Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I'm Getting Married!

I am getting married on April 3! As a result, I will be taking a short vacation. Normal scheduled posting will return with a "Top 10 Movies to Look Out For in April" on April 9.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Alpha House (2014)

Number Rolled: 12
Movie Name/Year: Alpha House (2014)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 88 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: The Asylum, Broken Films
Executive Producer: David Rimawi
Director: Jacob Cooney
Writer: Jacob Cooney, Brandon Trenz
Actors: Julian Ari, Heather Paige Cohn, Chris O’Brien, Jean Louise O’Sullivan, Sam Aotaki, D.C. Douglas, Anna Beletzki, Eli Bildner, Michael Lewis Foster, Audrey Ellis Fox, Janna VanHeertum, Jacquelina Cardinale, Melvin Gregg, Nina Kate, Jon Kondelik, A.J. Rivera, Mindy Robinson, Grace Roubidoux, Taylor Zakhar, Brant A. McCoy

Alpha House is the raunchiest frat on campus. Their house is always partying; always filled with sex, music and beer. It’s a lot of fun for the people involved, but for a sorority without a house to call its own, they’re a waste of precious space.

From the company that brought you the Sharknado series and Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies comes a movie that’s so terrible it blew “so bad, it’s good” out of the water.

I hope you read that part in the movie trailer guy’s voice. If not, well… the joke wasn’t that funny anyway, you’re not missing anything.

On a serious note, The Asylum is known for doing its best to produce movies that fall into the “so bad, it’s good,” or “bad-good,” category. In the two aforementioned movies, they actually succeed. Unfortunately, the genre of bad-good is a bit difficult to work with and they’re not very good at it.

Out of 172 movies on The Asylum’s production list (as of today) roughly 10 or 15 of their films are somewhat watchable. Only about 5 of those films actually succeed in the bad-good genre.

That’s coming from someone who loves the terrible B-movie thing.

Alpha House was trying to be a mix of Van Wilder and Revenge of the Nerds. It tried very hard. In the end, it wasn’t even one of The Asylum’s watchable movies. None of the jokes were funny. The script was so basic it felt like a 14 year old boy wrote it. The line for bad-good wasn’t even on the radar for this film.

It seems like I’m rolling a lot of terrible movies lately. The good part is that they’re getting off my list and soon only the better movies will be left. The bad part is that I’m watching a lot of crap movies.

Netflix has some real hidden gems. This is just a rut.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 18%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 1.1/5
Trust-the-Dice Score1/5

The Random Rating: R

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Haunted House 2 (2014)

Number Rolled: 86
Movie Name/Year: A Haunted House 2 (2014)
Genre: Horror
Length: 86 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Baby Way Productions, Automatik Entertainment, IM Global Octane, Wayans Bros. Entertainment
Executive Producer: Stuart Ford, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Tony Roman, Steven Squillante
Director: Michael Tiddes
Writer: Marlon Wayans, Rick Alvarez
Actors: Marlon Wayans, Jaime Pressly, Gabriel Iglesias, Missi Pyle, Ashley Rickards, Affion Crockett, Steele Stebbins, Rick Overton, Hayes MacArthur, Dave Sheridan, Cedric the Entertainer, Kurt Carley, Tom Virtue, Kym Whitley, Gregg Wayans

The events of the last movie are in the past and Malcolm has moved into a new haunted house with his new family for the sequel.

I’m so happy I rolled this movie. That means it’s in the past and I never have to see it again.

I want to be very clear. I stand by my review of the first movie. Hard-ass critics need to keep their hands off of parodies. They need to stop judging the genre by other genre standards.

That being said, by parody standards, this film still sucked.

I don’t care about the story line, because that’s not what parodies are about. Any hint of a storyline is based on reference, that’s part of the parody equation. Jokes are the big part of the genre, the part that really matters.

A Haunted House 2 felt like it took the first one, did the same jokes without any attempt at updating, and slapped a sequel label on it. As a result we got stale jokes, no laughter and not even an attempt at shock value.

At one point during the film I guessed the next two lines of dialog correctly.

Terrible. Just terrible.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 8%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 46%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3.4/5
Trust-the-Dice Score1/5

P.S. Unnecessary sequel is unnecessary.

Movie Trailer:

Monday, March 16, 2015

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

Number Rolled: N/A
Movie Name/Year: How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
Genre: Children & Family
Length: 102 minutes
Rating: PG
Production Companies: DreamWorks Animation, Mad Hatter Entertainment
Executive Producer: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders, Kate Spencer
Director: Dean DeBlois
Writer: Dean DeBlois, Cressida Cowell
Actors: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington, Kieron Elliott, Philip McGrade, Andrew Ableson, Gideon Emery, Simon Kassianides, Randy Thom

Hiccup is older now and his bond with Toothless is stronger than ever. Although the land of Burke now accepts dragons, and even loves them, Hiccup believes there’s more to find beyond the area. So he and the Night Fury leave town often to map unknown areas looking for something new.

I loved How to Train Your Dragon. Needless to say, when it was time to do the “Top Ten Movies to Look Out For” in June of 2014, How to Train Your Dragon 2 had to be number one on the list. That’s why I didn’t bother rolling this week. I found out it hit Netflix and nothing was going to stop me from watching it.

When I posted my “Top Ten” article to Reddit, someone told me they didn’t understand the hype that came with the film. He wanted to know why the movie made any difference at all.

I was happy to tell him. [ Minor Spoilers for the first movie ahead ]

“For me, How to Train Your Dragon stuck because it was different. True, there was a bit of a typical happy ending, but it wasn't absolute. In a world where cartoons teach that love conquers all and Cinderella always gets her prince, movies that steer away from the norm are beginning to get more attention. With How to Train Your Dragon, the ending is happy, but there's also bitterness. The hero pays a price. It's the same reason I love Frozen. The ending is happy, but the prince isn't the savior. In fact, it's not even romance in the end.

How to Train Your Dragon was unbelievably cute with the addition of having an interesting life lesson thrown in the mix. It helps that the life lesson is subtle, because it isn't always. In Wall-E, for example, the main characters are just as adorable, but the social commentary is so in your face that it's a little overbearing.”

Of course, when you love a movie that much and a sequel comes out, there is a certain amount of anxiety that comes with it.

Sequels can wind up being just as terrible as the first movie was great. The director changes and the production company works to squeeze every last dime from the franchise. You know that quote, “you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain?” It stands true.

I was looking forward to seeing if the franchise would remain on the side of the hero or turn to something very wrong.

I’m happy to report that How to Train Your Dragon 2 was awesome. It was just as good as the first one was. The graphics were updated to remain with the times and the storyline was outstanding. It had dark moments that combated the lightness of the animation, but it never strayed too far away from the children & family label.

There is nothing bad I can say about this film. I loved every second of it and I will wait with anticipation until the third movie comes out in 2018.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 92%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 90%

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

P.S. Artwork from the movie during the credits.

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Serenity of Knowing Firefly Can't Die

Today we’re going to take a break from Netflix in order to discuss something.

Networks suck. Ok, not all networks. One in particular, however, sucks. I mean, who in their right mind cancels a show like Firefly? A real suck of a network, that’s who.

I think the majority of us, even if the network isn’t blamed, agree that canceling Firefly was one of the worst ideas in television history.

We lost Serenity and they took the sky from us.


Of course, this was over a decade ago.

Something they weren’t able to take from fans of Firefly was our love of the actors involved.

We watched as Nathan Fillion played in a strange alien film (Slither) that was pretty much amazing because of him and his costar. We squee’d when he starred as the cocky Captain Hammer across from Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother, Gone Girl, Starship Troopers) and Felicia Day (Dollhouse, The Guild, Supernatural) in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Some people only watched Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters because they knew he played Hermes and all of us bounced when he made those off-hand references to the lost sci-fi series he was a captain in. Now, we watch as he plays a cocky writer on Castle and remark about how awesome he pulls off that “cocky” persona… always.

We may not be able to pronounce Alan Tudyk’s last name, but we know his voice by heart. His part as Wash in Serenity broke our hearts and he’s imprinted on the pieces floating around in our chests. We watched him as Alpha in another short-lived series by Joss Whedon (Dollhouse). We couldn’t believe our ears when we played Injustice: Gods Among Us and heard his voice for Green Arrow. He was an unsung hero (well… villain) in Frozen when he voiced the Duke of Weselton. Naturally, when he voiced Alistair Krei in Big Hero 6, we just assumed that meant he was the bad guy.

Most of us followed the other actors: Gina Torres (24, Hannibal, Suits), Morena Baccarin (Homeland, Stargate SG-1, Gotham), Adam Baldwin (Chuck, The Last Ship, Angel), Jewel Staite (Stargate: Atlantis, The Killing, The L.A. Complex), Sean Maher (The Playboy Club, Make It or Break It, Much Ado About Nothing), Summer Glau (The 4400, Dollhouse, Arrow) and Ron Glass (All Grown Up, Death at a Funeral, Lakeview Terrace). For the purpose of this post, however, we’ll be paying attention to Fillion and Tudyk.

Why? Because they are creating another show.

No, this one won’t have Browncoats in space, but does that matter? Everything those two touch shines like diamond among the coal. Besides, we’d be fools not to expect the references; the private jokes that exist solely between them and their fans.

In fact, the show is about a couple of actors who played parts on a previous sci-fi show that was canceled by the network after one season. It seems like a bit of an inside look into what happened to the actors of the show right after it was canceled. They’re also recruiting some familiar faces.

Watch the video below for more information on who might be appearing.

The best part about this new show, “Con Man?”

No network can cancel it.

Fillion and Tudyk are joining forces and pushing their show to followers of IndieGogo. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s pretty much Kickstarter for movies.

This. Thing. Looks. Awesome.

The perks aren’t too bad either, and a lot of the stretch goals have already been met.

I will be pledging as much as possible to the show created by two of the best actors out there, in memory of our lost Serenity. I urge you all to take a look. Pledge or share or just generally spread the good news.

A message to the actors of Firefly that have kept the link with their fans: We know you could have just moved on. We know you could have ignored that the show ever happened. We're grateful that we still share the private jokes of the story line with you. It makes us feel like Firefly can never truly end; like losing something doesn't mean you lose everything. Thank you.

“Con Man” Indiegogo:  

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dare (2009)

Number Rolled: 70
Movie Name/Year: Dare (2009)
Genre: Thriller (wtf, really Netflix? Who was high when they determined this?)
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Next Wednesday Productions, Gigantic Pictures
Producers: David Brind, Jason Orans, Mary Jane Skalski
Director: Adam Salky
Writer: David Brind
Actors: Emmy Rossum, Cady Huffman, Ashley Springer, Matthew Garrick, Brianne Berkson, Lucy McMichael, Annie Hibbs, Zach Gilford, Chris Riggi, Rooney Mara, Alan Cumming, Emily McNamara, Suzanne Savoy, Adam Fleming, Ana Gasteyer, Wayne Pyle, David Brind, Brea Bee, Sandra Bernhard, Michael Braun

Alexa Walker wants to be an actress. When her drama club is set to perform in front of a Broadway star, she gets to work to try and ensure she’ll stand out. Unfortunately, her drama partner Johnny Drake, seems to have no interest in putting in any effort at all. Luckily, her best friend Ben Berger is there to help her through it.

It may sound like a coming-of-age comedy, but don’t be fooled. In the interest of avoiding spoilers wherever possible, I only describe the beginning of the movie in The Random Review, not the plot.

This film definitely took a dramatic left turn after the start. Considering it’s labeled a thriller, I thought that left turn would bring us somewhere dark and pulse-racing. Somewhere, you know, thrilling. In fact, the whole reason I added the movie to my list was because the comedy-plot came with a “thriller” genre. I thought that was unique. Instead, Dare is a drama. Someone was on acid when they decided it was thriller.

I want to say the mislabeling is why I didn’t like the movie, but I can’t.

The plot was scattered. Showing some story from each of the main character’s perspective would have been a good idea, if it had been done right. For instance, The Rules of Attraction also showed the story from several different perspectives. Unlike Dare, they managed to do it in a way that heightened the viewing experience. This film just felt broken.

Not only that, but there was no ending.

The Sopranos ended mid-word, but it left viewers with a general idea of where it was going; enough to offer debate. Dare seemed to end before the final scene. No questions are answered. There is no payoff. There’s not even the illusion of payoff.

Dare got the extra “.5” for one reason.

The actors weren’t bad. Emmy Rossum (Shameless, You’re Not You, The Day After Tomorrow) and Ashley Springer (Teeth, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Visitor) made their characters very convincing. It was Zach Gilford (The Mob Doctor, Friday Night Lights, Super), however, that really took his character to the next level. He brought so much life to Johnny Drake, that it made me angrier that there was no ending. I needed to know the rest of his story and wound up with a teaser that led to nothing. 


Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 64%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 34%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 2.6/5
Trust-the-Dice Score1.5/5

P.S. Not a thriller. Seriously. I can’t say it enough.

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dead Within (2014)

Number Rolled: 30
Movie Name/Year: Dead Within (2014)
Genre: Horror
Length: 82 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: 3:41am, This is Just a Test Productions
Executive Producer: Peter James Cooper, Aengus James, Colin King Miller, Gregory R. Schenz
Director: Ben Wagner
Writer: Matthew Bradford, Dean Chekvala, Amy Cale Peterson, Ben Wagner
Actors: Dean Chekvala, J. Claude Deering, Rick Federman, Sarah McMaster, Amy Cale Peterson

There was an outbreak six months back. Mike and Kim have managed to survive by barricading themselves in a cabin. As time goes on, they are forced to spend more and more time apart as Mike has to search further and further away for food.

I believe the only reason this movie got shoved into horror genre is because of the presence of zombies. In my opinion, just having a zombie in a movie doesn’t necessarily make it a horror. Dead Within felt more like a psychological thriller.

Netflix was pretty certain I wouldn’t like the movie. As I rate more movies on the site, whatever algorithm they use to rate movies for me seems to work better. It’s at the point where I’ve gained a lot of confidence in their star system. It doesn’t stop me from adding movies to my list or anything, but it does cause me to pre-judge films. In this case, they didn’t quite get it right.

I can’t say Dead Within was a good horror movie. I can say it was a really interesting film.

The 82 minutes flew by. I barely realized I’d been watching very long when the movie was over. Films that try to show the psyche of someone dealing with cabin fever can get incredibly boring, but this one didn’t. It was fractured at times and confusing, but that emotion aided the overall experience.

Dean Chekvala (Reception, People Like Us, True Blood) and Amy Cale Peterson (Vicariously, Southbounders, I Hate L.A.) really brought their characters to life. That alone was not a small feat, considering they had only each other and the setting to work off of during the majority of the movie. I didn’t see much chemistry between them, but I don’t think I was supposed to.

All in all, it was kind of nice to see a different kind of zombie film. It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t bad either.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 22%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 1.4/5
Trust-the-Dice Score2.5/5

The Random Rating: R

P.S. Some scenes during the credits

Movie Trailer: