Monday, December 29, 2014

Kill Theory (2009)

Number Rolled: 12
Movie Name/Year: Kill Theory (2009)
Genre: Horror
Length: 85 minutes
Rating: R
Affiliated Companies: BenderSpink, Cross River Pictures, Element Films, Last Resort Productions, Lift Films
Executive Producer: Kimberly Anderson, Matt Battaglia, Sam Nazarian, Malcolm Petal, Marc Schaberg, J.C. Spink, Cory Thabit
Director: Chris Moore
Writer: Kelly Palmer
Actors: Dom McManus, Ryanne Duzich, Teddy Dunn, Daniel Franzese, Agnes Bruckner, Patrick John Flueger, Steffi Wickens, Theo Rossi, Taryn Manning, Kevin Gage, Trever O’Brien

A group of teens ready to graduate from college take a vacation to a friend’s second home to celebrate. All they’re interested in for the weekend is sex and alcohol. While they’re having fun, there’s someone out there looking to test them in ways they can’t imagine.

Have you ever seen that commercial?

Congratulations, you’ve just watched the first 45 minutes of Kill Theory in less than a minute. At least, that’s what it felt like to me. I couldn’t stop thinking about that commercial for the majority of the film.

For the rest of the movie, I was just kind of looking forward to it ending.

I want to be clear. The actors were amazing in their parts. Daniel Franzese (Mean Girls, I Spit On Your Grave, War of the Worlds), Theo Rossi (Sons of Anarchy, Cloverfield, Meth Head), Ryanne Duzich (Friday Night Lights), Teddy Dunn (Veronica Mars, Jumper, The Manchurian Candidate) and Patrick Flueger (Chicago P.D., Footloose, The 4400) threw themselves head first into their characters. Unfortunately, someone should have checked just how deep their characters ran before they jumped. You risk concussions when you jump into bodies that shallow.

Ok, yeah, that was a pretentious paragraph. You know what? There was more depth in that paragraph than in all the characters combined. The actors can be as amazing as they want; sometimes the writing just brings everything down anyway.

The only things that kept this movie from being completely unwatchable were those members of the cast who were exceptional with what they were given.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 27%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 4.3/5
Trust-the-Dice Score2/5

P.S. Netflix indicates that Edwin Hodge is in this movie. He’s not.

Movie Trailer:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Saving Santa (2013)

Number Rolled: 6
Movie Name/Year: Saving Santa (2013)
Genre: Children & Family
Length: 83 minutes
Rating: TV-G
Affiliated Companies: Gateway Films, Prana Animation Studios, The Weinstein Company
Executive Producer: Nathan Baggett, Terry Byrne, Mike Diamond, Nicola Fenn, Brian Gray, Chris Howard, Max Howard, Martin Hughes, Tony Jimenez, John Kennedy, Lord Kirkham, Frank Mannion, Paul McKeon, Chris Rokos, Anil Samani, Nia Syson, Presley Warner, Mike Watson
Director: Leon Joosen, Aaron Seelman
Writer: Tony Nottage, Ricky Roxburgh
Actors: Newell Alexander, Noel Clarke, Joan Collins, Tim Conway, Tim Curry, Holly Dorff, Pam Ferris, Martin Freeman, Nicholas Guest, Ashley Tisdale, Tom Baker

Bernard D. Elf wants to be an inventor. He’s got his heart set on creating the next big thing for Santa. However, he’s more accident prone than anything else, and Christmas this year is going to have enough issues.

There’s a little discrepancy as to whether or not Tom Baker (Doctor Who, Little Britain USA, The Beeps) was really in this movie. IMDB lists him as an actor in it, but with the same part as Tim Conway and I’m not exactly sure how that works. Noel Clarke (Star Trek Into Darkness, Storage 24, Centurion) is an actor from Doctor Who, though, which amuses me because of all the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey going on in this film.

Despite the time-jumping, I found Saving Santa to be a little generic. Even with that belief, it was kind of adorable and the music was catchy.

I probably wouldn't watch Saving Santa again. At least, not alone; I might watch it with a child. There was much less appeal for someone of my age than some of the other animated kid’s films floating around Netflix.

Cute for Christmas, cute for kids, not terrible in general but far from amazing.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 20%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 38%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3.3/5
Trust-the-Dice Score2.5/5

The Random Rating: PG

P.S. There’s an extra scene after the first part of the credits.

Movie Trailer:

Monday, December 22, 2014

As I Lay Dying (2013)

Number Rolled: 50
Movie Name/Year: As I Lay Dying (2013)
Genre: Indie
Length: 109 minutes
Rating: R
Affiliated Companies: Lee Caplin/Picture Entertainment, RabbitBandini Production
Executive Producer: Boaz Davidson, Mark Gill, Avi Lerner, Heidi Jo Markel, Lonnie Ramati, Trevor Short, John Thompson
Director: James Franco
Writer: William Faulkner, James Franco, Matt Rager
Actors: James Franco, Tim Blake Nelson, Jim Parrack, Ahna O’Reilly, Logan Marshall-Green, Brady Permenter, Danny McBride, Beth Grant, Brian Lally, Jennifer Kristen Howell, Natalie Minton, Anna Kooris, Steve Nabors, John Still, Susan McMillin, Ken Hudson

The Bundren family is suffering a terrible loss. Their matriarch has grown terribly ill. In an era when doctors were not just a cab ride away, they are not able to save her. After her death, they need to go on a journey to the cemetery she wished to be buried in.

Have you mentioned the term “indie movie” to someone and watched them cringe? You had to explain to them that when something is considered an indie film it just means it was produced mostly outside of the major film studio system? Maybe to get rid of their sneer you mention that some of their favorite films are considered indie: The Evil Dead (1981), The Usual Suspects (1995), Clerks (1994), Night of the Living Dead (1968), Pulp Fiction (1994), even the very first incarnation of The Terminator (1984). With a line-up like that, how could that guy possibly hate on indie films?

This movie is how. When those people who hear the term “indie movie” sneer, they’re thinking of this kind of movie. They’re thinking of something that goes so artistic in its filming that there’s no cohesiveness or clarity. They’re thinking of a movie they can watch for over an hour and a half and still have no idea what happened.

Watching As I Lay Dying was like watching a butter sculpture melt. It was pretentious and slow. I know it was based on a book, but no movie has made me want to read a book less.

The only thing I can think to add is that this movie probably wasn't for people like me. I enjoy drama, but not at this level. To enjoy As I Lay Dying you need to value drama and artistic flare more than content. That’s just not me.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 41%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 37%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3/5
Trust-the-Dice Score1/5

Movie Trailer: 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Tomorrow People: The Best TV Show on Netflix With the Worst Title Ever

Number Rolled: 97
TV Show Name/Year: The Tomorrow People (2013-2014)
Genre: TV Show
Length: Approx. 1 hour episodes
Rating: TV-14
Affiliated Companies: Berlanti Productions, CBS Television Studios, Fremantle Media North America, Warner Bros. Television
Executive Producer: Thom Beers, Greg Berlanti, Melissa Kellner Berman, Danny Cannon, Phil Klemmer, Julie Plec, Jeff Rake, Anthony Optican, Roger Damon Price
Director: Dermott Downs, Danny Cannon, Guy Norman Bee, Nick Copus, Rob Bailey, Felix Enriquez Alcala, Nathan Hope, Leslie Libman, Steven A. Adelson, Jace Alexander, John Behring, Eagle Egilsson, Michael Schultz, Oz Scott, Wendey Stanzler
Writer: Greg Berlanti, Phil Klemmer, Julie Plec, Roger Damon Price, Leigh Dana Jackson, Alex Katsnelson, Jeff Rake, Micah Schraft, Grainne Godfree, Ray Utarnachitt, Nicholas Wootton, Pam Veasey, Anderson Mackenzie
Actors: Robbie Amell, Peyton List, Luke Mitchell, Aaron Yoo, Madeleine Mantock, Mark Pellegrino, Jeffrey Pierce, Jacob Kogan, Sarah Clarke, Simon Merrells, Alexa PenaVega, Carly Pope, Meta Golding, Laura Wiggins, Madeleine Arthur, Mitchell Kummen

Stephen is a mostly normal student; normal except for the fact that he’s been diagnosed with behavioral and psychological issues. He hears voices, he wakes up in strange places; not even his meds can help him. Then he meets a group of people who once went through the same thing… when their abilities were awakening. The Tomorrow People teach him that he’s the next evolutionary step in humanity. They teach him about the three T’s: telekinesis, teleportation and telepathy. Finally, they teach him about Ultra, the evil corporation hunting down their kind for experimentation or worse. As they teach him, he learns just how deep his bloodline connections run with them.

I don’t need to tell you I don’t normally cover TV shows. I’ve thought about it. I still think about it from time to time, but then I wonder how fair it is to judge an entire series by single episodes at a time. Even the best TV series has a dud episode now and again. I mean, I’d love to write about Doctor Who, Arrow, Sons of Anarchy, Gilmore Girls, or any of the other amazing TV shows on Netflix, but it’s not really all that feasible. I can’t exactly watch an entire series in three days. For some of the shows, that would be mathematically impossible.

So why does The Tomorrow People make the cut?

Remember once upon a time when Firefly was canceled? Well, I wasn’t familiar with that show at the time. Sure, I am now and it’s awesome. I have the biggest crush on Nathan Fillion (Slither, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog, Much Ado About Nothing) and he’s the whole reason I decided to start watching Castle, but when it was initially canceled I didn’t know enough about it to be upset. That makes The Tomorrow People my Firefly.

As I write this, I’m re-watching the pilot episode. I’m recalling how amazing I found Robbie Amell (Th Flash, Zack Stone is Gonna Be Famous, Struck By Lightning) throughout the series and how Luke Mitchell (7 Minutes, Home And Away, Neighbours), Peyton List (Mad Men, 90210, As the World Turns), and Aaron Yoo (Disturbia, 21, Friday the 13th) brought their characters to life. I recall how spectacularly infuriating the good and evil representations of Jedikiah Price and The Founder’s storylines were. Played by Mark Pellegrino (Being Human, Supernatural, Lost) and Simon Merrells (Spartacus: War of the Damned, The Wolfman, Family Affairs) respectively, they were a huge part of the reason I tuned in to the series every single week for 22 episodes.

I would have watched 7 more seasons of this series, easily. If the writers kept it up and the actors kept caring as much as they did in the first season, I could have watched even more than that.

Instead, the CW canceled it.

They had good reason, I’ll admit to that. Ratings weren’t quite where the network wanted them when The Tomorrow People was on after Arrow every Wednesday. So they moved the show to Mondays and that move effectively alienated a large remainder of the viewers they did have.

The thing is, The Tomorrow People was not original programming. It was a reboot of a British TV series from the 70’s that went by the same name. That version of The Tomorrow People ran for 5 years, making it a relatively successful television series.

Why didn’t this version make it? It was interesting. It was well acted. It was well written. It was well directed and produced. What was the problem?

To be honest, I think it was the title.

In the 70’s, in England, the title must have been fine, because the series survived. That means people had to have been attracted to it enough to give it a chance in the first place. The CW released it in the US, in the 2010’s; different time, different place. Their target audience isn’t attracted to titles like that. Especially since this series was a reboot, I think they could have benefited from changing the title.

Think about it. Some of the most popular shows at the time that The Tomorrow People aired were: The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, Game of Thrones, True Blood, and Teen Wolf. How are those titles different than The Tomorrow People? The ways they relate to the actual shows are obvious even if you’ve never seen them. It gives viewers an idea of what to expect. You hear The Walking Dead and you’re not going to think of anything but zombies. You hear Game of Thrones and you’re going to expect a fantasy involving kings. Maybe you won’t know True Blood refers to a drink in the show, but it pretty clear there’ll be some kind of vampire tone to it. When I think The Tomorrow People, I think of things like Futurama and The Jetsons.

If the title of a show doesn’t draw in viewers, then viewers aren’t going to know how amazing it is, and viewers today seem to want some kind of clarity in their titles.

Reboots are fine, but the producers have to acknowledge the change in times. For the most part, where the story arcs and the script are concerned, they did catch up to the year they released this remake. Why they decided to leave the title in the past is beyond me.

My friends and I joke that it’s the best show with the worst name in existence.

Netflix has been picking up canceled shows and working with them. I believe, with all my heart, if Netflix were to pick up The Tomorrow People, with as much of the same cast as possible, and change the title, the company would be significantly surprised with how well it does.

It’s unlikely, but I can always hope.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 45%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 77%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3.9/5
Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

Movie Trailer: I felt that a single trailer for an entire series didn't say enough. So I scoured Youtube for the best fan-made music video for the series I could fine. It was created by rhoboat77. Enjoy.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Knights of Badassdom (2013)

Number Rolled: 10
Movie Name/Year: Knights of Badassdom (2013)
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Length: 85 minutes
Rating: R
Affiliated Companies: IndieVest Pictures, North by Northwest Entertainment
Executive Producer: Rich Cowan, Mike Elizalde, Daniel J. Heffner, Ketura Kestin, Rizwan Virk
Director: Joe Lynch
Writer: Kevin Dreyfuss, Matt Wall
Actors: D.R. Anderson, W. Earl Brown, Michael Carpenter, Kevin Connell, Sean Cook, Peter Dinklage, Khanh Doan, Michael Gladis, Summer Glau, Basil Harris, Brett Gipson, Tom Hopper, Ryan Kwanten, Margarita Levieva, Joshua Malina, Brendan McCreary, Brandon Petty, Brian Posehn, Danny Pudi, Jose Rufino, Jimmi Simpson, Kim Stodel, Douglas Tait, Joshua Aaron Van Veen, Steve Zahn

Joe is having a rough day. He gets in trouble at work and then his girlfriend breaks up with him. Luckily, he lives with his best friend, Eric. There’s no way Eric is going to allow Joe to mope the entire weekend. Through peer pressure, and other means, Eric gets Joe to join him on a delightful weekend of LARPing.

If you don’t know what LARP is, it stands for Live-Action Role-Play. It takes table-top role-playing games, throws the players in costume and transports them to a place where thrown bean bags are spells and foam swords act like steel.

If you don’t know what role play is… what’s wrong with you? Get on that. Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, Vampire: the Masquerade, Exalted. Look up those keywords and enjoy.

I digress.

This B-movie does everything really well, provided you go into it knowing you’re about to see a B-movie. Don’t let the familiar names of Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones, X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Penelope), Summer Glau (Firefly, Serenity, Arrow) and Ryan Kwanten (True Blood, Not Suitable For Children, Dead Silence) fool you. This IS a B-movie.

A PERFECT B-movie.

That’s right; I used the “P” word. Get your minds out of the gutter, you know what I meant.

I believe this movie was perfect. It was silly and violent and hilarious and I could not look away. It’s everything a good B-movie should be with much better acting. You can absolutely tell that the actors had one hell of a time filming. It’s always easy to get into a story when the actors are too.

Now, as perfect as I believe this movie was, I will acknowledge that it is not for everyone. If you take horror movies too seriously, this is not for you. If you can’t be sympathetic to a bunch of truly nerdy LARPers, this is not for you. If you just plain don’t like fantasy, this is probably not for you.

However, if you’re interested in some geeky, ridiculous, not-so-horror-horror with a twinge a death metal and pinch of epicness – this is definitely for you.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 55%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 39%

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

Movie Trailer: 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

V/H/S (2012)

Number Rolled: 81
Movie Name/Year: V/H/S (2012)
Genre: Independent
Length: 116 minutes
Rating: R
Affiliated Companies: 8383 Productions, Bloody Disgusting, The Collective
Executive Producer: Tom Owen, Zak Zeman
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, Joe Swanberg, Chad Villella, Ti West, Adam Wingard
Writer: Brad Miska, Simon Barrett, David Bruckner, Nicholas Tecosky, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillet, Justin Martinez, Chad Villella
Actors: Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes, Kentucker Audley, Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett, Hannah Fierman, Mike Donlan, Joe Sykes, Drew Sawyer, Jas Sams, Nicholas Tecosky, Joe Swanberg, Sophia Takal, Norma C. Quinones, Drew Moerlein, Jeannine Elizabeth Yoder, Jason Yachanin, Helen Rogers, Daniel Kaufman, Chad Villella, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillet, Paul Natonek, Nicole Erb

Found footage is watched by a group of thugs hired to steal a VHS tape from an old man.

I want to start off by saying that I hate shaky cam. There’s nothing more annoying to me than sitting through an hour or more of someone seizing while holding a camera. It makes me dizzy and I avoid it like the plague.

Unfortunately, I cannot avoid the V/H/S series.

Suggestions for the V/H/S series come in almost once a week. So, all of them will see my list at some point.

Although the movie had that “filmed by a masturbating monkey” quality to it, I have to admit that it was a story that was probably best told through that method. Without the shaky cam, it just wouldn’t have been as scary. It needed that first-person aspect.

I wasn’t fond of the framing device used. To be honest, the movie was almost confusing at first because of it. Luckily I went into V/H/S knowing it was an anthology, so I was able to work it out quickly it enough.

The independent stories, however, were pretty good. All of them seemed to have that unpredictable quality that I adore. I was also happy to see that the segments did not have that ABCs of Death quality to them, despite two of the directors, Adam Wingard (You’re Next, A Horrible Way to Die, The Guest) and Ti West (The Sacrament, The Innkeepers, Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever), having been involved in that infamous project.

In the end, I have to give the movie credit. Shaky cam be damned, the stories were pretty good.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 55%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 41%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 4.1/5
Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

P.S. More scenes during the credits.

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Escape from Tomorrow (2013)

Number Rolled: 79
Movie Name/Year: Escape from Tomorrow (2013)
Genre: Thriller
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: NR
Affiliated Companies: Mankurt Media
Producers: Soojin Chung, Gioia Marchese
Director: Randy Moore
Writer: Randy Moore
Actors: Roy Abramsohn, Eli Jane, Elena Schuber, Katelynn Rodriguez, Jack Dalton, Danielle Safady, Annet Mahendru, Lee Armstrong, Kimberly Ables Jindra, Trey Loney, Amy Lucas, Alison Lees-Taylor, Jakob Salvati

After Jim loses his job on the last day of a family vacation in Disney World, he begins to get paranoid and depressed. That’s when things from his point of view begin to go a little haywire.

I have never in my life seen a movie so completely pointless as Escape from Tomorrow. It was like something straight out of The ABCs of Death. It was creepy, disgusting and borderline unbearable. I can’t say anything else about it.

I get the social commentary, I do. I just don’t understand why the message couldn’t have been said in an even semi-entertaining way.

Although I’ll never forget this film, I’ll always wish I could.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 56%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 27%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 1.2/5
Trust-the-Dice Score1/5

The Random Rating: R. 

Movie Trailer: 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Avalon High (2010)

Number Rolled: 25
Movie Name/Year: Avalon High (2010)
Genre: Drama
Length: 89 minutes
Rating: TV-G
Affiliated Companies: Jaffe/Braunstein Films, Disney Channel
Executive Producer: Howard Braunstein, Michael Jaffe
Director: Stuart Gillard
Writer: Julie Sherman Wolfe, Amy Talkington, Meg Cabot
Actors: Britt Robertson, Samuel Levi, Gregg Sulkin, Joey Pollari, Devon Graye, Molly C. Quinn, Don Lake, Christopher Tavarez, Ingrid Park, Steve Valentine, Anthony Ingruber, Jordaan Tuitama, Anton Tennet, Gareth Sanuels, Craig Hall, Jazmyne Van Goslinga, Alison Bruce, John Leigh, Andrew Grainger

Allie is the daughter of two professors specializing in King Arthur and Camelot and they’ve had to move around a lot. In fact, Allie isn’t used to staying anywhere for longer than six months. When she finds out that her family intends to stick with their new residence until she graduates, she’s thrilled to get the chance to dive deeper into the life of a high school student. Thing just don’t seem normal at her new school.

This movie was certainly unique. The thing that made it stand out as much as it did was how completely mediocre it was, until it wasn’t.

Avalon High brought Camelot into the present day. The movie accomplished that feat by mixing a usual drama-teen romance plot. However, as you get further into the movie, a pinch of supernatural mixes in. It’s fine, but with history buffs already pointing out every single line out of place on a suit of armor, you need to be damn sure you’re keeping everything else real enough to suck in viewers.

A good example of a movie that brought historical lore into the present day and managed to succeed was Robin of Locksley (1996). Of course, that movie didn’t have the added obstacle of trying to make the supernatural look real.

I spent the first part of the movie, and most of the middle, completely disinterested in the storyline. It didn’t help that only about half the cast managed to pull off their characters with any amount of believability. In a movie like Avalon High it’s incredibly important that the actors embody their characters as much as possible because you’re already suspending a lot of disbelief for the setting and the script.

None of this sounds all that spectacular, so why the high score?

The movie gets awesome at the end. Everything is not as it seems and there’s a twist I wasn’t sure Disney Channel was capable of. Even the actors that I disliked seemed to get better.

Avalon High is a great movie for adults as well as kids. Brilliant for a family night.

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

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

Movie Trailer:

Monday, December 1, 2014

Top Ten Movies to Look Out For In December

Honorable Mention – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (December 17)

Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Guillermo del Toro, Philippa Boyens, J.R.R. Tolkien
Actors: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Aidan Turner, Billy Connolly, Ian Holm, Manu Bennett
Genre: Fantasy
Rated: Unrated

To be honest, I don’t have a lot of interest in this movie.

Don’t get me wrong, I greatly enjoyed the first Lord of the Rings trilogy. I saw each one of them in the theater on their opening days. Despite that fact, I have not had any interest in the new trilogy. I offered it as an honorable mention because I’m certain it will be visually stunning, regardless of how I feel.

10 – Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (December 19)

Director: Shawn Levy
Writer: Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon, David Guion, Michael Handelmann, Mark Friedman
Actors: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Rebel Wilson, Ben Kingsley, Ricky Gervais, Robin Williams, Dan Stevens, Skyler Gisondo, Rachael Harris, Rami Malek, Mickey Rooney, Dick Van Dyke, Patrick Gallagher
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is the first comedy that makes me very sad. This movie is the last live-action movie that Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting, Aladdin, The Birdcage) will appear in. He will be voicing a character in Absolutely Anything (2015), but he won’t be seen.

I believe this movie is the last chance for fans of Williams to say goodbye, the right way. Not with tabloid stories and invading the lives of his family, but by celebrating his life’s work.

I’ve never seen the other Night at the Museum movies, but I will before December 19. Whether it’s great, or terrible, I feel the need to see Robin Williams’ final visual performance.

9 – Murder of a Cat (December 5)

Director: Gillian Greene
Writer: Christian Mgalhaes, Robert Snow
Actors: Greg Kinnear, Nikki Reed, J.K. Simmons, Blythe Danner, Fran Kranz, Leonardo Nam, Ted Raimi
Genre: Comedy
Rated: Unrated

The first thing I want to say is that this movie was produced, in part, by the one and only Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, Legend of the Seeker, Xena: Warrior Princess). That alone caught my interest. The moment his name is linked to a project, I want to know about it.

He’s not the only name that drew me in. Of all the actors listed, the name that really caught me is not one of the obvious ones. Fran Kranz (The Cabin in the Woods, Dollhouse, Much Ado About Nothing) is an actor that I’ve grown to know and love through Joss Whedon (The Cabin in the Woods, Dollhouse, Much Ado About Nothing). He’s shown himself to be a quirky and amusing performer. When I found out he was playing the main character in Murder of a Cat, I knew it was a movie I was going to have to see.

I know Kranz is probably not as big a draw to the rest of the world as he is to me, but I think he really deserves the confidence of fans. I believe he will make an amazing leading man.

8 – Unbroken (December 25)

Director: Angelina Jolie
Writer: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Richard LaGravenese, William Nicholson, Laura Hillenbrand
Actors: Jack O’Connell, Garrett Hedlund, Domhnall Gleeson, Jai Courtney, Maddalena Ischiale, Miyavi, John Magaro, C.J. Valleroy, Finn Wittrock, Jordan Smith
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13

Unbroken looks like a solid drama. I’m unfamiliar with the book it was based on or the true story that the book was based on, but I do know that the trailer looked incredibly intense. Based only on the merit of the trailer and the cast, I have to believe this movie is going to be incredible.

7 – Into the Woods (December 15)

Director: Rob Marshall
Writer: James Lapine, Stephen Sondheim
Actors: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine, Anna Kendrick, Lilla Crawford, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski, Billy Magnussen, Daniel Huttlestone, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, MacKenzie Mauzy, Richard Glover
Genre: Fantasy/Musical
Rated: PG

Disney is the best source for fairy tale movies. The company has been making them since well before I was even born. So, when they put out another, it’s hard to find a reason not to see it. When you add in a cast filled with people like Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada, The Giver, The Iron Lady), Johnny Depp (Tusk, Transcendence, Dark Shadows), Chris Pine (Star Trek, Unstoppable, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada, Edge of Tomorrow, Looper),  and Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, Rapture-Palooza, End of Watch), any remaining doubt is washed away.

6 – The Interview (December 25)

Director: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Writer: Dan Sterling, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Actors: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Lizzy Caplan, Diana Bang, Randall Park, Resse Alexander, Timothy Simons, Ben Schwartz, Anders Holm, Anesha Bailey, Geoff Gustafson, James Yi, Paul Bae
Genre: Comedy
Rated: R

Who doesn’t love the pairing of Seth Rogen (This is the End, Pineapple Express, Knocked Up) and James Franco (This is the End, Pineapple Express, Knocked Up)? Their comedic chemistry is insane. I’d have to be nuts to not look forward to The Interview.

5 – Tell (December 5)

Director: J. M. R. Luna
Writer: Timothy Williams
Actors: Milo Ventimiglia, Katee Sackhoff, Jason Lee, Alan Tudyk, Robert Patrick, John Michael Higgins, Oscar Nunez, Faizon Love
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R

I would watch Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes, Gilmore Girls, Pathology) in any movie he decided to act in. I’ve even stuck by him through the worst of his films. I could wax poetic about how much I enjoy his acting, but I don’t need to. His work speaks for itself and I look forward to seeing this new addition to his filmography.

4 – Life Partners (December 5)

Director: Susanna Fogel
Writer: Susanna Fogel, Joni Lefkowitz
Actors: Gillian Jacobs, Leighton Meester, Adam Brody, Gabourey Sidibe, Abby Elliot, Beth Dover
Genre: Comedy
Rated: R

I had to watch this trailer a couple of times.

I enjoyed it the first time, but the second time I really fell in love with it. I thought it was adorable and hilarious. Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl, That’s My Boy, Remember the Daze) seems to really be in control of her character.

I don’t expect it to be as completely light-hearted as it seems in the trailer, though.

3 – Exodus: Gods and Kings (December 12)

Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Steve Zaillian, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine
Actors: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Aaron Paul, Ben Kingsley, John Turturro, Sigourney Weaver, Indira Varma, Ben Mendelsohn, Golshifteh Farahani, Maria Valverde
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13

In Exodus: Gods and Kings, Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Alien, Black Hawk Down) takes on the story of Moses.

I’ll admit, I have my reservations about this one. I was raised on Charlton Heston’s (Ben-Hur, Planet of the Apes, The Awakening) The Ten Commandments. I picture Moses a certain way, Ramses a certain way, etc. The idea of Christian Bale taking up the part of Moses in the movie was almost laughable to me at first.

So, I watched the trailer a few times and in different versions. Now, although I’m still not sure about Bale, the movie looked way too amazing to pass up.

2 – American Sniper (December 25)

Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Jason Dean Hall
Actors: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Jake McDorman, Cory Hardrict, Navid Negahban, Eric Close, Eric Ladin, Sammy Sheik, Sam Jaeger, Reynaldo Gallegos, Joel Lambert
Genre: Action
Rated: R

I’ve been looking forward to this movie for two months. I did an article on Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, Limitless, American Hustle) and I learned about American Sniper. All the information I found out, coupled with the directing of Clint Eastwood (Jersey Boys, Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby), made the wait for this movie almost unbearable.

Now that I’ve seen the trailer for it, I’m even more excited.

Although they showed a few various clips, the trailer mostly focused on a single scene in the film and that one scene gave me goosebumps. The look on Cooper’s face at the end was absolutely heart-wrenching.

1 – Selma (December 25)

Director: Ava DuVernay
Writer: Paul Webb
Actors: David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, Carmen Ejogo, Oprah Winfrey, Ledisi, Keith Stanfield, Wendell Pierce, Giovanni Ribisi, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lorraine Toussaint, Andre Holland, Tessa Thompson, Alessandro Nivola, Jeremy Strong, Dylan Baker
Genre: Drama
Rated: Unrated

There is rebellion and revolution all over the world right now and, unfortunately, it has brought with it a level of violence that is simply unacceptable.

Selma is the story of Martin Luther King Jr. and the revolution that he became the face of. I strongly believe that this movie is coming at a good time. People need the reminder that change can be instigated through perseverance and peace, not just through violence.

Martin Luther King Jr. knew that revolution and rebellion would always be necessary in the world. The only way to fix what is broken is to get angry and to stand up. It means facing the violence head on, not throwing the first punch. He had a dream. In many ways, we’re still trying to help him accomplish it. Maybe being reminded of his dream and the way he went about trying to make it come true will be the push people need to change.

It wouldn’t be the first time a movie changed the world.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

No Post

Due to an issue, I won't be able to post a blog for about a month. Normal blogs return on Monday, December 1.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Liars All (2013)

Number Rolled: 24
Movie Name/Year: Liars All (2013)
Genre: Thriller
Length: 91 minutes
Rating: R
Affiliated Companies: Indie Entertainment, Mott Street Pictures, Preferred Content, Sundial Pictures
Executive Producer: Ross M. Dinerstein, Kevin Iwashina
Director: Brian Brightly
Writer: Brian Brightly
Actors: Sara Paxton, Torrance Coombs, Alice Evans, Matt Lanter, Darin Brooks, Gillian Zinser, Randy Wayne, Tim Phillipps, Tiffany Mulheron, Stephanie McIntosh

A group of friends from various places are hanging out in London. Their game of drunken adult truth-or-dare goes wrong and they wind up at the police station telling their stories.

This month is Nanowrimo and I take it very seriously. For those of you who don’t know, that stands for “National Novel Writing Month.” I use it as a way to flip off procrastination and power through writer’s blocks. 50,000 words in 30 days isn’t simple, but I’ll be damned if doesn’t work.

I’m writing this blog during day 3 at almost 1am. Once done, I intend to head to the 24 hour coffee shop and write for a few hours before the normal people get up and go to work. That’s when they usually kick me out because they need the table.

You may be asking yourself what that has to do with Liars All. I’m going to put it bluntly.

It’s November and I don’t have time for terrible, boring-ass movies that put me to sleep. I need to breath character development and cry caffeine for the next few weeks and Liars All did not help.

The story line was broken and had no twist at all. It was out of order and each part was told over and over again for an hour and half. It was like Brian Brightly (Man Camp, Home Run, Ironclad) tried to make it more realistic by removing any semblance of entertainment.

I like Matt Lanter (Disaster Movie, 90210, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) but he couldn’t save the film and Alice Evans (102 Dalmatians, The Vampire Diaries, Lost) spent the majority of the movie looking like she sucked on a lemon.

This movie was not worth the time I spent watching it.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 22%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 2.2/5
Trust-the-Dice Score1/5

Movie Trailer: 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Top Ten Movies to Look Out For In November

Honorable Mention – A Merry Friggin’ Christmas (November 7)

Director: Tristram Shapeero
Writer: Phil Johnston
Actors: Robin Williams, Joel McHale, Lauren Graham, Clarke Duke, Oliver Platt, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Tim Heidecker, Candice Bergen, Matt Jones
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG-13

I’ll be honest with you. Christmas movies in November piss me off. Can we get passed Thanksgiving first for fuck’s sake!?

I’m making an exception for A Merry Friggin’ Christmas for one reason and one reason only: Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting, Aladdin, Good Morning Vietnam).

This is the first of 3 movies that are slated to come out starring him after his death. He was a great actor and an even better comic and I will even watch a Christmas movie in November just because he’s in it.

I simply couldn’t leave this movie off the list in good conscious.

10 – Reach Me (November 21)

Director: John Herzfeld
Writer: John Herzfeld
Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Tom Berenger, Kevin Connolly, Kyra Sedgwick, Nelly, Cary Elwes, Thomas Jane, Terry Crews, Danny Aiello, Kelsey Grammer, Lauren Cohan, Ryan Kwanten, Tom Sizemore, Frank Stallone, Danny Trejo
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13

To be honest, I watched two different versions of the trailer for this movie and I’m still not 100% sure what it’s about. It made the list solely on the cast.

There is a ridiculous amount of talent in Reach Me. I’m mostly looking forward to Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead, Archer, The Vampire Diaries) and Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride, Robin Hood Men in Tights, Saw) but, aside from Nelly, there’s really no one involved that I don’t care about.

We’ll see how it goes for the story.

9 – The Imitation Game (November 28)

Director: Morten Tyldum
Writer: Graham Moore, Andrew Hodges
Actors: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13

This is the first of a couple of biographical dramas that I’m suggesting for November. It’s not my normal favorite kind of movie, but I couldn’t resist. I don’t know who decided November should be biography month, but they did one hell of a job of making those films incredibly intriguing.

The Imitation Game touches on Alan Turing during World War II. The only reason it’s so low on the list is because it looks like the kind of film that will be super slow for the first hour. It actually made the list because I doubt I’ll be able to look away from the screen after that build up.

It doesn’t hurt that Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) is playing the lead. He’s an amazing actor.

8 –Penguins of Madagascar (November 26)

Director: Simon Smith, Eric Darnell
Writer: Michael Colton, John Aboud, Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Brandon Sawyer
Actors: Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Jeong, Annet Mahendru, Peter Stormare, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG

Penguins. That is all.

7 – Wolves (November 14)

Director: David Hayter
Writer: David Hayter
Actors: Lucas Till, Stephen McHattie, Jason Momoa, Merritt Patterson, Benedict Carver
Genre: Action & Adventure
Rated: R

As a role-player and a fan of classic horror, I applaud the return of the non-pussy werewolf. It’s probably more the role-player in me, however, that enjoys the non-mindless werewolf form that is portrayed in the trailers.

I’m also ecstatic that Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, The Red Road, Stargate: Atlantis) will be a part of this film. Until I can see him as Aquaman, I’ll take what I can get.

6 – V/H/S: Viral (November 21)

Director: Justin Benson, Gregg Bishop, Aaron Moorhead, Marcel Sarmiento, Nacho Vigalondo
Writer: Justin Benson, Gregg Bishop, T. J. Cimfel, Ed Dougherty, Aaron Moorhead, Marcel Sarmiento, Nacho Vigalondo, David White
Actors: Various
Genre: Horror
Rated: R

What’s the mark of a successful trailer for a sequel?

It’s actually a really easy question. The answer is: a successful trailer for a sequel is one that makes you look forward to the next movie and make you want to see the others that came before it.

I’ve never seen V/H/S or V/H/S 2. After watching the trailer for Viral, I came to the decision that I’m going to have to see the first two sooner rather than later.

V/H/S: Viral looks amazing, thrilling and absolutely heart-stopping. Every part of me is now curious about the entire series.

5 – Foxcatcher (November 14)

Director: Bennett Miller
Writer: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
Actors: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave, Sienna Miller, Anthony Michael Hall
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

This one interests me less because of the story and more because of the actors.

Although I like Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street, Magic Mike, Step Up), he’s not the actor drawing my focus in Foxcatcher.

Steve Carell (The Office, Crazy Stupid Love, Despicable Me) and Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers, Now You See Me, The Kids Are Alright) look absolutely incredible in their parts. In fact, they’re almost unrecognizable. I cannot wait to see what they do together in this drama. The trailer looks incredible and it’s all because of them.

4 – Miss Meadows (November 14)

Director: Karen Leigh Hopkins
Writer: Karen Leigh Hopkins
Actors: Katie Holmes, James Badge Dale, Callan Mulvey
Genre: Action & Adventure
Rated: UR

There’s something so very appealing to me about a “don’t judge a book by its cover” message. In a movie about a seemingly gentle teacher going around killing bad guys, what else could the message possibly be?

Besides, I’ve loved Katie Holmes (Batman Begins, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Teaching Mrs. Tingle) since her days on Dawson’s Creek as Joey Potter. I haven’t seen many of her movies since then, but that doesn’t stop me from getting all nostalgic whenever I see her face.

3 – Big Hero 6 (November 7)

Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams
Writer: Don Hall, Jordan Roberts, Robert L. Baird, Daniel Gerson, Duncan Rouleau, Steven T. Seagle, Paul Briggs
Actors: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, T. J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, James Cromwell, Alan Tudyk, Daniel Henney
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG

This is quite possibly the cutest trailer ever. Everything about it is appealing.

In fact, there’s no reason to not see this movie. Just watch the trailer. Seriously… how could you resist?

2 – The Theory of Everything (November 7)

Director: James Marsh
Writer: Anthony McCarten, Jane Hawking
Actors: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, Simon McBurney, David Thewlis
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13

I’d like to start off by saying that I’ve never actually read the book Travelling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen by Jane Hawking. I don’t think it matters, though. The person who put together the trailer for this movie knew exactly what he was doing. It gave me chills and filled me with curiosity.

The idea of learning more about Stephen Hawking is very appealing to me, especially in the form of an entertaining and heart-wrenching movie. However, the trailer also makes me want to read the book.

So, I suppose I have a book purchase in my near future.

1 – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (November 21)

Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer: Danny Strong, Peter Craig, Suzanne Collins
Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Willow Shields, Natalie Dormer, Stef Dawson
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Rated: PG-13

It’s The Hunger Games.

I have read the series three times and I’m reading it again in preparation to go see the midnight showing of Mockingjay – Part 1. I’ve watched every episode on CapitolTV and I follow Hunger Games related Tumblr accounts like I couldn’t breathe without them.

There’s nothing I dislike about the series. Sure, the books are better than the movies, but I adore the movies also.

Now, I know there are going to be some significant differences between the Mockingjay movies and book. That doesn’t scare me. The main reason is because Suzanne Collins, author of the books, is an executive producer on the movie. That means she had a hand in how her story was handled.

I can’t wait to see it.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Grey (2012)

Number Rolled: 25
Movie Name/Year: The Grey (2012)
Genre: Action & Adventure
Length: 117 minutes
Rating: R
Affiliated Companies: Open Road Films, Inferno Distribution, LD Entertainment, Scott Free Productions, Chambara Pictures, 1984 Private Defense Contractors
Executive Producer: Ross Fanger, Bill Johnson, Jennifer Monroe, Tony Scott, Jim Seibel, Adi Shankar, Spencer Silna, Jon Turtle
Director: Joe Carnahan
Writer: Joe Carnahan, Ian Mackenzie Jeffers,
Actors: Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, Dallas Roberts, Joe Anderson, Nonso Anozie, James Badge Dale, Ben Bray, Anne Openshaw

A horrible plan crash leaves 7 oil-rig ruffians stranded in the Alaskan Wilderness. They have to force themselves to work together in order to stay alive. If that weren’t bad enough, a pack of wolves has decided they’re a threat and begin hunting them down.

In general, the movie wasn’t bad at all. There were some significantly thrilling moments that evoked the exact response the writers and the director were going for. Many of the other moments had me glued to the screen.

I wish I could say that about the entire thing.

The problem with the movie comes when you break it down. That’s when you truly get a taste of the utter pretention behind it.

I can’t say too much without adding a spoiler alert, so I’ll just say that I could have lived without the internal monologue in the beginning and the various, badly placed, flashbacks throughout the rest of the movie. The poem the main character kept repeating seemed vaguely out of place too, despite the fact that you do eventually learn where it came from and why it’s important to him.

In the end, even though I mostly enjoyed the film, I almost feel like it was pointless.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 79%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 61%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 4.7/5
Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

P.S. There’s a short scene after the credits.

Movie Trailer: 

Ok, this next video is FULL of spoilers but… it’s so good. I said some of this stuff to my friend while we watched.

“Ten Things Wrong With The Grey In 6 Minutes Or Less”