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From January 24 to February 3: Sundance Film Festival
Film Movement has debuted an official US trailer for a dramatic thriller titled Styx, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival last year to quite a bit of worthy acclaim. This mostly-silent film is about a woman who decides to embark on a solo sailing journey from Europe to to Ascension Island in the Atlantic Ocean. Not only does she encounter a violent storm that nearly kills her, she encounters something else that changes her forever. Susanne Wolff stars in this, giving an incredible performance that carries the entire film. I saw this in Berlin last year and I loved it, writing a glowing review saying: "the film shows just how powerful silent storytelling can be, all we need is to watch what's happening and look closely at the details, and it will all make sense." This film is a hard sell, so the trailer not only shows the big twist but also includes some of the few bits of dialogue - the rest of it is mostly silent like Robert Redford's All Is Lost, and just as powerful.
"Sure, he has written three good crime novels. But Stieg was also something completely different…" The Match Factory has debuted an international / festival promo trailer for the documentary Stieg Larsson: The Man Who Played with Fire, which is premiering at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival coming up. The doc film tells the life story of Swedish journalist and writer Stieg Larsson, renowned as the author of the internationally acclaimed "Millennium" series of novels - best known as the "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" trilogy. The film profiles Larsson's upbringing in Sweden, his years as a journalist, and involvement in fighting right wing extremists and neo-Nazis in the 1980s & 1990s. This fascinating film is much more than just another biopic doc, it's also a story about how journalism and putting a spotlight on the truth is the strongest way to fight fascism and neo-Nazi movements. I highly recommend keeping an eye on this one.
"The film was made at Jeonwonsa Film Co." The Cinema Guild has released the official US trailer for the latest film, titled Hotel by the River, made by acclaimed, beloved Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo, who keeps making new films pretty much non-stop all the time. This first premiered at the Locarno Film Festival last summer, where it won the Best Actor prize, and later went on to play at the Toronto and New York Film Festivals last fall. This B&W drama is set in the dead of winter; a poet invites his sons to join him at a hotel for a reunion. The hotel also hosts a newly single woman who has a friend keep her company. The poet is drawn to the beautiful girls and cannot resist the temptation to discover more. Their lives intersect, connect and disconnect and potentially become a metaphor for modern life. Starring Ki Joo-Bong, Kim Min-hee, Kwon Hae-hyo, Song Seon-mi, and Yoo Joon-Sang. This looks like another mesmerizing, bleak, contemplative film from Hong Sang-soo. And I love the official poster they made - check it out below.
"We have a compelling basis for appeal, we just need a rock solid brief for the Ninth Circuit." Blue Fox Entertainment has debuted the first official trailer for Saint Judy, a drama which first premiered at both the Los Angeles Film Festival and Raindance Film Festival last year. The film tells the story of immigration attorney Judy Wood, and how she single-handedly changed America's Law of Asylum to save women's lives. This case has gone on to save the lives of thousands of other persecuted women around the world. Michelle Monaghan stars as Judy, and the film has drawn comparisons to Erin Brockovich. The cast includes Leem Lubany, Common, Alfred Molina, Alfred Woodard, Peter Krause, Waleed Zuaiter, Gabriel Bateman, Ben Schnetzer, and Mykelti Williamson. This looks like a powerful, inspiring, honest story.
"Sometimes what happens and what must never happen are the same thing." This is going to get people talking. The first official trailer has debuted for a Danish film titled Queen of Hearts, which is premiering at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival starting this week. This erotic, intuitive drama is about a woman who jeopardizes both her career and her family when she seduces her teenage stepson and is forced to make an irreversible decision with fatal consequences. Iconic Danish actress Trine Dyrholm stars as Anne, with a cast including Magnus Krepper, Gustav Lindh, Frederikke Dahl Hansen, Diem Camille Gbogou, Mads Wille, Preben Kristensen, and Peter Khouri. I've already heart great things about this, and from the looks of it here, it's a very smart, subversive, complex film that's going to turn some heads. Take a look.
"This is me trying to make something of myself, and surely that's a good thing for them." Entertainment One UK has debuted the first official trailer for Wild Rose, yet another film about a woman who wants to become a musician, overcoming challenges on the path to fame. This premiered at the Toronto and London Film Festivals last year, and is stopping by the SXSW Film Festival next. Jessie Buckley (who also stars in the film Beast) plays a young mother from Glasgow, fresh out of prison, who decides to give up everything and move to Nashville to chase her dreams of becoming a country singer. Not without some bumps in the road. An "uplifting story with an original soundtrack about family, dreams and reality, and three chords and the truth." The full cast includes Julie Walters as her mother, plus Sophie Okonedo, Jamie Sives, Gemma McElhinney, James Harkness, and Ashley Shelton. This really does look "toe-tapping" good.
"It all stops now - the foolishness. And if you mess this up, it's jail time." Light that blunt and get ready, this looks like the ultimate stoner flick. Neon has debuted the second official red band trailer for Harmony Korine's latest film The Beach Bum, a spiritual sequel to Spring Breakers. And it looks just as crazy, if not even crazier, than that movie. The Beach Bum stars Matthew McConaughey as a rebellious stoner named Moondog who lives life by his own rules. McConaughey looks totally, totally wild in this, but the rest of the cast looks wacky insane too: Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher, Stefania LaVie Owen, Martin Lawrence, Zac Efron, Jonah Hill. I don't even know what the plot is, everyone in this just seems stoned or totally weird or crazy, but that might be exactly why this is going to be a trippy experience unlike any other. Fire this up.
"Suddenly I felt powerful." Need a good laugh? This short film might do the trick. The Katy Universe is a comedic short film about a wedding guest who suddenly discovers she has superpowers - after she's had one too many drinks. She calls up her ex-boyfriend and goes off on an epic rant, honing her newfound powers as she unleashes existential hell over the phone. Comedian / actress Mary Holland stars as Katy, giving an intense and seriously convincing performance as the superpowered wedding guest. This is a very well-made and thoroughly entertaining short that treads similar ground but does so in a humorous way. This is written & directed by Patrick Muhlberger, who puts a positive spin on this drunken evening with clever writing.
"Golem is connected to its creator. A Golem can evolve." Epic Pictures Group has released an official trailer for a supernatural period horror titled The Golem, a new horror thriller take on the Jewish folklore legend of the "Golem". Set in 17th century Lithuania, during an outbreak of a deadly plague, a mystical woman tries to save her tight-knit Jewish community from foreign invaders, but the entity she conjures to protect them is a far greater evil. From the directors known as The Paz Brothers, the cast of The Golem includes Hani Furstenberg and Ishai Golen, along with Brynie Furstenberg, Adi Kvetner, Lenny Ravich, and Alex Tritenko. While this does have some surprisingly impressive imagery, the rest of the film doesn't look that great. The story of The Golem is a well-known myth in Judaism, but this doesn't seem to add anything.
"I don't want him having this kind of life." Lionsgate has debuted the first official trailer for a gritty crime thriller titled We Die Young, the latest film starring Belgian badass Jean-Claude Van Damme (he's also in The Bouncer from last year). The film focuses on the struggles of gang life in Washington DC, telling the story of a 14-year-old boy inducted into a gang. He wants to keep his younger brother safe, but is already being scouted. When an war veteran comes into the neighborhood, they see an opportunity to find a revenge and get out before it's too late. In addition to JCVD, We Die Young also stars Elijah Rodriguez, Joana Metrass, Jacob Scipio, Uriel Emil, Nicholas Sean Johnny, Joseph Long, and David Castañeda. So many of these forgettable action films being made, and despite starring JCVD this doesn't look any good.
Back to Sundance we go for another year of discovery. What's on the line-up this year? Out of the 110+ films showing at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, I've chosen 10 that I'm looking forward to seeing the most. To keep things well balanced, I've chosen 5 feature films and 5 documentaries from the line-up. There are so many films playing at the fest, and so many I'll end up seeing (30+), that this is a quick list to get everyone acquainted with some of the work premiering in 2019 (I just want to go see everything). There are new films from filmmakers like Ritesh Batra and Lulu Wang, and incredible documentaries that are also worthy of our attention, plus many other films. You never really know what will good or bad, but here's my first few picks.
"Is none of this affecting you at all?" Altered Innocence has debuted a full-length, official US trailer for a French murder thriller titled Knife+Heart, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year. The film goes under the title Un couteau dans le coeur in France, which translates directly to A knife in the heart, but I prefer the official version more. Set in Paris in the summer 1979, the film follows Anne, a producer of third-rate gay porn. When Loïs, her editor & companion, leaves her, she attempts to reclaim her by turning a film more ambitious, but one of her actors ends up murdered. Vanessa Paradis stars as Anne, with Kate Moran, Nicolas Maury, Jonathan Genet, Khaled Alouach, & Félix Maritaud. Including an original score by M83. The film has been described as a "gleefully trashy exploitation film" that is kind of like "gay porn meets Giallo slasher." If that sounds like your kind of kink, you should definitely check this out below.