"He's still your same daddy, even though he looks a bit different." Freestyle Digital Media has released an official US trailer for an indie love story illness drama titled Starfish, based on a true story. This originally premiered at the Edinburgh & Busan Film Festivals in 2016, and already opened in UK cinemas four years ago as well. But is only now getting an official US release direct-to-VOD this fall. Starfish tells the story of a couple whose love is tested to its limit after their perfect life falls apart in a single moment. Tom Riley and Joanne Froggatt star as a husband and wife, a father and mother, who struggle when Tom is diagnosed with Sepsis. "It is the story of Tom and Nic Ray's love, and the survival of that love against all odds." The cast includes Phoebe Nicholls, Michele Dotrice, and Daisy Moore. It looks like an intensely emotional film to watch, such a remarkably tough story, but inspiring in its depiction of love and hope and goodness.
"You coded her to fall in love with you." Gravitas has released a new trailer for a very low budget, indie sci-fi noir film titled Wetware, from filmmaker Jay Craven. This originally premiered in 2018 at the Vermont Film Festival, and it was made mostly in Vermont by a Vermont-based filmmaker. Wetware is a film noir set in a near future set at Galapagos Wetware, a cutting edge genetic engineering firm where people down-on-their-luck apply to be Mungos—genetically altered humans with enhanced stamina for dreary jobs like street sweeping and slaughterhouses, or arduous jobs in deep sea mining, industrial agriculture, and toxic clean-up. With business booming, geneticist Hal Briggs has new ideas for high-end Mungos. What can Briggs do to make them complete? And will these altered prototypes still be considered human? Briggs experiments, changing the codes, then his prototypes escape. Wetware stars Jerry O'Connell, Cameron Scoggins, Bret Lada, Aurélia Thiérrée, and Morgan Wolk. Nothing worth watching here, you can skip this one.
"What if I could just… stop worrying?" An official trailer has debuted for an indie dramedy titled Sunny Side Up, marking the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Mike Melo. This originally premiered in 2017 at the Sarasota Film Festival, and is finally arriving on VOD this December for those interested. Burdened with severe social anxiety, a young funeral director tries to find comfort in a self-imposed house arrest but is challenged by a curious, spirited neighbor named Emma. Starring Hunter Davis as Gregory, racked with debilitating anxiety and a self-deprecating inner voice. Also starring Samantha Marie Creed as Emma, plus William Galatis, and Alan Pelz-Sharpe. Looks cute and fun, despite all the heaps of awkwardness.
"They say you can't forget feelings… and I still believe that." IFC Films has unveiled the first official trailer for an indie romance titled Little Fish, the latest film from acclaimed indie filmmaker Chad Hartigan (of This Is Martin Bonner, Morris from America). This recently premiered at both the Newport Beach and Philadelphia Film Festivals this fall. As a memory loss virus runs rampant, one couple fights to hold their relationship together before the disease can erase all memory of their love in this sweeping sci-fi romance. Imagine waking up and not remembering the person you love. This is the world that newlyweds Emma and Jude find themselves in, not long after meeting and falling in love. When Jude contracts the disease, the young couple will do anything to hold onto the memory of their love. The film stars Olivia Cooke and Jack O'Connell as lovers, as well as Soko, Raúl Castillo, and David Lennon. This looks great, reminds me of the sci-fi romance Equals or kind of the 50 First Dates concept but serious. I will definitely be watching this.
"Nicole's my best friend, too. I'm happy to be here…" Gravitas has released the first official trailer for Our Friend, formerly known as The Friend when it first premiered at last year's Toronto Film Festival. Based on a true story, adapted from the article "The Friend: Love Is Not a Big Enough Word", the film stars Casey Affleck as a journalist named Matt Teague, and Dakota Johnson as his wife Nicole. Their lives are turned upside down when Nicole is diagnosed with terminal cancer. As Matt's responsibilities as caretaker & parent become overwhelming, the couple's best friend Dane Faucheux, played by Jason Segel, offers to help out. "The impact of this generous, albeit complicated, gesture proves greater and more profound than anyone could have imagined." Also featuring Gwendoline Christie, Cherry Jones, Marielle Scott, and Ahna O'Reilly. This looks magnificent! An inspiring and uplifting story about friendship and unconditional love.
"Don't say nothing, you've seen nothing." HBO has unveiled the official trailer for a film titled The Art of Political Murder, an HBO Original documentary directed by doc producer / filmmaker Paul Taylor. The powerful doc film tells the story of the 1998 murder of Guatemalan human rights activist Bishop Juan Gerardi and how it stunned a country ravaged by decades of political violence. An investigation into the truth – based on Francisco Goldman's award-winning book of the same name and executive produced by Oscar winners George Clooney and Grant Heslov. Just two days after presenting a damning report blaming the atrocities of the civil war on the Guatemalan military, Bishop Gerardi was found dead in his home. The documentary highlights the team of young investigators who take on the case and begin to unearth a web of conspiracy and corruption, entangling the highest levels of government in their pursuit of the truth. Damn.
"What artists do is as important as anything else…" Gravitas has released a trailer for an indie film titled Paint, from filmmaker Michael Walker (Chasing Sleep, Price Check). The film, which premiered at Dances with Films this year, is a dark comedic journey about young NYC artists as they struggle to sell their first paintings. The film won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature at Dances with Films and will be out on VOD in December. Three friends from art school struggle to start their careers in the bizarre NYC art world, while trying to get by in life and figure themselves out. Starring Josh Caras, Olivia Luccardi, Paul Cooper, Comfort Clinton, Amy Hargreaves, François Arnaud, Vince Nappo, Kaliswa Brewster, Daniel Bellomy. This looks quite good! A smart script that's brutally honest about the absurdity of the art world.
"There is always some theoretical fighter who thinks he can take on the pros." Lionsgate has unveiled an official trailer for a MMA fighter film titled Born a Champion, from French filmmaker Alex Ranarivelo. The film is co-written by and stars actor Sean Patrick Flanery as Mickey Kelly, one of the first American black belts in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Set in the 1990s, the film follows Mickey as he finds himself pulled into an unsanctioned MMA tournament in the hopes of providing for his family. The full cast also includes Dennis Quaid, Katrina Bowden, Currie Graham, Costas Mandylor, Maurice Compte, Reno Wilson, and Ali Afshar. This has all the usual fight film tropes, and doesn't seem to be unique at all especially with the military subplot, but it does look like Flanery is giving one hell of a performance at least. Check it out below.
"What if we can't make it out before the freeze…?" IFC Midnight has released an official trailer for an indie horror thriller titled Hunter Hunter, made by Canadian filmmaker Shawn Linden. This hasn't premiered at any festivals, but will be out on VOD in December for anyone interested in watching. Joseph Mersault and his family live in the remote wilderness as fur trappers, but their tranquility is threatened when they think they are being hunted by the return of a rogue wolf, and Joseph leaves them behind to track it. When they hear a strange noise outside their cabin, Anne hopes it is Joseph but instead finds a man named Lou, who has been severely injured and left for dead. So what's really out there? Hunter Hunter stars Devon Sawa, Nick Stahl, Camille Sullivan, Summer Howell, and Gabriel Daniels. This looks solid, boasting some excellent production design and terrifying forest scenes. And it's probably not the wolf doing all that killing.
"Thought you were dead…" Uncork'd has released an official trailer for an indie action film titled Army of One, featuring "rising action star" Ellen Hollman (who has a role in the upcoming The Matrix 4) as "1st Lieutenant Brenner Baker of the Army's 75th Ranger Division". Not to be confused with the Nicolas Cage comedy also called Army of One from a few years back. While out hiking, Special Forces Ranger Brenner Baker stumbles onto a Cartel's compound. Her husband's killed and she's left for dead. The Cartel made two mistakes, killed her husband and left her alive. They won't live to make another – now she's coming after them. The cast also includes Matt Passmore, Geraldine Singer, Gary Kasper, and Cam Bowen. This is pure jingoism action filmmaking with the added benefit of watching a badass woman take down bad guys.
"You have to face this!" Netflix has unveiled a spectacular trailer for a film titled Pieces of a Woman, which premiered to awards and great acclaimed at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals this fall. Pieces of a Woman is the latest film made by Hungarian filmmaker Kornél Mundruczó (of White God, Jupiter's Moon) modeled around the Blue Valentine concept of authentically capturing the challenging stages of grief and frustration that follow a great tragedy in a relationship. Vanessa Kirby stars a grieving woman who embarks on an emotional journey after the loss of her baby. Shia LaBeouf plays her husband, and the cast includes Ellen Burstyn, Molly Parker, Sarah Snook, Iliza Shlesinger, Benny Safdie, and Jimmie Fails. This is one of the best films I've seen this year - I wrote a rave review out of Venice, calling it "vividly cinematic" and masterful. It's filled with complex emotions and genuine feelings of heartbreak and sadness. And this trailer captures that beauty in a really astounding way. A must watch trailer for a must watch film.
"Nobody knows what's going on up there…" Gravitas Ventures has released an official trailer for an indie fantasy thriller titled Trail of Ashes, which also marks the feature directorial debut of Puerto Rican actor / filmmaker Arturo Lizardi. Set in another time long ago, the story follows the search for an empress's missing daughter. This reunites two long lost brothers who grew up on opposite sides of a war and now must choose between family bonds and political alliances. "As the investigation deepens, Silas realizes that nothing is what it seems." I'm intrigued to find out what this is trying to comment on exactly - perhaps our modern world? The Puerto Rican drama stars Héctor Escudero, Cecilia Arguelles, Arturo Lizardi, Jasmin Sanabria, Migdalia Rosario, and Carlos Miranda. The footage in this looks pretty dang good, I must say, the production quality seems solid. I just hope there's a good enough story that brings all of it together.