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It is always important to shine a light on stories that remind us of the power of journalism. Not only about all the hard-working, courageous people committed to reporting the stories, but also about the impact it can have on the world. It also goes without saying that photojournalism is just as powerful, if not even moreso sometimes. One image can change the world. This is the ultimate value of this particular film, and the true story it tells. Minamata tells the story of renowned American photographer W. Eugene Smith, who went to Japan in the early 1970s to photograph the inhabitants of a small town being poisoned by a careless, greedy chemical corporation that had a dangerous factory there. It's a very moving, earnest film about the power of photography and the tenacity of journalists. And it won me over big time, unleashing all kinds of emotions.
"He was the most important guitarist in rock history." MVD Entertainment has revealed the first official trailer for an authorized, official documentary on the legendary rock 'n roll musician Chuck Berry, titled simply Chuck Berry. Berry's 60th birthday concert and the drama surrounding it were captured in Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll, but until now, Berry's life has never before been covered on screen. With Chuck Berry, award-winning music doc filmmaker Jon Brewer (B.B. King: On the Road), lends new insight to the man known as the bedrock of rock 'n roll. Several rock legends reflect on what Berry meant to them, along with exclusive access to Mrs. Berry and his family. The film features Gene Simmons, Alice Cooper, Joe Perry, Steven Van Zandt, Nils Lofgren, George Thorogood, Joe Bonamassa, Nile Rodgers, Johnny Rivers, Themetta Berry, Charles Berry Jr, Ingrid Berry, Marshall Chess, Joe Edwards and more. Check out the trailer below.
"I have been doing some digging. I'm… concerned… with what I found." HBO has unveiled a teaser trailer for the film Bad Education, which received rave reviews out of the Toronto Film Festival last fall. The film is a fictionalized version of the true story of the single largest public school embezzlement scandal in history - about schools on Long Island. You can read more about it in this NY Magazine article. Hugh Jackman stars as Frank Tassone, the superintendent caught up in an embezzling scheme involving him and a few of his employees. The cast includes Allison Janney, Ray Romano, Geraldine Viswanathan, Kathrine Narducci, and Alex Wolff. This looks extremely good, oh damn I can't wait to see it. Everyone was talking about this at TIFF last year, and it certainly seems worthy of all that buzz, at least from this first look teaser.
"Don't need you, don't need anybody… but me!" Sony Pictures Classics has debuted the exciting full-length official trailer fro Charm City Kings, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last month. The film is a feature adaptation of the acclaimed documentary 12 O'Clock Boys, which originally premiered in 2013, and opened in theaters in 2014. The film is about a 14-year-old boy named Mouse who joins a notorious dirt bike gang in Baltimore. Sundance describes this as an "electric feature that pulses with teen gusto, thumping hip-hop, and amazing bike tricks. Soto directs an astonishingly talented cast to create a narrative bursting with pitch-perfect performances and intoxicating emotion." Starring Jahi Di'Allo Winston as Mouse, plus Meek Mill, Will Catlett, Teyonah Parris, Donielle Tremaine Hansley, and Kezii Curtis. A superb trailer for a film I've heard nothing but good things about! Everyone is saying Jahi as Mouse is the real deal.
Willkommen in Berlin! The 70th Berlin Film Festival, also known as Berlinale, has kicked off this week in Berlin, Germany in the center of the city at Potsdamer Platz. This year's festival takes place a few weeks later than usual (instead of back-to-back with Sundance), so they can put some distance between the festival and the Academy Awards yet still sneak in before February ends. This is my seventh year in a row covering this festival, and now that I live in Berlin, it's my "hometown" festival that I get to attend while going home to my own apartment every evening. It's also a pivotal year for Berlinale - not only is it the 70th edition, it's the first festival with a brand new set of co-directors running things - Mariette Rissenbeek & Carlo Chatrian.
"You've got exactly four days to prevent a murder." RLJE Films has unveiled an official trailer for a serial killer thriller titled The Postcard Killings, adapted from the bestselling book of the same name. A New York City detective investigates the death of his daughter, who was murdered while on her honeymoon in London; he recruits the help of a Scandinavian journalist when other couples throughout Europe suffer a similar fate. His investigation leads him to discover a serial killer imitating art, and announcing his arrival in different cities with a postcard. Jeffery Dean Morgan stars in this along with Famke Janssen, Cush Jumbo, Joachim Król, Steven Mackintosh, and Dennis O'Hare. This looks considerably better than expected, but also looks like most other serial killer mystery thrillers. "It all makes horrible twisted sense…"
"We're not stealing any treatment, we're gunna steal the cure." RLJE Films has unveiled an official trailer for an indie, low budget sci-fi action film titled Kill Mode, the latest from Dutch director Thijs Meuwese (also of Molly previously). Set in a gritty near future in 2031, an ex-freedom fighter reluctantly returns to the fold after discovering a disturbing secret that could bring down the evil pharmaceutical corporation, called The Company, that owns the world. There's a big reveal where the secret isn't a thing, but a person, hint at in this trailer. And then the plot really gets going. The cast features Dave Mantel, Julia Batelaan as Molly, Yasmin Blake, and Cyriel Guds. This looks crazy cool! It has big action scenes, major fights, those mini mech suits, a hover-copter, and more. It doesn't look good, but I also can't say it looks bad either.
"I can't get involved in some kind of conspiracy." Vertical Entertainment has debuted an official trailer for an indie drama titled Human Capital, which initially premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year and it also played at the Hamptons Film Festival. The lives of two different families collide when their children begin a relationship that leads to a tragic accident. The film seems to also be a bigger commentary on how money is often valued more than humanity, and how this can lead to tragedy and other existential problems. Starring an ensemble cast including Liev Schreiber, Marisa Tomei, Peter Sarsgaard, Maya Hawke, Fred Hechinger, Betty Gabriel, and Alex Wolff. Despite good intentions, this film doesn't seem that impressive in any particular way. And I'm sure we would've heard more buzz for it if it really was that great.
"How long would the others look for me?" Berlinale has debuted a promo trailer for the highly anticipated Colombian feature called Los Conductos, which premieres this month in the Berlin Film Festival's new "Encounters" section. It's described as "visionary, physical and elastic as the 16mm celluloid on which it was shot." The film is set in Medellin, Colombia and is about a man on the run named Pinky. "The deeper Los Conductos dives into the nightmarish and the hallucinatory, the tougher, more political and hungrier for reality the film becomes. In a narrative downward spiral, it conveys with the utmost precision the survival instincts of a character who is unwittingly fighting to liberate an entire country, perhaps even a continent. [It] uses the medium of cinema to transform an allegorical exploration of one's roots into an irrepressible desire to change the world." Sounds major. Starring Luis Felipe Lozano and Fernando Úsaga Higuíta.
"You need me." Lionsgate has revealed the first trailer for a psychological thriller called Run, the second feature film made by filmmaker Aneesh Chaganty, who broke out big a few years back with the fantastic screen-based thriller Searching. His next film is about a home schooled teenager named Chloe, who begins to suspect her mother is keeping a dark secret from her. Starring Sarah Paulson as the mother, and Kiera Allen as the daughter, along with Pat Healy and Erik Athavale. The way the aspect ratio condenses, and the way "run" appears everywhere in the second half is quite clever. Definitely makes this an intense trailer.
"I didn't give you the itch, I just helped you scratch it." A short film with some style! But perhaps just a tad too much style? Give it a watch! Scratch is a slick, compelling 10-minute short film directed by New York-based filmmaker Ronan Jorah, dipping his toe into filmmaking again after helping in post-production for years. Here is the quick pitch for this: "On the night of a double murder, a mysterious patron of a roadside diner has a date with the Devil." It's described as boasting a "Sin City type feel with supernatural and crime elements tying it together." And that is pretty dang accurate. The short stars Mark Delabarre, Carey Van Driest, R.J. Foster, JR Carter, Peter Daniel Straus, Tiffany Peach, and Rob Eigenbrod. Featuring cinematography by Shannon Madden, winner of the Emerging Cinematographer's Award. Watch this below.
"Listen patiently… We, who are the last men, earnestly desire to communicate with you." Films Boutique has released the first promo teaser for the experimental feature Last and First Men, which is premiering at the Berlin Film Festival this month. This is the only feature film directed by iconic Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, who made this before he died in 2018. Featuring narration by Tilda Swinton. This feature is a repackaged version of the video Jóhannsson made for his touring concerts, inspired by Dutch photographer Jan Kempenaers' 2010 art book "Spomenik" about oddly shaped war monuments. It was shot on 16mm B&W film by acclaimed Norwegian cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen (DP on the films Victoria, Rams, Shelley, Wendy). Indiewire describes this as "Jóhannsson’s own artistic riff on the avant-garde style of Koyaanisqatsi," although it seems to be something else quite unique. There's not much to this teaser so far, but have a look anyway. I am certainly curious to check this out - it runs only 70 minutes long.