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"I say - 'no more secrets.'" "Let this information out…!" The Orchard has debuted an official trailer for an appealing new documentary titled Third Eye Spies, a film that is supposedly going to reveal that psychics and ESP are real. From director Lance Mungia, Third Eye Spies tells the story of two Stanford physicists who discover that psychic abilities are real, only to have their experiments co-opted by the CIA and their research silenced in the name of secrecy. The film contains a few compellingly cinematic re-enactments of actual remote viewings done at Stanford Research Institute for the intelligence agencies, amazing new data retrieved from recently declassified documents via Freedom of Information Act, and over 30 interviews with every top player involved and how those discoveries are being used today. The main character is Russell Targ, one of the original researchers, who has decided that it's time to come out and say that there can be no secrets anymore. Will you believe it? Is it a conspiracy, or is it all real? There's only one way to find out.
We love documentaries! And we hope to encourage more love for them. Our latest episode of The First Word podcast is a discussion about documentaries, including a chat about the doc films we love the most. Our discussion begins with a conversation between Alex and TFW co-host Mike Eisenberg, who made a documentary this year titled To Err Is Human, and guest Amirose Eisenbah, who is in post-production on a documentary titled Equal Playing Field. We talk about the challenges of making docs and their passion for non-fiction storytelling. Then we jump into a chat (starting at ~48:00) about the documentaries, from this year and beyond, that we love the most and those that have had an impact on us, good or bad. This is an episode we've been looking forward to recording for a while, so give it a listen and discover some new docs.
"Even that which we deem obscene, you make look more beautiful than I thought possible." Indeed. Samuel Goldwyn Films has unveiled the first official trailer for Mapplethorpe, the new feature film about famed photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. This originally premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, and played at a few other fests and is opening in US theaters next March. Mapplethorpe is a renowned photographer who was also feted with a fantastic documentary a few years back, titled Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures. The narrative film went under the working titled The Perfect Moment, before they settled on simply Mapplethorpe. It's a look at the life of the gay photographer from his rise to fame in the 1970s to his untimely death from AIDS in 1989. Matt Smith stars as Robert, along with Marianne Rendón, John Benjamin Hickey, Brandon Sklenar, McKinley Belcher III, and Mark Moses. I'm a very big fan of Mapplethorpe, but unfortunately this doesn't look as good as I was hoping. I'll definitely still be watching it.
"What's going on in this crazy place?" Studiocanal UK has debuted the first cheesy teaser trailer for a new animated movie based on a toyline, this one titled Playmobil: The Movie. If it isn't obvious enough, this is based on the Playmobil toys and characters, made by a German conglomerate called the Brandstätter Group. I hate to be so blunt - but this is pretty much a wannabe The Lego Movie, but nowhere near as good. The movie takes audiences on an epic comedy adventure through a sprawling imaginative universe. Packed with humor and excitement the film combines endearing and hilarious characters, thrilling adventure and breathtaking scenery in this original, animated heart-warming tale. Featuring the voices of Anya Taylor-Joy, Jim Gaffigan, Gabriel Bateman, Adam Lambert, Kenan Thompson, Meghan Trainor, and Daniel Radcliffe. This is such a terrible teaser, for a movie that looks totally awful. Don't waste your time.
"Do you think that a man's demons can be passed down to his son?" Breaking Glass Pictures has released the first official trailer for Beyond the Night, a mysterious thriller set in a small coal mining town. The film premiered at the Woodstock and Austin Film Festivals earlier this year, and is getting a small release in January. When a soldier's son reveals damning information about a local gangster's missing daughter, a war of attrition wreaks havoc on their forgotten mining town. Jason Noto's Beyond the Night stars Zane Holtz, with Tammy Blanchard, Azhy Robertson, Caitlin Mehner, Chance Kelly, David Fierro, Enid Graham, and Neal Huff. There seems to be some kind of supernatural element to this, but it's a bit more subtle than most horror films. I really enjoy the moody atmosphere of this, I'm quite curious about the film.
"The universe demands balance. For there to be life, there must be death." Cinedigm has released an official trailer for an indie horror thriller film titled The Final Wish, which just premiered at the Screamfest Film Festival earlier this fall. The film is about a man who returns home after the death of his father, to help his grief-stricken mother and to confront his past. While going through his dad's belongings, he comes across a mysterious item that is more than it seems. That's the only plot details provided, and this trailer doesn't help explain anything. The Final Wish stars horror iconic Lin Shaye, along with Michael Welch, Melissa Bolona, Tony Todd, Spencer Locke, and Kaiwi Lyman. Unfortunately this film looks like yet another derivative, repetitive supernatural horror without much of anything new to offer the genre. Check it anyway.
"You want to control your horse? First you gotta control yourself." Focus Features has debuted the first trailer for an indie drama titled The Mustang, the feature directorial debut of French actress-filmmaker Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre. This is set to premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in the Premieres category, then open in theaters in the US in March. Inspired by true events, the film tells the story of Roman Coleman, a convict, who is given the chance to participate in a rehabilitation therapy program involving the training of wild mustangs. At first he struggles to connect with the horses and his fellow inmates, but learns to confront his past as he soothes an especially feisty horse. Matthias Schoenaerts stars as Roman, with a cast including Connie Britton, Bruce Dern, Jason Mitchell, Gideon Adlon, and Josh Stewart. This looks very, very good - expected for a Sundance film. I dig the music in this trailer, makes it more endearing.
"Your talent has a greater scope than all the other poets combined. And yet you've lived the smallest life." Sony UK has released their own official UK trailer for the indie film All Is True, directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Branagh as the legendary playwright William Shakespeare. We already featured the first official US trailer for this earlier in the week, and this UK trailer is basically a condensed version of that initial trailer. The film is about the final days in Shakespeare's life, after he retires from writing. Branagh has long wanted to explore this forgotten and critical period of Shakespeare's life. In addition to Branagh, the ensemble cast includes Judi Dench is his wife Anne, Ian McKellen as the Earl of Southampton, along with Kathryn Wilder, Lolita Chakrabarti, Michael Rouse, Jack Colgrave Hirst, and Matt Jessup. Even though this trailer doesn't have much new footage, I'm delighted but this film's end of the year reveal just before it hits theaters. And I really would like to watch this - the cinematography alone looks gorgeous.
"A monumental achievement: as a documentary, as a humanist tribute and as a [great] effort at historical rectification." Grasshopper Film + Icarus Films has released an official US trailer for a documentary titled Dead Souls, the latest from prolific Chinese doc filmmaker Wang Bing (Father and Sons, Ta'ang, Bitter Money, Mrs. Fang). This documentary runs a total of 495 minutes, which comes out to about 8 hours, 15 minutes in total, and first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. Dead Souls is about a lost generation of Chinese, deemed "ultra-rightists" in the Communist Party’s Anti-Rightist campaign of 1957, most of them starved to death in the Jiabiangou & Mingshui reeducation camps. This film spends time with the survivors, and has been compared to Claude Lanzmann's iconic doc Shoah in its grandeur, elegance, and ability to capture the voices lost to the atrocities of history. This is a very simple trailer, but it's compelling.
"We depend on the stability of the fundamental forces of the world." The Orchard has released the first official trailer for The Human Element, a powerful new documentary about the climate change crisis. This premiered at the Boulder International Film Festival earlier this year, and will be released on VOD in January. We've seen a bunch of climate change docs over the last decade, but this one focuses on the impact on humanity, as seen through the eye (and lens) of a world renown photographer. With rare compassion and heart, The Human Element follows environmental photographer James Balog on his quest to highlight Americans on the front lines of climate change, inspiring us to re-evaluate our relationship with the natural world. There's some really striking, beautiful imagery in this trailer, and hopefully the film connects deeply with viewers and encourages us to challenge our ways in order to save the planet (and all the people on it).
"Unless we fight back, we've got a chance." Focus Features has finally released the full-length official trailer for the original sci-fi thriller titled Captive State, the latest from director Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist, Rise of the Planet of the Apes). Set in Chicago, the story takes place nearly a decade after occupation by an extra-terrestrial force. It explores the lives on both sides of the conflict – the collaborators and dissidents. This looks killer! Captive State stars Vera Farmiga, Madeline Brewer, John Goodman, Alan Ruck, Kevin J. O'Connor, James Ransone, Jonathan Majors, D.B. Sweeney, Ashton Sanders, Kevin Dunn, Ta'Rhonda Jones, along with Kiki Layne (from If Beale Street Could Talk) and Machine Gun Kelly. I love the way they've been marketing this, revealing more and more with each new trailer. All the big reveals are at the end of this, and while I still don't know what's going on, this looks awesome. Very excited.
"Inhale the bouquet… Every glass of wine is a courtship." The Orchard has unveiled an official trailer for an indie "romantic coming-of-middle-age comedy" titled Under the Eiffel Tower, which premiered at a few small festivals earlier this year. The latest from filmmaker Archie Borders (Reception to Follow, Paper Cut, Pleased to Meet Me), the film is about a middle-age man who tags along on his best friends' family vacation to Paris, then humiliates himself by proposing to their 24-year-old daughter. He then runs off with a friend where they soon cross paths with Louise, a beautiful vineyard-owner. Matt Walsh stars as Stuart, and the full cast includes Judith Godrèche, Reid Scott, Michaela Watkins, David Wain, Dylan Gelula, and Gary Cole. This looks quite good, there's some genuine charm to the humor in it. Might be worth a watch.