War of the Colossal Beast Review

It’s impressive that the first Colossal Man movie got a sequel but unfortunately this one isn’t quite as good. The decision to turn Glenn into a mindless monster was definitely an odd one and doesn’t work as effectively. Part of the fun in having a giant man is seeing him interact and how he adjusts to this. The first film may have been leading up into having him turn mindless but going all the way with it was definitely a big mistake.

The movie follows Glenn’s sister Joyce who has been trying to locate him for a while now. It’s actually a bit of an odd choice right off the bat. Why aren’t we still following his fiancé Carol? I suppose the real life reason would be that they couldn’t get the same actress but I feel like that wouldn’t have been a big deal. Either way Joyce functions in pretty much the same way as it’s her turn to play detective this time. She does well in tracking Glenn’s possible whereabouts until she actually gets to the right place.

Ultimately there isn’t a whole lot she can do to stop him but she gets the government on the trail so that they can capture him. Unfortunately a cure will be difficult as always so they are basically delaying the inevitable as he is still a big threat that could hurt just about anyone. The government’s main liaison this time is Mark and he makes it clear that the army will take care of Glenn if he poses a threat. So getting them involved was a bit of a risk but it was still Joyce’s only realistic option. Otherwise Glenn was already being a threat anyway.

Again this is weakened by the fact that he is so mindless now though. He can only just roar endlessly the whole time so there is no chance for dialogue or anything like that. He’s just completely lost his mind and that doesn’t make for an interesting villain. You could only pull that off if this was a creature with a really cool design, but a giant human? No shot at making that work out, it’s just not in the cards. Also I thought the design wasn’t as good. In this film they try to show that he’s deteriorated a bit due to the accident from last time but also the radiation. So now part of his skull is showing at all times and so he looks rather beat up. It’s more on the gruesome angle than actually looking really cool though.

The other characters are decent enough. Mark does well in his role and he seems like a good guy. There is a limit to how much he can actually do here but at least he is trying the whole time. It would have been easy to have just ditched Glenn to his fate but he is actually trying to make things work out for everyone. Then you have Dr. Carmichael who is like pretty much every other doctor in these old films. He seems reasonable enough but can’t really work miracles.

I actually liked this old guy who appeared at the start of the film as his driver got scared by Glenn so he had to find the kid. This was really just a way to kick the film off so he doesn’t have a big role or anything but I liked his energy. The guy was determined to get his money back and sue if needed. The kid who got scared was more on the annoying side. I thought all the scenes of him being too afraid to talk at all were really overblown. The movie just had a super slow start as a result and once we got to move past that it was for the best.

The movie still has good writing like the first film but around the board it’s just a bit weaker. The pacing only gets good after the opening scenes and of course Glenn is a big step down with how mindless he is. I definitely would have liked for him to have still had his character. Then the cast as a whole would be a bit weaker although it’s close. So with all of that going against it, there was never any chance that the movie could have beat the original. That wasn’t going to happen but I would still call it a good movie. If you ignore that the first one exists, then it is a perfectly serviceable title.

It doesn’t do anything special but it makes no big mistakes. There’s no moment where you’re really shaking your head here and that’s the positive point of making what I would call a very safe film. You’re not taking any risks or putting yourself out there so the floor is stable but the ceiling may just not be as high. You’re not going to score an 8 with this approach but you won’t likely score a 4 either. It just puts you in an area with smaller variety.

As a final note, it’s a little hard to believe that the Colossal Man was able to hide for so long though. Again, remember that he is basically mindless and he is absolutely huge. Where was he hiding for so long? It was clearly long enough where the government thought he was dead and nobody believed the giant guy could be around. It just strikes me as unlikely that this guy could be slipping around, even if there weren’t security cameras and such back then. They probably should have just said he could shrink or something but of course then it would be a whole new movie. Only other option would be to have this film take place a little sooner, like the next day or something. Even then I question how he made the trip over to Mexico undetected unless he can breathe underwater.

Overall, You’ll enjoy this film if you’re up for a fairly generic creature feature film. This one does have more action than the first so you will actually get to see the Colossal Man in action. It helps to counter the fact that it loses in virtually all other areas. It has less replay value than the first one without a doubt but it still gets enough right to be worth a watch. It has actual flashbacks to the first movie which is nice for continuity. So because of that I would recommend watching the first title before this one. They may be good as stand alone adventures but it still feels like you would get the added boost by watching the first one before this. It may make you end up comparing them a lot but that will just have to be unavoidable here.

Overall 6/10

The Amazing Colossal Man Review

It’s time for a creature feature film of sorts even though there isn’t actually a Kaiju here. The movie just falls into that kind of style and it works well. The movie’s very low key and slowly builds towards the end but so long as you’re fine with not really seeing the Colossal Man get any action for a while then you’re going to be in for a good time here.

The movie starts with Glenn and the rest of the army awaiting a big army test. They’re testing a powerful bomb/weapon so nobody is to get close. Unfortunately, Glenn notices that there are some civilians in the line of fire after a plane goes down so he dashes over but gets hit by the radiation. This causes Glenn to start growing to an incredible size. The plus is that this heals all of his burns like a sort of regeneration but the downside is that his heart isn’t growing fast enough and he’s also turning insane. Is there any way to save Glenn or is this game over for him?

His fiancé Carol tries her best to help Glenn out but the main issue in the film is that there isn’t really a way out. There is seemingly no cure that will work in time and in the meanwhile Glenn is in constant pain. I think that’s part of what makes this one of the roughest trials for a lead here. It’s a pretty hopeless situation even if he wasn’t going crazy. Of course if he could have helped them that would be great but he lasted a while before cracking and it wasn’t really doing much.

I can’t say that I liked Glenn much by the end though. Even if turning giant was part of the issue, it would have been good if he could have stayed strong. Maybe have the government start acting shady which is what gets him to start being a little paranoid and you go from there. It would definitely help him out as a main character and make him more sympathetic towards the end.

There are two main adults on the government side in Paul and Eric. They try to help manage the Glenn situation but I wouldn’t say they do a terrific job. Part of why Glenn cracks is because nobody is really telling him much. Sure, they do tell him stuff like they’re looking into the issue and all that but nothing concrete. After a while it’s clear to him that they’re leading him on and I don’t think he’s totally wrong about that. Any cure would be a longshot and might not even make it in time.

I also think using a circus tent as a base probably wasn’t the best idea to his already damaged psyche. Surely there could have been other large areas to use that wouldn’t have been quite as insulting to the guy. If the film could have used any extra boost though, it’s that I wouldn’t have minded seeing the Colossal Man destroy more buildings and such. The actual destruction is kept fairly minimal probably so the film wouldn’t make Glenn seem too irredeemable.

This is also probably the kind of film that would be more difficult to execute in a modern setting. As the film is low key it can only really work with the dialogue being up to par. Of course a modern film would likely add a lot of action which would make the point moot as that’s another way to succeed but if you’re going to do this through pure dialogue then you need the old way of speaking like in this film. Then with that you’re all set for action.

Of course a modern element that could work would be for Carol to have a more active role in the story. Something beyond just walking around and asking for questions about Glenn. Not that she didn’t do a good job with this but it’s still a more passive role as opposed to her knocking out some guards to find him or something like that. I suppose it’s nice that the government wasn’t evil in the end this time though.

I absolutely would not want the job of feeding the Colossal Man though. I was even a bit surprised that the guy escaped with his life since it really seemed like he could be squashed at any second. Glenn was definitely not playing around by this point and was pretty much all gone. The ending underscores why he was ultimately not a huge thread though. At the end of the day unless you’re bullet proof then there is only so much damage that you can pull off. In a way the government could have stopped him at any time and you the viewer knows it.

Overall, The Amazing Colossal Man is a pretty good film. I wouldn’t call it amazing or anything but it gets the job done and follows the classic formula of a creature feature. In fact it’s so direct that there isn’t a whole lot to discuss compared to other films. You could probably guess most of the story beats just from the title without even watching the film. The writing is solid and the character cast is good which makes for a solid combo. The movie goes by quickly and has a good amount of replay value. You’ll definitely want to go into this expecting more of a drama film than an action one but as long as you go in with that mindset then you’ll be all set.

Overall 7/10

Grease 2 Review

Sometimes a movie will at least start out good and you see the potential slowly get squandered away but this time you could really say that the movie was no good right from the start. It immediately feels very weak and is just ripping ideas off of the first one. It’s not subtle about doing this either and so it’s just weaker than the first film in every way along with a historically bad song thrown into the mix. You’ll definitely want to skip that one as quickly as possible.

The film starts off with everyone heading back to school and a lot of singing has taken place. It’s been a while since the events of the first film but things are more or less the same with how you have the gang of guys and the gang of girls who are all supposed to pair up. Well, Stephanie is through with this and breaks up with her counterpart. She wants to be with someone dashing, someone who is like a true mystery man. That seems like it’ll be difficult though and then a new transfer student named Michael appears.

He’s a nice guy who he doesn’t quite fit in with the gangsters. The thing is that he likes Stephanie and wants to find some way to get her to appreciate him. She doesn’t give him a chance normally so then he decides to become a superhero. The cool rider of her dreams. All it takes is a leather jacket and a helmet to cover his face. Now Stephanie can’t get enough of him. Should he keep up the deception so that they can get married or will he have to come clean and risk it all?

There’s not a ton of plot here though as that setup is interrupted a whole lot by a ton of random songs and characters messing around. There’s almost no focus here and as I mentioned earlier, a lot of the gags and such are directly ripped from the first film. This one doesn’t have any real originality and it shows. The songs are also much weaker. In particular the reproduction song has to stand out as one of the worst songs of all time. I don’t recall hearing a song in any movie that was quite this bad.

The scene goes on forever too and goes well beyond the point of the teachers appearing to look incompetent. This guy should have been fired right out of the gate. The principal also doesn’t really get any big hype moments the way that she did in the sequel. She is around for this movie but doesn’t do a whole lot beyond just glaring and standing around. Feels like a true waste of her character in the meantime. Of course that’s basically the case for anyone here. Frankie returns but her role is so small that she may as well not have returned. She really doesn’t add anything to the story.

Right off the bat the romance is really bad here. Stephanie is super mean to Michael throughout the entirety of the film because he’s just too nice and she wants someone who’s a delinquent. It’s quite telling that she fell for Michael in his alter ego form immediately. That’s because the romance is super shallow. She’s not falling in love with the person but the ideal/mask behind the guy. Nah that’s not a good look for her at all. So by the end you definitely aren’t rooting for them to get together.

I think the film could have done something good with her character but it was squandered. She just comes across as too mean. Also, one of the big drama moments here is that she is given an ultimatum that if she won’t date one of the other gang members then she has to stop wearing the gang clothes. She seems sad about this…but just toss it? It should be a no brainer since she has already decided that she doesn’t like any of those guys. Being in the gang never seemed too important to her either so the whole thing was a bit odd.

As for Michael, well I’ll give him some props for being determined but should he really want to try to date someone who can’t stand him? The level of aggression here was really something so even if he can trick her into liking a different form of his, it doesn’t really seem like a good deal at all. He would always have to be on guard and even if later on she liked the normal form as well, you may have doubts on if she really likes him or just the superhero form.

There’s just a lot of reasons not to care for the romance. I suppose at least you will care more about them than the side characters who really have nothing to do here. It seems like after the main characters left in the first film, the gangs have gotten extremely weak now. It’s actually played for laughs how they now get picked on by a rival gang. Come on, that’s disgraceful. So they’re getting picked on while in their own home turf and they are still more determined to stop the cool rider than the other gang? That’s why they will never be in first place, their priorities are all mixed up.

Michael certainly learned fast too since he was able to easily out speed both gangs and pull off incredible jumps. This guy was a living legend after only a day or two. At least this will buy the rest of the gang some time to finally get good but it’s not like any of them are likable enough to root for anyway. Then in the girl gang the only one with a big role is one character who wants people to stop treating her like a kid. In a better movie this could have led to a lot of very emotional moments and big character beats but in this movie it was just there as fluff. It ultimately doesn’t get all that important as the movie just dashes to the end.

If you take away the musical aspect then this could be better but unlike the first film I wouldn’t even say there is a whole lot of potential here. At least the first film had quality dialogue, an interesting setup, and just a lot of promise. This one wasn’t trying hard to make a plot right from the start so even if you take away the awful songs, it’s not like it would be positive. I would still take that as a consolation though.

Overall, Grease 2 is one of those ultimately lazy films that figures it can strike lightning twice without having to actually do anything. It’s just an extremely weak movie all around and it’s probably for the best that they hadn’t made a third one right after this. I would say to stay far away from this one. Even if you’ve seen the original and liked it, you’ll want to avoid Grease 2. It’s possible that liking the original would actually make this one feel even weaker since you’ll have seen what it could have been like.

Overall 2/10

Grease Review

After all these years I have finally seen Grease. This one is known as a fairly iconic film so it’s about time that I got to really see what it was about. I wouldn’t actually put it in as one of the better comedy films for me as it does have a number of weak points. The weaknesses of the musical genre are always right around the corner after all.

The movie starts by showing us how Danny and Sandy became good friends by spending a summer together. It was all fun and all for them but eventually they had to go back to school. When Sandy bumps into him there she is thrilled at first but it quickly becomes apparent that he is going to pretend that he doesn’t really know her. Danny desperately wants to fit in with the local tough guys and so now he may even choose them over her. Will this romance pull through or was it doomed right from the start?

At the very least it should have been doomed with Danny giving Sandy the cold shoulder like that. He put her in quite the spot and it takes almost all of the film until he’s finally ready to stand up for her in public. That’s way too long and she went through a lot before that period. I would say that Sandy could have stuck up for herself much. Basically her gimmick is that she’s the super nice, but a bit naïve character who doesn’t break the rules and doesn’t really notice when others are making fun of her.

This gets a bit tricky since everyone at school tends to be rather mean. Eventually Sandy gets the hang of this but I would say she didn’t really need to change. Just break out of those friendship groups if the others are just going to be so harsh the whole time and keep it moving. I wasn’t crazy about how this plot ended for her even if it does make for a fairly good twist near the end of the film. I can’t say that I really saw it coming so the movie managed to be a bit unexpected there.

I’m going to be a lot harsher on Danny though because you could argue that most of everything that happened here was his fault. He could have absolutely just been nice to Sandy when she showed up. The whole school custom of his clique only being allowed to date members of the other clique just feels outdated anyway. Danny has enough pull within the group too where I really don’t think they would have pulled anything if he had gone that route. Even if they did, he needs to be able to choose Sandy over anyone else. If he doesn’t then how strong can the romance be?

The romance in Grease is really weak and that’s one big element that huts the movie since romance is one of the main genres. It’s hard to really root for any of the characters to get together. Instead it might be better for them to break things off if the romance itself isn’t their top priority. There are also some backup romances for the side characters and I wouldn’t say any of theirs are all that good either.

Rizzo gets a full sub plot where she thinks that she is pregnant and it changes things. She went from basically being the mean leader of her gang to everyone talking behind her back. The film tries to turn this into a very sympathetic plot but it doesn’t work perfectly well due to how much she was messing around. It’s not like issues in other films where they weren’t very preventable or the main character had no way of dodging them. This problem she basically caused all on her own so that’s not a good look.

She was also just way too mean to Sandy the whole time so it’s not even like she was generally nice. The only character who was actually fair to Sandy the whole time was Frenchy. Frenchy isn’t a very interesting character or anything but at least she wasn’t a bully so I’ll give her props there. All of Danny’s friends were fairly judgmental and not too smart. It’s great that they all get along but if they were really good friends then Danny shouldn’t have felt so pressured to act behind their backs.

I did like the principal though. She made sure to run a very tight ship and wasn’t going to just let these guys run all over her. In fact the bullies pretty much don’t dare to talk back to her. It’s clear that she works hard in establishing dicipline here and manages to pull it off so big kudos to her. Her assistant isn’t very smart and tends to hold her back but I suppose you can’t win them all.

There are a lot of songs here as this is a musical but for the most part I wouldn’t say they’re really my style. There was a song where the characters are jumping on cars and running around that was fairly decent though. This does continue the tradition though where musicals tend to have songs that don’t hold up against films that just happen to have songs. It’s like when you build a film around the concept then the writers run out of good songs or something.

Grease is really at its best when it’s focusing on the comedy aspect of things. A character seeing a ghost in the sky for example was a much more effective scene than any of the romance ones. I suppose I liked seeing Danny try to join different clubs. That made for a fun subplot and the gym teacher was really impressive. Somehow he was able to balance being knowledgeable about every sport while still having time to walk the main character around. Now that’s what I call impressive.

There are also small visual jokes that tend to be fun like the characters all combing their hair in unison. The writing is good for the most part and the movie never drags on. It can be entertaining but does so amidst an unlikable cast of characters and a very weak set of romances. If the film had focused on the story a bit more and cut out the musical element then this probably would have jumped up a bit more. I can’t say that there is real replay value to be had here. There are definitely a lot of moments with potential and the film can be entertaining but it never stays that way quite long enough for me to call this a good film.

Overall, I can now say that I’ve seen one of the all time greats even if I didn’t quite like it as much as most. I’ll have a review for the sequel up shortly though so be ready for that. Often times a sequel can have a hard time living up to the original but in this case since I wasn’t a big fan of it, things could be a bit different. At least that’s what I figured but I won’t spoil the surprise. After all that review will be published on the same day as this review. If you really like romance movies and musicals then you’ll probably enjoy it but otherwise you can do a lot better.

Overall 4/10

Peppermint Review

This review is of the TV-14 edited version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Peppermint is definitely one of those films that is very much a basic thriller. There’s not a whole lot going on here beyond the main character getting her big revenge but that’s exactly what you’re expecting here. The film lives up to the premise it’s advertising so that’s always a good thing. In the end it can be a bit violent as you can guess but ultimately I’d say it’s a fairly decent thriller that holds up well.

The movie starts off with Riley destroying a villain so then we get a flashback to set this up. Her husband was recruited to get into a dangerous gig but he declined the offer. The main problem here is that the news of his declining didn’t make the rounds in time so the mob leader quickly destroys him as well as his family to make a statement. Riley was able to survive the bullet wounds though and after seeing how the justice system was bought out by the crooks, decides to handle this on her own. At the end of the day there is nobody else that she can trust but herself to get the job done here. Now it’s a race to destroy everyone who has wronged her, the courts, the gangsters, etc. She will keep moving forward until she has destroyed her enemies!

There isn’t a very large cast here as most of the villains are bumped off fairly quick. I would say the only important villain here would be the actual leader at the top of the charts. He’s not someone who should be taken too lightly at all. Diego is his name and he actually does a good job of ruling the mob. The guy rules by fear to the point where he murders people just for thinking about betraying him. That’s certainly an effective way to
stay in charge and also prevent more people from getting ideas.

At the end of the day once you get past the fear then he’s just another guy. In fact we even see the mob that owns this mob and it shows how he’s still just a big fish in a small pond. I suppose if we ever get a sequel to this it could be about Riley going after those guys next. The movie really fleshes out the world around it pretty well so there’s a lot you could do after this. To an extent Riley even feels like a bit of an Anti-Hero. We see that she has ended crime in a whole area and is protecting people even outside of her quest for revenge.

She helps a kid by beating up his alcoholic father and just generally makes the world a safer place. Riley isn’t above murdering her opponents of course so she’s not a full hero but definitely a figure that will give the villains some real pause here. They absolutely do not want to mess with her. Riley went off the grid for a few years to hone her fighting abilities and this seems to have really paid off big time. At this point she is able to out fight just about anyone in her way even if they are armed.

Riley is a fun lead character. She goes about her business very directly and doesn’t drag out the deaths or anything like that. She quickly lets them know why she is about to destroy them and then does it. It’s all a very straight forward approach which shows that she means business. Also she did try going through the legal system first. It just didn’t work so she was then forced to seek other avenues which made a lot of sense. Once the mob has bought out the court then it’s clear that justice won’t be coming.

Then we’ve got the main cop Beltran who does well here. He’s definitely not thrilled about getting mixed up with the gang since everyone who messes with them tends to disappear but he does want to see true justice get accomplished and goes past that fear. He also helps the film execute a really solid ending which really helps wrap everything up nicely. A bad ending can really and I mean really hurt for a film like this so getting around that was absolutely crucial. This ending is basically perfect so I was satisfied.

I wouldn’t say there are any big issues with the film either aside from some violence. As a revenge thriller like this you can absolutely bet that people are getting shot and destroyed but by and large it avoids being too excessive about the whole thing. What helps is that we mainly follow Riley as she destroys everyone and don’t get nearly as many scenes of the villains popping each other off. It’s a pretty big distinction because that’s usually when the films tend to get a bit more gratuitous with that.

I also always enjoy the classic trope of one person launching a full war against the entire villain empire. Just give her a few months of training and skills and now nobody can stop Riley. Is it super realistic? Perhaps not but it’s definitely always fun to watch. She also got a whole lot of intel to be able to locate everyone and take them out at the ideal times. Riley didn’t just panic and jump into action but planned everything out carefully and it paid off for her.

Overall, Peppermint is a pretty good film. I dare say it was better than I had been expecting. If you told me that this was a comic book origin story I would have believed you. It’s very much got those Punisher vibes at the ready. The fights are good and there is a lot of room to make a sequel out of this. I would definitely recommend this if you want a pretty intense action thriller. I wonder if revenge thrillers go for one word titles on purpose. Salt, Taken, Peppermint, Faster, etc. Maybe it’s a subliminal message that the film is about to be nonstop action with quick pacing.

Overall 6/10

Merrily We Live Review

Now this is a film that’s really bonkers right from the start. You’ve got a whole lot of people in a big house trying to stop the madness from continuing. The film never takes itself too seriously and just embraces how wild it all is which I would say works well. It’s just a full comedy that will get you some good laughs.

The film starts off by showing us that the main family has been robbed. The family can really blame Emily for this as she has a habit of inviting people in to live with them without doing any big background checks or research. At heart she just wants to do the right thing and help everyone out but this tends to backfire real badly. Now she has decided to finally stop doing this but when a guy named Rawlins walks in she decides to take in one more person. The rest of the family is convinced that this guy will be trouble though and are determined to kick him out. Will they be able to claim victory here?

So right off the bat I do have to agree with the family that Emily needs to stop this. It’s great to try and get someone back on their feet but just bringing in any random person off the street to live in her home is a bit too much. Aside from this being an obvious safety hazard, you may just get robbed like what happened here. It also seems as if this is not the first time that this has happened. The main issue is that Emily has a very short memory and also gets lost in her thoughts. Half the time she forgets her own memories and so the whole movie she just seems really confused.

It’s all part of the gag of course but as a result I would have to put her as one of the weaker characters in the film. She just gets everyone into trouble the whole time. Meanwhile Rawlins is a standout character. He takes everything in stride and always finds a way to turn the situation to his advantage. To his credit he even tries to stay out of trouble but often it is just outside of his control so from there on he just does his best. By the end of the film it’s clear that he has to be the most clever character.

It’s easy to root for him too since it’s not like he tried to be in this position. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Meanwhile you have his rival Grosvenor who is the main butler there and naturally wants Rawlins gone. He’s the kind of guy who wants absolute power so being told that this new guy will be working under him doesn’t go over so well. Unfortunately for Grosvenor he is always on the losing side here. He just can’t keep up with Rawlins at all from wit to toughness.

There’s one or even multiple times where Rawlins calls Grosvenor out on his challenges and the guy quickly backs down. It has to be rough being the boss but knowing that the underling can beat you at any time. You don’t feel too bad for him by the end since Grosvenor’s reasonable concerns just turn into straight paranoia by the end. If he had stopped to try and get along with Rawlins then things could have just gone a whole lot better for him.

As for the rest of the family, they all get some stuff to do as well but there’s almost not enough time for all of them to get a really meaningful role. First up you have Henry who is the father of the household and he isn’t thrilled about Rawlins either. He doesn’t have much more luck than Grosvenor though as Rawlins is just always one step ahead and ready to stop all of his attacks. Rawlins’ final attack involving a phone call was just perfect for him because it provided the guy with absolute safety.

Then you’ve got Jerry who initially takes a hard stance against Rawlins as well but his charms eventually win her over so that’s the end of that. You can forget about her boyfriend as well, now that guy is absolutely doomed right from the jump. Just seeing him for 2 seconds is enough for you to know how that plot is going to end. Marion also ends up falling for Rawlins because the guy just has too much flair and personality.

I suppose with this group all just living their lives as always with their routines, it probably felt nice to have someone just shake things up the whole time. Rawlins does add a whole lot to the dynamic so it’s good to see him here. The film really nailed his character here which was important. How much you enjoy the film will absolutely be determined by how much you like him as a main character and how you enjoy the family. They’ve all got their quirks and all so if you find them annoying then that could hurt the film.

I’d say it works though and it all goes down to how the film is super aware of how absurd the whole thing is. It doesn’t hold anything back with the characters all being crazy and this just escalates as the film goes on to the point where Emily can’t even recognize her own worker. (Rawlins) Despite the guy not even wearing a disguise at all. You just have to roll with it all and then it just works.

Overall, Merrily We Live is a good film. It’s just crazy enough to turn a super ordinary plot into something fun. There’s even a little scare for some of the characters when someone is thought to be dead for a few minutes there. As long as you have a few good laughs during the film then it will have succeeded. It’s all rather fast and there aren’t any bad characters here so that gets a thumbs up from me. It may have a little less replay value than some other comedy films but on your initial watch you should definitely be all set.

Overall 7/10

No Highway in the Sky Review

This film had a fun premise right from the jump. While I think it does cop out on this a bit and I would have liked for most of the film to be in the plane, it was still a fun ride all the way through. There definitely is no highway in the sky so you better make sure not to fall off or it’s going to be a long way down. If you like a tense film with imminent danger on the horizon then this is the movie for you.

The film starts off by introducing us to the space case known as Theodore. This guy is an absolute genius but this has come at the expense of common sense so he is often scatter brained and just forgets things all the time. His daughter puts up with it and does her best to help out but it’s clear that this guy is going nowhere fast. Well, Theodore has a theory that the Reindeer planes will all crash after going a certain distance and just needs some more time to prove it. The firm thinks this is a good idea so they decide to fly him over to the side…using a Reindeer!!! Oh nooooo, now Theodore is stuck in an aerial death trap that is about to exceed the amount of miles he theorizes will destroy the plane. Can he get them to land or is he doomed?

Now I do want to underscore that while Theodore is very forgetful and all, he is still known as an absolutely top tier scientist. There is no reason to believe that he has actually made a mistake on the calculations so that’s where the tension comes in. The worst part for Theodore is that the way the ship breaks is impossible to detect before it happens. Of course that makes the story a lot harder to buy because then it really sounds like he’s just making stuff up.

You feel bad for him also because he’s not very good at talking this through. He’s not really used to making conversation with people in general so he has to try and scramble to get his thoughts together but it ain’t easy. I would say he’s a decent character but not great or anything. He can lose his cool a little too quick when someone starts to doubt his ideas and the whole forgetfulness goes a bit too far. He should just come up with some kind of invention or idea to help him keep track of things if he isn’t able to surpass his limits on his own.

The film’s only weakness here is that the romance is very weak. Theodore used to be married but his wife died a while back. So you figure that should be it for the romance as a rebound now would not be in good taste. Well, it happens anyway and after only knowing her for a few hours, there is a connection with Theodore and the stewardess Marjorie. There’s just no natural way for this to play out though. They really don’t know each other all that well and so it’s hard to believe that things would progress quite like this.

She was a very nice person who had his back and all when it counted but that shouldn’t automatically jump straight to love. It felt like a bit of a stretch if you ask me. The cast is fairly small so the only other big character was the actress Monica who gets roped into this when Theodore decides to tell her that the plane is crashing. Probably not the best move if you want to keep things quiet but he had some good reasons for wanting to save her. Surprisingly these reasons were not related to romance or anything like that.

All told, I thought she was a little ungrateful about the whole thing by the end. I guess you may be sore if you thought he was lying about the whole thing but since he wasn’t, it felt like she was just frustrated that she believed it and took it out on him. There was no reason to do that at all. She should have just left or not been so dramatic about everything to start with but her being sore at him came across as a bit petty.

My main issue here is that I think having the whole film be on the plane would have made things a lot more interesting. Have more and more of the passengers start to find out about this until there is a full blown panic. That would be a way to introduce a whole lot of interesting characters and I think it would have done very well. That would just be a recipe for a whole lot of great scenes and dynamics. Instead we get a lot of scenes on the ground talking about what happened and seeing some aftermath. The ending is still really solid and it does all tie together but I feel like the big hype around the film is seeing what will happen to the people on the plane.

Cutting away from that removes a lot of the danger and it’s not easy to just replace that or build it back up again. Ultimately this isn’t really that kind of film. It’s not trying to be a really big thriller or anything like that so it’s more of a slice of life movie with a little tension, but it should have leaned into the premise more. Being stuck on a plane that you think is going to crash sounds great for a plot. Even now I would say there aren’t a ton of films about that kind of location. So the potential here is absolutely enormous.

Overall, No Highway in the Sky is a good film. One that left a lot of meat on the bone so to speak but it was a quality movie either way. Things tend to move a little too fast like the romance or end too quickly like the part on the plane but the execution on everything else is still good. The writing is solid and the pacing is good so I would be able to watch this one again. It’s got a good amount of replay value and is a pleasant film so there’s not a lot to dislike. If they ever do a modern remake though, I expect them to switch things up a bit.

Overall 7/10

Topper Review

Topper is one of those films where everyone acts rather crazy so it becomes a bit of a surreal kind of comedy title. It’s got its share of humorous moments without a doubt but I wouldn’t say the character cast is quite as solid as some of the other comedy films. That keeps it from getting to the next level but the movie is still fun enough so I would recommend it to people looking for a fun time.

The movie starts off by introducing George and Marion who believe in just having a good time no matter how inconvenient it is for everyone else. In particular George seems to like messing with his company and driving every meeting off the rails for no reason. Well, one day he takes the corner a little too quickly when driving so George and Marion are instantly destroyed. They then awaken as ghosts and seem to be stuck on the planet. Marion figures that they have to do a good deed in order to move on and their best bet is to help out old man Topper.

Topper is a married man who hasn’t gotten to have a whole lot of fun so far. His wife prohibits anything that she deems to be without class such as owning a cool car or doing anything outside of her planning for the year. As a result Topper isn’t a very happy camper. George figures he may as well go along with this but he isn’t really happy about the prospect. He’d rather have fun on his own than help someone else out. Will they really be able to help Topper or is their idea of “Help” actually going to hurt him?

Naturally there is no concrete evidence given to the main two that doing a good deed will help out at all so they’re really taking a swing in the dark here. They also have to hope that it’s a package deal because George is not helpful during the movie at all. He follows Marion’s lead but for the most part is just the same guy that he always was. He keeps on drinking and messing around but now that he’s invisible he can mess with more people. You could almost call him an antagonist if you really think about it.

I guess he’s not actively hurting anyone but at the same time he is just making a mess of things. That makes for an entertaining character. As for Marion, well she likes to do things at her own pace but is trying to help Topper at least. Her flirting and teasing of him can go a bit far though. She is still married to George after all and Topper doesn’t have the strongest will so trying to lead him onto the wrong path isn’t a good idea. In fact I would say that’s the weakest part of the film as he does actually seem to get tempted. His marriage may be no fun at the moment but he would still needs to end things before starting something new.

This hurts Topper as well in my book. At the end of the day it feels like he could have solved all of his problems if he could just talk more directly and not simply taker things as they happen. Why not have more of a candid talk with Clara as opposed to just feeling sorry for himself? The guy just needed to have more backbone and he’s whiny enough where he doesn’t really work as the lead.

The movie is good in spite of the characters rather than because of them. The cast is just very weak in the end which is unfortunate. You could easily have made this premise a lot more effective with a solid cast of main characters. The rules of being a ghost are also rather interesting as for once they can fully interact with everything. In fact the ghosts can even allow people to see them if they want to. It takes up ectoplasm which seems to regenerate over time a bit so for the most part they stay invisible but they are absolutely around.

Here’s the interesting thing, if they can’t move on right now, they could have just pretended that they survived. Think about it, they’re fully physical and are always around. What’s to stop them from just going back to the house and living it large? They can still eat and drink as well so there is no real difference from being alive except that they can turn invisible. It actually could be interesting as an alternate premise here, like just going all in with that story instead.

Of course that would be totally different but it’s nice to think about. We do have a good climax with the cops trying to take the two ghosts down but of course they aren’t quite strong enough to pull that off. Just being invisible is such a huge benefit that a single person probably could escape a whole army for a long while. Particularly back in these days before we had a lot of great technology at the ready.

By the end of the film it feels like the main two have been very lucky too in that they actually did guess correctly that they needed to do a good deed and that they actually succeeded. Because you can make a decent argument for them not doing a good deed at all. They were really just messing around with Topper the whole time and things could have easily gone sideways. I suppose the restriction cared more about the results than the method. That or they may have triggered some other condition to moving on that was totally unrelated. It’s not like there is any way to know since it was all assumptions by the main characters.

Overall, Topper is a decent comedy film with some laughs. I liked the premise more than the execution but if you’re looking for a light hearted title then this should still fit the bill for you. It flows by very quickly and it’s not like I had any major issues with it. It would be interesting to see if the sequel can match the original. In theory it very well could but it may be a while before I check that one out.

Overall 6/10

The Last of Sheila Review

Now this is a very different mystery movie. It feels really random at times and it’s just hard to get a read on it. The concept is sound and of course having everyone be super corrupt is always a classic way to make things interesting since any criminal could possibly be lying to protect themselves. The film goes a little too far in making some of the characters unlikable though and I think the actual premise could have been tightened up a bit. Still, it is a mystery where you should be kept engaged through to the end in trying to figure out who did it.

So one year ago after attending a party, a lady named Sheila was murdered in a hit and run attack. Now the whole gang from that party has gotten back together on a cruise ship and the host, Sheila’s husband Clinton wants to play a little game. It’s all harmless fun of course but he gives them all a card with a secret like “I’m a murderer” and the goal is to keep the others from finding out what you have on your card while finding out theirs. Everyone’s card has some kind of secret on it that actually seems to apply to them. Is this a coincidence or is Clinton’s little game something a little more serious than expected?

It’s a fun setup and I think I’ve even seen a film like this before. With everyone’s secrets at stake, nobody wants to reveal this but they may be in some real danger. If Clinton wants to avenge his wife and thinks he knows who the murderer is, then nobody is safe. The cruise fortunately does make some stops but nobody really wants to leave either. This guy is a big name in the movie business and they are all ready to keep being in more movies and all. In fairness to the characters, it’s probably also a bit of a reach to think that this game is anything serious for a while at least. Thinking that it’s a coincidence with the secret is reasonable and there is a lot of effort put into the game.

The first puzzle was actually tougher than I would have expected. You had to find a single apartment room based on a ton of super vague hints and when the first character solved the puzzle, I have to say that I still didn’t really understand it. It felt like a bit of a leap in logic but kudos to the characters for getting it right there. I liked the format of the puzzle though. Having to run across the whole island to solve this in time was really ambitious even if it feels nearly impossible to solve.

The movie never gets to do the full island adventure for the rest of the mysteries since the murders start up by the second case and then it’s time for everyone to really ponder what’s going on. Again this is a pretty solid premise and I like where the film can go from there but then it starts to fall off the rails. I can’t go into too much detail on some of this since for a mystery film you definitely don’t want to know any of the twists but one twist didn’t make a ton of sense.

I think you would know whether you bumped someone off or if something felt odd about it right? The twist is very bold but it’s a little hard to buy. There should just be so many ways to tell that you’ve been fooled but lets just say that tricking someone into thinking that they murdered someone is evidently easier than I would have thought. The rest of the plans make enough sense though so I think the film holds up on a logical level even if I didn’t buy into the first twist.

The film can get a little violent with the deaths. Not super crazy or anything but enough to remind you that this is still a bit of an old school film. It’s got that gritty 70s vibe to it that you don’t really see so much nowadays. It’s all in the camera work and atmosphere I’d say. The body count isn’t massive so the violent moments are few and far between. Of course the main issue here is that there’s nobody to root for. Of course some of the secrets aren’t as bad as the others but some go a bit too far.

One guy’s secret isn’t shown or anything so we just know about it but that should have been the first guy to be bumped off if you ask me. It would just be more fitting considering how serious that crime is and it’s a bit fishy that he made it through. I think the best way to handle a film where everyone has done something crazy at one point or another is to have a reasonable explanation for them that doesn’t excuse the action but still allows you to root for the character. There’s no way to get around this reason though or any explanation that could work so he was doomed either way.

By the end of the film you definitely feel Sheila’s influence even though she technically didn’t appear except for a very brief flashback. Once we find out the reason for her getting bumped off it is almost funny in a way at the lack of motive/reasoning for it compared to how intricate the rest of the film is. It goes to show how the past can haunt you for a long while through whatever path it needs to.

Overall, The Last of Sheila is a very dreary mystery film. Everything’s all so dark and it feels like nighttime is eternal. I think the actual mystery is very interesting but ultimately it is bogged down by how unlikable all of the characters are. None of them are particularly interesting either and you mainly just remember them all based on what their secret was. In a way you’re just waiting for them all to get bumped off and if I was on the party I’m telling you that I would have absolutely left the boat and just vanished. It did end up working out well enough for most of them but you don’t want to have been one of the unlucky ones to get taken out. I’m on the fence with this one so I guess you should check it out if you want a really weird mystery film. The whole thing was just bizarre, not always in a bad way but at least you won’t mix it up with any other films.

Overall 5/10

Road to Perdition Review

Now we’re going to look at a classic Mafia story. The film itself isn’t all that old but I would say the story is sort of what you would expect when you think of the genre. You’ve got the main guy who is quite good at his job of being an enforcer but then things go south and now he has to find a way to protect his family or at least what remains of it. The execution is good though and I would recommend this film. It’s strong all around.

The movie starts by introducing us to Michael who is the top worker at the mafia. If someone needs to be bumped off or even just shaken up a bit, he’s the guy that you would call. Unfortunately he is paired up with the rather crazy Connor, the son of the head of the mafia. This guy seems to have some dark secrets and is always quick to shoot the people that they are just supposed to talk to. Unfortunately Michael’s son Junior (Also called Michael so Junior will be easier for the review) got to see this and it shattered his illusions.

Junior didn’t know that Michael was a mobster after all and now he has to live with the burden that this big secret brings along with it. It’s not easy that’s for sure and Connor decides to make it his mission to take Michael down for always being better than him. So Connor basically frames Michael by putting the gears in motion and forcing Michael to murder a guy who was after him. Now the whole gang is on his tail so his only chance is to take Junior and get out of town. Unfortunately he was not home soon enough to save the rest of his family. He knows he can run for a while but ultimately there is on leaving the mafia. His only other option is to destroy them all.

You might almost think this is like one of those classic action films where Michael is just bumping everyone off as he runs around the city but the movie isn’t really going in that direction. Instead it’s more low key and going for a realistic angle in that he can’t just take everyone out. Well…that changes a bit towards the end but at first most of the tension is just in trying to get away. Michael also takes this chance to really bond with Junior and even teach him some valuable life skills.

At the end of the day he doesn’t want Junior to continue in the mafia business for good reason. That’s just no place to grow up since you will always end up having a bad end there. I do think the movie made a big mistake in having the first scene take place in the future where we see that Junior is alive though. That is always a big mistake for me in any film because even if the odds are slim that he would die, why not leave it as a real possibility? Particularly in a film like this where kids do die so nobody is safe.

Mob type films are hard to predict how they will end because there really are a lot of different paths that you can go with it. For example, the actual revenge in this film is a lot more low key than you would expect. It’s not a 20 minute gunfight in the alleys or anything like that, but instead it’s carried out like an assassination. So in a lot of ways the film probably doesn’t play out in quite the way that you would expect and that’s a good thing. Nothing wrong with going down the classic path but the film is throwing you for a loop at times which is good.

Michael is a solid main character as well. I would consider him to be a villain here as no matter the reasons, he is working for a villainous organization and bumping people off. At least he does have an honor code though and it seems like he is trying his best to keep his family out of it. Junior is more on the annoying side. He’s just a kid and all but he still ends up getting in the way and isn’t quick on the uptake. Causing a mess at school and not being very discreet about what he learned just put a big target on everyone. I do think that things would have played out the same way eventually no matter what Junior did but he didn’t make things any easier.

As for Connor, he’s the main villain here. The guy isn’t really my kind of villain as he only stands a chance through cheap shots and deception. In a straight fight he wouldn’t stand a chance at all and part of why he is so jealous is because he could never do as well as Michael. He lets his emotions get the best of him all the time so he is definitely in the wrong line of work.

The writing is good which is important and the setting is fittingly framed like a Noir kind of world. Even the scenes where it is light out never feel all that happy for the characters because danger is around every corner. I do think that the leader of the mafia should have backed Michael up though. He seemed to know that the whole thing was a frame up but defended Connor anyway because of the blood relation and his image. A true boss needs to look at things objectively and so you could really blame him for everything as well. I was glad the lead didn’t let him off easily there. He definitely messed up.

Overall, Road to Perdition is a good movie. It’s tense all the way through and is a fairly detailed look at the mafia world without being overly gritty. I feel as though this is a tricky genre to execute properly since following a bunch of villains is always a tough balancing act in any setting. This one does well not to go too far with it though and aside from spoiling the future with the opening scene, I wouldn’t say that it made any big mistakes. It’s got a good amount of replay value to it as even though the beginning may be a bit quiet, it’s all building up to the more intense second half. We’ll see if the next mafia/mob title can beat this one.

Overall 7/10