The Punisher Review

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

While the Punisher probably wasn’t a huge name back in the day, I want to say that most people know him at this point. The Netflix show certainly helped to spread his name around and in general he has been a consistent character in the Marvel universe who is always showing up in various places. Naturally you expect him to be someone who doesn’t take any prisoners and this film goes that route although he tries to make the case that it isn’t revenge. I would say that it’s a little better than I expected it would be, but ultimately I still wouldn’t call it a good movie.

The movie starts off with Frank Castle and his men busting up another villain operation. It went pretty smoothly except one of the villains wasn’t too smart with how he was waving his gun around and got taken out of the picture. His mother wanted revenge and so the villains murder Frank Castle’s whole family with him being the only survivor. He now wants to punish these guys because it’s clear that the police aren’t going to do anything about it. The gang is virtually untouchable so that’s when it is time to turn to the vigilante side.

Part of why the Punisher is always such an interesting character is because you often see people wishing that the heroes could just go all out and destroy the villains. There are tons of what ifs that explore this and really specific scenarios that practically force heroes to murder people sometimes so you can see there is always a general interest. Well, the Punisher is the perfect character to use for that and so of course he ends up being a bit of a villain by the end usually since he goes around murdering everyone without due process. He is fully outside of the law and he knows it, but at least since he only goes after villains it still makes it easy to root for the guy.

I thought the whole scene of his family getting murdered was handled rather tastefully here. It wasn’t as gritty as it could have been and at least you don’t actually see them getting run over. So you get the general gist of what’s going on here without any unnecessary details and grit. It all had a good amount of restraint. That’s not to say that the whole movie follows that though. For the most part it tends to avoid being too edgy but then it just can’t help itself at other times.

The whole torture scene where they try to break one of Frank’s neighbors was a bit too much. The guy doesn’t talk and stays strong the whole time but the scene goes on too long and torture scenes never end up being all that good for a movie. Big kudos to that guy for staying strong and all but that’s a big scene that I would have removed. I’m glad that at least the Punisher wasn’t going around torturing people. There was an early scene that got me nervous but fortunately it ended up being a big cop-out in the end. Now that was a scene I could get behind.

In general Frank’s a really solid main character. He certainly isn’t going to allow any of the villains to get away with anything and sticks up for the innocent. That’s his whole thing after all so in a lot of ways he’s like a lethal Batman. This is his origin story so it’s not like he’s patrolling the city or anything but he does take down quite a few villains along the way. By the end of the movie I’d say that his kill count is rather high. Most of them are in self defense though.

It was nice to see that his father was also a very decent fighter and the guy even shot a few of the villains. Ultimately he was doomed but at least he wasn’t alone. Frank also meets 3 neighbors who do their best to help out. You have Joan who sort of ties the group together. I thought she could be more subtle in trying to have a romance with Frank though considering that she knows what just happened to him. It would have been really odd if he had just rebounded from losing his wife like that. Bumpo gets the comic relief role for the most part and he’s really just in awe to have a neighbor like the Punisher.

Spacker would also be a comic relief character except I have to bump him up for standing up to the guy who was attacking Joan and then staying strong while he was tortured. He gets fairly big points for that without a doubt. Then we have Otto who ends up helping Frank out since he doesn’t want to die. He’s a traitor to every side and only serves his own interests. The guy is another comedy type character who is lucky that things don’t go very badly for him. The guy is often in sticky situations and I don’t think he even realizes it sometimes.

Saint is the main villain here and he’s your classic gangster type. Part of why he didn’t leave much of an impression on me is because he gets manipulated throughout the entire film. He may play the role of being the big villain but when you’re getting suckered the whole time it isn’t a good look. Murdering Frank’s family wasn’t even his idea, that was all his wife’s doing. So the biggest event in the film wasn’t because of him and then he makes Frank’s job easier by turning on his own people.

Sure, to an extent he still had an intimidating aura but ultimately he wasn’t the guy who could close the deal. His subordinates weren’t even better. One villain is super sketchy to the point where it’s easy for the heroes to blackmail him. Seriously that guy barely took any time to compromise and the wife had the same schedule every week for years so that made it easy for Frank too. This villain group just wasn’t up to snuff and was doomed from the start.

The cops in this film seemed a bit on the corrupt side with how they wouldn’t actually help Frank against the gang. It definitely had to be disappointing for him since you would expect to have some kind of back-up for a mission like this. Instead it just wasn’t to be. I could see a sequel going into that more if this film had ever gotten one. As an origin story you want to set up a lot of plot threads but not to go into them too much and this film did a good job with it. I also like how Punisher just goes home every day after his missions. I do think it’s reasonable that you could do that safely since a lot of people wouldn’t recognize him yet and the ones that do would know better than to mess with him. So it’s a win/win situation on that end.

Overall, It’s interesting to call this film grim since it’s also very comedic at the same time. There’s one particularly long fight that is rather intense but thanks to the music and everything it’s also partially played for laughs. Even then I don’t see how the Punisher was able to get up after getting his head slammed by the fridge multiple times though. That was a bit of a stretch. So the film usually has a dark vibe to it like with the Punisher always drinking and the villains showing their influence but then you also get these random happy moments. I don’t think the idea is bad itself but it didn’t work out very well here. Really if you cut the torture scene that would help a lot but ultimately this isn’t a film where you’ll have a lot of fun. You’re better off giving it a pass and watching Spider-Man instead.

Overall 4/10

Toys in the Attic Review

This film doesn’t actually have a bunch of toys running around so if you thought that was going to happen then you can dispel that notion right now. It’s definitely a rather serious drama film with a bunch of characters making the wrong decisions all the time. The ending isn’t very satisfying and so while this movie could have ended up being good otherwise, it wasn’t quite able to make it across the finish line.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Carrie and Anna who have received word that their brother Julian is heading home along with his wife Lily. They are a bit concerned since Julian only ever seems to come home when he is in serious financial troubles. Carrie seems to almost be happy about this though while Anna figures she’ll play it by ear and see what happens. Well, Julian seems to be rich somehow as he starts spending a ton of money and getting them all kinds of new things. He is rather dodgy about how he got this money too. Should the sisters be concerned or maybe this is actually a good thing?

It’s no surprise that the characters are concerned with the amount of money that Julian has. After all even his wife Lily doesn’t know anything about it, but she has her own suspicions. Her parents are rich and so she has had this feeling in the back of her mind that Julian only married her because her parents paid him off. This feeling now starts to get a lot more serious with how much money he has. Her lack of self confidence really gets her into a lot of trouble time and time again. Ultimately you have to press on and believe in yourself because if you don’t then other characters will take advantage.

As a result I can’t say that I liked Lily. She was portrayed as not being very smart and this backfired on her several times. If she had just thought things through then it would have helped out a lot. Meanwhile I didn’t care for Julian much either. There are so many ways he could have made the situation easier on everybody. For example, letting Lily know what he was up to would have been a whole lot better than constantly holding secrets. If he felt that he couldn’t trust her then that’s a massive issue since you have to be able to trust your wife.

I also thought he was out of bounds in getting his sisters fired since he didn’t want them to work anymore. That’s absolutely their choice and it should remain that way. Even I thought Julian was going to be the big villain here for a while because of how he was acting. The guy just didn’t think anything through and when you mix that in with the suspicious circumstances of becoming rich then it’s hard not to connect the dots.

Carrie is a pretty bad character all the way through too. She really wants Julian to be dependent on her to the point where she is basically rooting for him to fail at every turn. No matter how you slice it, that’s not something that a truly supportive person would think. We also find out that she is rather twisted and crazy by the end of the film with her warped desires and so there’s no way to like her. She is just around to get in everyone’s way the whole time.

While most may like Anna as the more reasonable character, I didn’t care for her either. The big tipping point for me is how she is not brave enough to take a stand near the end. She knows the truth of a certain incident and then opts not to make a single move. Fortunately one character figures it out at the end but she was just going to stay silent all the way through to the ending. I thought that was very regrettable because someone was almost let off scot free. Now that would have been a true tragedy and it’s hard to just let a scene like that go.

In a way that means I didn’t really like any of the characters here. Well, I liked some of the supporting characters. Lily’s parents seemed reasonable. You could tell they meant well even if they weren’t very great at explaining their feelings. It seems clear that they just aren’t used to having to discuss things and explain what they mean since they’re so rich. At the very least they tried setting Lily straight but ultimately they weren’t convincing enough for her.

For the most part this is a very mild mannered slice of life kind of drama but there is one surprisingly violent scene near the end. The stakes definitely rose quite a bit in an instant and the whole thing is rather tragic. You’d almost think this turned into a different film for a minute there. The actual act itself isn’t surprising as the heroes were worried about a gang leader for a while but you just figure it’s not going to happen or it’ll be more of an off screen moment. It makes things all the more annoying with how passive some of the characters were.

While the ending tries to go for a satisfying conclusion where everyone has a good ending, I feel like it’s a little too late. It’s definitely not going to be a very happy ending no matter how it plays out. It could certainly have been worse for them no doubt and they’ll be grateful to get this far but it just wasn’t the ending I had in mind. The film in general wasn’t nearly as good as it could have been. The writing is good and some of the story ideas are interesting but the villain gets away with way too much. The villain’s motivation is also extremely weak and I’d take almost any other motivation over that one.

Overall, Toys in the Attic is not a film that I would recommend. To be a good film you really need at least one likable character but all of the main characters had big character faults that hold them back. Julian at least could have been a good character but he handled the situation poorly at almost every step of the way. The film doesn’t go into this but once we learn how he got all of this money, it makes him look even worse. He really should not be flaunting it everywhere and acting like he’s super rich since evidently that would put someone else in big trouble. It’s definitely a good reminder to be careful on how you act once you become rich all of a sudden.

Overall 4/10

Interstellar Review

Interstellar is a movie that feels a whole lot like the 2001 Space Odyssey. It’s going for that super drawn out feel where you have a lot of nice visuals to look at but you can go a while without actually having any plot developments. I thought it had an interesting start but really started fading from there. Chop off about an hour or so and I think you’re looking at a better movie but either way I would say to give this one a skip. It’s just not going to be the winning sci-fi film for you.

The movie takes place in the future where things are rather dire now. There isn’t a whole lot of food left and so farmers are super important. Cooper works as a farmer but he was hoping for something better for his kids. Unfortunately the school seems to be rigging it so the family will all have to be farmers. Cooper isn’t thrilled about that and then one day he and his daughter Murph end up wandering onto a super secret government base. The officials explain that they are looking into two plans to save humanity since the plants are eventually going to die and the planet is nearly done for.

One plan is to find a suitable planet and have some people land there and repopulate the planet. The other one is to make use of mysterious wormholes that have appeared recently which can be used to get most of humanity across. Both options will be difficult but Cooper agrees to help since it is the only way that his family will be okay. He gets on the ship and prepares for a voyage the likes of which he has never seen before. Unfortunately for him it’ll be a much more difficult voyage than he ever could have guessed.

Now here are the good parts of the film. For starters I like space and the whole sci-fi angle of taking place in the future is fun. I enjoyed the first act as we see what the planet is like and how the heroes bust into the base and start thinking about the future. At this point it felt like this was still going to be a very solid, traditional sci-fi film. I can tell you that I was fairly excited at all of this.

I would say the cracks first began to show once they made it to the first planet. So it turns out that time is different here so one hour is a whole day and it only gets more drastic the further you get. So one of the dilemmas here is that Cooper could end up throwing his life away pretty much by going to these planets. There won’t be much to save if he ends up taking too long. It’s a high intensity situation so you don’t want to blame anyone per say but one character hesitates quite a bit and she ends up putting the others in danger. If you miss your evacuation point then you’re really sunk since that puts you off by a few days in real time and that’s much longer with how the time portal is working. So that was definitely tragic.

The film definitely goes for a very emotional vibe here as the years tick by and Cooper starts listening to recordings from the kids. The recordings are still able to go through but in a way he sacrificed anything including the chance to be with his children. They just had to go on without him and that fuels some resentment on their side. It’s rare to see a plan just completely fail on the hero’s side like this but sure enough, Connor just had to live with the regret of al this. I think if he could have changed it so he never left then he absolutely would have. In a way he tried to do just that by warning Murph in the past but that didn’t really work so well.

Time basically works in a loop of sorts here so you can sort of see the past and interact a bit but you can’t do much more than be a ghost. I thought there were a lot of very interesting ideas to see here and it does nail the sci-fi elements. Again, the only reason this film didn’t do better is because it’s so incredibly drawn out. The movie’s biggest failing is simply that it’s boring. There is 0 replay value here. You won’t be laughing or smiling as the film goes on and while the ideas are interesting, they’re not going to hold the film up for very long. You need good ideas and solid execution.

When Interstellar remembers that it’s an active movie then it gets more interesting again. For example I did enjoy one of the characters who shows up to add a little danger to the mix. It makes sense that being on your own could turn you a little batty and I thought that whole part was pretty interesting. That character may not have looked very good with how he cracked and all but it actually gave the film a sense of danger.

Then you also have a twist involving the old man’s plans which I thought was really solid. It definitely hits hard and makes the whole thing even more tragic. While the effects can be drawn out, I did think that the planets looked good. So there really is a lot to like here. The writing is good and the visuals are nice. I can’t say that I remember any of the tunes in particular but I feel like they were pretty decent tooo.

Cooper is a decent main character too. He’s taking all of these risks and going on this journey to protect his kids. It’s a great motivation and it’s clearly not something that he wanted to do otherwise. He does his best in every scene and so you do like the guy. He was a solid pick as the main character. The rest of the crew ranged from choking under pressure to being decent. The android was the best character though. I liked how he could talk very tough and at the end of the day he would come in handy. His strategy of being mostly honest also ended up being effective at several times in the film.

There’s not a whole lot more to say without talking myself into circles. I do think if you cut out about an hour of reaction shots and just looking off into the stars that this would be a pretty good movie. I dare say you could see a jump of 3 full stars otherwise. Because the story really isn’t bad and the characters are good. I liked the writing and there is a lot going on here. The twists land well so everything is in place except for it just being too drawn out and boring. You never want to get bored while watching a movie and so that’s a huge blemish against the experience. For example, I would never be tempted to watch this again and would actively avoid it. That’s why I can safely say this is not a good title.

Overall, Interstellar is one of the more tragic films because you can really see how it could have been good. In that respect it is still leagues ahead of 2001: A Space Odyssey because that film never had the same level of potential. That one was doomed from the start while this one was actually fairly close. Maybe a sequel would win but I get the feeling that the odds of this film even getting a sequel are slim to none. It just doesn’t feel like that kind of movie, but you never know I suppose.

Overall 4/10

Paris Blues Review

Paris Blues is one of those films that is very dramatic the whole time with each character really making the wrong moves here. Be careful who you choose to go out with because it could come back to bite you. That’s the lesson that the characters here desperately needed to learn. It would have made them all quite a bit happier in the end. I wouldn’t say the movie succeeds because I didn’t really care for most of the cast but you do get some fairly decent tunes to listen to which is always important.

The movie starts with Connie and Lillian arriving in France for their big trip. They only plan to stay here for a few weeks but they know that it’s going to be a magical place. A guy named Ram shows up to flirt with Connie immediately who is less than impressed. Unfortunately her friend Lillian insists that they go check out the guy’s little band setup in the cafe. So they go and Lillian is desperate for a relationship and goes after Ram the whole time. Meanwhile Ram’s partner Eddie ends up falling for Connie and so they start to get close. I guess that wraps up the film right? We’ve got the two pairings and everything’s going just swell.

Well, that’s not exactly how it plays out. For starters, Ram seems seems to like Connie more initially and doesn’t really give Lillian a second chance but ultimately goes with her because he wants to be with someone. The whole time Ram keeps letting her know that this won’t be serious though and it’s just a fling but she wants to change his mind on that. Meanwhile Eddie and Connie take it slow here. The dilemma in this pairing is that Eddie wants to stay in France. The people treat him well and he has a successful gig going as a musician. Unfortunately Connie wants to go back to America so they can help to change the world socially. At the time there was still a lot of racial division and Eddie just doesn’t want to have to go back to that. Defending himself left and right and having to prove himself each time while apparently that’s not an issue here in Paris.

So there are our two conflicts here and they stretch for the entirety of the movie. In both cases I’ve definitely got my stance here. With Eddie, I think he should stay in Paris. If Connie is ready to make this serious then she should definitely be sticking with him. He’s got his whole life here and would need to make serious changes to adapt to America. Connie certainly wants to change the world but I’d say it would have to come at the expense of losing Eddie. The advantages don’t outweigh the risks here. It’s relatively easier for her to talk tough about this when he’s the one who is going to have to get out there and try to get a whole new setup.

The romance definitely felt doomed here. Then you have Ram and Lillian. Well, I think Lillian shouldn’t even be trying for this guy so hard. Ram’s been a free spirit who messes around a lot from the start and even told her that he didn’t want to get serious. Then on Ram’s side, Lillian keeps throwing herself at him to the point where it seems a little suspicious. Perhaps she isn’t doing well financially and needs someone to support her? It would be hard not to start thinking that a bit since Ram even made it clear that he was not interested in her several times. So when she ignores that and keeps after him, it feels more suspicious than endearing.

Ultimately Ram doesn’t seem like the type who will ultimately commit to anyone. Music is his passion and he will stay true to that but that’s where the buck stops. Beyond that you have to decide if this could ever work and I don’t think that it could. He’s only just barely gotten over being with someone else so that shows how quickly he changes and moves on to the next thing.

I didn’t care for the guy as one of the main characters. He’s never portrayed as being all that likable. At best you just feel sympathetic when he is being shot down as the guy tries to get his music published. Then you have Lillian and I didn’t like her mainly because of how desperate she was the whole time. Like Ram she seems like someone who plays the field and again I don’t see how this would end up working very well.

Eddie and Connie are more likable than the first pair. Part of the problem is really just that Connie wants him to come to her side. I dare say that he has more to lose than she does so she should have stayed. Hopefully she does well in her quest to make the world a better place though. Then Eddie’s a fun character and someone who stays classy. He isn’t always thrilled at Connie’s conversations but still answers her questions and keeps things as civilized as possible. He helps to keep Ram grounded when that guy’s getting to be a bit much and he also takes things slower. You don’t see him just jumping into bed the way that Ram does.

Paris definitely looks really nice throughout the film and I’d say it did a good job with the location sets. The place is quite big and the heroes take in the sights. We also get to see how their music gig really works and it reminds you that they are not always in the best of company though. Everyone here seems to be a bit down on their luck or a little desperate. The lady Ram has a relationship with seems a bit too open to the fact that he is messing around all over the place so I wouldn’t have been able to root for them anyway. Then you have the one guy who is addicted to drugs and can’t break out of it.

The characters certainly had their share of issues. Mainly we just see what Ram and Eddie have to deal with but that’s because the others are on vacation so we don’t really see into their lives. That’s another thing to consider, the main guys really don’t know a whole lot about the girls as a result. They can only guess but the whole thing is too fast for this to be a true relationship. The girls have only been here for less than 2 weeks as it is. You probably just shouldn’t be starting a relationship while you’re on vacation. The odds of it working out successfully seems really slim to me.

Overall, Paris Blues is a film about two doomed romances where the characters are just never on the same page. While Eddie’s a good guy, Ram is hard to root for right from the start. He also plays a really big role in why the ending is the way that it is. Ram was just never going to work things out and in the process he may have stopped the rest too. He did make it clear from the start that music was his only priority but then he should have stuck with that all the way through instead of waffling. The movie’s fairly serious and could have used a little humor to it in the end. I think that would have only served to have helped the dynamic a bit. All in al, you can do better with romance films and you can do better with dramas. This one won’t end up being very satisfying and I think it could have used some more music to take the film to the next level. Focus on the goal and give us some competitions or challenges that Ram has to overcome. Maybe that could have helped him be a decent character.

Overall 4/10

Vacancy Review

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

It’s definitely a common trend that in a horror film you have to make it so that nobody is likable. This movie follows that formula to a T but of course that also ends up being a bit of a weakness when you think about it. If you threw in a bunch of really good characters here then ultimately that would only serve to enhance the movie right? Vacancy is an interesting idea and while the execution may not have quite fit the bill, it does stand out a bit from the average horror title.

The movie starts off with David and Amy on a long drive. Unfortunately they’re lost at this point. David doesn’t think that they are but Amy is convinced of it. Then their car seemingly gets damaged when they have to make a sharp turn to avoid a raccoon. David made the right choice in dodging it but Amy gets on his case about the whole thing. She is certainly shown to not be particularly compassionate here. She keeps on heckling David until they finally manage to stop at a motel. The only thing is, they’re now surrounded by a few crazy assailants and they’re in the middle of nowhere. Amy dropped her phone outside and they parked the car a few miles away from the motel. Can they possibly escape this predicament?

The first chunk here is really to set up how the characters are absolutely getting themselves into a bad situation and unfortunately a lot of that really falls squarely on Amy. She gives absolutely no supportive effort to all of this and just takes shot after shot despite being the one who was sleeping for a while. Deciding to cut an apple while in a moving car just seems reckless as well and naturally she gets cut. The film really goes out of its way to make her as annoying and unlikable as possible.

So by the time she drops her phone outside you almost end up blaming her for that completely whereas otherwise you might have cut her some slack. It’s definitely convenient not to have the phone. Granted, I like to think the villains have a jammer somewhere but otherwise the two main characters could have just run into the forest and it would have been a decent idea since they could call the cops and have them track the GPS. Otherwise going into the forest is too risky since they could be lost forever. Still preferable to this situation I have to imagine though.

David’s a much better character from the start as he has a decent attitude about this. He’s trying to stay calm and confident despite being extremely tired since he’s effectively been up all night. Additionally David is the first one to realize that something isn’t right with this Motel and figures out the danger before it’s too late. Things could have gone a lot worse otherwise. He’s usually the one thinking up the plans here and making a move. They make a break for it several times as well although it tends to fail.

Personally I think the best chance would still be to just bolt through the front doors. Perhaps they can catch you and perhaps not but either way it’s a better area to defend yourself with than being trapped in your motel room where they can show up at any time. The tapes in the room give the main characters some prep time on how to handle themselves. I wonder if the tapes were left there intentionally to scare the main characters or if they just forgot. I could easily believe either option tbh. still, the characters didn’t make awful decisions for the most part at least. The most iffy move was when they decided to split up so that David would go to the phone booth while Amy tried the window though. I didn’t think that was a plan that really had any kind of chance.

Also, you should never under any circumstances split up in this kind of adventure. If the villains were to fun to the house and lock the door then you’ve just left Amy trapped in with the villains. It could backfire really badly. The heroes definitely go through a lot here though. There’s even a tunnel underneath the house that has a ton of rats everywhere. Fortunately they don’t bite but it’s definitely something to imagine that the villains have to go through that every time. I guess they definitely don’t back down from those kind of dangers.

The main villain of the bunch if Mason and he’s certainly not great at being subtle. He was playing a tape with a lot of screaming initially and didn’t even hear the main characters enter. So he potentially almost lose 2 victims without even knowing about it. That doesn’t speak very well of him as a villain mastermind at all. By the end he’s your classic horror villain just yelling all over the place. I can’t say I was a fan or that he’s particularly memorable.

Vacancy has a solid ending to be sure but I thought it lost out on one potential jump scare. See, there’s one villain who I was expecting to have one last moment because the way he was hit didn’t seem all that serious to me. I was expecting him to appear as a “Gotcha!” moment but he never did so I have to assume that he was taken out. If so, I definitely did not see that coming but props to the heroes for doing a thorough job.

The movie isn’t quite as violent as your average horror title. The violence tends to be more implied or out of view like when the characters are watching the tapes. That’s always the better way of doing it than having this onscreen if you have to have that violence included in some way. The villains are all definitely mega psychos either way though and this is one motel that you definitely don’t want to have to enter. This may remind David to actually take a look when someone is messing with the car next time. Probably not too smart to let someone under the hood with no supervision right?

The most forced scene though is when a cop shows up. Yeah, I like that the cop quickly went on high alert and was ready for action but the way they take him out of the picture just makes no sense. Seriously he’s got a gun. The characters need to know that he’s their best chance so keep a close lookout. The cop also should have been paying attention since he knows that he’s deep in enemy territory. We get the obligatory “Villain teleports” kind of scene but I wasn’t buying it for a second. No way you are taken by surprise when you already know that the villains are packing weapons and are right around the bend. It’s just not going to happen.

If I were to question another move, it would be how Amy leaves her spot so quickly. If I were her at that point I would be staying up there for as long as I could without food and drink to buy time for a proper escape moment. It turned out well that she left sooner but she couldn’t have possibly known that so it just ended up being a fortunate coincidence for her that almost went south.

Overall, Vacancy effectively shows how spooky it can be to be trapped in a motel room with everyone out to get you. Also if you have super bad luck so this could all be possible. There are only 3 villains but the heroes have no way of knowing where they are at any point so they have to be careful when making a move. That said, the film goes a little too far in making the main heroine look mean and unlikable. I would say to make her better and downgrade David a bit if you want a balance (Don’t make them both awful) but you could have easily made her a little more reasonable and they still get stuck in the motel. That would have helped quite a bit because their dialogue doesn’t help matters. I wouldn’t particularly recommend this one. You can really guess all of the story beats as they come and the core story isn’t strong enough to get past that.

Overall 4/10

Regarding Henry Review

Regarding Henry is one of those amnesia films where you can’t help but wish that we could have seen more of him from before the injury. I liked his confidence and it seems like he was doing quite well for himself. After the injury he really has to change and come to terms with his life and how he can turn things around. The movie is suitably emotional but one that has a few too many twists within it that end up hurting the film as a whole.

The movie starts with Henry dominating in the court room as per usual. He is able to help defeat one guy who was suing the hospital because the guy couldn’t find the proof. Henry uses every tactic in the book including an emotional appeal and wins without a hitch. His life seems perfect even if his kid Rachel isn’t great with boundaries yet and seemingly broke something again. His family relationships aren’t great but at least he’s rich. Well, things take a turn for the worse when he walks into a store and gets shot by someone during a hold-up. He has now lost his memories and can barely function to the point where he will have to learn how to walk again. Will he be able to do this and can he be close to his family again?

It always seems to be tough to be rich and be a family man in these films. It’s only once the guy gets amnesia and is stuck home for a while that he is able to reconnect with everyone. That’s certainly the case with Henry here at least. Well, it’s always a good message to reconnect with family but I do wish that he would end up getting his confidence back. Even by the end of the film it doesn’t seem like he will be as confident as he used to be which is a shame. He’s a lot more timid now. Of course Henry is also a much better person so the change is worth it. Maybe he’ll develop that confidence again later on.

The movie really has two halves which is the recuperation period at the hospital and then getting back into his normal life again. The first half goes by pretty quickly and he has a really great therapist in Bradley. I’m not sure what Bradley’s official title is but he makes that that Henry is rehabilitating well and that everything proceeds without issue. Bradley was there for Henry during the tough times and gave good advice throughout. He’s definitely the kind of guy you want to have taking care of you since he puts his heart into it and it’s not just a job.

In the second half is where you have more of the drama. Sarah is having a particularly tough time of things with trying to keep them from losing their house or going bankrupt. She’s a bit stressed out about everything and Rachel has her school she is supposed to be heading off for and isn’t exactly thrilled about that. I’d say the second half is where the the film starts to show its flaws. It just has 1-2 too many plot twists by the end which severely hurt the characters. It adds a little more drama but I’d say these scenes just should have never happened.

First we can talk about Henry. Like I said, his original version is definitely a jerk and not someone who’s very nice to be around. Well okay, that’s pretty common but at least it’s not awful right? Well, we find out that he was also cheating on Sarah and that’s when things went a bit too far for Henry. You can’t root for him after that and it makes him a complete sleazeball. It reminds me of when Tohma got amnesia in Index and thought his old self was a jerk due to some miscommunications. Well, in Henry’s case he really is that bad and it’s a bad look for him.

Then we’ve also got Sarah who has been doing some cheating as well. Now both characters are completely morally compromised so that none of them are likable. The film should have left well enough alone and they could have been a good pair of characters. Now it’s just too tough to go back and root for them. The film should have avoided the extra drama here. Rachel’s okay at best and since she’s a kid it’s not like you have to worry about much of anything with drama for her but she wasn’t always the nicest character so I wouldn’t say that I liked her much either.

All in all that means there weren’t very many characters that I did like here. Henry’s best friend at work is the guy who Sarah was cheating on him with so that makes that guy a complete phony. The only other reasonable character beyond Bradley would be Henry’s boss. The film kept hinting that this guy couldn’t be trusted but he actually seemed rather decent the whole time. At the very least he did keep Henry employed even when the guy couldn’t really help much at all. The boss is corrupt but apparently everyone in the business was.

I do question how Henry would be brought back into his old position so quickly though. After the amnesia there is no way he could have possibly performed any of the work at the job. Especially not a position where you’re reading through law and have to make snap decisions. I think it would have made more sense if Henry was brought back on paid sick leave or something so he was still at home. Of course it’s nice that he was brought back in right away but he could barely even talk at that point in time. So it just didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

The most memorable scene in the film has to be the moment when Henry is shot though. He walks into the store while it’s being robbed and I would say Henry made a lot of the right moves at first. He was calm and tried to act normal but his big mistake was insisting on finishing his purchase instead of just walking out. Leaving is absolutely what he should have done instead of pleading his case. Seriously if a guy with a gun tells you to leave your best bet is to do just that and then you can call the cops or hide behind the door and jump him as he leaves. Either way, there’s not much benefit to trying to debate with the criminal at that point. There’s no way he’s going to listen to you, especially while he’s amped up like this.

Overall, Regarding Henry is an emotional title but I really think the film should have kept Henry and Sarah as being more likable characters. Having them both be compromised by really bad decisions which will impact their lives forever was not a good idea. At least Henry doesn’t remember this happening so it’ll feel like a different person, but Sarah always will. It just feels like this moment had no real point in the story except to add a little more drama that is wrapped up very quickly as it is. The romance wasn’t very good here already and this didn’t help. You can do better if you’re looking for an emotional kind of experience but all in all the ending is fairly happy so you won’t end off on a low note.

Overall 4/10

Repeat Performance Review

Repeat Performance involves time travel which is always hype. That said, throughout the film you are questioning the point of even trying to have a do-over. You’ll see what I mean when I talk about the plot but it feels like the main heroine absolutely ruined her second chance since she didn’t get to do anything with it. If she could have one more do-over I bet she would take it. This time she could really change things.

The movie starts off with Sheila destroying her husband and heading downstairs to try and explain to her friends how dreadful the situation is. She wishes that she could do this over again. Fortunately she has the right day as the year turns into the next one as New Year’s wraps up. This allows her to wrap back one full year. This time she can have things play out differently so she doesn’t shoot her husband in the end. Will she be able to defy “Destiny” or is this going to be game over for her?

We learn more about why she shot the husband as this goes on. See, her husband is a guy named Barney who is an alcoholic and he seems determined to cheat on Sheila with someone. Enter Paula. She’s a rich neighbor/writer who seduces Barney in every timeline. Although it’s less her seducing him and more like he fell for her instantly. Sheila shot him in the old timeline after this happened so she figures she will keep them from meeting this time around. That proves difficult though and even going to another state doesn’t stop Barney. What else can she do?

Well if you ask me the first step would have been to have parted ways with the guy. Barney is introduced as a terrible character right from the jump. It’s not like he’s a good character who slowly got corrupted. He is drinking himself drunk immediately as the film starts. He doesn’t seem to love Sheila at all and loses his temper with her several times. There is absolutely no reason to stay with him, particularly when they go to another state and all he can talk about is beer and girls. He makes no attempt to hang out with Sheila or try to enjoy himself. So throughout the movie he is doing his best to cheat on her and we have to root for Sheila to win him over?

That’s a bit backwards if you ask me. Sheila should have used the year to just get away from him. Now we don’t know exactly how things played out in the original timeline but we can assume that he was the same kind of guy. So it’s not like he was ever likable and so Sheila needed to cut him out of her life. It can be annoying seeing her try to please him the whole time while he just couldn’t care less about her. He’s just an awful character.

Sheila also looks bad in not planning things out well for the end of the day though. Considering her knowledge of the future, she should have been anywhere but in her room at midnight. When you know how things will play out, it’s absolutely awful for you to put yourself in the same exact situation. The film uses this as an excuse to say that it’s all destiny and there’s no escape but I don’t buy into that. In any universe where time travel is possible, I take that to mean that you can change the future. The two elements go hand in hand after all.

Sheila has a few good friends at least. John does his best to take Sheila’s side and try to keep Barney out of it. He doesn’t like Barney and with good reason but unfortunately there is only so much he can do. Unless Sheila turns Barney away, he will always be the last person she sees and the first one that Sheila talks too. You can’t really stop his influence entirely on your own. Likewise, William’s another good friend who has Sheila’s back. He really does his best to protect her when needed and he has the best final scene in the film. The guy really did well and is an example of a character who used his knowledge of the timelines well. That’s the kind of guy you want to have in your corner.

So the premise of the film is interesting and I liked the script. The characters all have a distinguished way of speaking as you would expect in the old days. Most of the characters are interesting and I was glad that Sheila at least has some friends that she can count on. The main issue here comes down to the fact that the romance is toxic from the start though. You can’t root for Sheila to succeed because under no circumstances do you want the two of them to be together again. Barney just isn’t a good fit for her or for anyone really as he just rebounds and goes after any girl he can. The guy’s not trust worthy at all and has a bad attitude from the start.

Overall, this plot ends up hurting the whole film because it is the entire purpose of the journey. It’s hard to root for a main character when their goal’s no good and that’s exactly the case here. If only Barney could have at least been a decent guy who just slowly got worse and worse each time. At least then you could see why Sheila was fighting for him so hard. In the end I also didn’t agree with the film on how time could not be changes. Make no mistake, if you can travel through time then it can all be changes because nothing can stop you from putting things on a new path. It really comes down to the character making big mistakes if everything ends up playing out in the same way. For example I still can’t defend Sheila going back to her room when she knew what was about to happen. I’d like to see a sequel of this where she gets one more chance to change things. It would just be fun to see her take a more drastic approach to all of this as she ditched Barney. If you want to check out an old school romance, you could do a lot better than this film.

Overall 4/10

Cactus Flower Review

Cactus Flower is one of those movies where the main character really creates all of the trouble for himself. He’s not in the wrong place at the wrong time or anything like that. It’s his lies that turn a molehill into a mountain so it’s hard to feel bad for him at any point in the film. I don’t think the romance works very well and while some scenes are funny, others are not. There are more misses than things that work well in this film so ultimately I have to give it the thumbs down.

The movie starts with a girl named Toni deciding to commit suicide but she is rescued by Igor who decides to have a little fling with her in the process. Toni doesn’t seem to mind all that much and explains that she has decided to remove herself from the picture in the cheating affair she had with Julian. Julian receives her suicide note though and dashes over to see her. He convinces her that his wife doesn’t mind the affair and has even given her consent for a divorce. Toni finds this hard to believe and wants to meet this wife. Here’s the issue…Julian doesn’t have a wife. He decides he will have to get his dental assistant Stephanie to play the part but she isn’t thrilled about doing so. Is all of this really worth it to keep the relationship with Toni? Toni’s neighbor Igor is also suspicious of what’s going on and decides to step in.

This film starts to play out like a soap opera after a while with how complicated the circles are. Julian’s reason for lying to Toni about having a wife in the first place makes him look pretty bad too. Basically he told her that so that he wouldn’t have to marry her and they could just have the friends with benefits routine. Toni didn’t mind at first but clearly this got to her later on as you can tell from the opening scene. At this point Julian should have confessed but a big part of Toni’s character is that she doesn’t like liars so Julian chickens out yet again. The guy never really gets good at the whole honesty thing even through to the end. So you definitely don’t want to wind up with that guy.

So Toni likes Julian, Igor likes Toni, Stephanie likes Julian, and Julian likes Toni. Throw in a few supporting characters who will go out with any girl and you’ve got a regular circus going on here. Everyone’s certainly desperate for romance here except for Stephanie who tries to stay strong but 5 seconds into the movie and you probably know how this will play out. The romance angle is just very weak here and there is no relationship that you are rooting for.

Lets turn our attention to Stephanie for a second here who probably has the toughest ordeals in the movie. She has performed really well as an assistant for many years and has never failed in any tasks. It’s really a credit to her skills and she has a good home life. Well, one day Julian makes this crazy request for her to pretend to be his wife and she should have stuck to her guns and said no. By joining in she is basically lying herself and these things tend to come back to haunt her. Having to go on a fake date with Julian’s awful friend was another shot to her reputation and dignity. By the end of the film Stephanie basically cracks as she decides to have a wild night hanging out with a dicey crowd. Julian drove her to this so you don’t want to see them together in the end.

While Julian isn’t honest, you don’t like Toni either because she is having a relationship with the guy while she thinks he is married. No way you can get behind that. Even if Toni starts to feel guilty later on, it’s just too late. Her demands get more and more unreasonable though like after she meets Stephanie then she wants to meet the new boyfriend and things like that. All the while she seems like someone who will cheat on Julian without a second thought. Julian is correct to be suspicious of the next door neighbor Igor, that’s for sure. Toni is just way too annoying to be likable.

Then you have Igor who isn’t great either. I give him some more points than the others since he did save Toni’s life and tries to be a decent guy but his romance plot isn’t great either. He tries to look out for Toni but doesn’t exactly confess at any point and if anything makes her jealous by hanging out with Stephanie. He does get some of the best lines in the film though so by default I would consider him to be the best character here. It’s really not saying much but I like the confidence he has in his writing. He wants to write plays that are dignified and don’t rely on fanservice. It’s a good goal and hopefully he can achieve it.

There are some side characters but they’re all pretty bad like Julian’s friend who wants to have an affair with everyone and the one guy who’s always going after Stephanie even though he is married. I suppose you see some real characters while working at the Dentist. I’ve just seen way better romantic comedies in my day. You can survive while having a bad romance if the comedy is really good, but I wouldn’t say it is exceptional or anything like that. It has some fun moments but what comedy doesn’t? Most of the jokes don’t land very well and that hurts. Any scene of Stephanie having to survive her dates and try not to run out is more tragic than funny. She went too far in trying to help Julian and just should have let him sink instead.

Julian just kept getting worse and worse as the film went on. There’s one point where he starts to lecture Stephanie on how she isn’t feminine and how she is limiting her world view while they are driving back. This is after she has put her reputation on the line to help him out and she has been a great worker for many years. The entire speech just made absolutely no sense. Not only was Julian incorrect in each of his assumptions but it just made him look like a grade 1 jerk. Talk about having no gratitude for what she had done for him. Julian forgot it all in an instant.

Overall, Cactus Flower is a weak comedy. It’s hard to find any character to root for here and the style of comedy just ended up missing a lot. The romance is rather poor and while the dialogue can be good, it wasn’t enough to save the movie in this case. It does go by fast though, I can tell you that. The movie doesn’t drag on and a whole lot happens before the movie ends. So I can at least say that the pacing is good which is a small silver lining at least. Perhaps a remake could handle the film better as the plot of a close friend pretending to be the wife or girlfriend can work at times. You just have to have a really good setup and likable characters. This one forgot those key steps.

Overall 4/10

Santa Claus vs the Devil Review

With a title like this you would really be expecting something really intense right? Well, it’s a very strange and odd film to be sure but unfortunately it doesn’t stick the landing. That’s not quite right though as that would imply that it had a good beginning. The movie started out on a low note and then it just never improved as the film went on. It’s held back by slow pacing, no likable characters, and a boring plot. When you’ve got all of these elements working against you, it is very hard to have a good film.

The film starts off with showing us Santa’s workshop. It’s a little different in this verse as his reindeer are mechanical toys, he has the wizard Merlin to help him turn invisible, and he even uses technology to get fit enough to go down the chimneys. It’s all a very different setup and instead of elves, he is helped by alien creatures who look just like kids from different cultures and customs. They help operate the telescope which can track any person’s movements on the Earth. There’s also a giant mouth that can hear anyone talking while on planet Earth. Santa came prepared at least on a tech level but the Devil has decided to stop Christmas this year. He sends his loyal minion Pitch to put a damper on things. Pitch will try to tempt various kids into doing the wrong thing so they’ll be on the naughty list. Can Santa stop him?

Well..not really since Santa just watches for 80% of the movie from his telescope. Sometimes it’s unclear if it’s Santa yelling or the narrator but they’re always panicking as Pitch goes around spinning his webs of deceit. The main kid he focuses on is a poor little girl who just wants a doll. The problem is that her parents can’t afford one and so she is tempted to just steal one. Pitch keeps trying to egg her on while Santa clenches his fists and watches in dismay. Ultimately the girl is able to stay strong even when she has a very disturbing dream about this.

I’ll give the dream some slight props for being unique. The backgrounds and little puppet creatures were a bit disturbing. That said, it loses a lot of these points right away since the scene drags on as the girl just repeats over and over again that stealing is wrong and she won’t do it. We get this by the third time she says the line but it just keeps on cycling. Pitch needs to have better material if he wants to trick the kids.

This is also a sleight against Santa when you think about it though. So he never got her a toy all these years when it was her big wish? At best you could say this was really the first year she wanted a doll and in other years she wanted something else but I have big doubts. Additionally, it doesn’t seem like she had any possessions so does Santa just not deliver to the poor? It’s almost like the film itself forgot that Santa was real and treats this like the first time he is going to deliver her some presents. That part doesn’t make any sense the more you think about it.

It’s hard to like Santa though. The guy is constantly laughing at everything to the point where you can tell that he isn’t focused. He falls for all of Pitch’s tricks with ease. Even the narrator seems surprised at times like when Santa tried jumping into a chimney that wasn’t really there. Pitch has the upper hand a lot of the time but fortunately for Santa, the guy is rather inept as well. None of them are able to really gain any ground on each other as a result and just end up being a nuisance. Neither character has a really fun Christmas. It’s interesting that Santa’s reindeer turn to dust if the sun rises though. You’d think that Santa is a vampire or something.

There are quite a lot of interesting ideas here. The only thing I can say positively for the film is that it’s a very fresh take on Santa. It really seems like he is an alien from a highly advanced planet and he wants to make the humans happy. It’s a different look on things and we know he isn’t even immortal as he explains that he is much younger than Lucifer. Some backstory into why Santa wants to help people and how he got this setup would be pretty cool. Unfortunately the film doesn’t ask any of the interesting questions or even approaches them.

A tug of war battle with Pitch and Santa could have been fun as well but it’s hurt by how every scene is so dragged out. Take the intro scene when Santa is listening to the kids all playing their instruments and having a good time. That may have been okay for a minute or two but the scene drags on for ages as we have to see literally every kid play their instruments and sing their songs. It’s all very repetitive and just not engaging. The film will have you asleep before things have even started happening. It’s a shame.

The writing is okay at least though. Santa does remember the true meaning of Christmas and brings up the birth of Jesus Christ a few times. I’ll always give a film some props for doing that rather than trying to say that Christmas is about presents and good wishes or something. No beating around the bush here so when a film directly says that it’s because Jesus Christ was born then I’ll give out some kudos. Beyond that I suppose the narrator had some fun lines. Again they’re all super obvious lines and the film has all the subtlety of a cheeseburger sandwich but at least you can tell that the guy is invested.

Overall, it’s almost like a backhanded complement but that’s about all I could do there. It’s just a shame because somewhere in this film is buried some really cool concepts that we will probably never see again. This really could have been a smash hit and yet the film is just boring. It’s really boring at times and that’s really something you don’t want to see in any film. It especially shouldn’t be happening in a vs title but here we are. If you want to watch a film about Santa Claus, you could do better with almost any other title. The fact of the matter is that this one will ultimately leave you wanting for more or for the film to end much sooner. Either way you just won’t be satisfied here.

Overall 4/10

My Reputation Review

The film’s title might as well be “My Rebound” with how the romance here works. Right off the bat I can tell you that the romance here doesn’t work. Unfortunately in the movie the characters who are against this are two kids who are very unreasonable all the time so it’s hard to really use them as a good source for anything. The movie’s an old time title that has good writing and all but since the romance is right at the forefront, that hurts it quite a bit right from the jump.

Okay so Jessica’s husband died after a long battle with illness. Jessica’s mother Mary wants Jessica to wear black for the rest of her life so as to never stop grieving. She should not remarry and just spend the rest of her days like this. Jessica doesn’t agree to that and in fact she wants to move on as quickly as possible. The problem is that nobody in town is any good. Her old friend Frank is okay but not the right person. Jessica ends up going on a retreat where she meets a guy named Scott and they quickly hit it off. They get together so quickly that the whole town starts talking about it and now there are endless rumors about Jessica. Is there anything she can do to salvage her reputation at this point?

Well, Jessica shouldn’t care about her reputation within the town all that much as everyone is gossiping anyway. I do think that she found this other guy way too quickly though. This is almost a textbook rebound to me. Her husband dies and then she goes out and finds some other guy and gets serious about him very quickly. While the kids handle this poorly by running away and causing a fuss, it is definitely iffy. That’s why it’s too bad it wasn’t a friend who debated Jessica instead. The kids wouldn’t listen to anything so at least this way we could have a balanced conversation of some sort. It would be a big improvement there.

At the end of the day each person is different of course so yeah some might be ready to move on right away. It just never makes for a good romance plot in a movie. If anything I’m more in line with Jessica’s mother Mary on basically never moving on. You get one shot to pick a partner out and after that, that’s it. Win or lose, live or die, you have made your pick and stick to it. Ultimately I do think Jessica should have mentioned something to their kids so they didn’t find out about this at a random party. That has to be the worst way to find out.

As for Scott, well he doesn’t even seen like the greatest guy. He mentions how he’s not really the marriage kind of guy which is a massive red flag right out of the gate. After all, it sounds like he would be someone who is up for affairs then, he was really quick to try and pull the moves on Jessica after all and they barely knew each other. If that’s how he always acts, well that’s going to be a little difficult. He does say that he’ll clean up his act though which is good.

Ginna and Cary are at least good friends for Jessica. It’s good that she has someone to rely on since the town is so suspect. There’s a really dicey scene where a guy names George attacks Jessica and the whole thing is just so out of place. It was a really dicey moment for sure. The guy had a lot of red flags ever since his debut but you still never expect something quite like that to happen. Unfortunately we don’t get to see him arrested or anything like that. It would have been a great way to have ended his plot off. It’s just not good to know that he basically got off completely free.

As for Frank, well I wouldn’t have been rooting for him even if he had tried for Jessica more. It seems like he liked her and since the death was so recent, it would at least imply he liked her even while she was together. So this would be like he’s seizing his moment and that would definitely not go over well for me. It was sort of a lose-lose situation with all the candidates here to be honest.

Well, that’s enough on the romance. Beyond that, the writing is good at least. Everyone is quite formal and all, but without much of a plot beyond the romance there isn’t a lot to it either. I mean this is a case of the romance really being just about every part of the film. I guess the only other thing to talk about here is the reputation angle. Well, this part is one Jessica shouldn’t care about.

It’s clear that the neighborhood is always grumbling and gossiping about something. So Jessica is the topic today and someone else will be the topic tomorrow. That’s the nature of gossip circles. If everyone is always willing to gossip with you, you can bet that they will be gossiping about you as well. It’s all a big circle here and that’s just the name of the game. If you’re only upset when they gossip about you then that’s not really a good look.

Besides which, if they don’t even have the decency to not gossip in front of kids then I don’t think you need to worry about their opinions. Just keep it moving and if you don’t take it personal, they’ll probably still try to keep up the appearance of being your friend at least. Man, come to think of it there really were almost no good characters in this one. Ginna and Cary were probably the only two you could even root for since they at least appeared as very decent people. Well I liked Mary as well. She may be rather extreme at times but she came through to help when it counted.

If anything Jessica kept trying to be on the opposing side so much that she would be extreme herself. At one point she’s the one pursuing Scott like when she ran to his hotel room. It was a moment of emotional outburst and this time he played hard to get but it seems like she was willing to go quite far just to spite everyone. This relationship really doesn’t seem like a positive one the more I write/think about it.

Overall, My Reputation is a film that’s built off of a n iffy premise right from the jump. Jessica is doing her best to move on from her old husband but she seems to really be rushing things. Now it’s fair to say that she could really love Scott but I think she would need to slow things down quite a lot to make sure of that and that this isn’t a passing crush. Her kids may not be ready to accept this yet but if it’s a true love then that’s fine. You just have your doubts on this throughout the movie. Since most of the movie is her trying to get together with Scott…if you don’t like either character that’s a bad sign. This is one of the weaker romances I’ve seen as of late and I’d say to skip it.

Overall 4/10