Thursday, February 26, 2015

Top Ten Movies to Look Out For In March

10 – Zombeavers (March 20)

Director: Jordan Rubin
Writer: Al Kaplan, Jon Kaplan, Jordan Rubin
Actors: Cortney Palm, Rachel Melvin, Lexi Atkins, Bill Burr, Hutch Dano, Peter Gilroy, Rex Linn, Jake Weary, Brent Briscoe, John Mayer
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R

Let’s be honest. This isn’t going to be the next Citizen Kane (1941). Hell, it might not even be the next King Kong (1933). It may, however, be the next Sharknado (2013).

Believe it or not, there’s been a lot of talk about this movie since it was first seen at the Imagine Film Festival in April of 2014.

I heard about it a couple of times at first, then nothing. I figured it had disappeared into obscurity.

Boy, was I wrong.

The film started being mentioned around me again throughout January and February. Apparently, it’s picked up enough steam that it’s going to be released in theaters this month.

I acknowledge that this movie will likely not be for everyone. In fact, I’d put money on it being terrible. Still, I hate myself a little for it, but I can’t wait to see it.

There was never any question that it would be on this list. It beat out movies it should have never beaten out: The Cobbler, To Write Love on her Arms, and Danny Collins, for instance.

I never denied I was a little strange.

9 – Home Sweet Hell (March 13)

Director: Anthony Burns
Writer: Carlo Allen, Ted Elrick, Tom Lavagnino
Actors: Katherine Heigl, Patrick Wilson, Jordana Brewster, James Belushi, Kevin McKidd, Bryce Johnson, Alyshia Ochse, A.J. Buckley, Madison Wolfe
Genre: Comedy
Rated: R

Ok. I don’t like Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up, The Ugly Truth, Grey’s Anatomy). She lacks any sense of professionalism and that makes me grumble a little when I see her getting work over better actresses. However, this is the part she was born to play: sweet and innocent on the outside, crazy as hell on the inside.

It won’t even require acting.

I’m still skeptical because, well, Heigl, but the trailer looks too good to ignore.

8 – Run All Night (March 13)

Director: Jaume Collet-Sera
Writer: Brad Ingelsby
Actors: Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman, Vincent D’Onofrio, Bruce McGill, Genesis Rodriguez, Ed Harris, Common, Holt McCallany, Boyd Holbrook
Genre: Action/Adventure
Rated: R

Obligatory old guy in an action film!

Hey, in this film you get two veteran old guys for the price of one movie ticket.

Liam Neeson (Taken 3, A Walk Among the Tombstones, The Lego Movie) is automatically a draw for action films. It’s his bread and butter, he does nothing better. Ed Harris (Snowpiercer, Radio, A Beautiful Mind) is a veteran as well and just adds a little extra to this movie. Add to them the amazingness of Vincent D’Onofrio (The Judge, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, The Break-Up), who still gives me chills when I watch Full Metal Jacket, and there’s no way this movie could go wrong.

Seriously, even if the plot is terrible and the script was written by 3rd graders, those three giants would make it epic.

7 – Unfinished Business (March 6)

Director: Ken Scott
Writer: Steve Conrad
Actors: Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco, Sienna Miller, James Marsden, Nick Frost, June Diane Raphael, Ella Anderson, David C. Bunners
Genre: Comedy
Rated: R

My reason for wanting to see this film so much, is stupid.

Aside from the fact that it seems like a great “switch your brain off” film, it’s got Dave Franco (Now You See Me, Warm Bodies, Fright Night). My fiancĂ© teases me constantly because I seem to like the sibling of the more well known actors.

I prefer Dave to James Franco (This is the End, The Interview, As I Lay Dying).

I like Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games, Paranoia, The Expendables 2) more than Chris Hemsworth (Red Dawn, The Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods).

I would watch Maggie Gyllenhaal (Frank, White House Down, Secretary) before I’d watch Jake Gyllenhaal (Accidental Love, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Donnie Darko).

I could go on, but you get the point.

Sure, the movie looks funny and it might even be a great trailer. Never-the-less, the moment I saw Dave Franco was in it, it got added to list.

Alright, if the trailer had sucked, I’d have passed… so I guess that had something to do with it.

6 – Chappie (March 6)

Director: Neill Blomkamp
Writer: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
Actors: Sharlto Copley, Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel, Sigourney Weaver, Watkin Tudor Jones, Yolandi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Brandon Auret
Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy
Rated: R

I think Hugh Jackman (Reel Steel, X-Men: Days of Future Past,The Fountain) has a thing for robots.

That being said, Chappie looks adorable… and potentially heartbreaking.

To be honest, I expect a relatively recipe plot from this film, but that doesn’t make me want to see it any less. After all, I could be wrong. I know nothing more than what is in the trailer.

It has a decent cast and seems to have an interesting story.

5 – Home (March 27)

Director: Tim Johnson
Writer: Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember, Adam Rex
Actors: Rihanna, Jim Parsons, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Jones, Dominique Monfery
Genre: Family
Rated: PG

From the makers of The Croods and How to Train Your Dragon. Are you kidding me? I not only want to see this movie, I expect it to be DAMN good.

The bar is high. I want to see them meet it.

4 – Serena (March 27)

Director: Susanne Bier
Writer: Christopher Kyle, Ron Rash
Actors: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Toby Jones, Rhys Ifans, Sean Harris, David Dencik, Kim Bodnia, Sam Reid, Ana Ularu
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

This movie was filmed, completely, by 2012. It premiered in October of 2014 at the London Film Festival.

Why has it taken so long to come out? There was no drama, just post-production hell. Conflicting schedules for fixing some of the dialog that was drowned out by a plane overhead. That’s all.

That being said, Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games, X-Men: Days of Future Past, House at the End of the Street) and Bradley Cooper (American Sniper, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Hangover) are the most amazing pair of leads in any film.

I hear mixed reviews about the movie, but with a pair like Lawrence and Cooper, I find it difficult to listen to the haters.

I’ll judge for myself, thanks.

3 – Cinderella (March 13)

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writer: Chris Weitz, Aline Brosh McKenna
Actors: Lily James, Richard Madden, Cate Blanchett, Hayley Atwell, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi, Holliday Grainger, Stellan Skarsgard, Sophie McShera, Nonso Anozie, Ben Chaplin,
Genre: Family
Rated: PG

The last live-action version of Cinderella that I legitimately loved was Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998). I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with this film. I’m hoping it gives the fantasy a more realistic quality, like Ever After did.

I grew up on Cinderella. Despite my relatively tomboy nature, those kinds of fairy tales still speak to me. My inner child is squee-ing.

2 – Dead Rising: Watchtower (March 27)

Director: Zach Lipovsky
Writer: Tim Carter
Actors: Rob Riggle, Jesse Metcalfe, Meghan Ory, Virginia Madsen, Dennis Haysbert, Harley Morenstein, Keegan Connor Tracy, Aleks Paunovic, Julia Benson
Genre: Horror
Rated: Unrated

Video game movies are sketchy. We all know it. There is a sad lack of decent video game movies out there. Plenty of bad ones, though.

Still, whenever one comes out – especially one with my favorite subject (zombies) – I’m going to shell out the money to see it.

Every time.

Without fail.

Doesn’t hurt that I really like Dead Rising, the game, and that the trailer looks pretty bad-ass.

1 – The Divergent Series: Insurgent (March 20)

Director: Robert Schwentke
Writer: Akiva Goldsman, Brian Duffield, Mark Bomback, Veronica Roth
Actors: Shailene Woodly, Theo James, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Zoe Kravitz, Octavia Spencer, Suki Waterhouse, Naomi Watts, Jonny Weston, Daniel Sae Kim, Mekhi Phifer, Ben Lamb, Maggie Q, Rosa Salazar, Keiynan Lonsdale, Emjay An, Ray Stevenson, Ashley Judd
Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy
Rated: PG-13

I recently read the Divergent series. After reading the first book, I watched the movie for the first time… and I was furious.

Holy shit, what did they do? They lopped off some incredibly important parts. There were scenes I was dying for and they never happened. People were supposed to die, that never died. I don’t even know how Insurgent is going to make up for all the shit that was left out.

I compare the first Divergent movie to the first Percy Jackson movie (which basically had a completely different plot than the book) and the third Harry Potter movie (which left out so much, the series never fully recovered).

Still, I have to see Insurgent.

The books were amazing and the ending broke me. I have Four, which is a book of short stories Veronica Roth wrote about the character: Four. I haven’t had the strength to read it yet. I look at the cover, and my chest aches. I’ll get there eventually, but I’ll likely finish watching all the movies first.

Luckily, the director of the first Divergent movie, Neil Burger (Limitless, The Lucky Ones, The Illusionist) is not on board for the rest of the series. He’s a great director, but terrible for Divergent.

Robert Schwentke (The Time Traveler’s Wife, R.I.P.D., Tattoo) is taking on Insurgent, but he’s also taking on Allegiant: Part 1. That means there’ll be some uniformity in the feel between the two movies. Maybe he’ll even be able to fix some of the errors of his predecessor.

Let’s hope.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pain & Gain (2013)

Number Rolled: 5
Movie Name/Year: Pain & Gain (2013)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 129 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Paramount Pictures, De Line Pictures
Executive Producer: Matthew Cohan, Scott Gardenhour, Wendy Japhet
Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Pete Collins
Actors: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris, Rob Corddry, Bar Paly, Rebel Wilson, Ken Jeong, Michael Rispoli, Keili Lefkovitz, Emily Rutherfurd, Larry Hankin, Tony Plana, Peter Stormare, Vivi Pineda, Ken Clement, Yolanthe Cabau, Brian Stepanek, Kurt Angle

Daniel Lugo believes in fitness. After all, he knows the only reason people aren’t fit is because they don’t have the drive to just do the work. Disgusted with getting no respect and having to deal with people who have no drive, he comes up with a plan on how to get what he deserves. Lugo recruits some friends in order to execute his plan.

The first half hour was like listening to an audio book. I hate audio books. If I want to read a book, I pick one up and open it. I don’t need someone to read to me. I’m not six.

It both bothered and bored me.

Once the writer/director decided that the audience knew enough back-story to follow the plot things got more interesting.

Now, considering this film was based on a true story, I have trouble judging it on the plot. Although that keyword (“based”) means that some, if not much, of the movie was exaggerated or creatively different, the skeletal structure follows what Pete Collins wrote in his articles.

When I move on to other components, it’s easier to judge. I love Dwayne Johnson (WWE, Furious 7, Hercules), probably more than I should. Mark Wahlberg (Transformers: Age of Extinction, Ted, Shooter) and Anthony Mackie (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Million Dollar Baby) both did really well with their dumb characters. It was impressive.

In the end, I think back on the movie fondly. That means I’m more likely to watch it again.

I will, however, be fast-forwarding through the half-hour long introduction.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 50%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 47%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3.1/5
Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

No Post Today

Due to wedding planning I haven't had the chance to watch today's movie. Things should return to normal for posting on Monday.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Snowpiercer (2013)

Number Rolled: 39
Movie Name/Year: Snowpiercer (2013)
Genre: Sci-Fi
Length: 126
Rating: R
Production Companies: SnowPiercer, Moho Film, Opus Pictures, Stillking Films, CJ Entertainment
Executive Producer: Pyung-ho Choi, Kris Ghil, Eun Hee Kim, Young-don Kim
Director: Joon-ho Bong
Writer: Joon-ho Bong, Kelly Masterson, Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand, Jean-Marc Rochette
Actors: Chris Evans, Kang-ho Song, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Ewen Bremner, Ah-sung Ko, Alison Pill, Luke Pasqualino, Vlad Ivanov, Adnan Haskovic, Emma Levie, Steve Park, Clark Middleton, Marcanthonee Reis, Paul Lazar, Tomas Lemarquis

It is 2014 and the world has fallen to climate change. Snow and ice cover every inch of Earth and temperatures are so low that no one could possibly survive outdoors. What is left of humanity lives on a train with a never-stopping engine. Curtis lives in the oppressed tail-end. Fed up with the way he and his people are treated, he begins to develop a plan to take over.

This movie was phenomenal. It would easily have the maximum score if I hadn’t spent one of the action scenes distracted by the harness that was so clearly seen I didn’t know how the editors missed it. It took me out of the fantasy for a bit, but I got back into it.

Chris Evans (Captain America/Avengers, The Iceman, What’s Your Number?) and John Hurt (Hercules, Doctor Who, Merlin) were amazing together. I even enjoyed Octavia Spencer’s (Red Band Society, Insurgent, Black or White) performance and I’m not usually a fan of her. There was an amazing balance of action and humor, as well.

The movie did get very dark at times. I like dark, but there were parts of the story that really caught me off guard. I think it’s a good thing.

I just finished reading a series that broke me with its ending; I’m still a little numb from it. If I wasn’t, the ending of this film would have affected me more. I loved it, none-the-less.

I wish I read French so that I could read the graphic novel this film was based on (Le Transperceneige). Anyone know where I can find an English translation?

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 95%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 73%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 4.8/5
Trust-the-Dice Score4.5/5

P.S. The movie is labeled as “foreign” on Netflix, but it is in English.

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Come Back to Me (2014)

Number Rolled: 37
Movie Name/Year: Come Back to Me (2014)
Genre: Thriller
Length: 96 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Base Productions, Idiot Savant Pictures
Executive ProducerSergin Akyaz
Director: Paul Leyden
Writer: Paul Leyden, Wrath James White
Actors: Jon Abrahams, Andrew Beckham, Laura Gordon, Nathan Keyes, Matt Passmore, Jeanette Branch, Caroline Clements, Brian Patacca, Steve Rizzo, Alexandra Straus, Katie Walder, Maura West, Pete Williams

Josh and Sarah are happily married. They’re trying to get back into life following the near-death car accident Sarah was in. When a troubled, and creepy, new neighbor moves in, strange things start to happen.

This movie was based on a book, The Resurrectionist by Wrath James White (400 Days of Oppression, The Book of a Thousand Sins, Population Zero).

I haven’t read the book, but I like to think that most movies based off books would avoid the recipe trap. After all, if they hadn’t done well as books, why would anyone bother to make it into a movie?

I don’t believe every movie based on a book has to be good, just different.

Come Back to Me followed a recipe so generic that I can’t even imagine why anyone bothered to do anything else with it.

Granted, the ending took an interesting turn, but that can’t be the only thing to a story.

The acting wasn’t bad, but there was nothing that really made this movie anything more than background noise.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 20%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 48%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3.4/5
Trust-the-Dice Score2/5

Movie Trailer: [ Disclaimer: So. The trailer basically shows the entire movie. If you watch it, there's no point watching the whole thing. You've been warned. ]

Monday, February 9, 2015

Battle Royale II (2003)

Number Rolled: 80
Movie Name/Year: Battle Royale II (2003)
Genre: Action
Length: 133 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Fukasaku-gumi, GAGA, Nippon Shuppan Hanbai (Nippan) K.K., Sega Corporation, TV Asahi, Toei Company, Tokyo FM Broadcasting Co., WoWow
Producers: Kenta Fukasaku, Kimio Kataoka, Hikaru Kawase, Masumi Okada
Director: Kenta Fukasaku, Kinji Fukasaku
Writer: Kenta Fukasaku, Norio Kida, Koushun Takami
Actors: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Ai Maeda, Shugo Oshinari, Ayana Sakai, Haruka Suenaga, Yuma Ishigaki, Miyuki Kanbe, Masaya Kikawada, Yoko Maki, Yuki Ito, Natsuki Kato, Aki Maeda, Riki Takeuchi, Takeshi Kitano, Masahiko Tsugawa

Shuya Nanahara may have escaped the games, but it certainly wasn’t unscathed. As a result, his anger has led him to start a war between the children and the adults. He’s a known terrorist now, responsible for explosive crimes. Meanwhile, Shiori Kitano believes she knows who Shuya really is. Her anger leads her to step in to the second Battle Royale in order to take him down.

Battle Royale II is a little older than the majority of the movies I work with, but I had to add it to the list anyway. The first movie in the series amazed me and that led me to voluntarily break my “rules.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t really worth it.

The plot seemed like it had a lot of potential, in theory. In practice, I was pretty surprised.

Although the movie started out basically the same and had a similar amount of gore, that was really all it had to do with the first movie.

The plot was jumpy, difficult to see as a cohesive story. On top of that, the main character kept changing between Shuya, Shiori and Takuma, not fluidly either. That made it extremely difficult to muster up any emotion for any of the characters at all. In fact, since all the characters reacted the exact same way to every stimulus, they were all kind of interchangeable.

Add to that the ridiculous acting of the main villain and it’s almost difficult to watch. The only reason the score wasn’t lower is because there were a few scenes that spoke to me.

Battle Royale II needed to be about an hour shorter with a lot more substance.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – %
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – %

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3.8/5
Trust-the-Dice Score1.5/5

The Random Rating: R

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Devil’s Carnival (2012)

Number Rolled: 29
Movie Name/Year: The Devil’s Carnival (2012)
Genre: Horror
Length: 55 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Empire Film & Entertainment Group
Executive Producer: James Cotton, Thomas M. Kastelz, Steve Ruff
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Writer: Terrance Zdunich
Actors: Sean Patrick Flanery, Briana Evigan, Jessica Lowndes, Terrance Zdunich, Dayton Callie, Emilie Autumn, Ivan L. Moody, Marc Senter, Nivek Ogre, Alexa PenaVega, Bill Moseley, Mighty Mike Murga, Shawn Crahan, Maggie Rose Lally, Paul Sorvino, Tillman Norsworthy

John, Ms. Merrywood, and Tamara have all led sinful lives. On the eve of their destruction, they go to hell where they must endure the punishment for their crimes.

My very first thought while I was watching was, “what the fuck is happening on my screen?” After a little bit of plot and a couple of songs, I got sucked in.

It’s important to note that this is a musical. Not a musical the way Frozen is a musical. With movies like Frozen, you don’t necessarily have to be a hardcore fan of musicals. The story and plot are bolstered by the songs, but would be strong without them. The Devil’s Carnival is a hardcore musical. Only true fans of the genre will enjoy it. The music is an absolute necessity and takes up the majority of the film.

I happen to like musicals.

The plot is based around an interpretation of hell as a carnival. The lost souls are tortured through various staged versions of Aesop’s Fables. It’s an interesting take on some very familiar stories.

According to IMDB, Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, Repo! The Genetic Opera, 11-11-11) and Terrance Zdunich (Repo! The Genetic Opera, Art Department: Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles, Art Department: What We Do Is Secret) have indicated that this is only part 1 of the story. In fact, part 2 already exists (The Devil’s Carnival: Alleluia!) and part 3 is rumored to have already been written.

I’d love to see the continuation of this story. It was amazing.

Surreal and very strange, but amazing.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 69%

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

The Random Rating: PG-13

P.S. An extra scene/song during the credits.

Movie Trailer: