Category: Film Previews

Film Preview: Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016)

Page Revisions:

(July 17, 2016) Original

Release Date:

October 21, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Madea winds up in the middle of mayhem when she spends a haunted Halloween fending off killers, paranormal poltergeists, ghosts, ghouls and zombies while keeping a watchful eye on a group of misbehaving teens.”

Poster Rating: B+

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Review: This very obvious, but humorous play on the Halloween movie poster. The trailer doesn’t play much homage to that, but the nods to horror flicks of the 1970s and 1980s are everywhere, suggesting this is just as much a symbol of the film’s intentions as it is a cute pun.

Trailer Rating: C+ / C

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Review: (#1) The teaser avoids too many details, which makes the film look like a Night of the Living Dead with a comedy touch. That might work to secure a few unlikely attendees. (#2) This trailer doesn’t quite succeed, setting up a movie with strong comic elements, but also some badly cheap and corny ones. It’s as if Tyler Perry doesn’t quite know how to make an effective horror parody.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Rules Don’t Apply (2016)

Page Revisions:

(July 17, 2016) Original

Release Date:

November 11, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “An unconventional love story of an aspiring actress, her determined driver, and the eccentric billionaire who they work for.”

Poster Rating: C

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Review: Trying to go with an Art Deco feel requires a greater deal of detail than this. Perhaps that’s not what they are going for and are merely setting up the physical wedge between the two leads. Either way, it’s a touch too generic for its own good.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: There are some incredibly clunky segments early in the trailer, setting this up as a Romeo & Juliet type story that lacks substance. The designs look fairly strong and I’m a fan of Alden Ehrenreich, but there’s just enough hint that the film could be serviceably awful.

Oscar Prospects:

Robert Redford hasn’t had an Oscar-capable film in 2 decades. This might be his opportunity and the period could net it some consideration in below-the-line categories, but the trailer is clunky and the premise doesn’t seem nearly as engaging as it would need to be to earn more citations than those.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Blair Witch (2016)

Page Revisions:

(July 17, 2016) Original
(July 24, 2016) New Title (changed from “The Woods”)

Release Date:

September 16, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Involve[s] a group of college students on a camping trip who discover they are not alone.”

Poster Rating: C / C-

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Review: (#1 & #2) These two designs are as different as black and red. While both try to give the woods a frightening quality, the first design is more successful, giving it a physical presence in the form of hands. The second design’s failure is that making the woods loom over the viewer doesn’t give them nearly the heightened excitement they are looking for, even when overzealously red.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: The trailer isn’t very clear. It doesn’t create nearly as much fright as it probably should, though it’s confusing nature might create a small degree of curiosity in the viewer.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: La La Land (2016)

Page Revisions:

(July 17, 2016) Original

Release Date:

December 16, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.”

Poster Rating: B

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Review: It’s a simple, modestly elegant design that hearkens back to a long-gone time when “La La Land” was a popular term for Hollywood.

Trailer Rating: B-

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Review: For a musical, this trailer sure isn’t very musical. There are couple of hints at musical dance numbers interspersed, but the straight-forward romantic drama seems to be the trailer’s focus, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just misleading.

Oscar Prospects:

For his next few films, Damien Chazelle is going to be considered an “It” director, which means those films will be preliminary Oscar contenders. This will be the first to test his staying power. The last “It” director that earned major Oscar attention, Benh Zeitlin, has already disappeared into obscurity, having not made a film since his 2012 Oscar nomination for Best Director. Chazelle seems fully intent on keeping things going and this musical could prove whether he has what it takes or of his first film was a one-off.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Tallulah (2016)

Page Revisions:

(July 17, 2016) Original

Release Date:

July 29, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Desperate to be rid of her toddler, a dissatisfied Beverly Hills housewife hires a stranger to babysit and ends up getting much more than she bargained for.”

Poster Rating: –


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

Trailer Rating: B-

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Review: If it weren’t for the film’s stars, this would look like a very cheap made-for-TV monstrosity. However, Ellen Page and Allison Janney seem to elevate the material with what look like potentially potent performances.

Oscar Prospects:

Netflix is chomping at the bit to score Oscar attention in the narrative categories and this is one of their pushes. While both of its stars, Alison Janney and Ellen Page, could be in competition, the film just doesn’t feel like Oscar material.

Trailer #1

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Looking at the Weekend: Jul. 22-24, 2016

A pitched battle will occur this weekend as the third in the rebooted Star Trek franchise goes up against the fifth film in the Ice Age trilogy (that’s what the trailers call it). The Ice Age films have opened fairly consistently between $41 and $46 with the second film the lone outlier at $68 million. By comparison, the prior to Trek films have opened right around the $70-$75 million range. If both perform up to those expectations, Trek will end up on top. The problem for Trek is that the second film wasn’t very well received and might cause a depression in the box office tally. Meanwhile, world events being what they are, families may want to take their kids to see something uplifting (and for themselves as well). So, it could be a tighter fight than expected.

Our Highest Rated Films: Star Trek: Beyond, Don’t Think Twice
Our Best Awards Ratings: Star Trek: Beyond (Oscars)

OTHER LIMITED RELEASES

Beta Test
Madaari
Summertime
Train to Busan

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2016 Blockbuster Season Preview: August

Here we look at the upcoming month’s offerings.

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Film Preview: When the Bough Breaks (2016)

Page Revisions:

(July 17, 2016) Original

Release Date:

September 16, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A surrogate mom for a couple becomes dangerously obsessed with the soon-to-be father.”

Poster Rating: B / C+

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Review: (#1) Sultry and symbolic in all the best ways. This is how to make a minimal design pop with creativity. (#2) Then there’s the decent, but not great effort that puts a murderous wedge between the protagonists. It’s not very inventive even if the symbolism is solid.

Trailer Rating: B

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Review: It may be your garden variety thriller, but the trailer gives it a sharp focus, a keen purpose, and an enticing spirit.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Trolls (2016)

Page Revisions:

(July 17, 2016) Original

Release Date:

November 4, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “From the creators of Shrek comes the most smart, funny, irreverent animated comedy of the year, DreamWorks’ Trolls. This holiday season, enter a colorful, wondrous world populated by hilariously unforgettable characters and discover the story of the overly optimistic Trolls, with a constant song on their lips, and the comically pessimistic Bergens, who are only happy when they have trolls in their stomach. Featuring original music from Justin Timberlake, and soon-to-be classic mash-ups of songs from other popular artists, the film stars the voice talents of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Russell Brand, James Corden, Kunal Nayyar, Ron Funches, Icona Pop, Gwen Stefani, and many more. DreamWorks’ TROLLS is a fresh, broad comedy filled with music, heart and hair-raising adventures. In November of 2016, nothing can prepare you for our new Troll world.”

Poster Rating: C-

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Review: The obnoxious swirl of color might be fitting to the film’s sugary richness, but it makes for a poor poster design, especially without any richness of detail.

Trailer Rating: F / B

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Review: (#1) This teaser trailer is obnoxious and annoying. How they could make something so trifling is beyond me. (#2) On the other hand, the first full trailer is endearing in a childish way. The film certainly looks like it will only appeal to children, but that’s not always a bad thing. It also shows just how far DreamWorks has faded in recent years.

Oscar Prospects:

It’s a longshot. I don’t say that because it looks too simplistic and kid-friendly, though that is a mitigating factor, but because DreamWorks has weakened and the film has way too much competition this year.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: The 9th Life of Louis Drax (2016)

Page Revisions:

(July 17, 2016) Original

Release Date:

September 2, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A psychologist who begins working with a young boy who has suffered a near-fatal fall finds himself drawn into a mystery that tests the boundaries of fantasy and reality.”

Poster Rating: –


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

Trailer Rating: B+

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Review: Occasionally, you come across a trailer that is so strange and unique that you discover an immediate interest in seeing it. Even if the movie is plain awful, it like visually enthralling.

Oscar Prospects:

It’s a bit quirky, which might earn its some plaudits in creative categories, but the premise doesn’t sound like something Oscar voters would sidle up to.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Loving (2016)

Page Revisions:

(July 17, 2016) Original

Release Date:

November 4, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, are sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958 for getting married.”

Poster Rating: C

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Review: Simple. Perhaps too simple. Yet, considering what the film is about, it works well enough.

Trailer Rating: B

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Review: The worst part of this trailer is when the lawyer knowingly winks that perhaps their case might even end up at the Supreme Court. That’s a bit sloppy for a film. It’s weak writing. However, the scenes and events surrounding this lay out a film about a couple struggling to be accepted in a world in which they are despised. It may well resonate with a lot of audiences.

Oscar Prospects:

This is one of the year’s prime Oscar contenders. The story that led to one of the most important legal decisions in U.S. Supreme Court history could be a key player this year, especially if the Academy is looking to prove its diversity bona fides. Then, if it’s actually good, they won’t look like opportunists.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Southside with You (2016)

Page Revisions:

(July 10, 2016) Original

Release Date:

August 26, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Chronicles the summer 1989 afternoon when the future President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, wooed his future First Lady on an epic first date across Chicago’s South Side.”

Poster Rating: C+

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Review: Nice colors complimenting each other, but the design is otherwise a generic template design that does little to convey the important emotional aspects of the story.

Trailer Rating: C

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Review: They call it the greatest first date of all-time, and I get the comment, but the trailer does a poor job conveying the importance or even significance of this story. Sure, it’s about the President of the United States when he met and fell in love with his wife, but there’s nothing romantic about this trailer.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Trailer Watch: War Dogs (2016) Updated

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

War Dogs, updated

Preview Link: CLICK HERE for all of the new content as well as the original.

Weekend Preview: Jul. 22-24, 2016

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

Page Revisions:

(July 10, 2016) Original

Release Date:

August 19, 2016

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “The romantic and coming-of-age misadventures of a 13-year-old American living in Germany.”

Poster Rating: D+ / C+

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Review: (#1) The red, white and blue motif doesn’t give the design any gravitas, nor does the blank background and lackluster foreground. (#2) There’s some distinctiveness to this design, though its inert nature might not draw the degree of interest the producers want.

Trailer Rating: C

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Review: Having a lot of formula in your trailer isn’t always a bad thing. When you’re trying to sell an indie drama about love in a foreign land, getting that premise setup more compellingly is crucial and this trailer doesn’t quite get that.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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