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"If a few hillbillies get killed in the name of progress, so be it." Abramorama has released an official trailer for a powerful documentary titled Blood on the Mountain, a brutally honest look at the environmental and economic injustice and corporate control in West Virginia and its effect on all American workers. The film is made by the same filmmakers behind Coal Country, and is described as a searing and impassioned examination of the struggles of hard-working, misunderstood people. It's about how the coal industry has evolved to become so bad in West Virginia, that it's exploiting and controlling citizens, without any chance for them to speak up. "If our government won’t hold them responsible, who will? We will." This looks good.
"Make it about something bigger than yourself…" Sony Pictures has debuted the second official trailer for Ang Lee's adaptation of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, an emotional look at the Iraq war as seen through the eyes of a soldier being honored during halftime at a football game. The first teaser trailer was impressive, and this new trailer hints at even more potential for Ang Lee's 3D 120FPS drama about the emotional toll of war. Joe Alwyn stars as Billy Lynn, and the cast includes Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel, Garrett Hedlund, Steve Martin, Chris Tucker and many others. The film premiered at the New York Film Festival earlier this month to mixed reviews, most criticizing the HFR. This is quite an intense trailer.
"How many lives is this war worth?!" Roadside Attractions has debuted an official trailer for a sweeping historical drama titled Bitter Harvest, set during "The Holodomor" in Ukraine in between the first and second World War. The "Holodomor" was a genocidal famine engineered by Joseph Stalin, as an effort to stop the Ukrainian independence movement, resulting in the deaths of millions of people. The film tells the story of a romance between a young Ukrainian couple torn apart by the starvation. Max Irons stars, along with Samantha Barks as his lover, also including Terence Stamp, Barry Pepper, Richard Brake, Aneurin Barnard, Tom Austen, Tamer Hassan and Lucy Brown. This looks okay, but it's hard to tell with this trailer. There's too much going on and the director isn't that impressive, it might not be any good.
"Sometimes you just have to take a step back and really contemplate what it is that you're doing…" Orion Pictures has released a trailer for an indie comedy directed by a composer titled Dreamland, set in Los Angeles about an aspiring pianist who wants to open a piano bar. This plot may sound familiar, as it's pretty much what Ryan Gosling's character wants in La La Land. But these are two very different films, and this one has its own charms. Dreamland stars Johnny Simmons as Monty, who gets into trouble when he falls into a romantic affair with an older wealthy woman who is willing to help him fund his dream. The full cast includes Amy Landecker, Jason Schwartzman, Frankie Shaw, Beverly D'Angelo, Noël Wells, Talia Shire, Shay Mitchell and Nick Thune. I actually quite like the way this looks, nice indie vibe to it.
"How many other people have been through this?" FilmRise has debuted a trailer for the documentary The Bad Kids, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to quite a bit of buzz earlier this year. The doc has also played at True/False and Hot Docs, which I'm mentioning only to show it's worthy of attention. The Bad Kids is about a group of teachers at a Mojave Desert high school who take an unconventional approach to improve the lives of their struggling students. It's a powerful film about recognizing there are alternatives to helping educate at risk teens other than giving up on them or locking them up. From the trailer, this looks like one of the most important docs all year - and I'm definitely interested in watching it. Get a look below.
"An individual with multiple personalities can change their body chemistry with their thoughts." Universal has revealed a second trailer for M. Night Shyamalan's newest twisted horror thriller Split, starring James McAvoy as a man with 23 different personalities. He kidnaps three different girls, who try to figure out how to escape his prison. The full cast includes Anya Taylor-Joy (from The Witch), Haley Lu Richardson, Kim Director, Jessica Sula, Sterling K. Brown, Betty Buckley and Brad William Henke. Jeremy's review from Fantastic Fest, where this film showed up as surprise screening, raved that it's Shyamalan's "absolute best horror film to date", adding that there is an "inherent creepiness to everything happening" with the three girls. This looks damn good, an attention-grabbing trailer. I want to see it for McAvoy alone.
"I don't want to lose my best friend…" Good Deed Entertainment has revealed a trailer for a charming coming-of-age indie comedy titled Growing Up Smith, about a 10-year-old Indian boy living in America. Newcomer Roni Akurati plays Smith Bhatnagar, a likable youngster growing up in America in the late 70s with his Indian family. He falls for the girl next door, and goes all-in chasing her every way he can. The cast includes Brighton Sharbino as his love interest, plus Jason Lee, Anjul Nigam, Hilarie Burton, Poorna Jagannathan, Shoba Narayanan and Jake Busey. This looks adorable and amusing, but doesn't seem like anything to really write home about. But I'm always up for a good coming-of-age film. Give this a shot.
"You make an old guy courageous, Marla." Fox has debuted one final trailer for Warren Beatty's new film, Rules Don't Apply, about a romance in Hollywood in the 1950s. We've seen plenty for this already, but why not another trailer - that is really pushing Beatty's name. Beatty directs and also stars in this as Howard Hughes, who contracts a young actress - played by Lily Collins - to work for him in Los Angeles. She meets her personal driver played by Alden Ehrenreich (who is playing the young Han Solo in the Star Wars spin-off) and falls for him, but can't break the rule of having a relationship with an employee. The full cast includes Haley Bennett, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Matthew Broderick, Martin Sheen, Annette Bening, Oliver Platt and Steve Coogan. I'm not really looking forward to this film, but you never know.
Spooky Club rules!! This is one of my favorite shorts we've discovered this month. Spooky Club is a horror comedy short film made by filmmaker brothers Joe and Lloyd Stas, about a "Spooky Club" group of friends. The short was released today in memory of horror icon Vincent Price, who died 23 years ago today. The Spooky Club recruits a new member and decides to go retrieve Price's stolen skull to cremate it just like he wanted. This is really just a totally awesome short - from the way it starts out, to the goofiness of it and the wacky mission to steal Price's skull, to the rock 'n roll vibe of the whole thing. I love the performances from the actors; it's funny, it's witty, and it's a perfect horror short film to put you in the Halloween mood. Enjoy.
"You got a scoop?" Samuel Goldwyn has debuted a trailer for an indie drama titled Burn Country, which premiered at Tribeca earlier this year. The film is a fictional feature version of a real-life story of a "fixer" journalist from Afghanistan who decides to move to a town on the coast in Northern California. However, once he begins working at a newspaper there he gets drawn into the strange "backwoods of this small town", stumbling into local corruption and other dangers. Iranian actor Dominic Rains stars as Osman, and the cast includes Melissa Leo, James Franco, Rachel Brosnahan, Thomas Jay Ryan, Tim Kniffin, and James Oliver Wheatley. This looks damn good, like it offers a unique perspective not often seen on film.