Welcome to week three of VOD Vault, where we take a look at another bunch of direct-to-market releases, many of which hit iTunes and the supermarket shelves without fanfare, walking you – our readers – down the fine line between spending your money wisely, or throwing it away on another slice of DTV dross. Up this week are two films on the opposite end of the cinematic spectrum: Get a Job, a long-delayed rom-com starring Anna Kendrick and Miles Teller; and claustrophobic horror Blood Rush.
GET A JOB
Stars: Anna Kendrick, Alison Brie, Miles Teller, Bryan Cranston, Cameron Richardson, Greg Germann, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Marcia Gay Harden, Nicholas Braun, John C. McGinley, Jorge Garcia, John Cho, Bruce Davidson | Directed by Dylan Kidd
Life after college graduation is not exactly going as planned for Will (Teller) and Jillian (Kendrick) who find themselves lost in a sea of increasingly strange jobs, perpetual unemployment and adulthood angst. But with help from their family, friends and coworkers they soon discover that the most important (and hilarious) adventures are the ones that we don’t see coming.
Get a Job is a film with a storied past. Directed by Dylan Kidd, who made the well-regarded Rodger Dodger back in 2002, finished production on this, his third film, some four years ago and only now – after even actress Anna Kendrick said it would probably never be released on Marc Maron’s podcast a while back – has finally snuck out into the market as, at least here in the UK, a VOD-only release. And that delay, whilst allowing the film to sail on the coat-tails of the more recent success of its stellar cast, has only damaged any relevance the film has with millenials (of whom this film is clearly aimed).
Get a Job is the kind of film that only serves to that remind me of the John Hughes era of US cinema; telling a story that – had it been released a few years earlier as planned – would have captured the zeitgeist perfectly. Now? Even with its issues, Get a Job is still a great rom-com come teen drama that, thanks to its cast (in particular Teller’s character and his band of weed-smoking cohorts) is still well worth a watch. Even if it never quite lives up to Teller’s opening monologue about how coddled kids are these days – receiving congratulations and physical rewards when they haven’t really accomplished anything.
Stars: Stella Maeve, Evan Taubenfeld, Ashley Carin, Michael Madsen | Directed by Harris Demel
Directed by Harris Demel, Blood Rush fixes on Nicole Diamond, an internationally-known model, who finds herself in an upside-down car in the middle of nowhere. In the passenger seat is her unconscious boyfriend, pop singer Scott Donnoly, a.k.a. Scotty Dee. Not a soul is around to help, and her legs are wedged under the dashboard. She’s trapped. Danger lurks everywhere, including a small fire under the car, wild animals in the vicinity, and the unknown, life-threatening physiological effects of hanging upside down indefinitely. With her damaged cell phone, she dials random numbers until she finally reaches someone willing to help – a mysterious man named Casey. However, she soon learns that roadside assistance is the last thing on Casey’s mind.
As if timed to coincide with the release of Iain Softley’s Curve, Blood Rush takes a very similar premise and does pretty much the opposite of what Softley did with the high-concept idea. i.e. actually makes a decent, understated thriller. It’s because first-time director Harris Demel doesn’t try to hide the genre trappings of this film – his is an out and out thriller, not a thriller in drama clothing, Blood Rush, aka Flipped, plays up the tension rather than drama and there’s a real sense of claustrophobia too. Demel’s movie also has a villain (voiced by Michael Madsen) that actually feels like an old-school horror villain – an evil voice on the end of the phone not a pretty boy psycho as seen in Softley’s film. In fact, this movie shares more in common with cat and mouse horror like 1979′s When a Stranger Calls than Curve. And that’s the best compliment I can give.
Blood Rush, aka Flipped, is out now on VOD.
Now this is more like it! Two solid, if totally different, films this week – offering something for everyone and showing just why direct to market/VOD titles are well worth keeping an eye on. Check out previous entries in the VOD Vault right here