Tag Archives: previews

Pick or Pan of the Week: “Barney’s Version”

Pick Barney's VersionPICK Barney’s VersionA dramedy directed by Richard J. Lewis and starring Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman, and Rosamund Pike which tells the poignant story of Barney Panofsky, a foulmouthed, liquor-loving, politically incorrect television producer, whose unusual life history leads him to meet the love of his love at his second wedding – slight catch, however, she’s not the one up at the altar waiting to say “I do.”

Barney’s Version definitely has its flaws, but Paul Giamatti ditches the shaky, neurotic routine and delivers a boisterous and compelling performance that duly compensates for the film’s shortcomings.

“The script doesn’t need to convince us that the prickly and incorrigible Barney Panofsky is, in the end, someone worth caring about. Paul Giamatti’s performance already did.” ~ Dana Stevens

Full Review – Slate


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Filed under Canada, Dramedy

“Creation” Trailer Review: Natural Selection’s More Personal Side

Creation trailer reviewTrailer Review: From director Jon Amiel, the powerful biopic Creation is the tale of revolutionary thinker Charles Darwin and his personal struggle with science and religion preceding the 1859 publication of On the Origin of Species. The film stars real-life husband and wife team Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly as Charles and Emma Darwin.

The primary focus of Creation is on Darwin the man, not the explosively divisive theory of evolution. The film examines Darwin’s familial struggles and the personal demons that dog his core, which involve the death of his beloved 10-year-old daughter, Annie, and the fear of becoming estranged from his deeply religious wife, Emma. In the film, the conflict of science versus religion is personalized to become husband versus wife. In effect, the divided sentiments persisting in the Darwin family circle represent a microcosm of the great evolutionary dispute.

The tensions brought about by these circumstances serve as the foundation on which Creation is built. Darwin is a churchgoer who passionately loves his wife, but he also is a scientist with a mounting conviction that he lives in a world where God has no place. His spousal relationship serves as the foil that most drastically affects his readiness to unleash his discoveries.

Creation trailer reviewSet primarily within the confines of a small English town, Creation could be classified as a domestic melodrama. Yet, from what is evinced in the trailer, the film plays more like a fantastical, almost dream-like voyage. With breathtaking images of lush countryside, crashing waves, and jungle rivers interspersed among the plot-driving points, the trailer for Creation sweeps viewers off their feet and makes them feel as if they are about to embark upon a great, mystical adventure.

Creation appears to be a compelling, heartfelt story with superb performances from both Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly. Bettany appears especially strong in his role as Darwin, playing the world-renowned scientist and “man who killed God” with a gentle eloquence that speaks volumes. It will be interesting to see if the film can hold up against the cinematic natural selection and garner much critical acclaim.

Check out the trailer for Creation below. What do you think?


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Filed under Biopic, United Kingdom

Pick or Pan of the Week: “Blue Valentine”

Blue Valentine pickPICK Blue Valentine – A romantic drama directed by Derek Cianfrace and starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams which painfully charts the progression of a marriage on the rocks that probably never should have been attempted.

At first glance, Blue Valentine seems to be your run-of-the-mill indie drama; it’s ultra depressive and about damaged love. However, with dynamite performances from both Gosling and Williams and compassionate directing from Cianfrance,  this indie heart-breaker is able to transcend to the next level. Melancholy and broken it is for sure, but Blue Valentine makes acute observations about the characters’ struggling marriage and fluently depicts the roles that class and class values play in the characters’ relationship without coming across as being too piteous.

“An intensely intimate rendering of love that limits itself to that first falling in and that last falling out.” ~Betsey Sharkey

Full Review – Los Angeles Times


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Filed under Drama, Romance, United States

“Mid-August Lunch” Trailer Review: A Hearty Slice of Italian Family Living

Trailer review Mid-August LunchTrailer Review: From the creators of GomorrahMid-August Lunch is the happy-go-lucky tale of Italian mamas, gastronomy, and improbable friendships. The film, which stars writer/director Gianni Di Gregorio, offers a delectable slice of suburban, Roman life that is tastier than a slice of a bona fide Italian pizza pie.

Using a semi-improvised approach, Mid-August Lunch examines trans-generational issues with both benevolence and a hearty helping of playfulness. Gianni (Di Gregorio) is a broke, middle-aged bachelor living with his elderly mother who is not at all shy to make her opinions known. For Gianni, caring for his mother is a full-time job, leaving him with little time for any actual money-making. As a result, one situation leads to another, and Gianni suddenly finds himself as the caretaker for not only his own opinionated mother but for three more feisty nonagenarians as well. The beguiling issues that arise in this charismatic, kitchen-sink comedy involve many fraying tempers, which result from living in a henhouse full of stubborn and demanding mamas who refuse to live according to the Feng Shui rules that Gianni has laid out for them.

Trailer review Mid-August LunchThe trailer for Mid-August Lunch relies heavily on the use of character dialogue to get the story ball rolling. As Gianni’s harridan syndicate increases from one to four, the trailer shows clips of him and his multiplying mamas and attempts to incorporate droll instances where he is at the mercy of their caprices. The instances evinced in the trailer are indeed amusing, but their arrangement isn’t very effective at instilling a desire in the viewer to go see this film. Moreover, as a film that is primarily concerned with its characters and their relationships with each other, the trailer for Mid-August Lunch does little in the way of fostering any real character understanding.

Mid-August Lunch appears to be the kind of film that is rich in natural comedy and beautifully drawn characters who would jump off the screen if given the chance. Unfortunately, however, the trailer for this film is only half hearted in its efforts to convey the warm spiritedness of its characters.

Check out the trailer for Mid-August Lunch below. What do you think?


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Filed under Dramedy, Italy

The 12 Days of Christmas Trailers: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

On the twelfth day of Christmas Hollywood gave to me…a fire-snouted misfit

Jim Carrey irking Whoville

Jack the Pumpkin King

Bill Murray and Bah, humbug!

A towhead by his lonesome

Tim Allen down the chimney

Clark W. Griswold

You’ll shoot your eye out!

Will Ferrell wearing tights

Santa on trial

Two singing soldiers

And an angel every time a bell rings

Check out the trailer for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer below. It may have just been a T.V. special, but even decades later, this heart-warming shout-out to nonconformity has not lost any of its glow. With cheery tunes and delightful characters, like Yukon Cornelius and Hermey the molar-loving elf, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a must-watch, holiday special that will…well, it will go down in history!


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Filed under Animation, Classic, Musical, United States

The 12 Days of Christmas Trailers: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

On the eleventh day of Christmas Hollywood gave to me…Jim Carrey irking Whoville

Jack the Pumpkin King

Bill Murray and Bah, humbug!

A towhead by his lonesome

Tim Allen down the chimney

Clark W. Griswold

You’ll shoot your eye out!

Will Ferrell wearing tights

Santa on trial

Two singing soldiers

And an angel every time a bell rings

Check out the trailer for How the Grinch Stole Christmas below. In this rendition of the classic Seussian tale, Jim Carrey gives a superb performance in the title role. Unfortunately, however, it’s not enough to save the film, which, like the Grinch, has a heart that’s three sizes too small. So, given the choice between the Ron Howard Grinch and a sea sick crocodile…well, I’m not much for nauseas, man-eating reptiles, so I’ll just stick with the 1965 cartoon version.

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Filed under Fantasy, United States

The 12 Days of Christmas Trailers: “Home Alone”

On the eighth day of Christmas Hollywood gave to me a towhead by his lonesome

Tim Allen down the chimney

Clark W. Griswold

You’ll shoot your eye out!

Will Ferrell wearing tights

Santa on trial

Two singing soldiers

And an angel every time a bell rings

Check out of the trailer for Home Alone below. This is the tale of every elementary school kid’s anarchical dream come true – no grown-ups in sight and the freedom to scarf down buckets of ice cream and stay up past bedtime. The first half of the film dawdles along like a family of gimpy ducklings trying to the street. But thanks to the mischievous precociousness of Macaulay Culkin, life is breathed into the film, and it is able to be carried through to its rambunctious conclusion when the two bumbling burglars enter Culkin’s elaborately designed booby-trap, which is hands-down the highlight of the film.

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Filed under Comedy, United States