Trailer Park Thursday: “Woman Walks Ahead” and “Crazy Rich Asians”

Here at Fandor HQ, a new trailer from A24 is usually occasion enough to drop everything, celebrate, and watch with bated breath. Coincidentally enough, A24’s latest release comes right on the heels of the new Westworld season! Way to draft that truck.

Jessica Chastain is having quite a year, isn’t she? Proving that she has a real knack for playing characters based on real people, Chastain follows up her turn as poker mogul Molly Bloom in Aaron Sorkin’s Molly’s Game with this meaty role as an artist and activist Caroline Weldon, who develops an intense and controversial relationship with Lakota Chief Sitting Bull. Sam Rockwell, proving that he has a knack for playing racist power-trippers, was last seen as a cop in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Now, he is a soldier in the U.S. Army, facing rising tensions with the Lakota people that will eventually end in the Wounded Knee Massacre.

From Meek’s Cutoff to Hostiles (and really since the 1970s) it’s pretty clear that the western genre has been getting weirder—or perhaps more accurately, that it has been shifting towards different kinds of stories with different kinds of heroes and heroines. While it would have been cool to see this story told from Sitting Bull’s perspective, rather than that of a white woman who shows up out of nowhere to paint him, we’re still stoked to see what this movie has to teach us about this essential part of America’s dark history. Plus, maybe a love story? Plus, Michael Greyeyes, who we’ve loved since Smoke Signals. Woman Walks Ahead will be in theaters starting June 29 (and online exclusively via DIRECTV CINEMA on May 31), so you have plenty of time to research the events on which it is based—just in case you’re into that kind of thing.

Like the western, the rom-com Cinderella story isn’t exactly unexplored territory, but Crazy Rich Asians are audacious both in its focus—set partially in Singapore, it features an all-Asian cast—and its scope, covering issues of class, cultural tradition, gender roles, family dynamics and the many ways all these things intersect. That’s a lot for something that will also if the trailer is any indication, be so, so pretty to look at:

Yes, that’s Awkwafina (Nora Lum, who you may know from MTV’s Girl Code and the upcoming Ocean’s 8) providing comic relief as the wisecracking sidekick of Fresh Off the Boat’s Constance Wu! If you don’t know, then now you know: She’s about to really blow up. Also, yes, that’s Michelle Yeoh as the powerful and discerning matriarch of the aforementioned affluents, and after seeing her kick about a hundred different kinds of butt in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, we can’t wait to see more of her in a bit of a different role.

Crazy Rich Asians seem to deftly extract and combine elements of many previously successful premises—the trailer alone recalls elements of Monster in Law, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Princess Diaries, and even Gilmore Girls, among others—in a world that is still, sadly, fairly unfamiliar to mainstream Hollywood. But come August 17, when it’s released in theaters, it will introduce audiences to a grip of new potential A-listers while delivering a potent mix of humor, heart, and pure, unadulterated aspirational spectacle. ( Plus, you’ve got to give it up for a movie title that just puts it all out there!

Do you love previews? We sure do! We offer hot takes on the coolest Coming Attractions every Thursday—in case you missed it, check out recent columns on the trailers for “Puzzle” and “Mary Shelley” and “The Cleanse” and “The Ashram.”
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