Film Previews

Film Preview: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016)

Page Revisions:

(May 15, 2016) Original

Release Date:

November 11, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “19-year-old Billy Lynn is brought home for a victory tour after a harrowing Iraq battle. Through flashbacks the film shows what really happened to his squad – contrasting the realities of war with America’s perceptions.”

Poster Rating: B

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Review: Simple, but striking. This poster design may not be richly detailed or compelling in interesting ways, but the image selection is perfectly balanced to meet the film’s premise.

Trailer Rating: B-

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Review: The trailer spends a lot of time swapping back and forth between the present and the past and while it sounds like it will be the structure of the film, it doesn’t make for a very interesting trailer.

Oscar Prospects:

Few directors can command immediately Oscar attention simply by announcing they have a film in production. Ang Lee is one of those directors and his war drama is certain to play a pivotal role in this year’s Oscar race. With a prime release date and strong early buzz, don’t count this one out even if you haven’t seen it.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Page Revisions:

(May 15, 2016) Original

Release Date:

August 19, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Kubo lives a quiet, normal life in a small shoreside village until a spirit from the past turns his life upside down by re-igniting an age-old vendetta. This causes all sorts of havoc as gods and monsters chase Kubo who, in order to survive, must locate a magical suit of armor once worn by his late father, a legendary Samurai warrior.”

Poster Rating: B (5) / C / C (3) / C+ (3)

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Review: (#1-#5) A series of setting shots that give us a gorgeous look into the myriad locales on display in the film. Each is varied, distinctive and visually alluring. (#6) Getting your primary characters together is grand, but doing so in such a mediocre way is not. (#7-#12) Two sets of three character posters differ from one another just enough to be distinctive, but not enough to be compelling. The second set is just slightly more richly detailed than the first.

Trailer Rating: B / B- / B+

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Review: (#1-#3) A richly detailed universe of fascinating imagery is given a solid first trailer, a weaker second trailer and an excellent third trailer. Although each of them present the story in their own ways, they share several common images and all of them have their successes and drawbacks. The most recent one is the one I saw originally in the theater and it was a gorgeous experience on the big screen suggesting a film that needs to be seen there.

Oscar Prospects:

There is a lot of competition this year and with Disney and Pixar alone counting for two of the contenders and with GKids in the hunt as well, there isn’t a lot of opportunity for other films. However, one studio has managed to secure nominations for every single one of its animated features: Laika. Not even Pixar has managed that. The powerhouse animation studio might have tougher competition this year, but the outstanding visuals on display in the trailer suggest that it’s sure to be in the thick of the race.

Trailer #1

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Trailer Watch: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, updated (2016)

New Trailers (#2 & #3) / New Posters (#3-#16)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, updated

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

Weekend Preview: May 20-22, 2016

Below are five previews for films opening next weekend.
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Film Preview: Ma Ma (2016)

Page Revisions:

(May 15, 2016) Original

Release Date:

May 20, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “In the aftermath of a tragedy a woman, Magda, reacts with a surge of newfound life that engulfs her circle of family and friends.”

Poster Rating: C- / C / C+

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Review: (#1) As lovely a woman as Penelope Cruz is, this poster does very little to sell the film. (#2) This a more interesting design than the first, though it’s still not exactly interesting. (#3) More interesting still than its predecessors, this design is interesting from a construction point of view, but from a goal-achieving viewpoint, it’s not so successful.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: The trailer struggles to find a happy medium between creating the idea of a cloying cancer drama and a stirring live-life-to-the-fullest story. Which wins out will depend a lot on the film, but one can’t have a lot of hope after this.

Oscar Prospects:

It could be a player in the Best Foreign Language Film race. The heavily dramatic material is perfect for Oscar voter tastes.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Deepwater Horizon (2016)

Page Revisions:

(May 9, 2016) Original

Release Date:

September 30, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A story set on the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, which exploded during April 2010 and created the worst oil spill in U.S. history.”

Poster Rating: C

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Review: The tagline is too small to read and the concept of a tragedy at sea may be precisely what the film is about, but this unnecessarily simplistic poster isn’t going to make people interested.

Trailer Rating: C-

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Review: Playing this tragedy off as if it were just a simple black-and-white issue about surviving a terrible disaster will be tough for the director. The film has too many cloying elements in the trailer to suggest anything deeply critical.

Oscar Prospects:

This type of topical drama would normally play into Oscar voters’ wheelhouses; however, anything that might look positively on deep sea oil drilling is going to be a tough sell among the myriad environmentalists in the Academy.

Trailer #1

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Trailer Watch: Alice Through the Looking Glass, updated (2016)

New Trailer (#2) / New Posters (#3-#22)

Alice Through the Looking Glass, updated

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

Trailer Watch: The Legend of Tarzan, updated (2016)

New Trailer (#2) / New Poster (#2)

The Legend of Tarzan, updated

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

Trailer Watch: Florence Foster Jenkins, updated (2016)

New Trailer (#2) / New Posters (#2-#5)

Florence Foster Jenkins, updated

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

Looking at the Weekend: May 13-15, 2016

Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War will certainly remain atop the box office charts. The contest for the week’s second-place finisher will be between supernatural horror film The Darkness and the star-studded thriller Money Monster. While horror hasn’t had a good time lately, this film could break the trend. However, with Julia Roberts and George Clooney toplining Money Monster, I have to give it the edge.

Our Highest Rated Films: Money Monster, The Lobster
Our Best Awards Ratings: The Lobster (Critics), Love & Friendship (Oscars)

OTHER LIMITED RELEASES

A Bit of Bad Luck
Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero
Love Addict
Star Crossed

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2015 Oscar Season Preview Wrap-Up: December

Dec. 4, 2015

Krampus

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: None.
Box Office Prediction: $45 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. Holiday-themed horror films don’t often do well at the box office, finding most of their support on DVD. This film should be no exception.”
Box Office Results: $42.7 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] It performed to expectations, which weren’t high. As a low-budget horror film, these numbers aren’t bad.

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Trailer Watch: Me Before You, updated (2016)

New Trailer (#3)

Me Before You, updated

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

Trailer Watch: The Nice Guys, updated (2016)

New Trailers (#3 & #4) / New Posters (#3-#11)

The Nice Guys, updated

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

Trailer Watch: Neighbors 2, updated (2016)

New Trailers (#2 & #3) / New Posters (#2-#4)

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, updated

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

Weekend Preview: May 13-15, 2016

Below are twelve previews for films opening next weekend.
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