Friday, November 11, 2022

Office Invasion (2022)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Office Invasion (2022)
Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Length: 1h 52min
Rating: TV-MA
Production/Distribution: Motion Story, Netflix Worldwide Entertainment
Directors: Gareth Crocker, Fred Wolmarans
Writer: Gareth Crocker
Actors: Rea Rangaka, Kiroshan Naidoo, Sechaba Ramphele, Greg Viljoen, Stevel Marc, Aimee Ntuli, Desmond Dube, El Vanneme-Bekink, Kenneth Fok, Bonko Khoza, Ayanda Dyantyi, Daniel Janks, Claudine Ullman, Neels Clasen, Katlego Mohoaduba, Sherldon Marema, Roberto Pombo, Kate Liquorish, Kabomo Vilakazi, Marcus Mabusela, Kanyi Nokwe, Stephanie Hough, Khabonina Qubeka, Motsi Tekateka, Aubrey Mogale, Shadi Chauke, Kylie Fisher, Jack Devnarain, Sabelo Ndumo, Peter Ucko, Luthuli Dlamini, Bevan Cullinan, Ayanda Diyanti
IMDb Blurb: Three best friends band together to defend their valuable mining company from monstrous aliens looking to plunder and exterminate.

Cat’s Point of View:
Office Invasion offered one of those rare opportunities where I could go into a movie experience almost completely “blind.” I hadn’t heard of this film before, I didn’t recognize any of the cast or production team, and I hadn’t seen the trailer before. I read the IMDb description to my daughter to see if she was down for watching with me, and that’s it.
Based on that simple sentence, it gave the general impression of a mash-up between something like Office Space (1999) and Bloodsucking Bastards (2015). Of course, there would be differences due to alien monsters instead of vampires, and the mining company setting rather than a generic office building.

If not for the first scene of the movie and the poster shown on IMDb and Netflix while selecting the film for viewing, I would have wondered if this was supposed to be more like Horrible Bosses (2011). Maybe the word “alien” was being used in the loose sense, meaning that the people taking over the company were from somewhere overseas? I was so confused.
After that initial scene, there wasn’t a single whiff of extraterrestrials or even any sci-fi elements for the majority of the production. I had nearly written it all off until the very last act finally delivered. I appreciated what character development was present. I just wish that Office Invasion didn’t spend so long doing that and developing motive before getting to the meat of what made this an action and sci-fi story.

That aside, Office Invasion somewhat worked as a corporate office comedy. The horrible cost-cutting solutions were generally amusing, among the other few laugh-worthy situations. Over all, I just didn’t quite laugh as hard as I did with any of the 3 prior topically relevant films I mentioned.
Where the sci-fi elements were concerned, I don’t feel like Office Invasion leaned in hard enough. The effects for what they did show were decent. The story just seemed to be lacking. It probably didn’t help that I just recently began re-watching the new series of Doctor Who (2005-) with my daughter. There’s an episode in Season 1 that immediately came to mind while watching Office Invasion. Unfortunately, this movie paled in comparison to even that series’ occasionally hokey effects.
That said, Office Invasion was decent. It stays right in the middle lane and is neither horrible nor fantastic. If I wasn’t such a huge sci-fi fan, I might not have been quite as disappointed for how little of that genre was present on-screen. I don’t think anyone watching would necessarily be angry for the choice, but I am not sure that I’ll remember Office Invasion in the long run.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.0/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 2.5/5
Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Supercon (2018)

Streaming Service: Amazon Prime
Movie Name/Year: Supercon (2018)
Genre: Action, Comedy
Length: 1h 40min
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Momentum Productions, Future Proof Films, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Sony
Director: Zak Knutson
Writers: Zak Knutson, Andy Sipes, Dana Snyder
Actors: Brooks Braselman, Cailey Fleming, Candi Brooks, CariDee English, Caroline Fourmy, Clancy Brown, Dana Snyder, Donald Watkins, George Murdoch, Hunter Burke, Jeff Pope, John Malkovich, Josh Perry, Maggie Grace, Mike Epps, Russell Peters, Ryan Kwanten, Zak Knutson
IMDb Blurb: A rag-tag group of former TV stars and comic book artists, who make their living working at conventions, decide to steal the loot from a crooked promoter and an overbearing former TV icon.

Cat’s Point of View:
Let me tell you, Supercon was quite unexpected. Not only was Supercon funny, but it hit home a bit more for me with convention-related nostalgia. I think viewers that don’t have much convention experience might also be able to get a kick out of this story. Just think of a mashup along the lines of Ocean’s Eleven (2001), or one of its sequels, and Fanboys (2009)….sort of.
I love conventions of the sundry “geek culture” varieties. It’s always fun to see people’s creativity with their cosplay costumes and be able to mingle a bit with others who are passionate about the things they enjoy. (Especially when it intersects with the fandoms I love, as well.)
I’ve likely mentioned before, but it bears repeating for the sake of this review, that my husband and I used to volunteer as staff for DragonCon in Atlanta, GA on a regular basis up until our last year in 2005. While we can’t afford to travel like we used to, we do both currently work as staff for our local Geek’d Con. Over the years, DragonCon has grown into a juggernaut that rivals New York and San Diego’s ComicCons. Our hometown convention is much smaller (but growing!). I’d say it’s approaching the mid-tier range, similar in size to the one Supercon depicts.

Sufficed to say, I’ve seen and heard a good bit of what goes on both behind the scenes and on the convention floor of events similar to the fictional convention depicted in the movie. (I should probably mention here that there is an annual convention in Florida that shares the same name, but it’s not the specific event referenced in this film.)
Of course, no convention is perfect – even the best ones suffer backstage hiccups now and again. Usually, though, it’s just travel or accommodation snafus regarding guests, weather, health, and scheduling. Other times it can be issues with facilities, such as burst pipes, or even celebrity guest bad behavior.
Rather than wallow in the things that could, and do, go wrong with conventions, Supercon attempted to kick the entertainment factor up a notch with the ludicrous heist plot. Co-writer and director Zak Knutson (Spoilers with Kevin Smith, Milius, Marvel 75 Years: From Pulp to Pop!) pulled a Rumplestiltskin, spinning straw into gold by taking an actual urban myth about DragonCon and building a movie around it. I’d say Knutson’s first foray into both fiction and comedy hit really close to the marks he was aiming for. His background has been in documentaries, so I’m absolutely willing to give him a bit of leeway in his freshman foray out of nonfiction.

I liked how Supercon focused on a group of guests across the convention spectrum with a voice actor, a former child star, an artist, an 80s pulp action-detective star, and a writer. The shenanigans involved with this unlikely team-up facing off against the corrupt head of the convention and a horrible headline guest were, indeed, funny. There was even a well-played twist in the story that gave me an extra giggle.
The production team for Supercon did a great job with casting. Ryan Kwanten (Knights of Badassdom, Expired, Section 8), Maggie Grace (The Choice, The Hurricane Heist, Fear the Walking Dead), Russell Peters (Source Code, Fifty Shades of Black, Clifford the Big Red Dog), and Clancy Brown (The Mortuary Collection, Promising Young Woman, Spongebob SquarePants) were all perfect for their respective roles. It was surprising to see John Malkovich (Velvet Buzzsaw, Valley of the Gods, The Survivalist) on the cast list, but he fit so well with his role, the story wouldn’t be the same without him.
I think I giggled a little bit when I saw that Mike Epps (Acts of Violence, How High 2, On the Come Up) was playing the convention showrunner. In my head, I was thinking to myself that this was exactly the sort of scheme that his former character Day-Day might get involved in. Finally, I want to mention the performance from Brooks Braselman (Squidbillies, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Velvet's House Party). I haven’t heard about him before, but he was absolutely serving it in Supercon and had some really out-there moments. He can even sing! I’m crossing my fingers he branches out into other projects that I might see in the future.

I’ve highlighted the good stuff, thus far. Unfortunately, it’s not entirely smooth sailing for Supercon.
While generally funny and entertaining, the overall film is heavy with toilet humor, innuendo, and inappropriate remarks. The whole point of the majority of the latter was to underscore how horrible the villains were and how TV shows and the like from earlier decades weren’t exactly socially conscious. The usage of racially charged words was likely included to make the audience uncomfortable on purpose. Knowing all of that doesn’t always make it easier for some to listen to such things, however.
Supercon isn’t going to be a movie for everyone, but it was great fun as something I could turn my brain off and just watch after a long and stressful day. I think I was able to forgive most of its foibles. If you think it might be something you’d enjoy, who knows – give it a go and see if you giggle and chalk this one up to a guilty pleasure. Otherwise, you’d already be primed to simply pick something else instead. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 23%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 29%
Metascore – 9%
Metacritic User Score – 4.5/10
IMDB Score – 3.6/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 2.5/5
Movie Trailer: