Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

House on Haunted Hill Review

House_on_Haunted_Hill
Whenever I see a horror film that is actually quite good, it’s hard to contain my excitement. It’s like going to McDonald’s and the cashier letting you know that they’ve brought back the McPizza. It’s really hard to top that. While this film ends very abruptly and I felt that more could have been done with the story, it ended up being a very nice adventure. The film was fun and also very short so it never got to drag on. I don’t think I’ll be forgetting…the house on Haunted Hill!

A happy family moves into a new house after experiencing some financial trouble. The father found a very good price for a house on an old hill where a graveyard used to be and people have died there every year for the last century. Strange things start to happen. Only one person ever notices these events so the rest of the family don’t believe the tales. Soon, shadows appear at night, noises come from nowhere, and a demon begins to walk around. Is the house haunted?

No worries folks, that’s a plot for another horror movie. This one’s a little more original as an eccentric millionaire decides to invite some people to a mansion to stay the night. If the guests can successfully stay for 24 hours without dying, they shall receive 10000 dollars. That’s no small number and the 5 guests were chosen because they all really need the money. How can they refuse such an offer? One man actually stayed at the mansion once before, but went crazy and nearly died so he is now an alcoholic. Another guest is a lady who is the breadwinner for her family and this would help out a great deal. A psychiatrist, a newspaper person, and your average main character round out the 5. The choice of leaving is taken out of their hands when the mansion is sealed shut by the hired help and the characters prepare for their long night. Annabelle, the wife of the millionaire (Frederick) begins to drop clues for the heroes that her husband plans to murder her..not the ghost that everyone (almost) suspected. Is she telling the truth? She is clearly at odds with Frederick, but both characters talk to each other about the chance for murder.

Naturally, this means that one person must be planning to murder someone. There wouldn’t be a film if it was all fun and games the whole time right? Of course, it could always be the ghosts, the heroes shouldn’t eliminate that possibility before they have dinner. With 10000 dollars at stake, the main characters really have to be ready for just about anything…so they split up as soon as possible.

A lot of strange things happen to the heroes when they get into the house. A chandelier nearly destroys one of them off the bat, but a quick dodge stopped this fate. It’s fun to see the heroes overwhelmed the whole time and the situation grows more and more dire. That being said, after seeing the final twist, you have to wonder about some of these moments. Did the writers know what was going on? Were ghosts really a part of the picture?

Well, to answer the second question, I feel like the answer is a resounding yes. It’s never proven, but I feel like the sudden ending actually helps my case. You are clearly supposed to draw your own conclusions and come to terms with your own ending. We never actually saw the night end after all so did the heroes actually manage to stay alive right up til the end? The drunk claims that they are doomed and while I would take his word with as much salt as my average Super Smash Bros opponent, ghosts just make sense here.

At several points, things happened that can’t really be explained. The first of which being the part where the main guy was knocked on the head by someone…or something when he stepped into a dark room. Sure, it could have been the maid…but that’s more than a little iffy and I don’t buy that. At the very least, the guy would have known who hit him since she’s an old lady and the wound didn’t make sense. Another iffy moment was when the maid appeared in the shadows and seemed to float away, but the main guy did not see her. It was as if she turned invisible in the middle of the room. That’s certainly iffy. Minor things would be the piano playing by itself and the chandelier falling down, but we could attribute those to good timing by the villains I suppose.

In my ending, I’m confident that all of the heroes ended up dying in the mansion. The facts just seem to lead that way for me. That being said, the film isn’t afraid to deal with plot hax either. When Annabelle…dies, it just doesn’t make sense. Sure, you take the professional’s advice, but I think everyone knows the difference between a dead body and one that is asleep. Of course, it did ensure that someone would become the prime suspect for you, but I just don’t see this ploy working so smoothly. Another iffy part was the gun that everyone was given, which was loaded with blancs. Surely someone would have tried unloading their gun to see if it actually had any ammo right….?

Since I’m going all in with this review I may as well mention one more piece of plot hax. That would be when a lady starts to back away from a bedsheet that is flying towards her. She took several long looks at the vat of acid that was behind her, yet she kept on going until she practically threw herself into the pit. The bedsheet was so slow and obviously fake that she could have done anything else for a better result. Her decision just felt odd if you ask me.

While I did poke a lot of holes in this film, it was very entertaining as I mentioned. The characters were all decent as you would expect from a retro film. The Haunted House had a nice atmosphere about it and the introduction to the film was extraordinarily well done as everyone arrived in a funeral car. The writing in this film was very good and while the threats between Frederick and Annabelle could get tiresome (Even resorting to the classic pulling hair tactic) it didn’t stop the characters from having meaningful interactions with the other characters as red herrings. They’re both cunning and while the 5 guests are not, they try their best to solve the mystery rather than simply be used in a grander scheme.

Overall, House on Haunted Hill is a good horror film. It starts to become a mystery thriller as the film goes by, but this is what I like to see in a horror film. I still have mixed feelings on the ending as I dare say that it may have been too sudden, but I can see what the film was driving towards and it’s better than having a dragged out ending I suppose. Leaving the audience to come up with the ending also saves the writers some work. The film is only about an hour, but manages to fill it in with a whole lot of plot and details so I definitely recommend giving this flick a watch. With Halloween and my Domino’s desserts coming up, it’s a good time to give this film a shot.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Reviews

The Wrong Man Review

177
The Wrong Man is a unique film in the sense that it is a drama and a drama film. Those two sound almost the same though so it was probably just an error on the Google Search…maybe. I always like good retro films as the writing is always strong. I’d call this film a success although I did have one issue with the film that was decently sizable and kept it from being an epic 8. There’s another issue that holds it up a little in the realism angle, but it doesn’t affect the final score. Hitchcock says that this thriller is even more intense than some of his “fictional” ones and he’s probably right as the mix of court room drama and mystery made this a solid experience.

Manny is your average joe. He has a steady job and is known as a very dependable fellow around the neighborhood. Everyone knows him as a nice guy, but he is suddenly confronted by the police one day to answer for a list of crimes. He has apparently committed theft and assault several times. When asked, Manny claims innocence to all of this, but he is telling the truth or is he just trying to get off easy? Only time will tell!

This is supposedly based on a true story and I can believe it as I’m sure that cases like this have happened in the past. That being said, if we’re treating the story as if it really happened, then some scenes really stretched that line in the movie. There was one part where the cops decided to have Manny copy the letter that the criminal wrote to see if their handwriting was the same. It turns out that they were almost identical and Manny also made the same typo that the crook did. That was a little much if you asked me and at that point, I just figured that Manny had a split personality and did do the crimes. I think that this makes more sense than the alternative that the film gave us. That was the only scene that hurt its credability in terms of realism, but one scene is all that you need for something like this.

The only problem that I actually had with the film was the part where Manny’s wife went insane. It happened so suddenly as she was fighting for his innocence one day and the next, she had quickly fallen into despair. Apparently she had already been dealing with this, but the sudden breakdown was still a bit much. It was also very unnecessary to the film if you ask me. The film really would not have changed almost at all if she had stayed strong. The film would have also been more fun that way and Manny could have had someone else on his side. We do get a happy ending for her after a timeskip, but it just furthers the point that this plot was really shoehorned in.

Back to the realism part for a second. It is a little iffy how two of Manny’s witnesses just died so mysteriously. I suppose that mystery films need some red herrings, but everything was conveniently against Manny. He probably would have been doomed in court, but at least he had the character witnesses of his boss and the hotel owners. What he lacked in evidence and proof, Manny made up for with personal connections. I ended up liking his lawyer even though the guy seemed a little fishy at first. He pulled through when it counted and noticed that the jury was very bias and against Manny so he quickly called for a rematch. It was a very good choice on his part and I had barely even realized what the jury was doing. This guy certainly knew his stuff.

Manny was also a good main character. He could have handled the situation a little better I suppose, like talking to the owners of the shop a little more. It’s possible that it would have helped them realize that they had the wrong man. Manny also acted a little suspicious when his wife started to talk to the lawyer about possible witnesses and he quickly made an excuse to leave. Extra red herrings I suppose. The wife was likable before she went insane. A decent heroine, but that subplot hurt her.

I did like the cops as they tried to give Manny a fair shake the whole time, despite the fact that they had basically decided he was guilty from the start. I guess they figured that lying to his face would calm Manny down. The fact that they did call his wife was very iffy though. That just felt shady. These are the cops, not the mafia. What’s with all the secrecy? A few times, you would have thought that they weren’t on the level,but since this is based on a true story, I disregarded that notion since it would have been a little too fantastic. (In the original sense of the word, not good, but just unbelievable) “An innocent man has nothing to fear” is a line that the cops use quite a lot and it’s a memorable one. While it is only mostly true, it’s still something to keep in mind when you’re falsely accused. If you’re a modern film lead, you could even crack a bunch of jokes despite the severity of the situation.

As you would expect, the writing and the script are spot on. Even when Manny and the cops are starting to get a little heated, they use sophisticated burns to stop each other. Another suspicious character was Manny’s step brother, but he ended up being on the level so that was good for the lead. Manny certainly couldn’t afford to have any more enemies in this film. His two sons were also all right I suppose, but you could also call them filler and I’m glad that their roles weren’t any bigger.

The main draw of the film is simply the suspense as the mystery hooks you in. I thought that the film was very enjoyable and the mystery was handled well. I also really liked the court scenes and still love those. There wasn’t as much back and forth as usual since we mostly only saw it from the attacking side, but it was fun nonetheless. The film’s decently long, but doesn’t drag out. I would have liked to have scene the fake Manny a little more, but it wasn’t necessary to the plot I suppose. While the characters looked similar, I still don’t see how it fooled so many of the characters.

Overall, The Wrong Man is a good retro film. The suspense is certainly real and Manny is put through the ringer. The court case was fun and I liked all of the cop interrogation scenes. They were definitely enjoyable and the cops were portrayed as they should be. They knew their job and completed the mission without a whole lot of difficulty. It was also fun to see the old meatstore owners take out the criminal near the end. They definitely had gusto! I certainly recommend this film if you’re looking for an old fashioned mystery and a story about a man who must prove his innocence no matter the cost! There are no real negatives in this film aside from the wife’s subplot so you can just kick back and enjoy the show!

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Reviews

The Man with the Golden Arm Review

Poster - Man With the Golden Arm, The_04
It’s time to look at another old film, but this one won’t fare any better than Harper. In fact, I’d say that Harper actually ends up having the edge here as this film’s main character may be worse than Harper He definitely doesn’t make a whole lot of correct choices and the subplot involving his wife can certainly tire you out very quickly. Granted, the film does sound better than the film, where the ending seems like it would be a little more dicey.

Frankie has just gotten out or rehab and he’s looking to get a new start on his life. He is getting our of the dealing game and he doesn’t intend to do drugs anymore. That being said, it’s tricky to keep to this goal as his wife is constantly trying to shoot his hopes down and she does not want him to succeed. She pretends to be incapable of walking to keep Frankie together with her. The guilt tripping tactics prove to be quite effective. Can Frankie end this cycle?

Well, this film definitely wasn’t for me. I’m all for a slice of life film, but this one wasn’t very interesting. Moreover, I never like watching the guilt tactics work on the heroes so easily. It’s similar to “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane” except it’s not quite that bad. At least Frankie can still leave, he just doesn’t really think about this option enough. His mistake if you ask me. The whole film his wife is pestering him and it gets really old fast. Not to mention that Frankie should have known that she could walk the instant that he found his drumsticks on top of the high drawer. That’s a little suspicious and the fact that she tries to sabotage his career the whole time is also a little iffy.

This film mainly deals with the problems of drugs and how addicting they can be. Any vice is extremely hard to break away from as any long time smoker can tell you. So, Frankie’s battle against it is fairly realistic even if it does take up way too much screen time in this film. The problem is that he keeps making all of the wrong choices over and over again even though he knows that it will cost him his job. It’s definitely a pretty serious addiction that he has going for him and if not for his wife, he probably would have beaten it right away. The stress just got to him though and then he kept on relapsing over and over again. It certainly doesn’t make for an enjoyable watch. So, while this is a topic that isn’t tackled all that much, it’s probably best to leave it for the documentaries or it’ll be a bit of a downer.

I would have been content if more of the film had been about the dealings as Frankie was a part of an underground card playing association. The games were definitely high stakes and I love watching card games. That certainly would have kept my interest as those scenes were the best part of the movie. Once again, Frankie made the wrong call and it came back to bite him. That’s really the story of his life and I definitely did not like him.

The villains are naturally unlikable although, the underling of the drug dealer was always fun to watch as he panicked during the card games. Molly was a good supporting character and she was really the reason why Frankie managed to come out of this film in one piece. She was certainly a very helpful character and one you could root for. The plot with the drunk person was a little iffy and maybe Molly should try not to go overboard with the whole being nice thing, but she tries. Frankie also had another friend who helped groom dogs. That guy would support him, but also got Frankie into trouble by bringing him stolen shirts. It was another unfortunate moment for the lead although he should not have accepted since he knew that they were stolen.

The soundtrack was definitely intense and whenever Frankie would go to get a shot, a really quick/ominous theme would play. It was actually quite memorable and that’s more than I can say for most movies so I’ll give the film a lot of props there. It’s not every day that you see such a stellar soundtrack. It’s a shame that the rest of the movie couldn’t have been that good. I was also glad that a dog got to appear for a while and nothing happened to him. Not including animal violence in your film is the first step to success. While this film couldn’t rise above that, it was still nice to see.

There is also some action in the film. Not a whole lot of course, but one guy is slammed to the ground and another one is pushed off of a tall staircase. It was an impressive show of strength for one character although it made the other person look a little iffy. Why would you threaten to shake someone’s life to their core when you’re going to turn your back to that individual while laughing? The villain clearly did not think his plan through at all and certainly regretted that course of action. Then, we have the quick chase scene at the end. You can almost feel the tension in the air as the main characters make the tough calls…almost. It gets quite fatal for at least one individual.

Overall, The Man With The Golden Arm wasn’t a very good film, it was actually a very bad one. Part of the problem is that it just didn’t live up to its name. His Golden Arm allowed Frankie to be great at card games and music, but both of those areas were not explored as well as they should have been. Honestly, the title is a little misleading and I suppose that you could dig up some other meanings behind that like how he always got the drugs in that arm, but it doesn’t eliminate the fact that you may have expected a different movie. I certainly didn’t expect such a large portion of the film to be about his drug problem. It’s good to raise awareness on such things and hopefully get people not to take drugs, but it comes at the expense of how much you can enjoy the film. I just didn’t enjoy this one and the run time felt like forever while watching it. Just think of the movie as being like a bad hotel experience. You arrive with great hopes, only to find that it’s an empty room with nothing to help you pass the time. That’s the essence of the film in a nutshell. If you want a good retro film, then your best bet is to watch the original Astro Boy TV show.

Overall 2/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Harper Review

harper_xlg
It’s time to look at an oldish film from the 1960’s. It’s pretty old, but not old enough in the sense that it makes some modern mistakes. The film is also a little too long and drags out quite a bit. While the ending is decently good to an extent, you’ll find yourself struggling to find any likable characters in this film, which makes it difficult to be invested in the plot.

Harper is a private detective and a very good one at that. (Or so he thinks) He is hired because a man has disappeared so his wife wants Harper to track him down. This won’t be easy as the guy may not have been on the up and up with the law. The lady wants to find out who her husband has been cheating on with as well, but little does Harper know that things might be a little more serious than that. So begins his wild goose chase across the state.

See, the main plot is derailed for quite a while, as various other plot lines come up. Technically, Harper is on the trail the whole time, but the film moves at a snail’s pace. We slowly meet the supporting cast like the daughter, Harper’s old friend, and a guy who likes to hang out at the Beach. As mentioned before, none of these characters are very likable at all. Harper’s the kind of guy who acts like he’s not interested in women with all of his tough talk, but he still takes time to stare at the daughter when they first meet near the swimming pool and he basically acts like the kind of guy that you wouldn’t want to be around.

That’s not even mentioning the fact that Harper isn’t even a very good detective. He talks tough, but is constantly knocked out whenever things get dangerous. For example, he walked into a bar and started threatening one of the characters so he didn’t notice the bouncer sneak up behind him for a quick haymaker. He was then too dazed to do anything during the fight so he was quickly wrecked. This happened again in the final minutes of the film as he enters the villain base and figures that nobody was home. Well…he was wrong! Harper definitely comes across as a rookie at times.

The daughter was a pretty terrible character as almost all of her lines were just for flirting purposes. Her character lacked any real depth and she really had no bearing on the plot. Despite Bacall being a rather big name, she really had a very small role in the film and didn’t get to do anything. Harper’s friend wasn’t cool either and he was attracted to someone who was way younger than him. That’s certainly not a great way to start off his character arc and the ending doesn’t make him look any better either. Finally, the swimming guy doesn’t mind leading the daughter on even though he’s no attracted to her. He’s definitely not a good person. We also have a former star who gained weight. Her role was larger than I would have thought, but she definitely didn’t help the cast.

The daughter’s extended dance scenes at the Beach and the completely unnecessary romances in the film didn’t help its case either. The film was certainly trying to go for that James Bond feel as you can tell from the posters and it didn’t go over so well. Not to mention that there’s a random scene near the end where the villains torture someone for information using a cigarette. It came out of nowhere and Harper naturally couldn’t be bothered to come to the victim’s aid. He naturally waited until the ordeal was over because he’s no hero.

As mentioned earlier, the plot isn’t very interesting either and the story could have been told in half of the time. An example of a subplot that could have been cut out was where he pretended to be a guy from Texas who fell in love with the old actress. The scene went on for quite a while and while she ended up being important in the end, the scene could have been greatly shortened or removed from the movie altogether.

For positives, well, the writing was solid. Naturally, you wouldn’t expect to find a whole lot of language here and there was none. Such is the beauty of the old classics. The witty banter goes between the characters easily although it’s still not as good as the average classic film thanks to the daughter and the fact that her lines simply aren’t good.

Another positive would be the ending, which was certainly original and not what I had expected. It essentially leaves the decision to the viewer as you decide what happens from here. I certainly know what my guess is. The guy in the car will shoot and the other one will yell for help so one of them dies and the other is arrested. That sounds like a fair tradeoff to me although Harper still didn’t look so good right up until the very end. The fact of the matter is, he doesn’t know if he is going to bring a murderer to justice. No matter who the person is, murder is murder and it’s not like it was in self defense. The guy shot someone who was already helpless and on the ground…he should get no sympathy from Harper.

The car chase scene was decent although you can certainly tell that they don’t make cars the way that they used too. One car breaks down from going down a very small hill. A current car would have just kept on going and going. It’s a neat contrast although it certainly wasn’t intended as such. I’m always up for a chase and since there weren’t any real fight scenes to be found here…it’ll have to do.

Overall, Harper was not exactly a winner in my book. It succeeded in its attempts to be like a James Bond film as it fell into all of those pitfalls. The romance, the dragged out feeling of the movie, the unlikable characters, the unprofessional main character, etc. The film had it all and that just wasn’t a good thing. I’ll give it props for the ending, but that’s about all that I can give the film at the moment. If you want a good classic film, check out Godzilla or the old Superman and the Mole Men movie. Those are classics and have aged quite well. I can’t say that this one has.

Overall 3/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Black Cat Review

Blackcat1941
Have you ever seen a film that was very different from what you expected? That happened to me with this film as I just expected a completely different plot and the whole film was as radically different as any I’ve ever seen. Luckily, this was in a good way! As much as a horror film about a Black Cat knocking everyone would have been entertaining, a classic “Who Did It” murder mystery is infinitely better. Aside from one mistake, the film does quite well, but it is unfortunately a big mistake!

An old lady is near death so her family members quickly head to her mansion so that they can pick up their inheritance. If they don’t like what they receive, they are prepared to attack her if necessary. Luckily, they all receive a decent amount of money so they are pleased, but the lady announces that this only comes to pass once her maid is dead as the cats need to be taken care of. One of the family members doesn’t like this and quickly stabs her. With the old lady out of the way, the main characters must figure out who did it as the body count will only rise from here!

One difference in this film compared to the average murder mystery is that the body count isn’t actually that high. The suspense is mostly grabbed by near deaths and the ominous feeling that someone is always watching you. Also, it isn’t played completely serious as it is part comedy. Similar to another murder mystery film that I saw a while back, whose title escapes me. The light tone with the classic mystery make for a winning formula in terms of how interesting the film is.

As this film came out in the very early 1940’s, you can expect that the writing is quite good as well. That makes all the difference in any mystery title and I can almost certainly guarantee that a modern version would not be nearly as good in this area. Whether it be the subtle threats or the not to subtle ones, you just don’t see dialogue like this nowadays. The film is a little on the short side, but there’s still enough time to flesh out the characters and not have a rushed ending.

The film does a good job of making everyone look a little suspicious. There’s the main character who really reminded me of Bill Murray from Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day. Seriously, the guy looks almost identical to him complete with the voice and a similar role. He was definitely one of the best parts of the film and I’d say that he earned the role of best character. As he’s the main character, most of what we see is from his side of the story, but you can never discount the lead as they sometimes don’t tell you everything. I was rooting for him to close the deal though!

The main character’s friend is here to break things to make them more valuable in the future. He’s extremely scatter brained to the point where he can never follow a sentence and it takes him hours to realize what people knew in seconds. He was a fun character as he constantly trolled the rest of the cast and found the secret passages before anyone else. He was in danger many times, but the good part about being oblivious is that fear won’t slow you down! Naturally, he’s suspicious because you have to wonder if it is all truly an act.

Next up, we have the family of three. There’s the step son who threatens his step father several times not to break his mother’s heart as he knows that the guy is cheating with someone else. Considering the threats and how much the money would help him, it’s obvious why this guy is a suspect. Likewise, if the father is willing to cheat on his elderly wife, we don’t know what he is capable of! He definitely wants the money from the will as he constantly yells about it. Maybe he wants it for sinister purposes!

His elderly wife is always in the background and prefers to let everyone else to the talking. She keeps up the pretense of liking the old lady even though everyone else constantly insults her and just waits for her inheritance. Is it possible that she actually cares or is she just playing along to throw away suspicion from herself? There’s the main heroine who believes that no murders took place and that her family are still decent people deep down who wouldn’t cross this line. She tries to distract the main character from this train of thought several times. Is it possible that she is right or does she just want us to think that?

Rounding up the list of suspects are out final members. We have the maid who threatened that the heroes would leave the house one way or the other. Wow, that’s pretty ominous right? A bit obvious, but perhaps that’s the point to lower our guard! There’s also the grounds servant, Eduwardo. He is always listening and watching from outside and he has free reign over the place. He would certainly have the time to commit the acts and the motive as well since he received almost nothing from the will in the end. Finally, we have the old lady. Maybe she cheated death somehow by using a fake poison right?

So, we definitely have a lot of suspects. I’m glad to say that the film doesn’t cheat with the final verdict. The culprit does have a good motive and was one of the suspects so that was good. Cop outs are the one thing that you don’t want in a mystery film! The opening of the film reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode. The mask party one where the relatives all wanted the old man to die and ultimately had their true faces exposed to everyone. The opening was definitely similar and I wouldn’t be surprised if one borrowed from the other.

This film would have been an easy 7, but there was one big mistake, which really hurt it. Unfortunately, one of the cats is poisoned and died. That was a really low blow and it definitely hurt the film. At least the cat wasn’t injured as that would have been even worse, but the death still ensured that I wouldn’t be giving this film any higher than a 5. It’s just hard to recommend a film with animal violence like this at times. For a show that has over 200 episodes or a long series like that, it’s much easier, but a single film….it’s just not happening. This was the one big mistake that the film made, but boy was it a big one!

The romance angle was surprisingly nonexistent for the most part. Of course, we have the main character and heroine who are polite to each other, but it never goes anywhere which is nice and realistic. There’s also the cheating subplot, but it also doesn’t really go anywhere. I’d say that this is a good thing as those plots weren’t needed to make the film be enjoyable anyway. As it stands, most of the character personalities were enjoyable, which really helped the film.

Overall, The Black Cat was much better than I anticipated. The score was lower due to the animal violence, but otherwise it was essentially the ideal mystery. It’s short, but there are no cop outs and the writing as done quite well. The film was pretty funny without going over the top in the comedy aspect. It wasn’t much of a problem back in the day though as the humor was almost always great or you would just miss the joke, but we never saw the kind of jokes that you see in something like Pixels. The horror aspects were also handled well as you would see an ominous hand reach out to take someone down or someone’s frightened expression as they realized that they were doomed. From the classics, this one easily takes down Frankenstein and Dracula without a doubt! In pure entertainment value, this would probably beat all of the other Universal classics.

Overall 5/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) Review

MV5BMTI2NjUyMjcyM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODAwMzU3Mg@@._V1_SY1102_CR55,0,630,1102_AL_
It’s time to look at one of the adaptions for Dorian Grey. This is the 1945 film and this was at an era where there were dozens of great films. Typically, the writing for films in the 40’s-60’s was very engaging and the dialogue was enough to keep you glued to the seat. For some reason, that didn’t work here and I did not care for this film, but at least the visuals still make it easy to see what is happening. Let’s see why this film couldn’t bring in a retro victory.

The film follows a man named Dorian Gray and he wants someone to make a portrait of him. This happens and he wishes that the painting could age instead of him. This results in Gray obtaining immortality so now he can live forever or it actually means that his looks do not age while he still does on the inside. I’m inclined to think that it is the former, but I suppose that you can still make a case for both. Now that he is immortal….what will he do next?

I feel like the film didn’t know what to do at that point. Once he became immortal, Gray had no real ambitions and he just started to get psychotic as the film went on. Destroying those who got in his way was something that he did for no real reason and let’s not forget the moments of black mail. It’s definitely very hard to actually find Dorian Gray to be a likable character amidst all of this and no matter how sympathetic he tries to be at the end, it doesn’t work. We don’t get a reason to believe that he could have been a changed person since his random episodes during the film make trusting him a little difficult.

When you have a film where the lead character is not interesting or likable, then you’re bound to run into some problems. As I mentioned earlier, I typically enjoy the back and forth dialogue in these kinds of films, but it didn’t work this time. The characters weren’t very engaging and neither was the plot so most of the dialogue just felt like filler that never went anywhere. Listening to the characters talk about their own view on ethics may be intriguing, but it won’t do anything for you.

It should also be noted that the film starts off on a really low note with a butterfly being destroyed in one of the opening scenes. It’s a scene like that, which quickly takes you out of a film and it’s hard to really enjoy it. If a film is good enough, it can still rise above that and get a decent rating, but when a film is already intended to be a little bleak and uneventful…this does not help its case as the event will stay fresh in your memory. Another character doesn’t help his case after that as he tries to destroy another animal and ends up destroying a human instead. It was an accident of course, but it shows why shooting for sport is definitely not a good hobby.

The film is very old so the violence isn’t terrible. We get a quick death by stabbing that is mostly seen through a silhouette, but the most gruesome part of the film is easily the painting. The whole film is in black and white aside from the painting, which is in color. This is used to show us just how grotesque the main character is, but the film goes way too far. Between all of the blood that is on the painting and the poor condition of the man’s body, it’s just pretty gross to look at. We could have gotten the same impression without the blood of the ugly bits by just making the guys eyes black or throwing some horns on. As it stands, you’ll just want to look away whenever the painting actually appears.

One of the main things that also hurt the film is that it’s one of those movies that will make you start to feel sleepy as you watch it. That’s because you go through long periods of time where nothing happens like in the Hobbit or LOTR films. It all goes back to the fact that there isn’t really a plot once Gray becomes immortal. It’s basically just him walking around and discovering that being immortal is not a whole lot of fun. Typically, it might have been, but he did sell his soul to become immortal so the cost was too great for him.

At the very least, the message is pretty good since the film shows that selling your soul for any price is never worth it. Immortality and riches are meaningless if you’re just going to burn away in hell for an eternity afterwards. Let’s face it, even if you are immortal, you’ll be taken out eventually once people find out. In the film, nobody really seems concerned that Gray always looks the same and they seem to think that he just has some kind of secret, but 50 years from then, you can bet that the government and many villains would be getting suspicious. Gray made the wrong move and he definitely paid for it throughout the film.

Overall, The Picture of Dorian Gray is definitely not one of the better films. From the 40’s titles that I’ve seen, it very well could be the worst, but I can’t say that with 100% certainty. The film just isn’t very interesting and the grotesque painting coupled with the animal violence really hurt it. There are also no real likable characters since most of them are corrupt or just decide to take the easy way out of situations. It’s a film that would work better if the immortality bit was just a side plot and the real story involved some kind of adventure of something. They definitely need to add some more meat to the story. I definitely would not recommend this film and if you want to see something that’s retro, check out the old Superman shorts of one of the Bogart and Bacall films. Then you’ll see how action can really help a story.

Overall 3/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Mummy Review

The_Mummy_1932_film_poster
Looks like it’s time to check out the original Mummy film! This one came out almost a century ago so you shouldn’t expect the effects to look quite as good as Tron’s. That being said, a film can still manage to be pretty good without effects as long as the writing is strong. That’s what helped a lot of the previous retro installments. Alas, it could not last. This film is nowhere near as good as the remake although I applaud the supernatural elements that made things pretty intriguing at points. Let’s see where the film messed up.

The plot involves an Archeologist and his partner as they are pretty sad. Their expedition into the desert turned out to be a waste of time and they are getting ready to rejoin civilization so that they can be mocked for their efforts. At that moment, a suspicious character tells them of a hidden tomb that is nearby and his minions uncover it for the heroes. The courageous fellows quickly inform the press and send their findings to the museum. This has all been too easy…why would this person help them? It makes more sense when you watch the flashback before this scene as the Mummy is uncovered because a man opened the legendary chest that had a curse inside of it. (Don’t worry, the curse isn’t random, we find out who placed it there towards the end of the film) The Mummy awakens and one of the guys goes insane with laughter as his mind breaks at the mere sight of the Mummy. In the present, The Mummy needs the ancient manuscript for his devious plans and he also wants to revive his partner. Time for the heroes to do something about it!

The plot sounds rather deep and convoluted thanks to how I wrote it, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. You are aware of the Mummy and the sinister developments for a good portion of the film. The heroes are just unsure of what they can really do about it, which results in a lot of tense scenes. None of the characters are really likable though, but more on that later. The film was doing all right in these moments, but let’s look at one of the big pitfalls that the film threw itself into.

First up…Animal Violence! I expect animal violence when I watch something like Sucker Punch or Toriko, but I don’t expect it from one of the most famous horror films of last generation. The scene comes out of nowhere, which is pretty sad. The main heroine randomly admits that she has a dog and takes him to the villain’s base. Seeking to impress her with his hypnosis, the Mummy tells his slave to take the dog away…then the slave murders the dog. Why would he do such a thing and why would the Mummy allow it? The whole point is that he is tricking the heroine and that shouldn’t help matters. Unfortunately, she is rather weak willed and her strength of character is not enough to even remember how her dog died. It was a rather depressing moment in an uninteresting film and I quickly slashed a few points off the score. (Although, even without the animal violence this film was destined to fall within this range. Animal Violence or not…this was not going to crack a 5)

I don’t really comment on the acting so I won’t get into how terribly awkward it was for the film. I’ll just point to how they wrecked the characters through the drama scenes. A lot of scenes just have the characters staring at each other or making terrible decisions that lead to their untimely demise. With that set up…it’s time to look at the characters!

The main character is Frank. He’s better than his predecessor in the opening who goes insane just by looking at the Mummy, but he’s not much better. (I still can’t get over that though. Do people honestly think that someone would go crazy just by sneaking a glance at a dead guy? That was one of the biggest moments of plot hax that I’ve seen since Colonel actually held his own against Forte in the Program of Light and Dark) Frank is the kind of guy who believes in (fake) love at first sight and he really pushes the point when he meets Helen. She keeps on telling him that she is not interested (For about 5 minutes anyway) but he won’t take no for an answer and she quickly relents. After that, he doesn’t really care about anything except helping her and he can’t do a good job of that either. He knows that the Mummy is playing her like a fiddle, but he still decides to just go to sleep on the couch. It should be noted that his partner tried to help by giving Frank an amulet that stops the Pharaoh’s abilities from working, but Frank decides to hang it on the doorknob as a little keychain. You may admire his courageousness, but you’ll probably just face palm as the Mummy quickly uses the Force Choke to take Frank down for the count. A rather embarrassing end and no amount of main character hax that occurs in the film can take that moment away from us. It was pretty inexcusable.

I can’t say that Helen is much better. Again, she tried to say no to Frank, but then she just agreed that the feelings were mutual. They evidently were not at first so she changed her mind way too quickly. Her mind is also very frail since the Mummy is able to quickly convince her that she must go with him. She always enters a trance and he has complete control over her. She tries to fight it once in a while, but with terrible results. Forgetting about her dog was also pretty inexcusable and she should have been able to fight the mind control. This is definitely a strong example for how you do not write a main heroine. It was a rather poor showing.

There were two old men who tried to help out as well, but they couldn’t get the job done. One of them had the simple task of burning a few papers in the fireplace, but the Force Choke surprises him so much that he drops the papers and starts to backpedal until he bites the big one. (Which is when the slave breaks in through the unlocked door and steals the papers) The other guy just gives advice like “Let Helen go to Imhotep so we can find out where his hideout is” before taping an untimely nap. These guys loves to beat around the bush as seen with their interrogation of the Mummy, but they know that they are outmatched. They actually admit it in front of the Mummy, which is pretty sad.

The actual Mummy isn’t great either. We get a sob story for him about how he did all of this for romance and stuff. Unfortunately, deciding to reincarnate yourself is against the law so he’s quickly destroyed….thereby speeding up the reincarnation. I guess they didn’t have any mages back then to counter the Mummy’s spell. After that, he evidently decided to wait years and years for some archaeologists to come and discover the tomb instead of just going inside of it himself. He would have been able to have gotten the scroll without any objections that way and then he could have searched for his reincarnated partner. Alas, he decided to do things the hard way. He has a strong amount of telepathy and possibly some superhuman strength so I guess it’s okay for him to be confident. Unfortunately, he underestimated the humans or overestimated his Force Choke when push came to shove.

The flashbacks and the ending were intriguing, but they just threw in supernatural elements without any true meaning. I applaud the effort as we actually get a “god” at the end who decides to help out, but just barely. The Mummy still would have gotten away for it if not for a few missteps. I mean, the Mummy Did basically laugh at Isis’ rules by coming back to life so you would expect a little more urgency.

Overall, This was definitely not one of the better retro films. I definitely preferred the newer Mummy film. It was more action packed and while it wasn’t downright amazing, it was a lot more fun. The Mummy just isn’t a fun or engaging villain and his telepathy is the only thing that actually made him a threat. A lot of scenes didn’t seem to have really been thought through either. (The heroes going after the Mummy after the villain had a super long head start and still making it in time.) Strictly speaking from Frank’s perspective, the ending felt like a parody. He’s the big hero, but he never got to be useful from start to finish. I would sooner recommend watching the remake or checking out Speed Racer than this film. This film was lacking in positives while still containing a lot of negatives.

Overall 3/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Blob Review

The_Blob_poster
It’s time for another retro horror film in The Blob! The Blob never really sounded very intriguing since it doesn’t seem like it can be an engaging villain. On the other hand, this guarantees that the film won’t be the slasher kind and the heroes will have to use their wits to escape this ordeal. It was a little better than I had expected and you shouldn’t underestimate The Blob!

A meteor crash lands in an abandoned area one day and an old farmer notices this. He stabs the egg with his stick, but The Blob adapts as quickly as it evolves and it grabs him. The man bumps into the main characters, Steve and Jane. They take him to a doctor, but things take a turn for the worst when the Doctor is murdered. Who would do such a thing? Unless….it was The Blob! The heroes can’t afford to let their guard down as time is not on their side anymore.

The set up is pretty good since the Blob has to infiltrate the town somehow. From there, it’s up to the writers to really make The Blob a threat. It’s pretty fun to see him go after the heroes since he…or it can’t move very quickly. One character makes the mistake of tripping into The Blob though and the other one runs for the window despite The Blob being near it. These fellows probably didn’t watch a whole lot of horror films and now they’ll never get the chance!

The actual Blob is pretty formidable since bullets don’t even faze it. It also absorbs the mysterious elements that are thrown at it in the lab and endures the raw power of lightning. Let’s face it, this guy has Kaiju levels of durability! For all we know, it’s still out there….lurking….and prepping for the fights to come. I think it’ll be pretty hard to find someone who says that they actually like the Blob a lot as a character, but it’s an interesting villain.

The main problem is the lack of speed on the Blob’s part. While it may be funny to see characters trip and get absorbed, it’s not something that you will find believable. It should be simplicity itself to avoid the Blob. Even the very beginning was dicey since the farmer’s reaction times were very slow. I’d like to see the Blob take on Nemo from the animated film. The unstoppable force meets the invincible fish. It would be a fight for the ages. That being said, the Blob may sort of be alive…but maybe it isn’t. It continues to grow and it absorbs everything, but it could be like a plant that moves to face the sun. More reactions than actual thoughts. I don’t really consider it to be alive in the literal sense…or should I say figurative sense? It’s about as alive as a plant.

The film did manage to scare me in one scene. A dog decides to tag along with the heroes to avenge his owner, but then the Blob steps in. I was on the edge of my seat poised to deduct some massive points from the film, but the dog manages to escape. Never before have I been so epicly ready to give back the points. Most horror films would have taken the low route and allowed the dog to be eaten. Not The Blob! It’s one of the reasons why this film was actually pretty decent.

The writing is pretty good and it’s why I still like these old films a lot. The cops were all pretty likable and even the “bullies” were good by the end. I’m not a fan of either of the main characters though. It’s not the writing’s fault of course, they were just very unlikable. I’ll explain why!

Jane drops the dog…twice. That’s inexcusable and I knew that I wasn’t going to like her at that point. I was already pretty wary since she fell into the romance plot with Steve, but this was the extra push that really sunk her character. It was pretty unnecessary and just sad. Steve isn’t much better since he has a lot of cheesy lines to try and convince Jane that he’s on the up and up. He shrugs her off once when he gets distressed about the Blob. He overreacts a lot and he conversation with the policeman at the very beginning was pretty wince worthy. His excuses needed excuses and he didn’t even get to win the street race. He wasn’t really much of a hero by the end and he was just thrown into the circumstances. He nearly convinced himself that it was all fake as well.

The bullies from the beginning actually turn out to just be friends who were having a little fun with the main character. It’s a good thing that this is the case for Steve since he probably couldn’t have held his own in a fight. They heavily outnumber him and they seem to be a little tougher. They help the main characters out a lot by helping them search and waking up the town. Without these kids, Steve probably would have been sunk.

There are three main policemen and they are pretty neat. We have the strict guy who has a big sob story on the left and the reasonable joe on the right. The third guy likes to play chess, but that’s about it. The strict one is pretty intense and you can tell that he has a lot of experience and I have to say that most of his tips were pretty sound. (Keep the kids in the cell sir!) The veteran actually likes kids so he’s a lot more reasonable, but the heroes don’t give him a whole lot to work with. It’s tough for the cops since the heroes are always messing around with the rules.

I guess a minor criticism for the film could be that everyone adapts a little too quickly to the monster. The cops almost immediately stop trying to shoot it because they find out that it’s impervious to all conventional weaponry. It’s true that nothing (Possibly including nukes) can hurt the Blob, but I’d expect them to try a little more. It’s good that they can give the Blob the chills through natural methods, but that was really just a lucky guess. We expect the police to fight for us until the last man! It’s still a pretty small thing though and the romance/main characters is the only true negative of the film.

Overall, The Blob is a pretty fun creature feature film. The main characters are very below average though and I prefer the leads from most of the other films of this era. These guys weren’t polite to the animals and they just weren’t interesting. I much prefer the other kids since they stay up to watch the creature feature films as well and they have a solid sense of justice. They couldn’t just walk away when the going got tough! The Blob may not have a roar or a real design, but it deals some damage and it made for a unique villain. I definitely recommend this film to anyone who likes a good monster film or a survival story. It’s just the kids against the big Blob that continues to grow. Who knows how powerful he’ll be in the sequel! The film didn’t really have much in the way of negatives, but I still refrained from giving it a higher score due to the fact that it would simply need more action or a better lead to vault it into the Super Six level. A different pair of main characters probably would have been all that it would need to get to the next level.

Overall 5/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Invisible Man Review

the-invisible-man-1933
The 30s aren’t particularly known for their immense selection of incredible films, but they still did churn out some pretty big titles. The Invisible Man is certainly one of them and almost everyone has heard of this figure. He was a character who could scare just about anyone back in the day. Considering that it is nearly a century old at this point, The Invisible Man presents us with a pretty interesting film that is fun to watch. I gotta say that this is definitely my kind of Horror Film! (It can give some of the Godzilla films a run for their money.)

The story revolves around a scientist whose experiment goes wrong and he turns invisible. No..that’s a little misleading. His experiment didn’t turn out as he had pictured, but he was interested in basically turning invisible so it was essentially a success. The big twist is that the chemicals also warp the user’s mind so he starts to get more and more sinister until the Invisible Man basically becomes a mass murderer with visions of world domination. The local authorities have to stop him..but how can you stop someone who is invisible? (And has super strength/speed as well…) The ultimate battle of good vs evil is about to begin!

The film is only about 70 minutes so things have to move at a fairly brisk pace. The film never moves too fast, but it goes quickly enough so that many things can happen. The film starts out pretty suspenseful and then it turns into more of an action by the end. There are some scenes that will definitely stretch your limit for disbelief, but this film is pretty old so it could be a generation gap. These moments will definitely be addressed in a moment.

The Invisible Man is the main villain of the title and it’s hard to tell if he was always evil or if the side effects of the potion really threw him over the deep end. Either way, it’s not a positive for the Invisible Man if you think of him as a hero. Luckily, I just think of him as a villain and he’s not bad in that respect. You can’t really root for him since his goals just seem to come out of nowhere, but what villain doesn’t want to become rich and rule the world? We can only see the Invisible Man when he has clothes on, but the serum definitely seemed to make him a lot stronger. He mentioned how it has opened his mind so it may go back to the theory that we only use about 20% of our mind and using more of it would give us super abilities. At least it’s sort of scientific depending on how you look at it. He can choke a man with ease and survive frigid temperatures while naked. He’s also a fairly quick runner and he can be in 10 places at once. (Not literally of course) He makes for a very powerful villain and one that realistically cannot be defeated…which makes the ending a little dicey.

The Chief Detective was definitely my favorite character in the film. He came up with a lot of plans to stop the Invisible Man and nothing fazed him. This was the kind of guy that you just didn’t want to mess with and I actually liked some of his strategies. The net may have been a little primitive, but he didn’t have the tech that we currently possess. He made do with what he had and it would be tough to do a whole lot more. I won’t be forgetting the detective!

Arthur Kemp doesn’t look very good at all since he’s basically a hostage for a good portion of the film. He is too scared of the Invisible Man to launch any counter offensives and the most resistance that he could commit was to call the Police. He made the right call, but he should have either stayed locked up in the room or ran outside to meet the police. The Invisible Man does have some basic super strength and speed, but I don’t think it’s by a large gap. Arthur could still run for a while and he wouldn’t go down without a fight. Even once Arthur is in the car. He just starts begging for mercy right from the get go instead of trying to fight the Invisible Man. If you’re going to die, you may as well fight back right? Just go for the gold at that point.

Most of the fighters don’t do very well against the Invisible Man and that can be a little embarrassing for them. They outnumbered him at least 50-1 at one point and he just scared them into submission. Their best chance was during the first showdown where they were face to face with him, but the crowds ran away when the Invisible Man took off his bandages around his head. They should have pounced right then and there, but the shock defeated them. After that, I don’t think that they really could have defeated him.

Being invisible is just too great of a power. There are millions of places to hide and you could also just reduce the town’s population one by one. It’s impossible to protect everyone and the Invisible Man is already fairly smart. He may have gotten careless at the end, but even then he should have been able to escape. Instead, he decides to play the final Mario 64 level with the Policemen taking the role of Bowser. This proved to be a fatal mistake and you have to wonder what he was thinking.

It’s also a little hard to sympathize with the Invisible Man at the beginning of the film. I did for a few minutes when everyone was scared of him for no good reason. Sure, he was bundled up, but it was freezing out there. The sympathy was lost when he began to yell at the shop owners the whole time. He could have easily finished his experiments if he had been more polite and less direct about everything. Because of that, the Invisible Man lost his chance.

We had a few other characters like the main heroine and her father, but they don’t really contribute to the plot. They are there to provide us with a little context and some backstory for the Invisible Man, but that’s about it. I do have to say that the first Policeman’s portrayal was pretty great though. At first, he doesn’t really care much about the Invisible Man’s situation. (Before they knew he was invisible) However, you can see him growing more and more confident as he walks into the room and the Invisible Man continues to hurl threats. The Policeman doesn’t back down until the Invisible Man starts to become invisible with his iconic laugh. I’ll admit that his appearance isn’t very flattering at that point, but the beginning is really what counts.

There isn’t really a soundtrack to be found here since the film is so old. I will admit that the film’s age does show when it comes to the audio. It can be very hard to hear what some of the characters are saying because their voices are just too screechy. This is especially the case for one of the owners, but it’s more intentional on her part. She’s a pretty exaggerated character, but a pretty likable one nonetheless. I felt bad for her and her husband since they were just trying to run a respectable shop. The audio was a little dicey, but it’s pretty unavoidable and it’s not the kind of thing that will really take points away.

Overall, The Invisible Man is a pretty fun film. The writing is pretty strong as you would expect and the characters are pretty interesting. I think that the Police really should have been out of their league here, but I’ll accept the plot hax since the hero has to win somehow. The towns people were way too afraid of the Invisible Man though and they shouldn’t have been. He’s still just one man and they can definitely take him if they all just charge. It was hard to take them seriously during those moments, but they pulled it together by the end. The town was pretty cool and it’s the kind of place that you definitely wouldn’t have minded living in back during the 30’s. I definitely recommend this film to horror films and it may not be a thrill a minute, but it’s a very good film. It will keep you interested from start to finish. You’ll never forget The Invisible Man’s maniacal laugh afterwards!

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Dark Passage Review

dark_passage_1947
It’s time for the next installment in the Bogart and Bacall series. This film is still a mystery, but it’s not as much of a focus as it was in the last film. The plot involves the mystery of course, but it’s also a thriller as the hero has to stay low to make sure that the cops don’t find him. It’s another solid film from the 40’s and it holds up pretty well. There is one aspect of it that I can’t say that I’m crazy about and it involves the camera angles. Beyond that, it looks like we’ve picked another winner!

The plot involves Vincent, an escaped convict. He has been charged with murdering his wife and he was going to be locked up for a very long time..unless he goes to the gas chamber. None of those options appeal to Vincent so he somehow manages to break out of jail and jump onto a prison transport while riding in a barrel. He rolls his way into a lake and knocks out a driver who was passing by. Things are still pretty dangerous for him when a mysterious lady tells him to get into her car as she takes him home. How many hidden agendas does this lady have and is Vincent really safe here? Things are going to get tough for Vincent and we aren’t even sure if we should root for him. After all…what if the charges are true!?

Vincent is not quite as interesting as the last two leads that we had for the 40’s films. He’s not quite as bold or confident. He’s not timid, but he’s not quick to insult everyone and make a lot of witty comebacks. He does go into rage mode once his friend is taken out of the picture (He denies this of course) and he’s a decent fighter. Still, Vincent could have handled the situation better if he didn’t keep making unnecessary errors. “Why did you want the Sports section Vince” “I wanted to see how the Miami horses were doing” “Those finished months ago….GET HIM!” is basically how one scene goes down. At least choose something like Baseball where you can be sure that it’s still active. He claims to have played it so he should know if it’s in the off season or not. Something easy like Baseball would have really helped him when he was in a tough spot.

Irene is a character that did trick me so I will give props there. I was waiting for her to betray Vincent or to unleash her master plan. I kept waiting and waiting until the credits started rolling. She’s all right I suppose, but her strategy is definitely more than a little risky. There was still the chance that Vincent was a murderer. (Although Irene did have some decent evidence that suggested otherwise) She’s not a fighter and she doesn’t have a gun so she doesn’t get to help that much in the climax, but she certainly helps Vincent a lot when he’s in a pinch.

Madge is the lady next door who is worried about Vincent’s possible arrival into the state. She believes that Vincent will come after her and it’s a very delicate situation. They certainly don’t get along, but it seems like nobody really gets along with her. There’s not much to say about Madge here since she’s deeply entangled into the plot, but I can’t say that she’s a great character.

Sam is pretty good since he sees through Vincent’s facade without any effort. This is definitely a guy who could be a detective and the veiled threats start to get pretty intense until you realize that he has a master plan in all of this. I’d definitely say that he’s one of the better characters in the film. He doesn’t get a whole lot of screentime, but he was certainly memorable.

We had some side characters as well, but they didn’t do a whole lot. The plastic surgeon is there to help. He makes a joke about how he could wreck Vincent’s life, but at least he was just joking. Another character by the name of Bob didn’t realize the dangers of romance until it was too late. It’s a common story for many people. Vincent also had a friend who was pretty nervous the whole time, but he still pulled it together when he had too. If only he was a bit of a better fighter.

One of the dicier parts of the film is the first person camera strategy that is used for the first half of the film. I’ve never been a fan of the found footage genre and it only works for certain parts. It’s kind of interesting to see everything through the main character’s eyes, but I think it would work best if only used sometimes. It would definitely be tough to implement, but I’m sure that they can pull it off. The thing with first person is…it works best for interactive rides or (very small) segments of a video game or movie/episode. It can be used for drama and suspense. That is where the first person look works best.

There is naturally some plot hax to be found here since most escape films need them. How did Vincent get out of prison to go in the barrel? Why did the guard do such a terrible job of checking Irene’s car? How come the villains are all geniuses? These are questions that you may ask yourself as you watch the film. They aren’t huge, but you’ll still wonder about these scenes. Especially the first two since the film should have easily have been able to think of a more believable scenario.

No matter how you look at it, the second half of the film is a lot more exciting than the first parts. We get to see the lead get into a gun fight and put all of the pieces together. It feels more like the other two films since Vincent gets to use his experience to try and win the day. The film is still missing something though and it’s hard to place your finger on it. It’s still missing most of the soundtrack, but the writing is solid. The only thing that I can come up with is that the plot isn’t quite as engaging as one would expect. That…or the stakes are just too low. It’s a little hard to figure, but that does end up hurting the film a little bit.

Overall, Dark Passage was a pretty good film. The characters were definitely weaker than their counterparts in the other Bogart/Bacall films, but they were good enough. They would still be much better than your average protagonist of the modern day films. The camera work didn’t click with me though and it means that we didn’t really get to see the main character for a while. The film’s main problem is that it’s just less interesting than the last two. Of course, it is still a pretty good film overall and you should enjoy it if you like a casual escape story/mystery. I would sooner recommend another Bogart and Bacall team up, but I’m sure that any moviegoer will want to see the full set. So prepare yourself!

Overall 6/10