Parker Review

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

Time for one of those classic revenge thriller films. Parker doesn’t really try to break out of the ordinary but the execution is strong enough where that’s not really a concern. It’s an entertaining film that’s rather solid and at the end of the day that’s all that you need. The ending reminds me of Blade and John Wick too. This could have become a pretty fun franchise but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

The movie starts with Parker completing another mission with a group of thieves. They’re rookies that made a lot of mistakes but at least they’re alive. That’s when one of them decides to change the terms of the deal and tells Parker he can either help them out on another caper and put all of his money in the pot or get shot. Parker decides to get shot so he’s wrecked and left for dead. Fortunately a passing family was able to nurse him back to health. Parker wants revenge now and he will do whatever it takes to track these guys down.

Meanwhile in the B plot you have Leslie who is really trying to sell houses and make a name for herself but it’s been tough. She’s been upstages by her coworkers for a while now and her current life just feels rather empty. Well, one day she notices Parker and what a shady fellow he is and figures this is her big chance to get rich. If she plays her cards right then a whole new life will open up for her but if she makes any mistakes this could be curtains. The two plots certainly feel very different and it’s a little while until she actually appears but of course the plots do line up.

Right off the bat I can tell you that the inevitable romance is not very good. One thing to consider here is that Parker already has a steady girlfriend in Claire. So as soon as Leslie appears you already know that Parker is taken so any romance that starts up will really make him look bad. Unfortunately he doesn’t stay totally strong and reject her so we do have a brief romance stint here which is completely unneeded. It’s really the definition of having this here to meet the romance quota when it would have been perfectly reasonable to have just had them stay as friends. Would have made a whole lot more sense too.

With the main plot being about chasing the mobsters, you do want to have more going on since this is rather basic. None of them stand a chance against Parker and they know it so all they can do is put enough annoyances in his way to try and slow the guy down. Every time Parker closes in on the mobster there’s a whole other level to this. The actual leader is hard to find even with Parker’s connections. They definitely move around a lot but the fights are good when they happen. Parker definitely knows how to fight when it’s time to rumble.

His only disappointing scene is at the very beginning when he gets into the car and seems to not have any real plan before getting shot. He really should have died there and is supremely lucky that things didn’t work out. It would have been a rather underwhelming way to go out and you feel like he should have been able to handle things a little better with how experienced he likely is by this point.

As for Claire, she has much more reason to make mistakes because this just isn’t her field. Just a day ago she was a normal real estate agent and now she’s in the field with all kinds of dangerous threats. You can absolutely excuse her not always knowing the right thing to do but I can’t afford the same to Parker. Leslie is ultimately a fun heroine. Her mother and dog also make for fairly decent supporting characters.

Claire doesn’t appear a whole lot but she gets some points for not nagging Parker the whole time and she is quick to come over and patch him up when the guy gets injured. She makes it clear that she is in his corner the whole time. Then you have Hurley who is definitely a solid character. As the experienced veteran in the room he is able to follow what Parker is saying the whole time and has a lot of connections of his own. He may not be young enough to get into the field nowadays but he does contribute a whole lot.

None of the villains are all that memorable though. Picture any random mobster and you’ve got these guys. From the start it was a bad idea to double cross Parker and move on to this mission. If they had just waited a while and suggested it peacefully then maybe he would have been on board. Either way why do a double cross there and add a huge risk to the operation. For all they knew the car could have crashed or Parker could have shot a few of them and that would wreck their entire plan.

I enjoyed the heist from the beginning of the film though. The villains may have messed it up but it’s cool to see all of what was going on. The costumes were good and Parker did have a solid disguise on which definitely made the scene a little funny even during the hold up. His Texas accent was also pretty good and that made for a lot of fun scenes. The film knew how to handle its humor for sure and those would be some of the best scenes.

The action moments still get tense of course and so this balances out into a good film. It’s not quite solid enough around the board for me to take it to the next level but it definitely never gets boring. It’s got a good amount of replay value and the writing is good enough. The fights are good and we really get to learn a good amount about the cast. So if they wanted to make a franchise out of this it would have been a good idea.

Overall, Parker is a good action movie. It’s very by the numbers for the most part but I wouldn’t say any part of the movie is phoned in. It’s still got a good amount of effort behind it at all times. It’s going in a lot of different directions are far as the tone is concerned and that could work well in a sequel too. Or if they want to go with one tone and stick to it that would work too since they were all solid. The film’s probably forgotten by most by now but give it a shot if you come across it.

Overall 6/10

WarGames Review

Wargames was a pretty decent film. It’s always fun to see an A.I. decide to go off the deep end and take everyone down for the count. What do you do when it has truly gone mad right? I do think the kids hold it back a bit though especially when they don’t think of basic solutions to some of these issues. For example, the whole time I was waiting for the main guy to just type in “I surrender” or “I forfeit” and the game could possibly end that way.

The movie starts with a surprisingly serious scene as it appears Russia has fired some nukes at the USA. We see two guys getting the codes ready but at the last second one of them is unable to pull the trigger. His partner even prepares to shoot him over it. We then see that this was all a test but of course they failed it so now the government wants to make things more automatic. They put an A.I. known as Joshua in charge of the nukes but its actual name is something so long they abbreviate it to the WOPR.

We then cut to the actual main character of this, David. David is a computer whiz who likes to keep testing his limits. He is now at the level where he can even hack into the school systems to change his grades which is fortunate because he’s a bit of a slacker and has been consistently failing in his classes. That definitely can’t be allowed to stand and so he is now going to get an A in these classes. He decides to show off to his friend Jennifer and improves her grades as well. One day he hears about a game store opening up so he decides to hack their computers to play some games.

Instead he ends up hacking the government by mistake and challenges Joshua to a game of nuclear war. Their battle will be epic but David doesn’t really understand the rules and quickly grows bored. Of course to Joshua this is very real and he starts causing chaos. This sinks in when David sees this on the news and now he is in danger of being captured by the government. Can he find a way to turn Joshua off/end the game or is it curtains for him? His one hope may be to find the creator of Joshua, the legendary Falken.

So like I said, at no point does David think to just tell Joshua that he surrenders once he finds out that this is real. I feel like that would have been the best thing to do instead of asking things like “Are we still playing?”. He wastes his opportunities spectacularly and this ultimately ends up making things worse for everyone. If he had just made a basic move before then the whole film could have ended early. I also thought he didn’t do a great job explaining the government.

Not to place all the blame on his side, they were barely listening to him too. I loved all the scenes with the government though because that kind of thing is always up my alley. I was glad that the army general got to feel validated in how he kept saying that automation was a bad idea because it does always turn out that way in these films. With something as serious as nuclear weapons I think it’s fair to say that this should stay a manual process. There are ways tech can help of course but don’t give it full control.

As for Jennifer, she was a solid character. She at least tried to resist the urge to cheat initially even if it overpowered her in the end. Jennifer also didn’t give up as easily like when she suggested swimming back to town, only it turned out that David couldn’t swim. She was definitely a much better protagonist from the two although I wouldn’t say any were great or anything. It would have been cool if she stuck to her guns and decided to take her grade fair and square.

Then we have Falken who has basically written humanity off to be exterminated. Nice guy eh? I’m impressed that he was able to resign from his fairly important job in the army without a hassle but this isn’t a conspiracy movie or something like that so I suppose it tracks. By the end he helps out a bit in at least keeping the government from making the wrong move but it’s quite telling that initially he was just going to watch as humanity was wiped out. I did agree with him on at least one thing though. If a nuclear war happens you want to be at a primary target location so you are obliterated immediately instead of slowly through nuclear fallout.

As for the A.I. Joshua, the computer was pretty neat. I thought he did a good job of staying one step ahead of the humans at all time. At the end of the day he just wanted to play something fun and did request Chess a few times. David is the one who made sure that wasn’t possible. I don’t blame Joshua for not liking Tic Tac Toe though. It’s definitely not a game that’s fun to play after you figure out how not to lose.

WarGames is a film that tries to balance being aimed at kids while still having a grown up vibe at times. I would say it handles this pretty well too. I still say the very first scene was surprising in just how serious it was relative to the rest of the movie. Because of that you do wish that it could have just focused on the grownups the whole time. Personally I do think this would have made it the better experience in the end. The kids just tend to hold the experience back with these things.

Overall, WarGames is a good film. I was definitely entertained while watching it. Yes, some scenes may be a little unbelievable like David actually sneaking off of a government compound but the movie never gets silly or anything like that. By and large I can also see how this hacking would be possible since back then people just weren’t super tech savvy and I’m sure there were back doors everywhere. Even now it feels like nothing is secure with how each company constantly gets hacked. It’s always easier to attack than to defend after all and it’s also a better call for why you want your nukes fairly isolated. Just have detailed plans and avenues to get contact to the people in the silos.

Overall 6/10

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Review

This is definitely what I would consider to be a very weird film. Nothing is as it seems to the point where by the end you could call it pointless. Not sure I’ve ever described a film in that way before but that was my first thought. Nothing in the film ultimately mattered and it was vague enough where you could have tons of theories on what really happened. I was laughing a bit by the end at how absurd it all was. So I liked it and while it’s not the kind of film you could probably check out a second time, it was good in just how absurd it all was.

The film starts off with a bunch of rich drug dealers heading over to Alice’s place for dinner. They had been looking forward to this after her invite but unfortunately she claims the invite was not until tomorrow. They try going somewhere for dinner instead but the place had someone just die which spoiled their appetite. As the film goes on things begin to get crazier as a terrorist group is after one of the old men, the cops are on the trail of the drugs, one of them is cheating on the others, etc. Will these guys be able to come out on top?

The movie is always moving which is a good testament to the pacing I suppose. Things tend to happen quickly like the main trio looking at their cocaine stash to casually entering the diner. None of these guys are meant to be heroic or relatable in the slightest. They’re all rich folk who put up a nice front but don’t seem to actually have respect for each other. From Alice and Henri deciding to mess around instead of meeting the dinner date to Simone and Rafael having their affair, everyone is only interested in their own business.

All in all, they definitely can’t trust each other but they do have a vested interest in keeping the cops off their back. We then start to get a lot of dreams where nothing appears to be real. This may have all been figments of their imagination. There is a scene of the main characters walking through an abandoned highway that keeps on going back into focus and is even how the film ends. So you can make the case that perhaps these guys aren’t rich and these are all delusions they’re having while trying to find a car to hitchhike with. That would make a lot of sense and that’s what I’m banking on here.

The delusions can be fun though like when Rafael shoots this one guy who kept insulting his kingdom. He definitely wasn’t going to stand for that and he certainly felt brave in the moment. In another dream the characters wake up on a play set where their whole meal has been part of the act. That was definitely another really wild moment but they took it in stride. You have ghosts going around and murdering people and even two different sob stories for one random army grunt.

The movie never slows down in how crazy it all is and that’s where the movie wins some points. It may be pointless in a sense because there’s no rhyme or reason to this but at least its entertaining. As it becomes a bit of an anthology, some of the segments are certainly more entertaining than others. For example the girl with the toy animals who kept trying to assassinate Rafael was one of the weaker plots to me. I think they could have cut her out or at least made Rafael a little less sinister the whole time.

It’s easy to forget that the main characters are basically all villains here since they’re so nonchalant about it. I assume they got greedy because they already have a lot of money so why take things any further? You could also say that they got rich because of the drugs though in which case that would explain why they are in this business. It’ll always catch up in the end assuming even the beginning was real though and I have my doubts. The whole film was fake if you ask me, just delusions on top of delusions while the heat of the highway gets to them.

If you enjoy some crazy comedy then you should have a good time with it. In a sense you may enjoy the movie more if you have no idea about the plot or anything since it can catch you off guard but nowadays that’s difficult. You will likely hear about it in some way or another even perhaps as you tape the film since it will have the summary available at the ready. If it’s vague enough then you may still be able to appreciate some of the twists though.

As for the characters constantly trying to enjoy a nice dinner, I must say that French cuisine is not my favorite so most of the dishes did not look that good anyway. I like the pastries and all but the main dishes they would reference just did not sound appealing. When it comes to food, American, Italian, Chinese, and Spanish are the top tiers for me. You just can’t beat those and I love so many things on each menu. Japanese, Cuban, and Mexican would follow closely behind where I like their foods but it can be a bit more of a gamble depending on the place. Finally you have Thai and French near the bottom for me although I would say French is still in last for now. In the end just give me a McDonalds Cheeseburger or a Domino’s pizza and I’m satisfied.

Overall, how much you enjoy this film will all come down to how much you enjoy the film messing with you the whole time. You have to like this kind of surreal humor a lot to actually find the movie enjoyable or you may end up feeling like you just wasted a lot of time instead. For what it’s worth, I thought the movie delivered on the humor the whole time so I did find myself laughing at times. Not all of the segments will be so solid but more of them hit than the ones that miss and the characters do a good job of reacting to how crazy things are. It’s not the kind of film you can come out with too often but I’d say it works here.

Overall 6/10

The Mummy’s Curse review

The Mummy adventures continue in this one. I wouldn’t say its as strong as the second installment but is very close with the third. I was impressed at the heroine showing up again from the last film as I just had the feeling that she wasn’t going to be brought up. Instead the film actually finishes up her plotline. It may not be in a very satisfying way but at least its acknowledged.

So there are a bunch of engineers working on a swamp but they’re all very scared of the whole Mummy rumors. Legends say that a Mummy is still buried under here somewhere and it doesn’t help that a bunch of guys from the nearby museum show up to try and find the Mummy as well. The boss is outraged at the whole thing but his secretary has fallen in love and won’t support him in throwing these men out. Perhaps that will be for the best though as the Mummy is very real and has started his rampage once more. Can the heroes take him down before it’s too late?

I said some of the earlier main characters were bland but this one may take the cake. The main character James has no real character to speak of. He wants to get to the Mummy for the museum but it’s hard to say much more about him than that. He seems like a nice enough person but certainly gets crushed rather easily when it comes time for a fight. He just didn’t fair too well in the climax and got off easy with Kharis really doing all of the work here.

As for Ananka, well she looks pretty bad here. Whenever someone is in trouble she runs off so that they will be doomed against Kharis. You can actively blame her for most of the deaths in this film. I mean Kharis should take the direct blame but she is really not being a good character in leaving them to their deaths. It was not a wise move. The new villain Ilzor is just like the others who follow Kharis. At first he is commanding the Mummy but then gets greedy in going after the heroine so Kharis does not like that. The villain made a big mistake in running to the prison though. That’s just not a good idea here. Why lock yourself in against a monster like this?

If you try to run you at least have a shot since the Mummy is so slow. Just don’t faint, if you do that then you’re really in for a bad time. The Mummy itself doesn’t do a whole lot here. It still flails around and chokes people but that’s about it. You’ve seen it all before and it’s why I say that he desperately needs a power up. Something that will really help him turn the tables and be more of a threat.

Beyond that, the movie really plays out how you would expect it too. Kharis takes out a bunch of fighters here and there until they eventually catch up to him. The whole place caving in and burying him is quite the way to go. It may not be the most exciting climax but it does the job. You’ll be entertained from start to finish and a good reason for that is really the solid writing. I dare say that if the writing was not up to par then this movie would not work.

It’s one of those titles that only works because it’s so old and the writing was so solid back then. If you remade this in the modern day it would absolutely need to compensate with a lot more action to keep things interesting. This one can afford to be more of a slow boil film with not much happening because those fundamentals are on point. The movie is short and never drags on either so I would even say that it has a decent amount of replay value. If you just want to turn your brain off and watch something entertaining then this is a good film to pick up. That said, you could certainly do better so you may not give it the re watch.

I still say the main thing to take these films to the next level would be to make the Mummy itself a little fiercer. Alternately what you can do is give him an enemy to fight. Throw in another Mummy, wouldn’t that be a nice wrinkle? Kharis wakes up but another Mummy like Imhotep says this is his domain so they have to duke it out. That would be excellent and I’m always surprised that we don’t get more fighting among the monsters. It would make for a very compelling story and as long as they don’t cop out on who the winner is, it would also be a good way to get both fanbases engaged and eager to watch the solo follow ups to track the power-ups. I have to imagine there were still a lot of vs debaters back in the day.

Overall, The Mummy’s Curse is a good film. There’s nothing all that unique about it though. Aside from the setting being different it plays out in almost the same way as the last film. I did like the engineering boss though. At least that guy didn’t buy into the whole Mummy thing from start to finish as he kept making jokes and insulting everyone. You feel bad for him because he definitely lost a lot of time on this whole adventure. Hopefully he can make it all up now that people shouldn’t be worried about the Mummy anymore. He’ll need a new secretary but as he pointed out in the ending, she hadn’t been helping him much throughout the entire film anyway so it wouldn’t change much.

Overall 6/10

The Mummy’s Ghost Review

Right off the bat I know what question you’re going to have here. Is the Mummy a little more powerful this time than last time? Well, unfortunately the answer to that is no. It’s still only got the speed of an old man with a cane and only has 1 arm with which to attack people. That’s a shame but for the most part the movie plays out the same as the last one. It’s not quite as good in just about every respect though so while it’s a good movie on its own, it doesn’t end up actually living up to the previous one. I’m afraid it’s just a step down this time.

The movie starts with the old guy from last time explaining to the next successor in line that he needs to awaken Kharis once again and also find his bride among the people. Yousef believes the delusions and decides to act as he gets the Mummy to start bumping people off. The town is hesitant to believe in a Mummy showing up, particularly the inspector. Will they be able to ready themselves and launch a counter attack soon or is it already too late for them?

The main guy here is Tom and the main heroine is his girlfriend Amina. A nice little part to their subplot is that they’re planning a trip to New York to get out of this crazy town once the Mummy topic shows up. Amina is Egyptian after all so people are starting to take notice of that. Unfortunately the Mummy attacks right before they left but I like to think that they would have escaped his range. I’d like to see the Mummy try to get into New York. It’s just so far after all and would be risky for Yousef to transport him in the sarcophagus or something like that.

As always the human villain gets a bit greedy here though. Things were going just find for Yousef but then of course he fell in love with Amina so instead of delivering her as Kharis’ bride, he wanted her for himself. Not a very smart move on his part. Naturally this leads to his inevitable end and he made a lot of very poor decisions the entire movie. You can’t let your feelings get in the way of things, that’s never a good idea.

As for Kharis, he’s as slow as ever. I guess it seems like the Mummy wants romance more than anything here. I suppose to an extent that was always part of his character but here that is his only character and it’s not a very compelling one. So he’s not a scary or likable villain at this point which hurts him on both accounts. If anything you feel like his ending was a little too happy.

Then you have the main two characters who were decent. I think Amina is a little too easily mind controlled though. I always tend to feel like the person being mind controlled just needs to focus a bit more and they should be able to overcome this feeling. Instead it happens in an instant whenever Yousef appears. You’d think it would just be with Kharis though, why for his sidekick? As for Tom, he makes sure to stick up for Amina each time which is good. He doesn’t let anyone mess with her and he’s even got a nice little dog who is always helpful and wants to do his best to protect them.

In general you do get the feeling that this is a very nice town with kind people who just want to help. The movie has a nice atmosphere and the writing is strong. On its surface it may just be your average creature feature film but that’s part of what makes it work. It’s a very simple title that has strong fundamentals. I wouldn’t say it has any glaring flaws. The weaknesses are more about what the film does not do like it could have been longer or given Kharis a bit more to do aside from just hobbling around a bit.

Making Kharis more formidable would really be a good idea for the film. Also he needs to stop effectively working as the villain’s lackey and be his own master. It’s always odd to see the Mummy playing the sidekick role rather than being the big cheese. It just doesn’t make sense to me is all.

As a final note, I also wasn’t crazy about the ending. I thought it was a little mean spirited towards one of the characters. She definitely didn’t ask for this and it just didn’t get the level of sadness from the cast that you would expect. The film just kind of ends on what I’d consider a really sad scene but it just seems subdued in the film. Certainly an ambitious ending, I’ll give the film that even if I didn’t like it all that much.

Overall, The Mummy’s Ghost is a solid sequel. It could have been better but at the end of the day I guess I’ll just be satisfied with it being a good film. One thing that is always impressive is how the films keep building off each other. The time skips may ensure it’s usually a different cast but the Mummy always being the same is pretty intense. If they had kept going with the film it could have even gotten a little sci-fi by the end. Now that would have been hype. There is one more Mummy film to go though so I’ll have the review for that one up shortly as well.

Overall 6/10

The Recruit Review

The Recruit is definitely a movie about the dangers of romance. No matter how you slice it, things would have been way different for the main character if he had stuck out of that arena. Still, you’re in for a fun time with this movie. It’s got a good plot and a lot of twists and turns to keep you interested all the way through.

The movie starts by introducing us to James who is a master coder. He’s invented a program which lets him take control of anything else. Well, he’s approached by a guy from the CIA named Walter who is recruiting him and brings up the dad card. See, James never knew exactly what his Dad was doing and it turns out that he was in the CIA. Walter tells James that he won’t get any more answers about that but this is in his blood so he should join up. James does and quickly meets a nice lady named Layla. The actual CIA tests are tougher than expected though, can James hold on?

Right off the bat James isn’t one of the best main characters. Imagine being drunk and arriving late to the biggest event in your life? If he had missed the presentation entirely and ruined it for everyone then that would have been downright tragic. Fortunately things turned out well but it showed that he wasn’t very responsible. This continues when he goes to the CIA for tests and is immediately distracted by Layla. He had to be cautioned by the proctors because he was so out of it. That’s not a good look for someone who should be highly motivated to succeed so that he can find out more about his father.

Romance proves to be his biggest weakness and it gets him into trouble several times. One test by the CIA is to take a girl out as if it was a date but naturally he messes this up as well. The first rule here is always to not get too attached but he doesn’t excel at that to put it mildly. Throughout the film he doesn’t think things through at all and it always puts him in a tricky spot. By the end of the movie you can at least appreciate that he is decent at being sneaky in the field but he also gets lucky just as many times.

For example, at one point he has to use a computer while at someone’s house so he sneaks off during the night/early morning to pull this off but of course she sees him. He lays a fake trail down to cover himself but I don’t think that would erase the suspicion at all. If anything it still makes him stand out like a sore thumb and as a CIA agent that’s not what you want to do. Luck is a part of the game of course but James really did himself no favors the whole time. I’d say he’s a cut below the average action lead here.

Then you have Walter who is more of a stand out character. He’s good at manipulation and deception which is exactly what you want from a CIA fighter. He knows what makes everyone tick and how to get the best of them. The guy has an impressive track record on the field so everyone is pretty much in awe of him. I thought he delivered on that and knows how to be kind one moment and gruff the next. His sudden emotion changes always make it hard to know exactly what he is thinking here.

Finally you have Layla as the main heroine. Initially she doesn’t care for James and that makes sense because he can come across as annoying and she is here to be an agent, not to have to put up with this guy’s flirting. Naturally you can guess how this will play out anyway. The romance is one of the weaker parts of the film but I’ll give Layla credit for not being completely outmaneuvered here. She still did well on her own with carrying out her plans and also being aware that James was acting a bit fishy. In that way she wasn’t just another minion getting defeated or anything like that.

Now how much you enjoy the film will likely come down to how much you like the CIA training because a solid chunk of the film is all about how to become a CIA agent rather than actually being out there in the field so it’s all a bit different in that sense. Usually the field work is the majority of the film although there is time for that too. It was interesting to see how the tests went although some seemed a little too intense. At least one in particular would be enough for me to decide to leave the CIA entirely. It was just way too crazy.

I always thought that the test about how to beat out the lie detector machine was always interesting though. Is it really so easy to beat out? If so then it seems like that is not a very good machine to be using on any of the sides. So instead you have to assume that both sides have better machines at the ready that they keep hidden in which case this training won’t be super useful. At least it’s painless compared to the others though so that’s a start. It’s the silver lining here.

Once James is in the field then we get to the meat of the story. It was nice to get the chase scenes and the big action moments that I was waiting for. So I thought all of these scenes were pretty solid. Seeing James have to decide what to do next since it’s hard to trust anyone was also good. These scenes were all really solid and helped the film live up to the action angle.

So it boils down to my one real issue with the film being the romance. It just felt like one of those romances that had to be included. Sure, it fits into the big plan at the end but that just makes it feel all the more convenient. A really large part of the plan revolved around the romance so if it hadn’t gone through then it seems like the whole movie would have been really different. Couple that with the fact that the romance really shouldn’t have gone so smoothly and it feels like the film was trying too hard to make everything connected. I also still think the CIA training went way too far in one of the tests and don’t see how that would be allowed here at all. Surely one of the execs at the CIA would have shut that down a lot sooner right?

Overall, The Recruit is a solid film and makes for a good spy thriller. If you want to watch something sort of like Jason Bourne or James Bond but with a look at how it all began then this is a good one to check out. James can be a bit of an annoying main character who is very easy to manipulate but he does have the tough disposition you would need to have for this job. He is able to manage that much at least. A sequel to this movie would definitely be fun but by this point it’s probably going to stay as a one shot.

Overall 6/10

Gifted Review

Whenever you are born with incredible gifts there will be some temptation to use them and make a name for yourself. Sometimes you may prefer to hide them away and live as a normal person though. This film delves into that classic debate and makes for a fun drama. It goes by reasonably fast and has a lot of strengths to it.

The movie starts by introducing us to Mary who is currently being looked after by Frank. Her mother destroyed herself a while back and seemingly it was due to the pressure of being a genius who had to try and solve a math problem that was so difficult it took her whole life and was nearly unsolvable. Frank wants to make sure this doesn’t happen to Mary so he’s kept her enrolled in a normal school and tries to make sure she doesn’t spend too much time studying. It’s all going rather well until her grandmother Evelyn shows up to try and take custody of Mary. If she wins then Mary will be going to a school for the gifted and put on an accelerated track to stardom. Can Frank put a stop to the madness?

Now in terms of the debate itself, naturally it should be left up to the kid eventually but while they are so young, they can’t reasonably make that decision. For example, Mary may like studying a lot but if Frank tells her to stop then she will. Likewise if Evelyn decides to put her in a big school and encourages her to live her life studying then she will do that. Because the kid is so susceptible right now you have to make the choice and ultimately I would be more on Frank’s side. Now, I think he should have taken her to the advanced school because she was so bored in the current one but she shouldn’t need the pressure of thinking she has to succeed.

Mary should still be in a lot of extra curricular activities and playing around outside to keep her balanced. I’d say it’s clear that Frank was doing a better job of watching over her than Evelyn ever could have. As the main character it’s not surprising that he would be the best pick but I wouldn’t even say it was that close. Evelyn wasn’t around all this time and I’d say she could have found Frank and Mary sooner if she really wanted to. So from the start you have some doubts.

As for Evelyn, she makes for a good antagonist. As the villain you don’t expect her to play fair and she certainly doesn’t but she makes for a good opponent. If anything I think the film lets her off rather easy by the end. She did actively try to murder Mary’s cat and that’s really a nonstarter. From that point she went from being the antagonist who still had Mary’s best interests at heart to someone who only saw her as a tool to be famous. Evelyn lost all sympathy points from then on and I think they went a little too far in making her so unreasonable. For most of the film it was a fairly decent back and forth where you could respect Evelyn even if you didn’t agree with her. That was thrown out the window with the cat part.

Frank is a good lead but I do think he made some really poor decisions that came back to bite him here. For starters, having an affair with the teacher was absolutely awful. That’s the one thing you really can’t do, particularly when Mary is right next door. Sure, he didn’t expect her to walk in but she’s literally next door. The odds of this happening are not 0. If you have to have an affair then go to a motel or something. Considering the high stakes though Frank should have absolutely been on his best behavior and not doing anything like this.

As for Roberta, she was a nice neighbor who did her best to look out for Mary. She calls Frank out whenever he is making a mistake and also serves as a good friend to Mary. Mary didn’t exactly get along with the other kids at school so this way she at least had someone to talk to. As for Mary, she’s a decent enough kid. She does tend to overreact to things as they do but since she was smarter than most, her dialogue was also a bit better than some of the other kids you would tend to see. Would have been nice if she didn’t decide to just ditch Frank though. I know she was disappointed but cutting him out of her life was a bit disappointing.

Again, Frank could and should have been better like not blowing up at her about the weekend part but they had gotten along for so long that you think she would have given him another chance. As for the teacher, she’s okay but like Frank I have to blame her a bit for this affair as well. Having a relationship with the parent of a kid in her class is really a bad idea. I don’t see any way that something good can come out of that. It will backfire horribly every single time without fail.

Going back to Frank making mistakes though, another one is at the ending. So he catches Evelyn breaking the arrangement they had by seeing Mary in secret. He should have ran over to the judge and told him everything. Get her to move out of the place and then not even give her the notebook from Mary’s mother. I don’t think Evelyn earned that and having the judge give a complete victory to Frank would have been ideal. I think it would have been very difficult for Evelyn to have talked her way out of this one. The very fact that the foster parents were bought out should also get them into trouble for being negligent guardians.

Taking the cat to a shelter to be executed makes the whole thing even worse. I feel like a lot of characters got off easy now that I think about it. Frank should have taken them to town. Well, I suppose the important thing is that Mary’s in a good space now though. Hopefully everything will be on the up and up now as she has a good balance of being a genius and doing normal things. A sequel about her while Mary is grown up could be a good amount of fun.

Overall, Gifted is a solid film. There are some questionable decisions and moments that keep this one from being a bit better but in all you’ll still have a good time. The pacing is on point and the film has a solid cast of characters. I thought Mary’s character was handled well here and the ending should be satisfying for all parties involved. It’s a drama that never tends to get too dramatic and the writing is good so it was a well made film all around.

Overall 6/10

Divorce American Style Review

A film about divorce is definitely something that you don’t see very often. Showing this as a comedy is also something you probably would not have expected right off the gate. Unfortunately it doesn’t work as well as it could have because both of the main characters just go away too far so by the time everything is said and done, it’s hard to see them being together again. You just can’t believe it and that’s not a good sign since they’re the main characters here. I think if they could have stayed off the rebound then this could have really worked.

The movie starts off by showing us a lot of couples having a ton of fights every night. We then cut to the main duo of Richard and Barbara who are definitely not having a fun time at the moment. They fight about everything and the rift between them is only growing larger and larger. They used to be so close so it’s a shame o see what has happened to them. They just can’t have a single conversation without something going wrong and so they end up going for a divorce but who will ultimately win? Barbara and Richard both want to keep as much of the money and assets as possible but only one can have a favorable deal.

Lets dive right into why this film doesn’t ultimately end up being as good as it should be. When the two characters split up, you figure they’ll be back together by the end of the movie. That’s just how these things go. The real problem is that you then have to make sure that both parties don’t do something they’ll regret like having an affair. Unfortunately they do, both characters immediately go back onto the dating scene and seem to be incredibly desperate. They date quickly and move on with their affairs without any delay. So as soon as that happens its just hard to look forward to the ending because they were so quick to have a moment with someone else.

If the two were really as close as all that, they should not have dated anyone even after splitting up. If you were going to have them do this then they shouldn’t get back together at the end of the movie. It all just doesn’t track well and hurts the two characters quite a lot. It even puts a bit of a damper on the humor itself because the characters just aren’t likable anymore. Maybe you should just root for the rebound characters to win instead at that point although you know they’re doomed from the start.

Now on to who was responsible for the issues. Well, it seems like Barbara was the instigator from how the film picks up. Of course we know that they’ve been having a lot of issues so it’s hard to say who really started it but from how the film makes it appear, Barbara is at fault in most of the circumstances. She’s overly critical when Richard comes in and really just keeps going at him the whole time. Richard was at least trying to ask questions about what was wrong so they could talk things over but she didn’t seem to want to talk most of the time. It takes ages to get anything out of her until Richard starts breaking dishes.

It was interesting to see that the kids even had a scorecard because of how often this happens every night so they would tally up each fight. Clearly this dynamic has been the same way for a very long time at this point. From there things only escalate as this goes into court but even then Barbara’s demands are all outrageous. Richard basically has to pay for everything even though she owns it now in addition to making the regular payments. It doesn’t seem very fair and of course this is part of the humor but throughout the film it felt like Barbara was delivering gut punches to Richard while he kept holding up the white flag.

She would act apologetic at times but it doesn’t mean much when she’s still having a blast out there. So no matter how you slice it, Richard was really getting the short end of the stick here. He’s lucky that prices were so low back then because otherwise he would have really been doomed. Seeing him order a full McDonalds combo for under $1 was crazy. It reminds you just how much prices have changed over the years. Nowadays even with the app that would probably be close to 10 bucks.

Richard was a fun character but he wasn’t without his faults either. The guy did get drunk quite often and that would put him in sticky situations like when one of his friends tried to get him to have an affair. That would have really been a bad move. Fortunately he was able to get out of that in time but he should never have been in that situation in the first place. Then later on he does break down and gets together with Nancy which was also a shame.

As for the rebound characters, both Nancy and Big Al seem decent enough but you know that they’re doomed so it’s hard to get too invested. I’ll at least give Big Al some credit for not getting involved until the divorce was actually complete. It seemed like Nancy was ready even while this was in progress which is really not a good look for her. She also seems quite well off so why even get another partner? Apparently she still likes her husband but can’t get together officially again or it would cut off her finances. Why not get together unofficially though? Seems to me like that would be easier.

The writing and dialogue is fun as always though. I always liked those old time scripts with everyone talking in such a dignified way. It’s something that you can’t really capture in a modern title. Not in the same way at least, people just talked differently back then and it was very entertaining. The humor works well in some scenes too. It’s definitely not their most entertaining picture but Richard really manages to sell his scenes. I think his booming voice definitely works well for when he’s shocked and starts yelling about it. Even the scenes where he and Barbara are fighting tends to be entertaining as a result.

I’d say the film is fairly long but doesn’t really end up dragging out. It just boils down to the fact that the romance was really on the weaker side here which ends up impacting the whole experience. This is not a film that should have had a rebound romance at all and including that in there ends up weakening the film a lot. It’s a film that should have focused more on the comedy aspect of their being single again. You know, as much as I’m glad that the kids didn’t have a big role here, it might have been better if they were fighting to impress the kids instead of focusing on the romance angle of it. That would have been an improvement.

I’d say the weakest part outside of the romance is the scene where we are introduced to the guy with a ton of kids from various marriages and the hypnosis scenes. Both of these scenes have a common factor which is that they are extremely stretched out. The best humor scenes are the ones where you’ve got a witty retort or some quick gags to run through. When you take that same gag and just keep on going it ends up losing its steam immediately and that’s what happens here. I’d have cut the hypnosis scene out entirely and for the multiple marriages guy I’d have just reduced that by about half of its screen time. Instead give more time to the friends of each main character so they can dish out more poorly thought out advice. Hearing bad advice from the friends can always be entertaining in its own right as its a test to see how gullible the leads can be.

You could also have more fun with some of the supporting characters like the two attorneys. I liked those guys right off the bat and how they knew this wasn’t personal. They may have been opponents in the court room but were still friends outside of it. It was a fun dynamic and that’s the kind of humor that the film is best on. Focus on that and you’d have a stronger experience all around.

Overall, This film certainly shows how expensive divorce can be and why you want to make sure that you’ve found the right person so you don’t have to be going trough this process. While likely not as exaggerated as it was depicted here, things can definitely go quite poorly for you if you get divorced. These two characters ended up causing each other a whole lot of damage so even once they are back together again you can’t help but feel that things will take some time to get back to 100%. If anything it’s like nothing has changed so they’re one step away from doing it all over again. Check the film out if you want some laughs and don’t have a better comedy film on the docket but you can do better than this one.

Overall 6/10

The Long, Long Trailer Review

This is a film where the title is definitely very accurate. The whole movie involves the long trailer from start to finish and the journey along with it. That said, I thought it was a bit weaker than I was expecting it to be. The movie just drags on a bit and while it’s still a fun adventure, there is less variety than in the average comedy type movie like this. At its core that’s what the issue with the movie is. It needed more unique moments.

So the movie starts off with Nicky in the rain looking for his wife in a trailer. The whole thing looks rather odd so an older man tells Nicky to wait in his little house since it’s impossible to pass by it without being seen. Nicky then decides to share his story and almost the rest of the film is a flashback. He and Tacy had a reasonably solid marriage and things were going well but she desperately wanted to move into a trailer. Nicky was completely against the idea and I can’t say that I blame him because this does not sound like a good move. They shop around but ultimately end up going for a really small one that still breaks the bank. The trailer has a lot of things wrong with it and may even destroy their marriage. Can they overcome this vehicle?

Now it’s nice that Nicky ends up relenting so Tacy can get her trailer but he was really right and should have stuck his ground here. A trailer is a ton of work since you need to drive it around, find a place to park it, find utilities, etc. It’s not like you just have running water and a nearby town to get supplies from. It seems to me like you usually only live in a trailer as a last resort but not because you really want to be there. This is probably the first time I’ve seen a character actually want to make the change.

It makes even less sense when you consider how good the house that they were living in was. It wasn’t some run down little apartment or anything like that, it was actually a pretty solid place to live. Deciding to leave there was a big mistake. Well, they end up getting the trailer and they do their best with it, but it just doesn’t work. The whole thing shakes, you can get stuck in the mud, etc. I have to say that living in a trailer seems like even harder work than I would have guessed. There are just so many things that you have to take into account in everyday life with this.

One scene I did appreciate is how close the community apparently is. Everyone jumps up to help when Tacy isn’t feeling very well and apparently they have whole communities for the people with trailers. It’s nice to see that they’ve got some kind of support network going and honestly they probably should have just stuck with this group. I know the main two wanted some privacy so they went out again but maybe they should have just stayed long enough to at least pick up some tips and tricks.

Ultimately I have to mainly give a lot of grief to Tacy in the end though. So the heroes end up having to cross a huge mountain to get to their destination and this will be extremely dangerous. To help their odds of survival increase, Nicky lets Tacy know to toss out her random rocks that show every place they’ve been. Tacy agrees but secretly keeps them which almost results in their death. If you’re going to keep the rocks then keep them but lying about this nearly ended up being fatal for both of them. It’s easy to see how there was a lot of friction here as a result.

Now this is one of those crazy comedies where both characters will have their unreasonable moments but I think it’s fair to say that for most of the adventure, Tacy was not handling this very well. She really wanted the trailer but wasn’t going to be able to make it work. Not to say you can blame everything on her since she couldn’t have known what was going to happen. She just ended up putting them in this dilemma.

As for Nicky, well he tends to get overly emotional at times. It comes with the territory of trying to roll with these crazy schemes but he does nothing to help the tension between him and Tacy. Throwing out the rocks and running off just serve to amp things up even more. All in all I still liked the banter between the main two and the humor is what carries the film. It may not make both characters all that likable individually but the strong dialogue will ensure that they are both memorable.

Where the film falters as I mentioned is that it just feels like not much happened. Just look at the plot description that I used, it pretty much encompasses the entire film and that’s not very long. It’s all about the characters riding around in their trailer without ever making any real progress here. I suppose the drive up to the mountain was decent but in a way I just wanted some scenes outside of the trailer. So in a sense the premise itself limited the film. There just wasn’t a lot going on and it shows that there are only so many jokes you can do with a trailer.

Overall, The Long, Long Trailer is a good movie but not a very good one. There’s not a whole lot of replay value here and while the movie doesn’t drag on or anything like that, it won’t keep your interest quite as much as it should. There’s enough world building and potential here for sequels that have a completely different plot though. If you want to watch a retro comedy film then this isn’t a bad watch. As a one and done it’ll do the job even if you think it could have been better. The moral here is that the grass is always greener and sometimes you gotta be satisfied with what you have.

Overall 6/10

Bloodshot Review

Bloodshot is one of those origin stories where not a lot of people know about him. At the very least I wouldn’t call him mainstream just yet and since the film didn’t knock it out of the park, it’ll probably stay that way. It might have done better if the trailer had not revealed the big twist early on but it’s always tough deciding what should and should not be in the trailer so I won’t blame them too hard there. I thought it was an enjoyable film, one that probably should have been longer but it was fun.

The movie starts with Ray completing another government mission. He’s proven to be one of their best warriors at this point and afterwards he goes on another mission. Unfortunately this one doesn’t go well and his wife is kidnapped and murdered. Ray is murdered shortly afterwards but is revived by a mysterious group led by Dr. Emil. Emil tells Ray that he now has superhuman abilities since his blood has been replaced by nanites. He can heal extremely fast now and can hack just about anything. Ray decides to use these abilities to locate his wife’s killer at any cost. Can he pull this off?

One annoying thing right off the bat is how Ray’s fighting style gets super sloppy after he has his powers. Remember how he was an expert government agent who would go into dangerous situations and always left with his life intact? Not anymore. Now he jumps into every single bullet and trap possible. The reason isn’t just that he’s lazy but also because he wants to strike fear into the villains. Fine, that’s fair enough but it’s still no excuse to put his abilities to their limits. He nearly does push himself too far as he gets blasted a lot. Imagine if he had actually died against the random thugs in the beginning? That would have been extremely embarrassing.

Ray’s a good character beyond that but it did make every fight annoying. Ray is a very determined guy who will stop at nothing to avenge his wife. The scene where he immediately hacks all of the tech around was very impressive and he didn’t waste any time in using his abilities. He had his priorities set from the start and nobody was going to stop him. So that’s the best quality in him and that makes for a good lead. Where he falters is in the romance angle.

The film’s romance is quite weak from start to finish. So Ray’s just lost his wife and he’s already rebounding with KT? That’s pretty bad tbh. I give characters a lot of grief even after it’s been a few weeks but we’re talking 1 day. That’s insane. It then makes the romance scenes with his wife in the beginning look worse since you realize how easy it is for that bond to be broken. All of this adds up to hurting Ray for sure.

I respect him as a great fighter and it’s always fun to see him take names but off the battlefield he struggles quite a lot. Then there’s the main heroine KT who is not on the right side for most of the film but at least there is a decent reason here. When you can’t even breath without tech support and you know that someone has direct access to it, that will always make things a little slippery. You want to be careful not to rock the boat all that much. At least she speaks up more than the others and she can fight when needed. So in the end I thought KT was solid.

Emil is your classic scientist type so there isn’t a whole lot to him. I did think his acting was funny when he has to go through a script. Emil has a lot of fun with it and so I’ll also give him credit for his determination. The guy has a goal and will do anything to achieve it, even if it means reading the same lines a lot of times. Not just anyone would be able to pull that off.

The other villains were really on the weaker side though. None of them were particularly impressive either with their designs of personalities. You had the one insane guy who likes to gloat when the opponent can’t fight back. He seems to really enjoy his part in resetting someone to a rather disturbing extent. One thing’s for sure, you don’t want to be friends with this guy. Then you have another villain who’s heart isn’t really in it but he helps the villains out anyway so I’m giving him 0 credit for that. I don’t care if you’re half hearted about it, if you’re a villain then you’re a villain. Don’t now what else to tell you on that. Voicing some doubts doesn’t help as some kind of consolation victory.

Wigans is the resident genius in the film. He does have a counterpart in the base but you could tell that guy was out of his league from the start. It’s too bad they couldn’t interact though as that would have been fun. Wigans is the kind of guy who is always talking fast to try and stay on top of the conversation and keep everyone confused. It’s fortunate that he knows how to code so well since otherwise I could see someone bumping him off. The humor works well enough here although I’d say his rival was better in that department. So what the rival lacked in skills he made up for here.

While I give the action scenes a thumbs down, the effects are solid. I always like seeing what regeneration looks like in a film and this one definitely got that down to a fine art. The regeneration looks really sharp and most importantly, practical. The nano limits are also established well and visually you can tell when the main hero is starting to weaken. You like to think he’ll be stronger for the sequel if he has to fight other powered fighters and the ending pretty much confirms that so you don’t have to worry about it too much.

Now my main issue is that one part of the film doesn’t get enough time so it’s time for the spoiler paragraphs. Skip the next two if you haven’t seen the film yet and then come back to them later on. It’s a really interesting plot dynamic so if you don’t know it yet you may want to keep it that way. Remember, skip the next two paragraphs and then you’re all set.

So we find out that Bloodshot’s whole origin here is a lie. His wife wasn’t murdered but the group have been putting fake memories into his head. They then change the identity of the person who “murdered” the wife and in doing so they have turned Bloodshot into a murder machine. It’s sort of like the Weapon X program. So the first batch of scenes with Bloodshot escaping the group and enacting his revenge was staged every time as they wanted him to escape. We see that they have been doing this for a very long time. The villains just read their scripts in the same way each time to ensure we get the same results.

It’s all quite brilliant if you ask me but my issue is that we only see the last one that works without a hitch. I think this should have been the second or third attempt. We could then get a montage of this happening more and more. The reason for that is it would help really sink in the fact that they have been manipulating him from day 1 and how traumatic that is when he wakes up. Actually seeing this more than once would have been very helpful for that reason. Not saying we need to see the whole sequence but at least good chunks of it each time.

Overall, Bloodshot may not have been a great movie but I did think it was good. It handled the origin story effectively and gets you hyped up for what could be in the universe. I think the series should stay away from the romance although that’s probably a little too late at this point. That’s one of the angles that holds it back a bit and one part of the origin should have definitely been longer. I also think you could do a lot more with the fight scenes. Don’t have Bloodshot act as a complete sponge the whole time. Yes, he can take damage but he shouldn’t be pushing it like that or he could end up losing to someone weak.

Overall 6/10