Trailers Spotlight: TENET and DOWNHILL

Happy Friday, folks! I was going to post TENET trailer last night when it first arrived, but didn’t get a chance to do so. Then his morning, I received a trailer news release of a movie I didn’t even know was being made, DOWNHILL. Well, as I always like to mix the tone/genre/style when posting trailers, these two are perfect to highlight.

TENET

An action epic revolving around international espionage, time travel, and evolution.

Every single trailer of Christopher Nolan‘s movies always had me salivating and wish I could see it as soon as possible. Well, the same with TENET, which plot is still shrouded in mystery, but based on the deliberately-vague IMDb description and poster, it has an INCEPTION vibe all over it. I’m already sold when they said it’ll be a a time travel spy movie!!

I LOVE seeing John David Washington in the lead role, who was excellent in BlacKkKlansman. He sure has the screen presence like his thespian father Denzel, not to mention an enigmatic charisma. The movie itself teases something ominous, as Washington’s character and Clémence Poésy‘s talking about preventing world war III and dealing with something worse than a nuclear holocaust.

One thing is clear that there’ll be time traveling involved… it shows Washington’s character dying then coming back to life. When Martin Donovan‘s character said ‘welcome to the afterlife’ it literally gave me the chills!

As for the cast, I’m becoming more and more interested in seeing Robert Pattinson on screen, and though he doesn’t speak in the trailer, I think his role is an important one. Then of course there’s the Nolan’s regular, Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh. Aaron Taylor-Johnson gets top billing on IMDb for some reason, not sure what role he’ll play. Also nice to see Elizabeth Debicki and Himesh Patel among the ensemble cast.

Everything about this trailer looks mysterious and thrilling. Ludwig Göransson‘s score sounds terrific too, but then again most of Nolan’s  films have such fantastic soundtrack. Billed as Nolan’s most ambitious movie yet (boy that’s saying a lot!) comes with a reported budget of more than $220 million. It’s shot and will be released in the IMAX format, but unfortunately, we’ve got such a long wait as the movie isn’t released until July 17, 2020.


Barely escaping an avalanche during a family ski vacation in the Alps, a married couple is thrown into disarray as they are forced to reevaluate their lives and how they feel about each other. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell star in this biting comedy.

I’m sold on the two leading cast for this one, which is based on the Swedish film Force Majeure. I hadn’t got a chance to see that acclaimed film, which also took place in the French Alps. I haven’t seen Julia Louis-Dreyfus in any movie before, but the pairing with Will Ferrell as husband and wife sounds like a genius idea!

Comedic writing duo Nat Faxon and Jim Rash won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Descendants, a familial comedy during a vacation that deals with a rather difficult subject. Their co-writer Jesse Armstrong, is a British writer who did In the Loop and creator of the HBO show Succession. So plenty of acclaimed talents behind this one. This black comedy is released just in time for Valentine’s Day next year for those who prefer something darker than a rom-com.


What do you think of these trailers? 

Spotlight on FIVE Highly-Anticipated Fall Movies (Sept – Oct)

Happy Labor Day weekend, folks!

Can you believe it there is just one more day until September… which means Fall is looming around the corner. Weather-wise, I do love Autumn, though I’m not ready to give up Summer just yet. But in terms of movies, Fall is jam packed with a ton of intriguing movies leading up to award season. Now, there are simply too many to include in a single post, so I’m only going to narrow things down to just movies released theatrically in the US in September & October only. So here we go in order of release:

Downton Abbey (Sept 20)

The continuing story of the Crawley family, wealthy owners of a large estate in the English countryside in the early 20th century.

Ok so I’m not a diehard Downton fan, heck I didn’t even watch the last two seasons. But I did watch enough of season 1-2 to know who everyone is, and seeing the trailer did make me want to see it! The visuals look sumptuous and having the royals visit Downton would surely bring an extra dose of drama, not that the Crawleys are ever lacking of that. I’m most excited to see Dame Maggie Smith, let’s see what sort of quotable remarks she’ll make this time around. There are new cast members added as well, Imelda Staunton and Tuppence Middleton, both I’m familiar with from various British movies.

JUDY (Sept 27)

Legendary performer Judy Garland arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts.

I’m always intrigued by biopic about tortured artists, be it a painter, actor, singer, what have you. The trailer really moved me, despite me not having seen The Wizard of Oz in its entirety (yeah I know, I know) and not knowing much about Judy Gardland. I almost didn’t recognize Renee Zellweger the first time I saw her in the trailer, sounds like a role that might nab her some kudos come award season.

The Laundromat (Sept 27)

A widow investigates an insurance fraud, chasing leads to a pair of Panama City law partners exploiting the world’s financial system.

Oh man, this is one of those movies you watch for the cast!! Yes the premise definitely sounds intriguing and it looks like a fun movie despite its serious subject matter. But man, seeing Gary Oldman (what’s with his hilarious accent!) + Antonio Banderas behaving badly w/ Meryl Streep hellbent on exposing them, yeah I’m down for this!

Plus there are a ton of great actors in supporting roles, too: Jeffrey Wright, Robert Patrick, David Schwimmer, Will Forte, Matthias Schoenaerts, James Cromwell and Sharon Stone. I didn’t know Scott Z. Burns wrote this too, which I shouldn’t be surprised as he frequently collaborates with Steven Soderbergh. I hope to catch this in the theaters before it’s released on Netflix!

JOKER (Oct 4)

An original standalone origin story of the iconic villain not seen before on the big screen, it’s a gritty character study of Arthur Fleck, a man disregarded by society, and a broader cautionary tale.

I have blogged about this film before when the first trailer hit, but I’m including it here as the second trailer just came out yesterday which got me even more excited!! It’s been revealed that this film will be R-rated, and from everything I’ve seen it certainly looks genuinely ominous and dark, promising us a thrilling, suspenseful, emotional crime drama.

Per Indiewire, apparently director Todd Philips ‘spent a full year trying to convince the studio to allow him to make the violent and edgy comic book movie. He referenced 70s R-rated adult dramas Taxi Driver, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The King of Comedy as his inspirations. Apparently it took months for the director to convince Joaquin Phoenix to do the role. Apparently he signed on after he’d play the Joker as “a complex flesh-and-blood character in shades of gray rather than a black-and-white cartoon villain.”

Parasite (Oct 11)

Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.

I first heard of this movie when it won the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the first Korean film to ever win it. I’ve only seen Snowpiercer from director Bong Joon Ho, which I think is an excellent film. There have been plenty of films about the haves and the have-nots, but this dark comedy looks like something out of the beaten path and looks visually ravishing as well.

Apparently it got a 10 mins standing ovation at Cannes, which in and of itself isn’t a guaranteed that the general public will love it, but certainly made one curious nonetheless. An original story is always a welcome respite in a sea of reboots, sequels and franchises. The trailer promises us something unique that offers plenty of mysteries to keep us guessing.


I have blogged about Jojo Rabbit in this post, which is definitely one of my most-anticipated movies coming out in October!


So any of these on YOUR list of anticipated Fall movies? Let me know which ones that you can’t wait to see!

 

Trailers Spotlight: HARRIET and JOJO RABBIT

Happy [almost] Friday, folks! Today we have a set of trailers I think are worth checking out, and per tradition, I always like to mix the tone/genre/style when posting trailers. Both of these films deal with the horrifying injustices befallen our humanity, slavery and the holocaust, but done in two very different ways. One is a biopic drama and the other an anti-hate satire, both to be released this Fall.

HARRIET

Based on the story of iconic freedom fighter Harriet Tubman, her escape from slavery and subsequent missions to free dozens of slaves through the Underground Railroad in the face of growing pre-Civil War adversity.

I first saw Cynthia Erivo in Steve McQueen’s extremely-underrated thriller WIDOWS (one of my top 10 of 2018). I was so impressed with her performance, her feature film debut no less, that I’m thrilled to see her leading this overdue biopic. I’m surprised there hasn’t been any film made about Harriet Tubman, a real-life hero who’s become an icon of courage and freedom.

Glad to see a black, female director at the helm of this important film. This is Kasi Lemmons‘ fifth feature film, the last one she directed was Black Nativity (2013). Looks like we can expect a thrilling, intense and gut-wrenching biopic, I’m already tearing up watching the trailer. Of course some people surely have issues with Erivo’s casting, given that she’s British. Originally her Widows‘ co-star Viola Davis was supposed to play Tubman for HBO but not sure what happened to that project. But then again, a bunch of other Brits have played iconic American heroes, i.e. Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln and David Oyelowo portrayed Martin Luther King Jr. Erivo may not be an American, but she does have African heritage (Nigerian) and who’s to say she won’t be able to do Harriet Tubman justice if she wasn’t born in the US? Apparently there are calls for boycotts which I think is just sad.

Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr. and Joe Alwyn also star in this film, and it’ll have its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival in September and opens in theaters on November 1st. Fingers crossed it will also make the TCFF lineup this year!


A young boy whose imaginary friend is Hitler finds out his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home.

Anything by visionistical (apparently he coined a new term) filmmaker Taika Waititi always intrigues me. Described as an anti-hate satire by the filmmaker, it’s based on a book called Caging Skies by Christine Leunens, a US-born novelist who lives in New Zealand. It’s worthy of note not only because Waititi is one of the most exciting filmmakers working today, but here he also plays the imaginary friend, that is Hitler himself. Per IMDb, when Taika who is Jewish, was asked about why he chose to play the role of [a plumb] Adolf Hitler he said “The answer’s simple, what better f***you to the guy” Ha! You gotta love his zany brand of humor.

I’m thrilled to see Thomasin McKenzie amongst the cast, the NZ breakout star of Leave No Trace, another movie on my Top 10 list of last year. She plays the young Jewish girl hiding in the German boy’s (Roman Griffin Davis) attic. Scarlett Johansson plays his mother and the rest of the star-studded cast include Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, and Sam Rockwell. 

This has that dark comedy whimsy that’s quintessentially Taika’s… it’s wacky and irreverent yet with a touch of earnestness. What We Do In The Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Thor: Ragnarok are all immensely watchable and highly-quotable, I have a feeling this one would be as well.

Jojo Rabbit will also have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and opens in theaters on October 18th. Man, I’m officially excited for Fall movies now, though no, I’m not ready for summer to be over yet.

 


Thoughts on these trailers, folks?

Trailers Spotlight: ‘Knives Out’ and HULU’s ‘Four Weddings & A Funeral’ miniseries

Film/Show trailers come out every day, but only a few are worth posting about. Well, yesterday TWO trailers came out that caught my eye. Yes they couldn’t be more different from each other in terms of plot, tone and setting, but I’m excited for both! So let’s start with the Rian Johnson‘s star-studded whodunnit thriller…

A detective investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative family.

I mean, just LOOK. AT. THIS. CAST.

It’s gotta be quite a feat just scheduling THIS kind of ensemble to be in the same room, dayum! Looking at some of the character names on IMDb, sounds like Captain America and General Zod are related? With the Scream Queen herself Jamie Lee Curtis, James Bond’s got his work cut out for him to solve this case, ha!

And here’s the trailer…

After directing Star Wars: The Last Jedi in 2017, writer/director Rian Johnson is now channeling Alfred Hitchcock and Agatha Christie in his family murder mystery with an amazing cast! Right off the bat it reminds me of the excellent miniseries Ordeal by Innocence on Amazon Prime starring Bill Nighy as the patriarch of a wealthy family. This one seems far more comedic, at least from the way the trailer is cut. Interesting to see Christopher Plummer co-starring with Daniel Craig in similar roles as in David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which I saw not too long ago. Apparently Craig’s character Benoit Blanc is described as an American Poirot, but what is that accent??! In any case, the scene stealer in this trailer is definitely Chris Evans, shedding his Cap’s goody-two-shoes image with his devil-may-care attitude and a potty mouth. I’m SO down for this suspenseful-but-mirthful wild ride this promises to be. I quite enjoyed Looper, though I should check out Brick one of these days.

KNIVES OUT is released on 27 November, perfect for the Thanksgiving holiday where family gatherings can be murder 😉


Maya, the young communications director for a New York senatorial campaign, receives a wedding invitation from her college schoolmate now living in London. She leaves her professional and personal life behind, in favor of traveling to England and reconnecting with old friends and ends up in the midst of their personal crises. Relationships are forged and broken, political scandals exposed, London social life lampooned, love affairs ignited and doused, and of course there are four weddings… and a funeral.

Now, normally I’m not into remakes of a classic, especially when it’s one of my all time favorites. But when I heard that Mindy Kaling is writing this miniseries AND I saw the cast includes the lovely Nathalie Emmanuel and my current crush Nikesh Patel, I’m SO down for this! Plus the original exec producer/writer Richard Curtis (who also wrote my fave rom-coms Notting Hill, Love Actually, About Time, etc.) himself is involved in this project.

I LOVE that they’re still setting this in London with a diverse cast. Ok my only gripe is the ‘Ryan Gosling dipped in caramel’ comment. Puh-leeze! The Goz wishes he’s got cut-glass cheekbones and voice like Mr. Patel! Glad Nikesh gets to use his own British accent this time, while Nathalie is playing American – not sure why, but I wonder if she’s related to Andie MacDowell’s character Carrie from the original movie who’s also part of this cast.

In any case, I’ve been enjoying the British Indian actor since my bestie Vony tipped me to watch Indian Summer (it’s on Amazon Prime, highly recommended!!). It’s like Downton Abbey but with more POC cast + more intrigue and higher stakes.  It’s time for him to shine as a romantic leading man and based on this trailer, methinks he’ll steal plenty of hearts!

Now, I suppose they could make an entirely new series that’s inspired by the 1994 classic, but considering how tough it is to launch any new tv show, sometimes leveraging something that’s beloved in people’s mind might get more attention. I don’t know what the real reason is, but in the case of this particular series, I’m willing to give this one the benefit of the doubt. A fresh new spin on a classic isn’t automatically bad, so yeah, I look forward to July 31 for the premiere!


Thoughts on these trailers, folks?

Trailer Spotlight: JOKER (2019) starring Joaquin Phoenix

Once in a while, a trailer pops up that’s too good NOT to blog about. In a time crowded with superhero movies and shows, it’s refreshing to see films that present an origin story of a villain. Now, I’m not saying I welcome films that glorify violence, but stories about flawed people are inherently more interesting.

Check it out…

A failed stand-up comedian is driven insane and becomes a psychopathic murderer.


I always thought it’d be hard to top Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight. I thought Jared Leto was absolutely rubbish in the Suicide Squad, his interpretation is showy but lacking substance. More annoying than actual menace.

But Joaquin Phoenix… WOW. Judging from this trailer alone, this film looks poised to be a chilling origin story of a tragic character… This is NOT the Joker I’m familiar with. Here he’s a failed stand-up comedian who’s driven insane and becomes a psychopathic murderer. This is actually the first Todd Phillips movie I’m really looking forward too, and no, I haven’t seen any of the Hangover movies.

Before I go on about the trailer, can I say I LOVE this poster? The protagonist in a mask looking up at the gritty, dusty-looking letters that make up the title, followed up with ‘put on a happy face’ tagline makes for a stunning and highly evocative first impression. Hard to tell if the smudges are makeup or blood, which makes it all the more disturbing.

This is one eerie, evocative, affecting trailer that I’ve watched half a dozen times today. The use of Jimmy Durante‘s version of the classic song SMILE is particularly effective. Anachronistic elements can work to great effect when use properly and it certainly makes me think of the song in a whole new way (I’ve actually only heard the Nat King Cole’s version).

The trailer shows Arthur in his happier (normal) times, dancing with his ailing mother, even going on a date.

But as life dealt him one one bad blow after another, he slowly descends into madness. Interesting that the film shows him aspiring to be a standup comedian before he becomes y’know, the psychotic murderer that terrorizes Gotham City.

Speaking of Gotham, I have to say the cinematography looks absolutely gorgeous!! DP Lawrence Sher is definitely one to watch. The colors, the grittiness, and how he lights each scene… exquisite!

But the main draw for me here for me is Joaquin’s performance, which already sends chills down my spine. He’s definitely one of the best actors working today and hey, if Heath Ledger got a posthumous Oscar for playing The Joker in The Dark Knight, perhaps Joaquin has a shot? His performance seems worthy of such kudos.

Casting wise, I like seeing Brian Tyree Henry (love him in Widows, If Beale Street Could Talk, Hotel Artemis) and Zazie Beetz (who’s awesome in Deadpool 2) as part of the cast.  I almost didn’t recognize Robert De Niro in the trailer until I saw he’s listed on IMDb.

Oh and speaking of Gotham’s other famous resident… well you might’ve spot Thomas Wayne speaking on TV about Joker as ‘someone who hides behind a mask’ (ahah just like his own son who becomes the caped crusader!) Here young Bruce Wayne is also shown in this rather ominous scene… which means the Joker is much older than Batman in this version.

Ok I think I’ve said enough. Can’t wait to see this. October 4 is quite a long wait!!


What did YOU think of this trailer?

Trailers Spotlight: Dumbo | Hotel Mumbai | Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

Hi everyone! Happy First Day of Spring! Stay tuned for our reviews of Jordan Peele’s Us movie and Shazam! coming later this week.

For now, I thought I’d post some trailers for a couple of upcoming movies (I’m seeing the press screenings next week) … and one that just dropped today!

DUMBO

I actually don’t remember much about the Disney cartoon version of Dumbo, I was more affected by Bambi as a kid. But when the first trailer dropped last year I was so moved by it that I teared up! In fact, I couldn’t stop my tears from falling every time I heard the ‘Baby Mine’ rendition by Norwegian singer Aurora Aksnes.

I don’t usually get super excited over Tim Burton movies, but this one looks really good! It’ll certainly be a darker take than the animated version, which is usually the case with the live-action remake. I do love the cast, Michael Keaton, Colin Farrell, Danny Devito and Eva Green who’s perfect as a circus aerialist. The young actress Nico Parker looks so much like Zoe Saldana I thought she’s the one playing her younger version in Avengers: Infinity War.

Can’t wait for the screening next Tuesday, I’ll be sure to pack tissues!


HOTEL MUMBAI

Dev Patel is on a roll. He’s got two films I’m looking forward to, this one and Wedding Guest. I can’t recall much about the events in 2008 this film is based on, where the famed Taj Hotel was under siege by terrorists in Mumbai. This film is a dramatization of the real life events, which is also the subject of the 2009 Emmy-nominated documentary feature Surviving Mumbai (now renamed Mumbai Massacre).

The trailer looks quite gripping and it’s got a pretty good score so far on Rotten Tomatoes. Armie Hammer and Jason Isaacs and one of my fave Indian character actors Anupam Kher. Per IMDb, a significant amount of actual dialogue in the film was repeated verbatim being taken from original transcripts of actual intercepted mobile phone calls during the 2008 siege.


ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

Well, well, well,  the Summer of ’69 just dropped on the first day of Spring! [somehow now I’ve got that Bryan Adams song stuck in my head!]

Surely you’ve seen the rather ho-hum official poster that dropped a couple of days ago. Well the memes have been hilarious, but as a huge fan of Eileen Steinbach’s amazing poster designs, I thought I’d include her version instead…

In any case, two of Hollywood’s biggest stars Brad Pitt & Leonardo DiCaprio collide in Tarantino’s ninth feature film, which QT himself has dubbed “the most exciting star dynamic duo since Robert Redford and Paul Newman.”

Well I dunno about you but the one thing that had me do a double take in the teaser is the Bruce Lee scene! Wow, I thought they did some serious special effects to get the real martial arts legend to fight Brad Pitt here…

I had to check out WHO that actor is who played Bruce Lee, he’s uncanny! Well, his name is Mike Moh and guess what, he grew up in St Paul Minnesota and according to IMDb he now runs a martial arts school in Madison, Wisconsin?? 🤯

In any case, well the teaser looked intriguing. I love historical fiction, especially involving the movie industry. It reminds me a bit of the Coens’ Hail, Caesar! though given the Charles Manson connection, it’ll certainly have some dark stuff despite the lighthearted tone of the trailer. It is a Tarantino movie after all. Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate is spot-on casting right there. Oh and apparently Tom Cruise was supposed to play the Brad Pitt’s role of stuntman Cliff Booth but had scheduling conflict filming Top Gun: Maverick. Hmmm, that would’ve been interesting to see Cruise playing Leo’s stuntman!


What do you think of these trailers? Which ones are you most looking forward to?

TWIN CITIES FILM FEST 2018 tickets on sale today! 20 of My Most-Anticipated Selections

October is already here! And most of you know it’s always an exciting month for me thanks to TCFF!

Well, TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW… so if you haven’t looked at the diverse and inspiring lineup yet, you better get them asap before they sell out!

Check out the full lineup »
Click on the Buy Tickets button on its individual film page.

Once again, the 11-day film festivities runs from October 17-27 at Kerasotes ShowPlace ICON Theatres at The Shops at West End with ICON•X. Click the handy schedule grid below in PDF format.

Now, it’s hard to pick just a few to get excited about as there are simply too many great ones premiering at this year’s fest. So I come up with twenty of must-see movies, broken down by two categories. I’ve also posted the list of the daily schedules below. Films by female filmmakers are marked with an asterisk (*).

Indie and MN-connected Features:

Time For Ilhan*

Director: Norah Shapiro
An eye-opening documentary that follows the 2016 Minnesota House of Representatives campaign of Ilhan Omar, a Somalian immigrant who sets out to unseat a 43-year incumbent and other challengers.

As an immigrant living in Minnesota, this film obviously resonates with me. It’s a film by women AND about women. But surely this is an important film regardless of your background, and I’m thrilled to see this documentary be a part of this year’s TCFF!!

Inventing Tomorrow*

Director: Laura Nix
“Inventing Tomorrow” follows six young scientists from Indonesia, Hawaii, India and Mexico as they tackle some of the most complex environmental issues facing humanity today – right in their own backyards. Each student is preparing original scientific research that he or she will defend at ISEF, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Framed against the backdrop of the severe environmental threats we now face, the audience is immersed in a global view of the planetary crisis, through the eyes of the generation that will be affected by it most.

I love docs that highlights young people, especially young people of color! Yes the fact that I’m from Indonesia and there’s a student from my homeland immediately appeals to me but really, this sounds like an inspiring doc that would make us hopeful about our future.

Rich Kids*

Director: Laura Somers
A group of troubled teens from a low-income community break into “Los Ricos”, the local mansion with a border fence, and spend the day pretending to be rich in order to forget their difficult lives.

It’s another film by a female filmmaker which subject matter intrigues me. Who hasn’t tried to escape from difficult circumstances in our lives? But for these kids, that escape seems more elusive than most.

Noah Wise

Director: Ben Zuckert
As a saxophonist’s quartet comes to an end, he meets a singer-songwriter whose career is just beginning.

I love indie movies that deals with music/musicians. The preview just looks like something I’d enjoy. It reminds me a bit of the indie romance Dust Storm from a years ago that premiered at TCFF, and the storyline also has a bit of that A Star Is Born vibe to it.

Origin Story*

Director: Kulap Vilaysack
Twenty years after learning about her biological father, Kulap Vilaysack finally asks the questions that will lead her to him.

As someone who grew up without a dad, I feel fortunate that at least I knew who my dad was even if he didn’t raise me. I can’t imagine the intricate and likely painful journey of those trying to track down their biological parent. This sounds like a heart-warming tale that’ll sure to linger after the end credits roll.

Lez Bomb*

Director: Jenna Laurenzo
A comedy about a young woman who struggles telling her overbearing mother that the friend she brought home for Thanksgiving is actually her girlfriend.

Thanksgiving with family can be a wonderful as well as stressful time, and that’s why it always makes for an intriguing subject matter. This comedy will sure resonate with anyone who’s ever had a trepidation about sharing a secret with a family member, especially during the holidays.

Sadie*

Director: Megan Griffiths
“Sadie” is the story of a girl who will stop at nothing to preserve her father’s place on the home front. Sadie (Sophia Mitri Schloss) is the daughter of a soldier and models herself after his military example. When her mom (Melanie Lynskey) begins dating a new man (John Gallagher, Jr.), Sadie vows to drive him out by whatever means necessary. He is the enemy, and if she’s learned anything from the world she inhabits, it’s that the enemy deserves no mercy. Also starring Tony Hale, Danielle Brooks, Tee Dennard and Keith L. Williams.

I LOVE Melanie Lynskey and so I’m glad to see her in a film in this year’s fest! But sounds like Sophia Mitri Schloss is the breakout star here in this emotional family drama.

Humor Me

Director: Sam Hoffman
“Humor Me” is a heartfelt father-son comedy about a struggling playwright who is forced to move in with his joke-telling dad in a New Jersey retirement community and learns, as his father often says, “life’s going to happen, whether you smile or not.”

I feel like this ‘down on his luck guy moving back in with his parents’ story has been told many time before, but it instantly feels fresh with Jemaine Clement, one of the awesome musical duo of Flight of the Concords and of course, my all time fave vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows!

American Tender

Director: C.J. Renner
It was never just a date.

I’ve become a fan of MN filmmaker CJ Renner since I saw his innovative noir GUNN (see my interview last year with him here). He said this one sort of ‘sneaked up on him’ as he seemed to have shot this film fairly quickly. I was immediately hooked by the cool, mysterious trailer!

When Jeff Tried to Save the World*

Director: Kendall Goldberg
Starring Jon Heder in attendance (Napoleon Dynamite) & Jim O’Heir (Parks & Recreation): When the manager of an old-school bowling alley discovers the owner’s plans to sell, saving Winky’s World means pulling himself out of the gutter, too.

Can you believe ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ was 14 years ago?? I really enjoyed that one when I first saw it. Well, Jon Heder is back and he’ll actually be in attendance in October!! This sounds like another comedic winner that sure to warm the hearts.

Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me

Director: Sam Pollard
The first major film documentary to examine Sammy Davis, Jr.’s vast talent and his journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America.

I love Sammy Davis Jr.’s voice and music but I don’t know anything about his life. Given the era when he grew up, this sure to be a fascinating documentary not to be missed!

Point of No Return

Director: Noel Dockstader and Quinn Kanaly
Two pilots attempt to fly their fragile, experimental solar airplane – Solar Impulse – around the world to prove the potential of clean energy.

I love docs about innovative technology and this looks amazing visually plus the idea of solar plane is just so darn cool! 

 

Studio Features:

Green Book

Director: Peter Farrelly

A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.

Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali is a cinematic duo I didn’t think I need but now I can’t imagine living without. Last time I saw Ali was in the phenomenal Oscar-winner Moonlight (which I also saw at TCFF!) and Viggo was in the excellent family drama Captain Fantastic. Together they’d surely electrify the screen!

A Private War

Director: Matthew Heineman
One of the most celebrated war correspondents of our time, Marie Colvin is an utterly fearless and rebellious spirit, driven to the frontline of conflicts across the globe to give voice to the voiceless.

I’ve been a long admirer of Rosamund Pike, long before she starred in career-turning Gone Girl. This sounds like an Oscar-worthy performance from the versatile and talented Brit.

The Favourite

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne (Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Weisz) governs the country in her stead. When a new servant Abigail (Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.

Whenever Yorgos Lanthimos directs something, it seems to always get tongue wagging. ‘The Lobster’ is one of those bizarrely-wonderful movie that makes you go ‘just what the heck is going on?’ This time he seems to apply that same strange sensibilities to a royal family period drama.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?*

Director: Marielle Heller
Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) who made her living in the 1970’s and 80’s profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estee Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. When Lee is no longer able to get published because she has fallen out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack (Richard E. Grant). An adaptation of the memoir Can You Ever Forgive Me?, the true story of best-selling celebrity biographer (and friend to cats).

Melissa McCarthy is tackling a dramatic role in this biopic that’s originally supposed to star Julianne Moore. I’m even more intrigued the fact that she’s the lead here, and for me, I’m always intrigued by films about writers.

Widows

Director: Steve McQueen

“Widows” is the story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities. Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, tensions build when Veronica (Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) take their fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.

When I first saw this trailer, I knew I had to see it!! I mean Viola Davis going full bad-ass mode a la Liam Neeson in ‘Taken’, and hey he actually played her husband!! Then I saw Steve McQueen directing… so yeah, bring. it. on!!

If Beale Street Could Talk

Director: Barry Jenkins
“Widows” is the story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities. Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, tensions build when Veronica (Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) take their fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.

I mentioned one of TCFF’s gala films ‘Moonlight’ earlier. Well glad to see Barry Jenkins’ follow-up feature made it to TCFF this year. This looks like a tear-jerker and absolutely heart-wrenching. I was instantly smitten by the two young leads KiKi Layne and Stephan James.

Saving Flora

Director: Mark Taylor
An unbreakable bond between an elephant and girl is put to the test, How far will you go to save a friend?

A family drama about a kid bonding with an elephant? Well this looks like a heart-warming and less-fantastical version of ‘Dumbo’ that’s out next year. Glad to hear David Arquette and Tom Arnold might attend the premiere on October 22!

Chef Flynn

Director: Cameron Yates
Ten-year-old Flynn transforms his living room into a supper club using his classmates as line cooks. With sudden fame, Flynn outgrows his bedroom kitchen, and sets out to challenge the hierarchy of the culinary world.

This doc about young culinary whiz will sure wet our appetite and wish you had even an iota of his talents around the kitchen! So interesting that he even involves his classmates as cooks. Renowned chef Andrew Zimmern who’s now based in MN is scheduled to make an appearance on Thursday, Oct. 25’s premiere!

Films directed by women


Great things come in small packages! Don’t forget about the wonderful short films selections. Check out what’s playing in the seven SHORT BLOCKS that’s been curated by TCFF programmers!


…..

2018 TWIN CITIES FILM FEST DAILY SCHEDULE

Wed – October 17

5:45p.m.: Time for Ilhan, Noah Shapiro*

8:15p.m.: Green Book, Peter Farrelly*

Thurs – October 18

1:30p.m.: The Eyes of ThailandWindy Borman

2:00p.m.: Lez BombJenna Laurenzo

3:30p.m.: After Hours TradingFredrick Johnson

4:00p.m.: Inventing TomorrowLaura Nix

6:15p.m.: Point of No ReturnNoel Dockstader and Quinn Kanaly

7:00p.m.: American TenderC.J. Renner*

8:40p.m.: Time TrapMark Dennis & Ben Foster

9:15p.m.: Laugh ’til You DIE ShortsVarious

Fri – October 19

2:15p.m.: Nor Any Drop to Drink, Cedric Taylor

3:00p.m.: Coby, Christian Sonderegger

5:00p.m.: The Shingle Life, Peter Marcy

5:15p.m.: One Bedroom, Darien Sills-Evans

7:20p.m.: When Jeff Tried to Save the World, Kendall Goldberg

9:35p.m.: Strange Nature, Jim Ojala

9:45p.m.: In This Gray Place, R.D. Womack II 

Sat – October 20

10:00a.m.: Through the Windmill, Amanda Kulkoski

11:45a.m.: Kids Incorporated Shorts, Various

12:00p.m.: F.R.E.D.I, Sean Olson

1:45p.m.: Not in My Lifetime, Pam Colby

2:30p.m.: Chasing the Thunder, Mark Benjamin Rhino ShieldBilly Ward

3:45p.m.: Noah Wise, Ben Zuckert*

5:10p.m.: Summer ’03, Becca Gleason

6:15p.m.: Widows, Steve McQueen*

7:30p.m.: Black, David J. Buchanan

7:30p.m.: Humor Me, Sam Hoffman

9:10p.m.: Long Lost, Erik Bloomquist

9:45p.m.: Gags, Adam Krause

Sun – October 21

10:10a.m.: Rich Kids, Laura Somers*

11:00a.m.: Belong to Us, Patrick Rea

12:30p.m.: Regarding the Case of Joan of Arc, Matthew D. Wilder

1:30p.m.: Life in the Doghouse, Ron Davis

3:00p.m.: Operation Wedding, Anat Zalmanson Kuznetsov

5:00p.m.: The Testament, Amichai Greenberg

7:00p.m.: Homeward Bound – Shorts, Various

7:30p.m.: 93Queen, Paula Eiselt

9:30p.m.: Two in the Bush: A Love Story, Laura Madalinski

Mon – October 22

3:45p.m.: The Push, Grant Korgan and Brian Niles

4:00p.m.: Special Ed, Frank Anderson

6:00p.m.: Saving Flora, Mark Taylor

6:30p.m.: The Lumber Baron, Barry Anderson

7:00p.m.: Sadie, Megan Griffiths

9:15p.m.: We Can Relate – Shorts, Various

9:20p.m.: All Square, John Hyams 

Tues – October 23

2:45p.m.: Fire on the Hill, Brett Fallentine

5:00p.m.: The Skin of the Teeth, Matthew Wollin

5:10p.m.: Finding Hygge, Rocky Walls

7:00p.m.: Can You Ever Forgive Me? Marielle Heller

7:30p.m.: Across the Water, Nicolo Donato

9:30p.m.: Wunderland, Steven Luke

9:40p.m.: JackRabbit 29, Kyle Klubal

Wed – October 24

2:45p.m.: American Tender, C.J. Renner

3:15p.m.: Sadie, Megan Griffiths

3:45p.m.: The Lumber Baron, Barry Anderson

5:00p.m.: The Prodigal Dad, Robert Wenzek

5:45p.m: Big Dream, Kelly Cox

6:30p.m.: Legend of Cambria, Alexei Tylevich

7:10p.m.: Passionate Voices – Shorts, Various

8:00p.m.: Who Will Write our History, Roberta Grossman

8:15p.m.: The Best People, Dan Levy Dagerman

9:25p.m.: Witch, Vanessa Magowan Horrocks Powers 

Thurs – October 25

2:45p.m.: Chasing the Thunder, Mark Benjamin

5:00p.m.: Song of Back and Neck, Paul Lieberstein

5:10p.m.: Artistic Expressions – Shorts, Various

7:05p.m.: Chef Flynn, Cameron Yates

7:15p.m.: Shoelaces, Jacob Goldwasser

9:15p.m.: Thrilling, Tingling Tales – Shorts, Various

9:25p.m.: Newly Single, Adam Christian Clark 

Fri – October 26

10:00a.m.: Noah Wise, Ben Zuckert

10:30a.m.: Time Trap, Mark Dennis & Ben Foster

12:15p.m.: In This Gray Place, R.D. Womack II

12:45p.m.: The Prodigal Dad, Robert Wenzek

5:00p.m.: Electric LoveAaron Fradkin

5:30p.m.: Generation StartUp, Cynthia Wade, Cheryl Miller Houser

7:00p.m.: Boy Erased, Joel Edgerton

7:45p.m.: Lez Bomb, Jenna Laurenzo

9:45p.m.: Muse, John Burr 

Sat – October 27

10:00a.m.: Origin Story, Kulap Vilaysack

10:10a.m.: The Push, Grant Korgan and Brian Niles

12:20p.m.: In a Relationship, Sam Boyd

12:30p.m.: DocuMNtary: The Story of Tech in MInnesota, Nick Roseth

2:00p.m.: Zeroes, Charles St. John Smith III

2:45p.m.: The Favourite, Yorgos Lanthimos

4:30p.m.: A Private War, Matthew Heineman

5:30p.m: If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins

7:00p.m.: United Skates, Tina Brown & Dyana Winkler

8:15p.m.: Doubtful, Eliran Elya



Festival Passes breakdown:

  • Silver Pass – $50 (5 pack of non-Gala tickets)
  • Gold Pass – $80 (10 pack of non-Gala tickets)
  • Platinum Pass – $120 (12 pack of non-Gala tickets + 2 Gala tickets)
  • Gala Pass – $100 (6 tickets to any Gala Film)
  • All Access Pass – $500 (Guaranteed seat in premiere row at ANY screening +more!).

Oh and as if great films aren’t enough for the 11-day festivities, check out the amazing lineup of FREE EDUCATIONAL events!!


So which of these film(s) are YOU most excited about?