Weekend Preview: Jan. 15-17, 2021

Below are two previews for films opening next weekend.

 

The Marksman (Wide)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 
 

My Little Sister (Limited)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 

Film Preview: My Little Sister (2021)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(January 10, 2021) Original

Release Date:

January 15, 2021

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Lisa has bid goodbye to her ambitions as a playwright and the Berlin arts scene and now lives in Switzerland with her husband, who runs an international school. When her twin brother falls ill, she returns to Berlin.”

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: This cancer drama certainly sells itself as a compelling film about the lengths sufferers will go through to feel normal and the bond between twins is sufficiently suggested.

Oscar Prospects:

The Swiss entry to the Oscars has all the earmarks of a past contender. We’ll see if it can make the shortlist.

Trailer #1

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This Day in Oscar History: January 10 (2021)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released

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Precursor: 55th National Society of Film Critics Awards (2020)

Nomadland has swept the incredibly small and cliquish National Society of Film Critics. Several films got love, but Promising Young Woman, among others, was completely left out even in the screenplay category. With so few members, I would expect a fairly narrow set of films and they have certainly delivered that.

Award Tallies

(4) Nomadland

The Awards

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Film Preview: Land (2021)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(January 3, 2021) Original

Release Date:

February 12, 2021

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A bereaved woman seeks out a new life, off the grid in Wyoming.”

Poster Rating: C+

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Review: It gets the backdrop right, but the positioning looks a little too imbalanced with color differences indicating that this is two separate images blended together and not terribly well.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: An elegiac glimpse into the depth of grief and loss in a gorgeous landscape. Having two broken people find one another has been done far too many times to add anything remotely engaging in the trailer, though in spite of its lack of inventiveness, the trailer does an adequate job setting expectations.

Oscar Prospects:

A late arrival won’t help it overcome established competition. On top of that, the Cinematography category seems stuffed to overflowing this year.

Trailer #1

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This Day in Oscar History: January 9 (2021)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released

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Precursor: 25th San Diego Critics Nominations (2020)

For the first time in a very long while, individual critics groups are starting to show a bit of inventiveness in their selections. Perhaps inventiveness isn’t the right word as most of what’s here has been mentioned elsewhere, but certain films seem to be doing better with some groups more than others. For instance, Sound of Metal and The Trial of the Chicago 7 have their best showing so far with the San Diego critics.

Nominations Tallies

(8) Sound of Metal
(7) The Trial of the Chicago 7
(5) First Cow, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Nomadland
(4) Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Mank, Tenet
(3) Black Bear, Minari, On the Rocks, Palm Springs, Pieces of a Woman, Promising Young Woman, The Father

The Nominations

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Film Preview: Falling (2021)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(January 3, 2021) Original

Release Date:

February 5, 2021

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A conservative father moves from his rural farm to live with his gay son’s family in Los Angeles.”

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

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Review: (#1) This looks nothing like Lance Henriksen. Looks more like Mel Brooks, except clearly taller. Not that Henriksen would be a draw, but these Nordic actors working together makes for an interesting combination. (#2) Incredibly dull with nothing that seems to want to entice the audience, though certainly a little better than the prior design. (#3) What this has to do with the film itself is beyond anyone’s guess other than through supposition and that’s not a great way to sell your film. (#4) Although it does a much better job of telling elements of the story that the trailer and prior designs don’t, it also has a rather commonplace design, though the increasing size of the image bands is unique enough.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: As the first poster suggests, the pairing of two actors of Nordic descent (Mortensen is of Danish heritage and Henriksen has Norwegian blood) is a compelling one, though one that doesn’t seem like it’s explored in the trailer. The film does seem a bit unexceptional in terms of its familiarity, but it could be worth something if given a look.

Oscar Prospects:

Perhaps some talk of acting nominations, but the film’s so late entering the race that it’s unlikely.

Trailer #1

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Oscar in Box Office History (Week 2, 2021)

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, Round Three #5

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: January 8 (2021)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released

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Precursor: 19th Columbus Critics Awards (2020)

Leave it to the already diverting Columbus critics to honor Promising Young Woman with its top award, recognizing the film’s greatness. Too bad they will likely be the only ones. Everything else was a fairly predictable slate of selections.

Awards Tallies

(3) Nomadland, Promising Young Woman
(2) Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Minari, Sound of Metal

The Awards

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Poll: Remaking Best Original Screenplay, 2007

Return Links

Polls

Remaking Best Original Screenplay, 2007

In our eleventh pass of the Oscar nominees from 1997 through 2016, we take a look at the nominees for Best Original Screenplay. Each week, we’ll present a list of contenders from which you can select five to make up the Best Original Screenplay 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 Original Screenplay.

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

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Film Preview: Two of Us (2021)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(January 3, 2021) Original

Release Date:

February 5, 2021

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Pensioners Nina and Madeleine have hidden their deep and passionate love for many decades, but their bond is put to the test when they are suddenly unable to move freely between each other’s apartments.”

Poster Rating: C / C

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Review: (#1 & #2) The two designs aren’t sufficiently different from one another not to be compared and the end result is something less than spectacular with uninspired color selection and dull framing.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: The trailer does a poor job spacing out the narrative thrust of the film, choosing to expose the audience to too much of the plot and setting the audience up for a ho-hum, predictable trajectory.

Oscar Prospects:

Submitted by France for Best International Feature this year, I can imagine it easily being short-listed, but making it to the final nomination slate might be tough.

Trailer #1

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5 Favorites Redux #62: Snowy Movies

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.

New Year’s morning (Friday), we had a small ice storm roll through. Then on Saturday we got more snow. While it wasn’t enough to do more than a light covering, it got me thinking about all the snowy adventures we’ve had on the big screen. Some stirring, others hilarious, but always such a rarity that we celebrate when we see them. Or so that’s what we’re supposed to say. There’s nothing more bleak than a snowy landscape. Nature buried beneath flaky whiteness. Danger at every turn. There’s something both peaceful and ominous about snow and its hoary visage. With nothing coming out this weekend that sounds even remotely interesting or with anyone I’ve seen more than a smattering of productions from, I thought I would companion this week’s five favorites with the more hopeful, joyous Christmas list I put together three weeks ago.

Of course, putting those same films on this list would be cheating and unlikely considering there are a lot of films that aren’t about Christmas that take place in the snow. Of course, I’m also interested in looking at specific scenes in films that aren’t entirely about snow, but have scenes set in a wintry landscape. Hence, how I came up with the films on my list, a strange array of genres and from a variety of filmmakers. There are even a few that came briefly to mind, but before I could write them down, I had forgotten them.

Before digging into the top five, let’s look at some of the films I chose to pass over, but not without due consideration. For big screen action adventures and blockbusters, there are no more impressive works than The Empire Strikes Back, The Day After Tomorrow, and Titanic. Each of these films, for different reasons, conjure up strong memories of the snowy environs in which they are set. From the frozen desolation of Hoth in the second Star Wars film, to the dangerous and preventable hellscape of The Day After Tomorrow, to the deadly and heartbreaking frigid climes that ended 1,500 lives in the true story of Titanic. All three films engaged audiences in different ways, but all of them were clear overperformers at the box office.

Moving away from the death and mayhem of the prior five films, we turn our attention to four family-friendly features that are set around or have central storylines involving snowfall or cold climates. Little Women, with either Katharine Hepburn or Saoirse Ronan in the lead, are a great set of films that most closely tie back to the warm familial spirits of the Christmas list I did previously. Two are animated films set either in the run up to Christmas, 101 Dalmatians, or have cold settings crucial to their plots, Frozen. Then there’s Edward Scissorhands, which like most Tim Burton films, defies classification, but is unlimited in its snowy themes.

That leaves three films, two comedies and one horror. None of them fit easily into a category of their own, but they are each standouts. I, Tonya is a semi-biographical exploration of the life and career of Tonya Harding, the most notorious ice skater in history. It’s a hilarious film that both takes itself seriously and has a lot of fun with its narrative. Fargo is the opposite. A black comedy in the truest sense of the word, this Joel & Ethan Coen title isn’t among my favorites they’ve ever done, but it’s hard to argue with the importance the snowy landscape of Fargo, North Dakota has on the film’s themes. And finally, one of two Stephen King adaptations I considered for this list. While Rob Reiner’s Misery gives Kathy Bates one of her greatest screen roles to date not to mention one of the screen’s best performances ever, its snow-bound setting certainly ups the ante of the material, but holds no candle to what was done with the other title that does make my final five.

With that, let’s get to it.
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