Friday, November 22, 2019

Tall Girl (2019)

Movie Name/Year: Tall Girl (2019)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Length: 102 minutes
Rating: TV-PG
Production/Distribution: Netflix, Wonderland Sound and Vision
Director: Nzingha Stewart
Writer: Sam Wolfson
Actors: Ava Michelle, Griffin Gluck, Luke Eisner, Sabrina Carpenter, Paris Berelc, Anjelika Washington, Steve Zahn, Angela Kinsey

Blurb from IMDb: Jodi, the tallest girl in her high school, has always felt uncomfortable in her own skin. But after years of slouching, being made fun of, and avoiding attention at all costs, Jodi finally decides to find the confidence to stand tall.

Selina’s Point of View:
Oh. Oh my. I get the reviews for this one. Tall Girl was awful.

I did have a lot to say about the writing, but it seems like this was Sam Wolfson’s only credit for a full-length feature film… so I’m going to make a lot more allowances for them than I normally would.

Beginners are going to make mistakes. It’s the rule of just about any profession ever. It’s the whole reason why doctors have residencies before being allowed to actually practice. No one wants some greenie going around trying to be House when most people are hitting the ER with a case of bad oysters.

That’s essentially what this was.

It seems as though Wolfson wrote Tall Girl as if it was going to be the next Pretty in Pink (1986). They tried to take this concept way too seriously and wound up with some relatively vapid and depthless characters in an overused, and overdramatized plot.

Taken on its own merits, the story could have been a good one. There was meat to it. It might never have been a classic, but it could have had the building blocks of a go-to coming-of-age film. Instead, it all felt so forced and over-the-top.

Watching it just felt like a chore.

There was one bright spot.

Griffin Gluck (Locke & Key, Why Him?, The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island). He wasn’t a scene-stealer. His character was just as shallow as the rest. But his micro-expressions were phenomenal. The only times I felt anything during this movie were when he was on screen.

I’m not familiar with Gluck’s body of work, but I definitely want to be now. He’s an incredible actor. Yes, he was utilized poorly here, but to be stuck in a bad role and still shine? That’s special. 

Cat’s Point of View:
The word on the grapevine was that this movie was a real clunker. I hate to give credence to the rumor-mill before I’ve seen something for myself, though. I really try. I was hoping I would feel differently or find some sort of angle to pitch a good defense for the film. I’m an optimist, it’s just what I do.

Alas, for all of my best efforts to look on the bright side, this movie fell squarely into the basic bitch teen movie category.

Given my own history with bullying, one would think that I could find some level of kinship with the ‘tall girl.’ I spent my early years fending off nicknames of carrot-top, four-eyes, freckle-face, and Annie. I have a distinct memory of finally losing it and yelling at someone ‘that’s not my name!’ So, on one level, I get how seemingly harmless little ‘jokes’ such as the repeated questions of “how’s the weather up there” could get under someone’s skin.

Then they lost me.

It was hard for me to otherwise relate to the characters. Further, for an alleged comedy, I wasn’t doing a lot of laughing.

There was very little original about the story and the way the ending played out was rather trite and disappointing.

I got the message they were trying to send – there was nothing wrong with that. The packaging was just done poorly.

While I wouldn’t watch this movie again, or recommend it to anyone for anything other than an eye-rolling exercise, I was happy to see that the film was set in New Orleans. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 44%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – 3.9/10
IMDB Score – 6.0/10
CinemaScore – None

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

Trust the Dice Parental Advisory Rating – PG

P.S. There's a clip of students dancing during some of the credits. 
Movie Trailer:

Monday, November 18, 2019

We Have Always Lived in the Castle (2018)

Movie Name/Year: We Have Always Lived in the Castle (2018)
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: NR
Production/Distribution: Mighty Engine, Furthur Films, Albyn Media, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, Brainstorm Media, Kinostar Filmverleih
Director: Stacie Passon
Writer: Mark Kruger, Shirley Jackson
Actors: Taissa Farmiga, Alexandra Daddario, Crispin Glover, Sebastian Stan, Paula Malcomson, Peter Coonan, Ian Toner, Joanne Crawford, Anna Nugent, Peter O’Meara, Luan James Geary, Cormac Melia, Liz O’Sullivan, Bosco Hogan, Stephen Hogan, Una Carroll, Patrick Joseph Byrnes, John Andrew O’Rourke

Blurb from IMDb: Merricat, Constance and their Uncle Julian live in isolation after experiencing a family tragedy six years earlier. When cousin Charles arrives to steal the family fortune, he also threatens a dark secret they've been hiding.

Selina’s Point of View:
Just from watching this film I can see how it would work MUCH better as a book.

I tend to give book adaptations the benefit of the doubt. Not everyone enjoys reading, or has the imagination necessary for it, so I understand why someone would want to take a great story and expose more people to it. In this case, I’m more inclined to lean toward the ‘don’t adapt this’ method of thinking.

The acting was phenomenal. Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story, The Nun, Rules Don’t Apply), Alexandra Daddario (We Summon the Darkness, When We First Met, Baywatch), Crispin Glover (American Gods, The Con is On, Influence) and Sebastian Stan (Logan Lucky, The Martian, Captain America: Civil War) were all perfectly wonderful in their parts. It’s not their fault I feel the way I do. Equally, the plot is an incredible look at mob mentality. Shirley Jackson’s (The Haunting of Hill House, The Lottery, American Playhouse) brain-child is not at fault either.

The problem is that, even though the story was fine, the pacing was outstandingly bad. I felt every single minute of that hour and a half. Halfway through the movie I felt like I had been watching it for longer than I’d been awake.

I think this is one of those cases where I have to advise people to pick up the book and skip the film.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 89%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 54%
Metascore – 63/100
Metacritic User Score – 5.9/10
IMDB Score – 5.6/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating2.5/5

Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: PG-13

Movie Trailer: