First Glance: “King Richard”

As someone not all that acquainted with the world of tennis, the name Richard Williams doesn’t really ring a bell. But even an out-of-the-loop know-nothing like me can tell you about his two famous daughters Venus and Serena. The new film “King Richard” looks at the life of the tennis pro and father who trained two of the greatest tennis players to play the game. It’s an interesting choice to focus on Richard Williams, but one that lets the filmmakers lean on the star power of Will Smith.

The first trailer dropped a few days ago and much of what we see looks like a pretty traditional biopic. Smith is giving the kind of performance that the Academy eats up – transforming and with the kind of big scenes that grabs the attention of voters. All that said, there is an inspirational story at the film’s core and Smith is an actor who can deliver with the right material. There are also two compelling young actresses playing the super-talented sisters (Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton).

“King Richard” hit theaters November 19th. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.

First Glance: “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” Trailer #2

Sony Pictures has done a good job slow-feeding us bites of their upcoming superhero sequel “Venom: Let There Be Carnage”. First there was the creepy reveal teaser. Next came the first full trailer which had a peculiar mix of playfulness and menace. But this new look digs a little deeper into the darkness. It’s still has its jokey moments which makes it hard to get a grasp on what the movie is trying to be. But if the movie fully embraces the madness and the carnage (sorry for that) then this could be a really fun sequel.

As we have already learned, Tom Hardy returns as Eddie Brock and Woody Harrelson debuts at psychopathic Cletus Kassidy aka Carnage. The new trailer gives us some glimpses into Kassidy’s initial transformation and the inevitable showdown between villain and anti-hero Venom. It’s impossible to miss the obvious CGI but there is such ferocity to Carnage and the scenes we so look both thrilling and terrifying. Still not sure about the shots of comedy, but I’m anxious to see what director Andy Serkis has in store for us.

“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” opens September 24th in theaters. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.

First Glance: “House of Gucci”

Ridley Scott is 83-years-old yet he has two major movies coming out and only a month between them. Last week we were treated to a trailer for the first of the two, “The Last Duel”. Last night the trailer dropped for Scott’s second, “House of Gucci”. The film is co-written by Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna and features one knock-out all-star cast that includes Adam Driver, Lady Gaga, Al Pacino, Jared Leto, Jeremy Irons, Salma Hayak, and Jack Huston. Star-studded indeed.

The first trailer gives us a good taste of what this wild and zesty bio-drama is going for. The film is set in 1995 and focuses on the fall of the Gucci fashion house following the highly publicized murder of its leader Maurizio Gucci (played by Driver). In her first major film role since “A Star is Born”, Lady Gaga plays his socialite wife Patrizia Reggiani. The two Oscar nominees get flashy and meaty roles they can really sink their teeth into. And the great names rounding out the ensemble only make this look and sound better. You can see where the movie could fly completely off the rails. But you can also see where this could be a legitimate Oscar season contender.

“House of Gucci” releases in theaters November 24th. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.

First Glance: “Lamb”

First NEON gave us “Pig”, now A24 is giving us “Lamb”. But don’t think the two films from two of the premier independent film distributors have much in common. The new trailer for “Lamb” has an entirely different story to tell – a weird, twisted and slightly disturbing tale by the looks of it. It marks the directorial debut for Valdimar Jóhannsson who also co-wrote the script alongside Icelandic poet Sjón. The film had its premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival to mostly positive reviews.

The story revolves around a grieving couple (Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snaer Gudnason) living on an rural Icelandic farm. They find a semblance of “happiness” in the form of a baby sheep that (brace yourself) they take in as their own child. But mother nature doesn’t approve leading to a dark and eerie reckoning. The bonkers central hook is what first grabs you, but the trailer shows us that there is far more meaning under the surface. And Jóhannsson creates a creepy atmosphere that gives the trailer a sinister edge.

“Lamb” is still listed as “Coming Soon”. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.

First Glance: “The Card Counter”

Focus Features has finally given us our first look at Paul Schrader’s follow-up to his brilliant “First Reformed”. Once again sporting a tortured male as his central character, Schrader’s “The Card Counter” sees Oscar Isaac in the meaty lead role. He’s joined by an intriguing supporting cast that includes Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan, and Willem Dafoe.

Isaac plays a former soldier turned gambler haunted by ghosts from his past. He becomes a mentor of sorts to a revenge-hungry young man (Sheridan) looking to pay back a certain Colonel (Dafoe) with links to both of their pasts. Tiffany Haddish also has prominent presence in the trailer although her character is surrounded by mystery. I love the cast with Haddish being the one exception. Can she tone down her loud high-energy routine for a role like this? I’m anxious to see.

“The Card Counter” premieres at the 2021 Venice Film Festival and opens wide September 10th. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.

First Glance: “Ghostbusters: Afterlife”

To be completely honest, the upcoming Ghostbusters movie hasn’t been on my radar since it was first teased last year. But the new nostalgia-soaked trailer for “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” suddenly has me interested. This proper sequel to the original two movies overlooks the messy and misguided 2016 attempted reboot. The film is directed and co-written by Jason Reitman, the son of original director Ivan Reitman, who looks to reignite the once popular 80’s franchise for a new generation.

Set thirty years after the events of the second film, “Afterlife” focuses on a struggling single mother (Carrie Coon) and her two sons (McKenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard) who are evicted from their home and forced to move into a rundown old farmhouse left to them by her late father Egon Spengler. When tremors start shaking the nearby town of Summerville the kids quickly discover their grandfather came out to the remote Oklahoma area for a very specific reason. Paul Rudd fills out the cast playing a local school teacher and there may be a special cameo or two that we can forward to. It’s a good trailer and it has me genuinely interested in what Reitman and company have up their sleeves.

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” premieres in theaters November 11th. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.