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"Society changes when people who otherwise don't have power, stand up." An official trailer has debuted for a documentary titled The Big Scary 'S' Word, a timely new film that explores socialism in America. This first trailer is out now promote the film's world premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival and AFI Fest coming up this fall. Formerly known as Socialism: An American Story, now rebranded as the "big bad S word." Is it really that American, though? I think capitalism is way more American than anything. Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign brought unprecedented focus on the notion of socialism in the context of the United States. Since then, socialists have won seats in both houses of Congress, while others equate socialism with totalitarianism. This thorough, thoughtful, and engaging film tracks the history of socialism in America and dispels many of the myths that are so often promulgated in public discourse. Hell yes. Why are so many so afraid of socialism? Looks like an invigorating, exciting film about the truth about socialism.
"Mobility is essential to freedom." PBS has unveiled an official trailer for a documentary titled Driving While Black, which isn't the first film (or TV series) with this title - there's a dark comedy from a few years ago. This new one is described as "a groundbreaking, two-hour documentary film by acclaimed historian Dr. Gretchen Sorin and Emmy-winning director Ric Burns," airing on PBS next month. Drawing on a wealth of recent scholarship – and based on and inspired in large part by Sorin's recently published study of the way the automobile and highways transformed African American life across the 20th century (read here) – the film examines the history of African Americans on the road from the depths of the Depression to the height of the Civil Rights movement and beyond, exploring along the way the deeply embedded dynamics of race, space and mobility in America during one of the most turbulent and transformative periods in American history. Looks like a comprehensive and fascinating look at American history - and how bad things still are.
"There's nothing to be ashamed of." Vertical Ent. has revealed an official trailer The True Adventures of Wolfboy, a peculiar indie film marking the feature directorial debut of Czech filmmaker Martin Krejcí. The film takes the "Teen Wolf" concept, exploring what it would be like realistically to be a boy with a "special condition" that makes him look like the "Wolfboy." Paul lives an isolated life with his father in upstate New York. He finds making friends impossible due to a rare condition he has known as congenital hypertrichosis - that causes an abnormal amount of hair all over his face and body. On his 13th birthday, Paul receives a mysterious gift that compels him to run away and find his mother he has never known. Jaeden Martell stars, and most of the film he's wearing prosthetics & make-up, thankfully not CGI. The cast includes Chris Messina, Eve Hewson, Michelle Wilson, Stephan McKinley Henderson, Sophie Giannamore, Chloë Sevigny, with John Turturro as a carnival king. It's a solid film, better than it looks at first glance.
"Maybe this holiday thing will turn into something." Netflix has debuted a trailer for a romantic comedy titled Holidate, yet another holiday love story to enjoy this holiday season. Sloane and Jackson hate being single on holidays where they face constant judgment from their meddling families. So, when these two meet, they pledge to be each other's "holidate" for every festive occasion in the year ahead. Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey star as Sloane and Jackson, joined by Andrew Bachelor, Jessica Capshaw, Manish Dayal, Alex Moffat, Jake Manley, Cynthy Wu, Frances Fisher, and Kristin Chenoweth. Is anyone still looking for a perfect holiday plus one? Netflix is also running a fun a "virtual speed dating event" with Holidate's Luke Bracey and Andrew Bachelor, along with some fan favorites from Netflix. Oh boy. I'm sure it'll surprise everyone that Sloane and Jackson end up together, despite their forced distance. How original.
"If we can do that… what else can we do?" Sony Pictures has released an official trailer for the horror sequel / remake The Craft: Legacy, an update and/or continuation of the original (cult classic) witches in high school 1996 horror film The Craft. The story is pretty much the same - a group of four high school women form a coven of witches. Written and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones (of Band Aid previously), the new film stars Cailee Spaeny, Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone, Zoey Luna, Nicholas Galitzine, with Michelle Monaghan and David Duchovny. Jason Blum's Blumhouse along with Red Wagon Ent. produced the film for Columbia Pictures. They're also dropping this film available at home (for the Premium VOD price of $19.99) starting at the end of October, just in time for Halloween. The coven is back - don't mess with them.
"I realized I was changing…" Netflix has released the incredible nature documentary titled My Octopus Teacher, and it's already available to watch streaming on the service right now. This groundbreaking, awe-inspiring film is about a South African filmmaker (named Craig Foster) who forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, learning as she shares the mysteries of her world. He befriends this octopus from the Atlantic, and visits her every single day for over a year, free-diving without a wet suit or SCUBA gear to meet her. After capturing this footage, he spent years crafting a film and building a narrative to tell her story and how it impacted his life and his connection with other humans (as well as all animals on this planet). Thanks to Kottke for the tip, I just watched this and it is phenomenal - one of the best docs of the year. Absolutely amazing to see all this footage of him befriending this intelligent creature.
"Don't let that door close behind you." Colossal Content has debuted an official trailer for an indie science fiction / parallel universe film titled Expulsion, marking the feature directorial debut of filmmakers Aaron Jackson & Sean C. Stephens. Scott & Vincent are top recruits at the prestigious Cicero Market Technologies Corp. where they are tasked with the development of cutting edge technologies. They push the boundaries of particle collision science to undiscovered levels stumbling upon a parallel universe with an alternate version of Scott. Of course they discover that others seek their tech to advance their own agendas. Agendas that they intend to fulfill at any cost. Colton Tapp gives a multidimensional depiction by taking on two roles as both the antagonist and protagonist. As his character crosses over to another universe he inadvertently invites a different version of himself home creating a ripple that threatens his very existence. Also starring Lar Park Lincoln. This looks like a Primer wannabe, but nowhere near as smart or as sleek as that indie sci-fi film.
"Scaring the hell out of kids seemed like a great idea, and then the laughs played against that." Gravitas has released a new official trailer for the documentary Wolfman's Got Nards, a film about the huge cult success of the 1987 monster movie The Monster Squad. The title is an obvious reference to one of the film's iconic lines, where Horace yells out "Wolfman's got nards!" When the film was first released, it wasn't a big box office hit and didn't get great reviews, but over the last 30 years it has become a hugely popular beloved genre classic. This "heartfelt" doc film explores the power of cult film and the impact this amusing cult classic has had on fans, cast and crew, and the industry. For those who don't know, The Monster Squad was directed by Fred Dekker and co-written by Shane Black, two key names in the industry who were relatively unknown at the time. We ran a trailer for this when it first premiered at festivals two years ago. It will finally be available to watch on VOD in October, for those who've been looking forward to catching this.
"When in Texas, I dress like a Texan!" Get ready to blast back into the 80s! Alamo Drafthouse has revealed a new trailer for a long lost 80s action movie titled Action U.S.A., made by filmmaker John Stewart (not the comedian). The film has been found, restored, and just premiered at this year's Fantastic Fest (online) run by Alamo Drafthouse. And even better - the film is now available to watch online via their "Alamo On Demand" system for the next two weeks (but only in the US). What's the flimsy 80s action movie plot? After her boyfriend is murdered by the gangsters whose diamonds he stole, a girl is protected by two FBI agents who plan to keep her from sharing the same fate. This stars Gregory Scott Cummins, Barri Murphy, Rod Shaft, William Smith, Cameron Mitchell, Ross Hagen. Best of all it features an endless amount of stunts: "the most explosive, death-defying, bullet-riddled, grenade-launching, flame-broiled, anti-human megattack in independent film history." And yes, all of the stunts are real, ’cause it was made by a stuntman.
Who doesn't love the beach? Or more aptly, who misses the beach already? Have a gander at this fun short film titled Heatwave, made by a Greek animation filmmaker named Fokion Xenos. This premiered last year and picked up tons of awards playing on the festival circuit, finally online to watch for free thanks to Short of the Week. In the midst of a searing heatwave, two little children find a way to cool everyone down! A playful stop motion short film animated in a hybrid technique between cut out, and claynimation and thousands of replacements pieces. There's a good amount of creative stop-motion filmmaking, from various materials like plastic wrap for the water, to amusing claymation characters galore. 'Heatwave is essentially an ode to the Greek summer of my childhood and every summer since,' Xenos reveals. It's dialogue free, but does feature a nice score by Andreas Gutuen Aaser. Only 7 minutes - this animated film is worth a watch.
"You can't. Do that. on TV." Gravitas has released an official trailer for the documentary titled The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story, which has been in the works for years. We first featured a teaser trailer for this back in 2017, after it was successfully funded on Indiegogo in 2016, but it has taken another three years for it to finally get a release. The Orange Years chronicles the rise of Nickelodeon, with the actors, writers, and creators from all the golden age Nickelodeon shows that shaped your lives. It's wild. It’s crazy. It changed the world. The film profiles Geraldine Laybourne, the visionary who turned the company into an $8 billion success, focusing on her "kids first" strategy. "More than just a history lesson or a 'where are they now?' special, the doc explores the network's revolutionary approach to storytelling, the impact it had on a generation of youth, and [tries] to find out of why these shows have stayed in the hearts of so many people."
"One night with you guys, and I already have vampires and thugs trying to kill me?!" Since when did Netflix start making found-in-the-back-of-the-video-store B-movie horror flicks? But you know, I'll allow it. Vampires vs The Bronx is exactly what it sounds like - a group of young friends from the Bronx fight to save their neighborhood from a band of vampires. Made by a Funny or Die and SNL director, and produced by Lorne Michaels. The ensemble cast includes Jaden Michael, Gerald W. Jones III, Gregory Diaz IV, Sarah Gadon, Cliff "Method Man" Smith, Shea Whigham, Coco Jones, Joel "The Kid Mero" Martinez, Chris Redd, Vladimir Caamaño, Jeremie Harris, and also, surprise, Zoe Saldaña. Best part about this trailer is the logo at the end, the rest of it looks rather mediocre. Might be a fun October film.