Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.
Sam: One of the most unique voices in jazz and one of the most tragic stories to go along with it is finally getting a great-looking new documentary movie approach: Billie (Holiday) by James Erskine – in striking colour! – looks absolutely stunning and sounds absolutely devastating. The Strange Fruit of vocal jazz with her unique phrasing and her uncompromising critique of the fate of African American singers was also living a short, self-destructive life on and beyond nightclub and broadcasting stages. Erskine’s film seems to finally remind a new generation of a long-lost star whose stinging twang and pervasive message will have stayed relevant for nearly a century.
Julie: Katherine Hepburn famously acquired the rights to The Philadelphia Story with the help of Howard Hughes. It was to relaunch her career, and it did. But, you know what? Let’s leave the historical significance for now: and just enjoy Cary Grant, James Stewart and Katherine Hepburn in this Cukor-helmed Oscar-winning romp.
Eric: Star Wars is a pretty poorly named franchise, if you think about it. One would expect a ripping yarn about the fizzy politics of a ’70s Eurovision season with schemesters vying for the grand prize by dropping stagelights on their competition’s heads, but instead we got a series of movies about an electronic pedal bin finding companionship in a gender-swapped Maria from Metropolis, immaculate conception, child murder, third degree burns, decapitation, dismemberment, and a golden bikini that launched the only Dune comparison I’m qualified to make this year. I suppose there were a few explosions and gunfire along the way, but they were purely incidental I’m sure you’ll agree. Anyway, someone decided to carry on with the bad naming and made a Star Wars ‘space western’, starring a Feller McPerson in a poorly drawn crusader outfit. Legend has it his face is so phenomenally ugly that he has sworn an oath to never show it to anyone on pain of death, except for his levitating green space chihuahua. Worth a watch for anyone still waiting for that Star War, I suppose!
Matt: And how better to end this eclectic mix of trailers than with a look at the Criterion Channel’s season of films written by the master of menacing pauses? Which reminds me that, in spite of my soft spot for Harold Pinter (the two founding members of A Damn Fine Cup of Culture were involved in a production of Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter roughly a hundred years ago), I’ve not seen a single one of the films penned by him. So, if you’re one of the lucky people with access to the Criterion Channel, order up a nice Ormitha Macarounada, and nobody says a word.