"Mostly you find echoes of tragedy… But then - something finds you." Whoa. Now this is something. I love discovering a mesmerizing new short film that affects me in a deep, meaningful way. Scavenger is a sci-fi short film created by filmmaker Raphael Rogers (follow him here) by weaving stock footage and original content together. The story follows a planetary scavenger who has been scouring planets to find something new or useful. He hasn't found much, but one day he comes across an ancient probe sent from planet Earth - what happens next changes him forever. The short stars Jowaan Sullivan and Lauren Gottlieb. This is a really beautiful film that's impressive not only for its story, but because it was made by using mostly existing stock footage, yet it still feels entirely authentic and unique. This is a must watch - only three minutes long.
"Let's run away together." An official festival trailer has arrived for a sci-fi drama titled Cities of Last Things, a Taiwanese production. It sounds intriguing and looks crazy cool. This is a story about a common man who has extraordinary events in his mundane life. The film depicts the protagonist's turns of events in three eras, three seasons, three nights, in the same city, as told with reverse chronology. It just premiered at TIFF this month, though not too many reviews are around yet. "Spanning generations, Cities of Last Things builds a seering, non-preachy portrait of societal and political change through the lens of an emotional drama. Reminiscent of the early work of Wong Kar-wai, it finds its heartbeat in the pulse-pounding rhythm of the underbelly of the unnamed city." Starring Jack Kao, Li Hong-Chi, Louise Grinberg, Ding Ning, Stone, Huang Lu, Liu Rui-Chi, Hsin Yin, Liu Juei-Chi, and Shin Yin. You might want to take a look.
There's a line in 1987's original Predator movie that sums up the machismo and bravado of '80s action cinema. Blain, played by professional wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura, is a member of an elite military rescue team on a mission to save hostages in guerrilla-held territory. In the aftermath of a jungle-leveling firefight, a fellow soldier informs Blain, "You're hit. You're bleeding, man." With a plug of chewing tobacco in his jaw, the gruff, cocksure commando ripostes, "I ain't got time to bleed." Written by brothers Jim and John Thomas and directed by John McTiernan (of Die Hard), Predator grossed $98 million in its initial release, cementing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s box office bona fides and turning its eponymous antagonist, an extraterrestrial trophy hunter designed by special make-up effects creator Stan Winston, into a sci-fi icon.
"Please rise to greet our legislature!" Focus Features has launched the first teaser trailer for an original sci-fi thriller titled Captive State, the latest from director Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Gambler). The story is set in Chicago and takes place nearly a decade after an occupation by an extra-terrestrial force. The movie explores the lives on both sides of the conflict – the collaborators and dissidents. It seems to be another fascinating look at the societal divide in America, but framed around the sci-fi concept of alien overlords - a bit like District 9, but set in Chicago. Captive State stars Vera Farmiga, Madeline Brewer, John Goodman, Alan Ruck, Kevin J. O'Connor, James Ransone, Jonathan Majors, D.B. Sweeney, Ashton Sanders, Kevin Dunn, Ta'Rhonda Jones, along with Kiki Layne (from If Beale Street Could Talk) and Machine Gun Kelly. I've been waiting to see something from this, and this is a clever introduction. I wish we could see more of these aliens, but I like that this is a true tease.
"My big boys a hunter - brought his dogs with him." 20th Century Fox has debuted one final, extra bloody red band trailer for The Predator, a new take on the Predator sci-fi action franchise, this time directed by Shane Black (of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys). The ensemble cast of this R-rated action movie is lead by Jacob Tremblay, who "accidentally triggers" their return to Earth again, along with Sterling K. Brown, Yvonne Strahovski, Olivia Munn, Lochlyn Munro, Thomas Jane, Boyd Holbrook, Jake Busey, Keegan-Michael Key, Niall Matter, Trevante Rhodes (from Moonlight), plus Edward James Olmos. This is premiering at the Toronto Film Festival at Midnight in a few weeks, and hits theaters soon after - tickets are available now. They have dogs! Gnarly. I'm so ready to see this film.
"She's different from the others." Gravitas has debuted an official trailer for an intriguing indie sci-fi film titled At First Light, originally just First Light. The film premiered at the SXSW Film Festival, the second feature made by filmmaker Jason Stone. At First Light is about a young woman named Alex Lainey, played by newcomer Stefanie Scott, who has a close encounter with mysterious orbs of light that leave her with extraordinary powers. As they flee from their families, the police, and a government agency, Alex and her friend Sean find themselves at the center of an unprecedented event in human history. The cast includes Théodore Pellerin, Kristin Booth, Kate Burton, and Josh Cruddas. This actually looks pretty damn cool. Even though we've seen plenty of superpowers movies recently, I'm a bit more curious about this one.
"There's no before. There's only from now on…" Momentum Pictures has finally debuted the full trailer for the indie post-apocalyptic sci-fi film I Think We're Alone Now, the second film made by the talented cinematographer Reed Morano (Meadowland, "The Handmaid's Tale"). This premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and we've been posting the short teaser trailers. The 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 love this little sci-fi film and reviewed it at Sundance. This trailer hints at quite a bit of what's going on, but doesn't give away everything thankfully. Hopefully this indie sci-fi film finds a good audience.
"Someone's locked us in." Dark Sky Films has debuted an official trailer for a freaky new sci-fi horror-thriller titled Await Further Instructions, made by filmmaker Johnny Kevorkian. The film's plot is about an argumentative family that gets together on Christmas. When they wake up on Christmas Day, they discover their house is covered with black material, and when they turn on the TV it says: "Stay Indoors and Await Further Instructions." That's a wicked cool idea for a horror film, something out of "Black Mirror" or "The Twilight Zone". Alas, this doesn't look as good as I'd hoped, a bit too weird, but I'm still very curious about it. The film's cast includes David Bradley, Abigail Cruttenden, Holly Weston, Sam Gittins, Grant Masters, Neerja Naik, and Kris Saddler. This is definitely worth a look, for that concept alone.
"We get our fair share of non-believers, but sooner or later they come to realize the truth. RLJE Films has debuted the official trailer for an alien abduction, sci-fi mystery/thriller film titled Beyond The Sky, which is getting a release next month. While shooting a documentary to expose the lies of alien abductees, a provocative filmmaker and his crew encounter a young woman with a dark secret who leads them to uncover a disturbing truth. The film has gone under a few other titles, including Encounter and False Memory Syndrome, but will be released as Beyond The Sky. Travis Walton, author of the memoir "Fire in the Sky" about his own alien abduction experience (which was turned into that horrifying 1993 film Fire in the Sky), served as a consultant and has a cameo in the film. Beyond The Sky stars Ryan Carnes, Jordan Hinson, Claude Duhamel, Martin Sensmeier, Don Stark, Dee Wallace, and Peter Stormare. Are they real?
"Where were you when it happened?" Our friends at Bloody-Disgusting have debuted a second teaser trailer for the indie post-apocalyptic sci-fi film I Think We're Alone Now, the second film made by the talented cinematographer Reed Morano (Meadowland, "The Handmaid's Tale"). This premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and we posted the first teaser trailer a month ago. The 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 love this little sci-fi film and reviewed it at Sundance, talking about how much I appreciate its minimalism. Hopefully the full-length trailer gets the attention of a few more people. Until then, watch this.
"I want to see the future…" "What's in the future…?" Another compelling short film to watch, with a bit of a sci-fi twist. Instant is a short film directed by Alex Albrecht, produced by Roddenberry Entertainment, lead by Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry, who is the son of legendary Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and Majel Barrett. After a desperate criminal takes a bar hostage, six people must face their demons - past and present - in order to survive. But one of them is keeping a big secret that could change everything in an instant. The film stars Tyler Hilton, Manu Intiraymi, Phil Morris, Emily Chang, Tony Janning, and Tara Perry. This short has a few strong performances, working with an intriguing script that explores some engaging ideas. I wish this was a bit shorter, might be more effective, but it's still a good short. Enjoy.
What do we have here? The first teaser trailer has debuted for an indie film titled Freaks, premiering at the Toronto Film Festival in a few weeks. Not much is known about this film, it's been kept under-the-radar all year, but is described as a "genre-bending psychological sci-fi thriller" of sorts. The mysterious plot involves a "disturbed father who locks his 7-year-old daughter in a house, warning her of grave dangers outside. But the mysterious "Mr. Snowcone" convinces the girl to escape and join him on a profound quest for family, freedom, and revenge." Starring Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern (the first sci-fi film Bruce is in since Silent Running in 1972!), Amanda Crew, Grace Park, and introducing Lexy Kolker as Chloe. This is a short teaser so there isn't too much revealed, but I am intrigued by what we're seeing and what's going on in here.