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

Days of Heaven Review


It’s time to look at a film about the olden days. It’s filled with deceit and drama as the characters keep making tricky choices. Unfortunately the film doesn’t do much to pique your interest and the narrator’s emotionless delivery doesn’t help matters. This film ultimately fails at being entertaining and ends up dragging itself out quite a bit.

The movie starts with the main character (Bill) murdering his boss so he is forced to flee his job along with his wife Abby and sister Linda. The three of them join a roaming group who go around and pick wheat during the harvesting season. Bill quickly grows bored of this as well though and decides he wants to be rich. He convinces his wife to have an affair with the land owner since Bill found out that the guy is expected to die soon. There are many ways this can and will backfire so you just have to try and predict which way will present itself.

Really the main character traded his morals here for some quick funds. It’s definitely a bad choice all the way around particularly because Bill is asking Abby to do the hard parts. If you’re going to do something risky then it should be something that you are doing on your own. When you put the burden on someone else just so you can feel better then that’s really not a good look. From this point on it’s just hard to sympathize with the guy at all.

It’s pretty much inevitable that Abby and the rich guy hit it off after that. Bill can’t bear to watch this but since Abby and the guy are married Bill should have known this was coming. So the main plot is definitely no fun and in a way the rich guy is really getting the short end of the stick because from his point of view he didn’t do anything crazy. He just had to learn one day that his wife was cheating on him.

Meanwhile you have Linda who doesn’t talk a whole lot in the movie. She is the narrator though so in that role she easily gets the most lines. The film would have done well without a narrator though. Pretty much all of the dialogue told through this doesn’t actually amount to anything and it really drags on.

The whole movie suffers from this though. It takes ages for things to happen in this movie and without any likable characters the film can’t survive by being a slow burner. It’s not a technique that just any film can use. I’m also not a fan of the general setting, I much prefer films that take place in more of a city environment. This is more like the Wild West or the prairies and it doesn’t make for great backgrounds or scenery.

The Locusts are pretty intense though. They definitely know how to take a whole field down in one crispy combo. That said, the extended scenes of everyone trying to swat them away get dull rather quickly. While you know that’s what they are going to have to do, this is where a quick montage does wonders of a brief time skip to the fire since we need to see the next confrontation. It still doesn’t help the movie get nearly as intense as it tries to be though. Even the climax which is a chase scene through the forest with a ton of guys in pursuit with guns can’t make the film all that exciting. The film just didn’t have heart.

The ending’s also more of a shake your head kind of moment. The characters all move on in their own ways. One heads underground, another boards a train, and one decides to escape school. I can understand the first option because that’s just how it goes and the second at least makes some sense to try and give back to the world. The final option just seems a little forced. Finally this character is in a good environment and won’t have to worry about finding enough to eat anymore. It’s all looking pretty good but now it’s back to the road? She’s also with a pretty bad role model so that doesn’t seem very promising either.

Overall, Days to Heaven is definitely not a film that I would recommend. There just aren’t any real positives or incentives to watch this movie. The characters aren’t particularly likable and the story is fairly boring. There aren’t any real exciting scenes or big moments that will have you on the edge of your seat. Some witty dialogue could have helped to bump this up but the movie doesn’t have any of that either. It is very serious from start to finish with everyone typically mumbling or not speaking unless they have to. If you want to watch more of a standard drama like this you’ve definitely got better options out there. You just gotta go and find them.

Overall 3/10

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

The Power Review


It’s time to look at a film about having powers. Similar to how characters love to yell “I have the Power!!!” there are some who prefer to be more discreet about it. That’s the setting for this film and it plays out as a suspenseful thriller. It’s a slow burner as the villain keeps on making little moves until the end of the film where the climax hits. Now, this is one of those films where if you think long and hard about it you’ll cringe at how nothing makes any sense, but that’s almost inevitable when you make a villain too powerful. It’s still a fun movie though and the ending was very unexpected so I’ll give the film some props there.

The movie starts with a government investor heading to a science firm to see how his money has been used. He is given the tour and this is basically a facility that explores pain. Every gadget in the building is wired to torture people in every which way. They get volunteers by paying people a ton of money although if you ask me it’s definitely not worth it to be put through this stuff. The government guy seems a bit unnerved but ultimately doesn’t mind and heads to the meeting. That’s when a scientist explains that he has proof that someone on the board has psychic powers based on a test he gave out. We never see this test in part because it’s a crazy concept in the first place that a test could measure something like that. If your IQ is above the max score that’s about it. Still, everyone agrees to do a quick experiment and we find out that someone does have psychic powers because a page moved all on its own. We just don’t know who did it.

The scientist is quickly murdered that night and Jim is the main suspect. Jim doesn’t like this but all of his so called “friends” betray him except for his colleague/girlfriend Margery. Together they are determined to get to the bottom of this. The only clue they have is the name Adam Hart. Looks like Jim’s going to have to do some detective work but he’ll have to be careful because danger can be anywhere. I mean that in a literal sense since the villain is able to murder people just by thinking about it and the heroes don’t know what kind of range the guy has. It seems to be quite large and the more Jim finds out about this Adam character, the more powerful the villain appears to be.

Right off the bat, let’s just look at the issue here. Adam has quite a lot of powers related to his mental abilities. He can cause illusions for starters and can appear to be anyone. He can alter your memories as well and even create solid light illusions to physically block you. Finally, he can give you a heart attack with a simple mental blast that can go through walls and appear from anywhere. As I said, the range is unknown but it seems to be quite long and there’s no defense against him since he can appear as anyone. So he takes his sweet time bumping everyone off but he could have easily taken them all out a whole lot sooner. There’s no real reason not to do it since he can assume a new identity and alter everyone’s memories so that he was always there. The guy is insanely powerful. The film offers up a decent reason for why he doesn’t finish off Jim despite attacking him several times. It only works a bit though, I can’t give it full marks there.

If we go with the reason that the film provides then that means Adam has some very severe limitations and that he is completely outclassed in some respects. It just doesn’t work because the psychic shields weren’t up yet and the guy should have tried harder especially since he already knew the twist before the audience did. I can’t really go any further than that but as I said the ending is quite excellent. It plays out a bit like a Shounen Jump title as we get a trippy scene of someone falling through darkness similar to many anime intros and then ultimately bursting out. This one does use some recycled footage and goes on for a tad bit too long but it’s still effective and the ending is quite brilliant. It also serves as a few twists at once. The way the scenes are shot just makes everyone look real suspicious.

I guess I can’t say who I thought was the culprit because just saying that would imply that it’s someone else. All I’ll say is the film gives you one obvious suspect and then a very subtle one which was who I assumed it was. Turns out that was not the case so the film did good with its misdirection. The writing was pretty solid in terms of script and pacing. Obviously the telepathic abilities are still an issue here as the heroes should have been completely wrecked the whole time but otherwise it was solid. I’d say the film just had a bit of a slow beginning as we explore the pain asylum. The place was really on the gruesome side. The first death was also a bit intense although after that it all stays rather normal.

The characters are okay although not amazing. Considering that they’re in a pretty hopeless spot they do their best. Margery definitely takes on some pretty dangerous situations and does a good of coming out on top. Jim makes fewer good decisions though. I still don’t know what he was thinking getting in the car with someone who he was being quite aggressive to the entire time and trusting that things would go well. That scene made him look pretty terrible. I also thought Jim was unnecessarily rude to the car mechanic guy right from the jump. It’s a bit odd as he is incredibly hostile to the guy before they even exchange a word. I guess they got off on the wrong foot. There are a few other members of the council of course like the friend who is quick to not have Jim’s back and then the German professor who falls asleep rather easily and doesn’t really help the heroes out. There wasn’t a whole lot the guy could have really done anyway though.

Overall, The Power is an interesting movie. Parts of the movie can be a bit slow like the whole party scene that goes on for a bit longer than it needs too. The heroes also sure do get distracted by romance a lot during a pretty serious situation. Jim is super reluctant to even look into a possible murder near the beginning of the film since he just wants to hang out with Margery. You know, Jim sounds worse and worse as I write this review so maybe he was just a bad character. While all of these factors keep it from being a very good film, I’d still call it a good one. The ending alone helps make this worth a watch because I really like how the twist was implemented. The murder mystery at its core is also pretty interesting as everyone gets bumped off one by one. If you want to see a paranormal hunter gunning after everyone then this is the film to check out. It is a unique premise as I can’t recall seeing another movie quite like this one.

Overall 6/10

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

Séance on a Wet Afternoon Review


It’s time to look at an old film about a couple of insane people trying to see what’s worse, being an insane criminal or being a gutless accomplice. The two of them duke it out for the whole film on which character is worse. For my money I’m going with the accomplice because at least the villain is straight forward with this. The accomplice is always offering some justifications and half heartedly saying they should stop. This is definitely a film that drags on for quite a bit so be prepared.

The movie starts with Myra hosting another seance with a group of her friends. Afterwards she tells Billy that it’s time to enact their plan. They’re going to kidnap a kid and will hold her for ransom for a while. Once the cops are unable to turn up any leads she will use her fake psychic powers to tell them where the kid is. At that point she will be rich and famous just like she’s always wanted. Her husband Billy is less sure of the plan but he’s not even sure of his own sanity so Myra sends him to get the job done. Kidnapping the girl is criminally easy because everyone is negligent in this film so once they have the girl Myra gets her plan into action. The only tricky part is that aside from every part of the plan being pretty insane Myra’s own fragile psyche is getting worse and worse. Soon she may not even be able to speak rationally.

Obviously I don’t have a whole lot of respect for these two characters. Myra is portrayed as insane from the start and is just super lucky that she has Billy here. He does whatever she said. Even when she turns off the music and Billy sees her do it, she just says that he did and he accepts this. Billy accepts whatever Myra says to pretty crazy degrees. The whole opening scenes are basically just Myra making a long speech and doing whatever she wants and telling Billy he better agree to it. These scenes are a chore to get through in part because of her but definitely because of Billy.

Billy is one of the most annoying characters in a while because the guy just acts defeated in every single scene. He somehow is able to pull off the kidnapping and stealing the money despite all of this which is a stretch. What kind of designated driver for a super rich family just leaves the car alone and unlocked with the key in the ignition when a stranger is there? The whole thing was super suspect and he should have taken the kid with him. Billy had no real backup plan either so the whole thing was based on a lot of luck.

The villains are also asking to be foiled the whole time by doing things like having a seance with one of the parents while the kid is right upstairs. The room also didn’t seem very sound proof either and the kid should have done something. That would have been a tougher spot but yelling a bit would be ideal. The only good characters here are the parents. I’m glad that the father wasn’t falling for the supernatural nonsense. The Mom gave the main characters a little more of a chance and got pretty emotional but I won’t blame her either since the situation is so intense.

Going back to the plan though, even if Myra did use her “abilities” to find the kid it’s not like the cops would believe her. That would just throw even more suspicion on Myra being the one to kidnap her since she was already making that point pretty obvious early on. At the end Myra even wants to murder the kid and that would really seal her fate. That’s the thing with having main characters like this though, it’s never going to make sense in the end.

Ultimately the film doesn’t go for the ultimate grim ending which is good because that would have been an easy way to hit 0. The ending isn’t bad but it doesn’t help the rest of the film. The whole scene of Myra cracking in the climax as she talks to herself goes on for a very long time and it’s all nonsense so you wish the film would just gloss over it. Since we know she is crazy from the jump I think it’s fair for us to just skip the scenes entirely. You already get the point of the film. The cops did good even if the one detective should have been more confident. I liked the code of how they would pretend to be talking about a car radio while trying to identify Billy as the thief from earlier. The detectives did a lot of beating around the bush and passive aggressive talk but at the end of the day they got the job done and that’s what counts.

Overall, This is definitely a movie that I would advise you to avoid. There’s really nothing positive to say about it. The whole movie is very slow and the main problem here is that all of the focus is on the main two characters and they’re not likable in the slightest. They’re just petty criminals who are also insane and I think it’s pretty much impossible to have a quality film about such leads. The film should have been from the focus of the detective or the cops. That would have made for a much more interesting story at least and the film would have been better off with that change.

Overall 2/10

4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Only You Review


It’s time to look at an old school romance drama. Unfortunately this one is really not that good. The main characters are all pretty terrible which makes it hard to sympathize with any of them. Some of the scenes can be tragically funny in a way but you still have to shake your head for most of it. My hot take here is that the film should have focused more on the search for Damon Bradley and less on finding him so many times. That would have worked out a lot better if you ask me, but that’s just a theory.

So the film’s present timeline starts out with Faith getting ready to be married to her fiance. I forget the guy’s name and it really doesn’t matter since he’s only in it for a few scenes. He tries to mess with Faith’s hair and also promises on her behalf that she will wear an ancient wedding dress to her own wedding. Faith feels like her life is crumbling apart and she has fallen away from her destiny. See, as a kid she always knew that the guy she would need to marry was Damon Bradley because that guy was going to be her dream partner according to an occult board game and a fortune teller. That’s not how the dice worked out though but then she gets a call from Damon Bradley. He says that he is a friend of her fiancee’s and then hangs up. Faith was able to get some info out of him though and knows that Venice is where she needs to be.

Faith packs some stuff and quickly heads to Venice along with her sister-in law Kate. They now have to search the whole country for him. Getting in their way is a guy named Peter who suckers Faith into having a one night stand with him by pretending to be Damon but then decides to atone by helping her find him. The problem is that along the way he keeps tricking her over and over again. Will Faith give up on her whole Destiny angle or will she just keep on finding various Damons to get past the friend zone with until it’s the right one? It’s going to definitely be a long day for her.

This film has quite a lot of issues so it’s always hard to know where to start. I suppose I would start off with the fact that Faith is just not a very likable character. From the start she is not portrayed all that well as she is instantly ready to throw her fiance away when she hears the name Damon. It’s fine if she didn’t really like him to call things off, but why wait til the last second? She doesn’t even tell him where she is going, she just vanishes. I mean, the guy never even notices which is pretty insane but that’s just the way it is. Now, if she still had some morals about it that would be one thing, but she acts incredibly desperate each time.

She is basically throwing herself at anyone who claims to be Damon Bradley and really seems to have no shame. The whole affair with Peter really tells you all you need to know about her. She was about to call off the wedding after just meeting him until Peter made a rookie mistake and left his identity out. Faith never gets better from here and you’d think after such a humiliating scene she wouldn’t fall for these tricks again…but she still does.

Meanwhile this doesn’t let Peter off the hook either. He lies to Faith a whole lot. It’s supposed to be endearing or even funny based on how the film presents it, but it’s pretty tragic if you think about it. He was really just taking advantage of Faith and you can’t feel bad for him when he gets emotional because the whole thing really is his fault. Just because Faith is super easy doesn’t mean it’s right to still be tricking her the whole time.

Then we have Kate who is another poor character. She is actually married already and decides to have an affair with a random guy anyway. She keeps telling herself that he knows she is married and won’t try anything but they both keep giving each other hints so of course an affair was going to happen. The film paints her husband Larry as a guy who’s not exactly the most charming and does call her telling her to go make a sandwich. It’s obvious that he’s not supposed to be a very likable character either but Kate is the one who comes across as more petty. She thinks he is cheating on her with no evidence and naturally it turns out to not be true. While Larry was not the nicest guy, at least he wasn’t cheating on her.

These various plotlines just really don’t work wonders for the film. By the end of it the general morale is that none of these relationships are likely to last for very long. Kate’s not trust worthy and the same is true for both Faith and Peter. Faith won’t forget that Peter lies to her face quite a bit and he won’t forget that she came close to having 3 different affairs in the span of a week. The odds of them managing to pull through this in one piece are pretty slim.

At least the backdrops are pretty fun. It’s always nice to see Venice. I wouldn’t want to live there because that’s just way too much water for me, but the scenery is good. The film also does have some fun moments like the contrast it shows between New York and Italy. In New York there was no way they were going to let the main heroine on the plane without a ticket but in Italy since they were helping her get the guy they stop the plane and let her on. It’s a pretty stark contrast and it was naturally a blast to see New York looking so good. We definitely don’t let people randomly get on trains. The film also has some good meme material with how everyone is constantly clapping at the heroes making up with each other. You don’t see the reactions you’d expect like people being upset that their flight is being held. It’s all wholesome to these guys.

Overall, Only You is a film that’s definitely not very realistic. The writing could use some work and the characters just are not likable. You can definitely have some fun with this film as it goes on but the whole thing just doesn’t make a lot of sense most of the time. I’m still surprised that Faith’s fiance never got to appear at the end. Kate should also remember that Faith was very quick to ignore her current plight. Kate was literally in tears asking Faith for help and our nice heroine brushed her off to take a phone call and starting celebrating when it was Damon. Keep in mind that Kate is still in a mess on the floor next to her. The film definitely makes sure that you are unsure if we are supposed to root for the main character or not and that is an original approach. You can do better with a different rom-com.

Overall 4/10

4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Two Weeks in Another Town Review


It’s time to look at another film about a celebrity ruining his career and then seeing if he can make a comeback. It seems to be a bit of a classic plotline over the years. Unfortunately this one isn’t quite able to handle it. The film’s reasonably entertaining the whole time, but the ending is pretty sketchy and the romance plot here is also not one of the better ones. Jack definitely makes the most of his two weeks though and after lighting up the towns he should be tired enough to stay ready this time.

The movie opens up with Jack finally finished with his restoration after being a drunk for a while. His old pal Kruger the director has mailed him asking if Jack would like a big part in his new movie. When Jack gets there Kruger admits that it was all a scam and the psychiatrist asked him to write, but he’ll at least let Jack do the dubbing. Jack never lets an opportunity to make a quick buck slip away so he demands a raise and then takes the job. The tough part is he has to deal with the main actor Davie who really doesn’t care about the project at all. The guy is just here for the check and spends his days as drunk as can be. Jack doesn’t like this but there’s not much he can do about it either. At least there’s the heroine Veronica here. She’s currently in an abusive relationship with Davie so Jack decides to be her rebound guy. Can this possibly end well?

The film sets Davie up to be so antagonistic that there’s no way for you to buy into his redemption arc by the end. Veronica even gets a black eye at one point which shows just how bad Davie was. The film doesn’t get into it much deeper than that but tells you all you need to know about the guy. Davie also waves a knife around at Jack before getting subdued. Jack’s way too lenient at the guy and the way the romance plot ends is also not very satisfying. Davie’s just a pretty terrible character.

Unfortunately I can’t say that I liked Jack and Veronica very much either. Veronica seemed to rebound way too quickly. She got together with Jack with no real effort but ultimately went back to Davie very quickly. She seemed to be someone who was always trying to get some action so I don’t see their relationship being great long term. Jack’s no better though as he goes from Veronica to Carlotta with ease. Considering how tough he talked about not falling for Carlotta again he sure fell pretty easily. This is where the closing act just didn’t work for me. After he is betrayed, Jack takes it very hard and falls back into literally every single one of his old vices. He gets super drunk, he has an affair with Carlotta, and then he loses his mind and starts driving like a maniac. That scene’s definitely pretty terrible as the guy undoes all of his progress from the last few months.

The film quickly spins this into a happy ending after that somehow. With all the fights and property damage he caused the guy will probably get arrested the next week though. The only character here who seemed reasonable at first was Kruger. Then slowly but surely the film begins to break him down piece by piece until he’s just as bad as the others. First off, he cheats on his wife consistently. The film plays this off as a comedic subplot but it’s all pretty tragic. He also does this very openly so everyone in Hollywood knows about this which is even more humiliating to her. Kruger is only interested in making films and getting famous and it shows at the end when he decides to back stab Jack. I think Jack should have suspected as much since he seemed pretty cynical about showbiz at the start. I think he just allowed himself to get a little too hopeful and it’s a shame that doing so would get him in trouble.

So there are quite a few negatives I’ve got in the bag here like characters and romance, but one positive the film does have is the writing. I always enjoy the scripts from this era. Everyone just sounds very regal and the dialogue allows for good back and forth discussions with the characters. They’re all professional and make reasonable sounding arguments even if they’re actually crazy when you think about it. There’s always a lot of passive aggressive comments here as people rarely say what they actually mean. It’s really something to think about how people would actually speak like that back in the day because it’s certainly nothing like that in the modern day.

I’d also say that the pacing is good. The film will hold your interest as it’s going on and it never drags on. Each scene serves some kind of purpose so I wouldn’t say that there was any real filler here. Even if you don’t like the characters they still manage to be compelling which is important. It was nice to see Jack work as a director for a bit even if it didn’t ultimately work out. One character I did like was Kruger’s boss. That guy seemed very practical. He may not have said the things Kruger was hoping to hear but the guy clearly runs a tight ship and that’s important for a director.

Overall, Two Weeks in Another Town is a film with an idea that’s been tried in the past and it has been done more successfully. The problem here is that while the film does succeed in showing a cynical Hollywood where everyone is out to get you, it’s done without likable characters. All of the characters lose their morals when they need too. The film can be quite mean spirited. Basically this amounts to Jack going to another town and for two weeks making as much of a mess as he wants and then getting out quickly. While the ending suddenly tries to be a happy one it’s almost more of a grim ending since Jack ended up cracking once again. I’d say to skip it this time and you could watch almost any of Kirk Douglas’ other films and you’ll have a better time.

Overall 4/10

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

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers Review


It’s time to take a look at a classic Noir film. It’s a tale of deception and blackmail with the villains thinking a little too highly of the lead which gets them into trouble. It’s a pretty engaging film for most of its run but by the end the drama ramps up a bit too much at the expense of Sam’s character. The ending may play out as a happy one but Sam made far too many mistakes. The plot still gives you enough twists and turns to stay engaging though.

The film starts off with Martha and Sam running from home yet again. Sam is a pretty down to Earth guy who likes being a rebel while Martha is getting ready to inherit a ton of money but doesn’t like her aunt. Unfortunately for Martha the aunt has a lot of power so these attempts never work out. Well, one day Martha murders the aunt and is finally out of the woods. The thing is, Walter and his father saw this so they help her cover it up, but this does lead to Walter becoming the district attorney and the two characters get married. Martha still doesn’t like Walter all these years later but that’s just how it is.

Meanwhile Sam passes through town and figures he’ll look his old friends up. He was friends with Martha at least, he never got along with Walter as much. He meets up with a girl named Toni though and the two of them become good friends. The problem is that Toni is breaking parole by hanging out with Sam and not going home. Ultimately she is picked up and so Sam decides to ask Walter to help him get her off the charge. Walter thinks Sam is here to blackmail him for the murder all those years ago but Sam doesn’t actually know about it. If Walter keeps hinting at it though, he ultimately may help Sam find out.

It’s always interesting when the villains actually overestimate the heroes because it’s so rare. One other case is in RWBY as Salem tells Cinder and the others to be very careful since Ruby has Silver Eyes, but little did they know that Oz had never shown her how to master it yet. That’s a similar case to how it’s all playing out here. Sam really had no way to suspect any of this since he had put the town on high alert. Honestly he probably wouldn’t have had a whole lot of swing with Walter otherwise though.

This does lead to Sam getting beat up at one point though and a lot of back and forth with the characters. Sam can fight pretty well so he doesn’t get intimidated easily. He trades a lot of barbs with Walter. Despite Sam calling him scared all the time Walter does hold his ground. Perhaps being constantly drunk and working for the government helped him get a little braver. It’s definitely a pretty interesting dynamic. Sam was a solid character for most of the film, but where he ultimately faltered was in how he handled the second half.

He definitely did like Martha once upon a time but she is married now and he likes Toni. That should absolutely be the end of it right? Unfortunately that is not the case and he falls for the grass is always greener approach. He betrays Toni pretty late in the game for what amounts to a pretty meaningless affair with Martha. It really takes away from his character because that’s absolutely the last thing he should be doing right now. He’s already been in so much trouble in this town as it is you’d think he would just get out quick. Unfortunately he got a bit greedy by the end. Once he actually did have the blackmail he quickly used it just like Walter thought he would. In a way Walter was right from the start, he was just too early.

So I couldn’t come to like Sam. Martha isn’t really any better. She seemed pretty spoiled right from the start of the film. The intro was brief but it didn’t really set up Martha as a sympathetic character. Then we have Walter who is at the very least still complicit in everything that went on. He clearly knew Martha didn’t like him but got married anyway so it’s hard to sympathize with him either. The only good character here was Toni and she definitely shouldn’t have stuck with Sam. After being betrayed like that I would have split town and then that would be it. If Sam can fall away so easily once then it will happen again.

Finally, the film also fumbled the ball early on with some animal violence. Why did we need the aunt to murder the cat at the beginning of the film? All that does it give the film a bit of a mean edge from the start. You can’t really recover from that. I suppose an amazing film could try to make a comeback I suppose, but it’s very difficult and you are starting from a disadvantage. I’m guessing the film couldn’t find any other way to make the Aunt look bad because otherwise she hadn’t been nearly as sinister as Martha would suggest. It’s an easy out, but one that did not do the film any favors.

Overall, This was a pretty interesting film. It unfortunately just lasted too long by watering down Sam’s character at the end and I definitely could have done without the animal violence. Those are the two elements that really drag the film down. The writing is on point as with most classic Noir films and otherwise the pacing is good. As I said at the beginning of the review, this is a pretty engaging film. Usually that goes hand in hand with being a good film but unfortunately that was not true in this case. As far as the recent Noir films I’ve seen go this would have to be one of the weaker ones.

Overall 3/10

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

A Letter to Three Wives Review


It’s time to take a look at a retro movie with a moral about trust and understanding. With the basic premise at hand the film gives you all you need in order to crack the case of what’s going on here. I dare say that it starts to become apparent after the first story but even then you can still make cases for exactly what Addie’s plans were. You could make her out to be the hero or villain depending on how you look at it. I’m in the former’s side.

The movie starts with Addie explaining to the viewers that she’s the best person who ever lived and holds the moral high ground. The 3 main heroines are all pretty jealous of her because Addie seems to be the perfect person. As the ladies husbands would say, she always knows to do the right thing at the right time. As a result the ladies never liked Addie much although they wouldn’t say that to her face. Well, Addie has sent them a note saying that she has run off with one of their husbands. The 3 wives are trapped on a cruise and can’t get back home but they are all worried that their man has left. Each of them has a flashback to a memorable day in their relationship and wonder if it could possibly be true.

In a way the story is an anthology as each story takes up a good amount of time so we don’t see the present much. The first story is about Brad and Deborah. Deb is feeling a lot of pressure because she thinks that she can’t keep up with Brad’s city friends. She grew up as a country girl and isn’t very confident in her appearance and mannerisms. This ends up getting worse as she gets super drunk before the meetup and also has a mild costume malfunction. She misses enough of the party to where Addie ends up chatting with Brad instead.

It’s a pretty solid first story and underscores that Brad is a really nice guy. He’s pretty understanding of Deborah’s worries the whole time. We also get to see his two friends who will star in the second story and they’re very nice as well. They do everything they can to cheer Deborah up and I dare say that they easily have the best dynamic of the 3. Deborah’s lack of confidence can be a bit iffy at times especially with how much she drinks. It also turns into her not trusting Brad as much as she should because she does think he would trade up to Addie if possible.

Next up is George and Rita. Rita is determined to impress her boss by hosting a very fancy dinner party while George isn’t a fan of the idea because he doesn’t like having a false pretense. I do agree with him here as I never believed in making the place really fancy when guests were coming over either. In modern times this has slowly stopped being a thing, but there are still many cases where you do a huge cleaning and re-stocking before someone comes over. In a way the best way to handle this is to have the guest see the place as it usually is. George does his best to work around this but the guests are quite rude and even break his personal record. It turned into a pretty trying day for him and Rita even forgot his Birthday. Fortunately Addie didn’t so she sent him a priceless record with a reference to their youth although this makes Rita jealous as well.

While Rita definitely went through a difficult day there, she is still a pretty likable character throughout the movie. She’s a very supportive friend and I do think she and George got along quite well whenever we saw them. George is a fun character who always sees the glass as half full. Despite all the crazy stuff that happens to him, he keeps up a smile throughout. From the 3 guys he was definitely the best one.

Then we have the third story about Lora and Porter. Lora is pretty poor at the moment so she decides to land the boss of her company after he reaches out to her with obvious goals in mind. She plays hard to get in order to win him over and get married. It works in a very transactional way. Both of them are too proud to admit to the other that the feeling is genuine. Partially they are also afraid to say this in case the other were to laugh so as a result their marriage isn’t a very happy one. Throughout the film they’re constantly trading a lot of barbs. In particular Porter is often pretty disrespectful. Lora’s a strong woman so she doesn’t lose her confidence despite this but it’s a pretty unhealthy dynamic.

The film works to give them some development here but even by the end the pairing was the weakest. Porter is a pretty fun character when outside of the marriage but with Lora most of his scenes are pretty mean spirited. Meanwhile Lora is the most fun member of the 3 wives. In some respects she is one of the scarier people to run into with how manipulative she is. If she didn’t like Porter then she could have put her plan into action pretty easily by marrying him and then running off. If you’re rich you always got to be careful when getting into a relationship. Of course, Lora actually wasn’t mean spirited like that and is just a very independent character.

One thing that’s pretty telling in the film is that none of the 3 characters trusted their husbands as much as you would expect. They had a lot of doubts the whole time so their relationships clearly weren’t all that strong. The film gives them development there but even to the end two of them are absolutely certain on the fact that their husbands ran away. You can’t have a good relationship without trust so that’s something for them to work towards. On the other side George and Brad seem like very reasonable and forgiving characters. They’re pretty down to Earth and don’t let things get to them. Part of why the writing in the film is so good is because most of the characters are pretty reasonable.

So I won’t spoil who left off with Addie. I can say that we never actually see her though as the film keeps her intentionally out of sight. I was expecting that pretty early on though because it just feels like the kind of thing the film would do. In a sense, seeing her would be difficult for the audience to see what all the fuss was about. This way she keeps her mystery. Now, why do I think she was more of a good guy? Well, she’s clearly the nicest and most respectable member of the group. Unlike the various gossipers in town she has no time for that and is always doing nice things for everyone. She remembers birthdays, doesn’t have any drama, and is very respectable. I believe that she saw things weren’t going super well for the 3 couples and decided to do something that would shake things up in their lives.

Nobody holds onto something tighter than when it’s about to be taken away. I don’t typically order desserts at Popeyes because their chicken is fantastic and I can always bake some cookies at home. However, when I heard that Fried Oreos were only going to be around for a few weeks I bought a bunch of them. It’s the same concept here more or less. Now that Addie is threatening to take the guys away the 3 main characters may look at things in a different light. The only threat to this is a proclamation from one of the guys near the end. My answer to that? The guy’s definitely lying. Either he helped cook up the scheme with Addie or he just said what he said to make someone feel better. I just don’t think his event actually happened. In short, that’s why Addie was the hero of this story and also the best character in the film.

In general I’m also against the notion that you can’t have a female friend. By making Addie into someone who ended up wanting something more then that’s a shame. Especially with a lot of these old films being about cheating it seems like that is the inevitable outcome if you’re friends with someone who is single but it’s a dangerous rhetoric. That’s why it’s good to have Addie here to put a stop to all this nonsense.

Overall, A Letter to Three Wives is a pretty solid film. The movie’s pretty fun and all of the stories were solid although the third one is the weakest by far. It makes sense though because that plot seemed to be pretty weak from the jump as well. Still, the rest of the movie keeps the adventure up at a high level. If you’re looking for a classic mystery that actually isn’t a murder mystery then this is one of the rare ones to check out. It’s just a solid all around film with good writing and pacing.

Overall 7/10

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The Bad and the Beautiful Review


It’s time to take a look at a guy trying to succeed in Hollywood. While this initially starts out as a fun journey for the guy it ultimately starts getting darker and sadder as things don’t work out. He seems like a decent guy who made some critical mistakes, but each one was a mistake of his own doing. It’s a pretty engaging film that does have a tragic ending but one that may not be so bad depending on how you interpret it.

The movie starts with Jonathan trying to contact a famous director, (Fred) Actress, (Georgia) and Author (James) but all three of them refuse to speak with him. His agent manages to get them into a house where Jonathan will be able to make a call once more. We then learn why each of them does not want to speak with Jonathan through three stories. The film is effectively an anthology as we learn what happened to them and how Jonathan went from being the most successful man in Hollywood to being near bankrupt.

The first story starts with Fred attending a funeral where everyone was paid to pretend to be sad about Jonathan’s father dying. Fred doesn’t keep up the act though but one thing leads to another and he agrees to team up with Jonathan. The two of them work quite well and start making some very successful pictures. They may not be rolling in dough yet but things are going well. Things sour when Jonathan decides to push Fred out of the way when they adapt a screenplay that Fred wrote. Jonathan intends to be the one who will take the credit for it and this was Fred’s lifework. They went from being best friends to worst enemies in an instant. To Jonathan it wasn’t personal but to Fred it was everything.

This was a strong first story. It’s paced pretty well and could have been a film in itself. In this story Jonathan was totally at fault. You can’t just steal someone’s work like that and expect everything to be okay. That’s a film Fred will never go back and you can’t really apologize for it either. Jonathan made it clear that he didn’t think Fred was good enough for the film which is a personal blow. That was how Jonathan burned his first bridge and you can see why Fred doesn’t want to work with him.

The second story involved Georgia who was a drunk that had a hard time keeping a job. Jonathan notices her during a bit role one day and decides to make her a star. Unfortunately it is hard for her to beat her old habits and he figures that the only way to get Georgia on board is to let her believe that he is interested in her. The affair never really felt genuine from his end but it’s mostly all implied so you have to decide on that yourself. Regardless, he ends up crushing her feelings when it’s revealed that he is having an affair with another woman.

Jonathan made it clear initially that they couldn’t have a relationship so he didn’t think it was super personal but it doesn’t change the fact that he went on with the facade for quite a while. Georgia may have been the only one interested but this did go on presumably for quite a few months so Jonathan should have called things off much sooner or just not been in any other affairs in the meantime. Once again this is on Jonathan and you can see why she was pretty upset. You don’t really get over something like that.

Finally we get the story with James. James was a writer who led a comfortable life with his wife. He had a hard time writing anything but was pretty happy. One day he gets a call from Jonathan and heads on over reluctantly to Hollywood since his wife was really excited about going there. Things get a little tense at times in part because of how excited she is and James gets jealous easily. One day a tragedy happens and Jonathan covers it up but ultimately the truth comes out and James cuts ties with him for good. It’s a pretty solid third story and James easily has the best reason for never working with Jonathan again. You just can’t go back from something like that.

Part of what makes the film a bit tragic is the fact that Jonathan seemed like a nice guy overall. He could be pretty forceful and direct in how he talked, but ultimately he did befriend the three main characters. In particular he got along with Fred the best but did betray him rather directly. So the film doesn’t build Jonathan up as an evil villain or anything, but at the same time his mistakes were pretty bad. You feel bad for him in the climax since he is desperate enough to effectively be begging his old friends to return, but he’s in this hole due completely to his own actions. Even cancelling the film at the end was a selfish move that cost two of his co-workers all of their money. He kept on digging his hole deeper and deeper.

The ending is left open ended so you can decide how the 3 decide. Personally I think they’ve got to say no here. They’re all quite successful and the manager is making the case that it’s because of Jonathan. Certainly he put them on the right track but that doesn’t mean they owe him anything. He still made a mess of their lives in quite powerful ways. When you get betrayed in the ways that they did you don’t really get over that. In particular there is no way James should even entertain the notion of going back. At the very least, that’s the path I would see the ending going if it continued. They just put the phone back down and walk away.

Overall, The Bad and the Beautiful is a pretty deep film. The title is likely referring to Jonathan as we see him as a good guy and as a villain. At times he sees like a genuinely nice guy and then he turns at the drop of a hat. He’s hard to figure out which is tragic in itself. At least he got to enjoy success for quite a while though and I suppose that will have to be enough. This is a solid anthology and one that I’d recommend checking out. It’s a pretty interesting movie and it’s a cautionary tale to remind you to always keep your guard up. You shouldn’t live a cynical life where you think everyone’s out to get you but you should also remember to look after yourself a bit or you could be betrayed in an instant.

Overall 7/10

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The World, the Flesh and the Devil Review


Well, you certainly can’t say that the title isn’t unique. It’s an attention grabber although admittedly in the opposite way of what the film is going for. If I walked into a theater and saw a film with this name I’d do a quick 180 and head back to Sbarro’s. Still, the film is reasonably good. I had some major complaints with the main characters as none of them were particularly likable but it made for a solid plot nonetheless.

The film starts with Ralph getting stuck underground. After a few days it seems like everyone has given up on him so Ralph reluctantly heads back to the surface on his own. The problem is that everyone is gone. Far as Ralph can tell, everyone has died somehow. He makes the most of it, but it can be pretty lonely. That’s when he runs into a lady named Sarah who is the last lady on Earth. Ralph is happy to at least have someone for company and they grow pretty close. He is reluctant to get romantically involved though despite her attempts. Things change when a third guy shows up named Ben. Ben is also interested in Sarah but unlike Ralph he is pretty aggressive about it. Who will Sarah choose?

I always like the setting of a world where humanity has been taken out of the picture. It’s always very thought provoking to see how you would try to survive like in Dr Stone although this would be a little more similar to The Last Man on Earth. Either way, you have to find a way to not just survive in the short run but also long-term. That means growing your own food and finding renewable sources of energy. The film doesn’t really focus on this aspect although I think it would have been very interesting. One tough part about these films though is how you end them. It’s really easy to run on the premise for a while, but eventually you do have to start a goal. It’s why to an extent titles like Dr. Stone, Resident Evil, and other survival stories have their best parts near the beginning. The longer you can keep up the mystery the better. That’s not to say that the series go down when the mystery is gone, but nothing beats that early peak.

This film goes from there into total romance territory which is something I often warn against doing. There are already thousands of romance stories, can’t we just have a survival one instead? The romance is pretty bad in part because of the characters. Ralph is determined not to make a move to the point where he keeps declining Sarah’s advances. Ben is pretty obsessive about how he likes Sarah and brings it up a lot. Then you have Sarah who clearly likes Ralph more than Ben but is fine with rebounding with Ben if necessary. At the end of the day it does seem like she will go with whoever is the last person standing so that doesn’t fill you with a lot of confidence on how loyal she’ll be.

Ralph’s reasoning for declining Sarah isn’t because he likes the friend zone, but because of the racial barriers between them. He believes that Sarah wouldn’t have given him a chance before the world blew up or she may not have even had a chance to meet him because of how society is. He is likely correct, but it is a whole new world now. It’s still a big assumption on his part to assume that she is racist. Assuming it was the latter and she just wouldn’t have had a chance to meet him, that’s not to say that she would have disliked him initially. It’s still fair to decide not to get involved with her, but then he should be direct about it from the start and explain that it’ll never happen. Instead he sulks an awful lot and still gets jealous with Ben which makes him too wishy-washy here.

My complaints with Sarah are really more of the same. If she likes Ralph then that should be game over for Ben or vice versa. Instead she does hang out with both and seems to encourage Ben throughout all of this. She knows that he likes her so if she isn’t interested then she should just say it. Leading Ben on when he has no chance is pretty awful. She gives him hope in quite a few scenes and likely enjoys the attention but it’s still pretty bad. Meanwhile Ben is pretty terrible from the start. He knows about the tensions between Ralph and Sarah and doesn’t care. Additionally he even plans to murder Ralph to get closer to Sarah. While this may actually work eventually, it’s still a pretty bad plan.

We get a prolonged gun fight near the end of the film to fill the action quota. It’s not bad although it could have been a lot more exciting. Imagine a live action Fortnite type showdown where both of them are running around the city. If anything the tough part is that if your battlefield is an entire city that is empty you could run for days, years, or forever and never find the other person. Just think about how huge these cities are and now shrink that down to 2 people. There’s absolutely no way to find each other without one person being really loud. The ending’s also a bit on the cheesy side but it could be worse I guess. They’re basically just pushing the problem off for a few months and then off screen one of them is probably going to get it.

Overall, This is a film with some interesting ideas but it doesn’t go into them enough. The premise of humanity being wiped out is already pretty great. Just focus on that. Instead we get a love triangle that takes up the whole movie and it’s not nearly as interesting. I think you can make a good triangle plot with two guys who both have their good qualities and a girl who isn’t sure how to shut them both down because she likes guy C. That would make for a pretty great plot. What we get here is more of a head scratcher. The writing is good on the whole, but the movie does drag on and the missed opportunities stand out. If the premise still sounds interesting to you then you should check it out. Just be warned that after the opening act the film forgets about the apocalypse angle.

Overall 5/10

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The Network Review

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

It’s time to look at a film about trying to keep up high ratings when your channel lags behind the rest. It’s always tough to keep someone’s attention for long because eventually they are just ready to move on and try something different. For example I can go from marathoning a bunch of Shark Tank segments to not watching another one for months. Fads come and go and so channels also have to move fast, but if they go too fast then there isn’t enough time for people to enjoy anything.

The Network starts out with Max letting Howard know that he is about to be fired from the TV station. Howard’s had a long career but the channel has decided to cut him out. In rebellion Howard decides to go crazy on the air as he rambles on like a crazy person. It ends up going viral and people actually seem to like him. Diana is another employee of the company who aspires to run the whole place and takes this chance to take control of the show. Will banking on a crazy person ultimately work out for her or is this going to be one of her biggest mistakes.

The film has some interesting ideas but ultimately they are hampered by a sub-par execution. First off is the very unlikable cast that hurts the experience. Max is one of the main characters here and he makes just about every mistake you can imagine. He decides to get back at his boss by putting a crazy person on TV intentionally. Results aside, his motive was just revenge. Then he decides to have an affair even though he is married and keeps on spiraling out of control. There’s just no way to like this guy and having such a villain as a main character is unfortunate.

Then you have Howard who cracked early on. The guy was pretty insane near the beginning and kept having heart attacks but he was good at recovering from them. Even though he was crazy at least he was consistent at the beginning so I didn’t really mind Howard all that much. Where he ended up falling was when he met up with corporate and was easily tricked into furthering their ideology instead. If you’re going to take a bold stance and denounce modern society, you can’t be turned at the toss of a hat. That just makes him look sooooo bad. How can we possibly take this guy seriously after that?

Then you have Diana whose aspirations for being the boss are pretty strong, but she’s definitely too obsessed with doing whatever it takes including demeaning herself. The movie was showing all possible paths to power and so this was expected but it doesn’t make her character any more enjoyable. The random side characters were the best ones as they talked tough in the background and all probably had fairly interesting stories. In a TV channel studio you’re certainly going to have a bunch of people and whenever the board of executives showed up they usually had the best scenes. I wouldn’t have minded having more scenes with them instead.

So you’ve got the whole cheating plot bringing the film down from the start. It definitely gets more screen time than necessary. Then you’ve also got the film’s poor writing. There is way too much language in this film which is an easy crutch for a writer to try and add some tension. So the script could have used some work and it also didn’t help in making the film any better either. The pacing also could have used some work. We see a lot of scenes of Howard on his show. I suppose they want you to see exactly what kind of program it was, but those scenes really drag on.

The guy’s just yelling about nothing the whole time and somehow everyone is getting really pumped up in the audience. This is where I would have trimmed quite a few scenes to save time and maybe re-allocate it to one of the rival companies. I’d like to have seen their reactions at times like maybe some laughter or something as they watch all of this unfold.

Finally, while the ending is good for shock value it doesn’t make a lot of sense. So, there’s a subplot about a terrorist group who is running around America robbing banks and such. The news reporters are able to find them and where they live pretty easily and make a partnership. I suppose we can buy into this and at the end the reporters ask for a hit. Here’s where things get dicey, the leader of the terrorist organization decides to jump in and fire the shot personally. Why? If he’s caught…-and he should definitely be caught since this is right in the middle of a live show with tons of security- then he is going to go to go to jail and that’s it for all of his ambitions and goals. I somehow don’t think the news channel will have his back when the cops show up because they’ve shown that they are anything but trustworthy.

The film could have really benefited from being more about office politics. That is always one of the most enjoyable parts of films like this because of how relatable it is. Every job has a ton of politics and the side you pick will probably determine how enjoyable your time there is. We get some of that here, but it’s all in the background compared to in the front. The beginning of the film was more promising with people picking lines and then it was effectively dropped in the second half.

Overall, The Network is a film with an interesting premise but the execution just wasn’t there. There were no real characters for me to root for. They all got annoying pretty quickly and I could see why all of the other stations were beating them in the ratings. Ultimately this channel tried every underhanded trick they could and it still didn’t work. In a way it shows that the other channels were doing things the right away. Since you’re rooting against the main station the whole time I suppose in a sense the film had a happy ending.

Overall 3/10