Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Phantom of the Opera Review

It’s time for a retro film that is rather iconic. I guess I should say that the Phantom of the Opera is rather iconic to be precise. It has had many adaptions on just about every medium over the years, but this is the first one that I’ve checked out. (Pretty sure) It’s a decent enough story with some fun characters and okay dialogue, but it doesn’t stand out as one of the all time greats or even as a super solid story. It gets you through the film all right and the pacing is good, but I would have liked the main character to have stopped leading everyone on by the end.

The story starts off with the Phantom being kicked off the opera because his hands are going bad and he can’t play well anymore. While he should have been rich since he served for 20 years, he spent all his money getting lessons for a girl named Christine. She doesn’t even know that he is providing the lessons for her and believes that she is getting them for free. While the Phantom is at least 20 years older than her, he wants her to be with him, but lacks the courage to say so. In the meantime, he will help her as much as possible from the shadows so she will owe him later in life. He realizes that if the opera won’t let her be the lead singer on their own, he’ll have to take the top singers out of the picture and threaten the opera into making the switch.

It’s a classic story of a villain thinking that since he is doing nice things for someone, they have to reciprocate. The whole situation is also his fault as he mistakenly thinks that someone stole his song and murders a guy for it. (Not even the guy that he thought stole his song) As a result his face is half burned off and he is forced into hiding. Fortunately for him, the Phantom is a master of hand to hand combat and has a surprising amount of physical strength. He murders a bunch of people with ease and the film hints that he could have taken on the two male leads as well before losing to a cave in. He’s not a very good/interesting villain, but at least the design worked rather well. Who doesn’t like the simplicity of a cape and mask combo? It’s why Batman got so popular.

I do have some issues with the main heroine though as she was annoying throughout the film. Christine has a lot of admirers as you can tell by now. The main two are Anatole and Raoul. She knows that they are both interested in her, but decides to play the field. She goes out to dinner and accepts flowers/gifts from both of them. She notices that they constantly fight over her, but seems to thrive on the attention. It’s rather inconsiderate of her, but that’s consistent in the film. She is not upset at all to learn that the main singer was poisoned and even celebrates in front of everyone since she will now have a chance to be on the big stage. There’s nothing really heroic about her and she even feels bad for the Phantom at the end. Sure he murdered a bunch of people, but he liked her so he couldn’t have been a bad person. You have to take a double take at her reasoning there since it’s rather outlandish. She was glad he got to hear his music one last time while I think it would have been poetic if he had gotten caved in before hearing it. That’s just me though.

While Christine is leading them on, I can’t feel bad for Raoul and Anatole since they know it. It’s hard to say who the better character is, but I’ll give Anatole the edge. At least he does know music and is a professional. He’s polite and ultimately has the better plan which ends up capturing the Phantom. On the other side, Raoul’s plan ends up failing and he seems to enjoy her musical career a little less. He basically wanted her to retire when he first showed up which instantly signals a bunch of warning bells. Fortunately, one of the higher ups told Christine that music is more important than anything else and it seems like she has decided to follow that advice.

The character roster is small, but that means they all got a lot of screen time. The film’s writing was pretty solid as well. While I didn’t care for the characters as much as in some of the other retro films, the script was still on point. I enjoyed all of the sarcastic/passive aggressive banter from all of the characters. Most of them did not get along in the slightest, but they were very subtle about it. The humor may not have been a great success, but it was also handled very mildly so it didn’t get irritating or go in the way of the story. The main comedy angle was that one character believed that a ghost was causing all of the trouble and would constantly describe him by pulling out his nose and imagining a beard. I forgot why, but he would never want to refer to the ghost by name. Perhaps he thought people would make fun of him, but the ones that he did tell took it pretty seriously for the most part. There was only one guy who disagreed and that’s not bad considering that I thought everyone would make fun of him for it.

Overall, This is a fairly good film. It’s not the greatest out there, but it was enjoyable during the run. As I mentioned, it’s rather short as well so the pacing is on point. It’s cool to see just how large an opera house is. I imagine that it would be difficult to find a criminal since there are 2500 rooms and he can keep hiding in different ones. Hopefully this will teach the Opera staff not to put the Master Key in an unlocked drawer in the main room that anyone can break into. Especially since their ex staff member was the main suspect of a crime and everyone knew about it. These guys just didn’t think ahead. The actual plays in the film didn’t seem all that interesting, but fortunately they never got all that much screen time at all. With a better cast, this film would get another star. As it is, I’d recommend checking it out. There’s not much to the film, but sometimes that makes it easier to watch. The plot is as simple as can be so you can just follow the journey from start to finish without thinking about it much.

Overall 6/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Pinocchio Review

It’s time for another classic Disney movie from the older days. I’d say that it’s easily the darkest one of them all. I can’t say that I knew much about the film aside from the general premise so I can safely say that it was pretty surprising. It’s definitely a film that you’ll want to add to your collection and you won’t be forgetting it anytime soon.

Geppetto was an old man who was growing pretty bored with his set up. He has a cat and a gold fish, but he wanted a kid as well. He wished upon a falling star that he could finally have one and that’s when Pinocchio was born. He was a puppet boy, but he was still alive so I suppose that counts. Geppetto quickly tells Pinocchio that he has to go to school so the kid heads off, but is confronted by some shady fellows. They trick Pinocchio into being in a circus where he is forced to perform. His conscience, a man cricket named Jiminy gets him out of that mess, but then Pinocchio is sold into slavery on Pleasure Island. He gets drunk and smokes quite a lot, but the downside to this is that you turn into a Donkey. Meanwhile Geppetto falls into a whale and gets himself into a sticky situation. Can Pinocchio save him or is it too late?

You may not be surprised at this, but Pinocchio isn’t a very likable main character. He is easily swayed by the masses and ends up getting himself into a lot of trouble. He starts to drink quite a lot and smokes as well. We don’t see him get into drugs at least, but you can tell that the kid fell into hard times. If not for Jiminy, the experience would have been quite fatal. It just goes to show that you can’t go with the “cool” crowd for too long or you’ll end up taking some hits. The unfortunate part about all of this is that Pinocchio never really seems to learn his lesson. He makes the same mistakes multiple times in the film so you have to wonder how sincere he is. Also, I would have stayed as a puppet kid if I was him. It seems like it’d be pretty novel if you ask me.

Jiminy is the better character here for the most part. He’s not perfect as his polite exterior cracks a few times, but he is persistent when it comes to helping Pinocchio. It’s not an easy job either so most crickets would have caved in after a while. Jiminy definitely has most of the best lines in the film and it’s fitting since his voice is also the most charismatic. The film wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable without him in it. He’s easily the best character here. Unfortunately, Geppetto was not a good character. He just comes across as very demanding and not very smart. You’d think that he would escort Pinocchio to school on his first day since he doesn’t even know how to be a person yet right? Nah, Geppetto is far too busy for that. He really should have been a whole lot more careful. I don’t even know how he got stuck in a whale. Maybe his car’s GPS was broken.

Honest John was the first villain to show up and he is pretty cunning. When all else fails…he doesn’t. His plans aren’t half bad even if they revolve around the fact that Pinocchio doesn’t know how to fight back. His name also just makes so much sense for the character. A sly fox may not be the most original idea out there, but as this film is so old, most films ended up copying from this one’s example. There are a few other supporting characters like a cat and a gold fish, but neither of them had much of a role here. They didn’t really add anything to the equation.

Pinocchio made a friend over at the bar and I guess he was semi important. He helped to remind Pinocchio that you can drown your conscience away in beer and he was also a crack shot at pool. He had one of the most intense lines in the film as it quickly became literal due to the circumstances. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of this guy. He was a bad influence to be sure, but at least he knew it. The kid just embraced this fact after a while.

The soundtrack is definitely a lot weaker than the other Disney films. That’s probably because Pinocchio can’t sing as well as any of the famous Disney princesses. He tries his best of course, but the Avengers retake on the “I have no strings on me” song was a lot more impressive. Still, at least the film had a soundtrack, that’s always a good thing since many films just don’t have them or just have a few tunes and call it a day. There’s a lot of music that pops up now and again in this film.

While Pinocchio has a happy ending, the characters never actually stop the main villain. That was a little surprising since the Donkey seller just got away scot free in the end. Maybe a sequel would fix that, but I have a feeling that it’s just a forgotten plot point. You can’t help but feel bad for all of the other kids. Having a human trafficking plot in a kid’s Disney film must have been somewhat controversial back in the day. I mean, they did turn the kids into donkeys first though so maybe it was subtle enough for everyone to miss that little detail back in the day. The fact that the villain gets away is probably my only real negative with the film. I was hoping that he would be brought to justice. Having an arrest is always a good moral booster for the heroes.

Overall, Pinocchio is a solid film. It fits right in with the rest of the Disney films even if it is a lot darker. Forget everything you think you know about the character as you sit down to watch this film. Odds are that your childhood recollections about this movie are completely different from what is actually happening in the movie. It’s sort of like how the Berenstain Bears have altered the spelling a few times since the good ole days even if the Internet seems to not remember this. The intriguing cosmic revelations from this are fun to think about. Do Parrallel dimensions exist and does it even matter if they do? You’ll be thinking about these concepts as you watch the movie. The pacing is pretty good though so you won’t get too many chances to think about this so make the most of your opportunities.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Beauty and the Beast Review

It’s time to take a look at one of the old Disney films. Seeing as how it just got a live action remake with as goat version of the Beast, this was the perfect opportunity to look at the original. It’s a solid film all around with no real weaknesses to drag it down. While it may not be the greatest of the classics, it may have the best pacing and most engaging plot. I’ll have to think on that one a bit before giving a definitive answer, but there really wasn’t much to slow it down.

Belle is stuck in a very old town. She is the only lady who reads and the town is scared of her as a result. How can they hope to stack up against someone who doesn’t go to the local bar and get drunk with the rest of them? The people’s champion, Gaston shows up to set things right, but he is rejected. Unfortunately, Belle’s crazy father runs into the woods and gets kidnapped by the Beast. Belle is forced to take his place as a prisoner while her father gets himself into more trouble and gives Gaston a legal opportunity to try and steal Belle away. Can she enlist the help of the Beast or is all hope lost?

I imagine that everyone already knows the plot to this film, but I just put that up as a formality. As you can probably tell, I don’t like the Dad. He just gets the family into more and more trouble the whole time. He’s pretty scatter brained and even once Belle is taken as a prisoner he is slow to act. It takes him forever to actually do anything about the situation. You’d think that he would have a lot more urgency about the whole thing when you consider the circumstances. The cast is pretty small so he’s one of the only supporting characters with a role. The other would be Gaston along with his follower. The follower spends the whole film getting beat up and knocked around. It’s safe to say that he had to endure a lot of pain in this adventure as the characters just wouldn’t let up for a second.

Gaston’s naturally not a likable character since he spends the whole film flirting. I do like his grandiose nature and excessive bragging, but it would be great if he could be more productive about it. Stealing candy from a baby, dining and dashing, those are the feats that I would have been expecting him to perform. He’s not totally full of hot air though as he actually does put up a good fight against the Beast. He lands a lot of devastating hits in their battle and while the majority of them were cheap shots…we take those. I could definitely take him more seriously than some of the other classic villains like Jafar.

The Beast wasn’t likable though. I couldn’t sympathize with him at all. Especially when he just tried to act friendly so Belle would fall in love with him. It seemed like he earned his fate as a Beast as well so I just never got to be on his side. He didn’t make things easy for Belle and actively sabotaged his chances every opportunity that he got. It’s why the goat design in the new film suits him even if it makes him look even more evil and nonredeemable. It’s just the table that he has set for himself. Now he has to live in it. He had a few minions who would help him out like a candle stick, an alarm clock, and a tea kettle. The best member was easily the Alarm Clock as he kept it real the whole time and did his best not to get in trouble. The Candle Stick seemed to purposely seek out trouble while the Tea Pot had the best manners. They were decent enough and never got to be too annoying.

Finally, we have Belle. It’s safe to say that she is the best character here by a long shot. She doesn’t really have any flaws as she’s a nice person who always does the right thing and helps others out. She volunteers to be a prisoner to save her father and also doesn’t succumb to peer pressure when the “cool” crowd approaches her. She did fall for the cheesy romance parts at the end, but that’s hardly a negative so much as it’s a “shakes head” moment.

The film has quite a few songs of course since the films back in these days were part musical. They go over pretty well and the music is catchy. While the lyrics weren’t memorable enough for me to remember the names, I believe Bell’s opening song was the best one with Gaston’s probably being the worst. Still, it was a good soundtrack and lyrical songs can definitely be good when handled well. That’s something that 2010’s and beyond have struggled with in some cases. Luckily we still have Frozen to save us and the animated films have mostly been immune. It’s just that in the 90’s, even live action films could have good lyrical themes if they tried. I could diverge into how music was a little better back in the day than currently when it comes to mainstream (So not counting anime ost and video game soundtracks) but that’s neither here nor there.

The animation looks good and is consistent as you would expect. The characters stand out and the designs are really colorful. The action scenes are pretty fluid and while the characters may literally punch each other out of proportion at times, it’s done in a cool way. It’s intentional as opposed to a Dragon Ball Super scene where they just forgot to do some drawing. It holds up really well and the animation wouldn’t look out of place next to a more modern film.

If there’s any real negative here, it’s naturally the wolf scene. It was handled fairly well as this kind of thing goes and the Wolves really took it to the beast so that was good. I was rooting for them to really knock him around. His near lethal injuries show that the wolves weren’t playing around. It’s enough to warrant a mention and is the kind of thing that can also solidify the film’s 7 ranking as opposed to trying for an 8. If this is the worst mistake that the film made, then at least you can be sure that it was mostly good.

Overall, Beauty and the Beast is a good film. It’s something that you can recommend to anyone since it’s just a nice story. The romance is very cheesy and unbelievable so that can be a bit of a weakness, but it’s not as if you expected it to be anything else. The film will fly by in an instant and there aren’t any painfully drawn out scenes to make you look at the wrist watch. The new film seems like it’s pretty faithful to the old film so hopefully that’ll be good as well. So long as they don’t add extra character development to drag characters down in its attempt to be super deep or extend the wolf scene and make it more realistic to drag it down a few stars…I’d expect it to be of comparable quality. Hopefully that will be the case and if you’ve never seen this version you should hurry. You want to know what everyone’s going on about when they compare this to the remake since that inevitably happens. I’ll be doing a bunch of comparisons myself when I watch it.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Exorcist Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be even more negative…literally.

It’s time to tackle one of the most well known horror films of all time. I’ve never liked horror films and watching the classics hasn’t worked out so well thus far. I had pretty low expectations heading into this film, but The Exorcist managed to surprise me. It delivered a product that was so below expectations that I was slightly taken aback, but quickly realized how I had to respond. This film is one that you’ll want to avoid at all costs and will remind you that shock value isn’t as good as jump scares.

Chris is a popular actress and everything is going right for her at the moment. Life can’t get much better than it already is at the moment. Unfortunately, that changes when her daughter Regan is possessed by a vengeful spirit. It claims to be Lucifer himself and she has been unable to break free. Chris goes to many experts, but they are all unsuccessful in their attempts. Finally, she is forced to call in a pastor/psychologist to try and perform an exorcism, but he has yet to break his drinking/smoking habits. The Church realizes that this guy is out of his league so they bring in another priest who is experienced, but already very exhausted from another exorcism that he performed. Can the two save the day or will the body count continue to rise?

Some films like this one are a little overwhelming as it’s hard to know where to start. I suppose there are so many negatives that I should start with the positives first. The soundtrack isn’t bad. The iconic theme is definitely fun even if it only shows up for a few seconds. It actually felt like a remix since I’m used to a more battle ready version of the song. Still, it’s definitely withstood the test of time. The visuals are pretty advanced for their time as well although they typically go for grotesque imagery as opposed to cool sci-fi elements. Poltergeist III has definitely got it beat in this area. The film puts out a lot of effort….yeah now lets go to the negatives.

The film paints a pretty bleak picture on our struggle against demons. First of all, I’d like to give it props for giving the Church some credibility and having them go up against the demon. However…it acts as if the demons are far more powerful than any of our counters. Our Exorcism (This film’s old, but just in case I’ll give out a warning. Spoilers ahead, spoilers ahead. Proceed at your own peril!) fails miserably as the demon just overpowers the two pastors. The two pastors/priests give it their all as they use a lot of verses from the Bible, Holy Water, A Cross, and more. None of it is effective as the demon breaks one of the guys anyway and then possesses the other as it knocks him off. The spirit is then free to go and possess someone else.

There is no happy ending here at all. The demon won and murdered quite a few people in the process. It also vandalized the Church in the process with no repercussions. It’s a pretty sad message from the film in the end. Evil’s not supposed to conquer all. Now, demons are certainly real and they are powerful. That’s certainly true, but they still cannot ultimately resist when called out in the name of Jesus and God. The counter argument could be that the priests simply weren’t skilled or didn’t have enough faith, but at least one of them was supposed to be the best of the best. It’s hard to say whether or not Regan was a Christian or not in the film. She was still pretty young, but maybe she had put the Cross under her pillow since nobody could figure out how it got there. I don’t believe a Christian can be possessed. One could get tempted or put through trials and tribulations like Job, but I believe that we are given an immunity. Playing with the Ouja board wasn’t a smart idea, but it’s not as if playing with a thing like that can suddenly make you free domain. Especially since Regan clearly didn’t really know the ramifications of that thing.

She definitely got the short end of the stick here as the rest of the film’s pretty painful for her. It’s a really violent horror film and while you could clearly tell where the film cut away in the TV version, there was enough where you can tell that this was an intense experience. Regan got a lot of injuries and had to go through many operations during this period. Quite a few people were murdered as well. The film also goes for gross moments like having characters vomit and have to use the bathroom in public. Those moments certainly didn’t help the film at all either. In case you couldn’t tell, this film’s getting a pretty easy 0.

The only reasonable characters here are the Expert Priest and Chris. Chris can be annoying though like when she went to the various doctors and put Regan through a bunch of experiments. She should have known that it’d do no good since it clearly wasn’t a mental issue. The Expert Priest was good, it’s a shame that he couldn’t win. The main priest, Damien was pretty weak willed. He fell for the mind games rather easily and his subplot didn’t add anything to the film. It added more dark themes and grit of course, but the film was so full of that already that you wouldn’t miss it if it was gone. There was a police chief who liked to subtly imply that various people were murderers and did his best to solve the case. It was naturally futile though since it wasn’t a human opponent who he was up against. I suppose he did his best, but bribery definitely isn’t a very legitimate tactic. There weren’t a whole lot of other characters in the film as it was a pretty small cast. We have the demon of course, but it’s only character is that it is a demon. It’s pretty clever as it makes the ordeal or proving that it’s a demon very tricky for the heroes.

Overall, This isn’t exactly a “Feel good” film. You’re not going to be laughing and taking shots of Pepsi and Doritos during this film as you discuss the current state of the movie industry and Twinkie flavors. It’s very somber from start to finish and you’ll be ready for it to end after 15-20 minutes. Unfortunately, it’s a very long film so that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If the whole film had just been about Chris and her acting career, I have a feeling that it would certainly be a lot more enjoyable. Even just removing all of the cuts and slashes on Regan would help the film at least be watchable. You’re averting your gaze for most of the film otherwise since it’s pretty distasteful to have a kid be so violently injured for such a long time after all. Better to just look at the ceiling in the film and wonder when it was last painted. If you want a quality horror film, check out Poltergeist III as it’s one of the only good horror films out there. I can see why this one earned its reputation as it is pretty gritty, but that’s all the more reason why you should stay away from it. It’s just not worth it!

Overall 0/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

White Heat Review

I’m afraid we’re in for another stinker folks! White Heat decided that maybe they could pass off a corrupt mobster as the charismatic main character and get away with it. They were wrong, not only can Cody not hold his own film, but this one ends up dragging quite a lot. It’s nearly 2 hours and that’s pretty crazy considering that this one came out in the 40’s. Whatever they were thinking with this film, it was not in the same train of thought that I had. Sorry folks, but there aren’t a whole lot of positives to say about this title.

The cops have been after a guy named Cody for a very long time. This mobster is ruthless and his crimes against humanity must be stopped. The detectives decide to send an inside man into the jail to figure out why Cody has turned himself in and to stop his plans. Hank (The agent) doesn’t agree, but he is forced into the job and proceeds to follow the gang around. Will he have the heart to betray Cody or will he become corrupted. After all, hanging out with the wrong crowd can always be dangerous.

One of the main problems with this is that Hank takes way too long to make a move. He really takes his directions to the letter here and follows Cody around from base to base. Quite a few people die as the gang goes through and Hank finally makes a move at the very end, but it took a while. He was still overpowered as well since he let his guard down. Not the greatest secret agent is he? Hank’s not even likable as he has to pretend to be a villain the whole time. He almost got away with it too, but it turns out that he had locked up one too many villains in his day so someone was bound to recognize him.

Cody is a terrible protagonist. He’s the average villain that you would expect from back in the day, only he’s the main character so you have to see him a lot longer than you’d want too. He’s not very smart and doesn’t realize that someone tried to bump him off until someone spills the beans later on. He is able to fight off about a half dozen cops with a bait/punch combo that was pretty unrealistic. Still, it’s a feat for him I suppose, but physical strength doesn’t make up for the fact that he is not a very imposing villain. He’s prone to headaches and his minions could really betray him at any times. He gets the last laugh against some of them, but that just shows how weak the other villains are. He puts up a fight in the climax, but it doesn’t save Cody. If you got rid of the fact that he had a fake romance with one of the mobster girls then he would have risen up from horrendously bad to just very bad. I know he’s not that smart, but it was obvious that she was playing him and he seemed to know it at times.

Cody’s Mom is easily the MVP from all of the villains. She talked tough and backed it up throughout the film. She may have bitten off more than she could chew by trying to take down a gang, but at least she was always prepared to fight until the end. She helped the villains get through a lot of tight spots with the police and she would have been a much more engaging lead than Cody. Even Cody’s rival probably would have been a cooler lead, but he was still a bad character so it wouldn’t be much of an improvement.

As you can see, most of the cops were not all that helpful or even good at their jobs so I wouldn’t really say that any of them were particularly likable. Just watch how easily the villains get out of the jail and you’ll be face palming. The security defenses were quite bad to say the least. The government would not have been proud if they had witnessed the whole debacle. At the very least, the cops talk tough like when they interrogated the villains, but even then they were verbally destroyed by Cody’s Mom.

Again, the film is two hours. Why is it two hours when this plot seems rather basic? Well, we have quite a lot of moments that are around to buy time. For example, the storm that hits the villain’s base. They stand around there for a while as the film gives us a lot of exposition and Cody starts to freak out. The scene goes on for quite a while to pad out the run time. White Heat could have easily shaved off a good half n hour and nothing would really change, except that the film could have maybe been a little better. A different main character would be crucial to making a real difference here though.

As per usual, you can tell that this film is really bad because it is not enjoyable. There are no fun scenes here or moments that will get you excited as you wait to see what will transpire next. White Heat never gets you engaged in the story and as a result, you’ll just be sitting there wondering when your next meal is going to occur or when the film will end. The best case scenario is that you start telling yourself how the film could have been better as the scenes go by. “Why wasn’t there any good music themes here” “Why are the characters not doing this?” etc.

Overall, White Heat is a film best left on the forgotten shelf. It doesn’t know what it means to be a good film and it just kept on getting worse and worse. Making a film based around a villain is always going to be very tricky since it’s difficult to make a villain likable. Extremely difficult and even more so nowadays than it would have been in the classic era. The best chance is to make the villain rather mild and petty, going for Now You See Me type of crimes instead of giving someone like the Joker his own film. It’s a lot of trouble to make it good though so it’s a lot easier to just churn out Spider-Man 10 or Godzilla 79. If you want to see a good film where the main character isn’t a hero, check out Madoka Magica Rebellion. Prepare yourself for an epic ending!

Overall 1/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Only Angels Have Wings Review

Poster - Only Angels Have Wings_05
After that last review, I figured I should take a look at an old film that I actually enjoyed. This one’s not great by any means and had its share of flaws, but I would still call it a good film in the end. The airplane scenes were cool and it makes you remember how far we’ve come with the technology. A good plane nowadays is certainly a lot better than the ones they used to make back in the day.

The film starts off with a pilot dying due to his overconfidence as he wanted to treat a new tourist, Bonnie, to a dinner. The other characters have a party about this, which upsets the heroines. They explain that to cope with loss they treat it as a celebration instead of mourning. It’s a very..intriguing approach. One that is used quite a lot in real life, but not to that extent. It’s a little overdone if you ask me and it made the main romance here very hard to buy. After all, with the other guy out of the way, Geoff decides to make his move. Meanwhile, a new pilot has arrived to replace him. Bat has a bad reputation though as he bailed out on another pilot back in the day and that pilot was related to Kid, one of the pilots on the current team. As a result, everyone shuns him and he is left with all of the dangerous tasks. His wife, who is an old “friend” of Geoff is upset by this. Will this team ever come together?

Geoff’s not a bad lead, but his romance is a little tricky considering the circumstances. Plus, he has a policy of never asking anyone to do anything. This means that his pride won’t allow him to ask Bonnie to stay so she has to do that on her own. I’m glad that he doesn’t let go of it since pride is important in a character, but it’s also why he should have lost out and had a tragic ending here. He is a good pilot and opts to do the dangerous job himself at the end. He lives up to his words and while Geoff has his flaws, he ultimately works well as the lead.

Bat’s a likable guy and probably the best character in the film. He made a mistake a while back, but does everything that he can to fix things. When a tough situation arises once again, he makes sure to stay in the saddle and doesn’t abandon anyone this time. He also took on all of the extremely difficult jobs so he definitely deserved everyone’s respect by the end. Bat did well considering that nobody liked him and it was a very good ending for him. It would have been sad if he had just died heroically and then everyone appreciated him. That just wouldn’t have been the same. Of course, you can understand why Kid has a problem with him. It’s not hard to let a past mistake go especially if it’s fatal. He does overreact a little with the anger misdirection though. His problem is with Bat so he should really keep it between them unless he’s seriously provoked, but that never really happens.

Bonnie’s the main heroine and she’s not bad. Playing along with the two annoying flirts may have been a bit much and she took the death of a guy that she knew for about an hour a little too hard at first. She got over it though, but got way too interested in romance from the get go. She really lost sight of why she was here in the first place. Also, shooting someone to stop them was incredibly drastic and her plan would never have worked. Holding someone at gunpoint isn’t how you start a proper relationship. So, she was a little extreme for me and Bonnie wasn’t quite as likable as she could have been. She’s mostly reasonable, but the gunshot at the end was….pretty dicey.

The film doesn’t drag on either and goes by quickly. If there’s anything holding it back from a higher score, it’s probably that the film didn’t have enough plane scenes. The dialogue between characters is good, but at the same time we don’t have the witty banter needed to grant it an extra star. The opening scene with the pilot dying may have also been a little long as he keeps talking on the radio with a really dead voice. It was likely not intentional and just a sign of age, but his voice when talking through the speaker was rather odd. It’s like the speaker just added some kind of photoshop effect to it.

I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of the cafe during the daytime though. The steak looked really good and seeing the gang enjoy some party games wouldn’t have been bad. Of course, the gang could get a little rowdy. Kid beating up two of the crew members and even breaking someone’s arm was definitely not good for the team’s morale. It did help set Bat up for his big moment though. The rest of the team will probably have to watch their back when around Kid, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem in the long run.

Overall, Only Angels Have Wings is a good film. It’s nice to see a retro film live up to its potential after so long. The cast is relatively small and we only have a few backgrounds so the film did a lot with what feels like a small budget. Films can always surpass the limitations of a budget so long as the writing is good and the characters are engaging. For the most part, that’s the case here and it’s enjoyable. Not a whole lot happens at times and the film can feel its age during other moments, but it’s a worthwhile movie that I recommend. If you want something a little more exciting, then watch Bleach Movie 4: Hell Verse. That one doesn’t have any planes though so it may not be worth it if that’s what you’re looking forward too.

Overall 6/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Extraordinary Tales Review

It’s time to take a look at an anthology based on stories from the famous Poe. Unfortunately, I was never a big fan of this format as it really limits what you can tell in a story. There’s also the issue of the animation in this film being quite dreadful. It would have looked underwhelming 20 years ago so there’s no excuse for it. I’ll break this film down story by story.

The film started off with my favorite tale which is always an interesting tactic. Typically you want to end on a high note instead, but you can draw in the viewer this way I suppose. There were two pals who hung out together for a while, but eventually they drifted apart. Years later, they had a get together, but the friend bad changed. He could not be near sunlight anymore because of his being in the dark for so long. Making matters worse is the fact that the house seems haunted and a dead person frequents the halls. A single contact with this dead being would mean instant death.

It is a decently fun story. As I mentioned already, I thought that it was the best one on the whole batch. The sudden tackle at the end was pure hype and it was almost like a fight scene. It was a horror ending done right if I do say so myself. The main character got his happy ending but lives with the knowledge of these events so its not a total win win, but not a full loss for him either.

Another story decided to go with PS2 graphics as the CGI went full blast. A guy is thrown into an elaborate series of death traps and he has to try and survive. Are these trials real or is he just having delusions at the moment? I’m inclined to say that most of it is real at any rate. The animation was a step up from some of the other segments, but it is still very past its time. I’ve seen better animation on Cartoon Network. The segment wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t say that it was all that good either. It starts to drag on a bit after a while and I think some dialogue would have been very welcome here. Of course, the film is mostly a silent one anyway but dialogue, if written well, can really help at times.

Another segment saw a crazed man decide to destroy his teacher. The guy’s heartbeat annoyed him, which is why he decided to make the kill. It was a unique excuse I suppose, but it didn’t do the guy any favors. I was glad that the cops were pretty sharp this time though. They weren’t messing around ultimately outwitted the guy. It was too bad for the helpless old man though and at least he had a cool Eagle Eye. Actually, I think that was the excuse used by the murderer now that I think about it. Next time he’ll know better than to mess with the proper authorities.

Let’s head on to the next story. One guy decided to make a deal with a shady doctor about his life. When the guy was about to die, he would allow the other man to hypnotize him so see if it was possible to cheat death. Essentially, the dying man was hypnotized into waking up even after he was dead and it worked to a slight extent as it did prolong his life, but not for very long and the guy essentially blew up anyway. This segment was mostly just a little grotesque with the imagery and I’m sure that we all saw the ending coming. Man can never overcome death with whatever sciences are developed. You may as well try bringing a bucket to stop a flood. Next to the last segment, this was probably my least favorite one.

The final story was easily the worst one and the segment where the movie jumps the shark. It was about the seven deadly sins and how they overpowered the few human survivors. They were ready to die due to a powerful plague so they figured that they may as well lose their morals on the way to their death. Unfortunately, as this is an indie film, it has no qualms exploiting its poor animation as an excuse to show some nudity. If the animation was actually good, I doubt it would have been able to get away with such a tactic. Either way, as with Soul Eater and Skip Beat, it doomed the score and sent it into the cruncher. Without that, I’m sure that the film could have maybe managed a 3 or so, but this was the final nail on the coffin so to speak. There’s no meed to go all the way in the segment just to prove a point. I made a similar comment on the train scene in Madoka Magica a while back. Ah well, game over I suppose.

Aside from the stories, we also had a talk with a Raven and a statue who was the living embodiment of death. They talked about death a lot and the statue kept reminding the Raven that he was already dead so she had won the battle. He couldn’t really deny this and tried to distract her with red herrings and just dodging the point in general, but he ultimately could not stop her. This part was pretty interesting and while it would probably drag out for some if it lasted the whole 70 minutes, I think that would have been the more interesting film. Philosophical discussions on death are always pretty interesting to me. It could really be discussions on just about anything and it’ll typically be interesting since I get to write out my response to it or if it’s a super easy discussion, then I just say a yay or a nay.

Overall, it’s easy to see why this film is not all that popular. It’s very new and yet there doesn’t even seem to be a Wikipedia page on it. At the very least, the page doesn’t pop up right away on Google Search. One of the main problems is certainly the terrible animation. If the film had proper animation, it may have decided not to take as many risks and could have focused on telling some good stories. As it was, I wouldn’t consider any of the stories to be all that good aside from the first one. They could also tone down the violence somewhat and would need too if it had good animation since one segment had people being chopped, thrown away, and of course one guy was all but exploding in another scene. If you’re looking for your horror fix, then I suggest that you look elsewhere. Check out Scooby Doo Zombie Island instead.

Overall 0/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Sunset Boulevard Review

It’s time to review a very retro film. It’s one of those films that may have a lot of good reviews, but when you really take a look at it…it doesn’t hold up very well. The characters are all very unlikable and the romance is one of the worst that you’ll have seen in years. It almost makes Twilight’s look good, but that’s just about impossible anyway. The sun did set on this film, but I don’t think that was the film’s intention!

Joe’s a film writer who’s been through some tough times. None of his scripts are any good anymore and he gets serious writer’s block at times. He’s also on the run from the proper (car) authorities since he couldn’t pay the bill on his car. Things are really heating up and he even considers moving across the state, but that’s when he runs into the retired actress, Norma Desmond. She has a lot of money and is willing to help him become rich if he can help her finish her script so that it becomes a real movie. Joe can never pass up quick check, but is this really the right move?

No, I can say that it isn’t the right move, but Joe’s not a good character so I wasn’t expecting him to make the right one anyway. It wouldn’t have been in character now would it? The romance is poorly done here on all levels, but first let’s start with the subplot that comes out of nowhere. The person (Betty) who read Joe’s scripts decides that he has a lot of talent and wants him to help her write a script. He declines, but eventually decides to do it. The problem with this plot is that Betty is engaged, but she immediately falls for Joe anyway, nearly getting together with him in the bathroom of a party after only seeing the guy for about 2 minutes. Keep in mind that she’s already engaged. Once her fiance heads over to another state for some kind of project, she quickly tries to make her move and Joe is naturally happy about this. The problem is that he’s playing the field with two people at once.

So, Joe decides to break it off with both. Before we say how, let’s go to the main plot. Norma Desmond is a lot older than Joe of course, but that doesn’t stop her from flirting with him and since Joe knows that she’s the source of his weekly pay check, he obliges her. He continues to let this relationship happen and even allows her to believe the deception that she may make a comeback as an actress. That’s why we invented the concept of tough love as these passive lies will definitely hurt a person in the long run. Naturally, this isn’t a very healthy relationship and Norma has divorced 3 husbands in the past so that should have been a good hint to Joe.

Anyway, his decision to break off his relationships to both Norma and Betty involves calling Betty over to see his mansion and then dumping her…after having her come over all the way from her house in the dead of night. Couldn’t have broken it off over the phone right? He also did it in a passive aggressive way so as to not formally break it off, but just antagonize her until she got the message. Then, after giving Norma hope that she was the only one for him, he quickly told her that he was leaving as well and after making sure that she had a gun at the ready, he walked away. Naturally he got shot in the back and quickly sprinted over to the pool so that he could have a flashy death, but it was a predictable end to the film.

After all, the movie made the interesting choice of showing him dead in the very first scene as he tells us a flashback. It’s not explicitly stated that it was him of course, but it’s rather obvious since there were no other characters who looked like him in the film. It was a very small cast after all so there was never a doubt as to how the film would end. The only question would be “Why was he shot?” Well, now we know the answer. The guy wasn’t exactly an upstanding citizen and you can only antagonize people for so long before one of them turns out to be a killer. At least the finance guys finally got their car back from him.

The cops show up at the end to wrap everyone up, but they’re not as tough as the cops from nowadays. They allow Norma to slowly walk down the steps and act as if she is still in a movie instead of quickly throwing her in the cop car and getting on with it. The reporters are always glad to have an extended scene like this of course, but they certainly have her a lot of leeway. Considering that she just killed a man, you’d expect a little more intensity from the cops right?

There’s not much to really like about the film. As I’ve already shown, Joe’s a terrible main character. He has no heroic qualities about him. The only part of his personality that is decent is the fact that he gets a lot of burns and insults the entire time as he pokes fun at everyone, but it’s always just talk. He talks about how he should leave Norma and yet he doesn’t make a move until the very end. He’s not actually brave enough or confident enough to make a move and the only times that he does try something are when they’re actions that he shouldn’t take. One such action is naturally trying to steal the girl of his best friend. That’s not a whole lot of loyalty on his part.

If he would focus more on his writing and less on all of the fluff that’s around him, he could have been a real character. As it stands, he’s not someone that you’ll want to be around and I can see why his scripts were no good. He doesn’t take them seriously enough. It’s a shame since the beginning of the film did show some promise and the overall picture could have been quite good. If the story was played seriously and Norma did not fall for Joe we could be talking about a completely different movie. Who knows, maybe this could have actually been a solid 7 instead of the finished product that we got in the end instead. Alas, there are no what ifs when it comes to film right?

Overall, There’s no shining sliver of hope to grab here as the film’s just one big mess that gets more and more entangled in its own plots. Now we’ll also know that the best friend was just the rebound guy even though he’ll never suspect it as his engaged partner will likely never mention these facts. It’s one of the tricky turns of romance and a lot of films actually don’t mind making the guy just the “rebound guy” anymore. Even the next film that I’m about the review used the same technique and it does make you wonder for the eventual husbands who have to put up with this role. You just have to wonder what they would think if they knew. They probably should have realized that if anyone is easy enough to fall for you at first sight, that they may have already done the same for others. Just think on that as you pass by this film at your local DVD store and instead stop at Yugioh 3D Bonds Beyond Time. No drama there, just hard hitting action!

Overall 1/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Review

It’s been a while since I saw the Charlie Brown Christmas special. As Thanksgiving is now upon us, it was the perfect time to see this one. I haven’t seen the new Charlie Brown film yet, but all in good time. There are certainly a lot of specials to catch up on as it is. This one’s naturally not as good as the legendary Christmas special, but it holds its own. At less than 30 minutes, the special is also over in the blink of an eye.

Charlie Brown is not looking forward to Thanksgiving as he can’t appreciate how great the holiday is. Many Americans have grown jaded about this day, but not me. I still have fun filling my stomach with food and snacks while watching some good Dallas Cowboy Football. He is going up to his grand parents for dinner, but then some friends decide to spend the day at his house for a meal. Charlie doesn’t have the courage needed to tell his “friends” that he won’t have time for their games so he’ll have to think of something and quick!

As per usual, Charlie Brown’s not a very likable character. It’s hard to root for the guy since he lets everyone kick him around the whole time. It’s hard to find a main character who’s weaker willed than Charlie when you think about it. These are supposed to be his friends after all so imagine how tough it will be for him to stand up to a bully. I doubt it would go all that well for him.

Snoopy is the best character as expected. He always knows what to do in a pinch and he has more talents than the rest of the characters combined. The shenanigans between him and the bird typically aren’t that funny though and Snoopy’s best scenes are when it’s just him. He’s always prepared and he even grabs a nice turkey to have for his supper since his ungrateful owners didn’t like the feast that he had made. Then they didn’t deserve the snacks and meat that he had gone out of his way to get right? It all makes sense when you think about it and you can’t deny that Snoopy steals the show here.

Linus is the voice of reason and the best human character in the film as expected. He always give Charlie wise advice and says the prayer for the feast when Charlie froze. This guy also plays the friendzone card when necessary and trust me, you always want to have that card on deck. The other characters are typically just around to bully good ole Charlie. They complained about his dinner and tricked him into taking a pretty mean spill. They could learn a thing or two about how friendship is like magic. When it’s real, then things end up going quite well.

The animation is solid as expected. It’s a very old TV special so it’s not like the colorful visuals are going to blow you away, but it’s nice to look at and the animation is very clear. I’m definitely satisfied with it. There’s no real soundtrack, but that’s to be expected since this film isn’t really about that. It’s just about watching Charlie Brown try to solve a problem and then have a nice Thanksgiving while Snoopy gets to really enjoy the holiday. The writing and voice acting are what typically makes the specials memorable.

One issue that keeps this special from being as good as the Christmas one is that there are too many fake romance plots scattered throughout the special. We don’t need those to be here as the film just needs heart and a fun plot. I would have liked to have seen the Red Baron here at some point since he always gives Snoopy a nice fight. You also end up feeling bad for the bird since he can’t fly yet or move very quickly so he usually gets one upped the whole time. The two animals are technically friends…but it’s a little iffy when you think about the kids who are supposed to be friends. These negatives aren’t that bad though and just barely help to keep the star off. Besides that, it just wasn’t quite good enough to give a solid 7.

Overall, This is a good little special to watch on Thanksgiving. Charlie Brown may not be the world’s best main character just yet, but he gives it his all. As mentioned earlier, this is about as long as your average cartoon episode so it flies by very quickly. Counting the credits and everything, it may be even shorter because this definitely felt like it was under 25-30 minutes. Now, you can get set for Black Friday and Slow Saturday as the holiday weekend continues. Next up, Christmas!!

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Hold That Ghost Review

It’s always good to see a comedy tackle the classic horror tropes since the characters can really go about destroying them in a systematic fashion. As this is the month of October, expect a lot of scary or “scary” films coming up. Hold That Ghost is a classic film that has certainly aged well even if it reuses some gags quite a few times to really get the message across. You would never guess that this came out all the way back in the 1940’s!

Chuck and Ferdie find out that they have inheireted a hotel/mansion from a gang member who they nearly followed to the grave. The criminal didn’t trust anyone so he gave them his inheiratence since they were nearby. That’s simply how his will worked. A shady character takes the heroes to the place, but then the car drives off, leaving the heroes stranded. For reasons unknown, the driver brought along a few suspicious characters including two ladies and a scientist. It turns out that the place may not be as normal as it may appear though. A mysterious ghost starts to go after Ferdie. Of course, as Ferdie is the comic relief character, nobody takes him seriously.

Now, in order for you to like this film, you’ll need to be fine with slapstick comedy as there is quite a lot of that going around here. This is a Costello film after all so it can be incredibly exaggerated at times with his actions and lack of intelligence. In a sense, you can say that the Costello films are sort of like the Adam Sandler films and how they could have been back in the 40’s since most of the terrible dialogue and writing from the modern era wouldn’t have arrived yet. I’m actually okay with this kind of comedy as I’ve actually grown used to it through Knuckles in Sonic Boom and have come to appreciate the subtle burns that these characters get. They may get pushed around a lot, but they fire back when necessary as well.

Ferdie tends to take every line directed at him literally, which means that any figure of speech results in an intriguing conversation. Ferdie just never learned most of the things which we would consider to be common sense so he pants like a dog instead when the ghost starts to scare him. It’s not entirely his fault as the main heroine doesn’t see the ghost even though objects are moving right in front of her. You start to feel a little bad for Ferdie since nothing ends up working out well for him. He loses some of your sympathy when he tries to steal the money at the end of the film though. He also lets his “friend” bully him around the place which is certainly not a great move.

As for his friend Chuck, the guy’s not quite as charasmatic although he’s a decently good character. He can go a little far with how he treats Ferdie, but the two seem to still be friends somehow. Chuck does try to help Ferdie find a new room after he is haunted several times, but he just doesn’t believe Ferdie most of the time. The evidence of any haunting is typically gone by the time Chuck arrives. Chuck is the reasonable character after all so he doesn’t believe in ghosts and is always kept out of the loop.

Most of the film is really just about these shenanigans as the ghost messes with everyone and Ferdie is the only one who seems to know about it. Finally, we get a big fight scene at the end as the true identity of the ghost shows up along with some gang members. The Ghost’s reveal was actually a little iffy and I’m still not entirely sure who exactly was the ghost. Whichever member it was certainly wasn’t that brave as Ferdie and the gang were enough to scare him. Still, the battle royale between the heroes and the gang was certainly a whole lot of fun. Each side had to brace themselves and jump into the action! Ferdie got a lot of good hits as you would expect, but the other members didn’t do so bad either.

I hadn’t been expecting the fight so that was a nice touch. The ending was also nice as the main two characters finally got to own their own tavern. The journey was tough, but arriving at the destination was likely very satisfying for the heroes. It was a peaceful ending and I wouldn’t have minded a bit of a twist, but it fit the tone of the movie. The film never dragged and it was an enjoyable title. Nothing out of the ordinary happened and essentially played without any surprises, but this is the kind of film that you can watch and leave feeling chipper.

This is a great example of a film that likely wouldn’t be as good if it was made in the modern days. For one thing, this is a comedy where the dialogue stays classy. A modern version would likely add a lot of swear words and suggestive lines. Some aspects of the film also just age better here like the shoot and run gangsters from the beginning. It’s just retro to see them here whereas in a modern film, it’s a little hard to picture it working smoothly. The camp factor is also just hard to picture in a really modern film although it’s certainly possible.

Hold That Ghost is really like a live action Scooby Doo film. It’s simple and to the point as the heroes try to retake their tavern and maybe earn some money along the way. It the film had kept running for too long, like an extra 30-40 minutes or so, then it likely would have dragged. As it stands, this was my first Abbott and Costello film in quite a while so I’m not tired of their routine yet. I actually hadn’t expected this film to really be a true comedy so it was a pleasant surprise. That’s the loophole for horror movies, just add a comedy angle to the mix and it should help the score dramatically!

Overall, Hold That Ghost was a fun film. Admittedly, the supporting characters could have been better. The radio actress’ scream when not in danger and lack of one during the real spooks was a decent gimmick I suppose. Her rivalry with Ferdie at times was intense I suppose as they fought in a classic splashing contest..unless I’m thinking of the Waitress. They were pretty similar in apearance although different in personality. The Doctor also wasn’t that good. I didn’t mind him at the beginning as he started to brag and did look like Clark Kent, but then his romance plot started and that was game over for him. He lost his charm and his ruthless wit. If you like comedies with a lot of slapstick and quick banter, then this is the film to check out. The Ghost can’t be taken seriously, but he’s not supposed to be. You can sit back and enjoy the show!

Overall 7/10