About a month ago, I saw American Made while on an international flight to Barcelona. It seemed like it would be a big and fun enough film to work on a small, dull screen — it’s based on a real story about a guy who simultaneously worked for the CIA, the DEA, and the foreign drug cartels they were trying to bust — and for the most part, it was.
The downside is, that’s also what was disappointing about the film. The movie seems to have so much to say about the United States’ meddling in foreign affairs to continually ludicrously effects. And yet, despite establishing all that went wrong, the film never manages to comment on it, or at least not very much.
That lack of depth makes the fun experience ultimately feel just a bit too empty. There’s a raucous, near-unbelievable parable about the American dream somewhere in there. It’s just not clear what it is, who we’re supposed to pity, and who to root for.
Check out nine trailers from this week below.
I’m pretty skeptical about how well season two of Westworld will go, since season one relied so heavily on a narrative gimmick. But that being said, there sure seems to be a lot of interesting stuff going on in this first trailer for the new season. After more than a year away, the show returns on April 22nd.
Ethan Hawke plays a troubled pastor who seems to get wrapped up in something darker than he expects when he goes to counsel a woman about her husband’s turn toward terrorism. Hawke looks fantastic in it, and the film ought to be something pretty intense, too: it comes from Paul Schrader, who’s best known for writing Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. It comes out May 18th.
Margot Robbie’s next film keeps getting described as a neo-noir. And while it does look like that to a point, it’s also something much wackier — it’s a colorful, eccentric film about a pair of assassins and their wacky cohorts. It reminds me a lot of Delicatessen and its beautiful, playful horrors. It comes out May 11th.
HBO has a five-part documentary coming up on Serena Williams and where she wants her career to go next. The documentary catches up with Williams not long after the birth of her first child, and if you watch carefully, you can catch glimpses of Williams’ husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, appearing in the series too. It starts May 2nd.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Hulu put out another dark, eerie, and visually striking trailer for season two of The Handmaid’s Tale. The mixture of modern landscapes and dystopian dress and discussion continues to make for some very unsettling TV. The new season starts April 25th.
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
Things have gone a little askew in Eli Roth’s career. But after a couple critical flops, he’s back with a quirky, cartoonish film about a boy who makes his way into a strange and seemingly mystical house. You get a bit of a Guillermo del Toro vibe while watching it. Cate Blanchett and Jack Black star. It comes out September 21st.
The Darkest Minds
The director of Kung Fu Panda 2 and 3, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, is back with her first live-action feature. The Darkest Minds has a very familiar YA, dystopian look and feel, but it seems to do a good job of building out that dangerous world. After watching the trailer, I’m not quite sure what the film is really about, so hopefully there’s more here that it’s just not letting us in on. It comes out August 3rd.
Lu Over the Wall
I don’t know… it’s about a creepy mermaid child and some middle school students in a rock band, and maybe there are musical sequences. The whole thing looks very weird, but mostly in a good way. Reviews have been positive so far. It comes to the US on May 11th.
Troy: Fall of a City
It’s hard not to watch this and think about Game of Thrones. Not in that it evokes the same level of quality and drama as Game of Thrones, but in that it’s a bloody epic with swords and fire, and armies, and sex, and it’s almost definitely trying to tap into the same audience. Still, the show looks surprisingly big. It comes from Netflix and BBC One (it’s already aired in the UK), and arrives on Netflix on April 6th.