Thursday, May 26, 2016

Devil (2010)

Number Rolled: 70
Movie Name/Year: Devil (2010)
Tagline: Bad things happen for a reason
Genre: Thriller
Length: 80 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Universal Pictures, Media Rights Capital, Night Chronicles, Relativity Media
Producer: Joseph Boccia, Drew Dowdle, Trish Hofmann, Sam Mercer, Ashwin Rajan, John Rusk, M. Night Shyamalan
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Writer: Brian Nelson, M. Night Shyamalan
Actors: Chris Messina, Logan Marshall-Green, Jenny O’Hara, Bojana Novakovic, Bokeen Woodbine, Geoffrey Arend, Jacob Vargas, Matt Craven, Joshua Peace, Caroline Dhavernas, Joe Cobden, Zoie Palmer, Vincent Laresca

Blurb from Netflix: Detective Bowden must save five people trapped in an elevator and he has to do it fast, because one of them is the devil.

Selina’s Point of View:
I wasn’t all that impressed with Devil. Everything about it fell into the mediocre category. The recipe used was fine, but was executed in a very bland fashion. The actors did their jobs, but didn’t exactly do anything more than that. It was just one mediocre thing after another.

I didn’t really enjoy the way parts of it were filmed, either. There were parts that were completely auditory. I don’t enjoy that. Don’t get me wrong, it made sense for the storyline and the setting, but I still hated it in general.

Aside from that one issue, I didn’t love or hate the rest of the film either way.

Just another meh in my opinion.

Cat’s Point of View:
Devil was supposed to be the first of at least three movies making up The Night Chronicles. This project was a brainchild of M. Night Shyamalan (Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Visit), and meant to be a series of supernatural thrillers based on his original ideas. Shyamalan reportedly would not be at the directorial helm, nor writing any of these films; but would provide collaboration as needed and produce.

It sounds like a neat concept, though it seems to have stalled somewhere along the way. Perhaps the first installment didn’t do as well as they expected? Shyamalan seems to have moved on to different things. This movie was released in 2010; and the second film slated to join the Chronicles was Reincarnate scheduled to begin production in 2013. IMDb has that title still ‘in development.’ Given that it’s been 3 years with no further word, I fear that this project may be lost in development hell.

Back to the movie!

This film was Shyamalan’s adaptation of a folklore tale. This tale, in fact, is told during the movie. I found the concept intriguing.

I’m not a claustrophobe (though my general reaction, unmedicated, to MRI ‘torture tubes’ has me beginning to question otherwise); but if I got trapped in an elevator with strangers, I can tell you I would definitely not be a fan of enclosed places after that.

I think that the screenwriter and director could have presented this concept a little better, sure – but the end result of this particular movie was suspenseful and unsettling.

I appreciated the choices they made for effects and the execution (no pun intended) of some of the scenes. There was a clear opt for the lack of CGI or any really fancy special effects. I don’t believe that it was cutting budget corners. I think they likely wanted to tap in to humanity’s primordial fear of the dark – unspoiled by things like night vision infrared cameras.

This movie definitely has the earmarks of Shyamalan’s touch on it, though – from the setting of Philadelphia, PA to the use of the color red. Several others of his trademark motifs are also utilized. Unfortunately, discussing them would provide spoilers.

I would definitely recommend this movie, and even watch it again in the hopes I might catch something that I missed before.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 52%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 43%

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

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 3.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

Movie Trailer:

Monday, May 23, 2016

Love, Wedding, Marriage (2011)

Number Rolled: 4
Movie Name/Year: Love, Wedding, Marriage (2011)
Tagline: Here comes the ride.
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Chydzik Media Group, Voodoo Production Services, Scion Films, 120dB Films, First Wedding Productions
Producer: Jeff Abberley, Michael Arata, Sergei Bespalov, Julia Blackman, JC Cadena, Michelle Chydzik Sbwa, Natalia Chydzik, Jerry Daigle, Peter Graham, Joel Hatch, Stephen Hays, Stefan Jacobs, Daniel March, Nathalie Marciano, Vlad A. Osipov, Gary Raskin
Director: Dermot Mulroney
Writer: Anouska Chydzik, Caprice Crane
Actors: Mandy Moore, Kellan Lutz, James Brolin, Jane Seymour, Jessica Szohr, Michael Weston, Marta Zmuda Trzebiatowska, Richard Alan Reid, Christopher Lloyd, Alexis Denisof, Alyson Hannigan, Colleen Camp, Andrew Keegan, Gabrielle Shuff, Julia Roberts

Blurb from Netflix: When a marriage counselor learns that her parents are candidates for divorce, she throws all the rules out the window to repair their relationship.

Selina’s Point of View:
I was shocked to see that this film got a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Human Centipede (2010) got a fucking 49%, but THIS film got a 0%. Right. Ok.

WTF are critics smoking these days, and is it legal?

Love, Wedding, Marriage wasn’t the greatest movie in the world. No one is going to come out and say it was their favorite film ever, but it wasn’t THAT bad.

Sure, Mandy Moore’s (License to Wed, How to Deal, The Princess Diaries) portrayal of her insane character left a lot to be desired and Kellan Lutz (Experimenter, The Comeback, The Expendables 3) was as believable as the Easter Bunny dating the Tooth Fairy, but the story didn’t suck and neither did the script.

It was definitely a take on a recipe film, but it was an interesting take. It didn’t show us the wedding and the stuff leading up to it. Instead, it examined life for the couple after the wedding. That’s not a storyline often portrayed by romantic comedies. Most rom-com movies prefer to show the magic of falling in love, rather than the upkeep of the love that follows.

I didn’t hate the movie. Many of the actors were very good, and I had some theories about Michael Weston’s (See You in Valhalla, Wish I Was Here, Blink) character that brought the movie to a whole new level for me.

There was also a bit of a nostalgia factor for me when popular 80s/90s actors, like Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future, Camp Nowhere, Angels in the Outfield) and Andrew Keegan (Camp Nowhere, Party of Five, 10 Things I Hate About You), popped up on my screen.

You may also note that Julia Roberts (Money Monster, Eat Pray Love, Mona Lisa Smile) was in this. I watched the whole thing and had no idea until I checked IMDB. The reason is because only her voice is featured in the film.

Cat’s Point of View:
I must admit that, at first, I wasn’t really looking forward to watching this movie. It wasn’t that I had any sort of bias against it – I really knew nothing about it. It was more that I just wasn’t in the mood for a rom-com.

Be that as it may, the dice had spoken!

The film was ok. It wasn’t spectacular, and I am doubting that it will be particularly memorable (except for a few shirtless Kellan Lutz [Accepted, Arena, Immortals] moments…maybe).

I’m not sure if the movie was more of a victim to its writing or the fact that it was the directorial debut for Dermot Mulroney (J. Edgar, Stoker, Dirty Grandpa). I’ve enjoyed him as an actor; though, he apparently has some work ahead of him to refine his craft behind the camera.

I think this film was also slightly mislabeled. The bulk of the substance of this movie was drama, rather than romance or comedy. Sure, there were some laughs. Most of my chuckles came from the character played by James Brolin (Burlesque, Elsa & Fred, The 33).

I realize that the best friend of Lutz’s character, played by Michael Weston (The Last Kiss, Pathology, Gamer), was also supposed to be a bit of comic relief. It failed to hit that mark entirely for me. The character made me face-palm, and provided some really awkward feeling moments – and then there’s this 180. He almost comes off as being malicious in a few places.

Mandy Moore’s (Because I said So, Tangled, Hotel Noir) character came across as manic, selfish, and oblivious – yet, that might be how the part was written. I haven’t found fault with her acting in the past – but a good bit of the movie felt a little forced.

Lutz deserves more than just a mention about his shirtless scenes, though. I find that he tends to be a little underestimated and underrated. Sure not all of his films have been winners, but he exudes this charm that makes him likable for more than his washboard abs – and he can flip it off like a switch to turn into something altogether menacing, if the role requires. I’m not sure that this movie did his career any favors, but I enjoyed his role in it.

I don’t know – part of my disconnect for this movie might have been that it’s very hard for me to see Jane Seymour (The Assistants, Freeloaders, Austenland) outside of the framework I originally ‘met’ her in. I was a die-hard fan of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1993-1998), and she will forever be ‘Dr. Mike’ to me. I have to somewhat force myself into seeing her in a different light in more recent projects.

I also have to question the location choices for filming. I will be the first one to jump up and shout ‘woohoo’ when a movie gets shot here in Louisiana, as this one was. Though the plantation setting for the vineyard was gorgeous and did add a nice backdrop to the film, the movie’s dialogue seems to suggest that this is supposed to be set in California.

I’ve been to that area of California – it’s where my husband’s from and it is where most of his family resides. You don’t find architecture like that out there. There was also a distinct lack of mountainous terrain. I realize that this was filmed during a period of time that Louisiana was still offering big tax incentives, etc., to film here – but a believable setting is important in suspending disbelief.

I don’t know that I’ll be watching this one again, but I didn’t hate it. Before I started writing my review, I actually thought I liked it better than I apparently did. I think that this one’s better appreciated without too much thought.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 0%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 28%

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

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 3.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

P.S. Scenes/bloopers during the credits.

Movie Trailer: