Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (2014)

Number Rolled: 30
Movie Name/Year: The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (2014)
Tagline: The new name for adventure.
Genre: Children & Family Movies
Length: 99 minutes
Rating: PG
Production Companies: Entertainment Motion Pictures (E-MOTION), Arcadia Motion Pictures, Matador Pictures, The Kraken Films, Telefonica Productions, Nix Films, International Pictures Two, Cronos Entertainment AIE, Cinema One, Afrodita Audiovisual AIE, uFilm, Le Tax Shelter du Gouvernement Federal de Belgique, Umedia
Producer: Gabriel Arias-Salgado, Marina Fuentes Arredonda, Peter Bevan, Jeremy Burdek, Maurice Chasse, Ibon Cormenzana, Ignasi Estape, Megan Guy, Nadia Khamlichi, Adrian Politowski, Karl Richards, Paul Sarony, Fumiko Thomas, Cesar Vargas, Charlotte Walls, Dilles Waterkeyn
Director: Jonathan Newman
Writer: Christian Taylor, Matthew Huffman, G.P. Taylor
Actors: Michael Sheen, Lena Headey, Sam Neill, Ioan Gruffudd, Aneurin Barnard, Keeley Hawes, Tristan Gemmill, Daniel Wilde, Mella Carron, Xavier Atkins

Blurb from Netflix: Based on G.P. Taylor’s steam-punk tale, the Victorian-era thriller follows Mariah Mundi’s journey in darkness to rescue his kidnapped brother.

Selina’s Point of View:
I had trouble seeing this film as a true children’s movie. The story line was so much more in depth and intricate than a lot of the kid’s stuff I tend to see. It made a lot more sense when I found out the film was based on a book, but I’m still not all that sure I’d label it Children & Family before Sci-fi & Fantasy.

That being said, I actually really enjoyed this movie. It had an intriguing storyline that reminded me very subtly of The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan. Oh, there were no magic users in this film, but something about it kept tugging at my memory of that book series.

There was action, mythology, and drama. I also kind of enjoyed the steampunky flair.

Most of the acting was top notch. You’d expect nothing less from Lena Headey (Game of Thrones, The Purge, Dredd) or Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, Peaky Binders, United Passions), but I was also pleasantly surprised by Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex, Admission, The Twilight Saga) and Mella Carron (Brooklyn, What Richard Did, Death of a Superhero). I did have an issue with the brothers, however.

In the beginning, I didn’t find myself immediately enjoying Aneurin Barnard’s (War & Peace, The White Queen, Mary Queen of Scots) performance. By the end of the film I was so caught up in the story that his acting became less of an issue. Xavier Atkins (Snow White and the Huntsman, Child 44, Philomena) was also meh, but in a typical child-actor way.

Regardless of the minor flaws, I’d recommend this film in a heartbeat. If you’re looking into showing it to your kids, however, I’d recommend you watch through it first. I don’t think there’s anything super offensive in it, but something is still keeping me from recommending it to children. I wish I could put whatever that thing is into words.

Cat’s Point of View:
This movie was a surprising treat. It had flown completely under my radar. No longer!!

There were so many elements that I absolutely adored about this film. Considering that it’s based off of a book; I am thinking that I will be adding to my ever expanding ‘to read’ list.

I haven’t gone to look it up yet, but I am hoping that it is part of a series. I want to know more! The best tales suck you in and make you want to live in their world a bit longer than screen time or the trip across pages affords.

The Adventurer did exactly that.

There was action, intrigue, mystery, mythology, magic, gadgetry, both comedy and serious elements – it was a fun ride along a compelling quest.

While the movie didn’t overtly scream ‘steampunk’ to me, as most of its teaser blurbs suggest – it did have that feel to it in places. It was a subtle touch here and there within an otherwise ‘period piece.’ I think it was a perfect balance, though – if there were more heavy-handed elements, it would have taken away from the story.

Bravo, I say, to the casting department for this one. Some of their choices were quirky – but interesting all the same.

I am very glad that this film reintroduced me to Michael Sheen (Blood Diamond, TRON: Legacy, Kill the Messenger). I’d seen him in other things before, but unfortunately his participation in the sparkly vampire movies overshadowed much of that. He embodied the role of Charity here with flair and finesse. I was rather impressed.

Lena Headey (300, Zipper, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) is swiftly becoming one of my favorite actresses – especially when she plays villains. She has such a stunning smile – and yet, you can just feel the venom behind it when she inhabits roles such as this.

Then there’s Sam Neill (Event Horizon, Daybreakers, Escape Plan). He has an equally sinister smile. I’ll never forget the sadistic glee that was in his expression when he, as Dr. Alan Grant, explained to this smart-mouth kid how the ‘six foot turkey’ of a velociraptor would use its giant talon to eviscerate him before eating him alive. That sort of macabre smugness was alive and well in his character here, and it was glorious.

I could ramble on; though, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Aneurin Barnard (Ironclad, The Facility, The White Queen). He was an unexpected lead as Mariah Mundi. There was a bit of oddness about him but it didn’t detract from the character. Somehow he fit in the way an octagon might slip into a space designed for a circle with roughly the same diameter.

This was an exciting movie that lived up to its promise of adventure. I would gladly recommend it and hope that they revisit this property in the future for more tales.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 17%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 35%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 3/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

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

P.S. There is an important scene during the credits.

Movie Trailer:

Monday, February 8, 2016

Three Night Stand (2013)

Number Rolled: 74
Movie Name/Year: Three Night Stand (2013)
Tagline: Meet Carl, his wife & the love of his life.
Genre: Drama
Length: 92 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Banner House Productions, Vroom Productions
Producer: Emily Alden, Kieran Crilly, Kirk D’Amico, Pierre Even, Pat Kiely, Marie-Claude Poulin, Meaghan Rath, Matthew Shewchuk, Brian Vroom, Robert Vroom
Director: Pat Kiely
Writer: Pat Kiely
Actors: Sam Huntington, Meaghan Rath, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Reagan Pasternak, Jonathan Cherry, Anne-Marie Cadieux, Dan Beirne, Aliocha Schneider, Dan Haber, Matt Silver, James A. Woods, Darren Curtis, Marty Kiely, Melodie Simard

Blurb from Netflix: Carl’s plan to reconnect with his wife is compromised when he learns that his sexy ex-girlfriend is running the ski lodge where they are vacationing.

Selina’s Point of View:
I’ve seen a few reviews for this movie and they were overwhelmingly bad everywhere except on Rotten Tomatoes. I don't think Three Night Stand was all that great, but it wasn’t as bad in my eyes as others seemed to think.

There was definitely an issue with how the film was advertised. The trailer and the blurbs all seem to indicate that this film is more of a comedy than it is. Although it had a couple of semi-comedy moments, nothing made me laugh or even giggle. It’s about as much of a comedy as the Golden Globes tried to insist The Martian (2015) was. (It’s not.)

Three Night Stand might not have been the typical romantic drama either, but it was definitely FULLY a romantic drama. Anyone who claims it was a comedy is wrong or lying.

This genre-trap-marketing happens pretty often and it’s a terrible move. Producers need to learn that if you market to comedy fans then comedy fans will watch your drama film and hate it.

With that said, this recipe film doesn’t differentiate itself enough from the rest of the movies it resembles. Although there is some intense realism, the conflicts are all predictable and not creatively delivered. The acting was decent, but even that wasn’t enough to elevate this film to a better level.

I wouldn’t say Three Night Stand was unwatchable, but once is enough. Between the 10 minute long awkward sex scene in the beginning of the movie, the implied mother/son incest and the choppy script, I found myself cringing through the majority of the film.

Definitely not in a good way.

Cat’s Point of View:
There’s no way I can really sugar coat this. I really didn’t like this movie.

I’m not really even sure exactly what it was that drove me the most nuts about it. It simply fell flat to me, and I felt awkwardness where I probably should have found humor. I also didn’t see the correlation of the title to the film.

There was a lot of ‘ugh’ where there should have been ‘awwh.’

To be fair, I’ve got a toothache at the moment that feels like I’ve been shot in the jaw. That could possibly be coloring the movie a little harshly for me.

I don’t know, though - I just wasn’t all that entertained. If I were pain free, I can’t say that I’d like it much better. I can’t think of something more eloquent to say about it beyond: “bless their hearts, they tried.”

The one thing I liked about the film was that Sam Huntington (Superman Returns, Fanboys, Veronica Mars) and Meaghan Rath (I Me Wed, Cyberbully, Banshee) were in it. I enjoyed watching them in Being Human (2011-2014) now and again.

If there weren’t familiar faces in the movie, I probably would have cancelled full screen mode and have been counting the minutes until it was over.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 60%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 32%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 1.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score2/5

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

The Random Rating: R

Movie Trailer: