ENJOY THE MOVIES
"A post-Fleabag-era tale of dysfunctional relationships." Give it a whirl! Brainstorm Media has released the official US trailer for an indie offbeat romantic comedy called Rare Beasts, marking the feature directorial debut of talented English actress Billie Piper. This premiered in 2019 at the Venice Film Festival and is only now getting an official release in both the UK and US this summer. It's described as an "anti rom-com" film about Mandy, a career-driven single mother, who falls in love with the charming, traditionalist Pete. Billie Piper stars as Mandy, with Leo Bill as Peter, plus Kerry Fox, Toby Woolf, David Thewlis, and Lily James. This certainly does look offbeat and unique, for sure. I'm still curious to check it out - worth a look.
"Being free, to Dash, was everything." Utopia Media has debuted an official trailer for a documentary called Moments Like This Never Last, a profile of the New York artist Dash Snow. Directed by photographer Cheryl Dunn, this first premiered last year at DOC NYC and is getting a small theatrical release (in NY & LA) next month. Snow rejected a life of privilege to make his own way as an artist on the streets of downtown New York City in the late 1990s. Developing from a notorious graffiti tagger into an international art star, he documented his drug- and alcohol-fueled nights with the surrogate family he formed with friends and fellow artists Ryan McGinley and Dan Colen before his death by heroin overdose in 2009. Drawing from Snow's unforgettable body of work and involving archival footage, Cheryl Dunn's exceptional portrait captures his all-too-brief life of reckless excess and creativity. Also featuring artist Dan Colen, art dealer Jeffrey Deitch, filmmaker Larry Clark, curator Neville Wakefield, among others. A wild look at an artist's unique NYC life.
"We're surrounded by fire." CBS and Paramount+ have unveiled the official trailer for a documentary film titled Bring Your Own Brigade, the latest work from Oscar-nominated doc filmmaker Lucy Walker. This first premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and will be available both in theaters and streaming later in August this summer. Walker's documentary captures the horror and heroism of the deadliest week of wildfires in California history and explores the causes and solutions of a global crisis that is quite literally burning our world to the ground. An investigation into our landscape's hidden fire stories and on-the-ground experiences of firefighters and residents struggling through deadly fires. Sundance adds that the film "cogently exposes our out-of-balance relationship with nature and explores what it will take to restore this delicate equilibrium." This is the kind of incisive, tough filmmaking I like to see! It seems like a brutally honest investigative look at how we must wake up and understand our interactions with this planet.
"A natural anomaly," the resort manager says at the beginning of the film. Yes, indeed it is. This is one of those lines from early on in the film that is a big wink at what's to come – not only about the film itself but with the strange beach they end up at. Old is the latest film from provocative, twisty filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, trying something new by adapting a French graphic novel called "Sandcastle" by Pierre-Oscar Lévy & Frederick Peeters. The story follows a family that visits a secluded tropical beach while on vacation, only to discover that not only are they trapped there, but everyone seems to be getting older extremely fast. It's an ambitious concept to turn into a film, not only to visualize correctly with regards to aging but to get the performances that make it all seem believable. Shyamlan does well, and the film is thrilling and chilling, but not the most impressive or satisfying creation. I enjoyed watching, but still wanted even more out of it.
"What was that?" An official trailer has unveiled for a horror thriller called The Deep House, one of two new films from French horror filmmakers Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury arriving this year - along with Kandisha. The Deep House is premiering at this summer's Fantasia Film Festival, which is where this new trailer comes from. A young couple goes to France to explore an underwater house and share their findings on YouTube as part of their passion for "urbex" - the exploration of hard-to-find, abandoned urban edifices and buildings. However, they end up with a serious change of plans when they enter the interior of a strange house located at the bottom of a secluded lake and their presence awakens a spirit dark that haunts the house. Starring Camille Rowe & James Jagger, with Eric Savin. This is a creepy concept for a horror film - a haunted house that's underwater?! Okay, sure. A good teaser trailer that doesn't give away anything.
"We float in the virtual." Cohen Media has released an official US trailer for a French romantic drama titled Who You Think I Am, made by filmmaker Safy Nebbou. This premiered back in 2019 at the Berlin Film Festival and played at a number of film festivals that year and it also opened in Europe that year. Now it's finally getting a US release after all this time. Adapted from a novel, Juliette Binoche stars as a 50-year-old divorced teacher who creates a fake online persona of a beautiful 24-year-old woman. But, of course, she becomes trapped by her deceit when she falls for a man who has become smitten with her profile. The cast includes Nicole Garcia, François Civil, Marie-Ange Casta, Guillaume Gouix, Charles Berling, and Jules Houplain. An intriguing idea for a love story, and certainly very French, questioning whether age really matters when it comes to romance. I dig that "Catfish meets Fatal Attraction" quote, too. Take a look.
"And I truly believe that a mind is a terrible to thing to waste!" In an overwhelmingly white classroom, an isolated and Black middle school student struggles with the pressure of being the only Black voice during an uncomfortable in-class reading activity. Jim is a short film written and directed by filmmaker Chris Black, who tragically passed away in 2019 just after a festival premiere. Short of the Week was given permission from Black's family to posthumously debut the film online. "A thought-provoking satire, Black's debut short gleefully dives into a series of hot-button American cultural issues in a potent comedy of racial cringe." It involves the iconically troubled "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" novel, commenting on America's racist past (and present). Starring AJ Hudson as Charles, Kalina McCreery as the teacher, Julio Montoro as Jim. Black stated he wanted to explore how "there is an absurdity to black life." It's a must see 6-min short.
"We've got similar styles don't you think? You and I?" Get a first look at this underground dance film from Japan titled Dreams On Fire, featuring the first leading role from celebrated Japanese dance idol, Bambi Naka, the former lead dancer on Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour. This premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival earlier this year, and next will play at Montreal's Fantasia Film Festival this fall. An electrifying and dazzling feature debut from Canadian-born, Japan-based filmmaker Philippe McKie, Dreams on Fire is a "love letter to the dynamic and striking urban dance and underground scene of Tokyo and the artists that occupy it. Philippe, who also wrote, art-directed, and edited the film, has been living in Japan for the past ten years and worked in the fashion industry, DJed in Tokyo clubs," and made films. Now he's telling us a story about a dancer. At first glance, this looks like Japan's You Got Served, about a woman taking on the dance scene.
"The void – it showed me something…" Freestyle Digital Media has released an official trailer for Hum, an indie thriller from filmmaker Henry Johnston, that first premiered at the Indy Film Fest last year. When a mysterious and impenetrable Chest that appeared years ago opens for the first time, a young man becomes inexplicably trapped in the woods along with his spiteful mentor and a strange woman with ties to a local cult. The cast includes Tyler Ross, Andrew Oliveri, Sonaz Izadi, Sierra Miller, and Bradley Smith. The film "is about how one community can be shaken to its core by an unexplainable event; how easily our belief systems and foundations can be upended," explains Johnston. "Some double down, some run away, and others lash out violently. By confronting the supernatural, our protagonist is forced to reckon with his own reality and discover which kind of person he is going to be." Sounds like a good pitch, I'm quite curious.
"Hello, is anybody there?" Shout Factory has released the first official trailer for Language Lessons, one of my favorite films of the year so far. This originally premiered at the 2021 Berlin Film Festival earlier this year, then won the Audience Award at the SXSW Film Festival. It is a "pandemic" film in that it was made during the pandemic about two people connecting over Zoom calls, but it doesn't reference the pandemic at all. It's a very wholesome, sweet, uplifting, and powerfully authentic film about connection - about platonic love between two friends. It's co-written by and co-starring Mark Duplass and Natalie Morales, who is making her feature directorial debut with this film about a Spanish teacher and her student who develop an unexpected friendship. Read my full review here, where I rave about: "Let love glow, let it shine, let it heal us, let it take us on journeys." Please give this film a chance and watch it when it's out. We all need this one.
"It's not the first time I've worked with an idiot." Yes!! This is going to be amazing. An early teaser trailer has debuted for a film titled Official Competition, which is riffing on film festivals and art house films and making fun of them. The film is a satire from two Argentinian filmmakers and co-stars the powerhouse duo Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas. From this first look, it could be described as The Square but for festivals, making fun of them and how ridiculous all the films are playing in the "official competition." A wealthy businessman hires a famous filmmaker to make a smash hit film. "Through a series of increasingly eccentric challenges set by Lola, Felix and Iván must face not only each other, but also their own legacies." Also starring Irene Escolar, Melina Matthews, Oscar Martínez, Pilar Castro, Manolo Solo, and Karina Kolokolchykova. Oh I am ALL about a film that skewers and makes fun of festivals and the indie film world, this is going to be hilarious. I cannot wait to see more from this! Check out the first look below.
"This is not a neck-and-neck race!" Goldwyn Films has released an official trailer for American Sausage Standoff, which is the new name instead of the original title Gutterbee. This is actually a film made by a Danish filmmaker, set in America, that originally premiered in 2019 but is only now getting a US release. It's a story about two hopeless dreamers who join forces in a quest to erect the ultimate German sausage restaurant. It is also a "social satire about the nexus of identity fear, where religion becomes an intellectual cul-de-sac, and racism, homophobia and intolerance reign supreme." A film about sausages & friendship. Follow the story of Edward, played by Ewen Bremner, and Mike, played by Antony Starr, who join up with plans to open a German sausage restaurant in the small town of Gutterbee. The cast also includes W. Earl Brown, Joshua Harto, Clark Middleton, Chance Kelly, Pia Mechler, Gareth Williams, and Sarah Minnich. This looks so wacky and weird and undercooked, I don't even know what to say. Have fun.