A tiny little movie theater opened up a few blocks from my apartment last month. When I say tiny, I mean literally there are about 25 seats in the place. It mostly screens offbeat old films, and all tickets cost $8, which sounds expensive, but is legitimately a bargain in New York City.
When I went with my girlfriend a few weeks back to see a screening of Sidewalk Stories, which is silent and funny and quite good, we ended up being the only two people in the theater, minus the guy running the place. That might have been because it was still brand-new, but also might have been because the place was entirely unmarked, with its windows papered over and its front overhang still advertising a hair salon that had previously been there. There was just a single sheet of printer paper with the theater's name taped to the window.
It was a weird experience, but it reminded me a lot of the "obscure" film club my girlfriend and I, along with a bunch of other friends, went to week after week in college. We'd see grainy movies, poor reproductions, and everything from great films most people had missed to super weird ones that sort of feel genius and sort of feel like no one should ever see them. I learned a ton about movies from going there; so I'm looking forward to walking back over to this theater and seeing what other gems are out there.
Below are nine trailers from this week worth checking out. (Okay, maybe 10 trailers — it depends on how you're counting, but I'm going with nine.)
HBO put out the "official" trailer — whatever that means, because there have been like two other trailers — for Insecure this week, and it really feels like the show's going to be HBO's next must-see sitcom. We've only seen a little so far, but the early looks are hilarious and — despite the series' name — seem perfectly confident in what they're doing. The show starts October 9th.
Live by Night
It's been four years since Argo, and now Ben Affleck is back behind the camera again for Live by Night. He's also in front of the camera, of course, starring as the gangster at the heart of this 1920s Prohibition movie filled with mob bosses, heavy suits, and a lot of Boston scenery. There's a lot going on in this first trailer, and I'm almost getting True Detective-ish vibes from it all. It'll be out January 13th.
The Promise is about a love triangle between characters played by Oscar Isaac, Charlotte le Bon, and Christian Bale in 1914 Constantinople. At least, that's largely what this trailer wants you to believe. It's a strange focus, given that the film as a whole takes place at the start of the Armenian Genocide, which seems to be merely in the background of everything that happens here. The film premiers at TIFF later this weekend, so reviews will start to trickle out soon and give us a better sense of how the film actually handles such a serious subject matter. A release likely won't come until next year.
Matthew McConaughey is acting weird again, because that's exactly what we all want from him. Gold, which comes from Syriana director Stephen Gaghan, has McConaughey playing a sleazy dude who strikes gold, which is also the title of the movie, and then starts living it up. The big question is whether this film feels like part of the McConaissance we all want to see continue, or if it's an extension of this post-McConaissance lull. It'll be out on Christmas Day.
So this is pretty neat: Netflix is basically giving a short lesson in the power of film editing by making two different trailers for its new documentary, Amanda Knox. They each use similar footage, but one makes Knox look like a sympathetic figure wrongly framed for murder, while the other makes her out to seem suspicious and untrustworthy. Something to keep in mind when watching the many true crime series that have been popping up of late — this documentary included. It'll be out September 30th.
Free Fire just made its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival — so an actual release date is still some ways away — but it's been getting good reviews and very much seems like something you're going to start hearing about. The film is basically one giant gunfight inside of a warehouse, which would be an awful premise if the film weren't having a ton of fun with it, with goofy and incompetent gangsters doing their best to make it out alive.
Underworld: Blood Wars
An abbreviated conversation between me and Verge weekend editor Andrew Liptak:
Andrew: Jake, I'm guessing you're going to be busy with iphone stuff, but here's a trailer for later this week [link to Underworld: Blood Wars trailer]
Jake: omg another one
Jake: honestly i’m not 100% sure i’ll include in the roundup but i guess i’ll see what there is this week
Andrew: I think you should! They're ridiculous films!
The Siege of Jadotville
Though Netflix has put out several original movies over the last year, The Siege of Jadotville is actually the result of one of its very first film deals. So now it's almost here, and it looks basically like a war movie cleverly hiding a not-so-huge budget by confining the story to a single military base. The film is about a small Irish battalion that came under siege from 3,000 Congolese troops in 1961. It'll be out on October 7th.
I'm sorry, but you have to know this exists.