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

Pitch Perfect 2 Review


It’s definitely been a while since I saw the first Pitch Perfect. The series definitely goes for a very “Bring it On” vibe throughout and this sequel is no exception. A film being about A Capella is definitely still pretty original since that’s not the most popular form of entertainment out there and the movies consistently make you aware of this fact as everyone comments on it. Unfortunately I can’t say that this film was a success, it makes pretty much all of the mistakes you would expect.

The movie starts with the Bellas performing on another grand stage. Unfortunately there ends up being a mishap involving Amy which shames the group and puts them in a global controversy. Their group is now about to be disbanded. Fortunately, due to some quick thinking on the group’s part they are going to get a second chance. If they want to keep the group alive then they are going to have to win the world tournament. The problem is that America has never won it before and the commentators mention that nobody likes the U.S. so it’ll never happen. Still, at least now they have something to fight for!

The group isn’t in perfect sync at the moment though. Beca still enjoys this competition, but she is ready to move on with her life and has begun an internship at a big music recording studio. She is actually having some success here, but keeping this big secret is threatening to ruin the group forever. Meanwhile a new girl named Emily has shown up and she really wants to be a Bella. Her Mom was one and always mentioned that it was the best time of her life. Emily is doing her best to fit in, but the only issue is that the others are giving her a hard time and the group may not even exist soon. Still, she is ready to give it her all. Can the girls find a way to win this tournament against the German favorites DSM?

Well, I guess we should get into the positives first because they are outnumbered. Some of the songs can still be catchy. I always like the idea of a Capella battle which is just really cool. One group starts a song and then when the judge gives the queue the next team has to immediately jump in with a different song, but tuned to the same beat. In a sense this means the first team will always have the advantage, but since they’re starting they need to pick a song that picks up right away. This film has a bigger song battle than the first film as it is around 4-5 groups all going at it. It’s easily the best part of the film and really should have been the climax.

I also liked Sammy. He’s Beca’s boss at the studio and is really a scene stealer. He’s definitely a bit on the rude side, but definitely does know what he is doing. He’s got a real quick wit when it comes to music even if he is considerably slower on the take when it comes to learning someone’s name. That’s one thing he couldn’t wrap his head around. His dynamic with one of the interns was also pretty fun as the guy kept on throwing ideas, but Sammy really didn’t like any of them. Honestly I didn’t think that the guy’s ideas were all that bad. At least he was trying right? This is exactly why some people don’t volunteer ideas because you don’t want to get shut down like that. I think part of what makes these scenes work though is the intern never loses his nerve and keeps trying to talk anyway. He certainly doesn’t take it personally and it takes a lot of fortitude to keep getting back up.

I thought Emily was also a reasonable character. She wasn’t as strong as Sammy, but at least she had a lot of enthusiasm and wanted to help make the Bellas better. It’s hard to excuse her for messing up in the music battle since that was a bit selfish, but otherwise I don’t think she made any mistakes. She felt more like the main character than Beca this time around with how much of a focus she got. Without her in the squad ironically not much may have really changed, but I’m sure her optimism helped the group out a lot off screen as well.

Now lets get into the bad parts of the film. First off, the writing is pretty terrible. Almost every line is someone making a dirty joke or just saying something super offensive for no real reason. The latter kind of humor can work if handled perfectly like in Airplane, but you really have to have talented writers to pull it off. Otherwise everyone just ends up being unlikable and you’re always getting ready to cringe at what’s about to be said next. There is really no safe point where you can just wait for it to all go away.

The romance plots in the film are all handled poorly as well. This is to be expected, but they all move very fast with no realistic development. You’ve got the magician who likes Emily but can’t even form a coherent sentence together. Then you have Amy and the other guy whose romance goes from being completely shut down to then they are back in biz. If I were the guy I’d be a little worried since Amy constantly hints that she will have a hard time sticking to one guy so that really does not bode well.

Meanwhile Beca isn’t quite as good as she used to be. Her keeping the massive internship secret was not a good idea. She also gets overly defensive about it when pushed which is just playing the blame game at this point. Beca also gets completely defeated by the leader of DSM in every single confrontation they have, which was not a good look. She may not be the leader of the team or anything, but she is a senior member so you would expect her to stay strong and at least have some kind of retort to the antagonists. By losing each time she really lost her chance of being a capable member.

Then you have Amy whose gimmick revolves around constantly using self deprecating humor on herself and also leads the charge for most of the iffy jokes. She’s the one who gets the group into trouble at the very beginning of the film and doesn’t really stop from there. Her character is definitely the most extreme from the group but it doesn’t always work out in a good way.

There are other characters on the Bellas and some of them have a good sized role but not to the same extent as the big 3. Mostly they’re just here for humor scenes and the leader is the only one who gets a role. She has good reason to be upset since none of the others seem to be taking the team seriously at times. She did invest multiple years on the team so to watch it go down like this is tragic.

The film did a good job of picking commentators who really sound like professional ones in real life. The humor there is supposed to be in how crude they are while announcing. I’ll grant the film that the voices are on point and sometimes they land a good joke but usually the guy goes a little too far. Both of them constantly walk into the insults and then throw some more of them out there.

As for the climax, that one was underwhelming. I didn’t mind the songs in general. Using a competition to end off the film is a good finale. It’s just that the film really gave the Bellas a bad song to end things off with. DSM’s song completely blew theirs out of the water so it’s hard to see how the heroes won that match. I suppose going for a brand new song is a pretty bold tactic, but not one that would win you the world championships. Of course music is completely subjective, but for me it was one of the weakest songs in the whole film so ending off with that was…interesting. It really didn’t have energy compared to DSM’s.

Overall, Pitch Perfect 2 is not a sequel that takes the series to new heights. It makes all the mistakes it possibly can. The plot makes sense for a sequel as you can’t get bigger than the world championships and adding a new main character was good since she was better than most of the established ones. That being said, she couldn’t help carry the film. More scenes with Sammy would have been great since he was definitely entertaining. This is the kind of film that may be fun as you are watching it, but ultimately falls well short of being a good title. If you want a better musical film you should check out Camp Rock or High School Musical.

Overall 3/10

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

The Body Snatcher Review


It’s time to look at a bit of an older film with The Body Snatcher. It’s not quite as thrilling as the alien version I saw a while back. The films are unrelated but with the title being so similar I felt like I definitely had to mention the other one. This film’s more of a look at how problems that you avoid tend to snowball until you find yourself right in the middle of it. Had Donald gotten out as soon as he realized that something was shady he would have been fine. Sticking around was not the right move.

The film starts by showing us Donald, a promising lab student. Unfortunately he is not all that wealthy at the moment and will not be able to continue as a student. Professor Wolfe decides to keep Donald by having him become a lab assistant. This dynamic works well enough and together they dissect a lot of bodies and really lead a good science session. Something seems to be off with how many bodies they always have on hand and a mysterious guy by the name of John Gray appears and seems to have a lot of influence over Wolfe. Donald will have to watch out of he will really be in over his head.

Here’s the problem with Donald. The film expects us to buy into the fact that he is oblivious to how shady the business is until well into the film when he recognizes one of the bodies as a lady he walked past during the day. How did he think they were getting so many bodies? It’s not like this is a huge hospital with global connections. The town actually seems very poor from the locations the movie showed off. I mean, I wouldn’t expect him to jump to the assumption of murder right away, but at the very least he shouldn’t be too shocked.

Then once he learns the truth Donald goes along with this because he is worried that this will incriminate him which will cause a lot of trouble. Clearly he has his priorities straight. In some ways Donald is a good guy and he did want to help the little kid get her ability to walk again. It’s just outweighed by the fact that he is so complicit in what is going on. By the time he makes any kind of move you can’t help but feel that it is way too late.

Multiply all of those negatives by 10 for Wolfe. He is deep in the dirt with this business. He wants to get out, but John will never allow that since he can blackmail Wolfe over an old court case forever and ever. Wolfe finally thinks to take him down for the count towards the end of the film, but so much damage is done by then. Either way Wolfe was already a villain so I feel like he should have really hurried to take this guy down. Better late than never, but factor in how he didn’t want to help the girl walk and this is definitely not a guy you could root for.

John Gray is really the main antagonist in the film. He’s pretty strong and really had the other characters on the ropes here. You can definitely respect his power, but otherwise that’s about it. One of his wins was also a little suspect since the guy he was fighting was a true sucker. How do you go to someone’s house to blackmail them because you found out that they are a mass murderer….and then don’t expect a fight? I don’t really know how that would work out. It just doesn’t add up….

So this is a bleak film where all of the characters are either evil, helping evil characters out, or totally oblivious. The Mom and her kid certainly didn’t do anything wrong. I don’t blame the kid for not trying to walk for a little while either since I’m sure that was a pretty scary experience. It’s hard to just get up and start walking around after not being able to for so many years. It definitely didn’t help that the doctor was rushing so much. I do think the kid was a little unreasonable during their first meeting though. He hadn’t actually done anything yet so it was strange that she didn’t want to talk.

I suppose the writing isn’t terrible and yet it isn’t engaging so it’s hard to call that a positive. The movie also doesn’t fall into the animal violence trap at least. The fight scenes are definitely sub par though. There isn’t really any choreography as it’s just the characters going for the choke and the eye attack each time. Neither attack option will really do much to help the movie out.

We get one decent visual as Wolfe starts to crack near the end. The body next to him begins to shift into someone else. You know that it is in his mind the whole time, but with the thunder in the background and the heavy rain it works really well as an intimidating backdrop. It’s a shame that the movie couldn’t have had more dynamic moments like that because it really would have made a good difference. That or the main characters being more likable.

Overall, The Body Snatcher is not really a film that worked for me. It’s a little on the dull side and the plot just isn’t engaging. There isn’t a whole lot to keep your attention here and that’s probably due to the slow pacing. By the time events actually happen it feels like you have already figured things out a long time ago. If this film sounds interesting then check it out, but I can’t really think of anything in particular that makes me think “You’ve gotta watch this film!” There’s no solid soundtrack or good characters. There’s no mystery or any moments that will make you think this was super clever. It’s just a film going through the motions.

Overall 3/10

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

Rage Review


It’s time to look at another Wild West type film. This one isn’t about lassoing criminals or escaping justice though. Instead it’s a film that takes place in the old days but has an unrelated plot. It’s a decent idea, but unfortunately the execution just wasn’t there and so this film ended up as a flop.

The film starts off with a truck of performers heading over to a nearby village. They have to get past a dangerous bridge and endure a villainous driver but ultimately make it. They get their money after a few day’s hard work but one of the girls stays. Perla’s decided that she has a future with Doctor Reuben but currently he has not gotten over his dead wife. She aims to change that but it won’t be easy. Complicating matters further is the fact that something seems to be wrong with the animals around town. If the doctor doesn’t solve this right away then they could all be in trouble.

There are a few things holding this film back and I think a big one is definitely the subplot with the entertainers at the beginning. For starters this is really an excuse to have a lot of fan service thrown in for most of their scenes. As expected none of the guys have any morals or dignity here either and look quite terrible. The driver being a villain was also completely unnecessary and that scene should have simply been cut. The scenes add up quite a bit. Even once the performers are gone it doesn’t end since Perla stayed and keeps trying to bring joy to the village through dicey means.

There is also the animal violence in this film to finish off the 1-2 punch. Since the animals are being infected things don’t quite end well for them. Shots are fired and you can feel the film’s score shrinking with each bullet. By this point the film was already well on its way to the dark side but deep down you always hope that it can make a comeback. Unfortunately this was not in the cards for Rage.

Then you’ve got the main character Reuben who isn’t close to being likable. For starters he is a drunk who is constantly throwing his bottles around. He is a doctor so you will be worried for his patients. Reuben is mourning his wife but it’s no excuse for not putting down the bottle. Then you’ve got the critical scene which destroyed his character. Reuben finds out that his days are numbered but he had already promised to go help out his friend Pancho since the guy’s wife was having a baby. It was already known that it would be a difficult carriage and there is nobody else who can help. She will die if no one shows up. Knowing this, the lead puts his life ahead of hers and nearly deserts them. He wastes a few hours on this betrayal and by the time he comes back there’s already been a lot of extra pain on the wife’s part. The Doctor was completely out of luck by this point and having a main character like that is not easy.

The best character is definitely the friend Pancho. He is supportive throughout and even helps the lead after all his betrayal attempts. He does whatever he can to help his wife first and then makes time to save the day at the end. You couldn’t ask for a better friend. Pancho is just genuinely heroic and has his priorities straight. He is ready to make the hard calls and also has more practical knowledge than Reuben. Then you’ve got the heroine Perla who is okay, but since her goal is to get the guy to rebound from his wife you can’t really root for her. On the contrary, you have to hope she doesn’t succeed. There is always a case for when it is time to move on, but it’s not a case that would really save Perla for me.

Now there is one scene where a guy gets rabies and so the town is forced to tie him up. They ultimately let him die naturally but some of the characters bring valid concerns to Reuben asking him to just end it. While I understand him not wanting to push the trigger because that is quite drastic (Also it’s something that anyone could do so it’s a little iffy to put the blame on him) but not even giving him some extra shots to knock him out temporarily or block the senses a bit? In such a state it probably wouldn’t be too effective, but surely doing something is better than nothing. It’s definitely a very rough way to go for the guy infected so I can see why nobody wants to get sick like that.

The cast is fairly small, but that’s probably for the best. Pretty much every character who does show up here is pretty annoying or downright unlikable. The kids on the bus definitely aren’t very compassionate or understanding and one of Reuben’s allies seems sketchy from the start. The bus driver is probably one of the only decent side characters and at least

Overall, This one won’t rank too highly on the Wild West rankings. It brings together the worst aspects of the genre without giving us any gunfights in exchange. That’s a bad deal if I’ve ever heard of one. There really isn’t anything here to grab your attention or keep you engaged. If you’re thinking of watching this film then I would advise you to keep walking and to watch something like Trigun instead. You’ll be glad you made the decision.

Overall 3/10

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

Resident Evil: Retribution Review

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

It’s been quite a while, but it’s time to finally rejoin the Resident Evil series and continue with Alice’s adventure. The movie series has always been a very interesting one. It’s got a dynamite soundtrack and the special effects are on point. It’s also got a very interesting plot and handles the whole zombie angle way better than most other titles. It ends up faltering due to the excessive violence and fanservice running around, but at least you have a decent time while watching it. This film is no exception so you’ll have a lot of fun as the film goes on even if it can’t escape some of the usual issues.

The movie starts off by giving us a brief recap of the last few films. If you managed to forget parts then this will help a bit, but honestly I don’t see how you could forget since the films are too exciting for that. To this day I have to admit that Resident Evil consistently has the best cliffhangers out of any live action movie. They always end with a bang and that keeps you going until the next movie. The credits play before that through a slow motion scene that goes backwards before then playing it again at normal speed. It’s an interesting way to start the film, but I think the scene does go on for a little too long. It’s always interesting to see how the scenes look before they’re at normal speed though.

So last time Jill and the other members of Umbrella stormed the boat and attacked the heroes. Alice was captured during this offensive and is being held at Umbrella’s most dangerous prison. The Red Queen has decided that now is the time to break Alice. Fortunately she is given an escape option thanks to Wesker. He hacked the system and sent in his top agent Ada to help Alice get out. She doesn’t trust him, but she’ll surely die if she stays so she goes along with this plan. The prison is huge with different areas spanning multiple city blocks and each area is infested with zombies that she has met in previous films as well as normal ones. Alice will really have to work hard to get out of here. Meanwhile a squad has also been sent in to rescue Alice from the outside. They’ll have to get halfway through the compound to rescue her, but breaking in is just as difficult as breaking out. Neither side is going to have an easy time here.

Well, lets tackle the film’s weak points first. For starters this is still a film that is focused on using a ton of gratuitous violence as the heroes mow down the zombies. Someone gets drilled with a spinning disc until they’re murdered, others are sliced and diced, and everyone else is eaten alive or shot down. There’s constant violence here to be sure. I feel like it’s less violent than the last one or two, but it’s been a while so it may just feel that way. As always the film does make sure to include one fanservice scene at the very beginning as the villains try to break Alice, but it’s not quite as forced as in the last films. It’s still one of the weakest scenes in the film though and I guess the Red Queen is getting emotional at this point because there really doesn’t seem to be much of a point in kidnapping Alice in the first place. At the very least they aren’t running tests or doing any of the usual maneuvers that you would expect.

The supporting characters are also pretty forgettable. Anyone who isn’t one of the main 4 characters is quickly shoved to the side. It’s hard to care about any of the group members who came to save Alice despite at least one of them possibly being a character from an older film. The main guy is Leon and he doesn’t leave much of an impact. They all just start to blend together and feel like cannon fodder. Ultimately they don’t seem all that important. At least the main cast is solid though.

As always Alice is a great character. She’s certainly kept her fighting skills over the years and is always ready for the next fight. Her character is exactly how I would like Samus to be portrayed if we ever get a Metroid film. To say that Alice is one of the best film heroines of all time would not be an understatement. At the moment I cannot think of anyone who would be above her. She’s just that good and has been consistently solid throughout all of the films in the series. This may still be her best portrayal yet as she is both a solid soldier as well as a compassionate mother figure in this movie. I’m expecting great things from her in the next film as well.

Wesker gets to appear a little here. His role is large but his screen time isn’t although that should change in the next film. There’s a lot of ways the film can finish up his character arc so I look forward to seeing what they choose. He is incredibly overpowered to the point where it seems like he could end the zombie apocalypse on his own. I suppose it isn’t that easy, but it does feel that way. Alice will have to watch out in the next film although thanks to a twist in the ending she may be ready for him.

Jill spends most of the film under mind control but makes for a terrific main villain. Her fighting skills are the real deal and when you mix in her hand to hand expertise she really becomes a serious threat. Her costume is very accurate to the games and she is a scene stealer. Then you have Ada who also gets a lot of hype for her fighting abilities, but isn’t quite as impressive as Jill. I don’t think there is ever a question of who would win if these two were to fight each other. There’s also a kid who tags along for a good chunk of the film. Her plot is fairly sad, but Alice does what she can to help. The kid can actually listen to orders so she is considerably better than most others. Her Mom also did good as she didn’t panic too much when the zombies came and actually fought quite a bit.

Continuing with the film’s excellent execution, it really pulls off the zombie invasion in this small town. It’s an intense set of scenes with a lot of good attention to detail as you see people trying to fight off the zombies in the background. I definitely don’t think heading back into a house is a good idea in the zombie apocalypse, but in the spur of the moment I suppose there isn’t much else you can do. The whole thing is pretty thrilling and it’s like seeing an AU of what it could have been.

As always the soundtrack is dynamite as well. It really feels like something out of a video game and I think that’s part of why these films shine so much. The structure and feel is like a video game and the films aren’t afraid to embrace that aspect. The costumes are on point as well and the pacing is also solid. It’s still a little hard to describe what really makes these films pop, but I think at the end of the day it’s that sci-fi works really well for any medium. It’s why Astral Chain looked so great and why these films are so engaging. Sci-Fi is just excellent.

I also need to point out that the fight scenes here are excellent. Jill vs Alice is certainly the highlight. It’s the kind of fight where it’s one sided, but close enough for both fighters to still be throwing attacks around if that makes sense. It’s just a lot of solid back and forth. Then you have the other fight of Rain taking on the side characters and that plays out as you would expect. She’s simply too powerful and Alice has a tough time there. Throwing in these super soldiers really takes Resident Evil to the next level. If there’s any complaint with this climax it is that the resolution to Jill vs Alice doesn’t make any sense. Stopping the tech should not be so easy because if it was then the fight should not have lasted so long. There would be many opportunities to do what Alice did at the end a little earlier in the fight. It’s also poor design on the villains part.

I didn’t talk much about Rain earlier, but she’s a solid villain. Her good self was also fun and you’ll feel bad for her. She did try her best to help out but is the definition of a red shirt. She was never going to last very long in this brutal world. Rain never faltered and that’s the important thing. Evil Rain is just as solid and really gave the heroes a hard time.

As I mentioned these films are known for their awesome endings and this film does its best to top them all. I’m not sure if I’ll give it the top spot over the original, but it definitely comes close with the heroes preparing for their final battle. It really feels like we have finally made it to the end of the road. It’s hard to see how the heroes will be able to overcome such crazy odds but with Alice and Wesker they have a chance. The tough part will be trying to keep the two from destroying each other in the meantime. The ending also gives a lot of hope for more awesome fights in the next film only this time we may finally be back to the more super hero-esque adventures.

Overall, Resident Evil: Retribution brings the nonstop action that you are hoping to see. It’s a very solid film on all the fundamentals and is definitely the best title in the series. It improves on all the previous ones and does its best to get over some of the negatives. It’s still dug its grave with the amount of over the top violence here, but the upwards slope this film brings the series to is definitely a good thing. If you like horror films or just want a good sci-fi thriller then you definitely need to check this out. So long as you are cool with the violence you can expect to have a home run hit on your side. Hopefully the next and last film in the series can give us a proper ending.

Overall 3/10

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

The Main Event Review


It’s time to look at an old comedy film that threw in a little boxing. It’s not a film that has aged particularly well though and rarely ends up being funny. The characters aren’t particularly likable and it definitely has one of the worst endings that I’ve seen in quite a while. This film definitely doesn’t feel like the main event and I’m not even sure that I would book it as a side show. As far as I’m concerned this one just ended up dropping the ball at every turn.

The film starts off by introducing us to Hillary who has been doing pretty well for herself as a perfume expert. Unfortunately her accountant runs off with all of her money so now she is poor. All of her assets are sold to pay off her debts and the only thing she has left is the rights to a boxer that she owns. The problem is that he has been living off her money without actually training or boxing for years. Hillary forced him to get in the ring since she still has bills to pay, but can he really win enough matches to actually make a difference? Also, this Eddie fellow isn’t the nicest of guys so she’ll have to keep him on a short leash or he is liable to run away as well.

There is a big problem with the film’s plot from the start. Since Hillary was an excellent perfume mega star why didn’t she just try to regain money by staying in the same field? The competitors are happy to get rid of her by paying for some of the debt along with an agreement of hers to leave the business for good, but I feel like she could have stayed in the career path and made the money back again. It would be difficult but certainly not more so then entering an entirely new field with a boxer who’s never won a fight. Seems to me that she put herself through a lot more trouble than necessary.

Then you’ve got Eddie who is portrayed as being a pretty terrible person from the start. He’s lazy and doesn’t actually want to do any work. There’s really no excuse for this though since he basically lives in a gym and knows that he is getting money to work out. He chooses to waste it away instead as he chases after his dreams, but that isn’t endearing. It just shows that he is self centered and you can’t really root for him. It also makes the second half rather cheesy as this out of shape boxer is suddenly able to take on everyone including the current champ. How is this guy so good after just training seriously for a little while? Something doesn’t add up here.

Then we’ve got the ending. I can’t go into depth with it here, but throughout the film a running gag is that Hillary doesn’t know anything about boxing despite reading books on it and attending all of his fights. She will jump into the ring and do a lot of crazy stuff that gets everyone in trouble. It’s unrealistic and bad writing, but at least it’s accidental. Then she makes a choice in the end that is completely terrible. There’s no positive effect of doing this and I can’t imagine anyone actually doing this. It ends the film on a pretty low note.

You’ve also got to take into account the poor romance in this film. Naturally the two characters don’t like each other as the film starts, but the more they hang out the closer they get. It’s all very generic and obvious, but it really makes no sense. Eddie is also far too pushy the whole time and was beyond the point where you could root for him. The whole plot of Hillary having to stay at the same inn as the rough boxers was also terrible. They’re portrayed to be downright villainous and you’ll just feel bad for Hillary the whole time. She’s the one who’s had a rough time of it. In comparison Eddie is really just whining when he has no right to do so.

Overall, The Main Event is not a film I’d recommend. The writing really isn’t that good. With enough jokes thrown in I’m sure some will land, but ultimately you could do a lot better with the Streisand films. The plot starts off flimsy so throwing in a crazy ending was really the decisive blow. There isn’t really anything positive to say about this film. I suppose the fights were okay, but they were definitely no Rocky. That’s an impossibly high bar to compare with of course, but I haven’t seen a whole lot of boxing movies so I don’t have too many options to use. Hopefully her next film is a little better.

Overall 3/10

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Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? Review


It’s time to look at an old film that tries to be a thriller/horror title. It’s pretty low key in part due to how old it is, but also because it’s not a jump scare kind of film. It has a very British air about it as the villains are polite and there are always veiled threats. It’s not a particularly good film though and this is probably because the main characters are kids. Kids can’t hold their own movies, they’ve never been able to in the past and they certainly don’t seem to be starting now.

The film starts off with Roo introducing herself as a nice old lady who allows a group of orphans to stay with her every Christmas. The orphanage even makes it into a bit of a competition as only the 10 best kids every year are allowed to go. Two extra kids manage to sneak in this year though and they are Christopher and Katy. Roo decides that this time she’s going to keep a kid and so she tricks Katy into staying behind. Christopher finds out about this, but then he is also trapped. Can Christopher and Katy get away from this crazy old lady or is their time up?

Of course this film only works if all of the characters look the other way. From the start why would the orphanage people leave one of the kids behind? That goes past just being irresponsible, they don’t even know Roo all that well. It’s a pretty iffy moment for all of them. Even after they go home though, it should be obvious that the kids are still in the house. Why didn’t the police come with a warrant right away and tear the place apart? Naturally the orphanage people do seem a bit rude so perhaps they didn’t want to have these kids back, but it’s definitely a bad look for them.

The only characters who do realize what is happening turn out to be crooked as well and get some money out of Roo. This also hurts Roo as an antagonist though as she is tricked and suckered for a good part of the film. She’s pretty crazy to be sure, but you at least want her to be in the captain’s seat. Instead she takes quite a lot of Ls throughout the whole film. You definitely don’t expect to see two little kids outsmarting and outrunning the main villain right?

Still, that doesn’t mean that the kids are great characters though. Katy is a little too young so she doesn’t get what is happening the whole time. She mainly slows them down and Christopher means well, but he’s also too young to be of much help. He has a smart play with the fire, but ultimately the only way they are able to succeed is because Roo makes a ton of mistakes the whole time. If she was more on the ball then they would have absolutely been doomed. She has home field advantage and a big edge in speed and power. There’s no real way to get around that.

It doesn’t make for a very pleasant plot though. Even though the film isn’t played quite as seriously as a modern version would be, it’s basically a villain kidnapping two kids. There’s no time for snappy dialogue or good interactions as a result. The character cast is very limited and most of the scenes are just about Christopher being forced to help Roo out with errands around the house. That’s not very thrilling at all and certainly can’t hold a film for very long. There’s no real fun factor in the film so it just drags on and on.

The ending does its best to not make the kids particularly sympathetic either. I don’t think anyone would blame them for taking down Roo, but by the end they seem to have actually convinced themselves that she was a witch from a fairy tail. Christopher is fairly young, but at the same time he’s old enough where you wouldn’t expect him to still believe in fairy tails. While Roo likely wasn’t going to cook them, she was still clearly evil from all the threats she made and she did tend to wave her weapon around quite a lot. I suppose the cops will never find out how the fire really started.

We also can’t forget that the film had to squeeze in a dead chicken for no reason. It’s one of those sudden scene cuts that I suppose is meant to remind you that the villain means business. Roo isn’t the one doing the chopping, but the same chopping knife is used later on so it’s like foreshadowing. The scene also throws in the unnecessary fact that the guy selling the chickens is getting pretty fresh very quickly. It’s a detail that never gets brought up again and ultimately has no point in the film. You can tell that the writing in a film is suspect when there are pointless filler scenes like this one.

Overall, Whoever Slew Auntie Roo is not a film I’d recommend. It’s not horrible for content or anything, but it’s just very dull and lifeless. There isn’t a whole lot happening in this film. It’s like all of the scenes are just filling out the air time, but there isn’t any personality thrown into the mix. The movie is going through the motions but only because it has to and not because it wants to. There’s no real reason to watch such a film as you can find way better thrillers and horror titles elsewhere. This one is like a slice of horror film since nothing much happens beyond the premise. Check out something with a little more character instead like Jingle All The Way.

Overall 3/10

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White Lightning Review


It’s time to look at one of those old films where you wonder who to root for because everyone is pretty corrupt. As you can expect this one wasn’t exactly a winner for me. It’s not an abysmal film or anything like that, but at the same time there isn’t much to it. It’s a pretty simple plot, but no part of it is really well executed. As a result you’ll find yourself feeling like something is missing.

The film starts off with two teens being murdered by the sheriff and some loyal minions. We then cut away to the main character, Gator. He’s currently doing hard time for distributing illegal drinks. Gator then learns that his brother is one of the teens who was murdered so he makes a deal with the cops. He gets to leave jail early but in exchange he’ll find some evidence on the corrupt sheriff so the cops can take him away. The cops like this deal and set him loose. While this mission should be easy, Gator starts to sympathize with the crooks and now he isn’t sure if he should put them away. Still, he’ll take down the Sheriff!

Gator is a really bad main character. Now, you can certainly understand why he wants to get revenge on the sheriff. That’s pretty reasonable, but Gator decides to go about doing this in the worst ways possible. For starters when he gets into town one of the first things he does is to confront the sheriff passive aggressively. By this, I mean that he drives up to the guy and just stares at him. Part of the point of this ordeal is to make his co-driver sweat it out since Gator is basically blackmailing him at this point and the sheriff could shoot them all on sight. What did this act accomplish though? All it did was put Gator on the guy’s and if not for his plot shield that would be it for Gator.

Gator does a lot of nonsensical things like this throughout the film. Then when you thought things couldn’t get worse he decides to cheat on one of the crooks with the guy’s girl. Again….why would he do that? Clearly Gator doesn’t respect the other guy at all. It’s an excuse for some quick romance which ultimately doesn’t add anything to the movie. Beyond Gator, the rest of the characters are all crooks so there are no other heroes. Even the cops who show up from time to time to blow Gator’s cover seem like bad apples. They come in with an attitude and then storm off when Gator talks to them. Nobody’s reasonable here.

Of course Connors (The sheriff) is your average bad guy so he just likes walking around and terrorizing everyone. Some senior citizens try to play dumb when he shows up and he doesn’t spare any mercy for them either. You’re either with Connors or you’re against him. It’s definitely interesting how the cops can’t do anything about him though. The guy doesn’t seem like he covers his tracks all that well and the whole town is pretty up front with their illegal activities. I think if the cops had tried a little harder they should have been able to crack this case without Gator.

There aren’t any nice visuals to distract you with either as the film takes place in an old town. Everything’s pretty grungy so you certainly won’t be seeing any technology running around. The film’s supposed to keep you engaged with Gator’s quest for evidence, but this doesn’t work either since the main character doesn’t want to find any evidence. He just wants to take Connors down for the count and I doubt that arresting him was ever really part of the goal. He’s just lucky that everyone kept on sparing him the whole time instead of shooting on sight. His final plan takes forever and a day to finally get started.

The final car chase is good at least though. We get to see the characters put the pedal to the mettle as they chase each other around for a while. You can probably guess how the chase will end, but it’s still an action scene at last. Before that we do get a full action scenes and even a fight, but this was the car chase that we needed. It’s not enough to save the film of course, but at least this way we don’t have to end on a sour note.

It’s a shame that the cops ignored the town because it seems like it was definitely pretty rough for everyone in it. They probably should have moved away, but of course that is never possible for everyone. At first you think that Connors and his gang are at least nice rulers to those who follow the rules, but based on how they act later on it seems like they also just like to terrorize people for kicks. They get away with a whole lot and even by the end of the film you wonder how much has really changed. Even without the head honcho we know that a bunch of other people were also corrupt so hopefully those guys were taken down too.

Overall, White Lightning is definitely a film where I’d recommend skipping it. The character cast is weak and the film does tend to drag on a bit. Not having a good main character definitely hurt this movie right from the start and it only gets weaker from there. Even the teens who died at the beginning don’t sound like they were all that smart. When you live in a town controlled by the villains it probably isn’t the best time to exercise your right to free speech. If you want to watch a grim tale of tragedy and revenge then this is the one for you. If you want a movie with a better main character then check out the original Mission Impossible instead.

Overall 3/10

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Village of the Giants Review


It’s time to look at an old film where giants came into being. I would say that it’s about how power corrupts, but these kids were already corrupt from the start so it’s more like they finally got to push people around. The film is pretty aimless for the most part though with many scenes being dedicated to dancing and singing in order to stall for time. It’s definitely a film that’s gonna get a thumbs down from me.

The film starts off with a group of teenagers crashing their car and they spill out into the rain. They’re all pretty rowdy so they start a mud fight and dance for a while. After that they figure they should try to find some shelter and head to a nearby village. In this village, Nancy and Mike have stumbled onto a new discovery courtesy of a kid named Genius. It’s a spongecake that turns you giant once you eat it. Mike is determined to get rich from this, but ends up giving some of the formula to a cat, 2 Geese, and a dog. Pretty soon the whole village knows about it and wants their hands on it. Mike tells them no, but the teens show up and eat it anyway. Now they’re all huge and they want to take over the town. Can Mike stop them?

This movie has quite a few problems so it’s hard to know where to begin. To start with, there is way too much singing and dancing here. That wouldn’t be a problem if they were good of course, but none are. The dances are the same motions over and over again. Each dance seems to last for an eternity and then the songs also tend to drag on. They never add onto the plot either so they’re definitely just here to drag out the film. The plot would barely have lasted 40 minutes otherwise.

Then the writing is consistently iffy. Mike ends up cheating on his girlfriend for a bit just to mess with the villains and fool them into thinking he was being tricked. Not a very nice partner to have eh? They tried the same trick on the girl only she didn’t even entertain it. (Although she was getting dangerously close) So you already can’t root for the heroes. Mike also doesn’t seem all that smart like when he tries to fight the leader of the teens. He’s luck that the hit didn’t completely destroy him. There’s also a scene where the town tries to tie up one of the giants and they actually succeed which was a scene that made no sense. With a single movement he could have knocked them all over, but instead the giant just seemed confused and almost mindless for a moment. It just didn’t make any sense.

Naturally the teens don’t make for good villains either. There’s a little friction between a few of the guys as they bicker a lot and for a wile there you think there’s going to be a power struggle. Surprisingly it never happens. The leader just folds every time the group wants to do something drastic. They definitely have a lot of fun making fun of the adults, but beyond that it’s not like they had much of a plan. Honestly they just would have gotten bored after a few days I expect. It all would have been routine by that point.

You can probably guess from the premise that this film isn’t really meant to be taken seriously. It’s definitely comedic for the most part but the film just isn’t quite as funny as it thinks it is. Take away the dancing scenes and that would have helped the film a bit for sure, but even without that there just isn’t much to the film. The dialogue is very weak and there are no likable characters. It would have been fun to have seen more of this from the adults perspective though. Maybe have a bunch of government guys walk in and start making demands or something. Instead the adults seem a bit slow on the uptake like when they order the teens back into the theater. I mean…they could have just squashed the cop so he got lucky. Also, how did nobody notice that they kidnapped the sheriff’s daughter? That seemed a bit iffy. It would be easy to grab her of course, but surely the town should have known about it.

Part of the problem throughout the film with the humans putting up a resistance is that the giants are way too strong. They could have easily ended the whole match in an instant if they do desired. The fact that they did not is really just plot hax. The film is riddled with plot hax. The characters should have had no chance until the formula wore off. Of course, the villains should never have gotten the formula if Mike was a little smarter and didn’t leave the key right next to the safe it was guarding. That defeats the purpose of the safe.

Overall, Village of the Giants is definitely a film you’ll want to skip. It’s pretty over the top but not in a good way. The Giants don’t actually alter the plot much at all. The film would have been better if it was just about the potion going out of control and making everyone giant. They would have had to learn how to cope with this smaller world now that they were giants. Instead we had to see Mike take down a giant spider which certainly wasn’t good. The film’s very cheesy and in some ways that’s good, but it makes too many errors to really stay afloat. Cut out the fanservice and this film could have had a shot. As it stands, you should stick to Godzilla for real movies about a giant creature.

Overall 3/10

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The Meg Review


It’s time to look at a pretty recent shark film known as The Meg. This one definitely had an interesting trailer for the most part although it definitely seemed to shift in tone quite a bit. For the most part this film takes itself seriously but always keeps a light tone throughout. It makes enough mistakes to keep it from being a good film, but does avoid the critical error involving a dog that could have been tricky.

The film starts off with a group of divers heading lower than they’ve ever gone before. They’re in a submarine so at least they feel pretty safe against the elements. They are a part of a group that is being funded by a billionaire known as Jack. Unfortunately they are attacked by a giant shark known as Meg. There is now no way to bring them back up so the team is forced to call in former expert Jonas. Jonas quit because of an incident where he was attacked by a giant shark and was only able to save most of his team. Well, they want him to go back in the ocean again, but can Jonas really face the same beast twice?

Meg is one of those movies where the plot gradually changes as the film goes on. If you watch the trailer before seeing the movie you can guess what the final act will be as you are waiting for the scene to happen for a very long time. The movie is pretty fun. There’s good pacing and the plot is certainly engaging. While the cast isn’t amazing, they’re better than what I’d consider to be the average for this kind of film. I may as well say up front that the film did a great job in saving the dog. There’s a scene where you think it may be all over for the little guy and it was going to be over for the film’s score as well. Fortunately that didn’t end up happening which saved the film 2 stars I’d say. Now that could work as a jump scare, but I still think films should mainly avoid the animal angle.

Of course, it does put the film in a dicey predicament as the main villain is an animal. How do you stop Meg without injuring her? Well, the quick answer is that you can’t and that limits the film’s potential from the start. Naturally I’m rooting for Meg the whole time because she is just trying to live in a tough world. It’s the pesky humans who keep getting in her way all the time. Meg makes for a good antagonist. She’s pretty huge and certainly vicious. Meg puts up a great fight throughout the film.

While the film’s theme is nowhere near as hype as the classic Jaws tune, the movie does its best to give Meg a theme as well. It works reasonably well in setting up the tone for her scenes. The effects are solid as well. Now lets talk about the human characters. I thought Jack was a pretty solid character. The billionaires in these films are always a lot of fun. Of course, you get the feeling they’re gonna die as soon as they appear since that’s pretty much a staple for this character type. Well, at least his scenes are very memorable throughout. He’s constantly talking tough and for the most part thought things through well. He just got a little sloppy by the end. I also don’t see how you can trip in such a situation, but it felt like all the characters in this film were constantly tripping. I guess the boats can be slippery.

Jonas makes for a good lead. Contrary to Dr. Heller’s assessment, he made the right call when leaving the ship in the intro. I thought that should have been obvious when the whole thing exploded seconds later. They all would have died. Jonas still goes back to help everyone out even though he isn’t particularly thrilled at the prospect. He tackles all of the tough jobs including using himself as live bait. I do think the heroes started stretching their luck with some of the plans though like having him swim towards the shark and launching a tracker. From that close distance in all likelihood Jonas would have been doomed. It’s basically a suicide mission but the characters don’t act like it’s that dangerous.

So, the writing can be a bit dicey at times, but it isn’t terrible or anything. Another instance of bad writing it one of the side characters. He’s basically only around to crack dicey jokes and is one of the first guys to go. He’s another guy where you know he is doomed from the start. He doesn’t add anything to the film and that’s certainly worth noting. The main heroine is good though. Suyin is always ready to jump into danger and is the first one on the rescue mission to help the stranded divers. Her daughter also gets quite a bit of screen time. She can be a bit iffy when trying to play matchmaker but definitely knows a lot about the sub. It’s always good to start learning about tech and such at a young age.

Overall, The Meg is an action film that delivers on everything it promises. There are some films where you basically know exactly what you are getting into from the start. This is one of those movies and that’s not a bad thing. The film’s consistent. It still lost a lot of points for animal violence and a dicey script, but if you’re not someone who minds the animal violence part then you’ll probably enjoy the film. The action scenes are on point and Meg definitely lives up to her hype of being a huge shark.

Overall 3/10

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Dirty Dancing Review


It’s time to look at a film that pretty much everyone has heard of at some point or another. I can’t say that dancing films are usually all that good and the title is already a red flag, but maybe this film would surpass its limitations and rise to stardom? Well…that wasn’t the case here, but the film certainly tried. It’s not all bad, but the main thing that drags the film down is one of its main elements…the romance.

The film starts off with the main character narrating from the future. She explains that everyone calls her “Baby” and she lets them because she didn’t see the harm back when she was a kid. As a result this is her name for virtually the entire film until one final scene. It’s definitely a name that I imagine you would get tired of very quickly. Who wants to be called a baby right? Well, her family has decided to spend the week at a vacation place where the point is to have a good time. It’s like an American version of a host club. Unfortunately, Baby quickly finds out that this place has an underground level to it where everyone goes for dicier dances. Does she have what it takes to fit in with the rest of the crew?

You’ll probably feel bad for the parents right from the start. The club seems to be decent above ground. They do a lot of safe activities like Bingo and people are generally having a good time. So long as you don’t know about the underground, you’ll enjoy yourself. It’s a typical corporate operation so the workers aren’t treated very well either which would also undermine your enjoyment if you found out about it. It sounds like this place was pretty pricey so I imagine that this would make the guests want to turn a blind eye to everything. It’s definitely not a party resort that I would particularly enjoy as there isn’t nearly enough food, but I know some would enjoy this party atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Baby makes for a pretty dicey lead. She falls into the romance awful quick. Almost a love at first sight scenario with her and Johnny although it is unrequited at first. Baby comes across as a little desperate and it would have probably been a better plot if they had just become friends. It would have really helped hammer home the message about how Baby treats everyone the same as opposed to it also being that they are romantically involved. Apparently Baby used to be very responsible and honest prior to getting into this camp so it probably wasn’t the best experience for her.

Then we have Johnny who starts out as a pretty mean guy who has been jaded from his years in service here. He thinks everyone is out to get him and for the most part he isn’t wrong. These rich guys are ready to sink him at their first opportunity. By the end of the film we see him more as a nice guy and it’s not so much a personality 180 as it is that he trusts Baby enough for her to see more of him. It’s still a romance plot I couldn’t buy into though. He’s one of the better characters by default though.

One of the main points of drama here is that the main co-dancer with Johnny is unable to perform in the main stage as she needs an operation so Baby decides to do it for her. We get a lot of dancing montages and training moments as Johnny gets her ready. It’s handled pretty realistically as you can’t go from being a novice to an expert in a few days. Even on the day of the show Baby still isn’t perfect. Which is definitely pretty realistic. Of course, she was also so distracted by the romance that it’s not like she could train quite as much as she wanted.

I’m not a big fan of dancing so even without the romance this film probably wouldn’t have gone far for me anyway. It’s one of those things where actually dancing is certainly more enjoyable than watching it. It can get pretty competitive like in Dancing With The Stars of course, but it’s just not a sport that I would watch. It’s like Golf in that respect. Give me Basketball or Football any day. The actual dancing is still done well here though, I wouldn’t deny that. They were good at their craft.

If there is a pretty annoying thing here, it’s that one of the characters basically gets away scot free. So, there’s a kid named Robbie. He goes around being pretty iffy “Nicknamed the Creep” and yet nobody talks about it. I believe he’s a relative of the owner or something, but as a result people just put up with him. He even causes one person to have a kid and then doesn’t claim responsibility. He goes around with quite a few people and even very nearly gets money for it if not for the father finding out at the last second. He’s not fired or anything since the victim didn’t press charges, but it would have been nice to have seen him get let go.

Overall, Dirty Dancing is not the film for me. The romance is pretty heavy handed and ends up seeping into most of the dances. There is always some romance in the air with that. The pacing isn’t bad the plot is relatively engaging, but without a strong cast it is limited. The writing is decent at best, but I wouldn’t call it amazing either. There are certainly quite a few misunderstandings here because Baby is super vague when she shouldn’t have been. At the very least I feel like during her final confrontation with her family she should have laid it all out. At that point they know what’s going on so why keep them in the dark on some of the aspects? It’s not as if that would have squared away everything with the folks but it would have helped quite a bit.

Overall 3/10