Friday, January 29, 2021

The Marksman (2021)

Streaming Services: N/A
Movie Name/Year: The Marksman (2021)
Genre: Action, Thriller
Length: 108 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production/Distribution: Cutting Edge Group, Raven Capital Management, Sculptor Media, Stonehouse Motion Pictures, Zero Gravity Management, Voltage Pictures, GEM Entertainment, Leonine Distribution, Madman Films, Open Road Entertainment, Ascot Elite Entertainment Group, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, Kyyba Films, Madman Entertainment, The Searchers
Director: Robert Lorenz
Writer: Chris Charles, Danny Kravitz, Robert Lorenz
Actors: Jacob Perez, Teresa Ruiz, Alfredo Quiroz, Sean A. Rosales, Jose Vasquez, Juan Pablo Raba, Antonio Leyba, Liam Neeson, Alex Knight, Dylan Kenin, Katheryn Winnick, David DeLao, Yediel Quiles, Amber Midthunder
Blurb from IMDb: A rancher on the Arizona border becomes the unlikely defender of a young Mexican boy desperately fleeing the cartel assassins who've pursued him into the U.S.

Selina’s Point of View:
I may start avoiding Liam Neeson films.
Don’t get me wrong, Neeson is a great actor – especially in the parts that he keeps being cast in. The problem is that there is only so many ways I can write about him playing a man with a special set of skills set to inflict violence upon an antagonist. It’s just not fun to write about and, honestly, I’m not sure anyone needs to read it.
General audiences, who only see a Liam Neeson film once in a while, will almost always like it. Those films tend to be action-packed and, like I said, he’s a great actor. Meanwhile, for reviewers who see every film he’s in – which is the same thing every other month – will usually dislike it, because it’s basic and we know it.

Going into The Marksman, I knew what I was going to get, and I got it. That’s all there really is to it.
The script felt lazy. Like it was written just to type-cast Neeson into. It also felt mis-titled. He only uses the sniper rifle a couple of times, and it never really enters into the narrative that he was actually a marksman when he was a Marine. Which leads me to another problem.
The writers asked for a LOT where suspension of disbelief is concerned. I think they relied too heavily on audiences not personally knowing any Marines.
They expected me to believe that a highly decorated, and war-hardened, Marine veteran – living in a dangerous zone – would not have a go bag. They also expected me to believe the same veteran, with access to cash, would not ditch his credit card or vehicle while he was being hunted.

I’m sorry, no.
I can suspend disbelief for a LOT of bullshit, but I know too many Marines. None of that checks out.
The ending tried to give us something significant to hold onto, something poignant. Unfortunately, it came so late in the game that it changed nothing. It even felt unbelievable.
This is not a film I would recommend. Once it makes its way to streaming, if you need some brainless Neeson action – then go for it. But don’t waste your money before then.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 34%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 86%
Metascore – 44/100 
Metacritic User Score – 6.8/10
IMDB Score – 6.0/10 
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 3/5
Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Save Yourselves! (2020)

Streaming Services: Hulu
Movie Name/Year: Save Yourselves! (2020)
Genre: Comedy, Sci-Fi
Length: 93 minutes
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Keshet Studios, Last Rodeo Studios, Washington Square Films, levelFILM, Bleecker Street Media
Director: Alex Huston Fischer, Eleanor Wilson
Writer: Alex Huston Fischer, Eleanor Wilson
Actors: Sunita Mani, John Reynolds, Ben Sinclair, John Early, Jo Firestone, Gary Richardson, Johanna Day, Zenobia Shroff, Amy Sedaris, Stephen Koepfer
Blurb from IMDb: A young Brooklyn couple heads to an upstate cabin to unplug from their phones and reconnect with each other. Blissfully unaware of their surroundings, they are left to their own devices as the planet falls under attack.

Selina’s Point of View:
I was really enjoying this film. I thought the relationship between the main characters was interesting. I liked the idea of experiencing an alien invasion from the furthest outskirts instead of the epicenter. I even thought the design of the extraterrestrials was a cute little homage to Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-1969).
Something happened toward the end of the climax. It all just fell apart.
This amusing look at how a young hipster couple would react in an outlier situation started to try and become a strange cerebral take on survival. It even left off on a relatively dark note. The ending reminded me a bit of The Graduate (1967), which is not the tone the film seemed to be going for.

It’s frustrating. Save Yourselves! had so much potential. It had good writing and decent acting. It felt a little campy at times, but in a way that’s easy to appreciate. It worked well with the humor.
If it embraced what it was and found a balance with the ending instead of just flinging itself to the other side of the spectrum, I would have liked it so much more.
Save Yourselves! is not a bad movie. It’s just got a tone issue that stuck with me in the end.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 88%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 60%
Metascore – 66/100
Metacritic User Score – 5.1/10
IMDB Score – 5.7/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3.5/5
Movie Trailer:

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Queen of Black Magic (2021)

Streaming Services: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: The Queen of Black Magic (2021)
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Length: 99 minutes
Rating: NR
Production/Distribution: Rapi Films, SkyMedia, Screenplay Films, Cathay-Keris Films, Garage Play, Golden Screen Cinemas, MM2 Entertainment, GoPlay
Director: Kimo Stamboel
Writer: Joko Anwar
Actors: Ario Bayu, Hannah Al Rashid, Adhisty Zara, Muzakki Ramdhan, Ari Irham, Ade Firman Hakim, Sheila Dara Aisha, Tanta Ginting, Miller Khan, Imelda Therinne, Salvita Decorte, Giulio Parengkuan, Shenina Cinnamon, Yayu A.W. Unru, Ruth Marini, Gisellma Firmansyah, Putri Ayudya, Farell Akbar, Chacha, Khayla Maharani, Akbar Muhammad, Retno Nono, Trizki Nabil Rahman, Nathan Arsheva Syarif, Callystha Zahra Syaumi
Blurb from IMDb: Families were terrorized at the orphanage. Someone wants them dead, apparently with black magic that is very deadly. She has a grudge and she was also born because of the sins of the orphans who formed her into the Queen of Black Magic.

Selina’s Point of View:
If there is a better horror movie than The Queen of Black Magic this year, I will be shocked.
After the first scene, I felt a little underwhelmed. It utilized a trope-y scare that is way too overdone for my liking – but they put a spin on it that kept me from tuning out immediately.
That was the only time in the film where I almost checked out.
Throughout the rest, I was glued to the screen. There were very few of the typical jump scares that we see in western horrors. Maybe that’s why everything felt fresh.
That’s one of the reasons I really love watching foreign horror flicks. With the difference in cultures, there’s never any real feeling of safety. The norms in media are different, so no character feels like they won’t get affected by the big bad.

Most of the time, I tend to lean more toward Korean films, but I just learned it might be time to look into Indonesia as well.
The Queen of Black Magic is either a remake, or a reboot, of Ratu Ilmu Hitam (1981). I’ve never seen the original, so I don’t know which is it. This flick made me want to see it, though.
Here’s the thing, I don’t want to watch this one again. It absolutely terrified me.
I’m no chicken. I have watched some serious horror films. Shudder is one of my ‘must have’ streaming services. My husband just lost his job, and we canceled 90% of our services in order to preserve our money. Shudder was one of the ones we kept. That’s how much I love horror.
I’ve sat quietly while watching movies that fall into the ‘torture porn’ category. I’ve let out inappropriate laugher while watching just about any film involving gruesome deaths. This one, however, had me covering my eyes and shrieking and one point.

A neighbor knocked on my door to check on me, and it took about a half hour before my adrenaline subsided enough for me to start writing.
Granted, a lot of that probably has to do with my insane phobia of centipedes… but even if that’s the case, a lot of the scenes were still devastatingly horrific. In fact, I’d say this film had the most gruesome death scenes of any flick I’ve seen that didn’t include torture porn.
If you’re a horror fanatic, you have to see this one. At least once.
It was a masterpiece.
The Queen of Black Magic will be available on Shudder this Thursday, January 28th.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 80%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.7/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating5/5
Trust the Dice Parental Advisory Rating: R
Movie Trailer: