August 31, 2014
"Business or pleasure?" I just saw this film at the Telluride Film Festival and it was outstanding, worthy of being highlighted above and beyond the trailer, but I'll start with this since not that many people (outside of South America) have heard about the film yet. Wild Tales is a feature made up of six separate stories, an anthology film made by one director that focuses on the ridiculousness of modern society, and how it causes some people to snap. Each one is hilarious, each one is brilliantly conceived, each one has real characters and situations, and I loved every second of it. It's dark, violent, crude, but incredibly funny, extremely smart and reflective, and a worthwhile cinematic experience. Especially if you want to laugh your ass off. Enjoy!
August 24, 2014
Today's trailer is for a Taiwanese film from acclaimed filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang called Stray Dogs, which has already earned quite a bit of praise playing at Venice and TIFF last year. Tsai Ming-liang is known for his long takes, and this teaser plays up some of his static shots from the film while the rain pours down incessantly. "With each successive shot in Stray Dogs, he shows us a devastating portrait of a family living hand-to-mouth in the city’s underbelly," explains Scott Tobias in his capsule review from TIFF. It's a short teaser, but a powerful one presenting a film that looks heart-wrenching but mesmerizing. Take a look below.
August 17, 2014
Have you seen Snowpiercer yet? If not, it's now available on VOD now - check it out sometime soon. If you have, then great! For those who (like me) are big fans of Korean director Bong Joon-ho, we have another project you might want to take a look at. It's called Haemoo, or Sea Fog, and is a Korean thriller about a fishing boat that is smuggling illegal immigrants. The cast includes Kim Yun-seok and Park Yu-Chun, and the film was already released in Korea this month. The full trailer has been floating around and I was inspired by our friends to feature it today, especially with its North American festival debut coming up soon. No subtitles yet, unfortunately, but this does look like an intense, dark, modern thriller. Take a look below!
August 10, 2014
"It was easier to pitch with the LSD, that's the way I was dealing with the fear of failure." Today's trailer is for another fascinating baseball documentary that premiered at Sundance this year (we also recommend The Battered Bastards of Baseball). This one is titled No No: A Dockumentary about pitcher Dock Ellis, the man famous for pitching a no-hitter game in 1970 while on LSD. "It was an ugly no-hitter," he admits in the trailer, but still a "no-no". While Dock passed away in 2008, filmmaker Jeff Radice was able to interview him extensively and it's amusing and enlightening to hear his story, filled with anecdotes, archival footage and stories from other players. Looks like another great baseball doc and I'm looking forward to seeing this.
August 3, 2014
"Fight!" Yep, you read that right - this film is from 2010. This film opened in China/Taiwan/Hong Kong way back in 2010, and was released on DVD in 2011, but never made it to the US. In fact, it's just now getting released in the US under the title 14 Blades, even though the original title was akin to The Brocaded Robe Guards. Martial arts star Donnie Yen plays General Qinlong in this "kung fu thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and centered on a secret service agent (Yen) in the emperor's court who is betrayed and then hunted by his colleagues." If you're into kung fu or martial arts thrillers, it's worth taking a look at - though I fear many fans may have already seen this film over the last few years. This also features Sammo Hung.
July 13, 2014
"Who did it?" Today's indie trailer is for the murder mystery thriller Jamie Marks Is Dead, from writer / director Carter Smith, which first premiered at Sundance 2014 earlier this year. The film stars Cameron Monaghan as a high school student who meets the ghost of a murdered teenager and attempts to help him put together the crime. There are some odd appearances by Liv Tyler and Judy Greer in funky supporting roles, along with Noah Silver as Jamie Marks. While this starts out like a new take on a murder concept like Rian Johnson's Brick, it spins into the ghost territory and seems to turn into too much of a paranormal horror for my own tastes. I'm curious about it, but not sure if it'll be any good. Give this a look for yourself.
July 6, 2014
"Let us say a prayer that this piece of land, small as it may be, can be more than a symbol." Today's trailer is for an indie sci-fi/post apocalyptic film that premiered at Sundance to rather dismal buzz. It's the second feature from Jake Paltrow, younger brother of Gwyneth Paltrow, whose debut was The Good Night from 2007. This one, titled the Young Ones, is another genre-mixer set in the future, but with the tone and style of a Dust Bowl western. Kodi Smit-McPhee stars as the nomad son of Michael Shannon, and Nicholas Hoult actually plays a villain, with Elle Fanning his girlfriend. These first trailers are early promos that may not stay online, but as a first glimpse I'm intrigued to see how this looks. If you're curious, take a look.
June 22, 2014
"He didn't mean to do anything bad... I'll get you through this." Today's indie trailer that comes highly recommended is the official trailer for Matthew Saville's Felony, a little indie film written by, produced by and starring Joel Edgerton (last seen in The Great Gatsby, Zero Dark Thirty, Odd Life of Timothy Green). He's joined by the always fierce Tom Wilkinson, Melissa George, and Jai Courtney in one of his best roles yet. Edgerton plays a cop who gets into big trouble in a late night accident, creating a troublesome situation at work and at home. I first caught this film at TIFF last year and it's solid, with a few strong performances and great score, hopefully it gets released. The trailer shows a lot, but doesn't ruin everything.
June 9, 2014
For the last five years, we've been posting Indie Trailer Sunday features on FirstShowing, highlighting great indie trailers on the day when no one reads the internet (anymore). I started this feature way back in 2009 as a way of posting some extra trailers over the weekend, on Sunday, when there was no other news, everything was pretty quiet, and there was nothing else worth posting except for an excellent trailer for an independent film most people likely haven't heard of yet. I've carried on that tradition with new posts most Sundays (not always, but I try my best). I still feel like the films never get enough time in the spotlight and are always forgotten by Monday, so here's an extra reminder. Click any poster below for the trailer/teaser.
June 8, 2014
"Have you ever had music just hit you in a place where it immediately brought you to tears? Music has that power." This looks wonderful. Winner of the Documentary Audience Award at Sundance 2014 earlier this year, Alive Inside is a doc by Michael Rossato-Bennett about the power that music has to "awaken memories and emotions that have been asleep for years". It focuses on the elderly and how patients with dementia have been able to open their minds again through music, proposing that music has the power to heal by touching our hearts and souls. This does look like a very moving and inspiring documentary, and I definitely do want to see it. Check out the official trailer below for what's being called a "life-changing film".
June 1, 2014
How wonderful. "This is an ancient shell that my mother gave me a long time ago... Hold it to your ear and listen carefully..." Today's trailer is a teaser for the upcoming animated movie titled Song of the Sea, the second feature from Tomm Moore, whose work on the animated film The Secret of Kells earned him a Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination in 2010 (it eventually lost to Pixar's Up). His next film is about a child named Saoirse, who is the last of the selkies, women in Irish and Scottish legends who transform from seals into people. She escapes from her grandmother's home to journey to the sea and free fairy creatures trapped in the modern world. This is just a teaser, but it's full of wonderful animation that makes this a must watch.
May 25, 2014
"Is that safe?" In the handful of outstanding films from the 2014 Cannes Film Festival that deserve to break out, there's this one - a hilarious dark comedy skiing vacation avalanche film from a Swedish director named Ruben Östlund. I went nuts for it and wrote a rave review earlier in the fest, but now we have the first two trailers to share - for an idea of what this film is like and to show everyone why this should be on your radar. Johannes Bah Kuhnke & Lisa Loven Kongsli star as the husband and wife at French Alps ski resort who experience a close-call with an avalanche, which throws off their interactions the rest of the vacation. It's beautifully shot for a ski movie, and is also hilariously brilliant in so many ways. Check these out below.
April 20, 2014
"Who... are you?" Today's indie trailer is the first official teaser for a kinetic South Korean action film titled No Tears for the Dead, from Jeong-beom Lee of the 2010 revenge film The Man from Nowhere. In this new film, Jang Dong-gun stars along with Kim Min-hee in a "love story between a professional hitman and his next target". While that kind of story could go either way on screen, this one goes for a much more energetic, explosive feeling. I'm not sure what is with the English subtitles for English-spoken dialogue, but aside from that, this actually looks pretty cool with a few great shots (like the one seen above). Take a look.
April 13, 2014
"It's funny that you find life so complicated." Today's indie trailer is for a film called Chinese Puzzle, or Casse-tête chinois in French, another third film in a charming romantic comedy trilogy about a couple and their lives over the years. The film features the same cast/characters from Cédric Klapisch's Russian Dolls and The Spanish Apartment, including Romain Duris as Xavier Rousseau, along with Audrey Tautou, Kelly Reilly, Toshiko Onizawa, Cécile de France and Sandrine Holt. While it is a French film, they do speak English and it takes place mostly in New York City, and doesn't look that bad at all. I'll check it out.