Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Eden (2014)

Number Rolled: 64
Movie Name/Year: Eden (2014)
Tagline: Welcome to paradise.
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Length: 96 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Gobsmack, H&H Creative Ventures, Ombra Films, Perlapartment Pictures, Tiny Giant Entertainment
Producer: Michael Cardelle, Sanjay Chabra, Jaume Collet-Serra, Bruce DeWitt, Marie Lloyd Henson, Kalpana Kutty, Sandeep Leyzell, Shyam Madiraju, Dawn Manning, Todd E. Miller, Jane Oster, Nate Parker, Hernany Perla, Mohit Rastogi, Tarun Revoo, Abe Schwartz, Steve Smith, Juan Sola, Jeffrey Summers, Zak Tanjeloff, Juan Villarreal, Amile Wilson, Shobhna Yadav
Director: Shyam Madiraju
Writer: Mark Mavrothalasitis, Nate Parker
Actors: James Remar, Mario Casas, Jessica Lowndes, Eugene Simon, Sung Kang, Diego Boneta, Ethan Peck, Nate Parker, Rob Mayes, Joey Pollari, Matt Testro, Brad Schmidt, Seth Michaels, Leore Hayon, Nicole Pedra, Eva Jenickova, Grant Alan Ouzts, Michael Cardelle, Ryan Mulkay, Alejandro Cardenas
Stunts: William Ong

Blurb from Netflix: After their plane crashes, stranding them on a deserted island, the surviving members of a soccer team break into factions and battle for dominance.

Selina’s Point of View:
I kind of enjoyed this film. I mean, it was pretty basic… but I still liked it.

Eden didn’t break any big expectations, and it certainly didn’t revolutionize anything, but it held up to the recipe it was following.

For the most part, the acting was good. The script was believable. The settings were even decent. Entertainment-wise, I wanted to watch. I was highly annoyed when my internet went out at the 40-minute mark. I had nearly a twenty-minute intermission due to it, but when the movie started up again, I found I still fell right back into it.

There were some minor issues. One of the romance scenes featured the most awkward kiss that I’ve seen in a long time. And, no, I don’t believe it was supposed to be awkward. There was also a part where the camera focused on someone swimming from above, and it was the most clearly faked swimming I’ve ever seen. I get what the director was going for, but he had to know it looked like crap.

Those are two examples of some scenes that made it into the film that probably shouldn’t have. There were a few more, but mostly along those lines. They didn’t affect the story.

I do think it’s important to note that Eden was Shyam Madiraju’s first full-length feature film direction. With experience, he might have realized those scenes were expendable. He showed some promise. A lot of his suspense scenes were on point.

In the end, all that really matters is whether or not the film is entertaining. Over time, you forget small mistakes, but you don’t forget when a movie captured your attention.

In this case, Eden is a film I’ll remember as entertaining.

Cat’s Point of View:
I have to say that this movie wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. To clarify, I fell into the trap of taking an initial impression for the film based on one of the preview stills that rotates when you select an expanded view of a film on Netflix. One of the images had me thinking that this might just be a campy survival movie – I was wrong.

Sure, the film followed some pretty standard shipwreck tropes – but it succeeded in avoiding the typical B-movie schlock.

Generally speaking, the movie was pretty intense in places and I had a genuine sense of dread for the fate of the characters. I found I was generally willing to suspend some significant disbelief on some aspects of the plot, though there were areas where there could have been improvement. For example, there were some environmental factors that were brought into play and then never came to anything.

Surprisingly, this is the sole directorial credit for Shyam Madiraju, whose only other IMDb listing is as Executive Producer for Cake (2014). With both listings taking place in 2014, one almost wonders where he came from and where he went off to after that busy year.

This movie was jam-packed with talent. I was happy to find Sung Kang (Bullet to the Head, Pali Road, Power) as the team trainer. With actors on board such as Diego Boneta (Underemployed, Summer Camp, Another You), Ethan Peck (In Time, The Curse of Sleeping Beauty, Tell Me How I Die), Rob Mayes (Melvin Smarty, The Client List, Different Flowers), and Nate Parker (The Secret Life of Bees, They Die by Dawn, The Birth of a Nation); the beefcake factor was definitely high. They made sure it was clear that they were on screen for more than just shirtless scenes, though.

I haven’t forgotten the girl-power amongst the cast. Jessica Lowndes (Greek, Altitude, Abbatoir) and the two actresses that played her character’s sister were integral to what makes this film tick. There were a few spots that were a little off for me – it was the story, however, and not the fault of the actors.

All told, the movie was pretty decent and I was definitely entertained. I was invested in the plight of the characters and it successfully made for some suspenseful tension. I wouldn’t mind watching it again, and not to ogle, I promise!

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 24%
Metascore - 30/100
Metacritic User Score – 4/10
IMDB Score – 4.7/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3/5

Movie Trailer:

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