Friday, February 16, 2024

Meg 2: The Trench (2023)

Streaming Service: MAX 
Movie Name/Year: Meg 2: The Trench (2023) 
Genre: Action, Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi 
Length:  1h 56min 
Rating: PG-13 
Director: Ben Wheatley 
Writers: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, Dean Georgaris, Steve Alten 
Actors: Jason Statham, Jing Wu, Shuya Sophia Cai, Cliff Curtis, Page Kennedy, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Skyler Samuels, Melissanthi Mahut, Whoopie Van Raam, Kiran Sonia Sawar, Felix Mayr, Sienna Guillory 
IMDb Blurb: A research team encounters multiple threats while exploring the depths of the ocean, including a malevolent mining operation. 
Cat’s Point of View: 
As with The Meg (2018), I was eagerly anticipating the release of Meg 2: The Trench. My daughter and I were quick to watch it as soon as we could, and we weren’t disappointed.
There was a slight change in tone with the sequel, but that was to be expected. A few of the core initial cast did return to reprise their roles, and we were introduced to new characters – some of which may remain moving forward (hopefully). Cliff Curtis’s (Doctor Sleep, Reminiscence, Avatar: The Way of Water) character, Mac, remained mostly the same as a steadfast anchor for the meg surviving crew; while others reappeared with significant character progression.
I love how Jason Statham (Mechanic: Resurrection, Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre, The Beekeeper) and Shuya Sophia Cai' (Somewhere Only We Know, The Meg, Mr. Corman) relationship evolved in the passage of time since the first movie. Jonas and Meiying’s interactions are at the very heart of these movies and are a font of giggles, smiles, and worry while I watch their treacherous escapades.
I mentioned in my review of The Meg that it had given a great starting point, as well, for Page Kennedy’s (Rhett and Link's Buddy System, Snowfall, The Upshaws) character, DJ. While he might be seen somewhat as the comic relief of the group, he’s definitely not just thrown in the story for kicks. His character shows an actual arc of development from the experiences he survived in the first movie.
We also got introduced to some new characters, but most notably joining the central team was action veteran Jing Wu (Iron Man 3, The Wandering Earth, Ride On) as Jiyuming Zhang. His brilliant, yet somehow still na├»ve optimism is a driving force for quite a lot of the plot elements of this sequel – both involving the megs and the tangential chaos that once more emerges from what was supposed to be simple scientific expeditions in the deep.
The action  in Meg 2: The Trench remained on point (with Statham still performing pretty much all of his own stunts) and the effects didn’t disappoint. There was even a hilarious call-back Easter Egg referencing the first movie, as well as a very clear nod to Jurassic Park (1993) that I caught. (Since I have yet to read the books the movies have been adapted from, I couldn’t tell you whether or not this was an element of the production or if it was in the novels, also. I can, however, tell you that author Steve Alten’s meg series was published after Michael Chrichton’s dinoasaur novels and their original movie adaptations were released.)
The only factor that even remotely nags at me about this franchise is that it has lost a little bit of the terror involved with a creature feature horror flick by sticking to its PG-13 guns. There just isn’t enough carnage on the screen for what you’d expect from such a mammoth monster… or monsters, as the case may be, on the loose.  Even so, it’s still a lot of fun to watch and I remain hopeful that more movies in this franchise keep getting the green light. As I mentioned before, there are many books within Alten’s series that they can draw from, after all.
As of the time I’ve written this article, there is still no official word on whether or not there will be a third movie in this series. My appendages are still crossed and I hope you’ll give Meg 2: The Trench a chance if you’re a fan of this genre.
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 27% 
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 74% 
Metascore –  40% 
Metacritic User Score – 4.8/10 
IMDB Score – 5.0/10 
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4.5/5
 Movie Trailer:

Monday, February 12, 2024

Midnight Peepshow (2024)

Movie Name/Year: Midnight Peepshow (2024)
Genre: Horror
Length: 1h 33min
Rating: Unrated
Director: Airell Anthony Hayles, Andy Edwards, Jake West, Ludovica Musumeci
Actors: Zach Galligan, Chiara D’Anna, Richard Cotton, Sarah Diamond, Jamie Bacon, Derek Nelson, Jack Fairbank. Miki Davis, Ryan Oliva, Ocean M. Harris
Blurb from IMDb: A man stumbles across a darkly magical peepshow booth

Selina’s Point of View:
In some ways, Midnight Peepshow was everything I feared it would be… and yet, it’s also everything I hoped.
The trailer made Midnight Peepshow seem like a sexy version of Saw (2004) – which is one of the strangest comparisons I’ve ever made. It’s not exactly something I ever thought I would, or wanted, to see. Still, the trailer looked good enough that I considered putting it on my Top 20. It would have been about 21 or 22 – just missing the cut.
I knew there would likely be a lot of unnecessary sex scenes. The title is a bit telling. In that way, Midnight Peepshow was exactly as I feared. The sex scenes were way too drawn out, especially since they weren’t all that in depth. It was just one character bouncing on another. There was a bit of plot involved, but it was visually boring.
I’d also warn that there are some triggering moments among those scenes, and you should stay away from the film if that’s something that could be a problem for you.

What I didn’t expect was the genre of Midnight Peepshow. It was not just a horror; it was an anthology – complete with a framing device. Nothing in the trailer prepared me for that. There’s some mention in the promotional materials about there being more than one story, but not the way they were combined.
The genre doesn’t affect much except my perception. I happen to love a good anthology. Short stories inside larger ones just do it for me. Maybe it’s the ADHD, but I almost always wind up zoned in right up until the end. When I realized Midnight Peepshow was an anthology, I found myself giving it even more attention.
As it turned out, there was some real story to it all. I enjoyed each part of the ‘black rabbit’ plot, including how it was all tied together. Perhaps it got a little convoluted in the end, but even that felt like a decent conclusion. It felt as if the convolution was appropriate, for lack of a better word.
I enjoyed it, and I’d watch it again. Midnight Peepshow was a competent horror anthology.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.0/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 3.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 3/5
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R
Movie Trailer: