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"What do you like about living on Earth?" Google Play has just premiered a short 10-minute documentary called EMIC, made in promotion for/and inspired by the sci-fi movie Interstellar and the idea of one day leaving Earth. Google has been working with Paramount on promoting Christopher Nolan's big epic sci-fi movie all along, with virtual websites for screenings during its release last year. Now it's about to hit Blu-ray soon and is out on iTunes now, so Google is putting out its centerpiece video, the final "culmination" of everything they've worked together on. Similar to Life in a Day, it's a doc that explores what life is like on Earth, to create a time capsule-like video to save and take with us when we one day leave Earth. It's actually quite beautifully made from wonderful footage. "This film is intended to go wherever mankind goes next."
A few weeks ago we ran a post featuring some of the artwork from Canadian artist Jason Edmiston that he made for a show Mondo is hosting called "Eyes Without a Face". It features prints created by Edmiston in 3:1 aspect ratio, inspired by the field of vision of a standard rearview mirror in a car, showing only the eyes of pop culture characters of all kinds. It's an amazing, amazing show with some incredible work and tons of favorites. If I had the money, I would've bought a few of these. And the originals are now on sale via Mondo for those who do have the cash. In addition to the batch we featured a few weeks ago, I've tossed up a few other favorites from the show this weekend (including the Medusa one that involves a mirror). Take a look!
"We're a video store in 2015…" This is amazing!! One of the best Jimmy Kimmel sketches I've ever seen. With SXSW ongoing down in Austin, even Jimmy Kimmel is down in Texas and they just premiered one of their first shows taped there last night. As part of the promotion, they reached out to local Austin business to find one that they could work with and make a brand new commercial for. Which one did they choose? Vulcan Video, one of the few remaining (kick ass) video rental stores based in Austin, Texas. If you're ever in Austin, you have to check them out. But in the meantime, this segment they made for them is absolutely hilarious. To top it off they brought in Matthew McConaughey (with gnarly beard) and he is just perfect.
"By the early 22nd century mankind had colonized many worlds…" This is awesome. We've been following Irish director Ruairi Robinson for quite some time, as he was once attached to the Akira movie (see his concept art), made that fantastic robot short Blinky, and his first feature was the sci-fi Last Days on Mars (which I wasn't a big fan of, but oh well). His latest project, or at least one of them in the works, is called The Leviathan and a proof-of-concept short teaser has just debuted online. It has kind of a Dune meets Pacific Rim vibe, with a group of "involuntary" hunters out capturing a giant flying alien beast to harvest its eggs. I love the camera work in this, and I really want to see the rest of the movie right away. Join the hunt.
Every year at the Academy Awards, there are always a number of delightful surprises in the Shorts sections – between both animation and live-action. While I do love Patrick Osborne's Feast, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Short, the other four nominees are just as worthy. One of those other nominees is a short called The Dam Keeper, made by two former Pixar employees (Robert Kondo & Daisuke Tsutsumi) who started their own studio called Tonko House. While their animated short didn't win, it is still worth watching, and the good news is that the characters have been given a chance to continue beyond the short. Tonko has licensed rights to make two graphic novels at First Second, and expand the story into a feature.
Briefly: "I've decided to write the story down…" Roadside Attractions & Miramax have confirmed a release date for Bill Condon's Mr. Holmes, starring Sir Ian McKellen as an aging Sherlock Holmes. I've been raving about the film ever since I caught the premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, since it really moved me (read my review) and I can't wait for it to hit theaters over here. Roadside will be releasing Mr. Holmes in theaters starting on July 17th this summer, around the same time as Marvel's Ant-Man and Judd Apatow's Trainwreck. Let's hope it doesn't get lost in the mix. It's a gem of a film, about an older Sherlock Holmes struggling with memory loss and aging, who befriends the young son of a caretaker. Watch the first trailer.
"Brother, please jump… if you want to stay alive. If you want to live, jump." A few years back we featured a trailer for an indie documentary called Rising from Ashes, about a Rwandan cycling team. The producers behind that doc are back with their latest project, titled (The World of) The Ghost Fleet being directed by Jeffrey Waldron, about modern day slavery in the Thai fishing industry. The first teaser trailer has launched and it's beautiful, a harrowing look at a shady industry most of us know nothing about. I love the music in the trailer, I love the footage, I admire how chilling it is, and I even love the film's logo. Word is this won't be ready until early 2016, but I'm already anticipating it and hope to bring attention to it as they finish up.
Briefly: A random tidbit of release date news to cover today, as this is one of our favorite films of the year and we hope it goes far when it opens in theaters. Fox Searchlight has moved the release date of Sundance Audience Award & Grand Jury winner Me and Earl and the Dying Girl up from July 1st to Friday, June 12th this summer. A few weeks ago, we reported that Me & Earl, starring Thomas Mann & Olivia Cooke, would be opening on July 1st but now it will arrive in select theaters starting almost three weeks earlier (on June 12th). It will still be a platform release, meaning it'll expand to more theaters throughout the summer but some places probably won't play it until July anyway. It's one of the best indie films this year, so it's worth the wait (we both loved it at Sundance). Stay tuned for the trailer and updates from here.
"I'm going to fight my way out of this world!" There seems to be an oncoming trend with sci-fi involving virtual worlds, e.g. Second Life, most likely thanks to growing interest in virtual reality via Oculus Rift. A new short film called Immersion, written & directed by Raphael Rogers, has debuted online and it's a techno-thriller (though I probably shouldn't call it that) kind of inspired by The Matrix and Tron, about a virtual gaming platform called "Immersion". This 7 minute sci-fi short starts out pretty good, then gets a little choppy in the second half, almost as if he's trying to give us hints at a bigger story in the full-length feature. Which may be what's really going on anyway, another unique short hinting at the potential of more. It looks pretty cool and I'm intrigued by the premise, though I wish the story in the short was a bit clearer.
It's rare we get to feature some stunning hand-drawn animation, so anytime we get the opportunity it's always an exciting moment. Thanks to a tip from our friends at FSR, there's a brand new trailer out for Bill Plympton's animated film Cheatin'. It was actually finished back in 2013, but has been taking its sweet time to get released and is finally hitting theaters/VOD starting in April. The film, which runs 76 minutes in total, is about a couple named Jake and Ella who meet in a "fateful bumper car collision", end up married as the most romantic couple ever until another woman gets in the way and causes some "cheatin'". This looks like an emotional take on a story we've all seen before, but the animation is what makes it so special. Enjoy.
Lions, tigers and Tippi Hedren, oh my! Some of you may have heard of this film, but many others probably not. Roar is a one-of-a-kind film made by producer Noel Marshall who both stars in and directs this film featuring many of the actual lions (and tigers) owned by Marshall and real-life wife, actress Tippi Hedren. "For six years, Hedren and her daughter—the emerging young actress, Melanie Griffith—along with Marshall and his three sons lived, slept and ate with a growing pride of lions inside their home." (Read more on the story here.) It was originally released in 1982, but didn't earn that much, so Drafthouse Films has decided to re-release it in 2015 and here's their trailer for it. It kind of looks awesome. The quotes in this really sell it, just about how dangerous and unbelievable it looks, but I still can't wait to see it. A must see!
Briefly: One of my favorite films this year (so far) from Sundance has a release date. A24 has set The End of the Tour, directed by James Ponsoldt (Smashed, The Spectacular Now), starring Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as David Lipsky for limited release starting this July. Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood reports that A24 plans to release The End of the Tour starting July 31st, 2015 before "a long slow build over the summer" instead of the more traditional "fall festival award season rollout". I'm confident that Segel will be talked about for awards all year, so if they're behind him too, then let's roll it out. IFC's Boyhood opened in August of last year after Sundance and ended up six Oscar nominations, plus a Best Supporting Actress win, so anything is possible. We'll keep you updated from here.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? "I'm consciousness. I'm alive. I'm Chappie." It's time for more sci-fi. Director Neill Blomkamp (of District 9, Elysium) returns with his third feature, Chappie, set in a near-future South Africa about a robot given life through artificial intelligence. Sharlto Copley stars as Chappie the robot (in motion capture) with Dev Patel, Ninja & Yo-Landi Visser (of Die Antwoord), Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver and Jose Pablo Cantillo. So how is Blomkamp's new robot movie - any good? Better than Elysium, same as District 9? How are the human characters compared to Chappie? If you've seen it, leave a comment below with your own thoughts on Neill Blomkamp's new sci-fi Chappie.
A few years back, for the release of his new film, director David Lowery of Ain't Them Bodies Saints (great film) hosted a social media giveaway where they would send prizes to anyone who saw four indie films in one weekend. They sent out some truly one-of-a-kind prizes, including signed scripts and props from the films, but above all just wanted to remind people to support indie films. Well, another filmmaker by the name of Riley Stearns is launching a brand new "Indie Film Giveaway" for three new features that were just released: Lawrence Michael Levine's Wild Canaries, Joel Potrykus' Buzzard and Stearns' Faults. Similar to Lowery's fun giveaway, it's as simple as photographing your ticket stubs and emailing them in.