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 longer peek at Joel Coen’s star-studded The Tragedy of Macbeth, a first look at Sundance hit Passing, festival favorite The Worst Person in the World and Tom Hanks sci-fi Finch.
Director: Joel Coen
Release Date: December 25, 2021
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Shakespeare’s Macbeth is the most adaptable work of fiction in history. The one and only Orson Welles took a stab at the play in 1948 and churned out an understated masterpiece, as did Roman Polanski in 1971. In 2015, Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth saw generally positive reviews, with Michael Fassbender giving a killer performance as its lead. Looser adaptations have been similarly praised; some might even go so far as to say that Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood is the best Shakespeare adaptation in the history of Shakespeare adaptations. But despite its bulk of adaptations, it’s safe to say that Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth will be nothing like anything we’ve seen before. Coen’s dark, comical, and idiosyncratic style, as seen in films like The Big Lebowski (1998), A Serious Man (2009) and Hail, Caesar! (2016), is so particular that you could spot his work anywhere. Given that, the film likely won’t be a word-for-word adaptation of the play, and we’re totally cool with that. Coen is bound to bring something utterly unique to this beloved story. Plus, we know that he’s got a knack for putting a fresh twist on classic tales, with O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) turning out to be one of the best modern adaptations of The Odyssey. Given that this will also be the first solo project from Joel Coen, it is worth wondering if it will feel any different from their previous work. But with Denzel Washington starring as Macbeth and Frances McDormand playing Lady Macbeth, there’s no way this one isn’t going to hit the mark. The first trailer for The Tragedy of Macbeth doesn’t show us much, but what it does is enough to have us counting down the days until we get to see it in theaters. We’ve got the iconic trio of witches shrouded in a spooky layer of fog. We’ve got Macbeth suited up like he’s ready for action. And, of course, we’ve got Lady Macbeth looking like she might be up to something. (Spoiler alert, she totally is).—Aurora Amidon
Director: Rebecca Hall
Release Date: November 10, 2021 (Netflix)
In 1929, Nella Larsen’s Passing—a novel about a Black woman in the Harlem Renaissance in the late 1920s who discovers that her estranged friend has been attempting to pass as white in order to be accepted by her husband—was released. A century later, it has maintained a position as a popular work in academic circles with regards to racial theory. And this year, it’s finally getting the cinematic treatment from Rebecca Hall in her directorial debut. Passing stars Tessa Thompson (Sorry to Bother You) as Irene Redfield, Ruth Negga (Ad Astra) as Clare Kendry, André Holland as Irene’s husband and Alexander Skarsgård (Big Little Lies) as Clare’s husband. The first trailer for the film reveals a slow building of tension conveyed in smooth, black-and-white visuals. It looks good, but don’t just take our word for it: It got rave reviews at Sundance where it premiered earlier this year, too.—Aurora Amidon
Director: Joachim Trier
Release Date: TBA
When The Worst Person in the World premiered at Cannes earlier this year, it was a hot ticket by all definitions. Audiences and critics loved it, and Neon quickly scooped up rights to the title. It is the fifth feature film from Norwegian director Joachim Trier (Louder Than Bombs), who has a knack for nailing narratives of self-discovery sprinkled with epic relationship deterioration. The film stars Renate Reinsve (who won the Best Actress award at Cannes for her performance) as Julie, a young woman who is struggling with her love life…to put it lightly. The first trailer starts with Julie walking with Herbert Nordrum’s character before returning back to what we imagine is her significant other—Aksel (Anders Danielsen Lie), a graphic novelist. As they say goodbye, Nordrum’s character says to her “We didn’t cheat.” Clearly, this isn’t your typical romance movie. After that, we get flashes of Julie’s very complicated life. Perhaps this confusion is exemplified when she tells a Aksel “I love you. But I also don’t.” Or, later, when she admits that she knows she’s destroying a part of her life. Although the trailer doesn’t reveal too much about the film, it does suggest a soft, upbeat, funny tone reminiscent of something from Greta Gerwig, with the undeniable melancholy of a Joanna Hogg film.—Aurora Amidon
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Release Date: November 5, 2021
For many Americans, the moment when the COVID-19 pandemic officially became “real” arrived in March of 2020 when actor Tom Hanks revealed his COVID diagnosis. The beloved performer, who more or less inherited the title of “America’s Dad” after we all stopped wanting to think about Bill Cosby, eventually went on to recover from the virus and return to what he does best, which is making crowd-pleasing blockbusters, hosting SNL and winning awards. Now he’s back in a new film with a familiar apocalyptic setting, although the funny thing about Finch is that it was actually filmed a year before COVID arrived. Finch is a sci-fi, post-apocalyptic drama that looks to combine a bit of Cast Away with The Martian or I Am Legend. Hanks plays an “ailing”—you know he’s sick because his voice quavers throughout—inventor who survives a cataclysm that destroys most life on Earth. Hiding out in a bunker, with only a dog for company, he builds a robotic companion Jeff (Caleb Landry Jones) to look after the dog when he’s gone. The trio must then embark on some kind of cross-country roadtrip in search of safety. We look forward to weeping when Jeff inevitably sacrifices himself for Finch and the dog at some point. Finch had a long production, originally being titled BIOS way back in 2017, before filming in the spring of 2019. Directed by Miguel Sapochnik, of “Battle of the Bastards” Game of Thrones fame—and also “The Long Night,” but people don’t like to talk about that one—it was originally intended for theatrical release by Universal, but then sold to Apple TV+ and given its current release date of Nov. 5, 2021. This is another major acquisition for Apple TV+ as they try to build up their slate of major original motion pictures.—Jim Vorel