Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dead Silence (2007)

Number Rolled: 27
Movie Name/Year: Dead Silence (2007)
Genre: Horror
Length: 89 minutes
Rating: UR
Production Companies: Universal Pictures, Twisted Pictures, Evolution Entertainment
Executive Producer: Peter Oillataguerre
Director: James Wan
Writer: Leigh Whannell, James Wan
Actors: Ryan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, Donnie Wahlberg, Michael Fairman, Joan Heney, Bob Gunton, Laura Regan, Dmitry Chepovetsky, Judith Roberts, Keir Gilchrist, Steven Taylor, Austin Majors

Jamie Ashen is a happily married man. Spending the night with his wife, he’s surprised to receive a package with no obvious sender. Inside the box he finds a perfectly normal looking, but creepy, ventriloquist dummy.

I know. There’s nothing worse than a recipe ventriloquist dummy movie. It’s been done to death and it’s always the same thing. Usually, that’s what I’d be saying, but this time I actually enjoyed it.

Ryan Kwanten (True Blood, Knights of Badassdom, Not Suitable For Children) is good actor and I’ve loved Donnie Wahlberg (Blue Bloods, Runaway, Band of Brothers) since I saw him as Duddits in Dreamcatcher (a guilty-pleasure alien movie). They worked well together, despite the fact that Wahlberg’s character had about as much depth as a kiddy pool. Aside from that, Judith Roberts (Eraserhead, Orange is the New Black, The Heart She Holler) was a great choice for Mary Shaw.

I’ll admit that about halfway into the film I was certain that Dead Silence was going to be like all the rest. It had all the mild shocks and creepy moving dummy eyes that you’d expect. What elevated the movie to something better was the second half.

I can’t pinpoint when the film started to get better, but I can say that once it hit that point I found it very difficult to look away from the screen. The ending was the best I’ve seen in a while.

I would definitely watch this movie again; possibly even recommend it to friends that enjoy horror.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 21%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 52%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3.7/5
Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

The Random Rating: PG-13

P.S. Written and directed by the creators of Saw.

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Interview (2014)

Number Rolled: N/A
Movie Name/Year: The Interview (2014)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 112 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Columbia Pictures, LStar Capital, Point Grey Pictures, Sony Pictures (Distributing)
Executive Producer: James Franco, Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Dan Sterling, Ben Waisbren, Shawn Williamson
Director: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Writer: Dan Sterling, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Dan Sterling
Actors: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park, Diana Bang, Timothy Simons, Reese Alexander, James Yi, Paul Bae, Geoff Gustafson, Dominique Lalonde, Anesha Bailey, Anders Holm, Charles Rahi Chun, Guy Fieri, Ben Schwartz, Bill Maher, Eminem, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rob Lowe

Dave Skylark is the face of a popular tabloid show. When his producer, Aaron Rapaport, begins to show interest in covering more hard-hitting and political stories, Skylark agrees. When the chance comes in the form of an interview request with Kim Jong-Un, they find themselves making a deal with the CIA to assassinate him.

I probably don’t need to explain why I decided to skip the random part of my blog and go straight for this film do I? It was on my “Top Ten Movies to Look out for in December” article, which automatically would have had it added to my list. Add to that the political mess surrounding it I couldn’t wait to wind up picking it eventually. I was way too curious.

I understand now.

I understand that The Interview was the cinematic equivalent of mooning North Korea and the fact that they got so god damn pissed about it proves that their entire government consists of spoiled 3-year-olds.

The movie had some hilarious parts. With James Franco (True Story, Good People, As I Lay Dying) and Seth Rogen (Neighbors, The Guilt Trip, Take This Waltz) as the leading men, there was no lacking for chemistry either. That being said, it wasn’t exactly the kind of upscale political commentary you might see from Jon Stewart (The Daily Show, Rosewater, The Colbert Report): truth with class. This was more: truth with ass. 

The fact is I’m happy I watched The Interview. It was no This is the End, in fact, it wasn’t even a good enough stupid movie to be on par with Ace Ventura, but it was still amusing.

As for the political shit-storm that the film started, I simply have to shake my head at it.

I’m glad that Sony put on their big-boy pants and released The Interview, even with all the hacking and threats. It may seem like something small, standing up for the release of a mostly-dumbass film, but it’s about freedom of speech in the end.

I salute the writers, directors, producers, Sony, Franco and Rogen for mooning the hell out of Kim Jong-Un with this piece.

Why? Because fuck that guy, that’s why.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 52%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 55%

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

P.S. Small piece after the credits. Not a scene really, just a little something.

Movie Trailer: 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rachel Getting Married (2008)

Number Rolled: 87
Movie Name/Year: Rachel Getting Married (2008)
Genre: Indie
Length: 112 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Armian Pictures, Clinica Estetico, Marc Platt Productions
Executive Producer: Carol Cuddy, Ilona Herzberg
Director: Jonathan Demme
Writer: Jenny Lumet
Actors: Roslyn Ruff, Anne Hathaway, Bill Irwin, Anna Deavere Smith, Rosemarie DeWitt, Anisa George, Mather Zickel, Tunde Adebimpe, Debra Winger

Kym is getting to go home from rehab in order to attend her sister’s wedding. As a recovering junkie, she needs to balance her rehabilitation needs with her family obligations in order to make amends.

I had very high hopes for this movie. Not because the critics decided it was worth an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Critics are all about Hollywood politics and who campaigns the most, not who’s the best. After all, no Lego Movie nomination for Animation? No Hunger Games nomination for, at the very least, Original Song?

No. Forget the critics. I hate generic politics and I hate Hollywood politics. Lies and money.

I had high hopes because of director Jonathan Demme (The Manchurian Candidate, Philadelphia, The Silence of the Lambs). He’s got a few amazing movies under his belt and I haven’t seen anything of his that I haven’t enjoyed.

Until now.

Jenny Lumet (Dodgeball, Tougher Than Leather, Running on Empty) has been an actress in the past, but this was her first and only writing credit. First timers need support from the cast and crew to help them work through that inexperience. I expected Demme to be able to give her that support, but he dropped the ball.

Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables, The Dark Knight Rises, Get Smart) did an amazing job with her part, but the character itself was unlikable and difficult to empathize with. The script was choppy and boring at best. Add to that the unnecessary shaky-cam and the terrible editing and it leaves me wondering what made people enjoy this movie so much.

This is just one of those times when I completely disagree with the majority.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 85%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 62%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 4/5
Trust-the-Dice Score1.5/5

P.S. Pointless scene during the start of the credits.

P.S.2. I would have been much happier going through my whole life without having seen Anne Hathaway pee.

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Honey 2 (2011)

Number Rolled: 54
Movie Name/Year: Honey 2 (2011)
Genre: Romance
Length: 110 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Reel Deal Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Marc Platt Productions, MFV Productions
Executive Producer: Marc Platt
Director: Bille Woodruff
Writer: Alyson Fouse, Blayne Weaver
Actors: Kat Graham, Randy Wayne, Seychelle Gabriel, Lonette McKee, Melissa Molinaro, Gerry Bednob, Laurieann Gibson, Alexis Jordan, Mario Lopez, Christopher Martinez, Rosero McCoy, Tyler Nelson, Audrina Patridge, Brittany Perry-Russell, Casper Smart, Richard Steelo Vasquez

Maria is serving time in a juvenile detention center after getting involved with the wrong crowd. When she’s released, Honey Daniels’ mom agrees to take her in as a foster child. There are only two rules: she needs to be in by 9 and stay away from her old crew. Dance is her life though, and when her old dance crew comes sniffing around, it’s hard to say no.

I’ll admit that I enjoy the original Honey. It’s not one of my favorite movies; it’s more like a guilty pleasure. Jessica Alba (Sin City, Dark Angel, Machete) slightly overacts and Joy Bryant (Parenthood, Hit and Run, The Skeleton Key) hilariously overacts, but Mekhi Phifer (House of Lies, Divergent, Torchwood) is an acting messiah amongst the exaggerations and the dance moves are hot. In fact, the storyline isn’t so bad either and the celebrity cameos are attention grabbing.

The sequel, Honey 2, doesn’t really stand up to the original.

Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries, Addicted, 17 Again) reminded me of Hayden Panettiere (Nashville, The Forger, Heroes), specifically from her part in Bring it On: All or Nothing, which is not necessarily a good thing. I was also confused with Laurieann Gibson’s (In Living Color, Beyond the Lights, Malcolm X) part as Katrina. In the first Honey, Katrina hated Honey Daniels, in the sequel she seems to love her. It doesn’t make any sense at all. On the other hand, Randy Wayne (YouTube: the Musical, The Lying Game, Lairs All) and Christopher Martinez (Clerks II, 500 Days of Summer, Bring it On: Fight to the Finish) played their parts very well, which almost made up for it.

The storyline was kind of weak, the dancing wasn’t nearly as impressive and the accents made me roll my eyes.

Despite the issues, the movie was only terrible in contrast to the original. In reality, it was mostly average.

One more thing; I have a quick note for movie and television directors of all shapes and sizes: I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. We don’t all talk like that. There are plenty of other stereotypes to focus on, stop being lazy.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 10%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 53%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 1.6/5
Trust-the-Dice Score2/5

P.S. There are bloopers and extra scenes during the credits.

Movie Trailer: The trailer is very misleading.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Black Rock (2012)

Number Rolled: 49
Movie Name/Year: Black Rock (2012)
Genre: Thriller
Length: 79 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Submarine Entertainment
Executive Producer: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon, Katie Aselton
Director: Katie Aselton
Writer: Mark Duplass, Katie Aselton
Actors: Katie Aselton, Lake Bell, Kate Bosworth, Will Bouvier, Jay Paulson, Anslem Richardson

Two friends are gearing up for an awesome weekend of camping and fun. When they get to the docks, a third friend is waiting. Tensions run high between the women as they get to the island and run into three hunters.

There was very little redeemable about this movie. The plot was weak and the script was even worse. I can’t even blame the lead actresses for their performances because there was no real depth to their characters.

Kate Bosworth’s (Homefront, Movie 43, Blue Crush) character lacked any real motivation throughout the entire movie. Lake Bell (Children’s Hospital, How to Make it in America, No Strings Attached) and Katie Aselton’s (The League, Our Idiot Brother, Treatment) characters were completely based around the history of an argument that took over a half hour to establish and just wasn’t worth it.

The only character I felt was well done was Derek. Played by Jay Paulson (Lucky Bastard, Happy Town, October Road), Derek hit a level of creepy that the antagonist in a film like this really needs in order to evoke the right emotions from the audience.

In the end, this recipe film isn’t worth even its short running time.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 48%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 24%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 2.3/5
Trust-the-Dice Score1.5/5

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, January 12, 2015

John Dies at the End (2012)

Number Rolled: 61
Movie Name/Year: John Dies at the End (2012)
Genre: Horror
Length: 99 minutes
Rating: R
Affiliated Companies: M3 Alliance, M3 Creative, Midnight Alliance, Touchy Feely Films
Executive Producer: Daniel Carey, Dac Coscarelli, Paul Giamatti
Director: Don Coscarelli
Writer: Don Coscarelli, David Wong
Actors: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman, Doug Jones, Fabianne Therese, Jonny Weston, Jimmy Wong, Tai Bennett, Bark Lee

Dave and John are friends. One day, at a party, they’re introduced to a man who is in possession of a new drug called “soy sauce.” It’s said that the drug can open people’s minds to places they’ve never even imagined. The drug, however, is not what people expect and the side effects border on insane.

John Dies at the End is based off a book that began as a webserial. Somewhere out there, there’s a sequel (to the book) and I intend to look up all three of those things.

Let me put this into perspective. On Netflix, in the “More Like This” section for the film there are four movies that I couldn’t agree with more; Odd Thomas with its quirky supernatural core, Detention with its wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey awesome plot, Rapture-Palooza which refuses to take itself seriously and Rubber which is utterly and completely ridiculous. All those descriptions fit John Dies at the End.

I spent a lot of the movie lost, I’ll admit it. However, I think you’re supposed to spend a lot of the movie lost and questioning things. In fact, the film even starts with a question that’s meant to get you thinking.

The actors elevated the quirky, insane and ridiculous plot to something not only watchable, but interesting. Chase Williamson (Video Game High School, Sparks, Complete Works) and Rob Mayes (The Client List, Ice Castles, Burning Blue) had amazing friendship chemistry on screen and I’d happily watch anything they’re in. 

To be fair, if you don’t like time-travel or crude comedy films, this probably isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you like the four other films I mentioned earlier, you should be very happy with this movie.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 61%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 54%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 4.8/5
Trust-the-Dice Score4.5/5

P.S. There’s a scene that plays during the beginning of the credits.

Movie Trailer: 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Day Zero (2008)

Number Rolled: 60
Movie Name/Year: Day Zero (2008)
Genre: Independent
Length: 92 minutes
Rating: R
Affiliated Companies: Indalo Productions
Executive Producer: Robert Malkani
Director: Bryan Gunnar Cole
Writer: Robert Malkani
Actors: Elijah Wood, Chris Klein, Jon Bernthal, Ginnifer Goodwin, Elisabeth Moss, Ally Sheedy, Sofia Vassilieva, John Rothman, Daniel Oreskes, Robert Hogan, Adam LeFevre, Alexandra Rose

Feller, Rifkin and Dixon have been friends since high school. Although they’re very different, they’ve not only kept in touch, they’ve remained close friends. When the draft is reinstated in the U.S., all three men get a notice asking them to report in 30 days.

I’ll start with the good parts.

The ending of Day Zero was incredible. I can’t imagine there possibly being a better finale for this film. The three leading men, Elijah Wood (Wilfred, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit), Chris Klein (American Pie, Wilfred, Authors Anonymous) and Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead, The Wolf of Wall Street, Fury), dove into their characters head first and made several of the scenes in the movie, including the ending, very powerful.

The problem is that I’m conflicted about rest of the movie. Despite the phenomenal acting and concept, I felt everything crept along so slowly that it took away from the overall experience.

The writing wasn’t exceptionally bad. In fact, nothing about the film was terrible. None-the-less, when I look back at the last 92 minutes, I not only don’t feel entertained, I don’t feel anything.

Normally, when I finish watching a good, powerful, drama I’m left with a slight ache in my chest. Sometimes I’ll have wetness in my eyes that no one believes is from allergies, though I always try to explain it away. Other times there will be a sense of satisfaction, especially in movies where the main characters were able to achieve their goals for a happy ending. For Day Zero, although the ending was amazing, I feel nothing.

It’s not a terrible movie if you’re interested in a political discussion about the draft, or if you just have an hour and a half to kill, but it’s nothing to write home about.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 24%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 45%

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

Movie Trailer: