I’m not in any way convinced of the argument that Netflix’s straight-to-streaming approach is bad for movies. I am, however, pretty convinced that it’s bad for my self-restraint, because it means that I just end up watching even more movies right after they come out since I don’t have to leave my house.
Point being, I watched Okja the other week, and then went to see Baby Driver a night later. I wrote a little about Baby Driver last week, so here are some thoughts on Okja: I like it! It’s really fun and strange with lots of huge performances that make the entire thing feel stylized almost like a live-action anime.
The film has a really strong, really clear anti-meat message that’s pretty effective — the entire movie is about someone’s (giant) pet trying to escape from being eaten. But one thing that’s kind of surprising is that Okja doesn’t let anti-meat activists get off looking purely like the righteous side: as much as the film’s villains are cartoonishly malevolent, the anti-meat activists are occasionally shown as dopey and dishonest and even willing to betray their own values.
I have to think that Bong Joon-ho had to really believe in this film’s message in order to make it. But if so, he’s clearly willing to throw his side under the bus — enough so that few people in this film really come out looking like heroes.
Check out 9 trailers from this week below.
Amazon is bringing back cult-favorite superhero satire The Tick for a brand-new series. It has a new star in The Tick suit, but series creator Ben Edlund is back on board — and even more involved than he was in the 2001 show. He wrote every episode this time around. The series premieres August 25th.
The Dark Tower
There’s a new trailer for The Dark Tower out, and while it doesn’t necessarily show much new footage, it does do something pretty interesting: almost entirely cut out the plot line about a kid from New York finding his way into the world of gunslingers. I doubt that means the film’s cut is changing much, but it might mean that Sony has realized some parts of the movie are playing much better than others. The film comes out August 4th.
The Incredible Jessica James
Jessica Williams stars in this new comedy from Netflix about a woman feeling lost after a breakup. It’s a pretty generic premise, but that seems to give the film plenty of room to explore the many horrors and quirks of modern dating. This trailer makes it look really energetic and sometimes just painfully awkward. It comes out July 28th.
Joe Wright, director of the flawless 2005 Pride and Prejudice adaptation starring Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice, is back with a biopic of Winston Churchill, with Gary Oldman starring as Churchill while wearing some transformative makeup. The film looks beautifully shot and stylized, as Wright’s work always is, and also Gary Oldman is in it. I honestly didn’t even pay attention to this trailer because I’m just so excited by the broad details of it. It comes out November 22nd.
Awaken seems like it takes the best elements of a Terrence Malick film and a movie like Koyaanisqatsi and mashes them up for a bunch of ridiculously gorgeous shots of people and places and buildings and animals throughout the world. I always think I’m going to be sick of movies like this when I hear them described, but when they inevitably look this incredible it’s kind of hard to be. Awaken — which was executive produced by Malick and the director of Koyaanisqatsi — comes out sometime next year.
Do you want to see James Franco play twin brothers in an HBO series about porn in 1970s New York? No? Are you going to watch it anyway? Yeah, let’s just own up to it. There’s a morbid curiosity here. Will Franco read a poem? Will he act wildly over the top? Will he run around Times Square naked in an attempt to one-up Michael Keaton in Birdman? No telling! But we’ve gotta know. The show premieres September 10th.
Birth of the Dragon
In an odd partnership, a division of the horror studio Blumhouse has teamed up with WWE Studios to make a kung-fu film about the early career of Bruce Lee. Like any film starring or about Bruce Lee, Birth of the Dragon looks like it’s filled with some pretty fun fight sequences. It comes out August 25th.
Dave Made a Maze
I’m not really sure what to say here other than that this movie seems like Cube, the classic film about a killer cube, crossed with Michel Gondry’s The Science of Sleep, the classic Michel Gondry film about cardboard boxes. Good formula? Maybe. It comes out August 18th.
Here’s a new trailer for Flying Lotus’ trippy, bizarre, and kind of grotesque feature debut, which is pretty much impossible to accurately describe. So maybe just watch this and enjoy the strangeness. The film comes out July 21st.