Friday, April 2, 2021

Killer Sofa (2019)

Streaming Services: Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Tubi
Movie Name/Year: Killer Sofa (2019)
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Horror
Length: 81 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Production/Distribution: Mad Kiwi Films, Midnight Shepherd Productions, At Entertainment, High Octane Pictures, White Pearl Movies
Director: Bernie Rao
Writer: Bernie Rao
Actors: Jed Brophy, Jordan Rivers, Piimio Mei, Nathalie Morris, Harley Neville, James Cain, Trae Te Wiki, Hamish Boyle, Adrienne Kohler, Michael Fowler
Blurb from IMDb: A killer reclining chair becomes enchanted by a girl and starts committing crimes of passion.

Selina’s Point of View:
I have to be fair here. Killer Sofa did meet every single one of my expectations. The problem is, I didn’t think it would be all that good.
The acting was awful and the script was rough. Some of the music even made it feel like an 80s porn despite the lack of any kind of sexual action – which is difficult.
Worst of all, it was boring.
I could barely stay awake through the majority of it. In fact, I actively paused to take a nap at one point just in case I was just tired and not giving it a real chance.
I still had trouble staying awake after that.

If I had to say one good thing about it, I’d point out the ending.
Just in case you’re interested in viewing it, I won’t spoil anything, but I have to say they took it in an interesting direction. In a better film, that ending would have been something I poured praise onto. However, because it was backed by such lousy… everything else… I can’t get as excited about it as I could have.
Killer Sofa is not something I find worth watching. There are so many better ‘inanimate object’ flicks out there. In fact, we reviewed one last month that was phenomenal. If you really want a campy film about horror objects, one that won’t put you to sleep, hop on Shudder and go watch Slaxx (2021).

Cat’s Point of View:
When someone mentions a title like Killer Sofa, it tends to immediately call to mind movies like Attack of the Killer Donuts (2016) or Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978). While I’m not sure about the donut movie, the homicidal tomatoes were meant to lampoon monster movie tropes as one of the OG horror comedies. I was rather surprised to realize that Killer Sofa doesn’t really fall into that category.
Sure, it’s a movie about a deadly chair – how serious could it be?
Well… my answer is that I think it tried to be a ‘real horror movie’ rather than some sort of parody.  The next question that immediately springs to mind, of course, asks whether or not it succeeded. It’s hard to keep a straight face even thinking about the topic in general. How could it possibly be a legit horror film?
Killer Sofa actually delivers a real attempt at horror, with a sliver of comedy. I was not expecting as much substance as this film offered. It wasn’t an Oscar contender by any means, but I wouldn’t send it to the Razzies, either. It’s somewhere in the middle as a solid B-movie, though definitely closer to the razzing territory. 

Parts were a little awkward with the acting and whatnot, but it was tolerable. I found myself actually interested in what was going on. It was rather odd, really. I was fairly giggling at the silliness of it all, while at the same time really creeped out by this chair.
It’s clear that this indie project was working on a shoestring budget and a prayer to put this together – but they did a bang-up job on the production quality, all things considered. It’s hard to suspend disbelief regarding a murderous piece of furniture, to begin with. I’ve got to tip my proverbial hat to whoever’s idea it was to buy THAT chair. It has to be the best hundred-dollar purchase ever.
As horror movies go, this one is fairly light on the gore factor. Most of the carnage is off-screen – though, there are a couple of rather grisly scenes.
If you’re a fan of the horror genre and are looking for something to watch along those lines that isn’t super scary or heavy, this wouldn’t be a bad way to spend your time. I could probably watch it again and not be upset about it.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 3.6/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating1.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3/5
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R
Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In April (2021)

According to: Selina
20 – The Enormity of Life (4/6)

Production/Distribution: 1031 Films, Garage Creative Studios
Director: Eric Swinderman
Writer: Eric Swinderman, Carmen DeFranco
Actors: Emily Kinney, Breckin Meyer, Giselle Eisenberg, Rick Montgomery Jr., Debra Herzog, Bryant Carroll, Davis Aguila, Andrew Gordon, David Vegh, Daniel Repas, Aubree Stone, Carter Anderson, Allen O’Reilly
Genre: Comedy
Rated: Not Rated
Length: Unknown
IMDb Blurb: After a failed suicide attempt, a man receives a substantial inheritance from a long lost relative and meets a struggling single mom with an eccentric young daughter. Together they embark on a journey of self-discovery and healing.
This film is going to be a gut punch. The trailer is as clear as possible about that. It’s going to touch on suicide, as well as other heavy triggers. I think it’s all going to be worth it in the end, though.
The Enormity of Life seems like it’s going to show what it means to hit rock bottom and then climb out. I’m pretty sure it’s going to wind up having a hopeful message – which I think people need right now.
The only reason I couldn’t put this movie any higher, is because there’s the possibility it may go too far, without any real resolution. Sometimes, flicks like this are guilty of that kind of thing, and that makes them a chore to watch.
It’s labeled a comedy, which isn’t really shown well in the trailer. That makes me a little suspicious as well.
Here’s hoping this one gives us what we need.
19 – The Believer (4/2)
Production/Distribution: Gypsy Lane Films, Relentless Escargot Productions, 611 Films, Black Powder Works, Artist View Entertainment, Freestyle Releasing
Director: Shan Serafin
Writer: Shan Serafin
Actors: Aidan Bristow, Sophie Kargman, Susan Wilder, Lindsey Ginter, Billy Zane, Robbie Goldstein
Genre: Horro
Rated: Not Rated
Length: 91 minutes
IMDb Blurb: None shown
This trailer looks like a rom-com gone evil.
The Believer seems to go into a relationship where the female is the abuser – which is not something movies tend to explore. Sure, you’ve got stuff like Gone Baby Gone (2007), but it’s rare. It’s something I feel needs more examination. Abusers come in all shapes and sizes, and so do their victims.
In all honesty, the horror aspect feels reminiscent of Audition (1999). There are scenes in the trailer that immediately pull that Japanese flick to mind. Which is not a bad thing.
I’m not familiar with anyone working on The Believer, but I do think there are some good signs in the trailer.
18 – Vanquish (4/16)

Production/Distribution: March On Productions, Lionsgate, Signature Entertainment
Director: George Gallosw
Writer: George Gallo, Samuel Bartlett
Actors: Ruby Rose, Morgan Freeman, Patrick Muldoon, Julie Lott, Nick Vallelonga, Ekaterina Baker, Joel Michaely, Richard Salvatore, Miles Doleac, Juju Journey Brener, Ele Bardha, Bill Luckett
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 96 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A mother, Victoria, is trying to put her dark past as a Russian drug courier behind her, but retired cop Damon forces Victoria to do his bidding by holding her daughter hostage.
With Vanquish, it’s less about the story and more about the actors involved.
Ruby Rose (The Doorman, Batwoman, John Wick: Chapter 2) is a hell of an actor in her own right, but Morgan Freeman (The Comeback Trail, Ben-Hur, Lucy) is legendary. I am very much looking forward to seeing how they mesh in a film like this.
It also looks like a solid action flick. I doubt it will be too deep, but there will almost definitely be amazing fight scenes.
17 – Bloodthirsty (4/23)

Production/Distribution: Voice Pictures, 775 Media Corp, Brainstorm Media, Première TV Distribution
Director: Amelia Moses
Writer: Wendy Hill-Tout Lowell
Actors: Lauren Beatty, Greg Bryk, Katharine King So, Michael Ironside, Judith Buchan, Jayce McKenzie, Jesse Gervais
Genre: Horror
Rated: Not Rated
Length: 84 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Grey is an indie singer who is having visions that she is a wolf. When she gets an invitation to work with notorious music producer Vaughn Daniels at his remote studio in the woods she begins to find out who she really is.
Bloodthirsty could go one of three ways. It could either be an honest werewolf film, a metaphor, or all in the characters mind. I’m fine with the former two, but if it turns out to be all hallucination… that would be tricky.
There are so many pitfalls this flick could fall into if it’s the latter. The worst of which would be leaving the audience unfulfilled. Way too often, when that’s the case, it feels like the whole thing just didn’t matter. Why bother telling the story if nothing’s affected by the contents – right?
I really want to see a new, modern, actual werewolf film. But because of the aforementioned possibilities, I couldn’t put this any higher on my list.
16 – Justice Society: World War II (4/27)

Production/Distribution: DC Comics, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Director: Jeff Wamester
Writer: Jeremy Adams, Meghan Fitzmartin
Actors: Matt Bomer, Stana Katic, Chris Diamantopoulos, Matthew Mercer, Elysia Rotaru, Liam McIntyre, Omid Abtahi, Geoffrey Arend, Ashleigh LaThrop, Darin De Paul, Keith Ferguson, Armen Taylor
Genre: Animation, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 84 minutes
IMDb Blurb: The Justice Society of America, a group of heroes aiding the allies in World War 2, acquire an ally from the future who sends them on an adventure that changes history.
Any time DC intends to put out an animated film, chances are high it’ll be on my Top 20 for that month.
DC’s animated features are just as consistent as their live-action films are inconsistent. It’s that simple. Sure, you’ll get the occasional Dark Knight (2008) out of their blockbuster-type flicks, but it feels more likely that you’ll get a Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Their animation work is just a significantly higher quality.
That’s what I expect here. I expect a movie that sticks to the feel of the comics and fulfills audiences. It will be somewhere between watchable and amazing.
15 – The Power (4/8)

Production/Distribution: Air Street Films, British Film Institute (BFI), Head Gear Films, Kreo Films FZ, Metrol Technology, Stigma Films, Shudder, VR Films And Studios
Director: Corinna Faith
Writer: Corinna Faith
Actors: Rose Williams, Emma Rigby, Charlie Carrick, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Paul Antony-Barber, Clara Read, Diveen Henry, Robert Goodman, Nuala McGowan, Shakira Rahman, Marley Chesham, Joe Haddow, Maria Major
Genre: Horror
Rated: Not Rated
Length: Unknown
IMDb Blurb: 1973: a young nurse is forced to work the night shift in a crumbling hospital as striking miners switch off the power across Britain. But inside the walls lurks a terrifying presence that threatens to consume her and everyone around her.
The more I watch this trailer, the more I’m feeling it.
I thought it seemed a little basic at first, but my opinion slowly evolved. Now, I think the time period it takes place in, and the setting, may wind up elevating what could have been a basic supernatural haunting story.
The trailer seems terrifying. I’d love to move it higher on the list… but I have to admit that the plot (on its own) seems rather tropey.
We’ll find out soon enough.
14 – Concrete Cowboy (4/2)

Production/Distribution: Green Door Pictures, Lee Daniels Entertainment, Neighborhood Film Co., Tucker Tooley Entertainment, Waxylu Films, Netflix
Director: Ricky Staub
Writer: Ricky Staub, Dan Walser
Actors: Idris Elba, Lorraine Toussaint, Caleb McLaughlin, Jharrel Jerome, Method Man, Swen Temmel, Byron Bowers, Terez Land, Jennifer Butler, Ivannah-Mercedes, Liz Priestley
Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Length: 111 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A teenager discovers the world of urban horseback riding when he moves in with his estranged father in North Philadelphia.
You had me at Idris Elba (Luther, Thor: Ragnarok, Beasts of No Nation).
Elba is just one of those actors I will follow to any project. I trust his professionalism, and I trust his process. No one is going to have a 100% success rate in the movies they work on… but I know that the projects he opts to join have a leg up on the rest.
The trailer looks interesting, heartbreaking, and honest. Down-to-Earth, even. It’s going to touch on some serious subjects, but I believe it will wind up being heartwarming in the end.
13 – Monday (4/16)

Production/Distribution: Faliro House Productions, Automatik Entertainment, Protagonist Pictures, Blonde Audiovisual Productions, IFC Films
Director: Argyris Papadimitropoulos
Writer: Argyris Papadimitropoulos, Rob Hayes
Actors: Sebastian Stan, Denise Gough, Dominique Tipper, Yorgos Pirpassopoulos, Elli Tringou, Andreas Konstantinou, Sofia Kokkali, Syllas Tzoumerkas, Chloe Sirene, Marisha Triantafyllidou, Orlando Seale, Prometheus Aleifer, Efi Gousi
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rated: R
Length: 116 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A spark on a Friday can lead to a sizzling weekend fling, but what happens when you get to the inevitable Monday?
Sebastian Stan (The Devil All the Time, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, I’m Not Here) is going to be trending for a while because of his work in the Marvel Universe’s Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021). For that reason, I was expecting to see other films starting to pop up for him in the next few months.
He’s a great actor, no one can deny that. I think it’s important that he’s branching out into a variety of parts, so that he doesn’t get type-cast. As such, I’m looking forward to seeing him as a romantic leading man.
Romance films don’t always speak to me, but this one seems a little more modern in its story telling. I feel like we’re going to see less in the way of tropes, because it’s trying to weave the plot into our current societal norms. Most flicks still try to stick to the past, and they utilize all the problematic aspects that people have started rolling their eyes at.
Monday seems like it’s going to be a unique take on love.
12 – Four Good Days (4/30)

Production/Distribution: Indigenous Media, Oakhurst Entertainment, Productivity Media, DeAPlaneta, Vertical Entertainment
Director: Rodrigo Garcia
Writer: Rodrigo Garcia, Eli Saslow
Actors: Mila Kunis, Glenn Close, Stephen Root, Carla Gallo, Michael Hyatt, Chad Lindberg, Violet Brinson, Joshua Leonard, Rebecca Field, Gloria Garayua
Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Length: 100 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A mother helps her daughter work through four crucial days of recovery from substance abuse.
Addiction is a very serious subject. One that Hollywood tends to tackle in pretty much the same way all the time. It takes the obvious stance of “drugs are bad,” and they teach us that lesson through showing people spiral down until there’s nothing left of them.
Granted, there are some extremely good films in the sub-genre. Requiem for a Dream (2000) being the first one to come to mind.
The problem is, we all know that. We know drugs are bad. Our parents pushed it into our mind, the schools we went to, the after-school specials of our favorite TV shows… etc. That makes it difficult to feel like there’s anything new to say on the subject.
What I like about Four Good Days is that it assumes we know that drugs are bad, and it seeks to show us a different perspective. It wants to show us what happens after someone has already decided to leave drugs behind. I like that it’s going to go into what an addict goes through when they want to quit, but they don’t feel capable of it.
I’m also looking forward to seeing Mila Kunis (Family Guy, The Spy Who Dumped Me, Bad Moms) step into a role that seems outside her comfort zone.
11 – Thunder Force (4/9)

Production/Distribution: Marc Platt Productions, Netflix
Director: Ben Falcone
Writer: Ben Falcone
Actors: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Pom Klementieff, Octavia Spencer, Bobby Cannavale, Melissa Leo, Sarah Baker, Melissa Ponzio, Braxton Bjerken, Tyrel Jackson Williams, Trevor Larcom, David Storrs
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 105 minutes
IMDb Blurb: In a world where supervillains are commonplace, two estranged childhood best friends reunite after one devises a treatment that gives them powers to protect their city.
I wanted to put this movie higher on the list but, when I think about it, I don’t believe I can.
I said it while I was streaming the trailers – Melissa McCarthy (Life of the Party, The Kitchen, The Boss) is like a female version of Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems, The Week Of, Murder Mystery). She’s a good actor – great even – but she’s known to make some rough project choices. Her name feels like a draw, but her films often prove disappointing. For every Can You Forgive Me? (2018), there are several The Happytime Murders (2018).
Now, I’m not saying this will definitely be a bad film. If I thought that, it wouldn’t be on my list. In actuality, I believe Octavia Spencer (The Witches, Onward, Ma) is a good choice to work with McCarthy. I’m thinking she’ll be able to reign her in a little and offer a good sense of balance.
The trailer itself looks interesting. There are a bunch of funny moments, but I don’t think they did that thing where they left nothing for the movie. I look forward to seeing for myself.
10 – The Unholy (4/2)

Production/Distribution: Screen Gems, Ghost House Pictures
Director: Evan Spiliotopoulos
Writer: Evan Spiliotopoulos, James Herbert
Actors: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Cary Elwes, William Sadler, Katie Aselton, Christine Adams, Cricket Brown, Diogo Morgado, Marina Mazepa, Gisela Chipe, Janelle Feigley, Dustin Tucker, Bill Thorpe, Danny Corbo, Sonny Corbo, Bates Wilder
Genre: Horror
Rated: PG-13
Length: Unknown
IMDb Blurb: A hearing-impaired girl is visited by the Virgin Mary and can suddenly hear, speak, and heal the sick. As people flock to witness her miracles, terrifying events unfold. Are they the work of the Virgin Mary or something much more sinister?
Although this movie does play with a plot that has been touched on before, it still feels a bit fresh to me. I think it goes a little harder on convincing the audience that the corrupted thing isn’t a bad thing. At least, according to the trailer.
I believe it’s going to go into the idea of blind faith – which I’ve always believed was dangerous. Humans are fallible and blind faith rarely works out well.
Also, the cast is a big draw for me. Cary Elwes (Black Christmas, Stranger Things, Best Sellers) was a favorite of mine as a kid, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Walkaway Joe) is always a win.
9 – The Outside Story (4/30)

Production/Distribution: Greenmachine Film, Sub-Genre Film, Samuel Goldwyn Films
Director: Casimir Nozkowski
Writer: Casimir Nozkowski
Actors: Brian Tyree Henry, Sonequa Martin-Green, Sunita Mani, Olivia Edward, Asia Kate Dillon, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Michael Cyril Creighton, Matthew Maher, Hannah Bos, Maria Dizzia, Jordan Carlos, Lynda Gravatt, Paul Thureen, Nadia Bowers
Genre: Drama
Rated: Not Rated
Length: 85 minutes
IMDb Blurb: An introverted editor living a vertical life in his 2nd-floor apartment, always on deadline and in a rut. When Charles locks himself out of his building, he's forced to go horizontal and confront the world he's been avoiding in search of a way back inside.
If The Outside Story is as good as the trailer tries to portray, it could wind up being the best rom-com of the year.
The thing is, this film seems different. It’s not advertising a meet-cute. It’s not showing the rise and fall of a relationship. It’s examining life after a relationship in a relatable and humorous way. I’ve never seen a flick, or a trailer, that I could compare this one to.
Most of the cast are people I’m not familiar with. Who doesn’t love Sonequa Martin-Green (The Walking Dead, Star Trek: Discovery, Holiday Rush), though? I feel like she could carry a film on her own if she had to.
I’d put this movie higher, but there are some unknowns that make this feel more like a dark horse than a top choice. Still, I’m greatly looking forward to it.
8 – Stowaway (4/22)

Production/Distribution: RainMaker Films, Yale Productions, Augenschein Filmproduktion, Black Canopy Films, MMC Movies, Phiphen Pictures, RISE PICTURES, Stage 6 Films, XYZ Films, Dutch FilmWorks (DFW), Elevation Pictures, Falcon Films, Falcon, InterCom, Kinepolis Film Distribution (KFD), Sony Pictures Releasing Australia, Sony Pictures Releasing, Ster-Kinekor Pictures, United International Pictures, Volga Film Ukraine, Volga, Netflix
Director: Joe Penna
Writer: Joe Penna, Ryan Morrison
Actors: Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim, Toni Collette, Shamier Anderson
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: Not Rated
Length: 116 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A stowaway on a mission to Mars sets off a series of unintended consequences.
This trailer looks interesting. It boasts an outstanding cast – with no weaknesses – and a usual plot with an unusual twist.
Whenever it comes to these fantastic outer-space films, the immerse is essential. We need to feel like we’re in space with the characters. I expect the visuals to be outstanding – it may even be where the movie is made or broken.
From what I can see, the creators of this film understand that, because the trailer is gorgeous.
7 – Boys from County Hell (4/22)

Production/Distribution: Six Mile Hill Productions, Blinder Films, Endeavor Content, Screen Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen, Automatik FX, Egg Studios, Inevitable Pictures, Shudder
Director: Chris Baugh
Writer: Chris Baugh, Brendan Mullin
Actors: Jack Rowan, Nigel O’Neill, Louisa Harland, Michael Hough, John Lynch, Fra Fee, Morgan C. Jones, Andrea Irvine, Robert Nairne, Marty Maguire, Kathy Monahan, Emma Paetz, Jordan Renzo, David Pearse
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Rated: Not Rated
Length: 90 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A crew of hardy road workers, led by a bickering Father and Son, must survive the night when they accidentally awaken an ancient Irish vampire.
I knew immediately that Cat would be looking forward to this one. It’s Irish. That’s all the reason she needs.
I’ll admit, that’s a bonus for me… but we all know I’m here for the horror-comedy sub-genre. It’s just my thing. I can handle any amount of camp if the comedic horror runs deep, and goes far enough.
Boys from County Hell definitely seems like it’s going to be right up my alley. We’re getting access to it a little before it comes out, and it’s the screener I’m most looking forward to this month.
6 – Wildcat (4/23)

Production/Distribution: Divide/Conquer, Soapbox Films, Saban Films
Director: Jonathan W. Stokes
Writer: Jonathan W. Stokes
Actors: Georgina Campbell, Luke Benward, Ibrahim Renno, Mido Hamada, Ali Olomi, Maz Siam, Faruk Amireh
Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Length: 93 minutes
IMDb Blurb: An ambitious reporter stationed in the Middle East who is taken captive after her convoy is ambushed. She is confronted by the trauma of her past and must find a way to bring down the militants who incarcerated her.
One of the reasons this movie stuck out to me, is because I have never seen anything quite like it. At least, not in the drama genre.
Sure, you have stuff like Saw (2004) – but that’s pure horror. It doesn’t even feel like it’s based in reality. Here, you have a war movie with a realistic captivity situation. A lot of war films may show people being captured, but I’ve never seen one that solely focuses on what happens during the hostage situation, from the viewpoint of the hostages.
The only similar media I can think of that has shown that kind of thing is a couple of episodes of NCIS (2003- ).
I think it’s a great idea for a film, and it has a lot of ideas to explore, none of which should feel overdone or tropey. In fact, if it’s done well enough, the film could wind up building tropes of a whole new sub-genre.
5 – Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse (4/30)

Production/Distribution: New Republic Pictures, Midnight Radio, Outlier Society, Weed Road Pictures, Amazon Studios, Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media, Amazon Prime Video
Director: Stefano Sollima
Writer: Taylor Sheridan, Will Staples, Tom Clancy
Actors: Michael B. Jordan, Jodie Turner-Smith, Jamie Bell, Guy Pearce, Lauren London, Jacob Scipio, Todd Lasance, Jack Kesy, Lucy Russell, Cam Gigandet, Luke Mitchell, Artjom Gilz, Brett Gelman, Merab Ninidze, Alexander Mercury, Colman Domingo, Rae Lim
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: Unknown
IMDb Blurb: John Clark, a Navy SEAL, goes on a path to avenge his wife's murder only to find himself inside of a larger conspiracy.
Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Black Panther, Just Mercy) lives rent-free in my head. The emotion and micro-expressions that he is able to bring to his characters is unparalleled. He’s just one of those actors I would trust to elevate any production he’s in.
Just look at that scene in the trailer where he’s screaming in grief. You hear nothing over the music, but there’s no question – just based on Jordan’s expressions – what’s going on.
The film itself looks like a solid, if a bit basic, action flick. Which is kind of what Tom Clancy (Splinter Cell: Blacklist, The Division, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan) is good at.
I have to admit, though… that scene where the main character sets a car on fire, and then gets in? I have never seen that. If the trailer didn’t show all the best action sequences, leaving none for the movie, then we may get more strokes of brilliance like that.
4 – Every Breath You Take (4/2)

Production/Distribution: Construction Film, 13 Films, Southpaw Entertainment (I), Story Mining & Supply Co., Trinity Media Financing, Vertical Entertainment, Film & TV House, GEM Entertainment, Originals Factory, Youplanet Pictures
Director: Vaughn Stein
Writer: David Murray
Actors: Michelle Monaghan, Sam Claflin, Casey Affleck, Emily Alyn Lind, India Eisley, Veronica Ferres, Hiro Kanagawa, Kheon Clarke, Lilly Krug, Daniel Bacon
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 105 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A psychiatrist, whose client commits suicide, finds his family life disrupted after introducing her surviving brother to his wife and daughter.
On the subject of micro-expressions, Sam Claflin exhibits some severely well-crafted expressions in this trailer. Actually, he almost looks completely different than he usually does in his films. I was immediately impressed by his performance. I can only imagine what it looks like in context.
I would have been interested in this film just based on that, but even the plot looks riveting.
The thriller aspect definitely comes through incredibly well, and I believe the entire project is going to be something much greater than any other thriller that has come out so far this year.
3 – The Mitchells vs. the Machines (4/30)

Production/Distribution: Sony Pictures Animation, Lord Miller, Columbia Pictures, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures International (UPI), Netflix
Director: Michael Rianda, Jeff Rowe
Writer: Michael Rianda, Jeff Rowe
Actors: Olivia Colman, Eric André, Maya Rudolph, Charlyne Yi, Danny McBride, Abbi Jacobson, Fred Armisen, Chrissy Teigen, Madeleine McGraw, Alex Hirsch, Conan O’Brien, Sasheer Zamata, John Legend, Beck Bennett, Griffin McElroy, Jay Pharoah, Blake Griffin, Michael Rianda, Skylar Gray, Doug the Pug, Elle Mills, Obada Adnan
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG
Length: 113 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A quirky, dysfunctional family's road trip is upended when they find themselves in the middle of the robot apocalypse and suddenly become humanity's unlikeliest last hope.
When I first saw this trailer, the film was called Connected. I kinda like the name change. It fits better.
The trailer looked phenomenal. I love the war of the generations they exhibit, while finding a way to unite them and have them work together. It feels a little like Onward (2020) in that way.
It looks hilarious – not just for kids, either. I feel like people of all ages will get a kick out of the story and humor involved in this flick. It should make for a great family film night. It’s something I’ll be going to the theaters to see (after my vaccine).
2 – Voyagers (4/9)

Production/Distribution: AGC Studios, Fibonacci Films, Freecs Films, Icon Films, Ingenious Media, Nota Bene Productions, Stillking Films, Thunder Road Pictures, GEM Entertainment, Cinemundo, Deepjoy Picture, Diamond Films, Digi-Optic Films, Elevation Pictures, Golden Village Pictures, Italia Films, Joyncontents Group, Lionsgate, Nashe Kino, PVR Pictures, Pioneer Films, Spentzos Films, Telepool, The Moments Entertainment, United International Pictures (UIP), United King Films, Universal International Pictures (UI), Universal Pictures International (UPI), Vertical Entertainment, The Searchers
Director: Neil Burger
Writer: Neil Burger
Actors: Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, Fionn Whitehead, Chanté Adams, Quintessa Swindell, Archie Madekwe, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Viveik Kalra, Madison Hu, Archie Renaux, Wern Lee, Colin Farrell, April Grace, Laura Dreyfuss, Veronica Falcón
Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: 108 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A crew of astronauts on a multi-generational mission descend into paranoia and madness, not knowing what is real or not.
This trailer has had some significant staying power with me. I saw it about two months ago and have been waiting with baited breath for the film to come out.
It’s dystopian, it involves some serious rebellion, it’s science fiction… it’s everything I love in a story. More specifically, I love that kind of thing in books. Movies of the same ilk have disappointed me in the past, but I have seriously high hopes for this one.
I really tend to enjoy the work of Neil Burger (Limitless, Divergent, The Upside). On top of that, there are some great actors involved – such as: Colin Farrell (The Gentlemen, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Lily-Rose Depp (Tusk, Yoga Hosers, Savage), Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, The Mountain), and Isaac Hempstead Wright (Game of Thrones, The Boxtrolls, The Awakening).
There’s every reason to believe Voyagers is going to be worth watching.
1 – Mortal Kombat (4/23)

Production/Distribution: New Line Cinema, NetherRealm Studios, Atomic Monster, Broken Road Productions, Karo Premiere, Universal Pictures International, Warner Bros. Pictures Germany, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Singapore, Warner Bros., HBO Max
Director: Simon McQuoid
Writer: Greg Russo, Dave Callaham, Oren Uziel, Ed Boon, John Tobias
Actors: Jessica McNamee, Hiroyuki Sanada, Josh Lawson, Lewis Tan, Joe Taslim, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, Chin Han, Sisi Stringer, Mel Jarnson, Daniel Nelson, Elissa Cadwell, Laura Brent, Max Huang, Matilda Kimber
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rated: R
Length: 110 minutes
IMDb Blurb: MMA fighter Cole Young seeks out Earth's greatest champions in order to stand against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe.
There was no way, in any world, that this was not going to be #1.
I mean, who doesn’t love the campy, over-acted, 1995 version? It was cute, at the very least. Memorable, even. But it wasn’t the kind of adaptations that fans really hoped for.
Mortal Kombat, as a game, is brutal and bloody. The fatalities get more insane with every sequel, the characters are unique and recognizable. There was never any way for the PG-13 rating of the previous film to really represent what fans get from the games. It’s was just unheard of back then. Video games were for children, and an adaptation couldn’t be rated R.
Times are different now.
With a hardcore R rating, this new film has the chance to go every bit as far as the games do. The trailer even shows a fatality being performed – in all its biologically impossible glory.  
On top of all that, this film has a much more well thought out, and culturally sensitive, cast. There are a lot more Asian actors involved, and I think that was a very good choice by those in charge. Just on aesthetics alone, I can tell I will much prefer Tadanobu Asano (Followers, Minamata, The Outsider) over Christopher Lambert (Highlander, Shadow of the Wolf, Sobibor) as Raiden.
And we all know how I feel about Sisi Stringer (Children of the Corn, Bloody Hell, Matt Gaffney Must Die) as Mileena. Her look is impeccable.
There’s some concern about this flick, just because it’s a video game adaptation and, let’s not kid ourselves, there’s some room for improvement where those kinds of adaptations are concerned. Still, Mortal Kombat is the film I’m looking forward to most for next month.
What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment.
Movies to Look out For
According to: Cat
The Power .20
In the Earth .19
Four Good Days .18
The Enormity of Life .17
Justice Society: World War II .16
Bloodthirsty .15
The Believer .14
The Unholy .13
Thunder Force .12
Monday .11
Vanquish .10
Boys from County Hell .9
Concrete Cowboy .8
Wildcat .7
Stowaway .6
Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse .5
Every Breath You Take .4
The Mitchells vs. the Machines .3
Voyagers .2
Mortal Kombat .1
          What makes a movie eligible for Trust the Dice’s Top 20?

Monday, March 29, 2021

The Dig (2021)

Streaming Services: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: The Dig (2021)
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Length: 112 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production/Distribution: Netflix, Magnolia Mae Films, Clerkenwell Films
Director: Simon Stone
Writers: Moira Buffini, John Preston
Actors: Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James, Ben Chaplin, Johnny Flynn, Archie Barnes, Monica Dolan, Danny Webb, Robert Wilfort, James Dryden, Joe Hurst, Paul Ready, Peter McDonald, Christopher Godwin, Ellie Piercy, Bronwyn James, John Macmillan, Ken Stott, Arsher Ali, Eamon Farren, Amelia Stephenson
Blurb from IMDb:  An archaeologist embarks on the historically important excavation of Sutton Hoo in 1938.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’ve been looking forward to setting some time aside to watch The Dig since I listed it as my #9 pick on the Top 20 Movies to Look Out For in January 2021 article.
In my article, I geeked out a bit about Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Spectre, Holmes and Watson) portraying the excavator of the Sutton Hoo site in the film while actually being involved in real-life archaeology with his brother. Then there was the famous Sutton Hoo sword’s appearance on a historical weapon recreation bladesmith competition show. I had a little inner squee, let me tell you when the familiar blade made an appearance in a scene of the movie. A lot of my interest expressed in anticipation of the film’s release was very meta in nature.
It was a movie certainly worthy of anticipation on its own merit, however.

The risk that historical and archaeological depictions run up against is that the subject matter can become too dry and procedural if not handled correctly. I was very relieved to find that I didn’t feel the passage of the nearly 2 hours of this production. The story was woven in such a way that it kept me engaged with the people and the stories that interwove with the titular dig itself.
Of course, as this was an adaptation of a book that wove a bit of fictional creative license into the telling of the story, not everything portrayed on the screen can be taken for gospel. There’s at least one fictional character, some of the ages are different, and things of that nature. It’s been said that the fictional aspects were left in this film to help solidify the emotion of the time period. This excavation did take place on the literal cusp of World War 2, after all. The author of the book The Dig was based on is the nephew of the real-life person the character Lily James (Baby Driver, Sorry to Bother You, Yesterday) portrays in the movie. I’d say they had a unique window into events as groundwork to fashion their re-imagining around.

There was a surprising bit of tension and thrill as the film progressed. Historical radio broadcasts of the news at the time and the fly-overs of warplanes as the RAF prepared for the inevitable gave the film grounding and reminded you that war was a clear and present danger just over the horizon. Weather and politics worked in counterpoint with the imminent military actions to keep me firmly entrenched in the plight of this massively important excavation.
The human element of the story was poignant and relatable. I’d have to say that Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby, Mudbound, Promising Young Woman) was brilliant in the role of the widow Mrs. Pretty. I wasn’t even aware of the age difference between the actress and the age of the real Edith Pretty at the time of the Sutton Hoo find until I went looking up more information on the story. If I had known, I don’t think I would have cared.

I have a feeling that The Dig will appeal to a wider range of audiences than you might think. I’m glad that the book and movie were made to bring more attention of the mainstream to this significant historical moment – and in doing so brought some posthumous recognition to those involved with the dig that were not correctly credited for their work at the time. The themes of family, friendship, loyalty, and perseverance transcend the subject matter a bit and make it very easy for me to recommend this film. It’s even one I wouldn’t mind watching again. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 88%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 78%
Metascore –73%
Metacritic User Score – 6.7/10
IMDB Score – 7.1/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5
Movie Trailer: