This Week In Trailers: The Florida Project, Zero Weeks, 100 Years of Olympic Films, Wexford Plaza, Quest, A$$holes

Green Band Trailer

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising?

This week I ask you to support The Florida Project, watch people who are much more fit, skilled, and talented than I’ll ever be, wonder where we went left when it comes to parental leave, follow a real life slice of life drama, revisit a fascinating slice of life drama, and get in with some pervs who have a very specific fetish. 

The Florida Project Featurette

I’m going to assume there’s at least 10 of you reading this right now. To those 10 people I am asking you to either buy a ticket to see this movie or buy a ticket to see this movie to support something that is genuinely precious. I have not been so affected by performances, across the board, as I have with this movie and so as this movie looks to catch fire I’m hoping this is a little bit of burning tinder to help the cause. I hate/loathe hyping any movie as I know someone will see it and not agree but I want to do my part to get the word out about Sean Baker’s latest opus that honestly delivers.

100 Years of Olympic Films Trailer

The only physical media that I own that focuses solely on the Olympics is Criterion’s 1965’s Tokyo Olympiad. The documentary itself is a bit of a revelation as it captures the genuine physicality of competing in these games with being incredibly cinematic by capturing the moment in an honest way, not prepackaged and edited as we get now with NBC’s version of what an Olympics should look like. The package here is an impressive one and as it just feels and looks epic. I mean, it’s incredible how they manage to sell the idea that, yes, these are sports but, more than that, there’s the very real sense that you have people who are pushing their body to the limits whether they’re pole vaulting or ice skating. Just a fantastic testament to what should be an honorable event.

Wexford Plaza Trailer

Something worth seeing, I hope.

I talked about director Joyce Wong’s movie earlier this year when the first trailer dropped but after seeing this I’m even more convinced that this is the kind of movie that could serve as a gentle digestif to the virulence that is plaguing our everyday lives as of late. Movies help to act like an escape and no other escape looks as inviting as this story right now. It feels genuinely tiny, with characters who suffer from being less than perfect, and completely contained in this compact world. The trailer glides on its charm, its judicious use of pull-quotes, and simply being overall appealing.

Quest Trailer

Long shoots.

One thing I admire about the length some filmmakers take in shooting their movies like Michael Winterbottom’s Everyday and Linklater ‘s Boyhood is seeing just how it affects the narrative when you put so much time between shooting. In a fictional world you can keep the course and make sure where you end up is where you intended to but in a non-fiction world life isn’t as kind. Someone like director Jonathan Olshefski who shot this documentary over 10 years was bound to end up in a different place than where he started. To me, that’s exciting, as it’s not knowing what lies beyond that next phone call, that next birthday, and with this subject matter and focus it looks like we’ve got something and someone to not only follow but root for as they navigate a social environment that grows needlessly more treacherous.

Zero Weeks Trailer

Question for the group: Do any of you work full-time and, follow-up, what’s your time-off expectation when you have a kid? If you’re like a lot of people, you’ll be like me, in the hospital on a Thursday afternoon and expected to be back on Friday to finish the payroll.

Yup, many more of you have it all figured out in using your vacation/sick days or work for an enlightened employer who benevolently allows you a week or two at no cost. I didn’t have that luxury with my second child and this trailer sucker punched me hard. Ky Dickens comes right out of the gate swinging and with good reason. These are the kinds of situations people find themselves in every single day and even though there is an obvious bias for there being something for all people to help care and tend to their progeny it doesn’t make the argument any less true. The narratives that flow from this trailer should be enough for anyone to empathize with the plight many are struggling with but it’s only through constantly reminding those who haven’t been affected, or yet been affected, will there be any meaningful change.

And for those of you without kids, never planning on having kids, way too young to even think about kids, or you have a phenomenal job in place I imagine you’ll pass right by this trailer but keep this trailer in mind should you ever hear of someone close to you having a child on a Friday and needing to be back at work on a Monday.

A$ $ holes Trailer (NSFW)

This is the cinematic equivalent of getting a face tattoo.

Sure, no one is going to stop you from trying to earn a living but there might be some who are skittish about wanting you to serve the general public. That said, I’m completely behind director Peter Vack’s completely gonzo vision. It’s absolutely original in telling a story about these very different individuals and I don’t even think I have enough insight into what is actually happening before my eyes to draw any complete picture of what is going on. I’m not sure I really want to know what has brought us here with this story but, for sure, there wasn’t any distraction out there wild enough that could have made me look away. I just could not look away. Side note: I once used the word “scatological” to someone, at someone, who I was meaning to say could “riff” extemporaneously real well, improv through their use of the written word. You know, like scat and jazz. I failed to use that word properly then and I apologize. However, I am now using that word, properly, to describe the experience of sitting through this trailer.

Nota bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at Christopher_Stipp@yahoo.com or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

The post This Week In Trailers: The Florida Project, Zero Weeks, 100 Years of Olympic Films, Wexford Plaza, Quest, A$ $ holes appeared first on /Film.


/Film

Damaging winds and flooding as Hurricane Irma moves on Florida

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Powerful winds and high water levels caused by Hurricane Irma are wreaking havoc on Florida, after hitting Key West overnight. The storm is expected to continue north along the western coast of Florida toward Tampa Bay. Read more…

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‘The Florida Project’ Might Be The Best Movie of the Year [TIFF]

The Florida Project Review

The Magic Kingdom colors almost every scene of The Florida Project. Sean Baker’s achingly beautiful and heartbreaking new film is set in Florida (obviously), very close to Disney, and nearly everything in the background advertises the The Most Magical Place On Earth. Tourist trap stores with huge painted signs advertising Disney merch constantly lurk in the periphery.

But the characters in The Florida Project occupy their own kingdom, one comprised of rundown motels and abandoned buildings. These might seem like squalid conditions, but Baker finds a way to make them seem warm and welcoming without ever trying to glamorize them. The sunsets are fierce and gorgeous, lush pinks and reds and golds, vast and seeming to stretch on for infinity. They feel like home.

Read on for The Florida Project review.

At the center of The Florida Project is Moonee (Brooklynn Prince, astoundingly good here), an adventurous child who rules over the kingdom that is the motel she lives in with her struggling mother Halley (Bria Vinaite). By day, Moonee frolics wildly through the motel courtyard and beyond with her friends Scooty (Christopher Rivera) and Jancey (Valeria Cotto). Whenever films deal with children as the primary characters they run the risk of treating the kids too precociously, or worse, portraying the children as mini-adults. The Florida Project never makes this mistake — the kids here always seem like kids. They’re occasionally bratty, occasionally cruel, but altogether good. They find adventure and fun wherever they can, and it’s often a joy to sit back and watch them act out.

Brooklyn Prince’s performance as Moonee is the glue that holds all of this together. The Florida Project plays coy with just who its main character is at first — at the start of the film, all of the kids seem to be receiving equal time. Yet as the film progresses, it becomes more and more about Moonee, and about how her world is in danger of falling apart while she remains cheerfully oblivious. I’m not sure how much of Prince’s performance as ad libbed, but all of it feels 100% genuine; the type of raw, lightning-in-a-bottle performance that actors twice her age can only dream of. An outsider might look at Moonee’s living conditions and worry, but to Moonee, every day is a wonderful adventure. There’s so much to do, and there are so many waffles to eat.

Baker keeps the camera low to the ground often, putting us firmly into the visual field of a child — we’re down there with them, and the whole adult world is looming above. That adult world includes Bobby, the kindly motel manager played by Willem Dafoe. Dafoe is an acclaimed actor with an impressive career, yet it cannot be overstated how phenomenal he is in this movie. There’s an unmitigated goodness to Bobby, a weary but kind soul who wants to do the right thing. A character like this would be easy to cheapen and turn maudlin, but Baker’s script and Dafoe’s performance never performs this disservice. It’s a quiet performance, and much of the power comes from the somewhat sad, knowing glances Dafoe gives to the world around him. But just as often there’s kindness — Bobby can grow frustrated with the kid’s shenanigans, yet he’s always willing to give them a second chance.

Moonee’s mother Halley will never be a candidate for parent of the year. She sells knock-off perfume and stolen goods to make ends meet, and when that isn’t enough, she turns to even less desirable methods. It would be easy to portray this characters as a monster; a terrible person doing terrible things. But that’s not how The Florida Project works. Halley is flawed, yes – at times almost devastatingly so. But Baker doesn’t judge her, and Vinaite’s performance – blunt and at times even abrasive – is pitch-perfect. Halley is flawed, yes, but she’s trying.

Everyone here is trying. Trying hard to get through their day to day lives; trying to find magic in a frequently unmagical kingdom. Late in the film, Moonee and Jancey are sitting on a tree having lunch. Baker keeps the camera in close on the two girls, not really giving us a good look at the tree they’re perched on. “Do you know why this is my favorite tree?” Moonee asks her friend. “Because it tipped over and it’s still growing.” At this point, Baker cuts to a wide shot, showing a huge, sprawling, toppled willow. It’s a breathtaking moment, and the line lingers, perfectly summing up the characters in the film. They may have all fallen at one point, but they’re still growing.

The final moments of The Florida Project unfold breathlessly — tension is mounting, and there’s the queasy sense that something terrible is about to happen, like a destructive storm about to break. And then Baker does something magnificent — he follows Moonee and Jancey on one last adventure before the credits roll. Is it real or is it fantasy? It doesn’t matter. It’s magic. We can all do with a bit more magic in our kingdoms.

/Film Rating: 10 out of 10

The post ‘The Florida Project’ Might Be The Best Movie of the Year [TIFF] appeared first on /Film.


/Film

Beautiful Official Trailer for Sean Baker’s Excellent ‘The Florida Project’

The Florida Project Trailer

“Thank you very much!” “You’re not welcome!” A24 has debuted the first official trailer for the outstanding indie film The Florida Project, the latest feature from Tangerine director Sean Baker. This premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this year to rave reviews – read mine here. The film tells the story of Halley, played by Bria Vinaite, and her daughter Moonee, played by Brooklynn Prince. They live at The Magic Castle, a motel in Orlando just in the backyard of Disneyland. Moonee and her friends run around causing all kinds of trouble and it’s such a delight to watch them. Willem Dafoe also stars in one of his best performances of his career, and I really mean that. This film is really something special, and you can see why with this trailer – which captures the magic and charm of this beautiful film just perfectly. One of the year’s best indie gems. ›››

Continue reading Beautiful Official Trailer for Sean Baker’s Excellent ‘The Florida Project’


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Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Features ‘Patti Cake$,’ ‘Bushwick,’ and ‘The Florida Project’

The 49th edition of the Directors’ Fortnight includes 19 feature films, including five from first-time directors, as well as 10 short films.

Today, the Cannes Film Festival unveiled its lineup for the 49th edition of the Directors’ Fortnight, which will run concurrently with the official selections of the 70th Cannes Film Festival. Sundance breakout and festival darling Patti Cake$ , a comedy about a young woman from the hard-hit suburbs of New Jersey striving for glory in the rap world, will have its international debut as the closing film of the Directors’ Fortnight.

Another Sundance standout, Bushwick, which we featured in a recent podcast, is also heading to Cannes for the Directors’ Fortnight. The Florida Project, Sean Baker’s highly anticipated follow-up to his Sundance iPhone-shot Tangerine, was also selected for this prestigious Cannes sidebar.

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