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Film Preview: Revenge of the Green Dragons (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

October 24, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "Two best friends rise through the ranks of New York's Chinese underworld in the 1980s."

Poster: B

Review: While the image isn't original, nor is it particularly bold and striking, it is an attempt to create something spellbinding and beautiful in a sea of lookalike posters.

Trailer: B

Review: What appears to be a sprawling crime epic, Revenge of the Green Dragons presents plenty of interesting visual pieces that could evoke a sense of dramatic tension. It follows standard action movie trailer formulae a little too closely, but it works hard to try and establish itself as a crucial examination of a rarely-focused area of New York City history.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(October 19, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: Laggies (2014)

Poster



Trailer Link

Release Date:

October 24, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "In the throes of a quarter-life crisis, Megan panics when her boyfriend proposes, then, taking an opportunity to escape for a week, hides out in the home of her new friend, 16-year-old Annika, who lives with her world-weary single dad."

Poster: C+ / D

Review: (#1) I'm certain I've seen a design similar to this one before, but in the current marketplace, it should stand out a bit from the crowd. The problem is, the stars of the film aren't as easily identifiable, which might make it a challenge to sell the film to the uninitiated. (#2) While I like the color, the utter spatial void only makes it forgettable. The turtle may have a key role in the film, but it's not going to resonate with anyone who hasn't already seen it and probably not even then.

Trailer: B

Review: It's a romantic comedy that appears to follow a familiar and time-worn formula. That may not be a bad thing if it does so well, the question is will it. Some of the moments and humor in the trailer are appealing and Keira Knightley seems to be in fine form, but that lingering question may sink the film's success if it fails to exceed expectations.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(October 19, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: Force Majeure (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

October 24, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A family on a ski holiday in the French Alps find themselves staring down an avalanche during lunch one day; in the aftermath, their dynamic has been shaken to its core, with a question mark hanging over their patriarch in particular."

Poster: C

Review: The catalyst event of the film (and trailer) is on full display in the poster, but that alone doesn't make it very exciting. Without having a more interesting design, few will view this advertisement as an impetus to see the film.

Trailer: C+

Review: Much of the film's plot is hidden in the trailer so that the audience has to guess what it's really about. A slight, single reference would give it away, but there's so much else on display that it's hard to see this as much more than your typical foreign drama about emotional anxiety and coping that separates families. It's a concept seen too often to be appealing on its own merits.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(October 19, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: John Wick (2014)

Poster


Poster #1

Additional posters can be found below.

Trailer Link

Release Date:

October 24, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him."

Poster: C+ / C / C / C-

Review: (#1-#4) Four semi-distinct designs that produce little interest from non-Keanu Reeves fans. These designs might help with his surprisingly large fan base in Asian markets, but in the U.S., I doubt it will help much. The first design is the only one with any originality to it and even that is quite a bit cheesy in its originality.

Trailer: B-

Review: Setting up the impetus for John Wick's aggression is handled very well, but from there the film seems to devolve into a rote action thriller with an utter lack of inventiveness.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(October 19, 2014) Original

Additional Posters



Poster #2Poster #3Poster #4
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Film Preview: 23 Blast (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

October 24, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "When a high school football star is suddenly stricken with irreversible total blindness, he must decide whether to live a safe handicapped life or bravely return to the life he once knew and the sport he still loves."

Poster: D

Review: Once you get up close and personal with the poster, it still requires familiarity with the premise to understand why this football player has his eyes closed. It's cheap theatrics that doesn't help distinguish the film from the various other High School football related films that have come out in recent years.

Trailer: B

Review: On the surface, it seems like a hokey, self-centered football drama that happens to have a blind player as its focus. However, the trailer ultimately feels like it takes a unique and sometimes amusing approach to its premise. While I doubt it will be a success as a result, it could be a sleeper hit after it goes to home video.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(October 19, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

February 13, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A veteran secret agent takes a young upstart under his wing."

Poster: C+

Review: As a teaser, it's adequate. There's plenty to look at. However, as a genuine sales tool, it's a bit lifeless and avoiding any of your human characters diminishes its capability to sell the movie.

Trailer: B-

Review: This is one of two trailer I typically see for this film. The first is more of a teaser. This one sets the stakes, produces the primary characters and provides just enough coolness that it might appeal to a wider audience. It's not quite enough, but it's a solid foundation.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(October 12, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: You’re Not You (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

October 10, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A drama centered on a classical pianist who has been diagnosed with ALS and the brash college student who becomes her caregiver."

Poster: C-

Review: A generic design for a movie that, on the surface, feels very generic. It fits and sells the actors as expected, but without any distinguishing characteristics or original artwork.

Trailer: B

Review: As much as I suspect this film is little more than cheap pablum, the trailer does a pretty strong job of convincing the audience that the movie will provide a unique, humorous and poignant examination of ALS. This is how you turn a potentially crappy film into something that looks like a million bucks.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(October 12, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: Automata (2014)

Poster



Trailer Link

Release Date:

October 10, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "acq Vaucan, an insurance agent of ROC robotics corporation, routinely investigates the case of manipulating a robot. What he discovers will have profound consequences for the future of humanity."

Poster: C / C-

Review: (#1 & #2) Neither of these designs are that creative and they only lightly touch on the sci-fi element. However, the first poster is much more interesting visually, which allows it to draw the viewer's eyes to various points int the design. That won't really sell the film, but at least it keeps it from being entirely boring.

Trailer: B

Review: The idea of robots gaining sentience and the desire of their human overlords to stop them has been around for a long time and won't likely find many instances of superior treatment. However, this film certainly tries to approach it from a creative and audacious standpoint. That could help distinguish it from other sci-fi films currently in the marketplace.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(October 12, 2014) Original

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Looking at the Weekend: Oct. 17-19, 2014

It's going to be stiff competition when your three wide releases are all targeting different demographics. Romantics will be heading out to The Best of Me, men will be heading to Fury and families will be off to see The Book of Life. In the end, the film most on Oscar's radar will probably be the one to triumph.

Individual Commentaries

Wesley Lovell: It's hard to pick just one or two titles this week as there are a number of prominent possibilities.
Peter J. Patrick: Birdman and Fury arrive, no doubt adding to their Oscar buzz. The Book of Life could be an animation sleeper.
Tripp Burton: Birdman is one of the most anticipated films of the year, and comes out in a weekend where nothing else looks too decent, so it should be an easy choice if it's playing anywhere near you.
Thomas LaTourrette: I am intrigued to see the much talked about Birdman, though somehow I can't imagine it living up to its hype. Other than that, there is surprisingly something for everyone.

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2014 Summer Season Preview Wrap-Up: May

May 2-4, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Oscar Prospects: What I said: "Poor. The original trilogy didn't get a lot of Oscar attention, but it got some. The reboot got none. I see the same thing occurring this time out, though it's possible that the heavy use of CGI might bolster the film's chances."
Oscar Results: Critics weren't very impressed with the film as a whole and the vast majority of Oscar nominees this year are likely to come from better reviewed blockbusters.
Box Office Prediction: $250 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "Solid. The original franchise had a problem. Each subsequent film in the trilogy made less than its predecessor, this in spite of soaring ticket prices. With The Amazing Spider-Man starting out lower overall and with critics and audiences less enthused (barely) about the reboot, it's probable that the second film will find a tough time matching its predecessor's numbers."
Box Office Results: $202.9 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] Not to knock a $200 million box office tally, but compared to its predecessors and the potential, fans just didn't seem to engage on the level necessary to make this a bigger hit than it was.

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Film Preview: The Houses October Built (2014)

Poster



Trailer Link

Release Date:

October 10, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "Looking to find an authentic, blood-curdling good fright for Halloween, five friends set off on a road trip in an RV to track down these underground Haunts. Just when their search seems to reach a dead end, strange and disturbing things start happening and it becomes clear that the Haunt has come to them."

Poster: B- / C

Review: (#1 & #2) Both of these designs use the creepy, masked girl motif. The second might fit more accurately into the film, but it's also not nearly as scary as they would hope. The first design isn't exactly scary, but it's a creative design with a vibrant color scheme and plenty to keep passers-by transfixed for enough time they might consider buying a ticket.

Trailer: B+

Review: While this trailer shows that the film focuses too much on the found-footage style, the concept is original enough that it should break through a crowded field of October contenders and earn an underground reputation as a suitable alternative to the traditional dreck that come out each year.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(October 12, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: Tomorrowland (2015)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

May 22, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "Bound by a shared destiny, a teen bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory."

Poster: C

Review: Teaser posters from Disney are so haphazardly simplistic that they prevent any marketing prowess. Those in the know will understand the purpose of the poster, but considering how much of the film is already in the can, something a bit more daring and visionary might be more appropriate.

Trailer: B+

Review: A pretty damned good tease of the film. Just enough visual pop to make the audience ooh and ahh, but not so much that their interest wanes before the film releases. It's a nice balance and definitely makes it look like a film worth seeing.

Oscar Prospects:

Certainly to be a contender in many tech categories, it will be declared early as the film to beat for Best Visual Effects. While that might be the case, never bet against late-year arrivals.

Revisions:

(October 12, 2014) Original

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Weekend Preview: Oct. 17-19, 2014

Below are sixteen previews for films opening next weekend.
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Film Preview: Watchers of the Sky (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

October 17, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "Four modern stories of remarkable courage while setting out to uncover the forgotten life of Raphael Lemkin, the man who coined the term 'genocide'. Inspired by Samantha Power's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, 'A Problem From Hell', 'Watchers of the Sky' traverses time and continents to explore genocide and the cycle of violence."

Poster: C

Review: Even after you know what the film is about, the poster doesn't have as much impact as it probably needs. Of course, relying on traditional Jewish and Nazi symbolism might have been overboard, at least do something that sets your place in history.

Trailer: B-

Review: For most audiences, documentaries fall into two categories. 1) This really piques my interest. I must see it. 2) This looks really boring, why would anyone watch this? Watchers in the Sky, while about an important subject, looks incredibly dry and document heavy which will please fans of the medium, but won't attract a wider viewership.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(October 12, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

October 16, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "65 years after a masked serial killer terrorized the small town of Texarkana, the so-called 'moonlight murders' begin again. Is it a copycat or something even more sinister? A lonely high school girl, with dark secrets of her own, may be the key to catching him."

Poster: C+

Review: If it weren't for the background skull motif, this might be an effective design. Anyone who's seen a horror poster in recent years has seen a couple of those skulls on display, which defeats the purpose of feeling original. Of course, this is a remake, so I guess seeming original isn't necessary.

Trailer: A-

Review: Taking a different approach to trailer design than many other recent horror film, The Town That Dreaded Sundown looks like a much more traditional design, one that doesn't rely on hokey shaky-cam, found-footage techniques. That alone should distinguish it in the marketplace, but the stakes are set high and the premise is well defined, which should help make it an underground success.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(October 12, 2014) Original

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