ENJOY THE SHOW
"It's not over…" No, it has only just begun. STX has debuted the first trailer for The Gift, the new "chilling psychological thriller" from Blumhouse that was first teased earlier this week with mysterious and eerily personal shipments to many movie bloggers. The Gift is the directing debut of Joel Edgerton, who also wrote the script and stars in the film as Gordo, a creepy old high school friend who shows up suddenly when a couple moves back to town. Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall play the nice couple caught up in all the craziness, as you'll soon see there's much more going on with Gordo than he's letting on. There is enough creepiness established with the story and setup, that I can't say much more to creep you out further. Enjoy.
Camera nerds and cinematographers gather ’round. A video has been uploaded to YouTube that features cinematographer Joe Dunton (Dance Craze, Checkout Girl) explaining in great detail the various lenses (and cameras) that Stanley Kubrick used as a filmmaker. It's very nerdy and seems to be an older video that is only now making the rounds; we were tipped by Filmmaker Magazine. Joe shows off and discusses a number of the various lenses, wides and zooms, that Kubrick used plus his favorite camera the Arriflex IIc. Get ready for a trip back in time, as he says most of these were popular in the 50s and 60s, but that's fine they're still great lenses. Whether you're a filmmaker or photographer or not, this is worth a quick watch.
Are record stores finally making a come back?! Maybe, maybe… While most remaining video rental shops slowly start closing their doors, on the other side of the world a record company has decided to open a brand new vinyl store located in the town of Margate in the UK. Death Waltz Records, known producing fresh vinyl copies of soundtracks old and new, has announced that they're opening an actual brick 'n mortar store in the UK that will be called Transmission Records. The store will "offer the very best in soundtracks, library and electronic music as well as an expertly curated selection of artworks and designer toys", with an emphasis on anime and Japanese soundtrack pressings, they say. This isn't really mainstream movie news, but as a cinephile and movie geek this is news I am always looking out for, as this place sounds cool already.
Five grandmasters hunted by a serial killer. This actually looks way better than it sounds, so give it a look. Well Go USA has released a trailer for Kung Fu Killer, a new film starring martial arts master Donnie Yen killer and a kung fu expert, who convinces the police to recruit him to track down a serial killer in return for his freedom. Sounds like the perfect kind of plot for a cheesy martial arts movie, but it seems to be a few notches above that. Charlie Yeung, Baoqiang Wang, Bing Bai, Deep Ng and Alex Fong also star in this martial arts thriller from Hong Kong. The big skeleton set piece looks cool, and all the action gets awesome in the second half of this trailer, so don't stop watching too early. I really want to see this! Enjoy.
"Welcome James… It's been a long time. And finally, here we are." Sony Pictures and Eon Productions have unveiled the first official teaser trailer for Bond 24, titled Spectre, starring Daniel Craig as Agent 007, and once again directed by Sam Mendes. The new Bond movie is currently in the middle of filming right now, but they've dropped a first teaser since there's plenty of footage from Austria (and elsewhere) anyway for a tease that makes this look like a fine follow-up to Skyfall. We also get a glimpse at the appearances of Christoph Waltz, Monica Bellucci and Naomie Harris as Moneypenny in this first tease, but there's more to come since this is barely a tease. A very dark first tease, but enough. Get your first look at Spectre.
Holy crap! Cannes has announced that one of the main films playing at the 68th Festival de Cannes this May will be George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road - playing out of competition of course. This bodes will for the kick ass new Mad Max movie, that looks increasingly awesome the more and more we see in trailers. Cannes has recently chosen big Hollywood movies to play the festival, including some animated 3D movies, but it's good to see George Miller and this badass action flick getting the spotlight and the red carpet on the Croisette this year. Fury Road stars Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoë Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Nathan Jones, Hugh Keays-Byrne & Josh Helman.
This magnificent Norwegian film ended up as one of my Top 10 of 2014, even though it still has yet to find a distributor in the US. The film is called Blind, from writer/director Eskil Vogt, and it tells the story of a few different unique individuals but mainly focuses on Ingrid, played by Ellen Dorrit Petersen, a woman who has recently gone blind and is struggling with the realities of losing her vision. It's really a wonderful film that is unlike anything you've ever seen before (my Berlinale review), which is exactly the kind of film the director wanted to make, something entirely original that will surprise even the most avid cinephiles. This UK trailer is just a tease but hopefully you like what you see and will give this film a closer look. Enjoy.
Last year, it was Marcello Mastroianni, this year it's Ingrid Bergman. The Cannes Film Festival has officially unveiled the poster art for the 68th Festival de Cannes, taking place this May in France. They explain: "Hollywood star Ingrid Bergman was a modern icon, an emancipated woman, an intrepid actress, and a figurehead for the new realism. She changed roles and adoptive countries as the mood took her, but never lost sight of her quintessential grace and simplicity." Bergman has been to Cannes many times for various films, working with filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock, Roberto Rossellini and Ingmar Bergman. Take a look.
Big news! Remember that awesome proof-of-concept teaser called The Leviathan we posted a week ago? It attracted some attention and now has two more major producers working on it. Deadline is reporting that fellow sci-fi director Neill Blomkamp (of District 9, Elysium and Chappie) is joining the creative team to develop as executive producer, plus screenwriter/producer Simon Kinberg (of This Means War, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Fantastic Four) will produce the project. Ruairi Robinson, the director behind The Leviathan, wrote on Twitter that he "could not hope for a better team to do this movie with." Hopefully this means the short proof will actually be made into an entire feature, because I already want to see more of it.
Artificial intelligence seems to be a popular topic in science fiction these days–between giving life to a robot in Neill Blomkamp's Chappie, to extending life in Wally Pfister's Transcendence. The latest A.I. tale is Ex Machina, the feature directing debut of sci-fi screenwriter Alex Garland, whose past work includes 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Never Let Me Go and Dredd. How does he fare bringing to life his own script? Better than expected. Ex Machina is an engaging, amusing sci-fi thriller that literally asks provocative questions, with smart lines of dialogue that touch upon fascinating, honest topics. Garland digs deep with this movie, bringing up questions and concerns about artificial intelligence that not many others have really addressed.
"As soon as the tangerines are sold, I will leave." No, not Georgia the state. This film is from the country Georgia, next to Turkey and Armenia. Samuel Goldwyn has debuted their own trailer for a Georgian film called Tangerines, which was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar this year (though it lost to Ida, of course). Starring Lembit Ulfsak as Ivo, the film takes place in 1992 during the conflict between Georgia and Abkhazian separatists. Ivo has stayed behind to harvest his crops of tangerines, but encounters two injured soldiers of opposite sides who he takes in. It also stars Elmo Nüganen, Giorgi Nakashidze and Misha Meskhi. This looks solid and got great buzz (a few reviews), so it might be worth checking out.
Filmmakers are very crafty storytellers. The best ones know how to use the visual medium known as cinema to not only tell a story, but make us feel emotions of all kinds, and empathize with characters and people we have never met before. Filmmakers are also adept enough to link themes and patterns in the story through visual cues. In this video essay from Jacob T. Swinney titled First and Final Frames, he shows us how important the opening and closing shots are in every movie. At first you may think they have no connection, but it'll really hit you when you see the Gone Girl moment and it builds from there. This montage of over 50 films, showing the opening/closing shots side-by-side, also features the music "Any Other Name" by Thomas Newman from the American Beauty soundtrack. It's much more mesmerizing than I was expecting.
Let's discover something new. Kicking off this week in New York City is one of my favorite under-the-radar film festivals, called New Directors/New Films. Co-presented by both the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art (two of the best places for movies in the city anyway!), the fest highlights first-time filmmakers and their incredible feature debuts. This is my second year attending, and it's really all about the films, and the spirit of discovery, and first time introductions to filmmakers we'll be hearing about for many years to come. If you want to feel like you're ahead of the class, or you want an early start learning about which filmmakers are on the rise, take a closer look at this festival and its selection. They found them.
Experience a life lived without limits. I LOVE this documentary. No seriously, I really love, love, love it with all my heart (read my perfect review at NYFF last year). Sunshine Superman is a must-see thrillseekers documentary about Carl Boenish, the father of the BASE-jumping movement, the man who started the sport of jumping off of buildings. It's an incredible, heart-wrenching, remarkable story of a man who dared to dream as big as possible, who never let anything scare him, and who truly lived. It's so inspiring because Carl, a goofy lovable character, has such a big heart and really doesn't let anyone get him down, even when they start to claim "this is a crime!" He still has that smile on his face, and he still keeps jumping. Rock on.