Invisible Agent Review

It’s time for another film in the Invisible franchise although I doubt many people have heard of this one. Invisible Agent is a very different take on the Invisible Man approach but one where the concept is sound. With a more likable main character you could easily picture this being the guy’s superhero origin and being a great template to follow. If there was ever a way to show how the Invisible Man could be a superhero, this would be the path to take.

The film starts off by introducing us to Frank who is the grandson of the guy who created the Invisible Man formula. He has sworn to never give it to anyone but he is attacked by a group of fiends. He barely fends them off and escapes to the police but decides not to give the formula to America either. After that Pearl Harbor occurs and he decides that it’s time to finish off the opposition. He agrees to use the formula but the catch is that he only trusts himself with it. So Frank is to go undercover and another agent named Maria will help him out. Unfortunately Frank has fallen madly in love with her and is determined to be with her even if it means costing the mission and losing the war.

This is where Frank quickly begins to fall off. See, the issue with this guy is that he should be putting his country first but almost feels like he is intentionally sabotaging the war effort after a while. Anything that he can do wrong, he does. He gets in the way constantly when Maria is trying to get information out of a guy called Karl. Frank messes with the guy by eating his food, shoving him, and just being a general nuisance. The scenes may be played for humor but Frank is doing things that would appear to be impossible for a normal person. Naturally this means that the villains who are aware of the invisible serum immediately know it’s him.

With this kind of power the whole point is that you should never have to tip your hand so what happened? Frank just made a mess of everything and as a result you definitely aren’t supporting his romance with Maria. It just doesn’t make sense and she should be so mad with him that she wouldn’t be interested in being with the guy either. It’s all so fast and none of it makes a whole lot of sense. You’re just not going to buy these developments.

Maria had been doing just fine on her own up until that point. She still does her best with damage control the whole time but it’s pretty tough going after a while. Meanwhile Karl’s definitely one of those villains who isn’t very smart and is basically sabotaging the villains himself. He’s like their version of Frank so things start to balance out there. I actually thought Conrad and Karl made for two very solid villains though. The fact that they were from different countries involved in World War II made for some interesting tension. They’re both villains and have an alliance at the moment but it’s not like they can trust each other at all either. Such is the life of a villain right? You’re getting yourself into a very bad spot right out of the gate.

The script is good as you’d expect with a lot of fun dialogue from all the characters. The movie goes by really quickly too and I still love the concept of using the invisibility serum in a war setting. If you’d use it right it would just be such a broken ability to have. No base would be safe, no secret left unnoticed. You’d always have to watch out for someone being around. Sure with modern technology it would be easier in a lot of ways but even then there is a ton of damage that could be done. The first country to perfect invisible technology would have such a large leg up over the competition.

Now, if Frank was a better character then I would say that I don’t mind his decision to use the serum himself. Due to how dangerous it is you can absolutely see why he wouldn’t want anyone else to know how to use it and even if they win the war, once the formula leaves your hands you can bet that the government is going to hang onto the instructions just in case. That’s just how these things work. It would be needed for the future wars and then the enemies would eventually get it and then you’ve got an ever escalating war as always.

I did enjoy the scenes at the round table with the government discussing how to handle things. It’s the one thing that was missing from the film since we didn’t get a lot of planning and things like that. Really once Frank arrives it’s more about just getting intel and fighting the villains but he’s left to his own devices for the most part. The film’s short so they can’t let too many things be happening at once but I’d gladly extend the film another 20 minutes if it meant we could have more Mission Impossible type scenes of infiltration and planning. I mean with being invisible you would expect that to be a given right?

Overall, Invisible Agent is a pretty good movie. The romance as well as Frank himself are definitely the weak points here but the film has strong enough fundamentals to get past them. It’s got a solid amount of action and suspense throughout after all. The movie started out strong with the opening fight as the villains nearly get the better of Frank twice but ultimately he’s able to fend them off. It was a good fight and the film certainly showed that it could handle a solid fight scene when it wanted to that’s for sure. The action here was on point throughout the film and I would recommend checking it out. They should do more Invisible Man films with this kind of a plot. Maybe do one where he’s a villain on the opposing side.

Overall 7/10

San Andreas Review

It’s been a little while since I saw my last disaster film. Not too long since the previous one was Greenland but I suppose that would already be last year at this point. Haha, the “last year” jokes won’t be getting old anytime soon I can tell you that! This is a good movie though, it hits all of the notes that you would expect in a disaster film and you will be having fun all the time. It doesn’t stand out a ton and I will say that it is very much by the numbers but for a film like this it just works.

The movie starts with a few scientists figuring out that they can now detect Earthquakes before they happen. Unfortunately they find this out just as the Earthquake hits and it’s a doozy. What’s even worse is that this is just the start and the actual brunt of the Earthquake is just getting started. The entire state is going to be in real trouble now but what can they really do now that it is happening? If they survive then the world can be a safer place (Unless the heads up is only by a few minutes like in this film) but if they die and lose the data then we’re back to square one.

We then cut to our main hero Roy who is a fire helicopter rescuer. He pulls off another daring rescue just in time and proves why he is still one of the top guys on the job. He’s going through a rough divorce right now but he hasn’t signed the papers yet so he figures he has one more chance to wow his wife Emma by having a great vacation with her and his daughter Blake. Unfortunately he arrives there to see that she is moving in with a guy called Daniel and his hopes are dashed. It would usually be all over but the giant earthquake happens and now Emma and Blake are both scattered across the state and in trouble. Daniel ran off to save himself so if Roy can pull off the double rescue then he will have his family back again!

My main issue with the romance though is the fact that it still feels over. Emma was literally moving in with this guy. She moved on and chose someone else. Sure, a disaster gets them close again but now it feels like Dwayne is sort of a rebound who only made it back in because the other guy flubbed the wide open shot. If Daniel had done anything heroic like helping out or if the Earthquake hadn’t happened then that would be it. I’m always a bit dubious about a romance like that for this reason because it just doesn’t feel like genuine true love. Sure sometimes I may be a bit too sentimental about what “True Love” should be and all but this just isn’t it so the romance is rather weak.

The film also went the easy way out by making Daniel a bad guy. Having him die while trying to protect Blake would have been a lot more interesting because then you just can’t forget about him. It would probably make things too messy to salvage the romance real quick but that’s the point, it really should be. Otherwise Daniel is just another random antagonist to be defeated.

For this reason I wasn’t a big fan of Emma. Additionally I thought she was too passive as a random lady started talking smack about her dead daughter. Cmon I’m not saying Emma needed to punch her away from the table but at that point you just walk up and leave. No need for a phone excuse just tell the lady to back up and get out of there. Between that and the quick romance with Daniel it didn’t leave her in a good spot.

Blake was good though, she was by Roy’s side the whole time and acted fairly to everyone. She helped out a guy she barely even knew when he was going for an interview and just seems like a nice person. Blake also made the tough call of telling her friends to leave while she was buried in the car so that they all wouldn’t die. She never gives up and stays cool under pressure which are all tremendous talents that you can’t just learn at the drop of a hat. She pulled this off and it was very impressive.

Her new friends in Ben and Ollie weren’t quite as likable though. Ollie is generally annoying the whole time. He’s young but not young enough where he should be oblivious about everything and puts his older brother Ben in a lot of embarrassing situations. He’s supposed to be cute but I just found him to be unlikable. Any scene with him was usually annoying. Ben was better and he was heroic in trying to help Blake out. I just thought he was rather quick to go onto the romance train. That was another romance which was rushed. The reason I single Ben out is because he seemed to see Blake in a romantic light immediately while she started out as just helping someone out by doing the right thing. He came across as a bit desperate and based on Ollie’s dialogue it isn’t the first time that he has fallen for someone.

Meanwhile Roy is a good main character but there’s almost not a whole lot to say about him. He’s a good guy who is great at his job and can handle a disaster like this no problem. He’s a main character you can root for and all of his scenes are fun. You do feel like he could have made the opening scene a lot easier by going down himself with the ease in which is ripped the door off. Seemed more efficient than tying the bottom but maybe it was just that the other guy didn’t really do it right. Most of the characters here are rather heroic when you think about it like the other scientist giving his life to save a kid and all of these rescue workers putting their lives on the line to help people.

If not for the scene of people starting to loot the place and fire off guns it was a very inspiring film for humanity in general. For the most part it still is, but the film shows that there are still those who put their needs above the many. It’s a bit of a random scene but I did like how Roy stole the thief’s car. Thought that was a pretty fun moment to stick it to them and in general the movie is always moving fast so scenes like that with a mix of thriller elements and comedy tend to stick out.

The movie doesn’t spare any expense on the destruction scenes. Everything is breaking apart during the Earthquake and there’s a really good aerial shot where we see the buildings shatter. It’s just really great throughout and the movie never takes a break to breathe except for quick romance scenes that you can ignore. The pacing is on point and the writing is good here. San Andreas ends up being consistently solid because there are no glaring negatives. The writing is good and this is a very well balanced film that is accessible for anyone. Playing it safe and delivering a good experience like this is certainly a good tactic. It may not be remembered as one of the all time greats but you will remember it.

Overall, San Andreas is a pretty good movie. The disaster scenes are handled really well and Roy is a solid character. The movie has a serious tone throughout but is never really depressing. You always feel like the characters will make it out and the brief scenes of humor work well too. It’s what I would call a very by the books disaster film but only takes the best parts of the genre. As a result you’re in for a winning experience all the while. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a solid film to check out.

Overall 7/10

In the Good Old Summertime Review

This film will probably seem really familiar if you saw the original or the other remake later on down the line. It’s not really doing anything different except to add in some extra songs. The story has a fun angle with the main characters being pen pals but in real life they don’t get along at all. It’s almost like a Superman/Clark Kent dynamic with Lois but a little different. I like the idea of it and if this were a TV show you could absolutely milk the premise for quite a few seasons. As it stands you’ll have a good time with this one although I would not say that it is the definitive version of the story.

The film opens up with Andrew having a rather tough first meeting with Veronica as he drops her stuff and then keeps making matters worse the more he tries to get away. They meet up again later on when Veronica is trying to get a job at the store he works at. Andrew doesn’t think this is a very good idea but he is overruled by the boss Otto. Veronica never quite forgets this though and the two are off to a rocky dynamic for the rest of the film. Still, both of them don’t care too much since they are pen pals with someone of true romantic integrity. Little do they know that they are each other’s pen pal. Who will find out first?

So you’ve got a fun plot idea here with the secret romance. You also see how Andrew and Veronica don’t get along due to that first encounter which was rough. I do think that they could have been a little kinder the whole time though. Particularly Veronica as it seemed at least that she was always the one picking fights and starting trouble. She insulted his intelligence on more than one occasion and apparently would make fun of him through imitations to the other co-workers. While you can say that maybe he did things to jump-start this in each instance, all we see if her attacking him and rarely the flip side.

So it almost goes far enough in the other direction where you wonder why he still likes her. It doesn’t seem like he could possibly still like her after all of this right? Fighting is a part of the rom-com formula of course but since it’s more one sided it always just feels off the whole time. I think Veronica is still a good character and gets a lot of fun moments though.

Meanwhile Andrew may have made a mess of things in the opening scene but otherwise he seems to be pretty good at the job and you can see why he was promoted. Ultimately he probably should have stood up for himself a bit more when being asked to do two different things by Otto and Nellie though. Either you help one or you help the other but don’t try to say that you’ll help both. That’s just not going to work, it can’t work because they want completely different things and it just ends up with him being in the middle.

There’s a lot of fun dialogue during the banter between Andrew and Veronica. The supporting characters tend to vanish a bit in this version though so they really aren’t very memorable. Otto has to hold it all together on his own as far as the side characters go. He’s a fun boss who is super selfish and will gladly ruin everyone else’s day if he thinks that he is going to have a bad one. So much for teamwork, it’s his way or the highway. He certainly won’t admit to making any mistakes either, he figures that if he did something then he definitely did it right. This leads to a whole plot of his buying a lot of harps and not being able to sell them because they just weren’t popular.

Otto never really learns a lesson here either so he actually ends up in the same place that he started. This movie is part musical so you’ve also got some songs now and again but honestly not as much as you would expect. The songs weren’t bad, I wouldn’t say they were really my style but they don’t take away from the film as much as a bunch of songs could have. It’s balanced well enough where this doesn’t become a big worry which is good.

The humor isn’t quite laugh out loud funny but you won’t be bored which is really the important thing. This is a very low key film that is entertaining all the way through. I’d say it survives on solid fundamentals like good pacing and just never stopping. Something is always happening even if you feel like they could have taken the premise a bit further. Have one of the characters figure out the pen pal’s identity sooner so you could spend a good part of the film with some fun manipulating going on in the background. Alternately, have more scenes about each of the main characters talking about the pen pal and that could work too.

The movie does a good job of really showing why it’s impractical to fall in love with someone that you’ve never met though. At the end of the day it’s just impossible because you don’t truly know the person. Looks may not be everything but it’s certainly not nothing either. It’s also real easy to be writing just about anything but to get to know someone you have to hang out with them IRL, at least if you’re planning to be more than platonic friends. It may be played for laughs with how different each character is compared to their written self but it also makes sense because people do talk and write very differently. I like to think this shows in my blogging style as well and if I were to ever start video streaming or something then it would be a fun comparison. Don’t see that happening anytime soon though so you’ll just have my written reviews!

Overall, In the Good Ole Summertime is a bit of an odd title for the film. I mean it’s not like it’s completely unrelated but you would really not have as much of a clue as to what the film is about. Film titles don’t have to match the plots but ideally there should be a bit of a stronger connection. I’d assume this was more of a laidback slice of life. Either way I do recommend the film though. It’s not particularly ambitious but it’s a good movie and that’s all it needed to be.

Overall 7/10

Crossfire Review

It’s time for a big mystery film where the dots have to be connected before time runs out. Classic noir mysteries like this always tend to be quite solid and this one is no exception. There are quite a few guys running around and a lot of names to keep straight but you’ll probably have a good idea on who the culprit is early on. I wouldn’t say that the film is trying to hide this from the audience for very long, it’s more of a mystery for the characters within the film as they only have bits and pieces of the story.

The movie starts with someone beating an elderly Jewish man to death. We don’t know who this is but there are a few soldiers who are suspects. Basically this platoon is in between missions right now and a few of them had been hanging out with this guy for most of the night. There was apparently some kind of argument so this may have led to things being rough. The reason why it’s noted that this man was Jewish is also because the murder may have been a hate crime based on this. The cops are treating this very seriously and Mitch is the primary suspect but his friend Keeley doesn’t think this is likely so it’s time to investigate the crime personally. The tough part will be that he may find out some answers he didn’t want to know.

This is one of those films where a huge part of it could have been avoided if Mitch didn’t get drunk. Part of the issue here is that he was drinking a whole lot along with the rest of the characters so his memory is spotty at best. There are large parts of the day that he just doesn’t remember at all and this really costs him big time. Instead of being able to give definitive answers he always sounds nervous and hesitant about everything so that doesn’t help to clear his name at all. Most of his “friends” end up making Mitch sound more and more guilty.

Additionally I have to say that I just didn’t like Mitch. He’s married but still followed another lady up to her apartment and it’s fortunate that she had to leave for most of the night because it seemed like he was really close to making a mistake that you can’t come back from. At the very least I think it’s already a mistake to put yourself in a tricky position like that. It just so happened that this would make him look more suspicious as well but that’s more of a side effect.

The best character here is definitely Keeley. While he may not co-operate with the police captain Finlay too much, Keeley is trying his best to solve this and make sure everyone is okay. He just doesn’t know who to trust at first and so he keeps everyone at arm’s length. He’s got a sharp wit and a lot of good comebacks. Keeley knows how to push the envelope as far as it will go without crossing a line and that’s always important. He puts in a whole lot of work and once he is on the same page as Finlay they are able to cover a lot of ground.

Meanwhile Finlay does a really good job as well. He isn’t able to cover quite as much ground as Keeley for a while there and you could say that it’s partially on him that they didn’t work together a lot sooner but from Finlay’s perspective Keeley was still a suspect as well so his hands were tied. He was reasonable all the way through and made for a solid character here. Then you have Monty who is one of the main guys here. He is always very eager to talk to the cops and try to set things straight but every time he talks he seems to put Mitch in a tough spot….

He definitely makes for an intense character and you aren’t likely to forget Monty as you finish the film. Monty is definitely not a likable character and of course he’s not meant to be. The film does a good job of still making him strategic so there are a lot of mind games going on here and battles of wits. You actually don’t get many seems of him and Keeley in the same room which keeps the plots separate for a while. Floyd is unfortunately very weak willed and of the soldiers he is the easiest one to manipulate for sure. A lot of the time they say if you don’t make any decision then that was automatically the wrong one and that’s what happens for this guy a lot. The window to act gets smaller and smaller until it’s too late.

The oddest character in the film was Ginny’s husband Tremaine. It’s hard to get a read on him since he is constantly lying. After each of his speeches he will say that everything he just said was a lie and this keeps on repeating. He seems chronically depressed and yet he is trying to poke fun at his own expense. Mainly I just wondered what the point of this character was aside from adding some unintentional humor into the film. I was a bit interested in whatever his story was. The guy has clearly been through a whole lot over the years. At least he tried to be helpful unlike Ginny who was determined to stay quiet and not be involved in everything going on.

Mitch’s wife Mary shows up as well to try and help get to the bottom of this. Her role isn’t very large but it’s a fairly pivotal one. She helps Mitch to really get a better understanding of the stakes and that he needs to step up or she’ll be in trouble as well. There are certainly a lot of moving parts here and the film’s got fast pacing so it all works out. The mystery is sound and the writing is good. I can’t say that I had any real issues with the movie and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good thriller.

Overall, Crossfire may not be a title that you would immediately associate with this film but it works well enough. There isn’t a lot of gun action here as this is more of a mental battle of wills but you can bet that there is a little intensity as we get closer to the end. There are some very smart tricks used here to corner the villain. A satisfying ending is absolutely necessary for a title like this and it all wraps up nicely.

Overall 7/10

Maggie’s Christmas Miracle Review

It’s time for another classic Hallmark movie and this one deals with a lot of tragedy and heartbreak throughout. We’ve got a good reason as to why the main heroine isn’t very into Christmas here and it works out as a fun adventure. The kid is a bit annoying and he doesn’t help the dynamic but at the end of the day you’ve got all the usual Hallmark fun you could ask for.

The movie starts off with Megan’s father running off right at Christmas which really wrecked her image of the holiday. Then fast forward to the future where her husband ran off and now she’s alone with her son Jordan. She’s determined to keep this from happening again and so she runs a bit of a strict home but tries to make sure Jordan is having fun. Unfortunately the broken home has started to affect his grades and so the school recommends a tutor named Casey. Megan has her doubts but calls him in. It’s not a great first impression for her as he’s busy taking care of a shop and has to call her back. Then on his first day looking after Jordan, the kid injures his hand while trying to lift up a tree. Perhaps this won’t work out but what are Megan’s other options?

Megan’s main character flaw here is definitely that she can be a bit overly dramatic. When Jordan injures his hand she really makes a big scene about the whole thing even when everyone including Jordan was saying that it wasn’t so bad. I do think it’s fair to criticize Casey a bit for letting Jordan help unload the truck. Probably not the safest thing for a kid to do but at the same time it’s a fairly busy area so there was never a chance that things would get too crazy. Jordan also messed up on the catch big time and fell over because he lets all the weight fall on him. Not the way you want to handle a situation like that at all.

Jordan badly wants a full family but it’s to the point where he is willing to wreck Christmas for this. He makes a big deal about Casey not being there when he wants to open the presents and while it’s great that he likes Casey, it’s not his place to try and spin a romance out of this. Worst case if Megan gets together with Casey just to keep Jordan happy, none of them would be happy in the long term. It’s why having kids meddle in the romance is always annoying because they are only thinking of themselves and that’s no good.

As for Casey, well he’s not a bad character I suppose. He rushes into the romance way quicker than most of the guys in these films. I’ll give him credit for not hesitating and realizing that he liked Megan right away but what about his professionalism as a teacher? He invites her for dinner almost immediately and you just know he can’t focus on being a normal teacher after all of this. You probably want to keep romance separate when you’re a teacher because it can make things awkward down the road. The romance is definitely a bit rushed as you’d expect.

We do get all of the classic Christmas backdrops though and a fun song here and there. It felt maybe a bit emptier than some of the others though. We don’t get a whole lot of baking scenes here and it felt like Megan didn’t have as many issues to deal with as you’d expect. This was more of a low key adventure all the way through. There wasn’t a whole lot of adversity in the present and the stakes were a lot lower than usual.

It’s not like these films usually have high stakes or anything but usually there’s at least a corporate group that needs to be impressed or an end of the year competition/show that has to be put on. So the whole time there’s the danger of not finishing in time but this didn’t really have any of that. Even if she didn’t get together with Ryan there wasn’t much of a penalty. I guess her son may have flunked the class but that’s about it so the whole film is revolving around the romance a bit more than usual. The movie keeps that small town vibe that always helps with the atmosphere though.

The fact that Casey has to operate a bakery while being a teacher shows how the income is really limited here. A small town atmosphere is almost like a circle where you figure you should be good if nobody moves out but even a small shift can change a lot. I think I’d enjoy being in a small town as part of a vacation to buy things and have a good time but it’s why I wouldn’t want to live there. It just feels like you’d always be watching your back because you don’t have secure prospects in the future. If someone moves out then the whole local economy would be shaken up. The snacks always look really good though.

Overall, Maggie’s Christmas Miracle is a good film. I’d probably be jaded on Christmas too if everything bad always happened on that date. It would just feel like a very bad coincidence that would suck the fun out of it. Even if it wasn’t the day’s fault per say, it would just be rough. So that helps the film as you understand her issues with Christmas more than some of the other heroines. Things all work out though and if you’re already missing Christmas right now then this is a good film to check out to regain that energy. It’s going to be a long while until we’re back in Christmas season after all.

Overall 7/10

Space Jam: A New Legacy Review

After revisiting the first Space Jam it was time to take a look at the sequel. In many ways the sequel reminds me of Airplane 2. It’s still a good movie but it’s really just trying to copy the first movie without really trying to stand out on its own. As a result it misses a lot of the soul of the original and instead of being a great movie, it ends up being a solid adventure that will always be overshadowed by the first.

The movie starts with Lebron trying to get his son Dominic to focus on Basketball more but this ends up turning the kid away from the sport. What he really wants to be is a video game developer and at a young age he has already developed a reasonably sophisticated Basketball game. It’s actually rather impressive but the big video game designer camp takes place on the same day as Basketball camp which Dominic had already committed to. Lebron doesn’t wan to let him drop out so Dominic runs away to a server room and the two of them get warped into the digital world. Now Dominic is being held hostage and tricked into teaming up with a villain group known as the Goon Squad. Lebron will have to assemble a powerful team in order to stop them but is there any way to beat such a group? He may have to call in the Looney Tunes.

Unlike the first movie we do have a full act where Lebron goes around recruiting everyone to his cause. Initially he wants characters like Superman and King Kong to be in the group but Bugs tricks him at each corner and ensures that Lebron only gets the classic Looney Tunes. It was nice to see cameos of Superman and the League with the DCAU artstyle and a lot of other quick movies during this period but that’s really it as far as cameos go. None of the heroes really get to leave their respective worlds except you may see them in the background during the game. So this goes back to the classic Space Jam plot of the basketball game.

The biggest issue here is that the game is using Dominic’s custom rules meaning there are special abilities and all kinds of crazy rules. It reminds me of when Mario wrecked the Tennis game series by making the latest entry so gimicky. This basketball game has style point rules so the amount of points you score is completely arbitrary based on how many points the writers need the characters to score. In the first film the villains were up by around 50-100 points at halftime so this time? They’re up by 1000.

The sequel is trying to make everything bigger and bolder but in doing so they did wreck a lot of the tension of the game. The first movie actually had a lot of danger throughout but with this one since the rules are so fake you didn’t really get that. It’s not as fun to see the game when everyone is cheating. It gets so bad that the Algorithm is even able to negate points just because he wants to. That was the biggest moment of cheating by far and went way too far. Like cmon, you’re just going to hack the basketball game and say that points don’t count? Then that means the Algorithm could have been doing that all time or he could have just made their points to go to 0. There’s no reason for him not to cheat further when he can do it so the whole climax doesn’t make sense anymore.

The humor is also not nearly as funny as the original. You don’t have the laugh out loud moments that the original had and in a way the Looney Tunes just don’t have as much personality or enough to do. I’d say the best moment low key was when Bugs reflected Marvin’s laser back at him. That was the kind of hype Bugs moment you’d expect from the guy. I also liked the fakeout with Michael Jordan but how cool would it have been if he actually showed up? That would have been great!

The animation is good but I dare say the original looks better which is a little concerning. It’s been over 20 years since the original after all but no shot compares to when the villains powered up in the original. The characters were just more substantial and of course when they turned into CG at the end they really couldn’t keep up. Even the live action moments felt more movie budget quality in the original. I think that may be at the heart of things here, the sequel just didn’t feel as much like it got a theater budget and was just a fun movie to bring the characters back.

Finally there’s one scene that just feels like it was mishandled in the worst way possible. So the villains have someone with Dame Time, an ability that freezes time for 3 minutes because that’s how fast he can move. So when the villains bring him onto the court, Daffy brings out Road Runner who proceeds to get absolutely destroyed and can’t move at all. Why? It would have been so much better for Dame Time to be wrecking everyone and then Daffy brings in Road Runner for the second round. Say he can move so quickly that even time stop can’t completely stop him. Would have been one of the best moments in the film but instead he gets absolutely devastated in the fight and the old lady has to use some vague Matrix abilities to stop him. Not nearly as satisfying when you think about it.

As you can see, when comparing the film to the original it definitely is doomed in every area. That said, if you look at it as a stand alone film then it isn’t bad. It’s still a lot of fun the whole time and the pacing is on point. The game has a lot of good moments and I do like the visuals. There isn’t an area of the film that I would say is particularly weak when looking at it in a vacuum. The movie can hold its own for as long as it takes even if you see the missed potential of how the film could have been a whole lot better.

The human plot for example isn’t very interesting. Dominic is extremely annoying the whole time. It’s one thing to not want to play Basketball and to be upset at Lebron but he handles everything very immaturely. For example when Lebron tells him that the Algorithm is fooling him and lives are at stake, Dominic refuses to believe him. You’re saying he is going to listen to a computer program he’s known for an hour at best compared to his own father? That was an awful moment. He also tries to make decisions on his own without letting Lebron knows which naturally makes things tricky.

As for Lebron he could be a lot more tactful with how he handles the situation. He did try to play the game before it glitched out though and if Dominic really did already commit to the basketball camp then I can see why he wanted him to go there. Ultimately the drama is mainly Dominic’s fault the whole time but I think they could have done a better job of adding some more interesting elements to this. The Algorithm and the Goon Squad also aren’t particularly interesting. There’s not a whole lot to them. I think the Algorithm at least had some potential but by the end you just wouldn’t have much to say about him. He’s manipulative and knows how to cheat but that’s about it.

Overall, Space Jam 2 has already started to fade away in everyone’s minds so it doesn’t have the lasting presence of the first. Still, if you wanted to see all of your favorite characters again then this is a solid one to pick out. It would have been nice if the characters who made a cameo could have appeared more though. Go all out with the premise and actually have Superman on the basketball team. That would have been a lot of fun and might have even made more sense with the Goon Squad. Everyone could be using their special abilities the whole time and it would have elevated the film to new heights. Maybe they’ll try that for the third game though.

Overall 7/10

The Christmas Contest Review

It’s time for the next Hallmark Christmas movie! This time we get a contest between exes who did not split up on the best of terms. As a result there is a whole lot of bitterness in the air and you can tell that things are going to get a little tricky for these two. I like the premise since a contest is always fun and it’s a cool change of pace. Some parts of the film definitely don’t work as well as they could have but at the end of the day it’s still a wholesome movie with a lot of fun parts.

Lara is a girl who is too busy for Christmas nowadays. She’s a super successful business person now and has even become the COO and she just doesn’t look back at the past. Unfortunately she will need to confront it now as her mother asks her to enter a Christmas contest. So she reluctantly enters and of course her ex Ben is there as well. Now she really needs to win this contest to make sure that he doesn’t get the last laugh but it won’t be easy. This guy is also really good at Christmas trivia. Still, if she doesn’t defeat him then she will never know peace from her past.

The contest has different phases. The first round was a quiz show, then you have the baking competition, a singing competition, and the final one is to decorate a Christmas tree. I actually thought it made for a fun contest even if some parts of the contest weren’t too well thought out. For example, last place gets the same prize as third place which is $1000. Why would that possibly be the case? What’s the incentive to coming close to first? That was a bit of a mistake if you ask me because there is just no way that this should be right.

Then towards the end the film starts to get a little cheesy as the characters feel that competing at Christmas against each other isn’t something that they want to do and it really feels like they are throwing the contest under the bus. These guys worked hard to set up this Christmas contest and did their best to make it a lot of fun. You’re going to throw it all out just like that? That’s just bad sportsmanship and the company shouldn’t have let them get away with this. Sure, it’s likely that the contest was rigged by the time the finals were around since the check was already printed with both of their names but it just doesn’t feel deserved.

If I was the guy in charge of the contest, I’d have handed them an empty check. If they don’t want to properly complete the contest that they signed up for then they don’t get to have any real money. It’s as simple as that and it would have been 100% justified. That’s the crazy part here. It’s still meant to be a feel good moment of course but I was a little salty on behalf of the competitors who tried their best but lost out. They didn’t lose just to see this happen.

It goes without saying that the romance is on the weaker side here. Lara and Ben were already together and it didn’t work out. Sure they’re both feeling festive for the holidays but that’s even more reason to think that this won’t last and this is just them being very emotional. It’s a super risky move to restart the romance again and I actually think it would have worked a lot better if they had just stayed as friends. Trust me on this, the whole movie would have really been executed to perfection if that was the case. Just make it a fun competition and they see that they get along really great as friends. It was never going to happen but I can dream right?

After all the best part of the movie is when they are having a lot of banter at each other. The two characters can’t help but constantly take shots at each other whenever they’re on screen. The shots never go too far though and it’s just enough to keep them on their toes. Lara may have been reluctant to enter but ultimately she does a good job and makes for a solid heroine. She really wants to win and ultimately stays classy about it like not badmouthing Ben in front of his mother when her cake gets sabotaged.

Then we have Ben who is a little more openly manipulative like with getting kids on his team to win brownie points from the audience. That’s why it took me a little longer to realize that he would be the main love interest and not the mean ex who gets defeated by a childhood friend. Gradually Ben starts to be a little nicer and I guess we can just interpret it to his being desperate to win. It still makes for an odd subplot though because it’s hard to root for Ben since he doesn’t seem to care about the kids nearly as much as he should. Not exactly the role model of the year right? Well he knows his Christmas knowledge at least.

One of this film’s strengths though is that it takes up a decent amount of time to give the side characters some development as well. I could have done without the subplot for one of the kids who was worried that he would mess up and cause trouble for everyone. The plot barely went anywhere. Then we had Ben’s mother who was always very set in her ways and didn’t want to make friends. This was a good story arc as Ben shows her that you’re never too old to shake up the routine and have a good time. I’m not sure I picture myself making any new friends when I’m older but you shouldn’t be cut off to the possibility.

Then we have Lara’s mother who was always very business focused and tried to get the heroine on that path. I thought she was solid and at one point Lara is too dramatic with how she tells her off. This is a trend I’ve seen in more than one Hallmark film where the leads blows up on the parent(s) for being too controlling but the problem is that the movie never showed them being anything other than super nice so the moment kind of falls flat a bit. It doesn’t feel as earned as it could have been.

As always the film is fairly short and with so much going on the pacing is on point too. While I had some issues with the film, you could say it’s also because I was really invested in this one. I always love contests and the writing was really good here. You still get your usual Christmas backdrops and baking but with the addition of some fun banter. I’d say there was a lot more of it than usual due to the story and that was a big plus.

Overall, The Christmas Contest is a pretty good film. Hallmark delivers as always and even if you know how the film will play out, you will enjoy the journey there. At the end of the day that is always the most important part for any movie since you need to be able to enjoy it. I’d definitely change the ending but would still recommend it to anyone looking for a fun Christmas movie. You may even learn some Christmas trivia. I assume the trivia here was legit but you’d probably want to look it up just in case the movie is messing with you.

Overall 7/10

Crashing Through The Snow Review

Time for another Hallmark Christmas film and in this one things get extra personal for all of the characters. It’s rare but this time the film unintentionally made the protagonist less sympathetic than you would expect though. I dare say this movie had more conflict than just about any of the others with things getting tricky from the start but it also helped it stand out from some of the others in how different it was.

The movie starts with Maggie saying goodbye to the kids because they are going to be staying with their father and new fiancé. Maggie is sad that this will be her first Christmas away with the kids and tactically lets this be known a few times so the fiancé (Kate) invites her over for Christmas as well. Now that Maggie is coming along she is determined to continue her traditions with the kids as normal and in the process forgets that she is a guest at this event. Will she end up destroying Kate’s carefully crafted Christmas plans?

So here’s the thing. Maggie was originally not even going to be with the kids for Christmas at all. Her ex husband Jeff and Kate were going to host a their first family Christmas and it’s only because Kate invited her that Maggie would be there at all. Jeff didn’t even want Maggie there from how his reaction went. So you’d expect Maggie to be low key, enjoy the time she has with the kids and enjoy the plans. The problem is that right from the start she tries to take over.

Bringing the stockings to put up was the first iffy moment. You could write it off as her not thinking things through but she is in someone else’s house so you’d expect that the stockings are already taken care of. Then she mentions creating their own ornaments to put on the tree when it’s clear that Kate already has her own. Maggie even decides to let her eldest daughter pierce her ears as a quick “win” when she didn’t think it was a good idea initially. I think the issue is that this usually works when the new girl is shown to be mean but the problem is that Kate was anything but.

She was as nice as possible throughout the film but gets her feelings squashed over and over again. Maggie has had the kids all the time so this was Kate’s first chance to make a positive impression on them. For once it was like watching a Hallmark movie in reverse where Kate would have been the main character in most circumstances but we don’t get to see the movie from her perspective. Maggie keeping the kids from tuba sliding with Kate and not ever giving a proper apology for it was unfortunate.

It just kept getting worse throughout the movie. Maggie skipped out on dinner which would completely wreck the vibe that Jeff was going for when he tries to propose to Kate and this didn’t help the kids’ reactions since it’s obvious why Maggie isn’t there. So now they would feel like she is opposed to this and Maggie immediately ran off for the rebound. Now the rebound romance is a Hallmark staple and was inevitable but it still doesn’t work very well here. Focus on the kids right now and getting through Christmas but there’s no time for a quick romance. She barley even knows the guy so even if she finds him charming and all that, you have to give these things time.

Back to Kate though, she just has to be the most tragic character here and the worst part is that she handles everything as well as possible. When her day’s plans are dashed she doesn’t get upset at anyone and just tries hard to move on. When everyone was having fun partying she was resetting the stockings so Maggie’s could be included. When Maggie suddenly decided that her daughter’s ears could be pierced, Kate spent time trying to find her good earrings. When Maggie got an ankle injury and kept one of the kids from going with Kate, she didn’t argue or make a fuss. Kate turned the other cheek and tried to be the bigger person in every scene.

She even politely tried asking Sam for help or at least to stop making things more difficult for her. Of course he was no help there since he was firmly on team Maggie but she really tried just about everything. She even stuck up for Maggie when Sam tried to steal her room. So in the end the problem is that it’s so one sided. Kate was doing her best to make everyone happy and to make things comfortable for Maggie while Maggie never had a positive thought about Kate. Maggie was super selfish the whole time and even at the end she never truly apologizes to Kate when I think that she should have.

The movie never portrays Kate as an antagonist which is good but I still don’t think her ending was as satisfying as it could have been. She should have gotten some kind of really big win to make up for things or a full apology from Maggie. I’d say that she deserved as much. Jeff is also in a tough position. He won’t just take everything the way that Kate does and so he does speak to Maggie a few times. Eventually he gets through to her but he was certainly in a tough spot as well. We know that his marriage to Maggie didn’t work out even if the explanation was not the best. They were best friends and didn’t realize that they didn’t love each other like that….and yet they had two kids and were together for a while so that certainly took them some time.

It’s better than making one of them the villain and it’s great that they still got along but it still felt like a bit of an odd explanation there. Finally you’ve got Sam who is the Mr Perfect of the film. He’s an expert chef, great people person, and he’s great at all the sports. He does a good job of cheering Maggie up and doing well at work. He balances everything out really well in the film. It’s great that he helps Maggie out so much but at the same time you do feel like he basically abandoned Kate as a result. She could have really used a little backup during the movie with everything going sideways.

Personally if I was invited to a rich estate to just watch I would still have a blast eating as much food as I can. I’d be stuffing my face constantly and just enjoying the good vibes. I always thought those homemade Gingerbread cakes always looked amazing. I would have a really good time eating one of those and I should probably try to get one at some point. Something for the bucket list that’s for sure.

Overall, This was a good Christmas movie as always by Hallmark. It got a little close to being mean spirited towards Kate at times though. Not as bad as Home Alone of course where they really dropped the ball in one of the sequels with the step mom. This one at least has a lot of restraint the whole time which is good. I’d still recommend this one to any Christmas movie fans out there. You’ll have a good time with it and you’ve got the usual songs and fun Christmas visuals going on. The song the lead was singing at the beginning was one I didn’t really recognize and I can’t say that the tempo worked but maybe I’m just too used to the old classics at this point.

Overall 7/10

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Review

Jack Ryan returns for another intense adventure and this time he is a fighter. In the other films he was usually an analyst without much combat experience but here he was a full marine who was an expert at survival and getting the job done. So you can bet that he was taking a lot of wins and could handle himself in the field. It’s an interesting change and hey I do like my action scenes so that works out. It’s not quite as solid as the last one but still makes for a fun adventure.

The movie starts off with Jack getting a big injury and he has to do some tough rehab for a very long time just to walk again. Fortunately he meets up with Cathy and the two of them get engaged. Jack is then recruited by Thomas into the CIA so it’s all fun and games but then he notices a big move by Russia. They’re messing around with the stocks and currency. It looks like this could be a major play to take down America once and for all so Jack will have to go there in person but this last second trip is going to be putting a lot of tension in his relationship with Cathy since she doesn’t know about his true job. Can he save the world and salvage his relationship or will he have to choose one or the other?

One positive out of the gate is that the series still keeps a lot of political intrigue into the mix even while it is focusing on the fights more. The plan to take down the U.S. through a stock crash is quite inventive and while I may have some issues with seeing that go so smoothly, it’s a fun plot. It’s different and we get to have a lot of discussions from the characters on how this would work and how to stop it. The short answer is that you don’t just stop it, you have to foil the terrorist part of the plan actively and rest will fall like domino’s. I feel like as a last resort they could take the stock market down but that would cost billions on its own and would probably just delay the inevitable.

As for the action, that’s fun. We get a high speed chase scene and Jack has to take one guy down early on. He seemed quite outmatched so he was smart to use the terrain to his advantage. It was a nice way to start off the Russia adventure since the danger hit close to home almost immediately. Although it also made you think of a fun alternate premise for the film. When Jack escapes the room his contact tells him he just has to survive until he can meet with the next agent. Imagine if the rest of the film was him trying to survive in a foreign country with plenty of assassins after him? I think that would be very interesting but ultimately it would be a different movie.

The writing is on point here as well. The movie goes by in a flash and it always feels like a lot is going on. The characters are good too. I liked Thomas as the senior agent here and he actually made himself useful. A lot of the times it feels like these agents are only around to hand out the moral of the day but then they get bumped off or written out. Here he actually acts like a senior member should and is always watching out for Jack. He makes sure to step in if things are getting too dicey and pops quite a few of the villains with his sniper rifle. That’s absolutely how this should go.

As for the villain, he is definitely a downgrade from the last few. He has a lot to prove and really wants to get a win for Russia but he has some pretty well known weaknesses. He loves money and he can’t resist women. These weaknesses are so well know that the heroes and his own minions know this so they use it against him. That part’s a bit annoying because of course the instant Cathy wants to help, her role is to distract the villain while Jack infiltrates. That just seems to always happen and I’d rather for once her role would be to take him down while Jack breaks in or something like that. At least the movie uses it as a weak weakness for Viktor which costs him a lot but it’s still very overdone in the movies.

His minion wasn’t very smart though. Why would you tell your own boss about how he’s failed and how Russia will be disappointed? That’s like asking for your boss to take you down. There was no way that he was going to survive after that. No shot at all. Catchy was a good heroine at least. She was able to handle the dangerous situations really well without panicking or making mistakes. While she had some issues with Jack initially due to the secrets, you can actually blame Jack there because Cathy gave him multiple opportunities to come clean. He was just way too slow on the uptake and handled it all really badly.

If you see that your girlfriend is asking if you’ve seen a specific movie that you just saw yesterday, wouldn’t you think that something is up? He should have just said that he saw it. If he had to lie about the reason then just say he needed a break and saw it by himself but anything is better than just avoiding the question or saying he didn’t see the movie. He was also sloppy to leave the ticket there.

Beyond his romantic slip ups, Jack is a good main character though. He’s always ready for action and does well on the tech side as well. It’s definitely handy when you’re a computer whiz and you can fight. That makes him the ultimate dual threat here. With a solid cast and story the movie was certainly set up for good things. The only weaknesses here would really be the main villain and the romance. It didn’t really add onto the story and having a better main villain is always a great way to instantly elevate the film. We get some decent banter though so with the writing still being on point the villain doesn’t really hurt the film.

Overall, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a good film and a solid way to try and kick some new energy into the series. If you like classic action thriller films then you would like this one and throw on an extra point if you also like the political intrigue and drama there. This one has a bit of everything even if it’s a bit of a step down from the last one. I’d recommend checking this one out, it’s a quality all around movie.

Overall 7/10

DC League of Super-Pets Review

This movie seemed to get a whole lot of promotion when it was coming out. There were posters, tv spots, and trailers everywhere. I finally got to see it and it is a fun title. In some ways I thought it could have been even better and I remember feeling that way after watching it but that doesn’t take away from it still being solid. I’d definitely be up for a sequel.

The film starts off by introducing us to Krypto who takes great pride in being Superman’s best friend. He is always ready to smash up the villains and by day he tries to be a normal dog. He gets concerned when Superman and Lois start getting closer though as it means that he will lose out on some quality time. Additionally there is some kind of menace taking down the Justice League. Krypto may need to step in to stop these villains now but will he be able to pull this off or is it game over for him? Sometimes when one person is not enough to stop a threat then you need to bring in a team so get ready for some other pets to join the fray.

This film may be comedic first and foremost but we actually get some real fight scenes here. The movie does a good job with the Justice League fighting back to stop from being captured as well as the Super Pet fights. The battles themselves aren’t treated as gags and that was a good idea on the film’s part because that way you do have your serious moments as well to balance out the comedic bits. It makes for a movie that has a little of everything in it.

As for the animation itself, the film is CG so don’t expect it to hold its own with the hand drawn stuff but it still looks reasonable. The main issue I’d say is with some of the character designs, particularly the Justice League where it felt like not a whole lot of time was spent to make them really look good. As a result they just don’t seem all that impressive, certainly much less so than you would expect. The pets all have good designs though and the fights are good as I mentioned earlier. I don’t think this movie would change anyone’s feelings on CG animation but at the end of the day it’s not bad and will get the job done.

Where the film isn’t as strong as it could be is with the humor. It never gets quite as funny as titles like Teen Titans Go or Batman The Brave and the Bold. It might be that the jokes are just a bit too obvious and telegraphed as opposed to something unexpected happening that would really make you chuckle. Maybe it’s a character thing but either way it’s not cringey or anything which is good. Even if you aren’t laughing you’ll understand the joke and see how it was meant to be funny.

The film has good pacing and covers a lot of ground. I mentioned how the film balances out the comedic elements with the serious ones and so one of its strengths is the more emotional content. We get a solid character arc for Krypto and Ace. Those moments are actually really solid and even the villain Lulu gets some heartfelt moments. The writing can be strong when the film wants it to be and that’s something you will definitely notice as you go through the movie.

As for Krypto as the lead character, he does a good job. He’s a fun guy to root for and uses his powers wisely. Sure Krypto may not be a team player at first but it’s easy to see why that would be the case since he has incredible abilities while the others don’t seem like they’d be able to keep up. Teamwork is great and all but if you are many times stronger than the next member then it’s easy to see why you would have a very tough time accepting that message. It just wouldn’t make sense but the other animals ultimately prove themselves and Krypto’s not a bad sport about it.

Krypto has a nice sense of humor and he’s super loyal. I really didn’t have any issues with his character. Ace gets the next biggest role from the animals and he has his serious moments which are good. He’s not quite as amusing for the comedic bits though and I never ended up liking him quite as much as Krypto. Not saying he as bad at any point but he wasn’t quite my kind of character. PB tends to be more annoying than anything throughout the movie and would be the weakest animal.

Merton wasn’t bad. Less of a role than some of the other characters but you really can’t go wrong with super speed. It’s particularly ironic since Merton is a turtle which is kind of the point. Then you have Chip with thunder abilities. From all of the pets I felt like he got the least to do here but he still helps out in the fights and such. He was a fun one to have around.

The evil pets tend to be the highlights here though. First up is Whiskers who has an incredible amount of ammo on her. She can fire rockets, guns, energy blasts, etc. She is able to get all of the heroes on the back foot there for a while and did really well considering how outnumbered she was. Whiskers’ has a fairly small role but it was a very memorable one and she really stole the show there.

Of course you also have the main villain Lulu who initially just wanted to help Lex out but after he kept on giving her the cold shoulder it was time to become a mastermind. She does well and I was glad that she decided to strike out on her own. After a while if the boss is just going to ignore you and do his own thing anyway then you don’t really owe him anything at that point. Deciding to be your own leader is really the best play and Lulu does have a genius intellect. It makes her very formidable here.

As for the humans, while they aren’t the focus they mostly still look decent. I was glad that the Justice League put up a fight even if they got wrecked. Superman is a very nice guy here and still gets the job done. It may not be his story but he still keeps his personality and looks good. Batman also gets his quick moments of looking good and fighting opponents above his level. I’d like to see a movie featuring the league more in this continuity since they seem fun as always even if that might defeat the purpose of this spinoff.

Lex Luthor doesn’t look very good though. He’s not very smart here and if he had played things even a little reasonably then he would have easily ended up on top. Lulu would have still been on his side but instead he squanders everything for no real reason. The film probably could have handled his character a lot more reasonably and the movie would have been better off for it.

Overall, The League of Super Pets is a good movie. I do feel like there are a decent amount of missed opportunities here which keep it from being great but it’s a fun ride. You’ll still enjoy the battles here and there is a lot of room for a sequel if they want to do that. There are even two scene after the credits which are solid. One is more on the important side while the other one is a fun gag relating to another movie. They work well and help to end the film on a high note. If we do get a sequel you can bet that I will be there ready to enjoy the adventure.

Overall 7/10