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An oblivious, big-city lawyer gets in over his head in No Man's Land, a neo-western thriller directed by Ning Hao. The film, shot in 2009, sat on a shelf of censorship as the Chinese government deemed it too "nihilistic." To this, the Fantastic Fest crowd, who got their first look at No Man's Land, said, "Yeah, what's the big deal?" What ends up being the big deal is that the film is as smart as it is cool, a deliberately paced trek into the Gobi Desert with a handful of badass trimmings and a nice, rustic fringe. It's the kind of quirky actioner with even quirkier characters that's getting comparisons to the Coen Brothers, and for good reason.
Good news for one of my favorite films of the year. Mia Hansen-Løve's Boyhood-esque film Eden, about a French house music DJ, has been acquired for US release by a brand new distributor called Broad Green Pictures (aka BGP). The indie distributor recently acquired Ramin Bahrani's 99 Homes and Isabel Coixet's Learning to Drive, but has yet to release any of the new films. Eden premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and is also playing at the New York Film Festival this fall. I've seen it twice, once at both festivals, and it's one of my top films of the year, even though not everyone may be into it, it's fleeting like Boyhood spanning almost 20 years of time. But I really, really love this film so damn much. It really connected deeply with me.
Because general American audiences have a weird aversion to films with subtitles, Studio Ghibli releases in the United States usually get an English-dubbed version featuring a wide array of actors doing the voiceover instead of the original Japanese recordings. The Tale of Princess Kaguya will see an English-dubbed version hit theaters this fall with Chloe Grace Moretz taking the lead role, and the first full theatrical trailer for that release has just arrived. Unlike the first US teaser trailer for the animated gem, this one showcases the film's dialogue, brought to life with the voice talents of James Caan, Darren Criss, Lucy Liu, Mary Steenburgen, Beau Bridges, James Marsden, Oliver Platt and Dean Cain. Watch now!
"You have no idea of the effect you have, do you?" It's time for yet another Monthly Must See feature film that we highly recommend you watch. This one may be one a few have seen already, considering it's rotating through the Top Movies list on iTunes. The film is titled Ida starring the lovely Agata Trzebuchowska, from Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski. This intriguing Polish drama first premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last year, before playing at festivals all over the world and eventually arriving in US theaters for a limited release back in May. Shot and presented in black & white in the 1.37:1 'Academy ratio', this stunning film tells the story of a young nun named Ida in 1960s Poland discovering herself and the world.
It's been five years since we've seen a film from director John Woo, but that all changes next year when the first part of his period drama The Crossing arrives this winter in China. This promises to be Woo's most ambitious film yet with the two-part story chronicling three couples from different backgrounds who make a fateful voyage on a ship fleeing China to Taiwan in the heart of revolutionary China in 1949. But sadly, that ship ended up sinking, leading to the deaths of over 1,500 passengers and crew members. Sounds like this could be Woo's Titanic, and the first teaser trailer below certainly promises sprawling drama. Watch below!
Journey to the place where the warrior spirit was born. Feast your eyes on this awesome trailer. XYZ Films has finally unleashed a trailer for Toa Fraser's The Dead Lands, a badass Maori action flick from New Zealand about the Maori warriors. The film just premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, where I first saw it, and it's damn good - packed with action, it moves fast, all in Maori about Maori. This first trailer gives us a look at the cast including James Rolleston as the boy, Hongi, along with Lawrence Makoare as The Warrior, also featuring Te Kohe Tuhaka, Xavier Horan and Raukura Turei. They make this look so awesome, there's no way you won't want to see this. Take a look. "If I do not return… tell stories about me."
"An ice cold knockout." Easily one of my favorite films of the year, Force Majeure from Swedish director Ruben Östlund is an entertaining dark comedy that everyone has been falling for once they get the chance to see it. Johannes Bah Kuhnke & Lisa Loven Kongsli star as the parents of a family on a skiing vacation in the French alps. When a freak avalanche causes the family to scramble for survival, it screws up the rest of their trip and things only seem to be getting crazier. As much as it may not sound like tons of fun, or seem like a dark comedy at first, this film is brilliant and lives up to the hype. Similar to the first teaser & trailer we featured back in May, this trailer includes stunning shots of the mountains, and a taste of the madness.
"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.
One of the most buzzed about film's of the year has been Richard Linklater's impressive achievement that is Boyhood. Funnily enough, there's also another festival favorite getting a lot of buzz, and it's called Girlhood. No, it's not Linklater's same 12-year formula following a girl instead of a boy, but rather the story of a young girl living in the suburbs of Paris and ends up getting involved with a tight-knit group of girlfriends whose peer-pressure ends up leading to her life of dangerous drug-dealing. The film played at Cannes and is screening at TIFF now, getting plenty of acclaim, especially for star Karidja Toure. Watch!
"Business or pleasure?" I just saw this film at the Telluride Film Festival and it was outstanding, worthy of being highlighted above and beyond the trailer, but I'll start with this since not that many people (outside of South America) have heard about the film yet. Wild Tales is a feature made up of six separate stories, an anthology film made by one director that focuses on the ridiculousness of modern society, and how it causes some people to snap. Each one is hilarious, each one is brilliantly conceived, each one has real characters and situations, and I loved every second of it. It's dark, violent, crude, but incredibly funny, extremely smart and reflective, and a worthwhile cinematic experience. Especially if you want to laugh your ass off. Enjoy!
Following yesterday's US trailer for the Cannes Palme d'Or prize-winning film Winter Sleep, we have another much buzzed about title from the French showcase of cinema debuting a trailer. This year, Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev (The Return, Elena) returned to Cannes with his drama Leviathan, the story that is described as a gripping parable of class, faith and corruption, centering on a land dispute between a small-time mechanic and his local authorities that reaps unimaginable consequences. The film is actually inspired by the Biblical tale of Job, and looks like a provocative, masterfully shot piece of cinema.
Today's trailer is for a Taiwanese film from acclaimed filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang called Stray Dogs, which has already earned quite a bit of praise playing at Venice and TIFF last year. Tsai Ming-liang is known for his long takes, and this teaser plays up some of his static shots from the film while the rain pours down incessantly. "With each successive shot in Stray Dogs, he shows us a devastating portrait of a family living hand-to-mouth in the city’s underbelly," explains Scott Tobias in his capsule review from TIFF. It's a short teaser, but a powerful one presenting a film that looks heart-wrenching but mesmerizing. Take a look below.
"Your brothers may be dead or gone, but you're alive!" This looks fantastic! An early trailer has debuted for a film titled Far From Men, starring Viggo Mortensen along with Reda Kateb (seen in A Prophet, Zero Dark Thirty) set during the beginning of the Algerian War with France, in 1954. It's premiering at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals coming up next month, which is why there's a trailer out for it and it looks way better than I was expecting. The story follows the friendship these two men strike up in the midst of a war, and it looks very endearing, beautifully shot and compelling on many levels. Then again, it is Viggo Mortensen and pretty much everything he does turns out pretty good, so who am I kidding - it looks great.
"Sorry to insist…" Artificial Eye has debuted the first full UK trailer for the latest film from the Dardenne Brothers, called Two Days, One Night starring Marion Cotillard. You may have heard buzz about this film back in May when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and went on to open in France later that month. Cotillard plays a working-class woman desperately trying to keep her job as she must convince her co-workers to vote for keeping her in a company-wide decision. It's one of the best films I've seen all year so far, moving swiftly and yet maintaining an incredibly sharp focus on what they're saying and what they're accomplishing. Marion Cotillard looks much more disheveled than before but that's all part of her like look in the film, which plays even more into her character. Riveting to watch - I highly suggest catching this film.