The Spirit Review


The Spirit is definitely a very unique movie that’s for sure. It really does walk a fine line between being a total comedy with how over the top everything is and a serious action film. In the end the film actually does blend this combo over very well for nearly all of its screen time but ends up faltering near the end. I knew things were about to get dicey when the cat showed up….

The movie starts with the Spirit being called in since there was a sighting of his arch nemesis, the Octopus. The Octopus manages to murder someone real quick and steal a suitcase first but Sand escapes with the other Suitcase. Octopus crushes the Spirit and now the hero must figure out a way to catch the guy. What is the Octopus doing and how can he be stopped? The Octopus hinted that he knows something about the Spirit’s immortality and Spirit’s old flame Sand is involves so he really has to see this through to the end.

Spirit is definitely a movie that is bonkers and isn’t afraid to really get out there. The first moment I knew something was up was when the Spirit and Octopus have their confrontation mere minutes after the film began. Usually the hero can’t meet the villain that quickly. Then as their fight escalates you can tell that neither one is a normal human because they are taking some really crazy attacks. They seem to murder each other several times during the fight.

Well, Spirit and Octopus both appear to be immortal. Not in an eternal life kind of way but in a “We can’t be killed way”. That actually ties into Octopus’ plans which is to use a serum which will actually give him eternal life. Sand has the vase though so she’s in danger now. It’s quite a lot of plot here and that’s not even accounting for Spirit’s origin story. It’s a fun dynamic though as apparently the hero and villain will often spend a whole night beating each other up only to walk away when it’s all over.

It’s not like they’re pals or anything but they do seem to joke around a bit. They both know that they can’t destroy the other so I can see how the futile nature of their fights would become humorous to them. Octopus definitely seems to have better fighting abilities than the Spirit though. I’d argue he had the edge for the majority of their fight with ease.

Where the Spirit really shines is with the color palette. The movie uses a lot of very interesting visual styles and I would consider it a total hit. This was extremely unique and actually worked out. It’s not one of those gimmicks that you’ll shake your head at but one you will give the thumbs up right away. Not only does it make the Spirit look mysterious but it gives the whole film a pretty epic air. When characters talk to each other the backgrounds will often disappear.

You have characters fading into the light or into the darkness. Even Sand showing up from the water is a very ominous scene. The most every day normal scenes will look different like this and it really does work quite well. It captures that Noir feeling as well. Mix in the Spirit’s numerous monologues and you’ve really got something going here. It helps with the film’s dramatic atmosphere.

As mentioned though, it gets so dramatic that I have to see a lot of these moments as comedic ones. Spirit loves talking about the city and his past. While that is a staple of the Noir genre, you just can’t help but feel like the movie is parodying it. Something about the way the Spirit is having his conversations just gives you that feeling. Then of course for the comedic moments you have most of the Octopus scenes. He’s dressed up as a different culture each tie he appears and the guy is always messing around. He never seems to take anything seriously and murders his henchmen on the regular.

This is definitely some dark humor but the henchmen aren’t smart enough to do anything except what they’re told. So for example one of them even murders himself because the villain told him to do so. It’s certainly tragic to be one of those henchmen that’s for sure. Another gets blended which was a really intense scene to be sure. So the film has its dark moments thrown in as well, mainly as dark humor.

Now, where does the film go wrong? Well, as you can guess with the cat, we get some animal violence as the Octopus shows off his latest conquest to the Spirit. He can melt anything by using the special blood/serum that he wanted although it would simply power the Spirit up so that guy needs to try and grab it. He should have used it on the henchmen instead of on the cat though. That would have been a lot better.

So the film instantly lost a pair of stars for that. Meanwhile the film is trying to make the Spirit a parody of James Bond to an extent. I definitely don’t remember this trait in the comics but he seems to fall in love with every girl out there. Spirit seems to believe that every lady in the city is fair game so he openly has affairs with all of them. Fortunately for him every girl loves him as well so it’s quite easy to make this happen. We do have two main heroines here who both like him as well and he’s not shy about still making moves in front of him.

So the Spirit isn’t exactly the most heroic guy. Even ignoring that, he doesn’t have the best relationship with the cops. He’s always on edge and even threatens to punch out the chief without any good reason. The cops have a point that the Spirit is really running a one man show and the cops who accompany him all get murdered so naturally there would be some bad blood here. It’s hard to get a read on the Spirit. He’s a fun guy to be sure but I definitely wouldn’t call him very heroic. He seems extremely unhinged.

The Octopus is certainly a fun character. He is definitely a villain as seen with the cat but at least the guy has concrete goals. I’m not sure if having eternal life is the automatic win card that he thinks it is, but I suppose it doesn’t hurt to live longer since he is already fairly tough to beat. He reminds me a bit of the Joker with how crazy he is the whole time.

His right hand woman Floss also does a good job of keeping him on track. If he starts to go off the deep end then she reminds him of what was going on. To an extent she doesn’t always seem to be thrilled to have him as leader though so he should probably watch his back. That said, I guess by the end she still seems loyal enough.

As for Sand, I wasn’t a fan. In the flashbacks she already seemed quite obsessed with jewels and this didn’t change when she got older. In a way she’s like Catwoman only much more violent as she actively murders a lot of people in order to get what she wants. I was surprised at just how brutal she can be. I figured the movie was going to play her out as more of a misunderstood character but it actually went all the way as a villain.

We’ve also got Ellen who liked the Spirit but still gets jealous when he has other affairs. That’s why I don’t see the relationship ever working out. Either she is okay with being cheated on the whole time or she is going to need to find someone else. The Spirit doesn’t seem like the loyal sort after all.

In fact, there’s a pretty intense scene where the villains use that against him. He can’t resist any girl and one of the villains is a lady so you can picture how that goes. He just goes down like such a chump that you can’t help but laugh. This is the hero who is supposed to protect us? Okay….yeah that’s not going to end very well. The Spirit definitely has his priorities…too bad they aren’t the right ones.

Overall, The Spirit is a very different kind of action film. It’s really all over the place and in a lot of ways this works out. It’s really unpredictable and I loved what they did with the visual directing. The whole thing has a comic book/noir approach that nobody else has really used before. It’s a shame that the Spirit himself wasn’t a little better at being a hero but his inner monologues are a blast. If you can get around the cat melting scene then this is definitely a film you’ll have a lot of fun with. I’d definitely be up for a sequel coming out at some point since there’s a lot of potential here. That said, I think it would be difficult to capture the same energy twice so maybe it’s best to not even try.

Overall 5/10

Die Hard with a Vengeance Review

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

Die Hard returns for the third film in the series. This one takes things in a different direction as the first two were complete action thrillers while this one is more of a series of runarounds. The villain loves messing with the heroes and so we don’t have time for a true confrontation until near the very end of the film. It loses sight of the franchise’s normal goal but is an okay film.

We open with a bomb going off and a mysterious guy named Simon calling the cops. He explains that unless John McClane shows up to Harlem wearing a sign with the offensive language, he will blow up more bombs. The police figure they need to comply with this request or more people will die. John realizes this is a suicide mission so he also takes a gun with him. Fortunately a guy called Zeus shows up and they manage to just barely escape with their lives. Simon doesn’t like this so he decides that now both of them have to follow all of the missions. This ranges from solving math equations to catching trains on time. Can the heroes complete all of the missions? The tough thing they also have to wrestle with is that there may not be an end to the missions. They just have to keep on complying and hopefully things will go well.

In a film like this you can see how that’s the most frustrating part for the heroes. The villain has all of the leverage at the moment. He has bombs everywhere and there are no leads onw here he really is. As a result he can just keep having the heroes go on various missions all day until one finishes them off. If the heroes are a minute too slow then one of the bombs will go off after all. Sure, Simon loses some leverage but he has enough extra bombs where it won’t make a difference.

It’s a never ending story and that’s why it can feel futile. It’s why I say if you are ever held at gun point and told to get in a car, just make a break for it or try to tackle the guy. What’s he gonna do..shoot you? He’s going to that or worse if you get in the car anyway so you might as well take your chances. Now in Die Hard 3 it’s a little more complicated since the bombs will be affecting a lot of innocent people. So John and Zeus are doing the right thing in complying with the missions but you wish they would get some real backup at the same time. It just doesn’t feel like they are making any real headway throughout the film.

The individual challenges are okay. They’re not as thrilling as they could be but it’s fun to see the city and the shortcuts that are used to get to each destination. One puzzle was also like something directly out of Professor Layton with the characters having to measure to containers and try to get the right amount of liquid into one of them when one container is too large and the other is too small. It’s definitely a tough puzzle to solve under any circumstance, much less when your lives are in danger.

As for the main characters, the banter between them isn’t nearly as good as most buddy cop kind of films. Zeus is a guy with a big chip on his shoulder and he’s constantly playing the race card and trying to bait John. Then you have John who doesn’t really care about this and tries to reason with Zeus as he would anyone else but to get around the tough talk he lies a few times as well. Things end up blowing up from both characters but by the end they get along well enough. It just doesn’t make for nearly as entertaining a dynamic as most films in this genre though.

Zeus gets better by the end but I wouldn’t say I was really a fan. He does step up and do the right thing when needed but it does take a while. John’s good as always even if his plan is ultimately pretty risky. At one point he decides to just forget the mission and try to capture the villains but when they’ve made it clear that they have cameras on 24/7, isn’t that basically just sacrificing all of the hostages? Things work out with a little plot armor at the ready but just running off was never an option. When he decides to take this route it’s treated as a big deal but it just doesn’t seem like it would work.

It reminds me of the classic situation where a villain says “Don’t move” while holding a hostage and the hero moves anyway. If it works out then I guess that’s good but hindsight doesn’t make it a great decision. At least it does give us a proper climax with some fights and everything though. It’s what you’ve been waiting for the entire film so it does end things on a high note.

As always John is having some difficulties with his wife Holly again. This almost feels like a running gag in the films at this point. No matter how often they patch things up it just doesn’t work out. If things still aren’t working out by now I don’t see it changing but we’ll see if this gets brought up in the 4th film as well.

The effects are on point as expected. While the heroes getting foiled at every turn and having to repeat the tasks may get a bit repetitive, I’d say the pacing of the movie is on point. Simon’s an okay villain. He may not stand out a lot but he had a good plan at the end and almost came out on top. If he didn’t make a James Bond type speech and choose to let the heroes live near the end he really may have gotten away with everything. At the end of the day his own overconfidence was his down fall.

Overall, Die Hard With A Vengeance will get lost among the many action films out there. It just feels like it’s lacking in action despite that being the genre. Technically a lot of the chase scenes and such would be considered action but you won’t get the hand to hand/shooting matches that you had in the first two films. The banter with Zeus and John also tends to be more on the annoying side compared to entertaining. It seemed like they really didn’t like each other compared to most where they talk tough but still have each other’s back. I’d say you can give this one a skip but if you want to see more of John McClane’s adventures then you may as well check it out.

Overall 5/10

John Wick: Chapter 2 Review

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

Time for the big return of John Wick. It’s been quite a while since I saw the first film. Naturally that one ended up losing pretty badly in the score department since the very concept of the film revolves around a dog death which is no good. You can’t succeed that way. This film doesn’t go in that direction so it ends up being quite a bit better. It still likes to go super extreme in what’s going on but I can safely say that it wins in just about every way.

The movie picks up with Wick murdering the last guys in his way and getting his car back. Now he can officially retire once and for all. Unfortunately it looks like this won’t be so easy. His old ally Santino shows up along with the pact that they made a long time ago. Effectively this means that Wick has to help the guy accomplish one task. If Wick tries to flee or murder Santino this would cause him to be a wanted man by the hotel and would trigger a bounty on his head from around the world. Thus Wick has to accept the task which is to murder Santino’s sister. Santino may be safe now but as soon as the contract is complete, Wick is free to do as he pleases.

The franchise differentiated itself from the start with its solid world building. First of all, I like how the hotel has its rules in place. You can use it as a sanctuary for as long as you like and there is to be no violence there. It’s a true safehouse. Then there are the pacts which cannot be broken or you will be murdered as well. Effectively the world of hitmen actually has some sense and reason here which is nice. Even the villains do well to remember that.

John may not be as personally invested as he was in the first film, however he’s just as intense as ever. The guy takes down dozens and dozens of opponents throughout the film. He is usually known for having the highest body count among the shooters and it shows. He really doesn’t take prisoners and always makes sure his opponent is truly down for the count. He’s a no nonsense main character and his reputation precedes him.

It’s fair to say that he’s just a great main character. Part of the fun with him is the fact that we don’t know a whole lot about his past. I’m actually hoping the films don’t change that later on because the mystery is part of the appeal. He knows everyone and clearly he used to complete a lot of missions on the regular. We don’t need to see those days because it keeps the illusion of him being an invincible shooting machine.

Now he does get injured during the film of course but he always gets back up. With the sheer volume of people he is taking out left and right, he may as well be invincible. The guy is pretty much living out a real life Call of Duty campaign. The film does a great job with showing how he plans things out during the fights as well. Wick is proficient at close quarters hand to hand combat, using a knife, and of course is an expert with a gun. He uses all of those skills depending on the circumstances.

Santiago is the main villain here but he’s never a threat in a fight. The guy’s only chance at winning is that he has a ton of armed minions at the ready. 1 on 1 the series has yet to produce anyone who can take on Wick. The closest is Cassian who has 2 very close battles with Wick. Keep in mind that in both cases John was already weakened but the guy’s talent was still better than most if not all of the other fighters here.

Ares was also a tough fighter. She’s a silent assassin who gives Wick a good fight. You never think she is quite in the same league as Cassian but her skills are real and she was a loyal retainer. Definitely a good bodyguard to have at the ready for all circumstances. There are a ton of other assassins but those two definitely had the biggest role. Beyond that the others exist to get utterly crushed by Wick’s skills.

The soundtrack is pretty solid as well. This is one area where the first film has the edge though as it played some really intense themes particularly when Wick first came out of retirement. This one still has a solid array of action tunes though so anytime there is a gunfight you can expect to hear a lot of good tracks. The action never lets up so even though the film is fairly long you won’t get bored.

The writing is really on point with a lot of solid lines between all of the characters. It’s part of why the cast works so well since a lot of thought went into this picture. The ending also directly leads into film 3 and ends on a rather intense note. It’ll be difficult for any of the other installments to beat this one’s ending since it was really perfect. This is the right way to build up the suspense.

While there is no animal violence, the film definitely does still go all out the whole time. Pretty much every villain is shot in the head and you see all the details to add to the realism. These fights feel like real battles that’s for sure and so there is a ton of blood at all times. It’s less stylized than other titles to really show the impact of the hits. Then you have Wick’s pencil kills which were foreshadowed early in the film so you knew they would show up at some point. It may be the most brutal kill although the film has a lot of those so it’s hard to say. One guy gets slashed in the worst area possible so I was shocked that he was still able to fight before Wick just shot him.

It’s not quite Resident Evil/Underworld levels of violence but it is definitely rather graphic and also nonstop. He probably murders 100 guys by the end of the film and each one just ends up getting shot through. One death that wasn’t through a shot but was still rather violent was a lady who bleeds out in the pool. There’s some context to this one which I won’t say for spoilers but it was the weakest scene in the film. Certainly a unique way to go out, there’s no question on that. But a normal shot or something would have definitely worked a lot better.

I have to say, considering Wick’s reputation I’m surprised that so many random guys want to try and take him out. You’d think that these hitmen would value their lives more and just stay out of his way. Is 7 million really worth throwing your life away? Most of these guys should know that they’re absolutely outmatched and outgunned from the start. They should have just stayed at the hotel if anything. Honestly, if you’ve made enough money to retire that is the safest place in the city. Just stay there forever and enjoy the food while you can. It’s the perfect plan.

Overall, John Wick 2 is a solid improvement from the first title. The action scenes are on point and I like some of the design choices like showing the subtitles in colorful words when the characters talk in Russian or other times in Sign language. The visuals are really solid both in the fights and even just when exploring the city. The opening drive from before the credits was a good example of this. The story is solid and the whole setting is just build up really well. If you could tone down/stylize the violence a bit more this one would even be able to join the great leagues. If you’re up for a ton of nonstop action then this is definitely a title you’ll want to check out.

Overall 5/10

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