Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Hurt Locker (2008)

Number Rolled: 3
Movie Name/Year: The Hurt Locker (2008)
Tagline: You’ll know when you’re in it.
Genre: Drama
Length: 130 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Voltage Pictures, Grosvenor Park Media, Film Capital Europe Funds, First Light Production, Kingsgate Films, Summit Entertainment
Producer: Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier, Jenn Lee, Tony Mark, Donall McCusker, Jack Schuster, Greg Shapiro, Kirk Shaw
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Mark Boal
Actors: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Evangeline Lilly, Christian Camargo, Christopher Sayegh

Blurb from Netflix: Kathryn Bigelow directs this gripping drama following one of the U.S. Army’s elite explosive ordnance disposal teams operating in Iraq.

Selina’s Point of View:
War movies are not often at the top of my list of movies to watch. That’s weird because I always seem to enjoy them.

Enjoy is not really the right word, but I can’t think of a better one.

In all honesty, war movies that are made well scare the fuck out of me. I watch as the characters are exposed to horrible things and immediately think about the people I care about that have been in war zones. It chokes me up a bit. I’m a firm supporter of the military and I have nothing but respect for anyone who enlists, but I would also prefer my loved ones remain safe.

Bah. Sorry. I could rant about that for a while, so I’ll just move right on.

The Hurt Locker was a very good movie. The acting was well above average and the plot/script brought me so far into the story that I experienced every emotion right along with the characters.

I had a couple of minor issues. None of which actually lessened how much I liked the film.

Some of the camera movement was jerky where it should have been smooth and there were aspects of some scenes that were disjointed and difficult to follow. Other than that, I can’t really find much wrong with the movie.

I was curious as to way it was called The Hurt Locker, however. At no point in the movie is it made clear. According to an explanation I found by BBC News, a “hurt locker” is GI slang for severe injury. As I write this it’s 4 am, so no one on my friends list is awake to ask. I’m going to have to just go with that for now.

Cat’s Point of View:
I watched this movie with my husband; back when it first came out on DVD. I’d remembered that I’d liked the film; but, of course, I watched it again to refresh my memory as to why.

Oscar wins and nominations aside, it has stuck with me a bit. Though, it is pretty impressive that this movie beat out Avatar (2009) for the Best Picture that year.

For your usual nugget of trivia – ironically, it was James Cameron (Titanic, Ghosts of the Abyss, Avatar) whom convinced Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break, Strange Days, Zero Dark Thirty) to make this movie, as she was focused on another project originally.

I’m not a big war movie fan. I can watch them without feeling like I’ve been burdened with some onerous chore –they’re just not my preferred cup of tea.

At the same time, I hold high respect and admiration for our service men and women that put their lives on the line day in and day out far from home. Perhaps that is one of the tempering factors for me – if they can endure all of it as reality, then I sure as hell can sit through a couple hours of a sneak peek into that world.

That being said, this movie felt a bit like a window into reality rather than a contrived piece of fiction. The situations were gritty and visceral. There was plenty of suspense, and there were spurts of action.

Some sections felt a bit slow, but that could possibly have been intentional to maintain the mood of the movie.

Of course, with the Marvel Cinematic Universe as big and explosive as it is these days, actors Jeremy Renner (28 Weeks Later, The Bourne Legacy, Kill the Messenger) and Anthony Mackie (Real Steel, Runner Runner, Love The Coopers) are practically household names as Hawkeye and Falcon.

When this movie was released, that wasn’t entirely the case. (There are a few more Marvel connections in this film – can you find them?) Though, there are a few more well-known actors among the cast; such as Ralph Fiennes (In Bruges, Great Expectations, Spectre) and David Morse (Disturbia, World War Z, Horns)…they just didn’t get as much screen time.

I haven’t forgotten Brian Geraghty (The Guardian, Open House, Flight). During the first few minutes he was on screen, I had a little debate with myself. “Is that who I think that is?” Turns out, I was right. He can be seen on the multi-show Chicago franchise on NBC, primarily on Chicago P.D. (2014-).

I don’t know that I would watch this movie a third time, personally – but it is an excellent film.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 98%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 84%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

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

Movie Trailer: [ The TRAILER does this weird wibbly-wobbly-wavey thing that induces vertigo. The MOVIE does not. ] 

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Right Kind of Wrong (2013)

Number Rolled: 29
Movie Name/Year: The Right Kind of Wrong (2013)
Tagline: Leo just met the love of his life. At her wedding.
Genre: Comedy
Length: 97 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Serendipity Point Films, Nomadic Pictures
Producer: Stephen Alix, Paula Devonshie, Michael Frislev, Ari Lantos, Robert Lantos, Tara Moross, Mark Musselman, Chad Oakes
Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik
Writer: Megan Martin, Tim Sandlin
Actors: Ryan Kwanten, Sara Canning, Ryan McPartlin, Kristen Hager, James A. Woods, Raoul Bhaneja, Jennifer Baxter, Will Sasso, Catherine O’Hara, Maria Menounos, Mateen Devji, Maya Samy

Blurb from Netflix: Writer/dreamer/dishwasher Leo Palamino faces a dilemma of epic proportions when he meets the girl of his dreams on her wedding day.

Selina’s Point of View:
I’ve been sitting here for roughly fifteen minutes trying to figure out what to say about the movie I just finished watching. It’s not easy.

The beginning of the film was so cringe-worthy that I had trouble watching it because I was shifting in my seat. Some people enjoy that kind of cringe-factor, I don’t. I guess I have a very sensitive sense of embarrassment.

There was no real issue with the cast. Ryan Kwanten (Knights of Badassdom, Griff the Invisible, Not Suitable for Children) is a funny guy and just has that teddy-bear-hug-me look to him. Perfect for the quirky, not quite normal, romantic comedy part. Sara Canning (Remedy, I Put a Hit on You, Primeval: New World) was decent in her part as well, Will Sasso (The Britishes, Beautiful Girl, MADtv) is always hilarious, and Catherine O'Hara (Home Alone, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice) is a point of wonderful nostalgia for me.

The problem was not the actors. I don’t think the problem even fell with the director. I think I really just didn’t like the story.

In fact, with a change of soundtrack and a different ending this could easily become a thriller.

I just don’t have any interest in a romantic comedy that makes the stalker the good guy. I like weird, I think that might have been a little too weird for me.

Ladies and gentlemen, if someone is following you everywhere you go and watching every move you make. That is not harmless. Call the cops.

Cat’s Point of View:
I didn’t think that I was really in the mood for a rom-com at the outset of watching this movie. In fact, when my attention starts to bounce around (which it does a lot, I can’t help it), I tend to fidget.

Surprisingly, I didn’t fidget this time. I’d like to think that it was because the movie was just downright entertaining.

I laughed, I winced, and I think I actually said ‘awwwwh’ out loud at one point, too.

Ryan Kwanten (Red Hill, Mystery Road, 7500) stole my heart as the adorably hot doofus on True Blood (2008-2014). I’ve missed seeing him on the screen since then. I think he was a marvelous casting choice for his role in this film.

He can pull off comedy and the serious elements with equal skill, and he seems fearless when it comes to physicality in roles. I’m not just talking about getting in the buff for sexytime, geez!

I loved Sara Canning’s (The Vampire Diaries, I Think I Do, Eadweard) character, Collette, in this movie as well. She delivered both snark and sincerity deftly.

There were so many elements of this movie that I enjoyed. I’d definitely recommend this film to anyone who enjoys reveling in the rightness of being ‘so wrong’ sometimes.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 12%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 37%

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

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

P.S. Short added scene during the credits.

Movie Trailer: