Thursday, October 30, 2014

Top Ten Movies to Look Out For In November

Honorable Mention – A Merry Friggin’ Christmas (November 7)

Director: Tristram Shapeero
Writer: Phil Johnston
Actors: Robin Williams, Joel McHale, Lauren Graham, Clarke Duke, Oliver Platt, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Tim Heidecker, Candice Bergen, Matt Jones
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG-13

I’ll be honest with you. Christmas movies in November piss me off. Can we get passed Thanksgiving first for fuck’s sake!?

I’m making an exception for A Merry Friggin’ Christmas for one reason and one reason only: Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting, Aladdin, Good Morning Vietnam).

This is the first of 3 movies that are slated to come out starring him after his death. He was a great actor and an even better comic and I will even watch a Christmas movie in November just because he’s in it.

I simply couldn’t leave this movie off the list in good conscious.

10 – Reach Me (November 21)

Director: John Herzfeld
Writer: John Herzfeld
Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Tom Berenger, Kevin Connolly, Kyra Sedgwick, Nelly, Cary Elwes, Thomas Jane, Terry Crews, Danny Aiello, Kelsey Grammer, Lauren Cohan, Ryan Kwanten, Tom Sizemore, Frank Stallone, Danny Trejo
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13

To be honest, I watched two different versions of the trailer for this movie and I’m still not 100% sure what it’s about. It made the list solely on the cast.

There is a ridiculous amount of talent in Reach Me. I’m mostly looking forward to Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead, Archer, The Vampire Diaries) and Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride, Robin Hood Men in Tights, Saw) but, aside from Nelly, there’s really no one involved that I don’t care about.

We’ll see how it goes for the story.

9 – The Imitation Game (November 28)

Director: Morten Tyldum
Writer: Graham Moore, Andrew Hodges
Actors: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13

This is the first of a couple of biographical dramas that I’m suggesting for November. It’s not my normal favorite kind of movie, but I couldn’t resist. I don’t know who decided November should be biography month, but they did one hell of a job of making those films incredibly intriguing.

The Imitation Game touches on Alan Turing during World War II. The only reason it’s so low on the list is because it looks like the kind of film that will be super slow for the first hour. It actually made the list because I doubt I’ll be able to look away from the screen after that build up.

It doesn’t hurt that Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) is playing the lead. He’s an amazing actor.

8 –Penguins of Madagascar (November 26)

Director: Simon Smith, Eric Darnell
Writer: Michael Colton, John Aboud, Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Brandon Sawyer
Actors: Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Jeong, Annet Mahendru, Peter Stormare, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG

Penguins. That is all.

7 – Wolves (November 14)

Director: David Hayter
Writer: David Hayter
Actors: Lucas Till, Stephen McHattie, Jason Momoa, Merritt Patterson, Benedict Carver
Genre: Action & Adventure
Rated: R

As a role-player and a fan of classic horror, I applaud the return of the non-pussy werewolf. It’s probably more the role-player in me, however, that enjoys the non-mindless werewolf form that is portrayed in the trailers.

I’m also ecstatic that Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, The Red Road, Stargate: Atlantis) will be a part of this film. Until I can see him as Aquaman, I’ll take what I can get.

6 – V/H/S: Viral (November 21)

Director: Justin Benson, Gregg Bishop, Aaron Moorhead, Marcel Sarmiento, Nacho Vigalondo
Writer: Justin Benson, Gregg Bishop, T. J. Cimfel, Ed Dougherty, Aaron Moorhead, Marcel Sarmiento, Nacho Vigalondo, David White
Actors: Various
Genre: Horror
Rated: R

What’s the mark of a successful trailer for a sequel?

It’s actually a really easy question. The answer is: a successful trailer for a sequel is one that makes you look forward to the next movie and make you want to see the others that came before it.

I’ve never seen V/H/S or V/H/S 2. After watching the trailer for Viral, I came to the decision that I’m going to have to see the first two sooner rather than later.

V/H/S: Viral looks amazing, thrilling and absolutely heart-stopping. Every part of me is now curious about the entire series.

5 – Foxcatcher (November 14)

Director: Bennett Miller
Writer: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
Actors: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave, Sienna Miller, Anthony Michael Hall
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

This one interests me less because of the story and more because of the actors.

Although I like Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street, Magic Mike, Step Up), he’s not the actor drawing my focus in Foxcatcher.

Steve Carell (The Office, Crazy Stupid Love, Despicable Me) and Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers, Now You See Me, The Kids Are Alright) look absolutely incredible in their parts. In fact, they’re almost unrecognizable. I cannot wait to see what they do together in this drama. The trailer looks incredible and it’s all because of them.

4 – Miss Meadows (November 14)

Director: Karen Leigh Hopkins
Writer: Karen Leigh Hopkins
Actors: Katie Holmes, James Badge Dale, Callan Mulvey
Genre: Action & Adventure
Rated: UR

There’s something so very appealing to me about a “don’t judge a book by its cover” message. In a movie about a seemingly gentle teacher going around killing bad guys, what else could the message possibly be?

Besides, I’ve loved Katie Holmes (Batman Begins, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Teaching Mrs. Tingle) since her days on Dawson’s Creek as Joey Potter. I haven’t seen many of her movies since then, but that doesn’t stop me from getting all nostalgic whenever I see her face.

3 – Big Hero 6 (November 7)

Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams
Writer: Don Hall, Jordan Roberts, Robert L. Baird, Daniel Gerson, Duncan Rouleau, Steven T. Seagle, Paul Briggs
Actors: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, T. J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, James Cromwell, Alan Tudyk, Daniel Henney
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG

This is quite possibly the cutest trailer ever. Everything about it is appealing.

In fact, there’s no reason to not see this movie. Just watch the trailer. Seriously… how could you resist?

2 – The Theory of Everything (November 7)

Director: James Marsh
Writer: Anthony McCarten, Jane Hawking
Actors: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, Simon McBurney, David Thewlis
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13

I’d like to start off by saying that I’ve never actually read the book Travelling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen by Jane Hawking. I don’t think it matters, though. The person who put together the trailer for this movie knew exactly what he was doing. It gave me chills and filled me with curiosity.

The idea of learning more about Stephen Hawking is very appealing to me, especially in the form of an entertaining and heart-wrenching movie. However, the trailer also makes me want to read the book.

So, I suppose I have a book purchase in my near future.

1 – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (November 21)

Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer: Danny Strong, Peter Craig, Suzanne Collins
Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Willow Shields, Natalie Dormer, Stef Dawson
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Rated: PG-13

It’s The Hunger Games.

I have read the series three times and I’m reading it again in preparation to go see the midnight showing of Mockingjay – Part 1. I’ve watched every episode on CapitolTV and I follow Hunger Games related Tumblr accounts like I couldn’t breathe without them.

There’s nothing I dislike about the series. Sure, the books are better than the movies, but I adore the movies also.

Now, I know there are going to be some significant differences between the Mockingjay movies and book. That doesn’t scare me. The main reason is because Suzanne Collins, author of the books, is an executive producer on the movie. That means she had a hand in how her story was handled.

I can’t wait to see it.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Grey (2012)

Number Rolled: 25
Movie Name/Year: The Grey (2012)
Genre: Action & Adventure
Length: 117 minutes
Rating: R
Affiliated Companies: Open Road Films, Inferno Distribution, LD Entertainment, Scott Free Productions, Chambara Pictures, 1984 Private Defense Contractors
Executive Producer: Ross Fanger, Bill Johnson, Jennifer Monroe, Tony Scott, Jim Seibel, Adi Shankar, Spencer Silna, Jon Turtle
Director: Joe Carnahan
Writer: Joe Carnahan, Ian Mackenzie Jeffers,
Actors: Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, Dallas Roberts, Joe Anderson, Nonso Anozie, James Badge Dale, Ben Bray, Anne Openshaw

A horrible plan crash leaves 7 oil-rig ruffians stranded in the Alaskan Wilderness. They have to force themselves to work together in order to stay alive. If that weren’t bad enough, a pack of wolves has decided they’re a threat and begin hunting them down.

In general, the movie wasn’t bad at all. There were some significantly thrilling moments that evoked the exact response the writers and the director were going for. Many of the other moments had me glued to the screen.

I wish I could say that about the entire thing.

The problem with the movie comes when you break it down. That’s when you truly get a taste of the utter pretention behind it.

I can’t say too much without adding a spoiler alert, so I’ll just say that I could have lived without the internal monologue in the beginning and the various, badly placed, flashbacks throughout the rest of the movie. The poem the main character kept repeating seemed vaguely out of place too, despite the fact that you do eventually learn where it came from and why it’s important to him.

In the end, even though I mostly enjoyed the film, I almost feel like it was pointless.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 79%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 61%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 4.7/5
Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

P.S. There’s a short scene after the credits.

Movie Trailer: 

Ok, this next video is FULL of spoilers but… it’s so good. I said some of this stuff to my friend while we watched.

“Ten Things Wrong With The Grey In 6 Minutes Or Less”

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bad Johnson (2014)

Number Rolled: 94
Movie Name/Year: Bad Johnson (2014)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 87 minutes
Rating: NR
Affiliated Companies: 2DS Productions, Roman Empire
Executive Producer: Huck Botko, David Fox, Paul Kim
Director: Huck Botko
Writer: Jeff Tetreault
Actors: Jamie Chung, Cam Gigandet, Nick Thune, Katherine Cunningham, Jessica Joy, Kevin Miller, Holly Houk, Katie Rich, Catherine Perzee, Gena Ellis

Rich is a complete dick, at least to the women he goes out with. He simply cannot keep his penis in his pants. After a particularly bad fuck-up, his penis detaches from his body and becomes a sentient being.

You have to hand it to Jeff Tetreault, the premise of the movie is definitely eye catching and mostly original. In fact, you might remember this movie from the Top 10 Movies to Look Out For in May 2014 that was published on this blog earlier this year.

I made a terrible error.

Remember how I said I thought there was the possibility that it would be a hell of a lot of dick and fart jokes? Yeah, there kind of was. Admittedly, there was a slightly deeper romantic story woven through it and there were a couple of thriller-like moments, but it wasn’t enough for me to honestly label this movie good.

I enjoyed the chemistry between Cam Gigandet (Easy A, Never Back Down, Reckless) and Katherine Cunningham (Mind Games, Jupiter Ascending, Two Days in February), but I think it had more to do with my personal enjoyment of the actors than the actual film.

The point is: I wanted to love this movie. Unfortunately, there really wasn’t enough substance for things to work out like that.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 31%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 23%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3.9/5
Trust-the-Dice Score2/5

The Random Rating: R

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Authors Anonymous (2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Movie Trailer: 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

No Post Today

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

Monday, October 13, 2014

Movie 43 (2013)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just… terrible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is the last… right?

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

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

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

Movie Trailer: