› Filmmaker Shannon Murphy
› Doc Filmmaker Jeff Orlowski
› Cedric Cheung-Lau on Mtns
› Alex Winter on Making Docs
› Aust. Filmmaker Jennifer Kent
› Shadow Director Zhang Yimou
Find more of our interviews ›››
"Heaven doesn't want him, and hell keeps sending him back…" Metropolitan Films in France has unveiled the first international trailer for an indie dementia drama titled Falling, which is the feature directorial debut of actor Viggo Mortensen. This initially premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year to rather mixed reviews - good and bad; it was also selected for the Cannes Film Festival. In addition to writing and directing the film, Mortensen also stars as John, who lives with his husband in Los Angeles. When his raging homophobic father begins to spiral into dementia, he tries to convince him to leave his ranch home and move in with him. But they often end up fighting. Lance Henriksen co-stars as Willis, his expletive-loving father, and Terry Chen plays his husband Eric. The film's cast also includes Sverrir Gudnason, Laura Linney, Hannah Gross, and in a small role, the one-and-only David Cronenberg. Have a look.
"When will our debt be paid?" Kino Lorber has released an official US trailer for an acclaimed indie thriller titled Buoyancy, marking the feature directorial debut of Australian filmmaker Rodd Rathjen. This was Australia's submission to the Academy Awards for 2019, after premiering at the Berlin Film Festival earlier in the year. Buoyancy tells the story of 14-year-old Cambodian boy named Chakra who is sold as a slave laborer to the captain of a Thai fishing vessel. The captain's rule is cruel and arbitrary, and eventually he realizes the only way to truly survive is to fight back. "This story of a Cambodian teenager sold into forced labor on a Thai fishing boat is a passionate testimony against social injustice and a moving coming-of-age tale about a boy whose humanity is put to the test." The film stars Sarm Heng as Chakra, with Thanawut Ketsaro, Mony Ros, Saichia Wongwirot, Yothin Udomsanti, and Chan Visal. This looks brutal and depressing, but also an invigorating story about dignity and resistance. I'm adding this one to my watch list.
Screened as a selection of the virtual 2020 Fantasia Film Festival. Shortly after watching The Columnist, I noticed that Twitter enabled a very interesting feature – you can now control who can reply to your tweets. It would be a highly valuable benefit for Femke Boot (played by Dutch actress Katja Herbers), the titular columnist of a local newspaper, and author of an upcoming book. The film, directed by Ivo van Aart (of Quantum Zeno) and written by Daan Windhorst, is a powerful revenge comedy horror and a cautionary tale that perfectly connects to contemporary culture, teaching us an important lesson. Plus, it's bloody good fun.
"It's your turn to do the dishes." This "masterpiece" short film was nominated for the Best Animated Short Film at the Cesar Awards earlier this year, France's version of the Oscars. I'm Going Out for Cigarettes, also known as Je Sors Acheter Des Cigarettes originally in French, is written and directed by animation filmmaker Osman Cerfon. The film is about a 12-year-old boy who lives with his mother and sister, while men with the same face begin appearing around his apartment. The film examines "the impact of an absent parental figure in a child's life", resulting in seeing them everywhere instead. It's a film where the message, the whole point of the story, is only revealed as it plays out - which makes it much more meaningful in the end. With the voices of Théan Van de Voorde, Manon Bresch, Delphine Rollin, Valentin Gevraise. As wacky as the animation style is, there's a seriousness to this film that makes it stand out. Worth a watch.
"It is true, we shall be monsters, cut off from all the world; but on that account we shall be more attached to one another." –Mary Shelley, Frankenstein. Big news in the film festival world! Five genre festivals have decided to come together and launch a special event this year to circumvent challenges of hosting festivals during an ongoing pandemic. Nightstream is a "collective virtual event" launching online in October this year. The five participating genre film festivals include: Boston Underground, Brooklyn Horror, North Bend, Overlook, and Popcorn Frights. "In response to the many challenges impacting the film community amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and the concerns of safety and security that presently come with physical exhibition and festivals, a collective online initiative will be launched by organizers of a number of American genre festivals for the upcoming fall season to offer a singular experience for U.S. audiences." Fest passes are on sale now.
"Fight me like a man! Come on!" 11:11 Ent. has released an official trailer for an epic new sci-fi action movie titled Monsters of Men, yet another robots-are-extremely-dangerous movie. This is also the feature debut of a very successful commercials director named Mark Toia, making the leap into narrative filmmaking. A robotics company teams up with a corrupt CIA agent dropping four prototype robots into a suspecting drug camp in the Golden triangle. Six doctors on a good cause mission witness the brutal slaughter of an innocent village and are forced into a deadly game of cat and mouse as they become the new targets. "In his stunning directorial debut, Toia combines non-stop action with powerful special effects to explore AI, corruption and the terrifying possibilities of future warfare." The movie stars Neal McDonough, Jose Rosete, Jessica Blackmore, and Kayli Tran. This looks like someone made a Neill Blomkamp movie without him, about gnarly humanoid police robots that don't care about pesky humans. As a big sci-fi geek, I just need to see it.
"Stop analyzing her. You can't even analyze yourself." Music Box Films has released an official US trailer for the French drama Sibyl, which first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year. This complex, "sly, sultry character study from filmmaker Justine Triet" is about a jaded psychotherapist named Sibyl, who decides to return to her first passion of becoming a writer. But it's much more than that. She ends up being convinced by a patient of hers, a famous actress, to go to the tropical set of the film she's shooting and help her deal with emotional problems being stirred up by a passionate affair. The actress is sleeping with her co-star, Igor, who happens to be married to the film's director. However, as Sibyl drifts away from therapy, she realizes the actress is great inspiration for her next book. Starring Virginie Efira, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Gaspard Ulliel, Sandra Hüller, Laure Calamy, Niels Schneider, Paul Hamy, and Arthur Harari. After a festival run and European release last year, the film debuts in "virtual cinemas" in the US in the fall.
"This is what you have to do - brake as late as possible." 1091 Pictures has released an official US trailer for a documentary titled Hitting the Apex, which is finally getting an official release in the US this year. The film originally opened in the UK back in 2015, but considering it's about motorcycle racing, which isn't that popular in the US (at least compared to NASCAR), it never opened. Until now. Hitting the Apex, narrated by Brad Pitt (who also produced the doc film), is the story of six fighters – six of the fastest motorcycle racers of all time – and the fates that awaited them at the peak of the sport. The racers profiled are: Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi, Marco Simoncelli, and Casey Stoner. A bit strange that it has taken so long for this to get a US debut, but oh well, it's finally going to be available to watch soon. Race on.
"What are you waiting for?!" Scream Factory has released a trailer for an indie horror thriller titled Let's Scare Julie (also known as Let's Scare Julie to Death), marking the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Jud Cremata. A group of teen girls set out to scare their reclusive neighbor, but the prank turns to terror when some of them don't return. Filmed in real time on a single camera in one uninterrupted, continuous take, the freaky tension rapidly escalates as the girls' seemingly harmless pranks start to have life-altering consequences. Starring Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson, Isabel May, Odessa A'zion, Brooke Sorenson, Jessica Sarah Flaum, and Dakota Baccelli. Not sure why this film needs the trendy neon-light masks, especially when there is enough style in the one-long-take concept anyway, but so be it. The scariest shot in this is the woman standing in the street, but the rest of it is pretty tame. Hopefully there's some good thrills.
"Are there issues in your life that might complicate the transition process?" Dark Star Pictures has released an official trailer for an indie drama called The Garden Left Behind, from Brazilian filmmaker Flavio Alves. This initially premiered at the SXSW Film Festival last year, where it won the prestigious Audience Award in the Visions section. It also won tons of other awards at various film festivals last year, including Best Editing in a Narrative Feature at the Woodstock Film Festival. The emotional drama tells the story of a young Mexican trans woman and her grandmother who navigate life as undocumented immigrants in New York. The film stars Carlie Guevara as Tina, with Danny Flaherty, Tamara M. Williams, Ed Asner, Michael Madsen, and Miriam Cruz as her grandmother Eliana. Early reviews say that the film is "a soft, brief, genuine connection to a community that deserves compassion." This looks like it's worth discovering.
"You're not tender-headed, are you?" Hulu has revealed the first teaser trailer for the acclaimed, outrageous hair horror film Bad Hair, which originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. This is the second feature film from Dear White People director Justin Simien, and it's launching on Hulu just before Halloween later this year. In 1989 an ambitious young woman gets a weave in order to succeed in the image-obsessed world of music television. However, her flourishing career may come at a great cost when she realizes that her new hair may have a(n evil) mind of its own. Starring Elle Lorraine as Anna, with an ensemble cast including Vanessa Williams, Jay Pharoah, Lena Waithe, Blair Underwood, Laverne Cox, Michelle Hurd, Judith Scott, Robin Thede, Ashley Blaine Featherson, Kelly Rowland, with James Van Der Beek and Usher. This is one horrifying teaser, just the right amount of fright and cringe.
"Sometimes the mask is prettier than the thing behind it…" That line sticks with me more than any other from this trailer. Astrakan Film has debuted the full-length official trailer for the indie drama titled Lost Girls & Love Hotels, the latest film from Swedish filmmaker William Olsson (An American Affair). We featured the first teaser trailer last month. Set in Tokyo and adapted from Catherine Hanrahan's novel, the film is about an American woman trying to forget her past by drifting around dangerous nightlife and love hotels in the city. Alexandra Daddario stars as Margaret, co-starring with Takehiro Hira as a Yakuza gangster named Kazu, and a cast including Carice van Houten, Misuzu Kanno, and Kate Easton. This looks sultry and complex, a raw and honest and intimate Tokyo drama that digs deep into our fragile psyche.