6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Planes, Trains and Automobiles Review


It’s time to look at a comedy film from a while back. This one’s definitely pretty well known. I didn’t know anything about the plot itself, but the title is certainly iconic. After all, why would you ever need to use all 3 methods of transportation in one day? Well, things get pretty tough for the lead. The humor is usually pretty funny with only sometimes going over the edge. That’s normal for a comedy film as no matter how hard you try it’s hard for every single joke to be funny. The goal is to at least make sure most of them land successfully.

The movie starts with Neal wrapping up a long meeting. Unfortunately the boss took forever to decide on what design he wanted to now Neal has to dash in order to catch his flight so he can spend Thanksgiving with his family. It’s not in the cards though as all planes have been delayed. He meets up with a guy named Del who says that they should team up. Neal gives that option a hard no for a while but nothing he tries is working and now it’s late. He follows Del to a hotel room the guy picked up and this would be just the start of their partnership through this crisis.

Your enjoyment of the film may depend on how much you like Del because the film could seem unfair depending on your answer to that. Without a doubt Neal is put through the wringer in this film. Del tricks Neal into spending money constantly as Neal is saddled with virtually every bill. Neal clearly makes a lot of money but that’s not the issue here. Nobody wants to have to be with a free loader the whole time and that’s exactly what Del is. He always manages to be quite slick in getting Neal to make payments so it’s hard to just overlook that. He’s costing Neal quite a lot. By the end this is all brushed to the side as we find out that Del’s a nice guy, but it just doesn’t feel even or balanced. Neal came out of this in a worse position than when he started.

Neal was also quite patient with Del before blowing up near the end. He may have gotten a bit extra at that point, but Del had really done nothing to help him prior to this. Neal also had the worst luck in the world up to this point. Even at the beginning of the film he ended up losing the cab and then Del stole the next one. It was certainly a great way to start the film though. The whole taxi chase was pretty great and Neal really put up a good fight there. He’s a consistently good character throughout the film and the only scenes where he faltered was during the car rentals. He was really picking a fight with everyone at that point so naturally he got beat up. Talk smack and get whacked after all.

As for Del, it’s hard to sympathize with him. He may be a nice guy or so he thinks but he ends up being a lot of trouble for everyone. Del has to at least be a little self aware of how much trouble he is causing everyone. There are some things he does where you just know that it can’t have been an accident. He absolutely knows what he is doing at times despite denying it. The fact of the matter is that he gets in Neal’s way throughout the movie. Neal ends up being the bigger man and is still nice to Del, but it would have been nice if Del could have contributed at least a little. By the end of the film it’ll be hard to see why they are even still friends. Del burned Neal one too many times as the movie went on.

Most of the humor in the film revolves around how crude Del is. He doesn’t have a great sense of personal hygiene and so we do get quite a bit of crude humor. Those scenes don’t tend to land quite as well as the smooth dialogue based humor. The more outrageous moments can work well too like Neal showing up for his car except that it is no longer there. Now that’s an emotional moment where you can get behind the character because he was really counting on it being in that spot so it was certainly a let down when it wasn’t there. I’m sure no matter what humor style is your favorite you will have some laughs here because there are enough laughs for everyone. The humor has a lot of variety.

When you think about it the movie’s cast was actually pretty small. Del and Neal are really the only two characters. You’ve got minor characters here and there that try to mess with the leads but that’s about it. The two are able to hold the film quite effectively though. Neal as the protagonist and Del as the antagonist. Good banter goes a long way in films and this one is an example of a successful pairing. They help the film just fly by and you can’t be an effective comedy without strong characters. Between the characters and the film’s strong writing you’ve got a successful formula.

Overall, This is a fun film. A lot of the humor is effective and Neal makes for a fun character. The movie’s plot is engaging and it is definitely an “everyone’s worst nightmare” kind of scenario as you miss the plane and get stranded with all of the hotels being booked. Honestly I would have just stayed at the hotel all night instead of going to a dicey motel. I’d take my chances with the food court and while it is hard to stay awake for so long, you can definitely pull it off for one night when the stakes are this high. If Neal had been a little more patient with this whole thing then maybe he could have spared himself a long voyage. If you haven’t watched this film yet then I’d recommend checking it out.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Annie Review


It’s time to look at a pretty popular musical from back in the day. Musicals can definitely be hit or miss depending on how good the songs are. Ironically the songs are usually way better in films that aren’t musicals and just happen to have a song or two. There are a lot of reasons for this, but a big one is that the songs are usually professionally done in the background as opposed to the characters actually singing on screen. The on screen songs just don’t end up having the same effect and pale in comparison to these big blockbuster songs. Annie’s songs aren’t bad for the most part but they won’t really stack up in the long run.

The movie starts by introducing us to an orphanage run by Agatha. She really doesn’t like kids, but needs money in this tough economy so she made the hard call to run the place. Annie tries to keep the kids moral up but it gets tougher with each passing day. What is there to look forward to when you’re in such a mean place? Well, Annie won’t have to deal with this for much longer because she was selected to spend a week with the rich Mr. Warbucks. Warbucks is so rich that even the President defers to him. Now Annie can learn what it’s like to live in wealth with her dog, but can she learn to enjoy this or will she continue to look back and forget the future?

The premise is one of those plots that can be fun to think about. Who wouldn’t want to spend a weekend being as rich as humanly possible? Money can’t buy happiness but it can help you lease it for a while. Even more so considering that Annie was an orphan at a pretty badly run orphanage so she has a lot of reason to be happy at this new place. That’s why she can seem rather ungrateful at times. Even after Warbucks has given her one of the best weekends ever she is still desperate to meet her parents and hops in the car of the first strangers who claim to be them. You can understand her wanting to meet her folks for closure, but just leaving with them like that? Doesn’t seem like the wisest course of action because you really don’t know if they’re good people or not. Whether they had reasons for leaving Annie or if they did it on a whim, it doesn’t change the fact that they never looked for her until a reward was placed.

Meanwhile Warbucks is definitely a lot of fun. He doesn’t let anything get in the way of his making money prior to Annie showing up. While he has a gruff exterior he ultimately does let Annie stay so the guy is pretty nice deep down. His romance plot with Grace is very cheesy though. For starters she works for him and workplace romances are always a landmine that you don’t want to go to. It would have been perfect if they were just good friends the whole time. So Warbucks’ character got watered down quite a bit by the end of the film, but he was still an engaging character on the whole.

Then we have Agatha who is one of the main antagonists here. She’s definitely a very mean character who is always messing with the orphans and somehow nobody has caught or fired her yet. She makes moves on any guy who shows up and somehow even seems to be succeeding with two of them. Her character is way too exaggerated and most of her scenes are pretty iffy. I think the film could have dialed down the her desperate romance angle a bit. She’s also rather mean to the dog, I never like how they used to lift the dog by the scruff of their neck, same with cats. There’s no way that’s comfortable for the animal. By the end you just aren’t able to buy into her redemption arc.

You’ve got two more villains in Rooster and Lily. They’re a little more sinister than Agatha as they don’t mind hurting the kids if it means they will get rich. They have a long song with the 3 of them where Lily keeps beating up Agatha mid-dance without Rooster realizing it so he’s not the brightest guy in the bunch. Agatha was also losing that match entirely so we know who the tougher character is. It’s almost a bit odd since Agatha seemed to be winning in their initial encounter but I suppose you can’t win them all. The villains weren’t bad. They served their purpose at least and gave us a little danger in the climax.

As for Grace, she’s probably the nicest character in the group. Without her Annie wouldn’t have had a chance at all. Grace got her in even if it meant using some blackmail and then she convinced Warbucks to let Annie stay. Grace really put in a lot of effort to make sure that everything worked out and was the unsung hero of the movie. You’d think that the other orphans would have been helpful but most of them were mean and petty throughout the film. Even when Annie was in trouble one of them didn’t want to hear about it and several of the others were ready to give up. Some friends right? Warbucks had some good assistants but none of them were around when Annie was really in danger.

Annie has a lot of fun little moments with her exploring the mansion and the film is at its best when things are going well there. I’d be up for a full movie of just having fun enjoying the rich life. There is so much you can do when you’ve got that much money and the film could have explored that angle. Throwing in the villains distracted from that part as there was far less time for such things. Sandy was a lot of fun though and I’m always up for a dog companion so long as he gets a happy ending. I’d like to see Hallmark do a modern version of this with a grown up who is selected to live in a castle for a week. It’s a plot that I’d say could be executed better than how this one went about it.

Overall, Annie is a decent musical that can be a bit too extreme at times. . Agatha’s character is a bit odd with how mean she is yet the kids keep messing with her. It’s likely done to keep the film from being too dark which I can appreciate. How much you enjoy the film will likely depend on how much you can tolerate Annie. Warbucks is a really fun character and in a sense you’re hoping he doesn’t crack under the pressure and stays as the suave rich guy that we all know. The film is largely predictable so you’re really just along for the ride as you hope the execution is good. You should be entertained all the way through which is the important thing.

Overall 5/10

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Bugsy Malone Review


It’s time for a rather odd parody of the usual gangster film. Gangster films can be hit or miss as they all tend to be pretty similar but I haven’t watched enough of them to say that the whole genre is the same. That being said, a parody of one should have a lot of potential. This potential vanished when the kids showed up. The plot of this movie is that it’s kids who are acting like gangsters…and it doesn’t really work. The gimmick gets old after about 5 minutes and the rest of the film proceeds to drag on.

The film starts off with one of the gangsters getting iced by an opposing gang. He was supposedly one of the best in the biz but you would never guess it from the scene. He is murdered by whip cream bullets. His boss isn’t happy about this but he doesn’t have much time to worry since his other minions are pretty incompetent as well. He decides to start messing up the opposing gang in retaliation. Nobody crosses Bugsy Malone! There is actually a fairly large cast in this film which is a bit surprising. You do have to give the film props for effort. We’ve got 2 different romance plots, several of the gangsters have their own leads and it all results in a big meetup at the end of the film.

The whole film is a parody including the climax but if you take that away then the setting of the climax and the scale is pretty impressive. The film basically breaks the third wall here though as everyone survives the bullet shower and they all become friends. It’s a wholesome ending I suppose, but not the one you would be hoping for. It would have been fun if everyone just fainted from the whip cream and the narrator just says that this is why gangs are dying out. Eventually all of the gangs would always start fighting so there is no way to truly come out on top.

Here’s why the film didn’t work for me. I’m already not a big fan of most kid characters in these kinds of things. Kids can be pretty annoying and it’s hard to take them seriously. It’s rare to have a kid character who is really on the ball and talking with eloquent dialogue. That is not the case in this film. The gangster accents work pretty well as they are fairly realistic so I have to give a good amount of credit for that. Aside from that I just couldn’t take them seriously. The film would have ironically been far superior if the characters had all been adults. The way I see it, the kids part was a gimmick that the film was leaning on. It didn’t pan out. After the initial few minutes you’re over this “twist” and are ready to go back to the actual movie.

The movie also ends up being rather boring as a result. The characters go through the motions but kids have a really hard time being funny or engaging. I don’t think you’ll even crack a smile from start to finish while watching this movie. The romance plot is pretty terrible with the characters both being unreasonable. The gangsters are villains of course, but they’re not even charismatic so it’s not like you can really root for them. So the film didn’t have engaging characters, had fairly subpar writing and the pacing was pretty bad. There’s really not much left to salvage it.

It’s still not a 2 or lower because it’s not like there was any terrible content here. It’s still pretty kid friendly and as I mentioned the film tries to be ambitious, it just doesn’t work. Ah yes, did I mention this was a musical? We get quite a few songs here. There’s the one from the kid who wants people to recognize that he is a tap dancer so he goes on a long tangent about this. There’s a big one in the climax as all of the gang members sing around and try to have a good time, etc. None of the songs are all that good and certainly pale in comparison to the classic Disney songs.

Overall, Bugsy Malone was certainly an experimental film. You can always make the case that it’s good to try new things out even if it doesn’t work out. It’s a tough case but I understand the logic. Eventually you’ll hopefully find a formula that works out, but this isn’t it. Even if you’re a big fan of gangster films I would advise you to stay far away from this one. The fact that it goes through every typical gangster plot doesn’t really help its case because you could just watch one of those instead of this one. Bugsy Malone is not exciting or engaging and if anything it’ll just make you want to watch a real gangster film. Kids can’t hold their own films and if I ever need to give someone proof of that I’ll have them watch this film. It’s the easiest way to explain why this is the case.

Overall 3/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Short Circuit 2 Review


It’s time to take a look at the sequel to the original Short Circuit. This time we get more of a focus on the sidekick Ben as the leads from the last film do not return. I actually thought this film was an improvement over the first one. I still wouldn’t call it great or anything, but it was pretty entertaining and I did like the climax. We get a fairly iconic song and a lot of tension.

So the film starts off by showing us that Ben is now selling tiny Johnnys down at the street. I don’t know how they let him sell government technology like this or even how nobody is buying them when they are clearly super sophisticated. There’s a lot of plot details that you just have to roll with right off the bat. Anyway, that aside he ends up meeting a girl named Sandy who is interested in the product. She wants 1000 of them within the month so she can finally have a good deal to show her boss. Her job is on the line because she has been unable to develop any good toys for the company. Ben is convinced he can’t do this, but he is stiff armed by Fred into doing so. Once Sandy leaves the two of them realize that they are in big trouble. Especially since some thugs keep showing up to their factory and beating everyone up. Luckily Johnny 5 shows up and decides that he is going to help these two.

Johnny 5 is incredibly advanced so making the 1000 is a piece of cake at this point. As a result the film needs to add some drama to make the film longer. We get that in a few different ways. First we have Fred who is trying to sell Johnny for big bucks which causes a trust issue between them. Then you have Ben who has fallen for Sandy immediately and keeps trying to ask her out but failing. Finally you have 3 comic relief villains who are trying to steal from the nearby bank. When intimidation doesn’t work it appears that they will have to use Johnny’s naivety against him. It’s an underhanded technique…which means it is perfect for these villains! Johnny also isn’t the smartest tool in the shed so it’s not like it’s a very difficult plan.

The main thing that holds this film back is the romance plot. It’s one of the worst ones that I’ve seen in a while. The point of the plot is to be rather cringey as Ben isn’t exactly used to dealing with girls, but that doesn’t make the plot any more tolerable. It’s all rather cheesy and forced the whole time. Even Ben should know better than to just read off the screen when it’s saying absurd things. The whole plot goes a bit too far. Ben is a lot better than he was in the first film, but he’s not yet a great character. He still gets in over his head and makes too many mistakes.

Fred is the far more entertaining character. He’s got a lot of street smarts so he isn’t about to get tricked or swindled by corporate. He does let greed go to his head though and it’s hard to simply wave off his betrayal of Johnny 5 in the climax. He really was going to sell the guy which is crazy since by then he knew that Johnny was alive. When it came time to fight off the thugs Fred also looked absolutely terrible. He is definitely the definition of a character who is all talk and no action. Still a fun character who elevates the movie though.

Then we have Sandy who is a big step up from the first heroine. Her journey to try and impress her boss is a lot more sympathetic than what they were going for with Stephanie. She is really desperate to do well this time and puts in the effort. The romance is pretty cheesy as I mentioned but at least Sandy was just ignoring that bit for as long as she could. The cast of the film isn’t all that big so the only other major character would be Oscar. Compared to most of these characters he is a genius so it’s pretty easy for him to get his plan across. The heroes just didn’t really know how to deal with a character like this. Johnny looked terrible in letting the comic relief villains sneak up on him in the end though.

That does take us to Johnny. He is much better than in the first film because he is no longer quite as new to the game. He still does act like a rookie at times like when people trick him into breaking into cars though. Johnny also tends to lose most of his battles by underestimating his opponents which isn’t a great trick either. I know this all sounds negative, but what helps is how he handles himself in the climax. Right when the “I Need a Hero” song starts to play you know that things are going to get good. Yes it’s a little over dramatic but this is a moment where a little cheese is fine. You’re not really meant to take this seriously but it’s still a powerful moment since Johnny is close to death at this point. It was a solid way to redeem his character right at the end and it also bumped up the movie’s soundtrack at the same time.

Overall, Short Circuit 2 was more fun than the first one. The writing was a little better with some more enjoyable jokes. Perhaps it is just that the New York style or humor works better for these guys. Fred was just a really good character to have some banter with Ben. Johnny also looked better and the climax was actually fun. It’s too bad we never got a third film since they were having this upward trend. Perhaps it will still come out at some point although it sounds like that isn’t very likely at this point. If you want to see a fun little film then this is a solid one to check out. It really doesn’t connect to the first almost at all so you can easily just jump into this one.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Short Circuit Review


It’s time to look at a film from a while back that I only began hearing about recently. Apparently it was a pretty big film back in the day. It’s a nice enough story and was more enjoyable than E.T. although I wouldn’t call it the most exciting flick out there. You should be reasonably entertained throughout the adventure although you’ll be shaking your head at how the characters keep making the worst decisions they can think of.

The film starts by showing off the robots through an exhibition to the army. These guys can take down opposing armies and seem to have quite a lot of potential. Unfortunately one of them becomes sentient and decides to live his own life. In the next film he’ll be known as Johnny so I may as well call him that here. Johnny meets up with a girl named Stephanie who believes he is an alien. Eventually she learns the truth and must now decide if she will help keep him safe or if she will deliver him to the feds. Can she trust them not to murder the poor guy?

Naturally in a film like this it will likely depend at least on part whether or not you think he is truly sentient. Would turning Johnny off really be the equivalent of murder? It gets pretty philosophical. Right now I don’t believe we are at the point where a robot could get sentient, but hypothetically if it was possible then naturally destroying a robot would still be the wrong thing to do. Here we have Johnny literally begging for his life so Stephanie is right in trying to keep him safe. That being said, she really doesn’t do a good job of it and gets them into a lot of sticky situations.

Johnny isn’t really my kind of character because he just doesn’t know enough about human culture. A good chunk of the film is him making a mess of Stephanie’s life and constantly missing the point. He ends up helping out more towards the end of the film as he kidnaps one of the villains and saves Stephanie’s life, but it takes him a long while to get to that point. He’s better than E.T. because that isn’t all that hard to be honest but I can’t really give him a lot more credit than that. In the end he can barely hold his own in a fight and usually has to rely on gimmicks despite having some pretty good armaments. That tells me that he still needs to work on his battle strategies.

As for Stephanie, she was trying a little too hard to be quirky. She wasn’t one of the more engaging main characters out there. She means well of course, but that’s not enough on its own. She does beat some of the other characters though. Ben is one of the scientists trying to locate Johnny and he’s easily the worst character in the film. The film takes the trope of the scientists not knowing much about human culture way too far. Almost all of his lines are pretty terrible and he’s really just good at ruining genuinely wholesome moments. He is a little better in the sequel but was written really terribly here.

Newton is the character who should be more reasonable. He’s a scientist who built his robot a little too well and Stephanie has to convince him that Johnny’s change is real. This is all well and good except that Newton is way too stubborn about the whole thing. It takes him an eternity to get with the program and his romance subplot with Stephanie is about as rushed as you could possibly imagine. Newton had potential to be a good character and has some decent scenes, but they weren’t nearly good enough.

The standout character here was actually Howard. He easily has the best scene in the film as he surprises everyone by whipping out a gun when the heroes were heading for the getaway car. It showed that he still had his old agent skills at the ready even though he no longer works in the field. That’s the kind of boss you want to have. He commanded respect and I would have liked to have sen more of him. He was also quick to fire another member for disobeying orders later on which is the right step. You can’t properly lead if you have someone undermining your authority.

The action scenes when they occur are pretty good. It was nice to see Johnny take down the other robots. They may be a bit clunky so the fights aren’t super big or anything, but they’re still solid all the same. While the film’s humor is usually missing the mark, it does have some solid scenes. The writing is pretty bad so the movie couldn’t deliver as well as it might have wanted. Short Circuit is an interesting title in that sense as I wouldn’t call it a bad film but it makes enough mistakes where I can’t call it a very good film either. That’s why it is square in the middle. It does enough right to hang in there.

Overall, Short Circuit is not the best film I’ve seen, but it will keep you entertained from start to finish. Think of it as a good film to watch once, but you won’t need to check it out again. If you like a wholesome story about a robot learning how to make friends then this is the one for you. It can get a little cheesy and the characters are pretty weak, but the core concept isn’t all that bad. It’s almost like Terminator except the robots simply aren’t a true threat at the moment. They hype up Johnny’s laser at the beginning but it never truly becomes all that powerful if you ask me. He still takes a lot of losses as the film goes on.

Overall 5/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Bubsy: Paws on Fire Review


Long have I waited to check out this new Bubsy game. The first one was a little too short which ultimately limited how good it could be. I couldn’t help but feel that the game left a lot on the table. While the sequel is longer, it mostly thrives on artificial length which is regrettable. It has enough faults to where I can’t call it very good but it’s still a solid play through in the end. I’ve been a Bubsy fan for ages so it was disappointing to see this game not quite meet expectations, but I guess they can’t all be winners.

The game starts with an incredible opening cutscene where the kids tell Bubsy that his help is needed once more. Aliens show up to mock Bubsy but he ignores them and gets ready to save the world. Even if nobody is ultimately grateful to him for doing so that doesn’t stop Bubsy from doing the right thing. It’s part of why he is such a good hero, he just doesn’t get slowed down by what’s going on. It’s why Bubsy is a hero you can really rely on. The rest of the game unfortunately has no plot until literally the final cutscene where we get an epilogue. I was hoping for cutscenes between each world but I suppose that was too much to hope for.

So, as I mentioned the opening cutscene is amazing. A few times the game disconnected my controller so I was forced to hear the beginning quite a bit. I think what really makes it so good is the timing of the music and the characters running in. I just haven’t seen that level of expertise in quite time so it was most impressive. In general the graphics are quite good and the soundtrack works well. The technical elements of the game really hold up quite well. It’s just too bad that the gameplay can’t match it so lets talk about that.

This is a 2D endless runner. Personally I always felt that endless runners are best in 3D because you can really see where you’re going. Think Subway Surfers or something like that. When it’s in 2D you run the risk of “cheap” deaths where obstacles come in a little too quickly or without warning. It was always my issue with 2D Sonic games. This one keeps the deaths to a minimum, but there are still times where you have to shake your head. There will be 2 paths and one leads to an eventual death but you don’t know this until you take the path. That’s an impossible obstacle then unless you already knew which obstacle to take so I have to give those levels a thumbs down. The level designs really weren’t the best here.

The actual gameplay is smooth at least. There are 3 playable characters and they’ve all got different styles of gameplay. Beyond running and jumping you might be able to glide, double jump, ground pound, or fire off blasters while flying instead of running at all. You’ll master all of the gameplay before long. There are 3 worlds in the game and each world has 9 stages + 1 boss level. That should be easy to complete in an hour or two right? Well, one reason why you can’t do that is because of artificial length. The game forces you to get a bunch of medals in order to unlock the next levels. Completing a level gets you one medal. You can complete a level 3 times (once per character) and if you got all the pieces of a collectible you can beat it a fourth time with another character. You will need to get 75 medals to unlock the final boss. Let’s do the math here for a sec, if you beat all of the levels once you will only have 27 medals. This means that you have to replay most of the levels 2 times. Replaying old levels isn’t really my idea of a good time.

I’ll do it of course, but I don’t like being forced to do it. It should totally be 100% your choice and the fact that it isn’t is what I don’t like. It’s really just a way to pad the game’s length without actually creating new levels. I was surprised when I saw that this was the case and not in a good way. This basically confirmed that the game wouldn’t be getting the solid 7 that almost every platformer is able to achieve. The game just feels really lazy in doing this and going through the levels can feel more tedious than fun. I’m down with playing each level once but not doing them all 3 times.

Overall, Bubsy: Paws on Fire should have been an amazing game. It was going to continue the revival of Bubsy just the way everyone wanted it. Unfortunately this just wasn’t in the cards. Bubsy ended up squandering his chance to be truly great and it ended up costing us all. This is still a good game and I would recommend it but you need to like endless runners. There is virtually no story here and there is no replay value to be had after beating all of the levels. At best you can try to get new high scores and buy some T shirts but there’s nothing noteworthy here. You just gotta go through these levels over and over again until you have the medals. If we get a third Bubsy game I hope it goes back to the series roots.

Overall 6/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego DC Batman: Family Matters Review


It’s time to look at one of the latest Lego adventures. DC has been particularly good at using this format and this movie is no exception. This time we’re back to focusing just on the Batman characters and it works out pretty well if you ask me. Batman steals the show and we get to adapt both the Red Hood and Omac sagas in one film. That’s pretty impressive.

The movie starts out with Batman really not liking the fact that he has to continue living as Bruce Wayne. It’s all just a big distraction from his true passion in life which is beating up enemies. It’s gotten to the point where Batman can’t even stay awake during a board meeting. Something’s got to give and he gets his chance when Wayne Enterprises develops the Brother Eye. In theory it can replace Bruce Wayne so Batman jumps on the idea and even decides to sell Wayne Enterprises entirely. Now he can be Batman 24/7. The only problem is that the city is as dangerous as ever. A mysterious figure is bumping off all of Batman’s allies one by one. If he doesn’t stop this guy soon then everyone is doomed. Additionally, Brother Eye may be deadlier than it appears to be. (Although it looks pretty deadly from the jump.)

One of the main reasons why this film works so well is because of how good Batman looks. He’s got that smug confidence that we’re all used to seeing at this point. Not only is Batman highly skilled but he knows it and it’s even gone to his head by this point. Only Alfred is really able to keep him in check. The others can just hope that Batman sees it their way. The voice actor has done a good job of becoming an iconic voice for the character as well. There doesn’t seem to be anything that Batman can’t do at this point. He beats Solomon Grundy with ease and always has a plan of action even if Brother Eye proves to be a formidable foe.

The rest of the Bat characters are also fun. Damian wants to prove himself as Robin but has to work pretty hard at this since Batman really doesn’t trust him yet. He does well enough when it counts and takes down a bunch of the robots with ease. Batwoman gets one of the larger roles from the allies though. She’s certainly got a lot of confidence and takes Killer Croc on with no hesitation. I like the concept of Batwoman since she’s more of a loner like Huntress. Batwoman doesn’t necessarily work under Batman since they usually have no affiliation. That being said, her skills do suffer a bit as a result since she doesn’t get that training. Here she has got that confidence that you always want to see in a hero.

Batgirl gets less to do as a result though. She holds a petty grudge against Nightwing for a good portion of the film. Her fight with Scarecrow was fun as she had to work her way through illusions and mirrors to get at him. The mind games definitely took their toll though which made Red Hood’s job pretty easy. Nightwing looks good and is the only one to not fall for the quick sucker hit. At least he gave Red Hood a good fight and that makes sense. From all of the Robins I do consider Dick Grayson to be the most skilled. After that I would put Jason Todd as number 2 and then Damian as 3. While I do think Tim Drake is a great character and a fun Robin, he’d have to round out the group almost by default. The Robins are just stacked when it comes to power.

Red Hood definitely looks really good here. He gets a lot of hype and seems to be the smartest character next to Batman. The film has no shortage of emotional moments like this plot line as well as the reason why Brother Eye is so sore. Red Hood’s identity may not be much of a secret and I don’t think it was supposed to be, but it’s still nice to have the reveal later on. It’s just a good arc in general whether it’s through a film or a Lego adventure. We didn’t even need the Omac subplot and the film would have still been great but it made for a solid climax.

It’s always good to round things out with some big action scenes and Family Matters didn’t forget about that part. I can’t really say that I had any issues with the film. As far as animation goes there isn’t really anything to say because it’s the same as always. Either you like the Lego style or you don’t. This film wouldn’t be changing your opinion one way or the other because it’s not trying anything different with that. I don’t think there is much you could try either. Legos will always look like Legos or it wouldn’t be a film in that style. That’s the way I see it at least.

A Lego film will usually live or die on the writing. If the writing is bad then the jokes won’t really land and the whole thing will fall flat. What the film is hoping for is that the jokes will be pretty funny and this one succeeds there. Right from the gate we get a lot of great lines. I wouldn’t even mind a whole film about Bruce Wayne just mocking everyone and trying to make it a whole film without people blowing his cover. Batman may not be as cautious when he’s Bruce Wayne like when he’s talking about his Batman job on the phone, but it goes hand in hand with his contempt for everyone. Batman doesn’t think it’s a security risk to be on the phone because nobody’s smart enough to stop him. The arrogance makes for a lot of comedic moments.

Overall, Family Matters is one of the stronger DC Lego specials. The dialogue is some of the best I’ve seen in the franchise and there’s a lot of action here. If you mentally switch the animation out this could legitimately be one of the big DC animated films. The fights are good and the pacing is tight. The film feels like it ends pretty quickly as a result. If you like Lego or at least don’t mind the format then I highly recommend checking this one out. You really can’t go wrong here and it’s always fun to see Batman getting his hype. Even if his scenes may not all be meant to be taken seriously they’re still hype.

Overall 8/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Koro-Sensei Q! Review


It’s time to look at a parody/comedy spinoff to a main manga that wasn’t even that good to begin with. From the start you can tell that this was going to get a little messy and unfortunately it was as bad as I thought. Mind you, I wouldn’t call the manga terrible or anything like that, but it’s pretty bad. You probably won’t even crack a smile as you read through the gags because the manga goes for the low hanging fruit each time. All of the jokes are painfully predictable and never have any imagination to them. The jokes are also repetitive so you will be seeing the sames ones over and over again as the series tries to get the laughs back.

The basic plot of the series follows that of the main one. The heroes live in a fantasy land that is structured a whole lot like an RPG. One day, the big bad of the game shows up and decides to train the main characters on how to fight. None of them are thrilled about this, but at the same time getting instruction from the strongest monster of all time should be quite valuable right? The heroes decide that they will try to destroy him during the lessons. Each of the heroes has a different glitch which either gives them super powers or just makes life generally awkward. Koro will help them learn how to take advantage of these skills and he’ll have to do so quickly. There are other villains in this world who want to make a move as well as heroes who wish to hunt him. One thing’s for sure, Koro isn’t taking this seriously so neither should we!

That’s the basic premise of the title and the series never really gets much of a plot beyond that. There are various mini arcs and little stories in the middle but they’re all just to further this story goal. We get some basic development for the characters, but it’s all usually wiped away pretty quick. The big developments in the series are the arrival of the elite fighters, Koro’s old protege showing up, and the hero group having a civil war amongst themselves. These plots take a few chapters to resolve. Most of the chapters are just one off fillers that don’t really do much.

So what’s the problem? Well, first off the characters are all pretty terrible. Koro is the instructor but he is the worst possible role model for these kids. He lies a lot, tends to be interested in pretty sketchy material, and never takes things seriously. Half of the problems that the heroes face in this series are all because of him. The guy loves messing with the heroes to the point where it feels like he is actively trying to get in their way. The sad part is that the kids are trying to take him down, they just aren’t powerful enough to do so. There’s not much to talk about with the rest of the characters because they aren’t really characters. They’re like distorted versions of their real selves.

The series also has a fanservice issue which is unfortunate. The least a gag manga like this can do is to avoid a problem like that right? It should be beneath such a series, but this one has it occur quite a bit. A lot of the jokes are about the fanservice as well which doesn’t help matters. This already meant that the series was going to be doomed. As I mentioned earlier, the jokes are also very repetitive. All the jokes about Nagisa are that he looks like a girl but his glitch makes him look like Goku once it is activated. Then you have Karma who has a pot fall on his head every time he starts to brag. Considering that he likes to brag a lot, you see a whole bunch of pots and pans falling on him all the time. It probably happens in just about every chapter. One guy always forgets part of his clothes, etc. Every character is a walking gag and so the joke happens whenever they are present. That’s not how you set up a good comedy plot.

Another problem isn’t just for the series but in general with gag manga. Without a story to get behind or actual characters, there is no reason to get invested into the series. The fact that this is a spinoff is supposed to help since you are already used to the characters from the main series, but it didn’t have the strongest cast of fighters to begin with. As a result this one really didn’t have a whole lot of potential to start with. I’ve yet to meet a total parody gag manga that was very good. You need to have some kind of story like Dragon Ball SD at least. That gives you something to work with. A good gag manga should be like an abridged series. It pokes fun as everyone and everything but still has some kind of a focus of narrative to get behind.

At least the art is fairly good. The characters all look correct from the original series and you can always tell what is happening. You can follow the events easy enough and since the series doesn’t really have a lot of fight scenes it’s not like the series really has to exert itself. In the end, this is at least one positive that I can point to in the series. Even in the image below you can see how the art is actually pretty good. In a different series you would actually expect a pretty hype chapter to follow that. We don’t quite go that far but it’s nice to think about.

It’s also fun to see Goku show up even if it’s only for 2-3 panels at most. The series ends with a bit of a cliffhanger that could be cool for just about any other series so I’ll accept that as well. I think the best positive for the series is that it could have been worse. For as unimpressive as it was in the end, there’s always another level of awful you could get to. This series avoided making any lethal mistakes that would have lost it more points even if it is already a pretty negative score.

Overall, Koro-Sensei Q is not a good manga. The humor is pretty bad and the characters are terrible. I’m still trying to find a good reason why you would even want to read this one and I can’t think of any. If you’re going to get into the franchise then you should read the main series as it is still better than this one. This one brings in all of the worst traits from the original and just magnifies them. The art is good and that’s about all I can say for this series. The best thing to do is to simply avoid it. The title may not be that long but you can still use your new found time to do something else. I actually didn’t realize this got an anime, maybe that version would be a little more enjoyable.

Overall 3/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Review


It’s time to look at a fairly iconic film from back in the day. Just about everyone’s heard of Bueller’s Day Off from back in the day. How could you not? It was basically a game changer at the time with breaking the fourth wall and those parts have aged pretty well. It’s a fun film where the characters go all out in how crazy they can get although Ferris and Rooney are carrying this film from start to finish.

The film starts off with Ferris deciding to stay home from school this time. It’s a beautiful day out so he really doesn’t want to have to miss it. He fakes being sick and then once his parents leave he is ready to have fun. He calls up his best friend Cameron and also gets his girlfriend Sloane to leave school early. The 3 of them then decide to do everything they’d want to do in a day including going to a parade, a fancy restaurant, a pool, etc. They have quite a lot of time to really do whatever they want to do over the course of the day. The only thing that could possibly get in their way is Ferris’ old enemy…Mr. Rooney.

Mr. Rooney is definitely the best character in the film. He’s the only character who is actually able to see what’s going on right from the start. The others are just being manipulated and tricked, but not Mr. Rooney. The tough part is just that he’s pretty much outnumbered right from the start. Even when he gets hard proof through the computer it gets deleted because Ferris is apparently a top hacker on top of being a genius and everyone’s hero. Rooney has a lot of confidence though and goes all in when he’s sure that he’s got Ferris beat. He endures quite a lot of punishment from the cast by the end of the film. At one point he even gets kicked into an unconscious state. That being said, this part wasn’t his best plan. Even if he did bump into Ferris at his house…what would that prove? The whole point is that Ferris was supposed to be at home sick.

Rooney does end up giving us one of the most tense ending scenes I’ve seen in a while. He’s forced to choose between getting on a bus with some kids of trying to make it home in his beaten condition. The problem is that once he enters the bus it’s actually his group of students which makes things even worse. His rep is really never going to be the same after that but since the school would be gossiping anyway I wouldn’t take it too hard if I was him. It just means he’s really got to get Ferris now, but it’ll be tough since even the police force is on his side.

As I mentioned, Ferris is the other character who looks great throughout. He has plans for just about everything and things always do seem to go his way. Whatever Ferris tries ends up working and a good reason for that is that Ferris took the time to get to know everyone. Everyone already likes Ferris as a person so that makes it easier for him to get away with things. If he already had a bad rep then things would be a little more difficult. One of the more emotional moments is when a drug dealer explains how Ferris is a good guy to talk to and has a lot of advice on various things. It shows that Ferris is going around really doing his best to help everyone he comes across. Now that’a selfless character.

Meanwhile you’ve got his sister Jeanie doing her best to bust Ferris. She is jealous of the fact that things always go well for him and wants to get him in big trouble. It makes her appear as pretty petty the whole time. It really shouldn’t matter to her and she should just attend school. She even actively goes out of her way to hurt people trying to help Ferris like when she threw away all of the donations for him. That was definitely a very mean thing to do. Her character is just too far gone to redeem by the end and her quick affair with the drug guy didn’t help matters.

She wasn’t my least favorite character though. That would have to be Cameron. Cameron is Ferris’ best friend and he actually was sick at the beginning of the movie. He spends a lot of time complaining about this and telling Ferris he should have stayed home. It’s a little late for that once you’re actually outside so that just makes him a bit more annoying. He panics quite a lot and then when he has his big moment at the end all he really does is mess up the car and put everyone else in even bigger trouble. Even if Cameron’s trying to prove a point, wrecking a car that is worth so much money is just a bad idea. It really doesn’t help anything and he’s just annoying throughout. Ferris probably would have had more fun if it was just him and Sloane.

Sloane’s a reasonable character although despite appearing throughout the movie it’s hard to really gauge what her personality is. She seems to enjoy just tagging along with Ferris’ adventures but otherwise probably wouldn’t be quite as wild as him. It seems like this isn’t exactly a new occurrence as she plays along with his scheme pretty casually and doesn’t tend to panic much. That’s how it should be, you gotta just take things in stride so Sloane did good.

The film’s at its best with Ferris messing with the adults and just having a lot of fun. He’s certainly done a good job of getting his room all tricked out so that he can run this scam. The only thing is that when you think about it, he’s got so many things set up that he must have done it more than once. His parents act like it’s the first time and usually he just cuts out school the normal way. If Ferris did plan all of this out for one shot then he really did put in a ton of effort. You may feel bad for the parents here because they do their best to be really supportive of Ferris throughout.

Overall, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a fun film. The idea of taking a sick day off on a beautiful day makes sense. Typically I would always take one sick day per semester too for kicks although I didn’t have to pretend to be sick since you are allowed an unexcused absence. Part of what really makes the film work is the big rivalry between Ferris and Rooney. You need that kind of dynamic for the film to work and both of them fulfill their roles perfectly. Cameron and Jeanie’s roles could have been axed though and it wouldn’t have really changed much. At times the film can be a bit exaggerated with how badly Rooney is beat up, but this does go hand in hand with the tone the film is going for. It’s an extreme comedy so some slapstick like that is to be expected. If you haven’t watched this film yet and are in the mood for a good comedy then I’d recommend checking it out.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Blind Date Review


It’s time to take a look at a rom-com from a while back. It definitely gets quite crazy and is at its best when the film is being as nuts as possible. The very premise does hurt a bit though as Walter is not a character you can really sympathize with from the start and Nadia also looks pretty bad in not going with her instincts. All in all, everyone comes out of this film pretty messy, but it is an entertaining movie with a fun guard dog.

The movie starts off with Walter getting ready to head to a party, but he doesn’t have a date. He’s desperate enough to ask his brother Ted for help despite being burned on many occasions. Ted sets him up with a character named Nadia. The only warning Walter needs to abide by is that she really can’t handle having any alcohol. Walter realizes that he has a very prestigious party to go to with Nadia. His job is on the line here to land this big investor and he would never want to do anything to ruin that. So…with a heavy heart and a clear mind Walter buys Nadia the biggest bottle of alcohol he can find and pressures her into drinking it. She does and proceeds to go nuts on his party. Maybe this wasn’t exactly his best idea?

Walter’s one of the biggest fools I’ve seen in a while and no matter how much he blows up at Nadia later on you have to pin 100% of the blame on him. None of this would be happening if he had just not given her the drink. I’m going to give Nadia some grief for this later on as well, but Walter’s got to know better. This was a serious party with people he knew and not respecting Nadia’s wishes to avoid the drink is pretty bad as well. He also tries to take revenge on Nadia by messing up her party but he’s not even drunk so he has no excuse. It’s just petty revenge at that point and makes him look terrible. At the end of the day a blind date is always going to be risky because you don’t know the person. The whole concept of a blind date is a little suspect if you ask me.

As for Nadia, if she knows that she can’t have alcohol then she should really just put her foot down. As someone who doesn’t drink alcohol myself, people naturally offer me to have some quite frequently. There’s always a lot of pressure to drink, but as long as you’re comfortable in the fact that this isn’t who you are, it should be easy to turn it aside. I’m not going to say that peer pressure is underrated because a lot of people have trouble with it, but one surefire way to block it out is to fully accept yourself. That’s something Nadia hasn’t quite done yet. She has the drink and then goes crazy. Now, we know that when you’re drunk you still wouldn’t do anything that you at least didn’t think about while sober. Nadia doesn’t do anything super out of character and if anything she does help some people out. It just comes at the expense of dignity and Walter’s job.

While it’s played off as a bad thing, she did help one lady get a bunch of money by suing her husband so that part worked out. Unfortunately the film does try to still give us the romance plot between Walter and Nadia which really doesn’t make any sense here. The two can’t stand each other from start to finish so it’s a little hard to buy into the ending. Nadia is also way too quick to give a deal to David that she will marry him if he helps out Walter. That’s just not a deal that you can make. She should have tried just about anything else, but basically selling yourself away forever is not the thing to do. Particularly not to someone that bad.

David’s the worst character in the film. He’s a super violent ex of Nadia’s and it’s easy to see why the two aren’t together when the film starts up. He’s constantly trying to murder Walter and gets pretty crazy about it. The film makes it a point to say what a bad guy he is. The fact that his Dad is a judge just makes for a lucky break for him since he gets away with a whole lot more than he would otherwise. The court scene is fun as always though. I always like a court room setting whether it is played seriously or for laughs. In this film’s case it was definitely the latter but it worked well. I liked the judge, the guy made for a charismatic character. He may allow family to get in the way of justice, but at least we can assume that he is able to handle most cases in a fair manner.

The climax involves a long espionage sequence as Walter tries to break in the building, but must get past the guard dog. One mistake that most owners make in this film is that they always tell the dog to quiet down when he’s trying to alert them to danger. Isn’t the whole point of having a guard dog hoping that he will bark if a stranger is near? I mean…this isn’t exactly rocket science people. If the dog is barking and he never does that then something is wrong. All of the characters act like he’s never barked before so that should warrant a full examination of the grounds. This is a comedy, but I bring it up because it happens in serious films too. It’s always a shame for the dog who is just trying to do his best.

At times the film goes pretty far with its slapstick humor to the point where the characters will likely never regain their reputation. How do you bounce back from all of this? The most tragic part of the film is when Walter gets his car stolen by a gang of thieves and even gets held at knife point. He was a few inches from death which has definitely got to be traumatic. The scene is pretty crazy because these guys even kidnap the entire house somehow. I figured it was a movie set at first but surprisingly the film didn’t seem to go that way.

Overall, Blind Date is a fun film. The romance is very weak and just seems to be there to fulfill the cliches. The film is at its best when the characters are ruining each other’s lives or the climax at the end which is a lot of fun. It may go on for a little too long, but I liked seeing the guard dog chase everyone around. It’s always nice to see everyone trying to sneak around in such a large mansion. While this film won’t quite have enough replay value or high points for me to make it a high recommendation, it’s still a solid comedy film if you haven’t checked it out yet.

Overall 6/10