“Band Aid” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Zoe Lister-Jones) — A couple who can’t stop fighting embark on a last-ditch effort to save their marriage: turning their fights into songs and starting a band. Cast: Zoe Lister-Jones, Adam Pally, Fred Armisen, Susie Essman, Hannah Simone, Ravi Patel. World Premiere
“Beach Rats” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Eliza Hittman) — An aimless teenager on the outer edges of Brooklyn struggles to escape his bleak home life and navigate questions of self-identity, as he balances his time between his delinquent friends, a potential new girlfriend, and older men he meets online. Cast: Harris Dickinson, Madeline Weinstein, Kate Hodge, Neal Huff. World Premiere
“Brigsby Bear” / U.S.A. (Director: Dave McCary, Screenwriters: Kevin Costello, Kyle Mooney) — Brigsby Bear Adventures is a children’s TV show produced for an audience of one: James. When the show abruptly ends, James’s life changes forever, and he sets out to finish the story himself. Cast: Kyle Mooney, Claire Danes, Mark Hamill, Greg Kinnear, Matt Walsh, Michaela Watkins. World Premiere
“Burning Sands” / U.S.A. (Director: Gerard McMurray, Screenwriters: Christine Berg, Gerard McMurray) — Deep into a fraternity’s Hell Week, a favored pledge is torn between honoring a code of silence or standing up against the intensifying violence of underground hazing. Cast: Trevor Jackson, Alfre Woodard, Steve Harris, Tosin Cole, DeRon Horton, Trevante Rhodes. World Premiere
“Crown Heights” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Matt Ruskin) — When Colin Warner is wrongfully convicted of murder, his best friend, Carl King, devotes his life to proving Colin’s innocence. Adapted from This American Life, this is the incredible true story of their harrowing quest for justice. Cast: Keith Stanfield, Nnamdi Asomugha, Natalie Paul, Bill Camp, Nestor Carbonell, Amari Cheatom. World Premiere
“Golden Exits” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Alex Ross Perry) — The arrival of a young foreign girl disrupts the lives and emotional balances of two Brooklyn families. Cast: Emily Browning, Adam Horovitz, Mary-Louise Parker, Lily Rabe, Jason Schwartzman, Chloë Sevigny. World Premiere
“The Hero” / U.S.A. (Director: Brett Haley, Screenwriters: Brett Haley, Marc Basch) — Lee, a former Western film icon, is living a comfortable existence lending his golden voice to advertisements and smoking weed. After receiving a lifetime achievement award and unexpected news, Lee reexamines his past, while a chance meeting with a sardonic comic has him looking to the future. Cast: Sam Elliott, Laura Prepon, Krysten Ritter, Nick Offerman, Katherine Ross. World Premiere
“I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Macon Blair) — When a depressed woman is burglarized, she finds a new sense of purpose by tracking down the thieves, alongside her obnoxious neighbor. But they soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a pack of degenerate criminals. Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Elijah Wood, David Yow, Jane Levy, Devon Graye. World Premiere. DAY ONE FILM
“Ingrid Goes West” / U.S.A. (Director: Matt Spicer, Screenwriters: Matt Spicer, David Branson Smith) — A young woman becomes obsessed with an Instagram lifestyle blogger and moves to Los Angeles to try and befriend her in real life. Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell, Billy Magnussen. World Premiere
“Landline” / U.S.A. (Director: Gillian Robespierre, Screenwriters: Elisabeth Holm, Gillian Robespierre) — Two sisters come of age in ‘90s New York when they discover their dad’s affair—and it turns out he’s not the only cheater in the family. Everyone still smokes inside, no one has a cell phone and the Jacobs finally connect through lying, cheating and hibachi. Cast: Jenny Slate, John Turturro, Edie Falco, Abby Quinn, Jay Duplass, Finn Wittrock. World Premiere
“Novitiate” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Maggie Betts) — In the early 1960s, during the Vatican II era, a young woman training to become a nun struggles with issues of faith, sexuality and the changing church. Cast: Margaret Qualley, Melissa Leo, Julianne Nicholson, Dianna Agron, Morgan Saylor. World Premiere
“Patti Cake$” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Geremy Jasper) — Straight out of Jersey comes Patricia Dombrowski, a.k.a. Killa P, a.k.a. Patti Cake$, an aspiring rapper fighting through a world of strip malls and strip clubs on an unlikely quest for glory. Cast: Danielle Macdonald, Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhananjay, Mamoudou Athie, Cathy Moriarty. World Premiere
“Roxanne Roxanne” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Larnell) — The most feared battle emcee in early-’80s NYC was a fierce teenager from the Queensbridge projects with the weight of the world on her shoulders. At age 14, hustling the streets to provide for her family, Roxanne Shanté was well on her way to becoming a hip-hop legend. Cast: Chanté Adams, Mahershala Ali, Nia Long, Elvis Nolasco, Kevin Phillips, Shenell Edmonds. World Premiere
“To The Bone” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Marti Noxon) — In a last-ditch effort to battle her severe anorexia, 20-year-old Ellen enters a group recovery home. With the help of an unconventional doctor, Ellen and the other residents go on a sometimes funny, sometimes harrowing journey that leads to the ultimate question—is life worth living? Cast: Lily Collins, Keanu Reeves, Carrie Preston, Lili Taylor, Alex Sharp, Liana Liberato. World Premiere
“Walking Out” / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Alex Smith, Andrew Smith) — A father and son struggle to connect on any level until a brutal encounter with a predator in the heart of the wilderness leaves them both seriously injured. If they are to survive, the boy must carry his father to safety. Cast: Matt Bomer, Josh Wiggins, Bill Pullman, Alex Neustaedter, Lily Gladstone. World Premiere
“The Yellow Birds” / U.S.A. (Director: Alexandre Moors, Screenwriter: David Lowery) — Two young men enlist in the army and are deployed to fight in the Gulf War. After an unthinkable tragedy, the surviving soldier struggles to balance his promise of silence with the truth and a mourning mother’s search for peace. Cast: Tye Sheridan, Jack Huston, Alden Ehrenreich, Jason Patric, Toni Collette, Jennifer Aniston. World Premiere
Over the Garden Wall will be available on DVD on Sept. 8th!
You should be able to pre-order it soon from wherever you like to buy DVDs.
Here’s an Amazon link. Seems like the pre-order option just changed to “currently unavailable” for the moment (even though my mom just pre-ordered a bunch of copies like 30 minutes ago) ~~ but you can sign up for an e-mail notification to let you know when it’s available again!
Miniseries are a wonderful thing. A workable number of episodes with plots and threads being actually resolved in a fully-contained story; it’s a joy to stumble across one, especially in this current media age where narratives are designed (or tinkered with) to stretch for years and years and span across multiple seasons and films and formats and platforms to maximise revenue. The profit-and-merchandise-focused nature of kids animation makes miniseries a very rare thing in that realm, which is why Cartoon Network’s Over The Garden Wall is its first in its 22 year history (and quite possibly one of the first ever, at least, to my limited knowledge).
Created by former Adventure Time and Marvellous Misadventures Of Flapjack staffer Patrick McHale, and based on McHale’s short film Tome Of The Unknown, Over The Garden Wall is a rare treat. It sees a marked step away from CN’s contemporary visual and storytelling stylings, with more in common with Studio Ghbili’s output and Tove Jansson’s Moomins, combining the heart, warmth and weirdness of both into something rather magical. There’s a debt to European folklore and art as well; the backdrops of the Unknown forest, which serves as much of the series’ setting, reminiscent of classical 19th and 20th century art, whilst the central tale of two brothers lost in an increasingly fantastical world could be a Grimm fairytale. But the how and why of Wirt (Elijah Wood) and Greg (Collin Dean)’s excursion through the Unknown isn’t really a focal point: Over The Garden Wall, like so many children’s series both past and present, has far more mature lessons and themes beneath its surface. There’s issues with growing up, parental problems, depression, fear, mortality, strangers, finding your place in the world, coming of age, and young love. But they’re handled with care and most importantly of all, humour. It’s a humour which is in tune with the quirk of Adventure Time and Gravity Falls without over-egging the pudding with heavy sarcasm or malice.
Absolutely everything about OTGW is exemplary, it’s hard to keep a calm, critical head when writing about it. The characterisation of the two brothers is a spot-on recreation of step-siblings with a significant age gap; Greg’s heartwarming optimism and spirit (and propensity for gleeful singing) are a perfect foil for Wirt’s cynical teen tendencies and fading wonder with the world. The original songs peppered throughout are consistently fantastic, as is the score and the voice work; not just Wood and Dean, but Melanie Lynskey as their weary bluebird sidekick/guide, Christopher Lloyd as a fearsome, resilient woodsman, John Cleese as an eccentric, haunted millionaire, and especially Samuel Ramey’s ominous, demonic Beast. The narrative is lean but rich, with little time spent getting to the proverbial fireworks factory of the individual chapters and the overlying arc. There are only two real complaints I can have about the series, one of which I dare not explain for possible spoilers, but even now as I mull over it, it works fine in the confines of the show, the other is that it’s not twice as long. But then that’s the magic of a limited run; always leave them wanting more. I can only hope that a yearly rewatch of the series’ ten episodes becomes a widespread winter tradition.