Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Hallow (2015)

Number Rolled: 71
Movie Name/Year: The Hallow (2015)
Tagline: Nature has a dark side.
Genre: Horror
Length: 96 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Occupant Entertainment, Hyperion Media Group, Prescience, Altus Media (Five), The Electric Shadow Company, Bord Scannan ne hEireann / Irish Film Board, Fantastic Films, Altitude Film Entertainment, Hallow Film
Producer: John Brady, Jules Claassen, Will Clarke, Cathleen Dore, Rory Gilmartin, John Jencks, Deirdre Levins, Michael J. Mailis, Brendan McCarthy, John McDonnell, Joe Neurauter, Kate Sharp, James Swarbrick, Jay Taylor, Susan Wrubel
Director: Corin Hardy
Writer: Corin Hardy, Felipe Marino, Tom de Ville
Actors: Joseph Mawle, Bojana Novakovic, Michael McElhatton, Michael Smiley, Gary Lydon, Wren Hardy, Stuart Graham, Conor Craig Stephens, Joss Wyre, Charlotte Williams, Luc Walsh

Blurb from Netflix: When a London man moves his family into a secluded mill house, he discovers that the surrounding forest is filled with demons who prey on children.

Selina’s Point of View:
The Hallow was absolutely incredible and I can never, ever, watch it again.

I was so totally creeped out by this film that there were a couple of scenes I simply couldn’t watch. At all. I had to look away from the screen completely and wait for some kind of cue that said the story had moved on to another scene. There were moments of gut-wrenching anticipation, triggers… I just… I can never watch this film again.

Although this film is not torture porn-esk, it’s still very much not for the squeamish. Keep that in mind if you intend to watch.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was really excited when this movie came up. I’ve mentioned before my love for all things Irish, yes? I probably have about 3 anthology books of Irish ghost stories. This movie was filmed and based in Ireland and draws partially on Irish folktales. Talk about a win-win, right?

I can assure you that while I do have a bias in favor of Ireland, I still managed to watch this movie with an open mind.

It’s said that the director, Corin Hardy (Strangers, In the Back, Watchtower), applied the influences of Alien (1979), The Evil Dead (1981), and The Thing (1982) paired with the draw from Irish folktales. These influences are definitely apparent throughout the movie - from ambiance to effects.

This film was a creature feature without a whole lot of bells and whistles. I think the heavy use of practical physical effects over computer graphics served this movie well. There were definite bits of CGI here and there, but it didn’t look hokey.

Some of the creature work bothered me but it really was pretty good overall. I think it was because I could clearly tell that there was a person inside a costume instead of a seamless monster performance. This held me back from getting entirely invested in those scenes.

Honestly, I was more unnerved when you couldn’t see the source of what was going on. There’s a lot to be said for the human imagination building an unseen boogeyman in the mind’s eye rather than actually laying eyes on the manifested form.

This appears to be this writer/director’s first full length feature film, so there were definitely lessons that could be taken from this movie into his next. Although, it’s said that Hardy has been tapped to direct the upcoming reboot of The Crow (1994).

I’m a bit skeptical of that entire endeavor. Some things just shouldn’t be messed with. I’ll chalk that up to a big ‘we’ll see.’

I digress.

Here’s another tidbit for you. This isn’t the first time that Michael McElhatton (Parked, Norm of the North, Strike Back) and Joseph Mawle (The Awakening, Shell, Kill Your Friends) have shared the screen. They’ve also been major characters in Game of Thrones (2011-). McElhatton played Roose Bolton on the well-known HBO series, and Mawle portrays the part of Benjen Stark. It’s said that Hardy wrote the lead character part for Mawle after seeing him on the series.

I like that this story delves into the darker side of Irish lore – where things aren’t cute or pretty. Pixies and leprechauns and fairies, oh my! When one thinks of the ‘fair folk,’ images of adorable little smiling faces on tiny creatures with wings or clutching treasure come to mind. The elfin-like sidhe and the Tuatha that live in Tír Na nÓg (the land of eternal youth and beauty) are also popular to envision. There are, however, many things that are not cute, cuddly, friendly, or in any way pleasant.

I am not sure that I’d watch this one again, but I enjoyed most of it.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 71%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 42%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 3.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score4.5/5

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

The Random Rating: R

P.S. Scenes during the start of the credits that lead to a mid-credit scene.

Movie Trailer:

Monday, August 15, 2016

One Day (2011)

Number Rolled: 61
Movie Name/Year: One Day (2011)
Tagline: Twenty years. Two people.
Genre: Drama
Length: 107 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Focus Features, Random House Films, Film4, Color Force
Producer: Raphael Benoliel, Jane Frazer, Nina Jacobson, Tessa Ross
Director: Lone Scherfig
Writer: David Nicholls
Actors: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Tom Mison, Jodie Whittaker, Rafe Spall, Josephine de la Baume, Patricia Clarkson, Ken Stott, Heida Reed, Amanda Fairbank-Hynes, Gil Alma, Georgia King, Matt Berry, Romola Garai, Diana Kent, James Laurenson, Matthew Beard, Toby Regbo, Thomas Arnold, Mike Binder

Blurb from Netflix: After a brief college romance, Emma and Dexter pursue separate dreams, but meet on the same day each year to compare their progress in life and love.

Selina’s Point of View:
Normally, this is not my kind of movie and, quite frankly, I’ve never been less in the mood for a drama than I am right now. Even with those massive hurdles, I found myself fascinated by One Day.

The pacing of this film was very good. There was never a length of time in this movie when I was bored or wishing something would happen. Everything was either happening or quickly building up to happening.

There was a slightly artsy flair to the set-up of this film, including the order of the scenes, but it wasn’t unbearable. There was a reason behind it instead of just being artsy in order to be artsy. I really like when films do something with a creative flair when there’s a good reason for it. This film didn’t insult the intelligence of the viewers by doing something completely out there and making it seem as though if you don’t get it then you must be an idiot.

The actors were very good, and I was impressed by their chemistry. Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables, Don Peyote, The Dark Knight Rises) and Jim Sturgess (Upside Down, The Way Back, Close to the Enemy) work incredibly well together and I believed in their story. Plots that tend to lean toward how ‘impossible’ it is for men and women to just be friends tend to annoy me, but I think this one did pretty well with it. It didn’t make the obnoxious assumption that men and women could NEVER be friends without romance, they just localized it to a specific couple.

I’m not going to get into that rant right now, because One Day didn’t really make me feel like I had to.

So, moving on. I probably won’t watch this film again… but not because it’s bad. This movie was absolutely fantastic, there are just very few dramas I watch voluntarily. A drama has to get a 4.5 or higher on my rating scale for me to really want to see it again. One Day fell just short.

Cat’s Point of View:
I wasn’t sure how well I was going to receive a romantic drama. Shoulder issues have left me a bit cranky the last several days; though it wasn’t a good reason to think down on a movie I’ve never seen before, right? Stiff upper lip and all that rot – tally ho!

Ok, I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

This movie surprised me by how well it grabbed me by the feels and whisked me along.

Jim Sturgess (The Other Boleyn Girl, Cloud Atlas, Stonehearst Asylum) isn’t always my cup of tea, but the pairing with Anne Hathaway (Becoming Jane, Passengers, Interstellar) was actually adorable. There was enough dissonance and yet pull between them that I bought in.

The word is that Hathaway was instrumental in Sturgess’ selection for the role. Whatever the reason, I’m glad it worked out.

This film actually had me pining a bit for school days and remembering a friend I had long ago. Sadly, they have passed from this world; but I wondered what it might have been like if we’d kept in touch at least once a year to compare notes as the main characters of this story did.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not pining for a ‘what could have been’ love story or anything like that. The movie just spurred a few maudlin thoughts.

I also love the casting for Dexter’s parents. Patricia Clarkson (All The King's Men, Elegy, Shutter Island) and Ken Stott (Charlie Wilson's War, Toast, Café Society) seemed a little bit of an ‘opposites attract’ in their own story that is deftly woven behind their son’s tale.

This movie cast a spell on me, and I am glad for it. I would definitely watch this film again. There were laughter and tears as well as some palming of the face. I almost wish that there were more time to explore each of the presented years – but then that might have changed the whole thing.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 36%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 49%

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

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

Movie Trailer: