Film Previews

Film Preview: Tumbledown (2016)

Page Revisions:

(January 31, 2016) Original

Release Date:

February 5, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A young woman struggles to move on with her life after the death of her husband, an acclaimed folk singer, when a brash New York writer forces her to confront her loss and the ambiguous circumstances of his death.”

Poster Rating: C-

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Review: A painterly design that looks interesting, but the lack of substantive detail is distracting.

Trailer Rating: B

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Review: Jason Sudeikis and Rebecca Hall seem like a solid fit for each other, a romantic pairing that didn’t seem realistic on paper, but is played out as such in the trailer. Whether the film has more substance beneath it is difficult to ascertain just from this trailer, but it might be interesting to find out.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Regression (2016)

Page Revisions:

(January 31, 2016) Original

Release Date:

February 5, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A father is accused of a crime he has no memory of committing.”

Poster Rating: C+ / D (2)

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Review: (#1) This Spanish-language design is creepy and has a hint of mystery to it, but the overall design doesn’t look like something most people would find compelling by itself. (#2 & #3) This pair of character posters have no visually appealing backdrop, they have no stylistically significant details and the leads, while providing some measure of “acting” in the design, they just simply aren’t notable.

Trailer Rating: B-

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Review: The trailer goes out of its way to set up a mystery, but by the time it reaches the end, confusion sets in and it seems utterly impossible to understand why anyone would have much interest in seeing it.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Eisenstein in Guanajuato (2016)

Page Revisions:

(January 31, 2016) Original

Release Date:

February 5, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “The venerated filmmaker Eisenstein is comparable in talent, insight and wisdom, with the likes of Shakespeare or Beethoven; there are few – if any – directors who can be elevated to such heights. On the back of his revolutionary film Battleship Potemkin, he was celebrated around the world, and invited to the US. Ultimately rejected by Hollywood and maliciously maligned by conservative Americans, Eisenstein traveled to Mexico in 1931 to consider a film privately funded by American pro-Communist sympathizers, headed by the American writer Upton Sinclair. Eisenstein’s sensual Mexican experience appears to have been pivotal in his life and film career – a significant hinge between the early successes of Strike, Battleship Potemkin, and October, which made him a world-renowned figure, and his hesitant later career with Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible and The Boyar’s Plot.”

Poster Rating: C- / C

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Review: (#1) The skeletal imagery just doesn’t have much impact and the crazed look on Eisenstein’s face is completely unappealing. (#2) Getting more detail about the film’s constructs is good, but the design sticks too close to a poster formula that lacks distinctive creativity.

Trailer Rating: C-

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Review: This haphazard trailer doesn’t give the audience much of a rooting interest in its protagonist. Nor does the film look to have a storyline of any importance, which won’t make it broadly, or even specifically appealing.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: The Choice (2016)

Page Revisions:

(January 31, 2016) Original

Release Date:

February 5, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Travis and Gabby first meet as neighbors in a small coastal town and wind up in a relationship that is tested by life’s most defining events.”

Poster Rating: D / C+

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Review: (#1) A beach-side image of lovers cuddling doesn’t quite have the impact it should. It looks like a generic romantic scene with no imagination. (#2) Not a work of art, but certainly a more beautiful image that sets a romantic, if under-stylized, scene.

Trailer Rating: D

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Review: Two leads with no charisma. Nicholas Sparks films have a certain generic quality to them and this one doesn’t seem to have much to distinguish itself from others except for maybe an unappealing male lead.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: London Has Fallen (2016)

Page Revisions:

(January 24, 2016) Original

Release Date:

March 4, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “In London for the Prime Minister’s funeral, Mike Banning discovers a plot to assassinate all the attending world leaders.”

Poster Rating: B / C+

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Review: (#1) Cheesy for sure, this design still evokes the right level of interest and familiarity that made the original film, Olympus Has Fallen a modest hit. (#2) This teaser design will appeal to disaster fans, but it doesn’t do enough to intrigue anyone else or, for that matter, all disaster fans.

Trailer Rating: B / C

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Review: (#1) Painted as an entertaining, seat-of-your-pants domestic thriller, the film will have no issues connecting to the people who helped the original become a success. There are plenty of niggling details that make it frustrating, but that shouldn’t inhibit anyone’s enjoyment. (#2) The second trailer twists around the events from the first trailer while making it even less interesting than it was.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Race (2016)

Page Revisions:

(January 24, 2016) Original

Release Date:

February 19, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Jesse Owens’ quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy.”

Poster Rating: B-

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Review: Preparing to run. It’s an effective stylistic choice, though one that might not appeal very broadly and will unlikely entice the unfamiliar into the theater.

Trailer Rating: B-

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Review: There’s a lot going on in this trailer and the inspirational aspects are subsumed by an overreliance on Jason Sudeikis’ character which is a disservice to the true star of the film: Jesse Owens. Those who would be interested in checking out this film won’t likely take kindly to the suggestion that it’s about Sudeikis’ Larry Snyder and not Stephan James’ Jesse Owens.

Oscar Prospects:

Another biopic that’s destined to be ignored by the Academy.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)

Page Revisions:

(January 24, 2016) Original

Release Date:

May 20, 2016

Synopsis:

While preparing to sell their house, the Radners are beset by a new set of neighbors, this time a rowdy sorority. To combat this problem, they call in old friends from the fraternity house on the other side.

Poster Rating: C

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Review: A mere teaser, but one that speaks volumes. Unfortunately, it’s the wrong volumes. If the film is attempting in any way to tackle a feminist topic, this kind of teaser is not the way to go about it.

Trailer Rating: B

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Review: If you were a fan of the original, which a lot of people are, this should do little to dissuade you from wanting to see the film. While it’s not as funny as it should be, it’s perfectly enjoyable and will definitely appeal to fans even if it won’t pick up any new ones.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Triple 9 (2016)

Page Revisions:

(January 24, 2016) Original

Release Date:

February 19, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet across town.”

Poster Rating: C+ / C (9)

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Review: (#1) With the tagline, the design is interesting, especially as it pulls a scene directly from the film. Without that knowledge, though it seems a touch cheesy. (#2-#10) These character posters may have differing top halves, but the bottoms are identical. That may seem unifying, but it is actually quite lazy. That they all use the black-white-and-red motif that has plagued poster design in recent years is further insult.

Trailer Rating: B- / B+

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Review: (#1) In the green band trailer, we’re presented with a film that feels more like a buddy cop drama with a seedy underbelly bubbling underneath. It also looks like two wholly different films.

(#2) The red band trailer is entirely different, which is a welcome change of pace in the industry. This present a more gritty, thrilling narrative that pits questionably good people against relentlessly bad people. An interesting dichotomy to be sure and a film that looks a lot more compelling than it probably is.

Oscar Prospects:

With that cast, you would think this would be a major Oscar contender. Unfortunately, it very much looks like it won’t be.

Trailer #1

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Looking at the Weekend: Jan. 29-31, 2016

Kung Fu Panda and its first sequel were hits. I see no reason to believe that it won’t happen again. This week’s two other wide releases don’t convince me they can top the Panda. While the spoof genre has had some success with mainstream audiences, as have disaster films, these two films just don’t seem like the broadly-appealing titles that would take down a film whose second part took in $47 million on opening weekend.

Our Highest Rated Films: Kung Fu Panda & 2016 Oscar-Nominated Shorts
Our Best Awards Ratings: Kung Fu Panda (Oscars)

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2016 Spring Season Preview: February

Here we look at the upcoming month’s offerings.

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Film Preview: Keanu (2016)

Page Revisions:

(January 24, 2016) Original

Release Date:

April 29, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Friends hatch a plot to retrieve a stolen cat by posing as drug dealers for a street gang.”

Poster Rating: B+

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Review: The creators certainly know how to milk a concept. If you’ve seen the trailer, you completely understand why this is so adorable. If you haven’t seen the trailer, this might encourage you to do so.

Trailer Rating: B+

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Review: How is it that Key & Peele managed to end their successful television program and embark on what could be a fascinating big screen career? This trailer should give you all the reasons why. Their seemingly simplistic, but richly nuanced humor and ability to deliver ludicrous concepts with a completely straight face sets these two apart from other comedians. This film looks to build on those successes and promises to be absolutely entertaining.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Trailer Watch: Suicide Squad, updated (2016)

New Trailer (#2) / New Posters (#1-#12)

Suicide Squad, updated

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

Film Preview: The Bronze (2016)

Page Revisions:

(January 17, 2016) Original

Release Date:

March 11, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A foul-mouthed former gymnastics bronze medalist must fight for her local celebrity status when a new young athlete’s star rises in town.”

Poster Rating: D

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Review: What are there three of it? Oh. Third place. Not that clever. Not that interesting and certainly not a must-see.

Trailer Rating: C-

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Review: Other than this being about a foul-mouthed former gymnast, what is there really to want to see about this film? The trailer doesn’t give us an answer to that.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Weekend Preview: Jan. 29-31, 2016

Below are six previews for films opening next weekend.
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Film Preview: Saala Khadoos (2016)

Page Revisions:

(January 24, 2016) Original

Release Date:

January 29, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “The story of a former boxer who quits boxing following a fallout with the authorities over the underlying politics but goes on to coach a fisherwoman to fulfill his dream through her.”

Poster Rating: D

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Review: A garish shade of yellow paired with an unpleasant visage and you have a garish, irritating poster design that’s all too easily ignored.

Trailer Rating: C-

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Review: Trying to get an audience to engage with two brash people who never show a modicum of remorse or sympathy or compassion is a difficult task. This film looks to be chock full of such notions without the promise of redemption. That doesn’t inspire confidence.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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