Friday, July 14, 2023


With SAG joining the WGA in their strike, all film and television production will cease. Actors are encouraged not to promote their finished work, show up to conventions, etc.
What does that mean for us at Trust the Dice?
We’ve always supported the strike, which started back in May with the WGA. Despite that, we’ve continued to write reviews and Top 20 lists. We had hopes that reason would win out and companies would just agree to pay their workers. Unfortunately, a studio executive has made some straight-up evil comments according to Deadline: “The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses.”
I’ve struggled with what to do about it. As bloggers, we’re not part of the WGA, but as reviewers we rely on the hard work of writers and actors. Not just as entertainment, but as a living.
Now that workers are being urged not to even promote finished works, I’ve decided that we need to alter the way Trust the Dice is handling the strike.
We do have specific deals in place for reviews this month. It’s unavoidable. At the end of the month, if nothing changes with the strike, we will be altering our content. At least until there’s a resolution.
Trust the Dice will pause all reviews and promotion of upcoming films. We will still post, however. Those posts will include Top 10s about various subjects featuring films and TV but will not include anything about upcoming releases. I truly hope that you all will enjoy the new content on Trust the Dice. If people enjoy it, we will weave it into our usual stuff once the strikes are over.
Support the writers and actors that you’ve relied on for your entertainment and escape purposes. Do NOT cancel your streaming services, though. Watch movies and TV shows as much as possible. That's what the guilds want for the time being.
Good luck.

UPDATE: Upon further deliberation, I've decided that we will not finish out the set schedule we had for the month of July. We will be pivoting our content immediately, with the first post being Monday at 6pm EST. We hope you enjoy our new content as we support the WGA/SAG-AFTRA strike by stopping promotion of all new film projects. (It is possible that we will be able to continue reviewing the smaller, indie films that are not involved with big production companies. If so, we will include those.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Quicksand (2023)

Streaming Service: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Quicksand (2023)
Genre: Thriller
Length: 1h 26min
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Dawn’s Light, Elemental Stories, Sangre Films, Two Twenty Two Pictures, AMC+, Shudder
Director: Andres Beltran
Writer: Matt Pitts
Actors: Andrés Castañeda, Carolina Gaitan, Sebastian Eslava, Allan Hawco
Blurb from IMDb: Follows a married couple almost divorcing who become trapped in quicksand while hiking through a rainforest in Colombia. They will battle the elements of the jungle and must work together in order to survive.

Selina’s Point of View:
The trailer for Quicksand looked promising. It showed a lot of heart-pumping moments, but still made sure that audiences knew most of it took place in a single quicksand pit.
There was no way of knowing that the trailer used every single interesting moment.
Aside from what’s shown in the coming attractions, nothing else happens in Quicksand. That, alone, wouldn’t be a problem. With a strong script and even stronger actors, a movie with two people stuck in a single location can still be decent.

I’d like to use Malcolm & Marie (2021) as an example. That entire movie is about a couple having a single argument. There’s nothing else involved. There’s never anyone else on screen. Yet, the script by Sam Levinson (Euphoria, Deep Water, Assassination Nation) makes enough sense, while Zendaya (Euphoria, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Dune) and John David Washington (Tenet, Amsterdam, Ballers) embody their characters so thoroughly, that it’s impossible to look away. It’s the best example I can give of what can make a two-actor film work.
Unfortunately, Quicksand doesn’t have any of that. The actors don’t have enough chemistry to hold up the film on their own. Even if they did, the script is clunky and awkward. As a result, I could barely concentrate as I yawned through the film.
Quicksand let me down. It wasn’t worth the faith I put into it.
If you want to see for yourself, Quicksand will be available on Shudder this Friday, July 14.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score –5.4/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 1/5
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: PG-13
Movie Trailer: 

Monday, July 10, 2023

The Out-Laws (2023)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: The Out-Laws (2023)
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Length:  1h 35min
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Happy Madison Productions, Netflix
Director: Tyler Spindel
Writers: Evan Turner, Ben Zazove
Actors: Poorna Jagannathan, Ellen Barkin, Nina Dobrev, Adam Devine, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Rooker, Lauren Lapkus, Richard Kind, Julie Howery, Blake Anderson, Derek Russo, Laci Mosley
IMDb Blurb: A straight-laced bank manager about to marry the love of his life. When his bank is held up by infamous Ghost Bandits during his wedding week, he believes his future in-laws who just arrived in town, are the infamous Out-Laws.

Selina’s Point of View:
With Adam Devine involved, I knew the cringe-factor on The Out-Laws would be high. Although cringe is not my preferred form of comedy, I was ready to give it a chance. Devine does have some endearing qualities that can sometimes outweigh the cringe.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen in The Out-Laws.
I would have given The Out-Laws some lee-way if it had inspired any laughter at all. Even uncomfortable laughter would have worked because I know some people dig that kind of thing. I didn’t laugh at all. Not for even a second during any part of the film. For the majority, my face was stuck in a permanent cringe.
It was awful.
The trailer is the best thing about The Out-Laws. Save yourself the time and just find that on Youtube.
Cat’s Point of View:
I’ll be frank. The Out-laws was ostensibly fairly hard to watch with a straight face - or even a smiling one, really. Of course, with a comedy feature, you’d hope people aren’t staring deadpan at the screen but laughing, instead. I had a few chuckles here and there, but ultimately This movie was a hot mess cringe-fest. 

Let’s start with the few positives I have to offer, though. 

When we saw the trailer for The Out-laws, I found it funny but, realistically I realized that Adam Devine’s (The Lego Batman Movie,. Isn't It Romantic, Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin) involvement was going to make the film, on the whole, a little dicey because he was pretty much the main character. He’s very talented, just not generally to my taste. I tend to get annoyed when I see him on the screen. Now, don’t get me wrong - his performance in Green Eggs and Ham (2019-2022) where he voiced Sam I Am was great. It’s just the live-action stuff that goes off the rails.
I was hoping that the rest of the outstanding cast would help elevate everything around him and help it work overall, so I listed The Out-laws as a hopeful #12 on my personal Top 20 list in this month’s article. Maybe I was just a little too loopy-generous with that placement, considering I was in the hospital at the time. I digress…

This cast was stacked with actors I really enjoy. I fell in love with Nina Dobrev (xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Run This Town, Redeeming Love) during The Vampire Diaries (2009-2017). (In fact, I keep procrastinating on finishing the final season that ended years ago because I don’t want to acknowledge it’s over.) Pierce Brosnan (Riverdance: The Animated Adventure, The Misfits, The King's Daughter) is amazing in action and heist roles - or really anything. I’m absolutely biased, admittedly. I was excited he got to use his real accent, too. Ellen Barkin (The Cobbler, Animal Kingdom, The Man from Toronto) was solid, and the combination of Richard Kind (tick tick...BOOM!, Beau is Afraid, American Dad) and Julie Hagerty (Instant Family, Marriage Story, A Christmas Story Christmas) was hilarious. Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, F9: The Fast Saga, White Elephant) was even involved! I had no complaints about any of their involvement.

The best moments of The Out-laws for me were scenes where references to the cast’s past work were involved. I adore Easter Eggs. I spent the rest of the time generally face-palming and talking to the screen because of the moronic bumbling of Devine’s character. 

I get that his character was supposed to be like that, painted as the doofus but likable underdog. I just couldn’t get into it enough to suspend disbelief on several plot-holes wide enough to park a Winnebago in. That's not even taking into account the general predictability of the overall story. The "twists" weren't twisty at all.

As it stands, I probably won’t watch this one again because there are plenty of other comedy heist movies out there that I would enjoy repeating, and I’ve got a to-watch and to-read list a mile long that would take precedent. My almost 20-year-old daughter was a bit meh as the credits were rolling, as well. Take that as you will. 

If you like Devine’s brand of humor steered by the Happy Madison folks, and have enjoyed his previous team-ups with his buddy Blake Anderson (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, Voltron: Legendary Defender, Game Over Man!), The Out-laws might just tickle your fancy a bit more than it did for me. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 20%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 43%
Metascore – 36%
Metacritic User Score – 3.5/10
IMDB Score – 5.5/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 1/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 2/5

P.S. -  There is a small additional scene during the beginning of the credits. 
Movie Trailer: