Thursday, November 5, 2015

Outcast (2014)


Number Rolled: 90
Movie Name/Year: Outcast (2014)
Tagline: Legends are born in battle.
Genre: Action & Adventure
Length: 98 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Notorious Films, 22h22, Canal+, Media Max Productions, Yunnan Film Group
Executive Producer: Mark Canton, Marc Charette, Jean-Francois Doray, Mike Gabrawy, Andrew Mann, Li Qiyan, Mark Slone
Director: Nick Powell
Writer: James Dormer
Actors: Nicolas Cage, Hayden Christensen, Fernando Chien, Anoja Dias Bolt, Bill Su Jiahang, Jike Junyi, Byron Lawson, Shi Lang, Andy On, Yifei Liu

Seeing his death near, a king names his second son his heir to the anger of his first-born. The heir needs to find a way to be named king before his older brother can get his hands on him.

Selina’s Point of View:
This movie was a complete mess. I’m not even sure where to start.

I guess I’ll start at the single most obvious mess in Outcast: accents.

I’m thinking that Hayden Christensen (American Heist, Vanishing on 7th Street, Awake) and Nicolas Cage (Rage, Joe, The Frozen Ground) were supposed to be speaking in a British accents. I don’t know what accent they were actually speaking in, but it wasn’t British. I was practically raised by my very British next door neighbor. I know the accent well. What they were speaking was some kind of mix of British, Cockney, Irish, Scottish and… dwarven maybe? Some dialect of Ewok? At one point in the beginning I had to turn on captions because I had no clue what Christensen was trying to say.

Moving on, I’ll admit that many of the settings and props used were really well done. The makeup for wounds and scars was amazing. Even my high definition screen couldn’t find flaw with some of the work done. I want to meet John L. Healy (X-Men: The Last Stand, Eragon, True Justice) and his makeup department crew and shake their hands for what I saw.

Unsung heroes, the behind-the-scene crew of any film. I should really start mentioning them more. I have a cousin that does back stage stuff. I should know better.

I digress.

Although most of the settings and props were extremely well done, there were some… flaws. I mean, as audience members we know the knives in the scene are made of rubber, but it breaks the illusion to see them flopping back and forth.

Then there were the characters. Who has a perfectly quaffed Mohawk in the 12th century during the crusades? Why did Nicolas Cage suddenly turn into a pirate? Why is everyone in the East made to seem so gullible?

The plot devices were also an issue. We all know when something is a plot device, but that’s not all it should be. Plot devices lose their usefulness if the audience can count them as they happen. They’re supposed to be as seamless as possible as they move the story along.

Despite the many, many, many flaws… I enjoyed the film. Sure, I was mostly laughing at it, not with it… but enjoyment is still enjoyment. Watch it with friends, mock the accents, and hilarity is sure to ensue.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’d seen a few clips from this movie, but not even the full trailer, prior to its random selection. I thought it looked interesting (and hey - Hayden Christensen [Jumper, Takers, Shattered Glass] looks pretty good with that Mohawk, right?!).

Both Christensen and Nicolas Cage (Trespass, The Croods, Pay the Ghost) tend to be wild cards. Some of their films are fantastic – and the others have us asking ourselves why we’re watching to begin with.

The movie was laced with beautiful scenery, packed with action, and sprinkled with emotion and drama. The stunt work here was pretty cool, and the battle scenes weren’t’ too over-the-top with gore while remaining realistic.

I bought in to Christensen’s war-weary survivor of the brutal crusades, and his personal mission to battle his inner demons. I rooted for his hope of redemption.

There were a few things that bugged me in the film. This was 12th Century in the time of the Crusades – was English really that prevalent among the common populace in China, a xenophobic society with many dialects of their own? I know they likely made that choice from a logistics standpoint to avoid subtitles, but still. Also – king instead of emperor? Maybe I’m letting little things get to me.

Overall, I still enjoyed the movie and I’d even give it a recommendation.  In the meantime, I’ll just be over here with this Peter Cetera song stuck in my head.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 6%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 20%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 2.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 3/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

The Random Rating: R

Movie Trailer:


Monday, November 2, 2015

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In November (2015)

According to: Selina


20 – #Horror (11/20)


Tag Line: None
Production Company: Lowland Pictures, AST Studios
Director: Tara Subkoff
Writer: Tara Subkoff
Actors: Chloe Sevigny, Timothy Hutton, Balthazar Getty, Natasha Lyonne, Taryn Manning, Stella Schnabel, Lydia Hearst, Annabelle Dexter-Jones
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: NR

I found the trailer for this film to be surprisingly interesting.

Alright, it wasn’t exactly original… but it’s got more than just a decent cast and the trailer really didn’t spoil all that many of the scares. Assume there are sufficient scares.

Even if it didn’t look intriguing, I probably would have added #Horror to my Top 20. I think it’ll be cool to see Natasha Lyonne (American Pie, But I’m A Cheerleader, Loitering With Intent) and Taryn Manning (8 Mile, Zombie Apocalypse, A Winter Rose) starring in a film together. You’ll know them as having both acted in Orange is the New Black (2013-2015).

19 – My All American (11/13)


Tag Line: Hope never quits.
Production Company: Anthem Productions, Paul Schiff Productions
Director: Angelo Pizzo
Writer: Angelo Pizo
Actors: Aaron Eckhart, Finn Wittrock, Robin Tunney, Sarah Bolger, Todd Allen, Brent Anderson
Genre: Drama, Biography, Sport
Rated: PG

Ok. I hate football. I don’t just dislike football, I hate it. When I was young, my mom would not tolerate so much as a peep of noise during the football games and I grew bitter toward it. Still, I’ve enjoyed my share of football-centric films.

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite films was Little Giants (1994).

This film looks interesting, despite the whole football thing. Finn Wittrock (Noah, Winter’s Tale, Unbroken), however, is a big reason why I’d want to see this movie.

Wittrock was one of the best actors last season in American Horror Story (2011-2015). He was so good, that I’m still having trouble looking at pictures of him without shivering. Unfortunately, I have very little exposure to him in other projects. I’d like to see him in a part that isn’t creepy.

18 – Shelter (11/13)


Tag Line: None
Production Company: Bifrost Pictures, The Bridge Finance Company
Director: Paul Bettany
Writer: Paul Bettany
Actors: Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Mackie, Bruce Altman, Rob Morgan, Kevin Geer, Scott Johnsen
Genre: Drama
Rated: NR

Anthony Mackie (Our Brand is Crisis, Ant-Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron): great actor. Jennifer Connelly (Noah, Winter’s Tale, Creation): great actor. Plot: seemingly original and heart-wrenching.

Shelter looks like everything a drama should be. It seems insightful, emotional and – if the trailer is a true indication of what the movie will be like – well written. Of course, we all know that trailers aren’t always made to represent the movie well.

I guess we’ll find out.

17 – By the Sea (Date)


Tag Line: None
Production Company: Jolie Pas, Pellikola, Plan B Entertainment, Universal Pictures
Director: Angelina Jolie
Writer: Angelina Jolie
Actors: Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Niels Arestrup, Melvil Poupaud, Richard Bohringer
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

I have to admit something.

I have almost no interest in this film. I only want to see it because I find it interesting that Angelina Jolie (Salt, Wanted, Maleficent) directed Brad Pitt (Fury, World War Z, Fight Club) in it.

I know. I’m a basic-bitch for it. I gobbled up the hype. Shit happens.

16 – The Peanuts Movie (11/6)


Tag Line: Dream big
Production Company: Blue Sky Studios, Peanuts Worldwide, Twentieth Century Fox Animation
Director: Steve Martino
Writer: Bryan Schulz, Craig Schulz, Cornelius Uliano
Actors: Noah Schnapp, Hadley Belle Miller, AJ Tecce, Noah Johnston, Venus Schultheis, Alexander Garfin, Francesca Capaldi, Mar Mar, Mariel Sheets, Rebecca Bloom, William Alexander Wunsch, Anastasia Bredikhina, Bill Melendez
Genre: Animation, Family
Rated: G

I don’t think this trailer looks interesting at all.

The animation looks choppy and horrible and the voices just don’t seem right for the characters. The only reason it made the list is due to nostalgia. I used to read the Peanuts comics and watch the TV specials. Hell, I think I even have a VHS of the Christmas special somewhere.

I don’t have a VCR anymore… but still.

15 – Secret in their Eyes (11/20)


Tag Line: Don’t look away.
Production Company: Gran Via Productions, IM Global, Ingenious Media, Route One Films
Director: Billy Ray
Writer: Billy Ray, Juan Jose Campanella, Eduardo Sacheri
Actors: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Dean Norris, Michael Kelly, Lyndon Smith, Joe Cole, Don Harvey, Ross Partridge, Zoe Graham
Genre: Thriller, Drama, Crime
Rated: PG-13

I’m used to seeing Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror, Eat Pray Love, Mona Lisa Smile) as the peppy, beautiful leading lady in romances and dramas. This film portrays her more as the plain, grieving mother with a thirst for vengeance.

How could I not want to see if she can pull it off?

14 – Legend (11/20)


Tag Line: Power. Fear. Family.
Production Company: Anton Capital Entertainment (ACE), Cross Creek Pictures, StudioCanal, Working Title Films
Director: Brian Helgeland
Writer: Brian Helgeland, John Pearson
Actors: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Taron Egerton, Colin Morgan, David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston, Paul Anderson, Aneurin Barnard, Tara Fitzgerald, Chazz Palminteri, Adam Fogerty
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rated: R

For this film, my desire to see it is not so much about the plot as it is about the characters. Each of the characters seems to have an interesting and deep individual story. It makes me want to see how they wind up interacting.

I can’t lie, it might also have a little to do with the involvement of the ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who, Heroes, Thor: The Dark World).

13 – Spectre (11/6)


Tag Line: None
Production Company: B24, Columbia Pictures, Danjaq, Eon Productions, MGM
Director: Sam Mendes
Writer: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan, Jez Butterworth, Ian Fleming
Actors: Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes, Dave Bautista, Christoph Waltz, Andrew Scott, Monica Bellucci, Rory Kinnearm Jesper Christensen, Stephanie Sigman
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rated: PG-13

James Bond. I love James Bond. In fact, when I was young, I read the James Bond Jr. comics. I just love the characters. Daniel Craig (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Adventures of Tintin, Cowboys & Aliens) is not my favorite… but he’ll do until Mr. Bond “regenerates.”

12 – Victor Frankenstein (11/25)


Tag Line: Meet your makers.
Production Company: Davis Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, Moving Picture Company (MPC), Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Director: Paul McGuigan
Writer: Max Landis, Mary Shelley
Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott, Mark Gatiss, Louise Brealey, Daniel Mays, Bronson Webb, Freddie Fox, Spencer Wilding
Genre: Thriller, Horror
Rated: PG-13

Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter, Horns, What If) is playing a very different kind of Igor in this Frankenstein adaptation. Opposite him is a deranged and high-energy James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class, Penelope, Wanted) playing Frankenstein. It’s pretty interesting.

While Harry Potter and Charles Xavier are playing well known characters, the entire setting and story seems to have had a bit of a face lift. I’m looking forward to seeing how it works out.

11 – Pali Road (11/16)


Tag Line: None
Production Company: Crimson Forest Entertainment, Island Film Group, China Film Assist, Beijing Dadi Century Limited
Director: Jonathan Hua Lang Lim
Writer: Victoria Arch, Doc Pedrolie
Actors: Jackson Rathbone, Sung Kang, Michelle Chen, Elizabeth Sung, Tzi Ma, Henry Ian Cusick, Lauren Sweetser
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Romance
Rated: NR

I went into this trailer with no expectations, but came away wowed.

The writers took a very famous Asian fable and built what looks like an amazing psychological thriller around it. The actors look as though they’re really taking their parts seriously, too.

I will be watching this film when it comes out, but I’m hoping it’s through Netflix.



10 – Man Up (11/13)


Tag Line: Right time. Right place. Wrong date.
Production Company: Big Talk Productions, StudioCanal
Director: Ben Palmer
Writer: Tess Morris
Actors: Lake Bell, Simon Pegg, Olivia Williams, Rory Kinnear, Stephen Campbell Moore, Sharon Horgan, Harriet Walter, Ken Stott
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Rated: R

Sure, this movie looks cute… but I’m here for the Simon Pegg (Star Trek, Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead).

I’ve only seen one movie starring Simon Pegg that I didn’t like. So, really, the odds are totally in favor of this film.

9 – Spotlight (11/6)


Tag Line: Break the story. Break the silence.
Production Company: Anonymous Content, Participant Media, Rocklin / Faust
Director: Tom McCarthy
Writer: Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy
Actors: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Billy Crudup, Brian d’Arcy James
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rated: R

The more I see of Mark Ruffalo (Now You See Me, Thanks for Sharing, Foxcatcher), the more I love him. I was only introduced to his work when he appeared in The Avengers. Considering his career started with CBS Summer Playhouse in 1989, with his first full-length film being A Song for You in 1993, that’s really a shame.

I need to widen my Ruffalo knowledge.

The story itself looks interesting. I’m betting there are groups that will find it controversial, but that only makes me want to see it more.

8 – Brooklyn (11/4)


Tag Line: Two countries, two loves, one heart.
Production Company: Wildgaze Films, Parallel Film Productions, Irish Film Board, Item 7
Director: John Crowley
Writer: Nick Hornby, Colm Toibin
Actors: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Emily Bett Rickards, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, Sarah Gadon, Lindsey Elizabeth, Paulino Nunes
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Romance
Rated: PG-13

There’s something sweet about period pieces made for the time period this film features. There’s an innocence that no movie about our current time can obtain. I have to fight at the end to remember that those were times of greater inequality.

Still, it’s nice to pretend for a while and this romance looks genuinely interesting.

7 – Love the Coopers (Date)


Tag Line: You can’t regift family.
Production Company: CBS Films, Groundswell Productions, Imagine Entertainment
Director: Jessie Nelson
Writer: Steven Rogers
Actors: Anthony Mackie, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde, Diane Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Ed Helms, June Squibb, Jake Lacy, Alex Borstein, Jon Tenney
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Rated: PG-13

Ok. It’s a holiday movie. A family holiday movie. A family holiday movie involving dysfunction.

Have you had your heart attack from shock? Good, then we can move passed the recipe-ness of this recipe.

I don’t care, it looks funny. Not to mention, this cast is ridiculous. John Goodman (Alpha House, Red State, The Monuments Men), Amanda Seyfried (Ted 2, Epic, Lovelace), Olivia Wilde (Vinyl, House, The Lazarus Effect), Diane Keaton (The Big Wedding, Mama’s Boy, Mad Money), Anthony Mackie (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Runner Runner, Pain & Gain), Marisa Tomei (Crazy Stupid Love, Cyrus, Spare Parts)… there’s very few people on the cast list that don’t make me want to see the film. At the very least, I bet it’ll be amusing.

6 – Skiptrace (11/19)


Tag Line: None
Production Company: Cider Mill Pictures, Dasym Entertainment, InterTitle Films, JC Group International, Talent International Film Cultural Company, Talent International Media
Director: Renny Harlin
Writer: Jay Longino, BenDavid Grabinski
Actors: Jackie Chan, Johnny Knoxville, Bingbing Fan, Michael Wong, Eric Tsang, Lily Ji, Tomer Oz, Eve Torres
Genre: Action, Comedy
Rated: NR

I keep forgetting what this movie is until I look up the trailer and immediately I remember how awesome I think it is.

It’s an action/comedy film starring Jackie Chan (The Karate Kid, The Spy Next Door, Chinese Zodiac) and Johnny Knoxville (The Last Stand, Nature Calls, Father of Invention).

The only way this movie could go into the ‘not funny’ range is if the writer plagiarized the dictionary. Even then, I’m not sure the combination of Chan and Knoxville wouldn’t find a way to make it funny.

5 – Condemned (11/13)


Tag Line: None
Production Company: Caliber Media Company
Director: Eli Morgan Gesner
Writer: Eli Morgan Gesner
Actors: Dylan Penn, Ronen Rubinstein, Honor Titus, Genevieve Hudson-Price, Johnny Messner, Shawn Christensen, Jon Abrahams, Jordan Gelber, Anthony Chisholm, Kevin Kirkwood, Kea Ho, Michael Drayer, Lydia Hearst
Genre: Horror
Rated: NR

Let me be very clear here. This is NOT The Condemned 2 (2015), which is also coming out this month. I think that film looks like a pale imitation of The Hunger Games (2012) for adults. I’m not really interested in it.

This film is reminiscent of Quarantine, which I remember enjoying to a point. Really, I think that the story was a good idea, but the shaky cam killed it for me. I’m hoping the steady cam of Condemned will elevate the plot to where it should be.

4 – 7500 (11/13)


Tag Line: At 30,000 feet, there’s nowhere to run.
Production Company: CBS Films, Ozla Pictures, Ozla Productions, Vertigo Entertainment
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Writer: Craig Rosenberg
Actors: Amy Smart, Ryan Kwanten, Leslie Bibb, Nicky Whelan, Jamie Chung, Christian Serratos, Scout Taylor-Compton, Jerry Ferrara, Alex Frost
Genre: Thriller
Rated: PG-13

First of all, I love the version of Leaving on a Jet Plane they used for this trailer. I thought it fit remarkably well to add a layer of creepy to what I was seeing.

Second of all, a haunted plane story line seems kind of interesting to me. The cast is certainly not bad, but in this case it’s the plot that has me wanting to see the film.

3 – The Night Before (11/20)


Tag Line: Three wise men. One wild Christmas.
Production Company: Columbia Pictures, Good Universe, LStar Capital, Point Grey Pictures
Director: Jonathan Levine
Writer: Jonathan Levine, Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Evan Goldberg
Actors: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, Lizzy Caplan, Jillian Bell, Michael Shannon, Mindy Kaling, Miley Cyrus, Kanye West
Genre: Comedy
Rated: R

Seth Rogen (Steve Jobs, This is the End, The Interview), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Looper, Don Jon) and Anthony Mackie (What’s Your Number?, The Adjustment Bureau, We Are Marshall) look phenomenally hilarious in this holiday film. They are the number one reason I want to see The Night Before.

I’m not really expecting the most in depth story line or originality in plot… but I’d bet body parts that I won’t be able to breathe by the middle of it, I’ll be laughing so hard. What can I say? I just love Rogen humor.

2 – Trumbo (11/6)


Tag Line: Are you now or have you ever been…
Production Company: Groundswell Productions, ShivHans Pictures
Director: Jay Roach
Writer: John McNamara, Bruce Cook
Actors: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Elle Fanning, Louis C.K., Helen Mirren, John Goodman, Alan Tudyk, Stephen Root, David James Elliott, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Michael Stuhlbarg, Roger Bart, Dean O’Gorman, Madison Wolfe, Mark Harelik, Peter Mackenzie
Genre: Biography, Drama
Rated: R

Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Rock of Ages, Argo) is an amazing actor. Emulating a person that really existed in a deep drama is something I have no doubt Cranston can pull off well.

In this case, he’s acting across from some other amazing actors: Diane Lane (Jumper, Killshot, Inside Out), Elle Fanning (We Bought a Zoo, The Boxtrolls, Low Down), Helen Mirren (Woman in Gold, Brighton Rock, White Nights), Alan Tudyk (Con Man, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Firefly), John Goodman (Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Internship, The Hangover Part III), and Louis C.K. (Louie, Blue Jasmine, American Hustle).

Even for people who don’t normally go out of their way to see drama, I’d suggest this.

1 – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (11/20)


Tag Line: Nothing can prepare you for the end.
Production Company: Color Force, Lionsgate, Studio Babelsberg
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer: Danny Strong, Peter Craig, Suzanne Collins
Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Natalie Dormer, Evan Ross, Sam Claflin, Robert Knepper, Gwendoline Christie, Donald Sutherland, Jena Malone, Stanley Tucci, Willow Shields
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rated: PG-13

What can I say? If you don’t want to see this movie, you’re wrong.

Movies to Look out For
According to: Cat

Secret in Their Eyes .20
The Danish Girl .19
Trumbo .18
Spotlight .17
Shelter .16
A Year and Change .15
Kilo Two Bravo .14
The Good Dinosaur .13
Man Up .12
Legend .11
7500 .10
#Horror .9
Pali Road .8
The Hallow .7
Victor Frankenstein .6
Love the Coopers .5
Brooklyn .4
Spectre .3
The Peanuts Movie .2

The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay Part 2 .1