Saturday, March 25, 2017

But I Digress... Adaptation Situation

By Cat



I’m always curious to see what new movies and shows are in the works. My last foray into projects in development sent me down an even deeper rabbit hole that included (but certainly wasn’t limited to) the plethora of Disney live-action remakes, other reboots from various sources, adaptations, and original works.

I can’t possible focus on everything at once, so occasionally I’ll focus on one cross section or another from the treasure trove of listings that I found.  This time around? We’re going to explore some movies that are currently in the works to be adapted from television shows or stage productions.

I’ve assembled a list of 10 projects that I had a significant initial reaction to – whether good or bad. Let us know what you think!

(Please keep in mind that information links may contain spoilers.)

10 - Dora the Explorer


Original Run Timeframe: 2000 to Present Day
Media Format: Animated Children's TV Show
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Family
Rated: TV-Y
More information on the original can be found here:

Blurb: A resourceful young girl named Dora loves embarking on quests with her talking purple backpack and monkey companion named Boots. 


What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: Disruption Entertainment, Nickelodeon Movies, Paramount Pictures
Executive Producer: Mary Parent
Writer: Tom Wheeler

Deadline Hollywood seems to have broken the story in October 2015 that this movie was going to become reality. When I say that, I am stressing the world ‘real’ there. You read that right. The Dora adaptation will be a live-action movie. While I doubt that it will be anywhere near the College Humor sketch that explored this very notion; I still find myself tilting my head to the side in my ‘wtf’ reaction.

Of course, this cartoon series is one of Nickelodeon’s flagships; and with the number of episodes in the series and its subsequent spinoffs, there’s plenty of material for Paramount to launch a franchise from if they pull this off.  I am a bit curious how they’ll handle the talking map, monkey, and backpack. I can only cross my fingers that it’s not too cheesy. I do see it as a positive that a show that supports bilingual education for children is getting more traction in the cinematic marketplace.

9 - Winx Club


Original Run Timeframe: 2004 - Present
Media Format: Animated Children's TV Show
Tag Line: The magic's in you!
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Rated: TV-Y7
More information on the original can be found here:

Blurb: A girl named Bloom crosses into a Magical Dimension to enroll at Alfea College — the best school for fairies in all the realms.

What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: Hollywood Gang Productions, Rainbow S.r.l.
Executive Producers: Gianni Nunnari, Iginio Straffi


Here’s a fun fact about the popular Winx Club cartoon series – it hails from Italy. I hadn’t realized that before I began my research for this article. The first mention of a live-action movie adaptation in the works seems to come from an interview published in Italian with Iginio Straffi (Monster Allergy, Pop Pixie, Gladiators of Rome), himself. (You can find a translation of the pertinent part of that interview here.)He’s only THE GUY where it comes to this particular cartoon property, wearing all the hats – creator, director, writer, and producer.

News of the movie in development seemed to break across American media sources in February of last year (happy birthday to me!) such as this Deadline Hollywood article. I actually can’t wait to see what they do with this movie. Even though the plot is more fantastical than the last movie I mentioned, it seems to be more easily moved to the big-screen in a relatable way that will appeal to audiences of all ages. The show’s creator does seem to want to grow the age-range of its viewership. I, personally, am a huge fan of this series and was very excited to find out that Netflix had put out a new series with World of Winx (2016).

This is still in very early stages, so I hope that it doesn’t hit too many snags as it works its way through development towards a theater near you or me.


8 - Voltron


Original Run Timeframe: 1984-1985
Media Format: Animated Children's TV Show
Genre: Animation, Family, Sci-Fi
Rated: TV-Y7
More information on the original can be found here:

Blurb: This series focuses on 5 lion robots and their pilots as they fight the evil forces of King Zarkon and Prince Lotor. 


What we know about the Adaptation:
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Writer: David Hayter

It seems that when Universal purchased DreamWorks Animation, they got their hands on a seriously awesome list of movies that have been stuck in development hell for quite some time for varying reasons – and they’re being fairly quick to do something about it. Deadline Hollywood seems to have broken the news for this, once more, with an article in November 2016.

A live action Voltron movie has been kicking around the development stages for at least a decade now, since Transformers (2007) found such success. Of course, before this general timeframe, bringing this animated property into a live-action frame of reference would have been near impossible to achieve economically or believably. Hollywood magic has quite a few tools now to render those particular problems moot.

I was already excited that Netflix picked up Voltron: Legendary Defender (2016-) as one of its exclusive series. (My daughter is already in love with it.) So I can’t wait to see what they do with the movie. With Power Rangers (2017) in theaters now, I can only hope that Voltron gets its act in gear to finally make it to the screen and offer some not-as-cheesy combining-mega-robot fun for fans in it for the nostalgia as well as those experiencing the story for the first time.

7 - Three's Company


Original Run Timeframe: 1976-1984
Media Format: TV Series
Genre: Comedy (Sitcom)
Rated: TV-PG
More information on the original can be found here:

Blurb: The misadventures of two women and one man living in one apartment and their neighbors. 

What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: New Line Cinema, Robert Cort Productions, Warner Bros. Pictures
Executive Producer: Robert W. Cort
Writers: Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein

This is an adaptation that I am not excited about at all. I would have rather that they had just made something new with a plot in a similar vein rather than outright remaking this property as a movie.

This was one of the shows that I watched when I was younger and probably shouldn’t have. All the same, I loved it and thought it was hilarious. It was the chemistry of the main characters that made this show what it was. At the very core of that was the late and great John Ritter (Problem Child, 8 Simple Rules, Bad Santa). I don’t want to marginalize the contribution of Joyce DeWitt (Call of the Wild, Snapshot, Rock Story) or Suzanne Somers (She's The Sheriff, Serial Mom, Step By Step) to the show. I was even mad when Somers was replaced with another actress in her role after a dispute with the studio. I didn’t like it as much after that. The new girl just didn’t do it for me.

That is proof to me that without the heart and soul of that cast – namely Ritter, who passed in 2003 – I can’t see any film adaptation capturing the same feel.

Who knows? They might find an outstanding cast for it – maybe even Ritter’s son, whom is also an actor, might be in consideration for the role. Of course, this is just speculation as there isn’t anything known about potential cast or even the actual plot beyond the most basic premise that was the TV Show it plans to emulate. I’ll reserve final judgement but I am steadfastly unhappy that this is happening.

6 - Kojak


Original Run Timeframe: 1973-1978
Media Format: TV Series
Tag Line: Who loves ya, baby?
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Rated: Unrated
More information on the original can be found here:

Blurb: A bald, lollipop sucking police detective with a fiery righteous attitude battles crime in his city.

What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: Bluegrass Pictures, One Race Films, Universal Pictures  
Executive Producers: Dylan Clark, Vin Diesel, Samantha Vincent
Writer: Philip Gawthorne
Actors: Vin Diesel

Deadline broke the story back in December 2012 that Vin Diesel intended to bring the iconic crime procedural show of the late 70s to the big screen – with himself as the lead. As of June 2015, a flurry of articles began to swirl around, likely after a screenwriter change, to let us know this project was still in the works. This seems to be one that Diesel is really behind, and he tends to be fairly tenacious in bringing such properties to the screen.

I don’t think I ever watched any of the TV episodes, but I certainly became familiar with this famous Tootsie-Pop loving crime-fighter when several TV movies aired in the ‘90s. Telly Savalas (The Muppet Movie, Cannonball Run II, Mind Twister) was a charismatic screen presence that was just impossible to forget. Sadly, he passed in 1994, and thus isn’t around to give us his own two cents on if he is down with this movie or not.

It’s said that the plan is to “re-imagine and contemporize” the property for today’s audience. The TV series tackled tough topics such as institutionalized racism and rights violations in the era leading to the Miranda Rights law enforcement must now use. This is something in our current socio-political climate that can still be found relevant today.

I’m willing to give Diesel the benefit of the doubt that he has the chops to give Savalas and this movie justice.

5 - Battlestar Galactica


Original Run Timeframe: 1978-1979
Media Format: TV Series
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure
Rated: Unrated (Syfy Channel rated their 2004 series as TV-14)
More information on the original can be found here:
Additional Information on award-winning 2004 Reboot series:

Blurb: After the destruction of the Twelve Colonies of Mankind, the last major fighter carrier leads a makeshift fugitive fleet on a desperate search for the legendary planet Earth. 


What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: Bluegrass Pictures, Michael De Luca Productions, Universal Pictures
Producers: Scott Bernstein, Dylan Clark, Michael De Luca, Scott Stuber
Writer: Lisa Joy

Before the 2004 reboot of this TV series, I would have likely reacted poorly to the news of a movie in the works. However, with the stellar handling of the ‘new’ award-winning series, I have hope that this movie in development can be something really fantastic. The producers seem to be locked in, at least as of the time of The Hollywood Reporter’s piece run in February 2016. Fans got a bit more of an update as one of the stars of the original series took the stage to spill some beans at SDCC 2016. 


The kicker will be in the casting, I think. The newer series’ cast is fresh in everyone’s mind at the moment. It might be hard to sell an entirely brand new lineup to fans. That piece of the puzzle is completely up in the air (or entirely hush hush) at the moment so I don’t really even have anyone I could speculate on. We’ll have to wait and see.

I caught a few of the re-runs of the original 70s show when I was younger. I was a big fan of the late Lorne Greene (Bonanza, Klondike Fever, Code Red).  The reboot struck gold in casting Edward James Olmos (Stand and Deliver, Miami Vice, 2 Guns) as Adama. I didn’t really get to watch the reboot, but it’s on my ever growing list.  From what I have gotten to see, I am in general agreement with a June 2016 article regarding some of the things the new movie should take into consideration. (Caution – there are spoilers in that article.)


Universal has the ability to make this great, so I’ll hold out hope that they don’t half-ass an attempt at cashing in on ‘70s space-show nostalgia.

4 - Little House on the Prairie


Original Run Timeframe: 1974-1983
Media Format: TV Series
Genre: Drama, Family, Romance
Rated: TV-PG
More information on the original can be found here:

Blurb: The life and adventures of the Ingalls family in the 19th century American Midwest. 


What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: Scott Rudin Productions, Paramount Pictures
Executive Producer: Scott Rudin
Writer: Abi Morgan
Director: Sean Durkin

The books that the old TV series were based on were favorites of mine when I was younger. It was the second ever book series that I read all the way through, and owned in a box set. (The first featured lions, wardrobes, and talking critters oh my!) I also absolutely adored the TV series. Michael Landon (Bonanza, Us, Highway to Heaven) was perfect for the role of Pa. His death in 1991 was one of the first times that a celebrity death really hit me hard.

I just don’t know if I can see anyone else on the screen in his place. Ever.

Needless to say, I’ll be watching this movie under protest if it actually gets made. I’m actually more upset that they’re treading on this sacred ground even more than I am about Three’s Company, as I mentioned before.

Alas, this film really is in the stages of development for the big screen. Emails back and forth with Sony and others discussing potential casting were among the WikiLeaks email dump scandal back in 2015. Nothing concrete seems to have come from any of the suggestions. Sony ultimately tabled the movie and Paramount scooped it up, according to The Hollywood Reporter’s article breaking the story in January of 2016.

I just hope they don’t mess this up.

3 - MacGyver


Original Run Timeframe: 1985-1992
Media Format: TV Series
Tag Line: The right man when things go wrong.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime
Rated: TV-PG
More information on the original can be found here:
Information on Reboot Series can be found here:

Blurb: The adventures of a secret agent armed with almost infinite scientific resourcefulness. 


What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: Original Film, Lionsgate
Producers: Dino De Laurentiis, Neal H. Moritz, Lee Zlotoff

The original MacGyver is one of my favorite shows of all time – hands down. I used to watch it every week without fail with my mom. I couldn’t wait to see how Richard Dean Anderson (Firehouse, Stargate SG-1, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) would get his character out of the sticky situations that he always found himself in. One of the episodes that stuck in my mind involved him using chewing gum to help stop a leak from a giant tank of acid. This show was more than just a TV series – it was a cultural landmark. I am constantly referring to ‘MacGyvering’ something when an improvised fix is required. I’m not the only one that does – though it is a bit of a generational thing. 


I had some serious reservations when I found out about the reboot TV series on CBS. I was familiar with Lucas Till (X-Men: Apocalypse, Wolves, Monster Trucks) but skeptical as to whether he could step into Anderson’s shoes effectively. I ultimately decided to give it a chance – because I’m just that big of a geek that I love and miss seeing all those on-the-fly solutions to dangerous problems. If you didn’t already realize with my prior White Rabbit Project (2016-) article – I am a HUGE fan of science entertainment. I think MacGyver was a big factor that influenced that. 


I digress. The point is, I wasn’t really disappointed in the series. They actually throw in quite a few nods to the original both visually, audibly, and within the writing - and with Till in the lead, he actually captures the essence of the original role without actually coming across as trying to be an Anderson clone. The new series gets to explore all sorts of cutting edge (and likely some still theoretical) technology in updating the franchise out of the ‘80s. It’s also more of an ensemble cast show, whereas the original didn’t seem to be so much. Sure Mac had people that had his back but I can’t remember them at all. 


Considering Lionsgate announced both projects at once as part of a development deal with CBS, I’m wondering if the projects are tied together. I actually hope that they are. I was a reluctant convert to the new series – but I can’t imagine them capturing lightning in a bottle a second time in casting anyone different for the movie. Nothing has been announced in that regard yet, but I can only hope that Till, whom is already a veteran of big projects on the big screen, gets to helm this adaptation. They need to avoid the frustrating route that DC Cinematic Universe has taken with their division of small and large screen casts.


2 - Wicked


Original Run Timeframe: 2003 - Present
Media Format: Broadway Stage Production
Genre: Musical, Fantasy, Romance
Rated: Unrated
More information on the original can be found here:


What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: Marc Platt Productions, Universal Pictures
Executive Producers: Marc E. Platt, David Stone 
Writer: Winnie Holzman
Director: Stephen Daldry
Hollywood is in love with musicals again. This is a fabulous thing as far as I’m concerned! I’ve wanted to see the stage production of Wicked, but haven’t lived in or traveled to any area where the Broadway production has appeared. 

I love a good spin and flip on a well-known story – such as taking fairy tales and giving them a different perspective. This has been attempted once already on the big screen with Oz the Great and Powerful (2013). I can’t wait to see this reimagining of the tale.

TheWrap seems to have first broken the news back in June 2016 that this movie was moving forward with a projected release date by Universal on December 20, 2019. As yet, the film does not have a cast selected that we are aware of.

I am genuinely excited about this movie and can’t wait to learn more about it as it works through the production process.

1 - Cats


Original Run Timeframe: 1982-2000
Media Format: Broadway Stage Production
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Drama
Rated: Unrated
More information on the original can be found here:


What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: Working Title Films, Universal Pictures
Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Tom Hooper
Writer: Debra Hayward, Andrew Lloyd Webber, T.S. Eliot
Director: Tom Hooper

I think I’m the most excited to see this movie hit the screen. I’ve always wanted to see this show and have missed it the few times it passed through my area on its tours. Sufficed to say, I was a sad panda when they ended its Broadway run (and overjoyed when they restarted it).

The music is gorgeous and sticks with you – and you’ve probably heard some of it without realizing. Several numbers from this show were popular talent show selections back when I was in school.

I think that the stage production already does a fabulous job of turning its cast into felines; though with the employ of Hollywood movie magic – just think of how seamless and glorious it would be in the live-action movie! (They’d better not screw that up.) TheWrap didn’t give us too many details in their May 2016 article, but you can bet it’s something I’m going to stay on top of.

I’m fairly giddy about this one, can you tell?

What other shows would you be either elated or incensed to see on a theater marquee near you?

But I Digress... is a weekly column for trustthedice.com that can't be pinned down to just one thing. It's Cat's celebration of tangents, random references, and general fan geekdom that both intertwines with, revolves around, and diverges from our movie-review core. In homage to the beloved Brit comedians, we want to bring you something completely different!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Victorio (2008)


Number Rolled: 55
Movie Name/Year: Victorio (2008)
Tagline: Only love conquers all.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Length: 89 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: DMM films, Fondo para la Produccion Cinematografica de Calidad (Foprocine)
Producer: Joel Nunez, Elizabeth Romagnoli, Oscar Garcia Soberano
Director: Alex Noppel, Armando Croda
Writer: Elizabeth Figueroa
Actors: Roberto Sosa, Carmen Salinas, Luis Fernando Pena, Iran Castillo, Manuel Ojeda, Guillermo Quintanilla, Leticia Valenzuela, Francisco Rivera, Pilar Rachid
Choreographer: Jesus Yep

Languages
Speech Available: Spanish
Subtitles Available: English, Spanish

Blurb from Netflix: Each ensnared in a life of hustle and violence, gangbanger Victorio and prostitute Gabriela find love with each other, and hope for a new life.


Selina’s Point of View:
Victorio started with a shaky-cam awkward fight scene that looked very fake, continued with a strangely upbeat and colorful opening credits scene that was completely out of place, and was then filled with not much else that showed any potential.

The film was part drama part romance… but there was no chemistry or any realism to the romance so it felt completely forced. The violence wasn’t choreographed very well either, so it looked more like children pretending to fight than anything real.

Victorio being bad actually annoys me a great deal. 


The plot was really good. With a better writer/director, and stunt coordinators/choreographers that knew what they were doing, this film would have been outstanding.

With better handling, the entire thing could have been a tearjerker that was really elevated above everything else. Especially with the end message.

Unfortunately, everything was just handled wrong and that made the film almost unbearable to watch.

I can’t recommend Victorio, which is a shame because I WANT to. I wanted the film to be able to stand up to its plot and it just couldn’t.


Cat’s Point of View:
I’m going to try and start my review of Victorio with something positive. The subtitles weren’t horrible. They were laggy in places but they kept up with dialogue for the most part and were easy to read against the movie.

That is the only thing that I can say about this film that isn’t a negative.

I pretty much hated this movie – but in some ways, I feel guilty for it. Who am I to look down my nose at this independent film with the raw portrayal of life on the streets, right? The film delivers a powerful message, but it dragged me kicking and screaming to get to it.

There was shaky-cam at some points that I had to look away from because it was so disorienting. There was a heavy backdrop of Latin gangster music – yet none of it was translated, even when there was no dialogue over it. We also get into the sticky wickets of the ability of child actors, who haven’t yet grown into their craft, portraying some really dark shit that they likely don’t fully understand.

Moving on.


This movie was so much longer than it needed to be. There were too many slow artsy transitions that just weren’t necessary. I thought this movie would never end at a few points, and it had already become tedious for me within a few minutes – by the time the first episode of spastic-cam happened.

I didn’t buy in to most of the fight scenes. For a movie that was obviously meant to gut you and leave you bleeding with some sort of new awareness of the world – it just didn’t have enough literal punch to it.

Ultimately instead of effectively delivering its message, this film boiled down to a passive aggressive guilt trip. That very thing also happens to be one of my biggest pet peeves ever. Don’t preach to me with your movie. Frame your message better. If you want to screen a documentary, don’t call it a drama.

I hope to never have to watch this movie again. I definitely won’t be recommending it.


Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 1.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score1.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 1.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score1/5

Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R

Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Let’s Be Evil (2016)


Number Rolled: 51
Movie Name/Year: Let’s Be Evil (2016)
Tagline: Evil see. Evil do.
Genre: Thriller, Sci-Fi, Horror
Length: 82 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Let’s Be Evil, Posterity Pictures
Producer: Martin Barnes, David Bostock, Vincent Bull, Mark Clenshaw, John Cruse, Pratima Desai, Dave Ellor, Chris Furness, John Harrison, Mike Harrison, Michael Holmes, Trevor Howard, Simon James, Robin Kayser, Jonathan Kendall, Elizabeth Morris, Mike Norris, Martin Owen, Nicki Perkins, Bill Roberts, David Ronaldson, Amandeep Sandhu, Brandon Smith, Mario Tafur, Alan Thompson, Carl Welham, Weena Wijitkhuankhan, Matt Williams, Jonathan Willis, Dave Yeates, Laura Yeates
Director: Martin Owen
Writer: Elizabeth Morris, Martin Owen, Jonathan Willis
Actors: Kara Tointon, Isabelle Allen, Jamie Bernadette, Elliot James Langridge, Elizabeth Morris, Martin Owen, Brooke Johnston, Helene Wilson, Paul Casar, Jonathan Willis, Billie Wilson, James McNeill, Jules Brown, Natasha Moore, Shirley Clemmet
Stunt Coordinator: Jude Poyer

Languages
Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English, Spanish

Blurb from Netflix: While supervising a program for gifted children who wear augmented reality glasses, three chaperones find themselves hunted by their charges.


Selina’s Point of View:
Wow.

In the beginning, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t really enjoy this film. The starting music was a little weird, I didn’t really believe the initial acting… but as the film went on I got incredibly invested. It eventually got to the point where I couldn’t look away from the screen.

There were still parts near the end that weren’t quite so great, but they were pretty few and far between.

Before I turned it on, I wasn’t aware that a lot of Let’s Be Evil was going to be in first-person. As a result, some of it gets a little shaky, but nowhere near as bad as found footage films tend to get. Not that I would consider this film to exist in the ‘found footage’ category anyway.


Let’s Be Evil really taps into the use of new technology to bring about a whole new sub-genre of film. Something we can see in other projects such as Pandemic (2016) and Hardcore Henry (2015). I can’t say I’m hating this first-person perspective take on movies, either. That’s weird because I’m not a first-person gamer. In fact, I pretty much hate the majority of FPS because the whole first-person perspective makes me dizzy, as if I can’t really get my feet on stable ground.

This film, and others like it, find ways to negate that effect so that I am able to watch all the way through without feeling ill.

The ending was… interesting. I can’t really say I understood it, but it feels like something that’s open for significant discussion. I have theories, but they’re all kind of out of left field. I doubt any of them are even remotely true.

I would definitely recommend this film. Even with the flaws, it’s worth a watch.


Cat’s Point of View:
Holy shit. What did I just watch?

I love the concept of this movie. Augmented reality takes virtual reality to the next level, in my book. There are so many applications for the technology. One of them, of course, is gaming. We do have a few games out there currently that explore the augmented reality concept. Pok√©mon Go is one of them, and there’s a horror one called Night Terrors.

I digress.

This movie explores augmented reality in a way I don’t think I’ve seen done before. The framework of this film is fantastic. I only wish my eyesight was better so I could read more of the itty bitty fast moving text. It almost feels like you’re in a first-person perspective video game for a good bit of the movie.


I also have to give them credit that the camera work was mostly smooth, even though following the characters made for a good deal of movement. It wasn’t spastic shaky cam, for which I was immensely grateful. OK, so there’s a little of that but it’s few and far between.

Some of the movie was a little odd, but it made sense all the same. I don’t have any complaints on the acting, either. I have zero idea why Netflix rated this so low for me. I am still questioning what really happened, hours after I watched. I will probably need to watch this again several times to piece more together.

This movie is best enjoyed in a dark environment and with little white noise or background noise going on. I got the most out of it by using headphones with my laptop. Some of the environmental sounds are so soft that it’s hard to hear. Blending in with the environment of the film also helps with an immersive experience and it will crank the intensity level up.

I would definitely recommend Let’s Be Evil and can confirm that it was well deserving of its spot in my top 20 list of movies to look out for in August 2016.


Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 22%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 20%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 2.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 2/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: PG-13

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Finding Dory (2016)


Number Rolled: 77
Movie Name/Year: Finding Dory (2016)
Tagline: She just kept swimming…
Genre: Family, Adventure, Comedy
Length: 97 minutes
Rating: PG
Production Companies: Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures
Producer: Lindsey Collins, John Lasseter, Bob Roath
Director: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Writer: Andrew Stanton, Victoria Strouse, Bob Peterson, Angus MacLane
Actors: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Hayden Rolence, Ty Burrel, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Sloane Murray, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Bob Peterson, Kate McKinnon, Bill Hader, Sigourney Weaver, John Ratzenberger, Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane, Willem Dafoe, Brad Garrett, Allison Janney, Austin Pendleton, Stephen Root, Vicki Lewis, Jerome Ranft,
Stunt Doubles: N/A

Languages
Speech Available: English, Spanish
Subtitles Available: English, Spanish

Blurb from Netflix: A sudden flash of memory drives Nemo’s forgetful friend to seek out her lost past and reunited with loved ones, with the help of buddies old and new.


Selina’s Point of View:
Thirteen years.

We waited thirteen years for this sequel. You know what? It was worth the wait. It was SO worth it.

I absolutely loved Finding Nemo (2003). How I could I not? It was funny, adorable, inspirational, well written, well animated, and heavy with feels. Basically… it was Disney/Pixar. The great reviews Finding Nemo got were all well deserved.

I like to imagine that the companies involved took so long to make the sequel because they knew they had to get it right. Could you imagine the uproar if we had waited thirteen years for a sequel that sucked, or didn’t feel like the same series, or turned out to be some kind of reboot? There are so many traps Finding Dory could have fallen into.

In the beginning, I was nervous that it might wind up being a prequel, instead it was exactly what was advertised.


Finding Dory felt right. There’s really no other way to describe exactly what the film was like. It just felt absolutely right.

It felt like a good follow-up film. It had a lot of the same values and ideas and characters that we saw in the first movie; however, Disney/Pixar managed to make the film seem fresh.

If anything, it almost felt like I got to experience seeing Finding Nemo for the first time all over again.

I think that’s the experience that most sequels are going for – save for films that are legitimate trilogies or something, like The Hunger Games (2012-2015). In films that just sporadically spawn sequels, the creators are trying to recreate the magic of the original film. Normally, there isn’t much success. Even in good sequels, you don’t always feel the same way you did with the original. In this case, they accomplished everything they set out to do.

I’m fairly certain that Finding Dory is my favorite sequel ever.


Cat’s Point of View:
Today we began another glorious episode of Finding Ratzenberger. Yes, that’s right - John Ratzenberger (The Woodcarver, Planes, Monkey Up). He has to be my favorite Pixar Easter Egg. He’s in all of their movies in some random part where you’d least expect him. Sometimes he has his signature mustache, and sometimes he’s around things that look like a mustache. In any case, it’s a fun ‘Where’s Waldo’ sort of game where you’re listening for a voice rather than searching for a striped shirt. Where was he in Finding Dory? Watch and see!

Aside from that, the movie itself was fantastic. I think I just might like this one better than Finding Nemo (2003). I would recommend that you watch that one first, though. It gives you a much better context for this film; considering the events of Finding Dory take place one year after the end of that movie. 

Ellen DeGeneres (Pauly Shore is Dead, Six Feet Under, The Simpsons) was at the top of her game here. She had me laughing one moment, anxious the next, and over the rollercoaster and around to even getting a bit misty-eyed. I couldn’t imagine anyone else in her role, and I’m very glad that Dory got her own movie. She really stole the show for me in the first film.


Diane Keaton (The Family Stone, Mad Money, Love the Coopers) and Eugene Levy (Over the Hedge, Taking Woodstock, Goon) were good choices for Dory’s parents. Though, I’d have to say my favorite new cast member is Ed O'Neill’s (The West Wing, Redbelt, Wreck-It Ralph) character, Hank.

This is a great family movie full of heart and a handful of great underlying messages such as exploring the bonds of friendship and family, working through disabilities and overcoming obstacles, and tenacity in moving through life. I could go on, but really you don’t need me to.

If you liked Finding Nemo, you’ll love Finding Dory. I’d watch this again, and I’d recommend it to everyone. (This was actually my second time watching it, as is.)


Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 94%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 85%

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

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

P.S. Collection of short scenes during the credits followed by a very funny after credits scene.

Movie Trailer: 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

This Week in Crowdfunding (3/19/2017)

By: Selina



Through “This Week in Crowdfunding,” you’ll find five of the best projects Trust the Dice found hosted on crowdfunding sights this week. These are Films/Web Series’/Shows of varying lengths and genres that we believe in. If you like any of the projects you see here, donate to them, tell your friends, and/or post it on social media.

These projects don’t just need money, they need people to care and spread the word that they exist.

Support creativity. Support indie artists.

Remember that every actor, director, writer, and movie you have ever fallen in love with had to start somewhere.

Trust the Dice does not, and will not, accept payment from project creators for
appearance on this list. Projects are chosen solely on the merit of the idea,
proposal, and people involved.



5 – The Eidolon

                                                                       
Crowdsource Platform: Kickstarter
Director: Mageesan Surendran
Writer: Mageesan Surendran
Other Staff: Sean Sanders (Cast), Myles Jenison (Cast), Clythus Scotia (Cast), Vern Barrel (Cast), Katie Sanders (Cast)
Amount Requested: $7,509
Current Standing (as of Saturday): $12.78 raised by 2 backers.
Type of Goal: All or Nothing

Who doesn’t love a good dystopian/apocalyptic story?

The Eidolon, a TV series, seems like an interesting take on your basic apocalyptic story. From what I can tell from the Kickstarter page, the series sticks to what happens after humanity is already wiped out. At least, most humanity. Of course, that leaves little law or morality to combat corruption.

Although the series looks pretty good from the information given, and the brief look the trailer gives us insight into the personality of the cast, that’s not the entire reason I chose it for this list.

On the Kickstarter page, there’s ‘a word from the Director’. That’s what really caught my eye.

When someone has to fight for every bit of movement they make in a specific area, they’re bound to do better with what they’re given because they have to. It’s easy to recommend a project being done by someone like that, because it’s easy to believe that project will succeed.

The only issue I have is that the page doesn’t tell you who the writer/director is. I assume it’s the person who posted the project – that person is named in the above chart – but I’m not certain.

Lowest Fund Reward: $0.75 – Social Media Tag! – Don’t have much to spend but want to help the cause? At CA$1 ($0.75), you’ll still have our eternal gratitude, plus you’ll be tagged in an official The Eidolon promotional post on any of the social platforms of the following: Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Highest Fund Reward: $751 – Big Bundle Box! – You are going to love this limited-edition bundle box, which includes the first ever Eidolon figurines! (Includes previous rewards, excluding the Associate Producer Credit, Special Thanks, and Private Screening.)

4 – Empty Moon


Crowdsource Platform: Indiegogo
Director: JC Taylor
Writer: JC Taylor, Alex Beilman
Other Staff: Anthony Zucco (Co-Producer), Ky Lotte (Director of Photography), Grayce Lee (Set Production/Design/Art Head)
Amount Requested: $1,500
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $560 raised by 4 backers.
Type of Goal: Flexible

Although there’s precious little information about the plot of this project on the page, the creators make up for it in the trailer – in the most amusing way possible.

Why is it so amusing to watch people abuse themselves with spicy peppers? I really couldn’t answer that, but there’s a whole corner of the internet dedicated to it for a reason. That reason being that it’s funny as hell.

The creators used that method in their trailer to catch the attention of prospective backers well enough that you have no problem listening to every word they say. Mainly because you’re giggling through it. I think it’s made even funnier by the fact that the project does not seem like a comedy. It’s based around the serious subject of grief and moving on.

Also, I really think it’s a great idea when creators post about their staff/cast the way they did. Getting to know the people behind the film is a great way to get more interested in what’s happening. It doesn’t hurt to list their qualifications either.

Lowest Fund Reward: $20 – Special Thank You – Your contribution will get you a names Special Thank You in the credits of the film!
Highest Fund Reward: $250 – Executive Producer Credit – For this generous contribution, you’ll receive an executive producer credit on the film, as well as all previous perks.

3 – The Firefox Guardians


Crowdsource Platform: Indiegogo
Director: Gunjan Menon
Writer: Documentary
Other Staff: Shivang Mehta (Photography), Mark Dumont (Photography), Peter Venn (Executive Director), Louise Heren (Expert Consultant), Daryl Fernandes (Second Camera Operator), Emma Butterworth (Music Composer), Gautam Pandey (Special Thanks), Doel Trivedi (Special Thanks), Sumeet Keswani (Special Thanks), Janani Pradhan (Special Thanks), Dr. Axel Gabauer (Special Thanks)
Amount Requested: $7,000
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $1,570 raised by 15 backers.
Type of Goal: Flexible

Documentaries don’t usually make this list simply because I normally find them unbearably boring. Many of them are narrated by monotoned voice actors that put me to sleep. Already this one is different because the person responsible for its creation has a passion for the subject that comes out in her tone.

She also has a lovely accent. I don’t believe staying awake would be difficult for this one.

Another reason this film doesn’t seem like other documentaries is because the subject is just so damn adorable.

Red Panda’s (aka Firefoxes) are so obnoxiously cute it’s ridiculous. If you’ve spent more than a week on Reddit, chances are you’ve seen your fair share of adorable Red Panda gifs. If you haven’t, here’s a couple:



The final reason I found this documentary worth mentioning is because it’s more important than it seems on the surface. Sure, I could sit through hours of random Red Panda videos/gifs, but that’s only a way to get me to see this documentary that touches on the species being endangered and how people are attempting to help rebuild the numbers.

In a world where environmental consciousness has taken a dive because of politics, it’s more important than ever to catch people’s attention about the issues of the natural world. Using cute furry faces is a hell of a way to do that.

As an added note, any unused funds will be donated.

Lowest Fund Reward: $5 – Welcome to the Himalayas! – Thank you for your contribution! You will have our eternal gratitude and the feeling of being part of something precious. You will receive all updates of the film and behind the scenes photos on the page.
Highest Fund Reward: $1,000 – Ultimate Red Panda Champion – You are a champion! Thank you so much for your very generous contribution. We’ll credit you as an Executive Producer in the film, send you all our VIP goodies and a T-Shirt with your title. We will invite you on a special dinner date in Bristol or New Delhi and also to our film’s screening in Bristol, UK in October (travel expenses not included).

2 – Bound


Crowdsource Platform: Kickstarter
Director: Daljit Kalsi Jr.
Writer: Daljit Kalsi Jr.
Other Staff: Marritt Vann (Co-Producer)
Amount Requested: $4,500
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $825 raised by 7 backers.
Type of Goal: All or nothing

Clearly, the director of this film isn’t quite as familiar with crowdfunding sites as the rest of this week’s picks are. He does a good job of outlining the project but not so much on the behind-the-scenes stuff. In fact, the actual title of the film appears nowhere on the page. I was able to discern the title from flashes of the cast being shown in the trailer. The cast was not named.

Despite those issues, I urge you to not overlook this project. I believe it is a ‘diamond in the rough’ kind of situation.

From what I can tell, this is not a documentary. It seems to be a drama based on the true story of a woman that failed to escape a terrible situation. The subject is based on the sex trafficking industry. Any industry that trades people for money and throws them into abusive situations deserves to have the brightest light possible shined upon it to highlight the darkest areas.

That’s what this film means to do.

Clearly, the director has a passion for this subject and, as a journalist, he’s likely to understand how to appeal to the public so that his film becomes something people want to watch. That’s despite the fact that he freely admits that it will be a difficult thing to see on screen because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Taking important subjects and opting to show them in a dramatic setting, rather than a documentary, opens the subject up to a bigger audience… which is always a good thing.

Lowest Fund Reward: $10 – Be Listed in the Film’s Credits – Your name or the name of your business/organization will be listed under the ‘Backers’ section in the film’s final credits.
Highest Fund Reward: $100 – Become an Executive Producer – Your name will be listed as an Executive Producer in the film’s final credits and will be listed on the film’s Internet Movie Database page.

1 – Unspeakable


Crowdsource Platform: Indiegogo
Director: Milena Govich
Writer: David Cornue
Other Staff: Unknown
Amount Requested: $20,000
Current Standing (as of Saturday night): $13,355 raised by 142 backers.
Type of Goal: Flexible

Here we have someone who’s clearly familiar with the entertainment world. She’s acted in professional, and well-known, projects, and she has previous experience in directing. Granted, that experience is still rather new – but it means she knows what kind of difficulties she could wind up facing and how to overcome them.

Aside from the benefit of supporting women in directing, this short film has many great things going for it.

Govich will be working with her husband, Cornue, to bring the drama/thriller to life. Unspeakable is about a girl that tries to run from authorities by pretending to be another young lady that was kidnapped as a child. The plot allows for some incredibly dramatic storytelling. Besides, when married couples work together, you know chemistry on set will likely not be an issue.

Although it’s not usually a factor in my choosing process, I should acknowledge the kick-ass rewards being offered as well. As you would expect when an already established actor brings something to a crowdfunding site, her connects are helping her with rewards. That means investors have a chance to get some great swag from their favorite shows or, if they donate enough, even meet some interesting people.

What I like most about those kind of rewards is that it means more of the money donated goes straight to the film and less to rewarding people who donate – without skimping.

There’s very little to not be excited about when it comes to Unspeakable.

To show our confidence in our number one project for this week, Trust the Dice has donated a small amount to the film.

Lowest Fund Reward: $5 – Social Media Thank You! – You will get a giant social media Thank You from Milena Govich and the Unspeakable team!
Highest Fund Reward: $10,000 – Be in the Film! + Exec Producer – You get to be in the film! Make your film debut and play with the pros on the set of Unspeakable in a walk-on part. Plus, Executive Producer Credit in the film and on IMDb. In short, you are a rock star and making our dreams come true!