The Italian Job Review

The Italian Job is one of those movies that you are unlikely to have heard of despite being familiar with the heist genre. It even has some big actors but I still don’t remember it making any headlines. I guess it probably just came out at a tough year. Still, it’s a pretty solid film that may not be amazing but manages to avoid making any really serious mistakes which is important.

The film starts with a group of burgers pulling off a pretty big heist where they had to race the cops in a boat and got to walk away with millions. Unfortunately just as one of the characters was finally going to retire, the group was betrayed by Steve who decided to keep the money for himself. He shots the best crook, drowns the others, and then runs off. Years have passed and now the burglars want their revenge and also hope to secure the money in the process. They managed to survive with their wit and have stayed under the radar for a long time. It has all been for this one moment but to make sure that this mission is a success they will need to bring in a secret weapon, the daughter of the dead burglar.

You will have to turn your suspension of disbelief on full blast right away here as the plans are so detailed and convoluted that you probably won’t be able to accept what is happening with a straight face otherwise. In the climax of the film the villain gets a helicopter and even a private militia as he drives through town but the main character, Charlie is able to hold his own on a quick motorcycle. His team of quirky hackers seem more than capable of taking any villain down after this film.

Where the film really did a good job was with the fast moving plot. A lot of things were always happening. The talking scenes are pretty engaging and I do tend to enjoy the planning. The execution is also on point and it’s just a solid film from start to finish. The ending was also really good. One thing that tends to happen in a film like this is that the heroes will win it, but the villains end up destroying all of the informants along the way thereby preventing anyone else from ever replicating the feat. I was worried for “Tiny” or “Slim” (I forgot which one was his name) when the villains showed up at his door. Fortunately it turned out all right for the guy and in the end everything worked out. It’s also rare for a villain to not get away with murdering random Jim #34 but in this case it’s one of the main things that comes back to bite him. Turns out that this guy was friends with the mafia and you don’t mess with those guys.

The cast of characters was also surprisingly good which is always important. Charlie is a great tactician which is shown from the start. He may not be infallible but is able to adjust his plan at a second’s notice to fix any oversights. Even by the end he was one step ahead of Steve and never found himself at the back. Steve is also pretty solid as he always talks with a lot of confidence and has a smug air about him. Definitely not a guy who gives up easy and even if he isn’t as smart as the main character he isn’t half bad at making plans. Against someone else he may have stood a chance. Of course, he definitely should have sold the gold by the time the heroes found him though and shooting the merchant just delayed this even further. Not the smartest villain around even if he is fun.

Stella is solid as well. Initially I forgot about her first appearance and for a second thought that the film was bringing in a new character. The opening does certainly make more sense in light of this. Unfortunately, her character is used for fanservice quite a bit as we have the unfortunate trope of someone walking into her room while she is still getting changed. Likewise, Stella’s entire first scene seems to be focused on her attire more than the actual dialogue. Once we get past these moments this fortunately stops happening. Stella is a solid locksmith even if she is not quite at the same level as her father yet. She can also drive with the best of them. I think her character could have been handled better but overall she was a good character.

Another one of the thieves was the Napster. This guy spends most of his time complaining about how Steve stole his inventions. He takes this the least seriously compared to the rest of the team and nearly blows there cover several times by pulling pranks on the cops and the government. So much for being discreet right? I suppose he has his own priorities so you can’t really argue with that. He’s definitely a pretty bad character though. There is also Gilligan who does his best to mess up everyone’s chances as well. When it comes time to broker a deal with someone who has the supplies they need, he can’t help but stare at the guy constantly even when he is told not too. Actually, as far as the great character cast maybe I should be more specific. Steve, Charlie, Stella, and the father from the very beginning are solid characters. Everyone else definitely has a lot of room for improvement if you ask me. Still, since the characters with the most screen time are at the top that’s what counts.

We also get a long car chase scene that I referenced earlier and works well as the climax. Who doesn’t like a good car chase right? After a while they may all start to seem like the same race if you watch enough films, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they work quite well as a satisfying way to end the film. It’s not as if we could have had a real hand to hand fight at the end as you would have then had to ask where they learned how to fight. A battle of two self taught fighters could be fun, but I don’t believe Steve ever would have bothered learning how to fight while Charlie showed earlier that he could throw a good punch.

Overall, The Italian Job is a pretty fun heist film. The pacing is always on point and the characters make for some pretty enjoyable banter. Some of the plans may seem like a stretch at times but that goes hand in hand with the genre. If you like watching a game of mental chess going on with plans and counter plans then I’d recommend checking this film out. It’ll keep you entertained the whole way through and never really make any mistake big enough to get you out of the action. It’s satisfied with just being an entertaining film and that’s a pretty solid approach if you ask me.

Overall 7/10


While You Were Sleeping Review

I can’t be the only one who thinks that this poster looks a little off right? It just seems photo shopped a bit with how Bullock’s character is being lifted. Maybe they couldn’t keep the pose up for the photo and had started to fall when it was snapped which caused a little blur effect. Maybe I’m just reading too much into this. Anyway, despite the lackluster poster the film is actually fairly decent. I dare say that this is one of the best romance films I’ve seen and maybe that’s because there wasn’t much actual romance until the end.

The plot revolves around a train ticket person named Lucy. Every day a guy named Peter comes by and deposits his tokens at her booth. She knows they are meant to be together, but they’ve never exchanged a word. Finally Peter works up the courage to tell her hi, but then he is mugged and thrown into the train tracks. Lucy manages to save him and takes him to the hospital. Peter is in a coma, but the family believes that Lucy is the fiancee after a quick mix up occurs. She decides not to tell them the truth because it would hurt them too deeply. Still, Lucy will have to plan things out carefully since Peter will be waking up at some point and his brother Jack is starting to suspect that something is off. Can she keep the secret from him?

So, you can probably imagine that quite a lot of shenanigans and hijinx ensue. Fortunately, they’re handled pretty well for the most part. You can basically tell what is going to happen the whole time, but as one Reddit user once said, virtually all movies are predictable. If anything, you should be worried when something unexpected happens as it may mean that the film has made a mistake in getting to the end. Instead you just want to see if the film executes the plot well. So while this film was predictable, it was still entertaining the whole time with most of the humor being on point and not being generally annoying.

Lucy is a reasonable main character. Saving Peter was naturally the right move and she tried doing what was best for everyone. She probably shouldn’t have tried going through with the wedding just to make everyone happy though. There’s definitely a moral there about keeping your happiness in mind as well. If you try to make everyone happy, but are miserable inside then this clearly isn’t the right path. Not to mention that then she would have been stuck with Peter for her whole life. Lucy tends to get along with everyone she meets in the film and it shows what a nice personality she has.

Meanwhile, we have Peter who doesn’t seem like a very nice guy. I don’t think he’s all that bad to be honest as he just has to sit in the antagonist role thanks to the film’s plot. If anything, he just doesn’t seem to have much of a backbone. He was knocked into the tracks quite easily and got knocked out instantly. That’s not really the kind of moment that will impress you and since Peter doesn’t really recover from this until the very end of the movie there isn’t much reason to like him. Not to mention that he seemed to be having an affair with a married woman which throws any last chance he may have had out the window. It sounds like he abandoned the family and while we never hear his side of the story, there’s not much reason to like him.

Then we have Jack. Honestly, I can’t say that he is a good character either. The main reason for this of course is that from his point of view, Lucy and Peter are together so she is strictly off limits. Yet, he still can’t help but fall for her. I don’t care if she were a super model, the instant she is taken then you have to be able to completely move on. Jack doesn’t actually do much about his feelings and while he doesn’t make a move on Lucy, he’s not exactly subtle either. He should have probably just avoided her until the wedding or something if he really couldn’t get over himself. Of course it turned out okay since the whole thing was fabricated and he ended up with Lucy, but things could have easily gotten troublesome. He’s still much better than Peter though.

The rest of the family is pretty fun as well. Once they showed up I knew we had a quality family going. They quickly pushed the doctors aside and took charge once they saw Peter. They have a lot of fun at the Christmas gatherings and while they bicker and talk a lot, it does keep the place lively. While skeptical at first, they end up taking Lucy’s word on events and seem to be rather trusting. They’re also pretty sensible and don’t hold the whole thing against Lucy. Considering that they are the ones who typically take the rumors and confirm them as fact, it wouldn’t be right to blame her for any of this. As a result, the family was rather solid.

Lucy’s boss was also pretty fun. He did his best to listen to her stories and give some half hearted advice. You could tell that he was never too invested in her situation, but at least he still took the time to listen whenever they had an encounter. He couldn’t quite keep the names straight, but the guy was earnest so he was definitely low key one of the best characters. To counter this, we have Joe Junior who is easily the worst character. The guy doesn’t have much of a purpose in the film other than to create some misunderstandings and to look really bad. Why does the eligible bachelor character always have to be so untidy, unintelligent, and generally gross? By the end of the film things seem to have possibly worked out for him which is nice and all I guess, but he probably could have been cut out and the film wouldn’t change. At least his father was good as he didn’t blame Lucy for dropping the tree through his house.

The best scene in the film is probably the big wedding as everyone quickly storms in to stop it. We had objections from Lucy which is understandable and better late than never. We had objections from Jack which naturally doesn’t help his case. We had objections from Peter’s ex who I guess drew the short end of the straw here, but considering that she was already a sketchy character I can’t feel sympathetic. Finally we had objections from Peter’s ex’s husband which was pretty intense. That guy came out of nowhere and really added some weight to the scene. It was great to see everyone show up and this was a joke that went over well. All told, the film’s writing was pretty strong for the most part and many of the jokes were sound. You really can’t ask for much more than that.

Overall, While You Were Sleeping is a pretty fun film. The pacing is always quick and so the film never drags on. Given that Romance Comedies aren’t exactly my thing, this one definitely performed quite admirably. If the general premise sounds like fun then I’d recommend checking this film out. You really can’t go wrong here and if you view it more as a general comedy then you’ll enjoy it more since that’s definitely the main focus. It never gets too over the top and most of the misunderstandings are just amped up a little to make the whole thing work. If only all romcoms could be like this one.

Overall 6/10

Who Framed Roger Rabbit Review

It’s time to look at a very classic mix of live action and cartoons. This is one of those films that I have certainly known about for a very long time, but never actually got to watch until now. It’s certainly a lot of fun and I can see why it became such a hit. Despite that, it does have its share of issues in regards to the pacing, Jessica Rabbit, and the main character. Well, lets dive into this!

The film follows a private eye known as Eddie. He doesn’t like the Toons that are always running around because they murdered his brother. Still, he can’t quite escape them since he lives in a world where they have found out how to make all of the classic Disney and Warner Bros characters real. These characters are also completely immortal except when it comes to a specific kind of acid which inflicts permadeath on them. Well, Eddie has been hired to find some blackmail that they can use to get Roger to work a little more seriously. The plan is actually rather suspect from the start since making him depressed could make his work get worse. Unfortunately, instead the blackmail of his wife Jessica cheating on him by playing patticake with some guy ends up making Roger crazier than expected. He seemingly murders the guy and then runs off. Eddie doesn’t care what happens to Roger, but unfortunately Roger lets everyone know that he and Eddie are a team by going to his apartment and now Eddie will have to solve the case to save his own skin.

It’s definitely pretty surreal to see characters like Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny running around during the film. I like the concept of having a whole town of cartoons just causing mayhem and that the ones on TV are actually real. Of course, it does make you wonder why the Toons don’t do anything to stop their oppressors. If we buy Roger’s reasoning then they just want to make people smile so getting violent is out of the question. Still, that just doesn’t work since we know that some work as bouncers and others do actually get aggressive. It would have been awesome if at the end the Looney Tunes had banded together for a big fight. This isn’t that kind of movie so I wasn’t expecting that, but you just have to wonder why they just sit there and take it. Who knows how many Toons had already been murdered by this point. The story is actually dark when you think about it. The scene of the toon getting murdered on screen was particularly vicious and definitely showed that Doom has no mercy.

Quickly lets talk about the main character. I’m afraid that I don’t like Eddie. He’s fun for the first bit of the film as he talks tough to all of the characters and doesn’t like the Toons. However, he loses any sense of toughness when Jessica shows up and humiliates him in front of everyone. He has no real will power and just can’t seem to stand up to her. It’s pretty disgraceful if you ask me and especially since the whole scene was part of the villain’s plot. He basically stepped right into their hands. From that point on it was over for him. his dance at the end wasn’t particularly impressive either.

Then we have Dolores. This was not a well developed romance between her and Eddie. The whole time you are just wondering why this had to happen. They seemed rather antagonistic at the beginning of the film so I don’t know what pushed them together so well by the end. I guess the tense situation just got them to realize the important things in life. She isn’t a bad character, but doesn’t really contribute anything to the story either.

Next up is Doom, the main villain of the film. He’s definitely an intense character and a very smart one as well since he came up with the super powerful goop. The guy really does a good job of bringing in the fear whenever he shows up. He even knows a lot about the Toons which makes it easy for him to hunt them effectively. We get a twist about the characters which is handled really well and he can fight with great proficiency too. Doom is really the complete package as far as villains go.

Then we’ve got Roger, basically the main Toon of the film. Unfortunately his whole gimmick is that he isn’t smart at all and just gets the heroes in trouble all the time. His only goal in life is to make people laugh and that purpose overrides everything else including his self preservation instinct. If there is a laugh to be had you will certainly find Roger Rabbit. As a result, it’s definitely hard to root for this guy or even to sympathize with him. If he is always sabotaging everyone’s attempts to help him, then maybe it’s for the best that Doom nabs him. With someone as impulsive and unreliable as Roger, perhaps it wouldn’t be too much to assume that he did commit the murder. Anything is possible with this guy. In the 1-2 scenes that Bugs Bunny appears, he has a much better character and personality than Roger. He’s still rather mean and Mickey calls him out on it, but at least Bugs is smart and will always manage to survive. In comparison, Daffy seems to lose out again as his only real scene is a big fight between him and Donald where Donald has the upper hand the whole time. I guess we finally know which duck would win in a fight.

Jessica is certainly an interesting case as the whole point of her character is to be used for fanservice. Does this mean I shouldn’t really count it as fanservice?…Nah. It’s still fanservice for sure and her opening scene is quite brutal. Her character design is purposefully parodyish so you’re supposed to wonder why every character is so impressed as she isn’t all that impressive, but the bouncing effects of her character reach Dead or Alive levels. She gets a lot of red herring moments and does seem to be legitimately tough at times, but it’s certainly hard to root for her as well. The film could have definitely toned her down a bit as well to make her character be taken a little more seriously. We should have just had the rabbit from Space Jam, now there was a quality character.

So, the pacing does slow down somewhat for the second half. The first half of the film where Eddie doesn’t get along with the Tunes is certainly the best part. That’s usually the case for mean main characters like this who get nice by the end. They just aren’t as interesting as when they started out. The end gave us some nice action scenes though and the car chases were pretty fun. The movie surprisingly had a lot of restraint for not relying on the guest stars too much. It would have been really cool if they could have showed up more, but they probably would have ended up stealing the whole movie so it may have been a good idea to keep them out.

The writing is pretty solid I’d say. We get some nice burns from most of the characters and nice references as well. As far as the animation goes, I’d say that it looks good as well. It’s certainly interesting to see how they draw some of the characters as Daffy looks way different than he does in the classic shorts. The animation blends together rather well and the only time it looks even mildly choppy was when Eddie was thrown by one of the bigger toons during the movie. It must have been a lot of work so they definitely put in the effort.

I’d definitely like another take on this concept since there’s so much that can be done with it. We could easily get some kind of sequel or spinoff that could continue things. I want to see a full scale revolution from the Toons. They are clearly still underpaid and used by the humans so they need to demand justice. As the film shows that they are quite powerful, it would be difficult to stop them. We need a cool sequiel like that and of course there is a wider range of characters that could be thrown in now. The sky’s the limit.

Overall, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a solid film. It’s definitely fun and shows other films how to mix animated and live action styles the right way. The fanservice in the film is probably about as lenient as it gets thanks to the animation and while the pacing does get slow at times, it doesn’t last for too long. The positives of the film do end up outweighing the negatives. That being said, this film certainly isn’t in the same league as Space Jam so lets not forget the true legend of this genre. I doubt that film will ever be surpassed by another Looney Tunes/animation blend sort of film. It was just perfect and I wouldn’t have minded if Doom had challenged them to a quick game at the end. I would have been up for that is all I’m saying.

Overall 6/10

Ordinary People Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be far more negative.
All right folks, it’s time for one of those films. I reviewed a big 0 recently so it hasn’t been too wide of a gap this time, but these films always remind you of the true depths that a film can sink to. While this film may strive to be ordinary, it couldn’t even reach the halfway point and just dunk into negative people. While it tries to be a realistic look at the typical family, it’s more like an edgy look at the 1%. That’s enough build up though, lets launch into this film.

Conrad tried to destroy himself prior to the film starting, but failed in his attempt and now he has been shunned by society. Or at least, that’s how he acts, but he’s the only one closing himself off. His parents Calvin and Beth are trying to get past this, but Conrad won’t let the tension go away by subtly bringing it up every day with his actions. He ends up going to a local psychiatrist named Tyrone who is one of those guys that tries to help you by not actually doing anything. A pretty cushy way to make a living I’d say. Can this dysfunctional family get together or is the film going to opt for a sad sad ending? 3 guesses on which one they chose.

The film just never lightens up and keeps a fairly gloomy atmosphere throughout the entirety of the film. Things just never look up for the characters and often times it is because none of them are trying to make things better. They’re just all going with the flow and trying to escalate the situation. Calvin is the only good character here so I may as well give him his props first. He tries to act naturally about the situation while the others want to live in the past. He acts as a bridge between Beth and Conrad, but they eventually just start dumping their worries on him. They keep guilt tripping him the whole time when Calvin has really done nothing wrong. All he is trying to do is help out. Poor guy, it’s rough being trapped in such a toxic place.

Everything else about this film is pretty bad so here we go. First off, the writing is absolutely terrible. The script makes the average Michael Bay film look like a masterpiece. The sheer amount of language in this film is crazy. The TV version had to keep using the gust of wind sound to stop the characters in their tracks. Conrad’s generic blowup naturally goes all out as he keeps on swearing for what must have been a few minutes straight. Tyrone managed to keep a straight face through it all though and even egged him on for a while. This guy’s teaching strategy is certainly interesting to put it nicely. Without good writing, it is extremely hard to have a good film because writing plays into everything, the story, the characters, etc.

As for the characters, Conrad is a terrible main character. It’s just impossible to root for the guy as he just doesn’t help them get past this. He starts to act a little more normal by the middle of the film, but even then he is permanently on a short fuse. He’s ready to blow up at any time. Then you have Beth. She can’t even bluff when she is with Conrad and instead ends up blaming him for everything. You’ll notice that the blame game comes up quite a lot in this film as everyone points fingers at each other. Beth essentially tries to shut Conrad out of her life by going on trips without him. Calvin probably shouldn’t have gone with her to be honest. She serves as the main antagonist of the film and while she isn’t downright mean, trying to shut someone out is a pretty similar effect.

Now, the film does avoid having any animal violence which is great. I’ll give the film credit for not making that mistake. Of course, it goes for the next best thing in terms of losing points and getting extra edgy, we get a random suicide midway through the film. One of Conrad’s friends decides to write herself out of the movie and there’s no reason for this except to blow Conrad up once again. This character was written in only for this one scene that doesn’t add to anything. I guess this whole town just wasn’t a very happy place. Of course, you could tell that from the first few minutes of the film. I can’t even remember any scene where it was sunny out except for the brief golf game. At least that part of the film tried to be exciting and fun.

The people who really lost out here were Conrad’s friends from school since he never reconciles with them. They got over it fairly quick though as there are always more friends to be had at school, but it just shows the ripple effect from Conrad being a downer. With the characters splitting up at the end of the film, it paves the way for no sequel to be made as it symbolically showed the viewers walking out of the theater. You may have gotten them once, but you certainly won’t get them again. It’s the end of an era for the supposedly ordinary main characters. Any more screen time and they wouldn’t be ordinary as they would be standing out enough to be a celebrity.

It’s hard to say how this film compares to other 0s as they got the score for good reason. On one hand, this film naturally isn’t mega violent like some of the others and has no animal violence as well. For those reasons, this film is technically easier to watch than some of the other 0s as it’s easy to tune out dialogue, but harder to tune out images. On the other hand, there’s nothing even remotely interesting to watch since the film is trying so hard to be ordinary. With no good visuals or any solid music themes to listen too, the film will drag on even more. It’s a long film that feels long which is always the worst kind of movie. I’m sure that an abridged dub over this film would help it a great deal.

Overall, This film is riddled with problems. The main one is naturally the poor writing that plagues the entire thing. The movie is a hassle to get through because the pacing is slower than molasses and at the end of the day nothing really happens. The film has a depressing vibe from start to finish and never even tries to be happy. It’s just mean spirited all the way through so there’s no real point to watching this film. I’d recommend staying far away from it and reminding yourself that for every bad film, a good one is waiting over the horizon. It’ll give you hope as you look through the movie selection of any random store and cringe at some of the titles. There are always going to be more good films, you just have to find them.

Overall 0/10

Laura Review

It’s time to look at a very retro mystery film. The cast is actually smaller than I thought it was as Wikipedia only lists 6 people in the film. Naturally, some of them may just not have been big enough to have their own section, but it goes to show that if the story is quick enough you won’t even notice this. It’s a solid movie that really does a good job of throwing in a lot of twists and turns without getting redundant. The cast is solid and this film really flies by. This review does have some big spoilers depending on what you count. It’s a big plot point that happens around halfway through the film so it’s pretty debatable.

The basic premise of the film is that a lady by the name of Laura has been murdered. She went up against a shotgun and didn’t exactly win the encounter. A private eye known as Mark shows up to get to the bottom of this. Waldo wants justice because Laura was a close business associate of his and he had been helping her rise up the business ranks until this happened. Mark continues his investigation which leads him to Shelby, a rather suspicious man who has many affairs and always seems to be after people with money. This mystery will be a piece of cake for this baseball master, but unfortunately Mark starts to realize that this case is quite personal. Can he put his feelings aside or has he always been on a path to destruction?

Ironically, the weakest character here may be Mark. Shelby is certainly more unlikable as he’s just a bad guy, but it’s incredibly difficult to sympathize with Mark’s plight. How can you possibly start to fall for a picture? If someone’s dead, they’re not exactly going to make for a very attractive prospect. What the film should have done was just doubled down on his tough demeanor to show that this guy was one detective who wouldn’t get pushed around by anyone. He would solve this case no matter how tough it got. By making him distracted it took away from his whole character. I did like his Baseball gimmick though. Right when he started taking out the game I knew that it would be the best part of his character.

At least the detective doesn’t look downright bad for the most part. His only unfortunate moment was at the very end of the film where he assures Laura that she will be safe and then runs out of the building so fast that you’ll think he’s a blur. This gives the culprit plenty of time to waltz in and finish the job. Laura is just lucky that the villain is such a poor shot or else this could have been the end.

Wait, why is Laura even being mentioned? Well, that’s one of the big plot points of the film. Laura isn’t actually dead and merely went to the forest for a while. Since these were the days before radio and internet nobody actually knew where she was and when they went to the house she had stepped out for a moment. Definitely some interesting logic there, but I can buy it to an extent as there wasn’t much else to do back in the day aside from walking so she may have just been adventuring all day. Laura isn’t a very likable character as she does lead everyone on and doesn’t even mind playing second fiddle after a while. It gets rather complicated, but she knows from the start that Shelby can’t be trusted and also allows Waldo to treat her to many meals. They may be platonic friends, but then she should pay the bill, otherwise things get dicey. She just seems rather easy and Mark should be careful what he’s getting himself into. Her web of deceit will continue to stretch farther and farther.

As for Waldo, he’s certainly the most amusing character in the film. He’s always got a snappy comeback at the ready and certainly doesn’t get intimidated by anyone. To think that he started out as a rather snobbish businessman before he got involved with Laura and changed quite a bit. You can’t deny that the guy does his homework though. He didn’t even need to make up lies about the people Laura hung out with, he just dug up the dirt that they left around the house. They made his job easy, but he always went the extra mile. Naturally a person this obsessive tends to be fairly dangerous in films like these but if the detective is going to make a move he better be careful about it.

Finally there is Shelby. It’s certainly different to see Vincent Price in a young role for a change. The character is fairly quick witted, but can never quite keep up with Waldo. He does make for a good rival though. He’s not exactly a man of principles, but isn’t ashamed to admit as much. Everyone knows what kind of a guy he is, but they don’t care because of his charisma. It’s definitely a credit to his character that he is able to deceive people so easily and he makes for a solid antagonist.

The only weak aspect of this film is naturally the romance. It’s just not handled very well at all. Laura basically plays everyone and they all fall for the game quite easily. It would have been nice if the same had been true for them and at the end they all admitted to just manipulating the others for personal gain. That’s practically what the situation was for most of them anyway. A film like this one should have everyone stay purely platonic as that would certainly add to the suspense and make the characters look a little tougher and more savvy on how things usually play out here.

Still, the writing was certainly great beyond that. The film did a good job of making everyone seem suspicious at times and having all of the characters stay on guard. The banter between all of the characters was on point as you would expect it to be. Dialogue is crucial for a noir film like this one and I’m happy to say that it did indeed deliver. It’s why its so hard to do a film like this one nowadays. The writing just isn’t up to par with the good ole days and it’s very rare that a film proves me wrong. There were just higher standards in the past and that’s why there were so many well written films like this one hiding in the cracks of time.

Overall, Laura is a really fun film. It’s a murder mystery that still has quite a bit of humor and solid pacing to go along with it. The romance is rather weak, but what else is new right? The twist of Laura being alive could have been rather disastrous if handled wrong, but since it rarely tends to happen the twist worked really well. I can definitely recommend this film to anyone who likes a little suspense and danger. There’s never a dull moment in this film so you’ll end up being on guard from start to finish. In a film like this one, you really can’t trust anyone.

Overall 8/10

Push Review

It’s time to look at the action film known as Push. It’s definitely a rather ambitious stand alone film as it introduces a lot of characters and plots. Most of which aren’t wrapped up by the end so the film was really hoping for a sequel. It’s a very interesting movie with all of the overpowered abilities everyone has, but one is that still makes its share of mistakes by the end.

The story is that back in the day Germany experimented on a bunch of people and ended up giving them all super powers. They managed to escape but now in the present the rest of the governments are intent on capturing them. The main character of this story is Nick, a guy with basic telekinetic abilities who seems to be a little out of his league as he can’t even move a few dice. He is visited by the agency and they basically threaten him before leaving. That’s when a little girl named Cassie shows up and tells him that it’s time to go and save her Mom. They’re going to be in for a tough fight so hopefully Nick can improve his abilities.

An important part of the world that I should mention is that there are people with many kinds of abilities. Think the mutants from X-Men. The intro gives special emphasis to 3 types which are focused on in the film. First are movers like Nick. They can create barriers, amp up their physical abilities and essentially push everything with a gesture like in Star Wars. Then there are pushers who can “push” false thoughts into other people. Their ability’s limit is quite high so they are likely the most dangerous of adversaries. Finally there are the Watchers who can see the future. They can even see whole years into the future at a time so that makes them tough to deal with. Of course, just because they can see the future doesn’t mean that they will be able to change it very easily. There are other types like Sniffers which can track you from anything you’ve touched and Shadowers who can prevent you from being tracked. There are likely hundreds of other variations but those are the important ones.

One thing I can applaud the film on is its fast pacing. Quite a lot happens over the course of this movie to the point where other films might have taken double the time. Once the main characters meet up at the apartment, the villains don’t let up in their attack. They keep going after the heroes. The opening fight with all of the fish tanks was a solid opener for showing off the villains’ abilities. It’s also annoying since Nick should be able to crush them since his abilities are much better but that’s why you should always train.

For a while, I thought the Chinese were working for the Agency, but in retrospect it makes sense that they aren’t. As part of the impressively long exposition dump at the beginning we learn that all of the governments are after the mutants. So, China and the Agency (U.S.) are naturally on opposing sides. Which, while the opening exposition was a little humorous in how long it was, it was also rather unnecessarily gritty and a poor way to start the film. I was certainly glad once it ended.

The film does have some issues with unnecessary violence like that though like the fish tank scene. It’s the main thing that holds back the first fight scene as it’s just distracting. The fish didn’t ask for this. The fight should have focused on Nick trying to evade the vocal blasts and by the end of the fight quickly learning how to parry a little which could have been used to show his slight improvement by the end. It would have also been a better way for him to escape.

A big part of the film is how both sides have someone who can see the future. As a result they tend to overthink things in order to outsmart the other. The heroes handle this moderately well, but the villains do not. They defeat and capture Nick multiple times but keep on sparing him because they claim that destroying him would doom them in the future. Cool theory, but at least tie him up. Part of the problem for the villains is that they see a glimpse of the future and immediately act instead of looking farther ahead. It’s likely due to the fact that their pre cog reads intentions which is slightly different from purely looking at the future. It still messes then up though. At the end of the day you have to just learn the limits of your pre cog.

The heroes come up with a good plan of stopping the ore cog by writing down what to do on a notepad and losing their memories but for obvious reasons that is still a pretty risky plan. They had to plan out everything perfectly as well but the directions didn’t seem too far fetched I suppose. Spinning around in a circle was also a good idea although opening your eyes afterwards defeats the entire purpose. It didn’t even buy time tbh so that was a futile attempt.

The climax is definitely the best part as the 3 factions meet up for a big battle. We get to see what the fighters can really do when they band together. By that, I mean that everyone takes turns destroying the poor guys with guns. The Agency’s second in command Victor was certainly the MVP when it comes to raw power. He basically takes down the whole army and defeats Nick multiple times. He’s my personal favorite character in the film. Victor is definitely a man of few words but one whose presence is felt the whole time. His abilities were fun to watch and he did the company proud. If he had just been able to finish off Nick a little sooner, then I think he would have been able to come out on top. Still, he came close.

Nick is a decent main character. His personality is fine, but his lack of actual ability is what holds him back. The scene where he is sucker punched and thrown into the back of a car is just disgraceful. You’ll almost want to start laughing at how absurd the whole thing is. He can’t even break out and has to wait for someone to open the door for him. He’s saved numerous times by everybody and if we ever get a sequel he better improve. You can have all the tough talk and personality in the world, but if you can’t win a fight then it’s all for nothing.

Cassie is a solid heroine. Her foresight abilities certainly come in handy many times. Her abilities aren’t too fine tuned yet as she is still just a kid, but still does pretty well for herself. She’s more eager to fight the villains than Nick and at least does have a good plan. She is certainly right in not trusting Kira considering that the latter is just off at times. Speaking of Kira, she was a little unnecessary to the film. Trying to shoot at the leads was rather random and she is ungrateful the whole time. She gives the film its token romance which is also poorly handled. Despite being another pusher, she still falls for telepathic abilities quite easily. I suppose she just wasn’t strong enough, but that’s hardly a good excuse. I imagine that she would be a better character in the sequel.

Henry is the main villain of the film. He’s certainly a pretty tough fighter thanks to his telepathy. He does get off easily by invoking the whole future card like everyone else in the film. Otherwise, most of the characters could beat him since his ability takes a little time to actually get set up. As Nick points out, there’s no way he can take over his mind before a gun can be fired. Henry’s a good antagonist though and I don’t mind him escaping as he would be good for a sequel as well. I already mentioned how Victor is the best character in the film so I don’t really need to elaborate. He’s just a very great villain.

You’ve also got the Chinese faction who have a few good fighters. The twins both use sonic vibrations to fight. They take their glasses off every time so I’m thinking the power stems from their eyes or they don’t want to shatter the glasses while shouting because that could be quite lethal. They make for good mini bosses. They wouldn’t be much of a threat to the strongest fighters, but can handle the humans just fine. It’s hard to mind control them when you can’t focus through all the yelling. They were actually pretty fun. The Father’s more on the boring side as he has the same power and really didn’t think this through. He surrounded the main villains, but only brought normal soldiers with him? At least tell them to shoot on sight instead of just getting mind controlled. The villain pre cog was a good character. She certainly did seem to be more talented than Cassie. Things definitely didn’t work out well for her and that plot ended with quite a bit of plot hax as the future ability just stopped working, but I suppose it’s how it had to be. Maybe the old guy was just able to mask his intent or something.

There are a bunch of other supporting characters as well. All in all, the cast was quite solid. As I mentioned earlier, most of the plots don’t wrap up. The film basically just stops so there is a whole lot more that can be explored here. The film really did a great job of making the actual universe pretty easy to follow along with while also adding in a bunch of new elements. I’d certainly be interested in reading a comic sequel or something if the franchise ever moves further. The film did make its share of mistakes like being a little gritty, having a poor romance, and having some animal violence, but at least made those mistakes as mildly as possible. The visuals are certainly nice and the action scenes are handled really well when they occur. Well, the fight with Kira vs the henchmen seemed to be a bit of a stretch and that was certainly the worst fight, but maybe she was pushing thoughts into his head during the fight causing him to fight sloppy or something.

Overall, Push is a decently solid action film. It’s one that I would actually recommend. It’s one of those films that fell through the cracks so nobody actually knows about it, but it has the production values of a pretty high budget film. The film flies by very quickly and so you won’t get bored. There’s always a lot to take in which works pretty well for keeping the film interesting while still delivering exposition. The only lazy exposition was in the opening credits and I guess the film just wasn’t sure how else to do it. I guess if you’ve got to do an info dump then it’s best to do it early on rather than breaking the flow of the movie later on.

Overall 7/10

Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women Review

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The Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women is one of those films where you have a pretty good idea of the quality of the title before watching it. This definitely isn’t a good film and manages to stay consistently weak in all areas. It doesn’t do much to try and make this a memorable adventure so at the end of the day you are just wondering what the end goal of the film was. We may never know.

The film starts with a bus full of people heading to a plane and realizing that taking to the air may not be such a good idea. This thought is confirmed as we cut to the present where a group of people are flying around the globe to try and cure someone’s eyes or he may die from the pain. Unfortunately they get lost thanks to the pilot not being very smart and they didn’t stock up on fuel either. They land on a mysterious island where the women and the men are out to destroy them. Can the heroes take their guns out in time or is it all over for them.

Right from the start you’ll see that the title is a little misleading. At the very least, you weren’t expecting a bunch of men to be running around right? Well, you’d be wrong. There’s a tribe of men that have been defeating the women left and right, destroying their shroud of Mystery in the process. The girls can’t actually fight that well as they just seem to panic whenever a guy appears who isn’t trying to surrender. It’s easy to see why they’ve been losing the war and so I have to blame this on their commander Lisbeth. (Spelled more like Lisabeth, but they never pronounce the a so I may as well not write it in..) She got drunk with power and is more concerned about destroying her own people than coming up with some good plans. Not a great leader to have on your side if you ask me.

The main characters aren’t much better though. The pilot is a drunk who has seen better days. He drinks up the whole supply so nobody else can use it as a pain reliever and then decides to take a nap in enemy territory. Safe to say that this was his final mistake. He just never became a good character. The body guard was reasonable I suppose since at least he could fight and is crucial in the getaway plan. He isn’t the most interesting of characters but he is good enough.

The guy with the injured eyes doesn’t get to do much more than yell from all of the pain. It certainly isn’t his most impressive showing either. The most interesting character is the really over expressive one. He is constantly yelling hypothetical questions in condescending tones throughout the film. He can never just say something, it is always a yell. I feel like his whole personality with that is rather unintentional but maybe he is supposed to be like that. At the very least, he was certainly trying hard to escape or make a deal. The constant panicking gives the film some form of tension even if it’s not enough to save the atmosphere.

Unfortunately we do get some painful romance with the main characters. It’s certainly sketchy since they point out multiple times that the women on this island stopped growing mentally a long time ago. It seems iffy to start a romance under those circumstances as their only other experience with it up to this point has not been pleasant. The romance never really feels balanced and the film definitely should have avoided this land mine. The film also delves into gritty territory with the whole plot of having the men involved. We really didn’t need the movie to go there and the film should have just been about the women as the hunters, not the hunted. Any mystique of toughness they may have had is eliminated once we learn that the men are on top of the food chain once again. Destroys the whole premise of the film as well.

Finally the film also throws in the animal violence for good measure. This movie definitely was not very subtle right? It basically tries squeezing in every possible negative it could. The shooting definitely comes out of nowhere. Then there is also the painful writing to think about. The dialogue is just terrible. None of the characters are particularly likable as a result. Why did Lisbeth teach everyone such broken English when she was old enough to speak well? Was it another power move? Her English also deteriorated but I suppose it was part of the act. The Nun also didn’t handle the situation well since she never suspected a thing. It’s a little sketchy how everyone would trust Lisbeth so completely as to not even check of the Nun was still around.

There are no redeemable qualities in this film aside from the fact that is is rather short. At least you won’t be watching it for very long. The sad part is that there’s an easy fix, just eliminate the tribe of men from another island. Have the main plot be the main characters being hunted by the Amazon warriors. It would be a much better film and while it may still get gritty, the premise is a whole lot better. It’s not like you’d want to root for the main characters anyway so you wouldn’t mind them getting bumped off.

Overall, this film is definitely a mess. It has so many issues that you’ll wonder how this film was ever created. Clearly the writers didn’t even care for the premise which is why it plays out nothing like what the title suggests. The only thing to do for a film like this one is to simply forget about it. Out of sight and out of mind right? If you want to watch a good film about a mysterious island, check out Scooby Doo, Zombie Island.

Overall 0/10

Elevator To The Gallows Review

It’s time to take a look at a French murder thriller. It’s pretty rare that I see a film which isn’t American or Japanese so it’s always interesting to see how everyone else handles this. It’s a fairly old film as it’s still in the black and white period so as you’d expect the writing is on point. It is partially a romance film which can be rather dramatic, but the film’s at its best when an old guy shows up to mock the teenagers and their subplot. Time to learn more about this guy.

So the film starts off with Julien and Florence recommitting their resolve to murdering her husband so Julien can be the rebound guy. He breaks in and murders the husband pretty easily, but then forgets his rope at the window ledge. He runs back after hours to get it, but as soon as he gets on the elevator the power goes out. He is now stuck with no way to get out and his only hope is that Florence will learn where he is. Meanwhile his car is stolen by Louis and Veronique as they decide to cruise around town. Unfortunately, they decide to commit murder under his name which will further complicate matters. Julien has to trick the cops into not pinning the first murder on him while also avoiding the fake charge of the second. It’s going to be a long day.

From the start the movie makes it clear that the leads are the villains so you are rooting against them. As such, it’s actually pretty satisfying when the elevator crashes and things don’t go right for Julien. He dug his own grave and now he’ll have to get used to it. There’s not much that he can do from this point so you can’t really blame him for a lack of trying. He was the most experienced and talented member of the villains so taking him out of the equation worked well for the cops. He also held up well under interrogation, but eventually he cracked from lack of sleep. The cops always get their man.

You don’t really see this form of interrogation too often, but it is quite effective as getting the suspect to concede their guilt. Physically nothing actually happens to the suspect, but he/she is kept from sleeping until the cops get the story they want. After even 1 day of this it can be tough to function so even the great Julien fell to the technique. You have to be careful about getting a false conviction like this though, but I guess the cops decided it was worth the risk. It did work out well here after all.

Florence isn’t the greatest sidekick you could ask for. She further incriminates Julien by asking around for him everywhere. She was also fooled quite easily by Louis as she thought it was Julien who sped by her. I guess the jacket trick worked, but would Julien really betray her so easily? It may be poetic since she ditched her husband and now has some paranoia that Julien would do the same thing to her. She did a reasonable job of tracking down Louis and making threats, but then she didn’t do a thorough enough job of preventing them from leaving. That’s game over.

Louis is unfortunately the worst character in the film. He is over the top with his many lies which is the only reason he and Veronique were caught. If he had played it cool or even somewhat calmly then he could have escaped. Instead he gets humiliated by a drunk, rich guy and then tries to steal his car. Not a very smart move and then shooting the couple just made an even bigger mess. He even messed up on trying to destroy himself with pills since he didn’t swallow enough of them. So much for that. You’ll be cringing whenever he is on screen. Veronique is a big improvement as she is also insane, but hides it well. She pretends not to want to go along with Louis’ plans, but always relents in the end. She just wants to keep up the appearance of being a good person even if it may not be all that accurate.

My favorite character here was actually the rich guy who kept making fun of Louis. Making fun of the teen was reason enough to like him, but we also can’t forget that this guy saw through the ruse immediately. It’s too bad he underestimated how dangerous the villains were though. The scene of him and his friend getting shot was fairly tragic and probably the saddest scene in the film. I was hoping they were going to live through this since they were a lot of fun. Maybe not too smart in how they handled this, but fun all the same.

It’s good to see the cops looking pretty good here though. They connect the dots between the crimes pretty quickly and then set their plans into motion. Once they nab the suspects it is all over for them. At first you may wonder what is taking them so long, but it’s all just because they are setting their pieces in motion. Getting all of the pieces into play so to speak. It would have been fun to have seen the Jury sentencing, but I suppose the ending gives you a clear enough idea of how it’s going to go down anyway.

The pacing is pretty good. The only plot which probably drags on more than a little bit is Florence’s section. She goes through a great number of shops looking for Julien and after a while it is really just more of the same. You get the point of her search and we know that she stayed up all night so I think a few places could have been cut. The random drunk guy and his friend didn’t seem to serve much of a purpose, but maybe they were just there are red herrings or as world building. Either way, putting more screen time in the elevator plot could have been nice although I’m sure the film didn’t want to make that one feel stale. It’s a tough balancing act.

Overall, This is an interesting film. The ending is very satisfying and probably the best part. The atmosphere is pretty good, but you can’t help but feel bad for the last two victims. It’s hard to be too sympathetic to the first guy since it’s at the very beginning and he was fairly shady anyway, but the other two characters were too hype to be bumped off the way that they were. The romance is pretty bad, but that’s how it is for all rebounds and it goes without saying why Louis’plot was iffy. I’d recommend checking this film out as a retro classic. There are quite a few plot lines going through the movie and it’s nice to see how they all connect.

Overall 5/10

Black Panther Review

It’s time to take a look at the next Marvel Cinematic film! Even though we get 2-3 of these a year, it always feels like such a long wait until the next one. This one has been a long time in the making as Black Panther got a lot of fans after his appearance in Civil War. He was definitely a highlight in that film and remains a great lead in this film. The movie does a good job of not letting the jungle limit it and we do get quite a few nice city scenes as well. All told, it’s a solid addition to the MCU and I’d be up for a sequel although I don’t think there is too much more they can do here in Wakanda so a sequel would probably need to take place at one of the other bases.

The film starts with a quick recap of Wakanda history. We then see the previous Black Panther murder a traitor which sets up the main plot. Right after Black Panther is crowned King of Wakanda, another member of royal blood has shown up to take it back. King T’Challa must now learn what it means to be King and if he even wants to rule such unloyal followers. Either way, he has a duty to stop this villain from launching an attack on the rest of the world or Wakanda will face severe retaliation of the Avenging kind.

I had one big fear when walking into this film and that was that the movie would resort to animal violence since part of Wakanda is essentially a jungle. Then just when I thought I was safe, 3 large Rhinos showed up. Fortunately the film went out of its way to ensure that none of them were hurt. Panther trapped one, a second just ran off, and the third one turned good. Once this scene had been played out, I knew that the film was going to be safe. We also mitigate the jungle aspect as most of Wakanda is actually very high tech and sci-fi esque. I definitely enjoy seeing technology and cities the most so this was good for me. I’m still not a fan of any landscape that isn’t a city of some kind or the inside of a high tech facility. Those just make for the best scenes if you ask me.

The best scenes of the film all take place in the city for the most part. The opening fight scene with Klaw and his gang was handled really well. Panther’s new suit made for some good action effects like when he totaled the car. The old suit was bullet proof which is great, but this one does all of that and more. While the suit is shown to have limitations, this should help him keep up with heavy weights like Spider-Man now. In theory, Captain America would probably lose at this point since their fight was already very close and now landing any damage on Black Panther will be very difficult. It’s a really useful power up and with all of the new tech Panther’s sister is coming up with, he is only going to get stronger.

Pretty much all of the hand to hand fights here are really good. The scene where both Panthers are decimating the opposing armies was a nice contrast as they are both way stronger than the rest of the fighters. Of course, that’s why Black Panther needed to hurry and take the other one out since casualties would run high. Even with this, the film does a good job of making the warriors look reasonably strong. I’d personally say that they looked more impressive than the Amazons in Wonder Woman as these seem to know how to fight and wouldn’t get caught off guard by bullets from people right in front of them. The film also corrects one more thing from the WW film. In that title we learn that the Amazons are also hiding in plain sight by having their island just appear as more water. This doesn’t work for obvious reasons. People just fly through there anyway and then the illusion fades. They would get found out in no time. In Black Panther, the illusion is backed up by being an actual country with borders. They have soldiers and weapons deter anyone from approaching. The deception is simply in appearing to be poorer than they actually are. Maybe this will still be a bit of a stretch for some, but it’s much more believable if you ask me.

Black Panther is a very solid character as I mentioned earlier. While his best appearance will likely always be in Civil War as his character was perfect there, he doesn’t really do anything wrong here. Maybe he should have been quicker to throw the villain out or done more to prevent Klaw from escaping, but you can’t expect him to think of every possible contingency. Thanks to the ritual fights forcing Panther to be in human mode, we do see a more vulnerable version of him. His hand to hand skills actually may be under Bucky, Black Widow, and some of the other hand to hand characters in the series as he has trouble with various fighters, but granted, he should always have the Panther serum for future films so it shouldn’t be a problem. He’s still more than proficient as only high level fighters can hope to defeat him. He may be King, but Panther isn’t stuck up or arrogant yet which is good. Part of why he can be annoying in the comics is that he ends up being like Black Bolt at times where he seems completely corrupt with power. I don’t think the films will be going that route.

Ross is a surprisingly great character and was actually my favorite in the film. He’s a very confident CIA agent who doesn’t back down from anyone. His illegal dealings with Klaw may be suspect, but I get the feeling that he was going to double cross the villain. He’s quick on his feet and an ace pilot as well. He’ll certainly be fun to have around for future films and I’m glad that the CIA has at least one really good member. It seems like they’ve been playing second fiddle to SHIELD for a while so it’s time to finally surpass them. Ross doesn’t really have any bad scenes. Another really good character is Panther’s sister Shuri. She recently got to appear in an animated Avengers episode and based on her portrayal there the film’s depiction was also very accurate. She’s a genius with tech and has come up with many great inventions in a short span of time considering that this takes place only around a week after Civil War. Considering that a big threat like Thanos and his army won’t go down to brute force so easily, her tech will come in handy. She’s not afraid to get on the front lines as well and is just a very charismatic character the whole time.

Killmonger is the main villain of the film and he’s pretty cool. Even before becoming the Panther Killmonger was a very talented fighter as he racked up kills in many different countries. It was interesting to see how he was an undercover agent for the CIA who managed to use the heroes and villains until he finally got into Wakanda. To an extent I do have to question how he knew so much about Wakanda though. He knew about the traditions and seemed just very well aware of the culture in general. We can assume he found the location from the book and since his father was okay with him finding it, maybe that’s when he learned everything. Maybe the book was also just very detailed. Getting Klaw was easy enough since it was relatively common knowledge that he was the one who broke into Wakanda the first time. Killmonger does continue the Marvel tradition of having a villain who has the same abilities as the main hero as he and T’Challa are essentially copies of each other, but that doesn’t really matter to me all that much as long as the fights are good and they were here.

I didn’t care for Klaw though. He’s just not my kind of villain and seems to just get lucky all the time. He’s just a normal guy with a sonic cannon and he isn’t even all that fit. I don’t know how he escaped for this long, but it definitely seems like a stretch. He’s wanted by basically every powerful person on the planet so where can he possibly hide? Well, his plot seems to have finally wrapped up here and I won’t miss him. Okoye was a good member of the Wakanda special forces and is certainly one of their best fighters. Her best combat appearance is probably in the club where she beats up quite a few special agents, but she also puts up a reasonable fight against Killmonger. At that point, tech just beats talent, but otherwise I don’t see any Wakandan fighter beating her in a fair battle.

W’Kabi is a pretty terrible character. I can’t say much about him, but you’ll probably know where his character is heading right from the start. It’s similar to a character beat we saw from Doctor Strange only this one is probably more petty. There’s definitely no saving this character. Nakia is a decent character. She doesn’t get much to do and is overshadowed by the others, but isn’t bad. I do wish we could have avoided the token romance which doesn’t add anything to the film and just seems to be filler, but I guess it wasn’t given much of a focus so it could have been a whole lot worse. Nakia’s Tron Discs were cool though. Between that and the Energy Cannons, we had quite a lot of good weapons that have a lot of potential for future films. She just need a hoverboard or air boots to help her maneuver quicker. Baku’s a fun character s well. He definitely has a strong sense of honor and will repay his debts. When he accepted his defeat gracefully without trying any cheap tricks I had a feeling that he would be a good character. He also has a point that Killmonger beat Black Panther in a fair fight so calling it murder was a little drastic. Blame the outdated ritual system, not the player. Baku made the right decision in the end though and really came through for the heroes.

It can be hard to feel bad for Wakanda when they have such poor traditions though. Why should Black Panther have to fight to be king anyway? I guess it’s to give the other tribes a way to be King, but since it will just cause tensions and potentially get them to split again it doesn’t really seem to be practical. I’m pretty sure T’Challa learned his lesson with that though and probably abolished that rule very quickly. Also, the fact that it’s possible to suffocate underneath the dirt they throw on your for the ceremony is another part where you have to shake your head. What’s with all of these unnecessary risks? Killmonger may not have done it for the right reasons, but at least thanks to him these traditions are probably gone as well. On a side note, I was wondering where Bucky and Captain America were hiding the whole time, but I guess getting involved in this fight would have just made things more complicated. Panther could have certainly used some backup, but it all worked out.

I really enjoyed the soundtrack here. I didn’t care much for the Lion King themes or the tribe tradition music, but a lot of the tunes were surprisingly techno/electronic. It seems like this theme would pop up whenever the villain showed up and basically for any action scene. Good music makes the whole presentation that much better and it definitely worked really well here. I’d say that as far as MCU soundtracks go this would definitely be in the top half. The visuals are also really good. I do like the purple energy that the suit gets from taking a hit and the metallic invention room that the sister uses looks cool. It’s a pretty nice set up for sure. The writing is also solid as you’d expect. The one liners between the characters are usually pretty solid. Killmonger adding a more modern/slang spin to Wakanda was also rather nice. He acts as a bridge between the new and old ways to an extent.

The film does have some of the weakest after credit scenes though. The first one just feels like it should have been the actual ending. It’s not really teasing a lot considering you knew this was where Panther was going with the idea. It’s not a bad scene, but it’s not really much of a stinger either. The second scene is far worse as it is showing us something that we’ve already known. It isn’t even a good character that we see and is just rather boring. You could feel the theater letting out a sigh as we waited for something else to show up and then the clip ended. These scenes are just bonus so they can’t hurt a film at all, but I was still hoping for something a little more hype.

So where do all of the Avengers stack up power-wise now? I’d list the rankings as 1. Thor 2. Hulk 3. Dr. Strange 4. Spider-Man 5. Iron Man 6. Vision 7. Black Panther 8. Captain America 9. Scarlet Witch 10. Black Widow 11. Ant Man 12. Hawkeye. For now I’m not counting the Guardians or the helpers like War Machine and Valkyrie, but I’ll do a more complete list for Infinity War. The suit was definitely enough for Panther to finally pass Cap. Strange could potentially pass Hulk depending on how powerful his magic is in Infinity War and by the same token Vision could drop behind Panther and Cap if he looks really bad without his Gem. Some of these matchups are pretty close so a power up can make all the difference.

Overall, Black Panther is a fun and engaging film. It’s pretty fast paced for the most part so it comes across as very exciting the first time around. I do think it will lack in replay value to an extent because some of the dialogue will likely drag on the second time around along with the flashbacks. When the action is happening the film is at its best but we do get some reasonably long breaks in between the action like getting Panther back into fighting shape and having the council of Wakanda chat about things. The writing is strong though and the cast is good though so it’s certainly a movie that I’d recommend to everyone. It’s good to see another Marvel hero get a stand alone film and we are one step closer to Avengers Infinity War now. I have high hopes for that film and am fully expecting it to be one of the best MCU films yet. There are just so many good ways that the film can play this out that I have to assume they will choose one of them. It’ll be cool to see Panther lend his might to the team as well. Only a few short months left.

Overall 7/10

Teen Wolf Review

It’s time for a teen party film by the name of Teen Wolf. These guys seem to party more than they actually attend class so it makes sense why they are all bad influences on each other. It’s definitely a pretty interesting take on the whole Werewolf genre and I’d actually say that it is handled better than most. It is a lot different than I was expecting it to be at any rate based on the fact that the TV probably chose the worst poster for it. It suffers from quite a few issues, but not any of the Werewolf ones. Instead, it suffers from the issues a teenage party film usually runs into. I guess if it’s not one thing then it’s the other right?

So, the film starts off by showing us how Scott is a lot like Peter Parker. He isn’t very good at sports. In fact, his team never wins a single game. He’s definitely not very popular and Scott just feels like things never go his way. The popular girl in school won’t even talk to him, but in this case it’s Scott who is being obnoxious since he knows she is taken, but acts like that doesn’t even matter. Well, things all change one day when he begins turning into a Werewolf. Now he can finally become the popular guy he always wanted to be, but it may end up coming at the cost of his old friends. Is it worth the popularity?

The film even seems to recognize the similarities to Spider-Man as they reference the “With great power comes great responsibility” line and it’s Scott’s father who tells him this. His mother also may have been murdered by the school bully as he mentions in passing that he’s dealt with Scott’s kind before and how he got the Mom with a shotgun. This could just be classic bully posturing and he got a normal wolf, but the Mom never actually appears so it’s up in the air. I wouldn’t even say it’s all that implied though so it’s a bit of a stretch. You could also say that the film’s moral dilemma is similar to the huge Bayonetta controversy going on right now. You could pay 5.99 to start winning thousands of dollars through tournies and get popular, but you may alienate your old friends as they struggle to keep up with the freemium characters. As your ego grows larger and the friendships grow smaller, it gets tricky.

I have to give the film huge kudos for having a big plot twist that I actually didn’t expect. Naturally Scott is going through a tough time and his Dad wants to help him. At this point, Scott is in full wolf man mode so if he opens the door then his secret is out. However, if he doesn’t then his Dad’s gonna bust the door open. So, Scott opens the door and you expect him to have transformed back to normal in typical cliche fashion. Instead, he is still a werewolf and what’s more..his Dad is a werewolf too. He takes it very commonly and that was probably the best scene in the film. From here on out his Dad probably should have taught him more about being a werewolf whether Scott was ready to hear it or not, but it was still a cool twist even if the film doesn’t do a whole lot with it.

I also like how the Basketball team completely accepts him instead of everyone suddenly turning on Scott. He’s the same guy after all so why should they start fearing him? They shouldn’t suddenly call the cops and start attacking him or anything. Realistically, he’s just another one of the guys, but with super strength and speed now. It made the Basketball scenes even more hype even if he became a ball hog. I don’t buy into Scott not actually realizing why everyone was getting upset at him to be honest since he made it obvious that his friends weren’t needed, but it was still cool. The basketball scenes actually had a lot more screen time and focus than I had originally thought they would. The final game is super cheesy since the team is up against the champs and all, but it’s still a fun ending. I got some Air Bud flashbacks during this. If the film had stuck to the Basketball plot along with the Werewolf part then this film would have actually been quite solid.

Unfortunately, it does get hurt quite a bit by the romance plot as well as the various party scenes. The first party is incredibly long and definitely doesn’t do the film any favors. It’s basically just everyone acting super obnoxious and playing Spin The Bottle sort of games. Scott’s friend Boof is always trying for him, but he’s trying for someone else leading to one of those annoying triangles. Boof is able to corner Scott in the closet and as with most film leads he doesn’t mind relenting at this point, but he’ll still go after the other girl next. It’s just a very sad case of rebounding since Scott ditches Boof like last year’s pizzeria and immediately goes for the other girl even after she had been mean to him the whole time. After the girl uses Scott and then dumps him, he comes crying back to Boof. This isn’t a good romance since Boof was Scott’s backup pick and she should have been the one to reject him this time.

Scott isn’t even a good character so it’s not like you can root for him. The romance scenes make this painfully apparent. Then he lets his ego control him for all of his Werewolf scenes and can’t control his urges much either. I think that just about anyone would have done a better job of using his powers. He also is willing to buy some beer even though he is underage. At least he said no to the gun, but it still wasn’t a good move. His friend Stiles is the perfect example of a bad influence as he loves to break the rules in every possible way. He isn’t lacking in confidence which makes him charismatic, but also dangerous. His only redeemable quality is that he’s loyal to Scott at least. He cheered along with everyone else when Scott finally scored and it was a pretty hype moment. They didn’t care about standing out, just supporting Scott.

The Principal is an interesting antagonist although his role isn’t all that big. He just has a big grudge against Scott since he had issues with Scott’s father. That would probably make for a decently interesting prequel but since we already know the ending, maybe it’s best to let that lie. The principal, well I guess he was technically the vice principal, (but then where was the principal?) may have lost but he put on a good show. Even if Boof probably made the wrong call in sticking with Scott despite the main character not being loyal, she’s still a good character at least. While I doubt she’s much better than the other teenagers as she was still at the party, at least she isn’t completely off the rails.

Surprisingly, the few scenes we see of school aren’t that bad. I did enjoy the montage of Scott getting knocked out during class since they kept referencing Wolves many times. He handled it pretty well for the most part and even when he ran to the rest room he showed great speed and only slipped a few times on the way. The visual humor of how long the hallway was worked pretty well and this scene also showed how perceptive the vice principal was as he almost caught Scott. It also showed us how one of the friends from the early part of the film really was fake since he got scared off so easily.

Finally, I should give a quick shoutout to the basketball coach. He was definitely great as he hit Scott with the hard truth. He always kept it real and said what was on his mind. Even when the other students turned their backs on Scott, the teacher stayed firm. As long as he had his snacks and got 12 hours of sleep he was close content. At the end of the day that was all he needed and really was a great coach. He is easily the best character in the film and any scene with him in it tends to be pretty hype.

Overall, Teen Wolf is better than I thought it’d be. The humor isn’t bad and the Basketball scenes are really good. It’s just the dreadful party scenes that don’t help matters and Scott is a very poor lead. You can’t feel bad for him because as the Dad mentioned, he dug these holes on his own. Going out with the girl who was only using him was probably the worst part of that. It’s not really a film that I’d recommend, but I can see why it’s well liked. The two best aspects of the film, Basketball team accepting Scott and the father being a Werewolfs were extremely well handled and were really unexpected. It’s not everyday that a film can pull off something that is unexpected while also being good. That alone is enough to keep this film afloat even if it can’t get any higher than that. I think that what we have learned here is that if you want to be a good Werewolf film then you also need to try and be a good sports film. That’s the ticket to victory.

Overall 6/10