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This film was screened as part of the 2021 DOC NYC Film Festival. If you ask someone to name a famous Nepali person, they might be able to recall Tenzing Norgay. He was one of two mountain climbers (the other was New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary) to be the first ever to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. But ever since then, Nepalis have mostly remained in the shadow, as other climbers from around the world have marched their way into the Himalayas to make their mark and set new records. This all changes with 14 Peaks and the climber known as Nimsdai. 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible is an extraordinary, jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring documentary experience about Nimsdai's remarkable achievement - climbing the 14 highest mountains in the world within 7 months. It's not about whether he could do this, it's all about the journey, as it always is, and how momentous this achievement is. Free Solo is a cinch compared to 14 Peaks.
"Pretty, pretty, pretty…" Who's up for something creepy? Stay Pretty, No Pity is a horror short made by filmmaker Wilco C. Rullens, starring Maria Ozawa as a young woman haunted by a strange Japanese ghost. The 11-minute short is a proof of concept for a full feature, if enough people are excited about it. "If a ghost shows herself to you in the mirror and asks: 'Do you want to stay pretty?' What would your answer be?" The short is based on the Japanese folklore of Oiwa Yotsuya (Yotsuya Kaidan). A true story from the Edo period, it told of a samurai that had his beautiful wife killed because she became deformed, only to be haunted by her vision until he went insane and killed himself. Now hundreds of years later, Yotsuya is back! Out to punish more ugly characters by recruiting the pretty. Scary. And also a cautionary tale about beauty, but strangely this short doesn't seem to deal with that at all. Does she learn any lessons? Not really… This plays a bit like Ringu meets any other urban legend involving a mirror, featuring one freaky Japanese ghost.
"We're not there yet, but at least we're free." "Settling for 'good enough' won't change the world…" The Match Factory has debuted an official promo trailer for the German film Dear Thomas, from filmmaker Andreas Kleinert. This black & white biopic is about a German "poetic rebel" named Thomas Brasch, and it just won Best Film playing at the 2021 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival earlier this month. "Rebel. Poet. Revolutionary: Dear Thomas is a declaration of love to the writer Thomas Brasch." The film tells the story of the writer and artist Thomas Brasch, who escapes the constraints of the GDR in the 1970s by setting out for the West, but does not find fulfillment there either. The expressive imagery and the phenomenal ensemble with an unleashed Albrecht Schuch in the title role make this artist”s biography a cinematic masterpiece. The cast includes Jella Haase, Ioana Iacob, Jörg Schüttauf, Anja Schneider, Joel Basman, Emma Bading, and Peter Kremer. Seems like another fascinating look at the life of a rebel writer who spoke his mind no matter the consequences. We always need more outspoken people like this! Rock on, Herr Brasch.
"The fact that what appeals to me, also appeals to other people - that's the beautiful thing [about music]." HBO has unveiled an official trailer for the music documentary Listening to Kenny G, another one of the films featured in the Music Box selection from producer Bill Simmons. This first premiered at the 2021 Toronto Film Festival, and also played at the DOC NYC Film Festival this fall. Love him or love to hate him, Kenny G is one of the most well-known musicians on the planet. The film is light-hearted examination of the most popular instrumentalist of all time, Kenny G, and why he is polarizing to so many. I saw this at TIFF and LOVED it, one of the best docs I've seen all year. An astute and thoughtful examination of why people love and hate Kenny G, why his music sounds the way it does, and why he's actually way smarter than most people realize. It's not only about the life of Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, aka "Kenny G", but also about how the jazz world sees him and where his place in the music world really is. You have to watch this! It rocks! Enjoy.
"It only gets weirder from here, folks!" Netflix has unveiled an official trailer for a funky mock series titled Saturday Morning All Star Hits!, created by comedian / actor Kyle Mooney & Ben Jones. Netflix's Saturday Morning All Star Hits! is an adult animated and live action hybrid series celebrating all that is 80s and 90s television. Wildly irreverent and slightly disturbing, twin hosts Skip and Treybor take us on a trip through the Saturday Morning cartoon experience. Kyle Mooney stars in and is behind this series, which features animation from Bento Box Entertainment. After making the excellent Brigsby Bear, it seems he is back for more cartoon comedy, making fun of and paying homage to all the wacky creations from the 80s & 90s that kept kids entertained. But this new series is definitely not for kids. It looks like it gets pretty dark, and also makes fun of how these cartoons were seriously really messed up despite being made for kids.
"Oh I'm burning, oh he's burning, oh I'm burninggg…" West End Films from the UK has revealed the first teaser trailer for an indie film titled The Score, described as a "heist musical" about criminals planning a "big score". Wait, what?! Two small time crooks drive out to a secluded cafe. As they wait for a rendezvous hand-over, Troy falls in love with the waitress, Gloria, and begins to question his life choices… From the producers of Yesterday, The Score "boldly combines real time heist-thriller suspense with offbeat romance and a killer soundtrack; starring and featuring the music of Johnny Flynn." The cast features Naomi Ackie and Will Poulter, along with Johnny Flynn, Lydia Wilson, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, and Lucian Msamati. Okay, I'm definitely curious about this! The first trailer was online briefly, but then was pulled down. There's still a teaser clip from the festival to watch to get an idea of what is going on in this anyway…
"We need to beat the biggest, the baddest, and the slimiest…" Paramount Animation has debuted a second official trailer for Rumble, their animated monster wrestling movie from WWE Studios. In a world where monster wrestling is a global sport and monsters are superstar athletes, Winnie tries to follow in her father’s footsteps by coaching a loveable underdog monster into a champion. While entirely different in many ways, this reminds me of Monsters Inc with a world of monsters, with a dash of Real Steel and some Ratatouille (with her sitting on his head). The film's huge voice cast includes Will Arnett, Terry Crews, Geraldine Viswanathan, Joe "Roman Reigns" Anoa'i, Tony Danza, Becky Lynch, Susan Kelechi Watson, Stephen A. Smith, Jimmy Tatro, Ben Schwartz, and Michael Buffer. This was originally set to open in January early next year, but is now arriving direct-to-streaming on Paramount's own Paramount+ service starting in December. In a few weeks! I guess this is the new strategy for animated movies now. Check it out.
"We're going to kick off with an ice-breaker!" Time to gather everyone and learn some improv techniques! Doughnut is a cunning, awkward, dark comedy short from Manchester about an improv lesson that… goes off the rails. Made by filmmakers Larry Ketang & Liam White. An amateur improv class gather for the first time. During a friendly ice-breaker, one of the members does something that the rest of the group struggle to move beyond. Starring Nadia Emam, Lee Fenwick, and Corin Silva. The director's add: "Doughnut is a darkly comedic short about the power of words, about how the image others have of you is shaped so much by what you say and how this can be manipulated if you really wanted to. It also asks questions about the nature of atonement, and whether some acts are unforgivable, regardless of how much time has passed." This is a clever short that isn't that funny, but will leave you with plenty to think about. Watch in full below.
"Gettin' into that party is the only thing that matters!" Picturehouse in the UK has debuted a second trailer for an indie film called Pirates, now playing in cinemas in the UK. Described as "the world's shortest road movie", following three 18-year-old friends on their journey from North to South London on New Year's Eve 1999. They drive through London in their tiny Peugeot 205 pumping out a live garage set from the stereo and arguing about their Avirex jackets and Naf Naf imports. Determined to see out the century with a bang they drive from place to place in a desperate search for any tickets for the best millennium party ever. This stars Elliot Edusah, Jordan Peters, and Reda Elazouar, with Kassius Nelson, Youssef Kerkour, Rebekah Murrell, and Aaron Shosanya. It has earned some great reviews, saying that Yates "captures the brilliance of youth in all its bold foolishness." I want to see this one! It looks like a good time. Party on.
"What do you think you'll find in here?" Netflix has revealed the first teaser trailer for a mysterious new Korean sci-fi series titled The Silent Sea, arriving on Netflix in December. Not too long! Set in the future, when the planet suffers from a lack of water & food caused by desertification. Yoon Jae is a soldier for the space agency. He is selected for a team to travel to the moon. Their mission is to find a mysterious sample from an abandoned research station. During a perilous 24-hour mission on the moon, they try to retrieve samples from a research facility steeped in classified secrets. But one by one, they start to end up dead… "A suspenseful sci-fi mystery set on a lunar base." The title is a reference to the real Sea of Tranquility, which is 544 miles in diameter, and is also where Apollo 11 first landed in 1969. This stars Bae Doona (best known as Sonmi-451 in Cloud Atlas), Gong Yoo, Lee Joon, Kim Sun-young, Lee Mu-saeng, and Lee Sung-wook. There's a few "I wonder what she is looking at?!" shots. I definitely want to find out what's going on.
"Something more aggressive had to be done." This is scary! HBO has revealed the official trailer for The Forever Prisoner, yet another new documentary film made by acclaimed director Alex Gibney. He also released The Crime of the Century this year, helped produced The First Wave, and also released Crazy, Not Insane last year. The Forever Prisoner is an HBO original documentary film that takes viewers, for the first time, behind the architects of America's torture program. The doc focuses on the story of Abu Zubaydah, the first high-value detainee subjected to the CIA's program of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs), later identified as torture by those outside the agency. The film digs deep into the provocative question: "Are we prepared to abandon our principles in order to defend them?" I think too many might actually say "yes"… This looks at Guantanamo Bay and how torture was happening there for years. This isn't the same prisoner as the one in The Mauritanian, but they are similar stories anyway. Sometimes I wonder if America will ever reckon with the things it was doing. The more stories like this that come out, the more horrifying it seems…
"You can get rid of them whenever you want." Janus Films has debuted a new official trailer for a 4K re-release of the classic 1951 Italian surreal comedy film Miracle in Milan, which first premiered at the 1951 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the top prize Palme d'Or at the end of the fest. It was first restored in 2015, and the new 4K restoration premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival all over again. An infant found in a cabbage patch (by 77-year-old silent screen diva Emma Gramatica) grows up to be Francesco Golisano's Totó, whose sunny outlook — plus the magic dove left by Gramatica — help the denizens of a ramshackle Milanese squatters' shantytown find the actual beauty in their lives. But when businessmen learn there's oil there — is it time to fly away? The follow-up to DeSica's international triumph The Bicycle Thief, Miracle in Milan received two BAFTA Awards nominations plus a few other awards during its original release. The film stars Emma Gramatica, Francesco Golisano, Paolo Stoppa, Guglielmo Barnabò, Brunella Bovo, and Anna Carena. Oh this looks magnificent! As usual, this is the perfect time to catch up and enjoy this.