first cow trailer

Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow opens with a quote from Romantic poet William Blake: “The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.” In Blake’s estimation, these are the active creations of each species – as well as their homes and resting places. Humans take refuge in each other through the creation of social connection and affinity. It is natural.

How fitting that Reichardt should choose to amplify this worldview in her latest film given how her films argue that we are communal, collective creatures at heart – and much of our misery stems from the presumption that we can survive without the support of others. Her Oregon-set oeuvre has largely made this case by depicting the intimate tragedies of people who experience the pitfalls of a society that places a premium on self-sufficiency. First Cow, on the other hand, points toward a positive alternative where people can succeed not at the expense of others but in cooperation with them. Her statement is all the more potent given the genre conventions in which the film largely operates: the Western.

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First Cow Review

(This review originally ran during our coverage of the New York Film Festival last year. First Cow is now available on VOD.)

Her films might not blare “it’s the economy, stupid,” but make no bones about it – Kelly Reichardt’s cinema frequently obsesses over how the mechanics of commercial arrangements affect interpersonal relationships. Though micro in scale, her films are macro in mindset. Her latest look at the subject, First Cow, goes all the way back to the fledgling days of American capitalism. The film finds an effective and ultimately touching contrast between the friendships born of enterprising businessmen and the ruthlessness of competing with entrenched elites.

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first cow digital release

Before the coronavirus changed everything, Kelly Reichardt‘s First Cow was generating great buzz from film fans. After a successful festival run, A24 released the movie to theaters March 6, 2020. But by the end of March,  movie theaters were shutting down, and A24 pulled First Cow, with promises to re-release it theatrically when things were back to normal. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like things will be back to normal anytime soon, and as a result, A24 will now release First Cow on digital next week.

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Streamer's Guide to March 2020

(Welcome to The Streamer’s Guide, a new monthly feature recommending at-home viewing options from filmmakers with new movies arriving in theaters this month.)

March is when the movie year feels like it really kicks off in earnest. The studios start putting their best foot forward, not just taking out their trash. The indie labels put out some of prior year’s festival hits that weren’t quite built for an Oscar run – but are nonetheless incredibly impressive titles. Last year’s films finally start to surrender their screens at the multiplex and head to streaming, leaving audiences with many exciting new options.

This year, we’re getting two Cannes competition entries, a (potentially) bold reimagining of a Disney classic, a movie recently feared canceled, a sequel to one of 2018’s biggest original hits, a standout feature from an American indie legend and a movie about how a deerskin jacket turns a man on to crime. And that’s just what I covered here! Read on to find out not only what to see in March 2020 but also what you should be watching at home now to prepare for some of the month’s highest profile releases.

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first cow trailer

Meek’s Cutoff and Wendy and Lucy director Kelly Reichardt has a talent for portraying the American working class experience through quiet, contemplative frontier dramas — letting humanity shine through the grim wilderness. Her latest film, First Cow, does that as well, but under the cover of a rather quirky premise: a cook and a refugee strike up a close friendship and an unusual business deal by stealing milk from a cow. It sounds like the set-up for a joke, but it is in fact the foundation for one of the most lovely and tender portrayals of male friendship in some time. Watch the First Cow trailer below.

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Kristen Stewart in Certain Women trailer

It’s going to be a while before we get to see some of our most highly anticipated fall films, but with summer winding down at least the marketing for these movies is in full swing. Today brings the first trailer for #21 on our list, Certain Women. The new drama by Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy) is really three dramas intertwined, led by four fine actresses: Michelle WilliamsKristen StewartLaura Dern, and newcomer Lily Gladstone.

The women don’t necessarily have a lot in common, but all four are trying to make their way in the lonely Montana plains. Certain Women has already received some excellent reviews on the festival circuit, starting with Sundance earlier this year, and now it’s finally headed to theaters. Watch the Certain Women trailer below.  Read More »

VOTD: Are These the 20 Greatest Films by Women Directors?

Bright Star

It’s no secret that filmmaking tends to be a boys’ club. Just today, USC released a study of 109 movies put out by major studios in 2014; just 3.4% of movie directors represented were female. But it’s a mistake to overlook or ignore the major contributions women have made to the medium, as evidenced by this elegant video essay of the best female-directed films of all time. The titles were pulled from a survey of 50 critics, and they all sorts of genres and topics across seven decades. Watch “The 20 Greatest Films by Women Directors” after the jump.
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Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we talk about self-centered citizens of the world who think they’re precious little snowflakes, talk about gender identification inside Cuba, patent trolls, a tour of Greece you wouldn’t have expected, showcase an oldie but goodie from director Kelly Reichardt, and OG Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferringo, stars in a cinematic car accident that looks truly delicious.

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Night Moves trailer

Following the release of an international promo last week, a second Night Moves trailer has been released, this time for the U.S. market. The Kelly Reichardt-directed thriller stars Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, and Peter Sarsgaard as a trio of radical environmentalists who join forces to blow up a dam.

Though all three profess to live by the ideals that led them to this extremist act in the first place, it’s not long before paranoia, doubt, and distrust set in. Watch the video after the jump.

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Night Moves trailer

Following well-received debuts at Toronto and Venice last fall, Kelly Reichardt‘s Night Moves is now gearing up for a theatrical release. The thriller stars Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning as a couple of young environmentalists who go a little extreme for their cause — like, blowing up a dam extreme — and then have to deal with the consequences. Peter Sarsgaard also stars, as explosives expert who’s also involved in the plot.

The first Night Moves trailer has just hit the web, and you can watch it after the jump.

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