Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Diabolical (2015)


Number Rolled: 59
Movie Name/Year: The Diabolical (2015)
Tagline: Evil is timeless.
Genre: Thriller, Sci-Fi, Horror
Length: 86 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Campfire
Producer: Jamie Carmichael, Ross M. Dinerstein, Joel Henry, Kevin Iwashina, Andrew Schwarz
Director: Alistair Legrand
Writer: Luke Harvis, Alistair Legrand
Actors: Ali Larter, Arjun Gupta, Max Rose, Chloe Perrin, Merrin Dungey, Patrick Fischler, Kurt Carley, Wilmer Calderon, Laura Margolis, Mark Steger, Tom Wright, Trey Holland, Andrew Varenhorst

Blurb from Netflix: Terrorized by unexplained disturbances and horrific visions in her home, a young widowed mother turns to her scientist boyfriend for help.

Selina’s Point of View:
The people who write the blurbs for Netflix really don’t watch the film do they? The first part of the sentence is spot on. The second part of the sentence makes me face-palm. They didn’t even describe the main character correctly. You’ll see the differences if you watch the movie.

Sorry, had to rant about that.

I found the movie to have good aspects and bad aspects that eventually even out into complete mediocrity.

As a good part, I rather enjoyed the acting in this film. Ali Larter (Pitch, Legends, You’re Not You) did well with her part, Arjun Gupta (The Magicians, Nurse Jackie, HairBrained) was a believable scientist… and even the kid actors, Max Rose (Lost Fare, Secret Summer, Criminal Minds) and Chloe Perrin (Papa, Jurassic World, Reckless), were on point. All the actors did the very best they could with the script that was handed to them.

Arjun Gupta
Unfortunately, the script and the plot were not good. I liked that a couple of well-known tropes were completely dashed in the beginning, but it all went downhill from there. The story became progressively easier to predict and the ending was completely unsatisfying. A different end – with maybe five more minute – would have elevated the film to amazing. The one interesting twist that could have really made this film unique, was never given closure.

I’m not sure who’s at fault. It could be the writers, but it could also have been the editor. It’s possible that the scenes I think the movie needed could have been filmed and then cut from the final product. That shit happens all the time. If that’s the case, then the film editor, Blair Miller (Mr. Right, Scream 4, Quarantine), has a lot to answer for.

The base idea of the movie was so good that I really wanted to like it more. Unfortunately, regardless of who’s to blame, the film failed to deliver anything more than: meh.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was really hoping to like this movie. I’m a fan of Ali Larter (Obsessed, You're Not You, Legends). Pair that with my love of sci-fi, the supernatural, and the horror genre and you should have had a winner.

Ali Larter
That’s right – should have.

The set up here seemed to fit most haunting recipes. The movie’s title implied something sinister going on behind whatever was going to happen to the characters. They tried to flip the script a bit and take the story in an unexpected direction. I have to give them kudos for trying something somewhat original but I don’t think it was executed well enough.

The plot just seemed a bit cobbled together, and I didn’t buy in to the ending.

The kids did a pretty bang up job with their roles, and Larter’s performance was mostly sound. Arjun Gupta (Motherhood, How to Get Away with Murder, French Dirty) was a relative unknown to me. I mostly liked him in this movie but I’m still a bit on the fence.

We’ve had some movies recently that have fed the audience information a tidbit at a time too slowly but surely draw us from a feeling of ‘wtf is going on’ towards the ultimate big reveal. I think they tried to do that with this movie, but weren’t quite so successful.

The majority of the movie had me in supernatural horror zone and there wasn’t enough setup for the rest. It felt like a bit of a smack upside the head rather than the epiphany that I think they were going for. I don’t think they spent enough time with how they tied things together in the last quarter of the movie.

The effects were ok through most of it, but there were points that I got the impression of a hologram or projected image rather than what they were really trying to sell me. I don’t know – maybe that’s what they were really going for.

All in all – I didn’t want to turn it off or anything and I didn’t hate it, but I won’t be watching this again. I’m not sure it would be very high on my list of recommendations, either.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 43%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 17%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 2.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score2.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 2.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score2/5

The Random Rating: R

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Goosebumps (2015)

Number Rolled: 72
Movie Name/Year: Goosebumps (2015)
Tagline: The stories are alive.
Genre: Comedy, Family, Adventure
Length: 103 minutes
Rating: PG
Production Companies: Columbia Pictures, LStar Capital, Original Film, Scholastic Entertainment, Sony Pictures Animation, Village Roadshow Pictures
Producer: Bill Bannerman, Greg Basser, Greg Baxter, Bruce Berman, Deborah Forte, Tania Landau, Neal H. Moritz, Ben Waisbren
Director: Rob Letterman
Writer: Darren Lemke, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, R.L. Stine
Actors: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Ryan Lee, Amy Ryan, Jillian Bell, Halston Sage, Steven Krueger, Keith Arthur Bolden, Amanda Lund, Timothy Simons, Ken Marino, Karan Soni, R.L. Stine, Caleb Emery

Blurb from Netflix: A teen is glum about moving to a small town until he falls for his new neighbor. But her dad is a horror writer whose scary world soon turns real.

Selina’s Point of View:
Growing up I think I owned every single Goosebumps book R.L. Stine put out. I loved the entire series. My mom would put me to bed and I would hide under the blankets with a flashlight and read Night of the Living Dummy (1993) or Say Cheese and Die (1992) or The Girl Who Cried Monster (1993). My absolute love of all things horror can probably be traced back to R.L. Stine and Are You Afraid of the Dark (1990-2000).

Last year, when I heard they were putting out a new film, I was super nervous. I wanted to see it in the theaters, but I just couldn’t stand the thought that – if they fucked it up – they could be ruining something I held incredibly dear as a child. It was still #3 on my list of movies to look out for that month… but that didn’t make me any less nervous.

Tonight, I took a deep breath and then hit play on the Netflix app of my Apple TV.

Goosebumps turned out to be everything I could have possibly hoped it would be.

There were some cheesy moments, but even those moments stayed true to the feel of the Goosebumps series. I have no doubt that it exceeded my expectations because the director/writer of this film actually consulted the real life R.L. Stine and took his advice.

The film is based on the book series, but it’s not an adaptation. Instead, it links all the stories into a single universe and becomes a continuation – the next story in the series.

This is one of those movies that you can show your kids, but it’s really made for you – at least if you’re around my age. It’s a film the entire family can watch without anyone tearing their hair out from boredom.

I’ve heard rumors there’s going to be a sequel, and IMDB does have a page that indicates the rumor is more likely true than not.

This time, I will absolutely be seeing the movie in theaters.

I’m going to go rebuy and read some old Goosebumps now.

Cat’s Point of View:
This actually wasn’t my first watch-through of this movie. I had seen it not too long after it was released in theaters. I remembered my general impression of the film, but watching it again was certainly not a loathsome experience. It also was a bonus that I could double check that it was going to be appropriate for my daughter’s upcoming Halloween slumber party.

I loved this movie.

Of course, I expected to really enjoy it.

I have several of R.L Stine’s (When Good Ghouls Go Bad, The Nightmare Room, Mostly Ghostly) books. I watched a bit of the TV series of Goosebumps (1995-1998); and, while not Stine’s work, I was a fan of the Nickelodeon series Are You Afraid of the Dark (1990-2000). Everyone has their own nightmare fuel, though. I know some of Stein’s works stuck with me long after closing the books or turning off the TV.

To give a bit of a further comparison, this was nowhere near the horror and disgusting factor found in another book series of the 80s and early 90s. Do you remember the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1981-1991) trilogy by the late Alvin Schwartz (Kickle Sniffers and Other Fearsome Critters, All of Our Noses Are Here and Other Noodle Tales, In A Dark Dark Room and Other Scary Stories)? There’s supposedly a movie in the works, but there’s no telling how long it’ll be in development hell.

Back to the movie before I babble forever about my horror book collection.

I actually sat here for a little bit and tried to think of a movie I’ve seen Jack Black (Nacho Libre, The Big Year, The Brink) in that I didn’t like – at least his performance, specifically. I can’t think of any. He’s capable of so many levels of humor as well as a versatile range in other genres beyond the humorous. He’s not afraid of physical comedy, and quite often goes for the over-the-top. His performance in this role as the iconic author was just right - hilarity with pathos.

Dylan Minnette (Saving Grace, Let Me In, Prisoners) was the perfect foil for Black in this film. I loved the deadpan humor of this character, and all of his sarcasm. It wasn’t all laughs, though. I believed his emotional journey. This wasn’t his first trip into the world of R.L. Stine, either. He and another of his cast mates from this movie were also in R.L Stine's The Haunting Hour (2011-2013).

That brings me to Ryan Lee (Super 8, White Rabbit, A Merry Friggin' Christmas). He also appeared in a 2012 episode of R.L Stine's The Haunting Hour. I imagine that gave this duo a bit of a leg up in experience with some of the material already. I loved Lee’s character in this movie. Unfortunately, I must remain mum as to which bits of the film he shined the best in – no spoilers, sorry!

I loved the spirit and sense of adventure with Odeya Rush’s (We Are What We Are, See You in Valhalla, When the Devil Comes) character, Hannah. She was seemingly fearless with just enough vulnerability. I enjoy strong female roles and this one was both poignant and witty as well.

The film has plenty of spooky elements without resorting to gore. It’s fast enough paced and the story is engrossing enough that I didn’t miss it. Lots of laughs and some cool monster effects abound.

I’m looking forward to firing this back up again on Netflix for my daughter’s party, and we’ll likely watch it many more times in the future.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 76%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 63%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

P.S. Artwork during the beginning of the credits. Some spooky sounds near the end of the credits.

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, October 13, 2016

JeruZalem (2016)

Number Rolled: 89
Movie Name/Year: JeruZalem (2016)
Tagline: On Judgement Day, hell shall inherit the Earth.
Genre: Horror
Length: 93 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Mifal Hapais, Epic Pictures Group, Paz Films
Producer: Shaked Berenson, Patrick Ewald, Uri Levanon, Rotem Levim, Nir Miretzky, Doron Paz, Yoav Paz, Borid Zeleny
Director: Doron Paz, Yoav Paz
Writer: Doron Paz, Yoav Paz
Actors: Yael Grobglas, Yon Tumarkin, Danielle Jadelyn, Tom Graziani, Howard Rypp, Yoav Koresh, Ori Zaltzman, Fares Hananya, Itsko Yampulski, Danny Zahavi

Blurb from Netflix: Two vacationing Americans join and anthropology student on a tour of Jerusalem, arriving just as a terrifying biblical apocalypse begins to unfold.

Selina’s Point of View:
When this movie came out it absolutely made my list of what to look out for that month. Despite the shaky cam in the trailer, it looked like a solid zombie flick.

We added it to our queue as soon as it hit Netflix and I’m thrilled that it didn’t take forever to roll it. There are movies on our list that I’ve been dying to see for ages. Some are even from before Cat joined Trust the Dice. I’ll eventually break down and watch a few of them even if they aren’t rolled, but I like to keep myself ready for a first impression in case it comes up for the blog.

Anyway, now that I’ve completely gone off track, let’s get back to the subject at hand.

I liked the use of the ‘google glass’ model in this film. Instead of a person having their phone, or camcorder, glued to their hand… it was a pair of prescription google glasses that was doing the recording. That kind of thing was bound to be used in a movie eventually. It makes more sense than a freaked out and screaming person remembering to pick up their camera. Prescription glasses are necessary, putting them on is like muscle memory. Even scared out of my mind, I’d still reach for my glasses if I wasn’t wearing them.

Right there, the movie made more sense than I had even hoped.

We all know, by now, that I am not the biggest fan of shaky cam. It makes me dizzy. I don’t even like first person perspective in video games – though there are a few exceptions.

(Despite the terrible reviews, I’ve been spending a lot of time playing No Man’s Sky [2016]. The bad reviews were well earned because they promised shit they didn’t deliver on and then cut all communication with the gaming community. Still, I love the stupid game.)

In this film, the first person perspective shaky cam was actually the right call. I think the entire plot would have lost a lot of its appeal and horror if we got it in general movie format. The shaky perspective gave the film a unique quality that heightened every jump scare.

I think it would have made a phenomenal video game. There were moments that felt more like cut scenes than actual movie scenes. Personally, that doesn’t bother me. I’m a gamer from back in the day when the heart of the storyline was told in the cut scenes that followed the boss battles. Nothing wrong with that kind of thing.

The only real issue I had with the film was the acting.

In a normal movie it’s not unforgivable to be able to tell the actors are acting. You go into the film knowing it. The thing with any kind of found footage/shaky cam is that everything the actors do needs to look 100% candid and natural. It can’t look, or sound, scripted. If the actors fail at that, it takes away the heart of what shaky cam is used for – to give it that ‘true story’ feel.

The only actor that accomplished that necessary natural feel, was Tom Graziani (Tyrant, A Place in Heaven). Unfortunately, he didn’t play a main character. There’s an issue when the only actor that pulled off the feel that the movie needed to pull off… was a supporting background character.

Tom Graziani
Despite the acting issue, I did greatly enjoy the story. Some of the graphics and the creatures looked rough, but other graphics and creatures looked really well done. There was a bit of a balance there. None of the rough edges of the less necessary graphics really pulled me out of it, though, so it wasn’t a big deal.

If pressed I’d say JeruZalem was kind of a cross between The Blair Witch Project (1999) and World War Z (2013).

It was a decent film. I’d watch it again.

Cat’s Point of View:
I remember being a bit intrigued by the trailer for this movie prior to its release back in January of this year. While it made Selina’s top 20 list, it didn’t rank on mine. I don’t remember why, to be honest. I do recall that I wasn’t entirely sold on the “Z” in JeruZalem being all about zombies.

What happens in this movie isn’t your typical hordes of shamblers scenario. While it does follow some of the zombie outbreak recipe, it gives a bit of a new twist to it. There was actually a subtle plot in the subtext that gave me chills.

The movie was a bit of a slow starter. I appreciated the character development and the care that was taken in setting up the premise for how the American girls ended up where they did. Unfortunately, that meant that the real action didn’t happen until late in the movie. The bright side to that, though, was that when things hit ludicrous speed; it didn’t feel rushed.

I found the international cast interesting and compelling in their roles. Most of them are relative unknowns – especially stateside. One of the female leads, however, has broken in to the US television scene. Yael Grobglas (The Island, Rabies, Reign) was that singular familiar face for me.

Yael Grobglas
The one thing that kept this movie from having a higher score is the shaky-cam. I appreciate what the film was doing with the first-person perspective – it was just sometimes a bit much. If I were one to get motion sickness from such things, I might’ve been having a real problem. As it was, I felt a bit dizzy at points. This was my main concern that held me back from seeing Hardcore Henry (2015) in the theater. The first-person perspective with that much action going on? Bring on the barf bags.

All told, this was a surprisingly good movie and I wouldn’t have any reservation in recommending it for anyone that can stomach all the shaking.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 57%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 59%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 3/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 3/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

Movie Trailer:

Monday, October 10, 2016

Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction (2014)

Number Rolled: 59
Movie Name/Year: Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction (2014)
Tagline: When destruction rises, can life prevail?
Genre: Anime, Fantasy, Family
Length: 76 minutes
Rating: G
Production Companies: East Japan Marketing & Communications Inc., GAME FREAK, Oriental Light and Magic, Pikachu Project, Production I.G., Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, TV Tokyo, Taka Tomy
Producer: Kenichi Arai, Mitomu Asai, Ryo Fujita, Susumu Fukunaga, Nobuyuki Hosoya, Junya Ishmoto, Yasuteru Kamei, Yukio Kawasaki, Toshio Miyagawa, Takemoto Mori, Takuro Muratsubaki, Jun’ya Okamoto, Kanji Okubo, Satoshi Shimodaira, Katsuhito Yamauchi, Toshifumi Yoshida, Masanori Yumiya
Director: Kunihiko Yuyama
Writer: Hideki Sonoda, Satoshi Tajiri, Junichi Masuda, Ken Sugimori
Actors: Ikue Otani, Sarah Natochenny, Haven Paschall, Mike Liscio, Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld, Caitlin Glass, Aliver Wyman, Brittney Lee Hamilton, Lianna Marie Dobbs, Marc Thompson, Michele Knotz, James Carter Cathcart, Rodger Parsons

Blurb from Netflix: A princess calls upon Ash and his friends to help her find the energy-giving Heart Diamond, save her domain from its enemies and restore her kingdom.

Selina’s Point of View:
When the original Pokémon came out I was super on board. I played the games and watched the TV show/movies – though I never did pick up an interest in the trading card game. I always prefered the complexities of Magic: the Gathering.

Back then, I learned the first 151 Pokémon rather quickly and always played along with that silhouette game during commercial breaks.

Even now, at over thirty, I’m still into Pokémon. I play Pokémon Go pretty often. (There is no shelter from the storm! TEAM INSTINCT!) However, I did stop keeping up with the cartoon many, many years ago. As a result, I ONLY know the first 151 Pokémon – with a very minor sprinkling of the next generation. Very small. Like, maybe four or five not included in the first gen.

Anyway, when this movie came up I was really interested in seeing where Pokémon went after I stopped watching.

First thought I had was that I 100% prefer Brock and Misty to the sidekicks Ash has in this film. Of course, that could just be because I connected with them more. I also had some issue getting behind the thing where some Pokémon talk. That was reserved for Meowth and Mewtwo when I was watching. That made it difficult for me to connect to Diancie. It’s a stupid and minor thing, but I’m old and crotchety and I like my Pokémon to say their own name god damn it.

There really was nothing wrong with this film. It tugged at the right heart strings, it had the kind of action that kids love and that adults can tolerate without needing a glass of wine to get through it. I just felt such a disconnect from the newer Pokémon and the newer villains, that I had a hard time seeing it as anything but a general offering of nostalgia.

Credit to: FireXtremeID
Cat’s Point of View:
I’ve watched a few episodes of the TV series with my daughter; but this was my first Pokémon movie. Of course, my kiddo had already seen this movie and it was quite a feat to prevent her from bombarding me with spoilers. She was excited that I’d be watching this – even if she wasn’t up for watching the whole thing again with me.

The Pokémon Go game has become a staple in our household. We’re enjoying getting out and interacting with other players as we hunt down these critters and get a bit of exercise in the process. Because of this, I think I got an extra level of enjoyment out of the film because I was able to pick out the Pokémon that I was familiar with on the screen. There were many involved in the movie that aren’t in the game, though. (I’m hoping that changes. I want a couple of the adversary Pokémon, darn it.)

Before I chase that wild Pikachu down a random alley, though, I’ll get back to the movie.

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I tend to get a little bored during the cartoon series.  I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t happen with the movie. Sure, it wasn’t the most sophisticated thing I’ve ever seen – but it’s aimed at younger kids. There are good messages here about friendship, perseverance, and self-confidence.

Fans of the Pokémon experience – whether the card games, video games, television shows, or mobile app – will likely really enjoy this movie and feel more of an emotional connection with it. For those that are unfamiliar with Pokémon, fear not. The movie gives enough information as it goes so that the viewer won’t get entirely lost.

This is definitely a good recommendation for a fun family movie that’s not all fluff.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 64%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 3/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 3.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

P.S. Scenes during the credits. They are epilogue-esk.

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Stardust (2007)

Number Rolled: 91
Movie Name/Year: Stardust (2007)
Tagline: Love is magic.
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Adventure
Length: 127 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Paramount Pictures, Marv Films, Vaughn Productions, Di Bonaventura, Ingenious Film Partners, Truenorth Productions
Producer: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Michael Dreyer, Chantal Feghali, Neil Gaiman, Stephen Marks, Peter Morton, Tarquin Pack, Kris Thykier, Matthew Vaughn, David Womark
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, Neil Gaiman
Actors: Ian McKellen, Bimbo Hart, Alastair MacIntosh, David Kelly, Ben Barnes, Kate Magowan, Melanie Hill, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Henry Cavill, Nathaniel Parker, Peter O’Toole, Mark Strong, Jason Flemyng, Mark Heap, Struan Rodger, Rupert Everett, David Walliams, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Adam Buxton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Sarah Alexander, Joanna Scanlan, Mark Williams, Olivia Grant, Robert De Niro, Ricky Gervais

Blurb from Netflix: To win his true love’s heart, wide-eyed Tristan Thorn journeys to a forbidden realm to retrieve a fallen star that has taken human form.

Selina’s Point of View:
I had more fun watching this film than I have any other film in a long time. Oh, I’ve loved a lot of films recently. Punk’s Dead (2016), ARQ (2016), The Hallow (2015), The Hunters (2013)... are all films I’ve seen in the last couple of months that were great and that stuck with me.

Stardust was a great movie, but it surpassed that description.

It was more entertaining and fun than most of the movies that come to mind. This was a film that I could sit down and watch a hundred times and never get bored of.

There is no part of Stardust that I can find any fault in. The caliber of the cast was so incredible that it’s a little intimidating. Acting giants such as Sir Ian McKellan (Vicious, Mr. Holmes, X-Men), Robert De Niro (Heist, The Intern, Silver Linings Playbook) and Michelle Pfeiffer (The Family, White Oleander, Grease 2) hooked up with familiar names like Ricky Gervais (The Office, Derek, Escape from Planet Earth), Claire Daines (Homeland, Me and Orson Welles, Igby Goes Down), Henry Cavill (The Tudors, Whatever Works, Immortals), and Sienna Miller (Foxcatcher, High-Rise, American Sniper).

And then there was Charlie Cox (The Theory of Everything, Boardwalk Empire, Glorious 39).

Charlie Cox is very quickly becoming a favorite of mine. His acting skills are second to none. Sure, we’ve all seen him in Daredevil (2015 -)and we’re looking forward to seeing him in The Defenders (2017 -), but shows like that and movies like this can be cut and paste and altered. That sometimes dampens the true effect of an actor.

A cousin of mine works behind the scenes on live shows in Manhattan. Occasionally, he has access to tickets that he offers to the people he cares about. He’s been very careful to let us know that he will only ever get us tickets to the shows that are absolutely worth seeing. A few months ago, he invited me, my husband, and my best friend to go see one of those shows: Incognito (2016).

He failed to mention that one of the four actors in this “small show” was none other than Charlie Cox.

I saw Cox perform live that day. No cuts. No pastes. No altering.

It was a small theater that had me regretting not wearing my knee brace because I kept accidentally kicking the chair in front of me. There were only four actors in the entire play and one set with only a few chairs as props. Each actor played several different characters for the same storyline.

I was enthralled by the story, which was made more in depth by the sheer simplicity of it all.

As much as I enjoyed the total package of Incognito, it was Charlie Cox that stood out to me the most.

His performance that day will stick in my memory for the rest of my life. I can say that with complete confidence.

When I see movies like Stardust, or shows like Daredevil now… I’m just reminded of the true depth of this man’s talent. To this day, I have yet to be disappointed by anything he’s done.

IMDB shows that his visible career started fourteen years ago. He’s getting to be bigger now, more people have heard of him… but give it a little more time and he’s going to be a household name. He’s going to be on the level of those acting giants I mentioned earlier. He’s going to be the kind of actor that a director wants starring in their film because his name alone will sell tickets. And if that doesn’t happen, then this world is even more ignorant than I think it is.

Now that I’ve gone off on my fangirl rant, I’ll get back to Stardust.

Why is this film not held on the same level as The Princess Bride (1987)? Why are people not quoting it and referencing it constantly? I wish I could answer those questions. This film should have become a classic and I don’t understand why I hadn’t heard of it until we rolled it for this blog.

Is there a cult following somewhere that I can join? I’m 100% for that.

Cat’s Point of View:
I actually said “Yessssssssssssss!” when this turned up as our next movie. I’ve been wanting to watch this since it first hit theaters. Neil Gaiman (Coraline, Marvel Knights: Eternals, Lucifer) is such a masterful storyteller. I get excited whenever his work makes it to a live-action adaptation.

Then there’s the cast. I mean come on! Sir Ian McKellen’s (Flushed Away, The Golden Compass, The Dresser) part might be small but his voice narrating just sets up the expectation of a grand tale. This story certainly delivers on that.

Robert De Niro (Machete, The Family, Hands of Stone) added some amazing moments both in levity and the unexpectedly profound. Michelle Pfeiffer (Hairspray, Personal Effects, New Year's Eve) was flawless in the wicked ways of her character Lamia. British comedian Ricky Gervais (Night at the Museum, Ghost Town, Cemetery Junction) even had a small but hilariously important role.

Claire Danes (Evening, Temple Grandin, As Cool As I Am), whom stole my heart in My So Called Life (1994-1995), her angsty 90s TV drama, quite literally, as well as figuratively, shined as brightly as her character. I loved the dynamic between her character Yvaine and Tristan. Seriously – there were so many recognizable actors in this that I can’t even begin to touch on them all here or I’d be yammering on at you forever.

I do find it a bit ironic that this movie has Henry Cavill (Goodbye Mr. Chips, Tristan + Isolde, The Cold Light of Day) facing off with Charlie Cox (Stone of Destiny, There Be Dragons, Hello Carter). Considering when the film was made, was this a bit of cosmic foreshadowing of the Marvel and DC cinematic rivalry? The iconic caped hero of blue and red and the blind man in red leather - of course, that has nothing to do with this movie specifically; but I think my inner geek was squeeing through the whole film.

The wit that Gaiman infuses into his work is unmistakable throughout. The movie is both wonderful fantasy and adventure and also holds an undercurrent of a message that just might seep into the audience through the osmosis of experiencing it.

Mark this on a calendar. I might never say it again. I am actually glad that Terry Gilliam (Twelve Monkeys, Tideland, The Zero Theorem) didn’t end up at the helm of this project. He was offered the job, but turned it down because he’d just finished a fairytale-based movie. While I absolutely adore my Python boys – the movie might’ve turned out a lot different.  

It’s likely purist fans of the original story might have bits to poke at that have been changed somehow – but I was enjoying the movie so much I didn’t even care. It’s a rare thing for a movie to give me goosebumps. This one did just that.

I would eagerly recommend this movie and will likely watch it on more than one future occasion.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 76%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 86%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 0/5 (WTF Netflix? Really? 0? That’s a first… and also super wrong.)
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

P.S. Minor sound addition after the credits – not a scene, just a sound addition.

P.S.2. Based on a book of the same name by Neil Gaiman.

Movie Trailer:

Monday, October 3, 2016

The World Made Straight (2015)

Number Rolled: 35
Movie Name/Year: The World Made Straight (2015)
Tagline: For blood. For money. For a way out.
Genre: Drama
Length: 119 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Bifrost Pictures, Dreambridge Films, Myriad Pictures
Producer: Robert Ogden Barnum, David Betsill, David Burris, Brad Coolidge, Melissa Coolidge, Kirk D’Amico, Matt Garretson, Blair Hahn, Victor Ho, Eric Hollenbeck, Todd J. Labarowski, Katie Mustard, Warren Ostergard, Brian Quattrini, Bill Wagenseller, Daniel Wagner, Michael Wrenn
Director: David Burris
Writer: Shane Danielsen, Ron Rash
Actors: Noah Wyle, Jeremy Irvine, Minka Kelly, Adelaide Clemens, Steve Earle, Haley Joel Osment, Marcus Hester, Colin Dennard, Alex Van, Robin Mullins, Frances Burnett, Robert Haulbrook, Sandra Ellis Lafferty, Ryan Taylor Harris

Blurb from Netflix: A young man in Appalachia finds himself caught between vengeful pot farmers, a violent legacy from the Civil War and his own unpredictable future.

Selina’s Point of View:
There is simply nothing more boring to me than a straight drama film. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what The World Made Straight was.

The worst part about this film being boring is that looking away from the screen, or letting your mind wander, for even a minute means having to rewind in order to figure out what the fuck you missed. After a moment of wandering mind syndrome, nothing makes sense anymore. You HAVE to concentrate on every word or you’ll get lost. I started over once and had to rewind twice.

I don’t mind a smart film. Sometimes, a movie that makes me think is exactly what I’m looking for. Those films can be inspirational, educational, and incredibly surprising. However, when a film is both boring and the kind that makes me think, I stop caring real quick.

I want to clarify that the problem was not the story itself.

The World Made Straight is based on a book. I’m willing to bet that book is an incredible read (despite the credit given to Hemmingway in one scene that made me roll my eyes because I HATE his style of writing).

The story was amazing in general. I may very well pick up the book. I suspect it will explain some things that the movie failed to really clarify as well as offer a much more entertaining version of the plot. Plus, it won’t suffer from death scenes starring actors that don’t play a believable death.

Despite some big issues I had with the acting quality bringing down the entertainment value of the film, the main three actors were not at fault. Noah Wyle (The Librarians, Falling Skies, ER), Jeremy Irvine (Now is Good, Life Bites, Great Expectations), and Minka Kelly (Papa Hemingway in Cuba, Almost Human, The Roommate) were all incredibly believable and might have even pulled the film out of the abyss for me if they weren’t surrounded by performances as convincing as Santa Claus in a tutu wearing Easter bunny ears and lighting a menorah.

I’d give the film a lower score, but I truly believe the story is going to stick with me for a long time.

Cat’s Point of View:
Netflix called this movie understated.  I’d have to agree.

There are some places where the battles of the past linger on in the present. It’s not just Hatfields and McCoys that have enmity that runs deep. Though, they’re likely the first to come to mind when you think of a feud in Appalachia. This isn’t a tale of mass-scale feuding. The concept is an undercurrent that threads through the film and gives it a bit of a sense of weight behind the personal dramas taking place.

This visualization of a novel is a layered redemption tale. It’s a bit on the cerebral side, though, coming in just short of being a history class.

Of course, before there was McDreamy on the television hospital drama scene; Noah Wyle (Snake & Mongoose, W., Queen of the Lot) made his mark as the hot doctor back in the day. He hasn’t lost a bit of that charm. I appreciated the subtle irony involved with his character – both in that connection and in the story.

I was most impressed with Jeremy Irvine (The Railway Man, A Night in Old Mexico, Stonewall). His performance was visceral as his character navigated the changes in his life.

There really weren’t any cast members that didn’t fully inhabit their roles believably. Minka Kelly’s (The Kingdom, Friday Night Lights, Lee Daniels' The Butler) character was an unexpected element that helped catalyst moments of the story. Steve Earle (Leaves of Grass, Treme, Dixieland) was extremely creepy beyond his character’s visage – not just because of his demeanor but in his intelligence.

This film was definitely at a slower pace than a lot of what we’ve watched lately. There’s a lot of water imagery here, as well. Rivers cut their way through the landscape over the ages, and this movie makes broad strokes of emotion over its course – but not fast or flashy. There wasn’t any white-water rafting going on here – literally or figuratively.

I think that the story needed to be paced as if it were a bit of a southern drawl; but at the same time it might have been too slow. It was hard for me to keep my interest in some places. If there had been a slightly better balance with that, I would have been able to give it a higher rating.

Anyone whom enjoys a drama where history meets the present without being an actual period piece might enjoy this movie. Fans of Lifetime Channel level drama intensity would probably also like this movie. I can’t say that I’d watch it again, though.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 63%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 46%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 3.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score2.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 3.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

P.S. Based on a book with the same name, written by Ron Rash.

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In October (2016)

According to: Cat

21– Zeroville (Honorable Mention)

Tag Line: A Film By James Franco.
Production Company:  RabbitBandini Productions
Director:  James Franco
Writers:  Steve Erickson (novel), Paul Felten, Ian Olds
Actors:  Megan Fox, Dave Franco, James Franco, Seth Rogan, Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Joey King, Jacki Weaver, Mia Serafino, Sandra Rosko, Horatio Sanz
Genre:  Comedy, Drama
Rated:  Unrated

Sometimes we feel the need to randomly step out of the box. This was one such occasion. This movie is rumored to be released in October 2016, however it is largely an enigma. It is a real movie, and there was even a trailer released at one point which has since been removed from the web. With the star power in this cast, it is odd that the film hasn’t gotten more buzz. The mystery is one of the attractions, at least for me, at the moment. If it isn’t released this month, keep a look out for it to appear on a future top 20.

The movie is set in 1969 during a time that the industry landscape in Hollywood was in transition from “Old Hollywood” to “New Hollywood.” James Franco’s (Spring Breakers, The Sound and the Fury, King Cobra) bald and tattooed character is an actor new to Los Angeles and it follows his tale. Franco is reported to have actually shaved his head for the part in this book adaptation piece.

20 – American Romance (10/23)

Tag Line: A love story by Zackary Adler
Production Companies:  Hub Media, Traverse Media
Director:  Zackary Adler
Writers:  Wes Laurie, Mei Melançon, Gary Sugarman         
Actors:  Nolan Gerard Funk, John Savage, Daveigh Chase, James Duval, Mark Boone Junior, Barlow Jacobs, Mei Melançon, Sofia Mali
Genre:  Horror, Thriller
Rated:  Unrated

I am a huge fan of Halloween. Huge. I love the costuming and all the spooky decorations. I enjoy the enthusiasm and joy of children trick-or-treating. It’s the season for ghost stories and scary movies. This year, my daughter turned 13. Rather than having her party in the middle of hot summer, we’re doing a “spooky 13” birthday party for her right before the holiday. I am already in high gear for the execution of the event! All the planning. All the lists! Pinterest is my friend.

I digress.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that in this month of shivers and scares that my Top 20 is heavily laden with horror and thrillers, such as this one.

This movie appears to be a mix of crime procedural and torture porn. Be prepared for blood and uncomfortable situations, if the trailer is any indication. It looks like there might be psychological thrills along with the scare factor. 

I also want to see what Mark Boone Junior (Halloween II, Life of Crime, The Birth of a Nation) is up to in this film. He has two movies coming out this month, but this is the only one that made my list. I haven’t really watched his work since Sons of Anarchy (2008-2014) ended, and I miss him on the screen.

19 – Ouija: Origin of Evil (10/21)

Tag Line: When you talk to the other side, you never know who will be listening.
Production Company: Allspark Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Hasbro, Platinum Dunes
Director: Mike Flanagan
Writers: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard
Actors: Elizabeth Reaser, Doug Jones, Henry Thomas, Lin Shaye, Kate Siegel, Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson, Sam Anderson, Alexis G. Zall, Lincoln Melher, Parker Mack, Ele Keats
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: PG-13

Lin Shaye (Snakes on a Plane, Big Ass Spider!, Tales of Halloween) is reprising her role from Ouija (2014); though the film is a prequel rather than a sequel.  This movie is taking place 50 years prior in same house.

Horror is definitely Shaye’s wheelhouse, and she’s another whom has two movies releasing this month. Both are actually on my list.

I’ve had my rant about Ouija boards before, so I’ll spare you. This movie looks sufficiently creepy, and actually a bit intense. While this film has been rated PG-13, I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone easily disturbed. Some of what was in the trailer was just freaky.

18 – In A Valley of Violence (10/21)

Tag Line: A man can only take so much!
Production Companies: Blumhouse Productions, Reel Chefs Catering
Director: Ti West
Writer: Ti West
Actors: Karen Gillian, John Travolta, Ethan Hawke, Taissa Farmiga, Burn Gorman, James Ransome, Toby Huss, Larry Fessenden, K. Harrison Sweeney, Tommy Nohilly
Genre: Western
Rated: R

This is the second non-horror film for writer/director Ti West (Trigger Man, The Innkeepers, The Sacrament). I enjoyed the trailer, but got a sense of ‘ugh’ when I saw that he was the mind behind this movie. He had directed the “M” segment of The ABCs of Death (2012), which I absolutely hated; and the “Second Honeymoon” segment of V/H/S (2012), which was highly creepy and less loathsome. I’m hoping that the fact that this is a different genre will have helped steer him in a better direction.

From what I gather between the trailer and the IMDb blurb, this seems to also be a bit of a dark comedy. That was something that immediately caught my attention and contributed heavily to placing this film on my list.

This is the first western movie for some of the big names of this cast. Taissa Farmiga (The Bling Ring, American Horror Story, The Final Girls) is new to the genre, and so is John Travolta (Hairspray, Savages, The Forger). I think they’ll do well here.

This isn’t the first rodeo for others, such as Karen Gillan (Oculus, Guardians of the Galaxy, Selfie) and Ethan Hawke (Boyhood, Maggie's Plan, Regression). This is, in fact, Hawke’s second western of this year. Though, as this movie follows close on the heels of last month's release of The Magnificent Seven (2016), the expectations are high. Both films are remakes of earlier works. This movie is said to be a loose remake of High Plains Drifter (1973), or at the least heavily influenced by it.

17 – Godzilla Resurgence (10/11)

Tag Line: A god incarnate. A city doomed.
Production Companies: Cine Bazar, Toho Company, Toho Pictures
Director: Hideaki Anno, Shinji Higuchi
Writers: Hideaki Anno
Actors: Hiroki Hasegawa, Yutaka Takenouchi, Satomi Ishihara, Ren Ohsugi, Akira Emoto, Kengo Kôra, Mikako Ichikawa, Jun Kunimura, Pierre Taki, Kyûsaku Shimada, Ken Mitshishi, Shingo Tsurumi, Kimiko Yo, Takumi Saitô
Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy
Rated: Unrated

I love a good creature feature. You’ve likely heard me say that before. What better creature in time for Halloween than the king of all movie critters – Godzilla?! This is the 30th film with the character Godzilla since the original in 1954 (if you don’t count that nonsense in 1998).

While this movie appears to be a reboot showing what would happen if the Terror of Tokyo were to attack for the very first time in present day, it has a lot of nods in it to vintage Godzilla. From the distinct roar heard in the trailer to even the appearance, this film will be full of nostalgia for fans of the kaiju genre. I like the fact that they’ve gone back to the monster’s roots rather than giving it yet another redesign.

It should also be noted that this is not connected in any way with the Legendary Pictures series. The sequel to that particular reboot is slated for 2019.

Another thing I love about this movie already is that one of the co-directors was heavily involved in the special effects for quite a few of the older movies from the mid-80s through the 90s. This movie is said to employ a hybrid of CGI and traditional practical effects in bringing the colossal creature to life – and taller than ever!

It’s only hitting theaters with a limited release (and with record speed following the Japan premiere), but it’ll be worth searching out On Demand, via streaming services, or on DVD/blu-ray as soon as it’s available.

16 – Patient Seven (10/11)

Tag Line: Try to remain calm.
Production Company: Terror Films
Directors: Danny Draven, Paul Davis, Ómar Örn Hauksson, Dean Hewison, Joel Morgan, Johannes Persson, Nicholas Peterson, Erlingur Thoroddsen, Rasmus Wassberg
Writers: Paul Davis, Sam Dickson, Richard Falkner, Paul Fischer, Omar Orn Hauksson, Jacey Heldrich, Dean Hewison, Barry Jay, Brian McAuley, Joel Morgan, Johannes Persson, Nicholas Peterson, David Steenhoek, Aidee Walker, Rasmus Wassberg
Actors: Amy Smart, Doug Jones, Alfie Allen, Michael Ironside, Jack Plotnick, Grace Van Dien, William Mark McCullough, Daniel Lench, Anna Rose Moore, Amanda Graeff, Sirry Jons
Genre: Horror, Drama
Rated: Unrated

There always seems to be one or more horror anthologies released at this time of year. With collaborations of this nature, you never know what you’re going to get. What I saw on the trailer looks really good. This seems to be a blend of some sort of supernatural with psychological thriller and Michael Ironside’s (Extraterrestrial, Turbo Kid, Children of the Fall) character is the glue that holds the different segments together.

Looking through the directors, I didn’t see anyone that’s directed any of the stinkers I’m familiar with. A lot are rather new or have done the bulk of their work in foreign markets. There’s even one that has directed a couple of the metal band Five Finger Death Punch’s videos. This gives me hope, and I am intrigued as to what is going on with this doctor interviewing psychotic and dangerous patients.

15 – Boo! A Madea Halloween (10/21)

Tag Line: Witch, please.
Production Company: The Tyler Perry Company
Director: Tyler Perry
Writers: Tyler Perry
Actors: Bella Thorne, Brock O'Hurn, Tyler Perry, Jimmy Tatro, Diamond White, Yousef Erakat, Kian Lawley, Lexy Panterra, Cassi Davis, Jc Caylen, John West Jr., Patrice Lovely
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Horror
Rated: PG-13

Madea’s back after a three year hiatus from the big screen! This movie just looks hilarious. There doesn’t need to be more explanation than that. I’m curious to see how Tyler Perry (Star Trek, Good Deeds, Brain on Fire) blended the actual horror movie elements with the comedy. Rumor has it that this film was also shot in a total of six days.

Another reason I am excited to see this movie hit the theaters is because of the big-screen debut of Brock O'Hurn (Too Close to Home). He’s only had one other cited project, which was a TLC original content television series also by Perry. I’m hoping that this personal trainer’s acting chops are really there and he’s not just scenery. His fabulous hair and propensity for taking shirtless pictures have made him a bit of a social media sensation in recent years. But hey, if it doesn’t work out, he’ll still have “man-bun Monday.”

14 – The Accountant (10/14)

Tag Line: Calculate your choices.
Production Companies: Warner Bros., Electric City Entertainment, Zero Gravity Management
Director: Gavin O'Connor
Writers: Bill Dubuque
Actors: Anna Kendrick, Ben Affleck, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor, John Lithgow, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Alison Wright, Seth Lee, Gregory Alan Williams
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Rated: R

This cast certainly has a lot of combined comic book character experience. Of course, that’s a bit of fun ‘six degrees’ trivia since this story isn’t based on any comic that I’m aware of.

When I first saw a trailer for this movie on TV, I thought that Ben Affleck’s (The Company Men, To the Wonder, Runner Runner) character was one of those emotionless sociopaths – I was wrong.
In looking up the first released official trailer for this film, it became clear that his character is supposed to be somewhere on the autism spectrum and quite the savant. I am very interested in how the character transitions into the grown man that apparently does interesting and illicit things with his accounting skills.

13 – Keeping Up with the Joneses (10/21)

Tag Line: Takes spying on your neighbors to another level.
Production Companies: Fox 2000 Pictures, Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation
Director: Greg Mottola
Writer: Michael LeSieur
Actors: Gal Gadot, Isla Fisher, Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifianakis, Jon Hamm, Matt Walsh
Genre: Action, Comedy
Rated: PG-13

I’m happy to see that there are so many PG-13 movies this month. There’s a decent selection out there for most age groups. From what I saw in the trailer, this looks like something I’d be ok with taking my daughter to see.

The premise is rather interesting. It feels like someone was sitting around and spit-balled the idea of ‘what if Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) had really nosy busybody neighbors?” The answer seems to be this movie. But hey, with this cast, this is going to be seriously entertaining.

12 – Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (10/7)

Tag Line: Rules aren't for everyone
Production Companies: CBS Films, James Patterson Entertainment, Participant Media, Rovio Entertainment
Director: Steve Carr
Writers: Chris Bowman, Hubbel Palmer, Kara Holden, James Patterson (novel), Chris Tebbetts (novel)
Actors: Lauren Graham, Griffin Gluck, Rob Riggle, Thomas Barbusca, Isabela Moner, Adam Pally, Efren Ramirez, Retta, Andrew Daly, Jacob Hopkins, Alexa Nisenson, Isabella Amara, Angela Oh, Gemma Forbes, Jessi Goei
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG

I remember my middle school experience well. It was rough. Thankfully, I didn’t have a principal with the same drive for sucking the fun out of school.

This movie looks like it’s going to be a lot of family fun. I mean, seriously – who didn’t dream of pulling wickedly awesome pranks at school? I’m just hoping that the trailer didn’t give away all the best of them.

11 – Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (10/11)

Tag Lines: The crusade continues...
Production Companies: Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment
Director: Rick Morales
Writers: William Dozier, Bill Finger, Michael Jelenic, James Tucker
Actors: Adam West, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar, Wally Wingert
Genre: Animation, Action/Adventure
Rated: PG

Do I really need to explain why this one is on my list? It’s the freaking Batman! Not only that, but it’s a retro feel and voiced by the very same actors that portrayed Batman, Robin, and Catwoman in the live action TV show in the 60s. The awesomesauce speaks for itself.

10 – The Thinning (10/12)

Tag Line: Not Available.
Production Companies: Legendary Digital Media, Kids At Play, Cinemand
Director: Michael J. Gallagher
Writer: Michael J. Gallagher, Steve Greene
Actors: Peyton List, Logan Paul, Lia Marie Johnson, Calum Worthy, Matthew Glave, Michael Traynor, Ryan Newman, Patrick O'Sullivan, Jana Winternitz, Kiersten Warren
Genre: Thriller
Rated: Unrated

Dystopian movies are so interesting. While they are generally addressing what might happen in a messed up future of our world, and there are some similarities that run through a lot of them, each twisted picture is different. One setting has children fighting a televised deadly survival game, another deals with children facing mazes and tests, and yet another where the young fight back against a caste system based on personality traits. Of course, those describe the most wildly popular stories to come out of the last decade or so.

This movie has the potential, I think, of leaving its own mark in the genre with the concept of testing in schools utilized as a method for population control. (And we thought that the schools were putting an inordinate amount of importance on those standardized tests NOW, right?)

Aside from the interesting story concept, I’m also curious to see both the Disney starlet and the Vine sensation in this film. Of course, you won’t see this one on the big screen just yet. This movie can be found exclusively on YouTubeRed, which is YouTube’s ad-free subscription streaming service. (Free trials are available, just like Netflix and other streaming providers.)

9 – The Girl on the Train (10/7)

Tag Line: What you can see can hurt you
Production Companies: Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks SKG, Marc Platt Productions, Reliance Entertainment, Storyteller Distribution
Director: Tate Taylor
Writers: Paula Hawkins (novel), Erin Cressida Wilson
Actors: Haley Bennett, Emily Blunt, Justin Theroux, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans, Laura Prepon, Allison Janney, Edgar Ramirez, Lisa Kudrow, Darren Goldstein
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Rated: R

This movie is an adaptation of a novel that spent 15 weeks as a #1 bestseller with sales in the millions of copies. That alone is a good indication that the story must be compelling.

The trailer does an excellent job in setting up both the mystery and the tangled web of connections between the characters. It feels like I see this film’s teaser every time I turn on the TV, lately. I’ll be very surprised if this doesn’t do well at the box office.

8 – Desierto (10/14)

Tag Line: From the visionary filmmakers that brought you Gravity
Production Companies: Esperanto Kino, Itaca Films, CG Cinéma
Director: Jonás Cuarón
Writers: Jonás Cuarón, Mateo Garcia
Actors: Gael García Bernal, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Alondra Hidalgo, Diego Cataño, Marco Pérez, Oscar Flores, David Lorenzo
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rated: R

Illegal immigration has been a hot-button topic for quite some time. For the purposes of this movie, let’s push the political agendas aside.

Walking in the shoes of those desperate enough to cross the border, one realizes that it’s hard enough to navigate fences, desert, or rivers. These poor people in this movie also have to contend with a gun-toting vigilante with an attack dog patrolling the border.

I think that this is going to be the year that everyone is going to love to hate Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Red Dawn, Solace, The Good Wife) because of his villainous roles. The countdown has begun to see which beloved character that Negan kills in the Season Six premiere of The Walking Dead (2010-)! (It had better not be Daryl. Just saying.)

This movie is going to be intense.

7 – Fear, Inc. (10/21)

Tag Line: Making a killing one client at a time.
Production Companies: Lone Suspect, Amasia Entertainment, Title Media
Director: Vincent Masciale
Writers: Luke Barnett
Actors: Lucas Neff, Caitlin Stasey, Chris Marquette, Stephanie Drake, Mark Moses, Abigail Breslin, Richard Riehle, Patrick Renna, Naomi Grossman, Eric Lange
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Thriller
Rated: Unrated

For some horror junkies, it’s just hard to get scared by movies and haunted houses anymore. Then there’s me – I startle so easily that I’ll still jump even if I can see the source of the loud noise as it happens. My brother loves telling the story of the time he hid around a corner from me to scare me and I jumped and ran in place mid-air like a cartoon character.

This movie looks like it’s a dark comedy blended with a horror/thriller of the ‘be careful what you wish for’ variety. It somewhat reminds me of the premise of The Houses October Built (2014) and, yet, just by watching the trailer, I believe this movie will be funny and entertaining rather than the head-scratcher that Houses was.

6 – Jack Goes Home (10/14)

Tag Line:  Let The Condolences Begin
Production Companies: Yale Productions, SSS Entertainment, BondIt, Isle Empire Pictures
Director: Thomas Dekker
Writer: Thomas Dekker
Actors: Rory Culkin, Britt Robertson, Natasha Lyonne, Nikki Reed, Daveigh Chase, Lin Shaye, Louis Hunter,. Hutchi Hancock, Serge Levin, Michael Sirow
Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Rated: R

Here we have the second movie featuring Lin Shaye (Noobz, The Signal, Get the Money) I mentioned earlier. There promises to be something rather disturbing about her character in this film – and she’s not the lead!

I am absolutely intrigued by this movie. The trailer left me with a feeling of ‘what in the world???’ – but in the best way, rather than the WTF way. I was actually a bit giddy to note that this film was both written and directed by Thomas Dekker (Heroes, Foreverland, Plush). I have liked his performances in the few things I’ve seen. I want to get a peek into his head as to the dark creativity he can bring to the screen.

Of course, Dekker isn’t a stranger to the dark and supernatural. He was even on a TV series with some of the cast from this movie. Louis Hunter (The 7th Hunt, The Woodlies, The Fosters) and Britt Robertson (Ask Me Anything, Under the Dome, The Longest Ride) were both among the cast of The Secret Circle (2011-2012).

Rory Culkin (The Chumscrubber, Scream 4, Intruders) looks like he really shines in this film. I did spend a bit of the beginning of the trailer trying to place what I’d seen him in recently – aside from his very recognizable resemblance to his brothers. Then it hit me – he was the asthmatic kid in the movie Signs (2002). It has been circulating through cable movie channels lately; and I watched it with my daughter just last week. (For the record, now I feel old.)

5 – Rings (10/28)

Tag Line: Evil is reborn
Production Companies: BenderSpink, Macari/Edelstein, Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation, Vertigo Entertainment, Waddieish Claretrap
Director: F. Javier Gutiérrez
Writers: Jacob Estes, Akiva Goldsman, David Loucka, Kôji Suzuki (novel)
Actors: Vincent D'Onofrio, Aimee Teegarden, Lizzie Brocheré, Laura Wiggins, Johnny Galecki, Alex Roe, Zach Roerig, Bonnie Morgan, Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Brandon Larracuente, Jill Jane Clements
Genre: Drama, Horror
Rated: Unrated

The Ring (2002) is considered a modern horror classic. You wouldn’t think that your life would be in danger from simply watching a video, right? Well, in this world, think again.

This isn’t a direct sequel to that first movie. There’s been at least one other that I’m aware of. I haven’t looked it up (shame on me). I haven’t watched it, and that’s ok. Either prior sequel(s) didn’t hit my radar or trailers didn’t get enough of my attention.

This one, however, with its October timing, seems right in my zone.

It also helps that there are some relatively well known members of the cast; such as Zach Roerig (Dear Me, Field of Lost Shoes, The Vampire Diaries), Johnny Galecki (Hancock, In Time, CBGB), Aimee Teegarden (Prom, Beneath the Darkness, Star-Crossed), and Vincent D'Onofrio (The Narrows, Kill the Irishman, Daredevil).

While the trailer shows the roles for a couple of them, I am curious how Zach and Johnny’s characters fit into this story. Aside from all that, this movie seems to take the original story to a whole new level. The trailer, by itself, was really trippy. I can’t wait!!

4 – Inferno (10/28)

Tag Line: His greatest challenge. Humanity's last hope
Production Companies: Columbia Pictures, Imagine Entertainment
Director: Ron Howard
Writers: Dan Brown (novel), David Koepp
Actors: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster, Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ana Ularu, Ida Darvish
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Rated: PG-13

I’d have to say that Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon, Rush, In the Heart of the Sea) is high in the list of my top five favorite directors. It’s more than just nostalgia for the television shows I enjoyed his youthful exuberance and apple pie performances in ages ago. He really brings some intensity and depth to his movies. He’s also helmed some of my favorite movies of all time. Willow (1988), Far and Away (1992), and Apollo 13 (1995) are among those.

He also has a long history of working with Tom Hanks (Charlie Wilson's War, Saving Mr. Banks, Ithaca). Their pairings date back to at least Splash (1984); which is also one of my favorites. Hanks can always be counted on for a stellar performance. Add Felicity Jones (Flashbacks of a Fool, Cemetery Junction, Collide) into the mix and you have the potential for something very awesome.

Inferno is the fourth book in Dan Brown’s (Be Cool, The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons) Robert Langdon series. It’s the third one to make it to the big screen. According to IMDb, the third book, The Lost Symbol, has been announced but details are sketchy right now.

While these movies tend to give the Catholic Church migraines, I find them fascinating. The blend of religion with mystery is hard to resist. I enjoy watching how Langdon’s brain ticks in putting pieces of the puzzles together and how he deals with his often harrowing circumstances.
If you liked the first two movies, this is definitely a must see!

3 – Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (10/21)

Tag Line: Never give in, never give up, never go back.
Production Companies: Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions, TC Productions
Director: Edward Zwick
Writers: Richard Wenk, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, Lee Child (book)
Actors: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Robert Knepper, Aldis Hodge, Sue-Lynn Ansari, Danika Yarosh, Holt McCallany, Julia Holt, Teri Wyble, Jason Douglas, Patrick Heusinger
Genre: Action/Adventure, Crime, Thriller
Rated: Unrated

Tom Cruise (Knight and Day, Rock of Ages, Oblivion) in an action movie? Sign me up! No seriously. He’s been an integral part of quite a few of my favorite movies ever. I’ve seen all but maybe 2 or 3 of his entire filmography. He might be crazypants in his personal life, but that’s his personal life. I love watching him on the screen.

If scary movies aren’t your speed, then a crime thriller might be the very thing to get your pulse racing during this spooky season. Of course, there’s nothing supernatural (that I’m aware of) about this movie. It is actually based on the 18th book of the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child (Murder by the Book, The Crime Thriller Club, Jack Reacher). The first Reacher film was based on the 9th book, so it’s unlikely that this movie will have the ‘picking up where the first left off’ vibe of most sequels.

Another thing I love about this movie (aside from the talented Cobie Smulders (Safe Haven, The Lego Movie, The Intervention) as the female lead) is that it was filmed in New Orleans. I like to support projects that come out of my home state. In spite of our former governor dropping the ball on tax incentives for the film industry, Louisiana loves hosting all manner of productions.  

2 – Max Steel (10/14)

Tag Line: Unleash your power.
Production Companies: Dolphin Entertainment, Ingenious Media, Mattel Entertainment, Open Road Films, Playground Productions
Director: Stewart Hendler
Writer: Christopher Yost
Actors: Ben Winchell, Josh Brener, Maria Bello, Andy Garcia, Ana Villafañe, Mike Doyle, Phillip DeVona, Billy Slaughter, Al Mitchell, Lawrence Kao
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13

This movie just looks really cool. I love the humor in the trailer. I predict that my favorite character in the film is going to be Steel, based on the communication misunderstandings that have ‘him’ taking things too literally and things of that nature.

Aside from the comedy aspect, this movie looks like it’s going to be a really good and intense coming of age superhero sci-fi movie. What do I have to say to that? Hell. Yes. Just go see it. Take the kiddos (that are old enough, since it’s PG-13). Take your friends.

1 – The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again (10/20)

Tag Line: This Halloween, a cult classic is reborn.
Production Companies: Fox 21 Television Studios, Jackal Group
Director: Kenny Ortega
Writers: Richard O'Brien (screenplay), Jim Sharman (original screenplay)
Actors: Laverne Cox, Reeve Carney, Tim Curry, Victoria Justice, Ryan McCartan, Annaleigh Ashford, Christina Milian, Staz Nair, Adam Lambert, Ben Vereen, Jayne Eastwood.
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Musical
Rated: TV-14

When I first heard about this remake, I was a bit irked and didn’t like the idea at all. I am a huge fan of the original. It’s a cult classic that has lasted in theaters for roughly 40 years now. That has to be a record. My favorite part of the movie isn’t even technically in the film – it’s the audience participation and ‘live cast’ performances that go with the (sometimes weekly) showings. There are just some things that you shouldn’t touch!

However, I changed my tune as more information came out about the creative minds behind the project and the cast. When I learned that the new screenplay was the brainchild of the brilliant and twisted mind of Richard O'Brien (Ever After: A Cinderella Story, Night Train, Phineas and Ferb) – the original Riff Raff – I felt like this was going to be enjoyable and handled with respect.

The minute I found out that Tim Curry (The Wild Thornberrys, Garfield 2, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) was on board to play the criminologist narrator, I was sold. There’s no way he would sign on to this if it weren’t worthy.

Since then, I’ve been waiting with great antici…..

(you know I had to)


I absolutely adore some of the other cast members, as well. Though, I haven’t read a lot about what they’re doing with this new twist on the story because I want to be surprised. This is going to be a TV special on the Fox network. I find that fitting, personally, because that’s how I first saw the original 1975 movie – late night Fox TV.

People are likely to either love it or hate it, but I’m going to give it a chance! Hey, it's free. Tune in and give it a shot - if you don't like it, you can always change the channel.

Movies to Look out For
According to: Selina
Zeroville (Honorable Mention) - 21 
 Keeping Up with the Joneses - 20
Inferno - 19
Rings - 18
Jack Goes Home - 17
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life - 16
The Siege of Jadotville - 15
London Town - 14
Desierto - 13
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back - 12
Ouija: Origin of Evil - 11
The Thinning - 10
The Late Bloomer - 9
Fear, Inc. - 8
Kevin Hart: What Now? - 7
The Accountant - 6
King Cobra - 5
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again - 4
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders - 3
Max Steel - 2
The Girl on the Train - 1