Monday, August 31, 2015

Top Ten Movies to Look Out For In September (2015)

According to: Selina

10 – Black Mass (9/18)

Tag Line: Keep your enemies close.
Production Company: Cross Creek Pictures, Grisbi Productions, Infinitum Nihil, Free State Pictures, Head Gear Films, Metrol Technology, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, Ridgerock Entertainment Group, Vendian Entertainment
Director: Scott Cooper
Writer: Mark Mallouk, Jez Butterworth, Dick Lehr, Gerard O’Neill
Actors: Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Dakota Johnson, Corey Stoll, Juno Temple, Kevin Bacon, Adam Scott, Peter Sarsgaard, Julianne Nicholson
Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama
Rated: R

Biographies don’t usually interest me unless the person featured is someone I already give a damn about. In this case I don’t even really know who he is.

The only reason I’m interested in Black Mass is because of the cast.

In the trailer it looks like Johnny Depp (Into the Woods, Tusk, Dark Shadows) pulls off an amazing performance. When you add in people like Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, The Imitation Game, 12 Years a Slave), Kevin Bacon (The Following, R.I.P.D., Super) and Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, The Overnight), it’s difficult to resist.

9 – Everest (9/25)

Tag Line: Never let go.
Production Company:, Cross Creek Pictures, Free State Pictures, RVK Studios, Universal Pictures, Walden Media, Working Title Films
Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Writer: William Nicholson, Simon Beaufoy
Actors: Elizabeth Debicki, Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke, Sam Worthington, Emily Watson, Clive Standen
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Thriller
Rated: PG-13

Now this movie looks interesting based on the plot. It’s my understanding that it’s based off a book, so it’s not so shocking that the story looks interesting. If it wasn’t, no one would have bothered to turn it into a film in the first place.

Everest looks like a non-disaster disaster movie. I like disaster movies. There’s nothing like watching an apocalypse manifest to appreciate life.

In this case, of course, there’s that added bonus of humans overcoming obstacles.

8 – Ashby (9/25)

Tag Line: Life is about knowing how to take a hit.
Production Company: Head Gear Films, Langley Park Productions, Metrol Technology
Director: Tony McNamara
Writer: Tony McNamara
Actors: Mickey Rourke, Nat Wolff, Emma Roberts, Sarah Silverman, Adam Aalderks, Seth Dousman, Kevin Dunn
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rated: R

I’m not a fan of Mickey Rourke (Java Heat, Iron Man 2, Immortals).

Save your gasps. We all have unpopular opinions now and then.

Despite the fact that Rourke makes me want to automatically turn off my screen most of the time, this movie still looks interesting. It comes down to the story, for the most part.

Although I have a feeling the film will follow a specific recipe, I almost don’t care. Even Rourke seems to have an endearing quality in the trailer.

7 – The Green Inferno (9/25)

Tag Line: No good deed goes unpunished.
Production Company: Worldview Entertainment, Dragonfly Entertainment, Sobras International Pictures
Director: Eli Roth
Writer: Guillermo Amoedo, Nicolas Lopez, Eli Roth
Actors: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Aaron Burns, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Magda Apanowicz, Ignacia Allamand, Daryl Sabara, Sky Ferreira
Genre: Adventure, Horror
Rated: R

At the beginning of the trailer for this film, it’s easy to wonder if this is some kind of social commentary drama. It isn’t long before you’re reminded that Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever, Knock Knock) is the director.

I enjoy Roth’s work for the most part (at least what I’ve seen) and The Green Inferno seems to be along the same lines as those of his movies that I really enjoyed.

It’s also been a while since I’ve seen a decent film based around cannibals.

6 – The Intern (9/25)

Tag Line: Experience never gets old.
Production Company: Waverly Films
Director: Nancy Meyers
Writer: Nancy Meyers
Actors: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Nat Wolff, Rene Russo, Adam DeVine, Zack Pearlman, Drena De Niro
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG-13

Robert De Niro (Grudge Match, Last Vegas, Silver Linings Playbook). Anne Hathaway (Don Peyote, Les Miserables, The Dark Night Rises). Adam DeVine (Workaholics, Pitch Perfect, Modern Family).

Exactly how could that combination of actors NOT be epic?

The storyline is kind of interesting too, I guess. It’s not overly original and it probably won’t shatter expectations… but I’d shell out the money to see it in theaters.

Sometimes, a decent story told by great actors is enough to elevate a movie above what it could have been.

5 – The Visit (9/11)

Tag Line: No one loves you like your grandparents.
Production Company: Blinding Edge Pictures, Blumhouse Productions
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Actors: Kathryn Hahn, Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Benjamin Kanes
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Rated: PG-13

I hate shaky-cam.

Never-the-less, I feel as though I want to give The Visit a chance. I have a weakness for twist endings and, let’s face it, with M. Night Shyamalan (Unbreakable, The Village, The Sixth Sense) involved there’s probably a hell of a twist.

As a horror film, it look creepy enough, too.

I’m not sure what kind of “comedy” is supposed to be a part of it though. I’m wondering if someone at IMDB was drunk when they labeled that.

Hey, who knows? Trailers mislead people all the time. Maybe the grandparents were just pulling a prank the whole time and everyone goes home laughing!

4 – Sicario (9/18)

Tag Line: None
Production Company: Black Label Media, Thunder Road Pictures
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
Actors: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Jon Bernthal, Josh Brolin, Jeffrey Donovan, Victor Garber
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Rated: R

War movies are a huge interest for me, but that’s not why this film drew my attention.

While I was watching the trailer, I kept staring at the lead woman and trying to remember who she was. Halfway through, I exclaimed, “Holy shit, that’s Emily Blunt.”

One of the reasons I love Johnny Depp so much is because he’s a chameleon. He could play anyone, anytime, with any wardrobe staff and sell it to the audience. He becomes any character he plays. Seeing Emily Blunt (Into the Woods, Looper, The Devil Wears Prada) in the trailer for Sicario, I believe may have it in her to do the same thing.

She’s surrounded by a great cast as well.

Here’s hoping the trailer isn’t lying.

3 – Bloodsucking Bastards (9/4)

Tag Line: Work. It sucks the life out of you.
Production Company: Fortress Features, MTY Productions
Director: Brian James O’Connell
Writer: Dr. God, Ryan Mitts
Actors: Fran Kranz, Pedro Pascal, Joey Kern, Joel Murray, Emma Fitzpatrick, Yvette Yates, Justin Ware, Marshall Givens, David F. Park
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Rated: NR

Is there any way to not love Fran Kranz (Much Ado About Nothing, The Cabin in the Woods, Dollhouse)? I don’t believe there is.

I have loved Kranz in every movie and television show I’ve ever seen him in. I’m completely ambivalent to the rest of the cast, though.

Regardless of the actors, this film just looks hilarious. Add to that my love of vampires (the kind that DON’T sparkle) and we’ve got a film I can sit through even if it winds up sucking.

Uh… no pun intended.

2 – Cooties (9/18)

Tag Line: Circle, circle. Square, square. Now you have it everywhere.
Production Company: SpectreVision, Glacier Films
Director: Jonathan Milott, Cary Murnion
Writer: Leigh Whannell, Ian Brennan, Josh C. Waller
Actors: Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannell, Nasim Pedrad, Ian Brennan, Jorge Garcia, Cooper Roth
Genre: Action, Comedy, Horror
Rated: R

Comedy + zombies + kick-ass cast = Yes.

I’m amused by the entire premise of this film and everyone acting in it. Like Bloodsucking Bastards, this film has the possibility of falling into the “awesome” category, even if it’s not necessarily “good.”

1 – Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (9/18)

Tag Line: The maze was just the beginning.
Production Company: Gotham Group, TSG Entertainment, Temple Hill Entertainment
Director: Wes Ball
Writer: T.S. Nowlin, James Dashner
Actors: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Nathalio Emmanuel, Aidan Gillen, Rosa Salazar, Ki Hong Lee, Dexter Darden, Jacob Lofland
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: PG-13

I read the Maze Runner books, including the prequel, and I just saw the first film. Although the grievers don’t look a damn thing like I picture them, I still really enjoyed the film.

It doesn’t hurt that I think Dylan O’Brien (Teen Wolf, The Internship, The First Time) is perfect as Thomas and that Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones, Calvary, Love/Hate) makes a phenomenal Janson.

I can’t wait to see if the makers of this film go as far as the books did. It’s got a PG-13 rating, so I’m left wondering a bit, but I can still hope they get the point across. After all, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) maintained its PG-13 rating without cutting out a brutal gunshot execution by simply eliminating the blood splatter.

Hopefully, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials will follow suit.

Top 10 Movies to Look Out For
According to: Cat

The Transporter Refueled – 10
Ashby – 9
Dragon Blade – 8
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials – 7
The Anomaly – 6
Goodnight Mommy – 5
The Hive – 4
The Perfect Guy – 3
Bloodsucking Bastards – 2
Cooties – 1

"Horror films don't create fear. They erase it." ~ Wes Craven

On August 30, Wes Craven was confirmed dead, to The Hollywood Reporter, by his family.

The film world lost a writer and director so powerful that his filmography could easily just be a list of someone’s favorite films. He created Freddy Krueger, he made Scream (1996) everything it was, he even directed a few of the Twilight Zone (1985-1989) episodes.

Wes Craven is credited with the saying: “Horror films don’t create fear. They release it.” He saw horror as a way to get people to think rationally about whatever they feared. It is likely because of that point of view, that he became such a house-hold name.

Craven introduced his fans to fear and offered them courage after-the-fact. He saw horror as an escape.

Throughout his own health battles, he never stopped believing in movies. He died still in the middle of several projects that will either never be completed, or will be finished by someone else.

There’s no doubt that those projects will be better for him having had any part in them to begin with.

Rest in peace, Wes Craven. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Last House on Cemetery Lane (2015)

Number Rolled: 5
Movie Name/Year: The Last House on Cemetery Lane (2015)
Tagline: Evil has a new home.
Genre: Horror
Length: 81 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Last House on Cemetery Lane, North Bank Entertainment
Executive Producer: Robert Graham
Director: Andrew Jones
Writer: Andrew Jones
Actors: Vivien Bridson, Lee Bane, Georgina Blackledge, Tessa Wood, Ian Smyth, Ian Grey, Kelly Jones

John Davies is a script writer looking for a place to write in peace. So, he rents a house only to find that it’s hiding some secrets.

Selina’s Point of View:
The most horrifying thing about this film was the camera angles. Seriously… they were bad. At no point in the future do I want to see a guy in tighty-whiteys and a robe walk over a camera pointed directly up. It wasn’t necessary this first time.

Even without camera angles like that, the film was full of moments where the image went shaky… but not on purpose. The film was not made to be shaky-cam. Instead, it was like the cameraman’s arm was just getting tired.

On top of that nonsense, the script was insanely boring and predictable. About an hour in I realized I had 20 minutes left and was hoping there would be 20 minutes of credits.

I didn’t believe anything about this film. It didn’t thrill me, it didn’t even entertain me.

Fail. Just… fail.

Cat’s Point of View:
I am a believer in finding positives in most things. A meme floated through my Facebook recently that compared the “Glass Half Full” analogy – for the science inclined, it’s completely full. Half of the glass has liquid and the other half has gas.

I have stared at my computer screen for a while now as I ponder what I just watched. I have no positives. I hated it. I want that 82 minutes back, actually.

It took almost 30 minutes for the film to even begin to show that it might want to be a horror movie, and even then – it wasn’t all that creepy. It felt like the cast was asleep at the wheel. It was clumsy and predictable.

The score was strangely timed in places and was downright confused. Most films that utilize a modern pop song in the soundtrack as background filler will utilize more than one to explore the themes in the movie. This film was one and done, and it added nothing substantial to that nebulous first pointless stretch of the movie.

The rest of the film (aside from the record player) was wanna-be-slasher-film screechy strings and attempts at building an ominous atmosphere.

I haven’t seen any of Andrew Jones’ (The Amityville Asylum, Valley of the Witch, Robert the Doll) other projects. I sincerely hope that they’re better than this. After watching this disaster, however, I do not believe I will be expecting much if they come up on our list.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 11%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 1.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score1/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 1.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score1/5

The Random Rating: PG-13

Movie Trailer:

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Art of the Steal (2013)

Number Rolled: 16
Movie Name/Year: The Art of the Steal (2013)
Tagline: It takes a great artist to pull off the perfect con.
Genre: Indie
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Entertainment One, Darius Films
Executive Producer: Jeff Sackman, Noah Segal, Mark Slone, Bob Weinstein
Director: Jonathan Sobol
Writer: Jonathan Sobol
Actors: Kurt Russell, Matt Dillon, Jay Baruchel, Kenneth Welsh, Chris Diamantopoulos, Katheryn Winnick, Jason Jones, Terence Stamp, Devon Bostick

Crunch Calhoun was betrayed by his brother, Nicky, during a heist. After spending his time in jail, he finds it difficult to get back on his feet.

Selina’s Point of View:
I do not agree with the “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes for this film.

Alright, the beginning of the movie seemed to be about nothing more than sending Francie out of the room, but it didn’t stay that way. The plot eventually picked up steam and, by the end of the movie, it felt like I’d only been watching for about 20 minutes.

Not all the actors were on point, but the ones that were… they really sold their parts.

The banter between Jason Jones (Rosewater, Pitch Perfect 2, Creative Galaxy) and Terence Stamp (Smallville, Yes Man, Get Smart) was hilarious. I believed the situation and the way they rubbed on each other’s nerves. Meanwhile, Kenneth Welsh (Survival of the Dead, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Four Brothers) and Chris Diamantopoulos (The Three Stooges, The Office, Wedding Daze) both brought flare to their accent-wielding characters in such a way that made me want to like them.

Finally, there was Jay Baruchel (Man Seeking Woman, How to Train Your Dragon, This is the End). I will keep saying it, whenever we watch a movie including him: Baruchel is an amazing actor. I’ll concede that he has a tendency to be type-cast, but that’s because of his body type, not his range. He’s naturally lanky, so unless he pulls a Devon Sawa (Devil’s Den, SLC Punk!, Slackers), he’ll pretty much always be type cast.

[What I mean by “pulls a Devon Sawa”: Sawa as Owen in Nikita (2010-2013) vs. Sawa as Anton in Idle Hands (1999) or even Andrew in Creature of Darkness (2009) is like the difference between night and day. I don’t see Devon Sawa being type-cast in the future the way he was in his teenage years]

Even if I admit that I enjoyed the movie more than I should have, The Art of the Steal is still a decent heist movie that didn’t exactly deserve many of the negative reviews.

At the very least, if you liked Leverage (2008-2012), you will most likely enjoy this film.

Cat’s Point of View:
I peeked at the cast list of this film before I watched and had no idea what to make of this movie. I hadn’t heard of it before – though, given who was involved, it promised to be entertaining at the very least.

Iconic film veteran, Kurt Russell (Sky High, Death Proof, Furious Seven), is no stranger to action or comedy. I bought what he was selling in this film. The sibling rivalry between his character and Matt Dillon’s (Crash, Herbie Fully Loaded, Old Dogs) felt authentic, and brought some good tension to the story.

I haven’t loved everything that Dillon has worked on over the years, but I do have to give him credit for playing an excellent heel. His performance to that effect in this film was spot on.

For those that have followed Jay Baruchel’s (Fanboys, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Goon) career, there is a funny moment in this movie that nods towards one of his prior film roles. I really enjoy him as an actor. He brings this phenomenal blend of awkward and cool to his characters, and this film is an excellent example of such.

Terence Stamp’s (Wanted, Valkyrie, The Adjustment Bureau) character was a great counterpoint to the Interpol agent he was coerced into assisting.  Stamp has had some kickass roles in his career – he was even the original General Zod of the 1980s Superman movies. I thoroughly enjoyed the subtlety of his performance here with his wry British humor.

While the overall plot of this film was not unique – there have been so many great heist movies over the years – it did deliver the story with style and well thought-out twists. The film built on its actors’ strengths, and the result was a clever comedic romp exploring the concept of ‘honor amongst thieves.’

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 44%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 38%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 4/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

P.S. Bloopers during the credits and a short repeated scene after.

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

If I Stay (2014)

Number Rolled: 100
Movie Name/Year: If I Stay (2014)
Tagline: Live for love.
Genre: Drama
Length: 106 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: DiNovi Pictures, MGM, New Line Cinema
Executive Producer: Denise Di Novi, Gayle Forman, Brad Can Arragon
Director: R.J. Cutler
Writer: Shauna Cross, Gayle Forman
Actors: Chloe Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley, Joshua Leonard, Liana Liberato, Stacy Keach, Gabrielle Rose, Jakob Davies, Ali Miner, Aisha Hinds, Lauren Lee Smith

Mia has her whole life planned out. Even when she meets a boy that threatens her ultimate plan, she stays on course. A sudden and tragic car accident, however, leaves her fighting for her life.

Selina’s Point of View:
Chloe Grace Moretz (Laggies, Kick Ass, Carrie) is an amazing actress. She transforms her roles until they fit her. Even a depth-less character becomes something special when she performs.

She is the reason I wanted to see this movie so badly. Sure, the concept was intriguing… but it was Chloe that really made me want to watch.

I can’t say it was entertaining, but it wasn’t really supposed to be. The point of the film was to trigger emotions on a deeper level than your generic drama. Unfortunately, I didn’t really think it worked. It was like sadness for sadness sake, very little storyline other than what you pick up in the trailer. In fact, I feel like this is my second time watching the film because the trailer left very little in question. I even knew the ending within minutes of the movie’s start.

The actors did great with their parts, but great actors can’t really help a bad adaptation. If I Stay should have remained a book. I haven’t read it, but I’m almost positive it would be the better platform for telling this story.

Cat’s Point of View:
I have wanted to see this film since the trailers first aired for it. The story seemed compelling and tragic – with just enough hope. The few moments of the teasers made me misty; I knew I was in for a roller-coaster.

ChloĆ« Grace Moretz (Let Me In, Dark Shadows, Hugo) is a joy to watch, especially when her heart is breaking right on the screen for you. She pulls you in with her as the girl lost in her music, and rips your heart out with the decision she has to face.  From vigilante to victim, I have enjoyed watching her career blossom.

The film does an excellent job of endearing this family to you. The Halls are the kind of laid back parents that everyone wishes they had. Their surprise, sacrifice, and support are all put together in a masterful puzzle. Mireille Enos (World War Z, Sabotage, The Captive) and Joshua Leonard (The Town that Dreaded Sundown, 6 Years, The Ever After) were brilliant in their supporting roles.

I think Stacy Keach (The Boxer, The Portal, Planes) was the tipping point for me, though. I was a little sniffly before his key scene, but afterwards I think I was all out bawling.

If I’m being fair, however, I have to note that the whole movie wasn’t squeezing my heart for tears, only most of it. There were some lighter moments within the interaction between Mia and Adam, played by Jamie Blackley (Vinyl, The Fifth Estate, Irrational Man), that were warm and even funny.

Fans of Stephen King’s Under the Dome (2013-) might recognize one of the nurses in this film. Aisha Hinds (Lost Dream, Unstoppable, Beyond the Lights) was a pleasant surprise, here.

I loved this movie in spite of it holding a mosh pit on my emotions. This one is probably going into my collection in the “Wall-o-Movies” at my house. I would recommend it; and also bringing plenty of tissue when you watch it.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 36%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 62%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.7/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score2.5/5

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

P.S. This movie was based on a book, “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman. However, there’s a second novel told from Adam’s perspective: “Where She Went” by the same author.

Movie Trailer:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Radio Rebel (2012)

Number Rolled: 21
Movie Name/Year: Radio Rebel (2012)
Tagline: Can the girl who never speaks… become the voice of a generation?
Genre: Comedy
Length: 89 minutes
Rating: TV-G
Production Companies: Two 4 the Money Media, Goldenring Productions, Morp Services
Executive Producer: Kim Arnott, Oliver De Caigny, Jane Goldenring, Michael Jacobs, Robyn Snyder, Fernando Szew
Director: Peter Howitt
Writer: Danielle Joseph, Erik Patterson, Jessica Scott, Peter Howitt
Actors: Debby Ryan, Sarena Parmar, Adam DiMarco, Atticus Mitchell, Merritt Patterson, Allie Bertram, Iain Belcher, Rowen Kahn, Nancy Robertson, Martin Cummins, April Telek, Mercedes de la Zerda

Tara is the shy girl in school, she doesn’t make any waves. Hell, she won’t even answer a teacher’s question. What people don’t know, however, is that she is the loved and popular Radio Rebel when school lets out.

Selina’s Point of View:
I didn’t out-right hate the movie. On some level, I even enjoyed it a little bit. When I learned that it was a book made into film, I realized I would have no problem picking the book up. I bet it’s a decent read.

I just don’t think it survived the transitions to film. Not completely, anyway.

The actors tried, but they didn’t have much to work with and no one had any chemistry with anyone else. The principal was a caricature at best. I really hope the book gives more depth to the characters. I know my imagination would have better acting.

Still, there were some amusing moments and it wasn’t completely unwatchable.

In the end, it would probably be an interesting film for young teens and pre-teens, but for me… it is what it is.

Cat’s Point of View:
I remember the trailers for this film running on the Disney Channel before it first aired, however, I didn’t catch it then. I had high hopes for the concept, since the premise had stuck with me over the years.

Most of the TV Movies that air for the mouse network are laced with underlying life lessons. It was no different for this one. I found the story and the message behind it very compelling. It was something that I could identify with, personally.

Like any other teen-aimed movie, there were stereotypes highlighted with the high school class tropes. The message, however, clearly pushed to ditch such labels in favor of just being yourself and overcoming obstacles.

When I was younger, I was sometimes almost painfully shy. It’s still something that I occasionally struggle with. I discovered, much like the character Tara in this film, that technology was an excellent buffer that allowed me to more freely express myself and just be me.

Debby Ryan (What If..., The Suite Life Movie, Secret of the Wings) pulled me along on her character’s journey. Her performance was the quintessential essence of that feeling of everything overwhelming swirling around within you and yet lacking the ability to express yourself face to face.

Her transformation was paced well as she blossomed into herself. She’s a familiar face from some of the shows my daughter has enjoyed watching, and I enjoyed her in this role.

While this movie is geared towards teens, I believe it could be enjoyable at any age.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 62%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score2/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 4.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score4.5/5

The Random Rating: PG

P.S. This movie is based on the book “Shrinking Violet” by Danielle Joseph.

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Awakening (2011)

Number Rolled: 34
Movie Name/Year: The Awakening (2011)
Tagline: All the children are gone… except one.
Genre: Thriller
Length: 106 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: StudioCanal, BBC Films, Creative Scotland, Lipsync Productions, Origin Pictures, Eagle Pictures
Executive Producer: Jenny Borgars, Will Clarke, Olivier Courson, Robin Guise, Peter Hampden, Norman Merry, Joe Oppenheimer, Peter Raven, Carole Sheridan
Director: Nick Murphy
Writer: Stephen Volk, Nick Murphy
Actors: Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Shaun Dooley, Joseph Mawle, Diane Kent, Richard Durden, John Shrapnel, Cal Macaninch

Florence believes in science, not ghosts. She makes her living by proving that the supernatural is fake. When a man comes to her with claims that he has found a real ghost, she reluctantly agrees to investigate.

Selina’s Point of View:

The first thing that caught me about this film was the setting. Even before fifteen minutes had gone by, I felt drawn in because of the realism and intensity of the imagery. Every set in this film is beautifully done.

On top of that amazing background, the writing was superb. There were some holes in the plot here and there, but I don’t really believe it mattered. The story sucked me in, the foreshadowing gave me something to hold on to, and there was a significant depth to the characters.

Stephen Volk (Afterlife, Octane, The Guardian) and Nick Murphy (Blood, Prey, Occupation) wrote their story brilliantly. Although there were some jump scares, the majority of the thrill and horror revolved around a constant build up and hidden danger. It gnawed at my psyche, got me to wait for jump scares that never came. Instead, the real meat of the frightening aspects was subtle and crept up on me.

I can’t say enough about the actors in this film. Joseph Mawle (Half of a Yellow Sun, Game of Thrones, Made in Dagenham), Isaac Hempstead Wright (Game of Thrones, The Wil Wheaton Project, The Boxtrolls), Dominic West (The Affair, The Wire, The Forgotten) and Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Freedom Writers, Maleficent) were amazing in their roles. Each of them affected me exactly as they were supposed to.

Rebecca Hall (A Promise, Closed Circuit, Iron Man 3), however, stole the show. I felt for her character even before I knew why I was supposed to. I felt pain from Florence that had no context until later in the film. That shows remarkable talent by the actress. She became Florence in a way I don’t believe anyone else could.

Despite the minor plot holes I mentioned, I still loved this movie. I would easily recommend it to others.

Cat’s Point of View:
This was one of the random movies that I’ve gone into blind. I hadn’t heard a lot about it that I could recall; nor had I seen any of the trailers, or read any reviews. The teaser synopsis on Netflix was the entirety of my foreknowledge of this film.

Rebecca Hall (The Prestige, Dorian Gray, Transcendence) encapsulated the role of the intelligent and determined Florence Cathcart with finesse. From the beginning you see there is more to her than her brusque exterior, and the pain of the obvious loss in her life. It made me wonder what else had happened to her that hadn’t been revealed yet.

I had an eerie feeling while watching the young Isaac Hempstead Wright’s (Closed Circuit, The Boxtrolls, Family Guy) performance. I knew I’d seen him before in something, and yet I couldn’t put my finger on it. I would later understand why. This young talented actor just so happens to play Bran Stark on Game of Thrones (2011-).

The ending of the film took quite the unexpected turn for me. I knew something funny was up, but I didn’t see this particular twist coming. The final scene leaves me in doubt of whether I know what the true resolution of this story actually was. There were elements to support either way that could be answered.

Once you’ve watched it – which way do you think it turned out?

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 61%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 51%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.1/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score4.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 4.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

Movie Trailer: