Friday, February 9, 2018

I Am Dragon (2015) - FFF - Through the Eyes of Cat

By Cat

Number Rolled: N/A
Movie Name/Year: I Am Dragon (2015)
Tagline: Love is frightening. 
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance 
Length: 107 minutes
Rating:  Unrated
Production Companies: Bazelevs Production, Mindstream Productions, Splendid Film
Producers: Vessela Bannzurkova, Timur Bekmambetov, Yakov Gordin, Natalya Smirnova, Antony Tanev, Igor Tsay, Mariya Zatulovskaya
Director: Indar Dzhendubaev
WritersAleksey Arsenev, Marina Dyachenko, Sergey Dyachenko, Indar Dzhendubaev
Actors: Matvey Lykov, Mariya Poezzhaeva, Pyotr Romanov, Victoria Runtsova, Stanislav Lyubshin, Alyona Chekhova, Ieva Andrejevaite
Stunts: Valeriy Derkach, Aleksandr Gerasimov, Stanislav Kisilevskiy, Radka Petkova, Stanimir Stamatov
Viewing Options: Amazon Video (Included With Prime), YouTube (purchase)
Alternate Titles: On - Drakon, He's A Dragon

Blurb from Amazon: In the midst of her wedding, Princess Miroslava is kidnapped by a dragon and carried away into his castle on a remote island. Now the only things Mira has are a stone cage and a mysterious young man named Arman... but who is he and what is he doing on that island? Miroslava will know the truth too late: loving a dragon will reveal the bitter truth.

Cat’s Point of View:

I have a new favorite foreign film. 

I'd caught a glimpse of the trailer for this movie sometime around its release date, and had been intrigued. Of course, I became rather giddy and had to watch the film at once the moment I noticed it was available for streaming with my Amazon Prime subscription. 

There's a special place in my heart for tales of dragons. Throw in an interesting cultural landscape and a romance spin and it's a recipe for success in my book. In fact, I've read a few books along those lines. This wasn't based on any of those. However, I've read a few pieces on this movie that seem to mention a literary base for the film, however, I haven't found any specifics to solidify that.

There were a lot of effects in the movie, but it didn't feel over-burdened by them. It's understandably a large element of a fantasy movie that involves a mythical creature and magical transformations. The computer generated element successfully enhanced the story seamlessly.

I found a trailer dubbed in English for this film, so I can imagine that a version exists as such, but I really enjoyed the voices of the Russian actors. After watching the original version with the subtitles, the voices in that trailer just didn't seem to match the characters I'd grown to love.

Filmed on the Black Sea, the visual landscape of this movie was simply stunning - both in real setting and that which was created. I loved the beautiful red in striking contrast with the snowy backdrop. I adored the drama of what literally made up the backbone of the dragon's island. There was a profound symbolism present in the massive skull of the ancient dragon.

I enjoyed the character development of the young dragon, and the chemistry between the characters was believable. The pacing seemed just right to allow for a natural progression for the story. I was relieved that nothing was rushed to resolution.

I will likely watch this movie again very soon - and many times in the future. I might just even track down a DVD for my collection. 

Speech Available: Russian
Subtitles Available: English [CC]

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 81%
Metascore - None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.7/10

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 5/5

Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: PG-13

Movie Trailer: 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Mune: Guardian of the Moon (2017) Through the Eyes of Cat

By Cat

Number Rolled: N/A
Movie Name/Year: Mune: Guardian of the Moon (2017)
Tagline: Wish upon a new star.
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Animation, Family
Length: 85 minutes
Rating: PG
Production Companies: Onyx Films, Kinology, ON Animation Studios, Orange Studio, GKids
Producers: Charlotte Corrigan, Alexandre de La Patellière, Matthieu Delaporte, Frédérique Dumas-Zajdela, Brice Garnier, Jean-Bernard Marinot, Grégoire Melin, Cédric Pilot, Olivier Rakoto, Dimitri Rassam, Aton Soumache, Alexis Vonarb
Directors: Alexandre Heboyan, Benoît Philippon
Writers: Benoît Philippon, Jérôme Fansten
Actors: Joshua J. Ballard, Nicole Provost, Rob Lowe, Christian Slater, Ed Helms, Patton Oswalt, Jeff Dunham, Rob Shields, Sam Vincent, Jonathan Love, Patrick Poivey, Eric Herson-Macarel
Stunts:  N/A

Blurb from NetflixWhen the old guardian of the moon retires, the mischievous Mune is chosen as his successor, but he worries he's not up to the job.

Cat's Point of View: 

Today I felt that a little pick-me-up was in order. As I was scrolling through recent additions to the titles available on Netflix, I stumbled across this movie. I recognized it right away that it was one for which I have been waiting patiently for streaming availability.

I happily dove into the world of interesting creatures, their fascinating culture, and the balance of night and day. I loved how each time of day was represented – such as the bio-luminescence in the plant life and creatures at night. The visuals were quite stunning.

The majority of the film is rendered in modern computer animation style, though there are some small sections that seem to be in a more traditional, and some might say simpler, style. With the context of those segments of the movie, I think it was an excellent choice to make a distinction in that way so that it stood out in contrast with the rest of the film.

This is a great story to share with the whole family. I think most of us can relate to the feeling that we might be biting off more than we can chew. It’s a tale of personal growth and perseverance. I absolutely adored it and can’t wait to show my daughter that it’s available now.  

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English [CC]

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 78%
Metascore - None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 7.3/10

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4.5/5

P.S. There are images shown as an epilogue during the credits.

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) Through the Eyes of Cat

By Cat

Number Rolled: N/A
Movie Name/Year: The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
Tagline: The Future Unleashed Every Thing
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Mystery
Length:  102 minutes
Rating: TV-MA
Production Companies: Bad Robot, Paramount Pictures, Netflix
Producers: J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Jon Cohen, Bob Dohrmann, Drew Goddard, Tommy Harper, Matt Reeves, Lindsey Weber
Director: Julius Onah
Writers: Oren Uziel, Doug Jung
Actors: Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Bruhl, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O'Dowd, Ziyi Zhang, David Oyelowo, John Ortiz, Aksel Hennie, Roger Davies
Stunts: Ashlen Aquila, Kevin Arnold, Daniel Arrias, Brian Avery, Chad Bowman, Stephen Bralver, Martin De Boer, Kiralee Hayashi, Alisa Hensley, Bethany Levy, Mike Massa, Darryl Reeves, Craig Frosty Silva, PeiPei Alena Yuan

Blurb from IMDbAfter a scientific experiment aboard the space station involving a particle accelerator has unexpected results, the astronauts find themselves isolated. Following their horrible discovery, the space station crew must fight for survival.

Cat's Point of View: 

It feels good to be getting back into the swing of things again. While life has been a crazy rollercoaster all around lately, I haven’t lost sight of the silver linings on the thunder-clouds that have been swirling. Our weekly Digress articles will likely return after the close of Mardi Gras season; but for now, we’ll be back on our reviewing schedule. 

Today’s review was inspired by the Superbowl – the commercials rather than the game, itself.

Honestly, if I’d heard buzz about this film when I was putting together the Top 20 list for this month, this would likely have ranked in there somewhere. Some of the social media responses to the trailer airing during the game seem to indicate that it was a surprise for nearly everyone. Needless to say, the fact that Netflix released the film the same night as its first trailer broadcast made it too good to pass up.

This movie was confirmed as the 3rd installment of  J.J. Abrams’ (Lost, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) Cloverfield franchise. The timeline of this film seems to overlap somewhat with the prior installments of Cloverfield (2008) and 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016).

I’d have to say that the movie resolves just as many questions about events as it brings up new ones. We get a general idea of what becomes a catalyst for events, yet there are so many loose ends by the conclusion of the film that there’s still room for further installments in the series.

I have got to say that I am highly grateful that the original film remains the only one that utilized the shaky-cam found-footage framework. The effects for this movie were rather top-notch, as well. Though, that is generally to be expected when the FX company involved is Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic. This film also shares a common musical composer for its score with the franchise’s 2nd movie. Bear McCreary (Outlander, Colossal, Rebel in the Rye) is a hot commodity for musical composition these days, and deservedly so. The score set just the right tone to elevate the events of the movie rather than distract from them.

This movie has a few twists that I did not see coming, yet some predictable aspects. I think my desire to figure out what was going on and the hope of filling in as many missing pieces of the story puzzle as possible may have contributed to my obliviousness, but that’s neither here nor there.

I was squirming in some places, sad in others, and there was an occasional brow arch – but overall I was glued to the edge of my seat as events unfolded. I think I wanted to see more of what was going on back on Earth, and there wasn’t nearly enough of focus there – but we come back to the possibility that there could be future installments in the franchise that might shed more light on the matter.

All told, the movie was very entertaining and I enjoyed it.  It was a great way to cap off my evening after sitting through a sports broadcast that I generally find tedious. (Yay team, do the thing! Can you hear my sarcasm?) While some might find my lack of enthusiasm for football disheartening or even disturbing, it’s just not my thing. All the same, I know enough about the game to follow along well enough. I like the commercials better than the sport – and there were some hilarious ones this year…but I digress.

To get back to the point, I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this movie – especially if someone has seen the prior 2 films. What do you think comes next? I, for one, will keep my fingers crossed for more. 

Speech Available: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
Subtitles Available: English [CC], Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, French, Spanish

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 69%
Metascore - None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – None

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5

Movie Trailer: