"He's a danger to us all." Wildcard Distribution has debuted an official UK trailer for the upcoming release of the film Black 47, a gritty thriller set during the Great Irish Famine. This premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, but it got horrible reviews by most critics. Set in 1847, the film follows a hardened Irish Ranger fighting for the British Army who returns to his home, only to discover the famine has destroyed his country and left the people even more vile and ruthless than ever. With little else to live for, he sets a destructive path to avenge his family. James Frencheville (from Animal Kingdom, The Stanford Prison Experiment) stars, along with Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent, Stephen Rea, Freddie Fox, Barry Keoghan, Moe Dunford, Ciaran Grace, and Sarah Greene. I really did not like this film. It has one good action scene, the rest is so dull and boring and excessively violent for no reason. But that's just my opinion. Check it out.
"It comes with a mystery attached." Infamous Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn has launched a brand new cinema website, open to the public today, called byNWR.com. The new website is essentially a specialized streaming service, available entirely for free, where Refn handpicks and highlights "meticulously restored" films. This has been his own personal hobby already that he has decided to let the public in on. And he insists there's no catch, or gimmick, or anything else, he just wants to offer up these films and enrich the world of cinema (and the internet) with these rare, long-lost gems. There is a new release every quarter, divided into three monthly chapters. For the first volume, Refn invited acclaimed biographer and journalist Jimmy McDonough to be the initial guest editor for "Regional Renegades" - all three films available now.
"Not so clever now, Captain?" What do we have here? LGBTQ distributor Altered Innocence has debuted an official trailer for a very intriguing, edgy, erotic new art house film titled The Wild Boys, from Bertrand Mandico making his feature debut. The film is about five adolescent boys punished to go aboard a "haunted, dilapidated sailboat" where they're about to prepare for mutiny against the Captain, until they discover their destination. "Their port of call is a supernatural island with luxuriant vegetation and bewitching powers." The twist is that the five boys are all played by actresses, and it's about them discovering themselves. "Shot in gorgeous 16mm and brimming with eroticism, gender-fluidity, and humor, The Wild Boys will take you on journey you won’t soon forget." It's also similar in look and feel to films made by Guy maddin. I really don't know how else to describe this or what else to say, you just need to watch the trailer for a better idea.
"Sounds like you need to own up to some of the things you've done." Cleopatra Entertainment has released an official trailer for a film titled Making a Killing, a crime drama from filmmaker Devin Hume. The film is about three morticians who get caught up in a web of greed and deceit, involving buried treasure and a tangled love affair, in this modern day crime mystery that is, apparently, based on a true story. Michael Jai White stars in this as Officer Hudson, along with Mike Starr, Jack Forcinito, Sally Kirkland, Aida Turturro, and Christopher Lloyd. This looks crazy weird and wacky and totally low budget, not really in a good way. The best part about this is Michael Jai White, who looks like he's having all kinds of fun in this role with the cowboy hat and all. But this film really looks quite awful, thankfully the trailer is free to watch.
"I was trying to create a character that I myself would identify with." A film from Belarus titled Crystal Swan premiered at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival this year, the feature directorial debut of a talented filmmaker named Darya Zhuk. Darya grew up in Minsk, Belarus, but left at age 16 to study in the US. After graduating college and years of working in various jobs, she decided to go and study directing at Columbia University and has finally completed her first feature film - Crystal Swan, about a young Belarusian woman named Velya who is trying to get a visa to travel to the USA. The film premiered to positive reviews and is still searching for an American distributor, but I wanted to bring extra attention to this filmmaker and her film. Here is my interview with Darya Zhuk, discussing the challenges and joys of making her first feature.
"I was doomed from the start. Why does one run towards ruin, why does it hold such a fascination?" Sony Pictures Classics has debuted a new official US trailer for Rupert Everett's film The Happy Prince, which he wrote and directed (and produced) and stars in. Everett plays the talented writer Oscar Wilde, who was exiled from London at the end of the 1800s after it was discovered that he is gay. He spends most of his time in Paris, drunkenly making a fool of himself. The film's cast includes Colin Firth, Emily Watson, Colin Morgan, Edwin Thomas, Tom Wilkinson, and Anna Chancellor. Despite all the quotes in the trailer, the film hasn't received great reviews from most critics. Only worth seeing if this trailer gets your attention.
"There's much to be cleared up, for the record, and a good deal of intellectual rehabilitation was in store." Grasshopper Film has released an official trailer for a film titled Notes on an Appearance, a mysterious experimental thriller from filmmaker Ricky D'Ambrose (University People) about a missing person. This first premiered at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year, and also played at New Directors/New Films, and the Sarasota, Montclair, and Melbourne Film Festival. The highly intellectual film has been described as, "like a quirkier Bresson, without the Catholic ennui." Notes on an Appearance stars Bingham Bryan, Keith Poulson, Tallie Medel, and Madeleine James. This seems like something only for the most die-hard cinephiles out there, not for mainstream audiences. But worth a look anyway if you're curious about it.
"Steal it back, collect the reward." Screen Media Films has debuted the official trailer for a crime comedy titled Blue Iguana, the latest film from British director Hadi Hajaig (Puritan, Cleanskin). Blue Iguana stars Ben Schwartz and Sam Rockwell as small-time crooks on parole and working in a New York diner. Their dead-end lives are soon turned upside down when an English lawyer walks into the diner with an offer they can't refuse: a "simple" job to steal a rare jewel in London. Hijinks and chaos ensue, of course. The cast includes Phoebe Fox, Simon Callow, Amanda Donohoe, Peter Ferdinando, and Anton Saunders. This looks like a really bad, wannabe Snatch that will probably be a waste of time to sit through. Watch out.
"Aren't you lonely?" Momentum Pictures has released a teaser trailer for an indie post-apocalyptic sci-fi titled I Think We're Alone Now, the second feature film made by the talented cinematographer Reed Morano (Meadowland, "The Handmaid's Tale"). This premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, to mixed but mostly positive reviews. This film plays like a "Black Mirror" episode, about a guy who is the lone survivor of an apocalypse. Peter Dinklage stars as Del, who works hard to keep his little town maintained in a world where he's the only one left alive. Until someone else suddenly shows us. The surprise cast also includes Elle Fanning, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Paul Giamatti. I wrote a glowing review from Sundance, explaining that this is "subtle sci-fi, where there are tiny hints of sci-fi elements and little threads of themes." I'm a big fan of this film and recommend it, even though this teaser doesn't show much.
"The corrupt order will come crashing down!!" Amazon Studios has debuted the first official teaser trailer for Peterloo, the latest film from acclaimed, Oscar-winning English filmmaker Mike Leigh (Vera Drake, Happy-Go-Lucky, Another Year, Mr. Turner). The film tells the story of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre where British forces attacked a peaceful pro-democracy rally in Manchester. This seems like a very timely story to tell, about how important democracy and peaceful protest is for a just and progressive society. The ensemble cast of Peterloo includes Rory Kinnear, Maxine Peake, Tim McInnerny, Christopher Eccleston, Leo Bill, David Bamber, and others. This looks good, for sure, I just hope it's actually exciting to watch and enthralling, not another long, boring, dry period piece from Leigh. The footage so far is very impressive.
"You're like at that age before guys become dicks." A24 has unveiled the first official trailer for a new indie film titled Mid90s, which is actually the feature directorial debut of Oscar nominated actor Jonah Hill. It's both written and directed by Jonah Hill, and is about a 13-year-old kid living in Los Angeles in the 90s, who spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a rambunctious group of new friends that he meets at a skate shop. Sunny Suljic (from The Killing of a Sacred Deer) stars as Stevie, and the cast includes Katherine Waterston, Jerrod Carmichael, Alexa Demie, Jax Malcolm, plus Lucas Hedges. This looks great! I dig the 4:3 aspect ratio, and the grungy 90s vibe to this. Definitely worth a look.
"She's my girl. You can't take my girl away from me." Bleecker Street Media has released an official trailer for an indie drama titled What They Had, which first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. From first-time filmmaker Elizabeth Chomko, this heart-wrenching drama tells the story of a family that comes together one winter in Chicago, trying to figure out what to do with their aging mother who has Alzheimer's and suddenly leaves the apartment one snowy night. Hilary Swank stars, along with Michael Shannon as her brother, and a cast including Blythe Danner, Robert Forster, Taissa Farmiga, Josh Lucas, and Aimee Garcia. The film had mostly mediocre reactions at Sundance, even though it's a very powerful, personal story with some good performances. Might connect with a few people more than others.