HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Reach Me
HTS Overall Score:66
These fractured stories with a single unifying element seem to be all the rage right now. It was made publically popular with the likes of “Crash” and “Love Actually” and seems to be sticking around, much like the shaky cam craze that started with Paul Greengrass and his heavy handed use of it with the “Bourne” movies. We all know the type, a bunch of completely unrelated stories that all seem to innocuously bump into each other at some point in the film and have this one common denominator that ties them all together by the end of the film. “Reach Me” is a passion project, one that had to have a kickstarter campaign to actually get it made and you can tell that it’s not a massive budget film just by seeing that and the inclusion of 10 gazillion biggish named actors in the ensemble. The movie got lambasted when it was announced, and has been lambasted since, and while I don’t think the movie is a work of genius, it was surprisingly entertaining for what it was.
The story is pretty basic. A reclusive man by the name of Teddy Raymond (Tom Berenger) has written this self-help book titled “Reach Me”. The books has reached thousands of people and helped many people cure themselves or at least overcome crippling fears that they have in their life. The thing is, nobody knows who he is besides one of his patients, Kate (Lauren Cohan) and manager, Wilson (Terry Crews). He’s being hounded by a journalist named Roger (Kevin Connolly) and his boss, Gerald (Sylvester Stallone) in an effort to come out into the spotlight and it seems that Teddy will have to face his own fears as Roger relentlessly snaps at his heels.
At the same time we have plethora of side stories that all wind into the greater one about the book. We have two hit men (played by Omari Hardwick and David O’Hara) who end their life of crime due to the novel, a ticked off mob boss (Tom Sizemore), A housewife who burned down her home when she found out her husband was cheating on her (Kyra Sedgwick), and her niece from London who’s struggling to make a life for herself as an actress and is being taken advantage of by her creepy co-actor on set (Cary Elwes). Top that off with Wolfie, a cop with a craving for violence, using his badge as justification for killing and his priest who deals with the sins of the bottle. Whew, and that is only about 2/3 of the storylines contained within the 93 minute runtime. As you can guess, the book is the one common factor that the players have in this game and that all leads them to Teddy Raymond and an ending that will redeem or condemn them all.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=35857[/img]These L.A. ensemble films can be hit or miss. “Jackie Brown” and “Pulp Fiction” are examples of the good ones, but there are plenty of bad ones two. This is the same director that brought us “2 Days in the Valley” which had me really worried, but in the end it lies somewhere in the middle. “Reach Me” is not going to blow the lid off of the genre or really make you feel as if your life is changed dramatically as a result. It brings light to phobias and fears that human beings struggle with and you can tell really tries it’s hardest to give it a sense of humanity and feeling, but ends up just being entertaining. There is a certain amount of triteness to the lessons in there and some people who ACTUALLY struggle with powerful phobias may feel that they make don’t treat it with enough respect. Just looking at the individual stories though, allows for the little vignettes to entertain you in their own rights. Tom Berenger as the mob boss is pure gold as you just can’t help but laugh at Tom doing what he does best…yelling at people at the top of his lungs. Stallone is billed at the top, but he’s actually one of the more minor characters in the film, with the majority going to the 2 hit men, Wolfie and Roger. I have to admit that I REALLY had a good time with Wolfie’s story. Wolfie is portrayed as cool, suave and the epitome of an old west Sheriff who loves gunning down the bad guys. The action hero music that goes off whenever he’s in top forum had me laughing hysterically (in a good way) and it just felt as if the director was planting his tongue firmly in cheek every time Thomas Jane walked on screen with that massive old west revolver.
The biggest thing about the movie has to be the actually ensemble cast. The cast itself take up half the cover art with the list that can go on for a mile and still keep on going. I was flabbergasted to see the older A listers and other popular characters just litter the landscape with cameos and main roles. Unfortunately that’s the highlight of the film (well beside Thomas Jane playing the Punisher…..errr Wolfie) as the rest of the movie is just decently entertaining. It won’t reinvent the wheel, or be hailed as a classic, but I had a solid time and for a direct to video movie, it actually put a grin on my face.
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, violence, language, drug use, and smoking
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=35865[/img]“Reach Me” is a very low budget film shot on digital video and that brings all the good points and bad points to the table. The good is that the film looks smooth and clean for the most part. The colors are a bit on the cool side, but are given nice saturation and look well balanced with natural skin tones and solid contrast levels. The detail is quite impressive as you can see all the little crevices in the aging actor’s faces quite easily and the fine detail on clothing or buildings is impeccable. The clarity is sharp and I really can’t complain at all about the black levels. The bad comes in the form of some gritty looking video noise that fluctuates through the movie. Some scene (especially out door scenes) look great, but the minute night time comes in the noise gets a little ugly. Add in some nasty banding throughout the movie and you have a movie that shows its budget, but certainly does its best with the lower end cameras being used for the shoot.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=35873[/img]The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD presentation on the Blu-ray fares a little bit better than the video does, giving a very pleasing track to enjoy, albeit with some minor caveats. The track is a bit front heavy, as one can expect from a film that revolves around a lot of talking and the dialogue is definitely well represented. No distortions, no fading voices and the dynamic range is quite solid. There’s not a whole lot of room to crank up the subs or hear the surrounds blast off, but there is still a surprising amount of detail in those back channels. A slamming car door or the barking of dogs in the rear distance can be heard quite well and the rumble of L.A. bleeds nicely into all 4 main channels quite nicely. The LFE is pretty mild except when we have to deal with Wolfie, as he embodies the cool “action” guy in the movie. When that hand cannon he carries lights up things get loud REAL fast and it sounds like a shotgun blast with every pull of the trigger or slam of a door in slow motion.
A little vapid, a little devoid of the intelligence it so desperately tries to imitate, “Reach Me” ends up being a decently entertaining ensemble movie that reminded me of a less emotional (and even a little less pretentious) version of “Crash”. A huge L.A. ensemble cast, an emotional ending and some fun performances. Personally I think the movie is worth a watch just for Thomas Jane and Cary Elwes, but I definitely thinks it’s a decent rental, despite the mediocre video and abysmal extras. Rental.
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Kyra Sedgwick, Lauren Cohan, Thomas Jane
Directed By: John Herzfeld
Written By: John Herzfeld
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English DD 2.0
Studio: Millennium Media
Runtime: 93 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: December 30th 2014
Buy Reach Me Blu-ray on Amazon
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