"Didn't you ever hear those old stories?" Who hasn't? Kamikaze Dogfight has released an official trailer for an indie horror film titled Backwoods, from filmmaker Thomas Smith. This sounds like old school escape-from-the-deranged-killer-in-theforest horror. High school cheerleader Molly woke bound and gagged in the trunk of her boyfriend's car. That was the high point of her night. After escaping her abductor and fleeing into the nearby forest, she comes face-to-face with the town urban legend: The Hangman, a deformed zealot said to hang male trespassers and keep the women as "brides". The film stars Isabella Alberti, Jeremy Sande, Tahj Vaughans, Micahel Anthony Bagozzi, Erin Liley, and Scott Alan Warner. This looks like a wannabe-slasher film, but I don't think this man-in-suit bad guy is going to become a new horror icon.
"We will build the ultimate weapon! Their stuff will be our stuff!" How did we miss this?! Netflix is showing a new 40-minute animated holiday special film titled Alien Xmas, the latest creation of the Chiodo Bros. This stop-motion animated adventure looks like Rankin/Bass' classic "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" TV special – but with aliens, instead of reindeer. Meet X, a little alien who learns that in a world full of stuff, things aren’t meant to be taken, but given. When extraterrestrials attempt to steal Earth's gravity, only the gift-giving spirit of Christmas -- and a small Alien named X -- can save the world. It is already available to watch now; somehow we missed all these trailers when they debuted weeks ago. But better late than never! The film features the voices of Keythe Farley, Dee Bradley Baker, Kaliayh Rhambo, Michelle Deco, Barbara Goodson, and Jessica Gee-George. It looks like wacky fun - good ol' stop-motion storytelling.
"It makes you safe… Isn't that what you want?" Gravitas has released an official trailer for an indie horror thriller titled Bad Impulse, the latest film directed by actress / acting coach / director / producer Michelle Danner. In the aftermath of a traumatic event, a suburban husband & father decides to buy a cutting edge home security system from a mysterious man, only to find that it slowly destroys that which he most wants to protect. Sounds a bit like The Box, but with a home security system instead of a box. Bad Impulse stars Grant Bowler, Paul Sorvino, Sonya Walger, James Landry-Hebert, Abbi Ford, Stephanie Cayo, Dan Lauria, and Rebecca Black. This looks a bit too weird and a bit too creepy, but not really any good.
"As long as it's a love song." Gravitas has unveiled an official trailer for an indie documentary titled Sing Me a Song, made by acclaimed French doc filmmaker Thomas Balmès (Bosnia Hotel, Maharadja Burger, Happiness). This originally premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year, and arrives on VOD in the US in early January. When the internet finally arrives in tiny Bhutan, documentarian Thomas Balmès is there to witness its transformative impact on a young Buddhist monk whose initial trepidation gives way to profound engagement with the technology. A nuanced portrait of a young man’s introduction to the world, Balmès offers us an eye-opening snapshot of the effects of technology, and challenges us to reassess our perceptions of self-worth and beliefs in an age of unparalleled connectivity. It's rather amusing to think that these humble Bhutan Buddhist monks also fall for pretty women in dating apps just as easily as anyone else.
"When you've got brothers singing - it's like an instrument that nobody else can buy." HBO has debuted the full-length trailer for the music documentary The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, from producer / filmmaker Frank Marshall (directing his first ever doc despite producing many before this). It just premiered at a few film festivals this fall and launches on HBO starting in December. Marshall's The Bee Gees documentary chronicles the triumphs and hurdles of brothers Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb, otherwise known as the Bee Gees. The film is an intimate exploration of the Gibb story, featuring revealing interviews with oldest brother Barry and archival interviews with the late twin brothers Robin and Maurice. Including recording sessions, concert performances, TV appearances and home videos, as well as interviews with musicians Eric Clapton, Noel Gallagher, Nick Jonas, Chris Martin, Justin Timberlake, among others. This looks like an impressive rock doc in every way - with tons of rare footage and interviews galore. Enjoy.
"The handler of phoenix, vicious and relentless killer!" Whoa!! A trailer has emerged from the Tokyo Film Festival for a Korean action comedy film titled Slate, marking the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Jo Bareun. This is world premiering at TFF this year but has no other release dates set yet and hasn't shown up at any other fests. The meta concept involves a woman who dreams of being the hero of the fight, who ends up whisked away to a strange "parallel world" where people carry swords and kill each other without any retribution. A budding actress dreaming of being an action star works as a stand-in and happens to enter a parallel world where she battles an evil dictator to save villagers. Hilarious fantasy full of film-world inside stories. Starring Ahn Ji-hye, Lee Min-ji, and Park Tae-san. Uhh, this looks awesome!! Not only do the fights look killer, but the whole meta concept and everything about this film totally rules. From the wooden clap board to the title card with a spinning galaxy - I love this trailer. And yes it has a few English subtitles.
"I thought I had it all…" Freestyle Digital Media has debuted a trailer for the indie documentary Doin' My Drugs, from filmmaker Tyler Q. Rosen. The title is a reference not to drugs, but to medicine, as the doc is about a musician who has HIV. This first premiered at the CPH:DOX Film Festival last year, and arrives on VOD this fall. Danish singer Thomas Muchimba Buttenschøn, whom was born HIV positive to Danish & Zambian parents, is doing something truly unique to get people tested for HIV: he's putting on a concert where, instead of purchasing a ticket, you take an HIV test. The film tells the story of Thomas Muchimba Buttenschøn and his crusade to use his music to wipe out AIDS in his native Zambia and beyond. This looks like a powerful, uplifting story of a successful individual using his success and money for good, to make the world a safer place. That's much more rare than you think. This looks like a heartwarming doc film to enjoy.
"This one's off the books." Saban Films has released the official trailer for an intense action movie called Redemption Day, marking the feature directorial debut of Moroccan producer Hicham Hajji. Here's the pitch perfect jingoistic logline: "A US Marine infiltrates a terrorist group to save American hostages." Only thing missing is kissing the feet of the President after it's all over. After the Marine's wife is kidnapped in Morocco, he is forced back into action for a daring and deadly operation in Algeria to save the woman he loves. This stars Gary Dourdan as Captain Brad Paxton, along with Serinda Swan, Martin Donovan, Ernie Hudson, Samy Naceri, and Andy Garcia. I'm always in awe of how all these action movies are always exact copies of themselves, just rinse and repeat, same plot and same shots and everything. Oh well.
"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.
"It's not a story you hear every day: religion, relationships, and murder." This is creepy. HBO has debuted an official trailer for Alabama Snake, a true crime documentary directed by Theo Love (Little Hope Was Arson, The Legend of Cocaine Island). Alabama Snake highlights the story of Pentecostal minister Glenn Summerford — a man accused of attempting to murder his wife with a rattlesnake in the sleepy town of Scottsboro, Alabama — and the investigation and trial that haunted Southern Appalachia for decades. The film features local historian & folklorist Dr. Thomas Burton, who spent his life studying the culture, beliefs, and folklore of the Pentecostal snake handlers, as he paints a Southern Gothic portrait of Summerford and his tale of demonic possession. This looks and sounds way creepier than it seems at first, which is the point.
"Nobody's allowed to mention it." An early promo trailer has debuted for a new fan documentary titled A Disturbance in the Force, co-directed by the filmmaker behind the Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made documentary. This crazy Star Wars doc is about the infamous, unbelievably bad Star Wars Holiday Special from 1978, digging deep into the behind-the-scenes story. The filmmakers explain to io9: "Most attention on the Holiday Special just focuses on how bad it is and doesn't go deeper. Our film is not going to be 90 minutes of dumping on it because no one wants to watch that. We're gone really deep in the research and like an onion, there are a lot more layers as to how the Special happened than you would expect." Sounds good to me. As much as I want nothing to do with that Holiday Special (although this year's Lego Holiday Special looks fun), I'm curious about this and what they learned from the people who made it.
"You come here to live, you don't come here to pass away." Magnolia Pictures has revealed the first trailer for an acclaimed documentary titled Some Kind of Heaven, which originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It also played at tons of other festivals including Rotterdam, New Zealand, Florida, Atlanta, and Visions du Réel. This doc is produced by Darren Aronofsky, and it looks phenomenal. Behind the gates of a palm tree-lined fantasyland, four residents of America's largest retirement community, The Villages, Florida, strive to find solace and meaning. The film is an "inside look" at the The Villages, America's largest retirement community – a massive, self-contained utopia located in Central Florida. I love the way this is shot! The 4:3 presentation and all of the snazzy cinematography gives it an entirely unique vérité look and feel that makes this doc stand out from so many others. Don't skip this! A must watch trailer.