Ready Player One — https://youtu.be/D_eZxSYRhco
Inès: What jumps out at me the most in this trailer is the visual effects. All the scenes are very crafted, down to the smallest details, and they look pretty amazing. It’s directed by Steven Spielberg, and that tends to be a good indicator of the quality of a film. However, I’m not sure how I feel about what seems like a predictable plot about a dystopian reality in which a nefarious undercurrent is revealed and a surprising hero leads a rebellion. It’s a good plot line, but it’s very familiar to all audiences, especially after the successes of The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Divergent, and even Star Wars. I’d watch it because the blend of reality and virtual reality may make a good action movie, one about friendship and sacrifice, but maybe not one that I’ll remember a few years from now.
Sienna: When deciding what movies to watch with my family, certain movies receive the classification of a “Devin movie:” heavily action-based, with lots of special effects, a movie for which my brother, the aforementioned Devin, would advocate and which I would fight against. This trailer immediately made me think, “Devin movie.” This trailer gave no indication that Ready Player One will distinguish itself within the futuristic, sci-fi genre. I’m not sure if it’s my intense apocalypse fatigue, but it would take a lot for me to be persuaded to watch another movie with the same cliché, post-apocalyptic plot line as many others that have been released in recent years. But it was difficult for me to make that judgment about this movie, as the trailer doesn’t reveal much about the actual details of its plot. Instead, it relies heavily on colorful, bright shots that move rapidly from one to the next, which can seem epic and exciting at times but was mostly just overwhelming, to sell the movie. It does use a lot of special effects and technology, which has the potential to seem cheesy, but the clever decision to place the film half in the live action world and half in some ambiguous, digitized universe could be a way to circumvent that critique. With Steven Spielberg at the helm, the film is sure to get some press, but I’m not sure this trailer did its direction any justice. Also, I saw what looked like the Iron Giant in the background at one point, so I am intrigued? But not really enough to go and see this movie.
Eman: I’ve got no more enthusiasm left for Ready Player One. The trailers thus far have admittedly been passable (minus calling Ernie Cline “God’s Geeky Angel”, or whatever that Comic Con footage did), but there’s been a constant ache in my gut regarding marrying Steven Spielberg’s more populist sensibilities with Cline’s fan-pandering drivel passing as prose. The book is pure nostalgia-bait, and Spielberg is the really the only guy I’d expect to be able to make gold out of empty air, I just can’t be excited. I do feel like there is so much great sci-fi that could mine from virtual reality, our addiction to nostalgia, and so much of what is wrapped up in this. And Spielberg would be the perfect director for that. But this just looks like a cliche chosen one story linked to “hey, remember that” gags, done as serious instead of comedic (Phillip K. Dick meets Jimmy Fallon). It was cool to point out all the familiar pop culture, like the Delorean, the Iron Giant, Hello Kitty, Halo, Jurassic Park, etc, but will that really even make this memorable?
A Quiet Place — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9wE8dyzEJE
Inès: As a disclaimer I have to say that I don’t watch horror movies–they’re just not my idea of a fun time. I’m not completely certain of the premise of A Quiet Place except that it involves a family needing to keep quiet at all times, to the point they’ve developed a form of sign language and lay sand on the ground before walking to avoid snapping branches. To tell the truth, what I like the most about this trailer is that it stars John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, a real-life hilarious couple, as the movie-screen parents of two tween-aged kids. In what appears to be a secluded area in the woods is this family that quietly lives in a two-story house; and when things go wrong lights flash red, monstrous noises are heard in the attic, and a tear-streaked Emily Blunt yells in a bathtub. If this is your thing, I would check it out.
Sienna: I’m going to preface this by saying that I don’t generally like horror movies, and this trailer didn’t change my mind. It starts out strangely colorful and calm, with a child lying on the ground and gazing up at the sky, and then transitions abruptly into an intense eeriness. The cinematography is undoubtedly beautiful, which made the sudden addition of ominous music and foreboding words flashing across the screen feel out of place and wrong. My overarching impression from this trailer is that this movie is going to be like Little House on the Prairie meets a cliché, trope-filled horror film, from its frolicking children and farmhouse setting to the open-mouthed but silent scream of Emily Blunt in a bathtub. It features a family that communicates by sign language so as not to signal their presence to the mysterious “other,” the hunter who is represented in this trailer as a flashing red light and some left-behind claw marks. The one interesting aspect of this trailer is its incredibly effective use of sound and silence to create suspense. There is no dialogue at all, but the emotion of every scene was conveyed impactfully using sound effects. To its credit, it didn’t look like a cheesy, low-budget horror movie, and I know that Emily Blunt and John Krasinski are both great actors, but the trailer didn’t compel me to see it, my dislike for horror movies notwithstanding.
Eman: I’m on a totally separate boat from my colleagues on this one. I’m not a fan of horror movies either but will definitely see one if it looks inventive and worthwhile. This rather gorgeous footage of A Quiet Place is more than enough to whet my appetite for a supernatural thriller. I legitimately gasped at the moment when the kid knocked over the lamp. For me, this film needs to primarily nail two things in order to succeed: one, tension — simple enough, and two, the design of whatever it is that’s hunting them. I’ve watched countless horror films with a great set-up only to completely drop the ball on monster design, or even worse, crappy monster design AND shoddy CGI. Beyond all of the unnerving atmosphere and attention to making this as ominously silent as possible, I’m also excited to see John Krasinski take on the director’s chair.
Thy Kingdom Come — https://youtu.be/wTmYWk7kerU
Inès: The piano playing and soft speech of Javier Bardem (whom I love, he’s a phenomenal actor) immediately set the tone in this trailer. This is a serious movie, likely a contender for film festivals. There is a series of scenes of people with struggles that go from paralysis or debilitating obesity, to being in prison. The subjects are solemn, or crying, or passive. Javier Bardem seems to play a the role of a priest or religious figure, whose outfit is sometimes glimpsed at, which is reinforced by the title. What he says, things like “I hear you talk, and I see your face,” and about understanding the difficulty of survival, give the feeling that he’s listening to all the people we are seeing, maybe hearing their confessions or just their stories. There is very little information in this trailer, but I get enough to know that if I want to see an interesting independent film I’ll go see it. I likely won’t because who actually goes through with going to a movie that only plays at one small theater and is culturally intelligent.
Sienna: So I’m not really sure what to make of this trailer. A mysterious male narrator’s voiceover plays while images of people experiencing hardships such as incarceration or disease flash across the screen. It seems like this movie centers around this man, who speaks platitudes about survival and strength as he observes from the corners of every scene. This trailer left me with more questions than anything else, as it didn’t really tell me anything about the movie’s plot or general conceit at all. Are the stories depicted in the movie fictional, real, or somewhere in between? Is this a documentary or a dramatization? Are the people we see on screen actors or everyday people? Is the male narrator a priest (the title makes me thing there’s some religious angle to the movie)? Is he a journalist? Is he listening to people’s confessions or just taking notes? Is this exploitative or well-intentioned? Why choose to focus on these particular subjects? What ties this movie together? Do I care enough to find out?
Eman: I’ve done some research into this film purely because I’m a Terrence Malick nerd. In 2010, Malick contacted photojournalist Eugene Richards to help him find real residents of Bartlesville, Oklahoma to interact with Javier Bardem‘s somber, faith-tested priest in Malick’s 2013 film To The Wonder. The end result saw Bardem taking confession from these real people, and hearing some of their most intimate secrets. As it goes with Malick’s “find the movie in the edit” storytelling process, we only saw a few minutes of all the footage captured with Bardem out in the wild, donning a priest’s collar. Now, Richards has been given permission from the legendary filmmaker to cut the excised scenes together into his own film, Thy Kingdom Come. Apparently, the fact that many of these individuals knew that Bardem wasn’t a real priest didn’t seem to affect their ability to share some rather painful truths about themselves. Thy Kingdom Come sounds like a rather fascinating experiment, and the type of movie you go to film festivals to catch a viewing of. To The Wonder is one of Malick’s lesser films, just because I feel like he did lose the story in the edit (along with editing out entire roles), so I have a feeling this contemplative look into real lives of real people, all through the lens of Javier Bardem in a priest costume, will be something worthwhile (at least better than To The Wonder). Really that idea of having someone to listen to your problems and your story seems powerful.
Image Credits: IMDb