The Terror Beneath the Sea Review

When you think of creature features you’re probably thinking of something along the lines of The Creature from the Black Lagoon or something like that. Well, this one definitely holds its own with those and even beats a lot of the classics. The monsters are actually pretty impressive here and the main character can really fight well in hand to hand combat. Mix those things together and you’ve certainly got a winner on your hands.

The movie starts with the Navy demonstrating their new torpedo’s to a bunch of reporters and government workers. It’s a torpedo that hones in on a target and has amazing power. It’s 99% accurate which sounds pretty impressive. During the demonstration they see what looks to be like an alien life form. Of course the government doesn’t want to confirm this so reporters Ken and Jenny decide to check things out for themselves. Unfortunately they’ve stumbled upon something that may be bigger than they could have dreamed.

In a way the film is blending your usual creature feature type film with more of a martial arts adventure. To an extent this feels more like a classic Godzilla film than the creature that couldn’t die or any number of films like that. The writing is excellent here with a lot of solid lines and characters. You may not remember a lot of the specific character names (I had to look them up for the leads) but they are solid characters. Just seeing Ken go out and start fighting these creatures instead of just falling over was a nice improvement from the usual lead in these films.

Ken’s a very solid main character. As I mentioned, he isn’t afraid to go out and fight these guys head on. He’s brave throughout and was also quick to go to Jenny’s defense when the admiral was taking shots at her. He’s a standup guy and someone who isn’t afraid to risk his life for a good story.

Jenny is also pretty solid here. Dropping the camera was pretty unfortunate but she was always willing to go with Ken on the dangerous diving tasks to find the cave. Even when the admiral was basically insulting her to her face like asking if she had seen a psychiatrist or saying that she was hysterical. Jenny took this in stride and continues to back up that she had seen something down there. The government also basically knows that she is right but can’t admit it in case of bad PR. I’m not even sure what the government’s plan was long term since the truth was going to come out at some point anyway.

Now it’s a rather small thing but there’s a scene near the middle/end of the film that drags on a lot. It’s when the movie is showing us the process of creating these creatures. It’s a bit of a grotesque transformation as they turn from humans into these aquatic beings. It’s certainly a rather unfortunate fate for these poor guys. Sometimes earning powers feels like it’s worth it but not in this case especially since it’s not like you can change your appearance back to what it used to be.

The actual design for the creatures is great once you get past the transformation though. They look sort of like the Gill Man. They have a design that allows them to fight rather well and the film takes advantage of it with some real fight scenes. Both hand to hand action scenes as well as gun fights. It’s a solid mix so you’ll be engaged from start to finish. Even the final climax gets more intense than you’d expect with a last run for safety and a big battle against high odds.

There’s one plot in the film that feels rather pointless though to be honest. So after the subs locate the monsters from the opening scenes…they don’t do anything. The navy basically tells the captain that they are not allowed to make a move. So throughout the film the captain says he’s going to go down anyway and the guy reminds him that he is not allowed to make a move. This scene is effectively repeated 3-4 different times with variations of the same conversation. By the end the guy still hasn’t done anything so I just wonder what the point was. If it was meant to be a humor plot…I don’t think it really worked.

This movie’s just a little over an hour so it’s a very short one. It makes for an easy watch and that’s why it’s impressive that it stood out so much. I dare say that you will remember this film a whole lot more than your average creature feature. The main villain is also pretty memorable and leaves an impression. He’s one of those guys who always wears sunglasses, even when indoors and in a bright room. He does let his guard down rather easily at the end of the film which is pretty much fatal though. Just a few more minutes and he would have made it to the end.

Overall, The Terror Beneath the Sea is a film that certainly surpasses expectations. I’d say you can look forward to a very fun experience here when you check out the film. It’s got a good story, a solid cast, and great writing. Throw in the good battle scenes and this movie has everything you can possibly want. The line delivery is always on point and it’s a film with high replay value thanks to the length and battles. This is the kind of film I’d like to see more of nowadays. The title is also a keeper because it’s just so direct so right away you get the right idea about what is going to happen here. If we could have actually had some progression on the whole captain plot in the sub that would have been ideal though. I still find it hard to believe that the plot didn’t go anywhere and wonder if there were some extra scenes that didn’t make the final cut.

Overall 7/10

Mary Poppins Returns Review

Mary Poppins is certainly a classic film that just about everyone as seen or at least heard of. The idea of it finally getting a sequel after all this time was certainly fun. It basically retreads the same ground as the original but it’s the kind of story that works well even more than once so this ended up being fun. I do think some characters don’t look great since their memories aren’t too good though.

The movie starts with Michael having a rather rough time of it. He has fallen behind on his payments. Despite getting a job as a teller, he hasn’t been able to make enough money to support his family. He took out a big loan with the house as collateral but forgot to make the payments on it so now the family is close to being evicted. Ever since his wife died things have just been tough and this adds another wrinkle to that. His sister Jane says they should find the stock certificate that their father had with the bank. If they can find it, William, the current chair of the bank, says that they won’t have to leave the house. The stakes are high but the 3 kids are a bit of a handful.

Fortunately, Mary Poppins has returned to be a housekeeper. She hasn’t aged a day since the characters saw her last but Michael and Jane are too busy to worry about such things. They figure that the events from the first film didn’t really happen anyway since it was all in their head. Mary is determined to show the kids what true imagination really is and along the way will try to help the main characters as well. Can she pull this off?

Of course she will be accompanied by a whole host of songs here. The music starts pretty much immediately in the film and never really lets up. You can expect song after song to be sure. Fortunately the songs chosen are pretty good. They may come out of nowhere at times and you feel like it slows the plot down but they could have been worse. For me the slowest part was when they went into the wonderland since I was ready to go back to the bank plot to see them take on William. That’s got to be the most intense part for sure.

I’ll give the film credit for allowing the kids to actually be useful this time around. Take Annabel for example, she’s a kid who is quite mature for her age. She helps with the chores and is always ready to jump in to help Michael out when she sees that things are a little overwhelming for him. Same with John who doesn’t mention that they don’t have enough money for groceries and tries to make do with what he has. The kids are young but they at least know how to improvise on their own and don’t really make things tougher on the others.

Georgie is the youngest of the kids and definitely isn’t as solid as the others. He runs off to grab a balloon despite the others warning him not to and runs on the grass as well. It’s a shame because the other two are so responsible but perhaps in time he should be able to match them. Then you have the caretaker Ellen who has a fairly small role but she’s a fun character. I would have liked her to have had a few more scenes but at least she didn’t back down to William’s minions.

There’s one subplot in the film about two sailors who fire off a cannon every hour. I admit that their plot may be the most forced as it’s a bit over the top so it’s hard to take seriously. It has an emotional end so at least the plot ends on a high note but I dare say you could have trimmed that plot out entirely. Instead we could have more scenes of Jack showing the world how talented he is. The guy is resourceful and definitely someone who likes to spread a lot of cheer around.

He’s certainly a reliable ally to have around and also works as Mary Poppins’ unofficial hype man. When the others are in doubt he just drives on through with his bike. He also has a knack for being at the right place at the right time. As for Mary Poppins, she is solid as usual. She has a lot of confidence and doesn’t really care when the other characters doubt her powers. She is very self assured of her abilities and that’s all that matters to her. Along the way she teaches the other characters how to have a good time in whatever they do. Alas, they will certainly miss all of her magical abilities.

We even meet one of Mary’s relatives in this film which was interesting. She can fix anything which is a nice magical spell of her own even if she has a weakness on 1 day a month. Now that the heroes helped her solve that she should be even more powerful in the future. Her role is very small but she was a fun supporting character. Then of course you have the villain William who was really good. I like how that guy really pretended to be a hero while manipulating people from the shadows. That’s certainly how you rise up the chains on the dark side. This guy took every opportunity possible and didn’t miss a beat.

His underlings are less memorable though. You have the mean one who is 100% on board and the nice one who wants the heroes to win but is worried that helping them out will cost him his job. Ultimately he steps up by the end though. Then you have the parents. Unfortunately Michael wasn’t a particularly strong character in this case. He panics far too often and always ends up taking it out on the kids by yelling at them for no good reason. He doesn’t even try to hear there side of the story and just forgetting to make a payment on the loan when he puts his house on it was pretty irresponsible. He’s generally a nice guy but folds too quickly.

Jane was holding it together much better in comparison as she was working her union job while helping out with this. It never broke her though so she was always around to lend a helping hand. The film also resisted the urge of setting her up with a romance plot here with Jack. She’s doing quite well for herself as it is and any kind of romance here would have been really rushed.

The writing and the effects are pretty good here so at the end of the day everything appears to be on point. The film will go by pretty quickly. They did a good job of making this film feel rather old school. There aren’t any giant explosions or anything and the characters talk in a rather distinguished manner like they did in the original film. It’s a very calm movie where you can just relax and watch the events proceed. Mainly my only gripe is just that the two parents look really bad thinking even for a second that everything was in their imagination. How could you possibly think that? Hopefully if we get a third film these kids don’t make the same mistake.

Overall, Mary Poppins Returns is a solid sequel and does a good job of bringing back all of the elements that made the first film good. In a lot of ways this is a film that is playing it super safe. It’s effectively a remake of the first film despite being a sequel so I’m sure they were banking on everyone enjoying it for that reason. It works well enough as it carries over the fact that there are no real negatives to be had in the film. If anything you might even feel sad for the main villain at the end since the film hits him with one last burn at the end. Of course when you consider how he was going to mess everyone over, you may just crack a grin instead. If you want to check out a nice little musical then this is a good movie to watch.

Overall 7/10

Libel Review

Whenever a film has a court scene I know it’s going to be good and the effect naturally increases when almost the whole film is built around such a case. Libel is a movie that really handles all of its elements really well. You’ve got a strong cast here and a lot going on as well. The movie has a very satisfying journey and conclusion so it’s definitely worth your time to check it out.

The movie starts with Jeffrey arriving home in between tours at the army. He is enjoying a quick drink when a program goes on TV that startles him. It’s his old friend Mark except some things don’t make sense. Mark has convenient memory loss but Jeffrey knows this has to be fake. His friend Mark is dead and this has to be an imposter known as Frank. Jeffrey publishes an article in the paper exposing Mark and so Mark retaliates by suing him. The two of them must now go into court to battle it out and see if Mark is telling the truth or if he is actually Frank. Only one man can walk away the victor this time so they will have to battle it out pretty carefully.

The court is in session for a good chunk of the film spanning several days. It’s definitely a blast seeing the case unfold in real time as the characters try to connect the dots and see what is going on. We get several different flashbacks, some of which we see more than once from different points of view. We learn a whole lot about the characters, particularly Frank who is clearly an antagonist. In the flashbacks he is quick to threaten Jeffrey’s life with a pipe he found and just seems unhinged the entire time. Certainly not someone you can get along with. If anything I think Mark had too loose of an attitude with him. He shakes off the fact that a murder was nearly committed or that Frank was reading his letter. Throughout the flashbacks we see that Mark never took him very seriously which definitely ends up being a bit of a mistake.

It was hard to understand him there. The whole “Both of you stop” is always the worst response when it’s clearly only one of the characters starting something. Mark is a solid main character in the present though. He definitely has a of self doubt thanks to what happened in the war and being a bit traumatized here and there but on the whole he seems to be a good guy. This case is definitely doing a number on him as well though.

Meanwhile you have Margaret who is doing her best to support him even when things get rather tricky. He really isn’t giving her a lot to work with though so Margaret has to find everything out along with the Jury which puts her in a pretty tricky spot. Finally you have Jeffrey who has to be the standout character here. He is quite determined to see justice done and that’s always something you have to respect in a character. He’s not doing any of this for money but to keep up the honor of his friend’s name and to protect everyone from the deception. From his point of view, he can’t exactly let this slide.

You’ve also got some side characters running around as well. One of them is Mark’s cousin who has a story about a scar that makes things difficult at trial. He definitely seems like a slippery character. Then you have the two lawyers who were really good. Both of them do a really good job of defending their clients and I do like how it was mentioned that they get along really well outside of work. It shows that they do a good job of not letting the work ever get too personal. They do their jobs and just make sure to do them well.

All of the court scenes were handled with a lot of dignity which is always important. Everyone follows the rules and so the experience goes pretty smoothly. The actual mystery is explained pretty well too. It’s all pretty logical and does take us from point A to B. The whole amnesia thing is super convenient of course but I guess without that we would not have a film at all. As a result Mark ends up acting a little shady near the beginning of the film with how he keeps so many secrets all the time. Part of it was memory loss and the other part was just hiding things so he doesn’t take any chances which is extremely risky.

The main characters have a dog and a kid but surprisingly they don’t appear much. I’m definitely fine with that so we can cut to the heart of the matter. That said, it does illustrate why it is such a bad idea to keep your doors unlocked all day and allow tours of the residence. If it had been more of a dangerous guy instead of Jeffrey, he would have easily had time to kidnap the family or even just rob some things as he walked out. Of course this film is quite old but you still feel like the whole thing was a bit reckless of the leads. It’s not really important to the plot but when you see the reporters just walking in and taking names, it definitely makes you think.

Overall, Libel is a solid film. The story is very interesting and the characters are good. When you mix that together then you have a good film that can stand on its own and has a good amount of replay value. One thing that was not fully explained was the moment with the jacket. Best thing I could think of was the character being worried that anyone finding out what had happened could get him in trouble but if anything then you would want less evidence right? Leaving the jacket could be worse so I’m not sure exactly what was going on there but that’s really my own question. Beyond that you’re all set to just jump in and have a good time here.

Overall 7/10

Designing Woman Review

Designing Woman is a quality film through and through. Right away you can tell this is going to be a good movie because it balances out the quality writing and humor pretty well. The romance definitely happens rather quickly but the film spends a lot of time showing how this creates some issues so that part was handled well. Quite a bit happens throughout the film so there’s never a dull moment. Even the very end of the film throws a bit of a twist on how the usual confession type scene would usually play out.

The movie starts off with Mike getting super drunk after celebrating a winning bet. He wakes up the next morning super hung over so everything sounds incredibly loud. Unfortunately he may not have remembered to send in his story either so he may be fired. Things start to look up though when he meets a lady named Marilla who fills in the blanks for him. Before shorting out he was able to send the story in thanks to her help and he even paid her quite well for it. Mike decides to quickly marry her. There’s just one thing he’s forgotten, he was already serious about another lady. Meanwhile, Mike has decided to take down a crooked fighting organizer and that guy is sending some goons to take him down. Can Mike and Marilla manage to square away their differences and get past this or will Mike be taking a hit both physically from the mob and emotionally?

One thing the film does very well here is add in some voices for the characters’ internal monologues. Throughout the film the characters make a lot of comments to add on to the scenes. For context, the film is technically being told as a flashback through the eyes of all the characters involved. That’s why they are all able to add in their commentary. In particular Mike and Marilla do a great job of making the scenes all that much more entertaining. In the scenes a lot of times Mike thinks he is winning or that Marilla doesn’t notice something but that never turns out to be the case. She is quite sharp on these things and doesn’t miss a beat.

Mike’s a fun lead character even if his antics probably wouldn’t be quite as fun in person. For example, his decision to lie about the whole adventure to Marilla is naturally a terrible move. The fact is that it would be harder for her to trust him after this even if his motive was ultimately to try not to hurt her. Really that was a generous depiction given to him, you could say that he was just trying to save himself at that point. He makes his share of mistakes but is definitely an entertaining lead.

Then you have Marilla who’s a blast as well. She is quite crafty and I like that she tends to give a lot of explanations for how her future actions are going to play out in the film. Marilla tries to get to the bottom of things herself after trying to get assistance from the other characters was not working in the slightest. It makes for a fun dynamic with her and Mike. I also liked that instead of the usual drama over their social circles not being very compatible they actually sat down and talked things out with some good compromises. Both characters were very reasonable the whole time which was nice.

The side characters were also on point. Lori did her best to try and help assist Mike through the break up. All things considered she did take it very well and probably wouldn’t have tossed the ravioli on Max if he didn’t go on a long tangent about how great Marilla is. Throughout the film she tries to make things easy on him but he keeps sabotaging himself every which way. I would say Lori had better acting skills than he did and her dog was also a blast. The dog definitely had a lot of personality and constantly wanted hugs. Then you have Maxie who took some big hits back when he was a fighter so he’s not all there now but he came in handy at the end when we got some fights. Same with the actor who was always running around frantically. That guy proved himself when he took out a whole lot of opponents at once.

The fact that we had a big fight scene at the end was pretty cool. It definitely was not something I expected to see here. Despite the film mainly being a light hearted comedy, the fighting/mob angle was handled quite seriously the whole time. It was nice to see the whole case just cut loose. Even Marilla stepped in to get some hits on the villains which was nice because you don’t see that happening quite so often. This is definitely the way you want to handle a climax. Including the phony story Mike tried selling at the end which was pretty funny.

I was also glad that Marilla being rich didn’t immediately get Mike jealous. You see that as a common theme a lot of the time but here he took it in stride. Sure, he was a bit shocked at the whole thing and had to adjust a bit but then he got right back on the saddle and just got with the program. As with everything else they talked it over and got to a good conclusion. That’s where this duo fared better than most leads. They just talk everything through and it’s rare to see two characters so polite the whole time. They definitely do have their big disagreements though and what film would this be without a lot of drama? They were still more mature than I would have expected.

Overall, This is one of those films that just nails the rom-com genre. It gives you a lot of quality humor along with a good cast of characters. There’s a good amount of replay value here thanks to the quality pacing as well. The film is always moving onto the next item and executing all of the scenes well. I really don’t have any negatives to bring up for the film. It executes on all of its plot points quite well. If you’re looking for a solid film to check out then I definitely recommend digging this one up and giving it a whirl.

Overall 7/10

The Fifth Element Review

The Fifth Element is one of those Sci-Fi films where you hear about it all the time thanks to the main villain but otherwise I couldn’t say that I knew much about the film. Sci-Fi always has a lot of potential though. This film balances out the action, sci-fi, and even some humor fairly well. It’s not exactly the perfect Sci-Fi film out there but it has enough fun with itself to make this a pretty fun movie. At times part of it almost felt a bit like a parody.

This film starts off with someone finding out the truth behind the universe. There is a battle coming up where the forces of darkness will destroy Earth. That’s when some aliens invade and murder the guy. They leave a key with a priest telling him that they will return in 300 years to help us fight off the evil. We then jump 300 years into the future where the Darkness has returned. His name is Mr. Shadow and to the rest of the world he appears to just be a giant mass of nothingness. He blows up a nearby ship and keeps on heading towards Earth. The President is forced to call in the one man nobody ever thought would return.

We then cut away to the main character, Korben. Korben is a cab driver who used to be part of the government but things didn’t exactly end well for him. He’s just going about his day when a girl crash lands in his car. Her name is Leeloo and she is the last survivor of the alien species who promised to return to save us all. Unfortunately she is only part alien as the rest of her got blown up by bandits so she’s mostly an android now. She needs to find the rings so she can return to the temple and restore the 5 elements before Mr. Shadow arrives. Her assistant here is the Priest. Korben doesn’t exactly want to get mixed up in this but he’s basically threatened to do this or die so he prepares to locate the rings. Meanwhile you’ve also got bounty hunters and other rogues trying for the rings as well.

Naturally there is a whole lot going on here which is pretty neat. Pretty much every character wants to get the rings. When you factor in that you’ve got multiple alien species running around, a rich guy who wants power, and the Priest then there are quite a lot of factions to consider. While the film could have easily been overloaded, that’s where some of the humor starts to set in. One of the solid things about the film is how it plays around with this. The Priest ends up being a tennis ball with the way he is smacked around the whole time. Then you have the rich villain Zorg who betrays the other aliens while running in to end things himself. The film is at its best when it isn’t taking itself super seriously but I would make the case that it is rarely being serious.

Take all the scenes of the President and his men trying to fight off the Shadow. When their attacks don’t work, everyone on the first ship completely freezes up until the Shadow envelops them. I felt like that was taking a shot at how everyone always seems to freeze up in these things. The President made for a fun character up in the ship even if he wasn’t able to be all that effective in the end. His final scene with Korben’s mother was also pretty neat since you can respect the fact that she wasn’t about to get tricked even if there was some irony in the moment to be sure.

I would say the best scene in the film had to be when Zorg managed to finally get back onto the ship with the plan to deactivate the bomb. Turns out there was another bomb. The whole thing was so unlikely and sudden that it just works. You pretty much never see a second bomb show up in that kind of situation so that was cool. Again, the film’s humor was definitely on point here which helps to mask some of the issues.

A big issue here would be the power levels for Leeloo. So, on one hand she is shown to have enough physical power to be able to punch through a barrier that was deemed “unbreakable” by the futuristic tech experts. She was barely even awake and did this so clearly she is super strong right? Then she masters all of the data files of humanity so she learns advanced hand to hand combat as well. Despite this, she is rarely portrayed as being very powerful. She got one cool scene where she beats up a bunch of opponents on her own but then runs when Zorg shows up and ends up getting blasted as a result. She should have pressed the attack. Even the plan to get the rings didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Why wait until after the show when the savior of the universe is this powerful?

The characters rarely seemed to acknowledge that Leeloo was all that powerful. I also thought the point of her scanning the databases was also to learn English but she doesn’t end up learning until the very end of the film so it was a bit odd. Ultimately the movie definitely fumbled the ball rather massively with her character. In the end she was used a bit more for fanservice than to acknowledge her combat abilities. The one scene of her beating up the aliens was fun but we should have gotten more of that.

It goes without saying that the romance in the film is pretty rushed as well. As with most movie romances it’s just hard to buy into this. It all happens within the span of a few days and Leeloo didn’t even like Korben at first. Korben was also presented initially as a character who was too busy for romance and was waiting for the perfect woman. As soon as he hears that Leeloo was made to be the perfect being it’s like just the title was good enough for him. Korben has his share of solid scenes outside of the romance though. He does a good job of pushing the other characters around when they try to trick him like the Priest assuming the identity. Additionally when it came time for a firefight he definitely did step up when it counted. I wouldn’t say he’s a great main character but he was fun.

The Priest tends to get a lot of the humor moments in the film and he handles them well. He always has a shocked expression on his face which ends up working well. I wouldn’t say all of the humor in the film lands though. For example I wasn’t a big fan of Ruby’s character. Pretty much all he does is panic a whole ton. The point is that he’s extremely over the top but the gimmick gets old pretty quick. Usually for jokes the point is to go in, deliver the punch line quickly whether it’s visual or through witty wording and then move on. The tougher part for character gimmicks is that if it’s ongoing you have to do something to keep it fresh. This film didn’t really pull that off here.

A good gag for example if Zorg nearly choking and dying in such a crazy way. It’s unheard of for a main villain to go down like that especially during his big monologue. That’s when the film is at its best, just being incredibly crazy like that. He was definitely a fun villain even if he was out of his league a lot of the time. Really, I think this film should be considered as a sci-fi/parody with those being the two main genres. If this wasn’t intentional for most of these scenes then I would be quite surprised. Naturally there’s a lot of ways you could turn this into a series with sequels and all but as a one shot all of the plot lines do end so technically it’s not like you definitely need a sequel or anything like that.

Overall, The Fifth Element is a fun film. It’s a sci-fi title that pokes fun at a lot of the usual scenarios while still keeping with a full story experience. I would have liked to have seen a little more action with Mr. Shadow to be sure but making him a literal ball of darkness was a bold approach. Initially I was also surprised that the futuristic robot aliens were so weak but then I figured that may have been the point as well. Even one of the aliens being unceremoniously crushed by the rock when giving his parting speech to the humans was likely intentional. Same with their being blasted out of the sky by random aliens. Events tend to happen rather suddenly and without warning in this film. It doesn’t pull its punches. The power scaling is definitely a bit off at times though. If you’re looking for a pretty light hearted sci-fi title then this is the one you’ll want to check out.

Overall 7/10

The Fastest Gun Alive Review

It’s fairly rare to have a western without much travelling or gunfights but The Fastest Gun Alive manages to pull this off pretty well. It’s more of a down to Earth story about a guy trying to walk away from the business. Unfortunately the main character doesn’t end up being a likable character though as he makes the wrong decisions consistently throughout the movie. The movie survives despite him though and it’s a pretty solid experience. You’ll be kept interested throughout.

The movie starts off with the main villain Vinnie searching for a man named Fallon. Fallon is said to be the fastest gun around. Well, Vinnie takes him down in a gun fight and is now satisfied as the best. Meanwhile, news travels around to a small town where everyone is fascinated by the idea of someone being this fast. This annoys George because he is actually a very good gunman, but he doesn’t let anyone know it. He prefers to live as a very meek shop owner who just minds his business. The issue is that this all starts to get to him more and more. Will he remain strong or is it time to show everyone what he’s got?

Needless to say, George definitely doesn’t stay strong and quickly tries to prove himself to everyone. Part of what makes the character annoying is that he lets everyone get to him rather easily. He doesn’t help matters either by deciding not to dance or constantly going out on walks instead of actually minding the store. He basically leaves all of the work to his wife Dora. We find out later on that George also lied to her about getting rid of his gun when he kept it the whole time. He just made every kind of mistake possible and either got drunk easy after his half a cup or his desperation made him drunk. Either way he definitely did not look good during the whole saloon scene where he is making fun of everyone.

I can maybe get past that except then at the end he is too afraid to go out and fight Vinnie when the villain hears about this. Not only is this directly George’s fault for showing off but he is willing to let the entire town burn if it means that he doesn’t have to fight. It makes sense that some people don’t want t fight in a gun battle of course and George would usually have the right to refuse a challenge but not in this circumstance. It’s only when another member of the town tries to go in his place that George finally works up the courage to act. A lead who wants to be recognized but then immediately regrets it is just too wishy washy to be a quality lead. He should have just been content with the life he had with Dora. She did her best to help out and he wasn’t grateful.

Meanwhile Dora is a solid character. She does her best to keep George on the straight and narrow but at the end of the day she has her limits too and made sure to hold her ground. Moving again wasn’t going to be an option for her. She definitely didn’t support the gun business in the slightest. As for the rest of the town, they all seemed pretty friendly except for one guy who was always getting on George with some passive aggressive comments. It’s clear that the guy had some strong views about guns but at the very least that’s as far as he went. With the rest of the town seeming pretty supportive to me I still say George had a great gig here that he was willing to blow for a few minutes of fame. Even the older man who kept recounting the story about the gunfight was having a good time. It was a pretty thrilling experience for him so why not enjoy it a lot right?

We get one long dance scene in the film where one teen gets to show off his moves. It feels like the potential start to a romance subplot that never actually happens. I feel like there was more that was cut out from the film or something. Still, it’s a pretty solid scene because the moves are quite impressive. He’s able to use all of the objects in the room to his advantage with some tight footwork and clearly he has spent a lot of time honing his skills at the barn. So while the entire scene is really filler to be honest, it’s a pretty fun scene to watch. I’d say it even beats a lot of the more classic dancing scenes you would typically see because this felt more like an athletic exhibition.

Meanwhile Vinnie was a solid main villain. He has an honor code which I like and he was also smart enough to make sure that none of the other two villains would stab him in the back. The guy’s gun skills were also the real deal so he makes for a very complete villain. The icing on the top was the fact that he has a good honor code where he doesn’t attack kids or dogs. You really couldn’t ask for much more out of a quality villain like this. There is a lot of build up to his big fight with George and it makes for an epic way to end off the movie. The ending to the film is quite solid and a great way to wrap things up.

The writing in the movie is on point as you would probably expect. The dialogue is pretty strong and there are a lot of quality discussions the whole time like deciding how to handle the situation with Vinnie getting ready to burn the town. I may not have liked George but he was still written well and never got crazy or anything like that. All of the characters are pretty reasonable and even minor characters like Vinnie’s right hand man get some personality in their brief appearances.

Overall, The Fastest Gun Alive is a solid western film. I like the idea of several characters all fighting it out to prove that they are the fastest. It’s a title they clearly all want to own since it’s a matter of pride. Even George was more into it than he would let on. At the same time as a blind character in the movie said, there is always someone faster. Your opponent could have a jammed gun like someone else mentioned or maybe just a bad day. In a gun draw where both characters quickly try to fire off their shot, there are a lot of ways that things may not plan out as you figured. Every bit of speed comes in handy in those ties though. I would definitely recommend checking this film out if you like the Wild West. It’s an all around solid title.

Overall 7/10

The Late Show Review

Noir films tend to be pretty fun with their chaotic plans. The lead is always thinking things through quite a bit to the point where they might even overanalyze things at times. Well, this film is no different and plays things out pretty well the whole time. It’s a pretty good film and you should have a fun time here. It may not go down as the ultimate film of the genre that you will remember for all of time but it does hit all of the right beets. The Late Show represents the genre really well so you can certainly recommend this to any fan of the Noir genre.

Ira used to be a pretty good detective in his day but he’s basically out of the business now. He’s quite old and just doesn’t get involved in those situations anymore. Well, one day his partner Harry shows up and dies. Ira realizes that the guy has been shot by someone and decides to avenge him. His only lead is that Harry had been helping out a lady named Margo with…her missing cat? This doesn’t exactly sound like a life or death matter but clearly there is more to this case than meets the eye. Getting information out of Margo will be difficult though. She is a very active person who likes to talk a whole lot so it can be tough to ever get to the bottom of things with her. Still, Ira knows that if he sticks close to her he will get his chance. You have conspiracies, lies, missing people, a possible cheating scandal, and more here. Ira will have to piece all of these seemingly unrelated plots together.

Part of the fun for Noir films is the twists and turns that come along the way so it’s harder to go more in depth with the story. A big emphasis is on Ira being old which the villains take advantage of but Ira dishes it out as well as he takes it. Several of the villains try to strong arm him and that always backfires. A good example of this is Lamar who beats up on Ira after getting in a surprise attack but he gets to feel the same punishment later on. Ira certainly holds a grudge and won’t forget things very easily.

He’s a fun lead and works well in this role. The character of the aging detective who knows all of the tricks works pretty well here. He’s not going to fall for any easy traps and the villains have to do everything they can to make sure they aren’t just completely squashed by this guy. Ira has some health issues in the film which do present an issue but he handles those pretty well too. So all in all I was definitely quite satisfied with this guy. Then you have Margo who is a solid sidekick. She really wants to be helpful so you can appreciate her drive even if she sometimes gets them into a bigger mess like with calling Ira’s other partner. To her defense I guess she may not have known better but considering how crazy things were getting she probably should have stayed quiet. Can’t trust anyone in this kind of situation I would say.

Margo handles the car driving really well as she escaped the tails though. The writing in the film is really solid with the banter between Margo and Ira being a nice highlight. Technically she is doing most of the bantering since he doesn’t talk a lot. He prefers to just think things through in his head while Ira likes to bring everything out into the open and just discuss everything until it makes sense. They have very different styles for sure.

On the whole the movie is just pretty fun so the whole thing goes by pretty quickly. It’s a solid plot and by the end you get to see which of the characters are able to stick the landing and which ones crack under pressure. In particular there is one character who looks terrible at the end. After getting beaten by the thugs in a theater this guy still decides to help them out for the money. I think just about anyone would realize that these guys probably wouldn’t give him the money anyway. Most likely he would just be shot in the back for his troubles. There’s no way things would end well for him either way so it makes his character choice even worse. All he is doing is digging his own grave but at least it gives Ira a chance to dish out some more solid burns.

The ending is pretty sudden with several shots being fired and the body count certainly rises. Nobody is really safe in a film like this, especially when you have villains running around. Everyone knows about two of the thugs for example but nobody does anything about them. It’s one of those interesting elements where you have characters uttering a lot of veiled threats against each other with the mutual understanding that no fights will break out as long as each person leaves the other alone.

Overall, The Late Show is a pretty good movie. The plot is engaging from start to finish and there is never a dull moment. You have to really stay on top of things here or you may lose track of a few of the twists. It works well as a slow burner film where we slowly find things out along with Ira until we have the full story. The movie balances the serious nature of the movie along with some quality humor the whole time. It’s done carefully so both tones are in tact. You never doubt for a second the high stakes of the film after all as we do get some intense scenes like someone literally being found inside of a fridge. If anything the humor makes these moments feel even more intense since they can really come out of nowhere. The ending even leaves room for potential sequels should they decide to go in that direction. Of course Ira is already quite old so the films would have to be careful not too stretch it too far or you’ll have a hard time believing that he can hold his own. At least as of this film he is clearly still tough enough to physically manhandle some of the villains though.

Overall 7/10

Rise – Dharuriser Review

Whenever you think of guys fighting in colorful suits you’re probably going to be thinking of Power Rangers or Kamen Rider. They have really done a whole lot to make this trend stick and in particular Power Rangers is one of those franchises that is just so huge at this point. It makes sense that there would be a lot of other competitors in the genre. Dharuriser is a one shot movie so you don’t need to watch anything else to get into it. It’s a little more down to Earth than some of the other titles I mentioned but we get quality action scenes and a good plot. This is a film I would be able to recommend to anyone who wants to watch a solid action film with a good story behind it.

The movie starts off by showing us how Akihiro’s dream of being an actor isn’t paying off all that well. His wife Mio is now pregnant so he needs a way to find some steady income. He reluctantly moves back into his father’s house but does not want to assist in the family business. He gets a job as a security guard instead and also enters a “create a suit” contest in his free time. He submits the Dharuman costume which later gets renamed to Dharuriser. The issue is that there is a very real villain group called DICE. They intend to purify the county by eliminating all those who they deem impure. They seem to be connected to the mystery discs embedded into everyone’s wrist. Can Akihiro find out what they are doing and stop them or will he ultimately not rise to the occasion?

At the end of the day Akihiro isn’t a hero when this all starts off. He doesn’t know how to fight and is just an ordinary guy. During the course of the film he works to change this as he gets more and more serious about being in the hero business. He’s a solid main character who is definitely determined and ends up helping out quite a lot when the going gets tough. He’s the kind of guy that you want in your corner when things get tough.

That said, I did agree with his father in some respects. Akihiro absolutely did not want to help in the hotel business but he’s got a family to think about. He was rather unreasonable about this from the start. If he didn’t want to go straight to work then he is taking advantage of his father’s house. It’s something he had to think about before having a kid. That’s why you wait to have children until you have a stable income and living situation. Akihiro didn’t really think any of this through and then he nearly loses his job by oversleeping. So he had his moments where he was taking things for granted to be sure but once he turned into Dharuriser he became a lot more reliable.

Akihiro’s wife Mio is definitely a quality character as well. She’s a very loyal character who takes his side at all times. Whenever he is in trouble she doesn’t throw extra blame on him either. There’s a scene where he is getting ready to fight again and you think she might guilt trip him, but instead she just helps him get back out there again. It’s always a nice change of pace to have a character who isn’t quick to change sides. Mio was someone he could count on.

The movie’s close to 2 hours so it’s able to capture quite a lot of story in that time. DICE gets a full backstory to the group and we gradually learn about their goals. The leader ended up using his goal of keeping someone alive more as an excuse though to be honest. He definitely went way overboard with the whole thing and cracked up. Akihiro’s friend from work would probably be the worst character though as he was corrupted really easily and never tried to fight it. He just went off the deep end rather quickly and never looked back. You probably won’t be able to trust him again after all that.

Akihiro’s parents were good. As mentioned, the father was pretty reasonable with why he was upset with the lead the whole time. The Mom always tried to calm things down between the two of them as well. Then you have Akihiro’s best friend who was pretty solid. He definitely came in handy quite a lot as he assisted Akihiro in pretty much every task. He could have been a little less nervous at the end since he has a one hit KO gun but I guess even with that he felt like the danger was too much.

As expected the fight scenes are pretty good here. We get a lot of quality hand to hand action. Akihiro certainly improved in hand to hand a lot over this period of time. The costume for Dharuriser also looks really good. A particular standout here would be the soundtrack though. There are a lot of great themes with a quick tempo that feel very fitting for the battle scenes. Sometimes even when there was no battle present the music would ramp up. It helps enhance the chase scenes and adds a bit of stakes to the fights. A good soundtrack can definitely go a long way.

Throughout the film someone is trying to contact Akihiro using a bit of telepathy and a lot of direct mental images. You can’t help but feel like the sender could have made the message more specific though. Akihiro wanted to help the whole time but without any hints as to where the villains are or how to recognize them, it’s not like he could have done much about it anyway. It’s not until the very end of the fil that he is given any real instructions. I feel like the sender could have done a better job with that and who knows, Akihiro may have ended things a lot sooner.

Overall, Dharuriser is a good movie that manages to stick the landing. Things almost get a bit dicey in the climax but Akhiro makes the right call. At times the film may seem a bit cheesy with the hero being able to dispatch tons and tons of opponents even though he just learned how to fight but when you consider that his opponents are often pretty old and don’t know how to fight then this adds up rather nicely. If the enemies had guns then that would have been tricky but it might be hard to acquire those in this small town. The film has no real weaknesses so it’s definitely one that you should have a lot of fun with.

Overall 7/10

Send Me No Flowers Review

Doris Day seems to have a lot of comedy films where things go completely off the rails for the characters and this one is definitely not an exception. For romance comedies like this the most important thing is for the film to be fun with a solid script. The movie pulls this off and I would be able to recommend it. Now, I do have an issue or two with it like the overly familiar greetings from some of the guys to the main heroine but beyond that this is a solid story that really flows all the way to the end. You definitely don’t want to miss it.

The movie starts off by introducing us to George and Judy who are the two main characters of the film. Judy lives a pretty content life right now. She gets to keep up with all of the latest gossip courtesy of the milkman and she has grown used to George’s eccentric ways. See, George is one of those guys who stresses out about everything and constantly thinks he is sick with one thing or another. Unfortunately due to how the placebo effect works, he actually does get himself sick to a degree. Well, one day when he visits the doctor’s office for a checkup he overhears the Doctor effectively saying that George will be dead in a matter of weeks.

George isn’t ready to die and yet he has to be strong now for Judy. He lets his best friend Arnold know and now George has one last mission. He has to find a replacement husband for Judy since he is confident she will rebound fairly soon after he dies. The trouble is, most of the bachelors in this town are fairly suspect. Either they are players or they cheat at golf. This is going to be harder than George thought but he is determined not to quit.

Now this is a full on comedy film so the choices aren’t supposed to make a lot of sense. George often does the crazy thing over the honorable or even the sensible option. Still, the fact that he is convinced Judy will ultimately remarry is pretty sad to an extent. Knowing you will be replaced is pretty rough and it also feels like your romance isn’t quite as real then. Naturally if he told her about his impending demise then the whole film would be a lot shorter although I think he could have at least done without the whole finding a replacement husband bit though.

He’s a nice guy overall who does try to help others. Midway through the film he takes a bit of a risk to help out a widow who was being played for being too naïve. It’s definitely nice that he told her about this. I don’t see how she fell for such an obvious ruse though. Not saying you should doubt everyone automatically but a guy asking you out on a date the very next day upon your getting divorced? That should strike up every kind of warning bell you’ve got.

George also makes some big mistakes though like listening to Arnold’s advice about telling Judy that he was cheating on her. It’s a plan that has no real logic to it no matter how much Arnold explains it and even entertaining the idea for an instant seems like too much. As for Arnold, he is a good friend though. Aside from that scene where he was still trying to help, that guy is constantly putting himself out there to aid George whenever possible. He doesn’t do anything halfway and the fact of the matter is that he had George’s back when nobody else did. I don’t think a lot of people would put up with half the things that Arnold did. In fact, I was reminded of the film “A delicate balance” as George needed a place to crash last second and Arnold was fine with it. He was definitely a very likable character the whole time.

Then you have Judy. Well, she’s a very reasonable character I would say. She does her best to accept the fact that George is always feeling sick and is good natured about the whole thing. While she doesn’t really give George much of a chance to explain himself over being kissed, it is hard to defend something like that. Clearly George should have been able to dodge someone making a pass at him. The whole “gratitude kiss” is just an excuse and everyone knows it. Thing is, Judy is on shaky ground since she let Winston get all over her when they first meet. These old films always act like it’s impossible to break away from a kiss or react to it in time to stop the advance. It’s sketchy at best and makes the characters look suspect. So with that said, Judy has less reason to be significantly upset about this as George could have easily countered.

The final few scenes really have the characters go in a bunch of different ways as the misunderstandings continue to escalate. It really manages to do a lot in a pretty short amount of time there. As a result this film may be around 2 hours but feels even longer at times. It’s in a good way as it never drags on but you are always surprised by how much they can add in. Fortunately the writing and humor are up to the task. The movie is just a lot of fun as a result and should get a good amount of laughs in. There is always something crazy happening on screen. The humor isn’t exactly subtle. It’s a very bold and confident style that works very well here.

Finally we have Winston and there is nothing to like about him. Again, the guy just strolls over and acts like Judy is his girlfriend the whole time. The fact that she doesn’t do anything to stop him like when the guy keeps using her maiden name is pretty bad. That would really be my only issue with the film. Judy lets Winston get away with way too much. In general the whole trend of characters stealing kisses in this film feels like a stretch for more drama and hurts both George and Judy.

Overall, The cast is good though. The writing is on point and the film will end up being quite memorable. It may not be able to match Doris Day’s top hits but it can hold its own against most movies in a straight fight. The idea of George thinking he will be dying soon also works well for a lot of different joke opportunities and the film really makes sure to capitalize on them. It did everything it could with the genre so if you like a good comedy film and find the plot interesting then you’ll definitely like this movie. The nonstop banter between the characters ensures that the intensity always stays at a high level.

Overall 7/10

Earth vs. The Spider Review

When you think about giant spiders odds are that Kumonga will be one of the first guys you think about. That makes sense because he is a pretty fierce beast. Still, this spider also ends up looking pretty good and it’s a movie that has aged rather well. It’s a simple film that has a plot that you can fully understand within a minute but it makes for a good watch nonetheless. The pacing is good and the cast of characters is likable so that’s already two green flags for the film.

The movie starts off with Carol’s dad on the freeway where he is unfortunately murdered by a giant spider. Carol and Mike head over to a haunted cave to search for him and just barely manage to escape the Giant Spider. They call in the science teacher Kingman as well as the Sheriff. The trouble is that aside from Kingman nobody believes them. Is there any way to convince the town of the giant spider’s existence or are they all doomed to be crushed beneath the power of this monster before they have a chance to properly counter attack? Only time will tell.

Earth vs. The Spider feels like a very short film. I want to say that it’s barely over an hour so things move really quickly. I’ll give the heroes props for venturing through the cave and for escaping with their lives since that seems difficult at times. The film has a good sense of danger with the Spider as it walks around smashing buildings and such. It’s certainly big enough to be a true threat after all so it’s not like it’ll be easy to block it away.

That said, the Spider seems kind of weak despite this. The heroes are able to push it away with electricity, fire, and knockout gas. When you put all of that together they should be able to win this pretty quick. I was actually a little puzzled when the cops basically said to ditch the knockout gas since it didn’t prove to be fatal. The original intent was to destroy the spider but surely using a substance that knocked it out for hours would still be handy here right? At the very least I think they should have kept it as an option. We do get some nice chase scenes with the Spider though so it shows that even as a giant monster it still had a good amount of agility.

As for the human characters, Kingman is the obvious MVP. For starters he believes the kids right away and also had fun making very serious suggestions about handling the spider even when nobody else believed him. He was someone you could count on the whole time. He was quick on his feet and if a plan didn’t work then he would quickly transition to a new one. Kingman was just a pro and he had a lot of snappy dialogue. Another strength for the film is that the writing is solid which is to be expected for a retro film like this. They always seem to have stellar dialogue.

Mike and Carol may not be able to steal the show the way Kingman does but they are good characters as well. Mike is considerate and always steps in to help Carol when she wants him to do something. At one point he was ready to finally watch a movie only for her to have him go back in the haunted cave again so he gets props for that. Meanwhile Carol is good as well. While I don’t agree with her decision to go back into the cave and risk certain destruction for a necklace/ring, I suppose she did well in going through most of the cave. It’s just a little mixup of priorities in this instance.

The Sherriff was definitely a fun character to help keep the leads in check. Naturally he doesn’t buy into this giant spider business one bit and why should he? Giant spiders are the stuff of legends after all. In general the town is pretty nonchalant about having a giant spider once it’s found out though so I guess the town is made of sterner stuff. The Sherriff may be skeptical the whole time but to be fair he did step in when needed.

While the film may not strike fear into your heart the way the movie was probably hoping it would, the core story is still good. It’s the kind of movie that’s easy to watch. The core fundamentals you want from any film is a cast of good characters and solid writing. This movie has both of those elements so it’s not really surprising that it ended up being a solid watch. If anything it ends so fast that you really wouldn’t mind if it lasted a bit longer. Even if just to see more of the town’s reactions as some people fled while others took charge.

Overall, I would recommend checking this film out. The title may have a lot of hyperbole as there isn’t really any big battle involving the whole planet but if you think of the town as it’s own little world then I guess that’s the best we can come up with here. The Spider itself is solid. The design may just be that of a normal giant spider but at least the roar is unique even if it doesn’t seem very fitting for the monster. If you like a good ole fashioned creature feature then this is definitely one you will want to check out.

Overall 7/10