Toronto Film Review: ‘Color Out of Space’

Director: Richard StanleyWith: Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Madeline Arthur, Brendan Meyer, Julian Hilliard, Elliot Knight, Q’Orianka Kilcher, Tommy Chong.
Running time: 110 MIN.

Five years ago, one of the most famously troubled productions in movie history was colorfully detailed in the documentary “Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Doctor Moreau.” Its major takeaway was the cruel injustice of a director being removed from a project that had been his baby from inception. If you wondered what Stanley might’ve got up to had that experience not traumatized him out of the business (some documentaries and shorts aside) for more than a quarter-century, there’s finally an answer of sorts in “Color Out of Space.”

His first big-screen narrative feature since 1992 returns to the berserk mixes of external fantasy and personal idiosyncrasy that made pre-“Island” efforts “Hardware” and “Dust Devil” cult favorites. It’s based on a much-adapted H.P. Lovecraft story, and like most prior versions, takes considerable liberties with the original material. Entertaining but uneven, the result is a deliberately over-the-top sci-fi horror exercise that loses some focus as the action grows more psychedelically unhinged — its oscillating tone not necessarily helped by Nicolas Cage growing likewise, in one of his less inspired gonzo-style performances.

Still, there will be great interest among genre fans, ensuring wide exposure in home formats, though big-screen placements will likely be spottier. RLJE Films (which had a sleeper hit last year with “Mandy,” another trippy Cage opus) picked up U.S. theatrical rights just before the film’s premiere in Toronto’s Midnight Madness section.

It begins a bit goofily with cape-wearing, white-horse-riding teenage Wiccan Livinia Gardner (Madeleine Arthur) performing a riverside rite for the sake of her mother Theresa (Joely Richardson), who’s recovering from cancer. She’s interrupted by Ward (Elliot Knight), a handsome young hydrologist surveying the area for a future dam project.

After that mildly flirtatious first meet, she heads home to the inherited farm her family has recently moved to, its isolated location a fair distance from the nearest town of Arkham (Lovecraft’s preferred fictive Massachusetts setting). There, mom is working as an online commodities trader, while failed-painter dad Nathan (Cage) is trying to make a go of rural life by growing produce and raising alpacas. Adolescent son Benny (Brendan Meyer) copes with their changed circumstances herbally, while junior child Jack (Julian Hilliard) is young enough not to be bothered.

He’s very bothered later that night, however, as an earth-shaking disturbance is caused by a meteor fragment that lands in the front yard, glowing eerily. By morning, it’s cooled to ash, and a day later has vanished entirely. But other strange occurrences begin to escalate, affecting animal as well as human residents. The first to recognize that the local water might be contaminated, visitor Ward avoids imbibing any, which perhaps keeps him safe from the distorting impact on time and matter that others soon suffer. Not so lucky are the Gardners, their livestock or pets (including a particularly expressive dog named Sam, played by three canines), plus old hippie hermit Ezra (Tommy Chong), who squats in a shack nearby.

Stanley fares best in the early going, when our dread of what might be coming is managed with a nice balance of creepiness and humor. Once the alien force begins taking over in earnest, however, the film turns overloaded and incoherent by degrees, piling on too many underdeveloped factors. Lovecraft left the cause or purpose of the invading “color” (seen here largely as a pinkish light) mysterious. But the movie is very literal-minded in some aspects, notably some grotesque mutation effects, while remaining vague in others. Whatever the space entity wants, it has no obvious relevance to the somewhat annoying Lavinia’s attempts at witchery, a non-sci-fi supernatural element Stanley doesn’t integrate into the larger story at all.

Then there’s the problem of Cage, who’s given some of his best nutzoid turns quite recently (particularly in “Mandy” and “Mom and Dad”), but here seems to be indulging that penchant for eccentric excess without much regard for the surrounding movie. At a midpoint, one of Nathan’s children says, “Dad’s been acting weird,” but how can they even tell? The other characters have their own internal logic, becoming irrational or developing other signs of “contagion” in a fairly clear progression. Yet Cage hits so many arbitrarily oddball notes from the start, we’re never sure what’s meant to be going on with Nathan, and that loosens the film’s grip on its own tricky tone. While “Color” doesn’t lack wit, its top-billed star too often seems to be having a laugh when the director and his story are going for something else.

Hence “Color Out of Space” doesn’t quite gel as a whole, its narrative dissolving into CGI-heavy hallucinogenic near-chaos rather than building steadily towards a full-bore climax. Nonetheless, it always holds interest, and frequently fills the eye with impressive fantastical imagery — the most effective being not blobby lysergic wig-outs but ghostly views of the mist-enshrouded house and neighboring woods. (For funding reasons the film was shot in Portugal, which does a surprisingly fair job passing for New England.)

All tech and design contributions are accomplished, though in suspense terms the movie might actually have been better off applying greater restraint to the use of practical and digital effects. There’s also a sense of overload at times to Colin Stinson’s synth-based score, though that may be partly chalked up to the Imax-house sound system at the Toronto Film Festival press screening attended.

Lovecraft is always difficult to adapt, despite more attempts being made every single year. “Color Out of Space” swings wilder and connects less reliably than fellow enthusiast Stuart Gordon’s several Lovecraft-based features. Still, it’s disorderly fun that sports a directorial personality distinct enough to make one grateful for Stanley’s return. Here’s hoping decades don’t pass again before he sees another major project come to fruition.

Toronto Film Review: 'Color Out of Space'

Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Midnight Madness), Sept. 8, 2019. Running time: 110 MIN.

PRODUCTION: An Ace Pictures Entertainment presentation of a SpectreVision production in association with XYZ Films, Bro Cinema. (Int'l sales: XYZ Films, Los Angeles.) Producers: Daniel Noah, Josh C. Waller, Lisa Whalen, Elijah Wood. Executive producers: Annie Chang, Johnny Chang, Calvin Choong, Peter Wong, Timur Bekbosunov, Emma Lee, Stacy Jorgensen, Michael M. McGuire, Elisa Lleras. Co-producers: Mario Patrocinio, Simao Cayatte, David Gregory.

CREW: Director: Richard Stanley. Screenplay: Stanley, Scarlett Amaris, baed on the short story “The Colour Out of Space” by H.P. Lovecraft. Camera (color, widescreen, HD): Steve Annis. Editor: Brett W. Bachman. Music: Colin Stetson.

WITH: Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Madeline Arthur, Brendan Meyer, Julian Hilliard, Elliot Knight, Q’Orianka Kilcher, Tommy Chong.


'Color Out of Space': Film Review | TIFF 2019

Nicolas Cage and Joely Richardson find their family’s lives threatened by an evil alien force after a meteorite lands on their farm in Richard Stanley’s adaptation of an H. P. Lovecraft story.

Making the switchover from H. G. Wells to H. P. Lovecraft, director Richard Stanley comes back from the 1996 debacle of losing his long-cherished project, The Island of Doctor Moreau. His new Color Out of Space is a satisfying shot at bringing a classic of the sci-fi/horror genre to modern audiences. Though updated with internet and cellphones that receive alien babble at all the wrong moments, it’s surprisingly faithful to Lovecraft’s original story “The Colour Out of Space” published in Amazing Stories magazine in 1927.

Of the many short stories that the cult writer penned in his life, this was his personal favorite. Centered around evil aliens who invade the Earth as an eerie, non-existent color, it has stretched the imagination of readers and filmgoers alike and has enjoyed many screen adaptations, beginning with the 1965 film Die, Monster, Die! starring Boris Karloff.

Hitting the main plot points with well-designed SFX and some impressive night photography, Stanley's film manages to be frightening indeed, even with star Nicolas Cage’s semi-farcical leavening adding some nutty laughs. RLJE Films, who did quite well with Cage’s bloody revenge tale Mandy, confirmed U.S. release just as the film bowed in TIFF’s Midnight Madness tank.

Pater familias Nathan Gardner (Cage) has just moved his brood to the Massachusetts sticks, in fact to Arkham, the dark city often featured in Lovecraft stories. Blithely unaware of this, Nathan and his wife Theresa (Joely Richardson, matching his hippie-turned-houseowner look) have renovated his father’s old farmhouse with modern taste and comfort. He grows tomatoes in the garden and back in the barn he’s busy raising — wait for it — alpacas, which even his kids think is ridiculous. A symbol of Nathan’s basic unfitness as a farmer, the woolly creatures become a running gag. Meanwhile, Theresa struggles to keep in touch with her clients over the house’s dicey internet system while recovering from a breast cancer operation. They’re an offbeat couple you can’t help but like, even when everything you know about horror films tells you to keep your distance.

The three kids are in various phases of rural adjustment. While oft-stoned Benny (Brendan Meyer) dutifully feeds the alpacas, teenage Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur) has a rebellious streak and is a practicing Wiccan, which is presented in a rather positive light as an empowering woman thing. She’s in the middle of a magic ritual by the river to heal her sick mom when she is interrupted by a good-looking young surveyor sent to test the water levels. Ward (Elliot Knight of American Gothic) will stand in as narrator and witness of the horror to follow.

Completing this basically lovable family is little Jack (Julian Hilliard, who already earned his horror stripes in the recent The Haunting of Hill House), a sweet mama’s boy who is the first to get hypnotized by the Color. It lands one night inside a steaming red-hot ball near a well in the front yard. Nathan calls in Arkham’s sheriff and the mayor (Q’orianka Kilcher), who get Ward’s educated opinion that they’re probably dealing with a meteorite.

But according to the old hippie Ezra (Tommy Chong) who lives in the woods, something has gone seriously wrong with nature, an idea that shifts the tale into modern ecological disaster territory.

You can’t trust the Earth anymore. Flash lightning storms, tropical creepers and radios going berserk are added to other inexplicable phenomena. Jack starts talking to someone in the apparently empty well and a huge, mutant praying mantis flies out in brilliant colors. The family dog goes missing. Nathan’s crop of giant tomatoes ripens early but tastes horrible, mushrooms sprout in vivid fuchsia and the water turns poisonous. Good thing that Ward, a hydrologist, decides not to drink it. Too bad for the Gardners. In a truly scary shower scene, Nathan discovers his arm is turning scaly. He’s also starting to be hypnotized by waves of color on the TV set and is getting much weirder than he already was.

All of this is a bit random and haphazard but it’s clearly leading up to something, and that something is the payoff. When the Color decides to let go, there’s no stopping it, and one by one the members of the family are made to feel its power. The dog reappears as a mutant monster and the alpacas turn into melted cheese. The family starts losing their minds. Nathan crosses the line when he goes all hysterical and begins locking up broken loved ones in the attic.

It’s hard to depict a scary color, particularly one that has never been seen before and is outside the visual spectrum, but DP Steve Annis takes a valiant stab at shades of pinkish violet that swirl through the air like a pastel fog. The film also does a good job suggesting horrid things — mangled bodies, radiation burns, mutated animals— without fully showing them, leaving much to the imagination. Only in the final explosive blowout do the special effects people go for broke, no more subtlety needed.
Production companies: SpectreVision, ACE Pictures
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Q’orianka Kilcher, Madeleine Arthur, Brendan Meyer, Julian Hilliard, Elliot Knight, Tommy Chong
Director: Richard Stanley
Screenwriters: Richard Stanley, Scarlett Amaris, based on the H. P. Lovecraft story
Producers: Daniel Noah, Josh Waller, Lisa Whalen, Elijah Wood
Director of photography: Steve Annis
Production designer: Katie Byron
Costume designer: Patricia Doria
Editor: Brett W. Bachman
Music: Colin Stetson
Venue: Toronto International Film Festival (Midnight Madness)
World sales: XYZ Films

111 minutes


Nicolas Cage’s ‘Color Out of Space’ Bought Ahead of Toronto Premiere

RLJE Films has acquired U.S. rights to Nicolas Cage’s horror movie “Color Out of Space” in a low-mid seven figure deal.

The deal was unveiled ahead of its world premiere at Midnight Madness at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday night. The cast includes Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Brendan Meyer and Elliot Knight with Q’Orianka Kilcher and Tommy Chong.

The film was directed by South African filmmaker Richard Stanley, who is directing his first feature in more than 20 years. Stanley co-wrote the script with Scarlett Amaris.

The project, based on the novella by H.P. Lovecraft, reunited Cage with SpectreVision, the company behind his 2018 film “Mandy.”

“Color Out of Space” centers on a family who moves to a remote farmstead in rural New England to escape the hustle of the 21st century when a meteorite crashes into their front yard, resulting in the land and the properties of space and time to become infected with a strange, otherworldly color. To their horror, the family discovers that this alien force is gradually mutating every life form that it touches.

“Color Out of Space” was financed by Ace Pictures and produced by SpectreVision. Producers include Daniel Noah, Lisa Whalen, Elijah Wood and Josh C. Waller, and executive producers are Johnny Chang, Peter Wong, Timur Bekbosunov, Emma Lee, Stacy Jorgensen, Elisa Lleras and Michael M. McGuire.  XYZ Films is handling international sales on the film.

The deal was negotiated by Mark Ward and Jess DeLeo from RLJE Films and Nate Bolotin from XYZ Films on behalf of the filmmakers.


Mayhem 2019: Final Films Announced, Led by COLOR OUT OF SPACE, DANIEL ISN`T REAL And GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR

Our friends at the Mayhem Film Festival in Nottingham, England, have revealed the complete lineup for this year's festival in October.

So far this year they have announced that The Gangster, The Cop The Devil & The Pool, She Never Died, Extra Ordinary, Sword of God (The Mute) and Something Else will play at the festival. All good titles, all worthy of your time.

Today the fest more noteble festival highlights are coming to town. Richard Stanley’s Color Out of Space, Travis Stevens' Girl on the Third Floor, Adam Egypt Mortimer's Daniel Isn't Real, Ant Timpson's Come to Daddy, Kirill Sokolov's Why Don't You Just Die! are just some of the popular festival circuit titles making a pit stop in Nottingham.

The complete festival schedule follows the final lineup announcement.

Mayhem Film Festival reveals full line-up for 2019 edition Mayhem Film Festival is proud to announce the full line-up for its 2019 edition, which will take place at Broadway Cinema, Nottingham on 10-13 October. The festival showcases the best features and short films in horror, sci-fi and cult cinema, through premieres, previews, and special events each year.

Mayhem is delighted to open this year’s festival with hilarious horror comedy Extra Ordinary on Thursday 10 October. A small-town driving instructor with supernatural abilities tries to get through life without communicating with the dead - but the spirits have other ideas. Also screening on Thursday is the brain-twisting Daniel Isn’t Real, in which a deeply troubled student summons his childhood “imaginary” friend but his grip on reality slips as the malignant alter ego unleashes a vicious, evil side.

From the producers of hallucinatory fever dream Mandy (a sell-out at Mayhem 2018) comes the most sought-after – and similarly psychedelic - genre film of the year, Richard Stanley’s Color Out of Space, screening at this year’s festival on Friday 11 October. This eerie H.P. Lovecraft adaptation sees a meteor fall to earth and onto the property of a New England family — its increasingly unhinged patriarch played by the one-and-only Nicolas Cage — with insidious and delirious results. It’s a double-helping of Cage this year as his 1989 cult black comedy Vampire’s Kiss takes the coveted Saturday late-night slot - it’s Nic Cage at his full-powered, cockroach-eating, and utterly insane best.

The 15th edition of Mayhem will play host to three UK Premieres, with exclusive first screenings of high-octane serial killer thriller The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil, Polish historical drama Sword of God (The Mute), and outrageous survival horror The Pool – all previously announced.

Taking a look back into the archives, Mayhem is pleased to present a rare screening of 1967 Russian folk horror Viy, and 1987’s cult sci-fi favourite The Hidden, featuring a standout performance from Twin Peaks’ Kyle MacLachlan as an alien-hunting FBI agent.

Mayhem 2019’s final day will begin with the unclassifiable Bullets of Justice. Having created human-pig hybrid super soldiers, mankind now finds itself dominated by these “Muzzles” who farm and eat human beings – a truly “what did I just watch?” experience to start off your Sunday morning.

Mayhem’s 15th edition also includes screenings of female-led horror She Never Died and genre-bending monster movie, Something Else – both previously announced – alongside preview screenings of the gleefully explosive revenge rampage Why Don’t You Just Die!, high-suspense thriller Door Lock, and sci-fi nightmare Vivarium, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots. Vengeful spirits are stirred into gory action in haunted house horror Girl on the Third Floor, and twisted thrill-ride Come to Daddy, starring Elijah Wood, will close the festival on Sunday. Mayhem’s ever-popular Short Film Showcase and the fiendish film quiz, The Flinterrogation - hosted by author David Flint - both return to round off this year’s line-up.

Early Bird passes will remain on sale at the discounted price of £70 until Sunday 8 September 2019. Individual tickets and full festival passes – at the standard price of £80 – will go on sale at 10AM on Monday 9 September. We will also be introducing a new ‘Frankenstein Ticket Package’ for this year’s festival – piece together your choice of five films over the weekend for just £30.

For more information, please visit

Mayhem Film Festival takes place on 10-13 October 2019 at Broadway, Nottingham.



Clemency, written and directed by 2007 DePauw University graduate Chinonye Chukwu, will be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which takes place September 3-15. The film has been "selected as part of TIFF's 'Gala Presentations' this year -- a category for movies that have amassed major audience interest," notes an article.

The festival draws an estimated audience of 400,000 each year and will include more than 300 films from over 60 countries, and draws in an estimated 400,000 attendees annually. It "is widely regarded as one of the most influential film festivals in the world ... With a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes, the Sundance prize and its inclusion at TIFF, Clemency's chances of getting some serious Oscar love -- becoming the first Nigerian-directed film to do so -- are looking more and more likely," writes Adewojumi Aderemi.

Read more here.

Clemency, which stars Academy Award nominee Alfre Woodard, took the Sundance Grand Jury Prize Award. Chukwu the first African American woman to win the the festival’s biggest prize. Clemency made its world premiere at Sundance.

An English (writing) major at DePauw, Chinonye Chukwu was a 2009 recipient of the Princess Grace Award. Her debut feature film, AlaskaLand, was screened at the Chicago International Film Festival and the New York African Festival at Lincoln Center. Her short film, The Dance Lesson, was a regional finalist for the 2010 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Student Academy Awards.  Her A Long Walk is an adaptation of a short story by DePauw English Professor Samuel Autman. 

Chukwu has served as an assistant professor of motion pictures at Wright State University, where she began the research that resulted in Clemency.



[TIFF ’19] Richard Stanley’s ‘Color Out of Space’ Premiering at Midnight Madness!

The Toronto International Film Festival has just announced the 10 eclectic films that will make up this year’s Midnight Madness lineup when it returns from September 5–15, 2019.

Midnight Madness includes new genre filmmakers with remarkable debuts, including Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s dystopian sci-fi film The Platform; Rose Glass’s unnerving psychological thriller Saint Maud, starring Morfydd Clark (Love & Friendship) and Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty); Andrew Patterson’s paranormal period piece The Vast of Night, which won the audience award for Best Narrative Feature at Slamdance and features breakout performances by Jake Horowitz and Sierra McCormick; and Keith Thomas’s supernatural horror film The Vigil.

One of the highlights from this year’s selection is Richard Stanley’s hotly-anticipated H.P. Lovecraft adaptation Color Out of Space, which stars Nicolas Cage and signals the director’s return to the Midnight Madness lineup after 29 years.

Also screening is Joko Anwar’s Gundala, based on the Indonesian superhero comic books by Harya “Hasmi” Suraminata and Takashi Miike’s Japanese action-comedy First Love. The programme will close with the World Premiere of the international version of Isaac Nabwana’s gonzo action flick Crazy World, a celebration of the Ugandan film movement Wakaliwood. Previously announced Canadian titles in the programme include Jeff Barnaby’s Blood Quantumand Matthew Rankin’s The Twentieth Century.

“This year’s selections challenge the traditional parameters of genre and shock cinema, but — most excitingly — half of the lineup’s wicked provocations are courtesy of filmmakers making their feature-film debut,” said Peter Kuplowsky, Lead Programmer for Midnight Madness.

“Along from Blood Quantum, horror fans will no doubt gravitate to the Richard Stanley’s return to the section with Color Out of Space – and with good reason, as Nicholas Cage is joining him for this psychedelic cosmic horror freakout, but definitely take a chance on the new voices,” he tells Bloody Disgusting. The Platform begins like Cube, and which proceeds like Snowpiercertowards a gore-filled climax; Saint Maude is unnerving psychological horror, reminiscent of Raw in its slow-burn, major pay-off trajectory; The Vigil is THE movie to see if your seeking SCARES – kind of like The Autopsy of Jane Doe meets Viy and steeped in Jewish demonology. Also, Satan Slave‘s director JOKO ANWAR may have directed a superhero martial arts epic (Gundala), but he actually uniquely soaks it in a palpable horror atmosphere.”

Here’s a full breakdown of the Midnight Madness program.

*Midnight Madness Opening Film*
Blood Quantum | Jeff Barnaby | Canada | World Premiere

Cast: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Kawenna’Here Devery Jacobs, Michael Greyeyes, Brandon Oakes, William Belleau, Gary Farmer, Forrest Goodluck, Kiowa Gordon, Olivia Scriven, Stonehorse Lone Goeman.

“Jeff Barnaby’s astutely-titled second feature is equal parts horror and pointed cultural critique. Zombies are devouring the world, yet an isolated Mi’gmaq community is immune to the plague. Do they offer refuge to the denizens outside their reserve or not?”


Color Out of Space | Richard Stanley | USA | World Premiere
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Brendan Meyer, Julian Hilliard, Elliot Knight, Q’orianka Kilcher, Tommy Chong

“From the mind of H.P. Lovecraft, Color Out of Space is a cosmic nightmare about Nathan Gardner (Nicolas Cage) and his family, whose recent retreat to rural life is quickly disrupted by a meteorite that crashes in their front yard. The Gardners’ peaceful escape quickly becomes a hallucinatory prison, as an extraterrestrial organism contaminates the farmstead, infecting everything and everyone it can.”


*Midnight Madness Closing Film*
Crazy World | Isaac Nabwana | Uganda | World Premiere

“In the latest from Uganda’s gonzo action auteur Isaac Nabwana, a gang of child-snatching mobsters make a fatal mistake when they kidnap the Waka Stars, a team of pint-sized kung-fu masters who soon turn their cunning wits and deadly skills upon their captors.”


For full length article head to:

Patrick Schwarzenegger Thriller 'Daniel Isn't Real' Lands at Samuel Goldwyn Films

'Blockers' actor Miles Robbins and Sasha Lane round out the cast of Adam Egypt Mortimer's dark title also headed to Shudder. Samuel Goldwyn Films and the horror streamer Shudder have snapped up the North American rights to Adam Egypt Mortimer's dark thriller Daniel Isn't Real, toplined by Patrick Schwarzenegger and Blockers actor Miles Robbins.

Sasha Lane, Hannah Marks and Mary Stuart Masterson also star in the indie set for a theatrical and VOD release in late 2019.

The film, produced by Elijah Wood, sees a troubled college freshman, Luke (Robbins), suffer a violent family trauma. To help him cope, he resurrects his childhood imaginary friend, Daniel, played by Schwarzenegger (the son of former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver). Daniel helps Luke to achieve his dreams before pushing him to the very edge of sanity and into a desperate struggle for control of his mind and soul. 

"The film is striking in so many ways, from visuals and performances to the incredible execution of psychological horror. We immediately recognized that Adam had crafted something special here and are excited to partner with Shudder and bring it to audiences everywhere," said Miles Fineburg of Samuel Goldwyn Films in a statement.

Daniel Isn't Real is based on the novel In This Way I Was Saved by Brian DeLeeuw, who co-wrote the script with Mortimer.

The film was also produced by Daniel Noah, Josh C. Waller and Lisa Whalen, with Johnny Chang, Peter Wong, Emma Lee, Timur Bekbosunov, Stacy Jorgensen, Elisa Lleras and Michael M. McGuire executive producing.

The distribution deal was negotiated by Fineburg for Samuel Goldwyn Films, Emily Gotto for Shudder and ICM Partners and Jorgensen acting on behalf of the filmmakers.


Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winner ‘Clemency’ Eyes Awards Season Release Date

EXCLUSIVE: Chinonye Chukwu’s Clemency, which took the Sundance Grand Jury Prize Award and was acquired at the fest by NEON, will open on Dec. 27, just in time for awards season.

The film stars Oscar nominee Alfre Woodard as prison warden Bernadine Williams, who has become hardened over the years by her job on Death Row. However, one inmate’s fate (Aldis Hodge) has a serious impact on her as she is forced to confront the psychological and emotional demons that her job has created.  Woodard and Hodge are already generating Oscar buzz and the pic currently counts 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The pic also stars Richard Schiff (Man of Steel, “The West Wing”) and Wendell Pierce (“The Wire”, Selma).

NEON recently earned an Academy Award nomination for Border; its upcoming slate also includes: Tom Harper’s Wild Rose starring Jessie Buckley; and Bong Joon-Ho’s highly-anticipated drama Parasite, which is In Competition at Cannes.  NEON was also behind Craig Gillespie’s runaway hit I, Tonya starring Margot Robbie. The pic won a best supporting actress Oscar for Allison Janney and earned two noms for Best Editing and Robbie as Best Actress. NEON also released Matt Spicer’s Sundance and Independent Spirit Award-Winner Ingrid Goes West starring Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen. NEON’s latest doc Apollo 11 has grossed a notable $8.5M at the domestic box office.



Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner ‘Clemency’ produced by Malaysian company

Did you know that prison drama Clemency, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2019 Sundance Film Fest on Feb 3, was produced by a Malaysian company?

Starring Alfre Woodard, Richard Schiff and Aldis Hodge, Clemency is one of two films financed and produced by Ace Pictures Entertainment Sdn Bhd which were selected to compete in this year’s festival.

Widely acclaimed as one of the best films at Sundance, Clemency tells of prison warden Bernadine Williams (Woodard), who wrestles with the psychological and emotional toll that comes with carrying out death row executions.

As she prepares to execute another inmate, she must confront the demons of her job, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill.

Ace Pictures also produced another film that was selected to compete – Imaginary Order, a dramedy with Bridesmaids star Wendi Mclendon-Covey.

Clemency is Ace Picture’s first fully-financed movie of 2018. It is co-produced by Timur Bekbosunov and Peter Wong, president of Ace Pictures Entertainment, and executive produced by Annie Chang, Calvin Choong, Emma Lee and Johnny Chang from Ace Pictures.

Established in 2017, Malaysia-based Ace Pictures ventured into Hollywood and has produced 10 films to date, including a high-profile collaboration with Angelina Jolie on the fantasy drama Come Away, set to be released later this year.

The company’s latest project, Colour Out Of Space, is a collaboration with Elijah Wood’s SpectreVision and stars Nicolas Cage.



Angelina Jolie Looks Totally Unrecognizable In New Movie Come Away

It's been a while since we've seen Angelina Jolie on the big screen, but one of her next films has her looking unlike we're used to seeing her. The film is called Come Away and it co-stars the actress and David Oyelowo as the parents of a pair of children who escape into their own imaginations, where they become Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. The new movie has wrapped filming and Oyelowo recently celebrated with a photo that shows how much Angelina Jolie has transformed for the role.

Angelina Jolie usually has dark hair but we see her here as a blonde. She's dressed all in black, which makes her skin look that much more pale by comparison. If you didn't know Angelina Jolie was in this photo, it wouldn't be that difficult to miss her entirely.

The fact that Angelina Jolie looks so different is likely due to the requirements of the role. Come Away deals with parents who have lost a child through some sort of traumatic accident. Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo get lost in their own despair over the loss, resulting in the child's siblings retreating into their own fantasies.

The story is being billed as a sort of prequel to both Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, as the children will apparently become these characters in their fantasy worlds. Whether the idea is that they become the inspirations for the books, or actually become the characters isn't clear. David Oyelowo calls the movie a "magical" reimagining so it seems like the latter is very much a possibility. Either way, it seems the film's darker overtones may be lightened by letting the audience escape into the fantasy the same way the children do.

We can see those children in the front of the image David Oyelowo posted to Instagram. Not everybody of note in the film is in the picture. Michael Caine and Gugu Mbatha-Raw both have roles in the film as well, though I can't find them here.

We haven't actually seen Angelina Jolie in a feature film since 2015's By the Sea so Come Away, while it doesn't have a release date at the moment, will probably be her first film on the screen in years. While Maleficent 2 was filmed first, it won't hit theaters until 2020.

However she looks, it's great to see Angelina Jolie getting in front of the camera again. Jolie has still been working over the last few years, but she's been working as a producer or director more than as an actress recently. She's also been working as a voice actress, so she's been heard on screen and simply not seen. She was part of Kung-Fu Panda 3 in 2016 and will also be lending her voice to the upcoming The One and Only Ivan.

With Come Away now going into post-production, it will be at least several more months before we see the finished film. This certainly sounds like the sort of movie that could be a strong holiday movie, and potentially even an awards contender, so a release around this time next year is highly likely.