Monday, May 29, 2017

Starry Eyes (2014)


Number Rolled: 25
Movie Name/Year: Starry Eyes (2014)
Tagline: All dreams require sacrifice.
Genre: Horror, Drama, Fantasy
Length: 95 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Snowfort Pictures, Parallectic Pictures, Dark Sky Films, Title Media
Producer: Badie Ali, Hamza Ali, Malik B. Ali, Giles Daoust, John Jarzemsky, Aaron B. Koontz, Greg Newman, Travis Stevens, Jon D. Wagner, Gena Wilbur
Director: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer
Writer: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer
Actors: Alex Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan, Fabianne Therese, Shane Coffey, Natalie Castillo, Pat Healy, Nick Simmons, Maria Olsen, Marc Senter, Louis Dezseran, Danny Minnick
Stunts: James Bendishaw, Michelle Alvarado Martins, Scott Miller, Maria Sova, Brianna Womick

Blurb from Netflix: Aspiring actress Sarah Walker lands a leading role in a movie. As production gets underway, she finds that the price of stardom may be her very soul.


Selina’s Point of View:
Starry Eyes was a movie featuring the subject of acting with people acting badly. It was unbearable to watch.

We’ll start with the genre issue.

Netflix has it labeled as nothing but horror. However, the actual ‘horror’ aspect of the film didn’t even start until an entire hour in. Can anyone really say a film is part of a genre if it doesn’t bother to exhibit anything from that genre until it’s nearly over? At most I would consider it a thriller.

The story made a big deal of bitching about tropes and saying how everything was unoriginal, but it wasn’t exactly trope-free itself. There were parts of it that were little more than an excuse to show a naked or half-naked female.

Now, you know I don’t mind recipe films. I’ve been clear about that. That said, if a writer goes hard on how everything is just so unoriginal and tries to strong-arm the audience into believing their film is the opposite… then they have to BE original. They can’t phone shit in. It comes off as pretentious and ridiculous.


This particularly hipster film had a message, too! It wasn’t subtle, either. I feel like each scene slapped me in the face with it. All to the sound of a cut and paste score.

As it turns out, this film was the product of a successful Kickstarter campaign. I went to their page to read and see if I was correct about the metaphor they were portraying. Hell, for all I knew, they could have just stumbled into the meaning I saw by accident.

Nope. The metaphor was the whole point of the film and, instead of telling it in a subtle and terrifying way, they smashed it in the audience’s face like a clown with a pie.

The below quote is taken directly from their Kickstarter page.

“We're interested in ambition in its most ugly and visceral form. Our vision of Hollywood is bleak. It's portrayed as a frightening landscape of failed hopes, crushed dreams and corrupted moral decisions. We want to take the age-old tale of the budding young actress searching for her big break and transform it into a nightmarish metaphor... with a memorable monster you won't soon forget.”

I really hated this film. It left me feeling like I wasted time watching it.


Cat’s Point of View:
What the hell did I just watch? I mean, seriously! I don’t even know where to begin.

There are elements here that make me want to like this movie – they would be big thumbs up for bonus points in an otherwise better executed endeavor. Here? It just makes me shake my head and think ‘what a shame.’

For one, the movie was the product of a Kickstarter campaign. Normally I would shake pompoms and cheer that a crowdfunded film ‘made it.’ I just wonder if it went as far as those that backed it had imagined. I do, at least, hope they were happy with the end result. I say that without sarcasm, truly.

Maria Olsen (Shelter, Southbound, The Conduit) was excellently eerie in her role – that seems to be her wheelhouse. I had to do a double-take at her IMDb page because she has 30 projects in varying stages of production at the moment. The odds are good that she’ll be hitting a big screen near you in something else pretty soon.


The movie plays out almost like a pretentious fever dream – erratic in some places and seemingly in slow motion in others.

I’m boggled that there was even bobbing camera in a scene where there wasn’t any action going on and there was no explanation or justification for the shaky-cam. It wasn’t even shaky in the usual sense someone might think of – it was just obviously unsteady like it was hand-held and the operator had the wobbles.

I get what they were trying to do in highlighting the underbelly of the movie industry; I just don’t think it was executed well enough to elevate it above other films in the horror genre.

I definitely don’t intend to see this film again and even though we’ve watched it on Memorial Day weekend – this isn’t something I want to remember.


Languages
Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English, Spanish

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 75%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 57%
Metascore - 49/100
Metacritic User Score – 6.4/10
IMDB Score – 6.0/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating1/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating1/5

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

Movie Trailer:

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