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"A monumental achievement: as a documentary, as a humanist tribute and as a [great] effort at historical rectification." Grasshopper Film + Icarus Films has released an official US trailer for a documentary titled Dead Souls, the latest from prolific Chinese doc filmmaker Wang Bing (Father and Sons, Ta'ang, Bitter Money, Mrs. Fang). This documentary runs a total of 495 minutes, which comes out to about 8 hours, 15 minutes in total, and first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. Dead Souls is about a lost generation of Chinese, deemed "ultra-rightists" in the Communist Party’s Anti-Rightist campaign of 1957, most of them starved to death in the Jiabiangou & Mingshui reeducation camps. This film spends time with the survivors, and has been compared to Claude Lanzmann's iconic doc Shoah in its grandeur, elegance, and ability to capture the voices lost to the atrocities of history. This is a very simple trailer, but it's compelling.
"We depend on the stability of the fundamental forces of the world." The Orchard has released the first official trailer for The Human Element, a powerful new documentary about the climate change crisis. This premiered at the Boulder International Film Festival earlier this year, and will be released on VOD in January. We've seen a bunch of climate change docs over the last decade, but this one focuses on the impact on humanity, as seen through the eye (and lens) of a world renown photographer. With rare compassion and heart, The Human Element follows environmental photographer James Balog on his quest to highlight Americans on the front lines of climate change, inspiring us to re-evaluate our relationship with the natural world. There's some really striking, beautiful imagery in this trailer, and hopefully the film connects deeply with viewers and encourages us to challenge our ways in order to save the planet (and all the people on it).
"Unless we fight back, we've got a chance." Focus Features has finally released the full-length official trailer for the original sci-fi thriller titled Captive State, the latest from director Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist, Rise of the Planet of the Apes). Set in Chicago, the story takes place nearly a decade after occupation by an extra-terrestrial force. It explores the lives on both sides of the conflict – the collaborators and dissidents. This looks killer! Captive State stars Vera Farmiga, Madeline Brewer, John Goodman, Alan Ruck, Kevin J. O'Connor, James Ransone, Jonathan Majors, D.B. Sweeney, Ashton Sanders, Kevin Dunn, Ta'Rhonda Jones, along with Kiki Layne (from If Beale Street Could Talk) and Machine Gun Kelly. I love the way they've been marketing this, revealing more and more with each new trailer. All the big reveals are at the end of this, and while I still don't know what's going on, this looks awesome. Very excited.
"Inhale the bouquet… Every glass of wine is a courtship." The Orchard has unveiled an official trailer for an indie "romantic coming-of-middle-age comedy" titled Under the Eiffel Tower, which premiered at a few small festivals earlier this year. The latest from filmmaker Archie Borders (Reception to Follow, Paper Cut, Pleased to Meet Me), the film is about a middle-age man who tags along on his best friends' family vacation to Paris, then humiliates himself by proposing to their 24-year-old daughter. He then runs off with a friend where they soon cross paths with Louise, a beautiful vineyard-owner. Matt Walsh stars as Stuart, and the full cast includes Judith Godrèche, Reid Scott, Michaela Watkins, David Wain, Dylan Gelula, and Gary Cole. This looks quite good, there's some genuine charm to the humor in it. Might be worth a watch.
"What's going on in this guy's head must be vast." Netflix has debuted a trailer for a new art documentary titled Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski, a Searching for Sugar Man-esque story about a forgotten Polish artist, directed by Ireneusz "Irek" Dobrowolski. Don't know who this Szukalski is? That's the point of the film. The doc is about Polish painter and sculptor Stanisław Szukalski, an artist that not many people are familiar with. The story goes that in 1968, pop culture collector Glenn Bray discovered a book with his art. Then on a trip to a local bookstore, discovered that the artist was still alive, and lived near him. So he went to find him. The film is produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, and features narration by Nick Tate. This trailer is incredibly captivating, I'm already entirely sold on this. I need to hear his story! And learn more about him! What really is going on inside this guy's head? Where does his creativity come from?
"Remember always: here at the Taj, guest is God" Icon Film Distribution has debuted a teaser trailer for a true story thriller titled Hotel Mumbai, telling the story of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008. The film is about the hotel staff who risk their own lives to keep everyone safe, as guests make unthinkable sacrifices to try and save themselves and their families. Dev Patel stars as Arjun, a newly promoted waiter who gets involved in the crossfire. The full cast also includes Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, Jason Isaacs, Anupam Kher, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Angus McLaren, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Rodney Afif, and Sachin Joab. This film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this fall, and received rave reviews, as quoted in this trailer. This is an intense first look, almost a bit too frightening.
"Every contact we have had with the outside has brought us death!" Netflix has revealed the second official trailer for a new post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller titled Bird Box, directed by Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier from a screenplay by sci-fi writer Eric Heisserer. This just premiered at AFI Fest last month to very positive reviews. The post-apocalyptic thriller is about a world where an unknown force kills off most people in the world. The only way to survive is to not look at it. Malorie survives but can only keep moving by wearing a blindfold and continuing with her children into the forest. Sandra Bullock stars in this, with Trevante Rhodes, Jacki Weaver, Rosa Salazar, Danielle Macdonald, Lil Rel Howery, Tom Hollander, Colson Baker, BD Wong, plus Sarah Paulson, and John Malkovich. I'm really, really looking forward to watching this once it's available on Netflix later this month. Very excited. Fire up the new trailer below.
"Much of it remains classified for 'national security' reasons." Gravitas Ventures has released a trailer for an indie documentary titled Drugs as Weapons Against Us, made by first-time filmmaker John Potash. The full title is actually Drugs as Weapons Against Us: The CIA War on Musicians and Activists, and it's an examination of the CIA's nefarious past when they manipulated musicians & activists to promote drugs for social control, particularly with the Civil Rights and anti-war movements. Some musicians that resisted these manipulations were killed. We've all heard these stories, and while some of it is true, some of it seems like they are drifting into conspiracy theory territory. Based on Potash's book "Drugs as Weapons Against Us", the film looks at evidence that the CIA targeted SDS, Black Panthers, Hendrix, Lennon, Cobain, Tupac, and other leftists. The footage in this trailer isn't that impressive, I wish it looked better than it does.
"Belief in oneself is contagious. We are part of something larger…" Universal has released a new full-length international trailer for M. Night Shyamalan's Glass, the highly anticipated sequel to Shyamalan's Split from 2016, which turned out to be a secret sequel to Unbreakable. We've seen two other official trailers already, but one more can't hurt. This one spends more time in the mental hospital with the three of them at the start, and its looking so damn good. Glass combines the characters from the movies and brings back all of the actors: James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb, a serial killer with 24 unique personalities; Bruce Willis as the "unbreakable" David Dunn; and Samuel L. Jackson as the frail evil villain Elijah Price, aka Mr. Glass. The cast also includes Sarah Paulson as their psychiatrist, with Anya Taylor-Joy, Spencer Treat Clark, Luke Kirby, Charlayne Woodard, & Rob Yang. I also really dig the new logo at the end.
"Which side are you on?" Saban Films has unveiled a new official US trailer for heist comedy The King of Thieves, the latest film from British filmmaker James Marsh (The Theory of Everything, Man on Wire, Project Nim). We featured two other UK trailers for this through the year, but it's finally getting released in the US in late January. The film tells the "incredible true story" of the Hatton Garden diamond robbery in London, which took place in April of 2015. A group of retired thieves decide to pull off one of the biggest heists ever in London robbing safe deposit boxes - and they got away with roughly £200 million, but were eventually caught. Michael Caine leads the fun cast, with Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay, Charlie Cox, Michael Gambon, and Ray Winstone. I've been waiting to see this all year! Glad it'll be out soon.
"This time it's Farmageddon!" Studiocanal UK has debuted the first official teaser trailer for A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, the latest comedy from stop-motion studio Aardman Animations. This is a sequel to the surprisingly successful first Shaun the Sheep Movie, released in 2015, and this time the sheep are heading to space! Seriously. When an alien with amazing powers crash-lands near Mossy Bottom Farm, Shaun the Sheep goes on a mission to shepherd the intergalactic visitor home before a sinister organization can capture her. "It’s close encounters of the herd kind in Shaun’s new out of this world movie." The voice cast includes Justin Fletcher and John Sparkes. This is a simple teaser without much, but it's amusing and a good way to re-introduce the characters. Worth a watch to liven your day with some Aardman humor.
"What should we do with Libby?" IFC Films has unveiled the first official trailer for an indie drama titled An Acceptable Loss, originally titled The Pages, which first premiered at the Chicago and Virginia Film Festivals earlier this fall. This whistleblower story of betrayal and regret is about a former top US Security Advisor named Elizabeth "Libby" Lamm who is threatened by associates from her dark past. She must risk her own life and break the law to expose a government cover-up. An Acceptable Loss stars Tika Sumpter as Libby, with Jamie Lee Curtis, Ben Tavassoli, Jeff Hephner, Deanna Dunagan, Alex Weisman, and Ali Burch. This film seems to have a very weird, muted colors look to it, which is a bit more distracting than it should be. I'm not sure what to make of this - seems powerful, but seems like it's missing something.