How to Stuff a Wild Bikini Review


It’s time to look at another beach movie. Unfortunately this one doesn’t break the trend of this genre not being particularly good. There’s not a whole lot to work with to start here and the film isn’t exactly going to be winning any Oscars for its writing. No, the film needed to try and win on its own merits and unfortunately it was a losing battle. You can pretty much tell how this film is going to play out from the start.

The film starts off with Frankie going to an island for 3 weeks. He begins to cheat on Dee Dee with the locals over there but then begins to worry that she may be doing the same thing. He hires a witch doctor and some spellcasters to try and prevent this from happening by creating a super model who will block Dee Dee at every turn. This plan works for a while, but then local advertising star Ricky shows up to try and steal Dee Dee away. She wants to stay loyal to Frankie but the more she hangs out with him the more she starts to lose her morals. Can she stay strong or is Ricky right in saying that everyone cheats eventually?

From the start you can see how the plot is pretty dicey. Frankie cheats on Dee Dee in pretty much every film. It’s nothing new and while she gives him a stern talking to he never actually feels bad about it. Even in this film he flat out says that it’s okay for guys to cheat while it isn’t for girls. If he actually believes that then this makes him look even worse as a character. Dee Dee definitely shouldn’t be putting up with this and the fact that she does is most unfortunate. Naturally this doesn’t excuse her from staying true to herself, but it does make you think she should just get over Frankie and find someone else. He strikes you as the kind of guy who’s fairly possessive and not in a good way.

Then you have Ricky who isn’t really any better. He’s very persistent, but that’s where his good traits end. When Dee Dee tests how serious he is, the guy fails. He’s also very quick to move on from her to the next person so you really can’t say that he is super sincere. He would be cheating on her just like Frankie. It’s unfortunate, but this is why Dee Dee can’t trust any of these characters. None of them are trust worthy and they aren’t afraid to admit it.

There’s really only one good scene here and that’s a fight scene that occurs midway through the film. Van Zipper hires a local thug to scare off Ricky and his entrance is admittedly pretty good. He just crashes in through the ceiling and the fight begins. In Ricky’s defense he is actually putting up a good fight. It goes back and forth for a while until Dee Dee steps in. I was surprised to see an action scene that was actually handled fairly seriously so that was pretty cool. I suppose the race scene at the end also wasn’t bad. Any scene away from the beach is certainly a good thing so no complaints from me there.

Of course, the film’s score was already dead by this point. There was just no recovering from all of the beach moments. The film is essentially one long fanservice scene. The camera work ensures this and half of the time there isn’t even a plot in the movie. It’s just all of the characters acting dicey and buying time until the film ends. There’s even a very long stop motion scene at the beginning that was added to fill in time. Even as far as the beach films go this may have been one of the weaker ones. The songs weren’t catchy either. These characters can’t really sing so they weren’t helping their case here.

Even the supernatural elements don’t really add to the film’s intrigue. The giant bird that follows Dee Dee around doesn’t really do much beyond yelling all the time. It somehow works to annoy Ricky most of the time, but he’s just easily irritated. I’d have liked the witch doctor to take a more active role as instead all of his scenes are basically the same gag of him trying to drink some rockets. You can’t keep on using the same gimmick over and over again while expecting it to still be humorous. After a while you’ll just be ready to roll your eyes at the whole thing.

Overall, I’d suggest sticking away from this film. Odds are that the title would already be a pretty big red flag though. I have yet to see a really good beach film and that certainly won’t occur within this franchise. There’s just way too much fanservice and no likable characters. All of them are either not trust worthy or have some kind of agenda. At most the president of the company here was decent and even then he doesn’t really get to do anything. If you’re looking for a good water adventure film then you should watch Aquaman instead. At least that film has good action scenes and the characters rarely spend any actual time at the beach. That’s a winning formula. For this film, the only positive thing you can say about it aside from the fight scene is that it’s short. At least you won’t have to be watching the events unfold for very long.

Overall 2/10

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Lured Review


It’s time to look at an old school thriller film as the heroes try to find a mass murderer. The premise of having a lady sign up to be an officer and try to use her wiles to get to the villain is always a pretty iffy one. Fortunately this film manages to handle itself with a bit more care than most as she is being bait without having to go too far. It’s a pretty good film and the police actually look very competent this time around.

The movie starts off with Sandra making ends meet at a dance club. It’s a pretty tough job, but it pays the bills. She is then scouted by a talent manager for a more high end location. Before Sandra can properly go and interview one of her friends becomes the latest in a string of victims from a mass murderer. The only clue is tat he always sends a poem to the cops and he has been getting his victims by putting ads in the paper. The cops head to Sandra and enlist her help. She’s certainly eager to help apprehend this villain and agrees, but this task may prove to be even more dangerous than she had expected.

After all, Sandra ends up finding herself wrapped in not one, not two, but three different villainous plots. It seems like this is a pretty shady town as you have kidnappers and psychos running around who aren’t even related to the main murderer. They do make for good red herrings though. Fortunately Sandra is definitely a tough character so none of this scares her out of the game. She takes it all in stride and keeps on going. Sandra is one of those characters who will use a lot of wit to cover her emotions which works pretty effectively. I’m glad she’s not nearly as easy to get as many other heroines and ends up being one of the stronger characters here. I think the only time she slipped up a bit was in trying to hide the evidence from Fleming as confronting it directly might have helped speed up the climax a bit.

I mentioned earlier how the police actually look pretty good here and that is thanks in no small part to Harley and Barrett. Harley is the police chief and he continues to try and solve the case from the start to the end of the film. He comes pretty close to solving it quite a few times even if he ultimately fell short. Then we have Barrett who is Sandra’s bodyguard and usually manages to keep himself close enough to help. A lot of times the bodyguard just ends up vanishing so I’m glad that wasn’t the case here. He was a bit slow to the park so it’s not like he’s infallible or anything, but he definitely tries. If the police are going to use you as bait they had better have someone at the ready. Whenever they are supposed to be guarding the character and the villain gets to the witness anyway it can definitely be pretty iffy.

Then we have Fleming. He’s a rich guy who likes a good challenge and solid music. He does tend to flirt a lot though so he is another one of those characters where you can’t really trust his sincerity. As a result that does hurt the romance between him and Sandra. You just don’t think it’ll ultimately last so with them rushing so much towards marriage it seems like they will likely regret it at some point in the future. At least he can fight though, Fleming gets into a scuffle and comes out on top. He also does have a decent sense of humor like pretending to be the secretary for a while. As he said, Sandra started it so he may as well continue to play the game.

As is typical of these classic films the writing is also on point. Pretty much all of the characters are very tactical and always planning out their next move. The script has a lot of witty dialogue and solid moments for all of the characters. It’s also always nice to see the heroes and villains beating around the bush the whole time as they passively accuse each other. Makes for a fun dynamic. The film is a bit long and does tend to drag on towards the end, but still ends up being an enjoyable adventure.

Overall, Lured is a pretty good film. It’s a fun noir title that is well constructed. The police actually have a solid plan right from the start and while Sandra has to do a lot of work to make it succeed, they aren’t just callously throwing her away like in other operations. They are still all about protecting the people and agent or not, Sandra is one of them. They get the whole team on the case and there’s just a lot of good teamwork here. You’ll probably figure out the mystery before long, but there are enough suspects where the film doesn’t make it too easy for you either. You’ll have to at least connect a few dots in order to get to the right place. The romance is a bit weak, but if that’s the most negative thing I can say about the film then you know it’s still a winner. I’d recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

Shazam! Review


It’s time to look at DC’s latest venture into the cinema. They’ve definitely had a rocky road critically although things have started to look up for them lately. Meanwhile, they’ve mostly ranged from excellent to great for me with the exception of a few films. This one’s pretty good. It’s better than Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman, but certainly not as good as the titles with Batman and Superman. Shazam will definitely be a good addition to the next Justice League film though with the powers that he brings to the table.

The film starts off by introducing us to Dr. Sivana and why he ends up turning to the path of darkness. Then we see Billy who ended up getting lost from his mother at an early age. He’s bounced from home to home since then and has finally made it to a foster home which is effectively his last chance. The kids there try to make him feel welcome, but until he sees his mother again he can’t find any closure. Making things more complicated is the fact that he was chosen by a wizard to be the legendary Shazam. He has exceptional powers now, but doesn’t know what to do with them. Can he figure this out before Silvana takes him down?

Lets start with the positives here. DC’s always had a real knack for fight scenes and the battles between Silvana and Shazam show this. I still like how they portray super speed. Shazam mostly focuses on his flight and strength to win the day but the film is sure to let you know that he’s got speed when necessary. They throw each other through buildings and you can feel the power behind the hits. There’s enough of a difference in scale so you know he’s not quite Superman level but otherwise you could make a case for him being the strongest Justice League member. Seeing the characters fly around and trade blows is always pretty hype.

The film also has some fun taking shots at classic film cliches. There’s a moment where Silvana is trying to make a big speech and Shazam can’t hear him because they’re pretty far away. Usually the hero can conveniently hear the villain in moments like this so that was pretty nice. In general the writing is pretty decent. It’s not amazing or anything, but it gets the job done. More impressive than the script is the fact that the supporting character cast is pretty solid. We’ve got the foster parents who are really tolerant of Billy’s rebellious acts without being pushovers. They do give him a talk after he continues to be defiant, but they never go over the edge. They were foster kids at one point themselves so they do understand the situation quite well. They’re clearly very nice people and they do a great job of getting him situated right away. He honestly couldn’t ask for better foster parents, but of course that is what ends up making him a bit annoying at times.

The other kids are also pretty nice for the most part. Darla is a very sincere character who is always looking at the bright side of things. She’s taken a bad situation and done her best to spin it into a good one. Freddy may not be the most sociable guy out there, but he does try hard to do his part in welcoming Billy. His style of humor may take a bit of getting used to, but he’s a good character and one who certainly does know a lot about heroes. He has to put up with the most from all of the kids since he has trouble walking and is constantly bullied so the fact that he hasn’t become jaded yet is impressive. The other kids don’t get a whole lot to do but are pretty good for the most part. The quiet kid is probably the only one who doesn’t really get any big moments and as a result never gets to grow on you.

Silvana is also a strong villain. The fact that he spent his life trying to learn how to find the Wizard and never losing sight of his goal is quite impressive. That level of determination/obsession is usually relegated to main character status. Villains who are able to keep this level of focus usually end up being a success. He definitely came close to fulfilling his goals and was a good pick for Shazam’s first big villain. In comparison the 7 Deadly Sins aren’t quite as impressive as they’re mainly just here to provide us with more action. Certainly not a bad thing and that may be comic accurate as I don’t remember them too well from there but I’d have liked them to have gotten a bit more character and screen time.

The film’s also got a pretty nice set of animations for the credits. That’s not an aspect that I usually even bother mentioning, but I appreciated the effort here. The more overconfident Shazam portrayal there was definitely humorous and I liked the design. Then we’ve also got the two post credit scenes. The first one is the serious sequel stinger while the second is a comedy moment. Both are pretty solid and succeed at their objectives. The regular ending to the film is also pretty great. So the film definitely did have a lot going for it.

Shazam also does give us a pretty decent blend of humor and serious moments. The scene of Sivana cornering the board and showing off his monsters for the first time is definitely pretty intense. I’ll also give some credit to one of the women who actually tried running while everyone was just standing around waiting to get murdered. Pretty much any moment with the villains is handled pretty seriously while any scene with Shazam is comedic. Typically the film keeps the parallel well which is always difficult. It could have probably laid off the jokes a bit at times, but they’re not bad for the most part so they don’t really take away from the experience.

Now the negatives or more precisely, what the film was weak at. It didn’t make any huge mistakes that would cost it a lot of points, but are factors that keep it from a higher score. First off is Billy. He can be pretty annoying, mainly because you just can’t trust him. He lets Freddy down after the kid was counting on him and as a result he gets bullied even more. Even if Billy wasn’t happy to have been put on the spot like that, just leaving him to get beaten was a really bad moment. Honestly, that was his worst scene if you ask me. Prior to that even if he had a bad attitude at least he would reluctantly stick up for Freddy and the others. You can portray Billy as a very optimistic “Golly” character from the old days or the very edgy rebellious version from the modern day, but this film does neither. It just makes him a character with a sour attitude who is basically a coward. He spends the vast majority of the film running away from every obstacle and challenge in his way. By the time he finally mans up the film is over. After Shazam runs away and abandons everyone for like the 5th time you’ll have had enough of the character. He just doesn’t feel like a hero. It’s part of his character development of course, but I can’t remember a time I’ve seen a hero be this afraid of combat and constantly running. Typically when you obtain super powers you either embrace it and jump right into action (Dr. Strange, Captain America) or you don’t engage the fight but quickly do what you need to in order to survive but I can’t think of a time a main hero just abandoned everyone to die. I have no doubt that Shazam will be better in the sequel, but in this film I have to say that he was a bad character. You can’t just let bullies mess with your family and look the other way. That’s not gonna fly.

The climax is also surprisingly a little unexciting despite the fact that by all accounts it should have been excellent. I can’t really say much about the climax at all so as to avoid all possible spoilers, but it’s not as good as the early fight scene from early on in the film. Maybe it’s because the villains can’t really fight or because the hero can be so slow on the uptake. We get quite a few scenes of “I can do this?” moments where it gets old pretty quick. The visuals are still pretty good of course, but I think focusing more on Shazam vs Sivana would have helped more. This isn’t really a negative as the climax is still good, but I couldn’t help but feel it was missing something. I might also blame this on Shazam still being dominated even in the final climax.

Shazam also goes for a bit of an emotional aspect during the movie. Mainly this is dealing with Billy’s past and present as he tries to move on. It doesn’t work too well though so some of these drama moments just end up failing. Particularly the plot with the mother as it goes exactly the way you would expect and by this point you’re probably super fed up with Billy. It just feels like he didn’t really think any of this through. When it comes to personal relationships like this it’s naturally easier said than done, but it would have been better if he could have been searching for her without just ditching everyone constantly. It slows down the pacing of the film so it’s not quite as 24/7 engaging as the other films. For example, I’d say that Aquaman was more consistent with bringing in exciting scenes over and over.

Overall, Shazam is definitely a pretty good film. It’s not a great film and that may seem bad in an age where the superhero films have been hitting it out of the park so well, but not every film can be a grand slam. It’s not even a film that was just barely positive, it’s one that is all around a solid title. I’d say there’s reasonable replay value here. Most of the jokes are quick references or moments that don’t require a lot of build up so they will hold up on a re-watch. There’s no animal violence to be found here or any moment that will really make you shake your head. It’s just a good film that will keep your attention throughout. If you haven’t checked this film out yet then I’d recommend doing so. It’s not really connected to the rest so you don’t have to watch a prior DC film to get into this one. You can just dive in and enjoy it.

Overall 7/10

Airplane II: The Sequel Review


It’s time to look at the second Airplane film. The first one was surprisingly good with how many of the jokes landed. In a way you could argue that by all accounts it shouldn’t have worked. The writing had to be on point to pull it off. Parodies in general are hard to land for that reason because if the writers aren’t excellent then it’ll fall to pieces. Unfortunately Airplane II is a pretty steep drop and effectively plays out a bit like how the first one could have been if it wasn’t firing on all cylinders. Airplane II is content to reuse all of the jokes from the first film and never finds its own identity.

After the events of the first film, Ted has been taken to an asylum for the insane. He manages to break out though and sneaks aboard another airplane that is heading to the Moon. Most of the same crew from the first airplane are back so somehow they all weren’t arrested for what happened. Ted is determined to finally get back with Elaine, but she doesn’t think it is meant to be. With everyone going crazy on the airplane, can anyone survive this time? One thing’s for sure, they won’t forget this experience!

Right away you’ll notice how the film is a carbon copy of the first. Not only do they reuse almost all of the gags, but they even have them all appear in the same order. Most of the events are just like the first film including the plot. This may be part of the parody elements that they are using for the film but it really doesn’t work. What made the first film a success was its risque humor that attacked everything but as a result managed to not be taking itself too seriously. It had the potential to be problematic and naturally not all of the jokes landed, but it was pretty reasonable. The film was funny and miraculously managed to be a success. This one isn’t nearly as funny because we’ve seen it all already.

If you already know all of the punchlines to the jokes, then the build up will naturally not be anywhere near as effective. That’s the problem that this film has throughout its entire run. There are a handful of decent moments like the Hal 9000 parody and I did like the court case for Ted. Those are the only unique parts of the film and they were good so I feel like the movie would have done a lot better if it had focused on being a sequel. Honestly I wouldn’t have minded if the whole film was in the court room. A change in scenery probably would have been good. We also lose some pretty decent characters like the air pilot who stepped in when everyone else was panicking.

An underused character is definitely Ted’s rival. The guy barely gets to appear or really do anything to be honest. It could have been interesting to have a contrast to Ted. A character who was actually pretty competent and tough or something like that. After all, Ted had a lot of potential here. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most of his scenes are the entertaining ones. He’s a very exaggerated character who isn’t very smart which makes for a pretty fun dynamic. Again, I refer you to the court scenes. So seeing him compete with this guy could have been very entertaining to be honest.

Again, it’s not that the film was a complete bore or anything. The jokes that were good in the first film are still pretty decent just played out. Some gags are still fun like the weapons getting through the scanner and the people dying after listening to Ted. Then others that were already painful like the pilot’s gimmick didn’t get any better. They say that lightning doesn’t strike twice and this is the perfect example of that in film.

I feel like this review is going in circles so time to start wrapping things up. I will say that the Star Wars homage at the beginning was pretty clever. It does end in a pretty iffy way which sort of set the tone for the rest of the film but the actual idea itself wasn’t half bad. The graphics aren’t half bad when they show up but for the most part are complete non factors. This isn’t the kind of film with a whole lot of effects after all. Just the few space visuals is what you can expect to get.

Overall, Airplane II isn’t a good follow up to the first film. I think it probably would have been a lot better if I hadn’t seen the first film. If you see the two out of order then there’s a chance it would work better, but then of course it would be at the expense of the first film and I’m not sure if you really want to do that. It’s why complete word for word remakes typically aren’t done anymore. If you’re gonna experience the same story then you want a bunch of new wrinkles in the mix. This one just doesn’t add enough of them and ends up failing. It can still be decently entertaining of course, but it’s nowhere near the level of quality that the first film had.

Overall 5/10

The Garbage Pail Kids Review


It’s time to look at a story from below the pail. I’m afraid that this film lives up to its reputation and just isn’t very good. There’s a lot of constant crude humor here and the kids look so bad that it makes the film hard to watch. Throw in a long run time and a poorly handled romance and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster. There really isn’t much redeemable in this film.

The film starts with Dodger getting bullied by Juice and the gang. He heads back to the magic store where he works part time. It’s led by a magician known as Manzini who has led a relatively quiet life as of late. He wants to keep it that way and warns Dodger not to let the Garbage Pail kids out. Unfortunately the bullies show up again though and beat Dodger up. While this is happening the pail falls down and the kids are set free. They save Dodger from certain death and he decides to enlist their help in impressing Tangerine. They agree to help, but warn Dodger that this may not be a good thing. So begins their tentative alliance.

You’ll definitely be asking yourself quite a few questions here. For starters, the Pail Kids seem almost too nice. Keep in mind that they were being held in the Pail against their will for many years. You’d expect them to hold some kind of grudge or something right? Nah, they don’t really seem to care much. Manzini very openly talks about how he’s going to stuff them back inside and they’re fine with it. Sure, the outside world is dangerous, but judging from how the kids constantly want to break out you can tell that they’re okay with this. The kids also seem like public knowledge to an extent as there is a whole prison just for them. This plot actually gets pretty dark at times as we find out that the kids are crushed. Maybe that’s how they are turned into cards.

Either way it’s hard to like any of the kids though as they just can’t help but do a crude humor joke whenever they appear. None of them have any self control either and aren’t very smart. There are no good qualities left for them so by this point they’re simply doomed. With a main cast like this there is just no way that the film can recover. Dodger also isn’t a good character as he keeps trying to go after Tangerine even when it’s clear that she couldn’t be less interested. She’s using him and isn’t even that subtle about it. He’s also quick to lie to impress her and we can’t forget that Tangerine is already with someone. Dodger just never had a chance and was deluding himself.

Tangerine is with the bullies from the start so that should clue you in as to what kind of character she is. I’d definitely give her a thumbs down here and the rest are just as bad. After all, the leader (Juice) gets a kick out of beating up a little kid. Not exactly the hallmark of a good character right? The only good character would be Manzini and even then that’s mainly just in comparison to everyone else. He has some pretty good lines like when he explains that he always marches forward instead of retreating. He also lands a good combo near the end. For the most part he does get beat up the whole time though.

As I mentioned early on, the film is quite long which doesn’t help either. It’s nearly two hours and you don’t want to be hanging around the Garbage Pail Kids for that long. They can’t hold their own movie so what are they possibly going to do for 2 hours? Nothing good, that’s for sure. The writing definitely gets a hard thumbs down because the film doesn’t make sense and it isn’t entertaining. We only get a few decent lines throughout the entire movie. The romance is pretty terrible since it’s obvious from the start that it won’t work out due to the age difference and the fact that Tangerine is one of the villains. There are no big twists or interesting moments to save the film either.

For one last logistical thing as well, lets look at a scene midway through the film. Dodger gets a ride with Tangerine to a fashion show. They start driving during the day and don’t arrive on the scene until it’s well past dark. As they are getting ready to head home Juice shows up so Dodger hides while they drive away. He then walks home……somehow. Think about how long the journey would be if the drive was many hours long by car. He would be walking for over a day at least and the kid isn’t very old. Maybe I’ll be optimistic and assume someone ended up driving him home, but personally I’m thinking this is just one of those logic moments that the film didn’t really think through. After all, the audience probably wouldn’t be focused enough to notice by this point anyway so it was a low pressure moment for the writers.

Overall, The Garbage Pail Kids is definitely not a film that you are gonna want to check out. It’s just pretty bad. It’s only PG so it’s not like the film throws in animal violence or anything like that, but in a way this speaks volumes on how bad the film is. After all, if it can get such a low score without those factors, well you can imagine how dicey things can get here. The only even slightly good thing about the film is the soundtrack which is admittedly pretty good. Still, if you haven’t seen this film yet then there’s no need to change that. Don’t let curiosity get the better of you as the film isn’t even bad in an entertaining way. It’s just not a good title and I can’t honestly see how the franchise ever got big in the first place.

Overall 2/10

Double Jeopardy 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 murder thriller from a little while back. The concept of Double Jeopardy is definitely an interesting one. I get the feeling that there is a little more to it than what the film would have you believe, but it certainly works for the premise. Of course, that’s part of the problem. The film keeps building up to this but we ultimately don’t really get to see it in action. I was expecting the heroine to use it to her advantage but in the end it feels like more of a red herring/missed opportunity.

The film starts with Libby and her husband Nick finally getting ready to take the voyage they had been planning for a while. Unfortunately after Libby goes to bed she wakes up to find that he is seemingly dead. (No body tho) The cops arrest her and blame her for the murder. There’s way too much evidence for this to be an accident and that’s when Libby finds out that Nick faked his death so he could go live with her best friend. Libby’s kid is also with them naturally so she swears revenge against him. Another inmate lets her know that because of double jeopardy she can go destroy Nick now since she already did so once and can’t be tried again. After 6 years Libby is out of prison and ready to begin the hunt. Unfortunately, officer Travis is on her tail so Libby’s really gonna need to hurry here.

Naturally it’s tough to track someone down when you haven’t seen them in years and there’s no handy Google to check things out. Fortunately Libby is pretty good at social engineering and quickly begins to break the human element that always fails the various computer systems and works her way to Nick. She’s definitely very determined in that goal and makes for a fun lead. Libby’s tough and to the point, definitely well ahead of her time as far as protagonists go. She does get a bit iffy towards the end though which is where the writing drops the ball. So at one point she finally finds Nick. At this point there is no reason why Libby shouldn’t just shoot him. Keep in mind that she’s not a super hero or anything like that. Libby’s here for her kid and could care less about the rest. The justice system failed her so she wants to make things right. By that logic shooting Nick is the quickest way to end things. She can easily prove that he was her old husband after that through photos and then she would get her kid.

I suspect that her kid is the only excuse as to why she wouldn’t do that, but logically it would all work out. Just take Nick down and you’re good. Instead she falls for one of the most obvious tricks in cinema and then gets tricked a second time in the climax. It was hard to watch this because she had been looking so good for quite a while to slip up like that. It’s a shame, but I guess the character couldn’t be perfect. She’s far and away the best character in the film despite this though as you can only be so hard on her for making these mistakes.

Then you have Travis who certainly isn’t having a fun time. He gets beat up by his own captive and then is playing catch up for the rest of the film. He’s a bit slow on the uptake but ultimately does try to look into the situation so I’ll give him some credit there. He is a fun character and while the characters give him a hard time for not giving someone a second chance, he made it crystal clear from the start that they were already on their last shot. Miss the curfew and it’s back to prison for you. He’s also pretty sloppy towards the end of the film though. I guess maybe the lighting messed with them all or he popped off too soon thinking the case was over.

Finally you’ve got the main villain Nick. He’s pretty much your average rich villain. The guy switched identities twice which is impressive enough and goes farther than you’d expect. Still, nothing much to like about his character. He just wanted to escape the taxes and all of his excuses are pretty fake. I do also have to wonder how he was able to escape so smoothly in both cases. I get that everything was more lax back in the day, but in all 3 identities he kept the same exact job and status. Didn’t anyone in those fancy art circles recognize him? You’d think that they would.

Before Nick’s death the film tries to sell you on what a good guy he is, but you’d likely know the premise of the film so it doesn’t work. Even if you don’t, the film lays the seeds of doubt early on as he jokes with the friend that Libby won’t like the truth when she finds out. There’s a lot of dialogue between the words hinting at his cheating the whole time. As such, we could have cut down on the romance scenes early on as they don’t add to anything. If the film was determined to try and show us that Nick was a good guy for a while, maybe show scenes with people in the neighborhood saying what a great guy he was. Otherwise he just seems like a corrupt rich guy from the start.

Overall, Double Jeopardy is a pretty decent thriller, but really missed the whole point of its title by not actually utilizing Double Jeopardy intentionally by the main heroine. She should have shot him in the middle of the big parade to prove the point or something like that. Instead the law never really gets taken into effect as the ending can still be considered self defense. Still, that aside it’s solid. The opening is a bit slow but things pick up once she’s on the hunt. The story of the lone vigilante is always an enticing one and this film handles it well. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I recommend checking it out once it’s on TV again. Once she’s in jail the film really starts.

Overall 7/10

It Came From Beneath The Sea Review


It Came From Beneath The Sea is an old monster film that you’ve likely heard of even if you may not have seen it yet. The movie deals with a lot of classic monster themes like escaping from towering buildings and finally developing a weapon to stop the threat. It checks off all the right boxes even if there is little imagination in the film to differentiate it.

The film starts off with a giant octopus bringing the pain to a bunch of government agents who were in an underwater sub. In that sense the premise is a little similar to The Meg. The government brings in the two leading authorities on Marine life in the world to get cracking on this mystery. Despite their findings the government refuses to believe until things start to escalate. Is it already too late?

The movie has a pretty small cast and unfortunately not the strongest one. The main character, Pete is a little too into romance to focus on his job. He’s constantly going after the scientist named Joyce and gets jealous very quick. He’s quick to assume that she would want to be with him no matter what and needs more than a few reality checks. By the end he’s been set straight and of works out, but he definitely isn’t the most endearing main character. For the most part the film tries to portray him as you classic leader, charismatic, but a guy who knows how to get the job done. His character just can’t recover from the romance subplot.

Then you’ve got his rival who seems to be all over the place. At times he seems interested in Joyce as well and totally oblivious in other moments. By the end he seems to be trying to play matchmaker to an extent which is very odd considering his position. I guess it’s good that he’s taking this so well, but it’s almost too well. His name is Carter by the way and he is an expert in this monster research as well. As I said, he’s a nice guy, but I do think the writers were a bit confused with how to go about writing his character.

As for the heroine Joyce, she is good in some ways, but doesn’t age well in others. The good part is that she wants to be tough and independent. She rejects most of Pete’s advances and tries to concentrate on her work. That’s all good, but she does tend to fold a bit during the monster attacks which hurts her points. She’s the first one to scream when the monster shows up and is utterly terrified the whole time. After her speeches about how she doesn’t need anyone to protect her it just isn’t a good look. She also waffles back and forth a bit on the romance aspect as well.

So, this may be a classic film, but the writing isn’t quite as good as usual. Typically in a film like this the writing is pretty awesome and on point throughout. While most of the characters still work well, the main 3 aren’t that great which is a bit of an issue. The film just doesn’t really compare to most other monster films of its era. It’s a good film for sure, but one that could probably have been great if it wasn’t holding itself back the whole time.

As for the giant octopus, he has a reasonable design. It’s fun seeing him take down the civilians as he stomps through town. Nobody could stand up to this guy although they shouldn’t be expected to anyway. With a single swing of his tendrils he can lay waste to whole buildings and even sinks a ship. It always makes for some fun scenes. The army is a little slow to acknowledge its existence though. Even after there is proof beyond a shadow of a doubt they continue to be skeptical. Honestly the way the scientists presented the case wasn’t even all that far fetched so I’m a little surprised at all the doubt. Ah well, just goes to show that people don’t want to believe in giant monsters.

It’s fortunate for the monster that the humans didn’t believe in it for a while because this is one of the few ones that probably would have gone down pretty quickly to a full frontal assault. It’s not impervious to the stronger guns aboard the boats and while it can move in quick bursts it doesn’t like running. At one point the characters even comment on how it wants a fight. Once the fight starts it is really all over for the Octopus. I do question why the characters had such a poor plan where ultimately they are forced to go up close to end the battle. They just didn’t think things through and likewise a helicopter gets in way too close as well and gets squashed. You gotta give the monsters a wide berth or they’ll walk all over you.

Overall, It Came From Beneath The Sea is worth checking out. We do get some nice banter and of course you can’t go wrong with a classic creature feature flick right? The Giant Octopus is a fun villain to have around. The ending may be a bit sudden, but the flip side of that is that the Octopus gets to dominate for most of the movie. That’s definitely nice to see for my fellow monster fans reading this. It’s also a pretty short movie and doesn’t drag on at all. The pacing’s pretty tight. The movie doesn’t do anything particularly original, but it also doesn’t make any crucial mistakes so that’s a good balance if you ask me.

Overall 6/10

The Death of a Cyclist Review


It’s definitely been a while since I’ve seen a Spanish film. I don’t really know the language after all, but at the same time if you think about it, watching a Spanish film subbed is just like watching a Japanese one. So, I’m pretty experienced with the subtitle format. If anything, one part about the Spanish experience that is even more enjoyable is that I do know a decent amount of the words so I can see when the translation would be rather loose. Stringing the words together into sentences is the much tougher part. This film is actually a pretty decent romance title all things considered and that in itself was a bit surprising. Of course, the weakest part of this romance film is the romance itself so it’s almost a technicality.

The film opens with the main characters Maria and Juan driving a car down the highway. They end up bumping into an oncoming cyclist and murder the poor guy. Both of them then head back to their lives and hope that it does not catch up to them. Unfortunately, one guy named Rafa seems to have witnessed this. He starts to blackmail Maria while Juan’s conscience also starts to put him in a lot of bad spots. Who will be the one to stop these murderers?

Naturally the writing is pretty solid here. All of the characters are pretty eloquent and there is even a bit of humor thrown into the script although for the most part this is a very serious film. The pacing is on point as well and the characters are well defined. You’ll understand their personalities and character quits early on.

It is worth noting though that the main character is about as smart as a brick. Juan basically walks into every problem. Of course first we have him being an accomplice to murder. The man had a chance to save this biker but chose not to in order to protect himself, that was Juan’s first mistake and that is a huge one to start off with. After that he goes on to let the pressure get to him during his gig as a professor and fails one of his students for no reason. Juan apologizes but insists that there is nothing that can be done. This excuse doesn’t hold water and the students know this.

That leads to one of the best parts as the students rise up to take him down. It’s a mistake that I was worried would not come back to bite him so when it did I was certainly thrilled. He still didn’t get a harsh enough punishment there but it was a start. The scenes with him and the student weren’t nearly as good. She seems way too forgiving considering that he failed her and they seem to become friends anyway. Definitely not where I thought the plot would go and it didn’t really make sense.

Finally, Juan makes his last mistake towards the end of the film. By now he knows how the other characters are and should understand the situation. He’s been taken to an abandoned area where someone was previously murdered and opts to give his back to someone in the murder weapon. 2 guesses on how that would play out right? It’s just not a smart move…not a smart move at all. Of course this character never was the smartest one in the movie.

Then we have the heroine who is far less remorseful about the whole endeavor. Maria is always looking out for herself as she wants to be rich while also having her affair. Neither power or riches are allowed to be sacrificed so if there are complications with the affair that put those at risk then Maria is ready to do what she must. In a way she is more genuine as a villain since she only cares about herself. She’s a fun villain but definitely one you don’t want to trust.

Rafa is another big villain and he’s definitely a very clever one. Of course once you have blackmail ammo at your side it’s hard to lose. He really puts the main characters through the ringer here. Then you have Miguel who is the rich husband of Maria. He gets an interesting character arc. Definitely not the smartest character at times although in his defense you would expect the wife to be faithful so it’s not like he should have been suspecting her from the start. His final decisions are a bit odd, but he does like thinking about his stature quite a lot.

As I mentioned, the film’s weakness is the romance though. As the characters are cheating you naturally can’t root for them. No matter how genuine they try to make the romance you can’t forget this so you’re rooting against the main characters from the start. There’s just nothing they can do to salvage this. Also, the romance between the two seems fake as they constantly doubt whether it’s real. If even the characters aren’t sure then how could we be?

Overall, The Death of a Cyclist was a pretty sound film. It had good writing and the tension throughout the film is pretty good. Of course, you’re rooting against the leads the whole time so you may have a different experience than someone who is rooting for them. It makes the character internal struggle scenes drag on a bit since I at least didn’t feel any real sympathy for them. I just felt bad for the cyclist from the firs scene. If you’re going to check out a Spanish film then this is definitely the best one to start with I’d say. The title also makes sense very early on in the film which is pretty cool. The ending may be a bit dicey as Juan looks super bad but for the most part it’s definitely a classic ending type based on the intro.

Overall 6/10

10 Cloverfield Lane Review


The original Cloverfield was an intense monster film. The hand held camera filming technique was a bit jarring and the party scene ultimately crippled the film, but at the very least you couldn’t say that the film didn’t try hard. This sequel completely throws all of that out the window though. The monster barely appears and for the most part this film has nothing to do with anything. Definitely not a title I would recommend.

The film starts off with Michelle driving away from home. She has decided to leave her family for good after having a disagreement with her boyfriend. Unfortunately, she takes her eyes off the road and someone slams her off the track. When she wakes, Michelle finds herself the captive of a crazy man who believes in a bunch of conspiracy theories. This villain is very possessive so she is going to need to find a way out and fast. The problem is that the only other inmate here broke his arm and also believes that Howard is just here to help them. Becca will need to convince him otherwise.

The film breaks quite a few cinematic rules right from the start. First off, the film opens with the lead crying and we get a lot of dramatic scenes where her sadness goes on. This isn’t good because the film has only just started so we haven’t been given a reason to care about her yet. Moreover, Becca’s family plot never becomes relevant so this makes the scene even more out of place. She could have just been driving out to the market or something and it wouldn’t have changed the plot. Giving her some drama like this without any kind of purpose in the story doesn’t really help it. Naturally, it’s hard to be too harsh on how she takes the whole situation at first since being a captive is pretty scary, but it’s also more crying and such. I think the film tried too hard to make her just an “ordinary” person to the point where she is too passive.

That’s hardly what really holds the film back though. The whole plot is about Becca being kidnapped by Howard and the whole film is them being stuck in this house. It drags on considerably and of course she has to defer to the villain for the majority of it in the interest of self preservation. A good and realistic move on her part but still one that isn’t any fun to watch. Howard just keeps getting the last laugh for most of the film. Then the movie doubles down by making the film way darker for no reason as we learn about another victim from the past. There’s enough implications here where it destroys whatever was left of the film. If you’ve got an iffy plot and decide to go for being dark, there’s not much else the film can do to save it.

Once we finally leave the house we do get an alien monster fight scene. It’s definitely an “about time” kind of moment for sure. That being said, the monster has been considerably weakened. The film is operating on a tiny budget so they try not to show the monster much but from what I can see it didn’t look like Clover. I’m thinking it’s a different monster or maybe these aliens arrived to try and fight Clover while destroying the humans. I’m sure there’s some mind of reason but it’s not like the film would explain that. It makes for an exciting climax but even this part gets fumbled as Becca is able to take down a huge Kaiju with a single bottle of wine. Are you kidding me? If the monster is this weak then we’ve got problems. She hit it through the weak point but monsters can’t resist the urge to roar so it would be easy for others to replicate the feat.

The character roster is pretty small so it’s easy to talk about the main three characters. First off we have Becca of course. She’s not a terrible character, but I admit that she is one of the weaker leads that I have seen as of yet. Again, I’ll refer back to where I wrote about her earlier. The film makes her too nervous and just not pro-active enough. She makes too many “General Audience” type decisions which come back to bite her. She had a few opportunities to really take Howard down for the count but always opted to flee. Granted, Howard had quite a bit of plot armor to help him.

There’s one scene that involves a pot of acid and somehow he manages to tank it. I didn’t believe that for a second, it’s a bit much considering that guy is just human. It’s not like he’s a super bodybuilder or anything like that either. Naturally there is nothing to like about Howard. He’s just another crazy villain out to destroy the world. Then you have the other guy named Emmett who is extremely naive and just plain annoying the whole time. He’s slow to believe anything and conveniently he had his arm broken so he can’t help Becca fight back. When you factor all of that in he just isn’t all that helpful and half of the time is just annoying. It’s that gray area where some of this isn’t the character’s fault but it’s hard not to blame him at the same time.

Overall, 10 Cloverfield Lane is definitely not a film that I would recommend. It really does its best to completely ignore the original Cloverfield movie and that’s not a good thing. The film could and should have just called this movie something else and it would have been a lot better. You just can’t make a sequel and not have the monster be one of the main characters. It’s just not going to work. The scenes at the end don’t save it, especially given that the monster looks so bad the whole time. If the monster had won or something then it would have been fine, but since it ended up losing it defeats the whole purpose. The film seemed to hint that the radiation is turning people into zombies or something so having a zombies and aliens vs humans plot would have been infinitely more interesting. We don’t even get to see how the army reacts. Avoid this film at all costs and you’ll be fine. It’ll ruin your memories of the first film…even if I wasn’t a big fan of that one either.

Overall 2/10

The Visit Review


It’s time to look at a film where the villains are senior citizens. That’s always gonna be tricky to pull off because these guys don’t exactly push fear into the hearts of many. There was a recent film about a lady and her basement that I remember getting mocked for similar reasons. Either way this film’s definitely getting a thumbs down but at least the found footage aspect wasn’t as obnoxious as it could have been. Likely because the main characters were kids.

The film starts off with their Mom explaining that she ran away from home a long time ago. She then had kids before the guy ran off and now she’s with the rebound. Well, the grand parents have decided that they want to see the kids at long last and the Mom lets the kids know they can go if they want too. The kids do want to go so they can ship the Mom and the rebound character together. However, they quickly notice that the grandparents are rather off, once night falls the Grandma acts like a monster and the Grandpa is always vanishing into a suspicious shed. Maybe they should have stayed home after all.

Right away the film reminds you that this is a horror film through the bad writing. Tyler is incredibly annoying even compared to most kid characters. He’s only 13 but already sings rather edgy songs and has quite the potty mouth. His character was doomed from the start to be honest. Tyler gets a football related sob story which ties in at the end but by and large the character just doesn’t do much more than be around just to fill out the cast. I can’t stress enough how annoying and bad he is. Almost every line Tyler has is guaranteed to make you cringe.

Becca is certainly a lot better. Her origin story involves not looking at mirrors and that part was done pretty well as you may even notice this early on. Of course even if you do you most likely won’t attach any real significance to this until the twist occurs. Becca can be a bit too trusting and probably should have helped Tyler alert the mother sooner but for the most part Becca is pretty solid. I do think she definitely should not have tried pressuring the grandma into answering a question about her mother a second time after being completely rejected the first time. The grandma had such a violent reaction that risking such a response again is asking for trouble.

Naturally the main characters are kids so they have a bit of a better excuse as to why they make so many mistakes compared to the average main character. For example I definitely would not go into the oven since that’s basically signing my death warrant. There is a lot of tension there beneath the surface as the character may have been pushed in had she refused, but at least you could try to make a break for it. Once you’re in the oven then it’s all over. Also, opening the door after dark when they know the Grandma is dangerous was incredibly risky. She came super close to making it to their room in time and that would have been an unfortunate way to die.

Naturally there is a twist about the grandparents. It’s a good twist as there are cinematic clues you could fall back on from earlier in the film. Noticing them at first may be difficult, but after the twist they become obvious. It does remind me why I immediately thought the plan wasn’t a good idea on the Mom’s part. I don’t care if the grandparents want to see her or not, they’re her kids so she gets the final say. She absolutely should have gone with them to make sure that the grandparents were legit.

The film does get onto the violent/dark aspect towards the end. Most of the film is fairly tame by horror standards as all the bodies and slashes don’t start factoring in until the end. Unfortunately it also adds in a gross aspect which was wildly out of place. That part alone is enough to destroy the film’s score had it been high by this point anyway. It just goes to show that a horror film can rarely resist the urge to add something like this as opposed to staying classy.

Overall, The Visit is definitely not a quality film. It mixes the classic horror tropes with kid protagonists. I can tell you right now that this is not a winning combo. Tyler is annoying with his constant rapping and the villains aren’t scary. They’re only powerful because the main leads are kids which is more annoying than anything. The only other character who appears, a neighbor, acts incredibly naive and not very smart with how she handled the situation. It does continue the trope of horror supporting characters not being much smarter than a sandbag though. There was also the teenager who got beat up by an old man….but that’s just so crazy that I don’t even need to go into that. I also think the rebound subplot wasn’t great either since it seems like the Mom moved on awfully quick. The kids still remember the old father so it can’t have been too many years ago. That plot barely appears but is still something worth noting. If you want to watch a film with a bit more tension, go watch the original Pokémon film.

Overall 1/10