5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Seven Samurai Review


It’s time to look at a classic film that came out all the way back in 1954. People will remember that year as the Godzilla debut but this film also made some waves as well. It would later inspire other big films like The Magnificent Seven which grabbed this formula and improved upon it. Seven Samurai is a film with a decent premise but one that drags on quite a lot with padding being thrown in for most scenes. This film would have benefited from cutting out around 90-120 minutes and would have resulted in a movie with tighter pacing and a more engaging story. As it stands, it’s a reasonable movie if you really like the old samurai setting but otherwise I would highly advise checking out The Magnificent Seven instead.

The movie starts off with the villagers wondering what they should do. A group of bandits show up every year and steal all of their food and crops. If they strike again these guys probably won’t be able to survive. Some of them think they should just roll over and die while others think they should fight. They reach out to the village elder and he tells them to recruit some Samurai. It’ll be tough because they have no money and almost no food but it’s their best option. They manage to reach out to one samurai named Kambei for help. He tells them that they will need 7 Samurai in able to pull this off. Gradually they locate the rest of the samurai and head to the village to get ready to fight the Bandits. Will this group of fighters really be enough to take down the villains or are they all marching towards their graves?

So the main problem with this film is really the length. It’s well over 3 hours and you need to have a pretty good excuse to make your film that long. Very few films have gone for such a length because it’s so difficult. A lot of big blockbusters nowadays could easily stretch themselves out to 3 hours and you could see it working well like Mission Impossible, Avengers, Batman V Superman, etc but even those usually end up cutting content to stay under the 3. 3 hours is just a very long time and you have to have dynamite characters and a great story or it will inevitably drag out. So I always say that having a long runtime is not necessarily a good or a bad thing. All theatrical films should aim to at least be 2 hours but if they really know that they don’t have enough story for it than cutting it down to a shorter length is fine. That’s really what Seven Samurai should have done because the plot isn’t built for 3 hours.

What I described above is really the main plot. It’s very direct and you don’t need a lot of time for it. As a result we get a ton of what I’d call filler scenes. Characters just walking around, making faces, laughing with the locals, etc. There are so many scenes here that could have been cut entirely and other scenes that could have been trimmed down. You could definitely make this roughly a 90 minute film while keeping in all of the key scenes. It’s what the movie should have done because it’s not as if it does many things wrong. My negatives with the film are rather brief other than the length. It just made the film rather boring at times and you would often be waiting for the film to get to the next moment.

Another issue here is really that there wasn’t much of a villain. None of the bandits are given any real character development. They have absolutely no presence in the story and you would be hard pressed to remember any of their names if they even got any. This is a problem because that makes this a samurai film with no real fight scenes. There are general action scenes where the two forces collide, but there is no true battle scene where the heroes use their blades in battle. Every “fight” is just a one and done slice that ends the match in an instant. I would have liked to have seen some actual fights here as that would have made the film a whole lot more exciting.

Seven Samurai also goes out of its way to make the villagers really unlikable. You have one subplot where the father forces the daughter to cut off her hair and physically attacks her when she gets together with one of the samurai. Nobody does anything about this and it makes the samurai look pretty bad for just watching the whole time. I’d have liked at least one character to have stepped in and totally put a stop to it. At the end of the day they yell at the guy a bit but don’t do much more than that. That ties in a bit to the characters angle.

From the main characters the only real solid one was the quiet samurai who is really good at fighting. He murdered his first opponent after being forced into a fight and from there he took down a bunch of other enemies. He is definitely treated as the most powerful samurai in the film and that is pretty clear after his initial scenes. The others are strong enough I suppose as they all contribute. Kambei is also a reasonably solid lead and is good at making the plans. We don’t really get to see him fight much but you know that he is skilled.

How much you enjoy the film will probably also depend on how you enjoy the setting. This is taking place in very old times of course so don’t expect to see any sleek buildings or a modern Tokyo/NYC type environment. The characters are struggling to survive in a poor setting so everything can be pretty muddy and desolate. You definitely feel the desperation in all of the characters here since they’re about to fight in a life or death battle and the people they’re protecting don’t even trust them. It really puts the Samurai in a tough spot.

I’d say the best part of the film is the soundtrack. It can be a little overly dramatic for the scenes that are playing but I think a good soundtrack works even if it is misplaced. For example, a cool rock song will sound just as awesome whether it’s played during an emotional scene or a battle moment. So either way I liked the classic opera theme that would play when the characters were thinking. It was like a subtle darkness approaching kind of message. This theme shows up quite a lot and I was always happy to see it appear.

Overall, Seven Samurai is a decent film but one that is incredibly dragged out and is best to watch in short batches. The writing is okay and the film would have been greatly improved with some more action scenes and more interesting characters. With all the time we had I think you could have developed all of them with more personality. I’d like to see some in-fighting and that would have been a good way to accomplish both goals at once. Ultimately I don’t think you’ll remember most of the characters much after finishing this one but at long as you have one standout character that’ll help. So check this one out if you want to see a classic team up film but otherwise you can just jump ahead in time and check out a different title.

Overall 5/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Sonic the Hedgehog Review


It’s time to finally take a look at the legendary Sonic movie that came out recently. Sonic has always been the greatest video game series of all time as soon as Sonic Adventure first came out. Once Sonic Adventure 2 Battle arrived the series cemented itself as a legend. Despite that we hadn’t gotten a big budget film like this one. Well, that’s finally all changed. It’s definitely a pretty fun film and a good way to get Sonic out into the mainstream. To an extent he’s already there as you often see kids playing the mobile games so it makes sense to launch a movie now since they’ll all check it out. If not for Covid this very well could have cracked 700K and I know the sequel will do incredibly well.

The movie starts off with a quick action sequence as Sonic is evacuated off the planet by a wise bird. Sonic barely escapes the Echidnas but his Mom figure is unable to make it through with him. Sonic’s last words of advice were to make sure that nobody saw him and to always teleport to a new planet if something happened. His rings allow him to go anywhere he is thinking about. Sonic makes a good life for himself on Earth but he is still pretty lonely. One day he gets a little too fired up and launches an EMP that takes out a quarter of the country. Dr Robotnik is called in to find Sonic and this guy has never failed a mission.

Meanwhile the human main character of this movie is Tom. He has always been a pretty great police chief in Green Hills but he wants something a little more exciting. Now that he has been approved for a position in San Francisco he is ecstatic but that’s when Sonic shows up. Tom helps him out but he is now labeled as a terrorist. Tom’s too deep in to back off now so he will have to help Sonic find his rings in San Francisco so he can escape to another plane. Will he be able to do this or will Robotnik get to Sonic first? It’s definitely not going to be an easy journey.

This is a comedy adventure movie so it’s a blend of both but the first genre is likely the most important. Sonic’s always been able to achieve a good blend, just look at Sonic Boom which to date is probably Sonic’s most impressive show. They’ve all historically been solid though and as expected Sonic works in this medium as well. The gags involving Sonic running around and playing by himself against himself are really solid. I like all of the speed effects and the humans are good too. Rachel is Maddie’s sister and works well as the character who is always trying to escalate things. She panics a whole lot and really doesn’t like Tom. She’s absolutely as exaggerated as you can get but it works well.

Most of the characters here are extremely quirky and they make for a memorable cast. Eggman’s right hand man was a lot more fun than I expected him to be. Part of why he succeeds is because he takes everything in stride. While some characters would be puzzled the whole time or panicking this guy never does. He just follows Robotnik’s lead and does whatever he can. Robotnik can be a bit extra at times for sure, but he’s a fun character. A lot of the best moments with him are his banter with Tom. Ultimately I imagine it will become more of an exchange with Sonic but for now this works. Tom really gave it to him with those punches. I also liked Robotnik’s montage while testing out Sonic’s quill for power. We even got a quick dinosaur thhere.

As the main human, Tom gets a lot of screen time so you’re definitely hoping that he’ll be good. Fortunately he works out quite well. The film is going for that buddycop feel and he gets a lot of fun dialogue with Sonic. He can also fight surprisingly well as seen in the bar. His wife Maddie is also pretty good. I’ll give her props for not panicking the whole time the way a lot of characters do when they see an alien. Maddie is just ready for the experience and doesn’t really let it get to her. There are a few more characters but the final important one is Sonic. His character has been through quite a lot like with the design issues. Ultimately this design is way better than the first one they were going for. It’s definitely not quite up to the real Sonic design from the games but as this is definitely aiming to be a much younger version of Sonic than what we are used to, it works out pretty well. I can’t quite imagine Sonic acting quite the same way if he looked more like his adult self.

It’s a lot of fun seeing Sonic use his speed to save the day. We also got some Quicksilver type scenes of him messing with the room. Sonic’s very entertaining and I’d say that the film did him justice. As you can see, the cast here was solid and the writing was also pretty good. Most of the jokes land and the film is just a lot of fun to watch. The pacing is quick and you’ll never be bored here. The effects are also solid for the action scenes we do get. There aren’t a whole lot of them, but they work quite well. The best one is naturally the high speed chase with Robotnik at the end of the film.

While the film has a lot of things going for it, there are a few elements that do keep this to being a very good film rather than hitting the elite level. First off, the power levels are pretty bad. This is almost inevitable for a speedster based film but it’s especially noticeable here. Are we to believe that Sonic can be hit with a tranq dart, an explosion after he gets the button off, or that he can’t outrun Robotnik’s robot at the end of the film? None of these scenes make sense in the same context as the bar scene existing or the missiles on the roof. Both of those scenes show Sonic as being so crazy fast that time is basically stopped and there is absolutely no way anyone can catch him. Even if Eggman has one quill and part of the power his robot simply wouldn’t be that fast. I think the film saw the Quicksilver scene and wanted to do their own version as well but little did they know that scenes like that always bring up a ton of plot holes.

My other issue is that Sonic was a little too weak here. He is shown to physically have the strength of a toddler. He lands a lot of direct punches on people in the bar brawl and they do no damage. That doesn’t really make sense to me. With speed comes power. The Flash shows this often since building up momentum and throwing a punch always does more damage than a normal one. It’s the same concept so super speed automatically gives you super strength but a lot of films don’t really think about this. These two aspects of the film aren’t huge in the sense that they’ll cripple the score or anything like that. They’re just very noticeable and I think the movie could have done better here.

The soundtrack here is also pretty good. There are a lot of solid danger themes here and they flow well with the action scenes. One thing I was shocked about though was seeing the Final Fantasy VII theme in the film. Seriously, watch the scene where Sonic and Tim are in the car trying to fend off the various robots Robotnik keeps sending out. It’s a sped up version of the main battle theme. I have to see if someone made a comparison video on Youtube yet because that was really cool. It’s a battle theme that has withstood the test of time so naturally hearing it in a theatrical film like this is definitely worth it.

Overall, Sonic The Hedgehog is a very fun film. It sets up some good plot elements for the future as well. Make sure you stick around after the credits for a quick stinger. I’m hoping it doesn’t take too long until the sequel comes out because I’m ready for more Sonic hype. There are quite a lot of ways the sequel can go. Personally I’m expecting a return trip to Sonic’s home world but I’m also game for Metal Sonic showing up or Shadow The Hedgehog. We need to get close to the events of Adventure 2 Battle, that will be great. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you definitely need to check it out. It’s really just a lot of fun and has a high amount of replay value.

Overall 7/10

4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Killer Shrews Review


It’s time to look at a classic creature feature film from a long while back. They definitely made quite a lot of interesting titles like this in those days that’s for sure. It’s a pretty fun film for the most part although it hits the usual snags like animal violence. I’ll give the film credit for avoiding having any of this on screen for the most part but I still had to deduct quite a few points. Ultimately within the genre I would say that this one is pretty average. It doesn’t do anything particularly inventive or exciting but I do give the film props for using an animal that hasn’t been done before. There are a lot of animals out there so you may as well give each one a movie.

The movie starts off with Thorne and Rook making it to an island on their boat. They’ve been instructed to drop off a bunch of supplies and then pick up a passenger named Ann. Unfortunately the waters have been quite troubled so they aren’t able to leave til the next day. Rook stays behind to guard the ship and Thorne heads to the locals’ home. Everyone seems to be in a hurry for Thorne to leave and he doesn’t appreciate that. After someone gets murdered and everyone starts to be very cryptic Thorne demands answers. Well, it turns out that the shrews on the island have mutated into giant monsters of sorts. They’ve gone from tadpole size to dog size. This is all due to experiments and as an added bonus they also have an incredible amount of poison in their fangs. A single slash or cut from the animal will prove to be instantly fatal. Thorne’s partner is dead and at this rate the rest of the cast will follow their fate. Can he possibly get to the boat with the others before it’s too late?

The film offers the heroes one ray of hope which is that shrews can’t swim. If the heroes get back to the boat then they will be safe. The tough part is getting there since these animals are so fast and if you make contact with them at any point then you will be doomed. It adds a nice level of danger without making the situation impossible for the heroes. You can also think about how you would have handled it. The final plan is pretty inventive. I would have been a little hesitant because I can picture them nipping at your heels but it was better than just trying to run and gun it through the forest. Everyone always seems to trip over themselves in such a scenario.

The cast can be a bit on the week side though. There are quite a few people at the hut but most of them don’t get much of a role. You’ve got the scientist who is really into his work and barely has any time to really talk to anyone else. He barely gets any scenes but at least the guy is dedicated. Even up to the end he is writing down symptoms. You’ve got Mario who seems like a nice enough guy and at least he didn’t fall for the mindgames. That being said, he still didn’t contribute much. Ann’s father is a pretty big character and he seems reasonable if you ignore the fact that his experiments are part of what got us into this mess at the start. Refusing to leave also puts everyone in harm’s way. Rook was a fun character although he just doesn’t get to appear a whole lot. You definitely feel bad for him since his death was the most tragic. If only he had stayed on the boat.

The real big characters here are the main 3. Jerry is the drunk rival who wants to be with Ann but gets dumped early on. You can’t blame Ann int he slightest since apparently Jerry tried to ditch her for the monsters at one point. We actually see him do this a lot later on as well. The guy is actively one of the main antagonists in the film and doesn’t seem to care that their lives are already in danger. He’s super petty throughout and there’s definitely no reason to like this guy. This whiny kind of character makes for a decent villain I suppose. I would have liked to have seen some characters try a little harder to stop him from locking Thorne out though.

Ann is a decent heroine. She does move on to Thorne rather quickly though so as expected the romance in this film is pretty weak. It all moves at typical Hollywood speed which is just a little faster than how you would picture an actual situation taking place. She could be a little too scared throughout the movie as well. So I definitely wouldn’t say that Ann was a bad character in the slightest but she doesn’t particularly standout either. As for Thorne, he’s a good main character. He stands up for himself against the others and is always pretty prepared. He doesn’t panic a whole lot and quickly assumes the leadership role. He wisely doesn’t give Jerry a gun again until the very end. Honestly at that point I probably still wouldn’t have given it to him because Jerry blew too many chances.

The movie’s very short so you’ll definitely be feeling how quick the pacing is. It works well since no part of the film really drags on. It’s really a classic thriller type of template. The shrews themselves make for a solid threat. They’ve got a nice design and those teeth are definitely real sharp. You do not want to mess with these guys in the slightest. Unfortunately as mentioned in the intro they do tend to go for the animals a bit which does hurt. The horse dies and even when the heroes start to destroy the Shrews that takes some points away because they look like nice enough animals. Ultimately a film about evil animals is pretty much always doomed because it’s just hard to end the threat without ending a few of the animals. The film is about as fun as your average creature feature film but this ultimately holds it to a lower score.

Overall, The Killer Shrews is a fun enough film. It follows all of the usual story beats and executes them well enough where you’re on board the whole time. I was kept entertained as the film went on. The writing was solid so the interactions never got boring either. I like the fact that the Shrews are said to not be able to swim early on in the film because it very quickly gives you a tangible goal for how this is all going to play out. The heroes have a goal and they just have to aim for it. This way the movie never feels aimless as every scene is getting you closer to the next part of the goal. If you really like creature feature films then you should check this one out.

Overall 4/10

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Days of Heaven Review


It’s time to look at a film about the olden days. It’s filled with deceit and drama as the characters keep making tricky choices. Unfortunately the film doesn’t do much to pique your interest and the narrator’s emotionless delivery doesn’t help matters. This film ultimately fails at being entertaining and ends up dragging itself out quite a bit.

The movie starts with the main character (Bill) murdering his boss so he is forced to flee his job along with his wife Abby and sister Linda. The three of them join a roaming group who go around and pick wheat during the harvesting season. Bill quickly grows bored of this as well though and decides he wants to be rich. He convinces his wife to have an affair with the land owner since Bill found out that the guy is expected to die soon. There are many ways this can and will backfire so you just have to try and predict which way will present itself.

Really the main character traded his morals here for some quick funds. It’s definitely a bad choice all the way around particularly because Bill is asking Abby to do the hard parts. If you’re going to do something risky then it should be something that you are doing on your own. When you put the burden on someone else just so you can feel better then that’s really not a good look. From this point on it’s just hard to sympathize with the guy at all.

It’s pretty much inevitable that Abby and the rich guy hit it off after that. Bill can’t bear to watch this but since Abby and the guy are married Bill should have known this was coming. So the main plot is definitely no fun and in a way the rich guy is really getting the short end of the stick because from his point of view he didn’t do anything crazy. He just had to learn one day that his wife was cheating on him.

Meanwhile you have Linda who doesn’t talk a whole lot in the movie. She is the narrator though so in that role she easily gets the most lines. The film would have done well without a narrator though. Pretty much all of the dialogue told through this doesn’t actually amount to anything and it really drags on.

The whole movie suffers from this though. It takes ages for things to happen in this movie and without any likable characters the film can’t survive by being a slow burner. It’s not a technique that just any film can use. I’m also not a fan of the general setting, I much prefer films that take place in more of a city environment. This is more like the Wild West or the prairies and it doesn’t make for great backgrounds or scenery.

The Locusts are pretty intense though. They definitely know how to take a whole field down in one crispy combo. That said, the extended scenes of everyone trying to swat them away get dull rather quickly. While you know that’s what they are going to have to do, this is where a quick montage does wonders of a brief time skip to the fire since we need to see the next confrontation. It still doesn’t help the movie get nearly as intense as it tries to be though. Even the climax which is a chase scene through the forest with a ton of guys in pursuit with guns can’t make the film all that exciting. The film just didn’t have heart.

The ending’s also more of a shake your head kind of moment. The characters all move on in their own ways. One heads underground, another boards a train, and one decides to escape school. I can understand the first option because that’s just how it goes and the second at least makes some sense to try and give back to the world. The final option just seems a little forced. Finally this character is in a good environment and won’t have to worry about finding enough to eat anymore. It’s all looking pretty good but now it’s back to the road? She’s also with a pretty bad role model so that doesn’t seem very promising either.

Overall, Days to Heaven is definitely not a film that I would recommend. There just aren’t any real positives or incentives to watch this movie. The characters aren’t particularly likable and the story is fairly boring. There aren’t any real exciting scenes or big moments that will have you on the edge of your seat. Some witty dialogue could have helped to bump this up but the movie doesn’t have any of that either. It is very serious from start to finish with everyone typically mumbling or not speaking unless they have to. If you want to watch more of a standard drama like this you’ve definitely got better options out there. You just gotta go and find them.

Overall 3/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Death on the Nile Review


It’s time to look at a mystery film. Both versions of Murder on the Orient Express were quite great. I do tend to enjoy a good mystery after all and a boat is a decent setting. It’s definitely not as good as a train setting but it’s close enough. This is a solid film although it can’t really hold a candle to the Orient Express. It would have been hard for any film to follow that up though and I’d say that this one does give it a good shot. There are a good amount of suspects and the film is fair in letting you decide who the culprit is.

The movie starts off with Linnet finally heading back home after being away for a while. She is quickly introduced as a very rude person who flaunts her wealth with no remorse. Her friend Jackie convinces Linnet to hire Simon as the head of the estate because Jackie and Simon are engaged but both don’t really have any money. This is a pretty iffy request if you think about it and while it’s not personal, that’s why you don’t hire friends. Regardless, Linnet hires Simon, but turns the tables on Jackie by quickly stealing him away. The two of them get married and now Jackie stalks them wherever they go. Linnet and Simon decide to get on a cruise to get away from her but Linnet is quickly murdered. Fortunately, Poirot was on the cruise and now it’s up to him along with Colonel Race to get to the bottom of this. It’ll be tough though since everyone on the cruise has reason to murder Linnet.

One thing about this film is it does take a loooong time for the murder to happen to the point where I’d almost consider that to be a spoiler. Still, it’s technically the main plot so I included it in the summary but if you go in blind it’ll probably be extra fun although you would suspect it early on. I think parts of the opening could have definitely been trimmed to get to the murder and investigation a little earlier though. We need a lot of the scenes to establish motives and all, but parts still could have been trimmed up some. It wouldn’t be necessary depending on the cast but most of the suspects aren’t all that interesting here compared to the first film.

The film successfully shows Linnet to be a rather mean person. I do think that her reactions were a bit extra the whole time though. Just having Jackie show up everywhere shouldn’t freak Linnet out each time. Just take it in stride already. I do have to question how Jackie has enough money to follow them everywhere though. She apparently didn’t have much money earlier and I don’t recall any scenes saying she inherited a ton of money or anything like that. These details are minor in some respects, but in a way the whole case depends on these two details which is a bit iffy. There are a lot of other things Linnet could have done that would have changed everything. I think in part that’s what also makes this a weaker case than the first movie. Everything has to go absolutely perfectly for the murder to work out to the point where it’s less believable than the events of the first film.

Naturally I won’t say who the murderer is, but when the method of the murder is explained it’s rather hard to buy into. It seems as if everyone on the ship was deaf and didn’t have very good eyesight. I can’t say much more than that without it at least hinting as to who the murderer is, but I wasn’t sold. Even considering that though, the film does give you a fair chance at figuring out the murderer. You just have to decide whose motive is best and also how well each of their alibi’s stick. Since every character has an alibi you get to determine which one doesn’t hold true. It’s a pretty fun mental exercise as the film plays out. So even if the ending may be a bit tricky, the case itself is nice and engaging.

Poirot makes for a fun lead. He’s definitely very confident at all times which is really good for a detective. Who wants a detective who doesn’t believe in his skills and gives luck a lot of credit? Poirot also enjoys messing with the others quite a bit and also likes a nice meal. He doesn’t let a bunch of murders get in the way of his appetite. Race makes for a fun sidekick as he follows Poirot around. While he may not be quite as quick to figure things out as the sleuth, Race is definitely helpful here because without him Poirot wouldn’t be able to just run around everyone’s cabins so easily.

Lets take a look at all the suspects now. First up is Jackie who has threatened to murder Linnet quite a bit over the course of the film. She has a gun in her possession and the motive is naturally so that she can be back together with Simon. Simon’s motive is easy, the guy doesn’t have a dollar to his name and so if he murders Linnet then he gets everything. The guy is obviously flighty given how easily he leaves one engagement to the next so maybe he’s found someone else. You’ve got Louise who has worked for Linnet for many years. Unfortunately for her Linnet hasn’t given her any inheritance yet to go and be with a guy who’s already married. Linnet tried to explain why this would be foolhardy but Louise wants her married man and may do anything to get some money.

Then you have Andrew who has been stealing money from Linnet for years. Now that she’s married it will be a lot harder to do so without getting caught despite the husband admitting that he loves to sign things without reading them. If Linnet gets bumped off then nobody can ever prove that he swindled the money from her in the past and he will be home free. Schuyler is an old lady who loves precious gems like the ones Linnet owns. There’s no way Linnet would ever part with them so perhaps knocking her off would be the best way to grab them. That would settle the matter pretty quickly. Then you have Schuyler’s maid whose family was ruined by Linnet’s father. This forced the maid to lose everything and work as a maid to a cruel boss. The maid refuses to even talk to Linnet.

Salome writes a lot of romance books but she is being sued by Linnet for some similar characters. Salome doesn’t have a whole lot of money and wouldn’t survive this lawsuit so one way to end things would be to take Linnet down once and for all. Rosalie is Salome’s daughter and her motive is pretty similar. If she can take Linnet out of the picture then her mother won’t go bankrupt and their lives can resume as normal. Jim is a guy who doesn’t like rich people very much and especially not Linnet. He mentions several times that somebody should bump her off so perhaps he nominated himself for that role. If he were to take her out then the world would be closer to being balanced once more. Finally, we have Ludwig who has been taking a lot of heat by Linnet for various treatments he has given that did not work out. Several of his patients have even died and if this publicity keeps up then he will be destroyed. The only way to stop her from talking would be to silence her.

So those are all of the suspects and motives. As you can see there are a ton of suspects here. Part of why the film is so long is that it tries to develop all of them. Some of the characters look real similar too so it can be easy to mix a few of them up. Still, the more suspects the better because that gives you more options and makes picking the correct culprit a whole lot more difficult. One tough thing though can be that at times some of the accents are a little tough to follow. Race comments on that quite a few times since Poirot loves to troll him by speaking in French. It’s always suspicious when someone isn’t talking in English.

Overall, This is a pretty fun film. The first half is a bit on the slow side but once the murder happens then the film picks up as you would expect it to. The writing here is definitely pretty solid. While I do have some issues with how the death ultimately occurred I still wouldn’t say that it is totally impossible either. It just comes across as very convenient the whole time. I had no other real issues here. If you want to see a solid murder mystery with a lot of moving pieces then I definitely recommend checking this one out. You can’t really go wrong with a quality mystery after all.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Transporter 2 Review


It’s time to look at a sequel to the original Transporter. That film was pretty fun and so is this one. It’s fairly short as far as theater films go so everything is always moving at a quick pace. It’s pretty fun and definitely continues the series on a high note. We even get some rock music during the big fights which is always a good decision. I don’t have many real big complaints for this one. It’s a solid action film that will help you spend 90 minutes and you’ll be ready for the third film. This isn’t quite Mission Impossible, but it’s capturing some of that same energy.

The movie starts by showing us that Frank has accepted the role of being a chauffeur for a rich family. It’s a favor to a friend since usually he doesn’t do this kind of work. Still, he gets along with the kid pretty well. Unfortunately, the kid ends up getting kidnapped by some thugs. Frank already made a promise that he would protect the kid so now he has to get ready to keep it. He’ll have to beat up a bunch of people in order to accomplish this but that’s not really a problem for him. Frank knows that he’ll always get the job done.

The premise is pretty simple and that works well for the series. Right from the start we get some big car chase scenes and action segments. Frank was maybe a little slow on the uptake with the fake doctors but he still managed to make it in time which was good. After that the villains had a hostage situation at the ready so that was hard for him to get out of. From there Frank just has to make the most of his connections and fighting skills in order to beat everyone up and save the day. He is already used to this kind of thing after all. The best scene in the film is probably the opening one. I always like a solid intro where the hero beats up the mob that tries to steal his car. Frank makes it look pretty easy.

The villains aren’t really anything to write home about though. Lola is one of the main villains and her twin gun style is fun to watch. The guns have an almost sci-fi feel to them and they certainly hold a lot of ammo. As a character she’s not very interesting though and seems to mostly be there for the fanservice. At least she’s not disappointing though. I admit that I expected a lot more from the boss, Gianni. Gianni’s first scene is him beating up a ton of people in Kendo and this is obviously meant to show that the guy can fight. You may be expecting a big confrontation with Frank like in the first film. However, this guy really pales in comparison to that villain.

We do get a final fight with Frank but Gianni only lasts as long as he does because of airplane shenanigans. As a fighter he doesn’t look very good and I was surprised at that. The build up just went to waste on him. So I’d say that the villains were noticeably weaker than in the first film. As for the supporting cast, we get the french cop but he doesn’t do a lot here. He’s a fun enough side character though so it’s good that he was around. The kid’s parents have a bit of a subplot where they are disagreeing on things quite a bit. Jefferson is rather distant and Aubrey isn’t having a good time. Ultimately their kid being kidnapped helps to put things in perspective for them. I am glad that we didn’t get a random affair with Frank though. That would have just been a terrible idea for sure.

The soundtrack is pretty solid as I mentioned. The random rock music that shows up was great and I’d like to see more of that. All of the fight scenes are pretty fun as well. While they aren’t quite as sophisticated with hand to hand techniques as in the first movie, they still hold up quite well. I also like how sleek the cars are. Frank’s really got an excellent car with lots of defenses and good top speed. The car chases are also pretty fun and we even get close to some Fast and the Furious stunts here like jumping from building to building.

Some parts of the film are glossed over a bit though. For starters, the virus does get transmitted to a bunch of people. Even though we now have the vaccine there’s no way everyone would get it before the fatal 24 hours. Considering that a lot of the people infected were fairly high rank, there would be a global crisis for sure. The events of the film were pretty timely with what’s going on right now so that was definitely an interesting coincidence. Regardless I suppose the important thing is that the virus was stopped so I suppose the film didn’t really need to stay and think about that too hard. As I said, the film was pretty focused and fast moving so it didn’t really take time to stop like that. In general that’s a good thing so I won’t fault the film here. You can definitely stop and point to things that don’t make a lot of sense like the cop who is able to access secure files at the police HQ. There’s no way such a computer won’t have any passwords protecting it. If you stop and think long enough you can point to many such moments in the film, but at the end of the day it’s pretty fun and that’s what really counts here.

Overall, Transporter 2 is pretty solid. You’ll definitely get your fill of action and thrilling moments. Part of the charm in the series is how fast is moves. There’s always something happening. The ending scene is also pretty fun as a nice cliffhanger/here we go again kind of feel. That kind of ending is pretty ideal. It’ll be tough for the third Transporter film to beat this one. I actually would take this one over the original. The original Transporter did have better villains and was certainly longer but this one had a more direct story. I also thought that Frank was a lot more heroic here whereas in the first he really only helped once he was forced into it. Frank’s clearly changed quite a bit over the years. If you like action films then this is definitely one you’ll want to check out.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Power Review


It’s time to look at a film about having powers. Similar to how characters love to yell “I have the Power!!!” there are some who prefer to be more discreet about it. That’s the setting for this film and it plays out as a suspenseful thriller. It’s a slow burner as the villain keeps on making little moves until the end of the film where the climax hits. Now, this is one of those films where if you think long and hard about it you’ll cringe at how nothing makes any sense, but that’s almost inevitable when you make a villain too powerful. It’s still a fun movie though and the ending was very unexpected so I’ll give the film some props there.

The movie starts with a government investor heading to a science firm to see how his money has been used. He is given the tour and this is basically a facility that explores pain. Every gadget in the building is wired to torture people in every which way. They get volunteers by paying people a ton of money although if you ask me it’s definitely not worth it to be put through this stuff. The government guy seems a bit unnerved but ultimately doesn’t mind and heads to the meeting. That’s when a scientist explains that he has proof that someone on the board has psychic powers based on a test he gave out. We never see this test in part because it’s a crazy concept in the first place that a test could measure something like that. If your IQ is above the max score that’s about it. Still, everyone agrees to do a quick experiment and we find out that someone does have psychic powers because a page moved all on its own. We just don’t know who did it.

The scientist is quickly murdered that night and Jim is the main suspect. Jim doesn’t like this but all of his so called “friends” betray him except for his colleague/girlfriend Margery. Together they are determined to get to the bottom of this. The only clue they have is the name Adam Hart. Looks like Jim’s going to have to do some detective work but he’ll have to be careful because danger can be anywhere. I mean that in a literal sense since the villain is able to murder people just by thinking about it and the heroes don’t know what kind of range the guy has. It seems to be quite large and the more Jim finds out about this Adam character, the more powerful the villain appears to be.

Right off the bat, let’s just look at the issue here. Adam has quite a lot of powers related to his mental abilities. He can cause illusions for starters and can appear to be anyone. He can alter your memories as well and even create solid light illusions to physically block you. Finally, he can give you a heart attack with a simple mental blast that can go through walls and appear from anywhere. As I said, the range is unknown but it seems to be quite long and there’s no defense against him since he can appear as anyone. So he takes his sweet time bumping everyone off but he could have easily taken them all out a whole lot sooner. There’s no real reason not to do it since he can assume a new identity and alter everyone’s memories so that he was always there. The guy is insanely powerful. The film offers up a decent reason for why he doesn’t finish off Jim despite attacking him several times. It only works a bit though, I can’t give it full marks there.

If we go with the reason that the film provides then that means Adam has some very severe limitations and that he is completely outclassed in some respects. It just doesn’t work because the psychic shields weren’t up yet and the guy should have tried harder especially since he already knew the twist before the audience did. I can’t really go any further than that but as I said the ending is quite excellent. It plays out a bit like a Shounen Jump title as we get a trippy scene of someone falling through darkness similar to many anime intros and then ultimately bursting out. This one does use some recycled footage and goes on for a tad bit too long but it’s still effective and the ending is quite brilliant. It also serves as a few twists at once. The way the scenes are shot just makes everyone look real suspicious.

I guess I can’t say who I thought was the culprit because just saying that would imply that it’s someone else. All I’ll say is the film gives you one obvious suspect and then a very subtle one which was who I assumed it was. Turns out that was not the case so the film did good with its misdirection. The writing was pretty solid in terms of script and pacing. Obviously the telepathic abilities are still an issue here as the heroes should have been completely wrecked the whole time but otherwise it was solid. I’d say the film just had a bit of a slow beginning as we explore the pain asylum. The place was really on the gruesome side. The first death was also a bit intense although after that it all stays rather normal.

The characters are okay although not amazing. Considering that they’re in a pretty hopeless spot they do their best. Margery definitely takes on some pretty dangerous situations and does a good of coming out on top. Jim makes fewer good decisions though. I still don’t know what he was thinking getting in the car with someone who he was being quite aggressive to the entire time and trusting that things would go well. That scene made him look pretty terrible. I also thought Jim was unnecessarily rude to the car mechanic guy right from the jump. It’s a bit odd as he is incredibly hostile to the guy before they even exchange a word. I guess they got off on the wrong foot. There are a few other members of the council of course like the friend who is quick to not have Jim’s back and then the German professor who falls asleep rather easily and doesn’t really help the heroes out. There wasn’t a whole lot the guy could have really done anyway though.

Overall, The Power is an interesting movie. Parts of the movie can be a bit slow like the whole party scene that goes on for a bit longer than it needs too. The heroes also sure do get distracted by romance a lot during a pretty serious situation. Jim is super reluctant to even look into a possible murder near the beginning of the film since he just wants to hang out with Margery. You know, Jim sounds worse and worse as I write this review so maybe he was just a bad character. While all of these factors keep it from being a very good film, I’d still call it a good one. The ending alone helps make this worth a watch because I really like how the twist was implemented. The murder mystery at its core is also pretty interesting as everyone gets bumped off one by one. If you want to see a paranormal hunter gunning after everyone then this is the film to check out. It is a unique premise as I can’t recall seeing another movie quite like this one.

Overall 6/10

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Seventh Victim Review


It’s time to look at an old film about lots of mysterious things going around. Unfortunately the conclusion to this ends up being pretty weak which takes away from the experience. You can’t help but feel like the whole thing was pretty pointless in the end. Everyone acts rather oddly for the plot and the film’s ending is so abrupt that it feels like a ton of it was cut out. Abrupt endings can work out quite well and I do like cliffhangers but it felt like almost nothing was resolved.

The movie starts out with Mary finding out that Jacqueline has gone missing. She leaves school to go and find her, however it’s a big city and Jacqueline isn’t at her business anymore since she apparently sold it to someone. Mary meets up with Jacqueline’s husband Gregory who agrees to help find her. Unfortunately this guy isn’t very helpful at all so Mary uses a private detective to break into a building where Jacqueline may be. Unfortunately the guy gets murdered and slowly Mary starts to figure that maybe she should give up. She is easily intimidated by one of the villains after all.

Part of the issue here is that Jacqueline handles everything pretty terribly. First off she did get into a crazy cult which is already bad enough. From there she keeps hiding from the world rather than exposing them. Presumably they are blackmailing her with something but to the point where she has to give up all of her businesses and money? At that point she’s got to do something to defend herself rather than playing defense. We get really random scenes like her not talking to the hero or stabbing people. She gets a little startled but then doesn’t even talk to defend herself. You’ve also got the pretty terrible ending that really seals the deal on my not liking this character. Now the villains get to go free without any testimony against them.

Gregory is also an annoying character here since he is literally married to Jacqueline and ends up falling for Mary. This is the same guy who was calling her a child earlier and making a lot of snide remarks. It’s great that they get along, but why’d it have to escalate so quickly? It’s hard to get a read on Gregory but this definitely didn’t do his character any wonders. Then you have Jason who seems nice enough. He’s got connections and helps the heroes find Jacqueline at least. His whole origin story involving knowing Louis a while back feels pointless though. Louis not telling Jason that his friend went completely crazy was also odd.

The film just has a lot of little elements here and there that don’t make sense and don’t add to anything. The best character was Irving since at least he did his best to try and find out the truth of what was going on. Too bad he ended up getting stabbed so easily though. He knew that something dangerous was behind the door so he definitely should have gone through a little more carefully in that case right? When you consider how dark it is especially.

I think the film wasn’t sure if it wanted to go towards total conspiracy land or keeping things more grounded. The whole film was building up to something big and crazy but by the end we see it’s just a small little club with around 5 members. They don’t even believe in violence themselves although they hire people to get the job done so it’s basically the same thing. They shouldn’t have all that much sway at all so if Jacqueline went to the cops she should be fine. Louis is also really an accomplice here since he does all he can to get in the way of the heroes. The guy was acting like a villain the whole time.

How did the heroes break into the hospital so easily anyway? You’d think that security would be tighter. Then the villains somehow finding a way to get Irving’s body out of there without anybody seeing is also pretty sketchy. The whole film works a lot better if you change the twist. Have Jacqueline be involved in a country-wide conspiracy where everyone is a suspect and the whole thing works out a lot better. Personally that would have made the film better although it probably wouldn’t have saved it. To be a good noir thriller or conspiracy thriller you need a good set of characters. It’s the only way you are going to get through and Irving was really the only solid one. The others were all super submissive and would not stand up to the villains in the slightest.

Even the brief “confrontation” we get with the main characters and the villains is super quick. It’s supposed to be pretty emotional and intense but it’s extremely quick and if this shook the villain cult to their core they must have never been all that serious in the first place. Why couldn’t we have had a scene with the cops coming to arrest them? A quick moment like that would have made a world of difference, but instead the film ends where it began, with nothing really happening.

Overall, I’d recommend avoiding this film. The Seventh Victim’s title basically summarizes everything that happens in the movie anyway. The rest is really just fluff to keep you going. The suspense does work reasonably well but since the resolution to it is pretty sub-par that just means that all of the build up ends up feeling pretty pointless. Definitely not the way to wrap up this cinematic experience. Perhaps with all of the cut scenes they could have helped improve the film although it would have taken a lot to save the film entirely and push it over a 5.

Overall 3/10

2 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Séance on a Wet Afternoon Review


It’s time to look at an old film about a couple of insane people trying to see what’s worse, being an insane criminal or being a gutless accomplice. The two of them duke it out for the whole film on which character is worse. For my money I’m going with the accomplice because at least the villain is straight forward with this. The accomplice is always offering some justifications and half heartedly saying they should stop. This is definitely a film that drags on for quite a bit so be prepared.

The movie starts with Myra hosting another seance with a group of her friends. Afterwards she tells Billy that it’s time to enact their plan. They’re going to kidnap a kid and will hold her for ransom for a while. Once the cops are unable to turn up any leads she will use her fake psychic powers to tell them where the kid is. At that point she will be rich and famous just like she’s always wanted. Her husband Billy is less sure of the plan but he’s not even sure of his own sanity so Myra sends him to get the job done. Kidnapping the girl is criminally easy because everyone is negligent in this film so once they have the girl Myra gets her plan into action. The only tricky part is that aside from every part of the plan being pretty insane Myra’s own fragile psyche is getting worse and worse. Soon she may not even be able to speak rationally.

Obviously I don’t have a whole lot of respect for these two characters. Myra is portrayed as insane from the start and is just super lucky that she has Billy here. He does whatever she said. Even when she turns off the music and Billy sees her do it, she just says that he did and he accepts this. Billy accepts whatever Myra says to pretty crazy degrees. The whole opening scenes are basically just Myra making a long speech and doing whatever she wants and telling Billy he better agree to it. These scenes are a chore to get through in part because of her but definitely because of Billy.

Billy is one of the most annoying characters in a while because the guy just acts defeated in every single scene. He somehow is able to pull off the kidnapping and stealing the money despite all of this which is a stretch. What kind of designated driver for a super rich family just leaves the car alone and unlocked with the key in the ignition when a stranger is there? The whole thing was super suspect and he should have taken the kid with him. Billy had no real backup plan either so the whole thing was based on a lot of luck.

The villains are also asking to be foiled the whole time by doing things like having a seance with one of the parents while the kid is right upstairs. The room also didn’t seem very sound proof either and the kid should have done something. That would have been a tougher spot but yelling a bit would be ideal. The only good characters here are the parents. I’m glad that the father wasn’t falling for the supernatural nonsense. The Mom gave the main characters a little more of a chance and got pretty emotional but I won’t blame her either since the situation is so intense.

Going back to the plan though, even if Myra did use her “abilities” to find the kid it’s not like the cops would believe her. That would just throw even more suspicion on Myra being the one to kidnap her since she was already making that point pretty obvious early on. At the end Myra even wants to murder the kid and that would really seal her fate. That’s the thing with having main characters like this though, it’s never going to make sense in the end.

Ultimately the film doesn’t go for the ultimate grim ending which is good because that would have been an easy way to hit 0. The ending isn’t bad but it doesn’t help the rest of the film. The whole scene of Myra cracking in the climax as she talks to herself goes on for a very long time and it’s all nonsense so you wish the film would just gloss over it. Since we know she is crazy from the jump I think it’s fair for us to just skip the scenes entirely. You already get the point of the film. The cops did good even if the one detective should have been more confident. I liked the code of how they would pretend to be talking about a car radio while trying to identify Billy as the thief from earlier. The detectives did a lot of beating around the bush and passive aggressive talk but at the end of the day they got the job done and that’s what counts.

Overall, This is definitely a movie that I would advise you to avoid. There’s really nothing positive to say about it. The whole movie is very slow and the main problem here is that all of the focus is on the main two characters and they’re not likable in the slightest. They’re just petty criminals who are also insane and I think it’s pretty much impossible to have a quality film about such leads. The film should have been from the focus of the detective or the cops. That would have made for a much more interesting story at least and the film would have been better off with that change.

Overall 2/10

4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Only You Review


It’s time to look at an old school romance drama. Unfortunately this one is really not that good. The main characters are all pretty terrible which makes it hard to sympathize with any of them. Some of the scenes can be tragically funny in a way but you still have to shake your head for most of it. My hot take here is that the film should have focused more on the search for Damon Bradley and less on finding him so many times. That would have worked out a lot better if you ask me, but that’s just a theory.

So the film’s present timeline starts out with Faith getting ready to be married to her fiance. I forget the guy’s name and it really doesn’t matter since he’s only in it for a few scenes. He tries to mess with Faith’s hair and also promises on her behalf that she will wear an ancient wedding dress to her own wedding. Faith feels like her life is crumbling apart and she has fallen away from her destiny. See, as a kid she always knew that the guy she would need to marry was Damon Bradley because that guy was going to be her dream partner according to an occult board game and a fortune teller. That’s not how the dice worked out though but then she gets a call from Damon Bradley. He says that he is a friend of her fiancee’s and then hangs up. Faith was able to get some info out of him though and knows that Venice is where she needs to be.

Faith packs some stuff and quickly heads to Venice along with her sister-in law Kate. They now have to search the whole country for him. Getting in their way is a guy named Peter who suckers Faith into having a one night stand with him by pretending to be Damon but then decides to atone by helping her find him. The problem is that along the way he keeps tricking her over and over again. Will Faith give up on her whole Destiny angle or will she just keep on finding various Damons to get past the friend zone with until it’s the right one? It’s going to definitely be a long day for her.

This film has quite a lot of issues so it’s always hard to know where to start. I suppose I would start off with the fact that Faith is just not a very likable character. From the start she is not portrayed all that well as she is instantly ready to throw her fiance away when she hears the name Damon. It’s fine if she didn’t really like him to call things off, but why wait til the last second? She doesn’t even tell him where she is going, she just vanishes. I mean, the guy never even notices which is pretty insane but that’s just the way it is. Now, if she still had some morals about it that would be one thing, but she acts incredibly desperate each time.

She is basically throwing herself at anyone who claims to be Damon Bradley and really seems to have no shame. The whole affair with Peter really tells you all you need to know about her. She was about to call off the wedding after just meeting him until Peter made a rookie mistake and left his identity out. Faith never gets better from here and you’d think after such a humiliating scene she wouldn’t fall for these tricks again…but she still does.

Meanwhile this doesn’t let Peter off the hook either. He lies to Faith a whole lot. It’s supposed to be endearing or even funny based on how the film presents it, but it’s pretty tragic if you think about it. He was really just taking advantage of Faith and you can’t feel bad for him when he gets emotional because the whole thing really is his fault. Just because Faith is super easy doesn’t mean it’s right to still be tricking her the whole time.

Then we have Kate who is another poor character. She is actually married already and decides to have an affair with a random guy anyway. She keeps telling herself that he knows she is married and won’t try anything but they both keep giving each other hints so of course an affair was going to happen. The film paints her husband Larry as a guy who’s not exactly the most charming and does call her telling her to go make a sandwich. It’s obvious that he’s not supposed to be a very likable character either but Kate is the one who comes across as more petty. She thinks he is cheating on her with no evidence and naturally it turns out to not be true. While Larry was not the nicest guy, at least he wasn’t cheating on her.

These various plotlines just really don’t work wonders for the film. By the end of it the general morale is that none of these relationships are likely to last for very long. Kate’s not trust worthy and the same is true for both Faith and Peter. Faith won’t forget that Peter lies to her face quite a bit and he won’t forget that she came close to having 3 different affairs in the span of a week. The odds of them managing to pull through this in one piece are pretty slim.

At least the backdrops are pretty fun. It’s always nice to see Venice. I wouldn’t want to live there because that’s just way too much water for me, but the scenery is good. The film also does have some fun moments like the contrast it shows between New York and Italy. In New York there was no way they were going to let the main heroine on the plane without a ticket but in Italy since they were helping her get the guy they stop the plane and let her on. It’s a pretty stark contrast and it was naturally a blast to see New York looking so good. We definitely don’t let people randomly get on trains. The film also has some good meme material with how everyone is constantly clapping at the heroes making up with each other. You don’t see the reactions you’d expect like people being upset that their flight is being held. It’s all wholesome to these guys.

Overall, Only You is a film that’s definitely not very realistic. The writing could use some work and the characters just are not likable. You can definitely have some fun with this film as it goes on but the whole thing just doesn’t make a lot of sense most of the time. I’m still surprised that Faith’s fiance never got to appear at the end. Kate should also remember that Faith was very quick to ignore her current plight. Kate was literally in tears asking Faith for help and our nice heroine brushed her off to take a phone call and starting celebrating when it was Damon. Keep in mind that Kate is still in a mess on the floor next to her. The film definitely makes sure that you are unsure if we are supposed to root for the main character or not and that is an original approach. You can do better with a different rom-com.

Overall 4/10