Please email any comments or review requests to beerbohmtastic@gmail.com.
Follow Beerbohmtastic on Twitter @beerbohmtastic.

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.