Thursday, July 2, 2015

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Number Rolled: 76
Movie Name/Year: Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Genre: Romance
Length: 122 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: The Weinstein Company
Executive Producer: Bradley Cooper, George Parra, Michelle Raimo, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Renee Witt
Director: David O. Russell
Writer: David O. Russell, Matthew Quick
Actors: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, Julia Stiles, Paul Herman, Dash Mihok, Matthew Russell, Cheryl Williams, Patrick McDade, Brea Bee

Pat’s had it rough. After losing everything, he gets committed to a psych hospital. When his mom gets him out, he begins to start putting the pieces of his life back together again.

Selina’s Point of View:
This was not my first time seeing this film. Actually, it wasn’t even the third time.

I love this movie. I love it. It may very well be in my top ten movies. If I were to sit down and think about it, possibly even in my top five.

It’s difficult for me to find fault anywhere in Silver Linings Playbook. It’s quirky, dramatic, heart-wrenching, humorous, cringe-worthy, thrilling, and pretty much anything else you could want in a film.

The story is incredible. I love movies that exhibit how difficult things can get, that the world can “break your heart ten ways to Sunday,” but that you can overcome it. I believe this movie tells that story better than most.

Aside from that, Bradley Cooper (Aloha, The Hangover, American Hustle), Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Winter’s Bone), Robert De Niro (American Hustle, Killing Season, New Year’s Eve), Jacki Weaver (Gracepoint, Haunt, Animal Kingdom) and Chris Tucker (Jackie Brown, Money Talks, Friday) are all amazing actors that were at the top of their game for this film. There isn’t a single casting I would want to see different.

Once upon a time, David O. Russell (American Hustle, The Fighter, I Heart Huckabees) was hoping to castZooey Deschanel (New Girl, Our IdiotBrother, Failure to Launch) and Vince Vaughn (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The Break-up, The Lost World: Jurassic Park) as Tiffany and Pat. I think he made a VERY good decision not to do that. It would have been a drastically different movie and I doubt I could have taken it seriously.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’ve heard so many good things about this movie. It’s been on my to-watch list for a while now. Events have seemed to conspire against viewing – from premature DVR deletion to pop-up severe weather causing power outages. This time, I showed that movie who was boss!

This film was a dramatic work focusing on the path of redemption for a man suffering from bipolar disorder, and recovering from a traumatic loss of control. It was, however, expertly sprinkled with comedy. It was a glorious balance. It swept me along for the ride.

The cast was remarkable. Of course, one would expect no less from someone like Robert De Niro (The Family, Limitless, Little Fockers). The man’s a legend; and has proven time and time again his worthiness of that status. Even in a supporting role as the slightly OCD, Eagles-fanatic father struggling to relate to his bi-polar son.

The chemistry between Bradley Cooper (American Sniper, Guardians of the Galaxy, The A-Team) and Jennifer Lawrence (Serena, American Hustle, House at the End of the Street) was palpable – even when they were yelling at each other (perhaps especially then).

Chris Tucker’s (Rush Hour, The Fifth Element, Dead Presidents) appearance in this film was a pleasant surprise. He brought an element of comedy all his own that was just right. It was definitely a more subtle performance for him than in some of his previous over-the-top roles.

I was really hoping this film would live up to the hype. I must say, I wasn’t disappointed.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 92%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 86%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.9/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 4.7/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

P.S. Silver Linings Playbook is based off a novel of the same name by Matthew Quick

Movie Trailer:

Monday, June 29, 2015

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

10 – Boulevard (July 10)

Director: Dito Montiel
Writer: Douglas Soesbe
Actors: Robin Williams, Kathy Baker, Bob Odenkik, Roberto Aguire, J. Karen Thomas
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

This is it. The last movie starring Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting, The Birdcage, Aladdin). After this, what has been, is all that will be.

As fans, there’s nothing on heaven or earth that could keep us from seeing this film. Bad or good, regardless of topic, we just want to see the legend one more time.

The final quote in the trailer is heartbreaking, given the circumstances: “It’s never too late to finally start living the life you really want.”

9 – Paper Towns (July 24)

Director: Jake Schreier
Writer: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, John Green
Actors: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Halston Sage
Genre: Romance
Rated: PG-13

The Fault in Our Stars (2014) was a tear-jerking masterpiece, both on page and on screen. Paper Towns is developed from a book written by the same author: John Green (Crash Course: World History, Crash Course: Literature, Vlogbrothers).

Regardless of writer, though, the trailer for this film is enticing and makes us want to see what happens. Mystery and romance can be a more than decent combination.

8 – Terminator Genisys (July 1)

Director: Alan Taylor
Writer: Laeta Kalogridis, Patrick Lussier, James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd
Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, J.K. Simmons, Matt Smith, Douglas Smith, Dayo Okeniyi
Genre: Action
Rated: PG-13

Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Expendables, Junior, Total Recall) starring in a Terminator film is a huge dose of nostalgia for us. So many years later, with him returning to the film franchise opposite someone like Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones, Spike Island, Dom Hemingway) is awe-inspiring.

It would be impossible to not want to see Terminator Genisys. If you’re a fan of the franchise, it’s going to be an amazing chapter. If you’re unfamiliar with the original films, chances are that once you watch the trailer, you’ll want to get familiar real quick.

7 – Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (July 31)

Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer: Drew Pearce, Christopher McQuarrie, Bruce Geller
Actors: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Alec Baldwin, Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames
Genre: Action
Rated: PG-13

Who doesn’t get a little thrill when they hear that theme song?

The stunts in this movie look amazing. That plane sequence teased in the trailer promises to be both funny and quite the adrenaline rush.

The films are great, constant action with smart storylines and amazing acting. Rogue Nation seems like it’s going to continue to follow that plan.

6 – Magic Mike XXL (July 1)

Director: Greg Jacobs
Writer: Reid Carolin
Actors: Channing Tatum, Matthew Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Amber Heard, Andie MacDowell, Jada Pinkett Smith, Michael Straham, Elizabeth Banks, Danny Glover, Adam Rodriguez, Gabriel Iglesias, Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss, Kevin Nash
Genre: Dramedy
Rated: R

We disagreed a bit over where to put Magic Mike XXL on the list. One of us thought it should be around 8, the other thought it should be higher. We compromised.

The first Magic Mike (2012) brought many to their knees with the sexy men and dance moves, but what people who didn’t watch the movie might not realize, is that it wasn’t all about making a girl’s ovaries quiver. The story line was interesting and there was a bit of action/drama in there.

It’s because of the story line that we’re looking forward to Magic Mike XXL. Oh, sure, we’re not going to close our eyes when Joe Manganiello (True Blood, Sabotage, How I Met Your Mother) or Channing Tatum (Foxcatcher, This is the End, 21 Jump Street) hit the stage, but that’s not the primary draw.

The primary draw comes from what we know of the acting skills portrayed by the aforementioned actors, Matthew Bomer (American Horror Story, White Collar, Chuck), Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Slither), Amber Heard (Machete Kills, Paranoia, 3 Days to Kill) and Jada Pinkett Smith (Gotham, Hawthorne, The Matrix Reloaded). It also comes from our knowledge of the insane comedic timing possessed by Gabriel Iglesias (Cristela, A Haunted House 2, The Book of Life) and the unique dance style of Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss (Step Up All In, Step Up Revolution, Hairspray).

5 – Self/less (July 10)

Director: Tarsem Singh
Writer: Alex Pastor, David Pastor
Actors: Ryan Reynolds, Michelle Dockery, Matthew Goode, Natalie Martinex, Ben Kingsley, Victor Garber, Derek Luke
Genre: Thriller
Rated: PG-13

Ben Kingsley (The Boxtrolls, Ender’s Game, Schindler’s List) is one of those actors that immediately make people want to buy a ticket. Ryan Reynolds (R.I.P.D., Safe House, Paper Man) has his own loyal following as well. The question isn’t whether or not they’ll be great in their parts, but if their chemistry will resonate.

Regardless of actors, the story of the film is incredible. A sci-fi style thriller with that much meat to the plot? Sign us up.

4 – Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (July 22)

Director: Anthony C. Ferrante
Writer: Thunder Levin
Actors: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Cassie Scerbo, Cindy Margolis, David Hasselhoff, Bo Derek, Ann Coulter, Jerry Springer, Chris Kirkpatrick, Chris Jericho, Ray J, Frankie Muniz, Michael Bolton,
Genre: Sci-Fi
Rated: Unrated

The Random Review is a big fan of the Sharknado series. It’s super corny, absolutely ridiculous and so much fun it’s hard to believe The Asylum had anything to do with it.

Hey, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

It’s because we love the first two films, that we are excited to see that Anthony C. Ferrante (Headless Horseman, Boo, Project RCVR), Thunder Levin (Atlantic Rim, AE: Apocalypse Earth, American Warships), Ian Ziering (90210, That’s My Boy, The Legend of Awesomest Maximus), and Tara Reid (American Reunion, Unnatural Causes, The Crow: Wicked Prayer) all returned to do their parts.

We don’t know how much longer this franchise will succeed, but for now, we’re all for this next one.

3 – Minions (July 10)

Director: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Writer: Brian Lynch
Actors: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Allison Janney, Steve Carell, Tara Strong
Genre: Family
Rated: PG

Do we need a reason other than the fact that minions are involved? MINIONS!

2 – Pixels (July 24)

Director: Chris Columbus
Writer: Tim Herlihy, Timothy Dowling, Patrick Jean
Actors: Adam Sandler, Michelle Monaghan, Josh Gad, Kevin James, Jane Krakowski, Peter Dinklage, Brian Cox, Ashley Benson, Sean Bean
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG-13

Let’s forget about the video game aspect of this film and the fact that one of the writers for this blog had a video game themed wedding. Let’s forget that the super-amazing Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, Knights of Badassdom) is in it and sporting a wicked mullet. Let’s even forget that it looks like Adam Sandler (Anger Management, 50 First Dates, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry) might have gone back to his actually funny roots.

You realize the director, Chris Columbus (Rent, Mrs. Doubtfire, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief), is the same man credited with writing the screenplay for The Goonies and directed the first two Harry Potter films, right?

Aside from that, the trailer looks ridiculous, in the best way.

We are taking bet on when Sean Bean (Legends, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, Game of Thrones) will die. Five minutes in? Twenty? Not until the end? Let’s see some guesses!

1 – Ant-Man (July 17)

Director: Peyton Reed
Writer: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby
Actors: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lily, Corey Stoll, Hayley Atwell, Michael Pena, Judy Greer, John Slattery, T.I., Bobby Cannavale, Stan Lee, Anthony Mackie
Genre: Action
Rated: Unrated

A Marvel movie is coming out this month, did anyone not expect to see it at number one on this list?

We think Paul Rudd (Parks and Recreation, This is 40, Our Idiot Brother) was the perfect choice for the lead role. The only concern is how to make Ant-Man a real Marvel-style film without having that parody feel.

In the trailer, you see the train set scene which looks epic… and then funny. That scene alone makes it look like they struck a decent enough balance between action and comedy to not fall into a joke-like feel.

If anyone can do it, Marvel can.

A side note? Chris Evans (Captain America, Avengers, Snowpiercer) is listed as an uncredited actor in this film. Is he going to make a cameo like he did in Thor: The Dark World (2013) or is that hinting at what we might see in the after-credits scene?

Anyone have any theories?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mean Girls 2 (2011)

Number Rolled: 12
Movie Name/Year: Mean Girls 2 (2011)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 96 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Paramount Famous Productions
Production Executive: Peter M. Green
Director: Melanie Mayron
Writer: Allison Schroeder, Elana Lesser, Cliff Ruby
Actors: Meaghan Martin, Donn Lamkin, Linden Ashby, Dan Coleman, Claire Holt, Patrick Johnson, Colin Dennard, Maiara Walsh, Nicole Gale Anderson, Bethany Anne Lind, Jennifer Stone, Tim Meadows, Mike Pniewski, Diego Boneta, Rhoda Griffis, Amber Wallace, Juliet Kim

Jo moves around a lot. As a result, she tries pretty hard not to get involved in the lives of other people in her schools. No boys. No drama. No friends. In her new school, however, she finds it impossible to stand idly by as one of the girls gets mercilessly bullied.

Selina’s Point of View:
Let me give you a hint about what to expect: I saw this film once before and didn’t realize it until halfway through. In other words, Mean Girls 2 was truly forgettable.

It wasn’t a terrible movie; I can’t say I hated it. The actors were fine enough and it was cool seeing Claire Holt (The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Littly Liars, Aquarius), unfortunately the characters lacked any depth at all.

The first Mean Girls (2004) didn’t exactly thrill me either, but I'm not part of the cult following. Yes, it has a cult following. Probably because Tina Fey (30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) managed to show all the characters motivations in a way that made the story line interesting. 

She made the movie memorable.

Without Tina Fey, Paramount should have let this series die.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was really skeptical when we rolled the sequel to Mean Girls (2004). I wasn’t all that crazy about the original. I even procrastinated a bit before I buckled down to watch. Was it saying something that my daughter didn’t want to watch it with me? I even got the ‘ugh no’ expression, when I asked.

We were both so wrong – and now she’s jealous I watched it without her. This movie was surprisingly enjoyable.

An immediate bonus in this film’s favor was that it wasn't a rinse and repeat of the first movie. Tim Meadows (Mean Girls, Jack and Jill, Grown Ups 2) reprised his role as Mr. Duvall. He was the comedic bridge that ties both movies together, without dragging along baggage from the first film.

Meaghan Martin (Awkward, Safelight, Senior Project) was a refreshing protagonist. She rocked the tomboy role and it was interesting to see her on the other end of the spectrum. She had played the ‘mean girl’ antagonist in Camp Rock (2008).

I am increasingly impressed with the range of Claire Holt (Blue Like Jazz, H2O: Just Add Water, The Originals). The characters she has portrayed in her television roles have been serious and emotionally charged. It was fun to see her in the vapid role here.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Diego Boneta (90210, Eden, Underemployed). I fell in love with him in Rock of Ages (2012); one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies. He added some real depth to the role of Tyler. I am really excited in anticipation of the upcoming projects IMDb has listed for him.

Some of the movie was a little over-the-top but it wasn’t out of control. I think there was a nice balance between the comedy and the underlying message. I laughed, I cringed, and I would watch it again.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 32%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 1.2/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score2/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 2.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score – 4/5

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Riley Rewind (2013)

Number Rolled: 83
Movie Name/Year: Riley Rewind (2013)
Genre: Sci-Fi
Length: 46 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Production Companies: Runaway Machine
Executive Producer: Ray William Johnson
Director: Ray William Johnson
Writer: Anna Akana
Actors: Anna Akana, Lamar Legend, Leanna Spear, Cassandra Van Dongen, Russell Dennis Lewis, Christina Marie Leonard, R. Eric Braun, Trevor Dow, Scott Higgins, Ray William Johnson, Chad Anthony Miller, Megan Rosati, Emma Lee, A Leslie Kies, Zach Preston, Kaja Martin, Jennifer Shumaker, Clint Jung, Josh Holt, Tony Curtis Blondell

Riley is your typical high school student. She’s worried about the prom, her date, her best friend… oh, and she has this nifty ability to turn back time. When she finds out a fellow student is in trouble, Riley decides to go back and help her out.

Selina’s Point of View:
I haven’t known about Ray William Johnson (=3, Booze Lightyear, Your Favorite Martian) for very long. I learned about his former YouTube show, “=3,” from my friend Xavier in mid-2013. Not long after that, he canceled the show, but it’s back with a new host now.

His channel is still up and running. I recommend checking it out.

I expected a lot from Riley Rewind. Johnson is a funny guy and I fell in love with his channel pretty easily, why wouldn’t I enjoy a movie of his?

The film is split into 5 acts and was originally seen broken up on YouTube. Although it’s all pushed together for the Netflix version, the theme still splits it up like chapters. I didn’t really mind that. It added an extra “rewind” aspect to the film.

The acting seemed a little over the top at first; except for Anna Akana (Breaking Los Angeles, 10 Second Trauma, The Beauty Inside) and Russell Dennis Lewis (Real Heroes, Return of the Black Queen, Saltwater) who were immediately amazing. As the film drew on and I got sucked into the story, the acting either got better, or was always good and I just started understanding the characters and their mannerisms.

I was thrilled with what I watched. I wish it was longer.

I’ve seen only a single piece of hope for a sequel. It came in the form of a 2013 blog post by Anna Akana. I can’t find any evidence of a formal announcement or coming attraction. That makes me sad.

I’d like to leave a little note for Ray William Johnson and Anna Akana: Make a second one. If it’s a matter of money, there’s always indiegogo. Just in case, I’ll keep a donation with your name on it.

Cat’s Point of View:
One thing I really enjoy about the randomness of our selection process, is that it brings me to movies I might otherwise have never seen. This film is a good example.

The concept of the story was well thought out and they did a pretty good job with the execution. I am a fan of "wibbly wobbly timey wimey…stuff."

Having grown up with Doctor Who (1963-), it tends to set the bar pretty high.

I was glad that the story was handled with real cause and effect – changing the past having unknown, and sometimes unintended, effects on the future. Riley’s moral quandary around her powers vs. whether it gave her responsibility to use it to save others was another element I appreciated.

Now let’s talk special effects. For a small independent film, they can’t have had a very big budget for such things. I think they got pretty good bang for their buck. The time transitions weren’t too hokey, and I liked the little electric effect they added to her.

The only thing that bugged me a little about the film was the repeated replay of the opening credits sequence. It was a little confusing for me. Was this originally some sort of series that eventually was packaged as a single film? Was it a device that was underscoring the ‘rewind’ aspect, continually rewinding the opening between acts?

It reminded me of old-school cartoons that had short bookend sequences around commercial breaks. I’m not sure that was where they wanted to go with it. Regardless, it left things feeling a little disjointed for me. Otherwise I really enjoyed the movie.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 42%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.9/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score4.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 3.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

The Random Rating: PG-13

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Age of Dinosaurs (2013)

Number Rolled: 70
Movie Name/Year: Age of Dinosaurs (2013)
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Length: 88 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: The Asylum
Executive Producer: David Rimawi
Director: Joseph J. Lawson
Writer: Hank Woon Jr.
Actors: Treat Williams, Ronny Cox, Jillian Rose Reed, Joshua Michael Allen, Max Aria, Jose Rosete

Gabe and his daughter, Jade, are getting ready to spend a rare day together. He takes her to a fancy conference where they learn the CEO of a business has been recreating dinosaurs. Things go askew when one of the recreations busts out.

Selina’s Point of View:
Know what’s sad? I saw Jurassic World (2015) today, in the theater. I then went about my business, came home and had to watch this take on a dinosaur movie.

Jurassic World (2015) was outstanding. It was hilarious and Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Parks and Recreation, Bride Wars) 100% killed it. Age of Dinosaurs however…

Would it be an acceptable review if I just head-desked seven or eight times and recorded the sound for posting purposes?

We all know The Asylum is a crap production company that lucks out with a “so bad it’s good” movie once in a while. So when that name is affiliated with a film, expectations are already low. This one had to be one of the worst.

The actors were beyond terrible. I kept wondering if they just did the whole movie in one take because if they had cut screw ups or bad scenes, I don’t think there’d have been anything left.

On any normal day, this movie would be terrible. On a day when a real dinosaur movie has just been seen, Age of Dinosaurs is abysmal.

Don’t waste your time.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’ll admit that I enjoy a good B movie now and again. I especially love the ones that are so horrible they’re awesome. I’m also a dinosaur fan. The combination of such might lead you to believe that this movie was right up my alley.

Unfortunately, I think that this film fell short of the mark. There wasn’t enough humor in it, and beyond that it was just… missing something. The actors seemed confused more than they were terrified and some of the dialogue and character interaction was just awkward.

The movie tried real hard, however. The dinosaurs weren’t the best CGI, but they at least didn’t look cartoony.

I’ve been known to leave a cheesy Syfy Channel movie on as background noise while working on other things. I’m pretty sure I would have changed the channel on this one.

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

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 1.3/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score1/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 1.2/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score1/5

The Random Rating: PG-13

Movie Trailer:

Monday, June 15, 2015

Turbo (2013)

Number Rolled: 44
Movie Name/Year: Turbo (2013)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 96 minutes
Rating: PG
Production Companies: DreamWorks Animation
Executive Producer: Lisa Stewart
Director: David Soren
Writer: Darren Lemke, Robert D. Siegel, David Soren
Actors: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Samuel L. Jackson, Luis Guzman, Bill Hader, Snoop Dogg, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Mike Bell, Aaron Berger, Aidan Andrews, Lloyd Sherr, Kurtwood Smith, David Soren

Theo is a snail with a need for speed. At night, he gets to watch his racing idol go round and round the track then give amazing interviews. During the day, however, he’s just an ordinary snail working at the Plant… and no one really gets him.

Selina’s Point of View:
When I see the DreamWorks logo, I get a little excited. They’ve produced amazing films like How to Train Your Dragon (2010), Kung Fu Panda (2008), and Shrek (2001). So, I was happy when we rolled Turbo.

It was cute… but not really for me. Maybe it’s because I don’t have any interest in racing, or because the movie was geared toward a younger audience, I don’t know. I just found myself kind of bored sitting through the endlessly predictable tropes.

I know that sounds like I hated it, but I didn’t really.

It’s easy to pretend to hate recipe films, but the truth is, there’s a comfort to them. Well-made recipe films are like a bowl of soup on a cold day, and this one did leave me smiling at the very end. For that reason, I definitely believe it was a bit more than mediocre.

I likely won’t watch it again until I have kids, though.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was initially excited when the dice pointed us in the direction of this movie. I had watched this one with my family before. My daughter and I watched it again together.

The second time around with this film seemed to strip away just a bit of its shiny veneer for me.

The racial stereotypes and the parts of the plot that seemingly ‘borrow’ from Cars (2006) felt a bit more blatant. I found myself looking over to my daughter, and pondering if the destructive manipulation with the bus stunt or the life-savings I.O.U were sending her a bad message.

Of course, then we were jamming out to “The Snail is Fast” amidst many giggles.

The overall themes of the film are strong positives, however. The messages of self-belief, hard work, and finding the courage to keep going, even when you feel broken, are a powerful take-away. There even seemed to be some subtle commentary, using the crows, about the desensitization of today’s society.

I also appreciated the cautionary element regarding celebrity hero-worship.

Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern, A Million Ways to Die in the West, R.I.P.D.) had a bit of a refreshing departure from his usual snarky roles. While I love his snark, I think it would have taken away from Turbo. I’m glad they didn’t incorporate more into it.
Racing fans might get a kick out of the voice-cameo of legendary racer Mario Andretti (1, Dust to Glory, Cars). He voiced a couple of incognito parts, rather than a self-appearance.

In spite of some of the mixed signals the film was giving, it was still quite enjoyable.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 67%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 66%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 4.4/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

P.S. Some amusement during the beginning of the credits and a small scene during.

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Brothers Grimm (2005)

Number Rolled: 76
Movie Name/Year: The Brothers Grimm (2005)
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Length: 118 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Dimension Films, MGM, Mosaic Media Group, Reforma Films, Atlas Entertainment, Summit Entertainment, The Weinstein Company
Executive Producer: Jonathan Gordon, Chris McGurk, Andrew Rona, John D. Schofield, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein
Director: Terry Gilliam
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Actors: Petr Ratimec, Barbora Lukesova, Anna Rust, Jeremy Robson, Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Harry Gilliam, Mackenzie Crook, Richard Ridings, Peter Stormare, Jonathan Pryce, Laura Greenwood, Lena Headey, Tomas Hanak, Monica Bellucci

Selina’s Point of View:
The Grimm brothers lost their sister at an early age. All because Jacob believed in magic and fairy tales. Years later, the brothers take their jaded beliefs into business. They destroy fake supernatural evils for a price.

I wanted to see this film when it came out, but I never got around to it. I’m sorry about that, because I think it would have been better in the early 2000s. In the decade between then and now, there’ve been a lot of technological advances that made graphics better and HD did no favors to this film.

Graphics aside, the story was interesting and the acting was pretty good. I felt like Peter Stormare (The Blacklist, Penguins of Madagascar, 22 Jump Street) was a bit over the top, but Matt Damon (Interstellar, Happy Feet Two, Good Will Hunting), Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain, The Patriot, 10 Thing I Hate About You), Lena Headey (Zipper, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Dredd) and Monica Bellucci (The Whistleblower, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Shoot ‘Em Up) made up for it.

In the end, I wish I’d liked this film more. Unfortunately, it did very little for me. If I want to watch this kind of film, I’ll watch Van Helsing (2004).

Cat’s Point of View:
I feel I must begin with an admission that I am a Monty Python geek. The Brothers Grimm’s director, Terry Gilliam (Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Tideland), happens to be the only US-born original member of that group.

Where am I going with this random trivia? The second part of my admission is that I often watch projects involving the Python boys through fandom-colored glasses. I begin my viewing with an expectation of being thoroughly entertained, and they rarely disappoint.

I have seen this film before, around the time it was released. I remembered it fondly, and was happy to re-watch.
This tale of con-artists forced to finally face the nightmare of real magic afoot in the world was a fun ride. The balance of comedy with the darkness on the brothers’ path to redemption keeps the tale from being too heavy-handed.

Matt Damon (The Bourne Ultimatum, The Monuments Men, Elysium) captures well the angst of a brother carrying around the ghost of his deceased sister. The late Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight, A Knight's Tale, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) was also an excellent casting to embody the spirit of the unforgiven dreamer.

I also enjoyed Lena Headey’s (Game of Thrones, 300, The Purge) strong character.  Her personal tale was one of pain and loss, and she captured that as well as embracing the lighter side. Grandmother Frog was also a nice transition for Damon’s brother to show his character growth.

As a side note, fans of Game of Thrones (2011-) and The Pirates of the Caribbean (2003-) franchise might recognize some familiar faces in the supporting cast.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 38%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 39%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.1/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score2.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 4.2/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

Movie Trailer: