Thursday, October 27, 2016

Infini (2015)

Number Rolled: 57
Movie Name/Year: Infini (2015)
Tagline: Out here their greatest threat is each other.
Genre: Thriller, Sci-Fi, Horror
Length: 110 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Storm Vision Entertainment, Eclectik Vision, Storm Alley Entertainment
Producer: Sidonie Abbene, Shane Abbess, Brian Cachia, Matthew Graham, Steven Matusko, Brett Thornquest
Director: Shane Abbess
Writer: Shane Abbess, Brian Cachia
Actors: Daniel MacPherson, Grace Huang, Luke Hemsworth, Luke Ford, Bren Foster, Dwaine Stevenson, Harry Pavlidis, Louisa Mignone, Kevin Copeland, Richard Huggett, Tess Haubrich, Matt Minto, Andy Rodoreda, Paul Winchester, Brendan Clearkin, Richard Maait, Damon Manns, Dean Kyrwood, Goran D. Kleut

Blurb from Netflix: While on a mission in space to save the sole survivor of a biological outbreak, a search and rescue team encounters a looming threat to Earth.

Selina’s Point of View:
We’re on a bit of a roll here at Trust the Dice (no pun intended).

In the past 2 weeks we’ve seen three phenomenal films and only one that was meh. This movie was one of the former and, quite frankly, my favorite of all the films we’ve seen. Not only in the past two weeks, put possibly ever.

I have my favorite go-to films. Everyone does. Among them are Clerks (1994), SLC Punk! (1998), Jurassic Park (1993), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Red Dawn (1984/2012), The Princess Bride (1987), A Little Princess (1995)… I’m going to stop here before this just becomes a ten page list of kick-ass movies.

What’s the point?

The point is that Infini is not only going to join the ranks of my favorite films. That could mean anything. I have a list here of 150 that grows every god-damn day. What matters is that it’s joining the top of that list. Top 20, possibly even top 10.

I was shocked when I saw the critics’ ratings.

Looking at the score for this film on Rotten Tomatoes makes me want to stop trusting the site altogether. Reading through the explanations critics gave for disliking this movie leaves me baffled. The biggest complaint I saw among the dreck was that it was inspired by other great films. That kind of thing makes me want to throw apples at the heads of every critic on that page.

Everyone and everything is inspired by someone or something great that came before. Steven Spielberg, one of the most iconic directors known, was inspired by other directors. He’s cited The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), directed by Robert Wise (Helen of Troy, The Body Snatcher, Born to Kill), as the inspiration for two of his earliest projects. You might have heard of them: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Does being inspired by another film make those two movies any less amazing?

I’m betting the same critics that panned Infini would be the first to answer no.

I don’t think this film was disliked by the mainstream critics because it was inspired by previous projects. I think it was disliked because it wasn’t safe. It was definitely inspired by some of the greatest sci-fi films: Alien (1979) and The Thing (1982) among them, but there were some significant differences. I don’t believe Infini was a sub-par copy of those that came before. I think it twisted the tropes enough to become a legend in its own right.

If critics weren’t assholes.

Infini was brilliantly written by Shane Abbess (The Osiris Child, Event Zero, Gabriel) and Brian Cachia (The Osiris Child, Sucker Punch, Californication). It was also amazingly handled in direction by Abbess. The actors blew their various parts out of the fucking water. Daniel MacPherson (The Osiris Child, Wild Boys, The Shannara Chronicles) delivered a stellar performance. Some of his scenes with Luke Ford (The Osiris Child, McLeod’s Daughters, Ghost Machine) were just unforgettably tense without losing that fantastic chemistry that the entire cast seemed to have.

I realize that each individual review marks little more than an opinion. That’s what I want to urge our readers to remember. You can go to Rotten Tomatoes and read the reviews each of those critics wrote, but remember each one was just that person’s opinion. Critics are no better than anyone else. Some of them may have higher education, but that doesn’t make anyone more qualified to express how they feel than the next person.

Movies are about entertainment. No one gets to tell us what we will or won’t enjoy. That’s on us.

We here at Trust the Dice don’t like to consider ourselves critics. We’re fangirls. We binge-watch shows. We stay up late to finish our movies. We record old favorites on our DVRs or TiVOs. We follow our favorite actors, writers, and directors. And, most importantly, no one can buy our opinion. We have turned down sponsorships and we do not allow outside influence to affect the way we feel. There are no editors or bosses breathing down our necks to try to get us to lean one way or another on a film.

But our opinions are just that, opinions.

We’re not here to tell you what to watch. We’re here to offer suggestions. This blog was initially developed to find those hidden gems on Netflix that everyone scrolls by. That’s why we do everything randomly. We get some big films in, but we also get a ton of movies that we’ve never heard of.

In my opinion, Infini in one of those diamonds that people might look past on Netflix because some critic somewhere said it was inspired by Alien.

I highly recommend watching this film and deciding for yourself.

Cat’s Point of View:

That one word pretty much sums this movie up for me. I was seriously impressed.

What else could I say about it? It was a brutal and horrific thrill ride of awesome, reminiscent of elements of the Alien (1979) franchise and The Thing (1982) scrambled together with some innovative twists.

I loved the concept of the slipstream as a new form of long-distance travel, and really appreciate that it wasn’t presented as this shiny foolproof thing. It’s just one of the many elements that had me fairly giddy from a sci-fi fan’s point of view. I feel the urge to geek out over more of such details; however, they come part and parcel with spoilers. Go watch the movie to learn more!

There is so much that is left up to audience interpretation as things come together. It left me hungry for more – to find out what happened next. I would say that this had the potential to become a franchise of its own, but I’d worry that this lightning in a bottle might be too hard to capture again.

The cast busted their butts with this one. I didn’t have any reservations on any of their performances – in fact, some were downright eerie. It’s said that some of the cast didn’t leave the set once they started filming; opting to stay there, instead, to maintain the feel of the movie’s environment and reality. Their immersion really paid off.

I would definitely recommend this for fans of the genre – especially sci-fi thrillers.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 36%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 31%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 4/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

Movie Trailer:

Monday, October 24, 2016

How I Live Now (2013)

Number Rolled: 25
Movie Name/Year: How I Live Now (2013)
Tagline: Love will lead you home.
Genre: Drama, Romance, Thriller
Length: 101 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: BFI Film Fund, Cowboy Films, Film4, Passion Pictures, Prospect Pictures, Protagonist Pictures, UK Film Council
Producer: John Battsek, Jeremy Brock, Alasdair Flind, Rosa Romero, Tessa Ross, Andrew Ruhemann, Charles Steel, Nicole Stott, Robert Walak, Piers Wenger, Nigel Williams
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Writer: Meg Rosoff, Jeremy Brock, Penelope Skinner, Tony Grisoni, Jack Thorne
Actors: Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland, George MacKay, Harley Bird, Danny McEvoy, Anna Chancellor, Jonathan Rugman, Corey Johnson, Darren Morfitt, Stella Gonet, Des McAleer, Amy Dawson

Blurb from Netflix: An American teen’s summer romance with an English boy comes to an abrupt end when rumors of World War III become a reality.

Selina’s Point of View:
I could watch this movie several times in a row and not get bored of it.

There were some parts that were one the weird and kind of icky side if you think about them, but even those moments added to the general feel of the film. The mix of drama and romance worked incredibly well with the war thriller aspects.

Make no mistake, this movie was DARK. It starts out light and happy… and it continues that way for a long time. However, when it takes that left turn into darkness, it is a sharp left turn and it never goes back.

The actors were amazing, the story was enthralling, and even the script seemed to be memorable.

I know the Rotten Tomatoes score looks a little low, but that’s because the movie didn’t really follow the book as closely as fans hoped it would. I haven’t read the book, so I can only judge How I Live Now on its merit as a film. I think I’m happy about that in this case.

Novel Cover
From the moment I saw the trailer to this film, I wanted to see it. Not only was I not disappointed, but my expectations were blown completely away.


Cat’s Point of View:
This was one of those films that hadn’t even been a blip on my radar before. I was familiar with Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, City of Ember, Hanna), though. Her movie Brooklyn (2015) is currently burning a hole in my DVR. I have too many hours-worth of programs piling up; much to my husband’s dismay. Maybe after this busy month is over, I’ll watch it – but I digress.

I haven’t seen her in enough films yet, really, to get a good handle on whether or not her involvement earmarks something I can get excited about automatically. Not yet, at least. I mean – there was that body-snatching alien invasion movie that wasn’t all that great, right?

In any case, I enjoyed her performance here. I really felt the emotional gauntlet. The way her character had to dig deep to find her grit resonated as genuine.

Some of the plot here might be a little squidgy for some – but keep in mind this is England we’re talking about. There’s a historical track record there that accounts for that dismissal of taboo. If that didn’t push buttons, then there’s likely a trigger-laden scene that would still be uncomfortable to most – though, I’ll have to give them credit for executing it tastefully. For the license afforded an R-Rated movie these days, they could have gone a lot more explicit in some places. I think the film benefits for that skillful restraint.

I loved how this movie painted the landscape and the English countryside as an idyllic haven removed from what plagues the more heavily populated areas. One sees why it was an ideal scenario during WWII to be sent out of the cities and to places such as the setting for the majority of this film.

George MacKay
The English cousins each shone in their own way. While George MacKay (Defiance, For Those in Peril, Bypass) as Eddie got a lot of focus, and I loved how they presented his character – it was Harley Bird (Peppa Pig, Doctor Who, Playhouse Presents) that stole the show as Piper out of the three. 

I might go so far as to say that I love this movie – though, it was heart-wrenching and dark enough that I will likely pass on watching it again.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 67%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 55%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 4.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

P.S. Based on a novel with the same name written by Meg Rosoff.

Movie Trailer: