Vice Versa Review


Vice Versa is a classic body swapping film so you can expect a lot of hijinks to ensue. I always like the idea of body swapping because it can make for a lot of interesting scenarios. The very premise of living a life in someone else’s shoes for example has always been a blast. I would say right off the gate the film does make one mistake here though. Nobody wants to live another day as a kid…..it would have been more interesting if the main guy was swapping lives for a day with his girlfriend or maybe a rival at the workplace. Still, this is the plot here so lets tackle it now.

Marshall is a rather successful businessman but it has come at the expense of time with his son Charlie. This weekend he gets to have Charlie since he seems to alternate weeks with Charlie’s mother. It’s going to be a grand ole time. The only damper is that the vase Marshall ordered for a work exhibition didn’t arrive because instead he got a haunted skull. The villainous Lilian calls to offer to trade the items (Which got misplaced according to her plan to fool customs) and Marshall agrees. The issue is that before this can happen he and Charlie wish they could switch places. The wish becomes true so they swap bodies. Can each character successfully live in the other person’s shoes or will they wreck everything?

Low key the scariest thing about body swapping would be seeing how the other person wrecks your life. Make no mistake, there is a whole lot of damage you can do to a person’s reputation in a day. It’s not quite something that can be easily reversed either. Both characters do a number on each other but for sure Charlie does more damage than Marshall. Not only does Charlie just generally act like a doofus most of the time with his mouth always open but he doesn’t know anything about business. Fortunately things tend to work out in his favor but that’s not for lack of trying.

Charlie wasn’t ready for this and I can’t say that I was really a fan of his. Kids tend to be a little on the annoying side in these films and even once he got an adult body I wouldn’t say Charlie fully got away from that. He continually messes up and he makes a rather significant move towards the end of the film involving a proposal that was out of line. It could have easily gone sideways and it’s hard to come back from that.

Meanwhile Marshall is the one carrying the film. Honestly I wouldn’t have minded a whole film about him at the firm because it seemed fairly interesting. As a kid he didn’t quite have the same level of intrigue and I was a little iffy about him not being able to take on the bullies at all. The whole time I was waiting for the moment where he confronts them but it never happened. That was a big missed opportunity if you ask me. The actual payoff wasn’t very satisfying since it was Charlie in an adult’s body so there wasn’t much the bullies can do.

Sam is a main supporting character as Marshall’s girlfriend but I wouldn’t say she looks great either. It’s nice that watching the metal show helped her get closer to Marshall I suppose but he was acting rather crazy the whole time so you’d think she would notice something’s up. Now, part of this is due to the fact that it is a comedy so we shouldn’t think too hard on it but I dunno. Also, she has one questionable scene with Marshall considering that he’s still a kid at this point in time and any scene with Charlie is also iffy. She’s partially a victim of circumstance I guess but she never got to be all that good. Also, relationships within the workplace always seem tricky at best.

As for the two villains Lilian & Turk, they’re okay but almost feel like they don’t belong in the film. They’re effectively the villains from Home Alone and get wrecked throughout the film. There is a pretty fun scene where they get ready to abduct Marshall only for Charlie to throw him in a car first. It looked like they were beat to the punch by other kidnappers which was a fun gag. I also liked when the coworkers confronted the about the gun.

Again, the whole film taking place at the workplace would have really worked quite well. The villains don’t leave much of an impression beyond this but I guess they added a layer of danger if they managed to take the skull away. The heroes not figuring out that they both had to be holding onto the skull seemed a bit lazy though. Why would they not try that?

The writing here is decent but there is still just something keeping it from the next level. I get the impression they didn’t really take the premise as far as it could go. When the main plot from before the switch is more interesting than the actual switch you know that you have a problem. It all boils down to the fact that throwing a kid into the mix was a bit of a mistake. There is less you can do with that since Charlie isn’t all that smart as it is. He can’t even bluff his way through scenarios as he just has his mouth open in shock the whole time. Definitely the most annoying part of his character.

Overall, Vice Versa won’t be anyone’s pick as the most influential body swap film. It’s not bad though but I guess what’s almost as important is that it’s not very interesting. It’s a very subdued film that goes through the motions but doesn’t do anything super memorable. Charlie is established as a rather unlikable character the instant he decides to stop listening to Marshall now that he’s all grown up. There was potential to be found here but it never happened. As a result I would say the film is perfectly in the middle. It’s not bad but it’s not all that good either. You’ll walk away from it without a strong opinion one way or the other. So if you want a quick way to spend some time relaxing then you can pop this one in. Otherwise you can probably find some stronger options.

Overall 5/10

Death Becomes Her Review


Death Becomes Her is a film that shows the dangers of immortality. I would almost say that should be a spoiler but a lot of the posters showed this already and I imagine it’s in the trailer so it should be treated as part of the main plot. That said, it would have worked as an effective twist since it’s a while before that happens. Finally, we have a movie that shows why being immortal isn’t necessarily a good thing. I’ve always said that you also need regeneration in order for the ability to be worth it. Otherwise it’s just going to be more of a weakness as you grow old and are forced to survive for eternity. The film has some fun moments and eh moments so it perfectly stays at the center of 0 and 10.

The film starts out with Helen taking Ernest to a film to watch her “friend” Madeline. Helen is quite resentful of her to be honest since Madeline steals every guy she ever goes out with. She has decided to take her current man Ernest on a little test to see if he’s faithful. Can he survive the “Madeline effect” or will he succumb like the rest? He does…instantly. He marries Madeline and Helen decides to murder her after years of living like a vegetable. Can she really pull this off? Meanwhile Madeline has been cheating on Ernest for years but wants to look younger so she can do it all over again. Fortunately there is some magic in this verse.

I think from the start the film wants to tell you that none of the 3 main characters are good people. Ernest has no backbone as he jumps from one girl to the next. He has no motivation and just sits by as Madeline cheats on him. The whole town knows about it which makes matters worse. The only thing he’ll get out of bed for is murder like when he tries to finish Madeline off. As a result I also couldn’t buy into the end of his character arc. He tries to be the better man by the end but by this point it was just too late for this guy. You’ll be shaking your head at him.

As for Helen, well she probably shouldn’t have taken Ernest on this little test of hers. Now, you could say it was good to get this over with than once they were married but I’d say once they are married it should be easy to avoid her entirely. Helen’s also gone after quite a few guys it seems so you also have to wonder if her love is really all that serious or a matter of pride at this point. Helen is also completely serious about wanting to murder Madeline by the way so that’s another reason why you would definitely not be able to call her a hero.

Finally you have Madeline…who is cheating on Ernest all the time. There’s no way she’s a hero here and she is portrayed as being extremely vain. She comes close to getting the doctor to give her extra shots even though it was against corporate policy. Madeline really only looks after herself at all times so you definitely can’t trust her.

With the main characters all acting like true antagonists that means instead of rooting for any of the characters you’re really just cheering the craziness on. For example the best scene in the film is when Madeline grabs a shotgun and just blasts Helen. For starters, it was just really unexpected and it also shows how you can cut loose when both characters have extra powers. They can afford to have a real fight and it’s all quite intense. This could have easily transitioned into an over the top action movie if needed as they escalate against each other to claim Ernest.

They can thank Lisle for this as she found the secret potion of eternal life somehow. It’s definitely an impressive substance to be sure as you effectively can’t be murdered now. It also helps you look quite young for a little while. I guess maybe you need large doses of the stuff or you begin to quickly fade though. Maybe it’s even a bit of a scam since Lisle still looks good but perhaps if they had joined her club they would have gotten more doses. Regardless they definitely should have stuck around since leaving did not help them in the slightest.

The humor is good at times and weak at others. Helen getting quite fat as she sulked about losing Ernest would range a little more on being gross than funny for example. It was an effective way to show how depressed she got but it definitely could have been toned down if you ask me. The film also has quite a bit of fanservice with the various characters, particularly Lisle as it demonstrates the effects of the potion. With all the cheating going around I can safely say that none of the romances were good either.

On the plus side, a lot of the gags involving the immortality itself were fun. Everyone believing Helen was dead for example made a lot of sense since she would literally have no pulse. Her deformed state was also quite realistic even if perhaps hard to look at. Helen using her own death as blackmail against Ernest was great too. He probably regretted having the skills needed to patch her back together.

Overall, Ernest definitely needed to man up a little more. If he had done that then he definitely wouldn’t have been caught in this circumstance. As it is, the guy gets manipulated rather easily. His only good moment might be when he managed to dodge the poisoned drink trick only to still get knocked out by a frying pan anyway. I wouldn’t say the film particularly clicked with me but it has enough gags where you should have some fun here. If you want a cautionary tale on immortality then you should definitely check this one out. The ending is also quite scary in a way too since it furthers that point immensely.

Overall 5/10

Killer Klowns From Outer Space Review


Killer Clowns is one of those films that is effectively part parody and part horror so it tries to grab both of those genres to have at the ready. It handles this pretty well for the most part. I’d say it doesn’t quite bump itself up into the territory of “very good” but I wouldn’t call it a bad film either way. When you mix the idea of a classic clown with aliens then you’ve got yourself a pretty interesting premise right off the bat filled with all kinds of craziness.

The movie starts off with a meteor crash landing on the outskirts of town. It turns out that this was actually a space circus filled with murderous klowns who aim to destroy everyone they can find. Effectively they are like alien invaders who go from planet to planet murdering the inhabitants and using their blood as if they were vampires. This time the town they have landed in isn’t very advanced so the humans are going to have to watch out. The problem is that this is one of those neighborhoods with a lot of pranks and a cop who is pretty corrupt. As a result, the Klowns manage to gain a lot of ground before anyone really even notices they are there.

Mike and Debbie are the main characters here as they are the first to find the Klowns and live to tell the tale. Fortunately for the the Klowns are very slow so outrunning them isn’t a big deal most of the time. They have great offensive power through their guns which can destroy an opponent in one shot as well as their shadow powers which can make any shadow real. They have no way to bump up their speed though so that gives the humans a chance. They also have a weakness which is their nose. If it sustains any kind of damage then the klown will be knocked out of existence really quick. Pretty good trick to have right?

By giving the aliens a weakness this already makes the film more interesting than if they were invincible. That said, they are still incredibly powerful so don’t expect the humans to do well. As the film goes on the Klowns end up taking a ton of people down. Pretty much everyone gets defeated at one point or another whether it be through fake pizza deliveries or not being able to react in time. It definitely gets especially tricky for two prisoners who were locked up and unable to escape when the Klown shows up. By the end of the film there aren’t a whole lot of survivors.

As for the leads, I can’t say any of the characters were all that likable. Mike apparently pranks people quite a lot as it is and he was a bit careless with taking Debbie inside a mysterious tent that could be super dangerous. Probably not the best move there all things considered but at least he has a lot of confidence in his friends the Terenzi brothers to the point where he isn’t worried when they vanish while on the enemy ship.

Then you have Debbie who panics quite a bit here. I’ll give her props for being able to fight off the popcorn monsters though. She actually did a good job of buying time throughout the scene until eventually they overwhelmed her. It was quite a bit lucky to say the least that they decided to spare her after murdering pretty much everyone else though. Technically near the end we see a few more volleyballs so presumably there are other people trapped but in one of those unexpected moments the heroes don’t have time to save them so they blow them up instead.

As for Dave, I guess he would be seen as one of the most reasonable characters in the film. He hasn’t quite gotten over Debbie yet though and takes a lot of below the belt shots at Mike but still was willing to go into the forest to check things out. I have to give him some credit there and he takes out a lot of the Klowns once he figures out their weakness. He certainly did more damage than Mooney, especially considering that the guy was talking so tough the whole time. Of course you know exactly how that plot is going to end but it still makes for a pretty fun sequence. The guy’s just so confident and has the sarcastic attitude down pat. He probably just should have kept his guard up with the Klowns though.

As for the Terenzi brothers, those guys didn’t really add anything to the film. I could have definitely done without them. They are here for the comedy of course but the film already had a good amount of it so I don’t think we needed them. As for the comedy itself, I’d say the film hits a lot more than it misses. Mooney gets a lot of funny scenes, I liked the banter with the characters, and some scenes like the Klowns trying to bump someone off the road are just classic. It’s hard to deny that those moments are definitely on point.

Then you have some jokes that are a little too extended like the shop owner glancing at the Klowns the whole time or the Terenzi brothers and pretty much anything they say. The farmer with his exaggerated reactions was definitely interesting to be sure but I wouldn’t call that scene very funny. Fortunately the movie handled the dog scene as well as possible. I was gearing up for a very shaky beginning to the film but at least we don’t see anything and maybe the Klowns don’t mess with animals. Not likely of course but hey, implied is better than showing.

Despite the lighter tone of the film it does get rather violent at times. The cocoons basically bleed people dry so whenever you open it you can expect the human to not look so good. One human literally gets melted by pie but the film actually managed to make that scene not so violent. One person is used as a live puppet which was definitely intense and so you never know when the film is about to escalate things. It definitely underscores that the Klowns may not look like threats, but they are really doing a number on the town. There’s also some brief fanservice in the film like the obligatory shower and one person who opens the door for delivery but the film mainly manages to avoid this.

Killer Klowns definitely manages to be more of a roller coaster ride next to its peers. Its better than most horror films that I’ve seen but loses to most of the Sci-Fi ones so that helps it try to find that balance. It makes sense that you would take both the pros and cons of the genres. The weak characters and the sudden violence is something more out of horror, but the cool set designs, weapons, and fun dialogue is more Sci-Fi based. I definitely like how the tent doubled as a space ship and in general the film looks pretty good. The guns are unique and clearly a lot of thought went into the Klowns. Since they don’t talk much that just makes them even more mysterious. I believe they only had 1 true scene where they talked when they were messing with Mooney.

Finally it’s worth noting that the soundtrack here is pretty great. So on a technical level the film succeeded with the visuals being on point and the soundtrack really nailing that 80s vibe. It’s got a lot of life to it and helps really make the film more memorable. A good soundtrack goes a long way after all and it does get that subtle terror tone mixed in with the usual clown tracks. All we needed at the end of the film was a huge intergalactic battle with other alien species like the Tooth Fairy and this could have really hit the moon with how crazy things got.

Overall, Killer Klowns is definitely a very memorable film. It manages to really execute on the parody elements and the idea of having a Clown (Even if they’re known as Klowns) is pretty genius. Invading a small town like this where nobody suspects anything and the police are intentionally not helping thanks to Mooney makes things pretty interesting. At times the film can definitely get quite disturbing like the scene of a Klown drinking someone’s blood but for the most part it is just focusing on how crazy this whole thing is. The Klowns seem to keep thinking of new powers as they face new obstacles in the film. We get a nice stinger at the end of the film horror style where you know that the humans are pretty much doomed and it’s really the ideal way to wraps things up. I get the feeling a remake/sequel would not be quite as good as the original but I’d be interested to see how they handle this in a modern environment. I doubt anyone will believe the main character even if he snaps a photo so that should help prevent technology from changing things quite as much. If you like the idea of a wonky Sci-Fi film that definitely goes all out then this could be up your alley. It gets pretty intense at times but everything moves at a quick pace so one second you’ll be in a serious horror moment and in the next you’ll be in comedy land.

Overall 5/10

Southpaw 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.

Southpaw is in a lot of ways a modern Rocky film. That said, as long as Creed exists we have a much better version of how to follow Rocky up. The fight scenes in Southpaw aren’t nearly as dynamic as Creed’s and the film goes a little too far in getting Billy to absolute rock bottom for his eventual climb back to success. This isn’t really a film I would recommend but it does have enough positives to keep it from being a bad movie. A sequel would have potential.

The movie starts with Billy becoming the world champion after another big win. His wife Maureen wants him to finally give up boxing though. They have a lot of money as it is and Billy is slowly taking more injuries with each battle. Billy agrees so he prepares a speech but when heading out he is confronted by an up and coming boxer named Miguel. Miguel baits Billy into a fight and during the scuffle one of Miguel’s minions fatally shoots Maureen. After she dies Billy’s life goes into ruins as he tries to end himself which results in his daughter being taken away from him as well. Billy’s also in danger of being bankrupt as he can no longer afford his lifestyle and mansion without money. His only choice is to get back in the ring once more but he’ll need a coach. Can he find someone to help him become the champion again?

So you can definitely see what the film is going for. Absolutely obliterate Billy’s life so then you can see him rise back to the top in order to set things right. The issue for any kind of adventure like this though is if you go too far in blowing up his life then even the climax won’t be as uplifting because there is no going back. That’s basically what happens here. For example, Maureen’s death is a big one. It’s not like she can come back to life so no matter what he does, that’s it. I think a better way to handle that plot would have been to have her get seriously injured or something and he doesn’t have the money to pay for her bills. That leads him to need to become champion again or win some more fights.

Something like that would still allow for almost all of the other big plots to continue. The only exception would be Leila’s story which would definitely need to be retooled a bit. It’s not as crushing a twist as having her die but that just felt unnecessary. Maureen was a fun character so it’s too bad that she got written out so quickly. Billy’s a bit of a tough character to root for most of the time. She helped steer him in the right direction but it’s clear that without her he wasn’t in nearly as good a spot as he once was. He blows up at his own friends to the point where he pulls a gun on one of them. He’s not very co-operative with getting a job initially and doesn’t exactly set a good example for his daughter.

He makes so many mistakes throughout the movie that even when he eventually solves them, you feel like he went quite far. Rocky at his lowest never made these mistakes. Additionally, Billy’s highs aren’t as high as Rocky’s. Rocky’s montages still hold up exceptionally well even after all this time. Billy’s is good as well but it’s clear that it isn’t even in the same league. The song isn’t as memorable and it just doesn’t have as much energy.

Leila’s a kid so it’s hard for her to process all of this of course but she’s not a very fun character most of the time. She definitely doesn’t make things any easier on Billy. Her worst scene is probably when she begs everyone to let her watch his big fight and then has a hard time watching because of how violent it is. That’s exactly why they were warning her not to watch it. Angela was a solid supporting character though. She’s the child services agent in charge of this case and was reasonable the whole time. She did seem to care about making sure Leila was doing well here.

Then you have the villain Miguel. There’s not much to him other than the fact that he fights dirty and likes to egg his opponents on. It wasn’t exactly hard for him to bait Billy into a match. He can fight really well so he’s not all talk but he definitely made sure to be as unlikable as possible. There’s just nothing nice about the guy or charismatic unlike someone like Apollo. Miguel’s fairly one note but his role in the film isn’t nearly as big as you might expect so it’s not a big deal. Finally we have Tick who ends up training Billy for the big fight. He’s a fun enough character and helps to set Billy straight on some things. You can’t win tournaments without a quality coach after all.

The fight scenes are pretty good. Southpaw is clearly going for a very realistic feel so you don’t have the dynamic cuts and lighting as other boxing films. I’ll admit that I miss those since these can’t standout as well without them but by and large I have no complaints with these scenes. You can definitely feel the intensity behind each swing which is the important thing at the end of the days. It also fits in with the rather gritty nature of the film.

Southpaw’s dark outlook can only take it so far though. You’d be hard pressed to call this a fun film. It tries to balance out being an uplifting film with giving Billy a new setback every few minutes so by the end of it you’ll be more exhausted than hyped. Maureen’s death was really my biggest issue with the film but other small scenes like Billy pulling a gun on his friend and threatening to murder him don’t help matters. You’ve got Billy’s suicide attempt as well and the film took the notion of “rock bottom” a little too far.

Overall, Southpaw will serve as a quick fix if you need to watch a big Boxing film while we wait for Creed III. That said, I would just recommend watching the Rocky films again instead. Those are just a lot of fun or check out the two Creed films if you haven’t already. Southpaw doesn’t do anything better than its rivals and as a standalone film it just barely manages to break even. The script isn’t great and there isn’t much replay value but I still wouldn’t call this a bad film because it has enough strengths in the fight scenes to keep it afloat.

Overall 5/10

All That Heaven Allows Review


All That Heaven Allows is a film about how you need to ultimately ignore social commentary on your personal life decisions or you’re probably going to regret it. Put it this way, there will always be those who object to your actions so if you try to please everyone not only is that an impossible goal but you won’t be able to have fun yourself either. Sometimes you really do just need to think of yourself and the lead heroine doesn’t quite understand this for a while.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Cary who is a very recent widow. Well, she is ready to move on and wants to meet someone but isn’t quite hitting it off with anyone. There’s an older man who likes her and initially I thought this might be the age gap romance from the film’s summary but she turns him down. She falls for someone who is over 10 years younger than her but he likes her back and so they figure they can be happy together. Trouble arises when Cary faces pressure from her “friends” as well as her two kids who think she is acting rashly. Should she rethink this romance or plunge forward?

There’s a lot to discuss on the romance angle alone. I guess lets start with the social factor. Cary really shouldn’t care less about what everyone else thinks. The only two she could put some stock in would be her kids, but the neighbors next door? They were insulting her ever since the very first scene before she even met Ron. Why would she want them to cheer her on anyway? This seems to be fortunately more of a relic of the past but for a while it seems like people were expected to fit into the social clubs since they were all “friends” even though nothing could be further from the truth. The problem as Cary soon sees is that at the end of the day they won’t care once she goes to their point of view.

To these people, they’ll be glad that they forced Cary over to their side but won’t do anything beyond that. Cary’s the only one who has to live with her choices. Same with the kids who very quickly move on and have no qualms about leaving the status quo. It was only an issue when Cary was making the decision. Madoka Magica had some good commentary about that back in the day. If you make a wish or decide to live for someone else, you need to make sure you’re doing that for yourself. If you’re doing it for someone else and expect some kind of eternal gratitude then you will always end up being unfulfilled because odds are that it won’t happen. Even if it does, it would be temporary.

Now lets talk about the other factor which is the age gap. In general I’m not a fan of age gap romances at all. You very rarely see them in films though. In general you expect a romance to be within a few years. Now obviously assuming both characters are over 21 I think you can reasonably have an age gap of around 10 years. I’ve always considered 10 to be around the maximum that makes sense. Any further and it just won’t be very balanced. It increases the likelihood that of one member deciding to fool around since the older one can no longer keep up or one member dying way too soon so the other is stuck behind. Of course romances are ultimately up to the individual but it’s just hard to see one working over 10 years. You can certainly have a crush on someone over 10 years older than you but going all the way to marriage does seem hasty.

So in the film I can agree with the logic of the characters saying this was a bad idea. Of course most of them put it in a very insensitive way so the only person rationally trying to explain this was Cary’s best friend Sara who was really solid in this film. She explained her objections but still supported Cary throughout the whole process. She’s a nice friend to have for sure since you need someone who has your back. Regardless I would not say that the romance in this film is very good. It’s all rather rushed so Cary does come across as rather desperate the whole time. Ron doesn’t really show his inner thoughts quite as much so I guess we have to assume that he’s on the level but it would be hard for me to trust him the whole time either.

At the very least the film is certainly going for a unique premise. Cary is a decent main character but I have to deduct a lot of points for allowing everyone else to control her decisions. She makes a significant amount of compromises during the film which really isn’t fair to any of the parties involved. You have to stick to your guns and the fact that Cary could not do that meant that she ended up being a weaker character. As for Ron, well he really tried his best to help Cary out. He fixed the cup, remodeled the house, and I would say he sufficiently showed that he was going to be an agreeable fellow. At the same time he wasn’t willing to bow to the other characters the way Cary was which is what put them at odds. His points were reasonable so I was more on his side in this one.

Then you have the kids who are mostly here to get in the way. The son was an ingrate the whole time and all of his points were nullified by how rude and disrespectful he was the entire time. At least the daughter always tried to talk about things in a rational way while keeping emotion out of the deal. I could certainly respect that. I also liked how she liked to psycho analyze everybody. It may not have worked all that well at the end which was unfortunate but that trait helped her stand out for a while and I dare say gave us some of the funniest scenes in the movie.

Overall, All That Heaven Allows is a reasonable film at best. I feel like the title is fairly misleading and I just can’t get behind the romance which really limits the film’s potential from the start. The gap just seems too extensive. What keeps the film from being bad as it easily could have turned is the fact that the writing is solid. The cast may not be all that likable overall but at least even the insults are all done in a pretty professional manner. I always enjoy these old school burns which are delivered so smoothly. Even the characters have to take a step back most of the time as they wonder what exactly happened. The film probably could have cut out the drunk character constantly trying to get at Cary though. Now there’s a subplot that feels rather unnecessary. (And also makes Cary look even more unreasonable for even wanting to be a part of that crowd) If you want a better romance film then I would suggest checking out a Doris Day film instead.

Overall 5/10

Night Tide Review


Night Tide is pretty much bonkers. As the film is going on you are wondering what the point is. On Wikipedia I see this is sometimes labeled as a horror film but don’t buy into that. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This is as much a horror film as the Maze Runner. There are some ideas here that are decent at best but then you have to contend with a slow moving plot and a climax that just isn’t nearly as dynamic as it could have been. I wouldn’t call it a bad film but it’s really right in the middle.

Johnny has finally gotten a break from being in the navy for a bit so he heads to a bar to try and find a girl. His useful pretense here is that he came for the music. Well, he quickly meets a lady named Mora and desperately begs her to go out with him. She eventually concedes and the two get close but Johnny finds out there are ominous rumors about her. She had two other boyfriends recently and both ended up being drowned. There’s no evidence that she did it…but it’s a bit suspicious all the same. So, what can ole Johnny do now? He is still desperate to be with Mora so he decides to just roll with it but this could be his last decision.

I think we can all assume from the start that something fishy is going on here. The thing is, Johnny just isn’t a likable character in the slightest. Aside from being desperate for romance he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. He knows that at the very least he needs to be careful when there’s a full moon out. Don’t go near water but Mora asks him to go with her to the deepest part of the ocean so naturally he says yes. Johnny only has his main character plot armor to protect him because his decisions certainly don’t put him in a great spot. Then you’ve also got the fact that his feelings are very weak. Let’s just say that he’s very quick on the rebound so he doesn’t seem to even care which girl he is with.

Not the kind of lead you want to see. I wasn’t a big fan of the heroine Mora either. Of course I can’t say if she is truly a heroine or an antagonist as the film wants you to figure that out, but either way she really gets tricked pretty easily. Surely she should have known something was up in previous incidents. I think it’s fair to say she was probably a bit loopy but she seemed sane enough to be able to connect the dots if you ask me. Instead she just kept on sinking. Even when you have a mysterious lady hurling some kind of threat at her, Mora is quick to leave instead of seeing what this is all about.

The only other big character here is Murdock and he’s definitely one of those guys who likes to spread rumors. He talks a lot about the ocean and such but also slips in some more suspicious things about Mora. There’s nothing much to say about this guy but in his final scene he helps to make Johnny more unlikable as well by convincing the lead to see his point of view. There really wasn’t anything to see here though which is why it doesn’t quite work out so well.

I wouldn’t say the writing is that bad, but it feels like there was no ending in mind. Throughout the movie there’s a bit of a suspenseful feeling in the air. The color scheme is rather dark for the film and the beach can look pretty ominous at that point. In the climax it’s raining and pitch black out so when Johnny enters the tent you know that something’s going to happen. The film excels with these moments as you should be pretty interested in what’s going to happen next. With a more satisfying ending I dare say that this would have worked out well.

The issue is that the ending just feels pointless. Nothing was really accomplished and then the film decided to take the easy way out by leaving all kinds of possibilities open. So you can effectively choose your own ending here and that’s never the route you want to go. A film should be confident in its choice from start to finish. An ambiguous ending on its own isn’t bad but the execution here was poor. The final scene will probably make you roll your eyes when you consider that not a lot of time has passed since a recent tragedy but the characters don’t seem to care much. That may be indictive of the film itself though. In general the film’s biggest weakness was just not having enough strengths. It’s not a bad movie but it’s not a good one either. It just coasts by with a lot of soulless scenes that can be decent at times but never end up connecting into something better. The movie has some dream scenes that show you what the film could have been like though. Those tend to be pretty intense and more like the posters the film was advertised with. If the film had gone down that route I’m sure it would have at least been more exciting.

Overall, Night Tide is a unique film. It’s suspenseful and keeps you engaged just long enough where the film will just fly by. On the other hand, the ending makes sure you don’t enjoy the journey as much as you could have and holds the whole thing back. A better main character would have gone a long way as Johnny evidently just wasn’t ready for the big stage like this. The movie does squeeze in a quick action scene at the very end though so that was pretty neat. I was beginning to think we probably weren’t going to have any so that was good at least.

Overall 5/10

Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte Review


Whenever you have a film where the main antagonist turns out to get bullied by another one, you have to handle things delicately or the whole project is liable to fail. Can you really take such a turn of events seriously? Now you can handle this quite well in an action setting but in more of a dramatic fashion like this one? Well, it definitely raises a few eyebrows. This film is fairly good all things considered but I do find parts of it to be rather unbelievable. I have to question the writing at times as well.

The movie starts with a flashback where we have a lot of drama going on. Charlotte’s father finds out that she intends to run off with this whiny guy named John. John is already married and both characters know this but he intends to cheat on his wife anyway. Charlotte is cool with this so keep in mind that from the start we know that she’s not exactly a heroic character. Well, the father forces John to turn Charlotte down but he quickly gets hacked to bits for his trouble. We fast forward a few decades and Charlotte is now an old lady that nobody wants to hang out with. Everyone believes she murdered John and people give her a wide berth. The town has tried to be patient as well but her house is supposed to have been torn down but she refuses to leave it. She even goes as far as to shoot at the workers.

Fortunately her cousin Miriam has returned to help smooth things over. Charlotte wants her to convince the town to let her stay in the house but Miriam says this is impossible. Miriam intends to convince Charlotte to leave. The issue is, if Charlotte is still a vicious murderer, is Miriam really safe? Perhaps she should leave quickly. The town is in a tough spot either way since Charlotte has a gun and isn’t afraid to use it. From here on out we get quite a number of twists and turns as the plot goes underway.

And that’s no understatement…there are a ton of twists here. Some which make more sense than others. I’ll go through this while sidestepping any big spoilers and reveals. For starters though, this is the kind of movie that only works with a lead character like Charlotte who is consistently giving everyone a hard time and isn’t very smart. She rarely knows what is going on and panics about everything. There are several times in the film where there is a twist later on that should not have tricked Charlotte the first time but only did so because she handled the whole situation horribly. She badly needed some more will power for certain things.

I also thought she really sunk in terms of personality and toughness by the end. She goes from openly threatening to murder everyone at first and being the toughest character in the room to suddenly being pushed around by everyone. It was hard to watch Charlotte by the end because she was falling for everything. She really needed more of a backbone and it’s just hard to believe because of how tough she was at the start. I admit that the whole thing just didn’t feel particularly earned.

The film’s pretty tame aside from the opening scene. The guy getting axed to bits can be surprisingly intense since the rest of the film is much more of a low key thriller. That said, many of the characters also make similar decisions where they look terrible. You’d think the guy getting hacked to bits would have run off somewhere right? At least reacting a bit more would have made sense. Then you’ve also got Velma who is pretty nosey and tends to find out quite a lot but is very obvious about it. If you’re digging up some dirt about the villains, why would you walk up to them and explain how you’re going to go to the police? It’s just not a smart play by any stretch of the imagination. It’s awfully convenient for the villains though.

Then near the end of the film you have two characters loudly talking about their entire plan in detail for the world to hear. They’re laughing, drinking, and basically having a party. One of them even throws a glass cup away where we hear it loudly shatter and they continue on with their speech. This isn’t in a secret room or anything. No, it’s right in the front yard so that doesn’t make things any better either. It’s a scene that doesn’t make much sense at all, but it is what it is I suppose

So the writing’s not amazing in moments like that. On the whole the film has good enough writing where the plot is interesting. It’s just that when you really zoom in on it, things don’t really seem to add up the way that they should. That or the characters just act very unnaturally in order to get the plot moving. I would argue it starts up right from near the beginning of the film. Still, the movie did have a core focus and a real story unlike other similar titles like “Whatever happened to Baby Jane” which were just awful from start to finish.

I already spoke at length about Charlotte and why she’s a pretty bad character. Miriam no better here. She has her own set of issues and loves doing a lot of different manipulation tactics. Then you have Doctor Drew who seems rather desperate throughout the film. He’s not really someone you can trust all that much to get the job done. Finally there is Velma who is at least more of an interesting character than a lot of the others. Too bad she isn’t very smart though or she could have been a standout character.

The movie’s ending is pretty conclusive though and does end the film on the right note. It’s pretty much an ideal ending in a lot of respects as everything is wrapped up nicely. The film manages to hold onto some points thanks to that. I do think the movie started out better than it ended though. The movie could have gone in a much different direction and I think it would have worked out better that way. Charlotte’s personality shift is still something I can’t really come to terms with.

Overall, This film was really skirting between a 5 and a 6 the whole time. It’s certainly not a bad movie but just how good was it? It was interesting upon first watch although I wouldn’t say there is any replay value to be had here. The writing was rather weak during the film but at least the script was okay. It’s hard to believe almost anything going on in the film so you do need to suspend your disbelief for a bit. As long as you do that then you’re fine. So I’d say that the film ultimately clocks out in the middle. It was close to breaking out but has too many flaws. If you’d like to check out more of an intense mystery you’ll want to look elsewhere.

Overall 5/10

Mr. Soft Touch Review


Mr. Soft Touch is a film about a guy deciding to get revenge on some gangsters for taking over his shop. It’s a different spin than usual though as he just wants his money back and isn’t going around shooting them all down. While the film has some pretty good writing humor, I ultimately wouldn’t give it a thumbs up because of some suspect characters and the main character just not being all that likable even by the end.

The movie starts by introducing us to Joe. He has stolen a ton of money and is trying to escape the country but unfortunately his friends were unable to find a boat that leaves before Christmas. He needs to survive for a night somewhere but that won’t be easy since the Mob is everywhere. Joe is able to masquerade as a criminal and get taken to a settlement home where a social worker named Jenny will look after him. Joe figures this will be a decent safehouse as a last resort since there is literally no alternative but when he sees how much help these people need, will he really be able to leave? Some tough choices will have to be made.

Soft Touch has some fun moments and good bits of humor throughout. One nice moment was when the tough guys at the home try to scam Joe out of some money with the dice. He takes them down and clearly has some kind of experience with these games from a while back. He knows a scam when he sees one but does a good job of playing dumb the whole time. This lets him claim the upper hand. It was a nice subversion where usually the main character would have gotten suckered. The main tough guy also reminded me a lot of Spider-Man from the recent movies so it was interesting to see him in more of a villainous role.

You can tell that the people at tis place all meant well. It was a nice cast of characters here. At first they weren’t all happy to see Joe and it was hard to blame them since he wasn’t playing ball but eventually they all formed a pretty good group. In particular I liked Rickle. He had a tendency to go off on long rants about everything but that’s the kind of character who is always good to add levity to the equation. It’ll help keep everyone’s spirits up there which is really important.

Then you have Jenny who is a solid heroine. She does a whole lot for her community and really tried to help Joe out when she thought he was someone else. I would make the case that she is far too lenient though. Her job is about mercy and it’s an important function but since the guy who was charged was an abusive drunk then it seems like he was already too far gone for any of this to help. Jenny also had a traumatic backstory as a kid which makes it all the more impressive that she is putting herself out on the front lines and helping out a bit. She may be a little extreme but I would definitely say that she is a good person.

Then we get to Joe. I just couldn’t find myself being able to root for him. I understand him taking the money back after the mobsters stole it. That makes perfect sense since it was his and the whole thing seems unfair. Why does he not help Clara get away from Victor though? That seems like a pretty toxic relationship that he just looks the other way with. The film would have been a lot better without those two characters since they just hurt Joe a whole lot by extension. Then you’ve got the fact that Joe doesn’t do anything to help out the people in the settlement house before it’s too late. Byrd offered him a rather decent deal at the time but Joe wouldn’t hear of it.

Joe tries to make things right by the end but it is far too late for that. Even the scene where he gives his jacket and the money to the little girl comes off as rather suspect. At first it seems like a nice gesture but then Jenny points out that it was also a way to take the risk off and it’s hard to see it any other way at that point. The girl’s life was in serious jeopardy with the mobsters finding that kind of cash on her. Joe just puts too many people in harm’s way. He has some good plans but they all end up putting people in more danger while he escapes. It’s not a very heroic approach at all.

As for Byrd, I thought he was a pretty solid reporter. The guy put the pieces together a lot quicker than you would have initially expected. He clearly has some bad history with Joe but the guy did make a good offer to call the cops in. He just wanted some intel. I wasn’t really sure why Joe wouldn’t tell him at this point since his partner is dead and the mobsters are everywhere. Maybe it was a pride thing or just because Byrd was partially responsible for his partner dying since he didn’t do anything. Byrd did save Joe’s life a few scenes earlier though which is hard to forget. Byrd surprisingly doesn’t take this all that personal later on when they meet up again.

At times the movie seems to move really fast with characters sort of going through a character arc off screen. One example is the romance between Jenny and Joe. It goes from nowhere to suddenly she’s begging him to stay and some of the big speeches you would expect if they had been together for a long time. It doesn’t always flow as organically as you would expect. I suppose the film just wanted to move straight on ahead to the next moment but some scenes would just happen really suddenly like that.

Overall, Mr. Soft Touch would have been better with a better main character. Someone who was actually standing up for justice to stop the mobsters, not just because they crossed him. I would have liked better reasons for why he didn’t accept Byrd’s help or also a scene of him helping Clara out of just confirming Victor’s innocence. From what we saw of Victor he just seems like a very bad guy and Joe not doing anything about it doesn’t help in the slightest. The film’s pretty light hearted for the most part I’d say and has a nice Christmas theme going. It mainly just gets serious at the end with the ending being a little surprising. Definitely not the smartest move on both Joe and Jenny’s part. I think they could have handled the whole thing a lot better. Either way you can do better than this if you’re looking for a good Christmas film to watch this year.

Overall 5/10

The Exterminating Angel Review


When you see a title like “The Exterminating Angel” you know that things are about to get pretty intense. Well, that’s exactly what happened here. The movie can be pretty odd at times. The plot is certainly unique and I would say that the movie is good. It’s one of those films that knows when to end as I feel like if it had stayed going on for a bit longer it may have ultimately backfired pretty hard. There’s always a time to continue a plot and a time to end it. The film stayed within those parameters pretty well and stayed afloat right in the middle. I wouldn’t say that is any real replay value to be found here but it will definitely keep your interest on the initial watch.

The movie starts out with a bunch of friends getting together for a nice dinner. Unfortunately all of the hired help have decided to head out early for various reasons. The host is not happy about this but can’t exactly force them to stay. Unfortunately even after the dinner everyone is sticking around for some reason. As the next day rolls around people realize that something definitely isn’t right. For some reason they are unable to leave the main room. Keep in mind they can enter the kitchen and such but can’t leave the place. The rules of the boundaries seem to vary a bit but mainly you can’t leave the house and nobody can enter it either. That means the main characters are going to have to think of a plan quickly or it’s going to be game over for all of them.

In a way it’s a bit like the Children of the doomed film but instead of falling asleep the characters are just boxed in. It’s not like there’s a physical barrier blocking them or anything like that though. It’s just an invisible urge telling them not to go and none of the characters are brave enough to leave either. I personally take this to be a being blocking them. Perhaps some kind of demonic spirit masquerading itself as an Angel which would fit the title. The conditions for being stuck in the house seem to be rather specific with the time loop getting involved. I’m assuming this is a punishment of sorts to make the characters rethink their decisions. Through the dialogue we see that just about every character has done something rather suspect or is keeping a dark secret. Characters are cheating on each other, stealing, etc. Most of the people here don’t seem to be good people.

Some stay strong while others crack almost instantly. It really shows how the extended stay brings out each character’s true form. Some just aren’t up to handling this kind of pressure or they’re okay with hanging out with people for a bit but not for very long. I should say the film has a pretty fun ending as well. It definitely sets things up for possibly being an even more intense scenario. In this case the people inside are going to be crammed in even more than in the main scenario so I don’t see things ending particularly well for them. It’ll be a repeat of the original scenario except they won’t stay strong for nearly as long.

One of the main themes here is really about how anyone will crack so you just have to see how much you buy into it. There were quite a few big fights going on in the main place by the end. For my money it’s why I would be hesitant to go on any of those month vigils where you go with a group of people to the mountains or a resort and hang out for that period of time. Seems like it would be hard to just be stuck like that for so long. It’s not a good idea for sure.

I should mention that the film is in Spanish with subtitles throughout the film. I haven’t seen quite too many films in this language so it was pretty interesting. Mix that in with the fact that the dialogue can be rather strange intentionally and you’ve got some interesting writing here. I enjoyed it, the writing is part of what makes the film so interesting here. It can be tough to differentiate some of the characters though. Mainly the hosts stand out as well as the guy who was always acting out and his sister who would always defend him. The brother character cracked immediately and was easily the worst character in the film. All of his scenes were pretty painful and you would hope that the other characters would just tie him up or something. Breaking the comb was really unnecessary and all he would do was put the characters in a worse position. His sister was just as guilty for accepting all of this.

The best character would have to be the main host. He tried to keep up a certain aura of politeness throughout the whole movie even as everything went sideways. I don’t see how you can possibly blame him for any of this and yet one guest does. As if this guy could actually have known that this invisible force would block everyone in. The guy who died early on definitely had the easiest time in the film since he got to avoid this. He has a line about how he’s glad he will miss the Extermination so maybe since he was near to death he could actually see exactly what was blocking everyone. It definitely adds a little more credibility to this actually being a supernatural being blocking everyone in as opposed to just their psyches. I like the idea of the disembodied hand actually being the spirit wandering around looking for who to take down next.

Overall, The Exterminating Angel is a pretty interesting film. It’s all about seeing who will crack first and why you don’t want to be stuck in a room with everyone for very long. By the end the characters have all really started to turn on each other. I’d say that the best part of the film is certainly the first half as they slowly start to figure out what’s going on as well as the ending because the twist was a lot of fun. The second half isn’t quite as fun with all of the characters going crazy. It doesn’t go full on Lord of the Flies fortunately but with the characters being nice and awful at the end it isn’t quite as fun as it could have been. I would recommend checking this out at least once so you can see what an interesting plot this is. It’s certainly a very original story but you probably won’t be coming back for more.

Overall 5/10

Annabelle 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

The Conjuring verse has definitely gotten pretty big at this point. With the main titles plus two different spinoff series I dare say that it’s easily the biggest horror universe in cinema. It may not have as many installments as some others but I’d like to see any other one have two spinoffs. Then maybe we could have a time travel story at some point that brings them all together at once at their peak and maybe even bring some of the human characters from all of the films along. This one’s pretty solid for a horror film. I wouldn’t say that it’s without fault but I wouldn’t call it a bad movie either.

The movie starts with Mia and John getting ready to finally have a kid. John has the bright idea to give Mia a doll that looks like it was run over several times as a gift. She likes it so I guess maybe this is just the style she’s into but I dunno, I get bad vibes from it right away. That night they are attacked by a bunch of lunatics and Mia ends up getting stabbed. Fortunately they all live including the baby. Now the three of them should be okay but Mia keeps seeing ghosts like the evil lady showing up or Annabelle herself giving her the evil eye. Is Mia going crazy or does the doll actually want to take her down?

The first scene with the home invaders caught me off guard because I was so sure that they were apparitions and weren’t really there. I mean that’s just horror 101 that the heroine thinks she sees something but it’s all fake right? The fact that they were actually here was pretty interesting. It also made for an intense fight scene as John had to try and take both of them down on his own. He handled himself pretty well until the cops were able to show up and fortunately put an end to things. It definitely helped to establish the world as being a pretty dangerous one and also showed us why Mia would be on edge for the rest of the film. She just can’t feel safe anywhere.

It doesn’t help that Annabelle is causing a lot of mischief. She turns the toaster on by itself, loves to turn on music over and over again, and doing other things like that. She rarely ever moves to do anything on her own though. She likes to scare Mia but never presses the issue more than that. In fact when going on the offensive she seems to prefer to summon a ghost of an older lady or even uses a kid form to take names. Seeing her try to fight as a doll would have been a little more entertaining but I guess she didn’t want to chance it. Like the Nun she is technically a demon inhabiting the doll or using it as a medium but I guess she has freedom to do other things as well.

She’s at least strong enough to mess with Perez even when he’s literally in front of the Church and has his full gear on. He definitely should not have looked back though. Why even look back when you could do a Football dive into the Church and be safe? That’s definitely what he should have done if you ask me and then he would have been in good shape. At least he wanted to help the heroes though so I’ll give him props for the attempt. He was definitely a nice guy. Then you have Evelyn who also did her best to help the main characters out. She may have been a little out of her league with these supernatural forces but who isn’t right? At least this way Mia had some support.

John made for a good supporting character here. He was supportive of Mia the whole time and really did everything he could to help her out in the end. Taking the night shift was a bit dicey but I suppose there’s not a whole lot he could have done to stay home. If anything losing his job would probably make things worse for both of them. In the end he also helps prevent her from making the ultimate mistake which would have been really unfortunate. Mia does her best to stay sane the whole time and escape Annabelle’s attacks but they do start to get her on the edge. The most intense trial she probably had to go through here was heading to the basement. The elevator definitely was not in her favor but it makes sense. If anything I feel like it should happen more often in horror films. I don’t know about the elevators they use here but if you’re being chased by someone and jump into an elevator the odds of it shutting instantly are slim to none. At my elevator at least if you click to go up or down it’ll open up the elevator right away before you can move to a new floor. It always has top priority.

Mia does her best to look into the whole Annabelle situation but ultimately it’s one of those things where there isn’t a whole lot to dig up. There isn’t a way out and she’s basically unbeatable. When you think about it that’s the moral of the story. I can’t say that the ending was particularly satisfying either. We don’t really get a twist ending so instead Annabelle gets a lot of props in the normal one. My real issue here is that one of the characters basically plays Annabelle’s game thinking that this will balance the scales but it has no real effect. Perhaps at most it slows Annabelle down but based on the grin at the end and everything it’s definitely not something that will be a permanent win. Thing is, you can’t trust demons so why even play their games in the first place? Annabelle certainly isn’t one of the stronger demons but she is still a demon nonetheless.

Overall, Annabelle is definitely more of an atmospheric kind of horror title. The demon isn’t going around murdering everyone for the most part. Usually she just causes a lot of dangerous pranks and tries to mess with Mia’s psyche. I’m glad that the film actually incorporated this into the plot though. There are a few deaths but really not all that much when you think about it and close to half the body count here was unrelated to Annabelle herself. I didn’t care for the ending which was a bit sour but I wouldn’t say this film was bad. It didn’t rely on much or any shock value which was pretty nice. We didn’t have to hear some super long and tragic origin story either. Annabelle is just a crazy demon that wants your soul and doesn’t need much more of a background than that. The crazy murderers from the origin got a bit of an origin story which I thought was pretty pointless but I suppose it tied into Annabelle’s origin so we needed it to an extent. I wouldn’t call this film super strong but it’s a decent horror film if you want to check out out. I would sooner recommend Ghostbusters though.

Overall 5/10