Eraser Review

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

Eraser is a very classic kind of action film. It’s a title you just don’t see a lot of nowadays with the solo hero going around proving why he’s the best in the biz. There aren’t a lot of subplots or conspiracies going on, not a lot of subplots or an ensemble cast. It’s just a straight forward action title with one twist that the audience knows almost from the jump. It works well though because the execution is on point and if not for one scene I dare say this one would have been very good. Still, it does hold its own in the middle.

The movie starts by introducing us to John who works as an Eraser. Basically he helps someone erase their identity and go into witness protection. He works alone and that has always worked well since nobody can slow him down this way. He’s like a one man army and always produces at the highest level possible. This time he’s going to have a tougher time though as he has to protect a lady named Lee before it’s time for her testimony. Thing is, she didn’t sign up for such a dangerous job and so she isn’t cooperating too much. John will have to figure out a way to make this work because there are many forces at work trying to prevent her from testifying.

With a film like this I think it’s important that the person who is being protected be a likable character. You don’t want someone who is going out of their way to make things tougher on John or someone who is made to be antagonistic. I suppose there are some interesting developments you can have with that, but I would definitely prefer you just have a good character right from the jump and that’s what this film does.

Lee’s resistance to ditching her old life is understandable since it was all thrown at her as a surprise. The government decided not to let her in on the loop until she was after the point of no return. It’s definitely not a good way to go about it and John calls them out on this. Once Lee is attacked and realizes that she will have to vanish, she gets reasonable from there on. So that’s why I wouldn’t take any point away from her. I thought she was quick on the ball and still a reasonable character all the way through.

As for John, well he’s your classic hero and a really good one at that. This character type is always fun as we really get to see how skilled he is. John does fall for one trap but we can cut him some slack because while the whole thing is obvious to the viewer, he has been working with these guys for a while so you’re bound to make a mistake at some point. Only reason I was a little surprised is I thought that the film was hinting that John had figured out the treachery ahead of time but I suppose it was just showing that he had some suspicions. That’s fair.

I guess I shouldn’t say who the main villain is. The film gives it away early on but it’s still hard for me to say if that’s part of the general premise or if it should still be treated as a twist. I’m not really sure so I’ll play it safe here. I thought the villain was rather solid. He wants to be rich and so he’ll do anything for money. It’s a classic motive that’s as old as time but it’s one that still has a lot of bite to it. I thought it worked pretty well here and the guy does have a certain level of craftiness to him even if he can’t hope to win in a straight fight.

The movie is really fast paced with a lot of action at every corner. The action scenes are cool and there is also a lot of really fun dialogue here. It’s got that proper blend of action and humor that you like to see. The characters keep things light but you can always tell that the stakes are high. We get a lot of different sceneries as the characters are always on the go and so you’re just going to have a lot of fun here.

Of course as I mentioned earlier, the film does make one mistake and that’s when a bunch of alligators showed up. Now, you know as soon as this happened that there was going to be an issue. Any animal appearing means that there will probably be some animal violence. Is that a bit jaded? Possibly I suppose but I’m sure the stats would back me up on this. One of them ends up getting shot dead in a rather brutal scene as we see it close up. That was a powerful shot that directly took two stars off the final score. It’s a shame that one moment like that can destroy so much momentum but that’s just how it can go in these things. Of course as a disclaimer if a scene like that won’t take you out of the movie then I can still cautiously recommend it to you, but I wouldn’t do a blind recommendation like that to just anyone. This scene would quickly prevent that.

As a final note, the film also just looks really good. I wouldn’t say that’s surprising as a lot of old films still look good, but I thought the effects and everything were particularly impressive. In this film the villains use guns that can fire at the speed of light which is rather incredible. A cool shockwave visual is used here so you can see the ripples around each shot. It helps the guns feel really sci-fi based and I would say it works really well. You can definitely see how these guns could upset the balance of the planet although it makes it a little hard to believe that John could keep on standing after going up against such high tech weapons. Just a bit of a stretch when you think about it.

Overall, Eraser is like a blast from the past. It’s the kind of film you’re surprised didn’t get more popular because it really had all of the tools needed in order to break out into the mainstream. Ultimately this didn’t end up happening at least as far as I’m concerned since I’ve never heard of it before. Perhaps the alligator moment knocked it out for a lot of people but that’s not the kind of moment you would typically expect to cause a big stir. Either way this could have had a lot of potential for sequels and stuff but I guess that just wasn’t to be this time. It’s always fun finding fast paced action films like this from back in the day, we’ll see how the next one turns out.

Overall 5/10

Don’t Let Go 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

Time for a movie with a very clear title and message. The whole thing is about never letting go, sometimes you just have to keep on something even when everyone tells you it’s time to move on. When time travel is a concern, moving on is absolutely the last thing you want to do. (Looking at you Flash!) The movie has a fun premise and some good ideas here. It’s very close to being a winning movie but makes one mistake that puts it in the middle of the pack instead of rising above it.

The movie starts with Jack receiving a call from his niece Ashley since her father forgot to pick her up again. He’s always glad to help out though and the two have always had a good relationship. Well, one day she calls him and sounds distressed before the call ends. He runs over and she has been murdered along with her parents. The crime scene indicates that her father murdered her and the mother before destroying himself. Jack knows that he did suffer from being bipolar and also had some drug related incident s in the past but something about this still isn’t sitting right with him. That’s when he gets a call from Ashley and for her it is still a week before the murder. He’s not sure how this happened but he now has a second chance to make things right and keep her safe. Of course there are 3 factors limiting this from being a super easy mission.

1: He can only speak to her over the phone so he can’t physically run to her house to help out. 2. He can’t call her so he has to wait for Ashley to call him. 3. The Jack of the past timeline doesn’t know what’s going on so he needs to keep Ashley from seeing him or she may find the whole situation crazy and not believe him. If he loses her trust at any point then the whole mission is a wash. Will he be able to pull this off and save her life or is the film going to take the awful route that “The past cannot be changed” route?

Well, I can say from the jump that the past can be changed here. After all, there wouldn’t be much of a movie if he couldn’t have any impact right? Definitely a good thing since I never really bought into that approach all that much. If time travel does exist then it stands to reason that you can change anything. That’s a full stop right there, you can’t have one concept without the other and this film embraces it. Without talking about the film too much yet, lets talk about the time travel rules for this movie.

So what happens in the past directly alters the future. So for example if Jack tells Ashley to paint a circle in the back of a house, Jack will suddenly experience a ton of seizures with red lights and then it appears in the present. This one is assuming that time goes linearly which I actually prefer. In some titles you may run into the issue of how the world should have already shifted since the events already happened but this way is much more straight forward and I just prefer it. Gets you away from the loops. The good news about this and having one timeline is that even if Jack dies, if he was able to get her enough info in time then he will be resurrected in the new timeline.

He seems to be the only one actually aware of the time changes through his phone connection to Ashley. We can chalk this up to the power of a wish since he wanted a do-over. Part of why I like the structure here is because it’s all internally consistent and it’s not trying too hard to invent a lot of rules. It’s a simple time travel format that works quite effectively so I’ll give the film credit there. I also thought the writing was pretty solid in general with the mystery angle. There are a lot of twists and evidence to go through but it never feels like the movie is pulling things out of a hat. It’s all planned out and that’s really a good thing.

I don’t think you’ll figure things out too quickly but even if you do, I’d say that’s a credit to your detective abilities rather than a slight to the film. I would personally say it’s all hidden well. Then Jack makes for a solid main character which is important here. He’s certainly desperate to save Ashley and is pulling out all the stops but knows when to be subtle so he isn’t arrested for acting crazy. Now he does have to take desperate measures to get the evidence sometimes like pulling a gun on one of the officers but where other main characters would constantly charge in, Jack at least pretends to play ball like when he told his boss that he would drop it.

Ashley is also a solid character. She gets a handle on things fairly quick for a kid and doesn’t slow things down by asking a lot of questions. She asks a reasonable amount given the crazy circumstances that are going on but again, she handles it well. In general the film was good about making people reasonable. The cast is fairly small though because Ashley’s parents never get much of a role. Jack’s partner is around but you won’t get too many scenes of him throughout the movie. Jack is really in this alone the whole time.

Now the film does make one big mistake which is that the dog ends up getting bumped off. Why include a dog in a film like this when you know how it’s going to play out? The family just shouldn’t have had a dog and then things wouldn’t have been so tragic the whole time. While I won’t go into the twists and all that, either way it’s fair to say that Ashley’s dad did not handle things well at all. He really could have played things out in so many ways that would have led to a better ending for everyone. Even as the film ends, it’s not like it’s a super happy ending or anything. Things worked out but with heavy costs all around.

Overall, Don’t Let Go is a pretty solid film for the most part even if it fumbles the bag with the dog scene. Throw that out and I dare say this would have been going over very well. The biggest slight against it is probably that there won’t be a ton of replay value here. In general that’s something you see a lot with mystery films since once you know all of the twists it naturally can’t be quite as engaging the second time. There are some exceptions to that of course but a lot of the suspense is in not knowing who to trust and what will happen next. If you’re ready for a solid detective movie and can get over the dog scene then you’re all set with this one, otherwise I guess it’s time to let this movie go instead.

Overall 5/10

Mr. & Mrs. Smith Review

Now you may be thinking of the newer action film when you see this title, but this one’s going for a very different vibe. There isn’t any real action to speak of this time as it’s more of a romance comedy. I feel like there’s definitely better ways you could have executed this plot but all in all it’s still going to give you a decent time. It’s one of those films that is right in the middle. It’s not particularly good or bad so you’ll have your share of good and bad times with it. Mainly I’d say it’s that there are a lot of missed opportunities and you sense that it could have been something more.

The story starts with Mr. Smith and Mrs. Smith having another one of their big fights. They have a rule where neither one of them can leave the room until they have made up. Apparently this can sometimes result in their spending 8 days inside the room. Mrs. Smith has a whole lot of rules with this being one of them and you can tell that Mr. Smith is not too thrilled with them to the point where he says he would not marry her again if given the choice. Of course it was purely hypothetical…until he is told that the marriage actually wasn’t legal since there was an issue with the borders. Now Mr. Smith is being given the second chance he had just considered and is determined to make the most of it.

Mr. Smith decides not to tell Mrs. Smith about this as he is now relishing his freedom but little does he realize that she has also been told this and is quite steamed about the whole thing. Will they end up getting remarried or will this event be the trigger to their doom? One thing’s for sure, they are no longer Mr. & Mrs. Smith but have returned to David and Ann.

It’s certainly an interesting angle here. You like to think that for 99% of instances the couple would just walk to the office and get remarried in a heartbeat. I could see some deciding to make a fun party/event out of the ordeal or maybe even relive their first date. More in the manner that Ann was expecting with David to propose again. Of course we wouldn’t have a movie if that were the case and so this ends up being a whole big deal for both of them. While we mainly saw Ann’s faults from David’s perspective at first, we then get to hear Ann’s list of complaints later on. They certainly had a lot of issues with each other.

The film also reverses course a bit as initially David is the one who seems to not really want to remarry Ann but then when she decides not to get back together David is the one playing the Uno reverse card. Effectively it seems to me that David just wanted a few weeks of being single again and probably would have told her eventually but to Ann that was already a massive slight and so she decided to have a permanent split here. To her defense David definitely should have come clean from the start. There should be no hesitation in wanting to get remarried to bring things back to how they were. It doesn’t help that he had just responded to the hypothetical question earlier that day so she saw his true feelings.

Meanwhile on Ann’s side, she was way too quick to go on the rebound. Now initially she was just messing with David presumably but she actually gets serious about his best friend Jeff. This hurts her quite a bit because it shows that she was actually willing to go all the way to marriage with this guy just to spite Jeff. There’s a limit to how far you should go in a moment like this and she goes well beyond it. At that point it feels like the marriage can never be the same again. Once the rebounds are in play then all bets are off.

So I wouldn’t say that either of the main characters were particularly good. David getting Ann fired was also rough just as she was trying to start things off again. Meanwhile Jeff was no good too. Deciding to actually go through with this and have an affair with Ann was awful. Sounds to me like he was interested in her the whole time even while she was married and just made a move now that she was back on the market. This is another thing that you can absolutely never come back from. Once your feelings are out in the open like that, well that’s it. You can’t put it back in the box so to speak.

He wasn’t very smart either as he didn’t try harder to see through David’s deceptions. The ole pretending to be sick routine really shouldn’t be working like that either. C’mon now, it’s obvious that he was faking with all of the over acting. Jeff seemed to suspect at first but then started to weak on that. Additionally, the scene of Jeff getting drunk was also rather painful to get through. His final straw was in not defending Ann when David put her in a chokehold. Sure, by then he saw how manipulative she was, but it still wasn’t a good look for him.

I guess by the end we see that Ann actually enjoys some roleplay with Jeff as they mess around and presumably have their happy ever after but it’s hard to see this working out. The film has some solid writing and a good script which is all well and good but the characters needed to be a little better in order to make it to the next level. I think this plot really had a whole lot of potential to do something amazing and it just never reached that point. It really could have been more fun than it was. The direction was a little different than what I expected.

Overall, Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a film you aren’t likely to forget because the plot is really original. I actually think this is one of the rare times where a modern remake could actually improve on it a bit. It just feels like a comedic goldmine for potential. I would also increase the time frame so they’d have been married for 10 years or so instead of 3. Adds to the drama of the whole thing and you could really play up how each character and their supporting cast takes it. Give their families a bigger role since their “helpful” advice could also really help add to the dynamic.

Overall 6/10

Red Lights Review

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

Red Lights is a bit of a trippy film that has a lot of good ideas but the execution isn’t as good as it should have been. It gives you a lot to think about though and I like the concept. You’d probably never guess the actual story of the film just based on the title though, it’s not one of those titles that makes it obvious or anything. There aren’t a ton of magic films like this one out there either so that adds a little more reason to check this one out.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Margaret and her assistant Tom. Their job is to discredit people who call themselves magicians by uncovering their tips and tricks. They’re quite good at this and Margaret really commands the field. In her day she was only defeated once by the magician known as Simon who was the best of the best. He retired rather suddenly when one of his critics died during a performance. Well, now he’s back but for some reason Margaret refuses to go after him. She even tells Tom not to try because they are hopelessly outmatched and outgunned. Tom doesn’t listen though and wants to take this guy down as the ultimate triumph.

Red Lights shifts gears rather quickly so don’t expect this plot to remain static but right off the bat I like the premise here. The idea of a movie about people busting magicians is really interesting. Particularly if you don’t believe in magic then you’re rooting for them to claim the win. Margaret is also a very solid character with how confident and prepared she is. Of course she isn’t unbeatable and we get a flashback showing how she lost to Simon. It’s not easy to prove the others are a phony, particularly on the spot. Part of her regret though is that it should have been easy for her in that moment.

He claimed that her son’s ghost was around as if he was dead, but only Margaret knew that he was still alive. If she had called him out there then her career would have been perfect but ultimately she hesitated and just didn’t think of it in time. That’s her only loss in the film though. While Tom gives her a hard time during an interview later on, I wouldn’t say that she was actually losing that one. Personally I thought she did fine and I suppose it’s how you look at the interview but what did he really want her to say? I thought he was unreasonable the whole time.

That’s one of the weaker parts of the film since Tom is really the main character here and he’s just annoying all the time. He constantly loses his cool and falls into every trap imaginable. There’s a scene where he keeps on threatening the head researcher so that he can get in and the whole time I’m just thinking that they really shouldn’t let him in now. It’s clear that the guy isn’t stable at all and the film really goes out of its way to show this. He’s just way too obsessed with Silver.

Tom also just isn’t as talented as Margaret is. Intensity and youth can only get you so far, ultimately you also need the technique to go along with that. He’s also rather mean to one of the assistants. He doesn’t even let the guy talk and just keeps on brushing off the guy’s ideas. Tom’s girlfriend acts the same way towards the guy so you start to feel bad for him. He’s the one trying to help out and staying up late trying to crack the case too. He deserves a little more respect there.

During the film you’re also supposed to ask yourself the whole time if Simon’s powers are real as well. It’s a nice angle to the film since it gives you a reason to really think about each scene a lot. Fantastical things do seem to happen a lot when he’s on stage like lights breaking or people dying for seemingly no reason. Of course part of you will think that may be a little too easy in that case. Either way it should give you a lot to think about and Simon makes for a solid villain. He’s definitely not someone that the characters can really afford to take too lightly.

There is a big twist near the end of the film which answers all of the questions and should make or break the experience for you. The twist itself I’m fairly cool with although I wouldn’t say it’s handled super well. One scene is dragged out a bit too much which lowers the impact of the moment. I also feel like this raises some extra questions throughout the movie which don’t do it any favors. It also leads to a rather bad ending so in the end the film starts off a lot better than it ended. It had some good humor and a fun cast but it just made some really big mistakes in the second half that erase a lot of the good that the first half pulled in. I’ll jump into that now so skip the next two paragraphs if you haven’t seen the film yet.

All right so here we go into spoiler land. First off, Margaret gets bumped off early on which is a shame since she was the best character here. Tom isn’t able to fill in for her effectively at all. Then the other big twist is that Simon was a phony but Tom is a real psychic. Yes, all the crazy stuff that happened during the movie was his doing. It seems like he didn’t actually know he was doing this to himself. Towards the end of the film he says he regrets how he didn’t tell Margaret sooner so she could have some closure though.

So that means he knew he had powers but just didn’t know he was using it at those moments? It’s rather sloppy. His whole motivation seemed to be to find some other people like him with psychic powers and he had started giving up on this dream. It’s too bad he couldn’t have confided in her though or at least been less desperate about things. At least the movie didn’t cop out with powers not existing but it just should have been so much better. Also, at the end Tom takes Margaret’s son off of life support so he can die now but that was a very iffy way of ending things. He snuck in there without any consent and just turned it off? Even if it’s meant to be a helpful/hopeful kind of thing, it didn’t turn out that way.

Well that’s it for the spoilers. There’s also an action scene we get in the bathroom that really doesn’t go very well for Tom. The scene is super random and shows up out of nowhere though. On a plot level you get to piece it together real quick on how this happened but the ending of the fight felt really convenient. If you’re going to start a fight and take a huge risk on someone seeing you, then shouldn’t you make sure that the fight is won? Stopping at the end just doesn’t work and makes the whole thing futile.

Overall, Red Lights is a film with a lot of ups and downs for me. The concept is sound and there are some interesting visuals here. On the other hand the ending is no good and it felt like the movie should have trusted its own premise more. The more interesting scenes in the film where about the heroes trying to prove that the magicians are a fraud as opposed to Tom’s obsession. If we focused on that then this would have been pretty good.

Overall 5/10

Hitman Review

This review is of the 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

The Hitman video game series is definitely well known and you figure a film about it should be amazing right? Well, this one didn’t quite do it for me. It has some moments that show promise but ultimately just made too many mistakes which kept this from being the next big hit. At least they got the suit and tie right.

So the movie starts off with a quick origin for 47 and he gets the drop on the interpol agent Mike. We then get a flashback to 3 months ago to set things up. Here are the ground rules you need to know about this universe. A bunch of kids were raised to be future hitmen so they don’t show much emotion. The main character’s name is simply 47 and he has done really well. The head of the group or at least the one who contacts him is Diana and she has historically given him a lot of missions that he completes easily enough. Well, one day the mission appears to be a set-up as the guy (Mikhail) that 47 murdered is still alive and he’s told to murder a witness (Nika) who didn’t actually see him? 47 needs to figure out what is going on quickly to turn the tables on these guys or else his reputation as a top hitman may be on the line.

I do think it’s always an odd decision to have your first movie be something that changes the status quo to something you haven’t experienced yet. Shouldn’t a plot about 47 being betrayed by his group be a sequel’s plot as opposed to the original? At least give us a chance to see 47 working in a normal environment. In that sense I’d say you should have had the sequel take place first since the plot was more standard for 47. This is true for any film based on a franchise though, the first movie should feel like a classic adventure with whatever elements are usually in the games and then you subvert this later on.

Well, lets knock out some of the negatives right away. First up, the editing isn’t great and that’s a field I don’t even bring up unless it’s really bad. There are a ton of cuts in each action sequence so you don’t actually get to see the action a lot. Why do you need 5 different camera angles for someone getting punched? Now even if they actually did a solid punch on the set it’s hard to tell and you assume the choreography wasn’t very good. This happens a lot during pretty much every fight.

The only one that gets around this is the 4 man sword fight which is actually really good. Now that’s a fight that is a highlight in the movie and gave us a good look at what could happen here. If this had been the feel of the whole film then I think we’d be having a whole different conversation here. The sword fight was just really good. The gun battles and hand to hand are solid too of course but not nearly on the same level, particularly because of the cuts.

Then sometimes it felt like they were just taking short cuts. There is one scene where a character is walking through a underground parking lot of sorts. Instead of you know…having the character just walk all the way through before cutting away we see him take a step, then there’s a blinding flash of light. Then another step, another light, and then rinse and repeat for a third time before he vanishes. Beyond trying to give the audience seizures, what is even the point of that? It doesn’t make sense to me and felt like they just didn’t want to film the whole walking sequence or something happened and they lost some of the files.

I don’t mind a film being busy with a lot of effects (Kaguya season 1 handled this perfectly with lots of special effects everywhere) but they should have some kind of purpose to them. Otherwise it’s just adding effects to add them. Also, the romance here is pretty bad. Nika is a character who has effectively been held hostage for a long while by the villains. It feels like the last thing she wants to do is to get into an affair right now. There’s also no reason she would actually start liking 47 this quickly as she should still be in self preservation mode. He’s constantly threatening her and their whole dynamic just seems very weak. It all happens way too quickly and 47’s half hearted resistance will just make you roll your eyes.

This is a film that definitely didn’t need romance in the slightest. Finally, I thought the organization could have looked better. Now I don’t know much about 47’s group so maybe they’re all just evil anyway but at least Diana seems trustworthy with how she called 47 to warn him. How come she didn’t find out that the fix was in sooner? Also, why is the organization willing to sell out 47 this easily when he’s one of their best assets? Feels like they’re choosing the wrong side to me by a long shot. You don’t want to turn someone like 47 against you, that’s a terrible move.

Okay so for the good parts, I did like the Interpol agent Mike. That guy wasn’t about to get pushed around by the Russians and just kept going on the case to stop 47. He wasn’t getting distracted or tricked along the way either and just held onto his singular focus the whole time. He may never actually be a threat to 47 in anyway but his plot was always interesting.

47 himself was a decent main character as well. I wouldn’t say he was very good and he lost some points along the way but ultimately he always had a plan and would come out on top. He certainly got the upper hand on Mike quickly enough and took out a ton of villains at every point. I liked Diana even if her role was super small. I was not really a fan of Nika though. Certainly a tragic backstory for her but in the present she didn’t actually get to contribute much at all.

As for the villain Mikhail, well he is the kind of guy who panics a whole ton. The plan to frame 47 was solid without a doubt but the villains didn’t know how to follow through on that. There are a few other villains as well but none of them are particularly memorable. The movie goes through the motions and they get their moments where they come close to stopping 47 but you barely even see them as characters most of the time.

The soundtrack is pretty decent though. Some solid tunes in there and I did like the visual. The movie always made sure to show off 47’s suit and how the tie would practically glow. Fans will at least be satisfied that the outfit is pretty much a 1 to 1 recreation from the games. No expense was spared there and the ending also leaves some interesting plots for future installments. Of course no sequel would end up coming out but it did get you interested in the franchise as a whole and that is at least partially the goal in making an adaption like this.

Overall, Hitman wasn’t a success. For everything it did right, it did something wrong as well. I would place is squarely in the middle as a result and while there is a decent amount of replay value, I feel as though there is no real reason to watch it again. Watch Mission Impossible instead if you want to see some solid secret agent work or watch Terminator if you want to watch a stoic villain running around. After all, make no mistake, 47 is still a villain here. Just because his goals align with the heroes sometimes doesn’t change the fact that he is still a killer for hire who follows orders without really thinking about it. If the games keep in all of the interesting plot elements while touching the rest up then I can definitely see how this became a really big franchise.

Overall 5/10

Bigger Than Life Review

It’s never a good thing when you become bigger than life because that means that your ego is probably something you haven’t kept in check. This film has something like that happen to the main character but it’s not ego in this case. Instead it comes through not following the proper dosage on a drug and things get a little dicey. It’s why following the instructions for anything is so crucial.

The movie starts with showing us how sick Ed is. He’s been having seizures and fainting spells as of late so he is taken to the hospital and the prognosis is not very good. Ed will be dead in short order unless he tries an experimental treatment which could bump him off as well. It’s his best and only option though so he goes through with it. At first things appear to be fine but slowly Ed begins to go more and more insane to the point where even his family barely recognize him. Will Ed be okay or was this one case where the cure is deadlier than the condition?

Now, I mentioned that the issue is with Ed taking too much Corazon but even before that he started going a bit off the deep end. Sure this sped it up but based on how it appeared, he would have gone crazy sooner or later while taking these. Nowadays it’s more of a mainstream drug and I know it’s used on a lot of things so at least the going crazy part isn’t happening now.

Ed’s wife Lou doesn’t handle this too well the whole time though. On one hand she is trying to back up her husband at every turn which is admirable but it goes too far when he starts becoming a danger to everyone around them and she doesn’t act. He becomes quite harsh with their kid and starts acting like a drill sergeant. He doesn’t treat her very kindly half the time either and by the time she is finally ready to acknowledge that he is crazy..he is completely off his rocket. Her final plan also wasn’t subtle enough which nearly cost her everything.

The story has a happy ending but she didn’t contribute to that too much. She also should have been a lot nicer to Wally who just did his best to keep her in the loop and offer advice. She was rarely if ever grateful at all. Its fortunate that he was around in the end or thing would not have gone very well at all. Wally was easily my favorite character here. No matter how many verbal shots he took, the guy just kept trying to help anyway. Now that’s a really good friend.

As for the kid Richie, he’s not old enough to be able to do much of anything in this scenario anyway. He’s not a very interesting character and eventually also gets to his breaking point but there’s just no way for him to really impact the story. I don’t think you even needed him in the film since it doesn’t change much. You could have Ed threaten someone else instead for the same effect.

As for Ed, well it’s hard to like him here since he was taken over so completely by the drug and cracked. It’s too bad there weren’t at least scenes of him trying to fight it or we could see in his mind as the two sides of him fought. Instead since the brain washing was so complete and immediate, the only thing you can assume here is that he didn’t have the willpower to resist this. Hopefully he is able to stay strong now but for the majority of the film he’s effectively the antagonist.

The movie doesn’t have a very fun feeling to it the whole time either because of this. It’s either the characters running away from Ed or he’s just acting off. There aren’t a lot of light hearted moments after the first few scenes. The ones we do get later on are almost always interrupted into a more tense moment.

If the character cast was better then it would help the movie for sure. Instead this just ends up being a movie that you will get through but you probably won’t be recommending very high. It doesn’t really have any replay value either. The writing is good but the characters aren’t so it’s not really able to take full advantage of that. Some of the drama can also be a bit forced like Ed not letting Lou know about his part time job. While he indicated that she wouldn’t be happy about it, that’s not consistent with her character at all. Seems to me like she would not have thought that it was a very big deal at all.

So Ed’s perception may have already been a little off here. He was adding on extra stress to himself that he just didn’t need. Once he turned crazy he would certainly start making a lot of scenes like at the school and when he started to read his Bible but before that it didn’t seem like he had enough trust in Lou. If he had confided in her earlier and more often then she may have been able to help him get around the side effects right from the start. It’s why you can’t always go it alone in these things or you may end up being down and out.

Overall, Bigger Than Life is an emotional film about losing control of your mind. It’s definitely going for a pretty serious vibe and succeeds at that but as a result the movie just doesn’t have a lot of charm to it. You can get by without charm if the story is just that epic and engaging but this isn’t even that kind of adventure. It’s more of a low key story as the characters try their best to get through this tough period and there’s just not a whole lot of reasons to watch this one. It’s not bad and if you’re up for a more somber film then it’s worth a shot but you can definitely find something else to check out.

Overall 5/10

Night Watch Review

Night Watch makes for a pretty interesting watch after Gaslight. After all it seems to be going in a similar direction but is it really leading up to the same conclusion? Well, part of the fun is in watching it get there. It is certainly better than both of the Gaslight films but I still wouldn’t call it very good or anything. It certainly goes a bit far in the ending and it’s one of those films that doesn’t have a particularly likable cast. Some clever dialogue and moments do keep it from being a bad film though so ultimately it would be right in the middle. “Mid” you could say.

The movie starts off with Ellen and her husband John having an ordinary night but then Ellen makes the mistake of heading near the window during a dark and stormy night. She happens to see a murder in the window next door and quickly calls him over but by the time John gets there the body is gone. They call the cops who do a thorough inspection of the house but find nothing there. The cops think Ellen may have been imagining it. After all, it was dark out and the house is a fair distance to be watching in those conditions but Ellen does not drop her claim. Perhaps the next door neighbor Mr. Appleby knows something about it. He has been planting quite a lot lately……

So at its core this is a classic murder mystery only you aren’t sure if Ellen is correct here. She is in a fragile mental state due to some things that happened in her past. The movie goes into it but she had a breakdown at one point so this could be some kind of projection there. It doesn’t help that she keeps calling the cops over and over again to the point where they start to complain to John. None of the searches turn anything up so it’s not like they have much evidence anyway. The film is the embodiment of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” when you think about it.

Inspector Walker is a fun character though. You have to give him credit for doing his due diligence because he does inspect the house multiple times. He certainly put in the effort even if it didn’t turn anything up. He even posted some guards to watch the place throughout the night. Even he has a breaking point with how often he has to go over to the same house. Perhaps arresting Ellen for a night for using up the police lines would have made some sense there. Not that you want to punish someone for reporting a crime but when it gets this excessive it has to be something that you consider right?

Now to Ellen’s defense, Mr. Appleby is certainly as suspicious as possible. I said that the cops never found anyone in the house but I should amend that to say that they found him there once. His excuse was that he was curious since Ellen kept claiming there was a murder. His other suspicious action was deciding to plant some new bushes/plants right after this supposed murder. Nothing wrong with gardening but the timing was certainly very interesting eh? He makes for a fun character. Someone who is rather defensive but who wouldn’t be when they’re a murder suspect.

John seems reasonable at first but gets gradually worse as the film goes on. He certainly acts like he’s making the right moves and defends Ellen in public but he is severely lacking in willpower. Lets just say that he makes all of the wrong choices which don’t bode well for him. You can say the same thing for Sarah who’s just not a very nice person. Since Ellen is surrounded by these characters who aren’t that great, it’s not particularly healthy for her recovery.

As for Ellen, well she is jumping at shadows after a point with how she keeps on calling the cops. At one point she apparently called over 10 times in one day which is really a whole lot. At that point since you know the police can’t do anything you’d think she would give it a rest. You aren’t likely to forget her as the lead though.

The climax gets surprisingly violent as mentioned earlier so you’ll want to watch out for that. The rest of the movie is really mild and laidback which is why this can come as a surprise. As for the twists at the end, well the film handles it really well. You definitely look back at the rest of the film in a different light and it all lands well. I would say I don’t think the plan will be as successful as the murderer expects though. This is something that only works for a short while, maybe a day at best. I think after that the cops will make a move and at that point someone’s going down. Now, whether they get the right person or not is really up to the viewer to decide.

I think they would pull it off though. Getting proof might be tougher but you have sufficient motive and things are very suspicious once they add it up. They may also get someone else who wasn’t in on the actual murder but knowing about it is almost as bad so game over there. It’s all head canon as the film ends early so you get to decide what happens next. It’s an open ending that works well enough. The film lives up to the suspenseful atmosphere it built up at the start.

Overall, Night Watch probably won’t play in quite the way that you expect and so in that way it really works as a solid mystery. It would be nice if we had more characters to really root for though. I liked the Inspector but he’s hardly the main character or even the main secondary one. I expect much like in a horror film they probably don’t want to make the characters too likable or you start to feel bad for everyone so it’s always a tight rope there. If you’re up for a suspenseful ride then this could be the ticket for you. It may have a bit of a slow build up near the middle but the film’s always doing enough to keep you interested for the ending.

Overall 5/10

The Last Wave Review

The Last Wave is certainly a strange film. It doesn’t mind lingering on a shot of the sky or an empty house for a little while. There’s always a mysterious humming tune playing and so this helps to keep you off balance the whole time as you don’t know exactly how this is going to play out. It’s all just a little too dragged out though which hurts the film’s momentum.

The movie starts with a powerful hail storm striking a school and knocking one of the kids for a loop. We then see a bunch of guys at a bar and things get out of control when one guy gets drunk and then ultimately drowns. The group at the scene of the crime are taken in on the charge of murder. This leads us to our tax expert named David who is picked as their lawyer for some reason. Seems kind of random but David never turns down an assignment. He tries to make a connection with the main guy named Chris but he’s super vague. Chris also brings in his mentor Charlie who is also quite mysterious.

These two are from a tribe with supernatural customs including a bone that you could point at someone to make them die instantly. David’s best chance is if he can prove that they murdered the guy in this supernatural fashion and since that would be considered tribal law, the group could get off as being innocent. Unfortunately proving tribal law will be difficult especially since Chris and the others won’t play ball for some reason. Why are they keeping so many secrets and why is David starting to have a lot of visions? The whole thing feels rather strange so he is going to have to find answers for that.

From there we get a lot of scenes with David thinking or wondering what’s going on. Naturally the people around him either start to think that he’s crazy or making a mistake. His wife isn’t thrilled about this as Charlie even appears outside of the house in the dead of night and really spooks her. She didn’t exactly sign up for this but props to David for confronting Charlie the next day.

Unfortunately he doesn’t really get any answers out of him. Charlie just spams the “Who are you?” card over and over again. David has a partner who also thinks this is insane and that David should stop trying so hard. The case looks open and shut so there might not be anything he can do, especially when his own clients refuse to help out and seem to be on some kind of order of silence. More tribal law perhaps?

Throughout the film weird things are happening with the weather too. You have black rain falling from the sky which people claim to be pollution but it seems weirder than that. For example, it only starts falling in a small area as opposed to falling everywhere. It’s a bit hard to explain that. One thing that also helps David start to believe that are his visions where he starts seeing things that he shouldn’t even know about.

There’s a court scene in the movie which is fun as David tries to present supernatural evidence. The court actually considers it far more than you would typically expect. It definitely makes for a surreal scene as is the rest of the movie. While I’m skeptical that things would play out like this…at all. It still made for a fun moment as I always like to get a court scene thrown in.

While the movie is mainly focused on being super strange and doesn’t jump into the realm of action too much, the climax suddenly gets a little intense. We get a little wrestling as David turns into Indiana Jones and really investigates the cave. The whole thing turns into a bit of a conspiracy you could say as the tunnels go throughout the city. This leads into a pretty solid ending. You can take the ending in a few different ways but I consider it to be “Game Over”. There’s no coming back from this and in a way the futility of David’s whole adventure hits him all at once here. It’s like he never stood a chance.

The most annoying character in the film has to be Chris though. David’s trying to help him and the guy remains cryptic and completely unhelpful for the entirety of the film. You’d think that he would step up at least once, but no he never does. Even by the end he just ditches the main character because it got too dangerous. Then you have Charlie who seems completely insane. That could make for a good villain but he’s not good at using his abilities at all and just appears to be completely ineffective in the climax. Surely with his abilities he could do much better than how he performed here.

The Last Wave does a good job of being strange but where it loses me is in how long it’s got to be. We’ll have a conversation with David and Chris that takes eons as they have to have a dramatic pause at the end of each word and then just stare waiting for the other person to slowly have a response. These artificial delays occur for every conversation in the film involving Chris and the other characters. A random scene like the bathtub overflowing will take several minutes as David slowly walks up the steps and ponders his life as he turns it off.

So that does bring the whole eerie feel of the movie across but it also means that the pacing is simply dreadful. The events take too long to happen which hurts the replay value and even the experience of making it to the end. If you cut out how long some of these scenes were then this would easily jump up a point or two. Maybe if the payoff was even bigger then this would have gotten another point that way as well. There’s a lot to interest you here but it just takes too long to get there.

Overall, The Last Wave is a film that’s right in the middle. It’s far too drawn out to be good but there’s enough interesting angles here where it’s not bad. If you want a film that’s very original and off the normal path then this is the one to check out. It is difficult to make a film this strange without being nonsensical or making big mistakes so the film deserves some credit there. The ending is also very memorable so you aren’t likely to forget it anytime soon.

Overall 5/10

For the Love of the Game Review

Time for some Baseball action. This film also throws some romance into the mix but it’s probably the weakest part here. Ultimately this is a classic story of having to choose between your love for someone else and your love of the game. There’s a lot of drama over here and what is going on ends up being bigger than any single game.

The movie starts with Billy getting ready to pitch his final game. He’s gotten quite a bit older and can’t really throw the way that he used too. He’s just too old and he knows it, but he doesn’t want to leave the game either. He’s had a great career so his coach Frank is reluctant to pull him out but at the same time he does want to win. Billy can continue his career if he really wants to do so, but it will be on a different team. He reflects on his life as the game goes on and how it all led to this.

A big part of that is in his romance with Jane. So this one falls flat for a few reasons. One of which is that they hook up almost immediately without really knowing each other so both come off as really desperate. Jane tries to say later on that she isn’t usually that kind of person but it’s a bit late for that and then Billy certainly proves that he is that kind of person when he cheats on her later on. They just never really ended up connecting in the long run and so the romance wasn’t one that you could really root for.

Put it this way, if Billy was able to cheat on Jane after a single disagreement then he was never too serious about her in the first place. You just don’t cheat on someone like that, especially so quickly. It was really a terrible look for him. Jane really shouldn’t have even attempted to bridge the gap here after that. From the start another red flag was that their relationship was going to be a long distance one where they aren’t supposed to call each other or even think about each other. They were supposed to live their lives and just hang out when they’re in the same town. That doesn’t sound like a winning way to go through life now does it?

The Baseball scenes are fun though even if they never feel like the main part of the story. The final game in the present is certainly dramatic since Billy wants to go out on a high note. No better way than to try and pitch a shutout right? That’s extremely rare in any game and almost never happens. Billy also has a good team by his side. There’s the up and coming outfielder who initially has a hard time not messing up on the field but learns to tune out the media and just play ball.

There’s also the catcher Gus who was with Billy every step of the way. Billy would also fight to keep Gus on the team when the coach wanted to put someone else in. They made for a good duo and clearly had a great career even if the time was almost up there. So the movie’s got a lot of emotional stories going on and especially plots about how age always catches up to you. Sure enough, it’s not something that you can escape forever. Ultimately it will always return to make you retire at some point.

Jane’s daughter Heather also gets to appear for a bit. She’s used in a way to try and patch things up with Billy and Jane. Heather’s nice enough even if she starts out as a bit of a rebel. She can give Billy a hard time at first but warms up to him later on. Her role isn’t super large but she does appear near the end of the film in the current timeline and she’s now more of an outgoing person. Perhaps Billy had a positive effect on her there.

I would have liked to have seen some more Baseball action though. That’s really what I’m here for and I felt like it didn’t really get a big role. More Baseball games would have been nice, maybe take us through the whole season as Billy’s play began to deteriorate more and more. Particularly given the title of the film focusing on that would be best and by constantly seeing Baseball games in the flashback, it would also be a meta way to show the audience that it was still the first thing that he thinks about every day. It could further show Jane that she ultimately made the right choice in deciding to head out.

The writing’s decent enough here. You’ll be invested as the film goes on and the pacing is good too. It doesn’t drag out or anything like that either. I wasn’t a fan of the two main leads here but I did like the friend and the coach. Ultimately the coach especially has a tough job here since he needs to keep the locker room happy while also making the tough business decisions so that the team can keep on winning. The whole thing is impossible to keep impersonal here since everyone has known each other for so long. Still, he does a good job of it and is also careful to make sure Billy isn’t overdoing it.

Overall, The film’s main weakness is that the romance doesn’t really work. Both characters made massive mistakes with how the relationship was started in the beginning and then Billy ruined it beyond repair. The Baseball scenes were always great but they were just so few and far between. I really think we should have gotten more cool Baseball moments and that also could have let us meet more of the team. When you think about it, we didn’t actually know too many of the players.

Overall 5/10

Point Break 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

This is definitely a film I knew about for a while but only the bare minimum. It’s nice to check this one off the bucket list and it certainly has some fun ideas. Ultimately the film does have its share of negatives though which keep it from going into the green. As a result I’d place this one right in the middle. It basically cancels itself out at every scene but makes for an entertaining watch as a result.

The movie starts with the U.S. former presidents robbing yet another bank. They’ve hit dozens of banks at this point for years and nobody has ever caught them. Now I should say that these aren’t the actual presidents but merely thieves who wear the masks resembling the old presidents. Well, the FBI have a newbie on the team named Johnny Utah and he is determined to crack this case. He convinces his senior partner Angelo to tell him everything and the guy reveals that he thinks the villains are actually a bunch of surfers. Naturally the idea seems crazy but it’s the only lead so Johnny has to learn how to surf. He quickly meets a team of very close knit surfers and the main one is a really good fighter. Hmmmm…maybe he’s on to something.

The classic going undercover routine is always a classic. It’s definitely a tough job to be sure since your cover can be blown at any time so it’s a high risk. Especially since Johnny is actually working in the field as an FBI agent in the same area. If anybody recognizes him then his cover is blown. Fortunately for Johnny he is a smooth talker and he used to be a big shot quarterback so that helps his cache with the guys that he meets. After all, what are the odds that a quarterback would go on to become an FBI agent right? It just seems to random that nobody suspects him at all.

Unfortunately, maybe in part because of how new he is to this, Johnny can be a bit sloppy at time. Case in point, there’s a moment where he is having his quick affair with the main heroine and of course he just so happens to have his gun and ID hanging around. You probably should have that kept extremely secure. I would also argue that while you want to get close to the suspects you probably shouldn’t start any kind of romantic affairs with them. It’s the biggest reason these operations tend to end in disaster because the main character gets too close to the case. It also means you have to start lying a whole lot more frequently and people are bound to get hurt.

I also think the whole thing was too fast to be a true romance. Johnny barely even knew Tyler by that point. She helped him learn how to surf which is great but that’s about it. He should have kept to himself a little more which would also give him more time to process all of the information that he was getting. You can blame some of it on Johnny being new to all of this but some of this is just common sense. He often ends up putting himself in worse and worse circumstances as the film goes on.

I do like his ability to remain cool under fire though. At one point in the film he knows that they’re onto him and they certainly know that he knows, but both sides play it cool. They decide to go sky diving and pretend that they’re having fun even throughout all of the tension. The shoe eventually drops on this and they all have to go back to reality but I thought that sequence was handled fantastically. It’s one of the better moments here.

So Johnny made a lot of mistakes and I wouldn’t call him a great lead but he’s fun. For example, I disagree with his final decision to let someone have their last request. I know that accepting a last request is a big deal but sometimes I really think that you shouldn’t give the guy the satisfaction. This is one of those ties without a doubt.

The main heroine Tyler is okay. She’s good at surfing which is very important in this film. She’s gotten in with a fairly bad crowd though and it’s probably hard to get out. That means things don’t really go very well for her in the film. Tyler’s not as far off the deep end as some of the other characters though. For example, Bodhi’s the main villain here and you can tell that he’s not quite right. The thrills mean far too much to him to the point where he has been completely consumed by them at this point. He’s no longer in it just for the surfing but to keep on topping himself.

I think if he had kept to the plan and not done any showboating then he would have ended up as a better villain. Once he started going overboard and just blaming this on Johnny or chance is when he got weaker. What I’d have done would have been to have had the group escape after handing the hostage over and making a clean getaway as always. They would have then all perished in the big waves that came through. It may not have been a very satisfying end to the heroes but I think it would have made Bodhi appear as a villain who was quite genuine in his motives. That wasn’t the case though so I didn’t end up becoming much of a fan of his.

Angelo’s a good character for the most part but has one scene that approaches the point of parody. He’s supposed to be the smart one of the group who’s always ready for action and yet he is so dismissive of the possibility of catching the crooks that he slacks off while on a stake out. He’s more interested in getting his sandwiches and a drink than actually keeping watch. When a vehicle pulls up to the bank he doesn’t even give it a second thought.

This is absolutely something you’d have seen in a comedic parody but it’s played straight here. Angelo should be blaming himself throughout but instead shifts this onto Johnny later on. If Angelo had taken this more seriously then the film might have ended a whole lot sooner. He blew it there but it’s a funny scene because of how crazy the whole thing is. It really takes you by surprise.

Finally we have Ben who is a stand out character. He’s Johnny’s boss and is always giving him grief about everything. I like how direct he is and the guy seems to try and be a jerk from day 1. In his first scene he’s already being mean for no real reason. He’s so over the top that he ends up becoming a fun antagonist. He’s not going around committing crimes or anything but he might as well be with how he’s handling all of this. He’s not exactly making any waves in the case either but always comes in to assign blame. Shoutout to the undercover cop at the final bank though. That guy really did a great job, he certainly took out more opponents than I was expecting. I ended up liking him quite a bit even though his role was so brief. That’s a perfect example of how you make the most of your opportunity.

The film keeps up a solid comedic tone throughout which makes the pacing good. That said, the script is one of the weakest ones I’ve seen in a while. Apparently becoming a sailor pretty much means talking like a sailor the whole time so the main characters are just swearing like they’re in a horror movie at all points. It’s incredibly overdone to the point of being a bit distracting. I’d say that could have definitely been improved here.

As mentioned, the romance is also on the weaker side here. It’s just extremely rushed and doesn’t really make much sense. I don’t see it lasting beyond the film either once the characters have all calmed down. It’s hard to forget about things like that. A sequel could have been interesting with how this all turned out though. Johnny’s role would have certainly been different.

Overall, Point Break really embraces the craziness of their plan to take the villains down by becoming a surfer. The best scenes are when the heroes are messing around with the boss and just causing a lot of trouble at work. It’s a film where you should be grinning for a good chunk of it. I also don’t think it would be very hard to make the film better either. Scale back the romance, improve the writing, and maybe take out some of the surfing scenes for other sports and that could work. For example the sky diving was a lot of fun and I did like the quick football game. Maybe even show more of the robberies since we didn’t actually get to see those. At the end of the day Bodhi blew it for his team but that’s the way it goes for villains sometimes. They just lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Overall 5/10