Last weekend, I watched An American Pickle, the new Seth Rogen film and one of HBO Max’s first originals. It’s the perfect kind of streaming-first movie — interesting enough to check out since I’m already paying for HBO, but not something I would have paid specifically to see in theaters.
The movie is surprisingly quick and focused. There are really only two characters in the whole thing, and they’re both played by Rogen — one an app developer in Brooklyn, the other an early 1900s immigrant to New York who wakes in the present day after being frozen in pickle brine for a century. Rogen does a great job setting the two apart, and it’s fun watching him play off of himself.
It’s strange, though, just how narrow the film is. We don’t get to meet the modern character’s friends or see either of them interact all that much with other people. It limits our view into who they are, and it seems to limit the ridiculous possibilities the premise provides, too. In the end, it still feels like we’ve barely met them.
Check out nine trailers from this week below.
Dear White People creator Justin Simien is back with a horror satire about a Black woman who feels pressured into getting a weave to succeed at work, and whose weave then starts to kill people. There’s a really classic horror vibe to the way it’s all shot, and it’s clear just from this trailer how creepy Simien is able to make things. The film comes to Hulu on October 23rd.
Lamorne Morris stars in a new Hulu series about a Black cartoonist who starts seeing objects come alive and talk to him after he’s assaulted by a white police officer. The character is based on artist Keith Knight, who’s also one of the show’s creators and writers. It debuts September 9th.
The Devil All The Time
Netflix has the next movie from Christine director Antonio Campos, and it looks like a similarly gorgeous, slow-building, and tense ride. I really love the visuals in here and the very classic film quality to them. The movie comes out September 16th.
Hilary Swank stars in a new Netflix series as an astronaut headed to Mars. It’s not really a sci-fi series, though — it’s a drama about families struggling with absent parents and the fear that they might not come back. It’s kind of a surprising approach for a show about a trip to Mars, and it looks extremely sappy. The show debuts September 4th.
One of the next movies coming to HBO Max is a road trip comedy about two teenage girls forced to travel across state lines so that one of them can get an abortion because of the oppressive parental consent requirements where they live. This is, depressingly, the same premise explored by another movie, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, just a few months ago, but Unpregnant is clearly going for a much more ridiculous take on the situation. The movie comes out September 10th.
The Third Day
HBO has an eerie new miniseries coming up starring Jude Law and Naomie Harris as visitors to a mysterious island. As a Lost fan, I’m obligated to post trailers for any series about mysterious islands. The show debuts September 14th.
Saved by the Bell
Peacock is bringing back Saved by the Bell, with a reboot that looks a whole lot different than the original sitcom. The new series looks a way more modern and polished, but it’s still filled with references to and characters from the original. There’s no release date just yet.
The premise for Scare Me is wonderfully simple: two people are stuck in a cabin in the woods, and they decide to take turns trying to scare one another. The film played at Sundance earlier this year, and now it’s heading to Shudder.
I don’t usually post trailers for smaller films without a planned release, but Undergods was too compelling to resist. The film looks like a strange and beautiful series of vignettes set within a crumbling and vaguely futuristic Europe. It debuts at Fantasia International Film Festival later this month.