I’ve really been enjoying the selection of offbeat, smaller films that Amazon picks up for Prime. One of those is Paterson, the Jim Jarmusch movie that has Adam Driver playing a bus driver named Paterson in the city of Paterson. It’s slow and odd, and it’s hard to imagine a movie like that finding a space where it can really be given its due.
There’s a lot of stress and strangeness and pleasant day-to-day oddities to enjoy in Paterson, but one thing that really stands out is how well it manages to create tension at pretty much a moment’s notice. Paterson (the character) regularly ties up his girlfriend’s dog outside a bar while he goes to drink, and the movie leads us to believe that at any second, the dog could break free or be snatched away.
It’s not a huge, Earth-shattering thing that’s at risk, but because the movie makes us care about whether or not he loses the dog, it feels even more painful every time we see it get tied up — as though each time feels like this must be the one where he gets taken. It’s one of those things it feels like bigger movies could learn from: there doesn’t have to be a lot at stake; we just need to be invested in whatever’s there.
Check out seven trailers from this week below.
It can be hard for a superhero movie to feel original these days, but I don’t think anyone will be worried about Black Panther after this first trailer. It dives straight into the futuristic nation of Wakanda to show us a world unlike anything Marvel has brought us so far. The film comes out February 16th.
Here’s a quick first look at Margot Robbie in I, Tonya, a film that has her playing Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding. The movie looks like it takes on the scandal that ended Harding’s career — her involvement in an assault on another player — with a surprising amount of style and attitude. There isn’t much to watch here, but it definitely leaves me interested in seeing more. The film comes out sometime this winter.
This trailer is mostly about setting mood, but it also shows what a big, sprawling world Showtime is trying to present with The Chi, an upcoming series about an interconnected group of black residents in Chicago’s South Side. The series is being created by Lena Waithe (who you might know from playing Denise on Master of None) and is being executive produced by Common. The show starts January 7th.
Jean-Claude Van Johnson
Jean-Claude Van Damme is no stranger to parodying himself and his movies. But in Jean-Claude Van Johnson, he’ll find out just how far self-parody can go — it’s a full-on TV series that’ll be running on Amazon about his fictional exploits as a secret agent. The show looks big and silly, and it may be the perfect thing for JCVD fans. It comes out December 15th.
I Love You, Daddy
I don’t know if this will be good or bad or some very confusing in-between, but it will certainly be steeped in controversy. The film comes from Louis C.K. and is simultaneously an ode to Woody Allen’s Manhattan (a movie about an older man, played by Allen, dating a 17-year old) and a criticism of Allen’s real-life relationship with and eventual marriage to a much younger woman (who is also his step-daughter). Making it all even weirder, C.K. himself has been accused of sexual misconduct. It’s hard to know what to make of all this from just a short trailer, so I’ll point you elsewhere: Vox called the film a “deliberately provocative minefield,” which at the very least, sounds right for a work by C.K. It comes out November 17th.
Netflix put out an early first look at a new Western series this week. The show comes from Steven Soderbergh (though he isn’t directing) and will run for seven episodes. Netflix hasn’t done much with limit series so far, so Godless should show us how committed it is to the idea. The series comes out November 22nd.
Michael Jackson’s Halloween
A lot of people owe Michael Jackson a very sincere apology.
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