What Are You Watching? (Mar. 23-25, 2018)
(March 18, 2018) Original
November 16, 2018
From IMDb: “The second installment of the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” franchise which follows the adventures of Newt Scamander.”
Poster Rating: C
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Review: Teaser posters are intended to pull the audience into the theater before a trailer is seen or a promotion is run. This one does a terrific job setting that up, even if the background, cheesy as it is, isn’t particularly exciting.
Trailer Rating: B-
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Review: Far more than just a teaser, this full-blown trailer features plenty of information about the film’s premise and plot and re-introduces a lot of our favorite characters from the first film. It doesn’t have enough humor and doesn’t put forth everyone it should, but it’s a solid start.
The first film managed to pull off an Oscar win when no one thought it would be a major player. The second film will have a tougher time because it will “look the same” as the prior installment, but it could still pick up nominations.
Here we look at the upcoming month’s offerings.
April 6, 2018
Premise: From IMDb: “Three fathers try to stop their daughters from having sex on Prom night.”
Box Office Prospects: $65 M
Expectations: Uncertain. R-rated comedies have had a hit-or-miss relationship with the box office in recent years and while Game Night managed to perform well not long ago, this film will face a tougher box office with a bit more competition. It could still do quite well, but maybe not as well as it should.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.
The original Pacific Rim opened to $37 million five years ago. After myriad delays, the sequel is debuting this weekend and will take on Black Panther for the box office crown. Black Panther has proven surprisingly resilient the last few weeks, stopping two films so far from earning the top spot. The big question is if this will be the weekend it falls? All signs point towards yes. If Pacific Rim opens to half its original numbers, that will be $18.5 million. Black Panther lost 33.8% over its prior weekend. If those numbers stay the same, it’s sixth will be roughly $17.8. Neither of these two situations is likely to occur. Pacific Rim opening that low would be surprising, but Black Panther‘s weekly slide has dropped each week, which means it could fall much less than 33.8%. That puts us into uncharted territory. Black Panther is only the thirty-third film to sit atop the box office chart for five consecutive weeks or more. It’s also the first film since 2009 (Avatar) to do so. If it hangs on for a sixth week, it will join only eighteen others. That’s a tall order, but it’s been defying expectations all year, so anything is possible at this point.
Our Highest Rated Films: Isle of Dogs, A Bag of Marbles
Our Best Awards Ratings: Isle of Dogs (Oscars), Pacific Rim: Uprising (Oscars)
OTHER LIMITED RELEASES
Summer in the Forest
New Trailer (#2) / New Poster (#1)
Preview Link: CLICK HERE for all of the new content as well as the original.
New This Week
The Shape of Water is the first science-fiction film to win an Oscar for Best Picture, one of four Oscars it received out of thirteen nominations, putting it in a ten-way tie for the second most nominations ever of any film. All About Eve, Titanic, and La La Land are tied for the most nominations overall at fourteen.
A beauty and beast story in which the beauty isn’t all that beautiful and the beast isn’t terribly beastly, the film is a marvelous throwback to the minimalist science-fiction films that were popular in the 1950s, most notably Creature from the Black Lagoon. Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro takes it one step further, with beauty having consensual sex with the beast, something that wouldn’t even be hinted at in a 1950s film.
The film’s one-of-a-kind Oscar-winning production design and terrific musical score by Alexandre Desplat add immeasurably to the film’s hold on its audience, but it should be noted that the film’s theme song, “You’ll Never Know,” was not written for the film as many of the film’s ardent fans seem to think. It is, in fact, an Oscar-winning song from 74 years earlier, introduced by Alice Faye in 1943’s Hello, Frisco, Hello.
Now That You’ve Seen Tomb Raider…?
(March 18, 2018) Original
October 19, 2018
From IMDb: “The true story of bestselling celebrity biographer (and friend to cats) Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy), who made her living in the 1970s and ’80s profiling the likes of Katherine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estee Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. When Lee is no longer able to get published because she has fallen out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack.”
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: B
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Review: This modestly atmospheric trailer gives Melissa McCarthy a potentially compelling dramatic role that looks to play well to her personality and experience. It also looks like a fascinating look into the fading stardom of a once-famous biographer.
Melissa McCarthy doing a rare piece of drama could net some attention from Oscar voters who already recognized her for her comedy work. The film looks a bit light for Oscar consideration, but appearances can be deceiving.
We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.
Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what movies I’ve seen over the past week. Below, you will find short reviews of those movies along with a star rating. Full length reviews may come at a later date.
So, here is what I watched this past week:
Four years ago, writer Alex Garland made his directorial debut with Ex Machina, a critical smash that surprised with two Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Visual Effects and further surprised by winning the Visual Effects prize. Now, he’s picked up a higher budget and has brought Jeff VanderMeer’s novel to the big screen with Natalie Portman in the lead as a ex-military biologist whose military husband returns after a mysterious one-year absence.
The film’s premise follows Portman as she and a team of women push into an expanse called The Shimmer where all prior expeditions have been lost and whose mysterious origin defies explanation. As the five women explore a diverse biome of rapidly mutating flora and fauna, they must battle inner demons and unseen forces to reach the epicenter and stop whatever threatens the entirety of earth.
Portman is joined by a bountiful group of prominent actors including Oscar nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, David Gyasi, and Oscar Isaac. Each delivers a solid performance, but Garland’s aesthetic often requires emotionless delivery that doesn’t always allow the audience to connect with the characters. Portman has one early scene where she’s grieving her lost husband, but beyond that, her vacant-eyed approach is sometimes off-putting.
Garland has such a daring and inventive visual style. Annihilation is overflowing with sensory splendor. The film’s effects are staggering and the production design is vivid and richly detailed. The music adds a brilliant depth to the otherworldly environment through which our protagonist travels. There are also plenty of heady philosophical topics for the audience who might grow bored with the vast expanses of silence, Garland focusing on showing rather than telling. That is both a barrier to universal understanding and an aid for those who enjoy quietly contemplative works.