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Tuesday 30 April 2013

Viewed: Pain and Gain

My trailer review said...

"So, how does one create a trailer that teases without giving away the story when we know the story (well if we google it) because it's true? Not like this. While I like the cast, I've already seen this film via the trailer."

The wife and I stood inside our local theatre and argued over which movie to see.  I wanted to see Oblivion... you know, in Cruise we trust, when Cameron Diaz is NOT in the film.  Nothing against Cameron but the duo don't work.

The wife wanted to see Pain and Gain.  She doesn't like Tom Cruise.  I told her the story based on the trailer.  She made it clear that she was not going to see Oblivion. So, while I stared down at my lack of abs and flexed my less than bulging biceps, I conceded.

Pain and Gain was exactly like the trailer, only with detail of course.  No surprises.

While the movie itself wasn't bad and the acting was fine, the story - the true story - was brutal and disturbing.  The criminals who committed the heinous crimes were true morons.  But sadly, they were a reflection of a shallow generation - beautiful on the outside, ugly on the inside.

The wife said it was difficult to watch the brutality.  I felt it was just difficult to watch.

The trailer was more than enough.

Truth or Dare (Update)

There's a new updated teaser trailer for Scream Queen, Jessica Cameron's new film, Truth or Dare.

"Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.."  Which direction will Truth or Dare go?

See here... because it's torture ;p


Pain and Gain

Who doesn't like Dwayne Johnson?  Seriously, he's a badass with great comedic timing. Wahlberg has done some good things, but as the post-traumatic-stress disorder fire-fighter who prefers to ride a bicycle in, I Heart Huckabees, he was at his best.

The trailer says that Pain and Gain is a true story. It's directed by Michael Bay which will mean an explosion and at least one car chase.  I like explosions and car chases.

The trailer also shows that Wahlberg, Dwayne and their sidekick plan a heist on a rich guy, played by Tony Shaloub (another one with brilliant comedic timing).  The trailer opens with Wahlberg getting chased by police. Then goes into planning the crime, committing the crime, almost killing the mark (Shaloub) by running over his face with a van, getting away with it, temporarily, and then Ed Harris foils the crime and the boys go to jail.  I'm guessing the last part because it's a true story and we know that they go to jail.

So, how does one create a trailer that teases without giving away the story when we know the story (well if we google it) because it's true?

Not like this.

Last year I dropped the Worst Spoiler Trailer category from the Annual Beerbohm Awards, but in the last month I have enough nominees to reinstate the prize.  It's annoying.

While I like the cast, I've already seen this film via the trailer.

Thursday 18 April 2013


What do you get when you cross an elephant with a rhino?
Hell if I know...

I am Legend was a better Omega Man which sort of confirms my believe that it's better to remake a bad movie than it is to remake a good movie badly. Please, Spike, don't do it! Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.

My daughter played an adventure game on her PC called Oblivion.  I used to be a FPS (first person shooter) game fanatic, but when I tried Oblivion, not an FPS, I couldn't seem to get past the first section - collecting stuff. My daughter laughed at me and called me lame.

When she was in grade 2 a guest speaker spoke to the class about the dangers of video games.  At the time the speaker cited, among others, the game, "Doom."  She told the class how bad it was and that people who play video games are violent.  My daughter put her hand up and said, "my daddy plays Doom3 and he's not violent so I don't believe you."  I was so proud.

Oblivion the video game has nothing to do with this movie. Oblivion the movie isn't a remake of anything from what I can tell, either.  So, what the hell am I talking about?

Post apocalyptic fantasies are usually interesting, if nothing else.  They show what the world could be like when we humans, sometimes helped by aliens or mother nature, truly f**k things up.  There is often much creativity in the story telling.  I kind of like post apocalyptic visions on film.

I also think Tom Cruise is still a great action hero. When his name is on the marquee for a movie, I trust that it will be entertaining.  In Cruise we trust.... He's had a few duds, for sure, but (lovely) Cameron Diaz isn't in this one.
The trailer for Oblivion shows two people, Tom, the "fixer" and his high-tech administrative colleague. They are on earth after a war that has caused humans to flee and/or be elsewhere.  Tom and partner are almost ready for "elsewhere" when they discover the underground people.  This first part of the trailer was cool, even when he goes underground, is captured and we meet antagonist, Morgan Freeman.

When you've seen as many movies, well trailers anyway, as I have you make associations. A few things came to mind.  Omega Man, for one... just because there were people living underground who "survived" the apocalyptic nightmare.  In the case of Oblivion, war.   As mentioned earlier, Omega Man became I am Legend and a bad movie was remade into a good movie... Sorry Chuck.

The more we see and hear Morgan Freeman in the trailer the more the name Michael Bay pops into my head.  As in, The Island. You know, everybody want to go to the "Island" where life is beautiful because the people don't realize that they are being harvested for their organs... kind of like that Twilight Zone episode from the 60's where the payoff is the last line spoken, "to serve man... it's a cook book!"

The second half of the trailer reveals a conspiracy of sorts and it is implied that elsewhere doesn't really exist "the people who you work for have lied to you..." says Morgan.  So he shows Tom what is really going on... thankfully I'm too dumb to truly figure it out but I know it's implied in the trailer somewhere... and now Tom has turned against his bosses and is on the side of the underground people trying to find the truth and then make things right.

Kind of a spoiler trailer, huh?

I like Tom and Morgan.  I like these types of movies even if I don't always like their trailers. I'll still see it. I might even like it.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Truth or Dare

Truth or Dare is a new film by Scream Queen Jessica Cameron.

I recently viewed the 55 second teaser trailer - thanks for sending the link.

“Truth or Dare, is about 6 college kids who find Internet stardom when they make 'Truth or Dare' videos with a violent twist. It is all fun and games until their number one fan decides he wants to play..." 

The teaser shows Jessica Cameron, bloodied and gagged with an off-screen voice - her captor - telling her... "...you can't have a game without rules and you have to follow the rules in order for the game to work... now what's it going to be, truth or dare?"

After reading the synopsis and then watching the trailer, one classic Cronenberg movie jumped out at me like the Alien bursting out of John Hurt's chest... Videodrome.  Yeah, the title is so 80's but it was basically a reality/fantasy/sex blur mindf**k involving a pirate cable TV broadcast of torture and murder. Back in the day they called it a snuff film. 

"Television is the retina of the mind's eye..." is a famous quote from the film.  I like the quote because I believe it's saying that art doesn't imitate life any more, life imitates art. Just look at reality TV...  wouldn't it be great to see a movie where a serial killer has decided that he will rid the world of reality TV by.... No, no, no... I digress.

In the case of Truth or Dare, maybe it's "youtube is the reality of a desensitised generation..."  or maybe it's, "it's all fun and games until someone loses a limb..."  What do I know?

What I do know is that in the last six months on this blog, I have been exposed to the beauty, creativity and vision of independent film.  There is a vibrant community taking risks and working hard to make an impact on an industry that is both brilliant and stupid, sometimes in the same breath.  But the independents are making an impact and it's awesome for everyone.

The teaser for Truth or Dare is just that, a teaser. It gives a small glimpse of the potential for this story. A story, I'm guessing, where lines are crossed and blurred.  Everybody wants to be a star.  Youtube is a likely delivery method. When there are no rules there is nothing to bend - only pushing boundaries until something breaks. It seems like more than bones will be broken in Truth or Dare, likely spirits, too.

Check out the teaser and decide for yourself... 


Monday 15 April 2013

Iron Man 3

I only watched the teaser trailer (2:03).  There's a longer "official" trailer but I was afraid to watch it because I didn't want anything to spoil my excitement for the release of this film.

I love this Iron Man franchise.  The first one is one of my all time favourite comic book movies.  The second one was entertaining.  The Avengers was one of the best ever!

I am truly a sucker for comic book movies.  I love them, even the mediocre ones have their merit, but the really bad ones are so hard to watch.... Green Lantern, Fantastic 4, Ghost Rider...

I think it was director legend, Robert Altman, that said Robert Downey Jr. is the greatest living American actor.  He said this long before Iron Man.  Altman commented that no matter what issues Downey Jr. was facing in his life, he always arrived on set prepared and professional.  That is very high praise.

Guy Pierce is really good at playing a dick.  Ben Kinglsey: from Gandhi to Sexy Beast to Suspect Zero to The Mandarin... he's simply awesome in everything he does.

So, we've established that the villains are good... but what about the trailer?

Despite my excitement for this film, the trailer kind of left me in one of those... this reminds me of... moods.

As in, it made me think of The Dark Knight Rises or even Superman Begins (I mean Man of Steel, of course). You know, hero loses everything and despite all odds rises from the ashes to save or avenge the world.  Yeah, I know that's the theme to pretty much all of these movies and yeah, I know that despite the stories being pretty much the same, I can't get enough.  It's the 10 year-old boy in me that absolutely loves every second of every setback and bites his nails during every battle and cheers the loudest when good triumphs over evil. Because good triumphing over evil is what is ALWAYS supposed to happen.

It's just that I had to say something "critical" because that's kind of what I do on this blog... but f**k it!

I can't wait to see this movie and, for 2 hours, be a 10 year old boy again.  Thank you comic book movies for giving me that joy!

Thursday 11 April 2013


What an annoying spoiler trailer... what an annoying way to take something that looks really cool and interesting and turn it into another cliche and give away the bulk of the story.  Maybe the Beerbohm Award for Worst Spoiler Trailer should be issued, now.  It was dropped from the 2nd Annual Beerbohm Awards because I lumped this category into the worst trailer award.  But, this wasn't a bad trailer.  It was just a terrible spoiler trailer.

The wife really likes James McAvoy.  I like him because he's a good actor and I'm not threatened by guys who look to be around a foot shorter than I.  I say this as I look down at my lack of abs...

I like Rosario Dawson.  The wife doesn't care for her.  The wife is blond so maybe she feels threatened in some way....

The wife thinks Vincent Cassel is a good actor.  I liked him in Brotherhood of the Wolf. Otherwise he seems to play an arrogant Frenchman in every film he's in.  In Trance, he looks to play an arrogant Frenchman.  Surprise!

While Trance is really just a Hollywood double-cross caper film, the concept is better than average in an interesting, Memento, sort of way.  Remember, Memento?  

"A man, suffering from short-term memory loss, uses notes and tattoos to hunt for the man he thinks killed his wife." (from IMDB)

What's cool about Memento is that, from the opening scene, it works backwards from his present situation to how he arrived at the situation.  It was really cool.

What looks cool about Trance is the relationship between psychiatrist, Dawson and patient, McAvoy.  McAvoy is involved in a heist, is the only one who knows where the treasure is, but was hit in the head and has amnesia.  So, the crook (Cassel) charges psychiatrist, Dawson to use hypnosis to retrieve the whereabouts from McAvoy.  In the first part of the trailer the cinematography mixed reality with hypnosis - it looked great! The acting and dialogue were believable and the whole package sucked me in.

The trailer should have ended here and I would have been interested in seeing this film.

Then they throw in a love triangle, explosions and the blatantly obvious double cross.  The trailer pretty much tells you that, after the dust settles, Dawson and McAvoy end up running off with the treasure, or were in cahoots and then they outsmart Cassel.

I know I could be wrong, I often am.  But, if I can take all this from a 2+ minute trailer, then I don't need to see this film, I don't need to waste the cost of admission or 2 hours of my life or even talk about Trance again.  The End.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

The Purge

This year's Beerbohm Award for Best Independent trailer went to a film called, "Consequence."  The question it asks is: what would you do if you could live one day without consequence?

The story is of a women who lives her consequence-free day building up to a purpose:  to right a wrong.  The build up is in how she tests the consequence idea.  First on a fun and harmless level and slowly building to the real purpose.  Given the opportunity, what would you do? It's a pretty powerful concept.

Naturally, The Purge reminded me of Consequence.

The Purge takes place in an America that has very little crime because once a year for 12 hours its citizens are permitted to commit crimes at will, without consequence.  The Purge focuses on one family that chooses not to participate in the violence because they are happy with their lives.  They have created a fortress of their home and they wait out the night - the purge.  This time, however, the children are old enough or wise enough to ask questions. One child let's in a stranger on the run and the family home comes under siege as the community, which is out for the stranger's blood, converges on the family home.

While the concept is interesting from a sociological perspective, kind of like Shirley Jackson's, The Lottery, is interesting for the same reasons, it's also frightening.

Frightening because blood sport is the likely the next uncharted reality TV territory.... You know, like The Running Man or The Hunger Games, or UFC... this is a rant for another day.

So, if on the night of the purge, one commits a crime and will likely either develop a taste for blood or be disgusted by their actions.  Either way, not good. If the taste for blood is developed than is it realistic to think that the need can only be satiated once a year?  Would giving one this taste make them more patient or less patient?  Can one really live by the rules for 364.5 days per year only to break them for half a day?

On the flip side, if enough are disgusted by their bloody actions would they not try to stop the purge from happening?  I guess they could always move to Canada or the U.K.

I believe that The Purge is disturbing food for thought.  In many films of this genre, there is a menacing force targeting potential victims.  It is usually isolated and the tension is created by the battle for survival.  In The Purge, the family's battle for survival is just a microcosm of what is really happening all over America. Allowing an entire country to commit heinous acts without consequence for 12 hours is like handing children hand guns and asking them not to hurt themselves.

Maybe the statement that The Purge is making is that humans, given that we are inherently violent, are not capable of making the right choice so the government has found a way to allow us to show our true colours for 12 hours in order to control our base urges for the rest of the year?

My head hurts.

Any trailer that causes me to think so much is a good one.  Morbid fascination will likely drive me to see this film... but then, what does that say about me?

Friday 5 April 2013

The Evil Dead (2013)

When I moved out of my parents house (actually, I was asked to leave) at the ripe old age of 19, I moved into a house with 3 other guys.  We were all musicians and avid readers and part-time students and full-time pot-heads.

As a house warming gift my friend Tanya gave me a box filled with used books.  Tanya worked in a used book store.  I looked through the box and found many horror novels.  "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," Peter Straub's, "Ghost Story," one called "Harvest Home," Clive Barker's, "Weaveworld,"  an odd one called, "It's Alive," and many others.

One of the last books I pulled out of the box was a black covered paperback with a circled pentagram on it titled, "Necronomicon" the Book of the Dead.  A shiver went down my spine as I open the cover and read the warning... 

"The NECRONOMICON'S magick is nothing to fool with and it may expose you to psychological forces with which you cannot cope. Remember if you fool with the incantations, you were warned!"

That was enough for me. I'm no hero. In a sea of mediocrity, I'm floating somewhere in the middle.  I'm cool with that.  I closed the book, put it back in the box along with a few other books that I decided not to keep, and gave them back to Tanya. I mentioned Necronomicon to her and she smiled and said, "weird, huh?" Creepy.

I remember seeing the original Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 movies many years ago. I think I enjoyed Evil Dead 2 more than I enjoyed Evil Dead because of the humour gore mix. I trust Evil Dead is only being made so the real gem, Evil Dead 2 can be remade, too.

Remake... I think that word is in more than half of my reviews. 

Okay, I have to also say: it's better to remake a bad movie than it is to remake a good movie badly. There, I've said it again for what it's worth.

So in this case, the Evil Dead remake is actually remade by the same people who made the Evil Dead.  I don't think that there is a precedent for this, so all judgements are off.

The trailer for the Evil Dead remake was exactly what it was supposed to be.  A bunch of friends in the woods, one stumbles upon a "book," ignores the warning, is exposed to "forces with which he cannot cope" and, in a manner of speaking, all hell breaks loose.  I'm glad I didn't "fool with the incantations" way back when. But that's me... 

The trailer was pretty good.  It had a good balance of creepy and gore. There was also a lot of blood, almost Tarantino-esq blood - without the humour, I think. There was nothing really new or original but it was in the spirit of original Evil Dead and, like I said, I'm sure it will spawn a remake of Evil Dead 2.

That's not so bad because in the realm of horror, The Evil Dead franchise stands out.  It's just sad that I have to call it a franchise, now.  

I'm a sucker for this stuff and I do look forward to seeing this film.

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Man of Steel

I'm reviewing the Man of Steel trailer well in advance of its summer release because I keep seeing the trailer at the movies and on DVD rentals...

Just so I don't have to say it again, I began my review for Oz: The Great and Powerful with this...

"Here we go...  another prequel.

I really don't like films (trailers anyway) that smell of prequel, sequel or terribly unequal to anything creative or original....  Maybe I should paint The Mona Lisa 2: The Day Before.  Then I could paint The Mona Lisa 3: The Day After. Well, I can't paint and if I could would anyone buy it? What would this blog be if not for my occasional rant?"

So, maybe I'm not so bright and it's yet another remake but it kind of feels like a prequel.

I'm sure I've written on this blog, somewhere and likely several times, that remakes happen so quickly that a generation isn't even given the opportunity to savour the previous version of a film.  Cases in point: The Hulk, Spider Man and even Batman - though Christopher Nolan's vision made Tim Burton's vision look like the blind leading the naked....

While I love comic book movies, I very much struggle with sequel after prequel after remake.  Superman is a comic book and screen icon.  He is the ultimate superhero because he is virtually indestructible. He has been around longer than most of our grandparents and even our grandparents know who he is.  We all know the story, too.  Something to the effect of.... in an effort to save their son from their dying planet Mr. and Mrs. Superman send their son to earth.  He is found by a farming couple, the Kents, and raise him as a human... but he isn't human... at some point he becomes Superman.

The Superman comic dates back to the 30's followed by radio in the 40's and the first movie and TV series in the 1950's.  YES, WE ALL KNOW THE STORY.

SO WHY TELL IT AGAIN?????????????????????????

Here end-ith the rant.

The trailer for Man of Steel looks at a young Clark struggling with his powers.  It shows a common human struggle for identity and hard lessons learned in the quest for it.  It paints a picture of an extraordinary being, guided by his step-parent's love and fear, struggling with his own greatness to be only mediocre.  He says, "my father felt that if the world knew what I was, they would reject me..."  Sad words for a child to live by.

The trailer for Man of Steel showed something that the other Superman films only touched on (I can't speak for any of the TV shows because I've never viewed any of them): the internal battle Superman fights to become who he is meant to be. This is a strong message and it is universal.  Anyone that has ever overcome adversity can relate.  The greater the struggle and the more difficult the road, however, the sweeter the victory. Being "right" or "winning" can also be bittersweet as there are always sacrifices.

Perhaps this is the message that Man of Steel is trying to relay.  It worked, at least on me.  As much as I wanted to hate this trailer, I couldn't help but be moved by it.  It...was...a...really... good trailer. Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan are masters.

I guess one can compare Man of Steel to Batman Begins... but that's another discussion.

And as much as I want to hate it for being a remake that looks like a prequel, the trailer gave me the crunchies (goosebumps)... and that alone is pretty spectacular because I only get the crunchies when zombies are near...

Yeah, I will see this movie.

Tuesday 2 April 2013

914 Dunne (Teaser)

The first "trailer" for 914 Dunne was a first, of sorts, for me.  It exposed me to the world of "crowd funding" for film.  With my focus on the blog and watching movie trailers, as well as being a productive member of society and devoted family man (the wife told me to write that part), I just hadn't been exposed to the concept.  It's very cool.

914 Dunne was also a tipping point for Beerbohmtastic as independent film makers began sending me their works; trailers in various stages of development and I reviewed them.  This also resulted in great traffic to the blog and my Twitter followers jumped from about 40 to about 700 in less than a month.  914 Dunne, and film maker, Ryan Robins, thank you...

The new teaser trailer for 914 Dunne arrived at an interesting time. I viewed it after viewing Django Unchained and Seven Psychopaths; two movies that entertained me immensely, but left me asking the same question...

Is gratuitous violence or disturbing subject matter more palatable when presented with humour?  Maybe.  But does that make it acceptable?

In 914 Dunne, two bumbling criminals are looking for a $200,000 payday, which happens to be held in someones home safe.  Being unsure which house the safe is in, and being less than criminal masterminds they embark on a series of home invasions - until they get to 914 Dunne.

The bumbling criminals seem to interrupt the daily lives of people on a nice street, kind of like door-to-door salesman... only door-to-door home invasions.  Home invasions are pretty serious and often really violent.  I didn't get the sense from the trailer that 914 Dunne is gratuitously violent.  There is too much comedic banter between the criminals, both spoken and not.

The teaser trailer was only 34 seconds long, but I found it amusing.  Amusing enough to want to see 914 Dunne when it's completed.

Watch the teaser here...

Monday 1 April 2013

VIEWED: Seven Psychopaths

My trailer review for this one said...

"I just hope that all the funny scenes aren't wasted in the trailer. Yet, the warning on CinemaClock stated: Extreme violence, gory scenes, nudity, sexual content. So, actor's commentary isn't necessary to suck you in because the trailer sucks you in; but with the comedy. Then the film (I trust) will punch you in the face with shocking and graphic violence.  That could work. I'm sold.  Good trailer."

I was right - even though it was obvious.  The comedy and somewhat absurdity of the film suck you in and yes, the violence at first is like a punch to the stomach.  After a while though, I wasn't sure if the pain was from getting punched or from laughing.  It was very funny.

The real plot, identifying the seven psychopaths for a book that budding writer, Colin F, is working on, is juxtaposed with the main sub-plot and involvement with one psychopath, Woody H., and his quest to retrieve his kidnapped dog.  A shih-tzu... big man with a little dog.  I laughed everytime Woody pined for Bonny...

Two thirds of the way through, the story becomes driven by the idea for Colin's novel.  His buddies, Christopher W., and Sam R. are also psychopaths.  This is where the story gets a little dry. 

However,  Sam Rockwell is so perfectly cast in everything he does, it's amazing.  Christopher Walken is simply brilliant.  Woody, in my mind, is still the best zombie killer ever.  And, Colin is pretty damn good and even better in his natural accent.

Seven Psychopaths was pretty much what I thought it would be from the trailer:  very funny with too much unexpected violence.  That's okay, because the comedy made the violence more palatable...  I'm not becoming de-sensitized, am I?

Either way, glad I saw it.