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

Coma Review


It’s time for an old school thriller dealing with a massive conspiracy. Conspiracy films like this are always pretty interesting because even though you know the heroes are most likely doomed you want to judge how realistic it is. Conspiracies have and continue to happen in real life. Not everything is a conspiracy though as much as it may seem like that if you stay online long enough. Conspiracy films have to feel at least a little believable and I have to say that this one passes the bill here. You could see this happening to an extent, the fact that it came out in the 70s helps a lot since there would be less cameras and such back then to actually be double checking everything.

The film starts with Dr. Susan working in the surgical wing of a big hospital. She is one of the place’s best workers and always gives each task her 100% effort. It has paid off quite well for her, but one day her best friend dies during what was supposed to be a normal operation. Everything in the chart looks perfectly normal so Susan is disturbed, but the doctors tell her that it was just a freak accident. This doesn’t calm her down and her boyfriend Mark, who is also a surgeon at the hospital, does not seem to believe her. As Susan tries to dip deeper into this she notices a lot of other identical cases and now there is an assassin trying to hunt her down. Who knows the truth about it and who can Susan trust? She’ll have to think about all of this very carefully.

This film is definitely a thriller and does a good job of it. You’ve got a nice heavy atmosphere from the jump with danger seemingly around every corner. You never really feel like Susan is all that safe because the people in the hospital know where she lives thanks to employment records and she still does have to show up to work or she’ll lose her job. She could move out of town, but running away isn’t in Susan’s playbook. She wants to solve this case no matter the danger. Fortunately Susan is a lot smarter and more resourceful than a lot of main characters. She’s always careful not to trust people too much.

Susan also doesn’t let her emotions get the better of her when her friend dies. She keeps a level head throughout and the only times she goes down is when she literally faints of exhaustion. By and large she is careful not to fall for any traps. You do have to wonder how Susan and Mark are together though because they don’t seem to get along at all throughout the whole movie. Even before the conspiracy they were having a lot of issues.

Mark doesn’t seem to believe Susan for most of the film. In his defense her story does seem far fetched and he still does help her out a lot of the time. Eventually he just starts to get in a little out of his depth and he also wants the big manager position so he has to try and keep her out of trouble in the meantime. Ultimately in the end he does make the right decision so that was good. The film’s ending is a lot better than I expected it to be. It still has that dark vibe where you don’t know who is safe, but it’s a lot less futile than others I’ve seen in this genre. The film lets you interpret everything however you’d like in the end. The two cops who were hanging around at the end? Maybe they’re legitimate cops or they could be silencers from “the company.” Both scenarios can be supported so you just have to decide what you think. Personally I definitely think it’s the latter.

So this sounds like a pretty great movie right? Well, it’s certainly very engaging, but it’s ultimately a film that wasn’t really going to get a very high score. The main reason for this is the various hospital scenes we get. We do get a lot of surgical operation moments which can be pretty grimacing. I’ve never been a fan of these kinds of things and while it may be a little unavoidable in a film that takes place in a hospital, it’s still hard to get around. There are a ton of these scenes and so they’re pretty violent even if it’s not in a combat scenario. It’s also pretty grim how they’re murdering all of these patients who are sedated.

We get to see one location with a lot of bodies in the middle of the film. It’s definitely a suspicious place with how it’s totally abandoned and nobody finds out about all the bodies there until Susan strolls through. It’s all a bit disturbing since everyone is naked of course and are being kept stable by some sci-fi robotic contraption. By this point in the film we’re definitely all the way inside the conspiracy. Money was always going to be at the root of something like this. Why do a conspiracy unless it’s going to make you rich right?

The romance in the film is a bit on the weak side. As I mentioned the pairing of Susan and Mark doesn’t really give itself time to make sense. We only have a quick beach adventure with them for the most part though. Usually the film is too busy with the thriller aspects to worry about the drama and I think that’s definitely a smart move. The action scenes are pretty solid here. You have the assassin going around bumping everyone off and he’s always one step behind Susan. When they’re playing cat and mouse it’s pretty tense as you wonder which room to pick. I always thought it’s an interesting backdrop to be in a big building because you could potentially pick the right door and the guy would never find you. On the other hand if you pick the wrong one then you’ve just boxed yourself in. There are pros and cons to switching rooms around.

Due to the nature of the film I can’t talk about the film’s story much further because a lot of the intrigue comes from going in blind. You want to start connecting the dots yourself while examining everything closely. Everyone and everything deserves a second look in this kind of movie because you just don’t know what’s going to happen next. It also reminds me why I’m glad I don’t work the midnight shift because I would probably start seeing ghosts everywhere. Give me the afternoon sun anytime!

Overall, Coma is a very interesting film. Films about conspiracies like this are almost guaranteed to be engaging and you should be at the edge of your seat throughout. You will need to have a high tolerance for looking at medical situations though as surgeries are being performed while the movie is on. If you can get past that then you should enjoy this film. While the film’s apparently PG please keep in mind that you’ll want to see a TV version which censors the naked bodies that show up in the second half of the film. Otherwise that could get a little dicey for viewers. So based on all of this you should be ready to make the decision on if you’re seeing the film or not.

Overall 3/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Getaway Review


It’s time to look at a thriller film from not too long ago. It seems like the kind of film that wouldn’t have really gotten all that well known but I’m sure people would take a second look at the posters and promotions. It’s got that Need For Speed kind of vibe right from the get go which is always fun. The plot of someone being kidnapped and the hero being forced to do everything the villain is admittedly not the best. I never liked the idea of the hostage situation much in part because there is really no winning in that situation. Once you’ve done everything they want there is no reason for them not to murder the hostage and the hero as well. Typically the climax involves a lot of plot hax to compensate for this as the heroes defy the villain but for some reason they don’t murder the hostage. That’s just how it is sometimes.

The film starts off with Brent driving away from some cops and after an extended race scene they crash and he escapes. We then find out through a bunch of quick cuts and time jumps from past to present that his wife was kidnapped and he is now following a bunch of demands from someone who has bugged the car. If he doesn’t follow the orders then the wife will be destroyed. Meanwhile a kid shows up to try and take Brent hostage but he stops her and now she must also stay in the car or the wife will be destroyed. This means that Brent is effectively forced to square off with two villains and that won’t be an easy thing to do. Ah well, looks like it’s crunch time for him!

Getaway does seem to underestimate the audience a bit though with how many times we see the flashback to show us that the wife was kidnapped. I thought it was pretty obvious early on but we get the flashback 10-15 times for good measure. Once the film actually gets started then the plot is able to move. At this point the movie does get pretty fun. Yeah the demands can be annoying as Brent keeps talking tough but ultimately has to follow the orders because there really isn’t anything else he can do. That bit can be a bit repetitive but for the most part the film’s about the chase scenes so you don’t have to worry about this too much.

Brent is first introduced as a mysterious character. Despite being the one forced to do the villain’s dirty work, he’s got the cool shades and doesn’t really talk much. He’s a total wild card and as the film progresses we learn more about him. He may not be a professional or something like the guy from Taken, but he’s a gruff individual who is a great racer so he adapts to the situation well. He’s a solid lead who is willing to do just about anything to get his wife back, but does draw the line at being told to destroy a kid or doing anything like that. He’s not going to turn into a villain. Part of what makes his character work is that we don’t know a lot about him. He’s portrayed as an average joe who’s stuck in this situation.

Then we’ve got the kid who probably got a name at some point but I can’t remember what it was. She starts out as a pretty tough character who has a gun and seems to be a bit of a hoodlum. This ultimately doesn’t seem to stick, but she is definitely a girl of many talents as she is also a genius. This character is probably the most “convenient” one to show up during the movie because what are the odds right? She really makes the difference in solving this film to a great extent. Well, convenient or not she looks good here and is a fun character. She does complain a lot at first and seems slow on the uptake for the given situation, but to an extent you can see why she is upset. The kid just wants her car back. (More like a teenager really but on Wikipedia they just refer to her as the kid so that’s what I figured I’d go with.

There are really no other big characters in this film aside from the villain. The villain has no character beyond the fact that he is always goading the heroes on and is one step ahead of any plans that they may have. He’s not bad, but I can’t really say that I thought about him all that much as a character. He’s more of a plot device and this does lead to a rather unsatisfying ending. This kind of ending can work out well sometimes in the right context, but here it’s more annoying than anything. I’d be down with a sequel to wrap things up though.

The make or break point here will be how much you like car fights/chase scenes. Do you like them or do you love them? Almost the whole film is a series of long car chase scenes. Some will go on for over 10 minutes at a time and you have to be ready for them. Personally I enjoy car fights a lot. They are better than underwater fights, airplane battles, or pretty much any other fights outside of human interactions. If it’s got to be a vehicle then I’ll take a car. I also thought that the car scenes in this film were particularly good. They were better than the ones we saw in Need For Speed or even the original Fast and the Furious film. In part this is because you could really feel the impacts here. When a car got crushed it got completely totaled. There was no coming back from that.

The scenes with the cop cars following Brent also felt more like the Need For Speed chases than the actual movie’s version did. So personally these scenes are what amplified the film for me. They were just a lot of fun and I didn’t get tired of them. I could totally understand how they could get repetitive though so it really does depend on how much you enjoy the chases. It’s really the whole point of the film and you could argue that the rest of the plot is really just a backdrop for it. The focus was and is clearly on the car scenes. As for the technical elements like the writing, it was okay. I wouldn’t really say it was that impressive, but it could have been worse. The special effects were great and so it all balances out into a pretty good film. There’s a lot of replay value here since the film isn’t all that long and the car scenes hold up to the tests of time.

Overall, Getaway is one of those films that is surprisingly solid. I wasn’t expecting anything amazing earlier, but as of now I would probably have this as my definitive car based film. It’s a simple, but effective movie that hits the right notes and keeps the momentum going strong. If you haven’t seen it yet and love a good car based thriller then you really need to check it out. See what you think on if the hostage situation is resolved through plot hax or not. Personally I would have expected the villain to take out the hostage as soon as the heroes begin to enact their plan, but maybe you’ll see why he didn’t do that.

Overall 7/10

2 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Eye of the Devil Review


This one is a real obscure film. Eye of the Devil is probably a movie that you could go a whole life time without hearing about.That’s for good reason because this simply isn’t a good film. It’s riding on a terrible premise that only works if all of the characters are downright awful.If you’ve got stronger characters then this plot never gets a chance to move forward.

Catherine and Philippe are heading to an old Wineyard that he owns. Philippe owns a lot of property but unfortunately it has not been producing very well as of late. In fact, it’s been in steady decline for awhile now. Being close by should help, but things continue to get worse. Then Catherine notices that Philippe begins to act rather oddly. He’s angrier and more aggressive to the point where he barely resembles the man that he once was. He is slowly being taken over and Catherine isn’t sure if she can do anything about it.

One of the people who may be affecting him is a lady named Odile. She is a witch who possesses vague hypnotic abilities. She was able to nearly destroy Catherine within a few minutes. Odile intended to have her jump off of the building but Catherine managed to just barely hang on in time. Who knows how much Odile did against Philippe. Of course, Philippe is weak willed as it is so it wouldn’t take a whole lot to overpower him. Odile made for a good villain. She has a very mysterious vibe about her which worked really well and made her feel like a genuine witch. She’s probably the best character here by default.

Her brother Christian is less impressive. This isn’t just because he is constantly shooting animals, but it did not help either. The guy has about as much personality as a piece of cardboard. It’s easy to forget that he works for the main characters because he never acts like it. Of course Philippe is brainwashed by this point so it’s not like he is going to say anything to the contrary.

It almost goes without saying that Philippe is a terrible character. He lets down everyone who was counting on him and makes some of the worst decisions you’ll ever see. The guy has the mind of a pawn in a chess board and allows everyone to do whatever they want with him. That just doesn’t not help his image in any capacity. It doesn’t help that he was corrupted almost instantly as well. I was expecting him to have some kind of epiphany by the end where he realizes that he’s changed, but it never really happens. At least not in a satisfactory way.

Catherine is the voice of reason, but unfortunately she is a weak one. Catherine can’t really do much to help Philippe and she is powerless against the enemies who have mystical powers. As a result all she can really do is talk tough from the end of the room. She does her best to protect her kids and Philippe but there isn’t much she can do. It’s more of a frustrating character arc than anything to be honest. It would almost have been better if she was also brainwashed so she could have at least joined the rest of the crew in their hypnotic trance.

Then we have Pere who is just here to weave his lies into the plot and trick Catherine some more. It does serve as a reminder not to just take people at their word just because they are wearing a robe. They have to actually do something to show that they’re on the level. Pere was just here to help with the sacrifice and doom the characters even more.

As I mentioned, the plot only works because the characters are so bad. How did Philippe seriously allow himself to be brought to the point where he was going to sacrifice himself for the crops? That’s just such a bad idea all around. There’s also this feeling that Catherine and Philippe are on their own for most of the film and yet we can’t forget that the aunt (Aunt or grandma) was there as well as the kids. They just conveniently vanished for large chunks of the film with no real explanation. All it really did was help throw you out of the movie even more. This film really needed some tips on improving the scenario. It’s not like these guys guys could have done much but at least they could have been supporting Catherine the whole time.

The film doesn’t do any favors by having Christian go after the birds the whole time. Did we really need any animal violence to tip the scales? It’s not horribly handled like in other films but everything continues to add up. The birds should have just been spared and Christian’s character completely removed since it was ultimately pointless. At the very least that is definitely what I would have done if I was picked as one of the writers. I’d also throw in some more supernatural elements like ghosts and demons to spice things up. Otherwise there just isn’t much to actually hold your interest here.

Overall, This is a film that you will only enjoy if you really enjoy the setting or something. Otherwise the slow pacing and the poorly thought out plot will destroy the movie. It’s always really hard to root for a character who ends up breaking down for no real reason and gets manipulated so easily. The rest of the characters not being very likable either definitely hurts as well. You need to have some kind of hook to the movie and this one just didn’t have anything. That ended up being the movie’s biggest weakness. That and the terrible ending.

Overall 2/10

2 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Marathon Man Review

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

It’s time to look at an old conspiracy film. I think it probably would have ended up doing better if we had gotten to see more marathon running and such. As it stands the whole marathon thing is only useful/relevant for one or two scenes. A weak script and over the top violence ensures that this film doesn’t end up going far. It’s not a suspense-thriller that will be fondly remembered. If anything it quickly gets overshadowed by many other titles.

It turns out that a few Nazi troopers survived and they are bent on causing havoc in America. They have a lot of gold in one of our vaults and plan to re-obtain all of their riches so they can go ahead and launch future schemes. They’ll have to find the key to the vault though which was lost in a big explosion. Agents Henry and Peter have to stop these guys, but there may be more forces at work here than they know. Meanwhile a local student named Thomas is just trying to live an ordinary life. He is running around a lot to prep his marathon skills, but isn’t looking for any trouble. Still, trouble finds him as he is roped into this secret battle of countries. Can he survive this experience?

I’ll give the film some credit for keeping the main character separate from the plot for quite a while. I dare say that Thomas doesn’t have anything to do for the whole first half of the film. He’s just walking around and trying to get to know other students at this point. Meanwhile his brother Henry is a secret agent who seems to work for hire. He apparently used to be the best in the business although he has slowly grown pretty sluggish over the years. The villains want him dead and he knows it, but getting out of the situation is still pretty difficult. He didn’t handle his final scene very well though. He basically just walks up to the villain and starts making threats. What did he think was going to happen? I mean, you’ve got to keep your guard up for moments like these, especially if you’re making threats at someone. Otherwise you’re just asking to get stabbed.

As for the main villain, Szell, he’s basically your average mad scientist. In this case he is also a dentist. He’s not the smartest tool in the shed as he very nearly gets caught several times as he suspiciously walks in and out of jewelry shops. The whole dentist thing is also really just used so we can get a torture scene in the film. Definitely another moment that hurt the film quite a bit. By the end Szell refuses to betray his honor and throws in one last attack, but even that shouldn’t have been as close as it was. The characters in this film seem to keep forgetting that he is an old man.

Back to the lead, Thomas isn’t a very good character. For starters he is very gullible. Henry easily sees past Elsa’s fake cover story while Thomas doesn’t care. So long as Elsa gives him a nice time he doesn’t mind that he’s being played for the fool. That’s not the kind of lead you want. He also should have known that something was up since the whole situation with Elsa was incredibly convenient and contrived. As if a proper romance would start so quickly. He never becomes a lead that you can depend on and naturally I wasn’t a fan of Elsa either. She’s not someone you would want to trust.

Peter is another agent who was Henry’s best friend. I think the problem with his character is that he looks evil from the start. Yeah, that can be deceiving I suppose, but he acts so suspicious in his very first scene that you instantly don’t trust him. It’s so obvious that you feel like Henry should have noticed as well. He doesn’t technically work for Szell as they each have their own motivations, but at the end of the day they’re both villains. Now, you may want to know if it’s possible for 3 guys with guns to lose to one amateur with a gun and that fight happens in the film so I won’t tell you who wins. All I can say is that if you have a gun you should probably use it. Otherwise you’ll just end up being shot.

As I mentioned the writing isn’t particularly good here. The film had to air-beep so many words you’d be surprised. None of the characters are particularly likable and the villains didn’t even seem well coordinated. How come none of them thought to look for the key in the rubble of the explosion? Why bother with a second key when you have a backup? Why not capture Henry instead of offing him so they could make him talk? You’ll be questioning the characters quite a lot throughout the movie. Likewise, Thomas rarely makes the right call. If you hear someone fiddling around in your apartment and breaking things down then you should probably get out of the bathtub right? That will just leave you as a sitting duck if you stay in there. I already spoke a bit about how the romance was very rushed so no need to elaborate on it. It’s a classic love at first sight plot which doesn’t work well for any film.

Overall, The Marathon Man is a film where I’d give it a thumbs down. The plot could be a little on the interesting side, but there are too many things holding it down. The film’s pretty violent and torture scenes are always a thumbs down. The writing is bad and the romance isn’t well done. The film doesn’t do a whole lot of things right. The only good parts here are when Henry is running around acting like he’s James Bond. That definitely feels like the approach the film was going for at least. I do like the fact that he didn’t immediately die when someone tried to choke him with the wires as well. In most films they go down immediately so at least here he put up a fight and even turned the tables. Even the fights are pretty violent, but this was a good example of flipping over the usual trope. If this film sounds interesting to you then by all means check it out. Otherwise I would sooner recommend watching The One.

Overall 2/10

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

Futureworld Review


That tagline is definitely a little dicey. It’s clever in its own way, but I get the feeling that it wouldn’t really fly nowadays. Here’s the problem, we don’t actually see the twist about fake people until the very climax of the film. Were the posters that came out before the film actually spoiling the entire movie so casually? All of the various posters that I’ve seen for the film have other lines more or less with the same premise. I’m surprised that the film would do such a thing since while it doesn’t come out of nowhere it is still treated as a rather big twist near the end of the film.

The film starts off by showing us Chuck the reporter. He’s a tough guy who always gets his scoop. He is the one who wrote the original piece on Westworld which destroyed whatever reputation the place had left after it murdered all of the guests. Well, he gets a call from someone who claims to have a scoop on the place, but just as Chuck arrives the guy is murdered. Chuck decides to go back to that amusement park and has to work alongside Tracy on the project. The two don’t get along but don’t mind quickly going past the friend zone anyway just to be contradictory. Westworld has reopened all of its sections except that one and now Futureworld is the main attraction. Chuck suspects that everything isn’t as it appears to be though and decides to check it out.

The elephant in the room is certainly how the place could still be operating. It is a huge leap in logic that the film never even tries to defend. The CEO talks about how they got some bad publicity but shrugs it off as if there was just a minor technical malfunction. Over 50 people died, but apparently the world doesn’t care as it is still quite busy. Surprisingly enough, World Leaders from around the planet are attending which is certainly fortunate for the company but would anyone really allow someone important to go to such a potentially dangerous place? I really don’t think so.

The main characters are also pretty unrealistic. As I mentioned a romance quickly starts between the main characters and it’s about as rushed as can be. It makes no sense and is just there to fulfill a quota. Tracy herself also comes across as way too mean and bold. She talks back to her boss and doesn’t care that he could fire her. Tracy goes out of her way to try and love Futureworld which is quite sad since she should at least stay objective about the place. She also can be a little slow on the uptake like when she fought her doppleganger. She is absolutely shocked even though she just saw the mech a few scenes ago. I’ll give her credit for somehow winning the gunfight though. That was still pretty impressive of her since I assume that the robot has a quick trigger finger.

As far as Chuck goes, I do like how antagonistic he is to everyone. He tries to get along with Tracy, but doesn’t give Mr. Duffy and corporate the same effort. After all, he’s not here to make friends with them, he’s just here to get a story. After seeing his informant murdered so casually it makes sense that he would be rather obsessed at this point. Still, he’s not very smart. At one point he grabs his gun and is ready for anything. In the next scene he puts the gun down to make a phone call and then gives his back to the door. Naturally this is when Mr. Duffy walks in to snatch the gun and hold him at gun point. Chuck only wins because Duffy isn’t very smart and doesn’t even bother to check the rooms properly even though he suspects that Tracy is there.

For more scenes that will make you roll your eyes we do get a scene with the Gunslinger from the original film as Tracy goes for a rebound. Is it still a rebound if you get together with someone in your dreams? Absolutely, it’s just as valid cheating as if you were doing it in the real world, maybe even more so. It was definitely a scene that really didn’t feel necessary with the rest of the film and should have been cut out to be honest.

I guess the biggest problem with Futureworld is that it can be rather dull. There aren’t any real action scenes until the very end of the film. Most of it is just the characters wandering around. The beginning of the film started it off with a lot of tension and suspense, but it all dissipates by the time the film gets around to actually doing anything. The writing is also not that good so you can’t expect it to hold the film up either. That’s probably the biggest reason why Futureworld doesn’t end up being all that great. You need solid writing to pull this off. I also have to say that the actual Futureworld looked so boring that only a few minutes are actually spent on the spaceship. The rest of the film is just them in the labs or wandering around Westworld.

A sequel to this film would probably be more exciting. We now know that the whole island is filled with robots and run by other robots. Since their scheme to conquer the world may take a backseat after the story gets out, fighting will be their only option. It’ll be Terminator level action scenes happening everywhere although since the robots aren’t bullet proof the ending will be a lot different. Still, at least it’ll have more going on for it than this one had. For all of the first film’s faults, at least it was never all that dull.

Overall, Futureworld isn’t a great sequel, but to be fair Westworld wasn’t a good movie. Lets put it this way, Westworld has the far superior premise, but Futureworld has the better execution. It’s not by much though and the films are rather close to each other in quality. I think I would give Futureworld the edge overall, but it’s close if we look at it purely from how entertained you’ll be. If you can get past the annoying characters and the rather slow moving plot then it’s not all that bad. The film doesn’t do anything all that original this time around, but at least it avoids easy mistakes like animal violence since mainly there are just a lot of robots around. I wouldn’t recommend this film unless you’re a big sci-fi fan and like robots. Then I suppose that it’s probably worth checking out.

Overall 5/10

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

The Anderson Tapes Review


It’s time to look at the Anderson Tapes conspiracy film. Will this one fare any better than the last one? Not really I’m afraid. It makes quite a lot of mistakes as the film goes on and by the end you wonder if the film even knew what it was doing. After all, you’d almost think it was promoting the view of everyone being watched as a good thing even though you would assume the opposite from the film’s premise. It’s just a very confused movie.

The film follows an ex con named Anderson. From the start you will wonder if he is really reformed or not as he isn’t exactly a pleasant guy and seems to be carrying around some grudges. Still, the film could just be trying to make him a very ambiguous character where you don’t know what his goals are…nah. Turns out that the guy still is a crook and he decides to get all the local thieves together for one more crime to make them all rich. We may need some extra surveillance to stop him.

You probably see what the problem here is and that it gives the surveillance people a leg to stand on. They thought this guy was suspicious and were watching him and it turns out that they were completely right. They didn’t actually help out at all so the whole thing is moot but it’s something to think about. Of course, it’s the principle of the matter that many will not agree with and one film’s positive portrayal of it shouldn’t really have any kind of impact on anyone who is watching. It’s one of those things that you know is going on and you pick a side but at the end of the day at least it’s good that you are aware of it. The government’s already got most of your information along with many large corporations so the best you can do is roll with it. The ironic part is that most of this stuff can’t really be used in court anyway so don’t expect it to prove your innocence even if it can do the opposite.

Naturally the film goes for the low hanging fruit by having the villains spy on the character during romance moments to give him some extra humiliation. Given that Anderson has been gone for 10 years he certainly didn’t waste any time. It’s a pretty painful scene to watch and I would basically have to call it a rebound since the girl dumps the other guy over the phone. The romance here (if you can even call it that) is pretty brutal. It doesn’t help this film’s case at any rate.

One thing the film handles reasonably well is the heist I guess. I like how confident everyone was during that scene as they really didn’t even seem to care that they were being robbed. They just took it in stride and were confident that their safe could not be cracked. The main characters are basically amateurs anyway so it’s not as if there was much to fear in the first place. The main characters even let the kid get to his walkie talkie to alert the proper authorities.

There are definitely quite a few comedy moments like that sprinkled into the film but they are spread too far apart. It was nice to see one of the crooks try to drive away so quickly that he crashed. The scene may have been unintentionally funny but sometimes that is why it works. While some of the humor lands it isn’t enough to distract you from the dreadfully boring story and poor writing. It just won’t be able to keep your interest for very long and you’ll quickly start wondering why the film is just so unfocused. It really didn’t play out anything like I thought it would and unfortunately this isn’t a good thing. It should have been a straight up conspiracy story where the main character tries to find out why everyone is spying on him.

Instead this is surprisingly not much of an issue. Once he finds out that someone is spying on him he just locks the door in the guy which doesn’t actually help matters at all. He then forgets about this for the rest of the film or just chooses not to think about it. Either way the whole plan was already compromised at this point. You also have to wonder why everyone was still in place after 10 years. You can’t stress this point enough. Anderson was locked up for a full decade but then he walks out and acts like he still owns the crime syndicate. His usual informants are still in the game and he is the head honcho. The way I see it, if Anderson was caught and locked up, that would have been reason enough for one of the underlings to decide to take him down and become the new king. I wouldn’t have minded some internal conflict among the gang members as it would have at least been a little exciting.

It’s rare that I ever say this, but maybe the whole film should have taken place at the prison. At the very least that place seemed like a more interesting backdrop than what we got. Some of the dialogue there was rather sketchy so maybe the film would have just gotten even worse, but at the very least I didn’t mind the Doctor. He seemed all right and talked tough to Anderson even if he lost the verbal battle. His bluff was called, but I applaud the guy for giving it a try. Once Anderson left the prison the film still stayed strong for a little longer as the three ex cons went to an airport to hang out. Once they split up, the film split along with them.

Overall, The Anderson Tapes was definitely another flop. The plot isn’t very interesting at all and the characters aren’t any good. The spying aspect of the film doesn’t actually go anywhere and the heist is a pale imitation of a real one. Pretty much every other heist film I have ever seen has managed to pull it off in a more effective fashion. There is really no reason to actually watch this film so I’d recommend leaving it where you found the movie. If you want a film that will make you think more then you should watch Resurrection F. At the very least that film will give you a lot of power level questions to think about.

Overall 3/10

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

The Parrallax View Review

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

It’s time to look at an old conspiracy film that will keep you guessing as it goes on. You can’t trust anyone and have to keep your guard up at all times. Naturally the main character couldn’t quite handle these tasks and throw in the fact that this film feels quite lazy at times and you have a decently good premise with very poor execution. Conspiracy films are hard to do well when that’s the main genre, but they do make for good twist endings. Oh yeah, this review will have spoilers btw.

The film starts off with a political figure giving a big speech when he is murdered. The cops catch the first guy while the second gets away. Years pass by and everyone eventually believes that there only ever was 1 murderer. Even the main character Joe believes this until he is visited by an old friend who was also at the place where the guy was shot and she dies soon after. This means that everyone who was at the plaza is being systematically eliminated. Only a handful of people still exist..including Joe. Joe must get to the bottom of this conspiracy and to do it he will have to try and get enlisted.

Here’s one problem with Joe’s plan right off the bat and it’s never addressed by him or any of the characters in the film. He was in the picture. I’ll discuss the ramifications of that in a second after we look at Joe’s plan again. So, Joe murders one of the members and fakes his death. Both weren’t actually part of Joe’s plan, but they happened so lets roll with it. He decides to go undercover by submitting an application as a new person and acting like he’s a little off the chains. The organization seems to buy it and gives him his first mission. I’m not exactly sure what that mission was, but Joe basically ends up being the scape goat for another murder and is quickly gunned down. So ends his brief stint as a detective. Do you see what was wrong with his plan?

He was never going to fool them into thinking that he was some random nut who wanted to join. He was on their most wanted list for years and never even put on a wig or did anything to change his look. He went in under the impression that the organization didn’t even care about him so they wouldn’t be able to tell. That’s like a guy who always goes to the local pizza store going in one day and pretending to be someone else without putting on a disguise. It just won’t work and Joe’s plan was doomed to fail. His friend also didn’t give him a great fake ID apparently since the villains saw through that as well and Joe had to make a second one. It was a terrible plan, but Joe never was much of a thinker I guess. His friend came to him for help and he basically just laughed at her and sent the girl back to her doom.

Finally, Joe compromised his safety even more by sending cassettes to his old newspaper boss and revealing that he was still alive. Lets put it this way, the more people that know, the more likely it is that the secret will gt out right? Joe even impacted events by telling Bill not to make any charges or allegations against the organization. Instead Bill stayed quiet and the villains probably thought that this was extremely suspicious. Then they were also probably watching Joe at all times so I’m sure that they saw him send in the audio every week to the boss. His plan was just full of holes and that’s why he plunged into the abyss.

There is also a long brainwashing video that is just brutal to watch. They could only afford a handful of pictures so they just keep replaying them over and over. You’ll get the point of the video a few seconds into it or more likely as Joe is heading over to the seat. This film isn’t exactly subtle. So, then we don’t need to see the entire video that feels like 5-10 minutes long. The Thor picture was fun, but the rest was all just gritty stuff to remind us that the organization is serious business. I also find it laughable how they expect that to brainwash everyone. You can’t show 1 video and expect it to work so easily or even have any kind of effect on the person it is on. If the film had said something like *10 hours later* then that would be better since it would have meant that Joe had been there for a long time.

There are also a lot of really drawn out scenes like Joe walking through the airplane. Watching everyone do nothing much gets old pretty quick. Everyone moves very slowly so you get to stare at them all. We even head to a crooked town where the Sheriff and Deputy go around beating everyone up. Of course, as we find out later they were fired ages ago, but I guess nobody in the town ever knew that. The cover ups here are hard to believe as well. Unless everyone who speaks up is getting instantly murdered I don’t see how word isn’t getting out. What was the cover up for Joe’s death at the end? The dialogue at the end basically says that Joe was the only killer so did nobody take fingerprints of the gun to find others on it? I don’t think Joe actually picked up the gun either so that should be easy, but I suppose the fingerprint guy was in on it as well. Conspiracy films definitely don’t tend to follow logic all that much and it’s not a big thing, but you will certainly find it hard to buy into any of this. Even the cops at the beginning of the film are corrupt just to reinforce the idea that everyone is evil here.

The second half of the film just feels uneventful. Joe is just following orders and slowly getting into the villain group but it basically takes him the whole film to get his first mission and then he is instantly murdered. He didn’t actually learn anything nor did he make any progress in stopping them. As a result, the entire film also feels pointless as well. It’s an interesting approach to effectively show a futile attempt at stopping them rather than the epic actin hero who defies all odds and takes dozens down. Still, it’s not necessarily a good approach or at least not this time. Joe just wasn’t smart at all and why would you just stand around by a gun for about 10 minutes? He really wasn’t thinking. The writing in the film isn’t particularly good either. The heroes aren’t smart as I mentioned and the villains have no real personality either. I do like the Illuminati though. You rarely actually get to see them appear in these films.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend checking out this film. You can find conspiracy theories anywhere so it’s not as if they’re rare, but I guess a whole film about one theory just couldn’t end up floating. The brainwashing video drags out much like the rest of this film. It loves going for zoomed out shots of people walking and running around. Joe couldn’t save anyone in the film and he couldn’t save the film itself. If you want to look at a real conspiracy, check out the whole Berenstein vs Berenstain Bears issue. That one has always peaked my interest and has a better climax/conclusion than this film since we are still living in the conclusion.

Overall 3/10

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

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Review


Time to check out a recent Sci-Fi film by the name of Valerian. I remember seeing the trailer a few times but being skeptical as to whether it’d be good or not. It looked like the kind of movie that would rely on weird environments and good visuals over the story or good characters. I wasn’t really wrong on some of that and the characters are pretty bad, but the film is reasonable. At the very least the film is pretty fast paced.

The film starts off with our two main characters, Valerian and Loreline. They are tasked with collecting a money hedgehog and do so after beating up everyone involved with the transaction. During a universal peace conference they are attacked by a group of blue beings who were thought to be long extinct. The heroes head off to stop them but they may be in for a political war that is above their pay grade.

Valerian is unfortunately a pretty bad main character. He’s a serious flirt who even has a playlist of everyone he has “conquered.” That’s as bad as it sounds. His next target is Loreline and he is slowly breaking through her defenses. Even aside from his morally disappointing personality, he isn’t even that strong. He is portrayed as an elite agent who never fails and that’s why he is supremely confident. Yet, in his first mission in the film he has to be rescued by Loreline because he made a bunch of rookie mistakes and got wrecked. It’s something that happens a little too often in live action productions where the hype characters simply can’t live up to their reputation. He just never becomes a good character which is unfortunate.

Loreline is the main heroine and I can’t say that she is any better. She is also supposed to be a hype character as well as the “tough” one in the group. This is quickly negated as she loses to Valerian in wrestling during the opening minute. She gets her ”burns” in as she mocks him and his playlist but knowing about it just makes her inevitable pairing with Valerian even worse. She also spends the entire film glaring which is certainly trying a little too hard to be tough.

It’s the side characters who are a little better as is sometimes the case. The main villain is a political General from the army who covered up a bunch of murders. He keeps his confident persona even when being attacked and threatened. He makes a good speech at the end and is always many steps ahead of the other characters. He was playing chess while they were playing checkers. One weird moment was when he was kidnapped though. The whole time I figured it was part of his plan, but it seems unlikely by the end. I guess he just wasn’t ready for the aliens to make their move.

Naturally the film has to force in a very long strip show scene which introduces a shape shifting character. Not only is this the worst way to introduce a character but this is a sci-fi trope that needs to die. It seems like a bunch of alien based films love to show off the costumes or cgi by including a scene like this or set pieces where everyone forgets to dress out well. It’s something that should never happen as if you feel a need to show off your animation then it probably wasn’t very good to begin with. The character is all right I guess but her role is rather small and needlessly tragic. I didn’t really see a point to her dying. It doesn’t work for shock value since we didn’t know her and from a narrative perspective it had no impact on any of the characters.

This film apparently had a really big budget and I think it was misplaced. Through my followings with RWBY, I’ve gotten to see a lot about how a budget is spent in terms of animation and how it is often not worth it. You can spend a significant chunk on a cgi landscape with a lot of NPCs in the background. Those guys don’t matter so why spend budget on them? I’d say that a budget should be spent primarily on fight scenes, backgrounds are secondary. This film had some nice backgrounds, but a good chunk of it was in a very ancient desert planet and then on a beach with no technology. So I’m assuming that the bulk of the budget was spent on Valerian running through various worlds in the quick 5 minute scene. Using up a huge budget on a minor scene is just not worth it and using practical effects would possibly have cut the budget in half then. The sci-do guns look good and the fight scene where Valerian takes on a bunch of ogres was good. Use the budget for that instead and have a super speed battle where he is zipping around then at lightning speed and dodging energy blasts. Now that would be hype!
I have to question how useful the cannon tech from the first scene was as well. Sure, the villains were pretty scared of Valerian and he was invisible so they had a hard time hitting him but he was still there and would have been destroyed if he couldn’t jack out. An impressive piece of tech to be sure and virtual reality has certainly peaked in this universe but the heroes may want to start thinking of better security options.

The robots made for pretty good minions for the main villain. They would have been perfect if they had also been bulletproof. As it stands, Valerian was able to dish out the pain against these guys but they got a lot of the aliens in the process. The aliens really shouldn’t have just walked outside while defenseless in front of the enemy. They were practically asking to be shot and I get how they’re pacifists and all, but at least do the peace thing behind the magical barrier. Alls well that ends well for the survivors though so at least the race isn’t extinct.

As mentioned earlier, Valerian’s best strength is in the film’s quick pacing. It’s over 2 hours, but the movie never drags on and you’ll stay entertained the whole time. It may make its share of mistakes and so I wouldn’t call it a good movie, but at least it’s a fun one the way that Resident Evil is enjoyable. The two are still in completely different leagues when it comes to quality as well. I think there could be some potential for a sequel here since there’s a lot you can do in space, but I want them to head to a high tech world that can take advantage of the future setting. Also, give the main actor/actress some more sleep before filming next time. They look dead tired in every scene of the film to the point where I’m sure they must have gone through many takes for each scene.

Overall, Valerian is one of those movies that just tries to throw a lot of things at the screen and hopes they will stick. Unfortunately it is very 50/50 in this regard. The film needed more action scenes and choosing a desert planet and then a beach planet when the film is supposed to be futuristic was a mistake. Get some better characters and then we can really begin thinking of a sequel. Until then, this film will need to stay under the radar as we open the way for other sci-fi films. If you just want a film where you get a future setting then I suppose this is a film worth checking out. There weren’t too many films that take place in the future this year. If you want a better film about the future, check out the DBZ Trunks movie.

Overall 5/10

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

Barracuda Review


It’s time for a government conspiracy film that hides itself as an animal horror for the start. It’s definitely pretty interesting and actually handles itself for the most part. It is a slow burner so don’t expect a fast paced film or anything, but the payoff is good. Keep in mind that the film is rather mean spirited though so it is absolutely not for everyone. The overall message is definitely “Don’t mess with Corporate”

The film starts off with a group of kids breaking into a private facility so they can test if the water is good or not. They want to prove that the corporation has been messing with the water for their own personal gain. Naturally they are escorted off the premises, but Mike manages to keep a sample. He finds strange ingredients in the water. Meanwhile, Barracudas have been attacking any human who decides to go for a swim and even the inhabitants of the town are starting to act very angry at each other. Everyone is snapping at just about everything so something just doesn’t seem right. Sheriff Ben decides that the town is going to need Mike, but can they really defy this evil business scheme?

Lets open the can of worms right away. If you came here for the Barracuda, then you’re not going to have a good time. After the intro scenes they basically vanish for the rest of the film. They’re just used as a tool to show you that something is wrong with the water. Considering that it’s why Mike came here in the first place, he takes a very long time to figure this out. It’s almost like he doesn’t want to believe that this is the case for whatever reason. Still, the proof is in the pudding and they have to accept that corporate has stepped up. Here’s where things get tricky though.

As it is, the Sheriff mentions that the private henchmen of the rich guy down the block have started to get a little too intense. They’re basically breaking laws, but are still untouchable because they are privately employed. This leads to the final scene where we realize that everyone has been paid off. It’s an intense moment, but one that the heroes could have handled better. I’ll keep the spoilers to this paragraph so skip the rest of it if necessary. All righty then, time to press on with the spoilers. The government shows up with a squad of FBI cars and shoots the main characters down. They shoot down all of the witnesses during the movie and just relocate the mission. The rest of the town doesn’t know that they were poisoned and they won’t ever know either. The government made it clear that if anyone gets close to finding out the truth they’ll be silenced without a second thought. There’s definitely no gray area here, the government is portrayed as being completely evil and they’re proud of it.

There’s a lot of tension throughout the film which is handled well. Unfortunately, I can’t say that the cast is quite as solid. Ben was a good sheriff and he was reasonable the whole time. He didn’t want anyone fooling around with his city, not on his watch. Mike wasn’t quite as good. Sure, I get the whole standing up against corporate thing, but if you have to do this by breaking a bunch of laws and being confrontational with everyone, then you’re doing it wrong. He’s pretty annoying whenever he’s on screen and don’t get me started on his romance with the main heroine. They bond almost instantly upon meeting up even though he’s rather mean and sarcastic to her the whole time. He was probably trying to be funny, but I wouldn’t say that it worked. He’s also rather naive like when he left his experiment in the lab all night while he went to rest. Of course it was going to get sabotaged. Even if you ignore the whole conspiracy angle where everyone is out to get him, he knows that the corporate guys who made the fish aren’t going to stand up for this. If you leave them an empty room, they’re going to make a move.

A few people die against the Barracuda, but I don’t believe it was all that violent. The scenes are very quick and the movie doesn’t really swell on them. Should the Beach have been closed immediately? Yes, but the town isn’t quite that quick. The town will get on your nerves after a while as well since everyone is rather gullible. There’s no way they could know that the water is tampered with, but someone should have noticed that the company was up to no good. Was nobody monitoring them at all even though it was their only supply of water? I guess the town is optimistic, but that’s not a good thing when taken to the extreme.

It’s a very unique movie and at the end of the day, it’ll all depend on if you find the situation annoying or engaging. Which side wins will determine if you enjoy the film or not. I personally found it to be pretty interesting and the writing was also pretty good. The film’s aged pretty well even if the characters have not. I think adding in one or two good characters would have earned the film an extra star. After all, the main annoying part of the movie is that the heroes never seem to have a chance against the villains. Throwing in someone who could fight and would get into the gunfights with the enemies would have changed the whole situation quite drastically.

Overall, The film is incredibly misleading from the posters and title, but that’s not a bad thing. I actually think I liked this film more this way than I would have if it was about the Barracuda since it probably would have led to animal violence and been more graphic in general. Since the enemies were human, it made for more mind games and stuff instead of people just getting eaten. There’s not a lot of action either way, but the climax is fun. It can also be unintentionally funny as everyone keeps missing shot after shot and they’re also casual about it, but I appreciated the attempt at a real thrilling conclusion. If this film sounds up your alley then you should go for it. I’d recommend the film and it’s fairly obscure so you can mention this to score brownie points with film buffs.

Overall 6/10

2 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Total Recall Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such. A review of the unedited version would likely be far harsher.

It’s time for an old action film. I mean, it’s not that old compared to some of the films that I’ve seen, but 1990 is definitely not in the current decade anymore. It’s definitely an exciting flick where the thrills never stop…but it’s not a good movie. Think of it like a classic horror film or an engaging zombie thriller where you’re entertained and invested while watching it, but afterwards you still admit it was a bad movie. This film makes far too many mistakes for it to get anywhere near a positive score, but at the very least you won’t be bored.

Doug is your classic film protagonist. He wants to leave his construction job and head to Mars. Unfortunately, there is a bit of a civil war going on there with terrorists constantly launching attacks and destroying civilians. As such, Doug’s wife rejects his request. Doug decides to do the next best thing, pretend to go to Mars. He had to a memory altering place so they can implant the fake memories. Unfortunately, the procedure doesn’t work as planned when Doug’s memories of the past come to the surface. Now everyone wants to murder Doug while he finds a recording of himself saying that he is a hero. Doug has to go to Mars for real this time and save the planet. Does Doug have what it takes to accomplish this mission?

While the film is action packed as I mentioned, it does have a very boring intro. The first 10-15 minutes feel like something out of a romance film as the characters exchange very poorly written dialogue with each other and everyone in the audience cringes. We finally move past this brutal intro and the film really starts once Doug has the procedure. You have to question what kind of guy Doug is even before it though. The memory altercation is essentially a way for him to cheat on his wife without actually doing it as he goes on a spy mission and has to do a lot of edgy things. Why do they have to make the leads so morally dubious? Couldn’t Doug have chosen the happy pizza salesman option or something instead of the double agent? It’s hard to be too sympathetic to Doug from the start.

Anyway, the fast paced nature of the film is pretty good from here on out. We get the classic chase scenes where Doug is chased by the villain organization. Fortunately for Doug, he knows how to use a gun and can handle himself pretty well. He makes use of an illusion device to get the drop on the villains and Doug is effectively a one man wrecking crew. He destroys dozens of guys on his own. He also doesn’t tend to backup from any threats as he fears no one.

I thought the soundtrack was fairly good. Not downright amazing or anything, but I recall enjoying it during the film. It wouldn’t do to have low budget themes during a big action scene right? The effects also hold up decently well for the overall landscape and gun design. There’s not much room for it to actually shine since by and large the place looks pretty realistic even though it’s the future.

Time to start looking at the negatives now. First of all, the film is incredibly violent. It tries to be grotesque whenever possible and playing the maximum grit card. Characters get burned so hard their eyes start popping out. Others have limbs getting severed or are blasted full of holes. The characters who survive get deep cuts into their skin which the film tries to show as much as possible. There’s rarely any happy scene aside from the main character as everyone has to suffer from being trapped without air or burned. There are no alternatives. If you try to help the main character, you’re probably doomed.

There’s also animal violence to look out for. Poor rats are shot for absolutely no reason and then a bunch of Goldfish meet a similarly fatal fate. There’s no reason to get the animals involved and that’s just poor writing. Speaking of poor writing though, the script is absolutely terrible and would fit in with the average horror movie. The amount of language in this film is crazy. Fortunately the TV airing I saw managed to air them all out, but with how often they had to do this you get a pretty good feeling on how much language was there. It’s a crutch that lesser writers use to make everyone sound edgy and realistic. In actuality, it just makes the film look amateur-esque compared to the big hitters. I’d expect nothing less though.

It also feels like the stories that take place in the future always focus on the wrong aspects. Instead of looking at how we’ve changed the world with science and how our weapons are better, it focuses on how society is more deprived now. We have very sketchy bars that have survived and they’re always about messing around instead of ordering a good burger. This film isn’t the only one guilty of it, but it doesn’t help to mitigate the damage either. These scenes are pretty bad and the romance in the film is laughable at best. The only thing the film was particularly good at was the action scenes and even those were wrecked by the gratuitous violence. The film should have quit while it was ahead, but then it would only be about 30 seconds long since it opened on a bad note.

The head honcho of the villains was fairly decent in his role. He just wanted to make a lot of money and keep up his success. Naturally he’s evil and all, but at least his reasoning for why he was evil was more original than some other villains. His main lackey wasn’t the greatest though and always got humiliated whenever he’d appear. Technically he is a competent fighter..it’s just that Doug is better. I didn’t like the leader of the rebellion, but his design was also pretty terrible once again just to mess with the film. The main heroine was all right I suppose but she didn’t have a lot of time to do much. At least she did well against Doug’s fake wife.

Overall, the reasons above are why the film’s just no good. It ultimately crosses the line from epic to edgy and it does this with no remorse. I certainly wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone and you’d be better off watching Jingle All The Way to see Arnold get into some good fights without worrying about the negatives. I don’t have a whole lot of hope for the remake either but surely it should be a little better than this one…..right? If not, maybe the film needs to try and focus on the whole concept of Total Recall a little more instead of everything else. Being given fake memories could be pretty cool, but that part never really happens at all. The film tries a misdirect at one point that the whole thing is fake, but I don’t think you’ll buy it at that point. I do have to give Doug some credit there though. He absolutely never believes the villains and always laughs at their attempts at a plot twist. He usually does get convinced or almost convinced once they activate their feigned outrage and start to show him videos, but he starts out on a solid note. I feel like there is a good and engaging movie hidden in here somewhere, but it just never broke out into the light.

Overall 2/10