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› Shadow Director Zhang Yimou
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"You wouldn't have believed how strong this stuff was." There's nothing like a good story. This short film is an animated documentary made by filmmaker Matthew Salton, who spent over two years creating this entirely on his own - recording then preparing then animating then editing the 9-minute film. In 1968 Patty was a flight attendant, who realized she could smuggle prime pot in from Jamaica with relative ease, given her line of work. She is 77 years old now, and this is her version of what happened. Amazing. After playing at numerous film festivals, Patty Are You Bringing Weed in from Jamaica? is now available to watch online. And boy is it a wild story. Definitely makes me want to try some of that special white-feathery ganja.
"If you don't give them what they want, you know what's going to happen…" The Jokers from France has unveiled an official trailer for an indie drama titled Sons of Philadelphia, though it also goes under a few other titles including Brothers by Blood or The Sound of Philadelphia (this will apparently be the US release title). Adapted from the book "Brotherly Love" by Pete Dexter, the film is a tale of family, friendships and betrayal in the violent world of the Philadelphia mob. Focusing on two brothers, one adopted, who grew into different people. The cast is the most exciting part: Matthias Schoenaerts, Joel Kinnaman, Maika Monroe, Ryan Philippe, and Paul Schneider. This looks extra dark and depressing. Made by a French filmmaker, so it's opening in France first at the end of December, then will arrive in the US sometime early 2021. This trailer is still in English as the film takes place in Philadelphia. And it looks intense - check it out.
"Look at me. Here I am." Magnolia Pictures has unveiled an official US trailer for Two of Us, a passionate love story drama by filmmaker Filippo Meneghetti. This is France's official submission to the Best Foreign Film selection in the Academy Awards this year, and it originally premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year. It opens in the US in February just in time to play for Academy Award nominations. Pensioners Nina and Madeleine have hidden their deep and passionate love for many decades, but their bond is put to the test when they are suddenly unable to move freely between each other's apartments. This stars Barbara Sukowa & Martine Chevallier as Nina & Madeleine, with Léa Drucker, Jérôme Varanfrain, Muriel Bénazéraf, Augustin Reynes, and Hervé Sogne. It definitely looks like an emotional, heart-wrenching film that seems to be an impressive work considering the critics' quotes they use in this trailer. Take a look.
"You know, I think I figured out why they built Guantanamo down there." STX has unveiled the official trailer for a true story legal thriller called The Mauritanian, from filmmaker Kevin Macdonald who is making his first narrative feature (aside from lots of doc films) since 2014's Black Sea. Based on the book "Guantanamo Diary" by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, the film tells the story of a detainee at the U.S military's Guantanamo Bay detention center who is held without charges for over a decade. He hopes for help from a defense attorney for his release. Their controversial advocacy, along with evidence uncovered by formidable military prosecutor, Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch, eventually reveals a shocking and far reaching conspiracy. Surprise, surprise. The impressive ensemble cast includes Tahar Rahim as Mohamedou Ould Slahi, with Jodie Foster, Zachary Levi, Saamer Usmani, Shailene Woodley, plus Benedict Cumberbatch. This looks fantastic, peering into the dark corners of the US military industrial complex. Very scary truths.
"I still have to find who did it…" Cleopatra Ent. has released an official trailer for the indie horror film The Hex, marking the feature directorial debut of South African actress Reine Swart. The film follows a grieving British girl Dilanne who unravels her murdered mother's secrets connected to a South African witch doctor's curse. She wants to put an end to this haunting hex by traveling to South Africa – but instead gets cast into even deeper sinister depths. This looks like some B-movie psychological horror, with all the usual creepiness and jump scares. Starring Coco Lloyd as Dilanne, Mary-Anne Barlow, Mari Molefe Van Heerden, Christopher Jaftha, and Hungani Ndlovu. Worth a quick look, but not sure it's worth watching in full.
"Destroy me? They made me." Madman Films has released an official Australian trailer for The Flood, an intense revenge western thriller from Australia directly confronting their racism towards aboriginals. "A tale of retribution, revenge, redemption and reconciliation." This film recently premiered at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival a few months back, and it arrives in Australia in January coming up soon. Set during World War II, when a woman's husband, daughter, land and innocence are ripped from her, she embarks on a brutal journey of retribution and revenge. Starring Alexis Lane as Jarah Banganha, along with Shaka Cook, Dean Kyrwood, Dalara Williams, Karen Garnsey, Peter McAllum, Simone Landers, and Aaron Jeffery. Whoa this looks damn good! Seems to be a more gritty genre action film take on Australia's racism than the emotional dramas they've been making recently. That bar scene at the end of this! Hell yes.
"I always got the lucky coin." Yet another wonderful stop-motion animated short film to enjoy. The Coin is the latest short film made by Chinese filmmaker Siqi Song - who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Film last year with her short titled Sister. This new short is also based on her experiences, this time focusing on her move to the US. The story follows a young woman who loses her lucky jar of coins as she travels, and then struggles to figure out American food. "With my mind experiencing the same digestive problems as my stomach, as it encounters the exotic food, I find myself looking for familiar food, in the hope that it will bring me back to the moment of comfort when I found the coin in it." Featuring the voice of Anna Pan. I quite like this fluffy, cloth stop-motion style - gives it a whole different feel (literally). Dive in.
"Don't ask those questions in public. You don't know who's listening." Kino Lorber has unveiled an official US trailer for an indie mother drama from Mexico titled Identifying Features, also known as Sin Señas Particulares (No Particular Signs) in Spanish. And the German title is Was Geschah mit Bus 670?, which just translates to What Happened to Bus 670?. The film follows Mercedes Hernandez as a mother who travels across Mexico in search for her son who authorities say died while trying to cross the border into the United States. "From this simple but urgent premise, director Fernanda Valadez has crafted a lyrical, suspenseful slow burn, equally constructed of moments of beauty and horror, and which leads to a startling, shattering conclusion. Winner of the World Cinema Dramatic Audience and Screenplay Awards at this year's Sundance Film Festival." This also stars David Illescas, Juan Jesús Varela, Ana Laura Rodríguez, Laura Elena Ibarra, and Xicoténcatl Ulloa. This looks like very powerful cinematic storytelling indeed.
"Running is our resistance. Our resistance to imposition. It's a big part of our identity." ESPN has debuted an official trailer for the documentary titled The Infinite Race, the latest offering as part of their fantastic "30 for 30" series. It is a documentary based upon the reclusive Tarahumara tribe in Mexico, in what has become known as the greatest race the world has never seen. The story tells of a tribe in Mexico of born runners, who consider running a part of their culture. Most non-Mexican people first heard of them in the popular book "Born to Run, but their lives are now being threatened by invasive drug cartels. And, as seen in this trailer, they don't really consider the marathons as a part of their culture despite the international attention. ESPN keeps producing some incredible documentaries through "30 for 30", exploring fascinating areas of sports history and culture. This one looks like another that's worth a watch when it's available soon.
"There's something about that human desire to want to tell scary stories to each other." Severin Films has released a new official trailer for a horror documentary titled Tales of the Uncanny with the subtitle: The Ultimate Survey of Anthology Horror. The doc film is a collection of interviews and conversations with over 60 horror writers, directors and scholars discussing their love of and fear of the many horror anthology collections. Essentially a cinema studies film about how unique and scary "short-form horror" is, especially when they package multiple strange stories into one spooky presentation. Anthology films have been a part of cinema history for a long time, and this doc looks back at everything having to do with horror. Described as "a candid discussion of the very best portmanteaus in fright film/TV history." Sounds scary! It looks like a great double feature companion to any/every horror anthology film ever made. Check out the trailer below.
"Hey, stop that!" Netflix has unveiled an official trailer for an indie survival thriller titled Red Dot, from Swedish filmmaker Alain Darborg. The film follows a young couple taunted outdoors while camping. When Nadja becomes pregnant, David and Nadja make an attempt to rekindle their relationship by traveling to the north of Sweden for a hiking trip but soon their romantic trip turns into a nightmare. It's clear the "red dot" in this is just a laser pointer, probably attached to a rifle, coming from some deranged stranger. Or maybe a deranged ex? Red Dot co-stars Anastasios Soulis and Nanna Blondell as David and Nadja, along with Johannes Kuhnke, Kalled Mustonen, and Tomas Bergström. This looks solid, that laser pointer is a seriously scary way of frightening people from afar. I just wonder what happens next? How do they escape?
"It's beautiful." "What is?" "To be alive." CJ Entertainment has debuted the full main trailer for the South Korean sci-fi thriller called Seobok (or Seo Bok), the name given to the very first human clone. This action thriller tells the story of Ki Heon, a former agent from an intelligence agency who was given his last order to protect the world's first human clone Seo Bok. He must escort Seobok, who has never known life outside of the laboratory, to a safe place. Starring Gong Yoo and Park Bo Gum in the lead roles. Gong Yoo explains: "The director told us to use Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise's relationship in Rain Man as our reference." That makes sense. This does look a bit like Ex Machina meets Rain Man, and I'm certainly curious to give it a watch. The footage in both trailers looks quite good - nice to see the South Korean take on a story like this.