Thursday, October 22, 2015

Centurion (2010)

Number Rolled: 92
Movie Name/Year: Centurion (2010)
Tagline: Fight or die.
Genre: Action & Adventure
Length: 97 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Pathe Pictures International, UK Film Council, Warner Bros., Canal+, CineCinema, Celador Films
Executive Producer: Francois Ivernel, Cameron McCracken, Paul Smith
Director: Neil Marshall
Writer: Neil Marshall
Actors: Michael Fassbender, Andreas Wisniewski, Dave Legeno, Axelle Carolyn, Dominic West, JJ Feild, Lee Ross, David Morrissey, Ulrich Thomsen, Ryan Atkinson, Paul Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Liam Cunningham, Noel Clarke, Dimitri Leonidas, Riz Ahmed, Imogen Poots, Rachael Stirling

Quintus Dias is a Roman soldier fighting in a war over land when he is captured by the enemy. After his escape, he meets up with a Legion on their way to join the battle.

Selina’s Point of View:
To be honest, I have conflicting feelings about this film.

On one hand, high definition was not a friend to Centurion. I also had some base issues with the script. I got stuck on that “this is neither the beginning nor the end of my story.” Yes it is. It’s the beginning of your damn story. That’s why the movie started there.

I’m not really sure why that phrase annoyed me so much, but it made it hard to take the rest of the movie seriously.

On the other hand, I really liked some of the acting in this film. Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs, A Dangerous Mind, Prometheus), Olga Kurylenko (Magic City, Hitman, To the Wonder), Dominic West (The Affair, The Hour, The Awakening) and Imogen Poots (Filth, Fright Night, Jane Eyre) were the only reason I could even concentrate on the film at all.

Even with great acting, I had trouble enjoying the film.

The problem with my opinion here, is that I don’t think I’m right.

Looking at Centurion objectively, it’s a really good film.

Despite my issues with the script, it really wasn’t bad at all and the characters had significant depth to them. There were twists along the way that should have had me sitting on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it was.

Normally, I’d give a confident recommendation, or lack thereof. This time, I can’t do that. I really think I just stumbled over that first monologue and couldn’t get my footing again.

Cat’s Point of View:
I have been looking forward to seeing this movie for a while now. I was fairly bouncy when this was our random result.

I loved the cinematography here – the breadth and scope of the environment captured for the setting of this movie was breathtaking. I truly felt like the protagonists were far from the Roman civilization they’d call home, or any semblance of it.

Can we talk about the action?! It was amazing! The fighting in this film was well choreographed; and the battles were gritty and realistic.

There are so many familiar faces in this film; recognizable across multiple fandoms.

I will admit that my primary draw to this movie was Michael Fassbender (Blood Creek, Jane Eyre, Shame). I first ran across Fassbender in a little known BBC series called Hex (2004-2005).  His character in that series made me want to root for the bad guy a little. I was so excited to see when his career started taking off in more ‘mainstream’ avenues.

Once again, he delivered a superb performance.  He embodied the spirit of his centurion character fighting against the odds, drawing me along with him.

I did mention multiple fandoms, didn’t I? While Fassbender takes care of the Marvel-verse, and even sci-fi enthusiasts that enjoy acid-bleeding aliens, there’s more! Let’s add Doctor Who (2005-),  The Walking Dead (2010-), and even Game of Thrones (2011-).
Noel Clarke (Doghouse, Doctor Who, Star Trek Into Darkness), David Morrissey (The Water Horse, The Other Bolyn Girl, The Walking Dead), and Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones, Clash of the Titans, Safe House) were all enjoyable in their roles beyond the flash of excitement at recognition.

I liked Olga Kurylenko (Erased, Oblivion, The November Man) as Etain in this film. Her performance didn’t resonate quite as well as I would have liked – but it was a difficult role, considering her character was mute and relied on body language alone.

All in all, this was a damn fine film; and I’d recommend it to any who enjoy this genre.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 59%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 42%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

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

P.S. You can hear wind blowing at the end of the credits, but it does not lead into an extra scene.

Movie Trailer:

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Living (2014)

Number Rolled: 71
Movie Name/Year: The Living (2014)
Tagline: None
Genre: Drama
Length: 91 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Shooting Films
Executive Producer: Chad Eggers, Ashley Pishock
Director: Jack Bryan
Writer: Jack Bryan
Actors: Fran Kranz, Jocelin Donahue, Kenny Wormald, Chris Mulkey, Joelle Carter, Erin Cummings, Andy Sandberg

Teddy wakes up after a night of drinking to find that he beat his wife while he was blacked out. From that moment on he attempts to make it up to her while her family’s distaste for the situation turns to rage.

Selina’s Point of View:
I absolutely adore Fran Kranz (The Cabin in the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing, Bloodsucking Bastards). I have loved him as a stoner, a tech geek, even as a vampire-slaying office worker. My love for Kranz as an actor goes back to Donnie Darko (2001) when he first stepped out of a car wearing a ridiculous clown costume.

The Living is a movie I might not have seen at all if Kranz wasn’t in it and if we didn’t do the dice rolling for the blog. I’m not big on drama, not even dark-film noir type of drama.I’m really glad I got to see this.

Rotten Tomatoes seemed to mostly dislike this film and I’m not sure why.

Fran Kranz pulled off his role perfectly. I was invested in his character’s life and trials. No movie has ever been able to get me to sympathize with the abuser. My father was abusive. Fuck those guys. Still, Kranz pulled it off.

Aside from him, the other actors were great in their respective roles. Jocelin Donahue (The Burrowers, The End of Love, Wes and Ella) broke my heart every time she flinched. I could feel the anxiety oozing off of Kenny Wormald’s (Center Stage: Turn it Up, Kid Cannabis, Love & Mercy) character. Chris Mulkey (Captain Phillips, The Purge, Saving Grace) pulled off the insane criminal pretty well. Joelle Carter (Justified, Jessabelle, The Week) was very believable as the overwhelmed and jaded mother that had her kids too early.

I enjoyed seeing this story from the side of almost every character and I thought the progression followed a steady pace. It helps that I really feel like the plot was creative and unique.

My personal opinion on The Living is to say “fuck the critics.” It’s really worth a watch-through.

Cat’s Point of View:
When we rolled a Fran Kranz (The Village, Rise: Blood Hunter, Before I Disappear) movie, my interest was immediately piqued. I became a fan of his with his work on the series Dollhouse (2009-2010). I’d seen him in a few things before then, but that’s where the first real zing connection was.

His scruffy adorableness in this film made it a little harder to be angry with his character’s actions. Though, perhaps that was the point? Perhaps that was part of the window that let the audience peer in to his emotions and connect with his regret and desire for redemption.

I almost didn’t recognize Kenny Wormald (Footloose, Cavemen, By the Gun). Between the facial hair and the demeanor he was embodying with his role here; he was a far cry from the last film I saw him in. I think that’s a plus in his favor. His performance was well nuanced here. You could just see how the character was just internalizing everything.

Chris Mulkey (Cloverfield, The Perfect Game, Bad Actress) was an interesting addition to this cast. He’s one of those actors that have been all over the place with an episode here and there in tons of TV shows. You know his face, even if you don’t remember exactly the last project he was in.

This film was poignant and also ominous, as it moved towards inevitability. Events set in motion by Wormald’s character make it predictable – but that, I believe, is part of the anticipation. It was more of a question of when things would happen, rather than what would be happening.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 43%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 36%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 2/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 2/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

P.S. Mulkey is rumored to be reprising his role in the highly anticipated 2017 return of the Twin Peaks TV Series, which originally aired from 1990-1991.

Movie Trailer: