Which of these trailers work for you, and why? Which don’t?

Knight of Cups

(More information here.)

While this is truly spectacular cinematography, it suggests that this will be another chapter in Malick’s new mode — which marries visual glory with bland interior monologues. Since The New World, the voice-overs on his movies have become increasingly general, lacking particularity of character. It makes me look back fondly on Days of Heaven, when the narration sounded like it was coming from a real human being with a personality and a history, instead of coming from a sort of contemporary translation of Ecclesiastes or the Psalms that sands down the rough edges of the writer’s voice. “Find your way from darkness… into light.” What is this? Jedi Knight of Cups?

So? I’ll go see this on the big screen. But I’m concerned that we seem to have another movie full of instantly recognizable celebrities going through the same limited range of motion that Malick’s been giving his actors.

Midnight Special

This trailer keeps confounding expectations and changing. As with Take Shelter, Jeff Nichols appears to be taking us somewhere we haven’t been, with a first-rate cast. (The Jeff Nichols/Michael Shannon team is three for three.) Having said that, this trailer tells me more than I want to know. I hope it hasn’t spoiled most of the plot outline. I hope there are still a lot of surprises ahead. Otherwise, this trailer has done us more harm than good.

So? I’ll be there — but I would have been anyway, thanks to Nichols’ excellent track record. I’ll do what I can to forget having glimpsed these scenes.


More and more, Disney animation feels like a brand that just means “Not good enough to be called a Pixar movie.” This belabors its idea, and for very little payoff. I’m surprised that this is what they’re using to bait the hook; I don’t know about you, but my impatience with this rather thin sketch runs out pretty fast.

So? I’ll wait and read a bunch of reviews. They’ll have to be surprisingly positive before I commit money to seeing this in a theater.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War

Generic fantasy cliches in a generic fantasy-character voice over. Some gaudy visuals and famous faces. But ugh… the smug punchline is so familiar, and the storyline looks so typically “Rebels versus Tyrant.” It’s a shame that fantasy has become such an unimaginative genre at the movies. Maybe we need a moratorium on fantasy films for a while. Or find somebody who can direct one without digital animation.

So? So boring. Maybe on Netflix someday, but not in the theater. Not based on this trailer, anyway. Now, to be fair, that’s how I felt about the trailer for the first Huntsman movie, and the movie turned out to be okay — thanks to the actors, who were given some room to maneuver. Maybe this will follow suit, but the trailer gives no evidence of it.

Son of Saul

I’ve heard good things, but this trailer gives me nothing intriguing except the confining aspect ratio and the Cannes award boast.

So? I’ll see it because the Cannes jury led by the Coen Brothers gave it a big prize… not because this imagery suggests anything particularly substantial beyond its formal bravado.