Inside Daisy Clover Review

This film I technically saw almost a month ago but it’s time to finally look at one of those films that tries to tell you not to become a famous actress. At the very least it reminds you not to trust random people who may not have your best interests at heart. Inside Daisy Clover is an annoying film where the main character makes every mistake possible so there’s a rather depressing atmosphere around at all times. The film never really gets any better either…so you can tell this is not one I would recommend.

The movie starts by showing us that Daisy’s got a pretty rough life at the moment. Her father ran off a long time ago and her sister quickly escaped as well. Her mother lives in a broken down trailer but doesn’t really want to change her lifestyle. As a result Daisy works at a little record company where she is constantly harassed by one of her supposed friends. When she is able to potentially get work as an actress she quickly ditches this place as fast as possible. Raymond will be her boss now and he only has 3 rules, 1. Nobody must ever find out about Daisy’s past, 2. No affairs with local actor Wade, and 3. She must do whatever he says in order to make the films a masterpiece. Can Daisy do this?

Well, right away Daisy begins to have an affair with Wade who convinces her to go visit her mother at the asylum and then they skip a conference so the rules are out the window. Part of the problem with Daisy is she is portrayed as a little naïve most of the time. She is very quick to believe that Wade actually cares for her despite the guy’s rep as a flirt who has an affair with everyone. Here’s my problem, why would you think that you’re different? If someone’s already betrayed 6-10 people, why not mess with one more?

He pulls this off more than once and each time Daisy thinks that things might be different. Deciding to get married was also one of those scenes where you just shake your head. Then she rebounds into a romance with Raymond who we find out is definitely not a good guy. He even starts to get violent when she is sick in bed with some trauma over the whole thing. The end of the film is in theory trying to put Daisy in a happier spot after hitting rock bottom but things are definitely not going to be easy for her considering all of the burned bridges everywhere.

The issue is that Daisy just isn’t likable right from the start. She didn’t have the best upbringing so you’re not surprised to see her acting out but you kind of hopes that during the film she would have been able to change herself. Unfortunately that just wasn’t to be. It goes without saying that all of the other characters are bad though. Yes, you won’t find a single good character here which is really unfortunate.

Her childhood friend basically just wants to fool around with her and can’t keep his mind on anything else. Wade is much the same way as he goes around the country having affairs. Raymond is completely focused on making a lot of money and will use anyone to get it such as poor Daisy. His wife is a drunk who knows what is going on but can’t do anything about it so she just keeps on drinking. Daisy’s mother burns her house down and always acts irresponsibly. I guess you could say Daisy’s sister was reasonable but even for her the film hinted she was only around for the money.

A film can only be as good as its cast and this cast as abysmal. The writing is also not that impressive as the film just tries to make things as depressing as possible throughout. Daisy never manages to catch a break or she just keeps on digging a deeper hole for herself. Even the film bits aren’t particularly interesting. The only scene that I thought was at least a little effective was when she was in the studio and had to keep on doing a retake for the same song over and over again.

Raymond didn’t look very smart here since he should have known that she was close to a breakdown but decided to continue anyway. Well, that’s why he ended up with this result. We kept changing camera perspectives from inside the recording booth to outside where it is completely sound proof so it was an interesting parallel. It’s almost directed like a bit of a horror scene which was pretty cool. Not the kind of scene that can save a film of course but at least it’s one that I certainly remembered.

One of the general morals here seems to be that being an actress is never worth it. You’ll inevitably end up in a bad setting with people trying to trick you and the money drying up right away. That seems to be how all of these films end at least although you hope if Daisy had at least not fallen for Wade then maybe she would have been able to succeed on her own. It’s unlikely but you never know.

Overall, Inside Daisy Clover was a pretty bad film. The movie is going for a rather gritty vibe from the start with how her town seems rather town down and even the glitzy world of Hollywood seems rather darker than usual. Just take a look at the place she auditions when you watch the movie. It’s a dark hole in the wall with only one functioning light. Everything seems shady and run down in this world so good luck finding any place that looks okay except for Raymond’s mansion which is spooky in itself. I think doing a film about how horrible a career acting is will always be a difficult task because you have to make everything seem as dark and unpleasant as possible but then that means you probably won’t have any likable characters or you would have to bump them off. I’m sure some would do a better job than Inside Daisy Clover though so definitely pass this one by and look for something better. Maybe check out Singing in the Rain for how this should be done but in a more positive light.

Overall 3/10

Upgrade 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

When you think of getting an upgrade you’re probably thinking of going from cheese fries to loaded at Checkers or maybe trading in your PS2 for a PS5. Well, here we take a more violent approach to the upgrade. The film tries a little too hard with making this as edgy as possible so while it’s a pretty good premise, it’s definitely not a film that will have you singing its praises by the end. Not every film can hit the winning home run though.

The movie starts with Grey finishing a car he had been fixing and Asha returning home from work. He wants her to see the eccentric house of the guy whose car he had fixed. It’s definitely an interesting one but on the way home her electronic car malfunctions and both of them crash. Asha ends up being murdered by a group of bandits while they sever Grey’s ability to move his arms or legs. Fortunately, the guy whose car Grey fixed allows Grey to try a piece of experimental new tech. This allows him full control of his arms and legs again except that it is through the program STEM which even talks to him now. Is Grey really in control or is STEM pulling the strings? Grey doesn’t have time to think about it though because while the cops have been unable to find the guys who murdered his wife, STEM has some ideas.

The film clearly takes place in the future with all of the crazy gadgets that are everywhere. You have automatic cars that are incredibly advanced and even the buildings look high-end. Technology is moving pretty fast and Grey resents that a bit because all of the practical hands on kind of tasks have been removed. A.I. control everything now so there is really no escape. However, as Grey notes, criminals still get away with everything so it’s like the extra surveillance doesn’t even matter.

Of course the main plot of the film is about Grey trying to find the murderers and then take them down. Grey isn’t much of a fighter but that’s why STEM is here. STEM is able to temporarily take control of Grey’s body and then allow him to fight at full power. Basically Grey can go on auto pilot mode and let STEM do everything. It’s pretty handy but of course then Grey is actively surrendering his body to something else so is the price too high for this success? That’s the kind of question he has to ask himself.

STEM makes for a pretty interesting A.I. He sounds a whole lot like Hal 9000 so I think from the start everyone is meant to be wary of him. He can certainly fight well though I’ll give him that. He has absolutely no mercy for anyone who is in his way. STEM is the kind of character who figures that straight up murdering the opponents is most efficient so that’s never particularly surprising. These kind of A.I. villains are always interesting so I was on board with this.

As for Grey, he’s not quite as likable a main character. I can see why he wants to avenge his wife so going on the quest to stop these guys is a good start. He does have a habit of throwing up a whole lot though. The film has several scenes of this which is always pretty gross. While STEM does all of the hard work, Grey effectively signs off on most of it by not telling him to stop. Even when he does tell STEM to back off, it’s usually once it’s too late to do much of anything either. So he’s either all in and willing to help STEM murder the opponents or he’s not but the character can be a bit wishy washy about the whole thing.

The character cast is fairly small here as you’ve got the scientist, Grey, STEM, and the murderers. That’s pretty much it. For supporting characters you do have Grey’s mother though and the police agent Cortez. Cortez means well but she is definitely messing with forces that are a little too powerful for her at the moment. Grey is effectively a super soldier with STEM active after all and she would have died instantly upon entering if Grey wasn’t fighting back. Her options are rather limited though since how do you even know if you should take a guy down when he is being controlled?

Where Upgrade falters though is in how unrelentlessly violent the film is. We get a rather long scene of STEM torturing someone to death and all of the fights are pretty brutal as he snaps limbs and destroys everyone he comes across. Get ready for a lot of headshots and other such moments. Even the vomiting all over the place is probably another way to be rather gritty as Grey represents the audience reacting to this level of violence. The fight scene between Grey and another one of the upgraded humans was definitely good though. At least that had a lot of good choreography the whole time and made for a good back and forth battle.

It was like a comic book fight which is good. Whenever you leave that part though and get back to the murders then the film dials it up once again. That aspect definitely should have been toned down. As for the ending, I can see that one being rather mixed. It’s definitely a pretty bold way to end though and could lead the way for some sequels. After the initial shock value is over though, you may have some questions on exactly how this plays out. I think all of the questions can be answered though as you just realize that everything was a lie. With that knowledge in place, then everything does even out. After all, it just comes down to acting.

Overall, Upgrade has a pretty interesting plot. It’s a classic revenge story with Grey being willing to loosen his morals a great deal in order to secure a decisive victory. That being said, the film goes too far into edgy territory. This film could have absolutely been executed well without going so far over the top. In particular I’m never on board with the main character torturing someone to get what he wants. Grey allowing that to happen at all was definitely a shame. The film has its share of funny scenes as well although for the most part it is quite serious. If you want a film with a better blend of the two genres…then go watch Venom. You can see similarities between the two of them but Venom just handled all of this better.

Overall 3/10

Gone Girl 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

Time to look at a pretty ambitious murder mystery film that certainly takes you through quite the roller coaster. At around 2 and a half hours you can imagine that a lot is going to happen here. It’s the kind of film where there will be a lot of debate on what part of the story would be considered a spoiler. Where should you stop the summary if you want people to get the full experience? Typically for convenience I’d just say anything in any of the main trailers is not a spoiler and anything beyond that is. That said, I haven’t seen the trailers for this film so lets see how this goes.

My spoiler free summary would be: Nick heads home on his 5th anniversary to celebrate with his wife Amy. Unfortunately she isn’t there and there are several signs of a struggle in the house. He calls in the cops who do an investigation but they quickly begin to suspect that Nick is the one who bumped off his wife. The setup just doesn’t look right and he keeps on missing details or giving them incorrect information about his wife. Either he didn’t know her very well or he is hiding something. Can Nick prove his innocence and find out who really attacked his wife? He will have to hurry before his life is effectively over.

It’s definitely a pretty intense premise partially because you don’t know if you can trust Nick or not. The very first scene is him thinking about murdering Amy after all so the film is immediately giving you reason not to trust him. He keeps on saying that Amy had no friends and basically no life outside of being at home all the time so that sounds a bit shady on its face as well. There are just a lot of angles to tackle this at so you’re left to your devices as the film keeps things rolling.

Gradually we learn more and more to the point where the film’s plot completely changes from how it started. This wouldn’t be a proper mystery film if you could easily guess the ending right? The main cast is fairly small so each player is able to do a lot. Nick doesn’t make for a likable main character though and in general you may find it hard to find anyone to root for. The two best characters in the film were easily the main cop Rhonda and Nick’s lawyer Tanner. Both of them were always ready for whatever the next step was and how to get ready for it.

There’s more to say on this but I think it’s time to jump into the spoiler part of the review so if you haven’t seen the film yet you can skip the next _ paragraphs as we dive into the nitty gritty details here. So you have enough time to escape as you speed read this I am putting this empty sentence of nothingness/filler that I am typing up as I type this, but then it’s time to dash because we’re going right into this. Are you ready?

So what I wrote so far is what I would consider the spoiler free version of the story. You should really not have any idea that this is something beyond a classic murder mystery film when you’re going into the film and see if you can figure it out for yourself or if not, be surprised with the characters. It turns out that Amy faked her death so that Nick would take the blame and ultimately be put in jail. She’ll then destroy herself which will lead to Nick being destroyed. It’s her ultimate end game plan. The reason she did this is because Nick was cheating on her with one of his students so she figured this would make things even.

Naturally it’s quite the diabolical plan but as we learn about her past, it’s not exactly out of character. She framed another guy for rape, sabotaged various careers, and was extremely unstable throughout her life. Amy is very quick to try and ruin lives whenever she can. So even if Nick hadn’t cheated I don’t doubt that she would have come for him at some point although it’s still important to note that he is the one who made the first move. He began acting distant and messing around with someone on the side before Amy went this far. She also tried to talk with him a few times but he declined each time so she took her drastic measures.

Amy’s an intense antagonist to watch since she has everything so carefully planned. She’s certainly not a likable character in the slightest though and it’s easy to see why people didn’t get along with her. She has a huge superiority complex where she is always insulting someone and has the grossest scene in the film when she spits into someone’s drink. That’s always just super nasty to even think about, much less see. The film makes it clear that she is not exactly going to get redeemed anytime soon and will keep up her antics to the end.

The scene where she flat out murders someone is quite intense. Gone Girl isn’t afraid to really go all out with being rather explicit about her plans and how she accomplishes things. To pull off her claims she does let the guys actually have their way for a bit like Desi who got used from start to finish. You know from the jump that she is going to murder him, the only question is how. That scene certainly got violent fast.

The writing is good with the characters explaining each step of their logic and how it went down. Again, it can be a bit too detailed/explicit if you ask me on explaining how you fool people with these tricks and such. I don’t need all the gritty details and you can put the dots together yourself. One of the themes in the film is pretty much that both Nick and Amy are such corrupt characters that you may wonder who you should be rooting for. Nick’s is clearly the lesser of two evils though so if we’re being honest I would say Amy is clearly the antagonist.

Ultimately it’s the extra details in the writing and the grittiness of the film that holds this one back from being a winner. There are quite a few bits of fanservice here along with one night stands that show more detail than you would expect in the average film. While this is intentional, most of the characters are not likable either so you aren’t exactly left with anyone to root for. These various elements quickly add up to strike points away from the film. It’s got a very interesting plot but it should have focused more on that with the TV commercials and getting the characters debating back and forth and less on making sure each character was thoroughly corrupted. I could also due with two of the more gross scenes in particular.

Meanwhile Nick’s more like an annoyance who talks a lot to say the right things but he clearly doesn’t mean any of it. To finish up with Amy before I move on though, she does occasionally overestimate herself though. Her plans are really well thought out but she doesn’t think as well under duress as seen when she was mugged by her neighbors. It was a pretty bad mistake that she dropped the money the way that she did. They probably would have attacked her eventually but it certainly sped things up.

Now for Nick, so he was cheating on Amy so right off the bat he’s a pretty terrible main character. It gets worse when you see the depths he went through to hide this and that he was going to confess on their anniversary. It’s just a bad way to do things. Then you have to consider that he didn’t know Amy was so psychotic initially so it just seems like he is being mean to her for no real reason. He just fell out of love for her out of the blue. He also hides clues from the cops which just puts him in even more trouble. It may not have gone super well for him but getting in their way wasn’t helping either.

Rhonda is very good at her job and she really thinks about each piece of evidence. She isn’t as quick to condemn Nick the way everyone else is but eventually the evidence is a bit much to ignore. Especially when you consider how unstable Nick is the whole time. Her partner was a lot of fun though, I liked how he was constantly taking shots at Nick the whole time. Clearly he wasn’t having any of this.

Nick’s sister Margo is pretty supportive of him the whole time although she gets rightfully upset when she finds out about the cheating. He wasn’t exactly careful doing all of that while she was right there in the house. The odds of her finding him were pretty high. Finally we have Tanner and his role may not have been large but he was definitely a lot of fun. The guy was good at his job and even though Nick kept sabotaging himself, Tanner did a good job of keeping him in the race.

The movie ends on a rather ambitious note. It’s not quite the ending I would have expected that’s for sure. With this ending there are any number of ways that this could play out. In most cases I would say Amy probably takes the final win but I suppose Nick would have a shot. I think a sequel could take this in some interesting ways by introducing new villains but it still makes sense as a stand alone ending as well. I was pretty satisfied with the ending overall.

Overall, Gone Girl is a pretty intense murder mystery. It’s the kind of film that has its story change so dynamically that it’s hard to really look at in depth without mentioning some spoilers. That said, the less you know about it, the more effectively you will be able to watch it. With all that said, it can get a little too graphic and gritty with setting the stage here. As you do learn more and more about what is happening in the film, you see that the manipulations can go quite far and at high cost to get someone to do what they want. I think you could cut some things out and easily raise the score here but as it stands I would advise checking out Sherlock Holmes or some of those classic mystery films instead which also have a lot of solid twists.

Overall 3/10

The Night of the Hunter Review

Whenever you watch a film where the kids are the main characters then you already know that the movie will be walking a tight rope. It can’t have the kids be too annoying but at the same time you know they aren’t tough enough to fight their way out of a situation so it means that you have to expect them to be sub par. Unfortunately the kids aren’t all that good although one of them is noticeably worse than the other. At the end of the day they hold the film back but there’s also a ton of plot conveniences around with all the characters making the worst decisions possible.

The movie starts with John’s father showing up and telling the kid where he hid a bunch of money. John is not supposed to ever tell anyone where it is including his mother. The cops then take this guy to jail. There he meets a villain named Harry who is really concerned with where the money is. The father is completely oblivious to life itself so even when Harry takes out his switchblade and makes obvious threats the guy decides to literally gag himself and close his eyes. Lets just say he doesn’t make it out of the cell alive. Harry manages to escape prison and heads over to John’s place.

Now I realize the film has barely begun but I do have some questions here. For starters I would say it is heavily implied that Harry at the very least tried using more extensive measures to make the Dad reveal where the money is. Apparently he didn’t crack since Harry doesn’t know but how would he get off for good behavior if there were signs of a struggle or if Harry flat out murdered the guy? Next I would assume he just escaped jail I guess but that’s iffy as well. I guess the easiest thing to accept is that he didn’t actually attack the father even though that is hard to buy.

So Harry goes into town and decides to quickly marry John’s mother Willa. Considering that her husband just died that rebound happened awfully fast. She quickly decides to believe everything he says even over her own kids. Now he’s in the catbird’s seat in terms of trying to get at the money. Can John really keep the secret of hwere the money is hidden? He’s a tough kid but the main problem is that his younger sister Pearl also knows where the money is and lets just say that she isn’t quite as subtle as he is. She has no real qualms with talking and spilling the beans.

Pearl definitely ends up being one of the most annoying characters in the film. She is constantly trying to break her promise to the father and threatening to say the secret just to spite John. Her worst scene though has to be in the climax after she knows for a fact that Harry is one of the villains. She still runs over to him and acts like he is the father. That was almost game over for John since Harry could have easily snatched them away. Pearl is young which is her main reason for being like this but that can only go so far.

Meanwhile John tries his best at least. I can’t say I’m a big fan of his either though. It’s hard to say exactly what he could have done differently for part of the film though. For the most part he made the right decision, it’s just that the villain is a lot more powerful than him. He does completely crack at the end of the film which is unfortunate though. just holding strong for a few more minutes would have been good. The imagery played up on his past traumas which is why he cracked.

So as much as I didn’t like the kids…they were kids so they have an excuse. Willa has no such excuses though. So this guy shows up at the town and she is ready to marry him in a day? She knows absolutely nothing about him so this is really suspicious. The guy mentions knowing her husband in jail so wouldn’t that be an even bigger red flag since everyone knows something happened to the money. Additionally John doesn’t like him from the start but Willa doesn’t pay him any heed and goes through with the whole thing anyway. That was pretty bad.

Her final scene has to be her worst moment though. I mean, there’s lots to choose from like Harry immediately treating her coldly and like a child during their honey moon. In this scene though she saw him yelling/threatening her kids and decides to dismiss this. She realizes now that for sure he is looking for money but she decides to close her eyes and tie herself up with the bed anyway. She talks about how she is sure he will help her get past this and naturally he has a lethal solution to the problem. The problem with Willa is you feel like nobody would actually act like this. She may as well have been wearing a sign that said to bump her off. She made the whole thing incredibly easy for Harry.

The rest of the town also act foolishly. So this random guy comes through and immediately he is able to radicalize all of them? Willa’s own parents are quick to believe him about Willa running off as if she was always betraying her responsibilities. Everyone trusts Harry immediately. It takes the whole concept of a naive town to a whole new level. They eat up everything he says without any kind of hesitation. It’s definitely unfortunate. Not a single character stays strong. Even the local fisherman who was John’s only hope ends up getting drunk.

Then you have Rachel who is the only good character in the film. While Harry is twisting the Bible and its meanings around to suit his purposes as a serial killer, Rachel is busy teaching her kids about true values. When Harry shows up at her place it does lead to an eventual confrontation. Rachel can handle herself at least and also has a gun which is incredibly handy here. Without it then things might have gotten a little difficult. Ultimately she held her own and defended the house. You can’t ask for anything more than that and she did it even with the kids making things more difficult.

The worst character there was definitely Ruby. Not only did she fall for his charms immediately but when Rachel was starting to take the lead in the fight Ruby quickly blinded her with a candle light. Really? Why would she even do that from the start. It was a terrible moment and made her sink even lower down the ranks. That’s just a core problem with most of the characters in this film. None of them seem particularly intelligent aside from Rachel. She really has to hold all of the heroes up on her own because nobody really gives her any real backup.

As for Harry, he’s not exactly a villain that I can get behind. He runs scared after a single gunshot and is only good at taking on opponents who can’t fight back. There’s nothing particularly impressive about him as well. I don’t get how his act was able to fool anyone, much less the whole village. Somehow everyone bought into him which I find pretty scary. Either way it’s good that John and Pearl escaped that town.

Overall, I would not recommend this film. Harry is only able to get so far because none of the characters show any real intelligence. They are all here just to get in the way. Pearl especially makes things as hard as possible on John. If she would at least not keep on offering so much extra information things might have been a little easier on them. Just a little bit since Harry would have been closing ground either way but why make things any easier on him right? As Harry is hunting defenseless children who can’t fight back I wouldn’t exactly call it a thrilling film. If you want a true thriller I recommend watching something like Independence Day instead. This one we can leave to the past.

Overall 3/10

A Delicate Balance Review

Some films are about a big action story with lots of combat, others involve an adventure to other realms, and others still are just about locking the characters together and just having the debate each other. This one falls into the final category but unfortunately the writing is really weak which makes for a deadly combination. See, when you have a film that is all about the writing then at the end of the day your mission is really going to be to make it so engaging that you are at the edge of your seat from start to finish. I mean, that’s the idea at least right? Unfortunately that doesn’t work quite so well here.

The movie starts by introducing us to Agnes and Tobias. They’ve been married many years and banter quite a bit. It is at a point where they both hurl rather personal insults at each other although Agnes does most of the hurling with Tobias just taking it. You wonder if they will be able to make it another day but since this is a regular occurrence for them they’re probably okay. That’s when Claire shows up and she never gets along with Agnes at all. So they insult each other a bunch as well until Harry and Edna show up. They are Julia and Tobias’ “best friends” so of course the heroes have to pretend to be happy to see them. Unfortunately this isn’t a social visit. The friends want to stay over at their house permanently since they are now too scared to go back home. They quickly run to their rooms and that’s when the main couple’s daughter Julia shows up. She has been divorced a 4th time and wants to live here again. Can these 6 characters get along or will they finally reach the breaking point?

I guess my main problem with the film would be that none of the characters are even remotely likable. They all exist just to get in each other’s way and make the worst possible decisions just so that the film will continue a little longer. If the characters acted with any real sense then they would have been okay. This also means that most of the time in the film the dialogue feels rather forced as if the characters need to dig up another hole for themselves when they would have been just fine otherwise. You have completely nonsensical stories like Tobias talking about his cat which only serves to hurt his character more. Claire spends the whole film being drunk so as she is slurring her next sentence along you’re just hoping she will hurry it up at some point.

Lets go point by point though. Agnes is the main character of the film or at least I would make that case. She doesn’t get along with everyone and likes to play the victim while insulting everyone else. She talks tough but when it comes time for a big decision to be made she makes herself scarce. There’s really nothing to like about her character although I will acknowledge that if I had to choose, she probably has the best dialogue among the various characters here.

Then you have Tobias. He’s always very soft spoken and lets everyone walk all over him so you already know what his character arc is. He’ll finally man up at the end of the film and talk everyone down but you’ll be rolling your eyes by this point. If the whole story about the cat didn’t already alienate you, then his final decisions will. From the start he is overly dramatic about the friends coming over. So he’s known this guy for over 30 years and let he completely panics when the guy stays over for a single night? I don’t care if they have been fake friends for that period of time, 30 years is enough to give the benefit of the doubt. If you don’t want him to stay over then saying that flat out from the start.

The one thing not to do is to just be quiet about it and then later on say it’s not right. Tobias has a super long speech at the end where he basically says that Harry should stay here because he’s earned it but Tobias doesn’t want him to. Tobias basically renounces their friendship right at the start but his speech drags on and on. He was just way too dramatic about the whole thing and doesn’t accomplish anything at the end either. I won’t say he is the worst character in the film (That would be Claire) but he may just be the most annoying.

Then you have Julia. From all of the characters she probably adds the least to the film. So she got divorced and is here to make everyone else’s lives miserable. All right…but we already have 5 characters for that. She really doesn’t contribute and I would make the case that removing her from the film wouldn’t actually change anything. See, while I don’t like Claire, it’s easy to see why she’s here. She helps to stir the pot before the neighbors even get here to put everyone in a bad mood. She gets drunk a lot and messes with Tobias a lot. Claire absolutely can’t be trusted and yet she is always around so the main characters can’t get away from her. It’s a sticky situation for them.

Finally we have the neighbors Harry and Edna. From the start the fact that they say they got scared of nothing and can’t go home was pretty odd. Unfortunately there are no sensible characters here to actually ask them for more details or anything. Instead they just have the neighbors go upstairs. I’m thinking this is some kind of midlife crisis where they feel they are all alone and that’s why they want to stay the night. That would be my best guess at least but even then there are so many better ways to handle this then to just go to the main characters’ homes.

The neighbors also come across as petty since they admit that if the situations were reversed they would have thrown Agnes and Tobias out. So much for these “friends” right? Forget 30+ years, I know people who would let someone crash at their place if they’ve only been friends for a year. Not to mention that these characters are fairly well off and have big houses so it’s not like they’re on top of each other. Certainly fair game to kick the friends out of course or to put a stop to it before it happens but in their position there isn’t much reason to bring this up.

Overall, All of the characters in this film come off as eccentric if you want to put it in a nice way. They’re really all just pretty crazy though. The entire film is really just the characters insulting each other or spinning a 3 minute yarn just to say something that could have been compiled in 2 sentences. The characters speak their mind when it comes to minor stuff but once the going gets tough they all begin talking cryptically or flat out lying to save face for a while. The movie is definitely going for an odd kind of atmosphere intentionally which could work if the script is fantastic but the movie just couldn’t pull it off. The dialogue is as weak as can be and ultimately that hurt the movie quite a lot.

Overall 3/10

The Gate Review

Whenever you find a portal to the demon world in your backyard you know that something’s just not right. Well, that’s definitely the case here as the characters tamper with forces well beyond their comprehension. There are some fun ideas in this one but the film is ultimately held way back by the main characters. I’ll give the film some credit for having very unique visuals though.

The movie starts with Glen having some nightmares but at least the tree is finally taken down. Unfortunately there is now a huge hole there which leads to the demon world thanks to Glen’s friend Terry reciting an ancient chant. See, it turns out that some old records/music tapes actually contain real chants and summons for demons. Wouldn’t have expected that eh? Well, turns out that the battle against the demons has been going on for centuries. With the demons at the ready that means Glen and Terry will have to seal the portal but getting near it without dying will be tough. Also, Glen’s parents aren’t home so his older sister Alexandra will have to do.

In a way this film is sort of mixing Poltergeist with Home Alone. The parents leaving early on ensures that the kids are going to have to solve this on their own with no real backup. It makes sense as having parents around would likely have meant there would be a lot less tension the whole time. Most of the demons may have had some trouble there.

Going into the visuals though, the film goes all out with how the demons can appear. If you try to squash them then they can appear as tons of tiny little rodents. They can possess people, shape shift, and do all kinds of things. It’s pretty crazy. While the film is fairly tame for the most part, it can also get rather violent randomly at times. One such appearance is when Terry gets taken in or even when the parents show up in their deformed states.

The movie goes all in on being a true horror during these moments. The kids being fairly isolated also helps to up the danger feeling. Where the film really falters is with the characters. Kids have a hard time holding up their own film and this one is no exception. Glen tends to be fairly annoying a lot of the time. I’m also not sure why he got so emotional from levitating. It didn’t seem so scary and now at least he got to see some supernatural elements at work.

Glen spends a lot of time saying he wants to call his folks. I don’t blame him to an extent since Alexandra was shredding the rules instantly but it doesn’t help their case of not needing a babysitter. Then you have Terry who is always acting rather edgy. He hasn’t gotten over his mother’s death which is understandable but he definitely is not coping very well. Getting into all of this demon lore definitely cannot be good for him. He also has the weakest scene in the film when he throws the dog while being afraid. A very poor scene to be sure.

The film didn’t need any animal deaths for shock value here. I was like c’mon least it didn’t get murdered by the demons or anything like that. Then you have Alexandra who is supposed to be the reasonable member of the group and yet she was quick to host a party and just be very immature about the whole thing. She was even willing to leave Glen by himself even though her whole job was to watch over him. It’s not like it would have helped her out in the long run either since Glen would be sure to have said something. Ultimately Alexandra made the right decision and didn’t leave but this was not her best appearance. At least she did tell the friends to go away later on.

The friends in this film were pretty annoying the whole time. They definitely weren’t trying to help in the slightest and were just getting in the way. They didn’t really contribute anything to the story. You’d think that since one of the characters here is actually able to move things with her mind that maybe she would show up to really help out here. Well, I’m afraid that isn’t quite the case. In the end she still vanishes with most of the other characters while only 2 friends stay to act as comic relief and panic whenever the demons get close. The writing is decent although not the most engaging I’ve seen. Again, that’s mainly due to the main cast just being the kids. I think it would have worked out a lot better if the parents were there to keep them in line.

While some of the visuals are pretty inventive like the minis running around, others could just get pretty grotesque and violent like the eye appearing in someone’s fist and then having to be slashed away. Definitely pretty intense stuff to be sure. I definitely wouldn’t be able to give that one a thumbs up. In general while the plot is reasonably interesting, I don’t think there is anything that will really keep you tied to the film. Ultimately it still gets beat by many other films. I’d say to make this film better just age up the characters a bunch and cut away the dog from being part of the summoning ritual. While the ending helps to keep the movie from really going down, there are just too many things limiting it.

Overall, The Gate has some interesting ideas here. It’s certainly a title that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon. It also does give you a nice sense of danger here as the demons are quite powerful and can take many different forms. That helps set them apart from your average supernatural villain. The characters just aren’t good enough to really support this premise and some of the horror visuals can be a bit more shock value than needed. It would definitely get quite out there at times. If you want to check out a horror film involving other dimensions then you can do better than this one.

Overall 3/10

The Thomas Crown Affair Review

Whenever you get romantically involved with the person you’re supposed to bust on a case then you know that you’ve done your job wrong. This film involves a few heists and as soon as the investigator meets up with the crook you know that things are not going to go well. If anything you’ll just feel bad for the cops here. On one hand they wouldn’t have even been close to cracking the case without the heroine, on the other hand maybe it’s better not to crack the case then to have someone weaken you from the inside.

The movie starts off by showing us the first bank heist. It’s a pretty impressive piece of work as a bunch of strangers are brought together to do the gig. Each one has a different job and only needs to know his part. As a result they don’t actually meet up and this ends up being a pretty big event. Nobody is able to stop Thomas so he escapes to the money and goes back to his wealthy life. The cops are unable to handle this so much to detective Eddie’s horror they call in a specialist. Her name is Vicki and she is not opposed to using less than legal methods to ensure Thomas’ capture. She quickly tightens the net around him but ends up liking him as well. Will she be able to pull the trigger or will she end up defecting to his side?

Now with any heist film you will probably have to suspend a little disbelief at some scenes. The more they show you the more you will have some questions. For example, I feel like the whole thing went way too smoothly at the end. None of the cops get off a single shot as the villains flee and the car is able to easily drive across the many streets with nobody catching up. Too bad none of the cops are good drivers in this film eh? Would have made a pretty big difference if you ask me. The second time around is arguably even worse since the villains use the same plan and it works once again. This time there is more of a shootout though so at least the heroes put up more of a fight.

When you have this as your context it’s also incredibly hard to buy into Vicki falling for Thomas. How could she possibly do this when he was willingly getting involved in such crimes. It’s not like the film ever even tries to paint him as a sympathetic character either. He’s just doing this for the thrills which makes him as villainous as possible. The whole affair with him is just pretty terrible the whole time. There’s one chess game in particular which the film manages to mess up because of this.

Usually in a heist or a mystery film like this you get a good chess game between the hero and villain where they explain their plans and how they one upped the other character. You get a lot of solid moves back and forth which mirror the actual moments. In this case we get none of that. If anything they’re playing in rather sloppy fashion since Thomas gets really distracted during the match. It’s a big shame since Chess is usually pretty hype. It almost goes without saying that the romance is just really bad from start to finish.

The movie also uses an editing style that’s not very good. Basically everything shrinks into tiny boxes along the screen that start to show the same image half the time. So instead of watching a scene normally you’re seeing over 10 versions of it. This might be a decent novelty the first few times but that quickly wears thin before you know it. In the end you’ll just be shaking your head. The writing’s not great either. I would say it’s okay at best but without likable characters there just isn’t a whole lot that you can do. There are no memorable lines here or even fun comedic moments. The film is serious but in a rather dull way where nothing seems to happen for large periods of time.

Thomas is just a petty villain with no master goals. There’s really no depth to him and no reason to like him. It’s also worth noting that Vicki figured him out almost immediately. Then you have Vicki herself and I can’t give her a thumbs up either. She let her personal feelings cloud her judgment. The fact that she even asked the cops if they could have a truce with Thomas was terrible. You can’t negotiate with someone that just robbed a bank and put tons of people in harm’s way. Then you have Detective Eddie who’s okay but never seems to make any headway in the case. He was more reasonable than the other characters at least but I wouldn’t say that it made him a good character either. It was just an added bonus. In the end he was so ineffective you might feel bad for him rather than actively rooting for him. Technically I was hoping he would be the one to crack the case though even if you never thought there was a true chance of that.

Overall, This isn’t a film that would have much replay value at all. It gets worse the more you think about it. The romance is no good and since the heist is only a very small portion of the film, it means that there’s not a lot here to keep your interest. In theory the best part about a film like this should be the back and forth banter between Vicki and Thomas but we don’t get a whole lot of that here because they are interested in each other almost from the start. There’s no true cat and mouse game here because they aren’t 100% serious about getting away from the other. It’s a game, but one with low stakes. It’s like making a Tom and Jerry film where they’re actually friends. It wouldn’t have the same impact unless they’re teaming up against a common enemy but that’s a completely different ball game. If you want a good heist film, watch Ocean’s 11 instead for a vastly superior product.

Overall 3/10

Another Woman Review

Time for another Woody Allen film where unsurprisingly the writing is one of the weakest aspects here. The film has a decent premise I guess but one that the film drags on as long as possible. The longer the movie goes, the weaker it gets and that’s the problem. I didn’t actually think it was all that bad at first but we gradually got more and more drama with each character sinking further and further. By the end of the film there are no characters to root for and you’ll wonder what the point of the whole thing was.

The movie starts out by introducing us to Marion. She is a lady who has achieved great success academically and is happily married. One day though she begins to eavesdrop on a counseling session being held next door and realizes that maybe her life is rather empty. She never noticed it before but the grass just seems greener on the other side. It turns out that Marion’s friends don’t like her as much as she thought they did and her marriage also seems rather lifeless now. She begins to reminisce about the good ole days and wonders if she should be taking a different path for her future. Is this all on the level or is she just taking herself down a dangerous path?

One thing about life is that you’ve always got to take the path of no regrets. Have fun while you’re young. You can still have fun once you’re older of course but why wait until then? If you put all of your dreams on hold in the present with the idea that you’ll do them all someday, then you may end up feeling like you have missed out somewhere along the way. That’s what happens to Marion here but the thing is that she has nobody to blame but herself. We learn in the film that she can be quite judgmental at times. She is very quick to point the finger at others or overthink things. Then you’ve got the fact that she had an affair with someone who was already married. In fact, she got him to divorce his current wife and marry her.

That’s not some slight inconvenience like taking the last can of pasta at the supermarket. She just wrecked an entire relationship for her own gain without a single doubt. At least she did not accept the advances of another married man who wanted to be with her but it’s hard to give her much credit at this point. When she learns that her husband is cheating on her as well it’s also hard to feel as bad for her. If you gain someone by cheating then you already know that your partner isn’t the trustworthy type. There’s no reason to believe that you’ll be the exception and that nobody would dare cheat on you.

Marion is definitely a very flawed character here which is part of the point of her character arc but it’s definitely not in even remotely an interesting way. She feels more like a villain than a protagonist most of the time. Her supporting cast are all just as suspect though. First you’ve got her husband Ken who loves hanging out at parties and having a good time but isn’t really the trust worthy type. He’s very much a man of habit who just goes through the motions of life. He does whatever gives him the most pleasure and doesn’t care about the rest. Then you’ve got Larry who has no problems trying to get together with someone who’s already married. The film tries to get you to think that she would have had a better life with him and perhaps that would be the case but she was already married during these advances so there’s no way that getting together with him would have been the “right” move at that point. She had already boxed herself in with a pretty bad set of choices.

As mentioned though, the writing is just really bad. Pretty much all of the characters are as crude as can be. The dialogue is all pretty crazy most of the time but not in a cool surreal way. Just in a boring sense where everyone just seems to care about talking on matters relating to relationships, scandals, and cheating. It’s rare to find any conversation in the film that is actually upbeat and interesting. All of the characters just feel really bad for themselves the whole time. It’s easy to see why none of them are happy. You’ve got to make the best with what you’ve got in order to be really content. Constantly comparing yourself to everyone else is a surefire way to do the absolute opposite.

If I had to name one decent scene I suppose it would be the trippy dream where everything turns into a stage play and Marion learns that her father is one of the people seeing the counselor next door. She also finds out that she is responsible for her first husband destroying himself. Did I mention that she had a first husband? Marion moves very quickly and rebounded from the guy with someone else shortly afterwards. Just in case you thought we didn’t already have too many romance plots going around. He died off screen prior to the film starting but this extra detail was clearly just added for kicks to show that the cycle keeps going on. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was already married before she met him just like the other affairs in the film.

Overall, Another Woman is an appropriate title here as nobody in the film seems content with the person they already have. You can also look at it in another way as there’s always another woman blaming Marion for their troubles. You’ve got the “best friend” who gets drunk all the time and blames Marion for a relationship that never actually happened. You have the Ex who blamed Marion for stealing her husband which is actually true but if he could be stolen so easily then he clearly wasn’t worth anything from the start. Etc. There’s a whole lot of the blame game going on around here with a ton of twisted relationships. Nobody trusts each other here and for good reason but it also means that none of these relationships would have stood much of a chance if you ask me. Either way something would have come along to mess things up for them. I would definitely recommend watching just about anything else instead of this film. If you want a good drama title then watch To Each His Own instead for a much higher standard of quality.

Overall 3/10

Reefer Madness Review

This film’s quite old and surprisingly short. It’s almost like watching an informercial to an extent where there’s a general plot but it’s all built around a message. Definitely not a bad thing per say but unfortunately you do feel like the story wasn’t given a lot of attention. The characters just aren’t very good and that’s an issue because you need to have characters you can root for. You don’t really have anyone like that here though and the ending’s pretty bad which doesn’t help matters either.

The film starts off by having a principal give a stern lecture about why drugs are no good. In particular he singles out Marijuana as the most dangerous one of all. Mainly because of how easy it is to distribute and the fact that we won’t be getting rid of it anytime soon due to how it grows all over the place. Try as they may to stop it, people have been receiving it in cities around the world. He urges the students to crack down on this and not to weaken. Meanwhile, Mae and Jack have other plans for the school. They have been distributing drugs for a long time and have now decided to start targeting students as an untapped market. This works out very easily for them which is unfortunate. It’s as simple as inviting the gang over to their place and handing them the drugs. Slowly but surely they work on getting the rest of the characters.

Bill is effectively the lead here and he’s a nice enough kid. He likes playing tennis, has a nice girlfriend, and just has a well rounded life. Even his grades are really good. Unfortunately he is yet another character with a weak will here. The villains get to him pretty quickly and aside from the drugs he even gets involved in an affair. There was definitely no way you would like Bill past this point. He really just doesn’t do a good job of handling the situations. Mary is a solid heroine but she does falter a bit too quickly when going to the house of the drug dealers. Naturally she doesn’t know she is smoking Marijuana and thinks it’s just a normal old cigarette but that’s why you shouldn’t be smoking in the first place.

Now, it should be said that there is a big difference between smoking and doing drugs of course. One is flat out illegal (or was at the time) while the other is just fatal for your health. Naturally I advise not doing either one of those activities or even drinking beer. You should just stick to soda or root beer. Anything that causes you to not be in your normal state of mind just doesn’t sound like a good idea. It’s one of those things where even if it was legal unless you need something for medicinal purposes or some kind of serious injury then it just doesn’t seem like a good idea.

So the film does have a good motive here of trying to get people not do to drugs by showing how it can wreck your life completely. Bill’s grades go down, he loses his best friend, and his reputation has been forever tarnished. Others aren’t able to cope with the guilt ad break down. At the end of the day none of the characters were better off from doing drugs and that’s what the film wanted to point out. It does so in a rather grim way which is to be expected but doesn’t make the film any better. It would have been nice if the principal could have figured out what was going on a little sooner and put a stop to it. He had his suspicions of course but at the end of the day he just wasn’t able to do anything about it which was the problem.

Meanwhile from the villains Jack was unapologetically evil the whole time as he gave drugs to the kids. He’s definitely not a likable character in the slightest but recognizes his place in things. He even offers to shoot one of the students to keep the whole thing under wraps. Then you’ve got Mae who keeps saying they shouldn’t be doing this but at the end of the day she still goes through with everything. Whenever a villain hesitates like this or keeps saying that they should stop you can’t take her seriously because she’s still along for the ride. It sounds like she’s just trying to take the moral high ground for later on but it doesn’t work. Particularly with such an active role she had in corrupting Bill. Both villains were definitely on the evil side whether one made objections or not.

Overall, Reefer Madness definitely shows that it’s madness to do drugs. Especially when you’ve already got a very good life you need to not get greedy. While there is no situation where you should pick up the Marijuana at least you can see how someone would be desperate enough to do so if their lives were in shambles. A rich kid who has an excellent set of friends, grades, and seems generally content getting mixed up in all of this? That’s definitely a mistake you don’t want to see happen. While the film has some good messages here I would ultimately say to take a pass on this one. By now I’d say you will have seen enough posters and essays on why drugs are bad in the real world so you don’t have to sit through a whole film to understand the message.

Overall 3/10

The Nun 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

I definitely remember this film making the rounds when it came out. After all there’s definitely a novelty to having a film about an evil Nun. Of course the villain isn’t literally a Nun but that’s what the imagery is going for. This one plays out a lot more like a classic horror film than the other installments in the Conjuring franchise. I wouldn’t give this one a thumbs up but I will say that it definitely ends up being one of the most intense installments. Get ready for a creepy trip through their Church.

The movie starts with two Nuns unsealing a door and taking something away from it. This turned out to be a critical mistake as a demon destroys one and the other Nun destroys herself. The poor delivery guy Frenchie comes across the body and lets the town know. This news makes it all the way to the Vatican where the higher ups instruct Burke to go and check it out. They tell him to bring along trainee Irene for this quest. She has not yet taken her vows and wonders if she can really be of help. Still, one simply does not refuse an order from the Vatican so they head to the manor. The place feels quite ominous and the townsfolk are too afraid to even go near the place. Burke and Irene prepare to spend the night over there but surviving to the dawn may prove to be trickier than they thought.

While this may seem like a minor element, I really liked the backdrop of the film. The Church made for a very interesting layout and reminded me a lot of the first Resident Evil film. It’s a great location that’s quite atmospheric and since the Church is rather dark from the start there are plenty of areas for jump scares. Be prepared to see a whole onslaught of them with the demon peeking around every corner. The opening scene of the shady Nun talking to the heroes and then revealing her true form to Irene was pretty fun. The whole adventure is really a setup from the villain after all so she did a good job of setting that up.

Now, I do have to question the Nun (Gonna just call the demon “The Nun” so there’s no spoilers here) in what her real plan was though. It seems like there is just enough holy energy here to prevent her from leaving the premises or doing anything drastic. That’s good I suppose, but at the same time she can clearly destroy everyone in the castle at any time. Is there really a point to toying with them? She probably could have broken the seals and escaped already if she were really trying. Perhaps she has stopped because even without the Nuns she wouldn’t be able to escape. Were the two Nuns from the opening scene the final ones and the rest were dead from the jump or were they all only murdered while Irene closed her eyes leading to the fake out?

The film leaves some things up to interpretation which is nice but I do feel like a little more detail on what the Nun was thinking would be nice. Most of these vengeful demons and spirits just want revenge but put it pretty plainly to the heroes. Others just don’t want you watching their DVD so if you put it in then that’s game over. The Nun was definitely a fun villain though. If you take away the plot armor of the heroes then they were completely outmatched. Probably should have destroyed Burke while he was buried or pushed Irene in as well tbh and that would have ended the movie in an instant.

Usually in horror films you don’t get to have the explosive moment where the hero arrives in the nick of time but this one actually managed to include that in which was pretty neat. Frenchie comes in handy and the fact that he has a gun at the ready was pretty wise. The Nun feels like it actually has an action packed climax which is pretty interesting. The way the Nun is taken on gets a little on the gross side by the end but I suppose that’s what happens when you lower your guard. Getting overconfident has taken down a whole lot of villains over the years.

Frenchie would have to be the most interesting character but in this case all 3 of the main characters were solid. Irene may have been taken by surprise at everything going on but she was quickly able to gather her bearings and contribute a whole lot here. She’s a lot more proactive compared to many horror leads and is also pretty fearless. You have to have a lot of guts to keep on fighting against these demons or walk around the place at night when any wrong step can lead to your doom. Burke is not quite as bold and falls for every single one of the mind games though. Seriously the demon has a field day with him. He has a tragic origin story of course which allows the Nun to get a foothold there. He seems reasonably skilled at least and did bring some holy weapons. Whether they work or not tends to vary on film to film but they can usually at least stall for time. Given Burke’s high rank though I would have liked for his abilities to have been a little more impressive. Show us something he can do that the average person cannot. That would have been pretty neat.

The Nun naturally ends up being ultra powerful to the point where the chants and usual techniques don’t really work. Only the ultimate weapon is able to do anything here. These demons sure do tend to be quite strong, it makes you wonder how the characters would deal with them originally. We get a flashback where the army was called in but I can only assume that their abilities worked because the Nun was a lot weaker back then or because they were just stronger at the time. Either way I suppose the whole war through a wrench into the eternal banishment thing. It’s why whenever possible you need to finish these demons off rather than capturing them. Otherwise they start making zombies and the whole situation becomes even more unwinnable as time goes on.

Overall, The Nun is not really trying to be a very unique experience this time around. It’s really more about the classic jump scares as the heroes try to survive in the haunted Church. It’s definitely got a whole lot of action and a lot of fun visuals. On the other hand it can get pretty gruesome with the Nun shredding through everyone. I wasn’t a fan of how the Nun got taken down in the end, but she was a much better villain than a lot of the recent ones I’ve seen. If you’re up for a pretty intense horror film then the Nun should be right up your alley. If you’re looking for more of an atmospheric horror then you’re better off checking Annabelle instead.

Overall 3/10