Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (2012)

Number Rolled: 31
Movie Name/Year: Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (2012)
Genre: Children & Family
Length: 86 minutes
Rating: PG
Affiliated Companies: Universal Pictures, Illumination Entertainment
Executive Producer: Ken Daurio, Audrey Geisel, Cinco Paul
Director: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda
Writer: Dr. Seuss, Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio
Actors: Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Betty White, Rob Riggle, Jenny Slate, Nasim Pedrad, Elmarie Endel, Danny Cooksey, Stephen Tobolowsky

Living in a town made completely out of plastic, where fresh air only comes from a delivery man, is all the rage. Ted sees no problem with it, until the girl he has a crush on admits that all she really wants is a tree growing in her backyard. Curious as to why anyone would care about some weird, dirty thing that serves no purpose, Ted seeks out the only one who can give him the answer.

I love Dr. Seuss. When I was a little girl, I made my mom read me One Fish, Two Fish so many times she STILL has it memorized – word for word. She’s none too shy about reminding me, either. There may be other Dr. Seuss books she can recite from memory, but that’s the one she’ll pull out on me whenever it’s convenient to embarrass me. It’s kind of amusing, but I will never tell her that (and she’s a technophobe, so there’s no way she’ll read this).

Love of Dr. Seuss aside, this movie wasn’t as great as I hoped it would be. There was nothing wrong with the voices or the animation. Parts of the script were frightening, but considering the social commentary, that was kind of the point. I guess the music wasn’t bad, nothing all too memorable, though.

That’s the issue. Dr. Seuss is memorable. You won’t find work like his anywhere. So to honor his one-of-a-kind author with a relatively forgettable movie, it’s almost offensive.

In the end, it wasn’t bad. It’s better for kids 12 and under than adults, but I probably wouldn’t groan if a kid made me watch it. Just don’t expect to be blown away.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 54%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 64%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 4.5/5
Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Top Ten Movies to Look Out For in July

10 – Rage (July 11)

Director: Paco Cabezas
Writer: Jim Agnew, Sean Keller
Actors: Nicolas Cage, Danny Glover, Rachel Nichols, Aubrey Peeples, Peter Stormare
Genre: Action
Rated: Unrated

Rage looks like it’s going to be a nice, strong action movie. It will likely have lots of explosions, lots of illegal activity, lots of guns and over-exaggerated deaths; and, since Nicolas Cage is in it, it should be about three steps away from a B-movie.

Do I know if the story line will be good? Well, to be honest, it looks a little bit like Taken without Liam Neeson.

Most of the above is negative, I know. Strangely, I still really want to see it. This is how I am with Nicolas Cage, though. No matter how bland his tone gets, how remade the movie is he’s in is, I always wind up staring at the trailer with my eyes narrowed and thinking, “I bet that’s gonna be cool.”

I have no excuse. It’s terrible.

9 – Magic in the Moonlight (July 25)

Director:  Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Actors: Eileen Atkins, Colin Firth, Marcia Gay Harden, Hamish Linklater, Simon McBurney, Emma Stone, Jacki Weaver, Erica Leerhsen, Catherine McCormack, Paul Ritter, Jeremy Shamos
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG-13

I’m going to say the one thing I could say to prove I write these reviews from the point of view of the lay-man and not a film-geek: I’m not a fan of Woody Allen. I can’t quote a single Woody Allen movie and I couldn’t even give you a favorite if I tried. In fact, I can’t even NAME five Woody Allen movies without peeking at IMDB.

I’m not saying he sucks, I’m saying his work just isn’t for me. It feels overly pretentious and dull.

However, Magic in the Moonlight looks like it could be a sweet and honest look at differing perspectives where romance is concerned. Even more than the story line, my greater reasoning would be Emma Stone.

Watch the trailer. It looks like Emma Stone was made for this part. I’ve never seen her look as natural in anything else she’s done. I love seeing actors in their element.

It will take some doing for me to get over the Woody Allen dialog format, but I really think that it wouldn’t be impossible in this case.

Fuck Woody Allen. This movie is all about Emma Stone.

8 – Wish I Was Here (July 18)

Director: Zach Braff
Writer: Zach Braff, Adam Braff
Actors: Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin, Josh Gad, Joey King, Pierce Gagnon, Jim Parsons, James Avery
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

It looks like Wish I Was Here isn’t doing so well with critics. I’ve seen it called shallow and self-indulgent. Is it possible that the critics are right? Of course. It’s just as likely that they’re wrong, though.

I like Zach Braff as an actor and I like Kate Hudson, most of the time, but it’s not the cast that got it on the list.

In my opinion, July is going to be a week month for movies, so it was difficult to pick a full ten that I really wanted to see. This one likely wouldn’t have made the list at all if it had come out in June or May. This month, it made the list solely on my curiosity.

I want to see how Zach Braff is as writing/directing a drama. There’s no other reason. It’s my understanding that he’s directed one before, but I haven’t seen it. So… I’m curious.

7 – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11)

Director: Matt Reeves
Writer: Scott Z. Burns, Amanda Silver, Rick Jaffa, Mark Bomback
Actors: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Enrique Murciano, Kirk Acevedo, Judy Greer
Genre: Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13

I have less interest in this entire series than I should. I have yet to even see the first one. However, as I mentioned, it’s not a great month for movies that interest me and the critics love the hell out of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. It’s got something like an 80% on RottenTomatoes.

The greatest truth I can give about why to look out for this movie is because people far and wide loved the first one and are looking forward to the next installment.

6 – Deliver Us From Evil (July 2)

Director: Scott Derrickson
Writer: Scott Derrickson, Paul Harris Boardman
Actors: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn, Sean Harris, Joel McHale
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R

Here’s where we start getting into the movies that I’m truly looking forward to.

I think this movie looks creepy and awesome. I suspect I’ll be jumping left and right. That damn doll that rolls forward and makes that weird sound is ridiculous. I have been hearing that sound since I first saw the trailer.

I expect there will be some basic recipe, Exorcism-style, aspects to it. None-the-less, I’m still interested because I like that style.

If Deliver Us From Evil is as good as the trailer suggests, it could wind up becoming one of my favorite supernatural thrillers.

5 – Heatstroke (July 4)

Director: Evelyn Purcell
Writer: Evelyn Purcell
Actors: Stephen Dorff, Svetlana Metkina, Maisie Williams, Peter Stormare
Genre: Action
Rated: Unrated

Admittedly, Heatstroke feels like a movie that comes out of left field. Most people have never heard of it or never even knew it was in production.

When I get together this list of the top 10 movies to look out for I collect a complete list of movies that are coming out that month. From there, I watch every single trailer. I don’t give preferential treatment to “popular” movies and I don’t care who’s directing or writing. I judge each movie on the merit of its trailer. Once I’ve decided that I’m interested in a movie then I do deeper research.

That’s how I found Heatstroke.

Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) plays a troubled kid who is sent on a trip with her dad and his girlfriend. They catch a rhino poacher in the act and are pursued when they try to get away. After that, I’m not exactly sure what the specifics are. I’m not sure whether the father dies or gets taken. Quite frankly, I love that about this trailer. It didn’t give away too much.

Williams is an amazing actress. Joined by Stephen Dorff, I expect some amazing things with whatever the story line is.

4 – Earth to Echo (July 2)

Director: Dave Green
Writer: Henry Gayden
Actors: Teo Halm, Brian "Astro" Bradley, Reese Hartwig, Ella Linnea Wahlestedt
Genre: Sci-Fi
Rated: PG

I squeed. This is the most adorable trailer with substance that I think I’ve ever seen. It looks like a twist of The Goonies and Wall-E, both amazing movies on their own.

I can’t wait to see this. I don’t even care if I’m supposed to be too old for this shit.

3 – Hercules (July 25)

Director: Brett Ratner
Writer: Ryan Condal, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Actors: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan, John Hurt, Rebecca Ferguson, Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Aksel Hennie, Reece Ritchie
Genre: Fantasy
Rated: Unrated

When I first heard about this movie, I was skeptical. Hollywood has white washed the Hercules part so much that I wasn’t aware Dwayne Johnson is actually much, MUCH closer to what a real Hercules would look like.

The movie looks dark, geared toward adult viewers, and has a cast that just makes me happy. Yeah, I include Dwayne Johnson in that statement. A lot of critics put him down because of where he started but I really do enjoy his acting style, regardless of the kind of movie he’s in. I think he’s going to do his part justice and make the script believable.

I get shivers in the beginning of the trailer when Hercules is walking over the bodies.

2 – Lucy (July 25)

Director: Luc Besson
Writer: Luc Besson
Actors: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R

The story line of Lucy is mind-blowing. It’s as if The Matrix were to be applied to a single woman. In fact, now that I think about it, it’s kind of like The Matrix meets Limitless with the added bonus of Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman – both insanely good actors.

There are nuances in the trailer that made me hold my breath, such as subtle references to string theory. The writer of this movie did his research, and it looks like something amazing came from it.

I have to know what happens when she reaches 100% use of her brain. I just… do.

1 – Boyhood (July 11)

Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Richard Linklater
Actors: Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, Ethan Hawke
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

Boyhood doesn’t have the kind of story line that interests me. In fact, the same story line in a different movie with the same cast would have me bored to tears. Why then is this movie not only on my list, but #1?

Boyhood has made cinematic history, that’s why.

Going through school, you likely were introduced to all kinds of epic poems by Shakespeare or Ovid or whomever else you might have studied. Boyhood is the movie version. It’s an epic film, and I mean the phrase literally not as part of a slang attempt.

Filming for this movie began in 2002 and follows a young boy as he grows into adulthood, but it’s not a documentary. There’s a legitimate story line that takes place and every actor in Boyhood started on the film twelve years ago. The actor playing the boy in the movie started filming at 7-years-old and finished at 18.

Everyone who worked on Boyhood has put in a huge amount of effort over many, many years. Anyone could have made a movie, but these people went above and beyond.

The only way to reward that amount of originality and effort is by paying attention.