Monday, May 4, 2015

Save the Date (2012)

Number Rolled: 90
Movie Name/Year: Save the Date (2012)
Genre: Romance
Length: 96 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Gilbert Films, Instinctive Film, Night and Day Pictures, XYZ Films
Executive Producer: Gary Gilbert
Director: Michael Mohan
Writer: Jeffrey Brown, Michael Mohan, Egan Reich
Actors: Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, Geoffrey Arend, Mark Webber, Melonie Diaz, Timothy Busfield, Gigi Bermingham, Grant Harvey

Sarah doesn’t believe in marriage. At all. Somehow, that needs to be balanced with her very committed boyfriend and the sister that is super excited to be getting married in a few months. Sarah knows it won’t be long before things come crashing down.

Lizzy Caplan (The Interview, Bachelorette, Mean Girls) and Alison Brie (Community, Mad Men, The Five-Year Engagement) are very good actresses. They are simply way too good for this movie.

Let me clear, the film wasn’t terrible. It was solid enough, as much as a movie like this can be. I just don’t find this kind of film entertaining. It was a little like being a fly on the wall, spying on someone’s life. That might sound like a good thing, but have you ever read a non-writer’s journal? No plot. None. Its depth is barely pond-worthy when the story would benefit from an ocean.

Regardless of how I feel, I don’t believe I have the right to fully trash Save the Date. The actors were on point and very committed to their characters. The script had some super emotional moments and other significantly hilarious bits. I particularly enjoyed the additions during the opening and closing credits.

The problem is, I think Save the Date might actually be good. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into it. It’s simply not my kind of movie.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 46%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 38%

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

P.S. Pictures and an extra scene during the credits.

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, April 30, 2015

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

10 – Time Lapse (May 15)

Director: Bradley King
Writer: Bradley King, BP Cooper
Actors: Danielle Panabaker, John Rhys-Davies, Matt O’Leary, George Finn, Amin Joseph, Jason Spisak
Genre: Sci-Fi
Rated: Unrated

I’m more interested in this film than I should be. It’s not original, it doesn’t even seem like a new take on something that was once original.

There’s one tiny fact that leads me to interest.

When I was a little girl, I was just as much a book worm as I am now, maybe even more-so. Between being bullied at school and my lonely home-life, I liked the escape of books and movies. I particularly remember bringing a flashlight to bed so I could read the Goosebumps series (by R.L. Stine) after bedtime. Say Cheese and Die! Was one of my favorite books of the series. I even enjoyed it when it became an episode in the TV show (available on Netflix).

Time Lapse looks like a grown up version of that story. It brings me back to the smell of a new book hidden under the covers as the spooky shadows enhanced the experience.

I hope the movie will be able to separate itself from the R.L. Stine version.

9 – Good Kill (May 15)

Director: Andrew Niccol
Writer: Andrew Niccol
Actors: Ethan Hawke, January Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Jake Abel, Bruce Greenwood
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

I can forgive this film for seeming overly-political because the trailer looks amazing.

Good Kill looks as though it will be thrilling and heart-wrenching. Ethan Hawke (Boyhood, Daybreakers, The Purge) appears to have his part down to a science. It also seems to be a new twist on films that similarly follow military characters that develop PTSD.

8 – Aloha (May 29)

Director: Cameron Crowe
Writer: Cameron Crowe
Actors: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Danny McBride, Alec Baldwin, Jay Baruchel, John Krasinski, Bill Murray
Genre: Romance
Rated: PG-13

A film starring Bradley Cooper (American Sniper, Silver Linings Playbook, The A-Team), Emma Stone (The Croods, The Amazing Spider Man, Crazy Stupid Love) and Rachel McAdams (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Midnight in Paris, The Lucky Ones) that is directed by Cameron Crowe (Vanilla Sky, Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous)? What’s not to love?

Cooper and Stone are perfect for comedic parts. I’m thrilled to see them together in another movie, they worked together once before in The Rocker (2008).

The whole cast seems to be well chosen and the plot seems interesting enough.

7 – Maggie (May 8)

Director: Henry Hobson
Writer: John Scott 3
Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson, Denise Williamson, J.D. Evermore, Aiden Flowers
Genre: Horror
Rated: PG-13

I have to admit, when I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Expendables, The Terminator, Sabotage) starring in this film, the last thing I expected was zombies. In fact, he’s only been in one other horror film, End of Days (1999). Can you blame me for thinking this would likely be our monthly “old guy in an action flick?”

Not only do we get to see Ahnold in a zombie movie, but it looks insane. I must not be the only one who thinks it either. It was originally supposed to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014, but Lionsgate requested the team withdraw it so the company could pick it up.

I have almost no doubt that this film will live up to expectations.

6 – San Andreas (May 29)

Director: Brad Peyton
Writer: Jeremy Passmore, Andre Fabrizio, Carlton Cuse
Actors: Dwayne Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, Carla Gugino, Ioan Gruffudd, Colton Haynes, Kylie Minogue
Genre: Thriller
Rated: PG-13

I had trouble deciding whether I wanted to see San Andreas or Maggie more. It took a lot of thought and I even polled my husband and some of my friends. In the end, San Andreas just seems more real.

The name of the film comes from the tectonic fault line that seismologists believe will eventually cause a catastrophic earthquake throughout California. So, this film might not be completely scientifically sound, but there’s enough to really tug at reason. That makes the film so much more frightening to me.

Add to that people like Dwayne Johnson (Furious 7, Hercules, Pain & Gain) and Alexandra Daddario (Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Texas Chainsaw 3D, Burying the Ex), and there’s almost an automatic following.

A lot more could go wrong with this film than Maggie, but I think it’s worth it.

5 – Poltergeist (May 22)

Director: Gil Kenan
Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire, Steven Spielberg
Actors: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Nicholas Braun, Jared Harris
Genre: Horror
Rated: PG-13

The first thing I need to stress is that this film is labeled as a reboot, not a remake. That means that facts you remember from the 1982 version might be significantly different. Names, facts, and even some of the plot, may be a little (or drastically) different.

That being said, I must also admit that I’ve never seen the original.

I intend to, it’s on my list of “movies I should have already seen.” I’ll be watching the original before the reboot. In the meantime, the trailer for this film makes me want to watch the original much sooner. It looks terrifying.

4 – Tomorrowland (May 22)

Director: Brad Bird
Writer: Damon Lindelof, Brad Bird, Jeff Jensen
Actors: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Kathryn Hahn, Tim McGraw, Judy Greer, Chris Bauer, Keegan-Michael Key, Michael Rowe
Genre: Sci-Fi
Rated: PG

I’ve been looking forward to Tomorrowland since I saw a 30 second teaser for it several months ago. All it showed was the girl picking up the pin and being transported to that field. It was followed by a saying, but I can’t remember what it was.

So, before I had any idea who else was starring in it, or what it was about, this movie was on my list. Now that I get the general idea of the plot and I see the participating cast, I only want to see it more.

Not to mention that Brad Bird (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Ratatouille, The Incredibles) turning down the opportunity to direct Star Wars: Episode VII in order to direct Tomorrowland. That says one of two things: this movie will be outstanding, historical and completely original or Bird needs to be placed a padded room.

3 – Mad Max: Fury Road (May 15)

Director: George Miller
Writer: George Miller, Nick Lathouris, Brendan McCarthy
Actors: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Genre: Action & Adventure
Rated: R

This film represents another black hole in my movie culture knowledge. I’ve never seen the original trilogy. I’ve already gotten my hands on them, though, and I’ll be watching them sometime between going to a weekend-long gathering of my husband’s family and Philadelphia Comic Con.

Even without seeing the other three films, Fury Road looks great. It needs to be said that this movie is part reboot, part sequel. Instead of doing a complete reboot, Miller was interested in jumping a little further into the future of the story, so that’s what he did. It’s kind of a continuation. Kind of.

2 – Pitch Perfect 2 (May 15)

Director: Elizabeth Banks
Writer: Kay Cannon, Mickey Rapkin
Actors: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Elizabeth Banks, Hailee Steinfeld, Adam DeVine, Brittany Snow, Skylar Aslin, Katey Sagal, Alexis Knapp, Anna Camp, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG-13

I’d say Pitch Perfect is a guilty pleasure for me, but it doesn’t make me feel guilty at all.

The first Pitch Perfect was hilarious and definitely entertaining. Anna Kendrick (Into the Woods, The Last Five Years, Life After Beth), as I’ve said before, is a goddess. I can’t wait to see how Elizabeth Banks (The Lego Movie, The Hunger Games, Zach and Miri Make a Porno) did with directing her first full-length film. Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy, Futurama, Married With Children) is even playing the mother of one of the Bellas.

To be honest, I even enjoy the music.

There’s nothing about Pitch Perfect 2 that I’m not looking forward to.

1 – Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)

Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Actors: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, James Spader, Thomas Kretschmann, Paul Bettany, Don Cheadle, Josh Brolin, Anthony Mackie, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgard, Stan Lee, Josh Brolin, Hayley Atwell
Genre: Action & Adventure
Rated: PG-13

If I have to explain to you why this movie is #1, you obviously didn’t see the first one and you’ve got some work to do.

Monday, April 27, 2015

I Don’t Know How She Does It (2011)

Number Rolled: 84
Movie Name/Year: I Don’t Know How She Does It (2011)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 89 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: The Weinstein Company
Executive Producer: Aline Brosh McKenna, Scott Ferguson, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein
Director: Douglas McGrath
Writer: Aline Brush McKenna, Allison Pearson
Actors: Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Christina Hendricks, Kelsey Grammer, Seth Meyers, Olivia Munn, Jane Curtin, Mark Blum, Busy Philipps, Sarah Shahi, Jessica Szohr, Emma Rayne Lyle, Julius Goldberg, Theodore Goldberg, James Murtaugh

Kate is a working mother of two children. She must find a balance between her professional and personal lives before everything falls apart.

This movie was one long exhibit on working moms vs. stay-at-home moms. It paints women who don’t want to have kids as na├»ve in what they’re looking for and stay-at-home moms as lazy, trophy wives.

I could separate myself from the opinionated stance of this movie easily enough. There are some very good films out there with messages I disagree with. In fact, if this movie had any merit at all outside of a couple of clever lines, I could even pretend the message didn’t exist.

The only reason I Don’t Know How She Does It scored as high as it did, is because of those few clever parts. I have also considered the possibility that there might have been hidden jokes and references that I didn’t get because I’m not a mom.

My official recommendation is: if you are a stay-at-home mom or do not plan to have children – possibly even if you just don’t have kids yet – this movie will come off preachy enough that you don’t need it in your life.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 17%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 32%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 2.4/5
Trust-the-Dice Score1.5/5

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Sandlot 2 (2005)

Number Rolled: 97
Movie Name/Year: The Sandlot 2 (2005)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 97 minutes
Rating: PG
Production Companies: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, David Evans Pictures
Producer: David Bixler, Vicki Sotheran
Director: David M. Evans
Writer: David M. Evans, Robert Gunter
Actors: Max Lloyd-Jones, James Willson, Samantha Burton, Brett Kelly, Cole Evan Weiss, Neilen Benvegnu, Sean Berdy, Jessica King, McKenzie Freemantle, Griffin Reilly Evans, Reece Thompson, Teryl Rothery, Greg Germann, James Earl Jones, David M. Evans

Ten years after the events in the first movie, a group of different kids are starting to see the sandlot as their home. Unfortunately, that home has been invaded by girls playing softball.

Look, I can’t actually call this film plagiarism because it has the same writers as the first one. That being said, this is the laziest, most bull-shit attempt at a sequel I have ever seen in my life. I am super disappointed in everyone that was involved, and that includes James Earl Jones (Star Wars, Merlin, Finder’s Fee).

They decided to remake the film and label it a sequel. The creators referenced the first movie very specifically, but then failed to change the majority of the script. The ending and the components were the same. Even the way the characters did things was the same. It was completely regurgitated except that girls were added to the mix.

I’ve scored this film a flat 0; something that has only happened one other time in the history of this blog. I contemplated giving it an even lower score.

I don’t care how the actors did. What I care about is that the prick who wrote this took one of my favorite childhood movies, The Sandlot (1993), remade it into a sequel and didn’t bother to add a single note of creativity or originality into it. The first movie deserved better and I think David Evans needs to find a brand new day job with brand new projects to ruin.

Don’t waste your time on the sequel.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 40%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 42%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 2.6/5
Trust-the-Dice Score0/5

P.S. They made a third one. I’m going to pretend it doesn’t exist.

Movie Trailer: [ They didn't even bother making an original trailer for the sequel. A third of it is from the first movie. ]

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010)

Number Rolled: 86
Movie Name/Year: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010)
Genre: Horror
Length: 88 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Reliance Big Pictures, Loubyloo Productions, Eden Rock Media, Gynormous Pictures, Kintop Pictures, Urban Island, Alberta Film Development Program of the Alberta Government, National Bank of Canada TV and Motion Picture Group, T&D Productions
Executive Producer: Thomas Augsberger, Mark Ryan
Director: Eli Craig
Writer: Eli Craig, Morgan Jurgenson
Actors: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, Philip Granger, Brandon Jay McLaren, Christie Laing, Chelan Simmons, Travis Nelson, Alex Arsenault, Adam Beauchesne, Joseph Allan Sutherland, Karen Reigh, Tye Evans, Dave Brown, Eli Craig, Sasha Craig

Tucker and Dale are hillbillies heading to their new cabin in the woods. They’re looking to have a fun time fishing and fixing the place up. At the same time, a group of college kids are making their way into the same area for a camping trip.

This movie was great. It had everything I want in a film.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil did not just poke fun at the tropes of the horror genre, it used them to completely shatter expectations. In fact, this film tore up the tropes a lot like Cabin in the Woods did. You get to see both sides of the story, but it all remains in the same genre; Cabin in the Woods had a bit of fantasy/sci-fi in the mix.

The script flowed brilliantly. It remained in the area of horror-comedy without ever falling over the line into cheesy-crap. It was creative and engrossing and incredibly entertaining.

It’s almost pointless to comment on the actors. Tyler Labine is a great comedic actor. Alan Tudyk is… well… Alan Tudyk. He could play pretty much anyone and cause that character to leap right off the screen.

There’s not much else I could say about this movie without spoiling the majority of it. I highly recommend watching it.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 84%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 84%

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

Movie Trailer: 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

16-Love (2012)

Number Rolled: 63
Movie Name/Year: 16-Love (2012)
Genre: Romance
Length: 88 minutes
Rating: PG
Production Companies: Smash It Hard Productions, Uptown 6 Productions
Executive Producer:
Director: Adam Lipsius
Writer: Leigh Dunlap
Actors: Lindsay Shaw, Chandler Massey, Keith Coulouris, Lindsey Black, Alexandra Paul, Susie Abromeit, Mark Elias, Steven Christopher Parker, Josh Blaylock, Sasha Formoso, Kelly Gould, Michelle Page, Lindsay Kirk, Julia Kelleher, Lauryn Moses, Josh Cooke, Sarah Lilly

Ally Mash is looking into becoming a professional tennis player. She’s been playing since she was a child and her ranking is incredibly high. When it’s time to go against another undefeated rival, she falls and hurts her ankle.

This was a very gentle and feel-good film, thankfully. After ABCs of Death 2, I’ve had this feel of grime constantly. A cute, light-hearted movie is exactly what I needed to get that stink off me.

Granted, nothing about 16-Love is particularly original. It’s a mix of the basic sports movie recipe with an even more basic teen movie recipe. Everything you expect to happen, kind of happens. None-the-less, the actors played their roles beautifully and the script delivered the ingredients well.

My biggest complaint, aside from the recipe aspect, is that I wish Josh Blaylock’s part was bigger. What can I say? I’m a rampant Video Game High School fan and Season 3 is still fresh in my mind. Best season yet!

In the end, 16-Love isn’t going to win any awards, but it’s a decent family movie anyway.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 60%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 2.7/5
Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

P.S. There’s a small scene near the end of the credits.

Movie Trailer:

Monday, April 13, 2015

ABCs of Death 2 (2014)

Number Rolled: 30
Movie Name/Year: ABCs of Death 2 (2014)
Genre: Horror
Length: 122 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Drafthouse Films, Magnet Releasing, Okta, Producciones de la 5ta Avenida, Rook Films, Shaiker, Soychiume Co., Tea Shop & Company, Timpson Films
Executive Producer: James Harris, Mark Lane
Director: Assorted
Writer: Assorted
Actors: Assorted

---------!!Mild Spoilers Below This Line!! ---------

Like the first film, this movie is an anthology. Twenty-six directors, or teams of directors, were each given one letter of the English alphabet. The challenge was to create a story for their letter that explored death. None of the short films in this anthology are over ten minutes long. The list of segments is as follows:

          A – Amateur
          B – Badger
          C – Capital Punishment
          D – Deloused
          E – Equilibrium
          F – Falling
          G – Grandad
          H – Head Games
          I – Invincible
          J – Jesus
          K – Knell
          L – Legacy
          M – Masticate
          N – Nexus
          O – Ochlocracy
          P – P-P-P-P SCARY!
          Q – Questionnaire
          R – Roulette
          S – Split
          T – Torture Porn
          U – Utopia
          V – Vacation
          W – Wish
          X – Xylophone
          Y – Youth
          Z – Zygote

I was not looking forward to this movie. Since I’ve added The ABCs of Death 2 to my list, I’ve had dread in the pit of my stomach every time I’ve rolled. The first one was horrifying, and not in the good-horror-movie kind of way. It was horrifying in the: “OH MY GOD I CAN’T UNSEE THIS!” kind of way.

Like the first movie, there were a few segments that were not only acceptable, but kind of good. “Amateur,” “Capital Punishment,” “Falling,” “Split,” “Utopia,” and “Youth” are all segments I will remember as good. The majority of the others I’ll forget completely in the next couple of hours (if I haven’t already). Then there are the few that were so grotesque and/or strange that I will likely remember them all the way to my death bed. “Deloused,” “P-P-P-P SCARY!,” and “Wish” are among them.

Like the first film in the set, I’m left with a feeling of dread and hostility after watching it through. The only reason this film scored as high as it did, was because there were more segments I truly enjoyed and less segments that made me want to bathe in bleach.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 75%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 44%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 2.2/5
Trust-the-Dice Score2/5

The Random Rating: R

P.S. There’s a small scene after the credits that seems to be from segment “T”

Movie Trailer: