The Underground is our recurring feature, resurrected from an all-time great CHUD column, the aim of which is to get the word out on projects outside the Hollywood studio system. Studio films have big promotion engines behind them. The Underground caters to everything else: from indie films, to cult films in the making, pet projects, guerrilla films, internet shorts, etc.
Distributor: Magnet Releasing and Wayfare Entertainment
Their Skinny: Europa Report follows a contemporary mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa to investigate the possible existence of alien life within our solar system. When unmanned probes suggest that a hidden ocean could exist underneath Europa’s icy surface and may contain single-celled life, Europa Ventures, a privately funded space exploration company, sends six of the best astronauts from around the world to confirm the data and explore the revolutionary discoveries that may lie in the Europan ocean. After a near-catastrophic technical failure that leads to loss of communication with Earth and the tragic death of a crewmember, the surviving astronauts must overcome the psychological and physical toll of deep space travel, and survive a discovery on Europa more profound than they had ever imagined.
Oliver’s Skinny: Immediate comparisons are going to come between this and two other films: 2010 and Apollo 18. Now I’ve not seen Apollo 18, but I can tell you that Europa Report is probably much better than that reportedly dogshit effort. And 2010, other than the direct correlations in plot, is a pretty apt analogue. It is a found footage deal of sorts, and “there were problems and uh…a few deaths were involved.” (props to you if you got that reference)
Is There Going to be a Review? Yes, on June 24.
How Do the Chewers See It: It’s premiering on iTunes / VOD on June 27 and in theatres on August 2.
A Band Called Death
Distributor: Drafthouse Films
Their Skinny: Before Bad Brains, the Sex Pistols or even the Ramones, there was a band called Death. Punk before punk existed, three teenage brothers in the early ’70s formed a band in their spare bedroom, began playing a few local gigs and even pressed a single in the hopes of getting signed. But this was the era of Motown and emerging disco. Record companies found Death’s music – and band name – too intimidating, and the group were never given a fair shot, disbanding before they even completed one album. Equal parts electrifying rockumentary and epic family love story, A Band Called Death chronicles the incredible fairy-tale journey of what happened almost three decades later, when a dusty 1974 demo tape made its way out of the attic and found an audience several generations younger. Playing music impossibly ahead of its time, Death is now being credited as the first black punk band (hell…the first punk band!), and are finally receiving their long overdue recognition as true rock pioneers.
Oliver’s Skinny: Ole Worm had the skinny on this one about a week ago. I’m going to be checking it out myself in the next few days. I kind of have mixed expectations because the period that this documentary covers is my absolute favorite when it comes to music. But then again, the only punk that I follow is of the CM variety.
Is There Going to be a Review? Yes. Week of June 28.
How Do the Chewers See It: It’s available on iTunes, VOD and for digital download now and will be in theaters on June 28.
100 Bloody Acres
Distributor: Doppelganger Releasing
Their Skinny: Brothers Reg and Lindsay Morgan are struggling to keep their organic blood and bone fertilizer business in motion. Their secret “recipe” for success (using dead car crash victims in their product) was a huge boon to business, but lately supply has been gravely low. Months have passed since their last find, and an important new customer is now waiting on a delivery. When junior partner Reg (Damon Herriman of Justified) stumbles upon 3 travelers stranded on a remote country road, he cooks up a radical solution to their problem, and a way of finally gaining the respect of his bossy big brother (Angus Sampson). But when Reg starts to fall for Sophie, one of the intended victims, things get complicated…
Oliver’s Skinny: As of the writing of this column, I haven’t as yet seen anything more on this than the trailer below. But you’ve got the dark side of the whole green movement, a redneck Australian, and the best body grinding up scene since Fargo. What’s not to like? I’ll be watching this before the week is out and, krikey, I’m looking forward to it, mate. On a side note, you know, I’ve actually been to Australia and that whole “no worries, mate” thing? They really do say that. Wild.
Is There Going to be a Review? Yes, June 27.
How Do the Chewers See It: Premieres in theatres and VOD June 28
Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
Their Skinny: From Summit Entertainment, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain captures the laughter, energy and mayhem from Hart’s 2012 “Let Me Explain” concert tour, which spanned 10 countries and 80 cities, and generated over $32 million in ticket sales.
Oliver’s Skinny: Kevin Hart is an extremely funny dude. I first caught him when he was one of four featured performers on Shaq’s All Star Comedy Jam during the NBA All Star Weekend in Phoenix a couple of years ago. Couple of his bits had me crying. He’s amassed an impressive list of 50+credits in just over a decade on IMDB in stuff like This is the End, Think Like a Man and Little Fockers. This looks funny as hell.
Is There Going to be a Review? Don’t know yet. Working on it.
How Do the Chewers See It: Premieres in theatres nationwide on July 3. You know, just in case you feel like skipping another Johnny Depp in pasty white makeup flick.
Distributor: Millennium Entertainment
Their Skinny: Deep in the Appalachian mountains, a reclusive American military veteran (Robert De Niro) and a European tourist (John Travolta) strike up an unlikely friendship. But when the tourist’s true intentions come to light, what follows is a tense battle across some of America’s most forbidding landscape proving the old adage: the purest form of war is one-on-one.
Oliver’s Skinny: This one has just slightly more star wattage than your typical indie. And they can throw around that notion that Travolta is some Serbian dude looking for payback on De Niro from the Bosnian War or something, but I know who he really is: Travolta is…Kraven The Hunter.
Is There Going to be a Review? I gotta talk to the Man (or in this case the Woman) about that. Keep your eyes peeled.
How Do the Chewers See It: Premieres on OnDemand / VOD and in theatres on July 12.