Kickstarted flick may have Sylvester Stallone but that’s not enough
Reach Me is so overloaded with bit parts and bit players and bit stories, it’s a wonder if the Kickstarter funds which were used to finance this bizarre feature were blown merely adding more faces to the screen.
Part self-help comedy, part motivational feel good story, Reach Me spends most of its time, well, reaching. A swarm of characters find solace in their personal lives due to a hokey, life changing book/story catalyst penned by an unknown author, Teddy Raymond. It’s like Crash, only egregiously indulgent in its own form and without any metaphors. So, nothing like Crash.
While the word “disaster” is probably overly harsh, this utterly contemptible concoction joins a murderous cop (Thomas Cop) with a dress designing felon (Kyra Sedgwick) and a flimsy journalist (Kevin Connolly) with a broken women (Lauren Chen), spritzed with a German Dachshund enthusiast (Christoph M. Ohrt), all set alongside a street tough rapper (Nelly). And that’s not even half of them. Tom Sizemore, Sylvester Stallone, Kelsey Grammer, Danny Trejo – the list grows and fattens this run around narrative.
Reach Me spends most of its time, well, reaching.
Dressed in quirky music as if an attempt to state obviously what is (supposed to be) funny, Reach Me never finds itself or a ground to work from. Between the elements of heavy, almost cartoonish violence and light life problems meant to be medicated by this collection of paperback jargon, TV writer/director John Herzfeld’s first feature mimics his usual directorial stomping grounds.
This script seems destined for poignancy or dramatic reveals, but instead trips up before any satisfaction with the climax. Teddy Raymond’s (Tom Berenger) enigma as a non-public speaking writer just dies as reveals begin to spill out onto the screen, leaving Reach Me without a single memorable mark. All of those characters – all of those roles – cram together to understand Teddy’s methods, and instead, Reach Me has to find a way to close off an outrageous number of barely connected storylines in a matter of minutes.
So much of Reach Me feels like a swarm of named actors bound together in an effort to grasp the landscape of crowdfunding and how it will change filmmaking. Each one wants this on their hip, up-to-date resume – “Starred in Kickstarter movie.” Actual quality is secondary.
Captured digitally but then seemingly layered with a consistent artificial grain, Reach Me never convincingly sells itself as film. Millennium’s encode won’t help. “Grain” is only further hindered by low bitrates. Some additional banding, oddly frequent, is also prevalent.
Reach Me has problems, obviously. Most are on the source itself. Post production has hit the edge enhancement switch, causing a harmful loss of fidelity with distance. Halos may be tight as they surround characters between layers of contrast, but the effect is never lost.
In close, the disc seems like a winner. Facial definition is actually outstanding, loading the screen with a sense of sharpness, fabricated or not. Textures are resolved and lighting schemes are made to add various specific shadows. Contrast and black levels (two strong consistencies) bring in the needed depth.
If the film itself is erratic, color timing is equally so. While meant to match tone and mood, application is so wild, it’s almost impossible to decipher the intent. Between the yellows, the super saturation, dense oranges, pale grays, and dour desaturated hues, there is no merit to the flailing palette swaps. However, no one can say it’s not loaded with variety.
Dialog is well prioritized. That’s something for this otherwise anemic TrueHD mix. The rest is sagging, lacking in energy or audio composition. The best Reach Me will do is cast a sense of being on the beach. Soft waves roll in, seagulls screech, and there exists a general airiness to those situations. All else is front-loaded, and mostly center-loaded. Not even a flurry of gunshots will do much to perk this up.
Given the soft score, music is also downplayed. Spread into the rears is nominal; stereos pick up the majority.
Even if Reach Me didn’t come together, the process of its creation through crowdfunding should have offered some type of bonus. Yet, there’s nothing here except trailers.
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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.