Friday, January 12, 2018

Divines (2016) - FFF - Through the Eyes of Cat

By Cat

Number Rolled: 203
Movie Name/Year: Divines (2016)
Tagline: Un Film De Houda Benyamina
Genre: Crime, Drama
Length: 107 minutes
Rating: TV-MA
Production Companies: Easy Tiger, France 2 Cinéma, France Télévisions, Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC), Fonds Images de la Diversité, Cofinova 11, Région Ile-de-France, La Fondation Gan pour le Cinéma, Agence Nationale pour la Cohésion Sociale et l'Egalité des Chances (ACSE), Commission Images de la Diversité, Doha Film Institute, Procirep, Angoa-Agicoa, Netflix
Producers: Marc-Benoît Créancier, Ifunanya Maduka, Jessica Rosselet, Pauline Sylvestre
Director: Houda Benyamina
Writers: Houda Benyamina, Romain Compingt, Malik Rumeau
Actors: Oulaya Amamra, Déborah Lukumuena, Kevin Mishel, Jisca Kalvanda, Yasin Houicha, Majdouline Idrissi, Bass Dhem, Farid Larbi
Stunts: Rémi Canaple, Thibault Granier, Cyrille Hertel
Blurb from Netflix: A shrewd teenager and her wisecracking best friend plan to get rich or die trying by following in the footsteps of a flashy female drug dealer.

Cat’s Point of View: 


That’s my initial take-away from this movie. There was something profound and tragic in the telling of the story of these girls that transcended the script. This film took me on a dark ride – and while I’m not entirely comfortable with it, and it left me in a low place, I’m not all that mad to be there.

Of course, I did have to dry my face a bit before I could begin to piece words together. Have some tissues nearby for this one, just in case. 

For once, I’m not irked at Netflix for their plot blurb attached to this film. I am, however, shaking my head in disappointment with the IMDb synopsis. The movie is far more focused on what the former describes than the latter.

The film felt like it was dragging in a few places, and I didn’t get sucked far enough in that I forgot about the subtitles – it occasionally felt like work to watch this. Even with that said, I think that the performances elevated it beyond those minor annoyances. 

I really enjoyed the artistic element within the story - both in dance and music. It was certainly unexpected.

All told, I’m not sure that I want to watch this one again just because of the emotional toll of the story; however, I’d have no problem recommending this at all.

Speech Available: French, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Spanish, Italian
Subtitles Available: English, French (CC), English (CC), Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 81%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 71%
Metascore - 71/100
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 7.4/10

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3/5

Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Come and Find Me (2016)

Number Rolled: 47
Movie Name/Year: Come and Find Me (2016)
Tagline: None
Genre: Thriller
Length: 111 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Automatik Entertainment, Motion Picture Capital, Oddfellows Entertainment
Producer: Giuliana Bertuzzi, Rian Cahill, Leon Clarance, Chris Ferguson, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Marlaina Mah, Jo Monk, Jesse Savath, Laure Vaysse
Director: Zack Whedon
Writer: Zack Whedon
Actors: Annabelle Wallis, Aaron Paul, Garret Dillahunt, Chris Chalk, Enver Gjokaj, Zachary Knighton, Terry Chen, Jordana Largy, Dean Redman, Michael Kopsa, Jessica Heafey, Alan O’Silva, Artine Brown, Tim Perez, Corey Schmitt
Stunt Doubles: Brent Connolly, Bruce Crawford, Crystal Dalman, Christopher Gordon, Trevor Jones, Zandara Kennedy, Melissa R. Stubbs

Blurb from Netflix: When his photographer girlfriend vanishes, an L.A. graphic designer starts his own investigation and uncovers a web of deceit, crime and corruption.

Selina’s Point of View:
I feel like we’ve been seeing a lot of movies involving vanishing people lately. Most of them follow a pretty standard route… but Come and Find Me definitely goes a different way.

The story was decent, but I wasn’t overly fond of the direction.

There were a huge amount of twists and turns in the story, enough to keep me on my toes… though some of it seemed a bit out of left field. The problem wasn’t that parts came out of nowhere though, it was that the way the movie was directed altered the pacing so much that it almost seemed like every twist was super rushed… and still dragging on.

The writing was fine. If I had to really try to pinpoint the big issue, I’d say that Zack Whedon (Rubicon, Deadwood, Fringe) might have had trouble making the hard decisions on editing.

For a film of this nature, even following a different path than most take, two hours is a long time. It really didn’t need the full amount. With the right cuts, the pacing of the film could have been really good… but it likely wouldn’t have gone too much over ninety minutes.

I also wasn’t a fan of the way transitions were done. I think it could have been done better to avoid confusion – though the ending did show me where Whedon was trying to go with it.

I did like the ending, even with the back-and-forth transitions.

I’m not sure I’d watch this film again. It was just a little on the mediocre side.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’ll admit right out of the gate that this movie pleasantly surprised me.

There were elements found in other films leaning to action, but I can’t say that I’ve seen it quite packaged this way before.

Broken down into its parts, the movie stands pretty solid. While I’m not as familiar with the work of Annabelle Wallis (Peaky Blinders, The Brothers Grimsby, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword), it didn’t matter here. I connected well with her character and the framework of the story gave quite a bit of insight even if she didn’t have nearly as much screen-time as co-star Aaron Paul (The Last House on the Left, Eye in the Sky, BoJack Horseman). 

I liked the flashback element here, as it helped peel back the layers to the main characters’ relationship.

While I’m on that topic, I feel the need to tip my hat on the balance of the romance element to the story. It wasn’t too over the top and didn’t overshadow everything else going on. I enjoyed the little nuances that were well placed to deliver both lightbulb moments as well as make the couple endearing and worth investing in rather than rolling my eyes at.

This happened to be the directorial debut for Zack Whedon (John from Cincinnati, Southland, Halt and Catch Fire). I hadn’t realized he was the mastermind behind Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog (2008). His writing credits are certainly buzzworthy. I can’t wait to see what he has up his sleeve for the future.

I really enjoyed this movie and would gladly recommend it – especially for anyone that’s looking for a little bit of a blend between mystery, romance, and action without a lot of blood.

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 60%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 33%
Metascore - 46/100
Metacritic User Score – 5.2/10
IMDB Score – 5.7/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating2.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3.5/5

Movie Trailer:

Monday, January 8, 2018

Jo Koy: Live from Seattle (2017)

Number Rolled: 13
Movie Name/Year: Jo Koy: Live from Seattle (2017)
Tagline: None
Genre: Comedy
Length: 62 minutes
Rating: TV-MA
Production Companies: Art & Industry
Producer: Matt Blake, Michelle Caputo, Doug Castro, Shannon Hartman, Tina Magnuson, Joe Meloche, Paul Meloche
Director: Shannon Hartman
Writer: Jo Koy
Actors: Jo Koy
Stunt Doubles: None

Blurb from Netflix: Between raising a teenage boy and growing up with a Filipino mother, stand-up comic Jo Koy has been through a lot. He’s here to tell you all about it.

Selina’s Point of View:
I really enjoy watching comedians from other cultures. It’s not as easy to relate to what they’re saying, but it’s awesome to learn about what life was like for them when they were younger. It’s a funny little look into another life that you could never really experience.

In this case, I’ve already seen Jo Koy: Live from Seattle.

The first time I watched it, it was funny. I did a lot of laughing. However, I was in the unique position to see if there was replay quality to it, since we rolled it and I would have to watch it for a second time anyway.

Sometimes, with stand-up comedians, if you know the punch-line it becomes kind of boring to watch their specials again. I don’t think that was an issue here. Jo Koy (Just for Laughs, Jo Koy: Don’t Make Him Angry, Comedy Central Presents) is a very likable comedian and he manages to make his jokes in such a way that, even when you know where they’re going, it’s still worth it to watch.

Although he likely wouldn’t make a list of my top favorite comedians ever – not unless it was a top 50 or something – I can still definitely appreciate Koy and his brand of humor.

I’d watch this special again.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of Jo Koy (Family Tools, Jo Koy: Lights Out, Inglorious Pranksters) before seeing the thumbnail for this special among trending Netflix original content.

I’m always willing to give a comedian a shot, so going in blind wasn’t a big deal. For a little bit, though, I dreaded watching the full length of this comedy special. The beginning just didn’t do it for me. I felt that some of his opening humor was even disrespectful.

Thankfully, things improved as the show progressed. I wish I could say that it was by leaps and bounds but it was more like hopscotch. All told, I didn’t hate it; and I even laughed here and there. I just wasn’t laughing hard enough to wipe tears from my eyes.

I guess it really depends on what a viewer enjoys from comedy.

Koy follows the mantra of sticking to what he knows; drawing from his home background for a significant portion of his act, and the rest is drawn from his son.

I have a decent tolerance for toilet humor – but I don’t know if I’d really want to corner this routine there. I can tell you that a guy joking about masturbating is not exactly my cup of tea.

For the above-mentioned and similar content, as well as language, I strongly urge that this program is considered a hard-MA rating.

Sadly, I’m not sure that I’m all that interested in watching any of this comedian’s other work unless the dice send them my way sometime in the future. His work may not be my favorite flavor of comedy, but that’s ok. I wouldn’t feel the need to steer anyone away, at least.

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English, French, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore - None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.7/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 3.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating2.5/5

Movie Trailer: