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

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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

FIFA 14 Review


It’s time to look at an old FIFA game. I would say a “modern” one but at this point 2014 feels like a long time ago. I don’t have a lot of experience with FIFA, but I’m a little better at it than I am at MLB. At the very least I keep the games close. It’s definitely a fun title, but certainly one that you will enjoy a whole lot more if you are actually good at it. Knowing how to make the plays that you want to achieve simply makes for a world of difference here.

There are a bunch of different modes. I imagine that you will spend most of your time in Franchise mode ordinarily. After all, that’s where you get to really learn and grow with your team. If you can’t get the hang of the controls for a while you’ll start out with some bad records, but eventually you’ll be able to completely flip that. I don’t really have enough time to do all of that, but it’s always a great mode for any sport. Beyond that you can also run drills, practice, Go online and play, or a bunch of other options. There is no shortage of modes and content here.

As for the gameplay, it seems pretty good. it’s definitely one of those games where it’ll take a while to actually master the controls. There’s a lot to them and you can’t really skate by on just doing the easy controls. You’ll really need to apply yourself here. For example, I played a few games, but couldn’t score a single goal. I just can’t get close enough to take a realistic shot, it’s crazy. On the other side though, I didn’t allow any goals to be scored in most of the games. (They did score on me once) So…either the goal keeper is just OP here or I need more training. I imagine that it’s the latter because otherwise the FIFA games wouldn’t be nearly as big as they are now. I felt more confident than in Baseball since I’m at least not getting blown out, but at the same time you can’t win without scoring right?

The graphics are certainly solid as always. EA doesn’t hold back in that area. As always in the sport games the music isn’t all that memorable, but it seems to be pretty fast and fitting for the sport. On a technical level the game is quite good and the gameplay is solid as well so I have no real complaints. The only thing really hurting the score is the fact that the game won’t be incredibly fun until you get good at it and you also have to love the sport. If you think about it, technically you’re going to be going through the same motions in every match. That’s true for many games of course, but it does emphasize how much you need to like the gameplay in order to go through with it. Otherwise it would just become a chore by the end and you don’t want that.

To date the best Soccer game has definitely been Mario Strikers. It took a more arcade style look at the sport with simplified controls but still hitting all of the right mechanics. It’s a game that holds up well today and I think FIFA could learn a thing or two from it. FIFA is of course going for a Soccer Simulation style as it’s very realistic but I think it could loosen up on the mechanics a bit. Make the ball go in more precise locations instead of just anywhere and that would help with the shooting. Of course, this is something that would help casual FIFA players like me while professional gamers would likely not like having their experience go to waste so it’s definitely a mixed proposal. I’ll definitely still be buying the next FIFA games once the price is reasonable so it doesn’t make much of a difference to me, but I do think it would be a way for the series to get to the next step.

Currently from the big EA titles I’d rank them as Madden>NBA>FIFA>NHL>MLB>PGA. If we threw Tennis in there then it would be third after NBA. In general those are the 3 games that are way above the others. Starting with FIFA they just aren’t as interesting. Put it this way, Madden is a 9 star series and NBA/Tennis are 8 stars. FIFA is a 7 and the others range from 6 to 3. There’s probably a strong correlation to how I enjoy the real life sports too I suppose.

Overall, FIFA 14 definitely continues the series off well. I look forward to playing some of the other FIFA games I have in the backlog but haven’t played yet. They’ll all be older, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be even better. The more I play them the better I should get so that could help plus sometimes the older games had simpler controls which is also important to notice. It’s the opposite of fighting games where they’ve gotten a little simpler over the years. (Although in some cases that’s been a good thing like with Super Smash and Street Fighter) Whether you’ve played a previous FIFA game or not you should be able to jump in pretty quick here as long as you know how the sport works. Actually winning a game is a completely different discussion though. For that you’re gonna need to practice your shooting for quite a while and that’s no easy feat.

Overall 7/10

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

Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late[st] Review


It’s time to look at a recent fighting game that came out for PS4. The fact that it got announced for EVO was a fun coincidence as I had already ordered this game. Now if anything it’ll help me keep up with what’s happening during the tournament a lot better. Arc Systems has always been great with fighting games so right off the bat I knew that this one would be very good. I certainly was not disappointed. It’s definitely a great title.

There isn’t a central plot here, but instead each character has a story that is told through their Arcade Mode. This is a staple for many fighting games so it’s not surprising. The game does give you a little extra content through the Chronicles mode where you learn more about each character though. There’s actually quite a bit of content here. Completing the game with every character will take some time for sure. The general premise is that once a month the “Night” occurs where people from various eras and locations show up to fight. In a way it’s very similar to the Fate plots except that it all happens in the span of a single day. The characters must stop whoever is leading the charge this time before people start being turned into voids and become a danger to society. Some of the characters fight for justice, others for evil, and others for personal reasons. Either way, only one can survive.

The gameplay is that of a fast paced 2D fighter. Each character has quite a lot of combos and you’ll want to master them all if you want to start overwhelming the opponent. It’s definitely a game where you won’t ultimately go too far by button mashing. The combos are made in a way where you need to switch buttons to really use the best ones. Just hitting one button simply won’t work. Still, the game makes you feel good with how much damage you end up dealing all the time. Each character has a unique fighting style so you’ll want to find the character that ends up clicking with you.

Fortunately most of the characters are pretty fun here. I definitely enjoy Hide as he’s a fun protagonist. He’s always up for a fight and while the guy can be laid back, he steps in when necessary. Linne is a good supporting character who is a lot older than she appears. Her experience gives her an edge in combat. Finally there is the Assassin who never likes to say his name. His cool demeanor and expert fighting style makes him a threat as well. One thing that all 3 of these characters have in common is that they’re close range sword users. You just can’t beat that gameplay style.

This game really delivers on a graphics front as well. The visuals for the attacks are great. Pretty much every attack has some kind of effect going on. The stages are very dynamic as well and everything looks very pristine and modern. It would have been nice if we could have gotten some actual cutscenes instead of just having a bunch of still images but I suppose you can’t have everything right? Even more impressive than the graphics here is the soundtrack. Pretty much every theme is dynamite. That’s good because you’ll be hearing the themes quite a lot. Each character has their own unique theme and then the game has a few miscellaneous ones as well. Most of them are fast paced rock songs so you can definitely see why they would appeal to me.

For replay value, this game is a fighter so it automatically has an unlimited amount. You can keep on playing others locally or online to hone your skills. You can spend the money you earn on unlocking new costumes and titles. You don’t earn much money from doing Story Mode so you’ll have to see which way earns it the fastest. Either way there are a ton of things to buy so I expect it’ll take you a very long time to do so. You definitely won’t be putting this game down for quite a while after you buy it. It’s here for the long haul.

If anything it would be fun to see this turned into an anime or manga at some point. It’s got a lot of cool ideas and the story is very large in scope. The game can’t really touch on it all that much though since Arcade Modes are very short. If it was a full anime then it could really go into all of this. It’s just a solid premise as well that would lend itself well to such things. Until that happens the game does work well as a prologue of sorts though.

Overall, Under Night is definitely a great fighting game. It really checks off all the boxes for what a fighter should be. The gameplay is fast and detailed. The graphics are sharp and the soundtrack perfectly complements the tone as well. Finally, the characters are interesting. It’s rare that characters hurt a fighting game, but it happened once with AquaPazza. Ideally a roster should involve characters you are interested in as they’ll just make the whole thing more exciting. Take them out of the picture and there just isn’t much left. Well, this game definitely didn’t have those problems. If you haven’t bought this game yet then I would recommend changing that. It’s only about 20 bucks nowadays which is really a pretty good price when you consider that it’s a PS4 title. You’ll want to jump on that deal while you can.

Overall 8/10

The Mummy’s Shroud Review


The Mummy has returned to usher in a new era for horror films. At least, that’s likely the intent here, but the series has made some mistakes in the past so we’ll see if this film can really take home the gold. While it does ring more true to the classic Mummy mythos than the previous film, it does make its share of mistakes. I don’t think you’ll be bored though. We have a pretty colorful cast of characters here and at least one character does try to fight back against the Mummy.

The film starts off with a flashback about how an Egyptian king was overthrown and everyone got murdered. We fast forward to the modern day where Dr. Basil and the rich Stanley have broken into the tomb. They steal the coffin and head back home to show it off. Unfortunately it appears that the coffin had a curse within it that has begun to affect everyone who walked into the tomb. There is now a murderous Mummy on the loose and the bodies are starting to pile up. Stanley wants to leave, but the cops are keeping everyone in one place. Can he get out alive?

Stanley may be a predictable character, but he sure is an entertaining one. He’s the classic rich guy who doesn’t care about lives. He just wants to turn a profit and let everyone else take the fall. This is especially evident when he tries to discredit Basil and throw him away for life. Stanley ultimately only seems to care about his family, everyone else is considered expendable. He’s certainly an antagonist, but a fun one nonetheless. You’re still rooting for him against the Mummy. He did make a lot of big mistakes though. If you’re trying to flee the country you probably shouldn’t wait in a dark alley for someone to come and help. Especially when you’re rich and the locals know it. Ah well, Stanley tried.

Then you have Dr. Basil who is reasonable I guess. He was annoying in his final scenes, but I guess that makes sense since he was poisoned. Still, it makes for a scene that drags on quite a bit as an old lady makes fun of him and then he’s taken out of the picture. Speaking of which, the old lady was annoying as well. She’s basically just here to rub the deaths in the faces of the victims before they perish. She doesn’t have much point here except to egg everyone on and get them into trouble. I mean, she performs the role quite admirably of course, but cutting out the drool in her scenes would have helped me take her seriously.

I consider Stanley to basically be the main character here, but Paul and Maggie get big roles as well. Paul is the son of Stanley and unlike his father he wants to work his way to the top. He doesn’t want to be drunk on power and sets his sights on stopping the Mummy instead of fleeing. Meanwhile Maggie knows how to read Egyptian and was against going into the tomb in the first place. Still, now she may be the only one with the power to stop this situation. It puts her in a tricky spot. Both characters are pretty reasonable. I do think Maggie made a big mistake in going to some random fortune teller to try and dispel her fears though. Even if the fortune teller wasn’t evil, did she really think anything could be done at that stage in the game?

I also have to give the cops some credit here. They were on point for the most part even if they didn’t really uncover much in their investigations. At least they were trying to help out and they certainly managed to be a thorn in Stanley’s side. The chief finally even relented in the end so at least he could try and save some victims. He maybe should have done that a bit sooner, but I think he just wanted to axe Stanley. Not the most heroic move of course, but it is what it is. Stanley’s wife also looks pretty good here. She’s always being passive aggressive and really enjoys the fact that she never went into the tomb.

So, most of these are positives, but what are the negatives? Well, pretty much the usual Hammer stuff. The film can be a bit violent here with everyone getting bumped off. People are strangled, burned to death, crushed, etc. The Mummy makes sure to take everyone down at some point or another. The Mummy also doesn’t make for a particularly good antagonist. He’s slow and you can’t believe that he is beating everyone the whole time. Even if he is bullet proof you can at least out run the guy. The only one I can’t blame is Basil since he was sick. At least the photographer tried fighting back though. You’ll feel bad for Stanley’s right hand man though since the guy gets the short end of the stick throughout the film.

The movie’s humor and writing were on point though. This one actually was a step ahead of most of the other Mummy titles. It could have definitely been a lot worse. At least it’s entertaining throughout and has a quick pace. If you’re going to do a Mummy film then you can definitely take a lot of cues from this one. It knew how to properly develop the characters after all.

Overall, The Mummy’s Shroud is actually decent. The shroud itself is actually important by the end so it’s also a title that makes sense. That’s always a good idea as opposed to just having that in the title to sound cool. The slasher elements we could have done without, but it’s handled in a less graphic way than it likely would nowadays. I won’t give the film a positive score, but it’s not bad either so it lands smack in the middle. If this film sounds like your cup of tea then you should check it out. At the very least, this film will keep you guessing as to who will get bumped off first.

Overall 5/10

MLB 14: The Show Review


It’s time to look at a new MLB game I got recently. It’s one of the few sport titles from EA that I didn’t grow up. I always used to play Football and Basketball and even played a few FIFA titles along the way. However, even though I did own one Baseball game for Gamecube, I just never really played it. As a result, it can be tough to get the controls to this one. Sport games have some of the highest learning curves and this one is no exception. The end result is that the game feels as slow as the real life sport does to me so it doesn’t end up being a very entertaining experience.

Naturally there are quite a few modes here. The main one is the Franchise mode where you go through the entire Baseball season. You’ve really got to love the game to do that though as there are many games to go through. You can do this online as well as you go up against other teams and hope that the players don’t disconnect just as you’re about to win. There are also minigame modes here like the Home Run Contest which I had fun checking out. It’s a bit long though so I recommend shortening the duration in the settings before starting. Fortunately the game does let you fast forward through the mode if you start to get bored.

I hit a ton of Home Runs, but after a while you just want to get back to the game. The problem is that in a normal game I was having a hard time getting any hits. I think I only got a real hit twice. Every other time they would just catch the ball or tag me before I hit the base. Something didn’t feel right about all of that. Baseball is a hard game to adapt for sure and I think EA just doesn’t do it all that well. I enjoy the Mario Baseball games. They may be overly simplified but you quickly know how to hit and pitch. In this game both gameplay modes are so advanced that you’ll need big tutorials on both. I couldn’t find a tutorial mode within the game though, just normal practice.

I just couldn’t pitch a straight ball to save my life. I’d click the pitching button without moving the stick and it would still go out of left field. It seems like you have to take the wind into consideration or something like that, but that’s definitely making things more complicated than they ought to be. Then you’ve got batting where part of it feels luck based. A large part is skill like when to hit the ball, angling, and stuff like that. However, once you hit the ball all bets are off. In Basketball or Football you are largely in control of the game for at least 90% of what happens. RNG is always still around of course, but it won’t be trying to get in your way all that much. As I said, I couldn’t get any hits past the infield. It was crazy!

As always EA does deliver on a technical level though. The graphics are very nice and everything looks quite sharp. You feel like you’re in a real Baseball game. It may not be quite as exciting as their other titles, but Baseball is rarely meant to be a “flashy” game. They just tried to emulate the real thing as best they could and as per usual they succeeded. There are some tunes here, but like their other sport games I rarely notice them as I get caught up in the excitement of the whole thing. Still a nice touch for those who want a little music involved of course.

Also, you can’t deny that the game has a ton of replay value for those who enjoy the sport. You can play the actual games over and over again as you rise to the top. This is especially true since there is an online element here. The title never has to end as every game is fresh. That’s definitely a good thing and I can’t think of any other big Baseball game so EA has really cornered the market here. If you want to play you’ve got to play their way.

Overall, I won’t say that this is a bad game. It’s too technically impressive for that. Still, it’s not my kind of game. At the end of the day it wasn’t all that fun and that holds it back quite a bit. Still, if you like Baseball then you should definitely check it out. I think you’ll probably be impressed with how in-depth it is. Hopefully next time the controls are a little more intuitive though. I’d like to be able to just pop it in and play at a reasonable level. At the very least, hopefully I could give the CPU players a run for their money. Until then I need to git gud.

Overall 5/10