Tag Archives: Trailer

Trailer Reaction : Dope


This potential gem just screened at Sundance but a first look is now online! Rick Famuyiwa (The Wood, Brown Sugar) wrote and directed this post-Hip Hop dramedy about a group of cool-nerd South Bay teens, their 90’s nostalgia, their punk-rap band, and clearly, some trouble that comes along. With it’s portrayal of teen angst and urban flair, Dope looks equal parts John Hughes and John Singleton.

The cast includes Shameik Moore, Transparent‘s Kiersey Clemmons, The Grand Budapest Hotel‘s Tony Revolori, as well as Blake Anderson, my longstanding crush Zoe Kravitz, A$AP Rocky, Chanel Iman, Kimberly Elise, and Diddy’s son Quincy Brown. The film also features original songs written by Pharrell for the main characters’ band and based on the first look, some gorgeous wide-angle lensed, color-flared cinematography from wunderkind Rachel Morrison (Fruitvale Station).

Check it out here:

I’ve been anticipating this film for a while now, let’s hope a distribution deal and wider success come soon enough. Fingers crossed!

UPDATE: Dope acquired by Open Road for $7 mil, the biggest deal at Sundance this year, read about it here!: http://deadline.com/2015/01/dope-seven-million-dollars-open-road-sundance-film-festival-1201357907/


Trailer Reaction : Pan

Guys, I really wanted to give this a fair chance, but sadly it seems to be proving me right.

Joe Wright gave us Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, and one of my favorite pieces of cinematography porn, Anna Karenina. Now he apparently does Studio-Movie-By-Numbers ‘epics’ which will score major intellectualism points because British accents are involved. What’s the point behind such made-up origin stories anyway (apart from the obvious $)? Okay, you want to tell a story differently so that it doesn’t seem overdone, but this one looks absurd. Blackbeard’s getup involves one of the worst wigs ever seen on the screen, in fact the whole look seems too garish. Jackman’s the biggest name in the cast but since the film is called Pan not Blackbeard, the publicity needs to hinge more on young Levi Miller, not the movie’s big bad.It’s been months of ‘Hugh Jackman Shaves Head’ all over the internet as if that alone merits an award of some kind. And when did Hook become a young Indiana Jones? Are we that desperate to market a heartthrob? And by the way, the whole him and Peter being BFFs is not the least bit plausible.

And now a paragraph on the issue I cannot shut up about: Tiger Lily. Yes, despite generations worth of controversy, Wright and Warner Brothers chose to highlight the existence of the cringe-inducingly named Piccaninny Tribe. Casting Rooney Mara alone was a faux pas but based on this first look, they clearly thought they were doing things ‘differently’. Let’s not dress them in earthy tones with a solitary feather around their heads, let’s turn them into exotic parrots! The colorful feathers and Fruit Loops-flavored makeup do nothing to resuscitate a stereotypical image,if anything they perpetuate a new, even more cartoonish one. Here’s to another 100 plus years of indoctrinated racism!

I’m most likely giving this one a miss, but it’s not like there’s much good to miss out on. Like most studio blockbusters today, this one has a glaring lack of shelf life. I just hope Joe Wright returns to the good stuff again.

Olive Kitteridge: Can We Give Lisa Cholodenko An Award Already???

Olive Kitteridge

If you’re anything like me, you were disappointed when Lisa Cholodenko’s was snubbed out of a Directing Oscar nomination for The Kids Are All Right in 2011 (In the same year, Debra Granik was shut out for Winter’s Bone and that upset me equally)The film did land Best Picture and Original Screenplay nods, as well as recognition for its stars, but Cholodenko was so crucial to the film being made the way it was, it just didn’t feel right to silence her auteur-like voice.

Not to make anyone an unnecessary villain, but on the other hand, there’s this cultish admiration for David Fincher. I never got The Social Network, nor did I get the praise heaped upon it. He got nominated but neither Cholodenko nor Granik got that honor. It will most likely happen again this awards season when he becomes a shoo-in for Gone Girl but Ava DuVernay will be a long shot for Selma despite the rave reviews. It’s equally noteworthy that post Kathryn Bigelow’s 2010 win for The Hurt Locker, no woman has been nominated, not even Bigelow again for the acclaimed Zero Dark Thirty.

Cut to today. A significant change in the TV landscape has been the revival of the miniseries(or ‘limited series’ or ‘event series’ based on what works for your brand). The Emmys went back to splitting the miniseries and TV movie categories this year, simply because the number of such programming is increasing vastly. Whether it’s based on the success of similar British formats or the anthology nature of American Horror Story, people are finding themselves invested in smaller episodic runs.

The tide is high, and riding the wave soon will be Olive Kitteridge, an adaptation of Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer-winning novel. Much like Top Of The Lake and Fargo, it’s set in a mellow coastal town with interconnected stories. Starring Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, John Gallagher Jr., Rosemarie DeWitt, Zoe Kazan,and Bill Murray, it premieres this November on HBO. Helmed by? None other than Lisa Cholodenko herself. It’s her first major attempt since Kids and based on the previews and hype, it’s set to be a great viewing experience.

Given what happened this year, the Emmys have their own wrongs to right, a dubious voting system that seems – arguably- broken. As a result, an oligopoly of winners just keeps on winning. The miniseries category is luckily immune to this disadvantage. I for one can’t wait for Olive Kitteridge, it will air in four parts over the span of two weeks. HBO struck miniseries gold with Angels In America and John Adams, this could be headed in the same direction.