Friday, November 13, 2020

Lingering (2020)


Streaming Services: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Lingering (2020)
Genre: Horror
Length: 101 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Indiestory Incorporation
Director: Yoon Een-Kyoung
Writer: Yoon Een-Kyoung
Actors: Se-yeong Lee, Ji-Young Park, So-yi Park, Yeong-ju Seo, Su-ji Jeon, Ju-won Lee
Blurb from IMDb: When Yoo-mi searches out her mother's friend at a hotel to drop off her younger sister, she falls into unexpected mystery and horror.

Cat’s Point of View:
Lingering was a rather apt name for this particular movie. The film offered examples of the definition within the story as well as the fact that it just seemed to drag on forever – just plodding through the timeframe. I felt every minute pass. 

I have to be honest. There wasn’t much that I enjoyed about this production. I thought the hotel was interesting as a piece of architecture, and its interior had delightfully elaborate appointments; but beyond that, everything else seemed to be a jumbled mess.
One thing that Lingering got right, perhaps, was the ever-present sense of dread that permeated the film. Everything was so dark, in a literal lighting sense, for the majority of the film. It was a clever setup to play on our inherent distrust of darkness for the potential of concealing dangerous things. The occasional glimpse of subtle scares peeking out from the shadows kept me guessing as to what would pop out next, if anything, and when.

This film ran on fueling the anticipation for the scares rather than delivering full-fledged experiences – the latter being few and far between. I felt like it never really delivered what it kept promising.
I had a little bit of trouble suspending my disbelief on a few plot points both with some of the characters in the story and some of the setting. Though, overall, the story just seemed confused with the direction it really wanted to stick with.
Lingering had great potential for both the psychological and supernatural aspects of the horror within its story – I just think something likely was lost in translation. It’s likely that an audience more familiar with the Korean culture might get more out of this experience. There were also a few points that ambient whispers within scenes were not translated by the subtitles. I can’t help but wonder if I missed key clues that might have helped glue the story together if I’d understood them.
Unfortunately, it boiled down to a rather unenjoyable experience for me. I can’t see myself offering this title as a recommendation in the future. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.1/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 1.5/5
Trust the Dice: Parental Advisory Rating – R
Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting (2020)


Streaming Services: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting (2020)
Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Length: 98 minutes
Rating: TV-PG
Production/Distribution: Netflix, The Montecito Picture Company, Walden Media
Director: Rachel Talalay
Writer: Joe Ballarini
Actors: Tamara Smart, Oona Laurence, Tom Felton, Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson, Lynn Masako Cheng, Ty Consiglio, Ian Ho, Indya Moore, Alessio Scalzotto, Tamsen McDonough, Ashton Arbab, Crystal Balint, Cameron Bancroft, Anisa Harris, Ricky He, Kelcey Mawema, Isabel Birch, April Telek, John Murphy, Momona Tamada, José Giménez-Zapiola, Mithila Palkar, Linden Porco, Brian Drummond, Nicole Provost, Mark Gibbon, Colin Renaud
Blurb from IMDb: A babysitter embarks on a mission to save a child who's been abducted by monsters.

Cat’s Point of View:

While A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting didn’t make it onto my personal Top 20 list for movies premiering in the month of October, it was only by a narrow margin. It was really hard narrowing down to only 20 that month. The trailer gave me the impression of some sort of mash-up between The Babysitter’s Club books and The Monster Squad (1987), and that had me really excited.
I wasn’t too far off base, and yet I’m not sure this film met my expectations.
While this movie was actually based on the first book of a series, it didn’t quite dig as deeply into some of the details as I would have liked. At the same time, we did get some good background for a couple of the babysitters and a decent setup for a sequel – should Netflix find that it’s feasible.

Even though it felt like the production glazed over the surface of events to a point, I have to give credit for the amazing visuals. The sets were fantastical and just the right amount of over-the-top. The various lairs on the sides of both good and bad were amazingly detailed. I’m now curious how much was drawn from the actual books and what was picked from the production team’s imaginations.
Sure, the movie was a bit on the campy side. What kid-targeted Halloween movie isn’t, though? I think the critic reviews I’ve seen on the film have been a little too heavy-handed and harsh. They seem to be forgetting the target audience here.  While not quite the same caliber production, this film follows the tradition of such movies like Hocus Pocus (1993) and Halloweentown (1998). It’s a great starter-film with a fun spooky time for younger audiences. I’d say it’s for the lower end of the PG crowd, rather than the older middle-school kids – in spite of the fact that the protagonist is awash with middle-school-age problems.

Unlike some kids’ movies in the past year, I really didn’t have any issues with the acting. Everyone on board seemed to be flowing with their characters and there wasn’t a stiff delivery in the bunch. I think my favorite performance here, though, was Tom Felton’s (Megan Leavey, Ophelia, The Flash) portrayal of The Boogeyman. You could just tell that he was having a blast with this character and reveling in the evil of it. I’m sure it’s taken him quite a while to shake the stigma of Draco Malfoy from the Potterverse, but he threw himself into this role with gusto.
While I believe there was some room for improvement with A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting, I enjoyed watching this movie and I’m hoping that Netflix develops the other 2 books in the series (which is rated an average of 4 stars on GoodReads) so we can tie up the loose ends left hanging from this first installment. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 65%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – 31/100
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.4/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3/5
Movie Trailer:

Monday, November 9, 2020

Unhinged (2020)

Streaming Services: In Theaters
Movie Name/Year: Unhinged (2020)
Genre: Action, Thriller
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: R
Production/DistributionAltitude Films, Ascot Elite Entertainment Group, Blitz, Burek Films, Cathay-Keris Films, DeAPlaneta, Diamond Films, Eagle Films, Ingenious, Kadokawa, Leone Film Group, Leonine Distribution, MM2 Entertainment, Movie Cloud, Noori, Noori Pictures, Phars Film, Pris Audiovisuais, Remain In Light, SND Films, Solstice International Studios, Solstice Studios, StudioCanal, Tanweer Alliances, The Searchers, Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Vertical Entertainment, Volga, Volga Film Ukraine, VR Films And Studios, VVS Films
Director: Derrick Borte
Writer: Carl Ellsworth
Actors: Russell Crowe, Caren Pistorius, Gabriel Bateman, Jimmi Simpson, Austin P. McKenzie, Juliene Joyner, Stephen Louis Grush, Anne Leighton, Devyn A. Tyler
Blurb from IMDb: After a confrontation with an unstable man at an intersection, a woman becomes the target of his rage.

Selina’s Point of View:
Russell Crowe (The Loudest Voice, Boy Erased, War Machine) is damn terrifying when he’s allowed to let out his crazy side. This film allowed him to do just that. It really lived up to its name.
I’m aware that critics didn’t really enjoy Unhinged, but I’m on the side of the audience. I paid a very reduced price for my ticket to see it, but I would have been fine if I’d spent the full $20. It kept me on the edge of my seat.
Granted, I would call a lot of it gratuitous. The flick probably could have gotten the same reaction from me with a lower body count, but it still works. The heightened violence really showed the psychopathy of the antagonist, and it reinforced just how in danger the protagonists were. There was never a moment during the movie where I felt safe.
That’s exactly what I expect from an action thriller.
What makes it even more harrowing is that it could absolutely happen.

The opening credits take clips from road rage incidents around the world. I believe these are actual clips, because I recognize a few of them from various sites. It sets the stage for something unlikely – but still possible.
I lived in Brooklyn for the majority of my life. I never needed to drive. Besides, I didn’t have the money for a car. So, I didn’t learn to drive until a couple of years ago when my husband taught me.
My husband is an incredibly calm driver. If he honks, I expect to see an accident taking place right in front of us. I’ve seen him ignore more horrible drivers than I knew existed. And, that’s how he taught me. If I get angry, I may yell a bit, but my horn is only for dangerous situation.
Still, after Unhinged, I’m going to triple-guess myself whenever I feel my hand drifting.
Unhinged is a heart-pounding, deeply disturbing, thriller. I would definitely recommend it.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 47%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 77%
Metascore – 4/100
Metacritic User Score – 5.3/10
IMDB Score – 6/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3.5/5
Movie Trailer: