Thursday, August 20, 2015

If I Stay (2014)

Number Rolled: 100
Movie Name/Year: If I Stay (2014)
Tagline: Live for love.
Genre: Drama
Length: 106 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: DiNovi Pictures, MGM, New Line Cinema
Executive Producer: Denise Di Novi, Gayle Forman, Brad Can Arragon
Director: R.J. Cutler
Writer: Shauna Cross, Gayle Forman
Actors: Chloe Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley, Joshua Leonard, Liana Liberato, Stacy Keach, Gabrielle Rose, Jakob Davies, Ali Miner, Aisha Hinds, Lauren Lee Smith

Mia has her whole life planned out. Even when she meets a boy that threatens her ultimate plan, she stays on course. A sudden and tragic car accident, however, leaves her fighting for her life.

Selina’s Point of View:
Chloe Grace Moretz (Laggies, Kick Ass, Carrie) is an amazing actress. She transforms her roles until they fit her. Even a depth-less character becomes something special when she performs.

She is the reason I wanted to see this movie so badly. Sure, the concept was intriguing… but it was Chloe that really made me want to watch.

I can’t say it was entertaining, but it wasn’t really supposed to be. The point of the film was to trigger emotions on a deeper level than your generic drama. Unfortunately, I didn’t really think it worked. It was like sadness for sadness sake, very little storyline other than what you pick up in the trailer. In fact, I feel like this is my second time watching the film because the trailer left very little in question. I even knew the ending within minutes of the movie’s start.

The actors did great with their parts, but great actors can’t really help a bad adaptation. If I Stay should have remained a book. I haven’t read it, but I’m almost positive it would be the better platform for telling this story.

Cat’s Point of View:
I have wanted to see this film since the trailers first aired for it. The story seemed compelling and tragic – with just enough hope. The few moments of the teasers made me misty; I knew I was in for a roller-coaster.

ChloĆ« Grace Moretz (Let Me In, Dark Shadows, Hugo) is a joy to watch, especially when her heart is breaking right on the screen for you. She pulls you in with her as the girl lost in her music, and rips your heart out with the decision she has to face.  From vigilante to victim, I have enjoyed watching her career blossom.

The film does an excellent job of endearing this family to you. The Halls are the kind of laid back parents that everyone wishes they had. Their surprise, sacrifice, and support are all put together in a masterful puzzle. Mireille Enos (World War Z, Sabotage, The Captive) and Joshua Leonard (The Town that Dreaded Sundown, 6 Years, The Ever After) were brilliant in their supporting roles.

I think Stacy Keach (The Boxer, The Portal, Planes) was the tipping point for me, though. I was a little sniffly before his key scene, but afterwards I think I was all out bawling.

If I’m being fair, however, I have to note that the whole movie wasn’t squeezing my heart for tears, only most of it. There were some lighter moments within the interaction between Mia and Adam, played by Jamie Blackley (Vinyl, The Fifth Estate, Irrational Man), that were warm and even funny.

Fans of Stephen King’s Under the Dome (2013-) might recognize one of the nurses in this film. Aisha Hinds (Lost Dream, Unstoppable, Beyond the Lights) was a pleasant surprise, here.

I loved this movie in spite of it holding a mosh pit on my emotions. This one is probably going into my collection in the “Wall-o-Movies” at my house. I would recommend it; and also bringing plenty of tissue when you watch it.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 36%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 62%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.7/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score2.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

P.S. This movie was based on a book, “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman. However, there’s a second novel told from Adam’s perspective: “Where She Went” by the same author.

Movie Trailer:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Radio Rebel (2012)

Number Rolled: 21
Movie Name/Year: Radio Rebel (2012)
Tagline: Can the girl who never speaks… become the voice of a generation?
Genre: Comedy
Length: 89 minutes
Rating: TV-G
Production Companies: Two 4 the Money Media, Goldenring Productions, Morp Services
Executive Producer: Kim Arnott, Oliver De Caigny, Jane Goldenring, Michael Jacobs, Robyn Snyder, Fernando Szew
Director: Peter Howitt
Writer: Danielle Joseph, Erik Patterson, Jessica Scott, Peter Howitt
Actors: Debby Ryan, Sarena Parmar, Adam DiMarco, Atticus Mitchell, Merritt Patterson, Allie Bertram, Iain Belcher, Rowen Kahn, Nancy Robertson, Martin Cummins, April Telek, Mercedes de la Zerda

Tara is the shy girl in school, she doesn’t make any waves. Hell, she won’t even answer a teacher’s question. What people don’t know, however, is that she is the loved and popular Radio Rebel when school lets out.

Selina’s Point of View:
I didn’t out-right hate the movie. On some level, I even enjoyed it a little bit. When I learned that it was a book made into film, I realized I would have no problem picking the book up. I bet it’s a decent read.

I just don’t think it survived the transitions to film. Not completely, anyway.

The actors tried, but they didn’t have much to work with and no one had any chemistry with anyone else. The principal was a caricature at best. I really hope the book gives more depth to the characters. I know my imagination would have better acting.

Still, there were some amusing moments and it wasn’t completely unwatchable.

In the end, it would probably be an interesting film for young teens and pre-teens, but for me… it is what it is.

Cat’s Point of View:
I remember the trailers for this film running on the Disney Channel before it first aired, however, I didn’t catch it then. I had high hopes for the concept, since the premise had stuck with me over the years.

Most of the TV Movies that air for the mouse network are laced with underlying life lessons. It was no different for this one. I found the story and the message behind it very compelling. It was something that I could identify with, personally.

Like any other teen-aimed movie, there were stereotypes highlighted with the high school class tropes. The message, however, clearly pushed to ditch such labels in favor of just being yourself and overcoming obstacles.

When I was younger, I was sometimes almost painfully shy. It’s still something that I occasionally struggle with. I discovered, much like the character Tara in this film, that technology was an excellent buffer that allowed me to more freely express myself and just be me.

Debby Ryan (What If..., The Suite Life Movie, Secret of the Wings) pulled me along on her character’s journey. Her performance was the quintessential essence of that feeling of everything overwhelming swirling around within you and yet lacking the ability to express yourself face to face.

Her transformation was paced well as she blossomed into herself. She’s a familiar face from some of the shows my daughter has enjoyed watching, and I enjoyed her in this role.

While this movie is geared towards teens, I believe it could be enjoyable at any age.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 62%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score2/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 4.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score4.5/5

The Random Rating: PG

P.S. This movie is based on the book “Shrinking Violet” by Danielle Joseph.

Movie Trailer: