Saturday, August 5, 2017

But I Digress... A Cryptic Reboot

By Cat
(Bottom: M. Night Shayamalan, Top: The Cryptkeeper & Tales From the Crypt © HBO)

Hello kiddies! This week, I’m stepping a little bit out of the box. (But seriously, do I even really have a box? If I do, it fits so I “sits” anyway.) 

As I was poring over the scads of trailers for movies being released in August this year, one featurette caught my attention in the sidebar that gives you suggestions of other things to watch. 


This gave me a mixed reaction which started as an instantaneous “YASSSS FINALLY” and developed into “oh but it’s him” before ending up as “eh, the original was a mixed bag – how bad could it be? It could be cool!” This, of course, sparked my interest to bring you a segment about the upcoming TNT treatment of a beloved series. 

When I was younger, one of the best things about babysitting was that I could watch cable TV at my client’s house after the kids were asleep. This was the way I was able to watch MTV videos and other stuff I wouldn’t otherwise get to experience at home, where I had no cable. HBO’s Tales From the Crypt (1989-1996) was one of my favorites. 

My initial reaction came from that same nostalgic glee that had me squeeing my way through Stranger Things (2016-). The tempering factor was the fact that M. Night Shyamalan (Signs, Devil, The Visit) seemed to be the one at the helm of this one. I really don’t know where I stand with Shyamalan, and that worries me for such a beloved franchise. I understand why some fans are up in arms about the revelation. He’s responsible for some seriously ‘meh’ cinema. At the same time, he’s capable of delivering something masterful like Split (2017). 


Before I bury the lead, I’m afraid I must report that as of reports July 28th, the project is on indefinite pause.  I’ll get to the why here in just a moment. I just don’t want to get too many hopes up, only to crush them. Of course, for anyone horrified that Shyamalan was TNT’s pick, maybe it’s good news?
In any case, let’s explore this a bit. 

This isn’t the first flurry of interest in bringing the iconic horror series back. Deadline reported in 2011 that there was a new series in the works. That one was under an entirely different production team than the current lineup. Somewhere along the line as it plodded through development hell, it lost traction and nothing ever came of it. 

Fast forward a handful of years and January 2016 had stories popping up everywhere about the new Shyamalan-led series. Variety and Bloodydisgusting led the pack with their January 7th articles, which followed announcements made at that day’s Television Critics Association (TCA) executive session. The Variety article focused on the new “TNT Horror Block” that was in development. The cornerstone of that was set to be a new Tales series. They reported that the series would be based on the original EC Comics with a few new stories thrown in, and not based on the original HBO series. Then Bloodydisgusting’s article focused on the Cryptkeeper – or the lack of John Kassir (Jack the Giant Slayer, Smurfs 2, Rick and Morty) in the role with the new series. Say what?! 

See, that should have been my instant red flag. 

 

Of course there was public outcry about the information drop. I, for one, am not sure how I would feel about a Kassir-less Cryptkeeper. Herein lies the snag of the whole thing, really. 

HBO and the rights are where the series got stuck. I’m not sure that it’s all on HBO’s end so I feel I need to point that out. There are other individuals that were involved in that original production that have rights, as well. Deadline’s most recent article quoted both a statement from the network and information provided at a subsequent press conference with TNT’s president and Turner chief creative officer, Kevin Reilly.

“The underlying rights to the classic, vintage property are complicated. … TNT and others have been pursuing a solution for more than a year, with significant progress being made. We look forward to the potential for further active development of this valuable franchise once the clearance process is fully resolved.” – Turner Network Statement

 

Reilly went on to say “It’s been fun with lawyers, it’s been really fun… We did not know from the get-go or else we would not have announced it and made a big deal out of it. But in fact there were rights. It is among the most — if not the most — complicated rights structure I’ve ever seen in my career, and we had no idea as we got into it. It became a nightmare. So we said, ‘Fine.’ If and when this gets cleaned up, we’ll revisit.”

So there you have it. The series might happen at some point in the future. TNT seems to have continued interest, but don’t expect it in the Fall 2017 lineup as originally projected. By the time the network gets the green light, it’s unknown if Shyamalan will still be available to be involved. I suppose I’ll wait to hold out judgement until more information comes along. It would be nice to revisit the crypt and the grab-bag of horror tales therein. 

Who knows what the rights settlement will bring about. I, for one, hope that they can keep Kassir involved. He made the whole series for me and some other incarnation just wouldn’t be the same. With that in mind, I leave you with the classic series intro.




P.S. If you feel like taking a trip down memory lane to watch the original HBO series, or if you are curious and haven't seen it before, it's available to stream on Amazon and itunes.

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, August 4, 2017

The Heroes of Evil (2015) - Foreign Film Friday


Number Rolled: 3
Movie Name/Year: The Heroes of Evil (2015)
Tagline: None
Genre: Drama
Length: 98 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Bestia Produce, Nadie es Perfecto, Pokeepsie Films
Producer: Carolina Bang, Zoe Berriatua, Alex de la Iglesia, Adan Martin, Kiko Martinez, Araceli Perez Rastrilla, Ivan Roman
Director: Zoe Berriatua
Writer: Zoe Berriatua
Actors: Emilio Palacios, Jorge Clemente, Beatriz Medina, Olivia Baglivi, Nacho Coronado, Macarena Gomez, Paula Soldevila, Roman Rymar, Beatriz Olivares, Zoe Berriatua, Laura Castillo, Javier Manrique
Stunt Doubles: None

Blurb from Netflix: Three teenage misfits find camaraderie in sex, violence and petty crime. But what starts as a lark soon threatens to damage them beyond repair.


Selina’s Point of View:
This film seemed a little weird to me.

I don’t believe the music matched what was going on in the film. It’s possible that what I believe is an issue is actually some kind of trend in cinematics from Spain, but it still didn’t sit right with me. Nothing hit quite as hard as it should have because of that.

I had some other minor issues, but for the most part the film was phenomenal.

Emilio Palacios (Servir y proteger, El Principe, 1989. Los ultimos de Filipinas) and Jorge Clemente (La Gira, La montana rusa, La pecera de Eva) were absolutely astounding in their parts. Playing the bullied, experimenting main characters, they were both believable. 


Clemente, though, stepped things up to a whole other level. He gave such a creepy and terrifying vibe to his character that I’m sure it’s going to stick with me for a long time.

The script was also well written and the scenes were well directed.

As someone who often relates to the bullied characters, it’s hard for a filmmaker to get me to acknowledge that some victims can go too far with their sense of justice. The writer/director of this film, Zoe Berriatua (Flesh Memories, Huidas, The Tip of the Iceberg), did. He managed to make my hair stand on end when things got out of hand.

I would recommend this film to people, but it’s definitely not for anyone under 18.


Cat’s Point of View:
Bullies are a life issue for many, and it’s something that certainly crosses cultural barriers with ease. I had no problem relating to this film and the misfit characters therein. I was one of those misfits for a very long time until I learned to be more comfortable in my own skin. Hell, it’s still a learning process. It was a painful and harrowing road for a while, though. I remember what it felt like to be a new kid that instantly didn’t fit in. I remember days spent with my nose in a book because ‘the cool kids’ had given all the established students an ultimatum – they could ignore me or face social shunning, themselves.

People – children and adults alike can be outright cruel for no good reason other than they can.

But I digress.

Watching this movie, I was reminded about the hubbub that came about back when Kids (1995) was released. While I don’t recall seeing that one, I’ve read enough about it to draw some conclusions – mostly in the unsupervised youth mischief department. I think this film goes to far darker places.


I feel I must commend Jorge Clemente (The Last Circus, The Misfits Club, Seis Hermanas), who played Aritz. He was so expressive in his role and his eerie and unsettling performance will likely stick with me for a while. 

I also enjoyed Emilio Palacios (Rumbos, The Open Door, Can't Say Goodbye) as Esteban. Palacios reminds me a little of young River Phoenix (Running on Empty, Dogfight, The Thing Called Love) in Stand By Me (1986). I swear it’s more than the haircut.

This movie was a simmering brooder. I am not entirely sure how I feel about it overall, but it wasn’t bad. It was gritty and unapologetic. At the same time, I haven’t decided if the ending was brilliant or if I absolutely hated it.

All told, it was decent for a teen drama. I likely won’t watch it again but I wouldn’t steer anyone away from it.


Languages
Speech Available: Spanish (Spain)
Subtitles Available: English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, French, Spanish (Spain)

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 31%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.1/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating4/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3/5

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

Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

R.L. Stine’s Mostly Ghostly: One Night in Doom House (2016)


Number Rolled: 56
Movie Name/Year: R.L. Stine’s Mostly Ghostly: One Night in Doom House (2016)
Tagline: None
Genre: Family, Fantasy, Horror
Length: 88 minutes
Rating: PG
Production Companies: Universal 1440 Entertainment, Commotion Pictures, Lookout Entertainment, Mostly Ghostly 3 Productions
Producer: Yvonne M. Bernard, Arthur Cohen, Harvey Kahn, Blake Michael, Ryan M. Murphy, Steven Stabler, Jane Stein, R.L. Stine, Joan Waricha
Director: Ron Oliver
Writer: Ron Oliver, R.L. Stine
Actors: Corey Fogelmanis, Sophie Reynolds, Blake Michael, Olivia Ryan Stern, Vivian Full, Andrew Herr, Jedidiah Goodacre, Jamie Kennedy, Danny Trejo, Wyatt Bernard, Juliette Cohen, Anne Marie DeLuise, Peter DeLuise, Ali Eagle, Morgan Fairchild, Karen Holness, Zak Santiago, Adam Tsekhman, Darryl Van Dyke, Nelson Wong, Casey Young
Stunt Doubles: Kent Thomson

Blurb from Netflix: As Max tries to help ghost pals Nicky and Tara find their parents, he stumbles on an enchanted crystal -- and an evil new plot by the phantom Phears.


Selina’s Point of View:
When I was young, R.L. Stine (Eye Candy, When Good Ghouls Go Bad, Eureeka’s Castle) was one of my all-time favorite authors. During my pre-teen and young teen years, I LOVED the Goosebumps (1992-) series. I read it alongside works by Cherie Bennett (Broken Bridges, Searching for David’s Heart, Port Charles) and Judy Blume (Tiger Eyes, Fudge, Forever). It was my primary source of creative horror.

I still love Stine. I even have a bound, advanced, uncorrected manuscript of one of his novels. It’s a book that I hold dear to my heart. (Yeah, yeah. I know. Pics or it didn’t happen.)


When we watched Goosebumps a couple of months ago, I was absolutely blown away by the quality of it. Some of R.L. Stine’s stuff can feel a little juvenile (not a bad thing since it’s geared toward kids), but Goosebumps (2015) was elevated to something adults could enjoy, too. This film was definitely something more for the kids to watch while parents are making dinner.

It felt like I was watching a basic Disney Channel movie instead of something Universal put out. I saw the aspects that reminded me of my childhood books, but there was a significant amount of corn in it.

I wasn’t super surprised, though. In fact, I expected it. If you’ve ever watched the Goosebumps (1995-1998) TV series, it’s got the same feel.

I have an issue with how Netflix lists this film. As noted above, it’s labeled as R.L. Stine’s Mostly Ghostly: One Night in Doom House. That’s not actually the correct title and you won’t find that film on IMDb. Not only that, but it’s a sequel – third in a series; Netflix makes no attempt to tell their viewers that. If you want to locate this movie on other platforms, it’s called Mostly Ghostly 3: One Night in Doom House.

It seems like a small difference, but it’s an important one.

Despite everything, I did enjoy this film. It’s not going to be one of my favorites, but I’d recommend it to younger teens easily.


Cat’s Point of View:
I must admit that while I’ve long been a fan of R.L. Stine’s (The Nightmare Room, The Haunted Lighthouse, R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour) books, I haven’t read all of them – specifically the ones in the Mostly Ghostly series. However, I did watch a bit of the old Goosebumps (1995-1998) TV show; and the classic Nickelodeon show Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1990-2000) is very dear to my heart.

I may not have been familiar with the plot or the characters, but I had a certain level of expectation going into this movie. I’d have to say, I certainly wasn’t let down.

So, let’s be honest. This is essentially a staple recipe for kid-centric networks these days. It didn’t throw me any real curve balls and the level of effects, production quality, and talent were right in that zone.

I wasn’t surprised to find Ron Oliver (Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars, Beethoven's Treasure Tail, Bigger Fatter Liar) at the helm here. He also directed quite a few of those youth-oriented spooky shows of the mid to late 90s. Stine’s story was in good hands.


Don’t get me wrong, though – even though this film didn’t offer up anything shocking, that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t worthwhile or that I didn’t like it. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s definitely solid and entertaining.

I wouldn’t say that this is my favorite youth-oriented movie of the genre, but I wouldn’t mind watching it again. In fact, I’m pretty sure I will be since my daughter wasn’t able to watch it with me on this go-round, and Corey Fogelmanis (House of Lies, Partners, I Didn't Do It) is the lead. She adored Girl Meets World (2014-2017) and he played Farkle in it.

This might be a cute movie for the kids when beginning to gear up for Halloween if you’re not in the mood for the in-your-face holiday themes with pumpkins and the lot.


Languages
Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 31%
Metascore - None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 4.9/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3/5

Movie Trailer:

Monday, July 31, 2017

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In August (2017)

According to: Cat


20 – In This Corner of the World (8/11)


Tag Line: None
Production Companies: Mappa, Genco
Director:  Sunao Katabuchi
Writers: Sunao Katabuchi, Fumiyo Kono, Chie Uratani
Actors:  Non, Megumi Han, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Natsuki Inaba, Nanase Iwai, Minori Omi, Daisuke Ono, Tengai Shibuya, Mayumi Shintani, Shigeru Ushiyama
Genre:  Animation, Drama, History
Rated:  PG-13
Length:  129 minutes

IMDb Blurb:  Set in Hiroshima during World War II, an eighteen-year-old girl gets married and now has to prepare food for her family despite the rationing and lack of supplies. As she struggles with the daily loss of life's amenities she still has to maintain the will to live.

This story really got my attention. Sure, it’s not as polished of an animation style as, say Studio Ghibli’s work; but it’s beautiful in its simplicity. I thought it fitting that the trailer shows the main character painting, since that’s what this reminds me of – a living painting telling a story through the soft hues often ascribed to water colors.

While it may be animation, the story deals with some pretty heavy things – war-torn Japan in the midst of WWII and set in Hiroshima, no less. The significance of that very fact juxtaposed with the tale of this young girl’s life is compelling and certainly makes this film something not to miss.

19 – Pilgrimage (8/11)


Tag Line: A Legendary Relic, An Ancient Brotherhood, A Journey Across a War-Torn World
Production Companies: Savage Productions, Irish Film Board, Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Wrong Men North, XYZ Films
Director:  Brendan Muldowney
Writer:  Jamie Hannigan
Actors:  Tom Holland, Richard Armitage, Jon Bernthal, Stanley Weber, John Lynch, Ruaidhri Conroy, Hugh O'Conor, Tristan McConnell, Diarmuid de Faoite, Gary Byrne, Tony Condren
Genre:  Adventure, Drama
Rated:  Unrated
Length:  96 minutes

IMDb Blurb:  In 13th century Ireland, a group of monks must escort a sacred relic across an Irish landscape fraught with peril.

Right on the heels of his Spiderman: Homecoming (2017) success, Tom Holland (How I Live Now, In the Heart of the Sea, Lost City of Z) is right back on the big-screen. Not only that, he’s in a dream trifecta of talent with Jon Bernthal (Fury, Sicario, Baby Driver) and Richard Armitage (Captain America: The First Avenger, Strike Back, Brain on Fire) as well. I already want to see even before taking into consideration all the medieval action & adventure. The fact that it is an Irish movie is really icing on the cake.

18 – Annabelle: Creation (8/11)


Tag Line: You don't know the real story.
Production Companies: Atomic Monster, New Line Cinema
Director: David F. Sandberg
Writer: Gary Dauberman
Actors: Stephanie Sigman, Miranda Otto, Talitha Bateman, Alicia Vela-Bailey, Anthony LaPaglia, Lulu Wilson, Grace Fulton, Philippa Coulthard,. Kerry O'Malley, Adam Bartley, Samara Lee, Brad Greenquist
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 109 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker's possessed creation, Annabelle.

Who doesn’t love a good origin story? I could have sworn that the origins of the Annabelle doll were already explained in one of the several movies the creepy creation has already appeared in. I guess I was wrong. I’m a bit on the fence with this one, which is why it’s as low as it is on the list. Normally, it would likely have ranked far higher, but I think I’m getting a bit tired of this particular franchise.

Possessed dolls are also nightmare fuel of some of the creepiest variety – at least ones like this. I could deal with Chucky from Child’s Play (1988) a lot easier. Porcelain dolls that are just inanimate (or are supposed to be!) just sitting there staring at you have a lot more scare factor than knife-wielding mobile ones. All told, my curiosity dictates that I’ll want to watch this anyway.

17 – Polaroid (8/25)


Tag Line: Beware This Camera...Once You Take It, It Takes You.
Production Companies: Dimension Films, Eldorado Film, Vertigo Entertainment
Director: Lars Klevberg
Writer: Blair Butler
Actors: Kathryn Prescott, Madelaine Petsch, Katie Stevens, Javier Botet, Grace Zabriskie, Mitch Pileggi, Keenan Tracey, Tyler Young, Samantha Logan, Shauna MacDonald, Davi Santos, Priscilla Quintana, Erika Prevost, Emily Power, Matthew Lumley
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: Currently Unavailable

IMDb Blurb: High school loner Bird Fitcher has no idea what dark secrets are tied to the mysterious Polaroid vintage camera she stumbles upon, but it doesn't take long to discover that those who have their picture taken meet a tragic end.

Quite often, I enjoy films that are a director’s passion project. While I don’t have concrete verification that this movie’s director feels that way about this production – the odds are in favor of that guess considering it’s based on one of his own short-films. When a short inspires a bigger and more expansive treatment stretching beyond the confines of its original format, it’s usually worth a watch. In this case, the director also has a background in photography, so it’s easy to see that this story resonates from a personal place.

While this movie doesn’t appear to be entirely original, borrowing elements from films such as Final Destination (2000) and the like; this particular blend of recipes just might yield a winner.

I like that it seems to be playing on the common fear of old, around the time that cameras were brand new technology – having your picture taken steals a part of your soul. Put that together with the instant-gratification of the instant-developing Polaroid photos and you’ve got something there that breathes life into that old superstition. That makes it worth a watch in my book.

16 – Dave Made a Maze (8/18)


Tag Line: He thought of everything but a way out.
Production Companies: Butter Stories, Dave Made An LLC, Foton Pictures
Director: Bill Watterson
Writers: Steven Sears, Bill Watterson
Actors: John Hennigan, Kirsten Vangsness, Nick Thune, Stephanie Allynne, James Urbaniak, Meera Rohit Kumbhani, Adam Busch, Scott Krinsky
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Horror
Rated: Unrated
Length: 80 Minutes

IMDb Blurb: Dave, an artist who has yet to complete anything significant in his career, builds a fort in his living room out of pure frustration, only to wind up trapped by the fantastical pitfalls, booby traps, and critters of his own creation.

This movie looks insane in the best of ways. It appeals to childhood imagination which whispered that every giant cardboard box was a cavern of wonders to be explored. I know I built my share of cardboard forts, and it’s something my daughter enjoys, too.

I’m fascinated by this particular flight of fancy which blends both horror and comedy. Just from the trailer, I see influences from things like Time Bandits (1981), Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005), and even mythology; and that makes me giddy. I can’t wait to watch and see what paper-craft shenanigans can be found within the cardboard labyrinth.

15 – Overdrive  (8/11)


Tag Line:  Think Fast, Drive Faster.
Production Companies:  Kinology, Sentient Pictures, Umedia
Director:  Antonio Negret
Writers:  Michael Brandt, Derek Haas
Actors:  Ana de Armas, Scott Eastwood, Gaia Weiss, Freddie Thorp, Clemens Schick, Simon Abkarian, Moussa Maaskri, Frederic Anscombre
Genre:  Action, Thriller
Rated:  PG-13
Length:  93 minutes

IMDb Blurb:  Two car thief brothers, who journey to the south of France for new opportunities, wind up in the cross hairs of the local crime boss.

I almost didn’t put this one on my list because the release situation makes me a bit nervous. We really try not to duplicate our Top 20 entries, and sometimes when a movie has a string of overseas release dates it can take a while before it’s released in the US. I liked the trailer, actors, and general premise enough to proverbially roll the dice. If it ends up not hitting screens in the US this month, just keep your eyes peeled for it sometime in the near future. This looks like it’s a fun thrill-ride worth the wait.

Fans of high-speed action the likes of the Fast & Furious (2009) franchise should get a lot of mileage out of this one. It’s got cool cars, high-risk stunts, cheeky wit, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

14 – Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars (8/21)


Tag Line: None
Production Companies: Lucent Pictures Entertainment, Sola Digital Arts, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), Stage 6 Films
Directors: Shinji Aramaki, Masaru Matsumoto
Writer: Edward Neumeier
Actors: Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, DeRay Davis
Genre: Animation, Action, Sci-Fi
Rated: R
Length: 100 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Federation trooper Johnny Rico is ordered to work with a group of new recruits on a satellite station on Mars, where giant bugs have decided to target their next attack.

Finally. That was my first thought when I watched the trailer for this animated movie. Here we have the sequel that many of the original movie’s fans have longed for, utilizing the same characters and expanding on their story. I’m practically chomping at the bit to find out more of Dizzy Flores’ story! I am also curious to see if they stayed with the same storytelling format which was employed in the first film. Would you like to know more?

When the original hit theaters in 1997, it was during the time I was working at an AMC theater. Aside from the story being cool (if a bit grisly), it evokes quite a bit of nostalgia for me.

13 – Birth of the Dragon (8/25)


Tag Line: The fight that created the legend.
Production Companies: Groundswell Productions, Kylin Pictures
Director: George Nolfi
Writers: Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson, Michael Dorgan
Actors: Billy Magnussen, Philip Ng, Terry Chen, Yu Xia, Ron Yuan, King Lau, Darren E. Scott, Yee Jee Tso, Simon Chin. Simon Yin
Genre: Action, Biography, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 103 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Set against the backdrop of 1960s San Francisco, BIRTH OF THE DRAGON is a modern take on the classic movies that Bruce Lee was known for. It takes its inspiration from the epic and still controversial showdown between an up-and-coming Bruce Lee and Kung-Fu master Wong Jack Man - a battle that gave birth to a legend.

When someone says Kung-Fu movie or even just martial-arts movie; there’s one master of both the sport and the genre that pops immediately to mind for quite a few of us – Bruce Lee (Marlowe, The Big Boss, The Way of the Dragon). He was a fascinating individual whose time was cut too short. Watching him is truly putting art in the martial arts. He had an amazing philosophy, as well; encouraging people to “be like water.”

Needless to say, this movie is worth the ticket price for both the spectacle and the story.

12 – Fun Mom Dinner (8/4)
 

Tag Line: Every Mom Deserves a Time Out
Production Companies: Gettin' Rad Productions, June Pictures, Voltage Pictures
Director: Alethea Jones
Writer: Julie Rud
Actors: Katie Aselton, Toni Collette, Molly Shannon, Hart Denton, Gerald Dewey, Leigh Dunham, John Early, Bridget Everett, Adam Levine, Paul Rudd
Genre: Comedy
Rated: R
Length: 89 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Four moms whose only common ground is their kids' preschool class, decide to get together for a harmless "fun mom dinner."

This movie resonates with me on so many levels. I think it looks hilarious and relatable. Sure this seems to be following the bandwagon of the latest trend of buddy ensemble movies where a group runs into crazy issues while just trying to unwind.  Even saying that, it still looks like a lot of fun!

11 – Ingrid Goes West (8/11)

 

Tag Line: She'll follow you.
Production Companies: Star Thrower Entertainment, 141 Entertainment, Mighty Engine
Director: Matt Spicer
Writers: David Branson Smith, Matt Spicer
Actors: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell, Billy Magnussen, Pom Klementieff, Hannah Pearl Utt, Angelica Amor
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: R
Length: 97 minutes

IMDb Blurb: An unhinged social media stalker moves to LA and insinuates herself into the life of an Instagram star.

I am absolutely adoring Aubrey Plaza (The Driftless Area, Dirty Grandpa, The Little Hours) in Legion (2017-). Sufficed to say, I’m really looking forward to more loony madcap from this new character.

Buried in the comedic romp seems to be a bit of a social commentary targeted to those that put all the details of their lives out there on social media. Of course, this seems to go a bit to extremes – but I’m glad it sticks to the comedic aspect for this film. The same premise could easily turn into a horror movie – I’d want to watch that one, too!


10 – Detroit (8/4)

Tag Line: It's Time We Knew
Production Companies: Annapurna Pictures, First Light Production, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Page 1
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Mark Boal
Actors: John Boyega, Will Poulter, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Hannah Murray, Jack Reynor, Kaitlyn Dever, Ben O'Toole, John Krasinski
Genre: Crime, Drama, History
Rated: R
Length: 143 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Amidst the chaos of the Detroit Rebellion, with the city under curfew and as the Michigan National Guard patrolled the streets, three young African American men were murdered at the Algiers Motel.

Considering this movie is based on a true story, and considering the societal climate of the US today; this movie strikes me as significant – even important to watch. It won’t be something comfortable, and it’s a decidedly heavy topic. We need to be put out of our comfort zones now and again.

With school resuming right around the corner, this is the usual time period of summer blockbusters with a lot of flash and dazzle. It’s time for the last hurrahs before everyone returns to their ‘regularly scheduled programming’ that generally takes place 9 months out of the year. Pair that with the fact that I would much rather have a good laugh than squirm in my seat, and you find my inner tug-of-war which landed this movie here on my list.

9 – Good Time (8/11)


Tag Line: Directed by the Safdie Brothers
Production Companies: Elara Pictures, Rhea Films
Directors: Ben Safdie, Joshua Safdie
Writers: Ronald Bronstein, Joshua Safdie
Actors: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Robert Pattinson, Barkhad Abdi, Ben Safdie, Lucas Elliot Eberl, Buddy Duress, Rose Gregorio, Souleymane Sy Savane, Phil Cappadora, Taliah Webster
Genre: Crime, Drama
Rated: R
Length: 100 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A bank robber finds himself unable to evade those who are looking for him.

This doesn’t seem like the typical role you’d find Robert Pattinson (The Rover, Queen of the Desert, Life) in. That being said, I have pretty much thrown my preconceived notions about Pattinson right out the window. He has proven that he has far more substance than the role that made him infamous. After watching Remember Me (2010) for a review recently, that dropkick to the feels changed a lot of my perception.

That being said, I think this seems to be a gritty movie where you feel the grind of the streets with a dash of dark humor. The trailer promised something outstanding, so I hope the movie delivers.

8 – Kidnap (8/4)


Tag Line: Vengeance is a Mother
Production Companies: Di Bonaventura Pictures, Gold Star Films, 606 Films, Ingenious Media, Lotus Entertainment, Rumble Entertainment, Well Go USA Entertainment
Director: Luis Prieto
Writer: Knate Lee
Actors: Halle Berry, Sage Correa, Chris McGinn, Lew Temple, Jason George. Christopher Berry, Arron Shiver, Kurtis Bedford., Carmella Riley, Brice Fisher, Timothy Fannon, Andy Wagner
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 94 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A mother stops at nothing to recover her kidnapped son.

This movie is going to give me heart palpitations, I just know it. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to have their child disappear right from under their noses. There have been a few times my daughter wandered off from me in a store when I looked away for a nanosecond – and I remember the near panic attack that ensued like it was yesterday.

Nightmares play out where a kid gets taken from a public place where they should be safe – or even the false security of their own backyard.

So what if the worst happened? This movie takes a look at that very question and gives it an action thriller spin. I am intending to give this one a watch, but I probably should give my daughter a heads up that she’ll be expecting some big hugs afterwards.

7 – Wind River (8/4)

 

Tag Line: Nothing is harder to track than the truth.
Production Companies: Acacia Filmed Entertainment, Film 44,Ingenious Media, Savvy Media Holdings, Star Thrower Entertainment, Synergics Films, Thunder Road Pictures, Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, Voltage Pictures, Wild Bunch
Director: Taylor Sheridan
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
Actors: Kelsey Asbille, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Julia Jones, Teo Briones, Apesanahkwat, Graham Greene, Tantoo Cardinal, Eric Lange, Gil Birmingham, Tokala Clifford
Genre: Action, Crime, Mystery
Rated: R
Length: 107 minutes

IMDb Blurb: An FBI agent teams with a town's veteran game tracker to investigate a murder that occurred on a Native American reservation.

I find the premise of this movie interesting. It takes a look at a crime mystery from an angle that isn’t done very often, if at all.

It’s also very hot this summer and I want to live in the snow vicariously for a few hours with the bonus of being entertained at the same time. Just saying.

6 – Logan Lucky (8/18)


Tag Line: See How The Other Half Steals
Production Companies: Trans-Radial Pictures, Free Association
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Rebecca Blunt
Actors: Katherine Waterson, Sebastian Stan, Channing Tatum, Daniel Craig, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, Seth MacFarlane, Hilary Swank, David Denman, Dwight Yoakam, Jack Quaid, Brian Gleeson
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 119 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Two brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.

So when I saw the trailer for this movie, the description for this movie that popped into my head immediately was ‘doofus heist comedy.’ Here we have Channing Tatum (The Lego Movie, Foxcatcher, Hail Caesar!), Daniel Craig (The Golden Compass, The Adventures of Tintin), and Adam Driver (Lincoln, Midnight Special, Silence) in roles we’re not used to seeing them in.

This film looks like it’s going to be a lot of laughs – and a lot of face-palming. I love it when actors completely break out of the roles that are their ‘niche.’ This isn’t a movie that exploits sex appeal and debonair charm that Tatum and Craig are known for. Though, this does seem to be slightly closer to the wheelhouse for Driver – outside of his lightsaber wielding skills, he tends to be found in quirky projects. I think this movie will be perfect to turn your brain off and have a good giggle. In the trailers it’s obvious this film isn’t taking itself too seriously, so neither should we.

5 – Sharknado 5: Global Swarming (8/6)


Tag Line: Make America bait again.
Production Companies: The Asylum, Syfy
Director: Anthony C. Ferrante
Writers: Thunder Levin, Scotty Mullen
Actors: Tara Reid, Dolph Lundgren, Olivia Newton-John, Ian Ziering, Masiela Lusha, Cassandra Scerbo, Dan Fogler, Jena Sims, Gilbert Gottfried, Chris Kattan, Charo, Cody Linley, David Naughton, Ross Mullan, Margaret Cho, Fabio
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Rated: TV-14
Length: 90 minutes

IMDb Blurb: With much of America lying in ruins, the rest of the world braces for a global sharknado, Fin and his family must travel around the world to stop them.

Normally this movie would be higher on my list – because I love this series. I just felt it appropriate to list the 5th installment of this franchise as #5. Call me crazy. That’s just how I roll.

Sure, it’s campy and ridiculous, and occasionally mind-numbing… but that’s part of what makes these movies special. I love the over-the-top acting, the cameos coming out of the woodwork, and the pure entertainment value of it. It’s always fun to see what they’ll come up with next. The series has already (sort-of) been to space. Now the airborne toothsome weather anomalies are going worldwide. What’s next after this? How will they top this particular caper? Will there be a #6? (Between you and me, I hope so!)

Get your friends together and throw a shark-themed party so you can share in the hilarity when this movie airs on the Syfy Channel Sunday, August 6th, at 7pm. Don’t worry about the time zones there – they’re showing the movie twice back-to-back, so if you miss the first one, you can catch it on the second showing.

4 – The Hitman’s Bodyguard (8/18)


Tag Line: The world's top protection agent has a new client: His worst enemy.
Production Companies: Campbell Grobman Films, Cristal Pictures, East Light Media,     Millennium Films, Nu Boyana Film Studios, Skydance Media, Tom de Mol Productions
Director: Patrick Hughes
Writer: Tom O'Connor
Actors: Gary Oldman, Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Elodie Yung, Richard E. Grant, Kirsty Mitchell, Joaquim de Almeida
Genre: Action, Comedy
Rated: R
Length: 118 minutes

IMDb Blurb: The world's top bodyguard gets a new client, a hit man who must testify at the International Court of Justice. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time.

I watched the Red Band trailer for this movie, just to see what the difference was. F-bombs. I think there has to be some limit as to how many they can show in a non-restricted trailer, because I swear that it comes across as being every-other word. I’m exaggerating, of course, but still.

That being said, I think this movie looks amazing and absolutely hilarious while at the same time giving its audience some really hard-hitting action. I am an adrenaline junkie only vicariously through movies. Just saying.

So why did I mention all the cursing? Because if you don’t want your kid to hear 9,999,999 utterances of some version of ‘fuck,’ this is probably not a movie to let them watch. Aside from that, I want to see this in the theater, if I can, and get more bang for my buck with the bigger screen.

3 – The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature (8/11)


Tag Line: Get ready. Get set. Get nuts!
Production Companies: ToonBox Entertainment, Redrover Co. Ltd., Gulfstream Pictures, Shanghai Hoongman Technology Co.
Director: Cal Brunker
Writers: Bob Barlen, Cal Brunker, Scott Bindley, Peter Lepeniotis, Daniel Woo
Actors: Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph, Jackie Chan, Isabela Moner, Peter Stormare, Bobby Cannavale, Tom Kenny, Kari Wahlgren, Gabriel Iglesias, Bobby Moynihan, Jeff Dunham
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG
Length: 91 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Following the events of the first film, Surly and his friends must stop Oakton City's mayor from destroying their home to make way for a dysfunctional amusement park.

There is one reason I want to watch this movie so badly that I’d stand in line now if I could - Jackie Chan (Police Story: Lockdown, Skiptrace, Railroad Tigers). I mean, come on! I can’t wait to see him lend his voice to the kung-fu mouse that joins forces with all the other nutty park animals for this sequel.  I don’t need another reason. That’s it.

2 – Death Note (8/25)


Tag Line: On August 25th, Justice is Coming.
Production Companies: Netflix, Lin Pictures, Vertigo Entertainment
Director: Adam Wingard
Writers: Charley Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides, Jeremy Slater, Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata
Actors: Lakeith Stanfield, Margaret Qualley, Willem Dafoe, Shea Whigham, Nat Wolff, Masi Oka, Michael Shamus Wiles, Paul McGillion, Matthew Kevin Anderson, Paul Nakauchi
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
Rated: Unrated
Length: 101 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Light Turner, a bright student, stumbles across a mystical notebook that has the power to kill any person whose name he writes in it. Light decides to launch a secret crusade to rid the streets of criminals. Soon, the student-turned-vigilante finds himself pursued by a famous detective known only by the alias L.

I absolutely adore the anime series that this movie is based on. Of course, that animated series was based on a popular Manga in Japan. It’s a little odd to consider the casting for this movie in relation to the anime characters – but I’ve decided that preconceptions along those lines should probably just be thrown right out the window. There are a few reasons why.

Primarily, this movie has Willem Dafoe (John Wick, Finding Dory, A Family Man) playing Ryuk. I don’t care about the rest of the casting because they knocked that one right out of the park. Dafoe IS Ryuk. Are you kidding me? I just think back to all his crazy quirky roles over the years and then picture the mischievous and curious Shinigami featured in this film and there couldn’t be a more perfect person on the planet to play that role. I can’t wait.

Aside from that, it looks like quite the visual treat. There seems to be a bit more action alluded to in the trailer than I recall in the series, but that can be expected with a live action treatment. I'm so excited that this is being released by Netflix - you can bet I'll be watching it on Day 1.

1 – The Dark Tower (8/4)


Tag Line: In a world of superheroes, there is only one gunslinger.
Production Companies: Sony Pictures Entertainment, Media Rights Capital, Imagine Entertainment, Weed Road Pictures
Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Writers: Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen, Nikolaj Arcel, Stephen King
Actors: Katheryn Winnick, Matthew McConaughey, Idris Elba, Jackie Earle Haley, Abbey Lee, Dennis Haysbert, Alex McGregor, Nicholas Hamilton, Claudia Kim, Fran Kranz
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 95 minutes

IMDb Blurb: The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O'Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.

Stephen King (IT, The Stand, Cujo) is The Man. I love his books immensely. I have some really wonderful memories associated with some of his work – both on page and on screen. I also love how he takes an active role with any production of his work, and even cameos in most projects. I wonder if he’ll make an appearance in this adaptation of one of his best-known series.

I do have a confession to make. I know the gist of what The Dark Tower series is about – and it has long been on my to-read list. I just haven’t yet. That will change, I assure you, as I continue to whittle books off of my list. I’m afraid I get a little distracted by new and shiny things and it takes just that much longer to get around to it.

That being said, I know enough about the story to weigh in that Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar, The Sea of Trees, Gold) and Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation, Zootopia, Star Trek Beyond) are superb for the roles of The Man in Black and Roland, respectively. I don’t want to hear any of the haters that have created a brouhaha over Elba’s selection, either. My answer to all that noise is to shut it until you actually see it. I, for one, am loving the glimpses that we’ve been given so far in the trailers.

The book series first hit my radar back in my freshman year of high school. We were on a bus driving from Louisiana to Colorado for a choir trip during Spring Break, and one of the guys sitting near me was reading the first book in the series. We had an interesting discussion about King’s books, and I’ve been fascinated with the story and series ever since. Seeing this hit the big screen now is a wish 20-plus years in the granting.



Movies to Look out For
According to: Selina

Patti Cake$ .20
Final Portrait .19
Overdrive .18
Wind River .17
Fun Mom Dinner .16
Annabelle: Creation .15
Crown Heights .14
Logan Lucky .13
Kidnap .12
In This Corner of the World .11
 Pilgrimage .10
The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature .9
Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars .8
Dave Made a Maze .7
Bushwick .6
Birth of the Dragon .5
The Hitman's Bodyguard .4
Sharknado 5: Global Swarming .3
The Dark Tower .2
Death Note .1