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Film Preview: Very Good Girls (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

July 25, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "Two New York City girls make a pact to lose their virginity during their first summer out of high school. When they both fall for the same street artist, the friends find their connection tested for the first time."

Poster: C-

Review: If you've seen one indie drama poster design, you've seen them all and this is one of them. Fruitless. Lifeless. Boring.

Trailer: C

Review: Apart from being virgins, what makes these characters "very good girls?" On top of that, the narrative fireworks are lightly suggested in the trailer, but none of them are uniquely individual or compelling, which might make it hard for the film to find an audience.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(July 20, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: A Most Wanted Man (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

July 25, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A Chechen Muslim illegally immigrates to Hamburg, where he gets caught in the international war on terror."

Poster: B

Review: Sometimes, even if you've seen a similar poster design before, the end result is visually appealing enough that it transcends that which it duplicates. This is a perfect example of that.

Trailer: B

Review: Apart from the fun accents, something one should never rate a trailer on, the thrilling plot does seem engaging and there's enough suggestion of intrigue that it could be one of those films that turns out better than it looks. It could also turn out much worse than it looks.

Oscar Prospects:

There will most definitely be talk of Phillip Seymour Hoffman getting a posthumous Oscar nod for this and he's more likely to score here than in his other two 2014 efforts. The film seems to be an otherwise traditional thriller, which doesn't fare well with the Academy.

Revisions:

(July 20, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: Magic in the Moonlight (2014)

Poster


Poster #1

Additional posters can be found below.

Trailer Link

Release Date:

July 25, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A romantic comedy about an Englishman brought in to help unmask a possible swindle. Personal and professional complications ensue."

Poster: C+ / F / D

Review: Here we have three more plain examples of how poorly Photoshop artists are faring these days. While the first design is the least noticeable of the three, there are clear signs that Emma Stone and Colin Firth are superimposed on this background. Yet, because it seems to fit the setting of the film, it works. The second design, however, doesn't even remotely fit the style of the film and the Photoshopping is so patently bad that it wouldn't be hard to rate this as one of the worst mock-up jobs in the history of poster design. They couldn't even change the positions of the actors who are identically posed from the first film. The third design is the same, a poor attempt to take the same actors and keep their poses in the new design, while trying to highlight the symbolic lunar representation. At least this time, they've chosen a slightly different image of Firth and have swapped their respective positions.

Trailer: B+

Review: As with any Woody Allen film, if you're already a fan you don't need a trailer to sell you. These are typically done to appeal to wider audiences, which have seldom turned out for one of Allen's films. Still, this looks more broadly appealing to mass audiences than his last effort, especially focusing on Stone and Firth, two actors who have some intense partisans in the general populace. The film looks mildly fun with plenty of Woody's classic wit.

Oscar Prospects:

Always pencil Woody Allen in for a Best Original Screenplay nomination, even in the face of controversy. You can also isolate one or two performances that could be contenders and give them temporary berths in the Oscar contest. However, early word isn't perfect and when Allen is off, the Academy isn't as friendly.

Revisions:

(July 20, 2014) Original

Additional Posters



Poster #2Poster #3
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Film Preview: Happy Christmas (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

July 25, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "Irresponsible 20-something Jenny arrives in Chicago to live with her older brother Jeff, a young film-maker living a happy existence with his novelist wife Kelly and their two-year-old son. Jenny's arrival shakes up their quiet domesticity as she and her friend Carson instigate an evolution in Kelly's life and career. Meanwhile, Jenny strikes up a rocky relationship with the family's baby sitter-cum-pot dealer."

Poster: D

Review: It's not much of a design, though it stays away from indie cinema mawkishness. Instead, it's just unappealingly bland.

Trailer: B+

Review: While the poster isn't that interesting, the trailer certainly is. Yes, it plays in a most typical indie manner, but the humor seems genuine and the situations don't feel as forced as they could. The result is a film that looks like it might be fun.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(July 20, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: The Fluffy Movie (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

July 25, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A comedy concert film that captures the on-stage performance and inspirational success story of Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias."

Poster: C-

Review: If you know who Gabriel Iglesias is, that's all you need to mark this in your calendar. If you aren't familiar, there isn't anything this poster will do to make you interested in finding out.

Trailer: C+

Review: As comedy concert features go, this one looks much like all the others. There are some very good one-liners, but most of the humor is absent, making it tough to convince non-Fluffy fans to check the film out.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(July 20, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: Love Is Strange (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

August 22, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "After Ben and George get married, George is fired from his teaching post, forcing them to stay with friends separately while they sell their place and look for cheaper housing -- a situation that weighs heavily on all involved."

Poster: C-

Review: This design has no inventiveness, no originality and no soul. That doesn't make it very appealing even to those who are fans of Alfred Molina and John Lithgow.

Trailer: C

Review: The film looks like an interesting attempt to bring a compelling love story to the screen featuring an aging gay couple and the stigmas they must face even in the midst of growing acceptance. Unfortunately, the trailer makes the film seem slow, meandering and weak.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(July 13, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: The Zero Theorem (2014)

Poster

Additional posters can be found below.

Trailer Link

Release Date:

September 19, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A computer hacker whose goal is to discover the reason for human existence continually finds his work interrupted thanks to the Management; namely, they send a teenager and lusty love interest to distract him."

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

Review: The first three designs are similar in English, French and German respectively. The distinctiveness comes either with color, the German design being in the less appealing blue or with/without a female character (the French has the femme). That aside, the two red-tinted designs are largely equivalent. The fourth design is a complete departure from the others, focusing on Christoph Waltz's head and the universe captured within his mind, which is interesting if unoriginal.

Trailer: B-

Review: As much as I tend to like the bizarre world of Terry Gilliam, and this trailer is certainly within the realm of the bizarre, the concept seems almost a little too preachy and Waltz is a very tiring presence. Fans of Gilliam should enjoy it better than most.

Oscar Prospects:

The film releases on iTunes prior to its theatrical release, which should make it ineligible. That's a shame because this looks like it could pull nominations in several creative categories.

Revisions:

(July 13, 2014) Original

Additional Posters

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Film Preview: Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)

Poster

Additional posters can be found below.

Trailer Link

Release Date:

December 12, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "An account of Moses' hand in leading the Israelite slaves out of Egypt."

Poster: B / B- (2)

Review: All three designs share a theme, with the actors in black-and-white and their golden and bejeweled accouterments in color. It's a stylish concept infrequently used, though I can see why some may not care much for them. These are definitely eye-of-the-beholder kind of designs.

Trailer: B+

Review: Hyping itself on the events that take place during Moses' life in and exile from Egypt, the trailer is a frenetic, fast-paced adventure that evokes gorgeous imagery from familiar set pieces. This should be a good starting point for selling the film.

Oscar Prospects:

Ridley Scott may be positioned to make his first major Oscar appearance since Gladiator 14 years ago. It's been a long time since a Biblical adaptation went over huge at the Oscars, but with Noah a overly controversial film, Exodus has the right chemistry to become a threat.

Revisions:

(July 13, 2014) Original

Additional Posters

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Looking at the Weekend: Jul. 18-20, 2014

I hate to say it, but Disney might manage to top the new release list this week. It's possible Sex Tape could end up a big hit, but either way, it could turn out that all of them fail to top the second week of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Individual Commentaries

Wesley Lovell: Of the week's new releases, I have mild interest in The Purge: Anarchy and Mood Indigo.
Peter J. Patrick: Bah humbug! No Christmas in July at the movies this week!
Tripp Burton: A crop of lackluster sequels headline a lackluster week.
Thomas LaTourrette: A lackluster set of films, mostly sequels of not great films, or Sex Tape that feels like a sequel to any Judd Apatow film. Hopefully, Mood Indigo will redeem the weekend, but am not even sure of that.

Click here to continue reading this article

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Film Preview: Unbroken (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

December 25, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II."

Poster: -

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

Trailer: B+

Review: The trailer hits many of the high points of the film and positions it squarely at the feet of those who are fans of inspiring war dramas. It looks equal parts Chariots of Fire and The Deer Hunter, which might help it excel at the box office when such fare is not doing terribly well.

Oscar Prospects:

Angelina Jolie's adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's novel about World War II hero Louis Zamperini marks her second outing as director. With a script written by Oscar winners Joel & Ethan Coen and Oscar nominees Richard LaGravanese and William Nicholson, the inspiring story of Zamperini may be a potent force at the Oscars. Photographed by 11-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins and composed by 6-time Oscar nominee Alexandre Desplat and two-time Oscar nominee Tim Squyers performing editing duties, the film could prove powerful, but it could also be a complete bust, we'll have to wait to see what critics have to say.

Revisions:

(July 13, 2014) Original

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Trailer Watch: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (2014)

Trailer #2 & Poster #9

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, trailer #2 & poster #9

Preview Link: CLICK HERE for link to the trailer, more posters (if available) and other commentary not featured here.

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Weekend Preview: Jul. 18-20, 2014

Below are ten previews for films opening next weekend.
Click here to continue reading this article

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Film Preview: Wish I Was Here (2014)

Poster



Trailer Link

Release Date:

July 18, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "Aidan Bloom is a 35-year-old man who finds himself at major crossroads, which forces him to examine his life, his career, and his family."

Poster: C- / B-

Review: While the first design is more representative of the film, the second design is more creatively interesting. Neither is particularly bold or undeniably excellent, but at least there is some effort.

Trailer: C+ / B-

Review: Funded by Kickstarter, Zach Braff's directorial follow-up to Garden State has a lot of interesting concepts at play and while the teaser evokes them nicely, they are better aligned in the second trailer which may also put forward a bit too much information about the film's ultimate trajectory. The trailer doesn't suggest a very good performance from Braff and that closing line of the second trailer is too blatantly philosophical.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(July 13, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: Video Games: The Movie (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

July 18, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "Video Games: The Movie, a feature length documentary, aims to educate & entertain audiences about how video games are made, marketed, and consumed by looking back at gaming history and culture through the eyes of game developers, publishers, and consumers. The film is not just another film about the games industry, but attempts something much more ambitious; the question of what it means to be a 'gamer', a game maker, and where games are headed. Storytelling and the art of the video game medium are also explored in this first of it's kind film about the video game industry & the global culture it has created."

Poster: -

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

Trailer: B

Review: Like Fanboys and Trekkies, this documentary of the video game industry from the past to the present looks like a brilliant combination of an attempt to separate geeks from their money while simultaneously celebrating one of the most significant entertainment art forms of the modern era.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(July 13, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: Persecuted (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

July 18, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "An evangelist finds himself framed for murder and on the run after he refuses to back a senator's proposition calling for sweeping religious reform."

Poster: C

Review: Creating an ominous silhouette may be the opposite of the creator's intention since the protagonist at the center of the film is supposed to seem almost deific in his pursuit of religious justice.

Trailer: C-

Review: It doesn't take long to peg this as a blatant attempt to cast politics as the enemy of religion. This appears to be a pseudo-religious, pseudo-action film that doesn't appear to work on either level.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(July 13, 2014) Original

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