Friday, July 7, 2023

2067 (2020)

Streaming Service: Hulu
Movie Name/Year: 2067 (2020)
Genre: Sci-fi, Mystery
Length:  1h 54min
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Screen Australia, XYZ Films, Futurism Studios, The South Australian Film Corporation, Adelaide Film Festival, Create NSW, Elevate Production Finance, Grumpy Sailor, Kojo Productions, Freedom Films, Arcadia, RLJE Films, Netflix Australia, Hulu
Director: Seth Larney
Writers: Seth Larney, Gareth Davies, Galvin Scott Davis, Davie Paterson
Actors: Aaron Glenane, Andy McPhee, Checc Musolino, Damian Walshe-Howling, Deborah Mailman, Finn Little, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Leeanna Walsman, Matt Testro, Ryan Kwanten, Sana'a Shaik
Rotten Tomatoes Blurb: When Earth's air becomes unbreathable, a message from the future sends a man on a dangerous mission to an unknown world to save the human race.

Cat’s Point of View:
Have I mentioned before that I’m a sucker for Sci-Fi? If the concept is even remotely interesting, or if I’m drawn to members of the cast, I’m down to watch (even if I know it’s going to be questionable).

2067 was one of those movies that I had a few question marks in my mind about but wanted to see it all the same. It helped that Ryan Kwanten (Them, Expired, Glorious) was in it. He’s not just another pretty face, though. As a fan of the books, I was an avid watcher of True Blood (2008-2014), and Kwanten got my attention through his take on Jason Stackhouse. (Yes, I know True Blood didn’t follow the books. Let’s not get stuck on that.) Since then, I’m generally down to watch anything he’s in. He tends to be underrated as an actor, in my opinion. I digress…

I had enough reason to expect a decent performance from Kodi Smit-McPhee (ParaNorman, Slow West, Alpha) as well, even though I wasn’t as familiar with his work. 

While 2067 didn’t make Selina’s Top 20 list for October 2020, the production was a solid #12 for me. 

Without further gilding the lily, I’d have to say that 2067 was alright. Just alright.

I wish I could be doing cartwheels for it or something like that, alas it just wasn’t exactly as thrilling as I thought it might be from the trailer. This was actually my 2nd viewing of 2067. I remember watching it back in 2020 as soon as it became available through one of my streaming services or cable network. Here’s the thing though… I only remembered after my daughter piped up and reminded me. We had watched it together back then, too. I’d utterly forgotten. 

The message about the environmental damage that mankind has wrought upon the planet is clear. It pretty much gets beaten over our heads while at the same time encouraging hope and highlighting the ingenuity of human desperation. 

The effects were actually surprisingly good for what had to be the shoestring budget they were working with, too. I believed every minute of the visuals of this dystopian future… for the most part. There were a couple things associated with a plot hole or so that took me out of the movie for a few moments, but it wasn’t enough to wreck my experience. There were just a few flaws in the fundamental science of the story.

The plot was twisty, but not entirely unpredictable. Unfortunately, at this stage I can’t tell if that was because I remembered my first watch-through and thus already subconsciously knew the twists and how things turned out. 

If you like time travel paradox type Sci-Fi, 2067 isn’t a horrible way to spend a couple of hours, though the concept has been explored more successfully by other films in the genre for sure. 
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 31%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 39%
Metascore – 39%
Metacritic User Score – 5.7/10
IMDB Score – 4.9/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3/5

Trust the Dice: Parental Advisory Rating – PG-13
Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Call Her King (2023)

Streaming Service: BET+
Movie Name/Year: Call Her King (2023)
Genre: Action, Thriller
Length:  1h 39min
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Blacklight Entertainment, BET+
Director: Wes Miller
Writers: Wes Miller
Actors: Naturi Naughton, Jason Mitchell, Lance Gross, Nicholas Turturro, Johnny Messner, Tobias Truvillion, Han Soto, Barry Ratcliffe
IMDb Blurb: After the courthouse is hijacked by Black Caesar, brother of Sean Samuels, who has just been sentenced, Judge Jaeda King must rely on her strength and skills to find a way to end the standoff, save the hostages, and make her escape.
Selina’s Point of View:
When watching Call Her King, I think it’s important to consider the budget. It can’t really be compared to mainstream theater fare. It’s a lot more along the lines of a TV movie.
The start of the film was a little rough. The casual conversation between husband and wife and between the main character and her colleagues all felt a little forced. On top of that, Naturi Naughton didn’t sell me on the interactions any more than the script did. As a result, I settled in for what I thought would be a long hour and a half.
Once the movie picked up, however, my perception of it changed. As it turns out, Naughton is much better with the high-action scenes. It may just be that she’s better at the action stuff than anything else, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Nicholas Turturro also had me laughing a lot of the time. He provided some much-needed comedic relief.
I say “much-needed” because the subject is heavy. As much as the plot lent itself to a decent action premise, it was also a very important subject. The corruption of our justice system is a huge problem. I love it when flicks take that issue and wrap it in something watchable because it forces people to acknowledge it. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t seem to care about it until it affects them directly. Sometimes movies, books, and TV shows can help with that.
The low budget did lead to some issues with things like gunshot CGI. However, I think they got innovative with some of the other stuff. At one point a person is shot and the gore winds up on a window. Because the creative team for Call Her King was forced to improvise, whatever they did caused it to look terrifyingly real for a minute. As the movie went on, it became easier to ignore any other CGI issues.
The script was my least favorite part of the flick. The dialogue specifically. A lot of it just didn’t feel natural. The cooler parts that you see in the trailer feel like they were added specifically for use in the trailer. I think it would have benefited the film to just leave them out entirely.
Call Her King had a lot of ups and downs. That said, it was worthy of a watch.

Cat’s Point of View:
Call Her King initially was a little intriguing to me. The trailer seemed to promise a decent amateur action movie. While I wouldn’t say that was inaccurate, it wasn’t exactly what I hoped it would be. 

I admire the message that was explored within the dramatic moments of Call Her King, but I just had a hard time buying most of everything else. I was cringing more often than I wasn’t. There were plot points that just didn’t feel supported.

Then there was the shaky-cam. Sure, it wasn’t as bad as some found-footage movies, but even straight non-action shots had a lot of bobble to them. I just had a recent health circumstance that involved some mild vertigo. The screen-jitters didn’t do me any favors. 

It’s entirely possible that I’m just slightly cranky from being exhausted at the moment, but Call Her King did very little for me as an action fan. I spent far too much time pondering the fact the bailiff looked like he could be Geraldo Rivera’s (A Miracle in Spanish Harlem, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Sharknado 5: Global Swarming) brother. (He isn’t.)

The fight choreography was basic and OK, the blood effects were iffy, and there were some sound quality issues where it was clear there was a voiceover happening rather than something that happened live in the shot I was watching. 

Normally I find it easier to look over these earmarks of a smaller-budget movie and give them the benefit of the doubt like The Little Engine that Could. Alas, today, those small details pulled me out of the story and had me slightly bored with the overall experience. 

If you’re catching Call Her King in rotation on the BET network, and this is your type of movie - I certainly wouldn’t call for changing the channel. However, if you’re looking for a quality action movie (even one with social justice themes), this may not be the one you’d want to settle on.

Call Her King releases for streaming on BET+ Thursday, July 6, 2023.
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score –None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – None
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 3/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 2.5/5

Trust the Dice: Parental Advisory Rating -  PG-13
Movie Trailer:

Monday, July 3, 2023

My Best Friend's Exorcism (2022)

Streaming Service: Amazon Prime
Movie Name/Year: My Best Friend's Exorcism (2022)
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Length:  1h 36min
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Endeavor Content, Gotham Group, Amazon Prime Video
Director: Damon Thomas
Writers: Grady Hendrix, Jenna Lamia
Actors: Amiah Miller, Ashley LeConte Campbell, Cathy Ang, Chris Lowell, Clayton Royal Johnson, Cynthia Evans, Elsie Fisher, Erin Ownbey, Michael Wayne Foster, Nathan Anderson, Rachel Ogechi Kanu
Rotten Tomatoes Blurb: The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act...different. She's moody. She's irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she's nearby. Abby's investigation leads her to some startling discoveries-and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
Cat’s Point of View:
When My Best Friend’s Exorcism popped up on my radar in time for September 2022’s Top 20 article, I was fairly chomping at the bit to watch this movie. In fact, I did watch it pretty much right away when Amazon released it. I didn’t have any problems watching it again a second time as a refresher to bring you this review. 

I’ve probably said this a million times, and I’ll likely say it oodles more - I’m absolutely an 80s baby. While my teen years were solidly in the 90s, the 1980s is the era of warm fuzzy nostalgia for me. Yeah… I’ve dated myself, but it’s fine. My Best Friend’s Exorcism was set in 1988 and resonated with me as if it were a time capsule. 

Before I go further, I do feel that I need to advise that My Best Friend’s Exorcism is an adaptation of a book by Grady Hendrix (Mohawk, Satanic Panic, Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks). I haven’t read the book and, honestly, really didn’t realize it existed until I was pulling a few details together to provide this review. That being said, I’m unable to advise whether or not this production follows the source material closely or not - in spirit or otherwise. I can only offer my impression of the movie, itself. 

I realize that My Best Friend’s Exorcism isn’t going to be for everyone. It wasn’t made to be in contention for Oscars or festival prizes. It’s clearly a love letter to the 80s and the awkwardness of navigating the real-world horrors of school and friendship. This is definitely far removed from the “kids with bikes” type adventure, however. It’s best to toss out thoughts of something such as Stranger Things (2016-) and think more along the lines of Jennifer’s Body (2009).

I resonated with this film so hard that it was fairly uncomfortable even while I enjoyed it. I loved the Trapper Keepers, the silly teen magazine quizzes, and how it accurately captured the feel of slumber-party peer pressure. I was one of those sheltered awkward girls in the plaid school uniform. I often felt out of my depth with my peers that seemed to float effortlessly through that world. Of course, Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” was also absolutely my jam. 

My Best Friend’s Exorcism was a mixed bag of a little of everything. Some of it wasn’t as polished and cohesive, but it wasn’t anything serious enough to dim my enjoyment of the movie. The acting was solid, the effects were decent, and they nailed the setting. 

If you’re looking for some silly, if a little cringey, 80s campy horror fun, My Best Friend’s Exorcism wouldn’t be a bad choice. I would probably watch it again, myself. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 53%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 35%
Metascore – 58%
Metacritic User Score – 4.7/10
IMDB Score – 5.3/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3/5
Movie Trailer: