› Alex Winter on Making Docs
› Aust. Filmmaker Jennifer Kent
› Shadow Director Zhang Yimou
› Darya Zhuk on Making Films
› S2BY Director Boots Riley
› Leigh Whannell of Upgrade
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"You will retract the statements to the press immediately." "Or they will shoot our engineers?" Goldwyn Films has debuted an official US trailer for Mr. Jones, a film by Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland (of Europa Europa, Washington Square, Spoor). This first premiered at the Berlin Film Festival last year, and stopped by numerous other international film festivals - a true story about a great writer. Mr. Jones brings to the screen the extraordinary and powerful story of the real-life Welsh journalist who uncovered Stalin's genocidal famine in Ukraine in the 1930s, which killed almost 10 million. Before WWII begins, he travels first into Russia, then down to Ukraine, becoming the first to break the news in the western media of the government-created famine in the Soviet Union. Starring James Norton as Gareth Jones; and he's joined by Vanessa Kirby, Peter Sarsgaard, Joseph Mawle, Kenneth Cranham, Celyn Jones, Krzysztof Pieczynski, Fenella Woolgar, and Martin Bishop. An important film about the necessity of journalism.
"You don't want me to stay?" IFC Films has released a new US trailer for an New York City indie romantic drama titled Premature, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival one year ago. It also went on to play the San Francisco, Dallas, Montclair, Seattle, London, Denver, and Hawaii Film Festivals. Premature a romantic drama in the vein of If Beale Street Could Talk or Blue Valentine. Set in Harlem, Zora Howard stars as a young woman who meets "handsome and mysterious outsider" Isaiah, played by Joshua Boone. Then "her entire world is turned upside down on her path towards self-discovery as she travails the rigorous terrain of young love the summer before she leaves for college." Of course. Also starring Michelle Wilson, Alexis Marie Wint, Imani Lewis, & Tashiana Washington. This looks particularly sweet and honest.
"Think of the splash it would make… No critic has spoken to this guy in over 50 years." Sony Classics has revealed an official trailer for the film The Burnt Orange Heresy, an adaptation of a classic novel about the art world written by Charles Willeford. This premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year at the end of the festival, a delightful surprise (here's my review). Claes Bang stars as an art critic who gets in over his head when he's invited by an eccentric collector to his villa near Lake Como, only to learn there's a long lost painter hiding out in the guest house. His affair with an American woman, played by Elizabeth Debicki, complicates things further. The eccentric cast includes Mick Jagger, Donald Sutherland, and Rosalind Halstead. This is another trailer that gives away too much, but I love this film and must support it anyway.
"If you take anger out of my heart… I'll never hate again." Blue Fox Ent. has released a new official trailer for the documentary Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words, about the Supreme Court justice and his entire career in law and politics. Although Clarence Thomas remains a controversial figure, loved by some, reviled by others, few know much more than the news headlines as well as the recollections of his contentious confirmation battle with Anita Hill in 1991. Yet, the personal odyssey of Clarence Thomas is a classic American story and it should be better known and understood. This doc film tells the Clarence Thomas story truly and fully: "unscripted and without narration, the documentary takes the viewer through this complex and often painful life, dealing with race, faith, power, jurisprudence, and personal resilience." Sounds like a compelling watch! Even if you don't care for him much. Take a look at the new trailer below.
"Why hack the ships when you can hack the pilots?" Dust has debuted an impressive new sci-fi short film titled Sky Fighter, available to watch in full for free today on their YouTube channel. This dense 15-minute short is about two pilots fight a war in the distant future in their fighter-bomber spacecraft. But is the true enemy their alien opponent…or each other? This is just a few notches above the usual homemade sci-fi, with an awesome set and some fantastic VFX work throughout. There's one incredible shot when they finally get a look out of a window. I love when filmmakers go all out reminding us what space is really like and in order to leave us in complete awe. Sky Fighter stars Tom Maden, Jess Gabor, and Erik Palladino. There's also a killer score by Bobby Villarreal to go along with the visuals. Highly recommend giving this your time.
"I need to get out of here!" An official trailer has arrived online for a new short film made by actress-turned-filmmaker Olivia Wilde, director of the hit movie Booksmart. The short is premiering in Park City, Utah during the Sundance Film Festival, but is not an official selection in the festival. It's showing simultaneously because why not (it's also "Presented by HP", a corporate sponsor using this short as marketing). Wake Up stars Margaret Qualley (Pussycat from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) as a "Jane Doe" who is forced to rediscover her humanity in an increasingly digital world. It's yet another film that's trying to be a cautionary commentary about how everyone is obsessed with their phones and the digital world. Check this out below.
"In a perfect world, we make perfect choices. In the real world, we make real choices." Netflix has debuted an official trailer for the highly anticipated film by acclaimed filmmaker Dee Rees, director of Mudbound and Pariah previously. This is premiering at the Sundance Film Festival before being released by Netflix. The Last Thing He Wanted is an adaptation of Joan Didion's novel about an intrepid journalist named Elena McMahon. Anne Hathaway stars as Elena, a veteran Washington D.C. journalist who loses the thread of her own narrative when a guilt-propelled errand for her father thrusts her from byline to subject in the very story she is trying to break. Also starring Ben Affleck, Willem Dafoe, Rosie Perez, Toby Jones, Mel Rodriguez, Edi Gathegi, Carlos Leal, Laura Niemi, and Onata Aprile. This looks like a riveting thriller, another great ode to journalism and the willpower of those who risk everything to report the truth.
"Did we just do some kind of loop?" Saban Films has unveiled the trailer for the indie sci-fi psychological thriller Vivarium, which first premiered at the Cannes FIlm Festival last year in the Critics Week sidebar. This fantastic "Black Mirror"-esque thriller has been picking up some great buzz playing around the festival circuit last year, including at Fantastic Fest and Sitges. In search of a starter home, a young couple follow a mysterious estate agent to a nice home. There they find themselves trapped in a mysterious labyrinth-like neighborhood of identical houses. Jesse Eisenberg & Imogen Poots star, and it's pretty much just these two most of the film, along with Jonathan Aris. I saw this in Cannes and loved it, writing a glowing review saying it's "clever and captivating… twisted, minimal sci-fi" done right. Be warned - this trailer reveals a lot.
"I didn't want to be thinking about 'what might of been'… but I was." Netflix has released a second official trailer for the romantic comedy To All The Boys P.S. I Still Love You, the highly anticipated sequel to To All the Boys I've Loved Before. It's debuting on Netflix in just a few weeks, right in time for Valentine's Day. P.S. I Still Love You picks up where the first left off - Lara and Peter are officially in a relationship until another recipient of one of her old love letters enters the picture. She must rely on herself more than ever before when she's confronted with her first real dilemma: Can a girl be in love with two boys at once? Lana Condor returns as Lara, with Noah Centineo, Jordan Fisher, Anna Cathcart, Janel Parrish, John Corbett, Sarayu Blue, Ross Butler, Madeleine Arthur, Emilija Baranc, & Trezzo Mahoro. This looks extra cheesy, and superbly cliche, but it might be just the kind of schmaltz some of you are looking for.
"Forget about basketball. It wasn't about basketball anymore…" 1091 has released a full trailer for a sports documentary about basketball player Stephon Marbury. The doc is called A Kid From Coney Island and it premiered at last year's Tribeca Film Festival. For those who don't know, here's his story: "Marbury, now 42, grew up in the housing projects of Coney Island, New York [City], and watched as his three college basketball-playing brothers fail[ed] to make the pros. Eventually, he made his way to the NBA, playing for 12 seasons from 1996 to 2009 for teams including the New York Knicks and the Minnesota Timberwolves. In 2010, Marbury moved to China to play professionally in the Chinese Basketball Association, becoming a six-time All-Star." Not everyone is happy with this choice, but he's an inspiration to many all over the world.
"Overall, life on a baby lamp isn't that exciting… Or maybe – too exciting…!" Pixar has unveiled the trailer for a brand new animated short film that is arriving on Disney+ streaming at the end of this month. Lamp Life is a fun short film that explains where Bo Peep went and the adventures she was involved in before re-appearing in Pixar's Toy Story 4 (released last summer). It sounds like they've got Annie Potts back as the voice of Bo Peep, giving us a look at her life on top of a baby lamp with sheep at her side. It's no surprise this looks wonderful, since Pixar has been making marvelous short films for decades. I'm excited to watch it.
"This is how we fight!" Momentum Pictures has released a new official US trailer for the true story thriller Escape from Pretoria, opening in March (on VOD) at the same time as the UK release. The film is about two white South Africans, imprisoned in 1978 for working covert operations for Nelson Mandela's banned ANC. They attempt to escape from the notorious white man's Pretoria Prison, known as "Robben Island", the same place former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was imprisoned before. Starring Daniel Radcliffe and Daniel Webber as the two leads, with a cast including Ian Hart, Nathan Page, Stephen Hunter, Mark Leonard Winter, Jeanette Cronin, David Wilson, and Ratidzo Mambo. Based on a true story, of course. This looks as good as it did in the UK trailer, a gripping thriller with an inspiring story.