Deathtrap Review

It’s time for a film about a lot of murder planning. It definitely went quite a bit different than I was expecting though and particularly the poster gives you a very different vibe. More of a comedic touch with a lot of crazy shenanigans going on. I think that would have worked rather well but this one jumps the shark around midway and from there things just don’t end well. The main premise here had potential but ultimately it wasn’t to be this time.

The movie starts with Sidney’s new play starting but sadly it ends up bombing. He seems to have lost all of his talent at this point although his wife Myra believes he can still make a comeback. It’s just getting tougher and tougher the older he gets. One day his former pupil Clifford sends over a manuscript that is actually quite excellent. Sidney realizes that this could even be his ticket to stardom if he can just bump the guy off. Can he really do such a thing though? Myra thinks this is a bad idea and tells him not to do it but Sidney is determined. Clifford may be in trouble now!

So the story from this point is actually rather solid. Clifford shows up and there’s a bit of a whole cat and mouse thing going on. Sidney and Myra are acting strangely but Clifford doesn’t really know what’s going on. By the time he is starting to put the pieces together it’s a bit late for him to get away. After all Sidney drove him here and the house is in the middle of nowhere. So the whole thing is rather tense and you could absolutely build a whole film around this premise if you have the nerve for it. The dialogue would carry the film as both keep up the pretense that this is still friendly while Clifford makes the case for why he should live and Sidney makes the case of why he should die.

You would have a whole lot of epic conversations that way. Meanwhile Myra adds to it by trying to come up with positives for Clifford staying alive. She can be a bit overly dramatic in the film like with all the yelling but ultimately I thought she was a good character. I preferred her to the other two at least and while she could be very wishy washy about what she wanted to do, she had some kind of a moral compass at least. Unfortunately things don’t go great for her here. It’s a shame because you feel like the plan to get her had a very low probability of success but at the same time you knew it was going to work.

The cast here is very small as the only other character here is the fortune teller known as Helga. Her powers actually appear to be somewhat legit in this film as she has good instincts and knows things that she just shouldn’t know. She makes for an interesting character. She comes a bit out of nowhere mind you but I suppose she worked well enough. She’s mainly here to help increase the tension and to lead up to the ending.

Now unfortunately what crushes the film is the second half plot twist. It’s a big twist so in a way you should skip this paragraph if you haven’t seen the film but on the other hand it can be a big determiner on if you even watch the film or not so it’s hard to say. But here goes. Basically Clifford and Sidney hatched this plan together in order to bump off Myra and take her money. This is because it turns out that Clifford and Sidney are actually together and he never loved his wife. The whole thing screams shock value for sure and turns the plot on its head. It’s a shame they had to include this element into the movie and it basically takes up both of their dialogues from this moment on.

Their relationship becomes a focal point of the film so you’re just waiting for one of them to be bumped off. The issue is that neither will for a while because you now keep up the cat and mouse game but with both of them playing nice while waiting to make a move. So their scenes get hard to watch for a while there. It’s too bad because this does have a lot of potential but they should have gone with the original premise from the first half. Clifford trying to stay alive while Myra is on the fence and Sidney is the attacker was already a great dynamic that just got ruined there.

The movie knows how to build suspense so I’ll give it that. If it stayed away from shock value then it would have ultimately been better. For the first half the writing is on point as well and the effects throughout the movie are good. While I don’t really buy the whole Myra situation pretty much at all, the film did lay the groundwork for it so I’ll give the movie some credit there. Even if I didn’t buy it, it’s not like it was a plot hole or anything. Just treat it as a gamble that happened to pay off and that works well enough.

Overall, Ultimately I can’t really recommend this one. If you want a classic murder mystery then check out Clue or one of the old Hitchcock films. You can definitely pull off good plot twists in a film to shake things up btu this just wasn’t one of them. It ends up overshadowing the rest of the film even though the movie had done some things well. Having weapons around due to the main character being a script writer actually made sense and was a good plot reason to have them around. The tactics were also good but ultimately that was just the end of the line. The ending of the movie is very satisfying at least so it ends on a decent note there.

Overall 3/10

The Cable Guy Review

This title should be self explanatory for now but in about 50 years you might have to explain to someone what the cable is with how it’s been dying out. This is a film that definitely enjoys going really bonkers from start to finish and in some ways that’s a good thing but at times you also just wish the main character wouldn’t be such a pushover. Half of this movie just doesn’t happen if he stands up for himself but he really seems to be whining just about the whole time. He makes a whole lot of questionable decisions here.

The movie starts off with Steven moving into a new place after his girlfriend rejected his marriage offer and kicked him out. They’re now giving each other some space which means she’s going on a date with some random guy while Steven is sad at home. His friend suggests that he should at least get the cable set-up and if he bribes the cable guy he can get extra channels. He tries this and unfortunately it works too well. The cable guy is someone named Chip who is all too happy to help out but he now considers their friendship to be an eternal thing which cannot break. They must hang out every day for a while or else. At first this seems odd but harmless but before long Chip starts to escalate things and Steven has to do something or his life will be ruined.

So right off the bat Steven looks pretty bad here because it seems like Robin is openly manipulating him. If you need space away that’s one thing but dating someone else means that the relationship has completely fallen apart at that point. If you’re still together then it’s cheating and if you’re not still together then this sounds like you’re not serious about getting back together. The idea of wanting some space for a bit isn’t a bad one but it definitely becomes that way if you’re playing the field in the meantime.

Steven is just as guilty though because at one of Chip’s parties he meets someone who seems to like him so he gets together with her for a one night stand really quickly. Of course afterwards Chip drops the bombshell that he hired her and of course he took pictures so Steven is really behind the 8 ball now. Here’s the thing, that entire plan hinged around Steven not having any self control and immediately wanting to get together with any girl who looked his way. It was definitely a really bad look for him all around and so the main romance here really falls flat. You’re not rooting for Steven and Robin to get together at any point so even when things start working out for them you’re rolling your eyes a bit. You just don’t buy it.

Meanwhile Steven also needs to be more direct about everything. Tell Chip to back off and never look back. This all started because Steven tried to bribe Chip and then looked back once once Chip was leaving. Steven kept on digging the holes for himself and that’s what got him in the end. I did enjoy the dream sequence though where for once Steven made the right move in immediately running for it when Chip tried to break in. Of course it had to be a dream though because in the real life equivalent the main character will always just freeze in place without making any true progress. Also the music in that scene was great. It was like a minion encounter in Final Fantasy or something like that. I was not expecting that kind of music to show up here so that was a lot of fun.

In the end I just didn’t like Steve though and he really did not help his case with how poorly he handled the whole situation. Then you have Robin who I didn’t like for the reasons I already mentioned. That leaves us with Chip who is definitely insane but the question is if he’s insane in a cool way or in more of a cringe kind of way. Ultimately I wouldn’t say he’s that cool. The guy can plan things out well to be sure but he’s also a lot more emotional and his plans do get thwarted a lot. His strength is in how quickly he can come up with a new plan, not in how his original plan is unbeatable and that’s where he differs from the more classic geniuses.

His plans also rely on Steven acting very unintelligent as well. The biggest moment like that was when he went to meet the family. Immediately Steven should mention that Chip framed him for jail and start listing off the other stuff he did. Sure Chip has blackmail but unfortunately blackmail never goes away so you just have to own up to it and keep pushing forward. If he did that right off the bat then reasonably the family would have to take his side. It’s still unfortunate that they instead all played a really scandalous game and Steven could not verbalize why he didn’t want to play and so Chip easily manipulated them all. That had to be an annoying moment all around. How is Steven losing a battle of his family to his worst enemy who has never even met them before?

The scenes of Chip taking down the Basketball team was fun though. Ultimately I’d say the problem is that the movie is often meaner than it is funny. Chip’s antics can be crazy to be sure but I don’t think you would really be laughing at them for most of the film. Instead you’re more wondering what Steven is going to do in retaliation or if he will just get wrecked yet again. Unfortunately with this lead you just never know what he is going to do next. For a comedy the biggest rule is to be funny after all and if you miss the mark there then you’re going to be in trouble.

It’s not a bad film but I would put it right in the middle. I’d say it has some decent replay value mainly due to how crazy the whole thing is but it doesn’t nail the premise as much as it could have. I think you could have a lot more fun with the crazy cable guy in a different direction although this still beats playing the whole thing straight as a scary thriller. Because you could absolutely picture this as one of those intense lifetime kind of films and it’s nice that they didn’t go that way.

Overall, After this experience you have to guess that Steven would probably change to streaming instead of cable. Unfortunately you have doubts that he really learned the right lesson here. Steven just never grew to be a great lead and he needs to grow tougher if he wants to come out on top if another similar situation were to occur. I enjoyed the ending which almost has a bit of a cliffhanger to it though. The story may be over for Steven presumably but there’s always someone else. If you’re looking for a really crazy film which will have you wondering if you should be worried for the main character or not, this is an intense title to check out.

Overall 5/10

Chances Are Review

Oh nooooooo! Sometimes you know before a film even starts that the premise is already going to be a swing and a miss. Well this one doesn’t disappoint and it’s one of those things where the premise is so bouncey that you’re not sure if it really could have been saved. There are definitely a lot of ideas you’ll have immediately to make it a bit better but ultimately this story just needed to not happen. Pick just about any other circumstance instead and you’ve got a shot.

Well, the movie starts with Louie about to get married to Corinne when his best friend Philip confides that he is currently in love with Corinne. Instead of knocking the stuffing out of Philip or running him over with the car, Louie confirms that he already knew this with a cocky smirk. Louie is promptly murdered after getting run over a car shortly afterwards but in the afterworld he has decided that he won’t pass on quite yet. He doesn’t get his memory erasure shot and runs back to Earth where he is reincarnated. 23 years pass and he happens to meet Corinne again and gets his memories back. She’s never rebounded so he figures he has a shot but now there is around a 26 year gap between them and he will have to defeat Philip for her affections. Additionally his daughter Miranda likes him since prior to restoring his memories he had started making passes at her. What can he do?

You can already see how messed up the plot is in a lot of ways. First off though, the way they handle Philip makes no sense. If Louie knows that the guy is in love with his wife then it’s time to kick him out completely. Sorry man but once everything is out in the open like that then it’s time to go. It’s never wise to ever even breathe a word about your feelings to anyone if you’ve fallen for someone who’s already taken. What you need to do is cry yourself to sleep and get over her right away. If you can’t then it’s time to move away or put some distance. Thing is, it should be easy to get over someone once they’re off the market.

It’s romance 101. Why do you think the first thing most people ask if if the girl/boy has a boyfriend/girlfriend? It’s because one you know that this is the case, you can move on immediately. It works basically every time. It’s like putting on a filter over your eyes like a pair of glasses. You may still acknowledge their beauty but you don’t see that girl as a potential lover anymore. It’s just such a basic thing and Philip still messed it up. Now the filter does fade away once she breaks up with the guy or he dies but it should work in the short term as a psychological block. Philip telling Louie this straight up is unforgivable especially since they’re supposed to be friends. It was a really selfish thing to do and it’s why you can’t root for him for the rest of the film.

After Louie dies you have to remember that the bro code is still in effect in perpetuity. It never runs out and that means you can’t go after your best friend’s girl. It’s just not something that would ever fly morally so Philip needs to buck up and keep it moving. It was good of him to look after her daughter Miranda and help out for 20 years. Sure that’s a good thing but unfortunately he did it with the intentions of getting together with her. He had nebulous intentions from the jump so I take away all of the credit immediately. This guy just needed to go away.

Now another issue with the film beyond the premise is that the romance is awful. Basically this film is going with the Chad approach that you can win anyone over with a kiss. For example Corinne says she wants nothing to do with Louie when he comes back as a 23 year old and keeps telling him to go away. So basically he just forces her to kiss him and the worst part is you see the exact moment where her mind just snaps and suddenly she wants to be with him. It was the power of the kiss and you roll your eyes when this happens. Then it happens again! Philip makes his move and of course she does the whole “We can’t be together” so he forces her into a kiss and the exact same thing happens. Suddenly she doesn’t want to be with Louie anymore and will stay with Philip.

It’s such a drastic change each and every time. You can’t possibly tell me that a romance built off of a stolen kiss can ever be successful. It will also just make you jaded. I’m convinced that half the reason why a lot of people don’t think guys and girls can ever be friends are films like this. I can picture people watching this film and jumping up and down, fist bumping, and high fiving when Philip goes after Corinne. “Called it!!!” and things like that will be yelled because he couldn’t have possibly been helping her out all these years out of the goodness of his heart.

Man the romance here is abysmal guaranteed. Then there is the whole plot with Miranda that’s pretty awful. Yeah Louie does stay away from her after he has his memories and of course, he better! It’s still just such a weird plot to throw in here and even by the end when the angel shows up with the memory drug it doesn’t make this much better. Corinne still remembers what happened after all as well as Philip and that’s going to make for a very weird family dynamic here. Also as a sidenote, Corinne just looks way too gullible here. If someone showed up saying that they were a reincarnation of anybody I would just laugh it away and keep moving. I’m not buying that story no matter what kinds of secrets they start spouting.

Why? Because I’d sooner believe in mind reading technology than reincarnation so I’d assume it was that. Any possible action this person can do I would have a better explanation for it than the person coming back to life but Corinne bought into this quickly. Well, the kiss is what pushed her over the edge which is actually much worse. I think somewhere deep within the film there is a good comedy film but it is trapped beneath the surface of the plot so it is absolutely doomed.

For example, we could have continued with the whole corrupt judge plot. There was a lot that you could have done with that but in the end it’s barely here at all. It never really ends up being very relevant at all to the point where you may even forget that there is a plot about a corrupt judge here. It has no bearing to anything. At best you can say that the car which ran Louie over was sent by the Judge but that’s never even implied. So yeah this plot was basically completely filler.

Worst part? The film ends with a massive plot hole. Basically the reason Louie got into all this trouble was because he left back to Earth before getting his memory shot and the afterworld has no defenses here. So in the final scenes the angel shows up and gives him the shot so he loses his memory. Problem is…if he could have done that then he should have done it 23 years ago while Louie was a baby. There was no reason to wait this long except for the plot to happen which means that this was bad writing. If your entire story relies on a plot hole then it’s not really a complete story at all. They should have just had Louie hit his head and forget his memories which is what I was expecting for a while there. It would have made wayyyyyy more sense and not introduced this issue at the very end. Or at least throw in a line that it takes 23 years to make a new serum. This could have been fixed so easily not that it would help the score much though.

Overall, This film was going for a weird/uncomfortable vibe with its style of comedy and it definitely succeeded. This is a plot that never needed to happen. Pretty much all of the scenes here get tainted as a result but even outside of the family dynamics the scenes outside of them are very underwhelming as well. You have an old lady falling for Louie so that he can get 2 million dollars for Corinne and it is just the most random thing possible. I know that this guy is supposed to be one of the most charming people in existence but it’s a bit much. I’d also say that the film forgets to be funny half the time as it’s more about everyone getting their feelings hurt and trampled on until the end. By the end nobody is a winner here. Philip was Corinne’s second choice. Louie had his whole identity obliterated in the end. Miranda is with someone who was just messing around with her mother and Corinne is with her second choice since Louie isn’t around anymore. Nobody within the film wins so the viewer loses out as well.

Overall 1/10

Guarding Tess Review

It’s time for a fun secret service comedy about how hard it can be to guard someone who doesn’t really respect you. Guarding Tess is a film I didn’t really know about beforehand but after seeing it I can definitely see the appeal. It’s a fun movie all the way through with a fairly small cast so it’s more about the banter. Doug really takes the hits in stride and even when he does inevitably have his blowup moment of standing up to Tess, he does it in a much more constructive way than most leads would. Ultimately he is a big part of why the movie is good.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Doug as a secret service guy who is really good at what he does. He used to even guard the president directly but unfortunately he is now stuck guarding the first lady to a previous president. He doesn’t find the job very satisfying or fulfilling and is really eager to get back to the more important jobs. Unfortunately on his last day when he is supposed to leave Tess contact the president and extends the service to another 3 years. Doug is not happy about this but if he declines then his chances of guarding the president again is pretty much 0. He needs to convince Tess to let him go but how will he do that?

Of course Doug didn’t like this assignment but clearly Tess liked him enough to want him to stay. Basically we find out that this was a power move to an extent as Doug was the only one who would hold his ground against Tess. At least to the degree that he could. See, the movie does a good job of showing just how helpless you are when you’re not in the union and serving someone who could get you fired at a moment’s notice. If Doug ever stands up to her too much then he will be next on the chopping block so it’s really not an easy move for him. He does his best though and Tess seems to take it as a personal challenge to try and break him.

Of course by the end she gets better with this but for most of the film she is absolutely just being as mean to him as possible. She is really spoiled and really just likes to do things her way even if it means forcing Doug and his men to break protocol whenever it suits her. Not the most generous thing to do eh? Well that’s basically her style. Ultimately it also means that she does the equivalent of crying wolf a whole lot which makes it extra tough on the team. They get humiliated in front of the local cops as well when she forces the driver Earl to take her away without the secret service in the car. Her tricks and pranks take a whole lot out of Doug.

It also makes the response time at the end a lot slower since they don’t know there is a real risk for a little while. While most of the film is a full comedy, it does suddenly get very serious near the end. We get a kidnapping and everything which did feel a little out of place but I’m always up for some action. The villains are all throwaway characters who we don’t learn much about. They’re just crazy I suppose. The villain who set everything up was definitely the worst one though as he made a lot of excuses at the time but still followed the mission. That just means he’s a bad guy but also spineless.

Doug really got to prove himself in the end though and show why he was a top secret service agent. He’s definitely someone who will do his best at all times. The standout character here had to be the President though. Whenever he ended up calling it made for a great scene. You always knew that Doug was about to be in a whole world of trouble. The president always talked tough and I really liked his mannerisms. He was an important guy and he knew it. Even when he was hurling threats, he always did them in a very subtle way so you couldn’t be exactly sure of what he was saying and then all of a sudden you knew that it was legit. Yeah he was definitely a lot of fun.

At the end of the day the film succeeds with how comedic it is. The setup is fairly unique and just works really well with Doug sort of living out his worst nightmare but trying to stay professional about it. I love all of the sarcasm used throughout the movie. He always has attitude about Tess’ orders and just has to make sure he does a good job of showing it or it’s all over. That’s something that he can’t really take lightly. Of course the rest of the agents love the gig because they’re being paid well to not have to do much at all.

It’s the difference between liking your job and loving it. When you like your job, you’re cool with just doing it and going home. If it’s easy then that’s all the better but Doug really loves his job and so he wants to be challenged and have to rise to the occasion. There is no challenge or skills to be honed on this mission and that’s really his big problem. It’s also what makes the comedy work since he’s so frustrated the whole time. Ultimately the climax could have probably been averted if he had stayed true to the book for just a bit longer. Ultimately though he gets to see the benefits of this guard detail as well and Tess lightens up so you have to imagine that things will be going much more smoothly in the future.

Overall, Guarding Tess is a pretty fun movie. The main dynamic between Doug and Tess is what really sells the movie. There is just a whole lot to unpack there and the amount of times Doug quite only to have to go back there was intense. It is certainly tough when the president himself is calling to put more pressure on you. I don’t think anybody really looks forward to receiving a threatening call from the President like that. It’s enough to make anybody real nervous right away. The film certainly shifts tones at the end but you should have a good time with both halves and this is one that I’d recommend.

Overall 7/10

Mothra vs Godzilla Review

Mothra vs Godzilla is a classic film and should not be mixed up with Godzilla vs Mothra. They are too different films with very similar names but rest assured that we are talking about the original here. As for which is better, it’s been a long time so it’s hard to say but the new one may have the edge. This film is before Godzilla really got the power upgrades that made him into a famous Kaiju king so you can’t expect him to look quite as good. Mothra has a lot of plot armor here though so get ready for that.

The movie starts with a large egg washing up on shore and a business man named Kumayama quickly buys it. The guy was smart to deal directly with the local fisherman rather than waiting around and it paid off big time. He aims to open up an entire amusement park with his backer Jiro and they are going to be rich beyond their wildest imaginations. It’s a scheme that can’t go wrong..except what if something is in that egg? They are visited by a mysterious pair of twins who confirm that this is not a good idea. The villains will not be scared off so easily and so the twins have to work with Ichiro, Juko, and Miura to save the day. Will they be able to stop these rich guys?

One thing you will notice very quickly here is that the twins are unfortunately not very powerful. Don’t let their mysterious aura fool you they can’t really fight. They mainly are just here to wake up Mothra which is a good role in itself but one day I wish Mothra would give them some kind of super powers to fight back with. It would absolutely be a good upgrade that would really let them cause some damage here. Instead they end up nearly being captured.

As for the main heroes, we get a lot of banter with Ichiro and Junko. Junko is definitely a lot more aggressive and outgoing as she doesn’t mind standing up to the villains and taking her time with the camerawork. Unfortunately she isn’t very good at being a photographer and even forgets to turn off the lens once which frustrates her boss a lot. Meanwhile Ichiro doesn’t want to stir up any waves at first but gradually realizes that he has to do whatever it takes to save the island. Likewise the researcher Miura starts to help out more too and later on we have a whole newspaper battle although nothing deters the villains. Lets face it, they’re prepared to make billions off of this park so no amount of bad publicity was going to stop them.

In the end it’s all up to Godzilla as usual. Unfortunately this is probably one of Godzilla’s worst appearances. He doesn’t look very smart here as he trips at one point and gets stuck. He doesn’t really seem to know what’s going on beyond his pure instincts but what I will say for him is that he never gives up. There is a point early on where the government nearly takes him down for the count but they get too cocky and overload the machine. Given how effective it had been there is a real chance that they would have defeated Godzilla if they had kept on going. Human fans should saver this now because there is a chance that they will not be seeing another win like this anytime soon.

Of course what we are really here for is the big battle between Mothra and Godzilla. It’s a bit of a strange matchup because Godzilla is much more powerful physically and he has the overwhelming long range advantage. His atomic breath should also be able to instantly evaporate Mothra with a good burn so the deck is stacked against Mothra. You do see this at times with heroes going up against great odds but the difference is that Mothra is a massive target so she has no room to dodge and not much room to outmanuever the opponent either. So at the end of the day a comeback is difficult that way.

The reason why the fight doesn’t work is that they have to nerf Godzilla to try and convince you that he would lose. He forgets to use his atomic breath for most of the fight except in very short bursts which do not really do much of anything. If he kept this up from the start then Mothra couldn’t even get close and would lose right away. You could make the case that Godzilla wasn’t able to use it for long bursts back in the day and didn’t have the stamina for it yet. I have doubts on that but either way he would still win this round if he just moved a bit more. The Mothra larvae basically pin him down with a lot of string but he should have been able to easily get around that. He only loses because he basically doesn’t move at all which really hurts him here.

I still enjoy the fight because it is a kaiju battle but it was just hard to buy into. Godzilla should win this fight 10/10 times. It was just an off day for him. Meanwhile Mothra is doing her best to protect the kingdom so you have to respect that. She is definitely one of the most heroic Kaiju out there without a doubt. It’s good that the humans have someone that they can rely on at least even if it feels like the tribe wouldn’t help out ordinarily so you better hope that you get to Mothra or the twins directly. Otherwise Earth’s guardian may not help out.

The writing is solid and the film has a good amount of humor in there. The Showa Godzilla films always felt like part comedies with the human characters probably as a contrast to the monster battles. I think it works well enough here. None of the characters are particularly memorable but they’re not bad which is the important thing. The monsters show up before long and once the fights are here then you’re all set. It doesn’t quite have the hype of Godzilla vs King Kong but it soundly defeats the first two films without much trouble.

Overall, Mothra vs Godzilla is a pretty good film. The fight definitely comes across as cheesy since you can’t picture it ending the way that it did though. I feel like they could have just had Godzilla win and then walk away. Maybe that would be cheesy in its own way but you can also think of it from this perspective. Godzilla doesn’t really bother with humans until they start the fight in most instances. So he may be satisfied with defending his crown as the King of the Monsters and just leaving. I could totally see that working. Either way I would recommend checking this film out. It has aged well and you can’t go wrong with Godzilla adventures.

Overall 7/10

Heathers Review

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

Heathers is one of those movies that comes across as rather mean spirited. It is partially comedic in nature but I would say it usually still crosses the line into being rather serious most of the time. The characters are unlikable but you still feel bad for them just because in general these can be rough ways to go out. The main character is also extremely gullible to the point where it’s hard to buy into.

So the movie starts by introducing us to Veronica who has become a part of the Heathers clique, a group of bullies who pick on everybody. Apparently Veronica used to be a good person a long time ago but she went over to the dark side and never looked back. Now she is even rude to her old friend and doesn’t have the courage to move away from the bullies. That’s when a transfer student known as JD appears and this guy may not look very tough but he can defend himself. He’s even got a gun on him. The two immediately hook up and he tells her about how he can bump off all of her enemies. She figures these will just be really intense pranks that will put the bullies in their place but gradually he starts to murder them all. Is Veronica next? How can she escape this toxic relationship before it’s too late.

So right off the bat when JD approaches Veronica about taking out the first Heather, it’s clear that he’s trying to be lethal here. She keeps mentioning how they could just put some bad tasting things in Heather’s drink but he jumps right to poison and keeps ignoring her when she tries to stop him. So when he directly murders the first Heather…that should have been it. The relationship should have been over in an instant right? No, Veronica still hangs out with JD which leads to more and more escalations like shooting two guys in the forest. This is already way past the realm of things being normal.

Reporting JD to the cops is the first thing you have to do. You can’t let him forge suicide notes and just keep going. The worst part is that Veronica always does get on board after the deed is done. Her attitude seems to be a sort of “Well it already happened so we should maximize the benefits” which is also twisted. Yeah you can’t really change the past but you can still at least begin to make things right instead of continuing to hang out with the guy. Eventually/Inevitably JD does turn on her and you just knew this was coming. With someone like JD he is always going to keep going further and further down the rabbit hole until someone stops him.

I actually did like his debut with how he took the gun out to stop the bullies. Those two weren’t going to stop so that was an effective way to get him to back off but in the back of your head you knew that it just wasn’t going to end there. The guy was going to keep on going and reaching new heights of terror. In the end he’s just psychotic all the way through and his true colors really began to show. I will say it was a bit sloppy that he didn’t notice Veronica’s trick though. It was certainly a real risky one all the way through and I just don’t see it working. All you have to do is have him reach out and the scheme fails. I’m always a little skeptical on a trick like that working but you’ll have to watch the film to see what trick she comes up with.

At the end of the day the film has a lot of problems but beyond being generally mean spirited with every character just being awful….every character is awful. It’s a strategy that backfires all the time because then you’re not actually engaged or interested in any of the characters on screen. You just get annoyed to see them when they appear because either they are about to die or pick on some innocent student in the meantime. The fact that Veronica was actively one of the bullies was just awful.

Then you have one student who is overweight so of course everyone picks on her and she even tries to commit suicide. It’s a really serious moment in a film that’s not quite as serious and while things work out for her in the end, it does mean that watching this film can be a chore. The film has a bit of a subplot where the school isn’t sure what to do to stop these “suicides” (Since they all don’t know the truth) and it starts to get crazy as the teacher almost seems to encourage it. The school was definitely messed up that’s for sure and there is almost no teacher supervision. I mean it doesn’t seem unrealistic because you hear a lot of crazy stories about school but at the same time it doesn’t make for quality entertainment.

Throw in a single likable character and we’re good. The only one who even seemed interesting was JD’s father who was also a nut. Apparently he’s a mass murderer who is rich and he and JD have some kind of roleplay going on where JD pretends to be the father while the father is the son. It’s all rather twisted but at least this guy had charisma and would have done better than most of the students. By the time you reach the final fight in this film you’re already fairly exhausted.

Overall, This movie is basically the subgenre of revenge film where all of the characters are bullies so someone decides to pick them off one by one but murdering a villain is still murder so now there is absolutely nobody to really root for. The victims are all villains here and the murderer clearly is as well. It ends up making sure that the film loses all of its bite right from the start. Yeah this is definitely a film to stay away from. There are plenty of school drama type movies to watch instead that will be many leagues better than this one.

Overall 1/10

Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Review

It is finally time to review the Kaguya manga! I finished this one back in 2022 but of course it is a pretty big title so reviews like this take a while. It was a title that really surpassed any ideas or predictions I would have had about it. I certainly wouldn’t have assumed it would have reached my top 15 of all time the way that it did but here we are. While the series may have limped its way to the ending with the final arc, the rest was all amazing and it’s a series with tons of replay value. It’s all super emotional with lots of great character development and writing all the way through. I don’t think we’ll see another series that’s part romance like this ever be quite as good. Kaguya just nailed the comedic romance bit.

The basic premise of the series quite directly follows the title. Kaguya is extremely wealthy and belongs to the Shinomiya family which owns a good chunk of the world. She is a member of the student council and has some of the best grades at school. Everyone knows her as the most popular girl that everyone respects but she has one secret which is that she is in love with Shirogane, the student council president. Meanwhile Shirogane’s family isn’t wealthy at all but he managed to study hard enough to go to this prestigious academy and even become the president. What he lacks in family reputation and status he makes up for in hard work and dedication. He hopes to eventually win Kaguya’s heart as well.

The thing is, neither one can admit to this because the first one to confess their feelings would lose the war. Love is a power struggle and so admitting your love first would cause you to be at a massive disadvantage. So they have to each scheme to get the other one to confess first but that is easier said than done. Can they pull this off or will they only end up getting into trouble? Snooze and you lose after all as someone else might show up so time is ticking. Additionally there are two more council members in the comedic Chika and the depressed Ishigami. Together this student council is going to have a lot of fun!

Right off the bat I have to say that I really enjoy the premise. See, you are automatically avoiding the “sudden” romance that destroys most romantic plots. The main two have liked each other for a long time now, in fact well over a year passes by with nothing happening in chapter 1 since they are too afraid to make any moves and that’s not even counting that they liked each other prior to the series starting. So this is a slow burn romance and there are no rebounds to think of. They’ve liked each other from the start and that’s just how it is. So already we’ve got several wins here. Now of course this is only focusing on their romance as not every romance here is great but the main one is important.

The contest also adds a nice spin on things since as the reader you know that both characters like each other but of course they don’t realize that. So that’s a fresh dynamic as well and you get to see their inner thoughts as they work on the mind games. That is the best success of the series which is that it also works as a very psychological series. The characters talk about what love really is and how the mind works as they all try to play each other like a fiddle. I always figure the one weakness of being too detailed is if someone isn’t a genius then the plan won’t work because it overestimates what the response will be. That risk is lessened since the characters are in such a distinguished school though.

Both Kaguya and Shirogane are at the top of their class too so they know what they are doing. Shirogane may have the slight edge in grades but they are really neck and neck. I also like the overthinking in the manga because it is fun to do that in real life as well. Like if a girl hands you a ticket to a baseball game. Is that a subtle date, just a friendly gesture, is it a test? You have to ask yourself a million questions in an instant and come up with the right answer all in a split instance. There isn’t time for hesitation or doubts since both would also work against you. The manga will freeze this moment as you see the everyday possibilities floating in Shirogane and Kaguya’s minds. A lot of the thought trails are very realistic as well.

Everyone does this to an extent because your mind is always active even when time is frozen. It’s why there are all kinds of time displacement techniques you can find online which are super interesting. Like trying to see how long you can keep your eyes closed and count up before you end up falling asleep or losing count. Losing yourself playing sports or video games and then trying to match that time doing something less fun. Your mind can easily trick you into thinking that one hour is quick in one moment and then long in another. It’s all pretty fascinating but I digress. Needless to say that the psychological elements here are fantastic without a doubt.

The artwork is also very solid. I will say that it is a series where you will notice the artist reusing character expressions and poses with different characters a lot, particularly if you binge the series. It is probably hard to avoid in a slice of life title like this though because there are only so many things you can do and ways of having the characters talk before it all starts to blend together. It’s always very clear what is happening at any given time though and the simple style works very well for the series. Even when there are long blocks of text and essays you are able to read them all without any issue. That’s the sign of a great title after all.

The writing is great and a lot happens here. The series initially starts off very upbeat with some drama but it’s mostly either in a parody kind of way or not meant to be taken too seriously. Gradually this begins to change as we get some origin stories that are legitimately emotional like Ishigami’s. Then this leads up to a climax that is very serious with high stakes in the last arc. I would say that the series is much better at the light arcs than the serious ones and that makes sense because it’s the kind of series that this was crafted to be. It got to be a really famous title because of all the witty banter and fun gags/writing. I can see why the author wanted to end on a serious note but the problem is just that it was hard to take things too seriously.

What I would have done is make the final arc less action packed. Yeah you heard me right, for once I would remove the action because it just didn’t feel right and gets a bit cheesy when you see the kids doing so well. Instead I would change this to be more of a mind game thriller. Have the heroes trying to find a loophole in the will or they have to go through a bunch of games in order to defeat the villains. The high stakes could be signing a contract that they will work for the villains if they lose or something. I feel like this would be much more in line with the rest of the series and would have worked really well. It would still have a serious tone and be something more like Liar Game than Indiana Jones.

For the comedy side, I won’t say every joke lands of course since that’s not possible but the reason this series is elite is because most of them do. The series has higher peaks in terms of humor than most titles could even dream of. The main cast is also very solid which leads to a whole lot of great banter and dialogue moments. The series would not be nearly as good if the characters weren’t solid so the series had the right priorities here. You get a strong core of characters and move from there. I liked all members of the student council quite a bit. Put Ino, Chika, and Ishigami in any similar setting and they likely outpace the main characters there. I’d then go a step further to say that Shirogane and Kaguya would shine in any setting, even one that is not similar. The characters are just really well crafted at the school and this includes the classmates. Only the villains aren’t very interesting which takes us back to the final arc again.

The series has its share of story arcs as well like with vacations or dealing with a romance but like an action series where each arc is clearly defined and I break them down, I’ll likely just incorporate those events while I talk about the character that it’s relevant too. So lets jump into this cast now and I’ll also talk about their respective romance plot and any important developments that came into play for them. This is a fairly long series so you can bet that a whole lot did happen over time.

Naturally we have to start with Kaguya herself here. After all the series was named after her so you could say that she is the main character. While you could say that, I would argue that Shirogane is still the true main character here. It’s pretty close to 50/50 but I just feel like we see his perspective just a tad bit more and he tends to jump start the biggest moments in the series. The dynamics between the two characters are what really causes the series to shine and I liked that Kaguya has a cold edge to her. Later on in the series we get to see her in her original icy persona and that worked really well.

I’d really be up for a prequel going into more details on that part of the saga. In a way there may not be many more details to show so I’m not sure how feasible it would be to make a long series but I’m sure they could at least do a mini series on it. We briefly see the dynamic after Kaguya retreats into herself but that’s it. Kaguya has several personalities within herself all fighting for control and I enjoyed the court scenes there. At the end of the day Kaguya is always someone who is ready to give good advice and really help out. She has really solid friendships and dynamics with all of the council members. It’s another strong part of the series since it can be easy in a series like this to miss one or two combinations but the series goes out of its way to make sure that each character interacts with each other and gets their own dynamic going.

The ending of the series involves Kaguya’s family a great deal so as you can imagine they really get to step in as well and we see how they had a real impact on her life and values. The school really helped her to become a lot more normal over time. The series also plays up how she can be naïve in some things well without overdoing it and making this an annoying trait. It also never forgets that she is a genius so she picks up on things really quickly.

Then we have Shirogane who really worked hard to try and stand out for Kaguya. It wasn’t easy but by getting the best grades and leading the council he put himself in a very good position there. I like his confidence which serves him well in battling Kaguya during their debates. Kaguya is better at planning and setting up intricate traps while Shirogane’s strength is in his quick reactions and thinking off the cuff. That ends up working well in challenges where she catches him on the back foot like with the umbrella trick. He has less family drama to worry about although throughout the series we know that something happened involving his mother but surprisingly that plot barely gets much of a payoff. She shows up at the very end but super briefly. This allows Shirogane to focus more on the main school adventures which works well enough though.

He also does take his job as president very seriously and is always trying to help the other students succeed. You can always count on him to do the right thing even if it means that he might lose some sleep. Managing to perform all his duties while leading the school in grades was really impressive. This guy really put in the work and never had any doubts of waivered in his path. He was just a really strong character through and through.

Chika is the main comedic character here although to an extent you can say they all are so that might be abbreviating her character personality a bit too much. She is meant to be a full foil to the other characters because she doesn’t overthink anything. She is quite intelligent but mainly just does whatever she wants and is always hard to predict. As a result she ends up being a great wildcard in their constant battles which works great to really expand the dynamics. Often times she will crush both of their plans and they have to scramble to set something up.

She doesn’t have a romance plot going on so she is able to just focus on being the comic relief. There is also a subplot where she fights the ramen kings and that was always entertaining. I am always up for a good ramen even if it’s not one of my favorite foods. I would end up eating it more like her as in I would just dive in while all the kings have very elaborate and intricate ways of doing this. Chika keeps the crew grounded and is always good for a lot of laughs. She knows how to manipulate people as needed given her family history of politicians and works in well among the group. Even her backstory is suitably humorous even while being a bit more serious.

Then we have Ino who joins in a bit later than the rest of the group. Her thing is that she is really big on following the rules. While it may sound like that would be easy for her to be integrated among the group you have to remember that while they are good at their jobs, they do mess around a bit. So what Ino brings to the table is that she often gets disillusioned with the group or misreads a situation causing her to panic. It takes her a little while to really get used to the group and stop panicking at the antics. She probably has the saddest backstory next to Ishigami’s as well so she had to go through a whole lot. Ultimately she did get through it all though and fit into the cast well.

I would say that she is a lot of fun either way and she does add a lot to the dynamic which is the important thing here. She interacts with Ishigami the most and given the composition of the group you would probably figure they will have a romance right? Well yes that is a big part of their plot but this romance is one that I can’t get behind quite as much. For one, I liked their banter as friends and rivals which would really be lost if they went that route. Additionally Ishigami already liked Tsubami a lot o it would feel a bit too soon for him to be changing sides like that. So this romance I could only possibly support if it didn’t happen until well after the end of the series like with a sequel title or something. Even then I would like them to delay it for as long as possible so we get more banter.

Of course this carries over to Ishigami’s side where I can confirm I wasn’t big on the romance there. His first one with Tsubame works reasonably well as him not really realizing his feelings of gratitude for what they were and falling for her. At least that’s the way I interpret it since she effectively saved his life along with the rest of the group and so that ended up turning into affection. I don’t think he would have really been ready for the relationship there and of course it would have also taken time away from him hanging out with the crew and just having fun.

As it is I really enjoyed the early Ishigami with how paranoid and depressed he was the whole time. He had a nice deadpan kind of humor that worked really well here. Still I did appreciate that he had one of the biggest character arcs in the series. I would even go as far as to say that it was the biggest because he almost completely changed character personalities by the end. He really became a new person after the whole cast helped him out and it was nice to see. The series has really good inspirational beats like that scattered throughout. You know that he’ll be fine going forward and gone are the days where he wasn’t sure of himself and basically got bullied into submission.

Hayasaka may not be a member of the council but I would say she’s the next biggest character here. She advises Kaguya on all romantic matters and is also just a great butler. She takes care of everything around the manner and serves all kinds of roles as needed. At school she even has her happy persona so that she can still guard Kaguya there. Ultimately this even leads to her getting a real character arc of her own as well as a bit of a tragic romance since she also likes Shirogane but you know there is no hope there. Some things just aren’t meant to be after all.

Her personality really stands out due to how serious she is. Even when she is putting on a mask, you can see the real her the whole time. She brings a whole lot to the table and I also liked the friendship she had with Shirogane by the end. In some ways they knew each other better than their best friends since they didn’t have to wear any masks or pretenses while around each other. At least not after Shirogane figured her out anyway. Hayasaka is a character who is easy to root for because she had already sacrificed so much in order to help Kaguya. She’s just a very selfless kind of character.

I wasn’t a big fan of Nagisa. Half the time it’s hard to know how genuine her romance plot even is because it feels like she just enjoys messing with everyone. Her boyfriend is no better. It’s hard to even know his name so because of that he’s always referred to as “Nagisa’s Boyfriend”. That’s not a very good look for the guy now is it? Both of them are mainly around just to be annoying or to break Maki’s heart since she liked the guy first. Well, snooze and you lose so I wouldn’t blame Nagisa for that one. I just felt like these two didn’t add a lot to the series and their gags were fairly expendable.

Now Maki is a character that I actually found to be very sympathetic. She just ended up liking the wrong guy. Basically he was taken so now she has to get over him but that’s a lot harder than it sounds if this is the person you really wanted to be with. The reason you think of the term rebound when someone moves on quickly is because it seems like that person wasn’t as important as you made it out to be. For Maki it hurts a lot because she was just a tad too slow and very nearly could have had him. Additionally he was the only boy she wanted and nobody else will do. Perhaps in time she will be okay but it’ll take a long time.

Unrequited feelings where one person just never confesses always ends up being really emotional and I find those romances to be really interesting. Maki took the high road in not actually confessing afterwards and that’s the right move because you do need to back off when someone is off the market. Usually this also comes with an unconscious filter where you stop being so attracted to that person but other times it can take a minute so you just have to calm down and keep your distance in the meantime. Maki does stay strong throughout and only breaks down among close friends. She’s a great character to look to on how to act when the going gets tough.

Then you have Kei who gets a decent role as Shirogane’s kid sister. Her role never gets huge or anything but she’s a fun enough character. She actually makes you feel bad for him since by all accounts he has done a great job of being her big brother but she tends to be in a rebellious phase when he’s around. I wouldn’t even say he’s being overprotective at any point but jut tries to be supportive. Fortunately she really looks up to Kaguya so that sort of helps balance things out. I would also say they do get along even if they banter from time to time.

Shirogane’s father is a guy who really got to be a lot of fun by the end of the series. He is always ready with something crazy to say and put everyone on the spot. The guy is also great at multitasking as we find out that he has managed to be a great gamer on the side. This guy has many talents and is just hilarious whenever he shows up so he ends up being one of the more likable characters. He also appeared just enough where you got to see him doing a lot but none of his gags or gimmicks ever got overplayed.

Osaragi is easily one of my least favorite characters in the series. She is a girl who doesn’t really know what she wants to do and ends up taking it out on everyone else. She doesn’t accept responsibilities for her own mistakes and has an excuse for everything. She gets a backstory but all it did was remind me how bad she was of a character. If anything I felt like she looked worse and worse as I went through the series even though you’re supposed to at least feel bad for her later on. It just felt like she caused all of her problems on her own and they kept on snowballing and snowballing the whole time. Turning her back on Ino was definitely the worst offense of all though.

Tsubami gets a big role near the middle of the series/end of the beginning. Ishigami liked her and she was a really big focus in his whole road to recovery. She definitely has a hard time making up her mind though and in a way she did a number on the guy even though she wasn’t a bad person. She just made some mistakes along the way. Ultimately I didn’t mind her, I thought she was good overall and a solid reflection of someone trying to do the right thing but just not knowing what to do. For example she did reach out to Ishigami initially to help him get out of his shell and enjoy life more. The problem is that the kindness meant so much to Ishigami that he fell for her afterwards and she wasn’t able to deal with it.

It’s hard to know what to do when someone likes you and you just can’t return the feeling. You feel a bit responsible if you were really friendly the whole time because even if that wasn’t the intention you start to wonder if maybe you were flirting a bit accidentally. So she didn’t end up handling this well for sure and ultimately just ran into one of the risks of being nice.

Mikado is a character who didn’t do a whole lot but he did have some potential. He is a tragic character in the sense that he has always liked Kaguya but you knew that he was doomed from the jump. I give him props for doing his best to watch out for her and help out in the final saga even though I was naturally hoping that they wouldn’t get together. The romance just wouldn’t have been a good idea there but he took it well and stayed gracious so that’s good. I had a soft spot for the character.

The Shinomiya villains are mostly all pretty similar. I can’t say that I cared much for any of them to be honest. Sure some were nicer than others or at least didn’t appear to be cruel for no reason but for the most part they were all just not very interesting. You really didn’t care about these guys in the slightest and it’s another reason why the final arc was weaker. You needed to give them some purpose and a reason to exist if you wanted them to enhance the arc. Maybe if they had been introduced earlier that would have ended up helping a lot.

Overall, There you have it. That’s Kaguya in a nutshell. It’s a top tier title with great characters and just a lot of fun overall. You will be investing a lot of time into the series and it is worth every second. It’s not every day you see a series like this and so I was sad to see it go. I’d highly recommend checking it out right now. Who knows, maybe some day we’ll get a sequel series although it doesn’t feel like one is needed. I would hope they could all go on some kind of big retreat for a month in the mountains or something so we could get a lot of fun banter there even though they are grown up. In a lot of ways having them in the school setting is part of the magic though so you do need that.

Overall 9/10

Assassination Classroom Season 2 Review

It’s time for the end of the Classroom saga with season 2. We get more action in this one as there are more super powered beings now but the series still blends together the more slice of life adventures with those too. I’ve never been a fan of the way the series ends and so the anime doesn’t really change that but you should have a good enough time here. The animation is still sharp and you will be invested in finding out what happens in the end. Can the characters surpass their limits and stop Koro-sensei from blowing up the planet?

We start things off with some slice of life adventures and a quick fight with Itona as the season kicks off. Itona had been a bit of a recurring villain so he was finally brought into the fold as one of the main characters but of course this also means that he lost his powers in the process so he becomes fully human. It would have been nice if he could have kept his powers even if it would have made Koro’s job of staying alive a lot harder. Now he would really have to be watching his back a lot because all that Itona would need is a single strike to claim victory. Still you get to have fun with the cast before things get real with the Reaper.

The Reaper mini arc is one of the top highlights in the whole series. The reason for this is because he does embody the perfect assassin without super powers. Yes his abilities are so good that they may as well be super abilities but technically he doesn’t have any biological enhancements of alien parts. He’s just using true skill here and he manages to absolutely hold his own against the main characters. That’s really nothing to sneeze at and his fight with Karasuma was great. The arc really gave a glimpse of how the whole show could have been with the cast trying to stop the more powerful assassins.

That said, it also underscores once again how the kids aren’t really ready for the big time. Without Karasuma they would have had absolutely no chance here. He’s just in a completely different league Karma and Nagisa get their moments of taking down stronger opponents but this was something the series could never get past. At the end of the day the kids needed some kind of time skip so that they could have really helped contribute more. More often than not the teachers had to do the heavy lifting here.

We also get more fights with the top scoring rivals from the school led by Gakushu. The rest of his group was never as memorable but he made for a great rival to Karma. The two of them would duke it out a whole lot throughout the series and it was a fun rivalry. The school competitions were always fun and another side to the whole assassin life as they would use their skills academically. Those battles were always fun also because that meant there was less time for Koro-Sensei to appear and mess things up.

This also closed out the plot with the principal Gakuho once and for all. He was definitely a really fun antagonist in the series and will be missed. The fact that he could hold his own against everyone without any powers was crazy. His origin story was definitely a sad one and the guy was absolutely dedicated to making sure that nothing like that would happen again. He pushed himself to the physical and mental limit of what a human could be and it paid dividends. He could pretty much mind control anyone and had a whole lot of influence. That’s not something that you can see just anyone doing and his confidence never wavered. The guy would take any risk if it meant he would win. Still one of the best characters around.

There’s also the subplot with Nagisa’s mom that finally concludes here. She definitely went rather crazy throughout the series so it was nice that she could finally see a bit of reason. I mean it did take a crazy assassin and a burning school to get the message across but hey at least she did change after that and Nagisa could finally have a break. He would need it since we’re approaching the end of the series now and there wouldn’t be many breaks left.

This led into Koro-Sensei’s origin story which is really solid. Basically he wasn’t always a terrible character. Back in the day he was a top assassin who got results and was basically the best in the world. He even trained the Reaper and in a fair fight nobody could beat him. Ultimately he would have continued to be the strongest but he ended up getting attached to one of the researchers, Aguri which gave the villains some leverage and ultimately had him change his ways. He was no longer a ruthless monster who wanted to destroy everybody. Instead he would now be a caring teacher.

The backstory does a good job of establishing why he wanted to be a teacher in the first place and also tying everything together for the climax. It also gives us a massive twist to one of the characters in the series that was always pretty shocking when it happened. Best twist in the series easily and I gained a lot of respect for the character with what she had to put up with the whole time. Just enduring the pain alone without ever letting it show was already a lot to deal with and that’s not even counting the emotional pain. The only thing it doesn’t really do is explain what happened to Koro-Sensei’s personality to the extreme degree that it is in the present.

Did repressing his emotions for so many years cause him to want to just be as extreme as possible to make up for lost time? I don’t believe that it was all an act because there would be no reason for that and it would just feel like a cop out. Regardless while I consider him to be one of the weakest characters in the series in the present, I did like him a lot in the flashback. Sometimes a characters just really falls down I suppose.

After that emotional arc and we wrap up the fights in the present, we approach the end with the big Civil War. The kids have to decide on whether or not they should murder Koro-Sensei. Of course you know that I’m going to be on the side saying not to murder him. Cmon now, that’s just the worst decision you can make. If it comes down to sacrificing one person to save the world then in almost all cases I’m going to just say that it’s time to let the world be destroyed. You don’t trade lives as they say. Additionally there was still a chance that he wouldn’t blow up so you have to take that into consideration as well. I was rooting hard for the no kill team to win this one because of that. It’s just the only way to have a satisfying ending.

I won’t say which team wins but ultimately I wasn’t thrilled with the ending so you can expect that not everything went the way I wanted it too. I feel like it can be hard to ultimately deliver on an ending because after any big adventure there are so many ways a story can conclude. Although while many Jump final arcs tend to get some heat I usually disagree since ending with a big war arc is always the way to go. The war arc here isn’t literally the ending but it’s close enough where it may as well be and that worked out well. In this case it’s just the actual ending that’s the big problem and so for the last episode you’re not quite as invested. You know this could have easily been saved with just a small stinger at the end showing a certain cliffhanger moment. That’s absolutely all I would have needed and I would have been good. A shame that didn’t happen.

As you’d expect the animation is still really sharp here. I’d say one thing that the series does exceptionally well are the really sharp colors for the character designs and action moments. They really do a good job of depicting the pure intensity of the villains and heroes when they are using their assassin techniques. The ost is also good. It has a good amount of variety and I liked several themes there. It may not be the biggest soundtrack out there but it definitely gets the job done.

In general the character cast is good too. Nagisa and Karma are a solid duo as the leads with their banter and rivalry going on. They really help each other to succeed which is important and of course Karma has that classic rival energy of always being ready to pick a fight. Part of what makes this work so well in the school setting is also how he just won’t tolerate bullies…at all. The other characters may play nice but he just jumps in there and gets the job done which I can always appreciate.

The rest of the kids are solid as well. Itona was more interesting as a villain but he’s still reasonably good. Kaede went way up in this season as she got a much bigger role and the rest of the kids are all around to help out as needed. Irina still tends to not do great when it counts but Karasuma always steps up against the big villains. He also helped the kids out even though it would put his job in jeopardy near the end.

Then for the villains we had quite a few really solid ones like the Reaper. That guy’s techniques were crazy good and it makes sense that almost nobody could touch him. He’s really perfected his craft. Shiro wasn’t nearly as solid as a villain even if you do have to give him some props for his dedication. The guy never gave up that’s for sure. He just kept on trying to go after Koro for ages at this point and considering the power difference there, it wasn’t a small feat. I already talked about how great Gakuho was of course.

The series is at its best during the action moments. We get a lot of quality battles and quick choreography. The show tends to be at its weakest during the comedy episodes as the cast just isn’t generally solid enough to hold these up for long. That’s why the show tends to quickly devolve into fanservice and shenanigans like that to pass the time while the serious episodes avoid that. The fanservice isn’t crazy but still fairly frequent at times and it doesn’t help that Koro’s one of the main characters and he usually encourages this quite a bit. Ironically if you cut him out of the whole series then the show instantly is elevated but the whole series revolves around him so at that point you’re really talking about a completely different series.

At the end of the day I stand by my reasoning that the show would have been more solid if the main characters were more grown up rather than being kids the whole time. It just stacked the deck too far against them, particularly with how fast Koro-Sensei was. If anything even most of the villains should have gotten neg diff’d the whole time. Sure Shiro’s cloak had that special substance on it but there are still loads of ways for Koro to have beaten him. The power levels were just set too far apart which meant that things wouldn’t always end in a very satisfying way although I’ll give the show props for mainly not having Koro ever lose in a crazy way that would make no sense with his speed. I do think that they did put a lot of thought into each of his moves.

Overall, Assassination Classroom season 2 mainly picks up right where season 1 left off. If you enjoyed the first season then you will enjoy this one and vice versa. I would still give it the advantage over the first season as we get a lot of the biggest moments here like with the Reaper and the origin story though. It suffers from the same issues as the first but focuses more on the strengths which is good. I don’t think this will ever be remembered as one of the top Shonen Jump titles but it was pretty big while it was going and it is still memorable enough to be remembered even as the years go by. If you haven’t checked it out yet and are looking for a fairly low key slice of life with some action arcs then this should be right up your alley.

Overall 6/10

The Raven Review

I was pleasantly surprised by how good this film was. To be honest I really had low expectations for it. With that name you’re a little worried about the characters having to fight an actual Raven which would be no good and it just had the look of an old horror film that wouldn’t withstand the test of time. Instead it actually ended up being a really solid experience and had a little humor to balance things out too. For a minute there I even thought some of the dialogue was fake and added after the fact but that’s just how fun the series could be when it really tried.

The movie starts by introducing us to Craven who hasn’t been having a good time of things. His wife Lenore died a while back and yet he has not been able to recover. One day a sorcerer named Bedlo shows up after having been turned into a Raven by the notorious Scarabus. That guy is the most powerful sorcerer in the world and you absolutely do not want to get on his bad side. Craven wants nothing to do with him but Bedlo claims that he saw Lenore there. Craven knows that this is impossible and yet he wants to be sure so they head on over. Will this end up being a fatal journey for the crew or will they overcome all obstacles?

Craven does have magical abilities of his own but he’s just not sure about taking a foe like this on. He is far more powerful than Bedlo but at the same time you feel like that isn’t really saying a whole lot! It’s always best not to pick a fight when you can help it and Craven was a fun character the whole time. His own lair is quite mysterious as well the whole time. His dead father seems to still be alive to an extent with how his eyes glow and Craven seems to have a lot of resources for someone who considers himself to be a fairly meager mage.

As the film goes on we learn more about Craven and it helps him continue to improve as a character the whole time. He does great during the climax and was a determined fighter. He is polite but won’t let anyone walk all over him. If you stay on Craven’s good side then you’ll be okay but if you try anything funny then you will be in for a real shock. There is a whole lot of depth to Craven’s character and it would have been fun to see him return in a sequel or something. The world of magic introduced in this film is very interesting. Craven also just has that natural confident demeanor that makes him very likable.

Meanwhile Bedlo is more on the annoying side. He’s supremely weak and yet he is constantly mouthing off and picking fights. You’d think he would have learned his lesson the first time but the guy is blinded by his own arrogance. He’s impressed with Craven performing spells with a wand which is apparently a basic skill and he thought he could beat the most powerful sorcerer on the planet? Yeah the guy isn’t very smart at all and it really shows. You’re not rooting for him to win at all as the film goes on. Just let him be defeated already and everyone will be happy.

As for Scarabus, well he’s an interesting villain. The guy is fairly calm and doesn’t seem like someone who typically picks fights. If you show up before him then you are fair game though. The guy is still a full villain even if he’s not going around targeting people. He was fully ready to destroy Craven and friends in the end. The guy earned his reputation so you can be sure this wasn’t the first time as well. His powers were also the real deal so this made him a good adversary.

Part of what sets the film apart is the solid magical fight scenes here. Not just any film can deliver a really fun magical battle but this one pulled it off. It’s even more impressive when you remember how old the film is because the effects have absolutely aged very well. It was a creative way to show what they can do and the bright colors probably shocked the audience back in the day. Yes this was a good way to close out the film and it exceeded my original idea of how it would all turn out.

Additionally the humor was always very clever. Strange things happen and Craven always responds to them in a super calm way himself. That’s part of the charm and then other times something funny will happen really quickly while you are still processing what is going on. When Bedlo first starts talking as the Crow it’s really surreal since you just weren’t expecting that. The film had seemed so serious at the start which made the payoff for this scene so good. After that it has fun with the dry wit.

The movie’s fairly short too so it all moves at a really brisk pace. Something is happening in every scene and even before they arrive at the villain’s base you’re already off on the right foot. As for whether Lenore is a ghost or not I’ll let you decide but the way things play out is satisfying. I won’t say that everyone gets a happy ending but everyone does have a conclusive one.

Overall, The Raven is a fun film and a must watch for all horror fans. It’s not every day that you get to watch a horror with comedic elements like this after all. Vincent Price always does well as the lead and this movie is no exception to that. No matter what opponent or challenge gets in his way he will conquer it and keep it moving. I don’t think any other adaptions of Poe’s story could possibly ever beat this one.

Overall 7/10

The Devil Wears Prada Review

This film is a very well known romance/comedy title. Maybe drama would be appropriate to put in there as well but either way people know this one. It’s a classic story with a fun main villain and holds up fairly well in most respects. The romance itself has to be the weakest part of the film though. I’m not really into fashion so I could sympathize with the main character for a while because it all looks the same to me really. Just grab a good T shirt and you’re all set if you ask me.

The movie starts off with Andy showing up for an interview at a very prestigious fashion magazine. It’s not exactly her calling but she just needs something to pay the bills for a while so this will do. She surprisingly gets the job and now has to work for Miranda, the most infamous boss out there. Miranda is not afraid to put you on the spot and humiliate you for almost no reason just to remind you who the top dog is around here. Her demands are outrageous and she is impossible to please but Andy won’t be rattled so easily. Can she prove her own in this pseudo fight with Miranda and if she wins..will she have lost something important?

After all sometimes winning a fight means losing the war. You can win the fight to go to GameStop and buy every game but you’re going to lose when the credit card bill comes in and the IRS comes a knocking. In this case the cost is the respect of her friends as her boyfriend Nate and the crew are very judgmental about those who dress well and have a lot of sophistication. They’re basically the gossiping type and are quick to try and get Andy in trouble or make her feel bad when there’s a work obligation.

I should note now that I have 0 sympathy for these guys and Andy should cut ties real quick. They’re usually not willing to listen to her side of the story anyway and the friendship couldn’t have been so strong if they were so quick to turn on her. It’s just a really bad look for them and Nate deserves the lion’s share of the blame since they were together. Him pouting because she missed his birthday was absolutely the worst. Of course he claimed that he didn’t care…but didn’t act like it.

Now this was in 2006 so I forget how big cell phones were at the time but Andy had one so I assume Nate had something right? I could see him being a little upset that she didn’t text ahead of time but the problem is that they’ve been together for so long that he shouldn’t be causing such a scene over one little issue. Plus, she had even made the heroic call and decided not to go and meet the boss or stay late for drinks because she was hurrying home. It was only her normal job duties that caused her to be so late. So yeah there was no saving Nate and the friends here.

As for Andy, well she did good the whole time. The only instances you may use to go against her is when she goes to the big fashion event over Emily and when she starts hanging out with that desperate guy who was chasing after her. The first example isn’t a big deal if you ask me. Yes, Emily wanted to go but Andy was basically told by the boss directly that it wasn’t happening. Andy protested a bit but beyond that what is she supposed to do? Get fired just to prove a point? I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect her to do anything more than what she did.

For the latter, yeah that’s a big issue for sure. She was still with Nate when the guy started flirting and even afterwards they had just broken up so it’s way too early to be rebounding. That was a weakness on her part for sure but in the end she was one of the better characters here regardless. She put in the work and got really good at her job despite it being so extremely difficult. That’s talent and dedication right there. She earned every bit of her success.

As for Emily, she was more of an antagonist the whole time anyway. She was always taking shots at Andy for no real reason and just liked to feel superior. So when things don’t go well she starts complaining a lot. Ultimately Andy still takes the high road all the time which is another little thing I appreciated about the film. Andy never felt the need to get revenge or anything like that and so by the end she did win Emily over.

Then you have Nigel who was fun enough. He’s been waiting for a big promotion for a long time now and is finally close to the goal. He knows how Miranda works and so that puts him in a good position. He’s great at the job but he always has to be worried since one big mistake could be the end of him. His character arc goes down a more tragic path.

Finally we have Miranda who is fun because the film goes all in with making her the antagonist. There’s nothing half hearted about her. If she wants something done then you know that she is going to say that to your face directly. Additionally she is always on top of things and one step ahead of the competition. I may have seen too many Hallmark movies since for a minute there I actually thought she was going to turn good but then that didn’t happen and that was a good thing. She knew who she wanted to be and the film fleshes her character out so she’s still huma but will always put the job first. That’s just Miranda’s focus and it has turned out well for her. She is quite wealthy and powerful even if it came at the expense of having more time for family.

So the writing here is good and there’s a fun amount of humor as well. The fashion scenes can drag just a bit since fashion is like food. Usually the fancier you get, the more you lose sight of the main goal and don’t turn out as good. A lot of casual clothes easily top the more fancy attires you see in this film. A lot of Andy’s original clothes beat the ones that were made to look glamorous for example but fashion is in the eye of the beholder so at the end of the day you just have to dress in whichever way you think is best.

The film is at its best when we have some nice back and forth with Miranda giving orders and Andy trying to fulfill them. The scenes have a lot of impact and are just fun to follow along with. The film is at its weakest when the friends show up to try and slow Andy’s roll. If they just could have been supportive that would have been great but instead they are constantly in the way.

Overall, This was a good movie. I probably would have tweaked the ending just a bit for Andy and had her make a different choice. I feel like by this point so much has happened that she should see the path through or at least something similar. Still, the ending works out well enough and you will be satisfied by the time you finish the film. It’s a story that is tough to execute but this movie succeeded.

Overall 6/10