With TIFF in full swing and CIFF on the way, the big screen hype machine is churning out trailers at a furious pace. If there’s a micro-trend for the week, it might be movies about drugs. Spark it up!
Aaron Paul has experience with onscreen amphetamines through his role as a meth-chef on Breaking Bad, but in this film he plays the lesser of two addicts. Mary Elizabeth Winstead has picked up some festival buzz for her performance as Paul’s wife struggling to kick the habit after a bender, while the supporting cast features comedy super-couple Meghan Mullaly and Nick Offerman (looking especially goofy in a goatee and sweater vest).
How To Make Money Selling Drugs
If The Wire piqued your interest in the world’s fastest growing, get-rich-quick industry, this documentary delves even deeper. Taking a quasi-satirical slant, its list of interview subjects includes 50 Cent, Eminem, Susan Sarandon, Woody Harrelson, Wire creator David Simon, Arianna Huffington and the other Rick Ross (a.k.a. the convicted kingpin known as “Freeway”).
The House I Live In
For a more sobering look at the topic, the latest doc from director Eugene Jarecki (Freakonomics, Why We Fight, Reagan) shifts its focus from the makers and the sellers to the system. David Simon appears once again, and it’s his quote closing out the clip that’ll stay with you: “The drug war is a holocaust in slow motion.” After winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, The House opens in October.
On a bad trip tip, this black and white creeper from Dog Day’s Seth Smith and Divorce Records/Obey Convention head honcho Darcy Spidle spooked crowds in its premiere at Montreal’s Fantasia. The second trailer reveals more of its psychotropic swamp-water horrors, and the infection will be spreading to more theatres soon.
The post-Harry Potter re-contextualization project continues with this gritty flick featuring Matthew Lewis (a.k.a. Neville Longbottom) and Timothy Spall (a.k.a. Wormtail). The plot involves a gang of ruffians out to get their revenge on the leader of a drug ring and escape the trife life for good with a dangerous heist. Luke Treadway (Attack the Block and the underrated Brothers of the Head) has the lead role, and he looks ready to get nasty.
Michael Shannon continues his powerhouse performance roll with this turn as the cold-blooded (get it?) hitman Richard Kuklinski. According to the trailer’s stats, he racked up at least 100 kills during his time in the biz, half of which were before his 18th birthday. Ray Liotta, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans and James Franco round out the cast in a clip that has more gunshots than an NWA track.
A Late Quartet
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s big role of 2012 is the charismatic leader of The Master *not* based on L. Ron Hubbard, but that hasn’t slowed him down from other credits. In this medical/musical drama, he joins Catherine Keener, Christopher Walken and Mark Ivanir as members of a chamber foursome sent spinning off its axis when Walken’s character is diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Fortissimo!
The To-Do List
Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Rec fame shows off her pervy side in this red band clip. Hoping to check off the Bedroom Olympic events she missed out on in high school, her character links up with a crew of funny dudes including Donald Glover, Bill Hader, a dreaded Andy Samberg and Christopher “McLovin” Mintz-Plasse. It's the cinematic debut of Funny or Die alum Maggie Carey, and should make Valentine’s Day next year a lot more fun.
Bridesmaids provided a breakthrough for Chris O’Dowd on this side of the pond, and this crowd-pleaser of a film should win him even more fans. As the manager of Australian girl-group The Sapphires, he gives the brassy quartet a break of their own entertaining the troops in Vietnam. Based on the stage play of the same name by Tony Briggs, and the real-life events of Briggs’s mother.
A Liar’s Autobiography
Finally, few films look more psychedelic than this 3D animated trip through the life and times of the late, great Graham Chapman. Alongside the voice talents of all five Monty Python members (including Chapman himself, recorded shortly before his passing), the comedy troupe enlisted 14 different studios to visualize chapters from the book and sew them together into something fittingly zany.