Saturday, May 6, 2017

But I Digress...The Record Shattering Code

By Cat

Name: Code 8
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Crime
Producers: Stephen Amell, Jeff Chan, Chris Paré
Director: Jeff Chan
Writers: Jeff Chan, Chris Paré
Actors: Robbie Amell, Stephen Amell, Sung Kang, Aaron Abrams, and more yet to be announced
Movie Website/Indiegogo can be found here.


I have been absolutely giddy over the last few days. It’s not because I’ve been left alone with the blog while Selina’s on a much needed vacation. She’s been decidedly missed. My excitement stems from some recent movie news. More specifically, it was an update regarding the movie Code 8, which is currently in pre-production. 

According to a Facebook Live video by Robbie Amell (The Tomorrow People, The X-Files, ARQ), the film is going into production as of May 29th, 2017. 

What is this Code 8, you ask?

It is a heaping helping of awesomesauce.

Imagine a world where humans are beginning to evolve and develop ‘powers.’ Some are strong, some wield fire, others have various kinetic talents, and even electricity. I’m sure there are many other varieties in this movie landscape, but these are the ones that the proof-of-concept short film I have posted at the top of this article has confirmed. However, regular humans are wary of these ‘Specials’ and have developed some high-tech means to ensure that these evolved people follow the same laws as everyone else. Prejudice and discrimination underscore the lives of those born gifted. 

I absolutely adore fantastical Sci-Fi stories that involve metahumans, or ordinary people with extraordinary abilities. Jeff Chan (The Apostles, Call of Duty: Operation Kingfish, Grace: The Possession) did an amazing job with his team in crafting the short film. It certainly whet my appetite for more – which the upcoming movie promises to deliver in spades.

This film has already shattered records. This is largely thanks to the epic and loyal fanbase of both Robbie and Stephen Amell (Private Practice, Arrow, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows). These cousins have been wanting to do a project together for quite some time. Their brief collaboration on their CW shows’ cross-over episodes just wasn’t enough – for them or their fans. 

Thus, Code 8 was born. They crafted a project, primarily spearheaded by Robbie, where they can do just that and tell a great story at the same time; while keeping control of the movie out of big-studio hands and involving passionate fans in the process. They launched a phenomenally successful Indiegogo campaign on March 22, 2016 to fund the film. Their goal was $200,000.00. The 30-day campaign closed with over $1.7 million. The overwhelming response to this crowdfunding effort made this the most successful Canadian film crowdfunding project EVER.

I have a firm belief that this movie will be absolutely amazing due to the dedication of those working on it. This is a passion project that has a lot of heart and the Amells are just genuinely a couple of great, talented guys that use their celebrity platforms for more than self-promotion. This isn’t Stephen’s first fundraising project. He champions the F-Cancer charity through his Nocking Point Wines and annual campaigns, as well as other efforts. One of his t-shirt campaigns hit over the million mark and F-Cancer actually put him on their board. 

I digress…

Part of what makes them so special is their love of communicating with their fans. There were many updates as the Indiegogo campaign progressed, and they have remained providing consistent updates since it closed. There is a palpable excitement for this project when they talk about it, and they’ve gone above and beyond to include fans in the creative process for this movie. If I had a few thousand dollars to throw around, you can bet I’d have snagged one of the movie premiere perks.

What’s even more awesome is that there’s more to come! Robbie announced that the Indiegogo campaign will be re-opening shortly after production begins, in order to give fans a chance to not only help the project but also get more awesome movie gear such as the wildly popular signed postcards, apparel, other personalized perks, and even weekly giveaways. They are changing up the artwork on the cards and the apparel designs to preserve the collectability of their first backers, but I’ve no doubt that whatever they pick will be really cool. 

Original campaign postcard art by LordMesa

So back to the movie, itself. Have I mentioned that Sung Kang (Fast Five, Bullet to the Head, Power) will be in this? I loved him in the short, and can’t wait to see what they have him doing in the full-length film. There have been teases about the casting, but more names have yet to be revealed.

The film has an ambitious production schedule with plans to premiere around October of this year. According to a March 2017 Facebook Live session that the Amells broadcast together, they’re currently remaining pretty much on target. Those that purchased the campaign perk to become an extra in the movie have already received emails with their scene information. While Stephen’s busy schedule prevented him from lending more than his voice to the short film, they will be shooting all of his live scenes for the movie during the month of June.

I can’t wait to see this film hit the big screen. If you’re interested, too – go check out the site and keep your eyes peeled for that re-launch of the Indiegogo. The more they’re able to raise, the higher they can up the ante on the movie. 

Bonus! - If you'd like to read an exclusive interview with Robbie Amell from March 2016, shortly after the Indiegogo launch, click here.

Official Movie Facebook Banner Image

But I Digress... is a weekly column for that can't be pinned down to just one thing. It's Cat's celebration of tangents, random references, and general fan geekdom that both intertwines with, revolves around, and diverges from our movie-review core. In homage to the beloved Brit comedians, we want to bring you something completely different!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Krrish (2006) - Foreign Film Friday - Through the Eyes of Cat

By Cat

Number Rolled: N/A
Movie Name/Year: Krrish (2006)
Tagline: He was born with a gift ... he was special ... like his father.
Genre: Bollywood, Action/Adventure, Romance, Sci-Fi
Length: 154 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Film Kraft
Producer: Rakesh Roshan
Director: Rakesh Roshan
Writer: Rakesh Roshan, Robin Bhatt, Sachin Bhowmick, Honey Irani, Akarsh Khurana, Sanjay Masoom
Actors: Rekha, Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Sharat Saxena, Hemant Pandey, Manini M. Mishra, Naseeruddin Shah, Puneet Issar, Akash Khurana, Xia Bin, Archana Puran Singh, Kiran Juneja, Preity Zinta
Stunt Coordinators: Siu-Tung Ching, Shyam Kaushal

Blurb from Rottentomatoes: Krishna is born with magical powers -- a legacy from his father, Rohit Mehra. Priya comes into his life and becomes his world. When she beckons him to Singapore, he follows. In Singapore, Dr Siddhant Arya, the megalomaniac scientist is on the verge to change the future forever. Only one man stands between Dr Siddharth Arya and his destructive dreams. To block his ruthless ambitions, Krishna must become Krrish.

Why is this edition special, you ask? Today, I get to take you ‘off script’ so to speak. Since Foreign Film Friday was added to our format this year, there aren’t any movies for me to pick out of Selina’s archived solo reviews to give you a different perspective on. So rather than rolling, I’ve selected a movie just barely outside of our list timeframe (releases within the last decade).

I remember watching a trailer for this film around the time it was released, and how I had been so curious about it then. Then, I noticed that there was a sequel to Krrish available on Netflix that is within our list-range. Win-win! This movie looked really interesting and it gives you some groundwork frame of reference prior to the dice potentially giving us Krrish 3 (2013) at some point in the future. You might be wondering what happened to ‘Krrish 2’ – I’ll get to that here in a second.

First, I want to caution our readers to entirely ignore the blurb description in Netflix for this movie. It’s entirely wrong. This is one thing that galls me about these little summary descriptions. It’s not just Netflix that falls prey to this – it’s everywhere. I’ve experienced it with my Xfinity cable service as well. Someone either snarky or plain lazy writes whatever the hell they feel like without really getting a grasp of what the programming they’re summarizing entails. I have had to double-take before in an instance where the blurb-writer interjected their personal opinion of the production. Whether or not some bozo who thinks they’re funny likes something or not has no bearing on my desire to know what the general plot of something is as I’m scrolling through my guide. Can you tell that this is a pet peeve?

I digress…

Back to the movie! To answer the conundrum posed before, there simply is no Krrish 2. Krrish is actually considered the 2nd movie of this franchise. It all starts with the film Koi... Mil Gaya (2003), which features the parents and grandparents of Krrish’s main character. It seems they didn’t use the ‘2’ in the title because this is an origin story for the Krrish superhero. Krrish 3 (2013) picks up at some point after the events in this movie, and there’s a Krrish 4 currently in production with a release date tentatively set for Christmas of 2018 in India.

Following Krrish, and especially around the timeframe of the 3rd installment of this series, comic books and cartoons came out featuring this superhero. This series is considered one of the most successful Bollywood franchises of all time. I can see why – it was fantastic!

There are only 2 things that kept this from getting a 5-star rating from me. The first was those infernal subtitles. The text was in plain white and over the movie, and had a few issues here and there. The subs did follow the lyrics of the traditional Bollywood musical numbers sprinkled through the movie, though. To be honest, I got so drawn into the movie that at some point I stopped caring and wasn’t even realizing I was reading as I watched.

The second issue wasn’t really all that bad. The film is a little over 2.5 hours long. At some points it feels a little slow-moving, but it doesn’t really take away from the story. The movie needed the time it took for character development. A few minutes here or there could have been streamlined but other than that, the length was justified.

The first act of the story follows the main character, Krishna, as he grows from a boy into the strapping young man, isolated from the world. The second act comes when the outside world comes to him and he has an encounter that changes him forever – because his feelings get involved. The third act is what follows as a result, and so on. I can’t really give more detail away without spoiling things.

The cast is fabulous here. When Rakesh Roshan (King Uncle, Koyla, Karobaar: The Business of Love); whom was writer, director, producer, and actor playing Krishna’s grandfather; wrote the story for this movie, he must have had his son in mind for the lead. It suited Hrithik Roshan (Lakshyta, Kites, Mohenjo Daro) perfectly. This guy has some serious action skills. You read that right – the lead in this film is Rakesh Roshan’s son. (The musical composer Rajesh Roshan (Love at Times Square, Aetbaar, Valley of Flowers), is also Rakesh’s brother!)

Hrithik had his work cut out for him in preparation for this movie. He had martial arts skills to execute (impressively, I might add), and TONS of wire-work. In fact, there was a freak accident involving snapped cables while filming in Singapore that was a near-miss to catastrophe. Hrithik makes this stuff look easy – and he looks good doing it, too.

This movie has all the classic Bollywood elements – humor, drama, romance, a twist, group dance numbers, fantastic visuals and costuming. There’s breathtaking scenery, and interesting cinematography. I loved the action special effects. It reminded me in some places of watching anime where the background blurs behind the character to highlight whatever power move is happening. In some places it almost felt like a comic brought to life – done the right way. Then, of course, there’s a sci-fi element woven in. Since I was unfamiliar with the first movie, it came at me out of nowhere; so I won’t spoil it for you!

All told, the movie was engaging and full of heart. It’s a must-see for anyone that loves superhero origins and musicals Bollywood-style. This film, in fact, would be great for anyone looking to test the waters with the genre.

Speech Available: Hindi
Subtitles Available: English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 72%
Metascore - 68/100
Metacritic User Score –6.5/10
IMDB Score – 6.3/10

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4.5/5

Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: PG

Movie Trailer: 

Bonus! - If you don't mind mild spoilers, there's a 6-minute behind-the-scenes video available here. There's interview content, a look at the martial arts training Hrithik Roshan underwent, and production footage. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Dark Tide (2012): Through the Eyes of Cat

Number Rolled: N/A
Movie Name/Year: Dark Tide (2012)
Tagline: In Shark Alley, courage runs deep.
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Thriller
Length: 113 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Alliance Cinema, Magnet Media Group, Magnet Media Productions, Magnet Media Productions, Mirabelle Pictures, Film Afrika Worldwide, Cinedigm, Lipsync Productions, Procinvest Sas, Social Capital
Producers: Verenice Buerling, Jeanette Buerling-Milio, Matthew E. Chausse, Philippe Chausse, Sukee Chew, Meg Clark, Ali Cook, Trish Cook, Michael Corso, Chris Curling, Brian Donovan, Vlokkie Gordon, Anthony Gudas, Nina Heyns, Norman Merry, John Michaels, Maggie Monteith, Karl Nickoley, Celine Rattray, Douglas Saylor Jr., Martin Shore, Matthew Spain, Jeff Steele, Guy Tannahill, Christopher Tuffin, Eric van den Eijnden, David Wicht, Pasquale Zaza
Director: John Stockwell
Writers: Ronnie Christensen, Amy Sorlie
Actors: Halle Berry, Olivier Martinez, Sizwe Msutu, Mark Elderkin, Thoko Ntshinga, Ralph Brown, Luke Tyler
Stunt Doubles: Amanda Foster, Francois Grobbelaar, Dan Hirst, Grant Hulley, James O'Donnell, Chris Pollard, Katie Rowe, Franz Spilhaus

Blurb from Netflix:  A "shark whisperer" is crippled by fear. Is big money enough bait to lure her back into the perilous depths?

As we’ve done in the past, since Selina is away; I’ve revisited a move that she’s already watched and reviewed for you. This way we can offer you the same dual perspective that our current reviews provide. So while our Sellie is away, we shall play… with sharks!

For those that caught my January 21st, 2017 But I Digress article, you might have an inkling of how much I geek out over sharks. These powerful, majestic, and terrifying predators have been a fascination of mine dating back many years. 

While this movie doesn’t deal with the megalodon, it does feature the modern-day apex predator of the ocean – the great white shark. 

So let’s get down to the brass tacks here. I could babble about sharks all day, but you’ve come here for a review. 

I’ll be honest right out of the gate – this movie wasn’t the best shark thriller ever made. The film had its share of issues; however, it wasn’t the worst shark thriller ever made, either. I’d say it’s somewhere waffling around the middle of the road. The movie’s gotten quite a lot of reviews that are considerably unfavorable. 

There might be some truth to the consensus that the movie was akin to a soap opera more than it was a thriller; however, the movie wasn’t devoid of nail-biting moments. The murky underwater environment was the perfect setting to evoke dread with these monsters of the deep. My main issue with the film had nothing to do with that. There was an entire scene that just felt like it was thrown in randomly for the hell of it. It didn’t tie in with the core plot or even in a tangential way that would make it a valid sub-plot. At best, it was the equivalent of ‘flavor text’ to build more of an environment of peril in regards to the sharks – but that was entirely unnecessary. 

So let’s get on with what I felt the movie did right.

For one thing, they used actual footage of real sharks and seals as filmed off the coast of South Africa around Cape Town. Seal Island was the real deal. This area is one of the most active great white areas on the planet. They love to munch those seals. Most of those incredible images of great whites leaping right out of the ocean were taken right there. 

The only shots that were doctored with effects were the ones where people were interacting directly with the toothsome terrors. The effects were well done and I would be hard-pressed, even as a shark aficionado, to point out where the real footage ended and where the graphics began. It’s clear that great care was taken to portray the sharks correctly rather than just sensationally, as with most shark-attack movies. 

The information they give about sharks, that area off the coast of South Africa, and the like is all accurate. Hidden within this movie is a small nature documentary in truth. I enjoyed the fact that they went with the real deal rather than hyped up fictional sensationalism. 

This might not be at the top of my recommendation list for shark movies, but I wouldn’t mind watching it again.

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English, Spanish

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 0%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score –15%
Metascore - 23/100
Metacritic User Score – 3.9/10
IMDB Score – 4.3/10

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3/5

 Movie Trailer:

Monday, May 1, 2017

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In May (2017)

According to: Selina

20 – MamaBoy (5/23)

Tag Line: High school just got weirder.
Production Company: My Hero Productions
Director: Aaron Leong
Writer: Rick Kuebler
Actors: Sean O’Donnell, Alexandria DeBerry, Gary Busey, Stephen Tobolowsky, Michael Eric Reid, Dylan Riley Snyder, J.D. Rudometkin, Eric Wheeler, Nick Fenske, Jesse Miller, Pamela Finney, Michael Reep, Jack Shelton, Shelley K. Booker
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family
Rated: PG-13

I went back and forth about adding this film to my list. In the end, it really did look kind of amusing.

It’s reminiscent of Junior (1994), a film where Arnold Schwarzenegger (Aftermath, Sabotage, The Expendables) plays a pregnant man. It’s not quite the same thing, since good old Arnie played an adult and this film takes place in the high school years of the main characters.  

This film seems like what would have happened if Junior had been released on the Disney channel as a TV movie. That’s not a terrible thing, I’ve enjoyed a few Disney TV movies in my time.

I know very little about the cast of this movie and this is the first full length feature film that the director and writer have worked on in those specific credits. That makes this film a wild card. Depending on how it’s handled, it could be hilarious; it could also be an eye-rolling cringe-fest. We’ll see.

19 – Lady Bloodfight (5/5)

Tag Line: The year the only way out is to kill them all.
Production Company: Voltage Pictures, B&E Productions
Director: Chris Nahon
Writer: Bey Logan, Judd Bloch
Actors: Amy Johnston, Muriel Hofmann, Jenny Wu, Kathy Wu, Jet Tranter, Mayling Ng, Sunny Coelst, Rosemary Vandebrouck, Lisa Cheng, Chalinene Bassinah, Lauren Rhoden, Lisa Henderson, Isa Sofa Chan Kwan Nga, Nathalie Ng, Happy Ma, Xiao Xia, Wing-Hin Ho, Mon Choi, Kirt Kishita, Joe Fiorella, Cecilia Reynal, Ines Laimins, Jai Day, Harry Oram, James Carss, John Dovoacc
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Rated: R

Lady Bloodfight looks like an all (or mostly) female version of Mortal Kombat (1995). It’s the same basic idea at the core.

The film seems to be based on a tournament of martial arts fighters, though it’s not a fight for the world. In fact, it seems to be a fight for something much more basic: money.

Despite the corny and somewhat badly acted reality of the Mortal Kombat movie, I rather enjoyed it. At the very least I remember it fondly. That means seeing a trailer like this one is incredibly nostalgic for me.

It does seem to take some paths that are unique to this kind of storyline, however, and that makes it more interesting than it would seem otherwise. I’m not sure I expect A-list kind of acting, but as B-movies go I have relatively high hopes.

18 – Worthless (5/10)

Tag Line: Fifteen years later, karma bullies back.
Production Company: Cinemaddict Films, Cinestyle Media Group, Worthless Movie LLC
Director: Rob Hawk
Writer: Chris Cardillo Sr., Rob Hawk
Actors: Tara Reid, Quinton Aaron, Erin O’Brien, Fallon Maressa, Deborah Tucker, Cabrina Collesides, Chelsea Foster, Alexandra Grossi, Rene Vettese, Tanya Christiansen, Jamie Houk, Dustin Young, Laura Hine, Jefferson Sanders, Lina Carollo, Christine Nyland, Chris Cardillo Sr., Erica Seelig, Chris Cardillo, Debbie Gianfortune, Jasmine Vargas, Matt Brickner, Laura Witsker
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rated: Unrated

If you made Bring It On (2000) a horror film, this is what it would have been. That alone kind of intrigues me.

I really enjoy films like this that take a trope from another genre and twist it to add a different spin.

Here we see the basic ‘cheerleaders rule the school’ trope that’s in almost every teen drama or high school comedy ever created and it’s used to really open the door to another perspective on it. That means that even though the trope is well-known, it actually feels newer.

I’ll admit that Tara Reid (Sharknado, Last Call, Silent Partner) is a little hit-or-miss as an actress. She’s her best when she’s in B-movies where she can just cut loose and not worry about perfection. Worthless seems to be more of a serious film, however, which means she might not do as well as she could.

I’m still ready to keep an open mind.

17 – Lowriders (5/12)

Tag Line: None
Production Company: Blumhouse Productions, Imagine Entertainment, Universal Pictures
Director: Ricardo de Montreuil
Writer: Cheo Hodari Coker, Elgin James
Actors: Melissa Benoist, Eva Longoria, Theo Rossi, Demian Bichir, Cress Williams, Tony Revolori, Gabriel Chavarria, Johanna Sol, Bryan Rubio
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13

Dramas aren’t usually my go-to films, unless they’re this kind of gritty family-type drama.

When I tell people I grew up in Brooklyn, this tends to be what they think about but they’re quite wrong. I grew up in a Hassidic neighborhood and I spent my time with friends in Bensonhurst, which was primarily Italian. If that sounds segregated that’s only because it is. Every neighborhood in Brooklyn is known to belong to a specific group. If things start to shift, it’s highly noticeable and talked about.

I can think of places in Brooklyn that resemble what is seen in Lowriders, but that’s not the part that fascinates me.

This film is a peek into a culture I know very little about and involves a present father which, sadly, I also know very little about. I feel like it could really expand my perspective on things by sitting down and watching Lowriders. On top of that, I hardly feel like I’d be bored watching it.

Also, I’m still a huge fan of Theo Rossi (Luke Cage, Sons of Anarchy, Bad Hurt).

16 – Black Site Delta (5/5)

Tag Line: Don’t expect the good guys to save you.
Production Company: Benattar/Thomas Productions, Base Film Productions
Director: Jesse Gustafson
Writer: Rick Benattar, Guy Stevenson, Nigel Thomas
Actors: Cam Gigandet, Teri Reeves, Sherri Eakin, Jeremy Sande, Benjamin Charles Watson, Chris Bosarge, Courtney Compton, Dion Mucciacito, Casey Hendershot, John Brodsky, Michael Randall, Arash Mokhtar, Danny Cosmo, Michael Dale, Noah Cook, Curtis Nichouls
Genre: Action
Rated: Unrated

This looks kind of like a powerless version of the Suicide Squad (2016). The premise is relatively the same from what I can tell. We don’t really need another version of the Suicide Squad (unless they decide to release a version that hasn’t been cut to all hell), but I do think that this kind of part will be good for Cam Gigandet (Reckless, 4 Minute Mile, Easy A).

This is another film that can go either way. Either it can be handled right and the creators can give it its own identity away from Suicide Squad or it could wind up being basically a remake with less comic book characters. I’m hoping for the former, obviously.

15 – War Machine (5/26)

Tag Line: From the producers of the Big Short comes a story about the politics of war.
Production Company: Netflix, Plan B Entertainment
Director: David Michod
Writer: Michael Hastings, David Michod
Actors: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hayes, John Magaro, Anthony Michael Hall, Emory Cohen, Topher Grace, Daniel Betts, Aymen Hamdouchi, RJ Cyler, Alan Ruck, Nicholas Jones, Will Poulter, Lakeith Stanfield, Ben Kingsley, Meg Tilly, Griffin Dunne, Josh Stewart, Kola Bokinni, Derek Siow, Hopper Penn, Pico Alexander, Scoot McNairy, Justin Rosniak, Paolo Gasparini, Simon Werner, Sian Thomas, Reggie Brown, Hassani Shapi, Richard Glover, Elham Ehsas, Paul Hickey, Georgina Rylance, Tilda Swinton, Aykut Hilmi, Nezar Alderazi, Kick Gurry, Nicholas Maude, Rufus Wright, Gijs Scholten van Aschat, Mirrah Foulkes, Tim Downie, John Street, Andrew Byron
Genre: Comedy, Drama, War
Rated: Unrated

This film has no association with the Marvel hero. If that film is coming, it’s not this month.

On the Netflix US YouTube page, they describe this film as part reality, part savage parody… and I can’t help but notice that Brad Pitt’s (Allied, The Big Short, 12 Years a Slave) character looks a lot like General Mattis. I don’t know what parts of the story are real and which are fake, but I’m amused at the prospect that some of it might actually be a look into reality.

This film has a really good cast and a decent premise. I don’t care if it’s true – fully or partially. I think with something like this you need to take every fact you ‘learn’ in it with a grain of salt. There’s bound to be a left or right leaning bias woven in by the writer. If you ignore the politics, though, it should be an awesome watch.  

14 – Wakefield (5/19)

Tag Line: He’s checked out.
Production Company: Mockingbird Pictures, Dominion Pictures
Director: Robin Swicord
Writer: Robin Swicord
Actors: Jennifer Garner, Bryan Cranston, Jason O’Mara, Beverly D’Angelo, Ian Anthony Dale, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Ellery Sprayberry, Frederick Keeve, Monica Lawson, Isaac Leyva, Victoria Bruno , Eliza Coleman, Alexander Zale, Cameron Simmons, Carinna Rossignoli
Genre: Drama
Rated: Unrated

Who hasn’t gotten to such a stressful point that they’ve thought about just picking up and leaving?

I don’t mean thinking of leaving friends and family behind, more like taking a vacation. This film examines the extreme version of that where leaving the people one loves behind becomes an option. I expect it to be an incredible tearjerker of a film. I also expect that it will be acted flawlessly, which is something Bryan Cranston (SuperMansion, Power Rangers, Why Him?) is known for.

The writer/director, Robin Swicord (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Practical Magic, Matilda), is responsible for some real masterpieces, as well. I think there’s very little chance that this film will be less than amazing.

13 – Black Butterfly (5/26)

Tag Line: There is a reason you don't talk to strangers.
Production Company: Ambi Pictures, Battleplan Productions, Compadre Entertainment, Paradox Studios
Director: Brian Goodman
Writer: Marc Frydman, Justin Stanley
Actors: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Piper Perabo, Antonio Banderas, Abel Ferrara, Nicholas Aaron, Vincent Riotta, Nathalie Rapti Gomez, Alexandra Klim, Randall Paul, Gioia Libardoni, Timothy Martin, Katie McGovern, Cristina Moglia, Cherish Gaines, Tracy Green
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R

Black Butterfly looks like an awesome, original, straight-up thriller. It’s based off a French film called Papillon Noir (2008). The two films sound like something I would be looking forward to if it came up on Netflix. I might search for the French film to add to our Foreign Film Friday queue.

Sure, there are some base tropes that are utilized. The evil hitchhiker, the woman who checks on the victim after a few days, the blocked writer… and a few others. Really though, it’s kind of difficult to make a film these days where you don’t hit on some kind of trope, regardless of how original the story is.

The cast is experienced and has a lot of praise under their belt, but the writers/director are relatively new to their specific positions. I think the collective experience of the cast will help raise the bar for this film.

12 – Snatched (5/12)

Tag Line: This is the closest they’ve been in years.
Production Company: Chernin Entertainment, Feigco Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Director: Jonathan Levine
Writer: Katie Dippold
Actors: Goldie Hawn, Ike Barinholtz, Amy Schumer, Joan Cusack, Christopher Meloni, Randall Park, Colin Quinn, Tom Bateman, Oscar Jaenada, Wanda Sykes, Jiaoying Liang, Arturo Castro, Kevin Kane, Ty Quiamboa
Genre: Action, Comedy
Rated: R

Snatched looks funny. Its got a raunchy feel to it that’s kind of cool. I have to admit, though, I’d be a LOT more interested if Amy Schumer (Trainwreck, Inside Amy Schumer, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World) wasn’t in it. I don’t hate her or anything, I’m just a smidge sick of her. She’s a little boring to me at this point, not really sure why. Still, I can’t deny that the movie looks pretty good and it has a cool premise to it.

As sick of Schumer as I am, though… I’m happy that I’m going to get to see more from the director, Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, The Night Before). I’ve seen some of his stuff in the past and I think he’s good at what he does. I’d like to see more in the future.

11 – Dead Awake (5/12)

Tag Line: An ancient evil. Trapped in a world of darkness. Waiting for someone to believe.
Production Company: Aristar Entertainment, Gama Entertainment Partners, Incendiary Features
Director: Phillip Guzman
Writer: Jeffrey Reddick
Actors: Lori Petty, Jesse Bradford, Brea Grant, Jocelin Donahue, Jesse Borrego, James Eckhouse, Liz Mikel, Jeffrey Reddick, Billy Blair, Mona Lee Fultz
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: Unrated

I experienced sleep paralysis – or something close to it – exactly once in my life. I was laying on a couch, opposite my boyfriend at the time. We were studying and I fell asleep because, to this day, I find Ernest Hemmingway boring. In the dream, I kept waking up into the exact same dream until I ‘woke up’ to see him on the other side of the couch, finally. I was screaming for him to help me, and to wake me up (because I was aware I was sleeping at that point) but he didn’t move because I wasn’t actually saying anything.

That stayed with me for a long time. Still sends a chill down my spine when I think of it.

This film touches on that kind of phenomenon and I expect it to be blood-curdling.

10 – The Wall (5/12)

Tag Line: This isn’t war. It’s a game.
Production Company: Amazon Studios, Big Indie Pictures, Picrow
Director: Doug Liman
Writer: Dwain Worrell
Actors: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, John Cena, Spencer Thomas, Laith Nakli
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rated: R

I love war films like this. There are few, if any, fancy explosions. There are very little in the way of computer effects. It’s just a couple of soldiers, a sniper, and the bare face of mortality. In my opinion, films like this are hundreds of times more frightening than any other movie.

Watching movies like The Wall, I get a knot in my stomach. I’ve had a lot of friends that have been over-seas and the idea of any of them being in such a hopeless situation sends chills up my spine. Even those that have just been acquaintances.

I don’t always like the idea of wrestlers making the transition into films. I mean, there are some that make it, like Dwayne Johnson (Moana, Ballers, Furious 7), but there are some that try and wind up being complete and total failures, like Paul Levesque (Warrior: The Ultimate Legend, The Chaperone, Blade: Trinity). Watching Triple H in anything not WWE-related is just… painful. However, I feel like this kind of film could be a great vehicle for John Cena (Sisters, Trainwreck, The Reunion). He’s got the right look and is familiar with that kind of soldier-esque personality. I’d definitely believe it.

I hope he lives up to expectations.

9 – Enter the Warrior’s Gate (5/5)

Tag Line: None
Production Company: EuropaCorp, Fundamental Films
Director: Matthias Hoene
Writer: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Actors: Mark Chao, Ni Ni, Dave Bautista, Sienna Guillory, Uriah Shelton, Francis Chun-Yu Ng, Zha Ka, Ron Smoorenburg, Dakota Daulby, Luke Mac Davis, Jia Dong Liu, Tao Chen, David Liu, Fei Huang
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13

A LOT of the movies that are coming out this month are stories that remind me of other films. In this case, I’m reminded of the Forbidden Kingdom (2008). Now, although a lot of critics kind of shat on that film, I really enjoyed it. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine and I can watch it over and over again. I can’t really explain why, but it doesn’t matter. Point is, I love it.

Enter the Warrior’s Gate looks like a version of the Forbidden Kingdom where the main character isn’t obsessed with films, but video games.

I’m not all too familiar with the cast in this one, which would normally make it a wild card for me… except I’m very familiar with the creators. Director Matthias Hoene (Trigger Point, Beyond the Rave, Tower Block) is still a little green, but his work includes Cockneys vs. Zombies (2012), which is a film both Cat and I adored when we watched it for Trust the Dice. I have stated that I have high hopes for him in the future. I stick by that statement.

The writers make up for Hoene’s inexperience with a list of credits that anyone could be proud of. Luc Besson (Taxi, Taken, The Big Blue) is known for writing amazing stories and characters, like those used for The Fifth Element (1997) and Nikita (2010-2013). Robert Mark Kamen (Gladiator, Kiss of the Dragon, The Transporter) is known for writing some of the same stories as Besson, but he’s also credited for writing the original Karate Kid (1984).

I highly doubt any of the creators could take this storyline and do something unacceptable with it. I have significantly high hopes for this film.

8 – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (5/26)

Tag Line: None
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Infinitum Nihil
Director: Joachim Ronning, Espen Sandberg
Writer: Jeff Nathanson, Terry Rossio, Ted Elliott, Stuart Beattie, Jay Wolpert
Actors: Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Kaya Scodelario, David Wenham, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Javier Bardem, Golshifteh Farahani, Stephen Graham, Kevin McNally, Martin Klebba, Adam Brown, Nico Cortez, Ben O’Toole, Zoe Ventoura, Alexander Scheer, James Mackay, Robert Morgan, Lewis McGowan, Danny Kirrane, Angus Barnett, Juan Carlos Vellido, Rodney Afif
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13

I’m just really a big fan of this series, to be honest. I think it’s gone too far and I want to hate the idea of more of them… but I just really enjoy the films. I should be marooned on an island somewhere….

With rum.

7 – Alien: Covenant (5/19)

Tag Line: The path to paradise begins in hell.
Production Company: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Brandywine Productions, Scott Free Productions, TSG Entertainment
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett, Jack Paglen, Michael Green, John Logan, Dante Harper
Actors: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby, Uli Latukefu, Tess Haubrich, Lorelei King, Goran D. Kleut, Andrew Crawford, James Franco, Guy Pearce, Noomi Rapace
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: R

Admittedly, I’m less familiar with the Alien (1979) series than I should be. I’m interested, but I’ve seen less than one would expect of me. I do want to see more of them, and I will eventually.

In the meantime, it looks like Alien: Covenant could be fine if viewed as a stand-alone, which is nice. Although sequels could elevate a previous film if made right, sometimes it’s nice to have one that is made in the same universe but could be seen on its own. As people grow and get older, new fan-bases are created and older ones can fall behind if they don’t keep up with the times. This film could allow a whole new generation of people to see and appreciate the Alien franchise films.

6 – Everything, Everything (5/19)

Tag Line: Risk everything… for love.
Production Company: Alloy Entertainment, Itaca Films, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Director: Stella Meghie
Writer: J. Mills Goodloe, Nicola Yoon
Actors: Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson, Anika Noni Rose, Ana de la Reguera, Taylor Hickson, Danube R. Hermosillo, Farryn VanHumbeck, Robert Lawrenson, Peter Benson, Allison Riley, Dan Payne, Valareen Friday
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rated: PG-13

I thought the plot of this film was really interesting. I want to know what disease the main character is afflicted with.

I’m not familiar with any of the actors, so I don’t know how they would be able to handle the script for this kind of story. For all I know, they might not have the acting chops to pull it off… but I am still so intrigued by the trailer, and the idea of the film, that it feels worth the risk.

5 – Drone (5/26)

Tag Line: Choose your target wisely.
Production Company: Look to the Sky Films, Gold Star Productions, Interlock Capital
Director: Jason Bourque
Writer: Ian Birkett, Paul A. Birkett, Jason Bourque, Roger Patterson
Actors: Sean Bean, Mary McCormack, Joel David Moore, Sharon Taylor, Patrick Sabongui, Bradley Stryker, Kirby Morrow, Kevin O’Grady, John Emmet Tracy, Elissa Ciullo, Maxwell Haynes, Cary Alexander, Becky Hachey, Peter Dwerryhouse, Corina Akeson
Genre: Thriller
Rated: Unrated

This film is a fascinating idea. It goes into the lack of humanity behind the use of drones in war and the revenge one person takes after his family is killed by one.

I understand the use of drones on one hand, but on the other… I know the internet. In agreement with drones, I can acknowledge that it could save many lives of many soldiers that won’t have to go into dangerous territory. However, without that face to face contact, without the judgment of a human soldier, it’s hard to understand the humanity in the victims. Killing isn’t easy because it shouldn’t be easy. It should only be done when necessary, and well trained soldiers with eyes on a target could do it better than the cold touch of a machine.

I like films that peek into this new kind of war technology. Of course, I expect Sean Bean (Broken, Legends, The Martian) to die, but who doesn’t?

4 – Berlin Syndrome (5/26)

Tag Line: None
Production Company: Aquarius Films, DDP Studios, Entertainment One, Film Victoria, Fulcrum Media Finance, Memento Films International, Photoplay Films, Screen Australia
Director: Cate Shortland
Writer: Shaun Grant, Melanie Joosten, Cate Shortland
Actors: Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt, Lucie Aron, Matthias Habich, Cem Tuncay, Maia Absberg, Emma Bading, Thuso Lekwape, Nassim Avat, Elmira Bahrami, Mascha Wolf, Matthias Russel, Nadine Peschel, Viktor Baschmakov, Christoph Franken
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R

I almost didn’t recognize Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies, Point Break, Kill Me Three Times) in this trailer. She looks different than I’m used to, and she certainly acts differently than in the previous films I’ve seen her in. I am dying to see how she does in Berlin Syndrome. It seems like an edge-of-the-seat kind of thriller with tons of suspense. If she does well in it, that could mean spectacular things for her career.

I’m really looking forward to it.

3 – King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (5/12)

Tag Line: From nothing comes a King.
Production Company: Safehouse Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, Warner Bros., Weed Road Pictures, Wigram Productions
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer: Joby Harold, Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram, David Dobkin
Actors: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Annabelle Wallis, Hermione Corfield, Katie McGrath, Millie Brady, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Georgina Campbell, Aidan Gillen, Poppy Delebingne, Eline Powell, Kamil Lemieszewski
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rated: PG-13

It’s absolutely impossible to not want to see a film with Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy, The Lost City of Z, Pacific Rim) in it. As King Arthur, it’s an even more tempting deal. I LOVE the legends of King Arthur. The trailer looks as great as I hoped it would.

2 – Baywatch (5/25)

Tag Line: Go ahead and stare.
Production Company: Flynn Picture Company, Fremantle Productions, Hurwitz Creative, The Montecito Picture Company, Paramount Pictures, Seven Bucks Productions, Skydance Media, Uncharted
Director: Seth Gordon
Writer: Robert Ben Grant, Thomas Lennon, David Ronn, Jay Scherick, Damian Shannon, Mark Swift
Actors: Alexandra Daddario, Dwayne Johnson, Priyanka Chopra, Zac Efron, Pamela Anderson, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfenesh Hadera, Ana Flavia Gavlak, Charlotte McKinney, David Hasselhoff, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Rob Huebel, Hannibal Buress, Jon Bass, Haviland Stillwell
Genre: Comedy
Rated: R

I really didn’t watch Baywatch (1989-2001) back in the day. To be honest, I didn’t even have any real interest in this remake/reboot/sequel (whatever it is) film at first. My interest piqued a little when Dwayne Johnson was tied to the project… but it was the trailer that sealed the deal for me.

The trailer looks fucking hilarious. It looks so much better than the booby-bouncing original series. If the series looked like THIS, I’d have actually watched it!

If it didn’t look so good, it’d have likely made the list at a higher number because I’ll follow Johnson to any film (phrasing)… but it’s as high on my list as it is because the trailer really highlights just how his specific brand of comedic acting is utilized.

1 – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (5/5)

Tag Line: Obviously.
Production Company: Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures
Director: James Gunn
Writer: James Gunn, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Steve Englehart, Steve Gan, Jim Starlin, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Bill Mantio, Keith Giffen
Actors: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Tommy Flanagan, Laura Haddock, Aaron Schwartz, Alex Klein, Evan Jones, Joe Fria, Terence Rosemore, Jimmy Urine, Stephen Blackehart, Steve Agee, Blondy Baruti, Richard Christy, Rhoda Griffis, Elizabeth Ludlow, Wyatt Oleff, Gregg Henry, Seth Green, Ving Rhames, Michael Rosenbaum, Michelle Yeoh, Miley Cyrus, nea Dune, Jeff Goldblum, David Hasselhoff, Stan Lee, Kelly Richardson
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13

Baby. Groot.

There are plenty of other reasons, but… dude… omg… so cute.

If I wasn’t unavailable that day, I’d be going to the midnight showing. I’m going to have to wait a whole fucking week. Damn it.

Oh, and, rumor has it there are FIVE after credits scenes so, keep your butt in the chair until the lights come up.

Movies to Look out For
According to: Cat

Lowriders .20
Another Evil .19
The Dinner .18
War Machine .17
Dead Awake .16
Black Butterfly .15
The Shadow Effect .14
The Wall .13
The Wizard of Lies .12
Drone .11
3 Generations .10
Everything, Everything .9
Blame! .8
Berlin Syndrome .7
Enter the Warrior’s Gate .6
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales .5
Baywatch .4
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword .3
Alien: Covenant .2
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 .1