Friday, April 8, 2022

Reed's Point (2022)

Streaming Service: Amazon Prime ($3.99)
Movie Name/Year: Reed’s Point (2022)
Genre: Horror
Length: 76 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Suzanne DeLaurentiis Productions, Uncork’d Entertainment
Director: Dale Fabrigar
Writers: Tricia Aurand, Suzanne DeLaurentiis, Sandy Lo
Actors: Joe Estevez, Clint Carmichael, Anthony Jensen, Evan Adams, Julia Kelly, Lanett Tachel, Giovannie Espiritu, Catherine Healy, Sasha Anne
IMDb Blurb: A vehicle crash in the Pine Barrens leads to a missing teen which raises conspiracy theories about the infamous Jersey Devil legend. On the anniversary of the crash, Sarah Franklin, convinced her cousin Kelsey is alive, goes out to the crash site with Alex, Kelsey's boyfriend, to investigate. Things go downhill quickly as Sarah and Alex uncover what really lurks in the woods.

Cat’s Point of View:
Reed’s Point is definitely a movie that exists. Beyond that, I find myself struggling to string coherent thoughts together to summarize my experience beyond “meh.”
Let me rewind a bit.
I was initially intrigued by the concept of Reed’s Point. You don’t see The Jersey Devil featured in many projects, in spite of the fact that tales of this particular cryptid go back hundreds of years. I have a thing for watching shows about exploration of such myths, much like Expedition X (2020-). Season 2, episode 5 of that show actually featured The Jersey Devil. Aside from such coverage, it’s just not something that gets a lot of air-time – especially down here in the deep South.

I was fascinated to see Reed’s Point’s take on it.

The trailer was interesting and gave me vibes like some freshly graduated high school seniors took an end-of-the-year trip to go cryptid hunting and wound up having an accident. That’s not exactly what happened.
While I can assure you that wasn’t a spoiler, I can’t say that the narrative deviating from that perception did this film any favors.
I was impressed by the collection of articles and images collected about the Jersey Devil for use as background props. The score was interesting, the locations were great and well-utilized, and the practical effects were also surprisingly good. The production team clearly worked their hardest to make this a success.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing they could have done to fill in the plot holes big enough to drive a cruise ship through or invigorate the actors who were seemingly asleep at the wheel. What’s more, one character’s major injury was entirely under-sold and defied belief, and the ending made absolutely no sense.
If you feel like you simply must watch Reed’s Point, it will be available starting April 12th on DVD and from digital on-demand or rental services.

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

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

The Bubble (2022)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: The Bubble (2022)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 126 minutes
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Apatow Productions, Netflix
Director: Judd Apatow
Writer: Judd Apatow, Pam Brady
Actors: Harry Trevaldwyn, Samson Kayo, Peter Serafinowicz, Danielle Vitalis, Karen Gillan, Rob Delaney, Chris Witaske, Audrina Woolrich, Grant Woolrich, Guz Khan, Maria Bakalova, Vir Das, Leslie Mann, Iris Apatow, Nick Kocher, Pedro Pascal, Galen Hopper, Keegan-Michael Key, David Duchovny, Fred Armisen, Kate McKinnon, Maria Bamford, Ross Lee, Raphael Acloque, John Lithgow, Austin Ku, John Cena, Beck, James McAvoy
Blurb from IMDb: A group of actors and actresses stuck inside a pandemic bubble at a hotel attempts to complete a film.

Selina’s Point of View:
Wow. Ok. That caught me off guard.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Bubble. I hadn’t heard anything about it, even when I was collecting information about the movies coming out. It just kind of popped up on Netflix one day. So, we chose it for the schedule out of curiosity.
What it turned out to be was a kind of caricature-style parody. A 2-hour long parody. That is a long-ass time for that kind of thing.
It seems like they were trying to do something in the vein of Tropic Thunder (2008). They didn’t succeed, though.

Most of my laughter during the film was the uncomfortable kind. I asked myself ‘why?’ a lot.
The Bubble touched on a lot of stuff about COVID-19 that was somewhat relatable – especially where quarantining is concerned – but I just didn’t find most of it funny. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it disrespectful, but it was more cringe than anything else.
There was also a lot of gross-out humor that I just don’t lean toward. A few good lines here and there didn’t really save anything.
It’s possible that someone with a different sense of humor might enjoy it, but it’s not for me.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’ve been waging a bit of an inner debate with myself over The Bubble. Part of me cringes at the very thought that it’s a movie about filming during the coronavirus pandemic. Then this little voice inside pipes up with “bless their hearts, they tried.” At the same time, however, I found myself sporadically entertained while watching this film and didn’t entirely loathe the experience.
Let me mince no words here – it was bad.
The Bubble was a self-aware sort of bad that dances with the notion of ‘so-bad-it’s-good.’
Those of us scrambling through the ‘real world’ having a hard time simply buying toilet paper and basic staples might have a hard time connecting to the plight of an actor at a resort hotel in the UK where quarantine involved endless room service. On the flip side with that, though, I think that The Bubble touched on underlying issues that have affected everyone – regardless of occupation.
Most of us have gone a little stir-crazy during lockdown. It’s fairly safe to say that a grand majority have felt a little starved for contact with friends and relatives kept at a distance due to social distancing and travel restrictions.

Sometimes you just have to laugh to keep from crying or screaming, right? I know I’ve hit a few of those points in the last couple of years. So, let’s put the pandemic aside, for now, and look at The Bubble a little differently.
In the last few months, I know I’ve knocked on unnecessary sequels popping up. The Bubble takes a jab at that very notion of a studio pushing for a cash grab to capitalize on an existing well-worn franchise under the guise of giving the world something to entertain them and take their minds off world events.
Everything was so over-the-top very purposefully. I admit, I found myself laughing in spite of my occasional cringe and eye-rolling.
Love or hate the movie, you’ve got to admit the cast was pretty amazing. Of course, I have some stand-out favorites such as Karen Gillan (In A Valley of Violence, Stuber, The Call of the Wild), Keegan-Michael Key (Keanu, Green Eggs and Ham, Schmigadoon!), and Pedro Pascal (Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Triple Frontier, We Can Be Heroes).  There were also some surprising cameos laced throughout that were well placed and added great little moments.
The whole thing was bonkers but oddly worked. The Bubble was the April Fools gift from Netflix and Judd Apatow (This Is 40, Trainwreck, The King of Staten Island) that I think we all needed. Just remember not to take it too seriously. It was supposed to be a trainwreck. Mission accomplished.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 23%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 35%
Metascore – 34%
Metacritic User Score – 3.4
IMDB Score – 4.8/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 1.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 3/5
Movie Trailer:

Monday, April 4, 2022

See for Me (2022)

Streaming Service: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: See for Me (2022)
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Length: 93 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Wildling Pictures, Dutch FilmWorks, IFC Midnight, Inopia Films, levelFILM. Shudder
Director: Randall Okita
Writers: Adam Yorke, Tommy Gushue
Actors: Skyler Davenport, Kim Coates, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Laura Vandervoort, George Tchortov, Joe Pingue, Keaton Kaplan,  Matthew Gouveia, Emily Piggford, Pascal Langdale
IMDb Blurb: When blind former skier Sophie cat-sits in a secluded mansion, three thieves invade for the hidden safe. Sophie's only defense is army veteran Kelly. Kelly helps Sophie defend herself against the invaders and survive.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was really excited when See for Me was announced to hit Shudder this month. It had landed on my Top 20 Movies to Look Out For in January 2022 list at an impressive #6 spot. My takeaway from experiencing See for Me was fairly on point for what I was expecting after I watched the trailer.
Speaking of…I think we need to take a moment to appreciate that trailer a bit. A big hearty thank you goes out to those responsible for putting that together. It was an excellent tease for the premise of See for Me and it didn’t give away the twists or the ending.
I have so many feelings to unpack with this film that it’s hard to pick a place to start.
While I don’t have the same physical limitations as Sophie in See for Me, I can seriously empathize with her situation. It’s a frustrating learning curve to flip from being a capable able-bodied person who enjoys doing All The Things to someone who has to reinvent how to accomplish the basic tasks in life. Dealing with people who simply don’t know how to handle offering assistance in an appropriate way so it comes across as condescension is a big pet peeve. Of course, there are others that legitimately just want to help but aren’t sure where to draw the line between assistance and coddling. While I may not have experienced the more extreme ends of that in my MS journey, I can vividly imagine what that might look like if I were not a sighted person. MS is known to go for the optical nerves often, so it’s a worry that I do live with – I could wake up without vision tomorrow. (Knock on wood.) I digress…

Even with all that said, I believe that See for Me pulled me into the story in a way that just about anyone could understand Sophie’s frustration and drive for independence.
Let’s talk technology. That was one of my points in the Top 20 spot that I was geeking out about. So many times we see movies shying away from incorporating tech. Phones mysteriously, or conveniently, fail to have service, and issues of the like strip away that element of modern everyday life. It makes it harder to buy-in to some narratives. Here, technology was embraced front and center. The name of the movie is actually the phone app that the crux of the story is framed around.
As I mentioned before, there is an actual app that exists already that does this exact thing. Be My Eyes connects a visually impaired person using the app with a sighted volunteer through a video call to provide sighted assistance when needed. I found that absolutely amazing.

In this way, See for Me is bringing awareness to apps like these that are a great help and I’m here for it. The production is also shining a light into the literal darkness that is the void of accurate representation of people with physical limitations in cinema.
Have I mentioned that the lead, Skyler Davenport (One Piece, Kakegurui, Welcome to Demon-School Iruma-kun), is visually impaired, themselves? They lost their vision in 2012 due to a sudden medical issue. Their real-life parallels the role in See for Me in that they didn’t let that stand in their way. I didn’t even realize that when I put this movie on my Top 20. Now I’m even more impressed with their performance.
I loved the dynamic between Sophie and the See for Me app volunteer played by Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Secret Circle, Black Sails, The Flash). The rest of the cast met expectations and I didn’t really have any faults with the acting here. The production quality was also on point, utilizing the gorgeous location well.

The level of tension just ramps up the minute you realize what’s about to happen with the home invasion and it really doesn’t let up until you get to the other side of the climax. That was what I signed up for and See for Me delivered in spades.
There’s a twist involved, as I mentioned – and I didn’t see it coming at all. It made me squirm a little. Don’t worry, though, it wasn’t anything unpleasantly graphic. In fact, while See for Me is technically unrated by the MPAA, it could pass for PG-13. There aren’t a lot of expletives, there’s very little blood, a general absence of gore, and zero sexual content.
I do believe that See for Me is something I wouldn’t mind watching again. You can catch it on Shudder starting Thursday, April 7th.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 79%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 66%
Metascore – 59%
Metacritic User Score – 7.0/10
IMDB Score – 5.8/10
Trust the Dice: Parental Guidance Rating – PG-13
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5

P.S. - If you're interested in information about apps such as Be My Eyes or others for the visually impaired, I found a nifty list of some good ones here.
Movie Trailer: