› J. Travolta in Trading Paint
› Netflix's Paris Is Us Drama
› Nancy Drew Hid Staircase
› Dystopian Thriller Level 16
› Jeffery Wright in HBO's O.G.
› Matteo Garrone's Dogman
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› Shadow Director Zhang Yimou
› Darya Zhuk on Making Films
› S2BY Director Boots Riley
› Leigh Whannell of Upgrade
› The Rider Director Chloe Zhao
› Bing Liu of Minding the Gap
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The complete list of nominees for the 91st Academy Awards, the most prestigious award in Hollywood, have been announced today (via oscar.go.com). The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed the nominees this morning via live broadcast. This has been one of the most controversial and frustrating awards seasons in a long time, with so many great films going unrecognized - but these Oscar nominations are surprisingly solid. There's no need to spend any more time introducing, let's get right into it! This year, The Academy selected a total of eight Best Picture nominees, including: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Roma, and A Star is Born. Rami Malek also got a nod. Without further ado, here's the full list of nominees.
"They always underestimate the mastermind." On this episode of The First Word podcast we dive right into a full-on, spoiler-filled discussion of M. Night Shyamalan's highly anticipated film Glass, his sequel to both Unbreakable (from 2000) and Split (from 2016). Friends Alex Billington (@firstshowing) and Mike Eisenberg (@Eisentower30) team up to bring you a podcast providing in-depth discussion, analysis, and interviews about the latest movies, and some old ones too. For this episode, our friend and film critic Amon Warmann (@awarmann) returns as our guest for this analysis of all the good and the bad of Glass. We also kick things off with a quick chat about the very first Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer. Listen in below.
"You get involved with the likes of him and I guarantee you'll get hurt. Championship means more than your father!" Saban Films has released the first official trailer for an indie race car thriller titled Trading Paint, from director Karzan Kader (The Last Four, Bekas). The film is about a small town rivalry between a veteran race car driver and his son, as the son decides to go out on his own in hopes of winning more races. John Travolta stars, with his son played by Toby Sebastian, along with Michael Madsen, Kevin Dunn, Shania Twain, Buck Taylor, and Luis Da Silva. This is a rather intense trailer for a movie about race car drivers, but it is an intense sport so I guess it makes sense. Travolta seems to be enjoying this role.
"Right now, everything's possible even if this life may be a dream." Netflix has unveiled an official trailer for a fascinating French drama titled Paris Is Us, the feature debut of filmmaker Elisabeth Vogler. This short trailer is packed with visually stunning footage, making this look like a striking, damning, compelling look at modern day France and all that's happening in the country. The description is vague: "Dreams and reality collide as a young woman navigates a tumultuous relationship amid rising social tensions, protests and tragedies in Paris." The story involves a young woman who was supposed to meet a boy, but she misses the flight and the plane crashes. "Taken in the vertigo of a death that has been narrowly avoided, she moves away from reality and the present." Starring Noémie Schmidt, Grégoire Isvarine, Marie Mottet, Lou Castel, and Schreiber Alexandre. No idea what's going on here, but it looks crazy cool. Got my attention.
"I'd like to purchase some of your finest beer please." Warner Bros has debuted a new extended TV spot for the Shazam! movie, based on the DC Comics character. This aired during the big football game last night, and is now online for everyone to enjoy. We're still waiting for a full trailer, but between the teaser trailer and this new spot I'm already pretty much completely sold on this. Zachary Levi stars as Shazam, and the cast includes Asher Angel as Billy Batson, plus Mark Strong as the Super-Villain Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, as well as Jack Dylan Grazer, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Cooper Andrews, Marta Milans, and Djimon Hounsou. This is looking like it's going to be a very fun movie to watch, I am excited to see this. The comedic tone and amusing kid-as-a-superhero vibe is just what we need from DC right now.
"There's gotta be an explanation! So what do we know?" Surprise! Warner Bros has debuted the first trailer for Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, a new Nancy Drew movie produced by Ellen DeGeneres that we didn't know much about before this dropped. This small town mystery stars Sophia Lillis, who also played the young Beverly Marsh in It: Chapter One, as "Nance". WB last made a Nancy Drew movie in 2007 starring Emma Roberts. A bit of an outsider struggling to fit in to her new surroundings, Nancy and her pals set out to solve the mystery, make new friends, and establish their place in the community. Also starring Linda Lavin, Sam Trammell, Andrea Anders, Zoe Renee, Mackenzie Graham, and Laura Wiggins. This latest Nancy is a longboard-riding know-it-all, which seems like a perfect update nowadays.
"It's our responsibility to report unclean behavior." Dark Sky Films has released a full-length official trailer for the dystopian thriller Level 16, which first premiered at Fantastic Fest last year. Sixteen-year-old Vivien is trapped in The Vestalis Academy, a prison-like boarding school, keeping to herself and sticking her neck out for no one. Until she is reunited with Sophia -- the former friend who betrayed her. Together the girls embark on a dangerous search to uncover the horrifying truth behind their imprisonment at this academy. They soon end up running for their lives. Katie Douglas stars as Vivien, along with Celina Martin, Sara Canning, Peter Outerbridge, Amalia Williamson, Kate Vickery, and Kiana Madeira. Looks rather creepy and quite mysterious - a cool, contemporary mix of some intriguing genre ideas. Check it out below.
"I'm sure that you are a different person, but I don't want you to get out." Damn this looks intense. HBO has debuted an official trailer for an indie drama titled O.G., which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year. This was filmed at an actual prison, with real-life prisoners playing prisoners. The story centers on Louis, a maximum-security inmate and a former gang leader who genuinely regrets his crimes and, while serving over 24 years behind bars, has tried to live a new life of dignity and self-respect. Just weeks before release, he encounters Beech, a new prisoner (played by real-life inmate Theothus Carter) who asks for his help. "The younger inmate echoes of his older counterpart, stirring instincts within Louis that had long been buried beneath a tough exterior." Jeffrey Wright stars, with William Fichtner, Boyd Holbrook, Mare Winningham, Bahni Turpin, Yul Vazquez, David Patrick Kelly, and Ato Essandoh. Enjoy.
"Whatever he says, don't trust him." Magnolia Pictures has unveiled the official US trailer for Dogman, the latest Italian drama from acclaimed filmmaker Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah, Reality, Tale of Tales). This premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year, where it won the Best Actor award. This gritty "urban western" from Italy tells a (true) story of a homicide committed by a coked-out dog groomer during the late 1980s. The story goes that this guy was just a gentle dog groomer before he got pushed into a much more violent world thanks to the local mobsters. The cast includes Marcello Fonte, Edoardo Pesce, Adamo Dionisi, Francesco Acquaroli, Gianluca Gobbi, Nunzia Schiano, and Alida Baldari Calabria. I saw this at Cannes and loved it, one of my favorite films of the fest (read my full review), and I recommend it - especially for dog lovers and/or fans of contemporary Italian cinema. Opening in US theaters this April.
"They're trying to screw us! I'm going to tear you down…" The Orchard has debuted the first official trailer for an indie drama titled The Hummingbird Project, which already premiered at the Toronto and Vancouver Film Festivals last fall, arriving in US theaters this March. You don't want to sleep on this one. The film is the latest from Quebecois filmmaker Kim Nguyen (War Witch, Two Lovers and a Bear, Eye on Juliet), a thriller about two high-stakes traders with a plan to build a straight fiber-optic cable line between Kansas and New Jersey, so they can make millions. But of course it's easier said than done. The cast features Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård, Salma Hayek, Michael Mando, Johan Heldenbergh, Ayisha Issa, and Sarah Goldberg. This is described as a "modern epic" that "exposes the ruthless edge of our increasingly digital world." This looks totally wild and captivating, I'm very curious to watch. Dive right in.
Indian-American filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan first gained major acclaimed for his 1999 supernatural horror drama The Sixth Sense. That film was a commercial and critical success and was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. His next big feature released in 2000, the ambitious Unbreakable, kickstarted the modern comic book movie boom alongside Bryan Singer's X-Men, also released the same year. Shyamalan's Unbreakable, which co-stars Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, is a serious-minded deconstruction of the superhero subgenre before movies like Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, Jon Favreau's Iron Man, and Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy made it the industry mainstay it is today. He finally follows up this with Glass, continuing the story 19 years later.
"Everyone around you are disgusting little insects." Gunpowder & Sky has debuted the killer full-length, official trailer for the indie horror drama Lord of Chaos, which originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last year in the Midnight section (as a late addition to the fest). The indie film is based on "truth and lies", as the marketing indicates, telling the (mostly true) story of an attempt to launch Norwegian Black Metal, following its most notorious practitioners at the time. The plot is actually about a teenager's quest to spread Norwegian Black Metal in Oslo, Norway in the early 1990s, which results in a very violent outcome. Rory Culkin stars, with Emory Cohen, Sky Ferreira, Jack Kilmer, and Valter Skarsgård. The first teasers for this didn't show much, but this trailer gives us plenty of crazy footage to chew on. And this looks totally gnarly, with some crazy violent, intense moments hinted at in this full trailer. Don't ignore this one.