It’s a volatile time in our country. We are divided and there’s an extreme sense of civic unrest. As hopeless as many of us feel, there are heroes on the front lines who are protecting our constitutional freedoms when it comes to abortion rights, immigration rights, LGBTQ rights and voting rights — and those heroes are chronicled in the documentary The Fight which debuts today in select theaters and on demand.
Directed by Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman and Eli Despres, who produce alongside Kerry Washington, The Fight debuted at Sundance earlier this year. Who would have known that this documentary would be so poignant during this pivotal moment in history when Black lives are being killed, trans women of color are being murdered, the well-being of immigrants is at risk and the Trump’s administration is doing everything they can to put civil liberties of marginalized communities in danger. The docu puts the spotlight on the experiences of lawyers Lee Gelernt, Brigitte Amiri, Chase Strangio and Dale Ho.
Magnolia Pictures’ and Topic Studios’ The Fight follows American Civil Liberties Union as they wage a fight against the Muslim ban which was enacted days after the 2017 inauguration of Donald Trump. The ACLU turned that tide, staying the executive order on grounds of unconstitutionality. The docu takes a never-before-seen look at the ACLU lawyers as it battles all fronts of civil rights.
When the directors and producers visited the Deadline studio in January, Steinberg recalled joining protestors on the steps of a Brooklyn courthouse, where Gelernt was arguing for an emergency stay of the order of the Muslim ban. “When he emerged with his fists raised high, having stayed the order, I was just steps from him, and I could see the expression on his face. It was joy, and exhaustion, and just total shock to be at the center of thousands of people chanting ‘ACLU,’” the director recalls. “I felt in that moment that we needed to be next to these lawyers on the front lines, battling the biggest civil rights battle of our lifetime.”
Washington pointed out at Sundance out that The Fight is not just a run-of-the-mill educational docu. “For us, these lawyers are like the Avengers,” said Washington. “This is a superhero action movie about people who are fighting insane battles for all of us. They’re doing it with humor, and grace, and humility, and they’re just so inspiring, and fun, and wonderful to watch.”
Watch the trailer below.
Summerland marks the feature debut of Olivier award-winning director Jessica Swale. The picturesque period drama from IFC Films stars Gemma Arterton as reclusive writer Alice who is living a solitary life on the seaside cliffs of Southern England during a time when World War II is raging across the channel. Things take a turn for Alice when a young London evacuee named Frank (Lucas Bond) comes to live with her. At first, she’s resistant to forge a bond with Lucas but its not long until the unlikely pair realizes they have more in common than she thought. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Penelope Wilton and Tom Courtenay also star.
In Pete Hammond’s review of Summerland he said of Arterton: “She has a perfect beat on the role, taking in Frank reluctantly and believably maturing as a nurturing force in the life of a boy who clearly one day will be able to look back on this time and forever be changed because of it.” As for Bond, Hammond praises him as “an exceptional young actor, in an expressive and naturalistic performance of someone who finds himself believing in the mythical Camelot-like Summerland.”
Watch the trailer below.
In Rebuilding Paradise, Ron Howard documents the fire that ravaged the area of the city of Paradise, California on the morning of November 8, 2018. By the time the Camp Fire was extinguished, it had killed 85 people, displaced 50,000 residents and destroyed 95% of local structures. The fire was was the deadliest U.S. fire in 100 years and the worst ever in California’s history.
Rebuilding Paradise debuted at Sundance comes from National Geographic Documentary Films and tells the story of resilience in the face of tragedy, as a community ravaged by disaster comes together to recover what was lost and begin the important task of rebuilding. If this isn’t a documentary that can give us hope right now, then I don’t know what will.
It’s all about manifestation in The Secret: Dare To Dream, which drops on VOD starting today. Based on the book by Rhonda Byrne that became a phenomenon, the film is directed by Andy Tennant and written by Bekah Brunstetter and Andy Tennant & Rick Parks.
The romantic drama follows Miranda (Katie Holmes), a young widow trying to make ends meet while raising her three children and dating her boyfriend (Jerry O’Connell). After a storm brings an enormous challenge to Miranda’s life a mysterious man named Bray (Josh Lucas) comes into her life, reigniting the family’s spirit. He also holds a secret that will change her life forever. The film also stars Celia Weston, Sarah Hoffmeister, Aidan Pierce Brennan and Chloe Lee.
Also debuting on VOD, digital, streaming and/or theatrically this weekend is the Jennifer Gelfer-directed DieRy. The thriller stars Claudia Maree Mailer as an Instagram model who is working on getting her masters and moving past her abusive past. Just when things start to fall into place, her diary is stolen and an obsessive fan makes her life a living hell. Featuring bodybuilders Mike O’Hearn, Kai Greene and Rob Terry, Vlad Yudin’s Generation Iron: Natty 4 Life is here to pump you up with a look at the inner workings of professional natural bodybuilding in an attempt to expose the truth in a sport that claims to be “all-natural”. Directed by Scott Wiper, The Big Ugly follows Vinnie Jones’ Neeyln who has always been the right hand man for London crime boss Harris (Malcolm McDowell). When Harris enters a seemingly celebratory deal with an old friend (Ron Perlman) in West Virginia, things go south when Neelyn’s girlfriend disappears — and he wants answers.