Last weekend, I finally got around to watching The Bad Batch, Ana Lily Amirpour’s second feature — her first being the excellent vampire film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. I knew from its previews that The Bad Batch would be weird, but I guess I thought it would be “unique take on a classic genre” weird, like her last film was. Instead, it’s just downright bizarre.
I’m honestly still not entirely sure what to make of The Bad Batch. I thought maybe it was saying something about body image and men subjugating women — there are cannibals who are really jacked and seem to eat a lot of women, and at least one who makes extremely flattering portraits of people he likes; plus the protagonist keeps trying to restore her missing limbs after being eaten. But I don’t think that theory really panned out.
Ultimately, the film seems to be exploring moral shades of gray, the fine line between good and bad, and how people can fluctuate between them, or even be both at once. It does that in lots of small ways, and in lots of big and blunt ways. And it does it in lots of immensely puzzling and confusing ways as well. I think the film’s open eyes lead to some really uncomfortable and unacknowledged brushes with themes of abuse, too. But honestly, while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, the film has stayed on my mind all week as I puzzle over everything in it, so I guess that counts for something.
Check out nine trailers from this week below.
Really, there’s only reason to doubt how this will turn out, given Sony’s track record with recent Spider-Man movies (aside from the one Marvel produced). But I’m actually pretty sucked in by this trailer. It has a lot of my favorite actors, and it seems to be doing a good job of making an evil character into someone who’s also sympathetic and compelling. Could this be good? It comes out October 5th.
The Tale got a ton of buzz at Sundance and is unquestionably a timely film, coming amid Hollywood’s reckoning with sexual harassment and assault. It’s about a woman investigating events she’s blocked out from her childhood that seem to indicate she was abused over a period of time by an adult couple. Reviews of the film — the first narrative feature from writer / director Jennifer Fox — have been overwhelmingly positive so far. It comes out May 26th on HBO.
HBO is adapting Gillian Flynn’s novel Sharp Objects into a TV miniseries, with Amy Adams starring. I don’t have a great idea of what it’s about or what’s going on from just this trailer, but I really like what’s going on visually: it has this lovely plainness covered up by an eerie and inviting glow. The show starts this July.
Dear White People
The ever-sharp Dear White People is about to return for a second season, and it somehow looks even quicker, more confident, and funnier than ever. And obviously, it’s still willing to take on anything white people might find provocative. The new season comes out May 4th.
2001: A Space Odyssey
Here’s one I missed from last week that you might be interested in: Warner Bros. is re-releasing 2001 from a new scan of the original 70mm film. And yeah, it looks pretty fantastic. The film is otherwise untouched — this is really just a new print straight from the source. It comes to theaters May 18th, around the time of the film’s 50th anniversary.
I don’t understand how James Franco is always free to shoot whatever low-budget films seem to be to his liking, but here’s the latest of them. It has Franco playing the villain in a story about two brothers on the run from a group of criminals... who also seem to have found some alien technology. It’s a weird premise. It comes out August 31st.
Woman Walks Ahead
Jessica Chastain plays Catherine Weldon in a film about the painter’s journey to North Dakota in 1880 to get Sitting Bull to pose for a portrait. The film comes from British TV director Susanna White and looks like it’s taking a very different approach to the traditional Western, though early reviews have been critical of its ability to move past white savior tropes. It comes out June 29th.
Netflix is about to release a new YA dystopia series from Denmark about siblings venturing back out into the world several years after a deadly virus wiped out much of the planet and seemingly left it to roving bands of survivors and mercenaries with guns. It comes out May 4th.
I almost didn’t include this because it looks so immensely bad. But I also didn’t want to deprive you all of the latest in straight-to-streaming Nicolas Cage movies. So, enjoy.