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 much bigger look at Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and first looks at House of Gucci, Lamb and Army of Thieves.
Director: Matthias Schweighöfer
Release Date: 2021 (Netflix)
It’s only been two months since the frustratingly blurry, overwrought release of Zack Snyder’s endlessly hyped Army of the Dead on Netflix, and already the world’s biggest streamer is going back to the well. They dropped the first trailer for follow-up Army of Thieves, which is in fact a prequel focusing on German actor Matthias Schweighöfer’s character Ludwig Dieter, taking place years before the events of Army of the Dead. To which we can only asks: Who in their right minds has any particular desire to see this story? I mean really. Really. Who out there is desperate to see a bank heist origin story about the safecracker from Army of the Dead, taking place in a setting that isn’t even particularly related to the zombies in that film? Moreover, who makes a zombie movie prequel that is only tangentially related to zombies? Why should we care about an origin story for a character who was barely of any particular importance in Army of the Dead in the first place? It’s extremely difficult to see what the pitch here is meant to be, in terms of getting anyone to genuinely care. Army of Thieves doesn’t even have the glint of something directed by Snyder himself, although that’s honestly probably for the best, or it by all likelihood could have turned out just as ugly as Army of the Dead. But still, it does seem to greatly reduce the number of fanboys out there who will feel compelled to seek it out. Instead, the film is directed by Schweighöfer himself, who returns to play safecracker Dieter, a 40-year-old man repeatedly referred to as a “kid” in Army of the Dead for reasons unknown. Co-starring with Schweighöfer are Game of Thrones vet Nathalie Emmanuel, in addition to Guz Khan, Ruby O. Fee, Stuart Martin and Jonathan Cohen. Army of Thieves doesn’t have an official release date yet, and is likely to hit Netflix in late 2021. Will anyone care to see an Italian Job riff on the vague promise that it connects in some way to a Zack Snyder movie? It’s hard to imagine who that viewer would be, but they probably exist.—Jim Vorel
Director: Valdimar Jóhannsson
Release Date: October 8, 2021
As we make our way through farm animals, cinema has its sights set next on Lamb, the newest folk horror distributed by A24. A trailer dropped for the strangely quirky, cute and unquestionably creepy-looking film about a lamb that’s born with a human body. Starring Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snaer Gudnason, the Icelandic-language supernatural horror tells the story of María and Ingvar—a grieving couple living on a farm in rural Iceland, who discover a freak of nature has been born in their sheep barn. The film premiered on July 13 at Cannes Film Festival to mostly positive critical response, but little has been revealed in reviews since then. So, the half-lighthearted trailer (which features “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys) and undeniably funny sight gag of lamb with a small person’s body leads one to believe this first look is an intentional misdirection. The film is the feature debut of Icelandic filmmaker Valdimar Jóhannsson, from a script co-written by Jóhannsson alongside Icelandic artist Sjón. It was produced by Hrönn Kristinsdóttir, Sara Nassim, Piodor Gustafsson, Erik Rydell, Klaudia Smieja-Rostworowska, and Jan Naszewski.—Brianna Zigler
Director: Jason Reitman
Release Date: November 11, 2021
Aside from perhaps No Time to Die, it feels like no film has so embodied the cascading affects of the pandemic on the film industry as much as Jason Reitman’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which was originally intended for release more than a year ago, in the summer of 2020. Pushed back on at least three occasions, and currently scheduled for its theatrical release on Nov. 11, 2021, the film has simply been pushed out of the cultural consciousness on multiple occasions, as Ghostbusters fans have been asked to simply postpone their hype, enthusiasm or derision (as is so commonly the blend) until a later date. With the release of a new, full-length trailer, however, Sony’s hype machine is finally revving back to life again, just like the revived Ecto-1. This new Ghostbusters: Afterlife trailer gives us our best look at the film’s characters yet, including Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard and Mckenna Grace as Callie, Trevor and Phoebe Spengler, the daughter and grandchildren of Harold Ramis’ original Ghostbusters character Egon. The film sees the Spengler clan relocating to a sleepy looking farm town in Oklahoma, living in a farmhouse owned by Egon that turns out to be not what it appears. It seems that the plot is connected with occultist Ivo Shandor, who Ghostbusters fans will recall was the same man who designed the Manhattan skyrise in the first film that acted as a portal for the interdimensional being known as Gozer. Could we see another attempt here at bring “the Goze” into our world? It certainly looks like it, and a plot that hews closely to the original Ghostbusters wouldn’t be terribly surprising given the vitriolic (and somewhat unfair) reaction to the female-fronted Ghostbusters film from a few years back. On a more elemental level, however, this footage from Afterlife looks like a loving, nostalgia-fueled trip back to familiar territory, which isn’t a terrible thing. Several familiar faces make appearances, including the original team via archival footage, and even Annie Potts as the beloved Janine Melnitz. The trailer ends, in fact, by teasing the participation of none other than Dan Aykroyd, aka Dr. Ray Stantz, who seems to have finally gotten that occult shop he talked about opening in Ghostbusters 2. Aykroyd had written many versions of a proper Ghostbusters 3 over the years, so his participation isn’t terribly surprising. What will be interesting is to see how Ernie Hudson and Bill Murray might appear in Afterlife as well.—Jim Vorel
Director: Ridley Scott
Release Date: November 24, 2021
The second high-profile drama trailer from director Ridley Scott in as many week, House of Gucci follows up The Last Duel with even more accents and way, way more fashion. Starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver as Patrizia Reggiani and Maurizio Gucci, the film looks to have all the camp that a murderous plot between the mega-rich should. Its period setting, outrageous costumes and deeply hidden Jared Leto (Why? Why was he cast if they just wanted a bald old guy?!) only look to add to the fun…which could be genuine or irony-laden, or potentially both. However you take Gaga’s line-reading of “Bravo” will probably inform your stance on the film, but a swing like this can’t help but be exciting.