Netflix scooped up a lot of hot property back at the Sundance Film Festival, and after they’ve pulled back the curtain on the award-winning I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore come February 24, their next big unveiling will be The Discovery. The high-concept sci-fi drama will be fully available through the streaming service on March 31, and while the element of mystery has remained a major part of the film’s advertising campaign, a new trailer does offer some more clues on what the deal is. The most important reveal of all: Mary Steenburgen is in this film.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s a great time to be a Terrence Malick fan. After making only six films between 1973 and 2012, the reclusive filmmaker released two films last year (one of which has three different versions) and has two more on the way this year. The first up is his much anticipated rock and roll-infused drama Song to Song, starring Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman.
If people were ever scared of the image of a ghost as a big white sheet with two black eyeholes those days are long gone. Today, the image is a total joke; the go-to costume for lazy children everywhere. One of the most amazing things about David Lowery’s A Ghost Story — and there are a few amazing things about this audacious movie — is the way it imbues that cliched ghost with renewed horror and even poignance. You will never look at that ghost emoji the same way again.
What happens when death, the thing people fear most, becomes the most desirable part of life? Charlie McDowell’s The Discovery imagines a world where the afterlife has scientifically been proven, and as a result millions of people are committing suicide “to get there,” as it’s often referred to in the film’s not-so-distant future. But the biggest and most disturbing quandary is, what exactly is “there?” If life after death does exist, what if it’s worse than the world we know, or perhaps an even scarier thought, what if it’s better and what does that mean for the value and meaning we place on the lives we’ve been living?
The trickle of trailers hyping Sundance premieres continues with a new glimpse at The Discovery, an enigmatic sci-fi project that Netflix snatched up back in the summer. As we say in showbiz, there’s a lot of heat behind this one: the stacked cast collects endearing goof Jason Segel, Rooney Mara (how dare she look this good with bleached-blonde hair), Kirsten Dunst spouse Jesse Plemons, starlet on the rise Riley Keough, and how about that, Sundance king Robert Redford. Director Charlie McDowell also arrives with a handsome pedigree, having last helmed the metaphysical romance The One I Love, and it looks like he’s going high-concept once again for his new feature.
Austin, Texas native Terrence Malick shot his latest movie in and around the Austin music scene. And earlier this week, news broke that the film, freshly retitled Song to Song, was ready for release and coming to theaters in March. So we probably should have seen this announcement (via The New York Times) coming: Song to Song will open the 2017 South by Southwest Film Festival. So you know what this means: A glitzy opening night red carpet, complete with Terrence Malick posing for lots and lots of photos and interviews. Or the exact and total opposite of that.
A brief personal anecdote: I had the good fortune of attending the Austin City Limits music festival in 2012, where I caught an outdoor set by Atlanta indie rock outfit the Black Lips. During the performance, I spotted an unfamiliar figure gripping a guitar onstage, a young woman who looked suspiciously similar to Rooney Mara. I’d find out the next day that she, Ryan Gosling, and Terrence Malick had come to town to slyly shoot some footage for an untitled project about the Austin local music scene. It was neat at the time, but over the past five years, I had forgotten all about it.
It’s downright mystifying that Una, Australian theatre veteran Benedict Andrews’ first foray into screen directing, hasn’t found an American distributor as of yet. It’s got two major stars in Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn — and with Riz Ahmed also appearing as a supporting player, they could even work the “Rogue One reunion” angle! — the reviews out of its screenings at the film festivals in Telluride and Toronto were uniformly strong, and it also happens to be excellent. (I was one of the critics praising the film as a superb actors’ showcase back at Toronto.) While there’s no U.S. release date on the horizon, it’s only a matter of time until some clever distributor makes a move, and for now, we’ve got a new trailer.
A few weeks ago, Joaquin Phoenix and director Gus Van Sant announced that they were reuniting for a movie once again, this time a biopic about quadriplegic cartoonist John Callahan. It looks like the movie is picking up, because now both Rooney Mara and Jonah Hill are in talks to co-star in the movie, an adaptation of Callahan’s autobiography Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot.
One of the greatest breakouts of the past five years was David Lowery’s Texan crime-romance Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which starred Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. It got Lowery on Disney’s radar to helm this summer’s Pete’s Dragon (which is fantastic), but the trio hasn’t worked together since that first 2013 film. Or so we thought — it appears that Affleck, Mara, and Lowery secretly got together over the summer to make a mysterious new film.