"Then she falls for you... what happens then?" A24 has finally unveiled a trailer for one of our favorite films of Sundance 2013, James Ponsoldt's The Spectacular Now, another fantastic coming-of-age love story starring Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley. This indie gem is from the same guys who wrote 500 Days of Summer and tells an amusing, heartwarming, riveting story of young love and growing up. Ponsoldt is one of my favorite directors around, I love the performances he captures. Shailene more than anyone melts my heart. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Brie Larson and Kyle Chandler make appearances, too. Enjoy!
Get a first look at one of this season's top awards contenders. Fox Searchlight has released a batch of photos introducing us to Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, a man living in New York during the mid-1800s who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the deep south. His first owner is a Baptist preacher played by Benedict Cumberbatch. And Michael Fassbender plays vile owner Edwin Epps. McQueen on what got to him: "It's the situation and the detail of Solomon's recollection of those events that ingrained itself in my brain, and the humanity of everyone involved." See them below.
Open your heart. Find your voice. If you're looking for something on the lighter side, stop by and check this out. The Weinstein Co recently debuted a trailer for a film called Unfinished Song, written & directed by Paul Andrew Williams. The British charmer stars Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia, Byzantium, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters) as the director of a local singing group who befriends a grumpy old man, played by Terence Stamp. The cast includes Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Eccleston, Anne Reid. This looks to be another uplifting charmer in the vein of Quartet. Can Tamina tame cranky Zod through singing?
"Here's coming after me next... Please Julian, protect me." Get a load of this. Radius-TWC has released yet another new trailer for Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives, one last tease at the neon-lit, Bangkok-set, extremely violent revenge film starring Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas and Vithaya Pansringarm. As we highlighted before, this film had a divisive response with critics in Cannes, but will likely earn a cult following here in the US. They don't include any critics' quotes, just lots of violence and plenty of Larry Smith's lush neon cinematography, as well as Cliff Martinez's amazing score. I liked the film and gave it a good review. See my interview with Nicolas Winding Refn. "He's a very dangerous boy."
Welcome back to another edition of Kickstart This, FirstShowing's weekly column dedicated to spreading the word about cool indie projects that need your help to become a reality. This week, we're featuring a throwback to the Spielbergian movies of the 80s & 90s, a science fiction time travel comedy called Double Trouble. It comes from a talented duo of Swedish filmmakers, André Hedetoft & Andreas Climent (whose work we've featured on the site before), so take a look at their pitch video below, leave a comment here with your thoughts, and don't forget to donate if you can spare a few bucks to support indie filmmaking. Watch!
Another Sundance selected film from the 2013 festival is headed to theaters this fall with Touchy Feely from Your Sister's Sister and Humpday director Lynn Shelton. In the film, a massage therapist (Rosemarie DeWitt) is unable to do her job when stricken with a mysterious and sudden aversion to bodily contact. Meanwhile, her uptight brother Paul (Josh Pais) finds success when his struggling dental practice receives new life when clients seek out his healing touch. This feels like your typical indie with characters trying to find themselves, and risky romance blossoming amidst uneasiness, but it may be good?
"Time to meet the Devil." Ah my eyes, so bright! More neon art to go right along with the film which was lit pretty much entirely by neon lights. Radius-TWC has put out a new poster for Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives, which premiered to boos and cheers in Cannes a few weeks ago. The latest poster has Ryan Gosling front and center, layered with bright red and blue patterns. His poster goes with the other two for the other supporting cast members: his mother Crystal and his nemesis, the "Angel of Vengeance" Chang. As a fan of this divisive, dark, bloody film and Refn's subversive style, I must continue to support it even amidst all the criticism. Another new US trailer is now available (view it here) to compliment these latest posters.
"Don't you think it's strange that we're all here at the same time?" Kino Lorber has debuted the full trailer for their B&W indie Computer Chess, which premiered at Sundance this year and won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize. The film is set at a "man vs. machine chess tournament" where a group of "young geniuses as they try to make the ultimate chess program to beat a human player." Even though this looks very odd whenever I see footage, there's just something alluring to it, I need to check it out. I love the quote about this being "a new Dr. Strangelove," which makes me a bit more excited. Give this a shot, there's something fresh about it.
Briefly: Keep an eye out for this film, it's worth catching. There's a very haunting film titled Blue Caprice that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and also played New Directors/New Films in New York (where I later caught up with it). Sundance Selects picked it up for release and has scheduled it to open limited starting September 20th, 2013 later this fall (date via twitter). That's right around the same time as TIFF and Venice as well. Blue Caprice is a dramatized retelling of the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks, focusing on the two individuals doing the killing, starring Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond.
The most famous woman in the world. The first UK teaser trailer has been unveiled for Diana, the Princess Diana film starring Naomi Watts, which was shot late last year to much paparazzi hoopla. This is pretty much everything you'd expect for a trailer for a film about Diana, with triumphant music for "The People's Princess" and plenty of paparazzi in the film, plus lots of smiling and emoting and the oh so typical running-while-upset scene. Watts actually looks good as Princess Di, but she's the only one they show, obviously. The cast includes Naveen Andrews as Dr. Khan, but he isn't featured yet. Anyone curious should take a look.
Briefly: Open Road Films has confirmed (via The Wrap) that Joshua Michael Stern's Jobs biopic, starring Ashton Kutcher as the late Steve Jobs, will be released coming up this August. After first premiering at Sundance in January and originally getting an April date, Open Road held on to Jobs and will now release the film wide on August 16th at the end of this summer. The film also stars Josh Gad as Woz, Matthew Modine as John Sculley, Lukas Haas as Daniel Kottke. It unfortunately received mixed-to-dismal reviews at Sundance (here's our review), but could still do quite well with the general public later this year. The film was originally titled jOBS, but then changed back to JOBS for its release in August. Stay tuned for a trailer.
Briefly: New release dates for two indie films coming up later this year. Sony Pictures Classics has finally set a date for Kill Your Darlings, the 1940's beat poet drama with a stellar young cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Jack Huston and Ben Foster. The film premiered at Sundance 2013 to rave reviews (including from our own Ethan Anderton) and has now been scheduled for release on October 18th, 2013 later this fall. In addition, ERCboxoffice (via SlashFilm) also learned that Focus Features has set Dallas Buyers Club, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, for release on December 6th, 2013 just a few months later.
If you haven't heard yet, Jon Stewart is directing a movie. He's about to take a three-month long leave of absence from "The Daily Show" to spend a summer in the Middle East shooting the film, titled Rosewater. We first heard about the project earlier this year, and reported the follow-up news that Stewart had cast Gael Garcia Bernal to star in the lead role. Last night (Thursday, June 6th) was Stewart's last show before the break, and he spent most of it explaining the reasons behind why he's doing this. It all began with a segment from their show in 2009 with Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari in it, right before he went to jail.
Time to visit the future. Drafthouse Films has announced their co-acquisition of another favorite film from this year's Cannes Film Festival -Ari Folman's The Congress, starring Robin Wright (seen above in the film). The half-live-action, half-animated feature involves a very hallucinogenic look at the celebrity culture and our fascination with identity and ended up being one of my favorite films of the fest. Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, and Films We Like based out of Toronto, will release The Congress in North America starting sometime in 2014. This is another recommended sci-fi gem.