In today’s Movie News Rundown, three great movies are out today — likely Oscar contenders The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Time, and the scrappy college indie Shithouse. Also, Aaron Sorkin illustrates how Sacha Baron Cohen immerses himself in drama just as much as he does in comedy. Plus: Kung Pao and prejudice and zombies.
Curtains?: In a sign of theaters’ increasing desperation, AMC, the country’s largest theater chain, is now renting out entire theaters for as little as $99.
Yippie: Our interview with Aaron Sorkin, whose Trial of the Chicago 7 is out today on Netflix, reveals that Sacha Baron Cohen was so fascinated with his character, Abbie Hoffman, that he kept researching the Youth International Party leader well into the shoot. “At night I’d get an email from him at the hotel with just a piece of a speech of Abbie’s, saying, ‘Oh, this is so good. Can we use it somehow?’ And I’d have to say to him, ‘It is really good, but it has nothing to do with the scene,’” Sorkin says.
Borat: Also, here’s a Borat update from Deadline that also involves Facebook and Twitter finally banning Holocaust deniers. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is out next Friday.
Atlanta Horror Festival: Grant Vance has this dispatch from a “safely social-distanced, atmospheric gravel lot” at the 14th annual Atlanta Horror Film Festival, where his favorite opening night short was “Kung Pao Corpse,” a film that poses the important question: “What if a food delivery driver talked about prejudice with a zombie?”
Well-Spent: A couple of years ago, Cooper Raiff bribed two friends $150 each to make a movie with him. That bribe, plus a Twitter exchange with Mark Duplass and a lot of hard work, led to Raiff’s debut feature film, Shithouse, being available on demand today. Raiff tells his whole funny and inspiring story here.
Time: The Gareth Bradley documentary that we wrote about yesterday is also out today on Amazon Prime, and is not to be missed. In this interview, she talks about how her main subject, Fox Rich, tried to maintain surface-level perfection for 20 years as she fought to free her husband from prison, and how the struggle not to let that mask slip became a form of resistance.
What Is Horror?: If you liked Funny Games but wish it had a little more Poltergeist, you might also like the new British horror film Hosts, which combines home invasion, possession, aliens and/or demons, with a bit about fracking. As you’ll hear from the new Low Key podcast, we had divided feelings. Our discussion of whether it successfully merges genres leads to another question: What exactly makes a horror movie a horror movie? You can listen on Apple or Spotify or here:
Comment of the Day: Thank you all for really wonderful, thoughtful comments this week. Here’s Guido Baechler on The Trial of the Chicago 7: “This is an amazing project through and through. A historical masterpiece and the folks involved in the production are amazing. What happened back then is happening right now all over the world not just in America. I think we are the peak of the corruption level and today’s reality mirrors the one from 1968. In fact, today it is most likely much more widespread than ever before.”
Hey: Have a great weekend, everyone!