Friday, November 15, 2019

Arsenio Hall: Smart and Classy (2019)

Movie Name/Year: Arsenio Hall: Smart and Classy (2019)
Genre: Comedy
Length:  63 minutes
Rating: TV-MA
Production/Distribution: Comedy Dynamics, Netflix
Director: Brian Volk-Weiss
Writer: Arsenio Hall
Actor: Arsenio Hall

Blurb from IMDb: Arsenio Hall performs his first stand-up comedy special, filmed live in San Jose, California in April 2019.

Selina’s Point of View:
Arsenio Hall is a class act. The title of this special isn’t a mistake. He’s an amazing comedian and he has a spirit to his jokes that feels light, even when he’s joking about something that might sound bad coming out of someone else’s mouth.

Let’s pretend for a moment that I’m not totally bias in favor of Hall. I grew up during the era of the original Arsenio Hall Show (1989-1994). That means that when I was 9-years-old and trying to con my mom to let me stay up, it was his show that I was trying to get to see. I didn’t see as much of it at that time as I would have liked, but I’ve had the pleasure to go back and watch it all from a place of nostalgia in later years.

Going into Smart and Classy, I knew I was going to enjoy Hall’s sense of humor. He would have had to fuck up real bad for me to not be happy. In fact, he was completely on his game and exhibiting all the characteristics you would expect from a titan in the comedy game.

I loved this special. I will also love it in the future when I watch it again.

Cat’s Point of View:
I have really missed seeing Arsenio Hall on my screen. It feels like forever since the nights he entered his talk show stage with his fist-pumping in the air while the audience rhythmically whooped along with him. Okay, so 30 years isn’t really forever – but it might as well be in Hollywood.

As I think back through the various performances and appearances that I’ve seen, I can’t think of any that I haven’t enjoyed – this one was no exception.

Hall’s style in this show almost felt conversational. Regardless of the size of the actual audience, the way he interacted with them made it feel like an intimate setting. I was laughing and hanging on almost every word.

I found Hall’s material relevant and on point as he walked the fine line of social commentary and explored various topics with the ease of one seemingly dancing through a minefield without getting a scratch.

Some of the same elements that have felt taboo and offensive when handled by other comedians didn’t seem as harsh, unpleasant, or cringe-worthy. It’s clear that Hall’s performance came from a place of desire to entertain rather than provoke his audience.

You don’t have to be a die-hard Arsenio Hall fan to get his comedy or enjoy this show. I wouldn’t recommend it for younger audiences due to language and some content; but other than that, think there’s a little bit of something for everyone with this special. I will likely be watching this again very soon, myself.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 25%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score None
IMDB Score – 6.0/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 5/5

Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Time Trap (2018)

Movie Name/Year: Time Trap (2018)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Length: 87 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Production/Distribution: Filmsmith Production & Management, Rising Phoenix Casting, Pad Thai Pictures, Paladin, Broadmedia Studios, Eagle Films, Giant Interactive, Giant Pictures
Directors: Mark Dennis, Ben Foster
Writer: Mark Dennis
Actors: Andrew Wilson, Cassidy Gifford, Brianne Howey, Reiley McClendon, Olivia Draguicevich, Max Wright, Hans Marrero, Rich Skidmore

Blurb from IMDbA professor enters a cave and goes missing. Some of his students come looking for him and get trapped in the cave as well.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’ve given Time Trap some side-eye regard since it hit Netflix and appeared in the platform’s suggestions of things I might like. Sci-fi is my jam, after all. It seemed initially appealing on the surface, but time-related stories can get into sticky wickets really fast if they’re not done right. Needless to say, I was glad its number came up, so to speak, for my mid-week review.

My experience with the movie, however, has left me somewhat conflicted.

I suspect that I had a hard time getting out of my own head and immersing in the story. This was one of those times I found myself cocking my head to the side like a confused puppy while watching. Some things just didn’t add up for me. The film set its own paradox up well – I just don’t know if I believed it.

That being said, the premise of this tale was creative, and I don’t think I’ve quite seen this type of story done before in this way.

The cast didn’t slouch in their performances. The setting was even relatively believable for most of the movie. I also appreciated that they shot in real caves rather than creating a duplicated environment. There were a lot of factors going in this film’s favor.

I think a lot of my issues with the movie stem from the last quarter of it. There is quite a bit of tension built-up to a convincing climax – and then the ending somewhat pulls the rug out from under your feet.

My suggestion? If you want to get the most out of this film, don’t watch the trailer. It takes the wind out of the sails of some of the ‘shocking reveals’.

Aside from that, I wouldn’t necessarily steer anyone away from this one. In fact, I’d be interested in having a discussion about the film with anyone who has watched it. I just wouldn’t think to recommend this one if someone asked me for a few good sci-fi titles.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 56%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 75%
Metascore – 46%
Metacritic User Score – 4.8/10
IMDB Score – 6.5/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 2.5/5

Trust the Dice Parental Advisory Rating – PG-13
Movie Trailer: