The Brain That Wouldn’t Die Review


Storing brains by themselves is always a recipe for disaster. Usually you’ll end up bringing back a zombie or a monster or at least the odds of that are far greater than the odds of bringing someone back in one piece. It’s just not going to happen and while a single head may sound like it should be easy to defeat, you really can’t underestimate these villains. This film’s not very good. It can be cheesy at times with some good dialogue but it just makes a lot of mistakes along the way. There’s not really much of a cast to root for here and the film made a mistake that I never thought I’d see. It’s a short film that actually drags on quite a bit.

The movie starts with Bill managing to save someone through the use of a brain transplant. His father doesn’t approve since this is really outside of the books but Bill doesn’t care. He speeds a little too fast in his car and ends up getting his girlfriend Jan murdered. He’s able to grab her head which fortunately popped out smoothly and then gets her into a jar. He aims to put her head on someone else’s body and then stitch it together. The tricky part is going to be finding a body so he decides to just find some girls and will pick the best one. Can someone stop this madman before it’s too late?

So I’ve got a lot of problems with the film but my only real question is where did the monster come from? It just feels very out of place and random. I don’t believe it’s the guy from the first operation because that would just make absolutely no sense. How would that guy have gotten downstairs and how was he so deformed? So it seems like this is an unrelated incident and in that case how did Bill not know about it? His sidekick Kurt had to tell him about it and while Bill was surprised, he didn’t seem to care a whole lot because he was just too busy. So where did this monster come from? The film doesn’t seem too care too much but it just did seem out of the blue.

This is the plotline that drags on a lot though. The film is under 2 hours but there are so many scenes of Jan’s head talking to the monster while he beats on the door. A lot of these scenes are basically identical and they just keep going back and forth over and over again. The payoff isn’t until the final few minutes at which point it’s just too late. Some of these scenes could have been cut and nothing would have changed. Bill definitely looks pretty bad though considering there is only one way to get in range and that’s to walk near the window. He did see the body next to him right? Definitely not a good look but it’s not like he was someone to root for anyway so I was pretty okay with this.

Bill just makes for a poor antagonist. Most of his scenes are just him oogling different characters as he chooses his next victim. He flirts quite a bit although he claims his whole goal is to bring his girlfriend back. The whole thing is pretty suspect at best, it’s not really even bringing Jan back at that point since the body will be completely different. I’m sure there are debates to be had on that but either way he’s a pretty unrepentant murderer. It’s also a shame since the heroine at the end already had a hard time trusting people. This is definitely not going to help that in the slightest. So the film’s got a pretty lousy main character and an excuse for random modeling shows and some fanservice. What else is there for the film?

Kurt’s pretty crazy. He tries to tell everyone that he’s not afraid of anything but he’s not even fooling himself with this. The worst part is that he shouldn’t be afraid. Why be afraid of a severed head? I can see him being afraid of the monster. Sure, that makes sense but Jan? Jan did undergo a complete 180 in terms of personality when she became a head though. I didn’t realize that she would become such a fierce character, but I guess dying will do that to you. I also don’t imagine that it’s any fun to live life as a head so I completely understand why she was so upset at Bill. It’s not like he was listening to her at all so you can make a strong case that he just wanted to prove that his methods worked. Jan even had the classic evil laughter at her disposal as she would crack up quite a lot. I was glad that she gets the last word in though. The film ends abruptly but you could say it was a pretty happy ending.

The film’s pretty tame in terms of violence for the most part although near the end it suddenly gets intense. One character literally has his arm ripped off and another one gets chewed up. Those scenes were more intense than you may expect here. The creature’s design also looks pretty painful as you can tell that things went very wrong when trying to work on him. This movie could definitely get intense at times that’s for sure. It just didn’t channel that intensity into being a quality picture and ultimately that’s what held it back here. It didn’t have that decisive moment to take it to the next level.

Overall, This is not a film that I would recommend. While many films back in these days had top tier writing and plot progression, this was not one of them. It really manages to underperform in all areas. The fact that there are no likable characters in the film is already a big red flag. How can you ultimately succeed without any? Bill comes across as rather sinister right from the start as he goes in with the threats immediately and I already talked about Jan. The supporting characters like the old friend who does some modeling and the leader of the modelers were probably the best characters and it’s not like they got a ton of screen time. They were also a bit gullible with how quickly they were trusting Bill. The old friend has a better excuse then the head. The random fight in the dressing room as also as random as they come. If you want to watch a good sci-fi film then you’ve come to the wrong title. I’d recommend checking Men in Black instead.

Overall 4/10

In This Our Life Review


It’s time to look at another retro drama film with a lot of twists and turns as things don’t always go in favor of the main character. It’s not nearly as strong as the last two though. The characters don’t make a lot of good decisions here which results in the antagonist getting away with quite a bit. The ending’s definitely solid though and does finish the film off on a good note. It’s not quite enough to me to say that this film was solid but it’s a plot that is pretty hard to execute as is. You’ve got rebounds and weak willed characters running around all over the place here.

The movie starts by introducing us to the two sisters. They couldn’t be any more different. Roy is a proper young lady who isn’t timid or anything but she doesn’t rock the boat. She aims to have a fulfilling life with her husband Peter. Meanwhile her sister Stanley is always driving well past the speed limit and likes to take risks with her life. It’s how she really begins to feel alive! Her uncle William is super rich so he’s always able to bribe people so that it slides. Well, one day Stanley takes things to the next level and runs off with Roy’s husband. Her fiance Craig then gets depressed as well. Is it possible for Roy and Craig to move on or our their lives pretty much sunk?

Right off the bat you can tell that Peter’s a pretty weak willed character. It’s not even like in most films where he was only the boy friend and got whisked away. In this case he was actually the husband already so he really has absolutely no excuse here. Definitely a pretty bad character the whole time. Naturally the main antagonist here is Stanley. She’s definitely the kind of character who likes to openly manipulate people. Unfortunately she tends to be pretty successful at it too. The other characters just can’t seem to say anything to her and tend to back off almost immediately. You’d like to think that they could hold their own but it just doesn’t happen. She continues to spiral more and more out of control while the other characters use kid gloves for her.

The main part of the film that was going a bit too far here was Roy visiting Stanley and allowing her to come back. It’s great that she is so understanding but you’ve also got to take actual precautions in the meantime. For starters, you forgive her but afar. Allowing her back into the house just runs the risk of more controversies and trouble. While it would have been hard for the heroes to guess that a certain event would happen at the end, I’m sure Stanley would have thought of something else. Mainly she was just trying her best to see how far she could break the rules.

So Roy is a solid main character even if she can be a bit too passive at times. The film consistently portrays her as a very nice character who wants to succeed the right way. She isn’t taking any shortcuts with her career and is just a good role model. She helps Parry out quite a bit by getting him a good job and fully supporting his dream to be a Lawyer. Confidence can go a long way and by supporting him she was able to underscore that anything was possible. At the time this town seemed to be quite racist as the film makes sure to depict with how Parry is treated. The characters all treat this as matter of fact except for Roy who didn’t seem to notice that this was such an issue. I suppose in her position she wouldn’t have seen much of this happening around her but once she did, Roy took a solid stand. Roy plays a large part in helping out during the climax as well.

Then you’ve got Craig who didn’t handle Stanley leaving nearly as well. The guy gets depressed for a while and he definitely wouldn’t have recovered nearly as quick as he did if not for Roy. I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of his, but at least he didn’t show up at the bar which was critical. Even if nothing happened, showing up at the bar would have been a terrible mistake. Sometimes you’ve got to resist the urge to rise to a challenge because nothing good can come out of it. You just can’t let yourself get manipulated like that. It’s simply not worth it so he got points for this. Then you’ve got Parry who is a solid supporting character. He’s a bright guy who works really hard. You can tell he put in the effort to get to where he is and that he’ll keep on doing it. Using your first check to buy materials to study is the kind of dedication that you just won’t see a lot of people with.

Unfortunately the romance is pretty weak in this film. Due to the nature of the film, the main romance here with Roy and Craig is a rebound. Roy was married and Craig was ready to be. Now they’re ready to move on with each other so quickly? It’s just hard to see this as anything but a rebound no matter how the film slices it. It doesn’t let you buy into this and the film would have been a whole lot more convincing if they had just stayed as friends. If they were supportive friends I dare say that it would have had a more effective impact on the film.

The writing is solid although Rich Uncle William ends up looking pretty gullible by the end. I like all the bluster with how he yells at everyone and brags a lot. That’s good and his confidence is probably what helped him become to obscenely rich. You have to have that attitude. That said, Stanley just defeats him way too easily. He lets her get away with everything so you can’t really take what he says seriously. She openly tries to finish him off at one point but fortunately his stomach ended up being as tough as he said. He was still the most entertaining character in the film but he didn’t end particularly strong this time.

Overall, Is This Our Life is a film with some pretty strong themes about moving on after a tragedy occurs. The film just slips up with the main premise of the romance rebound which sort of undermines everything here. I’d also argue that the scenario for Stanley coming back seemed rather forced. It’s all tragic on her end of course, but letting her come back after all of that? I don’t think so. At the very least I dare say that Roy should not have been the one to go over. She’s just a little too passive here. The film goes by pretty quick and definitely has a solid climax, but it doesn’t hold up nearly as well as the other recent retro films I’ve been watching. The guys are too weak willed and the one who has absolute confidence in William just isn’t up to the task. I’d recommend checking out the Heiress instead on how to properly defend yourself in the end and that one perfectly executes the theme of moving on.

Overall 4/10

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift Review


It’s time to finally take a look at the third installment in the Fast and the Furious film. Unfortunately this one just isn’t very good. It has a lot of fanservice and the characters aren’t particularly likable. This makes for an experience that’s more of a miss than it ever should have been. That being said, it has its strengths. I enjoyed the visuals and the music this movie had to offer. At the end of the day those factors are never going to be enough to make you a very good film in general, but I suppose it’s a good start so we take those.

The movie begins with Sean getting goaded into yet another race. He simply couldn’t let the bully go after having a rock thrown through the window and decides to mix things up with him in this race. Unfortunately, while Sean won the race he was still picked up by the cops. The bullies get away of course but Sean’s been caught one too many times. His Mom arranges for him to be bailed out and sent to his father in Tokyo. His father only has 2 main rules, go straight home, and no underground racing. That’s not Sean’s style though so he gets his new friend that he’s known for 2 hours to take him to the local scene. Sean gets demolished in this race and since he broke the car he now has to work for Han until he pays it back. Sean wants to pay him back but he also wants Neela to be with him and to do that he needs to humiliate DK in a race. Can he really surpass the Drift King?

When the film started the first thing I could think of was that this film seemed like more of a Need for Speed adaption than the actual film. Sean references racing for Pink Slips which is all that you do in the big boss levels of those games. Then we’ve got the whole Drifting focus here which is huge in Need for Speed. So those were just pretty fun things to note. Then you have the cops nabbing him right away too which is what usually goes down there. So, the racing scenes here are quite solid. I definitely have no problems with them. I suppose Drifting may be a little less exciting to watch than a straight race, but we get plenty of those here too so no matter which style you like, there’s plenty of fun to be had here. If you don’t like driving at all….then I can’t help you here.

Meanwhile the visuals are also really nice. The nighttime races in particular look good and it meshes well with the Tokyo environment. Tokyo is sort of like New York in how it’s always open and active with things going on 24/7. The most intense race was probably the 4 way free for all with the heroes trying to escape and being pursued by DK. It was nice because they were all just racing through the streets. There was no map, you had to drive on instinct. The final race on the mountain is also pretty solid though. As I mentioned earlier, when it comes to action this film couldn’t be beat.

I also enjoyed the soundtrack quite a bit. It’s quite different from most soundtracks that I’ve heard. I can’t speak to the lyrics as you’re more focused on the beat. At the very least the main theme really gets you set for some hype races. It’s got a bit of an ominous feel to it where there’s danger all around. If this counts as rap, then it’s probably one of the few rap songs that I found to actually be rather good. It’s definitely not my genre in general but any genre can have a good tune if you try hard enough. This song just really set the stage every time it was played. So I think we’ve got most of the positives out of the way now. I’ll also say that I enjoyed the ending stinger. I imagine it’ll be pretty annoying for people who saw this day 1 wondering when this lead would show up again though. It does feel like this was just a little tribute for the fans but it was the perfect way to end things off.

All right, so here’s where the film falters. Lets get the obvious things out of the way. First is the obnoxious amount of fanservice here. The camera zooms in quite a bit, Sean goes to various clubs and Discos that are pretty edgy. All of his teammates seem morally dubious as well. Even Han who is the most charismatic member of the crew doesn’t actually seem like a good guy if you think about it. All of the heroes here live free and loose. By that I mean that I wouldn’t trust any of them in a serious relationship for a second much less to have your back in a fight. They would turn at the first sign of danger. The romance in the movie is also handled pretty poorly. It’s hard to see why Neela would fall for Sean after everything that goes on. I suppose getting rescued in a sense by the villain helps since people can mistake gratitude for love, but then you recall that Sean gets distracted by every girl he meets and you know this relationship can’t possibly end well.

As for Sean, he’s just not a good character. I tend to like the rebellious character type but this guy takes it way too far. You’ve always got to try and hit the right amount of edge for these characters since they should still feel like a good character in general who wants to do the right thing. You never get that feeling with Sean. As I mentioned, he ignores his father and immediately goes into underground racing. It’s not like he was pressured into it or someone was in trouble. He chose to get back into the game and didn’t care about the consequences. I already mentioned how he seems to be quite flighty and goes after girls. The guy also stood around as someone got bullied. I think the film was trying to say that he would have stepped in if the hazing was more intense. He put down the wrench once he saw they were “just” spray painting him. You could also interpret it as he saw the numbers and decided he couldn’t win.

I don’t think it matters much what reasoning you chose. It’s still horrible that he let the guy get bullied like that. Physical damage isn’t the only kind of bullying there is. Being held down and spray painted all over would be an incredibly traumatizing experience. From that point it would be extremely difficult for Sean to become a likable character and he didn’t even come close to pull it off. His best friend Twinkie is a lot better in that respect. I do think it was a bit much for him to get upset when Sean came to his rescue but otherwise he’s consistently helpful. He takes a lot of risks to help Sean as well so it’s not like he’s just giving moral support. Sean would have been in trouble without him.

DK made for an intimidating villain. The guy definitely didn’t mess around and wasn’t afraid to make the fight physical instead of waiting for the race to begin. He got some good shots on both Sean and Han prior to the races. His skills were also pretty good. He may not be a real mafia member but he had the act down. As for Neela, she was a solid heroine who definitely got herself wrapped up in the wrong crowd. I suppose she underestimated how possessive DK was based on how she was acting at the start. She can apparently drive pretty well but sadly we don’t get to see her race much at all. In general she isn’t given a ton to do here but I liked her character. She had a lot of depth going for her and by default destroys most of the cast in that respect. The film doesn’t go overboard in explaining her backstory either. You understand the crux of it with the context we get.

Then you have Han who really just wants to mess everyone up. He’s fairly laid back, always eating snacks and such. The guy doesn’t really fear anything and stays smug even when he is being beaten up. You have to respect that level of dedication. He was a highlight from the start just with how he would stand up to DK and got Sean into the race. He gives the film a sense of humor as well. Again, when you think about it he’s not a great guy or anything but since he’s on Sean’s side I suppose you see him in more of a positive light than you would for the others. He’s certainly not malicious the way someone like DK is. To Han this is all just a game.

Overall, Tokyo Drift definitely takes the series in a different direction. It’s not even a bad one to be honest, the execution just wasn’t on point. I liked Tokyo as a backdrop, it’s always pretty interesting to see a different locale like that. It must be incredibly hard to transfer to a high school there when you don’t know any Japanese. That’s one area where I can understand why Sean was having such a tough time even though he didn’t exactly try very hard anyway. There are other interesting background elements as well like Sean’s father who seems like he may have had a racing background. He doesn’t get a lot of development here but has one pivotal moment with a gun that I thought was executed really well. I also like the idea of focusing the film around Drifting since it’s something unique. So many good ideas and opportunities but the film just kept on taking the worst choices and limiting its potential. I’d like to see these characters come back some day though and give this another shot. If you really love racing films then it may be worth checking out but otherwise there are certainly better ones out there.

Overall 4/10

On Golden Pond Review


It’s time to look at a drama film about an old couple who are trying to keep moving forward. The cast here is very small so the film will live or die based on its dialogue. Unfortunately the film isn’t able to keep it up so it ultimately loses out. There are some good ideas to be found here but they are not enough to keep the film in the running. It’s hard to say exactly what it should have done, but I’ll go into some ideas later on.

The movie starts by introducing us to Ethel and Norman who have very different personalities. Ethel may be old but she still has a lot of life about her and tries to make every day exciting. She sings, dances, and just really loves life to the point where it seems like nothing can get her down. Meanwhile her husband Norman is pretty obsessed with death and is always talking about how he’s just one foot away. He doesn’t seem to enjoy much of anything and has sharp comebacks for everything. Well, their daughter Chelsea is coming home for a visit and she’s bringing yet another boyfriend along for the ride. Her last boyfriend and then her last husband didn’t work out so we’ll see if third time’s the charm. Unfortunately there is quite the rift between her and Norman as the two just couldn’t get along. Can they reconnect now while there is still time left? Making things more complicated is that her boyfriend’s son Billy will need to stay with Ethel and Norman for a month.

I do feel like Chelsea bringing Billy Jr here to spend a month is a bit irresponsible at best. These two are quite old and have absolutely no advance notice on this. It doesn’t seem very polite to suddenly saddle them with this task. Of course they would say yes since they are being polite but it’s not a good position to put anyone in. Unfortunately Billy also doesn’t make for a good character and doesn’t do the film any favors. The guy’s got a sailor’s mouth and is an ingrate for most of the film. Eventually he finally turns around but it certainly takes him a while and this doesn’t keep him from being my least favorite character in the film.

His father is portrayed as a guy who’s super scared of everything. At least he tried to be nice to Norman so I wouldn’t say he is a bad character. Being so scared of bears that he would leave Chelsea alone though? I dunno about that one. Put it this way, it’s okay to be afraid and to hide at home if you’re on your own. If your fiance is going outside, then you better accompany her. If you’re not going then what you’re acknowledging is that there is something dangerous outside yet you’re going to let your fiance brave this alone? Yeah, that’s definitely not a good look. It’s played for laughs and all but the guy should have just manned up and gone with her.

As for Norman, he’s a pretty entertaining character. He’s definitely a downer for sure but it’s not like he does anything crazy either. He just constantly throws insults around and at 80 I suppose he’s just fed up with everything. A lot of senior citizens are pretty nice even if a good amount of them paint a negative stereotype. Fortunately he has Ethel here to balance things out. She’s by far the best character in the film because of how cheerful she is. Any scene with her in it is bound to be enjoyable. It’s not like she’s over the top with it either, she’s just having a lot of fun and isn’t afraid to show it. Why have a summer cottage if you’re not going to enjoy it right? Without her the film wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining.

Still, she isn’t able to salvage the film’s writing which was the critical blow. There’s quite a bit of language here and that’s what ultimately holds the film back. There’s only so much you can do when the film is constantly throwing swear words at you. Mainly this is Billy’s fault although Norman contributes as well. The movie definitely could have done without that and it would have benefited quite a bit. I’d also say that the Chelsea subplot was one of the weaker aspects of the film as well. We get a positive resolution there but it didn’t seem like we really needed that plot involved. Ethel definitely set her straight by the end though.

I gotta say, I’m not sure this would be one of Norman’s best birthdays. While he’s in a cranky mood when he says that he doesn’t want a ton of people running in on his birthday, I agree with the notion. Chelsea bringing a boyfriend they’ve never met on Norman’s birthday? I wouldn’t be a fan of that personally. My ideal birthday is eating a lot of pizza and just lounging around all day playing video games. Entertaining isn’t on my list of activities I want to do on any day, much less my birthday.

If the film has any other faults, it can just be that it’s not very eventful. The movie’s a slow burner but not one like Jaws or Godzilla where there’s a big payoff at the end. This film isn’t meant to be like that. The payoff at the end is the characters growing closer and finally coming to terms with things in a lot of different ways. So it makes for a solid emotional film in that sense, but also one that might not be the most thrilling experience. If we had more characters like Ethel the that might have worked of course, but the rest of the cast couldn’t cut it. You’ll also feel bad for the mailman since he clearly still likes Chelsea and she’s practically flirting with him in front of the guy she marries two days later. Yeah….that guy’s probably not having a great day either. I’m sure he enjoyed letting the guy fall in the water though.

Overall, On Golden Pond isn’t one of the better films out there. The writing could use some work but otherwise the film is consistent. We do get some danger scenes like the heroes going to the cliffs. They were warned quite a bit though. We get a scene of the heroes gutting a fish though which could have definitely been cut out. I feel bad for Billy having to deal with that but he definitely didn’t seem to care all that much. I guess some kids are better at handling that than others. If you want to watch a film about an old couple trying to still have fun then this could be a fun one to check out. Otherwise I’d say just checkout a comedy for a more lively experience.

Overall 4/10

Soapdish Review


It’s time for a movie about a soap opera that ends up becoming a bit of a soap opera itself in real life. You can definitely see how there would be some irony in that. It’s an interesting angle but with all of these plot twists things don’t always work out pretty well. The romance is also particularly weak here which definitely doesn’t help matters. The best character is definitely the executive who is here to make sure that things don’t go wrong. He puts the pressure on quite a bit even if he’s completely out of the loop on things. I also feel like one of the villains got off rather easy. Still a happy ending for the cast I suppose.

The movie starts by introducing us to Celeste winning yet another award. She’s been with her show for many years at this point and has won a number of awards. The show is her very life and she could never take herself away from it. That being said, the rest of the actors and actresses in the show really don’t like her. In particular one girl named Montana wants to especially get rid of Celeste. She gets the director -David to agree to find a way to get her off the show. Unfortunately every tactic they try backfires. Finally they have an idea. They’ll bring in one of her old flings -Jeffrey back into the stage. Jeffrey’s certainly got an axe to grind with Celeste so things could get tricky. Meanwhile Celeste’s niece Lori shows up and wants to be in the show. She scores a role as an extra but aims to continue to rise higher and higher.

There’s definitely quite a lot of drama here. All of the characters have their own agendas and people have to take sides. Because of that in some ways it works out well for Celeste since they can’t just get rid of her. She has one friend in her writer Rose and that’s a good friend to have. Celeste doesn’t do much to show us why we should root for her though. She is a lot to handle on set and tends to be mean to everyone. She even comes close to getting her costume designer fired for no real reason. It’s things like this that really don’t help her case with the other characters. They say she’s spoiled and she really does fit that description. They certainly aren’t wrong and that’s pretty tragic in its own way. So later on when she has valid concerns it’s hard for the other characters to really help out.

Meanwhile Montana is definitely a pretty intense villain. Certainly a delusional one though who would have actually been in a pretty good position if she wasn’t so heavy handed. Her manipulating David was only going to work for so long before he grew tired of the game or the execs stepped in. Her last attempt was definitely a pretty bold one though that could have actually had a shot to work. I wonder what the real script was though. Meanwhile David looks downright terrible throughout the movie. The guy was manipulated with extreme ease throughout so it’s hard to have any real respect for the guy. His motivations are terrible. He may be quick with his wit but that’s about it.

Then you have Lori who I have to say was a little unreasonable at times. I thought that the same got to her head rather quickly. Does she really think the studio would go for her, someone who’s only been on the show for a few days vs someone who’s been there for over 20 years or a guy that just had a big comeback? She’s certainly setting herself up for disappointment if you ask me. She is right that Celeste should have mentioned the plot twist a lot sooner though. Waiting as long as she did almost caused irrevocable damage to the other characters.

Then you have Jeffrey who wants his shot at revenge against Celeste. The guy has pretty good reason for it since she intentionally sabotaged his career. When we find out the reasoning later on that doesn’t really help matters either. If anything it shows that Celeste just made the easy choice even if it meant ruining lives. Not exactly the kind of main character you were hoping to see right? If anything Jeffrey does a pretty good job for the most part although his constant retakes with Celeste was definitely crossing the line there. That’s a real petty way to try and get revenge so her kneeing him was well justified. As for Rose, she was pretty dependable. At the end of the day she did actually stick with Celeste throughout all of this so that was good of her. It makes a difference to at least have one ally at the ready.

Still, the movie definitely won’t bore you or anything. It’s a fairly interesting story with a lot going on. You can’t help but feel like it could have been even better if it tried a little harder though. Focus a little less on the romance and more on the inter office politics and you could have a winner here. I’d like to see the execs more because those guys are pretty good at riding the wave. The main exec kept overriding David on the decisions which worked really well since the studio was crashing before he stepped in.

Overall, Soapdish definitely gets very dramatic and hits a lot of the usual notes you would expect in a soap opera. The final big twist is like something out of a parody with how crazy it is. If you’re up for a lot of drama then this is definitely a film you’ll want to check out. That said, a drama is only as good as its romance and the romance here is really not good. It’s still hard to see why these two would come back together. There’s just too much deception for that so the happy ending may not last for too long. It does show that you gotta be careful in show business though. Can’t really trust anyone. Then again, that applies to any workplace really.

Overall 4/10

All of Me Review


It’s time for an interesting body possession story. Think of it as something like Freaky Friday only this time the soul is going to a body that’s already filled which leads to its own share of troubles for the main character. The film does its best to not make him all that sympathetic though so unfortunately we’re left in a trick place. Unfortunately the film has too many iffy moments preventing this film from reaching its full potential as a solid comedy film. Always a shame when you see the potential right there.

The movie starts off with Roger being tired of being put in charge of small legal affairs that he feels aren’t particularly important. He asks his boss for a real assignment this time and is placed in charge of the Edwina estate. She is a rich lady who’s about to die and then the company gets the land. She is now trying to change her will so she gives the entire fortune to a girl who is related to a worker there. The reasoning is Edwina has found a guy who can transport her soul to this other person. Roger thinks this is all hooey and lets her know this which almost backfires but the boss doesn’t sweat it. The issue though is when Edwina dies her soul gets thrown into Roger by mistake. Now they each own half of his body. Can the two of them get along long enough to find their way back to the mystic to fix this? In the meanwhile that girl Terry will now be rich and that idea doesn’t sound bad to her.

So there’s a whole lot you can do with this concept. The idea of body hopping is definitely nothing new but since the situations are endless that gives you a lot of creativity. The two of them not getting along just adds to the dynamic. The film does deliver some fun scenes of course and both characters are reasonable for that purpose. Where things get tricky is with Roger who definitely doesn’t seem like a reliable guy. He is very quick to allow Terry to seduce him and that’s where things get dicey. She doesn’t just ensnare him once but even twice. If not for Edwina he would have really been doomed at times. Fortunately the mystic saved Roger the second time. It was a little convenient how the guy just appeared but I certainly won’t complain about that. These romance scenes are definitely no good though and really hurt Roger as a character.

Then of course you have the fact that he was willing to manipulate the court and help out someone he knows was guilty. It’s part of why I would never really want to be a lawyer. The possibility that you have to defend someone that you know is guilty doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. The boss was definitely not a good character and it’s a shame because he did have one good scene early on. When Roger blows up at Edwina and the boss dashes him to the back you expect Roger to be canned because of what Edwina was saying. No, the boss didn’t care in the slightest which is something I wasn’t expecting. Now that was a good humor scene. The film certainly has others as well so make no mistake, it has its moments. Some don’t land though like the whole zipper thing which was just downright painful to consider rather than being humorous.

So this is a film that would have benefited from a better main character or at least less of the affairs going on. Those scenes definitely don’t add anything to the story and just serve as padding for the film. Cut them out and not much changes at all. I dare say that the characters also should have ended things with Terry on their first attack attempt. They really looked sloppy there. The climax is still solid though as we get a fun chase scene. It was also fun seeing the characters stroll up to her mansion only to be greeted with a gun. Terry was certainly prepared, you have to give her that.

As a main villain Terry is definitely intense. She certainly played her part relatively well although there are definitely ways she could have played this a bit better. Her final plan was good enough though where you feel like it was a solid attempt. She was very close to getting away with the whole thing. Pretty easy for earning 23 million in one shot eh? Roger also has a friend named Tyrone who is probably the most dependable character in the film. He may not be able to help out much with the water in the climax but fortunately things worked out okay. He had some of the funnier scenes like giving the play by play during the climax. He had a lot of fun with the role.

As for Edwina, well it’s clear to see why she doesn’t have any friends. She’s certainly not a particularly nice person. Her backstory is fairly tragic though since she’s apparently been sickly her whole life. In a way that’s why she’s thrilled for everything to be all over. If the spell had worked out right away she would have been one very happy camper. That said, she loses a lot of her sympathy points as she actively sabotages Roger the whole time. I don’t blame her stepping in during the scenes with Terry or at the court house, but in general she talks a whole lot even when it’s obvious that Roger will get in trouble. By the same token, Roger also keeps forgetting that he can think out his responses instead of saying them which wouldn’t be quite as crazy. That’s why they’re a perfect pair here. They keep on making mistakes together as a team.

Overall, All of Me is a film that has an interesting set up but the execution isn’t quite up to task with helping out the plot. The movie will be good for some laughs but ultimately just can’t get past the whole Terry plot. It’s also a shame because Terry is a great name so I’d rather it doesn’t get associated with the main villain here. If Roger was a little stronger mentally to resist her influences then that would have helped the film out more. I also think the film could have done more with Roger falling asleep so Edwina takes over the body and runs around making a big mess. There’s a lot you can do with that. Finally, we do get another court scene here which is nice although you’d think Edwina would be able to act a little naturally than she did. I’d recommend checking out a different comedy like Christmas With the Kranks, the execution there is stronger.

Overall 4/10

The Comic Review


It’s time to look at an old film about an actor letting the fame go to his head and falling from grace. This seems to be a pretty popular sub genre to be honest as it happens quite a bit. This one plays out like you would expect although I dare say that Billy’s decline happens even quicker than usual this time. He almost immediately becomes corrupt and starts causing a bunch of chaos. He certainly wasn’t wasting any time. The film may hold your attention for a bit but it does drag on and the fact that there are no likable characters doesn’t help either. It ends up being a bit of a miss as a result.

The movie starts with Billy getting a role as an extra in a film. He decides to take it over though and the execs actually like this so he quickly becomes a star. This leads him to get Mary as his wife from the director but then Billy cheats on her with a bunch of other people. Throughout his career he is shown to have no real self control and even swings at his friends. Mix this in with the fact that he doesn’t like movies which have sound and he has really limited his own options. There just isn’t much left for him by the end and the film starts off with his death so you know that’s going to happen. The real question is how long the film will drag out his demise.

It’s hard to tell what’s sadder here, the fact that you see Billy’s life continuing to go down the tubes and that it’s all completely due to his own decisions, or the fact that he doesn’t even realize this. There’s no mistaking the fact that Billy is sabotaging himself here constantly. He really could have had a great and successful life but chose to throw it away over quick flights of fancy. Or in a more direct way, he chose to lose his morals and cheat on his loyal wife just for a moment of pleasure. He deserves what he gets and that’s part of what also hurts the film.

It’s really hard to follow the adventures of a character who is simply this unlikable. Billy’s just not a good guy, that part is clear as day. He keeps on deflecting this throughout the film but since we know better as the viewer it doesn’t work. I wouldn’t even say it works as comedy because it’s more tragic than anything. The best scenes are probably the old black and white bits about him in his early roles. It’s not really my kind of film to the extent that I feel like I’d be a little bored watching them. I enjoy slapstick personally but I need to hear something. These kinds of films only work with sound if you ask me and a silent film just doesn’t have enough going on in it. The film shows us quite a few of them to eat up screen time though.

Aside from Billy I guess the biggest characters would be Mary and Martin. Mary’s not really a great character either though. None of this excuses Billy cheating on her later. We also don’t want to forget the fact that Mary was cheating with Billy while she was still with the director though. It’s part of why she should have sen this coming. If someone is willing to be a homewrecker with one person, what’s to say he or she won’t just keep on doing it with the next person? The only way a relationship can be established is with trust so if you’re building the whole foundation on a lie then that’s just not going to work. you’re setting yourself up for failure right from the get go.

Finally we have Martin who is probably the only nice guy around. If anything you feel bad for him being stuck with Billy. Billy’s definitely not a nice friend but Martin sticks with him anyway. The film maybe went a little overboard with the special effects for his eye though. It’s an actual part of the film’s story but it doesn’t make it easy for his screen time either. There are other supporting characters here and there like Billy’s son but they don’t do a whole lot. I don’t even think the son had much of a purpose appearing near the end either. I suppose it shows that he got to be a decent guy while Billy is up to his old tricks but wasn’t really needed.

The film really just needed one thing to turn it around, have Billy not be such a bad person. There are a lot of ways they could have still made things not work out for him while keeping him sympathetic. One would have been to play up the fact that he doesn’t like films with sound without making him a cheater. He would keep turning down roles so eventually what would happen is Mary leaves since he isn’t earning any money and the whole industry turns on him. It would portray him as a very selfish guy but one who is at least obeying some kind of internal rules. You could at least buy into it a bit as actors naturally have a lot of pride since it helps them perform well and focus. It would have been a great improvement if you ask me.

Overall, the film goes a little overboard with the main character being unlikable. It’s near impossible to get past cheating as that’ll wreck any character and the film can just be a bit mean spirited. There’s not a whole lot of fun to be had here as for every joke scene you’ll get something tragic. If anything the film would have probably worked better if the whole thing took place after Billy died. You could have him giving commentary the whole time while the characters are running around. I dare say that this would have worked a whole lot better. If you’re up for another film about an actor’s decline then I guess this is a fair bet to check out but otherwise I’d recommend something with a little more energy.

Overall 4/10

The Legend of the Lone Ranger Review


It’s time to look at another adaption of the Lone Ranger. Unfortunately this movie was not good. In fact, I’d say it was a bad movie. I’ve certainly seen much worse and I wouldn’t say it’s terrible or anything like that but it’s just not that engaging, interesting, or fun. It really doesn’t do much to make you think of the Lone Ranger as a solid franchise or anything like that. Ultimately it just drives you away from the franchise entirely. Maybe someday they will make a good Lone Ranger film but perhaps the series just doesn’t translate well into cinema without mixing up the plot a bit. Throw in some sci-fi or something and that could help.

The movie has a whole lot of time jumps and origin stories thrown in. It starts off by showing us John as a kid though. His parents get murdered so he heads with Tonto into town. Another relative of John’s shows up though and takes him back to civilization. John then meets up with his brother and the rest of the Rangers. They’re betrayed by one of their own though and they all get slaughtered except for John who is saved by Tonto. John once again gets to be a part of the tribe and now he is determined to avenge his brother and the rangers by taking down the leader of the villains, Butch. Tonto agrees to come along so now the Lone Ranger won’t be alone this time. The two of them set off for an adventure filled with action and hype.

Right away one problem with the film is that John effectively has two origins/sob stories here. Why do you gotta murder his parents which causes him to join the tribe and then murder his brother and the rangers later on? It seems to be like they did this to give John a reason to go back to the tribe but why take him away from them in the first place? Didn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me and if anything it just drags on the film quite a bit. You really did not need to go down this route and if the film had just avoided that then I believe it would have had better pacing. There’s not a lot that would have saved the film from its next flaw though.

It’s just rather boring. It’s hard to find any really great characters here and the plot is as slow as molasses. It takes eons for anything to happen in this film to the point where you’re tired out by the climax. Considering that this is a wild west film where everyone is corrupt, there aren’t a ton of gunfights either. One of the longest action scenes is when John is on a wagon that is attacked by wagons. The other characters try to shoot at the bandits. What does John do? Nothing. He just stays seated until the others are bumped off at which point he goes to the front and surrenders. That’s a great way to ensure you survive of course but it’s not the kind of action you expect from the hero of the story. I had to do a double take on that because I was absolutely not expecting this. I suppose the Ranger does what he wants though.

The only character I’ll give major props to was Tonto. He was a very loyal friend who had John’s back at every turn. He’s someone you can count on and I appreciate the fact that he was always there. He may not have been a terrific fighter or anything like that but loyalty is ultimately worth more than skill. Tonto showed that John didn’t have to do everything on his own and that’s a good thing because John was not ready to handle this. I do like the mask though. It may not be a very inspired costume but it’s definitely an iconic one at this point. Who knew that putting on a mask could do so much to make you a hero right?

As for Butch, he’s your classic villain in a wild west setting like this. He wants to be rich and cause chaos. Taking out the President will certainly achieve both objectives. This guy has enough men to launch an attack on pretty much any location that he pleases. There’s really nothing to him beyond that. He’s just another guy for John to eventually mow down once he gets past all of the guards. The President was pretty fun too. I’m always up for getting the President involved. I would have liked to have seen him really mix it up with the villains though like something out of White House Down. That would have been a blast even if it would have maybe gone against the tone of the film a bit.

In general I’m not a big fan of wild west films but I’m sure you can do them well if you really try. We needed more humorous scenes at least like the one where the ranger talks about how it’s not the bullet that destroys you but the fall. Then he is promptly destroyed by a bullet and was at ground level so there is no fall to be had. It’s one of those visual irony scenes that works pretty well because of the timing. I mean, it may be tragic in part but I’m pretty sure this was played as a funny moment or at least the movie knew that it was being ironic. With more writing like that and a focused plot this film could have been good. It’s not even like it made any super big mistakes.

The movie just comes across as rather boring which is something that you never want to be. The last thing a movie wants to be known for is not being engaging. The songs this film had are pretty uninspired and it doesn’t sound like the singer was really into it either. That doesn’t help. Then you’ve got some scenes that go on for quite a long while like John trying to get used to the horse or getting knocked out yet again and having to be nursed back to health. The movie will probably be more engaging if you’re really into nature and just like seeing the backgrounds but for me I need to be having a lot of activity on screen.

Overall, The Legend of the Lone Ranger is a film that just didn’t work out. It forgot to actually include any thrills along with the plot. The backgrounds get very repetitive and the old setting doesn’t work either. The writing isn’t particularly impressive nor is the cast very memorable. The Lone Ranger may be a decent concept but this film definitely didn’t show me any of that. Don’t get me wrong, this still beats the newer Lone Ranger film but that’s really not saying a whole lot at all. I’m confident that the next Lone Ranger film will be able to beat this one. It has to….right?

Overall 4/10

Ace in the Hole Review


It’s time to look at a film about how trying to get a story at the expense of a life may end up ruining things for everyone. I mean it’s a pretty clear message but it seemed to be a surprise to Chuck who suddenly starts regretting this a bit. It’s hard to rummage up any sympathy points for Chuck because the whole thing is completely his fault. It’s not like it’s only partially his fault or he didn’t know any better. He knew exactly what he was doing the entire time and this results in a rather unfortunate ending. It’s an interesting film but not one I would check out again.

The movie starts out with Chuck heading to another newspaper. He was fired yet again and is now known for being fired from the most papers. He’s been creative with how badly he’s failed though as he has been fired for being drunk, stealing someone’s wife, making up stories, etc. Well this next paper decides to hire him anyway since they’re nice like that. His first big assignment outside is going to be about a snake fight. Chuck doesn’t really care about this though and is glad to get sidetracked by a local tragedy. Leo has been trapped underground after wandering inside a cavern despite being told it was dangerous. Chuck realizes this is his big break. If he can stop anyone from saving Leo he can really exploit this event for big money. That’s exactly what he intends to do, but every day he stretches this out, Leo’s chances of recovery continue to dwindle.

The film definitely gives Chuck a whole lot of power here. Everyone listens to him unquestionably and he gets the upper hand on everyone. Even the guys called in to rescue Leo end up listening to Chuck and using the wrong method of recovery. Chuck does have a lot of confidence and tends to barrel right through everyone so I suppose the others didn’t want to mess with him. Part of why the plot works is because you have just enough powerful people in the wrong places. The Sheriff is corrupt and Leo’s wife actually likes Chuck and wants Leo dead anyway. Leo has really just got the worst luck here which is definitely pretty unfortunate for him. Anything that could go wrong did go wrong. I still find it a bit iffy that nobody pursued this further to try and free him before now. Just waiting on Chuck to do everything was pretty iffy. Unfortunately the only one who cared about Leo was his father who was quite old and wasn’t able to help much here.

This film’s main weakpoint is definitely the romance part. Leo’s wife liking Chuck feels like an extra plot point we don’t need. For the most part he shuts her down as he makes it clear that the story is the most important factor in his life, even more than romance for him. Chuck’s certainly dedicated. It’s particularly tragic for Leo since he doesn’t know any of this and thinks that his wife is readily awaiting his return. As the film goes on he never becomes wise to this and in a way I guess that would have been an extra blow. It makes Chuck look particularly bad with how he’s manipulating the guy though. Chuck’s clearly the villain here so definitely don’t get that sideways.

The writing is pretty solid though. There’s a lot of solid back and forth between all of the characters. Plans are made and every character’s got an angle. Chuck’s got everything sewn up so tight even the big papers start to beg him to return. He’s really got everything at this point which is really impressive in itself. The movie’s pacing is also pretty good. The opening may seem a little slow if you want to get to the main plot but I thought it did a pretty good job of setting Chuck up. He’s pretty straightforward on the fact that he’ll do anything for a story. He even convinces the youngest member of the group to go with him, thereby dooming both of them.

The ending’s definitely a downer though. I’d have preferred a different ending where Chuck still gets exposed but things go a bit better for Leo. The way his plot ends is particularly tragic since he thought right up til the end that he had a shot. He had absolutely no idea what was going on right outside. He was really just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The film never gives us a great explanation on why he was defying orders and going into caverns he wasn’t supposed to be in though. His confidence ultimately ended up costing him big time.

Overall, Ace in the Hole shows that while having 1 ace is good, two is better. Chuck ultimately needed a good backup plan and then maybe things wouldn’t have turned out so badly for him. He ultimately didn’t think things through well enough at all and it cost him when it counted. I was glad that the smaller newspaper actually tried to get involved at the end when the boss showed up and questioned how Chuck had fallen so low. To an extent this is on him for letting Chuck join but at the same time he couldn’t have known what was going on. All things considered I think he did a good job and he was an upstanding guy. The problem is that not everyone is in the biz for the right reasons and that ultimately ended up hurting them all.

Overall 4/10

The Killer Shrews Review


It’s time to look at a classic creature feature film from a long while back. They definitely made quite a lot of interesting titles like this in those days that’s for sure. It’s a pretty fun film for the most part although it hits the usual snags like animal violence. I’ll give the film credit for avoiding having any of this on screen for the most part but I still had to deduct quite a few points. Ultimately within the genre I would say that this one is pretty average. It doesn’t do anything particularly inventive or exciting but I do give the film props for using an animal that hasn’t been done before. There are a lot of animals out there so you may as well give each one a movie.

The movie starts off with Thorne and Rook making it to an island on their boat. They’ve been instructed to drop off a bunch of supplies and then pick up a passenger named Ann. Unfortunately the waters have been quite troubled so they aren’t able to leave til the next day. Rook stays behind to guard the ship and Thorne heads to the locals’ home. Everyone seems to be in a hurry for Thorne to leave and he doesn’t appreciate that. After someone gets murdered and everyone starts to be very cryptic Thorne demands answers. Well, it turns out that the shrews on the island have mutated into giant monsters of sorts. They’ve gone from tadpole size to dog size. This is all due to experiments and as an added bonus they also have an incredible amount of poison in their fangs. A single slash or cut from the animal will prove to be instantly fatal. Thorne’s partner is dead and at this rate the rest of the cast will follow their fate. Can he possibly get to the boat with the others before it’s too late?

The film offers the heroes one ray of hope which is that shrews can’t swim. If the heroes get back to the boat then they will be safe. The tough part is getting there since these animals are so fast and if you make contact with them at any point then you will be doomed. It adds a nice level of danger without making the situation impossible for the heroes. You can also think about how you would have handled it. The final plan is pretty inventive. I would have been a little hesitant because I can picture them nipping at your heels but it was better than just trying to run and gun it through the forest. Everyone always seems to trip over themselves in such a scenario.

The cast can be a bit on the week side though. There are quite a few people at the hut but most of them don’t get much of a role. You’ve got the scientist who is really into his work and barely has any time to really talk to anyone else. He barely gets any scenes but at least the guy is dedicated. Even up to the end he is writing down symptoms. You’ve got Mario who seems like a nice enough guy and at least he didn’t fall for the mindgames. That being said, he still didn’t contribute much. Ann’s father is a pretty big character and he seems reasonable if you ignore the fact that his experiments are part of what got us into this mess at the start. Refusing to leave also puts everyone in harm’s way. Rook was a fun character although he just doesn’t get to appear a whole lot. You definitely feel bad for him since his death was the most tragic. If only he had stayed on the boat.

The real big characters here are the main 3. Jerry is the drunk rival who wants to be with Ann but gets dumped early on. You can’t blame Ann int he slightest since apparently Jerry tried to ditch her for the monsters at one point. We actually see him do this a lot later on as well. The guy is actively one of the main antagonists in the film and doesn’t seem to care that their lives are already in danger. He’s super petty throughout and there’s definitely no reason to like this guy. This whiny kind of character makes for a decent villain I suppose. I would have liked to have seen some characters try a little harder to stop him from locking Thorne out though.

Ann is a decent heroine. She does move on to Thorne rather quickly though so as expected the romance in this film is pretty weak. It all moves at typical Hollywood speed which is just a little faster than how you would picture an actual situation taking place. She could be a little too scared throughout the movie as well. So I definitely wouldn’t say that Ann was a bad character in the slightest but she doesn’t particularly standout either. As for Thorne, he’s a good main character. He stands up for himself against the others and is always pretty prepared. He doesn’t panic a whole lot and quickly assumes the leadership role. He wisely doesn’t give Jerry a gun again until the very end. Honestly at that point I probably still wouldn’t have given it to him because Jerry blew too many chances.

The movie’s very short so you’ll definitely be feeling how quick the pacing is. It works well since no part of the film really drags on. It’s really a classic thriller type of template. The shrews themselves make for a solid threat. They’ve got a nice design and those teeth are definitely real sharp. You do not want to mess with these guys in the slightest. Unfortunately as mentioned in the intro they do tend to go for the animals a bit which does hurt. The horse dies and even when the heroes start to destroy the Shrews that takes some points away because they look like nice enough animals. Ultimately a film about evil animals is pretty much always doomed because it’s just hard to end the threat without ending a few of the animals. The film is about as fun as your average creature feature film but this ultimately holds it to a lower score.

Overall, The Killer Shrews is a fun enough film. It follows all of the usual story beats and executes them well enough where you’re on board the whole time. I was kept entertained as the film went on. The writing was solid so the interactions never got boring either. I like the fact that the Shrews are said to not be able to swim early on in the film because it very quickly gives you a tangible goal for how this is all going to play out. The heroes have a goal and they just have to aim for it. This way the movie never feels aimless as every scene is getting you closer to the next part of the goal. If you really like creature feature films then you should check this one out.

Overall 4/10