It seems like across the board people are into the way The Night Of ended. I'm right there with everyone — without spoiling much, the way it ends up focusing more on the evils of the justice and prison systems makes it a far more interesting show than it would have been as just a standard crime drama.
But there's one thing that's been bugging me about the series, and I wonder if it would have made the show's intentionally unsatisfying ending feel more satisfyingly unsatisfying. The series shows the justice system forcing these characters to tear themselves apart, but it never fully shows how that happens: one second Naz is rejecting a plea deal, the next he's all-in with Freddy.
And it's similar for Chandra and John, too. We should know what pushes Chandra to her pivotal moment with Naz — does her job rest on the case's outcome? is her idealized view of the court system falling to pieces? — and why John's relationships will only continue on their current trajectory. All the pieces are in place, from Chandra's overbearing boss to John's misunderstanding of his son to Naz's... well, everything, but the show moves too fast to catch them and fills a bit too much time with eczema jokes.
The show's point lands regardless. But I have a suspicion it could have landed harder with a bit more attention to how the system broke these people, and not just what happens once they've been broken.
Check out nine trailers from this week below.
Trailers are pretty much always the same when it comes to format: just a bunch of quickly spliced together clips that explain the plot of something and introduce a character or two. But FX is trying something different for Atlanta, with this trailer that juxtaposes two moments side by side to tell its story in a slightly unusual way. The show starts September 6th — its first reviews are trickling out now, and they all say you'll want to tune in.
Netflix has a new movie coming out that's basically a sci-fi Groundhog Day, or a super-low-budget Edge of Tomorrow, if you will. People wake up, get killed, time loops, they gotta beat it. I think it's always kind of fun when movies feel a little like short, self-contained game. It'll be out September 16th.
So far, every trailer for Westworld has been pretty mysterious in regard to what's actually happening in the show. But that all changes with this one, which is basically just one big long explanation of Westworld's weird virtual world. It's spoilery in that sense, but it still makes the series look fascinating. It starts October 2nd.
Two years ago I was in a movie theater seeing Night Moves during what must have been its opening weekend when Kelly Reichardt, the film's director, walked in and started taking questions. At one point an older man asked her something or other about getting millions of dollars to make movies, at which point Reichardt interrupted him to say that no one's giving her millions of dollars to make movies — she works as a professor and spends her time trying to gather funding as often as she can to make the films she wants to make. But every time I see one of Reichardt's films, I can't help but wonder: why aren't people banging on her door with millions of dollars to make whatever she wants? Because they should be. Here's the trailer for her latest; it looks incredible. Certain Women comes out October 14th.
Shut In pairs Naomi Watts with Jacob Tremblay, who you might know from Room, in what looks like a pretty creepy horror movie with a pretty generic haunted-house premise. At least, that's what the trailer shows. The script for this movie hit the much-respected Black List back in 2012, so quite possible there's more to it that we aren't seeing. It comes out November 11th.
Paul Verhoeven's latest is Elle, a thriller that's so far received only glowing reviews out of festivals but also has every reviewer saying it's just a matter of time before the film's unconventional story of a woman's rape becomes surrounded in controversy. And watching this first trailer, you can definitely start to see why that's the case. It opens in New York on November 11th.
In Dubious Battle
John Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors, and James Franco has similar hair to me, so I was very excited to see there was an adaptation of In Dubious Battle, which is a lot like The Grapes of Wrath but with cheaper licensing rights. Franco directs and stars and looks rugged and uses an accent. It's about to premiere at the Venice Film Festival, so there's no wide release date just yet.
Netflix's other next film is Mascots, a new comedy from Christopher Guest, who you might know from Best in Show. Mascots feels a lot like that: it's filled with awkward humor and takes place at an awards show filled with strange characters. Also it has a ton of the same actors. It comes out on October 13th.
This is a good teaser.