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Reach Me

Millennium Entertainment // R // December 30, 2014
List Price: $24.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ian Jane | posted December 23, 2014 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

Written and directed by John Herzfeld and funded through a Kickstarter crowdsourcing campaign, revolves around the effects of a self-help book written by a mysterious writer named Teddy (Tom Berenger). As the book becomes increasingly popular, its effects can be seen in the lives of a variety of characters, all of whom live in Los Angeles. And what an eclectic cast of characters it is, that being the movie's key selling point and an excuse to trot out one celebrity bit part player after another in an attempt to convince the audience that what they're watching is not only entertaining, but yeah, it makes perfect sense. No reason to scoff at any of this, right?

Sadly that's not the case. As we zip from one scene to the next we're treated to parts like a grizzled cop named Wolfie (Thomas Jane) who winds up hanging out with a felon named Colette (Kyra Sedgwick), a fashion designer. There's the journalist, Roger (Kevin Connolly), who meets up with a woman going through a tough time named Kate (Lauren Cohan, best known as Maggie on The Walking Dead). There's the rapper named E-Ruption who has made it up from his roots on the tough streets and there's the dog obsessed Tommy (Christoph M. Ohrt). Oh and wait, there's Roger's tabloid muckraker boss named Gerald (Sylvester Stallone) out to reveal the ‘truth' behind Teddy… and then there's the guy named Father Paul (Danny Aiello), two hitmen named Thumper (Omari Hardwick) and Dominic (David O'Hara), and then all manner of throwaway characters played by Tom Sizemore, Kelsey Grammar, Terry Crews, Cary Elwes, Danny Trejo, Chuck Zito and Sly's brother Frank Stallone to name only a few.

As the stories intertwine and Tommy's desire to stay out of the public eye becomes a bigger deal than it probably needs to be, the script makes all manner of bizarre missteps. Things go from surprisingly violent to attempts at quirky humor in what feels like a mashup between a hack-level Tarantino wannabe and a fairly obvious pilfering of Paul Haggis' Crash (as opposed to David Cronenberg's Crash). Honestly, it's pretty bizarre. There's no real consistency to the tone of the film in either its use of humor or its way of developing characters as it throws in everything from bizarre conspiracy thrillers to romantic subplots seemingly entirely at random, a failed attempt at making something hip simply for the sake of making something hip, rather than something good.

To the movie's credit, it moves at a lighting quick pace and as disjointed and incredibly messy as it all is, it's not dull… just confusing and convoluted. Performances are all over the place though. Stallone's character just gets buried under his own dialogue while Berenger, who looks like he's retaining water in this movie, completely phones it in and seems about as interested in his character as a slab of concrete. The rest of the cast just feels generic. Thomas Jane and Kyra Sedgwick have a little bit of chemistry but not enough to save things while Danny Aiello's character is just needlessly bizarre. The character development that does occur happens too quickly and too conveniently to resonate with us and everything winds up feeling forced.

The movie trots out its list of cameos fairly constantly, to the point where all of those many subplots, the threads that should have tied together to make for an interesting finish, really wind up getting the short end of the stick. There's definitely some resolution here but without enough substance behind it all, Reach Me winds up a mess, particularly once it goes for the ‘feel good' ending. It's a fairly interesting mess for various reasons, but it's a mess just the same.

The Blu-ray:

Video:

Reach Me looks excellent on Blu-ray from Millennium Entertainment in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 2.35.1 widescreen. Black levels are solid and the transfer handles them well, never breaking down into macroblocking or compression artifacts and providing about as much shadow detail as it would seem the filmmakers wanted. As this was shot on high end digital video there are obviously no issues with print damage while detail, even in those many darker scenes, is pretty impressive throughout. The more frequent, lighter scenes have some nice splashes of color throughout and these are reproduced very nicely too. Skin tones look nice and natural and there are no noise reduction or filtering issues to complain about. All in all, the image here scores top marks.

Sound:

The English language Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track on the disc is also quite good even if it isn't the most enveloping surround mix you're ever going to hear. Levels are nicely balanced and there's some occasional depth to appreciate here. For the most part though, this is a dialogue intensive movie. Thankfully the dialogue stays clean, clear and properly balanced and there are no issues to note with any hiss or distortion.

Extras:

Extras are limited to menus, chapter stops and trailers for some other Millennium Entertainment releases.

Final Thoughts:

Reach Me gets messed up by the very ensemble cast that will likely make it of interest to most viewers. Rather than focus on telling the movie's story in the best way possible the team behind it seem more interested in playing the celebrity cameo card for all it's worth. There are moments where the comedy works and moments where the drama is effective but they're too few and far between to save this one. The disc from Millennium looks and sounds just fine but the movie just never catches on the way it should. Skip it.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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