The Time Traveler’s Wife Review

7f9d7b55dc960178aa5d9526ec347457
It’s time for another romance film, but I’m afraid that this one is pretty bad. It probably has the worst use of time travel that I’ve seen yet and the characters are no good. There are a lot of betrayals on both sides and we even have the classic “I can go through time but I can’t alter it except for when I do” kind of time travel logic. That’s still the worst kind to be honest. There isn’t much that’s nice to say about this movie so you’ve been warned.

The plot follows a guy named Henry who is a time traveler. The problem is that it isn’t as easy as it looks in the movies. Henry can’t bring his clothes with him nor can he control where he teleports or when it happens. He could be stuck somewhere for minutes or months. Then there are different versions of him teleporting all around as well which complicates things further. There is no rhyme or reason to his teleportations although it also seems like he can control them to an extent as well so that may be up for debate. He just wants to have a normal life so he finds Clare when she is a kid and hangs out with her all through the years so she grows to like him once she is an adult. Henry now feels like he has won at last, but his constant teleporting threatens to end their relationship once and for all.

There’s a lot of dubious actions here by all parties involved. Fortunately there are only 2 real characters who have a big role here, Henry and Clare. Bad news is that both of them are pretty iffy. Lets start with Henry as his issues are pretty self explanatory. He used time travel to really improve his odds with Clare which is definitely not a legitimate tactic. In the present when Clare tracks him down he doesn’t even know who she is, but is very quick to ignore that so they can have a moment. This guy is definitely very easy so is Clare sure that she wants him? Well, yeah since through time travel she knows what will happen and who is she to defy destiny? Henry continues bouncing around time and also doesn’t know any boundaries so he decides to read her diary without permission so he knows exactly where to teleport and what to say. The guy is bad news and the characters did warn Clare about this. He also has an operation so he can’t have any kids without telling Clare first since he didn’t want to talk about it. Great.

Then we have Clare. She knew all about the teleporting and the various risks before getting together with Henry so she certainly can’t pull the “I didn’t know” card. The problem is that she basically still pulls it towards the end as she states that she just can’t handle this anymore. It’s a little late to be saying stuff like that now. Then she decides to get around Henry’s operation by cheating on him with his past self. That’s definitely a very iffy thing to do. The morality of that is certainly pretty negative and both characters just keep dragging each other down.

Also, a recurring theme in the film is that Henry keeps seeing a vision where he ultimately ends up dying. Then he should at least know to brace himself for the teleport right?He even knows what day it will happen at the very end but still looks around like a deer in the headlights at the end. At least duck or something, anything could have potentially saved his life there. Instead he just made everything go according to plan. The film would argue that it was simply unavoidable, but I never bought into that.

Overall, The Time Traveler’s Wife is just not a good film. The characters are super annoying and this is one of the worst versions of time travel that I have seen in a long time. They really made the power be as bad as it possibly could and it doesn’t help that he is using the ability in the wrong way. With nobody to root for and a plot that isn’t interesting, the film just doesn’t have anything going for it. You’ll want to give this one a hard pass and it serves as another reminder that romance-dramas typically aren’t very good.

Overall 2/10

Advertisements

You’ve Got Mail Review

51Fas4vPGcL
It’s time for a relatively modern romance film from back in the day. Naturally romance isn’t exactly my favorite genre, but at least it also deals with small businesses vs corporate control which is more up my alley. It’s not a bad movie but as with most in this genre it does start out better than how it concludes. If the friend zone card had been played then that may have worked out a little more.

The film starts off by showing us Kathleen’s life. It’s rather plain at the moment and she needs someone to vent to. That’s when she reveals that she has been talking to someone online using a chat room in secret. This has been pretty good for her well being and the guy in the computer enjoys their talks as well. It’s all anonymous so nobody has to be any the wiser and even the two people in the chat don’t know who each other is. That’s when Kathleen’s life is turned upside down as a new book store shows up to run her out of business. They believe in the Wal Mart strategy of starting prices low to put all of the local shops out of business before raising prices again. The leader of this company is named Joe Fox and he is determined to destroy Kathleen.

Well, he does say that this isn’t personal but who would actually believe that? What Kathleen doesn’t know is that Joe is the person she speaks to on the phone. He didn’t know it either for a little while, but finds out before long. He has to try and keep this secret from her, but can he do it? It’ll be tough but Joe didn’t become a rich CEO for nothing, he’s still got a chance here!

The whole point of the dynamic is that both characters don’t know that they are actually confiding in each other. That should have stayed the focus for most of the film instead of Joe finding out and then tricking Kathleen for the rest of the film. I think the movie would have been a lot more fun if this had been the case. It is interesting to see Joe playing so many different roles of course, but it can also be a little dicey.

Also, we can’t just forget the fact that of course corporate wins because they always do in these kinds of scenarios. Kathleen was put out of a job so it’s hard to see her get so friendly with Joe right afterwards. At first he plays the friend card so they just hang out platonically but that never seems to last in these things. They may as well be honest with each other and just say that staying friends was never in the game plan for them. The actual romance just doesn’t work at all.

Fortunately the writing isn’t half bad though. For the most part the humor lands and the characters aren’t that annoying. I think Kathleen had the best supporting cast. Her reporter friend Frank was good for a while since he is so paranoid about everything and always trying to take shots at technology. The only tricky part here is how quick he was to try and leave Kathleen for another reporter. That’s where you end up losing all respect for the guy. Kathleen’s co-workers were also pretty fun and they did their best to be useful. Even when Kathleen’s mystery man seemed to be a crook they were very supportive.

Meanwhile Joe just had 2 characters on his side. The first was his friend who would walk him to the diner when Joe was feeling scared. He seemed like a reasonable guy, but didn’t get to appear much. Then we have Joe’s friend/maybe wife so seemed like a reasonable character until the very end where she suddenly wasn’t. That was the film’s forced way of leaving both Joe and Kathleen open but it was basically plot convenience there.

As for the two leads themselves, they weren’t bad. Joe is certainly ruthless in taking down the small businesses, but I guess that is his job so like the guy said, it just wasn’t personal. Of course you shouldn’t just leave your ethics at the door either so it’s complicated. Kathleen was also a reasonable character and put up a valiant effort in trying to stop Joe’s company. It’s just a shame that she couldn’t claim victory here.

Overall, You’ve Got Mail was a pretty fun film that was mainly held back by the unnecessary romance. Really, just take away the romance and you’ve got a better film. It could have easily ended when Joe put her out of business. If you want a happy ending then just have her get rehired by them. I think that would have made for a more wholesome film and would have given the characters more dignity as well. You still just can’t fall for the person who put you out of business. That’s just too much to buy into. If you want a decent rom-com to watch then this is your ticket. It’s a good bet to watch this one since typically the genre can be a little dicey.

Overall 6/10

A Wrinkle in Time Review

A-Wrinkle-in-Time-2018-movie-poster
It’s time to look at a recent book adaption. Unfortunately the book wasn’t good so an adaption was ultimately doomed to not be very good either. It’s a real shame since there are better books that we still need proper adaptions of like Daniel X. The film’s plot is just really weak, the characters aren’t likable or enjoyable, and the climax has a lot of plot hax. Yes, you have made it to the final Wrinkle in Time movie!

The plot starts off with a little girl named Meg getting in another fight. Her Mom is worried since this has been happening a lot lately. Meg’s father vanished a while back and he probably isn’t coming back so now at school everyone messes with Meg about it. That’s when an alien breaks into the house and tells Meg that they can find her father. Meg’s brother Charles is cool with this and her friend Calvin is game as well. The alien transports them to another world and now they have to use the powers of friendship and hope to break reality and free her father. Can they do this?

Keep in mind that the plot isn’t really the focus of the film. You can argue that it’s all just an abstract roundabout way of trying to get Meg to come to terms with her feelings. A big chunk of the film is about getting Meg to accept the unexplainable and to believe in the impossible like her father coming back. It’s an interesting moral since usually it’s more about letting go. Honestly this should have focused on the mother more as she knew about the dad’s experiments about teleportation and never did a thing to try and find him. Shouldn’t she have suspected the most what had really happened as opposed to just buying into his disappearance?

Meanwhile the 3 aliens are extremely annoying and don’t contribute anything interesting to the film. For starters, they don’t know how to interact with humans which gets really grating right from the start. They constantly insult Meg (Okay, just the main one throws the insults, but the others express their doubts a lot) just like the bullies in the real world. Are these really the cosmic beings that we are supposed to root for? They don’t get any good scenes and throw Meg into this world with no context so of course she is having some trouble. They should be more concerned with how Charles is taking everything in stride.

Charles was the worst character in the book and that hasn’t changed here. The film did a good job of reducing his scenes quite a bit which was great but at the end of the day nothing can really save his unfortunate ending. He’s very weak willed so the darkness can control him quite easily. It makes for a visually interesting climax where he gains telekinesis and super abilities but that makes him too strong. Meg is just a kid so keep that in mind and he has super powers. She literally has no chance of victory but even after getting thrown around the room multiple times to the point where she should have died, Charles is convinced to turn good again through the power of friendship. I think the climax should have been handled way differently. As it is Charles was less shady than in the book but either way the betrayal was a bit much.

Then we have Calvin who is just annoying the whole time. He’s pretty much here just to try and add in a bit of romance. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t work very well. He adds absolutely nothing to the film and just seems unrealistic. He helps her self esteem a lot and seems like a nice kid, but of course he needs to have a sob story as well. Why can’t he just be a nice guy who isn’t trying to compensate for something? The romance doesn’t get much of a focus fortunately but you do have to question why it was around in the first place.

The cast is rather small as the film is focusing on the visuals and not developing everyone. Unfortunately that means that every bad character really hurts the film and that is the case here. Lets make sure we have the record straight. We have Calvin who is a filler character. He’s not terrible, but he isn’t good. Then we have Charles who is a terrible character. The 3 Aliens are also super annoying. Meg isn’t very likable either as she is simply too mopey and constantly doubting herself. By the end of the film she finally gains confidence but it’s too late. We have the school personnel who are bad at their job like expected and then the bullies are added in as fluff. The Father is a poor character as well if you ask me. Maybe he shouldn’t be blamed for being powerless to escape his prison, but the guy just came across as really unprepared and had a tendency to give up easily.

As you can see this film just really didn’t hit the right notes for me. Granted, its biggest offense for the most part is simply that it was very boring. It’s not as if it made huge mistakes that would make me give it a terrible score like a 2. It won’t be positive either though since I just can’t recommend a boring film either. The film just has no life in it or any real imagination either. It just feels soul less and never gets you engaged. It’s like a fantasy film without any good lore behind it.

Overall, A Wrinkle In Time gets a hard pass from me. If you want to watch something that makes you feel like you’re watching a real film then check out something like Narnia instead. You will leave that film feeling a lot more fulfilled and it’ll probably age better as well. Perhaps a sequel to this film would work better now that the introductions are out of the way but it would still need a plot that is actually interesting to back it up so that may be a little too much for this series to handle as well. Still, with a sequel there is always hope I suppose.

Overall 4/10

Muscle Beach Party Review

wsi-imageoptim-web-front-muscle-beach-party
I’ve seen quite a few beach movies in my day, but never have I seen one about a group of Muscle dudes trying to take over the Beach from the crew. It’s a pretty interesting dynamic because you just aren’t sure who to root for. After all, which party is more sympathetic here? Probably the crew and that’s saying something. It’s certainly not any better than the other beach films, but it can make for some decent entertainment at times.

Frankie and the gang are hanging out at the beach like usual when the film starts off. Dee Dee wants them to eventually get married while Frankie insults the very concept. He believes that people should mess around with each other but stay available in case a better offer comes along. Sure enough, one does. A rich Contessa shows up and decides that she wants Frankie. Frankie’s eager to go with her and ditch his beach band. Can Dee Dee stop Frankie from doing this..and does she want to?

This film’s certainly old and you can tell that it is because of how Frankie acts. As I mentioned he believes being married is sort of like being trapped and the film never really plays this off as one of those “He’s totally wrong” angles. No, it’s just something that’s to be accepted and Dee Dee is the one who has to compromise and allow him to keep his freedom. She really looks bad in this film all things considered as Frankie gets to do whatever he wants with total freedom while she can’t get away. In all of the other films if she ends up with someone else than Frankie steals her back. In this case Frankie was totally willing to leave her for good, but then he was told that he would never be quite as rich as the Contessa so he went back to Dee Dee for the rebound. It’s just not a good look and both of them come out worse for it. Dee Dee shouldn’t take him back and Frankie certainly won’t get any sympathy from me for all of this. I was hoping she would finally dump him here.

The Contessa isn’t really any better. She buys a whole body builder team just so she can be with one of them, but then ditches them over night for Frankie. She doesn’t seem like the type of person who would actually be very loyal so I couldn’t feel bad for her either at the end. She definitely should have fired her manager for messing everything up though. It wasn’t even an accident, the manager intentionally sabotaged her chances with Frankie. In comparison, the other manager (Fanny) was okay I guess. At the very least he wasn’t afraid to challenge his opponents. The downside is that Fanny’s not very smart and quite a bit of his screen time is for proving this. So much for this guy.

The body builders are also poorly developed characters. They’re all built, but that’s their only character. They act like puppets most of the time as they only move when they are told too and the poses get old very quickly. You also can’t take them seriously since Frankie is able to get past all of them even once he was cornered. If these guys can’t even beat a normal teenager then what good was all that training for? I do have to give the film some credit for not pulling a cop out with the climax here. The teenagers actually had a real fight for a change with the body builders and it may be the best fight of the series. There was another film where we had a big fight scene, but I dare say that this one managed to come out on top. It is a little cheesy that the body builders didn’t win though.

Unfortunately as this is a beach film there is a considerable amount of fanservice. Certainly enough to drop this film to low tier territory. You just can’t go a single scene without something sketchy happening. Some of it is used for running gags, but that doesn’t really help its case. Then the villains also seem sketchy at times and it just doesn’t make for a good mix. This is why we need more films to take place somewhere colder like Russia. Then the films wouldn’t have this issue.

Of course at the end of the day what really hurts this film above all else is the writing. The film just doesn’t flow very well and none of the characters are even remotely likable. They all try to outdo the other in terms of who can make the worst decisions. Instead of being loyal the friends will even watch as you are dragged across the beach. That’s definitely not cool even if the opponents are doing their best Superman impressions. Not to mention that the muscle men are outnumbered quite badly.

Surprisingly we didn’t see Eric Von Zipperman as for once the actor played someone else instead. I can’t say that I missed him,but his iconic yell was always pretty fun to have around. There’s not a whole lot more to say about this film as you get the general gist of it. It really promotes the whole rebound play angle and that’s the part that really doesn’t age too well. You simply can’t be so easily swayed like Frankie is and still get such a happy ending. Maybe one day Dee Dee will realize the truth.

Overall, Muscle Beach Party is everything that you think it will be. The film hits all of the Beach tropes and then some. As a result you can also pretty accurately predict everything that will happen as the films have a very solid flow chart at this point. Frankie makes Dee Dee jealous, she returns the favor, he actually gets together with someone else, Dee Dee pretends to, Frankie goes even further, Dee Dee finally leaves, Frankie chases her,…then start from the first step. It’s not a great formula. Well, at least Frankie does warn her every film that he wants to stay free so in a sense she knows what she’s getting into. Their plot still needs some closure though. Instead of recommending this beach movie I’d recommend you watch something very wholesome like Mortal Kombat!

Overall 2/10

The Greatest Game Ever Played

7469_m1232686056
It’s time to look at a film based on a true story. This one is about The Greatest Game Ever Played, at least in Golf. If we’re talking ever, then it’s probably one of the 1990s Dallas Cowboys Championship games. I can see why this game is well known though as it was one of the first times an amateur was able to take on a professional in a game that went into overtime. It was definitely a very impressive showing. The film is also pretty good about not adding in too much drama and stuff once the Golf starts. It does seem to add in a bit of padding to the first half though which is the part that doesn’t work too well.

Basically Francis has always wanted to be a golfer. Unfortunately his father doesn’t like this option as it’s extremely risky and Francis may not make any money. He would then have a later start on life and that could ruin everything. Francis is okay with putting it all on the line though and after losing his first few golf games he gets ready for the US Open. It’s time to win the biggest tournament of his life, but is Francis really ready for such a feat? He will have to defeat the reigning champ from Europe as well as his counterpart from the U.S., and every other Golf player worth their salt. It won’t be easy, but Francis knows that ultimately you just have to play your own game of Golf and the rest will just sink in.

The golf visuals are pretty nice. The film does its best to make the actual golf look really exciting with how fast the balls move and everyone’s reactions the whole time. There are a bunch of cutaways and dramatic camera angles to sink it in. Some top players are able to erase the surroundings as if they held the Infinity Gauntlet and this lets them really focus. The ball makes uncanny turns to dodge obstacles and even picks up speed when it should have stopped. It may not be the most realistic game of golf out there, but it certainly makes the game more appealing.

The film didn’t always make Francis look great though. He did give his father his word that if he lost he wouldn’t pursue the game anymore and ultimately breaks that promise. He shouldn’t have agreed to such a thing in the first place even if he was under duress at the time. He was a kid at the time so I suppose I can’t be too hard on him. He does get distracted and knocked off of his game rather easily though. His partner has to constantly remind him to tune everyone out, but Francis still loses many shots as a direct result of this.

As I mentioned earlier, the first half of the film before the tournament doesn’t hold up quite as well. They try to give the older Europe champion a bit of a backstory. It’s never properly delved into, but you can get the gist of it from the images. It just feels a little forced into the story since it ultimately isn’t too relevant. Francis’ drama at the beginning also isn’t quite as interesting as the actual golf. I don’t know how much of this all happened in the real life accounts, but I suppose if it was all there then of course they would have to add it in.

I can’t say much about the ending since it’s all based on true events, but either way I thought it was handled pretty well. All in all there really wasn’t anything bad to say about the movie. At most you might not be thrilled to see just how bad and snobbish the people of England look the whole time. No one from the nobility looks even slightly good and they all just don’t seem to like the people from Jersey. It makes it very easy to root for the Americans. The American top player is a really loud guy who has a chip on his shoulder so he constantly yells at everybody. You still want to root for him over the others since at least he’s fighting for everyone. The others just want the rich to win so they can rub it in everyone’s face.

Overall, The Greatest Game Ever Played is definitely a classy film. The golf games are also the best that I’ve seen as I haven’t watched any other Golf movie at the moment. The writing is pretty solid and even the romance was handled rather well as it doesn’t eat up a ton of screen time or accelerate past realism. The characters just talked a bit and then left to their separate ways never to see each other again. It was a happy ending for all of the characters and aside from the rich nobility who were humiliated, the top players were just happy to have had a good game. At the end of the day that’s what you want. If you’re interested in this story then I definitely recommend checking it out. It’ll help you appreciate why we all take Golf so seriously.

On Borrowed Time Review

380bc893293a903bef8c4ecbd56c4074
It’s time to look at a film that proves how senior citizens can still hold their own against agents of Death. It’s a pretty interesting story in that sense. The film tackles the themes of death and in some ways enters tricky territory there since they own a dog. Fortunately this is a film where we actually see how it all turns out and it manages to avoid any real animal violence. It was certainly a close call though and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the film got off lucky this time.

The film starts off with Mr. Brink destroying Pud’s parents and then escaping off into the night. We get a bit of a time skip at this point as Pud goes to live with his grandparents Julian and Nellie. He bonds very quickly with Julian, but Nellie feels like the old man is a bad influence to him. Unfortunately there is a mean aunt named Demetria who wants to steal Pud for herself so that she can get his money as the kid’s parents were quite rich. She first has to convince everyone that Julian isn’t fit to be the kid’s guardian. Her job grows easier when Mr. Brink shows up to end Nellie’s life. He goes after Julian next, but fortunately the old man’s tree has magical properties. Anyone who is trapped in the tree cannot get out unless he gives the okay. Certainly a pretty useful ability to have and he tricks Brink into the tree. Brink then curses it so that anyone who touches the tree will die instantly. How can Brink convince everyone to stay away from the tree without them thinking that he is crazy. Meanwhile, how can he keep custody of Pud when Demetria is so clever?

As you can tell Mr. Brink is a pretty serious villain. Don’t get the wrong idea here, the guy isn’t human so that makes him even more dangerous in the long run. How do you stop an agent of Death who is immortal and fairly indestructible? It’s certainly a tough case either way. If he so much as makes contact with you then it’s all over. He also typically waits until his victims are rather old so they are delirious and don’t realize that they are heading to their doom. While the guy is rather polite and may even seem like a nice person at times, don’t be fooled. Once it comes time to bring death upon his victims, he doesn’t play games. He will destroy as many people as it takes to bring his victim to death’s door. Until Julian eventually relents he murders his wife, grand kid, and even the local animals. Julian hardly had a choice by the end. This guy is merciless.

As far as Julian goes, he is a quality character. He definitely isn’t afraid of Mr. Brink or of anyone really. He talks a good game from start to finish and the guy was in the war after all so he’s ready for whatever these guys can throw his way. He even has a gun and isn’t afraid to use it. It was easy to root for him when he got attacked in his own home no matter what their reasons were. If you break into a house then you’ve got to be ready for the consequences, especially when they were using deceit as well. Julian is rather old so at times he can be slow on the uptake but for the most part he is pretty solid.

Then we’ve got Nellie who is unfortunately a little gullible. She is easily tricked by the aunt into doubting her own maid and from there descends into sickness. She should have quickly chosen Julian over Demetria and not making the right choice seems to have cost her in the long run. It’s a shame but she just didn’t make the right calls when they were needed. Naturally you’re not meant to like Demetria either. She just wants Pud for the money and is even determined to send him to an all girl’s school to try and convert him while Pud is still a kid. I think her odds of success are fairly bad since he is already old enough to realize that this is a little strange, but it doesn’t help her case as a character. She is also a little gullible.

There is also Pud of course and he’s about as good as most kids are I guess. He can just be a little annoying at times and in the end makes one of the worst decisions that I’ve seen in recent cinema. He knows that touching the tree were Brink is will cause instant death but all it takes is for Brink to call him a chicken and Pud is ready to jump in. What happened to common sense? Pud basically forced Julian’s hand at the end.

Finally we have also got the doctor who used to be Julian’s friend. This is definitely one guy that you don’t want on your side as he will betray you at the drop of a hat. It certainly doesn’t take long for him to try to turn Julian in and he even does so by trying to sacrifice Pud to Demetria. That’s really underhanded and at that point there was no way he could get any better. Julian could have maybe explained the situation better, but that doesn’t excuse the Doc.

The writing for the film is pretty solid which is good. The pacing is on point as well so it’s definitely off to a good start. At times the film can even throw some humor in which is always good. It’s a fairly soothing film as well. Now, the only issue is that it can also be a little boring as well as annoying. In a more reasonable town this situation wouldn’t have been so major, but it only ended up being kind of big since the town wasn’t very smart.

Overall, On Borrowed Time was a decent movie. It can just be a little annoying though since all of the characters are against Julian. He should have a pretty cushy end to his life, but it’s all wrecked by the Aunt who is out to get him along with all of the other corrupt characters in the town. If you think about it, everyone dies at the end. Of course, we do see that the after life is a lot of fun for everyone which helps the film skirt by the issue of the pets and all that, but it’s barely a win for the humans. I also have to wonder if the Aunt ended up getting her money after all since everyone else died. If so, she got a much happier ending than I think she deserved considering the circumstances. The ending wasn’t too satisfying, but it could have been worse. If you want to watch an interesting take on Death then this is a good film for you. It definitely has personality as the gunshot scene will prove.

Overall 6/10

The Greatest Showman

71qGiySwEpL._SL1481_
It’s time to look at a fairly recent film that did quite well for itself. I’m sure many people have heard of the famous Barnum circus for which this film is based off of. When I was a kid I went to a few circus shows, but it didn’t really follow me as I entered my teen years. I sort of just grew out of the circus. It’s certainly impressive with how they are able to perform the acts many times over without an incident but it just isn’t as exciting as a nice arcade or in this case, watching a movie about a circus. The Greatest Showman is a fun film even if the main character adds some unnecessary drama.

So the film starts off with Barnum having a dream where he is the greatest showman on Earth. Everyone loves his shows. Then he wakes up in reality where he is a commoner who works for the rich. Everyone disrespects him and his father dies from all of the pressure. Barnum decides that he will be a great man someday. He gets a nice 9-5 job and ends up marrying his childhood friend Charity. They are low on money, but still have a good life. One day Barnum loses his job so he decides to gamble on the circus. Now he can make his dream a reality. His circus is a very different one as he decides to only hire people with a unique act. A lady with a beard, a guy with tattoos, a guy who is short, the Wolf Man, etc. He gets them all together and the show is a big success. Still, it isn’t enough. Barnum wants to keep getting more and more famous no matter what it ends up costing him!

You can probably already guess how this can get a little dicey. Barnum had literally achieved his dream. The show was amazing and he was rich enough to quickly move into a castle. Then he decides to risk it all by letting the fame get to him. He ditches the people who got him this far to go on a tour with a rich celebrity. He even comes close to having an affair on the side. He manages to avoid making this mistake, but isn’t quick enough to prevent the singer from pulling him into a scandal. It adds some extra drama and suspense to the film, but honestly it wasn’t needed. Perhaps the film would have been a little too happy otherwise I guess, but they could have just kept the whole circus in flames scene and that would have delivered the necessary tension.

So, I can’t say that I liked Barnum. When you achieve your dreams and still aren’t satisfied, then it’s tough to sympathize with a character like that. He learns the error of his ways by the end, but it was awful late for that. They probably should have just restarted without him. A shame since he was a quality character for the first half of the film. His wife Charity was certainly more enjoyable than him. She kept it real throughout the film and never let herself get corrupted. She defied her extravagant lifestyle and risked it all to live the life of a pauper. I can’t picture Barnum making the same decision.

Philip was the other co-star here. He decides to also put aside his rich life to have fun at the circus. He is a fun character but his romance started a little too quickly. He falls for one of the performers almost instantly and even then he can’t stay strong after hearing the super singer Jenny who apparently ensnares everyone while in the act. Philip is a charismatic character, but he needs to have more willpower than that. I can see why Anne was worried about starting anything with him after such a moment and I don’t blame her.

In general I can’t say that the romance here was all that good. Perhaps sticking to just one romance plot instead of having 2 would have helped. The main character one I can understand and it did take years so it’s not like they married out of the blue. Philip’s romance on the other hand just feels tacked on. What happened to keeping up the friend zone while at work? They don’t have time to be getting distracted like this.

As this is a musical there are quite a few songs in here. For the most part they are pretty solid. I think the cicus troup probably can’t sing quite as well as the main characters but they do well enough. The best song in the film is certainly the one in the bar between Barnum and Philip. The bartender there was low key the best character in the film. I like how he always had the drinks ready and would slide up and down the aisle as he followed the dance. He knew that he was going to make a lot of money out of these 2 guys and he was absolutely right. When there is a buck to be made you can’t afford to hesitate. That’s what it means to be a true performer. They should have hired the performer to get an act. I do have to say that if I were Philip I would have certainly turned down the offer though. Losing everything just to get to be in a circus? I dunno, doesn’t really seem like a tempting offer to me.

Overall, The Greatest Showman is definitely a pretty fun film. There is a short period in the film where it starts to get rather somber and dramatic, but for the most part it’s pretty lighthearted. The first half of the film probably does beat the second half, but it’s still a good all around film. It never drags on and the cast is likable for the most part. They all simply lack willpower and the conviction to see their dreams through to the end. Better luck next time in that regard I guess. I’d recommend checking out this film especially if you like musicals but also if you like a good time at the circus.

The Awful Truth Review

the_awful_truth
It’s time to look at an old romance comedy film. It’s definitely an interesting film with a premise that may not be the most original, but at the time I’m sure there weren’t many other titles quite like this one. It’s handled rather well and I was glad that the dog looked good the whole time. The Awful Truth is a fun movie and that alone is enough to put it above many other films in the genre. After all, this genre usually only worked back in the old days when the writing could handle such a plot.

The film starts off with Jerry getting a tan. He was supposed to have been in Florida for the last few weeks but it turns out that he went somewhere else instead. Jerry figures that with this tan nobody will ever know the truth. His friend happens to run into him so the cat is out of the bag, but the guy agrees to keep the secret. Jerry arrives home, but his wife Lucy isn’t there. She shows up hours later with Armand and states that nothing happened between them. Armand’s car just broke down the road so they had to walk back the old fashioned away. Jerry doesn’t believe such an old excuse and Lucy also pieced together that he wasn’t actually in Florida. Since both suspect that the other may have been cheating they decide to call for a divorce. It will take a while for the divorce to be finalized though so until then they just move to different apartments. Both of them decide to go for a rebound, but can they really get apart from each other so easily.

Naturally a film like this has both parties continue to escalate their attempts to sabotage the other. Usually you will have 3 questions about this. 1. Who started it? 2. Who escalates past the point of being reasonable first? And 3, who is the one who decides to be the better person and apologize? Well, I have to say that Lucy is guilty of the first two and Jerry of the 3rd so you can see who I was rooting for here. Granted, we really don’t know what Jerry was doing in the first scene of the film. I’m inclined to think that he wasn’t cheating and he just didn’t feel like going to Florida but lying to your wife is never okay in any circumstance. Lucy’s story was rather cliche and hard to believe, but it’s safe to say that she was being true to her word. I do think that having Armand escort her all the way home was a bit much though and the guy seems like a jerk.

How do you walk into someone’s house with a big grin like that? Armand seems to think that he owns the place and as he didn’t grow up around here he also doesn’t understand many of the subtle signs about staying away. He has to be told to get out before getting the message. When he shows up the last time I was definitely rooting for Jerry to knock him out. This guy just seems suspect the whole time and I can see why Jerry would be opposed to the lessons after this.

Going back to the start, Lucy was quick to suggest the divorce though so that’s why I have to say that she was guilty of starting this. They could have talked things out instead of being so rash. You could make the case that talking things out was exactly what Jerry was trying to do at first. Next up is who escalates the issue and that’s barely even debatable in favor of Lucy. Lucy goes on the rebound first as she decides to go with Dan. Keep in mind that she doesn’t even like the guy and is just using him to get to Jerry. Jerry is a bit obnoxious by playing with his dog so loudly, but that’s extremely minor if anything and Lucy probably deserves it for stealing the dog away. She doesn’t play with Mr. Smith (The Dog) at all so she just wanted him to spite Jerry. Jerry is always playing with him and we see throughout the film that he really cares about the dog. Jerry got Dan and Lucy to leave so he was finally able to enjoy himself.

While Jerry does tease Lucy quite a bit, he doesn’t ultimately stand in her way. In fact when Dan’s mother starts trying to sow seeds of doubt in Dan’s mind about Lucy Jerry is quick to defend her. Yeah, he overdoes it with the praise and Lucy doesn’t feel that it’s sincere but it does convince Dan and the Mom that it’s okay. If it was the reverse situation Lucy wouldn’t have done the same. What further proof is needed than the later scene where Jerry is trying to have a good first impression on the family of his latest girl. Lucy shows up and acts drunk as she keeps making Jerry look like a liar. She makes him look terrible the whole time until he is dumped and then she gets him in trouble with the cops for no reason. Finally she refuses to apologize at all in the end so Jerry has to be the bigger person about it.

Long story short, I wasn’t a fan of Lucy. She seemed to be a lot more mean spirited and possessive compared to Jerry. She has every right to be a little upset that Jerry didn’t trust her more in the beginning, but aside from that it seemed like she was just holding a grudge the whole time while Jerry actually moved on and supported her. I liked Jerry, but of course he did have his faults. He is a chronic liar and is just as guilty of the rebounds as Lucy. At least he is a very amusing character though as he is always making one liners and subtly insulting the side characters.

Meanwhile, Dan is the most important of the rebound characters. It’s almost a shame since he is portrayed as a very nice guy. The issue is that he was absolutely desperate to get Lucy as he even tried making friends with her Mom to have an opening into the house. He doesn’t understand when he is being insulted either and so you can’t root for the guy. Not to mention that he should have stuck up for Lucy if he was serious about her instead of letting the Mom slander her name the whole time.

What the film does really well is handling the snappy dialogue. It’s one of those things that I have always liked about the old films. The dialogue is really back and forth with characters getting better strings of dialogue in a few minutes than some films have for their whole duration. That’s definitely no small feat. The film’s pacing is also really good so you won’t be getting bored either. It’s just a very strong all around title and probably one of the best romance films that I’ve seen. At this point it’s safe to say that if you want to watch a good romance film, always make sure that it’s part comedy. That just makes the genre a whole lot better.

Overall, The Awful Truth is a fun film. It also finally has one of the characters explain the concept of a rebound which is spectacular since most films have it happen without acknowledging this. If you just divorced someone and are looking at someone new within a few days then you know that something went terribly wrong. I recommend checking this film out even if it’s just to appreciate that line of dialogue. Still, it’s hard to picture you not enjoying this film at least a little bit since it’s just a lot of fun.

Overall 7/10

Sword Art Online: Mother’s Rosario Review

Mother's_Rosario_Manga_Vol_1_Cover
Time to look at another Sword Art Online manga. The last one didn’t go very well so of course you may be a little skeptical about this one. Fortunately this is adapting one of the better arcs of the series and the manga didn’t try to add any iffy scenes to mess with it. It’s a solid arc but also one of the more somber ones so prepare yourself for an SAO story like no other.

The series starts with Kirito and the crew hanging out at his (and Asuna’s) cabin. Kirito fell asleep of course and everyone else starts feeling sleepy as well. To stay awake, Lizbeth tells Asuna about a new swordsman who has been destroying opponents left and right. He goes by the name “Absolute Sword” and seems to be the strongest fighter ever. Even Kirito was (yeah right) soundly defeated by him. Asuna decides that she wants a crack at this fighter and heads over to fight him. The big twist is that Absolute Sword is a girl with the same first name as Asuna’s last name. Asuna puts up a good fight so Yuuki asks for her help in defeating a boss with Yuuki’s crew. Asuna is thrilled at the opportunity but will she be strong enough?

Meanwhile Asuna has human world troubles as well. Her Mother wants her to go to a different school since the current one is rather lackluster. Asuna doesn’t want this because she has already decided to support Kirito in her future path. Naturally this is very upsetting for the Mother since that doesn’t really even count as a career path. Asuna’s video game hobby has also started to turn into an obsession as she loses track of the time and starts to prefer being there than in the real world. Asuna’s Mom has to put an end to this, but how?

I already went into this for the anime version but I’ll quickly touch on the plot here as well. Asuna’s Mom is absolutely right here. The only chink in her argument of always looking out for Asuna is that she has set her up with potential marriage options one or two times. This seemingly goes against the rest of her message about being independent. Still, she has no problem with dropping that tactic when Asuna brings it up and I’m inclined to believe that Asuna had never expressed her disapproval for it before. Asuna seems like someone who won’t mention any objections to something in the moment and will just use it as ammo in the future which is definitely no good. Beyond that, Asuna is the one who is losing every argument. She could have brought up valid reasons for wanting to stay at a sub standard school but I wouldn’t say that hanging out with friends is one of them. The Mom was also willing to let her keep using the NerveGear but then Asuna started getting increasingly irresponsible with it so of course the Mom wouldn’t be a fan. So in the end, Asuna’s plot is definitely not as engaging as the Yuuki one.

As for Yuuki, she’s a fun character to add to the mix. It is good to finally have another high level fighter who can battle at Kirito’s level. At this point there really aren’t any heroes who can give him a good fight. At best Asuna can maybe be good for sparring practice, but with Yuuki Kirito can’t afford to hold back. Wanting to win one last big battle before going away is definitely a solid goal and one that I can get behind. The rest of her crew are fairly generic and not very memorable so I can’t say quite as much in their favor, but ultimately Yuuki is the only one who matters. They are just there to fill in the ranks. It’s a shame Yuuki doesn’t stick around since she would really give the main cast a boost.

Kirito mostly gets the shaft in this trilogy since it is all about Asuna and her development, but he still gets his share of hype moments. One such scene is when he rushes into the boss area and holds off hundreds of other players on his own. It’s an amazing scene that was extremely intense in all 3 mediums. (Book, Anime, Manga) It may not be Kirito’s adventure, but at the same time I am not surprised that he got the best scene in the adventure. His fight against Yuuki was a lot of fun as well of course and the series did a good job of playing up how smart Kirito was as well. He figured out Yuuki’s secret immediately and then even found out where she was in the real world all in a very short amount of time. It is almost scary just how good he is.
sword-art-online-mother-s-rosario-manga-2
As for Asuna, she is fairly good here. I never disliked Asuna before this as she was solid in Arc 1, didn’t do much in arcs 2-3, so she was about the same now as she was in the past. She had lost some confidence as you might expect thanks to recent events, but regains it by the end of this adventure. She is still a strong fighter and I have to agree with the peanut gallery that it was odd how Asuna went for a mage role instead of a front line fighter. It seems like she enjoys the latter a whole lot more. Yuuki gave Asuna a valuable lesson on how being polite and talking things out won’t always work so sometimes you have to just jump in and start fighting. The sky’s the limit from there.

The art looks fairly good here. It’s the character designs that are a little off. In particular Kirito and Asuna look a little chibi or maybe just younger than usual. Aside from that, the artist does a good job with the fight scenes and it doesn’t look like a cash in. The trilogy has quite a few different fights and they are all visually engaging. Unfortunately while the trilogy does manage to stick away from fanservice, we do get one such bath scene as even on its best day it appears that the series can’t play it straight here.

There’s not a whole lot to say here since this is basically identical to the anime version so in a sense I already reviewed this saga. As long as the medium did it justice then there is no reason why it would be weaker than the anime version. If anything the pacing is better here since you can read faster than characters can talk so the exposition goes by at a nice pace. We already understand that Yuuki’s situation is rather tragic so you don’t need to know a whole lot about it beyond that. It will be nice to see Asuna use the new combo that Yuuki gave her in one of the anime seasons someday. We have the movie, but that wasn’t exactly a one on one fight and I’d like to see it in more of a traditional combat setting.
r5iczcchoin3e6a8tvcf
Overall, Mother’s Rosario is definitely the most serious of the SAO arcs. It’s certainly pretty sad to have a character who is doomed to die from the start since there’s no way that could end up being a happy ending. At least the series never tries to give you any false hope that she might survive as that would have made everything turn out badly. As it stands, Yuuki’s backstory is definitely very tragic but at least the trilogy handles it well. The series is actually light hearted for about 80% of the chapters and Yuuki isn’t too mopey about her future either. She takes it all in stride. I’d recommend checking out this manga, especially if you usually don’t like the series since this one takes it in a very different direction.

Overall 7/10

The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini Review

download (1)
The Ghost Bikini definitely takes the beach series in a fresh new direction. I can safely say that this is a good thing because the beach environment got stale the instant it was introduced. This film actually manages to stay classy for the most part. We still do have some random party moments but you can’t really compare it to the last few films. It’s not all there yet, but this movie makes some real progress.

The film starts off with a ghost heading over to a coffin and waking the inhabitant up. It’s a tragic day for him since the ghost who was his friend died young while he died as a senior. The only way they can live together in the afterlife at the same age will be if he can perform one good deed. The issue is that the guy can’t actually leave the room so he has to trust Cecily to carry out the deed for him. Fortunately the crew (aka, the beach gang) are heading over to his house for some reason. A bunch of other people will also be there including the lawyer Ripper who has to read the will to a select group in order to claim the money. He enlists the help of a bunch of villains in order to destroy the competition so he can take all of the money. It’s a very ambitious plan and while this may sound bold, I think Ripper may be able to claw out a win here.

I would definitely say that this is the best of the beach movies. Mainly this is because the beach itself doesn’t actually get to show up this time. At most the kids quickly run to the pool and that scene isn’t too long. The opening is actually like something out of a horror film as the two suspicious characters make their plans amidst a lot of spooky music. Since most of these films had horrible beginnings this was a welcome surprise. Naturally this was thrown out the window once the beach characters showed up to bring along all of the baggage that comes with such a setting. It never gets quite as bad as in the previous films which is why this film’s score is a little higher, but it still makes enough mistakes to keep it from being negative.

For starters, the film seemed to grow bored of its own plot and so it kept on adding a bunch of new ones. None of the plots are ever focused on in a satisfactory way at all so in the end you are left feeling betrayed by the movie. For example, what even was the good dead of the spirit? Okay, he’s stopping his lawyer from cheating on his will, but that directly benefits himself and shouldn’t count. He has fun watching the characters get scared and fall into his traps, but he doesn’t do anything beyond that. The whole plot felt absolutely directionless. Also, from the start Cecily is subtly mocking the old man and seems to have a sinister plan up her sleeve. Well, the ending arrives and the rather predictable twist occurs, but it felt like a rather underwhelming climax to what was a very long build up. It’s also worth noting that while Cecily appears quite a lot, she doesn’t actually do anything. Take her away from the film and very little changes. She mainly just gives people subliminal messages.

It seems like she can interact with both inanimate objects and people so Cecily could probably have done a little more here. It’s the kind of film where it seems like the writers wanted to incorporate the title into their film somehow, but didn’t actually think about it until the end. The whole ghosts angle ultimately just felt like a really big waste. Then we’ve got Ripper and his gang. He has quite a few henchmen. So many in fact that half of them never really get to do anything. Ripper is the only competent member of the group as he actually does stab someone and the film hints that the victim stayed dead. Ripper basically has to do everything himself so it is easy to feel bad for the poor guy. From his minions Sinistra gets the biggest role so it is safe to say that she looks the worst. She can’t see without her glasses and always tends to lose them. As a result she ends up murdering statues instead of the kid she was supposed to bump off. It’s a shame since she would have succeeded in her mission otherwise.

Speaking of which, the teenager subplot didn’t actually become much of a focus for a while ad just went into the same old directions. Surprisingly they didn’t pull a “Let’s make him/her jealous” angle or anything like that, but it still happened in a way as the main guy (Well, there are 2 leads here. The one with the inheritance and the son/nephew. Both get comparable amounts of screen time so you can really choose who the lead is.) goes for Sinistra over the girl he was already with just because she looked nice. Honestly, there is absolutely no sense of loyalty in any of these beach movies. The film barely even has time to touch on any of this stuff since it turns into more of an Abbott and Costello kind of dynamic as the ghosts keep picking on one of them while the other doesn’t notice. The ghosts were definitely having quite a bit of fun in this film and why not right? They have to do something to amuse themselves.

Then we also have Eric Von Zipper and his cronies in the final main plot. (At least the final one worth mentioning. We also have the heroine sulking in the pajama party segment where we get a song or two, but there’s not much point to that plot) Basically they want to get rich quick so breaking into the mansion just makes sense. They fight with a lot of the mechanical puppets and even end up face to face with a large gorilla. That part was rather random but definitely interesting I guess. It was like having a mini Kaiju show up in the film. Eric Von Zipper and the gang are basically the same as always so you’ll know right away if you like the characters or not. At the very least they keep everyone honest.

Overall, This film is definitely a very confused one. It’s not exactly sure what it wants to do with itself and that can be rather tragic at times. There is a whole lot of potential here and the movie just squanders it all. The characters are rather weak and you can’t say much for the story either. While parts of the film can be fun, it’s just not enough to carry the whole thing. If you find that you have to watch a beach movie of sorts at some point then I’d recommend this one. Otherwise I’d say it is in your best interests to just skip this movie. It’s a decent supernatural comedy but you can find better ones on the market.

Overall 4/10