Earlier this year, I was surprised to learn just how many details of 20th Century Women came from writer/director Mike Mills' own life. It's always fascinating when films intersect with the real world in ways that color our view of them. But the one that really messes with my understanding of the picture is White Girl, which is based on writer/director Elizabeth Wood's own experiences.
The film is already a complicated, messy exploration of privilege. And the added nuance that some of its events are based on reality only makes the situation even messier. How do you read a film about white privilege that so clearly emerged from the privileges it's exploring? How do you understand its treatment of a character based on the person who made it?
I'm honestly not sure what the answer is. But on some level, it provokes even more of the questions that the film is hoping to raise, and that seems like a good thing. (My colleague Kaitlyn Tiffany previously took a look at the film's examination of race and power dynamics, if you're interested in reading more.)
Check out 10 trailers from this week below.
Sophia Coppola's latest is a remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood film The Beguiled, and it's looking even more dark and tense in this new trailer. The film is about a girls' boarding school in the South that takes in an injured Yankee soldier during the Civil War, only to have their home overcome with fighting, suspicion... and seemingly some violence. The setup almost feels reminiscent of Get Out — just with totally, totally different context. The film comes out June 23rd.
CBS Films has started adapting Vince Flynn's book series about a CIA anti-terrorism agent, and American Assassin is the first entry. This trailer spends a weird amount of time on a kind of goofy origin story, but then it moves into flashes of pretty intense, globe-spanning action sequences that seem to have a little bit of everything: car chases, shootouts, hand-to-hand combat. It's pretty clear that CBS is hoping this'll be a hit so it can adapt the next book. The film comes out September 15th.
The Little Hours
What happens when you take a pretty standard raunchy comedy and set it in the Middle Ages? If this trailer is any indication, it gets way, way funnier. The Little Hours comes out June 30th.
Jack White executive produced this multi-part documentary series about musicians of the 1920s, the technology that recorded them, and the people who went around the country getting them on tape. This feels so obviously like the kind of thing White would be interested in, but the series also speaks with a bunch of other artists, including Elton John, Nas, and Beck. The series starts May 16th on PBS and the BBC.
There are plenty of films about the monotony of suburbia, but Wakefield takes a very different turn. Bryan Cranston plays a man who decides to vanish from his family and watch what unfolds by spying on them from a nearby window. It's kind of like a darker, crazier version of It's a Wonderful Life. The film comes out May 19th.
The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman's Portrait Photography
Photographer Elsa Dorfman, who announced her retirement last year after working as a portrait photographer for decades, is the subject of Errol Morris' latest documentary. The film steps inside Dorfman's studio to look at the giant Polaroids she's famous for taking, with her subjects including Bob Dylan, Julia Child, and Allen Ginsberg. It comes out in June.
Menashe was picked up by A24 after getting some great reviews at Sundance, and it's now heading to theaters. The film is about a Hasidic father who, due to religious tradition, loses custody of his son after the death of his wife. It looks like an emotional, intimate portrait of a people in a community that's not often put on screen. The film comes out July 28th.
It's impossible to go a week without a new tailer from Netflix, and this week's is Tramps, which is like an indie rom-com crime film about a briefcase exchange gone wrong. It's kind of a ridiculous mishmash of ideas and genres, and that seems to be what people enjoyed about it when the film debuted at TIFF last year. It comes to Netflix on April 21st.
Okay, I lied, obviously that wasn't the only trailer Netflix put out. It also released this one for a new true-crime series called The Keepers about the unsolved killing of a nun. Series like The Jinx and Making a Murderer have proven this out to be a formula audiences love, and Netflix seems to have found another puzzling, scary story to share. The show comes out May 19th.
Batman & Bill
Who created Batman? Bob Kane is the name most people recognize, but a collaborator of his has long gone unnoticed: Bill Finger, who played a major role in creating some of the story's most iconic elements. Hulu has put together a documentary examining why that is — and the answer seems to have a bit to do with Kane wanting his collaborator to go without recognition. The film comes out May 6th.