Monday, October 20, 2014

Authors Anonymous (2014)

Number Rolled: 30
Movie Name/Year: Authors Anonymous (2014)
Genre: Independent
Length: 92 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Affiliated Companies: Bull Market Entertainment, EKZ Productions, Lainie Productions
Executive Producer: Jonathan Bennett, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Cynthia Guidry, Lainie Guidry
Director: Ellie Kanner
Writer: David Congalton
Actors: Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Jonathan Bennett, Teri Polo, Tricia Helfer, Jonathan Banks, Chris Klein, Charlene Amoia, Dennis Farina, Dylan Walsh, Meagen Fay, Diane Robin, John Griffin, Daniel Riordan, Scott Ford, Robb Skyler

Five writers work together to offer criticism and support for each other’s work. When one of the less educated members gets a book deal, everyone gets a bit bent out of shape and things in this mockumentary begin to slide down hill.

I did not like this movie. About 10 minutes into it I got bored and it never got better.

I kept expecting sweethearts Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting (The Big Bang Theory, 8 Simple Rules, Charmed) or Chris Klein (American Pie, The United States of Leland, Wilfred) to bring Authors Anonymous into the adorable zone or acting veteran Dennis Farina (Law and Order, Saving Private Ryan, Snatch) to bring it to a new amusingly sardonic level. Unfortunately, it just didn’t happen that way.

I don’t blame the actors, I blame the script.

Authors Anonymous had the chance to be great. The concept was decent enough; the problem was the actualization of that concept. This was, however, David Congalton’s first, and only, writing credit, according to IMDB. If he manages to get his style polished, he may have some great stories to tell in the future.

None-the-less, it will always be easy to tell which script was his first.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 7%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 16%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 2.8/5
Trust-the-Dice Score2/5

P.S. There are a couple of scenes during the credits.

Movie Trailer: 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

No Post Today

Due to health issues, there's no post this Thursday. Posts will resume on Monday.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Movie 43 (2013)

Number Rolled: 14
Movie Name/Year: Movie 43 (2013)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 94 minutes
Rating: R
Affiliated Companies: Relativity Media, Virgin Produced, GreeneStreet Films, Wessler Entertainment, Witness Protection Films
Executive Producer: Ron Burkle, Jason Felts, Brian Kornreich, Tucker Tooley, Tim Williams, Jason Beckman, Jason Colodne
Director: Elizabeth Banks, Steven Brill, Steve Carr, Rusty Cundieff, James Duffy, Griffin Dunne, Peter Farrelly, Patrik Forsberg, Will Graham, James Gunn, Brett Ratner, Jonathan van Tulleken, Bob Odenkirk
Writer: Rocky Russo, Jeremy Sosenko, Ricky Blitt, Bill O’ Malley, Will Graham, Jack Kukoda, Matt Portenoy, Claes Kjellstrom, Jonas Wittenmark, Tobias Carlson, Will Carlough, Jonathan van Tulleken, Elizabeth Shapiro, Patrik Forsberg, Olle Sarri, Jacob Fleisher, Greg Pritikin, James Gunn, Bob Odenkirk, Steve Baker
Actors: Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Common, Will Sasso, Seth MacFarlane, Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Rocky Russo, Jeremy Allen White, Leiv Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, Kieran Culkin, Emma Stone, Richard Gere, Kate Bosworth, Jack McBrayer, Aasif Mandvi, Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Bobby Cannavale, Kristen Bell, John Hodgman, Leslie Bibb, Will Carlough, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Grace Moretz, Patrick Warburton, Jimmy Bennett, Matt Walsh, Gerard Butler, Seann William Scott, Johnny Knoxville, Halle Berry, Stephen Merchant, Snooki, Terrence Howard, Aaron Jennings, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Duhamel

Movie 43 was a compilation of comedy shorts all tied together by a simple framing device.

I’ve only reviewed two other anthologies on this blog that I can remember. One was The ABC’s of Death which was perfectly horrible and made me want to rinse my brain with bleach. The other was New York, I Love You which was incredible, the next day I sat my best friend down and forced him to watch it.

Since my feelings on the two anthologies were opposite to the extreme, you can see that the method of storytelling is not something I take into consideration with these movies. It’s all about content.

Unfortunately, Movie 43 was closer to The ABC’s of Death than New York, I Love You. It wasn’t as bad, but it definitely felt like a chore to sit through it at times.

Like the former, there were a couple of shorts that went over well with me. It got a slightly higher score because the shorts that did work well had me rolling and nearly falling off the couch. The rest of it was terrible.

Just… terrible.

There were a lot of amazing actors involved in this work that are going to have it listed in their Filmographies for the rest of their career. It makes me feel legitimately bad for them.

Apparently, the framing device used for the film in the US version wasn’t the one they were originally going to go with. In the UK, it’s retained the initial device, which sounds a lot better than the one they went with for the US. Instead of making it a movie pitch, the shorts were supposed to be videos found by kids hunting for a specific movie.

To be honest, I feel like the other framing device might have elevated the movie for me a little. It still wouldn’t have gotten the highest score, but hating the movie-pitch idea they went with certainly didn’t help.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 4%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 24%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 2.7/5
Trust-the-Dice Score2/5

P.S. There are some basic outtakes during the first part of the credits. Those are followed by one last segment before the rest of the credits roll.

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012)

Number Rolled: 35
Movie Name/Year: Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012)
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Length: 88 minutes
Rating: R
Affiliated Companies: Sola Digital Arts, Stage 6 Films, Sony
Executive Producer: Edward Neumeier, Casper Van Dien
Director: Shinji Aramaki
Writer: Robert A. Heinlein, Flint Dille
Actors: Luci Christian, David Mantranga, Justin Doran, David Wald, Andrew Love, Leraldo Anzaldua, Sam Roman, Emily Neves, Melissa Davis, Kalob Martinez, Chris Patton, Adam Gibbs, Jovan Jackson, Corey Hartzog, Josh Grelle, Karl Glusman, Shelley Calene-Black, Noel Burkeen, Andy McAvin, Michael Keeney, Kris Carr

Starship Troopers: Invasion continues the story of the Starship Troopers series.

Two troops join forces to try and repel a massive bug attack and wind up putting themselves, and their ships, in great danger. It features the return of the three main characters from the first move: Johnny Rico, Carl Jenkins, and Carmen Ibanez.

First I will state that, although the main characters from the first one have returned, they are not played by the same actors. I will also state that during the majority of the movie I considered the possibility that Johnny Rico was actually being voiced by Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers, Noobz, Mortal Kombat: Legacy). As far as I’m concerned, that just means that David Matranga (Attack on Titan, RDG: Red Data Girl, Appleseed XIII – all English versions) did one hell of a job.

When the movie was over and I looked up the info on it, I was thrilled to see that Casper Van Dien did actually have a hand in the creation of the movie, despite his lack of acting in it. It made the film seem more official.

The movie itself wasn’t bad. I was worried, going into it, because the sequels to the original Starship Troopers, up until this one, kind of made me want to throw things at the TV. Invasion was significantly different.

Although I disliked the animation style, and I thought Justin Doran (Clannad, Journey to Agartha – English Versions, ER) did an absolutely awful version of Carl Jenkins, I wound up really liking the movie. The storyline was decent. I found myself highly entertained and actually happy to be watching.

I’ll admit, it was nowhere near the quality of the first film in the series. None-the-less, the idea of finally having an acceptable sequel does appeal to me.

Four movies and I can only stand the first and the last.

It is the last… right?

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 51%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3.8/5
Trust-the-Dice Score 3.5/5

P.S. There’s a short scene after the credits. Also, although Netflix labels this a foreign film, it is in English.

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Grabbers (2012)

Number Rolled: 31
Movie Name/Year: Grabbers (2012)
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Length: 94 minutes
Rating: NR
Affiliated Companies: Forward Films, High Treason Productions, Irish Film Board, Nvizible, Samson Films
Executive Producer: Robert Bevan, David Collins, Nic Hatch, Michael Henry, Samantha Horley, Cyril Megret
Director: Jon Wright
Writer: Kevin Lehane
Actors: Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Russell Tovey, Lalor Roddy, David Pearse, Bronagh Gallagher, Pascal Scott, Clelia Murphy, Louis Dempsey, Michael O’Gruagain, Ned Dennehy, Stuart Graham

Erin Island is a fishing village off the edge of Ireland. Life is quiet there, almost too quiet for Guarda Ciaran, until someone finds something in the water. Whatever the creature is, it’s proving to be too much for the little town.

This is technically an alien movie, but it follows the same basic principles of a creature feature. There’s one massive difference, though.

The graphics are relatively insane.

Sure, it’s not perfect, but the way the Grabbers are shown, even their movements are VERY believable. In movies like this, graphics are usually the easiest thing to forgive issues with and, often, it’s necessary. Bad graphics and aliens or creature features go hand in hand. It’s shocking when the creature in question is actually believable.

I’m not even sure I’d classify this as the B-movie I thought it would be.

I enjoyed almost everything about this film. My only issues were with some of the super slow parts. Other than that, the script was hilarious, the aliens were imaginative and the actors were pretty decent in their rolls.

I would watch Grabbers again. The benefits definitely outweigh the flaws.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 72%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 52%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 4.5/5
Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

The Random Rating: R – Language and violence

Movie Trailer: 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Family (2013)

Number Rolled: 44
Movie Name/Year: The Family (2013)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 111 minutes
Rating: R
Affiliated Companies: EuropaCorp, Relativity Media, TF1 Films Production, Grive Productions, Canal+, Malavita
Executive Producer: Jason Beckman, Ron Burkle, Jason Colbeck, Jason Colodne, Martin Scorsese, Tucker Tooley
Director: Luc Besson
Writer: Luc Besson, Michael Caleo, Tonino Benacquista
Actors: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron, John D’Leo, Tommy Lee Jones, Jimmy Palumbo, Domenick Lombardozzi, Stan Carp, Vincent Pastore, Jon Freda, Michael J. Panichelli Jr., Paul Borghese, Anthony Desio, Ted Arcidi, David Belle, Raymond Franza, Christopher Craig, Cedric Zimmerlin, Serge Tranvouez

The Manzoni’s are a former mafia family. They gave up their life of crime when Fred Manzoni, the patriarch, ratted on his business associates. In return they got a sweet life of moving around and complete lack of stability. They’ve just been relocated, again, to Normandy where they’re having a little trouble adjusting.

The Family did exactly what it set out to do. It wanted to give a nod to all the awesome 80’s and 90’s mob films while pushing a comedy aspect. What it wound up being is something violently hilarious.

Robert De Niro (Goodfellas, A Bronx Tale, The Godfather Part II) and Michelle Pfeiffer (Scarface, Hairspray, Dark Shadows) have acted in movies together; namely Stardust (2007) and New Year’s Eve (2011). This is the first movie, however, that they actually had a scene together in. It’s about-fucking-time, too. I could praise them on their performances, but it goes without saying. Both are veteran actors with a long list of accomplishments. They don’t need my two cents.

Dianna Agron (Glee, I Am Number Four, Heroes) and John D’Leo (Wanderlust, Brooklyn’s Finest, Cop Out) were outstanding. I’m familiar with Agron’s work and I expected her to be good, but D’Leo caught me off-guard. Despite his young looks, he’s actually right around 18 in the movie, though his character is younger. He reminded me, physically, of Lillo Brancato from A Bronx Tale (1993). Acting wise, Brancato wishes he was as good in that movie as D’Leo was in The Family.

Rotten Tomatoes critics panned this movie. A lot of their comments lead me to believe it’s because they were expecting something more on the serious side. I think they’re all nuts; they need to lighten up. I loved this movie, I will likely watch again and I will definitely recommend it.

I might have renamed it, though. Would you have gone to see it if it was titled: The Art of the Word ‘Fuck’? Nah, I wouldn’t have either. It’s a terrible title.

Accurate, though.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 29%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 42%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 4.7/5
Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Top Ten Movies to Look Out For In October

10 – ABCs of Death (October 31)

Director: Aharon Keshales, Navot Papushado, Alejandro Brugues, Bill Plympton, Chris Nash, Dennison Ramalho, Erik Matti, Evan Katz, Hajime Ohata, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska, Jerome Sable, Jim Hosking, Juan Martinez Moreno, Julian Barratt, Julian Gilbey, Julien Bustillo, Alexandre Maury, Kristina Buozyte, Bruno Samper, Lancelot Imasuen, Larry Fassenden, Marvin Kren, Robert Boocheck, Robert Morgan, Rodney Ascher, Soichi Umezawa, Steven Kostanski, Todd Rohal, Vincenzo Natali
Writer: Robert Boocheck, Alejandro Brugues, Jeff Buhler, David Chirchirillo, Julian Gilbey, Toby Harvard, Jim Hosking, Juan Martinez Moreno, Nicolas Musurca, Chris Nash, Jerome Sable, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska, Ant Timpson, Marc Walkow, Alex de la Iglesia
Actors: Various
Genre: Horror
Rated: Unrated

It’s no secret that I hated the first ABCs of Death. There are some things that you just never get over watching.

When I watched The ABCs of Death it was torture. I don’t think I can ever get my brain quite as clean as it was before that day.

So why would I suggest the second one?

The answer comes from the base idea behind the movies. The ABCs of Death, as well as the sequel, comes from 26 different directors making short horror films based around one letter of the alphabet. Despite my overall opinion of the first anthology, I do believe the idea is pretty cool.

In ABCs of Death 2 there are all new directors, all new ideas and, well, it’s the same letters because it’s set to the English alphabet. None-the-less, there’s enough different that I think it’s worth a shot.

9 – Laggies (October 24)

Director: Lynn Shelton
Writer: Andrea Seigel
Actors: Keira Knightley, Chloe Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell, Mark Webber, Ellie Kemper, Jeff Garlin, Gretchen Mol, Kaitlyn Dever, Sara Coates
Genre: Comedy
Rated: R

Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick Ass, If I Stay, Carrie) is getting a ton of work. Granted, I think she’s a great actress and it’s totally deserved, but her face is becoming just super recognizable. If she keeps this pace up, she’s going to be a household name before she turns 20.

Hell, in some households she already is.

Laggies looks like it’s going to be hilarious. Between Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean, Pride & Prejudice, Begin Again) and Moretz, I expect some awesome banter and timing. I’m also really interesting in seeing Sam Rockwell (The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Iron Man 2) in something that doesn’t portray him as a villain. He may have played the hero before, but I’ve only seen him in his villain roles; dancing in his villain roles.

I wonder if he’ll dance as a protagonist, too.

8 – St. Vincent (October 10)

Director: Theodore Melfi
Writer: Theodore Melfi
Actors: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG-13

Bill Murray (Ghostbusters, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Zombieland) is the man. The first movie I ever saw him in was Ghostbusters and now I simply associate him with awesome. I could take or leave the rest of the cast.

Not taking into account the actors involved, this movie looks like a grumpy, fantastic comedy. What the trailer shows is some basic grandfather-ish bonding between an old man and a young boy. It’s almost painfully obvious what road the movie will take, but I still can’t help wanting to sit through the story anyway.

7 – Dracula Untold (October 10)

Director: Gary Shore
Writer: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Bram Stoker
Actors: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Diarmaid Murtagh, Dominic Cooper, Samantha Barks
Genre: Action & Adventure
Rated: PG-13

Yes, it’s another Dracula movie.

I think Dracula Untold will be decent because of the stance the writers took.

Regardless of anything else, this movie seems to be meant as an origin film. A lot of movies touch on who Dracula is, how he was turned or how he was eventually defeated. What Dracula Untold seems to do differently is take an alternate stance on why he became a vampire. The twist is decent enough that it seems a lot more original than most Dracula-based films.

6 – The Judge (October 10)

Director: David Dobkin
Writer: Nick Schenk, Bill Dubuque, David Dobkin
Actors: Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shephard, Billy Bob Thornton, Ken Howard, Emma Tremblay, Balthazar Getty, David Krumholtz, Sarah Lancaster, Grace Zabriskie, Denis O’Hare, Leighton Meester
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man 3, The Avengers, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) is a good enough reason to want to see any movie. The story involved in The Judge, however, is even more of a reason.

I’m not a fan of drama in general, but the genre has its moments and I do get into a good courtroom or crime drama pretty easily. With this kind of cast, it’s easy to imagine the jaw-dropping line delivery that could take place.

My only concern is David Dobkin (The Change-Up, Fred Claus, Wedding Crashers). I don’t like him as a director. With any luck, The Judge will be the exception.

5 – Fury (October 17)

Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Actors: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs, Scott Eastwood
Genre: Action & Adventure
Rated: R

I’ve always been fascinated by World War II. I’ve watched a great deal of the holocaust movies and I’ve read just about every book I can get my hands on. Fury is a movie I’ve known was coming out for a while and I’ve been looking forward to finally getting to see it.

The cast isn’t exactly shabby either. Brad Pitt (Inglourious Basterds, Fight Club, World War Z) and Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, 3:10 to Yuma) are the two I’m really looking forward to seeing in this kind of film. Pitt is a given, but Lerman is an actor that’s slowly making one hell of a name for himself. Working with Pitt can only help that goal.

I’m certain that I won’t regret spending time on Fury.

4 – John Wick (October 24)

Director: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch
Writer: Derek Kolstad
Actors: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Dean Winters, Bridget Moynahan, Ian McShane, John Leguizmo, Willem Dafoe
Genre: Action & Aventure
Rated: Unrated

John Wick is the obligatory old guy in an action film pick of the month.

Despite Keanu Reeves’ (47 Ronin, The Matrix, Devil’s Advocate) old-guy flair, this film looks freaking awesome. Filled with all the appropriate action themed fighting and explosion stuff, it also looks like Reeves jumped back into the genre with a vengeance (no pun intended).

I’m a little saddened that the trailer indicates that the dog dies, but hey… whatever moves the story line forward.

3 – Left Behind (October 2)

Director: Vic Armstrong
Writer: Paul Lalonde, John Patus, Jerry B. Jenkins, Tim LaHaye
Actors: Nicolas Cage, Chad Michael Murray, Cassi Thomson, Nicky Whelan, Lea Thompson, Jordan Sparks, Quinton Aaron, Martin Klebba
Genre: Action & Adventure
Rated: PG-13

Another old guy in an action movie! Well, to be fair, Nicolas Cage (Kick Ass, Rage, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) is still in a lot of action movies.

This is not just any action movie, though, this is an apocalypse movie. Reading through The Random Review you’ll find that I adore apocalypse movies, even the bad ones. Especially bad ones, sometimes. I’m not sure what draws me to this subject, but I love movies, books and discussions based on it.

Left Behind does seem to be a little bit like the HBO series The Leftovers. However, a lot of films use the rapture as a base for their story. After all, This is the End was also based around the rapture and no one is going to argue similarity between it and Left Behind.

I believe this film deserves a chance. Let’s see what road they take.

2 – Stonehearst Asylum (October 24)

Director: Brad Anderson
Writer: Joe Gangemi, Edgar Allan Poe
Actors: Kate Beckinsale, Jim Sturgess, Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley, Brendan Gleeson, David Thewlis
Genre: Horror
Rated: PG-13

Stonehearst Asylum is based off a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe, “The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether.” There is no better reason in this world that I could use to want to see this movie. Yes, the cast is amazing and the trailer looks incredible, but my main desire to see this film is based on Edgar Allan Poe.

His poetry was what inspired me to write in the first place. Even if the trailer looked horrible, Stonehearst Asylum might have made this list.

1 – Horns (October 31)

Director: Alexandre Aja
Writer: Keith Bunin, Joe Hill
Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Heather Graham, Sabrina Carpenter, Joe Anderson, Kelli Garner, Max Minghella, James Remar
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R

I haven’t had a real interest in seeing a movie with Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Kill Your Darlings, The Woman in Black) in it since the Harry Potter films. It’s not because he’s a bad actor. In fact, I don’t actually understand why none of his movies have appealed to me on any real level.

However, Horns looks great. It seems like something unique and interesting. I believe it will be the kind of movie that actually shocks me. As it is, I can’t even guess, off the trailer, what direction the story is going to take.

Will Radcliffe’s character find redemption? Will he have actually committed the crime? Is he simply hallucinating his way through life? I’m excited to find out.

It seems to be one hell of a Halloween movie, too.