Friday, April 10, 2020

Sea Fever (2020)

Streaming Service: Dust via
Movie Name/Year: Sea Fever (2020)
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Bright Moving Pictures, Creativity Capital, Fantastic Films, Flexibon Films, Frakas Productions, Makar Productions, Gunpowder & Sky, Signature Pictures, Dust, Eagle Film
Director: Neasa Hardiman
Writer: Neasa Hardiman
Actors: Connie Nielsen, Hermione Corfield, Dougray Scott, Olwen Fouéré, Jack Hickey, Ardalan Esmaili, Elie Bouakaze

Blurb from IMDb: The crew of a West of Ireland trawler, marooned at sea, struggle for their lives against a growing parasite in their water supply.

Cat’s Point of View:

It’s not every day that you get an opportunity to take part in something groundbreaking. That’s just one of the several reasons why Sea Fever jumped to the top of the list for today’s review. In researching a different article, I came across the announcement that the US premiere would be a live stream event hosted by Dust, which is a free streaming platform for science fiction short films. (Dust also has its own YouTube channel where some of its shorts are featured.)

For a $4.99 ‘ticket,’ the online audience would have access to the movie a day early (April 9th, 2020) and also get to participate in a live Q&A session with the director and some cast members immediately following the movie. Sold!

Of course, with theaters around the world currently closed due to pandemic mitigation, the movie industry is requiring fast adaptation to bridge the gap between now and when the big screens can re-open once more. I thought this was quite the ingenious proposal to offer a ‘red carpet’ experience to everyone. It’s a win/win for the producers and distributors as well as the film, itself.

With that in mind, our Top 20 movies to look out for in April focused on internet releases only. Selina and I both had high hopes for Sea Fever. She had it listed as #2, while I had this movie as my #10 pick. I’m somewhat wishing I’d listed it higher in retrospect. Alas, hindsight is what it is.

On to the movie!

I love the ocean, creature features, and all things Irish – so this was really a film right up my alley. Though, as a horror film set on the high seas, I had an initial expectation of dread at the outset because of how isolated and vulnerable the characters were under such circumstances. That, and you know something wonky is going to happen when someone tells a bookish scientist that they should get out of the lab and live a little, right?

I was not disappointed in the least with this movie.

The creature was right on target as creepy and eerily beautiful. No, scratch that. It was horrifying. I’m curious to know how much of it was practical effects and how much was rendered with CGI. Unfortunately, the Q&A didn’t get to that question. I enjoyed it all the same. They did discuss the set, itself to some extent, however. I have to tip my hat to the art department and those responsible for set-building for this project. All of the interior shots of the ship were done on a sound stage, where they’d meticulously recreated the inside of the trawler.

The production team did a phenomenal job with casting for Neasa Hardiman’s (Holby City, Inhumans, Jessica Jones) Irish tale of terror. Hermione Corfield (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Rust Creek), Connie Nielsen (The Following, Wonder Woman, The Catcher Was a Spy), Dougray Scott (Hemlock Grove, The Vatican Tapes, Batwoman) all delivered nuanced and gritty performances.

I completely believed I was watching the inner-workings of an Irish fishing trawler while they put up with their aloof scientist passenger. The decisions the characters made and their dialogue felt organic. The moral/ethical dilemma that the crew finds themselves in is also crazily similar to much of what the world is facing now in our collective isolation. It’s quite the coincidence in timing that this film is releasing now, with current events as they are – but it makes the stakes the characters are facing feel all the more real. It gives a different perspective on things.

I also enjoyed how the story subverts some of the expectations one would have with this genre. It’s interesting when you see someone changing up the recipe. The outcome felt right. Just keep in mind that this film is a slow burn. It’s not flashbangs, running, and screaming. It’s a buildup of unease and psychological just as much as it’s about an alien of the ocean depths.

Sea Fever will be available, starting April 10, 2020, on a number of streaming services. If you visit the link in the summary details above, the movie’s website provides a comprehensive list of availability. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 85%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – 61
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.1/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5

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

Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Theo Von: No Offense (2016)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Theo Von: No Offense (2016)
Genre: Documentary, Comedy
Length: 67 minutes
Rating: NR
Production/Distribution: Comedy Dynamics, New Wave Entertainment, Netflix
Director: John Asher
Writer: Theo Von
Actors: Theo Von

Blurb from IMDb: Southern comedian Theo Von offers up a twisted take on his dating mishaps, meeting Brad Pitt, chasing down fugitive chimpanzees and more.

Selina’s Point of View:
With a title like Theo Von: No Offense, you have to expect a stand-up set full of offensive comedy. Luckily, I tend to like some edge to my stand-up, so I didn’t really feel the need to prepare myself at all. If you’re a little more thin-skinned, though, I would recommend giving yourself some extended prep time or not watching at all.

Theo Von (Bobby Khan's Ticket to Hollywood, Why? With Hannibal Buress, The Story of Our Times) got about as offensive as I thought he would. He discussed everything from mundane subjects – such as meeting Brad Pitt – to incredibly touchy subjects like child molestation.

In a special like this one, you need to make sure you don’t take anything too seriously. You know the comedian is going to go balls out, so you have to remember that it’s all a persona, everything is a joke and likely doesn’t represent how he really thinks. A lot of the time, people forget that.

As for the actual content, some of it was funny and some of it just didn’t hit for me.

For the parts that were good, they got some small chuckles out me. Nothing had me really roaring with laughter, but it captured my attention enough that I did give a few giggles. Unfortunately, none of those moments really lasted long enough before he felt like he was trying way too hard again.

I want to stress that my dislike has nothing to do with offense – the jokes and the delivery just weren’t good at times.

For example, take some classic controversial comedians like Andrew Dice Clay (Entourage, Whatever it Takes, No Contest) or Dave Chappelle (Chappelle's Show, Half Baked, Laugh Factory). They have content that relies on offensiveness, but when they’re doing a special, you can’t look away. Their delivery is sharp and it catches you off-guard enough that even if you are offended, it’ll get that knee-jerk laugh out of you before you can stop it. Theo Von didn’t quite get that.

Von was more on the predictable side. He tried to be offensive instead of falling into it more naturally. It the end, the special felt a little forced and unnecessary.

One of our readers recommended this special to us, so I tried to watch it with even more of an open mind than I normally do, but it just didn’t click with me.

Cat’s Point of View:
The world is sort-of inside out and upside down right now. We’re all shaken up to one degree or another because of the pandemic. Laughter is an excellent stress reliever. What better time to watch a comedy special, right?


I feel myself beginning to channel Yosemite Sam. What in tarnation did I just watch? That was a waste of an hour.

I have sat here and tried – TRIED hard, mind you – to come up with something positive to say about the Theo Von: No Offense stand-up special. I’m the eternal optimist that can find something positive in everything. I’ve got nothing.

I wasn’t laughing. That was pretty much the sum of it. I believe that the set was organized intentionally to offend as many people as possible, in order to make the title seem even more sarcastic. If that was the case, they were wildly successful. I wasn’t amused by the ploy, however.

There were a few moments, and I use that period of time generously, that I half-chuckled. Then the comedian said something else that wasn’t funny and nuked the laughter before it even fully formed.

Dave Chapelle: Sticks and Stones (2019) was more successful at getting me to laugh. Even then, I only enjoyed the epilogue after the actual show was over.

I don’t find bully humor funny, and that’s really what this show came across as. Making fun of people with disabilities, ethnic groups, and gay people squarely puts you into that category for me. It wasn’t tastefully done. I’m embarrassed this guy came from Louisiana, honestly.

Larry the Cable Guy (Witless Protection, A Madea Christmas, Cars 3) has more class than this guy, and he has some messed up jokes – which part of his schtick is apologizing afterward.

Maybe it’s Theo Von’s delivery. I don’t know. What I do know is that I will be praying that we don’t end up watching another one of this Von’s comedy sets any time soon, or ever again.

I can’t see myself recommending this.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.6/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating2/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating1/5

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

Movie Trailer:

Monday, April 6, 2020

Madness in the Method (2019)

Streaming Service: Prime Video
Movie Name/Year: Madness in the Method (2019)
Genre: Comedy, Crime
Length: 99 minutes
Rating: NR
Production/Distribution: Autumnwood Media, Happy Hour Films, Hawthorn Productions, Red Rock Entertainment, Straightwire Films, Cinedigm
Director: Jason Mewes
Writer: Dominic Burns, Chris Anastasi
Actors: Jason Mewes, Vinnie Jones, Jaime Camil, Gina Carano, Kevin Smith, Danny Trejo, Mickey Gooch Jr., Stan Lee, Brian O’Halloran, Teri Hatcher, Esther Anderson, David Dastmalchian, Blake Harrison, Matt Willis, Dean Cain, Judd Nelson, Nick Nicotera, Harley Quinn Smith, Zach Galligan, Edmund Kingsley, Casper Van Dien, Matthew Sterling Nye, Evanna Lynch

Blurb from IMDb: Jason Mewes, attempting method acting in order to gain more respect for himself in Hollywood, slowly descends into madness.

Selina’s Point of View:
The month that Madness in the Method came out, it was #1 on my Top 20 movies to look out for. I have no regrets. I’d still put it at #1 for that month.

The trailer made it look like Madness in the Method was going to be a full-on scattered comedy. There definitely was a lot of that. You could feel the Kevin Smith (The Disaster Artist, Clerks, Dogma) influence in some of the scenes – but it evolved into something different. It moved Jason Mewes (Noobz, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, Shoot the Hero) – as a director – away from Smith and steadily into his own creative being.

I’ve seen Mewes in a lot of films outside the View Askewniverse. So, I had a better chance of expecting something great from him here than someone who only knows him as Jay from the Smith films. I’ve been surprised by him in the past and that means that I wasn’t surprised here. I expected him to succeed, and he did.

There was a lot of the cringe/raunch comedy that you would expect. I’ve never been a fan of cringe, but I do enjoy some raunch, especially when it gets dark. There was a LOT of dark in this film.

If you do not like dark comedy, don’t even bother. This one’s not for you.

Now, I know that the critics trashed this film. I’m going to avoid my usual ‘fuck them’ comment and point out something interesting about that instead.

On Rotten Tomatoes, critics gave the film a 25%. It’s easy to just take that number and run with it, but you have to take into account the audience score also – which is 61%. I’ve talked about this kind of thing a little bit, and I think this film review is a great time to go a little further into it.

When there’s a big difference between the critic and audience scores, then you know the issue isn’t the content. Let me give you a more well-known film as an example.

It’s probably no surprise that The Boondock Saints (1999) has a 91% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, but the critics… oh they thought something different. In fact, they hated it so much, that it’s sitting at a 22% critic rating. If that doesn’t make you wonder what the majority of critics are smoking, I could list hundreds of other examples.

Most mainstream critics do not view a film with entertainment in mind. They’re viewing it with a specific, rigid list of qualities that need to be met. That list doesn’t tend to change from movie to movie, either. So, they’re judging a new director against the same standards as they’re judging the giants of the industry. They’re pitting every thriller against each other, regardless of the plot. Every comedy must meet strict standards and there’s no room for anything ‘low-brow’.

This is why I think mainstream critics are ridiculous. They’re practically parodies of what they’re supposed to be. They’re trying to think for their readers and leaving no room for debate. There’s a little bit of self-fellatio going on in most of their articles, too.

If you insist on following Rotten Tomatoes, never look at just the critic’s score. Look at the whole picture. If there’s a huge discrepancy between the critics and the audience – there might just be a reason.

In this case, the reason behind the discrepancy is clear. This film has dark, cringy, raunchy humor. It’s got a relatively specific demographic. It’s an alternate reality piece about an actor that the majority of critics have already written off as a typecast. What are the critics missing? They’re missing the most important piece of the whole damn puzzle.

Madness in the Method is fucking entertaining. That’s why we HAVE non-documentary movies. They’re entertainment. Sure, some also trigger emotions and have a lesson to be taught… but all the emotions and lessons in the world don’t matter if they can’t hold your interest. Entertainment is the foundation all films are built on. Jason Mewes excels at that.

You will be hard-pressed to find someone that is a fan of dark cringe comedy that doesn’t like this flick.

But don’t take my word for it. I’m here to offer suggestions only. Head over to Amazon Prime Video and watch it yourself. Let me know if you think the critics are wrong.

Cat’s Point of View:
Snoogans! I just had to get that out of the way.

I’m working on purging all that awkwardness out of my system so that I don’t blurt out something utterly dumb upon proximity with Jason Mewes at Geek’d Con this year. (It’s an August thing, so I’m firmly keeping hope alive that plans will continue. As of now, everything’s still a go.) I have hope for the convention and my composure. Hey, I managed not to say ‘Humperdink, Humperdink, Humperdink!’ to Chris Sarandon (Fright Night, Safe, I Smile Back) year before last. I digress…

I am, however, excited that this is Mewes’ first full-length feature film under his directorial belt. Selina and I both had this movie in our Top 10 movies to look out for in August 2019. We were both happily anticipating this movie would be great. I wasn’t disappointed.

Mewes is a highly underrated actor. This movie pretty much illustrates exactly that – poking fun at it and hitting the nail on the head at the same time. Most of his roles have been as the caricature character of Jay, alongside Kevin Smith as Silent Bob. After so much success in that persona, I imagine it’s inwardly frustrating that it’s all most people see him as.

That aside, the movie itself was a combination of surprise and hilarity for me. The situations that Mewes, as a fictionalized version of himself, gets into are just crazy. It’s something entirely up his alley while at the same time showcasing other sides of his range that audiences don’t often get to see.

Another bonus for this movie is the plethora of cameos laced in. I believe that this is one of the last live-action projects that Stan Lee (Ultimate Spider Man, The Reflection, Big Hero 6: The Series) worked on before his passing. It was both funny and heartwarming to see him on the screen with this production. I think my favorite cameo, though, has to be Danny Trejo’s (Grand-Daddy Day Care, Bare Knuckle Brawler, Big City Greens) character.

IMDb has this movie listed as a crime drama, though I found that it actually has shades of horror to it as well. It’s definitely more of a horror-comedy than a crime procedural for sure. There’s some pretty graphic stuff in there. It doesn’t really get heavy, though, because it doesn’t stop long enough to dwell in those moments. The film fearlessly charges forward so that the next moment you’re laughing through your exclamations of ‘oh my god.’

If there were flaws in the movie, I don’t think I noticed them. I felt like the production quality was exactly where it should have been for this kooky story. Some parts are cheesy, some more serious. It’s over-all a fun ride. If you love Mewes and Smith’s work, I would definitely recommend that you give this one a watch.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 25%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 61%
Metascore – 42/100
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.8/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating4/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5

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

P.S. Some scenes during the credits.

Movie Trailer: