On The Beach Review

On The Beach has to be one of the most boring titles that I’ve watched. Seriously that’s the only issue with the film which is that it drags on and on for a super long amount of time. At no point in the adventure are you having a lot of fun. Now this is a very serious title so fun was always going to be tricky but then you have to have really likable characters to root for or something. Instead the film is really about everyone facing their imminent doom and how they deal with it.

The movie starts rather mysteriously. The world seems rather empty and there is a group in a boat just sort of drifting along. They are looking for something…but what is it? The film keeps this suspense up for a while but basically it turns out that World War III happened and the world is dying of nuclear fallout. It seems that there is no safe place in the world but Captain Dwight is trying to find some possible shred of hope. It just isn’t appearing though and slowly but surely he is watching everyone start to fade away. His family is likely dead as well but he’s not sure if he wants to rebound with a lady named Moira quite yet. There’s also another guy, Julian who likes her but with the end of the world coming in quick there isn’t a whole lot of time for that. How will these characters spend their last days?

In this film everyone is already defeated. There is seemingly no way to survive the radiation and after a point nobody even wants to try. The government is even handing out murder pills which will destroy you in an instant and a lot of people start taking them. Others start to end themselves in more creative ways like locking themselves in a car with the engine on or running off the road and exploding. That’s really where the film starts to lose you because after a point it’s really just a bunch of people committing suicide and that doesn’t make for the most engaging experience.

I would have liked the characters to have kept fighting until the bitter end. I know this film is quite old but surely someone could come up with a protective suit or something like that. Something to just keep them going a little longer and buy some time. Dying of radiation would certainly be a rough way to go so I get it. It’s why if we did ever have an end of the world event during my lifetime I’d want to be in the epicenter so it’s over quickly as opposed to getting dragged out. The reactions in the film are realistic so I’m not saying otherwise but it doesn’t make for great TV.

This movie is just made to be rather depressing all the way through and it succeeds in that. It just means that there are no real positives to enjoy either though. Then the first half is just slow as the heroes inspect different areas looking for radiation. They have to move really slowly through the ocean or while on land so they don’t trip. Because of this even a simple walk can take a very long time to get through and all the while you’re waiting for some excitement. Something to break the status quo and get some new energy in there. It doesn’t happen though.

Then the romance is also really weak. So Moira likes Dwight but part of the issue here is that Dwight did have a family. They are almost certainly dead by this point but he is really ready to move on so quickly? I just don’t like that. It seems like a pretty fast turnaround and it’s the end of the world. Why even start a new relationship when you are going to die shortly anyway? The ending just underscores this as they are not going to be together anyway so there was no point in even starting this. At best it just passes some time but then you’re paying a heavy price for that.

There are a lot of other areas we could have gone with this film that would be more enjoyable. It’s a classic prompt to ask someone what they would do if they knew they only had a few days to live. Of course that is usually assuming that you’re in a normal world so you say that you want to eat a lot of good food or things like that. In this case mostly everything is gone since most people are dead but you could still have some fun events. Like the quick race we got, that was fun enough. I’m not saying the film has to be upbeat but there are a lot of fairly lighthearted things you can do with this premise before going all grim dark at the end. That would have made the film a whole lot more enjoyable and definitely would have ended up being more fun.

Instead the only real dialogue we get here is characters debating the pill. Naturally it was a very controversial conversation for one family since that is a stressful choice. I think the wife and kid should have just gone with the father on the ship though. By this point do the usual formalities really matter? Moira went on the ship as she pleased until the end where she had to stay (Which didn’t make any sense). So just go on and at least be together until the end. I don’t really get the logic of splitting up when the end is so near but I guess it ups the drama.

Overall, On the Beach is a film that I highly recommend avoiding. It is always interesting to see how far back people had been thinking about the possibility of World War III. It’s something that will likely always loom over our heads but so long as everyone has nukes, at least we can have mutually assured destruction which beats this kind of apocalyptic setting. There isn’t really any reason to watch this one though because it doesn’t have any fun with the premise and if you wanted to see an abandoned world with the characters having nothing to do….well then I guess you can watch this film. Otherwise there is really no incentive here. It just drags on forever.

Overall 2/10

Summer and Smoke Review

Summer and Smoke is about an old school romance that doesn’t go so well this time. See, you’d usually expect the classic trope of the innocent girl who falls for the bad boy to play out in a certain way. She gets him to be a little less wild and he gets her to live it up a little and it’s happily ever after. This takes a more serious look at how this would typically play out and while it does end up being a lot more realistic, it’s definitely not what I would call a feel good movie. It drags on a lot and since none of the characters are particularly likable that puts you in a rough spot right out of the gate.

The movie introduces us to Alma as a child who didn’t get along great with the other kids. She was always off on her own but she did like John who was fairly popular. John was definitely a tough kid already by that point and didn’t have time for the kind of serious romance that she was looking for. Many years have passed by and things haven’t changed. John lives a very problematic lifestyle and is always leaving town on adventures while Alma has been the dutiful daughter who takes care of her sick mother and keeps living on the straight and narrow. With John back in town Alma had been hoping they could finally get together but that isn’t working. Will she have to descend to his level for them to get together or is there a better way?

Of course the answer to this should clearly be that if you have to lower your level to be with someone then that’s not worth it. A true relationship can only blossom when you are being yourself and are with someone where you are comfortable doing that. If you feel like you need to change yourself then that’s already a massive red flag. Additionally John isn’t someone who could possibly be trusted to have a stable relationship with. Throughout the film he is involved in lots of different affairs and it is clear that he likes to play the field. He always goes for the most attractive girl in the group and then moves on when someone even more beautiful arrives. It’s a very clear pattern even if Alma tries to deny this.

Now you absolutely can feel bad for Alma. She has had a rough go of it as her mother has lost a significant portion of her mind so she acts rather crazy on a day to day basis and her father can be quite strict. So she has grown up in a way where she had to be very mature from a young age which didn’t help her when it came to mingling with the rest of town. Even her high education ends up getting in the way a bit as others think she is looking down on them. Ultimately it can be hard to make friends but if she was less obsessed with John then perhaps she could have found someone. She does have a few friends including one guy who likes her but she only really has eyes for John in the end.

Ultimately by the time she is ready to make a move like that it is just too late and it’s still probably for the best. The way her character ends in the film is not very satisfying though. I would instead argue that the ending is pretty bad since she is basically settling for someone else as she is desperate to have any man and she’s not thinking straight. An affair born out of desperation just isn’t going to end up working out. Ironically John probably has a more stable future ahead of him. Hey it’s great that it worked out but it can also be a bit annoying to see considering how much trouble he had caused beforehand. It’s just hard to forget that.

He’s also what brings the film down quite a lot here. See this is a very dramatic romance film. It’s not part comedy so you are going to have a lot of serious plots here like John’s decisions causing his father to get shot and a lot of feelings are hurt all the time. So by the time he has his offscreen redemption after a long timeskip you’re just tired of this guy already. You just don’t even want to see him because you know just seeing the guy is going to get you really annoyed. That’s just the kind of character he is. It’s like watching someone destroy a town and then show up a few years later to build a house. It’s great that he got his life back together but you just would rather he do it somewhere else.

The only really solid character in the whole film has to be the young lady who shows up at the end to deliver one last blow to Alma. Technically this girl doesn’t know any of the backstory so at no point does she have any malicious intentions. It does feel like there is a bit of an age gap there but ultimately she seems like the only character to be very nice with no ulterior motives so it’s easy to root for her. Everyone else can just be annoying.

I feel like the movie didn’t even need the plot about Alma’s mother. All it served to do was make the film a little more dreary and downcast with how Alma couldn’t even rest at home. The film already had enough of that so this was just throwing things over the edge. There’s also not a whole lot of fun to be had in the movie. You will barely find any real happy moments at all. I don’t count the crazy drunk parties John would have because that’s not the kind of happy moment I’m thinking about. You always see the negative connotations there. I’m talking about an actual lighthearted upbeat moment and those are rare. The closest may be when Alma and John go to the carnival and even then you know something bad is about to happen.

Overall, This is definitely a film that I highly recommend skipping. For starters it is a very long film. It drags on and on and on as the relationships keep going back and forth. The cast is weak and the story is annoying at best. The romances here are all awful so you’re not rooting for anyone to get together and the ending is really the big arrow to the heart. It ends things off on such a sour note and whether the relationship works or not, it feels like a pure desperation rebound which is never what you want to see here. There’s just nothing wholesome about that. Maybe the film should have taken place in the winter instead so as to work as a metaphor about how hard all of their hearts became by the end.

Overall 2/10

Piranha 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 that time of year again folks, it’s time for a creature feature! Now you may be thinking this should count as more of a horror film and that’s fair but these piranha really mean business and whenever they are on screen you know that things are about to get tricky. They take no prisoners and take no breaks. They just shred everyone in their way. At the end of the day it is a bit of a Jaws homage to be sure but I like how they go all in on this. I dare say it’s pretty close to Jaws in quality too but of course you know that’s not necessarily a good thing.

So the movie starts off with a pair of teenagers deciding to make a foolish mistake and that is to jump in the water near an abandoned testing site. How clean would this water be even if there weren’t piranha around? Well Maggie is called in to find them so she looks around a while and eventually comes across a guy named Paul who enjoys a quiet existence in a little cabin of his. He’s got a good gig going there and doesn’t want to be mixed up in any trouble but there isn’t really any dissuading Maggie so they check out the old government installation. They fight off a crazy guy and release all the piranha accidentally. Now these creatures are headed to a nearby town to take everyone down!

One thing that’s harder to capture in a newer film is how suddenly things happen. The heroes just wander into a crazy little hut and release a terrifying force onto humanity. There isn’t a lot of build up or foreshadowing to this. It just happens and the execution is fairly decent. The scientist could have potentially made things a little better for the world if he had tried to talk instead of immediately going to beat these characters up. C’mon this guy should have known that strategy wasn’t going to work and while it was an emergency, there were lots of ways to quickly get this across instead of the way that he did it. Ultimately this cost him his life which was a really heavy price to make for a simple mistake but that’s how things can go in these films.

Maggie is a decent heroine. She was persistent in her search for the teenagers which is admirable because I don’t think anyone would have faulted her for taking a step back after not finding any trace in the mountains instead of recruiting the old guy to help her. She really just wanted to see the job through and that’s always good. She never lost her determination throughout the film. As for Paul, he’s less of your classic hero and is just someone trying to stay out of harm’s way. He very reluctantly helped out with the search. Sure he did get going once they figured out what was happening but he just as easily would have rolled back into bed if Maggie wasn’t so insistent on his coming. Fortunately he can fight which came in handy against the scientist.

The army actually get involved later on which was nice since I always like to see them around. The only mixed thing here is the way the heroes escape just felt really cheesy. Cmon the security cannot be so weak that they basically just run out after a quick gag. The movie’s fairly serious so perhaps they thought we needed some humor thrown in but it almost feels out of place. I think they could have done a lot better with this whole plot personally. I wanted to see the army get some action even if in a way it would be hard to do when the enemies are fish. Have them fire at the water to no effect or something. They do use some poison but of course that isn’t going to do much here.

The movie does lightly touch on the classic conspiracy angle though. The government naturally doesn’t want anyone to find out what is going on here and they do a good job of covering it all up at least until that is no longer possible. They just didn’t seem very smart with how they handled it. They are trying to salvage things again by the end though so they are consistent. You have to give them some props there. Ultimately the instant you make mutated creatures that have super skills there probably isn’t much of anything that you can do but you still have to try hard. I would have had the film end with a piranha starting to grow a fist or something. Hey with mutations it should be possible right?

The effects aren’t bad but the soundtrack is on the forgettable side. The film’s best quality is its overall atmosphere but at the end of the day that’s really all that it’s got. With the Piranha murdering everyone everywhere it quickly just becomes another animal attack film. Fortunately with piranhas there is less chance of animal violence as it’s mostly just them eating people. It’s still fairly violent as it sure takes them a long time to shred people to bits though. This is not one for the faint of heart. Ultimately it is another good reason why you don’t really want to be in the ocean at all. I feel like on land you can reasonably protect yourself against most threats or feel like you have a shot but in the water there is nothing to anchor you or to really give you good ground beneath your feet so it’s all a lot more terrifying.

I wouldn’t say the movie is particularly scary to be honest but if you put yourself in that position then you can absolutely understand what the fear would be like. It’s not really my kind of film though. I would need more quality characters and a bigger role from the government for this title to really take off. I also think just by nature of the film it would be difficult for this one to be pretty good. When you have an evil animal you’re either going to see the humans destroy it or the animal destroy them and in each case it’s likely going to be a rather violent affair.

Overall, Piranha must have been quite the hit with how many films it has spawned but ultimately I would say that this is one that you can really skip on. There isn’t a whole lot of reason to watch this one when you have much better options on the horizon. Watch Godzilla vs the Sea Monster instead if you want to see what an aquatic animal can really do with full size enhancements to take on the government. Yes that’s definitely the way to do it!

Overall 2/10

Prom Night Review

This review is of the 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 for another school movie where a disaster takes place. There isn’t a huge explosion this time around but there may as well have been as things get really intense here. The movie doesn’t start off on the best note, nor does it end in a great way either. This is really just your dime a dozen slasher movie going through its paces and it never tries to be anything more than that. As a result this movie just isn’t very good at all with a lot of forgettable characters.

The movie starts off with a bunch of cruel children picking on one girl until they corner her by a window where she falls through and dies. They decide not to tell anyone and run off. Years later, someone has decided to avenge the girl. Each of the children who were involved start to get threatening phone calls confirming that they will all be dying at the prom. The heroines are grown up now though and figure these are prank calls and don’t worry about it. As the bodies start piling up they have to be careful though. Can they actually stop this monster before they are obliterated?

Schools really are quite huge so it does work as a big battleground here. For example with the big prom taking place in the main lobby, the rest of the school is completely empty. That gives the murderer plenty of places to hide. It’s a location where you can buy into a cloaked figure even camping out for the whole day. You’ve got several floors each with 12+ rooms plus restrooms and such that are completely empty. Naturally some students leave to go and have affairs and such which makes them easy pickings. In that way the prom was the easiest date to pull this off for because everybody is making the job easier. They split off on their own without telling people intentionally.

Of course it’s also annoying to see them all fall for this by the same token. You just know that the characters are doomed the instant the villain appears. As always they all just don’t know how to fight at all and can’t defend themselves. The only exception to this is a guy named Slick who has a lot of self confidence. It was impressive how he just rode up in his big car and got someone to go out with him immediately although whether it’s a feather in his cap or the lady was too easy is something we can’t say. It’s as rushed a romance as you can get so I’m not exactly going to give that a high score.

Surprisingly Slick actually made this a real fight and went back and forth with the villain for quite some time though. That scene went on for way longer than I had anticipated. Yeah the ending is probably inevitable to be sure but I always prefer when someone puts up a fight rather than meekly going down. When your life is at stake you better find some adrenaline to fight back because if you lose then that’s game over. There is no retry option or anything like that even if it would be cool to have one of those.

The main heroine here is Kim and she does feel bad about what happened. It’s just like 10 years too late but I’ll take what I can get. There isn’t a whole lot to her character though. I mean in a way her character is that she isn’t nearly as desperate as the others who are all either one with the world now or have completely moved on. You just know that they’re all doomed while Kim at least has a chance of figuring things out. Well, she is the main character so that makes sense but she also just seems a lot more reasonable than the others. She feels like your average everyday character if that makes sense.

It’s not a bad thing, I’ll take being a forgettable character over being a really bad one but you can tell that this movie was more about putting the effort in to how everyone would be bumped off rather than the characters. There actually is one side bonus to this although I think it’s probably unintentional. The characters are so forgettable that when they reveal who the villain is, it takes you a minute to remember who the character is. You quickly understand from the context clues but there will be a few moments where you scratch your head and just wonder what’s going on. It all does make sense in hindsight and in a way this is the only culprit that would make sense.

The film does offer an obvious red herring from the start but the movie forgot to be subtle about this so because of that nobody falls for it. Now in a way slasher films are always going to be doomed no matter what setting they take place in but I would argue that taking place at a school puts you at an extra disadvantage by default. First you have all of the drama and poorly developed romances going on. It makes the characters look really annoying and unprepared from the jump. Then you have the fact that the teachers and principal are inevitably not going to help or do much anyway so why even include them in here? If the movie takes place on the mountains or something then at least it’s a unique environment and you have the extra tension of trying to escape from there in one piece.

It won’t solve the core issues but it’s a start. As you’d expect the film suffers from excessive violence and poor writing. There are no really likable characters as it’s really hard to forget that opening scene. I don’t care how young they were, you have to be pretty messed up to attack that little girl the way that they did. It was a really rough way to start the film and unfortunately set the tone for how the rest of the movie was going to play out. It’s really hard to recover from a moment like that.

Overall, At least the principal tried to help things out by putting the pressure on with locating another criminal on the loose. I give him credit for doing his best, he was just doomed from the start and you as the viewer knew it. Some things just can’t be easily stopped. I don’t think there is really anything you can get from this film that can’t be found in any number of other slashers. The movie doesn’t have much in the way of redeeming values as even the mystery of trying to find out who the killer is won’t interest you very much.

Overall 2/10

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters 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

Hansel & Gretel is definitely a very classic story that I’m sure just about everyone has heard of at one point or another. Doing a modern action film based on that premise could be a lot of fun. So on one hand they do succeed in adding a ton of action and it has a very Resident Evil/Underworld feel to it. Everyone’s wearing leather jackets and there is a lot of loud music as everyone just starts attacking. I always like the vibe but the film also decides to be quite over the top violent the whole time which ends up weakening it entirely. It’s a shame since otherwise I think this could have ended up being a whole lot of fun but instead it ends up being rather underwhelming.

The movie starts off with the origin story as Hansel and Gretel are abandoned by their father and a witch invites them to her house. For a long while she has them captured but eventually they destroy her and escape. They then decide to become witch hunters and are very good at it. They’ve slain so many over the years it’s almost like they are superhuman or something. Hansel’s one weakness is that he has magical diabetes so he has to take a shot every few hours or else he can’t move. One day they save an innocent civilian from being executed by a bunch of crazy townsfolk and prepare to stop the true enemy Muriel. The tough part about this is that she is one of the strongest witches in existence. Defeating her will not be easy by any stretch of the imagination.

It is hard to picture how the heroes lasted this long against the witches though because they just aren’t very impressive in a fight. Sure they have the gun and the crossbow not to mention that magical bolts don’t affect them directly (Strange isn’t it?) but that’s it. They still only have human level stats so you’d think the witches could overwhelm them with speed or manipulating the environment to choke them or something. They don’t end up doing any of that and every time they are defeated you have to shake your head a bit.

This gets even more drastic once Muriel steps in because she’s much stronger as I mentioned before. She moves so fast that it’s like she is teleporting and her energy blasts have a wide range to them. I get that she can’t use her mind control on the heroes but there are still so many ways to beat them. This is definitely an example of a movie where they made the difference between the heroes and villains way too drastic. You always gotta keep it at least a bit equal or the plot armor starts to show off too much. At least Muriel does make for a decently good villain though. She has a very concrete goal and takes steps to achieve it. Her plan wasn’t even bad so she put in a whole lot of work here.

Then we have Mina as the girl who was nearly executed. She gets a fairly big role in the film but ultimately ends up being very underwhelming. For the first half I actually just thought she was going to be a really powerful villain that the heroes had to worry about but as the film went on you started to realize that this might not be in the cards. She’s a character whose concept is a lot cooler than the execution. You got the feeling that she could end up being really cool but then the climax happens and that was it.

Likewise there is a white witch in the flashback who looks really bad. Basically like in Final Fantasy a white witch has healing powers while the dark witches use your classic attack spells. The problem is that the white witches are such pacifists that they literally refuse to lift up a hand to fight back even when they are being absolutely crushed. Not a good look if you ask me. There has to be a point where you are going to defend yourself because if you just let people murder you like that then I’m not going to like the character. It’s as simple as that.

Now there is a sidekick character named Ben who wants to help the main duo but he’s just annoying. For starters he lost any single shred of decency he might have had when he tries to take advantage of Gretel while she was asleep. I mean that’s case closed in one fell swoop. You just don’t come back from a blow like that, no shot! He mainly just exists to be the comic relief and doesn’t add anything to the film so you could absolutely cut him out and nothing would really change.

The heroes run into a troll named Edward later on who is nice enough. He helps out Gretel quite a bit which is always good and he means well. He may not be the smartest character out there but he knows enough to be of help when it counts. The guy has the physical strength needed to win almost any one on one fight and he seems like he would be a very loyal ally to have around so there’s no problem with him watching your back.

Then we have Hansel who is a good main character. He has quite the grudge against witches but who wouldn’t in his position right? The witch basically ruined his life and he will never be fully better again so after that it is really hard to forget such a moment. He can fight well which is the important part and is always looking out for Gretel. Likewise Gretel has Hansel’s back and they make a good team. She’s very confident and is always ready to press on in the fight. Their sibling dynamic worked well and isn’t one you see very often in the movies so that was fun. It’s why you could cut out Ben and just keep the dynamic duo banter intact.

Of course the film still has to squeeze in some romance which is why Mina steps in. This whole plot is very rushed and there just isn’t time for romance when you’re trying to take down witches. Lives are at stake and they also have to watch out for the corrupt townsfolk who are everywhere. So instead of pairing up and all of that maybe they should be focused on winning the fight ahead of them. That would have made way more sense at least and it could give them time to develop as friends instead. Yeah the romance should have been cut out.

As mentioned earlier the violence also could have been toned down a whole lot. Characters are being blown up and sliced and diced left and right. The film also goes for some downright gross imagery at different points as well like with Muriel forcing some guys to eat a bunch of bugs. Like did we really need to go there? Sure it shows how superior she is as a mage but cmon now. Then the film has to get edgy with all the townsfolk being brutes who go after Gretel at one point. The film is trying to be as extreme as possible at all moments and it works against the film.

Overall, Hansel & Gretel had some nice potential here. I liked some of the twists and the whole action angle was nice. I do think it could have ended up being a good film if it just showed some restraint. Instead it didn’t show any though and that’s what hurts the film a whole lot. There is no real replay value here and you’ll be cringing a whole lot. It’s time for another hard reboot to this series. You can still keep the witch hunter angle but the whole direction just needs to be changed. Hey, if you do that then you could have a winner on your side but in the meantime you should absolutely skip this one. At least the soundtrack is really good though.

Overall 2/10

Chopping Mall 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

Chopping Mall is probably a film you’ve at least heard of even if you haven’t watched it yet. It’s a fairly well known slasher film and I will give it this, it’s better than the average one. Robots work really well as the main villains. I definitely still have a lot of issues with the film as you would expect like the constant violence and super unlikable main characters but a robot is just a fresher take than the serial killer angle.

The movie starts out with the mall showing off their new security system. Basically they will have robots patrolling the premises and they can stop any intruder. Naturally lethal force won’t be used and this is supposed to be totally safe because they can scan your ID. So that should be a load off of everyone’s mind. There are two critics in attendance though and they’re taking shots the whole time. You have to admire how bold these two are because they just could not care less. She are interrupting and talking about random things the whole time. It’s too bad that they didn’t return later but do a good job of setting up some humor in the film aside from all of the murders going on the whole time.

Meanwhile a bunch of juvenile delinquents decide to hold a party after closing hours. They fool the adult quickly enough and get to work but that’s when the robots wake up. None of these guys have a valid ID after all to show that they are supposed to be here so they start to get picked off one by one. Is there any way to stop the machines or are they absolutely doomed? Only time will tell here but they will certainly need to hurry and bring their A game!

Right away you can tell that the main characters aren’t likable at all but of course that should come as no surprise. Their whole introduction is them preparing to break the rules and hook up with each other after all. Even the two who weren’t together quickly hook up that night and so they’re all eager to be in a relationship even when some barely know each other. You know that most of these characters are doomed right from the jump and I didn’t like any of them.

Greg gets a special shoutout for being extra awful though. The stress gets to him and so he decides to go after the rest of the characters a bit and even points his gun at them. When everyone is trying to focus on stopping the deadly monsters there is really no time for infighting like this. It just makes him not look very smart at all. You’d expect a little better from this guy. Now maybe you shouldn’t expect anything better from him but it was still annoying to see.

Suzie also doesn’t handle things well by leaving the group early. Sure, it was getting hot in there so they couldn’t stay put forever but jumping out early just ended up putting her in trouble and lowering their numbers right away. It’s fortunate that the mall had a weapons store so they could suit up but these robots were durable and so half the time the bullets wouldn’t do anything. It seems like they just have a few weak points where if you hit them then you’re good but it’s hard to aim for those.

It’s a bit rough for Mike and Leslie because they didn’t really have any prep time here. Whenever the first ones are bumped off you can’t blame them as much for being unprepared since the whole situation is new. It’s everyone else that you will hold to a higher standard since they have time to prep and get ready. Allison is the main heroine here and so she holds up a little better but unlike a lot of other films where the main heroine is usually shown to be a much better person than the others, I wouldn’t say that is totally the case here. She goes along with this plan of everyone’s and still gets together with Ferdy quickly so she wouldn’t be left out. Likewise Ferdy feels like just another one of the guys.

Perhaps they aren’t being quite as out of control as the others but I would say the difference isn’t anything major. It would have been nice to have really had some characters to root for. I should mention that we do have the janitor here, some cops, and a tech guy but les just say that none of them are very much help here. The robots are already too powerful by this point and the adults have really bad reaction times so they can never help out at all. That seems to always be the adults role in these kinds of things. Only the teens can save the day and that’s why they’re doomed.

In terms of the murders it’s all fairly traditional stuff. When the robot shows up with their lasers you know the humans are doomed and they all get violently murdered. You can expect a lot of violence in a film like this. Also a lot of fanservice with all of the characters hooking up and the usual fake kinds of romances set up here. They all feel like quick one night stands just for kicks and don’t really do anything for the plot. So there isn’t any large period of time where you’re having a blast here.

I guess the intro to the film was the best part because at least I liked the critics. Those guys really seemed to be holding the mall to a high standard and were not going to just back down without getting their 2 cents in. I know the film is aiming to be part horror with the teens on their own but I do think it would be more entertaining if we had all of the adults in here as well. The robots would definitely have to be working overtime to take them all down but they’re equipped and ready to handle that. Their energy reserves are super high thanks to the lightning bolt as it is. It would change the flow of the film a bit and potentially give us at least some characters to root for. Trust me, this would be for the best, no doubt.

Overall, Chopping Mall isn’t really going to do anything for you beyond the usual slasher experience. The mall makes for a good backdrop though. It’s always nostalgic seeing it because I loved my local mall back before it closed all the foodstores. A mall just has such great variety so it always works really well to have that around. The robots were also a good idea and I would absolutely make more films with robotic villains if I were these writers. Just step away from the slasher genre and you should have a winning formula right there. We’ll see if that happens though.

Overall 2/10

Kill Bill Volume 2 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

All right, it’s time for the next Kill Bill. It’s pretty similar to the last one but we have a bit less action this time around. The Bride is wrapping up her revenge tour after all and there are only a few targets left. Not to mention that these targets are mainly weaker than the last film’s so the movie has to throw in elements like her getting sloppy and being buried alive to buy time until the end. It does beat the first film because we don’t get anything quite as dreadful as the whole hospital part from the first film. It’s still way excessive on the violence which keeps it from really reaching its potential but any improvement is always good.

So a good chunk of the film is about Bride taking on Budd which lasts longer than you would expect. The guy can’t fight for beans but he does have a gun and she seems to underestimate him which is what makes things tricky. If not for the surprise attack then she would have definitely taken him out pretty quick. I suppose he deserves some credit for that. I’d say the other two big aspects of the film is finally seeing the truth of what happened that day in the chapel when everyone jumped her and then the climax where she finally gets to take on Bill.

The confrontation with Bill is what we’re all here for after all so I’ll leave that for the end. For the intro with the wedding, well it definitely makes Bill look really crazy. It’s clear that he planned to shoot everyone up from the start with the way his gang showed up. We learn that he’s the Bride’s father and yeah it’s really not a good look for him. The guy just seems super petty especially considering that the bride and groom seemed nice enough the whole time. Nobody was antagonizing him or anything. He just is the big villain and sometimes that’s all you need.

Now for the final villains, first up we have Budd and I can’t say that I liked him much at all. I guess he’s got brute strength but that’s about it and he wasn’t very smart in how he handled himself with the boss at his day job. He was almost making the argument that he didn’t need the job by saying that there is nobody around to bounce and I thought it was clever of the boss to bring that up. He really just gets lucky the whole time with the Bride being surprisingly clumsy with her approach and then he lets his guard down with the snake. It was definitely not a very smart move since he should know that all of these villains mean business.

We also have Elle who is sort of like a rival to Bride. She was definitely really jealous of her the whole time. Their skills are fairly close although I do think Bride has the decisive advantage here when you really think about it. She got to learn more from the master and just seems more experienced. Elle is still very good in combat though.

Now she did get a big moment where she takes down the master Pai Mei, but that guy was also an extreme jerk to the point of being a villain. I mean his training was so drastic that he did nearly murder Bride on a few occasions which I always think is way too excessive for any training. Sure, it always works out so you look the other way but you have to think about if it didn’t work out. Then you just murdered a pupil and while Pai Mei wouldn’t be broken up about it, it makes you double think everyone who actually allowed this to happen. It’s just not a smart play and so when Elle murders him you just aren’t too surprised. It seemed inevitable that he would push someone too far.

As in the last film the Bride is good here although she maybe holds back a little too much against Bill in the end. Look, you’ve come this far so I think you need to end him really quick. This isn’t one of those times where you can just talk things out and hope for the best. It worked with the neighbor in the first film because it wasn’t as personal and you still knew she was going to finish the job but with Bill it should have been time to take him out on sight. By waiting she put herself in a whole lot of danger the whole time.

Bill is also a very annoying character in part because I feel like the film isn’t really acknowledging just how evil he is. In a way it’s just part of the absurdness of it all as he just shows up trying to appear as a nice guy and calling Bride’s bluff but she should have just taken him out and then kept moving. I think there are a lot of ways she could have handled that better because this way could have really backfired.

In particular the moment where she falls down and closes her eyes to play dead while Bill is right in front of her. He easily could have gone for the shot for all she knows and then that would have been it. There just wouldn’t be any coming back from that. He also needs to own the fact that he put her in such a terrible position all these years and there is no coming back from that either. The whole climax with Bill was just rather odd and I didn’t think it landed nearly as well as the film thought it did. Mainly because it didn’t land at all. This was a fire and a miss. The climax may not be very satisfying as a whole but at least the very end is good and that’s what you will remember the most in the end.

The film keeps a lot of the fun technical elements that made the first one good like the music and choreography although there are much less chances to show that here since the film isn’t as action heavy. It’s not quite as dark as the first film but it’s still very over the top violent that’s for sure. Everyone is still getting slaughtered on all sides and taking away from the fun fights that you want to get to. It’s still as shocking and gruesome as ever.

Overall, Kill Bill ends here and while it’s a slight improvement over the first film because it doesn’t get as extreme, it’s relative when you think about how extreme it still is the whole time. This is not a fun popcorn film that you plug in and have a good time with. Instead this is a title where you turn it on but have to be ready to wince and shake your head whenever a villain shows up because you know that someone’s about to go down the hard way. You don’t really need a sequel to this but one more to finish the trilogy would be nice and if things keep improving a bit then who knows. Maybe the third will end up being the big one but until then you can stick to other revenge films like One Piece Film: Red or Dragon Ball: Super Broly the Movie.

Overall 2/10

Stand by Me 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

Stand by Me is one of those films where I can’t say that I had high hopes for it from the jump. It’s a movie about a bunch of kids having a journey and that’s not the most interesting premise. I prefer the main characters to be a little bit older which always makes the banter and dialogue more fun. Throw in the fact that they’re in a fairly mean world and none of the kids are that likable and you have a recipe for disaster.

The movie kicks off with a kid dying so Gordie and his friends want to see the body. It’s a rather odd objective but for them nothing ever happens in this town so it’s the only thing they can do to get some excitement out of the day. The body is supposed to just be a few miles away from where they are at so the 4 kids (Gordie, Chris, Teddy, and Vern) all head out. It will be a tough journey though and they don’t have much food so they really need to move quickly. That doesn’t stop them from having their share of fights and disagreements though. They just really want to make it all the way to the goal and so they will keep moving forward.

Perhaps with a better goal the journey would be more fun. Like if they all wanted to go to some kind of tournament or try out a pizza place. But running around to look at a dead body? It’s even worse that it’s another kid since no matter how the kid died that is rather tragic. It’s hard to get all that invested into the mission that the 4 boys have as a result. Do you even want them to succeed?

Then you have the fact that the world seems rather mean spirited. Just about everyone they run into is either an antagonist or just generally upset. The guy they run into at the car factory at least has some reason for this since they are the ones trespassing. They have fun making fun of him and his dog but then can’t take it when he starts hurling insults. Teddy in particular can’t take it as he gets upset when the guy insults his father. You really shouldn’t be hurling insults and acting like a delinquent if you can’t take it when the tables are turned.

Then you have the bullies who show up to make life tough on the main characters. They don’t have much of a grand mission beyond causing trouble and only seem to show interest in finding the body as well while they were there. It’s fortunate that the kids had some equipment because things could have really gone badly for them otherwise. These bullies seemed quite serious about possibly murdering these kids. At the very least you don’t doubt that they would do it.

To break away from the nonstop dangers we do get a quick story sequence about a kid who was teased for being overweight. It’s a story being told so you know it’s fake but we actually get to see it play out in real time. Basically the kid gets his revenge by having everyone start throwing up. It’s a rather gross scene to be honest and I would have cut out the story as well. Even if it was a lighter moment to try and keep the tone from being too down in the dumps, I wouldn’t say it was a good story so that limited how effective it could be.

As for the main kids, I wasn’t a big fan of any of them as I mentioned earlier. Teddy is always causing trouble and can’t really be trusted on the journey. He nearly caused all of the kid to die by deciding to play chicken with a train. It was a really dumb move. Then Vern is always getting picked on by Teddy and I wonder how the 4 of them are even friends anyway. It gets a bit mean spirited with how hard they ride the poor guy. You can have solid banter within a group without getting mean spirited but part of the problem is that the shots were always directed at Vern so it didn’t feel very balanced. If I was him then I would have definitely left a while back.

As for Gordie, he has less to do than the other characters as the true main character who gets the narration but he was okay I suppose. He did less to make him unlikable at least. Then there is Chris who is the most mature of the 4 main characters so at least he is doing his best in keeping everyone alive. Naturally that means that things don’t go so well for him in the epilogue and that’s a shame because he should have had the best ending of the group. In general the film’s ending isn’t very satisfying at all. Part of the point of the film is probably that it’s not supposed to be satisfying since part of the journey is knowing that completing it won’t change anything.

At the same time, intentional or not if an ending is not satisfying then it’s not a good ending. There just isn’t any point in the film where you get invested in what is going on. I don’t think this is a film that I would be able to finish on my own and that’s why it’s got a very low score here. With no hook or likable characters to root for then it was really doomed right out of the gate. I would stand by my theory that the film would be significantly better if the characters were grown up. A bunch of adults running around on an adventure is something that can and has worked for generations. There’s a whole lot that you can do with that and the story would naturally be more focused and interesting. Sure you still need good writing to execute on this premise but I would be confident that the movie could do it.

Overall, Stand by Me is a film that I would definitely recommend skipping. It just doesn’t work on an emotional level which is half of the film right there. Since you don’t care about the characters or the journey then there just isn’t much left for you by that point. This ends up just being a boring movie which is ultimately a really bad thing for it. If you want to see a solid coming of age story about a kid needing to come to terms with the future then watch Big Hero 6 instead. There the hero has to move on from the past but it’s done in a more engaging way.

Overall 2/10

Little Shop of Horrors (1986) Review

I can’t say that I enjoyed the first Little Shop of Horrors much at all and this one really isn’t much better if it even is better. The concept of a plant that eats people is certainly interesting enough but the film is bogged down with bad characters and the music doesn’t work very well. I’m convinced that the best songs are always found in films that are ironically not musicals. The musicals don’t seem to land as well, even if that does sound a bit odd. I guess One Piece Film: Red is an exception but I’d call that more of a concert film than a musical so the point stands.

The movie starts by introducing us to our hapless hero Seymour. He’s a big pushover at the shop and he has a big crush on his colleague Audrey but doesn’t have the guts to admit it. He’s always messing up with something and so the day gets away from him awfully fast. One day an alien plant crash lands on Earth and Seymour ends up looking after it. Perhaps his luck is finally changing? This plant is growing fast and may turn the plant store he works at from being a place that nobody know about to a full highlight among the town’s residents. That’s quite the upgrade but it’s not without a catch. This plant which he calls Audrey II can only grow with blood and it needs quite a lot of it. Seymour has to be careful that he isn’t tempted too far into the dark side and if he lowers his guard he may be eaten alive.

I have a lot of issues with the film so where to start. It’s always fun trying to think of how to play this. I guess we’ll start with the music. It gets a bit obnoxious really quick as the songs keep jumping in every few minutes. I didn’t even care for any of the songs all that much. They don’t really fit the film too well and they weren’t really my style. It felt more like a quantity over quality thing and quickly hurt the movie’s pacing.

Then I usually don’t really consider attire to venture into the realm of fanservice on its own. It’s really all in the camera work if you ask me and how the directing is going but this film is quite shameless about it. Any time Audrey is on screen you can tell the film is putting a lot of focus on her and aside from just smashing the film’s story to pieces as these scenes detail it, it’s just unnecessary. Even beyond being used for fanservice the whole time, Audrey looks really bad here. So she lacks self confidence like Seymour and as a result she goes out with Orin, an abusive guy who treats her like dirt the whole film.

She seems to think she deserves this for some wild reason and it’s why she never approaches Seymour. Keep in mind that this film is part comedy and dare I say parody so that’s probably supposed to be a bit funny but it’s just bizarre. The film could have done a lot better with her character. Then any scene with Orin in it is very cringe worthy. So he’s a dentist in this version and the guy gets really excited to be dishing out pain to people. In fact the only reason he took the job is because it gives him a legal way to inflict pain on people for as much as he wants. The guy is as unbalanced as they come but you probably knew that by now. It takes a while for him to be taken out and in the meantime he’s just awful.

Then this isn’t a vampire film but it might as well be with how Audrey II has to suck Seymour’s blood the whole time. Those scenes are always rather gross and the film doesn’t hold back on the sound effects. There’s something about drinking blood that’s always rather gut wrenching and one of numerous reasons why any vampire related media is in for a very rough time right out of the gate. All of those scenes are just really bad. I’m glad that Audrey II talks a whole lot and has a full personality but that’s hardly enough to help the film fully recover. At least I can give it props for trying some different things and expanding on the overall plot but it would need serious re-writes to even approach being good.

Making Audrey II a big villain with a lot of fight scenes would have been a good first step though if you ask me. I already talked about Seymour so you can guess that I don’t like the guy. He doesn’t stand up for himself at all and that’s a big problem. He is quickly tainted to the dark path and while things work out for him, it’s hard to really root for him. It’s not like he’s some hero. He had a rough time of it sure but it doesn’t really excuse his actions at all.

The only character I liked quite a bit was Mushnik and even he can’t really be trusted the whole time. I liked how his personality did a 180 near the end though. You really didn’t see it coming because the whole time he had seemed like a really decent guy. Perhaps not the nicest but from what we had seen of Seymour you would assume that he used to be nicer but finally had enough of the main guy making a mess of things. So Mushnik’s character arc goes in a unique direction.

There’s also a random character who gets involved in the dentist subplot but that’s more of a random moment than anything. What happens when someone who enjoys pain meets someone who likes dishing it out? It certainly makes things tricky that’s for sure. Maybe all of the characters in this film are just crazy. It would explain a lot. The movie does have a decent ending to set things up for the sequel though. If it decided to take a different turn you could really make this into a proper alien invasion film.

One nitpick for Seymour’s character is also that he doesn’t think things through. When the shop was finally getting famous due to the big plant, he should have tried to stockpile as much money as he could so he could then escape there. Take Audrey and go to a better city, leave Mushnik to deal with the plant. Mushnik would be thrilled at first and you can let him figure out the true danger of the plant. It would have made a whole lot more sense than just not wanting any attention and putting himself in a corner. He always made the wrong choices.

Overall, The Little Shop of Horrors is a movie you will want to pass on. It does live up to being as crazy as the premise of the movie would suggest but it’s just so bad on every level. There really isn’t any saving this movie because you would need to try again from the ground up. At this point it’s probably worth just letting this franchise rest in peace instead of trying once again. After a point you just have to cut your losses so I would say to avoid this film and keep moving. You aren’t missing anything here.

Overall 2/10

It Lives Again Review

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

Whenever you have a film where the villain is an evil baby you are probably in trouble. There are only so many ways you can try to make that work and to date I don’t think any movie has succeeded. There are some interesting elements to the movie for sure and it almost gets into government conspiracy territory but at the end of the day it’s still just not able to get past the premise and I would advise skipping past this movie asap!

So it turns out that mutant babies are being born all across the country. The government has decided to take them down because of the danger that they pose. There are certain things they can use to detect if a couple is going to have one of these babies. The detection isn’t 100% accurate but it’s close enough so if they get a false reading…well that’s going to be another dead baby. Almost nobody knows about this though except for Frank who figured this out after the events of the first film. He heads over to Jody and Eugene to warn them about this since Jody is currently pregnant with a baby that is slated to be one of these demons. They’re rather skeptical but the government isn’t very subtle which tips their hand early. Can the couple escape with Frank or should they stick with the government. Can they trust either one of them?

This is one of those films where you absolutely do not want to trust anybody though. Think about it, the government is absolutely a group you want to avoid because they are going to murder the baby straightaway. So getting away from them is a top concern even if it means going with Frank and his group but then you probably want to escape from them at some point as well. They’ve got a whole lab set up including a bunch of babies in cages. That’s already rather ominous right? So just keep on moving.

What makes it tough though is that Eugene isn’t even really sure if he wans to keep the kid. He’s a little nervous about the whole thing and you totally get it. The kids look like monsters and if they are true demons then is it really even their kid? The way he and Jody handle the situation is bad though as they keep flip flopping. It makes things very easy for the babies to go around beating them up and claiming more victims. For the most part Jody is really the one who wants the kid and you get it because she still did give birth to him. So she has that strong mother’s instinct in play even when the kid seems rather crazy.

This naturally leads to a lot of fighting between the main two. Meanwhile Eugene is scared out of his wits half the time until she talks him back into it. So he doesn’t get to have a whole lot of fun here. In the end I wasn’t particularly a big fan of any of the characters. Frank did well in finding the characters and trying to save the babies but I didn’t think that the place did a great job of looking after them. Somehow things worked out for a while but you should see how they handle these kids. The doctor just opens the cage when it’s feeding time. Inevitably you know this won’t end well.

It’s hard to know what you should even do with the kids long term. It seems like they can’t be tamed so do you just have to keep them in cages forever? They’ll grow up soon in theory so you’ll need more and more space. It just doesn’t seem sustainable. Of course just murdering them like the government isn’t the answer either. It basically means everyone is just in a really bad situation here and I would have liked for the film to focus on this a little more. Let us really think about the moral implications of what is going on here and let us take sides.

Personally I think you would just need an island for these creatures to live in peace but then you have the logistics of getting the families to agree to this and safe procedures to transport them. All aspects that are much tougher than they sound so it’s not something you can just do 1-2-3. The film isn’t super interested in answering these questions though as the second half just becomes your average horror film. The monster babies go around biting and stabbing everyone and you know that the humans are doomed.

It’s all rather violent and you’re just waiting for the government to show up and clean house. The babies seem to enter rage mode at the drop of a hat so you feel like there is really no hope even early on. The film has an interesting ending that could lead to a sequel or you could take it as more of a “The cycle will continue” but to what end? The way the film ends there are certainly less resources so you can’t directly do what Frank did. It would be difficult to replicate that at least without a lot of finances. Ultimately it feels like the government won this round.

It’s a bit tragic because there are some interesting plots here but they really aren’t able to carry the film for very long. I liked Frank’s entrance at the house when he starts telling the characters about what is going on. The scene of all the cops showing up outside of the hospital was suitably ominous and helped the main characters start to piece things together. The movie knew how to build a rather intense atmosphere and so they really should have stuck to that instead of going the horror route. Having everything be shrouded in mystery and the characters going into hiding would have been interesting. Give us more scenes with the government and what they’re planning. Beyond the demon kids the world seems realistic so what do a lot of the inside agents think about this? It’s still like murdering normal babies so surely there are some who would be against this.

Overall, It Lives Again has the wrong priorities here. I think if you tone down the violence a lot and make the babies a non factor then this could have been interesting. Have the film be a debate about what to do with them as the number of babies continues to expand. We could get some good plans out of that and maybe slowly see the doom approaching the country as every minute of inaction means more people are being taken down. It’s hard to escape the inevitable issue of having to shoot the babies though and the film naturally gets dark as a result. I think there are ways around this but I won’t say that it’s easy. It’s just something you have to try and side step. So switching the premise entirely is the best bet but this is a long winded way of saying that your best bet is to just skip this one.

Overall 2/10