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The DVD Report #383

FargoOne of the nicest surprises of the last TV season was the miniseries Fargo, based on, but different from the 1996 film of the same name, produced by, but not directed by, the Coen Brothers.

The protagonist here is Billy Bob Thornton as a malevolent killer, and he’s as good as you would expect, but Martin Freeman as a put-upon insurance salesman, Allison Tolman as a smarter than she looks deputy chief, and Colin Hanks as a low level cop who would rather be a mailman are every bit his equal. All four were nominated for Emmys. Freeman, perhaps the best of them all, was also nominated for Sherlock, for which he won for his portrayal of Dr. Watson in the Season 3 episode, His Last Vow.

Newly released on both Blu-ray and standard DVD, the 10-episode miniseries is a gem from beginning to end. It has scenes that are reminiscent of Twin Peaks and Magnolia as well as its 1996 predecessor. Like lots of other TV series these days there are plenty of murders, but unlike most, the majority of victims in this one are not very nice people. Still, the dread is there along with continuous black comedy. It’s the fastest ten hours and change you’ll spend binge watching a TV series this year, you betcha.

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This Day in Oscar History: October 21 (2014)

Here's what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released

Our Site Milestones

2011: Oscar in Box Office History (3)

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Poll: Now That You’ve Seen “Fury”

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Polls

Now That You've Seen Fury...?

<a href="http://www.sodahead.com/entertainment/cinema-sight-asks-now-that-youve-seen-fury-which-david-ayer-film-is-best/question-4550949/" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'outbound-article', 'http://www.sodahead.com/entertainment/cinema-sight-asks-now-that-youve-seen-fury-which-david-ayer-film-is-best/question-4550949/', 'Cinema Sight Asks: Now that you&#039;ve seen &quot;Fury,&quot; which David Ayer film is best?']);" title="Cinema Sight Asks: Now that you've seen "Fury," which David Ayer film is best?">Cinema Sight Asks: Now that you've seen "Fury," which David Ayer film is best?</a>
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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 17-19, 2014

We had six films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

The Book of Life

The dearth of animated films this year has left the Best Animated Feature category without a firm slate of five potential nominees. Other than a guaranteed nomination for early success The Lego Movie, Disney/Pixar's sole effort this year Big Hero 6 and DreamWorks' key contender How to Train Your Dragon 2, the potential for nominations in the category have been weak.

Fox animation, which has had success with the Ice Age films, has struggled to earn Oscar's attention. The Book of Life was ostensibly the film they hoped would put them in the final five for only the second time, the first since the original Ice Age film made the list twelve years ago. Critics have been largely positive, complimenting it on its unique visual style, thought not necessarily for its story.

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The Morning After: Oct. 20, 2014

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what movies I've seen over the past week. Below, you will find short reviews of those movies along with a star rating. Full length reviews may come at a later date.

So, here is what I watched this past week:

One Fine Day


Romantic comedies are a staple of American cinema, originating in the early days of the medium. In the 1930's, the screwball comedy genre, a subset of which became a sub-genre of romantic comedies, took hold, shepherding in a new way to look at the genre. This period petered out after the 1940's, but many attempts were made in the subsequent years. The genre shifted again under the guiding hands of screenwriter Nora Ephron. Since that time, numerous films have tried to replicate the success of films like When Harry Met Sally... and Sleepless in Seattle and were infused with screwball elements epitomized by the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. One Fine Day has more in common with the Grant & Hepburn films of the 1930's than with the Ephron films in the decade prior, but clearly draws in heavy inspiration from both.

One Fine Day was one of three films starring Michelle Pfeiffer released in 1996, two of which were romantic films featuring women in their later 30's, a staple of the modern genre. Pfeiffer is charming in a film that builds itself on conventional modes of humor. She's perfectly paired with George Clooney playing divorced parents locked in combat with each other and circumstance as they try to rescue their vulnerable careers from sure destruction.

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This Day in Oscar History: October 20 (2014)

Here's what happened today in Oscar History.

Born


Died


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Poll: What Are You Most Anticipating? (Nov. 2014, Wide)

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Polls

What Are You Most Anticipating? (Nov. 2014, Wide)

<a href="http://www.sodahead.com/entertainment/cinema-sight-asks-which-november-2014-wide-release-film-are-you-most-anticipating/question-4549329/" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'outbound-article', 'http://www.sodahead.com/entertainment/cinema-sight-asks-which-november-2014-wide-release-film-are-you-most-anticipating/question-4549329/', 'Cinema Sight Asks: Which November 2014 wide release film are you most anticipating?']);" title="Cinema Sight Asks: Which November 2014 wide release film are you most anticipating?">Cinema Sight Asks: Which November 2014 wide release film are you most anticipating?</a>
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The Inbox (Oct. 11-17, 2014)

Every week, I get several press releases, screening invitations and other notifications from a handful of studio contacts. While I won't be sharing any information regarding my screening invites, some of the press releases might be of interest to my readers, so I thought I'd start sharing them in toto with all of you. These could include new image galleries for various films or important updates to upcoming releases from various smaller studios and art house production companies.

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Weekend Preview: Oct. 24-26, 2014

Below are eight previews for films opening next weekend.
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Film Preview: Revenge of the Green Dragons (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

October 24, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "Two best friends rise through the ranks of New York's Chinese underworld in the 1980s."

Poster: B

Review: While the image isn't original, nor is it particularly bold and striking, it is an attempt to create something spellbinding and beautiful in a sea of lookalike posters.

Trailer: B

Review: What appears to be a sprawling crime epic, Revenge of the Green Dragons presents plenty of interesting visual pieces that could evoke a sense of dramatic tension. It follows standard action movie trailer formulae a little too closely, but it works hard to try and establish itself as a crucial examination of a rarely-focused area of New York City history.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(October 19, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: Laggies (2014)

Poster



Trailer Link

Release Date:

October 24, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "In the throes of a quarter-life crisis, Megan panics when her boyfriend proposes, then, taking an opportunity to escape for a week, hides out in the home of her new friend, 16-year-old Annika, who lives with her world-weary single dad."

Poster: C+ / D

Review: (#1) I'm certain I've seen a design similar to this one before, but in the current marketplace, it should stand out a bit from the crowd. The problem is, the stars of the film aren't as easily identifiable, which might make it a challenge to sell the film to the uninitiated. (#2) While I like the color, the utter spatial void only makes it forgettable. The turtle may have a key role in the film, but it's not going to resonate with anyone who hasn't already seen it and probably not even then.

Trailer: B

Review: It's a romantic comedy that appears to follow a familiar and time-worn formula. That may not be a bad thing if it does so well, the question is will it. Some of the moments and humor in the trailer are appealing and Keira Knightley seems to be in fine form, but that lingering question may sink the film's success if it fails to exceed expectations.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(October 19, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: Force Majeure (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

October 24, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "A family on a ski holiday in the French Alps find themselves staring down an avalanche during lunch one day; in the aftermath, their dynamic has been shaken to its core, with a question mark hanging over their patriarch in particular."

Poster: C

Review: The catalyst event of the film (and trailer) is on full display in the poster, but that alone doesn't make it very exciting. Without having a more interesting design, few will view this advertisement as an impetus to see the film.

Trailer: C+

Review: Much of the film's plot is hidden in the trailer so that the audience has to guess what it's really about. A slight, single reference would give it away, but there's so much else on display that it's hard to see this as much more than your typical foreign drama about emotional anxiety and coping that separates families. It's a concept seen too often to be appealing on its own merits.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(October 19, 2014) Original

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Film Preview: John Wick (2014)

Poster


Poster #1

Additional posters can be found below.

Trailer Link

Release Date:

October 24, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him."

Poster: C+ / C / C / C-

Review: (#1-#4) Four semi-distinct designs that produce little interest from non-Keanu Reeves fans. These designs might help with his surprisingly large fan base in Asian markets, but in the U.S., I doubt it will help much. The first design is the only one with any originality to it and even that is quite a bit cheesy in its originality.

Trailer: B-

Review: Setting up the impetus for John Wick's aggression is handled very well, but from there the film seems to devolve into a rote action thriller with an utter lack of inventiveness.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(October 19, 2014) Original

Additional Posters



Poster #2Poster #3Poster #4
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Film Preview: 23 Blast (2014)

Poster


Trailer Link

Release Date:

October 24, 2014

Synopsis:

From IMDb: "When a high school football star is suddenly stricken with irreversible total blindness, he must decide whether to live a safe handicapped life or bravely return to the life he once knew and the sport he still loves."

Poster: D

Review: Once you get up close and personal with the poster, it still requires familiarity with the premise to understand why this football player has his eyes closed. It's cheap theatrics that doesn't help distinguish the film from the various other High School football related films that have come out in recent years.

Trailer: B

Review: On the surface, it seems like a hokey, self-centered football drama that happens to have a blind player as its focus. However, the trailer ultimately feels like it takes a unique and sometimes amusing approach to its premise. While I doubt it will be a success as a result, it could be a sleeper hit after it goes to home video.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Revisions:

(October 19, 2014) Original

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This Day in Oscar History: October 19 (2014)

Here's what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died


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