Friday, March 7, 2014

Unicorn City (2012)

Number Rolled: 3
Movie Name/Year: Unicorn City (2012)
Genre: Independent
Length: 97 minutes
Rating: PG
Director: Bryan Lefler
Writer: Cameron Dayton, Adrian Lefler, Bryan Lefler
Actors: Jon Gries, Matt Mattson, Clint Vanerlinden, Steve Berg, Missy Hill, Niklaas Duncan, Devin McGinn, Jaclyn Hales, Colleen Baum, Tom Markus, Kevin Weisman, Alton Barnhart, Emily Burnworth, Eric Dunton, Dashiell Wolf, Robbie Bagley

Voss is a role-player with seemingly no drive and a bad temper. Pushed by his brother to get a job and put money back into the house, he seeks out his dream profession with a gaming company. When he learns that they can’t hire him without management experience he puts a plan in motion, using his gaming experience to show them that he can be in charge.

I love movies like this one, but I’m bias. I’m no casual role-player. I’ve had table top games, games through the internet, games through MMO’s; you name it. Even my reference book collection spans everything from Dungeons and Dragons to the White-Wolf universe to less known systems like Doublestar (which changed the name to Odd-iz-ze-Quest several years ago). So when I see a movie like this that’s not exactly an A-list movie, but delves into the geek culture of role-playing, I get super excited. That’s because getting to see that this is a popular enough thing for people to want to make a production out of is pretty cool.

My Uncle Steve once told me, years ago, that “the older you get the funnier people will look at you when you tell them you role-play or play games.” Movies like this one, “The Gamers” or even web shows like “The Guild” (which delves into World of Warcraft), make me feel like I’m part of some secret society of adults who actually still accesses that part of their brain that makes people fun: their imagination.

That being said, I thought this was a super cute film. Of course, I’m on the inside. I got all those little nuances that only people in the scene would really get. I found humor in things that you could only really find humor in if you’ve experienced it first-hand. From an outsider perspective, I’m not sure I would have liked “Unicorn City” quite as much. I might not have really understood what was going on or what was driving the main characters.

If you role-play you’ll probably find this movie, at the very least, amusing. If you liked “The Gamers” or “The Gamers: Dorkness Rising,” you’ll probably like “Unicorn City” just as much.

If you know of any other movies that touch on this subject, please let me know. I’d love to see them.

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 4/5
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 71%

Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

Movie Trailer: 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008)

Number Rolled: 94
Movie Name/Year: How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 109 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Robert B. Weide
Writer: Peter Straughan, Toby Young
Actors: Kelan Pannell, Simon Pegg, Megan Fox, Gillian Anderson, Katherine Parkinson, Jeff Bridges, Miriam Margolyes, Kirsten Dunst, Sam Douglas, Danny Huston, Margo Stilley, Hannah Waddingham, Diana Kent, Max Minghella, Jefferson Mays, Ashley Madekwe, Jane Perry, Andy Lucas, Richard Young

Sidney Young has started his own tabloid-like magazine. The problem is, he can’t get into any parties in order to get the news on celebrities. After a particularly bad incident, he’s called up by the owner of a much more well-known publication and offered a job.

I’m a huge fan of Simon Pegg, but this is a rare miss for him. I can’t really blame him for the story or script, since he wasn’t involved in the writing or directing, but even as an actor he completely disappointed me. I’m almost angry at him for it, too. I’ve gotten used to him in movies like “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” where he shows that he has it in him to rise to comedic heights yet unreached by other actors.

To be honest, I don’t blame the author of the book it was based on, either. The book goes into the corruption of celebrities and has an ironic tone on the way ‘fame’ affects people. I believe the script writer butchered the main idea of the novel and cheapened its meaning in a way that is completely unforgivable. The warping of the story would have been equivalent to making Harry Potter about a wizard boy whose one goal in life is to find a wife, not defeat Voldemort.

I went into this movie excited and looking forward to an awesome, ironic, comedy. What I got is the wonderfully sardonic Simon Pegg stuck looking like he picked the perfect roll to play. Unfortunately, you’ll only get that bite it you watch the film.

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3.2/5
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 36%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 43%

Trust-the-Dice Score1.5/5

P.S. This movie is based on a book of the same name by Toby Young.

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Not Suitable For Children (2012)

Number Rolled: 88
Movie Name/Year: Not Suitable For Children (2012)
Genre: Romance
Length: 96 minutes
Rating: NR
Director: Peter Templeman
Writer: Michael Lucas, Peter Templeman
Actors: Ryan Kwanten, Sarah Snook, Ryan Corr, Bojana Novakovic, Susan Prior, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Kathryn Beck, Belinda Bromilow, Alice Parkinson, Lulu McClatchy, Daniel Henshall, Andrew Ryan, Sam North, Spollo Kanakis, Tasneem Roc, Katie Wall, Laura Brent, Adele Vuko

Jonah has been diagnosed with testicular cancer. The young professional partier is thrown for a loop as he learns that the treatment will render him infertile. With the option of having kids taken away from him, he find there’s nothing he wants more and sets out to make the most of his last month of fertility.

I was expecting something a little more on the stupid side when I turned on this movie. Although there was plenty of amusing moment of cringe comedy, the story didn’t rely on those parts. “Not Suitable for Children” was actually very smart and had a deeper tone to it. My biggest problem with the story itself was that it seemed a little on the propaganda side during certain parts (in favor of people having kids). It was almost like the idea of not wanting kids was a problem in general. It was just a few parts, though, and the rest of the movie was amazing.

The actors were great. Personally, I wasn’t as fond of Sarah Snook as the others, but she wasn’t bad professionally – it was just a taste thing.

“Not Suitable for Children” is definitely something I would watch again.

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3.2/5
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 88%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 55%

Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

The Random Rating: R – mild sex scenes, prolonged nudity, illegal drug use

Movie Trailer: