Mama Review

I’m afraid that it’s time for another horror film and this one is certainly not very good at all. In fact, it’s one of the weaker horror films, but I suppose the writers and producers can take solace in the fact that they tried to grab as many horror tropes as they could. This is probably a good film to show people if you want to explain why the horror genre just isn’t good. There’s no other reason to check this film out though so you’ll want to stay as far away as you possibly can.

The film starts off with a guy taking his kids to an abandoned shelter in the forest so he can destroy them, but a creature puts an end to them first. This creature then takes care of the kids for many years until Lucas shows up and brings them back to civilization. Together with Annabel, he tries to rehabilitate them and get them to act like normal kids. The problem is that the creature doesn’t like this turn of events and prepares to show them what true power really is.

While the plot may sound slightly different, it’s essentially the same old same old. The ghost is now in the house and it keeps haunting Annabel time after time after time. “Mama” never actually does anything though so maybe she was just enjoying the jump scares. No matter, it worked out well for Annabel. Even when the creature had Annabel alone, it never made a move. At least we do know that it can fight though so I’ll give the film some slight props there. Mama is slightly weaker than other characters like the Grudge as it doesn’t seem like it can really do any reality warping. Still, it has the ability to corrupt and destroy what it touches. It steals the life force of its prey, albeit a little slowly. It has basic super strength and speed as well. We can’t forget the levitation either and its ability to summon edible moths. Mama’s not a great villain, but at least the monster actually got to appear and had a distinct design and power set. It could have almost been sympathetic since it helped the kids out and all. The ending wrecks that though as it decides to take out another kid for the prophecy. The ghost should have realized that such a move would probably hurt the kid, but I guess she’ll settle for having the ghost spirit as a friend instead.

Lets start talking about the array of negatives in the film. To start with, there is animal violence. I definitely saw that coming. The two wolves dying in the opening credits weren’t as bad as they could be since it was all drawn using crayons. However, we then saw the kids eating moths later on which was very gruesome and disturbing. That’s a nice way to lose some points, but the film was really just getting started.

Annabel and Lucas are pretty bad characters and that’s why you will end up rooting for the Step Aunt, Cousin, something person. She wanted custody of the kids and while she wouldn’t have fared too well, she would have done better than this pair. Lucas is knocked out for most of the film and when he does show up, he’s knocked out rather easily. He talked a good game, but crumbled when it counted and shouldered all of the responsibility on Annabel even though she never wanted a part in this. He was rather rude the whole time. Annabel’s not that great either although at least she ignores the bad advice that her friends were giving her. She gradually learns to get better with the kids. Still, she helps us get to the next horror cliche of the two leads messing around with each other only to stop when the villains…or in this case the kids show up. One thing you know from horror movies is that ghosts don’t like to see any inappropriate behavior and it usually costs your life.

As for the beginning of the film it still doesn’t make a lot of sense. I thought it was hinting that the Dad was going to murder the kids because of the ghost or some kind of plot twist. By the time you reach the ending, the only real conclusion you can come to is that the guy was just insane. It’s rather grim and dark for no real reason and the plot didn’t have any reason to be here. It’s good that the ghost was watching, but we didn’t need any more villainous characters. The ending manages to top the beginning in how bad it is though and destroys the movie even further. What could have maybe scratched by at a 2 ends up going all the way over.

By the end, it was all futile. The ghost grabs one of the kids and jumps off with her. The little girl dies and will likely now be a moth monster like the Mama. It’s definitely pretty dark and that’s the kind of ending that you never really want to see. I don’t mind the classic “Villain comes out of the closet in the final scene to destroy the main characters” as it is more of an implied sad ending as opposed to a direct one. Ending with this just makes the whole story pointless. The villain won and now she can return whenever she wants to get the other kid. I also don’t think it makes much sense since she had been raising the children and protecting them all those years.

Naturally, I also didn’t care for the fact that the film revolved around the two little girls so much. It was rather gruesome to see them in the initial appearance as they were in very poor condition from living in the wilderness so long. They even lost their ability to speak for a while and while the older one started to get better, it was definitely a pretty dicey plot. It’s one that wasn’t handled all that badly, but throw in the deranged Mama who was watching their every moves and it was definitely not all that fun.

Overall, Mama is not a good horror film in the slightest. The ending cements it as a completely terrible movie. The characters are all pretty bad for the most part and the villain doesn’t make any sense either. Lucas in particular is rather annoying as he takes the time to get lost in the forest for a whole day even when he knows that Annabel is being haunted at home and asked him to get home as soon as possible. It’s little things like that which remind you that this is a horror movie so none of the characters are going to act very smart. If you want a good horror movie to watch instead…you’re going to need to do some intense searching!

Overall 0/10

Revenge of the Creature Review

Oh boy folks, strap yourselves in because you’re in for an underwhelming film from the old days. The Creature from the Black Lagoon wasn’t a very good film to be honest, but at least the Gill Man got his props. This sequel makes him look as weak as possible, but still allows you to root for him since the main humans are so terrible. This film showcases some of the undesirable characteristics that people used to have before society got modern. The modern status quo may be pretty sad at times (Presidential Debate) but it also shows how we have gotten a little more civilized in other respects.

Clete has decided to go find the Gill Man and capture him. The Gill Man may have caused a lot of damage in the first film, but Clete is confident that he can handle him. I guess he was right since the Gill Man doesn’t put up much of a fight. Even when he gets people under the water and has the element of surprise, he’s not able to do much. People just swim away from him or break out of the grip. So much for the proportionate strength of a Hollywood monster eh? After Clete captures the Gill Man and forces him to work as a slave in the water circus, he meets up with Helen. Helen had been minding her own business and working on her sketches, but Clete wouldn’t have any of that. After falling in love at first sight, Clete reminds Helen that she will have to give up her professional career so she can be a stay home Mom like she’s supposed to.

Helen agrees and they live happily ever after. In the midst of this rigged situation, the Gill Man tries to break free of his prison and gets shot for his efforts. So the question is…where’s the film going with all of this? Is there a point and I just missed it or is this film just filler and an excuse to show the Gill Man again? Considering how weak he is in this film, I’m sure that his fans would have preferred that he stay lost in the history books of Hollywood. Appearing again just wasn’t worth it.

One of the main reasons why the film was so bad is the animal violence. See, back in the day it was just generally accepted that humans were above animals and could do whatever they wanted to with them. Animals existed purely for entertainment and that’s how they were treated. It’s essentially the same concept as slavery, but with creatures. That’s how the Gill Man is treated here. He is thrown into a tank and zapped just for kicks as Clete wants to show him who’s boss. It’s not even portrayed as a negative thing in the film as it was just the social norm. People who saw it in theaters back in the day probably didn’t think twice about it and were still rooting for Clete to win once the Gill Man resisted. It was just not fun to watch and that’s why I never like to see animals in old films. At the very least, keep the circuses and such away from me.

The main characters are also fairly annoying as well. Clete seems like your average flirt who just approaches everyone until he gets a yes. Naturally, I also didn’t care for him since he was mean to the Gill Man the whole time. Helen isn’t much better either as she is willing to throw away a career that she put a whole lot of time into just because she is going to marry Clete. Society was pretty dicey back then and that’s why she should have just pulled the friend zone card for a little while. If Clete was serious, then he would be willing to wait. There was also a random guy called Joe who wanted Helen as well, but he was quickly taken out of the picture. The Gill Man saw to that.

It’s also worth mentioning that Clete wasn’t as upset as you would expect once the Gill Man kidnapped Helen. He actually made a point of grabbing the microphone and saying that he didn’t want to see any heroics. Saving Helen was important, but he didn’t want anyone to risk their lives until they called for backup and had a good offensive ready. That’s all well and good, but it takes time. Clete should have been the one yelling for everyone to attack and the chief could have cut him off. Clete just felt very shallow and fake as a result. You’ll feel more sympathy for the two random teenagers who try to save Helen, but are quickly taken down for the count.

The Gill Man’s not a very interesting creature even though he is better than the leads. His super strength seems very sporadic as he is clearly shown to be stronger than the average human, but he can’t even beat one when he is in the water. He does once or twice, but they are usually able to escape him rather easily, which is pretty suspect. I’d expect more out of the Gill Man and since he apparently has to return to the water every few seconds, that’s a pretty big weakness. There was no way he was going to escape with Helen like that although he probably should have just gone to the water with her. He should have enough strength to swim in the ocean while keeping her up. As it is, he had no real plan and never had a chance at success.

Overall, This just isn’t a very fun film at all. It’s not enjoyable to see the humans toy with the Gill Man for a while before finally putting him down. Since there is another film, I guess the Gill Man may have escaped, but even so it’s just a rather depressing story. It’s just around for humans to feel dominant and unlikable. Hollywood can definitely do much better with their stories and I expect more out of them. I definitely do not recommend this film and if you ask me, you should probably watch the new Shin Godzilla film instead. It has a lot more dignity and better writing at its disposal.

Overall 1/10

Dynasty Warriors Advance Review

I own quite a few Dynasty Warrior games, but I haven’t had a chance to play most of them yet. I have 2,3, and 4 at the ready, but other games have taken priority so far. I hope to get to them soon, but in the meantime we have the Game Boy title to work with. Considering how old this game is, I’d say that it did a fairly good job of capturing the style of the main games. It could use some polish though and certainly shouldn’t be known as a great game. It’s fun to play through, but it’s the kind of game that you won’t find yourself coming back to.

One major gripe that I’ve always had with Dynasty Warriors is that the story is never all that interesting. The characters all start to blend together after a while and likewise with the armies. The plot is always about beating an army somewhere, but you don’t get invested into the plot. The same can be said for most beat em ups like this such as Samurai Warriors and Sengoku Basara. However, I give Basara more credit as at the very least, the Devil Kings spinoff did a good job of adding in a lot more personality to the characters and giving more of a full fledged story. At any rate, the story in Dynasty Warriors Advance is around, but you’ll forget it all as you play. All you need to know is that you’re beating up the villains. (Most of the villains end up joining you as allies anyway. It’s a little cheesy to hear a villain talk about how you must unite the land after you finish giving him lethal injuries, but at least it shows that their hearts were in the right place.

The gameplay is fairly simple and you have two different attacks. You have the standard slashes and power moves. Mix them together to create combos. You also get a final smash where you are completely invincible for a few seconds and can land some really devastating attacks. You can also block although I never bothered with that function. You’ll find that you can beat most levels by just spamming your standard attack. Most of the game is fairly easy except for the final level and one boss. Those guys are pretty crazy so you’ll want to harness your inner Kraft and cheese your way to victory. Just use the A button to fire dash an opponent. It has 5 hits, but you want to run midway through the attack. If you do this right, you’ll be able to zip in and out. This will deal some damage, but also get you to safety so the opponent can’t counter you. It can take a painfully long time to win the stage, but it beats losing and going back to the last save point right? I had to replay a level twice because I hadn’t saved recently. In my defense, I didn’t expect those random difficulty spikes to show up.

The boss was very overpowered as she would freeze you and then just as you would break free…she’d freeze you again. You had to button mash really quickly in order to escape her infinite combo. I don’t know why the difficulty spikes were so erratic, but I suppose they added a level of depth to the game. I believe there is even a hard mode in case you want to really test your skills. You’ll probably want to use the blocking feature a lot more if you choose to do that.

Graphically, the game is rather sub-par. Granted, the Game Boy Advance can’t expect to look like Sonic 2006, but the sprites just seem more compressed than they should be. I think the game definitely could have put in a little more effort if you ask me. I know that even for home console games, graphics are supposedly not as good in beat em ups since they have to process so many enemies at a time, but I still say that Hyrule Warriors had really impressive graphics. It’s probably the most impressive beat em up games although Dynasty Warriors Gundam also looks quite good. There isn’t really a soundtrack in this game as it’s all extremely generic music that will put you to sleep. I actually almost did fall asleep when I was playing this on my way back home from Texas and had to switch back to Professor Layton to wake my brain up.

The game is fairly short as it only has around 5-7 levels in it. Granted, the levels range in how long they are as some are pretty quick and others are long. Unfortunately, the game forces you to watch all of the turns and there are a lot of minions who will approach you so be prepared to fight a lot. I would have liked it to have been free roam like the home console versions, but I understand that this probably would have been impossible for the GBA’s systems to handle.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors Advance is a decent game. My main issue with it is that the game can be very repetitious. You’re basically using the same attack forever and since the story isn’t even engaging…there’s just not much to this title. You’ll complete it, but then it’ll go back on the shelf. I think the game did try to be a little deep as there are a lot of weapons to equip and you get level ups to make the characters stronger, but it rarely mattered all that much. I do recommend always equipping the strongest weapon to save some time though. If you like the series a lot, then you should check this game out. It’s an interesting portable take on the game and while it was only just barely successful, I still wouldn’t call it a bad game. It’s fun when you first start it and the game only starts to be a bit of a chore by the very end due to how repetitious it is. One way to alleviate this would be to play the game in short batches. 1-2 levels at a time is probably a good way to pace yourself.

Overall 6/10

Godzilla Resurgence Review

Godzilla is a series that I had always wanted to check out, but it took me quite a while to do so. Finally, about 2-3 years ago I went back and checked out every movie in chronological order. To this date, it is probably one of my biggest achievements. This film would be my first Japanese Godzilla film in theaters so I was ready for a blast and a half. It’s definitely a very solid film and Godzilla certainly does appear more than he did in the American film, at least it felt that way to me. While it definitely loses to a lot of the classic Godzilla films as I enjoy the Mega Monster brawls, this will certainly be remembered as a classic.

The plot is fairly standard for a G film. Godzilla has arisen and now the Government must try to find a way to suppress him before the whole planet is put at risk. Japan will have to do this while also keeping the foreign governments happy. America is willing to use their nuclear options and wipe Tokyo off the map if necessary. The old guard is at the end of their ropes so it is time for the next generation-led by Yaguchi, to save the day. The real question is..can they defeat the King of the Monsters?

Controversially, this film was confirmed to not have any antagonist for Godzilla from early on. That was a shame in my opinion because the monster fights are the main reason why I love the Godzilla films so much. There are many films that only have a single monster like the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms or King Kong, but the battles are what separates Godzilla from the pack. Not to mention that in my very controversial opinion, the films where Godzilla has no antagonist are typically the weaker ones. One day I want to come up with my personal list of where I would rank each Godzilla film. It’ll be difficult though since there are so many and you can make a great case for most of them. Sometimes I can barely put Final Wars as my favorite because GMK and the classic Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster are so good.

Lets launch into the positives. I was expecting this Godzilla film to be really serious and over the top dark based on the title. “Shin” usually means that something is going to be dark and dreary. The film is serious, but Resurgence has a lot of light hearted moments. I got to see this in a fairly packed theater with an energetic crowd and people were laughing constantly. The film feels just as comedic as the original Showa films at some point. It may not always be intentional, but I think it definitely was for at least 80-90% of the scenes. It’s good to be able to mix these tone shifts and the film does it quite well.

The humans never come across as annoying. Yaguchi is a good lead. He may panic from time to time, but he also comes up with a lot of good ideas and never gives up. The American representative Kayoko is also pretty likable. I always like having an American character step into the fray and she feels American right from the start. She is very direct and quippy as opposed to the other serious characters. I also appreciated the film’s restraint with not pushing for a very unrealistic and sudden romance and keeping things professional instead. Friendship isn’t dead quite yet and people can get along without having to take the next step. The Prime Minister was also fun as he was clearly out of his depths, but tried to keep on a tough face. Watching him and the group switch from room to room was definitely entertaining.

The film showed how having a lot of bureaucracy can be a very bad thing. It’s hard to act on a situation when you have to jump through so many hoops. The film portrays America in a very good light as a result as the country does whatever it wants whenever it wants too. America promotes young people who have fresh ideas and it has led to them becoming a global power. America was also portrayed with the might that is appropriate for them as their missiles are the first thing to actually injure Godzilla. They dealt quite a lot of damage and while I don’t think a nuclear missile would have finished Godzilla off, they are one of the only placed to have such an arsenal up their sleeve. I was definitely very satisfied.

Naturally, seeing Godzilla was also a blast. Shooting Atomic Breath out of his spikes and out of his tail was awesome and the whole crowd cheered quite a bit during this moment. It’s a little morbid since he basically took out an entire city, but who wasn’t rooting for Godzilla? I was definitely on Team Kaiju from the start. Godzilla keeps the army at bay for quite a while and he looks fairly tough as you would expect. However, I wasn’t completely thrilled with his portrayal as I had some negatives.

My first gripe is that they went with CGI for Godzilla instead of a suit. CGI can work decently well at times I suppose, but this wasn’t one of them. This is easily the worst Godzilla design of all time aside from the 1998 film which barely counts. People chuckled when Godzilla first appeared in his Rooster form and I was fairly shocked. Luckily, it was just something to throw us off, but I don’t think that Godzilla’s first stage should look like that. Even once he turned into his final form, Godzilla felt fairly off. I’m not crazy about the fact that it always looks like he is bleeding when he walks and that he has to shoot out blood in his first form.

While I don’t mind the narrow stream of Atomic Breath, it certainly looks more impressive when it is a wide blast. Also, I don’t like the way his face has to completely open up in order to shoot the blast. It looks a little gross and disturbing like the Predator’s true face in the classic horror series. It almost makes it seem like a weakness as he will be very vulnerable during that time. The back rays are still cool as they can react in time to stop high speed missiles, but Godzilla shouldn’t run out of energy so quickly. I always have to mention moments that I deem as “plot hax” in these films and Resurgence is no exception. The humans obviously have to come up with some kind of plan at the end, but I would have been more content with Godzilla just walking away like in the 2014 movie. Without going into detail, the plan should not have worked. Godzilla seemed to lose all of his smarts as he walked into every trap and expended energy when he did not need too. It should have been game over for the humans right from the get go and even knocking him down was a bit of a stretch. Either this Godzilla is less durable than some of the others or he just underestimated them. If the film was trying to portray the latter, I didn’t quite buy into it.

The soundtrack for the film is definitely pretty good. There were one or two themes that were memorable like the opera esque tune. Seeing the original Godzilla theme return with a new remix was definitely a lot of fun as well. I was actually expecting more homages to the original films, but I suppose you don’t really need them since the film holds up so well on its own. I really would have liked a good cliffhanger to end the film though. I suppose you could count a certain scene as a possible cliffhanger, but I wanted another monster to roar or something. This film seems like it isn’t really leading up to a sequel so maybe we’ll the next live action film will be another take on the classic franchise.

While listing all of the films in order is tough, in order to celebrate Godzilla’s latest film I thought I’d give it my best shot in this review. Tentatively here’s how I rank them and each row is in order. Keep in mind that these ranks are comparatively so just because a Godzilla film is in D rank doesn’t mean that I consider it to be remotely as bad as films like Pixels and I Know What You Did Last Summer. I’m doing this list off of my head so I’m not looking at my older reviews or blog posts for reference. As a result, the list may look a little different than it would if we went purely by the scores that I gave. It’s been a while since I saw these films so I may remember them differently, but I also didn’t have time to look at all of my posts so this was a little simpler.

S Rank Godzilla Final Wars, GMK, Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster, Godzilla vs Hedorah, Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla II, Godzilla (2000), Terror of Mecha Godzilla

A Rank Godzilla vs King Kong, Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla, Godzilla Against Mecha Godzilla, Godzilla Tokyo SOS, Invasion of the Astro Monster, Godzilla vs Destoroyah, Mothra vs Godzilla

B Rank Godzilla vs Space Godzilla, Godzilla vs King Ghidorah, Godzilla vs Ebirah, Godzilla’s Revenge, Godzilla vs Gigan, Godzilla vs Mothra, Godzilla vs Megalon

C Rank Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla (2014) Son of Godzilla, Godzilla Resurgence

D Rank Godzilla Raids Again, Gojira (1954), Godzilla vs Biollante, Godzilla (1998), The Return of Godzilla, Godzilla vs Megaguirus

It’s definitely tough to list them all and my feelings on the films can be really contradictory. Take Godzilla (2014) and Godzilla Resurgence as they are the two latest films. On one hand, I feel like Godzilla was easily the more intense film. The action scenes were great and the Muto made for a really good villain. The mythos around the film are more interesting and the ending was much better. On the other hand, the human characters in Resurgence were far superior as well as the writing and the pacing. Resurgence never drags on or has any real filler scenes. It captures the impact of Godzilla’s first appearance a lot better and the comedic tones work really well. So…should Godzilla really beat Resurgence? Both films are just so close that it is really hard to stick with one over the other for long, but alas decisions must be made at some point.

Overall, Godzilla Resurgence is definitely a fun film. The humans are easily some of the most interesting and least annoying ones that I have seen in a very long time. I also haven’t seen a Japanese live action film in a very long time so it is interesting to see how they film the movie as opposed to the ones that I’m used too. There are a lot more close ups on the characters, which worked well for comedic effect, but I don’t think I would want that to happen too often. The only real weak point of the movie is the fact that there are no other monsters and that Godzilla’s design isn’t all that good. Still, I definitely recommend it to all Godzilla fans and to anyone that likes a good creature feature. The pacing is very quick so the film never drags on. I look forward to seeing the new Godzilla animated film or the American one coming up. Either way, I will be awaiting them at the theater.

Overall 7/10

Collateral Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film and all thoughts below should be addressed as such. A review of the unedited version would be more negative and may have a different score
It’s time for an action film where Tom Cruise is actually the main villain. It’s definitely an interesting switch to see him play the antagonist and it is handled very well. Typically, you’d expect the film to purposefully make the character as evil as possible to show us that the actor can handle different roles, but Collateral allows Cruise to still play himself…he’s just on the side of evil this time. Collateral certainly destroyed my expectations and proved itself to be a great film. I dare say that it may just make my top 5 non franchise films when it comes to live action. It would lose to The One, but that’s pretty much all that comes to mind and it’s been a while since I saw that film so…who knows.

Max is a cab driver who one day wants to open his own business. Working as a cabbie is just something that he is doing to earn some money first. Unfortunately, his plans are thrown for a loop when he ends up carrying a dangerous assassin by the name of Vincent. After being tricked into driving Vincent to his first target, Max quickly realizes that there is no easy way out of the situation. If he tries to leave, he’ll die along with his mother and anyone else that he knows. His only chance is to take Vincent out, but Vincent seems to be a complete pro at anything relating to violence. Can Max make a move before Vincent targets someone that he knows?

From the start of the film it is shown that Max is a nice guy. He’s the kind of cab driver who will have fun holding a discussion with the passenger and ensure that he gets you to your destination as soon as possible even if that isn’t economically preferable to him. Max helps a prosecutor out with some advice and also visits his sick mother regularly. He’s not used to violence and panics quite a bit once Vincent shows up. The situation is handled fairly realistically as well as there isn’t a whole lot that Max can do to escape. His best bet would have been running as soon as they hit the second target. Max halfheartedly tried, but that was it for him. Vincent took more extreme measures to ensure that the driver wouldn’t get away. Max stepped up when it counted though and the whole time he did his best to put a dent in Vincent’s plans. The film did a good job of not making it cheesy when Max started to actually resist more and more.

Vincent’s easily the standout character here though. He has the confident personality that most of Cruise’s characters possess. Vincent is great in a hand to hand fight and a crackshot with his gun. He takes out normal joes and professional gangsters alike. One of his best scenes is when he walks into a night show and takes out multiple gangsters, cops, and random joes. Vincent is just very good at his job to the point where he is typically very relaxed. He makes jokes and quips and even tries to give Max some life advice. The film still makes you wonder how serious he is about this though. On one hand, it is hinted that Vincent was always going to destroy Max once he finished off his targets as a similar case happened in the past. On the other hand, he does say that he will let Max go and acts like your average protagonist at times. Personally, I believe the former. I think it’s all just a big act and he’s a lot more cruel than he lets on. Vincent is just really good at keeping the mask on at all times. After all, who says that a villain can’t have a sense of humor and a positive disposition? If anything, it helps Vincent blend into the crowd more.

Annie is the prosecutor that Max helps out at the very beginning of the film. Naturally, the film wouldn’t have had her appear if she wasn’t going to return right? Initially, I was expecting a very different film. I thought she had appeared because Vincent was going to escape or die and then Max would be framed for serial murder. Annie would then help him out in court. Instead, the film goes in a very different direction and one that is just as effective. The writers also did a great job in avoiding the cliched romance between her and Max. Instead, they acted as competent partners in the end. If I had a minor gripe, it’s that the incident shook Annie up a little too much. Of course, who knows how I would act in a similar situation. It’s an extremely minor nitpick and Annie’s still a good character. Ironically if Max had followed her lead, the heroes would have made it out of the climax a lot sooner.

Ray is a police officer who talks a good game and acts like he is going to be a major player in the film. The writers certainly had a lot of fun with him and the way that his plot plays out is perfect. Seriously, Collateral had a fun time destroying the usual cliches and giving out red herrings. Ray’s definitely a likable guy and his role was direct and to the point. There were a few other cop characters who showed up, but they were mostly just bit roles to give Vincent someone to shoot. Ray was the only one who really felt like a full fledged character.

The film had a good amount of night scenes. The camera settings were definitely solid though as it was never hard to see what was happening. The only scenes that were fairly dark were typically for suspense reasons. For example, Vincent looked as if he was Wesker from Resident Evil at times with his dark shades and mysterious attire. I’d say that he probably draws quite a lot of attention that way, but maybe it’s one of those “So obvious, nobody would ever suspect” kind of things. I can roll with that.

I don’t really remember the film having much of a soundtrack. Whatever tunes were there fit well with the scenes though as I definitely don’t remember any moments where I would need to shake my head. The violence in the film never gets too gruesome. People are shot and they die, but it never goes out of its way to be all that graphic. It may be thanks to the TV version, but regardless, I’ll chalk that up as a positive here. Restraint is always a good thing for an action thriller.

Collateral moves at a great pace and is anything but dull. As I mentioned earlier, it’s easily one of the best thrillers. You can feel the tension whenever Vincent is around and especially after he subtly threatens Max’s mom. That’s when things get a little more serious for Max. The film’s action scenes are great, which almost goes without saying. The gun fights are handled well and it makes you wish we could have a Bourne vs Vincent match someday. I think Vincent would actually have the edge in a gun fight although Bourne could win a fist fight.

Overall, Collateral is a great movie. There is almost nothing negative to say about it. The characters are all likable for a change and the fight scenes are great. If you’re looking for a good action film, then this is definitely the one for you. I don’t know why it isn’t more popular, but maybe it’ll eventually be known as an obscure classic. The ending has some mild plot hax, but don’t most thrillers? You can also make the case that someone’s heart wasn’t in it by the end. The film gives you a lot to think about so it’s fun to come up with your own deductions.

Overall 8/10

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Review

It’s time for an interesting film that uses a the concept behind X-Men, but with its own spin. Considering how sad the last few X-Men films have been, it’s not hard to construct a universe that’s more interesting. (At least when it comes to films) Unfortunately, this film jumps off the cliff by the end as the logic just doesn’t make sense at times while also having some of the worst writing that I’ve seen in a film in a very long time. (“Some” being the key word here since Pixels exists) It takes you out of the experience, but at least it is interesting and never really drags on.

Jake was just an average boy who tries to live a normal life. His Grandfather would tell him stories of people with fantastic powers and other such tales, but Jake paid him no mind. One day, the grandfather is attacked and murdered by a large creature. Everyone tells Jake that he is crazy, but the kid discovers a recent letter from the head of the school for Peculiar Children. Jake convinces his Dad to tag along as they head to the island and Jake discovers that he is the chosen one. He must save the school from the giant monsters before it is too late, but will he gain some intelligence in the meantime or are all of his friends doomed?

It’s hard to know where to start here. I think I want to go with Jake since I have a lot to say about him although none of it is good. He is easily one of the most incompetent main characters that I have ever seen and also one of the most unintelligent and unlikable. Lets go chronologically here. I guess I can give him a slight pass for not believing the grand father since it would be a tough tale to buy, but after he sees the creature and how the grand father is murdered…he should accept it as true right? He believes it enough to go to the school, but then he is startled by the kids that the grand father has talked to him about for many years. Jake should not be startles, but he is and then he trips and knocks himself out.

Jake continues to embarrass himself further for the rest of the movie. One girl is embarrassed to eat in front of him because of her ability, but Jake says that its fine since he’s a tough kid and can handle it. Needless to say, he gives her a sad, scared, worried kind of look afterwards and shifts in his seat. Later on, everyone warns Jake that the school bully is going to try and scare him by showing Jake the kid who was murdered. Jake knows this, but wants to meet the kid anyway. I won’t say exactly how the interaction goes, but Jake runs out of the room screaming…which tells you enough.

Part of the plot revolves around how Miss Peregrine keeps the kids in a 24 hour time loop which saves them from the bombing in WW II, but also keeps them eternally young. As a result, they live the same day over and over again and have been doing well without Jake. Knowing this, the main heroine brings Jake out to the country side to see how Miss Peregrine destroys the monster every day. Jake suddenly forgets common sense when he sees the monsters and yells out a warning to Peregrine even though she clearly did not need one and Jake could have ruined everything there. Need I go on? Yes! I could write a whole essay on Jake and his unending fails.

Another sad moment is when Jake decides to take down the main villain. He has the element of surprise on his side and a point blank target. Jake misses anyway and then proceeds to miss the next half a dozen shots. Some of them were at very close range and the main villain doesn’t even try to dodge since he tends to forget that Jake exists. Jake messed up every single time. There’s another moment where one of the monsters is choking one of his classmates. Jake grabs the arrow launcher so he can take the monster out, but then he freezes. With his terrible aim, I suppose I can’t totally blame him, but aim at the monster’s legs at least. It was lifting the classmate very high off the ground so it was another clear shot. Jake was very slow on the uptake the whole time and you also have to love how he breaks his promises instantly. He told Peregrine that he would protect everyone, but once she is gone he decides to bolt. He has a completely safe and protected Grandpa to check on after all!

This was also one of the big plot holes in the novel if you ask me. The logic used here is that if you alter the past then you’ll change the future. It’s simple enough if you go with that theory, but it doesn’t work since time acts linearly in this film. When the main character spends a day in 1943, a day still passes in the present. As such, the grandfather shouldn’t come back to life if a certain past event never happened. If time did shift like that, then the Peculiar Kids should all be in very different situations as well since the loop would have never been necessary. The film just tripped itself up here.

Back to Jake, I also couldn’t back him up on the romance. I have to give half of the blame to Emma here as well. So, let’s put this into context. Emma is at least 80 years old, but her age is likely far greater than that since we don’t know how long the time loop had started in the first place. She fell in love with Jake’s grandfather, but he ditched them so he could murder villains and age like a normal person. So, she decided to go for the rebound guy, aka Jake. Jake looks completely identical to his grandfather so that works for her and Jake falls in love with her within seconds so he’s fine with this. I’m not even going to mention the fact that Emma should double think this since Jake was so easy to obtain, but it shows that this romance is pretty fake. Not to mention the fact that Jake barely even thought twice about ditching her in the end only to visit her again by the end to make everything seem okay.

Jake’s also anything but heroic. At one point, he says that the only way he will stay to help the kids is if Emma becomes his girlfriend. That isn’t the exact line, but it is essentially what he meant. He was talking about how people needed him back home and he won’t only stay as their guardian if Emma- but then she cut him off and told him to go away. Jake basically just came across as a poorly written jerk the whole time and the amount of times that he should have died in this film is quite high. He just had the writing to protect him. Lets also not forget that fact that Jake completely led the villains right to the Home’s doorstep. Just something to think about…

There’s one more big plot hole here. Emma’s whole gimmick is that she can manipulate the air which allows her to make all of the water exit a room and such. That’s great…but she still needs iron boots in order to stay on the planet. Are you really telling me that she can’t make a gust of wind to bring herself back down? That makes no sense and it’s such a core element to her powers that I can’t believe the film didn’t address this. Perhaps the book did, but such a thing needed to have been in the film as well. I feel like the writer was in over his/her head on this one and as such, all of these plot holes began to show up. Not to mention that most of the characters are unlikable, underused, or just don’t do much and you’re left wondering what just happened.

All right, lets talk about the positives real quick. For starters, there are more action and intensity than I was expecting so that’s definitely a good thing. It died down a little after the start, but a strong beginning is always important. The visuals were fairly good as well even if the film never let the kids use their powers all that much. The time loop was cool to watch and Peregrine’s outfit is certainly unique. It had a very regal esque look to it. The design for the monsters was also solid.

The best character in the film was definitely Jake’s Dad. He’ll certainly be a polarizing figure, but he worked quite well for me. He clearly doesn’t really know how to be a Dad and makes a lot of mistakes, but he does seem to care. Certainly more than the other supporting characters from Jake’s past. (Especially with a certain plot twist from his one of his advisers) He was just a lot of fun to watch even if he was portrayed rather extremely. Some characters just can’t resist Miller Time after all. You have to look at the Dad as a fun comedy character. Naturally, he isn’t meant to be taken seriously.

As for the rest of the cast, you already know my views on Jake. I can’t say that I liked Emma either as she was far too dramatic and all over the place with Jake. She should have just placed the friend zone card right from the get go. The little girl with super strength and the twins with their masks were all right, but they didn’t get much character here. Victor is another character who hasn’t gotten to do anything and I suppose that will be developed in a sequel. Enoch is the bully who is definitely not likable. He’s basically just around to make things tough for Jake and naturally this means that he has a very easy job. Olive is all right and her fire powers are some of the most useful in a fight, but she is completely invalidated when the ice villain is able to defeat her. The whole point of having fire powers it that you shouldn’t be frozen so easily. It was a rather embarrassing fight for her and the rushed romance between the two was rather forced. After 100 years of working together you finally develop your feelings after a quick fight? Hmmmmm.

Most of the other kids are just around to remind you that they have powers and aren’t afraid to use them. Miss Peregrine is the final big hero. (Unless you count the other Time Wizard, but she looks rather terrible the whole time. Getting kidnapped is one thing, but getting one shotted in the next scene? That’s even worse! She’s a character who just seemed rather odd. The film hypes her up as a very strong character who can put up a fight, but it turns out that she is rather powerless and can’t even beat a single opponent. Theoretically, the film acts as if one monster can take down the whole school and that’s…just embarrassing. I feel like all of Peregrine’s hype was destroyed when the main villain walked into the room and that hurt her character a lot. She’s charismatic, but it appears that she is all talk for the moment. Not to mention the fact that she seems a little corrupt as she will murder people quite easily and does keep the children confined in a time loop for eternity while treating them like kids. It doesn’t seem quite right, but that isn’t really delved into.

I have to quickly jump onto a few more plot holes while I’m at it. This one’s not really a plot hole so much as it is a power inconsistency. The headmistress of another time loop claimed that she couldn’t save any of her students because there were too many monsters. Later, it is shown that a single monster can destroy them all since the monsters are invisible. Maybe the Time Loop character was trying to sound impressive, but it seems like the writer didn’t really think it through. Furthermore, a moment in the climax is another plot hole. The whole climax doesn’t make sense since the villain could destroy all of the kids several times, but chooses not too. Based on how he was acting prior to those moments, it just makes no sense. He has waited for this moment for many years, he would definitely be taking it at least a little seriously. Still, a monster grabs him and the main villain forgets that he has powers. I seriously could not believe what I was watching. It made absolutely no sense and ranks up there along with the sad scene of watching skeletons take down the monsters. It makes absolutely no sense!! Speaking of not making any sense, I hope that a sequel deals with how bringing people back to life and forcing them to fight against their will is rather shady and morally suspect as well as how Peregrine left the rest of the schools to fight for themselves by not warning them that the villains were coming. She is directly responsible for the villain mass murdering a group of kids since she could have warned them, but chose not too. Again….everyone in this film is either shady, has no character, or is just weak.

You seriously just need to throw logic out the window when you watch this film. It’ll let you enjoy it a whole lot more since the writing is just disgraceful. Beyond the plot hax, the main villain isn’t bad I suppose. At least he has a personality and is fairly charismatic. I just can’t take him seriously and the whole eyeballs thing prevents him from being all that good. As you can tell, I mainly had a big problem with the characters in this film and the writing. Still, that isn’t quite enough to give the film a negative rating. It still could have probably gotten a 5 and maybe narrowly a 6. Unfortunately, the film hit two big snags.

One of these was animal violence. Yes, the film resorted to having a herd of cows die for no real reason. It had nothing to do with anything and the scene should have been cut out. The other part is the fact that the villains have to eat eyes to power up. That’s just super dark and the concept should not have existed. It’s just there to be gritty and dark and this does not mesh well with the rest of the film. Seeing the villains consume eyeballs for lengthy periods of time is just disturbing and disgusting. The scenes aren’t horribly graphic as they’re made to look gross, but fake. Still, it’s not something that should have been in the film either and these two negatives ensured a negative score for the film. There’s not much of a soundtrack to be noticed here so that couldn’t help to earn any points either. I’m sure that the tunes were decent, but as I don’t remember any of them, they couldn’t have been all that good.

Overall, This is one of those films that is easy to talk about. I probably didn’t even address everything here as there is just so much to say. On a conceptual level, this film is just very interesting as I like the premise and the world that was built up. Unfortunately, it was simply mishandled and that’s a shame. The Dad was a fun character and I definitely missed him once Jake jumped back into the fantasy world. Jake panicked once again and forgot that he was in a time loop, but I’d expect nothing less from him by that point. I would recommend you check this film out, but you should probably take a pass on it. Watch the film if you want a logic-less action film that must have taken writing cues from Now You See Me, but you should probably just watch Man of Steel again. Now that film was a deep action film with a lot of epic moments. If this film gets a sequel, I’m going to expect it to explain away some of these plot holes so it can try to save the franchise.

Overall 4/10

D.O.A. Review

I know you all may have thought that I was reviewing Dead or Alive for a second there, but I can safely say that this one is actually a quality film instead. It’s one of those fun mystery titles from the good ole days that you can’t really do anymore. If this film was done nowadays instead of in the past, it would be a full on thriller with big gun fights and high speed chases. Those are always exciting of course, but sometimes it’s nice to have a more down to Earth, realistic (In a good way for once) mystery where you can try to connect the dots on your own. The main character’s unlikable, but the rest of the cast is solid and the writing is on point.

The main character is Frank Bigelow. He works the average 9-5 job and he is sick of it! He needs a way out and not just because of work, but he wants to get away from his girlfriend to play the bachelor game one more time. He wants to see if he can get a new girlfriend, but if not, then he’ll come home. It’s a rather suspect motive and what is possibly even worse is that Paula (His girlfriend) gives him the okay. Frank basically tells her that he is going to go and cheat on her and she doesn’t care enough to break up with him. Frank heads out on his journey and flirts with everyone, but it seems like everyone is either already taken or is in a gang. Poor Frank. As I tried to take out the smallest violin I could find to play a tune on, Frank went to the bar and quickly downed a poison beer. No wonder it had such a kick that he had to put the cup down after a single sip…only to pick it up and drink some more. Frank now only has a few days to live, but in the mean time he has to figure out who poisoned him.

The film is really trying to punch you in the gut with how this is all due to karma. Frank ignored a dying man’s last request because he was busy flirting and so he was unable to stop the murder plot. As a result, Frank is now dead before the film has even truly begun and he also got another man killed in the process. It’s not a spoiler that Frank is dead by the way as the film literally starts out with him walking into the police headquarters as he tries to report his own murder. Surprisingly, the cops aren’t surprised and take this in stride as they declare that they’ve been waiting for Frank. It’s good to see that the cops brought their A game right off the bat.

As I mentioned earlier, the writing is pretty solid. All of the characters sound competent and intelligent. There is a lot of witty dialogue between the characters and they all stay polite while still being aggressive. It’s a very delicate balance that has been lost on modern speakers. The film is fairly short, but a lot of action happens in the meantime. The beginning starts off rather mild, but then things begin to accelerate until the film is off and running in the second half.

While I don’t like Frank at all, I do like how he handles part of the situation. One by one, he goes to the apartments of all the villains and threatens them all with the classic Passive Aggressive way of speaking. He gets the last line against all of them and comes across as a guy who has been around the block a few times. His overconfidence does get to him in the end though just as it typically does to Bogart in his classic films. The villains end up beating him up a few times and getting him into sticky situations. You could argue that some of the drama is lost since you know that he has to survive all of this to get to the police station, but it’s still pretty fun to see him connecting the dots.

Frank also does let the fact that he is new at this get to him a few times. Walking into a villain base after threatening them earlier in the day is probably not a good move. At the very least, Frank should have brought a weapon. It was a pretty sad moment for him. One of the partners involved in this huge conspiracy also wasn’t that smart as he couldn’t help but ask the main villain for a beer. I guess he didn’t think that the villain would try to spike it? He’s just lucky that the villain didn’t do anything about it and he just let the guy walk back home. Otherwise it would have been curtains for him.

It’s a complete thriller and the mystery was really well thought out. If anything, you’ll have a hard time keeping track of everything that is happening since there are so many suspects and a few of them look very similar. Most of the suspects are also introduced back to back to back so getting all of them straight is very difficult. This is definitely a film that its good for parties or gatherings though as everyone can try to lay out their theory and at the end see who is right. The trick is that you have to do it at the right time though. You have to make sure that you’ve seen the suspects first, but you also can’t wait too long or the ending will start to be obvious. It’s a delicate balance, but one that can work out.

Overall, I definitely recommend D.O.A. Frank is annoying and you won’t be able to sympathize with him at all, but he could certainly be a whole lot worse. As this is an old film, they handle his character as well as they can considering the circumstances. The film is over in a flash and never drags on. The mystery is solid and you will have a tough time trying to guess who the culprit is ahead of time. There are a lot of twists and turns here so hang on tight and prepare for the ride. I really need to come up with a top 10 mystery films at some point. This one may just make it, but granted, I have seen a lot of good mysteries over the years.

Overall 7/10

Pirates of the Caribbean At World’s End Stats and Records

Stats Time!

Notoriety 21897
Rank- Legendary Pirate
Game Complete 30%
Total Kills 633
Highest Combo 18
Highest Notoriety 2005
Best Rank- Legendary Pirate

Level Stats
Prison Fortress 1411
Isla De Pelegostos 595
Port Royal 1665
Pearl vs Dutchman 1820
Tortuga 1606
Isla Cruces 1354
Pearl vs Kraken 131
Singapore 2005
Davy Jones Locker 1651
Sea Battle 1022
Shipwreck City 1147
Maelstrom 1319