Friday, March 23, 2018

The Rezort (2016)

Number Rolled: 33
Movie Name/Year: The Rezort (2016)
Tagline: A vacation to die for.
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: TV-MA
Production Companies: LWH Entertainment, Umedia, The Kraken Films, Black Camel Pictures, Captain Starlight Company, Creative Scotland, Gloucester Place Films
Producer: Cheyenne Conway, Paul Gerstenberger, Nick Gillott, Al Hardiman, Robert How, Nadia Khamlichi, Martin Metz, Adrian Politowski, Karl Richards, Bastien Sirodot, Mat Wakeham, Charlotte Walls, Gilles Waterkeyn
Director: Steve Barker
Writer: Paul Gerstenberger
Actors: Dougray Scott, Jessica De Gouw, Martin McCann, Claire Goose, Elen Rhys, Jassa Ahluwalia, Lawrence Walker, Kevin Shen, Sean Power, Jamie Ward, Dave Wong, Shane Zaza, Stefan Pejic
Stunts: Guiomar Alonso, María Jesús Lucas, Alejandro López Estacio, Eduardo Moratilla, David Newton, Ricardo Rocca, Seon Rogers, César Solar, Cuco Usín

Blurb from Netflix: After a global zombie war, the living dead are confined to a luxury island resort and hunted by tourists on safari -- until the security system fails.

Selina’s Point of View:
The idea of The Rezort was interesting and original. Unfortunately, that’s where the ‘unique’ aspect ends.

What I got was a zombie version of Jurassic Park (1993).

To be honest, had I known that before I started the film, I still would have been excited to watch it. I love Jurassic Park and zombies – combining them sounds like fun.

As that aspect goes, The Rezort wasn’t bad. The acting and settings were good. There was nothing wrong with the script at all, either. There were some highly memorable lines, in fact. The problem was that there was nothing to set this film apart from every other zombie film in the world.

This was a recipe film.

It followed absolutely every trope in the genre. Normally, that’s not the biggest issue – recipes can still be good – but the plot idea was so creative that I was craving something original when I turned it on. It was like going to a five-star restaurant and being served a diner-grade grilled cheese. Sure, it would still taste good – but it would be nowhere near what you were looking for.

I guess that it comes down to me having had expectations that were way too high. Had I gone into this viewing experience with normal expectations, I would have been blown away.

My final thought is that The Rezort is a decent film. It’s something that I could see myself watching again, and even recommending to others… those people would just have to go into it understanding what they were about to see.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was intrigued when I saw this title hit Netflix some time back. This is one of those movies where I’m drawn in by the cast just as much as the story. Dougray Scott (There Be Dragons, Death Race: Inferno, Tiger House), who I’ve been fond of for some time; and Jessica De Gouw (Dracula, Underground, OtherLife), who first piqued my interest through her role on Arrow (2012-) were a considerable draw.

The zombies helped, too.

The dice have been teasing us with this one for a while, which made it rather satisfying that its number finally, and quite literally, came up.

At the outset, my initial guess about the film was that it would resemble something like Jurassic Park (1993) if there were zombies instead of dinosaurs. After watching, I can say that was fairly close to the mark.

While the movie does stick pretty close to the known zombie recipe, there were a few tweaks here and there that prevented this film from being a stale re-hash. It was still a bit cookie-cutter, sure, but at least it was a cutter with an interesting shape.

I also appreciated what they tried to do with layering in the moral and ethical dilemmas regarding game safari resorts and the callousness of society.

Alas, I couldn’t enjoy this quite as much as I would have liked due to the heavy usage of shaky-cam. It’s possible that it affected me more than normal because I haven’t been feeling well – but too much of it on any regular day fails to sit well with me. It made me want to look away at times that I likely shouldn’t have wanted to. Thankfully, it wasn’t the entire movie.

All told, I wouldn’t steer anyone away from watching this film, but I’m not sure I’d be in any hurry to watch it again.

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

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 60%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 22%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.3/10

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

Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Paperboy (2012)

Number Rolled: 39
Movie Name/Year: The Paperboy (2012)
Tagline: None
Genre: Crime, Drama, Horror
Length: 106 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Millennium Films, Lee Daniels Entertainment
Producer: Ed Cathell III, Lee Daniels, Boaz Davidson, Jan de Bont, Danny Dimbort, Cassian Elwes, Mark Gill, Asger Hussain, Avi Lerner, Miguel Menéndez de Zubillaga, Lonnie Ramati, Simone Sheffield, Hilary Shor, Trevor Short, John Thompson
Director: Lee Daniels
Writer: Peter Dexter, Lee Daniels
Actors: Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, David Oyelowo, Scott Glenn, Ned Bellamy, Nealla Gordon, Macy Gray
Stunt Doubles: Stanton Barrett, Tim Bryan, Shauna Galligan, Kortney Manns, Tracy E. Thomas

Blurb from Netflix: Convinced by a mysterious woman that a death row inmate is innocent, two brothers investigate and discover a case marred by betrayal and deceit.

Selina’s Point of View:
I’m so glad the last film I watched was good, because I needed a break from disappointment. Unfortunately, I went right back to it.

This film was based on a book by Peter Dexter (Michael, Wild Bill, Mulholland Falls). Dexter has admitted to disliking the film. Now, I don’t know why he didn’t like the film, but I agree with his general assessment.

The story itself was interesting. The murder, the search to find out if the man was innocent or not, and that fucking ending, man. That ending caught me so off-guard I woke up my daughter.

However, it felt like Lee Daniels (Empire, The Butler, Precious) had no faith in the story what-so-ever.

There were a ton of gratuitous scenes forced into the film, every ten minutes throughout the entirety. Each of those scenes felt like they served to try and force the movie to feel more gritty and dark. In reality, the plot didn’t need help. Each scene detracted from what was going on, to the point that it became a chore to watch. In fact, it started feeling more like a weird back-woods soft-core porn than anything else.

The Paperboy had so much potential that I’m actively saddened by the fact that I feel as if never watching it again would be too soon.

Cat’s Point of View:
This was an interesting period piece. It took me in an entirely different direction than I thought; which was a pleasant surprise (even if the plot was a bit squirmy and dark).

Parents, be warned. This is one of those ‘don’t judge a book by the cover’ moments, because the title seems rather innocuous, but this movie is gritty with a side of raunch. To be fair, as far as those things go, this film falls on the milder and more tasteful application for the sake of story; rather than the gratuitous skin romps of your average late-night premium cable. This is not the movie to compare Zac Efron’s (Parkland, We Are Your Friends, Dirty Grandpa) Disney repertoire to. Just saying.

Speaking of Efron, I am increasingly impressed with his range. I see a different side to him in every movie I see him in. I will admit that I’ve missed a few, but still. I think he was an excellent casting to pair with Matthew McConaughey (Failure to Launch, Bernie, Mud) as brothers. They had a real connection going that was as palpable as the Florida heat that radiated from the screen. McConaughey, once more, proves his dedication to his craft with the crazy challenges he takes on with his roles. I have to tell you he was responsible for my jaw hitting the floor more than once.

I’d have to say that another pleasant surprise here was Macy Gray (Idlewild, Brotherly Love, Papa). Her portrayal of the motherly housekeeper tugged at my heart. I really liked how she was utilized within the frame of the story.

I could keep going about the cast, because the well-known names don’t stop there; but, instead, I want to shift gears a little. When I mentioned the heat before, it was no joke. I felt like I needed a tall glass of lemonade. The essences of the time period and setting were captured masterfully. True to the time period, there was some vocabulary that had me wincing; but there was also a window into the shifting of the times.

Lee Daniels (Shadowboxer, Precious, Star), once more, showcased his finesse with this movie. I was riveted – even when it made me uncomfortable.

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 43%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 33%
Metascore - 45/100
Metacritic User Score – 5.8/10
IMDB Score – 5.8/10

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

Movie Trailer:

Monday, March 19, 2018

Carrie Pilby (2016) - Through the Eyes of Selina

Number Rolled: 37
Movie Name/Year: Carrie Pilby (2016)
Tagline: Live your life before it passes you by.
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Length: 98 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Production Companies: Braveart Films
Producer: Alison Bossert, Susan Cartsonis, Dean Craig, Brent Emery, Suzanne McNeill Farwell, Kym Gold, Heather Haggarty, Elaine Harris, Susan Johnson, Nanou Matteson, Per Melita, Stefan Mentz, Victoria Moorhouse, Marcel Sassola, Teri Simpson, Lisa Wolofsky, Marlon Young
Director: Susan Johnson
Writer: Kara Holden, Caren Lissner
Actors: Bel Powley, Nathan Lane, Gabriel Byrne, Vanessa Bayer, Colin O’Donoghue, Jason Ritter, William Moseley, Desmin Borges, Poorna Jagannathan, Zachary Infante, Andy Bustillos, Mahaley Patel, Joel Michaely, Scott Keiji Takeda, Cornelia Guest
Stunts: Manny Siverio

Blurb from Netflix: A socially awkward 19-year-old genius makes big plans to step out of her shell and make a friend, get a job and -- maybe -- even go on a date.

Selina’s Point of View:
I found this dramedy incredibly endearing.

Who among us can’t relate to a young person still in search of themselves and coming to terms with theirs, and their parent’s, mistakes?

The writers, Kara Holden (Zapped, Meant to Be, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life) and Caren Lissner, managed to make an over-achieving, loner character that wasn’t completely off-putting. That’s a bit of feat. It’s too easy to make cringe-inducing social tendencies the reason for a character’s inverted nature. In fact, most geeks are made that way in films. At least, they were. It’s getting a bit better now that geekdom is taking over the world.

The main character in this, Carrie Pilby – played by Bel Powley (Informer, Wildling, Equals), actually seems to be a loner because she can’t find anyone her intellectual – or ethical – equal. She wants to do the right thing and isn’t impressed by people who are out to hurt others – or just don’t care if others get hurt by their actions.

Even with the ethical aspect, it never feels preachy or obnoxious.

The direction was impressive as well. The story itself was mostly unique, but you could tell where Susan Johnson (Destiny Stalled, Call My Name, Second Coming) was influenced by old films. There were some shots – especially during romantic moments – where you could see hints of the old black and white films; golden-age of Hollywood kind of stuff.

Seeing as this was Johnson’s first full-length feature direction, I can’t wait to see what comes next for her.

I feel like I could definitely watch this film in the future, quite a few times. It’ll likely find a home on my list of favorite films.

Speech Available: English, European Spanish, French, German, Italian
Subtitles Available: English, European Spanish, French, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 61%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 75%
Metascore - 52/100
Metacritic User Score – 7.7/10
IMDB Score – 6.6/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating4.5/5

Movie Trailer: