Sony Pictures Entertainment follows its release of Parallel Mothers last week with Jockey in three theaters in New York and Los Angeles (Film Forum, AMC Lincoln Square, Laemmle Royal) on Friday in a specialty market crowded by holdovers and wide releases, and amid a Covid-19 surge that’s particularly tough on art houses. The frame isn’t ideal for new specialty fare in any case, but gets it on the board for a January rollout ahead of Oscar nominations.
SPC acquired Jockey out of Sundance where it won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury award for star Clifton Collins Jr. as an aging rider trying to win one last championship race. The directorial debut of Clint Bentley will expand nationwide following its exclusive debut. The Oscar hopeful (87% Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics’ score) was one of Deadline critic Todd McCarthy’s top ten picks of the year. See his review here.
Collins plays Jackson Silvan, who hopes to win one last title for his longtime trainer (Molly Parker), who has acquired what appears to be a championship horse. But years and injuries have taken a toll. The arrival of a young rookie rider (Moises Arias), who claims to be his son and whom he takes under his wing, further complicates the path to fulfilling his dream.
Written by Bentley and Greg Kwedar (who previously teamed with Collins on the 2016 award-winning film Transpecos), the film also stars Logan Cormier and Colleen Hartnett. Bentley’s father was a professional jockey and much of the cast is also comprised of real-life jockeys.
Jockey will expand in January, as well as Parallel Mothers, the latest from Pedro Almodóvar.
Also this weekend, Eleven Arts presents its animated fantasy adventure Poupelle of Chimney Town in New York (AMC Empire 25) and L.A. (Regal LA Live) ahead of a nationwide rollout to about 400 screens starting January 7.
“We are in consideration for awards so we wanted to make sure it came out before year-end and also to make sure we have a certain number of theater and screens booked,” Eleven Arts CEO Ko Mori told Deadline. The film, which debuted at the Animation Is Film festival in Los Angeles in October, was one of the 26 animated films shortlisted to be eligible for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars (nominations are February 8) and has nabbed an Annie Award nomination for Best Music.
It’s the story of a young boy living amid the thick smoke from the chimneys of his isolated town and yearning to see the stars. One Halloween night he meets Poupelle, a man made of garbage, and together they look to the sky as their adventure begins. It is directed by Yusuke Hirota, and written by Akihiro Nishino.
It’s produced at Tokyo’s famed Studio4ºC, well know to anime fans. Poupelle is in 3D CG and the style is different from traditional Japanese anime, Mori said. “We’re trying to market it more for the general audience. It’s about a father-son relationship, as well as believing in yourself, so it’s [geared] to a family audience,” he said. “But we’re expecting anime fans to check this out.” That’s good because they skew young.
Stateside, Seven Arts most recently released live-action indie film Gift of Fire in a handful of theaters and anime Gintama: The Very Final on 700 screens in a three-day event – both in November.
“It’s really unpredictable. It’s a difficult time for everybody,” Mori said. “But I believe that the theater is an event.” He said anime fans in particular “really like to go out with groups of people. They get together.”
Elsewhere in specialty, Netflix opens WWII thriller Munich – The Edge of War at its Paris Theater in NYC. The film, based on the novel by Robert Harris, debuted at the London Film Festival. Deadline review is here.
It’s set in fall of 1938 when Europe stands on the brink of war. Adolf Hitler is preparing to invade Czechoslovakia and the government of Neville Chamberlain (Jeremy Irons) desperately seeks a peaceful solution. With pressure building, Hugh Legat (George MacKay), a British civil servant, and Paul von Hartmann (Jannis Niewöhner), a German diplomat, travel to Munich for an emergency conference. As negotiations begin, the two old friends find themselves at the center of a web of political subterfuge and danger as they try to determine if war can be averted and, if so, at what cost.
Christian Schwochow directs from Ben Power’s adaptation. Andrew Eaton produces. Scores 100% with critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Deadline review here. It hits the streamer January 21.
And Fathom Events presents The Met Live in HD – Cinderella. The January 1 event plays at more than 750 locations. Laurent Pelly’s staging of Massenet’s Cendrillon has a new English translation in an abridged 90-minute adaptation with mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard as its rags-to-riches princess. Led by Maestro Emmanuel Villaume and featuring Emily D’Angelo as Prince Charming, Jessica Pratt as Fairy Godmother and Stephanie Blythe and Laurent Naouri as feuding guardians.
Note: the anticipated Bollywood film Jersey from Yash Raj Films slated for release December 30 was postponed, with no new date given. The cricket-themed family comedy with Shahid Kapoor is a Hindi remake of a 2019 film in the Telugu language. Here’s trailer anyway:
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