After watching screenwriter Michael Arndt’s videos on storytelling the other week, I wanted to go and watch something he’d written. So I rented Toy Story 3, which I’d missed when it came out. And true to his video, it really did follow the structure he’d broken down, right to the two-minute climax bookended by betrayal and hopelessness.
What I think is really wonderful about the film though is that it ultimately brings it all back to the human characters, which is a hard feat given that they’re barely in the movie. But the toys’ own emotional journeys mirror that of their owners. So when it does conclude on the human characters, we’re able to tap right into what they’re feeling.
Of course, Pixar has always been ludicrously good at that. And while I think it often settles into some familiar formulas — I feel like Pixar uses a lot of extended last-act chase sequences… but maybe that’s just a necessary part of making a kid-friendly climactic event — the studio always pulls it together in something that feels specific and right for the film.
Check out seven trailers from this week below.
I’m not sure what page we’re collectively on about Venom, but I continue to find myself thinking it could be surprisingly good. It’s very weird though! The movie is super dark, but it also throws in moments of extremely dark humor. I’m not sure how well it’s going to be able to balance everything it’s trying for, but it definitely seems to have nailed the creepiness factor. The film comes out October 5th.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Here’s the trailer for director Barry Jenkins’ first film since Moonlight. It’s an adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel about a pregnant black woman trying to free her fiancé after he’s wrongfully imprisoned on rape charges, and this first footage from the project looks utterly gorgeous and heartbreaking. It’ll come out on November 30th.
Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart star in this period piece drama / horror film based off the true story of Lizzie Borden, who’s believed to have murdered her father and step mother with a hatchet. The trailer looks appropriately eerie. And early reviews — like this one from my colleague Bryan Bishop — say the film does a good job of following through on its premise and turning the legend into something with real meaning today. It comes out September 14th.
Amazon has a new series starting next month starring Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen as a couple whose marriage has slowly fallen into a rut — at least until things get… kinda weird and Burning Man-y… it’s hard to say exactly what’s going on. Whatever’s happening, the way the show portrays their relationship’s ups and downs in this trailer is pretty cute, and it makes it seem like the show could be stylized in some clever ways. It comes out September 14th.
Science Fair won Sundance’s first-ever festival favorite award by audience vote earlier this year, and now it’s headed to theaters. The film follows nine high school students who’ve all converged on the 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles. It looks like one big feel-good experience, but also like a charming dive into a passionate community of burgeoning scientists. It comes out wide on September 21st.
Cary Fukunaga, the director behind the good season of True Detective, is back with another limited-run TV series that he’s directing every part of. It’s almost entirely unclear what the show will be about from this trailer — Netflix describes it as two strangers meeting in a “mind-bending pharmaceutical trial gone awry — but I am super into whatever’s happening. It comes out September 21st.
King of Thieves
King of Thieves seems like a fairly tame comedic take on Ocean’s Eleven, but it’s based on a (very recent) true story that’s too ridiculous to ignore: a group of 60- and 70-something men decided to get together and rob a bank vault, stealing around $20 million worth of valuables. Obviously, the getaway part didn’t entirely work out… but at least one of them got to be portrayed by Michael Caine. The film comes out in the UK on September 14th.