Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Brothers Grimm (2005)

Number Rolled: 76
Movie Name/Year: The Brothers Grimm (2005)
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Length: 118 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Dimension Films, MGM, Mosaic Media Group, Reforma Films, Atlas Entertainment, Summit Entertainment, The Weinstein Company
Executive Producer: Jonathan Gordon, Chris McGurk, Andrew Rona, John D. Schofield, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein
Director: Terry Gilliam
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Actors: Petr Ratimec, Barbora Lukesova, Anna Rust, Jeremy Robson, Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Harry Gilliam, Mackenzie Crook, Richard Ridings, Peter Stormare, Jonathan Pryce, Laura Greenwood, Lena Headey, Tomas Hanak, Monica Bellucci

Selina’s Point of View:
The Grimm brothers lost their sister at an early age. All because Jacob believed in magic and fairy tales. Years later, the brothers take their jaded beliefs into business. They destroy fake supernatural evils for a price.

I wanted to see this film when it came out, but I never got around to it. I’m sorry about that, because I think it would have been better in the early 2000s. In the decade between then and now, there’ve been a lot of technological advances that made graphics better and HD did no favors to this film.

Graphics aside, the story was interesting and the acting was pretty good. I felt like Peter Stormare (The Blacklist, Penguins of Madagascar, 22 Jump Street) was a bit over the top, but Matt Damon (Interstellar, Happy Feet Two, Good Will Hunting), Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain, The Patriot, 10 Thing I Hate About You), Lena Headey (Zipper, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Dredd) and Monica Bellucci (The Whistleblower, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Shoot ‘Em Up) made up for it.

In the end, I wish I’d liked this film more. Unfortunately, it did very little for me. If I want to watch this kind of film, I’ll watch Van Helsing (2004).

Cat’s Point of View:
I feel I must begin with an admission that I am a Monty Python geek. The Brothers Grimm’s director, Terry Gilliam (Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Tideland), happens to be the only US-born original member of that group.

Where am I going with this random trivia? The second part of my admission is that I often watch projects involving the Python boys through fandom-colored glasses. I begin my viewing with an expectation of being thoroughly entertained, and they rarely disappoint.

I have seen this film before, around the time it was released. I remembered it fondly, and was happy to re-watch.
This tale of con-artists forced to finally face the nightmare of real magic afoot in the world was a fun ride. The balance of comedy with the darkness on the brothers’ path to redemption keeps the tale from being too heavy-handed.

Matt Damon (The Bourne Ultimatum, The Monuments Men, Elysium) captures well the angst of a brother carrying around the ghost of his deceased sister. The late Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight, A Knight's Tale, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) was also an excellent casting to embody the spirit of the unforgiven dreamer.

I also enjoyed Lena Headey’s (Game of Thrones, 300, The Purge) strong character.  Her personal tale was one of pain and loss, and she captured that as well as embracing the lighter side. Grandmother Frog was also a nice transition for Damon’s brother to show his character growth.

As a side note, fans of Game of Thrones (2011-) and The Pirates of the Caribbean (2003-) franchise might recognize some familiar faces in the supporting cast.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 38%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 39%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.1/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score2.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 4.2/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Lifeguard (2013)

Number Rolled: 3
Movie Name/Year: The Lifeguard (2013)
Genre: Indie
Length: 97 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: C Plus Pictures, La Pistola, Attic Light Films, Off Hollywood Pictures, Wild Invention, Houndstooth, Productivity Media
Executive Producer: Dallas Brennan, Tim Brown, Estelle Buzzard, Mike Dolan, Chris Gilligan, Brian Hartman, John Mancini, Ed McWilliams, Diaa Nour, Daljit DJ Parmar, William Santor, Gregory P. Shockro, Rabinder Sira, Andrew Chang-Sang
Director: Liz W. Garcia
Writer: Liz W. Garcia
Actors: Kristen Bell, Mamie Gummer, Martin Starr, Alex Shaffer, Jashua Harto, David Lambert, Amy Madigan, Adam LeFevre, John Finn, Paulie Litt, Sendhil Ramamurthy

Selina’s Point of View:
Leigh is having some problems. She feels suffocated in New York; invisible. When the guy she’s seeing gets engaged, she decides to give herself a change of scenery and head home for a while.

This was a hardcore drama. I don’t tend to enjoy that kind of film. I only like the genre when it’s mixed with another: comedy, action, horror, thriller, etc. I want to say that was the only reason I didn’t like the film, but it was also the plot. I found it… icky.

I know that’s some real third grade vocabulary, but there is no other way to put it. It was icky. Plain and simple.

For what it was, however, the actors were great. Kristen Bell (House of Lies, Veronica Mars, Frozen) is amazing on a general basis and David Lambert (The Fosters, Aaron Stone, Den Brother) really embodied his part. The same cast in a different movie would be nice.

Cat’s Point of View:
The Lifeguard was another movie I watched blind. I skipped the trailer, and reviews of others in favor of a blank slate. I’m glad I did.

I didn’t know in advance that Kristen Bell’s (Movie 43, Gossip Girl, Scream 4) character would become involved with the younger character played by David Lambert (The Fosters, Den Brother, Aaron Stone). Setting the ‘should they’ or ‘shouldn’t they’ aside; their performances were outstanding and the chemistry was believable.

It was also quite the treat to see Amy Madigan (Field of Dreams, Uncle Buck, Carnivale) as Leigh’s mother. She is wonderful in a maternal role and didn’t disappoint.

I can understand that many will find moral stumbling ground, and perhaps outrage, over the age difference in the relationship that takes place within the movie.  Wrong, right, legal, or illegal these sorts of situations happen in the real world.

The movie clearly wasn’t meant to be a fluff piece where everyone lives in ideal-land and never breaks rules or has questionable moral fiber. It was meant to be a gritty movie about nearing a big milestone in life and realizing you’re lost amidst the choices that have brought you thus far.

I feel this is a relatable movie. Things don’t always turn out how you’ve planned – even if you’re the valedictorian and land the job of your dreams. This was a poignant tale of trying to recapture a feeling of happiness, security, and life direction.

Considering that writing TV dramas has been the bread and butter for Liz W. Garcia (Dawson's Creek, Cold Case, Memphis Beat); it is no surprise that her directorial debut was an edgy drama. I am looking forward to seeing more of her work on the big screen.

Netflix guessed this at only 2 stars for me. I think it's still learning my preferences, however. I enjoyed the movie. Some of the deeper concepts are resonating with me, and have me thinking long after the credits stopped rolling.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 13%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 27%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 2.8/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score1.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 2/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

Movie Trailer: