Halftime Leisure

Trailer Takes: On the Rocks, Dune, The Trial of the Chicago 7

September 28, 2020

Illustration by Egan Barnitt

Trailer 1 — The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)


To be honest, when I quickly glanced at this title, my mind went straight to the Netflix limited series about the central park five. So, I was not surprised by the intense trailer for this drama. I was, however, extremely taken aback by the ensemble cast involved in this film. When it comes to original content, Netflix has the distinct ability to introduce great talent into the film scene. However, The Trial of the Chicago 7 is filled with fan favorites—from Sasha Baron Cohen to Yahya Abdul-Manteen II. If anything, I would see this film for the actors involved in the production. With the news of Sacha Baron Cohen having filmed Borat 2, it is almost comical to see him in this trailer; talk about a 180.


After providing some fun summer action movies like Extraction and The Old Guard, Netflix announced the arrival of their next serious awards-contender with this trailer for Aaron Sorkin’s newest film. Among a stacked cast of what feels like every male character actor working in Hollywood, the true star here is Sorkin and his script. I was hesitant when I first heard that Sorkin would also be directing because I felt his directorial debut, Molly’s Game (2017), tried too hard to be about too many things (ie. underground poker, Olympic skiing, father-daughter relationships). But with this new film, Sorkin is back in the political-drama world where he excels. Watching this trailer fully rekindled my confidence in his directing abilities now that the subject matter is a much better match for him. As a fan of A Few Good Men (1992), I was eager to see snippets of some electrifying courtroom scenes, but this trailer cleverly keeps most of Sorkin’s trademarks, like rapid-fire, overlapping dialogue, close to its chest. It instead has a tense, restrained energy that managed to be riveting without giving away the film’s shout-iest, most dramatic scenes.


I’ve always had a soft spot for movies that are based on true stories, especially when they’re based on events and people I haven’t heard of and have great casts. Knowing that the movie I’m seeing is inspired by real people always makes me appreciate it more. This film, set in 1969, with all its protest scenes and calls for change, seems to be particularly resonant with the social upheaval happening today. I’m excited to see both Sacha Baron Cohen in another serious role and my favorite Roy sibling—and recent Emmy winner—Jeremy Strong in this film. I’m definitely going to watch this movie seeing as it’s coming out on Netflix and has a stellar cast, but I’m generally hesitant when a trailer is as vague as this one. I don’t want complete spoilers in a trailer, but I need more than this teaser provides. 

Trailer 2 — On the Rocks (2020)


Bill Murray in anything… need I say any more? In a complete flip from his Caddy Shack (1980) days, this film seems to be a coming of (mid) age film. The daddy-daughter relationship between Bill Murray and Rashida Jones that is plugged in this trailer is very intriguing. Their chemistry is clear, making for a very believable depiction of a mature relationship between a father and his daughter. The confusing aspect of this film, to me, is that I am not quite sure who the target audience of this film is supposed to be. Is it appealing to women struggling with mid-lifesque issues or the older crowd who is still interested in Bill Murray’s dalliances? I guess only time will tell! As for whether or not I will give this movie a view, probably not as I do not subscribe to Apple TV+. 


Sofia Coppola, Bill Murray, an A24 partnership—Apple really knew exactly what they had to do to get me to finally sign up for Apple TV+. As if this Lost in Translation (2003) reunion weren’t exciting enough on its own, the upcoming film will also have Rashida Jones co-starring, Marlon Wayons in a rare dramatic role, and the band Phoenix (led by Coppola’s husband, Thomas Mars) doing the score. Everything about this movie seems like a lighthearted delight, with the promise that Coppola’s emotional intelligence will add some thematic weight. The Lost in Translation comparisons continue, with Murray playing a similarly charismatic, but fading, man who connects with a younger female character in a lonely marriage. Unlike the hypermasculine films of her famous father, Sofia Coppola’s filmography consistently spotlights female leads in authentic, complicated, provocative ways and I cannot wait to see her take the next step as a filmmaker while also reflecting on the work of her past.


I have to admit, the only Sofia Coppola film I’ve watched is The Bling Ring (2013), and I did not enjoy it. However, just from the trailer, this film seems like it’ll be so much more fun. The dinner scenes with Bill Murray and Rashida Jones’ characters are enough to convince me to watch this film. With a peppy score, witty banter, and a simple but powerful story of a father and daughter reconnecting over a potentially failing marriage, this film feels like it will be a really great experience. I’ve always enjoyed movies like The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) that focus on the relationship between a parent and adult children, and this film seems to have a very similar focus. I can’t wait.

Trailer 3 — Dune (2020)


When I first read Dune, Timothee Chalamet did not come into my mind. That being said, him and Zendaya put on an intriguing show in this trailer. Not only are the graphical elements in this short trailer amazing, but the score is quite intriguing. This is definitely a movie that I would go and see in a movie theater as this sci-fi flick is meant to be seen on a giant screen with massive speakers. Yet, that seems unlikely to occur as COVID-19 rages on, preventing us from seeing films on the big screen. The other drawback to this film is that this trailer is almost too intense for the good of the movie. After such a dramatic trailer, Dune has a lot to live up to. With a star studded cast, epic fight montages, and ghostly realistic graphics, the film is being set up as the sci-fi flick of the year. Will it live up to such standards? Only time will tell. 


If you told me a few years ago that visionary director Denis Villeneuve would be making a sci-fi epic starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Freguson, Jason Mamoa, and another couple hundred of my favorite actors, I would say that sounds too good to be true. And yet, Dune is real and its trailer is here to bless us with Pink Floyd covers and giant space worms. I have no knowledge of the source material and admittedly did not understand a single part of this trailer—but it didn’t matter. The magnitude of the film’s star power coupled with Villeneuve’s proven ability to blend arthouse and blockbuster are more than enough to get me to go all-in. My Dune Halloween costume is being tailored. The designs for my Dune tattoo are finalized. My firstborn will be named Dune. You might ask, isn’t that a lot of stock to buy in a film you haven’t seen yet and know nothing about? You would be correct, but with Villeneuve having confirmed his intention to tell this story across multiple films, I’m confident Dune will fill the Star Wars-shaped hole in my life and leave its mark on the film world. 


I have never read Dune, so I have no idea what this movie is about. I recently watched the Star Wars films for the first time this past summer, and I’m not a big fan of most of them. So, I’m very happy I haven’t seen any Jar-Jar Binks-type characters or heard any cringey lines about sand so far. The vibe I get from this trailer is that of a space opera with serious, philosophical themes—none of the campiness of Star Wars. There are definitely some religious parallels with the talk of prophets and crusades. The biggest draw for me is the cast—Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya are two of the most talented young actors in Hollywood working today, and the rest of the cast have had great success in other big-budget projects like Mission Impossible, Star Wars, the MCU, and the DCEU. I’m going to see this movie since it’s one of the most hyped-up film releases of the year. Hopefully, it won’t disappoint.

Chetan Dokku
Chetan is a senior in the College studying economics and English. He likes to track every piece of media he consumes in multiple formats. He was previously a Halftime Leisure and Leisure Editor and is now a copy assistant.

Danielle Guida
Danielle is a senior in the College who spends her free time trying to calculate the exact distance, in feet, that Tom Cruise has run on screen.

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