Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Postman Always Rings Twice Review


It’s time to look at a film where the whole concept is about being the rebound guy. As you can guess that means the romance was doomed from the start. Since this is mainly a romance film that did put this one in a tough spot from the start and it never quite recovered. I was just waiting for the Postman to show up and shock everyone to the core, but it never happens. Turns out that it isn’t one of those literal titles, but it really should have been to be honest.

The film starts off with the district attorney giving Frank a ride. Frank’s been in a tough spot lately and that’s due in part to the fact that he is a free spirit. He loves just going wherever the wind takes him and living life on the edge. Well, he’s finally found a job at a burger joint, but immediately warns the owner, Nick, that he may not stay long. His plans change when Nick’s wife Cora shows up and Frank immediately decides that they should be together. Despite Cora’s half hearted rejections Frank forces the issue and they decide that Nick has to be murdered. Can they really pull off such a feat?

With a plot like this there is nobody to root for. Of course, you would expect to be rooting for Nick but the film goes out of its way to make him hard to root for. He doesn’t pay Cora any attention and is way older than her so that was never going to work out anyway. He’s oblivious to the point where he basically pushes them together and at the end of the day sees Cora as more of a helper than an equal. He doesn’t even consult her when making his big decision at the end of the film. He also gets drunk and in general just doesn’t seem like a good person.

Of course, two wrongs don’t make a right. Frank knows that Cora is married from the start. It’s not as if they were hanging out for a long time before he figured this out, it was made clear as day to him immediately. He pressed on anyway and then cheats on her later on in the film anyway. It’s no surprise though because that’s just the kind of guy he is. Frank does everything half heartedly and never becomes a decent person. By the end of the film he basically goes insane.

Meanwhile Cora is shown to be very manipulative. There are large portions of the film where it doesn’t seem like she actually cares about Frank and is just using him to get to her own goals. It’s pretty easy for her to manipulate him so it’s not like it takes a lot of effort. She’ll go from being overly friendly to him to giving Frank the cold shoulder. None of the characters handle the various situations well but her main failing is that she wants to stay in the burger choice even if that’s where all of the cops will connect the dots. She had a lot of opportunities to simply leave, but never took them. That was simply too big of a mistake to come back from.

Then you’ve got Arthur who helps plead their case in one of the court sessions. He’s actually pretty good even if the guy seems pretty shady. He may not be helping out for the right reasons, but the guy definitely does have talent. He added a little intrigue to the situation. Then you’ve got the D.A., Kyle. He’s definitely not sympathetic to their cause, nor should he be. Even by the end of the film he whips out another trump card and you can see why he has such a strong reputation in the film. He always gets his man.

Of course the film couldn’t help but throw a cat into the mix for no real reason. The scene just comes out of nowhere and he doesn’t live through the scene. I suppose the film was just desperate to lose another star but with the lackluster plot it’s not like the film needed any help. The writing in general is decent, but with none of the characters being particularly intelligent some scenes can seem like bad writing as well. The film also drags on quite a bit. On one hand it is impressive just how far the plot changes from the beginning, but on the other hand it starts to outlive its welcome by the end. It’s around 30 minutes longer than it needs to be, especially since the plot is fairly basic.

I suppose the ending will be happy or sad depending on who you’re rooting for. Considering that the main characters are openly cheating I’d say that the D.A. and the long arm of the law is probably who you’d be rooting for. If you look at the ending with that lens then it does change things quite a bit. On a minor note, at least the burgers did look pretty good. I could definitely use one right about now and if we had more scenes of the characters preparing food for their restaurant perhaps it could have distracted from the weak story. Almost all of the film takes place at their restaurant after all and yet the scenes with real food are scarce and far apart.

Overall, The Postman Always Rings Twice is definitely a film that I’ve got to give a thumbs down. How can you like a film where the main character is so petty? He’s basically a crook the whole time and is super ungrateful considering that Nick was giving him a place to live and a decent salary. Also, even before Frank’s romance was starting he seemed like a rude person. When Cora dropped her lipstick he made her come to him to pick it up rather than just giving it to her. It’s the kind of petty power play that you would expect from someone like Frank. The ending is also completely his fault since he was the one at command. He should have realized that he didn’t have the skills to multi task.

Overall 4/10

Advertisements
Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Lover Come Back Review


It’s time to look at a film that basically takes all of its ideas from another one without managing to do any of the areas better than the original. It’s not a bad movie, but there is little reason to watch it so long as the other one exists. I suppose if you just want a second chance to experience this kind of story then that makes sense.

The film starts off with Carol trying to snag a deal for her insurance company. Unfortunately, she is stopped by Jerry, a top ranking member of a different firm who has typically had a lot of luck in taking down clients. He uses whatever methods it takes to secure these guys whether it’s through parties or champagne. Carol decides to report him, but there really isn’t much that she can do since everyone is on his side. She realizes that the only way to stop him is to steal his latest advertising client who has created something called VIP. She finds this “Dr. Taylor” and tells him that she’ll do whatever it takes to keep him from Jerry. Little does she know that she found the wrong Taylor and is actually talking with Jerry. Jerry decides that he’ll have some fun dating her as he hides the truth.

The whole romance is built off of a deception so of course it isn’t particularly good. Now the question is how does this differ from the last version right? Well, I think Carol comes off as even more desperate in this version. She’s basically going with Taylor in part to spite Jerry and gets manipulated rather easily. I think it’s fair to say that she legitimately liked him as well, but she’s definitely way too desperate. It also doesn’t help the film’s ending either. It’s almost a little crazy how sudden the last batch of scenes are. We get some time jumps and a lot of changes in the status quo but at the end of the day Carol is in a pretty tough spot. There isn’t really a lot that she can do in her position. I think the film should have had the two characters come to some kind of agreement before the kid coming into the picture. Otherwise it’s more like she didn’t have a whole lot of options here. The ending was very weak.

Back to Carol, I think her character would have been better if she could have at least had some moments where she was winning against Jerry. The film goes out of its way to put her in sticky situations the whole time. Even when she calls the board against Jerry he manages to sneak in a win by bribing the witness. Of course the bulk of the plot is built around how desperate she is to win, but making the rivalry slightly more balanced would have helped I’d say. There’s a lot of ways you can do it while still keeping within the comedy framework.

So I wouldn’t give Carol a thumbs up here, but of course the same will be said for Jerry. He’s a fun character who definitely wins all of his debates with Carol, but at the end of the day he definitely isn’t a good person. He made that clear with how he tricked Carol. His tactics for getting clients wasn’t even all that bad but there isn’t really an excuse for the rest of the film. He was willing to go all the way with his tricks. I also dare say that he is a lot less remorseful than the guy from the last film. This one is still willing to win even by the end of the film and only ended up backing down because he wasn’t prepared for the drunk candy. Otherwise he would have run off into the sunset.

Fortunately we do have Peter around to help the film out. He may not be quite as tough and calculating as his previous version, but he’s pretty good. I did like how he took the reigns when he went back to the company for a day. His plan may have backfired but it was the attempt that counts. Peter may not be great at standing up for himself, but he was fine with handling things honorably. He is even the one who told Jerry to apologize even though that ultimately didn’t happen. His humor just works well for each of his scenes and he also reminds us on the importance of having a bodyguard.

There’s also Dr. Taylor, but his screen time is pretty brief since he is being impersonated for most of the film. He is a pretty good scientist though and does keep up his end of the bargain. The heroes gave him complete freedom to do whatever he wants so that’s on them. The guy tried to keep his distance from humanity and it’s hard to blame him. They probably didn’t understand his genius or he would have been employed as a top researcher by now.

The film did a good job of reusing almost all of its backgrounds from older movies as well. They were definitely pretty efficient with the budget which is always good. There’s one part of the film where Jerry and Peter go on a trip and the film does a good job of actually changing their character designs. Jerry even grows a beard and sort of looks like a totally different actor. I wonder if they actually waited a few days to film those scenes or if the hair was fake. It certainly looked real enough to me.

Overall, This is definitely a fun romance film for the most part, but the weak ending really does hurt it as well as the romance itself being pretty questionable. The pacing is good and the writing is solid, but the film just could have used a bit more charm. If you haven’t seen any films with this kind of plot before then it’s a good way to start off. Otherwise I’d sooner recommend watching a different Doris Day feature. I’d say that the cast of characters in most of the other films are a little stronger. Peter really has to hold the whole film up on his own and that’s pretty difficult. Now her marathon is over and I’ll be going back to other movies. It was a good run though.

Overall 5/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Move Over, Darling Review


It’s time to look at a fairly old romance comedy. This film shows why you shouldn’t be so quick to move on from your first bond. The phrase is “Til Death do us part” after all so you’d expect not to move on to someone else so easily. This is a pretty fun film, but definitely one where the guy ultimately gets off a bit easy. Fortunately we had the Judge to keep everyone on the straight and narrow.

The film starts with Nick and his wife Ellen being in a plane crash. Nick manages to survive and then meets up with a lady named Bianca. He decides to marry her, but the problem is that Ellen isn’t legally dead yet. Nick runs to court to expedite the process and once the judgment is made he quickly marries Bianca. The timing was rough though as Ellen has finally washed up ashore and it turns out that she was alive. The navy found her on a deserted island after these 5 years and she’s ready to get back to her family. Of course it turns out to be a pretty rude awakening when she finds out that Nick has re-married. She tells him to quickly end things with Bianca but he is unsure if that’s what he really wants to do.

So, they just married and are in some kind of elope phase where you can still cancel the marriage or something. That helps simplify things, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from Nick’s perspective. He does a pretty terrible job of trying to break up with Bianca. You can tell that he’s being half hearted about it, but that makes sense since he liked her enough to re-marry in the first place right? He seems to want to be able to keep his marriage to both of them, but of course that is completely out of the question. He also sets a bit of a double standard with this as he is unable to make a decision, but then gets super jealous when he finds out that Ellen was with another guy on the island. He cops out of every decision and doesn’t make a move until there is no escape at the end. Nick’s just not a great character.

Meanwhile Bianca is pretty reasonable. If anything she is the one trying to make this relationship work while Nick is running around. You’ll feel bad for her since she is pretty innocent in this whole affair. As far as she knows Ellen is dead, but the film does try to make you root against her by the end. It’s clear that she’s not an amazing person or anything like that, but at the same time she’s definitely way more sympathetic than Nick.

Meanwhile Ellen’s a solid protagonist. She does her best to force Nick into doing the right thing, but at the end of the day he still has to make the decision. She puts as much pressure as she can and the only possible “mistake” she may have made is in not mentioning Stephen. At the same time, I don’t think there was any need to tell him or at least not until this situation was over. It would have just complicated matters and you just know that he wouldn’t have taken it well at all. He never takes these things well.

Meanwhile I feel like the Stephen plot in general was completely unnecessary. I think it’s only here to do the whole “Nick wasn’t the only one keeping secrets” thing so both characters are at part to blame. This doesn’t work though because we find out that Stephen was just chasing her around the whole time while on the island. the plot doesn’t really add up though as Ellen shouldn’t be so content with Stephen in that case. Maybe things actually did happen although I don’t think it’s likely. This plot just had no place in this film and it feels really forced.

The best parts of the film are definitely when the characters head to court. The judge really steals the show here and commands a lot of respect in the court room. People definitely aren’t going to be messing with this guy. He definitely doesn’t know much about law and seems to have cheated his way to the top, but I suppose it worked out. He still comes to the right verdicts and has a sense of humor as well. I’d have been happy to have had even more court scenes. They were definitely the best part of the film and is a solid example of humor done right.

In general the writing is pretty solid in the film. I still say that Nick got off way too easy though. I was totally on Ellen’s side here and Nick really should have done a better job of not moving on from her so quickly. How I see it, 5 years is way too soon to move on to the next person if you seriously had a good marriage. If you move on sooner then how much did you really love your original partner? If it’s easy to find a replacement then that’s a serious problem. If the film was played more seriously that could have gotten dicey, but as a part comedy plot it works a lot better.

Overall, Move Over, Darling is a fun film. At the end of the day it’s definitely a quality watch and the good aspects definitely outweigh the bad. It may not have the most satisfying ending and the characters stretch out the story way more than it should have been, but the journey to the ending is fun. If you’re in the mood for a light hearted rom-com then this is the title for you. The good part about a dual genre film like this one is that even when the romance is pretty poor as we saw in this movie, the comedy can then keep it afloat. These retro films always had a really nice sense of humor so it’s usually a winning strategy. We’re nearing the end of the Doris Day marathon but it’s been a fun stretch of titles. The next one I’ll be reviewing is basically a remake of another Doris film I saw recently which is interesting.

Overall 6/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review


It’s time to look at a crossover that came out pretty recently. I never read the comic although it always looked pretty cool. The film seems to be a pretty straight adaption which is nice and it’s definitely a story that holds up well. I’d consider this to be one of the stronger recent DC films and I’d definitely be up for a sequel since there is a bit of a cliffhanger at the end.

The film starts off with a group of FOOT soldiers showing up in Gotham and stealing some kind of experimental tech. Batman decides to look into it and the next target is determined to be Wayne Tech. He prevents them from stealing the device, but is ultimately defeated by their leader, The Shredder. Batman now needs to figure out how to stop this threat and believes there may be a connection with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They’d better give him some details or he’ll be taking them down.

With a crossover you always want a definitive victor and the film did a good job with that. Batman does fight the 4 turtles and he pretty easily takes them down. The fight is also very early on in the film which I think was a good idea. I like build up for a film as well but I feel like this outcome was pretty obvious from the start (no shade to the turtles) so this just made sense. Batman and Shredder also have a fight with an actual outcome which was cool. I definitely won’t say who won of course, but it was a really solid fight and there were no cop outs. I can’t say I agree with the outcome necessarily but I can respect it. It’s a pretty close fight either way and as a crossover it’s nice to see them battle since they’re both considered to be in the top% of hand to hand fighters in their respective universes.

The animation will take a little time to get used to I’d say. The character designs are a bit off and it’s definitely a step down from the mainstream DC films. Still, it’s probably this way to look more like the comic. Donatello is a little too slim but the others are mostly on point. I’d say that Leonardo definitely had the best design from the 4. The fight scenes don’t suffer from this as the characters just get right into the thick of the action and the fight scenes are nice and extended. There is time for both combatants to really get in on the action. Batman’s fight with the Shredder round 1 is the best part of the movie without a doubt.

This film has pretty solid writing to back it up as well. There isn’t really a weak point here and that’s important. At worst you can say that the breaking into Arkham for the 100th time was a bit old by this point. I wouldn’t have minded sticking to the main plot, but that probably would have made the film a little too short. The scene of Batman deciding that the turtles were getting in his way was also a little forced for drama I’d say. Still, these are extremely minor things.

Batman’s definitely the best character in the movie. He really gets to make the most of his experience and hand to hand combat skills. He may not trust the others much, but at the end of the day he’ll make the right call. Sadly this is one of Damian’s weaker appearances. He just isn’t nearly as skilled as he usually is and only puts up a fight against the Turtles in a bit of a comic relief battle. I feel like in a serious fight he should be able to beat them like Batman. Batgirl doesn’t get a huge role, but she is around for the Arkham battles and helps out. She gets to show off her intellect a lot here.

From the Turtle side, Leonardo’s the best one. He gets a lot of action and is certainly shown to be the most skilled of the turtles. He is always the one to help the heroes make a comeback and also manages to keep his emotions in check when it looks like it is curtains for the others. Raphael also looks reasonably good here. He definitely doesn’t get to have any real wins compared to Leonardo, but he is quick to get in on the action. Donatello and Michelangelo definitely can’t compete. Donatello at least has the planning on his side but Michelangelo is mainly just here for the gags. The comic relief character is usually doomed to be one of the weaker ones in the film.

For the villains, Shredder definitely looked good. It’s always nice to see him in his more serious incarnations. His armor was also top quality to hold its own against Batman’s. (Although Batman’s spikes were definitely shown to be sharper) I feel like Shredder was on the losing end of the bargain though since he has to trust Ra’s to keep his end of the bargain. Way I see it, you should never finish your part of the plan before the other guy has a chance to start his. Then there’s no incentive for the other guy to do his part. Meanwhile Ra’s definitely looks good. I don’t think this plan was his most brilliant one, but he does a good job of making sure it succeeds. He also puts in a pretty good fight which is to be expected since he’s a premiere fighter as well.

There are other sub villains, but they don’t get a huge role. Most of the Arkham guys aren’t even in their right minds since they took the serum. It was definitely a unique choice for the fights, but I think it would have been even better if they had stayed in their normal designs. The Arkham stuff was probably the weakest part of the film compared to the other acts, but at the end of the day it was basically nonstop fight scenes so it was still pretty solid. You can’t go wrong with a good action scene. Naturally the film does get a little violent at times, but it’s never nearly as excessive as some of DC’s other titles. A few people get sliced and diced but that’s basically the extent of it.

Overall, Batman vs the Ninja Turtles is a great film. There’s a lot of action here and a steady amount of good dialogue. I was definitely on Team Batman all the way, but the turtles make for good sidekicks. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d recommend checking it out. It’s always nice to have more crossovers get animated and this was a great pick. I’m hoping we get more such titles at some point. Maybe we can finally get the Superman vs He Man movie at some point.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Mario Maker 2 Review


It’s finally time to take a look at the new Mario Maker game. The first one I still have listed as one of the greatest Mario games of all time. Mario’s tackled many different genres and for the most part they have obvious #1 titles. The best 3D Mario is 64, the best Mario sports title is Strikers, the best racing game is Double Dash, and the best 2D is Super Mario World. The question is…where does Maker fit into all of this? It’s basically its own genre, but it can hold its own all the same. Ultimately I wouldn’t say it is quite as good as the first Maker, but it’s very close and is definitely a game with tons of replay value.

This time around we do have a real story mode, but only barely since there aren’t really any cutscenes. There isn’t much of a plot either but I am still glad that Nintendo at least made the attempt and gave us something. They definitely could have gone the lazy route and just not included it. We did get some quality levels as well and it is a good way to learn all the mechanics of the game. By the time you’re done with the story you’ll be ready to tackle the others modes. A new addition to the game is the ability to fight other players online. The 4 of you are thrown into a level and the first to clear it wins. If you die in the level then you’ll be taken back to the start or the checkpoint. These segments can be a bit laggy at times, but for the most part it works well.

There is also the classic course world from the previous games. You can play new and popular levels while honing your own skills. Try to grab some world records while you’re at it. You can sort through the levels a bunch of different ways or even look up specific levels from the course ID. There are endless levels to have fun with here so there’s no reason to stop playing. Unfortunately the star system is gone and in its place is a more simplified like/dislike button system. It doesn’t really let you see how the stage is doing quite as well, but that was a pretty minor part of the process anyway.

As this is Super Mario Maker a big chunk of your time will likely be spent on making levels as well. I mean, it varies I suppose, but I imagine that for most people this would have been the main reason to get the game right? There have been new items and enemies added so the sky is the limit on what you can make. The stage builder is incredibly detailed and there are almost too many options. You can’t even fit everything on one screen so to find more items you have to go through a settings window. It’s all pretty intuitive once you start though with two exceptions. You can’t draw on the screen with a pen so you have to do it by hand which is a little tricky. There also doesn’t seem to be a way to zoom out and that would be handy. I actually feel like making levels in Mario Maker 1 was a little easier, but maybe that’s just my memory playing tricks on me.

As of the time of this review I have completed two stages and am in the process of uploading a third. In this game you can only upload 32 stages instead of 100 like in the last one so you don’t want to use up all of your slots too soon anyway. I don’t think I would get over that amount anyway so 32 isn’t a bad limit for me, but it is a pretty disheartening change for the more experienced makers of the game. So, as you can see Maker added a lot of improvements, but also slid backwards a little bit. I think the main part that is disappointing is how they got rid of all the extra characters here. It was awesome getting to play as characters like Daisy and Mega Man. It was also fun to try and collect them all as it added a lot more end game content as opposed to simply going around and playing all of the levels. It gave the game more of a focus and it’s just a shame that it is gone.

Naturally the graphics are definitely pretty solid here. All of the styles look good and Nintendo never cuts corners in this area. The soundtrack is pretty limited, but the tunes all sound pretty good so that’s not really an issue. On a technical level this game is quite sound and the fact that you can spam your levels with a ton of objects is also impressive. You don’t run out of space in a level for a verrrrrry long time. That’s something that other stage builder games still have a lot of trouble with.

There’s definitely a lot of replay value to be found here. Really the game never quite has to end. I’ll have to put it back to sharing game time with other titles now that the story is over, but I’ll still be playing it a little every day for a while. It doesn’t quite have the full array of content that the first game had to keep you going, but so long as you like the classic Mario gameplay then there’s no reason to stop playing. Also there are little medals and achievements built into the game this time around so that’s something to focus on. I imagine that getting all of the medals will take a very long time.

Overall, Super Mario Maker 2 is definitely one of the definitive Mario games. It’s the kind of title that can last you throughout the whole life of the Switch. You’ll be able to just keep playing it over and over again. At this point Nintendo can’t really release another big 2D Mario game since there isn’t much of a point when you can make all of the levels here. That means they’ll need to either come up with a cinematic story or stick to the 3D Mario games. Either way the mascot is in good hands right now as he isn’t leaving the limelight anytime soon. I wonder what this game will do for paid DLC. Maybe they’ll add a new style or more objects for maker mode.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

My Little Pony: Rainbow Roadtrip Review


It’s time for the latest look at the MLP series. This special throws in the movie type animation which is a nice twist. It’s a good way to keep the fans satisfied as we await the rest of the final season. It’s a pretty fun special that gives each of the main characters a nice role while reminding us that there is always time for friendship. I would have liked a good fight scene though.

The special starts with the Mane 6 getting ready to leave Ponyville as they have been invited to a Rainbow event and Dash will be the guest of honor. However, when the heroes arrive at this town everything appears to be off. None of the events are as advertised and nobody wants to talk to them. The town has had its color drained away and have lost their happiness. Twilight and the others decide to introduce friendship to this town as they get this festival going. Can they really bring the color back!?

The special is definitely pretty solid so I’ll address the only weak point right off the bat. From the premise you are initially expecting some kind of villain here. After all, it’s not like the color left on its own right? Unfortunately the special does not take that route. There are no action scenes in this special nor is there a real villain. Sure, this series isn’t really about that but throwing in a villain would have been great even if she would have been doomed to turn good by the end. In a lot of ways this special feels like a redo of the Starlight Glimmer episode only without a lot of the best parts. Of course this doesn’t really hurt the score since it’s more of a “what if” than anything else, but it would have been pretty cool to have gotten a little more intensity in here.

All of the Mane 6 look pretty good. I’d say that Applejack and Rainbow Dash were the most dependable members of the crew though. Applejack really got the townsfolk to believe in themselves while Rainbow Dash inspired confidence in her fan club. They actively helped bring the color back into the town which was important. They also took the situation in stride pretty well. Twilight Sparkle tried using her science to secure a win here, but at the end of the day this task proved a little too difficult for her on her own. Together with the others she was ultimately able to succeed though.

Pinkie Pie probably looks the worst from the main characters though. She was almost mean with how she was knocking the old couple’s apricot pies. She has to realize that part of the problem here is that without being able to see color the apricots are all going to look the same. Then you’ve also got the issue with the neighbor being the only one with the good fruits. The resolution here is definitely a little on the cheesy side. It’s a decent subplot, but one where Pinkie Pie didn’t help quite as much as she could have.

Rainbow’s subplot is pretty good. The kids definitely mean well and did a good job of making the unofficial fanclub. It’s really one of the only parts of the town that was actually real even if they were short on members. The main plot involves one of the ponies blaming himself for what happened. I can see why though since he really did mess up here. There is a twist about this though so it’s not 100% his fault. He really just needed more confidence in general.

As I mentioned the animation is definitely pretty good here. The character models are on point and in general this style just makes every pony feel a lot more authentic. This style just fills out the characters a lot better than the old flash style could. Meanwhile we do get a big song at the end which is good. I wouldn’t say that it’s one of the strongest songs in MLP or anything like that but it’s always good to have a song regardless.

There isn’t much to say about the special in general because the whole thing is pretty straight forward, but it’s good at what it does. The writing is on point so even if the whole situation seems rather mild it makes for a pretty interesting special. You’ll definitely be on board right away and there’s no part of the special that drags on which is always important. It’s just a fun experience even if it may not leave much of an impression after you’ve finished it.

Overall, Rainbow Roadtrip is definitely a special that I would recommend to all big MLP fans. It definitely feels like one of the old episodes where you didn’t have to worry about supporting characters so the original 6 get all of the screen time. As good as the supporting characters are, it’s always good to be able to focus on the originals once in a while. There’s nothing to really dislike about the special and I hope to see more like this one in the future.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Spider-Man Far From Home Review


Spider-Man has finally made it to his third iteration of Spider-Man 2. He’s definitely had a lot of films across different timelines and they’ve all been pretty solid. Even the worst Spider-Man entry is still better than average. So where does this one rank? Right away I would say that it is in the top half. I prefer it to Homecoming, Spider-Man 2, and The Amazing Spider-Man. It doesn’t beat The Amazing Spider-Man or Spider-Man 3 so that leaves it with the always tough battle against the original Spider-Man. Still, I think it beats that one as well so I would put this as the third best Spider-Man installment. It’s got a lot of good replay value and its solid mix of action and light hearted moments make it a quality watch.

After the fallout of Endgame Peter Parker is ready to finally get on with his life. His class is going on a vacation tour to Italy, France, etc. His big plan is to finally confess to Mary Jane during this trip. Unfortunately a lot of social complications like Brad show up and then Nick Fury shows up to sabotage Peter’s trip. It turns out that there is a multiverse and one of the greatest heroes from another world is around to help fight off some elemental creatures who are planning to attack. His name is Mysterio, but even with this guy Fury wants Spider-Man on board. Can Peter manage to lead a normal life and be a superhero or is it time for him to choose once and for all which job to keep?

I think one of the most impressive parts of the film is definitely the visuals. We get a lot of great action scenes both with the monsters and the other action scenes. There is one sequence in the second half which is particularly solid. Some of the visuals are like something out of Dr. Strange. You’ll know what scene I’m talking about when you watch the film, but it is most excellent. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is also quite solid. There are nods to previous films as well as brand new themes. It makes for a pretty solid soundtrack that is also in the top 3 for the Spider-Man films.

Romance always plays a big role in the Spider-Man films so we can’t overlook that. There are 3 romances here so lets go in order. Ned has his own subplot romance which I dare say is only included for humor. This romance wasn’t very good and even if that was the point it definitely could have been left out of the film. Then you have Happy and Aunt May……definitely a bad romance. I can’t say that I’ve ever liked Happy so I may not be totally impartial, but there’s also no point to this romance. It’s very unlikely to go anywhere and the scenes are pretty forced. The resolution also makes Aunt May look a little iffy here. Her reasoning definitely wasn’t what I expected.

Those are basically the backup romances though, the main one is naturally between Peter and Mary Jane with the slight addition of Brad. Brad is around to make things tough for Peter, but I don’t think anyone seriously thought that he ever had a chance. This version of Mary Jane is definitely quite different from her other portrayal in the original trilogy which does make the romance pretty different. I’d say that on the whole it’s handled well. At most I think Mary Jane’s shell broke a little too quickly by the end of the film though. Part of the fun in her character is how she likes to make morbid quips and is always pretty blunt/stoic. By the end of the film she seems a lot more emotional and outspoken which is fine…to an extent. I hope she still keeps her main character personality but otherwise it’s a reasonable romance. I think it’s definitely a lot more developed than most of the other romances we’ve seen.

There isn’t a massive cast here so lets quickly run through the characters. I just talked about some of them so no need to redo those. Basically Mary Jane is solid and Aunt May is fun enough. Happy and Brad definitely get a thumbs down. Flash is definitely a more enjoyable bully than most, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t say that he is all that good either. He doesn’t really do anything although there is some setup for a third film likely to explain why he acts the way he does. Ned’s still not really clicking for me and his romance plot did not do him any favors. He’s definitely a nice friend and always has Peter’s back even if the “help” doesn’t always put Peter in a better place.

I definitely did like the main teacher though. He always means well and definitely rolled with the punches. He’s a glass half full kind of guy and nothing seems to get him down. He also brushes past Brad’s allegations pretty easily (with help from MJ) and in general steals every scene that he is in. The other teacher doesn’t get much to do, but he was pretty fun. He reminds me of the ice character from Incredibles with how he kept darting from room to room. He also kept reminding the kids that he was the cool teacher. Meanwhile Nick Fury and Maria Hill get quite a bit of screen time here. They look pretty consistent with what you’d expect. Fury naturally uses a hard approach with Peter to get the kid to try and be a hero but it’s definitely pretty unfair the whole time. Spider-Man’s doing his best but nothing ever seems to satisfy these guys.

As for Spider-Man himself he’s good for sure. He may not be the most eager to get back in the field, but he’s got so many reasons why now is the worst time. Why did every other hero have to suddenly vanish when these threats are arising? He does have one pretty bad scene involving his glasses though. The whole thing was a huge stretch, especially considering that it was part of the plan. The stars had to align just right for this to work and I really feel that it shouldn’t have. It’s the one big moment where peter was really lapsing in judgment. He’ll definitely have to bring his best for the next film though since it’s probably going to be his most difficult experience yet. Also, it’s good to have spider-sense back on board but that subplot was a little murky. I don’t see how or why the ability would have been suppressed at all. It does explain why he isn’t doing so well for the majority of the film, but it does seem a bit like an excuse.

Meanwhile, Mysterio is definitely a very good character. I like his confidence and his showmanship will remind you of Tony or Strange to an extent. He’s a well developed character and really makes his presence felt. I think he made all of the scenes with him even better than they would have been. His final scene in particular is excellent and the opening scene wastes no time either. There are also some characters from the old Marvel films who surprisingly show up. It was a pretty nice guest star cameo.

I think I mainly touched on everything by this point. The film’s able to accomplish a lot during its run time and part of what helps the replay value is the fact that the humor is handled through a lot of quick jokes. There aren’t too many gags that drag on (Happy and May) for too long which is good and a lot of the scenes actually are funny. You get those classic Spider-Man vibes and his human interactions have always been some of the best in Marvel. It’s why the original comics did so well in the first place. The cast is solid and I could easily re-watch this film. It may not be quite as large scale as most of the other Marvel films, but a grounded film once in a while is never a bad idea.

Overall, Far From Home is definitely a very good sequel. I’ve avoided talking about scenes in particular to avoid spoilers since this is still such a new release. It basically brought back all the good parts from Homecoming and continued to build on them. The villain here is pretty memorable and the film did a solid job overall. Even if some of the romance wasn’t perfect, more parts of the film’s humor and writing hit their marks than missed. I definitely recommend checking this film while it’s still in theaters so you don’t get spoiled on the interwebs. The movie naturally has 2 after credit scenes so I’d recommend checking them out. Both of them are actually pretty important even if the second one may be a sliiiiiight stretch. I’m just not 100% sure that it really works, but at the same time you can very reasonably explain it so it’s more of a nitpick than anything. I’m definitely ready to see what they do for Spider-Man 3.

Overall 8/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Pokemon: I Choose You Review


Pokemon’s definitely been through a lot over the years. It first had to deal with the pressure of being the greatest video game series of all time and then it started one of the longest running anime of all time. What other challenges could await it from there? Well, there’s the manga industry but Pokemon Adventures pretty much has that covered. As a result the movie based manga usually don’t really try to do anything super special except to keep on with business as usual. I didn’t care much for the movie this manga is based on which limits its potential, but ultimately I guess I would say it’s a little better. It’s pretty much a straight adaption though.

The manga starts with Ash getting ready to start his Pokemon journey. Unfortunately, he overslept and all 3 of the starters have already been taken. He’s forced to start off with good ole Pikachu. The two don’t get along at first, but gradually they become pals. Ash then runs into Verity and Sorrel along the way as they all wanted to catch Entei. It doesn’t go well and the 3 of them are forced to bond over cave stories as they wait for the rain to stop. The adventure will test their bonds and Ash will have to find out if he really has what it takes to be a Pokemon Master.

Right away you will have to remind yourself that this is a pretty inexperienced Ash. It’ll make the adventure less painful as he takes a lot of Ls left and right. Part of why reboots like this are tough is that you don’t really want Ash to be a beginner yet again. The wounds are still fresh from when he lost every other league. For the most part Ash is still solid here though. I definitely didn’t care for the scene where he loses to Cross though. Ash was probably going in a little too hard during the fight, but how do you really know when to stop? Typically in a Pokemon battle you go on until one of them is knocked out but I guess if they look weakened enough then you should pull them out first? That part always seemed a little inconsistent to me, but I guess we’ll roll with that.

Ash was being manipulated by Marshadow later on, but it was still a bit iffy how quickly he was ready to ditch his Pokemon. He’s just not nearly as tough or confident as his TV show persona and I think that does play into why this movie/manga was just not quite as solid. Meanwhile his two partners also aren’t all that great. Sorrel doesn’t really want to be a Pokemon fighter, he just wants to research and meet all of the legendaries. He gets an origin story that is pretty dark. It ends pretty quickly in the manga, but it’s still something that you really don’t need in a Pokemon manga. The Pokemon should lose fights now and then of course, but dying for no reason is definitely iffy. Pokemon are very strong so to just lose to natural causes is a bit iffy.

Meanwhile you have Verity who is sort of like a nicer rival to Ash although they don’t get to fight much. She’s a pretty fun character, but ultimately she doesn’t get a whole lot to do. I’d have liked her to have gotten some more of the focus and maybe an extra fight or two. I don’t think she would have been able to defeat Cross, but if she had that would have been pretty neat as well. As for Cross, there’s definitely no way I was going to like him. He’s like Paul in that he doesn’t care about Pokemon and is willing to hurt the ones that he has. A good rival still has respect for his Pokemon like Gary. Gary may not have been the most pleasant person to be around, but he always treated Pokemon with respect. Cross has a character arc by the end, but it’s so sudden and a complete 360 that you can’t take him seriously.

As for Marshadow, I always liked the design of this Pokemon. He’s not the most interesting villain though even if he basically did wreck Ho-Oh. I feel like Ho-Oh is probably the strongest Pokemon who has yet to look good in one of these things. The legendary birds in general seem to take a lot of Ls when they appear. At least we got some decent fights though. None of the fights are all that long here (The longest felt like it was Cross vs Ash round 1) but the art is excellent so the battles that we do get look pretty good. Art plays a big part in a manga of course and there was clearly a good amount of effort put in here.

I think one of the problems with the story is that it’s going through all of the motions, but there isn’t anything particularly memorable about this adventure. There’s no hook nor is there any reason to re-read this. It feels like an average episode with Ash and since it’s not even the version of Ash that we’re used to there isn’t much to it. Still, it almost sounds like it would get a negative review from what I’ve written so far so let me just point out that it is still a good manga. Just because it can’t match up to the other titles doesn’t mean that it is downright bad. At the end of the day it still has good action scenes and a reasonable cast. The artwork is solid and that’s really all you need. It’s not great or even very good, but it gets the job done.

Overall, This is definitely not my favorite Pokemon adventure and it’s a relatively weak one as far as the movie tie-ins go. Still, it’s not a bad one and I do feel like it’s a little better than the movie version. Maybe that’s because when reading through it the iffy scenes don’t last as long as in the movie. Maybe there were subtle differences here that made the whole thing feel more intense. Whatever the case may be, I’d recommend experiencing this story in manga format instead of going for the movie version. Still, I look forward to the day when the movies are with Ash and friends in the present again instead of these alternate universe titles. It was a cool concept, but the execution just hasn’t been there thus far. We’re in the age of nostalgia right now so give us a big movie with the return of Gary. Maybe hype it up as the big tournament where Ash finally wins. There’s a lot of ways you can make a satisfying Pokemon movie after all, the company just needs to go for it.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Please Don’t Eat the Daisies Review


It’s time to look at a classic rom/dram/com title. It’s a pretty decent film and I have to give the main guy some extra credit here since he didn’t fall for the usual tricks. He’s definitely still not a great character as he makes some other iffy moves, but all in all the whole story was handled a lot more realistically than I would have otherwise expected. It also gives you some more insight into the mind of the critics.

So the film starts out with Lawrence being promoted to one of the big 8. He’s at a level where a review can make or break a show. Lawrence swears to use this power responsibly and to be an honest critic like he always was. Unfortunately the power does start to get to him and he enjoys ruining people’s careers for a good laugh. So long as he keeps getting his pay check he’s happy to put everyone out of business. His wife Kate suggests that he is losing himself and decides that it’s the perfect time to get a mansion in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately this just serves to widen the gap between them as Lawrence is slowly being turned to the dark side. Can Kate help him turn back into the noble man he once was or is he already too far gone?

The whole critic angle is pretty accurate except I’d usually say that it’s in the opposite side of the spectrum. You’re most likely going to get candid opinions from critics who are just starting out or aren’t at a super high level. The more influence and connections you get, the more likely you’ll have people influencing your reviews. After all, if you’re invited to a private screening or given an expenses paid trip to watch a title it’s definitely going to play on your mind. Do you give the film more leeway or attack it even more to try and cover your bias? While reviewers getting paid off is mainly a meme, the psychological attacks are usually pretty real. Most reviewers won’t even realize what is happening until it’s too late. Of course, nobody’s particularly exempt from that, but that’s why I never buy into reviews anyway. I mostly just like reading the ones that poke a lot of fun at the title or are just super negative. A hobby of mine is reading reviews that tear into things I like, but I digress.

Lawrence was on the escalator down from the start only he doesn’t even try to put up any resistance. I do agree with him giving Alfred’s play a negative review since at the time it was his obvious opinion. Did he have to use such extreme hyperbole in tearing the play down? No, but if that’s his writing style then it makes sense to keep going as normal. From there on out he just gets worse and worse to the point where he stops caring about the average joe. He gets quite obsessive by the end. So, even once Lawrence has had his character arc by the end he just isn’t a very likable character. Keep in mind that he didn’t even attend the play at the last second and I expected him to do so. So, I had no real sympathy for him.

I will give him credit for not being seduced by the actress Deborah though. In almost every kind of scenario like what happened in this film the guy would have cracked and he would have just been forgiven from it by the end. That didn’t happen here. Lawrence turned her down every time so I was glad he kept some morals even if he stopped being a hero. Cheating definitely would have really made his character too far gone. Meanwhile Deborah’s not a great antagonist. It’s good to see her taking a lot of Ls here, but ultimately her character arc wasn’t really needed for the experience.

Meanwhile Kate is the main heroine and she is a good character although she is way too naive. She knows from the start that Alfred is really upset at Lawrence and is actively trying to sabotage him. Why would she trust anything that he says from that point on? Just accepting his manuscript at face value didn’t really make any sense and they’re awful chummy all things considered. Fortunately the other people in the town had a backup plan ready, but all told she shouldn’t have fallen for the trick. It’s hard to get around that, but otherwise she is a good character. She’s definitely a lot more noble and down to earth than Lawrence. She doesn’t hang onto a mountain of pride the way that he does and ultimately she does her best to fit into the community and make sure that everyone comes out of this as a winner.

As for Alfred, he’s definitely a pretty spiteful guy. It’s why the film’s a bit tragic since he was right the whole time. He’s definitely a villain in the film who ultimately doesn’t get the last laugh though. If anything Lawrence is always one step ahead even when Alfred’s plans do go well. Hopefully after this he doesn’t stay as the god-father of the kids though because I’d say that he betrayed Lawrence one too many times. After a while you just gotta cut the guy out entirely. Who knows what else he may do to get back at the main characters.

The writing in the film is pretty good and the pacing is solid. Naturally I can’t say that the romance was all that great though. Kate and Lawrence both kept waiting for the other person to apologize and for the most part I was always on Kate’s side. I’m glad that she wouldn’t always run to him since it should be 50/50. The romance isn’t terrible though so it’s not like it holds the film back. The kids are a bit annoying though. The less said about them the better because they don’t serve any kind of purpose in the film. They just do their best to annoy the main characters and get in the way the whole time. They’re pretty young of course, but this is why I always say that kids can’t hold their own film as main characters or supporting characters. They just don’t really know how to interact on the same level as the others.

Overall, I’d recommend checking this film out if you want to see an old school romance about how power corrupts. It’ll remind you not to take reviews too seriously as they may have an agenda and how even if you go way up the corporate food chain you should never forget the civilians you used to be with. Stature never makes you a bigger person, it just inflates your ego if you don’t watch out. Lawrence didn’t keep himself grounded and it almost caught up to him. If not for Kate he likely would have been swallowed up entirely. Just watch out for the cab driver in the movie, he may ultimately be the one to change the theater landscape!

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Yooka-Laylee Review


It’s time to look at a platforming game that I’ve been aware of for a pretty long time, but just hadn’t picked up til now. I have to admit that the game didn’t look/sound amazing. It seemed like it was probably going to get bogged down by puzzles and such, but the price wasn’t bad so finally I got it. It’s definitely not the best platformer and the first world is one of the worst playforming worlds I’ve ever seen. Still, after that the game got a lot better so even though I wouldn’t call it great by the end I did think that it started to redeem itself. Hopefully the sequel will start on a higher note and soar to new heights.

The plot of the game is pretty basic. Laylee’s book is stolen by Captain B. who is going to use it to rule the world. Laylee decides to ask Yooka for help and together they now need to get all of the pages for the book. Why not just get the book right away? Well, B refuses to see them until they collect at least 100 pages. Rather than question this the heroes decide to oblige. This makes them about as smart as Crash and friends which isn’t great, but at least Laylee is pretty self aware about this. Yooka should be a little worried though. So begins the plot.

There really isn’t much of a story beyond this. Still, that’s pretty expected for platformers in general. Typically you just get a very quick story like that with minimal cutscenes. In many ways this game is trying to just be a normal platformer so of course it doesn’t want to have an elaborate story. That means that the gameplay needs to hold its own. In that sense the gameplay is reasonably solid. Running around and swiping at enemies is fun and you learn a lot of handy abilities. Flying is more annoying than it should be though as the camera just keeps on shifting. Simple turns take a lot longer and more effort than you would have ever dared expect.

I think the camera can be blamed for a whole lot. Also, you’ve got the level designs which aren’t so good. The worlds are downright huge and in part that is impressive of the developers but you have to take a lot of credit away for the fact that everything looks the same. You should never get lost in a world but that will happen many times. It’s why the game got off to a really stormy start since the first world is the guiltiest in this regard. There’s also the fact that most of the pages can’t be captured yet since you don’t have the necessary powers yet. You get 2 powers in each world and then one power after each one. So the game forces you to take the path of doing every world, going to the next one, and then going back to the first world with your new powers. What I did was I got the minimum amount of pages in each world to unlock the next one, rinse and repeat. Regardless you will definitely have to go back and get more pages at some point.

I made it to the final boss level with around 50 pages so I had a whole lot to try and catch after that. Going back to the old worlds isn’t a bad idea, but I don’t like being forced to do so. The page requirement for the final boss should have been considerably lower if you ask me. The final boss was pretty challenging though so the game did do a good job of making him a struggle. The boss is also pretty long since there isn’t a way to beat him much faster. You have to watch as he goes through his motions and if you lose then you have to start all over from the start. So I recommend not losing too often or the level is really going to start dragging.

One annoying part of the game is also how everyone just makes crazy noises to talk. It’s definitely a little dicey after hearing it for a super long time. It’s also pretty suspicious how everyone completely ignores Laylee. It’s almost like she was added into the game after the fact because aside from Yooka none of the other characters acknowledge her presence 99% of the time. It’s a shame because she gets all of the best lines in this game, but nobody reacts to her savage burns. That kind of takes away the point of her stings. She especially gets into it whenever we head to the shop owner. I guess he has to have a thick skin since he’s a professional scammer, but I wanted his conversations to be a little more interactive.

Ah well, ignoring Laylee aside I would consider the writing for this game to be really good. the script is clever and Laylee sees through all of the usual tropes and traps. Yooka is a little less aware and is basically your average protagonist. There’s nothing that separates this dinosaur from someone like Mario for example. I’d like to see Yooka get more personality in the sequel or if not then maybe it is time to join Team Yooka. Meanwhile the villains have even less character. B seems like a nice enough guy for a villain I suppose, but he is completely comic relief so it’s not like you’ll be taking him seriously. Then you’ve got his right hand man who may be more important than we could have ever guessed thanks to the ending. It’d be nice if the sequel game would expand on that, but I suppose that isn’t super likely.

There are a lot of little arcade games held within this platformer and most of those are good. They don’t have much of a middle ground though as the first ones are excellent, but too easy and then the latter ones are challenging, but way too drawn out. You just can’t win I suppose. Well, if we’re talking overall value then this game definitely does give you a lot of bang for your buck. The story will take you at least 10 hours since it forces you to grab a lot of pages. There are also a lot of trophies to nab and for the most part they’re actually pretty easy. This is definitely a Platinum that you can grab if you put your mind to it.

Overall, Yooka-Laylee is a game that gets better as you play it. The more abilities you get, the more the levels become convenient and less of a chore to travel through. This especially applies once you are able to fly as that is a true game changer all the way through. It’s always risky to make a game feel so limiting at the beginning even if it is to show you how useful the upgrades are at the end. Some games do it really well, but I wouldn’t consider this to be a great strategy either way. Still, there are enough things wrong with this game to keep it from getting the solid 7 score. The level designs aren’t good, the plot isn’t that good, and in general the game isn’t super interesting. You’ll complete the game, but then you likely won’t go through it again. It’s a solid one time playthrough so I guess you should buy it, but I’d recommend just about every other platformer first so definitely keep that in mind. I hear that a new Yooka-Laylee game is coming out so I look forward to seeing how that one stacks up.

Overall 6/10