Thursday, November 12, 2015

Breaking at the Edge (2013)

Number Rolled: 80
Movie Name/Year: Breaking at the Edge (2013)
Tagline: The line between reality and insanity is as thin as a razor’s edge.
Genre: Thriller
Length: 85 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Cinemarket Films, TinRes Entertainment, Vitamin A Films
Executive Producer: David Grovic, Jake Kennedy
Director: Predrag Antonijevic
Writer: Jake Kennedy, Nissar Modi
Actors: Rebecca Da Costa, Milo Ventimiglia, Andie MacDowell, Johnathon Schaech, Logan Browning, Brianne Davis, Louis Gossett Jr., Gabriel Macht

Bianca and Ian are trying to start a family, but it’s been difficult. A miscarriage led to the discovery of a chemical imbalance in Bianca’s brain. Now that she’s pregnant again, they are trying to make sure nothing goes wrong.

Selina’s Point of View:
The beginning of the movie did nothing for me. It had all the tropes you’d expect. There was the obligatory shot of a character taking meds followed by the overly used statement that “nothing can go wrong.”

Nothing tells you that shit is about to hit the fan more clearly than a character saying some version of “nothing can go wrong.” It’s like someone saying “we need to talk.” Nothing about that statement has ever been good in the history of ever.

Around a half hour in I suddenly became glued to the screen. I wasn’t sure what was real and what was in the main character’s head. It became more of an experience than just watching a movie for the blog.

Rebecca Da Costa (Freerunner, Treasure of the Black Jaguar, L.A. I Hate You) will likely never be a favorite actor of mine. A lot of what she did for this film felt flat and unbelievable. Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes, Gamer, Dirty Deeds) is another story. He is one of my favorites already, without a doubt. I consider him a highly underrated actor with extraordinary range. I think he should be a house-hold name and it bugs me that he’s not. He played the part of Ian brilliantly.

By the end of the film, my heart was racing and I couldn’t look away. That is exactly what you hope for when you choose to watch a thriller.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’ve been dying for this movie to come up on our random roll. The premise looked interesting; and let’s face it – it’s a Milo Ventimiglia (Pathology, Chosen, Tell) movie. We’ve established already that I’m a fan, yes? I wanted to like this movie; though I did my best to be objective as I watched. 

I wasn’t disappointed.

There were a few slow spots for me, but that didn’t take away from the overall experience. The plot kept me guessing, and was successful in its ominous atmosphere.

Back when we reviewed 7 Below (2012), I noted Rebecca Da Costa (Trick of the Witch, Mine Games, The Bag Man) was in this film. I have to admit that I was concerned, given that her performance in that movie had lacked something. I think it had to just be that movie. She did a bang up job with this one. 

Her performance was compelling and drew me in. I shared her worry and doubted some of my own perceptions.

The casting for the doctor was spot on with Andie MacDowell (Intervention, The 5th Quarter, Mighty Fine). She gives off this natural warmth that elevated her role in the film, even though it was small. Another familiar and interesting actor in this film was Louis Gossett Jr. (Shannon's Rainbow, Smitty, Pride of Lions). I enjoyed the small dash of levity that he brought to the otherwise serious movie.

Finally, of course, there’s Milo. His performance was on point, as usual. He has shown time and again that he is able to embody roles such as this and make it look effortless. I enjoyed my conflicted feelings elicited by his on-screen journey with Rebecca Da Costa’s character in this film.

If you enjoy suspenseful thrillers, I would recommend this movie.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 15%

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

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 2.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score 4/5

Movie Trailer:

Monday, November 9, 2015

Adventureland (2009)

Number Rolled: 94
Movie Name/Year: Adventureland (2009)
Tagline: Long hours. Low pay. High times.
Genre: Romance
Length: 106 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Miramax, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, This Is That Productions
Executive Producer: William Horberg, Bruce Toll
Director: Greg Mottola
Writer: Greg Mottola
Actors: Jesse Eisenberg, Kelsey Ford, Michael Zegen, Ryan McFarland, Jack Gilpin, Wendie Malick, Matt Bush, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Martin Starr, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Margarita Levieva, Josh Pais, Mary Birdsong

James is used to not having to worry about money. When his father is demoted, however, he’s forced to put aside his hopes for a European vacation and an ivy league college and take up a job at a theme park.

Selina’s Point of View:
I’m a fan of Ryan Reynolds (Self/less, R.I.P.D., Green Lantern), so I’ve been interested in Adventureland for a while. To be honest, I also wanted to see how Kristen Stewart (American Ultra, Camp X-Ray, Still Alice) would do in a movie that wasn’t a crapfest of sparkly vampires. I really haven’t seen much of her in other parts, so I’m curious.

To be honest, I don’t think this was Reynold’s best work. His performance was a little flat. That could be what was called for in order to portray his character well, but he came off as boring to me.

Stewart, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise. She wasn’t bad and it makes me wonder if she got her reputation for being so emotionless because she had to be to pull off the vapid and depthless character of Bella. She’s not the most amazing actress to ever grace the silver screen, but I don’t think she deserves the hate that she gets. In the case of any actor involved in the Twilight series: blame the writer, not the actor.

The movie was weird. Not a bad weird, just weird. I think that’s the general effect of starring Jesse Eisenberg (American Ultra, Now You See Me, The Social Network). He’s got the most spectacularly punchable face and he pulls off super awkward more than any other actor except, maybe, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick-Ass, Neighbors, Fright Night).

I think the real issue, is that you have to be into movies like this to really enjoy Adventureland. It’s not exactly a movie for people just dipping their toe into the genre. It’s very geared toward teenage romance with just a little drama. I tend to prefer movies that involve a lot of anticipation and that make my heart jump. I’ve seen some romances that could do it, but not this one.

It wasn’t bad, and I’d even recommend it to some people. It’s just not for everyone.

Cat’s Point of View:
To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this film. I’m not the biggest fan of Jesse Eisenberg (The Hunting Party, Rio, Night Moves). I do enjoy a handful of his movies, though. I was hoping that this movie might have comedy on par with his performance in Zombieland (2009).

Then, take into consideration Kristen Stewart (Into the Wild, Jumper, The Runaways). She is excellent in portraying morose and flustered. Her performance in the movies she is most noted for is rather one-note on that level.

Further, what was up with Ryan Reynolds (Safe House, The Croods, Woman in Gold) and the last mention in the opening credits? I digress. That really doesn’t have any bearing on the film, itself, after all.

Survey says? I bought what this movie was selling 106 minutes of nostalgia. This flick took me back to a time when we had a small amusement park in town when I was growing up. Sadly, it closed in the 90’s after a tornado literally bent the Ferris wheel in half.

Can we also talk about Em’s car??? It was a Pacer, of all things. The first car I remember my parents owning was a silver Pacer. For unrelated extra credit – can you name other movies that little bubble car has appeared in?

I must give kudos to the music department for this movie. The soundtrack selection was well timed within the film, and was a crazy eclectic mix. There were 41 songs from the 1980’s packed into this film. The Cure made an appearance, in addition to David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Judas Priest, Whitesnake, and the Replacements – just to name a few. See if you can catch all the Easter eggs involving The Velvet Underground.

Sonic landscape aside, the movie was relatable. I liked the performances by Eisenberg and Stewart more than I thought I would. Their connection was there, and I didn’t feel like I was watching automatons.

Brace yourself for the bad pun – I enjoyed the emotional roller-coaster. It wasn’t a huge one that had me crying or clutching my chest or anything, but I did feel something.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 88%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 60%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 3/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

P.S. There’s a commercial for the Adventureland theme park seen in the movie near the middle of the credits. There are also some very familiar names in the “Special Thanks” portion.

Movie Trailer: