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One of my favorite documentaries, in fact one of the very best documentaries this year, is one called The Overnighters from director Jesse Moss. The film follows a wild, almost unbelievable story set in North Dakota about a local Pastor named Jay Reinke who risks everything to help his new neighbors. It won over crowds at the Sundance Film Festival this year, picked up a Special Jury Prize, before going on to play at the Tribeca, Sheffield, Montclair, Sydney and New Zealand Film Festivals, winning awards at Full Frame, Miami and San Francisco, too. Drafthouse Films bravely picked up the doc and it's now playing in select theaters. I was lucky enough to meet up with Jesse Moss for an interview in New York last week and it was wonderful.
"We thought of it as: man the tool-maker vs man the artist." If you're looking for a short film that makes you think, don't miss this one. Nate Silver's blog FiveThirtyEight has premiered the full short film The Man vs. The Machine, directed by legendary producer & filmmaker Frank Marshall of Kennedy/Marshall, telling the story of chess champion Garry Kasparov battling IBM's computer Deep Blue. The short explores the setup behind why this challenge was presented to begin with and the implications of the outcome, which most thought might go the other direction. Knowing that machines are more powerful than humans, does it really make a difference? Maybe not. Find out more in the fascinating short doc The Man vs. The Machine.
"I always liked Hollywood very much, it just wasn't reciprocated." Cohen Media has debuted the official trailer for a new documentary titled Magician about the one-and-only Orson Welles, the legendary filmmaker/actor/producer who left quite a legacy. While many of us are already very familiar with Orson, this doc spans his entire career looking at his tumultuous relationship with Hollywood and his impact on it featuring interviews with Richard Linklater, Peter Bogdanovich, Frank Marshall, Anthony Perkins, Martin Scorsese, Sydney Pollack, Steven Spielberg and many others. This also comes on the same day as Welles' F for Fake hits Blu-Ray and we near his 100th birthday. It looks like a fun and fascinating doc for all to enjoy.
If you're into documentaries, or even if you aren't, this is a must watch trailer for a must watch film. A few years ago, filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer unveiled his remarkable, shocking, profound documentary The Act of Killing, confronting the murderers behind the Indonesian killings of 1965-66. Oppenheimer is back with his follow-up documentary The Look of Silence, in which he returns to Indonesia and focuses on an optometrist who confronts the men that killed one of his brothers, addressing the same tough topic in a completely different light. It's another incredible documentary that we highly recommend taking a look at, it says so much through silence and emotions. It's a powerful film and this trailer provides a good hint at that.
Well hello there little friend! Pixar has a new character to introduce us to today, and his name is Arlo. He's a dinosaur, and he's a cutie, of course. Disney-Pixar has posted a short new video to their Twitter account @DisneyPixar with a message introducing us to director Peter Sohn and his lead character Arlo from The Good Dinosaur. The film was originally supposed to be out this summer, but ended up pushed back to November 2015, late next year. Word is the movie has been "dismantled" & "completely reimagined", which means we're not sure what to expect or if any of the early details hold up, but here's the latest little official tease. One note - you can see the lead human character in a frame in the upper right at the end of the video.
We're only a few weeks away from the release of Christopher Nolan's Interstellar, which will be opening four days early in film only (35mm/70mm projection). The announcement caused quite a stir in the cinema community, as the response from some movie theater chains was not unexpected. Many of them got upset, many of them were pissed off that they weren't a part of this deal, the big reason being that they just gave up their 35mm projectors to transform to digital and now they're missing out on some of the best money of the year. So they blame the studios, and the filmmakers, but never themselves. In response to all of this, Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League (who owns a handful of theaters himself) wrote a passionate essay/response and published it on Deadline. It's brilliant, it gets everything right, and at the end of it all, it's inspiring too.
Meet Moana! Well, sort of, as she's off on another adventure and doesn't really have time to meet those of us landlocked in our homes and offices. Disney has debuted the first lovely eye-catching photo from their upcoming animated movie Moana, originally scheduled for 2018, now set for release in "late 2016" around the end of the year (this same time two years from now). The film is the latest from Ron Clements & John Musker, the two directors behind Disney classics like Aladdin, Little Mermaid and The Princess and The Frog. Likely inspired by Polynesian explorers, this film follows a "sea voyaging enthusiast" named Moana.
"A journey should always be mysterious..." One of the best films of 2014 is Birdman, the fifth feature from Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, following up Biutiful four years ago. Birdman premiered at the Venice Film Festival and Telluride Film Festivals, and will also play at the New York Film Festival before landing in theaters this October. After catching the premiere up in the mountains in Telluride (my review), I met up with Iñárritu for a 15 minute chat about all things: from life to filmmaking to laughter to turning 50 and the lessons he has learned. It happens to be one of the best chats I've had with a filmmaker, and it's rejuvenating to listen to him talk. "If you don't do something that does not terrify you, why do it?"
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? War never ends quietly. Now playing in theaters is David Ayer's Fury, starring Brad Pitt as the commander of a tank during WWII. The tank crew is lead by Pitt with Shia LaBeouf as 'Bible', Logan Lerman, Michael Peña as 'Gordo', and Jon Bernthal as 'Coon-Ass' to round things out. The tank heads into Germany near the end of the war and takes heavy fire from a desperate Germany army. So how is it? Is Fury as kick ass as it looks? Does the action surpass the story? How is Shia LaBeouf compared to Brad Pitt or Logan Lerman? Is this one of the better WWII movies recently or a complete flop? Once you've seen it, post a comment with your thoughts on David Ayer's Fury.
Birdman 4?! I honestly try not to use hyperbole in headlines (anymore), but this time I just couldn't help it. It's Birdman! And this little piece of movie swag is actually quite awesome. It's unquestionably one-of-a-kind and I'm so glad to see Fox Searchlight make something so special for the release of this film. I am one of the lucky few who has received an action figure maquette of Birdman, from the new film by Alejandro González Iñárritu titled Birdman, now playing in select theaters. Michael Keaton plays Birdman, and the film is about how his ego is manifested in the form of this superhero character who follows him around. I love the film and this swag is a great way to get press, and fans, more excited for its opening. Photos below.
"I don't see why there shouldn't be this kind of brain computer interface that may well have the effect of extending ourselves." Ready for more wacky horror as we continue further into October? Today's short won Best Special Effects at the Indie Horror Festival and also played at Fantasia, Sci-Fi London, Dallas and the LA Shorts Fest before premiering online in full. It's called Flesh Computer, from writer/director Ethan Shaftel (@eshaftel), and follows a man with a "cybernetic pet" that causes some problems in the apartment building he lives in. Some of the FX aren't that great (mainly the fly), but other shots look better. While there is certainly a Cronenberg feeling, this short also mixes in sci-fi, tech, gore, social horror and lots more.
"Action is a magic trick... And good editing and good sound are your friend." In theaters this weekend is Fury, the latest from writer/director David Ayer, following-up his Schwarzenegger flick Sabotage and the LAPD movie End of Watch before that. This time he brings us a movie set during World War II, following one American tank as it continues to work its way through Germany near the end of the war. I really loved the movie, it's brutal yet emotional and was everything I was hoping to see out of this kind of tank action movie. I met up with David Ayer in New York City earlier this week for a chat about making action movies. "Action takes time, and it takes articulation. And you've got to think of it like stop-motion photography."
"I'll believe in you all my life, everyday." Take a look at these beauties, wow. Pop art group Hero Complex Gallery in Los Angeles is about to host a show called Imagined Worlds and it will feature art inspired by various Spielberg and Carpenter and Cameron and Jackson and Nolan worlds/movies. After taking a look at the set of preview of images via SlashFilm, I just couldn't help but share these, there's so many that are wonderful and will fill you with nostalgic joy as soon as you see them. And that's what I love about great pop art like this, how much it's a creation out of passion, something that connects with many of us. Anyway, onto the art - I dig the True Lies one, that Joker art is die to for, and that War of the World is perfect, too.
"I don't feel like doing funny movies anymore, I don't feel funny." Paramount has debuted the first trailer for Chris Rock's new movie Top Five, starring, written and directed by Chris Rock, making a comeback after a few years of being out of the spotlight. The indie production premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last month and was quickly acquired by Paramount, and quickly turned around for release this December. This is only the first trailer but honestly it's a bit hard to follow, is this Rock playing himself or something else? Rosario Dawson is another lead star, along with a big cast including Kevin Hart, Adam Sandler, Romany Malco, J.B. Smoove and Whoopi Goldberg. The film earned great reviews out of TIFF. Enjoy