Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mean Girls 2 (2011)

Number Rolled: 12
Movie Name/Year: Mean Girls 2 (2011)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 96 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Paramount Famous Productions
Production Executive: Peter M. Green
Director: Melanie Mayron
Writer: Allison Schroeder, Elana Lesser, Cliff Ruby
Actors: Meaghan Martin, Donn Lamkin, Linden Ashby, Dan Coleman, Claire Holt, Patrick Johnson, Colin Dennard, Maiara Walsh, Nicole Gale Anderson, Bethany Anne Lind, Jennifer Stone, Tim Meadows, Mike Pniewski, Diego Boneta, Rhoda Griffis, Amber Wallace, Juliet Kim

Jo moves around a lot. As a result, she tries pretty hard not to get involved in the lives of other people in her schools. No boys. No drama. No friends. In her new school, however, she finds it impossible to stand idly by as one of the girls gets mercilessly bullied.

Selina’s Point of View:
Let me give you a hint about what to expect: I saw this film once before and didn’t realize it until halfway through. In other words, Mean Girls 2 was truly forgettable.

It wasn’t a terrible movie; I can’t say I hated it. The actors were fine enough and it was cool seeing Claire Holt (The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Littly Liars, Aquarius), unfortunately the characters lacked any depth at all.

The first Mean Girls (2004) didn’t exactly thrill me either, but I'm not part of the cult following. Yes, it has a cult following. Probably because Tina Fey (30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) managed to show all the characters motivations in a way that made the story line interesting. 

She made the movie memorable.

Without Tina Fey, Paramount should have let this series die.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was really skeptical when we rolled the sequel to Mean Girls (2004). I wasn’t all that crazy about the original. I even procrastinated a bit before I buckled down to watch. Was it saying something that my daughter didn’t want to watch it with me? I even got the ‘ugh no’ expression, when I asked.

We were both so wrong – and now she’s jealous I watched it without her. This movie was surprisingly enjoyable.

An immediate bonus in this film’s favor was that it wasn't a rinse and repeat of the first movie. Tim Meadows (Mean Girls, Jack and Jill, Grown Ups 2) reprised his role as Mr. Duvall. He was the comedic bridge that ties both movies together, without dragging along baggage from the first film.

Meaghan Martin (Awkward, Safelight, Senior Project) was a refreshing protagonist. She rocked the tomboy role and it was interesting to see her on the other end of the spectrum. She had played the ‘mean girl’ antagonist in Camp Rock (2008).

I am increasingly impressed with the range of Claire Holt (Blue Like Jazz, H2O: Just Add Water, The Originals). The characters she has portrayed in her television roles have been serious and emotionally charged. It was fun to see her in the vapid role here.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Diego Boneta (90210, Eden, Underemployed). I fell in love with him in Rock of Ages (2012); one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies. He added some real depth to the role of Tyler. I am really excited in anticipation of the upcoming projects IMDb has listed for him.

Some of the movie was a little over-the-top but it wasn’t out of control. I think there was a nice balance between the comedy and the underlying message. I laughed, I cringed, and I would watch it again.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 32%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 1.2/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score2/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 2.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score – 4/5

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Riley Rewind (2013)

Number Rolled: 83
Movie Name/Year: Riley Rewind (2013)
Genre: Sci-Fi
Length: 46 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Production Companies: Runaway Machine
Executive Producer: Ray William Johnson
Director: Ray William Johnson
Writer: Anna Akana
Actors: Anna Akana, Lamar Legend, Leanna Spear, Cassandra Van Dongen, Russell Dennis Lewis, Christina Marie Leonard, R. Eric Braun, Trevor Dow, Scott Higgins, Ray William Johnson, Chad Anthony Miller, Megan Rosati, Emma Lee, A Leslie Kies, Zach Preston, Kaja Martin, Jennifer Shumaker, Clint Jung, Josh Holt, Tony Curtis Blondell

Riley is your typical high school student. She’s worried about the prom, her date, her best friend… oh, and she has this nifty ability to turn back time. When she finds out a fellow student is in trouble, Riley decides to go back and help her out.

Selina’s Point of View:
I haven’t known about Ray William Johnson (=3, Booze Lightyear, Your Favorite Martian) for very long. I learned about his former YouTube show, “=3,” from my friend Xavier in mid-2013. Not long after that, he canceled the show, but it’s back with a new host now.

His channel is still up and running. I recommend checking it out.

I expected a lot from Riley Rewind. Johnson is a funny guy and I fell in love with his channel pretty easily, why wouldn’t I enjoy a movie of his?

The film is split into 5 acts and was originally seen broken up on YouTube. Although it’s all pushed together for the Netflix version, the theme still splits it up like chapters. I didn’t really mind that. It added an extra “rewind” aspect to the film.

The acting seemed a little over the top at first; except for Anna Akana (Breaking Los Angeles, 10 Second Trauma, The Beauty Inside) and Russell Dennis Lewis (Real Heroes, Return of the Black Queen, Saltwater) who were immediately amazing. As the film drew on and I got sucked into the story, the acting either got better, or was always good and I just started understanding the characters and their mannerisms.

I was thrilled with what I watched. I wish it was longer.

I’ve seen only a single piece of hope for a sequel. It came in the form of a 2013 blog post by Anna Akana. I can’t find any evidence of a formal announcement or coming attraction. That makes me sad.

I’d like to leave a little note for Ray William Johnson and Anna Akana: Make a second one. If it’s a matter of money, there’s always indiegogo. Just in case, I’ll keep a donation with your name on it.

Cat’s Point of View:
One thing I really enjoy about the randomness of our selection process, is that it brings me to movies I might otherwise have never seen. This film is a good example.

The concept of the story was well thought out and they did a pretty good job with the execution. I am a fan of "wibbly wobbly timey wimey…stuff."

Having grown up with Doctor Who (1963-), it tends to set the bar pretty high.

I was glad that the story was handled with real cause and effect – changing the past having unknown, and sometimes unintended, effects on the future. Riley’s moral quandary around her powers vs. whether it gave her responsibility to use it to save others was another element I appreciated.

Now let’s talk special effects. For a small independent film, they can’t have had a very big budget for such things. I think they got pretty good bang for their buck. The time transitions weren’t too hokey, and I liked the little electric effect they added to her.

The only thing that bugged me a little about the film was the repeated replay of the opening credits sequence. It was a little confusing for me. Was this originally some sort of series that eventually was packaged as a single film? Was it a device that was underscoring the ‘rewind’ aspect, continually rewinding the opening between acts?

It reminded me of old-school cartoons that had short bookend sequences around commercial breaks. I’m not sure that was where they wanted to go with it. Regardless, it left things feeling a little disjointed for me. Otherwise I really enjoyed the movie.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 42%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.9/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score4.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 3.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

The Random Rating: PG-13

Movie Trailer: