Everything Old is New Again, Vol. 5 - September & October 2018
by Hunter Bush
You ever get the feeling you've been working too hard? Overthinking something that should be simple? I've been feeling that way about this column. Not that it, or you reading this, aren't worth the effort, mind you. It's just that I was reminded of a quote by Schumacher (that's E.F., not Joel) who said "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." So that's what I'm doing going forward with Everything Old Is New Again.
EOINA was never, itself overly complex; I watch trailers for the movies coming up that are based on some pre-existing concept and I weigh in on them. When I can, I contrast and compare them with their source materials, which isn't always possible. But instead of doing a bunch of digging to try and decode what's happening in the trailers, now I'll be taking them more at face value. These trailers are what they give us to go on, and while some flicks get multiple trailers to build anticipation, most only get one.
To remind you all: these are all based on some previously existing story; maybe they're a remake of an older or foreign language film, maybe they're adapted from a book or game or song, or maybe they're a soft reboot or relaunch of a franchise that might still be viable? Either way they're here, wringing every last drop of profitability from a concept, and I'm here to talk about them. So, here we go:
GOD BLESS THE BROKEN ROAD - Do you like Rascal Flatts? Me neither. But apparently their cover of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's song Bless This Broken Road was popular enough that it inspired this film, from Harold Cronk (of God’s Not Dead and God’s Not Dead 2: ECCLESIASTICAL BOOGALOO) (that...may not be the real title). Anyway, this looks like a straightforward she's-gonna-find-the-strength-to-move-on yarn starring Lindsay Pulsipher as a now-single mom dealing with the death of her soldier husband and presumably struggling with her faith as well. When her daughter (Makenzie Moss) starts racing go-karts under the instruction of a hunky semi-professional racecar driver (Andrew W. Walker) she has to find, uh, find-the-strength-to-move-on. After watching this trailer I decided, because I love you all just enough to subject myself to this, to listen to the song that inspired the film and I'm pretty annoyed by it. The song's whole central conceit is that old everything-happens-for-a-reason chestnut, which is pretty broad-strokes, making no mention of military-widowhood, racecar driving hunks or anything else in the film. What annoys me most is that country music has a long and illustrious history of proper story-songs that Harold Cronk could have made into a movie, but he went with some McDonald-lobby-music-"jam" from Rascal Flatts? C'mon Cronk! Maybe try a little.
COLD SKIN - Holy Toledo, gang! I never know what to expect when I throw on a trailer and this one really hooked me immediately! Released last October in Spain, Cold Skin is based off of a novel by Albert Sánchez Piñol following David Oakes as a young man sent to a remote island to replace a "weather official" who has gone missing. What he finds is Ray Stevenson as a crotchety lighthouse operator ...and a bunch of aquatic creatures (that kind of look like, do you remember the little blue aliens who worship the rock creature Gorignak from Galaxy Quest? Yeah? That. They look like that). Anyway, Stevenson wants to wipe them all out, except one that he has some sort of attachment to, despite physically abusing it. Honestly this looks like a super fun, under-the-radar creature feature with maybe a shade or two of Enemy Mine in there, but with, I guess merfolk? I dunno, but I'm excited for it.
SIERRA BURGESS IS A LOSER - A modern retelling of the Edmond Rostand play Cyrano de Bergerac from 1897, Sierra Burgess is a Loser stars Shannon Purser (Barb from Stranger Things) as an unpopular high school teen who ends up getting texts from a "hot jock" (Noah Centineo) who thinks she's the school's much more popular, mean girl queen bee (Kristine Froseth). As I said all those columns ago in my coverage of Love, Simon, there's never a *bad* time to remind kids that it's perfectly okay to be themselves and I think Purser as a performer has a quality that really draws people to her, so this could be better than it seems on paper. Though, there is the line "Of all the phone numbers in the world, he texted mine", which is one of the most insufferably "winky" things I have ever heard (get it? It's like that movie Casablanca that all tweens know and love!). So, you know, proceed with caution. And in the interest of full disclosure, as Sierra Burgess is *not* the Steve Martin gem Roxanne, it will never be my favorite retelling of Cyrano.
THE PREDATOR - 31 years after Predator uncloaked its way into our hearts, writer/director Shane Black (who played loud-mouth Hawkins in the '87 original) brings the big, bad, "ugly motherf***er" back to the big screen for the first time in 8 years. Predators, for those not aware, are a species of space alien that hunt for sport, occasionally using Earth as their wildlife preserve. They're not as unkillable as the Xenomorphs from ALIEN, but they're close. There are now 3 trailers for Black's The Predator and here's what I can piece together from them. In the earliest teaser trailer, a young boy (Jacob Tremblay) finds a box of Predator stuff stored in his attic and activates a remote control of some kind, possibly accidentally crashing a shipful of Predators to Earth (although, that could just be tricky editing). We've also got an Army Ranger (Boyd Holbrook) brought in for interrogation after he & his men had a run-in with some Predators that only he survived. No idea if that's the ship Tremblay crashed or a separate instance, but like, how often are Predators around? Anyway, Holbrook and a ragtag bunch of military misfits (including Tom Jane, Keegan-Michael Key, Trevante Rhodes and Alfie Allen) are brought in when Predators start overrunning whichever little town, presumably looking for the Predator memorabilia Tremblay found. We also see Olivia Munn and Sterling K. Brown as scientists studying and scanning a captive Predator, which is not as sedated as they thought and wrecks shit, as you are wont to do when you're a seven-foot space monster. Munn also drops some dialogue about hybridization in the earliest trailer which is downplayed somewhat in the subsequent 2, but the big "Wow!" moment is when a larger Predator (probably a hybrid; I'm dubbing it the Apex Predator) attacks a run-of-the-mill Predator, pulling it backwards through a wall and body slamming it on a car. There's some military vs Predator aerial combat footage as well, which looks cool. All-in-all, this is extremely my shit. Shane Black (especially writing with Fred Dekker!) knows how to make an action movie that isn't just dumb, flat action. The most recent trailer (which dropped this week) finally feels like it's for a Shane Black movie; full of humor and swagger without sacrificing glorious popcorn-y violence and spectacle. I will be seeing this and it will be fun.
A SIMPLE FAVOR - Based on the thriller by Darcey Bell, this looks like Gone Girl. A woman (Blake Lively) goes missing but is implied to be behind her own disappearance, despite evidence of her husband's (Henry Golding) possible involvement coming to light. Anna Kendrick plays the woman Lively calls for help the night she goes missing, who is mostly likely being manipulated into inadvertently helping Lively achieve her plans (whatever they may be). Like I said, this flick credited as "from the darker side of (director) Paul Feig" feels a lot like Gone Girl, and I liked Gone Girl, but not enough to pretend I don't see the similarities here. You won't bamboozle me, Feig!
BEL CANTO - Based on the novel by Ann Patchett, Bel Canto stars Julianne Moore as an opera singer performing at a gala of some kind which unfortunately comes under siege by terrorists or radicals of some kind. While this is going on, Moore strikes up a romance with Ken Watanabe. The end of the trailer has the radicals propose that they broadcast Moore's singing as a way to...get people to care about the hostage situation / listen to their requests? I dunno about this one, gang.
A WIZARD'S TALE - Based on the animated series Here Comes the Grump that ran on NBC from 1969-1970, the much less distinctively-titled A Wizard's Tale tells the animated story of a young boy (Toby Kebbell) who gets transported to magical land and can't leave until he helps a princess (Lily Collins) banish an evil wizard called The Grump (Ian McShane). The trailer for this made my eyes tired (if you are a fan of colors, all of them appear here in their most retina-shredding varieties). So I can't really imagine what sitting through this in a theater would be like. All in all, there's nothing about this that is gonna stick in my mind after I finish this paragraph, so I'd say it's a hard pass from me. Semi-interesting fact: I was on the movie's IMDb page to double check the spelling of the voice-actors' names and it turns out Ian McShane isn't even listed there. This comes out in like 2 weeks and nobody can get it together to have an intern add a listing for your top-billed actor? Get your shit together, whichever company is responsible for this type of thing. (I honestly don't know. Is it a production company or a distribution company? Anybody know?)
THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS - From director Eli Roth (yup) comes an adaptation of a 1973 "juvenile mystery fiction novel" (the term "young adult" was not yet coined) by John Bellairs where Jack Black is the eccentric uncle of a young boy (Owen Vaccaro) sent to live with him in his equally eccentric house, next door to his at least nearly-as-eccentric neighbor (Cate Blanchett). All this eccentricity, turns out, is the result of being a warlock ("a little more than boy witches", Black says in the trailer) and living in a house that used to be inhabited by a "very powerful, very wicked" warlock (Kyle MacLachlan !) who left some mysterious clock hidden somewhere in the walls of the massive manse. In the trailer we see Black realize that the clock has been counting down. "What happens when it gets down to one?" he asks. "Nothing good" Blanchett replies. Thing is, the house seems overrun with magically spooky things from the jump: tentacles snaking out from behind a door, a topiary griffon come to life and (best of all) a cabal of menacing jack-o-lanterns (!!!) all spring to mind. I don't have strong feelings either way about Roth as a director but if nothing else, I admire his genre-savvy chops. This is being marketed as a replacement for Harry Potter, to the point of having similar music cues and font choices, but with Roth at the helm I imagine this will end up being much more than that.
MANIAC - From Cary Fukunaga (of True Detective's excellent debut season) this Netflix miniseries based on a Norwegian TV series stars Jonah Hill and Emma Stone as participants in a drug trial designed to better them in some way. Only it isn't a drug trial, or maybe not *just* a drug trial, because it also involves elaborate machines and "multi-reality brain-magic shit" as Stone's character says at one point. She seems to be right as the project's director (Justin Theroux) tells the assorted labrats (like Hill & Stone) that "pain can be destroyed (and) the mind can be solved", which sounds like brain-magic to me. That coupled with the brief flashes that presumably represent the multiple realities (which seem to include animated worlds as well as ones where they are stinking rich, or fantasy characters or in one case, gigantic) is giving me serious Inception or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind vibes. Stone and Hill seem to be some kind of soulmates as one of Theroux's scientists (Sonoya Mizuno) mentions something about them "always finding their way back to each other". That underlying "true love"-type theme, combined with Maniac being described as "darkly comedic" makes me think it will be a complex thing to digest and I'm 100% here for it.
THE OLD MAN & THE GUN - Based on an essay by journalist David Grann (whose writing was also the basis for 2016's The Lost City of Z), director David Lowery brings us the "mostly true" story of an aging Robert Redford as a "gentleman bank robber". Not a lot to unpack about this one, story-wise: Redford meets up with Sissy Spacek and the two maybe develop a relationship. Their meet-cute is Redford pretending to help her with car trouble so he can bury his head in the engine when the cops drive past, which is honestly pretty cute. I get the feeling Spacek is the point of view character, our window into Redford's life story, and I couldn't be happier. Sissy Spacek is the queen and I won't hear any chatter to the contrary! Honestly the entire cast is stellar: Danny Glover, Tom Waits (!) and Lowery's frequent collaborator Casey Affleck. Lowery makes such emotionally beautiful films that I'm willing and able to look past my distaste for Affleck and say that I actually want to see this. Tom Waits (again: !) has a line of dialogue at the end of the trailer that I'm guessing will be the film's through-line. Speaking about Redford: "I sat down with him once and I said 'Surely there's an easier way to make a living.' and he said 'I'm not talking about making a living, I'm just talking about living'." I loved Lowery's A Ghost Story, and I love Sissy Spacek (and Tom Waits!) so I'm definitely seeing this.
LITTLE WOMEN - Louisa May Alcott's Little Women has been adapted more times that I can count, not only for film and television but for the stage, as musicals and even in animated form. I personally believe that Little Women as an art form reached its pinnacle with the 1994 Gillian Armstrong version (starring Winona Ryder, Trini Alvarado, Kirsten Dunst & Claire Danes as the March sisters), but that's just me. This time, the trials and tribulations of the March clan have been set in seemingly contemporary times. Sarah Davenport, Allie Jennings, Melanie Stone and Taylor Murphy are the March sisters, with Lea Thompson as Marmie. Whether you think the idea of a modernized version of Little Women sounds like a good or bad idea, it apparently isn't the only Little Women coming down the pipeline: Greta Gerwig has a version coming out next year apparently, so...no offense to Howard the Duck's girlfriend, but I'm gonna wait for that one.
A STAR IS BORN - I've watched the trailer for Bradley Cooper's A Star is Born about 5 or 6 times now and I get chills as the score crescendos every time. If nothing else, that is a testament to the power that music can have in telling a story. That story is, of course, pretty familiar. A musician (director & star Cooper) who is losing his hearing (welcome to my world, Coop) finds a young woman squandering her singing ability (Lady Gaga) and takes her under his wing and thus, a star is born (he said the title: drink!). Like I said, familiar territory. Besides the numerous times this story has been retold under a different name (*cough* Burlesque *cough*) Cooper's iteration will be the 4th film with the actual "A Star is Born" title, after the original (1937) David O. Selznick version starring Janet Gaynor & Fredric March, the 1954 version (my favorite) starring Judy Garland & James Mason and the 1976 Barbara Streisand & Kris Kristofferson variant, which is probably (?) the most well-known version. As I am not a huge fan of either Bradley Cooper or Lady Gaga (though I recommend giving her pre-Gaga pop-punk stuff a listen) I'm not running out to see this, but should I ever find it on TV some Sunday afternoon, nursing a hangover? I'll most likely enjoy myself.
VENOM - Adapted from Marvel's Spider-Man comics, Ruben Fleischer's Venom looks...hoo-boy. I can't imagine Venom will do too poorly but it sure looks like a big-ol' mess. First, you're making a movie about a character whose Whole Thing is that he hates Spider-Man so much that he becomes a darkened mirror image of Spider-Man, *but* you gotta do it *without* Spider-Man because of legal mumbo-jumbo (and also you royally screwed up those 2 Andrew Garfield movies, so...). Then, you decide you're gonna go the vigilante route with this character, and hearken to the bad old days of 90's "edgy" comics (not saying it's the worst idea, just not a great one) and then, to top it off, apparently the studio wants a PG-13 rating, which is just dumb. You're gonna get neutered violence and dialogue like the instantly-memed "...turd in the wind" line and just...yikes. I dunno about this, gang. Regardless, this Venom stars Tom Hardy (and a new Voice He Has Chosen to Do) as a reporter who runs afoul of some shady scientific gobbledygook (run by Riz Ahmed!) while doing an exposé on said gobbledygook and gets exposed to some black goo. The goo bonds with (and partially takes control of) Hardy to protect him from harm and allow him to be the kind of vigilante that threatens to leave people limbless cuz he's hardcore (in a PG-13 way)! The trailer also shows a lady with similar black-goopy superpowers (Michelle Lee) whom Venom will have to tangle with as he learns to share a body / mind with a bunch of CG goop with a bad attitude. I think Venom has had one of the least impressive advertising campaigns of anything in recent memory and maybe that's all studio interference, but from day one it hasn't made me feel like I *needed* to check Venom out. I'm still on the fence but I'm not nearly as excited as I'd like to be.
MFKZ - Based on a comic series by Guillaume Renard (who goes by the mononym RUN) this anime film (full title Mutafukaz) follows a little black dude named Angelino (voiced by Tay Lee) who seems to be living his life, just getting by, in the sprawling "shithole" of Dark Meat City until a beautiful girl completely distracts him while on his scooter and presumably he narrowly avoids being run down by what appears to be a huge government vehicle. Whatever exactly happens, this event puts Angelino on the radar of various seeming mobsters, gangs, the military and the police. This is a weird one, gang. So, like, when I described Angelino as "a little black dude", I wasn't referring to his race. He is built (drawn) like a taller Peanuts character with the big bulbous head and skinny limbs, but Angelino is black; like asphalt black. Most of the other characters seem to resemble humans (though Angelino has a buddy with a flaming skull for a head who does *not* appear to be Ghost Rider, so...) but the implication of otherworldly weirdness is all through this, admittedly very brief, trailer. When Angelino sees the girl, he hallucinates (?) her with angel wings; there's a brief shot of someone's shadow beginning to deform and mutate (?) and at one point I'm pretty sure I saw a tarotic slice of holy pizza (?) BUT I DON'T KNOW FOR SURE. This comes from Studio4°C who have a history of pushing the boundaries of animation, in both the kinds of films they make and how abstractly they are willing to depict them. So anybody's guess is as good as mine, but I will say: this looks violent, beautifully animated and like it'll be a wholly unique viewing experience, so I will be on the look-out for Philly-area screenings.
BEAUTIFUL BOY - Based on the New York Times best-selling memoir by David Sheff, the full title of which (Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction) tells you all that you need to know about the film. Steve Carell plays David Sheff, with Timothée Chalamet as his troubled son, Nic. This seems like pretty standard addiction memoir stuff (Carell doing his best to understand where Chalamet is coming from; Chalamet's struggle for the same; etc), but you really couldn't ask for better than these two as the emotional anchors for your movie (even if I have a hard time *not* hearing Michael Scott when Carell yells). It's being pitched as an Oscar contender, which I can't imagine it not being, so if that kind of emotional & dramatic film experience is your thing, I feel this is a solid bet.
FIRST MAN - This is extremely my shit. I have long said my list of personal heroes goes 1. Astronauts, 2. Firefighters, 3. Everyone else. I also happen to like Ryan Gosling. I know he's "daddy" and all but he's also, like, a proper actor too. Based on the book by James R. Hansen, Gosling plays Neil Armstrong, the First Man (get it?) on the moon. I love (and am terrified by) space and, to paraphrase the saying, I enjoy watching people who are good at what they do. First Man seems like it will cover all the training the astronauts went through as well as the test runs, press conferences and familial strife associated with the undertaking of what many thought was an impossible feat. But if I can pull back the curtain for a moment: what I'm most excited about with regards to First Man is the sheer number of "The Moon Landing Was Fake" b.s. that will undoubtedly pop up once this hits screens. I'm not averse to seeing if people start calling Neil Armstrong "daddy" either, tbqh.
THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER - Wow! Coming to Netflix, this remake of an Israeli film of the same name from 2014, this film stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as the titular Kindergarten Teacher who finds herself defiantly nurturing a natural creative streak in one of her students. So. My first reaction to this trailer was "Why is this music so tense? It doesn't fit this kind of movie at all." but you know what they say about books and covers, yeah? Maggie Gyllenhaal has always gravitated to challenging, more complex works and I should've known better than to think she would choose a film that's easy to pigeonhole. Once the trajectory of the film changed from a-teacher-sees-real-genius-in-a-child to oh-shit-she-straight-kidnapped-that-kid, I was hooked. I cannot wait for this!
GOOSEBUMPS 2: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN - Based on the series of young adult spookum stories by R.L. Stine, Haunted Halloween is the sequel to 2015's first Goosebumps film starring Jack Black as a version of Stine himself. In that movie, he had moved to a new town and adopted an alias in an attempt to live a quiet, unassuming life with his daughter, a ghost from one of his own books, which are somehow always on the verge of vomiting forth their assorted magical monsters into our world. My main complaint with that flick was that it tried to do too much all at once (since like *all* of the monsters from *all* the books got free at once, lead by Slappy the ventriloquist's dummy from Night of the Living Dummy). Haunted Halloween does not seem to address this complaint as, in a single trailer, in the span of about 30 seconds I saw: witches with glowing green energy heads, Halloween masks growing their own monstrous bodies, zombies, the yeti, I'm pretty sure a werewolf was in there...it's a LOT. But I'm kinda fine with it, cuz: it's set at Halloween! The story doesn't appear to feature Jack Black's R.L. Stine or anyone else from the first movie. This time, two neighborhood kids (Caleel Harris & Jeremy Ray Taylor) go snooping about in the creepy old Stine house and stumble across an abandoned Stine book titled, you guessed it, Haunted Halloween, which they promptly unlock, setting about all those monster moments described above. This looks like a lot of seasonal fun. Much as I'd like a more focused, spookier Goosebumps flick, I'll settle for a big ol' Halloween monster mash any time!
CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? - Based on Lee Israel's memoir of the same name, this stars Melissa McCarthy as Israel, who turns to forging letters from famous authors when her biographies stop selling. McCarthy seems like a good fit for this film as she'll no doubt bring her natural comedic charisma & timing to a character that could otherwise come across as kind of unlikable. I mean, throw a rock and you'll hit a half dozen frustrated authors but we don't all turn to forgery. Some of us just get day-jobs. But I digress. I was super excited to see Jane Curtin playing Israel's agent because I love her (Curtin's small cameo in The Spy Who Dumped Me also The elicited such a response) and I was happy to see "that guy" actor Richard E. Grant as Israel's co-conspirator best friend. This looks alright but right now I'd say it's nothing to forge a letter home about.
HALLOWEEN - Yes, ya'll! YES. I love every single thing about this trailer! The cinematography, the music, even the editing are all excellent. I have watched this trailer almost daily since it dropped and I cannot find a single thing that I'm anything but excited for. Writer/director David Gordon Green (and writers Jeff Fradley & Danny McBride) have brought Michael Myers back to the big screen in a big way, but more importantly, they brought back Jamie Lee Curtis! This Halloween is a sequel, but only to the '78 John Carpenter original, completely negating the 7 original sequels (though the 3rd didn't have anything to do with Myers anyway) and the two Rob Zombie-directed reboot films to inject some life into the otherwise flailing franchise. The thing that makes this most impressive is that it comes from somewhat unlikely sources: Green, Fradley & McBride. Though they all have some dramatic works in their filmographies, they're mostly known for comedies. McBride has appeared in numerous Judd Apatow-era comedies (some directed by Green) and series like HBO's Vice Principals (for which Fradley was a writer) and Eastbound & Down. But judging by the quality of the scares in the Halloween trailer (the bathroom stall teeth & bedroom closet gags especially) they know what they're doing. It reminds me of this quote from Jordan Peele about the links between comedy & horror.
WILDLIFE - Based on the 1990 novel by Richard Ford, this is Paul Dano's debut film. Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal star as a married couple with a teenage-ish son (Ed Oxenbould) in what looks like 1960's-ish middle America. Gyllenhaal has lost his job, but Mulligan assures us (and their son) that "he always finds his way". There's the definite air of infidelity about the whole trailer with character actor Bill Camp seemingly eyeing Mulligan lecherously while smoking a cigar. The trailer also has a few seconds showing a porch lit on fire near the end of it, leading me to presume there will be some kind of explosive confrontation. Overall, the trailer is very restrained, giving off a lot of mood without spilling secrets. I'm a fan of Dano's work and have always found him to be interesting and very intelligent, so finding out this is his directorial debut is very exciting. Likewise, Jake Gyllenhaal and (especially) Carey Mulligan are fantastic dramatic actors when they want to be. This definitely has the feeling of a film with its own style and pace and I'm drawn to things of that nature
HUNTER KILLER - I'm not on board for this one really at all, gang, because the idea of a killer that only kills all the other people named Hunter is *my idea*! Oh, wait, this isn't about that. THIS Hunter Killer is some sort of submarine espionage (subspionage) dad movie based on the novel Firing Point by Don Keith & George Wallace that seems to have a lot of non-sub-based sequences in it. So it appears that there's an assassination on a dock (prompting Common to say "It's a coup"; oh yeah, Common is a military so-and-so in this) and as a result of this coup, America's only plan is to rescue the kidnapped Russian President (which Gary Oldman balks at the idea of; oh yeah, Gary Oldman is a military so-and-so in this as well) whom they will smuggle to somewhere safe in a submarine captained by Gerard Butler. Then we've got some torpedoes (what's a subspionage movie without torpedoes?) and some, uh, yelling and... oh! Gerard Butler's American accent sounds pretty good here! Seriously, my dude has been wrestling that particular bear across most of his career and he seems to finally have tamed the beast. Also, Linda Cardellini is a military so-and-so in this and while I do love me some Linda Cardellini, dad movies are not usually my thing and this has the stink of "dad movie" all about it.
BURNING - Based on a short story by Haruki Murakami (a favorite author of mine, btw) Burning is a Korean language film from director Chang-dong Lee. Ah-in Yoo stars as a young man who reunites with an old acquaintance (Jong-seo Jeon) and possibly having a romantic tryst with her? Anyway, when she introduces Yoo to an enigmatic stranger named Ben (Steven Yeun), things take a turn for the menacing. Ben is one of those people who are always laughing to themselves about some joke only they are aware of. When Yoo asks him what he does for a living, Yuen's response is "...I play", which he also seems to find hilarious. Understandably, Yoo has questions, if not concerns about what Yuen is doing with Jeon, but the trailer gives no answers, instead implying that Jeon is slightly damaged. The end of the trailer gets very rapid fire, but I believe Jeon goes missing and Yoo believes Yuen has something to do with it. The final shot is of Yoo, under the sound of heavy breathing, peering into a greenhouse, possibly the same greenhouse we briefly glimpse on fire at one point. I know I used the word "enigmatic" to describe Steven Yuen's character, but I feel it's also the best way to describe this trailer. It feels like a puzzle, like there's almost but not quite enough in the roughly 1 minute trailer to unpack the whole mystery. Murakami writes like almost no one else and even when set in a relatively mundane world (they aren't always) he manages to wring a feeling of uncanniness from overlooked bits of the everyday world around us. I'm very intrigued.
There's also a series coming to Netflix based on Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House from director Mike Flanagan (recently of Netflix's Stephen King adaptation Gerald's Game) but I couldn't find much footage just yet. Still it's supposed to premier in mid-October. And then there’s a new entry in the Rowan Atkinson spy-spoof Johnny English franchise if that's your thing, a movie based on the musical Stuck where 6 strangers trapped on a NY subway car learn life lessons through song and something called Border that looks *really* interesting but I couldn't find anything like a proper trailer for it (and I have no idea what's going on in the clips I've seen, so...)
Perhaps most importantly, by the time the next EOINA comes out, Halloween will have passed. As if it needed repeating, I am a big fan of the Spookytimes and I hope everyone has a great one! If you are the costume-wearing sort and are especially proud of your efforts this year, drop me a line over on Twitter! I'm always jazzed to see a solid costume!