Thursday, September 4, 2014

Machete Kills (2013)

Number Rolled: 56
Movie Name/Year: Machete Kills (2013)
Genre: Action & Adventure
Length: 107 minutes
Rating: R
Affiliated Companies: AR Films, Aldamisa Entertainment, 1821 Pictures, Quick Draw Productions, Demarest Films, Overnight Films
Executive Producer: Alfonso Barragan Jr., Terry Douglas, Sam Englebardt, Jere Hausfater, William D. Johnson, Paris Kasidokostas Latsis, Mark C. Manuel, Boris Teterev
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Kyle Ward, Robert Rodriguez, Marcel Rodriguez
Actors: Danny Trejo, Mel Gibson, Demian Bichir, Amber Heard, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Charlie Sheen (as Carlos Estevez), Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Walton Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Hudgens, Alexa PenaVega, Marko Zaror, Tom Savini, William Sadler, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Billy Blair, Samuel Davis, Felix Sabates, Jessica Alba, Bruce Campbell, Cheech Marin

Machete is an ex-Federale. After his adventures in the first movie, he’s been working alongside Sartana to bring justice where it needs bringing. His life is unpredictable, at best, and he’s soon called up by the president for a sensitive mission.

I understand why critics hated Machete Kills. I don’t agree with any of them, but I understand.

This movie was B at best, despite the overabundance of recognizable names, in both the credited and uncredited portions of the credits. There’s a huge amount of gore, improbabilities and fandom references. Some critics have gone so far as to say that the movie plays like an inside joke that no one gets.

Apparently none of those critics have seen obscure movies like Star Wars or From Dusk Till Dawn.

I have a list of movies that I haven’t seen but really should, because of the fact that I write a movie blog. I’m slowly working my way through them whenever I have a couple of hours to spare. If there are critics out there that feel like people can’t get Star Wars references, maybe they should be making lists of their own.

Machete Kills had me rolling in laughter, or staring at the screen in awe, during almost every portion of the film. There was no expecting half of what happened in the movie and the rest of it was hilarious.

The fact that I managed to get sucked into the story says a lot. My internet went out three times while I was watching the movie and it took me three and a half hours to watch it. You know what? I don’t regret it at all and the pauses due to technical issues didn’t make the movie any harder for me to watch.

Keep in mind that I’m the kind of person who will forget what show she’s watching during the commercials, sometimes. Getting so sucked into a movie that various unexpected pauses do nothing to diminish the quality, is not something I experience often.

There were a couple of continuity errors that I couldn’t really explain away. It kept the movie from getting a perfect score from me. None-the-less, rumor has it that there’s going to be a third film.

I can’t wait.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 29%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 36%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3/5
Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

P.S. I’m sorry to say I missed it, but there’s a cameo from Bruce Campbell somewhere in the film. I assume my technical difficulties occurred at just the right times to hide it from me. If anyone knows at what time in film this cameo takes place, let me know. Groovy.

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Top Ten Movies to Look Out For In September

10 – This is Where I Leave You (Sept. 19)

Director: Shawn Levy
Writer: Jonathan Tropper
Actors: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Abigail Spencer, Dax Shepard, Jane Fonda, Timothy Olyphant, Connie Britton
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: R

At first glance I wasn’t very into this movie. My fiancé, however, thought it was an interesting premise.

The truth is, watching trailers for all the movies coming out to the public in September was painful. About an hour in I still hadn’t seen anything even remotely interesting. The idea of watching my dog sleep sounded like a better use of my time. I managed to find a few gems in the mix, but I guess ‘back-to-school’ time just isn’t optimal for the good movies to hit theaters.

So, I let John talk me into being interested in This is Where I Leave You. Yes, it looks like a glorified “two people who hate each other stuck in an elevator” recipe, but the cookie-cutter aspect will likely benefit from the comedic timing of Tina Fey quite a bit.

After all, I watched every single episode of 30 Rock, no matter how stupid the episode was, and couldn’t look away.

I may not be super excited for this one, but it doesn’t look too bad.

9 – The Boxtrolls (Sept. 26)

Director: Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable
Writer: Irena Brignull, Adam Pava, Alan Snow
Actors: Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning, Dee Bradley Baker, Steve Blum, Toni Collette, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan, Simon Pegg
Genre: Adventure, Animation, Fantasy
Rated: PG

I first became aware of this movie during the Comic Con episode of The Wil Wheaton Project. There was a bit about the insect food-stand at the convention and Isaac Hempstead Wright. I hadn’t seen the trailer yet, but I was already intrigued since there’d be a Game of Thrones actor involved.

I doubt anyone gasped in shock to learn that I’m a fan of the fantasy series. No, I haven’t read the books yet. Yes, I hate myself for it. Moving on.

The trailer did not disappoint. There was a high level of adorableness packed into the Coraline-like animation. Not only that but, if it’s done well, it will probably have a decent storyline that can entertain both kids and adults. I think it’s important for parents to like the movies their kids like. Especially since their kids will likely watch the movie 9000 times.

If you’re going to see it so many times you can recite the lines, you might as well try to enjoy it. The Boxtrolls may actually reach the balance that allows something like that.

8 – The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (Sept. 12)

Director: Ned Benson
Writer: Ned Benson
Actors: James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, William Hurt, Bill Hader
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

It wasn’t the story that motivated me to add The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby to this list. It seems like a basic loved-and-lost story. What it came down to was the way the story was presented in the trailer.

If I’m interpreting what I saw correctly, the story seems to be told from both the perspective of the girl and the guy. I find that very interesting. I’m also not sure I’ve ever seen it done before. I’m not an expert, so it may have been done several times but, to me, it’s a new concept and highly original.

What I’m hoping is that the trailer is depicting the actual movie and not just offering a little bit of bait and switch. It’s not unheard of for a trailer to avoid accuracy in order to draw viewers.

Assuming the trailer is accurate and I’m interpreting it correctly, I look forward to seeing how they tackled the unique method of story-telling.

7 – Reclaim (Sept. 19)

Director: Alan White
Writer: Carmine Gaeta, Luke Davies
Actors: John Cusack, Ryan Phillippe, Rachelle Lefevre, Jacki Weaver, Luis Guzman, Brianna Roy
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Rated: R

Unlike the previous movie, Reclaim made the list primarily because of the content of the story. Yes, there’s a certain Taken aspect. The story seems to revolve around a kidnapping, after all. However, the reasoning behind the kidnapping is terrifying and fascinating and, most importantly, new.

The type of con the characters are involved in seems like a new low for the antagonists. Preying on a couple that desperately wants a child and can’t have one? It feels like the bad guys are kicking a puppy.

It doesn’t hurt that John Cusack is a phenomenal actor. He’s a little underrated for my taste, actually. If he’s playing the baddie, then that is reason alone to see this film.

6 – Honeymoon (Sept. 12)

Director: Leigh Janiak
Writer: Leigh Janiak, Phil Graziadei
Actors: Rose Leslie, Harry Treadaway, Ben Huber, Hanna Brown
Genre: Drama Thriller
Rated: R

Another Game of Thrones actor! She’s not the whole reason I chose this movie and she certainly has nothing to with why Honeymoon appears so high on the list.

I think the trailer was great. I can guess a bit at the story, but not so much that I feel like anything has been ruined for me. I don’t know if the big bad has to do with aliens or some kind of demon, I couldn’t tell you, but it doesn’t matter to me.

Whether the movie winds up being more horror or sci-fi doesn’t affect me, because I like both genres. Of course, the fact that it’s labeled a drama/thriller has me a little nervous that the entire movie is just a schizophrenia-based story and we’ll find out at the end that none of the ‘bad stuff’ actually happened.

Concerns aside, Honeymoon looks every bit as thrilling as it’s supposed to.

5 – Hector and the Search for Happiness (Sept. 19)

Director: Peter Chelsom
Writer: Maria Von Heland, Peter Chelsom, Tinker Lindsay, Francois Lelord
Actors: Simon Pegg, Christopher Plummer, Rosamund Pike, Stellan Skarsgard, Toni Collette, Jean Reno, Veronica Ferres
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: R

I will never have enough Simon Pegg. As a comedic actor, he is simply one of the best from this generation of actors. The only movie I’ve seen of his that I didn’t care for was How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

It helps that the trailer for Hector and the Search for Happiness looks amazing. If the trailer got me to laugh as much as it did, I feel like it’s safe to expect even more from the movie. The drama aspects were apparent, but they didn’t seem to overwhelm the comedy.

I’m ashamed of it but even though the happiness/a penis joke is older than my mother and has been done to death, there’s never been a time in my life when it hasn’t made me chuckle.

I fear I might be an easy laugh.

4 – The Equalizer (Sept. 26)

Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: Richard Wenk, Michael Sloan, Richard Lindheim
Actors: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloe Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rated: R

It seems like every month we’re getting a movie about an older actor proving that he can still kick some ass. This month there’s two of them. I realize I might catch a little heat for this but here it is: I have no interest in A Walk Among the Tombstones starring Liam Neeson. It’s got nothing to do with him as an actor; I just saw absolutely nothing redeemable about the recipe film he happens to be starring in this month.

My old-guy-kicks-ass pick-of-the-month for September went to Denzel Washington for The Equalizer.

There were moments in the trailer so epic that the hair on my arms stood up a little. The obvious worry is that the editors blew their load on the trailer and there won’t be any other awesome action in the actual film. That worry aside, I feel like it’d be worth it just to see the trailer in context.

On an alternate note, I think Chloe Grace Moretz is some kind of super-human. Were you aware that she’s in 6 different movies in 2014? How the hell does she keep all the personalities straight? Does she even have time to breathe?

3 – The Scribbler (Sept. 19)

Director: John Suits
Writer: Dan Schaffer
Actors: Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg, Eliza Dushku, Gina Gershon, Sasha Grey, Garret Dillahunt, Michael Imperioli, Billy Campbell
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: R

I’ll start this off by stating that I’m not familiar with the graphic novels this movie is based off of. None-the-less I was hypnotized by the trailer.

The mind-bending story was nearly eclipse by the spectacular visuals.

The Scribbler seems like something highly psychological with an in depth plot. The actors aren’t all that bad, either. I’m not really a fan of Michelle Trachtenberg for my own personal reasons, but Eliza Dushku is on my list of ‘completely underrated’. I haven’t seen her in anything, personally, since Dollhouse.

I’m going to be looking up the graphic novels in order to prepare. If The Scribbler is being shown near me, I hope to see it in theaters.

2 – The Maze Runner (Sept. 19)

Director: Wes Ball
Writer: Noah Oppenheiim, Grant Pierce Myers, T.S. Nowlin, James Dashner
Actors: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Aml Ameen, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller, Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13

The first time I saw this trailer on TV I was transfixed. It looks like a combination of two of my favorite book series, The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson. I’m sure you can see why it looks like The Hunger Games but the part that feels like Percy Jackson to me has little to do with the movies, or the Greek/Roman gods, and everything to do with a couple of independent books in the series. In the interest of not delivering spoilers I’m going to just let curious parties pick up the series to see what I mean.

Many of the actors in The Maze Runner are smaller names, and I’m seriously looking forward to how they do in something this grand and spectacular. This is the kind of movie that could raise any of them into a more public eye.

1 – Tusk (Sept. 19)

Director: Kevin Smith
Writer: Kevin Smith
Actors: Justin Long, Michael Parks, Haley Joel Osment, Genesis Rodriguez, Harley Quinn Smith, Lily-Rose Melody Depp, Johnny Depp (Rumored)
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: R

Kevin Smith is a crazy, wonderful, bastard.

On one of his podcasts, the glorious Kevin Smith left a decision to his fans. After a long conversation with producer Scott Mosier, Smith asked his fans to take to twitter and decide whether or not he should write a movie based on the story they had been discussing. So, #WalrusYes was born and Smith did not disappoint.

Yes. You are reading that right. This horror story doesn’t involve vampires or werewolves or the Phelps family rejects. It is a horror story based around a fucking walrus. Tell me one other movie you’ve seen that can claim to be that.

Ok. Justin Long looks like an 80’s porn star with that ridiculous mustache and there is something significantly weird about a walrus being catalyst for horror, but come on. I know I’m not the only one looking forward to it. After all, how many people tweeted #WalrusYes after that SModcast? Enough to make it happen.

If you’re worried that it might be a little too weird for you, remember these words well: It’s Kevin-fucking-Smith. Have you SEEN his movies? The man thrives on weird. The weirder he goes, the better the movie. Compare Jersey Girl, a relatively common story, to something like Clerks. If his movies get better as they get weirder than, logically, this is going to be the best movie he’s ever made.

There better be a midnight showing.

All hail the master of awesome.