"She's the most precious thing in the whole world." Magnolia has unveiled the official trailer for the western comedy Damsel, which premiered at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals earlier this year. Made by the Zellner Brothers (of Kumiko the Treasure Hunter), the film is a "loving reinvention of the western genre" that "showcases [the Zellners'] trademark unpredictability, off-kilter sense of humor, and unique brand of humanism." The story follows a young man who brings a miniature horse to his bride-to-be, only to discover she has plans of her own. Robert Pattinson co-stars with Mia Wasikowska, with a cast includes David & Nathan Zellner, Robert Forster, Joseph Billingiere, Morgan Lund, and Ray Kelleher. The 'lil horse, named Butterscotch, totally steals the show. One of the best indie comedies from Sundance this year.
"A great escape. An incredible true story." Bleecker Street Media has unveiled an official US trailer for the film Papillon, a remake of the 1973 film Papillon starring Steve McQueen as Henri "Papillon" Charrière. Both films tell the same story of a French safecracker from the Parisian underworld who is framed for murder and condemned to life in the notorious penal colony on Devil’s Island. This film seems to tell his entire life story of how he got there and how he escapes, while the original 1973 film focuses mostly on his time on the island and eventual escape with another prisoner. The cast of this Papillon film includes Rami Malek, Eve Hewson, Roland Møller, Michael Socha, Christopher Fairbank, Brian Vernel, and Ian Beattie. This looks like a thrilling, harrowing prison film that tells a very impressive life story - but I don't think it will top the original. Not too much buzz out of TIFF last year where it first premiered. Dive in.
"You have no idea how hard he hit American culture." Oscilloscope Labs has released the official US trailer for a documentary titled The King, formerly known as Promised Land when it first premiered at last year's Cannes Film Festival. This doc is the latest made by Eugene Jarecki (The Trials of Henry Kissinger, Why We Fight, Reagan, The House I Live In) who delivers a deeply engaging, uber-intelligent, thoughtful documentary comparing Elvis Presley's rise & fall over his life to the rise & fall of America. It's a fascinating, thought-provoking, and considerably entertaining film framed around taking Elvis' 1963 Rolls Royce around the country to explore the places he frequented. I saw this film in Cannes last year and loved it, one of the most intriguing docs I've seen in a while, featuring so much intelligent discussion and discourse. A must see.
"Lock down this boat right away!" Saban Films has debuted an official trailer for another one of these super cheesy action movies titled Black Water, which is the feature debut of a cinematographer named Pasha Patriki. The title of the film relates to the setting of the film - a submarine which is actually a CIA black site (meaning: a secret place where deep, dark things happen). The plot involves a deep cover operative who awakens to find himself imprisoned there, and then eventually discovers another prisoner while attempting to escape. The big selling point is that this stars two big action legends: Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren. The rest of the cast features Al Sapienza, Jasmine Waltz, and Patrick Kilpatrick. This looks as bad as it sounds, even with these two guys in it, but maybe it's a fun time with friends & beer.
"When you were a cub… I looked you in the eye and saw no fear." Warner Bros has debuted the first official trailer for the next new Jungle Book movie titled Mowgli, adapted directly from Rudyard Kipling's novel. This is the new movie directed by Andy Serkis that features hybrid motion capture CGI and live-action, a bit like the other Jungle Book from Disney. And coming from Serkis, the master of motion capture, there's no doubt it's going to be amazing. Mowgli stars young newcomer Rohan Chand as Mowgli, with an incredible ensemble cast including Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Naomie Harris, Andy Serkis, Matthew Rhys, Freida Pinto, Peter Mullan, Jack Reynor, Eddie Marsan, and Tom Hollander. I had a feeling this would look good, but I didn't think it would look THIS good. Wow. I love the opening voiceover from Bale as Bagheera. It may be the same, but I'm up for another telling of this tale.
"A murder like that only goes unsolved, if the police don't want to solve it." Global Road Entertainment has released the first official trailer for City of Lies, a new investigative thriller from director Brad Furman (of The Lincoln Lawyer, Runner Runner, The Infiltrator). The film is about how the murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious BIG spark an investigation, following an LAPD detective who has spent two decades trying to solve his biggest case. Johnny Depp stars as Detective Russell Poole, and co-stars with Forest Whitaker, a reporter named Jack Jackson. The full cast includes Toby Huss, Dayton Callie, Neil Brown Jr., Shea Whigham, Xander Berkeley, Melanie Benz, Shamier Anderson, Christian George, and Michael Paré. This looks okay, but doesn't seem like anything more than a standard detective thriller set in LA, even though the crime they've investigating is very well knonw. Might have some slick twists and turns. Check it.
"You always hurt people that you love!" Netflix has unveiled an official trailer for an anthology film titled Lust Stories, telling four different stories about modern romance and love in India. The film is directed by four major directors: Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar and Dibakar Banerjee. They previously made the anthology film Bombay Talkies in 2013, and this is the follow-up, giving us a look at the trials and tribulations of love in India. The full cast of Indian actors includes Bhumi Pednekar, Neil Bhoopalam, Kiara Advani, Vicky Kaushal, Neha Dhupia, Manisha Koirala, Sanjay Kapoor, Radhika Apte, Jaideep Ahlawat, and Akash Thosar. This doesn't look that amazing, but I'm curious to see a film about the different sides of love from an entirely different country and culture. Available on Netflix next month.
"A smart film about dumb men." Freestyle Digital Media has debuted an official trailer for an indie comedy titled Bernard and Huey, from director Dan Mirvish (co-founder of the Slamdance Film Festival), which premiered at a few small film festivals last year. The film stars David Koechner and Jim Rash as old friends who reunite, and end up in some fights and arguments, working out drama in their lives. "Bernard and Huey is a timely story of two men behaving badly, and the smart women who rein them in." Sounds like just what we need right now, huh? The film's full cast includes Mae Whitman, Sasha Alexander, Nancy Travis, Bellamy Young, Richard Kind, Eka Darville, Jay Renshaw, and Jake O'Connor. This looks somewhat amusing, but I'm not particularly intrigued by any of the footage included in here. Give it a look.
"Sometimes the search for the truth results in more questions." Sony has put out another new international trailer for the film Searching, from writer/director Aneesh Chaganty, the emotional thriller that takes place entirely on computer screens. This premiered at the Sundance Film Festival under the title Search, and was one of my favorite films of the festival. John Cho stars as the father of a young Korean-American teenager who goes missing, and he frantically searches through her computer and phone in an attempt to find her. The film's small cast includes Debra Messing, Michele La, and Joseph Lee. This is the best computer screen film to date, and it shows the potential for truly authentic and meaningful storytelling using this technique. I'm a very, very big fan of this film and will keep telling everyone to go see it, because it is way better than you're probably expecting. This trailer reveals a lot - potentially too much, so be careful.
"How real is the chatter about Iraq?" "Very." Vertical Entertainment has released the first official trailer for Rob Reiner's new film, an investigative journalism thriller titled Shock and Awe. The film is based on the true events of Knight Ridder journalists who were the only ones who "got it right" in the lead-up to the 2003 Iraq War. They were the only ones skeptical skeptical of President Bush's claim that Iraq's Saddam Hussein has "weapons of mass destruction." James Marsden stars as Warren Strobel, and Woody Harrelson as Jonathan Landay, with a cast including Jessica Biel, Milla Jovovich, Tommy Lee Jones, Rob Reiner himself, and Richard Schiff. This looks like another strong film about the power and importance of good journalism. And you know, I am happier seeing films about journalism instead of more films about the war.
"The world's first super-bio warrior." Lionsgate Premiere has debuted a new official US trailer for the a sci-fi action film from China titled Bleeding Steel, starring Jackie Chan as a hardened special forces agent protecting a young woman at all costs. We featured the first international trailer for this last year, and it already opened in China in December, only now arriving in US theaters this July. The big sci-fi aspect seems to involve a special metallic heart implanted in Chan's character, along with big spaceships and futuristic biomech suits and more weird stuff thrown in. The full cast includes Tess Haubrich, Callan Mulvey, and Damien Garvey. Everything about this looks way too cheesy and over-the-top and absurd, of course. But maybe that's the kind of entertainment some of you are in the mood for now, an escape from the real world.
"Someone out there is killing puppets." OMFG. STX has released the first official red band trailer for The Happytime Murders, an R-rated puppet murder mystery neo-noir movie and it's going to knock your socks off. This has been in the works for a longtime, as it took them a while to get funding and actually make this, since it is so edgy and ridiculous. But it looks awesome! Directed by Jim Henson's son Brian Henson, the film is basically like Who Framed Roger Rabbit but with puppets and even more lewd humor. The full cast mixing live-action actors with puppets includes Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, Jimmy O. Yang, Leslie David Baker, Ryan Gaul, and Elizabeth Banks. This looks totally NUTS oh man, I'm so glad they launched with a red band trailer. The gag at the end - wow. Now this is a must watch.