In today’s Movie News Rundown: How the new film Before the Fire, out today, eerily predicted COVID-19; another brand-new film, Sputnik, created the creepiest cinematic alien in years; Project Power isn’t another superhero movie; AMC offers 15-cent movies; and how to get Kanopy, that free streaming service you’ve been hearing about.
Sputnik: The new Russian horror/sci-fi film is kind of like Alien, if Alien took place in 1983, in the Soviet Union. Director Egor Abramenko walked us through the process of creating an entirely new kind of alien. The film also shared some very… vivid concept art.
Prophetic: Director Charlie Buhler and writer-actor Jenna Lyng Adams didn’t have millions of dollars for their new sci-fi drama Before the Fire — but they did have access to planes, Humvees, a farm, and a house that needed burning down. In DIY, indie filmmaking fashion, they reverse-engineered Adams’ script, using what they had. Well: Before the Fire ended up eerily predicting almost everything about COVID-19. I talk with them on the latest MovieMaker Interviews podcast, available on Apple or Spotify or right here:
Project Power: The new Netflix film, starring Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Dominique Fishback, is about super powers — but not super heroes. Sophie Martinez spoke to directors Ariel “Rel” Schulman and Henry Joost about the film.
1920 Prices: When AMC reopens more than 100 theaters on Aug. 20, it will offer the same prices it did 100 years ago, CNN reports. A large popcorn will still cost 100 dollars.
Kanopy: You can also stay home and watch 20,000 movies, including lots of classics and indies, for free on Kanopy. If you’re like me, you keep hearing great things about the service and meaning to sign up. Here’s how you actually do it.
BlackStar: The Philadelphia-based film festival just announced its lineup, and it includes two of the most important figures in Philly hip-hop, a drive-in screening of the Bruce Lee documentary Be Water, and the hosts of Still Processing interviewing Radha Blank about her directorial debut The 40-Year-Old Version.
Hawai’i International Film Festival: Today marks the final day of the HIFF @ Home Summer Fest, featuring 11 narrative and documentary films and exclusive panels and Q&As. The event even included a virtual Pau Hana, which means “time after work,” so all guests could join in a happy hour with guests Daniel Dae Kim and Amy Hill. Keep a lookout for their 40th anniversary celebration this November, featuring drive-ins and outdoor screenings, with an emphasis on celebrating Asian and Pacific filmmakers.
Blazing Saddles: Deadline notes that the 1974 Mel Brooks film now carries a preamble on HBO Max, but unlike the one for Gone With the Wind, this one kind of praises its handling of racial content. After noting that the film portrays “racist language and attitudes,” University of Chicago professor and TCM host Jacqueline Stewart notes, “those attitudes are espoused by characters who are explicitly portrayed here as narrow-minded, ignorant bigots. … The film’s real and much more enlightened perspective is represented by the two main characters.”
All Together Now: Showing bad behavior for the sake of a story isn’t endorsing bad behavior.
Our Blumhouse Is a Very, Very, Very Fine House: Eight new Blumhouse features are coming to Amazon, says Variety, which adds that they will “share a common theme, centering around family and love as redemptive or destructive forces.”
Have a Great Weekend, Everybody: Here’s yesterday’s Movie News Rundown.
Thanks to Sophie Martinez for contributing to today’s rundown.