There is no doubt that filmmaker James Arnett has an expert eye for visually stimulating cinema. He simply has not stumbled upon the right material through which he can funnel that eye.
Though far from a fantastic failure, “Blocked” is a quintessential example of a motion picture that possesses style but not substance. The new noir looks amazing but its story simply is not very interesting. Once you factor in the flick's atrocious acting and predictable plot twists, the success of that style is suddenly no longer cause for celebration.
View slideshow: Blocked (Production Stills)
In “Blocked,” which opens today exclusively at Harkins Valley Art, Mario Guzman plays a man who dreads his 20-year high school reunion. Not because he married the prom queen. Not because he was successful. But because an old blood feud has caught up to him and his wife Julie (Tiffany Shepis) on their favorite online social network.
The inclusion of “scream queen” Shepis shows that Arnett is not aiming too high with “Blocked.” This is the kind of movie that you must take a face-value, meaning that it qualifies as a B-movie at best. If you acknowledge that upon entering the theater, it is highly unlikely that you will be disappointed with the experience when walking out.
Having said that, it might behoove Arnett to use his powers for good, so to speak. As already admitted, the filmmaker obviously knows how to make a movie look not only good but also unique. If he were to focus that facility into a story that was actually worthy of it, there is a decent chance that he would have a hit on his hands. Unfortunately, “Blocked” is not that story.
“Blocked” (NR – 84 minutes) opens today exclusively at Harkins Valley Art. Visit FirstLook.com for specific showtimes.