Film Preview: Encanto (2021)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(July 18, 2021) Original

Release Date:

November 24, 2021

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A young Colombian girl has to face the frustration of being the only member of her family without magical powers.”

Poster Rating: B- / B

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Review: (#1) Although the capybara, toucan, and parrot are cute, they don’t add much to a satisfactory design. (#2) While it doesn’t entirely speak to the film’s concept, there’s just enough here to be intriguing.

Trailer Rating: B+

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Review: While the trailer is somewhat enchanting, the musical elements are minimized to the point of feeling irrelevant. That kind of deemphasis has doomed more than a handful of potential blockbusters.

Oscar Prospects:

A certain contender for Best Animated Feature and is very likely to compete in Original Song and Original Score as well, which means Sound is, in tandem, a potential.

Trailer #1

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The DVD Report #734

The Pianist has finally been given a U.S. release on Blu-ray. The closest the 2002 Oscar-winning film came to a U.S. Blu-ray release previously was on a Region “A” Canadian release a few years ago.

Based on the autobiography of Polish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman, the Shout Select release is loaded with extras including an interview with Daniel Szpilman, the pianist’s grandson, who played the part of a boy in the marketplace in the Warsaw Jewish ghetto who is later seen on his way to the Treblinka extermination camp.

Despite the film’s title, Szpilman was more than a pianist. Born into a Jewish family, he was educated in Warsaw and Berlin. He became a composer whose works included scores for Polish films. As a pianist, he had his own radio program broadcast from Warsaw from 1935 until the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939. After that he was allowed to play in cafes for a while. His family, consisting of his mother, violinist father, brother, two sisters, and himself, was forced to move to the Warsaw ghetto in 1940. In 1942, they were put in line to board the train to the extermination camp. A friend in the Jewish Police was able to pull Szpilman, but none of his family members, from the line. He then spent time working in the ghetto where he helped smuggle in guns for the resistance. After the ghetto was shut down, he hid for two years during which he was helped by numerous people which eventually included a kind-hearted German soldier. That solider, whose name Szpilman didn’t know, was later captured by the Russians and falsely accused by them of war crimes. He died in prison in 1952 despite efforts from Szpilman and his supporters to have him freed as soon as they learned his name and became aware of his fate in 1951.

Szpilman returned to national, and eventually world prominence after the war. He died in 2000 at the age of 88 while the film was in pre-production.

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This Day in Oscar History: July 20 (2021)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released

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Poll: Now That You’ve Seen “Space Jam: A New Legacy”

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Now That You’ve Seen Space Jam: A New Legacy…?

Cinema Sight Asks: Now that you've seen "Space Jam: A New Legacy," which Malcolm D. Lee film is best?

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Film Preview: Ema (2021)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(July 18, 2021) Original

Release Date:

August 13, 2021

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A couple deals with the aftermath of an adoption that goes awry as their household falls apart.”

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 doesn’t quite explain the narrative and plotting elements that would make it compelling. What makes it fascinating is the rhythmic, entrancing nature of the music and dance elements. That could be enough to entice curiosity seekers.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jul. 16-18, 2021

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

The Morning After: Jul. 19, 2021

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:

Black Widow


A decade after she should have already gotten her own standalone film, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow gets more than her due in this mixture of spy thriller and Marvel Cinematic Universe feature. Johansson is joined by the estimable talents of Oscar nominee Florence Pugh, Oscar winner Rachel Weisz, and Emmy nominee David Harbour along with Ray Winstone, Olga Kurylenko, and Oscar-winner William Hurt in a small role as MCU-recurring character Secretary Ross.

Set just after events in Captain America: Civil War in which the Avengers have broken up due to internecine struggles regarding the decision to abide by the terms of the Sakovia Accords, which was designed to out all superheroes and require them to register with the government. The film opens in a small Ohio town where Natasha Romanoff (Johansson) lives with her Russian-spy family comprised of her dad Alexei (Harbour); mom Melina (Weisz); and younger sister Yelena (Pugh). After escaping with a particularly juicy piece of intel, the family flees to Cuba where they are split up at the behest of the film’s overarching villain Dreykov (Winstone).

Fast forward 21 years, and Natasha is on the lam from Sec. Ross, who wants to bring her in for the bombing that took place at the signing of the Accords. As she attempts to stay hidden, she finds herself pursued by a mysterious assassin called Taskmaster, an event that leads her to Yelena and into a web of intrigue that involves Dreykov’s survival and his pursuit of vengeance against his enemies, and control of all those whom he can.

Indie director Cate Shortland takes the helm of Marvel’s latest feature and proves singularly adept at blending action in one of the most gripping and thrilling adventure the MCU has yet produced. While it shares a lot in common with other films in the MCU, it easily stands apart from those films as the deviation from the norm that fits better with the likes of Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy than it does with the more traditional fare of the Avengers films and many of the other origin stories. It’s a laudable decision to deliver an woman’s story into the hands of a female director, but more importantly it helps establish the necessity of disparate voices in all realms of filmmaking.

This Day in Oscar History: July 19 (2021)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released

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Poll: What Are You Most Anticipating? (Aug. 2021, Wide)

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What Are You Most Anticipating? (Aug. 2021, Wide)

Cinema Sight Asks: Which August 2021 wide release are you most anticipating?

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Film Preview: Pig (2021)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(July 11, 2021) Original

Release Date:

July 16, 2021

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A truffle hunter who lives alone in the Oregonian wilderness must return to his past in Portland in search of his beloved foraging pig after she is kidnapped.”

Poster Rating: C- / D

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Review: (#1) Simple, but unappealing. This close up of a pig’s hide adds nothing of measurable importance. (#2) The absence of background detail and the visage of star Nicolas Cage don’t make for a very interesting design, especially in this dark and dull effort.

Trailer Rating: C

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Review: This truffle-hunting pig version of John Wick is a seemingly existential film that doesn’t look terribly appealing or interesting. The trailer is generic, confusing, and lifeless.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Weekend Preview: Jul. 23-25, 2021

Below are seven previews for films opening next weekend.

 

Old (Wide)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 
 

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins (Wide)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 
 

How It Ends (Limited)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 
 

Joe Bell (Limited)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 
 

Mandibles (Limited)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 
 

Midnight in the Switchgrass (Limited)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 
 

Settlers (Limited)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 

Film Preview: Settlers (2021)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(July 18, 2021) Original

Release Date:

July 23, 2021

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Mankind’s earliest settlers on the Martian frontier do what they must to survive the cosmic elements and each other.”

Poster Rating: C

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Review: The background is a shade misleading and the foreground while minorly contemplative is not very intriguing.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: As compelling as the concept might sound on paper, the execution provided in the trailer is rote and uninvolving.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Midnight in the Switchgrass (2021)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(July 18, 2021) Original

Release Date:

July 23, 2021

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “An FBI agent and Florida State officer team up to investigate a string of unsolved murder cases.”

Poster Rating: C-

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Review: There’s nothing much to see here. The background and lower foreground details simply don’t make up for the cheapness of the design.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: A surprisingly effective trailer for a film that is very clearly a throwaway effort for all those involved.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Mandibles (2021)

Film Poster

Page Revisions:

(July 18, 2021) Original

Release Date:

July 23, 2021

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Two simple-minded friends discover a giant fly in the trunk of a car and decide to domesticate it to earn money with it.”

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: Selling the film on its creator’s previous work (Rubber and Deerskin) could have been more effective, but the strangeness of the events in the trailer, combined with the elements of satire and farce might ultimately make the film more appealing than it might otherwise be.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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This Day in Oscar History: July 18 (2021)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released

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