Friday, January 25, 2019

Anjelah Johnson: Not Fancy (2015)

Number Rolled: 63
Movie Name/Year: Anjelah Johnson: Not Fancy (2015)
Tagline: None
Genre: Comedy
Length: 63 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Production Companies: Comedy Dynamics, Netflix
Producer: Deborah Adamson, Kieran Dotti, Cisco Henson, Anjelah Johnson-Reyes, Dave Rath, Adam P. Segal, Jack Vaughn, Brian Volk-Weiss, Kristen Zolner
Director: Jay Kara
Writer: Anjelah Johnson-Reyes
Actors: Anjelah Johnson-Reyes

Blurb from Netflix: The actress, comedian, and YouTube sensation riffs on everything from nail salons and Gypsies to Mexican moms and super-sleuthing Liam Neeson.

Selina’s Point of View:
I was looking forward to having some stand-up comedy on our schedule. The baby and I have both been sick and life has been a little chaotic in general. Some basic stand-up comedy is exactly what I needed.

I’m familiar with Anjelah Johnson (Our Family Wedding, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, The Box). Sometimes I like her stuff, sometimes I don’t. I don’t think I’d really ever put her among my favorites, but I wouldn’t turn down watching any of her specials.

Johnson is the kind of comedian you can watch with your family. She’s not going to have anything for younger kids, but I would have enjoyed her as an early teen. She doesn’t seem to go into anything all that lewd and her language is appropriate for family time.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the R-rated stuff too, but sometimes a little light comedy really works for me.

In this case, I enjoyed myself. The special was funny – if not terribly memorable.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was both excited for and dreading watching this comedy special when it landed on our schedule.

Let me explain that dread part – because it’s not really anything to do with the star of this special at all. I like stand-up comedy quite a bit. I just want to have a connection to the comic and enjoy their material.

There are just some topics that, while still relevant, I’m just a bit burned out of hearing about. We all have our deal-breaking lines where, if crossed, it could ruin an entire performance, right? 

So, as I really haven’t seen much about or from Anjelah Johnson-Reyes (Marmaduke, Enough Said, The Book of Life) from a stand-up comic perspective; I just had to hope that she would actually be funny, have original material, and not cross into any dangerous territory that would turn me off of the show entirely.

This evening has been filled with a good deal of laughter in my household already. My daughter and I were laughing for a good stretch after a friend showed us a funny meme. I was certainly hoping that the good times could keep rolling.

I’m happy to report that I enjoyed this special.

There were a few moments where I scratched my head a bit, feeling like I might have seen it before – because the material was a little similar to other acts we’ve reviewed before – but it is probably just a generational thing. When I say things like that, I feel older every time. I need to go park a chair on my porch and wave my cane at the squirrels that stole all my pecans this year – ‘get off my lawn.’ I digress.

Once I got past Johnson’s nasal-quality to her vocal tone, and she got into her performance, I was able to let go and just enjoy the experience.

IMDb indicates in the blurb for this special that Johnson’s show is “family friendly.” Generally speaking, that is decently spot on. There are a few more mature topics and moments of colorful language – but nothing egregious.

All told, while I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to watch this comedy special again, I did laugh and have fun watching it.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore - None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.8/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3.5/5

Movie Trailer:

Monday, January 21, 2019

What Still Remains (2018)

Movie Name/Year: What Still Remains (2018)
Tagline: People become their own kind of monster.
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Length:  92 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Production Company: Strike the Sun Entertainment
Producers: Mitchell Gutman, Nicholas Lazo, Gregg Meller, Josh Mendoza, Stephen Parsey, Travis Swantner
Director: Josh Mendoza
Writer: Josh Mendoza
Actors: Lulu Antariksa, Colin O'Donoghue, Mimi Rogers, Dohn Norwood, Jeff Kober, Peter O'Brien, Roshon Fegan, Siena Goines

Blurb from Netflix: Struggling to survive alone post-apocalypse, a young woman is offered protection by an unknown man, but his village may not be the haven she imagines.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was pretty excited when we rolled this movie. It has been sitting in my list since it was added to Netflix. Aside from the fact that Colin O'Donoghue’s (The Rite, Storage 24, Once Upon A Time) involvement with the project piqued my interest, I’m a sucker for a post-apocalyptic tale.

I’ve been crossing my fingers that there would be more of a gripping and faster-paced story with the thriller aspect that the last movie we reviewed from this genre lacked.

While this movie wasn’t the fastest paced, it still moved forward at an acceptable rate. I don’t feel that this one requires the same ‘hey you might not want to watch this while tired’ warning.

While most of the ‘ingredients’ of the post-apocalyptic recipe are present, this film takes place slightly removed from the actual apocalyptic events. The story, as a result, is largely character-driven rather than dictated by the active crumbling of society. I like the explorations of humanity’s response to such dire circumstances. I was actually a bit surprised to learn that this is the full-length movie debut for director, Josh Mendoza (The Snow Queen, God's Country, A killer of Men).

Of course, backing him up there was a pretty amazing cast. Jeff Kober (The Hills Have Eyes II, Sons of Anarchy, Leave No Trace) and Mimi Rogers (Hope Springs, The Wedding Ringer, Captive) delivered the creep-factor within their roles that fed into the underlying tension. O’Donoghue, whom I already mentioned, is adept at projecting a disarming likability.

I think I was more surprised to learn that this film was the movie debut for Lulu Antariksa (How to Rock, Legacies, T@gged), as well. She’s certainly no stranger to acting, having appeared in quite a few small-screen series. I am looking forward to seeing what she does as she progresses in her career.

I certainly wouldn't steer anyone away from this glimpse into an apocalyptic future.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 89%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 60%
Metascore - None
Metacritic User Score – 4.0/10
IMDB Score – 4.710

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3.5/5

Movie Trailer: