Friday, August 24, 2012

Malice in Wonderland (2009)

Number Rolled: 71
Movie Name/Year: Malice in Wonderland (2009)
Genre: Independent Movie
Length: 86 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Simon Fellows
Writer: Jayson Rothwell
Actors: Maggie Grace, Danny Dyer, Matt King, Nathaniel Parker, Bronagh Gallagher, Anthony Higgins, Steve Haze, Christian Patterson, Dave Lynn, Gary Beadle, Amanda Boxer, Paul Kaye

For a moment, just one moment, I was going to have to say this movie had the best endings of any I had ever seen. Ever. The movie ruined that with the last 5 minutes. Had it ended just those 5 minutes before they decided to turn the storyline into a grilled cheese sandwich, this would have become my favorite movie of all time. Now, it’s just a brilliant movie with a cheese ending. I think I’m going to decide to forget the last five minutes happened and remember it for the sick trip it took me on.

Doesn’t take a brain surgeon to tell that this is an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. It’s right there in the name. It’s easy to recognize Whitey as the White Rabbit and that Cheshire Cat character and no one would confuse who the Hydroponic Bonnie and Clyde were meant to represent. But I’ll tell you this: Malice in Wonderland was no usual adaptation.

A mix of fantastic and realistic with interesting and yet somewhat off characters, this movie truly represented that “dream” state the original showed. It was enthralling. And since I’m going to forget those last five minutes, I’ll say it ended damn freaking well also. I guess, since it was such an insane trip down the proverbial rabbit hole, a cheese ending is the last thing you’re going to expect so – maybe that was for the best.

This movie is a “judge for yourself” kind of deal. My own opinion? I loved it.

Overall Opinion – 4.5/5

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Where the Heart Is (2000)

Number Rolled: 57
Movie Name/Year: Where the Heart Is (2000)
Genre: Drama
Length: 119 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Director: Matt Williams
Writer: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Billie Letts
Actors: Natalie Portman, James Frain, Ray Prewitt, Laura House, Ashley Judd, Mackenzie Fitzgerald, Sally Field, Stockard Channing, Joan Cusack, Dylan Bruno

It’s after 6am, I have yet to sleep and I STILL don’t regret staying up to watch this movie.

“Where the Heart Is” is an almost karmatic look at the lives of two people whose stories begin together, but then move off to separate roads. Natalie Portman’s character – Novalee – and Dylan Bruno’s character – Will Jack – start off leaving their trailer park in an 80 dollar car and heading to California where he hopes to make it big. They stop at a Walmart in the middle of nowhere so the very pregnant Novalee can use the bathroom and he proceeds to abandon her. And that’s just how the movie starts – the first ten to fifteen minutes.

There are a number of things I love about this movie; most important is just how life-like it is. We are taught, from a young age, to believe that good people have good things happen and bad people have bad things happen. Everyone alive, once they reach a certain age, knows that’s not entirely true. Every action must have an equal and opposite reaction – two sides of the coin. The movie is almost random in its sequencing – but not in a disorganized way. It’s random in the way that life is random. In the way that every breath we take can change our entire life and perspective.

The people we see at the beginning of the film are not the same people we see at the end. Circumstances have changed them – for better or worse.

This is a drama the way drama is supposed to be made. Unpredictable and heart-wrenching… and beautiful.

Overall Opinion – 5/5

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Gamers: Dorkness Rising (2008)

Number Rolled: 32
Movie Name/Year: The Gamers: Dorkness Rising (2008)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 105 minutes
Rating: NR
Director: Matt Vancil
Writer: Matt Vancil
Actors: Nathan Rice, Brian Lewis, Carol Roscoe, Christian Doyle, Scott C. Brown, Jennifer Page

Are you a nerd? Have ever role-played? Does your group have their own private joke that moves story-line along? If so, you definitely have to see this movie.

It’s a movie about a group of Dungeons and Dragon role-players and the game they are playing. It’s less of a serious look at it and more like a realistic look at what goes on during table-top role-play. The silliness, the trips out of character, the struggle to keep stuff people know out of character from interfering with their characters knowledge, even going into different styles of role-play.

There are two storylines going on simultaneously in this movie. The storyline that the role-players’ characters are going through and the out of character storyline of the dungeon master writing his story. Unlike other movies with multiple storylines though, this movie makes it easy to follow. It also has many opportunities for ideas to lend for running a story in a table-top game or quotable lines.

If you’re looking to get a friend into role-playing who’s never played before, show them this movie. It will take away that negative stigma on what gaming is really like. May the dice be with you!

Overall Opinion – 5/5