Friday, February 4, 2022

The Royal Treatment (2022)

 

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: The Royal Treatment (2022)
Genre: Comedy, Family, Romance
Length:  96 minutes
Rating: TV-PG
Production/Distribution: Focus Features International, Netflix
Director: Rick Jacobson
Writer: Holly Hester
Actors: Abby Howells, Aislinn Furlong, Amanda Billing, An Xin Chang, Cameron Rhodes, Chelsie Preston-Crayford, Elizabeth Hawthorne, Grace Bentley-Tsibuah, Ivan Stojanov, Ivie Kupeng, Jacque Drew, James Gaylyn, Jay Simon, Jen Van Epps, Julie Edwards, Kube Jones-Neill, Laura Marano, Matthew E. Morgan, Mena Massoud, Paul Norell, Peter Chin, Phoenix Connolly, Siale Tunoka, Sonia Gray, Talia Lesser, Taylor Barrett, Teuila Blakely, Theanne Bulatao
 
IMDb Blurb: New York hairdresser Izzy seizes the chance to work at the wedding of a charming prince, but when sparks between them fly, will love or duty prevail?

 
Cat’s Point of View:
The Royal Treatment didn’t appear on my Top 20 Movies to Look Out For in January 2022 list, but it was by the narrowest of margins. In hindsight, I’m somewhat wishing I’d dropped one of the animated sequels to list it, instead. One of the two at the end of my list rose to the occasion, while the other did not. I’m not going down that particular rabbit hole today, however.
 
What I am going to do is express my frustration that critics seem to be hellbent on tearing down perfectly good movies just because they weren’t designed to be earth-shaking or world-changing bits of enlightened cinema. Seriously, people. There is a place for sugary romance in the world. The Royal Treatment wasn’t even the most saccharine out there. It wasn’t even half as sappy as it could have been.

 
The Royal Treatment might not have the most substance or have the most groundbreaking plot – we’ve heard this story before, after all. What it does have, however, is spirit. It doesn’t matter that we’ve seen the story before because this version spins it again effortlessly so that you don’t mind hearing this new iteration.  This is a modern tale that gives emphasis to self-reliance and basic human dignity. It reinforces the important and powerful message that if you want to see a change in the world, you have to be the one that makes change happen.
 
I also have a lot of respect for some of the choices made with the story that elevated it above your typical royal romance tale – alas, to avoid spoilers I cannot share those specifics. I hate teasing like that – but it is, what it is.

 
What I can share is my giddy reaction at the little thread of information that gets dropped in The Royal Treatment. There is a clear binding factor to the world that Netflix romance movies have in common – and an unexpected addition. There is a mention of Aldovia and Genovia as other countries during dialogue. Aldovia is the kingdom from the A Christmas Prince (2017) movies, and Genovia is the realm from The Princess Diaries (2001) franchise. By the same token, the kingdom of Belgravia of The Princess Switch (2018) films is already known to be connected; so, while not mentioned in The Royal Treatment, we know that it is still ‘in the neighborhood’ of the others. The Diaries movies aren’t Netflix originals, so they had to have pulled some strings to make that happen – but I’m here for it.
 
I really enjoyed the cast. Mena Massoud (Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, Run This Town, Reprisal) and Laura Marano (Austin & Ally, Lady Bird, Saving Zoë) had good chemistry both with each other and with their supporting cast. I think the butler character, Walter, played by Cameron Rhodes (Housebound, Deathgasm, In Dark Places) really stole the show.

 
There was even a small part for the former mayor of the town in New Zealand where they filmed. Speaking of which, the production team took good advantage of the scenery to give that fairytale and far-away vibe without completely taking us to Middle Earth.
 
With February as the month of Valentine’s Day and the distinction of being the 2nd month of 2022, this is even a more notable month for couples. The Royal Treatment is a cute movie for a date, or even family viewing. It’s familiar enough that you won’t get upset if there are distractions, but fresh enough not to be boring.
 
While it’s possible I might not remember The Royal Treatment years from now, I have no qualms in giving it a solid recommendation. 

 
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 27%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 38%
Metascore – 36%
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.2/10
 
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3/5
 
P.S. – There are some additional scenes as animations during the end credits. Following credits, there is a link provided by Netflix for more bonus content.

Also, if you'd like to see how some of these romance movie kingdoms are connected, PopSugar has an infographic in their article here.
 
Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Slapface (2022)

 

Streaming Service: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Slapface (2022)
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Length: 85 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Chhibber Mann Productions, Mirror Image Films, Artman Cooper Productions, Shudder, Epic Pictures
Director: Jeremiah Kipp
Writer: Jeremiah Kipp
Actors: August Maturo, Mike Manning, Libe Barer, Mirabelle Lee, Bianca D'Ambrosio, Chiara D'Ambrosio, Lukas Hassel, Dan Hedaya, Alixx Schottland, John Backstrom, Mack Kuhr, Nick Theurer, Curtis Braly, Maha Maturo
 
IMDb Blurb: A boy deals with the loss of his mother by creating a dangerous relationship with a monster rumored to live in the woods.

 
Selina’s Point of View:
Slapface is a bit of a silly title, but that didn’t dissuade me. I’ve seen some amazing products come from off titles. So, I leapt right in.
 
It’s a psychological thriller masquerading as a supernatural horror. That’s fine, of course. It’s a recipe that often leads to some serious twists. That didn’t bother me. What did bother me was that the ending involved one of the worst twists the writers could have gone with. It was the road most traveled.
 
Not only was it a basic conclusion, but the movie leading up to it was disjointed and confusing.


Under threat of pain, I would not be able to tell anyone how much time passed in Slapface. Was it a week? A year? Not a clue. If it was only a few days, then the way things went down doesn’t make sense. If it was a few years, it’s a lot more possible – but not showing some of the humanizing instances during that time would have been a mistake.
 
There were some characters I just didn’t care about. Others that only had one purpose: abuse. There was nothing else to them. None of them had any depth except the main character.

 
A trigger warning is in place for bullying, but those scenes were so cringe-inducing and badly done that I had trouble getting immersed in them at all. I don’t think most people would get triggered by them because of that – and I was bullied horrifically in school.
 
There were a few strong points. August Maturo (Girl Meets World, The Nun, Mickey and the Roadster Racers) was very good, especially for his age. His character was one of the only ones with any depth, and he made me feel that. I also thought many of the scares were set up in ways that subverted expectations
 
Slapface was absolutely not my cup of tea. 

 
Cat’s Point of View:
Upfront, I’m going to tell you that I didn’t enjoy Slapface. That’s really the point, though. It is not the kind of production to watch for entertainment’s sake. The story is bleak, intense, and uncomfortable. The audience is not supposed to be ok with the events on the screen. I got that.
 
Slapface was successful as a powerful message and an example of things not to do. Here’s your trigger warning dealing with death, bullying, domestic abuse, and neglect.
 
The pacing was so slow. I struggled to not get fidgety as events seemed to drag out.

 
One of my main problems with Slapface was that I had a hard time relating to or empathizing with the primary characters beyond sympathy for their loss. The concept of ‘playing Slapface’ didn’t even make sense for the majority of the film. There was a light bulb moment eventually, but it took too long to get there.
 
The lore around the monster was interesting, but it seemed to pop up randomly rather than in an organic way. I guess it’s a testament of sorts to the storytelling that I’m still not sure whether or not there really was a monster or anything supernatural going on.


All told, Slapface wasn’t bad per se. The acting was ok. The production quality was fine. I just couldn’t get over the pacing. That, along with the fact that it just wasn’t easy to watch from a content perspective, nuked my ability to take more away from the experience. 

Trivia involving Slapface advises that its writer pulled from some of his own experiences as a youth to create the original short film as well as the full-length feature adaptation. I can only hope that this process has helped him with healing and catharsis.
 
I’ll tell you one thing, though – Slapface is going to haunt me for a little bit. It was just that unsettling.

 
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.9/10
 
Trust the Dice: Parental Advisory Rating - R

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 2/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 2.5/5
 
Movie Trailer:

Monday, January 31, 2022

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In February (2022)

 According to: Selina


20 – Jackass Forever (2/4)
 

Production/Distribution: Dickhouse Productions, Gorilla Flicks, MTV Entertainment Studios, MTV Films, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Players, Constantin-Film, Paramount Pictures Australia, Paramount Pictures Germany, Paramount Pictures UK, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures International (UPI)
Director: Jeff Tremaine
Writer: Jason 'Wee Man' Acuña, Eric André, Derrick Beckles, Colton Dunn, Dave England, Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville, Nick Kreiss, Preston Lacy, Knate Lee, Bam Margera, Ehren McGhehey, Chris Pontius, Sarah Sherman, Steve-O, Jeff Tremaine, Andrew Weinberg
Actors: Machine Gun Kelly, Eric André, Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Rachel Wolfson, Jeff Tremaine, Jason ‘Wee Man’ Acuña, Rob Dyrdek, Tory Belleci, Ehren McGhehey, Chris Raab, Dave England, Tony Hawk, Preston Lacy, Tyler the Creator
Genre: Documentary, Action, Comedy
Rated: R
Length: 96 minutes
 
IMDb Blurb: After 11 years, the Jackass crew is back for their final crusade.
 
I don’t like Jackass. I like a lot of the people involved, but as a whole – I think the world would have been better off without the existence of the project.
 
The only reason I’ve opted to include Jackass Forever on my list, is because I know how much the majority do love it. As far as I’m concerned, this is more of a reminder entry than one that accurately depicts my own opinions.
 
19 – Gasoline Alley (2/25)
 

Production/Distribution: 308 Ent, BondIt Media Capital, Buffalo 8 Productions, Head Gear Films, Highland Film Group (HFG), Kreo Films FZ, Lost Winds Entertainment, Metrol Technology, Yale Productions, Originals Factory
Director: Edward Drake
Writer: Edward Drake, Tom Sierchio
Actors: Bruce Willis, Devon Sawa, Luke Wilson, Kat Foster, Sufe Bradshaw, Kenny Wormald, Irina Antonenko, Rick Salomon, Angie Pack
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: Unknown
 
IMDb Blurb: A man implicated in the triple homicide of three Hollywood starlets begins his own investigation. Needing assistance, he enlists the two detectives on his tail in order to expose a conspiracy more explosive than any of them imagined.
 
I fought myself over whether to add this one to my list. After all, it has Bruce Willis (Fortress, Cosmic Sin, Breach) in it.
 
We all know Willis was once a selling point on films. For the last decade, or so, he seems to have given up. It doesn’t feel like he wants to do any of it; like it’s all just for the paycheck. Most of the time, I completely count out a flick if he’s featured in it, these days.
 
The thing that’s different here, is Devon Sawa’s (Chucky, Hunter Hunter, Punk’s Dead: SLC Punk 2) presence. I feel like people count him out way too quickly based on his previous ‘teen heartthrob’ status. If you can look at a picture of who he was, and who he is now, and say that’s still a factor – I’m going to need you to explain to me how.
 
Sawa was always versatile, but since his transformation into more action-heavy roles I feel like he’s bloomed. Now, he’s one of those actors I would follow anywhere.
 
Even to a Willis movie.
 
18 – Through My Window (2/4)
 

Production/Distribution: Netflix, Nostromo Pictures
Director: Marçal Forés
Writer: Ariana Godoy
Actors: Julio Peña, Pilar Castro, Clara Galle, Hugo Arbues, Eric Masip, Rachel Lascar, Guillermo Lasheras, Natalia Azahara, Marià Casals, Emilia Lazo, Lucía de la Puerta
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rated: R
Length: 116 minutes
 
IMDb Blurb: Raquel's longtime crush on her next-door neighbor turns into something more when he starts developing feelings for her, despite his family's objections.
 
Through My Window feels like your basic trashy romance story. Right down to the parallels with the mythology of Ares and Aphrodite. That said, if you’re into trashy romance – this looks like it could be decently done.
 
This is Netflix, which doesn’t lead to thoughts of reliability – though they do tend to do better with their foreign projects than those made in the USA.
 
I’d say it’s worth a watch, but with tempered expectations.
 
17 – Book of Love (2/4)
 

Production/Distribution: Buzzfeed Studios, Blazing Griffin, BondIt Media Capital, Head Gear Films, Kreo Films FZ, Metrol Technology, NOW Films, Pimienta Films, Vertigo Films, Shaw Organisation, Amazon Prime Video, Falcon Films, Sky Cinema, XYZ Films
Director: Analeine Cal y Mayor  
Writer: Analeine Cal y Mayor, David Quantick     
Actors: Sam Claflin, Verónica Echegui, Fernando Becerril, Ruy Gaytan, Horacio Villalobos, Horacio Garcia Rojas, Lucy Punch, Edwarda Gurrola, Melissa Pino, Daniela Luque, Giovani Florido
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rated: Unrated
Length: 106 minutes
 
IMDb Blurb: Two writers thrown together on a book tour in Mexico.
 
I do have some trouble buying the apparent story of Book of Love, but that’s from my very specific perspective. I believe, from a majority outlook, it makes a lot more sense.
 
It’s sappy, for sure. It will also likely follow a very common recipe. That said, it seems like the perfect film to invite a date over for on Valentine’s Day. You won’t be too upset if shenanigans occur to keep you from finishing the film, and it should lead to some will-they, won’t-they silent flirting in the meantime.
 
Any other month, this one wouldn’t make my list. For the month of February, though… it works.
 
16 – The Wolf and the Lion (2/4)
 

Production/Distribution: Mai Juin Productions, Galatée Films, Les Productions Wematin, StudioCanal, M6 Films, SODEC Québec, Canal+, Ciné+, W9, MK2 Mile End, Blue Fox Entertainment, StudioCanal Germany, TriPictures
Director: Gilles de Maistre
Writer: Gilles de Maistre, Prune de Maistre
Actors: Molly Kunz, Graham Greene, Charlie Carrick, Derek Johns, Rhys Slack, Evan Buliung, Rebecca Croll, Victor Cornfoot, Daniel Brochu
Genre: Family
Rated: PG
Length: 99 minutes
 
IMDb Blurb: A wolf pup and a lost lion cub are rescued by a girl in the heart of the Canadian wilderness. Their friendship will change their lives forever.
 
The Wolf and the Lion is another saccharin sweet, protect the animals, kind of film. There are going to be heart-breaking moments alongside those that are more on the heartwarming side. Throughout, we get to watch the antics of adorableness.
 
Nothing about this movie stands out to me as something that would make it life changing. It does, however, seem like something cute the whole family can sit down and watch.
 
15 – A Banquet (2/18)
 

Production/Distribution: Tea Shop Productions, Riverstone Pictures, Reliance Entertainment Productions 8, IFC Midnight, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, HanWay Films
Director: Ruth Paxton
Writer: Justin Ball
Actors: Sienna Guillory, Jessica Alexander, Ruby Stokes, Lindsay Duncan, Kaine Zajaz, Richard Keep, Deka Walmsley, Rina Mahoney
Genre: Horror
Rated: Unrated
Length: 97 minutes
 
IMDb Blurb: Widowed mother Holly is radically tested when her teenage daughter Betsey experiences a profound enlightenment and insists that her body is no longer her own, but in service to a higher power. Bound to her newfound faith Betsey refuses to eat, but loses no weight. In an agonising dilemma torn between love and fear, Holly is forced to confront the boundaries of her own beliefs.
 
At first, I was concerned that A Banquet might be an exploitative film revolving around anorexia. Now, I think it’s supernatural. There’s more of a possession feel to the trailer, than a realistic one.
 
If it is supernatural, then this should be much higher on my list. Maybe even cracking into the Top 10. The coming attractions paint the story as exceptionally creepy. Even the music makes me feel a great deal more on edge than most trailers would.
 
However, if it is what I initially feared, it could be damaging in a great many ways.
 
I think it’s going to be a proper horror flick, but I’m issuing a trigger warning. Just in case.
 
14 – Big Bug (2/11)
 

Production/Distribution: Eskwad, Gaumont, Netflix
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Writer: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Guillaume Laurant
Actors: Dominique Pinon, Elsa Zylberstein, André Dussollier, Alban Lenoir, Isabelle Nanty, Claude Perron, Claire Chust, Youssef Hajdi, Stéphane De Groodt
Genre: Comedy, Sci-Fi
Rated: TV-MA
Length: 111 minutes
 
IMDb Blurb: A group of bickering suburbanites find themselves stuck together when an android uprising causes their well intentioned household robots to lock them in for their own safety.
 
Big Bug looks insane. It looks like a very adult version of the Smart House (1999) idea. We’re seeing a lot more use of this plot as technology evolves. We were bound to. It’s a huge part of our lives, yet it’s not overly understood by everyone. We may know how to use it well, but there aren’t many people who could tell you WHY things work.
 
Which makes movies like this a bit more interested because we couldn’t say why it wouldn’t happen.
 
It’s great to see the idea used in something other than a thriller/horror. Big Bug looks hilarious. The only reason I can’t put it higher, is because there’s a lot of cringe. Cringe is just not my favorite flavor of giggles.
 
13 – Catch the Fair One (2/11)
 

Production/Distribution: The Population, Protozoa Pictures, FirstGen Content, Heretical Reason Productions, Needle's Eye Productions, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, IFC Films
Director: Josef Kubota Wladyka
Writer: Kali Reis, Josef Kubota Wladyka
Actors: Lisa Emery, Kevin Dunn, Kimberly Guerrero, Daniel Henshall, Michael Drayer, Jonathan Kowalsky, Peter Johnson, Gerald Webb, Isabelle Chester, Tiffany Chu, Kali Reis, Shelly Vincent, Aaron Krygier
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 85 minutes
 
IMDb Blurb: A former champion boxer embarks on the fight of her life when she goes in search of her missing sister.
 
When I first heard of Catch the Fair One, I rolled my eyes. I thought it was going to be a typical fighter-seeks-missing-sibling film (which sounds ridiculously specific, but it is actually a pretty common trope). Most of those films involve a niche-popular fighter, known from wrestling/MMA/boxing/etc., semi-acting their way through some minimum-effort script.
 
I started to think Catch the Fair One would be different when I heard of Darren Aronofsky’s (Mother!, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain) executive producer credit. Then I saw the trailer.
 
Clearly, there’s going to be some intrigue in this one. There are conspiracy and trafficking vibes involved, as well as some current issues examined. As a result, I feel like this film may have more to offer than I initially gave it credit for.
 
I hope it does.
 
12 – They Live in the Grey (2/17)
 

Production/Distribution: STANDOFF Pictures, Whiskey Stream Productions, Shudder
Director: Abel Vang, Burlee Vang
Writer: Abel Vang, Burlee Vang
Actors: Michelle Krusiec, Ken Kirby, Madelyn Grace, Audrey Moore, Ellen Wroe, J.R. Cacia, Bernard Bullen, Cami Storm, Ian Stanley, Patrick Hume
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: Unknown
 
IMDb Blurb: Follows a young social worker who must stop a supernatural entity that is tormenting the family that she was investigating in order to save the parents from losing the custody of their child.
 
It makes me so happy when a Shudder film makes its way onto my Top 20. We try to get to all the new flicks shown on Shudder every month, but the trailers don’t always stand out. Even when the movies wind up good. That tempers my excitement at times.
 
They Live in the Grey, though, instantly snags my interest.
 
There are some basic haunting tropes shown, but for the most part it looks like a film that will keep me gloriously on edge. I’m looking forward to seeing it very soon.
 
11 – Last Survivors (2/4)
 

Production/Distribution: Yadav Productions, El Ride Productions, Fry Cook Productions, SSS Entertainment, Volition Media Partners, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, Vertical Entertainment
Director: Drew Mylrea
Writer: Josh Janowicz
Actors: Drew Van Acker, Alicia Silverstone, Stephen Moyer
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: Unknown
 
IMDb Blurb: A father and son, who have been living off grid for 20 years, encounter an outsider who threatens to destroy the utopia they've built.
 
Most apocalypse films revolve around action, and the initial survival. I have no issue with those, in fact, I love them. That said, there’s something extremely attractive to me about an end-of-the-world story that focuses more on human nature and drama, or more relatable thrills.
 
Yes, I’m aware that Last Survivors may not actually be an apocalypse story – but the way it’s designed (as seen in the trailer) there are definite parallels.
 
I’m interested in seeing what road the story takes. If the son gives in to the teachings of his old-man, or if he tries to be better.
 

10 – Big Gold Brick (2/25)
 

Production/Distribution: A Saboteur, JoBro Productions & Film Finance, Oceana Studios, Potato Eater Productions, Productivity Media, The Panics Film, Arclight Films, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, Samuel Goldwyn Films
Director: Brian Petsos
Writer: Brian Petsos
Actors: Oscar Isaac, Megan Fox, Lucy Hale, Andy Garcia, Shiloh Fernandez, Emory Cohen, Aly Crocker, Frederick Schmidt
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Rated: Unrated
Length: 132 minutes
 
IMDb Blurb: Big Gold Brick recounts the story of fledgling writer Samuel Liston and his experiences with Floyd Deveraux, the enigmatic, middle-aged father of two who enlists Samuel to write his biography. But the circumstances that lead up to this arrangement in the first place are quite astonishing-and efforts to write the biography are quickly stymied by ensuing chaos in this darkly comedic, genre-bending film.
 
Everything about Big Gold Brick looks insane. Just the act of someone inviting a person they hit with their car to live with them is sketchy. Makes me immediately wonder what they’re trying to avoid. Then you add in all the scenes that seem to show hallucinations and it gets even more interesting.
 
My bet is that we’re not going to be able to figure out what is really happening to the character in this film until the end – if at all. I’d love to see an open ending that keeps us guessing forever, but even if they come to an easier conclusion, I feel like it would still be worth it. Just for the ridiculousness.
 
– Marry Me (2/11)
 
 
Production/Distribution: Kung Fu Monkey Productions, Nuyorican Productions, Perfect World Pictures, B&H Film Distribution, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures Argentina, Universal Pictures International (UPI), Universal Pictures, Peacock
Director: Kat Coiro
Writer: Harper Dill, Bobby Crosby, John Rogers, Tami Sagher
Actors: Jennifer Lopez, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Owen Wilson, John Bradley, Maluma, Sarah Silverman, Chloe Coleman, Jimmy Falon, Stephen Wallem, Michelle Buteau, Brady Noon, Alex D. Jennings
Genre: Comedy, Music, Romance
Rated: PG-13
Length: 112 minutes
 
IMDb Blurb: Music superstars Kat Valdez and Bastian are getting married before a global audience of fans. But when Kat learns, seconds before her vows, that Bastian has been unfaithful, she decides to marry Charlie, a stranger in the crowd, instead.
 
In a month that tosses a ton of rom-coms at us, it’s rare to come across one that looks at all original.
 
Marry Me will be a on the formulaic side, but the meet-cute feels new. It feels like a fantasy a lot of big fans have had involving whomever their celebrity crush is. As a result, it should attract quite a few viewers.
 
Jennifer Lopez (Second Act, Hustlers, Good Trouble) has always been a decent actor. A lot of what she’s done that sticks out in my mind, is from rom-coms. Same with Owen Wilson (Loki, The French Dispatch, Bliss). So, when it comes to this mildly new idea, I feel like there’s a possibility they could take it to the next level.
 
At the very least, it should be a decent Valentine’s date night movie.
 
8 – Studio 666 (2/25)
 

Production/Distribution: Roswell Films, Therapy Studios, Open Road Films
Director: BJ McDonnell
Writer: Dave Grohl, Jeff Buhler, Rebecca Hughes
Actors: Jenna Ortega, Will Forte, Leslie Grossman, Whitney Cummings, Jeff Garlin, Dave Grohl, Marti Matulis, Jason Trost, Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear, Nate Mendel, Rami Jaffee, Chris Shiflett
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Music
Rated: R
Length: Unknown
 
IMDb Blurb: Legendary rock band Foo Fighters move into an Encino mansion steeped in grisly rock and roll history to record their much anticipated 10th album.
 
I have a soft spot for passion projects and films that are made simply to allow the actors/creators to have fun. Studio 666 is one of those.
 
I cannot describe how much I want to see Dave Grohl (Bill & Ted Face the Music, Drunk History, The Muppets), and the rest of the Foo Fighters, pour themselves into this insane flick. It’s bound to have a gorgeous soundtrack, and the comedy is going to speak to anyone who enjoys a bit more spontaneity in their films.
 
A project like this has, at the very least, cult potential.
 
– Moonfall (2/4)
 

Production/Distribution: AGC Studios, Ascot Elite Entertainment Group, Central Partnership, Centropolis Entertainment, China Film Group Corporation (CFGC), Cinemundo, Constantin-Film, Diamond Films, Dutch FilmWorks, Edko Films, Entertainment Film Distributors, Golden Village Pictures, H Brothers, Huayi Brothers Media, Italian International Film, Kinepolis Film Distribution, Kino Films, Lenta, Leonine Distribution, Lionsgate, Long Shong Entertainment Multimedia Company, Lucisano Media Group, Metropolitan Filmexport, Mongkol Major, Noori Pictures, PT. Prima Cinema Multimedia, PVR Pictures, Roadshow Film Distributors (NZ) Ltd., Roadshow Films, Selim Ramia & Sons, Street Entertainment, Sun Distribution, UK Moonfall, Ukrainian Film Distribution, Vertical Entertainment
Director: Roland Emmerich
Writer: Spenser Cohen, Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser
Actors: Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Michael Peña, Donald Sutherland, Charlie Plummer, Wenwen Yu, Eme Ikwuakor, Carolina Bartczak, Ava Weiss, Maxim Roy, Stephen Bogaert, Hazel Nugent
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 120 minutes
 
IMDb Blurb: In Moonfall, a mysterious force knocks the Moon from its orbit around Earth and sends it hurdling on a collision course with life as we know it. With mere weeks before impact and the world on the brink of annihilation, NASA executive and former astronaut Jo Fowler is convinced she has the key to saving us all - but only one astronaut from her past, Brian Harper and a conspiracy theorist K.C. Houseman believe her. These unlikely heroes will mount an impossible last-ditch mission into space, leaving behind everyone they love, only to find that they might have prepared for the wrong mission.
 
During the monthly Trust the Dice stream, I said that Moonfall looked like what would happen if Edgar Wright (Baby Driver, Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) directed Independence Day (1996). That was before I even knew the writer/director of Independence Day, Roland Emmerich (Stargate, Dark Horse, 2012), was involved.
 
Emmerich is a person I would trust with this kind of film. Granted, he’s had some missteps, but I believe his wins have outweighed his losses. Most of his work is stuff I’ve greatly enjoyed. Even the stuff that didn’t do as well by critics – like The Day After Tomorrow (2004) – I’ve enjoyed. In fact, it’s one of my comfort movies that I can throw on in the background to help me concentrate.
 
Moonfall seems like it’ll be a touch more on the comedic side, though it is primarily an action/adventure. It’s labeled as a fantasy, but I’ve never believed that word is synonymous with sci-fi, so I think that’s just flat-out wrong.
 
I’m here for this one. If I can, I’d really like to see it on the big screen.
 
– Dog (2/18)
 

Production/Distribution: Ascot Elite Entertainment Group, Blue Lantern Entertainment International, CAA Media Finance, CatchPlay, Cinemundo, Diamond Films, Entertainment Film Distributors, FilmNation Entertainment, Free Association, ITN Distribution, Leonine Distribution, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Monolith Films, Nordisk Film Distribution, Notorious Pictures, Roadshow Film Distributors (NZ) Ltd., Roadshow Films, Sam Film, Shaw Organisation, Times Media Films, United Artists Releasing, WW Entertainment
Director: Reid Carolin, Channing Tatum
Writer: Reid Carolin, Brett Rodriguez
Actors: Channing Tatum, Q’orianka Kilcher, Kevin Nash, Jane Adams, Aqueela Zoll, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Nicole LaLiberte, Cayden Boyd, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Amanda Booth, Skyler Joy, Darren Keilan
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 90 minutes
 
IMDb Blurb: Two former Army Rangers are paired against their will on the road trip of a lifetime. Briggs (Channing Tatum) and Lulu (a Belgian Malinois dog) race down the Pacific Coast to a fellow soldier's funeral on time.
 
I love dogs. Dogs have been a huge part of my life since I was a little girl. In fact, this is the first time I haven’t had a dog for any long stretch of time. (I prefer to adopt, but it’s difficult with a toddler. Will be finding a new fluff ball when my daughter’s old enough to understand how to respect pups.)
 
Movies like this just warm my soul. In this case, you have someone underestimating a dog that has behavioral problems but helping them out anyway. For selfish reasons, maybe, but still. My late dog, Honeybear, was like that. She had a lot of behavioral problems when I adopted her. In fact, her first act when we met was to bite me. I took the time and energy to retrain her, and, in the end, she was the best dog I’ve ever known.
 
This movie is going to make me miss her. I have no doubt about it. But that’s a big part of why it’s so high on my list.
 
I feel like I’ve already got the story pegged, but it should be a cute watch anyway.
 
5 – Death on the Nile (2/11)
 

Production/Distribution: 20th Century Studios, Disney+, Forum Hungary, Kinberg Genre, Scott Free Productions, The Estate of Agatha Christie, The Mark Gordon Company, TSG Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Germany, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Italia
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writer: Agatha Christie, Michael Green
Actors: Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Rose Leslie, Armie Hammer, Emma Mackey, Letitia Wright, Jennifer Saunders, Sophie Okonedo, Annette Bening, Tom Bateman, Russell Brand, Adam Garcia, Dawn French
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Rated: PG-13
Length: 127 minutes
 
IMDb Blurb: While on vacation on the Nile, Hercule Poirot must investigate the murder of a young heiress.
 
I don’t feel one way or another about the character of Hercule Poirot. So, when I see the trailer for Death on the Nile – it’s just about the film as a murder mystery. Where that’s concerned, it seems pretty bad ass.
 
The trailer does a good job of making me want to learn more, without making the questions so big that they confuse me. I want to know exactly what went down on the Nile. I have some suspicions – based on general film tropes – but nothing concrete.
 
The cast is absolutely unignorable as well: Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman, Red Notice, Criminal), Rose Leslie (Honeymoon, Game of Thrones, Morgan), Kenneth Branagh (Tenet, Murder on the Orient Express, All is True), Letitia Wright (Black Panther, Small Axe, Guava Island), Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous, Shrek 2, Sing 2)… etc.
 
There’s one wild card, based on some scandals that came up while the film was in post-production, but I don’t think that’s enough to tank it.
 
4 – Last Looks (2/4)
 

Production/Distribution: Eagle Films, Film & TV House, GEM Entertainment, Head Gear Films, MadRiver International, Metrol Technology, RLJE Films, Romulus Entertainment, Waldo Film Productions
Director: Tim Kirkby
Writer: Howard Michael Gould
Actors: Charlie Hunnam, Mel Gibson, Lucy Fry, Rupert Friend, Morena Baccarin, Jacob Scipio, Clancy Brown, David Pasquesi, Sophie Fatu, Robin Givens, Xen Sams, CC Castillo, Method Man, Dominic Monaghan
Genre: Action, Crime, Mystery
Rated: R
Length: 110 minutes
 
IMDb Blurb: A disgraced ex-cop seeks solace by moving to the woods, but his quiet life comes to an end when a private eye recruits him to investigate a murder.
 
The immediate intrigue is quick to pull me in for this one. It’s the easy question: did Mel Gibson’s (Fatman, Boss Level, Blood Father) character kill his wife? But it seems like there’s a huge amount more to this movie. There’s the idea of the PI fixer on a Hollywood set. There’s the insane cast.
 
The list of draws in the trailer for Last Looks is just about endless.
 
I’m also impressed that it’s written by Howard Michael Gould (Cutters, Mr. 3000, Home Improvement), the same person who wrote the book. You don’t see that nearly enough. That should make fans of the original work happy.
 
There’s bound to be a lot of action alongside some quick-witted humor and the ironic amusement that we get to see Gibson call someone else crazy.
 
3 – KIMI (2/10)
 

Production/Distribution: New Line Cinema, Warner Bros., Warner Bros. Pictures Germany, HBO Max
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: David Koepp
Actors: Zoë Kravitz, Erika Christensen, Rita Wilson, Devin Ratray, Jaime Camil, India de Beaufort, Robin Givens, Jacob Vargas, Charles Halford, Emily Kuroda, Caleb Emery
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 149 minutes
 
IMDb Blurb: An agoraphobic Seattle tech worker uncovers evidence of a crime.
 
There’s a lot of good in the trailer for Kimi. You get a few flavors of Minority Report (2002), maybe even Mr. Robot (2015-2019), but it seems to be interwoven with a fresh flavor. It’s almost hypnotizing.
 
I’ve grown into a huge fan of Zoë Kravitz (Big Little Lies, Allegiant, Dope) over the years. I’ve seen her kill at just about everything she’s ever been cast in – even when the movie itself was not up to snuff. This movie seems to utilize her in a way that will really show off the type of lead chops she has. She’s already a household name, but this is certainly not going to hurt.
 
Steven Soderbergh (No Sudden Move, The Laundromat, Logan Lucky) is bringing something special with KIMI, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
 
– Uncharted (2/18)
 

Production/Distribution: Arad Productions, Atlas Entertainment, Ayuntamiento de Madrid, B&H Film Distribution, Big Picture 2 Films, Columbia Pictures, Columbia Pictures Corporation, Naughty Dog, PlayStation Productions, Sony Computer Entertainment America, Sony Pictures Entertainment Iberia, Sony Pictures Filmverleih, Sony Pictures Releasing, Sony Pictures Releasing Argentina, Sony Pictures Releasing Australia, Sony Pictures Releasing Canada, Sony Pictures Releasing International, Sony Pictures Releasing Italia, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures International (UPI)
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writer: Art Marcum, Rafe Judkins, Matt Holloway, Amy Hennig, Jon Hanley Rosenberg, Mark D. Walker
Actors: Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Antonio Banderas, Sophia Ali, Tati Gabrielle, Patricia Meeden, Sarah Petrick
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rated: PG-13
Length: Unknown
 
IMDb Blurb: The story is a prequel to the games, starring Holland as a younger Drake, showing us details of how he came to meet and befriend Sully.
 
I have always loved the idea of Tom Holland (Onward, Cherry, Avengers: Endgame) playing Nathan Drake. While the rest of the world was still thinking over how they felt, I was out-right cheering for the casting decision. The more I see Holland in, the more I adore him.
 
Uncharted is a great game. I’m not rabid about it, but I am a fan. As a result, I’ve been looking forward to this flick for a long time. Even with the history of video game movies warning me to temper my expectations, I’m still here for it. I’m not even really worried about Holland’s comments about his performance.
 
The only thing that does concern me, is that there were some creative differences with previous directors attached to the project. That worries me because it means there might be a little too much production company involvement. That is the kind of thing that kills video game flicks. When production companies get too involved, the director has less creative ability to bring to life the feel of the game… and you wind up with something like Monster Hunter (2020) – which didn’t even feel complete.
 
I’m hoping the creative differences involved in this case were from something else. Either way, I’m still looking forward to it.
 
1 – Cyrano (2/25)
 

Production/Distribution: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Working Title Films, BRON Studios, Universal Pictures, United Artists Releasing, Forum Hungary, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures Argentina, Universal Pictures International (UPI)
Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Edmond Rostand, Erica Schmidt
Actors: Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Ben Mendelsohn, Monica Dolan, Bashir Salahuddin, Joshua James, Anjana Vasan, Ruth Sheen, Mark Benton
Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance
Rated: PG-13
Length: 124 minutes
 
IMDb Blurb: Too self-conscious to woo Roxanne himself, wordsmith Cyrano de Bergerac helps young Christian nab her heart through love letters.
 
Peter Dinklage (I Care A Lot, I Think We’re Alone Now, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn) is a god amongst men. I’ve said it before, and likely will again.
 
Cyrano is the perfect film for him. It’s heavily dramatic and puts him front and center. I don’t need any other reason to put it at #1, but I have them.
 
Director Joe Wright (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, Anna Karenina) is a master of these kind of romance-related, period-piece, dramas. If anyone was going to perfectly bring the story of Cyrano to life, it was going to be him. Writer Erica Schmidt (Miles from Nowhere) is more of a dark horse, but that means there will be a fresh voice carrying the script. Taking an old story like this and adding that new voice to it could make it legendary.
 
The rest of the cast is nothing to sneeze at, either.
 
I’ve been excited for Cyrano for at least a year now. Nothing was going to beat it to my #1 spot.
 
Movies to Look out For
According to: Cat
 
I Want You Back .20
Big Bug .19
Gasoline Alley .18
Ghosts of the Ozarks .17
Last Survivors .16
The In Between .15
They Live in the Grey .14
Marry Me .13
The Wolf and the Lion .12
A Madea Homecoming .11
Big Gold Brick .10
Blacklight .9
Studio 666 .8
KIMI .7
Death on the Nile .6
Dog .5
Cyrano .4
Last Looks .3
Moonfall .2
Uncharted .1
 
FAQ:
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