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 a spicy teaser for The Velvet Underground documentary, a ridiculous sky-is-literally-falling trailer for Moonfall, a black-and-white look at Belfast and Netflix’s Red Notice.
Here are the best new movie trailers of the week:
Director: Roland Emmerich
Release Date: February 4, 2022
All these years after Mr. Show, it looks like Bob Odenkirk and David Cross will finally get their wish—man is going to blow up the damn moon if this first trailer for Roland Emmerich’s Moonfall is to be believed. Although what you’re probably saying right now is “a big budget disaster movie by Roland Emmerich, he of Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow fame? What year is it again?” Yes, Emmerich is going to be looking to outdo his last big-budget disaster go-round, which came 12 years ago in the form of 2012. This man occupies a truly unique position in the Hollywood scene, in the sense that he gets to direct films with premises that would usually be limited to low-budget dreck from The Asylum, but then he gets a $140 million budget to run wild. We’re not in any way trying to make this film sound more absurd than it is. Glancing at the trailer, it seems clear that an alien intelligence or something is involved, as what look like swarms of nanobots are seen attacking astronauts and generally wreaking havoc. The cast, meanwhile, feels like it was selected by throwing darts at a Hollywood phonebook, as Moonfall stars Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson and Samwell Tarly himself, actor John Bradley, in addition to Michael Peña, Charlie Plummer, Kelly Yu, Eme Ikwuakor, Carolina Bartczak, and Donald Sutherland. We can’t wait to see the crotchety scientist/President that Sutherland will no doubt be inhabiting in particular.
The Velvet Underground
Director: Todd Haynes
Release Date: October 15, 2021
It was high time The Velvet Underground got a flashy legacy-examining documentary of their own, and there’re few working directors better suited to bringing it to audiences than Todd Haynes. Haynes’ fascination with sexuality, gender and the contradictions of rock stars already resulted in the fantastic glam rock pseudo-biopic Velvet Goldmine, but now he’s turning his sights on a real band, its real members and their real impact in The Velvet Underground—which dropped its first trailer. After premiering at Cannes to universal praise, The Velvet Underground looks to bring its blend of archival footage and new interviews with band members to theaters and to Apple TV+. This’ll be just the latest high-profile music doc to join the service, which has already carved a niche for itself in that space. According to the official synopsis, “the film features in-depth interviews with the key players of that time combined with a treasure trove of never-before-seen performances and a rich collection of recordings, Warhol films, and other experimental art that creates an immersive experience into what founding member John Cale describes as the band’s creative ethos: ‘how to be elegant and how to be brutal.’”—Jacob Oller
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Release Date: November 12, 2021
From the “it’s actually not a Fast & Furious movie, no matter how much it looks like one” file, comes Netflix’s upcoming Red Notice, a would-be blockbuster with a soaring budget that has reportedly made it the most expensive Netflix production ever. For all that money (between $160-200 million), you’d expect some marquee names to go along with it, and the film doesn’t disappoint on that front: Red Notice stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot as a trio of sparring thieves/law enforcement who get caught up in a bigger scheme as they compete to out-do each other. The film has had a rather messy pre-production and shooting process, which first saw it acquired from Universal by Netflix back in July of 2019. Production began in Jan. of 2020, but was then interrupted by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy in particular, which forced various starts and stops to production throughout 2020, with shooting finally wrapping in November. As for the trailer below, we’d be lying if all this didn’t feel extremely familiar. The whole thing could be pitched as a lost Hobbs & Shaw sequel, and both Johnson and Reynolds are playing extremely familiar character archetypes, clearly sticking with what they know. Gadot, meanwhile, is in exactly the sort of femme fatale role you’d expect the writer to place her in. Perhaps this kind of predictable action is precisely what the couchbound Netflix audience will prefer, however. Regardless, it strikes us as an inordinate amount of money to spend on a film that ultimately feels like one we’ve seen before, even if Red Notice isn’t part of an existing franchise.—Jim Vorel
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Release Date: November 12, 2021
A first trailer has landed on the web for Belfast, which prolific actor-director Kenneth Branagh has called the “most personal” film of his career. Sporting some crisp, black-and-white cinematography, an impressive cast and an utter fascination with the beautiful faces of its characters, the trailer is immediately engrossing, although it can’t help but remind one of Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma in style. Still, we imagine Branagh wouldn’t mind the comparison too much if it means a Best Picture nomination for Belfast as well. The film is based fairly intently on Branagh’s own experiences in Ireland as a young boy. The director was born in Belfast to working class Protestant parents, but his family moved when he was 9 to England to escape the Troubles, the 30-year period of violence and semi-civil war that engulfed Ireland from the 1960s to the 1990s. Since that point, Branagh has often returned to Belfast, and still considers the city his original home. He was made a Freeman of the city in Jan. 2018. The story of Belfast looks to capture many of these points, including the wide-eyed innocence of a young boy who loves his home, counterpointed against a mother and father facing a difficult decision in order to keep their family safe. Belfast introduces child actor Jude Hill as POV character Buddy, with parents played by Jamie Dornan and Caitríona Balfe, and grandparents played by Dame Judi Dench and Ciarán Hinds. The trailer has an oddly upbeat tone, set to Love Affair’s “Everlasting Love”—in fact, Dornan almost looks to be reenacting the video for the song at one point—which makes us wonder whether the studio is trying to project a warmer tone for the film than the Troubles-infused story would otherwise project. Branagh is one of Hollywood’s most eclectic directors, returning now to a personal project after years of bouncing around between Hollywood blockbusters in a variety of styles, such as Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, Thor and Disney’s Cinderella. Hopefully, his personal attachment to this project yields enchanting results.—Jim Vorel