The Cloverfield Paradox Review

The Cloverfield series loves to have movies with pretty much nothing to do with the original. You always get a little stinger at the end and that’s basically it. Unfortunately that is the case here as well as it just isn’t very relevant until the final scene and even then that is more of a tease than a full connection. The series is toying with the fans by this point so it’s best to watch this as a stand alone sci-fi film instead. Even then I would say it’s below average but I suppose it’s not super bad or anything. The logic of the universe just isn’t that great so while it’s trying to be very mysterious and cryptic, it feels like the movie is just cheating instead. There’s definitely one scene in particular that I’d say fits this bill.

So the Earth is in a big energy crisis and they have sent representatives from various countries to find a solution. This group was thrown onto a space station far in the sky and they have to do whatever they can. So they decide to work on a device that should give the Earth unlimited energy but unfortunately this goes sideways and they seem to open up a portal into another world. They have to try and get back to where they used to be but it won’t be easy. They have to fix parts of the spaceship that don’t work anymore and a lot of weird things keep happening on the ship. Are aliens among us?

This movie is dealing with a lot of sci-fi elements but doesn’t really get too out there with creatures and the like. The main dilemma here is really that they have to question everything they knew about physics. Everything’s just scattered and odd happenings start occurring like people phasing through walls and a hand just running around. Where I thought the film messed up was in throwing some clickbait to try and make you think that a bunch of aliens would show up. There’s an odd scene where these cables start choking someone and basically murder him as he gets crushed by a super magnet but you have to question how it happened. It seemed completely sentient the way it was moving but the rest of the film gives no indicat4ion that it was. So yes it’s a strong scene and definitely gets you nervous but it doesn’t make much sense within the context of the rest of the film. It’s more shock value than anything.

Not saying the movie would have been better off with aliens but this scene could have been changed a lot. The idea of trying to help an alternate version of yourself through writing is interesting and the film could have made that something interesting but even that element doesn’t get as much depth as you would expect. So what we have here is a sci-fi film that is only half heartedly jumping into the various concepts that it introduces. This is what keeps it from being the next big thing. Well, at least that’s one of the reasons.

We’ve got a decently big cast here and I wouldn’t even say the members are that bad. First up is Ava who is the main heroine here. She didn’t even want to go on this mission but it was the only way to potentially save her husband since the Earth wouldn’t be surviving much longer. So now that she is in space she has a lot of regrets and the idea of an alternate planet appeals to her. I will say from the jump that I think even being tempted to leave is not a good idea here. An alternate version of you may seem similar but ultimately it’s a complete different person.

So it’s best not to get attached or to distract yourself from the mission. Meanwhile you have Jensen who is a mysterious lady that appears on the ship after things start to get crazy. She reminds me of a lady who showed up late in the game in another sci-fi title called Astra Lost in Space. Jensen is a wild card here as of course the main characters can’t trust her but at the same time it’s not like they have a lot of choices either. At this point you really need all the help that you can get and you just have to hope that it goes well.

Ava’s husband doesn’t get a huge role but in a small subplot he tries to help a kid stay safe. It’s not like there are too many safe areas left but at least helping someone would be good. This plot is definitely going for the more emotional kind of vibes as it’s rather somber. It’s not until the end that this really goes anywhere. At least I did like the ending here though. This was a good cliffhanger and it gets you ready for the next film. Of course as always that seems like it’s probably a longshot but if it were to happen then that would definitely be cool. At least it ends things off on a hype note.

With a lot of drama going on in the ship you feel like this is yet another case where the heroes would do so much better if they weren’t constantly fighting among themselves. Inevitably this starts to become a country vs country thing. Some characters at least try not to get mixed up on this but it’s a very enclosed battleground so it’s not like there are a lot of places to run either. You’re basically stuck here as you just try to stay alive. There are some things that happen where you can’t blame the character for being in a bad spot like the poor guy who started merging with the wall. There wasn’t really a way to avoid that one but other things like creating a gun just amps up the odds of people snapping at each other.

The effects are good though. I thought that the spaceship looked good and it was big enough where you didn’t feel that the crew was too confined. We still got a decent amount of other sceneries throughout. On land everything was in a fairly bad spot early on so this may have been the best location for the movie to take place if you were trying to avoid the monsters for some reason. Meanwhile having the film take place on land would have been the best way to do a proper Cloverfield 2 so even to the end it feels like they are avoiding giving us what we’re really looking forward to and that’s another giant monster movie.

Overall, The Cloverfield Paradox shouldn’t have included the word “Cloverfield” at the end because this movie is barely connected to the franchise at all. They seem to love including this word just to drum up sales and it’s a bad idea. Keeping this as an individual sci-fi film would have been a much better idea. Ultimately it’s not like it would have changed a whole lot about the story itself but you can probably enjoy it more that way as opposed to waiting for the monster to appear each time. I think there are some interesting nuggets here to be sure but ultimately not enough to keep you really invested. This would have worked better as a full TV series as they start to see the differences between the Earths or maybe as a multi film series. As a stand alone you have to cover a lot of ground and so there isn’t time to really have the characters talk about this situation that they’re in. It makes for a bit of an underwhelming experience especially when it feels like the movie isn’t exactly sure of how these things work. Spending more time on the implications of this other world and some good dialogue could have helped it go to the next stage. Instead you will want to wait for the next Cloverfield film.

Overall 4/10

The Eye Review

This is one of those films that I think did have a little potential but ultimately it just wasn’t that great. It could be a bit repetitive at times and the climax wasn’t quite as intense as you would expect it to be. The ending didn’t quite go the way that it should have but I give the film props for not being too explicit involving the eyes or making any of the visions too ghastly. The movie actually felt like it had some restraint more times than not which is always appreciated.

The movie starts with Sydney doing well at another concert and she has been able to become a professional even while being blind for almost her whole life. It’s pretty impressive and everyone is in awe but now it is time for her to finally get her sight back. She goes through with the eye transplant and it’s all super blurry for a while but this is supposed to be normal. What isn’t normal is that she can now see into the realm of the supernatural. Ghosts of people who died but never moved on plague her at every location. She can’t get them to stop and while her goal has always been to see, she is starting to wonder if she was better off blind. Is there a way to make these visions go away or is she doomed? What if she is actually crazy and the eyes aren’t cursed?

One issue the film has is with repeating the same ghosts quite often which takes away from the fear factor. You have this kid who is nervous because he got bad grades at school so he tends to loiter around. If she tries to talk to him then he jumps out the window but respawns where he was as if this is Call of Duty. In a different kind of film you would probably have this be an emotional story where one by one she talks to all of the ghosts and helps them move on so they won’t be like this anymore. She does do that to an extent at least with one but for the most part she is just busy getting out of here.

The film’s premise is definitely similar to something like Mieruko-Chan but played out without the more supernatural edge. This one stops at the visions instead of embracing the genre more. Sydney definitely does not handle this well although I don’t blame her since the visions are rather tricky. It can be a little hard to tell if she is ever in any real danger though because most times the villains just seem to pass by her. I think she may have been burned once by one of her memories but it fades eventually. What she should have done was to test this a bit. Try to grab one of the ghosts instead of hiding all the time. Once you know that they can’t hurt you, wouldn’t that give you some piece of mind?

Again, Mieruko-Chan handles this really well so I’d recommend that series if you want to see someone who has to live with always being able to see the supernatural all the time. It’s a bit inconvenient for Sydney but she could have handled things better as opposed to shutting off the lights and just hiding at home for a while. By the end of the film she slowly starts to get used to things and the ending is wholesome in some ways but the very ending just feels like a waste. I would have witched one aspect of the film which would have left room for a potential sequel. Even if there was no sequel, keeping in this element would have just been a lot of fun.

So the film drops the ball on the ending. As a character I’d say Sydney is okay but not all that good. She falls for Paul way too quickly and considering that they have something close to a patient doctor relationship that’s not a good idea. Sydney tries to use some pseudo science in the film to try and explain what she’s seeing and brings up a study about someone who claimed they could see things from the previous owner of the eyes. I have doubts on if this is really possible although I’d readily believe it for the brain, but I wouldn’t deny the chance. It just makes things even trickier for Sydney. If she really thinks that she is just seeing visions then there is even less to be scared of right? You can’t be hurt by visions so then that’s it. Just ignore them as best you can and keep it moving.

It’s probably hard not to react to them so scenes like what happened at the restaurant would still be tricky but I do think Sydney could have handled things way better than she did. Meanwhile Paul cracks a little too quickly on going back against his doctor’s oath to tell her about the previous donor. You really gotta be careful about breaking your oaths too quickly or people just aren’t going to trust you. I suppose most will never find that out but I wouldn’t say that is a great consolation either way.

So in general I would say that the premise was better than the execution here. There are some fun ideas and you could really have some fun themes about not judging the undead. Maybe have Sydney be scared for a while but gradually she sees that these people aren’t that bad and helps them out. There was a kid who helped her out in the hospital that wasn’t so bad. It could have even been a bit of an uplifting film in that case instead of this half hearted horror attempt. The movie is just scary and it’s just all over the place most of the time. The special effects are decent I suppose. Of course the scenes in the hospital are the weakest since you still don’t want to see any part of the operation but the film doesn’t linger on this much.

Overall, The Eye is below average for me because it really didn’t do anything great with the plot. The premise has so many areas for good potential and it didn’t use any of them. That’s a big miss if you ask me since the possibilities are really endless with this. Having eyes that let you see the dead would absolutely be annoying so that’s 100% true but lets see the main character try adapting to the situation a little bit instead of getting tossed and turned the whole time. You can do better so I’d say to skip this one.

Overall 4/10

Christine Review

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

You may remember Christine as the bully from Carrie but the name is a coincidence. This car has been a demon for a very long time and is around to dish out the pain. The movie is about how corruption spreads fast and you have to be careful who you hang with or you could be in trouble. The main guy’s friend is annoying with how quickly he goes on the dark side though.

So the movie starts by introducing us to Arnie who has had a rough time of things. He gets picked on, has really strict parents, and just doesn’t have a high opinion of himself. Well, one day he finds a super beat up car that looks like it’s on its way to the scrapheap and decides to buy it from this shady old guy. His friend Dennis tries to convince Arnie not to do this but he does anyway. Miraculously Arnie is able to make this car look brand new and all of a sudden he has become an overconfident school delinquent. Dennis sees that Arnie is getting worse and worse but what can he do about it?

I’d say that Dennis is definitely put in a really tough spot here. There’s only so much that you can do as the best friend. He’s not family and it’s not like he’s an adult figure so his best bet is just trying to reason with Arnie as friends. Unfortunately that guy is so far off the deep end that it’s really tough to do so. Dennis is a stand-out character for trying so hard. Additionally, Dennis did risk his life in stepping in when the bullies had Arnie outnumbered 5 to 1 and disarmed the guy with the knife.

It was a great scene for him and he really didn’t lose faith in his friend until the end. Dennis really did everything he could. Meanwhile you can basically flip everything that I said for Dennis for Arnie. That guy was annoying on every front. Look, he definitely did have a tragic origin story, I can’t argue against that. The bullies scene was really rough and knowing that he has to go through things like that at school is tough. It’s also easy to see why he has so much self doubt.

The main issue is once he gets the car Christine and suddenly does a 180. If the car is going to mess with his mind, I’d like to see it be gradual so that we know Arnie is actually fighting. Instead the guy goes crazy almost immediately and starts taking this out on Leigh, his parents, and everyone around him. He stops being sympathetic real quick and at the end of the day he chose the car over everyone else. How much of that was mind control and how much of that was really him is the question that the film leaves you with.

It’s hard to say but I’m always big on willpower. If you didn’t produce then that’s game over. So Arnie letting himself be turned evil like that was just bad. Especially when he turns on Dennis who was always in his corner. Beating up on the bullies and taking them out? Yeah that’s rather intense but you definitely see how it could happen. Once he started driving crazy on the highway and acting hostile towards Dennis then things were really crazy. Likewise with taking such a hard stance with Leigh after she had nearly just died by choking in his car.

Arnie’s pretty bad but then I’d also say that Leigh should have completely cut ties with him after the first incident as well. Don’t go back to him after that no matter what he says. Following him into the garage led to another blow-up since the car was his top priority and even after that she’s trying to save him. Perhaps she was extra perceptive that it was the car messing him up but realistically that’s not the first thing that you would think of. She was rather easy on him.

Another character who suspected the car awful quickly was Rudolph. He’s a detective but a rather odd one. I don’t see how anybody could jump to the supernatural conclusion too quickly but this guy seemed to suspect it right away. He was asking a whole lot of questions about the car and how it was fixed so quickly but I’m not even sure what he was getting at. It felt like he had to be hinting that he knew the car was supernatural but that’s really a headscratcher. How he could possibly have jumped to that conclusion (Even if it was correct) is a bit beyond me there.

Props to him being a great detective I suppose. He was a nice character though and I would have liked to have seen more of him. As for Christine, well she’s evil from the jump so it’s not like you can reason with her. She gets jealous quickly and is always ready to exact lethal revenge. If she hadn’t gone after Leigh then you could have at least tried to paint her as a more sympathetic character trying to protect her owner but since she is possessive like that, then there’s no shot. Of course she did the same thing in the past to the previous owner’s family so she was just always like that. I’m cool with the film not going any further into the past because I think it actually makes things more scary to know that she was just randomly an evil, sentient car as opposed to some long backstory about how she turned out that way.

The film isn’t quite as violent as the average King title. The car does take some people out for sure but usually not in super gruesome ways. The violence at times is more implied than shown explicitly. One guy gets rammed to death for example but whereas in another film we would see every moment of that for a drawn out period of time, it’s not quite as intense here. Christine is in general a bit of a mean spirited film though with the average bullies running around and causing trouble. They really go all in by attacking a second time and then you have Arnie’s boss who is rude to everyone for no real reason.

The romance here is really on the weak side for obvious reasons. The relationship with Leigh and Arnie was never going to work out with him being on the dark side and all. I really hope the film wasn’t gunning towards a rebound later on but I’ll choose to believe it wasn’t since it ends pretty quick. I was expecting a different romance plot to continue but the other girl pretty much got completely written out after the opening scenes.

Overall, Christine isn’t really a fun film to watch but at least it’s fairly tame so I wouldn’t say that it’s too bad. There just aren’t very many happy moments and with Arnie being corrupted immediately, you can’t even root for him to really be saved by the end. If you really like evil cars then that might be enough to push it over the edge for you but otherwise I’d say to skip this one. Meanwhile one character nearly chokes to death here and it reminds me why I have to eat so slowly at Jumbo’s pizza. The cheese is so thick that I swear it’s a choking hazard so I always warn people about that when I recommend the place. Top 2 pizza in the whole world but definitely an intense one so don’t take big bites.

Overall 4/10

Annabelle: Creation Review

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

Annabelle was so big that she got an origin story which is impressive since that doesn’t seem to happen very often unless you’re a really big character. I guess that fits the bill for her at this point though, she has earned that reputation. The film pretty much plays out as you would expect but in this case almost all of the characters are kids so there isn’t a whole lot that they can do against Annabelle. The film could have used a few more grown-ups to try and make the fights more interesting.

The movie starts with Samuel and Esther losing their kid Annabelle in a tragic hit by a car. Many years later they’ve decided to open up their home as a shelter for a bunch of kids who are homeless after the orphanage was removed. This group is led by Sister Charlotte and the place is quite large so they’re happy here. Samuel is rather withdrawn and his wife Esther never allows them to see or talk to her but…well it’s a place to live. The main problem is that strange things begin to happen here.

The main kid is Janice and she has a tough time walking due to illness so she has to use a cane everywhere. Naturally since you’re watching a horror film you know this puts her at a big disadvantage right out of the gate. She is told that the whole house is good to walk through except for one closed door. You are not to go in there under any circumstances but of course Janice does go in there and opens up the door which had been locking out the evil demon for a long time now. Annabelle is now on the loose and she wants to take over Janice’s body. Can this kid stop the demon or is it game over?

That’s the question which limits the film’s potential a bit when you think about it. Of course the kids can’t do anything against Annabelle. Even the adults are usually rather helpless against such a threat but with the kids it just feels a little too one sided. In general kids are rarely very interesting characters in film so I prefer when they take a back seat. Having them here 24/7 as the leads wasn’t the best idea if you ask me.

Most of the kids are also just annoying. You have the classic bullies who are mean to Janice because she can’t walk properly like they can. Janice only has one true friend in Linda but the others are as petty as possible and you can expect that they won’t be doing very well against Annabelle either. I at least liked Linda who had Janice’s back from the start. Her best moment is definitely when she decided to take charge and ran outside with the doll in order to throw it into the pit of no return. It was a brave thing for a kid to do and took a lot of guts considering the powers it had. Things almost got dicey for Linda since she sure was taking her time closing the lid but that was a good moment.

As for Sister Charlotte, she did well in what was a pretty lousy situation all around. There’s only so much she could do with the orphanage being destroyed and I’m sure it was a lot of work to find a suitable house that would work for everyone. The owners may not have been the best people around but at least they did have a place for the group. Charlotte also did her best to keep the kids in line, they just didn’t make it easy on her.

Samuel has to be one of the worst characters here and of course the same is true of Esther. They absolutely knew about the demon and yet they decided to open this place as a shelter? I don’t care if it was purified several times, the demon was still around which is why the door was closed. Allowing the kids into the building was negligent. If you absolutely wanted to atone and do good by the world, at least find a way to get the priests to completely destroy the building or the demon within the doll. Sealing it away isn’t actually removing the problem.

Then Samuel is also completely oblivious to what’s going on. I feel like it’s intentional but when Janice and the others start talking about weird things happening, he doesn’t seem to care. “Samuel, your wife visited us in the middle of the night!” “Gee, I don’t think so, she’s still in her room….” Samuel knows well and good that she was in the room which means that it was the demon or some kind of supernatural thing going on. By the time he’s actually ready to help it’s way too late. I also thought he was rather cold to the kids for no reason. If he’s still torn up about the past then perhaps inviting the orphanage was not a good idea.

Likewise, Esther is just hiding out in her room the whole time. You have to at least meet the kids, this just makes the experience a little creepy for them. The doll mask seemed to cover her face rather well so just use that and meet up with everyone. Otherwise she really isn’t doing anything to help the cause and is just holding the experience back. That said, I still wasn’t expecting her end to be quite so violent, Annabelle was not holding back here.

In general I wouldn’t say the film is super violent though. Moments of Annabelle shredding everyone is typically rare and the film has a ton of build up. Things don’t really start happening until it’s nearly time to end. We do get one barfing moment from the villain which is always a rather crude way to take possession. I prefer going with the smoke method personally or something like that.

We do get to connect this to the first ending in a way similar to Rogue One so that was interesting. Of course you feel bad for the new characters even if you do know what is going to ultimately happen to them. It’s the kind of twist ending you’re expecting though and even if you haven’t seen the first film it would work in that sense. I did like that we got to see more of Annabelle’s true demon form here though. It certainly looks intense and could probably hold its own movie in that form as well. Now that’s a figure that you wouldn’t want to have to fight.

The special effects in the film are pretty solid. There’s a lot going on and it’s always visually interesting. More so than the movie at times but that’s how it goes. It’s definitely one of those futile movies where the characters never have any shot at directly stopping the villain and just have to try and survive. I think the movie would be more interesting if the characters could be aged up so they could at least try thinking of plans. That’s a staple of the big horror movies even if the plans usually don’t work out. You at least want to see the characters trying some options but that doesn’t really happen here.

Overall, I thought this was a little better than the average horror film and the kids could have been worse. Linda gets a lot of props for actually trying to help out and take Annabelle down. Janice gets considerably less points here because it felt like she kept on adding to the trouble by going where she wasn’t supposed to and all that. You do feel bad for her since she can’t just run and escape the way most main characters could though. The film’s a slow burn but with kids as the focus it’s not as engaging as it could have been. I’d say this is a safe skip.

Overall 4/10

Radio Days Review

Radio Days is definitely a film that suffers from just not being very interesting. It’s all about the radio and a bunch of characters who listen to it but the characters aren’t all that good and the narrator just ends up being annoying the whole time. The film ends up dragging a bit as a result. Now I’m not saying that the movie is awful or anything as it’s weak but not terrible. It doesn’t make any huge mistakes, it just never really gets good.

So the film follows a kid named Joe as he listens to the radio and just gets to live life a lot. He is a big fan of the Masked Avenger cartoon that would play over the radio. As the years go by he gets to experience war through the radio as well as songs and just about every program that is there. He feels like these times were a lot of fun, they were the simple days where everything just sort of popped out at you. There really isn’t much of a focus to the movie beyond that. I suppose as a subplot you also had Sally trying to work on her enunciation so that she can be a big radio star as well. Ultimately she does well for herself and even gets a lot of street smarts so the execs can’t fool around with her.

That’s probably what the film needed more of, a steady plot. The slice of life with no purpose only works when the writing is exceptional and the characters are great but I couldn’t say that here. Joe is your average kid in many ways so there isn’t anything really interesting about him. His family certainly have a lot of strict traditions like not playing music on loud during the Sabbath and all but the father of the household cracks real quick once he goes to meet the neighbors. So much for his conviction there.

I also think he could have let Joe know that he was a cab driver. That’s not a crazy profession by any stretch so when he was being secretive I thought it was going to be something really embarrassing. I suppose he just had a lot of pride. Then Sally was decent enough once she got wise to all the scams around her. I thought the movie missed an easy lay-up by not having everyone get locked out on the roof though. That would have been a fun tribute to an earlier scene.

The Masked Avenger serial sounded fun at least. The concept sounded fun and superheroes are always in season so who wouldn’t enjoy that right? I would have liked to have focused on that a bit more since it would have been more interesting. You’ll just struggle about things to talk about here because all of the stories are so scattered and short that there is no focus. In general I do think stories need to have a strong focus because without them they will just get lost and you don’t want that.

What this film could have done to improve things would have been to have had Joe really have to deal with some challenges during the radio days. Give us a concrete plot like he’s earning money to buy a Masked Avenger figure and the whole film is about that as the radio plays in the background. You could probably tone down the narration a bit so we can get the plot rolling more. Good narration can absolutely enhance a film but in this one it just felt like the movie was stalling for time.

It just wasn’t very interesting much like the rest of the film. I didn’t grow up with the radio so any sentimental value that could have boosted the film with that didn’t work for me. Instead I was just waiting for the film to really get rolling. If nothing else at least it is always fun to see how the city looked back then. What has changed over the years and what hasn’t. I was never one to go outside on New Year’s Eve at midnight to watch things happen live, I prefer using the TV but it is fun to walk around in the morning and see how empty everything is.

Overall, Radio Days was a swing and a miss for me. While the lack of a plot/focus did keep the film from exposing the bad writing too much (Because what we got usually felt a little suspect) it also meant that the film had no real upside. It would be hard for me to describe the plot to someone because it was basically nonexistent. By the time you finish watching the film you feel like nothing has really happened at all. It’s like you were along for the ride but on a journey that didn’t actually have a destination. So that’s why even though the film doesn’t make any big mistakes, I would say to stay away from it. There just isn’t anything here for you and it’s also why this review is a bit on the shorter side because there’s only so much that you can say about it.

Overall 4/10

Logan Review

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

Wolverine’s had a checkered history with his films. Most people didn’t care for the first one or even the second all that much. This was the one that finally made the books as a definitive title for the character. At least for most people because after seeing this one I can confirm that it is the weakest film in the X-Men franchise. Yes, weaker than X-Men origins. It’s a very depressing look at how the Marvel Universe could have turned out for the mutants and Wolverine never really got to have his happy ending.

The movie starts up in the future where Wolverine is even more of a drunk than usual and doesn’t have any qualms about using his claws on people now. He’s just sick of everything turning out so badly so he’s been saving up money for a while now. He’ll take Professor Xavier away and they’ll both basically die. Wolverine even got himself some adamantium bullets to finish the job. Before any of this can happen, a lady appears asking for his help. Wolverine definitely says no since his adventuring days are over but she is murdered and her daughter Laura ends up hitching a ride.

Professor Xavier insists on their helping her so Wolverine is stuck now. He’ll have to try and get her to her final destination which is supposed to be a safe haven from the mutant hunters. This won’t be easy though as something is up with Wolverine’s abilities and his healing regeneration has been greatly reduced. Meanwhile Xavier has a lot of seizures now and can barely use his abilities either. Time is not on their side so the race is on.

I definitely have a lot of issues with the film, mostly just around how depressing it all is so lets go with the positives first. The fight scenes are very solid. I think that characters with a strong regeneration ability should be used to fighting a little recklessly because any trade is actually in their favor. So they can be good with either landing hits on their own, or dealing out equal damage. It makes sense so I’m cool with that and Wolverine does get in some good combos once he gets going.

I do think he feels very nerfed but at least there is a story reason for it. Otherwise I would expect Wolverine to look much better in this film. Another positive is that Laura’s character was handled very well. She has grown up with a rather lousy life at this point and so she is doing her best to move on forward. She doesn’t dwell on the past all that much and only talks when necessary. She really just wants to complete her mission and get to safety to put this life of violence behind her. When she does fight Laura is calculated and ruthless in destroying her opponents.

She’s not some kind of super hero so she doesn’t have to worry about the mercy rule. Laura’s life has always been in a do or die scenario so if she doesn’t strike quickly then she knows that it could all be over. I thought she was definitely the highlight here and in general I always liked her character. It would be a lot of fun to see her more in some future movies.

Okay now lets talk about some of the iffy stuff. First we have to talk about Wolverine. I’m cool with a main character being reluctant to help and not wanting to get back into the hero game. So when he turns the lady down the first few times you can understand. There is no obvious threat at the moment and there are presumably others who can help. Once she asks him for help again by flagging his car (Wolverine runs an Uber type operation) and it’s obvious that she is in critical danger, he shouldn’t have left her again.

Bring her and Laura with him in the car. Abandoning her was just an awful look and I can see why Laura was so upset. Logan tries abandoning Laura several times as well later on in the film. He also puts Caliban in a rather bad spot by having him drive off with the villain. This version of Logan has absolutely 0 qualms about killing so just stab the guy a few more times to make sure that he doesn’t get up,. I’ll give him less grief about this though since he thought that the guy was dead.

Logan is just way too depressed here though to the point where he acts like a villain. It’s almost like Bruce Wayne nearly murdering Terry McGuiness back in the first episode of Batman Beyond by turning off the suit. There’s a line that you cross when you go too far into being a thorn in the way of justice. That’s just how Logan is here and it takes an extremely long time until he finally gets ready for action.

Then you throw in the fact that he’s a lot weaker here and it’s annoying to see him lose just about every fight that he’s in. Common thugs are beating him up left and right, never mind the X-24 clone who really lays him out. Even if Wolverine’s not a nice guy anymore, you hope to see him getting some wins but until his rage mode near the end he is getting thrown around a whole lot. It’s not cool and it definitely doesn’t help him as a character. I just didn’t like Logan here, his days of being the Wolverine were definitely long gone.

I can’t say that I liked how Xavier was portrayed either. The guy is half crazy and can’t even control his own abilities with the seizures now. I have a super hard time believing that this could happen to a telepath, particularly one of Xavier’s ability. The twist of how this affected the X-Men was also awful. It’s certainly a convenient way to make sure that nobody else shows up but it’s not satisfying at all. To think that this is how it would all end after so many battles and fights to achieve peace between humans and mutants.

This ending is certainly not what anyone would have hoped for. I’d have much preferred Xavier to go out in a blaze of glory or something like that. In the end, the world went from being fantastical to quite normal since the world seems like any everyday place now. At least Caliban seemed like a reasonable guy right from the start for the heroes. He was probably the only one who seemed like a nice guy with no drawbacks so of course things get really rough for him here.

As for the villains, Pierce is the main one and he’s okay I guess. There’s just not a lot to him and you could think of the guy as an average thug only he’s got some tech so he can fight a little bit. I think with a bit more screen time he could have been better as the charismatic kind of villain but the film was not able to pull that off. Dr. Zandar is your average twisted scientist villain who just likes to be as evil and cruel as possible so there’s not much to him either. Not a quality villain.

The only one who seemed solid was X-24. At first I actually thought he was Sabretooth who somehow managed to return to the main lines once more but the twist worked out rather well. I like the idea of this guy being as savage as Wolverine was in his prime so the dilemma is in how to take this guy out. He really is quite strong and made for an impressive threat. Whenever he was on screen you knew that things were going to get really tough for the heroes.

As you’d probably expect, this film gets very violent. You really have the claws in full force by both the heroes and villains with the usual human experimentation going on as well. It’s trying really hard to be the most violent of the X-Men films to live up to the Wolverine rep and it earns this but at the detriment of the film. You don’t need all of this excessive violence and it takes away from the action scenes. The movie definitely should have toned things down and it would have helped out.

At least the ending of the film is solid enough. I didn’t have any issues with it and it seemed like a classic way to end things. I absolutely would have preferred a happier ending with more room for big sequels and all that but it still wasn’t bad. It’s not a grim dark ending either, just more of a bitter sweet one so the heroes couldn’t win on all fronts and had to settle for a few.

At the end of the day, part of the problem with this film is that it’s going more for an apocalyptic future vibe rather than being a full blown comic book movie. You don’t have too many big battles with lots of super abilities and flashy CGI. Instead you usually have very dreary backgrounds with the characters fighting very ordinary humans aside from X-24. The fact that the humans do well is sad in itself. At least by the end you have them taking the Ls as the heroes finally get ready for combat.

Overall, Logan’s not a good movie. It really wrecks Logan’s character quite thoroughly and I would say that Xavier was really mishandled as well. Laura was a shining point in the movie at least. You’re better off watching Dark Phoenix as the true end point to the X-Men series as that one soared above expectations and did deliver with a lot of fun fights and cool plots going on. If Wolverine does get another film, I’d like them to just put him in a fun setting and let us see Wolverine the superhero as opposed to Logan, the jaded old timer.

Overall 4/10

Picnic Review

This film is one of those titles where it’s a little hard to feel bad for the main guy at times because he keeps making the situation more and more difficult for himself. If he had just been upfront with everyone then the film probably wouldn’t have even had much of a dilemma. Still, in the end that’s not the tactic that the guy decided to use and it ended up costing him quite a bit. This can be a decent drama film but probably not one that you will be finding to be too memorable.

The movie starts off with Hal heading over to a small town. He is penniless once again as things just don’t work out for him but he doesn’t want anyone to know it so he makes up stories about being rich or coming here on a vacation. The train driver doesn’t buy this for a minute but couldn’t care less anyway. The real trouble starts once Hal gets into the town and he asks his old friend Alan for a job. Alan’s a good guy and is willing to help but becomes less enthusiastic once Hal starts making up stories about being a big shot or Alan really wanting him to work at this job. Hal also starts attracting quite a few ladies at the village and now everything’s going crazy. What can he do?

So the first thing Hal could have done would have been to just tell things straight. He fell on hard times and Alan is doing him a favor. Don’t hide those facts, especially when Alan is right there. Hal really pushes his luck in just about every scene and the lies aren’t even that convincing so you know that they are going to fall all around him at any moment. The whole film is really just watching the world around him slowly burn as a result.

He shouldn’t deserve all of the blame though as the other characters could have handled things better as well. In particular I thought Rosemary got off way too easily. She basically tries to cheat with Hal because she wants some excitement and when he isn’t too keen on the idea she causes a huge scene and puts him on a spot. This destroyed what was left of his reputation and completed Alan’s decision to turn against him.

I wouldn’t say Alan was great either here. I can see why he was upset about Hal lying the whole time and that’s understandable but then towards the end it almost feels like he is being easily manipulated by Rosemary’s big scene. Like that was the tipping point when I would have changed that to a different scene. By the end he’s definitely not ready to be all that reasonable anymore.

The main heroine here would be Madge as she always had the best chance from the 3 ladies. She likes Hal well enough but I can see why some of the other characters are skeptical and warn her not to pursue him. All that know about this guy is that he’s a chronic liar who gets into a lot of trouble and doesn’t seem reliable in the slightest. Keep in mind that he just got into town and by the end of the movie he’s already being chased out of it. Is this really the guy you want to pin your entire future on? It seems a little reckless at best and flat out irresponsible at worst. I can’t say that I was able to get behind the romance here at all.

It’s all much too quick and the ladies here seem too desperate. The guys get jealous but I guess their bonds just weren’t all that strong. One thing that holds Picnic back though is that there isn’t much of a plot beyond this. It’s really just about Hal showing up and causing a panic because of his lies and the fact that he was too good looking for the little town. That’s it, it’s not like there is a big villain (Rosemary is the closest to that) or a lot of twists and turns. The movie just goes on until it ends. It’s a low key drama with some romance.

To make that work you would likely need more humor or a very strong cast of characters. This film has neither of those. It’s not boring at least and goes by fairly quick but I wouldn’t call this a good movie. It’s just not quite strong enough to make it to that level. I wouldn’t say it has a lot of replay value either and I can’t think of what hook I would use to tell people to watch it. There isn’t a really big reason in particular to recommend this film to people. Even the picnic itself isn’t all that memorable.

The town sure does make it a big deal though. It’s like a whole festival just for hanging around outside and eating. The fact that a picnic is one of the biggest events in the town also shows you how there isn’t a lot to do here. You better enjoy the food because otherwise that would be game over. I think what would have made the film more interesting would have been if the film leaned into the premise a bit more and had like 20-30 different people going after Hal or if it focused a bit more on how his lying making things tough on the town.

Have him break something by accident and lie about it or point the finger at someone else. Effectively Hal would be destroying the town from the inside by getting everyone to be really suspicious of each other. That would have absolutely been the best way to go here and I think it would have been highly effective. It would have certainly amped up the drama here and also given the town more reason to be so angry at him. Otherwise it’s not like the guy was a super criminal here, he didn’t do enough to justify how everyone turned so violent by the end. Even if Alan and Rosemary were instigating most of it.

Overall, Picnic isn’t a very memorable title and it’s also not a very eventful one. If you want to watch a film about a picnic then that’s probably the novelty feature for this movie but that’s just not enough of a hook. You can do a lot better with both romance and drama films so you can just leave this one by the wayside. It may not be a very bad film but there just aren’t any really strong elements to it.

Overall 4/10

Grease Review

After all these years I have finally seen Grease. This one is known as a fairly iconic film so it’s about time that I got to really see what it was about. I wouldn’t actually put it in as one of the better comedy films for me as it does have a number of weak points. The weaknesses of the musical genre are always right around the corner after all.

The movie starts by showing us how Danny and Sandy became good friends by spending a summer together. It was all fun and all for them but eventually they had to go back to school. When Sandy bumps into him there she is thrilled at first but it quickly becomes apparent that he is going to pretend that he doesn’t really know her. Danny desperately wants to fit in with the local tough guys and so now he may even choose them over her. Will this romance pull through or was it doomed right from the start?

At the very least it should have been doomed with Danny giving Sandy the cold shoulder like that. He put her in quite the spot and it takes almost all of the film until he’s finally ready to stand up for her in public. That’s way too long and she went through a lot before that period. I would say that Sandy could have stuck up for herself much. Basically her gimmick is that she’s the super nice, but a bit naïve character who doesn’t break the rules and doesn’t really notice when others are making fun of her.

This gets a bit tricky since everyone at school tends to be rather mean. Eventually Sandy gets the hang of this but I would say she didn’t really need to change. Just break out of those friendship groups if the others are just going to be so harsh the whole time and keep it moving. I wasn’t crazy about how this plot ended for her even if it does make for a fairly good twist near the end of the film. I can’t say that I really saw it coming so the movie managed to be a bit unexpected there.

I’m going to be a lot harsher on Danny though because you could argue that most of everything that happened here was his fault. He could have absolutely just been nice to Sandy when she showed up. The whole school custom of his clique only being allowed to date members of the other clique just feels outdated anyway. Danny has enough pull within the group too where I really don’t think they would have pulled anything if he had gone that route. Even if they did, he needs to be able to choose Sandy over anyone else. If he doesn’t then how strong can the romance be?

The romance in Grease is really weak and that’s one big element that huts the movie since romance is one of the main genres. It’s hard to really root for any of the characters to get together. Instead it might be better for them to break things off if the romance itself isn’t their top priority. There are also some backup romances for the side characters and I wouldn’t say any of theirs are all that good either.

Rizzo gets a full sub plot where she thinks that she is pregnant and it changes things. She went from basically being the mean leader of her gang to everyone talking behind her back. The film tries to turn this into a very sympathetic plot but it doesn’t work perfectly well due to how much she was messing around. It’s not like issues in other films where they weren’t very preventable or the main character had no way of dodging them. This problem she basically caused all on her own so that’s not a good look.

She was also just way too mean to Sandy the whole time so it’s not even like she was generally nice. The only character who was actually fair to Sandy the whole time was Frenchy. Frenchy isn’t a very interesting character or anything but at least she wasn’t a bully so I’ll give her props there. All of Danny’s friends were fairly judgmental and not too smart. It’s great that they all get along but if they were really good friends then Danny shouldn’t have felt so pressured to act behind their backs.

I did like the principal though. She made sure to run a very tight ship and wasn’t going to just let these guys run all over her. In fact the bullies pretty much don’t dare to talk back to her. It’s clear that she works hard in establishing dicipline here and manages to pull it off so big kudos to her. Her assistant isn’t very smart and tends to hold her back but I suppose you can’t win them all.

There are a lot of songs here as this is a musical but for the most part I wouldn’t say they’re really my style. There was a song where the characters are jumping on cars and running around that was fairly decent though. This does continue the tradition though where musicals tend to have songs that don’t hold up against films that just happen to have songs. It’s like when you build a film around the concept then the writers run out of good songs or something.

Grease is really at its best when it’s focusing on the comedy aspect of things. A character seeing a ghost in the sky for example was a much more effective scene than any of the romance ones. I suppose I liked seeing Danny try to join different clubs. That made for a fun subplot and the gym teacher was really impressive. Somehow he was able to balance being knowledgeable about every sport while still having time to walk the main character around. Now that’s what I call impressive.

There are also small visual jokes that tend to be fun like the characters all combing their hair in unison. The writing is good for the most part and the movie never drags on. It can be entertaining but does so amidst an unlikable cast of characters and a very weak set of romances. If the film had focused on the story a bit more and cut out the musical element then this probably would have jumped up a bit more. I can’t say that there is real replay value to be had here. There are definitely a lot of moments with potential and the film can be entertaining but it never stays that way quite long enough for me to call this a good film.

Overall, I can now say that I’ve seen one of the all time greats even if I didn’t quite like it as much as most. I’ll have a review for the sequel up shortly though so be ready for that. Often times a sequel can have a hard time living up to the original but in this case since I wasn’t a big fan of it, things could be a bit different. At least that’s what I figured but I won’t spoil the surprise. After all that review will be published on the same day as this review. If you really like romance movies and musicals then you’ll probably enjoy it but otherwise you can do a lot better.

Overall 4/10

True Grit Review

True Grit is definitely a film with a lot of tough characters but unfortunately it took the gritty part a little too far. You’ve even got a horse that dies in this one which was unfortunate. You can absolutely do wild west films without animal violence, I’ve seen it done before. So what made this one fall into that trap? It just wasn’t being cautious enough and that’s a big mistake. It’s a fairly decent film for the most part but one that makes its share of mistakes too.

The movie starts with Mattie’s father getting bumped off after trying to get Tom Cheney to stop trying to pick fights while he was drunk. Unfortunately this drunk had one more bullet up his sleeve and so he then went on a crime spree before vanishing into the Indian territories. He is now protected by Ned Pepper and there isn’t anyone brave enough to go after him. Mattie is forced to try and find someone with true grit. Someone who won’t back down and will keep on fighting all the way through to the end. There is one person that everyone agrees is right for the job…Rooster.

Rooster is one of those guys who always gets his man and doesn’t mind using his gun as needed. You can bet that nobody is going to scare him off easily and that’s exactly the kind of guy Mattie needs. Unfortunately for her he doesn’t take Mattie very seriously and he also charges a lot for his services. While most would give up at this point, Mattie isn’t like most other characters. She works hard and gets the money so Rooster takes her up on the offer. They’re joined by a Texas ranger known as La Boeuf who is also after Chaney for a different crime. Having another fighter on hand would usually be good but the issue is that Mattie specifically wants him to hang for murdering her father, not some other crime. There’s going to be a lot of tension on this trip.

So lets get the bad out of the way first and then talk about the good. The main issue here of course is the animal violence. You never have to have the horse die during the gun fights, just have the human fall off of the horse while it runs away. Or if it’s tough acting you can have them both fall but there’s no indication that the horse is dead. Unfortunately this film goes out of its way to let you know that the horse is absolutely dead. Cmon now that’s not necessary in any situation. The horse staying alive would have been the right move and I dare say that it would have been a lot more inspirational as well.

There’s also a random scene where Rooster shoots a mouse. There was no real need for that either. It shows how tough he is, but we already knew that. This film just takes some easy outs like that which limits its potential compared to other wild west titles. It doesn’t quite beat the last few that I’ve seen.

I do like Rooster as the main fighter though. He is definitely a rather gruff guy on the outside but ultimately he’s pleasant enough to Mattie. You can tell that he’s not going to just run off with the money half way. Rooster takes his job very seriously and is good at it. His reputation is well deserved and he also makes La Boeuf back off when the guy is getting to be a bit too much. Rooster’s one weakness is that he can be a bit of a drunk at times. Usually he doesn’t drink enough to actually make him loose his grip on the situation but it does happen once or twice. It’s a massive weakness in his line of work.

As for La Boeuf, I can’t say that I liked him. His initial scenes were really hard to get around like when he first meets up with Mattie. The guy wants to take Chaney down too but loses his cool almost immediately and just does not seem like a good guy. Unlike Rooster I would not trust this guy at all. As the film goes on he gets more reasonable but either way I wasn’t really a fan of the guy.

Chaney is a super petty villain all the way through. He really had no good reason to get Mattie’s father except that he was drunk and didn’t know what he was doing. It’s clear that he was always a bad guy based on the crimes they described for him afterwards though so the drink isn’t a full excuse. He’s just a bad guy but with no master plan or any interesting qualities. You’re just waiting for him to be taken down later on. Mattie should have just shot him again while she had the gun. Everyone always seems to freeze up in these films but if you’re face to face with someone that’s stronger and faster than you, you need to blow him away before it’s too late. Once he’s within arm’s length it’s over.

Ned Pepper was a lot more interesting even though his role is much smaller. I liked the lore with how he fought Rooster once before and is effectively the only one that got away. It makes for an interesting past there and now this guy felt like a true threat. The movie’s focus isn’t on him so he doesn’t appear a lot but at least this way we had one super formidable fighter.

The gun fights are solid here. We see one battle where Rooster has to go up against 4-5 guys on his own which was really impressive. In general he always makes his shots and considering that he’s so old by this point, he has a lot of stamina as well. You definitely feel secure having someone like Rooster on your side. It took him and the Texas ranger a long while to get to Mattie near the climax though which almost cost her. I know she fell down quite a bit aways but I still didn’t think it would take so long to get down there. Maybe they were afraid of falling too.

At the end of the day Mattie gets a lot of credit for being so persistent as well. Pretty much everyone just told her to drop the case after a while because it would just be too difficult to get her justice but she didn’t let them get to her. Between locating a bounty hunter who would help and raising the funds, Mattie really earned her victory all the way through. She was even able to effectively haggle prices with someone for the horse and her money at one point. I also liked how she would constantly mention her lawyer. When he actually appeared near the end that was fun. He’s the kind of character who can give you a good laugh but deep down you know that he means business.

Overall, True Grit really messes up when it comes to the animal scenes but beyond that it’s a fairly decent wild west movie. I think they could have made the Texas Ranger a little more likable though as it would have helped to improve the banter with him and Rooster. That’s something that can be a lot of fun to have in these films but it doesn’t work quite as well when you’re rooting for the guy to get taken down the whole time. I do think Rooster would have won if they ever did get into an actual fight though. A prequel about Rooster’s days in the army could also be interesting since it sounds like he saw a lot of action there. If you like Wild West films a lot then this is probably one you’ll want to check out but if not, there are a lot of other titles you could watch to start your journey into the genre.

Overall 4/10

Underwater Review

It’s time for an underwater film that starts off rather quickly. It reminds me why I would never want to work underwater. While I (probably) don’t have to worry about giant monsters there will always be that nagging feeling that a screw could come loose and the place comes apart. All it takes is a single mistake/miscalculation and that would be game over for me. There’s nowhere to run and so the movie uses that sense of tension and danger to get the ball rolling. It succeeds in some elements while failing in others.

The movie starts off as a normal day in the ship until a big “earthquake” strikes and all of the areas of the ship start to flood. A bunch of crew members either die instantly or manage to get into the escape pods. Around 6-7 crewmates are still around including Captain Lucien who decided to stay until he could be sure that everyone else got out. It’s an admirable move on his part and I liked him right from the start. Norah and the others must now try to get to the surface but keep in mind that this ship is thousands of miles underwater. It’s deeper than any other ship has been to the point where they’re in nearly uncharted territory so it’s not like you can just swim up. If they don’t find more escape pods or a way to go up soon then they are all doomed.

I mainly just have two issues with the film but they’re quite big. The first issue here is that this has to be one of the most forgettable main casts in a thriller movie like this. Norah and Lucien leave an impact but the others don’t really do as much. They all fulfill the roles as you have the boy friend, the mechanic, the main girl’s friend, etc. They just don’t really make much of a name for themselves outside of that so you can easily start to forget them as they blend together with any other character you’ve seen before. Norah does well as the lead and it’s not like the rest of the characters are bad but I feel they should have been able to stand out more.

The other issue is that you’re going to have to wait a long while for the monster. Unlike most films like this where you would have the monsters running around the whole time, this one doesn’t really get serious about the sci-fi parts for a while. In fact if you managed to avoid the poster and the trailers you would actually think this is more of a realistic film like Deepwater Horizon with the heroes just having to get out of the ship. The futuristic visuals for the ship would probably clue you in but I think the monsters should have played a bigger role. Once the monsters do show up, we do get some classic horror action as they take fighters down one at a time. There’s usually a lull between the big action moments so it just isn’t very nonstop. The mini monsters also just don’t look quite as cool as the main one.

The big monster itself is actually a fairly well known one. I was impressed that we got this beast in here but it doesn’t do anything until the very end of the film and so it can’t have as much of an impact as you would want. The design was cool but the film keeps everything dark so you can’t really see the creatures too much. I suspect this was a budgetary choice over a stylistic one.

Now for the good parts of the film, a good main character goes a long way and so Norah gets some good credit here. She prioritizes saving as many people as possible and makes the hard calls as needed. She doesn’t give up and just keeps on fighting throughout the whole film. Ina way she was like having another captain on the ship. Her bravery would also help to keep the rest of the crew in good spirits as well.

Likewise Lucien did well in bringing everyone together when needed. The crew didn’t have a bunch of selfish characters the way you would expect from a film like this. Time and time again you would see characters sacrificing themselves to help the others out like when one guy put on a faulty helmet because they were out of the real ones.

Norah’s friend Emily was also a good character. She did good in realizing that something was wrong during the climax even if she wasn’t able to fight her way out of her current spot. Emily was quick on the uptake and another good supporting character. I should mention that as a minor subplot we also got to see that the company behind the ship was being corrupt as always. You’re always kind of expecting that to an extent but I think the film could have built it up a whole lot more. If you ask me that would have been the right way to not only set up a sequel but add some more danger to the adventure.

Like the heroes realizing that even if they can get out of this in one piece, it doesn’t mean that they are completely safe. They may need to be silenced or something. It would add another element to worry about and for the heroes to prepare for. It would make the final shots of the movie a little more ominous as well. I can’t say I’m expecting a sequel to this film but it certainly could be done without a lot of issue.

There’s not much of a soundtrack to speak of but the effects are good. The ship looks very realistic and it’s quite large so there are a lot of things to explore here. I think to make the movie better it should have either had more monster action from the jump or it should have made the film a bit brighter. The film’s so dark that at times you can’t see as much as you would like so it can’t work as an adventure film. That’s why you need the creatures and then the lack of light becomes a real plot point there.

I wouldn’t say the film is super violent compared to some others in the genre. Of course you will still see the monsters taking the crew down but this isn’t exactly Alien. That’s always a good thing as you can have a lot of scares without going into that level of detail. I would say the viciousness of the creatures still gets across without any real issue at least.

Overall, I wouldn’t say this is a very solid monster type film as it’s lacking the monsters but it also shows more restraint than a lot of the others. At the end of the day it’s a decent experience. While I probably wouldn’t watch the film again, I wouldn’t say that it’s very bad or anything. It has its moments but is partially limited by the underwater setting since being on land gives you a lot more opportunities. If you’re going to watch this film I would say not to expect as much action as you may think from the poster and trailer but it should still keep you excited all the way through. After all the monsters are appearing and taking fighters down, it’s just not as relentless as you would expect. If the film gets a sequel then I think it’s time to bring the fight to the surface!

Overall 4/10