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Thursday 31 January 2013

2013 Beerbohm Award Nominations Delayed...


Posting of the 2013 Beerbohm Award Nominations will be delayed until February 10.  Two members of the panel have strep throat and/or Laryngitis.  Without heated discussions, we are far too polite and cannot agree...

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.  Your patience and continued support is greatly appreciated.


Monday 28 January 2013

Mary Crows

Mary Crows is an independent horror film.  Thanks for sending the link.

In my humble opinion, the two most creepy horror movie themes have to do with children and demonic possession.  Combine the two and you have top notch horror.  Need proof?  What was, arguably, one of the greatest horror movies ever?  The Exorcist. 

The Exorcist still creeps me out. I sometimes watch it around Halloween.  Great suspense makes great horror.

Just a thought: If one is possessed by a demon and then the demon is exorcised, but then the demon comes back to possess the same person, is that called demonic re-possession?

When my daughter was an infant, I used to have this weird dream that she would get out of her crib and stand in the middle of the room.  I would enter her room and she'd be standing there in her diaper and then begin speaking to me in full coherent sentences. Creepy. 

My son, on the other hand, would get out of his crib, crawl into bed with the wife and me and proceed to kick my kidneys for a few minutes.  Then he would get out of our bed and climb back into his crib.  That was creepy, too, only a different kind of creepy.

There was much happening in the trailer for Mary Crows. What struck me about it was the intensity with which the information is presented in the trailer.  It was fast paced, cut to many images, jumped from past to present day and, finally a proposed exorcism.

Mary Crows is "based on a true story."  It is about a young girl who seems to be possessed by the spirit of another young girl who was involved in, or the victim of a brutal or bizarre ritual that has become legend.  When the ritual takes shape in modern times (though it's hard to tell with the English village and countryside just how modern), a murder investigation begins a collision course with the demonic possession of a little girl.

Some stories of this type depict the possession by an evil spirit or demon without a background story on the demon. What I liked about the trailer for Mary Crows was that there is a history to the demon possessing the child. In a strange way understanding the history of the possession suggests that there is hope to exorcising the demon because there is an understanding of its motivations.  Hope is good.

I am always impressed by the calibre and high quality of many of the independent trailers I view.  The trailer for Mary Crows didn't disappoint.

See for yourself:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaaMNnEuoXA

Saturday 26 January 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty is the ninth of nine films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. As the films are listed alphabetically on the Oscar website, reviews will be in alphabetical order.

Osama Bin Laden is the face of the evil behind 9-11 and the subject of a manhunt that lasted 10 years and cost billions of dollars. 

So, why make Zero Dark Thirty? Is it to remind us that one man was behind the planning of a terrible attack on American soil and killing him will make things right?  Not likely.

We know he is eventually found and killed. 

So, why make Zero Dark Thirty?  Is it to help with closure because the details of the 10 year, billion dollar plan were never shared with the public?

We know that during the 10 years following 9-11, the Al-Qaeda movement hasn't lost momentum.  It's still there.  It is still organizing.  It still has a mandate to destroy the infidels - which is basically everyone.

So, why make Zero Dark Thirty?  Is it to show us that it wasn't easy to track down a guy in the desert and there were all sorts of challenges, both political and otherwise and that revenge was finally exacted?

If Al-Qaeda feels justified in committing acts of murder and justifies other actions of violence by calling them retaliation (which is what we call revenge), then won't any act of violence just create more violence in return?

So, why make Zero Dark Thirty? To show that the west has won something?

I can't see any winners here. People continue to die and the trillions of dollars spent on the war on terror should have been spent on preventing and/or helping the people of America keep their homes and jobs: the economic crisis can be linked to a military obsession that, arguably, bankrupted a country.

So, why make Zero Dark Thirty? So talented writers and film makes can paint a perspective of modern history and maybe win an Oscar?

I hope not.

While the trailer was entertaining...in between moments where I was annoyed... I just kept thinking that no story, no matter how compelling can justify such a colossal waste of money... On many fronts, I guess.

I don't care how good this movie is or is supposed to be.  I have no desire to see it.

Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook is the eighth of nine films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. As the films are listed alphabetically on the Oscar website, reviews will be in alphabetical order.

Sometimes I am even more shallow than simply judging a movie by its trailer.  Sometimes I judge a trailer by its actor.

So, I began to judge the trailer for Silver Linings Playbook before viewing it...

I am not sure if I like Bradley Cooper and not even sure if I dislike Bradley Cooper.  He's an actor that seems to play the same intense guy in everything.  Whether a good guy or not - at least in the few films I've seen him in.  I think it has something to do with having all the right acting tools but his eyes seem to betray the emotion of his acting - except intensity - and thus, in every role he seems to have varying levels of asshole-ness.  Maybe that's who he is and maybe that's why he is cast in those types of roles. If something works for you, then by all means do it, right? Unless of course, you're hurting someone else...

The wife likes Bradley Cooper.  Maybe I'm just jealous of his abs.

The trailer for Silver Linings Playbook opens up on Robert De Niro. Who doesn't like Robert De Niro?

Silver Lining Playbook (SLP): 1
My Judgment (MJ): 0

Bradley Cooper plays the same asshole, but this time there's a sort of reason for it - mental health - and, in the trailer, he shows much more than just the intense asshole he usually plays. In a few clips his eyes actually reflected the emotion he projected. 

SLP: 2
MJ: 0

Jennifer Lawrence was really believable in The Hunger Games, which is the only movie I've seen her in.  She was very charming and believable in this trailer.

SLP: 3
MJ: 0

The story communicated in the trailer is of a man in his 30s dealing with mental health issues, released from an institution (I think), moves in with his parents, meets a girl who is also dealing with mental health issues, all the while trying to connect with life.  Then there's this whole dancing thing that kind of threw me off.  Like if he wins a dance competition life will be better or something because he will feel a sense of accomplishment. 

SLP: 3
MJ: 1

Up until the dance stuff, I really liked the trailer for Silver Linings Playbook.

This will likely be a date night movie, and like all date night movies, it will be the wife's choice.

Friday 25 January 2013


Lincoln is the seventh of nine films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. As the films are listed alphabetically on the Oscar website, reviews will be in alphabetical order.

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 the 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.

Monday 21 January 2013

Life of Pi

Life of Pi is the sixth of nine films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. As the films are listed alphabetically on the Oscar website, reviews will be in alphabetical order.

I like trailers that have no dialogue, but then they aren't eligible for a Beerbohm Award for Best Line in a Trailer.  Maybe there should be a category for best silent trailer... or better yet, best trailer that should have been silent...

I never saw Ang Lee's, Brokeback Mountain.  Not that there's anything wrong with it. Larry David wrote a funny piece on why he refused to see it.  Something to the effect of, he thought he might like it.  My goofy side thought that the trailer for Life of Pi was like Brokeback Mountain on the ocean except Jake Gyllenhaall was Pi and Heath Ledger was the tiger.  I expressed this to the wife and she smiled and said, "you're such a goof."  See?

I'd heard about the book.  Several people described it to me and it really did sound interesting and original - wow, I don't often say interesting and original about anything.

The trailer for Life of Pi shows a shipwreck and follows the survivors and their life rafts.  The survivors are Pi and a tiger. I think there were others in the book, but I'm not sure.

So, the occupants of brokeback life raft must form a bond in order to survive.

The trailer that I watched was around two minutes and, as I mentioned, it told a story without words.  The story was captivating, interesting and yes, seemed original.

As trailers go, The Life of Pi was a winner.

Friday 18 January 2013

Les Misérables

Les Misérables is the fifth of nine films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. As the films are listed alphabetically on the Oscar website, reviews will be in alphabetical order.

I know that the Victor Hugo classic from 1862 is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th Century.

I know that it has been produced in theatrical form for decades.

I know that there have been films made going back to 1934.  There was even a TV movie in 1978 and a TV mini-series in 2000.

So, one would think that I, as an avid reader (well, I used to be) and a lover of (mostly) all film would have read the classic novel or at least viewed one of the many versions of Les Misérables.


I don't even know what it's about.  It brings to mind what I heard an old, British woman once say, "how could it be famous if I've never heard of it?"

When I clicked on the trailer I noticed it was only 1:31.  That's a good length for a solid teaser.

Given that I don't know anything about Les Misérables and never really paid attention, the trailer told me nothing - and I kind of feel stupid not knowing.  I think the trailer makes the assumption that everyone knows the story and another version of it with a solid cast will give both old fans and new fans an opportunity to have the Les Misérables "experience."  And generate revenue, of course.

Les Misérables is a musical.   The wife will likely rent it at some point and bring it home and ask me nicely to watch it with her.  We will sit down with our popcorn and drinks and during the first song I will mock the singing and she will ask that I be quiet or leave the room.  I will likely smile, thank her and leave the room.

I really don't care for musicals and I'll be surprised if the 9th remake of Les Misérable wins an Oscar.

Thursday 17 January 2013


Django Unchained is the fourth of nine films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. As the films are listed alphabetically on the Oscar website, reviews will be in alphabetical order.

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.

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild is the third of nine films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.  As the films are listed alphabetically on the Oscar website, reviews will be in alphabetical order.

I hadn't heard about this film.  I hadn't seen it listed on movie websites, Cinemaclock or any other source I check for that matter.  Upon discovery, I heard that it was an independent film. So, the first thought that popped into my head when I saw it listed as an Oscar Best Picture nominee was:  Brilliant. The second thought was: how on earth did this film get on the Academy radar - but who cares how because it did.  It's brilliant that it did and creates some hope and optimism for all indie film makers.

The trailer focused on a child in an isolated southern community during a pre/post natural disaster situation.   It showed poverty, devastation and loss much like the footage we saw from Hurricane Katrina in the deep south.  And, it showed how the strength and determination of one small child could inspire everyone touched by her.

Despite the devastation and hopelessness, the trailer left an impression of optimism and inspiration and showed that regardless of situation, life can be beautiful.

Funnily enough, I thought of that Roberto Benigni film, Life is Beautiful (which won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film).  Not that Beasts of the Southern Wild is that similar, but the theme of a child in a dangerous and seemingly hopeless situation juxtaposed with the same child's wonder, imagination, curiosity, optimism, resolve and resilience is sort of shared.

Judging by the trailer (which is the point of this blog), Beasts of the Southern Wild appears to be the David in a list of Goliath Oscar Best Picture nominees.  As this is the story of the underdog, so to is this the story of the underdog film at the Oscars.

I like both stories.  I liked the trailer and I will likely see the film before Oscar time.

Tuesday 15 January 2013


Argo is the second of nine films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.  As the films are listed alphabetically on the Oscar website, reviews will be in alphabetical order.

The Canadian Football League's Toronto team is called the Argonauts.  Anywhere in the world, at any given time, some Canadian at a sporting event is screaming, "ARRRRRRRRRRRGOOOOOOOS..."  A buddy of mine was at a soccer match in Mexico City and, during a lull in the action, heard someone from across the 100,000+ seat arena scream, "ARRRRRRRRRRRGOOOOOOOS..."

Canadians are a strange and wonderful lot.  They have quietly supported both war and peace efforts whose roots were based in freedom and democracy.  Unsung heroes, perhaps? Or just trying to do the right thing? Or just as full of shit as everyone else?

Ben Affleck.  He's been in some good films and some duds. I often wonder about his strength as an actor because his characters often seem the same - kind of Affleck playing Affleck.  Though sometimes it's hard to tell because, more often than not, he's surrounded by strong supporting casts.  Hmmm... I guess it doesn't matter if he's a good actor or not because he is clearly very smart for surrounding himself with talent.  I guess then, that the Ben Affleck as an actor question is irrelevant.  So, what about Argo?

I know there's been much hype about this film, but I've tried not to pay attention so I could view the trailer with as open a mind as I could possibly have...

I don't remember anything about the "true story" but I can say that the trailer was very entertaining.  According to Beerbohmtastic, a movie trailer doesn't need to be longer than 1:20.  Very few 2:00 minute + trailers are good.  The problem is that they just give away too much and then there's no reason to see the film.  Argo was an entertaining 2:34.

The trailer for Argo set up the story so well that one didn't need to know the history. It was interesting, exciting and amusing.  There was a nice combination of suspense, foreshadowing and what a trailer is supposed to do.... tease, peak interest, and make you want to see the film!  And, Affleck was very convincing even though he has a good supporting cast...

When I like a trailer, I will see the movie.  I really liked this trailer.

Monday 14 January 2013


Amour is one of nine films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.  As the films are listed alphabetically on the Oscar website, reviews will be in alphabetical order.

The first trailer I watched was in French with no subtitles.  I watched the whole 2 minute trailer without really understanding the dialogue, but tried to take in the visuals.  My first response was: the Academy will likely not vote for a French film to be Best Picture two years in a row, unless it was silent again. But then this isn't 1925 so back-to-back silent film Oscars aren't likely.  Is there a silent film nominated?  I wish some films were silent, but I digress.

Whenever I meet someone who has been married for more than 20 years, I always ask the same question:  What's the secret to a long and happy marriage?  I'm sure you've heard many of these...

"Never go to bed angry."

"Don't sweat the small stuff."

"Pick your battles carefully."

"Happy wife, happy life."

"Ask yourself, do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?"

I then watched the Amour trailer that had subtitles.

The trailer for Amour shows an elderly couple that have had a long and happy marriage - an apparent perfect relationship with much in common. The wife falls ill, terminally it appears, and the husband and daughter are left trying to make sense of it all - or both fall ill and the daughter is left dealing with it.  I wasn't sure but didn't want to watch the trailer again.

I have no doubt that the drama will be real and moving.  I have no doubt that almost everyone who sees this film will relate because almost everyone has experienced extreme happiness, hardship and tragic loss.  And, as I'm sure will be the case in Amour, coming to some sort of understanding followed by some kind of peace or acceptance, will occur.

While I felt compassion watching the trailer and it stirred memories of my father's long illness and subsequent death, by the end of the trailer I didn't want to relate any more.

So while the trailer did a good job of stirring real emotions, they were emotions that we all have felt, or will, so is someone else's story going to make me feel better about mine?


But I'll likely never find out as I have no desire to see this film.

Tuesday 8 January 2013

What Richard Did

What Richard Did is a film from Ireland.  I stumbled upon the poster on Twitter and followed the link.  I'm glad I did.

I knew a guy.  At the age of 17 he was a promising skier and snowboarder.  So promising that the Olympics were on the radar for him.  His life seemed destined for greatness. While drowning in his success and promise, he made some bad choices around drugs and alcohol. By the age of 19, he was a total mess.  He's 40 now; an alcoholic and he works sporadically.  His latest girlfriend left him because, she says, when he's drunk he won't get out of bed to urinate so, out of laziness, he wets the bed. When people try to help him get on track he says, "my life peaked at 18.  Everything since then has been shit. Why bother?"

I'm sure we all know, or know of, someone like that; someone whose light burns out long before it should have.  Or perhaps more appropriately, someone who makes a choice that is detrimental to their future. While some have the fortitude to overcome bad life choices and still achieve success, some never recover from their choices.  I guess it really depends on the choice and the action.

I'm really good at stating the obvious.

The trailer for What Richard Did tells this story, sort of.  It shows a young man at the threshold of a promising future.  He has everything going for him.  The trailer paints a very clear picture but does not really give away the choice Richard makes. This is a true teaser.

The trailer for What Richard Did had all the elements of the perfect teaser trailer.  It was less than 2 minutes, it welcomed the viewer with human drama and likable characters.  It did so with humour and compassion and then it strikes you with tragedy - without real spoilers.  Yes, we can easily speculate, but the outcome is more important than the choice. Does Richard overcome or is his life ruined?

The trailer left me with two thoughts:

1) I am often grateful for my own mediocrity because any form of success is cautiously appreciated.
2) I hope that I have the opportunity to see this film.


Monday 7 January 2013


Every time I see Jason Statham all I can think of is:  Jasan Statham is the new Chuck Norris.

There is nobody in film today that has a higher level of superstar badassary than Statham.  I can't remember what any Statham movie was really about but only that he totally kicks ass and does it in almost epic, comic book cool, way.  If Statham is after you, you deserve to die.

I know I've said this before but...

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


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.

I could go on and on with the whole Jason Statham is the new Chuck Norris thing.  I hope that others have picked up on it because this torch would burn the hands of any other tough guy.

The trailer for Parker shows a badass getting double crossed and he is 'allegedly' killed.  He then rises from the "dead" to seek revenge.  This is not unlike Skyfall, or Walking Tall or a Charles Bronson film or even that crappy Mel Gibson film (was it Payback?).

You know what? We don't view these types of films for "art" or "originality" or "cinematic technique" or "social commentary."  We watch these films for the action and badassary. It's entertainment at its most base level and it works beautifully.

The trailer for Parker was exactly what it was supposed to be: Statham kicking ass.  That's good enough for me.

VIEWED: This is 40

My trailer review for This is 40 stated:

"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."

The wife dragged me to see this on the weekend.

There were some funny and cute moments (mostly because of the kids), but the movie was about 30 minutes too long.  It actually seemed much longer and I couldn't help but mutter at some point, "longest movie ever."

While the film had very true-to-relationship conflict, I maintain my above rant.  The couple in the film were having financial troubles. He drove an $80K BMW.  She drove a Lexus SUV.  They had a large house in L.A.  He supports his deadbeat father and we learn that over a three year period has given him $80K. We learn that he quit his major record label job to start his own label.  They have every toy and gadget imaginable and, oh, isn't there a debt crisis in America?  Yes this is partially the point, but...

This is 40 is about real life relationship problems with a backdrop of waste and excess. Is this movie a statement on relationships or how Americans are drowning in personal debt?

In the movies however, something happens to save the day.  In real life, people lose their homes.

In This is 40, the relationship and family issues were realistic.  Unfortunately, nothing else about the movie was.

Thursday 3 January 2013

The Guilt Trip

When I was a kid my friend Karen used to say, "why don't you just call a travel agent and book me a guilt trip."

Karen's brother, Paul, always had the best Halloween costumes.  One year he put on an orange garbage bag, dark glasses and carried a briefcase.  He was "agent orange."  Another year, Paul dressed as a ninja. On his head, though, was a black bandanna with a Star of David on it.  When asked, Paul would say, "I'm Bruce Lee-bowitz, NIN-JEW.  Paul is Jewish so it was okay.

Guilt is not just reserved for Catholics or Jews, though they are the two religions that guilt is more commonly associated with.

The comparison of guilt was defined nicely here: http://thelinknewspaper.ca/article/2655/

Catholic guilt:
Being a good Catholic is about many things. It’s living in a constant state of guilt. It’s having trouble saying the word ‘vagina’ without cringing. It’s a voice in the deepest chamber of your heart reminding you just how disappointing you are and always will be. (Christopher Curtis)

Jewish guilt:
...kind of have to assume that a) anything I do represents the entire worldwide Jewish community, and b) anything I can do might result in the total obliteration of the Jewish people, so c) feel really badly about everything before I even do anything. (Adam Kovac) 

The trailer for The Guilt Trip basically tells the story of a a man about to embark on a road trip and being guilted into taking his mother with him.  The guilt continues throughout the trip.  Hence the title. It was kind of funny if you understand the guilt.  If not, it was a Jewish mother being annoying and her son being annoyed by her until he understands where it's all coming from and then accepts it.  

Barbara Streisand is an icon.  I will never forgive Seth Rogan for absolutely butchering my favourite "anti" superhero, The Green Hornet.  I watched it again on Netflix over the holidays only to confirm how disrespectful Rogan was to the spirit of Britt Reid. I've liked Rogan in other things and in The Guilt Trip he seems to suit the role of guilted Jewish son, well.

Otherwise, the trailer did very little for me. I doubt I'll see The Guilt Trip on the big screen.

Tuesday 1 January 2013

Happy New Year!

For all who make New Years' resolutions this Max Beerbohm quote applies...

"All fantasy should have a solid base in reality."

Happy New Year from Beerbohmtasic.

May all your trailers be true to your films.