Film Preview: Luxor (2020)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(October 18, 2020) Original

Release Date:

December 4, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “When British aid worker Hana returns to the ancient city of Luxor, she comes across Sultan, a talented archaeologist and former lover. As she wanders, haunted by the familiar place, she struggles to reconcile the choices of the past with the uncertainty of the present.”

Poster Rating: C- / C

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Review: (#1) Apart from the interesting title font and its arrangement, the background image isn’t remotely appealing. (#2) There’s more visual diversity in this design, but it’s built on an over-used design concept that never seems to work.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: The similarities between the film depicted in this trailer and Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy are stark enough to give fans of those films hope that it will be of similar quality. Meanwhile the trailer itself goes out of its way to feel as dull and lifeless as it possibly can.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: I’m Your Woman (2020)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(October 18, 2020) Original

Release Date:

December 11, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “In this 1970s set crime drama, a woman is forced to go on the run after her husband betrays his partners, sending her and her baby on a dangerous journey.”

Poster Rating: C

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Review: Compelling balance don’t make up for the empty space in the design. It draws the eye as it should, but does little visually to compel the viewer.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: While some elements of the film look very conventional, the trailer does a decent job making this look like a mob film crossed with a Sirkian melodrama. Whether the end result is anything close to that is indeterminate after this trailer.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Shirley (2020)

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Page Revisions:

(October 18, 2020) Original

Release Date:

June 5, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A famous horror writer finds inspiration for her next book after she and her husband take in a young couple.”

Poster Rating: C+

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Review: While the Photoshopping job isn’t entirely unnoticeable, the end result almost looks naturalistic. It then speaks decently well to the concept of the central figure being a writer, but not to the film itself.

Trailer Rating: B-

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Review: When trying to get the audience to see a film, make a film that’s modestly confounding doesn’t quite work. This film has a plot that never quite gets the attention it deserves, making it look almost interesting, but nowhere near as detailed as it should.

Oscar Prospects:

Elisabeth Moss is certainly well regarded and this could be her ticket to her first Oscar nomination.

Trailer #1

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Oscar in Box Office History (Week 43, 2020)

Every week, we’ll take a look back in 5-year intervals at the box office past to explore how Oscar’s nominees were doing at the box office each weekend historically. The first section under each year is the positioning of all Oscar nominees during that weekend at the box office (as well as a section looking at the inflation-adjusted numbers). The third section is an alphabetical list of those films and the categories in which they were nominated. And to start each week off, we’ll be looking at the films releasing over the weekend that have the best chance of getting Oscar nominations and specifying the categories where we think they have the best shots at this stage of the game. If you have any suggestions for more data you’d like to see, please let us know.

This Year: Potential Oscar Nominees Releasing This Weekend

None

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The Friday Face-Off, Losers Bracket Round One #11

Below are our face-offs for this week. Choose the better winner in each category. For more information on how the game works, click here.

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This Day in Oscar History: October 23 (2020)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released

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Poll: Remaking Best Costume Design, 2016

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Remaking Best Costume Design, 2016

In our third pass of the Oscar nominees from 1997 through 2016, we take a look at the nominees for Best Costume Design. Each week, we’ll present a list of contenders from which you can select five to make up the Best Costume Design slate. There will be an “Other” option, but you can only use this once and you’ll have to specify your other in the comments. Now on to the game: Best Costume Design.

Cinema Sight Asks: Which Hopefuls Should Have Been Nominated for Best Costume Design (select up to 5)?

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Film Preview: Black Bear (2020)

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Page Revisions:

(October 18, 2020) Original

Release Date:

December 4, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A filmmaker at a creative impasse seeks solace from her tumultuous past at a rural retreat, only to find that the woods summon her inner demons in intense and surprising ways.”

Poster Rating: –

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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: What works for the film works against the trailer as a confusing plot is confused further by the trailer trying to keep audience expectations off-kilter. That lack of thematic cohesiveness might serve the film’s premise well, but it won’t quite sell the film to an audience.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Princess of the Row (2020)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(October 18, 2020) Original

Release Date:

November 27, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “The inspiring tale of a runaway foster child who will stop at nothing to live with the only family she knows: her homeless, mentally-ill veteran father who lives on the streets of LA’s skid row.”

Poster Rating: –

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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: The trailer almost hits the nail on the head about what makes the film’s premise so interesting. Unfortunately, but trying to fit in as much information as possible, the designer has inadvertently undercut the film’s potential potency.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Sylvie’s Love (2020)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(October 18, 2020) Original

Release Date:

December 25, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A woman working at her father’s record store in Harlem in the late 1950s meets an aspiring saxophone player.”

Poster Rating: C+

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Review: A strange balance of colors that almost work if only the design didn’t feature such a dull set of images and a backdrop that don’t quite fit together.

Trailer Rating: B-

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Review: While the premise comes from a really fascinating place, the trailer doesn’t quite know what to do with it. Is this a film about a lost romance or is it a film about a woman finding new meaning in a career and profession she has long dreamed about. That story is far more fascinating than the romantic drama that’s otherwise identified.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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5 Favorites Redux #50: Favorite Horror Films, Part 2

Welcome to 5 Favorites. Each week, I will put together a list of my 5 favorites (films, performances, whatever strikes my fancy) along with commentary on a given topic each week, usually in relation to a specific film releasing that week.

This week, I continue my look into my favorite horror films of all time. The second part covers a cinematic period from 1978 through 1994. During these years, horror took a hard turn towards gory details. It also covered a period where not only did slashers rule the box office, but their excessive numbers of sequels did as well. Between Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street alone, 18 sequels were generated and that’s not including sequel-heavy series such as Child’s Play, Hellraiser, and Puppet Master.

Granted, some series like Scary Movie, Scream, Paranormal Activity, and Saw all emerged largely after this era, but it was this almost 20-year period that seemed to generate the most frequent and popular series.

In the midst of all of these sequels, some inventive horror films managed to get lost in the shuffle and never secured sequels. Some of them may not have even deserved them, but films like House, House II (which was a sequel in name only, not plot), April Fool’s Day, Creepshow, Prom Night, Return to Horror High, Deadtime Stories, and several other films gave this period not just a distinctive visceral appeal, but it generated some very lovely, cheesy horror films that may not have been great, but were certainly memorable.

Creepshow led the way in terms of launching a small number of anthology horror films, such as its sequel and Tales from the Darkside: The Movie as well as a few other small films, but it was also part of another string of successful horror films in this period, namely movies made from Stephen King books. Among the best were Carrie, Cujo, Salem’s Lot, Misery, Dolores Claiborne, and my person favorite of these films, The Shining. It and Misery both feature in my all-time best list this week, while Dolores Claiborne sits just on the other side of this list and will be highlighted next week. And while King’s adaptations weren’t always great (see Needful Things), they were incredibly popular. He also made a brief ’90s run of television miniseries, which aren’t included in this list, but It and The Shining might well have made the list if they were.

Before we dig into this week’s set of ten films, I’d like to highlight a group of pictures from this period that didn’t make the list, but deserve some measure of recognition.

When I put together my list, I may have haphazardly run through the list of films I’ve seen as it’s an extensive list, but I tried my best to highlight everything possible. Yet, as I started working on this week’s article and began discussing Stephen King adaptations, I realized that Carrie, which I mentioned above, didn’t get a write up anywhere and I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize Brian De Palma’s superb film. The film’s two best performances were head-and-shoulders above the rest of the cast with Sissy Spacek as the psychokinetic teen picked on by her classmates and her demented hyper-religious mother played by Piper Laurie. They were rightfully nominated for Oscars for their performances with Laurie a better option to win than at least winner Beatrice Straight.

Last week, I highlighted the incredible sci-fi horror feature Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In 1978, a sort of remake of that film was made with Donald Sutherland in the lead role. Moving from a small town to a global landscape, the film ultimately was only barely inferior to that 1956 original.

If you were to compare the various franchises that dominated the 1980s, the Friday the 13th films would easily be the worst. Yet, if you look at the very first film, Sean S. Cunningham’s 1980 original, you would ultimately find an inventive premise that belies expectations. Friday the 13th doesn’t hold a candle to the first films in the Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises, but it’s a stellar opener with a fun twist and a solid score.

On a quality scale, April Fool’s Day has too many issues to be considered great. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a fun film to sit down and watch. This 1986 Fred Walton film boasted a cast of nobodies, much like many other horror films of the period. While some of them managed to go on to other acting jobs, including a few TV performers, only one of them could possibly lay claim to fame. Thomas F. Wilson, the villain Biff in the Back to the Future series, takes on a supporting role here as many do. What’s most enjoyable about this film is the twist ending. The lead up to it is most fascinating and marks one of the more inventive of the period. The reference to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None was just an added bonus.

Considering the popularity of Anne Rice’s vampire literary universe, it’s surprising that the popular Interview with the Vampire from 1994 never managed to linger long enough to generate popular sequels. Perhaps it was stars Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, who had big careers around them or ahead of them, that didn’t want to continue. Regardless, this sudsy vampire drama did a lot of things incredibly well, but it’s biggest gift to cinema history was the boost it gave Kirsten Dunst’s career. Hers was one of the best young performances captured on film and while her career since has been a mixed bag, she’s more than proven herself to be an incredibly capable actress.

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Oscar Profile #519: Anthony Veiller

Born June 23, 1903 in New York, New Yo0rk, Anthony Veiller was the son of Oscar nominated actress, Margaret Wycherly, and her husband, playwright Bayard Veiller.

Veiller was a journalist, publicist, and stage manager prior to moving to Hollywood in 1930. He married literary agent Laura Kerr in 1934 with whom he would have a daughter born in 1936. Under contract to RKO from 1934 through 1937 as both a writer and producer, his screenplays included those for Break of Hearts, Star of Midnight, The Ex-Mrs. Bradford, Swing Time (contributing writer only), A Woman Rebels, Winterset, and Stage Door, receiving an Oscar nomination for the latter along with Morrie Ryskind.

One of Veiller’s best screenplays for RKO was Gunga Din which was not produced until 1939. In the U.S. Army during World War II, he was a major in the film office where he worked with Frank Capra on four Why We Fight documentaries. He also collaborated with the British on two of their documentaries including 1944’s Tunisian Victory.

Back in Hollywood after the war, Veiller was divorced from Kerr in 1945, the year he wrote the screenplay for the widely panned Adventure. He rebounded with two major successes in 1946, Orson Welles’ The Stranger and Robert Siodmak’s The Killers, earning an Oscar nomination for the latter. That film also earned him an Edgar Allan Poe award for Best Picture which he shared with Siodamak and producer Mark Hellinger.

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This Day in Oscar History: October 22 (2020)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released

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Poll: What Are You Watching? (Oct. 23-25, 2020)

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What Are You Watching? (Oct. 23-25, 2020)

Cinema Sight Asks: What are you watching? (Oct. 23-25, 2020)

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Film Preview: Half Brothers (2020)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(October 18, 2020) Original

Release Date:

December 4, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A story about the complex connection with a brother who is based in Mexico, meant to be a metaphor of the relationship between neighboring countries The United States of America and Mexico.”

Poster Rating: C+

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Review: Interesting colors, but the Photoshopping touch-ups and blurring make for an uneven texture that feels unrealistic in spite of being partly pulled from a specific moment in the film itself.

Trailer Rating: B-

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Review: The trailer doesn’t quite do the film the justice it deserves. The conventional nature of the film’s screenplay is given a few interesting comic touches, but then struggles to turn those into something cohesive.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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