ENJOY THE MOVIES
"What happened down there?!" Okay this short rules. Two Puddles is a very clever dark comedy / horror short made by filmmaker Tim Keeling. This originally premiered back in 2018, but we're catching up with it now and it's still definitely a good recommendation. It also goes through a lot in only six minutes, which is an impressive feat in and of itself anyway. In Two Puddles, a family's peaceful day of picnics and hiking in the woods is interrupted when they stumble upon two puddles that will test the strength of their bond. It stars Luke McGibney as Evan, Amy Keen as Jamie, Julia Florimo as Alice. Filmed on location in The Chilterns, UK. I always love a good short that makes you think about the concept and what it's going for. I won't say anything else, as this is best experienced going in fresh. It's worth a few minutes of time to watch.
"You can't force these soldiers to become political." 1091 Pictures has revealed an official trailer for an indie drama titled The Drummer, from filmmaker Eric Werthman. This first premiered last year, and is out on VOD this fall - timed to honor Veterans Day. Set in 2008, The Drummer revolves around active and former members of the U. S. military. With the US engaged in a seemingly perpetual war, the devastating traumas that soldiers suffer abroad continue to be felt at home. The film stars Danny Glover as a Vietnam veteran who has become a lawyer and political advocate for soldiers who've suffered mental health issues. Glover's statement: "My brother was a Vietnam vet, given to the recent announcement that there are more veterans suicide than soldiers killed in Iraq makes the film The Drummer more timely than ever." The cast includes Prema Cruz, Sam Underwood, Daniel K. Isaac, Camilla Perez, Frankie J. Alvarez, Jennifer Mudge, and Lillias White. This looks heartbreaking and meaningful, a story with an important message.
"Dying isn't simple, is it?" Strand Releasing has unveiled an official trailer for an acclaimed indie film titled I Was A Simple Man, which originally premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. The film is made by a Hawaiian filmmaker named Christopher Makoto Yogi, his second feature, and it earned some rave reviews from critics. It's a gorgeous slow burn work of art. A family in Hawai'i faces the imminent death of their eldest as the ghosts of the past haunt the countryside. The director explains: "It was always the goal to make it feel honest to my experience growing up in Hawaii. When I think back to my childhood, I was always surrounded by ghost stories… it's very much a vibrant part of the culture. They are told in the same ways that one would trade memories." I Was A Simple Man stars Steve Iwamoto and Constance Wu, with Tim Chiou, Kanoa Goo, Chanel Akiko Hirai, Hau'oli Carr, and Nelson Lee. This looks stunning! I missed it at Sundance, and have been looking forward to catching it ever since then.
"You can't hold me responsible for what the spirits say." Munro Films has debuted a new official UK trailer for an indie comedy titled Sideshow, from filmmaker Adam Oldroyd. The film follows two criminals who after breaking into the home of a washed-up psychic, get much more than they bargained for, because "The All-Seeing Stupendo" is a genuine master of the dark mystic arts – at least that's what it says on his poster. "It's a hilarious, perfectly-pitched and thoroughly silly way to spend 90 mins." With hilarious performances from British legends Les Dennis and Anthony Head, as well as April Pearson and Nathan Clarke. Oldroyd states: "Sideshow is my modern take on the black humour of the old Ealing comedies. Les was the perfect pick to play ageing psychic Stuart Pendrick, his years of experience as one of the nation's best-loved entertainers was the ideal material to draw from." It looks like it might actually be funny enough to watch.
"You want to buy a house… so you can never be kicked out." Look At The Moon Pictures has revealed an official trailer for indie drama Women is Losers, marking the feature directorial debut of San Francisco filmmaker Lissette Feliciano. This originally premiered at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival earlier this year, and it also played at the Cinequest, Oxford, Cleveland, and Maryland Film Festivals. In 1960s San Francisco, a once-promising catholic school girl, Celina Guerrera, sets out to rise above the oppression of poverty and invest in a future for herself that sets new precedents for the time. Inspired by real women and the Janis Joplin song of the same title, Women is Losers played at SXSW this year as one of the most-watched of the festival. The film stars Lorenza Izzo as Celina, with Simu Liu (yes, Shang-Chi!), Bryan Craig, Chrissie Fit, Steven Bauer, Liza Weil, Cranston Johnson, Alejandra Miranda, Shalim Ortiz, and Lincoln Bonilla. This looks like an empowering and honest film about a woman making a life for herself in the 60s.
"Nobody's been topside in 8 years!" Vertical Entertainment has debuted a trailer for Broken Darkness, a post-apocalyptic survival thriller that originally premiered back in 2017. Years later and it's finally getting an official release. Broken Darkness follows the exciting story of Sam, a broken man who after the world ends from a massive meteor shower and the death of his son, is forced to survive underground. He ends up on the run with a crew of rag tag yet heavily armed rangers. Hunted down by mutated creatures, bandits and cannibals alike, their undeniable defiance to return to home is challenged, and an honest story emerges to reveal the heart of friendship in the face of death. A "tale of selflessness, friendship and courage." The film stars Sean Cameron Michael, Brandon Auret, Suraya Santos, and Brendan Murray. Looks like so many other post-apoc survival films, with mutant people and more. Doesn't look like there's anything new?
"Yeah, she still got somethin'." Netflix has unveiled a trailer for Bruised, a thrilling new sports drama that is also the directorial debut of actress Halle Berry. This is opening on Netflix in November, despite not showing up at any festivals or elsewhere yet. A disgraced MMA fighter finds redemption in the cage and the courage to face her demons when the son she had given up as an infant unexpectedly reenters her life. She left the sport on bad conditions years earlier, but is given a chance to start a new life back in the octagon. Halle Berry also stars as Jackie Justice, with a cast including Adriane Lenox, Sheila Atim, Valentina Shevchenko, and Stephen McKinley Henderson. It's a "triumphant story of a fighter who reclaims her power, in and out of the ring, when everyone has counted her out." This looks pretty dang good, though it seems to be the same underdog-returns-the-ring story we've seen in plenty of boxing/fighter movies before.
"In life, you gotta have 'it'. You don't have it, you'll never get it. And I say… you got 'it.'" Amazon Studios has unveiled the official trailer for The Tender Bar, the latest feature film directed by Academy Award winner George Clooney. This recently premiered at the London Film Festival to some great reviews, and has been set for release starting in December, just in time to catch awards season buzz this fall. It's about a boy growing up on Long Island seeks out father figures among the patrons at his uncle's bar. Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning author J.R. Moehringer's memoir "The Tender Bar". Tye Sheridan stars as J.R., a fatherless boy growing up in the glow of a bar where the bartender, his Uncle Charlie, is the sharpest and most colorful of an assortment of quirky & demonstrative father figures. Ben Affleck also stars as Charlie, joined by Christopher Lloyd, Lily Rabe, Max Casella, and Max Martini. This looks so wholesome and uplifting, a good story about growing up and trying to figure yourself out even without a real father around.
"People don't like things that are different." Paramount Pictures has debuted the second official trailer for their live-action Clifford the Big Red Dog movie, based on the classic Scholastic book series by Norman Bridwell. The first trailer arrived in the summer and was made fun of by almost everyone, mostly because the giant red dog look so odd. Technically this is a "hybrid" movie because Clifford is actually entirely CGI, though they did use a giant maquette on set during filming. A girl's love for a tiny puppy named Clifford makes the dog grow to an enormous size. Emily and her fun but impulsive uncle Casey then set out on an adventure that will keep you on the edge-of-your-seat as our heroes take a bite out of the Big Apple. Clifford the Big Red Dog features Darby Camp, Jack Whitehall, Tony Hale, Sienna Guillory, David Alan Grier, Russell Wong and John Cleese as Mr. Bridwell. It's amusing that the plot is that this animal is so strange and weird the authorities try to capture him (to study him?). I actually want to see this! Cute doggie.
"Men like that never should've come to a place like this." The same question always come to mind: why?!? RLJE has debuted an official trailer for an action thriller film titled Apex, which is (of course) a shortened version of the excruciatingly dull title Apex Predator. Another new film from the same director of the epicly bad Cosmic Sin with Willis. So what's Apex about? Six elite hunters pay to hunt down a man on a deserted island, only to find themselves becoming the prey. Bruce Willis stars as "Malone", an ex-cop serving a life sentence for a crime he didn't commit, offered a chance at freedom if he can survive a deadly game of Apex. The cast includes Neal McDonough, Corey Large, Alexis Fast, Nels Lennarson, Lochlyn Munro, Megan Peta Hill, and Trevor Gretzky. Ughhh this seems so so so awful, even the action looks mediocre.
"You wouldn't last 10 minutes on the street knowing what he knows." Lionsgate has revealed the official trailer for Zeros and Ones, another awkward new Abel Ferrara movie releasing this year (in addition to Siberia with Willem Dafoe). This one, however, came out of nowhere and it only recently premiered at the Locarno Film Festival. An American soldier stationed in Rome watches the Vatican blown up, then embarks on a hero's journey to uncover and defend against an unknown enemy threatening the entire world. How exciting?! I mean come on, what a boring plot. Ethan Hawke stars, with Valerio Mastandrea, Cristina Chiriac, and Babak Karimi. This looks terrible. The trailer is full of grainy can't-even-see-anything close-up shots, plus tons of stock footage, and that's about it. Move along folks, there's really nothing to see here.
"The past doesn't just belong to history books anymore, now we can live it, touch it, change it." Lionsgate has debuted the full-length official trailer for sci-fi romantic thriller Needle in a Timestack, from director / producer John Ridley (of Jimi: All Is by My Side). Glad to finally get some more footage from this. Set in the near future, the film involves some kind of tech that lets people revisit the past somehow. Nick and Janine live in marital bliss until Janine's ex-husband warps time to tear them apart. As his memories begin to disappear, he must decide what he's willing to sacrifice in order to hold onto - or let go of - everything he loves. "Can love endure in a future where time is fluid, and all of life may be just an illusion?" Needle in a Timestack stars Leslie Odom, Jr. & Cynthia Erivo, along with Orlando Bloom, Freida Pinto, Jadyn Wong, Laysla De Oliveira, Hiro Kanagawa, and James Kirk. This new trailer seems to hide the time travel room, and focus on the romance above all. Let's just hope this is as good as it has the potential to be.