Category: Film Previews

2016 Oscar Season Preview: October

Here we look at the upcoming month’s offerings.

October 7, 2016

The Birth of a Nation

Premise: From IMDb: “Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher in the antebellum South, orchestrates an uprising.”
Box Office Prospects: $25 M
Expectations: Weak. Sometimes controversies help films, but whether this one will or not remains to be seen. The film might perform better later in the season with Oscar buzz behind it.
Oscar Prospects: Uncertain. After its premiere at Sundance earlier this year, the film became an instant lock for Best Picture and several other categories, mostly on the heels of the OscarSoWhite controversy. However, anticipation of the film has cooled dramatically after it was revealed that writer/director/star Nate Parker had successfully eluded sexual assault charges several years ago. That kind of controversy isn’t what the Academy likes to bring to the table. Response was muted at its later festival outings, so it’s possible the film fades into obscurity by Oscar time. It’s also possible that it surges again late in the year, but Parker may find himself ignored everywhere even if the film does manage a few nominations.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

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Trailer Watch: Trolls (2016) Updated

New Trailer (#3) / New Posters (#2-#8)

Trolls

Preview Link: CLICK HERE for all of the new content as well as the original.

Film Preview: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Page Revisions:

(September 18, 2016) Original

Release Date:

December 9, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “An art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale.”

Poster Rating: C- (4)

SEE ALL POSTERS BELOW
Review: (#1-#4) Perhaps something within the film itself explains these strange character posters. However, I doubt anyone, even those who’ve seen the trailer, will be interested in these particular designs.

Trailer Rating: B+

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Review: A stark, dark psychological drama with terrific actors doing what is suggested as brilliant work. All this mixed with some strong visual constructions and you have a film that looks almost unbeatable.

Oscar Prospects:

This should be one of the year’s key competitors with several cast members in contention for nominations, especially Amy Adams.

Trailer #1

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Trailer Watch: Goat (2016) Updated

New Trailer (#2)

Goat, updated

Preview Link: CLICK HERE for all of the new content as well as the original.

Weekend Preview: Sep. 23-25, 2016

Below are nine previews for films opening next weekend.
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Film Preview: New World Order (2016)

Page Revisions:

(September 18, 2016) Original

Release Date:

September 23, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “The film is proposing new themes, of current interest, strong and of impact, united with a poignant story of love and pain. Manages to combine in a single work controversial points of reflection on economic crisis, policy, ideology of the Freemasonry, new scientific discoveries and scenes of strong action,suspense and passion of love.”

Poster Rating: C-

SEE ALL POSTERS BELOW
Review: It looks like bad video game cover art from the 1990s. Yes, it highlights the chaos mentioned in the trailer, but that isn’t sufficient.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: After watching the trailer, it’s difficult to remember many details. The film looks like a sort of foreign espionage thriller with a secret society pulling strings. That combination might work, but the trailer doesn’t do a sufficient job selling that possibility.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Made in France (2016)

Page Revisions:

(September 18, 2016) Original

Release Date:

September 23, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “After the horrible terrorist attacks that rocked Paris, this daring investigation thriller plunges you inside the extremist muslim groups that grow inside western countries and can strike at any moment.”

Poster Rating: C+ / C-

SEE ALL POSTERS BELOW
Review: (#1) The weapon overlay is the strongest element of the poster, which gives it some measure of creative burst, but that’s it. The stark background and otherwise banal setting do little for the film. (#2) Toss in a bunch of critical acclaim while eliminating the one thing that made the other design unique and you have a thoroughly unnecessary design.

Trailer Rating: C

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Review: The subject of terrorist cell infiltration is timely, but the trailer’s sense of urgency gets bogged down in the suggestion of moral quandaries for the lead character. Throw in some rather cheesy acting and you have a film that looks like it might be best to avoid and not like something vital.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Closet Monster (2016)

Page Revisions:

(September 18, 2016) Original

Release Date:

September 23, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A creative and driven teenager is desperate to escape his hometown and the haunting memories of his turbulent childhood.”

Poster Rating: C

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Review: A chaotic, colorful design that says little about the film itself while reminding the viewer of a design from the 1970s and not in the best of ways.

Trailer Rating: C / B

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Review: (#1) What you don’t get from this first trailer is a sense of the film’s purpose. It’s stark, but ineffectual, leading the casual viewer to shrug and move on. (#2) While not necessarily of vital importance, the second trailer does create the impression that the film will take expected, but daring directions to reach its conclusion, which is shrouded in the best kind of mystery.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Beauty and the Beast (2016)

Page Revisions:

(September 18, 2016) Original

Release Date:

September 23, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “An unexpected romance blooms after the the youngest daughter of a merchant who has fallen on hard times offers herself to the mysterious beast to which her father has become indebted.”

Poster Rating: B / C / C+ / B- / C

SEE ALL POSTERS BELOW
Review: (#1) Modestly stylish, but perhaps a bit too dark. The French public might find some interest in this design or at least in the stars’ names. (#2) A bountiful visual at play here that’s overwhelmed by the number of flowers creating a cluttered appearance. (#3) The drawn backdrop is too unnatural to go with a design featuring a man-beast and his lover. The rest of the design is solid and not overly cluttered. (#4) Although it’s certainly overfilled with design elements, it’s a visually striking design with compelling uses of light, natural and artificial. (#5) The third poster adds out-of-place animated animals that serve little but to distract utterly from the proceedings.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: The film has some sumptuous visuals, but the chaotic trailer overextends the film into a realm beyond a simple love story. That might intrigue those not particularly interested in such things, but at what cost?

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: The Age of Shadows (2016)

Page Revisions:

(September 18, 2016) Original

Release Date:

September 23, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Set in the late 1920s, The Age of Shadows follows the cat-and-mouse game that unfolds between a group of resistance fighters trying to bring in explosives from Shanghai to destroy key Japanese facilities in Seoul, and Japanese agents trying to stop them. A talented Korean-born Japanese police officer, who was previously in the independence movement himself, is thrown into a dilemma between the demands of his reality and the instinct to support a greater cause.”

Poster Rating: B+

SEE ALL POSTERS BELOW
Review: A dingy, but striking design featuring the descent of the main character down a wrought-iron staircase. It’s symbolic, atmospheric, and features a striking construction.

Trailer Rating: B-

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Review: The trailer is a bit confused, moving in several directions at once, but never finding a way to settle into a narrative that the audience will be compelled to see. There are sufficient moments to draw in fans of this particular genre, but casual observers may be harder pressed to find interest.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Trailer Watch: Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016) Updated

New Trailer (#2)

Ouija: Origin of Evil, updated

Preview Link: CLICK HERE for all of the new content as well as the original.

Film Preview: Gold (2016)

Page Revisions:

(September 11, 2016) Original

Release Date:

December 25, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “An unlikely pair venture to the Indonesian jungle in search of gold.”

Poster Rating: C

SEE ALL POSTERS BELOW
Review: Discover a new land, but does it have much to say about the film or its protagonist? Not really. That makes it modestly ineffectual.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: How is it that every Matthew McConaughey film looks so similar to each other? He seems to be stuck in this classic underdog role, which doesn’t quite suit his oft overbearing presence. For his fans, the trailer will work wonders. For everyone else, I find little in this to encourage their attendance.

Oscar Prospects:

Once again Matthew McConaughey is in the Oscar conversation, but competition is fierce and I don’t expect him to make the cut.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Collateral Beauty (2016)

Page Revisions:

(September 11, 2016) Original

Release Date:

December 16, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A tragic event sends a New York ad man on a downward spiral.”

Poster Rating: D

SEE ALL POSTERS BELOW
Review: The domino element of the trailer doesn’t fit a poster design very well, especially when it doesn’t effectively sell the film to the audience or look visually interesting enough to hang on a wall.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: There’s no doubt that a trailer like this, with so many familiar faces, won’t have the desired effect and bring audiences to the theater, but the film doesn’t look that original and may just be too familiar to be a wild hit.

Oscar Prospects:

With so much Oscar power in the film, it’s likely to see some chatter about the film, especially after Will Smith’s not-that-likely failure last year.

Trailer #1

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Trailer Watch: Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (2016) Updated

New Trailer (#3)

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, udpated

Preview Link: CLICK HERE for all of the new content as well as the original.

Looking at the Weekend: Sep. 16-18, 2016

As we get closer to Halloween, horror flicks will become more over-present. This film seems to be leading the charge and, after such a lengthy gap, could become the weekend’s top film, though it will have to take down Sully first, which should be a strong holdover. The week’s two other new wide releases could also have a shot, though as much as the length of time since it was last seen for Blair Witch might be even more challenging for Bridget Jones’s Baby. Snowden could be popular just to see what it says, but I suspect it will be another Oliver Stone dud.

Our Highest Rated Films: Snowden, Miss Stevens
Our Best Awards Ratings: Snowden (Oscars)

OTHER LIMITED RELEASES

Hillsong – Let Hope Rise
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years
Cock and Bull
Silicon Cowboys
Wild Oats

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