Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Last House on Cemetery Lane (2015)

Number Rolled: 5
Movie Name/Year: The Last House on Cemetery Lane (2015)
Tagline: Evil has a new home.
Genre: Horror
Length: 81 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Last House on Cemetery Lane, North Bank Entertainment
Executive Producer: Robert Graham
Director: Andrew Jones
Writer: Andrew Jones
Actors: Vivien Bridson, Lee Bane, Georgina Blackledge, Tessa Wood, Ian Smyth, Ian Grey, Kelly Jones

John Davies is a script writer looking for a place to write in peace. So, he rents a house only to find that it’s hiding some secrets.

Selina’s Point of View:
The most horrifying thing about this film was the camera angles. Seriously… they were bad. At no point in the future do I want to see a guy in tighty-whiteys and a robe walk over a camera pointed directly up. It wasn’t necessary this first time.

Even without camera angles like that, the film was full of moments where the image went shaky… but not on purpose. The film was not made to be shaky-cam. Instead, it was like the cameraman’s arm was just getting tired.

On top of that nonsense, the script was insanely boring and predictable. About an hour in I realized I had 20 minutes left and was hoping there would be 20 minutes of credits.

I didn’t believe anything about this film. It didn’t thrill me, it didn’t even entertain me.

Fail. Just… fail.

Cat’s Point of View:
I am a believer in finding positives in most things. A meme floated through my Facebook recently that compared the “Glass Half Full” analogy – for the science inclined, it’s completely full. Half of the glass has liquid and the other half has gas.

I have stared at my computer screen for a while now as I ponder what I just watched. I have no positives. I hated it. I want that 82 minutes back, actually.

It took almost 30 minutes for the film to even begin to show that it might want to be a horror movie, and even then – it wasn’t all that creepy. It felt like the cast was asleep at the wheel. It was clumsy and predictable.

The score was strangely timed in places and was downright confused. Most films that utilize a modern pop song in the soundtrack as background filler will utilize more than one to explore the themes in the movie. This film was one and done, and it added nothing substantial to that nebulous first pointless stretch of the movie.

The rest of the film (aside from the record player) was wanna-be-slasher-film screechy strings and attempts at building an ominous atmosphere.

I haven’t seen any of Andrew Jones’ (The Amityville Asylum, Valley of the Witch, Robert the Doll) other projects. I sincerely hope that they’re better than this. After watching this disaster, however, I do not believe I will be expecting much if they come up on our list.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 11%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 1.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score1/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 1.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score1/5

The Random Rating: PG-13

Movie Trailer:

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Art of the Steal (2013)

Number Rolled: 16
Movie Name/Year: The Art of the Steal (2013)
Tagline: It takes a great artist to pull off the perfect con.
Genre: Indie
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Entertainment One, Darius Films
Executive Producer: Jeff Sackman, Noah Segal, Mark Slone, Bob Weinstein
Director: Jonathan Sobol
Writer: Jonathan Sobol
Actors: Kurt Russell, Matt Dillon, Jay Baruchel, Kenneth Welsh, Chris Diamantopoulos, Katheryn Winnick, Jason Jones, Terence Stamp, Devon Bostick

Crunch Calhoun was betrayed by his brother, Nicky, during a heist. After spending his time in jail, he finds it difficult to get back on his feet.

Selina’s Point of View:
I do not agree with the “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes for this film.

Alright, the beginning of the movie seemed to be about nothing more than sending Francie out of the room, but it didn’t stay that way. The plot eventually picked up steam and, by the end of the movie, it felt like I’d only been watching for about 20 minutes.

Not all the actors were on point, but the ones that were… they really sold their parts.

The banter between Jason Jones (Rosewater, Pitch Perfect 2, Creative Galaxy) and Terence Stamp (Smallville, Yes Man, Get Smart) was hilarious. I believed the situation and the way they rubbed on each other’s nerves. Meanwhile, Kenneth Welsh (Survival of the Dead, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Four Brothers) and Chris Diamantopoulos (The Three Stooges, The Office, Wedding Daze) both brought flare to their accent-wielding characters in such a way that made me want to like them.

Finally, there was Jay Baruchel (Man Seeking Woman, How to Train Your Dragon, This is the End). I will keep saying it, whenever we watch a movie including him: Baruchel is an amazing actor. I’ll concede that he has a tendency to be type-cast, but that’s because of his body type, not his range. He’s naturally lanky, so unless he pulls a Devon Sawa (Devil’s Den, SLC Punk!, Slackers), he’ll pretty much always be type cast.

[What I mean by “pulls a Devon Sawa”: Sawa as Owen in Nikita (2010-2013) vs. Sawa as Anton in Idle Hands (1999) or even Andrew in Creature of Darkness (2009) is like the difference between night and day. I don’t see Devon Sawa being type-cast in the future the way he was in his teenage years]

Even if I admit that I enjoyed the movie more than I should have, The Art of the Steal is still a decent heist movie that didn’t exactly deserve many of the negative reviews.

At the very least, if you liked Leverage (2008-2012), you will most likely enjoy this film.

Cat’s Point of View:
I peeked at the cast list of this film before I watched and had no idea what to make of this movie. I hadn’t heard of it before – though, given who was involved, it promised to be entertaining at the very least.

Iconic film veteran, Kurt Russell (Sky High, Death Proof, Furious Seven), is no stranger to action or comedy. I bought what he was selling in this film. The sibling rivalry between his character and Matt Dillon’s (Crash, Herbie Fully Loaded, Old Dogs) felt authentic, and brought some good tension to the story.

I haven’t loved everything that Dillon has worked on over the years, but I do have to give him credit for playing an excellent heel. His performance to that effect in this film was spot on.

For those that have followed Jay Baruchel’s (Fanboys, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Goon) career, there is a funny moment in this movie that nods towards one of his prior film roles. I really enjoy him as an actor. He brings this phenomenal blend of awkward and cool to his characters, and this film is an excellent example of such.

Terence Stamp’s (Wanted, Valkyrie, The Adjustment Bureau) character was a great counterpoint to the Interpol agent he was coerced into assisting.  Stamp has had some kickass roles in his career – he was even the original General Zod of the 1980s Superman movies. I thoroughly enjoyed the subtlety of his performance here with his wry British humor.

While the overall plot of this film was not unique – there have been so many great heist movies over the years – it did deliver the story with style and well thought-out twists. The film built on its actors’ strengths, and the result was a clever comedic romp exploring the concept of ‘honor amongst thieves.’

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 44%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 38%

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

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 4/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

P.S. Bloopers during the credits and a short repeated scene after.

Movie Trailer: