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Film Preview: Alex of Venice (2015)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

April 17, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "Workaholic attorney, Alex [Winstead] is forced to reinvent her life after her husband suddenly leaves. Now faced with the humdrum and sometimes catastrophic events that permeate the fabric of our lives, Alex discovers both a vulnerability and inner strength she had not yet tapped all while trying to hold together her broken family."

Poster: C-

Review: The design is generic, inexpressive and entirely underwhelming. For an indie film, some leeway can be given, but not much.

Trailer: C+

Review: There are hints of interest in the trailer suggesting a fascinating view of working mothers and their supposed neglect for familial obligations in a situation that is all but neglectful. The movie doesn't appear to be that noteworthy overall, however.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(March 1, 2015) Original

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The DVD Report #402

Winner of three Academy Awards, Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash is essentially a two-character study about a gifted young drummer and his sadistic music conservatory teacher. Both Miles Teller and Oscar winner J.K. Simmons are excellent in those roles. The film’s persistent and insistent jazz score is so omnipresent it’s almost a third character. Paul Reiser as Teller’s father, Melissa Benoist as his first girlfriend, and Austen Stowell and Nate Long as competitive fellow drummers have the most prominent supporting roles, but it’s the interaction between Teller and Simmons that grabs and then holds your interest throughout.

Simmons’ character is not unlike the sadistic college professor played by John Houseman in The Paper Chase and the equally sadistic drill instructor played by Louis Gossett, Jr. in An Officer and a Gentleman, roles which won them Oscars as well.

Whiplash is available on both Blu-ray and standard DVD.

An old-fashioned suspense film in the best sense, Hossein Amini’s The Two Faces of January, is a fairly faithful version of the 1964 novel by Patricia Highsmith, author of Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Viggo Mortensen stars as a middle-aged American con artist on his honeymoon in Athens who accidentally kills a private investigator and has to flee the country without a passport. He’s aided by much younger bride Kirsten Dunst and American-born Greek tour guide Oscar Isaac. The Hitchcockian drama is a fine showcase for both Mortensen and Isaac, less so for Dunst who makes a fine showing, but whose screen time is limited. Unlike most modern crime dramas with their ambivalent endings, this one ties up the loose ends nicely with good guy Isaac coming out on top.

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This Day in Oscar History: March 3 (2015)

Here's what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released


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Poll: Now That You’ve Seen “Focus”

Return Links

Polls

Now That You've Seen Focus...?

<a href="http://www.sodahead.com/entertainment/cinema-sight-asks-now-that-youve-seen-focus-which-of-the-21st-centurys-conhustle-film-is-best/question-4729926/" title="Cinema Sight Asks: Now that you've seen " Focus," which of the 21st century's con hustle film is best?">Cinema Sight Asks: Now that you've seen "Focus," which of the 21st century's con/hustle film is best?</a>
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Film Preview: The Gunman (2015)

Poster


Poster #1

Additional posters can be found below.

Trailer Link

Release Date:

March 20, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A former Special Forces soldier and military contractor suffering from PTSD tries to reconnect with his long time love, but first must go on the run from London to Barcelona and across Europe in order to clear his name."

Poster: B- / D / C- / D (3)

Review: (#1) While I like the general layout and visual flow of the design, I'm not sure it's that entirely original or inventive. (#2) Plain and boring. (#3) What worked with the first design is lost in the second, which has less interesting colors and cuts off part of Javier Bardem's body, which is the reason the first design works as well as it does. (#4-#6) These character posters are superfluous, have no design connectivity to the other posters and abuse an awful, trite color scheme.

Trailer: B-

Review: As much as Penn has delighted us in the past, this trailer suggests a film that has too many pedestrian elements and focuses more heavily on action than on other elements necessary for a film to stand above the fray.

Oscar Prospects:

Sean Penn is always in the conversation, though the film releasing so early in the year is unlikely to result in any awards traction.

Revisions:

(March 1, 2015) Original

Additional Posters




Poster #2Poster #3Poster #4
Poster #5Poster #6
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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Feb. 27-Mar. 1, 2015

We had one films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Maps to the Stars

Later this week, I should be posting the final Oscar Preview covering the 87th Oscars, looking back at the best and worst of the precursors. Before then, let's look at what came out this weekend. Maps to the Stars seems to be the only potential contender released this week and it doesn't seem to have as much strength as it might of last year.

The David Cronenberg film has earned plenty of plaudits since its festival release and until it was shifted into 2015, Julianne Moore was receiving a lot of chatter about her performance, possibly yielding two nominations, one in lead for Still Alice (which she ended up winning for), and one in support. The film's difficult style, one that doesn't tend to appeal to mass audiences or even to Academy member (according to critics anyway), may have been the ultimate reason for its shift to 2015 and will likely be the reason it doesn't show up at the end of the year.

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The Morning After: Mar. 9, 2015

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.

I spent much of the weekend out of town and wasn't able to get to my deepening queue. Hopefully, next week end.

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This Day in Oscar History: March 2 (2015)

Here's what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released


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Weekend Preview: Mar. 6-8, 2015

Below are five previews for films opening next weekend.
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Film Preview: These Final Hours (2015)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

March 6, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A self-obsessed young man makes his way to the party-to-end-all-parties on the last day on Earth, but ends up saving the life of a little girl searching for her father. Their relationship ultimately leads him on the path to redemption."

Poster: A- / C / C- / C- / C-

Review: (#1) While it doesn't appear that the producers wanted to ultimately go this route, it remains the most inventive and visually interesting of all of the designs. (#2) This is the best of the rest, a not particularly enthralling design that uses the fire motif in the most appealing and least corny or haphazard way. (#3-#5) There's not a lot of variance between design 2 and the remaining three, each focusing on different ways to differentiate themselves, including different fonts and backgrounds, none of which seem to improve on the prior.

Trailer: B-

Review: As far as apocalyptic dramas go, this one doesn't quite set what's actually happening that will destroy all of Australia, but it does seem clear that it may be localized. There's some standard survivalist drama here, which doesn't make it seem that exciting, but appearances can sometimes be deceiving.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(Mar. 1, 2015) Original

Additional Posters




Poster #2Poster #3Poster #4
Poster #5
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Film Preview: Bad Asses on the Bayou (2015)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

March 6, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "Frank Vega and Bernie Pope return, this time to Louisiana in an attempt to find a kidnapped friend."

Poster: F

Review: Parody really needs to be more humorous. This just looks like a cheap attempt to capitalize on a thin narrative hook.

Trailer: F

Review: Poor Danny Trejo. He's become such a cult personality that he's constantly being suckered into dismal genre fare and this appears to be nothing different. What makes it more certain that you're looking at rudimentary comedy and cheesy writing, apart from the trailer itself, is the co-starring Danny Glover who hasn't done much of worth since the Lethal Weapon franchise collapsed.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(Mar. 1, 2015) Original

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Film Preview: Unfinished Business (2015)

Poster


Poster #1

Additional posters can be found below.

Trailer Link

Release Date:

March 6, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A hard-working small business owner and his two associates travel to Europe to close the most important deal of their lives. But what began as a routine business trip goes off the rails in every way imaginable - and unimaginable - way, including unplanned stops at a massive sex fetish event and a global economic summit."

Poster: C / C- / B- (3) / D+ (3)

Review: (#1) Five scenes, each less amusing than the last. Sure, the fact that it's a raunchy comedy is apparent, but there's nothing particularly inventive on display. (#2) This one doesn't even try to suggest much of a comedy, sticking with a simplistic and forgettable design concept. (#3-#5) These character posters aren't original, but they are the most inventive of the film's designs, which gives them a slight boost in terms of memorability. (#6-#8) These character designs, however, aren't even remotely exciting. They are forgettable, unwatchable and deserve little attention.

Trailer: C+

Review: Raunchy comedies are struggling to find new ways of exploring the same comic material, namely people who've never done anything so bizarre getting out there and doing it for the sake of money. If it were a critique on capitalism, consumerism or wealth-derived happiness, it might have some merit, but the trailer doesn't suggest that's likely.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(Mar. 1, 2015) Original

Additional Posters



Poster #2Poster #3Poster #4

Poster #5Poster #6Poster #7

Poster #8
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Poll: Best of Mar. 2014, Wide

Return Links

Polls

What's the Best of Mar. 2014, Wide?

<a href="http://www.sodahead.com/entertainment/cinema-sight-asks-which-march-2014-wide-release-film-is-best/question-4729216/" title="Cinema Sight Asks: Which March 2014 wide release film is best?">Cinema Sight Asks: Which March 2014 wide release film is best?</a>
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This Day in Oscar History: March 1 (2015)

Here's what happened today in Oscar History.

Born


Died

Released


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This Day in Oscar History: February 28 & 29 (2015)

Here's what happened today (February 28) in Oscar History.

Born


Died

Here's what happened today (February 29) in Oscar History.

Born

Ceremonies

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