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"A mere mortal, dare to slay a god?" CMC Pictures in China has revealed an official US trailer for a Chinese film titled A Writer's Odyssey, about an author of a fantasy novel. The film is set for a simultaneous release in February in both China and the US. A Writer's Odyssey tells the story of Kongwen Lu, played by Dong Zijian (from Ash is Purest White), the author of a fantasy novel series following a heroic teenager on a quest to end a demon's tyrannical rule. Through a strange twist of fate, the fantasy world of the novel begins to impact life in the real world, leading Guan Ning, played by Lei Jiayin, to accept a mission to kill the author. The cast also includes Yang Mi, Yu Hewei, Guo Jingfei, and Tong Liya. This looks like one of those crazy concepts where the fantasy world bleeds into reality. The visuals are pretty cool, I'll give it that. Nothing is impossible, follow your imagination to enter a new world, get ready for the fiercest battle.
"We have to get out of here! Run!" Netflix has debuted a full-length trailer for Swedish survival thriller Red Dot, by Swedish filmmaker Alain Darborg. The film follows a young couple taunted while camping in the snow. When Nadja becomes pregnant, David and Nadja make an attempt to rekindle their relationship by traveling to the north of Sweden for a vacation but soon their romantic trip turns into a nightmare. It's clear the "red dot" in this is just a laser pointer, likely attached to a rifle, from one of these crazy strangers. Red Dot co-stars Anastasios Soulis and Nanna Blondell as David and Nadja, with Johannes Kuhnke, Kalled Mustonen, and Tomas Bergström. This is a good tease - I'm just still wondering what happens after the flare. Who is after them and why? Only one way to find out - the film debuts on Netflix in February.
"Soviet soldiers would never shoot at the people! How am I supposed to forget this?" Neon has released an official US trailer for the acclaimed Russian film titled Dear Comrades!, which originally premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year where it won a Special Jury Prize. The film is the latest work from popular Russian filmmaker Andrei Konchalovsky (Uncle Vanya), telling the story of a communist woman in a small town in 1962 whose life is changed when the Soviet army attacks and kills people during an uprising and protest. It's based on a tragic true story that happened on June 2nd, 1962 in Novocherkassk that was kept secret until an investigation in the 90s. The victims were secretly buried in graves under fake names so they could never be found. Major suspects among the top Soviet officials were all dead by that time. And the culprits have never been convicted, of course. Starring Julia Vysotskaya, Vladislav Komarov, Andrei Gusev, Yulia Burova, and Sergei Erlish. Presented in B&W in the 4:3 Academy ratio. Take a look below.
"Distinct and powerful filmmaking." Utopia has released a new US trailer for a film from Lebanon titled 1982, which is Lebanon's submission for Best International Film at the 2020 Academy Awards. Inspired by director Oualid Mouaness' own boyhood memories of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, 1982 revisits a dark moment in Lebanese history in a unique way. At a private school on the outskirts of Beirut, as the conflict inches closer, 11-year-old Wissam (Mohamad Dalli) is trying to find the courage to tell his classmate he loves her. But for his teachers, Yesmine (Nadine Labaki) and Joseph (Rodrigue Sleiman), the fighter jets signal an ominous future. "Mouaness' 1982 manages to capture the beauty and innocence of childhood's first blush of love amidst the backdrop of a traumatic war ripping apart the city of Beirut. It is a quietly impactful film that resounds long after viewing, and Utopia is thrilled to be bringing it to US audiences." The film first premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2019, and opens in the US on VOD later this month.
Freestyle DM has released an official trailer for an indie film titled Beware of Dog, a Russian drama that premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival last year. The film tells the story of three different young adults struggling with their mental health problems in their cities - Moscow, Berlin, NYC. Alienated in politically-ambiguous Moscow, a young woman deals with OCD, while her cousin in Berlin tries to build a romantic relationship ignoring her own condition. In New York City, a heartbroken boxer struggles with addiction, self worth and online anxiety, which connects all of these characters. Starring Marina Vasileva, Paula Knüpling, and Buddy Duress. Early reviews praise the film, saying "Bedzhanova crafted a narrative that examines the many facets of mental illness in a way that never feels trite or exploitative." Take a look below.
"It's easier to risk your life when you know you're supported by millions, even if they don't the truth or understand…" Take a look at this! An English-dubbed trailer has debuted for a crazy insanely epic Russian sci-fi spectacle called Cosmoball, made by famed producer Dzhanik Fayzi. An enormous spaceship hovers over Earth – this is a stadium, which hosts sports events that resemble soccer but at mind-boggling speeds. The name of the game is "cosmoball". A young man with enormous power of an unknown nature joins the team of hot-headed superheroes in exchange for a cure for his mother’s deadly illness. Starring Viktoriya Agalakova, Georgiy Bestaev, and Khristina Blokhina. This is one of those mega epic kitchen sink sci-fi movies where they throw EVERY idea into it, literally any & every wild idea that comes to mind is in here, from creatures to set pieces to visualizations to plot twists and whatever else. But sure, I still want to watch.
"Due to the war, this territory became completely unsuitable for living." Grasshopper Film has released an official US trailer for an acclaimed, award-winning Ukrainian sci-fi drama titled Atlantis, which originally premiered at last year's Venice & Toronto Film Festivals. Set in Eastern Ukraine in 2025, the film is about a soldier suffering from PTSD who befriends a young volunteer hoping to restore peaceful energy to a brutally war-torn society. The film is Ukraine's official Best International Film submission this year for the Academy Awards, and it also won the Venice Horizons Best Film Award in 2019, and a few other film festival prizes. Starring Andriy Rymaruk, Liudmyla Bileka, and Vasyl Antoniak. This received rave reviews, saying that it's "sensitively observed and meticulously crafted. A remarkable piece of filmmaking from an exciting emerging Eastern European voice." It definitely looks bleak, but also seems powerfully optimistic in a way.
"He wants to know what's happening here." Film Movement has released this US trailer for Donbass, a Ukrainian drama that premiered two years ago at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. It only got a US release in "virtual cinemas" this fall. In the Donbass, a region of Eastern Ukraine, society begins to degrade as the effects of propaganda and manipulation take effect amidst such turbulent times. Society begins to degrade in this post-truth era. Donbass, ultimately, is not a tale of one region, one country or one political system. It is about a world lost in post-truth and fake identities. It is about each and every one of us. The film won the Best Director prize in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes. It's a grotesque, brutal faux-documentary style film about both sides and the horrors of war. Featuring an authentic cast. Looks like an intense watch.
"Neutral has no place here. You have to choose sides." Arrow Video has debuted an official trailer for the restored 1080p re-release of Park Chan-wook's early film known as JSA - Joint Security Area. This first opened in South Korea in 2000, and premiered at festivals in 2001, Park's third feature at the time. "Before Oldboy, before The Handmaiden, visionary filmmaker Park Chan-wook helmed this gripping tale of deceit, misunderstanding and the senselessness of war." Gunfire breaks out in the DMZ between North & South Korea, leaving two North Korean soldiers dead while a wounded South Korean soldier (Lee Byung-hun) flees to safety. With the tenuous peace between the two warring nations on a knife-edge, a neutral team of investigators, headed by Swiss Army Major Sophie Jean (Lee Young-ae), is dispatched to question both sides to determine what really happened. This looks like an excellent film! Perhaps forgotten about mostly because Park went on to make so many other incredible, iconic films after this one. But still worth a watch.
"Come with me, my child. Take my hand." A new trailer has been released for an international film titled Songs of Solomon, made by Armenian actor Arman Nshanian. He was initially going to make it as a short film, but turned into a full feature instead thanks to the push of producers. Inspired by true events, this is a film about a childhood friendship, torn apart by the horrific Hamidian massacres infiltrated by the Ottoman Empire under the rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II (1894-1896). This epic portrayal spans from 1881, to 1915, Constantinople, taking us on an emotional and epic musical journey to the last concert given by Archbishop Komitas. A musical and biographical film which takes place on the backdrop of the sacred and ancient music of Archbishop Komitas, also known as Solomon. The film stars Samvel Tadevossian, Sos Janibekyan, Tatev Hovakimyan, Artashes Aleksanyan, Arman Nshanian, Arev Gevorkian, as well as Jean-Pier Nshanian. This looks like a cliche and obvious historical epic, without much of any style or substance.
"Have you ever dealt with a monkey?" NaMa Productions has revealed an official trailer for a very strange, clever, entirely original new film from India titled Eeb Allay Ooo! If that title doesn't get your attention, then maybe the funky plot will? A young migrant battles hordes of monkeys in the heart of New Delhi as a contractual monkey repeller. It's a film commenting on India's migrant problems, but also a comedy about monkeys. This premiered at the Mumbai Film Festival last year, and it also played at this year's Berlin Film Festival. The Indian film revolves around a young migrant in New Delhi, played by Shardul Bharadwaj, who scores the unusual government job of keeping monkeys away from public buildings, and focuses on his ensuing struggles and disillusionment with the frustrating work. The title is somewhat onomatopoeiac, as it derives from the three distinct sounds used by an experienced monkey chaser in the film to scare away the rhesus macaques. This looks superb! A hybrid documentary-narrative film unlike anything we've ever seen.
"Drive for love, Roy! Drive for love!" Netflix has debuted an official trailer for an action comedy film from Norway titled Asphalt Burning, which is the new English release title. This is actually the third movie in an action comedy, high octane car racing franchise from Norway called Børning - the first one (Borning: The Fast & The Funniest) opened in 2014, followed by Børning 2 in 2016. When the brakes slam on his wedding, Roy (the main character from all the Børning films - played by Anders Baasmo Christiansen) accepts a challenge from a new foe to race for his own runaway bride at the iconic Nürburgring track in Germany. "Børning 3 is mainly set in Germany, still focusing on car racing – high speed, fierce competition, with an exciting confrontation at the famous race track." Also starring Kathrine Thorborg Johansen, Ida Husøy, Otto Jespersen, Sven Nordin, and Trond Halbo. This looks like good-hearted racing fun.