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 The Matrix Resurrections, another big trailer for Last Night in Soho, and peeks at C’mon C’mon and Don’t Look Up.
Director: Lana Wachowski
Release Date: December 22, 2021
The first trailer for The Matrix Resurrections ends with a beginning: Going back to where it all started, The Matrix. That the trailer seems a little caught in its own kind of loop makes sense considering the narrative bends that writer/director Lana Wachowski will necessarily need to take to bring Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie Anne-Moss) back to a post-Revolutions world. But it also fits in with everything we’ve learned about Resurrections so far. The play-and-replay marketing of the first teaser snippets, which gave us glimpses at footage based on when we accessed the site, and the casting of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as a serious pill-offering, tiny sunglass-wearing Morpheus figure (or maybe just a young Morpheus?) brings home the point that what was old is new again. As for what’s actually going on in the trailer, beyond its themes and beyond its teases of a Neo/Trinity reunion, is much more up for debate. A mind is freed, but to where? The same Matrix we know? Wachowski brought along much of her Sense8 team for this film, which looks as stylish and colorful as the original was striking. Boy, it’s nice to see a sci-fi/action blockbuster with a real sense of style. You get plenty of motorcycle stunts, building jumps, akimbo shooting, portal discovery and reality-bending. And naturally, kung fu. The Matrix is back.—Jacob Oller
Director: Mike Mills
Release Date: November 2021
As festival season starts heating up, the general public is getting their first looks at many competitors that hope to hang this awards season. One of these (with places at Telluride and NYFF) is the latest from Beginners and 20th Century Women filmmaker Mike Mills. C’mon C’mon reunites the writer/director with A24, and gives Joaquin Phoenix a nice serious follow-up to his Oscar-winning Joker performance. The first trailer for the black-and-white film sees him reading from a book to his nephew (Woody Norman) all about the wonders and trials of life. Oh, it wants your tears and it wants ‘em bad. This one looks like an ambitious and emotionally encompassing film from Mills, and, as far as early reports go from fest attendees, it’s a success. We’ll see if the buzz holds up over the fall as it makes its way from the fest to the rest of us.—Jacob Oller
Director: Edgar Wright
Release Date: October 29, 2021
Whereas the first trailer for director Edgar Wright’s upcoming, giallo-tinged psychological horror film Last Night in Soho was all about evoking an atmosphere without giving too much away, we’ll warn you right now in advance that the final trailer for the film is significantly less concerned with spoilers. This time around, the studio seems intent on giving audiences a better idea of what the film is actually about, per se, which involves by far our most detailed look at Last Night in Soho yet. The film stars Jojo Rabbit’s Thomasin McKenzie as Eloise, a young woman who mysteriously finds her consciousness thrown back in time as she sleeps, entering the body of another woman played by the ascendant Anya Taylor-Joy. This latest trailer makes it clear that the film takes on something of a “murder mystery” overtone, which meshes pretty naturally with the Italian giallo-inspired visuals, which make clear allusion to the works of Dario Argento, Mario Bava and others. We also see quite a bit more here of a very dangerous-looking Matt Smith as the film’s bad boy villain. Last Night in Soho could perhaps be regarded as Wright’s first-ever “legitimate” horror film that intends to frighten its audience, unlike the pitch-perfect comedic tone of a debut like Shaun of the Dead. —Jim Vorel
Director: Adam McKay
Release Date: December 24, 2021 (Netflix)
The sky is empty, for all the stars are in the first trailer for Don’t Look Up. Actually, that silly description of writer/director Adam McKay’s Chicken Little-ish polemic against our culture of ignoring people that actually know what they’re talking about in favor of morons isn’t all that accurate. Not because there isn’t a massive A-list cast. There is, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Rob Morgan, Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance, Tyler Perry, Timothée Chalamet, Ron Perlman, Ariana Grande, Scott Mescudi, Himesh Patel, Melanie Lynskey, Michael Chiklis, Tomer Sisley, Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep. But the sky isn’t empty. It’s got a comet hurtling right at Earth, ready to send us all to science-hating oblivion. The first trailer sees the two central astronomers, Kate Dibiasky (Lawrence) and Dr. Randall Mindy (DiCaprio), trying to convince the White House—including President Orlean (Meryl Streep) and her son/Chief of Staff Jason (Jonah Hill)—that there’s a catastrophe on the way. Anyone familiar with McKay’s comic and political work, and the intersection of the two, knows about how well that goes. This seems like it’ll be more of a farce than McKay’s targeted and detailed The Big Short, especially since much of the first teaser is concerned with DiCaprio’s labored and anxious breathing. There are also glimpses of what seems to be an Armageddon-like plan, where astronauts are flying up to fight the incoming space debris, and if McKay’s track record is any indication, those astronauts will likely become space debris pretty quickly themselves.—Jacob Oller