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, juicier trailer for Dune, and first looks at The Last Duel, Malignant and Jackass Forever.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Release Date: October 22, 2021
Where the first trailer for director Denis Villeneuve’s Dune was portentous and light on dialogue, heavy on atmosphere that evoked the mystery of the grand sci-fi world he was trying to create, today’s lengthy second trailer (3.5 minutes!) really dives into the meat of the classic sci-fi story. Here, we’re really getting to properly meet characters like young Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), his father the regal duke (Oscar Isaac), his coolly intimidating mother (Rebecca Ferguson, perfectly cast) and his deadly bodyguard/trainer Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa). We’re seeing far more action in general, hinting at the massive clash between the Atreides clan and the Harkonnens to come. We’re also seeing glimpses of the way that Warner Bros. is trying to sell Dune to a wider audience that isn’t terribly familiar with author Frank Herbert’s iconic sci-fi setting, a desert planet where incredibly valuable “spice” is mined to keep galactic affairs moving. There are flashes of unexpected humor here, and one has to wonder whether that’s really indicative of the tone of Dune, or simply something to make the trailer go down a bit easier for the uninitiated. Regardless, some of the stately production design of Villeneuve’s own Blade Runner 2049 is on display, along with a returning Dave Bautista, playing a considerably less empathetic character this time around. Dune is scheduled for a big premiere at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on Sept. 3, 2021, followed by a simultaneous theatrical and home streaming release on HBO Max in the U.S. on Oct. 22, 2021. We’re hoping and praying that the current upswing in COVID-19 cases will have leveled off by then, because for many viewers, Dune will be the kind of cinema experience that absolutely necessitates seeing the film in a theater.—Jim Vorel
Director: James Wan
Release Date: September 10, 2021
Before he was a bankable director of Hollywood blockbusters in franchises such as The Fast & The Furious and Aquaman, James Wan made his way in the industry as one of the 21st century’s most generally successful horror auteurs. Between Saw, Insidious and especially The Conjuring, Wan had a hand in creating several of the most important horror franchises of the last few decades, and each series benefitting from his trippy visual style and flair for the morbidly beautiful. Now, the director is returning to the genre where he made his name, with the upcoming feature Malignant headed to HBO Max, due to arrive on Sept. 10, 2021. The film released its first trailer, feeling like a project that perhaps sees Wan catching a breath and recharging his batteries before the upcoming Aquaman sequel. Wan had previously referred to Malignant as something of a tribute to the Italian giallo genre of psychological thrillers/horror movies, but the trailer below doesn’t necessarily evoke a ton of those influences. There are some moments where the color schemes might make one briefly think of influential giallo directors such as Mario Bava or Dario Argento, but the meat and potatoes of this story seems much closer to the supernatural, metaphysical horror stories seen in the Insidious series in particular. Certainly, it doesn’t have nearly as many giallo or Roman Polanski-esque references as the still-recent trailer for Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho. It would seem that Wan has perhaps not strayed too far from his previous successes, which wouldn’t really surprise us—it also probably means the film will have a large audience on release. Malignant stars Annabelle Wallis as Madison, a woman who begins to have a series of terrifying visions as she sleeps, witnessing real-life murders as they occur. This requires her to dig into her own past, uncovering buried childhood memories of a figure called “Gabriel,” who the trailer helpfully refers to as “the devil.” Given the film’s title, however, we’re bracing ourselves for a plot twist involving some sort of evil, cancerous growth or an unabsorbed fraternal twin whose consciousness is still embedded in this woman’s body decades later. “Malignant” can’t help but feel like an important clue. The film arrives on HBO Max in September as part of the year-long move to exhibit all Warner Bros. films on HBO Max, so subscribers won’t have to leave the comfort of their couches to check out Wan’s latest.—Jim Vorel
Director: Ridley Scott
Release Date: October 15, 2021
After drifting through the past, present and future over the past few years, director Ridley Scott has set his sights for the French medieval age with his epic The Last Duel. The first trailer, courtesy of 20th Century Studios, takes a dramatized look at the true story of knight Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and his squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver), who are ordered to fight to the death when Le Gris is accused of raping Carrouges’ wife Marguerite (Jodie Comer). The cast also features Ben Affleck, Harriet Walter, Nathaniel Parker, Sam Hazeldine and Michael McElhatton. The screenplay was penned by Damon, Affleck and Nicole Holofcenter (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), which they adapted from Eric Jager’s book The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France. The three of them also co-produced alongside Scott and Manchester by the Sea producer Kevin J. Walsh. Nothing more can be said of the Driver vs. Damon epic than, “Fight, fight, fight!”—Brianna Zigler
Director: Jeff Tremaine
Release Date: October 22, 2021
“Concussions aren’t great,” Steve-O tells the camera, “but as long as you have them before you’re 50, it’s cool. And Knoxville is 49, so we’re good.” The first look at the newest Jackass film is finally upon us and the gang is older, but still up to the same pranks. Cannons, bulls, electrocutions, explosions, snakes, tarantulas, bees and giant hands abound in the first trailer for Jackass Forever. Accompanied by Johnny Knoxville will be regulars from the original films and MTV series: Dave England, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Danger Ehren, Preston Lacy and Jason “Wee Man” Acuña. But they’ll be accompanied by a slew of new members, including Jasper Dolphin (Loiter Squad, Odd Future), comedian Rachel Wolfson, Sean “Poopies” McInerney, Eric Manaka (Action Point) and Zach Holmes (Ridiculousness). Guest cameos from Eric Andre, Tyler the Creator, Tony Hawk, Francis Ngannou and Machine Gun Kelly will also be featured. The incredibly moving trailer also serves as a reminder that Jackass Forever will mark Johnny Knoxville’s final Jackass appearance, the 49-year-old actor and stuntman having revealed the decision in a GQ interview earlier this year. If the ending of Jackass 3D had fans emotional, the Jackass Forever serves as an tear-jerkingly ominous reminder of what’s to come.—Brianna Zigler