I haven't seen The Last Jedi yet (I'm going Saturday night!), but I'm excited to catch it this weekend. That's not something I would have expected two years ago: I've never been a big Star Wars fan, but The Force Awakens is such a perfect start to the new trilogy that it was able to change that.
What I love about The Force Awakens (and what I suspect longtime Star Wars fans dislike about it) is that it treats Star Wars as myth in order to usher a new generation into that world. The movie is built on the idea that you've heard about but never bought into Star Wars, and it sweeps you along with a surprising amount of humor and some wonderfully earnest characters. The very first scene in The Force Awakens even goes out of its way to make you laugh.
The real goal of the movie is to make you believe that you can get swept away into a magical universe, and I think it nails that feeling — letting you at least briefly experience those feelings of wonder and awe along with the characters. I'm sure The Last Jedi will have to move beyond these themes, but now that I care about the world, I'm ready to see what's next.
Check out seven trailers from this week below.
Ready Player One
Steven Spielberg has turned Ernest Cline's much-hyped novel into a big and shiny adventure film, and while no one's actually seen it yet, pretty much all I've heard so far is pushback against its apparent overindulgence in nostalgia — though, from what I've heard, that’s kind of the point of the book. The thing that I think makes me most uncomfortable here is how on the nose the dystopian world seems to be, relying on some maybe slightly too exaggerated parallels to current technology. It comes out March 30th.
After wowing everyone with Ex Machina, Alex Garland is back with a new sci-fi film — an adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s 2014 novel Annihilation. While Garland's last film was heavy on the technology side of sci-fi, this one is all about the science end of things, exploring the kind of beauties and monsters that strange twists of evolution might cook up. It looks really creepy. The film comes out February 23rd.
David Bowie: The Last Five Years
HBO has a documentary coming up looking at the very end of David Bowie's life and career. This teaser doesn't get all that detailed, but it seems like it could be a fun watch for fans of Bowie's excellent final albums (and, you know, everything else he made). The film comes out January 8th.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse
Peter Parker may be the one who made it into the Avengers films, but Sony is still giving Miles Morales a Spider-Man movie of his own. And the animation looks really cool. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are producers on the film, which means it'll probably be pretty funny, too. Unfortunately, the movie is still a year away — it's slated for Christmas 2018.
Jessica Jones seemed to get the most acclaim out of all Netflix's Marvel series, and now the show’s coming back for season two. Netflix put out a brief first look at it, showing Jones back at work, back to the bar, and back to smashing people into panes of glass. The new season comes out March 8th.
The 15:17 to Paris
So this is pretty unusual. Clint Eastwood's new film is about the three Americans who stopped a shooting on a train in France in 2015 — and it stars those three Americans reenacting what went down. There’s a whole lot to unpack right there, but I’ll leave that to people who actually see this film. As for me, I am kind of skeptical about how it’ll turn out: I thought Eastwood proved with Sully that a minute-long event really shouldn't be extended into a feature film, and I'm not convinced the situation is any different here. The movie comes out February 9th.
The Polka King
Six years ago, Jack Black played a nice guy with a weird accent who committed a crime based on a real life story in (the very excellent film) Bernie, and next year, he's going to do the same thing again in The Polka King. Except instead of murder, the crime this time is a Ponzi scheme. Also, there’s polka. The film debuted at Sundance this year and it's supposed to be pretty funny. It comes out on January 12th.