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Pig
Photo: Neon

Nic Cage goes HAM over a pig and Questlove finds lost soul in this week's trailers

Plus an impossibly swole JK Simmons goes to war with aliens

By Andy Kryza
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While Pixar's Luca quietly releases on Disney+ and the cineplexes eagerly await the next Fast flick, this week's coming attractions offer up a collection of far-less predictable sights. They include Nic Cage as a hermit/chef raging over his truffle-hunting pig, a long-lost Harlem soul festival from the Summer of Love and incredibly jacked grandpa JK Simmons at war with a race of aliens that devour humans like Doritos. 
Here are this week's trailers, in order of release date.

Till Death

Release date: July 1
A newly resurgent Megan Fox takes a break from PDA with Machine Gun Kelly for a midnight movie that poses a question nobody ever thought to ask: What if somebody took the basic premise of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game and reimagined it as a hybrid of Panic Room, Hush and Don’t Breathe?

Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Release date: July 2
Roots drummer and musical encyclopedia Questlove makes his directorial debut with this eagerly anticipated documentary about the 1969 Harlem Culture Festival. Something of an all-black Woodstock — with the Black Panthers running security — it included performances by Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight & the Pips, BB King, Mahalia Jackson, The 5th Dimension, Sly & the Family Stone and more. Shockingly, while reels of footage was shot during the event, most of it sat in a basement for 50 years. Given the vibes of Questlove’s trailer and the quality of the restoration on display, it looks like it was worth the wait. The film will play in theaters and stream on Hulu.

Gunpowder Milkshake

Release date: July 14
Karen Gillan and Lena Headey star as mother/daughter assassins protecting a young girl in what looks like a bonkers all-female mashup of John Wick, Kill Bill, Looney TunesShoot Em Up and cult video game Lollipop Chainsaw. The mayhem in this fantastically named Netflix original looks bloody and inventive, and the supporting cast includes ringers like Carla Gugino, Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, Michael Smiley, Ralph Ineson and a particularly slimy looking Paul Giamatti. This looks like the kind of gore-soaked bubblegum ultraviolence aimed point-blank at the midnight movie set. 

Pig

Release date: July 16
Nicolas Cage seems to be in Mandy mode — that is, alternating between the subdued persona of Joe and the Rage-Cage mania of, well, most other things — in this atmospheric thriller about an reclusive former chef in Oregon who goes full berserker when his prized truffle-hunting pig is stolen. It sounds ludicrous, but having covered the Portland food scene for some 15 years, I can personally attest that this could feasibly pass as a documentary.

Great White

Release date: July 16
A group of adventurers is stranded on raft in the middle of the ocean and stalked by a great white. The setup sounds a lot like every other year’s shark-attack movie, only this time… nope. This one looks a lot like most shark-attack movies.

The Tomorrow War

Release date: July 23
Seasoned Marvel alien-fighter Chris Pratt trades in his smirk for a scowl in Amazon’s first real crack at an exclusive blockbuster, the tale of an improbably jacked schoolteacher drafted to time travel 30 years into the future to fight off an alien invasion. There looks like some decent world building in this sci-fi opus, with shades of Michael Bay and World War Zamid the city-destroying mayhem. Sam Richardson, Betty Gilpin and an also-improbably-jacked JK Simmons costar.

Even more coming attractions...  

The Ice Road

Release date: June 25
A Netflix release about a crew of truckers cruising an ice road en route to save some trapped miners sounds like a gruff road drama. But this is a Liam Neeson action thriller, one that returns the late-blossoming action star to the snowy wilderness following his stints punching wolves in The Grey and drug dealers in Cold Pursuit. So naturally, this has some serious Fast & Furious vibes, with Neeson and Laurence Fishburne dodging bullets and explosions while ill-advisedly driving big rigs across thin ice.

Werewolves Within

Release date: June 25
A horror comedy riff on the deduction-based video game of the same name — itself a riff on the “werewolves and villagers” party game — Werewolves Within turns the horror comedy lens on lycanthrope terror. Detroiters’ Sam Richardson leads an ensemble about a snowed-in group of quirky townsfolk trying to figure out who among them is a bloodthirsty monster. The movie looks to lean into its scares as much as its comedy, with Richardson’s affably sardonic persona cutting through what looks like a queasily fun chamber piece.

America: The Motion Picture

Release date: June 30
Nearly 20 years after Team America lampooned the kind of hyperactive jingoism that became the norm in America post 2016, producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller try their hand at a profane and blood-soaked satire of American exceptionalism, this time featuring Channing Tatum as an f-bomb-dropping, chainsaw-wielding George Washington fighting his way through a steampunk reimagining of the Revolutionary War. The all-star cast includes Simon Pegg, Olivia Munn, Killer Mike, Will Forte, Jason Mantzoukas, Andy Samberg and half the cast of Archer.

No Sudden Move

Release date: July 1
Steven Soderbergh is playing the hits with his new '50s set Detroit heist flick, with shades of Out of Sight mixed into the gritty, patter-driven action. Soderbergh's hard-boiled pulp throwback also has one of the best casts ever assembled by the director: Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, John Hamm, Ray Liotta, Kieran Culkin, Amy Seimetz and Brendan Fraser are all here to get roughed up and crack wise.

Fear Street

Release dates: July 2, 9 & 16
Goosebumps R.L. Stine's popular teen-targeted (and teen-targeting) Fear Street series gets an R-rated trilogy of films all intertwined and packing some lite decades-spanning Town That Dreaded Sundown vibes. The extended look leans into the R-rated take on the PG-rated series, which looks to cement itself in sleepover-party canon. 

The Forever Purge

Release date: July 2
After four successful low-budget films and a TV series, the Purge is basically a money-printing machine. The series has always leaned into wonky social commentary — it's a condemnation of violence that relishes in splattered bodies along with overt political commentary — and this version appears to be taking a cue from last year’s controversial The Hunt in a full Red vs. Blue killfest. Unexpectedly, it also seems to be sidestepping its Twilight Zone-esque setup — that all crime is legal for one night — by just unleashing a bunch of torture-crazy killers in weird masks on an unsuspecting populace full time for… some sort of broad allegorical political reason, we guess.

Benedetta

Release date: July 9
Sometimes, a film just lays all its cards on the table up front and lets you know immediately whether it’s for you. Bernadette is is a violent and hallucinatory 17th-century erotic nun thriller from the director of Robocop, Showgirls, Basic Instinct, Black Book and Elle. Paul Verhoeven is clearly going for the kind of pearl clutching that evokes Ken Russel’s infamous The Devils. Cannes won’t know what hit them.

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions

Release date: July 16
Two years after the first movie became a hit and about six years after escape rooms were popular, this horror sequel once again traps the survivors of the original in a series of deadly puzzles straight out of a particularly frustrating Resident Evil level. Like those video games, Escape Room was the kind of brainless fun that made you actually feel like you were actually using your brain… if you didn't think too hard about it. This looks like more of the same.

Space Jam: A New Legacy

Release date: July 16

The first trailer for the “sure, why the hell not” sequel to the kind-of-appreciated Michael Jordan/Bugs was pretty light on basketball action, focusing instead on the fact that King James would be transported across various Warner Bros. IP a la Ready Player One. In the colorful new look, James and the Toon Squad are center court, with a late-game appearance by Wile E. Coyote and a weirdly self-serious tone. But hey, why the hell not?

Roadrunner

Release date: July 16
Oscar-winning documentarian Morgan Neville (Won’t You Be My Neighbor, 20 Feet from Stardom) turns his lens on the much-too-short life and humanitarian journeys of the late Anthony Bourdain, whose quest for betterment led him to completely change the travel documentary landscape. For many, just reading Bourdain’s name inspires chills. Dry eyes will not be an option for even the most casual fan who plugs into Neville’s work.

Old

Release date: July 21
On paper, M. Night Shyamalan’s latest looks like a straightforward chiller about a family whose idyllic vacation goes sour when they become trapped on a beach that causes rapid aging. But there’s more going on than a feature-length version of what happened to the villain in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. What that twist is remains obviously unclear, but stars Gael Garcia Bernal, Alex Wolff and Thomasin McKenzie seem capable of selling what will hopefully prove to be more in line with Split than Glass.

Hotel Transylvania 4: Transformania

Release date: July 23
The fourth — and reportedly last — iteration of Adam Sandler’s shockingly enduring monster mash shifts focus to Dracula’s son-in-law (Andy Samberg), a human who seeks to please his vampiric wife (Selena Gomez) by transforming into a beast. Unfortunately, that results in a Freaky Friday scenario that reduces Drac to human form and sends the rest of the cast — including Happy Madison stalwarts Kevin James, David Spade and Steve Buscemi — into a constant state of body-swappage. Per usual, this looks like harmless-if-crude kids stuff with some bones thrown in for the grownups.

Blood Red Sky

Release date: July 23
Back in the ’90s, skyjacking terrorists only had to deal with Wesley Snipes and Harrison Ford at 30,000 feet. The bad guys in this German import? They’ve got a vampire to contend with… and given she’s protecting her son, it’s not looking good for them, unless they find a bundle of stakes in the cargo hold. That sucks for the bad guys, but for fans of pulp horror it's a recipe for high-concept fun. 

Jungle Cruise

Release date: July 30
There are some surprisingly fun Romancing the Stone/Indiana Jones/Pirates of the Caribbean vibes going on in this long-delayed actioner starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. In fact, it looks considerably more fun than the rickety, punny Disneyland ride it’s based on, and streaming at home will run you about as much as a turkey leg and a Dole whip at the theme park. At the very least, it could inspire Disney to replace all the outdated racist animatronics on the actual ride with a robot based on co-star Jesse Plemons’ deranged German submarine captain.

Fully Realized Humans

Release date: July 30
Joshua Leonard and Jess Weixler shot this ultra-low-budget indie about an expectant couple’s shared existential crisis in a scant seven days, adding a layer of chaos and exhaustion to a film exploring the uncertainty of impending parenthood. Weixler was actually eight months pregnant while they shot the seriocomedy, lending a ticking clock to the shoot that looks to play out onscreen. 

The Green Knight

Release date: July 30
The long-delayed, Dev Patel-starring Arthurian adaptation from A Ghost Story’s David Lowery was already hotly anticipated, but after this week’s trailer drop it’s elevated to must-see status. The brooding, trippy trailer unleashes an onslaught of eerily beautiful Medieval fantasy imagery, from headless warriors to foreboding giants, twisted and flaming bodies, ornate costumes, battle-hardened knights and one massive axe. Oh, and it apparently co-stars an ornery talking fox, if the rest of the imagery hasn’t already sold you on this epic.

The Last Mercenary

Release date: July 30
Jean-Claude Van Damme continues his late-career arc of clowning on his own legacy with this Netflix action comedy that sees the Muscles from Brussels donning goofy wigs and fake mustaches while doing his trademark splits and awkward dance moves. If only Bruce Willis and Sly Stallone were this self aware.

Respect

Release date: August 13
It doesn’t matter that Respect seems cut from a familiar biopic pattern. This is a film in which Dreamgirls Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson plays the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin. That should be enough to put this surefire awards candidate on the must-see list of any music lover. The gorgeous period costumes and set design are just added bonuses.

Free Guy

Release: August 13
Delayed first by the Fox/Disney merger and again by COVID, Free Guy is poised to finally hit screens this summer. The film concerns Ryan Reynolds as a non-playable character in a Grand Theft Auto-esque video game who spends his days being repeatedly killed by players, only to gain sentience. The film looks surprisingly earnest in its existential goofiness, with a streak of sentimentality that seems at odds with its Wreck It Ralph-adjacent story. Still, if Edge of Tomorrow showed us anything, it’s that audiences love watching handsome A-listers get repeatedly trampled.

Reminiscence

Release date: August 20
Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy makes her big-screen directorial debut by chucking Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson and Thandiwe Newton into a trippy sci-fi puzzle box about a man who plugs himself into some sort of Phillip K. Dickian memory machine to search for his lost love. As expected from Joy, the film looks gorgeously discombobulating and knotted up with twists. Also as expected from Joy, there appear to be countless gunfights and sex scenes.

Demonic

Release date: August 20
District 9 director and visual effects wunderkind Neil Blomkamp dials things back from the grandiose scale of famous bomb Elysium with this grotesque-looking blend of of sci-fi and horror. The trailer promises some mind-bending Matrix lite sci-fi with shades of The Cell and enough twisted bodies, creeping monsters, grainy footage and direct stares into the camera to fuel viewers nightmares. Still, terrifying as it looks, Blomkamp is going to really have to pull out the stops to produce something more horrifying than Chappie.

The Nowhere Inn

Release date: September 17
Hot on the stilettos of her ‘70s pastiche Daddy’s Home, Annie “St. Vincent” Clark joins Sleater-Kinney/Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein in a sinister-looking mockumentary. Clark plays a version of herself and in the trailer talks about reclaiming her narrative. Given the creepy, trippy tone of the trailer — which looks equal parts horror film, performance art and surrealist fever dream — we’re guessing it doesn’t go particularly well.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

Release date: September 17
The Tom Hardy-starring super-antihero blockbuster in which the cannibalistic Spider-man villain battles even-worse monsters (but not Spider-man, because copyrights are complicated) gets a sequel, this time pitting the toothsome avenger against a mutant serial killer played by onetime Mickey Knox Woody Harrelson. The trailer promises, well, carnage, plus a return to the Odd Couple dynamic between a manic Hardy and the alien voice/best buddy inside his head. Gollum himself, Andy Serkis, orchestrates the tentacled mayhem from the director’s chair.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Release date: September 17
Jessica Chastain dons gobs of makeup and a thick Midwestern accent to transform into Tammy Faye Bakker, wife of corrupt televangelist and noted homophobe Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield). The casting here is extremely on point — yes, that’s Vincent D’Onofrio as fellow Bible-thumping homophobe Jerry Falwell — and you can absolutely bet that the trailer pairs images of Tammy Faye’s running mascara with The Guess Who’s "These Eyes."

Dear Evan Hansen

Release date: September 24
Ben Platt (Pitch Perfect, The Politician) reprises his Tony-winning title role in a film adaptation of the musical about a high school kid coming into his own in the wake of a classmate’s suicide. Despite some Pen15 vibes (Platt is 27, playing a high school kid), the film wears its emotions and its earnestness on its sleeve, with Julianne Moore and Amy Adams bringing extra clout to a story of teen anxiety and uplift.

Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins

Release date: October 22
Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding seeks success where Channing Tatum failed with a straight-faced GI Joe movie focused on the origins of the toy line’s fan-favorite ninja. The cumbersome title will definitely give spurned Wolverine fans pause, but the neon-lit sword fights and parkour-spiced car chases look like a step up from the choppy nonsense of the series previous two entries.

Ron’s Gone Wrong

Release date: Oct 22
Taking a cue from the recent Child’s Play reboot, this animate romp follows a boy whose newest toy — a digitally connected AI buddy — goes haywire and wreaks havoc on the world around him. Unlike the Child’s Play reboot, the havoc does not, presumably, involve severed arteries.

Last Night in Soho

Release date: October 22
Kinetic British cult favorite Edgar Wright’s latest looks a far cry from his work in Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim and Hot Fuzz. In this hotly anticipated psychological throwback, he throws Thomasin McKenzie and Ana Taylor-Joy into a body-hopping time-travel freakout in the mod London of the ‘60s. The trailer promises an unholy cocktail of David Lynch, Roman Polanski, Nicholas Roeg, Dario Argento and Nicolas Winding Refn, all mixed up into a wildly psychedelic cocktail that’s wholly Wright.

Eternals

Release date: November 4
Likely no other film benefitted from a pandemic delay quite like Marvel's Eternals: In the time since its 2020 release date was pushed, director Chloe Zhao became only the second woman to win an Oscar for Best Director thanks to her work on Best Picture-winner Nomadland. That adds a touch to prestige to a millennia-spanning comics yarn with a surprisingly naturalistic touch. The film features Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harrington and Richard Madden as immortal space gods steering the events of Earth’s history, from prehistoric times to modern days. Where they hell they were when Avengers baddie Thanos snapped half the life out of the universe is sure to be addressed in the now-even-more-anticipated Marvel film.

tick, tick… BOOM!

Release date: Fall 2021
Hamilton and In the Heights mastermind Lin-Manuel Miranda makes his directorial debut with a Netflix adaptation of Rent creator Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical musical. Andrew Garfield stars as Larson, and Miranda — hot on the heels of the cinematic adaptation of In the Heights — looks like he’s fairly adept at bringing his keen eye for spectacle to the screen.

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