Anyway, there are movies: a nice mix of genres and scales, and not one but two films that I hope will be making an end run for “Best of 2018” honors (one of which isn’t a “hope”, since I’ve already seen it). And of course some floppy-minded crap, because it is April.
No real chance at all, I expect, that the best of the wide releases will be anything other than A Quiet Place – which both Carrie and Rob pegged as their most-anticipated film of the season – because who doesn’t love a good high-concept horror film? And it is astronomically high: the monsters can hear the slightest noise, so the heroes have to live in a world completely stripped of any noisemaking. With no evidence, it’s hard to say that John Krasinski has what it takes to be a horror director, but it looks promising.
Particularly among this company: Chappaquiddick, a docudrama about the time Teddy Kennedy drowned that woman, or whatever it was, and while I can imagine ways for this to be interesting, I do not trust that John Curran is the director to get at them. Also The Miracle Season, an inspirational sports biopic about volleyball. Fucking volleyball. In my life, I have had a job editing a number of different sports into highlight reels, and let me promise you: none of them were as visually uninteresting as fucking volleyball. Last, we have the specter of Blockers, which could maybe be a fun raunchy comedy; but the trailer promises something much more shrill and sexphobic than “fun”, and the two-thirds of the lead cast that aren’t John Cena are surely none too comforting (isn’t that a hell of a thing to say).
All is not lost! For one thing, one of my own most-anticipated films is coming out in limited release, Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete, after having been lately bumped from the March schedule. For another, Lynn Ramsay’s fourth film is also hitting limited release: that would be the biggest critical hit out of Cannes ’17, You Were Never Really Here, which would have been my #1 of the spring if I’d known it was coming out.
Here comes the fun part: a surprise change to the summer tentpole release schedule required the re-working of no fewer than four consecutive weekends at the last minute. So this is all probably set in stone, but the mortar is still wet, and I also have pretty grave doubts on two of these wide releases getting actual wide releases. One of those is not Rampage, the second Dwayne Johnson movie in a row to feature jungle fauna. And I have mentioned and will mention again that Dwayne Johnson being in a movie is basically all I need, so even if this looks basically like the awful 1998 remake of Mighty Joe Young, and even if it is (God preserve us!) based on a video game, it’s still the wide release this month I’m most excited for.
The second weekend in a row with a horror movie, partially because of the aforementioned re-working, means that we also have a pretty strong guarantee that Truth or Dare will actually, definitely come out. It’s a Blumhouse horror movie with a plot that sounds like it could have come out at any point in the second half of the 1990s, so, like, I’ll be there, but I won’t be open-minded about it.
Those two films I’m doubting? The first of those would be Borg vs. McEnroe, a biopic about one of the 20th Century’s two most famous tennis matches (and so soon after a biopic about the other one!), and I dunno, maybe there’s an audience there, but when your big “star” is living punchline Shia LaBeouf… The other is Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero, an animated movie about a dog – not a talking, quipping dog; just, like, a real dog – who joins the U.S. Army on the eve of World War I, and it appears to be designed for conservative viewership, and also it stars Helen Bonham Carter, Logan Lerman, and Gérard Depardieu, and lastly it appears that the animation budget was less than I spent on food last week. This one definitely doesn’t have an audience there, but I look forward to catching it in theaters with some befuddled grandparents and their bored grandchildren.
Finally, Lucrecia Martel’s fourth film, Zama, hits limited release, and I will say about it only that I have seen it, and I should desperately like you to all see it as well, because it’s going to be getting a five-star review when the day comes.
It is important not to judge these things in advance, but I Feel Pretty seems to be an irreconcilable mess just based on the trailer: Amy Schumer’s character feels insecure about her appearance, but after she receives a concussion, she wakes up confident and secure in her body, hallucinating that she has lost a great deal of weight. It feels like it’s supposed to be about accepting one’s own body and being proud of oneself, but at least in the trailer, all of the gags are that when a woman who is not model-thin thinks that she is attractive, it is incongruous, and also gross. And that seems… horrible?
More concretely, we can also note that it is the directorial debut of an established pair of writing partners, whose filmography to date looks like a list of war crimes.
The third horror film in a row, though it looks like it might be more of just a straightforward thriller: Traffik, which I think is a race-themed version of like, Straw Dogs? The trailer is confusing, down to the level that I can’t tell if they’re trying to hide the fact that it’s an indictment of racism, or if they’re trying to pretend it’s an active indictment of racism, when that’s just incidental. Either way, it’s got Paula Patton in it, and I’m a pretty easy mark for Paula Patton.
Also, they made a Super Troopers 2, so how about that.
And here it is: the first of two parts of the conclusion to the third phase of the first macro-phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Avengers: Infinity War. I know the internet already had its fun with the overweening “the most ambitious crossover event in history” thing, but really, that’s just such twaddle. The Avengers was an ambitious crossover event. Infinity War is the safest financial investment of the 2018 movie year. Anyway, I know people are excited for it, and I will not take this opportunity to poop in the punch bowl.