Category: Film Previews

Looking at the Weekend: Nov. 20-22, 2020

There are no new wide releases this week with fewer and fewer on the horizon. Many of the potential releases have vacated as U.S. pandemic infections are on a dramatic rise as we enter Phase 2. The light may be seen at the end of the tunnel, but the upcoming holiday box office season is shaping up to be rather bland.

Our Highest Rated Films: Sound of Metal
Our Best Awards Ratings: Sound of Metal (Oscars)

OTHER LIMITED RELEASES

Always & Forever (Limited)
Born to Be (Virtual)
Coded Bias (Virtual)
Collective (Limited)
The Forgotten Carols (Limited)
Koshien: Japan’s Field of Dreams (Limited)
On-Gaku: Our Sound (Limited)
The Twentieth Century (Limited)

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Film Preview: Happiest Season (2020)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(November 15, 2020) Original

Release Date:

November 25, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A holiday romantic comedy that captures the range of emotions tied to wanting your family’s acceptance, being true to yourself, and trying not to ruin Christmas.”

Poster Rating: B

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Review: It’s a suitable design for a film like this with thematic references and visual cues that fit quite well even if the design is too simplistic in many ways.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: There a handful of funny moments in the trailer and that doesn’t assist this coming out film in feeling anything but overly familiar. It’s a picture that we all likely need a bit of, but which doesn’t act like it’s something we can easily embrace.

Oscar Prospects:

There aren’t many romantic comedies that earn the Academy’s attention and the trailer doesn’t present a film that looks to go beyond that, but considering who’s involved, it’s impossible to say for 100% certain.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Superintelligence (2020)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(November 15, 2020) Original

Release Date:

November 26, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “When an all-powerful Superintelligence chooses to study average Carol Peters, the fate of the world hangs in the balance. As the A.I. decides to enslave, save or destroy humanity, it’s up to Carol to prove that people are worth saving.”

Poster Rating: C

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Review: The cheap-looking heart in the background might tell us about this being a romantic comedy, but the materials used to have to be taken in with the slight destruction in the background to tie into the plot and it does so poorly.

Trailer Rating: B-

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Review: There are some brief funny moments in the trailer, but the whole affair feels like it’s trying way too hard and not succeeding terribly well.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: The Stand-In (2020)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(November 8, 2020) Original

Release Date:

December 11, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “THE STAND-IN is the story of a disaffected comedy actress and her ambitious stand-in trading places.”

Poster Rating: C

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Review: Loosely speaking to the film’s isn’t sufficient. The design has to be more creative and richly detailed. This seems haphazard and poorly thought out.

Trailer Rating: C-

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Review: Trying so hard to find the laughs in a trailer doesn’t bode well for the finished product. Drew Barrymore has done far better work and this looks like it has been a disservice to her talents.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Weekend Preview: Nov. 20-22, 2020

Below are eight previews for films opening next weekend.

 

Embattled (Limited)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 
 

Girl (Limited)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 
 

Hearts and Bones (Limited)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 
 

Jiu Jitsu (Limited)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 
 

The Last Vermeer (Limited)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 
 

Love, Weddings & Other Disasters (Limited)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 
 

Sound of Metal (Limited)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 
 

Vanguard (Limited)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 

Film Preview: Jiu Jitsu (2020)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(November 15, 2020) Original

Release Date:

November 20, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A new Sci-Fi Martial Arts franchise from Dimitri Logothetis, Director/Producer of Kickboxer: Retaliation.”

Poster Rating: D+

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Review: Action diagonals make for an unbalanced design with cheap lighting effects and cheesy, ill-fitting expressions on the stars’ faces.

Trailer Rating: C-

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Review: At some point, everyone should have gotten tired of Nicolas Cage’s struggles to remain relevant. This film does little to change that calculus while presenting a cheesy concept with even cheesier results.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Hearts and Bones (2020)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(November 15, 2020) Original

Release Date:

November 20, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “In Ben Lawrence’s beautifully acted debut feature, a war photographer Hugo Weaving and a refugee Andrew Luri discover a photograph that threatens to destroy them both. Daniel Fisher Weaving returns home, and despite his partner’s protests, prepares for his next dangerous overseas assignment. At the same time, he is preparing for an upcoming retrospective exhibition of his work from the world’s war zones. South Sudanese refugee, Sebastian Aman Luri has built a life in Australia, living happily with his wife and young child. When he learns that Daniel’s exhibition may display photographs of a massacre in Sebastian’s village 15 years earlier, he finds Daniel and appeals to him to exclude those photographs. An unlikely friendship develops between the two men, but it is severely tested when Daniel makes a shocking discovery. Hearts and Bones centres around the relationship of these two men, from very different backgrounds, who bond over their shared trauma. Andrew Luri, who has never acted before and was driving a garbage truck when he auditioned for the role, and Hugo Weaving both brilliantly convey the intricate relationship between the men. With these two powerful performances at its centre, Ben Lawrence has made an intelligent, morally complex and deeply moving film.”

Poster Rating: B-

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Review: There’s some creative attention to detail here, namely the inset photos being arranged to look a bit like a camera’s aperture. With Hugo Weaving’s photographer as the central figure, it’s more than appropriate, though it still employs design concepts that we’ve seen quite often.

Trailer Rating: C / C

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Review: (#1 & #2) Neither trailer does a good job selling this look into a man’s past and his inability to come to terms with the horrors he’s seen. As an exploration of post-traumatic stress, it doesn’t do a very good evoking a sense of growth or identification and it makes both trailers rather difficult to appreciate.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Girl (2020)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(November 15, 2020) Original

Release Date:

November 20, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A young woman returns to her small hometown intent on killing her abusive father only to discover someone murdered him the day before. As the girl searches for answers, she uncovers a family legacy more dangerous than she’d imagined.”

Poster Rating: C

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Review: There’s nothing symbolic or thematic about this design, a dull effort meant to sell the film on the lead without feeling like it will sell anything.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: An unappealing film with an antiquated narrative may gender-flip the central character, but the trailer itself does nothing to make the whole affair look any different than the countless other similar narratives with men in the lead.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Embattled (2020)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(November 15, 2020) Original

Release Date:

November 20, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A son aspires to follow in his famous MMA father’s footsteps, but along his journey must figure out how to break the abusive cycle, if possible, that his father has continued.”

Poster Rating: C+

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Review: It’s overly simplistic, but has a suitable symbolic style with the son standing in his father’s larger-than-life image.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: Stephen Dorff comes off with just the right amount of sleazy villainy that gives the dull lead character an impetus to succeed and while there’s just a hint of the audience’s desire to see Dorff’s character get his comeuppance, the end result just doesn’t feel worth the journey.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Trailer Watch: Halloween Kills (2021) Updated

Halloween Kills poster

Halloween Kills, updated

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

Film Preview: Parallel (2020)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(November 8, 2020) Original

Release Date:

December 11, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A group of friends stumble upon a mirror that serves as a portal to a “multiverse”, but soon discover that importing knowledge from the other side in order to better their lives brings increasingly dangerous consequences.”

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: C

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Review: The Flatliners makes the film seem mildly interesting, but also makes it feel like an uninspired copy of that film.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: The Artist’s Wife (2020)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(November 8, 2020) Original

Release Date:

September 25, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Claire Smythson, wife of the renowned abstract artist Richard Smythson, is plunged into a late-life crisis when her husband is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and is in danger of not completing the paintings for his final show.”

Poster Rating: C-

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Review: An uninspiring color and an uninspiring image. It speaks to the relationship between the artist’s wife and the artist, but that’s not enough to be impactful.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: We’ve seen this kind of film numerous times and the more film’s about Alzheimer’s that come out, the less special each one feels. Sure Bruce Dern and Lena Olin look like they do good work, but the film has a rather dull feel to it.

Oscar Prospects:

Bruce Dern and Leno Olin are given material that might be Oscar worthy, but the trailer doesn’t really give us an indication that the film is more than passable.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Vanguard (2020)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(November 8, 2020) Original

Release Date:

November 20, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Covert security company Vanguard is the last hope of survival for an accountant after he is targeted by the world’s deadliest mercenary organization.”

Poster Rating: B- / C / C+ / C / C+

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Review: (#1) Plenty of action, but also plenty of traditional action poster design techniques. Nothing much to see here. (#2) The design doesn’t make sense when looking at the trailer and while it has some nice colors, the whole design feels uninspired. (#3) The angle of tilt is far more extreme than design #1 and the end result feels more gamy and more formulaic. (#4) The “V” motif has been done far better elsewhere and the golden weapons feel a little too on-point with the golden hues of the rest of the design. It almost feels like the designer threw everything into the pot and hoped it looked out. And it really is just merely ok. (#5) A little more balanced than the prior design with varying sizes of figures and a blend of color schemes, but there’s just not enough here.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: Lots of action, a little bit of humor, and a whole lot of uninspiring, unexceptional narrative. The humor is shoehorned in to play to the interests of Jackie Chan films, but making it all awkward.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Looking at the Weekend: Nov. 13-15, 2020

If there were any film that could possibly break the pandemic box office curse, it’s this film, a horror comedy. It probably won’t do very well, but it could outperform expectations.

Our Highest Rated Films: Ammonite
Our Best Awards Ratings: Ammonite (Oscars)

OTHER LIMITED RELEASES

Colors of Character (Limited)
Come Away (Limited)
Echo Boomers (Limited)
Mank (Limited)
Ms. White Light (Limited)
Recon (Limited)
Wolfwalkers (Limited)
Divine Love (Virtual)

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Film Preview: Funny Boy (2020)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(November 8, 2020) Original

Release Date:

December 10, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Explores Arjie’s sexual awakening from a young boy to a teenager who falls in love with a male classmate, just as political tensions escalate between the Sinhalese and Tamils in the years leading up to the 1983 uprisings.”

Poster Rating: C+

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Review: Some interesting colors and the blend of images is well handled, but it feels incomplete and a bit meager.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: There aren’t enough Indian films about homosexuality and this one feels both forward-thinking and a bit homophobic in some ways. That said, if Deepa Mehta can make something as acclaimed as Water, I don’t see why this couldn’t exceed expectations.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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