"'Twas the night before Christmas, at Nakatomi Plaza, the office party was festive, but soon interrupted by drama. Hans Gruber and his men, had forced their way in, and taken everyone hostage, trapping them within. But how could they know, there was a cop up above, John McClane had arrived, to win back his wife’s love. He would take them all out, winning everyone’s praise, Welcoming Christmas Day, with his favorite catchphrase." The debate rages on: is Die Hard a real Christmas movie or not? 20th Century Fox has stirred the pot yet again by releasing a fun new trailer for the original Die Hard movie, selling it as fun, cheerful Christmas comedy classic. Which is quite funny, because they're clearly playing at its holiday-time attention and sort of picking a side, while also promoting their own re-release on Blu-Ray. Clever work, Fox.
Get ready to meet the Woman at War. Magnolia Pictures has debuted a very short first teaser trailer for an indie action drama titled Woman at War, coming from Iceland (as their Academy Awards submission this year). This premiered at Critics Week during the Cannes Film Festival, and played at a bunch of festivals since then - heading to US theaters in March. The film is about a woman named Halla, who declares war on the local aluminum industry to prevent it from disfiguring her country. She risks all she has to protect the highlands of Iceland, until a long-forgotten application for adoption is approved, and everything changes when she realizes there's a girl waiting for her in Ukraine. Starring Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, along with Jóhann Sigurðarson, Juan Camillo Roman Estrada, and Jörundur Ragnarsson. This is just a very short teaser, and I'm surprised there's not any more to it. But I guess we should expect the full US trailer is not far behind (plus there's an international one anyway). This really looks like it's worth keeping an eye on.
"I'm calling this meeting of the Superhero Animal Friends to order!" And who is the leader of this group? None other than Snowball! Universal + Illumination Entertainment have debuted a third teaser trailer for Chris Renaud's The Secret Life of Pets 2, the sequel to the animated hit from a few years ago about pets and the life they have after their owners leave for work. This teaser focuses entirely on the rabbit Snowball, voiced by Kevin Hart, who was also in the original. The first teaser featured the dog Max, the second teaser featured the cat Chloe tripping on cat nip, and this one has Snowball becoming a superhero. The voice cast also includes Patton Oswalt, Eric Stonestreet, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Albert Brooks, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Kylie Hart, Nick Kroll, and Pete Holmes. More teasers are arriving soon.
"She didn't just vanish!" Annapurna Pictures has released the fun, first trailer for Richard Linklater's latest film, called Where'd You Go, Bernadette, adapted from Maria Semple's novel of the same name. The film is about a missing woman, as the title hints at. After her anxiety-ridden mother disappears, 15-year-old Bee does everything she can to track her down, discovering details about her troubled past in the process. Newcomer Emma Nelson stars as Bee, with an impressive ensemble cast including Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig, James Urbaniak, Judy Greer, Troian Bellisario, Zoe Chao, and Laurence Fishburne. This looks like a more mainstream flick from Linklater, with some charm and wit and mystery, of course. I'm not sure what to make of this from this trailer, but I'm still interested because it is Linklater.
"Let her fight. Let her do what she's born to do." West End Films UK has released the first official UK trailer for an indie drama titled Float Like a Butterfly, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this fall. From writer/director Carmel Winter, this Irish film is "a gender-reversal of classic film Billy Elliot", about a 15-year-old girl raised in camps in rural Ireland who wants to become a champion boxer and fights against all odds to prove her determination and might. Hazel Doupe stars as Frances, with a cast including Dara Devaney, Aidan O'Hare, Hilda Fay, Lalor Roddy, and Johnny Collins. From the producers of Once and Sing Street, the film is about finding the strength and courage to carve out our own destiny. "Our sense of belonging is precious, so how can we balance that need with our need to be free?" First look below.
Can you solve a Rubik's cube? This charming new animated short film titled Scrambled is about a cute little Rubik's cube that comes alive in hopes of being solved by a woman waiting for a train. Scrambled is made by the animation house Polder Animation based in The Netherlands, written and directed by Bastiaan Schravendeel. It's a simple story but with some intelligent nuance in both the style and substance, about a young woman who's inspired when she figures out how to solve this (lonely) Rubik's cube. It's a great lesson for everyone - about how taking a break and exercising your mind by playing a game or solving some other problem might actually give you a fresh perspective you can use to solve other problems in your life. Enjoy.
"The best holiday movie you've ever seen!" Alamo Drafthouse + the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA) have debuted a new trailer for a long lost, VHS-era holiday action cult classic from France called Dial Code Santa Claus which they are re-releasing in theaters this year. Originally titled 36.15 code Père Noël (which roughly translates to "Dial Code Santa Claus" in French), then retitled to Deadly Games for other international releases, the movie has mostly only been available as a bootleg ever since its original debut in 1990 (after a film festival premiere in 1989). Described as the movie that Home Alone ripped off, it's about a nerdy kid stuck at home on Christmas who goes to war with Santa when he invades his home. It "disturbed critics and the moviegoing public with its uncompromising look beneath the surface of the beloved holiday." Starring Alain Musy and Patrick Floersheim. I'd kill to see this on a big screen, looks totally awesome.
"We must think beyond the walls of this house… We must resist this occupation." Vertical Ent. has debuted an official US trailer for an indie survival drama titled Ashes in the Snow, based on the true story of a 16-year-old aspiring artist and her family deported to Siberia during World War II. The film is adapted from the bestselling novel "Between Shades of Gray", written by Ruta Sepetys, and that original title was changed to prevent any confusion with the Fifty Shades of Grey series (of books and movies). Bel Powley stars as Lina, with a full cast including Peter Franzén, Sophie Cookson, James Cosmo, Martin Wallström, Timothy Innes, Jonah Hauer-King, and Sam Hazeldine. This looks like a powerful, inspiring story of opposition but it also looks like pretty much every other WWII story of people being hauled off. Take a look.
"You need to lighten up!" Screen Media Films has debuted an official US trailer for an indie comedy titled Adult Life Skills, a coming-of-age about an almost-30 woman who needs to grow up and move out of her mum's shed in the backyard. This film originally premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival back in 2016, and also opened in the UK also in 2016. It's somehow just now getting a US release this January, almost three years later. Jodie Whittaker stars as Anna, a woman comfortable living in her mom's garden shed making funny videos all day with her thumbs, but as she approaches 30, she starts feeling the pressure to move on and "grow up" without compromising her youthful spirit. How quaint. In addition to Whittaker, the film's cast includes Edward Hogg, Lorraine Ashbourne, Brett Goldstein, Eileen Davies, Alice Lowe, and Ozzy Myers. Not really sure this is going to be that good unless you really connect with the main character.
"A big, bold masterpiece." The Cinema Guild & Film Forum have released an official US trailer for the latest film from acclaimed Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan, titled The Wild Pear Tree or Ahlat Agaci originally in Turkish. It will finally be opening in US cinemas (mostly only in NYC to start) in January, after premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in May, and stopping by the Toronto and New York Film Festivals earlier this fall. This film was one my favorite films at Cannes this year, and it has been on my mind quite a bit, since the dialogue is so formidable and intellectual. The story is about a young writer named Sinan who returns to his hometown, dealing with his family and his father, while also struggling to believe whether his dream of becoming a writer is still possible. Dogu Demirkol stars as Sinan, with Murat Cemcir, Bennu Yildirimlar, Hazar Ergüçlü, and Serkan Keskin. It's worth going to see if you're a fan of Ceylan's films.
"How to change the course of history?" HBO has revealed a full-length trailer for a movie called Brexit, also known as Brexit: The Uncivil War, which is actually a made-for-TV film but we can't help feature it anyway. Benedict Cumberbatch stars in this as Dominic Cummings, the now infamous political strategist who utilized controversial campaigning and social media tactics to successfully (unfortunately) spearhead the "Vote Leave" campaign. For those from America, Cummings seems to be the Steve Bannon of the UK, an outsider who riled up the public to make a rash decision that is still being debated. The cast includes John Heffernan, Rory Kinnear, Liz White, Richard Goulding, Paul Ryan, Oliver Maltman, Nicholas Day, and Lee Boardman. Made by the director of the Emmy-nominated "USS Callister" episode of "Black Mirror". This looks damn good; I dig the freshness of the look and feel, and that it shows all his dirty tricks.
"A Lynchian head trip." Whoa. Blue Fox Entertainment has unleashed an official red band trailer for a new "psycho-thriller" film titled Braid, which originally premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year. From filmmaker Mitzi Peirone, making her feature debut, the story is about two wanted women who decide to rob their wealthy psychotic friend who lives in the fantasy world they created as children. Say what? Yeah, this look trippy and wild and violent and dangerous. In order to get away with the money, the woman have to take part in a deadly perverse game of make believe. Peirone's Braid stars Madeline Brewer, Imogen Waterhouse, Sarah Hay, Scott Cohen, Brad Calcaterra, and Mary Looram. This certainly seems as crazy as it sounds, and the footage is quite wacky. Hard to make any sense of it, but I think that's the point.