The Final Act of Joey Jumbler (Short 2018)

The Final Act of Joey Jumbler (Short 2018)

the final act of joey jumbler

Director (and writer): Harley Chamandy

A party clown must fight to keep his smile on. – IMDB

Have you ever wondered about the facades of the people you meet every single day? From the random passerby to the bus driver that you see everyday. Everyone greets and has all their polite moments, but the stories behind those smiles are sometimes the ones that we never expect. Its why we shouldn’t judge someone by what they do or who they are because everyone has hidden struggles that others do not know about. The Final Act of Joey Jumbler is exactly that. This short film takes us on a day in the life of Joey Jumbler as we see him start his day, go for his job as a clown/entertainer at a party and then back to his personal life, which is him trying to be happy and strong for his little girl.

There is a lot to love in The Final Act of Joey Jumbler. It runs at about 10 minutes and gives us appropriate pacing in telling this story. It hits some moments but never dwells on it for too long. In just a few locations and a few acts, we get the idea of the life and feelings that Joey Jumbler has. Part of this is for the main character, Alain Boucher as Joey Jumbler who delivers a great role. “In Memory Of” at the beginning of the credits also reveals that the story is inspired by Boucher’s real life story, who Chamandy previously worked with in his debut short, Mirage.  At the same time, the credit goes to this 18 year old young filmmaker, Harley Chamandy who directed and wrote this short film, as well as cinematographer, Stephanie Weber Biron, in their collaboration and knowing when to use close ups and frame the shots. Its delivers the emotions and struggles in a heartfelt way.

Everyone has their own story and no matter their profession, deserves their respect. That is one of the messages here. There are a variety of messages that Harley Chamandy’s short film is telling. Be it the difference of social ranking from the scene with Joey Jumbler ridiculed for doing his job but seemingly offending the rich adults of the party or the idea that having money doesn’t make you a better person as both the spoiled kids and the adults were obnoxious. If you look at Making Of this film, it talks about this scene relating to the divisive feelings and conflicts reflecting the Quebec Anglophone and Francophone community and the Quebec. While I do live in the community, perhaps I saw it more of a generalized view of the differences between just wealth and disrespect being the central issue. While that angle will give it more of a personal angle, it also creates a box for the audience it can reach because this is a more regional issue. Touchy issues are good to use however, in this case, Quebec Sovereignty and the obnoxious wealthy Anglophone only makes this movie pin a judgemental view of the two groups represented by only a few individuals. Living in Quebec personally, its one that is deeply rooted and deserves more than a simple one scene to reflect on, perhaps if this issue is one that holds so close to Chamandy’s heart, it is a potential next project but one to be treaded very carefully as with most political films.

At eighteen years old, Harley Chamandy shows a lot of promise in the storytelling depth. It will be interesting to see where this filmmaker will take his voice into a full-length film and what he will deliver next.

The Final Act of Joey Jumbler is currently available to view on Vimeo. Check it out HERE.

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They Remain (2018)

*Screener*

They Remain (2018)

They Remain

Director: Philip Gelatt

Cast: William Jackson Harper, Rebecca Henderson

Based on the 2010 short story, 30- by award-winning author Laird Barron, They Remain follows two scientists, Keith (William Jackson Harper) and Jessica (Rebecca Henderson) who are sent out by a huge corporation  to investigate abnormal animal behaviors occurring in a previous remote area that had some horrible killings happen in the past. Their mission has a month in duration and they are offered high tech surveillance material and a lab to research initial findings. With Keith as their boy scout who goes on according to schedule every day in different districts they’ve established to observe and Jessica to stay back at the camp to do any analysis, the dynamic and relationship of these two people start to evolve over the next days we follow their progress.

they remain

They Remain starts off the story on the right foot. All the right elements are placed into action, just like Keith’s surveillance system and schedule. Things work well in the “no news is good news” sort of deal. We literally watch a lot of walking around and checking surveillance cameras and replacing some gadget in it and Jessica moving around in the lab working on this and that and they talk about trust and human relationships and leak information about what happened in this area years ago and what this mission means for each of them. Quite like a normal indie film, the scale is small so we get to learn about Keith and Jessica as they are primarily the only two people in this film with a small cameo by one other person. There is nothing wrong with this angle actually it is a smart move. William Jackson Harper and Rebecca Henderson both do a great job in  delivering a very good performance with what they are given here.

Much like any recent indie films, They Remain is a slow paced film which starts off with the very mysterious location with a history set in the vast and mysterious open nature. It gives us time to know their two leads and their relationship while sprinkling some findings throughout related to animal behavior such as a dog which seems made a reference to a wolf at one point and abnormal wasps and ant activities. They make great use of this material and setting and have visually appealing shots and cinematography. All of the beautiful visuals are paired up with an off putting and creepy background score that creates an eerie and mysterious atmosphere. There are horror imagery such as red skies and expected jumpscares that always deliver and a mystery cloaked man. These all help build the suspense and atmosphere.

they remain

There is a lot of potential to be a fantastic horror thriller here but where it falls apart is in its script or perhaps the execution of the script. Many adaptations have the same issue of not correctly interpreting what the source material wants to portray well enough. I haven’t read the source material so there is no comparison so I can only give it the benefit of the doubt. They Remain does a lot of atmosphere building but essentially always delivers on its jumpscares rendering it predictable. The first few times the score gives it a boost and some scare factor but as the film goes on, the slow paced paired with predictable jumpscares and an expected development for Keith and Jessica’s relationship all make for a fairly flat experience. What does try to make it more suspenseful is the distortion of reality and illusion that lies in the central question of what is going on here. Keith will keep seeing these different sequences that amp up in intensity and then get cut back to what we would expect is reality and it brings in the question of whether it is actually real or are they merely nightmares. The suspense is present but sadly, there never seems to be a great payoff for all this build-up but rather a not so surprising twist for the ending.

Overall, They Remain delivers on many of the aspects, whether its characters, visuals, setting and music and does it very well but matched up with the pacing and the execution of the script, it just seems to be lacking and not worth all the build-up in the grand finale.

Available On Demand and Special Edition Blu-ray Tuesday, May 29 (US & CANADA)

On all major VOD platforms including: iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Xbox/ Microsoft Store, PlayStation, Vimeo, Vudu, Fandango Now, Kanopy. Also on Movies onDemand via Comcast, Spectrum, Cox and other cable operators

Double Feature: Honey 2 (2011) & Perfect Girl (2014)

This Double Feature is a bit of a mix and mash although I guess you could say they are both fairly VOD features. I wanted some easy to pass the time while I was editing videos so I put on these two films. I watched Honey a really long time ago and it is hard to imagine that it took quite a few years for a sequel to come out which worked kind of like Step Up where it used the background of the first movie but with an entirely different cast. More on that in the review portion. As for Perfect Girl, I believe this is a Singapore film. Its pretty much a romantic comedy. I don’t watch a lot of rom-coms of late so let’s see how this one is going to be.

Honey 2 (2011)

honey 2

Director: Billie Woodruff

Cast: Kat Graham, Randy Wayne, Christophe Shazar, Gerry Bednob, Seychelle Gabriel

Recently released from juvenile detention, talented dancer Maria Bennett finds an outlet for her passion with a new dance crew. – IMDB

I watched Honey a long time ago. The only thing I remember from it was that Jessica Alba was in it and it had a lot of dancing. It wasn’t half bad but then these dance films always are a little generic. But then I like the Step Up franchise so who am I to talk, right? Anyways, I was roaming around Netflix and found Honey 2 starring Kat Graham. Being an avid fan of The Vampire Diaries (well, used to since I need to watch 2 or 3 seasons), Kat Graham being in this peaked my interest. I didn’t have much hopes for it being good or unique but it could have surprised me, right? Point is, it didn’t. In fact, it was packed with very predictable dialogue. The dancing in some parts and the soundtrack was okay but then, it still hits a lot of the generic bits and there wasn’t much to love about the characters since they felt so empty. Maybe its because Kat Graham is such a good girl that its hard to imagine her pulling her serious tough face and then I’m thinking that it looks a little forced.

I honestly don’t have a lot to say about this. I watched it and it was okay. The contingency of this being okay is the fact that I tolerate a lot of dancing films. I like it for the energy and the generic inspiration story of following your dreams no matter the challenges. Its really as basic as that.

Perfect Girl (2014)

perfect girl

Director (and writer): Jason Chan

Cast: Jason Chan, Kahleila Hisham, Christian Lee

Stan and Jenny have been each other’s secret crush since high school. When they meet again years later, the fantasy of first love may keep them apart. – Netflix

Lets just get this out of the way before we begin. I love films with small cast and focus on characters and certain scenarios. With that Perfect Girl was a pretty quirky romance experience. It had a lot of inner monologues of the two characters, Stan and Jenny and their outlook on relationships and the fantasies they had of each other from high school and their fears and doubts of being together now. In fact, it actually is what makes the film more genuine. Think Flipped but a grown up version of it on a much smaller scale.

Both Stan and Jenny standout quite a bit. In fact, they feel very much in their element of wanting to be together. I do have to say that sometimes, the monologue feels like it has a bit of clunkiness to it but overall, the characters build a depth as we know them more. It tells us their back story from both of their point of views and their past crush intermittent to the reality now when they meet again. There’s some odd slides or whatnot that comes in talking about what a Perfect Girl is and that sort of thing which I didn’t particularly think it was necessary but it made it more of a chapter experience from one phase to the next which cut the film down. I love learning about how different people view love and this definitely fit the bill for me. Do I think that it’ll be for everyone? Probably not. There is a ton of finesse to it. There is a lot of inner monologue that could get on some people’s nerves. Honestly, this romantic comedy is about as indie as indie can get and yet the story reminds me of so many people in my life and even myself, not that I had such a memorable first love but the elements of the relationships made me connect to them.

With that said, Perfect Girl had its definite flaws but the story flowed well and it was a genuine experience with characters that I could connect with and it also made me laugh a few times so I’d say it did its job pretty well.

That’s it for this double feature!
A bit of the choices from inner world preferences of Kim right here.
Those choices always can be really good or really bad and I’m usually aware of it before the movie begins.

Have you seen Honey 2 and/or Perfect Girl? 

Double Feature: Submerged (2016) & Eden Lake (2008)

Welcome to today’s double feature!

I’m trying out to have these themed double features every once in a while when I can. This time, we’re pairing two indie horror thrillers. The first I had never really heard anything of before and honestly watched it as a filler one night when I was working on other things and Eden Lake was one I had both recommendations and dislikes of it which has me intrigued as to how I would feel about it.

Submerged (2016)

Submerged

Director: Steven C. Miller

Cast: Jonathan Bennett, Talulah Riley, Rosa Salazar, Samuel Hunt, Cody Christian, Giles Matthey, Denzel Whitaker, Willa Ford, Mario Van Peebles

A young woman and her friends, who’ve been targeted by kidnappers, must do everything they can to survive after their limo is forced off the road and plunged into a canal. – IMDB

*sigh* I honestly don’t know how to write up this review right now. There is no extent of how indifferent I feel about Submerged. Its clear to say that at some point,  particularly the male lead of Mean Girls that Jonathan Bennett had a lovely peak in his career. Then he did some odd roles in other teen comedies like Love Wrecked (review) with Amanda Bynes for example, then he ended up with some Hallmark films like A Christmas Kiss II (review) & A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale (review). Its been a staple of my last two years of Christmas marathon, however as generic as those two were, they were never disappointing. Finally, we see Jonathan Bennett in a thriller so I was down to give it a chance and well, guess what, this one was disappointing. I can’t say that his character was disappointing but rather the thriller itself was not incredibly standout. The ending itself felt like it was out of nowhere a little and didn’t quite fit into the story as it was really to give the twist. Maybe there were hints along the way, but then it doesn’t give me that particular motivation to go rewatch it either.

Submerged

The story sets up itself in the trapped in the car concept, which is a good premise since we don’t seem to have a lot of substance to those parts. And then it alternates between the past to what leads to it. Fact is, the characters here doesn’t quite give us anyone to cheer for. Jonathan Bennett’s character has a little bit of development and back story however, at some point, it seems to want the viewers to believe in who is involved and then turn it around at the ending. As I mentioned, the twist is out of nowhere but then, somehow the lack of interest from the start to that point just wasn’t engaging enough to care about it.

Overall, Submerged is yet another disappointing thriller that takes a rather formulaic approach for a not too frequently used premise and yet never gives us engaging characters to make the out of nowhere final twist feel worth it.

Eden Lake (2008)

 

eden lake

Director (and writer): James Watkins

Cast: Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender, Jack O’Connell, Jumayn Hunter, Thomas Turgoose, James Burrows

Refusing to let anything spoil their romantic weekend break, a young couple confront a gang of loutish youths with terrifyingly brutal consequences. – IMDB

Eden Lake is one of those films that are a little harder to review. Its one of the earlier Michael Fassbender films before he has the fame nowadays. In this horror thriller, it takes a slow beginning but ends up picking up the pace quite a bit as the story takes a turn for the worse with menacing kids lead by a kid who craves the violence. Him and his crew of other teens start chasing this couple down who first starts off with stealing their car and ends up chasing them and causing his dog to die, turning into something vengeful. The story does take many turns from bad to worse to completely intense. To be fair, Michael Fassbender’s character does play more of a supporting character role as Kelly Reilly takes on something of a stronger woman here as she tries to make her escape. In one way, I didn’t feel quite as immersed in the beginning however as the disturbing characters and events starting happening in quicker frequency, it definitely had me on the edge of my seat hoping that Kelly Reilly’s character would get out.

eden lake

On the other hand, while I do agree that the villainous teen leader, Brett definitely was convincing in his extremities that started out quite vengeful, it is also quite a terrifying thought as the days went by after I saw Eden Lake. Perhaps that is the terror here is that a vacation going array can be in this sort of everyday sort of situation. Kids are meant to be portrayed in horror/thrillers as innocent, defenseless or even annoying in some cases, however, these kids are out of the ordinary and we never quite get a reason why Brett acts that way throughout but we do see that the idea of peer pressure and wanting to belong in this alpha group makes these other kids who are doing things they don’t particularly want to out of fear. Its one of those movies that do have quite a lot of thought behind a normal survival horror story set in the middle of nowhere on vacation. And as I think about it more, the more I feel that it worked very well.

Overall, Eden Lake is a rather slow burn tension building horror thriller. For both the setting and the increasing extreme moments here, it sets a very psychological survival and escape experience that might start off feeling like not so much but definitely ends up being more than that in leaps and bounds. As an ending note, I’m not too sure how I feel about the ending but its one those things where you either like it or you don’t.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen Submerged and/or Eden Lake? Thoughts?

Double Feature: Minions (2015) & Monster Trucks (2016)

Welcome to the next double feature!

I feels like a while since I’ve actually done one of these. If you’ve seen my What’s Up, I’ve actually seen quite a few films just never seemed to get time to write one up. Either way, I needed something light and fluffy so I went to the Family and Children part of Netflix and chose these two on two separate days. Maybe the stress and brain deadness helped me enjoy them more than I would normally would which puts it in a class of their own.

Either way, Minions and Monster Trucks were both movies on my list that I wanted to check out and I did. Let’s go!

Minions (2015)

Minions

Director: Kyle Balda & Pierre Coffin

Voice cast: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Jennifer Saunders, Geoffrey Rush, Steve Carrell, Pierre Coffin

Minions Stuart, Kevin, and Bob are recruited by Scarlet Overkill, a supervillain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb, hatches a plot to take over the world. – IMDB

Minions have definitely made a name for themselves as the silly sidekicks in the Despicable Me movies. The biggest question when this movie was announced was whether they were able to carry a movie by themselves with their random gibberish talk and unknown past. Of course, Minions focuses on this point and gives them an origin story. Why not, right? Everyone is doing it and it seems that they are well-deserved especially since Penguins from Madagascar also got their own film just before (I think..don’t quote me on timeline of movie releases). With that said, while the origin story of Minions does feel a little odd and generic, they are still them. They offer a kind of entertainment that comes with the family entertainment category and works in the world of villains as they represent their group to find a worthy villain to follow and end up at Villain Con.

Minions

Its hard to not like Minions. To be honest, I started the movie without a lot of expectations. However, it did offer the entertainment I wanted but with a few surprises along the way such as the excellent voice cast they had for the other characters from Sandra Bullock’s Scarlet Overkill to her husband, Herb voiced by Jon Hamm. While I believe I had learned about those before the movie and I only remembered it when they appeared as they are the main villainous roles here, the big surprise for me was the voices of the Nelsons, a family of robbers that give them a lift to Villain Con where it was voiced by Allison Janney and Michael Keaton. They have such distinctive voices, especially Allison Janney that I knew right away it was her and just loved it. Since we’re on the topic of voice acting, Minions having their own film does highlight their mesh of languages from moments of French to Spanish and probably other ones that we personally don’t know.

Overall, Minions was an entertaining movie to say the least. Was it necessary? Probably not. I still like them more as the Despicable Me sidekicks characters. However, this movie did have a great voice cast for its other characters which gave it a fun touch which worked in its favor a whole bunch. But then, it could be because I like Sandra Bullock and Allison Janney a ton.

Monster Trucks (2016)

Monster Trucks

Director: Chris Wedge

Cast: Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Thomas Lennon, Barry Pepper, Rob Lowe, Danny Glover, Amy Ryan, Holt McCallany

A young man working at a small town junkyard discovers and befriends a creature which feeds on oil being sought by a fracking company. – IMDB

Cheesy family entertainment is really what Monster Trucks is. Its pretty dumb when I think about it now but somehow, it still was a pretty fun little flick. Perhaps its because Jane Levy is pretty cool and I’ve enjoyed her films from Evil Dead (review) to Don’t Breathe (review) and its nice to see her not in something horrifying. The story in Monster Trucks is very simple and basic so great for some brain shut off time while keeping very much to the family entertainment as there isn’t any vulgar language or even a lot of romance for that part. The main focus was really on the creature here, simply named Creech by Lucas Till’s character, Tripp. Creech is something of an odd creature that flew out of a fracking operation as they discovered some oil-feeding creatures. There are your normal set of cast of characters as the big bad corporation sends out their meanest hencemen to hunt down Creech so to keep their operations going. There’s the scientist who has had enough of the crappy ways and wants to do good for these creatures. And of course, a little bit of teen romance as Jane Levy’s smart nerdy girl role, Meredith bonds with Tripp over the many adventures with Creech as they hide him out in the broken truck and he runs it with his many tentacles.

Monster Trucks

Among the action and chase sequences and over the top moments, the true treasure that I loved the best was definitely Creech. It was dorky and hilarious. While it couldn’t talk, it had so many expressions. It reminded me a lot of something like Totoro from My Neighbor Totoro and Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. The toothy smile and the fascination for doing adrenaline rush things along with its crazy stunts and having so much enjoyment out of it while scaring the heck out of Tripp. The movie was never in the control of Tripp or Meredith, it was all Creech’s show and its that unpredictability that makes this rather generic film have a little heart and quite a few laughs. Its always fun to learn about new creatures and their designs and that is what gives Monster Trucks its uniqueness.

Overall, no, Monster Trucks is not a masterpiece or maybe not even good in many aspects especially in its generic storyline. However, its creature Creech is the star of the show and along with some cute and clueless moments between some of the characters, it makes some harmless family entertainment with some laughs and simplicity.

That’s it for this week’s family themed double feature!
Have you seen Minions or Monster Trucks? Thoughts?

Double Feature: Mayhem (2017) & Newness (2017)

Double feature time!

Can I just say how excited I am to talk about these two movies? By far, the most excited I’ve felt in a while. I might actually discuss Newness and films of that sort in a video, once that initial video gets edited…

Let’s just get right to it then!

Mayhem (2017)

Mayhem

Director: Joe Lynch

Cast: Steven Yeun, Samara Weaving, Steven Brand, Caroline Chikezie, Kerry Fox, Dallas Roberts, Mark Frost, André Eriksen

A virus spreads through an office complex causing white collar workers to act out their worst impulses. – IMDB

Over the top violence is what Mayhem is all about. Its extreme and over the top and every bit of it is just all kinds of fun. It goes way out of control. Its makes us wonder how much people repress their feelings at work and just how a virus like this would just be absolutely nuts. For what the film wants to achieve, it definitely seems like they got there.

mayhem 2017

Their two leads played by Steven Yeun and Samara Weaving are incredibly awesome. Just because they each had their own objective and eventually also grew to trust each other despite the virus in their systems. Plus to find their emotions amplified without any barriers gave them their own credibility. The best comparison I had when I was watching this captivated was the movie was structured like The Raid, where they started at the bottom floor and worked their way to the protected yet infected shareholders at the top to get what they deserved. Except this was much more comedic. This gave them the opportunity to defeat one person or barrier after the next and many times it was playing on events that happened at the beginning of the movie before everyone’s virus started kicking in. Mayhem may have its predictable bits that a story like usually has but the non stop action and crazy spiral of events makes it hard to turn away from. Its entertainment at its very best.

Overall, Mayhem is a definite worthy watch if you are into this type of bloody and violent horror comedy. Steven Yeun and Samara Weaving are great as the leads but that doesn’t take away from the myriad of supporting character they need to get through that represent the exaggerated roles in the company as they move up the corporate ladder.

Newness (2017)

Newness

Director: Drake Doremus

Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Laia Costa, Danny Huston, Courtney Eaton, Matthew Gray Gubler, Pom Klementieff

In contemporary Los Angeles, two millennials navigating a social media-driven hookup culture begin a relationship that pushes both emotional and physical boundaries. – IMDB

I love movies like these ones and Drake Doremus seems to have hit a winner with this one, especially when compared to the previous movie of his that I reviewed called Equals (review). With Newness, it takes us on a journey through the relationship of millenials trapped in the world of online dating. Perhaps this story might not hit the chords for a lot of people on every level but at some level, it will highlight its rawness and realness of relationships whether it be the struggle to communicate and be open about their feelings or whether its about knowing whether you have crossed the line from liking to loving someone and perhaps for some, its learning when you are willing to settle down instead of always searching for what this movie is called, Newness. I personally have a soft spot for this type of movie topic, especially when it rides the border of being in the steamy romance category while still delivering a deeper message.

newness

While I do enjoy a lot of the films that Nicholas Hoult has been a part of, I can’t say I’m a big fan of his acting. However, in Newness, it feels like he grasped the role in such a believable way. In fact, I’d go to the extent to say to date, its my favorite role of his. It helps in romance movies that the actress is also doing a fantastic job in portraying her role. Laia Costa literally stole the show. She felt real and we watched Marty and Gabi grow on screen and find ways for their relationship to work and create a balance for their desires and struggles but still remain together. Their characters weren’t perfect. They made mistakes and had to get through it together. Fact is, it made them real and genuine. They were also paired up with some great supporting roles. Gabi meets this rich divorced man called Larry, played by Danny Huston who wakes her up a little on his perspective of relationships. While Marty has talks with his best friend, Paul who shares a lot of insight on his thoughts on relationships. Different characters at different stages in life giving their own perspective on relationships as these two tried to work out their own was what it needed.

Newness probably isn’t for everybody. It deserves a bit of an open mind on this subject and probably a more forgiving view on the trial and errors of the path the two main characters take. Romance films have been pretty lackluster of late but Newness is definitely one of my new favorites. In my mind, Newness is about the bumpy road in relationships and finding the same pacing as your other half until you reach the same page. People change as they go through the different things in their own lives and the people they meet and we don’t all have a defined road map of how to navigate relationships, love and all the feelings that go in between. Newness may be about millenials (which I apparently am considered) but it delivers a much deeper aspect of relationships, much less about the events but what these decisions did for the characters to allow them to develop. I love a great story with fantastic character development and Newness had all of that.

On a side note: Its peaked my interest on Drake Doremus’ directorial efforts to take a look as it seems on a quick glance that he has a love for making romantic films of all kinds.

Double Feature: Bug (2006) & You Get Me (2017)

 Another double feature here today! Tax season makes for a lot of background film watching. Gotta get something positive from the boring tax preparation, right? 😉

Two odd and random choices for myself since these two are two films that I wasn’t particularly completely invested in which was great for the criteria of being a background film. The first is 2006’s psychological thriller Bug with one of the debut roles of Michael Shannon played alongside Ashley Judd. Followed up by Netflix Original You Get Me starring Bella Thorne in a role outside of her normal bitchy high school girl, which is replaced by an obsessive character. I guess in some psychological way, these two do have something in common.

Let’s check it out!

Bug (2006)

bug

Director: William Friedkin

Cast: Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon, Harry Connick Jr., Lynn Collins, Brian F. O’Byrne

An unhinged war veteran holes up with a lonely woman in a spooky Oklahoma motel room. The line between reality and delusion is blurred as they discover a bug infestation. – IMDB

Where do I even start with Bug? In a completely spontaneous viewing, I checked out Bug on Shudder. What started out with something of generic story of a lady, played by Ashley Judd, hiding away from her ex,, played by Harry Connick Jr.  after he was released from prison and meets a stranger, played by Michael Shannon who she ends up falling in love with. Its easy to chalk this movie away in its opening moments but as the plot thickens once we start see the relationship between Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon gets deeper, it gets so much more thrilling than the threat of Harry Connick Jr’s character showing up. Although, I do have to say that I thought Harry Connick Jr did such a great job at being the ex. I’ve only seen him in some romantic drama with Sandra Bullock. I think it was Hope Floats (review).

The question here really lies in whether you believe Michael Shannon’s character and the conspiracy theory that he believes in…or is it the reality? The movie does a great job as his crazy actions expand to where Ashley Judd’s character believes it also. As they get more unhinged, the blur in reality and delusion (as mentioned in the summary above) is the key element of the psychological thriller and its executed in a pretty competent way. Right up to the end, even when some extra characters come into the scene, it proves the theory and then denies it and its just a crazy trip you take with these characters. Whatever you want to make of the ending will depend on how you would analyze the whole thing and get out of the movies.

Props here goes to both the wonderful cast here. It always baffles me how underrated Michael Shannon is because in every role I’ve seen him in, he just does a great job. Convincing and believeable role. The story is thrilling and full of questions and as these questions bug these characters, we are wondering what is the same thing and the reality and delusion. The more I think about it, the more I want to watch it again and see if I can pick up something else.

You Get Me (2017)

you get me

Director: Brent Bonacorso

Cast: Taylor John Smith, Bella Thorne, Halston Sage, Nash Grier, Anna Akana

Tyler’s crazy in love with his perfect girlfriend Ali, but when a big fight makes him and Ali break up, he lands in the arms of sexy out-of-towner Holly who shows him a night he’s gonna remember. The next morning he finds that not only is Ali taking him back, but Holly is a new student at their school and is dead set on her new man. – IMDB

I’m definitely in a 50/50 feeling for this one. I guess it explains how I’ve never been more certain about giving this one a 2.5/5 on Letterboxd. You  Get Me isn’t particularly innovative. It leans into a lot of predictable territory. However, the execution isn’t all bad. They do some nice shots and a good progression from some sweet moments in the beginning that spirals more and more out of control. I’d have to say that a lot of the greatness in this movie is that to date (from what I’ve seen, haven’t seen The Babysitter yet), I feel like Bella Thorne delivers one of her best performances. She’s always been a fairly one dimensional actress where she is the bitchy self-centred teenage girl role. This time, she dumps the bitchy and brings in the crazy and man, she definitely delivers it.

Sure, You Get Me never really hits the dangerous levels because it doesn’t seem like it would step into something so extreme, even though Netflix Originals usually do get some extreme if they wanted. There are some nice sexy scenes. Other than Bella Thorne standing out and Taylor John Smith being okay as the male lead since he is a decently attractive dude, I wasn’t too on board with the monologues he did. It felt so unnecessary and preachy about life and whatever. It wasn’t his acting that bothered me but just the script for that part. It was trying too hard to be deeper than the movie actually was. There are some thrilling moments but unfortunately, its one that is easy to watch and had a few tense moments but still never reaches the potential it could have reached as it didn’t break out of the predictable territory.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen Bug and/or You Get Me?