ENJOY THE MOVIES
"Let's see if we can take down a few of those sharks." Netflix has unveiled an official trailer for an animated comedy called Seal Team, a fun take on the Navy SEALs but about actual seals trying to fight back against sharks and whales. "Jaws will drop!" Ha ha ha. After his best friend is killed in a shark attack, Quinn, a lovable yet tenacious seal assembles a wacky "Seal Team" to fight back against a gang of sharks overtaking the neighborhood. Quinn and his squad of misfit recruits will stand up to ruthless sharks with razor-sharp teeth and reclaim the open sea. The ensemble voice cast features J.K. Simmons as Claggart, with Kristen Schaal, Patrick Warburton, Dolph Lundgren, Sharlto Copley, Matthew Rhys, Richard Steven Horvitz, Catherine Taber, and Jessie T. Usher as Quinn. Yeah this looks like some harmless fun, but it doesn't look that smart or original overall. It'll be out on Netflix soon, maybe a nice casual watch sometime.
"If we find something, they need to understand how dangerous this could be…" Discovery has debuted the official trailer for the documentary film Great Balloon Bomb Invasion, which is now available to stream on discovery+ (as of today - December 2nd). You've probably heard about these balloon bombs, but there's finally a whole film about them! Between 1944 and 1945 during World War II, the Japanese launched more than 9,000 bomb-rigged balloons across the Pacific, resulting in six deaths in Oregon. The "Fu-Go" bombs, as they were known, reached as far east as Indiana and as far south as Texas, but only 300 have ever been found, leaving potentially thousands of bombs scattered across the country. In this film, for the first time ever, an investigation is launched into the hidden history, along with a high-tech hunt for the unexploded remnants. For more info on these WWII bombs, there is also a short doc Blind Bombing, Filmed by a Bat and this YouTube video. This looks like half is a history lesson, the other half is "MythBusters" style testing.
"He feeds on children." Dark Star Pictures has released an official US trailer for a French-Moroccan horror film titled Achoura, finally getting a release in the US this December after originally premiering in 2018. Following raves at Cinepocalypse, the Brussels Fantastic Film Festival, Bucheon Fantastic Film Festival, and other fests, the US gets to now witness the terrifying tale of a Moroccan legend. Four childhood friends are reunited when one of them surfaces after twenty years, forcing them to deal with a creature straight out of a spine-chilling Moroccan legend. They will have to confront the terrifying events of their youth and fight a monstrous creature from folk lore. "It is sociologically proven that fantasy and horror cinema has always enjoyed a renewed interest from audiences and critics in times of social and economic turmoil," the director explains. Achoura stars Sofiia Manousha, Younes Bouab, Omar Lotfi, Iván González, Moussa Maaskri, & Mohamed Choubi. It's always cool to see the supernatural forces that haunt other cultures.
"This guy really knows how to handle himself…" Paramount has unveiled an official trailer for a direct-to-VOD crime thriller titled Run & Gun, formerly known as The Ray. This is arriving on VOD in January right at the start of the New Year, which is a good hint that this is being dumped. Hoping to evade a group of ruthless killers, a reformed former criminal finds refuge with a mysterious Samaritan. However, it soon becomes apparent that he's stumbled into the nest of something far more dangerous. Now, with the lives of his loved ones hanging in the balance and danger at every turn, Ray's only hope is to draw upon his violent past. Richard Kind co-stars with Ben Milliken as Ray, Brad William Henke, Janel Parrish, Mark Dacascos, Celestino Cornielle, Angela Sarafyan, Hudson Yang, Ari Barkan, Alison Thorton, and Rafael Cebrián. The eccentric cast makes this kind of interesting, but the rest of it doesn't look that good.
"Do you really think they're going to be talking about this in 40 years?" Okay, yes this isn't a film, but it's close enough! The Shark is Broken is a stage play, currently on West End in London, about the making of Spielberg's Jaws (1975). So it's a play about making one of the best films of all-time? I want to see it!! Set on a boat in 1974 - shooting has stalled. The lead actors – Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss – are stuck on a boat, at the mercy of foul weather and a faulty mechanical co-star. Awash with alcohol and ambition, three hammered sharks start to bare their teeth… Ian Shaw stars as his father Robert Shaw. He is joined by Liam Murray Scott as Richard Dreyfuss (reprising the role he performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019), and Demetri Goritsas as Roy Scheider. The play actually got GREAT reviews, which should be more than enough to convince you to book a ticket to London and catch it before the run is over.
"I'm trying to protect my son!" Saban Films has unveiled a trailer for Two Deaths of Henry Baker, a generational crime thriller from filmmaker Felipe Mucci. It will be arriving on VOD / DVD this January to watch. A decades-long family feud pits two brothers and their sons in a bloody battle for possession of a fortune in gold. On the outskirts of a dusty, rural town, a young boy watches as his father buries a cache of stolen coins. The secret stash is entrusted alone to his favored son, Henry. Thirty years later, a corrupt cop and his crew descend on the now-adult son to snatch the treasure. A bloody ambush ensues, leaving several dead or maimed and Henry being sent away to prison. His only son, Hank, is now in possession of their gold coins, that is until other family members show up to find them. The cast includes Gil Bellows as Henry Baker, plus Tony Curran, Joe Dinico, Sebastian Pigott, Dani Kind, and Jess Salgueiro. This looks like another solid thriller about the endless cycle of greed, everyone betraying everyone else every chance.
"A story the NYPD doesn’t want you to see." Greenwich Ent. has debuted an official trailer for A Cops and Robbers Story, a searing documentary film from Romanian filmmaker Ilinca Calugareanu. This originally premiered at the 2020 DOC NYC Film Festival last year, and it's finally opening in January 2022. In the 1980s, Corey Pegues found himself embroiled in a life of crime as a member of New York’s City's infamous "Supreme Team" gang. A near-death incident forces Pegues away from the streets, but later he unexpectedly emerges as a rising star in the NYPD, his past unknown to his fellow officers. A decorated 21-year police career is threatened when his political stances and revelations about his former life cause strife within the police community. This sounds like a VERY important doc for the times we're living in, but I also doubt it'll make the NYPD fix their problems. it's just a story about how dirty and scrupulous they can be. Take a look.
"Often wrongheaded but sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, [this film] has been rejected by film distributors worldwide. All I can say is that the movie sure as hell delivers." Ohh John Waters! It's always a delight to discover his Top 10 list every year. One of our favorite "best of the year" lists that kicks off this time of the year is from filmmaker John Waters - his Top 10 favorite films released this year. For 2021, Waters has chosen yet another (expected) eclectic mix of films, lead by the extravagant Sparks Brothers + Leos Carax musical Annette (watch the trailer). He goes on to highlight other underseen gems and indie film favorites, including Quentin Dupieux's Mandibules and Sean Baker's Red Rocket. I'm honestly more excited to find out what's on his list than almost anyone else, just because he always chooses some of the most unexpected yet worthy films. No one else has a Top 10 like Waters'. And that's why I dig his Top 10 picks year after year.
"We can help you… and we need your help." Metrograph has unveiled the official US trailer for Last and First Men, an experimental documentary made by the late composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. This initially premiered at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival just before the pandemic took over, and has been waiting to be released ever since. It's the only feature film directed by iconic Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, who made this before he died in 2018. Featuring narration by Tilda Swinton. This feature is a repackaged version of the video Jóhannsson made for his concerts, inspired by Dutch photographer Jan Kempenaers' 2010 art book "Spomenik" about these oddly shaped war monuments. It was shot on 16mm B&W film by the Norwegian cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen (DP on the films Victoria, Rams, Shelley, Wendy). The Tilda narration is based on text from Olaf Stapledon's book "Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future". I flipped for this when I had the chance to watch it on the big screen at Berlinale, writing in my review: "My mind melded with the screen on this journey. I loved every last second of this experience."
"Maybe this isn't the story you think it is…" Oh yes! WB has unveiled a brand new 45-sec promo trailer for The Matrix Resurrections, which opens later this month. I can't wait!! This is the first trailer since the original debut in September that contains new footage (everything else has been different edits / remixes). And this trailer makes things even more interesting by cutting & transitioning between some familiar faces & scenes. A very clear indication that there's layers upon layers of Matrixes (Matrices?) in this next movie. The rumor has been that this bright new Matrix is actually another Matrix within the old Matrix to control Neo and his narrative. The returning cast includes Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lambert Wilson, & Daniel Bernhardt as Agent Johnson. Along with Resurrections newcomers Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Christina Ricci, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Toby Onwumere, Max Riemelt, and Eréndira Ibarra. Tickets go on sale starting December 6th - as mentioned in the tweet where this latest trailer was first seen. Check it out below.
"They are the egg men. I am the walrus." This is something you don't see everyday. Listen to Me Sing is a fascinating stop-motion animated short film made by a Welsh animation filmmaker named Isabel Garrett. After playing on the festival circuit and picking up a few awards, it's now online to watch. "Set in an isolated, rundown hotel, the story follows entertainer Sophie as she struggles to find her place in a confusing world. That is until a walrus mysteriously appears in her bathtub one night and she forms an unexpected bond with it." This is easily one of the strangest, wackiest short films we've featured all year. Not only is there a pink walrus in it, but the entire story and the way it plays out is especially kooky. This reminds me of The Shape of Water in many ways, but it also ventures down its own path in many other ways. Meet the walrus below.
"You have no idea who she is!" Universal Pictures has debuted the second trailer for the film Redeeming Love, a passionate romance story from filmmaker D.J. Caruso and adapted from Francine Rivers' novel of the same name. Redeeming Love is a powerful retelling of the biblical book of Hosea against the backdrop of the California Gold Rush of 1850. Abigail Cowen and Tom Lewis co-star as Angel and Michael, the two young lovers are the center of this story of love against all odds, as they connect despite their differences. Opening in early 2022 in theaters. "Redeeming Love shows there is no brokenness that love can't heal." The ensemble cast also includes Famke Janssen, Logan Marshall-Green, Nina Dobrev, Livi Birch, Eric Dane, Brandon Auret, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, and Josh Taylor. This looks like a passionate story of true love, but the religious aspects seem overwhelming. Enough to turn me away from wanting to watch this.