Cannes 2018 Recap: The Festival Pushes Forward, Shaking Things Up

Cannes 2018

Looking back on Cannes this year, everything did turn out pretty well. No disasters, nothing bad happened, no big complaints, they actually let us bring in water to the cinemas this year (they didn't last year). At the start of the festival, I wrote about how they were entering a new era and starting out by making some major changes - and who knew how this would all affect us. Now that the 71st Cannes Film Festival is finished, the awards handed out, looking back on the experience - it was a great year. It went smooth, they showed a ton of outstanding films, plus a few bad ones. Even though it wasn't exactly perfect, they seemed to actually be making some good progress getting into a new era and slowly setting a precedent for the next few years. Dare I say, they're making the right steps. Little by little, they're cleaning up their act and still remaining relevant - even without Netflix films (for now). Don't listen to the naysayers, Cannes is as important as ever.

Teaser Trailer for Documentary 'Born Racer' About Chip Ganassi Racing

Born Racer Teaser Trailer

"That's what it's all about - winning." Universal has debuted a teaser trailer for a new racing documentary titled Born Racer, from New Zealand filmmaker Bryn Evans. The film is a profile of the New Zealand team Chip Ganassi Racing, and it's a "story of the will to win in the words most visually arresting and dynamic auto sport." It's not just about racing and the people who are dedicated to the sport, but about what it takes and how rare it is to be so "driven" that you push things further than they've ever been before. "A powerful and inspirational story of dedication, danger, fear, and the rare 'will' some of us have to defy all personal limitations." The first teaser is timed with the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 this Sunday, of course.

Sebastian Gregory in Festival Trailer for Drug Drama 'Shooting in Vain'

Shooting in Vain Trailer

"The truth is elusive, evasive, polymorphic…" An early festival trailer has debuted for an indie drama titled Shooting in Vain, the feature debut of Jared Januschka. This film will be premiering at the Dances With Films festival in Los Angeles in June, and this is an early trailer to drum up some buzz in hopes of getting attendees interested in seeing it. Shooting in Vain is a look at the heroin epidemic sweeping America, told through the eyes of a struggling artist who lost the love of his life. Sebastian Gregory stars as Max, who returns to his hometown and re-experiences the memories of falling in love with his high school sweetheart. The full cast includes Isabel Lucas, Diana Hopper, Alexandra Park, & Maria McCann. Check it out.

 Posted May 25 in Indies, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Adorable Full-Length Trailer for Disney's 'Christopher Robin' Movie

Christopher Robin Trailer

"People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day." Disney has debuted an adorable full-length trailer for their upcoming Christopher Robin movie, from director Marc Forster, a live-action re-introduction of all the Winnie the Pooh characters. Ewan McGregor stars in this as a working-class family man in London named Christopher Robin, of course. He re-encounters his childhood friend Pooh, who helps him to rediscover the joys of life. The main human cast includes Hayley Atwell, Mark Gatiss, Adrian Scarborough, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, and Paul Chahidi. For the voices: Jim Cummings as Winnie-the-Pooh, Chris O'Dowd as Tigger, Toby Jones as Owl, Peter Capaldi as Rabbit, Sophie Okonedo as Kanga, and Nick Mohammed as Piglet. The first teaser didn't show much, but we finally get a look at the story in this is and it looks so heartwarming, and very goofy, and everything else you'd expect from Disney.

 Posted May 25 in To Watch, Trailer | Comments

US Trailer for German Drama 'The Cakemaker' Starring Tim Kalkhof

The Cakemaker Trailer

"A story of hidden love, challenged faith, and unwittingly shared grief." Strand Releasing has unveiled an official US trailer for a German drama titled The Cakemaker, which played at a number of film festivals throughout 2017. Made by Israeli filmmaker Ofir Raul Graizer, the film is about a talented young German baker who travels to Israel after his secret lover, an Israeli married man, is killed in a car crash. There he searches for his lover's wife and son, but ends up lost in an entirely different world with all kinds of feelings to deal with. Tim Kalkhof stars as Thomas, along with Sarah Adler, Zohar Shtrauss, Sandra Sade, and Roy Miller. The film won various awards at the Jerusalem Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, and Miami Jewish Film Festival. This looks like a good under-the-radar foreign film to discover - see below.

Official Trailer for Migrant Workers Documentary 'The Workers Cup'

The Workers Cup

"People come here to fulfill their dreams." Passion River Films has debuted their official US trailer for a documentary titled The Workers Cup, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last year (in 2017) and went on to play at tons of festivals all over the world including CPH:DOX and the Zurich Film Festival. From director Adam Sobel, who spent years in Qatar getting footage, the film profiles the construction of the venues that Qatar is building for the World Cup in 2022. "Inside Qatar's labor camps, African and Asian migrant workers building the facilities of the 2022 World Cup compete in a football tournament of their own." What most people don't know, is that these migrant workers are dying by the dozens (source) trying to complete these facilities, living in terrible conditions - but they still strive on in love for the sport and a desire to contribute something to the world through their hard labor. This doc looks like it's worth our time.

Third Trailer for Stefano Sollima's Sequel 'Sicario: Day Of The Soldado'

Sicario: Day Of The Soldado

"Ah, beautiful day. Blue skies. Large caliber weapons. I love getting out of the office." Sony Pictures has released a third official trailer for the dark thriller Sicario: Day of the Soldado, the sequel to Sicario, Denis Villeneuve's intense thriller set along the US-Mexico border. Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro return to star in this one, which looks like it has more action and even more intensity than the first film. In Soldado, the drug war has escalated as the cartels have shifted to trafficking terrorists across the border. Del Toro seems to take the lead as the point man running the latest intrusion into the cartel scene in hopes of cleaning it up. Also starring Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Catherine Keener. This is looking very good, but it's an easy sell with all the action and Brolin being badass as always.

 Posted May 25 in Indies, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

First Trailer for Psychological Thriller 'Susu' From Director Yixi Sun

Susu Trailer

"There's nothing for you to worry about… you're perfectly safe here." The first official trailer has debuted for a film playing at the Seattle Film Festival coming up this summer, titled Susu, the feature directorial debut of Chinese writer/director Yixi Sun. This "psychological thriller with a stylish international twist" is about two Chinese girls who take a film transcription job located in a heritage English countryside mansion. Discovering entangled family secrets about the Kunqu Opera star Susu, they find it almost impossible to escape, physically and emotionally. It was actually shot at historical sites, including a 16th century English mansion and the old house of Charlie Chaplin and his mother. Susu stars Zitong Wu, Lin Zhu, Frederick Szkoda, Steve Edwin, Tom Mannion, Laura June Hudson, Roslyn Hill, and Junjie Mao as Susu. This looks extra melodramatic and a bit campy, but I quite like the intertwining of old cinema and thriller.

 Posted May 24 in Indies, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Another Badass Red Band Trailer for Gory Sci-Fi Action Film 'Upgrade'

Upgrade Trailer

"Never stops being awesome." BH Tilt has debuted a second official red band trailer for the sci-fi action film Upgrade, the latest film from Australian filmmaker Leigh Whannell, co-creator of Saw and Insidious. This has been described as a "thrilling and hyper violent vision of the future" and it looks totally badass, these trailers are the best way to get people excited for this film. Set in the near-future, technology controls nearly all aspects of life. But when Grey, a self-identified technophobe, has his world turned upside down, his only hope for revenge is an experimental computer chip implant called Stem. Logan Marshall-Green stars, along with Betty Gabriel, Michael M. Foster, Harrison Gilbertson, and Benedict Hardie. I really can't wait to see this! I've been hearing nothing but good things, and it looks like a brutally good time.

 Posted May 24 in Sci-Fi, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Another Lovely Trailer for Mr. Rogers Doc 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?'

Won't You Be My Neighbor? Trailer

"Children have very deep feelings just the way everybody does." Focus Features has debuted a second official trailer for the documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor? about Fred Rogers, made by Oscar-winning doc filmmaker Morgan Neville (of 20 Feet from Stardom). This lovely, inspiring, heartwarming film is a look at how a man tried to make the world better by figuring out how to speak to kids and teach them the importance of compassion and understanding and helpfulness. I really love this doc and I'm happy to be quoted in this trailer near the end from my Sundance review: "This is the documentary we all need right now. It's a heartwarming, rousing film about how goodness makes an impact in society. It shows us that we can make a difference if we help someone else, if we support them, and believe in them, and remind them that they are perfect just they way they are." This really is the film we all need to warm our hearts now.

Second Teaser Trailer for Mystery 'A Simple Favor' with Anna Kendrick

A Simple Favor Teaser Trailer

"People do terrible things for their own reasons…" Lionsgate has debuted another official teaser trailer for the mystery film A Simple Favor, the latest from acclaimed director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy, Ghostbusters). The first teaser for this was quite an introduction, setting up the stakes for this missing-woman thriller. Anna Kendrick plays a mommy vlogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily's sudden disappearance from their small town. Blake Lively co-stars as Emily, and this also stars Linda Cardellini, Henry Golding, Rupert Friend, Eric Johnson, Jean Smart, Sarah Baker, and Andrew Rannells. These teasers are very cool, with the fun animation graphics twisting everything around between them. I'm really curious to find out what this is all about. Check out this new teaser below.

 Posted May 24 in To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Official Trailer for Documentary 'Spiral' About Anti-Semitism in France

Spiral Documentary Trailer

"How can we learn to live together?" Cohen Media Group has debuted an official trailer for a documentary titled Spiral, made by director Laura Fairrie (The Battle for Barking). This premiered at DOC NYC and a few other festivals last year, and it's a look at the rise of anti-Semitism and assaults against Jews in France. "With anti-Semitic movements on the rise across Europe, particularly in France, many members of the Jewish community are faced with a difficult choice: stay in France and face down the bigotry that seems to be gaining cultural and social acceptance through popular cultural figures like the comedian Dieudonné, known for his signature inverted Nazi salute, or leave the country to seek refuge in Israel and beyond." This looks like a sad and infuriating examination of the rise of modern anti-Semitism, from a caring filmmaker.

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