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‘Truth To Power’, ‘I Care A Lot’ Debut; ‘Nomadland’ Hits Theaters And Hulu – Specialty Preview

System of a Down is a renowned, Grammy-winning hard rock band, but the new Garin Hovannisian-directed documentary Truth To Power at Oscilloscope Laboratories shows a different side of them — specifically putting the spotlight on the band’s frontman, Serj Tankian.

Opening in virtual theaters today, Truth to Power brings audiences into the world of Tankian. Through exclusive interviews and original footage personally filmed by the international rock star, the docu pulls the curtain back as we see his revolutionary music career, his work in social justice and how he uses his platform for political change. His decades-long campaign for formal U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide was finally approved by Congress in 2019. He’s loved by his fans but has a very divisive relationship with the government.

The film features insight from his bandmates, producer Rick Rubin, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello as well as social justice advocates from the “Axis of Justice” nonprofit.

The project comes from Live Nation Productions, which also has Dave Grohl’s From Cradle To Stage in the works and previously produced docs Gaga: Five Foot Two and Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids, as well as the Oscar-winning A Star Is Born.

Watch the trailer below.

 

J Blakeson’s I Care A Lot premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year before hitting a handful of fests and finally landing at Netflix today.

Written and directed by Blakeson, the film has already earned Rosamund Pike a Golden Globe nomination for her turn as the well-poised and sharp Marla Grayson, a professional, court-appointed guardian for dozens of elderly wards whose assets she seizes and cunningly bilks through dubious but legal means. It’s an impressive racket she runs with her business partner and lover Fran (Eiza González). They use their skills with brutal efficiency on their latest “cherry,” Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest) — a wealthy retiree with no living heirs or family. Things take a turn when we find out Jennifer has an equally shady secret of her own and connections to a volatile gangster (Peter Dinklage). That said, Marla is forced to level up in a game. The film also features Chris Messina, Macon Blair, Alicia Witt, Damian Young and Isiah Whitlock Jr.

Pete Hammond said in his review, “Rosamund Pike, deservedly Golden Globe-nominated for her performance, is icily devious as Marla Grayson, a woman who has turned her business as a “legal guardian” into a successful scheme to bilk seniors out of their life savings as she gains control of their lives and sticks them in homes to be quickly forgotten.”

He adds, “This darkly comedic crime thriller usurps its genre to successfully set a tricky tone that never falters, especially when it easily could have gone too far over the top to be credible”

Watch the trailer below.

 

 

Since making its world premiere at TIFF, Searchlight’s Nomadland had a quick stint in theaters in December for a qualifying run before making its grand theatrical run. The film based on Jessica Bruder’s book of the same name starring Frances McDormand has now become an awards season frontrunner as it has already received honors from critics circles, was named Movie of the Year at the AFI Awards, nabbed trophies at the Gotham Awards and received SAG and Independent Spirit Award nominations. It is also up for numerous Golden Globe awards including Best Director for Chloe Zhao who makes history as the first woman of Asian descent to get nominated.

Needless to say, the film is doing well.

Now, Nomadland will be released to the masses in theaters and on Hulu. The story follows Fern (Frances McDormand) who packs her van and sets off on the road after the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada. She lives her life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. The third feature film from director Zhao, Nomadland features real nomads Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells as Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration of the picturesque American West. The film also features David Strathairn.

In an interview with Deadline, Zhao said that it was the world Bruder created that drew her to the story. “It was a time in America where a way of life was fast disappearing, and she had captured that with a chapter on Empire, Nevada, a chapter on quartzite, a chapter on the Amazon warehouse,” said the filmmaker. “She really managed to capture a time. So, the worldbuilding of her book was attractive to me. Thinking about these unique characters within that visual world, I realized I had never really explored the world through an older person’s perspective. And I felt the urgency of it, too. It said a lot about a time in this country that I felt I wanted to capture before it was gone. Before it was too late.”

If you’re looking for some “sophisticated and supremely silly” fare, then check out the latest iteration of Noel Coward’s play Blithe Spirit.

In select theaters and digital today, director Edward Hall tells the story of best-selling crime novelist Charles (Dan Stevens) as he comes across a terrible writer’s block as he attempts to finish his first screenplay. His picture-perfect new wife Ruth (Isla Fisher) is doing her best to keep him focused so they can fulfill her dream of leaving London for Hollywood.

Charles goes on a journey to find inspiration and it leads him to invite the eccentric mystic Madame Acarti (Judi Dench) to perform a séance in his home. Madame Acarti inadvertently summons the spirit of his first wife: the fiery Elvira (Leslie Mann). Elvira wants to pick up where they left off but is shocked to discover the prim and proper Ruth is now married to her husband. Charles finds himself stuck between his two wives as they try to out-do one another.

Inspired by actual events, Lionsgate’s  Silk Road chronicles the rise and fall of the titular infamous darknet site that sent a seismic shock through the World Wide Web. We follow young, idealistic Ross Ulbricht (Nick Robinson) who creates the internet’s first unregulated marketplace which is called Silk Road. But when it becomes a multimillion-dollar pipeline for illicit drugs, Ross is set on a collision course with dangerous DEA agent Rick Bowden (Jason Clarke) who will use any means necessary to take him down.

Directed by Tiller Russell, Silk Road debuts on digital, on demand and in select theaters today. The cast also includes Katie Aselton, Jimmi Simpson, Daniel David Stewart, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Lexi Rabe, Will Ropp, Paul Walter Hauser and Alexandra Shipp.

In 1999, filmmaker Davy Rothbart met Emmanuel Sanford-Durant and his older brother, Smurf, during a pickup basketball game in Southeast Washington, D.C. Rothbart started to film their lives and soon the two brothers and other family members began to use the camera themselves. The result is 17 Blocks.

Spanning 20 years, this story illuminates a national, ongoing crisis through one family’s stirring personal saga. Made from more than 1,000 hours of footage, it all starts on the street where they lived in 1999, 17 blocks (hence the title) behind the U.S. Capitol.

MTV Documentary Films will release the documentary in virtual cinemas today.

Zoé Wittock’s Jumbo tells a love story… a different kind of love story.

The Dark Side Pictures film, which made its premiere at Sundance, follows Jeanne (Noémie Merlant), a shy young woman who works the graveyard shift as a cleaner at an amusement park. Her mother wants her to meet a man, but Jeanne prefers tinkering in her bedroom with wires, light bulbs, and spare parts, creating miniature versions of theme park rides. During her late-night shifts she begins spending intimate time with the alluring new Tilt-A-Whirl ride that she decides to call Jumbo. The film also features Emmanuelle Bercot and Sam Louwyck.

Jumbo opens in virtual cinemas today and will debut on VOD on March 16.

Also opening this weekend is the Gravitas Ventures release The Violent Heart written and directed by Kerem Sanga. The southern gothic-inspired Romeo & Juliet story set in the American heartland stars Jovan Adepo as Daniel who, 15 years after the murder of his older sister, finds himself falling for Cassie, a vivacious high school senior. The film also stars Lukas Haas, Mary J. Blige, Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Jahi Di’Allo Winston. The Violent Heart hits select theaters and on demand today.

In John Swab’s crime thriller Body Brokers, Jack Kilmer and Alice Englert star as junkies Utah and Opal who live on the streets of rural Ohio. They have a chance encounter with the enigmatic Wood (Michael Kenneth Williams) who brings them to Los Angeles for treatment. While Utah finds sobriety with the help of the treatment center shrink (Melissa Leo), he soon learns that rehab is not about helping people—it’s merely a cover scheme for a multibillion-dollar fraud operation, enlisting addicts to recruit other addicts. Body Brokers also stars Frank Grillo, Jessica Rothe, Peter Greene, Owen Campbell, Sam Quartin, and Thomas Dekker. Vertical Entertainment releases Body Brokers on demand and digital today.

Gravitas Ventures is set to release Ash Patiño’s documentary Mallory which will be available on digital February 23. The feature docu follows the titular Mallory Grossman who was an all-American 12-year-old girl who loved gymnastics, cheerleading, and all things outdoors. She was loved by family and friends, but on June 14, 2017, she took her own life after months of bullying. Mallory follows her story, and how her family navigated the lack of accountability from her school.

Last but not least, there’s Greenwich Entertainment’s Days of the Bagnold Summer. The comedy, which marks the directorial feature debut of British actor Simon Bird (The Inbetweeners) opens in theaters, virtual cinemas and digital platforms today. The movie follows gangly fifteen-year-old Daniel Bagnold (Earl Cave) who lives with his divorced mother Sue (Monica Dolan) in an English suburb. He can’t wait to spend his summer with his father in Florida. When the trip is canceled, Daniel and Sue, who have a strained relationship, face six long weeks together in the dull British suburbia.

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