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Original author: 
Germain Lussier

Short Term 12

At this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival, one film took home both top prizes awarded by the Grand Jury and Audience. That film, Destin Daniel Cretton‘s Short Term 12, opens August 23. Now you can get a look at the movie, as the first trailer has just been released.

Short Term 12 stars Brie Larson and John Gallagher Jr. as a young couple who have to balance their own personal issues with the problems of the displaced kids they oversee at a foster home. It’s a glorious, special film I gave a perfect 10/10 score. (My first.) Check out the trailer below and see what all the fuss is about.

Thanks to Yahoo Movies for the trailer, in which I’m quoted. It’s an honor.

I can’t stress enough how good Short Term 12 is. Cretton does a masterful job of balancing nearly every emotion imaginable in a beautiful story that’s uplifting, heartbreaking and filled with the kind of performances they study in film school. However, if you don’t believe me, the film’s official Twitter has been doing a great job of linking all kinds of reactions to the film’s festival run, where standing ovations and tears are the norm.

What did you think of the trailer?

Short Term 12 is told through the eyes of Grace (Brie Larson), a twenty-something supervisor at a facility for at-risk teenagers. Passionate and tough, Grace is a formidable caretaker of the kids in her charge – and in love with her long-term boyfriend and co-worker, Mason (John Gallagher Jr.). But Grace’s own difficult past – and the surprising future that suddenly presents itself – throw her into unforeseen confusion, made all the sharper with the arrival of a new intake at the facility: a gifted but troubled teenage girl with whom Grace has a charged connection. While the subject matter is complex, this lovingly realized film finds truth – and humor – in unexpected places. The second feature from Destin Daniel Cretton (I Am Not a Hipster), Short Term 12 also stars Kaitlyn Dever (Bad Teacher), Rami Malek (The Master), and Keith Stanfield.

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Original author: 
Russ Fischer

act-of-killing-trailer-header

I know no one who has emerged unscathed from The Act of Killing. The film might be one of the strangest ever made, as it forces men to confront their actions by recreating them in movie form. But these aren’t just any men — they’re guys like Anwar Congo who, as death squad leaders during the “Thirtieth of September Movement,” staged a coup d’etat in Indonesia in 1965, and then committed genocide through an anti-Communist purge.

Estimates of the death toll vary widely, from 80,000 to one million. By any standard, these are heinous crimes. ”War crimes are declared by the winners,” Anwar Congo says, before happily proclaiming “I’m the winner!”

Today Anwar and other death squad leaders have not been tried as criminals; rather, they hold positions of some social standing. The Act of Killing features their full cooperation. It invites the death squad leaders to recreate their actions as genre movies — westerns, musicals, and so on — and in so doing bring their past back to life. The trailer below shows you some of the effect, and even in this abbreviated form it is deeply chilling.

The Act of Killing hits limited theaters on July 19. Apple has the trailer.

In this chilling and inventive documentary, executive produced by Errol Morris (The Fog Of War) and Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man), the filmmakers examine a country where death squad leaders are celebrated as heroes, challenging them to reenact their real-life mass killings in the style of the American movies they love. The hallucinatory result is a cinematic fever dream, an unsettling journey deep into the imaginations of mass murderers and the shockingly banal regime of corruption and impunity they inhabit. Shaking audiences at the 2012 Toronto and Telluride Film Festivals, The Act of Killing is an unprecedented film and, according to the Los Angeles Times, “could well change how you view the documentary form.”

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What does it take to generate new interest in a property as well-worn as the Hannibal Lecter story sequence from novelist Thomas Harris? For the new TV show Hannibal, in which producer Bryan Fuller charts the early days of the working relationship between FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Lecter, a few things are obvious parts of the approach.

The cast is on. In addition to Dancy there’s the attention-getting choice of Mads Mikkelsen (Pusher, Casino Royale) as Lecter, with the addition of Laurence Fishburne, Gina Torres, Gillian Anderson, Eddie Izzard and Ellen Greene, with Caroline Dhavernas and Lance Henriksen.

And then there’s Fuller’s style, which oozes from this first full trailer. His weird American Gothic approach looks very much like a good fit for this story. We’ve seen the Lecter story told exhaustively on film (in Manhunter, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Hannibal Rising, and the Manhunter remake Red Dragon) but visually, at least, this version seems to go in a new direction. And while the story lends itself to the old procedural format that is so familiar from innumerable TV shows, that visual style helps Hannibal stand out.

Check out the trailer below.

Hannibal premieres in April.

 

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Here’s what looks like the surfer version of Dogtown and Z-Boys. The Australian film Drift is based on a true story of brothers who moved from surfing into the manufacture and sales of surf gear. It’s a ’70s-set tale of enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit, with Myles Pollard and Xavier Samuel in the lead roles, and Sam Worthington in a wig for a supporting role as the photographer who pushes them forward, but might also direct them towards the seductive potential of crime.

Morgan O’Neill and Ben Nott co-directed from a script by O’Neill. The last shot is pretty impressive, but there’s enough in the trailer as a whole that Drift looks like it’s worth a look. Check out the trailer below.

Thanks to Twitch for the trailer. Drift opens in Australia in 2013, and will have a US date announced in the near future. Here’s a long synopsis:

Australia, 1970s. The Kelly brothers, Andy and Jimmy, have one great passion: riding big waves. As kids, their mother escaped from Sydney to Margaret River, a sleepy coastal town with some of the world’s most challenging and dangerous waves. For the next 12 years, the boys perfected their surfing skills, always searching for the perfect ride. Free-spirited Jimmy is a gifted surfer and innovator but he starts to slip toward a life of crime to help the family out of debt. Andy makes a big decision. Quitting a stable job, he bets on Jimmy’s surf inventions and his own business skills and launches a backyard surf gear business. They rethink board design, craft homemade wetsuits and sell their merchandise out of their van.

Encouraged by their new friends, travelling bohemian surf photographer and filmmaker JB (Sam Worthington) and his gorgeous Hawaiian surfer companion, Lani, who stirs the two brothers’ hearts, they start to seek ways to expand. After they get mixed up with a local drug dealer, it looks like everything they built up, will be ruined… Set in breathtaking locations and inspired by the true story of Australia’s legendary surfwear moguls, the film chronicles the rise of surf brands and the expansion of the laidback surf attitude as a global lifestyle. A story of passion and corruption, friendship and loyalty, deadly addictions and fractured relationships, DRIFT tells a tale of courage and the will to survive against all odds.

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The ad campaign for Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty, which chronicles the mission that led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden by a Navy SEAL team, has been pretty low-key so far. But then, the studio hasn’t had to do much, as there has been a fair amount of publicity for the movie thanks to accusations that the original October release date was meant to remind audiences of President Obama’s role in the mission, just before the Presidential election takes place. There have been far more serious (but unproven) allegations that the film is based on access to classified data that was given illegally to the production.

Now it’s time to move beyond those talking points to look at the actual film. Derspite featuring Joel EdgertonJessica ChastainChris PrattKyle ChandlerMark Strong, and Jason Clarke, the teaser trailer showed few faces, and relied upon audio montage to set up the story of the hunt for Bin Laden. A few images later gave us a bit more. Now you can see a lot more of Bigelow’s follow-up to The Hurt Locker, in the full trailer below.

There’s some good stuff in there: Jason Clarke’s intro, the shot of James Gandolfini, and Kyle Chandler looking like he plays a companion role to his presence in Argo. I wonder about putting Chastain’s character front and center, and how she’ll work as the backbone to the entire story. This looks like the same sort of reality/fiction blend that worked very well in The Hurt Locker, and with that in mind, how much will the degree to which this might inevitably deviate from reality matter in the long run?

Apple has the trailer. Zero Dark Thirty‘s opens on December 19.

For a decade, an elite team of intelligence and military operatives, working in secret across the globe, devoted themselves to a single goal: to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden. Zero Dark Thirty reunites the Oscar(R) winning team of director-producer Kathryn Bigelow and writer-producer Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) for the story of history’s greatest manhunt for the world’s most dangerous man.

 

 

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There are some entertainment disciplines that have fallen slightly out of favor, thanks to new distractions. Puppeteers and magicians don’t get the attention they once did, unless they’re part of Jim Henson’s crew or have a wild gimmick.

But practitioners of fading arts keep going forward, even though they face a more difficult path now than ever. The Magic Life documents a number of would-be stage magicians as they struggle to make a life in the discipline. As it follows three aspiring illusionists (a 17-year-old from Beijing, a 25-year-old LA resident, and a 32-year-old businessman) we see the performers trying to perfect their craft, and deal with their own hopes and expectations as they reach for a career many people think foolish.

Check out the trailer below.

Based on this trailer, Nelson Cheng‘s doc may not be the most polished one, but he seems to have good subjects, and it is a topic that translates well to film. If the film gets under the skin of the three aspiring magicians, it might have something special to offer. [FSR]

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The first Snow White film, Mirror Mirror, is due out in a few weeks but the second one, Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and the Huntsman starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Therton, is still a few months out. It’ll be released in the United States on June 1 and while we’ve already seen a pretty revealing teaser trailer here, the shorter Japanese trailer for the film has some new footage. Check it out after the jump.

Thanks to Latino Review for the trailer and Script Flags for the embed.

Here’s the official plot synopsis:

In the epic action-adventure Snow White and the Huntsman, Kristen Stewart (Twilight) plays the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen (Oscar® winner Charlize Theron) who is out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth, Thor) who was dispatched to kill her. Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) joins the cast as the prince long enchanted by Snow White’s beauty and power. The breathtaking new vision of the legendary tale is from Joe Roth, the producer of Alice in Wonderland, producer Sam Mercer (The Sixth Sense) and acclaimed commercial director and state-of-the-art visualist Rupert Sanders.

The jury is still out on this film. It definitely has that epic look and feel to it but it’s lacking a hook to suck me in. Good early reviews could do that, or maybe a new trailer that’s longer with a little more of Kristen Stewart’s leading performance. Everything hinges on that but you get so little in these teasers.

What do you think?

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Richard Linklater‘s new film Bernie is a strange thing: a sort of comedy based on a true story in which a well-liked small town mortician, played by Jack Black, befriended a not-so well liked older widow, played by Shirley MacLaine… and reportedly murdered her. But it isn’t just the story that is strange: Bernie is co-written by Skip Hollandsworth, who wrote the Texas Monthly article that inspired the film, and it features interviews with the residents of the town where the actual story took place.

The new trailer for the film, which premiered last year at the LA Film Festival and will soon play SXSW, shows the movie’s comic tone, but also points to a more interesting aspect, thanks to the inclusion of some of the interviews with actual residents.

Some of the tone of the trailer is too lightly comic, but I can see the movie turning out to be a more layered narrative thanks to the inclusion of the almost-documentary elements. I’m hoping for this as an upswing for Jack Black, and it’s nice to see Matthew McConaughey in another role that plays to his strengths.

Yahoo will give you the HD trailer. A very extensive synopsis follows. Bernie will open on April 27.

In the tiny, rural town of Carthage, TX, assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede was one of the town’s most beloved residents.  He taught Sunday school, sang in the church choir and was always willing to lend a helping hand. Everyone loved and appreciated Bernie, so it came as no surprise when he befriended Marjorie Nugent, an affluent widow who was as well known for her sour attitude as her fortune. Bernie frequently traveled with Marjorie and even managed her banking affairs. Marjorie quickly became fully dependent on Bernie and his generosity and Bernie struggled to meet her increasing demands. Bernie continued to handle her affairs, and the townspeople went months without seeing Marjorie. The people of Carthage were shocked when it was reported that Marjorie Nugent had been dead for some time, and Bernie Tiede was being charged with the murder.

In this dark comedy, director Richard Linklater captures all the hilarity, friendliness, eccentricity and absolute strangeness of small-town Texas life.  Jack Black plays Bernie Tiede, Shirley MacLaine plays Mrs. Nugent, and Matthew McConaughey plays the town’s blustery real-life District Attorney, Danny Buck Davidson, who was determined to get to the bottom of the crime.  Co-written by Linklater and Skip Hollandsworth, BERNIE is a Mandalay Vision and Wind Dancer Films production.

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The teaser trailer for Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus — his return to the narrative landscape of his 1979 film Alien — was one of the best teasers we’ve seen in a long time. We have no idea if the script, heavily revised by Damon Lindelof from John Spaihts‘ original draft, is any good, or if the picture will hold a candle to Alien. But damn, it looks beautiful.

Here’s something that will give you a slightly better idea of what’s going on in Prometheus, however. It isn’t a trailer, and it isn’t footage from the film. Rather, it is something that plays right into the rumor that surfaced yesterday about the character played by Guy Pearce. What we’ve got is a TED Talk… from 2023. Check it out below.

As mentioned above, note that this is a promo clip only — as you’ll see in the credits below, it wasn’t directed by Ridley Scott, though he did oversee it. It does not appear in Prometheus.

So that’s Peter Weyland of Weyland Corp, aka one of the two companies that joined together to eventually become Weyland-Yutani, the corporate entity that plays a huge part in the Alien series. What does he have to do with the story in Prometheus? That talk should have given you a pretty good idea; it certainly doesn’t leave much to the imagination with respect to the legend of Prometheus and this film’s story.

Here’s what the TED page for this talk offers:

Peter Weyland has been a magnet for controversy since he announced his intent to build the first convincingly humanoid robotic system by the end of the decade.

Whether challenging the ethical boundaries of medicine with nanotechnology or going toe to toe with the Vatican itself on the issue of gene-therapy sterilization, Sir Peter prides himself on his motto, “If we can, we must.” After a three year media blackout, Weyland has finally emerged to reveal where he’s heading next. Wherever that may be, we will most certainly want to follow.

Conceived and designed by Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof and directed by Luke Scott.

There is more info about Peter Weyland at that page, too. And if you want more background on this clip, writer Damon Lindelof has a Q&A at TED where he talks about creating the video. He explains, in part,

I said, “l’ll write this thing, and we’ll put it in front of you guys, and if you think it’s cool, we would love to platform it at TED, and make it only viewable through TED.” Because I liked the idea of exposing a more general audience to, “Wait a minute, I’ve never heard of this thing. There’s more talks here.” I thought it could be mutually beneficial — as opposed to overtly cram-it-down-your-face viral marketing, which I don’t think anyone wanted to do.

Ridley Scott directed Prometheus; it stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Sean Harris, Kate Dickie, Rafe Spall, Logan Marshall-Green, Guy Pearce, and Patrick Wilson. The film will hit theaters June 8, 2012.

Ridley Scott, director of “Alien” and “Blade Runner,” returns to the genre he helped define. With PROMETHEUS, he creates a groundbreaking mythology, in which a team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a thrilling journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.

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Some of the biggest genre-oriented directors out of South Korea have, in addition to their signature features, dallied with segments in anthology films. Park Chan-wook (Oldboy) did a part in the film Three…Extremes; Bong Joon-ho (Mother, The Host) did a segment for Tokyo!; and Kim Jee-woon (I Saw the Devil, the upcoming Arnold Schwarzenegger movie The Last Stand) did a segment in 3 Extremes II.

Now Kim Jee-woon is going back to the anthology, as he is a producer and director on Doomsday Book, a three-part anthology about the end of the world. Yim Pil-sung (Hansel & Gretel) is his co-conspirator, with the directors each doing one segment solo and collaborating on the third. As his solo effort, Kim directs a segment about a robot that develops its own consciousness. (Pictured above.) An English-subbed trailer is now available; check it out below.

Frankly, a lot of this footage plays like parody — the cuts from dialogue like “the mysterious virus” to “you mean this robot thinks on its own?” to “the meteor is approaching” could be right out of a Saturday Night Live or late-night talk show comedy skit. But I have faith in Kim Jee-woon, and suspect there’s more going on here than suggested in this teaser.

There’s a bit of history to this one, as best I can tell the two solo segments were shot some time ago, with a third originally set to be done by director Han Jae-rim.  But Han’s story was never shot and the film went dormant for some time before Kim and Yim co-directed a third segment, allowing the film to be completed. (Twitch recounts some of that history.)

Here’s the official description of the film as it stands:

Two acclaimed Korean directors unfurl three unique stories of human self-destruction in the modern high-tech era. In a hope to restore the humane compassion in the insusceptible modern age, the film displays an alternative form of genuine humanity. And thus you are stepping into the world of future, where a series of unexpected stories awaits you. All these stories originate from the earth. From the very earth you live on.

The original reported plot descriptions for each of the three segments are below. Han’s segment is described as a musical, which should clue you in to the fact that the entire enterprise might not be quite as much a duplication of American sci-fi/disaster tentpoles as the footage above suggests. But we don’t know how much of that storyline survives in this version of the movie.

    • “Heaven’s Creation,” directed by Kim Jee-woon
      A story about a robot who gains consciousness and the absurdity that follows.
    • “The New Generation,” directed by Yim Pil-sung
      A clever action film told from the point of view of a boy who has become a zombie, this segment explores how humans lose control of planet Earth, becoming mere food for a different species.
    • “The Christmas Gift,” directed by Han Jae-rim (never shot)
      A musical movie that re-interprets the beautiful love story “The Christmas Gift” by O Henry, this project confronts the basic instincts of a woman and her last chance to survive after witnessing the end of the world.

 

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