DVD Review – “The Assistants” (Spoilers)

“The Assistants” came out in 2009, but was only made available for purchase and on Netflix in early 2011.  (Please skip to the review at the end to avoid spoiler!)

PLOT:  The Assistants was a fun movie about a group of friends who attended film school and ended up in lowly assistant jobs for important people in the movie industry.  After realizing that they really have the power over their boss’s lives, because they couldn’t function without their hard-working assistants, they pull a stint that they think is harmless, but ends up being the push they need to follow their dreams.  The main character, Jack, works for a movie producer, so his friends, unbeknownst to him, put in a review for a fake script, and it gets chosen to go into production.  The problem is, that there is no script. 

SPOILERS:  To save his job, and pursue their dream, the friends set out on a grand adventure, full of fantastic montages, to write a script in three days under the name of a one-time famous writer, Harlin Keys, get approval, and avoid selling out while trying to get all of them involved in its production. 

The bittersweet ending finds Jack named as producer on the project and with his friends not included.  However, after Ben, who wrote the script, gets paid off by Keys, he invests in his friends talent and drive to actually make a movie of their own, although without Jack.

REVIEW:  This movie was fun and all-around well done.  The cast works well together in their roles as old college buddies who are all going through the same ordeal as assistants to a bunch of self-important people in the movie industry.  Tate plays the bubbly and geeky Alex Kramer, who is more gal pal than glam gal.  She is irresistably cute during the entire movie as she uses her expressiveness to bring Alex’s character vividly to life onscreen.  During a very Alex-centered scene, she shows her versitility as an actor by showing Alex’s uncomfortability with being girly one moment, then the Alex’s transformation into the “girly fascade” the next.  It’s great to see Tate in a full-length feature in a prominant role!  This one’s definitely worth picking up.

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DVD Review – “Entry Level” & “Dark Reel” (spoilers)

“Entry Level” has actually been out for a few months and “Dark Reel” was released on DVD only a few days ago. I had the opportunity to watch both.

Entry Level is about a really good chef, Clay, who loses his restaurant (DB Sweeny, “The Cutting Edge”) and goes about trying to find a new one, not in the food business, falls for a fellow job hunter, Liz, (Missi Pyle, “Galaxy Quest”), and finds that the food business is the way to go, in a different way than before. Tate plays an outgoing new-hire wannabe who ends up interviewing for a bunch of the same jobs that Clay. Of the other potential new hires, she has the most speaking lines and is quite hilarious. In one of my favorite (and Tate’s first) scenes, she’s talking with Clay while waiting for an interview and begins to critique his resume, which, as he has been out of interviewing practice for probably 15 – 20ish years, is something that today’s new hire would not go near with a 10-foot-long pole: written in pencil on wrinkled lined paper with misspellings. I definitely recommend this movie for it’s overall good story and acting, and of course for Tate, who is really good in this one.

Dark Reel, on the other hand was not quite as good, as it is a somewhat supernatural “thriller” and one could probably consider parts of it more parody on than actual horror. In this movie, a B-movie fan Adam Waltz (Edward Furlong, “Terminator 2”) wins a walk-on role in a movie that one of his favorite horror actresses, Cassie Blue (Tiffany Shepis, coincidentally this chick’s only been in horror movies we probably haven’t seen unless we’re B-movie horror fans), stars in. The set becomes an actual murder scene when, in a throwback to the real-life 1958 murder of actress Scarlett May, actresses are being killed, with Ms. Blue as the next victim. Lance Henriksen (“Jaws”) joins the cast to round out a not very well put together supernatural thriller. Notice, at this point, there is no mention of Tate. That is because she has a small role only in the beginning and end of the film, and happens to be, seriously, the best part of the whole movie. Tate plays Adam’s southern-belle debutant from Virginia ex-girlfriend, Elizabeth, who you see in the beginning talking to him on the phone, asking him not to call her again. At the end, after Adam becomes a B-movie star thanks to his walk-on role, she shows up at the premier of the film, only to find Cassie Blue on his arm (and face) and she huffs off to watch the premier on her own. It’s great to see Tate in a different sort of role from some of the other films I’ve seen her in (will be reviewed at a later date). Of all the characters in this film, she was definitely my favorite, followed by the guy who played the director of the B-movie. I don’t recommend watching this movie, unless you’re really only watching it for Tate, and in that case, enjoy.