Vertical Limit Review

Climbing has never been something that really appealed to me. Aside from feeling like my arms would fall off I’m also not big on heights so it’s not really a combo that works for me. That being said, you can absolutely have a fun movie about it. This one is okay but my only issue is that the climbing itself can be a bit dull. I felt like the movie never reached that second gear where it could really differentiate itself and make a difference. Still if you are looking for a run of the mill thriller type film then this should still work out well enough for you.

The movie starts with Peter and Annie climbing a big mountain with their father and a bunch of other climbers but unfortunately there is an accident which causes a lot of them to fall. This causes the main characters to fall as well and the line connecting them isn’t strong enough to carry all of their weights. This causes Peter to have to make the very hard decision to cut their father free at his request so that he falls away and the other two live. Years pass and Annie has never forgiven Peter for this. She continues to climb in honor of their father while Peter has decided to completely retire. They are both coping in their own way but now Annie is about to go on a super difficult expedition and Peter is worried that she is going at this too hard as if she has something to prove. She denies this and decides to continue on as planned but when things go sideways it is up to Peter to save the day.

It can be a little rough to see Annie blaming him for everything but considering the stakes of what happened, I can’t blame her for holding a grudge for all these years. I disagree with her blaming him for this but at the end of the day once she does then that is a grudge which can go on for your whole life because losing a life is not something that ever goes away. She also does take a few too many risks although at the end of the day many main characters take risks so it’s not like that’s a really novel thing either. Ultimately she decided to shoot her shot even if it didn’t go very well here.

See, she is climbing one of the tallest mountains in the world along with a rich man named Elliott and one of the world’s greatest climbers in Tom. Elliott is desperate to climb this mountain so even when Peter and the team back at base tell them to turn back he refuses. He is getting to the top of that mountain and says that nobody is going to be able to stop him. At that point you can either turn back or follow him but it’s hard to actually stop him. That was certainly the best time to back away but unfortunately they don’t and they all get trapped. With a very limited amount of supplies it is only a matter of time until they turn on each other.

On Peter’s side he has quite a few people helping on the rescue mission but you figure that most of them are probably doomed at this point. Usually in any survival type film like this you can expect a modest body count because you can’t just have everyone make it all the way to the top. That would just feel too easy and so the cold starts to wear them down. The movie does a good job of showing just how cold the whole place is and how you even have to use an oxygen device of sorts to keep enough air in your body. It was pretty interesting.

My main issue though is that climbing can be quite repetitive and this film was no exception. Long chunks of the film are just about climbing up and slowly trying to get to the top. Not a bad thing by any means since that’s the point of the film but you need to spice things up like having them dodge avalanches a lot or something. Because the scenes quickly all start to blend together as they keep climbing the endless amounts of snow. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s a snowy mountain which makes this all the more apparent but all the terrain just looks the same. So it’s like you’ve got a few scenes on loop and that doesn’t help the overall experinece.

I actually thought the film was more interesting near the beginning as we meet the characters and get a lot of banter. There is also a mysterious character named Wick who is a full longer when it comes to climbing. He seems to have some beef with Elliott and this leads into a whole emotional backstory. Wick makes for a good character and he’s definitely not someone that you want to cross. In terms of overall climbing talent he would likely be the best one here.

You feel bad for some of the other climbers who are good but just have bad luck. For example there are two climbers who seem really skilled and can hold their own. The problem is that nobody told them that the explosives they were carrying were triggered by heat aka sunlight. Nobody knew this but they happened to be the ones who were told too late. It was a death that felt pretty much unavoidable for them so that’s why it was tragic. The rescue mission to save a few ended up costing a few and so it ends up being a whole cycle. At the end of the day of course you do have to do everything you can to save the people who were trapped/stranded though even if the burden is rather high. Especially since Peter was saving family but even if they had been strangers it is the right thing to do.

Wick’s subplot does add some drama here so that helps to enhance the story somewhat. Tom was also a good character but my only issue with him is that at the end of the day he folded. He knew that continuing with the climb was a bad idea but allowed Elliott to pressure him into continuing anyway. On the mountains and in life in general you have to trust your instincts. The instant you abandon them is when everything is lost because those are what you need to trust at all costs. Once he was frozen/sick you knew that things weren’t going to go great for him.

Meanwhile Elliott is quite unrepentant in how he will do whatever it takes to survive. This is someone that you absolutely can’t trust under any circumstance. He will always save himself first when the chips are down, that’s all there is to it. That alone is enough to make him the main antagonist here. It’s the kind of film that didn’t need a main villain per say but I think he works well enough. You’re constantly waiting for someone to take him down.

Overall, Vertical Limit may not be the most engaging film but it’s a fundamentally sound one. It doesn’t make any big mistakes and the cast isn’t bad. Wick would probably be the more interesting main character but his plot did get full closure and a resolution so he worked well within his role. It may not be my first recommendation for you but if you’re looking for a very specific sub genre of climbing then you can do pretty well with this one. You’ll probably feel cold while watching it too since there is so much ice everywhere.

Overall 6/10

Pacific Heights Review

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

Pacific Heights is one of those films where you feel like the main villain gets real lucky. His strategy of sabotage is very high risk since if you try this with the wrong person you are absolutely going to get shot. A lot of people just wouldn’t tolerate this guy’s antics right from the jump. The movie can be a bit annoying in that way as the main character also makes so many mistakes that he basically sabotages himself here. You wish that he would be able to make the right move at least once instead of crashing further and further.

The movie kicks off with two people being beat up and then we cut to Drake and Patty as the main characters. They are brand new landlords who have made an investment into buying a house so they can lease out the rooms. It’s a big investment but this does tend to be a fairly lucrative career as you can make a whole lot of money out of it. You do have to have a strong personality for it though because you will have to deal with crazy residents from time to time. They’re confident that they can find the right people though and so when Carter shows up and is too scared to do a credit check, Drake is not worried. This guy is going to pay “up-front later” which sounds like a contradiction but since when do wire transfers bounce right? Well the money never arrives and the guy has locked himself in the room while doing a lot of drilling. He’s also invited other people into the apartment and they are doing something crazy there. Can Drake and Patty stop this guy before he wrecks their livelihood?

Now one thing you should know is that landlords have a whole lot of power. Why do you think you hear so many stories of people being kicked to the curb? The power is not unlimited but Drake absolutely had some real options here. Not allowing Carter to buy the house before paying would certainly have been a good start but after that you’re not yet doomed. He should have broken the lock when he found out it was changed because that goes against the building policy. By the time he calls the locksmith all of the damage is already done. He should have gone to the cops way sooner instead of trying to handle it himself which is really where things backfired a lot.

Later on he is baited into entering the building again while there is a restraining order in place which was not a good idea and he just falls for every trap like beating up on Carter in front of the cops. He really makes the villain’s job super easy. He also didn’t react well with his girlfriend because he got so stressed out that he starts to be rude to her as well so even their relationship starts to get a little rocky. Drake’s whole life is falling apart and to a large extent he is the one digging his own grave.

Of course at the end of the day Carter is still the villain here and the one who needs to be blamed but you just know that Drake should have handled things way better. Patty had a much cooler head throughout the film. Unfortunately she didn’t tend to think of many ideas to help so in that way both of them were doomed but at least she wasn’t actively sabotaging their only chances of winning the case. See, they hire an attorney (Stephanie) to represent them in kicking Carter out and it should be an open and shut case but Drake being tricked into assault and violating court orders doesn’t help things at all. It was a really bad look for him.

As for Carter, surprisingly there isn’t some kind of big twist like Drake bullied him in high school or he wants revenge on the family for firing him. None of that, to this guy it’s just a business and he makes a whole career out of messing up people’s homes. It’s certainly a crazy hobby if I’ve ever heard of one but he just keeps going at it and has done all right for himself all these years. He got beat up in the opening so at least that group gave him a scare but realistically he’ll just use that to sue and cause a fuss unless you hide any evidence linking you to the beating. So you either have to take him down for good or put him in a position where he can’t sabotage your place later on.

I absolutely don’t blame the other neighbors for moving out either because there’s no way they could put up with this. The loud drilling at night was just way too crazy and of course Carter also causes a whole roach infestation. Roaches are hard to deal with and when you know where they are coming from but can’t do anything about it then that becomes a problem. The house was basically not salvageable at that point. I’m impressed they were even able to start rebuilding the place after the way everything was broken.

Patty’s plan of revenge had some promise although I think she needed to take it a little further to be really effective. Ultimately if she had gotten away a bit sooner then at least he might not have figured out it was her but at the end of the day it’s still just a minor inconvenience at best. You need to find a way to lock him up for a longer period of time although a large part of the blame also goes to the lady who agreed to pay Carter’s bail because that was crazy.

The film’s fairly tame although the climax naturally gets a little intense. Ultimately fighting in an unfinished house will always feel really dangerous because there are nails everywhere. Drake looks awful throughout the climax so the less said about him the better. I can tell you that I definitely expected much better out of him. At the very least the adrenaline and rage should have carried him through a lot better than they did.

Overall, Pacific Heights is one of those films that’s mainly annoying because of how the main character does everything half heartedly and as a result he constantly gets into trouble. You have to go 100% at anything you try to do because otherwise you are definitely going to be in trouble. At the end of the day I would say the film was decent. It doesn’t have a whole lot of replay value to me but it wasn’t bad either. If you’re looking for a film where the resident has the edge over the landlord for once then this is an interesting one to check out. You just know that if this guy went up against any experienced landlord then he would be in a whole world of trouble and I don’t love his odds of surviving.

Overall 6/10

Chances Are Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 1/10

A Room With A View Review

A Room With A View is one of those romance films that has so much drama you can only shake your head. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong and it’s mainly issues that the main characters bring about themselves. The romance here is definitely terrible all the way through and there is so much cheating going on that you forget who the protagonists are supposed to be. It really checks off all the wrong boxes all the way through.

So the movie starts with Lucy and her overprotective sister Charlotte trying to enjoy their hotel stay. Unfortunately they don’t have a room with a window and that causes a whole big fuss even though it really shouldn’t. A man named Mr. Emerson offers his room but Charlotte makes a big show of being rude to the guy because she figures that this is improper for some reason. Ultimately the heroines do get the room though and it turns out that Emerson’s son George likes Lucy. He makes a move on her in the fields which wasn’t very gentlemanly of him and Lucy puts some distance between them. There is a time skip and Lucy is now engaged to a disrespectful, condescending guy named Cecil but George figures he still has a chance. How will this play out?

There are a lot of issues here but first of all, George making a pass at Lucy while in the fields was definitely over the line. That was supposed to just be a chance for a normal conversation to get to know each other but he immediately went for the kiss. This is always one of the most annoying tropes. Yeah you probably want to show some initiative when you like someone but that means asking her out or throwing in some complements. Not immediately going for the kiss because 9 times out of 10 that’s going to end badly and even if it didn’t, it’s not the proper thing to do. There is no class involved with that.

It then gets worse when George pulls this stunt again while Lucy is engaged. At this point that is completely cheating and the problem is that George knows it. Basically George says that Cecil is wrong for her and so he is trying to break them up but that’s really not his place to say. You really have to stay your hand at this point because once someone is engaged then you have to respect that and George clearly doesn’t. This impacts the whole film because he is in a sense rewarded for this by winning in the end as you knew he would from the second the film started. That’s not a great moral and he is such a bad character that this is annoying.

Of course the film isn’t trying to be subtle here so Cecil is introduced as a really bad character too. For starters he is constantly insulting Lucy’s family and has total disdain for all of their family traditions and activities. He basically sneers at them all the time and you have to wonder how he and Lucy possibly got together. It would seem like she is only with him out of obligation and that’s not a good relationship either. So Cecil is awful and the film shows no attempts at hiding this but Lucy should have broken up with him first rather than cheating on the side.

So Lucy takes a lot of the blame here too for being too indecisive and letting others make decisions for her. Throughout the film one of the issues is that her sister Charlotte likes to make all of the decisions to “protect” Lucy but then she ends up betraying the heroine anyway. She tells Lucy’s darkest secrets to her writer friend to publish for the world and that’s not something that you can take back. It’s also why secrets are never worth it because if you tell one person then you may have just told everyone. You either hold it with you forever or it’s going to spill out and at that point it’s game over.

You couldn’t root for Lucy because she is a pushover the whole time. Then Charlotte is super unlikable the whole time too and just like that we’ve gone through virtually every character. I guess Mr. Emerson was okay but mainly because he was out of the loop the whole time and didn’t get to appear much. Otherwise he is trying to play matchmaker and it’s not for a great relationship pairing so that would have been really annoying otherwise.

The film loves its drama as the characters go across whole cities and states and somehow keep bumping into each other anyway. There is just no escape from this “destiny” or at least that’s what they would have you believe. That said, you cannot succeed if none of the characters are likable. Straight up it’s just going to be impossible to pull that off no matter how good or engaging the writing may try to be. At the end of the day you need a solid cast if you want to go far. Especially for a romance film since there is no fun soundtrack or dialogue to distract you.

I think a lot of movies also just miss the point of romance in general. A good romance should be one where it’s a relationship where both characters are happier than when they are alone. So if there’s always more drama, tension, and bickering then what’s really the point? There is not a single scene to show why Lucy even remotely liked Cecil. She can’t stand him and he just seems standoffish from the jump. You can tell he was created purely to get knocked down a peg by George and to lose the war so he’s just a waste of time.

Overall, A Room With A View is a film to avoid. The title along reminds me of how crazy it was to make a fuss about not having a window. Come on that’s not nearly as important as the characters were suggesting. I think Charlotte was just complaining to complain at that point or to get attention since she quickly tried to say no when the gentleman offered his room. It’s like there was just no winning at that point. Definitely a swing and a miss here.

Overall 3/10

On The Beach Review

On The Beach has to be one of the most boring titles that I’ve watched. Seriously that’s the only issue with the film which is that it drags on and on for a super long amount of time. At no point in the adventure are you having a lot of fun. Now this is a very serious title so fun was always going to be tricky but then you have to have really likable characters to root for or something. Instead the film is really about everyone facing their imminent doom and how they deal with it.

The movie starts rather mysteriously. The world seems rather empty and there is a group in a boat just sort of drifting along. They are looking for something…but what is it? The film keeps this suspense up for a while but basically it turns out that World War III happened and the world is dying of nuclear fallout. It seems that there is no safe place in the world but Captain Dwight is trying to find some possible shred of hope. It just isn’t appearing though and slowly but surely he is watching everyone start to fade away. His family is likely dead as well but he’s not sure if he wants to rebound with a lady named Moira quite yet. There’s also another guy, Julian who likes her but with the end of the world coming in quick there isn’t a whole lot of time for that. How will these characters spend their last days?

In this film everyone is already defeated. There is seemingly no way to survive the radiation and after a point nobody even wants to try. The government is even handing out murder pills which will destroy you in an instant and a lot of people start taking them. Others start to end themselves in more creative ways like locking themselves in a car with the engine on or running off the road and exploding. That’s really where the film starts to lose you because after a point it’s really just a bunch of people committing suicide and that doesn’t make for the most engaging experience.

I would have liked the characters to have kept fighting until the bitter end. I know this film is quite old but surely someone could come up with a protective suit or something like that. Something to just keep them going a little longer and buy some time. Dying of radiation would certainly be a rough way to go so I get it. It’s why if we did ever have an end of the world event during my lifetime I’d want to be in the epicenter so it’s over quickly as opposed to getting dragged out. The reactions in the film are realistic so I’m not saying otherwise but it doesn’t make for great TV.

This movie is just made to be rather depressing all the way through and it succeeds in that. It just means that there are no real positives to enjoy either though. Then the first half is just slow as the heroes inspect different areas looking for radiation. They have to move really slowly through the ocean or while on land so they don’t trip. Because of this even a simple walk can take a very long time to get through and all the while you’re waiting for some excitement. Something to break the status quo and get some new energy in there. It doesn’t happen though.

Then the romance is also really weak. So Moira likes Dwight but part of the issue here is that Dwight did have a family. They are almost certainly dead by this point but he is really ready to move on so quickly? I just don’t like that. It seems like a pretty fast turnaround and it’s the end of the world. Why even start a new relationship when you are going to die shortly anyway? The ending just underscores this as they are not going to be together anyway so there was no point in even starting this. At best it just passes some time but then you’re paying a heavy price for that.

There are a lot of other areas we could have gone with this film that would be more enjoyable. It’s a classic prompt to ask someone what they would do if they knew they only had a few days to live. Of course that is usually assuming that you’re in a normal world so you say that you want to eat a lot of good food or things like that. In this case mostly everything is gone since most people are dead but you could still have some fun events. Like the quick race we got, that was fun enough. I’m not saying the film has to be upbeat but there are a lot of fairly lighthearted things you can do with this premise before going all grim dark at the end. That would have made the film a whole lot more enjoyable and definitely would have ended up being more fun.

Instead the only real dialogue we get here is characters debating the pill. Naturally it was a very controversial conversation for one family since that is a stressful choice. I think the wife and kid should have just gone with the father on the ship though. By this point do the usual formalities really matter? Moira went on the ship as she pleased until the end where she had to stay (Which didn’t make any sense). So just go on and at least be together until the end. I don’t really get the logic of splitting up when the end is so near but I guess it ups the drama.

Overall, On the Beach is a film that I highly recommend avoiding. It is always interesting to see how far back people had been thinking about the possibility of World War III. It’s something that will likely always loom over our heads but so long as everyone has nukes, at least we can have mutually assured destruction which beats this kind of apocalyptic setting. There isn’t really any reason to watch this one though because it doesn’t have any fun with the premise and if you wanted to see an abandoned world with the characters having nothing to do….well then I guess you can watch this film. Otherwise there is really no incentive here. It just drags on forever.

Overall 2/10

Summer and Smoke Review

Summer and Smoke is about an old school romance that doesn’t go so well this time. See, you’d usually expect the classic trope of the innocent girl who falls for the bad boy to play out in a certain way. She gets him to be a little less wild and he gets her to live it up a little and it’s happily ever after. This takes a more serious look at how this would typically play out and while it does end up being a lot more realistic, it’s definitely not what I would call a feel good movie. It drags on a lot and since none of the characters are particularly likable that puts you in a rough spot right out of the gate.

The movie introduces us to Alma as a child who didn’t get along great with the other kids. She was always off on her own but she did like John who was fairly popular. John was definitely a tough kid already by that point and didn’t have time for the kind of serious romance that she was looking for. Many years have passed by and things haven’t changed. John lives a very problematic lifestyle and is always leaving town on adventures while Alma has been the dutiful daughter who takes care of her sick mother and keeps living on the straight and narrow. With John back in town Alma had been hoping they could finally get together but that isn’t working. Will she have to descend to his level for them to get together or is there a better way?

Of course the answer to this should clearly be that if you have to lower your level to be with someone then that’s not worth it. A true relationship can only blossom when you are being yourself and are with someone where you are comfortable doing that. If you feel like you need to change yourself then that’s already a massive red flag. Additionally John isn’t someone who could possibly be trusted to have a stable relationship with. Throughout the film he is involved in lots of different affairs and it is clear that he likes to play the field. He always goes for the most attractive girl in the group and then moves on when someone even more beautiful arrives. It’s a very clear pattern even if Alma tries to deny this.

Now you absolutely can feel bad for Alma. She has had a rough go of it as her mother has lost a significant portion of her mind so she acts rather crazy on a day to day basis and her father can be quite strict. So she has grown up in a way where she had to be very mature from a young age which didn’t help her when it came to mingling with the rest of town. Even her high education ends up getting in the way a bit as others think she is looking down on them. Ultimately it can be hard to make friends but if she was less obsessed with John then perhaps she could have found someone. She does have a few friends including one guy who likes her but she only really has eyes for John in the end.

Ultimately by the time she is ready to make a move like that it is just too late and it’s still probably for the best. The way her character ends in the film is not very satisfying though. I would instead argue that the ending is pretty bad since she is basically settling for someone else as she is desperate to have any man and she’s not thinking straight. An affair born out of desperation just isn’t going to end up working out. Ironically John probably has a more stable future ahead of him. Hey it’s great that it worked out but it can also be a bit annoying to see considering how much trouble he had caused beforehand. It’s just hard to forget that.

He’s also what brings the film down quite a lot here. See this is a very dramatic romance film. It’s not part comedy so you are going to have a lot of serious plots here like John’s decisions causing his father to get shot and a lot of feelings are hurt all the time. So by the time he has his offscreen redemption after a long timeskip you’re just tired of this guy already. You just don’t even want to see him because you know just seeing the guy is going to get you really annoyed. That’s just the kind of character he is. It’s like watching someone destroy a town and then show up a few years later to build a house. It’s great that he got his life back together but you just would rather he do it somewhere else.

The only really solid character in the whole film has to be the young lady who shows up at the end to deliver one last blow to Alma. Technically this girl doesn’t know any of the backstory so at no point does she have any malicious intentions. It does feel like there is a bit of an age gap there but ultimately she seems like the only character to be very nice with no ulterior motives so it’s easy to root for her. Everyone else can just be annoying.

I feel like the movie didn’t even need the plot about Alma’s mother. All it served to do was make the film a little more dreary and downcast with how Alma couldn’t even rest at home. The film already had enough of that so this was just throwing things over the edge. There’s also not a whole lot of fun to be had in the movie. You will barely find any real happy moments at all. I don’t count the crazy drunk parties John would have because that’s not the kind of happy moment I’m thinking about. You always see the negative connotations there. I’m talking about an actual lighthearted upbeat moment and those are rare. The closest may be when Alma and John go to the carnival and even then you know something bad is about to happen.

Overall, This is definitely a film that I highly recommend skipping. For starters it is a very long film. It drags on and on and on as the relationships keep going back and forth. The cast is weak and the story is annoying at best. The romances here are all awful so you’re not rooting for anyone to get together and the ending is really the big arrow to the heart. It ends things off on such a sour note and whether the relationship works or not, it feels like a pure desperation rebound which is never what you want to see here. There’s just nothing wholesome about that. Maybe the film should have taken place in the winter instead so as to work as a metaphor about how hard all of their hearts became by the end.

Overall 2/10

Prom Night Review

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

It’s time for another school movie where a disaster takes place. There isn’t a huge explosion this time around but there may as well have been as things get really intense here. The movie doesn’t start off on the best note, nor does it end in a great way either. This is really just your dime a dozen slasher movie going through its paces and it never tries to be anything more than that. As a result this movie just isn’t very good at all with a lot of forgettable characters.

The movie starts off with a bunch of cruel children picking on one girl until they corner her by a window where she falls through and dies. They decide not to tell anyone and run off. Years later, someone has decided to avenge the girl. Each of the children who were involved start to get threatening phone calls confirming that they will all be dying at the prom. The heroines are grown up now though and figure these are prank calls and don’t worry about it. As the bodies start piling up they have to be careful though. Can they actually stop this monster before they are obliterated?

Schools really are quite huge so it does work as a big battleground here. For example with the big prom taking place in the main lobby, the rest of the school is completely empty. That gives the murderer plenty of places to hide. It’s a location where you can buy into a cloaked figure even camping out for the whole day. You’ve got several floors each with 12+ rooms plus restrooms and such that are completely empty. Naturally some students leave to go and have affairs and such which makes them easy pickings. In that way the prom was the easiest date to pull this off for because everybody is making the job easier. They split off on their own without telling people intentionally.

Of course it’s also annoying to see them all fall for this by the same token. You just know that the characters are doomed the instant the villain appears. As always they all just don’t know how to fight at all and can’t defend themselves. The only exception to this is a guy named Slick who has a lot of self confidence. It was impressive how he just rode up in his big car and got someone to go out with him immediately although whether it’s a feather in his cap or the lady was too easy is something we can’t say. It’s as rushed a romance as you can get so I’m not exactly going to give that a high score.

Surprisingly Slick actually made this a real fight and went back and forth with the villain for quite some time though. That scene went on for way longer than I had anticipated. Yeah the ending is probably inevitable to be sure but I always prefer when someone puts up a fight rather than meekly going down. When your life is at stake you better find some adrenaline to fight back because if you lose then that’s game over. There is no retry option or anything like that even if it would be cool to have one of those.

The main heroine here is Kim and she does feel bad about what happened. It’s just like 10 years too late but I’ll take what I can get. There isn’t a whole lot to her character though. I mean in a way her character is that she isn’t nearly as desperate as the others who are all either one with the world now or have completely moved on. You just know that they’re all doomed while Kim at least has a chance of figuring things out. Well, she is the main character so that makes sense but she also just seems a lot more reasonable than the others. She feels like your average everyday character if that makes sense.

It’s not a bad thing, I’ll take being a forgettable character over being a really bad one but you can tell that this movie was more about putting the effort in to how everyone would be bumped off rather than the characters. There actually is one side bonus to this although I think it’s probably unintentional. The characters are so forgettable that when they reveal who the villain is, it takes you a minute to remember who the character is. You quickly understand from the context clues but there will be a few moments where you scratch your head and just wonder what’s going on. It all does make sense in hindsight and in a way this is the only culprit that would make sense.

The film does offer an obvious red herring from the start but the movie forgot to be subtle about this so because of that nobody falls for it. Now in a way slasher films are always going to be doomed no matter what setting they take place in but I would argue that taking place at a school puts you at an extra disadvantage by default. First you have all of the drama and poorly developed romances going on. It makes the characters look really annoying and unprepared from the jump. Then you have the fact that the teachers and principal are inevitably not going to help or do much anyway so why even include them in here? If the movie takes place on the mountains or something then at least it’s a unique environment and you have the extra tension of trying to escape from there in one piece.

It won’t solve the core issues but it’s a start. As you’d expect the film suffers from excessive violence and poor writing. There are no really likable characters as it’s really hard to forget that opening scene. I don’t care how young they were, you have to be pretty messed up to attack that little girl the way that they did. It was a really rough way to start the film and unfortunately set the tone for how the rest of the movie was going to play out. It’s really hard to recover from a moment like that.

Overall, At least the principal tried to help things out by putting the pressure on with locating another criminal on the loose. I give him credit for doing his best, he was just doomed from the start and you as the viewer knew it. Some things just can’t be easily stopped. I don’t think there is really anything you can get from this film that can’t be found in any number of other slashers. The movie doesn’t have much in the way of redeeming values as even the mystery of trying to find out who the killer is won’t interest you very much.

Overall 2/10

Heathers Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 1/10

Shadow of a Woman Review

This film is definitely more annoying than it is suspenseful. Mainly a film like this revolves around the lead being completely incapable of taking any definitive actions in order to keep going. That just means that the plot is really weak if you ask me. The movie has quality writing and there’s a lot going on but the story just doesn’t hold up because any reasonable character would have done some things way differently and that would have been the end of it. Over half of this film would have just been thrown out the window and you could even argue that 99% of it would end if the main character didn’t just jump into things at the start.

So this film starts with Brooke deciding to marry a guy named Eric that she barely knows. She knows that he’s a doctor but that’s about it. She allows herself to get swept up in the moment and marries him but why all the rush? That in itself should have been a red flag and then things only continue to get worse. First off, he’s not quite as well off financially as he had led her to believe. Someone tries to murder him by crushing him with a boulder initially and then someone else shoots at him later on. In each instance he tells Brooke that she’s imagining things or that it was someone hunting buffalo and she just takes this. What should have been the last straw is that he then says they have to live at his family’s place even though she has a perfectly acceptable home that they could have been in. Now she is an unwanted guest here and the tensions continue to rise. Is there something shady about this Eric fella?

The amount of suspension you have to put your belief through here is absolutely crazy. Why is Brooke willing to sacrifice so much of her life for someone that she barely knows? It just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever and that’s my main problem here. He continues to stack the deck against her and gets upset at her awful quick but Brooke just doesn’t put the pieces together. I’m not sure which moment is more drastic, Eric being shot at or his insisting they live at a place where nobody likes her. Either one should have been enough for her to keep her distance or at least stay in her home and insist he goes to her. Instead Brooke keeps trying to stick with it.

Now if they were married for ages and things had been going great then I could appreciate the loyalty here but instead it just feels like she is letting him walk all over her with no real resistance. Instead of being admirable it just makes her look weak if you ask me. Especially when his excuses are so weak. He spends the whole film constantly telling her that she’s crazy and seeing things and she just accepts this. It isn’t until the very end of the film where she starts to stick up for herself and by then it’s very nearly too late. So yeah I didn’t like Brooke. She may not be an antagonist the way that Eric is but she makes the job way too easy on him the whole time. If she had done just about anything then things wouldn’t have turned out the way that they did.

For example one thing Eric is doing here is starving a child as he hopes that the kid will die off and then he can claim the insurance money. I feel like you have to call the cops or child custody services immediately but Brooke sits on her hands for a while here and just doesn’t do anything. I suppose she feeds him her breakfast once but that’s more of a passive resistance. I want to see her actually doing something bold. She finds out he had another wife, that he’s using her to win a court case, etc. The twists and bad news just keeps coming in over and over again and she still doesn’t do much. Eric even tells her to stop seeing her doctor friend since he’s the only doctor she could ever need. Ah man.

Yeah this was an annoying one and it gets more annoying the more I think about it. Eric isn’t even a mastermind or anything because this plan should never have worked. The fact that it got this far is more of a strike against Brooke than it is a complement to his strength. His family is also afraid of him to the point where they keep his secrets and act as antagonists. I mean they even drug Brooke although the heroine forgives them rather quickly. They were just so spineless that they also end up being really bad characters here. They let Eric manipulate them for quite a long while and that’s another problem. Everyone just lets him do what he wants and they make the worst decisions possible.

One client of Eric’s seems to start to realize that he’s a scammer but she only works things out halfway. So she accuses him of all kinds of stuff and says she will wreck his career…but then she gets drunk and asks him to take her home. Lets just say she didn’t survive this ordeal and the whole thing makes you roll your eyes. How can you threaten someone and then trust him with your life? Throughout the film Eric actually bumps off quite a few characters and it’s not like he’s a super tough fighter or anything. Everyone just comes across as massive suckers the whole time so there’s not a whole lot that he needs to do.

Apparently it is well known that he is a scammer too but unfortunately there are enough people who don’t realize this that makes it tricky. There are always more people for him to trick after all and that’s always unfortunate. He gets away with a whole lot for a very long period of time and nobody could touch him. At least with the court case eventually the lawyer was going to defeat him but it was just taking way too long. I still think a quick call to the cops would have saved a great deal of time. The lawyer also got really lucky that Brooke talks a lot. Yes by the end there was a conscious effort to help him out but for part of the film Brooke was wrecking Eric’s plans accidentally with her outbursts which wasn’t as cool as it could have been. I wanted to see her as an intentional saboteur, not someone accidentally stumbling into success.

Overall, This film can be rather suspenseful but the characters really hold it back. It doesn’t come across as a very smartly written film and is instead one where everything just happens to turn out well for the villain because nobody can think ahead. If they actually made the right decisions then Eric wouldn’t have gotten nearly as far as he did. Ultimately you have to be able to stick up for yourself when the going gets tough and you also have to trust yourself. If someone tells you that you’re crazy then you have to believe your mind over that person. Things could have been so different here if Brooke was just a tough character. It’s not a bad movie but I would recommend most other suspense type films over this one. You’ll just be rolling your eyes too hard half the time at all the mistakes that are being made and it goes without saying that the romance is quite weak as well.

Overall 5/10

All The Money in the World

This review is of the TV-14 edited 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 for a film about a pretty big kidnapping back in the day. Now this was a while ago so if you aren’t familiar with the Getty family then you shouldn’t feel bad about it. I know about the people here but nothing about the kidnapping. Can’t say I even knew this was a thing that had happened back in the day so the film does a good job of telling the events here. Naturally I can’t speak to the historical accuracy of everything here but it was a good movie at any rate.

The movie starts with John getting kidnapped after hanging out in a rough part of town. I’m not sure exactly what he was doing there, maybe just trying to prove a point like he was strong or something? Either way it was not a good move in the slightest and just ended up getting him into a lot of trouble. After he is kidnapped, the kidnappers contact his mother Gail for millions of dollars. She has no funds but they want her to contact John’s grandfather Paul. Paul is the richest man in the world and apparently at the time he also became the richest person in the history of the world. So in theory he could pay the fee in an instant but chooses not too and instead hires an ex CIA agent named Fletcher to find and recover John. Fletcher is to work with Gail on this while keeping her out of the loop and as you can expect she is not happy in the slightest. Every minute they don’t pay the ransom is another minute of her son being in danger. Can the heroes win the day?

Paul ends up being one of the main antagonists in the film. Now of course he’s not as bad as the kidnappers for obvious reasons but the film makes it abundantly clear that saving John isn’t one of his priorities. He wants to keep his money at all costs and won’t be giving any out. Now, there are some valid arguments he makes but they all start to slip out of the window as we see more of his true self. So you can’t really defend the guy and he just turned out to be no good. The scene where he tries to shake Gail dry out of any money and taking away her kids showed exactly where his true loyalties lay. money was all that he cared about.

Now before the mask fell off and we saw his true face, here’s why I thought it was reasonable not to pay the random initially. Apparently Paul has over 15 different children around the world and it makes sense that it would inspire a lot of copycat crimes if he was to pay the ransom. He would end up losing his money quickly but more importantly it would also put the children in danger. Additionally, he gets many fake kidnapping letters and constant letters asking for money. Determining if the kidnapping was real and who actually needs help isn’t easy. It is a legitimate problem of being rich. Again, it goes out the window later on but initially it actually makes sense.

Likewise with hiring Fletcher on the downlow. It at least seemed like Paul was trying to get to the bottom of this but ultimately that’s just not how things played out. John goes through a rather tough ordeal for the entire film so there’s not much to say about him. He’s on the run the whole time and just trying to survive. Of course with hindsight you can recommend different options to him but he did well in escaping multiple times and there just wasn’t really anywhere to go.

Meanwhile Gail did a good job the whole time. She tries to earn the money through many different tactics and it’s just hard. She’s going up against everyone since she really doesn’t have a ton of support. Paul doesn’t want to give any money after all and while the general public may help with a kickstarter if this was in 2022, you can’t expect to raise millions of dollars that way. Emotionally she is absolutely taken to the breaking point as well but always stays strong. She keeps it together in public even when the paparazzi tell her to cry. They definitely seem as unhinged as always which seems like a really accurate representation from what I’ve seen.

As for Fletcher, I would say he was the MVP here. A lot of developments would not have been possible without him taking an extra close interest in the case. He was the guy that Gail needed to have her back and he did when the chips were down. Even if it meant putting his job on the line and going against his boss, he helped her out. He’s a very likable guy without a doubt. The guy stands his ground and does what he thinks is right in all situations.

There are a lot of good politics going on here between the characters. For the most part nobody likes each other but you have to put on some kind of a polite pretense or you won’t be getting far at all. Gail does a great job with this when dealing with Paul since I’m sure she would love to just absolutely crush the guy if given a choice. She has to play ball because she needs the money and knows how to play the long game. So she also deserves a whole lot of credit here. Nobody ever wants to be put into this situation and it’s why you won’t have any sympathy for any of the kidnappers. There’s one who tries to be a little nicer but at the end of the day if you’re in this line of work then there is really no hope for you. I know situations can be tough and maybe you’re in the wrong spot but at no point can I find any room to have sympathy for this guy. Some career choices just have no room for that and human trafficking and kidnapping absolutely falls into that.

Overall, This was a very interesting movie. It draws your attention and especially if you don’t know how the events concluded it will get very suspenseful. They pulled no punches with this film and I appreciated that. Now some parts can get a little intense like I would have cut out the ear scene personally. I know that’s likely a big part of the story but it’s the only part that really gets gruesome while this is mostly an emotional mental thriller. Even if John gets out alive by the end, you know that he will never be quite the same after this. You just don’t fully recover when you’ve been through the wringer like that but you hope he will mostly be okay and it still beats the alternative.