Trailer for “Wonder Wheel” showcases one of Woody Allen’s most visual efforts to date

It’s no secret that these days we get one new Woody Allen movie a year. The thing is, usually it’s been a summer release, piggybacking off of a debut at the Cannes Film Festival. Sometimes in this modern era, they become Oscar winners, like Blue Jasmine, Midnight in Paris, or Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Other times, they become unfairly ignored gems, like Cafe Society. Still other times, they appear like “lesser” Allen works. This year, however, things are a little bit different. This time around with Wonder Wheel, Allen and Amazon Studios skipped Cannes, will instead be the Closing Night Selection at the New York Film Festival, and will instead have a December release, right in the heart of awards season. A Trailer dropped today to showcase why Amazon is so bullish on it. You can see it below, but first…a bit of discussion.

Plot wise, I’ll repost what the festival put out about it when they announce it would close the fest: “In a career spanning 50 years and almost as many features, Woody Allen has periodically refined, reinvented, and redefined the terms of his art, and that’s exactly what he does with his daring new film. We’re in Coney Island in the 1950s. A lifeguard (Justin Timberlake) tells us a story that just might be filtered through his vivid imagination: a middle-aged carousel operator (James Belushi) and his beleaguered wife (Kate Winslet), who eke out a living on the boardwalk, are visited by his estranged daughter (Juno Temple)—a situation from which layer upon layer of all-too-human complications develop. Allen and his cinematographer, the great Vittorio Storaro, working with a remarkable cast led by Winslet in a startlingly brave, powerhouse performance, have created a bracing and truly surprising movie experience.” Allen writes and directs, with supporting players including Max Casella, Debi Mazar, Steve Schirripa, Tony Sirico, Bobby Slayton, and more. Cinematography here is by the legend Vittorio Storaro.

This movie, at least going by the Trailer, should be a visual treat. Storaro blew me away with Cafe Society, and this next Allen collaboration looks even more gorgeous. Already this year, between Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, and this, we have a trio of visual treats to enjoy. Plus, that doesn’t even take into account Winslet, who seems on fire here. This dynamite turn could easily put her in play to win a second Oscar, much like Cate Blanchett had happen with Blue Jasmine. Allen appears really on his game with this period Brooklyn tale. It’s close to my heart and close to his, so if that leads to something special, voters will potentially flock to it.

Speaking of just that, in terms of Academy Award possibilities, Wonder Wheel seems like a real dark horse. Assuming it has a positive NYFF debut, the film could certainly make a play in a number of categories. Look for Amazon Studios to be aggressive, launching campaigns in Best Picture, Best Director (for Allen), Best Actress (for Winslet), Best Supporting Actor (for Belushi and/or Timberlake), Best Supporting Actress (for Temple), Best Original Screenplay (for Allen as well), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, and maybe even more. Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay for Allen, as well as Actress for Winslet seem like the major categories to keep an eye on. Plus, the cinematography looks brilliant, so watch out there. I’m a bit bullish on this one, especially knowing how the Academy enjoys Woody. When he’s good, they almost always embrace him.

Momentarily, you’ll be able to see the Wonder Wheel Trailer and all of the visual splendor attached to it. We’re just over a week now from it being the New York Film Festival’s big closing act, which is a rather swanky honor, so all will be revealed then. I’ll be in attendance and will immediately report back, so sit tight for that when it happens. Until that moment, enjoy the Trailer and whet your appetite for something potentially a little bit different from Allen. We could very well be in for something special from Woody, and that’s a pretty exciting prospect. Take a gander…

Here now is the Trailer for Wonder Wheel:

Stay tuned for more on Wonder Wheel next week when it closes NYFF!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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