"You have a real weapon and you choose not to use it." Though he's better known for his sense of humor covering the week's headlines in politics and world affairs, comedian Jon Stewart is getting deadly serious with his directorial debut, a drama called Rosewater. In the film Gael Garcia Bernal plays journalist Maziar Bahari, a Tehran born man who returned to Iran in 2009 to interview Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who was the challenger to president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But following his shooting coverage of the protests after Ahmadinejad's victory before the polls even closed, Bahari was arrested by police, tortured and interrogated for 118 days as a spy. Now the trailer has arrived and it looks powerful and superb. Watch now!
One of the films I have been following closely and waiting patiently for its grand unveiling is Rosewater, the directing feature debut of The Daily Show host Jon Stewart. Filmed last summer in the Middle East, Rosewater is now ready for release and Stewart will be bringing the film to the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals. Gael García Bernal stars as Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari, who was detained and tortured for 100 days after appearing on a segment of The Daily Show. We'll be catching it at Telluride and can't wait to see what Stewart has up his sleeves with this one. Solid poster for an activism drama. Take a look below.
This is the moment it all begins. The awards season (if we have to give this time of year a label) starts now, right here at the end of August, at the beginning of September. While officially it doesn't become "autumn" until September 22nd, the "fall film festivals" kick off this week - with the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals underway. Next we head right up to the Toronto Film Festival, with its 300-film line-up, and then we head to the always entertaining Fantastic Fest down in Austin, before continuing with the New York Film Festival throughout October. It's an exciting time of year - especially with the line-up for 2014.
There are prison movies, and then there are prison movies. David Mackenzie's Starred Up is a harrowing, violent, bold new take on the "prison movie" that is worth your time to take a look at, playing in theaters now and also available on VOD. The film also introduces the astonishing Jack O'Connell (now well-known thanks to Yann Demange's '71 and 300: Rise of an Empire, plus he stars in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken), who stars as the lead character Eric alongside Ben Mendelsohn, another badass we've already seen in the likes of Animal Kingdom, Killing Them Softly, The Dark Knight Rises and The Place Beyond the Pines. Together they take on an entire prison in Starred Up, and it's a hell of a ride. It's our next Monthly Must See film.
Whoa - this looks cool! Oscar winner Jean Dujardin stars in what might be best described as a "reboot" of The French Connection, titled just The Connection in America, but known as La French back in France. Set in Marseille, the same place as French Connection, the film tells an action-heavy story about a French police magistrate who spends six years trying to take down one of the country's most powerful drug rings. Sound familiar? At least it doesn't look so bad, seriously. I like the music choices, I like the intense action, it doesn't look too cheesy or comical. I'm interested - what about you? No subtitles included but none needed.
It was set to premiere at TIFF, but not anymore. Lionsgate has announced that in a "preemptive deal prior to the start" of TIFF, they've acquired the release rights to Maggie, an "apocalyptic thriller" (read: zombie movie) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin and Joely Richardson. The film was set to premiere at the Toronto Film Festival late in the fest next month, but with an early 2015 release planned, they've decided to pull it from the fest (the film's original listing is now gone). Whether this upsets you or not, the good news is that it will still be released in theaters... eventually. Some photos from the film below.
"Deeply Human..." Yes! Finally some marketing for a documentary I've been raving about since Sundance. Drafthouse Films has debuted the first teaser poster via Indiewire (they're calling it a "stop-motion" poster) that fades through a set of characters/real people featured in The Overnighters, a documentary by Jesse Moss that follows life in one small North Dakota town and a pastor there trying his best to help those who come to work in the oil fields. Yes, the pastor (Jay Reinke) can be seen in the middle of the rotation, but it's the quotes and the imagery that really make this art so striking to look at. You can see the first trailer now.
"Are you a rusher, or are you a dragger, or are you going to be on my fucking time?!" Since this latest trailer for the Sundance sensation Whiplash starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons comes from France, there's no red band to warn you about the content of the trailer. But just so you know, some of the anger that Simmons throws at Teller is pretty profane and NSFW. This trailer really shows off how intense this drama is as it follows kid (Teller) who joins one of the most prestigious jazz bands in the country, run by a ruthless and demanding orchestra teacher (Simmons). This film is brutal, thrilling and just incredible.
"Sometimes people change..." IFC Films has debuted the full US trailer for Pascale Ferran's new film Bird People, a two-part story set in Paris, France about two people - one of them is Gary Newman, played by Josh Charles following up his "Good Wife" departure; the other is Audrey, played by Anaïs Demoustier, a young French hotel maid who has an interesting story of her own. It's a very beautiful trailer, I will admit, with a lovely score and alluring premise with all the right shots to drag you in. What does the name Bird People have to do with the story? Well, that's one of those you-have-to-see-it-to-find-out kind of questions. Well, actually, they don't show all of it but they do hint a bit at what's going on in the trailer anyway. Enjoy.
"If beauty is truth, and truth is beauty, well, then surely mathematics is the most beautiful thing of all." Check out this trailer for a film titled X+Y, not the best title but I see what they were going for, a drama about a talented young math prodigy diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. Asa Butterfield plays the boy, Nathan, who is being raised by a single mother, played by the always impressive Sally Hawkins, and he befriends his teacher, played by Rafe Spall. He ends up on a big trip to Taiwan on the British team of the International Mathematics Olympiad, joined by Eddie Marsan there. It's a great cast, and while the trailer occasionally gets a bit sappy, there is something unique about it and I'm curious to see. Give it a look.
"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.
Briefly: The first teaser trailer for Jason Reitman's latest film Men, Women & Children just debuted online before the drama premieres next month at the Toronto International Film Festival. But at the time, Paramount Pictures hadn't set an official release date. Now Deadline reports the studio has finally set the promising film for a limited release on October 1st with an expansion on October 10th and then a wide release on October 17th. The film stars Kaitlyn Dever, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ansel Elgort, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Dean Norris and Adam Sandler in the story of high schoolers and their parents navigating life, love, and relationships in the age of our obsession with social media and the internet.
Gather 'round for your first look at one awards contender - the film Selma, directed by Ava DuVernay, starring David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. With the awards season kicking off next month, many films lining up are finally starting to be unveiled and this is yet another on the docket. Selma follows Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. on his historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. While one shot gives us a close look at Oyelowo and Carmen Ejogo as his wife Coretta Scott King, the second one features quite the ensemble line-up: Tessa Thompson plays Diane Nash, Omar Dorsey plays James Orange, Colman Domingo plays Ralph Abernathy, André Holland plays Andrew Young, Corey Reynolds plays Rev. C.T. Vivian, and Lorraine Toussaint plays Amelia Boynton. See both images below.
"I never saw this land when it was green, before the drought came." Following some short teases from France and a very brief domestic trailer, we finally get a much better look at the ambitious sci-fi western Young Ones. Director Jake Paltrow has created an intimate sci-fi world that also has a subtly wide scope for what lies beyond our characters who are plagued by a seemingly endless drought. Michael Shannon attempts to keep his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and daughter (Elle Fanning) safe and grounded as the society around them, including the untrustworthy Nicholas Hoult, is getting more desperate all the time.