While the likes of Spider-Man and Black Adam may get the headlines, CinemaCon continued its efforts to highlight all forms of movies with Tuesday’s presentation by indie distributor Neon, whose team led by distribution chief Elissa Federoff showcased a pair of films that defined the phrase “shock and awe.”
On the “shock” side was “Crimes of the Future,” a disturbing return by “Videodrome” filmmaker David Cronenberg to the body horror genre that he is considered to be the master of. Cronenberg himself appeared on the CinemaCon stage to present what he jokingly called the start of his “attack on the world.”
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Kristen Stewart and Lea Seydoux, the provocative film takes place in a distant future where environmental degradation has begun to affect human evolution, causing the body to grow extra organs. Avant-garde artist Saul Tenser (Mortensen) uses his extra organs to sell out shows in which those parts are removed via surgery. But as his medical spectacle draws the attention of bureaucrats, Saul decides to further push the boundaries of art and his own body.
“I don’t like what’s happening to the human body, particularly what’s happening to my body,” Saul says in the new trailer. “So I keep cutting it up.”
On the “awe” side was Brett Morgen’s tribute to David Bowie, “Moonage Daydream,” a film that combines concert and archival footage from the career of the music icon to present the late rock star as he’s never been seen before.
Like “Crimes of the Future,” “Moonage Daydream” is headed to Cannes for its full premiere, but it’s notable as the first officially sanctioned Bowie project from his estate since his death in 2016. And it’s hardly your typical concert film. Like his film “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck,” Morgen blends master recordings and never before seen 35mm and 16mm film reels of old Bowie performances to create a hybrid doc and concert film cinematic experience made for theaters.
“David was there to show me that it was okay to be myself, that my differences were my strengths. In 1971, that was radical. In 2022, it is mainstream,” Morgen said onstage. “That is why I think David Bowie is the perfect figure for this moment.”