New Trailers 19 | Joker, Star Wars and The Perfection

New Trailers on HeadStuff is the place to catch up on all the latest teasers released in the world of Film and TV. Stephen Porzio tells you what’s hot.

Most Anticipated – Joker, Dir Todd Phillips

The jury is still out on whether Joker will be good. DC films are hit and miss and after all, isn’t the best thing about Heath Ledger’s legendary take on the Batman villain the fact we didn’t know his origin. Yet, this writer has no doubt the movie set for release this October will be anything less than fascinating. There’s the eclectic cast, featuring Joaquin Phoenix as the titular character, alongside Robert De Niro, Brian Tyree Henry, Marc Maron and Zazie Beetz. And now there’s this trailer.

It’s a mesmerizing teaser which sees a shockingly gaunt Phoenix play Arthur Fleck, a nice struggling stand-up comedian driven crazy by an increasingly lawless Gotham City. Honestly until the character starts dawning clown make-up mid-way through the trailer one could mistake Joker for being a straight psychological thriller inspired by Scorsese’s The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver. Meanwhile, in Fleck’s relationship with his mother (the great Frances Conroy), there’s also a touch of Phoenix’s other movie in which he played a mentally unhinged character living in a broken city – Headstuff’s number one film of last year You Were Never Really Here.

Overall, it all looks very promising. Yet, can writer-director Todd Phillips pull it off? Best known for bro-centric comedies like Old School and The Hangover Trilogy, this is new territory for him. However, in recent years he has quietly earned a lot of prestige. He nabbed an Oscar nomination for writing Borat, produced his old buddy Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born and already did a competent job ripping off Scorsese with his last directorial outing War Dogs. Perhaps, he’ll put a smile on the face of those who doubt him. 

2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,  Dir J.J Abrams

Writing about the teaser for Star Wars’ new trilogy capper, I am conflicted. It looks absolutely gorgeous from that Lawrence of Arabia like opening to Kylo Ren wielding his lightsaber against a red neon backdrop to that stunning score.  Yet, the two big takeaways from it – the title reveal and the haunting laugh of Ian McDiarmid’s evil Emperor Palpatine – if taken at face value feel to me like missteps for the franchise.

Whether or not you like previous entry The Last Jedi, it’s undeniable that the most exciting part of it was how the movie made the universe of the films feel broader. The reveal that Daisy Ridley’s protagonist Rey was not the daughter of already established franchise characters was very progressive. It gave the impression the series was moving away from its past Royal Family-esque notion that only selected families are worthy of great power. The epilogue of The Last Jedi, featuring a random street urchin using the force, is very powerful – signifying that anyone can be a hero.

Due to strong backlash from a sizable minority in regards The Last Jedi, one wondered whether Episode 9 would back track. Now comes this trailer focusing mostly on Rey revealing the film’s new sub-title The Rise of Skywalker – implying Daisy Ridley’s character’s true parentage is actually Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker who narrates the teaser. This coupled with the new knowledge that original trilogy big bad Palpatine is returning feels like a franchise narrowing in scope when it should be expanding. Why spend two movies building Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren as a formidable foe only to re-introduce a more powerful villain.

Then again this is a J.J Abrams film. The writer-director’s movies have been misleadingly marketed in the past. For all we know Rise of Skywalker has another meaning and Palpatine’s laugh could be a red herring.  Either way, they have my money.

3. Hobbs & Shaw, Dir David Leitch

While some argue Tokyo Drift is the best entry in the Fast & Furious franchise, it is undeniable the movies became more of an event with the edition of The Rock and later Jason Statham. Stealing Vin Diesel’s thunder, it was only a matter of time before the duo’s odd couple characters splintered off for a solo movie.

This second three and a half minute trailer for Hobbs & Shaw is berserk. In fact, it may have the potential to physically bruise those who watch, showcasing some of the film’s muscular action for which director David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde) has become known. Still not convinced? Idris Elba as a genetically enhanced super solider and self-proclaimed ‘Black Superman’ villain and Mission Impossible: Fallout highlight Vanessa Kirby as Statham’s bad-ass sister should make this must-see priority.

4. The Perfection, Dir Richard Shepard

Allison Williams (Get Out) re-teams with writer-director and Girls alum Richard Shepard for this horror which got great reviews out of Fantastic Fest last year, before getting snapped up by Netflix. Drawing comparisons to movies like Black Swan, Heathers and Martyrsit focuses on a former cello prodigy (Williams). She decides to seek out her mentor’s new star pupil (Logan Browning, Dear White People) as a means to witness the life she gave up. From there, a twisted plan is set in motion.

Early reviews have dubbed The Perfection a cult classic, as well as darkly comic, genre subverting and shocking. The trailer’s startling imagery has me hooked. See it on Netflix May 24.

5. Big Little Lies, HBO

HBO’s adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s novel about the tribulations of a group of moms (Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley and Zoe Kravitz) living in the idyllic setting of Monterey, California was tremendously entertaining. Originally billed as a one-off event, it was such a hit a new batch of episodes were green lit.

Based on a new novella by Moriarty, the trailer for the second season suggests it will focus on the fallout of the killing which wrapped series one while fleshing out the show’s so far underdeveloped characters like Kravitz’ abuse survivor Bonnie. The teaser also shows footage of new cast member Meryl Streep. She’s not the only great addition. American Honey director Andrea Arnold will be helming all seven episodes.

6. Anna, Dir Luc Besson

The latest action extravaganza from Luc Besson sees him returning to the territory of his 1990 classic Nikita. Anna centres on a former model turned government assassin, played by Valerian actress Sasha Luss. Helen Mirren also stars as her Eastern European handler, with Cillian Murphy and Luke Evans rounding out the cast.

This looks like nuts and bolts entertainment. It feels like Red Sparrow but more fun and fast-paced. The long restaurant action set piece of the trailer evokes John Wick with its lack of cutting and stellar gun fighting. Those who enjoyed Besson’s past work like Lucy or The Fifth Element will probably get a kick out of this.

7. Domino, Dir Brian De Palma

It feels necessary to include Domino on this list, the latest from Blow Out, Carrie and The Untouchables director Brian De Palma. However, he may not like us doing that as he has pretty much disowned the picture. De Palma publicly called the experience of making it and clashing with producers horrible and has stated it’s not his project. Rumours suggest nearly an hour was cut out of the film, changing it from 148 minutes to 89 minutes. Given De Palma’s comments, perhaps final cut privilege was taken from him.

Domino revolves around a Copenhagen police officer (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) seeking justice for his partner’s murder by a mysterious man. A movie where Guy Pearce hams it up as a Southern shady CIA agent somehow involved with the killing won’t be devoid of entertainment. But De Palma’s comments and the cheap look of this teaser suggests it won’t be a return to form for the former Hollywood A-lister. It might not even top the Keira Knightley/Tony Scott vehicle of the same name.

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