Monster on the Campus Review

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Time for a classic creature feature film. This one doesn’t exactly do anything new with the genre and will feel quite familiar as you watch it. That being said, it still plays out fairly well and I was pleasantly surprised when the dog actually made it out okay. We had a tricky scene involving a giant wasp where fortunately the effects were quite bad. It’s a fun film, but you do have to throw logic out the window quite a few times.

The film revolves around Donald. He’s a professor who likes to research prehistoric animals on the side. The giant fish that he ordered a while back finally comes in. Donald figures that since it’s dead he has nothing to worry about so he puts his hand in the things mouth, but suddenly it bites him. Turns out that dead animals still have muscle memory and now Donald is doomed to turn into a crazed monster as long as the blood is in contact with Donald’s bloodstream. Fortunately, it only lasts for about 15-20 minutes, but he likes smoking and won’t let monster blood stop him either. He keeps turning into a monster so does Donald secretly enjoy the power or is he simply inept?

You do have to wonder why Donald is so bad at his job. Why would you carry this rare fish around by the mouth? Aren’t you worried it’ll break and you’ll have wasted all of your money. Once he gets bit, Donald also makes the worst decisions possible. There is a sink/faucet right in the room. The cameramen weren’t quick enough to get it out of the shot so I saw it, but in universe he doesn’t seem to notice. Instead Donald puts his hand in the dirty water surrounding the fish. Doesn’t he know that if you contaminate a cut like that you are putting yourself in serious danger? That can even be lethal depending on the bacteria in the water. Not noticing that there was blood in his cigar pipe was also a little laughable.

Even Donald’s plan to get evidence for himself wasn’t great. He goes to a cabin and gets a bunch of cameras, but what’s to stop his monster self from destroying them? Somehow the cameras stay in tact, but he didn’t think it over very well and didn’t even tie himself up so breaking out of the chair was easy. I won’t get into the ending, but it was another pretty iffy decision. Self sacrifice for the greater good can always be a pretty emotional thing to do and you typically can’t fault the hero for it since it’s usually the right thing to do. That being said, going that route when it is not even remotely necessary is another matter. Donald just wanted the easy way out.

The main reason why the film lasts so long is because everyone wants to keep secrets. Two students found out about how the blood from the fish was turning everything into a giant monster, but Donald told them to keep quiet. Donald thought about telling everyone else, but then realized that he would look guilty so he decided to keep it quiet. The kids finally tell someone, but unfortunately they go to Madeline (the main heroine) who has a vested interest in making sure that nobody else knows about it so she goes to the cabin on her own. If the cops had been informed from the start, they would have been in a much better position.

Of course, the cops don’t look great the whole time. Keep in mind that even when Donald transforms he is not all that powerful. Physically he is stronger to be sure, but he’s not super fast or anything and a bullet will still take him down. The guard still doesn’t to notice him in time though since he was on the phone and even when he could fire off a shot he just panics and stares at the gun. Truly a rookie mistake.

On that note, the ending was a little humorous in an unintentional way as the monster shows up again. Everyone very clearly tells the cop not to shoot him, but he just laughs and shoots anyway. There is no wy he didn’t hear them in time so he was just shooting because he felt like it. The guy was definitely quick on the trigger for once and I think the stress of the case finally got to him.

You’ll feel bad for the poor park ranger though. He was just trying to help save the main heroine, but he gets a pretty grim fate when he tries to go up against Donald. Another lady also get destroyed near the beginning. The film made sure to portray her as a very morally dubious individual so you knew she was going to die, but dying of fright is still so unbelievable to me. I get that it is possible, but in this particular situation I just don’t think it would be valid.

As for the animals part, the dog was the first one to be infected as he turned vicious. I was nervous because you can never trust these old films when the dog is involved. Fortunately the effect wears off as an old guy breaks into Donald’s lab to test that out and the dog gets away without a scratch. A bunch of close calls with that one, but he got the last laugh. The transformed wasp was probably a lot scarier since it actually turned huge as opposed to simply growing fangs. I don’t think the humans should have captured him so easily though since he supposedly moves at lightning fast speeds, but didn’t even try to escape as they threw a net over it. Plot convenience and all.

The film was just enjoyable though. The dialogue was sharp as you’d expect from the good ole days. The cops were fairly direct in their accusations the whole time as well. You can’t really feel any sympathy for Donald since he isn’t a good main character and kept making the wrong calls, but at least he would always run off rather than defend himself when the other characters were tearing his theories apart. Running up the school bill with a super long foreign call was a little short sighted though as it didn’t help win him any favors with the principal.

Overall, Monster on the Campus is a decent film. It has its moments and the time will go by pretty quickly while you’re watching. It’s just not a very realistic film and I’m not talking about the giant monsters and sci-fi aspects. I mean that Donald keeps falling for the same tricks over and over again to the point where you just have to shake your head. There is no way you should transform 3 different times by mistake. He just wasn’t likable regardless. So if you haven’t checked this film out yet, I’d recommend it. It’s fairly obscure so you can brag about seeing a film that many have not.

Overall 6/10

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The Bat Review

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It’s time for a retro film from the late 50s. The Bat definitely played out very differently from what I had pictured based on the title but I would actually say that this is a good thing. It’s an old mystery with a lot of misdirection as we get three different suspects and only one of them can be the Bat. I am happy to say that I figured it out pretty early on, but the film is quite discreet so don’t expect it to be a cakewalk.

The film revolves around a mystery novelist known as Cornelia. She has moved into a house that is supposedly haunted as bad things always happen there. In fact, its owner had said nobody was ever to rent the place, but Cornelia got it through his nephew. See, it turns out that the Uncle had wanted to use the mansion as a place to stash the 1 million dollars that he stole from the bank. The plan doesn’t go over very well as he tries to murder Dr. Wells to keep his silence except the tables are turned on him. At Cornelia’s neighborhood, The Bat has resurfaced. He is a mass murderer who attacks a bunch of people and likes causing mayhem. He keeps appearing in Cornelia’s house so she hires some guards. Gradually as most of the characters get bumped off, we learn that The Bat can only be one of three different people.

The first suspect is Dr. Wells. After all, he was rather quick to murder the original thief and claimed that he would take the money for himself. He runs a lot of bat experiments and always seems to be around right after The Bat leaves. He offers a lot of cryptic advice and silent threats throughout the film but maybe they’re all in good fun. The other suspect is Lieutenant Anderson. Anderson is the chief of police and has sworn to protect Cornelia. However, while he is tasked with protecting the house, he vanished right before The Bat appears and only returns after he is gone. He claims he was chasing someone in the forest which, true or not, seems rather negligent. Finally, there is Warner. He’s always very curt and rude to the cast not to mention that his arms are rather stiff as if he were carrying a bunch of claws a lot of the time. He has a criminal record in his past and also tends to disappear quite a lot. Cornelia needs to figure out who it is fast or she’s doomed.

The writing is particularly strong in this film. Retro films like this one tend to always have consistent dialogue, but this movie sets a high standard even for those. The banter between Wells and Anderson is great throughout the whole movie. They each have great lines and I love the veiled threats mixed in there. The film was also good at really twisting the situation like how Wells turned the tables in the opening act. I wasn’t expecting the guy to beat Wells, but the whole scenario played out a lot sooner than I had expected. The movie definitely knew how to handle its tense moments. It also did a good job of seamlessly switching genres as it starts out as a slice of life adventure that seems like it’ll be pretty happy before turning into a thrilling horror film and finally into a mystery.

Wells is easily my favorite character by the way. He’s certainly no hero but you can’t deny that he is a very capable guy. Nobody is going to walk all over him. Wells always has an ace up his sleeve. Honestly, I think the film had a missed opportunity here as his final confrontation should have played out a little differently. Perhaps the film didn’t want Wells to look downright invincible, but it would have been pretty awesome to say the least. Warner was pretty unlikable the whole time. He was just a little too curt and showed a lot of blatant disregard for the authorities. I don’t even know how he was promoted since he’s never all that polite or nice. I suppose he is just that good at his job. Anderson is good for the threats and he does a pretty good job as the policeman in charge.

Cornelia is a pretty good main heroine. She certainly knows how to keep her cool under pressure. While the rest of the characters are panicking she is usually thinking of a plan on how to stay alive or how to counter attack. The rest of the house guests were pretty annoying or helpless throughout the film so Cornelia really had to do everything herself. She has a gun with her and knows how to throw a crowbar as well. It would have been nice if she could have gotten the final blow in at the end of the movie, but I’m still pretty satisfied with what happened overall.

The only thing that slightly hurts the film is naturally Wells Bat experiments. One scene looked as if a bat was trying to eat the other one which was pretty odd and out of nowhere, but the whole scene was pretty blurred so it was hard to tell what was happening. I got nervous as soon as the animals appeared at all, but nothing really ended up happening so that was good. The film was so solid that it would have been an absolute shame for something like that to have wrecked it all.

This definitely feels like an old school horror film at some points as each character is bumped off one by one. It’s always been a great concept so it’s too bad that most modern films can’t do it justice. This film takes them out without having to be super dark or violent which really sells it. For example, we have a backup cop in the movie. I won’t go into details, but his tragic ending is both serious and quite funny at the time time. It works well despite sounding like a contradiction. It doesn’t help that the guy was extremely unintelligent so you were rooting for him to leave as soon as possible. Someone’s life is in danger and he’s still asking for more details before going in to help. This is not the guy you want to be your defender in a time of crisis.

Overall, This is a mystery thriller that you should definitely add to your list of films to watch. The 3 suspect dynamic is handled extremely well here and I dare say that it is probably one of the best film examples out there where all 3 are given a sufficient motive and hints so none of the options are too obvious. It’s a fair mystery as well and you can potentially solve it before the film ends. Dr. Wells makes for a pretty great character especially since you never know whose side he is really on. The cast is pretty solid overall even if you know that some characters are going to bite the big one before it gets close to ending. Some characters were simply made for that role. They don’t really get to mourn the dead characters much either since they are always on the run or preparing for an attack. The film doesn’t overdo it with the drama which is a good thing. Several of the deaths could have been prevented if the heroes played things out a little better, but they were simply too curious for their own good. The Bat may not be a giant monster, but he is still a pretty intense villain.

Overall 7/10

The Invisible Ray Review

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It’s time for a film about a mad scientist’s quest for power. This film is quite old so you are ready for a classic thriller right from the start. Unfortunately, the film slips up with some animal violence thrown in which I had to shake my head at. The film was so promising at first and it really looked like it could have been a winner. Alas, it fell one fist short, but I’ll give it some props for effort. At least it made a fair attempt right?

The film starts off with a rambling mad man by the name of Janos inviting a bunch of scientists to see his latest invention. After a lot of insults are hurled around from all of the cast, the scientists are amazed as Janos shows them something that has happened millions of years ago using a new material. Dr. Benet declares that they should team up. Janos’ Mom tells him this is a bad idea since they are always insulting him and have discredited Janos’ theories for years. The main character decides to go anyway though and joins the team in Africa. They are here to find pieces of the rock that crash landed. Janos decides to take point so he goes ahead of the others. His wife Diana isn’t thrilled about this, but complies for the moment. Weeks pass by and everyone starts to get worried.

It turns out that Janos has been poisoned by the material and is essentially a Radiation Man. A single touch with any living thing causes them to perish. Benet makes him a cure, but he’ll have to use it every day for the rest of his life or he’ll destroy everyone along with himself. Janos doesn’t let this distract him and builds a weapon of mass destruction. Whatever he points the cannon at disintegrates into a million pieces. It can also be used as a healing ray to give someone back their sight and other such senses. Unfortunately, his wife has gone for a rebound and the other scientists have left with his idea so Janos decides to murder them all.

That was a rather long plot summary but it was necessary because I feel as though Janos trying to murder everyone is the main plot of the movie even if it took a while to get there. No worries, the film made Janos as obvious of a bad guy as possible right from the start. He was shady even when inviting people into his house and then he basically had slaves work for him under threat of death if they tried leaving. There was never a moment where I thought “This guy is heroic.” Throw in the fact that he is very quick to start murdering everyone and he is really doomed to the villain role. I can’t say that he is particularly likable either. He holds himself in check better than most villains, but that isn’t quite good enough. His powers are pretty useful though. Imagine being able to destroy your opponents in a single blow. That is really handy if you ask me.

Benet is the other main scientist in this film. He’s pretty charismatic and the best person in the film. He’s reasonable and while he doesn’t like Janos, he puts that to the side in order to help science move along. Unfortunately, he can be a little slow on the uptake at times like when he walked to the door even though he knew Janos would show up soon. He put himself in the worst possible situation at the time and that’s just not where you want to be. He probably shouldn’t have been so quick to cure Janos, but it was the hero move so I can’t fault him for that.

I can’t say that Diana and Ronald were good characters though. Diana was married to Janos so rebounding to Ronald wasn’t a very good idea. Sure, they didn’t get along too well, but she should have at least officially separated from Janos first. She acts as if she never loved him either and only did it because she promised her father. That’s such a terrible reason to marry someone and I just see her as having a lot of fault in this as well as the main character. Ronald went after her even though he knew she was married so he is probably the most guilty character of them all. I just never liked th guy and he didn’t even get a particularly large role in the film. After a while he just stayed in the background for good.

This film’s writing is pretty strong as it is so old. Despite being such a retro classic, the characters are all pretty mean to each other the whole time. They do it in fairly polite ways, but there just aren’t any nice people here. They all have an axe to grind with someone. Even if Diana wasn’t going for the rebound she would be pretty sketchy as she is generally pretty rude to the Africans they’re working with. Most of the characters have that in common.

Unfortunately, the animal violence is pretty bad as mentioned before. There was a fun dog throughout the film who would follow the main characters. It would have been better if he wasn’t even in the film then to be destroyed by the main character. We also got to see the aftermath of a hunt as the main characters take a animal to be eaten. We don’t need any of this, especially in a film that would otherwise be pretty peaceful and happy.

Getting past that, the atmosphere and pacing for the movie were pretty solid. Quite a lot happened in a relatively short amount of time as you can see from the plot summary. The film just kept going on as the plot would adapt and follow. There also was another good character in the form of Janos’ Mom. She kept giving him good advice even if he did end up ignoring it and she made the tough calls at the end of the film. You don’t just break one of the big Science rules and hope to get away from it. That’s just not how things roll here.

I do have to question how smart these scientists are. They believe the whole picture of a meteorite hitting the Earth millions of years ago so easily. Did they not suspect it was some kind of illusion or trick. My first reaction certainly wouldn’t be to stand there and just accept that the man has broken new ground in scientific history. It’s a little hard to swallow and the motion picture wasn’t all that impressive either. They should have called him out on it.

Overall, The Invisible Ray had potential. It has a reasonable cast, at least as far as the banter is concerned and a good amount of action. The characters have to lay traps for one another and rely on mind games for the rest. It’s a pretty interesting film and it’ll definitely keep your attention. The dog scene just stops it from being a good film and the romance was also pretty terrible the whole time. It’s just hard to get past two big negatives like those so I’d recommend avoiding this film. You can certainly find better ones if you look around for a few minutes. That’s all the time you’ll need.

Overall 4/10

Breaking Point Review

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It’s time for a story of corruption and moral choices. I saw another version of this film a while back, but could the remake prove to be as good? I’d say that the original was a little better but this was still a good film. The main character was just less sympathetic and never got to the point where he was
likable, but he still gives us some nice banter.

The film revolves around a struggling fisherman named Harry. He uses his boat for a living to catch fish and let other people aboard for travel. That being said, it just hasn’t been enough to pay the rent so he decides to go into the underworld to help illegally transport people across the border. The cops start to get wise to this and it turns out that the gangsters aren’t too pleased with Harry as well. He’ll have to destroy them all or try to skip town. Otherwise it’s curtains.

From the general premise you can already tell that everything here is Harry’s fault. He should not have stepped into the dark side because there is simply no return from those dark doors. He should have been content with his fishing business and everything would have turned out okay. He also had the option of going to the farm as Lucy suggested where they would have had a good amount of food. The problem is that Harry didn’t want to be a farmer and his pride stood in the way of making the right decision. All of this is bad enough, but then he even decides to cheat on his wife with a passenger known as Leona. That was Game Set and Match. It’s hard to really like a main character like that at all.

Leona is the passenger who pulls the moves on Harry. She’s not a good character either as she intentionally goes after him to prove that she can break everyone. It’s a rather sad moral but the film proved it to be correct here. She gets by since she has a lot of talents and everyone wants to hire her and as a result she has enough money to follow Harry around everywhere. He just can’t escape from her. Lucy is Harry’s actual wife. She’s a much better character than the first two, but she still isn’t great. I suppose she made the right choice in finally leaving Harry after the whole situation went down but falling for the peer pressure and dying her hair was pretty drastic.

Finally there is Wesley. He’s a nice guy although he can be very slow on the uptake at times. Harry is constantly trying to get him out of the way so the villains don’t murder him, but he can’t take a hint. He follows Harry around everywhere and it ultimately ends up costing him dearly. A good friend should always try to bring the others back from the dark side, but after a while you have to cut your ties. Wesley knew that Harry kept on breaking the law and then lying about it so maybe he shouldn’t have been to quick to keep working for him. Even if it was the only job available, he should have at least figured that something was strange with the situation when Harry kept acting rushed.

It makes for a pretty tragic end to Wesley’s son though. He was looking forward to just having a normal day. Little did he know that he would never see his father again. Nobody even stopped to break the news gently to the kid so it almost comes off as a little mean spirited. I can’t say I was thrilled about the ending and I’m not sure about Harry living either. At the very least shouldn’t he have died? Not that I’m advocating for him to die or anything but it just seems like that would have made sense with his whole character arc. He also had two daughters who were main supporting characters but they were fairly annoying. There were a number of villains in this film. The lying Chinese leader was pretty fun to have around. Stopping him was one of Harry’s better moments. I rather liked the quick talking minion who would always introduce Harry to the villainous circles but the guy wasn’t so bright. He got in a little too deep and it ended up costing him big time.

The writing was pretty strong as you’d expect. The banter was on point as always with these retro films. The dialogue was engaging and all of the characters came off as pretty professional individuals. Even the villains conducted themselves a little more subtly than they would in the modern films. Harry could also act hardcore at times by standing his ground with the villains as opposed to “acting” hardcore by throwing in a lot of swear words and panicking the whole time.

The film moves at a pretty good pace and something is always happening. It’s a fun movie even if the end is definitely somber. I’m not usually a big fan of boats and the ocean in movies as I prefer the city backdrop but you can easily forget that they’re even on water as the boar is quite big. The gun fight at the end is also pretty solid even if Harry didn’t play the situation very well at all. He just felt out of his depth when he was looking around instead of firing off his shots.

Overall, Breaking Point is a solid film that is really only brought down by its bad-underwhelming cast. Harry is just not a character that you can sympathize with at all and the story would have worked a lot better with a hero who was more noble and a family man through and through. Someone who could have easily resisted the worldly temptations of the passengers and made the right choices. I’d also let Wesley’s kid have a happier ending like he won some money or at least got a pat on the back, but that’s more minor. Fix the main character and then there really isn’t anything wrong with this film. Either way I’d recommend checking out this film although you should start with the original.

Overall 6/10

Phoenix Forgotten Review

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Uh oh, it’s time for a found footage film. Honestly this is one of the worst genres out there. I already don’t like horror films, but found footage films tend to be even lower on the totem pole. The two genres do like to blend together as well although I think this would be considered more of a thriller than a horror. The film moves incredibly slow and by the end all you’ll be thinking is…”If I’m buying 4 slices and a drink from Little Caesars for 5, maybe I’m better off going to Little Italy and getting 2 slices but the infinite refills with it”

The story follows a reporter who is going around trying to find intel on 3 teenagers who went missing. Their names as Josh, Mark, and Ashley. The reporter has an interest in the case since Josh was her big brother. The problem is that the government keeps stiffing her and since this disappearance happened years ago, all of the trails have gone cold. Fortunately, Sophie is told that the school found a camcorder at a secluded facility in the middle of nowhere that actually still works. Sophie pops it in and finally learns the truth behind the mystery. She is stunned at the results!

So, that’s effectively the subplot as it takes place in the present, but most of the film is in the past. Since Sophie is making a documentary, naturally all of her scenes are filmed as if they’re found footage as well. We jump to the past where Josh decides that he wants to find some aliens. After all, he saw some strange lights a while back that seemed like UFOs. Mark and Ashley join him and the three decide to run through a bunch of mountains. They do this for a while and then get lost once it’s late. They do what any other mainstream teenager would do, they break open the beers and start panicking. Before long the aliens show up and take them down.

There are so many problems with this film that it’s quite tragic. For starters, we have the token animal violence. Why is there animal violence in this film? Well, apparently the aliens are still working on their tractor beams as they tend to burn the targets up instead of sending them into space. It’s also awfully fast since they burn parts of the animals but then leave them on the ground. The scenes are utterly pointless much like the film itself and you’ll wonder just how low this film will stoop before it finally ends.

The writing is terrible as you’d expect. All of the characters are really annoying and since the camera work is terrible on purpose, you’ll find yourself cringing the whole time. I don’t use the word lightly, but this is another reason why I don’t like the found footage genre. The zoom ins on all of the characters are much too close and the ametuer style in which they’re filmed is just not entertaining to look at. Honestly, I’m not even a big fan of the old family videos everyone made back when it was trendy but at least I was starring in those so it made them a little more fun. I don’t want to watch a video of strangers just hanging out and drinking beer. It’s just not cool.

The aliens don’t actually do anything for the first 60 minutes so that time is just the heroes chatting about nothing really and trying to be as unlikable as possible. The film never even tried to make them good characters if you ask me, but there were none in the whole film. Even the government turned out to be evil and corrupt as always. It’s sad that the government is almost always either incompetent or evil. It’s rare to find movies where they are portrayed as capable heroes but I’m always glad when I see that happen.

The film’s plot is also just barely held together. See, the writers needed the whole story to be filmed on camera, but this wasn’t even possible without plot holes. Towards the end of the film we see Josh taken up by the aliens as he drops his camera and it gets thrown around in the twister. Then….Josh somehow fights his way through the alien ship in a matter of seconds, escapes through the hatch, makes his way back and grabs the camera, runs to a bathroom…and is then kidnapped again. Then the camera is sucked up again, survives a vicious crash, and then someone mails it to the school. The whole thing was super convenient and also unbelievable. I don’t see how Josh could have gotten out of the tractor beam when nobody else could have. I don’t see how nobody would notice the aliens this time when they’re so bright and loud. People would definitely notice that kind of thing. I just couldn’t get past this ending.

The aliens also don’t really show up. We see a claw or a foot for a split second and that’s it. Clearly this film didn’t have much of a special effects budget so this turned into an alien film without the aliens. That’s just peachy. Back to the humans not being likable, the film maybe tries to hint that the aliens mess with your mind. I’m not too sure about that and prefer to just think that the humans are terrible. Mark constantly panics and drinks. He refuses to talk with the others even though it would make the whole process quicker and is the main reason everyone was talking in circles for a while. They could have stayed in the car where it was semi safe, but he wanted to run the 15 miles to the nearest gas station. Even then he got distracted within seconds. Ashley also panics at everything and keeps forcing the group to stop so she can tie her shoes or panic about her hair falling out. The only guy I almost felt sorry for was Josh because he would have escaped the aliens if he didn’t have to stop for the other two every 5 seconds. Clearly he should have gone on by himself. He wasn’t a cool character either though so I was cool with the aliens claiming the win here. They just need to take on the rest of the town n ext.

The film is super dramatic and tries to be emotional constantly. We have a divorce subplot and they really try to forcefeed you the “You have to be sad now” memo as we see the parents cry about the teens being gone and everyone assuming the worst. The home cam videos are supposed to really reinforce this. All it does is stretch the film out even more and completely destroy whatever pacing the film could have had. This film could have been shortened to 30 minutes and you wouldn’t have missed a thing.

Also, why was Sophie’s camera man never really shown until the end? I thought the film was gearing up for some kind of big twist like he was Josh or something and that’s why everyone kept looking at Sophie like she was crazy. The twist would have been terrible but at least it would have been something. Otherwise, the camera man is just another empty character whose existence is only to hold the camera so Sophie can get a good shot.

Overall, As you can guess I really didn’t like the film. It’s basically just 90 minutes of nothing happening. The alien “jump scare” scenes are pitifully bad and wouldn’t scare a kid. The repetition is annoying and since the aliens keep taunting the main characters instead of doing something to them, I have to assume that they’re just petty. They don’t seem to have any actual goals so I’ll assume that they are mindless as well. There’s really only negative things to say about the film so as you can tell I really didn’t like it. I’d say that Cloverfield was a better found footage film and even Paranormal Activity which by all accounts should be worse as it’s a full horror plus this genre, but was actually far superior. Next time you secretly want to make a film about teens just running around and just acting like terrible people with no extra plot…don’t. Instead of this film I recommend watching something a little more intense like the first Jumanji.

Overall 1/10

Ghost in the Shell Review

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All right, it’s time for another Sci-Fi film. Fortunately this one embraced that side of things a lot more than Power Rangers. From the start you can tell that everything is a little more on point from the attire to the backgrounds. The whole movie takes place in a very futuristic NYC (Basically) which was instantly a good sign of things to come. The second half starts to lose focus a bit and I would have liked for Major to be a little tougher, but overall it was a pretty solid film.

Major is the first human to have had a full transplant into a machine body. Essentially, only her brain is still the real deal. Everyone else has dabbled with cybernetic implants though and normal humans are basically extinct. It’s all about Big Business and corporate money now as everyone tries to get richer and richer. Society has essentially fallen to the slums despite the enormous wealth to the top 1%. Major is an assassin who takes down all of the targets that she’s ordered to eliminate. The government has a lot of targets of course, but a hacker has surfaced who threatens the status quo. Even the Major isn’t immune to the hacking, but she decides to look into this anyway. She is being haunted by visions in the meantime though and is there something that the scientists aren’t telling her?

So as I mentioned, the costumes here are pretty good. I’m iffy on the Major’s since the costume has no real design. It also felt like it was basically just there for fanservice. I liked her black cloak that she wears for part of the film though as it’ll remind you of Mirror’s Edge or Sword Art Online. The trench coat that her sidekick wears is also really good and will remind you of Final Fantasy. Everyone just looks really cool and this is what a futuristic sci-fi is all about. FF XIII did it better than most and you can see a lot of similarities between the two. The city also looks great and the advertising also makes sense. The place has truly sunk even more as the ads are not for kids, but I can easily see this kind of thing happening.

The film doesn’t really have time to talk about all of the scientific advancements, but I’m fine with that since such an explanation would take an incredibly long amount of time. The effects are also pretty good like Major’s camouflage mode and the fight with the giant robot. Major’s suit has a nice energy feature to it where you’ll see it glow more as she exerts herself. Every part of the film felt like it had a good budget.

I was also pretty satisfied with the writing. It was pretty good and the characters stayed serious while not all sounding like high school delinquents or being over the top. They followed orders and just completed the missions efficiently. The movie even made the old boss pretty hardcore as he can apparently fight despite being at least 70-80 years old. The scene of him getting out of the car and shooting everyone was really quite good. Even the shooting scenes are better than the average film as they aren’t violent or anything. You can feel the impact without the film showing you everything.

I also thought Major was a good character. She makes for a very good assassin and her character arc is good. My one gripe with her is that she tends to get sucker punched a lot and it felt like she lost most of her fights by the end. She’s great in a fair fight, but villains rarely play fair. Giving her a little extra strength and speed would have been nice, but I suppose she’s technically supposed to be a normal robot. It’s her hand to hand skills and sharp intellect that separate her from the rest so that’s why she would be susceptible to a sneak attack.

Batou is a pretty good supporting character and the best one in the film if you ask me. He likes dogs and feeds the strays in the alleys between missions. He may not be as talented as Major, but he’s probably the next best agent on the force and can handle himself in any environment. He’s always ready to stick up for Major even if it’ll put him in a sticky situation and is just a really good guy. I was glad that he got a pretty large role in the film. The agency had one or two other agents, but they didn’t do much. I suppose they couldn’t fit everyone in, but the film did its best.

Cutter is one of the main villains and he’s a part of the shady government. He’s okay with murdering 100 people if it means he can get himself a new weapon. He’s completely evil the whole time, but does a decent job of hiding that for a while. He’s a good villain who takes himself seriously and has some good plans. He’s not over the top and he doesn’t try and take on the robots by himself. Cutter just thought everything through and he also didn’t go out quietly. Honestly I wouldn’t have minded having him as the main villain for the whole film. He was much better than the hacker.

Kuze was the official main villain. He had a cool design and looked like Starkiller II, but once he took off the mask the character died. He suddenly got emotional the whole time and while it was related to his tragic backstory, it destroyed the mystery of the character. I think the film should have just played it straight with this guy trying to destroy the world or something. That would have been neat.

The film starts off with a lot of cool action scenes and just cool moments in general. Seeing Major lead the interrogation was nice as it shows how you do that without becoming a villain in the process. She got her intel and didn’t have to act drastically. The team respected her authority and she earned it. The second half started to taper off as we didn’t get a lot of action and Major trying to find her identity wasn’t quite as interesting. The whole plot was a little anticlimactic and so we didn’t get a big Terminator esque final fight.

I also didn’t like the doctor at all by the end as she become another Professor Hamilton and just betrayed the heroes. So I can’t say I sympathized much when she was approached at gun point. If I have any real negative with the film beyond the lack of action and muddled plot in the second half, it’s that some of the imagery can just be odd and meant to look creepy without having any real depth. Everyone connected to tower, people thrown in test tubed, experimentation everywhere, etc. Fortunately this film was classy enough not to delve into those things as others probably would. It’s a glimpse at how dark the world is, but the film takes care not to go too far. It’s not violent, but the film has a dark tone throughout. It’s finally another example I can use for how you do a good dark tone.

We also get a pointless filler scene where Major has to poke at someone’s face for a while. I didn’t get the purpose of that at all. How I see it, maybe that was because she was wondering whether she was really different from a robot or not, but I don’t get how feeling it would help. Maybe she wanted to feel like a human, but certainly there are better ways. Either way, the scene just felt like it was there to be there, but it had no real purpose in the film.

I don’t know much about the original Ghost in the Shell anime, but I know it’s supposed to be a pretty deep series that tackles themes like humans vs machines and what a soul really is. This movie didn’t really tackle those topics so I can see fans being upset about that, but since there wasn’t a lot of time anyway, I was pretty okay with it. Especially since at this point we likely all have our views on that. You have a soul? Then you’re a person. Game Set, Match. Robots can’t develop souls, but it’s always a nice hypothetical if they could I suppose. It’s just not something I actually believe can happen. Nothing like that happens here either way, but if it did I could still roll with it since it is a Sci-Fi.

It’s also worth noting that the soundtrack is pretty good here. It’s the classic sci-fi themes that you’d expect. Coupled with the visuals, it really helps you get into the film more than you could have otherwise. The long intro felt like something out of Resident Evil, which despite its many flaws, certainly knew how to be epic. It was also able to do this without showing the title off twice during the opening, but I assume Ghost in the Shell did that in case you missed it the first time.

Overall, Ghost in the Shell is pretty fun and it’s a well done movie. I always like the premise of the elite assassin who goes around knocking people off and eventually wonders if it’s the right job. It’s sort of like Jason Bourne, but in this case Major actually has comrades who care about her and help her along the quest. If I had written the film, I would have added in more fight scenes with killer androids and it would have been a total action blockbuster. After all, the fights that we got here were really good, we just needed more of them. I’d certainly be up for a sequel since there’s still a lot of things you can do with this series. If you haven’t checked it out yet, then this movie is worth watching.

Overall 6/10

Power Rangers Review

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All right, it’s time for the recent Power Rangers film! I’ve always been a big fan of the franchise from the concept to the video games to the costumes. It’s just a series that is brimming with so much potential and there is something for everyone. The trailers for the film came out and while they had some potential, the film started to bring up some concerns. Would the heroes get enough screen time as the Rangers and would the Dinobots get too much screen time? I prepared myself going into the film, but unfortunately it just didn’t understand what the series is all about. It’s really not a Power Rangers film at all and merely borrows the name.

The film starts out by introducing us to a group of teenagers and trying to get us to dislike them as much as possible. First is Jason, a “misunderstod” delinquent who steals Cows and tries to evade the police. He’s caught since the authorities aren’t messing around this time and not only sabotages his entire town’s chances of winning the Football championship in the year but also doesn’t seem to regret his actions at all. This lands him in detention. Next is Kimberly. She decided to humiliate one of her former friends by sending a risky picture of her all around the school. This got that person in trouble and also destroyed Kimberly’s social life. Kimberly blames everyone else for this and winds up in detention. I forgot why Billy is in detention, but he’s good at annoying everyone so it probably wasn’t too hard and he does go around breaking the rules and blowing things up for no good reason. Trini is a kid who likes to be alone and goes to the mountains to meditate, but she is being spied on by Zack. Zack has a sick Mom so he worries her further by getting home late and hanging out in restricted areas. This group was clearly made for each other.

The heroes are busted by the cops yet again, but this time they manage to evade capture. They secured some mystical amulets from the rocks nearby and were all granted super strength and speed. The characters try to point out that they all got different powers at the beginning, but the film forgets this so they all end up with the same powers. They then fall inside a spaceship where the formerly heroic Red Ranger has now turned sinister and wants them to transform so he can come back to life and destroy Rita. Rita is an evil ranger who wants to destroy the world to grab a shard and then she’ll use that shard for her own purposes. The heroes get ready to rumble, but realize that they may be in over their heads. Can they do this!?

All right, there’s a lot of problems with this film, but also some good things. I’ll just mention them all scatter shot style so there’s no real rhyme or reason to this review. For starters, I have to say that these kids are impressively slow on the uptake half the time. After they obtained their powers and saw an actual spaceship, Trini still believes it’s all a big joke and only stops talking when the door slams. At this point, I can’t picture anyone actually saying that. It’s a common trope for the characters to constantly doubt everything, but it just comes across as rather annoying. Can’t we have a more quiet character who just takes all of this in stride and nods along? The art of bluffing is truly lost on these guys.

The heroes also do make sure to make quips every other second and they’re all pretty annoying. The writing is quite bad in this film to say the least so don’t expect any good lines. Aside from the language and everyone getting worse and worse as the film goes on, this also makes the film a little too dramatic. This may come as a surprise, but the film takes itself way too seriously at times. One such scene is when one of the Rangers seemingly dies. It’s not a spoiler because there’s no way they’d actually kill off one of the main members. It would have been a PR nightmare to do that since it would be like killing off Superman or Green Lantern right away. Film 3 could be a different story, but the first one? I don’t think so. The death scene is still around 15 minutes though as everyone carries him back and the music picks up. There are many similar scenes like the campfire where everyone starts sharing their secrets. The film tries to be incredibly somber and I just wasn’t sold.

The proper way to handle dramatic scenes is to be quick and not dwell on them. If it was a powerful enough moment, the audience will get it. Grabbing a 30 second scene and stretching it to 5 minutes doesn’t make the scene any more powerful. Usually this is where I’d bash the romance for being just as dramatic, but fortunately the film actually stayed away from that landmine. I admit that this was rather impressive.

The film also completely ruined Rita’s character. She spends most of the film as an undead zombie who loves to caress all of her opponents before finishing them off. It’s an old trope that I wish had died in the 60’s with all of the old Vampires. It doesn’t make her any more intimidating and is just hard to watch. Her design could have been cool, but they decided to make her a troll by giving her a ton of wrinkles and scars the whole time. She never even got to actually use her cool Power Ranger suit. Get this…she doesn’t even get a big fight. There is one action scene where she beats up the heroes before they turn into Power Rangers, but that’s it.

See, this is where the film forgot its origin. Power Rangers is all about the high speed hand to hand battles where they duke it out with the villains and you get amazed at the choreography. If you ask someone about Power Rangers, the first thing they’ll think of are the hand to hand fights. It’s like having a Dragon Ball Z film without the characters powering up and shooting energy blasts. The action in the film is very limited throughout as we only get a small handful of actual fights. Again, the 5 teens against Rita is the only real fight scene. The rest are against small rock golems that don’t put up any more of a fight than the NPCs in Dynasty Warriors. I think we deserved more action.

I think it’s partially because the film decided to add in the Zords. Their fight scenes aren’t particularly good either because….they’re up against a giant stone golem that is extremely slow. That’s the last thing I was hoping for from the climax, but it happened all the same. They just keep blasting it and jumping on the thing and it shakes them off. Rinse and repeat for quite a while. The only good part of that fight was when they merged into a giant mecha robot and then fought it. I could at least get behind that fight a little even if it was even slower paced. At least it felt more like a fight. I just don’t see the appeal of having giant machines fighting an even bigger opponent who can’t move. For some reason that is mainstream and people like it so it’s here to stay, but then at least give me my classic hand to hand fights.

That’s where the potential was. For example, we see that Jason has a cool energy sword as the Red Ranger. He just never gets to actually use it in a fight. What was even the point of showing it off? On that note, the effects were pretty good though. Ignoring Rita, everything looked very crisp and flashy. It felt like a good sci-fi film and you can see that they used most of the budget on it. Maybe they ran out and couldn’t use it much, but that’s still a big mistake.

I also can’t forget to mention that the soundtrack is pretty bad. Most of the songs are just really sad rap songs with no heart or the lyrics just make you wish the scene was silent. We do have some good themes like the electronic battle theme or the Power Rangers theme song. They were just outnumbered by the bad tunes. The film also heavily overused the slow mo effect which goes back to the being too dramatic thing. Once or twice is okay and more than that can be good if the film is poking fun at itself. Otherwise it’s just wasting time.

On a positive note, it was nice to see Jason just shut the bullies down right away instead of thinking about it for a while or waffling on whether it was the right thing to do or not. He just walked into detention and took names. He also made the right call in deciding to go after Rita right away even if everyone else was too scared to do anything. She would come after Trini again otherwise so not doing anything would have put her in danger. He also doesn’t care about everyone’s dark secrets and just wants them to move on. He’s the best member of the team even if it pretty much is by default. He’s like a badly written Captain Kirk from the recent movies. Similar backstory but less heroic and less sympathetic. I think he’s past most of the negatives though so he should be more likable in the next film.

Billy wasn’t too bad, but he’s more annoying than anything else. He’s the classic “Are we really heroes? I should keep on asking that so that’s exactly what I’m gonna do” character. He keeps repeating things to let the audience know that this is important. When you think about it, this film is really just filled with cliches. So, it takes Billy a long while to actually understand what’s happening, but at least he was the first one to learn how to transform. He’s the smart member of the group so he helps them find the Krispy Kreme’s. I still wonder why he was going around blowing stuff up at the beginning though. Isn’t that one of the worst things you can do when you’re at a restricted area you’re not supposed to be in? He went from being a nice guy who was getting bullied to suddenly coming out as a delinquent himself. He was quick to help trick the authorities with Jason’s home arrest button after all.

I know the whole point of a sob story is to show us that a character made a mistake and all, but Kimberly’s was pretty drastic. I don’t think we ever really got a proper reason for why she sent the picture. The bullying was also extremely tame which I was cool with, but why would she even think that she could maybe get back on the cheering squad? Once we learn why everyone isolated her, then that should have been a given. It all just seemed out of character, but the Kimberly that we do see is reasonably good.

Trini is the tough character who tries to be a loner. Honestly, if she had escaped the other Rangers and stayed a loner that could have made for a good plot point. She is probably the second best ranger though. Her origin story is the least sympathetic since she runs around with a bad attitude the whole time, but at least she doesn’t get buddy buddy with the others too quickly. It would have been nice if she could have put up a better fight against Rita though.

Finally, Zack is the worst ranger and supremely annoying. He spends the whole movie basically flirting which never works and is the main comic relief character. Well, everyone is comic relief at one point or another, but he tries to crack a bunch of jokes even if none of them ever actually work. He breaks the rules just because he can like when he almost squashed everyone with his robot, but no worries, he’s not apologetic about it either. That’s something that the characters always have in common.

This review has come off as rather negative and deservedly so as I would give the film under a 5, but it’s not a 2 or anything so keep in mind that the film does have its positives. As I mentioned, the effects are good and the little action that we do get isn’t bad either. Aside from the fact that the characters are unlikable, the scenes of everyone insulting each other and getting into fights aren’t bad. It makes for reasonably entertaining moments. The pacing is also good so the film never gets boring at all. It actually moves from scene to scene with ease. Jason’s Dad may not have been on the same page as him, but I thought they did a good job of not overdoing it with making him very antagonistic. He was upset with Jason’s decisions, but he should be considering what a big mistake that was. He still drove out into the battle zone to save him if necessary. I wouldn’t mind him being the down to Earth adviser for the team in the next film as he eventually gets accustomed to the whole Power Rangers thing.

On a side note, anyone else find the Rita eating teeth scene incredibly random and out of nowhere? It seemed like it was just trying to be creepy and disturbing for no reason. Honestly, it was just one of those things that makes you shake your head. The whole gold issue is one thing since she needed it for her staff, but eating it to get younger was really out of nowhere. The scene of her just eating it all and various other things while hanging out at the scrapyard just cemented the fact that she wouldn’t be a good character. At least the film is taking some cues from Teen Titans Go assuming the episode came out first.

Is it just me or were the main teens pretty bloodthirsty the whole time as well? Their first instinct when entering the alien ship is to try and murder the little robot. They mention this 2-3 times and when they are told by a giant floating head that they must destroy a girl named Rita they don’t hesitate at all. They basically just yell “No prob” without question. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised though.

As a positive note, the film’s atmosphere is pretty enjoyable though. It’s light hearted so at least you will leave the film on a high note. That’s why getting through the film is easy since you won’t constantly get turned off from it. There’s no animal violence which is always important. Not that any film wants to be compared to Pixels, but that’s a good example. That was a bad film, but it’s one I could easily watch again. It’s not quality entertainment, but it is entertainment.

I did like the fact that the film included Krispy Kreme’s. That doughnut shop doesn’t get enough screen time anymore and hopefully the film paid them for the endorsement and not the other way around. I’m always up for a good doughnut scene after all and maybe that will become their base. By the way, the film does have an after credits scene. It’s pretty underwhelming and the film clearly phoned it in, but at least we see more destruction of school property. He’s going to fit right in with the rest of the gang. I won’t say who it is, but prepare yourself!

Overall, The film may not have a lot of heart, but Power Rangers can be decently fun. The effects are nice to look at and the banter can be enjoyable. The writing holds it back considerably and the lack of action is disappointing, but you can’t have it all. I think a sequel would likely be able to fix a lot of the film and would hopefully regain its identity. It needs to put the Power back into the Power Rangers. I wouldn’t really recommend this film as it just isn’t good, but at least it’s an entertaining bad film. That’s the optimal kind of bad flick to watch as it does have a reasonable amount of replay value. The issue is that most films can say “I’m you, but better” to this movie with a straight face. There isn’t much original about this one and honestly it would have been a better film if it had simply not called itself Power Rangers.

Overall 4/10

Curse of the Undead Review

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If the last film was YES! tier then this one is I want my Money Back tier. This film is just so bad and since it is a vampire film I expected a bad result from the start. It was still a little worse than I had anticipated. The Wild West angle is actually far more interesting than the Vampire one and you know how I’m not really a fan of the former either. It’s all pretty tragic to be honest, but at least the ending will go down as a classic.

There is a town where a mean man named Buffer is messing with everyone. All he wants is to be able to have a nice beer every day and bully an old man. That’s his only wish and so the town allows him to do whatever he wants. Things take a turn for the worse when the old man is murdered and then Buffer is forced to murder his son in self defense. Dolores decides to place a wanted ad to avenge them and a wandering gun for hire named Drago shows up. Dan advises Dolores against this since hiring someone to destroy someone else is pretty similar to doing the job yourself. You will have effectively committed murder. Dolores doesn’t care and even claims she’ll pray to the Devil if necessary. Dan realizes this is a lost cause and goes to the Sheriff to try and work something out. Little does he know that Drago is a vampire!

I think the main reason why I didn’t mind the Wild West setting this time was because it didn’t feel like one. You don’t see a lot of sand or anything since they stay in town the whole time. It was a nice fusion of genres and the film handled it well. The locale is one of the only positive things I can say about the film. Beyond that, I also liked the Sheriff. He still deserves some blame for not actually trying to stop Buffer sooner. He took quite a while to get involved and it was too late by then. At least he was very tough though. He didn’t back up for anyone and stood his ground at gun point. The way he handled the band of bandits was pretty admirable so it’s a shame that he went out on such a sour note. He was just a really good character.

Prepare for the onslaught of negatives now though as they are quite extensive. First off, Dolores is a very annoying main heroine. She faints quite a few times and always makes the wrong choices. I’m not against her hiring someone to take Buffer down since the authorities weren’t doing anything about it, but letting him into her house was mistake number 1. The next one was going right to sleep and not noticing him messing with her. She also didn’t notice that she had bite marks on her neck even though I feel it would be pretty obvious. I’m confident I’d notice something like that on my neck and clearly it means she hasn’t washed it in a while. She then proceeds to faint several more times so Drago has his fun and she even sides with him instead of Dan. She made no good choices and was just a struggle to watch.

Drago is even worse as he’s a vampire who doesn’t know what he is doing. I don’t even think he had a master plan so much as he just wanted to suck everyone’s blood while also having fun doing it. He acted as if he was on her side to gain her trust but why? He would leave her alive so he could keep using her I guess, but it was a pretty random move. Furthermore, if he can hypnotize people, he should do it to everyone so he’ll have a life long supply or blood for all of his needs. He came off as rather distasteful and there was no way to like him. It’s a shame since he could have been a decent character in theory. The idea of a lone gunman coming into a town and liberating it is nothing new. Of course, when the two sides are the bully and an evil vampire, you know that the battle is lost before it even begins.

Dan is an okay character I guess, but he seems content to stay as an observer until something happens that he doesn’t like. He didn’t really help to solve the Buffer problem until the gunner showed up and then he made his move. By then, it was a little late for words. He did a good job in the final battle though so I have to give him credit there. He’s certainly better than pretty much all of the other characters by default. The Sheriff was really good as well as he didn’t let any of the others mess with him. Buffer wasn’t a likable character of course. You couldn’t feel sympathetic to him either since he was a villain the whole time. Perhaps he wasn’t as bad as the vampire, but that’s a pretty low bar to set.

The dialogue and writing for the film wasn’t bad, but it never became an engaging watch. We also got an incredibly random, but dark origin story for Drago during the film. Apparently he murdered his brother and then murdered himself so his punishment was to obtain super strength, high speed regeneration, and immortality so he can murder other people. Pretty interesting punishment. Another thing that hurt the film was just the amount of times Drago had his way with the heroine when she asleep. Those scenes are very dubious and hard to watch. Add in the fact that he’s brainwashing her and it sinks the film to new lows. At this point she basically doesn’t have a choice in the matter. The film was already past saving, but these scenes really ended up hurting the score more than the rest put together.

Overall, This was a pretty bad vampire film. I expected nothing less though. It has some pretty decent scenes and as I mentioned the human moments weren’t bad. The posturing at the saloon wasn’t bad and the various bar moments, but the vampire just brought the whole thing down. The film also just liked being dark like when the kid died or the origin story. It was pretty unnecessary the whole time. If you want a good vampire film…I recommend just looking for something else. The odds of finding a good one are extremely low. It’s almost a contradiction.

Overall 1/10

So This Is New York Review

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It’s time for a really retro comedy film. This one came out all the way back in 1948 after all so it’s one of the oldest titles that I’ve seen. It’s aged pretty well with the snappy sort of humor that I’ve come to expect from the leads. Ernie is easily one of the most sarcastic main characters that I’ve ever known and makes the whole film a lot more fun. The heroines go a little overboard on how unlikable and gullible they are so it’s a good thing that the protagonist is usually around.

Ernie has been doing pretty well at his job. It’s been fun and he’s close to a promotion. Unfortunately his wife wants them to move to New York so her sister can land a rich man. She likes a local butcher, but that’s not distinguished enough for this family. Ernie protests, but he ultimately realizes that it is futile and goes along. Once they’re in New York, the sister goes after all of the men and they’re all eager to oblige, but this is New York….they’re a little more worldly than the characters suspect.

First and foremost, I definitely have to give Ernie another shout-out. He recognizes the lunacy around the New York customs and acts accordingly. Everyone wants a tip and they want the main characters to spend money constantly. Ernie’s not really into the bribery and all of that, but quickly learns how the system works. He gives 0.10$ tips and only tips a quarter in the hotel. He’s pretty wise not to waste his money. They are on a limited budget after all. The guy also knows how to throw a mean right hook as he takes care of one sinister character who was trying to pull the moves on his wife. Ernie’s certainly a no nonsense character and even comes up with backup plans in case his two companions try to waste his money. It doesn’t go well, but I liked the attempt. He just never lets up with the sarcasm.

Another character who came close to being the best in the film was Ernie’s boss. I actually felt pretty bad for the guy since Ernie’s departure caused him to lose quite a bit of money. He needs Ernie back and fast or else it’s all over so he writes some intense letters and then even comes to New York to find him. The ending is a little cheesy, but I liked this guy’s persistence. He certainly wasn’t just going to sit around and wonder what was happening.

It’s hard to say who the main heroine is, but lets say it’s the sister. She was one of the worst characters in the film as not only was she tricked by just about all of the men, but she was also very mean. She played all of them for her own amusement and then chose to go with the richest individual. Fortunately, the gangsters took care of that anyway, but it’s hard to sympathize with her at all. In that sense, the ending with the butcher was perfect since both of them kept cheating on the other. I highly doubt this behavior will stop either so they’ll stay together but will always be looking behind their backs as they wonder what the other is doing. It’s perfect!

The wife is pretty bad as well though. She is pretty naive the whole time and doesn’t realize when the strangers are getting too friendly. She makes things tough on Ernie the whole time and doesn’t realize that she is just wasting a lot of money. She’s simply not very smart. While not as over the top as the butcher, I would have liked for her to have been a more strategic thinker. Here’s an example of when she really didn’t know what she was doing.

A washed up comedy guy shows up and demands 15 thousand dollars to let them into his play. The Wife agrees since maybe the sister will form a connection with him, but naturally the play sank and then he kept all of the money. It was such a huge rip off. I can understand giving someone 100 dollars, but 1K, much less 15K in those days was completely unheard of. It was just too much. What’s worse is that they noticed Ernie’s hidden stash of money and used it as well. Talk about going all in eh? At least Ernie got a tip about how the horses were rigged and played something else, but it was all for naught in the end.

The film’s pretty fun as you could tell, but I could have done without some of the romance. Since it’s all pretty fake and all of the guys turn out to be bad anyway, I would have liked more scenes of Ernie critiquing the New York customs. A scene in the pizza place would have been cool or heading to a McDonalds. The scenes of them hanging out with the guys were only good when Ernie was around to insult them. He wasn’t even too subtle about it which was pretty enjoyable. He just said it like it was. The only scene with Ernie that may have dragged a little was when the drunk guy was telling him about the crooks. That scene could have gotten to the point sooner, but maybe it’s just because listening to drunk speak always has me shake my head.

Overall, It’s a pretty short film. The movie isn’t even 90 minutes long so it maintains a quick pace throughout. You’ll have a fun time watching it and the film even has some pretty nice effects like the epic zoom ins of the character’s faces and the translator for the cab driver. It’s also nice that you can still associate with most of the things that the film pokes fun at. Even if New York has changed in many ways since the old days, it has also remained the same in others. The cycle goes on after all. I’d recommend checking it out and most modern comedy films could learn from this one. One last change I’d make to the film would be ending it about 3 minutes earlier. Not being able to afford to leave would have been priceless!

Overall 7/10

The Day The Earth Stood Still Review

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It’s time to look at a really retro Sci-Fi film that would change the way we all looked at the genre…forever. It’s a title that you’ve probable heard many times even if you’ve never watched it before. It’s definitely a solid movie that has aged well. The monster is good and the effects actually aren’t half bad. It may have been the first big Sci-fi classic of the 50’s since it even came out before Godzilla.

The plot is relatively straight forward. A mysterious object shows up on the scanner and everyone starts to panic. It is moving too fast to be a ship and it’s unlikely that it’s a bomb. Either way, the army gets set to fend off whatever lands. A human walks out of it and reaches for his gun so the army sends him to the hospital. His pet Robot disarms a lot of the guards, but the human stops him. After a brief rest, the mysterious being reveals himself as an alien named Klaatu. Klaatu is here to wipe out the threat that the Earth poses to the universe. He’ll blow it up if necessary but he wants the world to abandon their space program otherwise. If they do that, then Earth can continue to exist. America knows that the Soviets won’t be on board with this so they prepare for the biggest fight yet!

Klaatu doesn’t actually state his mission for quite a while though. He wants to talk to everyone at once which isn’t really possible and you can’t help but feel bad for the army at times. Klaatu really doesn’t make it easy for them with his large demands and the guy should realize that humanity can’t unite on a whim. He basically states that their affairs don’t affect him in the slightest, but they kind of do. Ah well, in the meantime, Klaatu will hang out with a kid and learn more about human customs. He learns that not everyone is ruled by fear, just most of them.

Klaatu is very annoying, but hes a good character. At his core he seems to be a nice guy who really doesn’t want to destroy Earth. The fact that he came here at all supports that since he could have let Gort go on alone to destroy everything. He seems to possibly have some abilities as he escaped a hospital room quite easily. He also carries around sand that speeds up the healing process and a ray on his ship that can help to stall death. It’s all pretty useful when you’re in a hostile environment. He’s a nice guy and always stays polite to the rest of the cast. Here’s why he is annoying though.

Klaatu just can’t take a hint. He constantly asks the impossible and then ends up going with threats by the end anyway. He basically took it out on the scientist I felt and while he doesn’t fly off the handle, he’s a little unfair to the humans who are actually trying to help. He’s not supposed to be perfect though and those laws I can live with. He’s a fun lead and takes things in stride a lot better than most aliens. The rest of the cast isn’t quite important as they are merely around to help fill in the plot. The main kid gets a pretty large role as he isn’t yet old enough to fear Klaatu and instead enjoys all of the cool new inventions that he finds out. The media also does a good job of burying the story as per usual.

Helen is the main heroine and she is all right although a little slow to act. She is glad that KIlaatu gets along with her son so well at first, but then her friend shows up and tells her that it’s a bad idea. She ends up just listening to him even though the guy seemed very selfish and uncaring. Their romance falls through anyway as he chooses riches over her in the end. It’s hard to see how they ever gt together in the first place since the movie does its best to write him as a very unlikable guy. He never leaves a positive impression on you. Helen cuts it a little close when delivering her final message to Gort, but she gt the job done in the end so that worked out.

It’s always fun to see everyone talking a good game about the alien while sitting at home and drinking coffee. You probably wouldn’t see that much paranoia in real life if an actual alien showed up as here even the radio kept having people talk about how they needed to destroy it. It was all handled so casually which made it all the more fun. The few dissenting opinions were quickly dodged so everyone could be in unison.

Of course, while Klaatu may have barely been an alien, Gort certainly was one. He has a cool laser blast that can disintegrate whatever it touches. That makes him a very formidable threat in this film and he looks good throughout. He comes across as a very reliable friend that you can count on and it’s never personal with this guy. He just destroys people as part of his job. No apologies accepted and none given. It would have been neat if the film ended with him firing off one last giant energy blast to destroy the world, but I suppose that would have been rather dark right?

As expected, the writing is quite good. I can’t really think of any bad lines here and all of the characters looked pretty good. Even the unlikable ones were written well as they weren’t too exaggerated. They simply went into their roles and did a good job. The film’s pacing is also rather good. If I have one complaint, it’s that the middle of the film starts to clue you in on how nothing is really going to happen. After Klaatu is rejected a few times and goes to meet with the first scientist, you know that he’s doomed. There’s no way he’s going to get his audience because the film has already told us what his goal is. By that point you can figure that he’ll never get his audience but at least he’ll get to hurl a few last insults before leaving. It may not have been the most satisfying way to end the plot, but it was still an enjoyable ride throughout.

Overall, The Day The Earth Stood Still is a good film. It reminds us that paranoia is no good and you’re better off sticking to more productive things like making memes with good messages at the end. The climax/ending of the film may not have been all that satisfying, but the build up was good and it’s still a really good premise. The opening act was probably the best part of the film and it usually is in a film like this as I love the opening reactions from everyone. Klaatu will have to work on being more subtle about his alien knowledge if he ever returns for a sequel. If you haven’t seen this film yet, then you should definitely fix that as this is a must watch for Sci-Fi fans.

Overall 7/10