New trailers: Fantastic Beasts, Ava DuVernay's new documentary, and more

All the shows and movies you should be looking out for


Hi everyone, I'm back to writing about trailers again after taking a couple days off last week. I haven't been watching all that many things lately — I'm trying to watch Atlanta, but my (parents') cable account won't authenticate... — but over the weekend I caught up on Gone Girl, which I'd missed despite how insanely buzzy it was two years ago.

And, um, I have a lot of thoughts that probably cannot be contained in the brief paragraph or so I allot myself here. Searching around, I see there's been plenty of back-and-forth on the "cool girl" monologue, which talks at length about how men demand that women act like impossibly "cool" and completely fictional people, at the midpoint of the movie. And rightfully so, it's probably the most interesting set of ideas and the strongest few minutes of tone in the entire film.

The trouble, as the mere existence of a dispute over the monologue points out, is that its ideas are not necessarily as coherent as they ought to be. And a lot of that isn't a result of the monologue itself, which speaks viscerally to its points, but the failure to extend its themes throughout the rest of the movie, which is too concerned with maintaining its would-be-thrilling detachment from the world. Who is Amy? Who is Nick? What do either of them care about? At the end of the movie, I'm still not sure.

Below are 11 trailers from this week worth checking out.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

One of the big questions, I suppose, about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is how it'll balance reviving the magical feel of the Harry Potter series while still establishing its own identity. The teasers to date have mostly felt like Harry Potter to me, but this first full trailer seems to be more about making Beasts its own thing. The "no-maj" moment may be blunt, but it's exactly that: the handing off from one world to another. This new one seems darker, more mature, and a lot more stylish. It'll be out November 18th.

The 13th

This documentary is likely to be a must-watch. The 13th comes from Ava DuVernay and traces how American slavery evolved into the mass-incarceration crisis that's ongoing today. It paints a very scary — and very real — picture, even in this short first look. The film premiered last night at the New York Film Festival and heads to Netflix on October 7th.

The Crown

The Crown is an ambitious new Netflix series that aims to follow the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her ascent to the throne through modern day. It probably won't go all that way in the first 10 episodes, which are due out November 4th, but the short distance it seems to go during this season looks compelling, focusing on a dramatic mixture of the politics and personal life of the newly named queen.

Before the Flood

Leonardo DiCaprio travels the world to see firsthand the impact of climate change in his documentary Before the Flood. Spoiler alert: it's looking pretty bad! The film doesn't seem to be breaking any new ground, but it's received some nice reviews nonetheless (we called it "the most depressing world tour ever"). Instead, it seems more like a great overview of terrible the situation we've gotten ourselves into, with cameos by some big names — President Obama, the Pope, Elon Musk — to speak on what we can do. It'll have a limited release on October 21st, then air on National Geographic beginning October 30th.

20th Century Women

I don't know exactly what to make of this, but I love how it's looking. This first trailer for 20th Century Women feels like a documentary checking in on life's fleeting, beautiful moments; but without much dialogue, it's hard to say how it'll actually play out. Either way, I'm into it for the cast alone: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, and Greta Gerwig are the three sorta-titular stars.


It's hard to imagine more drama unfolding in a minute-and-a-half trailer. This first look at Fences, which stars and is directed by Denzel Washington, starts with what might be a cliche but is quickly flipped around by a long and tense monologue from Washington — in fact, that's most of this trailer — only to get flipped around even further after Viola Davis' character enters the picture. There's a reason these performances look so good: both actors are reprising roles they won Tonys for while performing in Fences on Broadway in 2010. The film adaptation is out on Christmas.

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

This is apparently the first documentary made about Maya Angelou, and, as you might expect, there were a lot of people eager to sit down for the camera and discuss her impact. And Still I Rise appears to touch on all of Angelou's work and life, and it's brought in everyone from her son to Oprah to Bill and Hillary Clinton to help out. It's scheduled for release on October 14th.

Personal Shopper

Apparently this movie involves Kristen Stewart playing a personal shopper, but that is super not apparent from this first trailer, which basically just involves Stewart walking into a potentially haunted house and getting really freaked out. It looks surprisingly creepy, but what I like is that it seems to have a lot more going on than the horror vibes on show in this teaser. There's no release date for the film just yet.


Though it's been behind a few film releases at this point, Amazon's second-ever movie deal was for Paterson, which is finally closing in on a release date. It comes from Jim Jarmusch and, appropriately, looks like a quiet and strange tale. Adam Driver stars as a bus driver / struggling poet who, from the looks of it, kind of just bounces around between a bunch of strange conversations and people. I'm into it. It'll be out December 28th and later head to Amazon Prime.

King Cobra

Imagine Boogie Nights but with websites, more neon, and James Franco. I know, it sounds amazing. And it kind of looks amazing, too. King Cobra is about a group of porn actors feuding over the future of an up-and-coming performer. Also on the cast: Christian Slater, Molly Ringwald, and Alicia Silverstone. It'll be out October 21st.

True Memoirs of an International Assassin

Sometimes, it's worth remembering the full breadth of Netflix's content offerings.