Marnie Review


Marnie is the kind of film that sneaks up on you. By all accounts it should be a pretty decent film as it was made a long time ago and has the classic writing/witty dialogue that you would expect to see here. Unfortunately it makes a number of key mistakes which ultimately doom it to not just being a bad film, but a horrible one all around. There’s certainly no reason to check this out so I would recommend giving it a hard skip.

The movie starts with Marnie swindling another business out of a lot of money. She enjoys going around and stealing money whenever she can which she then gives to her mother Bernice who suffered a major accident a while back and needs the support. Marnie’s next target is another big company led by Mark. What she doesn’t know is that he is one of the people who saw her at the last job so it isn’t hard for him to catch her. His terms are that he won’t report her to the police if she marries him so they get married but she is determined to make this difficult on him.

Everything goes straight down from there quite drastically. For starters we get a pretty random plot with her horse where it shows up but missed the jump and gets injured. Marnie has to put him down which shot a hole through the film’s chances of survival. The horse seems like he was added in just to be blown up which was a bad move. There was just no reason to do this. The film already had enough issues but at the end of the day this does tie into the film’s core problem which is trying to add too much information and backstory. We really don’t need to know any of this stuff for a solid mystery but the film insists on giving everyone an origin story or an extra detail.

Take Lil who is the main villain here. She’s trying to win Mark away from Marnie and it would be the usual love triangle except for one fact which changes everything. She’s Mark’s sister in law. So that basically throws the whole plot out because it’s just an awful storyline to even include in the film. Why did we need to add this extra information to her character? If she was the childhood friend or something it’s be cliché but at least would work a lot better than this variation. It’s too bad because she is easily the most entertaining character of the bunch and I dare say the smartest as well.

Then you have Beatrice and her whole backstory. Naturally it’s tragic to fit in with the rest of the film as she was in a dicey business and getting out took a lot of effort and turned into a whole conspiracy. Where the whole thing ends poorly is that suddenly she is unable to love her daughter anymore and I have a hard time buying into that. Does she sub consciously blame her for what happened or she’s just been completely traumatized from physical touch after the incident? Either way I don’t see how this would totally be blocking her from at least showing some more kindness towards Marnie.

Of course we can’t end there. Then you’ve got Marnie’s phobia of the color red as well as physical contact. This also transfers over to storms as well so she has a phobia of quite a lot of things by the time the film is through with her. We have a rather painful scene where she absolutely refuses to be touched but Mark had enough of this subplot by then and forced the issue. I don’t see why this part of the phobia had to be added and it couldn’t just stick to the color red. Having the phobia evolve with the film’s loose explanation of she was faking it all during the first act was definitely very weak.

Marnie gives Mark a tough time throughout the movie though as she struggles at every turn and never makes any effort to change. While the scenes can have good banter at times, the film never changes things up so a lot of the dialogue remains the same with slight variations. Then you have Mark who isn’t exactly a hero either as his main goal was to marry Marnie from the start so he effectively allowed her plans to progress until he could make use of them. He does what he can to rehabilitate her for most of the film but ultimately wasn’t able to stick the landing such as the boat scene.

This film does have some of the typical thriller aspects like having one person from Marnie’s past show up to start stirring up some trouble. I was glad for at least some quick stakes here because the film needed something. It’s just a shame that it couldn’t focus on this plot a little more and just throw the other ones out. That would have gone a long way towards improving the movie without a doubt. The main issue is really just the writing as it relies on a whole lot of shock value to keep the film going. That’s always a sign of poor writing because it means they were not confident enough in the script to get people watching towards the end without such big scenes.

Overall, Marnie is a film I would highly recommend staying away from. All of the plots are pretty bad here so the film never really gives you a chance to just sit down and enjoy the scenes at hand. It’s always throwing more shock value at you which definitely destroys any chance of the movie actually turning into a quality experience. It’s a shame because at the very least the premise of a thief going around robbing a bunch of people with the boss knowing about it could be fun. This just won’t be the title that actually puts that kind of storyline on the map.

Overall 0/10

Gilda Review


Gilda is a Noir film from a while back. It’s definitely got every noir element you can ask for and makes for a pretty interesting film although the main character is definitely pretty bad. Definitely not someone you can trust in the slightest and there’s a lot of twists and turns here as the characters mess with each other. The main takeaway is that you shouldn’t get involved with gambling as things tend to get dicey.

The movie starts with a confident guy named Johnny cheating a bunch of sailors at cards and running off with all of their money. He doesn’t get far though as someone holds him at gunpoint and Johnny realizes that it may be curtains for him. That’s when a guy named Ballin shows up and rescues Johnny. Ballin is the owner of a local casino and so naturally Johnny repays this kindness by going to that guy’s casino and stealing a bunch of money. He’s caught again but Ballin decides to make him a partner. Johnny is surprisingly loyal and so the two get along really well. This all changes when Ballin goes on vacation and returns with a new wife named Gilda. Johnny and Gilda have quite the history between them which leads to a lot of friction. Gilda is a free spirit who flirts with everyone so Johnny tries to keep Ballin from finding this out. Will Johnny and Gilda’s feud end up destroying the casino?

At first things are going almost too well so you know something’s got to give. Johnny and Ballin have perfect teamwork with each other and the casino is doing better than never. They’re really on cloud 9 and Johnny’s enjoying his new lease on life. As someone who used to cheat a whole lot it makes sense that he would be good at noticing if others were using the same tricks. That said, things all fall to pieces when Gilda shows up. She is intentionally difficult a lot of the time as well as she puts him into tough situations that are hard to explain.

I would make the case that if he was straight with Ballin from the start instead of making up stories then it would have been easier. By the midway point that isn’t an option anymore though as Ballin starts to act rather dangerously. Perhaps Johnny knew that would be his reaction all the while. Johnny was really solid in the first half of the film but then he looked really bad later on. His punishment scheme involving marriage started off as incredibly petty and by the end just turned flat-out villainous. There isn’t any real way to root for him as he went completely off the deep end.

Then you have Gilda who isn’t a very good heroine. She admits to being someone who goes on the rebound all the time. While the characters do ultimately say she never actually cheated on the leads, it’s hard to really believe that given her actions. She actually did cheat on Ballin while they were still married with Johnny and she was already getting into a serious affair with someone overseas until it turned out that he was actually an inside agent. The common theme in both of these instances is that she was really quick to move on so it’s hard to imagine any real romance sticking around for the long-haul by the end. Without trust you can’t possibly have a healthy relationship after all.

The romance in the film in general is just really weak and takes away from the more interesting thriller aspects of the story. You’re interested in the conspiracies and the truth behind the casino. Not in what’s going on between Johnny and Gilda. That’s the kind of stuff you can just leave for a side story or just to the imagination but it ends up playing quite the central focus by the end.

There are two main supporting characters in Pio and Obregon. Pio is a nice janitor type character who completes all of the odd jobs around the Casino. He’s been around for a long time and is always completely confident in himself. Nobody can scare this guy and that’s because he knows just about everything. You can always count on him in crunch time and he was just fun. Then you’ve got Obregon who appears for a lot of the movie. He’s a mysterious character who is always hanging around the scene of the crime just doing his own thing. There are naturally twists around his character and they are handled quite well. He may even be the best character in the film when you think about it.

Finally you’ve got the main villain Ballin and he definitely messes up what was a pretty good system for him. He really had everything he could have wanted and then ended up messing it all up by going after Gilda when he shouldn’t have. If he had just stayed strong or not gotten married so impulsively then he would have been okay. While the guy went crazy by the end, he may have been distracted by success long enough for that not to take effect. It’s quite the coincidence that he ended up meeting up with Gilda of all people.

As with any classic Noir film the writing is important and I would say it is pretty solid here. The banter with Johnny and Ballin is always solid with a lot of subtle jabs thrown in. Johnny has a quick word for anyone who gets in his way. The only time the interactions aren’t as solid is with him and Gilda as you can see the romance coming a mile away so their tough talk just doesn’t work as well. Beyond that the whole film is definitely interesting from start to finish and the pacing means that it all goes through pretty smoothly. There’s never a point in the film where you feel like it’s dragging on.

Overall, Gilda is a solid Noir film. I wouldn’t put it as one of my all time high picks in the genre but it holds up well enough. Gilda is the weakest element of the film to be sure along with the rather weak romance here but the plots about the casino and such are solid. There’s always something going on here and definitely a lot to unpack. All of the characters could have handled the situation differently and would have been in a better spot for it except for Obregon who handled everything well from start to finish. That guy was always a step ahead of the rest. With a solid ending to close things out, I’d definitely recommend Gilda if you want to check out a classic film with a little mystery and intrigue.

Overall 6/10

Goldfinger Review


Bond is at it again with this next installment but is the film going to go to the next level here or will this be about on the level as the first two. It’s definitely a movie that retains a lot of the same issues as the earlier titles. The action scenes are fun though but Bond certainly gets punked a whole lot. Again, how is this guy the best agent that M16 has got? It feels like he mostly just relies on luck in all of his appearances and that’s not a good strategy that’ll work long-term.

Well, the movie starts with Bond blowing up a facility and basically showing the audience that 007 is back! Bond heads to a resort for vacation but the worst fear of every person on vacation happens…his boss shows up. The agent tells Bond that he is to investigate and monitor an infamous villain known as Goldfinger. The guy stays at this very resort and loves cheating people out of their money. Bond is pretty confident that he can beat anyone up so he promptly begins trolling Goldfinger by stealing his girl, making fun of him, and then cheating the guy out of a bunch of money. Naturally this leads to Goldfinger murdering the girl and beating Bond up multiple times. Bond wants revenge now but will he be able to stop Goldfinger in this frenzied state or is he on a one way trip to oblivion?

This film really highlights the issue with Bond’s overconfidence. It just doesn’t feel earned since each time it causes him to lose or his friends to get murdered. The girl from the opening scene is a big example of this. Bond basically threw her life away by antagonizing Goldfinger and not giving her any kind of protection after that. What did he really expect was going to happen here? As a special agent you need to be confident in yourself. Absolutely, that’s a true statement but there are limits to this. It’s like how Iron Man dared Mandarin to try and attack him in Iron Man 3 and was surprised when the guy did or even a random thug mocking Accelerator and saying he wouldn’t dare shoot her only to find out that he actually would. If you’re going to test someone you should be prepared for retaliation.

So Bond is no better in this film than in the last few. Not only is he very weak but of course he is distracted by every lady in the film and has a number of affairs as normal. I’m okay with him getting extra emotional for this one. While some may say this isn’t very professional of him, he knows very well that the situation is his fault and should want to avenge the girl. It just makes all of his losses in this film sting all the more. He still has his more charismatic moments of course and can be a fun lead to follow but not a likable one.

Unfortunately Goldfinger is definitely the worst main villain so far. The guy can’t really fight all that well and just relies on the fact that he can always outwit Bond. His final plan only gets so far out of pure luck. I have a very hard time believing he would be able to shoot down over 10 Army fighters on his own and then escape for a third time. That whole sequence will have you shaking your head. Keep in mind that the army went in knowing that there had been a hostile takeover at this point. Should be on full alert….

His main minion Oddjob was really good though and definitely a standout character. He’s actually very skilled. First off, the steel hat is a genius invention because you can wear it very discreetly and then toss it when you need to take someone down. The villains clearly have their own Q who can make some solid items. He’s also not a one trick pony as he was able to fight really well even without the hat. I wasn’t surprised that he was a lot stronger than Bond either as we never see the agent training while this guy was clearly devoted to his craft. That’s a lot of shots at Bond eh? I’ll give him a break til the end now.

Galore is the main heroine in this film and I’ll give her some points for being able to fight. In fact she even defeated 007 on multiple occasions. It’s definitely nice to have hand to hand skills and even better to have that coupled with a gun. At that point there just isn’t much you can do if she has the proper angle. Galore does really well in this film even if ultimately you know that some romance will be appearing at some point.

As always this is where the Bond film falters. There’s a ton of random affairs in the film. Even the opening credits are pretty painful here as it focuses on a ton of suggestive imagery the whole time. From the posters and such you can see exactly how the film was advertising itself and this did not change with this film. It makes all of the usual mistakes here and just makes you shake your head at how predictable it is, but also at how much better it could have been without that.

The movie’s about on par with the last two. I would argue it’s a tad bit better than the opening 3 but not by enough to really make much of a difference. Hopefully as the films go on Bond will look a little better but at this point I’m rather doubtful. Usually you have the lead look his best in the opening films before having him lose more in the sequels since it shows how the villains are getting more powerful. So if he is already getting crushed here then that really does not bode well for him.

Overall, Goldfinger continues to show why the James Bond films aren’t in the same league as Mission Impossible or Jason Bourne. Those titles really focus on the special agent aspect of the plot as the primary focus while this one seems to have that as the backdrop at times while Bond’s charms are the main focus. He’s just thrown off his game so often it gets pretty crazy. The film does flow by as the pacing is good and I would also say the writing is on point. It’s mainly just held back by Bond himself and the fanservice. The fact that Goldfinger is not only a sub par villain but a flat out bad one doesn’t help matters either. We’ll see if the next film is able to overtake this one.

Overall 4/10

Enter Laughing Review


It’s always tough to predict how a film will turn out when the main character isn’t any good but the rest of the film’s elements like plot and writing are solid. Can the film pull through or will it ultimately be doomed? In this one’s case I would say that the overall movie is still solid but that main character is definitely hard to watch. He really takes the lies and deception to a new level. This guy’s got no shame about messing with everyone.

The film starts off by introducing us to David who leads a rather stable but uneventful life. He’s got a good job as assistant working with tools and deliveries but he wants the kind of job that’ll make him famous and this isn’t exactly doing this for him. On a whim David decides he wants to be an actor so he heads to a nearby audition. The show isn’t doing this well and is quite desperate so they invite him to join. Now David is determined to be a great actor but his chronic lying and poor time management creates friction with his boss, parents, and his girlfriend. David’s troubles are only just getting started.

Here’s the issue with David though, all of the problems are of his own creation. He keeps a ton of secrets from everyone and at times this is for no reason. Then you’ve got the fact that he is desperately obsessed with every girl in the movie. Keep in mind that the guy has a girlfriend and yet he constantly flirts with the receptionist as well as his co-star. He was even trying to initiate an affair with the latter after getting drunk but fortunately she threw him out. If anything this was pretty out of character since she was after him in every other scene but perhaps the film makers decided this would have made David too far gone to be redeemed. I’d argue he was already past this point here though.

Part of the problem here is that David never really changes. Look at the end of the film, things are going well for him now but did he actually renounce his ways in the slightest? He still intends to have affairs with everyone possible even if it was a joke, he basically said he’s with Wanda because the other girls don’t show any interest in him. Yeah this is not a lead that you can really get behind in the slightest.

As for the other characters, they tend to be very nice and tolerant the whole time but maybe too much so. For example, Wanda puts up with all of David’s antics and only breaks up with him once in the movie and they have disagreements a lot. Thing is, once she learns that he is basically just cheating on her whenever possible, that’s a good point to break things off. Yes, the instant he kissed Angela I would say he cheated. So that should have been game over for sure.

Next up is Mr. Foreman and that guy’s a very nice boss. Really you couldn’t ask for a nicer guy as he constantly lets David leave early, come in late, and even pretends to buy his convoluted stories. I should mention that David isn’t even good at lying and tends to trip himself up quite a lot. He forgets about what his story was as soon as he leaves the room which is not a good look. You suspect that the Foreman knows about all of this but decides to roll with it anyway. He doesn’t even get on David for allowing his best friend to hang around all the time.

Then you’ve got David’s parents. His father’s a very hands off kind of guy so he doesn’t really mind what David is doing but his mother worries a lot about show biz and wants him to quit. Here’s the thing, you have to agree with her in this instance. David is literally getting scammed into paying the business 3 dollars instead of them paying him 3 bucks. The lead naturally didn’t realize this but it shows how he’s not very smart in these things. The guilt trip may have been a bit much with some heavy handed tactics there but at the end of the day she was doing her best to ensure that things worked out for David in the end.

Following them is Mr. Marlowe who is the owner of the show. He has rather high standards for his play and is continually disappointed that nobody is able to reach these standards. David is the latest in a string of disappointments for him and is so bad at acting that you do wonder how the lead ever thought he would be good. David’s a source of never ending stress for Marlowe. Marlowe’s not exactly the nicest guy to be sure and yet at the same time he has 0 to work with so it’s rough. Mix in the fact that they don’t know how to earn money and in a way David found the perfect place. Then you have Angela who always acts drunk and is an intentionally odd character. She’s one of the weaker characters in the film to be sure and most of her scenes are pretty bad from the start.

There are other supporting characters here like David’s friend and the receptionist who have their own times to shine. The receptionist definitely had a good time trolling David the whole time but was always on his side and helped him out quite a bit at the end of the film. The friend ultimately failed at the end but he had a difficult task so at least he tried. At the end of the day the main reason the film succeeds is that it does have quality writing and a lot of the jokes do land. Particularly the one’s at David’s expense as you already know he’s definitely not a quality character. My main issue here would be that he gets off incredibly easy by the end.

Overall, Enter Laughing is a good film about showing why you can’t just make a career out of anything on a whim. If David really wanted to be an actor he would have put in the time and dedication into doing so without just forgetting about all of his current responsibilities on the job. He seems like a character who wants everything to fall neatly into his lap without effort and that’s just not how these things work. As a result you just can’t root for this guy but if you enjoy a solid comedy film then this is a good one to check out.

Overall 6/10

Time Lock Review


Time Lock is a very retro thriller that has aged quite well. The main danger here is trying to save a kid before a certain amount of time has elapsed so it’s a concept that you could easily apply to a modern movie as well. There’s a lot of solid dialogue here and a quality cast of characters so the movie goes by rather quickly. It’s got a good amount of replay value as well so I could easily recommend it.

The movie starts with the bankers getting ready to close shop for the long weekend. It had been a busy week so they were all glad to have some time off. They get ready to close the vault but there’s a traffic incident outside so the two men take a break to look outside. In the meanwhile the banker’s kid sneaks into the vault. The bankers don’t notice this as they close the vault only to find out right afterwards that he snuck in. The issue is that the vault is sealed with a Time Lock which was created for the sole purpose of making sure that nobody can get into the vault once it is closed. They must now find a way to get the boy out before he runs out of Oxygen and call in everyone they can think of to help. Their best bet is the expert known as Mr. Dawson but he is already on vacation so they’ll need to track him down.

Dawson doesn’t appear until we’re deep into the film but his presence is felt almost immediately. Right from the start the characters acknowledge that he is their best bet and he is portrayed really well as an expert who knows his stuff. He takes charge and makes all of the right moves. Initially my reaction was that he could have started giving instructions before he got to the bank but as this was the 50s I assume that wasn’t really an option at the time. Dawson’s easily the best character in the film for sure.

Still, there aren’t really any bad characters here. Everyone does their best to help the kid out and it’s nice to see the community come together like this. For example, at one point the main characters are effectively out of options so a local reporter offers to help out by getting alerts out on all their channels and even flying in Dawson. Then you’ve got all of the townsfolk who are ready to help break through the vault however they can. Everyone here is doing their part. If anything the bank gives the reporter a tough time despite being so helpful towards the end but they weren’t trying to squeeze in a random antagonist. I suppose in this film you didn’t need one although it would have been pretty interesting to have some bank robbers run in to cause chaos.

The main emotional plot here is with the kid’s parents since they aren’t taking this quite so well. The Dad blames himself for not noticing that the kid went into the vault in time while the Mom is stressed out since the kid may not make it. The Secretary was also slow to alert them that the kid went into the vault since she saw him run in and should have yelled out immediately. Then you have the boss who didn’t do a second check after turning his back to the vault. In a situation like this there is naturally a lot of collective blame that can be had. At the end of the day the characters were just a bit careless because it’s a task they’ve done so many times and so they got a bit complacent this time around. Human error is something that can happen so it was just about time.

I’ll give the kid some credit for not panicking here though. He actually takes the whole situation pretty well in stride. He doesn’t start crying or yelling once he’s stuck there and just calmly tries to follow orders. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to unlock the vault or the whole film would have ended a lot sooner. It was a good idea on their part to use the megaphone though and it was an interesting dilemma since there was no way for the kid to signal if he heard or not. So they would have to talk not knowing if they were receiving a response or not. Definitely not an easy spot to be in.

As for the solution to breaking through the vault, it was pretty interesting. I feel like one of the side characters had actually suggested going in through the side and the others had said it was a waste. Ultimately the idea seemed good although of course here they were going for the switch as opposed to going all through the side. So there is a difference there but at least the Welder deserves some credit there before Dawson came in to save the day. Most of the characters in this film were professionals and it was nice to see them be able to use their expertise to help out in the situation.

Overall, Time Lock is a solid film. It really has no weaknesses and performs well as a low key thriller. The stakes may not be something like a city at stake but any life in the balance makes for a very personal film. You’ve got a solid cast, solid writing, and an interesting plot. It all boils down to a movie that’s just entertaining from start to finish. You’re bound to have a good time with this one. It also shows how well designed the bank vault is as not just anyone could have broken into it without those resources. I’m sure that the manufacturers would probably build some extra precautions into the next version so this probably wouldn’t even work next time around. That said, I doubt the kid will be going anywhere close to a vault after this.

Overall 7/10

Warning from Space Review


It’s time to look at a retro sci-fi film complete with aliens. I’m always up for a good sci-fi epic and aliens approaching usually means some kind of invasion is here right? Wellllllll…not quite this time. I was really surprised because for the first time since 2001: A Space Odyssey this was a sci-fi film that was a little…boring. Nothing really happens for a large portion of the film which was disappointed and even the climax is fairly underwhelming. Should have gone the invasion route.

The movie starts with a group of starfish aliens discussing what to do about Earth. They need to contact the scientists of the planet. There’s a few ways they can go about this of course. One would be to send some kind of radio transmission from space while allowing their spaceship to be seen to prove that they are who they say they are. Perhaps they could beam a few people down and start talking to the humans real quick. Preferably in a bullet proof suit since the humans love to blast things right away. Send some cool signals, send a UFO, maybe kidnap a few of the humans real quick. Well…instead they try slowly walking out of the ocean and breaking into homes but don’t really talk so people naturally think they’re monsters.

You may be questioning the alien’s intelligence at this point but then they decide they’ll just copy the appearance of a human and send someone in undercover. Perfect…except what’s the next move? She spends some time playing tennis with the group and acting human except for when she jumps 10 feet and walks through doors that are still closed for kicks. She’s not great at staying undercover. She burns some notes and only after the main characters make some deductions does she finally reveal her intentions of why she is here and how to save the planet. I just don’t understand what the aliens were thinking, there were so many better ways of getting around this.

It’s hard to say how much of the plot to explain here because I suppose the reason they are here at all would be a spoiler to an extent. Still, the main characters do get on board with this plan rather quickly. While that may be a little too trusting on their part, it does end up working out so I suppose it was for the best. Without going into specifics, the whole thing once again makes the aliens look kind of suspect. They are very quick to destroy the formula to a super weapon since it’s too dangerous and yet they didn’t think that this weapon would be useful against the upcoming crisis? Hmmmmm.

Lets talk about the main characters now. First up is Dr. Matsuda who is a genius and has discovered a weapon even more powerful than atomic energy. He stays strong throughout the film even when put into great danger and at least he does take some things in stride like when Ginko (the main alien) confronts him. The guy does well to memorize his formula as well so that came in handy. Then you’ve got Toru and his father Mr. Itsobe who get major roles. Mr. Itsobe is effectively the leader of the heroes because of how he’s quite intelligent but also very resourceful. Without him the characters would be in trouble although he is a little quick to dismiss the possibility of aliens. He also refuses to even speculate on things until he has a lot of evidence so you don’t even need to bother asking him for an opinion initially. Toru may not be a brilliant professor yet but he helps out quite a bit and is one of the first people to find evidence of Ginko not being your average mortal.

One thing that doesn’t help the film’s case either is that some animals don’t quite make it by the end. This even includes a dog and you may be wondering what the point of the scene was. There wasn’t one really. I thought perhaps the film would save itself in the end as we see some animals running around but it’s heavily implied that these are completely different animals and that the originals are all dead. If we had seen one of the old ones then maybe we could say they lived but otherwise I feel as though that would be a jump on our end. So the film loses points there as well.

As to what the film did right, I did like the design of the star creatures. It was pretty fun seeing them walk around even if it could be a little hard to understand them at times. That’s probably more due to the quality of the film since it’s so old at this point compared to the costumes themselves. The graphics definitely looked quite old as I guess the film has probably deteriorated at this point. The sets were on point though.

I wouldn’t call the writing particularly impressive but I didn’t think it was bad either. There’s just not a lot going on for most of the film and the characters don’t engage in any real witty banter or memorable one liners which limits the film’s ability to keep you engaged. It’s not a super long movie but it is one where you feel the length. The average James Bond film which is around 2 hours will typically feel shorter than this one due to how things are always happening. At the end of the day I feel as though the film just went with the wrong tact. It should have gone with the classic alien invasion storyline.

If you are going to go with more of an undercover story as the aliens try to contact the humans, I think the plot needs to be nailed down a little more on why they did things so out of the way. Why couldn’t they just contact the humans in another way or explain the plot as soon as the transformation occurred? It felt like Ginko just didn’t know exactly what her plan was initially. There are ways to make this plot work but it is a little more difficult than actually having a real villain to go up against. That’s probably why some random gangsters were added in the end but lets face it, their roles are extremely small.

Overall, Warning from Space is a very accurate title but this just isn’t a particularly engaging film. There isn’t a true sense of danger for almost all of it and the dialogue isn’t very engaging. The characters don’t really progress much in what they’re saying so it feels like they are talking in circles a lot of the time. This movie really needed to add some more excitement and also definitely leave the animals out of it since they had no business being here. A sequel to this film could be quite good though if they up the action and make it so another race of aliens is here to end the planet or something like that. Now that could work out quite nicely.

Overall 4/10

From Russia with Love Review


James Bond continues on another adventure with this second film. From Russia with Love is definitely a very well known film in the series and the title is certainly iconic. What’s better than seeing Bond have to go up against his Russian counterparts right? Well, while the action is dialed up and we have some interesting ideas here, I wouldn’t say that it’s a match for the original film. This is still not quite as the point where the James Bond films were epic to watch. I wouldn’t quite give this one a thumbs up.

The movie starts with SPECTRE returning to the forefront. After Bond messed up their plans last time they are not eager to see it happen again. The leader calls in a big chess master and the former head of Russia’s special agent program. They are to find a way to get a device over from Russia and then bump Bond off. Rosa decides to use special agent Tatiana for this mission, all the while pretending that she is still in the Russian program as an officer. Meanwhile M16 sends Bond in to obtain the device after Tatiana claims she wants to defect from Russia. (All part of the plan) Bond figures he’s walking into a trap but doesn’t really mind.

This film has a lot going on at all times and the plot is certainly crafted well. It’s quite hard to predict exactly how things will shake out all the time. I like the idea of SPECTRE trying to pit Russia and the US against each other from the shadows. As an international organization it makes sense that they would be messing with all of the countries. It’s also good to see the organization return since it does work as a nice ongoing plotline in the series. They have trained their fighters rather well.

Grant makes for a very impressive villain, although perhaps too impressive. Throughout the film he saved Bond and gets the upper hand on him. He’s shown to be more powerful and smarter. At that point, what’s left for Bond? His presence is felt throughout the movie and it makes Grant a fairly unforgettable character. His opening appearance was definitely impressive as well so from start to finish this guy made for a good villain.

On the hero side we had Ali this time who was a head of M16 for this division. He’s a pretty good agent who may not be the best at fieldwork but he is highly resourceful and has kept up a good system for many years. Naturally once Bond enters the picture these plans tend to go haywire since everyone is always targeting the agent. Ali did well in his screen time though. M and Moneypenny appear as well of course and they’re always fun supporting characters as well. M likes to shatter all of Bond’s plans all the time while Moneypenny likes to play along. It makes for a good dynamic at the office.

As for the main heroine of this film, I can’t say Tatiana was one of the better ones. She is put into a rather tough mission of course but I feel like she was tricked rather easily. This is definitely a weakness of being in a super secret organization if they never even told their members that the head had been let go. Does Tatiana have no contacts here she could have contacted? The organization itself is to blame for a lot of it but Tatiana should have done some more research as well or just defected for real once she was betrayed. The villains give her so much distance she would have had a lot of good opportunities to pull this off. At the end of the day she does manage to step up though.

Then that takes us to Bond and he takes so many Ls in this film that you wonder why the 007 title is so legendary. He gets beaten more times than you can count to the point where he isn’t even as cautious as he used to be in the first film. I suppose at this point he’s just decided that there’s no point and rolls with whatever the next challenge is. Due to this though, it’s hard to picture him looking really good in a movie. The guy’s just let his overconfidence run wild within himself. As long as he is unable to clear his missions without flirting or getting distracted I imagine that his potential will always be rather limited. He has his moments but on the whole I wouldn’t be able to call him a good lead.

Bond’s worst moment might be near the end where he notices Grant ordering a drink combination that doesn’t make sense. Bond had already been suspicious from the start but he still allows Grant to put something in Tatiana’s drink. Bond calls him out on it and buys the very suspect explanation that it would be easier this way. The whole thing makes him look like a rookie. I thought he was also incredibly harsh with Tatiana during the interrogation in the car afterwards. If Bond was unlikable before that moment then he was really doomed after that.

I’ll throw out a quick mention to Rosa who had a lot of fighting spirit for an old lady. She certainly knew that returning to base with no results would be a bad idea of course so that was good thinking on her part. Her main mistake is that she definitely should have fired right away rather than waiting so long. That’s the mistake most villains make here. With the amount of people who get Bond at gunpoint you’ll definitely always be surprised to see him still alive.

The main issue with the film naturally is its over reliance on fanservice and having Bond have an affair with every female character he runs into. The film always includes a lot of romance only since Bond is constantly jumping to the next character we know that it’s not actually a true romance anyway. The opening credits for the film are fairly painful to get through as well as the film’s artistic style here is really just to sell more tickets with fanservice once again.

At least the movie has a good soundtrack though. The Bond theme never gets old no matter how many times they play it. It’s just classic and I’m up for as many remixes as they’ve got. The action scenes are fun when they happen as well. We even get a train backdrop for a good chunk of the film which works out quite nicely. A change of scenery is always a good idea. I’d also say the writing is solid for the most part. There’s a lot of good banter here and the film handles the light hearted action tone rather well. The movie doesn’t drag on and at close to 2 hours that’s fairly impressive.

Overall, From Russia With Love is a very classic Bond film. It’s got the usual spy adventures along with a number of mysteries and intrigue that Bond must sift through in order to get to the heart of the problem. He takes every single stop on the journey that can be had though and is never in a hurry. His number 1 ability here is really just having a lot of luck and also is fortunate that the villains decide to show him mercy so often. I’d recommend watching a movie like Jason Bourne or Mission Impossible if you want a film that focuses more on the stealth aspects though. They operate at a much higher level.

Overall 4/10

Dr. No Review


Can it be? Yes, James Bond is back in the running! It’s been many, many years since I saw the original James Bond film. Well before my reviewing days at the very least. Well, now was the chance to re-watch it. It does a good job of establishing Bond’s character and setting the franchise up but at the same time makes a whole lot of errors that remind me why I was never a big fan of the Bond movies. It was only very recently where I would say they were very good. This one for example I would have to give a thumbs down although I do maintain that Sean is still the definitive James Bond.

The James Bond films always start off with an opening montage of fanservice with a random song to let you know that you’ve arrived at the right film. It’s a great way to kick things off on a low note. Fortunately after that we get to the actual movie. It opens up with 3 crooks pretending to be blind so they head on over and murder someone. Meanwhile Bond was winning at the casino when he is called in by M-16 Intelligence. They tell him about the murder and he is being sent over to investigate this. Bond heads off and as soon as he arrives the villains make their first move by having a fake car at the ready. Bond dispatches the agent real quick which establishes him as a skilled agent who won’t be going down easily. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the murder though. Bond’s only hint is that it may involve someone by the name of Dr. No. Time to go and explore his secret island.

So Bond is shown to be a capable agent. The film tries to suggest that he is a brilliant one but I am not convinced. For starters there is one scene in this film where the villain gives him a cup of coffee…and he drinks it. He’s then surprised to find out that it was drugged. On another occasion he follows a suspect to a secluded area knowing it’s a trap and falls for it anyway. He’s lucky that the group he thought were villains turned out to be okay. There’s also the scene where his partner and him go to fight the dragon tank and Bond basically just gives up. You’d think since he took one eye out that he might as well continue at that point. He was close to winning too, but just missed way too many shots. I’d consider that to be another loss though. I think what’s going on here is that Bond has absolute confidence in himself to the point where you could say it is also a weakness. He will jump into any trap without hesitation because he believes he can best it. The problem is that this just isn’t the case. Bond is tough but will still lose against a gun or with sheer numbers just like anyone else. The fact that he can’t control his confidence is his biggest issue.

He has a lot of solid moments as well of course like when he devised a method to find out if anyone had been in his room. He handled the opening car scene rather well too. I also like how his theme music appears almost every time Bond is on screen. It’s a nice little addition there and if anything it’s something I miss from nowadays. I always like the classic approach of having a hero’s theme play when he is around. It helps give the scenes a whole lot of impact. No matter how many times the theme plays though, I doubt it would have helped me like Bond. At the end of the day he’s a big flirt who has affairs with everyone and constantly gets distracted from the mission. No matter how skilled he is, it means that he could have done a lot better without all of that going on. That’s the tragic part of all this.

On the whole I wasn’t a big fan of the soundtrack though. The main theme sounded like something out of Beetlejuice which kept playing on the island. It’s just not really my cup of tea so mainly the only theme that I liked was the classic Bond theme. I suppose in this case it would have to do. The writing was solid though with a lot of good one liners here and snappy dialogue. Bond in particular definitely knows how to go back and forth with the villain rather well. His dinner discussions with Dr. no was certainly interesting to watch. Of course, Bond quit being friendly once Dr. No had Honey taken away. So at that point he just tried to antagonize the guy.

We get 3 different ladies who appear at different points in the film to have an affair with Bond. It’s why no matter who the final heroine is you always know that it’s not going to last. Bond doesn’t even care if the lady is a villain so long as he gets to have his fun first and then admits that he knew all along. I wouldn’t say that any of the 3 are all that good. At least the first one has no shady dealings or anything so she’s about as legit as possible. The second one’s a foreign spy and Honey who serves as the main heroine was illegally trespassing on a private island. I suppose she needed the money and a villain owns the island so it sort of equals out in the end. She certainly gets a needlessly tragic backstory that could have been avoided if you ask me.

Dr. No makes for an imposing villain though. I forgot that the SPECTRE organization was referenced so early in the Bond films so that was nice to see. No definitely commands respect as well as shown by the fear he put in his subordinates just by talking. None of them are going to cross him anytime soon that’s for sure. His robotic hands also make him a bit of a difficult opponent as otherwise he wouldn’t be able to fight much.

There’s a good amount of tension here for sure and whenever Bond catches one of the villains that’s always fun. He certainly gets to show off his skills in hand to hand, espionage, shooting, and even at wit. If not for his overconfidence issues and distractions you can see how Bond would be a really good agent. In a way he’s a lot like this film. This movie would have been really solid without all the affairs, fanservice, and scenes that just don’t further the plot in any way. This would then be a really solid spy thriller but instead it holds itself back which has always been something that the series struggles with.

Overall, Dr. No is definitely one of those films where you can tell that it had a good budget and a lot of effort put behind it. The effects look really good considering how old the film is and the plot definitely works well. The movie has a nice balance between action and light hearted humor so it’s also the kind of flick that should reach a large audience. James Bond just isn’t a particularly likable main character. He’s charismatic and you’ll have a lot of fun with him at times but he could stand to be a little more focused when carrying out his job. You feel bad for his boss who always has to put up with this. Bond definitely gives that guy a hard time. I’ll be reviewing the second film pretty soon so we’ll see if Bond does better in the second film or if it’s all over for him.

Overall 4/10

Black Christmas 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 look at a true stinker. This film’s always had that reputation of being a pretty terrible film that has only shined a little more with the recent reboot coming out with the review I’ve seen. It definitely ends up even underperforming despite that. There’s really nothing positive to say about this film. The writing is terrible, the cast is awful, and the ending is sour. The whole thing just seals the deal as a film best left forgotten to history so I don’t see why it’s already been remade more than once. I can’t say I have high hopes for those films either.

The movie starts by introducing us to Jess and her friends. They are having a solid Christmas party and are just having a good end to the year in general. Or at least…that’s how it appears at first. Each of the characters are having their own share of issues. One of them is a chronic drunk, you’ve got Jess who ended up getting pregnant prematurely, and the main policeman who fields the calls doesn’t take them seriously if anything were to start happening. Well, one by one the girls are being bumped off and the murderer keeps calling in to gloat about this as he plays the deaths live. Will Jess be able to escape or is everyone in the house doomed?

When you’re making a bad film you’ve got to start with constructing a poor cast and this film accomplishes that with ease. The main villain never actually appears but he always calls himself Billy so we’ll go with that. He’s about as poor a villain as you can develop. The guy has no real motivation for destroying everyone beyond just causing chaos. He really relies on a lot of luck and all the characters handling things terribly in order to succeed. With a better cast he wouldn’t have lasted as long as he did. The ending is just insulting if anything because everyone was acting to half heartedly about checking the house.

Think about it, you know that there’s a murderer who was in the house and a bunch of fatalities resulted from this. There are still other people unaccounted for as well. Wouldn’t you actually check the attic or the other rooms in the house before leaving? Leaving the room unguarded is also very sloppy and I don’t know how the cop in the car at the front yard was taken down so easily. I’d also argue that staying in the car doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s good for making a quick communication but you’re barricading yourself inside a vehicle which limits your field of view.

The writing here is just terrible throughout. You’ll be rolling your eyes the whole time as you wait for the film to get interesting but it never happens. The TV broadcast had a field day having to censor everything because all of the characters are also obscene most of the time. Why would this house have paintings with people flashing the birdie? The characters look at dicey magazines and one of them coaxes a kid into drinking while he is under age. That scene is just painful because it goes on and on while someone else is on the phone. The movie goes out of its way to paint these characters as terrible role models and really as terrible people as they’re ruining Christmas for everyone else too.

Then the film also makes sure to be as gritty as possible as we learn that someone met with a cruel fate before being murdered in this town. Was that all really necessary? I suppose the idea is that if a Christmas movie is usually happy and well written then if you’re going to do the reverse it has to be very somber with poor writing throughout. The movie does succeed at this to be sure. It goes without saying that the rest of the film is also fairly violent anyway as each character is bumped off. All of the phone calls are pretty ugly as well and Jess is basically forced to listen to all of them so the cops can try to tap the phone. Even Jess who at least tries to be more responsible than some of the others does not seem to be since her affair with Peter went a little too far which leads to the drama of her wanting to abort the baby.

Peter looks terrible here as well as he quickly jumps into threatening her and really putting himself in a bad light. There’s no way to really get around the fact that he was seriously threatening her. Then at the police headquarters even after a kid is murdered and several girls vanish, the guy at the desk doesn’t take it seriously when Jess calls to report that they are being harassed by someone on the phone. After a while it just gets way too out of this world and not in a good sci-fi way. There’s just a whole lot of plot conveniences here in order to give the murderer a clean way to take everyone down.

Overall, Black Christmas is a movie that really drags on and on for the entirety of its run. Just when you think it’s going to end the film keeps on going. Horror films are basically required to have a twist ending but this one was pretty terrible. Aside from just being so obvious that it barely counts as a twist, it happens at the expense of every character’s ability to think rationally. There’s no replay value in this film and I would definitely recommend staying as far away from it as possible. I certainly wouldn’t consider it to be a true Christmas film and you’re better off checking out something like a Charlie Brown Christmas or the classic Jingle All The Way title.

Overall 0/10

Framed Review


Framed is an old noir film which is a very solid depiction of the genre as a whole. You’ve got every character keeping secrets and acting rather suspicious the whole time. They’ve definitely got a lot of attitude and smoking/drinking is what all of the characters turn to in a pinch. With solid writing and a good story at the ready this is certainly a good movie to check out. You don’t really see a low key Noir title like this nowadays and it’s a solid genre that has faded away.

The movie starts with Mike trying to drive a vehicle into town but the brakes gave way. He eventually makes it but not before crashing into Jeff’s car. The town refuses to pay for the damages even though it was their defective vehicle that caused Mike to bump into the guy’s car in the first place. Mike pays for the damages but gives the sheriff too much attitude so they prepare to arrest him. A waitress named Paula shows up to pay for his bail just in the nick of time though. She wants to be Mike’s friend but the whole thing seems a little odd to the lead. Mike wants to leave town as soon as possible and he may have a ticket out. Jeff’s starting up a silver mining company soon as long as he can get a loan from the bank.

We’ll see if that happens though. Paula is in cahoots with Steve, the vice president of the bank. They intend to steal a ton of money but they need a fall guy. Mike is exactly the guy they’ve been looking for so they intend to bump him off after setting the stage just right. Can Mike really see this trap coming or will he be far too distracted by Paula to do much of anything? There’s definitely a lot of tension as you watch him try to come out on top.

Now, with a premise like this there’s a lot going on. It’s also a reverse mystery to an extent since we know Paula and Steve are the villains from the start but nobody else does. So there isn’t any deductions being done on our side. It’s all about following Mike on his quest. He probably would have even done better with that if he wasn’t always getting drunk though. Keep in mind that he got himself into a lot of trouble early on in the film for drinking so much that he passed out and it happens to him again in the climax. Both times could have been absolutely fatal.

It also makes it a little harder to like Mike. He feels very out of his league in this mystery. He’ll make a decent deduction at times but he’ll handle the execution poorly. There’s one scene where he very nearly gets poisoned and instead of saving himself, someone else has to come through for him. It’s a fun moment in a sense because he had a plan of his own all set and he would not have been able to execute it if he had taken the drink. Things could have very quickly gone south for him. Mike talks tough a lot but he ends up being manipulated quite often and I dunno, I just couldn’t pull for the guy.

The only thing that I will say for him is at least he was quick to try and get Jeff out of a jam even if it meant confessing. He wasn’t just going to let Jeff rot and there was no hesitation there. That’s the only credit I’ll give Mike but at least his heart was in the right place there. Jeff’s also a fun character. The guy has a good business idea set up and you get the feeling that he is very on top of things. If not for the villains messing with him I think he would be in a very good spot to get rich. He takes everything in stride too so he’s an easy guy to root for.

As for the two villains, well they definitely don’t plan things out too well. First off is Steve who just doesn’t think things through. He goes through a cycle that he should have predicted. He cheated on his wife to get along with Paula and doesn’t suspect that she may do the same thing? He’s not the brightest guy out there that’s for sure. Then you have Paula who could have easily ended things without a hitch for herself but let her feelings get in the way which ended up ruining things for her. You can’t mix sentimentality with criminal affairs. That’s just not going to end well in any circumstance and she certainly learned that the hard way.

The movie has a fairly small cast as these 4 are the only characters or note. The heart of the film is really about the strong writing and character interactions between all of them. Most of the scenes feel like they’re taking place at night time, even the ones during the day. Even the bar always feels ominous as the characters walk in to get a drink. It’s always interesting to see how these things looked back in the day because it all feels so different in the present.

Overall, Framed is a pretty solid movie. I probably wouldn’t put it as a top Noir title but at the same time it is a very consistent one. It really gives you all of the elements that you would want to see in such a film from the characters to the backgrounds. The reverse mystery idea is a nice twist as well. Usually most of the film is about finding out exactly what is going on so this time we get to see Mike try to put the puzzle pieces together himself. He’s not the nicest guy so that works in his favor at times as he uses strong tactics. Sometimes just hiding out in front of the house is a good way to gather info as well which worked out nicely for him. He got off a little lucky being able to down someone with a single punch though but I suppose that guy wasn’t as big a fighter as he thought. The key takeaway from this film is that if you don’t want to get framed or be put in a tough situation, just don’t get drunk out of your mind. You should maybe avoid the drinks entirely but at the bare minimum you shouldn’t drink so much that you pass out….

Overall 7/10