The Blue Gardenia Review


Time for a classic noir thriller. One of the key things to remember if you ever find yourself in a Noir type situation is that you shouldn’t drink. Getting drunk is absolutely without a doubt one of the biggest mistakes you could make here. It puts you in a bad spot right out of the gate and there is really no escape. The whole movie would play out a lot differently without that.

The movie starts with Norah getting ready to celebrate her birthday on her own. Her fiancée is still away at war so at least she can have a good time on her own. Unfortunately she gets a letter that he has decided to marry someone else instead. Broken and confused, Norah decides to go out with a local flirt and gets herself as drunk as possible. This leads to him driving her to his place and taking advantage of the situation. She fights back and when she wakes up he is dead.

Norah heads home hoping to put this behind her but it’s all over the news now. The cops badly want to find whoever murdered the criminal. They are slowly getting closer and Norah’s only hope may be reporter Casey. He claims that he will help protect her from the police and get her a reduced sentence but can she really trust a member of the media? Norah will have to decide quickly before time is up.

Getting drunk really does put you in a bind. It’s also why you don’t want to make any snap decisions when you’ve just had a bad day. Norah went on this date in large part just to try and get over her fiancé. Still not good to go with such a shady customer though. Now since Norah lost her memories of what happened after drinking she doesn’t know if she truly murdered him or not. It certainly appears to have played out that way but she can’t be sure.

On this note though, it is absolutely correct that she fought back. At one point when asking her roommates hypothetical questions about the situation one of them says you can’t just take down every guy who gets handsy. That seemed to be underestimating the situation quite a lot. Even if she ended up murdering him with the final strike, that was definitely in self defense so it’s not like she tried to destroy him. It was her or him at that point and she had to fight to survive.

Of course most of the film is really about Norah fighting her inner doubts. If she could at least remember what happened then she would feel a lot better about the whole thing. As it is, she is just very confused. I wouldn’t say she was a great main heroine but she’s okay. She doesn’t do the rest job of hiding what happened but granted, being in such a situation is pretty stressful so you can expect some slip ups.

As for the reporter Casey, he was a pretty fun character. He had some good banter with the local police as the chief called in during his attempts to find the identity of the murderer. It is quite brazen of him to be saying such things like trusting him over the cops in a public forum like that. He also underestimates how many people are keeping up with the case which ends up catching up to him. He was a charismatic guy though, same as the police chief. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of those guys.

The roommates don’t leave nearly as much of an impression though. I was expecting the big book fan to do a lot by the end but in a way her character never went anywhere. She’s knowledgeable about things as the smart member of the group but she never gets to use her intelligence for anything. The other one at least helps Norah out by the end and gives a good amount of moral support.

Compared to most Noir films there isn’t a whole lot to talk about though since the story is so direct. There’s really only one plot twist here and there’s virtually no foreshadowing for it so it just sort of happens without a lot of time to piece it together on your own. The movie has quality writing and an engaging story which is really what you want to see early on. It helps keep the rest of the film interesting and the pacing tight.

I’d put it under the average Noir film though as it is just lacking that depth some of the others have. There isn’t much to theorize or discuss which is not necessarily a bad thing but it does mean that this one won’t have the same staying power. I think I would have maybe added one more character, perhaps someone trying to throw some blackmail into the mix which would ultimately be a red herring. Just some kind of crazy twist, perhaps involving her Fiancé. Imagine he shows up and never told anyone that he didn’t even leave for war at all. Turns out the whole story was fake. At this point we’re discussing pure hypotheticals though.

Overall, The Blue Gardenia is a good movie. It has strong writing and an engaging plot. At the same time, there aren’t a whole lot of stand out characters here. I would have liked one of Norah’s friends to defend her here by reminding her it was in self defense or something like that. The guy who got murdered was also extra sleazy, would have been nice if he wasn’t quite so morally bankrupt. The movie has a satisfying ending so you’ll enjoy the ride. I’d certainly recommend it if you like Noir titles or just want something suspenseful.

Overall 6/10

Con Air 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.

Con Air is one of those films where a whole lot has to go just perfect for the villains to even have a chance at kicking things off. While you will have to suspend some disbelief, I suppose the idea is that 99% of the time this fails so the film is about the one time that things do work out for them. It’s a good movie that I can’t help but feel could have been even better.

The movie starts with Cameron finally back home from the army and ready to have a good time with his wife and future kid. Unfortunately he is attacked by 3 hooligans and ends up murdering one of them in self defense. Despite this obviously being the only course of action available at the time, he is close to 10 years. Seriously? That definitely seems pretty iffy considering that his only other course of action would have been to die. Stopping these guys without accidentally murdering them would be incredibly difficult.

Well, the years pass and Cameron is finally about ready to be released. Unfortunately the government wants to save a few bucks so they’re going to put him on the jet that will be storing all of the max criminals on it. They don’t trust their own guys with any guns so there is only one that is located in the pilot room and some weapons on the basement level. All of the criminals are handcuffed so they figure that it’s all good. What could go wrong right?

Well, unfortunately the crew handles this really poorly. They let the criminals take control of the plane almost immediately and fall for every trick in the book. They’re overwhelmed with ease and now Cameron is stuck on the plane with these guys. He’s really trying to get home to his daughter before it’s too late but he knows that first he has a job to do. He can’t turn his back and let these criminals go free.

Initially I thought this might be a film where Cameron is knocking off the criminals one by one to thin out the herd before making his move. Instead it’s more about lying low and trying to get word out to the proper authorities. Of course, Cameron does do his share of big damage by taking out several of his opponents.

Cameron’s definitely a great main character. At the end of the day he’s a hero who does his best to try and save the day even when it would have been easier to leave. Especially once one of the prisoners ends up getting really sick because he needs his insulin shot. Cameron won’t leave without helping him out and it’s lucky for the heroes since they would have been absolutely doomed without him.

As a side note, the accent may be trying a little too hard but it’s fun. Half the time it just felt like Cameron was being sarcastic to everyone rather than him actually having the accent. This kind of action hero just doesn’t get old and since we had the intro scene as a way to know just how tough he is, it’s not surprising when Cameron keeps on taking his opponents down.

Of course a lot of these guys are absolutely terrible characters. It may be expected and even intentional since they’re villains but it immediately lowers the odds of good character banter. You’ve got Johnny who is just a disgraceful character. Any scene with him is painful. You’ve got Pinball who doesn’t have much personality beyond the fact that he definitely wasted too much time chatting which cost him big time. Earl doesn’t show up until the second half but I suppose he was a lot more interesting than some of the other villains. The fact that he could pilot the ship was also very convenient. Without him there the villains would have been in for a tougher time.

The main villain here would be Cyrus. He’s the leader of the crew and the one who comes up with the big plan. The other villains definitely fear him as he has quite the reputation. That said, at this point it’s not like any of them are master fighters or anything so I wouldn’t necessarily say that any of the villains look all that tough. Cyrus talks tough but that’s about it. Same with Diamond Dog. The whole time you’re waiting for him to do something or attack Cyrus but it doesn’t really play out that way.

The villain who got the most hype throughout the film was a guy called Garland. He’s supposed to be the worst of the worst which is where the film builds some of its tension from. I would have cut him out entirely though. Most of his scenes are to build up some tension as we know what a bad guy he is and then he finds a kid unattended. The film knows exactly what it’s doing with all the long drawn out shots with these two characters and it definitely needed to tread carefully.

I have to say if anything happened to the kid the film was going to lose major stars because it’s just such an unnecessarily dark avenue to go down. It’s no exaggeration to say that the film avoided utter disaster by not having things go badly there. Still, there’s no reason to have Garland around so I would have definitely cut him off the team.

As for the other humans, well you’ve got Duncan who handled everything really badly. The guy is an agent who was sent on board to try and get some intel out of one of the prisoners. The whole idea was extremely suspect from the start though and it’s hard to picture it working. Still, the guy has a gun so he should be ready but he takes it out immediately and then panics. Look, in this situation where you’re effectively surrounded you have to use the gun if you take it out. There’s no time to play chicken or talk tough with the villains.

This guy didn’t feel very professional. Vince is his boss and that guy’s pretty entertaining. He’s certainly very eager to always blow stuff up but I suppose that strategy has worked out well for him thus far. He gets into a lot of arguments with Mike on how to handle things so expect a lot of banter there. Those are some of the more enjoyable parts of the movie though so it was good to see them. Neither one of them were particularly impressive though and didn’t help much.

Cameron’s really on his own here no matter how you slice it. The film has a lot of solid action and get ready for a ton of explosions. You’ll be feeling bad for the army the whole time though as it seems like they really can’t catch a break here. The villains are blowing up their cars left and right. I like to think that proper military strategy is never this awful in real life because in films it makes the strategist look awful.

The military literally walks in a straight line to where the villains are. Naturally they keep getting blown up and picked off. Surely someone would have said that this was a bad idea right? So it’s not a case of the villains looking smart but the heroes just looking terrible. There has to be a better way to assault a heavily armed villain base than to walk in a straight line like that.

Overall, Con Air is definitely an intense film. It’s got a good hero and good writing to keep it on the positive path. It would have been nice if the villains weren’t all so edgy the whole time though. The only decent one appeared to be Mike. Now, this is a bunch of max prison offenders so of course they would be the worst of the worst but it’d be nice if they at least acted normal at times. Instead you just keep agreeing with Cameron’s one liners about how this was an awful plan from the start. Once he gets on the plane there aren’t really many times for breaks so get ready for a whole lot of action scenes. If you want a pretty entertaining film about hijacking then this is a good one to check out.

Overall 6/10

Limelight Review


Limelight is a film about a star who is well past his prime and doesn’t realize it. It’s always rough to know that you can no longer do something at the high level you once did, but it is inevitable depending on what that skill is. For example, you can’t really play Football past 60 and it’ll be tough to nail the Super Smash Bros melee inputs when you’re 80. Eventually you’re going to have to throw in the toesl and the main character learns that the hard way here.

The movie starts with Calvero having another tough day. It’s been difficult to find any kind of roles to play despite once being the king of comedy. He has a lot of drinks to accelerate his demise and then heads home only to find that a girl named Terry has nearly died after inhaling a lot of gasoline. He restores her to health along with a doctor and convinces her to stay alive this time. He’ll help her become a terrific dancer and he’ll try to get a new gig. Can his old humor style really transition into the new world though?

This is a pretty laidback film for a while even if it does get a little more intense by the end. The opening segments of the film is mainly about Calvero goofing off to try and make Terry feel better while trying to ignore his own difficulties. It’s difficult though because he really wants to make people laugh but his acts just aren’t very good. Not only does he only know 2-3 acts that he repeats over and over again but people don’t find him funny. He’s basically told to leave and his name is poison to the various shows.

Calvero gets the message but it’s not a fun one to understand. At least Terry is a hit which Calvero is happy about but he has not been able to reclaim the same success and feels as though he is holding her back. He’s a pretty well natured lead who makes for a fun guy but it does seem like he didn’t put the proper amount of effort in.

If your humor style isn’t working then it’s time to get some new acts. Keep on developing new material and eventually you’ll hopefully get somewhere. When he tries his new name out even Terry has to remind him that he can’t expect to be an overnight sensation after the first act. I suppose it’s partially because he’s older but the guy doesn’t have a whole lot of patience the way that he might have had in the past.

As for Terry, she’s a solid heroine. She does what she can to look after Calvero including telling the audience to cheer and laugh as much as they can. To the audience’s credit, they did a good job of this as they were extremely loud at the end of the film. Fortunately Calvero didn’t suspect a thing which is good but also sad in its own way. Calvero really could not read a room which is absolutely fatal for a comedian. You need to be able to read the audience to know when to cut a joke short or improvise which he just couldn’t.

Terry ends up falling for Calvero but as he and the film notes, it’s not really true love. She has mistaken her feelings of admiration and gratitude for love here. Calvero does his best to keep on trying to show her the light on this and it’s good since that romance would have been pretty bad. As it stands, he stayed strong on that note. Any kind of relationship with Nevill afterwards would come off as a rebound though so I like to think that Terry stayed strong as well. Either way, she was definitely a good friend/ally to have around.

Then you have Neville but there isn’t a whole lot to say about him. He has liked Terry for a while not but always tends to lose out which saddens him. He knew her a while ago back when she worked in a store and would give him some extra money and materials. Certainly a nice thing of her to do. Is he perhaps mistaking gratitude for love as well?

One of the best characters here had to be Postant. While he doesn’t get a huge role, he is a true scene stealer. Basically he’s the boss of the show and calls the shots. He has a good working relationship with Calvero and is a very reasonable person. I like his confidence and way of speaking. He does what he can to help the lead as well.

I haven’t spoken much about Calvero’s acts so lets talk about why they don’t succeed. The first he that he pretends to have a trained flea and performs tricks with it. The first issue as you can see is that it’s all pretend. People aren’t going to find that particularly funny or impressive since there’s nothing to see. Like, what’s the point of the exhibition at all right? It’s not a good act.

Then you’ve got the dummy act with his partner where they keep trying to fix a piano for a very long time. Even the audience had a very hard time fake laughing for that one although they did their best. This is really why he fell out of favor. The guy just wasn’t that funny and I would say he wasn’t even remotely funny. Every trick he did completely flopped.

That’s why I say Calvero ultimately needed more acts. The guy is good with instruments so maybe do some musical jokes. Switch to stand up comedy or something. His two routines just got stale the instant they started and so he was really doomed from the jump. That said, part of why I’ve never wanted to be a comedian is it’s hard to make other people laugh. I stick to making myself feel the humor. I can always get a good chuckle out of myself and humor is just so subjective that trying to tailor your humor to a bunch of people sounds crazy difficult. Kudos to the people who pull it off but for every success there are a bunch of performances that don’t make it to the big leagues.

Overall, Limelight is a good film. The writing is solid and the cast is good. I think we could have done without the romance plot but it’s handled well and I do like that the film goes out of its way to explain that this isn’t quite genuine. The movie’s also surprisingly long for such an old flick but it doesn’t drag on. That just means it has plenty of time to squeeze everything into the mix and it makes the most of this. I’d say the ending could have been a bit better to fully stick the landing but ultimately this is a title I could definitely recommend.

Overall 6/10

The Unfinished Dance Review


Ballet’s definitely not my thing. I’ve just never been a fan of it as a style of dance. It’s not particularly entertaining to watch and I don’t care much for the uniforms. It works more in a combat sense like in Sailor Moon I suppose but even then I’ll take something a little more combat ready. For dances ballet also tends to be a bit slower and I like something fast paced and with a lot of action. If you can get past the actual ballet then the film is good though.

The movie starts by introducing us to Meg. Meg is a spoiled kid who wants to be a great ballet dancer but isn’t willing to put in the work. She always skips her lessons to spy on Ariane and basically use up the professional’s time. If anyone says something negative about Ariane Meg is ready to throw hands and give someone the fade. She’s not a kid who is shy about taking someone on. This continues to get her into a lot of trouble though and her Mom/Aunt (I forget which) is super distant so the only parental figure in her life is the kind Mr. Paneros.

Mr. Paneros does his best to contain the damage but it’s often tricky. One day the ballet hires Anna, one of the greatest ballerinas in the world. Ariane knows that her lack of skill will be exposed compared to this person and runs off in a huff. Everyone agrees that Anna is better so Meg decides to put a stop to this. She opens up a trap door and cripples Anna so that Ariane will have the center stage again. The main issue is that her conscience is eating her alive and her “friend” knows about what is happening so there’s now a loose end in the mix. Can Meg make things right?

Now to Meg’s very slight defense it was an accident or at least the film tells us this. She meant to switch the lights off and only happened to turn on the trap door. Sure……lets roll with that. It’s not very convincing though as she could have done any number of things instead of watching the whole time. It was not a good look to say the least. Meg is very extreme throughout the film as she casually talks about death and such. It’s unfortunate but nobody ends up helping her out of her obsessions here.

Mr. Paneros is a good character who means well but does often choose the wrong course of action. He tries to console Meg but ends up lying about everything all the time. It’s like he can’t help it because the guy just keeps on doubling down. It’s a bad habit that he certainly needs to break. At least he’s there for Meg though as her family is never around to do anything. It makes his one sided romance more on the tragic side since he is permanently stuck in the friend zone with the aunt.

As for Ariane, I didn’t like her. I thought the film was low key portraying her as a villain the whole time. It makes sense when you think about it with how petty she was. Anna was very polite the whole time while Ariane didn’t want her picture taken and kept squirming. Initially I thought Anna would end up being a villain but the film never actually went down that road. As a result it just made Ariane look even worse in comparison. She is quick to give up her dream as well which is all well and good but then it makes her jealousy look even worse since she was never that serious about her dream.

Meanwhile Anna is definitely the best character in the film. She suffers a rather bad break but doesn’t let it get to her. I’ll also give a lot of kudos to her assistant/coach who was with her every step of the rehabilitation. She was always there to lend a helping hand to Anna and to try and keep her spirits up throughout everything that was happening. They thought of the coaching idea together and at least Anna now had a sense of normalcy. Anna consistently took the high road as well while the other characters were treading water.

I was glad her ending didn’t get too sad as it would have ended things on a rather unfortunate note. Meanwhile the other kids are mostly left to bicker by the end as you’d expect. Meg now knows that she can’t trust her “friend” and also that the class bully is still around. There’s not a whole lot that they can do at this point and proving anything would be difficult so Meg has nothing to worry about. I like to think they will have an employee by the trap door machine at all times now though. No reason for that to be left unattended.

As mentioned earlier, the only weakness for me would be the actual Ballet scenes. They just weren’t all that entertaining at all if you ask me. I was always just ready for those scenes to move on so we could get on with the story. Especially when Meg tried to dance as she just isn’t ready for the ballet scene yet. Additionally, she was an annoying character so you were never quite looking forward to her getting some screen time.

Overall, The Unfinished Dance is a pretty emotional movie that manages to capture the balance between drama and uplifting moments rather well. The movie gets sad at times but also has happy moments sprinkled in as well. Ultimately that’s a good mix to strive for. Mr. Paneros reminded me of Panera Bread with the name but it’s unique so you won’t forget him and he was clearly a good cook. His origin story where he wastes his last dime was definitely sad but you also can’t help but feel like you shouldn’t be playing around with your last dime right? Seems to me that would be really important to keep safe in your pocket.

Overall 6/10

Field of Dreams Review


Time for a Baseball experience. There is a little less actual Baseball playing than you would expect though as it’s more focused on the drama. It’s a fun enough film to be sure and we have an emotional character arc for the lead. That said, I do think it would have amplified the experience if we had gotten an opposing team to fight or something though. Think Space Jam but the supernatural version.

So the movie starts with Ray feeling a little down because he just isn’t really sure what he has done with his life. His biggest fear is not getting to do anything super important or memorable before he dies. He has some issues with his father due to this when he was a kid because he thought that it had happened to him. One day, Ray hears a message saying to build it and he will come. His wife Annie pokes fun at the fact that the voice did not add any real details to that message so it’s hard to say what the mission even is.

Fortunately Ray continues to get more messages and visions. It turns out that he needs to build a Baseball stadium. That way Shoeless Joe Jackson and the rest of the team members who threw the World Series would finally be able to play again since they were banned for life and died a while back. Ray believes Joe didn’t actually participate in throwing the series despite taking the money since the guy played effectively a flawless game. I suppose it’s one of those things they’ll never know for sure but either way that was a long time ago and the whole team just wants to play ball.

Still, the visions haven’t ended. There is still more that Ray evidently needs to do. The only question is…what? This journey will take Ray many places such as visiting the jaded writer known as Terrence and even talking to a baseball player who became a doctor. That’s not even the biggest challenges he will face though. As Ray is traveling around the world and having a good ole time, his wife Annie is having to deal with the fact that their finances are running dry. The Baseball arena is certainly eating up a large chunk of income after all and the creditors are here to take the main characters down for good.

Field of Dreams is certainly a calming film as it’s really about Ray finally getting to make a difference in the world. He has a good time visiting the various players and trying to figure out what the messages are all about. It’s also good that things did work out because otherwise the characters were starting to get into a sticky situation. For example, even right up to the end of the film he didn’t really have any concrete plans on how to earn money. If not for his daughter stepping in, they were all about to get wrecked by the creditors.

Ray’s determined which is good but I would have liked him more if he had a concrete plan to deal with things. Meanwhile Annie was the one really holding down the fort the whole time. Without her stepping in and resisting the sell offers Ray would have been coming home to a rather empty place. It was also nice to see Annie taking up a position at the town hall meeting and going back and forth with the main speaker there. She was a protester along with Ray in the quick flashbacks we saw after all so this isn’t her first rodeo.

We don’t see a lot of the past but there’s just enough to introduce us to Ray since his feud with his father is a bit of a main plot point. From what we saw the issue was really entirely with Ray as he entered a rebellious phase due to the books he was reading by Terrence. It was a bad look for him to be sure but at least he got better as he grew up. It’s hard to hold his actions from many years prior to the film against him in the present but perhaps that’s part of why he never got all that good. He was even short with his daughter when she was trying to let him know that the first of the ghosts had shown up.

Then we have Mark who is one of the main villains here. While he acts concerned for Ray and Annie it doesn’t change the fact that he showed up to try and get rid of their home. No matter how you slice it he wasn’t exactly doing everything he could to help them out. From his perspective they did seem to be rather crazy of course but there are still better ways to handle that.

Finally you’ve got Terrence who makes for a fun character. His opening scenes of trying to terrorize Ray are quite intense. The guy clearly doesn’t want to be back in the spotlight after all and that’s fair. I think being famous can definitely take its toll on you if people are constantly asking you for autographs and such. Terrence has a good role here though and ends up having a fun dynamic with Ray.

As for the Baseball players, while they were all fun enough, you wish they would have done something to help Ray out. It’s an issue I sometimes have with these supernatural guys. All they want is to have a good time which is fair but they absolutely have to notice the struggled the main characters are having right? Can’t they at least offer up some advice or help out? By the end they start mind controlling the nearby townsfolk and even people across the country to give Ray money but for a while they were just ignoring his plight. Things could have easily gone sideways.

The best player was definitely the doctor. He was an emotional character and didn’t come in until near the end but I thought his plot was the most interesting. He’s effectively given the chance to change his past but decides that he’ll take the life he already has which I liked. The grass is always greener after all and he knows how many people he has helped as a doctor. If he had kept playing baseball then of course that would be different.

Overall, Field of Dreams is a pretty fun film. You do feel like the Baseball players could have helped out a little more though. They basically made Ray do everything and then looked the other way until the climax of the film. One way to give them more agency here would have definitely been to have introduced a team for them to fight. Maybe the winners get a lot of money or something. It would have the players have to face their temptations if the other team offers them money for throwing the game or something like that. The climax we do get is suitably emotional though and does tie in with the overall themes. It’s good that Ray effectively got to make up for some of the mistakes he made early on. If you want to watch a fun drama film then check this one out. As long as you know ahead of time that this isn’t really a sports film and is more about dealing with the past and following your dreams then you’re sure to enjoy it. Some parts are a bit cheesy like a certain antagonist losing the will to fight but sometimes that’s just the way it goes.

Overall 6/10

Le Mans Review


Le Mans is probably the closest I’ve seen to a film not really having much of a story since Cats. Fortunately unlike that film this one was still fun mainly because in general you can’t go wrong with racing. The film does have some issues with all the characters looking the same and that feeling like nothing is happening, but as long as you enjoy watching the cars go at it you should be fine.

The film starts with Michael getting ready for the big Le Mans race. It’s effectively a huge cross country race that spans an incredible amount of distance. It’s so long that the drivers even substitute out with others as the car goes on. I don’t know the specific rules here and the film isn’t about to tell them to you but effectively it seems like anyone can substitute for you as long as they have permission from the coach. Naturally it shouldn’t come to that since they already have the different guys lined up. Michael wants to win this but can he pull it off?

Meanwhile he has to deal with some drama involving the past. See, Lisa’s husband was in the last Le Mans and he ended up dying. It seems like she partially thinks Michael is responsible but more than anything she just doesn’t like racing anymore. We are given a flashback involving the crash briefly but when seeing it, it’s fair to say that it’s not really Michael’s fault. In fact, throughout the film we have quite a few crashes and it’s always tough because while you may spin out of control to dodge the first car, is it the first car’s fault?

It’s all relative when you’re out on the track. Nobody wants to crash after all and I can tell you up front that there isn’t some kind of big antagonist trying to take everyone out for the count. These are all professionals that are just trying to take the win but this isn’t exactly an easy track. Even the simplest of turns can become challenging when you’re going at such a high speed. You can’t slow down or you’ll fall behind as well.

Now, you could say that Lisa’s plot is the main story here. Part of the film is helping her see that maybe racing isn’t so bad. The plot could have been done a little better though as the scenes are spread out across the whole movie so there isn’t much to them. Part of her despises the races but she can’t help but keep showing up anyway. They just draw her in even as she tries to resist. All of the drivers seem to like her as well but you know that Michael’s the only one who may have a shot and even then you’re hoping that she friend zones them all considering that her husband didn’t die all that long ago. It was the last grand prix which I assume was a year ago unless this competition is held every 4 years or something like that.

It’s just not a super engaging plot but at least it does give us a chance for some dialogue and a change of pace. The rest of the film is really just the grand prix with a lot of different camera angles to keep things fresh. I always thought one of the most stressful moments in these things has to be when you have to go into the pit stop and let the crew maintain the car. Even if everyone has to do it at some point, it can be rough seeing the other cars getting out ahead of you.

There isn’t much to say about the soundtrack because I wouldn’t say there’s much of one here. The effects look good though, the movie shows how fragile the cars are. After all they’re built for speed so one wrong bump and that’s really it for the machine. It’s totaled before you can even give it a glance.

So Le Mans is a rather unique film I would say. Sure, it doesn’t have an interesting story compared to Speed Racer, Fast and the Furious, or even Need for Speed, but at the same time it’s a fairly safe film. Since pretty much the whole film is just a race, there isn’t any time to fall into any cinematic pot holes. The only negative that the film could even risk would be if it got downright boring. After all if you’re not really into cars or just moderately into them then you may get bored of seeing them turn the corner over and over again. That’s the only risk it takes, but since I enjoy a good race I wouldn’t say that’s the case here. I wouldn’t call the film boring, I would say it’s a little dragged out and could have benefited from a shorter run time but I was engaged enough to want to see it to the end.

Ironically as it’s built around being a real race that means it isn’t nearly as exciting to watch as virtually any other racing film since those (despite having slower, more traditional cars) feel like they have a lot more energy and substance. I think if I saw this in theaters I would be a lot more disappointed but watching it now, it just sort of flows by. I don’t imagine it’ll leave an impression after a while but it’s a consistent film and I’d say that’s enough to keep it at a positive level.

Overall, Le Mans is a film that makes no real mistakes but you do wish it could have added more of a plot. Sure, you have some rivals in the race, a small subplot with a guy hoping to win one last race before he retires, etc. At the same time you still don’t feel like there’s much of a story here which is in itself a bit of an experimental technique I suppose. I wouldn’t want this to become the standard but it’s a decently good film that does deliver on showing you the cars. Pick whichever car you want and root for it to go all the way!

Overall 6/10

9 to 5 Review


You can definitely chalk this up as another film I had never heard of before watching it. 9 to 5’s got a fun setting since it takes place in a classic corporate job where the boss is rather corrupt. It’s a comedy that goes all out and embraces how crazy the story is. Ultimately this works out quite well. While I wouldn’t say it quite stacks up there with the best comedies, it has a lot of fun moments.

The movie starts by introducing us to Judy who is starting her first day at work. She is quite excited although her colleagues are not exactly thrilled at getting a new hire in. After all that is a spot that someone from inside the branch could have taken as a promotion. The person training her will be Violet. Violet’s been at the job for a very long time and is hoping to get the next promotion. She’s not exactly a happy camper but at this job there is little reason to be. Violet is playing nice since she wants the promotion but if she is not picked then there are going to be problems.

Finally you have the third main character Doralee. She is the boss’s secretary and has to put up with a lot of Franklin’s antics. She needs the job so she usually looks the other way and just makes sure Franklin never goes too far. Unfortunately nobody at the workplace likes her since it turns out that Franklin’s been spreading rumors around that they’re in an affair. Finally, the three ladies have had enough. They need to take Franklin down but how should they go about it?

The movie makes sure to paint quite the picture about what a bad boss Franklin is. Think about the worst boss you’ve had and then keep increasing the extremes. He constantly harasses Doralee and always takes credit for other people’s work. He is extremely quick to fire his workers even over something like gossip. The guy is massively obsessed with having power and of course he also steals from the company. Like I said, they go all in with how this guy’s a total villain.

So you’re not exactly going to sympathize with him once the main characters decide to start taking him down. He does make for an entertaining villain minus the Doralee scenes though. The guy is quite determined and does come up with a lot of plans. You certainly can’t say that he’s the type to give up at least. He also does put up a fairly good poker face when dealing with people who don’t know the truth about how he controls the place.

From the 3 main characters my favorite one was definitely Doralee. It’s fair to say that she was the most sympathetic character here. It’s no fun to have everyone exclude you, especially when you have done your best to be quite pleasant. This even includes the other main characters who believe the rumors and don’t make any attempt to get to know her. At least the others always had company so that’s why you feel the most bad for Doralee.

Especially considering that she was still keeping her integrity despite all of the external pressure. Doralee also had a gun which is very handy to have in these things. It certainly came in handy for keeping Franklin at bay. Then we have Judy who in some ways you could say has the largest focus although it’s close between her and Violet. Considering that she has just started at the job and is quite nervous I would say she does really well here. It’s natural that she makes some mistakes but she makes friends quickly and then is able to help out in the adventures.

Finally you have Violet who gives the film a lot of energy. The whole situation really starts to heat up because of her intervention. Grabbing poison from the store is quite the way to go about it even if it was an accident. The labels on both boxes were incredibly similar so you could see how the mistake could happen. Violet does tend to panic a bit more than the other two. She may be the most in control at the office space but outside of that the other two seem to adapt quicker.

There are a flurry of side characters as well even though I wouldn’t say any of them are particularly big. For example you have Franklin’s spy who spends a lot of time in the rest room just to try and gather gossip to give to him. She is absolutely desperate for his approval to a rather crazy degree. You also have Franklin’s wife who appears to be quite dense in this film. She doesn’t notice his incriminating behavior and buys whatever he is selling. Perhaps she will start to pick up on things if we ever got a sequel to this film.

As to the writing in general, I would say it was pretty good. As with all comedies you will have the jokes that land and then the ones that don’t. I would say more land than the ones that don’t so in general you’ve got a pretty good range there. I liked the dream sequence when everyone decides to chase after Franklin with their guns as he runs all over the place.

Then on the flip side I would say the Alice in Wonderland/Snow White one wasn’t quite as entertaining. Finally the Doralee dream was the least amusing in part due to it seeming to drag on a lot. Not to mention I wouldn’t say Franklin was quite as badly off in that one. That said, I think the true intent of that dream was also to show us more of what Doralee has had to put up with the entire time without having to actually put her in those scenes. Her revenge in a way is just flipping the way he had been acting the whole time.

Then you have some of the hospital hysterics which can be amusing but go on a bit long. In general I would say that’s the film’s weakness which is that some of the jokes do tend to overstay their welcome. It’s the difference from being a good comedy to being a great one. There are no negatives nearly serious enough to bring this film down from being a good one though. At the end of the day it properly hits on all of the essentials such as being entertaining, having likable characters, and containing a good ending.

The credits have a bit of an epilogue for each of the characters which is nice. One character very nearly got off a bit too easy but this fixed that right up. In general the ending is quite busy with a lot going on in the right ways. It’s really a satisfying ending for all parties involved.

Overall, 9 to 5 is a solid film. It’s definitely a comedy title that I can really recommend to any fan of the genre. It does a good job introducing all of the main 3 characters and they each even have a tiny supporting cast that appears for their origin of sorts. (In Judy’s case her character appears near the end) Not every scene may land such as the group deciding to smoke some marihuana but then you have the more epic scenes such as the shootout and general office moments like Franklin’s chair not working very well. It ends up being a solid all around mix of fun.

Overall 6/10

Fiend without a Face Review


When you have a title like this you know that you’re going to be in for some pretty solid hype. After all, if the fiend doesn’t have a face then how are you going to attack it? Wits alone will not be enough to stop this foe. The movie has a lot of interesting ideas and while it will ultimately go down as just another creature feature, it was pretty fun.

The movie starts off by introducing us to a small town. Things were going well here until the army decided to set up shop with one of their big bases. The locals were not thrilled about this and now that people are vanishing and getting murdered all over the place, the town blames them. The army has Major Jeff take a look into this since they need to find out why people are dying. He meets up with a lady named Barbara and quickly grows to like her but is still getting verbally attacked by the townsfolk.

Now the stakes are higher, if he doesn’t get to the bottom of this then he will never get to be with her. Fortunately there is a suspicious scientist named Walgate who may know more than he is letting on. Jeff will need to keep his guard up though or else he will be buried along with the rest of the town’s secrets.

Jeff is a perfectly reasonable main character. I would say that his romance plot starts a little too suddenly for me to take it all that seriously though. The guy falls for Barbara within a few seconds which will make you shake your head a bit. Keep in mind that he is investigating a lot of murders so he should have too much on his mind for that. He also gets a little sloppy when he enters an abandoned tomb on his own.

Remember, the whole town can’t stand him and one guy even started a fight. So you really shouldn’t be taking crazy chances on your own. Fortunately Barbara and his army partner find him but the guy nearly died. At least he is a good shot though which comes in handy near the end of the film. Then you have Barbara who is a good heroine. She does have a tendency to panic a lot like some of the more retro heroines. It would be nice if she had fought more against the monsters but she tends to lose the battle the instant it starts.

As for Walgate, he’s easily the worst character in the film. I would call him a full on villain even if he tries to play the whole “I didn’t mean it” card. The guy actively tried to murder Jeff and there’s no way to talk his way out of that one. Walgate panics a lot and you wonder what the point of his experiments was anyway. Either way he doesn’t have a whole lot of time to regret things.

As for the creatures themselves, I have to say that their character designs are spot on. Basically they’re brains that are floating around with a spinal cord as a tail of sorts. It’s a very unique design and one that you aren’t likely to forget anytime soon. Now I will say it may not be a very intimidating design but they have a very solid gripping strength. Once they have you around the neck it’s basically game over.

They aren’t quite bullet proof though so once the army is ready for them then things go a bit differently. Their main advantage was being invisible after all. Without that they just didn’t stand a chance. It can be a little violent with how the heroes shoot them though. Between the fact that it already looks like a brain as it is and they are getting shot to death, well it’s a lot for such an old time film. It’s nothing too crazy of course but just enough where you may do a double take for a second there.

The writing is on point as the dialogue between all of the characters is pretty solid. It holds up quite well which is definitely not surprising. The pacing is pretty good and the movie is always moving at a pretty quick pace. I was also glad that Jeff was able to win in the fight against the jealous townsperson as losing that fight would have been iffy. We even get a quick town hall type meeting which was cool.

It’s following a rather classic creature feature format but one that works really well as long as it’s executed the right away. This one did properly follow the steps as the monster is slowly bumping various people off while the heroes get closer and closer to cracking the case. Once they make it, you can’t help but feel a sense of triumph even if that doesn’t mean the film is quite over. Walgate is just annoying enough where you were looking forward to seeing the heroes mess up his plans. His fake politeness fits in with the dialogue but you could tell the characters weren’t buying what he was selling.

Overall, The movie is just short enough where it isn’t able to deal with the alien invasion as thoroughly as you might hope, but it still manages to make for an interesting experience. It’s even part mystery you could say as Jeff tries to figure out why they are here and how the creatures were created. This doesn’t exactly seem like something that happened naturally after all. If you like creature feature films then this is a good one to check out. By the end you will see just how dangerous the brain can be.

Overall 6/10

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