Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Suitable Flesh (2024)

Streaming Service: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Suitable Flesh (2024) 
Genre: Horror, Thriller 
Length:  1h 40min 
Rating: R 
Director: Joe Lynch
Writers: Dennis Paoli, H.P. Lovecraft 
Actors:Heather Graham, Judah Lewis, Bruce Davison, Johnathon Schaech, Barbara Crampton, Graham Skipper, Brett Newton, Chris McKenna, JD Evermore, Giovannie Cruz, Ann Mahoney, Hunter Womack, Jonah Ray, Joe Lynch
Shudder Blurb: Psychiatrist Elizabeth Derby becomes obsessed with helping a young patient who's suffering from extreme personality disorder. However, it soon leads her into occult danger as she tries to escape from a horrific fate. Starring Heather Graham (Boogie Nights), Judah Lewis (The Babysitter), Bruce Davison (X-Men, Ozark) and Barbara Crampton (Superhost). 
Heather Graham as “Elizabeth Derby” in Joe Lynch’s SUITABLE FLESH. Photo courtesy of AMP and Eyevox. An RLJE Films and Shudder release.
Selina’s Point of View: 
I was a little iffy about Suitable Flesh from the start of the film.
The hokey beginning made it very clear that the film was going to be more on the corny/cheesy side than anything more serious. I’m absolutely fine with that. Some of my favorite movies take a cheesy path. It’s all about the execution.
I know most people are loving Suitable Flesh, but it is not for me. Every other scene is about five minutes of sex, a lot of the dialog is not quite right, and the story has a few loopholes that are glaringly obvious by the end. It’s simply not the kind of flick I’d ever choose to watch for myself.
Despite that, I do think that if you believe it’s something you’d enjoy, then you should give it a chance. It may just be that my particular opinion on Suitable Flesh is negative because I dislike movies that utilize certain themes without necessity. Which would mean I was always bound to dislike it. 
Maybe it’s best to go with Cat’s review for this one.
(L-R) Heather Graham as “Elizabeth Derby” and Johnathon Schaech as “Edward Derby” in Joe Lynch’s SUITABLE FLESH.  Photo courtesy of AMP and Eyevox. An RLJE Films and Shudder release.
Cat’s Point of View: 
Why, Joe Lynch (Knights of Badassdom, Mayhem, Creepshow)? Just… why?
I wanted to like Suitable Flesh. I had it listed as spooky #13 on my Top 20 List for this month; and yet perhaps my choice intended for fun was, instead, a bit of foreshadowing. I’ve enjoyed the works of both Lynch, who directed, and screenwriter Dennis Paoli (Bleacher Bums, Masters of Horror, The Evil Clergyman) who had brought us the classic mid-80s horror flick Re-Animator (1985).
Speaking of that cult horror classic, Barbara Crampton (Channel Zero, Stay Home, Superhost), who was in that film, had a prominent role in Suitable Flesh. With Crampton on board as well as the likes of Heather Graham (The Hangover, Horns, Oracle) and Bruce Davison (Pearl, The Manor, Ozark) I had hope. I was awash in the nostalgic haze of the memberberries, apparently.
Judah Lewis as “Asa Waite” in Joe Lynch’s SUITABLE FLESH. Photo courtesy of AMP and Eyevox. An RLJE Films and Shudder release.
As I’ve mentioned before, I love Lovecraftian horror. It’s twisted, psychological, and sometimes cerebral. It makes you think and not only shiver at the horrors that the Old Ones such as Cthulhu represent, but also the evil of mankind as well. They’re deep and resonate. Suitable Flesh was supposed to be an adaptation of Lovecraft’s short story “The Thing on the Doorstep.” The core premise of Suitable Flesh followed the gist of the overall arc of the original story…to an extent. Unfortunately, it seemed to only take the original tale as a suggestion and spun it off in the direction of late-night cable skin-flicks. For the content within the movie, however, there was less flesh than I anticipated from the decision to take the whole thing to sexy-time every few minutes.
I found it hard to suspend my disbelief. Perhaps, for someone who has not yet read the source material that spawned this cinematic treatment, it might be easier to like it.
Don’t get me wrong, there were moments here and there that executed well what I imagine they were aiming to achieve. I appreciated the consistency and continuity of character elements such as body positioning and mannerisms. I also thought the practical effects for most of the gore seen was generally on point.
(L-R) Heather Graham as “Elizabeth Derby” and Barbara Crampton as “Dr. Daniella Upton” in Joe Lynch’s SUITABLE FLESH. Photo courtesy of AMP and Eyevox. An RLJE Films and Shudder release.
For those that get motion sick with things like shaky-cam, I would caution that there are moments within Suitable Flesh that might not sit right with equilibrium. It’s not the cams themselves that are shaky over-all – it’s the dramatic effects that signify a particular plot element in the story. It happens quite a few times, however. There is also some full-out spinning of the scene going on. I was a little queasy by the end.
Here's the thing. I don’t regret the nearly 2 hours I spent watching Suitable Flesh. I was curious and satisfied my curiosity. It was not what I was wanting or expected. Some critics and audience reviews out there are singing Suitable Flesh’s praises. Clearly there is an audience out there for Suitable Flesh. This is something that will be judged based on individual preference. This film simply wasn’t for me. 

If this seems remotely interesting for you, however, I can only recommend you give it a try and see where your opinion falls on this particular spectrum.

Suitable Flesh will be available to stream on Shudder starting Friday, January 26th, 2024.

(L-R) Heather Graham as “Elizabeth Derby” and Barbara Crampton as “Dr. Daniella Upton” in Joe Lynch’s SUITABLE FLESH. Photo courtesy of AMP and Eyevox. An RLJE Films and Shudder release.
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score –  84%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 60% 
Metascore – 64% 
Metacritic User Score – 5.8/10 
IMDB Score – 5.3/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 2/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 2/5
Movie Trailer:

Monday, January 22, 2024

Strays (2023)


Streaming Service: Peacock
Movie Name/Year: Strays (2023) 
Genre: Adventure, Comedy 
Length:  1h 33min 
Rating: R 
Director: Josh Greenbaum 
Writer: Dan Perrault 
Actors: Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, Isla Fisher, Randall Park, Will Forte, Brett Gelman, Rob Riggle, Josh Gad, Sofía Vergara, Jamie Demetriou, Greta Lee, Jimmy Tatro, Harvey Guillén, Jack De Sanz, Phil Morris, Charity Cervantes, Jade Fernandez, Mikayla Rousseau, Aven Lotz, Dan Perrault, Dennis Quaid, Keith Brooks, Hedy Nasser, Dexter Masland, AJ Bernard 
IMDb Blurb: An abandoned dog teams up with other strays to get revenge on his former owner. 
Cat’s Point of View: 
I have struggled to put my thoughts together in order to review Strays.
My daughter and I saw this in the theater with friends, and we had a collective consensus as we left post-credits. Never again. (Much to my husband’s dismay, we’ve told him he’s on his own if he wants to watch it, and we mean it.)
To be fair to Strays, the movie was funny – hilarious adjacent - and even touching occasionally. Unfortunately, there was an over-abundance of toilet humor… and that is in the most literal sense. I’ve seen other reviews give it the fancy term of ‘scatalogical humor’ but I’ll cut to the chase – poop jokes. The movie was full of dog poop.
Sure, it’s about dogs…and they poop. Every living being poops in some form or fashion. It doesn’t stop there, though; and explaining what had our stomachs churning would be giving spoilers so just take my word on it. If the thought of feces has you wanting to run to worship porcelain fast and in a hurry, then Strays may not be the film experience you’re looking for. The upside to that, I guess, is that now Strays is available on streaming, you can always pause it to run and ralph in the privacy of your own home. I did not enjoy holding down my popcorn in the very public theater. (I’m not squeamish, either. There are just some lines my internal fortitude has drawn.)
I’m never about tearing a movie down. There were some positives to Strays. This canine adventure was well executed and I was impressed that they clearly used real dogs for the majority of the scenes. The CGI to enable them to “talk” was also very well executed. The story was endearing, if a little sad, as the clueless, disillusioned, and yet still hopeless romantic pup takes his new friends on an adventure to wreak revenge on his former human. The concept, itself, was hilarious. There was even a dog-movie Easter egg worked in.
When we saw the trailer for the first time, my daughter and I were immediately on board wanting to watch. This is one of those instances that the trailer wasn’t exactly misleading, but it didn’t give us an accurate representation of what we were in store for.
I was also excited to see a film with Jamie Foxx (Day Shift, They Cloned Tyrone, The Burial). I’m always eager to see what Foxx has been working on whether it’s big or small screen productions – and especially while he’s been on medical hiatus from the latter.
Excellent cast and all its best efforts to provide a fun Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993) – like adventure focused on revenge simply couldn’t overcome its own potty jokes to become a film I’d be willing to recommend to others or even ever watch again. This doesn’t make it a bad movie, so to speak, but it definitely goes into my personal One-and-Done category in which very few films reside.
There’s just one more thing to remember: even though Strays is about cute dogs on an adventure, this is not a movie for kids – at all. The R – Rating is absolutely appropriate for the content of this film… and not just because of the poop.
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 53%
 Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 69% 
Metascore – 54% 
Metacritic User Score – 5.2/10 
IMDB Score – 6.3/10 
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating –  2.5/5 
Movie Trailer: