Something you see a lot in action movies is an opening sequence that jumps straight into some kind of chase or mission, in an attempt to kick things off with a bang. But too often, these sequences can end up kind of dull — if you don’t know the character very well, or have any idea what’s going on, then what do you really care about the outcome of these events?
Earlier this week I watched Mary and the Witch’s Flower, the first film from Studio Ponoc, which kicks off in this very same way. But for some reason, it works unusually well, and I’m still trying to figure out why. On a very basic level, I’m sure it’s just because the film is ridiculously beautiful, but there’s obviously more to it than that.
More important, I think, is that the opening sequence to the film is filled with mysteries. It isn’t clear what our apparent hero is doing, or if she is even a hero. Everything seems to have gone awry, and strange new things keep happening one after the next. It’s also quick — the movie doesn’t drag it out; it goes on just long enough to show us something thrilling and important, then to transport away and leave us wanting more.
Check out 10 trailers from this week below.
We finally have a preview of Captain Marvel, and this first trailer is playing up a few different key threads: for one, it’s a prequel for the MCU, set before just about every other film. It’s also working as an introduction to a character who isn’t as well-known. And it’s doing that, in part, by playing into the fact that this is the first time Marvel has put a woman in the lead role. It’s about time, and it looks great so far. It comes out next year on March 8th.
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
Barry Jenkins’ follow up to Moonlight is almost here and it looks just unreasonably beautiful — visually, for one, but also just immensely heartbreaking and heartwarming, too. This is going to be another must-see. It comes out November 30th.
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET
There’s a new trailer out for Wreck-It Ralph 2, and while there’s a lot of fun to be had in it, it kind of makes me think the movie is going to be filled with stale jokes about the internet. Of course, that hardly seems like it’ll be a problem for the film’s intended audience, but the first film was so well-received that you have to hope it’ll have the kind of broader appeal that makes Disney’s best films so special. It comes out November 21st.
MARY POPPINS RETURNS
Here’s the first full trailer for Mary Poppins Returns. And true to the name, the film really seems to be a return to form of the original movie, with all the theatrical, musical, cartoony quirks that get infused into its rag-tag characters’ world after a little magic arrives. It comes out December 19th.
THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB
Seven years after David Fincher adapted The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the series is returning to theaters but with a completely different team in front of and behind the camera. It’s directed by Fede Alvarez, who did the 2013 Evil Dead reboot, and has Claire Foy starring as Lisbeth Salander. It comes out November 9th.
ANTHONY BOURDAIN: PARTS UNKNOWN
Parts Unknown will return for a final seven-episode season starting this Sunday, with several of its episodes dedicated to honoring Bourdain’s legacy after his death in June. Only the final episode, one shot with W. Kamau Bell, will feature Bourdain’s narration. And in this early look, Bell talks about the experience of getting, essentially, every fan’s dream: the chance to travel with Bourdain as he explores a city.
Writer and director Sandi Tan has put together a documentary about her attempt at making a first film when she was 20. But this isn’t some lighthearted story about making a movie — it’s a mysterious tale about a strange man who vanished with all her footage, and how Tan and her friends have addressed the saga over the years. It comes to Netflix on October 26th.
Four years ago, a pair of filmmakers came out with a short called Prospect about a teenage girl on an alien planet who has to fight to survive after her father is killed. Now, that short’s been turned into a feature, and it seems like it’s using the same low-budget techniques to transform our own world into something that looks scary and alien. It comes out November 2nd.
THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE
Shirley Jackson’s classic horror novel is being adapted into a Netflix series. And while the series seems to be going beyond the scope of the novel, it should bring plenty of the creepiness you’d expect. This trailer hits on a lot of horror cliches, but it also shows what might make it stand out — that it’s following a family over an extended period of time, seeing how this awful house affected their lives. It comes out October 12th.
Two weeks after conservative critics blew up over First Man’s supposed omission of the American flag, Universal has put out a new trailer for the film that is mostly boring, but includes copious shots of the American flag. The main complaint was that the film — which only a small number of film critics have seen — does not show the flag being planted on the moon, which led to its director having to explain in a statement that the flag does in fact appear planted on the moon, it’s just that Neil Armstrong isn’t actively shown planting it there. It was an immensely dumb controversy. And as a result, we now have this trailer with a thumbnail image showing the flag planted on the moon. Good job, everyone.