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Film Preview: Far from the Madding Crowd (2015)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

May 1, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A beautiful young woman maintains relationships with three very different men."

Poster: C+

Review: Not your typical lavish poster design for a period drama, but missing the love quadrangle element of the story seems a disservice to those not familiar enough with it to want to give it a try.

Trailer: B

Review: It isn't obvious, but the film's central character is clearly in love with three men and this drama will surely delve into the recriminations and jealousies that are inherent with such endeavors. The lovely song over the trailer's length is a nice added touch.

Oscar Prospects:

Critics will have to fall in love with the film for it to get much consideration out of the standard costume drama tradition of Best Production Design and Best Costume Design nominations. It could also be a surprise Best Original Song nominee.

Revisions:

(December 7, 2014) Original

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Weekend Preview: Dec. 12-14, 2014

Below are four previews for films opening next weekend.
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Film Preview: Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

December 12, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A retired woman hires a dance instructor to give her private dance lessons at her home -- one per week for six weeks. What begins as an antagonistic relationship turns into a close friendship as they dance together."

Poster: D+

Review: It's cheap, chintzy and most of all bland. I don't expect any but the stoutest Gena Rowlands or Cheyenne Jackson fans will give a wit about the film, and the poster isn't going to change anyone's mind.

Trailer: C-

Review: Lame humor, bad acting and a general feeling of cinematic obligation permeate this film trailer. There's little reason for the film to exist and Gena Rowlands should really know better than this.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(December 7, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: Goodbye to Language (2014)

Poster



Trailer Link

Release Date:

October 31, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "The idea is simple: A married woman and a single man meet. They love, they argue, fists fly. A dog strays between town and country. The seasons pass. The man and woman meet again. The dog finds itself between them. The other is in one, the one is in the other and they are three. The former husband shatters everything. A second film begins: the same as the first, and yet not. From the human race we pass to metaphor. This ends in barking and a baby's cries."

Poster: C / C

Review: (#1-#2) The two posters are almost are nearly identical. The American poster uses a 3D image that might be impressive with 3D glasses, but is otherwise destruction. The French poster is more identifiable as a more distant version of the American, but without the 3D nonsense, but that doesn't make it more interesting.

Trailer: C

Review: The trailer certainly conjures up images of the French New Wave, of which the film's director (Jean-Luc Godard) was a key contributor. That will undoubtedly drawn fans of the movement, but everyone else will be left wondering just what this film is about, if anything.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(November 30, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: The Gambler (2014)

Poster



Trailer Link

Release Date:

December 19, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A literature college professor and high stakes gambler runs afoul of a loan shark and his bodyguard-like gangsters while he has an affair with one of his students."

Poster: D / B-

Review: A disheveled, washed-up looking Mark Wahlberg might have impact on his fans or for those familiar with the film, but this design is ultimately lazy and forgettable.

(#2) The second design is a much more visually appealing design. It builds on existing poster designs, which gambles away some of its uniqueness; however, it's detailed enough that those curious about the detail will find plenty to examine. Too bad they over-Photoshopped Wahlberg.

Trailer: C+

Review: An unlikable guy does unlikable things because he's a gambling addict. Throw in some gangsters and danger and you have a generic, teetering feature that could collapse on inspection.

Oscar Prospects:

Released late in the Oscar cycle, the film got decent praise coming out of its Academy screening; however, the competition for Best Actor, which seems like the only category the film will be able to compete in, is too overcrowded for Mark Wahlberg to make it through.

Revisions:

(November 30, 2014) Original
(December 21, 2014) New Poster (#2)

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Looking at the Weekend: Dec. 5-7, 2014

There are no new major wide releases this weekend, so Katniss Everdeen will continue to have the odds in her favor.

Individual Commentaries

Wesley Lovell: The post-Thanksgiving Weekend weekend tends to be a dumping ground for non-serious awards contenders, so it's a bit surprising that Reese Witherspoon's potential Best Actress nomination for Wild is releasing this weekend along with all the other detritus.
Peter J. Patrick: If it weren't for its Oscar buzz, Wild is probably a film I wouldn't be in any rush to see, but given that buzz, it's on my must-see list.
Tripp Burton: There are no wide releases this weekend, but the limited releases run the gamut of cinema. I'll go with the Oscar contender and the foreign film myself.
Thomas LaTourrette: Wild sounds like the most interesting film of the week. Reese Witherspoon has gotten great word of mouth about it.

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Film Preview: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

December 18, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A continuation of the saga created by George Lucas set thirty years after Return of the Jedi"

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: In the wake of this trailer's release on the internet, I've seen countless memes and discussions about how the trailer takes everyone back to their childhoods when they made the Star Wars franchise the gargantuan nerd phenomenon that it is. While I can tune out some of that noise and watch the trailer with an open mind, it is notably less impressive and heart-thumping as it should be. A handful of homage images and a cheesy new lightsaber don't create the level of enthusiasm those who aren't diehard fans of the franchise would need to be impressed.

Oscar Prospects:

The film will undoubtedly dominate the creative categories, but with only the first film making any inroads outside of that area, don't expect it to appear anywhere near Best Picture.

Revisions:

(November 30, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: The Captive (2014)

Poster


Poster #1

Additional posters can be found below.

Trailer Link

Release Date:

December 12, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "Eight years after the disappearance of Cassandra, some disturbing incidents seem to indicate that she's still alive. Police, parents and Cassandra herself, will try to unravel the mystery of her disappearance."

Poster: C+ / C+ / D

Review: (#1) Sparse, certainly, but this is Atom Egoyan and that fits his style. It's also a bit off center, which gives it some visual pull. (#2) The second poster creates intrigue and setting without giving the audience something to latch onto. (#3) This is a shameless attempt to cater to Ryan Reynolds fans who've already shown they won't show up for just anything.

Trailer: B-

Review: Until you know this is an Atom Egoyan film, it's hard to see much of value in it. However, the seemingly simple premise will undoubtedly be turned into something psychologically resonant in his hands. However, it's unlikely the trailer will encourage audiences to even give the film a chance.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(November 30, 2014) Original

Additional Posters



Poster #2Poster #3
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Weekend Preview: Dec. 5-7, 2014

Below are six previews for films opening next weekend.
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Film Preview: Zero Motivation (2014)

Poster



Trailer Link

Release Date:

December 5, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A zany, dark, & comedic portrait of everyday life for a unit of young, female Israeli soldiers. The Human Resources Office at a remote desert base serves as the setting for this cast of characters who bide their time pushing paper and battling in computer games, counting down the minutes until they can return to civilian life. Amidst their boredom and clashing personalities, issues of commitment - to friendship, love, and country - are handled with humor and sharp-edged wit."

Poster: C+ / C+

Review: (#1-#2) There's humor in both designs, but neither excels at the notion very well. The first poster establishes character without consequence. The second sets the setting, but in a slightly more humorous, but less familiar manner.

Trailer: B+

Review: A lot of dark comedies from outside the U.S. don't have the biting humor in their trailers that would make them seem very interesting. this trailer goes a long way to establish its military malaise in fascinating and observationally astute ways. Could be quite fun.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(November 30, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

December 5, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A documentary that resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women's movement from 1966 to 1971."

Poster: C-

Review: A thoroughly wasted design that says nothing about the women's rights movements or their history and ultimately disappears in the background, something the film doesn't want to happen.

Trailer: B-

Review: As far as documentaries go, the subject matter alone needs to be investigated. However, the trailer execution doesn't delve into the meat of the history very well, even though it does establish a direct correlation to the events of the present. That gives the documentary some modern relevance.

Oscar Prospects:

A political documentary about the history and present fight for women's rights is another in a string of documentaries that have significant impact based on current events. There may be too many for the Academy to recognize them all. This one might be one of the casulaties.

Revisions:

(November 30, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: The Pyramid (2014)

Poster


Poster #1

Additional posters can be found below.

Trailer Link

Release Date:

December 5, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "An archaeological team attempts to unlock the secrets of a lost pyramid only to find themselves hunted by an insidious creature."

Poster: C / C+ / C / C+ (2)

Review: (#1) The first design say there's something below this pyramid, something scary. It doesn't look that scary. (#2) The second design opts for something a little more visually striking, but which doesn't play on the film's title or premise in a recognizable way. (#3) Something ominous lies deep below the pyramid, but the pyramid's so tiny and indistinct, the poster's focus on a giant skull isn't impressive.

(#4-#5) These two designs approach the creation in different, but interesting ways. Using the Egyptian statuary and sarcophagus imagery and overlaying skulls creates connection, but doesn't speak to the film's depth of story, which the trailer suggests is lacking.

Trailer: C-

Review: Looking like an Egyptian-set version of As Above / So Below, the film goes from interesting archaeological and curse-based horror to entirely unrelated, unresponsive, generic horror.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(November 30, 2014) Original

Additional Posters



Poster #2Poster #3Poster #4

Poster #5
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Film Preview: Pioneer (2014)

Poster



Trailer Link

Release Date:

December 5, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "This conspiracy thriller is set in the early 80's, the beginning of the Norwegian Oil Boom. Enormous oil and gas deposits are discovered in the North Sea and the authorities aim to bring the oil ashore through a pipeline from depths of 500 meters. A professional diver, Petter, obsessed with reaching the bottom of the Norwegian Sea has the discipline, strength and courage to take on the world's most dangerous mission. But a sudden, tragic accident changes everything. Petter is sent on a perilous journey where he loses sight of who's pulling the strings. Gradually he realizes that he is in way over his head and that his life is at stake."

Poster: C / C+

Review: (#1) The first design is the American version and lacks anything remotely intriguing. A submersible diving. So Exciting. (#2) The foreign design is more detailed, more interesting, but still not very compelling. Together, they don't form a very sound basis for drawing audiences.

Trailer: C+

Review: A political thriller without the politics and without the thrills. The blend of languages is a nice, authentic touch, but the film never establishes its premise in a way that audiences will easily respond.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(November 30, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: Life Partners (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

December 5, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "Two codependent best friends - one straight girl, one lesbian - and the man who comes between them."

Poster: C+

Review: A standard, ineffectual indie design with no depth, no intrigue, no impetus.

Trailer: B-

Review: There could be some interesting comments on interpersonal relations, but the trailer spends so much time trying to establish that it's smartly written, that it seems overly effusive of its own praise and thereby probably less interesting than it really is.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(November 30, 2014) Original

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Trailer Watch: Cinderella, updated (2015)

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

Cinderella, updated

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

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