Call it that back-to-school spirit, or call it Virgo season, but this week we just couldn’t help ourselves. We had so much fun covering four trailers (instead of our usual two) for NYFF last week that we decided to go for it again! The result is a parfait of family drama, referential horror, and awards bait (foreign heavyweight category). Let’s dig in!
First, we have a little bite-sized serving of emotional violence, courtesy of seasoned pro-Julia Roberts, opposite everyone’s favorite new troubled youth (Lucas Hedges):
Ben is Back
Reporting from the (white, middle-class) heart of the opiate crisis and releasing between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Ben is Back is definitely the heartstring-yanking family drama we deserve. As a teaser, this short clip sketches out a loving, yet discomforting family dynamic, showcasing Hedges as a prodigal son with a dark history. Speaking of which, he’s not the only star of Lady Bird that went on to play an addict with a concerned parent: Beautiful Boy, starring Timothée Chalamet (and Steve Carell as his father) will be in theaters this October.
A few weeks after Beautiful Boy releases, we’ll all be treated to the newest from Luca Guadagnino, director of a little coming-of-age-flick called Call Me By Your Name that also starred Timothée Chalamet. In case you’ve been under a rock (or busy filling your eyes and ears with summer blockbusters), here’s the scoop: It’s a remake of maybe the most iconic foreign cult horror movie in the modern canon, Suspiria. It takes a whole lot of confidence to transfigure a masterpiece by still-living, still-working legend Dario Argento, and even more to entirely re-imagine the aesthetic of that masterpiece. Some might say, uh, too much confidence? But it’s too late to change the channel now, so to speak:
We’ve also just discovered that the runtime will be a (wait for it) whopping 252 minutes. For context, that means that between this trailer and the teaser that came out back in June, we’ve seen around two percent of the movie so far. All snark aside (and frankly, one does not simply direct a two-and-a-half-hour long remake of Suspiria without expecting snark) it’s very cool that Guadagnino got Jessica Harper, the original star of Argento’s film, to appear as part of the cast. And obviously, you know, the whole Swinton factor. And to be totally honest, we’re ready to see some weird dance sequences! There must be something in the cultural ether, as we recognize similar themes, images, and motifs from recent favorites Hereditary and Madeline’s Madeline — choreographer-muse dynamics that may or may not cross a line, mysterious satanic orders that seem to prey on the young, and a high level of auteur stylization — but of course, neither of these other movies were homage-remake-reboot-remix versions of another auteur’s achievement. So the question remains: Will Suspiria be Gus Van Sant’s Psycho or Spike Lee’s Oldboy, or will it be something else entirely?
One thing we do know is that there are two kinds of horror: The kind that takes itself seriously, and the kind that doesn’t. Both versions of Suspiria are obviously the former, but Slice, a new offering from horror-savvy media company A24, is most definitely the latter.
Whereas the Scary Movie saga brutally spoofed its genre and the Scream saga brought it a canny, mildly campy self-awareness, Slice is, for lack of better phrasing, high off of its own supply. For some reason, we can’t stop thinking about a relic from our late-millennial coming-of-age vault: Idle Hands, from 1999. Funny, scary, gross, dumb…yet also, somehow, smart. Replace Seth Green and Elden Henson with Paul Scheer and Ben Schwartz, and Devon Sawa with Chance the Rapper (swoon), and you’ve got a pretty promising prospect…if, of course, a movie about ghosts, werewolves, pizza, and a gateway to hell is your thing. Oh, and while Idle Hands introduced the world to Jessica Alba, the bad and beautiful Zazie Beetz (aka the best part of Deadpool 2) needs no introduction.
One last thing: With news that Netflix is eyeing a fairly unprecedented theatrical run for Roma, a highly anticipated new feature from Alfonso Cuarón premiering today at the Venice Film Festival, we wanted to make sure that it was on your radar.
Cuarón has rightfully garnered major acclaim for recent hits like Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Gravity, but lest we forget, he also broke our hearts (and, admittedly, turned us on) with his emotionally powerful and politically conscious road movie and coming-of-age dramedy Y Tu Mamá También. Roma already feels like a triumphant return to a subject — Mexico, and its people — that is very close to the director’s heart. And here, we thought Cold War would be our favorite black-and-white film of the year!