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

Ghost Review


It’s time to look at a film dealing with the supernatural. It’s always interesting when the hero becomes a ghost as opposed to the villain for a change. Usually you see the villains messing with everyone like in the Grudge or something and the heroes are all bumped off. On the other hand, when a hero uses the power usually they aren’t quite as strong for some random reason so it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Ultimately I was glad Sam got some powers and it’s a reasonable movie, but there are things that hold it back a bit.

The movie starts with things going pretty well for Sam and Molly. Sam’s crunching the numbers at the bank and Molly’s doing pretty well with her pottery and sculpting. Sam’s noticed that some numbers aren’t adding up at his company, but he’ll figure out the issue soon. Time is on his side…or that’s what he thought until one day he is mugged in a dark alley and murdered. It all happened so suddenly that Sam’s soul is unable to move on and now he can only watch without interacting with anybody. That’s when he learns that the whole thing is a conspiracy. His murder wasn’t accidental and if he doesn’t do something quick then his wife Molly will be in trouble. Sam is forced to enlist the aid of a supernatural medium scammer named Oda. Can he convince her to work with him on this?

The concept here is pretty sound and a classic. The main character gets murdered so now he has to solve the case from beyond the grave and see to it that the villain doesn’t get away. It’s certainly frustrating for Sam at first since he can’t interact with anything, but gradually he gets used to his abilities which makes him more of a formidable threat to everyone involved. Sam’s power does go to his head a bit as he has a tendency to play with his food rather than finishing the job and goes for a quick hug even though it puts everyone in danger thanks to the side effects. He’s not perfect, but he’s still a pretty solid main character.

Unfortunately the heroine Molly ends up faltering here. She’s good at first and seems like a supportive character. Where she really ends up failing is when Sam’s friend Carl shows up and she rebounds with him even though Sam only died a few days ago. That’s so incredibly soon that it’s crazy. Even if you ignore the fact that she thought he may still be around as a ghost or that he was grisly murdered…it’s only been a few days since he was gone. No matter how sad she was there’s really no excuse for going with this guy. I thought that whole scene was pretty terrible and I have to say that it did end up hurting the score.

We had gotten quite a few romantic scenes with Sam and Molly earlier so it just made those feel hollow. In general the romance just wasn’t written well as a result and we could have just cut those scenes entirely and replaced with more supernatural hi-jinx. Maybe have Sam troll a bunch of people from beyond the grave by moving things around. It is entertaining to see him messing with Willie and Carl. He also annoys Oda quite a lot until she eventually agrees to help him. When you’ve got ghost abilities you may as well use them right?

Carl’s a pretty terrible character right away. The instant he starts going after Molly you know there’s no hope for him. It’s also fairly obvious where his character is going even before Sam dies with his line about how the numbers aren’t adding up after he gives away his account numbers. It’s definitely a good lesson on why you shouldn’t trust people too much. There are certain things you should never give someone else like your social security number or password to your office computer. Those are things that just always ring true and nobody ever needs to know those things either. The deadlines were quickly approaching but you’ve still got to not budge on this.

Oda is a pretty fun character. She’s definitely reluctant to help and has to be convinced quite a lot and at different points in the film. Oda also tends to mess up on things like writing out a check and pretending to be someone else, but at the end of the day at least she is an ally who is here to help Sam. Those were in short supply. Also, she’s just a lot of fun. All of her scenes are pretty entertaining and in part it’s because all of her reactions are pretty well justified and realistic. It’s incredibly hard for anyone to part with 4 million, especially when you’ve been taking life or death risks all day. You feel like you should at least get 1% of that which would still be a pretty good sum. Not everyone can get rich though and at least she kept the moral high ground.

One of the best scenes is when Sam goes into a train and is confronted by another ghost. It was cool because we hadn’t sen anyone else until then and it was also the first moment where Sam experienced real danger as a ghost because this guy could actually interact with him as if Sam was still alive. It was a shocking moment for the lead and he did his best to adjust. My issue with Sam here was just that he went down awfully quick without even landing a counter blow. I like to think that he would at least have done something.

Overall, Ghost is a decent movie. It’ll keep you entertained as you watch it even if you’ll question the characters at different points. Sam really should have been able to end things with the villains a lot sooner than he did. If anything the instant that one of them threatened to murder his wife at the end if Sam didn’t meet his demands, Sam should have taken him down. Waving a knife doesn’t do anything to someone who’s intangible and at the time Molly was still upstairs. Sam could have just reached over and ended the guy in many different ways. There are even hundreds of non lethal ways to take him down. My point here is really that Sam didn’t use his abilities nearly as well as he could have and was probably having too much fun with the villains when everyone could have already been safe by then. That was my main issue along with Molly not staying strong at least for a longer period of time, but even then if you go with anyone it should never be the best friend. If you want to see a movie with this interesting concept then I’d recommend checking it out. Otherwise I don’t think you’ll be missing a whole lot.

Overall 5/10

9 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Knight and Day Review


It’s time to look at a thriller film that I hadn’t heard of before now. It’s definitely the definition of a cinematic hidden gem as this is a movie that can hold its own with top notch titles like Mission Impossible and Jack Reacher. It’s a blast and a half from start to finish with a good blend of action and humor. The characters are written well and I didn’t really have any problems with the movie. It was firing on all cylinders.

The movie starts with June getting ready to go on a plane as she is heading to her sister’s wedding. She bumps into a mysterious man named Roy twice at the airport and nearly doesn’t get to go onto the flight due to technical difficulties, but ultimately ends up on it. While she uses the rest room this mysterious man beats up everyone on the plane and shoots both of the pilots. He tells her to forget about him and then June wakes up at home. Unfortunately her life will never be the same as now there are a lot of people out to murder her and she may have just gotten in a little over her head.

Knight and Day really doesn’t waste any time. The opening fight scene on the plane is fantastic and the best action scene in the whole movie. Now that’s a good way to get my attention right from the jump. It was really like a Mission Impossible moment and Roy is a secret agent so it all makes a lot of sense. I think at this early stage you can feel the part parody elements kicking in a bit just with how crazy it is that June doesn’t hear any of the commotion right outside the bathroom. It makes for a very entertaining sequence though and that’s really just foreshadowing for how much action we would be getting later on. There’s always some kind of fight scene going on.

One gag that the movie uses several times is how Roy keeps using a drug to knock June out. She’ll then wake up and fall back into slumber as the drug wears off where you see bits and pieces of other crazy adventures like Roy pushing her out of a plane, beating up someone after being tied up while upside down, etc. There’s a good chunk of action scenes that we don’t even get to see because she is knocked out. June can be a bit slow on the uptake for a good portion of the film which is partially why Roy has to always be knocking her out. The gag only goes a little too far with the beach one when June finds out that she has changed attire somehow. Fortunately the movie saves itself a bit here by having June turn the tables on him later on. I think having that final scene was absolutely necessary because she did need some kind of “revenge”on him. It’s also just a good scene establishing her as a partner rather than a liability. Interestingly the film had a similarity to Coma in that respect, but completely reversed.

While June did panic a lot as I mentioned, she’s a decent character. She improves a little too late in the game for me to call her a very good character or anything like that, but contributing a bit is better than not at all. June’s reservations to a good extent are pretty valid though because Roy does seem crazy quite a lot of the time. If not for the other groups seeming even shadier then she would definitely be right to just get away from him the whole time. You really can’t trust a guy who in your first encounter just murdered a whole plane filled with people.

Meanwhile Roy is definitely a terrific character. Yeah he can be a bit dicey with all the drugging at times, but aside from the resort occasion every other time at least made some kind of sense. The villains probably would have murdered June if she was awake in one moment and in the other scenarios she would have gotten them both murdered. Roy enjoys a good fight quite a lot to the point where he does tend to go a little gun happy. The guy always appears to be a bit paranoid, but when you’re in the espionage business that’s just how it is. Roy is always one step ahead of everyone else and his boundless confidence is excellent. He’s one of the best main characters I’ve seen in quite a long time.

Then you have the supporting characters like the genius Simon. He’s definitely the weakest character here because he’s just a little too loopy. Genius characters in film are always portrayed to be rather quirky, but I’d say that this guy is just a little too far gone. He never seems to know what is happening and walks into every trap. I’d have liked him to have had a little more agency. The villains are pretty fun though. The main one is nice and charismatic, always having an answer for everything. He may be a little on the obvious side as far as villains go, but some villains just can’t hide their malice.

Another cool scene in the film is when an assassin shows up and does battle with Roy. It was a nice battle scene as well since the room is so small, making both of them really have to bring their A game. Roy is a top notch agent, but assassins are also at the top of their craft so it makes sense that this one would be able to keep up with Roy pretty well. I could go on and on with the various fights in this film, but basically what you need to know is that every action scene is top notch. There are also quite a lot of action scenes which is quite excellent and you’ll be having a blast here.

As I mentioned there is also a lot of good humor here as well. Pretty much any scene in the first half with Roy and June will have some humor as he does something crazy and she does her best to take it well. He’s pretty nonchalant about taking down guys by the dozens while June just wants to have a normal life. Then you’ve also got the scene at the diner where he makes some small talk with a fireman before having to take the shot. Even then Roy does it in such a way where the guy isn’t really all that injured and will become a hero now.

One of the more impressive scenes for Roy is at the end where it turns out that he planned out quite a few things. Almost the entire movie played into his plans in one way or another which is crazy. It’s something you’d expect from the mastermind villain of a trilogy, not the main character of a quick action film. I suppose if the film has any weak points it is that the romance is rather weak. June falls for Roy a little too quickly and appears to be a bit desperate. In her defense, I suppose Roy seems like the perfect guy, but even then 15 minutes or so is wayyyyyy too quick to be making a move.

Overall, Knight and Day is definitely a great film. I’d even call it elite. There is a lot of replay value to be found here so you can easily watch this movie at any time. Even the smaller subplots end up being quite great. There’s one involving an elderly couple that is a lot of fun as they keep winning things that they didn’t even enter. It’s just a nice plot that serves to give more development to a certain character while also letting two innocent characters get a happy ending. You rarely see a film look out for the minor characters like this so it was definitely good. The ending is great and I’d be up for a sequel someday.

Overall 9/10

Live Action Movies

Searching for Bobby Fischer


At first with this title I figured that the movie was actually going to be about finding Bobby. It soon became apparent that it was more in a meta sense though as the main character uses chess in a similar fashion so in a way the world is re-obtaining Bobby’s skills through him. It’s probably a little too soon to say for sure since Josh is so young, but he is definitely a prodigy so he is getting there.

The movie starts with Josh walking through the park with his Mom and notices some guys playing speed chess in the park. There’s a lot of trash talking going on and he quickly gets interested in the game. At home he makes a chess board of sorts with his action figures and teaches himself how to play. After that he goes to the park and fights one of the champs. Even though Josh lost he used a lot of crazy techniques that most 6 year olds wouldn’t have been able to do. Eventually he starts to play the game seriously and the parents hire a coach named Bruce. Thing is, Bruce has very radical views on chess and is trying to teach Josh to be a meaner person and to hold people in contempt. Can Josh prove that he can win without changing himself for the worse?

This is definitely a pretty enjoyable film. I have to admit that Josh being a bit older would have been nice though. It would have taken away from the prodigy part though. He’s not a bad main kid even if he makes some questionable moves at the film goes on. There is a fight or two where it feels like he threw the match on purpose but the film actually plays it off like he may have lost legitimately by the end. If he wasn’t in the right state of mind then it is reasonable that his play would suffer as a result although to that extent is a little odd. I guess we do have to take into account the fact that all of the kids in these tournaments are pretty well versed in the game so making one or two big mistakes could be fatal.

Josh receives a lot of pressure from all sides on being better at chess which does come close to breaking him. I am glad that he ultimately did not become a mean kid though and with thew support of his Mom was able to escape the tutor before things escalated too far. Bonnie gets less of a role than some of the other characters, but all of her scenes are solid. She doesn’t give an inch when Bruce makes various demands and clearly doesn’t care for the guy fairly early on. Chess is important, but she doesn’t want Josh to lose any other part of himself in the meantime. At some point Chess had become more than just a game which was dangerous.

Meanwhile Josh’s Dad got a pretty big role. Fred got pretty excited when Josh began to get really good at Chess. He is proud of him, but then at the same time the victories started becoming a big part of Fred’s life as well. He did enjoy being in the spotlight and got fairly possessive of Fred. After a while he wouldn’t even console Josh that a loss would be okay as he expected the win every time. Fred never goes off the deep end as Bonnie brings him back from that and ultimately he is able to remember what is really important. Fred and Josh go fishing and do a lot of the other fun activities they used to do before Chess and that gives Josh a more balanced life.

Bruce is the teacher and he’s definitely the worst character in the movie. The film goes too far in painting him as an antagonist for you to like him much by the end. Part of it goes back to how Bruce grew up since he is used to everything being strict and applies it in his teaching. Once he starts to tell Josh to hate everybody and skips games that’s when it goes too far. I also don’t get Bruce’s rationale here. He’s teaching Josh how to play Chess but doesn’t want him to play in the park or enter tournaments? What is Josh going to do with these skills then? The tournaments part I was particularly surprised about. Fred accuses Bruce of just wanting to make money and he may be right. 60 an hour to hang out is crazy since Bruce wasn’t even playing Chess with him in every meeting. I think once they kicked him out of the house that really should have been it for his screen time in the film. It was too late for him.

You also didn’t need Bruce to return because Vinnie smoothly stepped into the mentor role. While his style of play is primarily advantageous for speed chess, the fundamentals don’t go away. I also agree with him that it’s best to play to win as opposed to “not to lose.” because at the end of the day you should be aiming for victory. He’s the most entertaining character in the film and I was glad he was invited to watch the match in the end. He was a great friend for Josh and was the only one who was there for him 100% of the time. Vinnie doesn’t hold grudges and just seems like a fun guy. Vinnie’s the kind of guy you’d want to play in a chess match as his constant banter helps make the whole round more enjoyable as well.]

The movie also tackles the unique issue of being the best in your field. It’s something you see from a lot of people in real life as it’s a tough spot to be in. If you lose then everyone’s disappointed in you, but if you win everyone will either dislike you for beating the underdog or at the very least won’t be impressed because you always win. A lot of times the player at the top ultimately retires or just tries to get a lower ranking because the pressure is too much. For a kid this would especially be difficult.

Overall, You’ll need to like Chess a lot to get the most out of the film, but the story is strong enough where you can watch just for Josh. I think the only weak part of the film is all of the flashbacks about Bobby Fischer because it didn’t really feel all that relevant. You could cut him out of the film and nothing would really change. If anything it just took away from the main story but I suppose the film was trying to go for some parallels here. Based on what we hear about Bobby, Josh is already a much kinder player and that should take him far. Based on the epilogue we get, he already made quite a name for himself in Chess.

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

Miracle on 34th Street (1994) Review


It’s time to look at another adaption of Miracle on 34th Street. It’s definitely a pretty well known story to have so many adaptions and it’s a story that doesn’t grow old so it’s always cool watching it again. This film does a good job of telling the story. There really isn’t a lot different from the others if you ask me, but it’s all executed well as expected. I dare say that it may even beat the original this time around. There are no real weaknesses here although Santa is a little more emotional than I’d expect.

The movie starts off with Kris (AKA, possibly the real Santa) noticing that the Santa who would be in the big parade is drunk. He’s pretty outraged about this and scolds the guy before going on his merry way. Dorey shows up and fires the guy before heading over to Kris and making him the new Santa. It all goes very well for a while with Kris helping the store’s reputation and making everyone happier. The villains don’t like this though so the rival store hires two thugs to bring the drunk Santa back and frame Kris. Kris will have to think quickly in order to turn things around or he may spend a long time in jail.

One change here I suppose is that corporate is more of an active villain. The CEO actually gets complete villain music accompanying him and his two lackeys are basically the villains from Home Alone. They’re not the brightest characters around and tend to make a mess of things, but they keep on trying. They actually do get some success in the end with their framing plan so I have to give them some props here.

I have to take props away from Kris though. He gets easily tricked and provoked by the villains pretty quickly as he takes his cane out and whirls it around like a weapon. It’s not very hard for the villains to make it look like he’s making an attack and the drunk follows him around outside to seal the deal. Didn’t anyone see this guy harassing an elderly citizen? It’s a shame that nobody on that block had the courage to defend him or to at least back up his story of being provoked. The thing is though, Santa shouldn’t have resorted to violence so quickly anyway. He needs to be the bigger man in this situation and in the end he just didn’t pull it off.

As for the other characters, we’ve got a good cast. Susan is better than the average kid character in most films. She is skeptical of Santa existing which is good because he is fake. I’m actually with Dorey here on not teaching her kid that Santa is real because it’s good to keep them honest from the start. Even if you let the kid choose for herself if she wants to believe in Santa or not, you shouldn’t be trying to convince her of something that’s not true. Dorey could let her be into more kid stuff, but she didn’t seem unreasonable and I dare say that Susan turned out pretty well from what we saw.

As a result I’m less on Bryan’s side here. He is really trying to push the Santa angle despite it not being what Dorey wants. He really shouldn’t be surprised when she turns down his proposal which also was a little bit out of the blue. He seems like a nice guy for sure, but given how long he’s been with Dorey he really shouldn’t have been quite as surprised as he was at her answer. It seemed to be pretty in character for her.

Then we have Dorey who is a pretty solid character. She is absolutely a facts person who has no time for Santa or things like that. She’s also handled the annual parade for so long that she doesn’t really care about it anymore. I suppose if I was doing the same parade year after year I probably wouldn’t care about watching it and would just take a nap too.

One of the best parts of any film with a court scene is the actual court scene and this movie was no different. It was a lot of fun to see Kris enter the stage and to have everyone making a ton of comments. Kris did almost ruin the whole thing again and proved himself to be a tough character to root for, but everyone else was ready to do the majority of the legwork. It’s a fun set of scenes and managed to stay entertaining all the way though.

Miracle on 34th Street has good pacing and is just a lot of fun. It’s a solid film to see on Christmas especially, but would hold up well at any time. The writing is sound and the character cast is good. Kris is weaker than in the previous adaption, but it countered by having a better kid and I do like how the villains were handled as well. It’s fine to have them get a little extra animated considering how much money is at stake. It’s reasonable for the villains to be trying anything they can.

Overall, What more needs to be said? This is a very fun film you can watch with the whole family and debate on if Santa is real in this film or not. The movie is fairly ambiguous on it and you could make the case that some things don’t make sense if he doesn’t have supernatural abilities. Personally I think that this version of Kris just was a bit insane. At the very least he seemed to take things literally a whole lot and didn’t notice when people were making fun of him or putting him in a bad spot. Being the real deal doesn’t mean he had to be smarter, but it would have helped his case. If he is a bit crazy then it’s fine for everyone to be tricking him the whole time.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movies

Chariots of Fire


It’s time to look at the well know Chariots of Fire film based on the real events of the 1924 Olympics and follows the two runners Harold and Eric. Both characters get a lot of screen time so you can say that this film really has 2 main characters as opposed to one. We see their motivations and both have a lot of trials to get through in order to perform at this event. It’s a pretty solid adaption.

Eric is a very talented runner who has had a lot of success over the years. He has now been selected to go to the Olympics and is thrilled about the opportunity. He does receive some push back from his sister Jennie though who believes that he should be focusing on his missionary work and that it is distracting him from God. Eric’s counter is that God gave him his speed for a reason and he honors him through running. Eric also does intend to do the missionary travels, he just wants to run this race first.

His main dilemma is that one of the big races in the Olympics is on the sabbath and so he can’t race. Eric gets a lot of pressure from the committee and basically everyone involved, but doesn’t budge on this. It’s definitely why he ended up being my favorite character in the film. Harold and the others are solid as well, but Eric to me had the strongest resolve. He did not waver or even seem hesitant about his decision at any point. From start to finish he was not going to race.

His actions also proved that he hadn’t put God behind racing and always had his priorities straight. Whether or not the other racers agreed with his decision or not was immaterial to him at that point. It was the right call. Meanwhile, I wasn’t a big fan of Jennie because I feel like she should have been more supportive throughout. Having someone there who has your back is very important rather than having to do everything on your own.

Then we have Harold who has always known himself to be the fastest runner. This changes when he is defeated by Eric and now he is desperate to claim victory in the re-match and prove himself once more. It’s easy to see why he was frustrated since he always used to win, but the guy isn’t quite as humble as Eric. Furthermore, I would make the case that Eric was more talented even after Harold improved through the training. Eric was just really gifted so there shouldn’t be any shame in losing to him.

An interesting parallel is that Harold had much more support throughout the film. His fiancee Sybil was around to knock him out of his depression from the first bout. While he wasn’t in the best place art the time, it was definitely important to have her there because otherwise he would have been too stubborn to change enough for the future rounds. Then you have his coach Sandy who was really solid. He helped Harold pick up his form and do little things that improved his overall speed. There is a point where being self taught will have its limits so having a coach is extremely handy.

That’s not to say that Harold had an easy time throughout though. The College did not like that Harold hired this coach trying to say that it’s just not done and making up various excuses, but there is nowhere in the rules that forbids it. There was a lot of passive aggressive talk in the room, but Harold stuck to his guns with his coach and ended up doing quite well.

As this is based on a true story the ending does get a bit sad for one of the characters. It is good that the movie chose to stay accurate rather than omitting things just to make it more uplifting. Either way you see the complete story for both characters and see all of the good they did. Both of them brought honor to God in their own ways and ran really good races.

Overall, Chariots of Fire is a pretty good film. You’ll definitely see a lot of running throughout with various montages and such as they hone their skills and race in bigger and bigger settings. I haven’t seen a whole lot of running based films so it was definitely engaging. A fun thing about the sport of running is how simple it is. Ultimately you just have to get faster and faster. Whether you win or lose will totally depend on how you perform. There are no random elements to consider or outside factors that start to appear. It just comes down to whether or not you’re fast.

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

Coma Review


It’s time for an old school thriller dealing with a massive conspiracy. Conspiracy films like this are always pretty interesting because even though you know the heroes are most likely doomed you want to judge how realistic it is. Conspiracies have and continue to happen in real life. Not everything is a conspiracy though as much as it may seem like that if you stay online long enough. Conspiracy films have to feel at least a little believable and I have to say that this one passes the bill here. You could see this happening to an extent, the fact that it came out in the 70s helps a lot since there would be less cameras and such back then to actually be double checking everything.

The film starts with Dr. Susan working in the surgical wing of a big hospital. She is one of the place’s best workers and always gives each task her 100% effort. It has paid off quite well for her, but one day her best friend dies during what was supposed to be a normal operation. Everything in the chart looks perfectly normal so Susan is disturbed, but the doctors tell her that it was just a freak accident. This doesn’t calm her down and her boyfriend Mark, who is also a surgeon at the hospital, does not seem to believe her. As Susan tries to dip deeper into this she notices a lot of other identical cases and now there is an assassin trying to hunt her down. Who knows the truth about it and who can Susan trust? She’ll have to think about all of this very carefully.

This film is definitely a thriller and does a good job of it. You’ve got a nice heavy atmosphere from the jump with danger seemingly around every corner. You never really feel like Susan is all that safe because the people in the hospital know where she lives thanks to employment records and she still does have to show up to work or she’ll lose her job. She could move out of town, but running away isn’t in Susan’s playbook. She wants to solve this case no matter the danger. Fortunately Susan is a lot smarter and more resourceful than a lot of main characters. She’s always careful not to trust people too much.

Susan also doesn’t let her emotions get the better of her when her friend dies. She keeps a level head throughout and the only times she goes down is when she literally faints of exhaustion. By and large she is careful not to fall for any traps. You do have to wonder how Susan and Mark are together though because they don’t seem to get along at all throughout the whole movie. Even before the conspiracy they were having a lot of issues.

Mark doesn’t seem to believe Susan for most of the film. In his defense her story does seem far fetched and he still does help her out a lot of the time. Eventually he just starts to get in a little out of his depth and he also wants the big manager position so he has to try and keep her out of trouble in the meantime. Ultimately in the end he does make the right decision so that was good. The film’s ending is a lot better than I expected it to be. It still has that dark vibe where you don’t know who is safe, but it’s a lot less futile than others I’ve seen in this genre. The film lets you interpret everything however you’d like in the end. The two cops who were hanging around at the end? Maybe they’re legitimate cops or they could be silencers from “the company.” Both scenarios can be supported so you just have to decide what you think. Personally I definitely think it’s the latter.

So this sounds like a pretty great movie right? Well, it’s certainly very engaging, but it’s ultimately a film that wasn’t really going to get a very high score. The main reason for this is the various hospital scenes we get. We do get a lot of surgical operation moments which can be pretty grimacing. I’ve never been a fan of these kinds of things and while it may be a little unavoidable in a film that takes place in a hospital, it’s still hard to get around. There are a ton of these scenes and so they’re pretty violent even if it’s not in a combat scenario. It’s also pretty grim how they’re murdering all of these patients who are sedated.

We get to see one location with a lot of bodies in the middle of the film. It’s definitely a suspicious place with how it’s totally abandoned and nobody finds out about all the bodies there until Susan strolls through. It’s all a bit disturbing since everyone is naked of course and are being kept stable by some sci-fi robotic contraption. By this point in the film we’re definitely all the way inside the conspiracy. Money was always going to be at the root of something like this. Why do a conspiracy unless it’s going to make you rich right?

The romance in the film is a bit on the weak side. As I mentioned the pairing of Susan and Mark doesn’t really give itself time to make sense. We only have a quick beach adventure with them for the most part though. Usually the film is too busy with the thriller aspects to worry about the drama and I think that’s definitely a smart move. The action scenes are pretty solid here. You have the assassin going around bumping everyone off and he’s always one step behind Susan. When they’re playing cat and mouse it’s pretty tense as you wonder which room to pick. I always thought it’s an interesting backdrop to be in a big building because you could potentially pick the right door and the guy would never find you. On the other hand if you pick the wrong one then you’ve just boxed yourself in. There are pros and cons to switching rooms around.

Due to the nature of the film I can’t talk about the film’s story much further because a lot of the intrigue comes from going in blind. You want to start connecting the dots yourself while examining everything closely. Everyone and everything deserves a second look in this kind of movie because you just don’t know what’s going to happen next. It also reminds me why I’m glad I don’t work the midnight shift because I would probably start seeing ghosts everywhere. Give me the afternoon sun anytime!

Overall, Coma is a very interesting film. Films about conspiracies like this are almost guaranteed to be engaging and you should be at the edge of your seat throughout. You will need to have a high tolerance for looking at medical situations though as surgeries are being performed while the movie is on. If you can get past that then you should enjoy this film. While the film’s apparently PG please keep in mind that you’ll want to see a TV version which censors the naked bodies that show up in the second half of the film. Otherwise that could get a little dicey for viewers. So based on all of this you should be ready to make the decision on if you’re seeing the film or not.

Overall 3/10

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

Meet me in St. Louis Review


It’s time to look at a fairly old film about lots of romance and drama. It’s not one of those old classics that has aged really well with a compelling story. On the contrary the characters can be a bit on the annoying side and most of them tend to make the wrong choices time and time again. In particular you’ll feel bad for one character who just wants to move to New York where everything will be amazing, but is being guilt tripped by everyone. The film definitely had potential and could/should have been better, but ultimately was not able to step up to the plate.

The movie starts off by introducing us to the various characters. First off we have Rose who is the eldest daughter and she is expecting a phone call from her beloved with an offer for marriage. Well, he does call but doesn’t really have anything to say which ends up hurting her day. Perhaps everyone was just too hasty in assuming anything important was going to be in the call though. That’s what happens when you let the assumptions rise with no real basis. Well, at least there is a big dance coming up so she can look forward to that.

Then you have Esther who has fallen for the next door neighbor. She isn’t really sure how to approach him though which mostly leads to a lot of scenes of the two characters not knowing what to do. John seems to like Rose at first, but eventually comes around. Their relationship gets put to the test when Esther’s little sister Tootie tells her that John hit her. Family should always come first, but would her next door neighbor really do such a thing? Meanwhile her father ALonzo has received a promising job offer in New York and so he plans to leave and of course the whole family would have to go as well. Can Esther really start fresh?

I think one of the main problems for this film is the fact that it’s a romance film that has a lot of weak romances spread together. For starters Esther falls for John almost instantly without even meeting him when he moves in. It feels quite superficial from the start and at least in their first meeting with turning off the lights he doesn’t even seem that interested. Then after she assaults him in retaliation for allegedly hitting her sister he takes it in stride almost too well. He has that “Things happen” kind of attitude about it and so they stay together.

Hey, it’s nice that he’s so cool about it I suppose, but you’d think he’d at least he asking some more questions as to why she came over and beat him up without a word. She didn’t even explain it when she came back. Where John drops the ball is at the final dance though. At the last moment he shows up and explains to Esther that he can’t go with her because he lost track of time playing Basketball and didn’t pick up the suit. Really? That’s one of the worst excuses I’ve ever heard. Look, if you’re taking a girl to the dance then you’ve got to actually take her. Cancelling at the last second is completely terrible. If he doesn’t have a suit then he should still go with her even if he’s in more of an informal attire. Maybe he’ll be embarrassed, but it’s the least he could do since otherwise he’s just wrecked Esther’s night as well. It’s not her fault that he isn’t good at managing time. John’s just not a good character. Esther may not always be the best, but at least she definitely wouldn’t pull something like that.

Lon gets one of the smaller roles from the group of kids. He’s the only son in the family and likes a girl in the town, but that relationship is barely even referenced until it happens at the very end of the movie. You could cut Lon out and nothing really changes. Meanwhile Rose gets more of a role, but definitely does seem more stuck up than the others. I think part of it is that she just has a hard time talking to the others and doesn’t always mean to appear arrogant, but it’s just how she keeps her guard up. Her character isn’t nearly as interesting as Esther’s. Then there is the old grandpa in the house who looks good. He at least arrives to help Esther when John ends up completely failing.

All right, now we’ve got the best and the worst characters left to talk about. Who should go first? Let’s start with Tootie. She’s the youngest kid and a chronic liar. Lying is already pretty bad, but when you’re lying to get someone else in trouble then it’s even worse. She makes up a story about John hitting her and everyone believes Tootie since I guess most people don’t know she tends to lie. After they find out Tootie basically gets away scott free as everyone comments how funny it is. I don’t see what’s so funny about really hurting someone’s reputation by saying that they hit kids. Tootie should have definitely been punished for that. Throughout the movie she’s also just generally annoying as she likes to say edgy stuff for no good reason.

The whole night party in the neighborhood was also a scene that started to drag on for quite a while. Nothing was really happening except Tootie ended up throwing powder in an old man’s face as part of a dare. Again, she is definitely the worst character without a doubt and the film started to get pretty mean spirited here. Some of these scenes seem to have been supposed to be funny, but they were far from it. The humor did not land in this film and I’d question the writing as well.

Finally we have Alonzo who does his best to fix the film. From the start you feel bad for him since he arrives home after a long day at work and everyone wants him to skip his bath and eat dinner hours early. He’s pretty confused at this and asks why this is the case, but they all just lie to him. I’m glad he insisted on taking the bath and then came in later on. Likewise he gets the same treatment at the end as he gets a new job which will pay a lot more and comes home all excited…only for everyone to give him grief about this. Alonzo can’t catch a break throughout the whole film and it’s a shame because he just seems like a really nice guy who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time. He doesn’t hold it against the others, but it does make for a lot of pretty emotional scenes.

Overall, Meet me in St. Louis is a film that had a reasonable premise, but ended up dropping the ball. You really need to drop Tootie and then the film could rise up to at least a 5 or maybe even a 6. She just holds everyone back, but in general was just the biggest issue here. I’d say that the writing was really at fault with characters making questionable decisions and the pacing wasn’t very good. It’s a fairly long film that feels long. The ending should have also just had them all go to New York. It would have been the perfect ending and then at least Alonzo would have gotten some kind of win. He earned that much.

Overall 4/10

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

A Star is Born (1976) 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 more negative

It’s time to look at another take on the A Star is Born story. Unfortunately this is the weakest one and it’s not even close. This version tries to take things on a darker path with the characters not being nearly as good as in the old ones. There’s not a whole lot of fun to be had here and the movie relies on edge over substance. Sometimes you just shouldn’t remake a film over and over because you’re going to be tempted to change things. Well, this one definitely changed things all right, but they didn’t do it for the better.

The film starts off with a bunch of guys waiting for the main singer to arrive so they can start the concert off. Unfortunately he appears to be late as always and is holding everything up. He eventually shows up, but is drunk out of his mind as usual and messes things up. He decides to go to a club at night instead of practicing for the gig the next day and meets up with Esther. He convinces her to come along with him to the next show and eventually she starts to get some gigs of her own. Before he knows it more people want to hear Esther sing than him. As John’s career continues to slip hers continues to rise and he doesn’t take it well. Can John clean up his act long enough to be a reasonable character or will he just keep on sinking?

One of the main differences here compared to the other versions is that John actually was still pretty popular at the beginning of the film. In the others John had already started to be on the decline. I’d also argue that this version of him was more irresponsible than the others. John is already doing drugs in his first scene and spends over half of his screen time drunk. It’s really hard to come back from something like that and you can’t blame anyone but himself for his falling out of the limelight. Every scene John is in is pretty annoying especially because he never even tries to improve himself. The guy is given tons of opportunities to do just that until those chances are finally exhausted. He even had more of a solid network of friends compared to previous versions of the character and he still blew it. I couldn’t deal with him after that.

That’s not even taking into account that he randomly cheats on her near the end of the film. This really felt like the writers were trying to make the guy as unlikable as possible and that wasn’t needed with how bad he was. The whole scene was just very mean spirited and I feel like there should have been no coming back for him from there.

As for Esther, she’s a reasonable lead although not quite as nice as the first two. Part of why her character isn’t as good is how quick she is to get together with John when they don’t even know each other. If anything you’d think that he would have made a bad impression on her since his first appearance is wrecking her show and getting into a drunk fight with some random guy. He also very quickly tried to get into her house. She seems to dismiss this as just being quirky and then they get together, but the whole romance plot made no sense. The romance happens very quickly and without any build up. At least the older films tried in this area.

Esther tries to handle the situation as best she can so she doesn’t do a bad job there. If she was dealing with a reasonable man then I dare say that she would have been quite successful. Unfortunately John is anything but reasonable. If he could have tried to work with her at all then this all could have been avoided, but at this point I’m just re-hashing the same point. John’s terrible, we get it. Lets move on. Esther does her best to get through all of this to the point where she is too forgiving and takes away from her strength as a lead. If anything her manager/John’s old manager is a more balanced character as he isn’t afraid to call John out each time and doesn’t reward his bad behavior.

Unfortunately the writing is also pretty bad here which doesn’t help matters. There’s a ton of language since John’s pretty vulgar most of the time. The characters aren’t written in a way where you can root for them. Some of the songs aren’t bad, but overall they’re weaker than the older versions as well. You can really see why John fell out of favor here even aside from the off the stage issues because his songs aren’t that interesting. Esther easily had the best tunes here and comparing their songs were like night and day.

Overall, A Star Is Born is a story that has had some good adaptions, but this is not one of them. I’d recommend staying far away from this film as it’ll just wind up being a big disappointment if you liked the older ones. This film focuses too much on making the characters unlikable and not enough on actually telling a good story. Even the “little” things like everyone doing drugs sets the characters back quite a bit. It’s certainly trying for a gritty look at the story, but that combination doesn’t work. It’s a lot harder to try and forgive John when he is unlikable and gritty. I’d say that the film had potential but it didn’t even start off on a good note so that idea dried up pretty quick. Definitely just stick to watching the original adaptions instead, you’ll be glad that you did.

Overall 3/10

8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Super Inframan Review


It’s time to look at an old school Power Rangers type film. I have always been a big fan of the Rangers, but never really got around to checking out any of their shows. Well, this is the next closest thing and it does reassure me that this type of series is definitely up my ally. The Super Inframan is a great film that is a lot of fun from start to finish. It’s hard to go wrong with a nice array of monsters and hand to hand fights like we have here. The film may not be all that long, but they fit in a ton of action and quality scenes. There is never a dull moment to be found here.

The film starts with the Dragon Mom returning from her long slumber and she decides to destroy the world. She has amassed an army of powerful monsters ranging from spellcasters to more traditional creatures. Her second in command is a normal humanoid though and while she may sound out of her depth this character is actually a good fighter. The heroes realize that they need some power to counter this so a scientist gives Lei a shot that transforms him into the Super Inframan. In this form there is nothing that he can’t do. Lei decides to stop the villain group no matter what. It looks like this time he will actually have to try.

It’s hard to know where to start here since the film is really good on a lot of levels. I guess we should do the obvious first and that is the fight scenes. They are all really well done with a lot of excellent choreography. One of the standout fights is when one of Lei’s friends attacks the villains on his own. He actually does a great job of taking down dozens of them before he is eventually defeated by one of the monsters using a net ability. All of the other fights are good too though like the climax where it is a big battle royale or the various fights as Inframan. Aside from one match that was just beam spamming from side to side all of his fights were hand to hand as well.

Inframan also has a good array of powers which served him well during the matches as well. He can turn giant, fire off his fists, use laser blasts, etc. It’s really hard to defeat someone like this and Inframan is definitely shown as the strongest fighter except for possibly the Dragon Mom who was dominating him in the fight. Granted, Inframan was a little weakened from his other battles. Lei is a solid lead and I dare say that his dynamic as Lei and Inframan was more enjoyable than Hayata and Ultraman. This is due in part to the fact that Lei has more personality and is just a likable guy. He’s pretty quick on the uptake and always ready to help out. He also doesn’t hesitate to transform and take on the villains at any time.

Then you’ve also got the soundtrack which is pretty fun. Inframan’s main theme is suitably heroic and gives you an extra jolt of energy whenever he is getting ready to join the fray. Now there is one technical level where the film falters and that is the fact that it uses a lot of recycled footage whenever Inframan transforms. This is likely intentional as part of the camp factor, but it’s still got to be noted. Recycled footage is something you really don’t want to use as it feels like stalling for time. I also question why the footage was the triple flip. It’s not like that’s something that Inframan does a lot furing the movie.

The villains are also very solid which speaks to the solid writing and character cast of the movie. The Dragon Mom is definitely one of the best ones. I like her confidence and she is quite merciless. I was not expecting her to actually murder one of the heroes so that definitely surprised me. It’s not every day that you see a villain make a move like that. Whoever did her English voice did a solid job. Then you’ve got her fighting abilities which were sound. Her minions had a cool uniform and the other monsters at her disposal all put up valiant fights. While you aren’t likely going to remember their names you’ll remember the designs and their determination. The human also put up a great fight against Inframan and it was brave to even attempt to fight him. The villains were surprisingly loyal and I also liked how upbeat they were. You’d see them dancing in the background whenever the Dragon Mom was talking.

The heroes are solid as well. There’s less to say about most of them since they stay on the sidelines, but as I mentioned one of Lei’s main friends did a good job holding off the enemies by himself. The other members can also fight even if they never got a big moment to shine. They were still able to contribute and that’s the important thing. There are no annoying characters here. There’s nothing even remotely negative to say about the film. The pacing is on point, the writing is great, the fight scenes are amazing, this is just a very well rounded film and one that I could easily re-watch. There’s a lot of fun to be had here and it’s a shame that they just don’t make movies like this anymore.

Overall, The Super Inframan is one of those super obscure films that deserves to be more well known than it actually is. You’d have a lot of fun watching this movie for sure. On one hand it plays on your nostalgia as you remember what great fun this era was and on the other hand you get to see a new superhero taking down legions of monsters. I liked the suit they used for the Super Inframan and the ones for the monsters as well. It feels like this was probably a pretty big budget film back in its day. Hopefully the Inframan gets revived in some form or another at some point because this franchise still has a ton of potential left in it.

Overall 8/10

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

Getaway Review


It’s time to look at a thriller film from not too long ago. It seems like the kind of film that wouldn’t have really gotten all that well known but I’m sure people would take a second look at the posters and promotions. It’s got that Need For Speed kind of vibe right from the get go which is always fun. The plot of someone being kidnapped and the hero being forced to do everything the villain is admittedly not the best. I never liked the idea of the hostage situation much in part because there is really no winning in that situation. Once you’ve done everything they want there is no reason for them not to murder the hostage and the hero as well. Typically the climax involves a lot of plot hax to compensate for this as the heroes defy the villain but for some reason they don’t murder the hostage. That’s just how it is sometimes.

The film starts off with Brent driving away from some cops and after an extended race scene they crash and he escapes. We then find out through a bunch of quick cuts and time jumps from past to present that his wife was kidnapped and he is now following a bunch of demands from someone who has bugged the car. If he doesn’t follow the orders then the wife will be destroyed. Meanwhile a kid shows up to try and take Brent hostage but he stops her and now she must also stay in the car or the wife will be destroyed. This means that Brent is effectively forced to square off with two villains and that won’t be an easy thing to do. Ah well, looks like it’s crunch time for him!

Getaway does seem to underestimate the audience a bit though with how many times we see the flashback to show us that the wife was kidnapped. I thought it was pretty obvious early on but we get the flashback 10-15 times for good measure. Once the film actually gets started then the plot is able to move. At this point the movie does get pretty fun. Yeah the demands can be annoying as Brent keeps talking tough but ultimately has to follow the orders because there really isn’t anything else he can do. That bit can be a bit repetitive but for the most part the film’s about the chase scenes so you don’t have to worry about this too much.

Brent is first introduced as a mysterious character. Despite being the one forced to do the villain’s dirty work, he’s got the cool shades and doesn’t really talk much. He’s a total wild card and as the film progresses we learn more about him. He may not be a professional or something like the guy from Taken, but he’s a gruff individual who is a great racer so he adapts to the situation well. He’s a solid lead who is willing to do just about anything to get his wife back, but does draw the line at being told to destroy a kid or doing anything like that. He’s not going to turn into a villain. Part of what makes his character work is that we don’t know a lot about him. He’s portrayed as an average joe who’s stuck in this situation.

Then we’ve got the kid who probably got a name at some point but I can’t remember what it was. She starts out as a pretty tough character who has a gun and seems to be a bit of a hoodlum. This ultimately doesn’t seem to stick, but she is definitely a girl of many talents as she is also a genius. This character is probably the most “convenient” one to show up during the movie because what are the odds right? She really makes the difference in solving this film to a great extent. Well, convenient or not she looks good here and is a fun character. She does complain a lot at first and seems slow on the uptake for the given situation, but to an extent you can see why she is upset. The kid just wants her car back. (More like a teenager really but on Wikipedia they just refer to her as the kid so that’s what I figured I’d go with.

There are really no other big characters in this film aside from the villain. The villain has no character beyond the fact that he is always goading the heroes on and is one step ahead of any plans that they may have. He’s not bad, but I can’t really say that I thought about him all that much as a character. He’s more of a plot device and this does lead to a rather unsatisfying ending. This kind of ending can work out well sometimes in the right context, but here it’s more annoying than anything. I’d be down with a sequel to wrap things up though.

The make or break point here will be how much you like car fights/chase scenes. Do you like them or do you love them? Almost the whole film is a series of long car chase scenes. Some will go on for over 10 minutes at a time and you have to be ready for them. Personally I enjoy car fights a lot. They are better than underwater fights, airplane battles, or pretty much any other fights outside of human interactions. If it’s got to be a vehicle then I’ll take a car. I also thought that the car scenes in this film were particularly good. They were better than the ones we saw in Need For Speed or even the original Fast and the Furious film. In part this is because you could really feel the impacts here. When a car got crushed it got completely totaled. There was no coming back from that.

The scenes with the cop cars following Brent also felt more like the Need For Speed chases than the actual movie’s version did. So personally these scenes are what amplified the film for me. They were just a lot of fun and I didn’t get tired of them. I could totally understand how they could get repetitive though so it really does depend on how much you enjoy the chases. It’s really the whole point of the film and you could argue that the rest of the plot is really just a backdrop for it. The focus was and is clearly on the car scenes. As for the technical elements like the writing, it was okay. I wouldn’t really say it was that impressive, but it could have been worse. The special effects were great and so it all balances out into a pretty good film. There’s a lot of replay value here since the film isn’t all that long and the car scenes hold up to the tests of time.

Overall, Getaway is one of those films that is surprisingly solid. I wasn’t expecting anything amazing earlier, but as of now I would probably have this as my definitive car based film. It’s a simple, but effective movie that hits the right notes and keeps the momentum going strong. If you haven’t seen it yet and love a good car based thriller then you really need to check it out. See what you think on if the hostage situation is resolved through plot hax or not. Personally I would have expected the villain to take out the hostage as soon as the heroes begin to enact their plan, but maybe you’ll see why he didn’t do that.

Overall 7/10