Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Stranger on the Third Floor Review


It’s time to look at a really old noir film. This one deals with the court system which is always fun and the heroes have to wonder if the Jury is really paying attention. After being on the jury I can say that this film was actually super realistic both in how the jury absolutely doesn’t care in with the judge who has already made up his mind. The film is a pretty solid thriller throughout and while a certain character can be rather annoying, it’s a fun package overall.

The movie starts off with Mike finally getting his big break. He noticed someone talking tough about murdering another guy and shortly afterwards we find out that the person was stabbed. The suspect is taken into court and thanks to Mike’s testimony he is taken to prison to await the chair. Mike’s friend Jane isn’t thrilled about all of this and decides to guilt trip Mike. She basically says that he should have just pretended not to notice and then the guy would have been caught. She believes that he is innocent and this gives Mike nightmares. A similar situation occurs in his house and now the cops think he is the murderer of a different case. How will he get out of this one?

In case you didn’t guess, the character I didn’t like here was definitely Jane. I definitely don’t think she was in the right with guilt tripping Mike so much. Once he was on the stand he was obligated to tell the truth after all. If her issue was that he let the cops know in the first place she should have specified that a little more. Even so that would be morally dubious as well.Maybe it was the fact that Mike seemed to take a little joy in all of this for his promotion. Either way she just didn’t handle the situation well and then showing up in court only to make a scene and run off didn’t help either. She shouldn’t have gone if she was going to be that excitable. She just didn’t really contribute much until the very end. At that point her plan also could have sued some serious work as she needed to call the cops right away or force herself into the house. Walking around with a murderer just usually isn’t going to end well. She also looked bad in the dream, but I guess I won’t count that since it wasn’t technically her.

Mike is a reasonable main character even if he tends to overthink things quite a bit by the end. Especially after the whole gloves thing he probably shouldn’t have just grabbed the door so casually. Beginning to pack was also sketchy since he knows that it didn’t really help the other guy’s case all that much. Phoning it in to the cops was definitely the right move at least even if it came close to backfiring. Mike just didn’t really think these things through. He was a fun character for the first half, but he just wasn’t very smart and got maybe too distracted by romance as well. Then we see his flashbacks where he constantly flies off the handle and is tempted to murder someone multiple times so I think the guy was just unhinged. It would explain his dream sequence as well.

The dream was quite good though. Also, while I wasn’t a big fan of the main duo, this was still a very solid film. The writing is on point and the court scenes are fun. It’s a quality thriller that builds up the tension and doesn’t go for any crazy shock value. That’s the kind of film that you want in your corner. The pacing is on point and even though it seems to be made on a fairly small budget you never feel confined to any one backdrop. The core characters have enough personality to keep you entertained.

I was getting mixed signals from Jane the whole time though. The scene inside Mike’s apartment was just odd as she kept moving away from Mike and denying him the whole time. She would do that, but didn’t actually leave and came across as half flirting. I thought the film was going to have her admit that she didn’t actually like him, but the movie never goes there. It just feels like a random plot point.

This film made sure to make the neighbor rather unlikable, but he wasn’t too terrible I’d say. The guy was rather annoying, but not completely unreasonable in some areas. If the rule really is not to have any guests over then he’s not technically wrong. The type writer part is tricky but it did seem rather loud so maybe Mike could have done something to be quieter. I don’t think he was ever intended to be a sympathetic character though.

The dream sequence is rather long, but certainly well done. It’s a nice look at what could have happened and the whole situation almost came to pass. I have no doubt that Jane would take the stand against Mike and the Jury probably wouldn’t believe his story. Especially since Mike was intent on mentioning his dreams and pre-cog abilities. Since he is a reporter you’d think that Mike would realize how crazy that all sounded. Again, he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

As for the actual villain in this film, I can’t say that he was very smart. He was constantly tempting fate by staying near the scene of the crime. It’s hard to even say what his goal was here. I assume he is murdering people to get some money and he doesn’t want to go back to prison, but once he has the money what is he doing with it? You’d think that he would have skipped town or something. He also doesn’t even have a home despite robbing 2 people successfully. I think this guy wasn’t very good at budgeting.

Overall, The Stranger on the Third Floor was pretty interesting. The title is almost a little odd though as the stranger doesn’t show up for a very long time in the film and technically doesn’t even appear all that much. I guess it will help you stay alert for when he pops up though. If you haven’t seen a quality Noir film yet then this is the way to go. It’s basically the complete package so you can’t go wrong here.

Overall 7/10

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Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Sherlock Holmes: The Pearl of Death Review


Sherlock Holmes has returned for another film! This is certainly one of the better ones in the series and shows that the franchise has still got a lot of energy in it. The stakes are more personal than ever as Holmes is directly responsible for the villains getting the lead for once. He will have to ask for the assistance of his longtime comrade Watson once more. Time is of the essence, but if anyone can save the world, it’s Holmes!

The film starts off with a villain attempting to get a legendary pearl through the cops by giving it to an innocent old man. Fortunately, that old man was Holmes in yet another one of his disguises. He takes the pearl to the cop, but isn’t too pleased with how they have secured it. He demonstrates how easy the alarm system is to deactivate, but in the meantime the villain makes sure to nab the unprotected pearl. Holmes is to blame for the security features no working as intended, but this is no time to feel sorry for himself. Holmes has to quickly figure out where the pearl is now before it is too late!

Holmes gives the main villain (Conover) a lot of hype throughout, but I certainly wouldn’t say that he is on the same level as Moriarty or the female villain who bested him a few titles ago. Still, he does seem to be pretty intelligent so the guy isn’t your average crook either. Underestimate him at your own peril. Conover doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to get his hands dirty so usually he relies on underlings to do it for him. He does have some swet moves though like when he qwuickly disarmed Holmes at the end. He adapts very quickly and probably just needs to work on his reaction times a little bit. His right hand man the Creeper gets a much bigger role, but isn’t quite as interesting> The Creeper likes the main heroine, but that’s his only real character. It seems like the guy can’t really speak anymore so the super strength came at a very heavy price.

Holmes himself is very solid as always. He probably should have found a way to secure the pearl before doing his experiment, but at that point it would have spoiled his chance to make the point that he was trying to present under the guise of spilling a bunch of fruit. He also figured that the guards would at least be watching the jar a little right? Holmes makes sure to make a comeback from there though and the only thing left for him to fear was his own bad habit of gloating at the end. It seems like this has happened several times throughout the film series where Holmes will get the villain at gun point, but starts to gloat for so long that the villain just yanks the gun away. Holmes really needs to watch that as it could be the end of him.

Watson is also a loyal sidekick as always. He does come close to ending Holmes’ life by mistake though when he delivers a book from the main villain. Holmes very nearly fell for it, but luckily Watson was able to drop enough clues to help him skate by. He may not be the smartest chap, but Watson always tries to protect Holmes from the outside elements like the newspapers and all. He’s just a nice guy so it’s a shame that things don’t tend to swing his way.

Meanwhile Lestrade probably has his worst appearance in a while. Of course, I understand that he doesn’t really care much for Sherlock Holmes at times since he has nothing but contempt for theories. Still, Holmes has a great reputation and he has solved many cases before. Shouldn’t the cop at least believe him a little? Lestrade is so determined to be right that even when multiple people are murdered with the same method he believes that it is a coincidence. I don’t know how he can say that with a straight face. Honestly Holmes has to put up with a lot in this town. The cops even hold things from him to save face which ultimately just makes his job a lot more difficult.

It’s definitely one of his toughest cases as well. The body count feels a lot higher than usual as it takes Holmes a very long time to track down the killer at large. By the time he does only one of the people on the hit list is still alive. Better late than never I suppose right? The pacing for the film is really good and you will definitely feel the intensity all the way through. This definitely isn’t the kind of case that is all fun and games. Lives hang in the balance.

Overall, The Pearl of Death is a really great film. Every character gets something important to do and Holmes gets a lot of credit. He looks like the tactical genius that he should be portrayed as but everyone else does their best to pitch in. While Holmes is very competent, he also is shown to not be infallible which is a big part of what this movie is focused around. Some detectives do seem to be perfect like Detective Conan, but for the most part that is too much to expect out of anyone. If you are looking for a solid murder mystery then look no further. This is the film to look out for and it’s easy to jump into with no prior Holmes knowledge. The opening scene is also handled really well so the movie starts off on a high note. At most, the ending might just have the shortest Holmes speech so far which is a shame. They’re all usually so long and over the top with how cheesy they are that it’s the perfect way to end a film.

Overall 8/10