Friday, March 26, 2021

Violation (2021)


Streaming Services: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Violation (2021)
Genre: Drama, Horror
Length: 107nminutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: DM Films, Pacific Northwest Pictures, Shudder
Directors: Dusty Mancinelli, Madeleine Sims-Fewer
Writers: Dusty Mancinelli, Madeleine Sims-Fewer
Actors: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Anna Maguire, Jesse LaVercombe, Obi Abili, Jasmin Geljo, Cynthia Ashperger
Blurb from IMDb:  A troubled woman on the edge of divorce returns home to her younger sister after years apart. But when her sister and brother-in-law betray her trust, she embarks on a vicious crusade of revenge.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’m collecting my thoughts as I begin this review because Violation was simply all over the place. I feel I must start, however, with the disclaimer that opens the movie. "VIOLATION contains sexual violence, graphic sexual content, and extreme violence/gore. Discretion is advised." One would hope that very young eyes have not been given free rein of the Shudder streaming platform – but just as an extra heads up: this film is not for kids at all. We’re talking full-frontal male nudity and some dialogue you might expect in a porno… as the least offensive bits.
Violation has a powerful message, and it is quite the gut-punch – as the quotes in the trailer suggest – but all that gets muddied and lost in its disjointed nature. There are so many odd transitions and timeline shifts that it almost makes your head spin. There was one scene transition that quite literally spins. Viewers with motion sickness that get disoriented with first-person perspective might want to close their eyes for that part.

I spent so much of this movie confused…or cringing. Part of that stemmed from some of the cinematography decisions and the crazy scene transitions. Half the time I was wondering if this was supposed to be some sort of nature documentary that accidentally got spliced into the revenge flick I was supposed to be watching. It took a slow burn and drug it out to a near painful level. Seriously – I felt every minute of this one.
Please tell me why there were so many long scenes of viewing a person from the back, or their silhouette, as they stare outward?

Ultimately, I put together the backward–telling of the story events. The tale is tragic and all sorts of messed up on so many levels. I just don’t know if the meaning really makes it past the art-house treatment it was given.
I don’t see myself recommending this one to anyone… ever, really. There are better examples of revenge films on similar subject matters, even. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 88%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – 72%
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.8/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 2/5
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: NC-17
Movie Trailer:

Monday, March 22, 2021

Moxie (2021)

Streaming Services: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Moxie (2021)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music
Length: 111 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production/Distribution: Paper Kite Productions, Netflix
Director: Amy Poehler
Writer: Jennifer Mathieu, Tamara Chestna, Dylan Meyer
Actors: Hadley Robinson, Lauren Tsai, Alycia Pascual-Pena, Nico Hiraga, Sabrina Haskett, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Sydney Park, Anjelika Washington, Emily Hopper, Josie Totah, Amy Poehler, Ike Barinholtz, Marcia Gay Harden, Clark Gregg
Blurb from IMDb: Inspired by her mom's rebellious past and a confident new friend, a shy 16-year-old publishes an anonymous zine calling out sexism at her school.

Selina’s Point of View:
Moxie was incredible.
I see a lot of critics complaining that the subject matter was a bit too “on-the-nose.” I can’t argue with the idea of that, but I can argue it’s necessity.
This film covered some essential subjects. A lot of them we’ve seen bits or pieces of floating around in newer teen flicks – but we don’t get a whole lot of the depth of it. I get it. Some of the topics that Moxie touches on are difficult to discuss with kids and that makes it difficult to turn into consumable media for their demographic.
Moxie didn’t try to hide the worst of it. It was very open, very in-your-face and – yes – very on-the-nose.

I think the book should be required reading, or the movie required viewing, for high school kids.
A lot of the subjects are expected. It covers the issue of interrupting, sexualization, and devaluing women. It goes into racial relations. It even touched on handicap accessibility. All these are a little bit easier to touch on in any teen film, because you can do it subtly.
What impressed me was that Moxie also went into the failure of authority figures.
When covering a feminist subject matter, it would have been simple to make the ignorant principle a male. Instead, we have a woman looking to cover up what’s going on in the school because she doesn’t want to lose her status. The movie went into it hard, right out of the gate. There was no questioning throughout the story if things could have been made better by one of the students going to a teacher. The answer was, decidedly, no.

I feel that, on an exceptionally deep level.
When I was a freshman in Murrow High School, I experienced something like that. One of the seniors grabbed my breast in a stairwell while his friends laughed. A dean came along and saw me punch him. When I explained what happened, he was very clear that there was nothing he could do about what that guy did to me, and that if I went anywhere near him again, I would be expelled.
Kids are constantly told that if someone hurts them, assaulted them, harasses them, or anything else – they’re supposed to tell an authority figure. They are rarely told what to do if that person won’t, or can’t, help them.

Moxie considers the importance of being loud and unignorable. It teaches teens that if they find their world to be one where no one will help them, that they need to find someone who will. Even if it has to be other students.
I’ve always been a fan of rebellion, especially like the kind seen in this flick. Nothing gets better without someone kicking up a fuss and disturbing the status quo. It’s important for kids to know that. They need to know what the right kind of trouble is, and this movie shows that in an entertaining, and very literal, way that I can absolutely get behind.
Moxie was good, but it was more important than basic entertainment. It was a lesson in equality and being heard. When my daughter is old enough, I’ll be watching it with her.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 69%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 71%
Metascore – 54/100
Metacritic User Score – 4.7/10
IMDB Score – 6.7/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 4.5/5
Movie Trailer: