I Saw What You Did Review


Whenever a film’s main plot involves some shady crank calling, you know that it’s going to be very hard to find the main characters likable. I’ve seen at least one other film with the leads crank calling only in that one they messed with the wrong truck driver. Here they are dealing with a murderer but by all accounts this should not have actually been a very dangerous position for them. So how does this get dangerous? Buckle in because I’m going to break the situation down.

Libby’s parents are going to a big party and all of the babysitters are busy or out of town. Libby insists that she is mature enough to run the place and look after her little sister Tess. Additionally she has invited her friend Kit over as well. Kit’s father doesn’t know that the parents won’t be at home or he wouldn’t have agreed to it. Well, it’s a safe enough set up at least and you wouldn’t expect anything to go wrong at this point.

That changes when Libby says they should start prank calling people and saying dangerous things like “I saw what you did and I know who you are” Great way to get people upset at you right? Now in theory there is no caller ID, location tracking or any of that so they should be safe. Eventually they end up calling a guy named Steve and giving him the same tired message. What they don’t know is that he just murdered his wife and now the guy thinks they are on to them. They hang up of course and well that’s it…movie’s over.

The murderer’s on the loose but at least he’ll never be able to trace the call back or find these girls. Whoever called could be in any part of the city or even outside of it after all. Well…Libby decides to visit this guy’s house and takes the rest of her family with her. Naturally she allows her ID to be taken so the guy now has her name and address. Perfect….now she actually is in danger.

Here’s the problem with this plot, what happened is pretty much the only way this situation actually could have gotten lethal. Otherwise there’s just no way the villain ever should have gotten near her. Libby is shown to not just be irresponsible but also very unintelligent. She continues compounding her errors over and over again until she’s past the point of no return. It makes for a very unlikable heroine.

Kit is guilty to a lesser extent of tagging along but Libby was absolutely the main instigator here. If she had just tried to be a responsible guardian and do what she was supposed to then this would be a completely different film. When you also consider that this is her only chance to be home alone you’d think that she wouldn’t want to let it be ruined like this.

As for Kit, well she’s okay but definitely more of a follower than a leader. If she had put her foot down at any point then maybe this would be over. Tess is just a little kid so you can’t really blame her for much. She just wanted to have a good time and was expecting the usual sleepover activities. Hopefully the older girls would let her join in on the fun or something instead of being roped into a game of life and death.

As for Steve, well he’s your average maniac. Evidently his relationship with his wife was poor from the start and it kept deteriorating until he decided to take her down for the count. Then he goes into a rebound romance with Amy. So, Amy’s effectively the housemaid who has liked Steve for a while and knows this is her chance. She’s not a very smart villain though. For a long portion of the film she actually doesn’t know that Steve bumped his wife off even though the guy isn’t exactly very subtle at times like when he transports the body.

Still, once she does figure this out you’d figure that she would approach the situation cautiously. Maybe she wouldn’t even like him anymore since the guy’s a dangerous criminal. No, instead she continues her advances and even tries to blackmail him. Hmmm..blackmailing a criminal is probably a bad idea especially when there is no one else around. What did Amy think was going to happen?

She was bad from the start since she is trying to go after Steve so quickly but her actions just didn’t make sense. Meanwhile Steve probably should have tried to skip town instead of sticking around for so long if he really wanted to beat the charges. Perhaps he figured nobody would ever come in to check on the wife but that’s a short term solution at best. There’s definitely not much to him beyond being your average bad guy.

I was glad that the police officer got to look pretty good at the end. He did a good job of handling his business right away and also being on call when needed. The climax is satisfying and handled in a good way. It would have been nice if the parents had come home sooner though. Instead of wasting hours at the party, they should have made a move as soon as they couldn’t reach the house. Sure, it may have just been the main characters having fun on the phone but it seems to me like that’s not something you want to take any risks on. The stakes are just too high for that.

The writing in the film is good. Even if the situation itself feels really forced at times with how the characters put themselves into the worst situation possible, the actual script is on point. My only other issue there would be that they could have cut some of the prank calls out. It got annoying very quickly to hear Libby use the same line over and over again in all of the calls. Couldn’t she at least mix it up a bit? That part would drag out a lot and since I didn’t like the main characters as it was, that didn’t help matters.

Overall, I Saw What You Did is a film I would say to skip. The parts with the main characters are rather boring the whole time. Meanwhile it almost feels like a completely different movie with Steve’s section as the first murder is rather intense even if Amy’s is quicker. Amy’s is just humorous in the sense that she was really fighting to stay on the path where she is murdered. If she had done just about anything else then she actually could have escaped with her life. Prank calling just never pays.

Overall 4/10

Momo Yaoyorozu vs The Master



Suggested by iKnowledge The Master is a very smart being who is always one step ahead of the Doctors. His ability to shoot lightning albeit briefly is certainly not something to sneeze at. That being said, his abilities are mainly in a non combat area. Momo’s ability to create just about anything will serve her well as she can blast him with cannons and explosive devices. He won’t be regenerating from this. Momo Yaoyorozu wins.

Clear and Present Danger Review


Jack Ryan returns with this big sequel. Clear and Present Danger throws a pretty good story in with some fun fight scenes and a whole lot of characters moving around. It’s a very interesting film and one that should keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. I would definitely recommend checking it out.

The movie starts with some of the usual embezzlement going on. The drug cartels are growing a lot bolder now and this time they even murdered a friend of the president. That was a mistake though as he decides to take a harder look at the situation. He orders one of the higher ups in the army to take drastic measures and wipe these guys out. Cutter gets the message and sends John and his team on a mission. They have to wipe out Escobedo and his drug dealers fast.

Meanwhile Jack’s direct boss gets sick with cancer so Jack has been promoted. Cutter and Ritter don’t like this because Jack’s more of a by the books kind of guy. He’s not going to participate in these shady dealings but as their equal now it will be very difficult to hide things from him. So they have to play it cool while Jack does some sleuthing on his own. Technically all of them want to take Escobedo down. The issue is that Cutter’s group are illegally sending troops into the country while Jack is trying to find hard proof and use surveillance footage.

I like all of the political intrigue going on here. Everyone’s got their own agendas after all while Jack is really the only one just trying to do his job. You also can’t blame Jack for anything here. A lot of times I might say a character was slow on the uptake or missed obvious clues but I can’t say that in this case. I don’t think Jack really made any mistakes. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know so there’s no way for him to act on this information. In a big government agency like this it’s also hard to see how he would possibly be able to find that out so it’s good that he knew the computer guy.

Once Jack does know what is going on he is quick to get in on the action and help John’s team. So that was good and overall he’s a great main character. He really did his best at all times and at the end of the series he steps up and does the right thing even though it’ll likely end up with a big punishment for him as well. You can’t ask for more out of the lead.

John’s character was also engaging with his adventures over in enemy territory. He leads the troops well and ultimately he fought hard. Considering how well versed he was in combat and planning he maybe should have expected the government to cut him loose the way they did, but it’s hard to prepare for every eventuality.

As for the government guys, well one of the big ones is certainly Ritter. He helps out with a lot of the deals behind the stage and is the main one hiding information from Jack. Ritter’s been in the game a long while and knows exactly what to prepare in order to stay ahead of the curve. He did quite well in that position as he even got a note from his boss in writing so nothing could really stop him. He’s certainly an antagonist, but a resourceful one.

Then you have his boss Cutter who is just as corrupt. The guy gets his orders from the President and carries them out. The guy even makes a deal with a terrorist which is going to very large extremes without a doubt. A lot of his decisions were definitely pretty bad like abandoning the troops behind enemy lines. As Ritter’s superior, the buck ultimately ended with Cutter so he should take the blame for that.

The President isn’t off for free either. He knew exactly what was going on with all of the messages that he gave to Cutter. The guy was definitely ruling with his emotions throughout and did not do justice to his station. As the President he really needed to keep on ruling with a fair hand and not let personal politics come into play. If he had just done that and attacked the drug dealers in a different way, while going through official channels then things could have gone over better. Sure, he got the results he was hoping for but at a much higher price and the ends don’t justify the means here.

For the drug dealers there were two main ones. First is Cortez who is the smart guy in the room who always tries to manipulate both sides. I liked his confidence and he has really been around a lot as we learn that he was also the informant for other guys in the past. He has a lot of power and came really close to ruling everything. The other guy is Escobedo who isn’t as smart but he does do some due diligence. Ultimately he’s smarter than your average mob boss but was getting outmaneuvered for most of the film. If anything he just got lucky in one scene as he was nearly taken out of the picture.

We get some in-fighting among the villains which always makes for a fun scene. Ultimately the film really goes by in a flash. The writing is on point and we have a whole lot of likable characters throughout. Even the antagonists are at least interesting. You’re not rooting for them or anything but there is a lot of good banter as well as back and forth dialogue among the two factions.

There isn’t a whole lot of action for a while but in the climax we do get some gun fights. Jack actually gets to go front and center against some of these villains as well and proves his stuff. You feel bad for the soldiers who didn’t make it out though as it was a pretty rough situation to be in. Particularly the ones who are captured since if anything you’d rather just go out in an instant during the fire fight. This probably helped Jack’s resolve quite a bit.

Overall, This was a solid follow up to the previous Jack Ryan film I saw. I would even say that this one defeats the first. The political fighting between the characters made for a good sub plot and it was also nice to see the old school hacking when Jack got to the computer. He may not have gotten a whole lot out of that before being caught but it was a good attempt. This is a very well rounded thriller film that will keep you engaged both with the explosions but also just with the good dialogue throughout. The main morale here is when you’re in the CIA, FBI, or any of those orgs you have to definitely watch your back at all times.

Overall 7/10

I Tell C Review


I Tell C is the next in the list of cancelled titles in Jump that I wanted to check out. It’s got a unique premise here to start off with but ultimately it’s just not a good one. I’m sure there are ways you could have spun this into something interesting but it would be difficult right off the bat because this just isn’t a great idea in my opinion. The core gimmick would need to be heavily reworked to really stand a chance at being the next big thing and the series ended long before that could happen.

The series starts off by introducing us to a criminal who just murdered somebody and figures he got away. Unfortunately for him there is someone who knows what he did. Her name is Aioi and she is a detective who abuses this position in order to find out info about criminals and catch them. Thing is, she doesn’t want to arrest them but to help the criminals out. See, Aioi falls in love with anyone who commits a bad deed but is so scary with her possessive stalking that the villain then runs over to the cops and turns himself in. Can the villains out run Aioi and will the cops continue to allow her to act like this?

It’s a rather loose plot summary and the thing is…it only works for the first 3-4 chapters before the plot changes again. Unlike many titles which have an easy general plot summary, I Tell C changes its approach for each arc so it’s hard to pin down. The pilot story is effectively showing us the story from a villain’s point of view, the next arc shows this to us from a hero’s point of view, the third arc is more of a comedic tale that turns into a thriller, the next arc is a Kaito Kid adventure, and then the final arc changes gears once more into a psychological battle.

I Tell C was always changing things up which is interesting if it’s trying to go more the anthology route but those have their own weaknesses as well. One of which is that you can never expect a whole lot of consistency there since some styles will naturally be a lot weaker than others. I would frown on using this style personally because even if it can work, it’s very difficult. The easiest kind of story to adapt here would be the first and have each story be by the villain’s perspective. It may not always work but it could capture the intensity of Aioi the most.

Before I go any further, let me break down why I disliked the series. The whole thing revolves around the fact that Aioi falls in love with criminals. This is incredibly suspect especially considering she works for the police. Now, maybe this wouldn’t be so bad if the villains were doing some more minor things like stealing bread from the deli or jaywalking. The problem is that almost all of Aioi’s opponents are mass murderers. These are people who are taking lives and she is talking about marrying them.

Aioi goes very far with this to the point where she defends them. One person just got done murdering at least 5 people that we know of and she explains that he was just lonely and needed someone to hold hands with. That’s just awful and the only way you could get around that would be if she was portrayed as a villain. When the series is portraying this to just be a fun quirky trait for the main character…well that’s a problem. The series missed another easy fix there which would have been to have Aioi not be a part of the police. Have her be another criminal that the police are trying to catch.

As Sakon notes in the first chapter, she may have caught the villain but she broke no less than 5 laws at the same time. So the police should really be arresting her as well but they choose to turn a blind eye. Effectively she is a villain who’s on the payroll and is tolerated because she is the best detective they’ve got. That’s just messed up and Aioi says on numerous occasions that she won’t arrest the criminals and will even help them get away if anything.

Later on she goes more into detail with her plan which is effectively that she figures if she marries a criminal then she can provide him with enough love where he will never commit a crime again. It’s just an incredibly naive goal because mass murderers aren’t going to change again. That’s yet another reason why I say the series would work better if these were just petty criminals. Then you can actually see why she would be acting like this. Reforming criminals is great and all but Aioi goes too far when she starts making excuses for them.

There’s a big difference between saying that person X deserves a fair second chance and should get a lenient sentence and saying that person X only murdered these people because he was lonely and shouldn’t have to go to prison. One is still going through the system and offering a recovery step afterwards while the other is just pure delusion. So Aioi brings the entire series down right from the jump to which I would say it never truly recovers.

The series ended with 21 chapters so there isn’t time for a lot of arcs. Lets quickly take a look at the various arcs. The series definitely had a rough beginning as the second half destroys the first chunk but I suppose it was too late for the series to properly course correct all the way. I already discussed the opening chapter for the most part but I would say it was one of the most effective ones. Seeing things from the villain’s point of view was interesting like with how demented Aioi appears the whole time. She is definitely not somebody you want to mess with.

We’re also introduced to the main two police officers Sakon and Ukon. Sakon instantly makes the most sense as he disapproves of these tactics but will never look very good. It’s just a solid pilot chapter and if the rest of the series were like this then there would be some more potential. I’ve already talked about Aioi so I’ll leave that character alone for now.

Sakon is a character who had a lot of potential. I liked him in the first chapter but after that he fades quickly. His whole gimmick is that he’s obsessed with strength so he is always lifting weights. He’s like your classic Shonen lead as he always wants to jump into action and do the right thing. These are all great traits but the problem is that he’s never helpful. He loses just about every fight he is in.

There’s on moment in particular that was embarrassing where he knocks a villain down and instead of pressing the advantage he tells everyone to run and gets out of there. If you tie up the villain at this moment then there is no danger to run from. He blew it in that arc but the main issue is that he seems to blow it in every arc which is a problem. He’s the resident strong guy but it never feels like it with how often he loses.

Then you have his brother Ukon who is more by the books. He’s with the rest of the cops in how they dislike Aioi so he doesn’t mind if she gets injured or dies on the case. As a result Ukon takes more of a backseat in these cases. He stops appearing fairly early on in the series and there’s not time for him to have a proper character moment. As a result he ends the series as a bit of an empty character.

After the opening case, we have to deal with an opponent who has been murdering a lot of girls because he’s another twisted guy. Even though he is murdering tons of people, Aioi finds this charming and wants to marry the guy. Problem #2 with this, she has no plan. She allows him to knock her out with the sleeping gas and get tied up. This was part of her plan but she had no exit strategy. This means that if Sakon doesn’t show up at the absolute perfect time then she would be dead right now.

What kind of main character is this? The story also felt unnecessarily dark with how this all played out. The heroes are able to save one victim at least but when you consider how many died that is just brutal. You don’t want to introduce a villain who is this much of a psychotic creep like this. Maybe for the final boss or something but it’s too dark too fast particularly with Aioi here. The first villain was at least rather normal and just murdered somebody.

So I really didn’t like that case and it’s probably the weakest in the series for me. The next case is the longest as the group heads to a mansion for some hot springs. Of course it turns out that the place is filled with murder. The mass murderer who destroys people and then steals their hands is in the area as well. Of course Aioi is thrilled about this but nobody else is.

It also introduces the main villain of the series Hikaru. He won’t appear in any more cases so you’ll have to savor him now. For reasons we don’t know yet, Aioi can’t stand him and he is the one villain that she wants to take down. From the context clues we do get, it seems like he pulled a Darth Vader and basically murdered himself. So the new him is now evil and the old Anakin version is no more.

Still, the old version did kidnap Aioi and cause her to get this whole Stockholm syndrome so he doesn’t seem like a great guy. I’m sure that the series would have gotten to this at some point but there’s no time. The guy’s not very interesting though. He doesn’t seem like a super mastermind with how easily they caught him. He doesn’t feel pain which is handy but it’s still really sloppy that Sakon let him get away. You should never let someone get away when you’ve defeated and disarmed them. The whole thing was embarrassing.

Lets just say that Sakon’s guard is so low he allows Hikaru to reach in his pocket and take out the gun. Ok….that’s sad. Hikaru can’t really fight either so he just takes every blow to the point where Aioi nearly murdered him. He sees the whole world as his personal novel to write so that could be an interesting trait. Him getting beaten severely by the heroes in their first appearance is hard to get back from though.

As for the hands villain, he was pretty awful. Remember once again that this is someone who has murdered a bunch of people. So it turns out that he just did need to hold somebody’s hand, in this case Aioi’s. Then he’s a changed man to the point where he even has a speech and attacks Hikaru. It’s just so disrespectful to the people he murdered that the guy could be changed so easily. He was also seconds away from murdering Aioi so it’s good that she can forgive and forget so easily.

That arc was a bit of a mess without a doubt. Next up is another big saga which introduces the Phantom Thief Mar. So this is a legendary thief that nobody knows the identity of. Mar steals a bunch of paintings of women and always returns them in a deformed state. Well, this time Aioi and the others have been asked to help. Why?

Well, after the events of the last case we got a time skip and the group was removed from the police. They’re now a shadow unit known as the I team who help out on the trickier cases and can break the rules. Of course by the same token they are also unofficial so it would be very easy to frame or shut them down. To introduce this concept there was also a pretty quick case where Aioi has to stop a bank robber and she makes her first arrest. At least now she is finally arresting people since it’s her only chance to get closer to finding Hikaru again.

Mar decides to let the heroes know her true identity though. It turns out that she is a girl who is obsessed with her own beauty. It’s not just a random character trait though as it actually ties into her backstory. Lets just say that she needs to be beautiful in order to complete her main objective. It’s an interesting plan and I’ll give the series credit for this being a unique one as well. Of course Aioi is torn because part of her wants Mar to succeed while part of her needs to catch this villain so it’s a tough call.

Sakon gets wrecked again as always though. It’s a pretty decent case even if Aioi is annoying the whole time though. Any scene of Aioi trying to pull the moves on Mar is a bit much and of course she hasn’t gotten completely past her phase of making excuses for the villain. Keep in mind that Mar is actively defacing popular paintings which are worth a ton of money and by the end this is portrayed as something almost heroic. Her father and grandfather look awful in the flashbacks though. Terrible characters through and through. Especially the father who completely lost sight of what matters. Also going back to the defacing property, lets just say that Aioi isn’t above doing such things as well.

So we got to meet Mar and interestingly it seems like she would not have been a reoccurring character. I liked the fact that she could fight but of course it did come at the expense of Sakon looking really bad again. This guy seriously could not catch a break and there’s no way I could take him seriously as a fighter after this. There was just no way. Mar’s origin story was certainly emotional although it doesn’t justify her wrecking private property like this. She easily beats a lot of the other villains we’ve seen so far though.

Then we have the chief of the I team Akiraka who is Aioi’s self proclaimed father. Technically there is no relation but that’s the role that he sees himself in which is something. There’s not much to him yet so he’s more of a bland character than the others. Finally this takes us to the last case where we meet the suicide bomber Aichi. Basically he wants to throw his life away because he has lost all hope and has stationed himself inside of a building.

There is a clear timer on the bomb so he is giving everyone a chance to leave safely. The password to deactivate the bomb is one letter long but you only get one chance to guess or the bomb will blow up right away. It makes for an interesting word game and some solving skills. It’s a fairly small case but one that works easily enough. The main issue is that afterwards Aichi joins the team which is how the series ends. You’re telling me that a suicide bomber who nearly blew the building up and caused a lot of damage is allowed to join the I team just like that? I don’t know that seems like a bit of a stretch.

Aichi seems to have a crush on Aioi but there isn’t a whole lot more that we know about his personality yet. He has a bit of a sarcastic streak to him but ultimately the series ended before we could learn more. There’s also Aioi’s informant, but we don’t know much about him beyond the fact that he likes everything to be in perfect halves. It’s an interesting quirk but right now that’s all it is so we’ll have to wait a bit to see if he’s a good character or not. Right now I’m not impressed.

Finally you have Homura who has a crush on Sakon but you already know that she is doomed since inevitably Aioi would get picked. Homura is an expert with a gun but that’s not too helpful when Mar is a bullet timer and Homura doesn’t appear for the other cases. She has a lot of potential and is one of the more likable characters. It’s just too bad that she didn’t get to appear much. So that wraps up the characters and the plot of the series. As you can see, I just can’t get past the core concept of the series.

When you start to try and make excuses for the murderers running around town I just have a hard time buying into it. Aioi’s obsession is taken way too far with all of her lines being about love and marriage with the villains. Even casually she won’t talk to characters much unless they have some kind of criminal record. It’s all meant to be very funny of course but the humor really doesn’t click.

In general the writing is okay I suppose. I found it a bit ironic that most of the arcs have no actual mysteries though even though this seems like it’s supposed to be a mystery series. The only case that would qualify are the first 2 so after the first 3 chapters that is dropped entirely. The hotel is a thriller, the phantom thief arc is really just a chase, and the final arc is a negotiation. Maybe the author got bored of doing straight mysteries.

As for the art, it’s not as great as some of the other recent titles I’ve read but it’s good. My main issue is that the character designs aren’t always very distinct. Some panels will have a lot of detail and then suddenly others won’t. It’s not super consistent but it’s still clear enough where I can always tell what is going on so ultimately I would give the series a green checkmark on this.

So, how would I prevent this series from being cancelled? Well I’m sure you know what my first change will be. Definitely completely change Aioi’s character to the core. No more falling in love with every criminal and justifying their actions. Now, if you need that to be present or this would be a different series, then instead just have her be another villain. Make this a Carmen Sandiego kind of series.

Aioi always finds the villain first and tries to marry them only for the main two cops Sakon and Ukon to appear and foil her plans. She always runs off while they catch the villain. I think that would immediately be a much better dynamic and would fix things in a pinch. That would make the series a whole lot more approachable and I just think it would be a much better core concept. As a mild aside, I would also say to make the main villain a little more threatening so he shouldn’t get completely beaten up in his first appearance. That’s not the right way to set up the villain.

Overall, You can just see why I Tell C was cancelled. You really just won’t be able to save this premise very easily and it’s a shame because we can always use a good mystery series. Aioi has to be one of the worst main characters I’ve ever seen in a manga. Hopefully if the series were to ever come back the author would be able to fix some of the issues here. Just go for a big change up and hope for the best.

Overall 4/10

Cocktail Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

All right, it’s time for a romance drama film. Usually romance pairs better with comedy than drama so this one was already starting on a tricky note and unfortunately it gets weaker as the film goes on. The main cast is just unlikable and by the end you’re certainly not rooting for the lead. When that happens, usually that means the film has lost you.

So the movie starts with Brian deciding that he wants to be rich some day. His uncle owns a bar and offers Brian a job but being a bartender is off the menu. Unfortunately Brian bombs out at every job he applies to since he doesn’t have a college degree and ultimately the only place he can find is work as a bartender in another location. The head bartender here is a guy called Doug and he quickly starts to train Brian on how to serve up the drinks while also making a show of it. Brian quickly learns the ropes and figures if he can do this much right now, maybe they should just open up a big bar in Jamaica and get rich. Will the two be able to get along once big money is involved?

There’s a lot of issues here but it’s safe to say that the weakest angle here is the romance. Mainly because Brian proves himself to be the kind of guy who goes on a lot of affairs. Early on in the film he has a one night stand with a girl from the bar and thinks it’s serious until Doug points out that she isn’t loyal and has his own stand. Doug then finds a girl names Jordan who who is nice enough but cheats on her with another random girl from the bar. He also starts cheating with another person in the climax but just barely breaks it off and runs back.

The issue here is that you know the film is going to bring Brian and Jordan back together but she should want nothing to do with him. No matter how often you see Brian apologize, you don’t buy into it. He betrayed her for $50 bucks which is just awful. Jordan’s father is right the whole time when he says that Brian’s no good and to just move on. Brian makes a big show on saying it’s not about the money or anything but of course at this point he knows Jordan’s rich so do you actually believe him?

Clearly the film wants us to believe that this is all genuine but I have a hard time buying it. I don’t see the relationship lasting because Brian’s track record is just too extensive. The next time someone makes him a bet or someone flirts at the bar room you feel like it’ll all be over. Jordan effectively will need to keep tabs on him at all times which will be really exhausting.

If Brian had not cheated at all then maybe this could work but as it stands there’s no way you can root for him. Jordan’s father appears as an antagonist but I’d definitely see him on the hero’s side here. The whole climax is really just not satisfying at all.

I also didn’t like Doug. The guy has a lot of confidence but he is always giving Brian the worst advice possible. Ultimately he is one of those guys who makes it seem like he has all of the answers but in the end he’s struggling just to stay afloat. Brian isn’t going to learn much from him and the way the guy goes out is brutal. To waste that much money is insanity and shows just what kind of guy he is. I was expecting better from Doug.

As for Jordan, she ultimately has to lose some points for sticking by Doug as well. The romance just moves too fast and ultimately that’s why you need to take it slow so you can see if the other person is actually good. Now there were presumably some time skips thrown in since we got a montage and all so it’s hard to say exactly how long the time frame was, but clearly it should have been even longer.

It’s a shame too because if you take that second half out then the film actually had some promise. The first half is really where all of the fun is had. You have Brian and Doug showing off while serving drinks which is pretty cool. It looks very difficult to flip the drinks the way that they did and they made it look easy. The actual bartending gig is the most interesting part of the movie and yet it gets ditched so quickly.

You could say that the film goes off the rocks when the gang breaks up and Brian heads to Jamaica. Early on there was so much potential like when the two were working at the more glitzy bar and Brian had to drum up some business. The actual rhyming may have been a little cringe but the story felt very focused. Then Brian leaves for a year and Doug returns to sabotage the whole operation. If Brian’s ego were not so big he might have made it past the provocations but ultimately he was not able to stay strong and sunk.

What we needed were more scenes showing Brian trying to achieve his real dream of being in marketing and things like that. I enjoyed the scene of him at school after all although he was quite thorough in burning all of his bridges there. It definitely did not help him find a non bar position that’s for sure. There just isn’t a lot more development for Brian’s character there even though you were expecting some kind of character arc where he’s no longer a hot head.

Overall, There isn’t a ton to say about Cocktail because there isn’t a lot happening. It’s a film that doesn’t have a whole lot of plot going for it so after the first half it vanishes entirely and we get a full romantic adventure. It’s just an issue that the romance itself isn’t very good. The writing is only okay. You have some good banter between Brian and Doug whenever they aren’t drinking but that’s about it. The fun dialogue can be good but when the film tries to get serious is when it falters. Ultimately the main character looks too bad to be redeemed at the end. If you want to check out a romance film, you can skip this one and look elsewhere.

Overall 4/10

The Snowman Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

It’s time to take a look at a horror film that you probably saw some promotion for back in the day. It’s certainly not ready to be one of the popular big leaguers like Halloween or anything like that but it was trying to do something a little different with the whole snow theme. Unfortunately it’s just a pretty bad horror movie that falls into all of the usual issues associated with the genre.

We start out with a kid being forced to witness his drunk father attack his mother after his lessons did not go well and then we cut to the present. You’re probably wondering what the point of that intro scene was but it’s all to set up some motivations later on. So our main character here is Harry. He’s supposed to be a brilliant investigator but unfortunately he’s always drunk and passing out in random places. He got divorced a while back and is unable to really connect with his kid. They get along but he always ended up having to cancel their chances to hang out since he loses track of time.

That may be happening again as a brutal serial killer is on the loose. He’s only targeting ladies so Harry needs to figure out what the connection here is. His partner on the case will be a lady named Katrine who knows of him from his rep but isn’t too impressed. Harry doesn’t even have a license anymore at this point and barely contributes to the case until the murders intensify. Then it’s time for him to finally get involved but can they really take down this villain?

Well, I’ve got a ton of issues with the film as you would expect. First off to get the obvious out of the way, the movie can be quite violent. You actually have bodies completely torn apart and such. The snow hides the details a tiny bit I suppose but not really, it just throws an artistic touch on the whole thing. The villains whole gimmick is dismembering his targets which is certainly quiet gritty. Not even Harry can get away from this guy without some kind of injury.

To that effect it’s probably hard to write a film with a mass murder villain without things getting a little intense but this one goes as far as it can. We also get some super random animal violence with one character chopping up some chickens out back. The scene has no real point to it except to make the heroes look a little sloppy. Got a call saying that this character was missing and they leave her alone? Sure, it could be a crank call some days but with a mass murderer on the loose and leaving Harry pictures that seems like a long shot.

Additionally, there’s a sub plot about a rich guy taking pictures of women and basically doing a lot of sleazy things. This plot comes out of nowhere and to this day I still feel like it had absolutely no purpose in the film. It doesn’t really change anything nor does it actually give us a proper red herring. I don’t think anyone thought for a moment that this old and rather overweight guy was the true villain here. I mean it would have certainly be a twist but he doesn’t even work as a red herring.

Harry isn’t a particularly good main character either. I refuse to believe that he’s some kind of genius because he never shows it. The most humiliating thing here has to be when he finds some guy in his house and doesn’t question it. He accepts the story that it’s just someone in here to make repairs to the house. Hmmmm….nice. Doesn’t matter if the guy is legit or not, that’s a huge red flag. Then Harry goes back to the house later on and the guy has broken in again and is singing a lot.

The whole drunk angle is also annoying. The main villain could have literally murdered him in one scene but instead chooses to take a picture of Harry and tell him to stop falling asleep. When the villain has to give you a pep talk you know that you have sunk rather low. Harry really needs to step up his game and by the very end of the film maybe he has…maybe.

He also participates in a brief affair with his ex wife Rakel who is currently re-married. Yes, she instigated but he allows it to happen without any real resistance which is just bad. So I did not like Harry as the main character one bit. Likewise as you can probably guess I was not a fan of Rakel either. Rakel is actively cheating on her husband and doesn’t seem to get along with him much for no real reason. She can be very slow on the uptake as well. If you take a few scenes away then sure she could be a good character. At least she tries looking after Oleg as best she can but even that doesn’t really work.

As for Oleg, well you always need to have a kid character running around I suppose but he doesn’t really add much to the plot. He’s around but that’s it. Then you have Mathias, the new father on the block. He does his best to help Harry adjust and doesn’t seem to mind how close the main two are which is good even if the trust backfires in this instance.

As for Katrine, she’s a good detective and really does a lot of the legwork here. At first Harry is no help so she really has to do everything. Unfortunately she does take some huge risks by the end and is also forced to try and use her charms to get into the possible villain lair. Always a horrible tactic I must say since I prefer the characters just use their spy techniques to get to where they need to be.

The whole scene just feels a bit mean spirited the whole time though. The way she goes out is rather dragged out and painful. It would have been nice if it could have at least been a quick end instead but the Snowman really puts the characters through the wringer the whole time. As for the Snowman himself, well it goes without saying that I don’t like the guy. He’s just your average psychotic who has a whole snow theme about him. The guy is pretty fast and always manages to be in the right place at the right time though.

Maybe if Harry had been drinking less he could have prevented a few more of the murders. Unfortunately the body count is rather big by the end so any victory feels like a hollow one. The Snowman isn’t a particularly long movie but it does feel that way at times. There just isn’t much to like with how grim the film is. There aren’t a lot of good things to say about it, but I do like the backdrops.

I’m a city guy first and foremost when it comes to cinematic backdrops, but the snowy wilderness works very well in the movie. The snow has a very natural feeling of intrigue to it and really supports a mystery film. I think if this film had leaned more into being a mystery film than a horror title that it could have gone places. Focus less on the actual murders and more on picking up the clues. That would have worked out fairly well.

The only other effective moment for me would have to be the very final scene of the movie. I thought this was good and could have even worked as an after credits scene. Lets just say that it completely sets up the sequel and this next case sounds fairly dangerous as well. Presumably Harry is finally back to peak condition and won’t be drinking anymore as well. If that is the case then the sequel would already have a better main character so that would be promising. I seem to recall a good musical theme here so I’ll give that to the movie as well.

Overall, The Snowman is basically your average horror film. While the actual murder weapon is rather creative and the Snowman angle is interesting, the film just doesn’t work. It’s all over the place like with the whole filler plot about the corrupt mayor/town official guy. I still say all of those scenes could have been cut out and the heroine should have gotten a better death rather than the brutal way that she went out. The film is going for a lot of shock value and brutal deaths when it really should have been trying to captivate us with the mystery itself. I would say to give this one a definite pass.

Overall 2/10

Grandia II Review


It’s time to take a look at an RPG that’s a part of a series I know the name of but that’s about it. I certainly had no idea on the plot or anything like that. It’s certainly a great RPG and one that has lasted throughout time. You’ll have a good time with this one as there are a bunch of likable characters and solid gameplay throughout.

The game starts out by introducing us to Ryudo. He’s effectively a solo hunter/bounty hunter that nobody likes. His career choice isn’t exactly a popular one and Ryudo isn’t known for his winning personality either. Well, one day he finds himself in a village where his next assignment will be difficult. He has to guard a girl named Elena as she heads off to a mysterious castle to perform a ceremony. It doesn’t go well though and she ends up absorbing the Wings of Valmar.

Elena is now considered corrupted and must find a her way to the master church in order to cure her affliction. It won’t be easy though so Ryudo will have to stay on the job a while longer. He doesn’t believe in either Granas or Valmar as the two gods and just wants to live his life as best he can. The two heroes will ultimately run into several allies, enemies, and even a whole conspiracy. All they will have is each other as the group of heroes prepare for their ultimate confrontation.

The story goes through a whole lot of twists and turns so this is really more of a basic summary. The main thing to remember here is to always watch your back. Ryudo has a pretty good sense of danger about him and usually suspects everyone at first. It’s a wise policy since most of these characters always have some kind of agenda at the ready. It’s impressive just how antagonistic Ryudo is at first. He insults everyone and is clearly not having any fun.

As the game goes on we learn more about his past and why Ryudo is the way that he is. He gets a lot of memorable dialogue throughout the game including a variation of Bully Maguire’s famous line “You missed the part where that’s my problem.” Ryudo is a very different kind of protagonist and is written very well. He’s memorable and not a lead that you are likely to forget anytime soon.

As for Elena, she’s a bit of a weaker heroine. I wasn’t on board for her during most of the game as she always follows the bosses even when they’re acting rather suspect. She’s slow on the uptake in that front and just takes a lot of time to get used to the real world. She finally does, but not until the very end of the game so it took some time.

Her counterpart Millenia was a lot more fun. Effectively this fighter is the embodiment of the Wings of Valmar and one of the most powerful demons around. Naturally that means that someone like Elena who is incredibly focused on the church of Granas does not take too kindly to her. They are polar opposites in personality as Millenia is very forceful and takes what she wants while Elena is a lot more passive.

Roan is a kid who joins the group as well and he’s got quite a few secrets to hide. He’s a nice enough kid even if you feel like he’s too young for this adventure for a while. Ultimately he does end up helping out the group when it counts though. He was also one of the first characters to really trust Millenia which was great for her character arc.

Then you have Mareg who is the power member of the group. He wants to destroy Melfice no matter what due to a tragedy that happened in his origin story. Mareg is always speaking in riddles and trying to be fancy. It may make his dialogue a little stiff but I wouldn’t say they overplay this angle too much. He may not rank quite up there with some of the other characters but he gets the job done.

The final main hero is Tio and she’s an android who has to try and develop a heart. That’s not an easy tasks for anyone but she gives it her all. She comes a bit late in the game but makes the most of her screen time and quickly became one of the more enjoyable members. It always makes for a powerful character arc to have a robot truly become alive like this.

There’s also Ryudo’s pet bird Skye but he doesn’t do as much as you would expect despite technically being around for the whole game. He likes to tease Ryudo once in a while. Selene is one of the big members of the Church of Granas so she gets a sizable role here. From the start she comes off as very forceful in trying to keep people safe so you don’t want to be near her when the knights come strolling in. I’ll give her this, she was very dedicated to the cause.

Then you have Melfice, Ryudo’s long laost brother. This guy was a difficult fighter and certainly not someone to take lightly. He’s one of the more interesting villains even if he isn’t around for a big part of the game. Ultimately he chosse power over everything which is rarely ever a good decision. It was interesting to see how in his village this was a popular idea though in the sense that you can’t create justice without power. To an extent that is true but it’s definitely easy to lose focus and start obsessing over power too much.

Zera is a big player in the story for sure. I’d say he’s your classic old guys in one of these RPGs. He has big plans and will do anything in order to make it to the end. Not the kind of guy you want to trust and he loves showing off with his big speeches and everything. It’s just what he does.

Towards the end of the game things get rather cosmic. One of the best cutscenes is when we actually got to see the origin of the big battle between Valmar and Granas. Typically this is the kind of thing you’d expect to hear about but never actually see so I was impressed when the game threw me a curve ball and actually showed this on screen. That was very impressive and a prequel could easily work with this concept. There’s a lot you could do for that war.

Throughout the game the graphics are definitely impressive. We even get some good soundtrack themes during the game. I like the battle themes and boss music. It’s not surprising that a big RPG like this could have a solid soundtrack but it’s always worth noting. It makes the battles all go smoothly as you would expect.

In the end the game took me over 30 hours to complete which is a very solid length. I had to train for several hours before the final bosses because of how difficult they were though. Once I got a certain character back into my party then things eased up though. I’m not sure if there is any replay value here though as it seems it’s the kind of game that takes you back to right before the final boss when you load it up. So this will be a game you just aim to beat all the way through.

The only two areas in the game that could be improved are that the cutscenes can’t be skipped as well as the attack options. The latter may not sound like a big deal but quite a few of the attacks here are very fancy so during the final battles you’ll be having to wait for many attacks to go trough. I would usually have reddit open or a manga while I was waiting between attacks. So if the game is ever remade they should definitely add a skip feature in and that would be perfect.

It may go without saying but the combat system is that of a turn based combat mode. It’s a lot like Mega Man X Command Mission where your turns are based on speed as opposed to things always going in the same order. So that makes investing in quick equipment well worth your while. Each character can also equip 6 skills from the books you collect as well as an egg which grants you the ability to use magic. Leveling all of your techniques up takes time so I recommend saving your points for the abilities that you will really want to use.

Overall, Grandia II is a great game. It’s got a very satisfying story to it and a good cast or characters. It’s also fairly long at over 30 hours so this is certainly not the kind of game that you can just complete in an instant. You’ll really have to apply yourself here and I recommend fighting enemies as often as you can because it will certainly catch up to you by the end. I cleared the game at around level 57 and it was still fairly difficult. So I definitely recommend this to any RPG fan.

Overall 8/10

Madden 20 Review


It’s definitely been a long while since I played a Madden game. It’s always somber waiting for the next one because even if there aren’t any big changes, the series just has fantastic gameplay. To date it has to be one of the all time greatest series out there. This one’s certainly no different even if I wouldn’t say that it is quite able to compete with some of the older ones. Mainly I feel like scrambling has been nerfed and the deep ball is still nonexistent. Still, if you’re looking for a quality Football game you can’t really top this one.

Right off the bat you can jump into a ton of different modes like franchise, story mode, play now, online modes, or the skill trainer. Of course for me the first stop is just the quick matches to get a feel for the game. I always make sure to do one game on each difficulty level before I review the game so see how I stack up.

I was able to defeat most of the difficulties but I did get stomped in All Madden. I kept it rather close in the first half at 17-6 but as I got more and more desperate the A.I. would take advantage of that and ultimately go on to score a total of 40+ points. All Madden is as tough as it ever was but this time it did feel pretty legit. Usually I walk away shaking my head but in this instance I thought it was fine. I just got out played there.

The gameplay is pretty much the same as always. The goal in Football is to carry the ball across the goal line. At that point you will have claimed victory and will be in the home stretch. If you allow your opponent to do this, then you have to do it again as well. Whoever scores the most points at the end of the game is the winner and then that would be a wrap. It’s easy to understand if you’re familiar with the sport but otherwise Madden would not be the best place to start learning. I would recommend watching a real game first to see this in action.

Granted, you won’t be calling plays as if you were a real team but it’s still helpful for learning the fundamentals. As mentioned the game is a blast but there are a few aspects that are weaker than in most of the other titles. One of those is the QB scrambling which is when you decide to make a break for it instead of throwing the ball.

I can see how this could be a little overpowered in some of the games but I just love doing it. Often times I will make a break for it instead of throwing the ball because I don’t really have anyone open. Now you have to be a lot more careful because it takes a lot longer to actually start running and that’s an issue for when you just want to take off. I’m thinking it’s the game’s way of telling you that you should be throwing.

The QB throwing accuracy has also been given some more in depth features such as your ball not being thrown where you want it to be if you’re under pressure. You’ll suddenly throw in odd directions and while this is an interesting way to factor pressure in, I don’t think it’s needed. It should all go to your individual skill and where you throw the ball. That’s definitely a lot more straight forward.

I also just miss being able to toss the deep ball around. Find a receiver in a 1 on 1 matchup and just throw the ball over. Nowadays if you try that it will be incomplete 6/10 times and intercepted the other 3/10. Actually completing one of these balls is never worth the risk and that’s a shame because they’re the most fun to complete. Instead it’s often best to go for most short length passes and chip your way to the goal.

Running the ball is as solid as ever though. I don’t typically run a lot but it does make me feel like I’m using some real plays so I’ll do it here and there. You always get that feeling of being so close but so far away when running the ball because every time you get tackled you’ll think about where you should have run instead. It’s definitely a blast making your picks.

A lot of the modes also have the ability to skip all defensive drives which is pretty cool. Defense isn’t bad but I definitely do prefer being on the offense so that’s definitely more my speed. You have control of the ball and what you do with it at that point which is what makes the game fun. There is a lot amount of RNG in most of these plays.

As for the other modes, well there is a classic Story Mode once again but as always the cutscenes are completely unskippable. This has been the case for 3-4 years now and that’s unacceptable. Surely the devs have heard of the complaints before now so there’s no excuse for not being able to skip these. Especially since the story mode just isn’t all that engaging. You’ll really only be playing through the mode for the trophies.

Outside of the story mode the graphics are very solid though. It’s always great just loading up the game and seeing how nice the uniforms and backgrounds are. This is where 99% of the effort goes into so it makes sense that this part would look good. The soundtrack is very forgettable as while you’re in the games you won’t be hearing it anyway. You’ll just have the classic Football sounds at that point which is really what you want to have to focus on anyway.

Beyond that there is naturally a whole lot of replay value here. You can play games endlessly with a variety of different things to do. If you have the PSN subscription you can also take advantage of the head to head battles which is probably the most enjoyable mode. There’s nothing quite like battling others online. It’s why I would snap up a Switch version if that ever came out, but alas it doesn’t look like EA and Nintendo are ever going to mend the fence here.

Overall, Madden 20 is definitely a blast. While there are some specific changes that make it weaker than some of the other installments, ultimately it’s the core gameplay that you know and love. The series gets a lot of shots fired at it for not changing things up between years and keeping in every glitch which is valid. Still, you’re unlikely to see much of that while playing normally and it’s just too fun to put down. So ultimately the positives vastly outweigh the negatives.

Overall 8/10

Grandia II Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 30h 39m

Ryudo Level 57
Elena Level 56
Millenia Level 57
Adventure Book Level Max
Book of Warriors Level Max
Book of Gales Level Max
Book of Swords Level Max
Book of Priests Level Max
Book of Wizards Level Max
Holy Egg Level Max
Chaos Egg Level Max
Mist Egg Level Max
Gravity Egg Level Max
Soul Egg Level 66
Star Egg Level 82
Ryudo 3/4 Moves Maxed Out
Elena 4/4 Moves Maxed Out
Millenia 5/6 Moves Maxed Out

Rodan vs Sauron



Suggested by Destroyer This is a pretty close one. Both of these fighters aren’t playing games and can land absolutely devastating attacks against each other. That being said, Sauron definitely has the edge here. He can actually channel his energy into energy blasts now and has enough speed to stay one step ahead of Rodan. Rodan is a powerful Kaiju but he has no way way of landing any blows here. Sauron wins.