Some Freaks, It’s Not Yet Dark, Wind River
Do date night right with Film Daily’s selection of the best films to catch this weekend. Meet a one-eyed high school teenager in a coming-of-age story with a twist; witness one filmmaker’s journey to overcome adversity in the wake of extraordinary loss; and uncover the truth behind the biggest international sports scandal.
Ian MacAllister McDonald makes his directorial debut with this coming-of-age story with a twist. Some Freaks follows one-eyed high school senior Matt who meets plus-size Jill and falls more in love than he ever thought possible. But when graduation arrives and Jill moves across the country for college, she undergoes a massive physical transformation – much to Matt’s surprise. As Matt struggles to accept her new look, Jill herself begins to question whether Matt is really the man she thought she knew and the two of them are forced to confront who they are, who they were, and who everyone thinks they’re supposed to be. Stars Thomas Mann (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) and Lily Mae Harrington (Loserville). Read Film Daily’s review here.
Amateur bike racer Bryan Fogel (Jewtopia) embarks on a mission to uncover the truth behind the biggest sports scandal in recent history: the Russian doping epidemic. Far from a normal exposé, Icarus sees Fogel take on a personal experiment: doping himself, observing the changes in his performance, and trying to evade detection. Fogel teams up with Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov , a renegade Russian scientist linked to Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping program, for the experiment. Despite Rodchenkov’s controversial background, the two grow closer through a series of Skype calls, urine samples, and badly administered hormone injections. Netflix promises the documentary will place viewers at the very “heart of an international game of cat and mouse”, as the pair learns they hold the power to blow the lid off the biggest international sports scandal in living memory.
It’s Not Yet Dark (FilmRise)
on limited theatrical release now
Soon after premiering his short film The Sound of People (2007) at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, promising young Irish director Simon Fitzmaurice was tragically diagnosed with motor neurone disease (ALS). At only 34 years old, Simon was given four years to live. But seven years later and despite total physical incapacitation, Fitzmaurice completed work on My Name is Emily (2015), directing it with only the use of his eyes. It’s Not Yet Dark sees fellow Irish filmmaker Frankie Fenton delve into Simon’s emotional journey of self realization and personal triumph over life-crushing adversity. Affectionately narrated by compatriot Colin Farrell (The Beguiled).
Brave New Jersey (Gravitas Ventures)
on limited theatrical release now
Set in a small New Jersey town on the night of Orson Welles’s legendary War of the Worlds radio broadcast, Jody Lambert (People Like Us) directs this comedy focusing on the hoax that terrified millions into believing Martians were invading America. Expect an overworked town mayor finally taking a chance on love; a neglected housewife who breaks free from her big-cheese husband; a demure schoolteacher that turns into a warrior; an aimless reverend who rediscovers his faith; and a reclusive war veteran who becomes a hero once again. Forced to confront the possibility that it might be their last night on Earth, these characters band together for a final battle, leading to a “surprising and hilarious outcome”. Brave New Jersey stars Tony Hale (Arrested Development), Heather Burns (You’ve Got Mail), Sam Jaeger (American Sniper), Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect), Dan Bakkedahl (The Heat), Mel Rodriguez (Little Miss Sunshine), and Raymond J. Barry (Training Day).
It’s been a long time in the making, but Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is finally coming to the big screen. Dubbed by Sony as the most “ambitious and expansive story from one of the world’s most celebrated authors”, the story focuses on gunslinger Roland Deschain, who protects the fabric of the universe and is locked in an eternal battle with a mysterious figure known as the Man in Black, who is determined to destroy it. With the fate of not only the world but the universe hanging in the balance, the forces of good and evil collide in The Dark Tower. Directed by Nikolaj Arcel and starring Idris Elba (Prometheus), Matthew McConaughey (Mud), Fran Kranz (Donnie Darko), and Jackie Earle Haley (Preacher).
The true and “gripping story” of the civil unrest that erupted and shook the Michigan city to its core during the hot summer of 1976. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit delves into the methodology the police and military used to combat the uprising, ultimately exploring the systemic racism prevalent throughout the city. The film reunites Oscar-winning director Bigelow with Mark Boal, with whom she previously collaborated on The Hurt Locker (2008) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012). Stars John Boyega (Attack the Block), Will Poulter (The Revenant), Jacob Latimore (The Maze Runner), Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton), Anthony Mackie (Million Dollar Baby), John Krasinski (13 Hours), Jack Reynor (Free Fire), and Hannah Murray (Game of Thrones).
Wind River is the “chilling” second feature from Taylor Sheridan, who made his directorial debut with Vile (2011). Set in Wyoming, the film follows Cory Lambert, a tracker on the Wind River Indian Reserve, ravaged by violence and isolation and “where the law of men fades against pitiless nature”. Lost and alone in the wilderness, Lambert stumbles upon the body of a murdered local girl, forcing the FBI to send in a rookie recruit to help solve the mysterious death. Wind River screened to a standing ovation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Sheridan subsequently taking home the Un Certain Regard Award for Best Director. Stars Jeremy Renner (Arrival) & Elizabeth Olsen (I Saw the Light).