Game Night 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.

Game Night is one of those films doing its best to have a nice balance of being a parody while also having serious thriller moments. On the whole it’s definitely quite a bit of fun. Sub par writing does keep this film from being fantastic though and lowers it to just being a good movie. It has enough solid moments where I would say they overpower the bad ones but you can’t help thinking that it left a lot on the table.

The movie starts with showing us how competitive both Max and Annie are when playing games. Sabotaging the other team is just one of the many ways to win and they study for ages so that they are prepared for anything that comes their way. Eventually they end up getting married and continue the tradition of having their friends over for Game Night. They stopped inviting Gary over once he had a divorce though so they try to be low key now. Things all change when Max’s brother Brooks arrives.

Brooks basically exists to antagonize Max and try to shame him in front of everyone whenever they meet. He intentionally causes a disturbance and even shows up in Max’s favorite car. Brooks takes over Game Night and announces that the stakes are higher. Someone is going to be kidnapped and whoever finds that person before the others will get the car for free. This is Max’s turn to prove himself, can he find the car first?

The film definitely plays up the parody elements in right from the start where you can see how exaggerated everything is. Game Night goes all in on making the situation as crazy as possible like the scene where Brooks is attacked and nobody can tell that it’s for real. Then you have Annie running around with a live gun throughout the film but since she thinks it’s a toy she keeps pointing it at people and even puts it in her mouth at one point. One character gets shot and has to have the bullet torn out only for the whole thing to go in a different direction.

These moments are all pretty fun. When the film is embracing the wacky nature of the premise and all the twists it is at its absolute best. The film throws you a whole lot of curve balls throughout. There’s even a moment sort of like the Dark Knight where you think the film has ended only for it to keep on going. There are even two scenes after the credits as if this was a serious film. The actual ending to the movie is excellent though. Whether we get a sequel or not that’s definitely a great way to end it.

As mentioned though, the only thing holding this film back is the writing. Brooks is just way too over the top in how he messes with Max. The guy throws his board games away, steals his friends/car, tells an embarrassing story, etc. The film half heartedly tries to help redeem him by the end but he’s so far gone that it’s just hard to buy into. It also gets so extreme that I wouldn’t even say that these moments are funny. The board game throw? Sure that’s funny although Max should have absolutely retaliated or just left at that point. The embarrassing story? Not even remotely funny and the gag drags on.

Game Night is also fairly confident in its jokes so it tends to keep on calling back to them. For the better gags this works like Gary ominously appearing in the background many times. It’s hard…or meant to be hard to tell if he’s a red herring or not. This backfires for the more annoying moments though like Kevin’s plot where he is jealous about his wife Michelle having an affair at some point which gets brought up over and over again.

As for the characters, Max is a good lead. He has a lot of funny lines and gives the film a solid atmosphere throughout. I would argue again he lefts Brooks get away with way too much though. Then you have Annie who I would say is the standout character of the film. She was able to match Max blow for blow when it came to coming up with plans. She was very proactive and even participated in the fights quite a bit. Annie was quick to take every situation in stride and I can’t really think of any bad scenes she had. She may speak her mind rather quickly even if it means putting Max in a bad spot but at the end of the day they made a great team.

I’ve already talked about Brooks so nothing much more to be said there. He’s the kind of character who is supremely confident which can be entertaining but you can’t let it distract you from the fact that he’s practically the main villain in this film. At least I will say he put up a good fight against the two intruders in the opening scene.

Then you have Ryan who has to be the weakest character in the film. His gimmick is that he’s really not smart at all so he’s always saying things at the worst possible times. He serves as the comic relief character but you don’t need one of those in a parody/comedy film since everyone ideally will have a lot of humorous lines of their own. As a result he feels rather forced the whole time.

The date he brought to the main game night is Sarah who’s meant to contrast his character with how intelligent she is. She has some fun moments as well but in general their subplot wasn’t very strong. Next up is Kevin and Michelle who probably had the weakest plot. As mentioned, Michelle had an affair while they were on a break from each other and he also did but still says she should have not done it or at least come clean about it years ago. Super sloppy of her to mess up during the game though I have to say.

The problem with this gag is it just keeps being brought up over and over so Kevin comes off as super insecure the whole time. I’d also say they did the worst in the game and really could not keep up with the other teams. As for supporting characters, well we have Gary who has a rather tragic plot for the most part since nobody wants to hang out with him anymore. He does come across as rather odd but lying to his face and excluding him from everything is absolutely not the way to go. The film doesn’t give you enough reason to see why the main characters would treat him so poorly so you feel bad for him. It gets worse when something happens to his house. The film never addresses the aftermath of this but it’s definitely not something you would forgive very easily.

Overall, Game Night is a very high energy film. It really embraces the nature of being a sort of “Clue” type adventure but focused heavily on being a parody. It takes many shots at classic action movie tropes as the heroes try a lot of plans but they never work. The conveyer plan for example was really clever as well as the homages to the Die Hard series. The movie is certainly at its best during these moments and I also liked the actual game scenes. There’s a certain music track that plays during these moments which is really good. That said, considering the title you will find there are less scenes of the heroes playing the games than expected. It may have enough of a weak script where I wouldn’t call it a great movie or anything but if you’re looking for a fun film to check out this one’s a good way to spend an evening.

Overall 6/10

The Red Shoes Review


When you have a whole film revolving around Ballet you’re going to need to expect it to be good. Well, I assume it is, but ballet isn’t really my thing. I’ve never cared much for the costumes or the style of music. Give me a metal concert or even some Vtuber/Idol spectacle instead. Ballet just feels very low key. It’s a decent movie but not one that will end up being super engaging or anything.

The movie begins with Julian noticing that his songs have been stolen by his professor. He writes to one of the biggest music owners in the world known as Boris. The guy tells Julian to work for him as a composer who will mainly be directing the orchestra. Boris also hires a dancer named Victoria who he believes may end up being an amazing dancer. The job if high stress and there is always a lot going on but the three of them are making it work. Boris really has just one rule…..there is not to be any romance. You can be a professional or you can be a romantic but he says they can’t be both. The characters all agree to this so it should work out…right?

Heh heh..if you’ve seen any movie then you know exactly how this will work out. Julian and Victoria fall for each other. They want to have their cake and eat it too by being part of the group but Boris did make himself clear on this. There’s a lot of drama to be sure and the film ends up going in a bit of a different direction than I had expected. It’s one that makes all of the characters look rather suspect to be sure. While I would say the film is a light hearted affair for the most part, it does have its serious moments.

Boris did make for a fun main antagonist. Antagonist may be a bit strong since the guy means well but of course he’s not sympathetic to the romance so that won’t help matters. When his star dancer leaves he doesn’t even care because she had left for marriage. Boris is quite unrelenting on these rules of his after all. He does have some good ideas though like forcing Victoria to listen to the song she as struggling with during all of her meals which does seem like a good way to have it memorized.

Then you have Victoria who really wants to be a dancer but gets torn between that and her feelings of romance. I must admit that she didn’t look very good due to this. You have to pick one or the other but you can’t keep waffling between them. Her worst scene here was likely when she tried going back to Boris without telling her husband Julian. What kind of excuse would she have been able to make in the end? Surely she didn’t think she could keep that kind of thing a secret for very long right? Ultimately it would definitely catch up as all things do. The ending also wasn’t her best moment.

Next up is Julian and he’s really just as guilty. The golden rule while working for Boris is no romance. That’s really the only one and it seems easy enough not to get into that. Still, he made his choice and it seemed like the other gig was going well so it’s too bad it wasn’t enough for Victoria. Julian’s not in a great spot by the time the film is over so things are rocky for all of the characters.

There are a few supporting characters who were fun like the dancing coach. That guy had a lot of personality and he was also bold enough to side with the two characters when they broke away from Boris. These aren’t the kind of characters who just roll over so they did well in supporting each other. It made for a pretty interesting dynamic since after a while you can’t get rid of everyone.

The story was nice and strong for all of these scenes. Really where the story would get a bit weaker was when it was focusing on the actual ballet. Naturally there isn’t a whole lot of story in those moments as it’s just play after play. There were some good special effects during the dance but they do tend to drag on a bit compared to other dancing styles. It’s a huge focus in the film of course so that did limit how interesting it could be to an extent.

There isn’t a whole lot to talk about beyond that due to the simple nature of the plot. Keep in mind that the film itself is quite long at over two hours. So the execution was on point since you can easily describe the plot despite the movie being so long. This one isn’t about twists or turns as it’s just interested in telling the main plot of the movie. With the pacing and writing being good, at the very least that meant the film certainly wouldn’t be bad. The first half did beat the second though as it was fun seeing the original show go on as Julian realized what had happened and Boris insulting everyone as he made his way through the party. To his defense, it would be putting him on the spot to have to watch a live audition when he’s just trying to have a good time.

Overall, The Red Shoes is a decent film. It reminds me a lot of the film where the opera conductor was fighting with his father over the ability to have a romance and still do your job. These films were very similar in that regard. It’s a bit hard to root for the characters here since they knew the risks of taking this job from Boris at the beginning. In general Boris was rather strict and cold but he did make his shows a success and seemed to have a good work ethic when it counted. He would help train his stars in a way that complemented their skills. If you want to watch a retro dancing film then this is the one to check out.

Overall 6/10

Without Love Review


Without Love is one of those films where you definitely know how it’s going to play out. Any film where the characters initially say that they’re not going to let things get personal or romantic are doomed to fail right from the jump. It’s just not going to work, the friend zone never seems to exist by the end of these films. Either way it is a fun film. It may be a script that’s not one of the more realistic ones but when you factor in that the film is part comedy/parody then it works out.

The movie starts with Patrick running into a really drunk man named Quentin. This works out well for Patrick since he is looking for a place to stay temporarily so he can run some government experiments. He tricks Quentin into letting him spend the night and then even orders a bunch of equipment into the house. When the actual owner of the house shows up (Jamie) she isn’t exactly thrilled about this. Patrick is able to convince her in a rather roundabout way to keep him. Afterwards they exchange origin stories.

Jamie had a perfect marriage until her husband died while Patrick has had a pretty rough experience. Both of them are completely done with romance as a result….or so they say. Jamie has an idea that will solve their problems. She tells Patrick they need to marry each other in a loveless marriage. Why? She doesn’t know but it’s an idea and Patrick likes it so they quickly get married. Now she will assist him in his work but the more they work the more they start letting things get personal although they can’t admit it. What can they do?

The only thing I couldn’t help but wonder the whole time though was….why would being married make the work any easier? There is really no good reason for them to have gotten married if we’re being honest. The only decent reason would be that Jamie actually liked him from the start and figured that getting married would help lower his guard. It’s an effective strategy if that was the case although the film doesn’t play it off like that. It’s more like it just happened gradually.

It’s definitely one of the most predictable romances you’ll ever see but as they say, friendship is impossible in these kinds of things. Jamie’s a good character but she does get pushed around rather easily. The opening scene where she is effectively tricked by Patrick was certainly something. Additionally, she does put herself in some rather tricky circumstances like hanging out with the local flirt who constantly tries to get to her even when she is married and running to his side when she has a fight with Patrick.

The film has a rather bold ending which leaves you with a lot of concerns. Then you have Patrick who acts a bit like an anime tsundere with how he won’t admit his feelings. Now, if he completely kept them off then he would probably be right here since they both agreed not to have any feelings for each other. He just ended up staying true to their original goal for a lot longer than she did. Ultimately he couldn’t stay the course though which you could probably predict. There are so many misunderstandings between the main two because they are never on the same page.

There’s also a backup romance plot between Kitty and Quentin but it doesn’t have a whole lot to do with anything. Quentin tries to recover from his drunk opening but from the dialogue we learn that he gets drunk a lot which isn’t a good look for him. He was also quick to move on from Kitty so when he rebounds at the end it’s hard to buy into. Likewise Kitty reveals she has had a lot of affairs. It’s always hard to root for a romance when both characters have been playing the field the whole time.

Despite being hyped up as one of the big villains, Edwina doesn’t show up until near the end of the film. She’s the one who messed Patrick up and doesn’t appear until near the end but they don’t have any kind of big confrontation. That would have been interesting but she basically doesn’t do anything here. It does make Patrick look bad for not being very definitive throughout the whole movie though. It’s part of what puts a wedge between him and Jamie.

As far as the writing goes, I would say the film does a good job. There are a lot of good lines and the characters are reasonable. The fast talking at the beginning of the film is fun as Patrick turns every line against the drunken Quentin and then when he one ups Jamie. Now, it’s hard for me to believe the latter scene in the slightest but it still makes for a fun little moment.

It’s easy to forget but there is a government plot in here as well since the whole point for trying to get a place to stay is so Patrick can build some devices in secret. Devices that let you withstand more Gs in space and things like that. She helps quite a lot and he even test runs some of the equipment but surely the government could do better than to have him working in this basement right?

Put it this way, the whole point is secretly but in a small town where everyone knows each other, isn’t it super suspicious when a bunch of giant moving vans appear taking out a bunch of tech and bringing it all to one house? I feel like the government fails on the secret aspect of this mission. Also, I couldn’t help but feel like some of the story points were just rather contrived though like the wedding that makes no sense. The film could have done a better job of at least explaining why this would even be remotely necessary or even useful.

Overall, Without Love is going for a slightly different angle at romance but ultimately turns into a standard romantic comedy. It doesn’t hold up nearly as well as some of the other ones that I’ve seen recently but it’s decent. Even if the characters were able to play this straight and live in a loveless marriage I would say it’s a bad idea. Marrying for tax breaks or just to say you’ve been married just doesn’t seem like a good idea in the long run. For that it sounds like deep down each character really just wants to have a best friend. While the films may deny it, it’s certainly possible to have friends even as a grown up. Maybe that’ll finally happen in one of these films coming up…but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Overall 6/10

The Undead Review


This film has a fairly ambitious plot to be honest. It involves some time travel, multiple paths and even how your life will affect your future incarnations. The characters have to deal with all of this and put a lot of different lives on the scale. Ultimately I would have liked a different path on the climax but the actual twist ending itself is definitely solid. The film was better than I had thought it would be.

The movie starts with Quintus running an experiment to test his theory on being able to send someone to relive a past life with his hypnosis. He tries this on Diana while another professor is around and the trick works. She is now in the past living as a witch by the name of Helene who is attempting to escape persecution. There is a drawback though, there doesn’t seem to be a way for Diana to return until Helene dies. Furthermore, if Helene survives longer than she is supposed to, then Diana may never be borne. Helene is said to die this night when the witches are executed but she has several allies in the past. Pendragon wants her to live as well as an elderly witch who protects her from the attacks of Livia. Still, Livia is quite powerful and even has her own imp. Helene will have to be careful here.

The plot in the present with Diana doesn’t return until the end so really the whole film is set in the past. Initially that’s part of what I was worried about since films that take place in this time period usually aren’t great. It just doesn’t make for a great backdrop next to the current day setting. The days of witches and castles always tends to be rather gritty and with Roger Corman here I had absolutely 0 confidence in his ability to churn out a good film. Surprisingly this one plays it fairly straight though.

Helene is a decent character but it would be nice if she could actually use some magic to fight. She does well in trying to escape her fate for a lot of the film but I do think she overthinks things by the end though. At the end of the day her life is the one she needs to worry about now as I wouldn’t buy what the others were saying. There’s no guarantee that the other characters would not still exist later on. So, just survive as long as you can and the rest will come into place.

The film is at its best with all of the action scenes though. You have quite a few confrontations that lead to blows. All of the characters are really good at surprise attacks as well and use that to quickly take their opponent down. Pendragon has a fairly extended fight against the executioner at one point which was intense. Both of them landed a ton of powerful blows to each other before one of them went down.

As for Pendragon himself, I wasn’t a fan. He’s better than the executioner guy who was desperate for Helene and just seemed really petty the whole time. The problem with Pendragon though is that he is pretty gullible and just not that smart. He is quick to tell Livia everything and also cheats with her on two occasions before finally dredging up enough willpower to break away. This guy should have been a lot more steadfast in sticking with Helene if he really liked her. From the way he talked, if she did die then he would have gone with Livia next during the early scenes which doesn’t make him look too loyal.

As for Livia, she is an impressive villain. Her magical abilities are good but almost too good. You get the feeling that she should have been able to take Helene down at any point. We see that just cutting through a clay doll would have been enough to take Helene down so she should have more spells like that once the older witch was gone. Perhaps the senior one has some kind of counter spell active though. While I don’t recall her name, the older one deserves a lot of credit. Without her Helene absolutely would not be alive.

The film even threw Satan himself into the mix. That’s certainly one way to escalate the stakes. He laughs a whole lot in this film as he finds everything amusing and clearly does not make deals. He has some back and forth exchanges with Pendragon, which he always won. Same as when he talks with Quintus. This guy’s quite experienced after all and as the ultimate evil, even Livia doesn’t mess with him.

As for Quintus, he’s easily one of the most overconfident characters you’ll run into in this film. There are quite a few confident ones after all but he probably takes the cake. Everything seems to be going his way after all and he believes that there is no risk to him since he is on a psychic trail. His experiments were dubious from the start but by the end he is acting as a total villain. He isn’t shy about hiding it either since he figures nobody in the past will ever see him again anyway so there won’t really be a risk. It’s part of what makes the end of his character arc pretty fun.

Overall, The Undead does a lot within its allotted screen time. There are other characters as well like a guy who manages the graveyard who always speaks in riddles and right hand man of the old witch who is fairly loyal. Unfortunately things don’t go very well for him. Despite being a Corman film, this one also isn’t very violent. Several heads do roll quite literally, but it’s always off screen so things don’t get too crazy. The romance was a little hard to buy and the ending isn’t ideal aside from the final scene which is magnificent. As a whole though this film was still good though and one I could safely recommend, even if just for the fight scenes which were solid. The witch abilities were also presented pretty well considering how long ago this film was made.

Overall 6/10

Multiplicity Review


Who wouldn’t want to have a gadget that could duplicate yourself right? Ideally of course you’d want one that only turns you into multiple copies for a little while though. Any option that is permanent will end up causing a lot of issues because then that person will have become real. Well this film takes a look at that concept a bit although in a comedy context of course. The main character could have handled this a whole lot better and things would have been fine but he definitely wasn’t prepared for this. It’s a decent film that has a lot of fun moments but you do feel like it could have been better.

Things have not been going well for Doug lately. He is having a very hard time balancing his home life with work. He’s slowly losing touch with his wife Laura who wants to go back to work and as it is he keeps missing various events for his kids. Just when everything seems to be too much, he meets up with a doctor who suggests that cloning is the solution. Doug agrees and so they quickly create a clone. #2. #2 will handle the work obligations while Doug handles the home life. Can he pull this off?

Mainly a lot of the issues here come from the fact that both Dougs don’t actually discuss things with each other. For example, what to do if Laura calls the wrong one, how to switch out when things get dangerous, etc. The sad thing for Doug is that #2 actually does better at work than he ever did. Doug should be enjoying his time at home but he’s not a big fan of dishes and chores so he creates another double. You can imagine how this only increases the difficulties he starts to encounter.

Each double seems to take on a different personality though. #2 is a lot more aggressive and stern as I guess the workplace made him tougher. #3 is the one who does the chores so he is a lot more polite and even becomes an expert at folding. Doug is more of an all around guy I suppose so he does a bit of everything. The tricky part here is that Doug just wants to go and watch Basketball games or mess around but still wants to be at home at the end of the day. So that means one of the others has to find an excuse to leave the house to make the switch every time but that’s not always easy especially when Doug is coming home late at night.

Doug really doesn’t make things easy on the other characters, especially when he leaves home for days at a time. He imposes two rules on the clones, not to get together with his wife and to stop making clones after we get #4. That being said, since they are all him, he should probably realize that this is going to be a very hard ask. Another issue is that they don’t share memories so Doug is always incredibly out of the loop when he gets back which causes a lot of issues.

Really they should have had a quick recap meeting with each other at the end of the day before the switch or something. That would have definitely been a lot easier. Of course Doug isn’t really the planning sort but you feel like it would have made things easier. Surprisingly he doesn’t tell Laura even at the end either. Of course telling her from the start would have absolutely been the easiest way out of this. I don’t even think she would have had much of an issue with this although I guess it’s hard to say for sure.

One subplot the film could have done without was #4 appearing though. To be honest that guy just didn’t add anything to the mix and was more annoying than funny. I can’t think of a single fun scene the guy had since he was just way too overboard with how he became a kid version of Doug. I would have kept the film to 3 versions of Doug and that is more than enough to carry out all of the plots. Alternately just make hundreds of Dougs for the final scene of the film as you know that he’s going to be in trouble now.

Also, the film does go a bit overboard on each clone basically getting overpowered by Laura as they break rule number 1. Not much will power to be found with these guys. Less of those romance scenes would have been good so we could focus on the actual plot at hand. The film is at its best when Doug is confronting these guys. It’s always interesting to see a character effectively talking to himself. I was also a bit surprised that we didn’t see more of the scientist at the end but since the clones all actually worked out without issue I guess there wasn’t much of a use for him.

So Doug’s a decent main character I suppose but he definitely isn’t a smart one. He messes up everything he possibly could in this situation and that’s almost impressive in a sense since he couldn’t possibly have done any worse after a point. Doug has a tendency to panic a lot and his reactions can be amusing. Laura is a good heroine even if she doesn’t put two and two together but in her defense it would be really hard to assume that clones exist and that Doug somehow got a few. It would have been nice if she had found out about this but I suppose this keeps the chances for a sequel.

That said, a fun final gag would have been her driving home in a blue shirt and handing him some groceries. He goes inside and sees her with a red shirt as the credits roll. Then you have to wonder at what point she started with the clones as well. That would have been a great turn of events to end on. Still, that’s going off on a bit of a tangent so lets get back to the film.

Overall, Multiplicity is a film with a pretty solid concept. It’s original and I like the idea of a lot of clones running around and causing trouble. There’s a whole lot you can do with that. The film could have taken a lot of better angles with this or at least having Doug construct a better plan but it makes for a decent watch. I basically shaved off a star for the existence of #4 as well as for the over the top seduction scenes but there’s enough good here to keep the film in the green. There are a lot of humorous scenes here after all.

Overall 6/10

The Thing That Couldn’t Die Review


When you have a title like this you know that you’re about to be in for a true creature feature title. It’s definitely a very classic film that isn’t trying to do anything new or different. The heroes fight among themselves a whole lot here which just makes things even easier for the villain. It’s a solid film that flies by very quickly.

The movie starts with Jessica helping some people find treasure using her dowsing abilities. She has psychic abilities that let her know things in general and she specializes in locating objects. That being said, people are skeptical of her abilities and probably a little jealous as well. She doesn’t let it get to her too much though. Unfortunately when they find a haunted treasure chest that Jessica forbids them from opening, nobody listens. A troublemaker tricks someone into opening the chest where they find a the head of Gideon. Gideon quickly enslaves the poor guy with his hypnotic abilities. Now he is trying to locate the rest of his body.

Gideon is one of those guys who is fairly overpowered in this world. All he needs is a quick glance and he can mind control anyone. Fortunately it does seem like he can only control one person at a time though so he has to relinquish his hold over the other person. To defeat him you have to just take him down quickly without making contact or by holding a cross. Gideon gets wrecked twice when people grab their local crosses. He’s not a very intimidating villain though since for most of the film he’s just a head that people are holding up. He really has to bank on the fact that nobody is able to see him.

I thought perhaps the film was going to go for the angle that he brings out the worst in people as well which would explain why everyone was acting so shady. That said, it just turned out that none of the town’s folk liked each other very much. It’s not a particularly strong cast. Take Jessica, her powers are pretty handy but she panics a lot and never elaborates. When they dig up the chest she is quick to say that they better not open it and that she’ll leave but she can’t elaborate more except to say that it feels evil. Of course people aren’t going to take her seriously.

She didn’t do a good job of explaining herself which is normal for psychic users. They always just talk really vaguely and hope people will take them seriously. Then you have the main guy Gordon. His role isn’t all that big though. He is on Jessica’s side the whole time at least like when telling the town to back off when they kept asking her to use her talents. That said, it was a lot of money they were all going to make. Ultimately Jessica got mind controlled so she ended up helping out anyway though.

The characters just didn’t do themselves any favors. The aunt was nice enough at least. She didn’t seem to understand what was happening but did try to chip in. We even get the cops involved at one point which was pretty intense as they showed up to take names and solve this case. Gideon made it awfully easy on them by sending in his first victim. It does seem like he is able to at least give a final order when transferring his hostage possession over to someone else.

There’s also a rather pointless subplot with a painter who is dumped by one of the girls after she is mind controlled. The guy takes it really hard and then decides to go after Jessica as a rebound. Again, this makes more sense if Gideon is basically corrupting the town, but the evil atmosphere Jessica would sense seemed to only apply to Gieon’s mind control itself. Also, she didn’t notice when her best friend was mind controlled so ultimately the psychic abilities didn’t help when they mattered most.

The best part of the film would have to be the climax where they finally get to go up against Gideon. Naturally as you can imagine there was a lot of panicking here but at least we got to finally see the villain in his whole state trying to stir up some action. Now that’s what you want to see here to make things a little more interesting. I’d have been up for more of that action but the general plot of someone basically messing with the town by switching hosts over and over again isn’t bad either.

The movie is just very by the books and what keeps it from being as interesting as other films in the genre is that the character roster is fairly weak. Usually you have really strong writing to keep this at a high level but this film’s writing is more standard. It’s good but it doesn’t jump out at you or anything like that. There’s also a brief flashback for Gideon but it doesn’t really do much for him as a character since you already knew roughly what happened to him in the past.

Overall, The Thing That Couldn’t Die is a forgettable film. It’s a good title but there are just better versions of this kind of story out there as it is so I don’t think this one will stand out for you very much. If you want to see a film with some suspense and thriller elements then I’d recommend checking it out though. At the very least you can see how a small town community could try to handle this development although they aren’t quite aware of the threat for most of the movie. Jessica knows something is happening but everyone else just seriously doubts anything is amiss. I suppose there isn’t much reason to believe a head is going around controlling people though since it all seems like normal crimes going around. The shady townsperson who got bumped off early on was pretty close to becoming a big villain himself.

Overall 6/10

Shock Review


Shock is a pretty old movie about why you have to be careful how you word things. The main heroine could have saved herself a lot of grief if she had handled things better and on the other hand, the main guy should have been more on the ball. Throughout the movie you may be wondering how the heroes can get out of their fate since they are falling into all of the old traps. The movie is pretty short so you won’t have to wonder for too long.

It’s only around an hour after all so there is definitely not a whole lot of time here. The movie starts off with Janet arriving at a hotel to prepare for her husband’s arrival after being a prisoner of war for many years. Unfortunately either the hotel lost her reservation or she forgot to make one but they say she can stay for a day. She goes to her room but then witnesses Dr. Cross murdering his wife through the window. This puts her in a state of shock so fantastic that she is unable to move or make a sound. Her husband Paul arrives and sees her in this state so he quickly calls the doctor who then calls in Dr. Cross since Cross is the world’s leading expert in this kind of thing. Cross explains he can fix her but he’ll have to do it in his private hospital. Cross takes her there and his new girlfriend Elaine realizes that Janet is the only witness to the murder. They will have to make sure she never recovers.

Now this plot does hinge on quite a few things. One of the big ones of course being the fact that if Janet had been able to react even slightly or do anything other than panic the whole time then they wouldn’t have even taken her to the hospital. Paul did a pretty bad job of trying to wake her up as well to be honest. You’d think there are a lot of things you could try before taking her to a private hospital.

The only thing I would say on Paul’s behalf is at least the hospital doesn’t seem shady on its surface. It has a great reputation along with the lead doctor and it has been generating positive results for an incredibly long time. There is no reason to doubt that he would heal her…initially. As the film goes on Janet flat out tells Paul why she got traumatized and how Cross murdered his wife, but Paul doesn’t believe her at all. Throughout the film he gives authorization for all kinds of treatments to be used on her which just makes you shake your head.

As Paul even notes many times, Janet is not getting better so why let this continue? The fact that she was able to recognize him and have a discussion…multiple times should have told him that something was up. That’s why Paul ended up being my least favorite character in the film. He could and should have handled everything so much better than he did. He just ended up putting Janet in a lot of danger the whole time.

As for Janet, she’s not innocent either. Really, she could have framed things so much better. Put it this way, when she first woke up she could have quickly played along so everyone would see she was sane and she could have left the hospital immediately. She could have told Paul she wanted to leave with him or even said something like they had not been letting her see him for a while. Something to put him on high alert so they could leave. Jumping right into the story about Cross murdering the wife and yelling just helped make Paul think she was crazy. Now, either way Paul should have helped but this didn’t do her any favors. Same with her initial escape attempt.

Then we have Elaine who is definitely portrayed as the most sinister character. She has absolutely 0 qualms about just murdering everyone in their way. She’s consistent in that degree which doesn’t bode well for her by the end. Then you have Cross who tries to be a lot more wishy washy about the whole thing which is hard to buy. You don’t just murder someone without meaning to do so and you especially don’t end up doing that twice. I wasn’t buying that in either instance. So when he keeps on talking about how he didn’t mean to and everything it’s hard to buy into that. Even his quick change of heart at the end doesn’t amount to much because he had already gone this far. Such a character just can’t be trusted.

Shock is a film where it can be tough to see how everyone is manipulated so easily. I can cut some characters a break like the inspector and the number 1 authority on shocks because from what both of them saw there just wasn’t anything to suspect. It’s a little harder to buy into some of the staff but the trickiest characters are absolutely Paul and Janet because there just isn’t a whole lot of defending either one of them. They just keep putting themselves in worse and worse positions.

The writing in the film is solid even with the characters acting like this though. I always like the script and dialogue with films back in this era as all of the characters just sound very regal and sophisticated. The style works out rather well. The pacing is naturally pretty decent with the film being so short and all. There’s no way this movie could end up dragging out at this point.

Overall, Shock is a film that has a pretty direct plot from start to finish. You do feel like the characters could have handled this a lot better though which can be a bit annoying at times. It’s a shame since the actual hospital did end up being rather legitimate but having someone corrupt at the top is all you need to completely destroy the whole environment. It’s a decent film so I’d recommend it if you want to watch an old school thriller but there are better options out there.

Overall 6/10

Cast a Dark Shadow Review


Usually characters making a lot of shaky decisions is thought to be more of a horror trope. Well, this film manages to give that a run for its money since none of the characters are all that smart here. They make a ton of mistakes so by the end there is a lot of tension since you can’t trust them to pull through. It’s always a bit of a twist to have the main villain act as the main character and it works rather well here. The film keeps you guessing.

The movie starts by introducing us to Edward and his much older wife. It’s one of those age gap marriages where Edward did it for the money while Monica doesn’t notice this since she just wanted a companion. Well, Edward had been slowly accelerating her death by constantly feeding her wine but one day she mentions that she will be setting up a will so Edward quickly murders her. He figured that she would be giving all of her money to family when in fact she was going to give it all to him. Edward now realizes that he should have held off on the murder for another day at least but it’s too late. So he quickly goes on a trip and finds the rich Freda and decides to marry her. He’s back to being rich but can he keep the truth from her?

I want to say that the writing is pretty good. While a lot of the characters act rather questionably, I wouldn’t say this is a writing thing but simply that the characters were not meant to be all that smart. It’s not exactly unheard of after all. At best I would say Freda is the character where you have to wonder what she has done to secure herself if anything. But lets take a step back and talk about some of the characters and why I didn’t think they handled things well.

First up is Edward. So of course if he had just waited 1 more day he would have been rich beyond belief. Considering what a final moment this was and how big a deal it was, he definitely could have asked her a little more directly about her intentions. I also dare say he could have read the room a bit more when her attorney was around and how displeased he was. That should have been a big tipoff that she was about to give him a lot of money. It just makes the most amount of sense and yet Edward did not realize this which cost him. He’s certainly not a good character anyway though so you’re glad to see him fail.

Then you have Monica who just didn’t see the writing in the wall here. She didn’t realize that he was after her money and ultimately didn’t last too long. It’s tough when you’re rich since peo0ple may want you for the money so it’s always hard to know when the love was genuine. It’s too bad she couldn’t have found companionship through a club or something instead. Then you have the maid Emmie who you’ll feel bad for. She has done a good job for the family and yet Monica left her with almost nothing. I feel like she should have gotten more. Then you feel bad for her with Edward just tricking her the whole time and not paying her. Definitely another underhanded trick. Emmie gets tricked a lot and is just too trusting for her own good.

Then you have Phillip who is the most sensible member of the cast. He doesn’t trust Edward and has no reservations about saying this to his face either. Phillip puts the guy in his place and does a really good job of it too. He really deserves a lot of credit in this film for always staying one step ahead of Edward and also for not getting intimidated. With this we’re down to the final two main characters who both get sizable roles.

First up is Freda who is the lady who ends up marrying Edward. She talks a really good game about not getting tricked and keeping close watch of her money but to marry Edward so quickly was a rookie mistake. Naturally he was hiding a ton of secrets even if she never could have guessed to this extent. So, she did make sure not to cut a check so I wonder if when marrying they signed something keeping the money separate. Otherwise I was surprised he couldn’t just take her money or sign in his name. It’s fortunate it wasn’t that easy at least. She held her ground but there were so many red flags here after they were married. Yelling at her for going into the old wife’s room is a big one and of course all the threats of violence and such against her. She made sure to always see things in a humorous light but she really got herself into a bad situation. Her final scene nearly made things even more dangerous.

Finally you have Charlotte, a rich lady who showed up recently and is looking to buy a house. Naturally Edward has an interest in her as well. Charlotte’s role here is pretty solid and I do like her plan. Admittedly, it is still an incredibly risky plan. She made a lot of rational points which in theory guarantee her safety but when you’re dealing with a psychotic murderer there is no guarantee that they will act rationally. She was risking an awful lot with her plan so I appreciate the fact that she stuck to her guns but things almost got dicey anyway. Particularly in the final scene as well things almost went sideways.

Cast a Dark Shadow is definitely a film that reminds you to always be cautious around people you don’t truly know. Just because you meet someone for a few minutes and they seem nice doesn’t mean that you should suddenly marry them or go over to their house past midnight when you give a call. People can lie after all and then suddenly their nice story isn’t as pleasant as it appeared to me. A lot of the characters in this film took way too much at face value which is what really let to things being pretty difficult for them. Edward was outsmarting most of the cast for quite a while and the whole time you’re waiting for him to be defeated.

Overall, Cast a Dark Shadow is a very interesting villain. It can be annoying seeing everyone fall into Edward’s traps though. Particularly Freda since I liked her tough personality and how she would stand up to him. Just after all the bravado it would usually lead to her falling into the trap anyway so I wouldn’t say it went perfectly. The lawyer Phillip definitely deserves a lot of credit though because he was definitely crucial to making sure things go well. In general he was just a fun guy too. If you’re up for a solid thriller then this film is good to watch. Have a glass of water with you and take a shot every time a character says or does something that makes you shake your head.

Overall 6/10

Little Nikita Review


Time to take a look at a film about spies and traitors from a while back. It’s a fairly low key espionage film so don’t expect a lot of fight scenes or anything like that. In a way it’s a film where it feels like not a lot happens until the very end. It’s more of a slow burner. The film works well enough even though it’s not particularly exciting. I wouldn’t recommend it over other films in the genre but you should be entertained during the movie.

The movie starts off with someone murdering an employee of the IRS. It turns out that this employee had actually been a double agent from Russia. Interestingly enough, he was murdered by a Russian agent who has gone rogue. The agent’s codename is Scuba. He is blackmailing the Russians into paying him a large sum of money or he will continue to murder all of their operatives. They decide to send in agent Konstantin to take him down. Konstantin is given strict orders not to allow the media to catch wind of this and he has to bring Scuba in alive.

On the other side you’ve got agent Roy of the FBI who wants to avenge his partner who was murdered by Scuba a while back. He finds out that Jeff’s parents are sleeper agents and figures this could be a good way to finally track this guy down. Thing is, he has no proof and furthermore, as sleeper agents that means they haven’t actually done anything yet so it’s not like he can just go in and start shooting. He tries to convince their son Jeff to step in and find out the truth but involving a boy in a case like this is fairly reckless. Will it actually pay off for him?

The idea of the Russians being blackmailed by one of their own makes for a pretty interesting plot. I dare say that it is a pretty original one as well. Usually you might see this on the other side but for the Russians to be on the defensive was an original twist. Naturally due to this the CIA, FBI, and the rest aren’t too keen to get involved. They figure they will just let the Russians take each other out. The reason Roy is getting involved is because it’s personal this time. To avenge his partner he feels like he has to get involved and take Scuba down. He is told off the bat that he will not have any backup though.

With a premise like this you’d probably expect a whole lot of action right? Well, the wrinkle in this plan is that the sleeper agents aren’t really fighters. The whole time the film is going on you’re expecting the pin to drop and for these two seemingly normal parents to suddenly just grab their guns and go into commander mode. Well, that doesn’t exactly happen here. They never get to fight and even at the very end they’re about to easily lose to Scuba. It’s to the point where even once he is shot they aren’t able to stop him from getting the briefcase. I admit that they really did not look very impressive in this film at all. At least in an action context. They seemed like perfectly reasonable people otherwise. Maybe a little naïve since they don’t pick up on anything unless it’s spelt out for them though. At the very least I thought their guard would be up when they met Roy and he suddenly moved next door but they really didn’t.

Jeff’s a decent main character I guess but as a kid he does tend to panic a whole lot. He just isn’t ready for these kind of twists. He just never helps contribute to the situation and while he means well, the scene of him trying to pass the air force exam was pretty rough. The cast is fairly small so each person has to do their part. The other characters were a lot more solid. First up is Roy. Of course he has the whole revenge angle but on the whole he does have some good plans most of the time. He comes in handy with his clutch shots and did figure out the mystery of the sleeper agents really fast. Most of the other characters would have still been in the dark otherwise. I do think his decision to quickly have a random affair was poorly timed though. He’s in the middle of the most important case of his life. Surely he can wait a little bit to stay professional before getting distracted right?

Konstantin was also fun. I always like seeing the experienced agents who have already been through a lot and just have all the answers. That said, he was overwhelmed and surprised by Scuba rather easily. The scene of Scuba breaking into the guy’s shower was just embarrassing for the hardened agent. Especially how he panicked afterwards. Not his best moment to be sure and you feel like he was enthusiastic about paying up afterwards because he was actually scared of Scuba. He just hides this with his nonstop banter. Scuba doesn’t get much if any personality in the film though. He’s really just a mysterious figure who has a clear goal. He wants to get money and will murder people to get it. He’s a bit of an old school antagonist in that sense as there is no origin story or anything like that to clue you in to why he is the way that he is. He just does things his way.

What I think this film probably needed is to have been a little longer. A large chunk of the film seems like it’s all about build up to a big series of interconnected plots. So when the payoff finally happens, it goes by really quick and not in a super satisfying way. Honestly, if you cut out Nick that would probably be the best thing to do. Then you can really have two sleeper agents who still have their skills going up against these forces. Alternately you could also have just made these two agents a little less rusty to force some solid tension in. It would have increased the sense of danger throughout.

Overall, Little Nikita is a good film. It’s definitely fairly low key but I do think it manages to accomplish what it set out to do. A little more focus on the actual agent vs agent action would have been good though because there’s just a lot of fun ways this could play out. While the writing was good, I also think that area could have been bumped up a bit. Put some more solid banter in and make the characters a little more likable. Part of the problem is that Nick wasn’t great and then Roy/Konstantin weren’t as good as they could have been. Tat said, if you’re up for a quick spy thriller this is a good one to check out.

Overall 6/10

A Raisin in the Sun Review


A Raisin in the Sun is a film that decides to bet everything on its writing. The entire film is structured around a few characters having a lot of disagreements with each others. Tensions grow pretty high the whole time. I’ve seen a few other films with this style but they have consistently failed in the past. Usually the issue being that throughout the arguments all of the characters will expose themselves as just being awful people so you can’t root for them anymore. Where this film succeeds is in keeping each character likable no matter how tough things get which is important.

The film starts off by introducing us to Walter. You could argue he is the main character since he is the only character who gets scenes by himself without the other characters. It’s close though since all of the characters get pretty big roles. He wants to open up a liquor store. Right now he is not satisfied with his current job or living conditions where his family is always low on money. Well, his mother is about to receive a check for $10,000 for life insurance from her husband. Walter believes that she should give him the check to put into the store. She isn’t keen on doing this though because she believes opening up a store like that would be luring people over into drinking a lot of wine and becoming alcoholics. Walter’s wife Ruth doesn’t think this is a good idea but Walter puts a lot of pressure on her to be on his side.

Ruth’s sister Beneatha meanwhile just wants to find someone she can marry and also enjoys getting involved in a lot of hobbies even if she ultimately tends to ditch them pretty quickly. One of her goals is to attend medical school which will be expensive so she hopes Lena may help contribute to that. Then you have the Mom Lena who wants to do what’s best for the family but at this point it’s clear that there is no way to make everyone happy. What can she do to ensure the family doesn’t go off on the wrong path?

From the main characters the weakest one would have to be Beneatha. Mainly I’d say the issue here isn’t so much that she wants to try out a lot of hobbies but that she is aware of how broke the family is right now. In light of this, she has to realize that buying so much expensive equipment all the time is a bit of a burden there. She definitely has the biggest personality of the group though as she always makes her thoughts known. Aside from Lena, I would say Beneatha is the most straight forward with everyone as she speaks her mind. That’s a good quality.

In comparison I’d say Walter’s not as good at that. Several times when he’s making his case about the liquor store you feel like he could make a better case for why he wants it. He clearly knows why he needs the store but a lot of the time he isn’t really able to explain why that is. In his head it’s because he has already explained it a ton of times but that should be good practice. He tends to give up more than the other characters and is quicker to compromise on his morals. While you can understand this in large part, I do think his final mistake in the film is pretty inexcusable. Once you’ve made a promise and are given a lot of responsibility you can’t just throw it all away like that. He wasn’t really able to recover after that and he had already been on shaky ground with his reaction to Ruth’s baby.

As for Ruth, she’s a very solid character. She does her best to make ends meet and works as hard as she can. She doesn’t want Lena to have to do everything for them so Ruth tries to be as pro active as possible. She’s patient with Walter as well and may have the biggest workload here. She’s also able to talk civilly with everyone and doesn’t get drunk so she stays mature throughout. The best character though is Lena. She is always ready to offer the correct advice and has always lived her life in a way where she can keep her head high with dignity.

Lena probably has a lot of the more emotional scenes here as she watches her household effective start to get torn down with the decisions they are making. She was clearly disappointed on many occasions. The film does end on a high note after all of the trials at least but it was definitely a tough road for all of them. The movie did a good job of adding a new obstacle to the family every time they would get past one. It’s good because it also keeps the conversations fresh and there is also some pretty good set up here.

For example, from the start we know that Walter wants the money but the check doesn’t actually arrive for a while. Even after that you have to wait until Walter arrives for the big confrontation. So the plot is pretty dynamic and the story is constantly adapting for the new challenges. You could easily make a sequel for their experiences in the next home but at the same time without one you can at least hope that things finally went smoothly for them and they didn’t have to worry about any extra drama this time around. It’ll be good if they can finally relax here.

Overall, A Raisin in the Sun is a solid movie. The dialogue is pretty strong all the way through. The movie may only really have the one main backdrop of being in the house but the characters are all written well so this doesn’t feel like an issue. Lena is definitely the standout character here. When Beneatha tries the whole “God is dead” argument Lena quickly shuts that down and establishes the ground rules that this won’t be allowed in the house. She consistently pushes the characters to make the right choices and without her they definitely wouldn’t have made it through this experience. If you’re up for a good drama as the characters discuss how the family should move forward then this is a good one to check out.

Overall 6/10