ENJOY THE SHOW
"I will find you." How about a bit of homemade sci-fi to start off the week. Today we're featuring the brand new teaser trailer for a project called Sync, the latest from VFX artist/filmmaker Hasraf 'HaZ' Dulull. You may recognize that name as we've featured his space exploration "documentary" Project Kronos, which gave him a big boost in the industry and now he's off working on more. Sync is one of those other projects and it looks... just okay. To be totally honest, I'm not that impressed by this trailer at all. The footage looks very cheesy, blatantly dull and the CGI looks like glossy embellishment that doesn't add much. Take a look.
At the end of another festival. Over the last weekend I traveled up to Toronto to attend my 8th year at TIFF, or the Toronto International Film Festival, one of the major festivals every fall. TIFF is now best known for scheduling over 300 films in their line-up, from tiny international discoveries to mainstream premieres, which means there's no way any hardcore critic/blogger/cinephile is missing this fest. There's just too many films to see, from various Sundance and Cannes holdovers that I've been waiting for, to major unveilings like the latest films from directors Jason Reitman and Mia Hansen-Løve. This year I was able to see 19 films as part of TIFF 2014, complimenting everything else from Cannes & Telluride. Which ones stand out?
"What is light without dark?" Every once in a while I come across something so unique, so refreshing, so exciting to watch that as soon as the lights come up I immediately want to start raving and telling others about it. This is one of those films, and I hope I can bring some additional attention to it. Thanks to a tip on Twitter from filmmaker @DarrenAronofsky, I caught an Icelandic film called Life in a Fishbowl, from director Baldvin Zophoníasson, an ensemble feature premiering at the Toronto Film Festival. Amidst all the darkness, death, stress, and horribleness in this world, here is a story that finally has some optimism to it.
Franco and Palahniuk? Quite an interesting combination. We've been covering news about adaptations of Chuck Palahniuk novels for many years, not to mention anything related to Fight Club. Many projects come and go, some make it into production (like Choke with Sam Rockwell a few years ago), and others stay stuck in development forever. The latest adaptation coming together is of his 2008 novel Rant: The Oral Biography of Buster Casey, about a high school rebel who starts an "urban demolition derby". So who is adapting it? None other than actor/filmmaker James Franco, apparently set to direct following adapting Cormac McCarthy's Child of God. I'm not sure if he's a good fit, but if this actually happens, I say bring it on.
"What - you need an invitation?" As always, we're happy to feature short films that catch our attention so as to inspire, and to provide a quick look at the variety of great filmmakers (and stories to tell) out there. This latest one is titled Now We Are Not, written and directed by Amanda Mae Meyncke (aka @amae and writer for other film websites), and as much as I could start explaining the concept you'll figure out as soon as you start watching. It's almost sort of a reverse Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, without the sci-fi, but with all the emotions. I enjoyed it and hope to see more from Amanda soon. It's only a quick 6 minutes.
"Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything." From MakerBot to Shapeways, we're in the midst of a 3D printing boom and it's exciting to watch whether you're a part of the industry or not. Netflix is so excited about it that they've made an entire documentary about it, titled Print the Legend, from co-directors Luiz Lopez & J. Clay Tweel. Premiering in the video service later this month, the first trailer for the documentary has arrived and we're happy to share it even though we're bending our own rules for something that's only available via the internet (we always prefer theatrical!). But the trailer looks great, and this looks like a really fascinating and fun doc about 3D printing, so why not. Give it a shot.
D'après le Best-Seller! We're getting closer and closer to the October release of David Fincher's latest film, adapted from Gillian Flynn's novel of the same name which it seems that everyone is reading nowadays. Gone Girl has already been marketed with trailers and TV spots and posters, but we have even more to add into the mix. An international poster from France has appeared putting Amy Dunne's character (played by Rosamund Pike) front and center, with Ben Affleck's Nick Dunne behind her. Meanwhile, a new Pinterest page for Amy's character has appeared, which is the best movie marketing use of that site so far. See below.
"You look very similar to someone." If you're interested in mysterious German suspense dramas, then you won't want to miss this one. Phoenix is the latest film from German filmmaker Christian Petzold, and it just premiered at the Toronto Film Festival this week. To compliment its festival unveiling, the production has released the first trailer. The film stars Nina Hoss (A Woman in Berlin, Barbara, A Most Wanted Man) as a concentration camp survivor who ends up searching through postwar Berlin to find the man she believes betrayed her to the Nazis. The cast includes Ronald Zehrfeld and Nina Kunzendorf. I can't say this looks like something everyone will enjoy, but there's certainly an intriguing element to it. Take a look.
Now that is a Batmobile! Oh yes! In response to the first sneaky fan-taken set photos leaked to the web this week, Zack Snyder has taken to Twitter to reveal an official and spectacular first look at the Batmobile from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Filming is now underway, and the photo was taken by Snyder's goto set photographer Clay Enos, who also tweeted some particulars. This shot they've revealed makes it look a lot more suped up than any of the set photos from around Detroit, or the one in the background of that first Batman shot, and I can't wait to see it in action. Is this everything you wanted? Or is it too much?
We're always sad to report another death, and yet here we go again. Actor Richard Kiel, who stood 7-feet 2-inches tall hailing from Detroit, Michigan, has passed away at age 74. The news comes from TMZ.com (via THR) where they report that he also just broke his leg last week and was in a hospital in Fresno, California where he eventually passed away ("it's unclear if his death was connected to the leg injury"). Kiel is best known as the James Bond villain "Jaws", seen in Moonraker and The Spy Why Loved Me, but he also appeared in various roles or cameos in a number of other films alongside Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds and Gene Wilder. He was so tall, it was impossible to miss him. Toss in one of those Bond movies in his memory.
In the last decade, John Travolta hasn't really done much work that stands out. He's either a menacing villain who doesn't amount to much, a wacky goofball, or some other weird character that just doesn't seem to work. Finally, after all this time, he's in a role where he can really prove himself again and it's a fine film, with an excellent script and solid performances all-around. From a screenplay by Richard D'Ovidio, the film is titled The Forger, directed by Philip Martin (Emmy-winning TV director making his feature debut). It premiered at the Toronto Film Festival where I randomly caught a screening, despite not knowing anything about it or the director going in. I was thoroughly entertained and mostly impressed by the film's dialogue.
As a die-hard Studio Ghibli fanboy, I always feel like I'm way behind when I finally see the latest film they originally released a year ago in Japan. But I'm so glad I finally caught up with Isao Takahata's The Tale of Princess Kaguya, originally released in Japan in November of 2013, but just now making its way to North America thanks to the Toronto Film Festival. I'm even happier I saw the original version with Japanese dialogue and English subtitles, the way it was meant to be seen, rather than the dubbed version coming up for the US. It's a wonderful film, incredibly charming and so much fun to watch. Of course, the animation is remarkably beautiful, unlike anything I've seen before - hand-animated to look like old watercolor scrolls.
This year there seems to be a number of outstanding films about the struggles of the most intelligent people in recent history. At the Telluride Film Festival, I was blown away by The Imitation Game (read my review), which told the story of English mathematician and code-breaker Alan Turing, who was medically castrated for homosexuality after helping crack the Nazi’s Enigma code during WWII. At the Toronto Film Festival, I was just as impressed with The Theory of Everything, which tells the story of English cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who lost control of the his muscles in his body due to motor neurone disease, yet still wowed the world with his mind. The Theory of Everything has some issues, but is still a very powerful film.
Toke and Tusk! This might be one of the craziest, coolest, wildest movie promotions I've ever seen. Over the weekend, Kevin Smith's wacky new cult horror comedy Tusk premiered at the Toronto Film Festival (read my review) and is hitting theaters in just a few weeks. As explained by Kevin Smith: "This movie was born in a blaze, and will be released in a blaze," referring to the inception of the film during the recording of one of his SModcast episodes (during which he is usually stoned). A24 Films, releasing the film, has partnered with pot shop Buds & Roses to release two special strains of herb: Mr. Tusk and White Walrus. I can't believe this is an official promotion, but believe it or not, it totally is real and it's awesome. I love it. Can I get a sample?