The Underground is our recurring feature, resurrected from an all-time great CHUD column, the aim of which is to get the word out on projects outside the Hollywood studio system. Studio films have big promotion engines behind them. The Underground caters to everything else: from indie films, to cult films in the making, pet projects, guerrilla films, internet shorts, etc.
The Cursed Man
Their Skinny: Alister Kunkle believes death is in love with him. A simple smile from friend or stranger is all it takes to encourage death to kill. With his family deceased and a path of destruction behind him, Alister sits inside a mental institution, sworn to silence and separated from the rest of the world, haunted by his inability to escape death’s preferential treatment. But when a beautiful psychologist arrives at the institution and starts offering him care, Alister braces himself for more killings. When none follow, he tries to figure out whether he truly is insane or if death has finally come to him in the form of a woman.
Oliver’s Skinny: The filmmakers of A Cursed Man, producer / director James L. Perry and author / screenwriter Keith Rommel, have been industrious and taken me up on my open offer to get the word out on indies – way early in the game. This thing doesn’t even start shooting until the fall, and everything is still in pre-producttion. But sets are being built and some test footage has already been shot. It’s still so nascent that all they have for promo material is this banner above. I’m sure you’ll recognize the gent second from the top on the right. More on this as it develops later in the year.
Is There Going to be a Review? Absolutely…in 2014.
How Do the Chewers See It: It opens in theatres in 2014.
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Their Skinny: Reeling from a traumatic tour of duty in Afghanistan, Joey (Jason Statham), an ex-Special Forces soldier, returns to London to face another kind of war: life on the streets as a damaged, homeless veteran. In an attempt to rehabilitate himself, Joey assumes another man’s identity and seeks the aid of Sister Cristina (Agata Buzek), a young nun who works at an inner-city parish. But Joey’s expert training as a soldier marks him as a valuable asset, and he soon finds himself caught in the dark web of London’s criminal underworld. Struggling to keep hold of his integrity, Joey offers his profits to those who need it most. But when he learns his missing girlfriend was brutally murdered by a ruthless kingpin, he risks everything for bloody revenge, hurtling down a deadly path that promises to destroy him completely…or be his last and only hope at redemption.
Oliver’s Skinny: You catch Statham’s hair in this? Wow…no wonder he shaves it. I’d laugh, if my own hair weren’t even worse and Statham wouldn’t kick my ass… I’ve liked Statham’s movies he’s filmed when on his home turf, like The Bank Job and Blitz. He’s still highly bankable and even his not-so-great movies still benefit from his presence and physicality.
Is There Going to be a Review? Got to talk to somebody about that. I’ll catch Statham anytime.
How Do the Chewers See It: It’s On Demand an in select theatres on June 28.
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Their Skinny: It’s a closely observed examination of a family whose delicate psychic balance suddenly unravels. Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt), is a sought after massage therapist and a free spirit, while her brother Paul (Josh Pais) thrives on routine and convention, running a flagging dental practice and co-dependently enlisting the assistance of his emotionally stunted daughter Jenny (Ellen Page). Suddenly, transformation touches everyone. Abby develops an uncontrollable aversion to bodily contact, which not only makes her occupation impossible but severely hinders the passionate love life between her and her boyfriend (Scoot McNairy).
Meanwhile, rumors of Paul’s “healing touch” begin to miraculously invigorate his practice as well as his life outside the office. As Abby navigates her way through a soul-searching identity crisis, her formerly skeptical brother discovers a whole new side of himself. TOUCHY FEELY is about the experience of living in one’s own skin, both literally and figuratively. The film, written and directed by Shelton, and co-starring Allison Janney, Ron Livingston, and newcomer Tomo Nakayama (of the indie rock band Grand Hallway), is filmed on location in Shelton’s hometown and urban muse of Seattle.
Oliver’s Skinny: When you see the trailer, you’ll know what I know about this flick. Definitely has that chick flick feel, but I’d watch Ellen Page read some tax code.
Is There Going to be a Review? Hasn’t been discussed.
How Do the Chewers See It: Will be available on iTunes and On Demand on August 1 and in theatres September 6.
Venus and Serena
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Their Skinny: VENUS AND SERENA takes an unfiltered look into the remarkable lives of the greatest sister-act professional tennis has ever seen. In a sport where they were not welcomed, the indomitable Williams sisters faced the opposition with grace and courage not only breaking new ground for female and African American athletes everywhere, but dominating the women’s game for over a decade. The film tells the inspiring story of how these two women, against all odds, but the help of visionary parents, made it to the top. VENUS AND SERENA also explores the struggle of these two aging superstars during the 2011 tennis season as they battle life and career-threatening health problems. In VENUS AND SERENA we gain unprecedented access into the sisters’ lives – both in the spotlight – and behind closed doors, and we watch as they draw their greatest strengths from one another to overcome countless adversities.
Oliver’s Skinny: Have you seen Serena lately? She’s friggin’ annihilating the world. And she’s 31, in a sport where most pros are put out to pasture by then. In the last year, she won Wimbledon, The 2012 London Olympics gold medal the U.S. Open and the French Open. You give me Serena and the field for this year’s Wimbledon and U.S. Open, I’m taking Serena. She’s the first women’s tennis player to hold all four grand slams at once (The Serena Slam) since Steffi Graf in 1988, which is more impressive I think than an actual grand slam, because of the layoff in the off season. Sadly, Venus has had some health problems and her best days seem behind her, but their story is an incredible one.
Is There Going to be a Review? I ain’t heard nothing about that.
How Do the Chewers See It: Premieres on Blu-ray and DVD on July 2.
I Give It A Year
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Their Skinny: Since they met at a party, ambitious high-flyer Nat (Rose Byrne) and struggling novelist Josh (Rafe Spall) have been deliriously happy despite their differences. Josh is a thinker, Nat’s a doer, but the spark between them is undeniable. Their wedding is a dream come true, but no one — family, friends and even the minister who marries them — is convinced that they will last. Josh’s ex-girlfriend, Chloe (Anna Faris), and Nat’s handsome American client Guy (Simon Baker) could offer attractive alternatives.
Oliver’s Skinny: Good cast, looks funny. Other than that, I got nothin’.
Is There Going to be a Review? High-level talks are being conducted.
How Do the Chewers See It: Premieres on iTunes and On Demand on July 3, and in theatres on August 9.
The Spectacular Now
Their Skinny: With sly humor and an intensity of feeling, THE SPECTACULAR NOW (directed by James Ponsoldt) creates a vivid, three-dimensional portrait of youth confronting the funny, thrilling and perilous business of modern love and adulthood. This is the tale of Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), a high school senior and effortless charmer, and of how he unexpectedly falls in love with “the good girl” Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley). What starts as an unlikely romance becomes a sharp-eyed, straight-up snapshot of the heady confusion and haunting passion of youth – one that doesn’t look for tidy truths. The film was written by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber (500) DAYS OF SUMMER and also features wonderful supporting turns from Brie Larson, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
Oliver’s Skinny: First I’m hearing of it. Trailer has that A Walk To Remember or She’s All That vibe, only better. One thing I do know, she can believably play frumpy, but anybody thinking Shailene Woodley ain’t hot enough to be Mary Jane is blind.
Is There Going to be a Review? Anything’s possible.
How Do the Chewers See It: Opens theatrically in limited release on August 2.