Wednesday, September 16, 2015

7 Below (2012)

Number Rolled: 65
Movie Name/Year: 7 Below (2012)
Tagline: Secrets of the past never die.
Genre: Thriller
Length: 92 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Vitamin A Films, Barking Fish Entertainment, Efish Entertainment, PalmStar Media, Silver Moonlight Productions
Executive Producer: Michael Bassick, Kevin Scott Frakes, Terry Hilliard, Aaron Johnson, Rob Purvis, Tom Reilly, Lise Romanoff, Raj Brinder Singh, Peggy Taylor
Director: Kevin Carraway
Writer: Kevin Carraway, Lawrence Sara
Actors: Matt Barr, Rebecca Da Costa, Luke Goss, Ving Rhames, Val Kilmer, Bonnie Somerville, Christian Baha, Jennifer Trier, Kaleigh Howland, Silvio Wolf Busch, Kylie Pfingsten, Brianna Lee Johnson, Corey Reilly

A group of people are on their way to a resort when things go wrong. Their van crashes off the side of the road just as the weather begins to turn bad. Luckily, there’s a man nearby willing to help them out.

Selina’s Point of View:
I was so bored while watching I began to play trope bingo.

Everyone knows I have no problem with recipe films. Some of them can be quite creative, actually. After all, an apple pie is made from a recipe and can still be yummy.

This film, however, was terrible.

The plot was weak and only supported by tropes, there was no actual substance added. On top of that, even with the shallow script and story, the actors couldn’t make me care in the slightest.

I wouldn’t watch this film again if somebody paid me.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’ve been on a bit of a horror/thriller kick lately. When I saw that this film had not only Ving Rhames (Lilo & Stitch, Money Fight, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation) and Val Kilmer (Alexander, MacGruber, Planes), but also Matt Barr (The House Bunny, One Tree Hill, Parkland); I was sold.

There have been tales about murder houses before, though this particular take on that concept was interesting. I think it lost something in the execution, however.  It may have partially been the writing.

Something was off about the family in the beginning, so it somewhat set the tone for things to feel ‘off’ through the rest. There were some plot holes here and there – specifically about the weather, and some of the segments in the woods.

The acting was hit or miss. Rhames’ character, Jack, was very creepy and I enjoyed his performance. However, the doctor, played by Christian Baha (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Savages), was awkwardly portrayed. I honestly forgot he was in the movie when he was off screen.  Rebecca Da Costa (Freerunner, Breaking at the Edge, The Bag Man) was another that gave a slightly stilted performance.

I don’t think this was Kilmer’s best role but I think he did alright with what he was given to work with. Aside from Rhames, I enjoyed Matt Barr’s performance. His delivery felt more natural than most of the others. While this project, overall, was a bit lackluster; I am looking forward to seeing the upcoming projects that he has in development.

I don’t think that the film quite lived up to my expectations, though it wasn’t utterly horrible.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 5%

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

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 3/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score2.5/5

Movie Trailer:

Monday, September 14, 2015

Hercules (2014)

Number Rolled: 68
Movie Name/Year: Hercules (2014)
Tagline: Before he was a legend, he was a man.
Genre: Action & Adventure
Length: 101 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Paramount Pictures, MGM, Flynn Picture Company, Radical Studios, Mid Atlantic Films
Executive Producer: Sarah Aubrey, Peter Berg, Jesse Berger, Ross Fanger, Stephen Jones
Director: Brett Ratner
Writer: Ryan Condal, Evan Spiliotopoulos, Steve Moore
Actors: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Rufus Sewell, Aksel Hennie, Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Reece Ritchie, Joseph Fiennes, Tobias Santelmann, Peter Mullan, Rebecca Ferguson, Isaac Anderson

Hercules has gotten out of the hero game. He’s a mercenary now, working for gold. He and his team are celebrating their latest feat when they are hired by a noble woman.

Selina’s Point of View:
I was underwhelmed by Hercules. I didn’t like the way the main character was portrayed and I didn’t like the plot. At the same time, I didn’t exactly hate the film either.

I have a guilty pleasure spot in my heart for Dwayne Johnson (Ballers, Furious 7, San Andreas) and there’s no denying the talent in John Hurt (Snowpiercer, Doctor Who, Only Lovers Left Alive). I knew they’d bring something great to the film from the beginning. Ingrid Bolso Berdal (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Chernobyl Diaries, The ABCs of Death) and Rebecca Ferguson (The White Queen, Mission: Impossibe – Rogue Nation, Drowning Ghost) were another story, they were new to me. I adored the way Atalanta played out and Ferguson took a rather shallow character and made her worth watching.

In the end, Hercules is not the greatest film featuring the legend. It had a somewhat unique take on it, but not necessarily a good one.

As “meh” as I am about the film, there is something I feel very strongly about.

The MPAA rating.

This movie featured several instances of nudity and a great deal of blood and gore, but was labeled PG-13. I remember watching G.B.F. (2013) a while back. There were a couple of kisses, no nudity, no gore and only a few dirty words thrown it. It was rated R.

Where the fuck are they getting these ratings from? Are they picking them out of a hat?

I hear rumors constantly about how the MPAA ratings are more political anything else. All back room deals and bribes, with lower budget films left treading water. The more movies I watch, the more I’m willing to believe those rumors.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Hercules should have been rated R.

Shame on you MPAA. Shame.

Cat’s Point of View:
2014 was ‘the year of Hercules’ at the box office. I remember the dueling trailers for the two Hercules movies that were set to come out that year. The Legend of Hercules (2014), starring Kellan Lutz (Immortals, Arena, Prom Night), was the first to hit theatres in January. This Hercules, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (Fast Five, Pain & Gain, Snitch), was released in July.

I’ve seen both films. I’d have to say I enjoyed this one far better than Lutz’s version. His wasn’t horrible, but it didn’t feel like it stayed as true to the iconic legend as much as this film did.

Hercules was gritty and offered a glimpse at the ‘behind the scenes’ of the mighty warrior’s famous legend. This film should be a treat for the realists out there or those that enjoy when ghost hunting shows debunk paranormal experiences (pressure changes and drafts that close doors, plumbing issues causing pipes to shake noisily, and dust or insects are the ‘orbs’ on security footage, etc.).

Dwayne Johnson is a big man, and has always had an impressive physique due to his athletics up through his college years and the many years he has successfully been a professional wrestler with the WWE. He wanted to take this role to the next level, though, and I believe he nailed it.

Eight months of training put the cast through their paces, in efforts to let them work as a cohesive team through the fighting sequences of the movie, etc. Johnson was very meticulous that he live up to the image of Hercules, and was committed to this role above and beyond the likes of which we lowly mortals are used to.

The man sustained an injury during a high-profile wrestling match where he tore 2 tendons from his pelvis, and that didn’t daunt him from this high-impact film. Unfortunately, it did lead to a triple-hernia surgery that delayed the beginning of principal photography… by only two weeks. He rehabilitated himself while filming was going on.

Johnson has come a long way since The Scorpion King (2002); and while I could say much more regarding his performance in this film, I must also address his cast mates.

The ensemble cast of Hercules’ compatriots helped add depth to this sword and sandal flick – helping paint the picture of the man behind the legend so that the intended question looms. Was he truly a demigod, son of Zeus, or was he merely a phenomenally gifted mortal?

Ingrid Bolsø Berdal (Women in Oversized Men’s Shirts, Hellfjord, I Travel Alone) was strong as the Amazon. Rufus Sewell (A Knight's Tale, The Holiday, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) brought great wit and subtlety to his role. There were exchanges of expression alone between himself and other actors that spoke volumes that words did not need convey.

My favorite of Hercules’ companions were the ‘failed oracle’ played by Ian McShane (Kung Fu Panda, Jack the Giant Slayer, John Wick), and the near feral Tydeus portrayed by Aksel Hennie (Age of Heroes, Pioneer, The Martian). The former brought both wisdom and levity to the story and the latter’s tale was heart wrenching. Hennie’s character wasn’t a speaking role, and yet his performance was clear and profound in the telling of his personal story.

I could ramble on about this film; but the nutshell is that I really enjoyed this story and would recommend experiencing this movie – if only to marvel how Johnson pulled off this role with the physical challenges he was experiencing.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 60%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 49%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.5/5
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: R

P.S. During the credits there are still shots of what really happened (according to the movie’s version of the legend) during Hercules’ “labors”

Movie Trailer: