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Sunday 30 December 2012

Django Unchained

Someone said to me, "have you seen the trailer for Django Unchained?"

I responded, "there's going to be a sequel to that animated lizard movie with Johnny Depp?"

Rango was the animated lizard movie.  It's just that it seems like  most films today are a sequel, prequel, or terribly unequal to anything remotely original.

Speaking of which, Quentin Tarantino.  He's made some pretty great films.  And despite the criticisms against him, many of his films seem fresh and original.  The Kill Bill movies sucked, but that's an old rant...

Every so often a modern western is made.  Usually they are pretty good.  Didn't Eastwood's, Unforgiven, even win an Oscar? I don't remember. Rango was a western.  Just sayin'

The trailer for Django Unchained tells the story, in the form of a western, of an American slave that is liberated by a bounty hunter to help settle a score.  The slave is the only one who has seen the faces of the men being tracked and thus, is made a bounty hunter too.

A potential nominee for best line in a trailer, when asked, "how do you like the bounty hunter business?" Django says, "kill white people... What's not to like?"

During the trailer the words, Life, Liberty, And the pursuit of... Vengeance, appear between scenes.  While the vengeance theme is entertaining on film because we all want to see justice in about two hours, I always struggle with how the theme conflicts with Judeo-Christian values.  Yes, I've been on this rant before, too. Hollywood, please make some original movies so I can stop sounding like a sequel, prequel or terribly unequal to anything remotely original.

All that to say that the trailer for Django Unchained looked, cool, fun and entertaining despite being longer than 2 minutes.  Mr. Tarantino, this looks like a good movie.

I'm sure I will see it.

Friday 28 December 2012

This is 40

The wife wants to see this movie tomorrow night so I must review the trailer, now.

This is 40 is billed as the sort of sequel to Knocked Up - which she took me to see when it came out.

I guess sort of sequel means it's the supporting couple from Knocked Up (Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann) playing the lead in the sequel.  They were the semi-functional couple who had their problems but worked hard to work them out because they have kids.  Gee, that applies to, I don't know.... EVERY COUPLE!

Knocked Up was kind of cute in a pro-life, fairy tale, delusional sort of way.  You know, you have the one-night stand and the woman gets pregnant and you choose to spend the rest of your lives together.  I guess (guys) if you're dumb enough to let that happen then you should have to man-up and take responsibility.   I've lived it.  I know.

The problem with Knocked Up is that there was nothing realistic about the two leads who make the choice to stay together after the one-night stand.  Don't get me wrong, it's a nice message, and would be great if people did take responsibility for bringing unexpected (and sadly, unwanted) children into this world.

So the realistic couple, the supporting couple from Knocked Up, gets their own movie.  It's a movie about a committed relationship with children and its' problems.

The only thing I thought of when I watched the trailer was: cry me a f**king river you assholes.  You  are two selfish people who are trying to make a relationship work in an upper middle class household where you don't have to worry about poverty, hunger, abuse, addiction, mental health etc...

Oh wait.  Maybe this is supposed to be a film for normal people.  Regular working families who have their struggles and work to overcome them for the sake of the family unit.  Maybe this is supposed to be an inspiration to we who have accepted our lives and try to create a better environment for our families.  You know, the regular folks who aren't the vain, shallow, ignorant, arrogant, completely delusional twits from reality TV.  You know, full of self-importance and no talent.  Or is that just what they think of the rest of us?

I guess the wife chose to see this for a reason.... Yeah, I'm pretty dumb sometimes.

Saturday 22 December 2012

Live-In Fear

Live-In Fear is an independent horror film.  Thanks for sending the links, Maria.

LIF Poster Final.jpeg

Once again, here are my top 5 scary movies that take place in snowy settings:

1) The Shining
2) The Thing
3) Misery
4) Ravenous
5) Black Christmas

To be honest, those are the only ones that I can think of that I've seen... other than The Grey, which wasn't really scary and I really wanted the wolves to win.  Oh, and Fargo, which wasn't scary either, just all kinds of brilliant.

What makes cold, snowy setting so effective in scary movies is often the choice one has to make to either die by the hands of the killer or to die by the hands of nature - neither sounds pleasant.  Cold, isolated settings are also a good backdrop for madness.

Live-In Fear is the story of four 20somethings who go to Utah for a skiing vacation to escape the rat race of Los Angeles. What they find or what finds them is a shitstorm of weird cultish mayhem, murder and mutilation.

Utah.  I spent a week in Utah skiing and stayed at a rundown lodge halfway up a mountain in Park City.  It was beautiful and cold and we had to hitch a ride on a snowmobile to get to and from the bars, which closed at 10:00 pm.  After that we found all sorts of trouble to get into.  My only other memories are of the watery draught beer and the bland and doughy pizza.

The trailer for Live-In Fear begins with one of the group talking about the legend of a bloody bride - a sort of Bloody Mary, Candyman type ghost story one might tell to a child.  He tells the story on the way to the cabin in the woods.

I like cabin in the woods stories.  Regardless of whether the threat is human, supernatural, physical or psychological, remoteness lends itself so well to a horror story.  So, if madness can overtake a rational mind while on vacation, imagine what madness can do to one who chooses the remote setting as a permanent home.

I may be wrong (I often am but don't mind, really) but Live-In Fear appears to examine a sort of collision of madness.  The collision being the tired L.A. tourists who just want to get away to a quiet, secluded place VS. the locals whose cabin fever took over long before the tourists arrived.

Indeed, the cabin in the woods is a common theme, but while one can judge such films as cliche, the horror genre is built on such themes and at its core is, fear.  The manifestation of such fear, whether the threat is human, supernatural, real or perceived is the thrill that we fans expect when we watch such films. 

You don't need a big budget to create fear.  You just need to create fear from a threat that the audience can believe.

As a trailer, Live-In Fear had all the elements of a good, scary movie.  I'll just need to see it to confirm.... 

Um, Maria, please send it...

Check out the trailer for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF-BAPErUHo&list=PLB2020685BBFFFD83&index=75&feature=plpp_video

The film’s IMDB page is http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2290473/

Friday 21 December 2012

Max Beerbohm Holiday Quote

"To give and then not feel that one has given is the very best of all ways of giving."  Max Beerbohm

Whatever you choose to celebrate or not celebrate, Happy Holidays to all!

Thank you for reading and following and sending cool and interesting trailers!


Thursday 20 December 2012

The 9th (full trailer)

When I reviewed the teaser trailer for The 9th I said:

Watching the less than 1 minute teaser felt like sitting in the window seat of a slow moving train through an urban setting, peeping through the windows of a posh apartment building.

The teaser trailer was like a very cool puzzle.  There was a randomness to it.  While each scene obviously had relevance, the scenes seemed to be in no particular order.  For the teaser, it really worked because it was like an abstract puzzle and, despite being a short teaser, the cool images formed an idea of what the film was about. 

The full trailer, which maintained the cool visual spirit of the teaser, was much more conventional, in a good way.  While some of the images from the teaser remained (which I really liked), there seemed to be a logical progression.

The 9th seems to be about a fancy cocktail party where surface beauty masks an inner ugliness.  The common spaces are filled with small talk and modern civilities while darker, more base actions and instincts happen behind closed doors.

It made me think of Alfred Hitchcock's, Rope, for some reason.  A brilliant film shot in one setting where Ivy League "boys" murder a friend, put his body in a sort of credenza, and host a dinner party with the buffet placed on the cabinet housing the corpse. 

While The 9th seems like a more visually complex story, with all due respect to Rope, it also had a sort of Agatha Christie whodunit feel... but perhaps more appropriately...whydunit...

A few seconds after the full trailer for The 9th ended, it struck me that it may be - whether intentionally or not - an interesting metaphor for western society: behind the beauty of ourselves and our possessions we sometimes hide a darker self.  Some, like the guests on The 9th, may take that darkness to a deeper level.

I really want to see this film.

See for yourself: http://vimeo.com/55691649

Friday 14 December 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Whenever I see a prequel, many thoughts pop into my head... really.  Only a few, though, can be expressed without this blog getting an unfriendly rating.

I once heard a comedian say something to the effect of, "imagine if the telephone was invented after email. People would say, wow, there's this new device were you can actually talk to someone!"

What does this have to do with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, movie trailer?  Well, nothing.

What if the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey film was made before the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, you know, because The Hobbit was published in 1937 and The Lord of the Rings in 1954?  Would people who hadn't read the books be able to make better sense of the LOTR trilogy? Does it really matter?  Does it really matter that The Hobbit will also be a trilogy? Does it matter that the Star Wars franchise did the same thing?

So, will the box set be available with six special edition discs? What will make it special is that they will be packaged in the order in which J.R.R. Tolkien wrote them and they will be placed in a commemorative box where the discs will only fit in the proper order because each disc will have special packaging. Rest assured that the commemorative box will be made of a much stronger paper than regular post-it note paper. If you had already purchased the LOTR trilogy, you will be disappointed to know that in order to get the commemorative box, you need to purchase the entire 6 disc box set and even if you managed to get the box, your discs wouldn't fit because of the new special packaging.  But if you act now you'll get a seventh limited edition making of, director's cut, deleted scenes and craft services shenanigans and it will come in an even more special commemorative box with a special place for disc 7.  Please note that you'll have to pre-order now and it will be available in early 2014.

What does this have to do with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey movie trailer?  Well, nothing.

I really like Martin Freeman. He's hilarious.

The first part of the trailer made me think that the movie adaptation of The Hobbit should have been called Bilbo and the seven dwarfs, or Bilbo and the Huntsman.

The song they sang made me think of Spinal Tap singing the intro to their hit song, Stonehenge.

What sucks is that, even if you don't know the story, you know what the outcome of the trilogy will be because you've seen the LOTR trilogy.  Clearly Bilbo and Gandolf make it.... sorry for the spoiler. It's kind of like mathematics: you can't just give the answer you have to show the formula of how you found the answer.  The Hobbit trilogy is the formula, I guess.

I loved the LOTR trilogy.  I enjoyed reading the Hobbit and, despite my rant, the trailer kind of takes you back into Jackson's interpretation of Tolkien's creation. I hate to say it but it looks great and will likely be entertaining as hell, or in this case Mordor...

Yeah, I'm a sucker for this stuff in movie form, but not for the merchandise.  I am tempted, however, to pre-order the box set.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Wilmington on Fire

Wilmington on Fire is a documentary.  Thanks for sending the link.

There are few things that are more troubling and unjust than man's inhumanity towards his fellow man.  Historically, in every century, decade, or even year humans demonstrate one form of inhumanity or another.  It's troubling because religion and values tell us to "judge not lest ye be judged" or "do unto others as you would have them do" or even "turn the other cheek."

When Thomas Jefferson and his crew wrote the Declaration of Independence they wrote, "All men are created equal."  When I hear the quote sometimes I think of George Orwell when he wrote in Animal Farm, something to the effect of "All are equal, some are just more equal than others."

In all the good that America was, and still can be, there were some very dark times in U.S. history.  Human slavery is among the darkest.

Wilmington on Fire is based on true events.  Out of respect here is the actual synopsis.

"The Wilmington Massacre of 1898 was a bloody attack on the African-American community by a heavily armed white mob on November 10, 1898 in the port city of Wilmington, North Carolina. It is also considered one of the only examples of a violent overthrow of an existing government (coup d'etat) and left countless numbers of African-American citizens dead. This event was the spring board for the white supremacy movement and Jim Crow (segregation) throughout the state of North Carolina, and the American South. © 2011 Christopher Everett"

The teaser trailer is narrated in the form of a poem.  It is interspersed with what looks like actual photographs.  The spoken word and the images were very powerful.  They pull you into a world and a time of anger, hate and injustice.  They take you by the hand and the heart and show you that the words of Thomas Jefferson, that the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and even the teachings of the church sometimes fall on deaf ears when fear and ignorance take the lead.

I was very moved by this trailer and I look forward to seeing the documentary.

Please see for yourself: http://vimeo.com/33422710

Saturday 8 December 2012

The Torment of Laurie Ann Cullom

The Torment of Laurie Ann Cullom is an independent film, currently in production, by Mark Dossett.

The trailer for this one is under a minute.  I like short teaser trailers.  The challenge with any trailer, though, is presenting the story without giving away the story. 

I can't imagine anything more scary (and real) then being home alone and slowly realizing you're not alone and in danger.  Okay, maybe the impending zombie apocalypse is scarier, but I've begun collecting katanas and machetes.  I think the best weapon, though, will be car batteries. Think about it. Molotov cocktails made with battery acid would certainly fry any zombie and there will be no shortage of abandoned cars... just sayin'.

Where was I? 

The trailer for this film is simple and to the point.  She's alone in her house and there may or may not be someone else there.  While this theme and its tension isn't new, the synopsis gave a bit more insight.  Laurie Ann Cullom was the victim of a brutal assault and was so traumatized that she has developed agoraphobia and has become a shut-in.  It's "inspired by true events."

So, imagine one is suffering from a form of post-traumatic-stress, is terrified of leaving home, is likely mistrusting of all other humans and realizes she is not alone in her house.  The trailer opens with a 9-1-1 call and closes with a recorded message of what may or may not be the same 9-1-1 call, followed by a scream and a gruesome mess. This apparent helplessness and hopelessness is the basis of a good thriller.   You can bet that if she survives this, she'll have - literally - faced her demons.

Mark Dossett says that this film is his homage to 80's horror films.  As a fan of 80's horror films, it looks like it could very well be and hopefully Mark will have the opportunity to complete it.

Check out the trailer and, if you like it, please help Mark get the film made.

Tuesday 4 December 2012


My trailer review for Skyfall said...

"As much as I dislike the current Bond franchise, I liked this trailer.  It reminded me of the old franchise... or maybe it was just the music... ding diddle ling ding, ding ding ding, ding diddle ling ding.... Yes, I'll see it."

Saw it tonight with the wife.

She asked me what I thought, I said that we should have ice cream when we get home.

She smacked my arm and asked what I thought of the movie.

The beginning was fun and very true to the Bond franchise.  The rest was hit and miss with some cliches that should never be in a Bond film.  Once heroic gunslinger gets his head out of the bottle, battles his demons and dons the sheriff's badge and takes on the outlaws... it really didn't work and almost seemed like story filler.  Bond is too cool to be human and show emotion and vulnerability.

Craig is a good Bond.  He's just not getting much to work with.

Otherwise, it was entertaining enough and certainly better than the last two but it still fell a bit short for me.  The music was cool and the old Aston Martin was stunning. Maybe my expectations were too high.  And the introduction of Moneypenny was pointless, almost like an afterthought. 50 years in and Moneypenny's agent origins are told? Flash of brilliance.

The wife liked the human side of Bond.  "Of course you do, honey." I said.

I asked her what she thought of Skyfall.  She said, "if movies were an Olympic event and the competitors for espionage/spy films were, the Bond franchise, the Bourne franchise, the Mission Impossible franchise and the Spykids franchise,  Bond would get the bronze, Mission Impossible would get the silver and Bourne would get the gold.  Spykids would get a DNF (did not finish).

Please note: The views of the wife do not necessarily reflect the views of Beerbohmtastic.

Monday 3 December 2012

The Last Station (La Última Estación)

Thanks for following on Twitter...

There was an old riddle: What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon and three legs in the evening?

The answer is: man. Morning, afternoon and evening are metaphors for life stages. When we are babies, we crawl (all fours). Then we spend much of our lives on two legs and when we are old, in our twilight, three legs refers to the need for a cane.

When we are young we don't think about ageing; we don't give much consideration to the last station.  When we put our parents or grandparents in a "home" are we doing the best thing for them or for us?

No judgment, here, simply an observation as I've never experienced having to put an elderly family member in such a place.

The Last Station, is a Spanish language documentary about the lives of elderly people in a nursing home. The trailer showed the sadness, lonliness and even solitude of once productive lives, mothers and fathers who once protected and provided for their families. They talk about what has become of their lives and express some disbelief on how a fulfilling life once filled with meaning could end up so meaningless. They sit and wait to be remembered or search for the ones who have forgotten them at the last station.

The trailer is in Spanish with English subtitles, but this did not detract from the emotion that reached out from the trailer and grabbed me so unexpectedly.

I don't watch many documentaries, but as a trailer, The Last Station, was more than a documentary teaser, it was a beautiful and sad work of art.

Please see for youself: http://www.laultimaestacion.cl

Sunday 2 December 2012

Max Beerbohm Quote for December

Not really festive, but....

"There is much to be said for failure. It is much more interesting than success."

Saturday 1 December 2012

Killing Them Softly

It's been a while since I went on a rant...

The more I am exposed to creative independent film (trailers), the more mainstream film trailers look ridiculous to me. The trailer for Killing Them Softly annoyed me for many reasons.  Where shall I begin?

Every character in this film is an asshole.  Why is it that Hollywood continues to glorify criminal behaviour and any form of morality or decency is reduced to a code for a criminal with a bit of a conscience?  If the statement is that all humans are inherently bad, and that we have brief flashes of decency, then the message is old, stupid and very tired.

Yes, I know that Hollywood produces good stuff, too, but not here.

In an effort to be cool, Hollywood sometimes has a wonderful ability to make things, pointlessly ugly.  The trailer for Killing Them Softly was just plain, pointlessly ugly. Add that it reminded me of an episode of The Sopranos (which I loved), and add that nothing about it seemed interesting, entertaining or even remotely original and, according to Beerbohmtastic, you have a shit trailer.

I think it even tried to display some comedy, but it was such a lame attempt - almost too cool an attempt - that it was acknowledged in my mind as simply, lame.

Brad Pitt is a superstar, a very good actor and a strong screen presence.  Ray Liotta is the same, albeit ageing.  James Gandolfini is the reason I got cable and when The Sopranos ended, I cancelled my cable.   No issues with this cast, I really like all three of them.

It doesn't really matter to me if this film is any good.  The trailer tried so hard to be cool that was just plain cold.


Now that I'm calm, I'm thinking that this might be a nominee for a 2013 Beerbohm Award for Worst Trailer.

Friday 30 November 2012

The Other

The Other is an Independent film.

The trailer was really a short teaser, only 30 seconds.  It appears to be one man's internal struggle with external choices.  The only dialogue is a voice-over at the very beginning of the trailer: This was never about death, this was always about life.

Then it's a man and his "machine" of sorts and what looks to be his experiments.  There is what appears to be hope, then pain, then more pain, then apparent madness. It's a true teaser because very little is given, let alone given away.  The visuals were kind of cool and the music was perfect.  I watched the teaser twice and disjointed thoughts popped randomly into my head. It was like the answers were on the tip of my tongue but I couldn't articulate them. 

I had to cheat.  I had to read the synopsis, which is not really cheating because in the early days of Beerbohmtastic I occasionally reviewed a film based on its synopsis.  Yeah, I know, it's even sillier than trailer reviews but again, I digress.

Once I read the synopsis for The Other, I watched the trailer again and the disjointed thoughts became clearer thoughts.  This is the order of my thoughts: doctor/scientist discovers he is terminally ill.  He somehow discovers a way to cure/slow down his illness, the procedure is both painful and may or may not alter his genetic make-up.  Altering his genetic make-up may cause a Jeckyll & Hyde effect.  His choice is certain death or live as a monster (of sorts).

I liked the trailer for a few reasons.  I always prefer when a trailer gives away very little with interesting visuals and makes me curious enough to seek answers.  Yeah, I'm odd that way.

Cool teaser trailer.  I'll see this film.

Check it out here:  http://www.other-themovie.com

Tuesday 27 November 2012


It's been a while since I've reviewed a mainstream film (trailer).... so here's as good a one as any.

When I was a kid, Alfred Hitchcock's, Psycho, would occasionally play on late night television. I tried to watch it many times. Each time, with each passing year, I could never get past the scene where Martin Balsam walks up the flight of stairs in Norman's house.  I would always turn off the TV before the scene ended. It wasn't until the ripe old age of 19 that I was able to sit through it in its entirety - in a room with other budding film buffs.

At a time when gore and violence where implied more than shown on screen, Alfred Hitchcock was the master.  That said his film, Psycho, pushed the boundaries of main stream cinema.

After finally being able to sit through Psycho, I devoured many other Hitchcock films.  The Birds was crazy bizarre. While all of his films had their beautiful and twisted charm, Vertigo and Rear Window were favourites, but the lesser known, Rope, was especially interesting.  Interesting because (from what I remember) the entire film was shot in 10 minute segments.  It didn't hurt that the film was shot in one apartment setting, but Hitchcock created tension and suspense that was truly remarkable. Indeed, the "master of suspense" moniker suited him.

So, here we have Hannibal Lechter as Alfred Hitchcock.  While I had trouble seeing any real resemblance between Anthony Hopkins portrayal of Hitchcock and Alfred himself, as the trailer progressed the actions of Hopkins sold me on the interpretation.

It was kind of like when I saw, Ray.  Jamie Foxx was so good that I'd forgotten what Ray Charles looked like until they showed his face at the end of the film.  I trust that will happen here.

From the trailer I was able to understand that Hitchcock is not so much a bio-pic of Alfred Hitchcock, but more on how the film, Psycho, was made - challenges and all.  I think that how it was made had more to do with the man that Hitchcock was than anything else.  I believe this to be the point of the film.  It's kind of fitting to depict a man in his element because this is where he thrived.

Throw in the lovely and talented Helen Mirren, the lovely and slightly less talented Scarlett Johansson and the just as talented as Helen Mirren, but not as lovely as Scarlett Johansson, Toni Collette and you've got a great supporting female cast. Added bonus, really.

The trailer for Hitchcock brought back the admiration that I had for the great director who, by the way, always had a very brief cameo in almost all of his films.  I found myself smiling at the story, interested by the controversy of the film, Psycho, and ultimately, very eager to see this film.

Monday 26 November 2012

Through the Looking Glass

Thanks for sending this, Craig.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

The walrus was trying to get the oysters to jump into a pot so he and the carpenter could eat them (I think?).  As you know, it's from Lewis Carroll's, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Saw There.  I'm not sure if it came before or after Alice in Wonderland but I read it to my daughter when she was little. It's one of those stories that seems really simple but is beautifully complex should one decide to delve.

It's appropriate, here, really, because stories of apparent possession/descent into madness may seem similar on the surface, but each individual that battles the madness has a unique perspective and often does so completely alone.  But this isn't about my pop psychological analysis of an artist's descent into madness, this is about - referring to the trailer for Through the Looking Glass - an apparent demon that manifests itself. Or is it?

While it's true that we can reference, The Shining and Wilde's, Portrait of Dorian Gray (sort of) and others, madness and demons, personal or otherwise are as real as the human mind allows.

Where was I?  Through the Looking Glass, trailer.

Through the Looking Glass is the story of an artist who receives an old mirror.  This mirror is, or represents, a gateway to what appears to be a darker place and the artist begins his slow descent into said madness.

Several things struck me about the trailer.  It was very tastefully and professionally presented - it looked great.  The sound and lighting were perfect for the genre and the acting was top notch.  It was near impossible to tell that it was made on a limited budget.

The short trailer (1:26) felt like a heartbeat; slow and steady, increasing with the madness, building to a crescendo...  It fades to a scream and then a likeness of the same scream, only painted. Nice touch.

Finally, it asks, "what's your reflection?"

I really like these types of stories. Very cool stuff.

See for yourself:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLXdYd3Vxc0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

VIEWED: Lincoln (not by me)

My trailer review for Lincoln said:

"The trailer for Lincoln had so much going for it.  You know Spielberg is a master.  Daniel Day Lewis and the rest of the cast are great.  And, Abe's story and the impact he had on America and the world are inspiring.  Maybe the release of this film is timely, historically speaking.

Maybe I'm being a sentimental sap right now, even though the wife says I have no feelings, but I was moved by this trailer and am eager to see this film on the big screen."

The wife saw this with our 14 year old little brother (Big Brother's program) on Saturday.

She said, "it was a great film and Daniel Day Lewis should win an Oscar."

I said, "like every other Oscar winning actor who does an impersonation of someone else?"

She said, "you're an ass."

Our little brother said, "It was too long and I kept waiting for him to get shot."

PLEASE NOTE:  The views of the wife (and the little brother) do not necessarily reflect the views of Beerbohmtastic.

Saturday 24 November 2012

The Last Straw

Thanks for sending this, Jeff.

The Last Straw is a true story, independent film by Jeff Renfew (www.laststrawfilms.com)

Everybody has a story.  Good, bad, happy, sad and often interesting.  Is my story or your story interesting to everyone, though? Maybe.  The story, however, is always interesting to the story teller and the story teller hopes that others will find it interesting or at least relate in some way.

While everybody has a story, few are fortunate enough to write about it; fewer actually have the opportunity to make a film about a life.  Must the life be significant (celebrity, athlete etc...) or is the actual story more important?  A universal message? A disturbing message? Inspiration?  

While there is some truth to what I say and yes, we can say it's "all relative", but some "true" stories are just bizarre and actions sometimes seem almost random. 

The trailer for The Last Straw wasn't really a trailer.  The film is posted on the website and I'm told that it's in ten minute segments.  I watched the first segment and I must say I am conflicted.

The production value was basic and it seemed more like a home movie than an actual film.  These days with "found footage" and "documentary style" techniques, I guess you could make it work.  As the story began to unfold I wasn't really sure where it was going.  And then, something bizarre and seemingly random occurred and, as my eyes widened and I swallowed saliva build up, I uttered the name, "Jesus."

I'm not sure where the film can go from here and, though I only watched about ten minutes, I can't imagine any closure.  The motivation of human acts are sometimes obvious and sometimes remain a mystery, thus leaving only speculation. 

If there's a next segment, I'm sure I'll watch it.

Friday 23 November 2012

American Mary

This was sent to me by the Soska sisters (@twisted_twins), thank you... I guess.

I say, "I guess" because the trailer for American Mary taught me something about myself as one, odd as it may be, who truly enjoys viewing movie trailers.  It taught me that when it comes to viewing certain types of "gore," I have become a bit of a lightweight.  So, Jen and Sylvia, it's not you, it's me...

That said, can I say that sometimes gore can be tastefully presented?  There's a story here and while I grimaced a few times I didn't look away.  So, in this case could tasteful mean, not too gratuitous?

What interests me more than the actions of a - let's not pull punches here - butcher, is what motivates such a human creature.  The teaser trailer for American Mary tells the story of a medical school drop-out who has found another use for her surgical skills.  Devo were medical school drop-outs but they chose to play music as an outlet for their.... um... creativity.

Mary is a cold and calculating beast, clearly.  Mary, however, is more than that. There is icy precision in her actions throughout the trailer and the question I ask myself is: Does this madness stem from an almost artistic, psychotic obsession to practice "body modification" or is there something inside Mary that stems from personal shock or trauma that has manifested into a need that she must fulfil?  Ain't pop psychology, fun?

The other question for me is a simple one: are the people that she practices her "art/butchery" on, willing or perhaps "deserving" in Mary's eyes?  Eyes which are frighteningly cold, by the way - nice casting.

The trailer closes with a "Mengele" reference. Dr. Josef Mengele, known as the angel of death, was a nazi surgeon who performed bizarre experiments on concentration camp prisoners during World War II.  Sick shit, look it up.

While this blog, in a tongue-in-cheek way (and not sewn to the cheek, Jen and Sylvia :), judges a book by it's cover - movie by it's trailer - sometimes there is more to the cover than meets the eye.  The teaser trailer for American Mary gave just enough information and posed enough questions, for me anyway, to be interested.

And while I don't know if I have the stomach to actually watch it, I trust that this cover is more than one-dimensional.  Open at your own risk.


Wednesday 21 November 2012

Red Dawn

What was I just saying about remakes?  What do I always say about remakes?  Is it better to remake a bad movie than to remake a good movie, badly?  

Isn't there another movie that was just released not called Red Dawn that is really Red Dawn with a different title?

I saw the original Red Dawn.  It was a more serious version of the movie from the 1960's "The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming."  That one was freaking hilarious.  Similar premise only funny because the idea of a foreign army conducting a full out ground attack on the United States is as ridiculous as the United Kingdom banning football (that's soccer to we North Americans).

Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a serious bad ass.  My daughter loved him in the Supernatural series and I thought he was brilliant as the sociopath, Comedian, in The Watchmen.

While Chris Hemsworth's, Thor was just okay, I liked his acting chops in Snow White and the Huntsman.  He can act and is believable in the trailer for Red Dawn.

Oh yeah, the trailer for Red Dawn...

It was nicely packaged and had the right amount of emotion and explosions.  But for some reason it made me think of a monologue by Bill Murray from the movie, Stripes:  

"We're Americans, with a capital 'A', huh? You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We're the underdog.  We're mutts! But there's no animal that's more faithful, that's more loyal, more loveable than the mutt...  All we have to do is to be the great American fighting soldier that is inside each one of us..." 

That's really what Red Dawn is, isn't it?  It's the underdog, a handful of kids led by a few soldiers that kick the collective butts of two highly trained foreign invading armies (in this case North Korean and Russian). Did these invading armies not think things through?  How silly to invade America when every citizen is a potential soldier, right?

While the biblical, David vs. Goliath theme is often present in these types of films, you really have to suspend your disbelief to accept the premise.  

I don't accept the premise and I don't care to see this remake.

Monday 19 November 2012

The 9th

Thanks for sending this...

The teaser trailer for The 9th was recently sent to me. The full trailer will be available shortly, but sometimes I prefer just viewing the teaser.

It seems like reviewing independent film trailers has taken up the bulk of this blog.  It's awesome! Please keep sending your teasers and trailers and I'll keep reviewing them!

They say that there are no original ideas left. Remake after remake, sequel after sequel after prequel confirms this.  I'm finding that this is not the case with the independent film trailers that I've had the pleasure of reviewing.

I really enjoy how the independent film trailers that I've been reviewing seem so much more fresh and interesting than most of the mainstream film trailers I'm used to. It's like, generally speaking, that mainstream film is just formulaic and every movie is pretty much the same, within it's own genre - because it sells? Think about all the political thrillers, dramas, even horror movies - okay Cabin in the Woods was different, but I did say "generally speaking." The trailers are all the same formula and the films are pretty much the same. I hate to say this, because I love comic book movies, but even my beloved comic book movie trailers are all pretty much the same, too.

Inspired by the music of Earl "Fatha" Hines, a jazz pianist from the 1930's, The 9th was a really cool teaser trailer.  Watching the less than 1 minute teaser felt like sitting in the window seat of a slow moving train through an urban setting, peeping through the windows of a posh apartment building.  There are no voices or dialogue, only the music from another era. And, what you see are well-dressed people, some doing "naughty" things, some apparently dying, some with weapons, some preparing to commit crimes or actually committing them and in the end, Champagne. Not all of the images made sense,  like the man in the tuxedo standing with mannequins dressed like police officers - but it made for a very cool visual.

I watched the trailer a second time because I found the visuals to be very interesting. The second time around made me think of Agatha Christie.  I'm not sure why.  It appears that there is a formal gathering of some kind and clearly foul play is afoot. That's what the trailer left me with.

The teaser trailer for The 9th worked, well.  I look forward to seeing more.

Deadly Intent

Deadly Intent is an independent thriller.  Thanks for following...

While I've only recently started viewing and reviewing independently made films (well, their trailers, anyway) I am constantly amazed and pleasantly surprised by the quality of them.  Quality of production, story, acting.... everything.  There will be no shortage of nominees for a Beerbohm Award for Best Independent Film Trailer. 

Deadly Intent is about a young boy who's father is a soldier.  The father dies (in military action?) and the mother and boy are devastated.  This happens so often and it's such a terrible tragedy.  I can't imagine how difficult it must be for a young family to lose a father (or mother for that matter).  Circumstances aside, how does a family recover from such a loss? How does a young boy cope when his father dies and his mother is completely distraught?

Following the tragic loss, Deadly Intent (trailer) takes us down an even darker path than imaginable.  The young boy becomes engulfed by his grief and starts to withdraw.  His mother's own grief prevents her from noticing.  So far, normal reactions to such a loss.

The trailer then shows the young boy acting out death scenes, possibly hallucinating, and things around the house start become damaged or broken.  What isn't clear (which makes this a good teaser) is whether the boy is suffering from post-traumatic stress and is acting out violently or, as is slightly implied by the trailer, he has become possessed and there are stronger, more sinister forces at play.

Either way, movies that deal with children that experience trauma or hardship always make me feel sad and angry.  It isn't right that our most innocent often have to deal with the greatest injustices.  As they are often not emotionally equipped to deal with such situations, the damage done can last a lifetime.  Sometimes I wonder if "healing" from childhood trauma is really possible and, sadly, is healing only for the privileged - better access to help? I digress, again.

The trailer for Deadly Intent took common subject matter and appeared to give it an even darker spin.  It created emotion, clearly struck a chord and, I liked how it left questions unanswered.

Good trailer. I look forward to seeing the film.

Saturday 17 November 2012

The 2nd Annual Beerbohm Awards

It's time to think about (for me anyway) the 2nd Annual Beerbohm Awards, in recognition of movie trailers.

Please note that the Beerbohm is awarded only to movie trailers (that I've seen) and are not an award for the actual movie.  The Oscars are for that...

This year I will be adding two new categories: 

Best Independent Film Trailer 

Best Documentary Trailer.

More details below the impressive hardware...

The other Beerbohm Award categories are:

Best Trailer

Worst Trailer

Best Music or Song in a Trailer

Best One-Liner in a Trailer

Worst Spoiler Trailer

Most Misleading Trailer

Please send in your nominations before January 31, 2013.  In February, readers/followers will be given the opportunity to vote.  Yes, YOU are the academy, unless the wife overrules.

Either comment on the blog or email your nominations to beerbohmtastic@gmail.com.

Thank you for reading and following and sending stuff and for loving movies (and trailers) as much as I do.

Here are last year's winners: http://beerbohmtastic.blogspot.ca/2012/03/here-are-your-2012-beerbohm-award.html


Friday 16 November 2012


Thanks for sending this and thanks for following, Nicki.

Sometimes when I see a trailer, images and judgements pop into my mind.  Thoughts like, "I liked it when it was called..." or "I can't suspend my disbelief..." or "terrible acting or story...." or "they just gave the whole thing away, why bother seeing the film..."

Almost none of that happened during the 2 minute trailer for, Consequence.

Consequence grabs you from the opening scene (of the trailer).  A young woman begins talking to the audience.  She is real, sincere, charming, direct and her honesty on screen caught me off guard - in the best possible way.

During the trailer, a philosophical question is asked:  What would you do if you could have one day without the "dreaded consequences?"

We begin with shoplifting and embark on a montage of actions and performances of sorts by the women who greeted us.  The actions begin as fun and becomes progressively darker, some even strange.  The beauty of this is that we witness societal conventions (laws of man and morality) deconstruct, and the trailer never tells us why.  Certainly we can speculate - last day on earth etc. - but in the trailer, the "why" doesn't seem to matter as much as the "what" she will do.  True teaser!

Didn't Milton imply in, "Paradise Lost" that being bad is more fun than being good? Yet, how far will one go "without consequence?"

The "almost none" thought mentioned earlier refers to the final scene of the trailer when I thought of Chan Wook Park's, Lady Vengeance.  A story where the families of victims are given an opportunity to exact a form of justice from a killer.  Not a bad comparison at all, it is a great examination of humans.

With the final scene of the trailer in mind, clearly the elimination of consequence enables our heroin to take back what may have been stolen from her, emotionally and/or physically.  I have no doubt that we've all wished we could live without consequence for similar reasons.  Maybe that's why Dexter is so popular, but I digress.

The trailer for Consequence was beautifully shot and brilliantly communicated. It not only teases and entertains, but makes one think.  This is pretty powerful stuff.  I can't wait to see this film.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Dark Arc (2004)

This trailer was sent to me (thanks, James), and as I do with everything that is sent to me, I read it, view it, or listen to it.... Please continue to send stuff and I promise that I will eventually get to all of it.

What I do on this blog is easy.  Creative works, regardless of what any critic says, are borne from passion, desire, vision, imagination, ambition, drive.... some, more, or all of the above. And I have the utmost respect for those who create and open themselves up to ones who can't create, so choose to criticise.... hello!  Okay, group hug.

The trailer for Dark Arc made think of Atom Egoyan, David Cronenberg, David Lynch and Canada.  Three out of four ain`t bad.... YOU guess.

I remember when I saw Atom Egoyan's, Exotica.  The first half of the film was filled with implied depravities and innuendos that seemed too disturbing to be depicted in the film.  It led the viewer down a dark and ugly path only to pull back as if to say, how could you think that way, while almost imposing the sadness of the characters on the viewer.  It was a skillful piece of film making, an exercise in manipulation, and Mia Kirshner was smoking hot.

There were elements of being led down a dark and ugly path in the trailer for Dark Arc.  There were also elements that made me think it may not be taking itself too seriously.  What I was able to gauge from the trailer is that there are two rivals of sorts who are in love/lust with the same woman. 

For some reason that other 'two rivals in love with the same woman' crap trailer, This Means War, popped into my head. I'm not comparing the two because the Dark Arc trailer, at least, wasn't annoying. When I reviewed the trailer for This Means War, I closed with:

"I am so annoyed by this trailer that I think I will actually see This Means War. It's fun being wrong, but even more fun being right."

The wife saw This Means War, I couldn't bring myself to see it. When I asked her what she thought about it she said, "it was crap." 

Oh yeah, Dark Arc...

At certain points in the under 2 minute trailer (this is a good thing) I felt that it was trying too hard to emit a Lynch or Cronenberg feel, that and the sense that this is a Canadian art film, Egoyan style.  Regardless, it was an odd trailer that had a strange charm. 

It looks like the film was made in 2004 but is now available on cable on-demand.  TRAILER HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPeG4EFZ4ZM

Monday 12 November 2012

VIEWED: Dark Shadows

My trailer review for Dark Shadows said...

"Depp also made me think of Count Chocula. I haven't seen Count Chocula in the cereal section of the supermarket in years. The other day I bought Lucky Charms. I wonder if Count Chocula was taken off the market because it caused blindness in laboratory bats.

I love the way the trailer looked and felt, and Depp's comedic timing is usually brilliant. Add the solid supporting cast and a story that I have no doubt Burton had fun with, and it's definitely a film that I'll see, either big screen or rental."

Well, I literally stumbled upon Dark Shadows in the video store where I stopped after grocery shopping.  I still haven't seen Count Chocula.

Dark Shadows had all the element of an entertaining film but it didn't deliver. It felt like blue balls; much anticipation for no climax. A lava cake with no cream filling. No prize in the Cracker Jack box. "Full of sound and fury signifying nothing...."

Sorry Johnny, but I still love you.  And so does the wife.

Sunday 11 November 2012

VIEWED (not by me, yet): Flight

My trailer review for Flight said...

"In short, this trailer created emotion, which in turn created interest, which in turn created a desire to see the film.  Nice."

The wife saw this tonight.  I asked her what she thought. 

She said,  "Sad, well-written and very deep... I liked it."

Please note: Views of the wife do not necessarily reflect the views of Beerbohmtastic.

Saturday 10 November 2012

VIEWED: The Amazing Spiderman

My trailer review for The Amazing Spiderman was sort of Jekyll and Hyde...

"What's really amazing is that generations aren't given enough time to forget a film before it's remade. The painfully un-creative, mainstream film makers only seem interested in revenues and they keep churning out the same stuff that idiots like me continue to pay to see. I really want to hate The Amazing Spider-Man. I hate that the same old same old is too often presented as if it is new or fresh...

Despite my rant the trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man looks damn good. It's familiar yet different. It's the story that we know but not quite. But does that make it okay? I don't know.

I do know that because I liked the trailer, I will see this one."

The verdict?

Good trailer,  Good movie.  I like when that happens.

I hate to say it, but I thought it was better than the Sam Raimi, Spiderman.  The Amazing Spiderman, story was better, more believable (as believable as comic book movies can be).  Yes, the story is basically the same, but this adaptation seemed to have more depth of character and emotion. 

Simply, I thought it was really good execution of the story.

Nourished By That Which Consumes

When Max Beerbohm said of his book reviews, "I look at the book, write the review, and if I like what I've written I'll read the book,"  he was of course, joking.  That spirit is the spirit of this blog.

That said, this is the first "book teaser" review on Beerbohmtastic.

I stared at the cover of "Nourished By That Which Consumes," a novel by Joseph Ephraim, for about five minutes. I let my eyes trace and follow the sign for infinity that surrounded the pyramids.  Both symbols are significant and, based on the title, may imply an unending struggle or journey, depicted by the infinity symbol and supernatural or paranormal properties from the pyramids.

Staring at the cover was certainly not enough to write a review.  A prologue and excerpt from the first chapter, which I read, are available at the link below.  I guess it's the literary version of a trailer...

This review is of the teaser chapters.

Nourished By That Which Consumes, is the story of a Mandarin Chinese family plagued by a father's gambling and ever increasing debt.  The father's selfishness and greed reach has a profound effect on the family, especially the eldest daughter.  When the loan sharks go too far in their intimidation of the family, a devastating tragedy awakens the self-absorbed father.

The prose is very direct and to the point.  It begins with the prologue in the first person where the eldest daughter  tells the tragic story in an almost detached way. The years of "Mianzi" (the Mandarin term for "face"), rather the public loss of "face" that the father's actions imposed on his family, created a detached shell.

The first chapter is written in the third person. I'm not sure how the rest of the novel is written.

I must say that I was captured by the story.  I like the picture that it was painting and I thought two things when the "teaser" ended: I was disappointed that more was not available on line and, I will be downloading it to read in its entirety. 

Thanks for sending this, Joseph.  Best of luck!

 The book (and teaser) are available here..


Friday 9 November 2012


I loved the idea of the righteous dude who ended slavery, killing vampires.  I didn't see him hunt zombies, but I'll bet he was righteous about that, too.  The box office race between vampires and zombies is a tight one, and for the record I love both.  That said, I will never watch, nor review Breaking Wind Also or whatever the new Twilight movie is called.  Sorry, I'm well past my teens.

I mentioned this before but the accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln are well documented... not to mention the nickname "honest Abe." The dude is righteous.  Among many great deeds and accomplishments, he played an important role in American history during the Civil war. His heroic efforts helped preserve the Union.

Man, could America use a Lincoln right now.  But....  look at the turmoil of a country divided that Abe had to deal with.  The funny thing is that the state of chaos the Union was in is not unlike the great divide between Democrats and Republicans today.  At the core, Americans, regardless of politics, live and die by the constitution.  At the core, everyone wants to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Even a common enemy such as Al Qaeda and the war on terror couldn't unite a  country.  I always thought that if you gave a society a common enemy it would unite them.  America needs a Lincoln, right now.

Regardless of who won this week's Presidential election, the challenges facing the President and Americans are no less daunting than the challenges Abe had.

Wow, the trailer for Lincoln made me angry and sad, and I felt both hopelessness and optimism.  It showed struggles and pain and Abe having to do the right things in the face of chaos.  A quote just jumped into my head...

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."  Albert Einstein.

The trailer for Lincoln had so much going for it.  You know Spielberg is a master.  Daniel Day Lewis and the rest of the cast are great.  And, Abe's story and the impact he had on America and the world are inspiring.  Maybe the release of this film is timely, historically speaking.

Maybe I'm being a sentimental sap right now, even though the wife says I have no feelings, but I was moved by this trailer and am eager to see this film on the big screen.

Dog Dancing School (Doc)

By request (thanks for following on Twitter).

Beerbohmtastic seems to be evolving.  I recently had a request to do a book review.  So, if I keep it in the spirit of Max Beerbohm, I will look at the book, write the review, and if I like what I've written I'll read the book...  That works for movie trailers, but...hmmm, maybe I'll give it a try.  Stay tuned.

Dog Dancing School is a documentary.  The title says it all.

The trailer opens up with a "Borough of Swindon" sign.  One of my top 20 favourite bands is from Swindon, U.K.  XTC!  Before they were called XTC they were The Lads of Swindon.  XTC is a better name.  They have some very cool and some very odd albums (that's the term used for vinyl records).

XTC were considered "new wave" up and comers in the late 70's, with Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson etc...  Legend has it that early in their career, the singer, Andy Partridge developed terrible stage fright at a show and couldn't perform.  So, from what I understand they just made records (another term for vinyl, but you can replace "records" with CD's - which is the format that I own) without ever touring.  All of the CD's that I own have tracks that are blow-your-mind brilliant and tracks that make you scratch your head.  I digress.

At first, I wasn't sure if Dog Dancing school was a documentary or mockumentary.  It briefly reminded me of that other mockumentary, Best in Show.

I was concerned that it might take itself too seriously, but then the clues started happening....

One of the judges at a dog event was wearing a "Dexter" t-shirt.  A message board in a park where dog festivities occur in the trailer read:

And while the trailer was long, it had undertones of humour, as if not taking itself too seriously.  There was a level of sincerity, even love in depicting the relationship between human and dog - people do love their dogs, but the other message in the trailer was that competing by "showing" your dog didn't have to be as formalized as major dog or breeder shows.  People in communities can get together, have fun, dance with dogs and bond with like minded people.  Nice message.

I'm just not a big fan of pets, that's why I have a cat.

The best part of the trailer was the final scene when a dog tries to eat a clip-on microphone.  funny touch.

I'm not really the audience for this type of documentary but I do wish the makers the best of luck.

Thursday 8 November 2012

Taken 2

Every time I see Liam Neesan now - and I do like him - I am reminded of my thoughts from the trailer review of The Grey....

"I'm not sure when Liam Neeson became a badass, action hero type.  I checked IMDB and I think badass Neesan begins in Batman Begins.  After that, it's Taken and more badassary.  Prior to that, he seemed to play milder mannered characters.  I liked him in Kinsey and.... wait a minute... he played Darkman in 1990... nevermind. 

Maybe Neeson was always a badass but never thought of as a badass so in the last 10 years he chose roles where his badassary was more blatant and in your face.  Does that happen to actors as they age?  Look at Ralph Fiennes.  My image of him was a poncy annoyance on screen (though not as poncy or annoying as Joseph Fiennes).  Ralph was ridiculous as Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon (which was a bad remake of Manhunter- even though the ending was truer to the Thomas Harris novel, Red Dragon).  Tom Noonan was awesome as Dolarhyde.  Fiennes was a joke."

R. Fiennes has since changed that image so I'm off the anti-Fiennes kick, Ralph, anyway.

Taken 2 is really Taken Also or Also Taken....

The first one was okay.  I just find it amazing that criminals decide to target former killers to antagonize.  Seriously, if I'm a criminal, I don't want to mess with a guy that could wipe out my entire extended family with his will.  Aside from Neesan's badassary, the sex/slave trade, kidnapping women and children is on par with the evil of child pornography.  How is it that some humans can see other humans as nothing but soul less objects. Again I say, as much as we've evolved in some areas, in many we are still barbarians.

Taken was every parents nightmare and showed one parent, who happened to be a trained killer, do what all parents who have experienced such loss wish they could do.  As a movie, Taken made a statement and was entertaining enough.  Sadly, the true entertainment was watching the predators die, one-by-one.

Taken 2, Also... revenge.  I think I've said this before but church (regardless of denomination or faith) tells us to "turn the other cheek," to "do unto others as you would have others do unto you," to "judge not lest ye be judged."  Don't even get me started on the whole karmic discussion. You get my point.  State/governments are in the business of "justified" revenge as we see everyday.  Film, simply glorifies revenge.

Don't get me wrong, on film it's entertaining.  But the positive spiritual messages preached to us when we are young don't seem practiced in the real world.  Perhaps that is why we are so cynical and are quick to point out the hypocrisy?  This train of thought is giving me a headache.

I'll likely rent Taken 2 Also Taken when I feel the need to view revenge because I choose not practice it...

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Below Zero

Here are my top 5 scary movies that take place in snowy settings:

1) The Shining
2) The Thing
3) Misery
4) Ravenous
5) Black Christmas

To be honest, those are the only ones that I can think of that I've seen... other than The Grey, which was okay but I really wanted the wolves to win.  Oh, and Fargo, which wasn't really a scary movie, just awesome.

What makes cold, snowy setting so effective in scary movies is often the choice one has to make to either die by the hands of the killer or to die by the hands of nature - neither sounds pleasant.

The trailer for Below Zero was a bit too long.  It reminded me of The Shining meets The Secret Window.  It's about a writer who writes in, literally, a cold lonely place, where madness appears to set in and he is fighting the demon (personal?)/killer that he is writing about to the point where it's a cat and mouse game.  I think the cat and mouse game is where the trailer lost me. 

So the question is:  Does cabin fever set in and he is fighting a battle in his mind or is the killer/demon somehow conjured and is real?   In The Shining, the hotel was haunted and it affected everyone, though Nicholson was the one possessed, so the threat was real.  In The Secret Window, it was all in Depp's mind because he turns out to be the killer, the threat was in his mind. 

So, after seeing a trailer I ask myself, "self, did the trailer tease me enough to want to see the film?"  I'm not sure about Below Zero because it kind of left me cold.... 

The jury is still out for me... I'm going to watch the trailer again.

All She Wrote (ASW)

This link was sent to me by A Film Company.  Thank you and thanks for the follow...

I'm not really a documentary film buff.  Don't get me wrong.  I do enjoy watching them.  It's just that this blog is really about reviewing movie trailers, which I am aware is kind of silly.  Once in a while a documentary will jump out at me and I'll review the trailer.  The last one to do that was not that interesting but the one before was for Senna.  As in Ayrton Senna, the famed F1 driver and legend.  It jumped out at me because I love cars.

This past summer I was in the market of a new (used) car.  Instead of being attracted to things the wife wanted, like fuel economy, practicality and reliability, I was more interested in 0 - 60 mph (100 kmh) sprint times, standing 1/4 mile times and skid pad numbers.  Yes, there are cars that encompass both sides, but they were all very far out of my price range.  Whenever I came close to making a decision about a car, I discussed it with the wife and we always ended up at a stalemate.

One day I said to the wife, "I'm getting a sports car and that's final."  She asked me why I wanted a sports car so badly and of course I responded with the performance argument.  She retaliated with three questions:

1) How long is your commute to work?
I answered, "12 kilometres."

2) During the commute when you sit in traffic does the car ever reach 100 km (60 mph)?
I answered, "well, no."

3) When the hell have you ever been on a skid pad or on a race track for that matter?

I was clearly defeated.  She was right.  It's a good thing she doesn't love me for my brain.

Oh yeah, All She Wrote.

I watched two teaser trailers for this documentary.  Both showed women involved in graffiti art for both different and similar reasons.  During my commute this morning I was behind a bus.  The billboard on the back of the bus stated: 50% of all women will be emotionally or physically abused during their lifetime.  What a sad and demoralising statistic.   Just how far have we evolved as a species?  Max Beerbohm said that, "to destroy is still the greatest instinct in nature."  That's messed up.

All She Wrote, looks like stories about women who are engaged in art as an outlet and tool for healing.  While the teaser trailers touched on the process in the first person, the raw and real emotion that seems to be present below the surface of the trailer seems quite deep.

Despite the wife telling me that I "have no feelings,"  the teaser trailers for All She Wrote, showed that despite the pain, there can be hope, and even healing. Powerful stuff.

Please see for yourself: http://afilmcompany.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/all-she-wrote-teaser-2-2/

Tuesday 6 November 2012

914 Dunne

And now for something completely different...

914 Dunne is an independent film that is currently in production.  I received the trailer link yesterday and, as I always do, checked the running time.  Over 4 minutes!  "Could this be the entire film, I thought?"  It wasn't.

If you are a regular to this blog, you may remember this:

"I hate movie trailers with actor/director commentaries. Sell it with a good trailer, not with some actor/director that I may or may not like trying to suck my... money... If I want special features I'll buy or rent the DVD... oh wait, there is no Blockbuster (please reference: http://beerbohmtastic.blogspot.ca/2011/10/editorial-good-bye-blockbuster.html ) and many are getting movies on-line where there are no "special features."  Maybe this is a way to give us some "special features?" Geez, I just talked myself off a ledge.  Okay.  I feel better."

The trailer for 914 Dunne did what I don't usually like so differently and well. Thus, I liked what I don't usually like and actually found myself grinning widely when the trailer/promo ended.

914 Dunne is a comedy caper story about two start-up criminals who break into a private residence.  Basic stuff, right?  The trailer opens with the director, Ryan Robins, telling us about his film, while cutting to the footage.  Pretty regular stuff that usually annoys me.  But what sold me is this...

Ryan is now a part of the story as he is the victim of the home invasion and he continues to talk about the film as the criminals hold him and the female lead hostage.  I'm not sure if this has been done before but I thought it was clever and very funny.  Then, Ryan takes it even further.  This trailer/teaser/promo is actually an ask to the viewer to help fund the film.

Please help fund the film so I can review the official trailer...  :)

Please go here: http://www.indiegogo.com/914

Monday 5 November 2012

Blood Fare

I vaguely remember a song called "Don't pay the Ferryman."  The only line in the song that I remember is "don't pay the ferryman until he gets you to the other side."  It's funny the crap that I retain when I can't even remember what I had for breakfast...

Blood Fare is an independent film (thanks for the follow).  From what I understand from the trailer, it's a ghost story.  I like ghost stories.

One of the best ghost stories in my recent memory was a Korean film called, R-Point. It was about a platoon of Korean soldiers during the Vietnam war, who were on a mission to recover the dog-tags of their dead comrades somewhere in the Vietnamese jungle.  I cite this because it was an unconventional ghost story that went beyond the usual haunted house theme.

In Blood Fare you must pay the ferryman in order TO get to the other side or be in a state of limbo.  The "fare" to get to the other side in Blood Fare seemed to be a coin or token of some kind.  The trailer opens with a civil war scene and it appears that a dead soldier cannot pay his fare and thus, a sort of curse begins. I'm not sure but it looks like he has to kill others (maybe collect souls?) in order to cross over.

To my untrained film eye, the trailer did have an independent feel to it, that is to say it didn't look like it was shot on "film."  I'm not technically versed in film, but maybe someone has insight into the type of film it was shot on, digital video or something?

Anyhow, I found the story itself interesting. While I found that the blood and gore in the trailer could have been toned down, I like the fact that there were no real spoilers.  There was a legend, a curse and the challenge to stop the curse before more lives are lost - or maybe the curse ends once a quota is achieved?  As a trailer, it teased and so I think it hit the mark.

I understand that Blood Fare is on the festival circuit now.  Good luck.

The trailer can be viewed at http://www.warriorentertainment.com/

Sunday 4 November 2012

VIEWED: Prometheus

My trailer review of Prometheus said:

"So, given that this is a prequel to the Alien franchise, we know that they prevent the Alien from getting back to earth and, after a few more attempts, the Alien is left fighting the Predator in another franchise.

I can't imagine that the original Alien will be re-made after this, but I've been wrong so many times...

What I really can't wait for is Alien VS. Predator 12: The Next Pointless Battle."

I was wrong again. It was sort of a remake of the original Alien crossed with Mission to Mars (or whichever that Mars movie was where they discover the mystery to life, the universe and everything). Toss in the fountain of youth for an added twist and the mean spirit of Mars Attacks.  Oh Ridley, why?

So, the discovery IS our origin and the "Aliens" wipe out our alien ancestry.  We know from Alien 1, 2 & 3 that they don't wipe US out.

Regarding our origin, I choose to believe the theory (not sure who said it first) from Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  The theory is that an alien being (Ford Prefect from the Adams novel) travelled to earth frequently to have sex with apes.  Thus, humans are a cross between aliens and apes.  I think the classic sci-fi film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, said the same thing. Sorry Darwin.

The verdict?  Prometheus is a prequel that really wasn't necessary.  As the wife stated so well, "it was pointless."

What I really can't wait for is Alien vs. Predator 12: The Next Pointless Battle.

Max Beerbohm Election Quote

"We must stop talking about the American dream and start listening to the dreams of Americans."

Saturday 3 November 2012

The Man with the Iron Fists

I don't know why I rolled my eyes four times when I watched this trailer.  It didn't grab me, nor excite me nor do anything besides make me think, same old, same old, Kill Bill John Wu presented by Quentin Tarantino.  For the most part, I really like Tarantino.  I like that, while one can question his originality, one cannot question his ability to bridge the film gap between Far East and West, while respectfully and lovingly taking cinematic risks.  Maybe not all were good, but I respect the man for not being afraid to try. 

They say that opinions are like assholes... everyone has got one.  I am no different.

I like Eli Roth.  I follow him on Twitter and I liked him in, Inglorious Basterds. It's cool that he's credited with co-writing this but for now, I can only comment on the trailer.

The other co-writer, who stars in this film is, RZA. I don't know what RZA is. And I don't understand why one would call himself that. I IMDB'd him and discovered that he had a small role in Jim Jarmusch's Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. I liked that one and loved a few of Jarmusch's other films. But this is not about Jim. RZA is credited with a lot of music, and was in that controversial rap group, Wu Tang Clan.  I don't think I've ever heard any of his music. I'm reminded of what I once heard an old British woman say (completely unrelated to RZA). "How can he be famous if I've never heard of him?" Clearly he is and clearly I'm out of touch on many levels. I get that. 

Yet, he hangs with Eli Roth, so I guess it's "respect" by association.

Lucy Liu is hot but her eyes always seem emotionless.  Like she's got all the components and lovely pieces of a woman/actress, but her eyes seem lifeless, almost soul less.  Her performance in the trailer for this film seems like a carbon copy of her character from, Kill Bill. 

Speaking of, Kill Bill, did that set for the big brawl scene in The Man with the Iron Fists, the one with the stairs and upper landing not seem like the same Chinese restaurant where that ridiculous, over-the-top blood bath/blood fountain scene took place?

I used to like Korean movies, especially those directed by Chan-Wook Park and/or with Min-Sik Choi.  I watched many.  I also loved Public Enemy and Silmido and Spider Forest and R-Point and Sword in the Moon.  I find that Korean films have a tremendous sense of irony.  What I also like is that in the modern Korean films that I've enjoyed, there is little or none of that wire fighting.  You know, completely unrealistic acrobatics that just look silly (at least to me). 

Russell Crowe is a fantastic actor.  I have no criticism here.  He's a major talent.

The trailer for The Man with the Iron Fist just seemed familiar, unoriginal and almost proud of it.  It also  made me think of the comment I hear about movie trailers most often, "the movie was okay, but all the good scenes were in the trailer."

I'm sure I'll see it, but likely not on the big screen.

Friday 2 November 2012

Max Beerbohm Quote for November

"Only mediocrity can be trusted to always be at its best."  Max Beerbohm

I say, "most of us are mediocre, and that's okay because it's a level playing field."

Thanks for reading and following on Twitter.

Thursday 1 November 2012


I saw the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre at a repertory cinema in Toronto many years ago.  It was a big mistake.  It completely messed with my mind.  It seemed so real, so brutal and it was filmed in what was kind of like "found footage" long before "found footage" was a technique.  I still have nightmares.

Years later I was driving home from Pittsburgh during a blinding snow storm.  It was late afternoon and as the snow began to let up, I felt tired and thought it best to find a motel, watch some Monday Night Football, and get a good night's rest.  As dusk began to settle in, I saw a sign for a motel five miles off the next exit.  I wasn't sure exactly where I was but I knew I was somewhere in Pennsylvania.

I pulled up to a roadside motel that looked like a row of trailers (mobile homes).  It looked a bit sketchy, but I was tired.  The first thing that struck me was that there where no cars parked in front of any of the six doors that led into the rooms.  As I closed the car door, one of the guest room screen doors was caught by a gust of wind and slammed hard.  I nearly jumped.

The office, situated on the extreme left had a simple sign, "office" on the door. I walked into a very simple room with cheap wood panelling and a counter.  On the counter there was only a bell and beyond the counter was a door.  I heard a television beyond that door.  I assessed the situation and decided I wasn't going to stay, but for some reason I rang the bell.  After a minute or so a young, large, formless women with slightly crossed eyes emerged from behind the door and said with a slight southern drawl, "can ah... help you?"

I stared at her blankly staring blankly at me and said, "no thank you.  have a good evening."  I was in the car and back on the interstate before my heart rate had a chance to normalize.

The whole inbred, generations of cousins marrying cousins etc. freaks the hell out me.

Oh yeah, HogMaul, The Legend of Abrams County.

There was a dark simplicity to the trailer.  A voice over tells us of the legend of Abrams County and disappearances in the woods as the camera follows a large man with a sledge hammer.  Very little else is given away - that is to say, not a spoiler trailer.

The trailer accomplished a few things.  It implied that this "legend" is based on truth, it showed someone with a sledgehammer who may have been the killer or maybe someone hunting the killer and it showed no other characters nor gave clues to the story - it just told the legend.

As a teaser trailer, it was simple, creepy in a Texas Chainsaw sort of way (and creepy because it takes place in Pennsylvania) and most importantly, it didn't give away anything.   So as a teaser trailer it worked.

The HogMaul.website says that it will be released in 2013.  Maybe this review is premature but I hope it gets made and I look forward to seeing it.

Check out the trailer at   http://www.hogmaulmovie.com

Wednesday 31 October 2012


I believe that one of the best trailers ever made was the trailer for the first Alien film.  It painted a picture of suspense, fear and nightmarish panic with no dialogue.  And it closed with only text:  In space, no one can hear you scream. As one who pays far too much attention to movie trailers, it was close to perfect.

The word Polypore didn't really leave any impression.  Multiple pores? Could mean many holes or many points of entry? I had to look it up.  According to the Oxford dictionary: a bracket fungus in which the spores are expelled through fine pores on the underside.

While I still don't get it, that's where my criticism ends.

Don't worry about asking, "what is Polypore?" because the trailer asks that of itself.
Drama?  Mystery? Thriller? Sci-Fi? Action? Comedy? Crime? Romance? Finally stating "Adventure."  These questions are interspersed with scenes of what may or may not answer the questions.

This is not to say that Polypore is even trying to be all things to all people, but as a trailer, it does what a trailer is supposed to do: tease enough to generate interest in seeing the film.  More than that, in 1:24 it gave the viewer snippets of visuals that provided some clues - like a puzzle. There was no dialogue, just action, interaction and reaction.

As a trailer, I think Polypore was brilliant.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_YYpzHxEM4

The only other question is:  where can I see this film?
Apparently here: 

Well done, Jesse.


The trailer opens with the intro to the song, "Feelin' Alright" by Joe Cocker and proceeds with "Gimme Shelter" by the Rolling Stones. That is to say that it had me at both "hello" and "good-bye."

I think we may have a potential nominee for a 2013 Beerbohm Award for Best Music in a trailer.

The trailer for Flight does give away much of the story.  It shows a pilot's skills saving the lives of his passengers during a crash.  It shows that he is, rightfully, a hero.  It shows that alcohol is discovered in his blood stream and that the hero is now fallen.  Regardless of the alcohol content, his skills as a pilot saved many lives, but did the alcohol cause the error in the first place?

While the trailer showed the depth to which the hero falls, it built up to one question: Is he still a hero because this hero is on trial?

Despite giving away everything but the ending, which we can probably figure out anyway, this was a good trailer.  Yes, it was longer than 2 minutes and could easily have been shorter.  Yet, it was engaging and interesting and posed the hero question often.  It created sympathy and compassion towards the characters affected by the crash and especially  the pilot's (Denzel) plight.  It created frustration with the legal system and mistrust of those entrusted to help.  In short, this trailer created emotion, which in turn created interest, which in turn created a desire to see the film.


Monday 29 October 2012

VIEWED: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

My trailer review for Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter said:

"You'd be pretty hard pressed to find a dude more righteous than Abe.  If he can end slavery, why not kill vampires, too?  I'm too curious to miss this one."

This was the other movie I rented on the weekend, I got The Artist for the wife and this one for me.

For me, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was entertaining but a bit underwhelming.  The wife said it was, "cheesy."

I didn't think that, but there was a bit of a disconnect between the film's look, feel and mood, and the way the story was communicated.  What I mean is, despite Sleepy Hollow being a very dark film, there was a subtle undertone of humour that Johnny Depp delivered perfectly.  In contrast Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter felt kind of like a film that wasn't supposed to take itself too seriously but the cast didn't get the memo.

Either way, I love when fiction and fact are brought together for a twist on history.  And while I maintain that there isn't a more righteous dude than Abe, there are also more righteous vampire movies than this one.

Saturday 27 October 2012

VIEWED: The Artist

My trailer review for the artist said:

So, if you take an unoriginal story and make it a silent picture, is it original again? Well, not any more.  I'll likely see this with the wife, but not by choice.

I was wrong.  I did see it by choice, sort of.  The wife asked my to stop by the video store on my way home - the one I never noticed until Blockbuster closed down.  I asked her what she wanted me to get and she said, "I don't know, whatever you want as long as it's a comedy or something we can both enjoy."

It is rare for one of us to pick up a movie and both enjoy it.

Today, I brought home The Artist.  For some reason I assumed she wanted to see it, along with one that I wanted to see which I will review next.

The Artist.

Yes, it was sort of A Star is Born, but not exactly.  And, yes, if you take an unoriginal story and make it a silent film, it's original again.  It seemed fresh and I wasn't at all annoyed by the whole silent movie thing.  I'm not sure if it was worthy of the Best Picture Oscar, though.

At one point during the film I asked the wife if she had muted it.... she wasn't as amused by the comment as I was.

When it ended, I asked the wife what she thought of it.  She said, "it wasn't as dull as I thought it would be. I'm glad I got to see it."  

I guess we both enjoyed it.

Friday 26 October 2012


My trailer review for Safe said:

I like it!

If you can see Jason Statham, he can see you. If you can't see Jason Statham you may be only seconds away from death.  Who doesn't think Jason Statham is the new Chuck Norris? Think before you answer...

I am definitely seeing this film, soon.

Jason Statham IS the new Chuck Norris. 

In Safe, Jason Statham does not hunt because the word hunting infers the probability of failure.  Jason Statham goes killing.

In Safe, when the Russian and Chinese mobs go to sleep at night, they check their closets for Jason Statham.

In Safe, Jason Statham doesn't call the wrong number, they answer the wrong phone.

In Safe, the ghosts of dead mobsters sit around the campfire and tell Jason Statham stories.

In Safe, cops pull over Jason Statham and they were very lucky to leave with just a warning.

In Safe, Jason Statham cuts through a hot knife with butter.

In Safe, Jason Statham slams a revolving door.

Safe wasn't a great movie but Jason Statham confirms that he is the new Chuck Norris and that is f**king AWESOME!

Thursday 25 October 2012

Cloud Atlas

Are you freaking kidding me?  There's an "extended" trailer available that is about 6 minutes long.  That's not a f**king trailer, that's a short film!  I'm about to watch it, but first I'll watch the 2 minute trailer...

Back in about 8 minutes................. with two trailer reviews.



Great cast.

The 2.31 trailer told me that all of our lives are inter-connected and everything affects everything else and past lives and future lives are connected and maybe inter-twined and love is eternal and love is fleeting and maybe the future is the past and the past is the present and the present is the future and presently, I have no idea what the movie is about.

The short film trailer, 5.42, told me that all of our lives are inter-connected and everything affects everything else and past lives and future lives are connected and maybe inter-twined and love is eternal and love is fleeting and maybe the future is the past and the past is the present and the present is the future....  and added that our spirits/souls may or may not live forever and naturally seek out the one true love lifetime after lifetime as we live, die and are born again to be touched or not touched by the actions of our previous lives because an action, great or small, can affect more than one lifetime AND, I've never read nor heard of the book.  So, presently, I have no idea what the movie is really about.

Frankly, the long trailer was more like an advertisement for Blu-Ray.

After seeing both trailers back-to-back, I felt nothing.

The wife said something to me about my inability to put my dirty socks in the laundry hamper.  I told her that the manner in which she expressed herself hurt my feelings.  She responded with, "you have no feelings."

May be.

But clearly, I have no idea what this movie is really about and I'm not even sure I care enough to want to see it.

Tuesday 23 October 2012


Bond:  Everyone needs a hobby.
Villain (Bardem):  What's yours?
Bond: Resurrection.

I think we have our first potential nominee for a 2013 Beerbohm Award for best line in a trailer.
(For your reference: http://beerbohmtastic.blogspot.ca/2012/03/here-are-your-2012-beerbohm-award.html

I love Bond movies.  I've been watching Bond movies for as long as I've been watching movies.  The one super spy against the super villain trying to take over or destroy the world is one of the most fun action themes in film.  Yes, it has become cliche and has been satirised all the way down to children's cartoons, but every generation has the chance to experience it in its most true form through the franchise:  Bond, James Bond, agent 007.

The Daniel Craig Bond franchise has been really disappointing for me.  Casino Royale was like going to your favourite restaurant and finding out that they've changed the menu. Quantum of Solace was, in my opinion, the worst, most disjointed, Bond film in the history of the franchise.

This is not a slight against Daniel Craig.  As an actor and buff guy, he's fine.  His rough facial features liken him to the old days of rugged Sean Connery and is refreshing from the pretty boy Bond.  Unfortunately, he's had crap stories to work with.  Seriously, how hard can it be?  The franchise has been around since the 60's and there have been very few, if any, real duds, until the last two.

In previous posts I've commented that the Mission Impossible franchise has surpassed the Bond franchise in quality of story, action and plain fun.  And yet...

...the Skyfall trailer (2:34), while it had a mild spoiler - Bond gets out of the chair he's tied in to kick the asses of the bad guys - it was true to the Bond spirit.  We all know that the evil criminal mastermind always captures Bond, ties him to a chair and gloats while revealing his evil plan.  This is the tragic flaw of all Bond criminals: stopping to pat themselves on the back in the middle of a plan.  Is that a criminal version of vanity?  That's another discussion.

So, Bond gets shot, disappears for a few years and comes back (resurrected) because he is the only one who can save the world.  Yeah, it's not original, but no Bond movie really is. It's big explosions and chases and fights and over-the-top villains and... you know what?  That's what Bond movies are and generations of audiences continue to be loyal.

As much as I dislike the current Bond franchise, I liked this trailer.  It reminded me of the old franchise... or maybe it was just the music... ding diddle ling ding, ding ding ding, ding diddle ling ding....

Yes, I'll see it.