"You have something they want. And now they are coming. They are coming…" F1.8 Studios has debuted a new official trailer for an indie film titled Nightfire, which is finally getting a streaming release on Amazon Prime in January after first premiering back in 2015. This political action thriller runs a total of 43 minutes, which technically makes it a short film, though that's not very short. Described as "an action spectacular student film" made by Brando Benetton, the film is about two American agents hired to retrieve military chips containing top-secret content. Their plan goes awry when an unexpected political prisoner enters the picture. This stars Dylan Baker, Lorenzo Pisoni, Greg Hadley, Bradley Stryker, with Francesco Pannofino, and Becky Ann Baker. This is one helluva trailer, it certainly got my attention. Take a look.
"Does anyone other than me know you work at a bowling alley?" It's yet another edition of Indie Trailer Sunday. FilmBuff has debuted the first official trailer for When Jeff Tried to Save the World, an indie comedy about a bowling alley manager who decides to get involved in saving the place when it's about to be sold. The title is a fun play on the "save the world" idea because the name of the place he works is Winky's World and he wants to save it. Jon Heder (who played Napoleon in Napoleon Dynamite) stars as Jeff, with a full cast including Candi Milo, Jim O'Heir, Anna Konkle, Maya Erskine, Brendan Meyer, Steve Berg, and Richard Esteras. This looks quirky and low key entertaining, which should be an inspiring and refreshing break from all the Hollywood blockbusters this holiday season. Plus it's nice to see Heder again.
"I want to sue my parents." That's the most iconic line in this film. Sony Pictures Classics debuted a second US trailer for the film Capernaum, also known as Capharnaüm, which is Lebanon's Oscar submission this year. Directed by actress-filmmaker Nadine Labaki, it premiered at this year's Cannes Film Festival (and won the Jury Prize there), and it also played at the New Horizons, Melbourne, Sarajevo, London, and Toronto Film Festivals. Capernaum takes place on the streets of Beirut, following a 12-year-old boy who decides to sue his parents for bringing him into the world. We follow him as he escapes and runs around, trying to survive by begging and stealing, showing us a disheartening, depressing side of the world we tend to ignore. I'm quoted in the trailers and on the posters for this film, it was one of my favorite films at Cannes this year, and ever since I've been doing my best to talk it up. Starring Zain Al Rafeea as Zain. See below.
"Privilege comes with hard work." IFC Midnight has debuted the first official trailer for an indie horror thriller titled Pledge, a much more horrifying take on the fraternity ritual of recruiting young university students. This premiered at Fantasia and Screamfest this year, and is hitting theaters at the beginning of January. Pledge is about a group of outcast college freshmen who decide to pledge an exclusive fraternity but soon realize there's more at stake than they could have ever imagined. The full cast includes Zachery Byrd, Aaron Dalla Villa, Zachary Weiner, Phillip Andre Botello, Cameron Cowperthwaite, Joe Gallagher, Jesse Pimentel, and Erica Boozer. I don't like fraternities much anyway, but this is taking the idea of hazing to the most extreme - literally turning it into a brutal cult horror film. Crazy frightening.
"There is no wrong or right in this place. You're just choosing not to see it." Signature Entertainment in the UK has debuted the official UK trailer for an indie horror thriller titled St. Agatha, the latest from horror director Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II-IV, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Mother's Day, The Devil's Carnival). This new "twisted horror thriller" is said to push the boundaries of the "nunsploitation" genre, in a story set at a convent in Georgia. A pregnant young woman named Mary ends up there, seeking shelter only to be met with an unsettling and horrendous evil waiting on the other side. St. Agatha stars Sabrina Kern, Carolyn Hennesy, Courtney Halverson, Trin Miller, Lindsay Seim, Hannah Fierman and Seth Michaels. The footage from this trailer does look freaky, especially near the end when it goes all out crazy. Scary stuff.
"I've lived so long in imaginary worlds, I've lost sight of what is real." Sony Pictures Classics has surprised us with the official trailer for an indie film titled All Is True, directed by Kenneth Branagh (who is also finishing directing Disney's Artemis Fowl as well), starring Kenneth Branagh as the legendary playwright William Shakespeare. The film is about the final days in his life, after he retires. Branagh has long wanted to explore this forgotten and critical period of Shakespeare's life, and "it is a natural and exciting evolution in his career-long passion for" the playwright's work. In addition to Branagh, the ensemble cast includes Judi Dench is his wife Anne, Ian McKellen as the Earl of Southampton, along with Kathryn Wilder, Lolita Chakrabarti, Michael Rouse, Jack Colgrave Hirst, and Matt Jessup. This seems to have some very funky, dry humor in the midst of some serious family drama, and I must admit I am quite curious to see it.
"Experience the epic clash of queens that changed the course of history." With the film opening in theaters in just a few days, Focus Features has released a third & final trailer for Josie Rourke's Mary Queen of Scots, telling the story of the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart. She was Queen of France at 16, then widowed at 18, deciding to return to Scotland without a husband, where she has to carefully compete with her cousin - Queen Elizabeth I of England, ruling over Scotland and England at the time. This has been getting some strong reviews, but there's not too much buzz yet from regular moviegoers. Saoirse Ronan plays Mary, Margot Robbie plays Elizabeth, with a superb ensemble cast including Gemma Chan, Guy Pearce, Joe Alwyn, David Tennant, Jack Lowden, Brendan Coyle, Martin Compston, Ismael Cruz Cordova, and James McArdle. With so many other trailers before, I am not sure this one is going to suddenly sell you if you're not already curious. It's more of a reminder that the film is opening this week.
"Do you have any idea what's going on out there?" RLJE has debuted the first trailer for one of this year's big discoveries, a contained thriller titled The Standoff at Sparrow Creek, the feature debut of Henry Dunham. The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, then played to rave reviews at Fantastic Fest, earning some of the best buzz out of both fests as a major find. It's a deviously smart film about a group of men in a militia who meet in a warehouse after a shooting, only to discover that one of their guns is missing. They begin to accuse each other in an attempt to figure out who did it, and it gets even better as it goes on. This has been compared to Reservoir Dogs, but it's really something of its own and it's an incredible debut. Sparrow Creek stars James Badge Dale, Patrick Fischler, Brian Geraghty, Chris Mulkey, Happy Anderson, Robert Aramayo, Gene Jones, and Cotter Smith. I highly recommend giving this a look.
"I know what you've been looking for, I'm not stupid." Orion Pictures has released the first official trailer for an indie drama titled All These Small Moments, from first-time filmmaker Melissa Miller Costanzo, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year. Shot on the streets of New York City, the film is about a struggling family, and one teen boy who is infatuated with an older woman he notices on the bus. Described as an "absorbing coming-of-age tale with heartfelt, nuanced storytelling and genuine intimacy." All These Small Moments stars Brendan Meyer, with Jemima Kirke, Molly Ringwald, Harley Quinn Smith, Brian d'Arcy James, Salena Qureshi, and Roscoe Orman. At first glance, this reminds me of Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale, about a dysfunctional NYC family and all the issues they have.
"It's the best movie of the year. You'll hate it." Nothing like defending your pick for the best film of the year by saying "you'll hate it", but that's why we always have to feature this Top 10 every year. One of our favorite lists that kicks off this time of the year is from filmmaker John Waters - his Top 10 favorite films from this year. For 2018, Waters has chosen yet another (expected) eclectic mix of films, lead by Bruno Dumont's historical musical Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc. I haven't heard a single person say they've seen this film much less mentioning it at all, but it's his #1. He also picks a few other underrated films from this year: Carlos López Estrada's Blindspotting, Guy Maddin's cinema mash-up The Green Fog, and yet another French film - Xavier Legrand's Custody, which first premiered last year but just got a release in the spring.
"It's nobody's fault. And everybody's responsibility." Gravitas Ventures has released the trailer for an indie "surreal mystery" drama titled The Rainbow Experiment, which first premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival (the anti-Sundance fest that takes place at the same time/place) at the beginning of this year. This trailer has been out for a while, but we haven't featured it yet, and the film is opening in just a few weeks. The Rainbow Experiment is about how things spiral out of control in a high school in Manhattan when a terrible accident involving a science experiment injures a kid for life. Starring Christian Coulson, Kevin Kane, Chris Beetem, Vandit Bhatt, Francis Benhamou, and more. Watch the trailer if you're curious.
"I had a purpose over there." "You got one here, too." FS is proud to exclusively debut the official trailer for a film titled Sgt. Will Gardner, another emotional drama about soldiers returning home from war with PTSD, struggling to reintegrate into society. Actor Max Martini writes, directs, produces, and stars in this film as Will Gardner, an Iraq War veteran who sets out on a cross-country motorcycle journey with the plan to reunite with his young son. "My hope with Sgt. Will Gardner is to raise awareness for the on-going battles which returning soldiers encounter," said Martini, whose production company, Mona Vista Productions, will donate a portion of the film's proceeds to three charities which support veterans suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), PTSD and veteran homelessness: Higher Ground, Warriors Heart and the Gary Sinise Foundation. The film also co-stars Lily Rabe, Luis Bordonada, Dermot Mulroney, Elisabeth Röhm, Omari Hardwick, Gary Sinise, JoBeth Williams, Holt McCallany, and Robert Patrick. See below.