In terms of movie marketing, 2016 is whiffing hard. The Ghostbusters trailer has the comedic originality of a Geico commercial, Star Trek Beyond looks like an action spoof, Warcraft is casting the spell of dubstep, and Suicide Squad decided it wanted to be Guardians Of The Galaxy after filming was already complete. Now, I’m not saying that these films are guaranteed to be hot garbage, but their previews have all the mystique of a used condom you find by the side of the road.
The irony is that there totally are a whole slew of upcoming films deserving of the hype Hollywood is squandering but don’t have the required marketing budget of a thousand kings. That’s why we continue our never-ending series about lesser-known films soon to blow your stupid socks off …
#6. A Van Gogh Biopic Made With Thousands Of Animated Paintings
From reusing frames to digital coloring, the odd goal of animation has always been to give the “fuck off” to animators as soon as technologically possible. And while evicting pencil jockeys might be the natural evolution of the industry, a European film called Loving Vincent is taking animation so far backward that it’s aping an era that never even existed.
Except for inside Walt’s fever dreams.
What you’re seeing is a handful of the 30 presumably exhausted artists currently hand-painting the 56,800 separate frames that will make up a film about Van Gogh’s manic life. And no — not every European animation is done by artfully daubing each canvas-sized animation cel; this one has been specifically done to look like the entire story takes place in our protagonist’s paintings. It’s an endeavor that took a total of two years to complete, at a rate of one painting every 40 minutes. The result?
Every Frame A Painting. Literally.
And it’s not just the visuals that are obsessively intricate, as the plot itself was pulled from 800 different letters by the artist and is presented as a series of interviews and reenactments surrounding the circumstances of his death. It comes out this September, and it’s still being completed in Poland and Greece. The film’s production raises the question of why more biopics about visual artists aren’t done to mimic their style. Just imagine the cinematic wonderment of H.R. Giger’s childhood depicted as a roiling ocean of disembodied dicks.
#5. A Fake Moon Landing Flick That Was Secretly Made At NASA
Roleplay time: Let’s say you wanted to make a mockumentary about NASA faking the moon landing. That would require you to simulate the 1960s, a phony moon landing set, and most laboriously — NASA HQ itself. After all, it’s not like you could just ferret a camera crew into a heavily monitored government agency filled with sensitive information and tons of liquid hydrogen, right? Especially when the movie you’re shooting is about the theory that NASA is a bunch of lunar-faking rat finks. That would be like … the most illegal movie ever.
Never mind, that’s totally what the filmmakers behind Operation Avalanche did, all under the pretenses of making a student documentary about NASA in the 1960s while actually collecting B-roll and interviews to fit their “B.S. moon landing” narrative. Afterward, it was a simple matter of building a moon set and dating their footage in post, having effectively slashed their budget by bamboozling literal rocket scientists.
“One small step for douche, one giant leap for douchekind.”
The story follows a CIA agent working for the government’s AV department who’s tasked with finding a Soviet mole supposedly sabotaging NASA’s lunar efforts. After the search goes dry, our hero discovers the dark truth that America is secretly eating Russia’s moon dust in the space race — and offers to use his cinematic expertise to fake the moon landing. Along with shooting in genuine locations, the film achieved a vintage look by digitally erasing any modern technology from the NASA shoot and threw in a Stanley Kubrick cameo from beyond the grave.
For those wondering why NASA didn’t immediately shut the film down: It turns out these crafty filmmakers are protected under a fair-use loophole, further stepping on the neck of an agency so underfunded you can actually shoot a period piece in their offices.
#4. The Greasy Strangler Is About Exactly What It Sounds Like
There’s not much to say about The Greasy Strangler that can’t be said by its own title, which sounds more like a pubescent masturbation technique than a feature film. Nevertheless, this is a magical thing that exists — as evidenced by screenshots from Entertainment Weekly.
“TUESDAY IS MY PINK SHIRT DAY!”
No, that older gentleman in pink is not the titular Greasy Strangler but rather Big Ronnie — the main character who just happens to be strangling someone in a non-greasy capacity … and is named as such because of his enormous, often on-screen penis. I shit you not: According to reviews, this whole thing is wallpapered with engorged old-guy dick, and that’s somehow not even the weirdest part.
Bafflingly produced by Elijah Wood, our journey’s Frodo is an elderly man co-running a disco-themed walking tour with his son-turned-romantic rival — as the pair end up vying for the same woman who I’m just assuming suffers from some sort of sexual blindness.
Or physical blindness, depending on how close that thing got to her eye.
And if that description doesn’t sound enough like the verbose screaming of a trash maniac, the stakes are raised upon the arrival of the titular inhuman slime-killer, who strangles hapless civilians and leaves them in a grotesque sludge pile. The plot thickens when it’s realized that every victim happens to be one of Big Ronnie’s tour customers, squarely putting him and his monster schlong in the hot seat. The film also includes “fetishized cellulite” sex and an apparently unending scene where the characters discuss paprika-flavored potato chips.
#3. The Lure Is A Violent Rock Opera About Stripper Mermaids
Cinematic sea sirens are generally imagined as animated ingenues or ichthyological murder machines with thresher tails and barracuda teeth. Finally, one brave film dares to ask: Why can’t they be both? (The trailer’s NSFW.)
Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Little Mermaid
Prepare your confused genitals for The Lure, a Polish film about a pair of mermaid sisters named Silver and Gold who enter the lavish 1980s Warsaw dance scene. And yes, there is at least one scene where someone fingers a mermaid’s tail vagina. Because I know you were wondering.
Happy now, you debased sexual scavengers?
After joining a band, the siblings end up in a spiral of fame and sex that pulls them from their abandoned aquatic origins and culminates in one of the two falling in love and deciding to surgically remove her tail at the cost of her voice. (Conversely, the second sister spends her land-time vampirically murdering people.) It’s literally one freakish Jamaican crustacean puppet away from being a gritty version of The Little Mermaid, complete with music and dance numbers. Yeah — did I mention it’s a fucking rock opera? Because it’s a fucking rock opera.
#2. In A Monster Calls, Liam Neeson Is A Depressing Giant
In a few months, Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG will be hitting theaters to delight kids and stupid adults with the tale of a young boy befriending a silly giant to go on silly giant adventures. Several months later, we’re getting A Monster Calls — an equally fanciful story about a mammoth bipedal visiting a child at night. But instead of silly giant adventures, the boy and his ogre pal will dive through the rainbow that is the inevitability of age and death.
Yes, Liam Neeson voices an ent monster with rage-hands. Adapted by the novel’s original writer and directed by the guy who made The Orphanage, the film follows a young boy bogged to earth by bullies, nightmares, and a mother (Sigourney Weaver) dying of cancer who is suddenly visited every night by the terrifying cemetery tree-turned-monster that lives across the street. Somehow, this is supposed to help the child.
“DO YOU FEEL BETTER NOW? PLEASE STOP CRYING.”
From that horrifying scenario, the tree-monster exchanges a series of fantastical stories, consoles the child about the dark nothingness that will envelop his mother (and eventually all of us, woo!), and gives him the strength to fight bullies (by literally possessing him).
Groot gonna fuck you up.”
#1. Tickled Is A Documentary About The Surprisingly Dark, Criminal World Of Tickle Contests
Imagine it’s 2014 and you’re a well-known, bisexual New Zealand journalist randomly stumbling upon an international casting call for “male athletic fitness models (aged 18-25)” to perform in all-expense paid “situations in which attractive, ticklish, and masculine guys are actually tickled in two different restrained formats.”
After a series of red flags immediately explode in your brain like the warning beacons of Gondor, you inquire to this agency and in return are bafflingly attacked for your sexual orientation:
And yet this is just the beginning or weirdness for David Farrier — the journalist behind the Sundance-debuting documentary Tickled. In the last two years, David’s probe into what seemed like a lighthearted story about tickling almost immediately became a battle against lawsuits and online harassment, all of which is centered on a con man who once impersonated a woman online to watch young men tickle each other before threatening them if they ever spoke out. The resulting documentary is filled with internet digging and seedy locations and looks more like a 1990s snuff thriller than a comedic slice-of-life.
A secret back-alley meeting is somehow one of the less shady things happening.
Also, it has tickling. Lots of surprisingly sinister tickling.
No, really — none of this is a joke. Go Google the phrase “competitive endurance tickling” and you’ll actually find videos of young men straddling each other on slummy hotel beds. I’d link them here, but I literally just told you that these people were coerced into making the videos. In fact, fucking don’t even Google it, you sick monster. Not only will you be watching one crazy rich guy’s spank bank, you will instantly feel dirty upon discovering that the video titles are plastered with the real names of the hapless people in them. This is real fucking life, for some unimaginable reason.
My browser history died for your sins.
The actual documentary looks to be such Woodward-and-Bernstein-level shit that only two of the victims were actually willing to speak on camera, while the rest feared online harassment if they came forward. Luckily, you won’t have to scramble to your indie theater to see this film, because the heroes over at HBO have purchased the U.S. television rights for a June release in an apparent effort to one-up The Jinx. Something tells me they’re on the right track.
Please SHARE this to let your friends know what they are missing out on!