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?
There’s really nothing like David Lowery’s new film. A Ghost Story isn’t the typical haunted house tale we’re used to. But Lowery’s transcendent, meditative film captures the haunting realization of how fleeting our time in this world is. The film was hailed as one of the best out of Sundance this year (you can read our review here), which makes today’s debut of the first trailer all the more exciting.
The Weinstein Company is gearing up for awards season early with announced release dates for two extremely high-profile upcoming films. The first, Mary Magdalene, which stars Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, will hit the big screen November 24, followed by The Current War, Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon’s historical drama, on December 22.
When an actor works with Terrence Malick it means throwing out everything they’ve ever learned in drama school or on a film set. Whatever script they might have initially read goes out the window, and Malick asks his performers to just, be. Maybe he’ll hand an actor a scrap of paper with am aphorism written across it. Maybe he’ll give them some minor stage direction, then let the camera follow from there. Michael Fassbender recently described Malick’s style as giving his cast “flavors as opposed to direct commands or instructions.” Some actors love it; others notoriously hate it.
Have you seen Holy Motors? If not, add it to your to-watch list post-haste. French filmmaker Leos Carax’s bizarro collection of connected vignettes follows a odd man named Mr. Oscar as he goes about his day enacting a series of elaborate role playing scenarios, from a facially-scarred hitman to a hair-eating troll to a motion-capture technician creating an alien phantom. I’m not selling it all that well, but trust me when I say there’s a reason it usually ends up in conversations about the finest films of our young millennium. And continue trusting me when I tell you that news of another feature project from the less-than-prolific Carax is ample reason to prick up your ears and pay attention.
Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: The new Terrence Malick film opens with a Die Antwoord song. The past several years have been the most productive of the reclusive filmmaker’s career as he’s been churning out more movies now than in the first three decades of his time as a director, but they’ve also been his most surprising.
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.
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.