love is strange trailer

In Love is Strange, John Lithgow and Alfred Molina play a gay couple who jump at the chance to finally get married. However, once news of the nuptuals reaches the church where one of them works, prejudice takes over and they’re forced to change their lifestyle completely. Written and directed by Ira Sachs, the film had strong buzz out of the Sundance Film Festival and was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics. It’ll be released on August 22 and a trailer has just arrived. Check it out below. Read More »

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Magic in the Moonlight trailer

2014 is turning out to be a big year for Emma Stone. She’s already had one big hit in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and has projects with Cameron Crowe and Alejandro González Iñárritu opening later this year. In between, she stars in Magic in the Moonlight, the latest from the prolific Woody Allen.

The Jazz Age dramedy stars Stone as a spirit medium who has won over a wealthy family in the South of France. Not everyone is totally convinced of her supernatural talents, though, and a stage magician (Colin Firth) is sent to debunk her. (So he’s a bit inspired by Harry Houdini, then?) Watch the first Magic in the Moonlight trailer after the jump.

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whiplash clip

Traditionally, when a movie wins either the Grand Jury and Audience Dramatic Awards at Sundance, it’s meant for big things. Then there are some really special films that win both. Precious and Fruitvale Station are two recent examples. This year’s Sundance opener Whiplash is another.

Directed by Damien Chazelle, Whiplash tells the dramatic story of Andrew (Miles Teller), a highly ambitious young drummer who finds himself under the wing of the most demanding, intimidating and influential music teacher in the country. That’s Terence Fletcher, played by J.K. Simmons. Those dueling passions sets up a battle of the wills as Andrew tries to prove himself for Fletcher, hoping he doesn’t have to face the frightening truth that he’s just not good enough.

You can read Russ’s Sundance review here, but in lieu of a trailer for the October 10 release, the first Whiplash clip has now made it online. In it, you’ll get a sense of the film’s incredible tension and powerful performances. Read More »

foxcatcher release date

Bennett Miller has directed two movies and both have been nominated for Best Picture. He’ll go for the three-peat this year with Foxcatcher. The true story starring Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo and Steve Carell was originally scheduled for release last December, but was delayed. Now Sony Pictures Classic and Annapurna have set the film for a November 14 release following a world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.  Read More »

Raid2berandal

The teaser trailer for The Raid 2: Berandal was one of the most impressive teasers I’ve ever seen, a meticulously constructed series of attention-grabbing moments. The sound design was ominous, the shots were spectacularly violent, and the editing was expertly executed. Sometimes, directors don’t have much say over how their films are marketed, but I just had this feeling that director Gareth Evans had a hand in how this teaser turned out. It felt like so much thought had been put into it.

Ever since I saw the teaser, I’ve been really curious to know how Evans conceived of it. I finally had the chance to chat with Evans extensively last night, and the material from that conversation will be used for a couple of upcoming video essays. First up: How Evans created The Raid 2: Berandal teaser trailer. Check it out his trailer commentary after the jump.

The Raid 2: Berandal is out in theaters now.

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Third Person trailer

If Valentine’s Day (or Love Actually, or New Year’s Eve, or He’s Just Not That Into You) were reimagined as a brooding drama instead of a fluffy comedy, it might look kind of like Paul HaggisThird Person. The drama follows three intersecting tales, each featuring a couple at a crossroads.

In Paris, a recently separated novelist (Liam Neeson) and a clever journalist (Olivia Wilde) are engaging in an affair. Over in Rome, an American businessman (Adrien Brody) is maybe being duped by a beautiful local (Moran Atias). And across the Atlantic, two exes (Mila Kunis and James Franco, giving us the Oz the Great and Powerful reunion we didn’t ask for) are battling over parental custody in New York City.

The first Third Person trailer has just hit the web, and you can check it out after the jump.

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raid-2-trailer-header-1b

Editor’s Note: The following review was originally published on January 22nd 2014 after the film’s premiere at Sundance. The review is being republished as the film is being released in New York and Los Angeles this weekend, and expanding in the coming weeks.

In the case of an action movie like The Raid, I can’t fault anyone who wants to set plot aside and simply enjoy the action. With The Raid 2, that approach becomes impossible. Writer/director/editor Gareth Evans puts lofty goals fully on display in this sequel, which expands in every direction relative to the original. The action is bigger and more diverse, the story is more complex, and more emphasis is placed on dramatic performances even as the film’s physical demands intensify. Where the first was a tightly controlled action film that jettisoned all but the skeleton of a plot, this sequel is a huge crime tale featuring several criminal organizations competing for power, the police trying to catch up, and one young cop caught squarely in the middle.

Premiering the film at Sundance in a prime slot is a strange experiment of sorts. The Raid 2 isn’t a thing for general audiences; this is a hardcore genre movie. The swirl of Evans’ dramatic ambitions are punctuated by ultra-violent choreography, like a machine-gun snare drum tracked into a piece of classical music. It’s a tricky balancing act. The Raid 2 navigates the test awkwardly at best, because the story never connects as solidly as do the film’s thousand punches. Read More »

The Raid 2 trailer

The theme of the newest The Raid 2 trailer might well be that old schoolyard maxim: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” There’s no dialogue, just a percussive score, lots of shouts, and the glorious sounds of breaking glass and crunching bone. Check it out after the jump.

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