July is off to a good start with the release of some highly anticipated official trailers. Due to the global pandemic, distribution companies who would’ve normally released their movies in theaters have turned to streaming giants like Netflix and HBO Max to premiere their films to audiences around the world. With film productions beginning to ramp back up and theaters around the country slowly starting to open, movie-goers are hoping they won’t have to much longer to watch films on the big-screen again. Until then, check out the five official trailers that caught our eyes this week.
1. An American Pickle (HBO Max, August 6)
Herschel Greenbaum, a struggling laborer with the American dream immigrates to New York in 1920 in hopes of creating a better life for his family. One day while working his factory job, Greenbaum falls into a vat of pickles and is brined for 100 years. Greenbaum wakes up in present-day Brooklyn and seeks out his family only to learn that his great-grandson is his last surviving relative.
The story is based on Simon Rich’s “Sell Out,” which was originally published in The New Yorker in 2013. Seth Rogen plays both of the main characters in the film, and while Rogen is notorious for making wacky comedies, this narrative seems to take on a more serious tone. The film will tackles themes of family and grief in the most Rogen-type of way. Brandon Trost, who has collaborated with Rogen on several films including This Is the End and The Interview, will direct the movie. The cast includes Sarah Snook (The Dressmaker), Sean Whalen (Never Been Kissed), Jorma Taccone (Hot Rod), Joanna Adler (Alex Strangelove), and many more.
2. Respect (Theaters, December 25)
Jennifer Hudson returns to the big-screen as the late legendary Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. The film will take viewers on a ride through Franklin’s childhood as a gospel prodigy, rise to stardom, and impact the civil rights movement.
The biopic has been in the works for nearly a decade and was initially slated to release this summer. Aretha Franklin chose Hudson to play her shortly after Hudson made her debut in Bill Condon’s Dreamgirls. The news was announced publicly in 2018 just a few months before Franklin’s death. Hudson, who became close friends with Franklin, looks very comfortable in the role and sounds fantastic in her rendition of legend’s classic hit record “Respect” which the film is named after.Liesl Tommy (Queen Sugar) is making her big-screen directorial debut with Respect, written by two-time Emmy nominee Tracey Scott Wilson. The star-studded cast includes appearances from Mary J. Blige, Forest Whitaker (Last King of Scotland), Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Marlon Wayans (Scary Movie), and Audra McDonald (Private Practice).
3. The Tax Collector (Theaters, August 7)
David and Creeper are “tax collectors” for an LA crime lord, Wizard. The two collect profits from the local gangs through terror and violence, but their business is upended when a formal rival of Wizard’s returns to LA from Mexico. Now David and Creeper have to fight for their lives and the protection of their family.
Coming off the success of his last two films, The Peanut Butter Falcon and Honey Boy, Shia LaBeouf’s takes on a refreshingly sinister role as Creeper in The Tax Collectors. LaBeouf ravages through LA with his sidekick played by Bobby Soto (A Better Life), who, despite being a terrorizing thug on the street, would do anything to protect his family. This will be the second collaboration between director David Ayer (Bright, Suicide Squad) and LaBeouf. In 2014 the two worked together on Fury, where LaBeouf made headlines for pulling out his own tooth in the name of method acting. Ayer came to LaBeouf’s defense this week as he was criticized for “brownfacing”, acting as a character of Latinx descent. Ayer quickly shot down the brownface rumors and informed fans that LaBeouf, who plays Creeper, is a white.
The Tax Collector cast includes appearances from George Lopez, Lana Parilla (Once Upon a Time), Chelsea Rendon (McFarland USA), Cinthya Carmona (Skin in the Game), and more.
4. The Old Guard (Netflix, July 10)
A group of tight-knit mercenaries with a mysterious inability to die has fought to protect the mortal world for centuries. When the group and their extraordinary abilities are exposed, they must fight to keep their identity a secret with the unexpected help of a new member.
The first 10 seconds of the trailer reveals Charlize Theron, who plays Andy, driving a tank through a desolate desert. Upon first glance, Theron’s character is reminiscent of her role as Furiosa in George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, however this time, she’s not running from dystopian warlords, she’s on a special mission to recruit a new member to her mercenary team. KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk) plays Nile, a marine who turns out to be the missing piece Andy and her team needs, but she’s reluctant to leave her past behind. The film is adapted from the 2017 graphic novel of the same name written by Greg Rucka who wrote the screenplay and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball). Cast includes Matthis Schoenaerts (The Danish Girl), Marwan Kenzari (Aladdin, The Angel), Luca Marinelli (Martin Eden), Chiwetel Ejiofor (The Lion King, 12 Years a Slave), and more.
5. Black Is King (Disney+, July 31)
Black Is King a film written, directed, and executive produced by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter that will arrive on the heels of the one-year anniversary of Disney’s “The Lion King.” Disney and Beyonce’s Parkwood Entertainment calls the film a “memoir for the world on the Black experience.”
The film is inspired by “The Lion King: The Gift,” the album that was released last year along with the remake of the classic movie. The album, which blends sounds birthed from the African diaspora, featured big names like Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, 070 Shake, and many more. The visual album will tell the story of a young king’s “transcendent journey through betrayal, love, and self-identity.”