Billy the Wizard: Rocket Broomstick Racing Review

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Only 14 reviews onto the blog will have reached 1000 reviews total. Not too shabby if I do say so myself! What better way to keep the ball rolling than by bringing in another Wii game with a very dubious reputation. I’m talking about none other than Billy the Wizard. While the game may not be able to keep his name straight, I have to give it some major kudos for actually being fairly original. The parts that aren’t an obvious Harry Potter rip off anyway. The idea of 3D races while on broomsticks is actually quite impressive. It’s just a shame that the gameplay mechanics weren’t quite up to the challenge.

There is no story mode here so don’t get your hopes up too high. Honestly, you should always go into a Wii review with very low hopes since I have played most of the good ones by this point in time. You have 4 different modes to choose from and each one has 6 stages in it. That’s not a bad start right? Well, the first mode is tutorial. It’s actually fairly challenging to beat one of the final levels in that one, but I pulled through. Not a bad way to start off the game I guess, but by then I had already realized that the controls were completely and utterly terrible. Unlike Super Kart GP, this one insists on using the nunchuk as well. Big mistake. Just about everyone who owns a Wii likely remembers how sad and insulting the Nunchuk was to fellow gamers. It was basically Nintendo’s way of hitting us while we were down because the motion controls weren’t emphasized as much, but it didn’t matter because the nunchuk was still a bad controller.

In this case, the nunchuk is still mainly used as a motion controller, but you still have to use the Wii Remote as well. They both help with turning, but it’s awful confusing and you’ll be scratching your head by the end. Racing is virtually impossible and from the 4 modes, that was the only one that I couldn’t beat. Forget about beating all 6 races, I couldn’t even handle the first one. It’s insane just how difficult it is. You can’t simply race to the finish line. You have to also go through every ring in the level and missing one is fatal so you can’t go too fast. The problem is that the other racers are travelling at full speed at all times, which gets rather dicey. They won’t just pass you, these kids want to watch you squirm. What I mean by that, is that they will blast you with energy attacks. You can fire back as well by waving the Wii remote, but that doesn’t always work so well while racing. You can imagine how easy it is to run off the track when something like that occurs. I ultimately had to choose not to fire anything, but then I’d lose regardless. The races are definitely the worst part about the game and the irony is that this is technically a racing game.

The third mode has you flying around to collect books. You merely need to pass through all of the books scattered in the level in order to complete it. With a compass and how well lit the stages are, this is a breeze. It may have been on the easy side, but at least it was fun and not tedious. Billy finally scored and the final mode was also fairly decent. This one was about blasting Dragons away. You just had to spam your energy blasts and hope that they landed on the dragons. It beat a few levels with only seconds to spare so this one was definitely quite tricky. Just keep on blasting and when in doubt, blast some more. It will ultimately help you out and the dragons won’t stand a chance.

The cover art is really misleading so I feel like I should warn you about that. The back hints that you get to have a really cool totally 3D race that looks like something out of a Mario Party minigame. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case. The picture is actually taken from one of the loading screens and cropped appropriately to trick the audience. It’s what the game does…and it does it well. I guess the developers were willing to do just about anything in order to sell a few more copies.

Graphically, this game will fail to impress you. The dragon doesn’t really look like a dragon. I’ll give the landscape some mild props I suppose as it doesn’t look all that bad. It needs some work, but it’s not as bad as it could be. The soundtrack is terrible though as the main theme is officially overused. It’s quite telling when games like Madden…which aren’t exactly known for their great musical selections, have a more energetic song list. Most of the songs are quite sad so you need to definitely take this on a case by case basis, but at least they put in some effort over there. I couldn’t feel any effort with Billy the Wizard.

I suppose you could say that there is a reasonable amount of replay value here thanks to multiplayer mode. Playing with a friend is always better than playing by yourself in a game like this. It won’t make the game worth 20 dollars or anything like that, but it can slightly help the game out in the long run I suppose. It’ll have to do at any rate as this game won’t really be offering you anything else.

Overall, Billy the Wizard is exactly what you would expect when you check to see who made the game. The company has always set the bar low and then they crawl under it. While the gameplay is fairly unique, there’s nothing really positive to say about it. The execution simply wasn’t handled all that well at all and you’ll be done with most of the game’s content in roughly an hour or so…probably much sooner. If you want to play a racing game, go and play F Zero GX. That game had hype, presentation, and good controls. Billy could learn a thing or two from that title.

Overall 4/10

Myth Makers Super Kart GP Review

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“Myth Makers, Start your engines!” is how every race in this game starts and it is a good way to build up the Myth Makers brand. Even if you don’t want to remember the title of the game, the choice is taken away from you as soon as the race starts. After playing Trixie’s little Candyland adventure, I realized that I was in for the long haul with this franchise. Super Kart GP was the next logical step on my Ninjabread man tour and this game manages to be somewhat decent. It’s still at a really low budget and the controls are a mess, but it feels a little more like an actual game than the other titles. There is even a lot of content here…even if it is rather tedious.

There is no plot of course so you will want to just launch right into the races. You can play quick races against A.I. or a human player or you can go to the Grand Prix mode. Playing with friends is probably how you will have the most fun playing this title. That way you can poke fun at the title and really make the most of it. Otherwise, you’ll spend most of your time in the Grand Prix. There are 3 different speed settings and in those speed settings there are three different difficulty levels. After you get past that, there are 5 different cups for you to enter. Each cup has 4 stages and beating them all will give you a lot of bragging rights.

That’s a lot of replay value for this kind of game right? The stages aren’t long and each one can be beaten in around 3-6 minutes, but they add up. If that’s about 12-24 minutes per tournament and there are 15 in all, that’s not half bad. There is one catch though and it is a fairly big one. There aren’t unique stages in the cups. From my estimation, there appear to only be around 4-5 different stages. One or two of them may have a night time variation that is virtually identical, but that’s about it. A bit of a shame if you ask me eh? That means that the cups are completely arbitrary and the only real benefit is having the personal satisfaction of completing them. Otherwise, you could just play the stages in free play mode and it’ll be around the same thing. I don’t see why the game couldn’t have added more stages. “Have you ever made a game, DReager1?” No, but I sure have played some in the past and many more stages could have been added imo.

Ah well, let us move past that. One other aspect of replay value here is the fact that you can buy characters with the stars that you earn on the track. Run into as many of them as you can and hope that the computers don’t attack you or you will drop a lot of them. By the time you complete the first 5 stages you should have probably unlocked the first character. There are 5 unlockables I believe and getting them all wouldn’t take a crazy amount of time, but probably more than you are willing to put in. It’s also handled very oddly as the first character you unlock has the worst stats in the game. She has a 1 in two out of the three areas and a 2 in the other. Compare this to Trixie who is the main character and also has the best stats in the game. I believe that all 3 of her stats are maxed out, which is quite crazy.

Granted, speed may not be all that important to you with this gameplay. It just means that you’ll be sliding off of walls and crashing a lot more. Slow and steady is enough to win this race. You hold the Wii remote sideways and try to steer as you go through the levels. The controls are easy as pie, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are good. The motion controls simply don’t work well with the Wii so you’ll struggle quite a lot as you play. It’s manageable, but I wouldn’t call it that fun as times. There are items like in Mario Kart (Same style of item block) and if you look closely, you’ll notice a lot of other things that they rip off from the series. The item variety is very limited though and while you also have a final smash, you probably won’t get to use it. It simply takes too many stars to use and by then the race is over or you’ll have fallen way behind as you try to collect them all.

The soundtrack keeps on using the same tunes from the other titles like Ninjabread Man. People must have gone crazy while making these games since they will have been listening to the same song over and over and over again. Even if there was another tune or two in this game, you’ll quickly forget it as the main theme is burned into your mind. I’d say that the graphics are fairly decent compared to some abstract art, but I’ve seen Super Nintendo games with more creativity. You can always tell what is happening on screen, but that’s where the buck stops.

Overall, While this racing game may not be a bad steal if you can find it for a few bucks, you may as well get a better one. There is no shortage to racing games on any console so this should be at the bottom of a very long bucket list. The only real incentive to purchase this is Trixie. She still grins a lot as always and even has her iconic “Take that Bustah!” lines sprinkled in. It’s hard to tell what she is saying at times since the audio quality isn’t that good, but I’ll assume that the game will get patched at some point if it gets a remake. There is more to do here than in the average game of Myth Makers and it just barely keeps Super Kart GP from falling into the negative area.

Overall 5/10

X: The Man with the X Ray Eyes Review

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Wait a minute, this film has almost a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes? Mind blown! Anyway, this is a Roger Corman film, so you can probably guess that it is basically rubbish. It’s the kind of film that forces you to take a step back and think about how this guy has somehow had a steady film career. Surely there are better writers somewhere…right? Ah well, at least the concept here is fairly interesting, even if it cannot ultimately save the film.

We have a guy named Xavier. He wants to use eye drops to improve sight and ultimately make the world a better place. Unfortunately, he decides to test it out on animals and they don’t last very long as a result. Not realizing just how deplorable this is, Xavier decides to do it to himself next. The problem is that the drops work too well and have many side effects. They make him more violent and unreasonable and have an addicting effect as well. Throw in the fact that he can see through people and is likely blasting them with radiation and you have a very confused main character. His only hope now is to become a mystical doctor, but can he really pull this off or is he toast?

Whenever a character is roasted and toasted, you know that it’s going to be a long day. Unfortunately, I can’t even give the film that much credit because there is no witty dialogue to be found here. The film opens up with a very long scene of an eyeball in a jar of blood. It’s a very gross and disturbing way to start the film, but it helped set the stage for the rest of the film. While it may be old, The Man with the X Ray Eyes still tries to be violent for extra edge. The other big moment that is guilty of this is the very ending. I don’t think anyone cares about spoilers, but skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know the ending. Well, it turns out that Xavier gets so desperate that he rips his eyes out. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that it had any real effect and things will just get even worse for him. He began to see cosmic energy and the beginning of time so maybe he was just too far gone by that point.

It was definitely intriguing to have Xavier run into a church for that moment though. To his credit, the Pastor took it all in stride, but he seemed rather unhinged. He had already been yelling quite passionately and told Xavier that what he was seeing was the Devil. It’s a fairly bold claim since this pastor had absolutely no way to know anything that was going on, but he was on a role I suppose and Xavier took the words to heart. “If Thine Eye offends thee, Pluck it out!” While that quote can certainly be used literally, it’s definitely more of a figurative thing. Whatever is causing you to sin is something that you have to remove from your life. Whether it be a hobby, action, or an influence. I suppose that getting rid of a part of your body is a rather extreme way to solve that problem, but given that your body is special a created just for you, I would highly advise against taking Xavier’s route. At least it worked for the shock value I guess….

Either way, Xavier wasn’t likable from the start. He went crazy rather quickly and very quickly began to abuse his powers once he found that he could see through people. Xavier even murdered his partner because the he had a mild disagreement with the guy. The situation just kept getting more and more unsympathetic for the main lead. I suppose the gig that he got for being a mystic was a constructive way to use his powers, but it definitely seems rather limited. Sure, he can see what is wrong with a patient, but that can only help so much. I liked his business partner though as the guy figured Xavier’s past out and was very quick to bring out the blackmail card. I wasn’t expecting anything less from such a shady fellow. It does make the cops look rather bad though since they had no idea where to even begin looking for Xavier.

It’s a short film so there is not a whole lot of other content to discuss here. The film doesn’t really have a soundtrack and I can’t say much for the visuals. I suppose that they were almost okay for its time, but as it is, Corman is not exactly known for his high budget in these films. There were a few supporting characters like the business partner, the original partner, and the main heroine. Their roles are very small though with the heroine’s biggest moment being when she found the main character. Beyond that, they were all just bystanders who couldn’t do much to stop or help Xavier. The guy was on his own.

Overall, You should watch this film as a cautionary tale on why you shouldn’t overdose. The problems here would not have happened if Xavier hadn’t put a whole bottle into his eyes instead of the prescribed 2-4 drops. He just got super greedy and it led to his downfall. That being said, don’t think for a second that I actually recommend this film. You should stay far away from this title and I could recommend a few dozen other films that are much better than this one. The whole film is just rather depressing and dull. Nothing really happens and nothing good happens either. You’re essentially watching a film that lacks purpose and motivation. The characters are certainly not likable and the sketchy beginning and ending don’t help matters either. This film beats the Bucket of Blood, but loses to the Pet Shop of Horrors. Well, at least this film didn’t obtain the really elusive 0.

Overall 1/10

Frozen Fever Review

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Frozen was definitely a fun film to watch. It really got extremely popular for a while there and I thought that it lived up to the hype. While a complete sequel would be nice to have someday, a 5-10 minute adventure is a nice sequel to have until then. There’s not a whole lot that you can do in that time, but the short does at least have a plot and while the animation isn’t quite as sharp as the film, you could picture this being a bonus scene in the special features or something like that.

It is Anna’s Birthday so Elsa wants to make the day go perfectly. She sets up a large party area with cake, ice statues, and a lot of festivities. Then she also hides presents all around town so Anna can find them as they sing a song. It’s all going well at first, but then Elsa gets a fever and begins creating tiny snowmen that want to wreck the party. Can these little guys be stopped or is the party doomed to fail?

Naturally, Anna cares more about Elsa’s health than celebrating too much. You can see where the special is going with this from the get go of course, but it’s not meant to be a deep plot anyway. It’s a fun little adventure and the only thing that will make you wince is that Olaf wrecked the Birthday cake by basically putting dirt on it. Not a cool move if you ask me, but at least the main characters had soup instead. Elsa did a good job of setting up the party and she’s still the best Frozen character. She’s also the only one to have powers though so I suppose that makes it a little easy for her. Her powers are so useful and great for just about any scenario. I do think that she should be immune to colds and fevers with those ice abilities of hers, but maybe she just hasn’t learned how to fully harness her abilities yet. That will come with time.

As mentioned earlier, the animation is good, but it’s not quite as sharp as the film. The main character that stands out is Elsa herself. She is sick in the film so she shouldn’t look like she’s at 100%, but even so, she just looked super tired right from the start. The dark rings under her eyes are really large as if she hasn’t slept in ages. It was mildly distracting and I don’t feel as if it was completely intentional, but maybe it was. The main song is fairly good. It’s no Let It Go of course, but few songs are. It works well within the context of the special.

Overall, there’s not a whole lot more to say about this one. If you liked the Frozen movie then I definitely recommend seeing this short since it is one of the only ways to see your favorite characters again. Even if you haven’t seen Frozen, you will probably still enjoy the short. There’s nothing to really dislike and it is not as if you will lose a lot of time watching it. A few minutes will hardly make a big difference in the grand scheme of things and in the end you will be glad that you got to watch it. For a little short, Disney put a good amount of budget behind this.

Overall 6/10

Gods of Egypt Review

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It’s time for a modern action film. Gods of Egypt is certainly very different from a lot of the films that I’ve reviewed lately. I’ve been saying that more and more lately so I suppose that I’m getting a good variety here. That being said, this is another film that certainly could have been better. The characters were very annoying for the most part with the big action scenes really being the only strong parts of the film. Well, I suppose the visuals were solid as well, but those two things go hand in hand.

This film takes place in Egypt, a long time ago. The gods still live among the mortals and they all have inflated egos as a result. One day, Set returns to the kingdom in time for a large ceremony. He is bitter at not being invited so he takes the kingdom over and steals Horus’ super abilities before banishing him away. The country falls into chaos as everyone now serves him and must go to war constantly. Zaya realizes that the only way the day can be saved is if Horus is able to go back to full power and restore peace to the land. She convinces Bek to go and recover his eyes so he can go and give them to Horus. Bek manages to get one of them and gives it to Horus, but the two of them will have to move fast if they want to get the other. All of Egypt is on their tail now and Zaya is also in a tough situation at the moment. Well, Horus is supposed to be almost invincible so this shouldn’t be too hard….right?

There are a lot of missed opportunities in this film, but lets start off by talking about the characters. Horus isn’t very good, but I could have told you that from the trailers. He talks an incredibly good game, but this doesn’t prevent him from being saved over and over and over again. He is simply not ready to deal with threats of this level as he has a decent amount of strength, but no durability. Without both eyes, he is basically just a Captain America level opponent. Horus is also not a good character as he basically admits that he was using Bek the entire time. He doesn’t care for anyone but himself. The end of the movie tries to get you to think that he is a changed man and will be more of a hero from now on, but it was way too late by then. You would have thought that the exile would have helped shape him into being a better person, but all it did was make him bitter. His romance with Hathor is also quite bad.

Hathor is the goddess of love and she loves to flaunt this fact whenever she is on screen. She can control anyone with a glance unless they have already found true love and she will use this ability on anyone just to show off her superiority. Luckily, Bek is immune to this power because he is just that good. Hathor is very annoying as pretty much all of her lines are her flirting. It’s hard to root for her and Horus because she seems to play the field so it doesn’t seem all that genuine. It was a side plot that didn’t actually add anything to the film and could have certainly been removed. Taking Hathor out of the film would have been a good choice.

Bek is the main human. Horus gets a larger role, but Bek is fairly crucial. He may not have any super abilities, but he is athletic so he can navigate through mazes quite well. The hype may have gotten a little overboard when he infiltrated a labyrinth that was made to stop other gods, but he mostly spends the rest of the film panicking and losing so that helps to keep things balanced. I didn’t like Bek and he is fairly generic. He takes Horus’ betrayal a little too well and I would have liked him more if he could actually fight. Zaya was all right, but she was a little too far on the other extreme as she had way too much faith in Horus. He was undeserving of all the praise that she gave him the entire time. If only she had been around to hear Horus admit that it was all a ploy. She never properly learns about this and just acts as if he is an awesome person the whole time.

Set is the main villain and he’s fairly standard as far as those go. He’ll remind you of the villain from Prince of Persia or Clash of The Titans. He does have a fairly cool god mode though so that at least makes him more memorable than the others. It may be a little hard to take him seriously since he couldn’t handle Horus in a fair fight right from the start, but he is still decently strong. I think that giving him a super form for the final fight was a little too much though. He became too strong, to the point where the writers had to get involved. When you need help from the writers, you know that things have definitely gone too far. At least Set isn’t distracted or hesitant with his goals though. He decides that conquest is more important to him than romance and never looks back. I’d say that Set handles his role as the villain quite well.

Ra is one of those high above beings who acts very wise and all, but actually just makes the situation worse the whole time. He makes both Horus and Set feel bad while fueling his own ego, but he doesn’t realize that this could be a little dangerous. He knows that Set is evil and that Set is willing to destroy anyone in his way. Did Ra really believe that he was the exception? Even his concept of a “reward” for Set was quite sad as nobody in their right mind would give up their expanded kingdom for a lonely job in space. See, Ra’s only job in life is to fire a few blasts at a space monster that pops up every day. He literally has to do the same thing every single day for all of eternity. It’s easy to see why Ra wants a replacement, but nobody is ever going to want to take that job. Not to mention that Ra should have still sided with Horus since he was clearly on the side of justice as opposed to Set. Ra seemed to just want to remain on the sidelines and ultimately that wasn’t a good move.

Finally, we also have Apophis. He looks pretty similar to the Krakken and Apophis is a very large monster. His physical strength is enough to cause everyone to worry. The only thing that can defeat him is a well placed fire blast from Ra’s staff. As sad as the situation is for Ra, it is all the worse for Adophis. He has no way of dodging the blasts since he is incredibly slow and he has no blasts of his own to counter them. All he can do is roar a lot and then retreat. Considering that he does this every single night, it probably gets old after a while. It also makes for a fairly anti climactic ending. Adophis is a cool character in theory, but the execution could use some work. If it was meant to be comical, then it succeeded.

There were some other characters, but their roles were fairly minor. Anubis looked decent as he commands quite a presence in the underworld. The god of wisdom was annoying, but I did find it a little funny that he could not solve the riddle. It’s like introducing the Flash in a Justice League movie, but he is then unable to win a speed contest so Superman has to do it instead. You are completely making the character’s addition into the film irrelevant by that point.

As mentioned earlier, the fights are what is really solid here. The first action scene isn’t all that great as the film goes for an eye pluck which I still find quite gross and unnecessary. After that, the god mode battles are pretty hype as the two of them fight in the air at high speeds with a lot of feats. Ra’s quick skirmish with Set also looked really good as both of them boasted a lot of destructive power at the time. The visuals always look sharp as well since there is a lot of gold and fancy architecture surrounding the place. The fire blasts and armor are also very crisp and would fit well in a comic book film. When the action is in place, Gods of Egypt can get you to think that it is a very solid film.

Gods of Egypt could have been so much better than it was though. Seeing all of the gods fight each other would have been awesome since they had such cool super forms. I also think that some of them were way too weak as many would die in an instant to very weak attacks. If they are gods, then they should all possess a good amount of super strength and durability so that they can really earn the title. The random ones barely looked like they were any stronger than humans. Size was the only thing that they had on their side. I also would have liked to have seen the monster be a little tougher or put up more of a fight. The whole ordeal was way too one sided for my liking and it would have been more entertaining if it was a good match. The humans weren’t really necessary for this film either, just focusing on the gods and giving us an epic action story would have sufficed.

Overall, Gods of Egypt is an all right film. It’s fairly entertaining and has a decent amount of replay value. What holds it back from being a really solid film is the fact that the writing is simply sub-par. It’s not incredibly cringe worthy of anything like that, but it certainly doesn’t feel as professional as it could have been. Horus being too overconfident is played up to an extreme that just doesn’t make sense. Nobody would be so confident after being beaten so much. Horus even lost to minion and random monsters throughout the film. That’s just plain disgraceful. The film never drags on at least and I do like the ending. Considering the circumstances, heading to the underworld is something that Horus should do immediately. He has enough power to defend himself so the guy doesn’t have much to worry about right now. He shouldn’t let his guard down though since Horus is way too arrogant for his own good. If you’re up for a quick action film, I’d recommend this one. It may not be the best, but it’s not bad either. Also, how many Egyptian action films have you seen anyway? It may be good to add another one to your collection.

Overall 6/10

Panic Room Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such. A review of the unedited version would likely be harsher.
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It’s time to look at a thriller movie from not too long ago. This title is certainly a lot more modern than some of the other films that I’ve been watching as of late. It’s the kind of film that revolves around a lot of strategy as most of the adventure takes place in one location. That can work as long as the writing is strong enough. It’s solid enough to keep you engaged for the moment, but plot convenience makes the situation a lot tougher for the two heroines than it needs to be.

Meg is trying to find a new place to live. She gets a pretty good deal on a rather large house and the place even comes fully equipped with a panic room in case of emergencies. The panic room has a phone that is connected to a backup power generator and it is supposed to be impossible to break into. Meg’s daughter, Sarah doesn’t mind the house all that much so it is decided that they will stay there. Unfortunately, the house comes under attack by three robbers who want the secret treasure that is hidden somewhere inside. They have guns and aren’t afraid to use them so it looks like Meg is going to have to try and outlast them or get a hold of one of the guns.

I’ll give the film some props for actually making the Panic Room good. A lot of times, the villains will just break in without any real effort and then that’s game over. Here, the Panic Room stands strong even after a lot of attacks and that’s really how it should be. If you paid good money to have a safe that is strong and durable, robbers shouldn’t be able to break in. The flip side of this is that the film needs some way for the villains to get to the heroes anyway since we need to have some tension.

Well, the plot device in this case is Meg. She is diabetic and needs shots every once in a while. This means that they have to leave the panic room at some point even if they don’t want too. It was fairly annoying because what are the odds right? It doesn’t help that the phone in the panic room wasn’t connected or that there were no emergency rations inside yet. The villains don’t know most of this either, but they are persistent and stick around even after trying a lot of ideas. There were some pretty clever ones like sending in fumes through the vents, but the fire counter was just as good.

Meg’s a decent main heroine. There’s nothing much to dislike about her, but the character just isn’t all that interesting. At least she doesn’t hesitate to use the gun when necessary. Sarah was a little more on the annoying side to be honest. Kids rarely turn into likable characters in the movies so it is not too surprising. She’s not super annoying or anything, but she is a little slow on the uptake at times and also panics quite a lot.

I can’t say that any of the villains were all that good either. We have Junior, who is the brains of the operation. He believes that he is in charge, but there isn’t a whole lot of honor among thieves. You can probably imagine that things don’t go too well for him after the other two find out that he has been lying about the loot the entire time. There’s also Raoul, who joins the group for this case. The other two haven’t worked with him before though and he is more extreme than the others. The other two are both common criminals who prefer not to actually go around destroying people. They silently get what they are after and then dash away. Raoul has no such qualms. He’s the meanest of the 3 and is willing to do anything.

Finally, we have the “Good Cop” villain. He doesn’t want to destroy anyone since he’ll wind up in jail for life at the bare minimum. This guy’s not a hero at all since he is still a robber, but the film portrays him as the lesser of the 3 evils. He’s also the smartest member and is the only reason that the villains come close to getting into the safe. Without his expertise, the whole mission would have been doomed from the start. He’s more likable than the other two, but I still can’t say that he is a good character.

Meg’s ex husband shows up at one point to help out, but he just makes the situation worse. He’s probably one of the more unintelligent characters in the film. He knows that something serious is going on, but he just walks in through the front door without a care in the world. True, he called the police, but he should have come in with them. I can understand not wanting to wait that long, but then he should have at least been prepared to fight. If he had come in with the cops from the get go, the film may have been a lot different. The cops did a decent job of trying to figure out what was going on, but there is only so much that they could do from their position. It was nice to see the main officer looking intelligent, but it was mostly just a sad scene of watching the villains get a few more chuckles in.

The heroes also made a few classic horror movie mistakes. For one, Meg made sure to trip and drop a lot of things while reaching for her phone. Had she not done this, she could have made it back to the Panic Room and dialed 9-11 from there. The film would be over and the heroes would have succeeded while barely breaking a sweat. Instead, the heroes lost their advantage. There is also the fact that even after they had the villains on the run and one of the heroes had a gun, there was too much hesitation. Not pulling the trigger and just letting the villain get closer is a pretty sad move. They may not be used to combat with such high stakes, but you can’t hesitate at that point in time.

Panic Room’s writing is all right for the most part, but it definitely does have an issue with language. It mostly comes from the villains since films love to have them swear as much as possible. Luckily, you’re mostly just hearing the air whiz by thanks to the edited version, but it was still a little excessive. In terms of violence, the film does get a little intense for the ex-husband. He really takes a big beating once he is at the hands of the villains. He gets a short reprieve, but then they land another shot or two in during the climax. He’s in terrible shape by the time the film is over and there’s possibly a chance that the injuries would be lethal. It’s too bad since the guy was trying to help, but it ended up backfiring quite badly.

Overall, Panic Room’s not a very fun thriller. I’d say that making Sarah ill was a little forced for giving the villains a way to get into the panic room and the writers couldn’t think of another way to make the situation work. It’s pretty tense as the villains keep trying to break in, but it’s never much fun and the language as well as the overall grit factor keep this from being a winner. The one fun part is probably the irony that the U.S. Bonds probably wouldn’t have helped the villains out all that much. Maybe they would have a way to cash them in, but these guys didn’t seem to have a whole lot in the way of connections. It’s possible that the whole journey would have been for naught this time. If you enjoy Home Invasion films then this one could be up your ally I suppose. Don’t expect the most well crafted film out there, but it could fit the bill. If you want an intense film with a little more action, then I recommend checking out Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan instead. That film has a lot of tension while still being a blast and a half as well.

Overall 4/10

Night Monster Review

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It’s time for another retro film with monster in the title, but no actual creature to be found. That’s never a good sign and this is another film that’s not all that great. It tries its best to be spooky and intense, but annoying characters and sad moments end up making this another film with a lot that is left to be desired. Ah well, at least you can take solace in the fact that this proves an old guy really just needs some magic in order to get back into the world. Don’t look at that line too closely for spoiler purposes though.

The premise starts with three doctors visiting an old guy (Curt) that they were unable to help a while back. He is now crippled and may blame the doctors for his current condition. Nevertheless, he has invited them to his mansion in the middle of nowhere for some reason. These three men suspect nothing, but maybe they should. A psychiatrist by the name of Lynn also shows up as she was called by Margaret, Curt’s sister to prove that Margaret isn’t actually crazy. The girl knows more than she lets on, but the house maid tries to prevent Lynn from finding anything out.

Curt’s big revelation is that he has a mystic by the name of Agar who is able to summon bleeding skeletons back to life to do all sorts of things. They can create objects out of nothing, but these objects only last for a limited period of time. The plot thickens when one of the scientists die and then the body count starts to rise. Who is behind these deaths. Could it be one of the Doctors? Is it the mystery writer, Dick, or is it maybe the Butler? There is no shortage of suspects to be found here.

The whole thing could have been pretty interesting. The concept certainly isn’t bad and I do like a good murder mystery. This film just tried too hard to be edgy instead and digs its own grave. For starters, we have Lawrie. He’s your classic sexist character from the old days and he goes after a lady who doesn’t live past the first 20-30 minutes. She wants to get out of the house because it has gotten a little too dangerous, but she makes the mistake of heading back there after dark. The monster was ready by then along with the fact that her taxi driver was gullible and deserted her after he was told that she was going to spend the night. Did he really think that she would after she had gone to such lengths to escape?

Her dying isn’t really the terrible part. It was rather tragic, but it was handled all right. The main sad part is that initially Lawrie gave her a drive, but then quickly has his way with her before another guy happened to show up and get her out of the tough spot. Lawrie spends the rest of the film flirting with other characters and also attempts to get physical again when he is interrupted by Dick. Some of the characters know about his antics, but nobody speaks up about it. Lawrie eventually bites the dust, but his presence severely hurt the film.

Curt’s not a bad old man. He’s passive aggressive with the 3 scientists quite a lot and also tries to boss around his sister. I don’t think she should have gone for that since as siblings they should be roughly equal, but she is far too timid the whole time. She also knows a great deal about who the culprit is, but doesn’t help until it is far too late and at least 50% of the cast has already been bumped off. As you can tell, I didn’t care much for Margaret. Curt was fairly average. I didn’t really find him to be unreasonable. He can be a little generic, but that’s not too bad I suppose.

Rolf’s a fairly mean butler, but I’d expect nothing less. He should have certainly had Lawrie fired ages ago though so I doubt his credibility as a professional. He’s not really a bad character so you should definitely peg him as a suspect. There’s also Agar, the mystical fellow who can summon the skeletons. I found him to mostly just be annoying and he’s also someone that knows a lot about what is going on. He’s super suspicious and even if he is not guilty, you can really call him an accomplice.

Lynn was the “tough” female lead who talks back to Curt and tries not to get bossed around, but her attempts do not always work. Her romance with Dick is certainly pretty awful and considering that she seems to realize that everyone is trying to keep her away from Margaret, she should have made more of an effort to stay with her. By the time she acts, Margaret has already started to get a split personality and cracks in her memory. Lynn took way too long.

Dick’s the classic tough guy and you could call him the main character. His role isn’t as big as you would expect based on that title, but he’s completely full of confidence and that sets him apart from the rest. He’s your stereotypical lead in basically every way. He tries to be heroic and sees to it that justice is served. There’s not much to him, but that’s okay I suppose.

Finally, we actually do have a character that’s not just good, but great. This is Captain Beggs, the only character who talks tough to the whole cast. They passive aggressively try to get him to leave many times, but he just insults them and keeps on going. This guy isn’t having any of that and just about every one of his lines is hardcore. Even when he’s threatened with lines like “You and what army?” he always has a response ready. “Just me” Beggs doesn’t back down to anyone and while he may be a little slow to pick up on the clues sometimes, he’s always brave. He heads into shadowy closets without hesitation and since he is picking a fight with a rich guy who has influence, Beggs clearly doesn’t care about that either. He was a silver lining in a film that was rather dreadful otherwise.

At the very least, the film really tries its best to throw in a lot of red herrings so that the culprit isn’t too obvious. The ploys fail and you will probably guess who the main villain is within the first 10 minutes. The motive is simply too rich for the writers to pass up on even if the film does its best to try and make you doubt it. The film, while not overly long, also does a decent job of spreading time out between each murder so you can have the characters all show up again as you try to guess who is guilty. Tension is always crucial in these kinds of films so you want them to have time to run around and try to figure things out.

Overall, This film simply couldn’t stay classy. Lawrie single handily destroyed the film so blame him on its low score. If you can get past him then maybe you’ll enjoy this film, but I recommend checking out another classic murder mystery like And Then There Were None instead. Even if this film was all right, there are simply better options to choose from in the same genre so there is no point for you to be desperate enough to choose this one. The title is also just super misleading. I guess some films want to be “cool” by making the term monster rather figurative like in the new Cloverfield film, but it just doesn’t work for me. If you mention the word monster, then I’m going to be expecting something a little more epic. Also, the final scuffle should have not been so close, the heroes simply got sloppy. Finally, there was no real reason for the skeletons to bleed. That seemed to only be around so the characters could have clues to run with. There’s no logical reason for that to happen…it’s like the film just needed an excuse for it to occur so the film would have a gimmick. The problem is that the supernatural angle never transforms from a gimmick into something meaningful.

Overall 1/10

1010! Review

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It’s been a while since I reviewed an App game. I technically don’t play a whole lot of them. The first one that I ever dove into was Madden Mobile, which I played for a few months last year. After that, I picked up Pokemon Go this year, which I still play quite actively. I’ll probably review that one once I’m done with the game. I’m planning to stop once I’m level 30 or once I’ve filled up the Pokedex and then I’ll probably just let it rest until Johto. 1010! is a game that I only downloaded because I was challenged by someone who claimed that I could never beat her score. I chuckled and realized that she didn’t know who she was talking too. I am the master of all games and never back down from a challenge! I downloaded the game, and quickly sighed. This was going to be too easy!

The gameplay is fairly simple to pick up and play. You have a classic board of squares that are all empty at first. You are given 3 blocks on the bottom that you have to add to the field. Their shapes will vary based on a limited number of possible shapes. You must fit them all in and then you are given another trio of blocks to add. You don’t have to worry about color coordination as it is purely based on filling rows and columns. Once you fill a row, the row becomes empty and likewise for columns. Completing multiple rows and columns at once will give you bonus points. You keep on going until you are no longer able to add blocks onto the field. When that happens, you have been defeated.

It’ll take you maybe 2-3 minutes tops to understand the rules, but you will get better at making decisions as you play. Soon you’ll be able to eye ball the field and instantly know where you should place the pieces. That being said, no matter how good you get at the game, you can’t get away from the fact that a large portion of the game is completely based on luck. If the game gives you the wrong blocks at a critical time, it’s game over. You always have to gamble based on which block you think will show up. I am not trying to downplay the skill involved though. Some people consistently get scores in the 10000s which is no coincidence. Luck is involved quite a lot, but so is skill. You simply have to play the game enough to really figure out what style works for you.

In the end, I got up to a score of 2919. I deleted the app after a while, but it was a fun run through. I didn’t manage to pass the person who had over 9000, but I helped my Mom get into the game and she shattered the score by about 3000 so I’d call that a win. I did beat the challengee’s friend though so that counts as another mild victory. In the end, you can do just about anything if you put your mind to it! That was my motto as I got into this. The gameplay is certainly a lot of fun and it is easy to just play this for hours and lose track of time. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again, mobile games can be great because of how addicting they are and how easy they are to subtly play. It’s hard to take out a 3DS or PSP in public because it might get snatched, but playing something on your phone? That’s no problem!

There’s not much to say about the graphics since there isn’t much to look at here. Everything looks clear so I’ll give it a thumbs up in that category. You can slightly change how the game looks with one or two free options, but the default look ends up being the best way to play. I don’t recall any actual soundtrack, but I usually played with the volume off anyway. The one problem that I have with the game is that its time consuming. After a while, you’ll find yourself less incentivized to play as your high score gets higher and higher. It simply takes too long to get a score that high so you’re better off not even trying. I can’t imagine how people with scores over 10000 keep on playing. Just getting near that number will take a really long period of time. There’s not much of a way to fix that though unless the game added a timer. It’s still a lot of fun so it’s a mild thing that I think could boost the game to the next level.

Overall, 1010! is a fun app. You may not want to play it forever and ever as you’ll find your time vanishing, but it’s fun to play once in a while. It’s certainly good for passing time on the train. I’m the kind of guy who never looks back when it comes to Apps though so don’t expect to see me playing the game again. I do recommend it of course, but Pokemon Go is the only App that I’ve had time for lately. I do intend to play the Pac Man one at some point though. Who knows, if someone challenges me to another App, you may see another review sooner rather than later! Nobody can stop my mad gaming skills!!

Overall 7/10

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman Review

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It’s time for a retro film that is actually quite well known. I’ve certainly heard of this one over the years as it has become quite the meme. It was certainly a novel idea at the time, but unfortunately, the execution simply isn’t on point. While it’s supposed to be a very fun popcorn film that you just enjoy and laugh with…it wasn’t that fun. Whenever I talk to someone about this film, I get the classic response that the film is a blast, but I just didn’t get that vibe. Maybe I need to get used to retro humor a little more.

It has been a rough year for Nancy. Her husband finally came back to her as he wanted to get rich quick, but he still openly cheats on her. Nancy doesn’t know what to do about this since she should clearly just make him leave again, but she can’t get past her emotions. In the meantime, Harry keeps insulting her butler and bribing the cops. Harry plans to get her back into an asylum, but he’s not sure how to quickly accomplish this. His worries come to an end when Nancy claims that she saw an alien ship. Harry makes sure to insult and belittle her as much as possible while also slightly encouraging her at times to turn her emotions to jelly before breaking her mind. Nancy is at her breaking point when the alien shows up again and defeats her. Harry runs away and tries to cover this all up, but Nancy turns up the next day. She is unconscious and doesn’t know what happened. Harry is the main suspect so he quickly tries to destroy her, but this plan doesn’t work either. His only chance is to leave town, but can he outrun a 50 foot giant?

I realize that I just said pretty much the whole plot, but it’s hard not too. The whole point of this film is that Nancy turns into a 50 foot giant, but this doesn’t happen until the very end of the film. It’s not a spoiler since it is in the title and promotion so my plot summary has to make it at least that far. There’s just not much more to guess by that point. You’ll probably know the rest of the ending.

All right, lets talk about why I did not like the movie. For starters…it is not fun. I have to address this right off the bat. Nancy is in a very sad predicament and the fact that she is being completely used the whole time and does nothing about it makes the whole film rather sad and underwhelming instead of fun and up beat. Nancy realizes that Harry just wants her money and is being a terrible guy the whole time. She mentions as much, but the problem is that she suffers from quite a few mood swings, which virtually make her forget about these incidents as soon as they happen. Harry tries to sabotage her at every turn and she is not able to do anything about it. If she was a better main lead, then the film could have been more fun. If she was trying to humiliate Harry and take him down for the count, it would have been a lot more even. I would have been able to get behind that. As it is, the whole thing is simply too one sided.

Nancy doesn’t even get to have her revenge since as soon as she turns giant, the power of electricity shows up. It’s just not really a fun resolution so I just don’t see where the fun factor comes in. I suppose that the film is certainly campy, but at the same time, the main plot is seriously sad. That sort of negates the whatever humor the film was going for. Harry’s just such a bad antagonist. Since Nancy won’t fight back, it is just annoying to see him show up.

The butler was a nice character, but it’s a shame that he wasn’t able to beat Harry. I’ll give him some props for actually trying and not just backing off as soon as he showed up. Calling the cops was the right move though so it was good to see the police respond in time. Charlie was a rather suspect deputy as he got bribed by Harry for a while, but at least he stood up to him when the going got tough. Harry’s not bad, but he certainly goofs off a little too much. If I was the sheriff, I’d be looking for a replacement as soon as possible. After all, the sheriff was at the top of his game right from the start. Nancy nearly ran him over, but the guy had good reaction times.

Honey was the other villain who helped advise Harry on how to put Nancy in a bad spot. She was always ready to go the extra mile as she recommended permanent solutions to their predicament. Of course, the joke is also on Harry as the film heavily implies that she doesn’t mind cheating on him either. She’s also just in it for the money so the cycle continues and continues. In the end, they will all likely get a bad ending as a result.

The main highlight of the film is probably the fact that aliens show up. The alien in question doesn’t have the greatest design and he’s just a super large guy, but I’ll take it. Adding aliens always makes for a whole new dynamic in the film. I would have liked to have seen him do more or show up at the end to gloat, but I suppose the mystery is part of his charm. Maybe he’d show up more if the film had gotten a proper sequel. I can’t say that the premise has much potential when it comes to a modern film remaking this, but it could be good if handled right. Lets face it, Nancy would be changed quite a lot for a modern film and I think that’s a good thing. I don’t see her being quite so indecisive in a remake and Harry probably wouldn’t get the first and last laughs. It’s debatable if he got the last laugh here, but he certainly got to have a lot more fun than Nancy so it wasn’t much of a win.

Overall, The film just wasn’t that fun. I suppose you are not supposed to take the main plot all that seriously, but I personally just found it tragic which hurt everything else as a result. Watching Harry just mooch off of Nancy’s riches the whole time was terrible and she never did a thing about it. It’s the kind of plot that you would only see in an older film and it’s one that I certainly don’t miss from the modern times. Nancy didn’t even get to turn giant for very long so you’ll be waiting a while for the actual title to come into play and then the payoff is very small. This film just didn’t work for me and I certainly don’t recommend it. I’m not saying that it’s terrible, or at least not as terrible as some of the other films that I’ve reviewed lately. I would say that it is a bad one though and I’d recommend checking out Godzilla instead.

Overall 2/10