ENJOY THE SHOW
"Why does the sword reveal itself now?" Warner Bros has unveiled another new trailer for Guy Ritchie's King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, the new take on the legendary King Arthur story. As we know from the previous trailer, Ritchie's style stands out in particular, making this look a bit more unique than other versions of this story. Charlie Hunnam stars as the new King Arthur with a cast including Jude Law, Annabelle Wallis, Katie McGrath, Eric Bana, Djimon Hounsou, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Tom Wu, as well as Aidan Gillen. I really, really like this new trailer. The music is perfect, the way it's edited is exciting, I am totally sold. I don't know if it will be good, but this trailer definitely gets me hyped to see this.
With just one week to go until the Academy Awards, the Writers Guild of America has announced the winners of the 2017 WGA Awards. Last year, the big WGA winners were Spotlight (Original), written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy, as well as The Big Short (Adapted), written by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay; plus Alex Gibney's Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief winning the award for Best Documentary. What have fellow writers determined to be the best scripts of 2016? The big winners are Arrival (Adapted), written by Eric Heisserer adapted from Ted Chiang's short story, and Moonlight (Original), written by Barry Jenkins. I'm so happy for both of these outstanding films! Congrats to both.
"You'll meet artists, scientists, animators, coders, sculptors, all kinds of different people." This is totally wonderful. Khan Academy has partnered with Pixar to launch a new instructional series titled "Pixar in a Box". The idea is to launch an intensive course to teach people how to make computer animated movies like Pixar, teaching the entire process. To announce the series, Pixar made a video that explains step-by-step how they make a movie. It's one of the most exciting and impressive inside looks at the studio that I've ever seen, breaking down every last part of the process. This seriously makes me wish I worked for Pixar, what a dream. But that's the point! They want you to realize that dream can come true, you need to start learning. For now, watch this and discover what it takes to create a feature animated film. There's so much involved.
As another film festival comes to an end, it's time to celebrate and commemorate with the announcement of the awards. The 67th Berlin Film Festival just ended (my own recap is coming soon), and the winners were announced at the Closing Ceremony, including the winner of the coveted Golden Bear for Best Film. That top prize was given to a film called On Body and Soul, described as an "unusual love story set in the everyday world", directed by Hungarian filmmaker Ildikó Enyedi (seen above). Oddly, I missed most of the big winners this year, except for the Polish film Spoor, which was one of my favorites of the fest (read my review). I'm also happy with A Fantastic Woman getting some recognition. Read on for all the winners.
Let's make this clear right at the start - this is not another Marvel Studios movie. Logan is a stand-alone, outstanding, one-of-a-kind X-Men movie made for adults. It's violent as all hell, emotional and captivating, gritty and grounded, and exciting to experience. Director James Mangold really hit a home run with this one, bucking the trend and going with his gut to deliver a superb "Wolverine Western". I had to see Logan twice at the Berlin Film Festival before writing this review, to confirm how awesome it is. I haven't enjoyed watching an X-Men movie this much in such a long time, and I'd say this is easily one of the best X-Men movies. It's not really an X-Men movie, but it actually is - there's so much mutant mythology hidden within.
Nothing like watching artists work. Final Portrait is a film directed by Stanley Tucci (of Blind Date, The Impostors, Big Night previously) starring actor Geoffrey Rush playing the famed Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti. If you don't know who Giacometti is, it's better to get acquainted with him and his incredible sculpture work before getting into this film. Final Portrait tells the story of, literally, his final portrait as an artist - a painting he did of an American novelist who was visiting Paris, where his studio was, in the 1960s. The film has a small, intimate feel to it exploring the pained life and quirky antics of a great artist, which is becoming increasingly common these days (e.g. Inside Llewyn Davis, Maudie, Mr. Turner, Love & Mercy).
"Five little Rangers - how cute." Lionsgate has unveiled another brand new 60-second trailer for the Power Rangers movie, directed by Dean Israelite, in theaters in March - about a month from now. The full trailer hit just last month, but this new trailer has even more footage - including a few scenes with Rita Repulsa gearing up to take on the cute little Power Rangers. The cast is lead by: Naomi Scott as The Pink Ranger, Becky G. as The Yellow Ranger, Ludi Lin as The Black Ranger, RJ Cyler as The Blue Ranger, and Dacre Montgomery as The Red Ranger. Also starring Bryan Cranston as Zordon, Bill Hader as the voice of Alpha 5, Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa, as well as David Denman, Sarah Grey, Emily Maddison, and Caroline Cave. I'm not sure if this will be any good in the end, but it does look like it'll be fun to see.
"Indescribably horrific." A short 30-second teaser trailer from the UK has arrived for a "horror event" film titled The Void, a throwback to old school practical effects and John Carpenter horror. The Void is co-directed by Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski (both from Canadian filmmaking collective Astron-6), and is a mind-bending sci-fi horror thriller about a small town overrun by some "otherworldly threat". The cast includes Aaron Poole, Ellen Wong, Kathleen Munroe, Kenneth Welsh, and Daniel Fathers. Based on the marketing pitches, I'm certainly intrigued by this film. I just need to see more actual footage of these practical effects, but this teaser is a nice start. The scalpel in the eye scene is totally disgusting. Enjoy.
"We thought we could just roll and tumble, from song to song, kiss to kiss…" Broad Green Pictures has debuted the first official trailer and poster for Terrence Malick's latest feature film, titled Song to Song, set in and filmed around the Austin, Texas music scene. This was filmed a few years ago around the same time as Knight of Cups, but took Malick years to finish editing and finalizing it. The main cast includes Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, and Natalie Portman, as well as Haley Bennett and Cate Blanchett. Featuring Malick's iconic sweeping, swooping, dreamy cinematography (from Emmanuel Lubezki), the film definitely captures the vibe and emotions of the Austin music scene. This actually looks pretty damn good - but most of Malick's movies look great from the trailer. Still, you should check this out.
Imagine if Quentin Tarantino was Chinese and made an animated crime drama. That's kind of what Have a Nice Day feels like, in a way. Have a Nice Day (originally titled Hao ji le in Chinese) is a film from director Jian Liu that just premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in the main competition line-up. The animation style is closer to "Archer" or A Scanner Darkly, and the film is sort of a Coen Brothers-esque story about a bunch of people in a small Chinese town who get mixed up chasing a bag of money. There are a few minor political themes, but it's fairly light entertainment, with some fun moments and colorful characters. Oddly enough, this film is better than half of what I saw in competition at the Berlin Film Festival, even if isn't that smart.
"What if every step could be your last?" Well Go has debuted a trailer for an indie drama titled Mine, about a US soldier stranded in the desert after his mission goes awry. I'm surprised we haven't heard about this film before? This is the first I've come across it at all. Armie Hammer stars as Mike, a US soldier on an assassination mission in the Middle East. He ends up stranded standing on top of a mine in the desert for over two days, struggling to survive amidst the elements. The full cast includes Annabelle Wallis, Tom Cullen, Juliet Aubrey, Geoff Bell and Clint Dyer. This looks surprisingly quite good, not as bland or as cheesy as expected from the description. Hammer is a talented guy, and I'm intrigued to see him in this role.
"If you really love film, then join us to recognize, celebrate and support film screenings in independent theaters everywhere." Yes! This is awesome news. Alamo Drafthouse has partnered with Kodak to launch the first ever "Reel Film Day", a special event happening on March 5th at all of the Drafthouse cinemas around the country, to celebrate and support 35mm film. Drafthouse CEO Tim League announced the news: "This scrappy group of fellow cinephiles is truly preserving film history. Support your local theater, support 35mm (and 70mm) film on 3/5, the first annual Reel Film Day." This is a great idea, and in conjunction with Art House Theater Day, will be an exciting annual event that all cinephiles should participate in every year.