"Here's to the hearts that ache…" Oh my goodness. Lionsgate has unveiled the second official teaser trailer for Damien Chazelle's musical La La Land, and it's just as wonderful as the first one. La La Land stars Emma Stone as an aspiring actress who falls for a jazz pianist, played by Ryan Gosling, while in the City of Angels, better known as Los Angeles. Like the first teaser, this trailer is set to one of the magnificent songs from the film, titled "Audition", and it will thankfully be available to download later this fall. The full cast includes J.K. Simmons, Finn Wittrock, Rosemarie DeWitt, Sonoya Mizuno, Hemky Madera, Josh Pence and John Legend. That scene in the planetarium looks like it's going to be so totally amazing.
"Still wearing the cape?" Today's must see short film discovery is titled Loudini, a charming and amusing story about a struggling magician who goes by the nickname "Loudini". Made by the same guys who made the short film Foureyes that we featured a few years ago, Loudini is described (by the filmmakers) as their "mash up of Punch Drunk Love, Inside Llewyn Davis and King of Comedy". That's an eclectic yet appealing pitch that should grab a few of you. The short also has a performance by the musician Car Seat Headrest. This is a great example of a simple idea made grand and engaging by smart filmmaking choices. Have fun.
"Follow me this way…" If you've followed the Cannes Film Festival in the last decade, you know the name Sergei Loznitsa - a Ukrainian filmmaker who has premiered numerous films at the festival in the past few years. His latest work is a documentary called Austerlitz, which examines the baffling yet common idea of visiting the grounds of former Nazi concentration camps. "One of the biggest mysteries of such places is the motive that induces thousands of people to spend their summer weekends in former concentration camps looking at ovens in a crematorium. To try to come to grips with this, I made this film," Loznitsa explains. This trailer is a very bleak introduction that instantly asks: why are these places so popular with tourists?
"A transcendent documentary experience…" Janus Films has debuted the official trailer for an outstanding documentary called Cameraperson, a very unique cinematic experience compiling the 25-year career of cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. Johnson has been working as a cinematographer for documentaries for a long time, working on projects including Citizenfour, Where to Invade Next, The Invisible War, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, Fahrenheit 9/11 and many others. To make this film, she compiled various bits and pieces of footage from all of her projects and edited them together with a very vague narrative. I luckily had the chance to see this doc and it's incredible - a deeply visceral experience. I felt every emotion watching it, from happiness to fear to sadness to joy to disgust, and was amazed by the film she created. Don't miss this.
"Shame is trending." Netflix has debuted the trailer for a documentary titled Audrie & Daisy, which first premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The doc examines the lives of two different women, Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman, who never met each other but were brought together by tragic circumstances. Both teens were sexually assaulted while intoxicated, and subsequently bullied online by their classmates, which resulted in one suicide. The doc examines the rape culture in America and shaming which is, sadly, fueled by the internet. I saw the doc at Sundance and I'm not a fan of it, but it does discuss a very important topic.
"Protect him. He's the only thing that matters." Originally scheduled for release in 2015, this latest sci-fi toy adaptation is now arriving in theaters October 2016. The first international trailer from Japan has arrived online for the Max Steel movie, about the adventures of teenager Max McGrath, played by Ben Winchell, and his alien companion Steel. The film also features Josh Brener, Ana Villafane, Andy Garcia, Maria Bello and Mike Doyle. Since this trailer isn't cut for US audiences, it seems a bit jittery, jumping right into the action and showing some of the more sci-fi heavy scenes without much context. It looks like he merges with this alien thing to become "Max Steel", and must fight off the bad guys after them. Doesn't look so bad.
"He really just needs someone to be here… for him…" One of the horror short films that played at last year's Fantastic Fest was this short, titled House of Straw, about a married couple dealing with some problems. Written & directed by Kyle Bogart, the film is about a troubled marriage that is on the verge of falling apart, but at the same time this has a twist because it's actually a werewolf story. It's best just to dive in and watch the entire thing and see for yourself, especially if you're a fan of werewolf stories or watching indie short films that come with a great script. This is an impressive little short that shows quite a bit of promise not only with the story but also the production. A feature version of this is already in the works. Have fun.
"You took the wrong kid!" Holy crap! Relativity Studios has debuted a wild trailer for the kidnapper thriller titled – yes, this straightforward – Kidnap. The film stars Halle Berry as a passionate mother who stops at nothing to recover her kidnapped son. This is an odd trailer because it spends so much time setting up the first act of the film, then flashes a few glimpses of what happens later, but relies mostly on the fear and intense emotions of having a child taken. Will it be any good? Hard to tell. Also starring Sage Correa, Lew Temple, Dana Gourrier, Christopher Berry and Chris McGinn. I'm not sure about this - take a look.
"Aren't we censoring ourselves? So what's the point of our music?" Kino Lorber has released a trailer for the upcoming US release of the Tunisian film As I Open My Eyes, about a young girl torn between two lives: her connection to her family and her devotion to her rock band. Newcomer Baya Medhaffer plays the 18-year-old Tunisian woman named Farah, a singer in a politically charged rock band balancing her life as a musician and traditional expectations of her family. Described as a "nuanced portrait of the individual implications of the incipient Arab Spring". This looks like a fascinating and impressive film from Tunisia, worth checking out for many different reasons, including the debut performance of Baya Medhaffer. Enjoy.
"How dare you distribute such sensitive information to the common people!" CJ Entertainment debuted the official trailer for the Korean film The Map Against the World, about a geographer and cartographer who traveled around Korea in the 1800s making a detailed map. The film is directed by veteran Korean filmmaker Kang Woo-Suk, and stars Cha Seung-won as the lead character, along with Yu Jun-Sang and Nam Ji-hyun. The idea is based on the true story of Kim Jeong-ho, who went under the pen name Gosanja, devoting his life to the creation of the "Daedongyeojido" map of Korea first published in 1861. This looks like it has lovely cinematography about a humble man who wanted to share the world with the people.
"One, two three…" Monument Releasing has debuted the official US trailer for a film called Chronic, a drama starring Tim Roth which first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015. Roth plays a home care nurse who works with terminally ill patients at their home, isolating himself from the burdens of his past. The cast includes Elizabeth Tulloch, Michael Cristofer, David Dastmalchian, Tate Ellington, Sarah Sutherland and Claire van der Boom. This looks like it's a very tough film to watch with some complex emotional aspects, but it has played at numerous film festivals and won the Best Screenplay award at Cannes, so there's definitely something to it. As usual, Tim Roth looks outstanding in his role. See below.
"How many times have you done this? And how many times have you been caught?" The short film we're featuring this week is actually connected with a feature film arriving in theaters over the next few months. Titled Transpecos, the film is about three Border Patrol agents working a remote desert checkpoint - see the trailer here. Before making the feature, director Greg Kwedar and producer Clint Bentley made a short film titled Dakota, also about Border Patrol agents who aren't the stereotypical agents we've all heard about on the news. The story is about a discovery in a truck that causes one agent "to question the very nature of his job". It's an impressive little short film and it's cool to see that this was the inspiration directly leading to the feature-length film. This is also a good look at what it takes to make a career as a filmmaker.
"When you come into the ring, you come to fight. No to dance, or to clown…" The Weinstein Company has debuted a last minute red band trailer for Jonathan Jakubowicz's Hands of Stone, which opens in theaters next weekend. The film stars Edgar Ramirez as famous Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran, preparing to fight against the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard, played by Usher Raymond. This trailer spends as much time on Sugar Ray as it does on Duran, and the only reason it's red band is because they've tossed in a few sex scenes in hopes of making a few more people interested in this. Since, unfortunately, this seems like this year's boxing movie that is going to be quickly forgotten (unlike, perhaps, Bleed For This but who knows). The performances look solid, but the rest of it seems so by-the-numbers. Even with Robert De Niro in it.
"This is the Captain - brace for impact." Warner Bros has debuted a second trailer, specifically an "IMAX trailer", for Clint Eastwood's new film Sully, starring Tom Hanks as the famed pilot. The film examines the "untold" true story of Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the commercial airline pilot who safely and successfully glided a malfunctioning US Airways airplane into the Hudson River in 2009 in order to save the lives of everyone onboard. The film also stars Aaron Eckhart as Sully's co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, and Laura Linney as Sully's wife, Lorraine Sullenberger. This is another impressive trailer like the first one. Not only does it open with Eastwood talking about the film, but the way it intercuts between the airplane going down and the rest of the drama (before and after) is quite gripping. Maybe this movie will be pretty good after all.