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 first look at Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza, the fest-favorite follow-up The Souvenir Part II as well as an extended look at the star-studded cowboy flick The Harder They Fall.
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Release Date: November 26, 2021
Every morning for the past couple of weeks, I’ve woken up and asked myself the same question: “Is today going to be the day I finally get to watch the Licorice Pizza trailer?” And I guess it’s really true what they say, that good things come to people who wait. Because, folks, it’s finally here, after playing exclusively at limited theaters such as Quentin Tarantino’s New Beverly in Los Angeles. And it’s bringing with it all of the Paul Thomas Anderson glory that Paul Thomas Anderson has to offer. Previously named Soggy Bottom, Licorice Pizza is Anderson’s ninth feature film, and comes off the heels of six-time Oscar-nominated Phantom Thread (2017). But if you’re expecting another film about a haughty dressmaker in London in the 1950s, you might be disappointed. The new film marks Anderson’s return to his beloved San Fernando Valley, the setting of Boogie Nights (1997) and Magnolia (1999). The first trailer, set to David Bowie’s “Life on Mars?”, depicts the trials and tribulations of a high school student, played by Cooper Hoffman (the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s son), attempting to pave his way as an actor in the 1970s. He gets involved with a young woman played by Alana Haim, the guitarist for sister-band Haim, with whom Anderson has made many a California-based music video. Also in the ensemble cast is Bradley Cooper as the real-life film producer Jon Peters, Maya Rudolph, Ben Stiller, John C. Reilly, Sean Penn, Christopher Walken, Skyler Gisondo, Benny Safdie, Tom Waits, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Destry Allyn Spielberg, Joseph Cross and Nate Mann. Though the trailer doesn’t reveal terribly much (and Anderson is such a complex director, anyway, that how can you expect to gain much of anything from a two-minute clip?), it does give us some idea of what to expect from our viewing experience. It looks like Anderson will be tapping into his musical sensibilities, which only makes sense given his lengthy repertoire of collaborations with musicians, with music videos for Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann, Joanna Newsom, Thom Yorke and others under his belt. In addition, the luscious images are positively soaked in nostalgia, and the delightfully awkward interactions suggest that this is going to be a character study filled to the brim with teen angst. This is gonna be a good one.—Aurora Amidon
Director: Jeymes Samuel
Release Date: November 3, 2021 (Netflix)
As soon as we heard there was going to be a Western starring Idris Elba and Regina King, we were already sold. As the details kept coming out, things just got more and more exciting. The film is directed by musician Jeymes Samuel, and this ain’t his first rodeo: he helmed another bad ass Western in 2013: They Die by Dawn. The Harder They Fall centers around the release of Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) from prison. Upon catching wind of his newfound freedom, his enemy Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) assembles a gang to hunt him down. Nat’s crew includes Zazie Beetz as Stagecoach Mary, Edi Gathegi as his wingman, and R.J. Cyler as gunman Jim Beckwourth. But Rufus has some formidable accomplices of his own—including Cherokee Bill (LaKeith Stanfield), and Trudy Smith, played by the great Regina King—and neither party is going down without a fight. Also in the cast is Delroy Lindo as Bass Reeves, Danielle Deadwyler as Cuffee, Deon Cole as Wiley Escoe, and Damon Wayans Jr. If that info doesn’t have you sold, then it’s worth noting that The Harder They Fall is produced by Jay-Z, (who has an original song featured in the film), James Lassiter, and Lawrence Bender, who is semi-responsible for classics like Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, and Hacksaw Ridge. The official trailer for the film promises a perfect mix of outrageous stunts and witty dialogue, and brings with it everything we love about both the classic Western and modern action flick. —Aurora Amidon
Director: Joanna Hogg
Release Date: October 29, 2021
In 2019, British director Joanna Hogg unexpectedly took the world by storm with her understated, semi-biographical film, The Souvenir. The film follows young film student Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) and her tumultuous relationship with wealthy, drug-addicted Anthony (Tom Burke). The film made its mark as a reserved, heartbreaking and visually dazzling spectacle. And now, there’s a sequel. The Souvenir Part II brings Honor Swinton Byrne back to the cast as Julie, as well as Tilda Swinton as her mother, Rosalind. The film, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, picks up where the first left off. Where, in the first film, Julie’s filmmaking ambitions are eclipsed by her relationship, in the sequel, she is forced to lean into her craft to make sense of the tragedies she experienced with Anthony. The first trailer for The Souvenir Part II suggests that the film will center on Julie’s relationship with her mother, as well as her relationship with filmmaking. It also looks like we will be afforded an extensive look at Julie’s filmmaking process, which will likely make it resonate even more as a diary-like, deeply personal memoir.—Aurora Amidon