Le Mans Review


Le Mans is probably the closest I’ve seen to a film not really having much of a story since Cats. Fortunately unlike that film this one was still fun mainly because in general you can’t go wrong with racing. The film does have some issues with all the characters looking the same and that feeling like nothing is happening, but as long as you enjoy watching the cars go at it you should be fine.

The film starts with Michael getting ready for the big Le Mans race. It’s effectively a huge cross country race that spans an incredible amount of distance. It’s so long that the drivers even substitute out with others as the car goes on. I don’t know the specific rules here and the film isn’t about to tell them to you but effectively it seems like anyone can substitute for you as long as they have permission from the coach. Naturally it shouldn’t come to that since they already have the different guys lined up. Michael wants to win this but can he pull it off?

Meanwhile he has to deal with some drama involving the past. See, Lisa’s husband was in the last Le Mans and he ended up dying. It seems like she partially thinks Michael is responsible but more than anything she just doesn’t like racing anymore. We are given a flashback involving the crash briefly but when seeing it, it’s fair to say that it’s not really Michael’s fault. In fact, throughout the film we have quite a few crashes and it’s always tough because while you may spin out of control to dodge the first car, is it the first car’s fault?

It’s all relative when you’re out on the track. Nobody wants to crash after all and I can tell you up front that there isn’t some kind of big antagonist trying to take everyone out for the count. These are all professionals that are just trying to take the win but this isn’t exactly an easy track. Even the simplest of turns can become challenging when you’re going at such a high speed. You can’t slow down or you’ll fall behind as well.

Now, you could say that Lisa’s plot is the main story here. Part of the film is helping her see that maybe racing isn’t so bad. The plot could have been done a little better though as the scenes are spread out across the whole movie so there isn’t much to them. Part of her despises the races but she can’t help but keep showing up anyway. They just draw her in even as she tries to resist. All of the drivers seem to like her as well but you know that Michael’s the only one who may have a shot and even then you’re hoping that she friend zones them all considering that her husband didn’t die all that long ago. It was the last grand prix which I assume was a year ago unless this competition is held every 4 years or something like that.

It’s just not a super engaging plot but at least it does give us a chance for some dialogue and a change of pace. The rest of the film is really just the grand prix with a lot of different camera angles to keep things fresh. I always thought one of the most stressful moments in these things has to be when you have to go into the pit stop and let the crew maintain the car. Even if everyone has to do it at some point, it can be rough seeing the other cars getting out ahead of you.

There isn’t much to say about the soundtrack because I wouldn’t say there’s much of one here. The effects look good though, the movie shows how fragile the cars are. After all they’re built for speed so one wrong bump and that’s really it for the machine. It’s totaled before you can even give it a glance.

So Le Mans is a rather unique film I would say. Sure, it doesn’t have an interesting story compared to Speed Racer, Fast and the Furious, or even Need for Speed, but at the same time it’s a fairly safe film. Since pretty much the whole film is just a race, there isn’t any time to fall into any cinematic pot holes. The only negative that the film could even risk would be if it got downright boring. After all if you’re not really into cars or just moderately into them then you may get bored of seeing them turn the corner over and over again. That’s the only risk it takes, but since I enjoy a good race I wouldn’t say that’s the case here. I wouldn’t call the film boring, I would say it’s a little dragged out and could have benefited from a shorter run time but I was engaged enough to want to see it to the end.

Ironically as it’s built around being a real race that means it isn’t nearly as exciting to watch as virtually any other racing film since those (despite having slower, more traditional cars) feel like they have a lot more energy and substance. I think if I saw this in theaters I would be a lot more disappointed but watching it now, it just sort of flows by. I don’t imagine it’ll leave an impression after a while but it’s a consistent film and I’d say that’s enough to keep it at a positive level.

Overall, Le Mans is a film that makes no real mistakes but you do wish it could have added more of a plot. Sure, you have some rivals in the race, a small subplot with a guy hoping to win one last race before he retires, etc. At the same time you still don’t feel like there’s much of a story here which is in itself a bit of an experimental technique I suppose. I wouldn’t want this to become the standard but it’s a decently good film that does deliver on showing you the cars. Pick whichever car you want and root for it to go all the way!

Overall 6/10

Mr. and Mrs. Smith Review


Mr. and Mrs. Smith is one of those films that has a great premise and is followed by really solid execution. The idea of both characters being special agents and not knowing about the other just makes for a fun dynamic. It’s not one that is really explored all that often either so it’s a really fresh idea. I’d definitely be up for a sequel to this someday.

The movie starts with both characters trying to get their relationship back to normal after things have gone south. Their relationship coach asks a lot of questions but the characters are clearly having a tough time of it. We then cut back to the origin of how the two met each other. Fittingly enough, it’s during a big fire fight and they use each other as alibis. Presumably both of them probably had some role in the festivities. They got married real quick and that should have been their happily ever after but things have soured.

At least one of them is always away from home and their excuses aren’t the greatest. The reason for this of course is that both of them work as hitmen for big organizations. Mr. Smith is sort of like James Bond working for M16 and Mrs. Smith is the highest ranking agent of a Charlie’s Angels task force. Both of them terminate all their targets and have earned solid reputations. If someone is causing you trouble then you call their organizations in.

Well, things take a turn when they are both sent after the same target. Who will be able to complete the mission? Additionally, both Smiths keep growing more and more suspicious of each other so a mission like this is naturally going to have everything bubble to the surface. There’s a lot of quality tension there to be sure and the film is fairly long. This works to its benefit since it means that there is enough time to really work this plot over.

There’s a lot of positives here from the witty dialogue to the special effects and action scenes. A film like this wouldn’t be able to work if the writing was bad. You need to have quality interactions between the characters and we get that here. A lot of bluffs are thrown out and both of them get pretty serious about trying to take the other down at some points as well.

There is an interesting difference to their approaches though. Mr. Smith is constantly holding back and trying to take Mrs. Smith down without seriously hurting her. Mrs. Smith on the other hand has no such qualms and outright tries to murder him several times. It’s very interesting to look at because it does show their different styles. At the end of the day Mrs. Smith was willing to put her job above Mr. Smith while he was unable to do the same against her.

In the end I would say that’s part of why I preferred him as a character. Even if he’s not always great at showing it, he was consistent in putting his wife first. I don’t think there was any point where he really wavered in that. Mrs. Smith had more questionable scenes in that respect. You could say at one point with the guns they came close to taking each other out in a mutual sense although at that point things had already been escalated a whole lot.

Both of them had fun ways of storing their weapons inside the house as well. It’s too bad a lot of the weapons had to be destroyed by the end. A lot of the film deals with the mental game of chess between the two characters but we do get some solid action segments like the gun fight I just mentioned and the climax in general. There’s a lot going on here and while it’s a more light hearted adventure, you can still expect some plot twists as well.

Each character even has their own supporting cast even if they were a lot weaker than the main two. Eddie is Mr. Smith’s friend and the guy has some really fun moments. On the other hand he has some moments that drag on too and it’s clear that he’s not the greatest friend. Now would he put his job over Mr. Smith? Absolutely without a doubt, just in this case the money wasn’t all that high. Then for Mrs. Smith, none of her allies get as much screen time as Eddie but presumably they can fight pretty well too. They just don’t really get the chance to do it.

The best confrontation between the main two is likely the dinner scene as they try to gather data. There’s a lot of suspense since they really don’t know what’s about to happen. We even get a second of complete silence when the wine glass almost hits the floor. All of their confrontations are great but that one certainly stands out.

Of course while I said I prefer Mr. Smith, Mrs. Smith is still a solid character as well. She’s clearly prepped pretty well when it comes to fighting. Against anyone other than Mr. Smith you figure that she would probably have the edge. She hasn’t had any trouble before now after all and has vanquished enough targets to be considered the top officer in her field. Her style may be a lot more rigid than Mr. Smith’s play it by ear approach but it gets the job done.

If the film has any weaknesses it’s that of course in Mrs. Smith’s only solo mission at the beginning of the film she is using seductive tricks to take out the villain. I’d rather she just showed up guns blazing since it seems like this always happens to every heroine agent who shows up in the field. The film does have some fanservice here and there although it’s nothing too crazy. I would also say the interviews at the beginning and ending of the film were not quite as interesting as the rest. It’s there to really give the film a beginning and ending of course but I’d say there are other ways the movie could have done that.

I don’t really have any other negatives though because this is just a really solid all around movie. It’s hard to say what would be the primary genre between comedy, action, and thriller because it really tackles all 3 quite well. When the film wants to get serious it gets very serious but then you have the great cutaways where the film suddenly gets light hearted and it works very well. A good example of this is when the two main characters show up at their neighbor’s party right after completing life or death assignments on their end. It’s a great contrast. The movie’s style of humor is definitely very effective.

Overall, Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a fun film. The dynamic works really well especially when you consider that neither one of them are exactly heroes. If they were then there wouldn’t really be that sense of danger between them, it’s because they are vigilante hitmen working for shady organizations that you have to ask yourself if the other one is in danger after a point. The film really makes the most out of the premise but a sequel could still be a lot of fun just because it’s one of those ideas that you can absolutely pull off a few more times. As long as the writing stays solid then the rest will follow.

Overall 7/10

From Hell It Came Review


With a title like this you are definitely ready for quite the scary film experience. That said, the monster itself takes forever and a day to show up. For the most part this plays out more like a classic drama of sorts. I don’t know, the genre would be hard to pick. I wouldn’t call it an action or adventure but slice of life doesn’t seem quite right either. Well, once the monster shows up then it’s fair to say that this goes into full creature feature territory I suppose.

The movie starts with a tribe getting ready to murder one guy. This guy had been accepting medical treatment from the Americans which is a big no no in the tribe. Before they execute him the guy says he will come back to life and curse them out. In particular there are 3 people he wants revenge on. His wife who lied to cement his death, The Chief who ordered his death, and the Witch Doctor who framed him. The tribe doesn’t believe he will come back but just in case they bury him deep underground. As long as nobody takes him out they should be safe…

We then cut to the scientists who haven’t been having a great time on the island. The natives don’t like them after all so they live in perpetual danger. Additionally, they don’t have a lot of good food here so they have to survive on rations and sub-par coffee. Still, they continue with their quest to heal all the natives from the plague. Two of the scientists decide to trample on the sacred burying grounds because “Who’s afraid of a few superstitions” as the girl says. This gives the dead guy some energy though so he emerges as a small tree stump that is glaring at everybody.

One of the doctors says she absolutely has to save this tree since as a professional she must save all lives. The tree has a heart beat after all. The other doctors are dubious but concede so she uses an experimental drug on it. This allows the monster known as the Tabonga to finally regain his strength. He turns into a tree monster and starts going about getting his revenge on those who wronged him. Can anyone hope to stop him?

Now, it may be easy to make fun of the Tabonga right away since he has a lot of weaknesses. He is exceptionally slow to the point where a small child could probably outrun him for a long while. Then you have the fact that his arms are rather small so he doesn’t have a long reach. The monster’s also not that big so the only thing he has going for him is a good amount of strength. Once he grabs onto you then it’s game over but it’s hard to get to that point.

So I guess part of the fun in the film is seeing how he will actually grab his victims. Naturally one of them trips but see even tripping wouldn’t be enough for this guy to catch you. So naturally the guy trips on a rock so he keeps rocking back and forth as he moans about his head. this allows the Tabonga to catch up to him and finish the job. For another character she got her knife stuck on a tree so she spends a while trying to pull it out without realizing that the Tabonga is there. She basically falls into his arm and then faints which allows him time to finish the embrace.

The Tabonga just isn’t impressive as a serious villain but he can be a fun one. The design is absolutely unique so you won’t be forgetting it anytime soon. I do think he should have appeared a lot sooner though as it takes so long for him to appear at all. I want to say over half the movie finishes without him and it’s a short movie as it is.

As for the human characters, well I won’t save any of the tribesman were that good. The Tabonga’s wife was a traitor from the get go and didn’t seem to have much of a plan. She is promptly betrayed as the cycle goes on and then isn’t even able to finish off her opponent before the Tabonga appears. The witch doctor is certainly on the annoying side as well. He does manage to take the Tabonga down for a bit but you’re just waiting for him to go down. At least there were two islanders who were willing to embrace the science that the Americans brought.

Then you have the main scientists. There are quite a few of them on the island. The main one would be William who doesn’t take the trees seriously. His cures have been working but a lot of people don’t believe them. He steps up when he needs to and works as a reasonable main character. There really isn’t too much to him beyond being a nice guy though. Then you have Dr. Terry who is the one that brings the Tabonga back to life. You can’t really blame her for wanting to save it but I do think the heroes should have kept someone on guard duty at least. We know nothing about living trees so you should take every precaution available.

Clark was another scientist and probably the most rational at times. So there’s a scene where the main characters wake up after their nap and see the lab in ruins. The other doctors immediately jump to the conclusion that the tree must have come to life and smashed the place up. Clark addresses the elephant in the room though and says instead of leaping to such crazy conclusions what if the natives just broke in and wrecked the place?

The crazy thing is that it was the tree that did it of course, but why would that be anyone’s first guess? Clark’s made the most sense by far but everyone pretty much dismisses it. So much for that I guess. Finally you have Mae who nearly dies early on but managed to just make it to safety in time. She talks a whole lot and has a certain sense of bravado that the others can’t match. She apparently had a pretty good business on the island trading jewels and materials for a lot of money. So things have gone well for her but you’re almost surprised she has lasted so long on this island. Her two husbands were evidently not quite as fortunate so the next one better beware.

Overall, From Hell It Came is a fun enough film. You can’t take the living tree all that seriously but that doesn’t bring down the overall movie experience. The writing is pretty solid here and it’s over in the blink of an eye. The execution in the opening scene is a little intense but after that the film is rather tame. The cast of characters hold up well and this is a film that really captures the essence of the creature feature genre. The characters must all gang up to take this guy down or they are finished. We have supernatural elements and even a bit of a mystery as the heroes figure out how to stop him. If you like this genre then this is a good movie to check out. It’s not all that well known but perhaps that will change if it ever gets a sequel.

Overall 7/10

9 to 5 Review


You can definitely chalk this up as another film I had never heard of before watching it. 9 to 5’s got a fun setting since it takes place in a classic corporate job where the boss is rather corrupt. It’s a comedy that goes all out and embraces how crazy the story is. Ultimately this works out quite well. While I wouldn’t say it quite stacks up there with the best comedies, it has a lot of fun moments.

The movie starts by introducing us to Judy who is starting her first day at work. She is quite excited although her colleagues are not exactly thrilled at getting a new hire in. After all that is a spot that someone from inside the branch could have taken as a promotion. The person training her will be Violet. Violet’s been at the job for a very long time and is hoping to get the next promotion. She’s not exactly a happy camper but at this job there is little reason to be. Violet is playing nice since she wants the promotion but if she is not picked then there are going to be problems.

Finally you have the third main character Doralee. She is the boss’s secretary and has to put up with a lot of Franklin’s antics. She needs the job so she usually looks the other way and just makes sure Franklin never goes too far. Unfortunately nobody at the workplace likes her since it turns out that Franklin’s been spreading rumors around that they’re in an affair. Finally, the three ladies have had enough. They need to take Franklin down but how should they go about it?

The movie makes sure to paint quite the picture about what a bad boss Franklin is. Think about the worst boss you’ve had and then keep increasing the extremes. He constantly harasses Doralee and always takes credit for other people’s work. He is extremely quick to fire his workers even over something like gossip. The guy is massively obsessed with having power and of course he also steals from the company. Like I said, they go all in with how this guy’s a total villain.

So you’re not exactly going to sympathize with him once the main characters decide to start taking him down. He does make for an entertaining villain minus the Doralee scenes though. The guy is quite determined and does come up with a lot of plans. You certainly can’t say that he’s the type to give up at least. He also does put up a fairly good poker face when dealing with people who don’t know the truth about how he controls the place.

From the 3 main characters my favorite one was definitely Doralee. It’s fair to say that she was the most sympathetic character here. It’s no fun to have everyone exclude you, especially when you have done your best to be quite pleasant. This even includes the other main characters who believe the rumors and don’t make any attempt to get to know her. At least the others always had company so that’s why you feel the most bad for Doralee.

Especially considering that she was still keeping her integrity despite all of the external pressure. Doralee also had a gun which is very handy to have in these things. It certainly came in handy for keeping Franklin at bay. Then we have Judy who in some ways you could say has the largest focus although it’s close between her and Violet. Considering that she has just started at the job and is quite nervous I would say she does really well here. It’s natural that she makes some mistakes but she makes friends quickly and then is able to help out in the adventures.

Finally you have Violet who gives the film a lot of energy. The whole situation really starts to heat up because of her intervention. Grabbing poison from the store is quite the way to go about it even if it was an accident. The labels on both boxes were incredibly similar so you could see how the mistake could happen. Violet does tend to panic a bit more than the other two. She may be the most in control at the office space but outside of that the other two seem to adapt quicker.

There are a flurry of side characters as well even though I wouldn’t say any of them are particularly big. For example you have Franklin’s spy who spends a lot of time in the rest room just to try and gather gossip to give to him. She is absolutely desperate for his approval to a rather crazy degree. You also have Franklin’s wife who appears to be quite dense in this film. She doesn’t notice his incriminating behavior and buys whatever he is selling. Perhaps she will start to pick up on things if we ever got a sequel to this film.

As to the writing in general, I would say it was pretty good. As with all comedies you will have the jokes that land and then the ones that don’t. I would say more land than the ones that don’t so in general you’ve got a pretty good range there. I liked the dream sequence when everyone decides to chase after Franklin with their guns as he runs all over the place.

Then on the flip side I would say the Alice in Wonderland/Snow White one wasn’t quite as entertaining. Finally the Doralee dream was the least amusing in part due to it seeming to drag on a lot. Not to mention I wouldn’t say Franklin was quite as badly off in that one. That said, I think the true intent of that dream was also to show us more of what Doralee has had to put up with the entire time without having to actually put her in those scenes. Her revenge in a way is just flipping the way he had been acting the whole time.

Then you have some of the hospital hysterics which can be amusing but go on a bit long. In general I would say that’s the film’s weakness which is that some of the jokes do tend to overstay their welcome. It’s the difference from being a good comedy to being a great one. There are no negatives nearly serious enough to bring this film down from being a good one though. At the end of the day it properly hits on all of the essentials such as being entertaining, having likable characters, and containing a good ending.

The credits have a bit of an epilogue for each of the characters which is nice. One character very nearly got off a bit too easy but this fixed that right up. In general the ending is quite busy with a lot going on in the right ways. It’s really a satisfying ending for all parties involved.

Overall, 9 to 5 is a solid film. It’s definitely a comedy title that I can really recommend to any fan of the genre. It does a good job introducing all of the main 3 characters and they each even have a tiny supporting cast that appears for their origin of sorts. (In Judy’s case her character appears near the end) Not every scene may land such as the group deciding to smoke some marihuana but then you have the more epic scenes such as the shootout and general office moments like Franklin’s chair not working very well. It ends up being a solid all around mix of fun.

Overall 6/10

Slender Man Review


The Slender Man was definitely a character who got pretty big for a while. Perhaps not as big as Freddy Fazbear but since Slender Man was involved in court proceedings and such he may have gotten more screen time for a while. Naturally the movie came out very late once most of this was already done. It’s not a very impressive horror film though. Slender Man himself doesn’t even get to do anything for the longest time and the film is more about setting up the atmosphere than doing anything with it. Slender Man just doesn’t stick out.

The movie starts with the 4 main girls Katie, Wren, Hallie, and Chloe deciding to have a girls night out to summon Slender Man after hearing that the guys were going to do it. Little did they know the guys decided not to summon him in the end. So the girls watch the tape that summons him and immediately they all feel the fear. Usually after something like that you would expect the characters to just laugh it off or something but they take it deadly serious. You can already tell that the film is going to be rather dramatic the whole time. They figure they will go about their lives as normal except then Katie goes missing a few days later. Can they possibly rescue her from Slender Man or is it already too late?

You feel like it probably is too late at this point since usually you aren’t able to do much against these supernatural creatures but at the same time since a lot of focus is put on trying to bring her back then maybe there is a slight shot. Mainly Wren is the one trying her hardest as she does a lot of research to the point where she basically goes insane and manic over a lack of sleep. She does well in learning about him but also takes far more chances then you would want.

For example, she goes to the message boards that Katie was posting in about Slender Man. The main user there quickly lets her know that Katie is gone and the only way to try and bring her back is to make a deal with Slender Man. As part of this deal she needs to go into the wilderness and blindfold herself in the dead of night along with her friends. Here’s the problem, based on the videos that Katie sent in the chat, this user knows roughly where she lives.

The user would also then know where the forest is so saying that you will go there at night blindfolded is not a great plan. Even if Slender Man isn’t real, the alternative is that this user may have had something to do with her disappearance. If that is the case then you’re pretty much throwing your life away by following his advice. It’s also a shame to see the characters throwing away their prized possessions. Of course if you actually think this could be real then it’s admirable to take these risks to try and save your friend.

Wren is definitely the best character in the movie. She easily takes the most chances and puts in a lot of work to save Katie. Without her the other characters probably wouldn’t have done much of anything. After all, they were doing their best to avoid even thinking about the video. Even when Wren was being up front with them about the nightmares and such they kept trying to act as if it wasn’t happening. They weren’t too convincing about it either.

Slender Man throws in a bunch of jump scares of course but nothing too noteworthy. You have people looking distorted or Katie’s drunk father breaking into the house but for the most part it’s all rather standard like that. You figure Slender Man himself won’t try anything for a while. One scene that was at least visually interesting was when Slender Man started rewriting reality so the library started looking off. He would extend the distance to go anywhere which sort of locks you in a bad spot.

This helps to offset that his design doesn’t look very intimidating. Not only has he skipped leg day for decades but he doesn’t have any real muscle either. He does have one moment where he causes someone’s face to be empty like his which certainly seems like a tough trick to get around since you can’t talk at that point. His actual screen time is so small though. For a film called Slender Man you would expect to see him a little more right? It’s not like we’re ever meant to think he’s not real. It’s clear from the start that he is actually around.

By the end of the film there really isn’t much of a happy ending considering the body count. At the same time, there was never any way the heroes could have defeated him which makes this an exercise in futility. It’s something that particularly happens in horror films a lot that can be annoying. If you write a villain out to be absolutely untouchable then what is even the point? Slender Man has no weaknesses. You can barter with him but that’s about it.

When you remove any chance of even damaging the guy then it’s like the heroes are fighting against an abstract force. At least with films like Friday the 13th and Scream you can see the heroes putting up a fight. You figure they’ll lose in the end anyway but at least it’s close. Although supernatural forces are more interesting to battle with, it’s nullified if the whole journey is pointless.

I’ll give Slender Man the slimmest of credits for at least being fairly tame though. It’s not throwing out gratuitous violence or super gritty deaths at you. There isn’t a lot of crazy language which is usually the norm for these films. All in all it’s a lot tamer than you may think although it’s still quite dark. Slender Man seems to always be going after kids and teens after all which may also mean that he’s nervous about getting adults. That’s pure head canon though since his abilities would suggest that this would be easy as well.

Overall, Slender Man set the tone early when the characters got super disturbed after watching a low quality video about Slender Man. It was just a few images looping at high speeds so it’s hard to see why they were so affected. Apparently they all felt something as Wren would later state but that’s when you knew that the characters were doomed. They were terrified long before they met Slender Man. Katie also seemed to have made a rather iffy choice once we learn more details about what happened with her. She could have at least left the other characters a note or something right? It’s certainly nice that Slender Man got a film I suppose but it’s really just a standard horror film about a group of teens trying to survive for as long as they can against an utterly invincible foe. The characters aren’t particularly likable and there’s just nothing to hook you on the film.

Overall 3/10

Vice Versa Review


Vice Versa is a classic body swapping film so you can expect a lot of hijinks to ensue. I always like the idea of body swapping because it can make for a lot of interesting scenarios. The very premise of living a life in someone else’s shoes for example has always been a blast. I would say right off the gate the film does make one mistake here though. Nobody wants to live another day as a kid…..it would have been more interesting if the main guy was swapping lives for a day with his girlfriend or maybe a rival at the workplace. Still, this is the plot here so lets tackle it now.

Marshall is a rather successful businessman but it has come at the expense of time with his son Charlie. This weekend he gets to have Charlie since he seems to alternate weeks with Charlie’s mother. It’s going to be a grand ole time. The only damper is that the vase Marshall ordered for a work exhibition didn’t arrive because instead he got a haunted skull. The villainous Lilian calls to offer to trade the items (Which got misplaced according to her plan to fool customs) and Marshall agrees. The issue is that before this can happen he and Charlie wish they could switch places. The wish becomes true so they swap bodies. Can each character successfully live in the other person’s shoes or will they wreck everything?

Low key the scariest thing about body swapping would be seeing how the other person wrecks your life. Make no mistake, there is a whole lot of damage you can do to a person’s reputation in a day. It’s not quite something that can be easily reversed either. Both characters do a number on each other but for sure Charlie does more damage than Marshall. Not only does Charlie just generally act like a doofus most of the time with his mouth always open but he doesn’t know anything about business. Fortunately things tend to work out in his favor but that’s not for lack of trying.

Charlie wasn’t ready for this and I can’t say that I was really a fan of his. Kids tend to be a little on the annoying side in these films and even once he got an adult body I wouldn’t say Charlie fully got away from that. He continually messes up and he makes a rather significant move towards the end of the film involving a proposal that was out of line. It could have easily gone sideways and it’s hard to come back from that.

Meanwhile Marshall is the one carrying the film. Honestly I wouldn’t have minded a whole film about him at the firm because it seemed fairly interesting. As a kid he didn’t quite have the same level of intrigue and I was a little iffy about him not being able to take on the bullies at all. The whole time I was waiting for the moment where he confronts them but it never happened. That was a big missed opportunity if you ask me. The actual payoff wasn’t very satisfying since it was Charlie in an adult’s body so there wasn’t much the bullies can do.

Sam is a main supporting character as Marshall’s girlfriend but I wouldn’t say she looks great either. It’s nice that watching the metal show helped her get closer to Marshall I suppose but he was acting rather crazy the whole time so you’d think she would notice something’s up. Now, part of this is due to the fact that it is a comedy so we shouldn’t think too hard on it but I dunno. Also, she has one questionable scene with Marshall considering that he’s still a kid at this point in time and any scene with Charlie is also iffy. She’s partially a victim of circumstance I guess but she never got to be all that good. Also, relationships within the workplace always seem tricky at best.

As for the two villains Lilian & Turk, they’re okay but almost feel like they don’t belong in the film. They’re effectively the villains from Home Alone and get wrecked throughout the film. There is a pretty fun scene where they get ready to abduct Marshall only for Charlie to throw him in a car first. It looked like they were beat to the punch by other kidnappers which was a fun gag. I also liked when the coworkers confronted the about the gun.

Again, the whole film taking place at the workplace would have really worked quite well. The villains don’t leave much of an impression beyond this but I guess they added a layer of danger if they managed to take the skull away. The heroes not figuring out that they both had to be holding onto the skull seemed a bit lazy though. Why would they not try that?

The writing here is decent but there is still just something keeping it from the next level. I get the impression they didn’t really take the premise as far as it could go. When the main plot from before the switch is more interesting than the actual switch you know that you have a problem. It all boils down to the fact that throwing a kid into the mix was a bit of a mistake. There is less you can do with that since Charlie isn’t all that smart as it is. He can’t even bluff his way through scenarios as he just has his mouth open in shock the whole time. Definitely the most annoying part of his character.

Overall, Vice Versa won’t be anyone’s pick as the most influential body swap film. It’s not bad though but I guess what’s almost as important is that it’s not very interesting. It’s a very subdued film that goes through the motions but doesn’t do anything super memorable. Charlie is established as a rather unlikable character the instant he decides to stop listening to Marshall now that he’s all grown up. There was potential to be found here but it never happened. As a result I would say the film is perfectly in the middle. It’s not bad but it’s not all that good either. You’ll walk away from it without a strong opinion one way or the other. So if you want a quick way to spend some time relaxing then you can pop this one in. Otherwise you can probably find some stronger options.

Overall 5/10

Notting Hill review


Notting Hill is one of those films where you feel like the main guy allows himself to be used a little too much. Get ready for an adventure filled with cheating, betrayal, and in general a rather unhealthy relationship that is not likely going to go anywhere. It can make for a fun watch at times with some fun accents but at other times you’ll be shaking your head. Ultimately it may have done well to have reduced the length of the movie by a bit.

The movie starts off by introducing us to William at his humble book store. He has always done all right for himself but has no spectacular memories or events that he can talk about. Deep down he has always hoped that something fantastic would happen to him. Unfortunately that just has not yet been the case. One day, a famous actress known as Anna walks into the store and changes his life. They quickly begin to have an affair and everything is going well until he finds out that he was just the side man and she is already seeing someone.

Still, it’s not every day that you have an affair with a celebrity. Anna is willing to continue anyway but can William be satisfied with this arrangement? He will have to have some serious conversations with his family to see what to do. All along he has to wonder if this is really happening or if it’s all some kind of fantasy he has cooked up.

A lot of my issues with the film do come down to William. I would say Anna as well but primarily I’m looking at William since he is so passive here. First off, I will say he can be an entertaining character. He reminds me of the Dragons from Dragon’s Den with how he tends to speak his mind in a passive aggressive sort of way. He has a rather decent set up at home and his life isn’t bad. He may not have had that spectacular experience yet but do you need one if your life is consistently positive?

Once he meets Anna is when things start to sour for him. First off, she knows him for about 10 minutes and then suddenly on impulse decides to make a move. He’s thrilled of course but also mystified. She then calls him into her office to say that it didn’t mean anything only for them to have another affair moment shortly thereafter. They go out for a while before he catches her with the other guy.

William decides to take a step back since this may not be quite right. Still, Anna shows up again and William decides to give it another try. Only this time the reporters showed up and she blames him so they split up again. He decides that he won’t fall for this again but when she is filming in town he shows up to say hey and overhears her talking about him in a rather dismissive way. He leaves once again and then she returns. This cycle keeps on repeating over and over and over again.

Perhaps if the writing was utterly brilliant this could work but I wouldn’t say the script was that impressive here. It’s not bad mind you, but it’s rather standard stuff. You have some clever moments like one of William’s family trying to give Anna acting tips on how tough the profession is before he knows that she is an actress but then you have more cringe worthy stuff like William’s inferiority complex showing in full display as he asks Anna about famous actors.

That scene involving the ice cream drags on for a day and a half. So the film’s writing is okay but it would pale next to many comedies. It’s less of an up and down ride with laughs and jokes that fail but most of a steady cruise that you will rarely find super funny but shouldn’t get all that annoying either. It’s just the endless cycle that gets really annoying because you feel like William should eventually just stop falling for the bait.

Part of why I put the blame on him each time is that he’s the one who chooses to continue going on like this even though he ends up getting hurt each and every time. It’s not like Anna takes it as hard since to her it seems less personal. Well, I’ve slammed on William a lot for now so lets turn to Anna.

It’s hard to sympathize with Anna as well because she clearly had no problem being with two guys at once. She would have continued with that setup had she not been caught. That already speaks volumes about her character. Anna just doesn’t have a lot of class in that respect. She is completely unreasonable about the reporters showing up considering that William did not sell her out. She had no reason to speak ill of William to her co-star except to try and prop herself up.

All in all, I found it impossible to root for the romance. It has to be one of the weakest ones I’ve seen in a while. These two have been hurt way too many times over a single relationship in such a short time frame for all to be well. It’s also always hard to just overlook cheating when the relationship is just getting started because you will then always have the doubt in the back of your mind. What if the other person is still cheating at this very moment? You really can’t know for sure.

As for side characters, the main one would be Spike. He’s William’s roommate and a pretty bad character. He results in most of the worst humor moments because the guy just isn’t funny. His thing is that he’s a big slob who always lets William down when it counts the most. He forgets to remember who called, how to take notes, and even rats out on Anna for a few seconds of fame. It’s easy to forget how these two could even be friends in the first place. They certainly don’t seem to get along much but I suppose the argumentive dynamic may be what keeps them together. Spike doesn’t take anything personal and William vents a lot but doesn’t let it really affect him much.

The rest of the family shows up for a while too but I wouldn’t say they were that great. William’s sister is a little too obsessed with trying to be Anna’s friend. She comes off as rather odd the whole time and the “romance” with Spike near the end comes out of nowhere. The married couple was good at least as they had a solid dynamic going and the ex-wall street investor had a lot of confidence which was good. So I guess the supporting cast was decent.

Overall, What really holds Notting Hill back is that the romance is absolutely bonkers. The characters go through the cycle way too many times. It’s also a bit laid back for a comedy film so laughs are few and far between. The best sequence of moments was when William had to interview a lot of people on a film he knew nothing about. You’d think he could have done a little better on the spot with thinking up questions but at that point he was too obsessed with Anna to think of much else. If you want to check out a film where you live through the fantasy of a rich actress deciding to have an affair with you at first sight then I guess this is the right stop. If you want something a little more realistic like finding your future wife in a data world and being tasked as the savior of humanity then I would recommend checking out Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale instead.

Overall 4/10

A Walk to Remember Review


A Walk to Remember is a film that has a classic Dirty Dancing feel to it where the where the main romance seems like it can’t possibly work out. The characters are from different social circles and have barely even known each other. You can guess a lot of how this will play out from start to finish except for one big twist near the end but unfortunately it’s not a good twist. It ends up hurting the score quite a bit.

The movie starts by introducing us to Landon. He’s in with a bad group of friends who go around pranking other students and making fun of everyone. One day they injure a kid pretty badly so Landon is nearly expelled. In order to stay at school he will have to do a lot of volunteer work including being in a school play. He doesn’t want to do any of this and asks the preacher’s daughter Jamie to tutor him.

Jamie is a rather quiet girl and the nicest person at the school so naturally everyone picks on her a lot. She still agrees to help Landon out even though he doesn’t really have her back at all. He wants to be secret friends to spare his image after all. Will things end up working out between them or is Landon going to go back to his old ways as soon as this is over?

As a main character, it’s difficult to like Landon. The guy goes pretty far into being a jerk so once the payoff happens and he starts to be nicer, it’s just very deep into the film. You still have your share of doubts about him. It’s a classic character arc so of course if we got a sequel he would probably look better there but in the meantime he’s just not likable. He should have left the group of friends a lot sooner as well.

Meanwhile Jamie is a fun character. She does her best to always take the high ground and continue to try her best and ignore everyone’s insults. She gets burned quite a few times with helping Landon but continues to press on. There really isn’t anything bad to say about her as Jamie remains a consistent character from start to finish.

Where the film really messes up is it decides to add some extra drama. I suppose it’s a spoiler to say exactly what happens here, but needless to say the film isn’t going for a particularly happy ending. It’s one of those endings that negates a large part of the overall adventure. The twist really didn’t even need to be in the film. If you skip that and play out the climax straight I dare say that the film would end up being a lot better.

I suppose the twist does differentiate it from other films in the genre but it’s not worth it. The rest is pretty straight forward as Jamie works on redeeming Landon and getting him to appreciate life a bit more. He goes from just taking everything nonchalantly to actually being serious about life. That part of the film will still work quite strongly with or without the twist.

Jamie’s faith is also a key part of the film since she is quite devout in her faith. She counters her father’s arguments against getting close to Landon by using scripture as well. That said, you don’t blame the father for having reservations. He knows Landon fairly well from being a preacher in this town for so long. While of course he won’t rule out the possibility of Landon turning over a new leaf, he naturally wouldn’t want to take a chance with Jamie getting hurt. Worse than the emotional risk would also be if Landon were able to take her away from her belief in God, corrupting her to the more worldly side. Ultimately I would say he was reasonable, it just took him some time to come on board with this.

The rest of the kids at school were all mostly petty. They do their best to try and cause trouble for the two leads by messing with Jamie and trying to hurt her reputation at school. It’s all classic bully stuff and you can tell that it’s not the nicest town to be in. Of course, that’s par for the course with most schools we see in these films so that’s rather normal.

This film is primarily a romance I would say but ultimately that would still be one of the weaker aspects of the movie. It’s just hard to buy into the romance because these two characters don’t really know each other like that. It’s only been a little while since they first met up and you have to also account for the fact that Landon was a jerk for the early scenes. By the time he begins to thaw out we’re already fairly deep into the movie.

A Walk to Remember also pulls out the classic moment of “Don’t fall in love with me” as Jamie tells Landon this but he quickly disregards it. As soon as those words are uttered you know that the friend zone is about to crumble. It’s a shame because you could have had a really good friendship dynamic here that would have worked well. That would probably not have overpowered the ending but it would have been a good move.

Overall, the writing is solid and the pacing is on point. I may be misremembering but I think there was also a good song or two that played at one point. On the whole it’s a good film if you can just get past the ending act. The problem is that the ending is a very important part of any film as it will have a lasting impact that is hard to forget. While it may not always be enough to destroy an experience, it can certainly weaken it. The film drops a few stars for the ending because it’s just a bad one that doesn’t give you that climactic final scene you’re hoping for. It doesn’t end the film on a high note so if we ever get a remake I would definitely say to change that scene. Maybe make it so the miracle referenced in the film isn’t about Landon, but about Jamie instead.

Overall 4/10

Fiend without a Face Review


When you have a title like this you know that you’re going to be in for some pretty solid hype. After all, if the fiend doesn’t have a face then how are you going to attack it? Wits alone will not be enough to stop this foe. The movie has a lot of interesting ideas and while it will ultimately go down as just another creature feature, it was pretty fun.

The movie starts off by introducing us to a small town. Things were going well here until the army decided to set up shop with one of their big bases. The locals were not thrilled about this and now that people are vanishing and getting murdered all over the place, the town blames them. The army has Major Jeff take a look into this since they need to find out why people are dying. He meets up with a lady named Barbara and quickly grows to like her but is still getting verbally attacked by the townsfolk.

Now the stakes are higher, if he doesn’t get to the bottom of this then he will never get to be with her. Fortunately there is a suspicious scientist named Walgate who may know more than he is letting on. Jeff will need to keep his guard up though or else he will be buried along with the rest of the town’s secrets.

Jeff is a perfectly reasonable main character. I would say that his romance plot starts a little too suddenly for me to take it all that seriously though. The guy falls for Barbara within a few seconds which will make you shake your head a bit. Keep in mind that he is investigating a lot of murders so he should have too much on his mind for that. He also gets a little sloppy when he enters an abandoned tomb on his own.

Remember, the whole town can’t stand him and one guy even started a fight. So you really shouldn’t be taking crazy chances on your own. Fortunately Barbara and his army partner find him but the guy nearly died. At least he is a good shot though which comes in handy near the end of the film. Then you have Barbara who is a good heroine. She does have a tendency to panic a lot like some of the more retro heroines. It would be nice if she had fought more against the monsters but she tends to lose the battle the instant it starts.

As for Walgate, he’s easily the worst character in the film. I would call him a full on villain even if he tries to play the whole “I didn’t mean it” card. The guy actively tried to murder Jeff and there’s no way to talk his way out of that one. Walgate panics a lot and you wonder what the point of his experiments was anyway. Either way he doesn’t have a whole lot of time to regret things.

As for the creatures themselves, I have to say that their character designs are spot on. Basically they’re brains that are floating around with a spinal cord as a tail of sorts. It’s a very unique design and one that you aren’t likely to forget anytime soon. Now I will say it may not be a very intimidating design but they have a very solid gripping strength. Once they have you around the neck it’s basically game over.

They aren’t quite bullet proof though so once the army is ready for them then things go a bit differently. Their main advantage was being invisible after all. Without that they just didn’t stand a chance. It can be a little violent with how the heroes shoot them though. Between the fact that it already looks like a brain as it is and they are getting shot to death, well it’s a lot for such an old time film. It’s nothing too crazy of course but just enough where you may do a double take for a second there.

The writing is on point as the dialogue between all of the characters is pretty solid. It holds up quite well which is definitely not surprising. The pacing is pretty good and the movie is always moving at a pretty quick pace. I was also glad that Jeff was able to win in the fight against the jealous townsperson as losing that fight would have been iffy. We even get a quick town hall type meeting which was cool.

It’s following a rather classic creature feature format but one that works really well as long as it’s executed the right away. This one did properly follow the steps as the monster is slowly bumping various people off while the heroes get closer and closer to cracking the case. Once they make it, you can’t help but feel a sense of triumph even if that doesn’t mean the film is quite over. Walgate is just annoying enough where you were looking forward to seeing the heroes mess up his plans. His fake politeness fits in with the dialogue but you could tell the characters weren’t buying what he was selling.

Overall, The movie is just short enough where it isn’t able to deal with the alien invasion as thoroughly as you might hope, but it still manages to make for an interesting experience. It’s even part mystery you could say as Jeff tries to figure out why they are here and how the creatures were created. This doesn’t exactly seem like something that happened naturally after all. If you like creature feature films then this is a good one to check out. By the end you will see just how dangerous the brain can be.

Overall 6/10

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Review


It’s time for some more James Bond action. I would even say this was probably the strongest James Bond film from the originals up to this point. It’s fairly close I suppose and it does fall into most of the usual issues but gives us a lot of new landscapes and some pretty thrilling moments. The new Bond actor also did fairly well even if he couldn’t match up to the original.

The movie starts pretty quickly as Bond attacks a few enemy agents but is promptly defeated as they run off. Fortunately he is able to save the lady known as Tracy before she drowns. It turns out she is the daughter of the rich criminal Draco. Bond isn’t interested in taking this guy down though. He just wants to defeat Blofeld, the leader of Spectre. As long as he gets that information then he will overlook this other crime lord. Draco agrees to help Bond find Blofeld as long as Bond takes Tracy as his wife. Bond has completed many missions in his day but can he pull this one off?

Now while that is the main plot, the film is long enough where a great deal more happens along the way. For starters, Blofeld runs a clinic where he helps people get over their phobias. He seems to have an incredible success rate so obviously there is a catch. Bond goes undercover in order to get to the bottom of this and bring Blofeld down. I wouldn’t say it’s his best plan though. For one thing, I didn’t even get exactly what he was pretending his phobia was until the other characters started bringing it up. He flirts way too much for anyone to have bought that as he doesn’t even act all that different with the gang.

Yes, all of the patients are ladies of course so that means Bond will be having a good ole time there. As always he does tend to lower his guard as a result too. Bond may be known as the best agent on the planet but the guy gets suckered a whole lot. Blofeld’s main ally gets the jump on Bond…and she’s an old lady. Prepare for a whole lot of losses here.

Additionally as a character it’s still difficult to really root for Bond at all. Keep in mind that part of the big deal with this film is the whole marriage plot. Yet, he is still going around having affairs with everyone. Never for a moment do you think it’s possible that he will actually stay faithful here. I doubt he would even last a few hours and would probably start messing around with everyone right away. Bond just isn’t the loyal type.

Meanwhile Blofeld looks good here. His plan may be on the rather crazy side but it does veer into the territory of “so crazy that it actually works” so you have to give him some credit here. It’s hard to believe how it works but he does hold his own. He does fall into the classic trap of constantly letting Bond live just to rub his victory in the guy’s face though. That always comes back to bite him.

His subordinate Bunt also gets a big role here. She talks tough to Bond the whole time and is always one step ahead. Blofeld may come up with the plans but she is the one putting them into motion which takes a good amount of skill on its own. She’s quite the memorable villain as a result. She may not be a fighter but she always has a gun at the ready.

As for Tracy, she’s a good heroine. She can actually fight which is always handy such as when she grabs a broken glass bottle and actually fights off one of the henchmen. She has a strong personality and refuses to be used as leverage in any kind of deal. She’s always got a sharp comeback and would easily rank as one of the best heroines in the Bond series.

This film is famous for its ending but in case you are not familiar with it I won’t mention that here. Needless to say, it’s a pretty intense ending that you really don’t see coming. One character even goes insane temporarily because this is so much of a shock. After this film you could definitely see things getting really personal for all of the characters. Without this ending the Bond series may have really gone in a different direction with the franchise. It certainly has the most lasting impact out of all the films.

The action scenes in the film are good as always. We get a lot of shootouts as well as hand to hand battles. Some of the opponents even give Bond a really good run for his money. We have chase scenes as well both on cars, skis, and on foot. It wouldn’t be a proper James Bond adventure without all of that stuff right? The movie is long but it doesn’t drag on due to how much is going on. The story itself is strong as well. Bond even has a sidekick in this one although naturally things do not go very well for him at all.

As for the negatives though, the film has a ton of romance and affair type scenes that don’t work well. Again, you can’t take Bond’s romance seriously at all because you know he will cheat on her the very next chance he gets. It’s not as if this is his first serious romance either. The last one just ended up with the heroine getting poisoned to death and even in that film he had been cheating on her the whole time. Bond’s just not the kind of guy you can really trust in a relationship so any romance would be doomed to fail.

It also undermines him as an agent since the villains are able to use this against him. Bond’s always one step behind. If the films would cut down on the affairs they would be so much better. It would also result in a more likable cast. Right now the supporting characters have to try and hold the film together since Bond himself can’t stack up.

Overall, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is the best of the Bond films from the originals up to this point but that may not be saying a whole lot. It had some interesting ideas like Bond finally quitting M16 but that gets overturned so quickly it may as well not be a true plot point. It would make for a good story if in one film he is framed so he has to escape M16 while proving his innocence. In the meantime if you want a really solid secret agent film, I would defer you to Mission Impossible.

Overall 4/10