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› Alex Winter on Making Docs
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› Shadow Director Zhang Yimou
› Darya Zhuk on Making Films
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"An eye for an eye." Netflix has debuted the first official trailer for a French crime thriller titled Earth and Blood, also known as La terre et le sang from its original French title. This is the latest film from director Julien Leclercq (Chrysalis, The Assault, The Bouncer), it takes place in the heart of the mountains where a man and his daughter, Said and Sarah, run a sawmill family business hiring mostly ex-cons and young offenders, one of whom hid some drugs in the factory. Things get rough when the gang shows up for their missing drugs. Starring Sami Bouajila and Samy Seghir, with Carole Weyers, Eriq Ebouaney, Sofia Lesaffre, and Eric Kabongo. This is an intense trailer! That music definitely kicks things into high gear when it really gets going. A bit overkill? The story itself seems mostly generic but otherwise this looks good.
"It's time to take control! The future's yours - if you want it." Verve Pictures has released an official UK trailer for an anthology project titled The Uncertain Kingdom, a title riff on the United Kingdom (aka UK). The project is a ground-breaking anthology of twenty short films by twenty filmmakers, which together offer an alternative snapshot of the UK in the year 2020. The aim is to offer "a unique portrait of our nation today" by telling different stories, featuring different people. There are animated shorts, live action shorts, documentary shorts, and more. For a full list of the different shorts and a glimpse at each one - head to the official website. "From comedies and dramas, through to documentaries and experimental filmmaking, and covering subjects including climate change, migration, disability, homelessness and sexuality, this ground-breaking anthology film gives exhibitors the chance to bring a multitude of new and established filmmaking voices to audiences to document and depict the UK at this pivotal – and uncertain – moment." Take a look.
"No one makes it out alive!" JB Films has released a trailer for an indie meta-horror horror film called For Jennifer, which originally premiered back in 2018 and is just now getting a VOD release. This is the latest in the Jennifer series created by Jody Barton and James Cullen Bressack. Jennifer, Stefanie, and Joey are making a movie. But soon the lines between what is a movie and what is real begin to disappear. And when making a horror movie, that can be a difference between life and death. Ooooooohhhhh so scary. The meta-horror aspect is because it's about a horror blogger who tries to make a horror movie who realizes there are other horror movies just like it and figures out she is also in a horror movie. Whew. The film stars Tiffani Fest, Felissa Rose, Dominique Swain, Lanett Tachel, Rich Finley, and Nick Kekeris. This is super duper, extra low budget - just seems like a bunch of friends having fun with horror more than anything else.
There is always something extra inviting when it comes to small villages located by the sea. Let's take one from Practical Magic. It makes you want to go there, meet all the people, it makes you feel free and happy. But it's the opposite feeling in Easter Cove, Maine presented in indie noir, Blow the Man Down. Directed and written by Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy, the film tells the story of Connolly sisters - Priscilla (Sophie Lowe), and Mary Beth (Morgan Saylor). After their mother's passing, the sisters have to figure out the way to save the house from bankruptcy and keep up with their store that Mary Margaret left them. Unfortunately, nothing goes as planned. After a run-in with a dangerous man (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), Mary Beth, with the help of Priscilla, tries to cover up his grim murder. Afterwards, both attempt to come back to their new normal; still, it's not easy, especially with the police asking questions and their mother's friends snooping around. One of them, Enid (Margo Martindale), is particularly interested in the sisters.
"Used to be the big dog in town… Don't try anything." Lionsgate has debuted an official trailer for the home invasion action thriller Survive the Night, which looks pretty much as generic and as forgettable as they come. How do they keep getting made? Does anyone watch? Bruce Willis drives the action in this gripping home-invasion thriller. A disgraced doctor and his family are held hostage at their home by criminals on the run, when a robbery-gone-awry requires them to seek immediate medical attention. In addition to Willis, the cast includes Chad Michael Murray, Lydia Hull, Tyler Jon Olson, Shea Buckner, and Jessica Abrams. It looks so unoriginal and so redundant, just sad that Bruce Willis keeps making movies like this.
"We should ask ourselves: is that useful in the modern world?" 1091 Media has unveiled the official trailer for a documentary titled Bias, that is of course about bias, and the toxic effects of "unconscious bias" (on society and the world and humanity). This first premiered at a festival a few years ago, and is finally getting a release on VOD next month. Bias challenges us to confront our hidden biases and understand what we risk when we follow our gut. Through exposing her own biases, award-winning documentary filmmaker Robin Hauser (Code: Debugging the Gender Gap) highlights the nature of implicit bias, the grip it holds on our social and professional lives, and what it will take to induce change. This sounds like a fascinating doc that couldn't be more important for today's world. Alas, I doubt it will be seen by as many people as it should be.
"The sport in its purest form - a hunt to kill." Quibi has revealed a full-length official trailer for a new film called Most Dangerous Game, another one of their launch offerings included as a "Movies in Chapters" selection (along with #FreeRayshawn). Even though we already have a "Most Dangerous Game"-esque film this year – The Hunt – here's yet another. Liam Hemsworth plays Dodge, who accepts the offer of a hunt to get out of debt. But turns out, he's not the hunter. He's the prey. "This action-thriller explores the limits of how far someone would go to fight for their life and their family. Let the games begin." This also stars Christoph Waltz, Sarah Gadon, Zach Cherry, Aaron Poole, Christopher Webster, Billy Burke, & Natasha Bordizzo. It actually looks solid, thanks to Waltz dropping another subtly creepy performance.
"Ohhhh, why did I date a white guy?! My friend Sharon was right!" Netflix has unveiled an official trailer for an action comedy called Coffee & Kareem, the latest movie from Canadian filmmaker Michael Dowse (Fubar, Goon, What If, Stuber). Twelve-year-old Kareem Manning hires a criminal to scare his mom's new boyfriend – police officer James Coffee – but it backfires, forcing Coffee and Kareem to team up in order to save themselves from Detroit's most ruthless drug kingpin. This stars Ed Helms and Taraji P. Henson, also joined by Betty Gilpin, RonReaco Lee, Andrew Bachelor (King Bach) and David Alan Grier. This looks painfully campy and so unoriginal it's hard to even laugh at any of the humor, especially from the kid. But maybe I'm really not the target audience for this kind of ridiculous comedy. Does it look that funny?
"Without fear, we are free!" Saban Films has unveiled an official trailer for the war film The Legion, from Spanish producer / director José Magán. Mickey Rourke and Bai Ling star in this epic tale of courage and heroism in a time of war. Set during the Roman–Parthian Wars, the film is about a Roman legion stuck in the snowy mountains of Armenia. Their only hope for survival is Noreno, a half-Roman soldier, who is entrusted with the impossible mission of crossing the deadly terrain to seek help for his men and turn the tide of the battle. Also starring Lee Partridge as Noreno, plus Joaquim de Almeida, Vladimir Kulich, Max Matveev, Bosco Hogan, Tristan McConnell, and Ciaran O'Grady. This looks a bit too bland, an excessive focus on one-on-one fights, and mostly people running through the wilderness. Still might be cool.
"This kind of pain and loss, it cracks you open… But we are made of magic and resilience, Libby." Quiver Distr. has debuted an official trailer for an indie romantic drama titled The Lost Husband, a feature film adapted from the novel of the same name by Katherine Center. Trying to put her life back together after the death of her husband, Libby and her children move to her estranged aunt's goat farm in central Texas. There she falls in with a "gruff farm manager with a tragic past" and, of course, starts to enjoy the country life. Leslie Bibb stars, along with Josh Duhamel, and also Sharon Lawrence, Kevin Alejandro, Georgia King, Carly Pope, Herizen F. Guardiola, Nora Dunn, and Isiah Whitlock Jr. This looks exactly like the country livin', charming, sweet farm romance you'd expect it to look like, which is a good thing this time.
"There's faces here, Greg. Faces live here… I see them when I close my eyes. They don't like us, Greg." It's always nice to move into a new home. Isn't it? Unless that new place is haunted. Place is a new short film from writer / director Jason Gudasz, and after premiering at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, it's now available to watch in full online. A young woman moves into a new house with her boyfriend and daughter. However, the spirits within the house plan to make their lives a living hell. Place stars Emily Green, Nick Hurley, and Stella Edwards. It's not really that scary, more unsettling, but it is still worth a watch. There's some clever filmmaking tricks in this, and slick cinematography. It reminds me a bit of the haunted house horror Girl on the Third Floor, and also Donnie Darko (all the mirror scenes). Watch below.
"The single biggest threat to man's continued dominance on the planet is the virus." A quote from Nobel laureate Joshua Lederberg, Ph.D, that is shown at the beginning of Outbreak. In just a few months, followed by a few weeks of frantic decision making, the entire world has been upended by a virus. We still don't know when things will get back to "normal", or if they'll ever get back to normal, but for the time being everything is changing before our eyes and there's nothing we can do besides wait and see. Stay at home and stay safe. Ride out the storm and wait for sunny skies after it's all over. The biggest change affecting this website, and every reader, is that cinemas worldwide have shut their doors. Most countries have passed emergency laws requiring all entertainment venues, including all cinemas, to close down until further notice. Thankfully we have digital libraries at our fingertips, but I still miss the cinema. I wish I could still see films in theaters…