Thursday, June 16, 2016

Trespass (2011)

Number Rolled: 53
Movie Name/Year: Trespass (2011)
Tagline: When terror is at your door, you can run or you can fight.
Genre: Thriller
Length: 90 mintues
Rating: R
Production Companies: Millennium Films, Nu Image, Winkler Films, Saturn Films, Joel Schumacher Productions, Trespass Productions (II), Nu Boyana Film Studios
Producer: Rene Besson, Boaz Davidson, Danny Dimbort, Matthew F. Leonetti Jr., Avi Lerner, Per Saari, Trevor Short, John Thompson, David Winkler, Irwin Winkler
Director: Joel Schumacher
Writer: Karl Gajdusek
Actors: Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman, Ben Mendelsohn, Liana Liberato, Cam Gigandet, Jordana Spiro, Dash Mihok, Emily Meade, Nico Tortorella, Brandon Belknap, Terry Milam, Tina Parker, David Maldonado, Nilo Otero, Simona Williams

Blurb from Netflix: A husband and wife find themselves pushed to their absolute limit when they’re held for ransom by brutal thugs who invade their home.

Selina’s Point of View:
Another winning blurb from Netflix. They keep adding too many words. Seriously, just cut out the “they’re held for ransom by” and “who” and the damn thing is correct. Why make the blurb longer if it’s only going to become less accurate? Come on.

Moving on, I found Trespass to be very meh. There was nothing in it to separate this film from every other home invasion movie ever made. It was a recipe that had nothing new to add to the genre. Also, the script had something that was meant to be a twist but I saw it coming from scene one, so it wound up just being a thing that happened instead of an elevating factor.

I will say, however, that the actors did very well with what they had. This was one of Nicolas Cage’s (Pay the Ghost, Outcast, Joe) good performances. Aside from him, Nicole Kidman (Queen of the Desert, Stoker, The Paperboy) had the wife’s part down pat, Liana Liberato (If I Stay, Erased, Haunt) played the angsty teen perfectly and Cam Gigandet (Reckless, Priest, In the Blood) made a very believable antagonist.

I wish the script and the plot of this film would have been good enough to deserve the effort the actors put into it.

It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen, it wasn’t even the worst of the genre… it was just very mediocre.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’ll admit that this wasn’t the movie that I was really crossing my fingers for when we rolled the dice. The combination of Nicolas Cage (The Croods, Rage, Dying of the Light), Nicole Kidman (Grace of Monaco, Paddington, Genius), and Cam Gigandet (The Unborn, Plush, 4 Minute Mile) seemed to promise that the film would be at least interesting.

I wasn’t wrong there.

It wasn’t the best thriller I’ve ever seen, but it wasn’t bad. I actually rather liked it. I enjoyed the creative usage of the flashbacks. Sure the movie plays on a few of the generic home invasion tropes, and Nick Cage was as ‘cray cray’ as you would expect him to be – but somehow it worked.

Was this Joel Schumacher’s (Phone Booth, The Number 23, Blood Creek) finest directorial work? Not hardly. It doesn’t hold a candle to St. Elmo's Fire (1985), The Lost Boys (1987), or even The Phantom of the Opera (2004).

Let’s remember, however, that Schumacher is also responsible for Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997). While the comic hero drew the crowds (because anything with Batman in it is going to draw some crowds), they weren’t the best out of that beleaguered series.

I noticed a bit of trivia that this film broke the record for fastest time between theater and DVD release (at the time) with a span of only 18 days. [The prior record holder was apparently From Justin to Kelly (2003) at 29 days.] Usually, unless pre-planned, movies take a few months at the least to hit the stores as DVD and blu-ray.

I don’t think that this movie was given a fair shake with that, though. Sure it didn’t gross even a fraction of its production cost, but it was only released in 10 theaters and was going up against movies with nationwide release such as: Real Steel (2011) out 10/7 in 3,440 theaters, Footloose (2011) out 10/14 in 3,549 theaters, The Three Musketeers (2011) out 10/21 in 3,017 theaters, and Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) also out 10/21 in 3,321 theaters.

The speedy to-DVD time makes business sense, as the companies make more money off of the video sales than the tickets. So don’t judge a movie by its time-table. As years have gone by, movies have been released across a wide spectrum of formats very quickly. Movies have appeared on streaming services like Netflix or cable/ satellite On-Demand services at the same time they’ve hit theaters.

My vote? If you like thrillers, then give this one a shot. It’s got some curve balls you might not expect – and hey, it was filmed here in Shreveport!

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 10%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 22%

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

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 2.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

Movie Trailer:

Monday, June 13, 2016

Bo Burnham: what. (2013)

Number Rolled: 39
Movie Name/Year: Bo Burnham: what. (2013)
Tagline: what.
Genre: Stand-Up Comedy
Length: 60 minutes
Rating: TV-MA
Production Companies: 3 Arts Entertainment, Attic Bedroom, New Wave Entertainment Television
Producer: Dave Becky, Bo Burnham, Jay Chapman, Douglas Edley, Cisco Henson, Chris Scanlon, Brian Volk-Weiss
Director: Bo Burnham, Christopher Storer
Writer: Bo Burnham
Actors: Bo Burnham

Blurb from Netflix: Left brain and right brain duke it out -- and ultimately belt out a melody -- in stand-up comedian Bo Burnham’s quick and clever one-man show.

Selina’s Point of View:
Well, Cat and I discussed the possibility of adding stand-up comedy to our queue, and decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try it out. Netflix has a lot of great movies, but they have a hell of a lot of great stand-up comedy as well.

Since our decision, we’ve been adding some stand-up to our queue in the hopes that we would roll it. We started adding it roughly four months ago.

The dice can be fickle.

That being said, I couldn’t have been happier with the selection we rolled for our first step into the genre. Bo Burnham (Funny People, American Virgin, Bo Burnham: Words Words Words) is one of my favorite comedians. You can see how greats like George Carlin (Jersey Girl, Dogma, Scary Movie 3) and comedians like Stephen Lynch (The Ten, Comedy Central Presents, An Evening with Stephen Lynch) may have influenced his work.

Burnham is musical comedian. He does some funny poetry and some basic stand-up, but it’s mostly music.

I first saw what. when it came out in 2013. It’s not my favorite of Burnham’s specials, but it’s got some very good songs in it – several of which I have on my iTunes playlist. The songs range from ridiculously silly to subtly political to amusing social commentary – all of which are very much his thing.

My one issue with this particular special is the intro.

The intro is meant to be silly and random, and it is, but I don’t find it funny or necessary. In fact, I find the intro to be way too long, tedious, and boring. After that, the show picks up significantly and by the end I’m always glued to the TV.

I can’t wait to see the new Bo Burnham special that Netflix put up: Make Happy (2016).

Cat’s Point of View:
To quote one of my favorite lines from Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969-1974): “And now for something completely different!”

Netflix sports comedy specials in addition to its other movie, television, and original content fare. Why not, right?

I’ll admit, I haven’t had a lot of exposure to Bo Burnham (Hall Pass, Adventures in the Sin Bin, Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous) before. Though he appeared vaguely familiar to me; after looking through his IMDb credits, I’m not sure what I recognize him from.

Perhaps he reminds me a little of a clean-shaven Felix Kjellberg (Let's Animate, Tomorrowland, Scare PewDiePie). In any case, moving along.

One thing is undeniable about this particular comedian – he’s exceptionally talented. He can play the piano, sings, and has an excellent understanding of lyrical timing. The latter, I’m sure, helps him with the comedy aspect, as well.

I enjoyed this performance. I feel I have to admit, however, I wasn’t laughing until I cried or couldn’t breathe. (Those things have been known to happen.) That could partially be attributed to the fact I’m currently a bit under the weather, so some things are falling a bit more flat to me than they might otherwise. I did get some really good laughs, though.

Caution to parents: this comedy show isn’t for kids. There’s language and adult content.

All in all, I’m interested to see what else Burnham might have in store for audiences. I noticed that Netflix has added another of his specials recently. I’m definitely game for checking it out.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – N/A
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – N/A

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

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 4/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

The Random Rating: R

Movie Trailer: