Friday, March 11, 2022

The Adam Project (2022)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: The Adam Project (2022)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Length: 106 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production/Distribution: 21 Laps Entertainment, Maximum Effort, Skydance Media, Netflix
Director: Shawn Levy
Writer: Jonathan Tropper, T.S. Nowlin, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin
Actors: Ryan Reynolds, Walker Scobell, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner, Zoe Saldana, Catherine Keener, Alex Mallari Jr., Braxton Bjerken, Kasra Wong, Lucie Guest
Blurb from IMDb: A time-traveling pilot teams up with his younger self and his late father to come to terms with his past while saving the future.

Selina’s Point of View:
March is a big month for science fiction, and The Adam Project was pretty high on my list of must-sees. It was even higher on the list for Cat, who put it as her #2 movie to look out for.
We were both right, but is that all that much of a shock? It’s a Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, Red Notice, Free Guy) film. It was destined to – at the very least – be fun.
On that subject, my very first thought was that it must have been difficult to find a kid that could play Ryan Reynolds as well as Reynolds plays himself. The casting director, Carmen Cuba (Stranger Things, The Martian, The Power of the Dog), should be proud of herself. It definitely felt like tiny Adam and adult Adam were the same person in every scene where they interacted.

Walker Scobell had no business being as good as he was. At 13-years-old, in his full-length feature film debut, he held his own with one of the most beloved actors of our time. That’s insane. I had to look up his age because I didn’t believe he wasn’t older and just playing a kid. It’s going to be interesting to watch what he does next.
I expected The Adam Project to be funny and to have some decent action sequences. It lived up to all that. I wasn’t, however, expecting to be called out quite as much as I was.
There were serious gut-punches that led to tears. On top of that, there were some moments of reflection that have given me things to talk to my therapist about. “It’s easier to be angry than it is to be sad.” I mean, yeah, but – shut up.

I had a good time watching The Adam Project. Everything was so well done: from the story to the acting, to the script, to the subtle pop-culture nods. There was a little something for everyone.
That said, it’s time travel. I, personally, enjoyed the take on it – but it’s a hot-button issue for sci-fi fans. Everyone has a very strong opinion on how it’s shown and not everyone is going to agree with this specific way. I don’t think it should hurt anyone’s enjoyment of it, but it’s worth noting.
The Adam Project was a great flick for just about anybody. An inherent interest in sci-fi is not required.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 69%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 81%
Metascore – 55%
Metacritic User Score – 7.0
IMDB Score – 7.2/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 5/5
Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

No Exit (2022)

Streaming Service: Hulu
Movie Name/Year: No Exit (2022)
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Length: 95 minutes
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: 20th Century Studios, Flitcraft, Hulu, Disney+
Director: Damien Power
Writer:  Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari, Taylor Adams
Actors: Havana Rose Liu, Danny Ramirez, David Rysdahl, Mila Harris, Dennis Haysbert, Dale Dickey, Benedict Wall
Blurb from IMDb: During a blizzard and stranded at an isolated highway rest stop in the mountains, a college student discovers a kidnapped child hidden in a car belonging to one of the people inside.

Selina’s Point of View:
I hadn’t heard about the release of No Exit, it just appeared on Hulu one day. It was a random pick when I added it to the schedule. Hulu needs to do better at marketing their original films, because this one isn’t going to be seen by nearly as many people as it should be.
Everything about this movie defied expectations.
Obviously, I do try to go into everything I watch with an open mind. But, like most people, I’m a victim of my biases. After watching enough films, it becomes easy to see commonalities that almost force expectation. What I saw here was an early movie from a lesser-known director that had a couple of recognizable faces, but no marketing at all. To me, that said Hulu was giving a director a shot, but didn’t have faith in it. I’ll admit, I settled in for a flick I thought would be a trainwreck.
I was wrong.
Not only was No Exit amazing, but director Damien Power (Killing Ground, Peekaboo, To Be) showed off the kind of talent that has created household names. I’m going to be following his career very closely from here on out.

There was nothing to dislike here. If I had to be overly critical, I would say that I didn’t love David Rysdahl’s (Nine Days, The Land of Owls, Dead Pigs) character. I thought he was a bit overdone, but even that turned out to not be an issue. By the end, it made sense for the story.
Speaking of the story, the writing was exceptional as well. I hit a point about 20-minutes in where I was resigned to the belief that No Exit was going to be a basic-bitch flick. After all, I’d already predicted everything that was happening. I leaned back in my chair, crossed my arms, and made a snarky note in my book. No one can say that the writer(s) didn’t know the minds of their target audience, though, because about 5-minutes later I realized they’d lured me into thinking that on purpose.
I don’t know whether to credit screenwriters Andrew Barrer (Die in a Gunfight, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Haunt) and Gabriel Ferrari (Die in a Gunfight, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Quantum and Woody) with all that, or the novel’s author, Taylor Adams. I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know what parts of the story were altered for the screen. I’m just going to send out a general ‘hell yeah’ to them all.
I’m also going to take a trip to the store, because I need to get this book.
No Exit destroyed every expectation I could have had and reminded me to keep my biases out of it.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was excited to see No Exit.
Havana Rose Liu (Mayday, The Chair, The Sky Is Everywhere) played such a relatable character for me. There have definitely been times in my life I was ‘over it’ when faced with working on my own issues. I could feel her desperation to respond to her family crisis. It provided a steady undercurrent of tension below the other events within the movie.
No Exit swept me along on this wild ride and didn’t pump the brakes. Just when I thought things were heading in one direction, the story threw in twists that blindsided me.

It was also a treat to have Dale Dickey (Winter's Bone, Super 8, Blood Father) and Dennis Haysbert (The Unit, Fist Fight, Lucifer) among the cast. They were excellent choices for their roles and definitely helped elevate this production.
No Exit took good advantage of the snowy setting. The remote and decrepit visitor’s center felt sufficiently isolated. I had no trouble suspending disbelief.
The credits for No Exit mentioned that this film is a book adaptation. I might just put this one on my ever-expanding to-read list. I really enjoyed the story that was brought to the screen. I’m intrigued as to whether there’s more to the tale that just didn’t fit in the runtime.
If you have a subscription to Hulu, No Exit is an excellent choice for a movie night in. Bundle up with a warm beverage and don’t forget to breathe.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 58%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 56%
Metascore – 54%
Metacritic User Score – 6.6
IMDB Score – 6.1/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 4.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 4/5
Movie Trailer:

Monday, March 7, 2022

The Seed (2022)

Streaming Service: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: The Seed (2022)
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi
Length: 91 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Camelot Films, Hardman Pictures, Shudder
Director: Sam Walker
Writer: Sam Walker
Actors: Lucy Martin, Sophie Vavasseur, Chelsea Edge, Anthony Edridge, Jamie Wittebrood, Shirley Barchou Pisani
IMDb Blurb: What starts out as girls weekend away in the Mojave desert becomes a tale of horror, death and alien invasion.

Cat’s Point of View:
The Seed had some stiff competition in the running for March’s Top 20 list and, unfortunately, didn’t make the cut. That being said, I was curious about the movie. Considering it was releasing as a Shudder original, chances were good we’d get access to a screener. Thus, here we are.
I have been sitting here for quite some time just staring at my computer screen – at a loss for where to begin describing this experience with The Seed.
It wasn’t horrible. I should start with that.
The story, itself, while it could probably use a little fine-tuning, was decent. The location chosen for the setting was pretty spectacular. The house had a real wow factor about it, and the landscape surrounding it gave credence to the isolation the characters experienced. There were some well-thought-out nuances laced throughout. I just felt The Seed had a predictable trajectory.

Here, we had another example of one of my biggest pet peeves in cinema – a trailer that gave away too much. If I had watched The Seed immediately after watching the trailer, I would have felt a sense that I’d just watched the whole thing twice. Considering the last time I’d seen The Seed’s trailer was weeks ago, I didn’t immediately experience anything more than Deja Vu. Of course, when I re-watched the trailer prior to writing this review, I was rather frustrated. There were also several comments on YouTube from viewers that echoed this sentiment. It’s sad to see a production shoot itself in the foot. In the case of The Seed, however, I could chalk it up to inexperience and hope that the production team is more selective in editing their next project’s teaser. I digress…
Considering this was writer/director Sam Walker’s (Tea Break, Small Gauge Trauma, The Spoilt Earth) full-length feature debut, and the lack of major studio backing, I think The Seed fared better than expected. The production value for most of the film was fairly good. Some of the scenes involving the creature were strange – but why not, really. The Seed used practical effects well to achieve its strange and disgusting results.
The Seed might be an odd little alien invasion movie, but I’m not entirely sorry I saw it. I’m not sure that it would stand up in the test of time; however, I wouldn’t go out of my way to steer anyone away from it. There’s something fitting to the story of ‘influencers’ getting influenced, themselves. Just remember to skip the trailer if you don’t want spoilers.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 60%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 4.9/10
Trust the Dice: Parental Advisory Rating – R
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3/5
Movie Trailer: