This Weekend's Indies: 'Trance,' 'Upstream Color,' & More
Danny Boyle has spent his last two films baking in the American desert and broiling in the slums of India. It's sometimes easy to forget that his early successes came with the comparatively cool -- visually speaking, at least -- 28 Days Later and Shallow Grave. Those are the Boyle movies that the Trance trailer evokes, promising something more in keeping with the director's genre-wallowing roots. James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel (who's been quite the working actor these last ten years or so), and Rosario Dawson take part in a plot that's so steeped in hypnosis and altered reality that it's futile to even describe the story. Expect reality to be bent.
The Company You Keep
Robert Redford's latest directorial effort once again has politics on the brain, if a kind of retro '60s politics that likely play to the core Redford audience. He's certainly gathered quite the cast around him for this story of a reporter (Shia LaBeouf) on the trail of a former Weather Underground activist/criminal (Redford). Which, now that I mention it, is the same background that Redford's character had in the movie Sneakers. Which ALSO boasted a killer cast. Anyway, THIS movie features Nick Nolte, Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie, Richard Jenkins, Stanley Tucci, Chris Cooper, Anna Kendrick, Terrence Howard, Brendan Gleeson, and Brit Marling.
Film-festival favorite Brady Corbett (Mysterious Skin; Melancholia) has gotten his fair share of praise as an American psycho in Paris. While the title certainly promises something disturbing, the trailer offers something stylish, exciting, dangerous, and potentially quite rewarding. If you don't mind all the killing.
Writer/director (and in this case, lead actor) Shane Carruth finally offers his follow-up to 2004's delightful sci-fi meditation, Primer. For all the talk about Primer's intellectually challenging time-travel stuff, ultimately that film has a desire to explain its workings in way that Upstream Color does not. You're in for the ride -- a gorgeous, emotionally delicate ride -- but you have to be okay with not getting a whole lot of answers.
The Brass Teapot
How's this for a premise: Juno Temple and Michael Angarano play a couple who come upon the titular brass teapot and discover that it spits out money whenever they harm themselves. So they do. A lot. It shouldn't surprise you that dentist drills, MMA fighting, and the odd bit of S&M become involved. A bit more surprising is the presence of Jewish mysticism, but we'll take whimsy where we can get it.
Julianne Moore hasn't made a supernatural thriller in a while, and spending a couple hours looking at the haunted face of Jonathan Rhys-Meyers isn't the worst gig in the universe. The trailer promises something along the lines of Primal Fear meets The Ring, and if those movies were good enough for Naomi Watts and Laura Linney, Moore should fit in quite well.