Pre-Star Wars, Rian Johnson made his name as a director on twisty-turny genre pieces Brick, The Brothers Bloom (vastly underappreciated), and Looper. Then he went off and made a Star War and a very vocal fragment of the fandom pooped their Pampers over The Last Jedi, an argument which continues today. Meanwhile, Rian Johnson has moved on, returning to his twisty-turny genre roots for a new movie called Knives Out, which stars, oh, everyone you’ve ever heard of. Seriously, this cast is STACKED: Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Plummer, Michael Shannon, Ana de Armas, Katherine Langford, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Don Johnson, Jaden Martell, and a fresh-off-Endgame Chris Evans (who is returning to his own roots playing preppy dickheads). The first trailer for Knives Out is here and it is EXTREMELY MY SH-T.
One of my biggest dreams in life is to attend a dinner party where a murder occurs, and Everyone Is A Suspect. This is pretty much the plot of Knives Out, so before we even get to that mega-cast, I am in. But then you have snidely disapproving Jamie Lee Curtis—who is a baroness (with a tiara and everything) and when she plays roles like this, it’s easy to picture her swanning around a castle, casually destroying the lives of the peasants around her—plus Toni Collette just, like, existing, and Daniel Craig in comedy mode, which we know he excels at thanks to Logan Lucky. And then there is the Iceman reunion with Michael Shannon and Chris Evans, and bonus LaKeith Stanfield, and I just cannot get over how good this ensemble is. The trailer for Knives Out could just be a thirty-second list of the names of everyone involved and people would turn out in droves.
At least, I assume they will. Once upon a time, a movie with this much concentrated star power would be a sure thing. Now, though, I’m not so sure. We’ve seen good movies struggle this year already, like Booksmart. Knives Out is set for a Thanksgiving release in the US, which puts it up against Frozen 2. This is obviously meant to be counter-programming for people going to the movies over the long holiday weekend but who don’t want to see a cartoon. But in 2019, isn’t that the exact audience more likely to stay home with streaming? Knives Out will be a great test to see if people are still willing to turn out for a classic ensemble caper, or if movies like this ought to just pack their bags and head straight to Netflix.