Thursday, January 28, 2016

Jane Eyre (2011)

Number Rolled: 98
Movie Name/Year: Jane Eyre (2011)
Tagline: She sought refuge... and found a place haunted by secrets.
Genre: Drama
Length: 120 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Focus Features, BBC Films, Ruby Films, Lipsync Productions
Producer: Mairi Bett, Hannah Farrell, Peter Hampden, Christine Langan, Alison Owen, Paul Trijbits, Faye Ward, Sasha Harris
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Writer: Charlotte Bronte, Moira Buffini
Actors: Mia Wasikowska, Jamie Bell, Su Elliot, Holliday Grainger, Tamzin Merchant, Amelia Clarkson, Sally Hawkins, Simon McBurney, Judi Dench, Romy Settbon Moore, Michael Fassbender, Imogen Poots, Sophie Ward

Blurb from Netflix: Driven from her post at Thornfield House, young governess Jane Eyre reflects on her youth and the events that led her to misty moors.

Selina’s Point of View:
I’m going to be honest here, I don’t feel qualified to review this film.

Technically, the film was great. Breathtaking scenes, wonderful costume designs, and the casting/acting was phenomenal. None of that was a problem at all.

My issue is that it’s exactly the kind of movie I would never choose to watch on my own. Granted, I’ve seen a lot of great movies while writing this blog that I never would have chosen to watch before I rolled them. I never would have seen Archie’s Final Project (2009) or Judas Kiss (2011) and they are both movies I absolutely adored.

It’s that slow pure drama with light romance that generally bores me to tears and Jane Eyre was exactly that.

So, I’m giving the movie a mediocre score, but don’t judge the film by that. I’m sure it would be scored much higher by someone that actually enjoys the genre.

Cat’s Point of View:
I love a good period piece now and again. It’s fun to get swept away into the story and back in time, as well.

It has been a very long time since I read the novel by Charlotte Brontë which inspired this movie. I would be hard pressed to recall the minutia of detail to note whether or not this film stayed completely accurate to the book; or even how it stood up to the earlier films adapted from the novel.

What I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I was captivated and drawn in to Jane’s plight. The more I see of Mia Wasikowska (Rogue, Stoker, Crimson Peak), the more I enjoy her as an actress. She excellently portrays a wide-eyed innocent aspect, yet retaining spirit and backbone.

Quite a few seem to equivocate innocence to simpering naiveté. She did justice to her role in embodying this figure from classical literature without evoking such sentiment.

How do I love Michael Fassbender (Hunger, Blood Creek, Shame), let me count the ways… ok so I’ll admit I’m a bit biased when it comes to him. I do submit, however, that it is entirely warranted and deserving on account of his talent.

He embodied the role of the Byronic Rochester with finesse. From moments of whimsy to insightful and moody banter to enigmatic urgency; Fassbender exceeded my already high expectations.  Whether taking on works of Shakespeare, xenomorphs, or the Marvelverse; any film he’s involved with is likely worth giving a chance.

There were other recognizable, and notable, performances here such as Dame Judi Dench (Rage, J. Edgar, Philomena) as Mrs. Fairfax; and Jamie Bell (Flags of Our Fathers, The Eagle, Snowpiercer) as St. John Rivers.

Cinematically, I could have done without a little bit of shaky-cam in the beginning; but that’s really just splitting hairs.

Finally, if the house used as the setting for the Reeds’ home, Gateshead, looks familiar; you might have seen it on the screen before. It was used as a filming location in at least one other production - Gosford Park (2001). 

Not only would I recommend this movie, and gladly watch it again; I think it’s long overdue that I revisit the book.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 84%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 76%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score2.5/5

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

Movie Trailer:

Monday, January 25, 2016

Jewtopia (2012)

Number Rolled: 90
Movie Name/Year: Jewtopia (2012)
Tagline: The story of a gentile who wants to marry a Jewish girl... so he'll never have to make another decision.
Genre: Comedy
Length: 88 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production Companies: Cinedigm, Quartz Films, Oops Doughnuts Productions, Tooley Productions, Alex Productions, Ministry of Content, Zjisa Productions
Producer: Andy Fickman, Bryan Fogel, David Fogel, Linda Fogel, Pavlina Hatoupis, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Dan Keston, Courtney Mizel, P.C. Mizel, Joel David Moore, J.B. Popplewell, Scott Prisand, Paris G. Reese III, Tucker Tooley, Matt Weaver, Christopher Wilhem, Sam Wolfson
Director: Bryan Fogel
Writer: Bryan Fogel, Sam Wolfson
Actors: Austin Abrams, Tom Arnold, Brennan Bailey, Wilmer Calderon, Joe Childs, Cheryl Daro, Cheryl David, Neil Dickson, Conor Dubin, Tom Fitzpatrick, Rachel G. Fox, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Christine Lakin, Jon Lovitz, Hayes MacArthur, Wendie Malick, Rolando Molina, Joel David Moore, Crystal Reed, Ivan Sergei, Lin Shaye, Nicollette Sheridan, Peter Stormare, Elaine Tan, Bree Turner, Rita Wilson

Blurb from Netflix: When a would-be suitor enlists his friend’s help in pretending to be Jewish so that a Jewish girl will date him, cultures collide and chaos ensues.

Selina’s Point of View:
Jewtopia was…. interesting.

I don’t identify as Jewish, but that’s how I was raised. I went to a Jewish summer camp every year where I learned a little about the religion and some Hebrew. I attend Passover and Shabbat dinners with a close friend of mine that’s no longer in my life. I didn’t attend religious services, though. I’m Jewish enough to be able to make that throat sound when I speak Hebrew, but not Jewish enough to know what that throat sound is called.

Maybe it’s because of how I was raised, but I definitely felt that this film went very close to that religiously inappropriate line. I, personally, don’t get offended very easily. I laughed at a lot of the jokes I probably shouldn’t have laughed at. I just want to make sure that the people who might be more sensitive about the subject of religion know that this movie isn’t for them.

I found a lot of the film hilarious. Especially those deep stereotypes that I recognize from my family or other people I know. The plot was a little on the muddled and disappointing side and the ending was absolutely terrible, but it wasn’t all bad.

I wasn’t a fan of most of the acting, though. Jon Lovitz (The Ridiculous 6, Mr. Box Office, A League of Their Own) being one of the exceptions. Lovitz makes an exceptional Jewish dad and that voice is so soothing…. Ok… not really about the voice. The rest of that was true though.

In the end, I don’t think the film was all that amazing, but the ride was amusing at the very least.

I’d like to remind readers: If you are easily offended, this is not the film for you. Just move along. Nothing to see here.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’m not so sure that I liked this movie.

It wasn’t horrible, per se, and I did laugh a lot – I just couldn’t quite “get into it.” Of course, I think a big part of my disconnect was the total predictability of how things would go. I also really disliked the ending.

I was raised Catholic, though I have had Jewish friends. I’ve even attended a bar mitzvah. I can’t say that I understood all of the references in the movie, but I did catch a lot of them. My laughter in places was paired with a considerable amount of face-palming. 

This is definitely not a movie to watch with anyone easily offended; and there is a good amount of explicit material. I'd recommend steering small children or anyone opposed to R-Rated movies away from this one.

I could relate a little with the main character, though. When I was in high school, I was informed after one really fun date that his parents wouldn’t let him see me anymore due to our religious background differences. (He was a Jehovah’s Witness.)

Moving along - the family dynamics were way over the top. I would hazard a guess that it was just for further comedic factor; though, they really could have dialed it back just a little and still hit that mark. 

Some of the casting choices were interesting. Normally, Jon Lovitz (The Producers, A Mouse Tale, The Ridiculous 6) drives me bananas. Something about him just tends to rub my nerves wrong. I’m not sure if it’s the nasal quality of his voice or the types of roles he usually plays. He’s just not a favorite. However, he managed to not annoy me with his screen time in this movie.  

I was pleasantly surprised to see Lin Shaye (Killer By Nature, Chillerama, Ouija) in this one. She’s a very busy lady. I counted twelve pending projects listed in IMDb. 

Even though I don’t believe I’d watch this movie again, it was at least entertaining.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 10%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 27%

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

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

The Random Rating: R

P.S. Extra scene during the credits.

Movie Trailer: