"You have pushed a desperate man a little too far here." RLJE Films has released the official trailer for a dark crime thriller titled South of Heaven, directed by Israeli filmmaker Aharon Keshales (of Rabies and Big Bad Wolves). This film is arriving on VOD in October for anyone interested in checking it out, despite not hitting any festivals or otherwise. Convicted felon Jimmy gets early parole after serving twelve years for armed robbery. Upon his release, he vows to give Annie, his childhood love, now dying from cancer, the best last year of her life - but unfortunately it's just not that simple. South of Heaven stars Jason Sudeikis, Evangeline Lilly, Mike Colter, and Shea Whigham. A very strange mix of vibes in this, with Sudeikis playing such a warm, friendly person and everyone else so cold and vicious. Hard to tell if it's worth a watch.
"These women are born with their powers, they don't have a choice." Momentum Pictures has released an official trailer for an indie horror drama titled Witch Hunt from filmmaker Elle Callahan (also of Head Count previously). This initially premiered at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival earlier this year, and is arriving on VOD at the beginning of October just in time for horror season. In a modern America where witches are real and witchcraft is illegal, a sheltered teenager must face her own demons and prejudices as she helps two young witches avoid law enforcement and cross the southern border to asylum in Mexico. How's that for a wicked premise? It's described in the trailer as "Carrie meets The Handmaid's Tale." The film stars Gideon Adlon, Elizabeth Mitchell, Abigail Cowen, Nicholas + Cameron Crovetti, & Christian Camargo. It actually looks pretty cool, with some strong moments on display in the trailer. This seems worth a look.
"To visit planet Earth you will have to be born as a human child." A24 has unveiled the official trailer for the latest film from acclaimed filmmaker Mike Mills (director of Thumbsucker, Beginners, 20th Century Women) titled C'mon C'mon, which just premiered at the 2021 Telluride Film Festival this past weekend. It's also playing at the New York Film Festival next. It's presented in black & white, the film follows a radio journalist who embarks on a a cross-country trip with his young nephew, forging an unexpected bond on their journey. Described by critics as a heartwarming and tender film about how hard it is to be a parent, this looks like another lovely feature from a very talented filmmaker. The film's small cast features Joaquin Phoenix, Gaby Hoffmann, and Woody Norman. It's set to open in US theaters starting in November later this year, and I am very much looking forward to it. This is a beautiful first look - give it a watch below.
"All this calm and perfection… I find it oppressive." IFC Films has debuted a new official US trailer for the indie drama Bergman Island, the latest film from acclaimed French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve (who is one of my personal favorites). This first premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, and was one of my favorite films of the festival. In Bergman Island, an American filmmaking couple go to the island where Ingmar Bergman was inspired and find that the lines between reality and fiction star to blur. It was filmed back in 2018 on the island Fårö in Sweden. Talented actors Vicky Krieps and Tim Roth star, with Mia Wasikowska, Anders Danielsen Lie, Joel Spira, and Clara Strauch. I've been a fan of Mia Hansen-Løve for years (interviewed her in 2016) and this is yet another excellent and intellectual creation in her oeuvre. I wrote a glowing review of the film at Cannes, saying it's "another light and breezy walk-and-talk film" about relationships and an exploration of how to be inspired by the past. I highly recommend this.
"I want to write about life…" "…pain and anguish…" "Pleasure!" Lionsgate UK has unveiled the first official trailer for the romance Mothering Sunday, which originally premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival earlier this year playing Out of Competition. The film is also screening at both the Toronto and London Film Festivals this fall, following its initial premiere. Adapted from the novel by Graham Swift, the film is about a maid living in post-World War I England who secretly plans to meet with the man she loves before he leaves to marry another woman. It's described as an "luminous, intensely moving tale" of romance and love, "but events that neither can foresee will change the course of Jane's life forever." The film stars Odessa Young and Josh O'Connor as the secret lovers, along with Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, Glenda Jackson, Simon Shepherd, Olivia Colman, and Colin Firth. Another passionate forbidden love period piece, this received some good reviews out of Cannes. If you're into these kind of romantic stories, then this is definitely a must see trailer.
"We just gotta focus!" Decal Releasing has debuted an official trailer for an indie road trip comedy titled Stop and Go - which is the update release title for the film that initially premiered at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival under the name Recovery. This coronavirus pandemic road trip comedy is about two directionless sisters who break out of lockdown and decide to brave a cross-country road trip to rescue their grandmother from a COVID outbreak at her nursing home. Described as a "raucous road trip comedy for the quar times," which is as cringe as any description can get. Whitney Call and Mallory Everton co-wrote the screenplay and co-star in the film as sisters Jamie and Blake. The cast includes Julia Jolley, Anne Sward Hansen, Stephen Meek, Noah Kershisnik, and Dora McDonald. The best part about this is their dog, but I'm still not even sure that will convince me to watch this. Why does anyone want to revisit 2020? I'm not sure.
"I wanna be still, the way I want to get still." 1091 Pictures has released an official trailer for an indie, very dark comedy titled Killing Eleanor, which premiered at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival and St. Louis Film Festival last year. A new film from director Rich Newey, this off-beat dramedy involves two women who strike up a friendship and a deal to help each other get through, or get out of, life. A terminally-ill old lady convinces a self-destructive pain killer addict to help kill her, in exchange for clean urine. Their right to die odyssey is filled with complications as Eleanor's past and Natalie's lies catch up with them. Uultimately, helping Eleanor die with dignity might just teach Natalie to live with dignity. Annika Marks co-stars with Jenny O'Hara, and with a cast including Jane Kaczmarek, Betsy Brandt, Thomas Sadoski, Camryn Manheim, and Chris Mulkey. Seems like this might be a worthwhile indie gem waiting to be discovered.
"Are we going to have to leave Belfast?" Focus Features has unveiled an official trailer for Belfast, written and directed by Irish actor / filmmaker Kenneth Branagh, described as his "most personal film" yet. The film is premiering at the 2021 Telluride Film Festival this weekend, hence the trailer dropping now, and is also playing at the Toronto Film Festival next before opening in November this fall. A coming-of-age drama set during the tumult of late-1960s Northern Ireland, the film follows young Buddy while he navigates a landscape of working-class struggle, sweeping cultural changes, and sectarian violence. Jude Hill stars as Buddy, with a stellar ensemble cast featuring Caitríona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds, Colin Morgan, and Lara McDonnell. This is already being compared to Alfonso Cuaron's Roma, not just because it's in black & white as well, but another story about growing up in tumultuous times. This is a very promising trailer - I wasn't sure what to expect before all the footage, so looking forward to it now.
"Were you painting something?" Amazon has unveiled the first look teaser for a film titled The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, from director Will Sharpe, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as British artist Louis Wain. The film is premiering at the 2021 Telluride Film Festival this week, hence this first look debut, and will stop by TIFF next before opening in the fall. TIFF's intro is a fun one: "From Ancient Egypt to TikTok, cats have accompanied humans on life’s journey. But who made the creatures cute? Louis Wain tells the story of the Victorian-era artist whose widely published drawings of anthropomorphized cats transformed them from mysterious to irresistible. In a dazzling, career-best performance, Benedict Cumberbatch plays one of Britain's most influential eccentrics as a flurry of wild ideas and prodigious artistic output." The cast also includes Claire Foy as his wife, with Sophia Di Martino, Olivia Colman as the narrator, Andrea Riseborough, Jamie Demetriou, Toby Jones, and Stacy Martin, as well as a number of fun cameos. I need to some cats in this footage! Where are the cats, please? I'm curious if this will be any good in the end.
"You say you want to heal… Is this how?" Bleecker Street Films has finally unveiled an official trailer for an acclaimed indie drama titled Mass, which premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It received rave reviews from a number of critics, who are still saying this is one of their top films of the year so far. Years after an unspeakable tragedy tore their lives apart, two sets of parents agree to talk privately in an attempt to move forward. These two parents each come different sides of a school shooting (this trailer hints at what that means) and they meet in a church hoping to talk about things and try to bury the past. But it's not easy. Mass stars Reed Birney & Martha Plimpton, plus Ann Dowd & Jason Isaacs. This cast is phenomenal and these are some of the best performances you'll see in any film this year. It's a powerful film about an important topic in America, and broaches this conversation in a riveting, deeply moving way.
"If we're going to be roommates, I need ground rules." 1091 Pictures has revealed an official trailer for an indie feature from actor / filmmaker Chad Werner called The One You're With, a low key stuck-at-home comedy about two people. A girl running from her past has a one-night stand with a guy who's stuck in his ways, only to wake up the next morning to discover they're now forced to live together due to a state of emergency. This is basically a pandemic concept, waking up on the morning of the lockdown and not able to go anywhere. This is also very similar to The Pink Cloud from Sundance this year - a Brazilian film about a one night stand and a mysterious pink cloud that traps them in a house together. The One You're With stars Chad Werner and Koko Marshall, with Colton Dunn as The President. This looks like a very simple, fun relationship comedy about this kind of awkward situation but not sure it has too much ingenuity. Enjoy.
"You didn't hold that pistol like any farmer I've ever seen." Shout Factory has unveiled an official trailer for an indie western action film titled Old Henry, from Italian filmmaker Potsy Ponciroli. This is premiering at the 2021 Venice Film Festival kicking off next week, playing out of competition. The film is action western about a farmer who takes in an injured man with a satchel of cash. When a posse comes for the money, he must decide who to trust. Defending a siege, he reveals a gunslinging talent that calls his true identity into question. The always-badass Tim Blake Nelson stars as Henry, with a cast including Scott Haze, Gavin Lewis, Trace Adkins, and Stephen Dorff. Described by the filmmaker "micro western", adding that it's a "small, simple tale set in an alternate timeline where an authentic, historical character plays in a fictional world." Sounds pretty dang good. It almost looks like an old west take on John Wick with Tim Blake Nelson.