Thursday, May 12, 2016

Flu (2013)

Number Rolled: 19
Movie Name/Year: Flu (2013)
Tagline: Death goes viral.
Genre: Action & Adventure
Length: 121 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: iLoveCinema, iFilm Co.
Producer: Ok-kyung Bang, Tae-sung Jeong, Teddy Jung, Seong-jin Kim
Director: Sung-su Kim
Writer: Yeong-jong Lee, Sung-soo Kim, Jae-ho Jung
Actors: Hyuk Jang, Soo Ae, Andrew William Brand, In-Pyo Cha, Hee-joon Lee, Sang-Yeob Lee, Jung-min Park, Min-ah Park, Boris Stout, Kahlid Elijah Tapia, Hae-jin Yoo

Blurb from Netflix: When people in a South Korean suburb start dropping like flies from a deadly airborne respiratory disease, the area is quarantined and chaos reigns.

Selina’s Point of View:
I’m going on vacation this weekend, which means I need to rush to get all my work done before I leave. As a result when we rolled a foreign film, I was not happy. I had NO desire to sit through two hours of subtitles. Especially subtitles for a Korean movie. The Korean language flows so fast that sometimes it’s difficult to read along and it requires several rewinds to get the whole story. Altogether, for a two hour foreign film from Korea, I’d set aside six hours to ensure I have time to watch it, re-watch it, research it, and write the blog.

So yeah, I groaned.

Turns out, I didn’t need six hours. The story was so in depth and the characters were so interesting that I zoned into the movie at a level I don’t think I’ve ever reached with a foreign film. I don’t think I missed any of the subtitles, but if I did it didn’t matter because the actors were so on point that I almost didn’t need subtitles at all.

Even the child actress, Min-ah Park (Mrs. Cop, Pots of Gold, Feast of the Gods), rocked her part.

The film reminded me of Outbreak (1995), but it was a lot more in depth and the brutality scale was turned WAY up. I found it completely terrifying. At some times, my mouth was hanging open; at other times there were tears in my eyes. This movie exceeded expectations so much that I’d have to put it among my favorites.

Cat’s Point of View:
This movie was not what I expected, at all.

With the state of the world these days, epidemic and pandemic movies have grown in popularity. This film does follow some of the expected themes, as such; but also takes it down to a more personal and emotional level.

While the recipe does make the movie somewhat predictable, I still found myself having a rather visceral reaction. I had periods of ugly crying. I’m not even going to try to deny it.

This was rather impressive for a subtitled movie. Sometimes reading the dialogue can be distracting from what is going on with the scenes. That wasn’t the case for me. The cast was phenomenal and drew me right in so that I hardly noticed that I was reading what they were saying rather than understanding their words.

I’ve also got to say that the little girl in this movie was just about the most adorable munchkin ever. I believe that young lady will have quite the career ahead of her, if she continues to pursue acting as she gets older.

The suspenseful sense of dread was on point here. I’d definitely recommend this movie to those that enjoy the genre.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 45%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 60%

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

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

The Random Rating: R

P.S. There’s an extra scene during the credits.

Movie Trailer:

Monday, May 9, 2016

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013)

Number Rolled: 99
Movie Name/Year: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013)
Tagline: Fight the future.
Genre: Action & Adventure
Length: 81 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, DC Comics
Producer: Alan Burnett, Toshiyuki Hiruma, Geoff Johns, Sam Register, James Tucker
Director: Jay Oliva
Writer: James Krieg, Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Geoff Johns, Jack Kirby, William M. Marston, Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel, Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, Brandon Choi, Paul Norris
Actors: Justin Chambers, C. Thomas Howell, Michael B. Jordan, Kevin McKidd, Dee Bradley Baker, Steve Blum, Kevin Conroy, Sam Daly, Dana Delany, Grey Griffin, Cary Elwes, Nathan Fillion, Jennifer Hale, Danny Huston, Danny Jacobs, Peter Jessop, Lex Lang, Vanessa Marshall, Candi Milo, Ron Perlman, Kevin Michael Richardson, Andrea Romano, James Patrick Stuart, Hynden Walch

Blurb from Netflix: When a trip to the past creates ripples in time and an altered present for the Flash – who no longer has any powers – he turns to Batman for help.

Selina’s Point of View:
It’s a good week for comic book movies. I saw Captain America: Civil War (2016) for its first showing on the 5th and now I got to see a kick-ass DC-based animation film.

(For the record, if you go to see Captain America: Civil War, keep in mind there are two cut scenes after the movie. One in the middle of the credits and one at the very end.)

There is SO much I loved about this film. Marvel may dominate the live-action movie scene, but no one does animated superheroes better than DC. (For the record, I think they’re on even footing with TV shows. Arrow [2012-] is phenomenal, but so is Daredevil [2015-].)

First of all, the Flash was my favorite superhero growing up. I used to watch the TV show starring John Wesley Shipp (One Life to Live, Golden Shoes, Separation Anxiety) with my mom (he now appears in the new Flash series as Barry Allen’s dad, fyi). I still love that show, however short-lived it was. My husband got me the series for Christmas.

Naturally, there’s a hint of nostalgia in this film for me because of my love of the Flash as a character. (I even prefer The Flash [2014-] to Arrow, though I’m a little behind on both at the moment.)

I’m also a huge fan of alternate universe storylines. I love thinking about what could have been. Comics and movies that explore those questions earn my heart.

What if Superman had landed in Russia? (Superman: Red Son)

What if Magneto ruled the mutants and the mutants ruled everything? (House of M)

What if Apocalypse was the good guy and Professor X was the villain? (Mutant X)

What if everyone was a zombie? (Marvel Zombies)

There’s just something super interesting to me about the ‘what ifs’.

This particular ‘what if’ might seem a bit on the familiar side to viewers of the Flash’s current TV show. This film goes more in depth on the subject, but there’s still a certain familiarity. I can’t divulge which ‘what if’ this film explores without delivering spoilers, though, so… watch it.

Kick-ass storyline and amazing animation aside, there’s also the cast to consider.

The entire cast was great. There wasn’t a single voice in the bunch that I didn’t like for the character that was portrayed. However, there are three people in this movie that I consider actors I would follow anywhere. Those actors are the kind I could watch eating a sandwich for an hour and probably enjoy it.

The actors I’m talking about are Cary Elwes (The Art of More, She Loves Me Not, The Story of Luke), Ron Perlman (Hand of God, Poker Night, Sons of Anarchy), and, the super-awesome, Nathan Fillion (Castle, Con Man, Slither).

I loved everything about Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. I have nothing bad to say.

Cat’s Point of View:
I have a confession: I haven’t watched many animated superhero movies or series in a while. I’ve lost no love for the material, I can assure you. I grew up on Marvel and DC Comics. Though, my readership has leaned more towards the former than the latter. I’m still not too clueless when it comes to DC properties; but I will admit that I’m not up on the ‘New 52’ story arcs, and am fairly hopeless at finding the subtle Easter Eggs.

That being said, I really enjoyed this movie. It took me a minute to get around hearing Justin Chambers (Lakeview Terrace, Broken City, Grey's Anatomy) as the Flash, but he did a great job with it. I’m just used to hearing Grant Gustin’s (A Mother's Nightmare, Glee, Affluenza) voice behind the Scarlet Speedster. He is currently starring in the role on CW’s The Flash (2014-) series. Given the release timeframe of this movie, though; it’s understandable that he wasn’t included. Gustin didn’t start playing Barry until a cameo on Arrow (2012-) in its 2013 season.

I was relieved to find that Batman was voiced as I expected. Kevin Conroy (Jay and Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie, Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives, Yoga Hosers) has been my cartoon Batman since I became a fan of Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995) while I was in high school. I just can’t envision hearing a different voice for the character. It would be equivalent of someone other than Peter Cullen (My Friends Tigger and Pooh, IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix, Transformers) voicing Optimus Prime.

Hats off to Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride, A Mouse Tale, Lost & Found) for his Aquaman performance. I didn’t realize that was him at the character’s voiceover helm until the credits rolled.

There were exactly two things that made me actually squee for a moment with this movie. The first was that Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Super) voiced Hal Jordan, The Green Lantern. His classy sass was perfect for that role.

My second squee came in the form of Grifter’s appearance, voiced by Danny Jacobs (Phineas and Ferb, The Penguins of Madagascar, Miles from Tomorrowland). That character originated in Wildstorm Comics in the 1990s. The Wildstorm properties were sold to DC back during that timeframe. With this character’s appearance here – this is officially the first Justice League movie to feature a Wildstorm character. Grifter provides some snarky levity in the movie; and with the heavy tone of the story, it’s well timed and much needed.

Before I ramble on too far within my own personal geekdom; I realize that I should probably get back to the movie, itself. Considering I haven’t read any of the comics that this story pulls from, I’m afraid I can’t advise die-hard fans whether or not this follows the expected plot. I can, however, relate that I enjoyed the complexity of the story and all the little twists that were worked into it.

This was not a cartoon movie that would be ideal for children – in fact, I would hold firm to the PG-13. This recommendation is largely due to the violence and bloodshed factor. My daughter likes to watch some of the superhero cartoons on TV but this was a bit too much for her, and she excused herself early in. Things are often dark, thematically, in Gotham City – but this was definitely heavier than usual.

I would probably watch this again – especially if I have a bit more information under my belt ahead of time.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 93%

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

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

P.S. Short after-credits scene.

Movie Trailer: