› Alex Winter on Making Docs
› Aust. Filmmaker Jennifer Kent
› Shadow Director Zhang Yimou
› Darya Zhuk on Making Films
› S2BY Director Boots Riley
› Leigh Whannell of Upgrade
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"The Apollo has always represented truth." HBO has debuted an official trailer for the documentary titled The Apollo, the definitive doc film about (the past and present of) New York City's iconic Apollo Theater venue located in Harlem. The Apollo first opened in 1914 (as a burlesque theater) and has survived over 100 years, still operating today as an NYC entertainment mainstay. Located on West 125th Street (here) between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard (Seventh Avenue) and Frederick Douglass Boulevard (formerly Eighth Avenue) in Harlem. The Apollo Theater represents the ongoing struggle of black lives in America, and The Apollo doc demonstrates the elemental role that art plays in that struggle by highlighting the broad range of African American achievement that has been discovered, championed, and thrived on its stage. Check it out.
Sony released Ang Lee's new sci-fi action movie Gemini Man in theaters a few weeks ago. Aside from the HFR cinematography, the film is boasting "groundbreaking" technology with its de-aging VFX. Gemini Man is about the world's best assassin, played by Will Smith at his current age (51), attempting to retire until he's pursued by a younger version of himself. He soon learns that they actually cloned him, and this younger "Junior" is exactly like him in every way. To create this character, Ang Lee filmed Will Smith in a motion-capture rig (with face-capture cameras) and then let the VFX artists work on their computers to de-age him. A few videos have arrived online over the last few weeks explaining the process, and showing before/after shots as well as a glimpse as the techniques they're using. I highly doubt these videos will convince anyone to see the movie, but they're fascinating to watch nonetheless because it's an advance process. Most of the de-aging VFX work was done by Weta Digital in New Zealand, still the best at what they do. Watch below.
"I'm telling you, man, it's a war out here. Going to be us against them." Screen Media Films has unveiled an official trailer for an indie thriller titled Crown Vic, which first premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year. Written & directed by Joel Souza, the title is a reference to the cop car that most police drive around America - known as a "Crown Vic" because it's a Ford Crown Victoria. This film tells the story of one memorable night in the life of LAPD officer Ray Mandel while hunting two cop killers on the loose. The two cops, one a rookie, must contend with a city about to boil over. Starring Thomas Jane and Luke Kleintank, with David Krumholtz, Bridget Moynahan, Gregg Bello, Scottie Thompson, and Josh Hopkins. Looks like a very intense, gritty film about how incredibly hard it is to work as cops in a big city.
"I used to think that my life was a tragedy, but now I realize, it's a comedy." On this episode of The First Word podcast we sit down for a full-on discussion about the controversial, box office smash, R-rated comic book movie Joker, directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the iconic Gotham villain. Everyone else has been talking about it, we had to speak our minds about it, too. 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, we're joined by film writer Katie Smith-Wong based in London as our guest for a discussion about Joker - and all the good & bad sides. Is it a great movie? Is there "nothing" it has to say or is there something? Listen in.
"I gotta take care of my family…" Dark Star Pictures has debuted an official trailer for an indie romantic drama titled Angelfish, which is headed straight-to-VOD in November. Set in The Bronx in 1993, the film is about a young couple from two completely different worlds, who fall in love over a summer that reshapes their lives and the way they view the future ahead of them. Marking the feature directorial debut of Peter Andrew Lee, who also wrote the screenplay. Angelfish stars Destiny Frasqueri, also known by her rapper name "Princess Nokia", plus Jimi Stanton (seen in November Criminals, Netflix's "The Punisher") as Brendan, her love interest. Also with Stanley Simons, Erin Davie, Rosie Berrido, Sandy Tejada, and Claire McClanahan. This looks like it has the rawness and realness of Like, Crazy, but set in NYC instead.
"He's the most lethal Terminator ever created." Paramount has released one more extended red band TV trailer for Terminator: Dark Fate, running 80 seconds with some awesome footage packed in. This new Terminator movie is a direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgement Day, starting up the day after Judgement Day. We're only a few weeks away from the release, so Paramount is trying to build up interest any way they can. Badass actress Linda Hamilton returns as the first Sarah Connor, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is also back, with Edward Furlong as the original John Connor. Cameron is producing and is credited on the story. The full cast includes Natalia Reyes, Mackenzie Davis, Gabriel Luna, Diego Boneta, Alicia Borrachero, Steven Cree, and Claudia Trujillo. Opening in theaters everywhere starting November 1st.
"I don't even know what I'm doing with myself anymore…" RLJE Films has released an official trailer for an indie drama titled Adopt a Highway, which initially premiered at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this year. The film marks the directorial debut of actor Logan Marshall-Green, born in South Carolina, who doesn't appear in the film. Adopt a Highway stars Ethan Hawke as a man just released from prison after serving 21 years for a 3rd strike conviction for possessing an ounce of marijuana. Everything changes when he finds an abandoned baby in a dumpster behind the fast food restaurant where he works… Also starring Elaine Hendrix, Diane Gaeta, Mo McRae, Chris Sullivan, and Betty Gabriel. Early reviews describe it as "an emotionally resonant and lyrical tale delivered in the most compassionate of tones." Have a look.
"Did you see the look on that lady's face?!" Samuel Goldwyn Films has debuted an official trailer for an indie horror film titled Extracurricular, the latest feature from filmmaker Ray Xue (Transcendent). This horror-thriller originally premiered at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival last year, only now getting a direct-to-VOD release in January for those still interested. Four overachieving high school students and best friends have a secret pastime: planning and executing murders (while wearing different masks). But when one of their plans goes shockingly awry, the relationship between them is put to the test. Starring Keenan Tracey, Brittany Raymond, Spencer Macpherson, Brittany Teo, Stephen Bogaert, Emmanuel Kabongo, and Luke Goss. This looks way darker than expected, not much comedy, nothing but murders.
"You're not just a dog, buddy, you're StarDog!!" Kaleidoscope Entertainment in the UK has unveiled an official trailer for an indie animated "fun for the whole family!" feature titled StarDog and TurboCat, which is as cheesy as it sounds. Launched into space by his scientist owner, a loyal dog and a vigilante cat embark on a "space age voyage" to find their way home. It's described as "a hilarious animated adventure about friendship, heroism and belief in the human capacity for good that introduces the whole family to the greatest heroes ever unleashed." It's the first feature made by Red Star 3D, a company that usually makes theme park "4D" short films. Featuring the voices of Luke Evans, Nick Frost, Gemma Arterton, and Bill Nighy. Maybe this will be fun? Probably not…? But who knows, have to give it a chance anyway. Right?
"Please - find my son!!" Netflix has revealed the full-length official trailer for American Son, a feature adaptation of the Broadway play of the same name (that first opened 2018). This film recently premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, and Netflix is turning into a "Television Event" when it debuts there next month. American Son is about an estranged couple that reunites in a South Florida police station on a rainy night to find their missing teenage son. The situation gets even more tense as time goes by without any updates or answers. Kerry Washington, who also starred on Broadway, plays the lead role of Kendra Ellis-Connor, the mother of the missing boy. This also stars Jeremy Jordan, Steven Pasquale, and Eugene Lee - all in the play, too. Described as "an emotional depiction of modern day race dynamics and systemic tensions."
"What do you want me to say? You gotta hit back…" Or maybe you don't? A much more serious short film to watch when you can. Balloon has debuted online and it's worth a bit of your time to watch. In the brutal battlefield of junior high, Sam has always tried to stay below radar. But all that changes when he discovers he has super powers. Directed by Jeremy Merrifield, he explains that he "made Balloon for my nephew, who at twelve I see already trying to reconcile who he is with what our culture expects of the masculine." It's time to address this outdated concept. With this short film, he explains, "I give my nephew the superpowers he always wanted, and hopefully hint at the kind of hero I hope he still can become." The short stars Jonah Beres, Paul Sheer, Jaylin Ogle, and Carson Severson. We need more of these kind of films out there.
"Eventually it'll be the two of you having to figure this out… together." Netflix has debuted the full trailer for the new film from Noah Baumbach, titled Marriage Story. This premiered at the Venice, Telluride, and Toronto Film Festivals to rave reviews (read mine here) and glowing praise from pretty much everyone. "Marriage Story is a love story that reveals itself within the breakdown. With these companion trailers I wanted to show the relationship through the eyes of both characters. There are many sides to every story, and the movie embraces these different viewpoints in order to find the shared truth." Adam Driver stars as Charlie, and Scarlett Johansson stars as Nicole. The film is opening in theaters first next month before streaming. The cast includes Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, Mark O'Brien, and Julie Hagerty. This is an especially beautiful, remarkably subtle trailer that captures all the ups & downs of this fine film.