The Vampire Bat Review


It’s time to look at a really old film about Vampires. This one definitely goes pretty bold with the premise of this vampire attacking while the main detective doesn’t believe in it. It’s always fun to see a lead who is super skeptical like this because it makes for a nice contrast to the rest of the townsfolk who have completely jumped head over heels for this superstition. They basically become hysterical in the very first scene. The movie may be short but I feel like it still captured a lot and was a pretty fun experience. It’s a good example of why you always gotta keep your guard up.

So as I mentioned the movie starts with the town telling Karl about the vampires running around. The reason why they believe that the vampire is running around bumping people off is because each of the victims have the classic 2 fangs mark on their neck. The villagers point out that only a vampire leaves this kind of mark, not to mention that all of the victims have been completely drained of their blood. Karl dismisses this theory and runs off. Unfortunately the bodies continue to pile up. There is currently only one suspect, a suspicious guy named Glieb who is completely obsessed with bats. Is this too obvious? The town is ready to condemn him but Karl doesn’t want to be too hasty. After all, a man’s life is at stake here.

A good chunk of the film is really about balancing the mystery angle of the movie along with watching people get bumped off one by one. There’s a decent body count here. As always it can be sad to see some of the heroes go down because they were handling things as best they could. Unfortunately it’s just hard for everyone to be able to walk away here. The villain is pretty tough after all. I won’t say if the villain actually turned out to be a vampire or not but I will say that the ending at least hints that something slightly supernatural was going on. That or someone had a very big change of heart which could be possible but I like to think that this was not something quite so explainable. The climax itself could be a little suspect at times though with how someone turned the tables.

Karl is definitely a solid lead. He really does a good job of not panicking like the others. Karl likes to look at things step by step until he gets to the right answer. It’s a slow but methodical approach that really helps him in not making any real mistakes. He may not have a ton of character but Karl has enough charisma to hold the film. He has a very solid scene at the end which really helped him as well. The heroine Ruth isn’t bad. She’s certainly a lot braver than Gussie who kept on fainting as the film went on. Ruth made sure to hold her own with the characters even if she didn’t really go to the front lines much. There’s just not a whole lot to say about her as a result.

Then you’ve got Dr. Otto who is here to try and make sure that justice is serves. He isn’t quite as dismissive of the supernatural element as Karl but still thinks it’s something practical as well. It’s always good to have a Doctor on board since things can get out of hand with how many people keep dying here. I do think his idea to keep the windows open doesn’t make a lot of sense when there is a murderer running around though. Seems like it’s better to just endure the stuffy air in that circumstance. Better than being bit right?

Then we have Glieb who is the big suspect. The guy doesn’t make things easy on himself. He always looks really suspicious and knows about the vampire rumors but still makes sure to run around playing with bats. He doesn’t have a whole lot of awareness here and going to each of the murder scenes wasn’t really a good look. The guy’s also not that subtle with how he was trying to steal the fruits away from the table. The worst part is that Gussie would have given him some so why try to steal them the whole time? I definitely wasn’t a fan of this guy but I suppose you always need the “obvious” suspect to keep us guessing.

The movie really flies by so all of the plot elements occur pretty seamlessly. There isn’t a whole lot of action as the final scene is the only real battle moment. Still, the mystery keeps you engaged. It’s a very simple story but one that is executed well so it all works out. The writing is on point and it doesn’t go for any real shock value type moments. It’s all just about the atmosphere and watching Karl try to piece things together while being ridiculed and distracted by Gussie. She certainly wasn’t making things easy on him.

Overall, The Vampire Bat is a pretty solid film. I suppose it’s probably one of the first big vampire type films since 1933 was so long ago. It definitely beats most vampire movies that I’ve seen. Of course it’s going for a pretty different feel than something like Dracula but I dare say that it nails this approach quite well so maybe more films should be like this. Mystery is a good genre that works well with most so it comes as no surprise that it would pair well with vampires as well. Right from the start you have to decide if you’re on Karl’s team or not and that will affect how you view the rest of the film. The important takeaway from the film is naturally that you should always lock the doors and definitely do not under any circumstances leave the windows open while a mass murderer is at large. Do those things correctly and you reduce the chance of being murdered. That or get a guard dog, the dog did very well in this movie. It only appeared for a scene but definitely took charge.

Overall 7/10

All You Need is Kill Review


It’s time to look at a pretty interesting story about time travel. What if you could keep on redoing a day until you had perfected it? It’s an interesting idea for sure and if you could master the concept then I could see why anyone would want to do it. Keep replaying the day where you took a test to get the right answered or entering a tournament until you won. There are no limits to what time travel can help you do and that’s why it has always been such an amazing concept. One difference here compared to most that it isn’t exactly all fun and games for the main character. The time travel is quite serious.

We open up the story by being introduced to a very different world. We have been at war with aliens for decades now. They’ve always been one step ahead of us so no matter how many improvements we make to our mechs they always win. There is only one soldier who has been doing well against them lately and her name is Rita. She is able to take down dozens of attackers with the greatest of ease. The rest of the soldiers just watch in awe. Well our lead here is Keiji and he is promptly murdered as soon as he sets foot on the battlefield. The only issue is that he then wakes up back to the start of the day. He then repeats the day and dies again, which sends him to the beginning of the loop. He can’t find any reason as to why this started or how to get out but he suspects that it has happened for a reason. Can he now find a way to win this war and save humanity?

Of course you gotta take it one fight at a time but winning this battle would be huge. Keiji quickly realizes that every action that he takes a little differently affects quite a lot. The only worrisome part is that the aliens never act the same way so it seems like they are aware of what he is doing. Well, no matter. Keiji still aims to win this fight and he may need Rita’s help for that. It’s effectively Groundhog Day but in the middle of a war so the stakes are pretty high and it’s not like he can just have fun. Of course, living the same day over and over again for too long in any circumstance would get old quickly.

Keiji definitely makes for a good main character. He may not be thrilled at what’s going on but what I liked is that Keiji gets with the program right away. He quickly sees the benefit of this and trains as hard as he can to be the perfect soldier. He’s a very determined main character and doesn’t get distracted so easily. At one point in one of the timelines someone offers to “console” him and Keiji quickly turns down the random 1 night affair. Even though he could have done so and just went back to business the next day he kept his eye on the prize. Keiji wasn’t going to walk away without getting more knowledge on the enemy. It seems like he went through the loop hundreds if not thousands of times and never lost his sanity. For sure it did take an emotional toll as he would look terrible but he always said and did the right things anyway.

When a plan would fail Keiji would try the next best option. I definitely had no issues with him here. He fought til the end. There isn’t really much of a cast here. There are supporting characters of course but the only other important one would be Rita. She’s definitely a very solid character as well. As the ace fighter of the whole army her abilities greatly exceed those of anyone else. The only one who is able to keep up with her later on is Keiji thanks to all of the looping. Rita is a very no nonsense character who is always ready to fight. Even when the aliens try surprise attacks she doesn’t fall to those and just regroups. At the same time, she would like to have someone she could talk too, but just doesn’t see the point. It’s not like anyone can keep up and most are too scared to even talk to her. Her quiet confidence and overwhelming talent makes her quite memorable. If the army did not have her around then even with all the resets in the world I wonder if Keiji would have ever been able to make any real progress here. Perhaps, but it would take such a long time that his psyche would be in even worse shape.

The idea behind the story is just excellent. The idea of being able to keep on trying over and over again until you can solve things is brilliant. The manga also touches on other aspects of this. For example, even if you can figure out how to win that’s not enough. You then have to keep on going until you find a method that can save the most lives. If you assume that you have endless tries then you don’t need to worry as much but that’s also a big assumption. You have to ultimately figure things out as fast as possible so you don’t risk too much. Make the wrong call and it could blow up in your face. The writing will definitely remind you of something like Death Note where you have to consider all the implications that a single action can have.

The artwork is definitely excellent. There’s a lot of detail put into each of the pages. The characters really stand out and the artist does a good job of helping you feel the dread they experience when they get out into the field. This isn’t the kind of series where you can expect everyone to have a happy ending. There’s a war going on after all and the humans are just trying to survive as best they can. The ending is very solid though and you could reasonably continue with a sequel at some point. I would say that there is still as lot more you can do with the concept although I suppose the series was trying not to be redundant. It’s the kind of ending where you can easily picture how things will go either way. Whether the heroes or aliens win the war is up to you.

Overall, All You Need is Kill is definitely one of those titles that you’ll probably need to take a second look at to make sure you read it properly. The grammar might not really make sense but you’ll still get the idea right away. At the end of the day the kill is really the important part to the characters here. This is a very well crafted story with a fun premise that the writer takes advantage of. Everything is executed well and it’s a title I could recommend to anyone. It can get a bit violent as it’s in a war with aliens stabbing people to death but it’s nothing too crazy I’d say. The alien designs were definitely intense and the manga did a good job of showing how fierce they could be while highlighting that there is no room for hesitation there. You either land the first blow or you won’t be around to see the next one.

Overall 7/10

Crash Twinsanity Review


It’s time to look at one of the classic Crash games from the PS2 era. I knew right away that it was going to be time to give this a shot after going through the newer Crash game. It’s always fun to take a peak at the classic games and Twinsanity definitely has that charm. In some ways I would even say that the plot may beat the newer one. It definitely has a lot of fun embracing the crazyness of the series and a certain guest star’s cameo at the end of the game was brilliant. It’s not something that can be topped very easily.

So the game starts with Cortex hatching another plan of his. He dresses up as Coco and is able to even trick Crash with his disguise. It’s not Crash’s best moment but you could also make the case that it’s pretty much par for the course with this Bandicoot. Unfortunately for Cortex there are other players at work here. A pair of aliens have shown up and they want revenge on Cortex for something he did to them as a child. They certainly don’t tend to forgive and forget the way that other characters do. Cortex is basically forces to work with Crash as a result so that he doesn’t get destroyed. Along the way all of Crash’s other enemies pop up including the iconic Dark Crash. Will the heroes be able to win?

The plot is pretty bonkers but that’s part of why the game succeeds so well. Things just happen out of nowhere and the story goes crazy. Dark Crash literally jumps out of nowhere to chase Cortex and vanishes as soon as he shows up. It’s almost like how Shadow just suddenly showed up in Sonic Boom the game. Dark Crash has a pretty terrifying final scene though so he’s still someone you don’t want to mess with. Cortex certainly does look very good here so I can see why he was a fan favorite. We learn a bit about his backstory like in his school days and more of his motivations for dealing with Crash. The guy may not be a very serious Crash villain most of the time but he is still a genius so you really don’t want to be on his bad side. He can deal out quite a bit of pain when he really wants to. Even by the end of the game he still tries his usual tricks.

For a villain like Cortex you do gotta find the right blend of comedy and action for his character to work. Cortex is just skilled enough where you can picture him destroying Crash but a nice enough guy where they could team up on the regular. I’m always up for a team up so that part of the plot was definitely a blast. The ending also leaves a lot of potential for future games even if it’s unlikely. Perhaps the most emotional part of the game is that Crash clearly still wants to be friends with Cortex. he doesn’t let any of this get to him personally as seen by his attempt to be Cortex’s friend in the end. The betrayal hits really close to home as a result and you may even shed a tear.

As for the gameplay, this is your classic 3D Platformer. You jump across obstacles and try to get to the end. While it’s a simple style, the execution wasn’t nearly on the same level as what I’m used to seeing in the series. Some jumps that should be very easy end up being quite tricky thanks to the various camera angles. It’s hard to see where you’re going and in the levels where you’re running towards the screen you better have lightning fast reflexes. The gameplay changes at times when you play as a different character. I was sad that the robot style gameplay only showed up for part of one level but that was certainly fun. Maybe it just comes down to the physics engine not being very good which messes with the jumps. I don’t know, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly but making the experience a little smoother would go a long way.

The graphics are excellent here. The character animations are often way out of model but I believe it’s on purpose. Sonic DX for example was very authentic in the graphics and it just so happened that it would become very humorous in the future. For this game I think they were trying to make it as out there as possible and I would say that it really succeeded. I love the designs and mixing that in with the dialogue is perfect. The scene where Cortex’s voice cracks as he talks to his teacher mixed in with the animation was brilliant.

The soundtrack can also be pretty fun. It’s a really crazy one for sure though. Sometimes you’ll have a very tropical theme and then you’ll quickly switch to something that’s pure rock. The changes happen quite suddenly and you can never guess what the next tune will sound like. The shock value may not be enough to make this one of the all time greats, but I would definitely call it a pretty solid array of themes.

There isn’t a lot of replay value here but enough to keep you going. Each level has some gems which look like Chaos Emeralds. So you can go back to the old levels and try to grab them. The hub world is also quite large so you can have a lot of fun exploring. I almost wonder why the game bothered with the hub world since you never really get to walk around it during the story. It was nice that they put in the effort to set it up though so that’s definitely pretty neat. I suppose I would recommend giving it a shot at some point. The game is pretty cheap so it’s well worth the purchase.

Overall, Crash Twinsanity is a pretty fun game. I do feel like the gameplay wasn’t very polished though and that’s what would keep it under the main 3 as well as the recent time travel story. You gotta have clean gameplay to accompany the rest of the title. Still, it’s a fun adventure. The game may be short but you should die enough times to stretch out the length a bit. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how Crash fares in the next installments. It’s not like the enemies are going to be getting any easier so Crash will really have to focus himself. One thing’s for sure, this Bandicoot is never afraid of charging in since he can’t understand the danger.

Overall 7/10

Scooby Doo Team Up Volume 8: It’s Scooby Time! Review


It’s time to look at the final volume of the Scooby Doo Team Up series. It was definitely a series that had a pretty solid run. 50 issues certainly isn’t anything to sneeze at and it’s always fun to see how the gang handles teaming up with the various DC heroes. This time we even mix it up with some villains as the gang gets on the wrong side twice. Finally we have an excellent issue to close things out. This is certainly a series I’ll miss and hopefully they come up with another title that can capture this one’s energy.

The fist issue has the heroes meet up with Dick Dastardly and his crew. I’m not familiar with these characters but basically they’re always laying out traps for a bird the way that Wile E Coyote tries to catch the Road Runner. They’ve had no luck as usual so they decides to trick the Mystery Gang into helping by pretending that the bird is a ghost. This makes things tricky for the heroes since it means that for once we have to root for them to lose. It was a pretty fun story and seeing such obscure characters is nice because they may not get to appear much otherwise. While this issue can’t keep up with the rest, it was a good opener.

Next up we have the big issue with Mr Miracle. He is performing his daring escapes as usual until Granny Goodness shows up with another plot. The Mystery Gang get roped into this pretty quick and now they have to find a way to get Mr Miracle out of this situation. He can escape out of anything but with hostages involved he can’t act carelessly. This issue isn’t so much a mystery as it’s about the gang having to find a way to outsmart the villains. Fortunately the Mystery Inc are excellent at disguises which really comes in handy here. When you can change your appearance so easily it definitely means that you’re ready to foil these kinds of plans. This was a pretty solid issue for sure.

This third one was definitely the strongest from the opening issues though. The mystery gang head to a school where it turns out that the bullies have really started going overboard. They’ve turned into full fledged gangs who are picking on everyone nonstop. Then they get attacked by a ghost gang who seem to be defending the students but the heroes have to get to the bottom of this. Black Lightning shows up as well to help defend the school. He’s always been able to stop the gangs before, but bullies will make things a little more difficult. I liked the use of the school setting here. It was a pretty fun backdrop and one that you don’t see very often. Definitely a very relaxed feel to this story.

After that is a story about Mr. Peebles and how he has finally found someone to buy Magilla the Gorilla off of him. He’s been wanting to get rid of this animal for a very long time and this is his golden opportunity. The Gorilla seems nice enough here but I can definitely picture him causing a whole lot of trouble. The gang quickly realizes that the buyer is a little suspect though so they get into action. This is another case of guest stars where I didn’t really know the characters so that was pretty fun. It’s a little similar to the first issue although this time the heroes are on the right side from the start. Of course the Gorilla kind of got lucky here because usually once you make the transaction it’s not like you know what happens afterwards. It’s a little hard to sympathize with Peebles as a result since he didn’t do any vetting before accepting the money.

Following that is one of the highlight adventures of the book. The rogues gallery is being haunted by the ghost of a dead teammate. They have tried taking him down on their own but he’s proven to be too skilled. Every attack they launch is promptly countered and crushed. So as a result they are forced to rely on help from the Mystery Inc. After all, the gang is pretty well equipped to deal with ghosts. Usually the heroes wouldn’t help villains like this but they aren’t exactly given a choice and are forced to participate. That’s really what helped sell this adventure to me. I like the idea of the villains taking them hostage because it just makes sense. It’s not like the Mystery Gang could stop them. The villains also have a different dynamic than the average hero as they actually talk tough to the ghost and aren’t running away the whole time. The twist of who the ghost was at the end was definitely really solid.

Then we have the return of Metamorpho. Basically he has come to terms with his new elemental forms even if he and Stone are constantly insulting each other. Well, another monster has appeared and the gang have to find out who this is. Usually they could get to the bottom of this rather quickly but all the bickering among the guest star characters definitely puts them in a pretty tricky spot. This comic is mainly strong because of the dialogue. You don’t really see such intense arguments and sarcasm from the guest stars like this. I can see why Metamorpho resents what has happened although the powers are pretty awesome you have to admit.

Finally we get the big finale of the series. Batmite has returned to spin a little chaos in the heroes’ way. Batman and Robin show up and try to put a stop to this but then a bunch of alternate Scooby Doo personas appear. You’ve got guys from the comics, movies, and a whole lot of other incarnations. This isn’t Batmite’s doing so who could be messing with the heroes like this? Well, with this many detectives on board it should be a fairly easy case to crack right? It’s definitely pretty fun nostalgic to see how many different ways the Scooby gang has been presented over the years. The gritty version of the characters from that recent comic get to show up trying to shoot everyone down. Then you’ve even got the kids from a Pup Named Scooby Doo. There’s a new reference on every page and it really is the perfect way to end the saga. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. This might even be the best issue in the series.

As always the artwork in these stories were all very good. The pages really pop out at you and makes for easy reading. The writing is also on point which is part of what makes the format work so well. The stories all feel like they could be something right out of a crossover episode or something like that. A good deal of effort goes into these comics to be sure. At the end of the day it’s just a very fun read so I have no real issues with it. There has been a lot of variety in these past 50 issues and the Scooby Doo franchise lends itself well to guest stars.

Overall, Scooby Doo Team Up ends on a pretty high note here. This is definitely a volume that I could recommend to anyone. It’s got a good blend of humor, adventure, and mystery solving within. When you’ve got that level of balance you’re definitely in good hands. That final issue was definitely a goldmine of references. I’m not sure how the franchise will follow this series up but I’ll definitely be interested in seeing what adventures await the main characters. I feel like one thing we haven’t seen them do much is compete against other investigators or against themselves. A free for all competition within the group would be a blast. Well, that’s an idea for the future at least.

Overall 7/10

They Review


It’s time to look at a horror film from the early 2000s. This one is definitely a very by the books kind of horror film. It throws in all the usual elements like some quick jump scares and spooky visuals. Ultimately it doesn’t do much right though and between the poor characters, lackluster writing, and unimaginative villains; They is a film that you will quickly forget. Even the title doesn’t seem very inspired but it does very quickly give you that horror film kind of vibe so I’ll give the film some credit there.

The film starts with some monsters pulling a kid into there world like something out of Stranger Things. These monsters aren’t all that powerful though and the kid escapes back to the real world. Fast forward almost 20 years later and the monsters show up again. The guy decides to destroy himself to beat the monsters to the punch. He invited Julia over to see this though and now she is scarred for life. Two of the guy’s friends show up (Terry and Sam) and explain that these monsters are here to destroy everyone who has their mark one by one. See, these monsters claim their prey when they’re kids and show up to finish them off once they’re full grown. Julia thinks this is all messed up but eventually is unable to deny this possibility. Is she going to be the next to disappear?

So there are a lot of issues here. One of them is that the monsters don’t get to appear much. Maybe it’s because the director knew they wouldn’t be too fierce looking? They sort of look like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. They’re very frail and most only seem to be about the size of a kid. Sometimes they can be a bit larger though so it seems to vary quite rapidly. Without a monster to fight what about our fight scenes? Well, the issue is that there aren’t really any fights because the monsters are too powerful. I mean, they’re not strong enough to drag a grown person down until there’s a bunch of them but since they have unlimited numbers and cannot be defeated it’s ultimately pointless for the humans to fight back.

That’s why it’s always preferable if you have an opponent that you can really fight off. As powerful as Freddy and Jason are, at least you can theoretically get into a fist fight with them and hope for the best. With these guys they’ll overwhelm you with unlimited numbers. Their only weakness is the sun and since they can create large scale blackouts that won’t help much either. I feel like a sequel about them trying to take over the Earth would have had more potential. As it stands, it just seems like nobody has a shot here and that’s a shame.

Julia isn’t a great main character. She starts getting spooked by the monsters real quick but ultimately doesn’t do much about it. At most she plays along with the gang for a bit but still makes a lot of questionable decisions. At the very least I’d say that staying with Paul would have been better than running to an abandoned Subway station late at night. I’m wondering if the gates actually do shut off at that time. In the movie she gets locked in but if the trains are still running that would be odd. I’ll assume the gremlins were causing this as well. So Julia’s pretty standard for horror protagonists but if anything is a little slower on the ball than the others.

Then we have her boyfriend Paul. The guy seems reasonable for the most part but also way too soft. There’s no way he should be letting these two guys crash at his place without paying rent or anything for so long. Particularly since they break his one and only rule of barging into his room. Paul can definitely do a lot better than this. I’ll give him some points for standing by Julia in the end but that’s about all I can do for him. He’s still better than Terry and Sam though. Terry decides that even though she is going to be one of the next to go…she is going to head to a swimming pool where it gets fairly dark out. She should have made sure she was near the exit for when everyone else was leaving.

I just have a problem with her going at all. Now, it’s true that you can’t just live in fear and hide inside all day. I definitely agree with that logic for just about everything in the real world. That said, if a supernatural demon is after you and you know that it’s been bumping off people as soon as the lights go out, why would you head anywhere without a flashlight or something? Why put yourself in a position to be eaten so easily? It just wasn’t smart. Sam isn’t much better. I guess the guy was home but he’s drawing everything in black paint to make the room even darker. Why? It doesn’t make any sense and naturally the monsters close in on him as well. The guy was always pretty grim by nature so maybe he was taking it in stride. To an extent these aren’t massive details because the film assures us that they were doomed to die either way. Still, it would have been nice if they handled things a little better.

Beyond that the film forces in a lot of the typical romance scenes you would expect in a horror title. There’s quite a lot of fanservice here throughout that brings the film down and the scenes don’t actually add anything to the experience. It’s even used for humor once or twice. Once again I have to take a shot at Julia here. When she’s trying to figure out if she has the mark, it’s literally a life or death matter. Wouldn’t she be a bit more thorough? Later on she has a “whoops” kind of moment when she realizes where it is and you can’t tell me that you wouldn’t have noticed this earlier. When it comes to looking for a mark you had better be detailed. The scene where she tries to deactivate the beacon is pretty brutal but that would have been a little more helpful earlier. Either way I bet she was doomed though.

Overall, the whole movie is really just a lesson in futility for the characters. Nothing they do has any real effect and the monsters are just too strong. The film can be fairly violent and dark the whole time. It’s pretty much mandatory that the characters all have some kind of dark element in their background. The character shooting himself was certainly one way to start the film. There’s just not a whole lot of quality to be found here. It really underperforms in every area. At least it does throw in the token twist ending to the film so you should be ready for that. At the very least I feel like all the horror titles gotta end with that because at least it gives you something to remember the film by. Again, I think there could be potential for a sequel where the aliens wage war on Earth even if that might shift genres a bit. It’ll at least be a good way to shake things up. In the meantime I’d advise skipping this horror flick.

Overall 1/10

The Boy with the Striped Pajamas Review


It’s time to look at an old tragedy film and unfortunately this one did not manage to really get anything right. You get the feeling that it’s not going to be a very good movie early on when you learn that the main characters are Nazi’s. Two of the main characters are kids so the adults are trying to indoctrinate them into this. As you can probably guess the film tends to be quite mean spirited throughout and ultimately by the end of it you’ll feel like the experience was a waste of time. Any message the film was trying to get at was quickly washed away.

So the film starts with Ralf getting a promotion. He is to move closer to one of the concentration camps to oversee the atrocities being committed over there. Ralf is eager to get started and so the whole group moves in where they will now be accompanied by soldiers at all times. His wife Elsa didn’t realize just how close they would be to the farms but that seems to be more of a concern than what is actually taking place. Their children Bruno and Gretel aren’t quite old enough to understand this either although they have begone to be molded into future Nazi’s by their tutor. One day Bruno meets a kid in the camp named Shmuel and decides to be friends. Bruno is convinced that Shmuel is just enjoying a game on the other side even though Shmuel tries to explain what is happening. Can there possibly be a happy ending here?

So there are a ton of issues. One of the more basic ones is that it’s always been very hard for children to hold their own films. They just aren’t interesting enough to work as the lead and that ends up holding them back quite a bit. Bruno is portrayed as being so slow to understand the situation that it gets old pretty quick. At the very least seeing that Shmuel is behind a cage should make things pretty obvious. It’s not like he appeared to be in good condition either so the whole “game” idea didn’t make sense from the jump. Bruno also has enough knowledge of the situation to sell Shmuel out later on in the film.

The betrayal scene was definitely pretty bad as Bruno allowed Shmuel to be beaten for a lie that was entirely Bruno’s fault. Definitely not a good scene. Bruno also watches Ralf stand by as their house attendant was beaten to death for pretty much no reason. It’s a pretty toxic environment he was in and Bruno never put the pieces together. Gretel gets less of a role but she is very easily thrown into full mania over the cause so I wouldn’t say that she looked very good either. It was very easy to convert her.

Naturally when it comes to the adults they are even worse. The kids at least have the excuse of being children so not only is there not much that they could do, but they don’t have all of the information at hand. Ralf and Elsa certainly do. Elsa is portrayed as being a little more sympathetic than Ralf as she is not completely on board with the cause but she does go along with it enough to have gotten to this point. Ralf on the other hand is definitely one of the main villains here as he fully supports everything that’s being done. Part of the problem with having the Nazi’s as the main characters is that there is no way to sympathize with them so no matter what happens you’re left feeling that it is all due to what they have done. They’ve murdered numerous people already and likely even after this event there will be more to come.

Pretty much every other scene is something bad happening to someone. Someone’s being beaten or intimidated at all times. The ending keeps that mean spirited approach as well and you’ll probably understand what is about to happen as soon as the final scene starts to develop. I suppose it at least doesn’t leave much room for a sequel. The plot just never stood a chance from the start. It’s conceivable that you could try to have some kind of a decent film with a Nazi main character who learns the error of his ways and truly converts out of that. It would still have to be handled with the utmost care though and more times than not I would expect the attempt to fail. This film didn’t even try to go for that. The main characters are still Nazi’s by the end even if they are not pleased with what went on. I don’t really expect that to change in the end either. Maybe Elsa will put some distance but I’m not really sure about that.

In general if you’re going to have the main characters be on the villain’s side then there’s one of two ways to handle that. One is to make the villain fairly likable. The way to do that is by having a motive that you can understand and root for the villain to an extent or by having the villain be super charismatic so even while things are going on it’s not a tough watch. The other is to have the main character grow up on the villain’s side but realize it isn’t the right way and revolt. To do that the main character has to be old enough to make a difference though. So having a kid as a main character wasn’t going to work either way.

Overall, Even the name of the film will remind you of Bruno’s odd attempts to escape reality. It’s always tough when a film has no real redeemable qualities but I would have to say that this film fits the bill. There’s never a moment in the film where you will actually be enjoying it and that’s the problem. It tends to drag on for quite a long while and I would highly recommend skipping this film and going for something else instead. You’ve definitely got many better options for titles to check out.

Overall 0/10

The V.I.P.s Review


It’s time to look at a film with a few different plots all happening at the same time. Usually in a film you have all of the plots come together rather smoothly but in this case they tend to keep some distance from each other. They do overlap to an extent but still remain separate by and large. It’s a pretty fun film. On the whole all of the plots are rather solid although for the main plot it’s hard to say that you’re ever really rooting for the main two.

So lets take this one point by point. All of the main characters are getting ready to board a plane and get out of the area. They all have different reasons for wanting to get on the plane but unfortunately there are a lot of delays. The cast will now have to try and adjust their plans accordingly but a simple delay has ended up inconveniencing a whole lot of people. First up we’ve got Frances who has decided to abandon her husband Paul and escape with a guy named Marc. She doesn’t intend for him to find out yet so she left him a message at home. Ideally she will be long gone before he reads it but the delay has thrown a bit of a wrench into that idea. Paul’s a powerful man so if he finds out in time that will complicate things.

Then you have Max who has figured out a pretty great way to earn a lot of money and then skip out on the taxes. The trick is that he has to be able to leave the country within a certain amount of days or then he will have to pay off the sum. If the plane is delayed overnight then he will be in a real pickle. The actress Gloria is really enjoying this and the two have a lot of back and forth banter the whole time. Next up is Les who is trying to secure a huge business deal. He thought he had a sure thing with one of the buyers, but the guy broke their handshake agreement and has raised the price. Les needs to make a purchase with money he doesn’t have and if he can’t get the money into the bank in time then it’s all over. Completing a deal over the phone is very difficult though. His secretary Mead wants to help but ultimately that doesn’t mean Les will appreciate that.

Then you’ve also got a nice old lady who just so happens to be the Duchess. She isn’t used to flying all that much given how much difficulty she has in boarding the plane. She handles things a lot smoother than the rest of the cast. While everyone else is constantly stressing out and running around in terror, she keeps things in perspective and just makes sure to have a good time. Nobody is going to spoil her vacation that’s for sure. While her plot may not have been as intense as the others, she was a fun character to have around.

So with all of these characters there was quite a lot happening throughout the film. There was rarely any kind of slow moment and so the film keeps your interest rather well. The writing is on point and the character roster had a lot of variety. I wouldn’t say that I had any real problems with the film. Certainly some of the characters may not have been as likable as intended, but this just ends up feeling like a rather complete experience. I’m always up for stories with a lot of different characters.

Back to the top. For the first plot, naturally I didn’t care for Frances deciding to cheat on Paul with Marc. While the film tries to make the case that Frances abandoned Paul because he wasn’t very good at showing affection, it’s not for a lack of trying. From what we see in the film Paul seems like a good guy. It would be something if he turned out to be an antagonist but the guy fights as hard as he can for Frances. It does come across as his having being betrayed out of nowhere and Frances didn’t try to make amends. You’ve also got to consider that Marc has been a player for a while now and even has that reputation. He breaks down and goes back to his gambling habits during the movie as well. Would he have been able to change for Frances? I suppose that’s left up for you to decide but I would have my doubts.

While the film portrays Marc as a nice guy, you have to consider that he was having an affair with a married woman. By default that means he wasn’t actually a good person no matter how he tries to present himself. Paul is the one who really stole the show here. It was a pretty intense plot either way though and certainly got the most screen time. The next plot would be with team Max and it was a fun one. The resolution was a bit iffy though because it doesn’t seem like Gloria actually likes Max. The whole thing seems like it just flew over her head and she has no idea what is going on. Hopefully she is able to get on top of things in time though. Max may act like a crook but the rules he’s using appear to be legitimate loopholes so if anything you’d just have to blame the law on how he can get away with all of the money. He was a fun character to have around. While the plot itself couldn’t match the main one, I did like the constant insults they would throw at each other.

Then you have the plot with Les. He is definitely responsible for getting himself in this mess. You can’t trust a verbal agreement when millions of dollars are on the line. It’s just not the right call and of course he was going to get messed over in the end. That’s just the way it goes in business. I also thought he wasn’t very appreciative of Mead’s efforts. He was very quick to drop her whenever something would happen and the scene at the diner was most telling. Mead was a bit desperate and shouldn’t have been trying for Les since he was taken anyway though so as a whole that romance plot is one you couldn’t really root for just like the main one. I’d consider it to be the weakest of the main plots. It’s not bad though and just like the other plots you can feel how the plane delay really messed things up for him.

Overall, V.I.P.S. is a pretty good film. It’s a pretty fun look at what things are like in first class seating. The characters really only get to all interact at once when they briefly go to the lobby to try and make phone calls. All of them are desperate for the phone but they’re still courteous about it which is nice. If you like films with a good amount of drama then this is a solid one to check out. You’ll also get to see who you’re rooting for here. At one point a character even takes out a gun which makes for a pretty tense scene. With the stakes this high some characters can definitely endure it better than others.

Overall 7/10

Tron Legacy Review


It’s time to look at the sequel to the original Tron. I remember how impressed I was when I first saw this title. The effects just looked flawless and the film as a whole really had a great high energy feel thrown in. The characters were cool and this really felt like the series was completely on the right track. It’s a shame that the third one is taking so long to come out. Well, the film definitely holds up and is just as great as I remembered it to be. It’s certainly underratted.

The movie starts by explaining that Kevin has vanished and so his son Sam had to grow up without him for a long while. Sam is now the chief for the company but he just doesn’t really see the point. He wastes his days away doing nothing until one day Alan shows up and tells Sam that he received a buzz from Kevin’s pager. Sam heads to the arcade and is blasted into the grid. There he meets up with a program named Clu who rules the Grid with an iron fist. Kevin has been exiled to the wastelands and resides with another program named Quorra. Quorra helps Sam escape and now they must think of a plan to get out of here. The main issue is that the heroes are completely outnumbered here.

Things tend to happen very quickly here which is always nice. There is no dead time here. The heroes are on the clock and have to do what they can. The film shows right away how much the Grid has changed since the first film. The “graphics” have gotten a lot better so the programs now look like people. Time travels differently in the system so it makes sense that everything has been updated. We now have more action scenes on the Lightcycles and disc throwing games. Those are still a lot of fun and I wish we could get more games with that kind of gameplay. It’s one thing I really liked about the Tron Evolution video game back in the day. It’s fun to watch as well and is just a fun way to race.

The hand to hand action scenes are also on point. We see one flashback where Tron was taking on a lot of opponents this way. I do question how he was overpowered so easily with the final opponent though. That guy didn’t seem so skilled. Of course I blame Kevin more since the guy didn’t do anything to help that time. He was okay with just watching the whole time which was definitely no good. In the present we get a lot of action scenes like this as well such as in Zuse’s bar. That was a fun action scene for sure and the mysterious right hand man of Clu always provides some good action.

As I already mentioned the film just looks great as well. The Grid really stands out in every scene it is in. Any scene in the Grid is bound to be a good one and that’s definitely really good if you ask me. Whenever I talk about films needing to have interesting backgrounds to help the story along, this is exactly what I am talking about. Legacy is ahead of its time in many ways to the point where it’s hard to see many other films topping this one. The outfits just hold up so well and everything about the film still feels futuristic even many years later. The writing is also on point here as we have a solid cast of characters.

Sam is the lead this time around and he’s defintiely solid. It’s easy to see why he has decided to goof off nowadays since with his Dad missing he doesn’t see much of a point in anything. It all just happened too suddenly for him. In the Grid he quickly gets caught up to speed and comes up with some plans. I’m glad that he wasn’t as passive as Kevin was with the ideas. Sam just wants to save the day and he’s ready to take some risks to do it. Kevin is a far cry from his older self. The whole battle with Clu just broke him I guess. He’s now quite scared of going back in to fight. He should also be ashamed due to the fact that if he had helped Tron out in the past then none of this would have happened in the first place. His Star Wars esque abilities are fun to see though.

Tron is definitely a great character even if we don’t see him a whole lot. We learn what happened to him since the first film and it makes for a great role. He’s still the definitive character in the series to be sure. I don’t see any of the other characters really coming close to matching him. At the end of the day Tron is just a really impressive character and the best fighter in the series. It’s the reason why he is known as the hero of the grid. Then you have another hero in Quorra. She’s definitely good and has several pivotal moments in the series. Quorra is a lot bolder than Kevin and certainly wants to help out even if she isn’t quite as aggressive as Sam. She makes up for this with her superior fighting abilities though. She certainly gives the villains the work on several occasions even when she is outnumbered. Without her Sam would have definitely been in trouble several times here.

For the villains I’d say that we really have Clu as the main one. He shows up rather quickly and gets involved in the action personally. Right away that’s when I knew he would be a good villain. Good villains aren’t afraid to get into the ring themselves. It’s what separates the truly feared leaders from the guys who just sit in the chair. I was very satisfied with his portrayal and his reason for fighting was also a good one. He saw some flaws in the world and was trying to fix them. At the end of the day isn’t that exactly what you want the program to do? The only miscalculation was that the program would be so effective in its mission but who could have predicted that right?

Then you have Zuse who definitely likes having fun with the case. He’s not the smartest character in the film though. The guy acts like he is intelligent sure, but that’s not really enough when his actions are so weak. When you enter into a deal with the main villain you should always make sure you have some kind of leverage or a backup plan. He had neither but it did make for a cool visual and a fun scene in general. Clu’s right hand man is pretty great. He’s a man of few words but really delivers on the action scenes and gets a great arc/final scene.

Yeah there’s definitely a lot to like here. The soundtrack is also pretty stellar with some 80s type songs spread into the early part of the film as a tribute to the original. In some ways it embraced the era more than the first film did. Don’t expect to see the present timeline much since most of the film takes place in the game. That’s definitely okay with me though. The game is where all of the interesting things are going on so that’s really what I’m interested in seeing and it delivers. I sort of thought the board would have a bigger role or at least the main one who seemed to be leading the company down a corrupt path again. Maybe that’s something for the third film.

Overall, Legacy is definitely a great follow up to the original Tron film. It’s got great action, characters, a solid plot, solid soundtrack, etc. It really manages to get just about everything correct which is definitely good. I highly recommend checking this film out. It takes place far enough after the first film where you don’t need to see it to understand what is going on, but it does help you recognize the various Easter eggs here and there. It was fun to see this one have so many tributes to the first. Well, supposedly the third film is finally coming out sort of soon so I hope it’s able to maintain this level of quality. It’s definitely a tough act to follow.

Overall 8/10

Need For Speed: The Run Review


It’s time to look at the next Need for Speed game in the series. The Run definitely makes things pretty intense here with how high intensity the story is. Unfortunately the story is extremely short though. I was surprised when I initially found out just how short the title was. It just strikes me as odd that you wouldn’t have made the game a few hours longer at least. When you went to all the trouble of setting up the gameplay and locations it just makes sense to put more content in right? Ah well, I applaud the series for trying to do something different here. It may not have ended up being quite the biggest payoff but it was a worthy attempt.

So the main character is in some trouble with the law. A lady shows up and offers to clear his record if he enters an illegal cross country race on her behalf. He’ll earn lotsa of money so it’s a pretty solid deal. The lead agrees to do this and little does he know that this journey is about to get pretty interesting. It’s a long trip across the country all the way to New York after all and some people want to shoot him down. He’ll have to rely on his slick car skills to get through this one and it definitely won’t be a walk in the park.

This Need for Speed game has a lot less variety on the kinds of races you do. Gone are the drifting events and things of that nature. There are now only two real events, racing against people and checkpoints. You also have boss races but they play the game as the normal races. Just make sure you pass the opponent and stay ahead in order to win. Instead of laps the game goes by miles which makes sense since you’re effectively in a nonstop race which doesn’t end until you hit New York. It’s a pretty interesting concept and one I can get behind. The levels are also pretty short as a result so you should really be blasting through most of them with ease.

Honestly the game’s not very hard at all. I was having some pretty bad controller issues and I still beat most of the levels without a hitch. There are checkpoints in each of the levels and you have 6 lives that you can use to clear the game. With all of this at your disposal you can see why winning the races won’t be all that hard. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s no walk in the park. You still need to run a clean race and not bump into anything. The final boss in particular can be tricky as it’s a 10 mile race and you even have to dodge incoming trains at times. That was pretty cool, I definitely don’t think I’ve had to do that in any of the other games.

Then this one also throws in some quick time events as the character runs from the cops. It’s been a while since I played a proper quick time event match so that was pretty neat. It definitely adds to the theatrical feel of the story. When the main character starts jumping across buildings you may find that a bit suspect but it just goes to show how athletic he is. There are even some human fights here and there which was intense. The main character isn’t particularly heroic though so you may have a hard time rooting for him at all. That’s a pretty common theme for the Need for Speed games though.

As for the length, the game is only a little over 2 hours long. Even for games which are short this one really stands out. That’s just not a lot of time at all. Now, there is some bonus content here like challenge mode and replaying the story but that’s about it. I suppose there is going for the PS3 trophies but with the servers down that means a Platinum is completely out of reach if you are gunning for one of those. If that is the case then it lowers the replay value down even further. Make no mistake, this game is all about your initial playthrough and then I believe you’ll probably be putting it down. Still, the gameplay is really solid and at the end of the day that’s probably why you’re getting these games right? In that case you have nothing to fear. It’s just a very solid experience from start to finish.

The graphics are definitely top notch. EA always tends to go ham on the graphics which makes sense since their sport games tend to sell a lot and they reuse so many assets that the profit margins should be pretty crazy. It should come as no surprise that they’re able to execute at a high level. The stages also look really sharp along with the cars and effects. There’s definitely no issue here. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which has quite a lot of tunes in it from various singers. It is impressive how EA licenses so many songs for the games. The quality will vary quite a bit so hopefully you like the tunes. They are all pretty fast paced to match the game’s atmosphere.

Overall, The Run is certainly a Need for Speed title that makes pretty big changes compared to most of the usual titles. This one isn’t afraid to go for a rather different feel the whole time which I can appreciate. The quick time events are fun and the story is pretty solid. It’s definitely a serious story with a real plot. Some times the story can go a little while without much of a real cutscene though. I’d say something big would usually happen every 3 levels and with only 10 in the game that does mean there is a lot of dead time as well. If you can find this game for a good price then I recommend checking it out. It may be short but the game is still very high quality when it comes to things like gameplay and graphics which you definitely don’t want to overlook. I’m now one step closer to being caught up with the Need for Speed series.

Overall 7/10

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time Review


It’s time to take a look at the new Crash game that just came out. It’s About Time was definitely a title that got a lot of hype because it has been a very long time since we got a brand new Crash adventure. Throwing in time travel is always a good idea and in the press releases before the game they were showing off quite a lot of content. You really couldn’t go wrong here and not surprisingly the game is quite fun. It’s a worthy successor to the other games and continues the series on a solid note. It’s not very long but I’d say it’s about average length for a platformer. Additionally there is a lot of replay value with the various bonus levels and reverse modes present. Those’ll help this game last for quite a while.

The game starts off with the villains working to escape the pocket dimension they’re in. Uka Uka is able to break the villains out but they leave him to die. Nefarious decides to mess with the timestream quite a bit so now Crash will have to gather 4 of the legendary masks to counter this. Fortunately Crash isn’t alone this time. He has his sister Coco and a mysterious new heroine to help him out in the quest. With time travel and alternate dimensions to factor in, this won’t be an easy adventure for Crash. Cortex also isn’t thrilled at how things are going right now so expect some big things to occur as the game goes on.

The plot is fairly simple but does throw some wrinkles at you. I do always enjoy some good time travel so this helped the plot get to the next level. For the most part the game doesn’t use any big trips to the past but near the end there is one chapter that delves into this a bit. It’s also my favorite part of the game because I really liked the banter here. Time travel opens up unique situations like that which are a lot of fun. The Crash games wouldn’t have a whole lot more to bring up since the cast isn’t huge so that helped them pick the best character to do this with right away.

Crash as always isn’t the best main character but I suppose he just isn’t able to think a whole lot. He’s certainly better here than in some other titles I suppose though. It’s hard for me to call him a hero since I don’t even think he knows what he is doing but at the end of the day he does help save the world in his own way so I have to give him some props there. His sister Coco looks good here as well. She is definitely the brains of the operation and being a playable character was certainly cool. The new heroine is the best of the heroes though. She reminds the others that sometimes fighting on your own is the best way to go about things. She’s certainly been through a lot and I would have been game with having her appear more. Perhaps even as a boss fight trying to get the main characters to give up their quest. One thing’s for sure, I’m hoping she sticks around for future games.

Then we have the villains. Nefarious is the main villain here as he definitely gets the biggest role. He’s fun although he doesn’t quite have Cortex or Uka Uka’s charisma. He’s one of the weaker main villains in the series. Fortunately Cortex gets a big role either way. You can never keep this guy on the backburner. He’s always got to force himself into the plot one way or another and he definitely makes sure to do that here. In some ways you may even feel bad for him here. He’s the kind of villain that is almost pretty likable because of the fact that you know he is doomed each time but he always keeps on trying. You have to at least give him credit for his resilience.

The gameplay here is pretty smooth. The levels are 3D Platforming types where you jump past obstacles and take down enemies while approaching the goal. As Crash you can spin and double jump as always. The other characters have different moves though like how the heroine has a grappling hook and Cortex just blasts his enemies into submission. There’s also another character whose moveset is pretty different. The game helps to give you a lot more variety with the movesets this way which is a good thing. They’re all polished as well so none of them were just squeezed into the title.

The graphics here are definitely very good as you would expect. Everything is in HD and the character models+stages really pop out at you. I was glad that classic Crash was a costume option as well. That was definitely pretty neat and as soon as I unlocked that I never went back. The soundtrack isn’t super memorable but the stage themes had a lo of variety. One sad thing is if you die in a level then the character’s dialogue in the background is cut off and you don’t hear it again. I feel like you lose out on a lot of dialogue if you lose quickly. This was probably to make sure you don’t get annoyed by a line playing over and over again if you die a lot but I feel like they should have it set up so that only happens if the line is completed.

Overall, Crash 4: It’s About Time is definitely very good. It’s really a complete Crash adventure and has all of the classic elements from the first games that you will enjoy. The levels are reasonably difficult so you also won’t just breeze past each level without difficulty. You’ll definitely have to work hard at this to make sure you pace yourself and have good fundamentals. Without that you certainly won’t be prepared to conquer this title. Hopefully they keep on rolling new Crash games eventually. There’s always more you can do with the series after all. Maybe we can have the team warp to a dystopian future next time but of course we need to have Cortex on the team for a quick team up with Crash. Then he’ll see once and for all how conquering the planet could put people in danger. It may even cause him to change his ways or at least I’m sure he could trick Crash about that.

Overall 7/10