You Only Live Twice Review


Bond’s adventures continue with some more espionage and thriller elements. Here’s the thing for Bond though, he’s been relying on luck for quite a while now so what happens when it runs out? That’s something Bond’s going to have to think about here as the leader of SPECTRE finally gets to appear. Ultimately this film is more of the same in many respects. It is going for a new element by having Bond stay in Japan for a while but I would say the core of the film is basically the same.

The movie starts with Bond having yet another affair. This one ends a little differently than most as the girl quickly calls in her goons and they all shoot Bond down. Seeing Bond get murdered within the opening minutes was definitely a chilling experience. After Bond gets back into the sub where we find out he faked his death, he is given a new mission. Some kind of space creature/machine has been eating up every rocket sent into space. The U.S. thinks Russia did it while Russia is blaming them. Bond has to find out who the true culprit is before World War III commences. The heroes believe the rocket may have originated from Japan so that’s where Bond is going. Will he be able to crack the case?

I don’t think anyone honestly thought for a second that Bond died in the opening scene but it definitely would have been a pretty interesting twist I gotta say. His distractions would have finally cost him everything. This film is not kind to Bond for the most part though. He looks pretty bad as expected but not just physically here. Lets start with what had to be the most entertaining scene in the film. Bond is faced off with one of the big villains and they slowly start to walk towards each other.

Sizing each other up and all. Then the guy just throws out a punch real suddenly that knocks Bond for a loop. Bond was completely unprepared for the punch and you would have thought that it wouldn’t have been a surprise since a fight was about to start. I guess his reaction times just weren’t on point. Then there’s the fact that he is still confident as ever so he doesn’t mind his surroundings anymore. He meets with one of the big suspects and just assumes he can casually leave.

If not for the heroine showing up in time he would have been gunned in the back without suspecting a thing. There’s another scene where his informant is stabbed to death while Bond was having his drink. You can’t blame him for that one but at least he knows to watch his back because the enemies are everywhere right? Well, that’s not exactly the case either. Bond goes to sleep real quick later on and nearly gets poisoned to death if not for the heroine stepping in once again. This really isn’t Bond’s best day but he hasn’t had one of those in a while so it’s not too surprising.

The action scenes are okay when they happen but I wouldn’t say there are a whole lot of them in this film. The movie tries an interesting sky view for one of the larger action scenes but I wouldn’t say it works particularly well. It feels less like a battle and when the villains jump backwards it doesn’t even seem like Bond connects with them. The Japan backdrop for the movie was nice but they definitely didn’t paint the place in a really flattering light. Bond’s liaison there goes out of his way to say that women are second over here and has what equates to a bunch of female servants working for him. This is one of the heroes we’re supposed to root for eh? Bond fits right in with all of these guys.

You Only Live Twice has more dead time than the average Bond film so at times things can almost get a little dull. I’d hesitate to say that the movie actually gets boring at any points but I would say that it is just a bit more aimless than some of the others. I also thought the countries looked pretty awful just sending their rockets up without a plan. Maybe the first time but sending it again after the others were captured and you don’t even give the pilots guns? The whole thing just made SPECTRE look good of course but at the expense of everyone else.

The leader was decent even if he’s not very smart. You’d think that as the big boss he would have everything going according to plan but Bond plays him like a fiddle. Aki does well as the main heroine and is one of the better ones in the Bond films. That being said, while she does make Bond look poor in comparison with how she keeps on saving him, she also hurt’s Bond’s character further. After the villains get to her Bond wastes almost 0 time in going for the next girl so once again you see how he doesn’t take anyone seriously.

In a way this feels like it should end the SPECTRE arc. I suppose the villain got away but at this point he won’t have the same mysterious aura anymore. Well, I suppose hopefully he can come up with another good plan. This bond film suffers from poor romance, fanservice, and an unlikable cast so the rest of the review would be rather par for the course. It could be a while til the next Bond film but at least as of this point you can’t say that Bond forgot its fundamentals. It delivered consistent performances through and through.

Overall, You Only Live Twice is definitely a pretty interesting title. Bond does act like he has multiple lives most of the time so it’s pretty fitting. As always I feel like the Bond films would be so much better if they would focus on the secret agent stuff and leave Bond’s hobbies alone. Have him act professional once in a while even if it’s just to be a change of pace. I dare say that would go quite a long way. Maybe the Bond films will be able to do this in the future or at least that’s the hope.

Overall 4/10

Thunderball Review


Agent 007 returns in this next caper and SPECTRE has a very active role here. Right from the start they’re holding whole countries hostage which is pretty impressive. I suppose when you’ve stolen a nuke this is just the kind of thing you can quickly get away with. Thunderball decides to have a whole lot of ocean scenes which unfortunately don’t work nearly as well as land ones. At the end of the day you just need solid ground to get that crispy choreography you want for the battles. Thunderball’s a pretty standard Bond film I would say, it brings in about what you would expect from the series.

After SPECTRE issues their demands we cut away to Bond enjoying a nice vacation as usual. The guy seems to have an awful lot of vacations if you think about it, but he is in the business of saving the world so I suppose it makes sense. Well, the resort is awful shady and his life gets threatened multiple times before he is pulled out. M tasks him with finding a lead and Bond remembers the murder event at the hotel and quickly gets on the case. He doesn’t have a whole lot of time to find out where the bombs are as well as the villain base before the government will ultimately have to meet SPECTRE’s demands.

I have to say that right from the start Bond doesn’t look amazing here though. For starters, while he is at the resort he notices numerous times that shady things are going on. People skulking about, going into his room, etc. Yet when it’s hit time for the stretcher exercise he eagerly gets into the machine that has his arms and legs bound. Naturally a villain shows up but instead of murdering Bond he just puts the machine on high intensity so the nurse arrives later and saves him. Keep in mind that we were barely 10 minutes into the film and Bond should have already been murdered. It’s not really a great look for the guy. My idea here is that Bond’s continued success continues to raise his ego higher and higher to the point where he no longer bothers with being cautious. Why be cautious if you always end up winning right?

Well, either way the main chunk of the film takes place in the Bahamas as Bond very quickly figures out that the big villain behind this plan is a man named Largo. The guy isn’t exactly subtle about it though so Bond enjoys humiliating the guy by beating him at cards and dancing with his girl Domino. Bond loves to troll the villains like this but it always ends up with his friends being murdered so was it really worth it? For example, in this case Bond is accompanied by a few other agents. I forget their names, but naturally the girl gets kidnapped and it doesn’t end well while things don’t go very well for the guys either.

You can always expect Bond to be the last man standing in these things but then maybe he shouldn’t be so obvious about his trolling attempts. As always he has a ton of affairs in this film. He throws himself at everyone the whole time so even when you get the emotional ending scenes it’s hard to actually buy into it because you know Bond will be going to the next girl as soon as possible. As always we do have some fun scenes with M and Moneypenny as they both try to keep him on the straight and narrow. M always tends to get the best lines in these things as he reminds Bond of who is in charge here. I’d like to see him get a bigger role one of these days although in a way the small roles help portray him as being fairly invincible as he never gets into the line of fire.

I wasn’t a big fan of Domino here so between her and Bond that means that both of the main characters weren’t great. I feel like it took a while for her to put the pieces together of what happened to her brother. It’s also an example of her not really caring that she was on the wrong side until things got personal so you couldn’t really call her a hero either. She was just content doing her own thing. She does have a good moment at the end of the film though which was a solid conclusion to her subplot. She should definitely be upset with Bond though for giving her such a loud radiation sensor. He had to have known that he was basically selling her life away by giving her that but still gave it to her anyway.

This film is pretty long. I wouldn’t say it really drags on though. The Bond films are pretty good at making sure something is always happening. As mentioned though, I’m not a big fan of the underwater scenes though. The water hampers all of the movements so it’s like the characters are fighting in slow motion most of the time so not much gets done. I much prefer the quick land moments like Bond taking people out at the resort or when he tried to rescue one of the hostages. The scenes on land are just a lot more tense and make for good fights.

As always the film has its issues with the poorly developed romances and tons of fanservice. The beach setting doesn’t really help its case either since you know the film was very intentional about the selection. As long as the movies continue to focus on this I feel like there’s only so far the movies can go. They won’t be able to catch up to the rival franchises either. At least we still have the classic Bond theme so that helps with the soundtrack but you can already tell that it is appearing less and less. Once it stops altogether that will definitely be a pretty sad day. You really need that to complete the experience.

Overall, Thunderball is a pretty standard Bond film. From the early ones I’ve seen so far I would say it is one of the better ones even if it’s almost a by default kind of thing. I do have to say that the opening henchmen who tried to defy SPECTRE is probably one of the least intelligent villains I’ve ever seen. Why would you try to swindle money out of an organization with thousands of members involved in over 100 countries that can murder you in any which way? He was literally a part of the plan where they murdered a bunch of people and assumed their identities. He can blackmail them but they can always just pretend to give him what he wants and murder him the next day. There’s no possible way this would have ended well for the guy so you’re almost rolling your eyes when he asks for the money and confidently starts to walk away. It’s humorous in a sense though. So if you like the Bond films then I’d recommend this one even if just to see how Bond’s lucky streak gets him out of jams this time. Otherwise you’re better off giving it a skip.

Overall 4/10

Warning from Space Review


It’s time to look at a retro sci-fi film complete with aliens. I’m always up for a good sci-fi epic and aliens approaching usually means some kind of invasion is here right? Wellllllll…not quite this time. I was really surprised because for the first time since 2001: A Space Odyssey this was a sci-fi film that was a little…boring. Nothing really happens for a large portion of the film which was disappointed and even the climax is fairly underwhelming. Should have gone the invasion route.

The movie starts with a group of starfish aliens discussing what to do about Earth. They need to contact the scientists of the planet. There’s a few ways they can go about this of course. One would be to send some kind of radio transmission from space while allowing their spaceship to be seen to prove that they are who they say they are. Perhaps they could beam a few people down and start talking to the humans real quick. Preferably in a bullet proof suit since the humans love to blast things right away. Send some cool signals, send a UFO, maybe kidnap a few of the humans real quick. Well…instead they try slowly walking out of the ocean and breaking into homes but don’t really talk so people naturally think they’re monsters.

You may be questioning the alien’s intelligence at this point but then they decide they’ll just copy the appearance of a human and send someone in undercover. Perfect…except what’s the next move? She spends some time playing tennis with the group and acting human except for when she jumps 10 feet and walks through doors that are still closed for kicks. She’s not great at staying undercover. She burns some notes and only after the main characters make some deductions does she finally reveal her intentions of why she is here and how to save the planet. I just don’t understand what the aliens were thinking, there were so many better ways of getting around this.

It’s hard to say how much of the plot to explain here because I suppose the reason they are here at all would be a spoiler to an extent. Still, the main characters do get on board with this plan rather quickly. While that may be a little too trusting on their part, it does end up working out so I suppose it was for the best. Without going into specifics, the whole thing once again makes the aliens look kind of suspect. They are very quick to destroy the formula to a super weapon since it’s too dangerous and yet they didn’t think that this weapon would be useful against the upcoming crisis? Hmmmmm.

Lets talk about the main characters now. First up is Dr. Matsuda who is a genius and has discovered a weapon even more powerful than atomic energy. He stays strong throughout the film even when put into great danger and at least he does take some things in stride like when Ginko (the main alien) confronts him. The guy does well to memorize his formula as well so that came in handy. Then you’ve got Toru and his father Mr. Itsobe who get major roles. Mr. Itsobe is effectively the leader of the heroes because of how he’s quite intelligent but also very resourceful. Without him the characters would be in trouble although he is a little quick to dismiss the possibility of aliens. He also refuses to even speculate on things until he has a lot of evidence so you don’t even need to bother asking him for an opinion initially. Toru may not be a brilliant professor yet but he helps out quite a bit and is one of the first people to find evidence of Ginko not being your average mortal.

One thing that doesn’t help the film’s case either is that some animals don’t quite make it by the end. This even includes a dog and you may be wondering what the point of the scene was. There wasn’t one really. I thought perhaps the film would save itself in the end as we see some animals running around but it’s heavily implied that these are completely different animals and that the originals are all dead. If we had seen one of the old ones then maybe we could say they lived but otherwise I feel as though that would be a jump on our end. So the film loses points there as well.

As to what the film did right, I did like the design of the star creatures. It was pretty fun seeing them walk around even if it could be a little hard to understand them at times. That’s probably more due to the quality of the film since it’s so old at this point compared to the costumes themselves. The graphics definitely looked quite old as I guess the film has probably deteriorated at this point. The sets were on point though.

I wouldn’t call the writing particularly impressive but I didn’t think it was bad either. There’s just not a lot going on for most of the film and the characters don’t engage in any real witty banter or memorable one liners which limits the film’s ability to keep you engaged. It’s not a super long movie but it is one where you feel the length. The average James Bond film which is around 2 hours will typically feel shorter than this one due to how things are always happening. At the end of the day I feel as though the film just went with the wrong tact. It should have gone with the classic alien invasion storyline.

If you are going to go with more of an undercover story as the aliens try to contact the humans, I think the plot needs to be nailed down a little more on why they did things so out of the way. Why couldn’t they just contact the humans in another way or explain the plot as soon as the transformation occurred? It felt like Ginko just didn’t know exactly what her plan was initially. There are ways to make this plot work but it is a little more difficult than actually having a real villain to go up against. That’s probably why some random gangsters were added in the end but lets face it, their roles are extremely small.

Overall, Warning from Space is a very accurate title but this just isn’t a particularly engaging film. There isn’t a true sense of danger for almost all of it and the dialogue isn’t very engaging. The characters don’t really progress much in what they’re saying so it feels like they are talking in circles a lot of the time. This movie really needed to add some more excitement and also definitely leave the animals out of it since they had no business being here. A sequel to this film could be quite good though if they up the action and make it so another race of aliens is here to end the planet or something like that. Now that could work out quite nicely.

Overall 4/10

From Russia with Love Review


James Bond continues on another adventure with this second film. From Russia with Love is definitely a very well known film in the series and the title is certainly iconic. What’s better than seeing Bond have to go up against his Russian counterparts right? Well, while the action is dialed up and we have some interesting ideas here, I wouldn’t say that it’s a match for the original film. This is still not quite as the point where the James Bond films were epic to watch. I wouldn’t quite give this one a thumbs up.

The movie starts with SPECTRE returning to the forefront. After Bond messed up their plans last time they are not eager to see it happen again. The leader calls in a big chess master and the former head of Russia’s special agent program. They are to find a way to get a device over from Russia and then bump Bond off. Rosa decides to use special agent Tatiana for this mission, all the while pretending that she is still in the Russian program as an officer. Meanwhile M16 sends Bond in to obtain the device after Tatiana claims she wants to defect from Russia. (All part of the plan) Bond figures he’s walking into a trap but doesn’t really mind.

This film has a lot going on at all times and the plot is certainly crafted well. It’s quite hard to predict exactly how things will shake out all the time. I like the idea of SPECTRE trying to pit Russia and the US against each other from the shadows. As an international organization it makes sense that they would be messing with all of the countries. It’s also good to see the organization return since it does work as a nice ongoing plotline in the series. They have trained their fighters rather well.

Grant makes for a very impressive villain, although perhaps too impressive. Throughout the film he saved Bond and gets the upper hand on him. He’s shown to be more powerful and smarter. At that point, what’s left for Bond? His presence is felt throughout the movie and it makes Grant a fairly unforgettable character. His opening appearance was definitely impressive as well so from start to finish this guy made for a good villain.

On the hero side we had Ali this time who was a head of M16 for this division. He’s a pretty good agent who may not be the best at fieldwork but he is highly resourceful and has kept up a good system for many years. Naturally once Bond enters the picture these plans tend to go haywire since everyone is always targeting the agent. Ali did well in his screen time though. M and Moneypenny appear as well of course and they’re always fun supporting characters as well. M likes to shatter all of Bond’s plans all the time while Moneypenny likes to play along. It makes for a good dynamic at the office.

As for the main heroine of this film, I can’t say Tatiana was one of the better ones. She is put into a rather tough mission of course but I feel like she was tricked rather easily. This is definitely a weakness of being in a super secret organization if they never even told their members that the head had been let go. Does Tatiana have no contacts here she could have contacted? The organization itself is to blame for a lot of it but Tatiana should have done some more research as well or just defected for real once she was betrayed. The villains give her so much distance she would have had a lot of good opportunities to pull this off. At the end of the day she does manage to step up though.

Then that takes us to Bond and he takes so many Ls in this film that you wonder why the 007 title is so legendary. He gets beaten more times than you can count to the point where he isn’t even as cautious as he used to be in the first film. I suppose at this point he’s just decided that there’s no point and rolls with whatever the next challenge is. Due to this though, it’s hard to picture him looking really good in a movie. The guy’s just let his overconfidence run wild within himself. As long as he is unable to clear his missions without flirting or getting distracted I imagine that his potential will always be rather limited. He has his moments but on the whole I wouldn’t be able to call him a good lead.

Bond’s worst moment might be near the end where he notices Grant ordering a drink combination that doesn’t make sense. Bond had already been suspicious from the start but he still allows Grant to put something in Tatiana’s drink. Bond calls him out on it and buys the very suspect explanation that it would be easier this way. The whole thing makes him look like a rookie. I thought he was also incredibly harsh with Tatiana during the interrogation in the car afterwards. If Bond was unlikable before that moment then he was really doomed after that.

I’ll throw out a quick mention to Rosa who had a lot of fighting spirit for an old lady. She certainly knew that returning to base with no results would be a bad idea of course so that was good thinking on her part. Her main mistake is that she definitely should have fired right away rather than waiting so long. That’s the mistake most villains make here. With the amount of people who get Bond at gunpoint you’ll definitely always be surprised to see him still alive.

The main issue with the film naturally is its over reliance on fanservice and having Bond have an affair with every female character he runs into. The film always includes a lot of romance only since Bond is constantly jumping to the next character we know that it’s not actually a true romance anyway. The opening credits for the film are fairly painful to get through as well as the film’s artistic style here is really just to sell more tickets with fanservice once again.

At least the movie has a good soundtrack though. The Bond theme never gets old no matter how many times they play it. It’s just classic and I’m up for as many remixes as they’ve got. The action scenes are fun when they happen as well. We even get a train backdrop for a good chunk of the film which works out quite nicely. A change of scenery is always a good idea. I’d also say the writing is solid for the most part. There’s a lot of good banter here and the film handles the light hearted action tone rather well. The movie doesn’t drag on and at close to 2 hours that’s fairly impressive.

Overall, From Russia With Love is a very classic Bond film. It’s got the usual spy adventures along with a number of mysteries and intrigue that Bond must sift through in order to get to the heart of the problem. He takes every single stop on the journey that can be had though and is never in a hurry. His number 1 ability here is really just having a lot of luck and also is fortunate that the villains decide to show him mercy so often. I’d recommend watching a movie like Jason Bourne or Mission Impossible if you want a film that focuses more on the stealth aspects though. They operate at a much higher level.

Overall 4/10

Dr. No Review


Can it be? Yes, James Bond is back in the running! It’s been many, many years since I saw the original James Bond film. Well before my reviewing days at the very least. Well, now was the chance to re-watch it. It does a good job of establishing Bond’s character and setting the franchise up but at the same time makes a whole lot of errors that remind me why I was never a big fan of the Bond movies. It was only very recently where I would say they were very good. This one for example I would have to give a thumbs down although I do maintain that Sean is still the definitive James Bond.

The James Bond films always start off with an opening montage of fanservice with a random song to let you know that you’ve arrived at the right film. It’s a great way to kick things off on a low note. Fortunately after that we get to the actual movie. It opens up with 3 crooks pretending to be blind so they head on over and murder someone. Meanwhile Bond was winning at the casino when he is called in by M-16 Intelligence. They tell him about the murder and he is being sent over to investigate this. Bond heads off and as soon as he arrives the villains make their first move by having a fake car at the ready. Bond dispatches the agent real quick which establishes him as a skilled agent who won’t be going down easily. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the murder though. Bond’s only hint is that it may involve someone by the name of Dr. No. Time to go and explore his secret island.

So Bond is shown to be a capable agent. The film tries to suggest that he is a brilliant one but I am not convinced. For starters there is one scene in this film where the villain gives him a cup of coffee…and he drinks it. He’s then surprised to find out that it was drugged. On another occasion he follows a suspect to a secluded area knowing it’s a trap and falls for it anyway. He’s lucky that the group he thought were villains turned out to be okay. There’s also the scene where his partner and him go to fight the dragon tank and Bond basically just gives up. You’d think since he took one eye out that he might as well continue at that point. He was close to winning too, but just missed way too many shots. I’d consider that to be another loss though. I think what’s going on here is that Bond has absolute confidence in himself to the point where you could say it is also a weakness. He will jump into any trap without hesitation because he believes he can best it. The problem is that this just isn’t the case. Bond is tough but will still lose against a gun or with sheer numbers just like anyone else. The fact that he can’t control his confidence is his biggest issue.

He has a lot of solid moments as well of course like when he devised a method to find out if anyone had been in his room. He handled the opening car scene rather well too. I also like how his theme music appears almost every time Bond is on screen. It’s a nice little addition there and if anything it’s something I miss from nowadays. I always like the classic approach of having a hero’s theme play when he is around. It helps give the scenes a whole lot of impact. No matter how many times the theme plays though, I doubt it would have helped me like Bond. At the end of the day he’s a big flirt who has affairs with everyone and constantly gets distracted from the mission. No matter how skilled he is, it means that he could have done a lot better without all of that going on. That’s the tragic part of all this.

On the whole I wasn’t a big fan of the soundtrack though. The main theme sounded like something out of Beetlejuice which kept playing on the island. It’s just not really my cup of tea so mainly the only theme that I liked was the classic Bond theme. I suppose in this case it would have to do. The writing was solid though with a lot of good one liners here and snappy dialogue. Bond in particular definitely knows how to go back and forth with the villain rather well. His dinner discussions with Dr. no was certainly interesting to watch. Of course, Bond quit being friendly once Dr. No had Honey taken away. So at that point he just tried to antagonize the guy.

We get 3 different ladies who appear at different points in the film to have an affair with Bond. It’s why no matter who the final heroine is you always know that it’s not going to last. Bond doesn’t even care if the lady is a villain so long as he gets to have his fun first and then admits that he knew all along. I wouldn’t say that any of the 3 are all that good. At least the first one has no shady dealings or anything so she’s about as legit as possible. The second one’s a foreign spy and Honey who serves as the main heroine was illegally trespassing on a private island. I suppose she needed the money and a villain owns the island so it sort of equals out in the end. She certainly gets a needlessly tragic backstory that could have been avoided if you ask me.

Dr. No makes for an imposing villain though. I forgot that the SPECTRE organization was referenced so early in the Bond films so that was nice to see. No definitely commands respect as well as shown by the fear he put in his subordinates just by talking. None of them are going to cross him anytime soon that’s for sure. His robotic hands also make him a bit of a difficult opponent as otherwise he wouldn’t be able to fight much.

There’s a good amount of tension here for sure and whenever Bond catches one of the villains that’s always fun. He certainly gets to show off his skills in hand to hand, espionage, shooting, and even at wit. If not for his overconfidence issues and distractions you can see how Bond would be a really good agent. In a way he’s a lot like this film. This movie would have been really solid without all the affairs, fanservice, and scenes that just don’t further the plot in any way. This would then be a really solid spy thriller but instead it holds itself back which has always been something that the series struggles with.

Overall, Dr. No is definitely one of those films where you can tell that it had a good budget and a lot of effort put behind it. The effects look really good considering how old the film is and the plot definitely works well. The movie has a nice balance between action and light hearted humor so it’s also the kind of flick that should reach a large audience. James Bond just isn’t a particularly likable main character. He’s charismatic and you’ll have a lot of fun with him at times but he could stand to be a little more focused when carrying out his job. You feel bad for his boss who always has to put up with this. Bond definitely gives that guy a hard time. I’ll be reviewing the second film pretty soon so we’ll see if Bond does better in the second film or if it’s all over for him.

Overall 4/10

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