The Mandalorian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmI7WKrAtqs
Matthew: Woah woah woah! The trailer goes from stormtrooper helmets on spikes to talking about bounty hunters, one of which looks very similar to a stormtrooper. I lack a complete knowledge on the entire Star Wars saga—I am including other spinoff shows, comics, and stories, in addition to the movies produced. However, the timing of The Mandalorian seems to coincide solely with the release of Disney+. The show looks to cater to a very limited audience who wants to see more focus on stormtroopers and bounty hunters than Jedi and Sith, however this feels like a cash grab and I cannot shake that from my opinion. Also, does this mean that we need to watch this series to understand any future Star Wars movies? If Disney is hoping that this would hook me onto subscribing to Disney+, they did not succeed with The Mandalorian.
Steven: So, the show looks interesting and like a lot of money and talent was put into it, but what’s with the aspect ratio? It would appear, judging by the elongated frame of the Youtube video, that The Mandalorian is being presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio instead of the 16:9 or 1.85:1 ratios that are more common for television. Typically, a 2.35:1 aspect ratio is intended to be watched on a big screen at a movie theater that can actually extend to those proportions. However, this is a streaming show, meaning nobody will actually be able to watch it in the correct conditions. Instead, we’ll all have to put up with annoying black bars across the tops and bottoms of the screens to compensate for this pretentious directorial decision. Also, can the Star Wars franchise please just pick a definition for parsec? In the original Star Wars (1977) it measured time, then they retconned it in Solo (2018) to be distance and now Werner Herzog is using it like its an area. Yes, these are both nitpicky gripes but it’s all just more reason not to give money to a greedy corporate monopoly for its entirely unnecessary streaming service.
Inès: I have seen all the Star Wars movies, but I wouldn’t say that I am well-versed in the bigger picture that includes things like the animated series and stories not seen on screen. So this trailer is a bit confusing to me, not clearly situated in time, and has few identifying details. I am intrigued by a main character who only has one line in an eponymous trailer though. And as always the level of attention paid to detail usually makes for a good movie with this franchise. A series format seems unorthodox to me given how much the series has relied on movies in the past, but I’m open-minded. So it looks good, maybe. I’d probably watch it if I had a Disney+ subscription, which I do not.
The Photograph: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=954b9vLAT6Y
Matthew: The best line of the trailer: “I’m not trying to be practical, I want to be with you.” Hopefully viewers find someone that makes them feel that way. I am excited for this movie and usually I am not into romance movies. This has a bit of Notebook (2004) themes with flashbacks and using journal entries—in The Photographs it’s letters and pictures—which was a huge success! One thing that stuck out to me was that all of the leads are people of color. While I hope that this is not a Notebook reboot, I am curious as to the extent of which race will play a role in The Photograph and the journey of these two individuals.
Steven: This really isn’t my type of movie but it looks like it could be a bit better than the average rom-com. The two leads both have a strong track record for delivering good performances and picking interesting projects. The movie also seems to be delving deeper into their relationship than the standard meet-cute, romance, break up, make up, happily-ever-after plotline these movies tend to have. I’m interested to see how they connect the historical story to the present day and how the film shows the connections between generations. I do think the trailer showed a bit too much of the story, but overall the film looks sweet and sincere and it will probably be a great movie for Valentine’s Day.
Inès: You know, this might be a Valentine’s Day movie I can stand behind. I love the cast, I mean Issa Rae of Insecure and LaKeith Stanfield whom I know from Sorry to Bother You (2018)? Talk about all-star. I like the characters and their chemistry, and I like the idea of a regular rom-com with a little added depth. The story of transgenerational failure and success, of discovering a parent you lost with a new perspective, aren’t new ideas but can translate well. I think this could be good, and it’s always nice to see a rom-com that has more diversity than the other bajillion out there.
Little Joe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzle7XcRpcg
Matthew: Everything about this trailer is screaming that something terrible happens with these plants and it made me think of Little Shop of Horrors (1986). I am certain that this film will pose critical questions that force controversial and difficult conversations as alluded to by a character saying “you’re a good mother but which of your children will you choose?” I think I want to see a movie simply to see what the decision becomes and then to hear how others would react in that scenario. The most haunting part of this trailer is the dog barking coupled with the repeating drone. It is not clear to me how dogs would have anything to do with plants that supposedly make people happy, but I am curious to see how the directors will explore depression, happiness, and the role of science in all of this.
Steven: If there’s one sub-genre of film that excites me more than any other its small-scale atmospheric sci-fi. I love everything about this trailer, from the contrast between the sterile white lab and the bright red flowers, to the modern score, to the stilted performances reminiscent of a Yorgos Lanthimos film. The premise is very intriguing and I can’t wait to see what they do with it. It seems like this movie might be a commentary on happiness, which I find fascinating. Overall, this trailer was unsettling, paranoid, contemplative, thought-provoking and couldn’t have done a better job of getting me excited to watch the film.
Inès: The way that the scenes are shown in this trailer, the frame of the camera, the rigid angles and always-cohesive color palettes, says from the get-go that this is more artistic cinema. It reminds me a bit of Wes Anderson’s style in which every detail is meticulously curated. The topic is new and interesting, it’s thought-provoking without knowing what will happen in the movie, the idea of a happy-plant that could act as an antidepressant because its scent makes its owner happy. Cue the eerie feeling that then follows in the trailer. I’m not one for horror movies, intellectual or not, so it’s hard for me to judge. This looks okay for its genre, unsettling being an apt descriptor, but it’s not my cup of tea.