The Christmas Chronicles– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0xv99h17QE
Juliana: “Santa’s in town early this year”? No kidding, Netflix! Personally, it’s a bit too early for Christmas season. That being said, this one somehow found a way to stick out of the crowd. For some reason, the mere fact that Santa goes through an actual major city instead of the stereotypical suburbs was already mind-blowing to me. I’m also a bit in love with the fact that we get to see kids actually think about recording the wild things they’re seeing, although I’m not sold on the fact that they seem to be using an actual recording device instead of their phones. And what’s up with those animal-elves near the end? I have lots of mixed feelings towards this one, but Kurt Russell’s Santa seems entertaining enough to add this one to the Netflix to-watch list for the holidays.
Sienna: Wow, it is way too early for Christmas movie season. We’re not even through Halloween yet! To be honest, this trailer didn’t do much for me. I’m not sure what the plot of the movie is, except that it revolves around a sarcastic, clearly middle-aged Santa getting up to some strange antics. I prefer my Santa as a jolly, elderly man who loves bringing happiness to children, not a joyriding, no-nonsense authority figure (who is somehow simultaneously mischievous, urging a teenage boy not to tell Mrs. Claus about their crazy car ride). Also, on a slightly separate note, I’m not entirely sure what era this movie is supposed to be set in because everything about it appears modern except the fact that the kids seem to be using video cameras rather than cell phones. I don’t see why we need another Santa movie. I’m perfectly fine sticking with the classics, and I’m not sure what demand Netflix thinks it’s filling here. I probably won’t see this movie when it comes out. Instead, catch me watching classics like Miracle on 34th Street (1947) and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) to get into the holiday spirit.
Zain: It’s not even November 1st and Netflix is already trying to force me into the Christmas spirit. Luckily, this is a Netflix original made by the same people behind Harry Potter (2001) and Home Alone (1990), so if my inner child’s intuition is telling me anything, it’s that this movie could have something good in store for us. Unfortunately, however, Kurt Russell as Santa Clause feels somewhat lukewarm to me; in fact, his appearance strikes me as more of a middle-aged dad dressing up in a Santa costume than an actual version of the character. I do like the contemporary take on some of his other outfits as well as the sled. And while some shots, like Santa’s sled nearly flying head-on into a plane are certainly neat, not much about this trailer stands out to me as particularly exciting. Maybe the fact that the Christmas genre in general has been saturated with films that all involve the same characters and themes is influencing my judgment, but who knows. There’s definitely a lot to live up to considering those who have handled the white-bearded character before (Tim Allen, Tom Hanks, John Goodman), but I’m sure Russell will live up to the task. I’m at least excited to see him try.
Juliana: If you’re considering Glass, please watch Unbreakable (2000) first. Unbreakable was a pre-Marvel superhero movie, with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson having some of the best hero-villain chemistry in the history of film. Bruce Willis’ character, David Dunn, had unbreakable skin, while Samuel L. Jackson’s Elijah Price had a rare disease that made his bones fragile, thus giving him the nickname Mr. Glass. That brings us to this film. Nineteen years later, M. Night Shyamalan is bringing these two back, along with James McAvoy and the world from Split (2016), to make what can possibly be one of the most brilliant and unexpected crossovers I’ve seen in recent years. This movie has so much potential to be different and surprising (something rare in the current superhero oversaturated film industry). However, there’s also a certain apprehension of it creating too many plot holes as it tries to suture both of the Unbreakable and Split worlds. After all, if it was already established that Dunn has powers, why is he being treated as if he’s delusional? It’s high risk, but I hope the gamble pays off. To me, it already did: a villain-centered movie with Samuel L. Jackson as the aforementioned bad guy? I’m sold.
Sienna: So, I’m pretty sure the only M. Night Shyamalan movie I’ve seen is The Last Airbender (2010), and that one gave me chills in an awful way. (Don’t hate me, movie buffs) But this trailer was really intriguing (and gave me positive chills!). As I have not seen either Unbreakable (2000) or Split (2016), I did not have much context going into this trailer, but Juliana’s quick summary was really helpful with the basics. I do know that now I really want to go back and watch both movies just so I can watch this one after. The star-studded cast is exciting, and I believe the movie will likely live up to its trailer. I remember watching James McAvoy in Atonement (2007), so it’s really cool seeing him go completely unhinged. Also, I would watch Samuel L. Jackson in just about anything. I’ve been waiting for a “bad guys teaming up” type of superhero movie for a while, so I’m really excited to see this one.
Zain: We’re finally getting the “Avengers” of M. Night Shyamalan movies (although I’m not really sure anyone asked for that). To be more specific, Glass is the narrative culmination of two Shyamalan’s previous films: Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016), and despite it being directed by M. Night Shyamalan, it actually looks quite entertaining. Although Shyamalan hasn’t exactly had a winning streak of movies in the past two decades (I still shiver when thinking about The Last Airbender (2010)), Split was remarkably clever and unsettlingly creepy, much of which can be attributed to James McAvoy’s stellar acting. Lucky for us, both McAvoy’s character and his 23 personalities are back, and joining him are Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson from 2000’s Unbreakable. If the all-star cast isn’t enough to make you run to theatres in January, then the visuals should be. The scene where the camera cuts rapidly between McAvoy’s different personalities is straight-up powerful, and I’m truly excited to see it in theatres. Above all, however, the fact that this is a sequel to films that came out 16 years apart gives me the feeling that Shyamalan has been planning this from the beginning, which gives me hope for Glass and potentially for his career as a whole, which is a pretty big deal.
The Best of Enemies– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxfWbmmdz9A
Juliana: Between the “based on a true story”, Oscar-worthy cast, and gorgeous 70’s vibes, I can already tell that this one will do really well during award season. Taraji P. Henson is phenomenal in this trailer. She completely steals the spotlight, and it’s hard not to fall in love with and cheer for her character, Ann Atwater. Her chemistry with Sam Rockwell is incredible, and I find myself actually wanting to see their characters work things out and become unlikely friends. I’m not really sure how I feel about Rockwell’s C. P. Ellis’ redemption arc (and all Wikipedia pages are telling me this is pretty much a guaranteed thing), but I guess you can’t change history for the sake of the plot. All in all, it looks like it’s bound to be a beautiful film, even if a lot of the suspense of whether Atwater’s and Ellis’ friendship will work out lacks real tension.
Sienna: Ah, I love the beginnings of Oscar season. I’m a sucker for anything historical/based on a true story, so I know this movie will be right up my alley. Taraji P. Henson commands the screen in everything she acts in, so her Ann Atwater will surely be a force to be reckoned with. The line “same God made you made me” gave me goosebumps. Sam Rockwell, who portrays Klan president C.P. Ellis, is undoubtedly a great actor who seems to be getting typecast as the racist white guy who kinda sorta maybe redeems himself a little bit in the end (I’m thinking specifically of his portrayal of Jason Dixon in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)). And I know that the facts of this story are the facts, but I couldn’t help thinking, why does the racist white guy get the screen time to redeem himself? When he said, “I’m the president of the Klan. I’m supposed to hate black folks,” my first thought was Boohoo, you’re conflicted about your violent racism? Really? Ellis had a choice. He held the power and privilege in the situation, while Atwater had to fight just to get a white man to turn his chair around and listen to her. I hope that he at least lends his influence to her cause in the end (which I think is probably likely—they made this movie for a reason, right?) A movie about the importance of activism, understanding each other, and finding common ground while still fiercely standing up for your beliefs is important for us as Americans to be watching right now. I can’t wait to see this movie when it comes out.
Zain: This movie looks seriously good. I had to sit for a second in silence after the trailer had ended just to process my excitement. The film centers around the unlikely relationship between a civil rights activist, played by Taraji P. Henson, and a Klan leader, played by Sam Rockwell. This type of story is one that we’ve definitely seen on the big screen before, but unlike with Christmas movies, we as Americans can definitely afford to watch tales about the Civil Rights Movement and the plight of oppressed people over and over again. The trailer, which is primarily dialogue-focused and is paired with powerful soul music, is simply electrifying. The scene where Henson’s character turns the white judge’s chair around while the drums and trumpet hit forcefully in the background pretty much sums it all up for me: Henson’s Ann Atwater is not here to mess around, and I’ll definitely be tuning in come 2019 to see it.