ENJOY THE SHOW
"In a perfect world, we make perfect choices. In the real world, we make real choices." Netflix has debuted an official trailer for the highly anticipated film by acclaimed filmmaker Dee Rees, director of Mudbound and Pariah previously. This is premiering at the Sundance Film Festival before being released by Netflix. The Last Thing He Wanted is an adaptation of Joan Didion's novel about an intrepid journalist named Elena McMahon. Anne Hathaway stars as Elena, a veteran Washington D.C. journalist who loses the thread of her own narrative when a guilt-propelled errand for her father thrusts her from byline to subject in the very story she is trying to break. Also starring Ben Affleck, Willem Dafoe, Rosie Perez, Toby Jones, Mel Rodriguez, Edi Gathegi, Carlos Leal, Laura Niemi, and Onata Aprile. This looks like a riveting thriller, another great ode to journalism and the willpower of those who risk everything to report the truth.
"Did we just do some kind of loop?" Saban Films has unveiled the trailer for the indie sci-fi psychological thriller Vivarium, which first premiered at the Cannes FIlm Festival last year in the Critics Week sidebar. This fantastic "Black Mirror"-esque thriller has been picking up some great buzz playing around the festival circuit last year, including at Fantastic Fest and Sitges. In search of a starter home, a young couple follow a mysterious estate agent to a nice home. There they find themselves trapped in a mysterious labyrinth-like neighborhood of identical houses. Jesse Eisenberg & Imogen Poots star, and it's pretty much just these two most of the film, along with Jonathan Aris. I saw this in Cannes and loved it, writing a glowing review saying it's "clever and captivating… twisted, minimal sci-fi" done right. Be warned - this trailer reveals a lot.
"I didn't want to be thinking about 'what might of been'… but I was." Netflix has released a second official trailer for the romantic comedy To All The Boys P.S. I Still Love You, the highly anticipated sequel to To All the Boys I've Loved Before. It's debuting on Netflix in just a few weeks, right in time for Valentine's Day. P.S. I Still Love You picks up where the first left off - Lara and Peter are officially in a relationship until another recipient of one of her old love letters enters the picture. She must rely on herself more than ever before when she's confronted with her first real dilemma: Can a girl be in love with two boys at once? Lana Condor returns as Lara, with Noah Centineo, Jordan Fisher, Anna Cathcart, Janel Parrish, John Corbett, Sarayu Blue, Ross Butler, Madeleine Arthur, Emilija Baranc, & Trezzo Mahoro. This looks extra cheesy, and superbly cliche, but it might be just the kind of schmaltz some of you are looking for.
"Forget about basketball. It wasn't about basketball anymore…" 1091 has released a full trailer for a sports documentary about basketball player Stephon Marbury. The doc is called A Kid From Coney Island and it premiered at last year's Tribeca Film Festival. For those who don't know, here's his story: "Marbury, now 42, grew up in the housing projects of Coney Island, New York [City], and watched as his three college basketball-playing brothers fail[ed] to make the pros. Eventually, he made his way to the NBA, playing for 12 seasons from 1996 to 2009 for teams including the New York Knicks and the Minnesota Timberwolves. In 2010, Marbury moved to China to play professionally in the Chinese Basketball Association, becoming a six-time All-Star." Not everyone is happy with this choice, but he's an inspiration to many all over the world.
"Overall, life on a baby lamp isn't that exciting… Or maybe – too exciting…!" Pixar has unveiled the trailer for a brand new animated short film that is arriving on Disney+ streaming at the end of this month. Lamp Life is a fun short film that explains where Bo Peep went and the adventures she was involved in before re-appearing in Pixar's Toy Story 4 (released last summer). It sounds like they've got Annie Potts back as the voice of Bo Peep, giving us a look at her life on top of a baby lamp with sheep at her side. It's no surprise this looks wonderful, since Pixar has been making marvelous short films for decades. I'm excited to watch it.
"This is how we fight!" Momentum Pictures has released a new official US trailer for the true story thriller Escape from Pretoria, opening in March (on VOD) at the same time as the UK release. The film is about two white South Africans, imprisoned in 1978 for working covert operations for Nelson Mandela's banned ANC. They attempt to escape from the notorious white man's Pretoria Prison, known as "Robben Island", the same place former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was imprisoned before. Starring Daniel Radcliffe and Daniel Webber as the two leads, with a cast including Ian Hart, Nathan Page, Stephen Hunter, Mark Leonard Winter, Jeanette Cronin, David Wilson, and Ratidzo Mambo. Based on a true story, of course. This looks as good as it did in the UK trailer, a gripping thriller with an inspiring story.
"The Empire doesn't know we're here. And they never will." While we wait for the official Obi-Wan Kenobi series Lucasfilm is developing (despite rumors it was scrapped, it is still in the works) there's an outstanding fan film to watch. Kenobi is a beautifully realized 18-minute short about Ben Kenobi living on Tatooine. Similar to the upcoming series, the film is about Ben protecting Luke when he's young, living in the desert watching over him from afar. Jamie Costa stars as Kenobi, with a cast including Tommy Snider as Owen Lars, Maxine Phoenix as Beru, Audie Rick as Luke, and James Arnold Taylor as Captain Leegus. This short has a lovely score, some great FX, and a fantastic performance by Costa. Highly recommend watching.
"I heard something…" Neon has released the second trailer for the indie horror film The Lodge, which initially premiered at the Sundance Film Festival one year ago. This highly anticipated film is the follow-up to Goodnight Mommy, from Austrian filmmakers Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz, and is their first English-language feature. A soon-to-be stepmom is snowed in at a lodge with her fiancé's two children near a remote holiday village. Just as relations begin to thaw between the trio, strange and frightening events take place. The horror film stars Richard Armitage, Alicia Silverstone, Riley Keough, Jaeden Lieberher, and Lia McHugh. This earned some rave reviews, but others say it's a bit too similar to Hereditary. Still worth a watch if you're into unsettling horror, and it's a good winter film about kids trapped in a snowed-in lodge.
"She's using her voice in a whole new way." Netflix has unveiled an official trailer for Miss Americana, the documentary about Taylor Swift and her transitional years recently finding her own voice in life. This is premiering at the Sundance Film Festival as one of the Opening Day films this week. It will be available to watch on Netflix at the end of this month, not too long of a wait. The doc "offers a multifaceted window into Swift, her creative process, and her singular experience of being one of the brightest lights on the world's global stage. Showcasing Swift's trademark vulnerability and her fierce intelligence and wit, Wilson captures moments both tender and exhilarating." Sounds & looks like an empowering film about a vibrant musician.
"Rare and fantastic, its raw subject matters echoes in films of the present day…" Oscilloscope Labs has released a new trailer for a long lost film titled Cane River, which has been found and restored to 4K and will be re-released in theaters next month. This "lyrical, visionary film disappeared for decades after Jenkins died suddenly following the film's completion [in 1982], robbing generations of a talented, vibrant new voice in African-American cinema. Available now for the first time in forty years in a brand-new, state-of-the-art 4k restoration." Set in Natchitoches Parish, a free community of color in Louisiana, the film is about the romance between two African-Americans who come from different class backgrounds. Starring Tommye Myrick, Richard Romain, Carol Sutton, and Barbara Tasker. This is definitely a one-of-a-kind film.
"You see that bull… think he just goin crazy, right?" Samuel Goldwyn Films has debuted an official trailer for Bull, an indie drama that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year. It also played at a few other festivals including Deauville, Haifa, Stockholm, Ljubljana, and Tallinn Black Nights last year. The first narrative feature made by doc filmmaker Annie Silverstein, Bull is set on the outskirts of Houston, TX in a a near-abandoned subdivision. The story follows a teen reeling from her mom's incarceration, and an aging bullfighter struggling to keep a foothold in the rodeo circuit, who form an unlikely bond and attempt to right their own paths. The film stars Amber Havard, Rob Morgan, Yolonda Ross, Keira Bennett, Karla Garbelotto, Troy Anthony Hogan. This is a really beautiful trailer for what looks to be a powerful film.
Back to Sundance we go for another year of discovery. What's on the line-up this year? Out of the 120+ films showing at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, I've chosen 10 that I'm looking forward to seeing the most. To keep things well balanced, I've chosen 5 feature films and 5 documentaries from the line-up. There are so many films playing at the fest, and so many I'll end up seeing (30+), that this is a quick list to get everyone acquainted with some of the work premiering in 2020 (I just want to go see everything). There are new films from filmmakers like Dee Rees, Benh Zeitlin, and tons of fascinating documentaries that are also worthy of attention, plus many other films. You never really know what will good or bad, but here's my first few picks.