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Stay Safe 😷 In Theaters + Streaming on 2021 Schedule⇣
"Be very careful of what you allow in your spirit, Dayo, especially in America…" 1091 Pictures has released an official trailer for Tazmanian Devil, marking the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Solomon Onita Jr. This originally premiered at the American Black Film Festival last year, and arrives on VOD early next month for anyone interested. After moving to the United States, Nigerian immigrant Dayo struggles to find a balance between his desire to join a college fraternity and bonding with his estranged father who is a strict pastor at a local church. As he begins the pledging process, tensions rise between him and his father and the rest of "TAZ" as he tries to figure out who he wants to be. Abraham Attah (from Beasts of No Nation and Spider-Man: Homecoming) stars as Dayo, with a cast including Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Adepero Oduye, and Kwesi Boakye. This is a quite an impressive trailer that builds to one intense ending! Damn.
"Gate check!" A touching, life-affirming short film is now available online for everyone to enjoy. Grab My Hand: A Letter To My Dad is a lovely animated short film co-directed by filmmakers Camrus Johnson and Pedro Piccinini. The film is indeed a letter to Camrus' father, discussing the lessons his "superhero" dad taught him and how to appreciate all the ups & downs of life. "Grab My Hand: A Letter To My Dad was a gift to my grieving father and now a message to all to cherish every second you have with the ones you love while you still can." Featuring the voices of Camrus Johnson, Maaliyah Papillion, and Eric R. Williams. The animation in this is simple but very powerful, it doesn't need excessive details or elaborate action. It's just a visualization of the story Camrus is telling in here, and it enhances the emotions by allowing us to imagine ourselves in a similar situation. What a moving, heartfelt film - I'm glad Camrus is sharing it with the world.
An early promo trailer has debuted for an experimental pandemic project called Erēmīta (Anthologies) (the word "Erēmīta" translates to "Hermit" in Latvian). This was conceived by Egyptian cinematographer / filmmaker Sam Abbas, and is an anthology of short docs intertwined with literature composed during the 2020 pandemic by leading DPs. Abbas explains: "I, like many others, get very excited about using certain cameras, lenses, conversations with the cinematographer, colorists, sound designers but really, everyone I work with! But when it comes down to it, if needed, cinema can be made under any circumstances… We can only make a film virtually… We all share two main things: passion and a plethora of time." Each DP oversaw their individual film, having final cut for their piece. "There is no theme, film whatever you want, however you want with whomever you want." Featuring footage from Alexis Zabé, Ashley Connor, Antoine Héberlé, Sam Abbas, Soledad Rodríguez, Stefano Falivene. This is just a teaser as the film premieres this fall. Enjoy.
"You know that every single time you go out on stage there's gonna be fireworks." Indie Rights Films has debuted an official trailer for a documentary called A Man and His Trumpet: The Leroy Jones Story, which as the title already indicates is about the trumpeter Leroy Jones. "There's millions of musicians in the world – but there's only one Leroy Jones." In a city full of brilliant musicians, Jones, a trumpet virtuoso and consummate New Orleanian, is a musician's musician with a sound like no other. He grew up playing on the streets of the 7th ward and French Quarter, quickly establishing himself as one of NOLA’s most sought after trumpeters, playing with the best of the best, and touring with the Harry Connick Jr and his orchestra for 17 years. A decade after the storm that nearly destroyed his beloved city, Jones is navigating life as both a world renowned musician and a citizen amidst a rapidly changing New Orleans. It looks like a good story.
"This one… is not afraid…" Arrow Video has released an official trailer for an indie horror sensation called A Ghost Waits, a big breakout hit from the genre film festival circuit last year. This super low budget indie flick is a cute horror romantic comedy of sorts. An ingeniously unique and unpredictable combo of horror, humor and heart, A Ghost Waits is a DIY labor of love years in the making from first-time writer/director Adam Stovall and producer/star MacLeod Andrews. A man's job requires him to clean a house, which turns out to be haunted. In the course of trying to exorcise the ghost, he falls in love with her. Starring MacLeod Andrews, Natalie Walker, Sydney Vollmer, and Amanda Miller. This is very creative and amusing to watch, but not great overall, in my opinion. Still worth a look if you're curious about this. You are not alone.
"Let's shake it up!" YouTube Originals has unveiled an official trailer for their exciting new collaborative documentary project / sequel titled Life in a Day 2020, a follow-up to the original Life in a Day film from 2010. This is premiering at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, then debuts streaming a week later. YouTube and the filmmakers asked people all over the world to record their lives to tell the story of a single day on Earth. The filmmakers received more than 300,000 submissions, nearly 4x the number of submissions to the previous film, which includes thousands of hours of footage from 192 different countries, in more than 65 languages. Among the massive number of submissions received for consideration, notable individuals featured in the footage include COVID-19 vaccine researchers in Oxford, Rohingya & Syrian refugees, Black Lives Matter protesters, a US Army veteran reflecting on his service, a woman and her challenging fertility journey, and many more personal portraits. Take a look at the first footage from the new 2020 film below.
"Everything will be… all right." Janus Films + Film at Lincoln Center have revealed a new trailer for the restored re-release of Andrei Tarkovsky's 1975 film Mirror, also known as The Mirror, originally Зеркало (Zerkalo) in Russian. Tarkovsky made this one right after finishing both Andrei Rublev and Solaris, but it got lost in time as it didn't even make its way to America until five years later, first showing at the Telluride Film Festival, then opening in cinemas in 1983. A dying man in his 40s remembers his past. His childhood, his mother, the war, personal moments and things that tell of the recent history of all the Russian nation. Mirror features Margarita Terekhova, Filipp Yankovsky, Oleg Yankovsky, Ignat Daniltsev, and Maria Tarkovskaya. For those who haven't seen it and need convincing: "Mirror stands as perhaps the most extraordinary triumph of Tarkovsky’s short yet remarkable career, fashioning an originally lyrical and oneiric style to express intimate ruminations about family, history, creation, memory, and time." See below.
"There is something provoking him that we're not seeing here." Warner Bros has released the first official trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong, currently set for release in late March this year after numerous delays. This highly anticipated epic sequel to the recent Godzilla movies finally pits the two mega-monsters in a battle for the fate of the world. Warner Bros is also releasing this epic monster movie on HBO Max and in theaters at the same time, so you can enjoy it any way you wish. And if it's awesome as it looks, I hope they re-release this because I'd go pay to see it again on the big screen later this year. Godzilla vs. Kong stars Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, Julian Dennison, with Kyle Chandler and Demián Bichir. This footage looks epicly badass!! So many jaw-dropping shots. I'm so excited to watch this! Going to be a real event even if we're all watching at home.
"Have you ever felt something for an object?" Dark Star Pictures has released an official US trailer for the French indie Jumbo, which originally premiered at last year's Sundance & Berlin Film Festivals. Finally! I've been waiting for this to get released, because it's an underrated, kinky, quirky gem that deserves to be seen. Jeanne, a shy young woman, works in an amusement park. Fascinated with carousels, she still lives at home with her mother. That's when Jeanne meets Jumbo, the park's new flagship attraction. The two start an unexpected romance that cannot be defined. Noémie Merlant (from Portrait of a Lady on Fire) stars, with Emmanuelle Bercot, Bastien Bouillon, Sam Louwyck, and Tracy Dossou. I reviewed this from Berlinale last year, saying it's "uniquely original, surprisingly serious, and impressive." A worthy discovery.
"The best music and the best whiskey come from the same part of the country." Gather ’round and revisit this classic country music documentary film Heartworn Highways. Rarely screened, the beloved 1976 documentary portrait of the outlaw country movement will be re-released nationwide in virtual cinemas on February 5th this winter. In the mid-'70s, filmmaker James Szalapski documented the then-nascent country music movement that would soon become known as "outlaw country." Inspired, in part, by newly-long-haired Willie Nelson's embrace of hippie attitudes and audiences, a younger generation of artists including Townes Van Zandt, David Alan Coe, Steve Earle and Guy Clark popularized and developed the outlaw sound. This kind of seems like the anti-country music film about country music, which means it might be worth a watch even if you don't care much for country music. As usual, this is the best time to catch up with the film.
"Everything in the world is about sex. Except sex." Kino Lorber has revealed an official trailer for an indie psychological thriller / realist drama titled Test Pattern, a film marking the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Shatara Michelle Ford. This originally premiered at the Blackstar Film Festival back in 2019, and it played at numerous other festivals the last few years. Test Pattern follows an interracial couple whose relationship is put to the test after a Black woman is sexually assaulted and her white boyfriend drives her from hospital to hospital in search of a rape kit. The film stars Brittany S. Hall, Will Brill, Gail Bean, and Drew Fuller. Winner of top prizes at both the BlackStar and New Orleans Film Festivals, this gripping social thriller offers a "unique exploration of institutional racism and sexism from a Black female point of view." Those bold title cards at the end about sex are very powerful & entirely accurate. This is worth a look.
"Some people say an opera singer needs to suffer." Entertainment Films in the UK has released an official trailer for Falling for Figaro, a spunky indie comedy about finding your voice. Literally. The latest film by acclaimed director Ben Lewin (The Sessions), Falling for Figaro is a romantic comedy set in the fierce world of opera singing competitions, starring Danielle Macdonald (Dumplin’, Patti Cake$, Skin) and Joanna Lumley (Me Before You, The Wolf of Wall Street, Absolutely Fabulous). A brilliant young fund manager leaves her unfulfilling job and a long-term boyfriend to chase her lifelong dream of becoming an opera singer… training up in the Scottish Highlands. The film's cast includes Shazad Latif, Gary Lewis, Hugh Skinner, Rebecca Benson, Bhav Joshi, and Margaret Fraser. This definitely looks like a fun British singing comedy, but I don't know how it will play with people who don't also love opera. Take a look anyway.