build-up around teasers, pre-trailers (“in one day,” etc) and other forms of cinematic hype. A good trailer is an art form, one that is able to convey a movie’s plot, tone and style all while resisting that ever-present urge to score it to a slowed-down pop song. So here’s the Trailer Park, where we’re parking all the trailers you may have skipped, missed or want to revisit from the past week. Appreciate them. Nitpick them. Figure out if the movies they’re selling are actually going to be any good. That’s all part of the fun, after all.
This week, we’ve got a first trailer for Disney’s upcoming original Encanto, Netflix’s Sweet Girl and a pair of A24 films: Kilmer doc Val, and horror Lamb.
Here are the best new movie trailers of the week:
Director: Byron Howard, Jared Bush; co-directed by Charise Castro Smith
Release Date: November 24, 2021
Lin-Manuel Miranda—now, perhaps, one of the busiest people working in Hollywood—not only has two feature films under his belt this year, but an upcoming Disney film as well. Set for a fall release along with Miranda’s first directed feature, tick, tick… BOOM!, Disney’s next CGI-animated musical Encanto will feature songs written by the Broadway hit-maker himself. The vibrant, colorful film is set in a fantastical version of Colombia, following a magical family called the Madrigals, who even live in a magical house. But Mirabel—our film’s heroine, and the only one in the family born without special powers—soon discovers that her family’s magic is threatened, and she must be the one to save it. The film is directed by Byron Howard and Jared Bush, and co-directed by co-writer Charise Castro Smith (who shares a script credit with Bush), and produced by Clark Spencer. It will be Smith’s (who worked on series such as The Haunting of Hill House and Sweetbitter) first time working on a Walt Disney Animation Studios film, while Bush, Howard and Spencer all collaborated on the award-winning Zootopia in 2016. The film’s voice cast will star Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Stephanie Beatriz, alongside Wilmer Valderrama, Diane Guerrero and Adassa. With a theatrical release planned for November 24, it will be Disney’s first major animated film to not be sent straight to Disney+ since the COVID-19 pandemic.—Brianna Zigler
Director: Leo Scott, Ting Poo
Release Date: July 23, 2021
Since revealing his two-year battle with throat cancer in 2017—during which he received two tracheotomies, hindering his voice to the point where he now needs a voice box to speak—actor Val Kilmer had stepped away from the spotlight. But now, with the use of old home video footage and narration from his son, Jack, the prolific actor tells the story of his life in the upcoming documentary Val, set to premiere at Cannes on July 7. Produced by A24 and released by Amazon Studios, the documentary amasses hundreds of hours of footage Kilmer shot while growing up with his two brothers, and that he continued to film during his time at Julliard, with his two sons and former wife Joanne Whalley, and well into his acting career (some clips during the doc reveal the fresh-faced visages of young Sean Penn and Kevin Bacon). Behind-the-scenes film footage in the doc includes Batman Forever, Tombstone, Top Gun and the infamously disastrous The Island of Dr. Moreau. The plagued production of this latter film was in part due to Kilmer’s behavior, which would build him a reputation as being difficult to work with, and Kilmer himself owns up to his past conduct during the doc—there is even a clip of a heated exchange Kilmer filmed between himself and Moreau director John Frankenheimer. The film is set for a limited release in theaters on July 23, then for a streaming release on Prime Video on August 6. Kilmer is also set to appear in the upcoming Top Gun sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, due for a fall theatrical release.—Brianna Zigler
Director: Valdimar Jóhannsson
Release Date: TBD
Quick show of hands: If you were part of a childless couple who were really, really upset about your inability to conceive, would you consider a half-human, half-sheep creature as a viable child replacement? We’d love to say that was a purely hypothetical question, but it’s also the subject of the upcoming supernatural horror drama Lamb, from Icelandic director Valdimar Jóhannsson, which is scheduled to premiere at Cannes. And it seems the film will be U.S. bound as well, with distribution rights acquired by art horror specialists A24 at the same time that a first trailer has been released to tease the disturbing content within. Jóhannsson is a noted special effects engineer who has worked on such films as Rogue One, before making the jump into feature film directing. Lamb stars Noomie Rapace and Hilmir Snaer Gudnason as a childless couple of sheep farmers in Iceland who make a shocking discovery. Lonely and wishing for a child, they get rather more than they bargained for when they find a bizarre hybrid in their sheep barn. Said Rapace: “A script like this is rare and I directly felt that I had to do it. I’ve never done anything like this before and I can’t wait to start filming and go back to my roots in Iceland.” The first trailer certainly vibes with the A24 aesthetic, seeming to promise the type of slow-burn, psychological horror people have come to expect from the studio. We’re given only the smallest of possible hints at the appearance of the half-sheep creature, which is unsurprisingly being saved for a later reveal.—Jim Vorel
Director: Brian Andrew Mendoza
Release Date: August 20, 2021 (Netflix)
Jason Momoa Netflix vehicle Sweet Girl sees the lovable lug of Aquaman and more turn to the more conventional, thrillery uses of his physique. Set to a hilariously haunting rendition of “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” this movie sees Momoa trying to punch his way through the corruption of Big Pharma after his wife’s cancer takes a turn. Explosions, stabbed journalists and many Jason Bourne-esque pieces of silliness ensue.