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The 7th Voyage of Sinbad Review


It’s time to look at a classic Sinbad film. Believe it or not but I’ve never really seen a Sinbad movie before. He’s one of those classic characters that I certainly know about but that’s about it. The guy’s effectively been a mystery to me. I’m also not typically a big fan of pirate films because I’m not a huge fan of the water. You typically can’t have great fight scenes there and while the ocean might look nice, it can get old. Fortunately this film is actually quite good though. I’d definitely say that it will keep your interest pretty well and has aged very well.

The film starts with Sinbad deciding to rest a bit on an island. His crew has been on a long voyage to get the princess Parisa back to the kingdom where she and Sinbad will be married. Their visit to the island is a short one as it turns out a Cyclops lives there. A magician known as Sokurah joins the crew but insists that they go back to the island because he clumsily dropped his magic lamp. How do you drop a lamp that is pretty much all powerful? The lamp has some limits like the fact that is can’t directly attack but its use is still only limited by your imagination. Sinbad says it would be foolish to go back to Sokurah has to think of a plan. His plan is to shrink Parisa down to the size of an apple. Sinbad must now go back to the island to reclaim the Lamp which will allow Sokurah to turn her back to normal. Can Sinbad really stop the Cyclops?

Pretty fun plot but I give Sinbad too much credit in it. Put it this way, Sinbad actually doesn’t realize that Sokurah shrunk her down. He seems to think it was some kind of crazy coincidence even though Sokurah was about as obvious as he could be. Seriously, it seems like he would have had to draw a huge sign or something given how slow on the uptake everyone is. This guy pits the two kingdoms against each other with ease. Part of the issue is that Parisa’s father is quite gullible indeed and thinks Sinbad’s kingdom is to blame. I get the kingdom rivalries and all but this was just too obvious.

I guess you had to get Sinbad back to the island somehow though. His portrayal here is a bit different than what I was expecting but not in a bad way. He’s actually not the kind of guy to take on any risk. He chooses his battles and that’s worth noting. It’s why he initially says that going back to the island is crazy. It’s not so much that he’s afraid of the Cyclops but why fight a battle that you don’t need too? There is wisdom in what he says.

I liked Sinbad. He’s a pretty good guy and a solid fighter. His best scene is probably when he has to take on the whole crew once they start a mutiny. I was expecting a few people to turn on him but just about everyone? That was intense and a great fight scene for sure. Sinbad had a few allies but they never really got much of a role so it’s hard to tell if that was a homage to his original crew or just some loyal fellows.

Parisa is also pretty solid. I did appreciate the fact that she tried helping despite her size. She was good with helping unlock the heroes while they were in the cage and any contribution is a good one if you ask me. She was much better than the two kings. Her maid was also pretty unreasonable so Parisa comes across as the voice of reason here. I’m not sure what they would do without her.

As for the villain Sokurah, it’s hard not to like that guy. He’s so obviously evil the whole time. You half expect him to start cackling at any given moment. Yet, his powers are very real. If he can do all of these things like altering someone’s shape and shrinking others, I feel like he could have taken down the Cyclops a lot easier than he did. Maybe he has a size limit but even so if he had hyped up his magical powers sooner the kingdoms may have actually helped him. Kingdoms love raw power so they would very quickly have him as an ally.
Finally we have Barani but he didn’t work so well as a Genie. I didn’t like the fact that he would always say that he would try to grant a wish. Don’t try….you’re a genie!! He should be able to just do it and in the end he always does so I question why it was so difficult. Barani is just underestimating himself at this point.

Ultimately a big reason as to why the film was so good is because the writing is on point and the pacing is solid. The script is quite solid and gets us a lot of good banter with all of the characters. As I mentioned, it’s also just aged really well in general. Sinbad has a lot of good fights like with the Skeleton or the crew. It’s all ahead of its time in that respect. It’s also a pretty surreal film like when the Ogre first shows up. It can be a bit sudden and unexpected if you aren’t familiar with Sinbad because of how realistic it all appeared to be at first. We even get a monster fight near the end which I was definitely not expecting.

Overall, I dare say that this is the definitive version of Sinbad. I haven’t seen any other Sinbad films so this might feel a little early to say but it’s just that good. It hits all the right beats of what a Sinbad film should contain. How can you go wrong right? The film is also over in a flash. It doesn’t drag on at all and its fairly close to getting an 8. There are some films like this where I’m tempted to give an 8 but I guess it would need a bit of an extra push. Still, there’s nothing wrong with being a 7 because that just means you were very fun. This title has a lot of replay value and I would recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

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Lethal Weapon 3 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.

It’s time to follow the pair of cops on another adventure. Lethal Weapon 3 has a little more fun with the premise compared to last time as we see them foil a few quick crimes in addition to the main plot. Due to this I consider it to be an improvement over the second film although I ultimately still wouldn’t put it over the first film. It’s a fun way to end off the trilogy so to speak even if we did get a fourth film after this one. The series has managed to be pretty consistently good so far.

The movie starts off with Martin and Roger getting themselves involved in stopping yet another criminal plot. They end up being a little out of their depth when trying to defuse the bomb though. Blowing up a building was the last straw though so they have been demoted from their positions. Martin and Roger keep getting involved with a lot of different crimes like people trying to steal money, running around with guns, etc. The cops are going to need the heroes back in the action pretty quick because an ex cop known as Jack has shown up and is abusing his power. He ventured undercover into the prison and even murdered a witness. If Martin and Roger don’t stop him soon, Jack will have finished enacting his plan and made millions of dollars.

Right away you can tell that this film is a lot busier than the last one and that’s a very good thing. There’s always something happening with a lot of ongoing plots at once. That’s always a good thing to do in a thriller kind of film because it helps keep you glued to what’s going on. When you keep changing the location and the case then you have to do your best to keep up. We actually see Martin and Roger doing a lot of patrolling in this film which is good because that is one of their main tasks. I also feel like the film was having a little fun with this. The characters can’t even sit down to have a burger without someone getting murdered or trying to evade arrest.

We get a new character named Lorna who is pretty fun although regrettably the film could not resist going for the romance angle right away. It’s handled pretty terribly like in the last film. Lorna and Martin don’t get along at all in the beginning and then suddenly they hit it off later on. There’s no real reason for this and it all just happens way too quickly. Even if you know it’s coming it doesn’t make the plot any better. Still, as a character Lorna is still good though. She’s always ready to put the main characters back in their place and she can actually fight pretty well which is always a thumbs up in my book. Lorna can hold her own and has apparently cracked a lot of cases back in her day.

Martin is still a solid main character as always. He jumps into action at every turn and never lets a villain get away. He’s much more intense about his job than any of the other characters. Roger may get fed up about how many risks Martin takes but at the end of the day it’s what makes Riggs so effective. He holds his own story pretty well. Meanwhile it’s a fun film for Roger as well. The dynamic of him trying to play it a bit safe now is enjoyable and since he’s so close to retirement it makes sense as well. Nobody wants to be taking huge chances when they’re so close to being out the door right?

Leo also returns here and does his best to help the characters out. He’s even helping Roger sell his house which is pretty nice of him. The guy has come a long way from being a big drug dealer. The rest of the cast is pretty self contained. You’ll recognize some supporting characters like the captain of the police or the psychiatrist that Martin doesn’t take seriously. They all help to make the police base pretty inviting and it’s easy to see how everyone gets along so well with the banter. The place is pretty informal so everyone can just relax and have a good time.

The writing here is solid and the pacing is definitely good. As mentioned, something is always happening here which is part of why the film manages to be so good. I think it was quite a solid way to kick off the first 3 films while leading us up to the final one. The action scenes here are good and the movie manages to balance out the buddy cop dynamic while still being an intense thriller. Jack may not be a particularly memorable villain but he was reasonable enough. I think I would have liked to have actually seen him fight a bit more though. That would have made him more memorable.

Overall, Lethal Weapon 3 gets real close to topping the original film. It didn’t quite do it but operates at the same level. I was glad to see Martin get another dog here. Now he has two and they seem to get along quite well. It also shows that he has pretty solid morals since he wouldn’t attack the first dog even when the villains owned him. If you want to watch an action film that also has a lot of fun then this is definitely the title for you. There’s really not much to say against it as this film hits the right notes and doesn’t drag on. We’ll see if the next film continues the trend and ends things on a high note.

Overall 7/10

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Nancy Drew… Reporter Review


Nancy Drew is back in another installment. It’s been a while since I saw the first film but this one throws you right back into the fold so it’s like the series never left. It’s a pretty classic kind of mystery and keeps a calm vibe. You wouldn’t quite call this a thriller mystery but more of a slice of life one. Not to say that the stakes aren’t high though. The villains still do have guns and someone’s life is on the line but as it takes place in a little town where it seems like danger is more of a foreign concept it never feels too crazy for the heroes.

Nancy and her club have been chosen to be Newspaper reporters for a few days. They are each tasked with an assignment and the one who comes up with the best story gets a medal and $50 dollars. Unfortunately, they aren’t taken too seriously and are all given rather unimportant tasks. Most of the girls just accept this, but not Nancy. She quickly switches out the story for a murder case and it’s a good thing she did. The person in custody is close to the end of her rope and Nancy is sure that the lady is innocent. All of the evidence points the other way but Nancy has a chance to get the smoking gun of the case. It’s a disc that contains the fingerprints of whoever poisoned the victim. Nancy just needs to find it and she’ll have her friend assist. Will she be able to solve the case in time?

As always Nancy calls in her pal Ted to help her here. You gotta feel bad for the guy though because he’s just trying his hardest to mind his own business and improve his skills. He was taking tennis lessons and even knew how to dodge the ole traps around the community. Unfortunately he’s just too nice of a guy to say no to someone in trouble so he always ends up assisting Nancy with whatever task she needs. He does a good job of not shying away from danger though and actually proves to be smarter than Nancy. While that may sort of hurt the overall premise of Nancy being the detective in these movies, at least it gives Ted some hype I suppose. Makes for a solid dynamic there.

The case is a little on the basic side although it’s still enjoyable. From the start we learn that there is something that there is a disc with irrefutable evidence on it. Unfortunately nobody has gone to search for it which is where Nancy comes in. The mystery isn’t so much about whether the lady is guilty or not but if Nancy can find this piece of evidence before anyone else. There’s definitely a lot of dashing around here as everyone goes for the object. There are quite a few villains running around so the heroes have to be careful.

Nancy’s father doesn’t get a big role here though as he mainly just gives Nancy some advice once in a while. Having him be an attorney would be a pretty convenient way to loop him in but so far the films haven’t really taken advantage of that. I suppose they probably just don’t want to risk him overshadowing Nancy which would be a bit of a risk. Instead we get two new supporting characters here in the form of Ted’s little siblings. They’re really just here to cause some trouble for the heroes and tend to get in the way. At most they could be useful in helping the heroes remain undetected because people wouldn’t suspect two little kids, but as Nancy and Ted are already fairly young I think they have that covered.

The most tragic scene in the film was easily when the newspaper was giving out the awards. One girl ended up winning and she was quite thrilled, only for Nancy to show up and steal the prize. Nancy didn’t even do it legitimately as she lied about details of the case in order to buy time. I really think the other girl should have gotten to keep the prize. It was just all pretty tragic since she had already officially won the prize. Nancy doesn’t even seem to care. She gives the prize money away but that’s more because she didn’t care about it in the first place.

This isn’t Nancy’s best portrayal as a character. While I’m all for her switching assignments and doing what it takes to find a good story, she can be a little bit on the petty side as she manipulates Ted and guilt trips him the whole time. Ted’s still pretty solid though and if you think about it, he does all of the more dangerous tasks as it is. He even has to go up against a real boxer. The fight scene was pretty cool though. We got to have a real hand to hand fight here and even with some cheating tactics Ted was unable to win.

How much you enjoy this film will really depend on how much you like a good ole fashioned mystery. Do you need explosions and fight scenes to make it exciting or is the concept of a classic murder mystery enough to pique your interest? Nancy lives in a rather safe town without much crime so things were never going to get that explosive. The fact that there was a murder was already a bit more intense than I was expecting. In light of that, it also helps you understand why the town was so ready to convict someone even without big evidence. They probably aren’t used to this kind of thing and it impaired their judgment.

Overall, Nancy Drew…Reporter is a pretty solid movie. It can be a bit basic but the writing is strong and the pacing is pretty good. It’s a very low key type mystery from the old days. It may not have super high stakes the way a modern mystery would, but you won’t be bored during this adventure. It’s all handled quite well and I’m ready for some more Nancy Drew adventures. As long as she’s got Ted at the ready this duo is prepared for anything!

Overall 7/10

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Keeper of the Flame Review


It’s time to look at an old conspiracy film. It’s a cautionary tale about how anyone can quickly be corrupted or coerced under the right circumstances. Always be careful of meeting your heroes because nobody is perfect so you’re likely going to be disappointed. The movie’s very well made. The cast is pretty small and the plot is rather direct so to an extent it can feel like not much is happening. That’s where the writing comes into play since the film needs to keep you interested until the final twist near the end of the movie. I thought it succeeded in this regard.

The movie starts with a legendary American hero dying in a car accident. The country is in mourning because this guy was a very prominent figure. His wife Christine is taking this especially hard and has been unwilling to see anyone. Famous reporter Stephen has arrived in town to get the scoop although his two reporter friends tell him he should give up. That’s not how Stephen operates though and he keeps on going until he finally meets Christine. Why is she so nervous and eager for him to go away? Stephen’s reporter instincts have kicked in and he senses a story!

The funny thing is that this is one of those movies where the villains really overthink things. The film would have been over in an instant if they hadn’t gone back after Stephen. Clive thinks that Christine’s decision not to meet with Stephen initially was pretty suspicious. He’s not wrong in this but suddenly appearing later on has the opposite effect. If they had left things alone Stephen may have had a feeling that something wasn’t right but he would have stopped there. It’s always interesting when the villains think too highly of the heroes because that’s pretty rare.

Nevertheless, Stephen’s definitely a solid character for the most part. He’s determined and doesn’t get intimidated when people threaten to beat him up or worse. You have to have nerves of steel to be a reporter and he’s definitely got that. In comparison the other two reporters look pretty bad as they give up with ease and don’t really do much of anything. They’re really just here for the banter although I can appreciate that since I’m always up for good banter. The main thing that holds Stephen back is the romance plot with Christine since her husband literally just died. Now, they weren’t actually all that close and there’s a lot going on with that relationship but you still can’t see this as anything but a rebound. I also thought that it didn’t really enhance the plot in any way.

The film has a solid ending that wraps things up as well so this is a really complete journey. The best part here is that the film had strong writing and was interesting from cover to cover. I liked the final twist and it’s not even unrealistic. It’s very easy to see something like this happening and the idea of playing groups against each other is something that is happening as we speak through every kind of media, social media, writing, and even in person. Division is a constant in life and one that always has the appearance of getting worse and worse with each passing year. The movie is just as timely now as when it came out with the relevant plotlines. In light of all of this, Christine did pretty good. It’s a shame that she couldn’t have gotten a little further from the situation but I don’t really see how she could have had a chance for any of that.

For the debate at the end where Christine and Stephen have differing views on how people handle these kinds of twists in real life, I’d say Stephen was right. At the end of the day, no matter how big a revelation or a twist there is, people will adapt and get used to it. Some will take it harder than others no doubt but it’s just not personal enough for most to be crushed by it. If it were that personal then it wouldn’t effect most of the others. Since you can never really know someone else, you can only get to hurt by learning something you didn’t already know. There are just limits to how you will feel and that’s why Stephen is right that the truth always has to come out. It may not be what everyone wanted to hear, but ultimately it’s what they needed to know. There’s one death that’s a little gratuitous at the ending as I don’t think it was really needed but you can see why the film went that route.

Overall, Keeper of the Flame is a pretty nice title. It is definitely a very relevant title as it has to do a whole lot with the movie. If you’re up for a mystery with quite a few twists and turns then this is up your alley. As mentioned, the only thing I could see holding this one back a little for some would just be the fact that the movie can feel a little slow at times. Not so much in a dragged out sense as it isn’t specific scenes, but the film has a very slow pace to it as it takes you through the story. The characters chat about life and hypotheticals as well. Everyone’s always got a speech. I’m always up for that though as the dialogue is pretty interesting to me. As long as you agree then you’ll enjoy the film.

Overall 7/10

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Murder by Contract Review


It’s time to look at a thriller film from a while ago. It’s a pretty interesting hitman story and the writing/atmosphere keep this movie solid throughout its run. The dialogue is pretty solid and Claude plays a lot of mind games with the other characters. I do think his first boss should have probably been a little more prepared for what happened but I guess in his old age he started to drop his guard a bit more. It’s not exactly beyond the pale for that to happen so I could see it as being pretty reasonable. At most the ending just feels a bit on the lucky side for the character rather than a decisive victory. I would have made it a little different like letting a shot go through instead to stop things.

The movie starts with a guy named Claude deciding to get into the hitman business. The reason for this is that he wants to buy an expensive house and his day job will never get him enough money for it. He wants cash quick and the easiest way to do it is by bumping people off. He quickly manages to get hired into this job and proves to be a natural. Eventually he is given a big job which will really help him earn a ton of money at once. He has to bump off a witness before he can expose the main villain. What Claude didn’t realize is that the witness is actually a lady named Billie. He didn’t want to sign up for a job like this if it meant taking out a lady but there’s no way back. Claude decides to complete his mission but it definitely won’t be a simple one.

Whenever you have a villain as the main character the movie has to take a bit of a different approach. After all, we can’t possibly root for a character like that. So you’re rooting for the cops to stop him even though his target is hinted to not exactly be blameless either. The film has to be careful with the ending as well as the whole adventure so things don’t go too far. I thought this movie did a good job of handling all the points below. The ending is satisfying even if I would have played it differently and Claude’s character is handled well.

Claude seems a bit crazy at times and tends to ramble on about things but his speeches are always interesting to listen too. A quality villain should always be able to plan things out well and in an interesting way. He may be insane but at least he believes in his own ideals. The film has him try to offer up some philosophical takes as the movie goes on. He does have a point that it’s a lot harder to track a hitman than someone with a personal vendetta since there is no motive to be found in his case. This was in the era before smart phones and cameras so it’s also a lot easier for him to go into an area and leave undetected. He doesn’t use guns which also makes things tricky for him although he clearly trained in how to use them as well. When he needs to use a firearm briefly he is able to make a difficult shot with no real effort.

So Claude was a pretty fun villain. Meanwhile the two guys watching over him were pretty solid too. George is always trying to give Claude the benefit of the doubt while Marc plays hard ball with him. They get a lot of solid banter throughout the movie and do have some points about how Claude makes this harder than necessary. Either way it would have been difficult to stop Billie though. To her credit she takes a lot of solid precautions and the cops also look good in their protection. They do their best to really surround her with protection at all times. I do think that it got a bit dicey only having one guard at the end though. I would have liked for him to have looked a little better all things considered. Their only real loss against Claude was due to Billie’s demands. I do question how they didn’t have anyone patrolling the surroundings after the whole TV attempt though.

Part of what makes the film work is that it can also be fairly light hearted in its approach. It has an interesting tone blend there as you know something is going to happen soon but until then the film stays calm. It mirrors Claude’s disposition here as he doesn’t seem to get very invested in anything either. He does the job and then gets out as quickly as possible. Not all of his plans are perfect of course. There is one instance where he decides to act rather faint and realistically I don’t see how this would work. It’s probably the moment in the film where you will have to suspend the most disbelief. It does make for a pretty intense climax though. It reminds you why he became known as such a dangerous person to be up against. At the end of the day he can take anyone out in an instance.

Overall, Murder by Contract is an interesting film and a pretty solid one overall. The writing is solid and the cast of characters are good. There’s one character who is pretty annoying given that she talks about confidential matters with ease. I have to blame the guy who told her as well since they only needed to keep the secret for 1 day to save a life. Is that really so hard? It was a bit plot convenient there but I wouldn’t say unrealistic because this is exactly the kind of thing that could happen at any time. So, if you’re up for a solid action film from the villain’s point of view as they plan a murder this is a good one. I dare say it would be one of the best in its genre as it’s hard to get this one exactly right. It certainly never drags on.

Overall 7/10

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Larceny Inc Review


It’s time to look at a comedy film from a long time ago. It feels like the 40s were a whole lifetime ago at this point. As with most films from this era, Larceny Inc delivers with solid characters and quality writing throughout the adventure. It’s a pretty fun film that has a good amount of humor and even throws in a dangerous climax for the characters. How much you enjoy this film will really depend on how you enjoy the style of humor because if it’s not really your cup of tea then it goes without saying that this one isn’t going to rank all that highly for you.

The film starts with Pressure getting out of jail along with his friend Jug. They were given an offer to continue their life of crime but decided against it in order to finally go straight. Definitely a good move, but it’s going to be rather difficult to make a fresh start. Pressure tries a few things but they don’t work so he decides to break into a bank. What he’ll do is buy the luggage store next to the bank and dig a hole into it. The problem is that his daughter Denny has decided she can’t let Pressure make the same mistakes and teams up with local salesman Jeff to ensure that Pressure’s store is too busy for him to make any plans. They are going to make those luggages sell like hotcakes!

This is a comedy so you can’t take the story beats too seriously but I do have to say that it’s already a bit of a stretch how the heroes own this very successful store and then decide not to do anything about it. Even while waiting to rob the bank they could have sold a lot of luggage at a very good price. Instead they keep throwing them away or giving them out for free. It’s part of the comedy of course, but you can’t help but think how well off they are. If they had just been selling from the start they would have been free to abandon their plan a lot sooner. Of course we do get actual gangsters showing up near the end and I suspect that things wouldn’t have gone over well for the heroes if they had not had a hole in the building.

The pacing is pretty solid although the romance in the film isn’t particularly good. Jeff moves pretty quickly throughout and even asks Denny to marry him after only knowing her for a few minutes. Talk about mistaking a crush for true love right? That’s a pretty huge jump for him to take considering that the characters don’t actually know each other yet. Of course it works out but you still can’t help but shake your head at the whole thing a bit. It didn’t really feel earned and I still hope Jeff got his money in the end. He did give Pressure’s shop a whole lot of business and you know that they’re still hoping they can swindle him. In fact, based on the ending they probably did.

Larceny Inc ends with a pretty fun scene since it ties the whole thing together. At the end of the day it’s a pretty complete ending that does leave all of the characters satisfied. It’s a nice way to end the adventure and makes it a title you can really recommend to anyone. Pressure’s a solid lead and I appreciate the fact that he did try to go on the straight and narrow. He’s definitely got a lot of natural charisma which lets him even help the town accidentally. You have to have that kind of confidence and Pressure has it in spades. He may still cower next to the bigger villains but he tries hard.

Jug’s the not very smart member of the group so you have to be able to tolerate that character type in order to enjoy his character. He can be pretty extreme at times to be sure, but at least he’s a loyal ally. I’ll also give him some props for actually saying no to Pressure at the end and getting the lead to try the car plan instead. Most of the time the side character just continues to get wrecked. Meanwhile Weepy was a solid third member and in some ways was the most efficient member of the group. He’s the only one who seemed to care about making money at all while the other two were focused on the bank part.

Overall, Larceny Inc is a pretty interesting film. It’s the kind of movie that you just don’t really see anymore. It’s just a nice story about a group of criminals fumbling around and making a ton of mistakes until the mistakes ultimately go together and make things work out. If this sounds like your cup of tea then it’s worth checking out the next time it’s on TV or maybe if it’s on DVD. The character cast is fairly small but that works out since that lets each character get more development. My favorite of the small plots was probably seeing Pressure help out the community with the politicians. I’m always up for a good bluff and the lead sold the whole act pretty well.

Overall 7/10

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Double Indemnity Review


It’s time to take a look at a retro noir film. This is one of those titles where you should be rooting against the main character from the jump. He’s definitely not one of the more trust worthy guys out there and ends up making a lot of foolish mistakes. It’s a good movie though with a fun plot and a lot going on. I also always enjoyed the noir narration going on throughout the movie. That’s something I’d like to see make a comeback in the modern movies at some point. It’s just a fun thing to do.

The movie starts with Walter trying to track down someone whose insurance is about to expire. Walter always likes to stay on top of these things after all as he is one of the best insurance people in the business. When he gets to the house the guy isn’t there, but his wife Phyllis is. She figures him as an easy sucker to manipulate and she’s right as Walter immediately ignores the fact that she’s married to make a move. She reciprocates and lets him know that all Walter needs to do is help her bump off her husband so they can get rich off the insurance. Walter likes the sound of this and the two of them start planning. Can they bump this guy off and get rich without the expert Mr. Keyes finding out about this?

Keyes is the best character here. He’s always been really good at cracking down on criminals who try this kind of scam. Whenever someone submits a fake insurance claim he catches them in the act. It’s all because of the “little guy” who is basically his heart that lets him know when someone’s not being straight with him. Walter figures that he’s worked with Keyes for over 10 years so he can keep him in the dark. It’s a pretty high stakes gamble though but he’s already in it pretty deep and decides to go for the gold anyway.

So right away there’s no doubt about it. Walter’s one of the antagonists just as much as Phyllis. Only difference between them is Walter did it partially for Pyllis as well while she was just in it for the money. Walter tries to make a lot of justifications about it but at the end of the day he’s still pretty petty. His final plan was also pretty risky as Phyllis was one step ahead of him the whole time. He really underestimated her there and wasn’t even being all that subtle about what he was going to do. Closing all the windows and shades….really? He should have already known that Phyllis would be ready since the whole deal is that she’s pretty cunning.

The best parts of the film are definitely the cat and mouse games with Keyes. Keyes is always thinking up plan after plan to try and break down the story. There are quite a few similarities to Death Note here. At times Walter wonders if Keyes is on to him but is holding back to give Walter a chance to confess on his own. It gives you a lot to think about as you’re watching the film because this could really spin a lot of different ways. In terms of extra story beats, the only one I think we didn’t need was Lola’s plot. It makes Phyllis look pretty bad because of how obvious she was being.

So Phyllis was bumping off people left and right while trying on black to test it out? That’s the kind of thing you do when you’re trying to incriminate yourself, not when you’re trying to lie low. Lola ends up being a pretty big piece who could have blown the case wide open at any time. Instead she decides to keep quiet which is very fortunate for Phyllis but not very likely. At this point Phyllis bumped off both of her parents so what’ll it take for Lola to go to the cops? I think cutting her out of the film would have made sense. I suspect she was mainly there to give Walter some second thoughts about the whole thing.

Walter should have had second thoughts the moment he found out he was being the patsy in all of this though. He tries to play it off cool like most Noir characters by saying he didn’t care and all of that. I don’t really buy that for a second to be honest. Deep down he was hoping she really liked him and that was never going to work out. A romance built off of a murder is probably not going to last very long at all. He should have stuck to the content life of insurance selling. The company seemed really good to me to be honest and at least he had good friends. That’s not something he could say for after that. His final attempt was a bit odd but I guess at that point he was desperate.

Overall, Double Indemnity is a very solid film. While the main characters are pretty unlikable, you’ve got Keyes here to hold the whole thing together. Also, at least while Walter is a villain, it’s not like he’s portrayed as someone totally crazy that would hold the film back. He may be corrupt with all his justifications and all but at least he’s still got sound judgment which is needed for these battles of the mind. If you like Noir titles then this is definitely one to add to the books. It’s got a lot of different wrinkles to it and various story developments.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Lady Vanishes Review


It’s time to look at a very old school thriller mystery. It certainly goes down a few unexpected paths and makes for a pretty enjoyable experience. As with all movies where someone vanishes you do have to suspend a little disbelief with how this would have worked out at all. That said, the movie makes a better attempt to hide this than most do. At least we do have a few characters who saw things and for their own selfish reasons are just pretending that they didn’t. That’s more of a plot point that I can get behind.

The movie starts with some train delays so Iris and a lot of other people are forced to spend the night at a hotel. Iris is with two of her friends so it’s a nice enough stay but their upstairs neighbor is making a lot of noise. Iris complains and the guy (Gilbert) retaliates by breaking into her room and making a mess of things. Iris is pretty happy to leave but on the way to the train she is nearly murdered by a falling rock that was seemingly aimed at an old lady by the name of Ms. Froy. Froy is also taking the train to she gets on with Iris. Unfortunately after Iris takes a nap Froy is gone and everyone claims she was never there. Iris needs to find some proof and fast because this could all be a part of some kind of conspiracy.

Iris and Froy didn’t do a whole lot after they got on the train but enough where you’d expect a good amount of witnesses. They went to the cabin to have some tea and even had a brief polite spat with Charters and Caldicott so I’m sure some people would have noticed this. Again, we do have at least 4 characters who saw them but have motives for not saying. For reasons involving the twist we can’t count everyone in the car so it’s a limited pool. That’s why, while I don’t 100% buy this, the film put in a great effort compared to most. I can definitely respect the hustle there.

Speaking of twists, the film also did good by not letting you know who the true main character was for a while. In Act 1 Charters and Caldicott gets much more screen time than Iris. They’re too comedic characters who just want to know what’s going on with the cricket matches but nobody is able to assist them. It’s definitely not the most popular sport out there although I know a few big fans. As a result you expect these guys to be in the thick of it but when the situation comes to them, surprisingly they lie their way out of it. I was pretty shocked since that seemed primed to be their big moment where they jump in and take center stage. That was a solid flip the script kind of moment if I’ve ever seen one.

As the actual main character, Iris does a pretty good job of holding the movie pretty well. She’s a nice character and definitely a determined one as she doesn’t buy into the deceptions that Froy was never really there. I’m pretty glad about that because I always thought it was rather weak to believe the opposite of what you saw with your own eyes. Let’s bee real about this, if you see something then you shouldn’t be convinced otherwise. That’s one of those things I always have to shake my head at when it happens. Iris was also quick to get with the program when the climax occurs.

Some characters were not quite so lucky with this. When people are actually shooting at you then the time for talking is certainly past. You have to fire back and a few of the characters here were definitely super naive. That said, the climax was definitely a lot of fun. It was pretty high energy throughout and a lot was happening at any given time. The whole conspiracy was a bit bigger than I had suspected. The film was pretty low key for most of its run but I’ll never turn down a sequence of solid action scenes.

The main guy is a bit on the iffy side. Gilbert is pretty petty with breaking into Iris’ room the way that he did. It may have ended up turning out all right but it’s the kind of thing that would definitely not fly over very well if it actually happened. This leads us to a pretty rushed romance plot. Keep in mind that Iris already has a fiance so that’s pretty hard to buy into. She basically dumps him for no real reason. We barely even got to meet the guy which is pretty crazy. They could have just as easily written the film so that he didn’t exist and nothing would change. The romance is definitely not the best here but fortunately that plays a very small role.

I’d consider the writing in the film to generally be pretty solid. It has good pacing throughout and a nice set of characters. The film plays itself out a bit as an ensemble kind of movie with each character having his own plot and story to get back to. They all end up mixing together by the end of the experience so all of the characters feel pretty real. The movie doesn’t drag on and actually manages to capture quite a lot of story within the runtime. Mix that together with the explosive climax and you’ve got yourself a very satisfying ending.

Overall, The Lady Vanishes is a pretty solid movie. I’d definitely recommend it as this is a mystery film which has aged really well over the years.Some of the twists are still a bit unexpected which goes into how smooth the execution is. Gilbert does have a terrible final scene though as he ends up slipping on the most important assignment he was given. It’s one of those things that you just don’t do. You’ve got to at least make sure you get that right. Fortunately the real hero was ready to help as things could have gone badly otherwise.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Hunt for Red October Review


I remember seeing this film a very long time ago. It’s a pretty fun thriller featuring the classic match up of USA vs Russia. It makes for a pretty solid film and definitely an exciting one from start to finish. There’s a good amount of action here and the writing is solid. I’m also always up for thrillers revolving around the government. I like to see the tech in action and the more “Professional” approach rather than the main characters fumbling around. This is a movie that you should definitely check out as everything about it has aged quite well.

The film starts off by introducing us to Captain Ramius. He commands the Red October, a powerful Russian sub that is armed to the teeth with nukes. What makes it particularly dangerous is the fact that it is nearly impossible to detect by normal means. The new camouflage tech allows it to appear anywhere without warning. Ramius murders the Russian soldier in charge of watching over him. He has gone rogue and is approaching the United States. What are his intentions? The Russians aim to destroy him before he can do anything crazy. Meanwhile Jack figures that Ramius is trying to defect to the U.S. but it is a pretty dangerous gamble. If he’s wrong, then it could very well be the end of the country in an instant. There would be nothing they could do at that point since the enemy would be too close.

As you can probably guess there is quite a lot of strategy going into all of this. The heroes have to consider a lot of different angles here. They’re definitely reluctant to believe in the defecting angle and you can’t really blame them. It is a really risky endeavor and as much as Jack says he met Ramius once that doesn’t really mean anything. You can’t possibly grow to understand someone upon meeting them once. Everyone has many faces that they use in society and the man that Jack met was simply one face. His true intentions would still be a complete mystery.

While Jack’s approach may be a bit naive, he is certainly a qualified agent who came up with a solid theory he could back. Jack did a lot of work in finding out about this from the start. He may not be a big fighter, but he does whatever he needs to in order to claim victory. He’s a solid lead even if he’s not particularly exceptional. Not standing out probably helps in espionage anyway. Ramius is the main villain here and makes for a good counter. He’s clearly quite experienced in commanding a fleet and knows tactics well. Even when the rest of the crew are panicking Ramius always keeps his cool. He’s not the kind of guy to panic at every little thing the way that the rest do. He’s quite interesting.

Part of the film’s strength is in how smooth the writing is. It’s very good and keeps you interested throughout. There are a lot of moving pieces here and despite both countries being quite hostile with each other they have to keep up a pretense of kinship among them. That leads to a lot of layered conversations. In particular I liked the U.S. Embassy representative as he did a good job of keeping up the pretense while delivering some passive aggressive statements. He did a good job of not giving up any ground or giving up intel.

Aside from Jack’s deduction we also had another U.S. sub in the area which looked good. One of the workers there was able to accurately find a way of locating the Russian sub which was impressive. If Jack had not shown up at least that means the U.S. would have been able to take out the Russian sub before it made it to America. Of course there would have been quite a great deal more casualties if that had occurred so it wouldn’t have been the ideal outcome. I’m just glad the whole thing didn’t hinge on him stepping in. Either way America would not have gone down without a fight.

The final fight does come out of nowhere a bit but I was glad that the film wanted to give us a quick action scene. I’m always up for some action so this was a pretty good way to close out the film. It may not have been a very long fight but it was a way to give Jack a quick moment to shine and also delivers on making things pretty exciting. The film really made no mistakes and had a very solid opening act, middle, and climax.

Overall, The Hunt for Red October is definitely a really solid thriller. I’m always up for films about the tensions between U.S. and Russia. It makes for pretty intense story lines and I can definitely go for more thrillers about subs. I’m not a big fan of the water in general as a backdrop, but being underneath the water is a very different matter. It reminds me of the classic Battleship type game. There are only so many options you can use while in a sub so the thriller parts aren’t so much about the fights as the setups to them. You need to have good writing for that and this film certainly delivers. It’s a long film but one that doesn’t drag on.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Angels in the Outfield Review


It’s time to look at a Baseball film from a long time ago. This one’s definitely a pretty solid film. It’s always nice to have a sports flick and in this one we get some quality character development and good writing. It’s a very pleasant film throughout. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Baseball as I find the game to move a little too slowly. That said, in film format it tends to work out pretty well because you’re cutting right to the action every time.

The movie starts with the Guffy’s Pirates losing yet another game. They’ve now dropped 10 games in a row with no end in sight. They’re dead last in the conference. Guffy’s upset but he still wants to go and enjoy his dinner as usual. He beats people up and has caused such a ruckus that a reporter named Jennifer has written a story on him. Guffy then receives a message from an Angel who has been watching him. Guffy needs to clean up his act and in exchange the Angel will start delivering his team some free wins. Guffy agrees to do this but it’s going to be difficult to break his old habits so easily. Additionally there is a little girl named Bridget who seems to be able to see the Angels somehow. This has started to cause quite a stir.

Guffy’s your classic gruff main character who definitely seems to enjoy picking fights with just about everyone. He never backs down and whenever someone has a problem with him Guffy just goes and beats the guy up. Of course this is all catching up to him though. People used to like hanging out with him and now he has no friends. Guffy just didn’t care so this kept on happening. Now he has a reason to care and he’s started to be nicer, but people aren’t so quick to forgive. It’s pretty realistic. How likely are you to be friends with someone again after they’ve been badmouthing you for so long? it’s definitely not very likely if you think about it. Still, he does really try to change which is the important thing. He’s certainly a much better character by the end than when he started morally. Guffy makes for an entertaining character either way though.

As for Bridget, as far as kids go I wouldn’t say she was bad. I tend to still not be a big fan of them in films but she was helpful and never got in the way. She would see the Angels and called it like she saw it. Bridget was also pretty quick to defend Guffy which was nice. She never got tricked by the media or anything like that. Finally you have Jennifer who is a fun heroine even if she seems a bit oblivious at times. She just walked right into Guffy’s place and made herself right at home. I suppose as a reporter you’ve got to have that level of confidence though so she did good. At first I actually thought she was going to be the main character of the film. Her role is pretty sizable and she seems like a nice person. She was a great help to Guffy in getting his life back on track.

Meanwhile the Angels certainly helped quite a lot as well. Their assistance in winning all those ballgames was invaluable and the Angel certainly helped Guffy to understand that he needed to change things around as well. The movie did a good job with the writing and the humor here. There are a lot of clever little gags in the script and the jokes work quite well. If someone got the better of a character with a joke you could expect another character to fire back later on. There were a lot of callbacks and such. As I mentioned, the film is just a lot of fun the whole time. It has a nice sense of humor and tight pacing.

At times the film may not be super realistic like with the Baseball association taking Guffy to court though. You really think they would have this much drama right before the World Series? I don’t see them stopping that game for just about anything. Particularly something like this which isn’t even a crime. Even if Guffy had finally cracked, that’s something that would be looked at during the off season. That’s why I liked how the NY teams took it as they were so confident they didn’t care if Angels were helping the Pirates. At the end of the day they were still ready to square off.

I enjoyed the court scene quite a lot near the end of the film. Even if as I mentioned, it’s hard to see the court happening, it was fun to see the 3 pastor figures they invited wreck everyone else. They did point out (in a polite way) that it’s rather crazy to claim to believe in the Bible but to not believe in Angels. I know there are a lot of factions out there but it’s like how I was reading that many don’t believe that the story of Noah is real. That’s something that could warrant its own article but you can’t just pick bits and pieces of it to be accurate. Either you believe in the whole package or none of it. You can’t go halfway on something like this. After setting the judge straight and the Angel also appearing a bit, that concluded the scene but it was a lot of fun. I was a little surprised that Guffy got in one more punch but I suppose he just couldn’t help it. Fortunately the Angels had mercy on him because things could have gotten messy otherwise.

Overall, Angels in the Outfield is a very pleasant film. It’s pretty down to Earth and only focuses on a few characters so we could really see their character development. Quite a lot happens during the film and it’s never dull. While the Baseball players themselves don’t get the largest role here, I do like how one of them stuck up for Guffy when the others were calling him crazy. Additionally I was glad that the old pitcher got to have one last good game. It all makes for a pretty emotional film. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d recommend checking it out. It’s aged very well over the years.

Overall 7/10