5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Miracle Mile 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.

Time to look at a panic movie about the end of the world. It’s always been an interesting question on how you would spend your last hours if you knew you were about to die. A lot of people would prefer not to know if they’re about to die, but honestly I’d be all for it if I actually believed there was a way this could be done. Lets say I only have 10 days to live right? I would spend that time getting all of my favorite foods and playing my favorite games because the end is nigh so I may as well forget about the cholesterol for a few days. Of course in real life there would always be some doubt on if things were actually going to end so I wouldn’t be able to do that. This would only be if destruction was a guarantee. Regardless this is part of the basis for the film’s plot.

It starts out with a few scenes to introduce us to Harry and Julie. After hanging around each other for a while without really getting to talk they finally hit it off. Harry is looking forward to being with Julie forever and ever. Unfortunately thanks to his alarm not working he sleeps past the time they were supposed to meet. By the time he gets to the cafe she is long gone so he leaves her a voice message and prepares to have breakfast alone. That’s when the phone rings and he eagerly picks it up only to find himself talking to someone named Chip. Chip explains that someone launched a bunch of nukes at us so we fired back and now everybody’s going to die in a few hours. Harry quickly believes Chip and makes a scene in the restaurant causing everyone else to believe that it’s finally happening. As the other guys get in a truck to head to Antarctica, Harry decides to find Julie first. Can he make it to her before they are all destroyed?

This is one of those films that’s a little tragic because the setup is excellent. I really couldn’t care much about the opening minutes with the two characters meeting. It really has nothing to do with anything, but I suppose it was the quickest way to show us how Harry and Julie met. Honestly we could have just started the film with them together and nothing would change. The setup I’m talking about is once Harry gets the phone call. He panics a lot as you would expect and then panics in the store, but it’s nice to see how some people start to believe him after a bit.

The shop owner certainly seemed like he was expecting the news at some point because he takes out a big shotgun and immediately heads for his evacuation plan. It’s cool to see so much unity with all of the characters as they get ready to leave. It’s such an emergency that nobody even stays back to try and get their things or anything. They just hop in and get out of there. There’s a lot of tension here with a pretty interesting cast of quirky characters. It was the start of a great thriller in the makings with all of the characters having to deal with the fate of the world on their shoulders. Who should they bring and who has to get left behind? Time is not on their side either so they have to move very quickly. Then you’ve got Harry who is the only one who heard the call so in the back of everyone’s minds they have to wonder if he was right or not. Yes, this film was going to be an amazing look at the end of the world…..and then Harry got out of the truck.

That was the biggest mistake the film could have made. It’s an interesting subversion here as the characters were all developed enough where you figure they are going to be important. At this point they never appear again and the film loses some balance. Harry heads over to find Julie and in the process he has to get a cab driver to help him out at gun point. This leads to them accidentally murdering some cops and the body count continues to rise from this point. Everyone begins acting in their self interests which seems to be one of the film’s themes. At the end of the day the film is trying to say that people will act in a way that suits them so everyone begins stealing and attacking people left and right.

The climax particularly puts some emphasis on this as a lot and I mean a lot of crimes are happening in the background. Fortunately the film doesn’t linger for long as if things got any iffier that would have hurt the film’s overall score. Even so, the film just goes into more random territory at this point like when we get the drunk guy on the roof. Harry and Julie also split up too often. After finally finding each other after a good chunk of the film you’d think they would have stayed together right? Nah, Harry wants to find a pilot so they split again and then Julie splits to find one too. The scenes make no sense and Harry should be a little upset at Julie here because it really messes up all of the plans.

Getting to the helicopter was their best chance so making everyone wait the whole time was pretty bad. It was interesting to see everyone else get ready for the apocalypse, but ironically Harry was the one holding everyone back. He also should have just told Julie what was going on right away so she didn’t have to hear it from a total stranger. It’s always better to hear things from someone you know at the very least. Think about it, it just makes so much more sense.

So in the end I didn’t like Harry or Julie. Julie was really slow on the uptake and went along with all of Harry’s bad ideas. I would have liked to have seen her just tell Harry that they should do something else at times. Harry didn’t seem to think things through a lot which would get him into more trouble. There was a fun few scenes where a random driver with a gun chased him in the sewers though. You’d think with the world about to end the guy would have better things to do, but danger does tend to make people act rather crazy. It’s probably why quite a few characters in the film continue to talk tough even after being held at gunpoint.

Then one plot that had a random ending was the cab driver. He went to get his sister which makes sense, but then somehow he messed up and they crashed? I suppose there are thousands of ways that could have happened, but it felt like this was just put in to add some shock value for the main character. It’s not like it furthered the plot at all and the odds of running into each other again in these packed streets with everyone running around was pretty slim. Fortunately for Harry the police had to try and escape the city so he didn’t have to explain much. The ending of the film is pretty decent though. The drunk guy took away from it a bit, but it plays out like you would expect.

Overall, Miracle Mile got off to a really good start, but I feel like it took the wrong route to the ending. It would have been a very interesting movie if it stayed with the original cast in the truck. That plot had a ton of potential and along the way we would have learned a bit about the incoming threat and possibly faced some opposition. A lot of the film would be based around the dialogue on the truck so it still wouldn’t need a whole lot of budget. I’m cool with all the mystery surrounding the characters as we don’t really know anything going on, but it’s not important anyway. The world’s about to end and that’s what counts. It’s just that having a bigger cast to bounce ideas off of is better than just having Harry run around. Still, if you want to look at a pretty unique look at the end of the world then this is a good one to check out for sure.

Overall 5/10

2 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

47 Meters Down Review


Time to look at a shark film! These are usually doomed right out of the gate because it’s going to be hard for them to dodge the animal violence issue. Put it this way, if the humans win and beat the shark then the shark’s probably going to die. If the shark wins then it’ll just be normal violence as he eats all of the humans and that won’t do the film any favors. There is a pretty clever twist in the movie, but aside from that there wasn’t really anything to note here that would have the potential to save the film.

The film starts with Lisa’s boyfriend breaking up with her. This pretty much ruins Lisa’s vacation in part because of how sudden it was. This wasn’t news that she expected to hear right at this moment. Kate tries to cheer Lisa up for a while and when they are given an offer to swim with the sharks she jumps at the opportunity. The way this is supposed to work is some guys will lower the heroines in a cage and then lure sharks with fresh meat. The two sisters will get to see the sharks through the cage and then after a few minutes they’ll bring them back up. Lisa feels like this is a bad idea, but Kate convinces her that this is the only way to make her ex super jealous. Lisa ends up going through with this, but she may end up regretting such a decision.

With a movie like this you are probably expecting the premise to revolve around the leads making bad decisions so you probably won’t be very surprised at how this plays out. That’s exactly the case. The two guys make it pretty clear through their actions that this is super shady and not at all legal. The skipper even asks if they can dive and Lisa lies by saying she has experience. Then we see the guys dumping the bait into the ocean which is also illegal. There are a ton of safety reasons as to why this is a bad idea, but none of the two leads really stop to think about this for more than a moment. They were really just looking for a thrill even if it came at a super high price and that’s definitely no good.

Lisa’s also not a good main character with how fast she’s rebounding. It’s fine to take the guy dumping her fairly hard as everyone deals with it differently. Immediately moving in on a new guy is a terrible way by any stretch of the imagination though. It was partially due to peer pressure and partially to forget the other guy, but no matter how you slice it, it weakens her character. During the course of the film she does her best to overcome her fears of being underwater, but she never should have gone on the boat.

Then you have Kate who does her best to be supportive of Lisa. She wants the heroine to get back in good spirits and figures that having her do something extreme like this is the way to do it. She heavily pressures Lisa into doing this so she is partially responsible for what happens here. (Of course, ultimately it was still Lisa’s decision) Kate is very pro-active and does her best to keep on trying new plans to escape while in the cage. It’s a super tough situation, but she stays calm and always has a plan so from the two leads I definitely preferred her.

It’s a pretty small cast because the other characters are just the random guys and the captain of the ship. None of them get to do much or even appear all that often after the girls get in the cage. There really isn’t much they can do from above water, but they do their best by calling the coast guard and one of them goes under to help. With all the sharks around you can probably imagine that things get pretty dicey. The opening segments aren’t particularly strong, but for the movie the really dangerous part naturally comes from when the sharks actually start to appear.

This leads us to some classic animal violence. The film actually managed to reasonably avoid it for the most part, but there is a particularly gruesome scene involving a shark eye near the end of the film. It was definitely one that hurt and especially with the film so close to being over. Beyond that the film just also gets hurt on account of most of it taking place underwater. Mobility is limited down there so it doesn’t really make for very engaging scenes. The heroines trying to escape the cage and swimming around isn’t really that exciting. We get some nice visuals like the sharks all around them, but all in all I’d prefer to be on land for more of the movie.

Parts of the climax feel pretty cheesy with characters surviving attacks you wouldn’t expect them to. Due to how the film handles this I wouldn’t call it bad writing though. It actually makes sense the way the film explains this, but without that I would have had a very tough time buying into it. The film’s ending isn’t really my style so it doesn’t help the movie either. I wouldn’t say it hurts too much or anything, but the film really needed more positives to get it back up and this didn’t help.

More characters would have helped the movie’s dynamic. Part of the issue here is that Lisa and Kate aren’t professionals so a good chunk of the time they’re panicking a bit or just sad at what’s happening. Part of the fun with having a lead who’s a professional or just arrogant is at least they’re talking tough or making one liners the whole time. It’s more fun to watch a character who seems to have everything under control compared to more of a civilian type character who is written to act as you would expect someone to be. That means a lot of panicking and crying as opposed to just punching everything out.

While this was a minor scene, I was also annoyed at how the heroines just dropped the camera into the ocean. It happens almost immediately which is iffy because the other guys made such a big deal about not dropping it. It came off as rather clumsy and they should have used the strap around the wrist so that eliminates the risk of it plunging like that. You gotta be more careful with equipment like that, especially when underwater where sharks are a constant threat.

Overall, 47 Meters Down plays out pretty much like you would expect it to. The characters are lowered into the ocean in a cage and must find a way up. The premise speaks for itself and you can reasonably predict the entire movie right away. Aside from the twist which was pretty original, the film doesn’t really do anything else to try and make a name for itself. I’d give it a thumbs down for the animal violence and in general it’s just not all that fun. I think you need at least an underwater base and a few characters who can fight to make this one better. If you want a film about the ocean, check out Aquaman instead.

Overall 2/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Roman Holiday Review


Time to look at a pretty classic rom-com. It’s certainly a movie that just about everyone should be familiar with at this point. That being said, I didn’t know much about it beyond the title so it was a new experience. I would consider this to be one of the best films in its genre. It does a good job of capturing the positives of both genres without dragging itself out or taking things too seriously. The ending is also well done.

The movie starts with Ann going through yet another boring event of having to shake everyone’s hands. Given how many people there are in attendance she has to stand for hours just doing this. Ann does a good job of putting up with all of it, but she wants a day to herself in the town. After trying to ask politely she escapes on her own and has a merry time. Unfortunately the sleeping drugs end up knocking her out. This leads to the other main character in the film, Joe. Joe sees that Ann isn’t in her right state of mind on the bench so he hails a cab and tries to get her home. Unfortunately she is unable to really explain where her home is and he doesn’t believe that it would be the castle so he takes her with him. The next day he wakes up too late and misses his official meeting with the Princess, but realizes that she is actually Ann. Now he is determined to write a big undercover scoop to give to the press so he’ll pretend to be her friend for a day. Can he really go through with such an underhanded plot?

When the movie starts Joe isn’t portrayed as the nicest of guys. It’s not that he’s antagonistic or anything, but the guy just wants to get a good night’s sleep and doesn’t really want to bother with a super tired/possibly drunk person right away. He doesn’t even offer Ann the bed and has her take the couch. After he learns she is a princess he is a lot nicer of course, but eventually it goes from playing a role to actually being a nice person since he likes her. They hit it off as good friends, but with their social circles it won’t really work to stay together. It depends on the kingdom of course, she could possibly pull it off depending on how much pull she has, but it would be a lot for Joe to hope for.

Joe’s plan to expose Ann by pretending to be her friend may be rather standard fare for someone in his line of work to get such scoops, but it’s still good that he abandoned that idea before it was too late. I think that’s the kind of plot that would have made the film a little too mean spirited. Even if he apologized afterwards it would be too late since the damage was already done. By not actually going through with this it makes the film a whole lot more enjoyable to watch. It still brings tension into the film, but without overdoing it.

Meanwhile Ann is a fun character. The sleeping drug may have been a little too effective for the sake of the humor scenes at the beginning, but when she’s in her right mind Ann is a very reasonable character. Really her goal isn’t so bad. She just wants to be normal for a day and that’s something her kingdom should have let her accomplish as it would have saved them a whole film of worry. As long as you have bodyguards undercover it shouldn’t really be much of a problem. Ann isn’t overly oblivious to normal customs so she’s handled realistically.

It’s also a fun dynamic of lying as she and Joe are lying to each other throughout the entire film. Even if it’s not direct, all the time they both have to live out the lie once they started it. Neither one of them wants to spill the beans or the day could be over in a flash. Of course it’s difficult to keep a lie up forever so little chinks in the stories eventually start to appear. Since Joe knows the truth from the start it’s a lot more obvious from his point of view though.

Then there’s the friend Irving who is definitely given a tough time here. Joe ruins quite a few of his outfits and the guy even takes some hits. Irving can be a little oblivious to why he is being attacked though and especially the second time it happens. Both of these scenes are definitely a lot of fun though and easily some of the best moments in the film. He was a good supporting character and ultimately a good guy as well. He didn’t get to hang out with Ann quite as much as Joe but was still able to toss aside his financial dreams to do the right thing.

As for the romance, it’s considerably better than the average ones you see in a film. It’s still on the rushed side when you take into account that they’ve only known each other for about a day though. So I won’t give it a pass, but it doesn’t take away from the film all that much and isn’t a huge focus. Most of the time it’s really just the two characters hanging out as friends and checking out all of the sites in Rome. We even get a nice action scene with the guards where Ann gets to land some hits as well. They were considerably outnumbered, but still took down a lot of the enemies and it was a pretty nicely handled action scene.

The writing is part of what makes this movie shine. The dialogue is quite strong with a lot of fun little jokes hidden in the conversations. All of the characters are realistic and even ones who only appear for a few minutes get to be quite likable. One example is Joe’s boss who sees through the lead’s bold lie and strings him along for a while. I was impressed that the boss was portrayed to be so smart here as half the time they tend to be oblivious.

Overall, Roman Holiday is a film I would recommend. Certainly if you’re looking for a nice romantic comedy this is a movie that fits the bill. The plot of a member of royalty deciding to see how the citizens live is always a premise with a lot of potential. This one really did a good job of handling it and the movie is really over in a flash. I don’t really have any complaints with the movie. The character cast is strong and the blend of humor/serious moments is just right. The ending is also good since it’s pretty happy without being unrealistic or too cheesy.

Overall 7/10

5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Gator Review


It’s time to look at the film known as Gator. You may be thinking of a monster film or something based on the title, but this one’s actually a pretty down to earth story about the government blackmailing someone growing drugs into helping them nab some others. It’s a reasonable movie, but one that doesn’t really have much to it. It goes through the thriller motions, but doesn’t really go out of its way to do anything else. It’s also hard to get behind the main character. How could he possibly get caught up in this drug stuff again after his first adventure??

The movie starts off with Gator and his family enjoying a peaceful morning at the cabin. Their day is thrown for a loop though when a bunch of helicopters show up to try and arrest them. We get a chase scene with Gator beating them up while on a boat before eventually succumbing to their blackmail. Since he has started growing Moonshine again they want Gator to head to a shady town where a lot of drug dealing is going on. The government had their eyes on Gator from the start though given how they were also going to blackmail him through his father. It was a lose-lose situation for the hero. So Gator heads to town and sees that the leader is an old friend of his. Maybe he can talk some sense into the guy…

I think we can’t really talk about this film without talking about why Gator isn’t ready for this line of work. He slips up constantly with one instance of this being particularly bad. He already knows that Bama is a bad guy, but is holding out some hope that he’s not so bad. Maybe he’s one of those nice gangsters who only murders people sometimes right? Well, he quickly finds out that this isn’t the case so he walks up to Bama and says that he’s leaving. Not a smart play, but if he’s got a plan then maybe it’ll work out right? Well, that’s not really the case. Bama agrees to this but offers Gator one last drink first. He makes an obvious motion to his henchman who spikes the drink and then Gator downs the whole thing. At first you figure he has a plan, but this isn’t the case.

Gator slowly succumbs to the drink while insulting the villains the whole time. Even that could have been a plan like he was hoping he’d get punched to block the effects of the drink but that didn’t happen either. So ultimately all this leaves Gator looking absolutely terrible. By the time he is able to make a comeback at the very end of the film as he runs over some people you are still left doubting his abilities. Even leaving Irving by himself so he can mess around with Aggie wasn’t a good idea.

The romance with Gator and Aggie definitely wasn’t good. It’s one of those really rushed affairs where they just get together to check off a few boxes, but ultimately it doesn’t really add to the film and comes across as pretty pointless. I preferred Aggie’s character to Gator’s though. At least she was actively looking into the criminal situation and trying to do something about it. Gator only ended up doing something after he was blackmailed into it. Aggie’s profession is also super dangerous since she is a reporter in a city that has been completely conquered by crime. That’s never an easy task.

Meanwhile we do have one more rookie in the film. His name is Irving and he is the main American agent. Here’s my problem with the guy. He talks a good game about being from NY and all, but then he walks into a bar and gets drunk. Naturally he gets beat up by the villains pretty badly, but why would he go in there like that? He also let the villains steal his gun which was terrible. Pretty much any scene with the guy was one where you knew he would mess up. Then there is Emmeline who is here as the quirky character with her cats and all. She thinks of this as a game and does her best to slow everyone down. It’s fair to say that things would have gone smoother if she had just given them the keys or been willing to leave her cats, but naturally that wasn’t going to happen. Bringing the cats is just putting them in harm’s way.

Also, this is another scene where the government looks suspect. If the proof that Bama is a villain is in the courthouse, why can’t they just grab it? That seems like something that would be really easy to do. Also, why didn’t Bama realize that they had the records? There’s a lot of parts in this film where you wonder why the government can’t do anything. Sure the town is bought out, but apparently not the rest of the country since they’re gunning for Bama. It should have been so much easier to take the guy down.

As for Bama, he’s a pretty generic villain. The guy likes selling drugs and going on power trips all the time. He’s got a shotgun and can fight a bit, but there’s nothing more to him. He’s certainly not my kind of villain. His minions have more character if anything. The big one is like the Jaws villain from James Bond. He’s pretty big and has a lot of strength, but ultimately that doesn’t mean much in a gun fight. Then you’ve got the other guy who is surprisingly durable since he survives a ton of things in this film. As a trio they were hard to stop.

Overall, While I do consider this film to be an upgrade over the first one, it really doesn’t hold up on close inspection. You’ve got a weak character cast in a rather bland backdrop. Everyone makes the wrong choices at all times and the film has to rely on quirky characters and a rushed romance to pad out the time. There just isn’t much here so the film has to drag it all out. It can be fun at times, but not really fun enough to get the film above the break even point.

Overall 5/10

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September Review


It’s time to look at one of those films that is pretty terrible. The very premise should clue you in to this though so at least it won’t come as any surprise. The whole plot basically revolves around cheating with none of the characters being strong enough to leave the house. That would have been the best way to avoid the drama. It drags on and on so by the time you walk out of the theater (Or more realistically walking out of the TV room since nobody is seeing this in theaters right now) you’ll just be ready for a good meal and to act as if the film never happened.

The film starts with Lane and her friend Stephanie meeting up at Lane’s place. For some reason I thought they were sisters, but they’re just best friends. They’re joined by Lane’s parents Diane and Lloyd as well as a guy named Howard and Lane’s boyfriend Peter. Having this many people around the house definitely ensures that there will be drama, but things get a little worse than that. Peter decides that he wants to start going out with Stephanie even though she is currently married. Howard wants to be with Lane, but that plot is so pointless that the film doesn’t care about it either so it gets almost no screen time. Meanwhile Diane just wants to have her book written but everyone is too selfish to help her out with it. What cane Lane do about all of this?

Whenever a movie is all about cheating it’s just not going to be good. The whole premise is pretty mean spirited and none of the characters are good. Stephanie is pretty guilty for even giving Peter a moment of her time. She claims that she was trying to get him to notice her for a while so she started the whole thing even though she’s married. That’s already a pretty big strike against her character. There are some things you just don’t do and trying to have an affair once you are taken is a big one. She also gets pretty defensive at Lane afterwards for this even though she is the one in the wrong. It’s a common reaction and one that doesn’t help her case.

Meanwhile we have Peter who is also terrible. Whether he was encouraged or not it doesn’t change the fact that he knows Stephanie already has a man as well. He is also quick to ditch Lane and blames it on being overly emotional. That’s not even remotely a good excuse and short of being mind controlled I can’t think of any that would have saved him either way. The guy is just quick to use people.

Then there is Lane and she’s not a good lead either. For starters she is never around and doesn’t try to confront Peter all that much. She’s too cautious and keeps her emotions grounded which doesn’t let her face up to what is happening right under her nose. She doesn’t handle any of the situations in the film well. Her hand in life is definitely a tough one here since nothing goes her way, but it would have been nice if she could have done something earlier.

Diane is the most enjoyable character in the film although she still makes mistakes of her own. Her decision to move back into the house when Lane was going to sell it was pretty selfish. It was probably the only time in the film where she appeared to be super unreasonable. Her decision to have a book made isn’t quite so bad because it is still her life. At the end of the day if she wants her story to be told then I don’t really think the other characters can object all that much. Also lets face it, Peter wasn’t going to finish his novel anyway.

Then there’s Howard, but there’s still nothing to say about him. He is pointless in the film as his plot gets the least amount of screen time and it doesn’t amount to anything. He’s way too old for anyone to be going with him here and he seems to realize that as he just walks out pretty silently. If the other characters could have just walked out like that rather than sticking around then maybe the film would have ended up with a happier ending. As it stands I can’t see the group getting together for a nice dinner anytime soon. The whole business probably left them pretty sore with each other.

Beyond the fact that the plot is lousy with a terrible cast of characters, the film is also pretty boring. It all takes place in one setting at the house so there is no variety. The plot is small enough for a 30 minute special so it has to be stretched out quite a lot with random plots to be a full movie. Nothing eventful happens here and you’d probably learn more just watching the news for a little while. The film makers weren’t able to succeed in getting any kind of emotion from the audience with the scenes found here. It’s all just darkly lit possibly in the hopes of saving on the budget.

Another part of the problem is really how half heartedly the characters resist making the wrong choices. If they were villains then at least you’d expect them to travel down these dark roads without remorse. By half heartedly saying that they won’t do this thing and then cheat a few minutes later it makes the characters look even worse. They couldn’t have been very serious if the situation would flip so suddenly. The only sympathetic characters here are the ones trying to buy the house and after the way they were treated I’d be surprised if they still wanted to make the sale.

Overall, September is definitely a pretty terrible film. Whenever the main characters are involved in an affair like this it’s just not going to go well. It’s a pretty big betrayal to say the least and with none of the characters getting a satisfying ending except possibly for Diane you can’t end the movie on a high note either. There’s nothing particularly positive about this film so I’d suggest staying as far away as possible. Hopefully if they make a film called October someday it will be a lot more impressive.

Overall 0/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Little Man Tate Review


It’s time to look at a film about a kid who is super smart. It can always be tough growing up as a genius because the world around you just seems like it’s going in slow motion. The film gives a good look at the pros and cons of either going to hang out with the other geniuses or continuing to try and lead a normal life. The main kid can be a bit annoying though.

The film starts off by introducing us to a class working on a piano number when the main character Fred decides to play it backwards to style on everyone. His Mom DeDe picks him up and they have another happy day as normal. Things change when a secret organization finds out how smart the kid is and so they send a pamphlet to the kid’s house. Dede is against sending him away but it’s what Fred wants to do so she relents. Will the place be quite as fun as Fred thinks it’ll be or will he regret not staying with his Mom?

Fred is still a very little kid so you do have to cut him some slack. I don’t know how old he is since I really can’t determine age with them. 3 year olds look like they’re 8 and vice versa. I can start to decipher age a bit better once they turn into teenagers but even then it’s super hard. I don’t think I’ll ever have a firm grasp on age and that’s fine, I can’t think of a scenario where I’ll ever need that. Either way Fred’s just a kid. He does a reasonable job of handling himself around the other kids. It’s hard for him to make any friends and so he tends to jump the gun when someone is just being friendly. He doesn’t mope for long or get depressed which is good. Really he just had 2 big iffy scenes.

The first is when he comes back from his vacation and insults DeDe. The whole scene was pretty random because out of nowhere he’s just being really rude. It doesn’t last for long but it was tough for DeDe since she had gone to such lengths to paint a piano for him. Then there was him declaring that his Mom was dead on TV which was another scene of him being pretty over the top. The pressures just finally got to him. By the end he realizes that DeDe was right all along and his character arc wrapped up. It would have been nicer if he could have realized all of this sooner, but I suppose a lot of time people just have to figure things out the hard way. You can advise and warn them as much as you want, but it just won’t work out. Again, Fred is a kid so it makes sense that he’ll have a lot of weak scenes. It’s why kids can’t hold their own films without a strong supporting cast.

As for that supporting case, Dede definitely did a good job of keeping things together at home. She’s not seen as too smart in an academic sense, but she definitely shows great intelligence with how well she handles the whole situation. As a single mom she has to work, manage the house, and raise Fred at the same time. She does all of this flawlessly and you never see her acting down around Fred. She keeps her energy up at all times and does her best to shield him from danger while also letting him pursue his dreams. The scene where Dede threatens Jane is also good because you do believe that she would finish the job. Dede is very protective of Fred and makes for an excellent Mom. Additionally she never takes any of the insults or jabs at her seriously and just lets them bounce off. Dede’s easily the best character in the film.

Then you have Jane who effectively represents the dark side of the force. She gets Fred to come with her as she leads him learn as much as he can about the world. It’s a little unfortunate how her character arc goes at times. For most of the film she is portrayed as being a very nice/capable person as well. She may have different values than Dede and had a much weaker argument, but at least she was doing everything that was best for Fred. Towards the end of the film the writers randomly made her a lot more oblivious like when Fred had a nightmare and she told him to get some water. This really went against how caring she had been in all of the earlier scenes. This leads to the climax where Fred realizes that he made the wrong call.

We still get a happy ending and that includes Jane who quickly goes back into character. There was just a brief period of time where we went through the Home Alone syndrome where the nice new lady has to look bad to make the old one look better. It wasn’t even necessary here since Dede was a great character either way. In general I would say that the writing was pretty good here. The characters are all written realistically so you don’t get random bullies running around or things like that. The scene of the college students watching Fred’s textbook for example is a fun enough scene. Rather than picking on him most students in such a setting likely would do that. When you’re the smartest person in a class people will gravitate towards you right away. There was even the one nice student who hung out with Fred for a while even if he didn’t intend for this to be long term. It was a nice apology for hitting him with the Basketball.

The film is fairly happy all the way through with some sad scenes sprinkled here and there. Typically the film is sad when Dede or Fred aren’t having a good time, but don’t really have a good way to get out of the situation. For Dede she usually just has to deal with it until she can see Fred again while for Fred he isn’t able to connect the dots that he would rather be somewhere else. Then you’ve got Jane’s partner who has to eat burnt dinners all the time. He never really gets anything to do, but seemed like a pretty humorous character whenever he was on screen. The guy just never got to do anything. There’s also the tough kid from the early part of the film, but he doesn’t have much of a role except to show Fred that sometimes fame can get to your head.

Overall, Little Man Tate is pretty solid. When you’re a genius you process things differently than everyone else so it is an odd feeling. Nobody can ever truly know the inner workings of someone else’s mind so it’s hard to say how it would feel, but the film’s interpretation is pretty solid. At the end of the day your core personality is still the deciding factor on how you will have fun. You could be the smartest person in the world, but still not care much for school and you would still like to just hang out by the pool all day. For others they would prefer to be super busy. In Fred’s case I’d say he learned that it’s just more fun to be around family and hang out by the pool. It’s hard to beat that life after all. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d recommend checking it out. It’s got good range from the sad scenes to the happy ones and makes for a complete experience.

Overall 6/10

1 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Children’s Hour Review


It’s time to look at a pretty old film about how a single deception can cause a lot of damage. Lies definitely do have far reaching consequences and particularly here as the film is quite old and takes place in an era where this kind of lie can end lives. It’s a pretty mean spirited film though and one that ultimately falls into the pile of films that you’re better off not checking out. The town really believed a kid?

The film starts off by introducing us to a local school. Karen and Martha have been running this school all on their own for quite a while. The school is finally going to be profitable for the first time, but then Martha learns that Karen and Joe are finally going to be married. While Karen says she will stick around to the end of the school year Martha has her doubts. She is also saddened by the fact that without a second teacher the school is basically doomed. This becomes the least of her problems though as one disgruntled kid spreads a rumor that Martha and Karen are together. Immediately the town pulls out their kids from the school and now the whole town is against them. Can these two teachers reclaim their lives or is everything all over now?

It’s definitely annoying to see the whole town get thrown into chaos by the words of one little girl. Her grandmother appears to be influential so tricking her first was crucial to the plan. That being said, the teachers should have been more upfront about how this story wasn’t real. Look, the kid’s got a history of lying to everyone about everything. Why didn’t Martha and Karen mention this to the grandmother? For some reason none of the adults were mentioning the fact that this kid had a habit of lying and that was fairly critical info to know.

Now, the film does skip the entire trial so it is reasonable to say that they probably mentioned this in the courtroom. It would have been nice to see it though. Also the court case would have been awesome so it’s really unfortunate that it was skipped. That was going to be one of the more powerful parts of the film because to actually lose that case with nothing more than gossip as evidence is definitely crazy. Given how unreasonable most of the characters in the film are it’s probably not too much of a stretch. Most of them refuse to even acknowledge Martha and Karen.

There aren’t a lot of characters here, but the supporting characters definitely fail the two as well. Lily was part of the problem here by supporting the claims against her niece Martha and then quickly ran off before the trial. Even by the end of the film she hints that she believed it to be true anyway so I think the main characters really didn’t need to be so civil to her. She is putting their lives at jeopardy so I wouldn’t have let her stay in the house with a free dinner. It’s great to be nice, but there’s got to be a limit somewhere.

Then you’ve got Joe. To his credit, the guy stuck by Karen for quite a while. He did his best to always stick up for her and was even willing to leave his house, job, and everything to be with her. It’s why their ending isn’t satisfying in the slightest as he ultimately falls for Karen’s trap. Why is Karen setting traps for her future husband? I suppose she wanted him to 100% have no doubts and I don’t think he really did. He did fail the test so I suppose that shows there was some doubt there, but he was pressured into saying it. He shouldn’t have failed the test, but Karen didn’t need to do that. Just the fact that he was willing to leave with them and destroy his reputation should have been good enough.

As for the main two characters, Karen is definitely my favorite. She’s very considerate and did what she could to stand by Martha when she could have been married a long time ago. She knew that the school was really important to Martha and tried to stick around, but it’s not like she could put her life on hold forever right? Karen did everything she could and as the situation was far worse for Martha since Karen at least had a fiance, Karen was also there for emotional support. Aside from the trap that I’ve already talked about at length, I don’t think Karen made any wrong moves here. She was just a solid character.

Then you’ve got Martha whose argument with Lily is partially what got the ball rolling here. The kid would have still made up the story, but there would have been less ammo to use. Martha was a bit unreasonable with how she wanted Karen to stay forever but I do think she would have ultimately come to terms with Karen’s departure though and would have given her a genuine congratulations. Then you’ve got Martha’s ending which is certainly tragic. It’s the easy way out for a person but never the right call. Ignoring the holes it leaves for everyone else affected it also eliminates your own future path.

The film’s definitely pretty somber with nothing good really happening to the characters for almost the whole film. It starts off happy for a few scenes, but quickly gets dark and never quite goes back up. Even the subplot with the kid gets pretty intense as she starts blackmailing another one of the kids for stealing. Too bad none of the adults noticed the obvious witness intimidation while they were asking questions. They could have spared themselves a whole lot of grief at that point. The what if game ultimately goes on forever, but it’s yet another plot that’s pretty mean. It also did make the school look bad when one kid is literally getting painfully grasped by the other in a police hold. With only two teachers it makes sense that they can’t be everywhere of course, but it does show that they were understaffed.

Overall, The Children’s Hour isn’t my kind of film. It’s pretty dark and dreary with no good characters to help the leads out. The town people are all just looking out for themselves and there isn’t a single reasonable person around. You have threatening individuals circling the school on their pickup truck and even someone who breaks in from time to time to threaten the teachers. There’s no safety and the cops never show up. Joe leaving didn’t help matters even if he was pushed away. The two heroines probably should have just left the town even sooner but leaving everything you’ve ever known isn’t easy. I’d recommend watching something like Christmas With The Kranks instead for a more enjoyable film.

Overall 1/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Misadventures of Merlin Jones Review


Time to look at a fairly old film about how being too smart in just one field can backfire. A lot of times we see films about scientists who are smart at making things but then don’t really understand the consequences of their actions and the whole thing blows up in their face. Merlin is no exception to this as he makes a lot of dangerous assumptions which get him into trouble. It’s a pretty entertaining movie and I could see this being a fun show to watch if it were on TV.

There are effectively two storylines in the film which don’t really have anything to do with each other. The first one starts off with Merlin working on another experiment of his. He ends up zapping himself and now he has the ability to read people’s minds. It’s an incredible ability to have so long as people don’t know you have it. Naturally that means the very first thing he does is try to tell people. Things get serious when he finds out through this mind trick that the judge plans to steal some gems and then murder someone. Can Merlin stop this guy?

The second story has Merlin get hypnotized. He figures that this is a pretty good trick and decides to hypnotize a chimpanzee into being tougher. Things begin to escalate when the judge convinces Merlin to hypnotize him and commit a crime. It’s all well and good at first but since the judge doesn’t remember the crime and Merlin was found at the scene things aren’t looking good for the kid. He may be in some real trouble now.

So those are the two stories. They’re definitely interesting but ultimately I can’t put Merlin in a very positive light. The guy makes too many mistakes and both stories would have ended a lot sooner if he had just made the rational decisions. He should have kept listening to the mind before jumping the gun and for the hypnosis he should have added a fail safe. He just didn’t think things through all that well. Particularly in the first story I would argue that he was guilty of contempt of court with how many crimes he was committing.

Merlin plays dumb half the time, but he was definitely being pretty annoying the whole time. He is always talking back to the judge and jumps to conclusions a lot. The worst part is that it’s so easy to prove you’re reading someone’s mind. Just do it the way he convinced Jennifer, have the person think of something or pick a number and then say it. There isn’t really a way for someone to not believe when you do that. Then it’s a matter of waiting, he should have just waited it out a bit more with the judge. It’s good that he was able to control what thoughts he could hear later on though because the only drawback of telepathy is that you can go crazy if you start hearing everyone’s thoughts and can’t turn it off.

Jennifer was definitely a lot of fun though and a great heroine. She was always jumping to Merlin’s defense and would declare his innocence to the world. She was super trust worthy and someone who had Merlin’s back no matter what. Without her he would have been doomed many times. If anything Jennifer sometimes cuts him too much slack like when he blows off their date to work on some more science projects. It’s not like it was for a class or anything, he just skipped their date for no reason. I can also see why she was upset about him going to another girl in the second short. He was mind controlled, but he should have at least had some will power there.

The best character throughout both specials was the judge though. He tells it like it is and always has a commanding presence. He’s a very reasonable guy considering how crazy the town is. I also like the fact that he has a double identity as an author that he hides from the world. It adds a little more depth to the character. He’s not just a judge. Since he deals with Merlin and Jennifer a lot they do get away with more than the others, but the judge does realize that they are sometimes in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The writing here is pretty fun. The characters are enjoyable and the laid back atmosphere of the town works well for a title like this one. It’s not the most exciting or thrilling story around, but it’s enjoyable. The time goes by quickly. The film isn’t without its weaknesses though. For starters the whole hypnosis scenes are iffy. I still don’t buy into hypnosis on command like this. It works so quickly that you have to assume that the characters have 0 will power. It was also iffy of the teacher to give Merlin a command to kiss someone and with the character half heartedly saying to stop the whole thing was a mess. It single handily ensured that the first story was more enjoyable.

There’s also the plot with the chimp that wasn’t great. The chimp definitely didn’t want to be with the bully and so Merlin was right on that one. We don’t see anything beyond the bully being curt as usual which is good since that’s not a plot that the film would have really benefited from. I think this film should have really stuck to the first short. It’s just a lot stronger than the second one and had more substance to it. I suppose neither side was all that bad though.

Overall, Merlin Jones would have made for a fun TV show. I think there would have been a good audience for it and back in the day when I watched a lot of other Disney shows I would have tuned into this one. The writers would need to think of a lot of different inventions and gimmicks, but it would have been doable. As a film there is just less to do and by trying to fit two stories into one film it is less focused. Both stories really have nothing to do with each other so it only serves to break the flow. If you want a fun little film to check out then this is a good one to watch. It’s one of those movies that is just fun to watch and will entertain you all the way through. Just don’t go in expecting any big hype moments.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Love Bug Review


It’s time to look at a film with a car that is actually sentient. I’ve seen a few films with a similar premise but they tend to all be horror titles. This film looks at what would happen if the car was actually quite wholesome. The film definitely hits some bumps in the road, but overall it’s a pretty fun adventure that will grab your attention more than Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ever did.

The film starts with our lead Jim losing yet another race. He used to be a big race car driver but is now considered to be washed up. Jim tried to deny this but is slowly losing confidence. That’s when he has a fateful encounter with a car at a very pricey shop. The hero can’t afford this car but it shows up at his door the next day which does lead to the police getting involved. One thing leads to another and Jim uses the car on the track. He is finally winning again but is it his skills or the car’s?

Now the idea of a car being alive is pretty far fetched so you may cut the guy some slack for not believing that he is real…at first. The problem here is that Herbie proves himself many times with airtight maneuvers. Jim is pretty sure of himself with the whole “science can explain anything” routine but Herbie is too over the top for that to be true. I guess Tennessee’s plan backfires here as he should have let Herbie go wild after the upgrade to really prove that there was more to him than meets the eye. Even so, you’d think Jim would notice that the car was controlling the speed and always suddenly breaking records at the last second. Jim was nice to the car at first and then ditched him at the first possible moment.

It definitely makes Jim hard to root for and he goes from being a pretty reasonable main character to practically being an antagonist by the end. It may be a bit much to call him a villain here, but you’ll miss how he looks early on talking tough to corporate. His window shopping scene may have been foreshadowing for his character’s fall though.

The film is pretty long though and you could say that we get two full acts here. The bridge scene actually felt like the climax but really it was just the halfway point. The rest of the film is a very long cross country race as the heroes try to defend their honor and take home the gold. They all look quite terrible here though. For starters they somehow didn’t think to watch the car before the race. By this point they had already been duped and sabotaged several times so what’s the deal here? The villains had time to slash the tires, empty the fuel line, and substitute their extra tank with water. I dare say that the main characters deserved to lose after such a showing.

They basically left Herbie out to dry by not protecting him. We’ve also got the coffee scene where Tennessee allows the villain to walk in and pour a ton of coffee and whip cream into the car. Fortunately it lived through this but there shouldn’t have been this many close calls. If not for the sponsor looking out for them with his crew it really would have been game over at this point.

Herbie also seems to get nerfed towards the end of the film as somehow the main villain’s normal car is able to keep up. Keep in mind that Herbie was cartoon levels of fast in the beginning of the movie and that was part of the whole point of the film. Herbie is alive so he’s the fastest car around. I guess t just goes to show that a modern car can still keep up with a sentient one but I was surprised at how he kept getting passed over and over again during the race. He would get bumped off the road, lose a tire, etc.

I do gotta give the main villain Peter some props here because he’s a very solid character. His plans to get Herbie are really solid and the guy never gives up. He has plan after plan. Ultimately Peter is a businessman and just wants to be rich and famous. What adds an extra layer to his character here is the fact that he is a race car driver. He doesn’t mind getting up close to the action and putting his life on the line to win. Now that’s a solid villain right there.

The heroine Carole is also pretty solid. She doesn’t put up with Jim’s nonsense in the beginning as she turns him down at every corner and also does her best to prove that Herbie is a solid car. She worked hard to build up her professional reputation and wasn’t going to let some random joe get in the way of that. We get quite a few yelling scenes between the two characters and ultimately she definitely shows quite a lot of spirit. Carole’s also a talented mechanic and helps out when Peter tries his sabotage.

The writing is pretty solid here. The banter is great as always with just about all of the characters being extremely confident. Aside from the main hero and villain both constantly having a smirk at the ready and yelling out their sides in the debate, you’ve even got a cop running around with the same energy. He’s extremely sarcastic to the main character right away to the point where you have to assume that they’ve had some previous history. The scene is rather bizarre otherwise.

Overall, The Love Bug is an entertaining film. A talking car will never not be cheesy in this kind of context but it’s nice to have one on your side. It’s a shame that it can’t talk because that would make it a lot easier for the characters to actually establish a dialogue with it but I guess things would be too easy for them that way. If you haven’t seen this film yet then it’s a good one to check out. Watch the villain steal the show here.

Overall 7/10

5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Charlie’s Angels Review


It’s time to look at the recent sequel/practically reboot of the Charlie’s Angels series. The first two titles didn’t exactly get glowing reviews from me so it wasn’t going to be hard for this one to win. Sure enough, I’d say that this is the strongest film in the series. It definitely does still have its flaws though which ultimately stop the film from reaching its full potential.

The film starts off by introducing us to the Angels as they take down a group of villains. It’s become more and more common for films to start off with an action scene and it’s always a smart move. We then meet Elena who finds out that her company is going to move forward with introducing some dangerous tech into the world. She alerts the Angels to this, but now some powerful people want her dead. This situation could be a whole lot bigger than it appears and the group will have to pull out all of the stops to win.

On the positive side Charlie’s Angels does bring the high level action scenes you would expect from the series. Pretty much any fight with Jane is top notch. Sabina also has her share of action and once the film’s climax begins there are a lot of nonstop action scenes. There is also a very large array of songs in the soundtrack. Not all of them are hits, but it does give the film some extra energy. Music’s a pretty important aspect in a film even if it’s been dying out lately.

Jane’s definitely my favorite character in the film. She’s certainly the most serious of the Angels and the best fighter. Jane gets one of the main subplots here as she goes up against the assassin Hodak. They have a lot of fights back and forth and this was the most interesting plot. Sabina’s the rebellious member of the group who always puts on a tough act. Her bark tends to be worse than her bite, but she can fight fairly well. Her overconfidence costs her quite a few fights though and while she treats Elena like a newbie, I don’t feel like she is very experienced either.

As for Elena, she’s not bad, but certainly a step behind the other two. The whole “rookie” personality is a little played out and just not quite as entertaining as the other two characters. Her fight with the guard is a little on the cheesy side as well since she has absolutely no fighting experience. Sabina and Jane should certainly be taking these guys down, but not Elena at the present moment. Then you’ve got the various Bosleys running around. They aren’t fighters on the ground like the Angels so don’t expect a lot of action from them, but they are pretty important to the plot.

Hodak also makes for a great villain. He’s definitely the silent, but deadly sort of guy. His skills are the real deal with how good he looks throughout the movie. He’s the best fighter here and always comes prepared with a lot of guns and armaments. Right through the end he never really loses his cool and just keeps on fighting. You can tell when his role is about to be up, but regardless he served his purpose as a really solid villain. Perhaps not quite as great as the ex angel from the original films, but very solid nonetheless. Peter is also a fun villain even if it’s more in a campy way. The guy’s about as obviously evil as you can get and the film doesn’t bother to hide it. The only question the viewer has to ask is whether he is competent or not and as the film leaves you guessing on that I will as well. At the very least you have to admire his confidence.

The film is around 2 hours, but it doesn’t drag on. There’s always something happening around the corner. It’s an enjoyable ride, but I think it’s time we take a look at the negatives. While I said that an action scene is the right way to start on principal, this film’s opening segment started off on the wrong foot. Right away it’s about one of the Angels using her feminine wiles to get the enemy to let his guard down. It’s a sad trope that always seems to happen to the female agents. While this is surprisingly not used much later on unlike the first two films, it was definitely a scene that was not needed. I’d go as far as to say that the first scene is the worst one in the film.

Beyond that, the film actively goes out of its way to make the Angels look bad at times. They mess up on the missions very frequently even if they act as if they had won. The first scene is an example of this as Sabina manages to tie up the villain…only to dramatically free him so she can get a good punch in. Naturally this leads to him overpowering her and getting his second wind. At another point Sabina has someone at gun point and tells him not to move. The guy naturally reaches in his pocket and takes out a bomb which knows Sabina back and he escapes. She loses consistently throughout the film and one villain ends up defeating her twice. Even in her final big fight of the film she doesn’t seem to have the edge.

I’ll cut Elena a break since she’s new. Jane mostly takes care of business although her speech in the final fight wasn’t really deserved. She goes into depth about how she’s so much better a fighter than the villain, but he had been winning the entire time and she had help. The only person she’s fooling there is herself as in a 1 on 1 the film made it clear that she would have lost. Finally even one of the bosses looks bad. I know the higher ups can’t fight, but this character was talking a big game throughout the whole movie so to lose like that wasn’t a great moment.

There are a few twists and turns in the movie and it does a good job of masking them. At the very least there was one big twist which was handled well and the ending of the film is pretty satisfying. While not everyone gets a happy ending it works out pretty well even if a sequel doesn’t end up coming out. The ending scenes during the credits even finish up someone’s character arc so you’ll want to make sure you stick around there.

As far as the writing goes, the film’s not great. While the scene of the heroes running through the villain base trolling the police officers (I doubt they were all corrupt so you’ll probably feel bad for a bunch of the ones that get knocked around) could be entertaining, it’s not all that realistic. Why didn’t the guards just lock down the facility? That would have instantly been game over for the heroes. They also acted as if the cameras weren’t on at times as they would just forget to use them. The Angels are also partially to blame here because they should have made sure that the guys with the IDs they were using wouldn’t try to get back into the building. I would have figured they’d tie them up or something.

There is also a bit of a romance here which isn’t handled all that well. It’s rather cheesy and considering that the heroes were in a hurry it does feel like a waste of their time. The guy didn’t seem terrible (Even if he couldn’t open a simple package of condiments. Yeah, most of the guys here don’t look great) but he didn’t really have any point being in the film. That’s why the writing is a mixed bag. For every fun scene or likable character there’s going to be a heavy handed moment without much thought to how this situation would occur to counter it. It can be fun to think of the various plot holes or just moments of heroes messing up as you’re watching though.

I wouldn’t consider this next part a positive or a negative, but it’s interesting to note. While the Angels are always portrayed as heroes in the first two films, it’s a little more gray here. They really don’t seem to mind murdering people and even find it amusing at times with all the jokes they crack about it. You’ll get a pun after someone is impaled or characters sarcastically scoffing at murders in the background. One guy gets the honor of being murdered fairly early on and while the film goes out of its way to establish him as a sketchy character you’ll still be a little surprised at how readily the Angel just let him perish. She could not be bothered to try and save him. Realistically it would have been difficult but it’s a bit of a running theme usually used for humor so you’re not supposed to take it seriously though….

Time for a quick comparison to the original two films. As mentioned earlier this one did win overall, but the original films did win in two areas. I thought they still had the better soundtrack (listening to their battle themes while writing this review) and the fights were better. The battle scenes in those films still hold up quite well to this day. This film’s just got a stronger character cast and way less fanservice which ultimately won it the deciding blow.

Overall, Charlie’s Angels is a fun popcorn type film, but not one that really excels in any areas. There’s a lot of replay value and it would be easy to re-watch even after just a short while. That’s because the film’s just very high energy with some decent banter. The questionable writing does hold it back though. Some parts are just not too believable and I think the Angels should have looked a lot more competent. The film seemed like it was aiming to make them look good and I think it just messed up a bit there. If you’re looking for a fun action film to check out then this could be the one for you. If you want an action title with a bit more substance then check out Mission Impossible.

Overall 5/10