Thursday, September 3, 2015

Cat Run (2011): Through the Eyes of Cat

Number Rolled: N/A
Movie Name/Year: Cat Run (2011)
Tagline: CATch her if you can.
Genre: Independent
Length: 105 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Lleju Productions , Universal Studios (Distribution only)
Executive Producer: Ram Bergman, Derrick Borte, Peter Principato, Max Winkler, Paul Young
Director: John Stockwell
Writer: Nick Ball, John Niven
Actors: Paz Vega, Janet McTeer, Alphonso McAuley, Scott Mechlowicz, Christopher McDonald, Karel Roden, D.L. Hughley, Tony Curran, Michelle Lombardo, Radik Golovkov, Branko Djuric, Gordan Kicic, Jelena Gavrilovic, Albert Perez, Caleb Vela Poquet, Heather Chasen, Michael Sopko, Vanja Govorko, Jovan Krstic, Jean-Christophe Bouvet, Milorad Kapor

 Anthony has done his best to distance himself from his family. He even moved out of the U.S. and opened a restaurant on another continent. Business wound up kind of sucking and when his best friend finds him and gives him the idea to start a detective agency he folds. Their first case, though, takes them further into danger than they ever expected. 

Cat’s Point of View:

I feel I must begin with an assurance to you that the fact my name is in the title of the movie did not influence my opinion of its content. I promise! I did get a kick out of it, though. (Trivia: Catalina is also the Spanish version of my name.)

For our regular readers, this is a bit of a blast from the past. Selina already viewed this movie and provided you her take on it approximately a year ago. I hadn’t seen this one before, however. 

With our fearless lead blogger out on an adventure of a lifetime, we wanted to revisit a title or so to give readers a different perspective, potentially, on some of the films she’s already reviewed.  This reminds me of a popular meme. 

Okay! Here we go.

I won’t keep you in suspense. I really enjoyed this movie. Apparently critics don’t like films about call girls targeted by assassins to cover up politicians’ bad behavior – but hey, to each their own, right?

This movie has so much  more to offer than flagrant sex.

You’ve got to look past all the nudity, really, because that’s setting. It’s not there to be gratuitous. Even the rather surprising bit towards the end has a purpose (and a very clever and seemingly random seed for hilarity sewn earlier in the film sets that up, as well).

These characters are compelling (even if what they sometimes compel you to do is smack your palm to your forehead – I’m looking at you, Julian).

I really felt Cat’s drive for survival and appreciated her intelligence and quick-thinking in the face of something that was out of her depth. Paz Vega (Demon Inside, Grace of Monaco, Kill the Messenger) did an amazing job running the emotional gauntlet with her.

Anthony, played by Scott Mechlowicz (Peaceful Warrior, Eden, Demonic), had so many layers that made him interesting. He had a mysterious past he was avoiding, he was a restaurateur, and he had a mind like a steel trap. His powers of observation were rather impressive. I wanted to learn so much more about him – and yet the pacing of the film didn’t give much room for that – and that was ok.

I felt that they played a little to stereotypes with his friend Julian. Yet, Alphonso McAuley (Fat Albert, Glory Road, Nim's Island) brings such fun and depth to that character. Most of the descriptions I’ve seen for this film mention ‘bumbling private detectives.’ Julian puts the “bumble” in the “bumbling.”

There were some other well known faces in this movie; from D.L. Hughley (Soul Plane, Cloud 9, Spy School), to Christopher McDonald (Kickin' it Old Skool, Awake, Fanboys), and Tony Curran (Ondine, The Presence, The Adventures of Tintin).

I must touch on Janet McTeer (Tideland, The Woman in Black, Insurgent), though. She was phenomenal as the former MI-6 agent turned ruthless assassin-for-hire. She certainly ups the violence quotient in the film, yet you also get to see an entirely different side to her before the movie’s over.

Overall, I think this film is hilarious and smart – though, not for the squeamish.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 14%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 33%

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 3.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Top Ten Movies to Look Out For In September (2015)

According to: Selina

10 – Black Mass (9/18)

Tag Line: Keep your enemies close.
Production Company: Cross Creek Pictures, Grisbi Productions, Infinitum Nihil, Free State Pictures, Head Gear Films, Metrol Technology, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, Ridgerock Entertainment Group, Vendian Entertainment
Director: Scott Cooper
Writer: Mark Mallouk, Jez Butterworth, Dick Lehr, Gerard O’Neill
Actors: Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Dakota Johnson, Corey Stoll, Juno Temple, Kevin Bacon, Adam Scott, Peter Sarsgaard, Julianne Nicholson
Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama
Rated: R

Biographies don’t usually interest me unless the person featured is someone I already give a damn about. In this case I don’t even really know who he is.

The only reason I’m interested in Black Mass is because of the cast.

In the trailer it looks like Johnny Depp (Into the Woods, Tusk, Dark Shadows) pulls off an amazing performance. When you add in people like Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, The Imitation Game, 12 Years a Slave), Kevin Bacon (The Following, R.I.P.D., Super) and Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, The Overnight), it’s difficult to resist.

9 – Everest (9/25)

Tag Line: Never let go.
Production Company:, Cross Creek Pictures, Free State Pictures, RVK Studios, Universal Pictures, Walden Media, Working Title Films
Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Writer: William Nicholson, Simon Beaufoy
Actors: Elizabeth Debicki, Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke, Sam Worthington, Emily Watson, Clive Standen
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Thriller
Rated: PG-13

Now this movie looks interesting based on the plot. It’s my understanding that it’s based off a book, so it’s not so shocking that the story looks interesting. If it wasn’t, no one would have bothered to turn it into a film in the first place.

Everest looks like a non-disaster disaster movie. I like disaster movies. There’s nothing like watching an apocalypse manifest to appreciate life.

In this case, of course, there’s that added bonus of humans overcoming obstacles.

8 – Ashby (9/25)

Tag Line: Life is about knowing how to take a hit.
Production Company: Head Gear Films, Langley Park Productions, Metrol Technology
Director: Tony McNamara
Writer: Tony McNamara
Actors: Mickey Rourke, Nat Wolff, Emma Roberts, Sarah Silverman, Adam Aalderks, Seth Dousman, Kevin Dunn
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rated: R

I’m not a fan of Mickey Rourke (Java Heat, Iron Man 2, Immortals).

Save your gasps. We all have unpopular opinions now and then.

Despite the fact that Rourke makes me want to automatically turn off my screen most of the time, this movie still looks interesting. It comes down to the story, for the most part.

Although I have a feeling the film will follow a specific recipe, I almost don’t care. Even Rourke seems to have an endearing quality in the trailer.

7 – The Green Inferno (9/25)

Tag Line: No good deed goes unpunished.
Production Company: Worldview Entertainment, Dragonfly Entertainment, Sobras International Pictures
Director: Eli Roth
Writer: Guillermo Amoedo, Nicolas Lopez, Eli Roth
Actors: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Aaron Burns, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Magda Apanowicz, Ignacia Allamand, Daryl Sabara, Sky Ferreira
Genre: Adventure, Horror
Rated: R

At the beginning of the trailer for this film, it’s easy to wonder if this is some kind of social commentary drama. It isn’t long before you’re reminded that Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever, Knock Knock) is the director.

I enjoy Roth’s work for the most part (at least what I’ve seen) and The Green Inferno seems to be along the same lines as those of his movies that I really enjoyed.

It’s also been a while since I’ve seen a decent film based around cannibals.

6 – The Intern (9/25)

Tag Line: Experience never gets old.
Production Company: Waverly Films
Director: Nancy Meyers
Writer: Nancy Meyers
Actors: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Nat Wolff, Rene Russo, Adam DeVine, Zack Pearlman, Drena De Niro
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG-13

Robert De Niro (Grudge Match, Last Vegas, Silver Linings Playbook). Anne Hathaway (Don Peyote, Les Miserables, The Dark Night Rises). Adam DeVine (Workaholics, Pitch Perfect, Modern Family).

Exactly how could that combination of actors NOT be epic?

The storyline is kind of interesting too, I guess. It’s not overly original and it probably won’t shatter expectations… but I’d shell out the money to see it in theaters.

Sometimes, a decent story told by great actors is enough to elevate a movie above what it could have been.

5 – The Visit (9/11)

Tag Line: No one loves you like your grandparents.
Production Company: Blinding Edge Pictures, Blumhouse Productions
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Actors: Kathryn Hahn, Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Benjamin Kanes
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Rated: PG-13

I hate shaky-cam.

Never-the-less, I feel as though I want to give The Visit a chance. I have a weakness for twist endings and, let’s face it, with M. Night Shyamalan (Unbreakable, The Village, The Sixth Sense) involved there’s probably a hell of a twist.

As a horror film, it look creepy enough, too.

I’m not sure what kind of “comedy” is supposed to be a part of it though. I’m wondering if someone at IMDB was drunk when they labeled that.

Hey, who knows? Trailers mislead people all the time. Maybe the grandparents were just pulling a prank the whole time and everyone goes home laughing!

4 – Sicario (9/18)

Tag Line: None
Production Company: Black Label Media, Thunder Road Pictures
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
Actors: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Jon Bernthal, Josh Brolin, Jeffrey Donovan, Victor Garber
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Rated: R

War movies are a huge interest for me, but that’s not why this film drew my attention.

While I was watching the trailer, I kept staring at the lead woman and trying to remember who she was. Halfway through, I exclaimed, “Holy shit, that’s Emily Blunt.”

One of the reasons I love Johnny Depp so much is because he’s a chameleon. He could play anyone, anytime, with any wardrobe staff and sell it to the audience. He becomes any character he plays. Seeing Emily Blunt (Into the Woods, Looper, The Devil Wears Prada) in the trailer for Sicario, I believe may have it in her to do the same thing.

She’s surrounded by a great cast as well.

Here’s hoping the trailer isn’t lying.

3 – Bloodsucking Bastards (9/4)

Tag Line: Work. It sucks the life out of you.
Production Company: Fortress Features, MTY Productions
Director: Brian James O’Connell
Writer: Dr. God, Ryan Mitts
Actors: Fran Kranz, Pedro Pascal, Joey Kern, Joel Murray, Emma Fitzpatrick, Yvette Yates, Justin Ware, Marshall Givens, David F. Park
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Rated: NR

Is there any way to not love Fran Kranz (Much Ado About Nothing, The Cabin in the Woods, Dollhouse)? I don’t believe there is.

I have loved Kranz in every movie and television show I’ve ever seen him in. I’m completely ambivalent to the rest of the cast, though.

Regardless of the actors, this film just looks hilarious. Add to that my love of vampires (the kind that DON’T sparkle) and we’ve got a film I can sit through even if it winds up sucking.

Uh… no pun intended.

2 – Cooties (9/18)

Tag Line: Circle, circle. Square, square. Now you have it everywhere.
Production Company: SpectreVision, Glacier Films
Director: Jonathan Milott, Cary Murnion
Writer: Leigh Whannell, Ian Brennan, Josh C. Waller
Actors: Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannell, Nasim Pedrad, Ian Brennan, Jorge Garcia, Cooper Roth
Genre: Action, Comedy, Horror
Rated: R

Comedy + zombies + kick-ass cast = Yes.

I’m amused by the entire premise of this film and everyone acting in it. Like Bloodsucking Bastards, this film has the possibility of falling into the “awesome” category, even if it’s not necessarily “good.”

1 – Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (9/18)

Tag Line: The maze was just the beginning.
Production Company: Gotham Group, TSG Entertainment, Temple Hill Entertainment
Director: Wes Ball
Writer: T.S. Nowlin, James Dashner
Actors: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Nathalio Emmanuel, Aidan Gillen, Rosa Salazar, Ki Hong Lee, Dexter Darden, Jacob Lofland
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: PG-13

I read the Maze Runner books, including the prequel, and I just saw the first film. Although the grievers don’t look a damn thing like I picture them, I still really enjoyed the film.

It doesn’t hurt that I think Dylan O’Brien (Teen Wolf, The Internship, The First Time) is perfect as Thomas and that Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones, Calvary, Love/Hate) makes a phenomenal Janson.

I can’t wait to see if the makers of this film go as far as the books did. It’s got a PG-13 rating, so I’m left wondering a bit, but I can still hope they get the point across. After all, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) maintained its PG-13 rating without cutting out a brutal gunshot execution by simply eliminating the blood splatter.

Hopefully, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials will follow suit.

Top 10 Movies to Look Out For
According to: Cat

The Transporter Refueled – 10
Ashby – 9
Dragon Blade – 8
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials – 7
The Anomaly – 6
Goodnight Mommy – 5
The Hive – 4
The Perfect Guy – 3
Bloodsucking Bastards – 2
Cooties – 1

"Horror films don't create fear. They erase it." ~ Wes Craven

On August 30, Wes Craven was confirmed dead, to The Hollywood Reporter, by his family.

The film world lost a writer and director so powerful that his filmography could easily just be a list of someone’s favorite films. He created Freddy Krueger, he made Scream (1996) everything it was, he even directed a few of the Twilight Zone (1985-1989) episodes.

Wes Craven is credited with the saying: “Horror films don’t create fear. They release it.” He saw horror as a way to get people to think rationally about whatever they feared. It is likely because of that point of view, that he became such a house-hold name.

Craven introduced his fans to fear and offered them courage after-the-fact. He saw horror as an escape.

Throughout his own health battles, he never stopped believing in movies. He died still in the middle of several projects that will either never be completed, or will be finished by someone else.

There’s no doubt that those projects will be better for him having had any part in them to begin with.

Rest in peace, Wes Craven.