Friday, April 6, 2018

Dough (2015)

Number Rolled: 18
Movie Name/Year: Dough (2015)
Tagline: Everyone wants a taste of the high life!
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Length: 94 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Production Companies: Docler Entertainment, Wolf & The Gang, Docler DProd, Dough Film, Viva Films
Producer: Geraldine East, Wolfgang Esenwein, György Gattyán, John Goldschmidt, Péter Bruno György, Ben Rimmer, András Somkuti
Director: John Goldschmidt
Writer: Jonathan Benson, Jez Freedman
Actors: Jonathan Pryce, Jerome Holder, Phil Davis, Ian Hart, Pauline Collins, Andrew Ellis, Malachi Kirby, Natasha Gordon, Melanie Freeman, Joel Beckett, Daniel Ben Zenou
Stunts: Levente Lezsak, Gyorgy Szanto

Blurb from Netflix: An aging Jewish baker sees his struggling business reach unexpected heights when he takes a chance on a young Muslim apprentice.

Selina’s Point of View:
I think this movie was perfect.

I was expecting something that leaned a lot more on drama than comedy. In theory, I thought it would be heavily racial – focusing on hate crimes between Jews and Muslims.

In practice, the film focused more on the similarities between the two religions. Their prayers, the hatred against them, and their realities. Furthermore, there was enough comedy throughout it that none of it seemed preachy or overbearing.  

Seeing both main characters side-by-side is very telling. You get to see how little difference there really is between people in the world – once you push through the hate.

Dough goes into the fact that there are both good and bad members of both religions. In the end, Dough really shows that it doesn’t matter what god someone prays to, either they’re ethical or they’re not.

“Race and religion is irrelevant, Mr. Cotton,” one of the characters said. “If you’re a dickhead, you’re a dickhead.”

I want that on a shirt. I’d wear the fuck out of it.

The writers, Jonathan Benson and Jez Freedman (The Funeral), are relatively inexperienced in the movie world – according to IMDb. That makes this film even more remarkable.

I’m left wanting so much more from the creators of Dough.

Cat’s Point of View:
I have to say that this movie wasn’t at all what I expected. To be fair, I really didn’t know what to expect. All the same, I was pleasantly surprised with how well I enjoyed it.

The beginning wasn’t my favorite part – aside from the humorous bit playing with British slang vs. American slang. (‘Pants’ doesn’t mean jeans or trousers in the UK, but what you wear under them.) It took me a bit to warm up to the story, but I was inevitably caught in its gravity and pulled into an enjoyable orbit.

I’m not entirely certain that my knee-jerk reaction to seeing Jonathan Pryce (Leatherheads, Bedtime Stories, Taboo) on the screen didn’t have something to do with my take on his character from Game of Thrones (2011-). ‘Oh look, the High Sparrow grew a beard!’ was something that did actually pop into my head; but then that sort of randomness can be expected.  That aside, I think he was a wonderful choice for this role and he delivered a poignant performance.

I enjoyed how the comedy was woven in with a light touch throughout the drama. There was a good balance throughout.

Jerome Holder (The Pick Up, The Sparticle Mystery, Mad to Be Normal) was a wonderful choice to play Ayyash. I love his smile! That wasn’t the only thing good about his role here, though.

All told, it’s a very endearing tale and speaks to the fact that hard work, open minds, and good food can build bridges between different cultures. Once you get past society’s stigmas for various groups, and just relate to people as people; it can make a community stronger.

I would have to say I’d have no problem recommending this movie, and might even be inclined to watch it again.

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 53%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 57%
Metascore - 44/100
Metacritic User Score – 8/10
IMDB Score – 6.2/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3.5/5

Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Guardian Brothers (2016) - Through the Eyes of Cat

Number Rolled: 331
Movie Name/Year: The Guardian Brothers (2016)
Tagline: None
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family
Length: 103 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Light Chaser Animation Studios, The Weinstein Company
Producers: Michael Lappin, Zhou Yu
Director: Gary Wang
Writers: Dan Edelstein, Terrence Stone, Gary Wang
Actors: Mike Birbiglia, Mel Brooks, Dan Fogler, Steve French, Nicole Kidma, Raymond J. Lee, Edward Norton, Cristina Pucelli, Meryl Streep, Bella Thorne, Bruce Winant, Perry Yung
Stunt Doubles: None

Blurb from NetflixWhen a Chinese family's soup shop is targeted for sabotage by a competitor, two guardians from the spirit world leave retirement to protect them.

Cat’s Point of View:

At the outset, The Guardian Brothers looked cute and like it would be a lot of fun. I wish that I could say that it managed something more than solid mediocrity.

I wanted so much for this movie to knock my socks off.  The star power of the cast was undeniable. I’ve been a fan of Mel Brooks’ (Spaceballs: The Animated Series,. Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Leap!) irreverent sense of humor. Nicole Kidman (Australia, The Railway Man, Lion) is the very epitome of elegance and grace. When lending only voices to actors’ roles, though, it has to be a right match or the animated characters just don’t pop.

Unfortunately, that was largely the case for me. I just couldn’t reconcile Edward Norton’s (The Painted Veil, Moonrise Kingdom, Collateral Beauty) voice with the character of Yu Lei. It was something that bugged me through the whole movie – no matter how hard I tried to get past it.
I did, however, enjoy Meryl Streep (Ricki and the Flash, Into the Woods, The Post) as the Narrator and Dan Fogler (The Goldbergs, Scenic Route, Europa Report) voicing Shen Tu.

The story was interesting. I liked the glimpse into another culture and I could see where it tied into the shared spiritual landscape as the likes of Mulan (1998). It was just missing something that would take it to that next level. It’s not even that it wasn’t a ‘mouse house’ movie. Everything just keeps falling back to Norton’s voice. Don’t get me wrong – his performance wasn’t bad. It just didn’t fit the images on the screen for me.

All in all, this is a movie that would be ideal to watch with younger kids. They might get more of a kick out of it without overthinking everything else.

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

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 27%
Metascore - None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.4/10

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 2.5/5

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

Movie Trailer:

Monday, April 2, 2018

Iliza Shlesinger: Confirmed Kills (2016)

Number Rolled: 83
Movie Name/Year: Iliza Shlesinger: Confirmed Kills (2016)
Tagline: She’s hunting mermaids.
Genre: Comedy
Length: 77 minutes
Rating: TV-MA
Production Companies: Netflix
Producer: Whitney Berry, Jonathan Mussman, Kathy Welch
Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
Writer: Iliza Shlesinger
Actors: Iliza Shlesinger
Stunt Doubles: None

Blurb from Netflix: The stand-up sensation tackles TV’s “Shark Tank,” what it means to be a woman and how to deal with the lawless party goblin that lives in us all.

Selina’s Point of View:
I definitely liked this special better than the last one we covered by Iliza Shlesinger (Paradise, Forever 31, Girlboss). I related to her statements a lot more than I did before… except for the stuff about Shark Tank (2009-). I’ve never seen, nor do I have an interest in seeing, that show. I’m in the minority here, but that’s fine with me.

She just seemed to have better comedic timing in this special… or maybe I was just in a better mood for stand-up comedy. Whatever the situation, I had more fun with Confirmed Kills.

There’s not much for me to really say without spoiling some of her comedy, but I’ll try.

The parts of me that were wild in my younger years related to some aspects of her show, while the part of me that is very ‘girl power’ related to other parts. I did have some minor issues relating to jokes that revolve around make-up, but I’m not a girly girl in any way.

To be honest, I don’t think I’m her target demographic. That said, I still enjoyed what I saw. I think that says a lot.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was pretty enthusiastic about watching this comedy special. I remembered that I mostly enjoyed the last Netflix special, Iliza Shlesinger: Freezing Hot (2015), when we watched it last August. This was decidedly good timing for some comedy.

Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed with this performance. While there were whole bits in the last special that I had a little bit of a disconnect with, I found the vast majority of this show resonated with me on some level. 

The little quirky mannerisms and funny voices Shlesinger utilized to illustrate her bits were somewhat funnier to me this time around. I think it’s largely due to the context. This special was far less ‘mean-girl’ and more in the feminine advocate vein.

While there was a large portion of the special dedicated to feminism, and might come off a bit more serious than a comedy special is usually expected to be, the message she was putting out wasn’t off base. While the content warranting solid justification for the mature audiences rating results in having to wait a while before my daughter will be able to see it – the underlying message shown regarding body positivity and the like is something I feel even (or maybe especially) girls her age should hear more of.

One of my favorite sections of the special is the source of the show’s ‘Confirmed Kills’ name.

I needed a good laugh today while I’ve been nursing my Easter-egg hunt sunburn (don’t forget your sunscreen boys & girls – especially if you burn in the shade!). This comedy special certainly fit the bill. I’m actually looking forward to seeing more of Shlesinger’s work and probably wouldn’t mind even watching this show again.

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

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 65%
Metascore - None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.2/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5

Movie Trailer: