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9 new trailers you should watch this week

I recently got around to watching one of the standout films of last year’s Sundance: A Ghost Story. Around the time the film was coming out, I remember someone commenting on one of these trailer roundups that it looked like a parody of an artsy indie movie, with its square aspect ratio, dreamy shots, and a ghost made up of someone draped in a white sheet.

The trailer definitely fell into that trap. I’m not going to say the film entirely avoids it either, but after watching the whole thing, I do understand how such a seemingly airy, goofy premise adds up to something moving enough to elicit wonderful reviews.

What works so well in the movie is how much it’s able to do through visuals and juxtaposition.

It’s a quiet film with almost no dialog. You just watch people live, be sad, try to move on; then new characters move in and things change. It’s a beautiful portrait that comes together through big, slow movements.

Could it have accomplished all that as a 20-minute short film instead? Probably. But the film’s conceit is still strong enough to support how far A Ghost Story takes it.

Check out nine trailers from this week below.

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Here’s the first trailer for the second entry in the Fantastic Beasts series, and most importantly, a first look at Jude Law’s Dumbledore.

He seems… I don’t know… cooler than I expected? Also Johnny Depp is here, looking like Johnny Depp.

The film comes out November 16th.

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Avengers: Infinity War

With just over a month to go before the film comes out, Marvel has put out a final trailer for its next Avengers installment. I didn’t have particularly strong feelings about earlier Infinity War trailers, but I think this one is pretty nice: the first half shows off the goofy superhero fun you’re in for when a bunch of leading men and women cross paths, and the second half is just big, brutal action. It comes out April 27th.

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Sorry to Bother You

Lakeith Stanfield plays a rising star at a telemarketing office in Sorry to Bother You, a ludicrous-looking comedy that seems to take a wild turn after its protagonist realizes how far he can get by faking the voice of a nasally white guy (with that voice being voiced by David Cross).

Tessa Thompson, who has been hilarious in every role she takes, co-stars. It comes out July 6th.

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Netflix and Mass Appeal put together a new series that goes behind the scenes with major rappers, including Nas and 2 Chainz, to see how they work in the studio and what life is like with their family and friends. The series seems to have gotten some wonderful access to artists, and that should make for something interesting for fans.

It comes out March 30th.

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Eighth Grade

Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade was one of the buzzier films of Sundance this year thanks to its funny, sweet, and painful reminder of the awkwardness of growing up, and that’s all on display here in this first trailer. It also makes some wonderful use of social media, with vlogs being used to get a shy character talking. It comes out July 13th.

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Ready Player One

Frankly, I’m pretty stunned at how not-awful the reviews have been so far for Ready Player One.

It currently sits just below 80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and The Verge‘s Tasha Robinson wrote that it “improves immensely on the book.” This latest trailer is a little calmer, a little quieter, and like the title says, a little dreamier. Those elements might speak better to what Spielberg brings to this movie than any of the trailers before. It comes out March 29th.

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Is this a movie?

A home video of a weird vacation? I’m not really sure, but it stars Neil Young and is directed by Daryl Hannah, and the sheer ambiguity of what to expect makes it at least worth watching the trailer. The film comes out March 23rd.

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Flying Lotus scored and Steven Soderbergh produced this very strange looking sci-fi / romance / horror film.

I’m pretty puzzled by what’s going on plot-wise or tonally, but this is definitely the strangest trailer of the week. The film just premiered at SXSW, so there’s no release date yet.

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Pope Francis – A Man of His Word

Director Wim Wenders got the chance to follow around Pope Francis as he traveled the world. The documentary doesn’t seem like it’ll be particularly revealing, and it doesn’t seem to tackle any serious issues with the Catholic Church, which might make this whole thing a missed opportunity.

But it’s still a surprisingly up-close document of a major world leader.

It comes out May 18th.

Tencent is putting a robot research lab in China’s manufacturing heartland

Tencent, the tech titan behind China’s biggest social networking and chat platform, WeChat, is about to bring its AI research to life by opening a robotics lab in China’s center of manufacturing, Shenzhen. The move, announced at an AI event yesterday, will see the company explore an exciting new technological frontier that potentially could have a big payoff. Why robots? Tencent is already research many kinds of AI algorithms, and even has a rival to DeepMind’s Go-playing program AlphaGo, called Fine Art.

But it’s more difficult to have AI software control systems that operate in the messy real world. The challenge of interacting with real objects can also feed back into AI research on vision and language. Factory reset: Robots cannot currently do the kind manufacturing work performed by low-wage workers in Shenzhen, like putting together electronic components.

With those wages rising rapidly in China though, there is a desire for robots to take on more tasks, and the new lab will be ideally positioned to help with this effort. Rising power: Chinese companies are ramping up their AI research at a dizzying pace. Tencent already has already has two research labs focused on AI, and the company has been publishing AI research at major conferences.

China’s other two tech giants, Alibaba and Baidu, are also now major forces in AI research.

The US had better take notice.

Image credit:

  • Dmitry Lysenko

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