Thursday, May 29, 2014

Top Ten Movies to Look Out For: June 2014



10 – The Human Race (June 13)


Director: Paul Hough
Writer: Paul Hough
Actors: Paul McCarthy-Boyington, Eddie McGee, Trista Robinson, T. Arthur Cottam, Fred Coury, Richard Gale
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: PG-13

This movie pits 80 strangers, from all walks of life, against each other in a race. There is supposed to be only a single survivor, a “winner.”

I was honestly surprised to see that this movie was given a PG-13. The violence factor, from the preview, seems too high for that rating. The trailer makes me feel like The Human Race is going to have a very Battle Royale feeling.

I expect a bloody, gore-filled, psychologically violent story. Just up my alley!

It’s Paul Hough’s first attempt at a full-length fiction movie. I’m looking forward to seeing how he does.

9 – Begin Again (June 27)


Director: John Carney
Writer: John Carney
Actors: Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Hailee Steinfeld, Adam Levine, Catherine Keener, Cee Lo Green
Genre: Romance
Rated: R

This movie follows Gretta, a woman who follows her boyfriend to NY as he launches his music career and Dan, a disgraced record-label executive. They find each other after their personal down-falls and help pick each other up.

I know. It’s not my usual kind of movie. I lean more towards the thrillers, horrors, sci-fi’s and family films. This won’t be the last “out of character” movie you see on this list, but this one is easiest to explain.

Look at that cast! Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina, Neverland), Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers, Now You See Me), Hailee Steinfeld (Ender’s Game, Hateship Loveship), and Adam Levine (Maroon 5, American Horror Story). Seriously, I think this is one of the best casts I’ve seen, outside of a Marvel movie, in a long time.

If I were to forget the actors altogether, there would still be the fact that this movie had a huge amount of success at the film festivals.

Unfortunately, the release on June 27 is only for NY. It will open for the rest of the US on July 4.

8 – Transformers: Age of Extinction (June 27)


Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Actors: Mark Wahlberg, Jack Reynor, Nicola Peltz, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Sophia Myles, Li Bingbing, T.J. Miller, Han Geng, Titus Welliver, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, John DiMaggio, Mark Ryan, Robert Foxworth, Reno Wilson
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rated: Unrated

This movie features the Transformers, with Dinobots.

The last couple of Transformer movies were bashed by critics and audience alike. None-the-less, the franchise remains a cash-cow. Why? Because it doesn’t matter what you thought of the last movie in the series. It’s visually attractive and either nostalgic for the older crowd or simply awesome for the younger crowd.

Personally, I didn’t hate any of the movies that have so far been in the series. Michael Bay isn’t my favorite director in the whole world, but I don’t think he’s done any fatal damage. I’m actually really looking forward to seeing how Mark Wahlberg does.

Something is odd, though. Transformers: Age of Extinction is a mainstream movie. It’s incredibly weird for it to not yet be rated, considering it comes out in as little as a month from now. I didn’t actually believe it at first and did extra research on it.

All my sources seem to be split. Some sites say that it’s going to be PG-13, like the others, which is what I expected. Other sites, however, say that it’s going to be rated R.

I’m not sure how I feel about a Transformers movie that’s rated R. Half the target audience are from the younger generations. If that’s the direction the movie took, however, I think it’s brilliant. Minors are still going to want to see the movie, but they’ll have to bring their parents. More ticket sales.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. At its core, movie making is a business.

7 – All Cheerleaders Die (June 13)


Director: Lucky McKee, Chris Sivertson
Writer: Lucky McKee, Chris Sivertson
Actors: Caitlin Stasey, Sianoa Smit-McPhee, Brooke Butler, Amanda Grace Cooper, Reanin Johannink, Tom Williamson
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Thriller
Rated: R

In All Cheerleaders Die, Maddy is shown as an outcast with dark secrets and some severe issues with the football quarterback. She enlists the aid of the cheerleaders until an accident forces circumstances to change.

When I first saw the title I thought it was going to be one of those horrible B-movies that sitcoms always mention but that don’t really exist. Like Bikini Cheerleader Death Camp or Cheerleader Murder Night 3 or something. The trailer fixed my perception really quickly.

This movie looks like The Craft in some ways. It seems to have that same high-school, supernatural, witchy feel. Since I really enjoyed The Craft, I think this is a movie that’s going to be right up my alley.

I don’t expect it to be the best movie I’ve ever seen, but I think it’ll be interesting at least.

6 – Anna (June 6)


Director: Jorge Dorado
Writer: Guy Holmes, Martha Holmes
Actors: Mark Strong, Taissa Farminga, Brian Cox
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rated: R

John Washington is shown as someone who can go into other people’s memories in order to find the truth about their crimes. Anna has been accused of a triple murder and it becomes John’s job to dig into the truth of the mysteries surrounding that case.

On the surface, Anna doesn’t seem to be all that spectacular. It looks like your normal everyday random horror movie; interchangeable with every other movie coming out in its genre. Why then is it so high on my list?

The first reason is Taissa Farminga (American Horror Story, The Bling Ring). In the past years I’ve come to truly appreciate her acting abilities. I’m a big fan of American Horror Story and she has yet to disappoint in it.

Even without Farminga, the story actually appeals to me. I’ve seen other movies with the same general plot and it always intrigues me, but the movies themselves are usually too slow for me to really get into it. Like I do with all the rest, I’m hoping this will be the film that finally gives this idea the respect it deserves.

5 – The Rover (June 13)


Director: David Michod
Writer: David Michod, Joel Edgerton
Actors: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy, Susan Prior, Gillian Jones, Anthony Hayes, David Field
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R

This film is meant to follow up Animal Kingdom, by the same director. It follows Eric as he travels through a post-apocalyptic world. When he finds Rey, they track down the thieves that stole Eric’s car.

Personally, my favorite apocalyptic theme involves zombies, but I’m pretty much a fan of all of them. The post-apocalyptic world in The Rover is set in a place that’s had to deal with a complete collapse of society due to economic failure. Many would argue that it’s a much more believable brand of apocalypse than the living dead.

I’ve decided not to hold Robert Pattinson (The Twilight Saga, Cosmopolis) against this film. I hate him as an actor, and yes, I’ve seen him in stuff other than Twilight. In the end, the story is just too good for one actor to make me second guess the movie.

4 – Lullaby (June 13)


Director: Andrew Levitas
Writer: Andrew Levitas
Actors: Garrett Hedlund, Richard Jenkins, Amy Adams, Jessica Brown Findlay, Anne Archer, Terrence Howard, Jennifer Hudson, Jessica Barden
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

Lullaby follows Jonathan as he learns about his father’s sickness. After he becomes estranged from his family, he learns that his father intends to take himself off life support leading to family drama and arguments based on patient rights.

Drama isn’t my go-to, but this plot seems extra interesting. I’ve always been fascinated by the debate on how far patient rights go. My own opinion on the subject rests on the fence, but I love to consider both sides of the issue.

Moral interest is only part of it. I also enjoy Garrett Hedlund (Inside Llewyn Davis, TRON: Legacy) and Amy Adams (American Hustle, Man of Steel) and look forward to seeing them on screen together.

3 – Snowpiercer (June 27)


Director: Bong Joon-ho
Writer: Bong Joon-ho, Kelly Masterson, Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand, Jean-Marc Rochette
Actors: Chris Evans, Song Kangho, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Ewen Brewmner, Alison Pill, John Hurt, Ed Harris
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: R

The world has entered a new ice age. Humanity only survives because they inhabit a supertrain. The caste system is extreme and the low and high classes are at constant odds.

This film did ridiculously well in the festivals. I’m not surprised. Bong Joon-ho (Mother, The Host) is an insanely talented director and pairing him up with actors like Chris Evans (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers) and John Hurt (Doctor Who, Merlin) is almost unfair to the other movies coming out in June.

The story line is incredible, too. It’s like The 100 meets The Hunger Games, both works that I enjoy. I’ve been looking forward to this movie for months and I’ll be seeing it the moment it hits theaters.

2 – The Fault in Our Stars (June 6)


Director: Josh Boone
Writer: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, John Green
Actors: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Mike Birbiglia, Emily Peachey
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13

Hazel and Gus meet and fall in love over the backdrop of a story line that revolves around cancer, coping and survival.

This movie is based on a book. Not just any book, but one with very high reviews and an extremely loyal following. I admit, I haven’t yet read it, but the trailer was so well done that it made me want to not only watch the movie, but pick up the book as well.

If the movie does the written story any honor, I have no doubt that The Fault in Our Stars will have a huge amount of viewer support.

1 – How to Train Your Dragon 2 (June 13)


Director: Dean DeBlois
Writer: Dean DeBlois, Cressida Cowell
Actors: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Kit Harington, Cate Blanchett, Djimon Honsou, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig
Genre: Action, Adventure, Animation, Fantasy
Rated: PG

Hiccup is back in this sequel with his dragon, Toothless. The trailers shows us that he gets to meet his mother and that a new enemy awaits.

I LOVED the first one. I could seriously just watch that movie over and over again until my eyes dry up. It’s one of the cutest movies that have ever been made. It’s geared toward kids, but I don’t know a single adult that was bored watching it.

If I hadn’t seen the first one, though, I’d still be excited to watch the sequel.

I’ve seen something with this movie that I’ve never seen before. It did so well in the festivals that it has an actual 100% score from the critics on rottentomatoes.com. What movie gets a 100% score like that? Do you know what that means? That means that not a single one of those critics who have a stick up their ass about every little thing had any issue at all with How to Train Your Dragon 2.

We all know that I put as much faith into negative critic feedback as I do into the belief that the world is flat, but positive feedback is different. People want to read negative stories. Now that I’m in journalism, I can speak from experience. My positive stories don’t make nearly as much money as the disaster stuff. Even on this blog, I get more views for the movies I hate than the ones I love.


That means that every single critic that saw this film, decided a positive review was more important than money. Maybe I’m cynical, but I don’t think that happens very often at all. As far as I’m concerned, How to Train Your Dragon 2 might well be a miracle.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Rapture-Palooza (2013)


Number Rolled: 22
Movie Name/Year: Rapture-Palooza (2013)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 84 minutes
Rating: R
Affiliated Companies: Lionsgate, Mimran Schur Pictures, Mosaic Media Group
Director: Paul Middleditch
Writer: Chris Matheson
Actors: Craig Robinson, Anna Kendrick, John Francis Daley, Rob Corddry, Ana Gasteyer, John Michael Higgins, Calum Worthy, Jesse Camacho, Thomas Lennon, Ken Jeong, Bjorn Yearwood, Adrianna Costa, Mike O’Connell, Darcy Michael, Paul Scheer, Tyler Labine, Rob Huebel, Andrew Fiscella, Ritchie Singer

Lindsey and Ben are a normal young couple, from the looks of it. They enjoy each other’s company and are deeply in love. Even when the rapture leaves them behind during a bowling date, their love cannot be quelled. Locusts, blood rain and rude crows are only the beginning. Eventually, they meet the Beast himself.

If there could be a parody of the already awesome-ridiculous This Is The End, this movie would be it. Rapture-Palooza is a fun and entertaining love story with more sarcasm than a teenage girl forced to go shopping with her mother. It’s even jokingly labeled as a “true story” in the beginning.

The acting is over the top. The script is the crassest and most offensive thing I’ve ever come across (and that’s coming from a rabid Kevin Smith fan). The budget was obviously low. In fact, it’s difficult to find a quality that would redeem this movie to the big critics.

Luckily, I’m not one of them.

This rapture-parody was really entertaining. In the end, that’s what makes a movie. I don’t regret sitting through it and I’m likely to nudge a friend into checking it out. In those ways, it’s successful. It’s nowhere near the level of the aforementioned This Is The End, and I would always choose the Seth Rogen rapture over the Paul Middleditch version. None-the-less, it’s still kind of cute and, if you can get past the highly offensive nature, pretty funny.

I wouldn’t recommend this movie to people sensitive about faith or strong language.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 22%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 31%

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

Movie Trailer: