Thursday, April 7, 2016

Legendary (2013)

Number Rolled: 35
Movie Name/Year: Legendary (2013)
Tagline: Search for the adventure.
Genre: Action & Adventure
Length: 92 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: China Film Group, Midsummer Films, Ripken Productions, Zhongshida International Media
Producer: Andy Briggs, Eryl Cochran, Moshe Diamant, Wayne Marc Godfrey, Sanping Han, Chris Harris, Robert Jones, Francesco juilland, Matthew Kuipers, Terhi Kyllainen, Arnaud Lannic, Christophe Lannic, Xiaodong Liu, Christopher Milburn, Peter Milburn, Carolynne Philpott, John Rogerson, David Turner, Haicheng Zhao
Director: Eric Styles
Writer: Andy Briggs
Actors: Scott Adkins, Dolph Lundgren, Yi Huang, Nathan Lee, James Lance, Lydia Leonard, Le Geng, Murray Clive Walker, Viktor Sobtchak, Tom Austen, David Thomas Jenkins, Li Shengye, Yang Caiyu, Paul Philip Clark, Ivan Kotik, Zhongyou Guo, Xu Bo

Blurb from Netflix: A cryptozoologist assembles his team for an expedition to China’s hinterland, where a primeval monster locals call the “Shocate” is believed to roam.

Selina’s Point of View:
I failed to read the description of this movie before I watched it. I don’t know why, but a creature feature was not in my expectations. I’m open to that kind of film, though. I like some pointy teeth and terrible graphics from time to time. This time, however…

The film was just pointless.

The characters were completely depthless and cookie cutter. They were even played by cookie cutter actors that didn’t seem to have their own style of acting. I saw the discount version of Joaquin Phoenix (Inherent Vice, Her, The Village), Ryan Kwanten (Blunt Force Trauma, True Blood, Knights of Badassdom) and Jon Voight (Ray Donovan, Anaconda, Holes) in this movie. I didn’t even know they had discount versions.

I know that makes it sound like the actors were great, but please don’t overlook the phrase, “discount version.” By that, I don’t mean they just look like those actors but aren’t well known. I’ve seen a lot of actors that have been really great despite having nearly no exposure. That has nothing to do with anything. A “discount version” of an actor, at least when I use the phrase, means that I believe the directors wanted a specific type of acting and couldn’t pay for the real thing so they needed people who could copy the way other people acted, even if those copied performances were rough or just plain bad.

Aside from the acting, the story and script were both filled to the brim with tropes.

When you have a big movie, with millions of dollars in their budget, you’re going to get incredible graphics or incredible actors, or both. Those movies can afford to target the lowest common denominator with a ton of tropes. Small budget creature features can only do that if they find a way to make it a joke or otherwise twist it.

It didn’t even become so bad that it was good.

I’ve gone over this a hundred times. For a movie to be so bad it’s good, it needs to do at least one thing incredibly right. This film really didn’t get anything right.

Except the music, oddly enough. The music made me think back to The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997). It had a nostalgic, almost amusing tone to it that could have elevated the film, if it had been utilized correctly. If the music was backed by a slightly stronger script, this might be a very different review.

Also, the big bad looked like a version of the Geico gecko that had been blown up with the ray from Honey, I Blew Up The Kid (1992).

Cat’s Point of View:
I’m not sure what I was expecting with this creature feature, but I’m not sure that I got it.

The movie was okay – but only just.

There wasn’t enough levity – either purposeful or brought on by ridiculousness – to make it one of ‘those’ B-movies. Most of the acting wasn’t horrible. No one was going to win any awards for this film, though. It was just…there.

I do appreciate what they did with the graphics here. The creature effects were mostly pretty decent. Things moved like they should have and nothing was too far-fetched.

Dolph Lundgren (The Killing Machine, One in the Chamber, War Pigs) can always be counted on to play a good heel. It was a bit odd to see him outside of an action movie, though. Maybe that’s why he took the role. Either that, or he cooked up something with Scott Adkins (Assassination Games, Zero Dark Thirty, Re-Kill) maybe? Atkins filmed this movie while he was recovering from a knee injury that put his normal action movie career on hiatus.

All told, I didn’t hate this movie but I’m not over the moon about it either. It’s doubtful I’d recommend it, because there are just so many other good movies out there for someone who’s bored.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 9%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 2.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score1.5/5

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

Movie Trailer:

Monday, April 4, 2016

Man Up (2015)

Number Rolled: 93
Movie Name/Year: Man Up (2015)
Tagline: Right time, right place, wrong date.
Genre: Comedy
Length: 88 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Big Talk Productions, StudioCanal
Producer: James Biddle, Jenny Borgars, Dan Cheesbrough, Danny Gulliver, Martin Heriot, Matthew Justice, Christine Langan, Joe Oppenheimer, Nira Park, Simon Pegg, Danny Perkins, Rachael Prior
Director: Ben Palmer
Writer: Tess Morris
Actors: Lake Bell, Simon Pegg, Ophelia Lovibond, Olivia Williams, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Dean-Charles Chapman, Rory Kinnear, Stephen Campbell Moore, Sharon Horgan, Ken Scott, Harriet Walter, Simona Brown

Blurb from Netflix: A single woman seizes an opportunity when, while standing under a train station clock, she meets a stranger who mistakes her for his blind date.

Selina’s Point of View:
I absolutely adore Simon Pegg (Kill Me Three Times, Hector and the Search For Happiness, Star Trek). Between his comedic timing and acting talent, I rarely ever find fault with his performance. This movie was no exception. He was fantastic, and so was Lake Bell (Children’s Hospital, Million Dollar Arm, Miss Match).

The first 20 minutes of this film didn’t really speak to me. There was nothing really wrong with it. In fact, almost all of it was expected because of the trailer. However, there were a few moments in the beginning that were so predictable, without the help of advertisements, it almost hurt. At one point, one of the characters said their line, and I knew what the response would be so completely that I spoke it along with the main character.

That shouldn’t happen. This was my first time seeing it. I hate that kind of thing.

There were a lot of basic rom-com tropes, but I don’t really believe this film could be considered a full-on recipe film. If anything, it might be considered a new take on a recipe. Either way, it definitely had unique and original moments.

As the movie went on, I found myself being drawn more and more into it. By the end, my emotions were flowing along with what Ben Palmer (The Inbetweeners, Sun Trap, Bo’ Selecta!) and Tess Morris (The Love Punch, My Family, Hollyoaks) were trying to create.

Man Up is definitely worth a watch, and not just for the rom-com crowd, either.

Cat’s Point of View:
I have two words to describe this movie: bloody brilliant.

That’s it, really. On to the next movie.

Okay, you’ve got me – April Fools and all that.

Honestly, though, the short and sweet of it is that I loved this movie. It warmed the cockles of my snarky heart, I laughed, and I even caught myself tossing my hands above my head with a shout of ‘yes!!!’ at one point. (Watching at home, alone, lets me talk to the screen! Go Netflix!)

It was apropos that the film had a small train theme in it. I got on board with Lake Bell’s (Pride and Glory, Burning Palms, No Escape) character and I was swept along for the whole ride. I loved how she and Simon Pegg’s (The Adventures of Tintin, A Fantastic Fear of Everything, Absolutely Anything) character interacted. There was a wonderful chemistry there.

I wouldn’t have pegged him as a romantic lead, but this movie shows a really good range for him that showcases his acting chops at more than just comedy. (Yes, I did that on purpose. Not sorry.)

Even though this movie was British, I am happy to report that it wasn’t overly filled with Brit jargon. There was one Cockney Rhyming Slang reference (and it was brilliant), but no one’s going to need to run to the internet to search up English phrase translation.

The soundtrack to this film was also lots of fun. There are some very recognizable 80’s tunes during significant scenes in the movie.

I would definitely recommend this film for anyone that’s in the mood for a rollicking good time.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 81%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 70%

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

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

Movie Trailer: