I recently saw Motherless Brooklyn, Edward Norton’s adaptation of the two-decade-old Jonathan Lethem novel about a private investigator with Tourette syndrome. I’ve never read the book, but from what I gather, the movie is an almost complete departure from the text outside of its core conceit.
Departing from the book isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Norton’s instinct to play up the noir elements makes for a fun, slapstick twist on the genre at points, and 1950s New York is a lot of fun to explore.
But the movie also feels a little hollowed out. Norton basically jams a tour through The Power Broker (the famously thorough 1975 biography of Robert Moses, which has nothing to do with Motherless Brooklyn) into the core of his adaptation, without much to say about it. It’s great historical drama, but it’s mostly used here to give the characters something cool to see and do. That story deserves a whole lot more attention than what it’s given.
Check out these six trailers below:
The first trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 came out this week, and it’s really all about highlighting how stylized and 1980s this thing is going to be. Seriously, I have almost no idea of what’s happening in the movie after watching this — this trailer is all about the vibe, and it looks like a lot of fun. The film comes out June 5th.
So listen, this looks like a perfectly nice movie. But I’m completely puzzled why this is what we’re getting after all the ridiculous hubbub over the last Ghostbusters. The last movie, from what I could tell, felt much like the original: four people, in New York, in a ludicrous comedy. This new movie is… weirdly serious? It feels like the Episode VII of Ghostbusters, ushering a new generation into a huge dramatic story. Except Ghostbusters is not a huge dramatic story, it’s a silly comedy! What is happening here? It comes out July 10th.
3. The Witcher
Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher arrives at the end of the month, when we’ll find out just how much of an epic, Game of Thrones-eseque event the streaming service can turn it into. At the very least, the show looks like it’s bound to be visually impressive with the budget to do things on an appropriately huge scale. It comes out December 20th.
4. Curb your Enthusiasm
There are two types of Curb Your Enthusiasm seasons: ones where Larry obnoxiously breaks social norms and we watch the fallout, and ones where Larry bumps up against norms in unexpected ways, highlighting just how weird they can be. I really think only one of these, the latter, makes for good seasons of the show — and there have been some excellent seasons. But I thought season 9 went too far in the “obnoxious Larry” direction, and it seems like season 10 is headed that way, too. I hope not, because Curb can be such a fun show to watch when it’s at its best. The new season starts January 19th.
5. Free Guy
I didn’t think this was a real movie when I first started seeing trailers floating around for it, because it just seems so much like a weird little joke Ryan Reynolds would make. But no… this is a movie. A real, complete movie about, basically, an NPC in a video game who becomes a real player, or something like that. The premise is strange and a little nonsensical. The entire thing is weird, really. I’m mostly sharing this out of morbid fascination. It’s coming to theaters? I don’t believe it. Supposedly it’s happening on July 3rd.
6. In The Heights
I’m not a huge fan of musicals, but even I have to admit this looks like a lot of fun. In the Heights is an adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway play, and it’s directed by Jon M. Chu, who was recently behind a small romcom you may have heard of, Crazy Rich Asians. It comes out June 26th.