New Trailers 23 | Knives Out, Mulan and The King’s Man

New Trailers on HeadStuff is the place to catch up on all the latest teasers released in the world of Film and TV. Stephen Porzio tells you what’s hot.

Most Anticipated – Knives Out, Dir Rian Johnson

Fresh from pissing off half the world with The Last Jedi (I think it rules though) – writer-director Rian Johnson is back with Knives Out. Based on this trailer, the film looks set to modernise and revitalise the murder mystery sub-genre that Agatha Christie made her name with. These are the type where all the suspects are confined together and anyone could be the killer.

When crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig, pleasingly in Logan Lucky southern mode) is enlisted to investigate. From Harlan’s dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind the patriarch’s untimely death.

Far funnier than expected, the trailer sees Johnson (Rian, not Don – who is also in this movie) really leaning into the heightened atmosphere of the films he’s drawing upon such as Sidney Lumet’s Murder on the Orient Express. This is evident from the bombastic soundtrack and dramatic camera moves. However, there’s also a modern pace and humour on display here, the latter best exemplified by Chris Evans’ smirking while telling each of his family members to ‘eat shit’ – a scene which already feels iconic. If Johnson can wrangle that blend of the old and new, this could be classic.


2. Mulan, Dir Niki Caro

Is this a remake of the Disney animated 1998 film Mulan? It can’t be. Sure, it boasts the same title and plot. Set in China during the Han dynasty, Fa Mulan – daughter of aged warrior Fa Zhou – must impersonate a man to take her father’s place during a general conscription to counter a Hun invasion.

However, this – unlike Disney’s recent Aladdin and The Lion King remakes – actually looks good. Based on this trailer, it doesn’t only re-tell the animated movie’s story shot-for-shot in a live environment pointlessly. Instead, it expands on its source, while at the same time boasting its own distinct sense of style – recalling, thanks to its stunning colours, the wuxia pictures of Zhang Yimou.  Somebody better call Disney. I think there’s been a mistake.

3. The King’s Man, Dir Matthew Vaughn

2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service was an unexpected delight, a blockbuster benefitting from brilliant stylised set-pieces, deliciously dark humour, as well as Colin Firth proving he’s a viable action star. Shame about the sequel then – 2017’s The Golden Circle. While a smash hit – some part down to the franchise’s lower budgets in comparison to many MCU movies – it felt rushed, over-long and self-indulgent.

It made enough though to warrant a follow-up, however. Perhaps sensing audience fatigue, director Matthew Vaughn decided instead to do a prequel, one exploring how the titular spy agency came to be. While not giving away much regarding plot, the teaser focuses on Ralph Fiennes’ older spy who recruits and trains a new younger agent (Trust’s Harris Dickinson).

Yes, it’s essentially, it’s the same plot of the first one but set during WWI. But maybe a re-set to the simple story that made the original so good, along with a new aesthetic (one which evokes memories of the great Wonder Woman) is what this franchise needs.

4. The Dublin Murders, BBC One/RTE One

Finally Dubliners get a slice of Nordic Noir action with this eight-part series, based on the Dublin Murder Squad book series by Tana French.

Killian Scott (Love/Hate) and Sarah Greene (Dublin Oldschool, Black 47) star as detectives Rob Reilly and Cassie Maddox. Together they investigate the murder of a 12-year-old girl. As they delve deeper into the case, they discover the killing may have links to a traumatic event from Rob’s past.

This doesn’t look like it breaks any new ground in the detective noir genre. However, it’s two leads are solid and the production value looks slicker than many an Irish series. The latter is no doubt thanks to BBC chipping in with RTE to produce. It will air on both networks in late 2019.

5. Extra Ordinary, Dir Enda Loughman, Mike Ahern

Music video directors Enda Loughman and Mike Ahern make their debut with this off-beat comedy. A driving instructor (Maeve Higgins) must use her supernatural gifts to help a lonely parent (Barry Ward). This is after his daughter is targeted by an aging rock star (Will Forte) hoping to use her for satanic sacrifice. This looks like Ghostbusters meets Napoleon Dynamite, and features a cast full of bona fide funny people including Love’s Claudia Doherty.

Extra Ordinary just won the Best Irish Film prize at the Galway Film Fleadh (see here and here for reviews of other movies that played the festival). Also picking up an award was Bainne, an ambitious sounding short from first-time director and Midsommar star Jack Reynor. He directs his frequent cast mate Will Poulter. The short’s story is inspired by both ancient Irish mythology and traditional Japanese folk tales.

During the last year of The Great Famine, a farmhand working for the local landlord has hardened his heart against his countrymen to ensure his own survival. But when he encounters a ghostly female figure stealing milk from the landlord’s barn his resolve is tested and he is beguiled on a journey towards hope. Winning the Best First Short Drama prize, watch the striking monochromatic trailer below.

6. The Hunt, Dir Craig Zobel

Like his frequent collaborator J.J. Abrams, writer Damon Lindelof (Prometheus, HBO’s upcoming Watchmen) likes to build a certain intrigue around his projects. This time around he’s forgone releasing a conventional teaser for his latest picture The Hunt, co-written by Nick Cuse, and directed by Compliance’s Craig Zobel. The Blumhouse action-horror centres on 12 strangers who wake up in a clearing with no idea where they are or how they got there. It turns out they have been chosen for ‘The Hunt’.

Instead of focusing on these 12 people, this teaser takes the form of a fake ad for the film’s human hunting experience. With lines like ‘Hunting is not a sport, but a five-star boutique experience’, it lands in that sweet spot between satirical and creepy, all the more scary for how real it looks. While the smart teaser does not feature any of the movie’s cast, it includes Betty Gilpin, Emma Roberts, Hilary Swank and Ike Barinholtz.

7. Judy, Dir Rupert Goold

Oscar-winner Renee Zellweger (Jerry Maguire) looks set to make an awards season play in this Judy Garland biopic, impressively mimicking the Wizard of Oz’s stars mannerisms and later period look. Will that be enough though? Aside from Zellweger, as well as the presence of rising star Jessie Buckley, this looks pretty generic. In fact, just earlier this year we had Stan and Ollie, which featured the exact same premise focusing on Hollywood stars past their prime getting a second wind in London.

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