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The sun shines brightly over the city as I arrive into San Sebastian, warming it up to a nice 86 degrees at the peak of the day. The summer may just about be over (according to the calendar), but here it still feels like it's far from done. Kicking off today is the San Sebastián Film Festival (known officially as the Festival de San Sebastián or Donostia Zinemaldia) now in its 67th year. The town of San Sebastian is located on the northern coast of Spain, in Basque Country, not too far from the French border and not too far from the city Bilboa. There's a stunning curved beach that runs through the center of town, crowded with many people enjoying the sand and waves while it's still warm. The festival's logo is a sea shell, of course, along with the top prize being the Golden Shell - which couldn't be more fitting. I'm just here to keep watching more films.
"A film of meticulous details and sly, subtle ironies." Grasshopper Film has debuted an official US trailer for the cult hit German indie film In My Room, which originally premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year more than a year ago. They're finally releasing this hidden gem in US cinemas starting this October, for anyone who still wants to catch up with it. In My Room is about a man, played by Hans Löw, who wakes up one day to discover he is the only person left alive on the entire planet. But this isn't really a sci-fi film, it's more of a low-key drama that plays this scenario out to the fullest. He builds a home and starts living on his own there. I saw this at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival last year and I seriously loved it, writing a glowing review saying it's a "brilliant" film that provides unique "commentary about relationships and humanity and life on this planet." This is a very odd, brief trailer that doesn't show much - perhaps that's best for this film.
"Why would I have my daughter's scarf, but not her?" Netflix has unveiled an official trailer for a mystery thriller titled Fractured, the latest from acclaimed American filmmaker Brad Anderson (The Machinist, Transsiberian, Vanishing on 7th Street, Beirut). Driving cross-country, Ray and his wife and daughter stop at a highway rest area where his daughter falls and breaks her arm. After a frantic rush to the hospital and a clash with the check-in nurse, Ray is finally able to get her to a doctor. While his wife and their daughter go downstairs for an MRI scan, Ray, exhausted, passes out in a chair in the lobby. Upon waking up, they have no record or knowledge of Ray's family ever being checked in. Where did they go? What happened to his family!? Sam Worthington stars, with Lily Rabe, Stephen Tobolowsky, Adjoa Andoh, Stephanie Sy, Lucy Capri, Lauren Cochrane, and Erik Athavale. Looks alright, I'm curious to find out what's up.
"There isn't a moment… I won't be there with you." Focus Features / Universal UK have debuted an official trailer for an indie cancer drama titled Ordinary Love, from directors Lisa Barros D'Sa & Glenn Leyburn (Cherrybomb and Good Vibrations). This just premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, and is next playing at the San Diego and Chicago Film Festivals this fall. The short pitch for this film is perfect: an extraordinary look at ordinary love. Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville (from Phantom Thread) star as a long-standing couple facing a potentially life-changing cancer diagnosis, in this film written by Northern Irish playwright Owen McCafferty. The very small cast includes David Wilmot, Amit Shah, Esh Alladi, and Geraldine McAlinden. This picked up solid reviews out of TIFF, and it looks especially lovely and heartbreaking. This is a really beautiful trailer (perfect song choice) that will bring out some strong emotions. Take a look below.
"Have you any experience in the mortuary arts?" Trapdoor Pictures has debuted an official trailer for an indie horror anthology film titled The Mortuary Collection, which is getting its big premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin this weekend. The film features four unique horror stories that progress through four decades - a '50s housewife struggles with a mysterious presence in her bathroom; a '60s college boy gets a taste of his own fraternizing medicine; and a '70s husband makes some tough decisions about his wife; culminating in the '80s-set The Babysitter Murders. The film is wrapped around with a story featuring a young girl who enters a secret room in a mortuary and learns the backstory of the mortician’s favorite deaths. Starring Caitlin Custer, Clancy Brown, Barak Hardley, Christine Kilmer, Mike Nelson, and Sarah Hay. I'm always down for more anthology horror, and this looks creepy and chilling and definitely worth a watch.
"Intense." Blumhouse has debuted an official trailer for the indie horror film Sweetheart, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year in the Midnight section. This also just premiered at Fantastic Fest, and will be arriving on VOD in October for those who want to watch. This is the next film from up-and-coming filmmaker J.D. Dillard, who broke out with his film Sleight a few years back before bringing this one again to Sundance earlier this year. Kiersey Clemons stars in this as a woman who washes up on a deserted island beach, not sure where she is. She things she's alone until some kind of creature shows up at night. I saw this at Sundance and really flipped for it, truly one of the best creature features in years - and I ended up quoted in this trailer (here's my full review). It's a very short 30-second trailer because they don't want to reveal too much of the film - it's better to save all the shots for the experience of watching it unfold.
"We don't interpret something, we present something." Magnolia Pictures has debuted an official trailer for the documentary Cunningham, about legendary dancer Merce Cunningham, born in Washington State. This premiered at the Toronto Film Festival to rave reviews, and plays at the New York, Zurich, Vancouver, and London Film Festivals next before it opens in theaters this December. This vibrant, inspiring tribute to Cunningham features all kinds of never-before-seen footage. The iconic Merce Cunningham as well as the last generation of his dance company is stunningly profiled in Alla Kovgan's new 3D documentary, through recreations of his landmark works and archival footage of Cunningham, John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg. Cunningham resisted "avant-garde" or any other label. "I don't describe it. I do it," he once said. One review says the film can renew your "appreciation of the many wonders of the human body." Give this a look below.
"Can't understand, can't know what it's like." Neon has debuted an official trailer for Clemency, a new film written and directed by Chinonye Chukwu. This premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to quite a bit of acclaim, winning the Grand Jury Prize in the Competition. The film has been stopping by other festivals including Seattle, Toronto, and London next. Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on prison warden Bernadine Williams. As she prepares to execute another unfairly accused inmate, Bernadine must confront the psychological and emotional demons that her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill. Alfre Woodard stars, joined by Aldis Hodge, Danielle Brooks, Wendell Pierce, Richard Schiff, LaMonica Garrett, Vernee Watson, Michael O'Neill, Dennis Haskins. It's described as a film that attempts to "redefine the definition of justice in the American judicial system."
"A portrait of delusion." Utopia has debuted an official trailer for the documentary American Dharma, the latest film from legendary doc filmmaker Errol Morris. This originally premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year, but became controversial as it spends too much time sympathizing with and promoting an extremely evil person. No one wanted to release it, but Morris finally found a way to get it out. American Dharma is a portrait of controversial political strategist and former Donald Trump advisor, Steve Bannon. Morris engages in a conversation with Bannon, challenging him on all of his beliefs, and asking him to breakdown the reasons why he's doing what he's doing in the world. It's shocking, surprising, and also just scary as fuck because he straight up explains how and why they have been manipulating and tricking people into supporting conservatism. I saw this in Venice last year and I hated it, as it allows Bannon to humanize his beliefs in a way in which no one needs to see. But that's up for everyone to decide themselves, I suppose.
"We all come back, or no one does." Saban Films has released a new US trailer for the Australian action movie titled Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan, from director Kriv Stenders (Blacktown, Dark Frontier, Red Dog, Kill Me Three Times). We featured the Australian trailer for this military action movie, titled in full Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan, a few months back now you can see the US trailer. In summer of 1966, in a Vietnamese rubber plantation called Long Tan, 108 young and mostly inexperienced Australian and New Zealand soldiers fight for their lives against 2,500 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers. It's a harrowing story of survival against all odds. The film stars Travis Fimmel, Luke Bracey, Richard Roxburgh, Daniel Webber, Alexander England, Aaron Glenane, Nicholas Hamilton, Myles Pollard, Matt Doran, Stephen Peacocke, Aaron L McGrath, Mojean Aria, Emmy Dougall, and Uli Latukefu. This looks pretty much like every other war zone action film, for those who enjoy that.
"That's a problem - it's perpetuating inequality." Three Frame Media have debuted an official trailer for a documentary titled Unlikely, which is opening in select US theaters starting next month. The documentary sheds light on the underbelly of the higher education system -- the student drop out crisis. Not everyone knows this, but the US has ones of the worst college completion rates in the entire world - less than 50% of students who start college ever finish. Set in the cities of Akron, Atlanta, Boston and Los Angeles, the film investigates America's college dropout crisis through the lives of numerous students navigating the broken higher education system and the innovators working to close the opportunity divide. Featuring interviews with LeBron James, Howard Schultz, and many others. This looks like it takes a very hard-hitting look at the problem, examining why it's not working, but also focusing on how to improve and fix what's broken.
"I'm going to say this once - even if you succeed, it won't be worth it." Paramount has finally unveiled an official trailer for The Rhythm Section, an adaptation of the best-selling novel - the first book from the "Stephanie Patrick Thrillers" series by Mark Burnell. This film was originally scheduled to open at the end of the summer, but Paramount pushed it all the way back until late January in 2020. The Rhythm Section is about a woman who takes on the identity of an assassin in order to seek out and get revenge on those who orchestrated a plane crash that killed her family. Blake Lively stars as Stephanie Patrick, joined by Jude Law, Max Casella, Daniel Mays, Richard Brake, Raza Jaffrey, Tawfeek Barhom, and Sterling K. Brown. This is a rather exciting first look at the international spy thriller, I love the music choice and the steely cold intensity of it all. She doesn't mess around - it has a very slick "tear it all down" vibe. Bring it on.