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Kill Switch 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 time to look at a fairly recent Sci-Fi thriller. The title’s pretty neat and the poster’s cool so this should be a hit right? I feel like the writers really messed up here. It’s actually got a pretty engaging start and a solid plot. The problem is that the plot doesn’t progress after the first 5 minutes so the rest of the film is the characters being confused the whole time. The characters never seem to act logically and there is a ton of plot hax throughout. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a film that wasn’t thought out to this extent. It’s still way better than other films I’ve seen recently, but it’s not good enough to give a positive score.

The movie starts by introducing us to Will. He had a pretty solid job and clearly makes a lot of money. Still, he’s called in by a powerful company called Alterplex and they make him a deal that he can’t refuse. His family will be rich and the only catch is that he will be on call 24/7 for some kind of great experiment. The film cuts us between the past and the present quite a lot, but that’s the general plot of the past. In the present Will finds himself on another world and he must find out why exactly he is here and how to get back to his family.

I don’t really mind the jumping between the past and the present so much. It’s a pretty good way to jump us into the action right away and then find out why he did it. The only problem here is that the film overrates how confusing it is. It’s pretty easy to follow what’s happening, but the film gives us a few too many flashbacks to really try to give us all the details. I think a little less jumping in the second half would have helped because after a point you already get what the film is trying to go for so we don’t have to keep treading down that road.

Ironically the flashbacks were more interesting than the present scenes and I can’t think of another film where that happened. In part it helps that the flashbacks had better camerawork that was more like a traditional film. The graphics were good here and the characters were more interesting. I would have been fine staying in this plot although the drama with his sister and the kid wasn’t as interesting. Will did make the right move in deciding to go back to their old place. The kid was clearly not adjusting well even though he tried to be a good sport and it was clear that his sister wasn’t happy either. So even if it cost them a lot of money, Will was ready to leave. Things just didn’t work out so well for him there.

In the present, the problem is that Will should have died early on. We get a ton of scenes with SkyNet type drones flying around and blasting everyone. They have machine guns at the ready and are built like tanks so you really shouldn’t be knocking those out very easily. Despite this, we see humans blasting away at them and winning most battles. There are points where Will just runs up to them and start blasting. Somehow they miss every shot while Will knocks them down. It’s a common rule of action films that the villains will miss every shot while the heroes land theirs, but this one takes it to the extreme. The odds don’t matter to Will as he just runs through everything. It gets incredibly hard to take seriously.

Additionally there is no variety here. As soon as he exits one gunfight we are thrown into another one. Will doesn’t get any rest much like the viewer. I don’t mind nonstop action scenes for most films like car chases of Transformers throwing punches, but at least those have some kind of power scaling. These fights are just Will somehow being basically bulletproof as he takes down impossible odds. It’s really rare that you see action scenes so unbelievable. Will is a good character though. He makes the right choices here and I’m also glad that he didn’t even have to think about the final choice much. It is a bit of a no brainer on if you’re going to save your planet or a different one. It may sound selfish, but it’s not a decision I would think on much myself.

Abby is one of the main characters although we mostly just know Earth 2 Abby. Earth 1 version was fun enough and was certainly invested in her job. Earth 2 tended to panic a lot and seemed really in over her head the whole time. I really think the villains felt no real loyalty towards her even if she didn’t really seem to realize that. This is why you can’t trust villains, at the end of the day they will always betray you. Her final decisions make sense from her point of view of course, but I wouldn’t say that I was a fan either way. She’s just not my kind of character. Then you have Michael who also panics a lot. He comes in handy near the end, but you can’t help but feel a bit annoyed at him as well. His opening scene with Will is really just a compilation of the two characters yelling a lot.

One of the worst scenes in the film is definitely when Will meets up with the leader of the resistance. The guy asks him to say what is name is to which Will ignores him and starts panicking again. Both of them yell a lot but neither one is listening to what the other is saying. It leads us to another gunfight, but one that was super avoidable if Will had just answered the question. It was a simple question so I couldn’t take the scene seriously. This happens a lot in the film where characters will be talking, but nobody is listening to each other.

The writing is very weak. The characters rarely make decisions that are logical and panic way too much. Why did Will have to conveniently get partial amnesia for part of this? He also heals pretty quickly with a lot of the injuries he gets. He’s lucky that the world has a sci-fi healing equipment on hand for the final injury too since that would not have gone over very well for him. The film also randomly gets a bit violent with some of the medical stuff and you do see a lot of corpses on the ground.

Overall, Kill Switch is probably the biggest bundle of missed opportunity that I’ve seen in a very long time. It has a rock solid start and the atmosphere is pretty interesting all the way through. It’s impossible not to notice that nothing happens for a majority of the film though and eventually it gets to the point where it overwhelms the film. Everything is super convenient for Will. Getting more characters into the mix and perhaps identifying the Kill Switch earlier would have raised the stakes. If Will had gotten to meet his family from this side it would have made his choice a lot harder. As it stood, it really wasn’t a choice. It’s interesting, but I’d recommend watching a different Sci-Fi film over this one.

Overall 4/10

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Stop Me Before I Kill Review


It’s time to look at a mental thriller where one character fights with his sanity. These films are always going to be a little tricky because the whole thing would be over if the main character wouldn’t fall into all of the traps. This one’s a thriller that goes back and forth a little too long by the end which ends up slowing down the tempo, but will try to throw a few twists your way. The ending will be a bit more annoying than anything, but all’s well that ends well right?

The movie starts off by introducing us to Alan and his wife Denise. They were recently married but have had a rough start to their new life because Alan was in a big crash where someone died. He’s now been mentally shaken to the point where he keeps nearly murdering Denise before stopping himself in time. Denise grows increasingly worried about him, but then meets up with a doctor named Prade. Prade claims he can cure Alan if Denise can convince him to come in for treatments. These treatments are about telling Alan to murder Denise. Can the main character spot a phony a mile away or will he go through with these treatments and potentially wreck his life further?

The characters are all pretty annoying here. The most reasonable one is definitely Denise though. She’s quite patient with Alan and really does her best to help him get well. She is constantly supportive of him and always brushes off his various episodes. Denise tries to help him out herself and when that doesn’t work tries to find professionals to do it. Her heart is always in the right place and she is quite loyal so at least she doesn’t fall into any traps there. The only problem here is that she is too trusting to the point of being overly naive. It was pretty obvious from early on that Prade had a thing for her and she seemed to notice it initially. The guy isn’t exactly being subtle about it. Despite this she continues to trust him and listens to everything he says. While she never falters or comes close to betraying Alan, she keeps putting herself in a position where that could happen. Even Prade’s mother keeps talking about how she hopes things will change and Denise seems to disregard this as flattery. You should never stay in a place where you may make the wrong choice, keeping your distance is the only smart move.

All that being said though, as I mentioned Denise is still the best character. She’s doing whatever she can to help Alan and he isn’t really helping much at all. Denise is one of the best heroines I’ve seen in a long while. Quite possibly top 3 in non action films. Most of the blame here has to go with Alan for also being way too gullible. When he goes in for the treatments he should have immediately realized something was up. There’s no benefit in going through a hypothetical where he actually does murder Denise. No matter how Prade tries to put it that’s just not going to do any good and Alan should have known that. He has a few clever scenes like when he tricks Prade into admitting that he had a meeting with Denise. He needed more of that in the moments where it counted. He doubts himself a lot in part because of his low confidence. In the early stages of the film he is particularly rocky as everything seems to set him off and he attacks Denise more than once. I would have liked to have seen him show a little more will power during these moments.

Alan’s definitely not my kind of character. It’s always a shame to see such a nice character like Denise having to go through all of this. There’s really a big contrast between the two and I can put it simply. Denise is always quick to believe the best of Alan, that he is a good person going through recovery. She always sticks up for him and defends him because she’s a glass half full kind of girl. Then you have Alan who always believes the worst about Denise. He’s quick to accuse her of cheating on him over and over again despite being proven wrong each time. You can’t have a proper relationship without trust and he just doesn’t trust her at all. Time and time again he never has her back and that’s the real disappointing part of his character. It’s even worse than his various episodes because at least those are related to the accident. Not being able to trust her is something else entirely, although I do still blame him for his various moments against her. It’s fine to explode at the randoms, but at Denise? No that’s not going to fly.

Finally we have Prade who is the other character who is pretty obvious from the start. The guy’s just bad news. The instant he meets Denise he tries to buy her a drink which she wisely refuses. He also has a bad habit of spying on her from afar. (Again, Denise is a bit too trusting though as she goes swimming without anything on. This is a public beach at a crowded resort…….so that’s just not a good idea) Every scene with Prade is pretty bad but then it all gets even worse when he ends up murdering his cat. Did the film really have to throw in some animal violence here? It’s off screen but the fact that it’s so unnecessary is what makes it hurt the most. The film was soooooo close to making it out of this without such a scene.

Overall, Stop Me Before I Kill is definitely a flashy title. You aren’t likely to forget it anytime soon. The film is also pretty memorable but too much of it is way too convenient. Things have to work out perfectly for Prade to get anywhere in his plot. If Alan was smart and didn’t let himself breathe in a bunch of suspicious air then maybe he would have been thinking more clearly. It’s odd that Denise would just leave without telling him anything or that Alan would forget basic things like the fact that there shouldn’t be any pills around. A lot of little things add up to the point where this film really shouldn’t have happened. It’s not a particularly believable thriller and while that is fine, I’d say that the negatives outweigh the positives. Denise is the only good character in the film as she is able to survive being an extreme figure. Everyone else is a little too crazy for my liking.

Overall 4/10

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Meet me in St. Louis Review


It’s time to look at a fairly old film about lots of romance and drama. It’s not one of those old classics that has aged really well with a compelling story. On the contrary the characters can be a bit on the annoying side and most of them tend to make the wrong choices time and time again. In particular you’ll feel bad for one character who just wants to move to New York where everything will be amazing, but is being guilt tripped by everyone. The film definitely had potential and could/should have been better, but ultimately was not able to step up to the plate.

The movie starts off by introducing us to the various characters. First off we have Rose who is the eldest daughter and she is expecting a phone call from her beloved with an offer for marriage. Well, he does call but doesn’t really have anything to say which ends up hurting her day. Perhaps everyone was just too hasty in assuming anything important was going to be in the call though. That’s what happens when you let the assumptions rise with no real basis. Well, at least there is a big dance coming up so she can look forward to that.

Then you have Esther who has fallen for the next door neighbor. She isn’t really sure how to approach him though which mostly leads to a lot of scenes of the two characters not knowing what to do. John seems to like Rose at first, but eventually comes around. Their relationship gets put to the test when Esther’s little sister Tootie tells her that John hit her. Family should always come first, but would her next door neighbor really do such a thing? Meanwhile her father ALonzo has received a promising job offer in New York and so he plans to leave and of course the whole family would have to go as well. Can Esther really start fresh?

I think one of the main problems for this film is the fact that it’s a romance film that has a lot of weak romances spread together. For starters Esther falls for John almost instantly without even meeting him when he moves in. It feels quite superficial from the start and at least in their first meeting with turning off the lights he doesn’t even seem that interested. Then after she assaults him in retaliation for allegedly hitting her sister he takes it in stride almost too well. He has that “Things happen” kind of attitude about it and so they stay together.

Hey, it’s nice that he’s so cool about it I suppose, but you’d think he’d at least he asking some more questions as to why she came over and beat him up without a word. She didn’t even explain it when she came back. Where John drops the ball is at the final dance though. At the last moment he shows up and explains to Esther that he can’t go with her because he lost track of time playing Basketball and didn’t pick up the suit. Really? That’s one of the worst excuses I’ve ever heard. Look, if you’re taking a girl to the dance then you’ve got to actually take her. Cancelling at the last second is completely terrible. If he doesn’t have a suit then he should still go with her even if he’s in more of an informal attire. Maybe he’ll be embarrassed, but it’s the least he could do since otherwise he’s just wrecked Esther’s night as well. It’s not her fault that he isn’t good at managing time. John’s just not a good character. Esther may not always be the best, but at least she definitely wouldn’t pull something like that.

Lon gets one of the smaller roles from the group of kids. He’s the only son in the family and likes a girl in the town, but that relationship is barely even referenced until it happens at the very end of the movie. You could cut Lon out and nothing really changes. Meanwhile Rose gets more of a role, but definitely does seem more stuck up than the others. I think part of it is that she just has a hard time talking to the others and doesn’t always mean to appear arrogant, but it’s just how she keeps her guard up. Her character isn’t nearly as interesting as Esther’s. Then there is the old grandpa in the house who looks good. He at least arrives to help Esther when John ends up completely failing.

All right, now we’ve got the best and the worst characters left to talk about. Who should go first? Let’s start with Tootie. She’s the youngest kid and a chronic liar. Lying is already pretty bad, but when you’re lying to get someone else in trouble then it’s even worse. She makes up a story about John hitting her and everyone believes Tootie since I guess most people don’t know she tends to lie. After they find out Tootie basically gets away scott free as everyone comments how funny it is. I don’t see what’s so funny about really hurting someone’s reputation by saying that they hit kids. Tootie should have definitely been punished for that. Throughout the movie she’s also just generally annoying as she likes to say edgy stuff for no good reason.

The whole night party in the neighborhood was also a scene that started to drag on for quite a while. Nothing was really happening except Tootie ended up throwing powder in an old man’s face as part of a dare. Again, she is definitely the worst character without a doubt and the film started to get pretty mean spirited here. Some of these scenes seem to have been supposed to be funny, but they were far from it. The humor did not land in this film and I’d question the writing as well.

Finally we have Alonzo who does his best to fix the film. From the start you feel bad for him since he arrives home after a long day at work and everyone wants him to skip his bath and eat dinner hours early. He’s pretty confused at this and asks why this is the case, but they all just lie to him. I’m glad he insisted on taking the bath and then came in later on. Likewise he gets the same treatment at the end as he gets a new job which will pay a lot more and comes home all excited…only for everyone to give him grief about this. Alonzo can’t catch a break throughout the whole film and it’s a shame because he just seems like a really nice guy who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time. He doesn’t hold it against the others, but it does make for a lot of pretty emotional scenes.

Overall, Meet me in St. Louis is a film that had a reasonable premise, but ended up dropping the ball. You really need to drop Tootie and then the film could rise up to at least a 5 or maybe even a 6. She just holds everyone back, but in general was just the biggest issue here. I’d say that the writing was really at fault with characters making questionable decisions and the pacing wasn’t very good. It’s a fairly long film that feels long. The ending should have also just had them all go to New York. It would have been the perfect ending and then at least Alonzo would have gotten some kind of win. He earned that much.

Overall 4/10

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Pitch Perfect 3 Review


It’s time to end the trilogy at long last. Pitch Perfect has definitely been a series with a lot of musical themes and some fun ideas, but ultimately it has not been able to reach up to its potential. The best parts of each film have always been the riff offs. This film does improve upon the second film in almost every aspect which is good, but ultimately still couldn’t shatter the border into being one that I’d recommend. I appreciate the fact that we got some fight scenes though.

The film starts with the Bellas all still on their separate paths in life since they aged out of the Bellas. None of them are enjoying their current jobs though and Beca ends up quitting hers. Fortunately that’s when she becomes aware of Emily sending everyone an invite to take a look at the new Bellas. The heroines were hoping to sing, but it wasn’t to be. Still, it gets them together and they decide to compete in the military contest. The winner gets to be the opener for DJ Khaled. Do the Bellas still have what it takes?

Pitch Perfect 3 is more of the same in many respects. It’s an adventure with the girls trying to prove that they have the best acapella skills out there while having to compete with people who use instruments to augment their singing ability. They are also dealing with real world issues that makes it hard for them to focus on the group at times and that is really their main dilemma. This time the main character is probably Amy although Beca gets a large role as well.

One area where it improves from the second is that the film isn’t quite as crude. Keep in mind that this is relatively speaking though as the second one was just super over the top. The third isn’t quite as bad, but that doesn’t mean that the writing is good. Most of the characters are pretty obnoxious the whole time and you can’t help but root for the disaster group instead. The Bellas really haven’t proven that they deserve to be on the grand stage.

Unfortunately the musical numbers aren’t as dynamic as in the second film. That one had a ton of songs left and right with all of the bands while this one had fewer ones. It did have the big riff off that all of the films have though. As always it was the best film in the series and it does remind me that if the whole film were about the riff offs it could be amazing. I just like the concept of people battling it out through song. The Bellas were party poopers the whole time though as everyone on the base were trying to have some fun. Without a doubt the main characters lost that round.

Despite being the protagonists, you’ll be rooting against the heroes most of the time. The disasters actually earned their spot here and you just know that they’ll get snubbed right from the start. Then you’ve got the army guys who want to have a good time, but Amy continues to harass them the whole time. They probably could have sued her to be honest, but they were trying to keep things professional at the very least. I’ll give them some props there.

The romance here is pretty weak. We do learn that the main characters broke up with the guys from the second film and I don’t see any reason why this would be any different in the third film. There’s a bit of a twist with Theo so we may not need to count that as a romance plot, but there did seem to at least be one-way interest. The film’s at its best when the gang are just pumping out songs, but surprisingly we just don’t get a lot of that.

Beca is greatly improved from the second film though. She’s more of a leader here even if she’s making some of the same mistakes. I don’t really think she needed to quit the job since it wasn’t that unreasonable. You are working for someone so you can’t expect to have everything go your way all the time right? Once she is on the team she may still panic quite a bit, but at least she isn’t being humiliated the whole time the way she was in the second film. Now that was an embarrassing showing for her. Meanwhile Emily gets a very small role here which is unfortunate. She’s still the best member of the group by far. It’s not even remotely close despite the whole cast constantly ganging up on her. She’s the only one to come up with a plan to try and get their dignity back, I think that’s pretty impressive in itself. At least she is still on the real Bellas team while the others are just getting their last hurrah.

Amy continues to be one of the worst characters in the series. Part of the issue here is that she is the comic relief character in a comedy film so they have to dial her to 11 just to stand out in such a crowd. Her fight scenes aren’t meant to be taken seriously, but I suppose it’s nice to have an action parody in here. If she was more of a loyal friend and not super desperate to be with a guy she could have some potential.

We can’t forget John and Gail who are always here to make their crude comments and follow the heroines around. They get significantly less to do here even though their plotline of filming a documentary had a lot of potential. They’re reasonable as humor characters since I do like the fake announcer voices they use. Their lines aren’t 100% terrible this time either so they have their moments.

As I mentioned the songs aren’t as good as in the second film, but they’re not bad. The tunes during the riff off are pretty clever and it’s always interesting to see how many songs you can come up with for a single theme. That’s tough to do on the spot and I still think we need a whole film for this. The climax had the heroes singing a better song than in the second film which is good as it felt more like they could hold their own. Beca also made the heroic call when it counted.

As a whole I have to dock the Bellas some points for falling for such an obvious trap near the end of the film though. That’s the kind of thing that you just can’t let happen to you if you want to keep your hype. Fortunately the villain wasn’t all that smart so things worked out, but it could have gone sideways very easily based on how they fell for this.

Overall, Pitch Perfect 3 improves on the second one and likely beats the first as well. The fact that it is basically a franchise by this point does help since you are used to the characters now. Still, it makes a lot of the usual problems which keeps it from going higher up the ranks. The dialogue is pretty weak and that’s going to doom any film. The fun parts aren’t enough to raise it above this. You’ll have a good time watching this film and if the plot sounds good then you may have a great time. That being said, don’t expect this film to really stand up on its own merits all that well. It’s a fun ride where you’ll feel motion sick afterwards.

Overall 4/10

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The Cat’s Eye Review


It’s time to check out a horror anthology from a while back. This one has 3 stories so each one gets around 30 minutes to play around. Anthologies are one of the hardest genres to pull off because with the stories being so different it is more likely that one of them will make a mistake. The second story is definitely the best one but the other two don’t do enough to keep this film in the green. Now lets look at all of the stories in turn.

The first story is about a company that strives to help people get away from their smoking addiction. Morrison heads over to this place after having it be recommended to him by a friend. Unfortunately the place is a lot more extreme than he would have ever guessed. Vinnie is the head there and he informs Morrison that they have a 100% clear rate. Each time Morrison smokes a cigarette something bad will happen to his family. If he makes a mistake one too many times then they will all be destroyed. Vinnie seems to have agents everywhere and Morrison now must end his addiction instantly or it’s game over.

Of course addiction is extremely difficult and one of the toughest things to stop. It’s why around the world we have so many clinics and treatment centers. Many believe that can stop whenever they want to and there are a small subsection who can do it on their own. Fact of the matter is that many need some assistance to stop and that’s why Morrison has a tough time here. He was seeking help in the first place so now that he has to effectively end it on his own it’l be extra hard since he had admitted to himself that he couldn’t do it. All that said, it’s still tough to see him sneaking a smoke when he knows that his wife will be the one paying the price now. When someone else is in trouble I believe that gives you the extra motivation to get through.

Morrison does try to attack Vinnie once and comes close to grabbing the gun. Unfortunately he was unsuccessful and that was really the last attempt he would be able to make. The short has a grim ending since Vinnie effectively wins and now Morrison has directly endangered others by recommending his service. I don’t like how buddy buddy they are by the end. I suppose we can assume that Morrison has resigned himself to his fate and is trying his best to live with this, but there’s no reason why he has to be their friends and chatting like old buddies. There’s a twist at the end, but it shouldn’t have been a twist for Morrison unless he’s one of the most gullible guys around. It’s a tense special but with Vinnie continuing to endanger others with his unnecessarily grim punishments it does end on a sour note.

The second special introduces us to a rich man named Cressner. He finds out that his wife is cheating with a guy named Johnny and decides that both of them have to go. For Johnny he figures that it’s time to mess with the tennis pro first. He tells Johnny that he can survive this if he walks around the building. The exterior of the building has a ledge that is wide enough to walk through, but the building is very high up and there is a lot of wind. One misstep would mean instant death and Cressner is following the whole time from inside the building to make the walk even tougher by splashing water and firing off his gun. Can Johnny make it all the way around and will this give him some time to reflect on why cheating is wrong and will always catch up to you?

This one’s my favorite special as the plot is more fun and at least we get to see Johnny fight. One thing that does hurt right away though is the fact that Johnny was cheating with the guy’s wife. Two wrongs don’t make a right of course, but Johnny is really not in the right here. The guy shouldn’t be going after people who are taken and it ultimately ended up costing her as well. The ending is solid though as Johnny takes them both on and gets a gun at the ready. You can probably imagine how he will plan his comeback against Cressner. Then you’ve got a determined bird who shows up to make the walk even more difficult. It is hard to see why they don’t just try to kick it away sooner, but maybe they were worried that the motion would cause them to lose their balance. It’s probably a good risk though since the pecks would eventually have the same effect.

Then you’ve got the final story. So throughout these 3 stories there has been a cat around. His name is the General and he is trying to find a kid who has been calling to him on the Astral Plane. Her name is Amanda and she is being attacked by a monster under her bed. Naturally the parents don’t believe this and to their defense this monster is pretty smart. He seals the entrance to his world each time and through reality manipulation makes it so that the hole leads to nothing if the parents check. That’s why she needs a specialist. The monster frames General, but the cat isn’t quite ready to let that be the end. Can he stop this monster?

This story isn’t quite as solid. Amanda is too young to really hold her own as a main character here. She does her best to explain the situation, but naturally it doesn’t work too well. The Dad seems to suspect that something isn’t quite right, but he doesn’t speak up most of the time so he may as well not know. Then you have the Mom who really doesn’t like the cat and gets a lot of villainous music. I do feel bad for the bird so I can see why she got upset. Why did the bird have to be taken down like that, he was just an innocent little guy trying to survive day by day. Letting a cat in so close to the bird does feel pretty risky even if General turned out to be good. The monster is pretty intense and gives us as decent an action scene as you can try to have between a cat and a monster. It’s not really my cup of tea though and I’ll take the hand to hand fight from the second special.

Overall, The Cat’s Eye’s 3 stories all vary. If I were ranking the stories I’d give the first one a 3, the second a 6, and the third a 4. The first one’s just a little too grim with that ending and the third one’s mainly based around animals and kids which is not a recipe for success with the cat getting injured and the bird dying. The middle story is fun enough even if Johnny isn’t really a main character that you can reasonably root for. If you like short stories like this then this is a good movie for you to check out. There don’t seem to be many anthologies these days as I suppose TV shows handle that for you. If you want a quick 30 minute experience then you would watch a show. So unless you are a big short story fan then you should probably check out something like the original Ghostbusters instead.

Overall 4/10

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The Postman Always Rings Twice Review


It’s time to look at a film where the whole concept is about being the rebound guy. As you can guess that means the romance was doomed from the start. Since this is mainly a romance film that did put this one in a tough spot from the start and it never quite recovered. I was just waiting for the Postman to show up and shock everyone to the core, but it never happens. Turns out that it isn’t one of those literal titles, but it really should have been to be honest.

The film starts off with the district attorney giving Frank a ride. Frank’s been in a tough spot lately and that’s due in part to the fact that he is a free spirit. He loves just going wherever the wind takes him and living life on the edge. Well, he’s finally found a job at a burger joint, but immediately warns the owner, Nick, that he may not stay long. His plans change when Nick’s wife Cora shows up and Frank immediately decides that they should be together. Despite Cora’s half hearted rejections Frank forces the issue and they decide that Nick has to be murdered. Can they really pull off such a feat?

With a plot like this there is nobody to root for. Of course, you would expect to be rooting for Nick but the film goes out of its way to make him hard to root for. He doesn’t pay Cora any attention and is way older than her so that was never going to work out anyway. He’s oblivious to the point where he basically pushes them together and at the end of the day sees Cora as more of a helper than an equal. He doesn’t even consult her when making his big decision at the end of the film. He also gets drunk and in general just doesn’t seem like a good person.

Of course, two wrongs don’t make a right. Frank knows that Cora is married from the start. It’s not as if they were hanging out for a long time before he figured this out, it was made clear as day to him immediately. He pressed on anyway and then cheats on her later on in the film anyway. It’s no surprise though because that’s just the kind of guy he is. Frank does everything half heartedly and never becomes a decent person. By the end of the film he basically goes insane.

Meanwhile Cora is shown to be very manipulative. There are large portions of the film where it doesn’t seem like she actually cares about Frank and is just using him to get to her own goals. It’s pretty easy for her to manipulate him so it’s not like it takes a lot of effort. She’ll go from being overly friendly to him to giving Frank the cold shoulder. None of the characters handle the various situations well but her main failing is that she wants to stay in the burger choice even if that’s where all of the cops will connect the dots. She had a lot of opportunities to simply leave, but never took them. That was simply too big of a mistake to come back from.

Then you’ve got Arthur who helps plead their case in one of the court sessions. He’s actually pretty good even if the guy seems pretty shady. He may not be helping out for the right reasons, but the guy definitely does have talent. He added a little intrigue to the situation. Then you’ve got the D.A., Kyle. He’s definitely not sympathetic to their cause, nor should he be. Even by the end of the film he whips out another trump card and you can see why he has such a strong reputation in the film. He always gets his man.

Of course the film couldn’t help but throw a cat into the mix for no real reason. The scene just comes out of nowhere and he doesn’t live through the scene. I suppose the film was just desperate to lose another star but with the lackluster plot it’s not like the film needed any help. The writing in general is decent, but with none of the characters being particularly intelligent some scenes can seem like bad writing as well. The film also drags on quite a bit. On one hand it is impressive just how far the plot changes from the beginning, but on the other hand it starts to outlive its welcome by the end. It’s around 30 minutes longer than it needs to be, especially since the plot is fairly basic.

I suppose the ending will be happy or sad depending on who you’re rooting for. Considering that the main characters are openly cheating I’d say that the D.A. and the long arm of the law is probably who you’d be rooting for. If you look at the ending with that lens then it does change things quite a bit. On a minor note, at least the burgers did look pretty good. I could definitely use one right about now and if we had more scenes of the characters preparing food for their restaurant perhaps it could have distracted from the weak story. Almost all of the film takes place at their restaurant after all and yet the scenes with real food are scarce and far apart.

Overall, The Postman Always Rings Twice is definitely a film that I’ve got to give a thumbs down. How can you like a film where the main character is so petty? He’s basically a crook the whole time and is super ungrateful considering that Nick was giving him a place to live and a decent salary. Also, even before Frank’s romance was starting he seemed like a rude person. When Cora dropped her lipstick he made her come to him to pick it up rather than just giving it to her. It’s the kind of petty power play that you would expect from someone like Frank. The ending is also completely his fault since he was the one at command. He should have realized that he didn’t have the skills to multi task.

Overall 4/10

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Billy The Kid vs Dracula Review


It’s time to look at a really old crossover. It’s definitely not a pairing that you would expect. I’d say that it works pretty well, but as expected Dracula does drag Billy down quite a bit. It’s just hard to make a good film involving a vampire and this one really seals the deal there. The film was so close to at least avoiding the animal violence curse, but it couldn’t help itself. It’s not too surprising since Dracula always goes after the livestock, but it hurts the experience all the same. The character cast isn’t the strongest either.

The film starts off with Dracula showing up and murdering a lady who forgot to open her hand to show off the cross. He then catches a break when Betty’s uncle dies and assumes his identity. He has decided to make Betty his bride and starts preparing this devious plan. Fortunately for Betty she has a friend known as Billy The Kid. He used to be an infamous outlaw, but now he works for the common good. The mother of one of the victims is named Eva and she warns Billy that the uncle is actually Dracula. Billy tries to convince Betty of this, but she won’t hear it. How could her uncle…who she has never seen before, actually be a bad guy? She trusts him implicitly and even allows him to talk tough to her maid. (Eva quickly got a position as a maid) As Betty is a pushover Dracula only needs to worry about Billy now. What can a gun kid do against the king of vampires though?

This film definitely does has its share of fun moments so that does help it surpass the usual Dracula fare. For starters, Billy is a fun character even if he is a little too timid and tends to beat around the bush. Once he had a good feeling that the uncle was evil he should have done more about it. Why give Betty the dangerous mission of constantly antagonizing Dracula if Billy really thinks that he wants to do her harm. Wouldn’t it be safer to go after Dracula himself? Also, Billy’s real confident which is good, but he does not have the skills to back this up.

When he fights with the bully he actually gets completely defeated. I have to admit that I was actually pretty shocked by this. It’s just super rare for the lead to just get owned like that. Then even after the doctor was right about literally everything he decides not to believe her when she says that bullets won’t work on Dracula. This leads to another really embarassing moment for the lead as he goes into Dracula’s lair and gets owned. I like really confident leads of course, but you just can’t afford to be getting wrecked like that.

It does lead to a very interesting scene where we find out that Dracula may be immune to bullets but not to the actual gun. Yeah…this doesn’t make any sense but we can roll with it. Dracula gets completely laid out by the hit to the point where he can’t react when Billy puts a stake through him. Ah well, I’d hold it against Dracula more, but this version of him wasn’t all that imposing anyway. Lets put it this way, multiple characters actively work to sabotage him and he never even murders them. I’m glad for Eva and her husband of course, but why wouldn’t Dracula murder them? They kept laying traps (Okay..not “they” the guy did absolutely nothing in the whole film) for him and telling Betty that he was evil. Taking them out is basically villain 101.

Also, Dracula’s hypnosis is at least one power that he’s still got. You’d think that it would be super effective but Betty is actually able to counter it. At one point when they are in the carriage he makes the face and stares at Betty. It is working for a few seconds until she blinks (Finally, someone realized the trick to stopping him!) and suddenly is back to her senses. You’ll have a hard time finding a weaker Dracula than this one. He has teleportation, but never uses it well and even his super strength feels pretty meager compared to usual. When he gets Billy in the choke hold it takes a while to defeat him. I also wonder what the point of the bat outside was since when Dracula died he turned into a mummy anyway and then the bat died outside. Hmmm.

As I’ve hinted, I didn’t like Betty though. You’d think that she would trust her fiance…who she planned to marry in a few days more than a random uncle that she has never seen before right? The fact that Dracula has any say in her household is beyond crazy. Then he literally puts her under house arrest later on. Betty never actually looks out for herself and comes across as unreasonable. I don’t care how far fetched the story is, you’d think that she would believe Billy. Of course, maybe Billy has gotten beat so many times she doesn’t take him seriously anymore. You’d think hat this infamous outlaw would have looked better here.

It’s rare for both characters to look bad in a crossover but that’s where we’re at. The film’s fun, but it does still have the vampire elements looming over it which hurts. The animal violence scene with the lamb comes to mind as I mentioned earlier and blood sucking scenes also tend to hurt of course. Because of that, it’s unlikely that I’ll see another Dracula film that I actually like, but of course I’ll leave the possibility open. The writing in the film was pretty solid for the most part. The characters may make all of the wrong choices, but that just means they weren’t the smartest characters. Even the sheriff seems pretty iffy as he arrests Billy for self defense. You just know that he wouldn’t have messed with the bully if the roles were flipped.

Overall, This film may have not been a total success, but I really love the concept. This is the kind of film that you just don’t see much anymore which is a shame. Taking two popular icons like this and pushing them together is genius. It’s a fun way to get started with the Billy mythos and I’d be down with watching more of his films. The one gun scene that we did get was pretty fun and the wild west outlaw plot can always work pretty well despite the boring backdrops. If you really like both franchises then this is a film that you’ll want to check out. If you’re also not a big vampire fan then I guess you’ll just want to wait til Billy’s in a different kind of crossover film.

Overall 4/10

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Valley of The Dragons Review


It’s time to look at an old film with a pretty misleading title. The beginning had a good premise but once the time travel occurred it quickly fell out the window. Now, I do like time travel but I prefer to go forward in time rather than backwards. If you ask me it’s just a lot more fun that way. There’s not much in the past that interests me, at least not when you get into the caveman era.

The film starts with two guys about to have a duel to the death. Apparently, they seem to like the same maiden and naturally one of them has to die for this. They ready their guns and move a few paces to take their shot but that’s when an earthquake occurs and scatters them to the winds. When they get back up they appear to be on a new planet. They’ve done their first dimension jump and are in the distant past where “dragons” currently roam. Now, you can make the case that it’s past Earth or another planet but it doesn’t really matter. There’s a scene where they notice that the stars don’t match so it’s probably a new world. They each end up going to different cave factions that have been warring with each other for eons. Can they help the two teams make peace or will they all die against the monsters?

As far as the dragons are concerned you shouldn’t get your hopes too high. Their appearances are few and far between. If we’re being honest the big one doesn’t appear til the end. Most of the little creatures running around are the kimono dragons which are basically just lizards. They aren’t exactly all that scary. The big one is fun enough but definitely pretty mindless and lets the heroes attack him over and over again until they eventually take him down. If he had done just about anything else then he could have won. The monster still did rack up a decent body count I suppose.

One weakness with the film is definitely the whole caveman element. I’ve never cared much for the trope of having the main guy try to teach English to these guys. For one thing, Hector isn’t all that understanding and gets frustrated pretty quick. Does he really expect them to learn English overnight? His voice can also be a bit annoying but that part’s not bad as it fits the character. He’s supposed to be annoying.

The other guy (Michael) is a lot more patient with the cave people and becomes the leader real quick. I suppose I would probably say that he is the better character of the two as he had more personality. He also became a leader real quick and did most of the hard work in the climax. I wouldn’t say either character was all that great, but he got the job done.

The writing was reasonably solid I suppose. The scenes with the ancient people weren’t that good but the banter with the two leads was pretty decent. It’s always god to have a dynamic where the two characters initially want to destroy each other but are then forced to work together. It is a bit clichéd I’ll admit but as this was back in the 60s it pulls this off unironically.

Then it almost goes without saying that the romance element is very weak here. The cave women basically throw themselves at the main two guys since they dominate the pack so easily but it’s all so fast and doesn’t feel real. We even get jealousy plots and also see why the two factions are warring from the start. Without the main two guys keeping them in line it is pretty clear that the two factions can’t control themselves and would be picking fights constantly. Having one “strong but not smart” character is enough for most films, make that the majority of the cast and then the movie has really got a big problem to deal with.

I can’t really say that the pacing was all that good either. While it almost goes without saying that a boring plot will drag on, this one really goes as slowly as possible. One scene in particular that really takes forever is when the heroes are trying to stab the giant monster. It’s the same action over and over again for at least 10-20 minutes with no variation. After a point it just comes across as having no real meaning and the scenes are complete filler. The action isn’t filler, but redoing it over and over certainly is. You could tell that the writers had run out of material by the end.

Overall, Valley of the Dragons is a film that was pretty decent for the most part but the actual plot holds it back quite a bit. It should have been a film about the leads getting trapped in some kind of vicious world for sure, but not one this far back in the past. If it was more modern we could have gotten around all of the scenes of them trying to teach the people everything and more banter instead. Of course by this point I am describing an entirely different film, but you get the gist of what I’m saying. If you don’t mind the past element then I think you’ll reasonably like this movie since it’s the main thing holding it back. Just don’t go in expecting a lot of actual dragons.

Overall 4/10

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Dragonslayer Review


It’s time to look at a fairly old Disney film. You’re probably familiar with the name whether you’ve seen the film or not. It’s definitely a very catchy title, although it paints a few warning bells right away. For starters, films with dragons usually take place in the really olden days where so the film won’t really be visually pleasing. Dragon films just don’t tend to have the best track record and unfortunately this one doesn’t really change that melody.

The plot starts off with a group of people heading to the lair of a sorcerer. They have come to ask for his help in slaying a dragon. This is the last dragon haunting the kingdom, but currently it is basically impossible to stop him. The sorcerer agrees to help, but he is quickly murdered by some of the king’s men. They don’t want anyone to try and attack the dragon because if that person were to fail then the dragon would just get even more upset. This band of men also murder the sorcerer’s right hand man so now all that’s left is the apprentice. Galen tells the group he’ll slay the dragon and sets off to do so. Still, he is just a boy…can he really stop this mighty beast?

Galen won’t really leave a positive impression with you. First off, he’s incredibly overconfident. From how he talks and swaggers about you would expect him to have a considerable amount of magical talent at his disposal and yet we see that he can barely even lift a table. That’s certainly not an image that will inspire confidence into your heart. On the contrary, it’ll just let you know that you really can’t trust this guy. Then when the group is just trying to get by the dragon territory so they can make a plan he decides that he absolutely has to see the lair. Galen puts all of their lives in jeapordy just for that. Then he doesn’t even see the job through. He’s just a pretty bad main character and I don’t blame some of the characters for being upset with him.

Of course, the King and his men are portrayed as unreasonable. While they may have some valid complaints, they are completely overshadowed by the fact that they’re petty and corrupt. They just want to keep sacrificing everyone so the dragon will stay quiet. Since the rich are exempt from the sacrifice, it’s of no concern to the King. It only becomes a concern once his daughter is in trouble. Of course, he is a villain, but at least he’s consistent about it. It makes him a fun antagonist since he has no moral compass and only does what is best for him and his family. The leader of his guard who fights with the heroes probably gets the more screen time from the antagonists though. He does put up a good fight each time and in terms of swordplay might be the toughest fighter in the film.

The main heroine gets a big role as well. The twist likely won’t work too well for most since it seemed pretty clear that Valerian was a girl from the start. I suppose as long as the trick worked on the other characters then that’s what counts though. She was definitely helpful throughout and without her the main guy would have definitely gone down for the count several times. The rest of the supporting characters don’t really do much. To go back to the sorcerer though, I can’t say that I liked the guy. Of course towards the end it turns out that he did have some kind of master plan and all, but at the end of the day he still allowed himself to be destroyed and the rest of the group could have easily fallen right after that. He’s just lucky that the villains decided to leave.

For the most part if you take away the fact that this isn’t really my kind of film then it’s not that bad. It’s still a lot more engaging and fun than something like LOTR. The cast may not be particularly strong, but it’s still a reasonable adventure. Unfortunately the film begins to falter towards the second half. It actually gets pretty violent once Galen goes in the cave and starts slaying the dragons. We even see one of the characters get ripped to shreds. It is definitely unfortunate for her since the only reason she was in that spot in the first place was because she tried doing something noble. I was really expecting her to get saved. Still, while offering herself up as a sacrifice was a heroic move, she should have just let the main character save her the second time around. Running into the cave like that just wasn’t good.

So, the climax hurt the film because with all the stabs and the violence it was basically animal violence. Dragons differ from monsters in that respect. The visuals age pretty well though. The fire blasts from the dragon are surprisingly lifelike and I like the shield that the hero used. So if you just take away the dragon part and make it some kind of inanimate object instead then maybe the climax would have been really awesome and overall the film would have been a big success. After all if not for the climax then this film would earn a few extra stars at least. A shame that it had to go down right at the very end.

Overall, Dragonslayer does live up to the title. It’s a pretty long film, but the pacing is pretty decent. Even if the intro is slow, it does set up the characters and does so without a lot of exposition. Then when we get to the action part we get multiple fight scenes. Even the old sorcerer gets to fling a few lightning bolts. I will say that the Dragon was definitely very persistent. He just kept getting up no matter how many people kept trying to strike him down. The film even makes him sympathetic at one point when he sees that Galen is murdering all of his kids. That’s when I remembered that I was rooting for him all along. He should have ended the village ages ago though instead of taking his time. So, I don’t recommend this film, but if you really love old school adventures then you may like this one. Just be prepared for an annoying main character. He doesn’t do the film any favors.

Overall 4/10

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Catlow Review


It’s time to look at an old western film. This one doesn’t take itself quite as seriously as the last few and sort of goes for a more classic LOTR adventure type feel instead. It works pretty well and this very nearly became the definitive western for me. Unfortunately it does fall into the animal violence trap by the end which was pretty unfortunate. Still, it does at least still succeed at being pretty entertaining from start to finish.

The film starts off with Marshall Cowan getting attacked by Indians. Just as he is about to be finished off his old friend Catlow shows up. It’s a mixed outcome for Cowan as he is glad to be saved of course, but Catlow is now a wanted man who has been stealing cattle and gold. Catlow’s defense is that he only steals unclaimed things which is true on a technical level, but the town is corrupt so Cowan still has to bring him in. They may have been the best of friends at one point, but right now their jobs are their top priority. This leads to both characters engaging in a back and forth fight where neither one will surrender. Catlow’s ultimate goal is to steal a massive shipment of gold so he can retire nicely while Cowan has to stop him. Meanwhile you have Miller who has a personal vendetta against Catlow and wants to end him. Who will come out on top?

I definitely liked the tone this film went for. The banter between the characters is great and they constantly get the other one to take a humiliating loss. Both Catlow and Cowan can hold their own scenes pretty easy. Even while threatening each other they manage to stay civil. At the same time, both of them are willing to push the trigger if it came down to that. There’s a lot of tension under the words they share which is interesting in itself. At the same time, they’ll also go out of their way to save the other. The film is filled with great moments like this and that’s why it’s a lot of fun. The film could have possibly gone on to be an 8 star title.

Alas, there are horses in this film as it’s a wild west. It’s always a red flag for me. There doesn’t necessarily have to be animal violence in these titles, but typically if you see a horse then you know what’s going to go down. In one of the fights with the Indians they specifically target the horses which was unfortunate. When that happens the film is destined to lose quite a few stars. It’s the number one mistake that most films make and this one was no exception. What makes it tragic is the fact that the film was solid otherwise.

As I mentioned, Catlow is pretty fun. He’s a smooth talker and is great at thinking outside the box. He handles the climax of the film exceptionally well as he gets to act like a sheriff. It was a pretty smooth move on his part. Meanwhile, Cowan may not have quite as sharp a wit as Catlow, but he is able to keep up pretty well. You don’t want to underestimate either one of these combatants. As for Miller, he’s a pretty fun main villain. I’d say his best scene is the first one he appears in. As with the main characters Miller does have a flair for the dramatic. He has fun toying with Catlow although he definitely did get pretty overconfident there and it cost him big time. Still a fun addition to the cast.

In that respect, Miller and Cowan continue to make the mistake of underestimating Catlow and his gang. They often have the thief on the ropes, but take so long gloating that he manages to get away. They seem to forget that he has a whole army of supporters backing him up. He’s also just got a bunch of connections like how every village seems to be under his thumb. I think it all goes back to his smooth talking ways. The lady with him also has a lot of influence. I do question how she managed to beat everyone to one village when they had such a huge head start, but that’s a head scratcher for another day.

There is one scene that really makes no sense though. It’s probably the one main moment that may throw off the immersion for you. Catlow and his gang infiltrate a kingdom and take down a huge chunk of the army one at a time. They wait until the sleepy soldiers are passing through a passageway and then lasso them. Catlow then knocks the guard out and they keep repeating this until they have them all. None of the guards think to yell and they all go down like chumps. Sure, they were sleepy and potentially drugged, but really? At first I thought the guards were all in on it, but they only pretended to be the main 2. The rest should have been able to do something. It’ll probably make you either chuckle or roll your eyes. As this film is mainly a comedy anyway I wouldn’t call it a negative. I don’t think the film meant for you to take it seriously anyway.

Overall, Catlow is definitely a very fun film. It’s probably the most enjoyable western that I’ve seen and the writing is absolutely on point. The main characters all do a great job at being entertaining when they’re on screen and the plot is sound. There’s really only one main negative here which is the animal violence and unfortunately it is absolutely killer. The film just couldn’t recover from this, but the important thing is that it came close. If you can stomach the horse stuff then this is definitely a film I’d recommend checking out. Otherwise check out a different one like Hang em High.

Overall 4/10