ENJOY THE MOVIES
"Spitfires George, greatest plane ever built." Christopher Nolan's intense war thriller about the miraculous Dunkirk evacuation at the beginning of WWII has been earning accolades and recognition on many Top 10 lists as the year comes to an end. Dunkirk really is an outstanding movie, that is so exceptional thanks to Nolan's expertise in crafting impeccable visuals to help viewers feel fully immersed in the story. YouTube channel "Like Stories of Old" has created a new version of Dunkirk that plays as an 8-minute black & white silent film. It's actually kind of perfect, they get everything right, even the music and the dialogue cards. Aside from being a cool experiment in editing, it shows just how impressive Dunkirk is as visual storytelling.
It looks like they've saved the best for last. Just a few days before the end of the year, trailer maestro Nick Bosworth has launched his retrospective look back at the year in movies with Final Cut 2017 - A Movie Trailer Mashup. Nick has been making these mashups for years, though he didn't post one last year, but he's finally back with one just in time to look back at 2017. We've featured a number of these retrospective videos already, but one more to honor all the great films from this year is fine by us. Between Logan, Atomic Blonde, Mother!, Split, Get Out, and The Post, all the finest movies are featured in this "Final Cut" mashup.
Over the last 12 months, I've seen more than 100 new releases — that's over eight days of time in total spent watching new movies — and I'm happy to report that it's been another incredible year at the cinema, despite claims that "film is dead." This year, I was lucky enough to see vital new work by visionary filmmakers like Denis Villeneuve, Guillermo del Toro, Steven Spielberg, and Darren Aronofsky. I witnessed soul-stirring performances by Frances McDormand, Timothee Chalamet, Mary J. Blige, Willem Dafoe, Sally Hawkins, and Michael Stuhlbarg. And I was thoroughly entertained by emotionally engaging, visually impressive blockbusters like War for the Planet of the Apes, Wonder Woman, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Blade Runner 2049. So which films did I enjoy the most? Which are my favorites? Let's find out.
"Everyone wants freedom." A trailer has debuted for an indie sci-fi film titled Virtual Revolution, which first premiered in 2016 but is just now trying to get a release. The film also goes by the title 2047 - Virtual Reality in the UK, but I suppose the "virtual reality" in the title is a bit confusing, so they're using Virtual Revolution instead. Virtual Revolution is set in Paris in 2047, where most of the population spends their time online, connected into virtual worlds, and don't care anymore about reality. One "hybrid" (meaning he spends half in the real world, half in the virtual world) agent, who works for the companies that run these virtual worlds, tracks down terrorists who threaten the system. The basically seems like a nice indie mashup between Blade Runner and Ready Player One. This stars Mike Dopud, Jane Badler, Jochen Hägele, Maximilien Poullein, and Kaya Blocksage. Worth a look, though I'm not sure if it's actually any good.
"I'm putting an end to the tyranny! I will fight for my people. I will bring them peace and glory!" Another outstanding independent short film to watch when you have a chance. El Luchador is made by filmmaker Polaris Castillo and tells the story of a professional wrestler who goes into seclusion after his undefeated streak comes to an end. This is a very impressive, well-made, emotional short film that speaks to much more than just wrestling and the Lucha Libre life. Some of the footage reminds me a bit of Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, but this goes down its own path when it comes to the actual story and characters. Fire it up below.
"I need you to be the person you plan to be sooner." The first official trailer has arrived online for an indie romantic comedy titled You, Me and Him, from the UK made by Australian filmmaker Daisy Aitkens, her feature debut. You, Me and Him plays with modern relationship dynamics by introducing a lesbian couple named Olivia and Alex, played by Lucy Punch and Faye Marsay. One lady is a career driven lawyer and the other a fun loving, pot smoking layabout and their neighbour is an annoying Casanova. While neither woman ever wanted children, both end up pregnant. How's that for a modern romantic comedy concept? The cast includes David Tennant, David Warner, Sarah Parish, Peter Davison, Gemma Jones, and Sally Phillips. From the footage in this trailer, it seems this is trying too hard to be a quirky comedy that captures society's romance, but lacks any of the nuance or real emotions of the real world. But I don't know.
"Without third generation Emily, my brain is now an obsolete storage drive without a purpose." Alert! It's time to watch the highly anticipated, super-intelligent, sci-fi sequel World of Tomorrow Episode Two. Acclaimed filmmaker Don Hertzfeldt is back(!) with another of his one-of-a-kind animated shorts called World of Tomorrow Episode Two (in full the title is World of Tomorrow Episode Two: Burden of Other People's Thoughts), the sequel to his highly successful World of Tomorrow from a few years ago. We posted a teaser trailer last month, and now the full short film is available to rent on Vimeo (please support indie filmmakers like Don Hertzfeldt). This initially premiered at Fantastic Fest to many rave reviews, including a rare A+ from David Ehrlich at Indiewire. If your brain needs a reboot and refresh, this film will help. Enjoy.
"What makes you so different than the bounties you drag in here?" An official trailer has debuted online for a post-apocalyptic sci-fi action movie titled Scorched Earth, from actor-turned-director Peter Howitt. Set in a future where Earth has been ravaged (scorched?) and destroyed, the story follows a bounty hunter, played by Gina Carano, who gets into some major trouble when she tries to bring down a ruthless outlaw. This seems like such an odd, unoriginal mashup of bounty hunters, post-apocalyptic tropes, and maybe a bit of sci-fi, but not really. The full cast includes John Hannah, Stephanie Bennett, Alisha Newton, Ryan Robbins, Nathan Mitchell, and Patrick Gilmore. I hate to be so blunt, but this looks like a really terrible made-for-TV SyFy film. I'm really not that interested in seeing this, but check it out below anyway.
"Death… it's like it moves in and never leaves." Netflix has debuted the first trailer for a horror thriller The Open House, which is a new horror that has kind of come out of nowhere. The story is about a mother and her son who, following a tragedy, move to a relative's vacant vacation home, where eerie and unexplained forces conspire against them. This doesn't sound like much, but maybe there's something more to it - you will get a glimpse in this trailer. Piercey Dalton and Dylan Minnette (from "13 Reasons Why") star as mother & son, along with Patricia Bethune, Sharif Atkins, and Matt Angel (who also co-directed the film). This looks like a standard haunted house + grief thriller, if you need another one of these in your life.
"This is something that you can't forget." You may have heard of this story, you may have not. There's an urban legend that during a showing of the tornado movie Twister, which opened in the summer of 1996, an actual tornado struck a drive-in sometime around the scene where a tornado hits a drive-in theater in the movie. That seems all too coincidental, but apparently the rumors spread and it became a myth, a story that was kept alive and retold by those who believed it. This short film, Twisted, attempts to determine whether this really happened and get to the bottom of the story. Not only is it a fascinating story, but this short film is superbly directed, with lots of great footage and interviews and more. Take a break and watch this below.
"We have to get out of the house before mom and dad come home!" Momentum Pictures has released the trailer for Mom and Dad, a wild 'n crazy action movie from Brian Taylor, one half of "Neveldine/Taylor" (of Crank, Crank: High Voltage, Gamer, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance). The concept for this is nuts - something starts making parents go crazy and kill their kids. Yeah, seriously, the opening act shows this and it's freaky. Two kids smarten up and try to safely evade their parents until the madness dies down. Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair star as the parents, and Anne Winters and Zackary Arthur as their kids. I saw this movie at the Sitges Film Festival and it's fun, in a very wicked way, but it's not that great. It's a quick, throwaway late night movie when there's nothing better to watch - and Cage's craziness fits perfectly. Enjoy.
"An edgy vision of millennial lunacy." Kino Lorber has debuted an official trailer for the indie psychedelic horror feature titled Like Me, the feature debut of director Robert Mockler. This film is a reflection of the times, telling a twisted coming-of-age story about a young woman who sets out on a crime spree that she broadcasts on social media. Starring Addison Timlin (from Little Sister, Fallen, Submission), along with Ian Nelson, Jeremy Gardner, and Larry Fessenden (who also produced it). This has some seriously trippy, neon visuals and Jodorowsky-esque set pieces that some will love, some will hate, but I'm definitely curious. The film "takes the viewer into a world of fabricated personalities and offers a thought-provoking portrait of isolation in our increasingly digital world." Worth a watch, just for the totally wild visuals alone.