Author Archives: Rob Bernard

Horror Film Tournament – Round 2 – The Scary Sixteen

Cinedraft Horror Film Bracket

Welcome back to week two of Cinedraft’s Horror Film Tournament! Round 1 saw some upsets, with 10-seed Invasion of the Body Snatchers taking down 7-seed King Kong, and 14-seed Dawn of the Dead taking out 3-seed A Nightmare on Elm Street. This week we see a Hitchcock matchup in the Classic region, with The Birds up against Psycho, while George Romero’s classics Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead face off. And, speaking of faces being off, Leatherface and Michael Myers are also battling it out this week.

As with last week, you can vote in Round 2 until Midnight on Friday. Let us know in the comments and on Facebook what your think about the Second Round matchups!

Cinedraft Horror Film Bracket

 

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Horror Film Tournament – Round 1

Welcome to Cinedraft’s Horror Film Tournament Bracket! It’s October, and that means most of our writers are losing sleep over the memory of that time they watched the boat scene in Willy Wonka, so we need your help! We want to find the best horror movie of all time, and we’re trusting you to pick them.

We’ve narrowed down the selection to 32 films, and we’ve split them into two groups, “Modern”, and “Classic” (we’re counting “Night of the Living Dead” as the cutoff point here). We’ve pre-ranked them and seeded them into the bracket you see below. (It’s been half a year since March Madness, so we know you’re jonesing for some brackets!) We’ll do one round each week, revealing Cinedraft’s ultimate horror movie on Halloween. Voting will run through Friday of each week, then on Monday we’ll post the results of the previous week’s voting and open the voting on the next round.

So go ahead! Get voting! The winner is yours to decide! (And make sure to let us know in the comments and on Facebook who you’re rooting for! Did we completely disrespect your favorite horror film? Let us know that too! Exclamation points!!!!)

Cinedraft Horror Film Bracket

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Rob’s Review: Getaway

Getaway on Cinedraft.com
Letter Grade:
(?)

C
The Good:

Good, brainless action
Some interesting shots


The Bad:

Ridiculous premise
Some action shots don't match

Cast & Crew:

Writer: Sean Finegan, Gregg Maxwell Parker
Director: Courtney Solomon
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, Jon Voight, Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake

Rated PG-13 for intense action, violence and mayhem throughout, some rude gestures, and language.

Getaway gives you pretty much exactly what you expect out of it. The premise itself is utterly ridiculous, but if you turn your brain off it delivers a satisfactory amount of excitement.

 Getaway on Cinedraft.com

Ethan Hawke’s wife is kidnapped, and a mysterious stranger informs him that if he wants to see her again he needs to steal a car that has been specially set up with cameras to watch him and do whatever the mysterious voice tells him for the rest of the night. He picks up a passenger during the night when Selena Gomez tries to steal her car back from Hawke and we find “the voice” has planned this all along.

As I said, the premise is just ridiculous. It depends on “the voice” being pretty much omnipotent, seeing all, knowing all, predicting everything, and being able to magically change anything he wants. It makes no sense logically, but it serves to propel the action. Likewise, Gomez’s character is the stereotypical magical hacker who just happens to be able to tap into video feeds from her iPad and do anything else the writer needs them to do.

Getaway on Cinedraft.comThe film is basically one big chase scene, and the cinematographer’s default choice for chase scenes seems to be “well, let’s throw a GoPro on the hood and use that”. It provides some interesting angles (and one really nice, really long continuous shot from the Shelby’s hood as it veers through traffic), but it also gives us shots that don’t quite seem to match the rest of the shots, pulling you out of the movie a bit.

Getaway is kind of half Speed, and half The Net (without the Sandra Bullock in both cases). It’s mindless entertainment that you don’t need to rush out to see but that you’ll end up stopping to watch when you flip by it on TV in the future.








Rob’s Review: Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Lee Daniels' The Butler on Cinedraft.com
Letter Grade:
(?)

A-
The Good:

Excellent performances from Whitaker and Oyelowo
Works as a father-son drama


The Bad:

Presidents universally miscast.
Plays fast and loose with actual history

Cast & Crew:

Director: Lee Daniels
Writer: Danny Strong
Stars: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey,David Oyelowo, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Robin Williams, John Cusack, James Marsden, Minka Kelly, Liev Schreiber, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda

Rated PG-13 for some violence and disturbing images, language, sexual material, thematic elements and smoking

Lee Daniels’ The Butler gets off to a kind of rapey and murdery start.  Forrest Whitaker’s Cecil Gaines grows up in the south, and when his mother is raped and his father is murdered by their employer, the matriarch of the employing family moves young Cecil into the house to be a servant. Cecil knows this won’t end well, so after some training he runs off and finds employment at a hotel, where he begins to learn the fine art of buttling. Eventually he moves to Washington D.C. where he begins working at a fine hotel, and eventually he is discovered and offered a job at the White House, where he serves every President from Eisenhower to Reagan.

 The Butler on Cinedraft.com

The film gives us little glimpses of (most of) these presidents (they skip right over Ford and Carter), mostly looking at Civil Rights in that era, contrasting civil rights discussions in the White House with the experience of Gaines’ son, a Freedom Rider in the South. The meat of the movie is in Gaines’ relationship with his son and the rest of his family, but these little peeks inside the White House do a pretty good job of humanizing the Presidents, even if they can’t do any one of them justice.

The presidents are pretty much universally miscast, the filmmakers seeming to care more about having actors you’d recognize more than actors who would actually make you think they ARE that president. The makeup on them is generally good though, and it’s exceptional on Forrest Whitaker himself. You see Gaines over the majority of his life and Whitaker always looks the part.

 The Butler on Cinedraft.com

Oprah is good as Gaines’ wife, but the real standout of the supporting cast is David Oyewolo as Gaines’ son Louis. He’s really almost a co-lead as he grows up in the midst of the civil rights movement, going away to college to be in the civil rights movement, becomes a Freedom Rider, travels with Dr. King, becomes a Black Panther and comes back to the mainstream. Louis goes through a huge arc, and Oyewolo makes it all believable.

There will be Oscar nominations to come out of this film, and it’s an important story, if not a terribly historically accurate one. It’s “inspired” by the story of a real butler at the White House, but the parts of the narrative that work the best definitely came from the mind of Danny Strong. And I can’t fault the film for that, because they ARE the parts that work the best. Those who are getting upset about “President X didn’t really think that” or “the real Butler didn’t have a son in Vietnam” are missing the real point of the movie (though so are any who might go the other direction, putting too much faith in its accuracy).  It doesn’t gel perfectly, and this isn’t really the story of the Butler who worked at the White House forever, it’s the story of a father and a son during the civil rights movement, and as that alone it works.








Lionsgate launches Hunger Games fashion line

The Hollywood Reporter reports today that Lionsgate has partnered with Net-a-Porter to launch a 16-piece fashion and jewelry collection based on the upcoming second installment in the Hunger Games trilogy/quadrilogy. (What are we calling it when 3 books are split into 4 movies?)

So now you too will have the chance to look like either a post-apocalyptic oppressed wretch or a hedonistic, uncaring oppressor!








New Trailer: Divergent

Divergent on Cinedraft.com

Based on Veronica Roth’s novels, Divergent takes place in a dystopian future where society is split into 5 different factions based on personality traits. When Tris Prior comes of age she finds that she doesn’t fit into any one faction, making her “Divergent”, and she must hide this fact or face death.

Divergent stars Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller, Theo James, Ashley Judd, and Maggie Q. It is directed by Neil Burger (Limitless,The Illusionist)








Rob’s Review: Short Term 12

Short Term 12 on Cinedraft.com
Letter Grade:
(?)

A+
The Good:

Brie Larson is spectacular
Incredibly touching story that examines the foster care system from both directions
Well-shot and impeccably paced


The Bad:

It took an incredible amount of willpower to wait until the movie was actually over to start tweeting about it

Cast & Crew:

Writer: Destin Cretton
Director: Destin Cretton
Stars: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Stephanie Beatriz, Rami Malek, Alex Calloway, Keith Stanfield, Frantz Turner

Rated R for language and brief sexuality

I’ve gotten terribly far behind in actually writing the reviews of the movies I’ve seen, but after seeing Short Term 12 tonight I have to skip this right up to the top of the list. Short Term 12 is absolutely the best film I’ve seen this year. Everyone should go see it.

Short Term 12 on Cinedraft.com

*Photo courtesy Cinedigm

Brie Larson, in a role that deserves an Oscar nomination, stars as Grace – a counselor at a foster care facility for troubled teens. John Gallagher Jr is Mason,  her boyfriend and fellow counselor, and  and  are two of the featured foster children.

Short Term 12 is based on Writer/Director  short of the same name, which in turn was based on Cretton’s time actually working in a foster care ward. His intimate familiarity with the subject matter really shines through. You get a real good examination of not just what the foster children go through, but also what the counselors go through in dealing with them, how they take their work home with them, and how the foster children are affected even into their adult years. Both Grace and Mason were themselves foster children and now that Grace is pregnant she has grave doubts about her ability to be a parent.

Short Term 12 on Cinedraft.com

*Photo courtesy Cinedigm

Brie Larson gives an incredible performance. Grace goes through some real turmoil and Larson is completely natural throughout. She brings real charm and depth to the character. The rest of the cast holds up as well with great performances all around. Cretton got great performances out of his cast and it’s beautifully shot as well.

Short Term 12 even ends on a great note. I found myself sitting in the theater slack-jawed at the perfection of the last scene. It would be really easy for a movie like this to get mired in the sadness, but Short Term 12 strikes a perfect balance. There’s abuse and neurosis, but there’s also joy and catharsis.

Go see this film.








Honda announces “Project Drive-In” to save Drive-In theaters

Project Drive-In on Cinedraft.com

Next year Hollywood studios are going to stop producing 35mm film prints and move to fully digital distribution. This has been a problem for local art house theaters that have struggled to raise the funds needed to install the new digital projectors that cost $70k-$80k each.  This is even more of a problem for the nation’s 368 Drive-In theaters who see even less business than the art houses. That’s why Honda is launching a fundraising campaign to help theaters pay for these costly upgrades. Honda will be providing 5 Drive-Ins with new digital projectors, and proceeds from the fundraising campaign will be used to help additional Drive-Ins.

You can donate to the campaign through Indiegogo.








Now You See Me Sequel In The Works

Did you enjoy Now You See Me? We did. Good news then, The Hollywood Reporter reports that a sequel is in the works, with production to start next year. The $75 million movie has already brought in $235 million so far, more than both The Lone Ranger and White House Down.








Rob’s Quick Review: The Wolverine

The Wolverine on Cinedraft.com
Letter Grade:
(?)

C-
The Good:

Bones of a good story are there.
Technically proficient.


The Bad:

Not nearly enough plot for the runtime.
Takes too long to get to the important points.
Undercuts Wolverine's real character.

Cast & Crew:

Written by: Mark Bomback, Scott Frank
Directed by: James Mangold
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Brian Tee, Hal Yamanouchi, Famke Janssen

Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some sexuality and language

Dear Fox,

Please check in with Marvel.  They seem to have figured out how to make a superhero movie, but you’ve just never gotten the hang of it, have you? With The Wolverine you’ve managed to cram 75 minutes of plot into 126 minutes.  I know that about 20 minutes of that seems to have been invested in constantly having  turn around and stare at the camera while we watch him instantly heal, but that still leaves you with a good half-hour too much movie. Don’t get me wrong, Wolverine in Japan battling the Silver Samurai was a good idea, you just took too much time actually getting him to Japan, and FAR too much time actually getting to the Silver Samurai.

Wolverine’s 3 primary powers are stabbing people, healing, and being a dick. I know it’s hard to make a PG-13 movie about a guy whose primary power is stabbing lots of people, so I get why the stabbing-to-blood ratio is so high, but you’re even undercutting his bloodless dickishness, like when he throws somebody out the window of a high rise only to have them land in a pool that Wolverine didn’t know was there. The bones of a good Wolverine movie were there in that plot, but you just don’t seem to know how to infuse the adamantium and make those bones shine.

Sincerely,

Rob








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