The family drama Waves made its premiere at Telluride before going to the Toronto Film Festival, where it became the talk of the town. Critics were raving about it while the Twitterverse gave it the seal of approval before A24 picked it up to release on November 15 — a choice spot for awards season.
Directed and written by Trey Edward Shults (It Comes At Night) and featuring a stacked cast that includes Kelvin Harrison Jr, Lucas Hedges, Taylor Russell, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Sterling K. Brown, Waves follows a family in South Florida with a well-intentioned but aggressively domineering father as the head of household. As he expects and demands only the best from his son, a wrestler at his high school, the entire family begins to unravel with unstable relationships, the love they have for each other, forgiveness and coping with loss.
“When I first got the script from Trey, I hadn’t been devastated and touched so much,” said Kevin Turen, a producer on Waves. “I never felt like I learned more about a person. It felt almost like a John Steinbeck novel about an American family today.”
The film, which is sitting at a ripe 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, is ambitious and swings for the fences when it comes to storytelling structure. The story is deeply personal for Shults, and he tells it through a unique lens, Turen said, adding he was drawn to its risky execution and knew if they nailed it, it would be something timeless.
As an arthouse film, Waves will certainly draw a cinephile crowd, but as for reaching the masses and crossing over, Turen is hoping that word-of-mouth will bring people to the theater.
“The film is a singular, emotional experience and it’s the kind of film you contemplate and project yourself into — and you want to tell people,” he said. “Based on the reactions at regional screenings — outside festivals — it’s deeply impacted people.”
Waves is taking a lane in the awards season race with fellow indie contenders like The Peanut Butter Falcon, Judy, Parasite and Jojo Rabbit which have found success at the box office. Turen doesn’t necessarily see this as competition, rather as a sense of indie solidarity.
“I am a believer in business drives business,” he points out. “I think with many great films in the marketplace and people go see them and they have great experiences and makes them want to go back. Based on how many indies are working so well right now, it will help other films.”
Waves opens in select theaters today with an expansion to follow.
The Report is set to open in limited release today, but with a different model than what Amazon has done before. Instead of doing a traditional limited opening and nationwide rollout, The Report will have a truncated theatrical debut and then will move to the streaming platform. Amazon will continue to have a traditional theatrical rollout with other titles in the future.
Said Vincent Scordino, Senior Marketing and Distribution Executive at Amazon in regards to the film’s release strategy: “We look at everything through the lens of what’s best for our customers and that means emphasizing customer choice and access on a film like The Report, which we think is primed to spark a meaningful conversation around hugely relevant themes like transparency, accountability, and the impact every one of us can have by standing up for what’s right and being relentless in pursuit of the truth. With access and choice in mind, we are launching in theaters across the country on November 15 ahead of the film being made available on Prime Video on November 29.”
Directed and written by Scott Z. Burns, the thriller has an awards season bait cast that includes Adam Driver, Annette Bening Jon Hamm and a host of others. Based on true events, the story follows Idealistic staffer Daniel J. Jones (Driver) is tasked by his boss Senator Dianne Feinstein (Bening) to lead an investigation of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program created in the aftermath of 9/11. Jones’ relentless pursuit of the truth leads to findings that uncover the lengths to which the nation’s top intelligence agency went to destroy evidence, subvert the law, and hide a shocking secret from the American public.
Also opening exclusively at the Film Forum in New York before expanding to the Landmark NuArt in Los Angeles is Mickey and the Bear starring Camila Morrone. The Utopia film written and directed by Annabelle Attanasio, follows a stubborn teenager Mickey Peck (Morrone) who cares for her moody single, opioid-addicted veteran father (James Badge Dale) afloat as he grieves the loss of his wife. All the while she has dreams of moving to the West Coast to live her best life.
The documentary Everybody’s Everything from Gunpowder and Sky puts the spotlight on the life and career of rapper Lil Peep, who died of an accidental overdose at age 21 just as his career was taking off. Directed by Sebastian Jones & Ramez Silyan and executive produced by Terrance Malick, the film is in limited release today in 31 theaters in 18 markets, but prior to its debut, it had early fan screenings that have been selling out.
Other openings include the Magnolia Pictures documentary Scandalous: The Untold Story of the National Enquirer directed by Mark Landsman as well as the “Bronx love story” Angelfish directed by Peter Lee and starring rapper Princess Nokia in her feature film debut.