Weekend Preview: Feb. 19-21, 2016

Below are five previews for films opening next weekend.
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Film Preview: Neerja (2016)

Page Revisions:

(February 14, 2016) Original

Release Date:

February 19, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Neerja is a portrayal on the life of the courageous Neerja Bhanot, who sacrificed her life while protecting the lives of 359 passengers on the Pan Am flight 73 in 1986. The flight was hijacked by a terrorist organization.”

Poster Rating: B

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Review: This is a strong design that works to establish the film as a lone stewardess protecting the passengers of a plane, specifically children. The lone element that seems a bit out of place is the carefully inserted gun.

Trailer Rating: B

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Review: The trailer feels a bit long and gives many more details about the film than we would have expected; however, the story presented looks fresh and interesting, something we haven’t typically seen before.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Embrace of the Serpent (2016)

Page Revisions:

(February 14, 2016) Original

Release Date:

February 19, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “The story of the relationship between Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his people, and two scientists who work together over the course of 40 years to search the Amazon for a sacred healing plant.”

Poster Rating: C / C+

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Review: (#1) This design is a jumble of images that may express the film’s content, but doesn’t do so as effectively as it should. (#2) This design is a little more creative, but still not very expressive. Audiences won’t particularly be engaged by either design.

Trailer Rating: B-

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Review: It reminds me a bit of Aguirre, The Wrath of God, but is likely not even remotely similar. The black-and-white cinematography will turn off most audiences and those who are interested in the Oscar nominee will have already put it on their list.

Oscar Prospects:

Nominated for the 2015 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, its stiff competition from the likes of Son of Saul and Mustang suggest its doubtful the film can win the award.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: The Witch (2016)

Page Revisions:

(February 14, 2016) Original

Release Date:

February 19, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.”

Poster Rating: C / C+ (3)

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Review: (#1) Attempting to titillate male audiences with a poster that doesn’t seem to mesh with the trailer or film content, is a rather cheap ploy. (#2-#4) These individual posters are interesting in what they represent, but aren’t very vibrantly or creatively presented.

Trailer Rating: C-

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Review: A slow, plodding trailer that suggests a lot of action, but promises nothing. It features a premise that’s hard to exactly understand or care about.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Risen (2016)

Page Revisions:

(February 14, 2016) Original

Release Date:

February 19, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Follows the epic Biblical story of the Resurrection, as told through the eyes of a non-believer. Clavius, a powerful Roman Military Tribune, and his aide Lucius, are tasked with solving the mystery of what happened to Jesus in the weeks following the crucifixion, in order to disprove the rumors of a risen Messiah and prevent an uprising in Jerusalem.”

Poster Rating: B-

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Review: If you know what the film’s about, or you find this in the halls of church, you should get the reference. For everyone else, it won’t be so easy to identify.

Trailer Rating: C / C-

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Review: (#1 & #2) These trailers are different, but their aim is the same, present a wholly fictional story of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead and the Roman soldiers responsible for tracking down what they believe is a corpse. It’s relatively manipulative, but the music and cut of the trailers suggest they are trying to make this seem like a very exciting story that gives its Roman characters changes of heart in the end.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Precursor: 20th Online Film & Television Awards (2015)

The Online Film & Television Association celebrated its twenty years with its awards for 2015. Introducing the ranked Best Picture list and runners-up, the organization continues to show it isn’t interested in just predicting the Oscars. Mad Max: Fury Road, which isn’t on anyone’s radar as being a Best Picture frontrunner dominated these awards with 9 wins including Best Picture and Best Director. The acting categories were split between currently-projected Oscar winners and those who aren’t being predicted: Leonardo DiCaprio and Brie Larson versus Tom Hardy and Jennifer Jason Leigh. That isn’t to say their awards couldn’t become prophetic, but it seems unlikely.

Award Tallies

(9) Mad Max: Fury Road
(4) Room
(3) The Revenant

The Awards

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88th Oscars: The Polls – Best Sound Mixing

For the next 24 days, we’re going to present to you polls for who and what you think the best of 2015 was based on the Oscar nominations. Every morning at 8am, we’ll post a new poll for each category. Just submit your vote for the best in that category and that’s it. We’ll have one final post the Friday before the Oscars with all the category polls combined.

Best Sound Mixing

Which Oscar nominee for Best Sound Mixing is best?

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This Day in Oscar History: February 14 (2016)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.

Born


Died

Ceremonies


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Precursor: 68th Writers Guild of America (2015)

Is this the beginning of a big weekend for Spotlight or this its final victory. We’ll know at BAFTA tomorrow. Until then, the expected winners triumphed in all three categories.

The Awards

Best Original Screenplay

Spotlight (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)

Documentary Screenplay

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)

Writers Guild of America Data

Year Founded: 1933
First Awards: 1948 (68)

Film Preview: Miles Ahead (2016)

Page Revisions:

(February 7, 2016) Original

Release Date:

April 1, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “An exploration of the life and music of Miles Davis.”

Poster Rating: –


Review: There was no poster immediately available for my review. Should one become available in the future, this section will be updated.

Trailer Rating: C

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Review: An almost embarrassing mix of sloppy theatrics and biopic theatrics that suggest a shortcoming in terms of narrative excellence. The performances don’t look particularly great, but looks can be deceiving.

Oscar Prospects:

In concept, this should be the perfect vehicle for Don Cheadle to return to the Oscars, but releasing in April isn’t going to win it points and I suspect it will be forgotten by the time the Oscars pick their choices.

Trailer #1

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88th Oscars: The Polls – Best Foreign Language Film

For the next 24 days, we’re going to present to you polls for who and what you think the best of 2015 was based on the Oscar nominations. Every morning at 8am, we’ll post a new poll for each category. Just submit your vote for the best in that category and that’s it. We’ll have one final post the Friday before the Oscars with all the category polls combined.

Best Foreign Language Film

Which Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film is best?

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This Day in Oscar History: February 13 (2016)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released

Ceremonies


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Film Preview: Misconduct (2016)

Page Revisions:

(February 7, 2016) Original

Release Date:

February 5, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “When an ambitious young lawyer takes on a big case against a powerful and ruthless executive of a large pharmaceutical company, he soon finds himself involved in a case of blackmail and corruption.”

Poster Rating: C

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Review: The poster looks almost like it could hang on the wall of a greedy family’s study, but with the gun on the table, the tacky cliches keep it from expanding beyond expectations.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: Although the film isn’t getting great reviews and the prospects weren’t great to begin with, the trailer is cut quite well, making this look like an interesting story playing out in expected, but involving ways.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Oscar in Box Office History (Week 7, 2016)

Every week, we’ll take a look back in 5-year intervals at the box office past to explore how Oscar’s nominees were doing at the box office each weekend historically. All data is collected from Box Office Mojo. The first section under each year is the positioning of all Oscar nominees during that weekend at the box office (as well as a section looking at the inflation-adjusted numbers). The third section is an alphabetical list of those films and the categories in which they were nominated. And to start each week off, we’ll be looking at the films releasing over the weekend that have the best chance of getting Oscar nominations and specifying the categories where we think they have the best shots at this stage of the game. If you have any suggestions for more data you’d like to see, please let us know.

This Year: Potential Oscar Nominees Releasing This Weekend

None

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The NEW Friday Face-Off #133

We are now in the second round of voting for the Friday Face Off, pitting winners from first round against each other. Just choose one selection in each of the categories below. One this round completes, we’ll pit those winners against each other until we have a final winner. There might be a losers bracket at some point…

Here is this week’s ten (or fewer) face-offs. So, let’s get started.

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