Film Previews

Film Preview: Runoff (2015)

Poster

Film Preview: Runoff (2015)

Trailer Link

Film Preview: Runoff (2015)

Release Date:

June 26, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “The beauty of the land cannot mask the brutality of a farm town. As harvest draws near, Betty confronts a terrifying new reality and will go to desperate lengths to save her family when they are threatened with being forced from their land.”

Poster: D

Review: This poster looks like a reject from a pseudo-scary movie, which doesn’t quite fit the theme and tension of the film as displayed in the trailer.

Trailer: C-

Review: There’s little of the film’s plot on display in this trailer. Unless you’re familiar with the synopsis, several possible scenarios pop into your head while watching it. Audiences don’t like to be confused unless the intention is to create a confusing movie, which I don’t suspect is something this film is trying to do.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(June 21, 2015) Original

Film Preview: The Little Death (2015)

Poster

Film Preview: The Little Death (2015)

Trailer Link

Film Preview: The Little Death (2015)

Release Date:

June 26, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “The secret lives of five suburban couples living in Sydney reveal both the fetishes and the repercussions that come with sharing them.”

Poster: C+

Review: A visual depiction of a sexual act is great, but it doesn’t have a lot of depth. Explaining the French phrase petit mors is a good move as it explains why the title means what it does, but that’s not going to mean a lot to an audience looking for entertainment.

Trailer: B-

Review: There are some light touches of humor here that could endear the film to a potential audience, but there’s not enough amusement to make this seem like an adequate time to spend money at the cineplex.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(June 21, 2015) Original

Film Preview: Felt (2015)

Poster

Film Preview: Felt (2015)
Poster #1

Additional posters can be found below.

Trailer Link

Film Preview: Felt (2015)

Release Date:

June 26, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A woman creates an alter ego in hopes of overcoming the trauma inflicted by men in her life.”

Poster: C- / D / C+

Review: (#1) The only design that doesn’t have an obvious vagina symbolism isn’t as captivating as it really should be. Considering the nature of the film, I doubt they could have come up with anything suitable to sell it. Certainly not this. (#2) In the context of the film, it’s satisfactory. As a sad symbol of womanhood, it’s lazy and boring. (#3) Of the designs, this is the best. It’s still highly flawed and all-too-obvious, but it works as best it possibly can and ties best into the film’s crazy weirdness.

Trailer: C

Review: Watching this trailer and trying to figure out what it’s about or what it’s even trying to say is a difficult task. It’s bizarre, unusual and not the least bit fascinating. The only thing that would make the audience want to see it is to figure out what it all means.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(June 21, 2015) Original

Additional Posters


Film Preview: Felt (2015)Film Preview: Felt (2015)
Poster #2Poster #3

Film Preview: Big Game (2015)

Poster

Film Preview: Big Game (2015)
Film Preview: Big Game (2015)

Trailer Link

Film Preview: Big Game (2015)

Release Date:

June 26, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A young teenager camping in the woods helps rescue the President of the United States when Air Force One is shot down near his campsite.”

Poster: C / C

Review: (#1) This design resembles a disaster film rather than a comic thriller. That might entice some, but for those who believe that it’s a joke film, it will seem a tad crass. (#2) This does a similar thing to the first design, except with a more flattened color scheme. That doesn’t make it better or worse. It makes it just different enough to be distinctive, but not different enough to matter.

Trailer: D

Review: Samuel L. Jackson is on another plane. This time, he’s the president and there are no snakes. The campy qualities of the trailer will certainly enamor fans of Snakes on a Plane and cheesy martial arts films, but casual audiences won’t care and the type of people it will appeal to can wait for home video.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(June 21, 2015) Original

Film Preview: 7 Minutes (2015)

Poster

Film Preview: 7 Minutes (2015)
Film Preview: 7 Minutes (2015)

Trailer Link

Film Preview: 7 Minutes (2015)

Release Date:

June 26, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Three high school friends are forced to commit a brazen robbery which quickly goes horribly wrong.”

Poster: B- / B

Review: (#1 & #2) Both designs use the motif of the number 7. The second one employs it more strikingly, though the first has the more interesting series of size-increasing fore-ground images.

Trailer: C+

Review: Heist films succeed best when their central plot device is twisted in the theater, not when it’s revealed in the trailer. Still producers thought that it was important to distinguish this film from every other similar film out there and gave away key elements of the twist. It might entice some, but others will wonder why they need to see it if they already know what’s going to happen.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(June 21, 2015) Original

Film Preview: Max (2015)

Poster

Film Preview: Max (2015)
Film Preview: Max (2015)

Trailer Link

Film Preview: Max (2015)

Release Date:

June 26, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A dog that helped US Marines in Afghanistan returns to the U.S. and is adopted by his handler’s family after suffering a traumatic experience.”

Poster: B / C

Review: (#1) It may be a simpler design than the second poster, but its simplicity is its strength, creating a connection to a gorgeous dog without the rampant patriotism that the film is likely to engender. (#2) I think using the American flag to sucker middle-Americans into the theater is a cheap, pathetic ploy, but it will work. The poster’s general composition is vain and rudimentary.

Trailer: A-

Review: If you aren’t prepared for it, this trailer will hit you right in the emotional gut. Even if you aren’t a flag-waving patriot, this film comes from a position that all animal lovers can appreciate. There are elements that suggest a hokey, conventional plot, but it does seem to know how to pluck the right heartstrings.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(June 21, 2015) Original

Trailer Watch: The Man from U.N.C.L.E., updated (2015)

Trailer Watch: The Man from U.N.C.L.E., updated (2015)New Trailer (#2) / New Poster (#2)

The Man from U.N.C.L.E., updated

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

Film Preview: Zootopia (2016)

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Film Preview: Zootopia (2016)

Trailer Link

Film Preview: Zootopia (2016)

Release Date:

March 4, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “In the animal city of Zootopia, a fast-talking fox who’s trying to make it big goes on the run when he’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Zootopia’s top cop, a self-righteous rabbit, is hot on his tail, but when both become targets of a conspiracy, they’re forced to team up and discover even natural enemies can become best friends.”

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: This is really only a teaser. It’s an admittedly cute teaser, but we’d expect nothing less from the likes of Disney. It doesn’t make the film look very interesting simply because we don’t know enough about it to form that kind of opinion.

Oscar Prospects:

Opening in March may not help, but Disney knows how to promote its films. A nomination is likely, but a win depends on whether the film is any good or not.

Revisions:

(June 14, 2015) Original

Film Preview: Bridge of Spies (2015)

Poster

Film Preview: Bridge of Spies (2015)

Trailer Link

Film Preview: Bridge of Spies (2015)

Release Date:

October 16, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “An American lawyer is recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union.”

Poster: C+

Review: A very patriotic design that highlights a bankable star, but never steps beyond the rudimentary concepts.

Trailer: B+

Review: A thrilling, jaw-dropping set up for a film that could be quite exciting in spite of its potential inadequacies. A director like Steven Spielberg can easily handle this kind of material and the trailer suggests he’s working at a high level of craftsmanship.

Oscar Prospects:

Steven Spielberg plus Cold War era espionage gives this a better than average shot at several top-tier nominations.

Revisions:

(June 14, 2015) Original

Looking at the Weekend: Jun. 19-21, 2015

Looking at the Weekend: Jun. 19-21, 2015Can Pixar’s latest top the second weekend of the massively popular Jurassic World. Normally, I would say yes, but this will end up as the ultimate test of girl vs. boy drawing power. Not saying either title is mutually exclusive, but one is clearly targeted at young men while the other is targeted at young girls based on character genders and premise outlines. I’m going to give the edge to Jurassic World because Pixar has had a few weak entries lately, which might decrease its clout in such a tough box office clime.

Individual Commentaries

Wesley Lovell: Inside Out is one of my most anticipated films of the year, so clearly it’s my primary pick. I’d then go with either Eden, Infinitely Polar Bear or The Overnight were I to hop out to the indie cinema this week too.
Peter J. Patrick: It seems to be a good week for comedy. Let’s hope it is!
Tripp Burton: There aren’t too many interesting films this week, but there is a new Pixar film, so that is cause for celebration!
Thomas LaTourrette: Actually all four releases sound interesting. I am most looking forward to the animated Inside Out, but for the first time in a long time, I want to see them all.

Click here to continue reading this article

2015 Blockbuster Season Preview: July

The end of the year brings the most combative environment for films trying to become Oscar winners. The next four months will be an interesting proving round.

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Film Preview: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015)

Poster

Film Preview: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015)
Poster #1

Additional posters can be found below.

Trailer Link

Film Preview: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015)

Release Date:

November 20, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “After being symbolized as the “Mockingjay”, Katniss Everdeen and District 13 engage in an all-out revolution against the autocratic Capitol.”

Poster: B / B+ / C-

Review: (#1) The progression of primary designs for this franchise has been interesting and this is a natural visual evolution to finish out the four-film series. (#2) A stark play on the designs from the prior film, exploiting the new era on the way for the franchise as a long-hated enemy is brought down. (#3) While it doesn’t appear to be a specific design associated with this film (since the image was used on the prior), that doesn’t prevent it from being oblique rudimentary.

Trailer: B+

Review: The end of the trailer isn’t as interesting as it could be, revealing too many of the film’s final moments and squelching possible surprises for those unfamiliar with the source material. Still, what leads up to it and slightly permeates the end is exciting stuff, potentially pleasing all of the fans the franchise has made over the last three years.

Oscar Prospects:

After high profile failures for the last three films, I can’t in good conscience even try to suggest the film has potential.

Revisions:

(June 14, 2015) Original

Additional Posters


Film Preview: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015)Film Preview: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015)
Poster #2Poster #3

Film Preview: The Martian (2015)

Poster

Film Preview: The Martian (2015)

Trailer Link

Film Preview: The Martian (2015)

Release Date:

October 2, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.”

Poster: C

Review: As much as I like Matt Damon, staring at him in a poster like this is not a pleasant experience. It’s also not very creative.

Trailer: A

Review: Striking every beat simply and effectively, this trailer has excitement, it has plot revelation, it has performance and all of it’s blended together quite admirably.

Oscar Prospects:

Could be a player in the Oscar race. Science fiction isn’t always in the Academy’s wheelhouse, but recent high profile nominations for Gravity and District 9, it’s possible the tides have turned, but this doesn’t look like the kind of movie the Academy recognizes and could be relegated to the tech categories only.

Revisions:

(June 14, 2015) Original

Weekend Preview: Jun. 19-21, 2015

Below are eight previews for films opening next weekend.
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Film Preview: The Tribe (2015)

Poster

Film Preview: The Tribe (2015)
Film Preview: The Tribe (2015)

Trailer Link

Film Preview: The Tribe (2015)

Release Date:

June 19, 2015

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A deaf teenager struggles to fit into the boarding school system.”

Poster: C- / B+

Review: (#1) Attempting to catch the thrill of sexy indie cinema, the poster’s visually bland, conceptually flawed and not very compelling. (#2) The second design, on the other hand, is a rich tableau of images that are carefully blended to create an unusual series of overlays, making it more artistic and more noticeable.

Trailer: B

Review: It takes time to get going, but the visual splendor of the trailer is highlighted early on by referencing the fact that the film has no dialogue. While this immediately conjures to mind the famous film The Red Balloon, which, without dialogue, nabbed an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. I can’t say this film has the same opportunities, but it’s a stark, visually arresting piece that gives one hope in the world of cinema.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(June 14, 2015) Original

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