No fewer than three people discussed the ending of Rogue One in front of me in the week after the movie came out. So between that and the film's lukewarm reviews, I kind of just figured I'd wait for it to start streaming on Netflix.
Now that the movie is finally available, I'm glad I waited. Rogue One has a lot of cool ideas about how to build out the Star Wars universe, but it falls short in the one way that matters most: building fun, interesting characters.
For the most part, the film pretty much just ignores that. And I get the impression that Disney knows this and tried to fix it before the film came out.
If you look through stories about the film's extensive reshoots, you get the sense that most of what was added was new introductions to build out each character a little bit more. It’s puzzling to me that these kind of intros wouldn't have been there from the start. And as you'd expect, the tacked-on introductions don't really go far enough to explore who these people are, what matters to them, and why we’d want to spend time with them.
So when you do get to that surprising ending, it doesn't really feel like that big of a deal. What are these people to you anyway?
Check out nine trailers from this week below.
Warner Bros. put out a new trailer for It this week. And while the last one focused more on setting up the small-town vibe and very ‘80s-style adventure, this one is all about how creepy and scary it's going to be. Also, lots and lots of clowns. It comes out September 8th.
George Clooney directs this dark comedy about mobsters making a mess of a seemingly idyllic 1950s neighborhood. The film is written by the Coen brothers and features all kinds of Coen-y actors, including Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Isaac. It basically looks like a Coen brothers' film: occasionally dark, with lots of over-the-top characters, and somebody getting punched in the face. Is it weird to soundtrack this with a rap from Run the Jewels? I'm not sure! It comes out October 27th.
Hulu has The Handmaid's Tale, but now Netflix is getting a Margaret Atwood adaptation of its own. Alias Grace fictionalizes the lives of two servants in 1840s Canada who ended up murdering their employer. There are a lot of eerie, creepy shots in this first trailer that almost make it seem like there's a bit of a horror element going on here. The show — a six-episode miniseries — comes out November 3rd.
Message from the King
Netflix has grabbed a new thriller starring Chadwick Boseman. It almost seems to have something of a ‘70s vibe, ditching gun fights for lots of messy, sweaty fights and maybe the occasional explosion. Also, Alfred Molina seems to be yelling something in at least one scene, which is cool with me. It comes out August 4th.
PBS has a new documentary exploring the life and work of Dolores Huerta, a civil rights leader who organized farmers and fought for workers' rights. This documentary brings in a lot of colorful archival footage as well as some big political names — including Hillary Clinton — to talk about her accomplishments. Fun fact: the film is executive produced by Carlos Santana. It starts a limited screening run next month.
Woody Harrelson stars in this biopic about LBJ's ascent to the presidency. The film looks almost weirdly straightforward, starting in the presidential primaries, running through the assassination of JFK, and seeming to conclude with Civil Rights Act, rather than going on and exploring the rest of LBJ's legacy: the passage of sweeping social programs, but also the failure of Vietnam. The film is directed by Rob Reiner and comes out November 3rd.
Jon Hamm plays some kind of interactive hologram re-creation of a woman's dead husband in Marjorie Prime, which basically looks like an extremely depressing version of Her. The film seems to be exploring how far a programmed memory of a person can take us, and whether it’s okay to enjoy a computer-generated memory of someone. The film comes out August 18th.
The Force follows the Oakland Police Department's reform efforts and the demand for police accountability by the Black Lives Matter movement. The documentary picks up in 2014 and seems to get surprisingly up close with the department, protestors, and even clashes between the police and the community. The film received good reviews at Sundance, and now it's headed to theaters, starting in New York and San Francisco in September and then expanding wider.
And this week's most ridiculous trailer goes to... The Vault! It stars James Franco, and it’s a heist movie, but also a horror movie... because demons or something get unleashed in the middle of a bank robbery... because James Franco wanted it to happen? I don't even know.