Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Fate is the Hunter Review


It’s time to look at a film dealing with airplanes and a lot of tricky situations. It also throws in a court case for the second half which was definitely fun. It’s a movie that is admittedly pretty slow for the first half, but will keep you engaged enough to see it through to the end. The film doesn’t really do anything wrong it just isn’t very exciting. You have to be ready for a slow burner but as long as you are then there really won’t be a problem here.

So Jack was known as a great pilot but one day he crashes the plane and dies along with a lot of people. He was seen at a bar the day before so everyone thinks he got drunk and that’s why he crashed. Sam doesn’t believe this was the case, but getting proof will be tough. The court case is coming up and in order to clear Jack’s name Sam will need to revisit all of his old memories and meet up with Jack’s old gang. It won’t be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is. Sam knows he is going to have to try really hard to find the truth, but he won’t give up until he does!

The film does a lot of jumping between the present and the past so we can see Jack. After all since he’s dead in the present it’s not like he could actually show up in the main timeline right? Even the flashbacks are cut up as you see different bits and pieces as Sam meets the others. Jack seems like a nice guy from what we see even if he’s always running around. He’s got so many friends that he doesn’t seem to have time for any individual one for too long before dashing off with another. Still, he’s always around when you need him and this strengthens Sam’s resolve.

Sam goes down a bit of a dicey alley after meeting Sally though. She explains to him the concept of fate and how maybe this is just how things were meant to be. Sam is skeptical at first, but slowly starts to come around. This is not good for him for a few reasons. I’ll get to those in a minute. Before that, I’ll just say that Sally was a nice character otherwise. She was definitely very helpful in the investigation. Without her Sam would have had a tough time finding anyone else. Sam’s also not a bad character even if he doesn’t think things through nearly as well as he should have. Lets just say that the whole fate angle plays about as well in court as you would expect.

All right, lets talk about this whole fate thing. The first reason why Sam shouldn’t have used it is that the argument sounds so terrible in court. Sam effectively says that maybe it was fate for Jack to crash and for everyone to die. He goes as far as to imply that it was actually a good thing in that case as all the lives on the plane were meant to end. I don’t know about you, but if I lost family on that plane and someone said that in defense I would definitely be voting guilty and that company would really be in trouble. Sam seems a little surprised at the backlash but he really shouldn’t be. It’s a terrible argument to make.

The second reason why I never bought into fate is that it can’t be wrong. Put it this way, if you buy into fate as a concept then it can explain any and everything. If you lose at something it was fate. If you make a mistake then you can just say it was fate. Nothing ultimately matters because fate controls everything and you can’t escape it. At the same time, you never know what will be fate until it happens so it’s basically a loop. I see little point in subscribing to fate in that case since whether or not I believe in it, if it’s real it’ll happen anyway. So it’s all just circular logic that will drive Sam into a deeper and deeper hole in the court. He really should have avoided that.

That’s my thoughts on that at the very least. The writing is good here and the pacing is solid. There’s no sense of danger or anything which is just why the film has a weird vibe. I’ve certainly seen films with no such stakes, but the tone here just feels like there should be. At most the film tries to throw some in at the very end when the characters try to recreate the scenario. I don’t think the scene is quite as exciting as the film seems to think it is though. Points for effort of course, but the court scene is still the best part of the film. You just can’t go wrong with a court scene. That’s simply how it’s always been and I don’t expect that will be changing anytime soon.

Now there is some irony at the end of the film. As a quick disclaimer, ultimately the reason why Jack went into the bar was to buy some drinks for a friend of his. Jack didn’t actually have any so he wasn’t under the influence. The crash was because of something else….but it was still his fault. See, he got a coffee from the attendant and then he put it down on the controls while doing a turn. The cup fell and the coffee spilled into the engine which caused it to malfunction. So, in a way it was still his careless that caused the crash. Of course the planes should be made a little more carefully than that, but the first rule of any electronic device is that you are not to have any liquids nearby. That’s why you should have soda on a plane because you drink it right away and that’s that. For a coffee that has to be cooled first it’s simply not practical. So, I found a little irony there, but I suppose it might still be a little bit of a stretch to totally blame Jack. It was a 1 in a million kind of chance that led to the crash, but I think when they present these findings the people still won’t be all that thrilled.

Overall, This is an interesting film just not an engaging one. I think you will want to stick around for the ending once you start and see what happens. The writing is solid and the film has good fundamentals so there’s nothing bad to say about the film. I think it probably should have just added more time to the search but with the added bonus of a rival or some doubter to get in everyone’s way. This film lacks banter because there are no real antagonists. The best scenes in the film are when the company shows up to get in Sam’s way and offer their own input. That kind of thing always helps a film if you ask me. Regardless, it’s a fairly unique title that’s worth giving a look.

Overall 6/10

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Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

An Experiment in Terror Review


It’s time for a noir murder mystery. This one even brings in the FBI and it’s interesting to see how they’re portrayed here. Nowadays it feels like the FBI is more secretive and if you call in you likely aren’t going to go all that high up. Granted, it’s not like I’ve ever tried. In this film you can casually fall them and someone will get on your case ASAP. In a way they feel more like a branch of the police. The film has its moments and some good detective work, but some parts really hold it back.

The film starts with Kelly getting into her apartment, but she is then put in a choke hold by a mysterious man behind her. He has a breathing issue and the camera is always zooming in on his mouth to up the creep factor. He tells her that he wants her to rob a bank for him so he can get rich or he’ll destroy her and her kid sister. After he leaves Kelly does try to call the cops, but she is taken down again since the guy apparently didn’t leave. Kelly will have to be careful about how she plays this because one wrong move could be her last. Fortunately FBI Agent John is on the case. Even though the first call was broken up he was able to be re-connected and will now aid her in identifying the man while keeping her safe.

As a noir thriller this film definitely still works. There’s always a sense of danger in the movie and the pacing is pretty solid. The film is careful to not really give you any clues as to who the assailant is. It’s not really a traditional mystery though as you’re not supposed to solve it. The FBI get clues and move in but it’s not like you have 5 suspects running around. The guy never bothers to show up in person at all. He’s already got a reputation in other places so there is no reason for him to do so.

The FBI also look pretty good here. John is quick on the uptake and doesn’t put Kelly in any more danger than necessary. All of his plans are as careful as can be and he does try to get the upper hand. I would argue that he can be a little short sighted at times though. His priority is saving Kelly and while he does a great job of that, he doesn’t really try to protect the others much. Her sister, the informant, and the other caller are all left defenseless while he pursues his main goal. The guy can’t be everywhere though so maybe the bureau should have just assigned more men to the case. I imagine they were spread pretty thin as it is though.

Unfortunately the film does go out of its way to make the villain pretty sketchy though. One such scene is when he has the sister strip. This is partially to mess with Kelly mentally as well but such a scene could have been handled a whole lot better. Given the guy’s past criminal history which is briefly brought up you can definitely tell that he’s a bad seed. This is just the latest in his crime spree and it’s good that the FBI were finally put on the case. I would have liked to have had a better villain though. Take away the breathing issue, work on the camera angles a bit, and make the villain have a better motivation. That would go a long way in helping the thriller get to the next level.

Meanwhile, the informant also does good by the end. He had a good run although his final scene is just a little off. The whole method of spying on the phone doesn’t seem too practical. I don’t see how he wasn’t caught during the many times he would use it. He made the tough calls by the end though. Then you’ve got one of the villain’s allies who has a son in the hospital. The villain has always been kind to her so she refuses to sell him out. There can be a lot of reasons as to why he never tried anything here and ultimately it doesn’t matter. As John points out, just because the guy is nice to her it doesn’t override the fact that he has murdered a bunch of people. She’s an accessory at this point either way.

One character you’ll feel bad for is the first lady who comes to the FBI because you know she is doomed from the start. At the same time, she handled the whole situation horribly and should have still been alive. There is no reason why she could not tell John at the station. I suppose she had crimes of her own but wouldn’t it be better to take the villain down and serve a little time? She could also say she had been under duress at the time and that probably would have been true to a large extent. Instead she heads back home to her secluded place where the villain has presumably already broken in several times. I can’t understand her rationale no matter how much I try to think about it.

Meanwhile Kelly does a much better job with her situation. She keeps the FBI in the loop and also tries to advise her little sister on how to act. It’s a pretty scary situation for her but she never cracks and does her best to stay on top of things. She probably tried calling the police a little too quickly the first time even if she had thought he left, but at least that also shows she wasn’t going to listen to the villain for a second. If someone tells you not to call the cops that’s usually the perfect time to do so. The threats get stronger the longer you isolate yourself from those who can help.

The film also does give us an explosive climax with a baseball stadium and a lot of shooting. The villain definitely made it surprisingly far at that point, but fortunately the heroes were ready in the end. I think with a chase scene like this there will always be times where you think they could have caught the villain sooner and you’re probably right. At least he didn’t get away, now that would have been really dicey.

Overall, An Experiment in Terror is definitely a thriller fans of the genre will want to check out. It’s definitely intense and is a fairly realistic look at a hostage type situation. If anything it’s probably slightly easier than in real life since you probably wouldn’t have any FBI backup. The villain is really the only aspect that drags the film down as it goes a bit overboard in trying to make him as repulsive as possible. All of his scenes are pretty iffy and tend to drag on. I suppose for thrillers I prefer them from the point of view of an action hero or someone trying to escape danger, but there’s a lot of different paths in the genre. I expect you’ll know if it’s your kind of film from the plot summary right away.

Overall 5/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

3:10 to Yuma Review


It’s time to look at an old wild west film. This is one of those films where the villain and main character exchange a lot of witty banter while casually trying to off one another. It’s not really personal between them. One just wants his money and the other wants to keep his life. It’s a fairly entertaining film although some parts are pretty unrealistic like the ending. You’ll just have to try and brush that bit aside.

The film starts with Ben and his gang holding up a group of travelers and stealing a bunch of dough. One guy started moving a little too much so one of Ben’s men shot him. The gang then rides off into down. Dan and his kids witnessed the event and his wife subtly pressures Dan into going into town for revenge. She feels like he should have done something while on the hill although realistically the only thing he could do at that point was get shot. Well, Dan heads into town and actually managed to get Ben at gun point. The rest of the gang are in other towns at the moment so the plan is for Dan to get Ben onto a stage coach in another town and then he’ll be in prison before the rest of the crew arrives. Dan not going to all of this trouble for petty revenge. He’s doing this because Butterfield has promised him a nice reward and Dan needs the money for his farm. Right now he is in a dicey financial situation.

As always the film reminds you that all of the town inhabitants are cowards who are afraid to fight even when they have the numbers advantage. You should see how quickly they run when Ben’s men are rumored to be showing up. Even though it would have been something like 18 vs 12 heroes to villains they quickly run off so before long it is 2 vs 12. It’s annoying for Dan because from the start Ben tells him that they’re all going to run away and it turns out that he was right. Even Butterfield loses his nerve by the end. A good deal of the film is then about Ben trying to convince Dan to let him go by playing on his weaknesses.

Dan stays strong which is good because he’d have to be a grade A sucker to fall for such a ploy. There is no way to guarantee that Ben would get him the money or even that Ben wouldn’t murder him. There is nothing to force Ben to do anything once he leaves so trying to do something would be futile. At that point it’s better to just get shot and get that part over with. Still, Dan still has to deal with a bunch of outlaws on his own now.

There isn’t a huge supporting cast, but it’s a decent one. I liked Butterfield even if he wasn’t the bravest guy out there. He still did last for quite a while. Then you’ve got Alex who stayed strong the whole time. He suffers a pretty painful death so you wish Dan would have been there to help. Instead he’s basically hiding in the room with Ben where he makes a bunch of mistakes that are almost fatal. At least he doesn’t crack like that one guy who ran into the room to murder Ben and just made the situation worse.

Dan’s a reasonable main character. I’d say that his decision to stand down when seeing the other guys start robbing the carriage was the right call. Perhaps if he was by himself he could have done something but with 2 kids right there it wouldn’t be right to put their lives in danger. After that he does pretty good with taking out all the villains and completing his mission. It may not have been all that realistic but Dan did his best.

As for Ben, I wasn’t sold on the guy. The movie does its best to try and make him sympathetic by the end but I’m not buying it. The guy’s basically a criminal/murderer who just so happens to like the bar tender Emmy so naturally he is nice around her. Even the worst of people have someone they like so that doesn’t suddenly make them a better person. Ben is still a criminal with crimes that have been accumulating for years. I also fully expect he would have taken Dan down if he had grabbed the gun early on. So his big change of heart at the end of the film doesn’t make much sense. It’s even worse when you realize that he is going to be executed once he gets to the next town so he probably shouldn’t be so chipper. Maybe he thinks he can get out alive, but that’s a long shot.

It goes without saying that his romance plot with Emmy is not handled very well. It all happens so suddenly and never feels like it was all that realistic. They just hit it off immediately which is a nice sentiment of course, but it just makes you assume that Emmy is fairly easy and that Ben’s probably pulling the moves in every town he goes into. That’s really the only implication you can make after such a subplot and it also made Ben not look very smart since he should have known that staying in a town where he just robbed the civilians would not end well. The guy was definitely pretty overconfident.

The final fight is fun, but the hero is way too outnumbered. We’re supposed to believe that Dan is taking out an entire squadron all by himself while dragging Ben around. The villains keep missing their shots, but they really should not be. People start missing shots at point blank range and then you realize that things are really getting dicey.

Overall, 3:10 to Yuma is a good film. It’s got its flaws and I don’t really think there is a lot of replay value here, but it’s a good first time watch. You’ll definitely be wondering how things are going to play out even if you won’t be surprised at how the townspeople falter when it really matters. As it stands you think they would at least recognize when someone doesn’t belong. There is one scene where it turns out that one of the villains was sleeping nearby and nobody recognized him. It’s also interesting that the sheriff would take all of the cops and leave while there’s a whole crew of murder suspects staying in town. Sure, he waited til they started to leave…but that’s pretty bold. The heroes make questionable decisions for sure, but I suppose that is why this is the Wild West.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Rage Review


It’s time to look at another Wild West type film. This one isn’t about lassoing criminals or escaping justice though. Instead it’s a film that takes place in the old days but has an unrelated plot. It’s a decent idea, but unfortunately the execution just wasn’t there and so this film ended up as a flop.

The film starts off with a truck of performers heading over to a nearby village. They have to get past a dangerous bridge and endure a villainous driver but ultimately make it. They get their money after a few day’s hard work but one of the girls stays. Perla’s decided that she has a future with Doctor Reuben but currently he has not gotten over his dead wife. She aims to change that but it won’t be easy. Complicating matters further is the fact that something seems to be wrong with the animals around town. If the doctor doesn’t solve this right away then they could all be in trouble.

There are a few things holding this film back and I think a big one is definitely the subplot with the entertainers at the beginning. For starters this is really an excuse to have a lot of fan service thrown in for most of their scenes. As expected none of the guys have any morals or dignity here either and look quite terrible. The driver being a villain was also completely unnecessary and that scene should have simply been cut. The scenes add up quite a bit. Even once the performers are gone it doesn’t end since Perla stayed and keeps trying to bring joy to the village through dicey means.

There is also the animal violence in this film to finish off the 1-2 punch. Since the animals are being infected things don’t quite end well for them. Shots are fired and you can feel the film’s score shrinking with each bullet. By this point the film was already well on its way to the dark side but deep down you always hope that it can make a comeback. Unfortunately this was not in the cards for Rage.

Then you’ve got the main character Reuben who isn’t close to being likable. For starters he is a drunk who is constantly throwing his bottles around. He is a doctor so you will be worried for his patients. Reuben is mourning his wife but it’s no excuse for not putting down the bottle. Then you’ve got the critical scene which destroyed his character. Reuben finds out that his days are numbered but he had already promised to go help out his friend Pancho since the guy’s wife was having a baby. It was already known that it would be a difficult carriage and there is nobody else who can help. She will die if no one shows up. Knowing this, the lead puts his life ahead of hers and nearly deserts them. He wastes a few hours on this betrayal and by the time he comes back there’s already been a lot of extra pain on the wife’s part. The Doctor was completely out of luck by this point and having a main character like that is not easy.

The best character is definitely the friend Pancho. He is supportive throughout and even helps the lead after all his betrayal attempts. He does whatever he can to help his wife first and then makes time to save the day at the end. You couldn’t ask for a better friend. Pancho is just genuinely heroic and has his priorities straight. He is ready to make the hard calls and also has more practical knowledge than Reuben. Then you’ve got the heroine Perla who is okay, but since her goal is to get the guy to rebound from his wife you can’t really root for her. On the contrary, you have to hope she doesn’t succeed. There is always a case for when it is time to move on, but it’s not a case that would really save Perla for me.

Now there is one scene where a guy gets rabies and so the town is forced to tie him up. They ultimately let him die naturally but some of the characters bring valid concerns to Reuben asking him to just end it. While I understand him not wanting to push the trigger because that is quite drastic (Also it’s something that anyone could do so it’s a little iffy to put the blame on him) but not even giving him some extra shots to knock him out temporarily or block the senses a bit? In such a state it probably wouldn’t be too effective, but surely doing something is better than nothing. It’s definitely a very rough way to go for the guy infected so I can see why nobody wants to get sick like that.

The cast is fairly small, but that’s probably for the best. Pretty much every character who does show up here is pretty annoying or downright unlikable. The kids on the bus definitely aren’t very compassionate or understanding and one of Reuben’s allies seems sketchy from the start. The bus driver is probably one of the only decent side characters and at least

Overall, This one won’t rank too highly on the Wild West rankings. It brings together the worst aspects of the genre without giving us any gunfights in exchange. That’s a bad deal if I’ve ever heard of one. There really isn’t anything here to grab your attention or keep you engaged. If you’re thinking of watching this film then I would advise you to keep walking and to watch something like Trigun instead. You’ll be glad you made the decision.

Overall 3/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Resident Evil: Retribution 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 been quite a while, but it’s time to finally rejoin the Resident Evil series and continue with Alice’s adventure. The movie series has always been a very interesting one. It’s got a dynamite soundtrack and the special effects are on point. It’s also got a very interesting plot and handles the whole zombie angle way better than most other titles. It ends up faltering due to the excessive violence and fanservice running around, but at least you have a decent time while watching it. This film is no exception so you’ll have a lot of fun as the film goes on even if it can’t escape some of the usual issues.

The movie starts off by giving us a brief recap of the last few films. If you managed to forget parts then this will help a bit, but honestly I don’t see how you could forget since the films are too exciting for that. To this day I have to admit that Resident Evil consistently has the best cliffhangers out of any live action movie. They always end with a bang and that keeps you going until the next movie. The credits play before that through a slow motion scene that goes backwards before then playing it again at normal speed. It’s an interesting way to start the film, but I think the scene does go on for a little too long. It’s always interesting to see how the scenes look before they’re at normal speed though.

So last time Jill and the other members of Umbrella stormed the boat and attacked the heroes. Alice was captured during this offensive and is being held at Umbrella’s most dangerous prison. The Red Queen has decided that now is the time to break Alice. Fortunately she is given an escape option thanks to Wesker. He hacked the system and sent in his top agent Ada to help Alice get out. She doesn’t trust him, but she’ll surely die if she stays so she goes along with this plan. The prison is huge with different areas spanning multiple city blocks and each area is infested with zombies that she has met in previous films as well as normal ones. Alice will really have to work hard to get out of here. Meanwhile a squad has also been sent in to rescue Alice from the outside. They’ll have to get halfway through the compound to rescue her, but breaking in is just as difficult as breaking out. Neither side is going to have an easy time here.

Well, lets tackle the film’s weak points first. For starters this is still a film that is focused on using a ton of gratuitous violence as the heroes mow down the zombies. Someone gets drilled with a spinning disc until they’re murdered, others are sliced and diced, and everyone else is eaten alive or shot down. There’s constant violence here to be sure. I feel like it’s less violent than the last one or two, but it’s been a while so it may just feel that way. As always the film does make sure to include one fanservice scene at the very beginning as the villains try to break Alice, but it’s not quite as forced as in the last films. It’s still one of the weakest scenes in the film though and I guess the Red Queen is getting emotional at this point because there really doesn’t seem to be much of a point in kidnapping Alice in the first place. At the very least they aren’t running tests or doing any of the usual maneuvers that you would expect.

The supporting characters are also pretty forgettable. Anyone who isn’t one of the main 4 characters is quickly shoved to the side. It’s hard to care about any of the group members who came to save Alice despite at least one of them possibly being a character from an older film. The main guy is Leon and he doesn’t leave much of an impact. They all just start to blend together and feel like cannon fodder. Ultimately they don’t seem all that important. At least the main cast is solid though.

As always Alice is a great character. She’s certainly kept her fighting skills over the years and is always ready for the next fight. Her character is exactly how I would like Samus to be portrayed if we ever get a Metroid film. To say that Alice is one of the best film heroines of all time would not be an understatement. At the moment I cannot think of anyone who would be above her. She’s just that good and has been consistently solid throughout all of the films in the series. This may still be her best portrayal yet as she is both a solid soldier as well as a compassionate mother figure in this movie. I’m expecting great things from her in the next film as well.

Wesker gets to appear a little here. His role is large but his screen time isn’t although that should change in the next film. There’s a lot of ways the film can finish up his character arc so I look forward to seeing what they choose. He is incredibly overpowered to the point where it seems like he could end the zombie apocalypse on his own. I suppose it isn’t that easy, but it does feel that way. Alice will have to watch out in the next film although thanks to a twist in the ending she may be ready for him.

Jill spends most of the film under mind control but makes for a terrific main villain. Her fighting skills are the real deal and when you mix in her hand to hand expertise she really becomes a serious threat. Her costume is very accurate to the games and she is a scene stealer. Then you have Ada who also gets a lot of hype for her fighting abilities, but isn’t quite as impressive as Jill. I don’t think there is ever a question of who would win if these two were to fight each other. There’s also a kid who tags along for a good chunk of the film. Her plot is fairly sad, but Alice does what she can to help. The kid can actually listen to orders so she is considerably better than most others. Her Mom also did good as she didn’t panic too much when the zombies came and actually fought quite a bit.

Continuing with the film’s excellent execution, it really pulls off the zombie invasion in this small town. It’s an intense set of scenes with a lot of good attention to detail as you see people trying to fight off the zombies in the background. I definitely don’t think heading back into a house is a good idea in the zombie apocalypse, but in the spur of the moment I suppose there isn’t much else you can do. The whole thing is pretty thrilling and it’s like seeing an AU of what it could have been.

As always the soundtrack is dynamite as well. It really feels like something out of a video game and I think that’s part of why these films shine so much. The structure and feel is like a video game and the films aren’t afraid to embrace that aspect. The costumes are on point as well and the pacing is also solid. It’s still a little hard to describe what really makes these films pop, but I think at the end of the day it’s that sci-fi works really well for any medium. It’s why Astral Chain looked so great and why these films are so engaging. Sci-Fi is just excellent.

I also need to point out that the fight scenes here are excellent. Jill vs Alice is certainly the highlight. It’s the kind of fight where it’s one sided, but close enough for both fighters to still be throwing attacks around if that makes sense. It’s just a lot of solid back and forth. Then you have the other fight of Rain taking on the side characters and that plays out as you would expect. She’s simply too powerful and Alice has a tough time there. Throwing in these super soldiers really takes Resident Evil to the next level. If there’s any complaint with this climax it is that the resolution to Jill vs Alice doesn’t make any sense. Stopping the tech should not be so easy because if it was then the fight should not have lasted so long. There would be many opportunities to do what Alice did at the end a little earlier in the fight. It’s also poor design on the villains part.

I didn’t talk much about Rain earlier, but she’s a solid villain. Her good self was also fun and you’ll feel bad for her. She did try her best to help out but is the definition of a red shirt. She was never going to last very long in this brutal world. Rain never faltered and that’s the important thing. Evil Rain is just as solid and really gave the heroes a hard time.

As I mentioned these films are known for their awesome endings and this film does its best to top them all. I’m not sure if I’ll give it the top spot over the original, but it definitely comes close with the heroes preparing for their final battle. It really feels like we have finally made it to the end of the road. It’s hard to see how the heroes will be able to overcome such crazy odds but with Alice and Wesker they have a chance. The tough part will be trying to keep the two from destroying each other in the meantime. The ending also gives a lot of hope for more awesome fights in the next film only this time we may finally be back to the more super hero-esque adventures.

Overall, Resident Evil: Retribution brings the nonstop action that you are hoping to see. It’s a very solid film on all the fundamentals and is definitely the best title in the series. It improves on all the previous ones and does its best to get over some of the negatives. It’s still dug its grave with the amount of over the top violence here, but the upwards slope this film brings the series to is definitely a good thing. If you like horror films or just want a good sci-fi thriller then you definitely need to check this out. So long as you are cool with the violence you can expect to have a home run hit on your side. Hopefully the next and last film in the series can give us a proper ending.

Overall 3/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Main Event Review


It’s time to look at an old comedy film that threw in a little boxing. It’s not a film that has aged particularly well though and rarely ends up being funny. The characters aren’t particularly likable and it definitely has one of the worst endings that I’ve seen in quite a while. This film definitely doesn’t feel like the main event and I’m not even sure that I would book it as a side show. As far as I’m concerned this one just ended up dropping the ball at every turn.

The film starts off by introducing us to Hillary who has been doing pretty well for herself as a perfume expert. Unfortunately her accountant runs off with all of her money so now she is poor. All of her assets are sold to pay off her debts and the only thing she has left is the rights to a boxer that she owns. The problem is that he has been living off her money without actually training or boxing for years. Hillary forced him to get in the ring since she still has bills to pay, but can he really win enough matches to actually make a difference? Also, this Eddie fellow isn’t the nicest of guys so she’ll have to keep him on a short leash or he is liable to run away as well.

There is a big problem with the film’s plot from the start. Since Hillary was an excellent perfume mega star why didn’t she just try to regain money by staying in the same field? The competitors are happy to get rid of her by paying for some of the debt along with an agreement of hers to leave the business for good, but I feel like she could have stayed in the career path and made the money back again. It would be difficult but certainly not more so then entering an entirely new field with a boxer who’s never won a fight. Seems to me that she put herself through a lot more trouble than necessary.

Then you’ve got Eddie who is portrayed as being a pretty terrible person from the start. He’s lazy and doesn’t actually want to do any work. There’s really no excuse for this though since he basically lives in a gym and knows that he is getting money to work out. He chooses to waste it away instead as he chases after his dreams, but that isn’t endearing. It just shows that he is self centered and you can’t really root for him. It also makes the second half rather cheesy as this out of shape boxer is suddenly able to take on everyone including the current champ. How is this guy so good after just training seriously for a little while? Something doesn’t add up here.

Then we’ve got the ending. I can’t go into depth with it here, but throughout the film a running gag is that Hillary doesn’t know anything about boxing despite reading books on it and attending all of his fights. She will jump into the ring and do a lot of crazy stuff that gets everyone in trouble. It’s unrealistic and bad writing, but at least it’s accidental. Then she makes a choice in the end that is completely terrible. There’s no positive effect of doing this and I can’t imagine anyone actually doing this. It ends the film on a pretty low note.

You’ve also got to take into account the poor romance in this film. Naturally the two characters don’t like each other as the film starts, but the more they hang out the closer they get. It’s all very generic and obvious, but it really makes no sense. Eddie is also far too pushy the whole time and was beyond the point where you could root for him. The whole plot of Hillary having to stay at the same inn as the rough boxers was also terrible. They’re portrayed to be downright villainous and you’ll just feel bad for Hillary the whole time. She’s the one who’s had a rough time of it. In comparison Eddie is really just whining when he has no right to do so.

Overall, The Main Event is not a film I’d recommend. The writing really isn’t that good. With enough jokes thrown in I’m sure some will land, but ultimately you could do a lot better with the Streisand films. The plot starts off flimsy so throwing in a crazy ending was really the decisive blow. There isn’t really anything positive to say about this film. I suppose the fights were okay, but they were definitely no Rocky. That’s an impossibly high bar to compare with of course, but I haven’t seen a whole lot of boxing movies so I don’t have too many options to use. Hopefully her next film is a little better.

Overall 3/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

What’s Up, Doc? Review


It’s time to take a look at an old rom-com film. The title is definitely iconic since it’s borrowing from the legendary Looney Tunes quote so you aren’t likely to forget the title after you see the movie. It’s a pretty fun film although at the end of the day you can’t really root for any of the main characters since they tend to make a lot of questionable decisions. The person you can count on is the guy who’s trying to get the suitcase. (There are a few different characters with this objective though)

The film’s plot starts off with Howard checking into a hotel along with his fiancee Eunice. He is trying to get a grant so he can continue his research on the rocks. It’ll be tough but Howard thinks he has a good shot and Eunice is going to make sure that he scores the win. A wrinkle gets thrown into the arrangements when Howard bumps into a lady named Judy. Judy decides that she’s going to steal Howard away from Eunice and is willing to do whatever it takes to break them apart. Whether it’s through lying, framing, or even by sending someone away to their death there is no line that Judy will not cross. This is why most characters don’t mess with her. Can Howard secure the grant and keep his relationship intact or will he end up cracking under pressure?

Meanwhile there is a Mr. Smith who has classified documents from the government. He’s come to the same hotel as well and his suitcase is the same design which is where things start to get messy. There are 4 suitcases in the hotel that all look identical only one of them has classified papers, one has jewels, one has books, and one has rocks. Through various shenanigans the suitcases all get shuffled and now Mr. Smith needs to find the right one. He isn’t alone though as many other parties want the suitcase which leads to a lot of running about. Since some of these guys are actual mobsters you can bet that the guns are put into play before long.

That was personally my favorite part of the movie. It was a lot of fun to see everyone going after the suitcase and it led to a lot of fun situations. I was rooting for Mr. Smith the whole time and he really stole the show. The guy is definitely not very trustworthy and I would recommend keeping your guard up around him, but he was just a lot of fun. The guy knew when it was time to take charge. The other interested parties are all pretty intense about this as well, but I don’t think there is any point where you will be rooting for them over Howard.

Still, that is technically the sub plot. The main thing is all about Howard and unfortunately he does not have enough strength in his convictions to resist Judy’s advances. There were already some warning bells going off when he went along with her act during the grant making process, but it all crumbled once he made it to the roof which is easily the worst scene in the film. I’d say that Howard lasted a while at least before being tempted, but not really. He’s fairly oblivious for the most part, but I can’t say that this is a valid excuse for anything. I do wonder how he and Eunice ended up together in the first place and there’s a reasonable chance that she actually was just using him for the money. It’s a lot of assumptions though and the easiest story here is that she was actually a nice person who just lost out. Howard should have just stayed strong and should have also explained things to Eunice a little clearer right from the start. Judy loses her ammo if Howard spills the beans right away.

As for Judy, her whole plan is to steal away someone that she knows is in a relationship so I definitely wasn’t rooting for her. She’s a very self absorbed character who will do anything for her own interests and it shows. She really has no regard for how things will affect Howard so long as she “wins.” She easily manipulates most of the men in the film and so hopefully Howard realizes that he is no exception. Meanwhile Eunice is pretty reasonable for the most part. It’s a bit of a Home Alone type scenario where the step mom actually isn’t all that bad, but has to lose so towards the end she doesn’t do very well. Eunice has a lot of good reasons to be upset by the end after all. From her point of view Howard has basically started betraying her pretty easily over a lady that he just met. That’s not a good look for him.

It goes without saying that I couldn’t really get on board with the romance. I don’t care if Judy turned out to be the nicest character in the world, Howard was taken so that should have been the end of the story right there. Beyond that the writing was pretty solid though. Judy makes for a good antagonist and always has some kind of comeback at the ready. She’s certainly more prepared for any scenario than Howard. The film really flies by thanks to the quick pacing.

Overall, What’s Up Doc is a good film. I feel like it’s really only held back by the fact that you’re forced to root against the main characters even though you know from the start how this is all going to end. The plot’s a little suspect to be sure, but at least we still had the subplot with the briefcases. That does lead to an intense climax where they even throw in one of those really long car chases from back in the day. That always makes for a fun little sequence and it was a good way to wrap up all of the plots. I’d recommend checking this one out.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

All About Eve Review


It’s time to look at an old film where Hollywood once again plays a major role. While it doesn’t actually appear as it did in A Star is Born, its mere presence is enough to shape many decisions in this title. It’s a story of betrayal and how you must always be careful not to let your guard down among outsiders. Anyone can put up a mask, you’ve got to either break through or just go about life imagining that everyone’s got it up. It’s very easy to keep your guard up while still being friendly. There’s no reason to throw in any deep dark secrets with a friend you’ve made, no matter how close. Only tell what you wouldn’t mind being told again in the future. That’s a lesson most of the characters in this film likely learned by the end.

The film starts off with Karen running into an obsessive fan outside. This fan has attended this Broadway show during every single one of its performances. Karen figures it’ll be nice to introduce this fan to the stars and invites her in. The fan’s name is Eve and she is thrilled to be meeting all of her icons. Eve quickly becomes Margo’s (Star of the show) attendant and seems to be loving the experience. However, while this initially appears to be innocent Eve slowly begins to start making moves without letting Margo know and may even have dreams of being the star herself. Will Margo be able to stay successful or is this the end for her?

I’d say that the movie does a good job of making Eve a fairly hard to read character. I dare say that if you did not know the plot of the film you could possibly be fooled for at least a good 30 minutes. Eve does seem genuine even if a bit over the top with the fake modesty. She always acts as if she isn’t ready even when she actually does think that she has something to offer. I suppose that definitely would qualify as a true red flag. Eve’s definitely a fun villain though. She does a good job of being pretty manipulative the whole time and playing everyone against each other. All told, her acting in-film is the real deal so at the very least you can’t say that she doesn’t have the talent for the position. Her whole plan wouldn’t have worked otherwise. She’s certainly underhanded, but somewhere along the way she actually did pick up some skills.

Then you’ve got Margo who is the actual main character here. She’s pretty sensitive about her age and it has gotten to the point where she is now very paranoid. Eve showing up doesn’t help matters and so she begins to have a lot of fights with Bill over the girl. Margo’s definitely a very dramatic lead, but one who has not yet cracked unlike the main guy from A Star is Born. At the very least while she is rather mean to some of her friends she never goes too far. I’m sure some definitely wouldn’t be her friend after her outbursts, but it does seem like most of the characters are used to it by this point. They’ve just grown used to Margo at this point, but as a result they don’t take her complaints against Eve very seriously. Margo’s fun, but she definitely could have had a much easier time of things if she had acted a little more professionally from the beginning. Then she could have really had the upper hand.

Karen’s a good friend even if she does make some mistakes along the way. I don’t think you can blame her for wanting to give Eve a shot to meet her idol, but I do think that she was probably a bit too quick to get Eve an inside track through the job and all. Of course everyone was trusted a lot more back in the day, but I still think it was a bit much to let this person into her house just like that. Everyone rolls with it so I suppose this was normal, but still tricky. Karen gets blackmailed at one point due to a particularly big mistake she made. Karen really dropped the ball there.

Meanwhile you have Bill who is portrayed as a pretty fair guy. He gives everyone a fair shake and as a result he does stick up for Eve quite a bit. At that point there is no reason for him not to do so though. Once he finds out the truth then he is in it with Margo for the long haul. The guy can be rather oblivious like when he gets home and spends 30 minutes talking to Eve rather than greeting Margo. That was definitely not his best moment, but at least he doesn’t even entertain the thought of betraying Margo.

Then you have Lloyd who is a little more gullible than Bill. He manages not to make the fatal mistake, but it’s extremely easy for Eve to manipulate him the entire time. You’d think that since he is a writer he would be careful not to fall for the classic traps. Ah well, he’s still a good character. There were times when it was hard not to mix him up with Bill though since the two look so similar. That was one thing I had to be careful about the whole time.

Finally you’ve also got Addison who is another powerful figure in the film. This guy is used to being the one in control so you can bet that he isn’t getting suckered by Eve like the others. He’s at least able to hold his own and gets a particularly big role in the end. The guy was definitely underestimated quite a bit. There’s also a very minor supporting character who shows up for a scene or two. She doesn’t get much to do, but is definitely a fun character. She’s straight forward compared to the others and doesn’t care about the drama. She just wants her drinks and shoots straight for the top. Her plot never gets any closure, but I don’t think it was ever supposed to have any.

As for the ending of the film, I have a hard time buying into what it seems to be selling. The movie is going for a full circle kind of ending as Eve is about to face the quick wrath of karma. I just don’t see her making the same mistakes as Margo because her character is already a lot more cynical. Eve invented the betrayal tactics so I really don’t think anyone will get to turn around and use them on her. Her last scene feels out of character if this is the implication but if you take it as her deciding to take advantage of another character then it fits in quite well.

Another aspect of the film that is pretty solid is the low key humor. This is a drama with a lot of characters who are being portrayed as dramatic so this leads to a lot of fun metaphors and back and forth conversations between the characters. At one point during a debate Bill just goes to bed to sleep for a while during the argument that the others have. All of the characters here can give as well as they take so the scenes never feel one sided. The only character who always shrinks away is Eve and of course that may not be what it seems.

Overall, this is a pretty fun film. It’s a solid drama with a lot of twists and turns. Margo really steals the show with how theatrical her character is. It really makes all the difference with how much it adds to the experience. Most of the difficulties she experiences in this film she can take at least half of the blame for even if someone was ultimately plotting her downfall in the background. You definitely need to have a fun lead/solid villain to make the drama all the better and this film really nails it. I’d definitely recommend checking it out and seeing what you think. The ending certainly gives you a lot of room to think up your own aftermath.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Village of the Damned Review


It’s time to look at an old film with a rather intense name. Apologies to my younger readers, but given the context it’s not really used as a swear word. Regardless I won’t be mentioning the title for the rest of the review so you only need to see it once! Whenever you’ve got the word “Village” in the title you have to be a little weary because those movies do not have a great track record. While this one is certainly a step up from that infamous film, I can’t say that it really succeeds either. When it comes to horror films, it’s hard to say what the best formula is. It’s either throwing in aliens, monsters, or ghosts. I can tell you now that possession and normal humans are some of the worst horror moves. What’s one other kind that competes with those? Evil kids.

The film starts off with everyone in a random village being knocked unconscious and nobody is able to enter the area. Eventually this odd occurrence ends and everyone wakes up. All seems normal for a while, but two months later a bunch of people get pregnant and the demon kids are born into the world. They look like normal kids, but have slight differences in appearance like their hair and claws. They also have the ability to take control of someone’s mind and can even affect multiple people at once. The government thinks they must be destroyed but Gordon believes that they can be used for good. One of these kids was born to him and Anthea which gives him extra motivation to convert them. Alas, they seem to be getting worse and worse instead of better.

Gordon’s plan may not have gone well, but I would still argue that he had the right idea in part at least. These kids are still just kids so even if they have super powers you can’t just destroy them right away. Locking up or quarantining them made sense though so the government agent had some good points. It’s not as if you can stop them with power or hope to protect everyone, but leaving them in the middle of a village with a ton of innocent kids and civilians is really not the best way to go about this. Gordon was too hopeful. It’s not bad to be optimistic, but you can’t be putting everyone else in danger like that. The only life you should risk is your own when it comes to ideas like this.

Anthea is probably the most tragic character here because she’s trying to just make things as normal as possible and David isn’t making that possible. The kids don’t even try to fit in. From the start they act antagonistically. I suppose they want to rule the world and all, but shouldn’t they not be putting so much attention on themselves? David later admits that they caused too much of a commotion but they could have easily gone under the radar. I suspect they are not quite as intelligent as they would have you believe. After all, they have lost to the humans in every major battle so far. With their abilities the kids should never lose.

Here’s why kids don’t work as main villains anymore than they would work as main characters. For starters, you can’t have a proper fight with them. It’s not like you can punch a kid after all. So all of the scenes with them just involve the kids staring the adults into submission until they destroy themselves. Causing the characters to commit suicide is the main trick that the kids use and it’s not exciting to watch in the slightest. I also always have a hard time buying into the whole hypnosis thing so I’m just over here shaking my head while this is all going on. These guys need to work on their will power so they don’t get wrecked so easily.

I suppose by the end of the film it’s safe to say that these are really just aliens who are taking the form of kids. It’s definitely a unique plot even if the payoff isn’t amazing. I actually prefer the first half as the characters struggle to get into the town and have to figure out a way around the dead zone. I expected that most of the film would revolve around this effect turning off and on with the humans getting closer each time. Instead we are introduced to the kid plot which throws in some tension as some of the parents reject these alien beings, but I’d prefer we have focused on the aliens.

The writing here is pretty solid. It’s got that classic feel to it with every character feigning politeness even when they are being aggressive. The pacing of the film is good as well and it doesn’t drag on. At most the second half might be a little grating just because by that point you realize that Gordon is completely in denial and everyone is dying as a result. You know that the townsfolk will fail even though there was a whole group of them. It may have actually been more interesting to have had the government take the win here rather than letting Gordon get all the credit.

At first I thought Alan was going to be the main character while Gordon would be the second in command. The film did a good job of pulling a bait and switch here as Alan quickly goes from being the lead to one of the less intelligent side characters. He doesn’t even realize Gordon’s final plan despite the character trying to be as clear as possible without tipping anyone off. I guess the guy’s army training just wasn’t quite enough for him to be ready for such mindgames. Gordon’s plan was quite solid though. Keeping your mind busy on something else to avoid the telepathic probes is exactly the kind of trick you should be using here.

Overall, this film does a good job of being an atmospheric horror title. There are no jump scares nor does the film resort to violence to try and get a quick scream. The animals don’t even end up dying because fortunately they were only put to sleep. Even the dog managed to live which is amazing because I feared the worst as soon as he showed up. Still, I can’t give the film a higher score because the kids just aren’t very interesting and their scenes can’t hold their own. It’s really up to the grownups to make the film and they do a good job. If you like the idea of alien kids among us then you should definitely check this out. Otherwise, why are you watching this one?

Overall 5/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Hot Millions Review


It’s time to look at an old film about a conman. This is definitely one of those films that you aren’t likely to have heard of in the past. I’m sure it has its own following of course especially as I do buy into the whole “every movie is someone’s favorite” line. Still, there isn’t a whole lot to keep this movie too engaging so while it is a good watch, there isn’t much replay value here.

The film starts with Marcus getting out of jail after being exposed for embezzling lots of money. He decides that he will try again and this time plans to outsmart the computers. (A computer is why he was caught the first time) He tricks a big company into hiring him while under the guise of a successful computer engineer. The main obstacle standing in his way is the fact that there is no way to turn off the computer without a key and the main character can’t risk being caught again. Amidst his trials of trying to get around the computer he gets a secretary who has not been particularly good at any of her jobs. Still, Marcus is a pretty laid back kind of guy and doesn’t mind since it’s not like he plans to stick around anyway. Will Patty ultimately be an ally for him or will she turn out to be an enemy?

Right away you’ll realize that there is no rooting for the main lead. He doesn’t even have some kind of sympathetic reason for embezzling. Marcus just wants to get rich quick and considering that his salary was already making him a ton of money you can see how he is a little on the greedy side. It’s even worse when you consider the fact that if his plan succeeds then a lot of people are gonna end up being fired and the company will be in the red. He is a charismatic guy but there is still no actual reason to root for him. I wanted the company to catch him the whole time, but alas it was not to be.

Then you’ve got Patty who is having a lot of job trouble. Unfortunately you have a hard time taking her side as well. She lucked out by having a nice boss like Marcus but you can’t blame the company for firing her since Patty was late for a week straight. It seems like she was prepared to lie about it, but when they brought up that the computer found out the info there was no going back. A sketchy pair of leads eh?

Then you’ve got the main villain. Gnatpole likes the heroine and dislikes Marcus from the start. He’s definitely a classic company man but one who is distracted way too easily by his thoughts of romance and quickly becomes the worst character in the film. Gnatpole is way too pushy and is definitely an annoyance to everyone around him. It’s too bad because he had some potential. Before the heroine obsession started he fulfilled the role of having the skeptic in the office. In any film with a shifty lead you want to have another character who is absolutely not buying what the lead is selling. The movie just went too far in making him unlikable.

As expected the romance is pretty poor here. It definitely happens quite quickly. At least the film waited til Marcus wasn’t her boss anymore but it definitely didn’t need to be included in the film. Then even after that Marcus encourages Patty to use Gnatpole’s obsession with her to delay him a big which is a dicey choice to say the least. There really didn’t need to be romance here.

The ending is also rather flat. It goes a little too hard in trying to give everyone a happy ending when the two main characters haven’t really earned one at this point. I’m glad that things worked out for the company but it’s very cheesy. The President should especially still be furious since he trusted Marcus so much prior to this. The president was definitely the best character in the film btw. He was a genuinely nice person and did his best to help everyone succeed. The guy may not have used the company’s assets 100% the way they should have been and had a dicey scene in the train, but at least he was a company man through and through.

Part of what makes the plot tricky here is that you have to suspend your disbelief a lot. There are dozens of moments throughout the film where you think it’d all be over. One of the biggest ones is when they actually catch Marcus in the act of trying to steal money from them. He quickly makes up a story about how he was testing their security and all that jazz, but why would they even buy into this? There’s no real reason to take such a story seriously and that should have really made them double think the entire job. Marcus also isn’t very subtle the whole time since he’s desperate to get rich quickly so he can go home. In a way the company brought all of this upon themselves.

Overall, Hot Millions is a pretty unique film but I’ve got to say that it could have been a whole lot more interesting. It can be a little slow and the movie is a little long considering that the plot isn’t all that complicated. There are a bunch of scenes that could be cut out and the film would be better off for it. It is going for the slow burner approach but this isn’t the kind if film that could have a dramatic payoff for the climax so it really doesn’t work. If you’re really in the mood to watch a low key dramatic film about an embezzler trying to outsmart the computer then this is the title for you. Otherwise I’d say to skip this and watch a more exciting one like Ocean’s 11.

Overall 5/10