I’d wanted to watch The Beatles’ movie Help! for some time after having seen clips of its slapstick and absurdist humor in, I think, a film class years ago. I finally got around to it the other weekend, and the film’s comedy really is quite often surprisingly timeless and fun in its silliness.
But there’s also a lot about the movie that stands out very poorly five decades later: namely, the film’s villains are an odd, offensive mashup of cultures, that seems to conflate Hinduism with Aztec sacrifices. The film doesn’t ascribe this religion to any one country or group, but it broadly references “Eastern” culture even while casting all white actors and using what is frequently Indian or Middle Eastern imagery.
There’s a very good chance this movie was the first impression of “Indian” culture for many viewers — it was, apparently, even what got George Harrison interested in the sitar — which makes its depiction of their dominant religion as comically bloodthirsty even worse. It’s too bad, because it wouldn’t have taken much to alter the story so that it’s clearly grounded in fantasy.
Check out 10 trailers from this week below.
This is the last trailer for the new Predator before it comes out later this month. And you know, it’s actually the first trailer I kind of like. It’s focused way more on what’s going to make this movie fun than it is on trying to make the Predator cool and scary, which frankly, it is not. I’m still not convinced it’ll all come together, but I like the approach this trailer’s pitching a lot more. It comes out September 14th.
Oh dear. True Detective is coming back after a very rocky second season, and this time, it’s ditching its tag team of detectives for three versions of Mahershala Ali, jumping between different timelines. Obviously we’re all gonna watch this, even if it’s up against impossibly high expectations. It starts in January.
I Think We’re Alone Now
Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning star as two of the last humans left on Earth after some sort of apocalyptic event wipes out civilization. But it’s not a survival story: it’s a story of two people stuck together, alone, stressed out, and keeping secrets. It looks thrilling, and it should be — it comes from Reed Morano, who won an Emmy for her work on the first episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale. It comes out September 14th.
I really love how this is looking. Damien Chazelle’s next film is about Neil Armstrong’s trip to the moon. But despite being a real story, it seems to play out more like a sci-fi-fi thriller, with the very real threat of death and failure looming over everyone. Plus, the cinematography is just stunning. It comes out October 12th.
This is quite a pairing. Just a month before First Man comes out, Hulu will debut The First, a series that imagines the first astronauts headed to Mars. The show is a touch sci-fi by necessity, but it largely seems to be grounded in the real world as a drama. Of course, with this subject matter, there are a lot of ways things could eventually go, which makes it all a bit more intriguing. It comes out September 14th.
My Brilliant Friend
HBO has adapted Elena Ferrante’s 2012 novel into a series, and it looks wonderful. The show (and book) starts out following two young girls, then jumps ahead to see how they diverge and reunite as they get older. Hopefully the show is able to translate what makes Ferrante’s voice so special and eminently readable. It starts in November.
Black Panther’s Quest
Disney XD’s Avengers show seems to change up what it’s focused on every season. And for its fifth, the show is focusing on Black Panther for what looks like a fun adventure, with plenty of time for Shuri to tease him. Given the immense success of the film, this season is hitting with some pretty excellent timing that should help it pick up some new fans. It starts September 23rd.
Museo has Gael García Bernal starring as one of two thieves who pulled off a heist of more than 100 artifacts from Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology back in 1985. This trailer makes it clear that the film isn’t out to take things too seriously, but it also manages to cover something that’s often skipped over: how to actually profit off of a heist (although, spoiler alert, the fact that there’s a film based on what happened should alert you to the fact that it doesn’t play out how they hoped). The film starts to come out later this month.
The Front Runner
This all seems remarkably quaint right now. The Front Runner, the latest film from Jason Reitman (Juno, etc., etc.), is about Gary Hart’s 1988 presidential campaign, which fell apart after details of an apparent affair came out. The movie looks fun, but also… what is this world where bad behavior sinks a presidential candidate? It comes out… oh come on… on Election Day.
The Other Side of the Wind
Here’s something pretty incredible: a new film from Orson Welles, who died three decades ago. Welles filmed The Other Side of the Wind back in ’70s, but it was never finished, in part because of Welles’ ever-present budget issues, but mostly because of animosity between its many different rights holders. Now, 40 years later, those differences have been settled and the film has finally been completed, with the edit based off of an early cut and notes by Welles. It’s a remarkable thing to finally have surface, and the film itself looks pretty good, too. It’s coming to Netflix on November 2nd.