Friday, June 25, 2021

False Positive (2021)

Streaming Services: Hulu
Movie Name/Year: False Positive (2021)
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Length: 92 minutes
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: A24, Hulu
Director: John Lee
Writer: Ilana Glazer, John Lee
Actors: Ilana Glazer, Justin Theroux, Gretchen Mol, Sabina Gadecki, Pierce Brosnan, Josh Hamilton, Sophia Bush, Nils Lawton, Sullivan Jones, James Cusati-Moyer, Lucy Walters, Jaygee Macapugay, Zainab Jah
Blurb from IMDb: As if getting pregnant weren't complicated enough, Lucy sets out to uncover the unsettling truth about her fertility doctor.

Selina’s Point of View:
False Positive is the movie you should bring up if you ever need to give an example of a horror film that exists only to shock, with no depth or story behind it.
I’ll be honest, I had this movie scheduled for today and almost didn’t watch it. Cat needed the day off, and trailers for False Positive gave off the impression that it was going to touch on all of my triggers. I looked around, found another horror I was going to watch… and then saw that this was trending in some places. So, I decided to tough it out.
I shouldn’t have.
Every prediction I made about this flick, from just watching the trailers, was true. There were no surprises, no twists, and nothing to make it feel like it was worth attention.

There were also so many gratuitous moments that it’s hard to describe just one. Each one of them was based around one sensitive subject or another: miscarriage, abortion, rape, etc. None of them felt like they had any purpose other than to exploit the triggers of the audience.
Now, I don’t shy away from films that utilize triggers. I enjoy a good revenge story – and usually that includes something awful that needs avenging. There’s a way to do it, though. This was not it. It left me with some images that are just absolutely unnecessary.
False Positive was not good. It was overly stylized – valuing shock value over substance.
I do not recommend it.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 50%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 20%
Metascore – 57/100
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.0/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating1/5
Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Good on Paper (2021)

Streaming Services: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Good on Paper (2021)
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Length:  92 minutes
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Netflix
Director: Kimmy Gatewood
Writer: Iliza Shlesinger
Actors: Iliza Shlesinger, Margaret Cho, Ryan Hansen, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Britney Young, Christopher Nicholas Smith, Beth Dover, Kimia Behpoornia, Matt McGorry, Rebecca Delgado Smith, Rebekka Johnson, Taylor Marie Hill, Tess Paras, Tony Rodriguez
Blurb from IMDb:  After years of putting her career first, a stand-up comic meets a guy who seems perfect: smart, nice, successful and possibly too good to be true.

Cat’s Point of View:
We have reviewed a few of Iliza Shlesinger’s (Instant Family, Spenser Confidential, Pieces of a Woman) stand-up specials over the years. I’ve generally enjoyed them, as well as her roles in other various movies. When this film hit Netflix, I was intrigued from the outset by the idea that Good on Paper might be, at least partially, based on a true story.
While the names were changed, it was clear that Shlesinger was inhabiting her own shoes in this role rather than walking in someone else’s. This was her story, and as Good on Paper unfolded, I find myself less intrigued and more horrified by the fact that this is something that, at least in part, may have happened to her.
The premise of Good on Paper hits home for me. Unfortunately, I can’t exactly share a lot of details why because it would give away spoilers. What it boils down to is that we should always listen to our instincts as to when things seem too good to be true. Sometimes you luck out, and other times life kicks you in the face with a hard lesson.

Good on Paper also reminded me a lot of something my husband and I watched together a while back. I haven’t seen many productions utilizing the blend of stand-up routine interjecting into the narrative. So, of course, this brought Foolish (1999) to mind. I’d have to say that I laughed more, and found Foolish to be the funnier of the two films, but that’s neither here nor there. The story here was actually centered on comedy more than it was an actual comedic movie. Good on Paper had a huge dramatic vibe to it that somewhat dimmed the comedy aspect when things really got rolling. I still found parts highly amusing, though.
I do have to wonder, though, if the production team went out of their way to play up Ryan Hansen’s (Dog Days, Veronica Mars, Fantasy Island) slight resemblance to one of the leads of Revenge of the Nerds (1984), or if that was an accidental coincidence. I digress...

Be that as it may, I was excited to see Margaret Cho (Bright, Undateable John, Friendsgiving) involved with this production. I love her to pieces and she was in fine form here.
Good on Paper had some decent potential, though I’m not entirely sure it completely lived up to it. It was fine, when all was said and done. I can’t say that I’m going to remember it down the road, but it was solid and there aren’t any specific complaints I could give. If you like Shlesinger, and would find a humorous cautionary tale entertaining, maybe check it out.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 46%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 88%
Metascore – 50%
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.4/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3/5
Movie Trailer:

Monday, June 21, 2021

An Unquiet Grave (2021)

Streaming Services: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: An Unquiet Grave (2021)
Genre: Horror
Length: 72 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Unquiet Films, Shudder
Director: Terence Krey
Writer: Terence Krey, Christine Nyland
Actors: Christine Nyland, Jacob A. Ware
Blurb from IMDb: A year after the death of his wife, a man enlists her sister to help him bring her back.

Selina’s Point of View:
An Unquiet Grave was fine, but absolutely not for me.
This film covered grief. There are a lot of places to take a subject like that. Many well-loved horrors delve deep into grief: The Babadook (2014), Pet Semetary (1989/2019), and Midsommar (2019) are only the immediate 3 that pop into my mind. That’s without giving it more than a few seconds of thought.
Each of the films I mentioned have incredible staying power. They claw their nails into your mind and refuse to let go. Even if you didn’t like them on first watch-through (or at all), they still become movies that pop into your mind whenever grief comes into play.
I don’t see An Unquiet Grave being that. It wasn’t a bad film – but it was so slow that paying attention became impossible.
All the ‘big reveals’ were not big or reveals. They were obvious turns. In fact, there was no part of me that saw the story going any other way.

The settings were suitably creepy. The acting was good. Even the scripted tended to feel natural. For all intents and purposes, this should be an amazing flick.
I was just so bored that I can’t say that.
Right now, the majority of critics are loving it. It’s got great preliminary reviews. I predict that general audiences are not going to take to it as well.
It’s art. There’s not doubt about that. It’s just not what I’m looking for in a horror film. It didn’t capture my attention, and it didn’t scare me.
If you want to see for yourself, An Unquiet Grave will be available through Shudder on June 24.

Cat’s Point of View:
I have one thing to say in the wake of the credits for An Unquiet Grave: oi.
Let me back up a little bit. I am always excited when we get a chance to watch a screener for Shudder. It’s really hit or miss whether or not we’ll enjoy the movies, but I always enjoy giving them a watch
There are some times, however, that you just have to question why a movie was even made. Today felt like one of those moments as I watched the narrative of An Unquiet Grave unfold. Within minutes, I had a general idea about what was going on. I predicted exactly how it was going to turn out before reaching the halfway point.

I was bored and nothing transpiring on-screen engrossed me well enough to allow me to suspend disbelief.
Let’s be clear, though – it wasn’t a dumpster fire. It was simply ‘meh.’ The acting was generally tolerable, at least. The story didn’t call for much more than low-fi practical effects so there wasn’t anything askew there for the most part, either. An Unquiet Grave was simply basic and predictable. 
There are so many better options on the Shudder streaming platform than An Unquiet Grave. I’d recommend seeking one of those rather than wasting an hour or so of your day.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 87%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.3/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating2/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating2/5
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R
Movie Trailer: