ENJOY THE SHOW
The Trolls are back! Call the Trollhunter! Last week at New York Comic-Con I met one of the guys behind FAMP Art, the new creative collective focused on creating great art for "foreign films, classics and more" branching out from Mondo. We chatted about some upcoming releases following their debut for City of God, and here's the next one. This artwork is for that awesome Norwegian faux-documentary Trollhunter, or Trolljegeren, which first hit theaters back in 2011 from director André Øvredal, who has yet to make his next feature though a few are in the works. The art is by Chris Weston and will be printed as a full 24"x36" print being sold by FAMP Art next week. Check out the Trollhunter print and another variant version below.
"Like any journey, it's not what you carry, but what you leave behind." Continuing our latest feature, the Monthly Must See profile, this time around I'm highlighting an extraordinarily beautiful film called Tracks, set in Australia directed by John Curran of We Don't Live Here Anymore and The Painted Veil previously. Tracks is now playing in limited theaters and first premiered at the fall film festivals in 2013, where I first caught it. Actress Mia Wasikowska stars as Robyn in the true story of an independent young woman who decides to hike 1,700 miles across the Australian desert on her own. Aside from her dog and three camels.
Whoa. This is awesome. You have to watch this! That's the reaction I had, and I expect most people will have, after watching this. It's a short film titled Fortress, or Крепость in Russian, made by a guy named Dima Fedotof who posted this to his own Vimeo a year ago. Yes it's a bit old, but it's still worth seeing because, as our friend Jonnie tweeted about it: "love that it has minimal setup, and that it's actually short." Dima explains that the short is just a "cartoon parable" and he's only a "CG enthusiast from Russia", but it's impressive work. The setting is in the far future, where wars have been raging for so long that the robots continue to fight each other even though all humanity is gone. Just another cool short to enjoy - take a look.
This past weekend it was New York's time to geek out. The New York Comic-Con took place at the Javitz Center on the west side, with over 100,000 geeks/nerds/fans of all ages attending. On Friday evening I was invited to participate in a panel called Your Opinion Sucks! Rotten Tomatoes Critics vs. Fans where a small group of "professional critics" sit in front of a room full of fans and argue about what they like/didn't like. This isn't the first time this panel has appeared, as Rotten Tomatoes has been hosting it in San Diego and at conventions like CinemaCon for years, but it was my first time on it. I really wanted to have fun, see what people wanted to debate, and enjoy the experience of being on a panel instead of covering it (for once).
Along comes a documentary that may change your life by showing humanity in its most honest form. That documentary is called Citizenfour, with that title coming from the username Edward Snowden used to initially contact reporter/filmmaker Laura Poitras, who put this together over the last year. The footage she shows, the story she tells, it's as if they have captured lightning in a bottle. Citizenfour is like watching history unfold in front of your eyes, showing Snowden before and after he was revealed to the public as the whistleblower behind the NSA's mass surveillance conspiracy. Except it's not a conspiracy. It's out there, it exists, it's real. This documentary captures what happens when one person tries to tell the world the truth.
"Everybody tries to create their idealized image of how they want to be seen and who they want to be..." Today's trailer is for a riveting documentary about humanity called Point and Shoot, the latest work from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Marshall Curry (of Street Fight), telling the fascinating story of a young American who ends up fighting in the Libyan revolution while on a motorcycle adventure through Northern Africa and the Middle East. Described as a "wild and dangerous coming-of-age tale", this doc looks like it's so much more than just a story about one lone fighter, and I'm intrigued to delve into this and learn more about his story. This is a beautiful trailer that should make you interested in catching this doc soon.
While attending a film festival it's always exciting to hear buzz about films that may not have been on our radar before. One film in particular at Sundance 2014 that I kept hearing my colleagues raving about was actually a documentary, one called The Overnighters. It took a little while but I finally caught up with the film after the fest and was so taken aback, so impressed and surprised and genuinely moved by what I saw, I couldn't help but write about it. Overnighters is a refreshingly modern documentary, an utterly compelling, nuanced film that precariously balances the big questions of one of the great dilemmas of this day and age.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? Defend your Honor. Now playing in theaters nationwide is David Dobkin's (Shanghai Knights, Wedding Crashers, The Change-Up, Fred Claus) dramatic turn The Judge, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall. RDJ plays a city lawyer named Hank Palmer who returns to his small hometown where his father is suspected of murder. He then gets involved in the case and sets out to discover the truth. The ensemble cast includes Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard and Leighton Meester. So how is the film? Smart change of pace for Dobkin or not? If you've seen it, leave a comment with your own thoughts on The Judge.
"I ask only that you ensure this information makes it home to the American public." HBO, Radius-TWC & Participant Media have premiered a trailer for Laura Poitras & journalist Glenn Greenwald's documentary Citizenfour. Described as an "utterly riveting first-person look" at how they "first met with whistleblower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong", the doc is a highly anticipated expose on Snowden's decisions and implications, captured as an "unprecedented fly-on-the-wall account of one of the most groundbreaking moments in recent history." The trailer is more of a tease with a grating slow-read voiceover to start, and right when it gets to the interesting part with Snowden it cuts to the title. I'm definitely seeing this doc, but I wish they gave us a bit more to view here. That said, this may still capture your attention. Take a look below.
Wow. Every once in a while a film comes along that stops you in your tracks, reminds you why you love great films, and shows us that there's still real talent out there. This short film, titled Bag Man, came across my desk this week and it's actually a must watch. From filmmakers Jonathan & Josh Baker, the film tells the story of a young boy who leaves New York City to venture upstate with a mysterious dufflebag in hand. What is he hiding? You'll have to watch and find out. I love everything about this - the setup and payoff is perfect, the short flows smoothly and never drags, it's gorgeously shot and looks great, the VFX are fantastic. Along with Envoy, this is genuinely one of the best shorts I've seen in a while, and I will be following these guys.
Who are you, if you're not the only you? This peculiar little short film is worth watching for the interesting twists and turns found within. Titled Mouse-X (which may hint at more of the plot than expected), written & directed by up-and-coming filmmaker Justin Tagg (@mouseXshortfilm), this "sci-fi mind trip" follows a man who wakes up in a room and has to figure out where he is and what's going on. He's trapped inside of one giant experiment involving a thousand clones of himself, so who is he if he's not the only one? It runs a bit long, but otherwise it's a well-made short that proves even old ideas can be rehashed and still be unique.
"It all started with an Aerosmith video." As we head further into the awards season this year, we start to see the more challenging and thought-provoking films emerge. David Fincher's latest film Gone Girl, which just hit theaters this past weekend, is evoking some of the best writing about filmmaking, and about society, in a long time. It's starting a discussion that we've been afraid to have and yet the commentary so far has been invigorating. The latest must read discussion comes from fellow filmmaker Richard Kelly (of Donnie Darko, Southland Tales, The Box) who wrote a massive essay for Talkhouse Film analyizing Gone Girl and comparing it to Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick's final film which is beloved by critics as well.
He's back! No, not Pharrell, director Edgar Wright. Ever since dropping out of Marvel's Ant-Man movie, we've been wondering where he would end up and what he would be directing next. Would it be Star Wars maybe? Or something else? No, actually, his next project is a music video for a Pharrell Williams track with Daft Punk. Hell yes! The video has finally debuted in full after Edgar teased it on his blog recently. The track is titled "Gust of Wind" by Pharrell Williams featuring a little bit of Daft Punk, which is a promo for Pharrell's new album "G I R L" released March on iTunes/Amazon. It's perfect for autumn as it takes place in a forest with lots of red & orange (& white) colored dancers and giant rock Daft Punk masks. Oh it's fun.
Is this what happens when you get too high? Perhaps. Over the weekend, the New York Film Festival hosted the world premiere of Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film, Inherent Vice, starring Joaquin Phoenix as "Doc" Sportello, the stoner private detective character from Thomas Pynchon's novel of the same name. A very faithful adaptation, the film is a smoke-filled mystery that unfurls like Chinatown if Jake kept getting stoned every five minutes. Set in Los Angeles in the 1970s, the look and feel is spot on – it's like they made this in the 70s and time traveled forward to 2014 just to premiere it. But does it make any sense? Not really.