The Amazing Colossal Man Review

It’s time for a creature feature film of sorts even though there isn’t actually a Kaiju here. The movie just falls into that kind of style and it works well. The movie’s very low key and slowly builds towards the end but so long as you’re fine with not really seeing the Colossal Man get any action for a while then you’re going to be in for a good time here.

The movie starts with Glenn and the rest of the army awaiting a big army test. They’re testing a powerful bomb/weapon so nobody is to get close. Unfortunately, Glenn notices that there are some civilians in the line of fire after a plane goes down so he dashes over but gets hit by the radiation. This causes Glenn to start growing to an incredible size. The plus is that this heals all of his burns like a sort of regeneration but the downside is that his heart isn’t growing fast enough and he’s also turning insane. Is there any way to save Glenn or is this game over for him?

His fiancé Carol tries her best to help Glenn out but the main issue in the film is that there isn’t really a way out. There is seemingly no cure that will work in time and in the meanwhile Glenn is in constant pain. I think that’s part of what makes this one of the roughest trials for a lead here. It’s a pretty hopeless situation even if he wasn’t going crazy. Of course if he could have helped them that would be great but he lasted a while before cracking and it wasn’t really doing much.

I can’t say that I liked Glenn much by the end though. Even if turning giant was part of the issue, it would have been good if he could have stayed strong. Maybe have the government start acting shady which is what gets him to start being a little paranoid and you go from there. It would definitely help him out as a main character and make him more sympathetic towards the end.

There are two main adults on the government side in Paul and Eric. They try to help manage the Glenn situation but I wouldn’t say they do a terrific job. Part of why Glenn cracks is because nobody is really telling him much. Sure, they do tell him stuff like they’re looking into the issue and all that but nothing concrete. After a while it’s clear to him that they’re leading him on and I don’t think he’s totally wrong about that. Any cure would be a longshot and might not even make it in time.

I also think using a circus tent as a base probably wasn’t the best idea to his already damaged psyche. Surely there could have been other large areas to use that wouldn’t have been quite as insulting to the guy. If the film could have used any extra boost though, it’s that I wouldn’t have minded seeing the Colossal Man destroy more buildings and such. The actual destruction is kept fairly minimal probably so the film wouldn’t make Glenn seem too irredeemable.

This is also probably the kind of film that would be more difficult to execute in a modern setting. As the film is low key it can only really work with the dialogue being up to par. Of course a modern film would likely add a lot of action which would make the point moot as that’s another way to succeed but if you’re going to do this through pure dialogue then you need the old way of speaking like in this film. Then with that you’re all set for action.

Of course a modern element that could work would be for Carol to have a more active role in the story. Something beyond just walking around and asking for questions about Glenn. Not that she didn’t do a good job with this but it’s still a more passive role as opposed to her knocking out some guards to find him or something like that. I suppose it’s nice that the government wasn’t evil in the end this time though.

I absolutely would not want the job of feeding the Colossal Man though. I was even a bit surprised that the guy escaped with his life since it really seemed like he could be squashed at any second. Glenn was definitely not playing around by this point and was pretty much all gone. The ending underscores why he was ultimately not a huge thread though. At the end of the day unless you’re bullet proof then there is only so much damage that you can pull off. In a way the government could have stopped him at any time and you the viewer knows it.

Overall, The Amazing Colossal Man is a pretty good film. I wouldn’t call it amazing or anything but it gets the job done and follows the classic formula of a creature feature. In fact it’s so direct that there isn’t a whole lot to discuss compared to other films. You could probably guess most of the story beats just from the title without even watching the film. The writing is solid and the character cast is good which makes for a solid combo. The movie goes by quickly and has a good amount of replay value. You’ll definitely want to go into this expecting more of a drama film than an action one but as long as you go in with that mindset then you’ll be all set.

Overall 7/10

Merrily We Live Review

Now this is a film that’s really bonkers right from the start. You’ve got a whole lot of people in a big house trying to stop the madness from continuing. The film never takes itself too seriously and just embraces how wild it all is which I would say works well. It’s just a full comedy that will get you some good laughs.

The film starts off by showing us that the main family has been robbed. The family can really blame Emily for this as she has a habit of inviting people in to live with them without doing any big background checks or research. At heart she just wants to do the right thing and help everyone out but this tends to backfire real badly. Now she has decided to finally stop doing this but when a guy named Rawlins walks in she decides to take in one more person. The rest of the family is convinced that this guy will be trouble though and are determined to kick him out. Will they be able to claim victory here?

So right off the bat I do have to agree with the family that Emily needs to stop this. It’s great to try and get someone back on their feet but just bringing in any random person off the street to live in her home is a bit too much. Aside from this being an obvious safety hazard, you may just get robbed like what happened here. It also seems as if this is not the first time that this has happened. The main issue is that Emily has a very short memory and also gets lost in her thoughts. Half the time she forgets her own memories and so the whole movie she just seems really confused.

It’s all part of the gag of course but as a result I would have to put her as one of the weaker characters in the film. She just gets everyone into trouble the whole time. Meanwhile Rawlins is a standout character. He takes everything in stride and always finds a way to turn the situation to his advantage. To his credit he even tries to stay out of trouble but often it is just outside of his control so from there on he just does his best. By the end of the film it’s clear that he has to be the most clever character.

It’s easy to root for him too since it’s not like he tried to be in this position. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Meanwhile you have his rival Grosvenor who is the main butler there and naturally wants Rawlins gone. He’s the kind of guy who wants absolute power so being told that this new guy will be working under him doesn’t go over so well. Unfortunately for Grosvenor he is always on the losing side here. He just can’t keep up with Rawlins at all from wit to toughness.

There’s one or even multiple times where Rawlins calls Grosvenor out on his challenges and the guy quickly backs down. It has to be rough being the boss but knowing that the underling can beat you at any time. You don’t feel too bad for him by the end since Grosvenor’s reasonable concerns just turn into straight paranoia by the end. If he had stopped to try and get along with Rawlins then things could have just gone a whole lot better for him.

As for the rest of the family, they all get some stuff to do as well but there’s almost not enough time for all of them to get a really meaningful role. First up you have Henry who is the father of the household and he isn’t thrilled about Rawlins either. He doesn’t have much more luck than Grosvenor though as Rawlins is just always one step ahead and ready to stop all of his attacks. Rawlins’ final attack involving a phone call was just perfect for him because it provided the guy with absolute safety.

Then you’ve got Jerry who initially takes a hard stance against Rawlins as well but his charms eventually win her over so that’s the end of that. You can forget about her boyfriend as well, now that guy is absolutely doomed right from the jump. Just seeing him for 2 seconds is enough for you to know how that plot is going to end. Marion also ends up falling for Rawlins because the guy just has too much flair and personality.

I suppose with this group all just living their lives as always with their routines, it probably felt nice to have someone just shake things up the whole time. Rawlins does add a whole lot to the dynamic so it’s good to see him here. The film really nailed his character here which was important. How much you enjoy the film will absolutely be determined by how much you like him as a main character and how you enjoy the family. They’ve all got their quirks and all so if you find them annoying then that could hurt the film.

I’d say it works though and it all goes down to how the film is super aware of how absurd the whole thing is. It doesn’t hold anything back with the characters all being crazy and this just escalates as the film goes on to the point where Emily can’t even recognize her own worker. (Rawlins) Despite the guy not even wearing a disguise at all. You just have to roll with it all and then it just works.

Overall, Merrily We Live is a good film. It’s just crazy enough to turn a super ordinary plot into something fun. There’s even a little scare for some of the characters when someone is thought to be dead for a few minutes there. As long as you have a few good laughs during the film then it will have succeeded. It’s all rather fast and there aren’t any bad characters here so that gets a thumbs up from me. It may have a little less replay value than some other comedy films but on your initial watch you should definitely be all set.

Overall 7/10

No Highway in the Sky Review

This film had a fun premise right from the jump. While I think it does cop out on this a bit and I would have liked for most of the film to be in the plane, it was still a fun ride all the way through. There definitely is no highway in the sky so you better make sure not to fall off or it’s going to be a long way down. If you like a tense film with imminent danger on the horizon then this is the movie for you.

The film starts off by introducing us to the space case known as Theodore. This guy is an absolute genius but this has come at the expense of common sense so he is often scatter brained and just forgets things all the time. His daughter puts up with it and does her best to help out but it’s clear that this guy is going nowhere fast. Well, Theodore has a theory that the Reindeer planes will all crash after going a certain distance and just needs some more time to prove it. The firm thinks this is a good idea so they decide to fly him over to the side…using a Reindeer!!! Oh nooooo, now Theodore is stuck in an aerial death trap that is about to exceed the amount of miles he theorizes will destroy the plane. Can he get them to land or is he doomed?

Now I do want to underscore that while Theodore is very forgetful and all, he is still known as an absolutely top tier scientist. There is no reason to believe that he has actually made a mistake on the calculations so that’s where the tension comes in. The worst part for Theodore is that the way the ship breaks is impossible to detect before it happens. Of course that makes the story a lot harder to buy because then it really sounds like he’s just making stuff up.

You feel bad for him also because he’s not very good at talking this through. He’s not really used to making conversation with people in general so he has to try and scramble to get his thoughts together but it ain’t easy. I would say he’s a decent character but not great or anything. He can lose his cool a little too quick when someone starts to doubt his ideas and the whole forgetfulness goes a bit too far. He should just come up with some kind of invention or idea to help him keep track of things if he isn’t able to surpass his limits on his own.

The film’s only weakness here is that the romance is very weak. Theodore used to be married but his wife died a while back. So you figure that should be it for the romance as a rebound now would not be in good taste. Well, it happens anyway and after only knowing her for a few hours, there is a connection with Theodore and the stewardess Marjorie. There’s just no natural way for this to play out though. They really don’t know each other all that well and so it’s hard to believe that things would progress quite like this.

She was a very nice person who had his back and all when it counted but that shouldn’t automatically jump straight to love. It felt like a bit of a stretch if you ask me. The cast is fairly small so the only other big character was the actress Monica who gets roped into this when Theodore decides to tell her that the plane is crashing. Probably not the best move if you want to keep things quiet but he had some good reasons for wanting to save her. Surprisingly these reasons were not related to romance or anything like that.

All told, I thought she was a little ungrateful about the whole thing by the end. I guess you may be sore if you thought he was lying about the whole thing but since he wasn’t, it felt like she was just frustrated that she believed it and took it out on him. There was no reason to do that at all. She should have just left or not been so dramatic about everything to start with but her being sore at him came across as a bit petty.

My main issue here is that I think having the whole film be on the plane would have made things a lot more interesting. Have more and more of the passengers start to find out about this until there is a full blown panic. That would be a way to introduce a whole lot of interesting characters and I think it would have done very well. That would just be a recipe for a whole lot of great scenes and dynamics. Instead we get a lot of scenes on the ground talking about what happened and seeing some aftermath. The ending is still really solid and it does all tie together but I feel like the big hype around the film is seeing what will happen to the people on the plane.

Cutting away from that removes a lot of the danger and it’s not easy to just replace that or build it back up again. Ultimately this isn’t really that kind of film. It’s not trying to be a really big thriller or anything like that so it’s more of a slice of life movie with a little tension, but it should have leaned into the premise more. Being stuck on a plane that you think is going to crash sounds great for a plot. Even now I would say there aren’t a ton of films about that kind of location. So the potential here is absolutely enormous.

Overall, No Highway in the Sky is a good film. One that left a lot of meat on the bone so to speak but it was a quality movie either way. Things tend to move a little too fast like the romance or end too quickly like the part on the plane but the execution on everything else is still good. The writing is solid and the pacing is good so I would be able to watch this one again. It’s got a good amount of replay value and is a pleasant film so there’s not a lot to dislike. If they ever do a modern remake though, I expect them to switch things up a bit.

Overall 7/10

Road to Perdition Review

Now we’re going to look at a classic Mafia story. The film itself isn’t all that old but I would say the story is sort of what you would expect when you think of the genre. You’ve got the main guy who is quite good at his job of being an enforcer but then things go south and now he has to find a way to protect his family or at least what remains of it. The execution is good though and I would recommend this film. It’s strong all around.

The movie starts by introducing us to Michael who is the top worker at the mafia. If someone needs to be bumped off or even just shaken up a bit, he’s the guy that you would call. Unfortunately he is paired up with the rather crazy Connor, the son of the head of the mafia. This guy seems to have some dark secrets and is always quick to shoot the people that they are just supposed to talk to. Unfortunately Michael’s son Junior (Also called Michael so Junior will be easier for the review) got to see this and it shattered his illusions.

Junior didn’t know that Michael was a mobster after all and now he has to live with the burden that this big secret brings along with it. It’s not easy that’s for sure and Connor decides to make it his mission to take Michael down for always being better than him. So Connor basically frames Michael by putting the gears in motion and forcing Michael to murder a guy who was after him. Now the whole gang is on his tail so his only chance is to take Junior and get out of town. Unfortunately he was not home soon enough to save the rest of his family. He knows he can run for a while but ultimately there is on leaving the mafia. His only other option is to destroy them all.

You might almost think this is like one of those classic action films where Michael is just bumping everyone off as he runs around the city but the movie isn’t really going in that direction. Instead it’s more low key and going for a realistic angle in that he can’t just take everyone out. Well…that changes a bit towards the end but at first most of the tension is just in trying to get away. Michael also takes this chance to really bond with Junior and even teach him some valuable life skills.

At the end of the day he doesn’t want Junior to continue in the mafia business for good reason. That’s just no place to grow up since you will always end up having a bad end there. I do think the movie made a big mistake in having the first scene take place in the future where we see that Junior is alive though. That is always a big mistake for me in any film because even if the odds are slim that he would die, why not leave it as a real possibility? Particularly in a film like this where kids do die so nobody is safe.

Mob type films are hard to predict how they will end because there really are a lot of different paths that you can go with it. For example, the actual revenge in this film is a lot more low key than you would expect. It’s not a 20 minute gunfight in the alleys or anything like that, but instead it’s carried out like an assassination. So in a lot of ways the film probably doesn’t play out in quite the way that you would expect and that’s a good thing. Nothing wrong with going down the classic path but the film is throwing you for a loop at times which is good.

Michael is a solid main character as well. I would consider him to be a villain here as no matter the reasons, he is working for a villainous organization and bumping people off. At least he does have an honor code though and it seems like he is trying his best to keep his family out of it. Junior is more on the annoying side. He’s just a kid and all but he still ends up getting in the way and isn’t quick on the uptake. Causing a mess at school and not being very discreet about what he learned just put a big target on everyone. I do think that things would have played out the same way eventually no matter what Junior did but he didn’t make things any easier.

As for Connor, he’s the main villain here. The guy isn’t really my kind of villain as he only stands a chance through cheap shots and deception. In a straight fight he wouldn’t stand a chance at all and part of why he is so jealous is because he could never do as well as Michael. He lets his emotions get the best of him all the time so he is definitely in the wrong line of work.

The writing is good which is important and the setting is fittingly framed like a Noir kind of world. Even the scenes where it is light out never feel all that happy for the characters because danger is around every corner. I do think that the leader of the mafia should have backed Michael up though. He seemed to know that the whole thing was a frame up but defended Connor anyway because of the blood relation and his image. A true boss needs to look at things objectively and so you could really blame him for everything as well. I was glad the lead didn’t let him off easily there. He definitely messed up.

Overall, Road to Perdition is a good movie. It’s tense all the way through and is a fairly detailed look at the mafia world without being overly gritty. I feel as though this is a tricky genre to execute properly since following a bunch of villains is always a tough balancing act in any setting. This one does well not to go too far with it though and aside from spoiling the future with the opening scene, I wouldn’t say that it made any big mistakes. It’s got a good amount of replay value to it as even though the beginning may be a bit quiet, it’s all building up to the more intense second half. We’ll see if the next mafia/mob title can beat this one.

Overall 7/10

The Bedford Incident Review

We’ve definitely got a real fun film with this one. When you’ve got all of the characters stuck on a boat for the duration of the film you definitely have to have good writing and a solid plot in order to keep things going. Fortunately this movie pulls that off without a hitch and so you’ll be having a good time here from start to finish.

The movie starts with Ben and Chester being brought to a navy ship to work under a rather controversial captain known as Eric. Eric’s fairly good at his job but the issue is that he tends to be rather obsessive. He can go too far in his duties to protect the ship and as a result he has not gotten a promotion despite having all kinds of medals and accomplishments. Ben is a reporter and so naturally he is curious about this while Chester is just trying to do his best as the ship doctor. Both of them don’t yet realize that this post will be tougher than they expect.

Right off the gate I do like how this film handles itself in terms of making the ship adventure fun. The limited amount of backgrounds and scenery are hidden by all the different camera angles and dynamic action taking place. You don’t have much time to feel like the characters are constrained because there is always something going on. There is never a chance to be bored or feel like the plot has slowed down.

I would say a lot of the credit to that goes to the Captain. Eric is a perfect antagonist, he’s not a villain or anything as he tries to do his job but antagonist is his role as the guy keeps getting in the way of the two main characters. He’s very set in his ways and is resistant to change. The guy gets extremely defensive for any kind of questions and really wants to be acknowledged as the master of the boat. All decisions go through him and that’s final. He pushes his men to the breaking point and resists all of Chester’s ideas for health and safety.

Eric seems to believe that any kind of healthy eating regime or exercise program would weaken his troops. That it would take their focus off of the mission and so he doesn’t support this. He wants them all to live and breathe the mission. After many years at sea with the crew, it’s fair to say that Eric has drilled this mentality into most of them. He’s borderline crazy but I just like the intensity that he brings to every scene. Eric knows that he’s right and everyone else is wrong. He never loses that mindset.

Meanwhile Ben does really well in his role as reporter. He starts things off by being amiable and working with Eric but as the captain starts to show him some disrespect, Ben quickly responds in kind. It’s clear that he’s not someone who will just let himself be pushed around. When he finally does get his big interview with Eric, Ben is quite direct with his questions. He knows that Eric has certain viewpoints on the government’s handling of the situation and works on backing him into a corner in order to get the guy to confirm this.

At the end Ben also stays in control much longer than the rest of the characters. Then you’ve got Chester who seems by all accounts to be a good doctor. He has some baggage in his past but there’s no indication that he has gotten worse at his job or is slacking off. His ideas are good but Eric completely ignores all of them. There just isn’t much Chester can do at that point since he has to go through the captain. He also ends up backing down when confronted which really sealed his chances of winning there. The only shot for him to have earned Eric’s respect would have been to stand his ground since the captain values toughness above all. It just wasn’t to be though.

The character roster is fairly small as these 3 are the main characters by far but then you’ve got two other supporting characters. First is Ensign who is a new recruit that means well but Eric is always really tough on him. Eric’s co-captain/friend tries to get the guy to lay off of him but it doesn’t work. Ultimately Ensign doesn’t let it get to him or at least tries to keep a tough front in spite of it. Then you have Wolfgang who is sort of an expert at giving us a view into what the enemy might be thinking.

That’s his role at least but I have major doubts on how good he is at it. I didn’t really think he helped a whole lot but at least he tried to tell Eric to back off. He was instigating the captain for most of the film though so I’d say it was too little too late by that point. Better late than never though.

The ending to this movie is really great though. For a little while you’re wondering if the film would actually go through with such a bold way of ending things but it does and I’d say that was a good thing. It may not be the happiest ending around but it does make the most sense based on how things were progressing. There was a lot of foreshadowing and given how Eric treats his men and the ship, it was all leading to this. Whether it happened now or later on, it was only a matter of time for an ending like this to take effect.

I’d say the film really reminds you of what a tough job it is to be in the navy as well. Either you’re a rank and file soldier who just has to keep following orders even if it sounds crazy or you’re a general that is still limited by the orders from above. The main difference is that you do have some power though and have to take responsibility for the result. No matter how you slice it, it’s just tough and you don’t exactly get a whole lot of time off here. These guys were stuck in the sea for long periods of time.

Overall, The Bedford Incident is a strong film that is carried by quality characters and really good writing. You’ll be very engaged the whole time because the movie is just really well made. You’re always at the edge of your seat wondering if Eric is right in pursuing a foreign ship so hard or if he really is crazy and taking everyone to their doom. Hindsight will be very powerful in this situation but what you do in the moment is most critical. I’d definitely recommend this flim to anyone that wants to watch a film about a lot of characters in a tense situation with no way out.

Overall 7/10

Samaritan Review

It’s always nice to have another superhero film around. The more the merrier I say and this one’s fairly good. It feels a little low in stakes for the most part so it’s very much an old school origin story but it’s an interesting one and has good pacing throughout. I’d be interested to see this continue into a full series so hopefully it can keep on going. Definitely worth checking out on Amazon.

The movie starts by explaining to us the legend of the Samaritan and Nemesis. They were twin brothers who developed extraordinary abilities such as super strength and durability. They could not easily be injured and so one of them used their powers for evil while the other turned to good. Eventually after a fantastic battle they were both presumed dead but in the present many believe that the Samaritan still exists. One such believer is a kid named Sam who really looks up to this hero. Now he thinks that his neighbor across the street is actually the Samaritan. Is he right or is this all just wishful thinking?

I don’t blame the reporter for not believing Sam because apparently the kid tends to think a lot of people are the Samaritan. It’s the classic “Boy cried wolf” scenario that always tends to get in the way for characters like this. The reporter’s role is small but I look forward to him doing more in a sequel. He seems like a likable guy after all. As for Sam, he’s okay but I do wish the main character could have been someone a bit older. Kids can rarely hold their own plots as the lead and the whole time you wish you could see more of Joe instead.

Sam can fight to a degree and so I wouldn’t say he’s bad or anything. He stuck up for his friend when it counted and didn’t back down from the villains. There’s a solid moment when he punches out the main bully as well so I would give major kudos for that. But for every good moment like that, you have him being a thief or working with the villains. He was hard up for cash which led him to the wrong side but ultimately it’s still a choice that he made.

Now Joe is a solid character. He still helps out at times but prefers to stay to the shadows. Unfortunately that is also his weakness as I always have an issue with heroes just deciding to mind their business. As soon as they got their powers that just wasn’t a realistic option anymore. It may not seem fair but at this point he has an obligation to society and to keep on fighting. So being off the grid for so many years wasn’t good, particularly with how bad the town has gotten. It’s clear that nobody is in a good position right now and he could have easily made a difference. At least he eventually gets back into the action.

Cyrus is the main villain here and he’s okay. I mean he’s your average thug type but at least he doesn’t seem totally insane. He’s got an actual goal and isn’t the kind of guy to blow up his minions for no reason. I think if he could have gotten a true power bump and started flying around that would have helped him out. Still, I was satisfied with him. He doesn’t get a ton of screen time until the climax but makes his presence felt for sure.

Sam’s mother Tiffany doers her best throughout the circumstances and is a good supporting character. She’s suitably tough on Sam for some of his bigger mistakes without being too overbearing about it. She also does her best to protect him when the villains come around and so she definitely did her best. Ultimately there were just too many villains even if individually they weren’t too powerful. Sam punched out the main bully easily enough after all.

The fight scenes are fun but there aren’t any real threats for Joe to fight here. Even the main villain never appears to be a true threat if you ask me. There’s no point where you think Joe is going down. This may be the first film in the series but I think you can still put in a more powerful villain. Have the hammer amp everything up to a higher degree than just being an attack item would have worked for example. At least the movie still does have fun with the effects when Joe is punching everyone out. You have characters sliding across the floor and falling through the wall.

I’d also give the film credit for one solid twist in there. It’s not one I was expecting but then when it happens, it makes a lot of sense in hindsight. That’s the best kind of twist as it’s clear that the film did give you a fair chance with the various signs and I would say it was the right move. I thought it was very interesting and adds an extra layer to the film. It’s something that the sequel can build off of as well.

Throw in a real soundtrack and this movie would be even better. Surprisingly there just isn’t much music at all here so the film is often quiet. I suppose it’s going for a more somber approach but you should always find a way to put in some good tunes somehow. Trust me, they can enhance any film even if there aren’t a lot of action scenes. Ultimately this is a fairly grounded film so I’d call it a low key action title but it’s one that works well. I would certainly recommend it to any action fan.

Overall, The Samaritan is a quality film and one that was well made. I think it could have stood to be a bit more explosive but as far as origin stories go, it still does the trick. It’s hard to see this being the next big action franchise or anything like that but you never know. I’m always ready for more superhero films no matter what studio wants to do it. Hopefully if this does well then Amazon may think about turning it into a whole cinematic universe.

Overall 7/10

Cellular Review

This is one of those films with some fairly big names but I can’t remember ever seeing it anywhere. So it’s fairly obscure and I’d say the film turned out to be good. I’m not calling it great or anything but it was better than I expected. There’s a lot going on in here and it keeps this from just being another film about finding someone who’s being held captive.

The movie starts with Jessica getting kidnapped by a group of thugs led by Ethan. They want some kind of information in connection with her husband but she has no idea what they are even talking about. Fortunately while they may have broken the phone, she is able to repair the shards of it just enough to make calls. She brushes the cords together enough times until she is able to reach a guy called Ryan. He’s not really in the mood for any of this and figures it could be a trick either way. Still, he decides to humor her and eventually hears enough where he knows that this is real. It’s going to be difficult to get anyone to believe him though so it’s a race against time now.

Right off the bat I do think the whole plot is a tad convenient with the broken phone still being able to make calls. I mean the whole wires thing was creative but still I’m a little dubious about that being enough to actually get to a phone nearby. That random element just felt like the odds were a little too low for success and the whole movie is build around that premise. Beyond that the rest is believable enough and turns into your classic thriller film.

Ethan makes for a fairly intense villain. We don’t know a whole lot about him but you know enough to tell that he is serious about his threats. When it comes time for a fight he’s also a lot more skilled than the heroes but this isn’t really a full action movie which is lucky for them. There are a few other villains but none of them are quite as important for the most part. They definitely don’t get the same amount of screen time at least.

Unfortunately Ryan isn’t a great main character. I don’t blame him for thinking this is a trick at first. That part’s believable enough as this whole scenario is hard to buy into but he’s just not a very nice guy. He’s trying to get back together with his ex but when she gives him a basic task to complete…he gives it to his friend? How would that help his relationship with the girl at all? I feel like that plot didn’t make much sense and just confirms her suspicions on him not being very mature. It’s no wonder that they weren’t together anymore.

I suppose part of the film’s goal is to show how he gets more mature throughout the film but considering how short the time frame is here it’s hard to really say that. Being in the middle of a very stressful situation isn’t a great way to really see development after all. As for Jessica, well there’s not a whole lot that she can do either way so I’d say she did well enough. It’s not like getting captured was her fault and she fights well in trying to get out. So all in all I would give her character a thumbs up.

Her husband Craig looks awful though. His role is small but he basically got her into this whole situation and is not a reliable guy. I’d argue that he didn’t think ahead at all and he should have been able to warn her ahead of time. I did like Officer Mooney though. He’s getting ready to retire but when this situation comes up he figures he can help out one last time. He goes above and beyond the call of duty in getting mixed up with this when he could have just walked out into retirement. I have to give him some solid credit for that. He is quick with the trigger and isn’t an easy mark for anyone.

It’s easy to say that he’s the best hero in the film. I dare say he would have held up way better than Ryan as the lead. His plot has some intrigue to it as things don’t line up with the cops and it adds an extra layer of mystery to the whole thing. Ryan doesn’t have as much time to really dwell on this since he’s always on the move while Mooney is able to put the pieces together. Chad is Ryan’s best friend but the guy has almost no purpose being in the film. I guess the film has him try to be funny but it doesn’t work. Then there’s the ex Chloe who probably should have held her ground in staying away from Ryan. It’s clear that this guy is trouble.

The movie does have some decent comedy scenes like when Ryan broke into the phone company and flashed his gun. After how he tried so many times to do things peacefully, it was a good way to end that. Then I also liked that lawyer that Ryan bumped into. The guy may have been a bit exaggerated in how standoffish he was, but it made for some great moments. I’m a bit mixed on how the cell signals could just cross like that but I’ll assume it’s possible. It definitely helped to increase the stakes as well as the issue of not dropping the signal or Ryan would have no way to contact the lady again. Above it all though, the lawyer was just really funny in all of his scenes.

In a lot of ways the film is very by the books. The gimmick is unique with the whole cell phone angle but beyond that there isn’t much that stands out. I would say the thriller elements are exciting enough where this is a good movie even if it’s not great. I didn’t have many issues with it at all. The heroes could be a bit on the annoying side without a doubt (Ryan executed his final plan horribly. If not for Mooney he would have been doomed. Maybe choosing the park where everyone knows him was a bad idea…) but the pacing was quick and so the film glides by. It doesn’t drag on and so there’s a good amount of replay value. I’d be able to rewatch this one fairly quick even though I just saw it.

Overall, If you’re looking for a fun thriller movie that you haven’t watched before then this is a good one to check out. It’s a fairly light adventure that doesn’t feel high budget or anything but it doesn’t make mistakes either. I feel like a good amount of effort was put into this one and I’d be cool with a sequel or another film using this gimmick. I think there’s a lot you could do with it but I would find some other way for the main character to be contacted. A broken phone just doesn’t make a lot of sense for me.

Overall 7/10

El Dorado Review

The Wild West definitely has some very solid films out there and then some that can be rather weak. I’d say the genre always comes with a lot of risks but when no mistakes are made you can be sure that it’ll be a fun ride. One character may have been really annoying the whole time here but ultimately I’d say that the film itself is a winner.

The film starts off strong with Sheriff J.P. pulling up to a hotel and threatening Cole. He’s heard talk of Cole being scouted by one of the two families involved in a rather large dispute over land. Cole hadn’t actually accepted the job yet but J.P. convinces him that it’s a crooked deal and not to go through with it. The two of them have a fairly solid rivalry going with each other but one built out of respect so Cole doesn’t just disregard his words. He thinks about it and ultimately declines the offer but not before having to bump off one of the family members in self defense.

We skip ahead in time a while and Cole happens to meet up with a guy named McLeod who has been offered the same job and decided to take it. At first Cole isn’t worried but then he is told that J.P. has fallen into tough times recently as he got dumped and has become a complete alcoholic who can no longer function. It’s really not part of Cole’s business at this point but he can’t turn his back on the sheriff. Cole heads into town for one last fight.

Right off the bat I can tell you that one of the big things that helps this movie stand out is that Cole is a great main character. He’s not a hero strictly speaking but the guy has a good honor code and won’t just let bad things happen. When a kid named Mississippi is nearly taken down in a dirty fight, Cole steps in to save him. Likewise when J.P. is in a bad spot, Cole is the one to jump in and win the day. He is one of the fastest guns in the world and doesn’t feel a need to prove himself. So you don’t see Cole bragging but he’ll certainly fight if the need arises.

He has a lot of restraint too like with how he has to handle Joey’s repeated attacks on him. Cole really does his best not to murder unless absolutely necessary. Even when he was ambushed by one of the family members, Cole was able to fire back but took care not to murder him. The guy just ended up shooting himself. Cole is certainly someone that you want on your side in any fight.

Now as for J.P., I liked him in the first scene but man did he fall off after that. All because he was dumped too? Nah that’s just a little too much. He looks absolutely embarrassing after that and sure he gets his big moment by the end but it’s a little too late. You have to retain some level of dignity in the meantime and just drinking yourself into oblivion is not the way out. The main missed opportunity due to this plot is that we don’t get a lot of fun banter between the two characters. Having that throughout the movie would have been a lot of fun but ultimately he can’t keep up with Cole so there’s no chance of that.

Now Mississippi was a really fun character. A little naïve for sure with how he underestimated everyone at the bar but his actual skills are good in a straight fight. I thought he was going to get more scenes with his knife after the opening scene but I suppose he proved his point. I also thought it was good that Cole went to train him because realistically you do need a gun in the wild west. No matter how good you are with a knife, a gun will still be the stronger tool in your trade. That just makes sense.

His gun was also a lot of fun because of how huge and long range it was. It really helped to make up for his lack of pure skill. You’ve also got Bull who is an older man that helps out a whole lot in the movie. He gets a lot of fun scenes and it’s nice to see how he can still fight at such an old age. Bull’s got a good attitude about the whole thing and contributed a whole lot.

Then you have Joey who is on her quest for vengeance for most of the movie. It’s all built around a big misunderstanding and she doesn’t really want to hear the truth. Granted, you do get why she would be super skeptical. The whole thing is a little hard to buy with the guy shooting himself and Cole was naturally a huge suspect. Ultimately it takes a while but she comes around. I thought she still made for an interesting third party kind of villain.

The best villain had to be McLeod though. His skills are on par with that of Cole’s and so that also makes them rivals in a sense. They’re some of the best in their line of work and pull no punches. Unfortunately the way things turn out we don’t get the big fight that you may have been waiting for. It would have been nice to have seen that but perhaps things would not have gone well for Cole if that had happened. It’s hard to say but there was no obvious answer to who would win. McLeod is another guy with a solid honor system and he was a very interesting villain. His scenes were always fun.

If the film has one weakness it’s that I didn’t actually care about the family land squabble. The guy who was trying to steal the land and the family who wouldn’t give it up? I never really cared about either side or how the battle would go. It felt like the film didn’t give them much attention either as it was more focused on the main characters. I don’t really feel like that’s a bad thing but by the end I couldn’t tell you much about either side.

Usually in these wild west films that would have been a much bigger aspect. Instead, getting J.P.’s honor back was more of a main theme and the heroes finally getting ready to go up against the bigger odds. So in that sense, the overall story isn’t as interesting as the actual character moments. You think of the villains more like nameless goons who are about to get absolutely dominated in the fights.

The romance is also a little weak but I wouldn’t say there’s much of it. There’s one lady who seems to have had affair with both of the guys in the past so they may want to rethink that one. You had J.P. getting dumped off screen but that’s hard to call a romance since we never saw it. The movie doesn’t have time for many subplots though which is for the best if this is any indication of how a longer romance would have gone.

Overall, El Dorado is a good movie. It’s a classic tale of two rivals having to team up against a common enemy. I wouldn’t say it’s quite as action packed as some other Wild West titles as there’s a lot of build up and character development until the climax, but the climax itself is rather long so you’ll still get a lot of bang for your buck. With a solid cast of main characters, they more than make up for the story itself not being one of the most memorable ones. If you’re a fan of the genre then you should definitely check it out.

Overall 7/10

The Monster That Challenged the World Review

It’s time for a very classic creature feature kind of movie. You can bet that you won’t be seeing anything that really changes the world here but it’s a simple film that does tackle its themes well. It executes without making any real mistakes and at the end of the day that’s exactly what you want to see from a movie like this. The human characters are all solid but very forgettable as they don’t have much of a personality. How are they solid then? Well, the writing in the film is really good so each character talks very professionally and to the point, they just feel more like the film itself than individuals.

The movie starts with the creature taking down a bunch of civilians but is ultimately low diffed by a guy with a harpoon. They take the body back to the lab where it is studied by the government and the concerning thing isn’t the creature itself, but the fact that it can rapidly multiply. One scientist even says that at this speed it could even end up threatening the entire planet! This is clearly not a threat to sneeze at but what can the humans possibly do about it?

When you have a monster film about quantity over quality it is always a pretty interesting change in dynamic from the one giant monster approach. After all if you have one big monster then it stands to reason that the humans are absolutely doomed and will need big bombs. When it’s a lot of smaller ones, the fear is that they will ultimately overpower you. I tend to prefer the one big monster approach but both can work. I do think the monster should have looked a little stronger though. Losing to a single guy with a stick? That’s just not very impressive even if the eye is a weak point. It just doesn’t feel like enough to make you feel scared as the audience even with a swarm of them.

The design is good though. I do like how the creature looked so I’ll give the film props there. The movie still does have a good amount of tension too. I wouldn’t call it scary in the slightest or anything like that but it does get the danger element across. You fully understand that at this point the humans have to band together to stop it or they will absolutely be conquered. There’s no other way around it.

Now as for the humans, well like I said they’re not super memorable. You’ve got Gail who helps a lot with the research and keeping things on track. She’s good and stays on task at all times. Without her the characters would not have been updated enough to stop the monster. Then you have her daughter Sandy who unfortunately ends up messing things up on multiple occasions. At least it was to help the Rabbits but it just reminds you why the kids tend to get in the way for things like this. They don’t understand the stakes and as a result they end up getting in the way.

Then there’s general Twill who is the main army guy here. He always acts rather serious but deep down he’s a nice guy and all of that jazz. The film tries to throw in a bit of a romance here which doesn’t work at all. It’s all a little too fast and doesn’t really add onto the film at all. It’s another instance of just being there to check off the box of having romance but doesn’t really fall into place.

I don’t believe the movie is very long and I can certainly confirm that it doesn’t feel long. It’s over very quickly and so I guess what you can say as a negative is that it won’t feel very memorable. It’s really like many other creature feature films that you would have seen before. It’s not really trying to do anything different at all. It just follows the motions from start to finish but because it was executed well, I didn’t really have a problem with it. It’s still an enjoyable picture.

It plays everything very safe and so it doesn’t make any mistakes even if there are no big highs to be found here either. Whether someone is a fan of monster movies or just a good story, you could recommend this one. At the end of the day it’s about humanity uniting to stop a common threat. You get to see everyone really try to work together on this in time to stop the threat.

Now what I would have done to make this a little more memorable would have been to add some scenes to make the characters a little more dynamic. Usually this is where I recommend adding more action but instead maybe make Twill a little more headstrong. That’s a character trait that always makes a character more memorable. For Gail, I’d throw in some motivation like she wants to help out to really prove herself now that her husband is gone. If anything maybe have him stick around to get bumped off by the monster for that revenge arc. These traits may seem a little cliche, but hey it would be more than as it is currently.

Overall, Don’t let the title fool you, the monster isn’t actually challenging the world verbally or literally by being a force of nature. It’s the potential of the monster in the future which is a threat. That may not sound as exciting as he alternative but that’s just how it is here. It’s still living up to the title slightly I suppose but just not in a big way. If we ever get a remake or sequel, then they need to buff the monster quite a bit but hopefully keep the writing just as solid. Either way, there’s nothing to really dislike here so you’ll have a fun time all the way through.

Overall 7/10

Kiss of Death Review

With a title like this you probably won’t be surprised that this is a Noir movie. It’s certainly got that vibe from the start and you wouldn’t be wrong. It’s a solid film about the dangers of getting into the criminal racket. Once you go in, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get out easy and Nick learns that the hard way. It’s a satisfying adventure but one that didn’t play out the way that I thought it would.

The movie starts with Nick getting caught after his latest heist and taken to jail. The time for this one is going to potentially be 20 years so the DA, A’Angelo tries to strike a deal but Nick declines. He figures that the other crooks will look out for him. Unfortunately they don’t and his wife ends up dead with no money to her name. Nick decides to do the deal now but 3 years have passed and the opportunity is not the same. He has one shot to get back at the crooks which is to be a stoolie for the cops. He’ll find out info and bring it back to D’Angelo but of course this is a very dangerous job. The villains have a lot of pull and the crazy guy named Tommy on their side. One wrong move will not only destroy Nick, but his rebound girlfriend and his kids.

You can probably guess right off the bat that I was not a fan of the romance here. Look, Nick’s whole reason for revenge and making a deal is because his wife was effectively murdered due to the other crooks not watching out for her. She wasn’t given any money or safety. So then why he is suddenly going out with Nettie? What’s worse is that Nettie and her had a big fight shortly before her death and Nettie basically admits that she has wanted Nick for a while now. Nick’s cool with all of this?

With the title of the film I fully expected Nettie to be the big villain here. There would be a twist about how she’s actually the one who murdered the wife or something like that. It wasn’t a suicide but a frame up. It would have made a lot of sense but the film actually plays it straight which is just as bad if not worse. It’s bad for both parties but in particular it’s a bad look for Nick.

He should not be looking for another wife right now. It’s just way too soon after he’s out of jail. The romance is one of the weakest ones that I’ve seen in a while. He does well beyond that but it’s a big thing to sidestep. The movie is solid in spite of Nick, not because of him. I thought D’Angelo did a good job of giving Nick a lot of chances initially and then explaining that the offer wasn’t forever.

3 years later it makes sense that he would feel a bit sour, especially with how Nick treated him. I wouldn’t say D’Angelo did a good job of protecting him at all though. I can see why Nick didn’t trust him to keep them safe because the guy’s track record was just awful the whole time. Anyone could get past him and that’s absolutely not what you want to hear when there is a big mass murderer after you. Nah, escaping him was the right option here.

Tommy is the big villain and he certainly makes his presence known. He doesn’t like squealers at all and definitely doesn’t take any disrespect. It’s clear that beating him won’t be easy and the guy has a lot of experience. You get the feeling that being his friend is also pretty dangerous since he’s such a spontaneous guy. You may be friends with him one moment and then enemies the next. If you’re an enemy then you’re really out of luck.

I would say that Nick’s plan was extremely risky though and had a near 0% chance of working. There are so many ways it could have gone wrong. I suppose he didn’t have many other options at this point but even so, I wouldn’t say it was a good plan. It’s hard to picture it ever working again even if the scenario was played 100 times. When you’ve got nothing to lose you might as well give it a try, but that’s the only time to play this card.

The movie captures the sense of dread and danger that Nick feels when Tommy is on the loose. These old school Noir titles always knew how to build up a good atmosphere and this one is no exception. Nick knows that as far as he gets, he’ll never be safe. I do think it’s probably worth taking the odds and hopping on a train out of the state though. In theory back then the info networks weren’t quite as advanced so get out of the country and try to survive. Of course there are a significant amount of risks to that and he may be looking over his shoulder the rest of his life but I would wager that the odds are better than trying to settle the score personally. It’s a gamble either way of course.

The writing is also very solid. I like the dialogue exchanges here and it may seem like a small thing but a lot of newer films can’t always hold their own in this same respect. It’s all different eras of course and modern films have their good writing as well but sometimes you just want this classic way of speaking. That false politeness between the heroes and villains, the subtle digs thrown into each sentence. It’s difficult to replicate that.

Overall, Kiss of Death is a good Noir film but I do think it’s held back by some of the choices in the story. I just have a really hard time getting past the whole romance angle. It just feels so crazy considering how the whole plot was about getting past her death. What’s the thought process behind throwing this in? If it was solely because the movie needed some romance then that’s just pretty sad. Making Nettie the villain just made so much sense that I’m still shocked the movie didn’t go that route.

Overall 7/10