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.
Nazis on the moon was just scraping the surface. Nice tagline. If you caught the wacky indie creation Iron Sky a few years ago and actually enjoyed it, we have some good news - the sequel is currently in the works. And we have a crazy trailer for it already. Titled Iron Sky: The Coming Race, this sequel is set twenty years after WWIII (the war shown in the first Iron Sky). The survivors must join together to fight against Adolf Hitler & his army of dinosaurs. Yes, you read that right. The reveal in the trailer is kind of awesome and although we've already spoiled it, you just have to watch this anyway. The film is also looking for more money on Indiegogo to begin production, if you'd like to support an indie film about Hitler's dinosaur army.
"What happens when a man stands up and says enough is enough." Paramount has officially debuted the first trailer for Ava DuVernay's Selma, one of the last films we're waiting to see for the awards season, as it hits theaters on Christmas Day just in time for a qualifying theatrical run. Telling the story of of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s historic march that started in Selma, Alabama in 1965, this powerful portrayal of the civil rights movement is lead by David Oyelowo. He looks exceptional as Martin Luther King, even putting on a bit of weight to complete the appearance, and I can't wait to see the entire thing. The cast includes Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson and Dylan Baker as J. Edgar Hoover. Don't ignore this film.
"Are you maybe doing something to bring this on yourself?" A24 has debuted a second excellent trailer for J.C. Chandor's new film A Most Violent Year, starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain in a crime drama set in 1980's New York City. Isaac plays an honest, ambitious immigrant businessman trying to stay clean in a very rough year. I'm going to come out and say it: this trailer is absolutely beautiful. The way the (perfect choice of) music builds throughout, there are some totally stunning shots from cinematographer Bradford Young (of Ain't Them Bodies Saints), the story looks compelling, the direction looks bold, I'm impressed. This may just be a sleeper surprise late in the awards season. Seriously, give this your attention.
There's still a few films that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year that haven't hit theaters yet. One such thriller is The Sleepwalker, marking the directorial debut of actress Mona Fastvold from a script she wrote with actor Brady Corbet (Simon Killer), who also stars in the film. Now the theatrical trailer for the fall release that also stars Gitte Witt, Christopher Abbott and Stephane Ellis, and it's not much different than the trailer that popped up before the film even premiered at Sundance. But we wanted to highlight this strange, mysterious thriller on the way later this month. Watch!