The Thing From Another World Review

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It’s time to look at a really old school alien film. These films usually went one of two ways. The first/best way is to introduce the alien relatively early on in the film and then legitimize the threat by having it blow up cities or take out a squad of UFOs to threaten Earth with. The second is to just have one alien show up and of course it isn’t actually bullet proof or anything like that. It’s a great way to destroy the hype and having all of this take place with a bunch of dogs present is just asking for trouble. Yes, this film wasn’t quite ready for the big time.

So the film starts off with the U.S. Air Force guys resting at the arctic. It may not have actually been the arctic but the whole place was in deep freeze so it may as well have been. We get a lot of small talk and everyone just messing around until an alien actually does crash nearby. It’s frozen in ice at least so there is no danger right? Well, one guy thought it might get cold since its frozen and all so he offers the block of ice an electric blanket. The alien wakes up and starts destroying them all. Can the army stop it?

Usually that’s the question that a film is built around and the tension is wondering if the humans will live. That’s not the case here as shooting the creature would put an end to everything. No, the problem is that the humans want him alive even if they have to sacrifice everyone else to do it. One of the most annoying scenes is when a guy goes into the barn for some reason and the alien starts biting him. Nobody wants to step in to help the poor chap since they don’t want to hurt the alien. That’s…..not a very nice stance to take here. The guy survives as eventually they decide to go help, but they couldn’t be slower if they tried.

Additionally, as this takes place in the snow they have a lot of sleigh dogs around. The humans are so cowardly that they send the dogs in first while they hide in the hut. Unfortunately one of the dogs does not make it so that was already game over for the film. It should always be the reverse where you keep the dogs inside and go to fight on your own. That’s the only respectable thing to do in such a situation.

Another problem this film has is just that it’s very boring. The alien isn’t very interesting…maybe I should stop calling him an alien at that as he’s basically just a space cave man. Don’t expect a Xenomorph design. That leaves the humans and those characters are completely forgettable to the point where none of them get any memorable lines. You’ll be waiting a long time for something interesting to happen and most likely that point just won’t come. It’s a pretty sorry state of affairs if we’re being honest.

I don’t want to say that the script is bad. It’s actually fairly decent so I’ll just blame the writing in general for not doing something to make this film stand out. I think the locale was a mistake because there’s only so much you could do in a cold environment in this day and age. The film’s best chance would have been to have taken place in a city or something. Realistically I doubt this would have magically transformed this into an amazing film or anything but it would have helped.

I don’t think I’ve said any positives yet so I should try to think of one since this film isn’t a 0 after all. I guess the pacing isn’t terrible. The scenes don’t really drag on, it’s more like the film itself is so slow that it often feels like the film is moving very slowly. I think that’s the best way to put it. While the characters aren’t interesting, I wouldn’t call them terrible or anything like that either. They get the job done and at the end of the day that’s all you can ask of them. Yeah…..I tried.

Overall, There’s not too much to say about this film beyond that. The characters are annoying and the alien wasn’t a lot of fun. If it ever got a sequel where the aliens starting falling from the skies and attacking the world then maybe that would be better. It would be hard to not be an improvement since that would add a lot of tension and excitement to the film which is sorely lacked. There’s a good reason why it took me so many weeks to get to this review when I usually get the movies up a few days after I’ve seen them. This one was just surprisingly bad and squeezing in animal violence is always a big no no. If you want to watch an alien invasion story, just check out Godzilla Final Wars.

Overall 3/10

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The Mole People Review

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It’s time to look at a really old film featuring everyone’s least favorite retro monster…The Mole People. I’ve never really found these guys to be all that interesting to be honest. Their designs aren’t much better than the average human’s and they don’t seem to pose much of a threat. Still, a film around them could prove promising I suppose but they better be cleaning shop and wrecking the humans.

The film starts off with a 9 minute intro of an old man trying to lay down the hard facts about how the Earth is layered. He explains about the heat and volcanoes but does so in an incredibly bored voice. This whole segment is definitely not necessary in the film and only serves to curb your enthusiasm going into it. This preview just had no sense of direction or energy at all and I can imagine people slowly connecting the dots in the theatre at this point that they had just wasted their money.

We then get the actual start to the movie as the three diggers find some ancient ruins thanks to a local kid. There was a 4th digger but he wasn’t watching where he was going as ends up falling to his death. The others hurry after him but then realize that they are stuck as well. The caves seem man made though which makes the main characters a little suspicious. It turns out that an ancient civilization of humans live down here where they have enslaved the Mole Men. They are quickly convinced that the main characters are agents of their god but know this myth cracks the main characters will be in grave danger. They’ve got to get out of here!

As these humans have never seen light before, the flashlight is incredibly useful against them. Just a quick flash will blind them and cause their whole army to retreat. The tough part is that the flashlight will run out of battery soon and the heroes like keeping it on to comfort themselves. It’s a dangerous move but if they are confident about it then so I will be as well.

One thing that definitely doesn’t help the movie’s case from the start is the fact that the Mole Men have actually been enslaved and must do the bidding of the humans. That takes away from them being the main villains completely. Thanks to the climax we also learn that they have super strength and can easily destroy the humans with a single blow. We also see them easily drag some humans into the ground throughout the film. It’s just hard to believe that they would be turned into slaves like this and it’s a poor direction for the film to go into.

This is where the film is just mean spirited as we see them beaten repeatedly. The main characters show up to help them once in a while but naturally when they are not there you can imagine that the beatings continue. Even the ending is rather mean spirited as one of the main characters gets crushed by a rock. Keep in mind that this is at the very end of the film once they were past the danger. What’s the point of letting this character die and effectively giving the villains a win? I certainly don’t think that was a good idea and just makes the ending a downer.

From the 3 main characters at the beginning, the old man was definitely very annoying. He was constantly panicking and running around. The guy was a liability the whole time and how did he not realize that one of the Mole Men has scratched 3 large gashes through his chest? It was hard to feel bad for him when the villains inevitably found him because he nearly destroyed the whole party. While the other 2 characters were better, they weren’t all that smarter. They were quick to eat the mushrooms which they should have suspected were probably drugged since the villagers really didn’t like them. They didn’t have a whole lot of eating options of course, but another such moment is when they put down the flashlight all by itself instead of holding on to it. Rookie move. At least they could fight though.

Naturally the cave also makes for a very boring backdrop. There’s just not much to actually look at since the film is so dark and it’s just an excuse for the film to get away with a minimal amount of sets. Well, there are definitely worse backdrops than a cave so this isn’t a serious complaint or anything. As far as negatives go it is certainly all the way at the bottom of the list.

Overall, This is definitely a very weak movie and not one that you are very likely going to remember. The Mole Men are incredibly weak and the human villains are not particularly distinct in any way. The human characters are generic but not in a good way and the really boring intro doesn’t do the film any favors. I don’t think anyone is watching this film for a chance to see the humans enslaving more populations so this movie just doesn’t give us the story that we want. It is also worth mentioning that the romance is very tacked on for this film. I would advise skipping this movie and checking out one of the many better monster films out there like Gamera.

Overall 3/10

The Time Traveler’s Wife Review

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It’s time for another romance film, but I’m afraid that this one is pretty bad. It probably has the worst use of time travel that I’ve seen yet and the characters are no good. There are a lot of betrayals on both sides and we even have the classic “I can go through time but I can’t alter it except for when I do” kind of time travel logic. That’s still the worst kind to be honest. There isn’t much that’s nice to say about this movie so you’ve been warned.

The plot follows a guy named Henry who is a time traveler. The problem is that it isn’t as easy as it looks in the movies. Henry can’t bring his clothes with him nor can he control where he teleports or when it happens. He could be stuck somewhere for minutes or months. Then there are different versions of him teleporting all around as well which complicates things further. There is no rhyme or reason to his teleportations although it also seems like he can control them to an extent as well so that may be up for debate. He just wants to have a normal life so he finds Clare when she is a kid and hangs out with her all through the years so she grows to like him once she is an adult. Henry now feels like he has won at last, but his constant teleporting threatens to end their relationship once and for all.

There’s a lot of dubious actions here by all parties involved. Fortunately there are only 2 real characters who have a big role here, Henry and Clare. Bad news is that both of them are pretty iffy. Lets start with Henry as his issues are pretty self explanatory. He used time travel to really improve his odds with Clare which is definitely not a legitimate tactic. In the present when Clare tracks him down he doesn’t even know who she is, but is very quick to ignore that so they can have a moment. This guy is definitely very easy so is Clare sure that she wants him? Well, yeah since through time travel she knows what will happen and who is she to defy destiny? Henry continues bouncing around time and also doesn’t know any boundaries so he decides to read her diary without permission so he knows exactly where to teleport and what to say. The guy is bad news and the characters did warn Clare about this. He also has an operation so he can’t have any kids without telling Clare first since he didn’t want to talk about it. Great.

Then we have Clare. She knew all about the teleporting and the various risks before getting together with Henry so she certainly can’t pull the “I didn’t know” card. The problem is that she basically still pulls it towards the end as she states that she just can’t handle this anymore. It’s a little late to be saying stuff like that now. Then she decides to get around Henry’s operation by cheating on him with his past self. That’s definitely a very iffy thing to do. The morality of that is certainly pretty negative and both characters just keep dragging each other down.

Also, a recurring theme in the film is that Henry keeps seeing a vision where he ultimately ends up dying. Then he should at least know to brace himself for the teleport right?He even knows what day it will happen at the very end but still looks around like a deer in the headlights at the end. At least duck or something, anything could have potentially saved his life there. Instead he just made everything go according to plan. The film would argue that it was simply unavoidable, but I never bought into that.

Overall, The Time Traveler’s Wife is just not a good film. The characters are super annoying and this is one of the worst versions of time travel that I have seen in a long time. They really made the power be as bad as it possibly could and it doesn’t help that he is using the ability in the wrong way. With nobody to root for and a plot that isn’t interesting, the film just doesn’t have anything going for it. You’ll want to give this one a hard pass and it serves as another reminder that romance-dramas typically aren’t very good.

Overall 2/10

You’ve Got Mail Review

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It’s time for a relatively modern romance film from back in the day. Naturally romance isn’t exactly my favorite genre, but at least it also deals with small businesses vs corporate control which is more up my alley. It’s not a bad movie but as with most in this genre it does start out better than how it concludes. If the friend zone card had been played then that may have worked out a little more.

The film starts off by showing us Kathleen’s life. It’s rather plain at the moment and she needs someone to vent to. That’s when she reveals that she has been talking to someone online using a chat room in secret. This has been pretty good for her well being and the guy in the computer enjoys their talks as well. It’s all anonymous so nobody has to be any the wiser and even the two people in the chat don’t know who each other is. That’s when Kathleen’s life is turned upside down as a new book store shows up to run her out of business. They believe in the Wal Mart strategy of starting prices low to put all of the local shops out of business before raising prices again. The leader of this company is named Joe Fox and he is determined to destroy Kathleen.

Well, he does say that this isn’t personal but who would actually believe that? What Kathleen doesn’t know is that Joe is the person she speaks to on the phone. He didn’t know it either for a little while, but finds out before long. He has to try and keep this secret from her, but can he do it? It’ll be tough but Joe didn’t become a rich CEO for nothing, he’s still got a chance here!

The whole point of the dynamic is that both characters don’t know that they are actually confiding in each other. That should have stayed the focus for most of the film instead of Joe finding out and then tricking Kathleen for the rest of the film. I think the movie would have been a lot more fun if this had been the case. It is interesting to see Joe playing so many different roles of course, but it can also be a little dicey.

Also, we can’t just forget the fact that of course corporate wins because they always do in these kinds of scenarios. Kathleen was put out of a job so it’s hard to see her get so friendly with Joe right afterwards. At first he plays the friend card so they just hang out platonically but that never seems to last in these things. They may as well be honest with each other and just say that staying friends was never in the game plan for them. The actual romance just doesn’t work at all.

Fortunately the writing isn’t half bad though. For the most part the humor lands and the characters aren’t that annoying. I think Kathleen had the best supporting cast. Her reporter friend Frank was good for a while since he is so paranoid about everything and always trying to take shots at technology. The only tricky part here is how quick he was to try and leave Kathleen for another reporter. That’s where you end up losing all respect for the guy. Kathleen’s co-workers were also pretty fun and they did their best to be useful. Even when Kathleen’s mystery man seemed to be a crook they were very supportive.

Meanwhile Joe just had 2 characters on his side. The first was his friend who would walk him to the diner when Joe was feeling scared. He seemed like a reasonable guy, but didn’t get to appear much. Then we have Joe’s friend/maybe wife so seemed like a reasonable character until the very end where she suddenly wasn’t. That was the film’s forced way of leaving both Joe and Kathleen open but it was basically plot convenience there.

As for the two leads themselves, they weren’t bad. Joe is certainly ruthless in taking down the small businesses, but I guess that is his job so like the guy said, it just wasn’t personal. Of course you shouldn’t just leave your ethics at the door either so it’s complicated. Kathleen was also a reasonable character and put up a valiant effort in trying to stop Joe’s company. It’s just a shame that she couldn’t claim victory here.

Overall, You’ve Got Mail was a pretty fun film that was mainly held back by the unnecessary romance. Really, just take away the romance and you’ve got a better film. It could have easily ended when Joe put her out of business. If you want a happy ending then just have her get rehired by them. I think that would have made for a more wholesome film and would have given the characters more dignity as well. You still just can’t fall for the person who put you out of business. That’s just too much to buy into. If you want a decent rom-com to watch then this is your ticket. It’s a good bet to watch this one since typically the genre can be a little dicey.

Overall 6/10

Ant-Man and the Wasp Review

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The first Ant Man film still ranks as the worst MCU film of them all. It’s a shame since the film was a lot of fun but just squeezed in too much animal violence which certainly wasn’t necessary. This one is a big improvement mainly since the insects don’t get to do a lot here. There are a few casualties used for an unsuccessful gag but for the most part this film avoided making the same mistake as the last one which is good.

The film starts off by showing us how Janet made the ultimate sacrifice to save the world. We then cut to Scott trying to do his best to make it off house arrest. He just needs to stay in the house for 4 more days which should be fairly simple. Unfortunately he then has a dream about becoming Janet which leads Hope to kidnap him for answers. An Ant is left in his place but Scott has to solve this case by the end of the day or else the cops will grow wise to him. The mission: Save Janet from the Quantum Realm. The obstacles: A mysterious being known as the ghost and a couple of thugs with guns. Looks like it is time to suit up!

This film always did look promising from the first trailer. Mainly I liked the music and Wasp’s confidence that she would have changed the outcome in Civil War. I don’t doubt it either as the only opponent that she would effectively be powerless against would be Vision. Everyone else would be taking damage from her blasters and size shifting combos. Honestly Scott should have brought her along and I would like to see her fight more powered fighters. She is definitely one of the best characters in the film and one thing she is really good at is adapting on the fly. Even with her first encounter with the Ghost she was handling the phasing abilities pretty well. Attacking the instant that the ghost would appear and using her own size shifting to counter it.

Then we have Ant Man who is ultimately a normal guy without too much fighting practice aside from some moves that the Wasp taught him. Considering that he does a pretty decent job but he does spend a large chunk of the film getting thrown left and right. It makes sense since the Ghost is far better trained. While he may not be the toughest fighter out there, Scott’s definitely a good guy and is definitely trying his best to help everyone out.

In particular I thought that one of his earliest scenes was pretty impressive. Since he is locked in his own house he had to improvise to entertain his daughter. He builds an elaborate set up of boxes and figures to make her a mini adventure. I imagine that the film makers had fun creating that as well. He even learned slight of hand magic tricks which I would like to see him incorporate in fights. That kind of truck could be useful.

Pym is a little more on the annoying side though. Wasp has really valid reasons to be upset at Scott since they were rather close and he still ditched her without a word to get in on the fight. That is definitely very personal. Pym basically has the same complaints but you can’t put quite as much stock in them especially since he would have been very reluctant to help. They were fighting Ironman though so maybe that would have convinced him but as Scott I certainly wouldn’t have trusted the guy. Pym has his moments but at the end of the day he still isn’t the most heroic figure out there.

One area where the film shines is the fight scenes as I mentioned earlier. They are quite well done and the battles are very quick. I’ll take phasing over size manipulation any day but both techniques are great for dodging hits. We also get a lot of chase scenes with the cars and the heroes are always on the run. The film’s pacing is quite good as it never drags on and we get several climaxes each more intense than the last.

Meanwhile Goliath gets a bit of a role but he definitely isn’t a very good character. He has some reasonable motivations to work with but goes about them all wrong. Things would have worked out a whole lot better if he just thought things through more. Instead he just comes across as rather whiny the whole time. Burch also gets a bit of a role as he tries to force himself into the technology breakthroughs that the heroes are poised to get with their tech. You have to love his confidence I suppose, but the guy almost feels a little out of place here. He never actually does anything so if he was cut out I doubt anyone would have really cared.

Luis gets a decently big role as well and he handles the comic relief role pretty well. He never seems to be all that afraid of the villains and takes everything in stride. He is pretty good at designing traps as well and kept his company alive for quite a while. This guy is definitely not someone to be taken lightly. He’s better than most of the other sidekicks currently running around the universe that’s for sure.

The Ghost is one of the big characters of course since she is the main villain and it’s a role that she handles well. I like the design of the Ghost suit and she certainly mastered her powers to a good degree. As always SHEILD looks awfully shady here but that’s nothing new. Fortunately those guys are no longer in business in the movies (for now) so these people with powers can finally be safe. Towards the end her partner in crime kept chickening out so I was definitely on her side there. They’ve already come this far and he knows the risks so this change of heart comes across as very sudden especially since the Ghost is the one taking all of the risk. She’s one of the better recent villains.

We do get an after credits scene here that is actually plot important and taken seriously. There is a second which covers the comedy angle and that’s always good since if you just have one such scene and it’s a comedy one…then that’s much more of an issue. The first scene is almost tragic in a sense since aside from serious plot convenience it is hard to really see a way out of this one aside from a lot of waiting. I probably would have tweaked the ending a bit there but either way it is a solid scene.

Overall, This was a pretty fun film. It was a good follow up to the Infinity War and continues to show how modern effects can make a lot of different super powers pretty useful. Being able to change sizes may not seem amazing right off the bat but if you can do it with great speed then you will be going places. I’d recommend checking this film out if you’re in the mood for a solid action film with a good amount of humor. Now I’m ready to see how Ant Man will contribute to the team in the next Avengers film.

Overall 7/10

Sherlock Holmes: Terror by Night Review

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Sherlock Holmes has returned with another film. The villains just can’t get away from his extensive mystery solving skills. He is just not the kind of opponent that you want to risk toying with. This film is definitely a mystery movie through and through as we get a lot of suspects and a jewel that has been stolen. With everyone stuck aboard a train it gives Holmes time to interrogate everyone, but at the same time the villain has the edge of being able to act first. Holmes will have to bring his A game to win this match of wits!

There are a lot of parties on the train of course. For starters we have the lady and her coffin. It’s perfectly natural to bring a coffin on board since someone died after all but it’s rather large so someone could possibly fit onto it. There’s also the matter of the jewel that the rich lady brought on board. She has had it for many years, but this is the year where someone will finally try to snag it from her. To that end she wants Holmes to prevent this. Fortunately the cops are also on board led by Lestrade. Surely no criminal can get past the air tight defense of all these heroes…right? The elites are on the case so the villains should be very scared.

Watson’s old friend shows up which is certainly interesting. It makes sense that Watson will know some people since he isn’t with Holmes 100% of the time, but naturally since this is the character’s first appearance that will make you very suspicious. It’s like when any 00 agent shows up in a James Bond film. It raises a lot of red flags. We’ve also got a very confrontational character who doesn’t like the way that Holmes and Watson are always bursting onto crime scenes. While he may have a point it might also be an attempt to get them off his back. He intimidates Watson so much that the old man almost breaks down.

Then we’ve got the train conductor who really doesn’t want Holmes to snoop around. As far as he is concerned everyone needs a permit and to do things officially. He has a habit of writing things down as well which is awfully suspicious. Then of course we have the ladies from before. There is the rich one who is very adamant about Holmes protecting the jewel, but perhaps it is all an act to cover up the fact that she is attempting to fake the theft. There is also the younger lady who isn’t very co-operative and doesn’t like talking all that much despite seeming to know a lot more than she lets on. We’ve also got the tea thieves, but there’s not much to say about those guys.

Sherlock Holmes is on point as always. He’s still the same genius that he always is and learns a lot about the case right away. He solved it rather easily this time around as it was clear that he knew who the culprit was very quickly. He simply had to wait for some actual proof before coming forward with it. He played more mind games with the villains than usual here and substituting the diamond multiple times is a good way to always have control of the playing field.

Things get a little dicey for Watson as always. I don’t think it was his best appearance although he certainly came in handy towards the end of the film though so that’s a good thing. Useful or not, I’ve always been a fan of Watson and it’s easy to root for him. He may not be a genius like Holmes and his ego can get in the way at times, but Watson always tries very hard. You certainly can’t say that he isn’t doing his best to nab the culprit by the end. Even when the suspects get personal like in this film.

It’s been a while since we have seen Lestrade get some action so I was happy to see him return here. He actually looks fairly good here as he picks up on the final plan of Holmes before anyone else. That’s pretty impressive and he holds around 4 people at gun point. I do think that getting in a car with them is risky though especially since he has the villains driving the car, but this man’s a pro so who am I to point out the flaws in his plan? He also doesn’t let the passengers push him around the way that Watson does. Lestrade always assumes control.

Moran is the main villain here and apparently used to work with Moriarty. Naturally he is in disguise as one of the suspects mentioned earlier. You’ll probably figure out who it is right away but you’ll still be intrigued from start to finish on what his end game is. He’s a fairly good villain and definitely had a solid backup plan as well. He’d probably make the top 5 Holmes villains, but is still a step down from some of the others. His sidekick Sands is not very noteworthy though. The guy only appears for a few scenes and is easily handled by Holmes.

There isn’t much more to be said that I haven’t already talked about in these films. The Holmes movies are very direct so they are short and to the point. This does wonders for the pacing of the film and more importantly, it is backed up by impressive writing. You’ll be hard pressed to find any scene that isn’t written quite well. This is in fact one of the better Holmes films as it feels authentic from the start and isn’t trying to phone the plot in. Some franchises start to weaken after so many films but not this one.

Overall, I highly recommend checking this Sherlock Holmes film out. It’s a solid adventure with a lot of twists and turns. The atmosphere is just right and all of the characters are quite solid. It’s easy to see why this Holmes line of movies is so well known. It has completely earned its reputation and I imagine we will be lucky to ever see another depiction be quite as awesome. The current films do a good job but we’ll see if they can manage it for 10+ like this one did. I do miss how quickly they churned out films back in the day.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes: Dressed To Kill Review

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We have now come to the end of this Sherlock Holmes series. It’s definitely been quite the ride with a whole lot of excellent films. Interestingly enough this one is more of a thriller than a mystery since we all know who the villain is, but that’s where the game of cat and mouse comes into play. We even get to see the villains trick Watson one last time.

Legends say that there are 3 music boxes which hold immense power. If you gather all 3 and listen to the music, it will tell you a secret code that will lead to a treasure worth a large fortune. Naturally the villains want to grab these 3. They manage to snag 2 of them, but an innocent small business owner bought the third and then Holmes bought it from her to keep the lady out of danger. Hilda and her posse are prepared to fight to the death with Holmes. Can the detective really hope to come out of this unscathed?

In a way this film also felt a bit like a homage to the others so I wonder if the series knew that it was coming to an end. For example, it has been quite a while since Holmes was knocked out by the enemy and captured but that happens here. It wasn’t part of the plan or anything like that either so it certainly wasn’t his best moment. Still he did a good job of thinking up a plan on the spot and finding the escape route with the largest % chance of escape is just what you would expect from him. He’s still the best character in this film and definitely appears to be a little more merciless at the end as well as he talks gleefully about how the villains will be hanged.

Then we have Watson who is tricked by the villains one last time. It is child’s play for Hilda to use a smoke bomb to distract the assistant while she got away from the loot. It wasn’t a very promising start for Watson and he looked pretty bad but at least he took it in stride. Surprisingly he didn’t really help at the end to make up for this moment. I guess he can’t come out on top every time.

Next up is Hilda who makes for an interesting antagonist. She is definitely intelligent as she outwits Holmes in their first outing and comes close to achieving her objective. She isn’t quite as ruthless as some of the other villains as she prefers not to destroy her opponents but that can also be her undoing. Had the bald man been spared he could have easily identified her to the police which would be risky.

As always the writing is on point here. All of the characters are very polite even when threatening each other with death. They are chivalrous all the way through and one villain even allows Holmes one last smoke before he is to die. It’s definitely something that will be missed in the newer films. It’s also impressive just how much content the film is able to squeeze into each case since the movies are always so short. It always does a good job of making each scene count.

That being said, this film may have had one of the weakest intros. Maybe it wasn’t actually that long but it felt like a little while before Holmes and Watson actually appeared. At first the film was showing off the boxes and explaining that origin but the whole time you are just waiting for the crime to start. The auction was pretty interesting though.

Overall, Dressed To Kill is a reasonably good send off. It would have been perfect if it had ended with the second to last film instead, but we’ll take what we can get. Imagine ending on the first World War II adaptions…now that would have been something. Sherlock Holmes never overstayed his welcome in the cinema and managed to end without missing a beat. I highly recommend checking this film out to see just how much fun these old school murder mysteries are. I don’t know what mystery film I shall be checking out next but it certainly has a high bar to match.

Overall 8/10

A Wrinkle in Time Review

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It’s time to look at a recent book adaption. Unfortunately the book wasn’t good so an adaption was ultimately doomed to not be very good either. It’s a real shame since there are better books that we still need proper adaptions of like Daniel X. The film’s plot is just really weak, the characters aren’t likable or enjoyable, and the climax has a lot of plot hax. Yes, you have made it to the final Wrinkle in Time movie!

The plot starts off with a little girl named Meg getting in another fight. Her Mom is worried since this has been happening a lot lately. Meg’s father vanished a while back and he probably isn’t coming back so now at school everyone messes with Meg about it. That’s when an alien breaks into the house and tells Meg that they can find her father. Meg’s brother Charles is cool with this and her friend Calvin is game as well. The alien transports them to another world and now they have to use the powers of friendship and hope to break reality and free her father. Can they do this?

Keep in mind that the plot isn’t really the focus of the film. You can argue that it’s all just an abstract roundabout way of trying to get Meg to come to terms with her feelings. A big chunk of the film is about getting Meg to accept the unexplainable and to believe in the impossible like her father coming back. It’s an interesting moral since usually it’s more about letting go. Honestly this should have focused on the mother more as she knew about the dad’s experiments about teleportation and never did a thing to try and find him. Shouldn’t she have suspected the most what had really happened as opposed to just buying into his disappearance?

Meanwhile the 3 aliens are extremely annoying and don’t contribute anything interesting to the film. For starters, they don’t know how to interact with humans which gets really grating right from the start. They constantly insult Meg (Okay, just the main one throws the insults, but the others express their doubts a lot) just like the bullies in the real world. Are these really the cosmic beings that we are supposed to root for? They don’t get any good scenes and throw Meg into this world with no context so of course she is having some trouble. They should be more concerned with how Charles is taking everything in stride.

Charles was the worst character in the book and that hasn’t changed here. The film did a good job of reducing his scenes quite a bit which was great but at the end of the day nothing can really save his unfortunate ending. He’s very weak willed so the darkness can control him quite easily. It makes for a visually interesting climax where he gains telekinesis and super abilities but that makes him too strong. Meg is just a kid so keep that in mind and he has super powers. She literally has no chance of victory but even after getting thrown around the room multiple times to the point where she should have died, Charles is convinced to turn good again through the power of friendship. I think the climax should have been handled way differently. As it is Charles was less shady than in the book but either way the betrayal was a bit much.

Then we have Calvin who is just annoying the whole time. He’s pretty much here just to try and add in a bit of romance. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t work very well. He adds absolutely nothing to the film and just seems unrealistic. He helps her self esteem a lot and seems like a nice kid, but of course he needs to have a sob story as well. Why can’t he just be a nice guy who isn’t trying to compensate for something? The romance doesn’t get much of a focus fortunately but you do have to question why it was around in the first place.

The cast is rather small as the film is focusing on the visuals and not developing everyone. Unfortunately that means that every bad character really hurts the film and that is the case here. Lets make sure we have the record straight. We have Calvin who is a filler character. He’s not terrible, but he isn’t good. Then we have Charles who is a terrible character. The 3 Aliens are also super annoying. Meg isn’t very likable either as she is simply too mopey and constantly doubting herself. By the end of the film she finally gains confidence but it’s too late. We have the school personnel who are bad at their job like expected and then the bullies are added in as fluff. The Father is a poor character as well if you ask me. Maybe he shouldn’t be blamed for being powerless to escape his prison, but the guy just came across as really unprepared and had a tendency to give up easily.

As you can see this film just really didn’t hit the right notes for me. Granted, its biggest offense for the most part is simply that it was very boring. It’s not as if it made huge mistakes that would make me give it a terrible score like a 2. It won’t be positive either though since I just can’t recommend a boring film either. The film just has no life in it or any real imagination either. It just feels soul less and never gets you engaged. It’s like a fantasy film without any good lore behind it.

Overall, A Wrinkle In Time gets a hard pass from me. If you want to watch something that makes you feel like you’re watching a real film then check out something like Narnia instead. You will leave that film feeling a lot more fulfilled and it’ll probably age better as well. Perhaps a sequel to this film would work better now that the introductions are out of the way but it would still need a plot that is actually interesting to back it up so that may be a little too much for this series to handle as well. Still, with a sequel there is always hope I suppose.

Overall 4/10

Tomb Raider (2018) Review

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It’s time to look at the new Tomb Raider film. It had a lot to live up to since the first two movies in the series were quite solid. It would also be starting at a disadvantage since the first two took place when she was a pro while this was a prequel where she was just starting out. Origin stories are never quite as good as the hero’s later adventures but maybe this one would be an exception. The first trailer was pretty solid after all. While the movie isn’t quite as good as it looked, it’s still a decently good movie. It just needed more scenes of Lara actually taking down the villains as opposed to letting her friend do most of the work.

The movie starts off with Lara losing a boxing match against who I assume must be the regional champ. She tries to pull herself together in time to win a race of catch the fox but loses there as well and is brought to the cops. Fortunately her family is rich so she gets to walk out with no repercussions. Her aunt tells her that she needs to sign the power of attorney to give the aunt all of the power within the company. Lara thinks that this is ludicrous. Not because the aunt will effectively be stealing the company away but because she resents the fact that her father died so early and wants to make it on her own. Still, money troubles don’t just go away so she made the tough call to accept the money. Her father left one last message in a puzzle with the will and it shows an island on it. Lara quickly jumps on this and dashes over with the help of a local guide. They have to stop an evil company from destroying the world by bringing back a plague with them. The issue is that Lara is just one person against a private army and her father certainly isn’t going to help. He’s not dead anymore, but his spirit is broken and that’s effectively the same thing.

We get quite a few action scenes here where Lara challenges the main villains in hand to hand combat. As a boxer she certainly does have some moves. While she can’t go up against groups of fighters anymore she can still manage some 1 on 1 fights well enough. The fights are close and there’s nothing fancy about them as it’s simply a fight to the death. The fights can be a little dark so it’s hard to see what’s going on, but they’re all right. A little below average compared to the average action film, but they serve their purpose. Seeing Lara use the bow and arrow briefly will definitely remind you of the Hunger Games.

As for Lara herself, she’s a good lead. At times the accents for some of the main characters including her can make it a little tough to understand them, but it seemed to be a realistic accent I suppose. It’s good that she’s always ready for a fight and is rather headstrong. I don’t really have any complaints about her. Hopefully for the sequel if we get one there will be a time skip just so she can be more powerful to keep up with her confidence. Her father is definitely irredeemable at this point though. Richard is annoying through every scene that he’s in. He leaves behind a tape with a ton of confidential blueprints that will help out the villains immensely and then blames Lara for bringing it along. What else did he actually think she would do? He references that she never likes doing what she is told so that wouldn’t change here. The worst part is that the villain organization already had an inside agent and there was a huge chance that they would have gotten the tape instead of Lara. Richard’s plan was just heavily short sighted from start to finish.

The main villain Mathias was very generic. He’s just another guy who works as a lackey for a richer guy in order to get an early retirement. He tries to have a mild sob story about how he can’t see his kids until the mission is done, but the film doesn’t even try to make him sympathetic. That’s a good thing since it never would have worked. He can’t really fight but has a lot of raw strength so he gives Lara a good match. There just isn’t too much to this guy and you just won’t remember him a few years down the line. He probably should have finished off Lara from the start since she was clearly a threat to his plans.

Finally we have Lu. He has a shaky start as he gave in to his drunk tendencies and doesn’t come across as very brave but mans up when the going gets tough. In the climax he actually does most of the work as he shoots down a bunch of guards and even takes down more fighters once he is out of ammo. The guy definitely seems like the low key MVP here and hopefully he got paid pretty well by Lara afterwards.

There is a cliffhanger at the end to set up the sequel. It’s fairly open ended though so while we know who the villains will be the plot can still revolve around anything. I think a sequel would be pretty solid so I’m game for that to show up soon. In theory we need a good rival for Lara soon though so maybe the corporate villains will hire an adventurer of their own in order to keep up. The film can really do anything at this point although Lara is certainly to blame for the villains getting a better foothold since her decision at the end didn’t really make any logical sense.

Overall, Tomb Raider is a film that’s very by the numbers. The action scenes aren’t all that good and while the main character is fun, she really doesn’t feel like Lara Croft for most of it. Ironically her first scene would have felt the most like her except for the fact that she was getting her boxing gloves handed to her in the fight. It’s based on the newer Tomb Raider game which is the weakest one in the series so it’s most likely due to the game’s influence but since the next movie might go its separate path things might be different. I’d still recommend this movie if you’re looking for a good action title though. You won’t be bored as the pacing is fairly good.

Overall 6/10

Sherlock Holmes: Pursuit To Algiers Review

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Back to back Sherlock Holmes reviews? Yes, it’s time to jump right back into the land of mystery. This one throws the cast on a ship which means that there isn’t a lot of room to run for both the heroes and the villains. They will have to execute their missions with a lot of strategic planning in order to come out on top. It’s a pretty fun film and probably has the most direct confrontations between Holmes and the villains that we have seen in quite a while.

The film starts with a mysterious group luring Holmes and Watson to an abandoned house. They want Holmes to guard Prince Nikolas by getting on a plane with him and acting on an escort. Holmes accepts but there is no room for Watson so the sidekick heads on a boat to meet up with Holmes again later on. Holmes pops up anyway though and tells Watson it was all a trick. The problem is that 3 Russian spies come aboard and want to destroy Nikolas. There is also a mysterious lady named Sheila who always panics at the sight of Holmes. What secret is she hiding and why should she be terrified of Holmes? Time to find out!

At first the film plays out like your typical mystery as we are introduced to a bunch of suspicious characters and naturally they are all very sketchy throughout, but then we see the actual villains come aboard the ship. This means that either one of the suspects is an accomplice or they were all red herrings. Either way it makes for a fairly tense atmosphere. Also, the boat has a lot of people on it so in theory that makes it hard for the villains to try anything, but it can also be hard for Holmes to protect Nikolas without making it too obvious either. A lot of mind games are had here.

One such moment that worked really well was when the villains challenges Holmes and Watson to a game of curls. Throughout the match they use game lingo to attack the other person’s strategy about how to deal with the Prince. Holmes ends up doing pretty well in both arenas while acting innocent as he always does. Holmes likes to put up a humble facade even while he is smirking on the inside. He is fairly aggressive here as he breaks someone’s wrist and certainly doesn’t back down from the opposition. He even steps in to save the prince from an untimely swim when Watson proved unequal to the task.

This was definitely one of Sherlock’s better appearances. I’m also glad he was pretty careful about not actually getting on the plane that was pretty obviously a trap. He was maybe a little too trusting in even getting into such a situation, but I have to assume that he recognized the people he was dealing with right from the start. I’m also confident that he wouldn’t have fallen for a certain voice trick that was near the end of the film.

Unfortunately this was not one of Watson’s better appearances. He has a little too much fun with Sheila and forgets the situation too quickly. He’s a man on a mission right now so you think he would show a little more urgency. He also doesn’t guard Nikolas too well and tendsto let the guy out of his sight a lot. An old lady is also able to deter him from arriving as soon as he would have liked by putting him in the opposite direction. He was just really careless here and of course that tends to happen when you are the comic relief character of the series, but most of the other films put him in a bit of a better light than this one.

Of course, Nikolas still deserves most of the blame. He knows that everyone is after him but still makes alot of rookie mistakes. When Sheila asks him to go onto the deck with her to hang out he should have realized that this could be dangerous. Despite that, he seems rather oblivious the whole time and doesn’t even look for traps. He goes awful close to the water and just doesn’t show any common sense the whole time. His final scene is just as bad as all of the others and I was almost expecting his end to be a rather tragic one as a result. The guy just clearly doesn’t put too much stock in his own life.

Sheila’s subplot is probably the only one that just isn’t very good here. It’s just unnecessary and taking her out of the film would have put more focus on the actual case. She makes for a good red herring most of the time, but even then her motivations don’t seem all that consistent. From the three villains, Gregor was probably the best one. He is essentially the Moriarty of the group who likes to attack the heroes with carefully thought out plans when they least expect it. He isn’t as quick to act as the other two. Of course, waiting so long has its weaknesses as well, but I can’t say that there was any real fault with Gregor’s plan. It was actually really sound.

Mirko is the most aggressive one in the group and his knife throwing skills were on point. This guy is definitely a fighter. Naturally that’s not enough to take on someone like Holmes though. The detective is always ready for him. Then we have Gubec who gets the smallest role of the 3. That’s likely because he can’t talk so without any lines it was hard for him to be quite as memorable as the other 2. He still does his best though and isn’t bad I guess, but there’s just nothing all that likable about him.

Overall, This was a pretty solid Holmes film. The boat actually made for a great backdrop to the story. It was nice seeing the heroes and villains all stuck on such a small object like the boat. The film maybe spends too much time on red herrings, but at least the suspects are believable enough where you might suspect them for a while. Of course, the more Watson is sure that one of them is the culprit, the more confidence you will get in that just not being the case. It’s almost a little sad when you think about it.

Overall 8/10