A League of Their Own Review


It’s time to look at a sports film based on true events. It’s essentially a real event but replacing the characters with film versions so it’s fictionalized enough where I can write a review for it. It’s a pretty fun film even if one of the characters really is a little too exaggerated. It’s probably not the first sports flick I would recommend to someone, but it gets the job done and I can finally add another Baseball film to my collection.

The film starts off with Dottie as a senior citizen remembering the good ole days. The rest of the film is the flashback. World War II is at hand so everyone is being drafted into the army. Many jobs are now empty and so the women are picking up the slack. There are many documentaries about this period in time where the world saw for the first time that men weren’t the only ones capable of handling all these jobs. One such occupation was Baseball! The committee has decided that the game must go on so scouts are sent across the country looking for fine candidates. They come across the two main characters, Dottie and Kit. Dottie isn’t interested in joining, but Kit is desperate for a chance to show her mettle and the scout won’t take her without the lead. Dottie ends up going, but will her skills be enough to help her team win the World Series?

Dottie is definitely a pretty solid main character. She’s a natural leader and quickly takes command of the team when their coach isn’t quite up to task. She is also a very good baseball player and appears to be the best in the league. Catching the baseball during the initial tryouts was a good way to protect her friends from the bullies as well. Things nearly got dicey there so it was good that she could back up her tough talk. I do think Dottie starts to falter towards the second half of the film. She’s very quick to leave the team near the climax. There is never any indication that her husband would have been opposed to her playing the last games. It seemed like she was making an issue out of nothing.

The ending of the film is also pretty unsatisfying and ends up not working out very well for Dottie. The film leaves it up to your interpretation on if she held back or not. I like to think that she didn’t hold back because it would not have been the ending that either character in the situation would have wanted. Furthermore it feels like a betrayal to the rest of the team. Honestly if I were the rest of the team I’d be pretty upset by this point. Dottie wasn’t around fro the first 6 games so maybe she shouldn’t have even been put in for the final one. It just wasn’t the ending I was hoping for.

Meanwhile Kit is the other big character, but she can get a bit annoying. She has a bad habit of blaming Dottie for everything. Dottie is supportive throughout the film, but when things go badly for Kit she turns on the lead. Kit’s a pretty good pitcher and Dottie gave her the opportunity to play in the league. That being said, if she can’t hold on to enough stamina to finish the game then that’s on her. Dottie has nothing to do with that. Then that led to the trade disagreement which either way worked out pretty well for Kit. Ultimately, Kit just didn’t have much of a character arc and so I felt like she got a little too rewarded for not really doing much of anything. It’s not that Kit is a bad character, she would likely grow out of the blame game. The problem is that Dottie is the one who really deserved the win here. If not her, then certainly her teammates.

The supporting cast in the group isn’t bad. It’ll likely be very hard for you to memorize all of the names though as there are quite a few supporting characters. The former dancer had the most personality I’d say. She definitely didn’t want to go back to her old life and so she supported the baseball league as much as she could. She may have had the strongest drive of them all. While the girls started off as just fellow players on the same team by the end they’re all a close knit team. One of the players was even taught how to read by the others. That’s true camaraderie.

Then we have the coach. Jimmy does not want to be here. He used to be a big player in his own right before he injured his knee and was forced into early retirement. As a result he seems rather resentful for a large chunk of the movie. It takes a while for him to finally get invested. (Although in the scene where he tries to steal control of the team from Dottie the player did a poor job. She absolutely should have stuck by Dottie) Once he is with the team he’s a better character. It’s a character arc that you see a mile away, the problem is that the film overplayed its hand during the first half. Jimmy just doesn’t show any class. He spits on people, discourages everyone, and just seems kind of gross. The scenes with him and the caretaker of the team are really bad as well. It’s an example at the film’s attempt at comedy which ends up failing quite miserably. It’s also really hard for him to climb back from ripping one of the girl’s cards in half. That card was really important to her and it’s not like he ever apologized on screen either. I think he was too far gone by the end.

This movie excels when the baseball games are being played. However, the parts away from the game are a bit weaker. For example, the scene of the characters heading to a bar to mess around was pretty forced. I don’t think the scene was needed and it definitely dragged on. It was a bit cringy and while some of the romances there may have stuck around, it all could have occurred under better circumstances. The writing isn’t great, but it is good enough for the majority of the film. It was cool seeing the guy from Independence Day show up for a quick cameo near the end. That was neat even if the character himself seemed rather annoying.

While accurate, the film also makes the baseball committee look really bad. They only care about the money and are ready to ditch the whole league at a moments notice. They force the main characters to wear costumes that certainly aren’t very practical to try and appeal to the audience. The gimmicks they have to do to boost ratings is pretty sad. I think we could have done without all of that. As the audience you know that the crowd in the film is pretty depraved. We don’t need to acknowledge it any further than that.

Overall, A League of Their Own is a good film. The ending, that one bar scene, and Jimmy hold it back a little but at the end of the day I’ll give it a thumbs up. I think the film could have probably been further improved if the length was chopped down a bit, but it did avoid giving up the big play so to speak. It may have had some weak moments but it didn’t have any downright bad ones where I thought, “this film just fell under” If you enjoy Baseball films and want to see a nice version of how this team got going then this is a good one to check out. See what you think of the ending.

Overall 5/10

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The Ghost of Frankenstein Review


It’s time to look at another Frankenstein film. This one brings back the classic monster for another round. It’s a pretty uninspired sequel that doesn’t have much going for it, but I suppose it wasn’t quite as terrible as some of the other Frankenstein films. It would have probably worked a lot better if there was actually a ghost rather than Frankenstein;s monster just showing up like normal once again. After all, it’s just like any other Return of Frankenstein type film in this scenario.

The film starts with the villagers still living in fear after the reign of Frankestein. They tell the mayor that he needs to let them burn down the old house so they can be rid of his curse once and for all. He gives them permission but the explosions and fire help wake the monster from his slumber. Ygor manages to help him escape and decides that it is finally time for revenge. To this end he locates a scientist by the name of Ludwig and blackmails him into co-operating. Are the villagers about to go through another dark age? (Well, Frankenstein’s monster isn’t quite that tough so this may be a little overly dramatic.

It’s a little hard to know who to root for here since all of the characters are a bit iffy. While at first Ludwig seems a little reasonable, his mad scientist nature starts to overpower him by the end as he makes some dicey decisions. Even considering dissecting the monster shows that he is not on the heroic side here. His assistant is no better and may be even more corrupt. Then you have Ygor who wants the monster’s power for himself so he can destroy the townsfolk. Even Frankenstein the creator shows up as a ghost to suggest brain transplants. Basically, the monster is just a means to an end for most of these characters. They barely care what happens to him, they just want to achieve their own goals.

That could have ended up being an interesting plot point. Maybe try to get us to sympathize with the monster more than the townspeople that he was supposedly terrorizing. After all, they seemed to be the actual corrupt ones most of the time. In almost every situation in the movie they were in the wrong. Take the early scene where some kids are picking on a little girl. The monster steps in to break it up and also gets her a balloon. The problem is that the townspeople were afraid of him and so they try to stop him. One even comes close to shooting the monster while he was holding the girl. Even if he didn’t hit her directly, the fall would have certainly finished her off. The other people tried to wrestle him to the ground and again…this wouldn’t bode well for the kid. They’re on top of a roof after all.

Naturally the monster doesn’t handle this well and destroys the humans but they put him into a lot of bad spots. Then even once they promised not to hurt him they beat him up as soon as the girl was away. It’s just a very rough film for the monster. Then he ends up effectively being mind controlled by the end. The film gave him a pretty bad hand and it’s just hard to figure out how much of that was intentional. I think it’s fair to say that we aren’t supposed to like Ludwig and the other scientists. The whole town though? It gets tricky.

Ygor also makes for a pretty annoying main villain. He stands out so much, how do the people not realize that he is one of the villains on the outside encouraging the monster the whole time? He has the blackmail on Ludwig, but I feel like the scientist should have been able to turn the tables on him very quickly. Why should anyone believe such a crazed man? That would have been Ludwig’s defense and I think it would have worked.

There’s a lot of story here and yet there isn’t a whole lot of compelling elements. What we do get is pretty by the books without anything to really help it into the next level. There are just no characters to root for and that’s the problem. Even if Frankenstein’s monster isn’t evil like the others, he isn’t particularly interesting either. As a result you end up being by the sidelines as opposed to actually choosing a side.

Overall, I’d give this film a pass. In general I tend to say that for all of the Frankenstein movies. They all suffer from the same issues. Frankenstein’s monster doesn’t have enough going for him to make for a good villain and doesn’t have enough character to be a good hero. The supporting cast are typically pretty annoying and the whole thing ends up being unfair for the monster. It’s not like he can even defend himself in most versions vocally since he can’t speak. As a result, every character can lie or gang up against him and he never even has a chance to prove his innocence. That’s the worst part of this whole arrangement. What helps this film a bit is that it isn’t quite as violent as the early Frankenstein titles. There isn’t really any action until after the court scene and by then you’re around halfway through the film. That actually works in its favor and the first half of the film does beat the second. Still, it ends up falling through the usual Frankenstein plots.

Overall 3/10

Gremlins Review


It’s time to look at a fairly old film which has become really well known. You’ll likely have heard of the Gremlins even if you haven’t seen the film before. Going into it you may think that this is going to be a pretty intense horror film, but it actually blends together some comedic aspects along with being part parody. It manages the blend fairly well which automatically makes it better than most horror films. It’s so convincing at being a horror movie that it’ll probably take you a while to really establish any kind of opinion on it, but by the end you’ll have to give it some thought. I doubt we’ll see another film blend two genres like this so smoothly again in the near future.

The film starts off with the best character, Randall trying to sell his crazy inventions to more people. The main problem he is having is that aside from none of his inventions working, the buyers just don’t seem interested. That’s when he finds a rare animal that is being kept in a shady shop in China Town. He buys it and brings the creature home. There are only 3 rules that must be kept with the creature. He must not make contact with water, he must not be fed after midnight, and he must not be exposed to bright lights or the sun as that can cause the monster to die. He gives Billy this bundle of responsibility, but can the kid handle it?

As I mentioned, Randall steals the show. He’s a perfect example of a comic relief character who is actually handled well. His humor scenes work quite well and he’s just a nice guy. Randall means well even if his actions don’t always lead to the positive outcomes that he was hoping for. Stuff happens right? He’s part of why the film was able to establish such a good balance. He keeps it from getting too dark or serious. The only downside is that in comparison the main characters just aren’t very good. Before that, we have the other parent who also looks great. Lynn ends up having to defend her house from multiple gremlins and she does a good job of it. She blends one, smashes another, and is basically taking names the whole time. This is where the parody elements really help the film. Typically you’d expect her to just be screaming and running away rather than fighting back. Here, Lynn isn’t playing around. She’s defending her house and doing a great job of it. She’s another scene stealer.

Then we have the actual lead, Billy. Billy can barely hold his own against one Gremlin so right away you know that he is pretty much doomed. He doesn’t do a good job of looking after Gizmo either. He constantly lets things happen to him. How can you mess up not letting Gizmo getting wet or keeping him near bright lights? Billy makes every mistake possible. Part of it can be blamed on his friend Pete who is super annoying the whole time, but you gotta be more responsible when you own mythical creatures like this.

Meanwhile you have Gizmo who is the most heroic of the gremlins, but naturally he is the weakest as well. It’s always an unfortunate trope as you’d like the heroic one to be able to defend himself right? Well, that just wasn’t the case this time. He’s not a bad character but I do admit that he would have been better if he had gotten to fight a little more. Mostly all he does he sit around and watch everyone else. Then we have the heroine, Kate who may not be quite as skilled as Lynn or Randall, but she does all right for herself. Choosing to serve the gremlins was definitely a smart move to extend her life. I didn’t get her whole blowing up at Christmas scene. I’m assuming it has to do with some kind of sob story so I’m glad the film didn’t really elaborate on it.

On that note, the romance with her and Billy was very weak. It doesn’t really have anything to do with anything and just felt rather tacked on. I think the film didn’t need it. What also hurts the film a bit is how the Gremlins go after the dog and Billy doesn’t do anything about it. It’s obvious who the culprit is as the film goes on but he doesn’t put the pieces together. I mean, the old lady is a slight suspect, but how could she pull this off without making a sound? Honestly, it should have been impossible for the Gremlins as well. It’s a pretty bad scene all in all, but at least the dog lived and made it through this film which helps a lot. That saved the film from getting a horrible score.

While the writing is fairly reasonable for the most part, I do think the film dropped the ball with the conspiracy guy. These kind of films love to have one guy who believes in aliens or monsters and is constantly acting crazy. You’d expect him to be prepared when the enemies finally show up since he called it from the start right? Instead he ends up panicking and dies in one of the worst ways possible. It’s a “funny” scene that ends up falling flat. They didn’t need to do him like that. The character could have contributed a lot. The soundtrack is definitely really good though. We get a lot of classic Christmas songs which is always what you want to listen to here. The classics have aged well and giving this film a Christmas backdrop is nice. It helps to make the film more memorable and gives it a nice backdrop.

Overall, Gremlins is an interesting film. It’s certainly not the kind of film you might expect going in. It’s just a very unique blend of horror and comedy. It works reasonably well but there are still enough weak points to probably keep you from coming back to this one. If you really want to see what this blend is like then it’s not a bad film to check out. Otherwise I’d suggest you watch something with a bit more flair and hype like RWBY. That one can pull off any genre and perfect it.

Overall 5/10

Family For Christmas Review


It’s time for another Hallmark film! This one misses the mark a little more than previous films and I would say that it’s the weakest entry. Mainly this is because I disagreed with the film’s moral and Santa ends up looking like a bad guy here. It definitely gets a little dicey at times, but at the end of the day the film still handles itself pretty well otherwise.

Picture this, you are Hannah a world famous reporter. You’re making a 6 digit salary and have just aced another story. You are so impressive that the higher ups have decided to give you a promotion along with a new job in New York. Everything is going perfectly, but then you get a Facebook invite from an old flame. Your boss wisely tells you to ignore this request. Block the guy before he tries to steal your money. You heed the advice to the extent that you don’t approve the message and run to your office. Unfortunately Santa breaks in and throws you into an alternate reality. In this reality you married the guy from your past named Ben and have 2 kids. You don’t have a job anymore and are just barely scraping by on paycheck to paycheck. Santa also refuses to let you go home until you’ve learned to enjoy this new life so it could be a while.

You just can’t help but feel bad for Hannah the whole time. She’s clearly worked hard to make it where she is right now so for Santa to just take it all away is pretty extreme. Especially since he’s claiming that it’s her fault that this happened when he very clearly changed things up himself. She should certainly be upset and with good reason. The problem is that the film plays it out that this alternate reality is the better one. The film basically says that she should have turned down the career opportunity at the beginning so she could let Ben support her instead and become a stay at home Mom. It’s a very dicey alternate reality. If you ask just about anyone I’m sure they would agree that Hannah made the right choice. Now, why didn’t Ben go with her? If he was serious then he should have gone, but we learn in the alternate reality that he really loves his old home so he wouldn’t want to move. In that case they both made their respective choices and Hannah simply won out in the end.

The alternate reality is also pretty annoying as we find out that Hannah didn’t even stay true to herself. We have a small scene where some Moms are complaining about the soccer coach having the players try out and it’s implied that the Hannah of this world would have agreed with them. While she is still a real go getter here, she has lost any kind of competitive edge and is content to just stay at home and wait for Ben. There’s nothing wrong with that lifestyle, but to say that it is better than being the rich CEO with connections that Hannah was is a big stretch to say the least. What makes it worse is that Hannah was perfectly happy in her position. It’s not as if she was depressed or something like that, Hannah was absolutely balling.

So, Hannah is a pretty good lead. You just have to ignore the ending to an extent as it gets pretty cheesy since Hannah is bullied into making the wrong calls. Unfortunately, Ben is not a particularly likable character. I think we can blame a good chunk of this on the fact that the film makes it impossible to like him. He is at least indirectly responsible for what has happened to Hanna and since he isn’t understanding of her plight at all then it’s hard to sympathize with him. The guy’s just not very reasonable.

The best character in the film is actually Hannah’s boss. The guy’s very pragmatic and keeps things real. Unlike 99% of main guys who would have panicked when Hannah announced that she was leaving, he didn’t care. He wished her well and stayed professional throughout the ceremony. Now that’s a true boss/friend. Sure, he may have given up on the romance real quick as well, but if it meant staying professional then he would do it. The guy’s a quick talker and always has an angle. You can see why he rose to the top so quickly. The guy was born to be the big boss.

So, the whole premise/plot is a bit out of whack which is unfortunate. Still, the writing is good beyond that I suppose. The basic concept of trying to live out someone else’s life is always interesting. It’s the basic principle of why Your Name did so well in theaters. It’s a nice concept even if it’s one that has been done many times before. I don’t think this film did it as well as others, but at least it’s interesting. I do think Hannah could have been quicker on the uptake though. She slips up so many times that it starts to stretch your disbelief a bit. The worst part of this would be having to live out the romance which is why I guess it’s lucky for Hannah that she used to like the guy. Still makes for a terrible romance though so I have to give the film a thumbs down there. Body switching romance type plots just don’t work. You’re effectively making the guy cheat on his version of the character even if they are the same individual.

Overall, Family for Christmas is the first Hallmark title where I can’t give it the full 7. I have to at least dock one point for this plot just not being particularly good. Wrecking Hannah’s perfect life and forcing her to live this one for a few days is just way too brutal. The film would have been way better if we had stayed in the real world. Also, this Santa should have faced some kind of repercussions for what he did. Furthermore, the 2 kids in that version also weren’t particularly likable. They lost their patience with Hannah real quick and weren’t very supportive. I think Hannah should have just came out and told them that she wasn’t their real mother but in a less misleading way. Since they’re kids maybe they would buy into the Santa miracle. If not? Well, no harm done with trying. Hannah should have also doubled down with Ben a little more. Regardless, it is what it is. If you can get around the premise then this is still a good Christmas film to check out, but otherwise all of the others are certainly superior.

Overall 6/10

Aquaman Review


It’s time to look at DC’s latest superhero movie in their cinematic universe. The universe got off to a rough start with its first few titles not quite hitting it out of the park like you would expect. Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, and Justice League were all superb films. It wasn’t the quality that was lacking, but for some reason people just weren’t giving it great reviews. They simply weren’t ready for it. Whether this is due to smear campaigning by Marvel and its fans, fans just preferring more of a comedy/action blend for their CBMs, or something else, it is what it is. DC was forced to undergo a change so for Wonder Woman and Suicide Squad they went with Marvel’s approach and made the films more of a action/comedy hybrid. Gone were the darker, more thought provoking CBMs and we were more in line with the norm. In Wonder Woman’s case it succeeded and based on the films coming up it seems like DC will be sticking with this approach. Well, there’s nothing wrong with it. If it works for Marvel it can work for DC. Still, I think I will miss those original 3 films. (With Justice League’s original cut never quite being seen but what we got still had fair amount of its original identity I suppose) Aquaman is a solid film and if the rest are as good then DC will be in good hands.

The film starts off with a nice action scene as Aquaman’s mother Atlanna fights off a bunch of guards. I always think that a good way to spice up the origin story is by having the parents actually be secretly good fighters. In this case Atlanna is the one who does the fighting and she is quite good at it. It’s a nice way to start the movie and then she leaves to go back to Atlantis to die for her crimes of having a kid with a mere surface dweller. We then cut to the present where Aquaman has embraced his gifts as a defender of Earth. He grabs some drinks and saves people who are nearby. You could say that he is a local hero. That all changes when Mera shows up. She is the princess of Atlantis and explains to a reluctant Aquaman that the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Atlantis is on the brink of war with Earth and if that happens then there will be big consequences. Most likely Earth would win since Superman could vaporize everyone, but that would be a last resort like the Snap and so by then everyone would have died. Aquaman must claim his birthright as King to put a stop to this. Can Aquaman really do this? He’ll have to put the bottle down and become something he’s always feared becoming. Something even greater than a king…a Super Hero!

It is said that films rise and fall on their supporting casts. It can be relatively easy to make a good main character (Not to trivialize this. Good writing is key to any character) but creating good supporting characters is a lot tougher. Particularly in a one shot film or the first in a series since they won’t get as much screen time as the lead and must be developed so that they are not simply walking tropes of characters with little personality. Fortunately, Aquaman does well in this area, especially as I am still not sold on Aquaman himself.

I will acknowledge that Aquaman is far improved from his portrayal in Justice League. There he was just very annoying and you almost wished that he wasn’t in it. Here we at least see why he became such a loud persona…even if that doesn’t make him much more tolerable. Here’s the problem with Aquaman, and he points this out himself. He’s good at beating people up and heading home. When that doesn’t work he is out of options and as he learns in this film, it usually isn’t enough. He loses in almost every fight that he gets into in Aquaman as the moral of the film is to fight creatively and to use his other gifts. It’s not Aquaman’s fault that he’s losing, but he takes the “not very smart” character a little far. He doesn’t seem as earnest or interesting as other leads. I won’t go as far as to call him a bad lead, but there’s nothing that makes him stand out. In a world of dynamic characters like Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne, Steve Rogers, and Clark Kent, there really isn’t any way for Aquaman to stand out. This is actually one of the few problems Justice League 2 may face. The trinity are rock solid, but the other members have a long way to go before they are all that good.

Backing up into the supporting lineup is where the true fighters are. Mere’s water manipulation abilities have always been very potent and the film illustrates why that is. She can shoot water with enough concussive blast to knock out an Atlantean. She can conjure up water from just about anywhere. If she is fighting someone underwater then there is no way she can lose. Mera could have easily beaten all of the enemies in the film, but the only reason she did not is because of the tribal traditions of the clan it wouldn’t have defused the war. As a result she needed Aquaman to help out. Still, Mera’s skills are never in doubt and she has to save him quite a few times. I’m already hoping that she will show up in Justice League 2 as she could hold her own against some of the villains.

Yes, this does force me to quickly sidetrack into one of the film’s weaknesses..the romance. The romance with Aquaman and Mera really feels undeserved and just falls flat. It all happens fairly quick with no real reason for them to pair up. It’s just there to check the box but cut the romance out and I don’t think anything would actually change. There just isn’t much to it. It could have been a lot worse so I’ll give the film credit for showing some restraint. Still, it should not have even been a factor.

Back to supporting characters. Vulko made for a pretty good mentor. While he isn’t the strongest fighter out there, he’s a good tactician and manages to keep the peace for as long as possible. He’s fortunate that Orm isn’t completely evil like other villains or he could have really been doomed. Meanwhile, Orm makes for a good villain. Villains don’t always need to have some tragic backstory or extra development to be good. Sometimes, they can simply be total villains with no reason for it and that works out well. Finally, you have the villains who believe they are fighting for a noble cause or that the ends justify the means. In Orm’s case, he makes a compelling argument for why war is needed. The humans have been polluting the oceans for a long time and show no signs of slowing down. If they don’t do anything then the war will be lost before it ever begins.

Of course, the Atlanteans could have at least tried to negotiate first. After all, as they point out several times the humans don’t even know they exist. Alerting them to this presence would at least open up a channel of dialogue. Then if the humans attack (and they will) the Atlanteans can counter and they will be within their rights. Still, as a backup option at least Orm is right that attacking now and sending a message will protect them from destruction. It’s not a heroic goal and Orm knows it, but protecting his people is his top concern. The film never shows him to be crazy, deluded, or ineffective. He’s on the wrong side, but otherwise he is a capable leader and that’s a good thing.

Then we have Nereus who is quick to join Orm’s cabal. It turns out that he is also looking for war and that’s reasonable. I do think he is quick to falter towards the end, but I suppose traditions are important. He’s not as cool as the other two big villains in the film, but he’s not bad. Then we have Black Manta who is the best of the villains. I’m all for a good villain revenge story. Most of the time it isn’t justified and can be a bit of a stretch in logic on the villain’s part, but regardless it makes for good motivation. Especially if the villain plays the long game and takes a long time to train and get stronger before seeking revenge. At that point, nothing will stop him/her from succeeding.

Sasuke Uchiha, Neo (RWBY), Broly, and many more. Villains whose whole ambitions have been turned to revenge over things done to them or their loved ones make for superb villains. It’s not a “Every villain who falls into this category is awesome) kind of thing, but if written well it’s hard to stop. A good way to sabotage this motive is to have the villain take it out on a target who isn’t a part of their revenge. If it’s someone getting in their way then that’s one thing. However, trying to attack the hero’s friends to get a reaction out of them is murky as it can make the villain a little hypocritical and can destroy whatever message they were trying to send. If they’ve got a problem with someone then that’s where it should stay. Manta blames Aquaman for murdering his father and is certainly right that it was murder. (He never goes after anyone else during this revenge tour which is important) Letting someone die when you can save them is only different from actively murdering the person in terms of scope. The latter is certainly putting you in as a bad guy while the former could be explained by a moment of cowardice or aggression. Naturally, those aren’t excusable, but I will concede that the latter is still worse just as a full lie is worse than a white lie. It’s all semantics though and at the end of the day I can see why Manta would want Aquaman dead. He does a good job gearing up for the second round and whenever he is on screen it’s a blast to watch. I look forward to seeing him in the sequel.

Atlanna is also a scene stealer whenever she shows up. Her role was handled extremely well and she gets the credit she deserves. While she may technically be lacking in raw power compared to Mera or Aquaman, she certainly makes up for this in talent and experience. You don’t get the idea that mother time has caught up to her. She’s older now, but still a fighter. Then we’ve also got the giant monster near the end who is quite solid. Honestly if the monster had died at the end I would have been pretty upset. Aquaman basically has him take a lot of extra hits which seemed to be causing a bit of effect towards the end. This monster seems pretty OP so it’ll be interesting to see how he is handled in future appearances.

I think that’s pretty much all of the big characters. It’s a nice roster as I mentioned earlier. As for the soundtrack, it’s less memorable than some of the other DC films but it wasn’t bad. I just seriously cannot think of any themes off the top of my head. As long as they weren’t bad then that’s the important thing I suppose. As for the writing, it’s decent to good. The characters are written well of course while the romance is lacking a bit. I do think that most of the jokes didn’t land though. At times the film tries a little hard to be funny, but doesn’t yet have the rapid fire dialogue that adds to the humor in some of the Marvel titles. It is naturally a tricky balance with the humor of course since there are no many different kinds. Unless it’s a dirty joke I wouldn’t dock the film any points for it. So, while the humor wasn’t the most effective, it doesn’t hurt my enjoyment of the film one way or the other here.

Naturally there is an after credits scene here. It’s very low key but not a bad scene. I think the problem is that with how great some of the previous after credits scenes have been over the years it’s hard to go back to simpler days. Still, this will always beat the alternative of not having such a scene and I do think the sequel should be pretty fun. Aquaman is also the kind of character who is pretty tough, but could certainly be beaten is taken by surprised or overwhelmed before getting to the water so this villain could be a legitimate threat. I was hoping for a Justice League stinger, but I think DC isn’t totally sure what to do with those characters as of yet so I don’t expect we will see Superman or Batman for a while. I’m hoping that at least Wonder Woman can still pop up from time to time to keep the group united and ready to fight though.

Overall, Aquaman is a solid film. It’s got a good amount of action and works out well as an origin film. Since Aquaman already showed up in Justice League at least the origin was relatively quick. The scenes that we did get weren’t too long which is always good. The pacing is on point and the supporting cast is solid. I won’t say that the film is amazing, but it’s a fun watch and has a good amount of replay value so you could certainly see it again. I think that is almost as important as being a good movie since a true “good” movie should be one that you can see more than once. If you haven’t checked this film out yet then I would recommend changing that.

Overall 7/10

A Wish For Christmas Review


The Hallmark Channel has returned for another adventure. By this point you’ll likely know whether you enjoy the films or not. Hallmark is very well known for its formula in these Christmas films and stays true to it through thick or thin. I guess you could say that the big change here is that for once there is no “other” guy. There’s only the heroine and the guy who will inevitably fall for her. By removing the rebound angle it makes the film a lot more heartfelt.

This film starts off by showing us how much Sara loves Christmas. It’s something she looks forward to every year and she makes sure to take the day off to be with family. However, she is unable to enjoy the office party because her boss steals the idea she came up with and gets the credit for it in front of everyone. Sara prepares to leave the party but then Santa shows up and grants her wish to be brave. However, his powers are waning in his old years so he can only give her this ability for 48 hours. After which she will become the meek pushover that she always was. Sara intends to make the most of it and exposes her boss. After he is fired, the true head of the company, Peter, decides to take her with him to close out a deal with his biggest customer of all time. The whole company is riding on this. Sara agrees to go, but on the condition that she makes it home in time for Christmas.

Adding that supernatural twist here helps give the film a fresh edge. It works a little like a truth serum as Sara is unable to stop herself from being very outgoing and direct. If she has a thought in her head then she has to say it and even if it could lead to bad situations. As a result it’s not a purely positive thing, but for the most part it always tends to work out. It is important to be able to stand up for yourself so the film’s got a good moral to it. The boss taking the credit for your idea is something that is to be expected to a certain extent, but it has to be within reason. When you’re supplying ideas to your boss to help the company naturally he will take the lion’s share of the credit, but you need to at least get a honorable mention. Since Sara got none of that it was good that she took the boss down a peg. I do think that changing the whole presentation without letting the boss know in the email was a little dicey if he needed it that day though.

Sara makes for a good protagonist. I do think she could have managed a better equilibrium between being nice and sincere. Bringing drinks for everyone at work every day is a nice gesture even if it is something that I would never do because of the cost and the lack of convenience. That being said, if you secretly resent doing so or are only doing it to curry favor with the higher ups then naturally that is not a good thing to do. Sara’s friend seemed really nice even if she could be a bit cheap art times. With Sara’s new position hopefully she doesn’t go on a power trip and remember who had her back all this time.

Then we have Peter who I can’t say is a particularly good character. He seems all well and good for most of the film but when Sara is unable to close the deal with the main antagonist of the film we see his true colors. The guy leaves Sara feeling awful and just lets her get on the plane herself while he hashes things out with his father. That’s a big part of the film and it makes sense that he would do that, but why make Sara worry so much? From how it seems at the end he would have let Sara just up and leave without getting the letter she gave him. The guy switches sides way too fast and didn’t seem genuine to me. He definitely gets a thumbs down from me.

The supporting cast was pretty solid though. As mentioned, Sara’s friend was pretty good. I also thought Peter’s family was pretty solid too. The Mom and Aunt baking cookies was definitely fun and their setup was good. Every topping was there including the fruit candies although I can’t imagine putting that on a chocolate chip cookie. The father naturally had a bit of a rocky start but things were awkward with him and Peter both not wanting to be the first to approach but thanks to Sara he is able to get over it.

As always the writing is pretty solid here, but the romance ends up being a bit on the weak side. Peter just doesn’t seem like a team player at all and as mentioned he was very quick to ditch Sara. When they come together it’s hard to buy into it and you can’t help but feel like Sara shouldn’t want to be with him either. The romance doesn’t play a huge role in the film at least. If anything it comes almost out of nowhere at the end.

Overall, A Wish For Christmas is another solid title. It’s a solid film in all areas. It goes by very quickly and is just a pleasant experience. I’m not sure about the Christmas remix song at the beginning of the film though. This rendition was a little too slow I think and lost the energy that the original had. The soundtrack is still pretty good overall though. A little Christmas music is always a good idea to liven things up a bit. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d recommend checking it out. It’s also a good time to start thinking of what your Christmas wish/New Year’s resolution will be.

Overall 7/10

Mad Love Review


It’s time to look at an old horror film with Peter Lorre. You may wonder what this is doing here when I’ve mainly been reviewing Christmas films lately right? Well, basically I saw this film a while back for Halloween and then just never got around to reviewing it. The film’s pretty bad, but it’s also just rather boring so I kept putting it off. Well, this is currently the last review on the backlog so I can hardly afford to keep putting it off now right? Brace yourself!

So the film starts with the ever famous Yvonne finishing another performance. An obsessed fan by the name of Gogol shows up to let her know that he has been watching all of her shows. Yvonne quickly flees the country to reunite with Stephen, but the latter was in a train accident after being in the same car as a legendary knife throwing crook. Stephen can no longer play the piano as he once did. Yvonne feels bad for him so she goes to Gogol who is the utmost authority on this. He is able to stitch together the murderer’s hands on Stephen but pretends that he just sewed them back on. Stephen is as hard of sight as he is lacking in common sense so he doesn’t notice that his hands are different. Things start to get dicey for him though as the hands appear to have a life of their own. Meanwhile Gogol uses the distraction to try to get to Yvonne.

Gogol’s only goal in this whole film is to get together with Yvonne. This does not make for a very compelling villain motivation. In fact, it isn’t interesting at all. He’s just a terrible villain and all of his scenes drag down the film. Yvonne also should have taken his advances more seriously and alerted the cops or Stephen. Gogol gets away with a whole lot as he stalks her during the film and even crashes her party to take advantage of some crazy games they were all playing. Stephen is around but too busy wallowing in self pity to be of any help. In his defense Yvonne should have mentioned something, but I won’t cut him too much slack because he’s just not a good character. He’s too quick to freak out and should try to master his hands rather than let them control him.

In a way it almost makes you think Gogol was right to not tell him where the hands came from since Stephen would not have taken it well at all. At least the knife throwing does come in handy by the end of the film though. By that point the film is just about over so he cut it awful close. Meanwhile you just have to question how Gogol got his license to practice when he is so clearly insane. The guy isn’t even subtle and you have to feel bad for his patients. He gets distracted quite easily after all. Adding to the creep factor is the fact that he also bought a life sized statue of Yvonne to put in his room. His care taker even has to do her hair and everything.

Ah yes, that brings me to the care taker and the local police guy. Both of these characters are very slow on the uptake and don’t contribute a whole lot. The care taker does a lot of grumbling and snitches on Gogol a lot, but doesn’t do it in a very safe way. She puts her head on the line so many times. Then we have the police guy who isn’t all that interested in doing much. His “sleuthing” if you can call it that basically revolves around chatting with the Gogol’s maid. When it comes time to check the room out he takes so long that the villain gets to return. I usually like the police/detective characters but this guy just wasn’t effective at all. Take him out of the movie and I don’t think a whole lot would change. It would effectively still be the same film and that’s an issue.

At least we can take solace in the fact that this film’s plot would be a little harder to do nowadays. Since Yvonne is a famous singer/performer I expect she would at least have some bodyguards so they would notice a stalker. Even if she does not, security should be a bit tighter at the events and someone should realize that this guy is always around. His only defense is that he’s a world class doctor and that wouldn’t hold much water next to a celebrity. Yeah, I’m sure this plot is still being done regardless, but it’ll be so contrived that maybe the film wouldn’t take itself seriously and it would still be better than this one…maybe. Also, Peter Lorre wouldn’t be in it and he’s probably one of the worst actors I’ve seen so that’s already a plus.

Overall, Mad Love isn’t a good film. The title is pretty much a tip off to that. Films about villains who eagerly want the main heroine to appreciate them are often doomed to fail. This one sided romance breaks the villain instantly. You just can’t take him/her seriously after that. Then you also get mad at the main character(s) for not calling in backup right away. They wait until it is too dangerous or too late to call for help before thinking of it. The film’s fairly short, but even so I would recommend giving this one a pass. There just isn’t much to be salvaged or learned from this film. If you want a good thriller, watch something with a little more pop like the Yugioh films. This movie is best left forgotten.

Overall 3/10

Pride And Prejudice And Mistletoe Review


Hallmark returns once more and this film is actually super new. I can’t say that you really notice the difference from the time since these films aren’t exactly heavy in special effects, but the backgrounds and such look good. After all, they are filmed on location I’m thinking so real life’s graphics are as good as ever. This is a pretty solid film. We do go back to the more retro trope of the first guy losing out to the old friend, but I guess if it isn’t broke don’t fix it right?

Darcy has had a lot of success at her company. It is now a big corporation and she is one of the highest ranking members on the board. Unfortunately, her views have stayed close to the ground while her partners want to sell out and keep on charging high premiums. They are now ramping up the pressure to kick her out. The problem is that she already went back home to Ohio to help out her Mom with a big fundraising event. She can go back to her job to secure her clients or she can stay with her family. If she leaves them at this stage then the event will be a disaster. What can she do?

It’s definitely a bit of a tougher problem than what we had in the last few films. Of course helping the family is the right option, but it’s also hard to not go back to work when you’re about to be kicked out. The film also makes you think who is making the right call here. Darcy wanted to switch the entire company’s policy towards letting in people with no bottom line. There’s a reason why most companies have a bottom line so taking it away would naturally be controversial. Of course, the antagonists are also trying to get her out of the company without a word so it’s not as if they’re in the right either. If I was Darcy I probably would have waited to bring this up until after she had returned from her vacation though. Her secretary was definitely very helpful though. Without her Darcy would have been doomed.

This film goes back to having a pretty strong supporting cast. I thought Darcy’s Dad was pretty solid here. He kept his end of the bargain as to not asking Darcy to come and work for him even though he knew that she was making a mistake in declining. He still raised up a pretty good empire in the meantime and was always around for Darcy to talk to him. I also think the backup guy here wasn’t all that bad. He was certainly hoping Darcy would go with him, but once he was rejected he accepted the answer and left. It wasn’t the answer that he was hoping to hear, but he didn’t get sour or try to get even.

As for the main guy, Luke’s pretty fun even if the “tough guy” approach doesn’t work as well with him since you know that he’ll be paired up with Darcy anyway. I think a film about him and Darcy being on the debate team would probably be fun. He does seem like the kind of guy who would probably enjoy taking the conflicting opinion just to spark a debate. He has a lot of good ideas and he’s certainly filled with confidence. Aside from quickly buying into an unlikely scenario at the end he doesn’t seem nearly as timid as a lot of the other guys. It’s good to see someone talking tough for the whole film this time.

That being said, I still wouldn’t say that the romance is particularly good here. It’s all pretty generic stuff and Darcy takes too long in shutting down the backup guy. He has to ask her first because she took forever to say anything. Granted, they were basically apart by this point but she was doing the whole “We’re not actually together” when talking about Luke only to go to him 2-3 minutes later to make it official. She had made up her mind by that point even if she couldn’t admit it. I think without the romance angle we could have gotten more of a focus on the party and the rivalry between her and Luke. Imagine a good rivalry like that which doesn’t lead to romance in the end. I think it could have worked out quite well.

As always I’d say that the writing is pretty good here. Darcy is also a good lead taking away the romance angle. While it is played out to be a bad thing, I do like how independent she is. Asking for help is a last resort for Darcy and she’ll typically try to do things on her own. If she makes a promise she’ll do everything she can to fulfill it. If it’s too much for her then she’ll ask for help, but she never does things halfway. That’s exactly the kind of person that you want on your team. The deal she made with her father also works out pretty well. She’ll be able to realize her dream while also keeping his company up. I would have liked to have seen a final scene with the hot dog guy though to show that he got to open the account. I was expecting it the whole time and was a little disappointed when it didn’t happen.

While the moral is that Darcy needs to trust in others more I feel like the movie almost completely backfires in trying to show this. Every company that the Mom called in to help ended up canceling at the last second. At the end of the day they weren’t able to trust anyone and the party was nearly ended several times. I mean, that’s not the point of the film of course, but Darcy’s loner approach was really working quite well. Trusting others within reason is always good of course, but maybe the film could have showed some more examples of trust actually working rather than the opposite.

Overall, This is another good Hallmark film. It definitely earns its Hallmark seal of approval and keeps the streak alive for these titles. There are no negatives to speak of here and it’s just a really fun film to watch. I think it’s one of the stronger titles I’ve seen from this series. Maybe I’ll make a ranking of them at some point or something since I’ve seen so many of them. If you haven’t seen this film yet and want to watch a fun little Christmas story then I recommend checking this one out. It’s just good all around and has no real weaknesses.

Overall 7/10

A Christmas Melody Review


Hallmark strikes once again as we get another Christmas film from them. By now you’ll likely be well aware of the series’ usual tropes and plots, but as long as they are executed well it isn’t really a problem. In fact, it makes the film have to work extra hard to stay exciting so when it succeeds that just makes the movie all the more impressive right? This is another solid adventure and even has a musical twist even if that is the weaker part of the movie.

Kristin has been forced to give up her dreams and move back to Ohio. Her startup business just wasn’t ready for the big time at the moment, but she knows that one day she will be able to make a comeback. She feels worse for Emily (her daughter) who will now have to start school again and try to make new friends. Fortunately there is a talent show coming up. The teacher is a guy who knew Kristin from back in school so he allows Emily to bypass the deadline and get into the show. Melissa, the PTA commander isn’t happy about that and decides to do her best to mess things up for Kristin. Will the lead be able to fight back or will this sabotage Emily’s one chance at happiness?

The main worry you may have here is that Emily isn’t quite ready hold her own film as a supporting character. Kids rarely can after all. I’m afraid you would be right as Emily is certainly not the most interesting character in the film. I could have done without her plot but as its the main focus of the film that probably wouldn’t even make sense. She could have been worse I suppose. At first she was acting a little mopey and everything but once Santa gave her a talking to she was able to see the light. Santa’s just really helpful like that. He’s always in your corner and ready to help. He surprisingly doesn’t get a big role here besides that though.

As for Kristin, she is a considerably better lead than the last few. She doesn’t let the bully Melissa push her around. If anything she gets combative from the start when it would have been easy to play into Melissa’s ego and get Emily an easy ride at the school. Kristin talks to Danny (the teacher) directly to get Emily in though so I like the fact that she was quickly able to adapt. This also feels less like a rebound compared to other films as I don’t even think she dumped anyone at the beginning here. It’s possible that I’m mis-remembering but either way this is a good lead.

Then we always need to have the bully/ex role in these films and Melissa works well. She’s grown so powerful with her influence over the school that even the principal defers to her. I thought this was a bit much to be honest, but I suppose she is just that skilled. She was a fun character and without her the school probably wouldn’t have had nearly as much personality. Then you have Danny who is the main guy of the film. Naturally this means that he is here for the romance section. He’s a nice guy who is always trying to help everyone out so that’s a good thing. He’s the kind of guy that you want in your corner. That being said, it didn’t save the romance.

Both Kristin and Danny are good characters individually but the romance comes off as rather rushed. They certainly didn’t know each other for very long here before realizing their feelings. It’s also so expected that you feel even less convinced since you can’t believe the characters when they act like it’s a tough decision. I get that the romance is a staple of this franchise, but I still think that it tends to not work very well in any of the installments. Just skipping the romance entirely would probably be a pretty good idea.

As always the writing and pacing are pretty solid. The film never drags on and there is always something happening on screen. There are less crazy miscommunications here compared some of the other films which is always good. As I mentioned, Emily’s scenes are a bit weaker than the others though. The scenes of her just hanging around or singing just don’t work as well as they would have with one of the main characters. The final song also really doesn’t sound like she’s singing it. I’m thinking the special effects crew maybe went a little too overboard at that point. In universe though, I’m pretty sure it was intentional.

Overall, A Christmas Melody is a fun film. As with the rest of them it plays out a bit like a wish fulfillment title as everything goes perfectly for Kristin and you imagine this as the ideal Christmas story. It does so without being too overly dramatic and avoids any real negatives. That’s really the secret to success in these films. Still, I do think it was just a little bit weaker than the rest of the Hallmark films I’ve seen so far. It was see-sawing between a 6 and a 7 even as I was writing the review. It’s a tricky case but while I’m not a big Emily fan I don’t think she takes the film down a full star either so I stayed with the latter score. I don’t think this would be my first Hallmark recommendation but if you’ve already seen the others then surely you should check this one out as well. It’s just a quality Christmas story.

Overall 7/10

A Royal Christmas Review


Hallmark has returned for another Christmas title. This one brings a royal air to the mix and we get a lot of new scenery compared to the first two films which is nice. I still say that the first Hallmark film I saw was the best one and this one also loses to the second, but don’t think that the series is already starting to decline. The first two films just set a rather high bar and this one is still roughly at that same level. The main character can just be a bit annoying again.

The film starts off with Emily having a good time. She is going to be spending her first Christmas with Leopold so naturally she is looking forward to it. Unfortunately, he chooses this time to drop a landmine on her. He is actually a prince and must get ready to inherit the throne. Emily is really upset at this since it’s a rather big secret to have been kept for so long but he assures her that he is the same person. To test that out, he wants her to come with him to the kingdom. Emily does so but quickly learns that Leopold’s mother Isadora is very against their relationship and will do whatever she can to destroy it. Can Emily stay strong or will she be humbled?

Most of the positives in this film mirror the last two. The writing is pretty solid and the film’s pacing is on point. You won’t be bored during the adventure and the film makes sure to steer clear out of any serious negatives. The scenery looks really nice and it’s just a pleasant film to watch. There’s no reason to cringe or turn away except for some decisions at times. This film does have less positives in general though which is what hurts it a bit. For starters, the supporting cast isn’t nearly as impressive here. Emily’s Dad can be a bit over the top and comes off as more annoying than supportive like when he forgot that his camera was off during the final scene and basically spoiled the moment.

Emily’s friend isn’t quite as helpful as the sister was in the last film and doesn’t really get to do much in general. Then you have the maids who turn on Emily a little too easily. They get along at first, but then Isadora decides to sack them to get at Emily and they quickly go into the guilt tripping tactic. Considering that they knew the rules and that Emily certainly couldn’t have been aware I don’t see how they can blame her. They come around by the end since the head butler re-enlists them but it’s hard to really like these guys. Of course getting fired is emotional and it was in the heat of the moment, but the point still stands.

As for Emily, she is a little too sensitive. She falls for every trick in the book and gets very easily offended. Just having the Leopold’s ex explain how close they are is enough to put her on edge. At times she tries to put on a brave face but it cracks with ease. In this situation everyone made it abundantly clear from the start that there would be several people trying to break her and Leopold up so Emily doesn’t have the excuse that she was unprepared. She knew exactly what she was getting into. Emily also decides to cut ties with Leopold so as not to be a bother but instead that just comes off as her giving up way too easily. If she is really serious about this relationship then she simply needs to keep on holding tight.

Meanwhile Leopold could certainly have done better as well. He basically lets Isadora walk all over him and to a large extent it’s fine. She is still his mother and he has to keep up the family legacy. That being said, there are some things he could have done better like not agreeing to go on a horse walk in the morning when Emily can’t ride. Alternately he could have rode with her since two people can ride a horse. I can’t really take too many points away from him though since Leopold does a much better job of actually going after Emily repeatedly rather than giving up.

Meanwhile Isadora is the main antagonist of the movie and does a good job in the role. She puts a lot of thought into her plans of getting Emily away. She always has the edge in this battle of wills. Naturally you can probably see where her character arc will go from the start, but she was still convincing up until that point. She also took her share of risks like approaching Emily while she was holding a sword. Some things may be a bit much like when she puts Emily on the spot both at a party and in the middle of many prestigious individuals. Wouldn’t it reflect poorly on the family if the Prince’s girlfriend is low class? Isadora should try to get rid of her privately, not publicly.

There is also the ex, but she gets less of a role than you might expect. Not only does she not have a chance from the start, but she doesn’t even feel as mean spirited as some of the others. She doesn’t actually do anything to Emily which is nice since sometimes bullies should be a little more subtle. Also, it’s not as if she is typically a bad person, she is basically acting under orders. That’s no excuse, but she was certainly not as bad as she could have been. With Emily giving up so easily that also doesn’t help the main heroine’s case.

Overall, The Royal Wedding is a fun film. I don’t think it is quite as strong as the last few films but it’s still a good watch. The Butler can be fun as he constantly talks back to Isadora. At first you’ll wonder why he hasn’t been fired yet, but there is a big plot twist that certainly explains this rather satisfactory. It could have been better, but I still recommend this film nonetheless. As long as you are looking forward to a fun Christmas (Well, it barely feels like one at times) comedy and you can get past the romance then this is a good film to check out. You’ll likely roll your eyes when Leopold first lets Emily know that he is a prince since the odds of that are so slim, but that’s a natural response and you’ll be able to get back into the movie after that scene.

Overall 7/10