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Alex Billington

Alex Billington

“Not man. Not machine. More.” One of the biggest surprises of the year is an action sci-fi titled Upgrade, the second feature film directed by Australian filmmaker/writer Leigh Whannell. Whannell has worked in Hollywood for over a decade. He broke in with a little indie called Saw, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 and went on to become, well, a succesful franchise and a massive hit. Whannell wrote the script for it with James Wan, and starred in it, then continued his career mostly as a screenwriter & producer. The first film he directed was Insidious: Chapter 3 in 2015, jumping in the hot seat with another horror franchise he co-created with James Wan. Upgrade is Whannell’s first time going all out, directing an original screenplay he wrote, working with Blumhouse and mega-producer Jason Blum to get the film made. I’ve been following Whannell closely since the early days of the Saw movies, and I was lucky to …

“A living fossil.” “Thought to have been extinct…” Warner Bros has debuted a brand new Chinese trailer for Jon Turtletaub’s giant shark movie The Meg, a long-awaited adaptation of Steve Alten’s novel, about a 70-foot long angry, prehistoric shark. The plot is about a group of researchers in a big deep-sea submersible stuck at the bottom of the ocean after being attacked, with Jason Statham trying to rescue them and get rid of the shark. This was co-financed by a Chinese company, and this trailer includes a number of key shots of Li Binging as Suyin, of course. The Meg co-stars Winston Chao, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Page Kennedy, Jessica McNamee, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Robert Taylor, Cliff Curtis, Shuya Sophia Cai, and Masi Oka. There’s not a ton of new footage in this trailer, but it’s fun to watch. Plus, I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m already 100% sold on this anyway – I don’t need any more. …

“She’s not interested in money.” Strand Releasing has debuted an official trailer for a film titled An L.A. Minute, from writer/director Daniel Adams (Primary Motive, The Golden Boys, The Lightkeepers). More importantly, the film stars the very talented up-and-coming actress Kiersey Clemons, who also appears in Hearts Beat Loud – which is now playing in theaters (go see it!). In this film, Clemons plays “an avant-garde performance artist” who befriends a best-selling author who wants to write more personal books rather than the stuff that got him famous. Gabriel Byrne (seen in Hereditary) also co-stars in this film about celebrity and fame and how it works and how fake it all is. The cast includes Bob Balaban, Katherine Kendall, Ed Marinaro, Ned Bellamy, Brianna Baker, Jake Adams, and Ash Adams. Doesn’t look that great. Here’s the first official trailer (+ poster) for Daniel Adams’ An L.A. Minute, direct from YouTube: An L.A. Minute is a satirical look at fame, success, the star-making …

“I didn’t know her… I didn’t know my daughter…” Sony Pictures has released a second official trailer for the thriller film Searching, from writer/director Aneesh Chaganty, making his feature directorial debut. The first trailer was a good sell, this one is made more for younger audiences who like cheesy horror. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival under the title Search, and was one of my favorite films of the festival. Searching is an emotional dramatic thriller told entirely through computer screens. John Cho stars as the father of a young Korean-American teenager who goes missing, following as he searches through her computer and phone in an attempt to find her. The small cast includes Debra Messing, Michele La, and Joseph Lee. This new trailer seems to be a response to the trailer for Unfriended: Dark Web, playing up the horror with some digital distortion gimmicks (don’t worry, it doesn’t do this in the film). See below. Here’s the second …

“One shot is what it’s all about… Deer has to be taken with one shot.” Studiocanal UK has debuted a new trailer for the 40th anniversary 4K re-release of the acclaimed film The Deer Hunter, from writer/director Michael Cimino. Originally released in late 1978/early 1979, the critically acclaimed film went on to win five Oscars including Best Picture. The 3 hour film is a drama about the Vietnam War and the toll it takes on good men. Starring Robert De Niro, John Savage, and Christopher Walken as men from a small town in Pennsylvania who volunteer to serve in Vietnam, unaware of the horrors that await. When they return, PTSD takes it grip as they struggle to get back to normal, damaged from the experience. The film is being re-released in cinemas for one day in the UK, but no word on US showings yet. For now, check out the trailer. Here’s the new 4K restoration re-release trailer for Michael Cimino’s …

“Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive. This facility makes it the most versatile and explicit means of communication yet devised for quick mass appreciation.” -Walt Disney. I decided to attend the Annecy Film Festival this year to see some films, in hopes of catching the best best animated films before anyone else. What I discovered is a festival unlike any other, a community of animation geeks, illustrators, filmmakers, storytellers, and cinephiles; a lovely little town known as the “Venice of the Alps”; and a handful of films that show how incredibly versatile and emotional animation can be as a storytelling technique. I fell in love with this festival, which is no surprise considering I’ve heard great things about it for years. It is indeed one of the greatest film festivals in the world, and I did indeed see some exceptional films. In my opening introduction to Annecy, I talked about how animation is not just a genre …

“For Team Israel, it’s a chance for the underdog to get a crack at the big dog.” We are proud to exclusively debut the official trailer for an award-winning documentary titled Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel, made by filmmakers Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger. This uplifting, moving, intimate sports documentary tells the inspiring story of a team of nice Jewish baseball players who take on the world. Some of them are actual players from the MLB who join the national team to compete. After years of defeat, Team Israel is finally ranked among the world’s best in 2017, eligible to compete in the prestigious international tournament – the World Baseball Classic. The film won Best Documentary at a few Jewish Film Festivals this year, and is ready for release this August. My favorite part about their team is the “Mensch on the Bench” mascot, and the final bit from the end of this trailer. Perfect …

“I’ve missed you so much… It’s a great pleasure to see you and your young man.” Watch this new dramatic short film I Do Not Sleep, made by talented writer Sophie Monks Kaufman, who writes for Little White Lies. This is Sophie’s first short film, which she wrote and directed, and it took 10 months to complete – even though it only runs 10 minutes. The short is about a grieving young woman who finds that the spirit of a lost loved one is still shaping her relationships. The cast includes Richard Kiess as Max, Elizabeth Sankey as Clarisse, with Linda Large. I love all the shots of the trees in this, and how spiritual the film is. Enjoy it. Embedded from Vimeo. Official synopsis: “An awkward social encounter is elevated by supernatural bonds when Clarisse introduces her boyfriend, Max, to a family member who lives in the forest.” I Do Not Sleep is written and directed by Sophie Monks Kaufman, …

“Why are you here… after all this time? Why now?” Netflix has released the first official trailer for an indie dramedy titled Like Father, the directorial debut of Lauren Miller Rogen, a talented comedian / actress / writer who is also Seth Rogen’s wife. The film is about a workaholic woman who, after being dumped at the altar, decides to take her honeymoon cruise with her estranged father who she hasn’t seen since she was a kid. Of course, there’s funny things that happen but then they realize how similar they are. Kristen Bell stars as Rachel, with Kelsey Grammer as her father, with a cast including Seth Rogen, Brittany Ross, Zach Appelman, Danielle Davenport, Lenny Jacobson, Wynter Kullman, and Brian McCarthy. This looks funny and heartfelt, with a good message I’m sure, I’m curious to watch sometime this summer. Here’s the first official trailer for Lauren Miller’s Like Father, direct from Netflix’s YouTube: When workaholic young executive Rachel (Kristen Bell), is …

“If a man looks too good to be true – he is!!” Paramount has debuted the first official trailer for Nobody’s Fool, the new comedy from filmmaker Tyler Perry, something a bit different than his Madea films in the past. This wacky movie stars two of the most popular actresses – Tiffany Haddish and Tika Sumpter – as sisters. Tanya (Haddish) is finally released from prison and reunites with her sister Danica (Sumpter), who discovers she is in an online relationship with a man that may be “catfishing” her. The full ensemble cast includes Whoopi Goldberg, Missi Pyle, Courtney Henggeler, Omari Hardwick, Amber Riley, and Crystal Lee Brown. This looks about is absurd and slightly funny as you might expect from Tyler Perry, not really my cup of tea. Maybe some of you will be into seeing this just because of Haddish? Check this out. Here’s the first official trailer for Tyler Perry’s Nobody’s Fool, direct from Paramount’s YouTube: Trying to get …