Venom: Let There Be Carnage Review


All right, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of checking out a new comic book movie. You can expect a whole lot of excitement, action, and teasing for future films. This one even has a scene after the credits start so make sure you stay in your seats. It’s definitely one that you won’t want to miss and I’m glad that we’re starting to get such important post credit scenes again.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Kasady and Frances as they are locked up in a jail for being psychotic monsters. They bonded there though and quickly became each other’s only friend. Unfortunately for Kasady, Frances is taken away to Ravencroft. We then jump 20+ years to the present where he asks Eddie to see him one last time before Kasady is put to death. Eddie doesn’t know why he’s picked but Kasady basically wants him to print out a message. Eddie agrees but he really has bigger issues at the moment.

While Venom & Eddie mostly know how to get along with each other now but things still aren’t going great for the main character. Eddie’s ex girlfriend has gotten engaged to the rebound guy from the first film, Venom’s been getting more impatient and nearly messing up their secret identity over and over, the cops don’t like Eddie, etc. The last thing he needs is the attention of a serial killer, but he’s in too deep to escape now. Can he survive amidst all the carnage?

So right off the bat I like the banter with Venom and Eddie a lot. A positive of being a sequel is that they are already merged from the start of the film so the movie is able to lean into that dynamic right away. It’s always fun to have Venom throwing his little remarks in throughout the conversation. He gets a lot of good burns in on the opponents and certainly isn’t shy about using his abilities. Surprisingly he even gets some scenes where he looks really intelligent like when he does Eddie’s job for him by inspecting Kasady’s room.

Venom can move quickly, use the computer well, cook, etc. Granted, he is a symbiote that has existed for thousands of years but even so it’s always impressive to see him be able to do all of this. He comes across as a very fun guy and is the standout character in the movie. He likes to think of himself as a lethal protector and it’s a very apt title. He’s certainly no hero as he doesn’t mind murdering just about anyone but he does seem to have good intentions and does obey Eddie’s no murder rules.

Venom acts like a kid half the time but he is always up for a good conversation. When the going gets tough you can definitely expect him to step up even though there is one scene where he really gets scared by Carnage immediately. That’s probably the only moment in the film where it seems like he has 0 resolve. It’s a scene mainly played for laughs but I would argue he was a bit out of character there.

As for Eddie, well he’s a lot of fun as well even if he’s not as good as Venom. Eddie’s humor really comes from him being a punching bag. In any scene he is in, Eddie looks out of his depth, incredibly nervous, unsure of what to do, etc. It’s hard to even see how this guy’s a reporter as he doesn’t seem to have any skill for it. Any detective work he does has to be pointed out by Venom first or he has to have been given the clues already. Venom seems to think he should get most of the credit for Eddie’s current position and I don’t doubt it.

This is a little hard to believe but Eddie may seem even more incompetent at just about everything than in the first film. He gets sad easily and gets wrecked in every possible fight. I do like when he tries to fight Venom mano a mano though. The whole fight is crazy because how can you beat someone who is fused to yourself and can do anything? The short answer is that you can’t but Eddie puts up a good try anyway.

So, I like Eddie because of how bad he looks. I’d say the best way to think about it is that he’s the ultimate underdog and it’s easy to root for someone like that. It’s clear that Eddie isn’t a bad person, he’s just not great at making decisions or anything like that. Both Eddie and Venom ultimately are trying to do their best here and are basically two average joes just trying to survive. (Well, Venom’s not normal but you get my drift)

The rest of the characters are mainly solid. Anne’s role as the main heroine isn’t very big but she makes the most of her moments. She comes in handy with helping Eddie at a crucial moment in the story. I’m not really sure if the whole dinner idea was a good one because it almost feels like the worst possible way to break the news of taking another step in her relationship but the intent was positive. Anne also talks very tough to the villains so she isn’t really afraid of anything. I’d definitely be up her getting a symbiote at some point so she can fight more.

Meanwhile Dan is still there as the rebound guy and he seems nice enough. He even manages to help out a bit. He doesn’t like Eddie all that much but you can’t blame him since Eddie seems really unhinged whenever the guy is around. From Dan’s point of view Eddie really does not seem like a good influence to anyone. The film doesn’t have much romance in it but I will say that at this point any chance of Anne and Eddie being together should be over. You can’t rebound twice and Dan’s a nice guy even if he’s a total pushover. Seriously you have Anne openly flirting in front of him even if it’s for a plan and the guy half heartedly protests.

I’ll give Dan props for being a good person but everyone’s always dunking on him. Anne even having a lot of fun near the end and remembering the good ole days. I just think the film would be going too far in putting him down if they were to break up so hopefully they stay together. Anne and Eddie can just be good friends who have a solid dynamic. It seems like a foreign concept in most Hollywood films but they can and absolutely should be friends without having to go past that.

Then you’ve got the cop Mulligan who can’t stand Eddie either. He seems to feel like Eddie is responsible for everything but he has no proof of anything so all he can do is antagonize Eddie as much as possible. Thing is, I feel like Mulligan could have played things so much better and then he could have been working well with Eddie. Instead he decides to become his enemy which really doesn’t work very well at all. Makes for a good obstacle I suppose, but more from Eddie’s point of view since I like how he just ticks everyone off.

Then we have the villains. First up is Frances who has the sonic powers. It’s cool to see some traditional super powers here, really makes it feel like a comic book movie. I was glad that when she meets up with Kasady she took the powers in stride. It’s always annoying to see a character suddenly turn on the hero because the powers look scary. Kasady’s no hero but from her point of view he suddenly returned to save her so I was glad that she actually seemed happy and grateful. It feels like the natural reaction here and the two trust each other a lot.

I did find it odd how she seems so ready to use her sonic powers even once she realizes that it actually hurts Kasady’s symbiote though. Maybe it’s just a habit so she doesn’t think about it much? Then you have Kasady who is about as insane as you would expect. He’s one of those guys who was seemingly always twisted. He tries to give a half hearted origin story later on but Venom isn’t really buying his excuses and I can’t say that I am either. Once you become a mass murderer that’s pretty much it.

Carnage is definitely the more interesting villain though. We don’t see quite as much of his personality in the film but whenever he shows himself you know that things are about to get wild. His sheer power is quite up there and all of his stats across the board are impressive. Carnage is also very confident and a symbiote of his word. These are all traits that make him a very solid villain.

Outside of the characters I also liked how the whole intro scene pre title card was handled. First off, the soundtrack really stands out. The logo is colorful and this all feels like something that could have been the intro to an animated film. It quickly sets up the motivation for the main villain as well as gives us some foreshadowing for what is to come. I’m not always on board with starting the film with a non action scene but this one works out well enough.

Even outside the intro scene I would say the film’s soundtrack is very good. There’s even a brief rock theme that plays while Kasady is in the car. The action scenes are also really good. I was even on board with Carnage tearing through the asylum and taking everyone down. Massacre scenes can often go with grit over style which ends up wrecking them or get drawn out too much to where it can get boring since the humans have no chance. This one handles the scenes really well. With the exception of the tongue scene which is more grotesque than stylized, I would give the scene a solid win.

Then of course you have the big Venom vs Carnage battles and those are just as good as you would expect. They really show off the power both fighters have and also how versatile their movesets are. I admit that I would like to see Venom use his tendrils more creatively in combat the way that Carnage does but even in the comics that has always been Carnage’s specialty. Perhaps if Venom finally gets to fight a non symbiote then we’ll see some more of that. Either way, the fights are considerably improved from the first film and I liked those, but these are just better.

Venom’s power is so impressive I’d even say he could beat most of the Avengers right now. If we consider the current Avengers roster to just be Spider-Man, Captain America (Wilson), Ant Man (Scott), Winter Soldier, and Hulk then Venom could actually give them a fairly good fight. Basically Venom could potentially solo but it all depends on how Spider-Man and the Hulk do. Spider-Man’s spider sense should theoretically make him very tough to beat but it depends on if he uses it well which is always tough. For the Hulk he would win if it’s close quarters combat but if Venom could stay at mid range and try stabbing then it’s tough. I feel like I have to give it to the Avengers if it’s the whole team but it’s closer than you might think.

The film’s short length also works out well enough as everything goes by quickly. I always say that a good film can always be longer and a bad film should be shorter so in this case I’d rather it was a full two hours. It’s a very entertaining film so I’d have been on board with a longer time frame. More scenes means more banter and more fun. This part of the universe is just fleshed out so well like even with the shop keeper sort of being like a pal to Eddie. I’m really glad that the end scene to the first Venom film is acknowledged here.

So there’s a lot to like here but of course the film isn’t perfect so it stands to reason that there are some negatives too right? Well, first up, we do have some animal violence. Yeah it’s basically off screen but it’s still unnecessary when we find out that Eddie has Venom eat chickens. See, Venom feeds off of a certain chemical that is only found in sentient brains and chocolate. It makes sense why he always wants to eat people but finding out that he is eating chickens in the meantime is just sad. They should have just had a scene where Venom refuses so Eddie has to buy him more chocolate. A film is always going to lose some brownie points from me for having a scene like this.

Otherwise it’s close to an 8 but I have a few more issues. In terms of plot holes/logic issues I really only have 2 that stood out to me. Everything else seemed fine including the power levels and such. The first thing that didn’t make any sense to me was actually from the opening scene. So the shady group is here to take Frances away because her powers are way too dangerous. So they take her into a car…and don’t do anything to restrain her mouth when she has sonic abilities?

This either means that this group was not told of her sonic powers from the bosses who ordered them to find her or they just thought it would work out. If it’s the first option than how did they expect the group to take Frances down? There are so many ways she could have escaped if not for a lucky gunshot. If it’s the second option than that’s just as bad. If she’s so dangerous that she has to be brought to the worst prison in the world then she’s dangerous enough to overpower a few guards. So the first scene felt like a stretch and it was only there so we could get the bullet wound scene.

The second is more of a spoiler scene so I can’t go into detail but someone gets powers at one point and it doesn’t make sense how it actually happened. The way the scene played out just doesn’t leave any room for this to be possible. I think there has to be a scene that was cut out from the film at some point but how this made it past the editing room is beyond me. This would raise way too many questions if this were possible because I would argue it could and should have happened to more people.

While the film is short and I wouldn’t say it really dragged on much, I didn’t find the solo Venom adventure to be too entertaining. If anything it’s rather grim how he seemingly murders people semi accidentally while on his adventure. Certainly losing more and more hero status right? See, the film’s at its best when Eddie and Venom are together to banter so splitting them up isn’t the right move. In real movie time I’m guessing it wasn’t a very long time but if it had been any longer it may have hurt. I don’t think that’ll happen again since they had their big fight now though so we’re good on that front.

Eddie also lost some points for me when he is constantly suggesting to Venom to eat the chickens that they adopted. Not a very nice move. In terms of violence the film is rather tame as I mentioned. Only the tongue scene is a bit grotesque and the scene with Mulligan’s eye being pushed in seems super painful but it’s a quick moment. Beyond that especially since the symbiotes can keep on regenerating, it’s super stylized as I mentioned earlier. Both characters can really take a lot of punishment and keep on ticking.

Now this is an action/comedy hybrid so both aspects have to be good and this one really was. As a final note, the humor in this film is better than in the first film. I thought that it grabbed what the first film did and then improved upon it quite a bit. The first act alone has a whole lot of humorous moments because the script is really on point. There’s one obligatory scene where Venom has to say the edgy word once because it’s expected at this point but otherwise it’s witty from start to finish.

Also, I really like how Eddie just seems crazy to people on the outside. Seemingly he has to talk out loud for Venom to hear him even though Venom can speak telepathically. So Eddie’s just bantering with him out loud but everyone can only hear his voice so everyone’s always giving him weird looks. This starts almost immediately with Venom arguing with him in the rest room and on the prison grounds and just never stops. Actually, forget that, Venom can probably hear Eddie telepathically since he finishes the guy’s sentences sometimes but probably pretends that he can’t just to make Eddie look foolish. That’s definitely the kind of trick Venom would play on him.

This might be a hot take but you could cut out all of Kasady’s scenes and the film might be even better. Now granted, I would still want the Carnage fights but if he just showed up out of nowhere at the end that’d be fine with me. The Eddie scenes are really where all the fun is at while Kasady’s just insane the whole time. It’s not that the Kasady and Frances scenes are bad or anything either, but the Eddie and Venom scenes are just that much better.

I will say this, it was smart of the film to show Kasady’s backstory in a children’s drawing kind of way because fully showing it probably would have hurt quite a bit considering what is implied with the dog at the end. If this was on screen I’d be a lot harsher since everything he does in that montage is intense but as a children’s drawing it doesn’t hit in the same way.

All right, final thoughts before closing this review out. The final scene after the credits is really solid. It opens up a lot of possibilities and you can interpret how future events will go in a lot of ways. No matter what happens, I do think we absolutely need a Venom 3 though. This series should be a trilogy at the minimum because there is so much more that can be done here. Venom has a lot of iconic villains that you can grab. I wouldn’t mind if they stick to symbiotes but you can also grab other kinds of villains as well.

Overall, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is definitely very good. It really embraces being a comic book movie from the cool 90s type logos to the solid soundtrack and how casual everything is. Venom creating a giant arm just to flick Eddie off in the middle of the street? Nobody notices or cares and that’s the kind of small detail that’s just fun. I’m not going to say the movie’s great as I still had my share of issues with it but the positives absolutely outweigh the negatives. The overall atmosphere of the film is just really good, particularly when it’s the Venom scenes. I like how several characters know about his secret identity but it all feels rather grounded. You feel like Eddie’s a big fish in a small pond and right now he can do just about anything but he always limits himself. Of course crossovers are the best and inevitably when he gets to fight some big names that’ll be fun too but in the meantime if you were to recommend a modern Superhero saga to someone who just wants an origin story with no real connections to anything then this would probably be the top film to recommend. The film also has an incredible amount of replay value. I could watch it a second time shortly and still have fun. That’s probably due in part to the short length but you also have to give the film credit for just being a lot of fun. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d definitely say you should change that.

Overall 7/10

Anastasia Review


Anastasia is a good example of a film that starts really slow but is ultimately able to recover and get its momentum up by the end to the point where you would definitely consider it to be a good title. It makes for a satisfying watch and is a good drama film. The writing is what really puts the title in the green since a film like this is dependent on good writing.

The movie starts with some exposition about how the royal family was murdered. There were no survivors but then a rumor started that the princess Anastasia actually survived. It has been several years since then so most don’t believe it. Well one day a lady by the name of Anna casually lets someone know that she is Anastasia. A man by the name of Bounine picks up on this and quickly brings her into the fold. He has been tasked with finding Anastasia and if he doesn’t produce her soon then he will definitely be in trouble. So while this Anna appears to be quite troubled and potentially insane, Bounine is willing to risk it all. Surely he has the skills needed to trick the royal family even if she is not the genuine article.

Part of the mystery in the film is deciding if Anna actually is the princess or if she really is just faking it the whole time. Additionally she is unsure herself due to having some memory issues. As the film goes on I would say she definitely is Anastasia but ultimately it will be up to you to see if that’s the case. It shouldn’t really impact what you think about the film though as either way it doesn’t really impact the journey. Whether she is the real deal or not they will still have to convince the royal family of this either way. If Anastasia is brought back in as the princess then she will be exceedingly rich and that may end up spilling over to Bounine and his allies.

The reason I say the beginning is rather slow is that I was not really all that engaged with the story as Bounine explained this to Anna. He’s a fun character and has a way with words but it still felt like a sequence that was very dragged out so the film didn’t really pick up until they make it to the first event to see how well the reception can go. At that point it is definitely full speed ahead as we get a lot of fun dynamics.

You also can appreciate how some of the members are not so easily convinced. It has been several years since the apparent death and the whole memory loss angle would appear to be very convenient. Anna only seems to know things that are public knowledge which is not very convincing when trying to convince people that you were never dead. Some buy into it right away but most do not.

The standout character here is Anastasia’s mother. Naturally she is the toughest one to convince as she has seen many fakes time and time again. I like how fierce she is in the dialogue and isn’t afraid to really take shots at the other characters. She speaks her mind with no exceptions. She has a very good character arc and always appears to be one step ahead of the others. It’s also quite telling that she is the only person Bounine doesn’t talk back to or adopt an attitude with.

As for Bounine he also gets a lot of character development throughout the film. At first it seems like he just wants the money and to dodge a possible execution/being arrested for wasting funds. Instead we see that this is more a matter of pride by the end. Bounine just likes to show off what a genius he is and the more captive an audience the better. It’s not even a terrible plan even if it does see a bit far fetched at face value. I’m not surprised that a lot of these relatives never paid much attention and so a lookalike could trick them. That said, he made a big mistake when trying to use romance as a weapon for Anastasia.

I would call this a romance film per say but the instant he tries to set her up with a prince you know exactly how this is going to play out. He starts to sulk and pout the whole time which feels really petty considering that it was all his plan. Bounine tries to pin the whole thing on Anna too which is definitely going overboard. He only has himself to blame for all of this. He plays hard to get when Anna talks to him and then gets upset when she goes to the other guys. I did like him as a character though. He’s a fun guy but I just didn’t care for that subplot with him him nearly as much during the final act. It was not his brightest moment.

As for Anna, she does a good job of trying to fulfill her role. I’m not a fan of the amnesia plot in general but Anna pulls through it well enough. So whether or not she’s a fake, you could say that she has her own character now which is important. Anna has most of the emotional moments in the film. She is definitely at her best when she is defying Bounine and generally making things very difficult for him. She plays the rebel quite well.

So with a solid pair of main characters that’s always a very good thing for the potential of the film. The side characters are reasonable as well. Bounine has two lackeys with him who are not nearly as intelligent but they have a lot of fun dialogue. As mentioned the film just has a good script in general which goes a long way to helping the cast out. The only character who is really just annoying the whole way through is the prince who likes Anna. He’s just written as too obviously antagonistic the whole time with how he gets every question wrong.

Like Anna will ask him “If I decide to decline my inheritance will you still love me?” and he just says “You definitely won’t decline” or “don’t talk crazy now” which are just awful answers. Both make him look incredibly unintelligent. Either he’s a villain who wants the money and should still tell her that he loves her and all that or he’s a hero who would say that willingly. Intentionally answering every answer in the worst possible way just didn’t seem very realistic.

The movie’s at its best with all of the mind games between the characters. I liked seeing Bounine try to get the edge in every conversation. The film has a very old way of getting the dialogue across and it works really well. Even when the characters are insulting each other it’s always done in a way that has some pretense of being polite dialogue. Except for Anastasia’s mother who is old enough not to care about such things.

Where the movie is at its weakest is with the drama and romance. The romance doesn’t really work for me, it’s all too fast. As for the drama, it can be a bit much like when Anastasia’s mother finally cries or Anna’s long speech about not trying to convince the mother anymore but seemingly still doing so anyway. A film like this wants to keep a quick pace and the crying scenes slow it down a bit. It’s nothing too serious but if you lessen the drama a bit then the film would have its ideal pacing.

Overall, Anastasia is a solid film. It may have a rocky start but just keep with it until Anna begins her performance as Anastasia and then it’s off to the races. The balance with the serious drama and comedic moments is on point. The movie ends rather quickly but in a really ideal way. I would have liked about 5 more seconds just to see the mother say that the play was over but since it was told to the viewers I suppose that counts. A film isn’t really complete until you have the ending at the ready and so that completes the picture. If you’re up for a solid drama film then this is a good one to check out.

Overall 7/10

The Alphabet Murders Review


Time for a very different kind of Poirot film. Throw away everything you knew about the character beforehand as this one goes as far as to act like a parody the whole time. The movie even starts off with the lead breaking the third wall which is certainly something else. While I do like the film and will go into it in a second, I will say that the breaking the third wall gag felt flat as it often does. In very rare circumstances will I say that such a scene is good. It really just serves to take you out of the story in the same way as seeing the main character in the present talking about how he barely survived the events that we’re about to see. Fortunately the film didn’t go that far here.

So the movie starts with a poor clown getting murdered. He seemed to be shot by a mysterious woman. Then another victim takes their final dive and so Poirot will have to be the man to put a stop to this. Surely the world’s greatest detective can stop this criminal right? The only clue that the heroes have is that this villainous seems to be murdering people according to the alphabet. The first victim’s first and last names began with A, the second B, etc. Well, Poirot won’t have to search as hard as all that since the villainess confronts him straight up. She talks about how she doesn’t want to murder but that she must and other vague things as she beats the stuffing out of him and runs off

Prepare to see Poirot get beaten quite a bit in this film. He’s really not prepared for the kind of opponents that he is dealing with as this version is fairly weak and also not very intelligent. He has to rely on luck and physical ability in order to complete this case and I wouldn’t say that he is the toughest guy on the block either. Mix all of these things together and it doesn’t bode very well for him. The opening scene where he is getting choked by Amanda is also pretty odd. Perhaps intentionally and perhaps not but for me it didn’t even seem like she was seriously trying to murder him.

Or at least it was very half hearted with how they were tussling around. Poirot was calling for help the whole time but everyone would either misunderstand him or promptly get knocked out. It was crazy but I would say this was the best scene in the film partially because of how insane it all was. It can also be spooky, imagine calling out for help the whole time but nobody steps in because they think you’re all right? Now that will keep you up at night if you almost got choked to death. Poirot believes it was the lady’s way of asking for his help after it’s all over.

While Poirot is beaten and outsmarted throughout the film, he is a fun character. He does have some decent plans like pretending to choke himself to get Hastings to lower his guard. Poirot spends half the film trying to defeat the other good guys as opposed to going after the villains which is also meta in a sense. Fortunately for the heroes the villains don’t go around murdering too many people because they would have been in no position to stop these guys.

The hero is arrested and captured more than once. He’s not very good at being self aware like when he was chasing the girl. You’re actually rooting for the civilians to stop him since without context the whole thing that appear to be really crazy. It shows that these people aren’t just going to stand for this. The other main hero in the film is Hastings and he’s basically this film’s version of Watson. Hastings isn’t very smart and often gets outsmarted by Poirot but he means well.

What the man lacks in skill and bravery he makes up for in loyalty. You can always count on him to have your back and that’s a powerful thing. He even attempts to provide assistance during some of the more dangerous moments even if it doesn’t end up working out most of the time. I gained some respect for him when Poirot wasn’t able to outsmart him for once near the end of the film. It was almost like character development of sorts.

As for Amanda, well she’s a decent villain I guess. I think the whole plan was way more convoluted than it needs to be but granted, that could be due to the adaption. After all, in most cases it would be tough to murder Poirot or outsmart him so you can see villains coming up with all kinds of crazy plans to throw him off the scent. In this one though, well it would be extremely easy to bump him off. Poirot was being overpowered in the steam room after all and he was also chasing Amanda in the darkness with ease. Just set a trap for him at any time and I’m sure he would fall right into it. That’s absolutely the game plan the villains should have had without having to go with this whole ABC angle.

Amanda did a good job of completely tricking Poirot though so I have to give her some props there. All in all, the writing is good. It’s definitely not meant to be taken seriously in the slightest but you’ll get a good amount of witty dialogue. Some of the visual humor is nice too like when each character is snapping their finger at the other to grab a hat and other things. They had good coordination there and it made for a peaceful scene.

Ms. Marple also gets a little cameo here which was neat. It’s always good to establish a crossover continuity here and it also is a good way to show where Poirot ranks in comparison with Marple. In her one scene she was able to easily crack the case but presumably the cops didn’t believe her. Meanwhile Poirot “solves” the case by the very end and it took everything he had.

Overall, The Alphabet Murders is pretty good. It’s a shame that we didn’t get some kind of sequel. Who knows, maybe it’s better as a one off, but there’s a whole lot you can do with this concept. The bumbling detective and his witless sidekick is not something that’s done very often at all. I’d also have liked a full crossover with Ms. Marple. From what we saw of her, she would likely have the advantage in a fight but with both characters having such a strong ego, I’m sure this would be a lot of fun. This film goes by pretty fast and ultimately how much you enjoy it will be directly related to how funny you find the characters to be. Does the dialogue feel naturally comedic or does it all feel forced? This is the question that will determine it all.

Overall 7/10

Fun with Dick and Jane Review


All right, who here remembers the classic books? It’s nice that the film effectively pays homage to them while telling a new story. This is a fun film that balances the criminal life while also showing us just how Dick and Jane got to such a state where they would become true robbers. The comedy is on point and the film really breezes by.

The movie starts with Dick & Jane enjoying their normal life. They have a great house, nice kids, nice neighbors, etc. Everything is going super well, but then that all changes when Dick’s fired from his job. Not because he was doing a bad job or anything but just because it was downsizing time and it went by seniority instead of by quality. The main characters have a very expensive lifestyle which eats through their funds quick and neither one is able to hold a job. Perhaps…it’s time for a life of crime?

Naturally with a plot like this it can go in a few different ways. If it was played seriously then naturally you’re rooting for the main characters to fail at every turn as you hope the cops catch them. In this case it’s a much more light hearted adventure. I noticed that the film made sure they failed every time they tried to take on a ma and pa shop or rob an old man and only let them rob from corporations, hotels, and professional places that have insurance.

I suspect this is a subtle way to allow you to have fun watching the characters without actively rooting against them. Now, naturally I was rooting for them to be stopped aside from the last case even with this. After all, they may have rough circumstances but who doesn’t right? There’s always another way outside of crime and when you see that the main characters still have a full time maid, a babysitter, a huge house, etc….well you get the picture.

The humor is effective as we see them slowly start to get used to the life of crime though. Dick in particular has a rough time of it. That first robbery attempt will likely haunt him for the rest of his life. It’s definitely a moment where you were rooting for the old man though so that worked out really nicely. Dick’s adventures around the unemployment line were also cool as well.

The agency really doesn’t play around in this instance and it was impressive that they could recognize him even in disguise. Dick was not about to pull a fast one on these guys, that’s for sure. The script is good and the same goes for the writing so it is able to pull this adventure off rather easily. The character roster is also solid here.

Dick makes for a solid main character. He may be on the wrong path despite the good intentions but he has a lot of fun moments. He is doing his best to make sure that the family has enough resources and didn’t enter the life of crime lightly. Additionally his plan at the end with Jane works rather well in the climax. It was well thought out and even the villain had to respect it.

Meanwhile Jane did well on her side too. She was the first one to start budgeting since it was clear that they couldn’t live quite as lavishly as they did before. Additionally she was quick to get the hang of being a crook to the point where you could definitely say that she was better at it than Dick. She was more compassionate though so they each had different weak points in that arena.

One of the best parts of the film has to be the montage where they’re robbing everyone. Robbing the phone company for example was a great scene as everyone even cheered them on and opened the door for their escape. That’s quite a lot of team unity against the company. We don’t see them for long but from the brief dialogue we did get, it seems like the company was corrupt.

Likewise the main characters stopped a corrupt evangelist which was a good move on their part. Finally you have the main villain Charlie. Well, the film doesn’t hold back here. He’s got every trait you would expect in a corrupt CEO. He loves getting drunk, wastefully manages the company, accepts and gives out brides, flirts with married women, etc. So when the heroes decide to rob him you have to raise an eyebrow because this guy certainly isn’t doing a good job with his funds at the moment.

Hmmm, it makes you think. So that’s a good climax and we even get a brief confrontation with Dick & Jane vs Charlie. Yeah this film had a lot going for it, that’s for sure. There are also some fun supporting characters like the insurance agent who came over to inspect the place. The kids are mostly off screen which is good. They’re not bad and don’t have enough screen time to affect anything. It was a good decision because I think they would have ended up taking away from the general dynamic.

I’d also say that most of it seems pretty realistic. I imagine it was really hard to stop shoplifters back in the day because there weren’t a lot of security cameras or anything like that. Especially with how the main characters would rob a place and then dash out. No chance to grab their license plates or anything like that. The only one that may be tough to buy is their breaking into the safe. I understand they got better as they did more and more jobs but could they get so sophisticated as to break into a safe in one of the richest buildings in the city? It has to be a top line safe so it shouldn’t be very easy to pick. Still, there are ways to explain it and I can live with them.

Overall, This was a pretty good film. The writers did well in managing to balance the main characters being criminals with not doing anything malicious enough where you’d be turned off at their being the leads. There’s a lot of good banter here and it just makes for a fun film that really ends as soon as it begins. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to watch a nice lighthearted film.

Overall 7/10

Judge Dredd Review

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

Judge Dredd always had a pretty interesting setting. To an extent it’s sort of like what would happen if Gotham City didn’t have Batman and had to exist that way for another 50-100 years. By the time we did get a true crime fighter then the place would probably be too far gone to actually be saved. That’s the kind of environment the film takes place in and it actually works rather well. The film does a really good job on the effects.

The movie starts by showing us another gang war in the streets. Fergie got roped into this by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. So when Judge Dredd shows up and takes everyone down, Fergie is sent off to jail as well. See, there’s no court system or anything like that (Unless you are a Judge) so if you’re taken in by the law that’s game over. Gone are all of those legal establishments. In this distant future, the Judges serve as jury and executioner. What they say will go and so the world is perpetually unhappy and in a lot of inner wars.

To really illustrate the kind of place this is, the first scene has everyone using giant blasters. Given how unsurprised everyone is, you also see how this is a fairly regular occurrence. You’re either able to try and stay out of the spotlight or you better have good gun skills because it’s game over otherwise. There’s an opening message at the beginning of the film that explains the lore a bit as well.

Then you have the city backdrop which is really nice. Mix that in with the cool sci-fi guns that are coded to your DNA and the effects team should definitely be given a thumbs up here. It’s all aged rather well and the Judge costumes are also on point. I dare say that it will be very difficult for the next films to top them here. They’re really on point and my only complaint is that they aren’t used very often.

It’s what I call the “Adam West” syndrome where you have a great concept but don’t actually use it for most of the film. This came into being with how they made two animated Adam West films and in one film Batman turned evil while I think Robin turned evil in the other one. As a result you really didn’t get to have the fun dynamic/type of story you were hoping for. It’s like this with Judge Dredd as well. It’s a great kind of adventure story to see him patrolling the streets and taking down criminals but after the first chunk of the film that is gone forever.

This is due in part to the main plot. See, the general plot of Judge Dredd is that he has been framed. Someone is using his weapons and since they are tied to DNA that means he must be the one who has been murdering people and committing crimes. Dredd believes in the law 100% so he’s also not really sure how to defend himself. A good chunk of the film is Dredd learning that maybe the law isn’t infallible and trying to work his way back into the city.

So the second half is still a pretty fun adventure but it isn’t really “Judge Dredd” the way that the first chunk was. I dare say that the film would have risen up to great status if it had just stayed like the opening bit. Ah well, maybe next time. The action stays solid in both halves although you do feel like the other Judges should be a little stronger.

Basically if you aren’t Judge Dredd then you won’t be doing very well here at all. We see around 100 Judges get destroyed by sneak attacks, bombs, and a giant robot. Given how Dredd is able to handle all of these guys you would just expect a little better. The film does warn you early on that some of these guys are weak though with how the cadet goes down.

So Dredd’s a great main character. He’s definitely all about the law even if he is rather strict with it. The guy was practically made for the job and takes it extremely seriously. Even when he is asked to go back to school the guy assumes it’s for some more hand to hand skills. He’s eager and that’s what you want to see in a main character. I definitely had no complaints.

Then you have Barbara who is the main heroine here. She’s a Judge as well and can certainly fight better than most of the others. I’d give her a thumbs up as well. She’s someone that Dredd could actually count on and that’s big in this kind of world. She did her best in the trial and gets a lot of good moments. The cast is fairly small so it’s important that the big characters did well.

Then you have Fergie who is the main comic relief. He gets a lot of good lines as well. The guy’s at his best when he’s rubbing the situation in to Dredd since he got captured early on. Fergie is not the kind of guy to drop a grudge, I can definitely tell you that. It gets a little cheesy when he actually defeats an opponent later on though so I always say you should keep comic relief characters away from the actual battling. Still, he served his role well enough.

Finally you have the main villain Rico. He’s the only one I wasn’t sold on. I think it’s in part because the guy relies on a ton of luck in order to win his battles. Without things going perfectly he should have lost early on. I find it hard to believe that he was even able to escape prison. That whole sequence will leave you shaking your head. It’s a good thing one of the villainesses liked him to get some babies ready for the experiments or that would have been another hurdle.

All of the villains seem to trust Rico despite the fact that he is completely insane. It just makes you wonder why. The worst is the villainous judge who was on board with the plan from the start and directly caused the deaths of 100+ judges. At the last second he suddenly wants to have some second thoughts. Cmon now, Rico was definitely not going to allow that to happen and this guy should have known that.

The only other decent judge was Judge Fargo and even he was a little too quick to believe in Dredd’s guilt. The guy needed to stand by his pupil through thick and thin. There are also a few random bounty hunters and thugs running around but these are all of the important characters to make note of. The rest are there to flesh things out of course.

Overall, The writing is on point with the film and with the fast pacing it is over in the blink of an eye. There are definitely some violent moments when people get blown apart but surprisingly it’s quite a bit more mild than you might have expected going in. Get ready for one character to go down shockingly quick after they show up near the end though. It’s almost funny in an ironic kind of sense since you were expecting big things here. If you want to check out a classic comic book film with some good action and adventure then I would recommend checking this one out. It’s aged pretty well.

Overall 7/10

The Natural Review


It’s been a little while since I saw a film about Baseball. The last one was probably the Field of Dreams and that didn’t actually have a lot of Baseball action in it. This one changes all of that and it makes for a pretty fun adventure. It’s a well written movie that is long enough to really go into depth on the various events occurring. It’s almost surprising that it’s so long because at first the movie moves very quickly but a Baseball season is quite long and the film shows that.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Roy who is a Baseball prodigy. He has been interested in the game ever since he was a kid. One day he even strikes out a fairly well known pro batter. It looks like the sky’s the limit but unfortunately the fame goes to his head. He immediately cheats on his girlfriend and promptly gets shot by the temptress mafia style. This takes almost 20 years to heal. Can Roy make a comeback and still live out his Baseball dreams or is it all over for him?

Most of this review will be for talking about all the solid points of the movie because there are many. I really only had one issue with the film and that’s the main character. I never found Roy to be all that likable and I didn’t even feel like the film was trying to redeem him much until near the very end of the film either. Women are clearly his vice right from the start of the film but he just never learns his lesson.

Take the initial instance of cheating for example. He gets shot immediately afterwards because of that so you kind of figure that he won’t make the same mistake again right? Well, one of the villains hires a girl to mess with him and this works incredibly well. If not for having to do some rather obvious actions like giving him poison candy, the girl would have definitely kept Roy under wraps the whole time.

It feels more like Roy was forced to get past this since she couldn’t follow him on some of the away games as opposed to actually realizing he was messing up his life. By the time he confides to the original girl, it all just feels a little too late. This guy just wasn’t serious enough about Baseball or about his own convictions. He likes to think of himself as an honorable guy but we learned that this wasn’t the case early on. Roy’s even lucky to get away with arguing with the coach.

He defied the coach’s orders in front of the whole team and then refused to go back down to the B league. Good thing Roy was a solid player because he would have been doomed otherwise. I do question how the coach had never seen him batting before though. Perhaps it’s normal that a coach would skip the practices? I’m certainly less familiar with Baseball compared to Football, Tennis, or even Basketball and Soccer. Still, I’d expect the coach should have at least been told that Roy has been playing amazing since the start especially since the team was winless and badly needed any kind of spark.

Pop was a great supporting character though. I always like a coach who really gets heated along with the players and storms the dugout. He’s a very old school kind of coach who gets the job done and pushes his players to the limits. He’s also in a pretty tough position with how he may lose the team to the villainous Judge.

Judge is a very memorable villain here because of how over the top he is. The guy bribes everyone, is super rich, and even has a villainous looking room since he keeps the lights off. The guy has a flair for the dramatic and it has served him well over the years. His inclusion helped to raise the stakes in the film so it was definitely a good idea having him around.

Then you have another one of the villainesses in Memo. Not to be confused with the first lady who tricked Roy, this one was a little more subtle and doesn’t take the gun out until the end. She’s a decent villain I suppose but in most of her scenes you’re just shaking your head at Roy. He’s finally close to achieving his dream and is quick to just toss it all away just like that. Watch closely during the montage of him losing every game. He isn’t nearly as broken up about it as you would expect.

Finally you have Iris who was the girl from the opening scene. She ends up appearing in the second half of the film. If I were her I probably wouldn’t give Roy a second chance in the arena though. As a friend, maybe, but that would be it. She’s a reasonable character though and has done well for herself in the meantime. Not only did she manage to keep the farm but she’s able to support her kid as well and has a pretty decent home. Iris is definitely a go getter who put a lot of work in.

The Natural is a fairly serious film but one that is able to squeeze in a good amount of humor as well. The jokes tend to land well and the writing is solid so throughout the movie you are interested in what is going on. The cast is also rather big when you consider the other players running around. Most of them don’t get a big role but some do get a little important by the end. Then Judge has a few minions as well. The movie may be well over 2 hours but it doesn’t drag on which is really the important thing.

The Baseball scenes are also handled well. They’re always exciting and actually make Baseball look fun to watch. After all, you don’t have to worry about commercials or the waiting in between pitches. In the movies you just go right to the action and it works quite well. The scene where a Baseball is cut in two after a solid hit was certainly memorable as well. The effects for that were on point without a doubt. We even got a little thunder and lightning for when Roy first went up to bat in the big game.

Overall, The Natural is a solid film. It really doesn’t have any big issues and you’ll have a good time watching it from cover to cover. Really, if the film just made Roy more of a likable character then the film would be even better. After all, he has a lot of good moments like when he outwitted the psychic using his two gold coins and the banter he has with the villains. A lot of the best scenes involve Roy so he had a lot of the traits you’d want to see in a lead. Either way if you like Baseball then you should definitely check this film out.

Overall 7/10

Confession Review


Confession is an interesting trial film that shows us different perspectives as we learn more about the case along with the jury. It starts out a bit on the slow side but once we cut to the court room then the race is on. It ends up being a pretty solid film with good pacing and writing throughout. Definitely a nice title to check out.

The film starts out with Lisa getting a letter from the guy who seems to be stalking her. Inside the letter are 2 tickets to a play and Lisa’s friend who has all the bad advice says they should go and see what this is about. Turns out that one of the lead performers in the musical is a man named Michael who wants to be with Lisa. Lisa refuses him but the guy continues to follow her around and even tricks the school Lisa is at into allowing him in. Ultimately they have a brief affair but before things can go much farther, Michael is shot dead by a lady named Vera. This ends up going into trial. Can the Jury figure out what possible reason Vera could have for murdering this guy or will it all be a mystery all the way through to the end?

The second half of the film takes us back to the events leading up to the shooting from Vera’s point of view. We already knew that Michael was not a good guy and these scenes serve to further illustrate that. He really just thinks he can get away with anything and the main issue is that he always seems to since nobody actually holds him accountable.

Take the first girl Lisa. Part of the annoyance here is that she tells him several times not to call or write to her but he does so anyway. She then ultimately agrees to see him so in a sense his pestering actually paid off. He just keeps on going and she keeps on letting him. He even pulls the whole “I have to see you because I’m moving away” card and I don’t buy it for a minute. Seems awfully convenient if you ask me. If he hadn’t been shot by Vera then it seems like the affair would have actually continued.

Then you have round 1 with Vera. So she ended up choosing Leonide over him and got married. Michael doesn’t let this deter him though and still keeps on writing her which is then something that she tries to hide from Leonide. She should have just told Leonide herself the instant she received the letter what had happened so that he would at least hear the truth before the gossip. Running over to Michael was not the right move.

Additionally, I don’t think it was smart to go to this party either. It was quite clear that the main villain still liked Vera as he flirted with her openly so getting drunk out of her mind was not a great plan. If Vera had to go to the party because she was bored, then at least don’t indulge in all of the drinks. It just ended up putting her in a very vulnerable spot which did not end well.

I mean, the villain’s the villain. He’s a pretty terrible character of course so that goes without saying. The heroes are the ones who needed to be better judges of character and just keep their distance the whole time. That would have really gone a long way here.

As for Leonide, he was very quick to believe the worst about Vera. She didn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence but you would hope that he could have heard her out a bit. As for splitting up, well it’s easy to see how that would happen. Once you’ve lost trust it is incredibly difficult to the point of being near impossible to get it back again. So once the doubt was there, you could say the marriage was already all but finished at that moment.

The best part of the film would be the actual trial for me though. I always like a good case and this one was really on point. You had all of the players talking tough from different sides. Vera certainly wasn’t helping her case by staying silent for so long but her defense attorney was really trying his best anyway.

The main prosecutor was a tough but fair man. He actually did allow himself to be lenient when needed while also staying tough on the case. One of his best lines is when he yells that the courtroom cannot be blackmailed by the accused and demands that the suitcase be opened up. Now, the judge is the one who ultimately makes that call but I loved his conviction. This guy was definitely not going to be pushed around and he made that quite clear.

The judge was also a compassionate man who did his best to make sure that the proper justice was served in this case. He wouldn’t allow for any incomplete ruling to make a mess of things. If you’re ever in court, this is the kind of guy you would want to be judge over the case. To an extent you could say the courtroom part even overshadows the actual flashbacks that we get because it is easily the most compelling part.

Confession is a strongly well rounded film. The writing is good and the movie moves at a decent pace once the court scenes start. My main issue with the film is mainly in the slow first half. The scenes with Lucy right through to the villain getting shot feel rather slow and uneventful. You’re waiting for something to happen the whole time. After that is when the film really gets going.

The other issue is that the two heroines just allow themselves to be pushed around far too much. Lisa didn’t want to get into a relationship but lets herself get strong armed into one while Vera was married but still ends up attending a party and getting super drunk in the presence of someone who has threatened her marriage several times. The characters really needed to stand their ground more.

Overall, Confession is a good film. It ends on a high note which is always important and the writing is on point. You’ll be engaged as you watch the film. Even if the intro slows you down a bit, just hang in there until we get into the courtroom and it’ll have been worth the wait. We definitely need more films that take place during a trial since it’s always such a blast.

Overall 7/10

Clear and Present Danger Review


Jack Ryan returns with this big sequel. Clear and Present Danger throws a pretty good story in with some fun fight scenes and a whole lot of characters moving around. It’s a very interesting film and one that should keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. I would definitely recommend checking it out.

The movie starts with some of the usual embezzlement going on. The drug cartels are growing a lot bolder now and this time they even murdered a friend of the president. That was a mistake though as he decides to take a harder look at the situation. He orders one of the higher ups in the army to take drastic measures and wipe these guys out. Cutter gets the message and sends John and his team on a mission. They have to wipe out Escobedo and his drug dealers fast.

Meanwhile Jack’s direct boss gets sick with cancer so Jack has been promoted. Cutter and Ritter don’t like this because Jack’s more of a by the books kind of guy. He’s not going to participate in these shady dealings but as their equal now it will be very difficult to hide things from him. So they have to play it cool while Jack does some sleuthing on his own. Technically all of them want to take Escobedo down. The issue is that Cutter’s group are illegally sending troops into the country while Jack is trying to find hard proof and use surveillance footage.

I like all of the political intrigue going on here. Everyone’s got their own agendas after all while Jack is really the only one just trying to do his job. You also can’t blame Jack for anything here. A lot of times I might say a character was slow on the uptake or missed obvious clues but I can’t say that in this case. I don’t think Jack really made any mistakes. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know so there’s no way for him to act on this information. In a big government agency like this it’s also hard to see how he would possibly be able to find that out so it’s good that he knew the computer guy.

Once Jack does know what is going on he is quick to get in on the action and help John’s team. So that was good and overall he’s a great main character. He really did his best at all times and at the end of the series he steps up and does the right thing even though it’ll likely end up with a big punishment for him as well. You can’t ask for more out of the lead.

John’s character was also engaging with his adventures over in enemy territory. He leads the troops well and ultimately he fought hard. Considering how well versed he was in combat and planning he maybe should have expected the government to cut him loose the way they did, but it’s hard to prepare for every eventuality.

As for the government guys, well one of the big ones is certainly Ritter. He helps out with a lot of the deals behind the stage and is the main one hiding information from Jack. Ritter’s been in the game a long while and knows exactly what to prepare in order to stay ahead of the curve. He did quite well in that position as he even got a note from his boss in writing so nothing could really stop him. He’s certainly an antagonist, but a resourceful one.

Then you have his boss Cutter who is just as corrupt. The guy gets his orders from the President and carries them out. The guy even makes a deal with a terrorist which is going to very large extremes without a doubt. A lot of his decisions were definitely pretty bad like abandoning the troops behind enemy lines. As Ritter’s superior, the buck ultimately ended with Cutter so he should take the blame for that.

The President isn’t off for free either. He knew exactly what was going on with all of the messages that he gave to Cutter. The guy was definitely ruling with his emotions throughout and did not do justice to his station. As the President he really needed to keep on ruling with a fair hand and not let personal politics come into play. If he had just done that and attacked the drug dealers in a different way, while going through official channels then things could have gone over better. Sure, he got the results he was hoping for but at a much higher price and the ends don’t justify the means here.

For the drug dealers there were two main ones. First is Cortez who is the smart guy in the room who always tries to manipulate both sides. I liked his confidence and he has really been around a lot as we learn that he was also the informant for other guys in the past. He has a lot of power and came really close to ruling everything. The other guy is Escobedo who isn’t as smart but he does do some due diligence. Ultimately he’s smarter than your average mob boss but was getting outmaneuvered for most of the film. If anything he just got lucky in one scene as he was nearly taken out of the picture.

We get some in-fighting among the villains which always makes for a fun scene. Ultimately the film really goes by in a flash. The writing is on point and we have a whole lot of likable characters throughout. Even the antagonists are at least interesting. You’re not rooting for them or anything but there is a lot of good banter as well as back and forth dialogue among the two factions.

There isn’t a whole lot of action for a while but in the climax we do get some gun fights. Jack actually gets to go front and center against some of these villains as well and proves his stuff. You feel bad for the soldiers who didn’t make it out though as it was a pretty rough situation to be in. Particularly the ones who are captured since if anything you’d rather just go out in an instant during the fire fight. This probably helped Jack’s resolve quite a bit.

Overall, This was a solid follow up to the previous Jack Ryan film I saw. I would even say that this one defeats the first. The political fighting between the characters made for a good sub plot and it was also nice to see the old school hacking when Jack got to the computer. He may not have gotten a whole lot out of that before being caught but it was a good attempt. This is a very well rounded thriller film that will keep you engaged both with the explosions but also just with the good dialogue throughout. The main morale here is when you’re in the CIA, FBI, or any of those orgs you have to definitely watch your back at all times.

Overall 7/10

Tom & Jerry Review


Tom & Jerry have returned at long last. It feels like a while since they got a big film, certainly since they’ve gotten a big budget production like this. It is nostalgic to see the old duo back in action although ironically, I was more invested in the human plot. I’ll go into detail on that later on but ultimately this is a pretty fun show and I would recommend checking it out. It’s not soaring into the next dimension or anything like that but it’s a well rounded product.

The movie starts with Tom finally becoming a master pianist and really excelling in Central Park. Jerry can’t have that though so first he humiliates Tom by immediately surpassing him and then breaking the guy’s piano. Jerry breaks into a legendary hotel while Tom is stuck out in the back. It looks like Tom has finally been defeated once and for all and even has to watch his back as the alley cats are quite fierce.

Meanwhile we cut away to the main human character named Kayla. She desperately needs a job and manages to steal someone’s resume so she can be hired at this fancy hotel. Kayla figures she can fake it until she makes it and the timing is fortunate since a super fancy wedding is about to happen between Preeta and Ben. If she can help plan this to perfection then she will be good. The only obstacle in her path is Jerry. The little guy is making a mockery of the establishment as he lives in total bliss. Kayla will need to team up with Tom to stop him but will their combined efforts be enough?

Now I’ve always been on Team Tom. He is typically on the losing side but if anything that makes it easier to root for him because who doesn’t appreciate an underdog? I’d also argue that Tom has been shown to be far more compassionate over the years as he expresses real sadness when Jerry is seemingly dead while the reverse is almost never true. They each have their moments of course but 9 times out of 10 I’d be banking on Tom to take the high road. Like in this film where he was really minding his own business until Jerry stepped in.

Maybe Jerry just wants to be friends and doesn’t know how to express himself but either way it’s tough for Tom. Tom & Jerry are consistent with how they usually appear and it’s nostalgic to see them fight. I would say the reason it just doesn’t totally capture me is because it all seems a little played out. I feel like a lot of specific instances here were grabbed from the old cartoons. I don’t think the slapstick itself is just over the hill though as there are ways to make it work but this one was not able to pull it off. They aren’t bad scenes but I guess they feel like filler as you wait on the human side.

On the flip side, the human sides are strong enough where you could see this as being more of a strength to that section as opposed to being a weakness on the other. Kayla may be taking some rather radical shortcuts like when she suckered the actual interviewee but that was also a good demonstration of her people skills. The interviewee was also shown to immediately be antagonistic and rather stuck up to make it harder to feel bad for her. Seriously this lady was getting ready to interview for a job…isn’t that the worst time to be getting an attitude since staff could be watching?

Once she’s in, Kayla does a good job of quickly getting into the swing of things. She has some good ideas and if not for the fact that Jerry is supremely powerful (even able to break out of a sealed, chained up box in an instant since he was already behind Tom before it finished moving) Kayla probably would have been able to claim victory here. There isn’t a lot more to her personality beyond just being a good worker and earnest so don’t expect a big character arc or anything but she makes for a good main character.

Then you have the two people who are to be married and I can’t say that I was a big fan of either to be honest. Ben was definitely the weaker of the two though as his whole character arc is that he wants to impress Preeta’s father even at the expense of Preeta not getting the wedding that she wanted. Yes, she could have spoken up more but at the end of the day it’s really his fault for not picking up on any of the obvious signs. He just got too obsessed to the point where he allowed this to cost him everything.

As for Preeta, she was unhappy the whole time but wouldn’t speak up. Instead she effectively blows up at the end of the film but if she had confronted Ben more at the start then this could have been avoided. She takes less of the blame here but I found that trait to be annoying, particularly as they are about to be married in which case they should certainly be close enough to have a conversation of this level. How will they handle more difficult topics if this one poses such a challenge?

Terence is really the main villain here and I would absolutely say that he gets off too easily. Keep in mind that the entire reputation of the hotel is riding on this wedding and that it has cost a small fortune. Keep that closely in mind whenever this guy is on screen. Now, as an antagonist he is great though. The guy has a lot of solid lines and was the only one to suspect Kayla at the beginning. He doesn’t even seem like he was always going to go down the villain route as he is a tough boss but one who does get along well enough with the staff.

There don’t seem to have been any complaints previously so that is worth keeping in mind. He just gets progressively more and more obsessed as the film goes on until he has totally lost his mind. Meanwhile Cameron is way more of a laidback kind of character who serves as a contrast to Terence. He’s just having a good time serving the drinks and cheering Kayla on. He doesn’t ultimately get a ton to do, but I think the humor there is mainly supposed to be in how calm he is while everyone’s panicking. I like this addition because I do think some people would take this whole situation in stride.

Joy is the comic relief character who does not work. Her thing is she’s very socially awkward and takes forever to get to the point. I understand the character trait and what the movie is going for but it just doesn’t work. None of her scenes are entertaining at all and just end up falling flat.

Dubros is the boss of the hotel and I liked this guy. He’s very open minded like when he allowed Tom to work at the hotel and does a good job of running the business. He’s not too controlling and just makes sure that things are working on a macro level. You can see why the hotel is as well known as it is. There are a few other characters around like Spike who is still portrayed as the strongest animal in the film but that’s about it for the main cast. Ultimately it’s a fun group of characters.

I’d give the writing a thumbs up here. There are enough well written scenes to make you smile and have a good time. It’s really the definition of what I would call a pretty good film. It’s playing it very safe and not doing a whole lot of things outside of the box but at the same time that means it’s also not trying too hard to be the next big thing. Whether or not you’re a big fan of the Tom & Jerry aspects, I’d say there is a lot you can get out of this.

Overall, Tom & Jerry is worth checking out. It’s not the kind of film that would really be amplified in a theatrical experience so you could certainly just went it or catch it on TV when it’s around. It’ll be nice if they could continue to make more films in the series but it is crucial that the human aspect stays rather solid or they find some way to make the Tom & Jerry parts a little more creative. I do think there is a whole lot more you could do with that dynamic after all like maybe a full fledged team up. Not a small one for a small part of the climax but I mean a full cinematic adventure where they team up. Maybe someone kidnaps that little friend/cousin Jerry used to hang out with in the TV show so he asks Tom for help. That could make for a great story.

Overall 7/10

Murder Ahoy! Review


Time for the final Marple movie in this era. This time we’re on a boat which is definitely the most drastic change in scenery yet. It’s a fun way to end the adventure with the commander of the ship being one of the most interesting suspects in the whole series. Mix in the solid fundamentals we’ve come to expect in this series and you’ve got a winning film on your hands.

The movie starts with a meeting of the trustees for a nearby battleship. Marple is here of course and throughout the whole meeting one of the trustees is trying to say something but nobody will listen. Finally it’s his time to speak and unfortunately he dies before he can say what was on his mind. Marple knows that it was something serious though and the answers are aboard the boat. She manages to gain access as a trustee but the crew wants her to leave immediately. Marple will have to solve this case before they throw her overboard but any one of these sailors could be the culprit.

As mentioned, I enjoyed the captain quite a bit. He is used to being king of the vessel and so having someone with her rank here diminishes that quite a bit. Additionally, he had to give her his room so now he is stuck with a smaller one. Throw in the murders aboard the ship and it seems like she is ruining his life. He needs to get her out of here but she effectively outranks him so that will be difficult as well. The Captain is in quite the jam you could say.

Meanwhile she also has to watch out for the Inspector who has never been crazier. He even wants to arrest her at one point but his boss prevents this from happening. The Inspector doesn’t even want to here her side of the story and is convinced that Marple is not going to be very helpful here. Clearly the guy doesn’t really keep track of his own adventures because that just doesn’t make any sense. His promotion was only thanks to her after all.

Still, he’s the best character as per usual here because he just makes for such a good antagonist. You know he will lose at the end but he definitely gives her a good run at times. Springer also gets to help out here in his most dangerous role yet. Having to stay up all night and evade the police isn’t exactly an easy task to do. He goes to great lengths to help Marple and ends up being a very loyal friend.

As for Marple herself, well this time she gets to put her sword skills to good use. It was a nice way to see her turn the tables here since she now has a whole lot of ways to defend herself. It was an impressive battle and while she would lose in the end, at least she wasn’t going to make things easy on the guy. She is always coming up with plans and even out smarts the captain at one point. Marple’s a very solid all around character and works well as the lead.

There are quite a few suspects here as always. You have one lady who is playing the field as she leads two guys on at once. You have the two guys who naturally dislike each other as a result and you have the 2nd in command. Any which one of them might have a secret aboard the ship but it’s hard to say who without some more evidence. Additionally, this is a boat where they are training a lot of cadets so Marple needs to be discreet or she will arouse everyone’s suspicions as she walks around.

You’ve still got the quality soundtrack here as well as the tight writing. The fun thing about the series like this back in the day were that they came out so often that each film feels really similar. All 4 films act in the same way with the only difference being the storylines. So if you liked one film then you would like them all and it was a safe bet to just check out the whole series. You don’t really see that as much now as usually a series will change things up in each installment. The Murder series is really a product of its time in that respect.

There’s something nice about seeing the characters and just enjoying a new adventure with them each time. This series really got that down to a T. There is a bit of a rushed romance subplot at the very end of the movie which comes across as odd but I suppose it gave the captain the end of his character arc. It would have been nice if he hadn’t damaged the sword in the process though. Even if it wasn’t as important as he tried to act, it was just a shame to see it go like that.

Now, while he was fun, I do think he dug most of his own troubles up. He wanted Marple to go and yet he is the one who offered her a chance to stay. I know it was just him pretending to be polite but even the rest of his team had to let him know that this was super sloppy. If he had said almost anything else then Marple would have had to force her way in and the optics would have been really different. By pulling this stunt it just made her job a lot easier.

Overall, Murder Ahoy! is a solid way to end things off. For once even Springer actually got to help in the climax which was nice. Surely this time the Inspector can’t ignore Marple but if we had gotten more sequels I’m sure he would have found a way to do so. If you like a good mystery film then this is a good one to check out as well as the first 3 films. They’re all rather stand alone with the Inspector’s promotion being the only reference to the older films. The movie is over very quickly and I have no real complaints. It’s just a pleasant mystery title to check out.

Overall 7/10