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The Mad Genius Review


It’s time to look a a film from a while back that shows why you’ve always gotta stand up for yourself. If you just allow yourself to be a tool you’ll always end up on the losing side. Part of why this film ultimately ends up failing on every level is that the main characters don’t handle the situations very well at all. They end up appearing to be quite gullible and have low will power. It’s never fun to see them get tricked by the villains so easily. They just were not ready for the real world and it shows.

The movie starts off with Ivan deciding to adopt a kid. Ivan was never able to be a world famous dancer but he will make sure that Fedor will succeed where Ivan had failed. Things are going quite well for many years as Fedor is shaping up nicely. Unfortunately that all changes when Fedor falls in love with one of the dancers named Nana. Falling in love with a co-worker is pretty dangerous and usually doesn’t end up working out but that’s just how it went in this case. Ivan is determined to break these two up even if he has to use trickery to do so. Will he be able to keep Fedor as his living puppet or will he ultimately be unable to truly control Fedor’s life to such a degree?

To start with, Fedor is a pretty terrible character. Ivan’s a villain so that goes without saying for him, but Fedor handles himself poorly in every regard. Once he finds out about Ivan’s deception he quickly runs off with Nana which is at least a good start to what’s going on. That’s the right approach but where things go wrong is he starts sounding like Ivan and even guilt tripping Nana a bit. This leads her to decide to sell herself off to one of Ivan’s friends. Fortunately that guy ends up being rather decent to her the whole time but it felt like we went to 0-100 in an instant. Why couldn’t they just have talked things out real quick? Why did Fedor suddenly change overnight? He is a large part of why Nana felt so desperate in those scenes.

Fedor was also quick to believe Ivan and go back to being on his side. You’ve got to be a real sucker to believe someone who has made a career out of tricking others. Whenever Fedor showed up you could count on him to make the wrong decision. While Nana was a nice character she makes a lot of the same mistakes as well. She makes massive assumptions throughout the film and is too quick to ride the waves or go along with what the others are saying. She shouldn’t have even gone to meet Ivan the second time around as there is no way that could have ended well. It’s not so much a case of Nana being too nice as just being overly naive the whole time.

As for Ivan, he’s definitely one of those guys who quickly abuses his power as soon as he gets it. He allows his dancers to move up the ranks by giving personal favors. It goes against his entire motivation of wanting to have the best ballet. You can’t take his goal seriously if he doesn’t. That’s one of those things a villain just can’t do. If he can’t stand by his goal then that means it wasn’t really much of one to start with. Ultimately things start to catch up to him by the end of the movie but it certainly took a while for this to occur.

The Mad Genius can be rather slow paced at times and the weak characters don’t help matters either. You’ll struggle to find the film all that entertaining or interesting. The title also gives Ivan more credit than he is due as the guy doesn’t seem particularly intelligent. He could have very easily allowed the two main characters to be together and then they would have stayed in the show. By getting rid of them he lost his two best dancers so of course the show wouldn’t be quite as good. Ivan really didn’t think anything over particularly well.

Overall, The Mad Genius is definitely a film that you can skip. The writing isn’t all that good and the film can be quite slow. It feels like not a whole lot happens during the movie and with the characters making so many illogical choices it’s hard to sympathize with them either. The film also loses track of time within the scenes. There’s one scene where one of the ladies tells Ivan she will be right back. We then get a very long scene of a drunk Ivan talking to his partner, listening to his ideas and having an argument. After the argument they go back and forth a bit and then the girl finally returns as Ivan is leaving. That was a whole lot of time to vanish and didn’t really make sense. The film doesn’t really dwell on this though so neither should you. If you want a more interesting piece of media about ballet I would advise you to check out Princess Tutu instead.

Overall 3/10

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Million Dollar Baby Review


It’s time for a film about boxing. There have been quite a few good ones over the years like Rocky and Creed. Those did a good job of delivering some pretty hype fights with epic storylines. Both of them will not be forgotten anytime soon. This one started out like it was going to be another one of the greats. Unfortunately it flew off the rails towards the end and ruined any potential it might have had. The first 2/3 of the film is quite good but the final part definitely destroys the film. That’s why they say a good ending is important. You can start off quite amazingly but if you trip over the end that’s what you will be remembered for.

The movie starts with Frankie winning more fights as the manager of a top ranked fighter Willy. Unfortunately his boxer eventually leaves him because Frankie never let him compete in the title matches. Frankie is now without a boxer. Meanwhile a girl named Maggie has started showing up as the gym and is determined to make Frankie her manager. He’s quite reluctant as he’s never coached a girl before and doesn’t want to start now. Still, she gradually weakens him and he starts to warm up to the idea. Still, a part of him is worried that this is a bad idea and he doesn’t want to have any more regrets.

There aren’t many big characters in this film but they all had to deal with a lot of issues throughout the film. Frankie has his own reasons for why he never lets his boxers attempt the big fight. His instincts are usually pretty good and it’s something that can come back to bite you. At the same time, it seems like this isn’t quite the right profession for him then. In boxing people are always going to get hurt so if you’re not prepared for that then you’re going to be in for a rough time. Frankie definitely plays the role of the angry coach who’s always got something stern to say. Deep down he’s a nice guy but it’s hard to get to that level. He makes for a good character though and a solid lead focus.

Then you’ve got his friend Eddie who does a lot of the work around the gym. He’s a lot quicker to give advice. Usually the other characters aren’t quite ready to hear what he has to say but he does his best. He has one especially good scene where he takes on one of the newer characters. He does pretty well and shows that he can still fight. He’s easily the nicest character in the film and I’d say that he steals the show. We all need an ally like Eddie. Someone who will have your back through the tough times no matter what.

Finally you have Maggie who really wants to be the world’s best boxer. She’s had a pretty tough life so far as her family turned out to be pretty toxic after her father died and she doesn’t really have anyone to support her. It’s been tough to make ends meet and boxing may be her only shot at a new life. She’s quite determined and that allows her to climb the ranks quite fast. Her technique is quite solid and she showed that she could hang with the best. Maggie takes all of the situations quite well and has some true grit.

While the film is focusing on the boxing it can be quite good. You really get to see proper footwork during the battles as well as the training you have to go through in order to get to the top. The characters are pretty solid and the pacing is good. The film would have been really solid if it had just ended with a slightly different outcome to the final fight or just cutting off at that point. Continuing further was ultimately a mistake.

I can’t really go much further into the ending because of course it’s a huge spoiler to the rest of the film. Needless to say, the movie decides to go for a lot of grit and dark themes towards the end. It suddenly stops being about boxing and becomes more of a tragedy drama where things continue to get worse and worse. The film doesn’t really leave any hope left and you’re just waiting for it to end at this point. The final act drags on for quite a long time. The film also randomly adds a backstory involving a dog dying and someone who was disabled getting beat up. It’s like the film suddenly changed gears and decided it wanted to be as mean spirited as possible.

Even the plot about Maggie’s family doesn’t feel truly necessary. I think the references from early on would have sufficed there rather than getting them involved. Even threatening Frankie at the hospital was a rather odd scene. I’m assuming after that Maggie told Frankie to leave for his own safety or at least I hope that was the case since it would seem out of character otherwise. Really what it boils down to is that the final act of the movie just wasn’t any fun at all. It crossed the line of getting a little too grim dark in what otherwise would have been a pretty solid adventure.

Overall, The Million Dollar Baby is a film that could not keep up its momentum. It built up a pretty solid plot with some good fight scenes and ultimately threw it all away for shock value. I’d definitely recommend watching something like Rocky or Creed instead. Those films manage to finish the ride and deliver with great endings to each of the installments. A good ending applies to just about every kind of game, sport, or entertainment. Finishing is the true skill you need to have in order to make it to the next level. Hopefully if this film was to ever get a remake or a sequel someday it would do a better job of finishing the fight. Until then this will definitely be known as the weakest boxing film I’ve seen.

Overall 3/10

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Glass Review


It’s time to look at the end of the Unbreakable trilogy. It definitely has not been the best one as both of the opening films were pretty bad. Perhaps it could pull off a bit of a miracle and end on a high note? The film tries its best but ultimately falters. As with any films from this director the movie doesn’t really start off that bad. It’s reasonably engaging throughout but the film quickly starts to lose steam and each plot twist is worse than the last. The final ones will almost make you roll your eyes because of how it hurts the logic of the film. The entire premise doesn’t work either but more on that in a minute.

So it’s been around 10+ years since David was running around and beating people up with his superhero powers. He is now a team with Joseph. Joseph finds the bad guys and David puts them away. Their latest target turns out to be Kevin as that villain managed to escape last time. David corners him and they have a pretty close fight but a company of soldiers appear and defeat them both. David, Kevin, and David’s old enemy Elijah are now being held in a psychiatric facility. Ellie explains that her job is to eliminate their delusions. Her theory is that these three characters don’t have powers and merely think that they do. What if she’s right?

Here’s the deal and perhaps the most tragic part of the film. This plot could actually work….if the first two films did not exist. Then it would really be her word against theirs and it would be completely possible that they do not have powers. A lot of people are delusional so you could totally ride that plot line to the bank. I think that could have made for a very interesting thriller. The problem is that this is the final film in the trilogy.

In the first two films we learn beyond the shadow of a doubt that both characters have powers. David is able to bench press over 350 pounds without ever coming close to that before and he knows that he has never been injured. Ellie’s comebacks against that are extremely weak and for some reason David doesn’t bring up any of the counters that he could have. I don’t really blame him though because Ellie probably would have dismissed them anyway.

Then for Kevin I dare say it’s even worse. He was shot multiple times in the first film and bent steel. Ellie’s comeback is that he could have grabbed a pair of pliers and used leverage to bend the bars. Nice theory…but we actually saw him do this in the last film and we know that the bullets hit him and weren’t weakened dummy rounds as she said. Again, this could have been an interesting exchange but since we know it’s fake that hurts the plot a lot. A great deal of the film is spent in the asylum as Ellie makes her various cases. The vast majority of the film takes place here and it drags on quite a bit.

This is in part because Elijah is pretending to be brain dead for most of the film and David never talks much anyway. That means that a lot of the dialogue is from Kevin who is the worst member of the 3. He’s crazy and totally evil which doesn’t work as a good combo if you’re one of the main characters. All of his scenes are pretty suspect. I didn’t like him in his movie and I certainly don’t like him here. Most of his personas are also pretty weak since in this film they joined the horde. In Split at least some of them were still good guys. In this film they all seem evil except for the Kevin persona who is naturally the weakest.

David talks a little more than the first film which is good. He’s still a little too quiet though and I’d like to have seen him talk a bit more and defend himself. He tends to take a pretty passive stance in the fights so the opponent always lands the hit first. He’s incredibly sloppy which is probably intentional but gets him into a pretty bad spot at the end. His weakness to water is also pretty massive to the point where it’s pretty tragic. He almost might as well not have powers. David’s also super gullible thanks to some scenes at the end. By default he’s one of the best characters here though.

Joseph was probably my favorite character. He helps David out a lot and is also pretty cautious. He warns his Dad that the cops are after him and also tries to make a case to get him out of the psychiatric place. Things may not turn out in his favor but at least he tried. I’d have liked to see him try harder to save David in the end but realistically it probably wouldn’t have done a whole lot of good.

Ellie is one of the key players here and she certainly gets some twists. Unfortunately those twists really don’t make any sense and don’t help her character. She’s definitely interesting but her goals are impossible unless the characters are incredibly gullible. I suppose she is a fun enough character, definitely pretty ruthless when she wants something done.

Elijah is still the big mastermind villain as always. I don’t see the point of the brain dead routine for most of the film though. If it’s to get people to let their guard down, then why keep showing that he can break out of the cell? If anything he’s lucky that they didn’t beef up security or start tying him up at night. Things go according to his plan and he has a lot of backups, but this part of the plan made no sense to me. It was also unfortunate because it meant that he wasn’t able to talk for most of the film.

Mrs Price gets to appear a bit here and she’s a fun character. I liked her in the first movie. Her role here is fairly minor as she just hyped up Elijah a bit. She never really tries to tell Elijah that he shouldn’t be evil here but I suppose it’s possible that she did off screen. Hard to say but maybe at this point he has had such a hard life she doesn’t blame him for falling off the deep end.

Casey’s character takes an unfortunate arc in this film. She appears to have a huge case of stockholders syndrome here as she’s grown to like Kevin and keeps defending him. The guy is a mass murderer who has been apparently murdering a bunch of people off screen. He would have gotten 3 more victims at the beginning if he wasn’t stopped. It was cool seeing Casey show up because it made this feel even more like a crossover. She just needed a much better role.

As I’ve mentioned above, the film is at its best during the intro scenes when it’s building up the crossover effect. There may only have been 2 films earlier but this feels like a big crossover right away. One of the things that helps with this is that we got supporting characters from both movies. The fact that it’s able to get a bit of hype going is impressive since both films weren’t good. So I’ll give the movie some props there. It was at least engaging for a while.

Ultimately I have to give the writing a thumbs down though. A lot of the scenes just don’t make any sense. The ending is also just pretty bad even aside from that. David’s plot certainly ends in a rather gruesome way. It’s definitely a callback which is interesting and all but not the way I’d end it there. I’m glad we did get a twist ending of sorts at least even if it’ll never actually lead to anything.

Overall, Glass was exactly the crossover you could expect from these two films. It is the best film in the trilogy but unfortunately that is not enough to actually make it a good movie. If you watched both of the earlier movies then you should check this out since you’re so close to the end as it is. That being said, if you want a hype crossover with more quality I’d recommend checking out Batman V Superman. It also builds up the atmosphere quite nicely but then also delivers with an amazing payoff at the end. That’s exactly the kind of experience that you want.

Overall 3/10

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The Third Day Review


It’s time to look at an old film that really starts to fall down towards the end. It’s a mystery film that tries to throw in a lot of twists and turns to the point where the red herrings start to not make any sense at all. The movie’s a little compelling at the start but gradually it gets less and less interesting which is really not a good thing for a mystery film. If anything it’s probably one of the worst things that could happen to a title in this genre. Quite unfortunate but not every mystery film is destined to be a winner.

The movie starts with Steve walking out of a car crash. It was a close shave for him but he’s alive which is what counts. Unfortunately he has no recollection of his life prior to waking up. The man has complete amnesia and that’s not good. It turns out that he’s rich and about to make a deal that will earn him and his company a ton of money but at the expense of all the jobs in the town. Effectively he is about to sell out to corporate and his wife is also upset at him. Nobody seems to like Steve and according to his mother in law it’s because Steve has been acting pretty terrible lately. His father in law is in a coma as well and Oliver despises Steve as well. Steve needs to find out what happened and also try to lead a better life, but is it too late?

Amnesia is definitely one of those things that is pretty scary to think about. Waking up and suddenly not knowing anything about yourself is intense. Even when people try to give you the full scoop there will always be some nagging doubts that they could be lying to you or something. This case of amnesia is pretty convenient as Steve remembers how to do everything. He has memories of everything not relating to his life, but I believe this does have some basis in fact as amnesia patients sometimes do remember lots of things due to muscle memory. It’s just the recollection that is gone. Films about amnesia can be pretty hit or miss. This one was handling the concept well until it wasn’t.

One random red herring is a scene with Alexandria and Oliver. Her dress was apparently a little too low so he helps her push it up. The whole scene seems way too familiar and at that point I figured perhaps they were both traitors and in on the conspiracy. I believe the film is actually trying to push that thought as well but in universe Alexandria has no reason to do this. At best you could say she is still upset at Steve and wanting to mess with him, but she also dislikes Oliver and so I can’t picture this chain of events happening at all. It’s a pure red herring.

Additionally what hurts the film is the annoying climax. So part of what was going on with Steve in the past had to due with Lester’s wife. The guy has sworn revenge and made this clear to Steve several times. He should definitely have let his wife know to watch out for him. The scene of him walking into the house and telling Alexandria to get in the car with him is pretty suspect. Most likely he would have just taken a gun out if she hadn’t gone with him, but going with the guy in the first place is a stretch. You just don’t hop into a car like that, even if this was the 60’s. Lester is also a character that we absolutely didn’t need. The film definitely wanted to have some kind of dramatic final showdown but it should have definitely skipped out on that. The whole climax is pretty bad and adds a darker layer to the film.

Unfortunately the flashbacks also hurt Steve quite a lot. He was definitely being pretty unfaithful there and the ole “he was feeling weak” excuse doesn’t cut it. Even in the present you can make the case that his moral compass isn’t great as he lets quite a few people kiss him. One of them does this multiple times and he just seems to find it amusing. Keep in mind that his wife is standing right next to him the entire time. No matter how you slice it Steve is just a pretty terrible character so I couldn’t even root for him. When you’ve got a film where the lead is bad like that it definitely hurts quite a bit.

Alexandria is a solid character. She definitely seems to have very valid reasons to be upset with him as the film goes on. If you ask me she appears to be totally justified and unlike Steve she wasn’t being unfaithful. Alexandria puts up with quite a lot throughout the film. Finally you have Oliver who gets a pretty big role in all of this. He certainly has a few twists. The guy definitely doesn’t like Steve but puts up with the lead so he can get his cut of the big pay day. The old Steve seemed to not have realized this although Oliver is pretty obvious about it from the start so it’s hard to see why.

One final issue I had with the film is how everyone is intentionally vague to prolong the plot. When Steve asks his mother-in-law to explain things she intentionally never says anything. She talks a lot without saying things of substance. Can’t she just quickly tell Steve what is going on? She’s cryptic and this is something that happens a lot in mysteries. People just don’t give you straight arrows and it’s particularly annoying in this film since the writing isn’t particularly amazing or anything like that. It’s decent writing I’d say, but not in a way that doesn’t make this feel forced. It’s probably the worst element you could do in an amnesia type film.

Overall, The Third Day isn’t a particularly good film. Usually you get more engaged as the mystery starts to be explained while this one did the opposite. At times the resolution of a mystery may not be as grand as you had hoped so I can see a slight dip, but this one just crashed. The film had a ton of potential and I feel like it was ultimately squandered here. The film could have been so much better but that was not to be. If you want to watch a good mystery film I recommend checking out one of the Sherlock Holmes films instead. Those are all much better than this one.

Overall 3/10

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Targets Review

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

It’s time to take a look at a pretty old horror/thriller film. It’s got two main plots that have a big contrast both in tone and quality. The plot about the old movie star was actually pretty interesting and if the whole film had been about that then I think it would have been quite good. Unfortunately the other plot about the serial shooter ends up holding the movie back considerably though. Ultimately the film isn’t quite able to rise back up and make a comeback.

The first plot starts with Byron announcing a sudden retirement. This throws the studio into chaos since they were really counting on him for a few more horror pictures. He’s their main guy and without him these other movies are doomed. Sammy is particularly crushed since he had a movie all lined up. Byron is convinced to go through one last presentation though and heads off to a drive-in theater to do it. Unfortunately this is the same location that the wandering murderer Bobby is going to appear at. Bobby one day cracked and went off to buy some guns and shoot everyone down. He manages to get quite a lot of people down for the count before Byron is forced to step in. Can Byron take Bobby down or will the 40+ year age difference make him lose this fight?

As mentioned, the Byron plot is pretty solid. The story of an actor who has grown tired of the biz is a classic. We see him try to push everyone away but his secretary isn’t having any of that. She’s definitely a very loyal worker and always has his back. Byron’s a pretty charismatic lead as well and his scenes are pretty interesting. You do have to know when to call it a day and he was pretty old so it makes sense that he would want to retire and finally enjoy life a bit. I definitely don’t blame him for leaving. It was sudden but no more so than when a company tells you to skedaddle as well. It was nice that the film was actually using real films for Byron’s character though. I’ve seen quite a few Karloff films over the years and so the footage they showed of the two movies were for films that I had actually seen. I thought that was a real nice touch and helped to make the experience feel a bit more real. It adds some realism to the context of Byron getting ready to retire.

The Bobby plot though is going for more edge. He murders his family and then heads to a highway where he murders a bunch of other people. It takes forever for someone to take him down and his scenes are the equivalent of a guy just shooting at people who can’t fight back in the slightest. There’s nothing particularly entertaining about his plot and it just makes the film drag on. The tone and pacing of the Byron plot was excellent while this one is a perfect contrast in that sense. Bobby also can’t hold his own plot because he has no real charisma. The guy is meant to be very plain and in that sense the film succeeds. There’s nothing interesting about the guy and so a whole plot about him was destined to fail. This plot is definitely also a little more violent than the Byron one. You do actually see everyone getting shot whether it be from a zoomed out distance or up close.

The final confrontation of the film also can’t end up being too exciting because Byron is super old. There’s not really anything he can even try to do against Bobby realistically. The film’s trying to go for some deep messages in the end or to show that Bobby is super insane, but realistically he would have won that battle. His sudden breakdown there seemed awful convenient for everyone. The slow reaction of the staff was pretty realistic though as they initially figured the sounds were from the movie or something and didn’t get with the program for quite a while.

Overall, Targets is not a film that’s aged particularly well. It tried to ambitiously have two plots where the characters ultimately have to meet up in the end but it just didn’t work out. You can definitely have two plots meet up at the end for nice results but it’s very difficult in a single movie. If you do it, you also have to ensure that both plots are pretty interesting or it’s just not going to work. Off the top of my head I can’t even think of any big films I’ve seen recently with two plots like that. I think the closest would be Infinity War but that was a sequel so it’s a lot easier for a bunch of plots to converge like that. I’ll try to think of more films where that actually happened, but needless to say this will not be one of them.

Overall 3/10

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Days of Heaven Review


It’s time to look at a film about the olden days. It’s filled with deceit and drama as the characters keep making tricky choices. Unfortunately the film doesn’t do much to pique your interest and the narrator’s emotionless delivery doesn’t help matters. This film ultimately fails at being entertaining and ends up dragging itself out quite a bit.

The movie starts with the main character (Bill) murdering his boss so he is forced to flee his job along with his wife Abby and sister Linda. The three of them join a roaming group who go around and pick wheat during the harvesting season. Bill quickly grows bored of this as well though and decides he wants to be rich. He convinces his wife to have an affair with the land owner since Bill found out that the guy is expected to die soon. There are many ways this can and will backfire so you just have to try and predict which way will present itself.

Really the main character traded his morals here for some quick funds. It’s definitely a bad choice all the way around particularly because Bill is asking Abby to do the hard parts. If you’re going to do something risky then it should be something that you are doing on your own. When you put the burden on someone else just so you can feel better then that’s really not a good look. From this point on it’s just hard to sympathize with the guy at all.

It’s pretty much inevitable that Abby and the rich guy hit it off after that. Bill can’t bear to watch this but since Abby and the guy are married Bill should have known this was coming. So the main plot is definitely no fun and in a way the rich guy is really getting the short end of the stick because from his point of view he didn’t do anything crazy. He just had to learn one day that his wife was cheating on him.

Meanwhile you have Linda who doesn’t talk a whole lot in the movie. She is the narrator though so in that role she easily gets the most lines. The film would have done well without a narrator though. Pretty much all of the dialogue told through this doesn’t actually amount to anything and it really drags on.

The whole movie suffers from this though. It takes ages for things to happen in this movie and without any likable characters the film can’t survive by being a slow burner. It’s not a technique that just any film can use. I’m also not a fan of the general setting, I much prefer films that take place in more of a city environment. This is more like the Wild West or the prairies and it doesn’t make for great backgrounds or scenery.

The Locusts are pretty intense though. They definitely know how to take a whole field down in one crispy combo. That said, the extended scenes of everyone trying to swat them away get dull rather quickly. While you know that’s what they are going to have to do, this is where a quick montage does wonders of a brief time skip to the fire since we need to see the next confrontation. It still doesn’t help the movie get nearly as intense as it tries to be though. Even the climax which is a chase scene through the forest with a ton of guys in pursuit with guns can’t make the film all that exciting. The film just didn’t have heart.

The ending’s also more of a shake your head kind of moment. The characters all move on in their own ways. One heads underground, another boards a train, and one decides to escape school. I can understand the first option because that’s just how it goes and the second at least makes some sense to try and give back to the world. The final option just seems a little forced. Finally this character is in a good environment and won’t have to worry about finding enough to eat anymore. It’s all looking pretty good but now it’s back to the road? She’s also with a pretty bad role model so that doesn’t seem very promising either.

Overall, Days to Heaven is definitely not a film that I would recommend. There just aren’t any real positives or incentives to watch this movie. The characters aren’t particularly likable and the story is fairly boring. There aren’t any real exciting scenes or big moments that will have you on the edge of your seat. Some witty dialogue could have helped to bump this up but the movie doesn’t have any of that either. It is very serious from start to finish with everyone typically mumbling or not speaking unless they have to. If you want to watch more of a standard drama like this you’ve definitely got better options out there. You just gotta go and find them.

Overall 3/10

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The Seventh Victim Review


It’s time to look at an old film about lots of mysterious things going around. Unfortunately the conclusion to this ends up being pretty weak which takes away from the experience. You can’t help but feel like the whole thing was pretty pointless in the end. Everyone acts rather oddly for the plot and the film’s ending is so abrupt that it feels like a ton of it was cut out. Abrupt endings can work out quite well and I do like cliffhangers but it felt like almost nothing was resolved.

The movie starts out with Mary finding out that Jacqueline has gone missing. She leaves school to go and find her, however it’s a big city and Jacqueline isn’t at her business anymore since she apparently sold it to someone. Mary meets up with Jacqueline’s husband Gregory who agrees to help find her. Unfortunately this guy isn’t very helpful at all so Mary uses a private detective to break into a building where Jacqueline may be. Unfortunately the guy gets murdered and slowly Mary starts to figure that maybe she should give up. She is easily intimidated by one of the villains after all.

Part of the issue here is that Jacqueline handles everything pretty terribly. First off she did get into a crazy cult which is already bad enough. From there she keeps hiding from the world rather than exposing them. Presumably they are blackmailing her with something but to the point where she has to give up all of her businesses and money? At that point she’s got to do something to defend herself rather than playing defense. We get really random scenes like her not talking to the hero or stabbing people. She gets a little startled but then doesn’t even talk to defend herself. You’ve also got the pretty terrible ending that really seals the deal on my not liking this character. Now the villains get to go free without any testimony against them.

Gregory is also an annoying character here since he is literally married to Jacqueline and ends up falling for Mary. This is the same guy who was calling her a child earlier and making a lot of snide remarks. It’s great that they get along, but why’d it have to escalate so quickly? It’s hard to get a read on Gregory but this definitely didn’t do his character any wonders. Then you have Jason who seems nice enough. He’s got connections and helps the heroes find Jacqueline at least. His whole origin story involving knowing Louis a while back feels pointless though. Louis not telling Jason that his friend went completely crazy was also odd.

The film just has a lot of little elements here and there that don’t make sense and don’t add to anything. The best character was Irving since at least he did his best to try and find out the truth of what was going on. Too bad he ended up getting stabbed so easily though. He knew that something dangerous was behind the door so he definitely should have gone through a little more carefully in that case right? When you consider how dark it is especially.

I think the film wasn’t sure if it wanted to go towards total conspiracy land or keeping things more grounded. The whole film was building up to something big and crazy but by the end we see it’s just a small little club with around 5 members. They don’t even believe in violence themselves although they hire people to get the job done so it’s basically the same thing. They shouldn’t have all that much sway at all so if Jacqueline went to the cops she should be fine. Louis is also really an accomplice here since he does all he can to get in the way of the heroes. The guy was acting like a villain the whole time.

How did the heroes break into the hospital so easily anyway? You’d think that security would be tighter. Then the villains somehow finding a way to get Irving’s body out of there without anybody seeing is also pretty sketchy. The whole film works a lot better if you change the twist. Have Jacqueline be involved in a country-wide conspiracy where everyone is a suspect and the whole thing works out a lot better. Personally that would have made the film better although it probably wouldn’t have saved it. To be a good noir thriller or conspiracy thriller you need a good set of characters. It’s the only way you are going to get through and Irving was really the only solid one. The others were all super submissive and would not stand up to the villains in the slightest.

Even the brief “confrontation” we get with the main characters and the villains is super quick. It’s supposed to be pretty emotional and intense but it’s extremely quick and if this shook the villain cult to their core they must have never been all that serious in the first place. Why couldn’t we have had a scene with the cops coming to arrest them? A quick moment like that would have made a world of difference, but instead the film ends where it began, with nothing really happening.

Overall, I’d recommend avoiding this film. The Seventh Victim’s title basically summarizes everything that happens in the movie anyway. The rest is really just fluff to keep you going. The suspense does work reasonably well but since the resolution to it is pretty sub-par that just means that all of the build up ends up feeling pretty pointless. Definitely not the way to wrap up this cinematic experience. Perhaps with all of the cut scenes they could have helped improve the film although it would have taken a lot to save the film entirely and push it over a 5.

Overall 3/10

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The Strange Love of Martha Ivers Review


It’s time to take a look at a classic Noir film. It’s a tale of deception and blackmail with the villains thinking a little too highly of the lead which gets them into trouble. It’s a pretty engaging film for most of its run but by the end the drama ramps up a bit too much at the expense of Sam’s character. The ending may play out as a happy one but Sam made far too many mistakes. The plot still gives you enough twists and turns to stay engaging though.

The film starts off with Martha and Sam running from home yet again. Sam is a pretty down to Earth guy who likes being a rebel while Martha is getting ready to inherit a ton of money but doesn’t like her aunt. Unfortunately for Martha the aunt has a lot of power so these attempts never work out. Well, one day Martha murders the aunt and is finally out of the woods. The thing is, Walter and his father saw this so they help her cover it up, but this does lead to Walter becoming the district attorney and the two characters get married. Martha still doesn’t like Walter all these years later but that’s just how it is.

Meanwhile Sam passes through town and figures he’ll look his old friends up. He was friends with Martha at least, he never got along with Walter as much. He meets up with a girl named Toni though and the two of them become good friends. The problem is that Toni is breaking parole by hanging out with Sam and not going home. Ultimately she is picked up and so Sam decides to ask Walter to help him get her off the charge. Walter thinks Sam is here to blackmail him for the murder all those years ago but Sam doesn’t actually know about it. If Walter keeps hinting at it though, he ultimately may help Sam find out.

It’s always interesting when the villains actually overestimate the heroes because it’s so rare. One other case is in RWBY as Salem tells Cinder and the others to be very careful since Ruby has Silver Eyes, but little did they know that Oz had never shown her how to master it yet. That’s a similar case to how it’s all playing out here. Sam really had no way to suspect any of this since he had put the town on high alert. Honestly he probably wouldn’t have had a whole lot of swing with Walter otherwise though.

This does lead to Sam getting beat up at one point though and a lot of back and forth with the characters. Sam can fight pretty well so he doesn’t get intimidated easily. He trades a lot of barbs with Walter. Despite Sam calling him scared all the time Walter does hold his ground. Perhaps being constantly drunk and working for the government helped him get a little braver. It’s definitely a pretty interesting dynamic. Sam was a solid character for most of the film, but where he ultimately faltered was in how he handled the second half.

He definitely did like Martha once upon a time but she is married now and he likes Toni. That should absolutely be the end of it right? Unfortunately that is not the case and he falls for the grass is always greener approach. He betrays Toni pretty late in the game for what amounts to a pretty meaningless affair with Martha. It really takes away from his character because that’s absolutely the last thing he should be doing right now. He’s already been in so much trouble in this town as it is you’d think he would just get out quick. Unfortunately he got a bit greedy by the end. Once he actually did have the blackmail he quickly used it just like Walter thought he would. In a way Walter was right from the start, he was just too early.

So I couldn’t come to like Sam. Martha isn’t really any better. She seemed pretty spoiled right from the start of the film. The intro was brief but it didn’t really set up Martha as a sympathetic character. Then we have Walter who is at the very least still complicit in everything that went on. He clearly knew Martha didn’t like him but got married anyway so it’s hard to sympathize with him either. The only good character here was Toni and she definitely shouldn’t have stuck with Sam. After being betrayed like that I would have split town and then that would be it. If Sam can fall away so easily once then it will happen again.

Finally, the film also fumbled the ball early on with some animal violence. Why did we need the aunt to murder the cat at the beginning of the film? All that does it give the film a bit of a mean edge from the start. You can’t really recover from that. I suppose an amazing film could try to make a comeback I suppose, but it’s very difficult and you are starting from a disadvantage. I’m guessing the film couldn’t find any other way to make the Aunt look bad because otherwise she hadn’t been nearly as sinister as Martha would suggest. It’s an easy out, but one that did not do the film any favors.

Overall, This was a pretty interesting film. It unfortunately just lasted too long by watering down Sam’s character at the end and I definitely could have done without the animal violence. Those are the two elements that really drag the film down. The writing is on point as with most classic Noir films and otherwise the pacing is good. As I said at the beginning of the review, this is a pretty engaging film. Usually that goes hand in hand with being a good film but unfortunately that was not true in this case. As far as the recent Noir films I’ve seen go this would have to be one of the weaker ones.

Overall 3/10

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The Big Night Review


It’s time to look at a film that I’ve had on the backburner to review for quite a long while. I saw this film probably a month or two ago at this point. Unfortunately, this isn’t a big surprise reveal that I held back because it was so awesome. It’s actually a pretty lackluster film with a really annoying main character who you can’t take seriously and the characters don’t either. Trust me when I say that this is not a good sign for him and for the film in general.

The movie starts off with Georgie being mugged by a group of teens on his way back from the barber. He manages to get home though where his father bakes him a cake for his Birthday. Georgie is pretty excited because he feels like he is now an adult but isn’t able to blow the candles out which makes him feel bad. Then some thugs led by the infamous Judge show up and beat Georgie’s dad in front of him. None of the other guys in the restaurant do anything to help so Judge just keeps whacking on him til he gets tired and leaves. Georgie decides to take revenge on Joe so he steals a gun and heads out. It’s his big night to prove he is a man by murdering someone.

Throughout the movie a constant theme is that just grabbing a gun and trying to murder someone doesn’t make you any more of a man. If anything it highlights how insecure Georgie is. Part of what makes him a pretty bad character is how overly defensive he is the whole time when people point this out. He talks a good game but when the villains actually show up he quickly shrinks in the moment. That’s not exactly what you want to see from your lead like this. He also has a pretty bizarre scene where he gets drunk and then starts to complement the singer but immediately turns it racial. I thought this was supposed to be a hero we could root for. Well, that boat definitely sailed a while back.

His “romance” with Marion is also terribly rushed and doesn’t contribute to anything. As she points out, she’s way too old for him. Georgie doesn’t seem to care but it makes you wonder why introduce the plot in the first place. They knew each other for maybe 10 minutes at best. From Marion’s point of view this is some crazy drunk with a gun that Cooper met somewhere. There’s no reason to start a romance so suddenly and with someone that you absolutely don’t know. I think the only purpose of the scene was to once again highlight the fact that Georgie was trying to act a lot older than his actual age which backfired.

There’s not much of a supporting cast here with the only reasonable character being Cooper for the most part. He’s a pretty nice guy who helps Georgie find a lot of intel out. It’s all fun and games to him at that point so he enjoys the adventures. We see that this is where the buck stops with him though as when Georgie asks for asylum later on Cooper throws him out. Cooper’s the kind of guy who will have your back when it’s nothing serious but if you have a real problem then he will make himself scarce. There are a lot of people like that and that’s why it’s important to know the difference between your buddies and your friends. Your buddies will hang out with you and you’ll all have a good time but only your true friends will stick with you when you’re in a serious jam. He still brought most of the life to the film though so I’m glad he was around.

As for Judge, he makes for a reasonable main villain. At least he had a reason for the beatdown and it all comes back to revenge of course. He decided to take justice into his own hands and when you find out the backstory for it then you see why he did this. Of course, he only knew part of the story or he knew the rest and didn’t care. He makes for a pretty solid villain although he’s lucky that Georgie isn’t very smart. This is why you don’t let the gun out of your hands so easily when confronting an opponent.

The ending has quite a lot of twists in it. The story becomes a bit of a drama with how much is going on. Everything adds up and at the end of the day Georgie acted without knowing all of the facts. It still makes sense that he wouldn’t want to take the beating lying down, but he should have stepped in sooner then. Even in the ending he cracks and starts talking way too much. Threatening a cop also starts to make things pretty crazy. Georgie is just not a character I could get behind.

Peck made for a good secondary villain. I can’t forget to mention that guy. His money scam was pretty solid and he definitely intimidated Georgie pretty easily. Although, everyone seems to manhandle him in this film. He may have went down a little too easily at the end but I guess he wasn’t expecting the hit. Now, this does bring you to the city at large though. Is this place super corrupt? I don’t get how Judge has so much influence that he can beat people up in broad daylight and get away with it. Everyone seems to know what happened including the cops so it’s all a bit on the tricky side. I guess we can just assume the guy has blackmail on everyone since he’s a news reporter so nobody wants to act but it’s still a stretch.

Overall, The Big Night ended up coming out small in the end. The character cast isn’t great, but in particular the main character is pretty terrible which holds the film back. He whines a lot and keeps proving the other characters right that he isn’t ready for a mission like this yet. The romance is pretty terribly written and the film won’t keep your attention for long. Ultimately there’s not a whole lot of the film that will be very memorable and you can find way better noir films or revenge thrillers out there. This is one film that you’ll want to skip out on.

Overall 3/10

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The Network Review

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

It’s time to look at a film about trying to keep up high ratings when your channel lags behind the rest. It’s always tough to keep someone’s attention for long because eventually they are just ready to move on and try something different. For example I can go from marathoning a bunch of Shark Tank segments to not watching another one for months. Fads come and go and so channels also have to move fast, but if they go too fast then there isn’t enough time for people to enjoy anything.

The Network starts out with Max letting Howard know that he is about to be fired from the TV station. Howard’s had a long career but the channel has decided to cut him out. In rebellion Howard decides to go crazy on the air as he rambles on like a crazy person. It ends up going viral and people actually seem to like him. Diana is another employee of the company who aspires to run the whole place and takes this chance to take control of the show. Will banking on a crazy person ultimately work out for her or is this going to be one of her biggest mistakes.

The film has some interesting ideas but ultimately they are hampered by a sub-par execution. First off is the very unlikable cast that hurts the experience. Max is one of the main characters here and he makes just about every mistake you can imagine. He decides to get back at his boss by putting a crazy person on TV intentionally. Results aside, his motive was just revenge. Then he decides to have an affair even though he is married and keeps on spiraling out of control. There’s just no way to like this guy and having such a villain as a main character is unfortunate.

Then you have Howard who cracked early on. The guy was pretty insane near the beginning and kept having heart attacks but he was good at recovering from them. Even though he was crazy at least he was consistent at the beginning so I didn’t really mind Howard all that much. Where he ended up falling was when he met up with corporate and was easily tricked into furthering their ideology instead. If you’re going to take a bold stance and denounce modern society, you can’t be turned at the toss of a hat. That just makes him look sooooo bad. How can we possibly take this guy seriously after that?

Then you have Diana whose aspirations for being the boss are pretty strong, but she’s definitely too obsessed with doing whatever it takes including demeaning herself. The movie was showing all possible paths to power and so this was expected but it doesn’t make her character any more enjoyable. The random side characters were the best ones as they talked tough in the background and all probably had fairly interesting stories. In a TV channel studio you’re certainly going to have a bunch of people and whenever the board of executives showed up they usually had the best scenes. I wouldn’t have minded having more scenes with them instead.

So you’ve got the whole cheating plot bringing the film down from the start. It definitely gets more screen time than necessary. Then you’ve also got the film’s poor writing. There is way too much language in this film which is an easy crutch for a writer to try and add some tension. So the script could have used some work and it also didn’t help in making the film any better either. The pacing also could have used some work. We see a lot of scenes of Howard on his show. I suppose they want you to see exactly what kind of program it was, but those scenes really drag on.

The guy’s just yelling about nothing the whole time and somehow everyone is getting really pumped up in the audience. This is where I would have trimmed quite a few scenes to save time and maybe re-allocate it to one of the rival companies. I’d like to have seen their reactions at times like maybe some laughter or something as they watch all of this unfold.

Finally, while the ending is good for shock value it doesn’t make a lot of sense. So, there’s a subplot about a terrorist group who is running around America robbing banks and such. The news reporters are able to find them and where they live pretty easily and make a partnership. I suppose we can buy into this and at the end the reporters ask for a hit. Here’s where things get dicey, the leader of the terrorist organization decides to jump in and fire the shot personally. Why? If he’s caught…-and he should definitely be caught since this is right in the middle of a live show with tons of security- then he is going to go to go to jail and that’s it for all of his ambitions and goals. I somehow don’t think the news channel will have his back when the cops show up because they’ve shown that they are anything but trustworthy.

The film could have really benefited from being more about office politics. That is always one of the most enjoyable parts of films like this because of how relatable it is. Every job has a ton of politics and the side you pick will probably determine how enjoyable your time there is. We get some of that here, but it’s all in the background compared to in the front. The beginning of the film was more promising with people picking lines and then it was effectively dropped in the second half.

Overall, The Network is a film with an interesting premise but the execution just wasn’t there. There were no real characters for me to root for. They all got annoying pretty quickly and I could see why all of the other stations were beating them in the ratings. Ultimately this channel tried every underhanded trick they could and it still didn’t work. In a way it shows that the other channels were doing things the right away. Since you’re rooting against the main station the whole time I suppose in a sense the film had a happy ending.

Overall 3/10