No one expected writer/director David Robert Mitchell to follow his beloved, indie hit The Myth of the American Sleepover with a horror film. Even fewer expected it to be one of the most terrifying cautionary tales to come down the horror mountain in a long, long while. Regardless that's what we get with It Follows, because that's precisely what it is, a spine-chilling yet simple story that knows exactly how to get under the viewer's skin. Mitchell knocks the slew of horror tropes he could have easily fed us to the side, and It Follows ends up being a unique film that just may do more for young-adult abstinence than a sex ed class.
Wait - Paul Schrader, screenwriter of Raging Bull & Taxi Driver and director of American Gigolo, cast Nicolas Cage in his new film? This has to be a joke? Nope. It's real, and it's already shot and finishing up for 2015 release. Schrader's new "mid-budget indie", which he wrote and directed, is titled Dying of the Light executive produced by fellow filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn. What a team-up this is: Schrader, Refn, Cage. Who else? Well, the cast includes Anton Yelchin (also seen in the photo), Alexander Karim and Irène Jacob. I won't deny that I'm curious about this. Take a look at the image below, which doesn't reveal much about the way this will play. Of all the recent Cage films, this is the one I'm most interested in.
Meet Xavier Dolan from Quebec, Canada. He's currently 25 years old with five films under his belt, four of them premiering at the Cannes Film Festival. I've been following Xavier closely since catching Heartbeats, his second film, at Cannes back in 2010. At Cannes this year he premiered Mommy, an exhilarating story of a mother and her troubled son and the relationship they strike up with their neighbor (watch the trailer that we're quoted in here). I loved the film, one of my favorites this year, and have been looking forward to meeting Xavier. What would he be like in person? Could I get honest answers out of him? (The answer: yes.) He lets loose in this two-part 20 min chat about making movies, his cinematic style, and career as an actor.
"Why would you tweak the nipples on the Buddha?" After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival at the beginning of the year, Lynn Shelton's latest film Laggies is poised for release next month in both the US and the UK. And it's the latter country that has a new look at the film in the form of a new trailer, where you can see that the film is actually called Say When across the pond. It seems like a typical indie story of a woman struggling to find herself and become responsible while doing everything to avoid it, but the presence of Chloe Grace Moretz and Sam Rockwell with Keira Knightley seem to elevate it. Watch it!
"We still love each other, right?" It's here! Roadside Attractions has debuted a brand new official US trailer for Xavier Dolan's Mommy, the fifth feature from the young Quebecois filmmaker who won a Jury Award at Cannes this year. Mommy stars Anne Dorval as the mother of a wild, young teenage boy named Steve, played by Antoine-Olivier Pilon. He moves in with her and things start to get better, especially after they meet their neighbor played by Suzanne Clément. I saw the film at its Cannes premiere and raved about it in my review, which ended up being quoted in this trailer - I call it a "modern masterpiece". It's one of my favorite films of the year, and I highly recommend catching it as soon as you can - at a festival or in theaters.
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.
Director Steven Spielberg did a fine job chronicling a small part of the life of Abraham Lincoln, but now comes a completely different kind of film about the childhood years of the 16th president from A.J. Edwards, a longtime protégé of Terrence Malick. The film is based on 19th century interview with Lincoln's family and follows Braydon Denney as the young boy is shaped into the historically famous man he would become. Brit Marling, Jason Clarke, Diane Kruger and Wes Bentley also star in the film, and it looks to be very visceral, and remarkably different from the kind of film you'd expect about Lincoln. Watch!
"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.
A few more films that premiered at Sundance at the beginning of the year are still trickling into theaters, and while some are absolutely incredible with lots of buzz like Whiplash (arriving next month), others don't seem to have the same hype. Low Down is one of those films, and the trailer seems to indicate why. There's praise in the trailer for the performances, but if the trailer is any indicator, this indie seems to meander around the story of jazz pianist Joe Albany (John Hawkes) from the perspective of his young daughter (Elle Fanning) as she watches him contend with his drug addiction in the 60s and 70s. Glenn Close, Lena Headey ("Game of Thrones") and Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers also star in the film. Watch?
The rise of Xavier Dolan continues. This morning Canada's selection committee officially announced that Xavier Dolan's Mommy, Dolan's fifth feature film by age 25, will be Canada's official entry into the 2014 Academy Awards as their Best Foreign Language Film. "It's an incredible showcase for our industry," stated Telefilm's Carolle Brabant during the announcement. Mommy has been receiving mostly rave reviews since it first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this summer (read my 10/10 rave review). It's one of the best films of the year anyway, thus making it one of the best choices for Canada, especially if they want to make it all the way to the final five nominations. The film opens in Canada this month after playing at fests all over.
"These waters are my home. But now, our nets are coming up empty." This outstanding film is one of the best discoveries of Sundance this year, a riveting and extremely well-made thriller called Fishing Without Nets, filmed in Africa following Somali pirates. Fishing Without Nets is the feature debut of up-and-coming filmmaker Cutter Hodierne, adapting his own short film into a full-length feature using mostly non-actor locals. I caught this at Sundance and was very moved by it, one of those films that has stuck with me ever since then. This is a fantastic trailer giving you just a glimpse of the story in the film, as well as the complex character development that makes it better than expected. I strongly recommend giving this film a chance.
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.
Today, Adam Wingard & Simon Barrett's latest thriller The Guest hits limited theaters, and if it's playing nearby, you need to make sure to see it. But if for some reason you're not convinced yet, Hobo with a Shotgun director Jason Eisener was commissioned to cut an alternate trailer that shows off how slick, fun and bad ass this indie thriller really is. Dan Stevens is likely going to be a big star, even if this movie doesn't do the trick, and you can see how charming, dashing and fantastic he is just in this brief trailer. Seriously, it's a slow time at movie theaters right now, so take a chance, and go see The Guest now. Watch!