Awards season is heating up, and one of the potential Best Actress contenders, believe it or not, may be Jennifer Aniston. The actress rarely goes down the indie road, but when she has before (The Good Girl), it's resulted in some solid work. This time she's getting plenty of acclaim for Cake, a film that strips down Aniston to being a plain, scarred, troubled woman, angry at the world and everyone around her. And there's an interesting supporting cast here too with Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington and Adriana Barraza appearing as well. The buzz indicates the film may not be as good as Aniston's performance, but we'll see.
Now that we've gotten all the buzz about the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens out of the way (see where it's playing this weekend right here), it's time to look at a little indie romance on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. "Mad Men" star Vincent Kartheiser and Juno supporting actress Olivia Thirlby star in the film chronicling the rocky relationship of a newly married couple as they take a trip on a research vessel bound for Antarctica. There's beautiful imagery and a promising, quiet and intimate drama here as what starts as a makeshift honeymoon slowly begins to unravel a couple's love. Watch the trailer!
"You are very different than anyone I have ever met." IFC Films has debuted a brand new trailer for a film called Match, starring Patrick Stewart as an aging ballet instructor in New York City who takes up a job at Julliard. He's interviewed by a woman and her husband about dance in the 1960's, but he soon learns there's much more to her connection to him. Carla Gugino also stars, along with Matthew Lillard and Maduka Steady. This is based on a play, which makes sense considering Stewart's involvement, but more than anything it just looks like a heartwarming, life-affirming look at how to live in this wild world. Enjoy.
"I'm not going to tell stories just to please you." Wow, this looks stunning. Fox Searchlight UK has debuted a trailer for Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg's adaptation of Thomas Hardy's classic romantic story Far From the Madding Crowd, and it looks magnificent. Carey Mulligan stars as Bathsheba Everdene (no relation to Katniss), who captures the eyes and hearts of three men in this love story: Tom Sturridge as Frank Troy, Michael Sheen as William Boldwood, and Matthias Schoenaerts as Gabriel Oak. Aside from compelling performances, the cinematography by DP Charlotte Bruus Christensen is gorgeous. Back in 1967, Julie Christie starred as Bathsheba and now it's Carey Mulligan's turn to woo us. This looks fantastic.
It's been over a year since we heard any solid news on Spike Lee's indie Da Sweet Blood of Jesus. In fact, the last time we wrote about the project, it was just rounding up funding on Kickstarter and it didn't even have a title yet. Now the film has just been picked up by Gravitas Ventures for release early next year, and the first teaser poster has arrived along with the official plot. The film is described as a reinterpretation of Bill Gunn’s horror cult film Ganja & Hess from the 1973 Cannes Film Festival and focuses on an addiction to blood that once doomed a long forgotten ancient African tribe, and it all begins with Dr. Hess Green (Stephen Tyrone Williams), who is introduced to a mysteriously cursed artifact by an art curator.
Most of the time, when a group of 12 filmmakers get together for a single film, it's an anthology like V/H/S or Paris, je t'aime. But when it comes to The Color of Time, this ensemble of writers and directors (all students from New York University) are working to tell the story of one Pulitzer Prize-winning poet (James Franco), working through some dark memories as he prepares for a reading in New York City. We've seen a trailer for this film before when it was called Tar and played at the Rome Film Festival. Now it's poised for release next month, and honestly, it looks like it's trying to hard to be a Terrence Malick film. Watch now!
As we head deeper into the 2014 awards season, more and more films start to hit cinemas all over, flooding the market with any and every possible contender. Which ones stand out? This one, to start with - Xavier Dolan's Mommy, the Quebecois filmmaker's fifth feature film that premiered at Cannes (my review) and played in Telluride and Toronto. It's Canada's officially entry into the Academy Awards and for good reason - it's one my favorite films of this year. Antoine-Olivier Pilon, seen below, stars as Steve in Mommy, a violent teenager who is sent to live with his mom, played by Anne Dorval, as they try to their feet back on the ground. Three gorgeous posters, square like the film's 1:1 aspect ratio, have debuted and we must share.
If you are a hammer - strike. How's that for a tagline? Today's trailer is for a film called Traitors made by American actor-turned-filmmaker Sean Gullette, who played mathematician Maximillian Cohen in Darren Aronofsky's Pi back in 1998. Gullette writes, produces and directs this film about an all-girl punk rock band from Morocco. Newcomer Chaimae Ben Acha stars as Malika in the film, who befriends Amal played by Soufia Issami as they take on a smuggling job to make some money to keep the band together. The film premiered at the 2013 Venice Film Festival, also playing at the Tribeca, Marrakesh, Dubai, Stockholm and Denver Film Festivals. It actually looks pretty good, there's a lot of heart and soul captured in this. Check it.
Just watch this film! If you love cinema, if you love filmmaking, if you love wacky Japanese cinema, if you love Tarantino, if you love supporting foreign films, if you love wacky, fun coming-of-age stories, if you love Japanese culture - don't walk, run to see this film (even if that means just running to your living room). Our latest Monthly Must See feature is one titled Why Don't You Play in Hell?, one of the recent films from Japanese auteur Sion Sono (he also recently made Tokyo Tribe which we flipped over at Fantastic Fest). The concept for this movie is basically: a young, renegade film crew becomes embroiled with a yakuza clan feud. Or: a bunch of wannabe filmmakers end up filming an actual yakuza war. It's crazy, but so much fun.
Jon Stewart's directorial debut, the feature film Rosewater, is now playing in theaters as of today. To celebrate the film's release, last night's "The Daily Show" hosted by Jon Stewart was an episode dedicated entirely to Rosewater everything. They started by recapping the segment recorded in Iran that first lead to journalist Maziar Bahari's imprisonment in 2009, featuring Jason Jones who made the segment. Then they bring out Maziar Bahari for a discussion, ending with actor Gael García Bernal, who plays Bahari in the film. Stewart, still awkward about hosting a show to promote a movie he made, let John Oliver host while he hid in the background. It's a refreshing, fun recap of the story behind this film and the people who made it.
"Put yourself in my shoes." IFC/Sundance Selects has debuted the official US trailer for the Dardenne Brothers' Two Days, One Night, starring French actress Marion Cotillard (seen in The Immigrant, The Dark Knight Rises). The drama follows Cotillard as a humble worker as she tries to convince her colleagues to vote for her to keep her job, at their own expense. It premiered in Cannes, play at Telluride, TIFF and the New York Film Festival, and will arrive in theaters this December. Even if you're not a Dardennes Brothers fan (yet), this is one of the better films this year. It's only 90 minutes, moves swiftly, and comes loaded with an inspirational punch at the end. Plus it's just good to support the latest Dardenne Bros film while it's out.
The buzz about Adam Sandler's performance in The Cobbler following a premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival hasn't been significant, and that's mostly because reviews of the film itself haven't exactly been glowing. Now the first international trailer has arrived and this doesn't feel like it's directed by Thomas McCarthy (The Station Agent, Win Win) at all. It feels like one of the films they forgot to place somewhere in Funny People. That's not to say it looks absolutely terrible, but there's something that just doesn't feel right. This isn't the kind of role we were hoping for from Sandler, but maybe it's good?
We're running out of films that played at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival that are still waiting to hit theaters, and one of the final indies in line is Song One. By the time the film hits theaters in January, it will have been a year since it premiered at the festival in the mountains, so we've been waiting awhile for this one to arrive. Anne Hathaway plays the sister of a musician who ends up in a coma after an accident. In an effort to stimulate his dormant mind with the music he loves, she tracks down his favorite musician (Johnny Flynn) to maybe try to snap him out of it. The trailer looks charming, but not amazing. Watch!
"People of Earth, do not be alarmed. We wish you no harm. Robots never lie." How is it possible that Gillian Anderson and Ben Kingsley are starring in a sci-fi flick called Robot Overlords and this is the first we're hearing about it? Well, it's not exactly, since we mentioned it briefly in February of 2013, but simply haven't heard anything about it since then. The film is set in the future and takes place on an Earth conquered by robots from another galaxy, but one young teen (Callan McAuliffe of The Great Gatsby) may hold the key to giving humans the power to fight back and take back the planet. The special effects range from impressive to downright terrible, but the movie as a whole feels like a generic SyFy project.