War of the Colossal Beast Review

It’s impressive that the first Colossal Man movie got a sequel but unfortunately this one isn’t quite as good. The decision to turn Glenn into a mindless monster was definitely an odd one and doesn’t work as effectively. Part of the fun in having a giant man is seeing him interact and how he adjusts to this. The first film may have been leading up into having him turn mindless but going all the way with it was definitely a big mistake.

The movie follows Glenn’s sister Joyce who has been trying to locate him for a while now. It’s actually a bit of an odd choice right off the bat. Why aren’t we still following his fiancé Carol? I suppose the real life reason would be that they couldn’t get the same actress but I feel like that wouldn’t have been a big deal. Either way Joyce functions in pretty much the same way as it’s her turn to play detective this time. She does well in tracking Glenn’s possible whereabouts until she actually gets to the right place.

Ultimately there isn’t a whole lot she can do to stop him but she gets the government on the trail so that they can capture him. Unfortunately a cure will be difficult as always so they are basically delaying the inevitable as he is still a big threat that could hurt just about anyone. The government’s main liaison this time is Mark and he makes it clear that the army will take care of Glenn if he poses a threat. So getting them involved was a bit of a risk but it was still Joyce’s only realistic option. Otherwise Glenn was already being a threat anyway.

Again this is weakened by the fact that he is so mindless now though. He can only just roar endlessly the whole time so there is no chance for dialogue or anything like that. He’s just completely lost his mind and that doesn’t make for an interesting villain. You could only pull that off if this was a creature with a really cool design, but a giant human? No shot at making that work out, it’s just not in the cards. Also I thought the design wasn’t as good. In this film they try to show that he’s deteriorated a bit due to the accident from last time but also the radiation. So now part of his skull is showing at all times and so he looks rather beat up. It’s more on the gruesome angle than actually looking really cool though.

The other characters are decent enough. Mark does well in his role and he seems like a good guy. There is a limit to how much he can actually do here but at least he is trying the whole time. It would have been easy to have just ditched Glenn to his fate but he is actually trying to make things work out for everyone. Then you have Dr. Carmichael who is like pretty much every other doctor in these old films. He seems reasonable enough but can’t really work miracles.

I actually liked this old guy who appeared at the start of the film as his driver got scared by Glenn so he had to find the kid. This was really just a way to kick the film off so he doesn’t have a big role or anything but I liked his energy. The guy was determined to get his money back and sue if needed. The kid who got scared was more on the annoying side. I thought all the scenes of him being too afraid to talk at all were really overblown. The movie just had a super slow start as a result and once we got to move past that it was for the best.

The movie still has good writing like the first film but around the board it’s just a bit weaker. The pacing only gets good after the opening scenes and of course Glenn is a big step down with how mindless he is. I definitely would have liked for him to have still had his character. Then the cast as a whole would be a bit weaker although it’s close. So with all of that going against it, there was never any chance that the movie could have beat the original. That wasn’t going to happen but I would still call it a good movie. If you ignore that the first one exists, then it is a perfectly serviceable title.

It doesn’t do anything special but it makes no big mistakes. There’s no moment where you’re really shaking your head here and that’s the positive point of making what I would call a very safe film. You’re not taking any risks or putting yourself out there so the floor is stable but the ceiling may just not be as high. You’re not going to score an 8 with this approach but you won’t likely score a 4 either. It just puts you in an area with smaller variety.

As a final note, it’s a little hard to believe that the Colossal Man was able to hide for so long though. Again, remember that he is basically mindless and he is absolutely huge. Where was he hiding for so long? It was clearly long enough where the government thought he was dead and nobody believed the giant guy could be around. It just strikes me as unlikely that this guy could be slipping around, even if there weren’t security cameras and such back then. They probably should have just said he could shrink or something but of course then it would be a whole new movie. Only other option would be to have this film take place a little sooner, like the next day or something. Even then I question how he made the trip over to Mexico undetected unless he can breathe underwater.

Overall, You’ll enjoy this film if you’re up for a fairly generic creature feature film. This one does have more action than the first so you will actually get to see the Colossal Man in action. It helps to counter the fact that it loses in virtually all other areas. It has less replay value than the first one without a doubt but it still gets enough right to be worth a watch. It has actual flashbacks to the first movie which is nice for continuity. So because of that I would recommend watching the first title before this one. They may be good as stand alone adventures but it still feels like you would get the added boost by watching the first one before this. It may make you end up comparing them a lot but that will just have to be unavoidable here.

Overall 6/10

Peppermint Review

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

Peppermint is definitely one of those films that is very much a basic thriller. There’s not a whole lot going on here beyond the main character getting her big revenge but that’s exactly what you’re expecting here. The film lives up to the premise it’s advertising so that’s always a good thing. In the end it can be a bit violent as you can guess but ultimately I’d say it’s a fairly decent thriller that holds up well.

The movie starts off with Riley destroying a villain so then we get a flashback to set this up. Her husband was recruited to get into a dangerous gig but he declined the offer. The main problem here is that the news of his declining didn’t make the rounds in time so the mob leader quickly destroys him as well as his family to make a statement. Riley was able to survive the bullet wounds though and after seeing how the justice system was bought out by the crooks, decides to handle this on her own. At the end of the day there is nobody else that she can trust but herself to get the job done here. Now it’s a race to destroy everyone who has wronged her, the courts, the gangsters, etc. She will keep moving forward until she has destroyed her enemies!

There isn’t a very large cast here as most of the villains are bumped off fairly quick. I would say the only important villain here would be the actual leader at the top of the charts. He’s not someone who should be taken too lightly at all. Diego is his name and he actually does a good job of ruling the mob. The guy rules by fear to the point where he murders people just for thinking about betraying him. That’s certainly an effective way to
stay in charge and also prevent more people from getting ideas.

At the end of the day once you get past the fear then he’s just another guy. In fact we even see the mob that owns this mob and it shows how he’s still just a big fish in a small pond. I suppose if we ever get a sequel to this it could be about Riley going after those guys next. The movie really fleshes out the world around it pretty well so there’s a lot you could do after this. To an extent Riley even feels like a bit of an Anti-Hero. We see that she has ended crime in a whole area and is protecting people even outside of her quest for revenge.

She helps a kid by beating up his alcoholic father and just generally makes the world a safer place. Riley isn’t above murdering her opponents of course so she’s not a full hero but definitely a figure that will give the villains some real pause here. They absolutely do not want to mess with her. Riley went off the grid for a few years to hone her fighting abilities and this seems to have really paid off big time. At this point she is able to out fight just about anyone in her way even if they are armed.

Riley is a fun lead character. She goes about her business very directly and doesn’t drag out the deaths or anything like that. She quickly lets them know why she is about to destroy them and then does it. It’s all a very straight forward approach which shows that she means business. Also she did try going through the legal system first. It just didn’t work so she was then forced to seek other avenues which made a lot of sense. Once the mob has bought out the court then it’s clear that justice won’t be coming.

Then we’ve got the main cop Beltran who does well here. He’s definitely not thrilled about getting mixed up with the gang since everyone who messes with them tends to disappear but he does want to see true justice get accomplished and goes past that fear. He also helps the film execute a really solid ending which really helps wrap everything up nicely. A bad ending can really and I mean really hurt for a film like this so getting around that was absolutely crucial. This ending is basically perfect so I was satisfied.

I wouldn’t say there are any big issues with the film either aside from some violence. As a revenge thriller like this you can absolutely bet that people are getting shot and destroyed but by and large it avoids being too excessive about the whole thing. What helps is that we mainly follow Riley as she destroys everyone and don’t get nearly as many scenes of the villains popping each other off. It’s a pretty big distinction because that’s usually when the films tend to get a bit more gratuitous with that.

I also always enjoy the classic trope of one person launching a full war against the entire villain empire. Just give her a few months of training and skills and now nobody can stop Riley. Is it super realistic? Perhaps not but it’s definitely always fun to watch. She also got a whole lot of intel to be able to locate everyone and take them out at the ideal times. Riley didn’t just panic and jump into action but planned everything out carefully and it paid off for her.

Overall, Peppermint is a pretty good film. I dare say it was better than I had been expecting. If you told me that this was a comic book origin story I would have believed you. It’s very much got those Punisher vibes at the ready. The fights are good and there is a lot of room to make a sequel out of this. I would definitely recommend this if you want a pretty intense action thriller. I wonder if revenge thrillers go for one word titles on purpose. Salt, Taken, Peppermint, Faster, etc. Maybe it’s a subliminal message that the film is about to be nonstop action with quick pacing.

Overall 6/10

Topper Review

Topper is one of those films where everyone acts rather crazy so it becomes a bit of a surreal kind of comedy title. It’s got its share of humorous moments without a doubt but I wouldn’t say the character cast is quite as solid as some of the other comedy films. That keeps it from getting to the next level but the movie is still fun enough so I would recommend it to people looking for a fun time.

The movie starts off by introducing George and Marion who believe in just having a good time no matter how inconvenient it is for everyone else. In particular George seems to like messing with his company and driving every meeting off the rails for no reason. Well, one day he takes the corner a little too quickly when driving so George and Marion are instantly destroyed. They then awaken as ghosts and seem to be stuck on the planet. Marion figures that they have to do a good deed in order to move on and their best bet is to help out old man Topper.

Topper is a married man who hasn’t gotten to have a whole lot of fun so far. His wife prohibits anything that she deems to be without class such as owning a cool car or doing anything outside of her planning for the year. As a result Topper isn’t a very happy camper. George figures he may as well go along with this but he isn’t really happy about the prospect. He’d rather have fun on his own than help someone else out. Will they really be able to help Topper or is their idea of “Help” actually going to hurt him?

Naturally there is no concrete evidence given to the main two that doing a good deed will help out at all so they’re really taking a swing in the dark here. They also have to hope that it’s a package deal because George is not helpful during the movie at all. He follows Marion’s lead but for the most part is just the same guy that he always was. He keeps on drinking and messing around but now that he’s invisible he can mess with more people. You could almost call him an antagonist if you really think about it.

I guess he’s not actively hurting anyone but at the same time he is just making a mess of things. That makes for an entertaining character. As for Marion, well she likes to do things at her own pace but is trying to help Topper at least. Her flirting and teasing of him can go a bit far though. She is still married to George after all and Topper doesn’t have the strongest will so trying to lead him onto the wrong path isn’t a good idea. In fact I would say that’s the weakest part of the film as he does actually seem to get tempted. His marriage may be no fun at the moment but he would still needs to end things before starting something new.

This hurts Topper as well in my book. At the end of the day it feels like he could have solved all of his problems if he could just talk more directly and not simply taker things as they happen. Why not have more of a candid talk with Clara as opposed to just feeling sorry for himself? The guy just needed to have more backbone and he’s whiny enough where he doesn’t really work as the lead.

The movie is good in spite of the characters rather than because of them. The cast is just very weak in the end which is unfortunate. You could easily have made this premise a lot more effective with a solid cast of main characters. The rules of being a ghost are also rather interesting as for once they can fully interact with everything. In fact the ghosts can even allow people to see them if they want to. It takes up ectoplasm which seems to regenerate over time a bit so for the most part they stay invisible but they are absolutely around.

Here’s the interesting thing, if they can’t move on right now, they could have just pretended that they survived. Think about it, they’re fully physical and are always around. What’s to stop them from just going back to the house and living it large? They can still eat and drink as well so there is no real difference from being alive except that they can turn invisible. It actually could be interesting as an alternate premise here, like just going all in with that story instead.

Of course that would be totally different but it’s nice to think about. We do have a good climax with the cops trying to take the two ghosts down but of course they aren’t quite strong enough to pull that off. Just being invisible is such a huge benefit that a single person probably could escape a whole army for a long while. Particularly back in these days before we had a lot of great technology at the ready.

By the end of the film it feels like the main two have been very lucky too in that they actually did guess correctly that they needed to do a good deed and that they actually succeeded. Because you can make a decent argument for them not doing a good deed at all. They were really just messing around with Topper the whole time and things could have easily gone sideways. I suppose the restriction cared more about the results than the method. That or they may have triggered some other condition to moving on that was totally unrelated. It’s not like there is any way to know since it was all assumptions by the main characters.

Overall, Topper is a decent comedy film with some laughs. I liked the premise more than the execution but if you’re looking for a light hearted title then this should still fit the bill for you. It flows by very quickly and it’s not like I had any major issues with it. It would be interesting to see if the sequel can match the original. In theory it very well could but it may be a while before I check that one out.

Overall 6/10

Pickup on South Street Review

You’ve always gotta watch out for pick pockets because if they get your stuff then you’re probably not getting it back. This film deals with that and while I don’t think it’s so easy to get separated from your stuff as shown here, it can be tricky. It’s why they say to never put anything too valuable in your back pocket but I see a lot of people doing this anyway. Just try to stay safe out there and maybe watching this film will help you keep your guard up.

The movie starts off with a guy named Skip showing up and stealing Candy’s wallet. This isn’t good because Candy was carrying something immensely valuable in there which could be a matter of national security. Her ex boyfriend Joey tells her to find this guy and get it back as soon as possible. His people will even pay big money to see it returned. This whole thing is sounding more shady by the minute but Candy agrees to help out. Meanwhile the cops are also on the case and have enlisted the help of Moe the informant. Which group will be able to find this guy first?

It’s a small town and Moe’s a great informant so Skip doesn’t stay hidden for too long. Of course it’s one thing to find him and another to actually prove that he has the wallet and the item inside of it. For Skip this is potentially a huge payday so he is playing his cards close to the chest. He doesn’t care about the implications that the Russians may be after this file or anything like that. His own personal satisfaction matters more to him than his country which is fairly sad. The guy just can’t stop being a crook but now he’s gone even farther than usual.

This is a fun noir film with a good amount of thrills and a lot going on at every moment. Everyone wants Skip after all so you’re just wondering how long he can draw this out for before he is taken down. Surely his luck will catch up to him at some point but how long until that happens? It’s a tense battle against the clock. The only thing that hurts the film a bit is the romance which is really weak.

As you can probably guess, in the process of trying to talk him down, Candy ends up falling for Skip. He’s a big criminal though and one who doesn’t mind shoving her around. How did she possibly fall for him? The only explanation is the most shallow one which is purely for the looks. Not a great foundation to build a romance off of so that doesn’t do the film any favors either. Fortunately he softens up and starts to like her as well but throughout the film there are so many misunderstandings and moments where he’s harsh to her again so it all just happens too fast and doesn’t work at all.

It’s nice to see him landing a solid combo against one of the villains to defend her but ultimately you feel like their being friends would have worked a lot better in this context. Also, you can’t forget that Skip was still ready to sell America out the entire time which does nothing to make him any more sympathetic. Ultimately he just wasn’t a good guy and there’s no way around that one. He’s good at pickpocketing but that’s where it ends. If anything I’d say that he just gets lucky most of the time.

Candy is a decent heroine but I’d say she should have cut ties with Joey right away. It’s clear that he didn’t care about her safety one bit. He was nearly the end for her as well by the time the film was done. After a point it was going to be tough to get away from him either way so her best chance was early on. Just getting out of there and hope he’s too busy worrying about the pickpocket to go after her.

Candy has much more of a conscience than most of the other characters so she’s easy to root for at least. Perhaps not in the romance angle but at least in trying to keep the peace and helping the cops out while saving Skip’s reputation. Joey’s a very underwhelming villain the whole time as he’s always super nervous and doesn’t have a plan. He’s an underling through and through who doesn’t really look at the big picture.

Now there’s one part of the film that will definitely be causing you to stretch your disbelief a bit and that’s all of the pickpocketing scenes. Given what we find out later that Candy knew she was carrying something for Joey as her last mission, wouldn’t she be paying extra attention to her purse? I already didn’t buy the scene when it first started but then after we learn this it makes even less sense. Why wouldn’t she be paying a ton of attention to the purse the whole time with the stakes this high?

Sure, she didn’t know what was in the purse but even so it doesn’t work. I don’t care how fast the guy’s hands are, he’s not pickpocketing a purse when someone knows they’re carrying something like this. I’d also say it’s partially on the film for not making it look realistic. The way it’s shot, it’s like the guy is staring his target down but they’re just zoned off in the distance or trying to avoid eye contact. Each pickpocket scene takes forever and you’re just thinking about how the guy should have been caught the whole time.

Back to the characters though, Moe is a fairly solid one even if she is in a dangerous line of work here. Being an informant is definitely not a good way to live a long life but from her dialogue we can see that it was more of a last resort. She had to make money someway and selling ties just wasn’t cutting it. At the end of the day she does stay strong and resists giving intel to the right people. Unlike Skip she actually has some morals so I ended up liking her fairly well.

Then you have Tiger who is a fun police chief. He’s really hard on Skip but it’s hard to blame him since that guy is apparently always committing crimes and going back to Jail. He’s been sent there multiple times already so the next time would be for life. Tiger isn’t even wrong about Skip as the guy was going to sell out the country if not for being convinced at the end. So even though the film has a happy ending, you do wonder if he will ultimately relapse. I’d say the film is implying that this time he’s clean but you really never know with this kind of criminal history.

Overall, Pickup on South Street is a good film but it does struggle with some weaker areas that keeps this from being a better title. The romance just really did not work on any level and additionally the pickpocket scenes were hard to buy. You’re telling me that even the guy who was shadowing Candy didn’t notice Skip pickpocketing her until it was too late and he started to run? I found that one hard to believe as well. If you can get past that, you have a lot of fun dialogue and back and forth between the characters. It’s a solid setup there and I would recommend this to anyone looking for a classic noir title.

Overall 6/10

Real Genius review

When you’re a genius there are a few things you really have to keep in mind. There are those who would try to use your skills for their own personal gain and additionally you have to be careful not to burn out. Go in too hard and that’ll be it for you. The main character has to end up learning this the hard way. It’s an entertaining film and while it has a few weak points that keep it from getting to the next level, I would still be able to recommend this one.

The movie starts with the government telling Jerry that they need the laser which can blow someone up from any distance. Jerry was confident that his star student Chris would be able to build this but the guy has been slacking off a whole lot lately. At this point the deadline is getting real close so instead he decides to take in a new kid named Mitch to take over the project. Perhaps now he will get results. Mitch is eager to help and knows Chris as a living legend but at the same time he’s not thrilled with how the guy is always slacking off. It’s not quite the experience that he was expecting, that’s for sure. He doesn’t realize the true stakes behind what he is building either and is just eager to pull it off. We’ll see how that goes.

Right off the bat I do like the government angle. The whole building a laser thing makes a lot of sense and led to a fun intro scene. They were also quite ruthless here as it’s heavily implied that they decided to take out the one guy who disagreed with the plan. It’s safe to say at such a high level that you should be careful about stepping off of a project. Doing that now makes you a big security risk since you know about the secrets. These guys did not hesitate either considering that they probably knew him for a while.

Unfortunately the government really doesn’t get to appear much after that until the very end of the film. It’s a shame because they were definitely one of the highlights here. Jerry does well representing the shady characters though. He is good at manipulating Mitch and also talks back to the government at times. Naturally they do have most of the power here but he still doesn’t let them just walk all over him. He manages to stand up for himself as needed. He is certainly a ruthless villain since he doesn’t care about anything aside from his paycheck at the end.

The movie handles him really well though. He’s not just cackling in the corner or anything like that. He still seems reasonable on the surface and you almost think he’ll be a main hero at first. Once he started showing his true colors that was it though. The first hinting of this was likely when we found out that he wasted a whole lot of the money for the project on random things he wanted. Not the most responsible guy eh?

Chris is fun but I do think he could go a little far at times in how he would mess around. I get that he didn’t want to take things too seriously so he wouldn’t crack and that makes sense but after a point that just felt like an excuse. There’s a difference between not overworking yourself and still doing some basic work. As the film goes on he eventually learns more about that but in the meantime I can absolutely see why everyone was so fed up with him. The guy wouldn’t just goof off but actively disrupted and distracted everyone else. I would say it’s clear that he was still the smartest guy in the classroom but he really didn’t use those talents to help anyone.

In a way he would almost feel like an antagonist at times if it didn’t turn out that the invention was evil. As for Mitch, he’s a decent main character but he could be a little timid the whole time. It made it real easy for other kids to show up and start teasing him. You gotta be bold and just go with the flow or things are going to get tough in a school like this. He also gets a quick romance plot in the film but I wouldn’t say it was anything all that special. It does happen rather quickly and didn’t seem all that realistic. I’m glad he was able to turn someone else down in the meantime who was after him even if his reaction times were slow but I wouldn’t say it was enough to get me on board with the romance.

Maybe once Mitch had been there for a few semesters or something but until then it’s just a smidge too fast. Then you have the main villain Kent. I mean, in a way Jerry’s the main villain but the difference is that Kent was acting like a villain from the start. At least Jerry puts up a front but Kent doesn’t bother with one. He just openly attacks Chris and messes with his things. In particular one of his sabotage moments was really a big deal with how he ruined a really expensive gadget that cost time and money. I thought he got off really easy all things considered.

The main heroine Jordan got her role in all of this as well. She has a hard time ever sleeping so she is hyper 24/7. The film didn’t give her a ton of time but I thought that she was a nice character. Jordan really stuck out right off the top with a quirk that was memorable without being too annoying. If this film got a sequel I could see her doing a lot more there.

I still say that the government should have appeared more though. The slice of life scenes with the kids at school is still good and all but the government scenes would have really pushed it over the edge. That’s absolutely what would have been the best route here. The only scene I thought was a little unrealistic was when Kent records Mitch so everyone can make fun of him at lunch.

They’re all geniuses and recording isn’t difficult so I’m not saying that this was hard to believe, but that the school wouldn’t get back at him somehow. Ultimately they still want more students in the future so it seems a little counterintuitive to let the bullying go this far. If the school gets sued or something then it will discourage attendance. It’s hardly the worst bullying I’ve seen in a film but it really stood out here. Maybe because it’s just so open while a lot of times the bullying is at least done in the shadows. A valid argument could be made that nobody could prove it was Kent, but it seems like nobody really even cared.

Overall, Real Genius is a good movie. The romance can be a bit cheesy at times but ultimately it’s not a big part of the experience anyway. The writing here was good and I do always like the idea of a school for geniuses. There’s a whole lot you can do with a solid setup like that. This film perhaps didn’t capitalize on it to the fullest extent but we did have some fun inventions and quirks in the first half. I liked the instant ice for example and the heroes had a good solution for the laser at the end. I’d recommend checking it out for some light hearted fun.

Overall 6/10

Looper Review

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

Looper has a very interesting premise of having to try and take yourself down. If you succeed then you already know that you’re doomed but if you fail then you will be axed a whole lot sooner. It’s a lose-lose situation no matter how you slice it and that’s the kind of decision that the main character has to wrestle with. It asks some interesting questions as the movie goes on.

The movie starts by introducing us to Joe who murders whoever his bosses tell him too. Basically the future finally got wise to all the strategies of hiding bodies so the only way to make someone disappear is to send them to the past and murder them that way. Joe is in this business as well and eventually he will be told to murder his future self which ends his loop but he will be paid handsomely for it. In a way it’s like a form of retirement so people in the business know that their time is limited but they will live like kings in the meantime. Considering that this world seems pretty rundown, a lot of people are fine with the risks.

Of course this means that you are murdering people that you don’t even know about so don’t mistake these guys for heroes. They are still very much the villains of the story every which way you look at it. Well, one day Joe is about to murder his next target except it’s an older version of himself (Who looks so different I doubt anyone would guess that it’s the same person) who isn’t tied up (The victims are always tied up in previous scenarios) and has a gun. Naturally old Joe gets away and regroups.

The situation is made very plain to Joe, he has to make old Joe go away or he will be terminated. Old Joe also states his objectives to Joe, he needs to murder a few kids in this timeline because one of them will grow up to become the Rainaker. A villainous leader so cruel and powerful that nobody can stop him and this leads to the death of Old Joe’s future. So if there is no Rainmaker then he is hoping that his future will turn out well. He asks Joe not to get in his way.

So that’s the basic scenario here and you can already see how things get messy here. If Joe destroys his old version then his loop is closed and he’ll be dooming himself down the line. Of course if Old Joe destroys Joe then he will cease to exist immediately so he has to try and win without harming him. It makes this more of a cat and mouse game as opposed to a straight gunfight. They have to be very careful of their moves and Old Joe also has to account for the fact that the villain groups are after him in the past now too so they have to be knocked off.

Old Joe is clearly a villain here. He’s trying to murder children who haven’t done anything yet and acknowledges that he will be getting some innocents too. So lets not get that twisted. Old Joe is an interesting villain because of this viewpoint. He’s ultimately trying to save his present/Joe’s future but is taking the most extreme route to doing so. From his perspective he feels like it’s the only way out and as his current form is already a villain by being in that line of work, it’s easy to see how this escalated.

He even takes out a lot of the villains in the present timeline as well. I would say that Old Joe easily steals the show in every scene that he is in. The guy is the highlight in this adventure. Then you have classic Joe who is not nearly as likable. The first scene with him selling out the friend was particularly brutal. Yes, the friend was pretty bad there with his decision making and made the whole thing Joe’s problem out of nowhere but betraying him is not the right call. Especially for money which is what it came down too.

Over the course of the movie Joe learns how to be someone who can make the right calls but it’s a long journey. Even by the end he makes things a little hard on himself by not keeping his guard up which leads to a really rough call. I’ll give the film kudos for constructing a scenario where Joe pulling the trigger actually turned out to be the right call. In nearly any other situation I would be writing that Joe did the wrong thing here but for once that was not the case. I can’t go into specifics without your seeing the movie as it would be a spoiler but it’s good that he took the show.

One issue that I have with the movie is I don’t think it took full advantage of this world and the mechanics behind it. Time travel sounds awesome and I’d like to hear more about the world but it’s never really a focus. In fact, we rarely see the future as most of the film takes place in the past. There is also a long portion of the film that starts to become more of a drama than an action.

Joe meeting up with Sara and her kid Cid could be a little on the dull side at times. Sara means well though and does a good job of protecting her house. Considering how dangerous this place is, you have to give her a lot of credit there. The inevitable romance was really extremely weak though. It’s super sudden, makes no sense and just doesn’t work. I would say the film could have dodged that entirely.

As for Cid and the whole rainmaker plot, it feels random at first but eventually becomes really important. I would usually say you could have just cut Cid out but that would change the film as a whole. His super powers/corruption just felt really out of place even next to the other powers. He would appear to almost be demonic at times. I guess that’s just his super powers in the end but he does seem like he’s going to go off a dark path right away even without any tragic moments.

Kid Blue is one of the main villains here. He’s not a leader or anything but he’s always wanting to try and stop Joe so he gets a big role as a result. He’s not super skilled or anything though so things don’t usually end up going his way. His boss even stabs and humiliates him and there isn’t much Blue can do about it. So I didn’t find him particularly threatening or interesting at all. At least Abe had the whole leader thing going for him but Old Joe overshadowed him by a lot. Old Joe is what gives the film all of its depth. Fighting for his family for so long that he eventually became one of the villains himself continuing the cycle of violence.

The film can get a little violent at times but never too crazy. It holds back a lot and uses the time elements to its advantage. Like at one point one guy starts disappearing and you quickly realize why that is with how the past affects the future. Showing it would have been way too crazy so in this way you get it across without being too gritty. The movie did good on that.

Overall, Looper is an interesting sci-fi film. I do think it loses a lot of momentum in the middle and also wastes some of the potential of the concept though. It’s all very interesting which is why Sci-Fi’s can be fun but you need to spend more time on the actual time travel. I would still recommend giving this one a look but you’ll find that Joe is a very annoying character. He’s not heroic, not trustworthy, and his priorities are all wrong. The romance is weak here and you don’t buy into it since he’s one of those guys who is more about having quick affairs like early on in the movie.

Overall 6/10

Jailhouse Rock Review

I haven’t seen a whole lot of Elvis so this was a good chance to see him in action. It’s a very retro kind of film that is entertaining but I wouldn’t say it’s one of the greats. The movie does avoid one major source of drama that I was expecting so that was impressive though. It actually threw me for a bit of a loop there and I appreciated that. Either way you’ll have a good time here.

The movie starts off with Vince murdering someone that was bothering a lady at the local shop. He’s taken to jail as a result and there he meets Hunk, the prisoner who pretty much runs the place. The main currency here is cigarette packs. If you have a lot of those then you’re in good shape but otherwise you’re in for a rough time. Hunk teaches Vince how to play some music and explains that this is the best way to get rich. They end up doing really well on a show together, although mainly it was Vince who was the hit. Hunk figures he can leverage this into some success down the road so he has Vince sign an agreement that they will team up in the future with Hunk getting a 40% cut.

Well, Vince heads out into the world where he meets a girl named Peggy who is a bit of a records agent. She gets the music to the people who need to hear it. It’s a long road to the top but Vince does rather well for himself. The only trouble now is that it’s starting to get to his head and he’s taking Peggy for granted. Additionally Hunk shows up and wants his cut. Will Vince be able to get out of this in one piece or has he doomed himself already?

I can’t say I liked Vince much at all here though. The guy was always acting rather aggressive and antagonistic for no real reason. Like when he got to meet Peggy’s parents he jumped right into being defensive and landing a bunch of insults. He keeps this up throughout the entire movie and can never seem to have one conversation without immediately attacking. Even the scene where he murders the guy early on is because he doesn’t know when to stop during the fight. He just keeps going and gets himself into trouble. He’s lucky that his fight at the prison didn’t end up setting his return date back in a big way because that could have been bad.

Vince seems to think he can cure all of his problems with a kiss and unfortunately that tends to be true. For both Peggy and the actress he was working on in the latter scenes, he just acts as mean as he wants because then whenever they start to tell him that they’re leaving, he just pulls out the moves and they’re okay with it. Because of that he doesn’t feel any real need to change and so he doesn’t. I think the film could have been a little tougher on him or at least made sure that things didn’t go Vince’s way all the time. Would have made for better character development.

It also hurts the other characters a bit like Peggy. It’s hard to see what she sees in him as a result. She should have laid out better boundaries here and once he cut things off, I’d say the romance should have been off the table too. He was just too greedy and wanted everything without giving anything up in return. That’s not the right way to kick off any relationship.

Now I did appreciate the part in the film where Hunk confronts Vince with his blackmail but is quickly defeated. Vince wisely checked with his attorney first and confirmed that the contract was not going to hold up. I liked this because usually what would have happened is that this would have been a whole big mess as Hunk keeps blackmailing him into doing a lot of stuff like giving Hunk more commercials and it would have all been pretty sad. Instead this was stopped at the jump. Vince still gave Hunk a chance to play live but when that didn’t work out, that was it. He gave Hunk a side job and called it a day. That was the right way to handle this but it’s just so rare to see that I ended up being surprised. Most impressive I would say.

So I may have had my issues with the film like the main character and the weak romance but at the end of the day it was still fun. It doesn’t drag on and the film is really quick. It also handled Hunk in the right way. He’s a greedy guy who wants a lot of money and all but he ended up not being comically evil. Once he got a good deal then he was ready to be supportive. That’s absolutely what you want to see here.

Really if Vince wasn’t determined to be awful at every turn then he really would have been mega rich. Why would he be slacking on the records of all things? That was his first big career move and it felt like music was his passion. I guess in the end relaxing and just enjoying his spoils was really the most important thing to him. Definitely a shame.

As for the music, well I wouldn’t say I’m a big Elvis fan but the songs were catchy enough. I can see why they would have gotten big back in the day. They’re certainly easy to dance to and that’s really the main ingredient you want to see in a song. The country song was a little slow but as Hunk was doomed to fail that was probably intentional. The songs properly enhance the film without taking it over so I would also say that the balance was on point here.

Overall, Jailhouse Rock is a good movie. It’s one that probably could have been better but either way I’d recommend checking it out if you want to have a fun ole time. There’s a good amount of replay value here and it’s just an uplifting movie from start to finish. Even when things get serious like at the ending, it’s never for very long so you can go back to grinning and cheering again. I’ve certainly got another Elvis film coming up so we’ll see how it stands up to this one.

Overall 6/10

How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life Review

This is a pretty interesting title right off the bat because you’d think that saving the marriage would be the right thing to do right? It all becomes clear once the film starts and the characters definitely could have handled this a little better and it would have resulted in less shenanigans. That said, it’s an entertaining movie. It may overstay its welcome at times as the movie does feel a bit long but you’ll be entertained from start to finish.

So the movie starts with Harry admitting to his friend David that he’s cheating on his wife with someone. David knows this is a bad idea and tells Harry straight up but the guy isn’t listening. He figures that the mistress is just too good and his home life has been rocky for a while now. David realizes that the only way to save his friend is to quickly make a play for the mistress and prove that she isn’t very dependable. Through a series of misunderstandings he figures that the mistress is a fellow co-worker named Carol so he starts going out with her and will stop once he convinces Harry. What will Carol think about all of this?

Of course the actual mistress is Carol’s neighbor Muriel so the whole thing gets really complicated. Right off the bat the real issue with the film is that we already don’t like Harry. He’s cheating on his wife so he’s one of the antagonists here. We don’t want anything good to happen to him and any scene with the guy is annoying. He made his choice and now he’s got to live with it but having fun on the side is just an awful idea. I don’t know how he’s still friend with David at this point. I think it’s time for the lead to break it off.

We see the guy’s wife in a few scenes and sure she doesn’t seem very nice but if the film is expecting that to be a good excuse then I must inform you that it doesn’t work. She’s not evil or anything and regardless Harry would need to break things off before starting another affair. I forget if Muriel actually knows if she is the side piece or not. I feel like it is generally understood but I’m not positive. She gives some decent advice to Carol at least and tries to be a good friend to her.

Muriel tends to get swept away by Carol’s friends but at the end of the day it’s nice to have someone to lean on. Now for David, the big issue with him is that his plan wasn’t the best from the start. Trying to show Harry the error of his ways by starting an affair of his own is just not a good idea. David’s single right now so at least he’s not cheating on anyone but it’s still such a roundabout way of going about his plans. It’s not the route you should take and he should have just kept on lecturing Harry directly. Instead he’s getting someone’s hopes up for no reason. Lets say he was with the right person and she liked him, well even if she is an antagonist who is cheating, it’s still not very nice.

David is just being too clever for his own good and he really pays for it. Carol does not take this too well and so suddenly David is spending massive amounts of money to keep her happy. I’m afraid that the romance was particularly weak here. Carol goes too far with her revenge antics throughout the movie so how could a romance possibly bloom like this? Once you start parting a man with his money, it feels like there is no way around that. Carol would order catering and waste money intentionally. Of course a lot of this is played for humor and all but it’s still a rather serious thing to do.

As for Carol, well she does well in resisting the advances of the random guys around the job so naturally she is thrilled when she finally meets someone who seems all right. The whole thing comes as a crushing blow once she finds out what was going on but does not take the high road at all. A good portion of the film involves her revenge here as I mentioned earlier. I do think she has a good right to be upset and break things off but afterwards you can’t just back pedal on this. That’s on both of them and that’s why the romance doesn’t work. It was just too far gone at this point.

The two would barely get along after the big fight and then they’re happy? I dunno about that. Carol was even trying to draft up some contracts so every marriage can be a full transaction now. She was even trying to convince the other two neighbors not to have any future romances without this but then this is out the window by the ending. I think the film could have been handled better with more back and forth during the battles. Cut out the romance at the end as well and now you’ve got the makings of a really solid title.

The reason I would say that the movie is still good is because there are still a lot of fun scenes here. Carol putting up signs to shame David was good and there was a lot of fun dialogue as David was trying to save Harry. You would not mistake this for some low budget production. A lot of work was put into it and the comedy side is absolutely on point. It’s just the romance which falters and even then it’s nothing that completely destroys the movie.

Overall, You’ll enjoy this movie well enough. I suspect it will lose to most of the other old school romance titles that you watch but it’s still worth watching all the way through at least once. It reminds you to be careful when meddling in someone else’s business and also to not jump to conclusions as you may come to the wrong answer. It’s very hard to back pedal at that point so you could find yourself stuck before long. I suppose the other moral here is to be careful who you’re friends with.

Overall 6/10

The Hurt Locker Review

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

The Hurt Locker really goes in depth with how dangerous it can be to try and disarm bombs in hostile territory. At times the film moves a little too slowly so pacing is an issue here but it’s still a good movie all around. It’s got a lot of good qualities to it and tells a solid story. It probably could have benefited from some more fight scenes but it’s not really that kind of movie.

The movie starts with Sanborn and his squad investigating another bomb. They have to disarm it and quickly leave. Unfortunately the robot malfunctions so one of the squad members has to go in personally and he dies in the explosion. His bomb suit didn’t really help at all this time. So in comes the replacement, William. William is one of those guys who doesn’t mind making a lot of splash plays and is eager for thrills. He has a very reckless nature about him and tends to disregard orders rather easily. This of course does bring up a lot of tension within the group and he’s also putting them in danger. Sanborn may have to make a difficult choice about this.

Unlike most war films, this isn’t about a squad on the front lines. For the most part these guys come in afterwards to disarm the bombs and make sure the general area is safe. They have to be prepared to fight at any point but that isn’t their main purpose. It’s an interesting angle to focus on but that also means that it won’t be nearly as exciting. For example, there’s a very long scene where the characters are just walking down a street towards the bomb. William then has to put on the suit to go there but it’s hard to move in that thing so it’s all very slow. The scene just drags on and on for a good while before he gets there.

You’ve also got a stand off where there are two guys in a building so the heroes have to prep a sniper rifle and watch from their vantage point. This stand-off lasts for a long while but it’s more on the boring side since nothing’s actually happening. Of course it’s easier said than done to try and storm the base but that probably would have been a lot easier. The Hurt Locker consistently takes any scene and then drags it on quite a bit. That’s its biggest weakness in a nutshell. It’s really my only big weakness for the film but it’s one that destroys any replay value. This is definitely a movie that you only watch once.

As for William, he’s a fun main character but does go too far on the rebel stuff. Throwing away his communicator was a big mistake and likewise running into a demolition field because he forgot a glove is a bit much. You can see why he really tests everyone’s patience here and it nearly costs him everything. Even Sanborn thinks about bumping him off at one point. That would have definitely been a huge mistake even if William was annoying though.

William’s job is the most dangerous as he has to be around the bombs so much so you do cut him some slack, just not enough for all of his actions. It’s definitely a job where there probably aren’t a lot of people lining up for it so I could see him getting away with a lot. As for Sanborn, he’s a solid leader. Definitely a lot more by the books and he can’t wait for this deployment to end while William is happier to be here. I can definitely sympathize with Sanborn a lot.

He’s doing his job so he’s not backing out or anything but he’s doing it because it’s the right thing to do, not because he actually wants to be here. It’s a really big difference. It certainly does help really paint Sanborn as a good character because he’s contending with a lot of fear throughout. Then you have John who isn’t even a combat guy but ends up going onto the field at one point. Things don’t go great for him but he did live up to his words that he would go onto the battlefield as needed. He didn’t shrink away from his responsibilities for a moment.

There’s a kid named Beckham who ends up being a rather important player here. Not so much because of what he does but what is seemingly done to him. It’s an understatement to say that not too many people are thrilled about the division being around so the heroes always have to be on guard but this kid enjoyed their company at least so William starts to grow attached to him which gets a little tricky with his duties.

Ultimately one of the tough parts about being in this squad would be minding your own business. It seems like a lot goes on here and someone could take out a gun at any moment. You can’t pro-actively just start attacking because there are a lot of innocent people here so you’re forced to be reactive. The amount of stress that comes with that has to be absolutely crazy. For sure everyone here probably had their wills written down before going on the mission.

Overall, The Hurt Locker is a film that really goes into detail on what being in the field is like. It’s well written and all seems pretty accurate to me. I think it could have just moved things on a little quicker and sped all of the scenes up. That would have helped a lot with the pacing and I think you could still get the tense atmosphere across even with that. The setting itself already helps a lot with that plus with this kind of film you know that the characters aren’t completely safe. They could still be destroyed at any possible moment.

Overall 6/10

The Ladykillers Review

The Ladykillers is an old school comedy movie that has aged rather well. It’s got that low key humor which is always fun and while the movie may run a little on the long side as the pacing isn’t super dynamic, I would say that you’ll still have a good time with this one. You may just shake your head at how the main characters handle things at times. They definitely didn’t plan all that well for this caper and only get so far thanks to coincidences and luck.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Wilberforce who is always running to the police with wild stories. As a result they don’t believe her anymore and it’s a shame because she just wants to help but unfortunately isn’t very good as doing the detective work on her own. This would have at least let her filter out the crazier stories and could have saved her a lot of credibility with the cops. Well, one day she is approached by a Professor Marcus who asks if he can have the room she was offering in her house. She is glad to have a new tenant and agrees. The guy is even part of a musical band so now she gets to hear some free music.

What she doesn’t realize is that Marcus is a big thief. They pull off a rather large robbery at the railroad and even trick her into being an accomplice. Now they are just biding their time before leaving. Will she be able to get to the truth of this before they leave or is all that money about to vanish? Additionally, she may not be as safe as she thinks since these villains can sometimes get a little extreme about their money.

Naturally the humor here is that she’s having a merry ole time and is completely oblivious to what’s going on here. The villains aren’t exactly subtle and it’s just that she’s not too quick on the uptake here. If only she had more detective training then she may have been able to solve this. Since you know who the villains are from the start, it’s imperative that you find this amusing or you likely won’t enjoy the film as a whole very much. That is really the meat of the film after all.

And I would say it works out well enough. It’s not even too over the top silly for the most part as there isn’t a lot of slapstick or anything like that. The chase for her pet parrot comes awfully close though. It’s the kind of nice adventure that pads the runtime out a bit but feels rather random. At least it showed that the thieves were willing to go quite far to protect their cover as a nice musical band that is always here to help.

I can’t say I was a big fan of some of the villains though. The best one would probably be the leader Marcus. He’s the one who came up with the plan. While it may be a bit convoluted, it does end up working so you have to give him credit there. He’s also not someone who jumps into a fight too easily but is ready to mix it up if he’s disrespected too much. Louis tends to push him rather far. That guy’s the meanest of the group and the only one who is quite eager to take Wilberforce out even though she’s an older lady. He feels like she’s a threat to the plan and must be eliminated.

The other thieves at least aren’t on board with this but while they wouldn’t suggest it or commit the act personally, it doesn’t feel like they would do much to stop him. Ultimately that’s why you shouldn’t trust villains too far. Even if these guys may not be the ultimate evil or anything like that, there will definitely be times where they may cross the lines. They’re already criminals after all so it’s not a stretch that they could commit another crime.

I will say that the film’s climax/ending was rather unexpected. Given how calm and low key the whole movie was, I was expecting the ending to follow that trend. It ended up being a whole lot more exciting and explosive than I would have ever suspected. It still plays into the humor angle while also being rather serious there. It was a good way to end the movie and a wise move by the writer since it makes the whole thing a lot more memorable.

The music in the film was decent I suppose. It’s always nostalgic hearing those really old tunes. The thieves probably should have switched the track a little more often though. If the old lady was listening a little closer she would realize that it always sounds the same and may have realized that something was up. You could tell that some of the thieves weren’t really in with the plan from the jump though and weren’t super supportive about the whole thing. You’d think it would be a small price to pay for the money though, why grumble so much about something that’s rather minor? It’s why these guys never ended up being the top level thieves around.

Overall, The Ladykillers handles the comedy/action mix rather well. It’s so low key that some parts may start to feel a bit dull but the movie is just short enough where this isn’t a major concern. If it had been much longer then I think the film would have suffered for it. I probably would have taken the film in a bit of a different direction like having them all help the old lady out when a bigger thief shows up. I would say that they could do that for a sequel but it doesn’t feel likely. The premise itself is good though and works better as a comedy than as a really serious title. If you haven’t watched this film yet then it’s worth picking up.

Overall 6/10