Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Carriers Review


It’s time to look at another zombie film. This time it’s less of a sci-fi though as the zombies don’t run around destroying people. It’s definitely an interesting look at the end of the world, but the cast certainly aren’t likable and I dare say that it is intentional. Karma slowly starts to catch up to them as they go through their travels and by the end there really isn’t a happy end for all of them. In fact, depending on how you look at it it’s game over for everyone.

The film starts off by introducing us to the state of the world. A plague infected the planet and almost everyone is now dead. The main characters aren’t the chosen 4 who have survived as there are other survivors, but the human race has been whittled down tremendously. That’s why they came up with some rules. If they come across someone who is infected, then that person is already dead so the heroes won’t try to help. They can’t go near any infected people and they have to disinfect everything that may have been close to an infected. Their goal is to get to a beach since it’s an isolated place and hopefully nobody is there. I don’t know how likely it is that nobody would be there since even though this beach is no longer active…it’s a beach.

One of the problems here is the fact that none of the characters adhere to the rules. One of the big ones naturally is not to get anywhere close to the infected yet they do so all the time. As all of the characters begin to get infected you’ll see the others walk around without their masks. They jump into houses without masks and just run around constantly. They’ll make a big deal of putting on the masks later on, but by then they would already be infected. It’s part of why I believe they all would have ultimately died by the end even without making so many mistakes.

Brian is arguably the main character here. He’s a very rude guy who is always yelling and being aggressive in order to get people to see his way of thinking. Brian does care for his friends, but not for anyone else. He’s used to doing the dirty work to the point where it has become routine. Karma hits him pretty hard and fast though and you can sort of see how his character arc will play out. I do think he should have been a little more careful in the ending though. I suppose a part of him wanted to go out in that way since he wouldn’t have to endure the longer process. None of the characters like the idea of becoming an infected after all.

Then there is Danny who was probably the worst character of the bunch although Kate gives him a run for his money. Danny is the kind of guy who will pressure others to make the hard calls, but offers no help or will even try to make it sound like he would have made the nice move. Either he would end up making everyone infected or he would simply get sore later on since deep down he didn’t want it to go this way. He gets influences pretty easily by Kate and just doesn’t make any good decisions throughout the movie. He isn’t mean like Brian but in a way that may be why he comes across as a little fake at times.

Bobby is probably the most sincere of the 4 characters, but that comes back to bite her. She really did not handle the situation well at all. You can see why she may have acted the way she did with the kid, but she really should have tried to help through the plastic as opposed to taking it off. I don’t blame her for hiding it from the rest of the group after that though. If anything that just helped her prolong the inevitable and it would have been way worse for her if she had spoke up right away.

Finally we have Kate who probably makes the others regret that she was taken along for the ride. She has no real bond with the other characters so that makes it pretty easy for her to constantly tell Danny that they need to bump someone off. She’s that negative voice in his ear always trying to give dicey instructions. By the end of the film she seems pretty satisfied since it seems like things went well for her. While the film doesn’t even imply otherwise, I do think that the characters are already doomed. She was really close to an infected Bobby for quite a while, Danny made contact with Brian a few times post infection and he was also really close to the dead zombie. Then there’s all the times they were all walking around without masks.

I think that Carriers has a hard time deciding just how infectious the virus is. Part of it also depends on the individual’s resistance to being sick as well, but you would still think that the characters would keep the masks on more often. I don’t care if it’s a little uncomfortable, if it’s the only thing keeping me alive then I’ll be wearing it all the time. These characters don’t really tend to think things through though so maybe it’s not too surprising.

Then the film really jumped the shark by introducing a dog in towards the end. Keep in mind that there is seriously no reason to have a dog and the instant he appeared I knew that the film was in trouble. Sure enough that ends up being game over for him as the characters grab the gun and the film was completely destroyed in that moment. It was already not going to be that high, but this moment was a game changer. Then you’ve also got the fact that some random army characters show up later on for forced tension as they want to keep Bobby and Kate for sketchy reasons. This is another plot line that comes out of nowhere and does nothing except show that it’s a cruel world now. We already knew that so why bother? We already had the Dad and his dying kid for that plotline and that was already pretty tragic. That was the death flags moment for Brian by the way. Realistically they couldn’t have helped her but they just shouldn’t have pulled over from the start. Shooting the two old ladies was also crossing a big line since they were putting their lives above everyone else’s.

Overall, Carriers is definitely a miss. The idea of making a quality zombie film could be good, but this one just really missed the mark. It made all of the mistakes it possibly could and even with the classic “Everyone is doomed” ending it can’t really save itself. The writing is very weak and it’s a mean spirited film where everyone loses out. That’s why I do think a main theme here is about how the characters’ selfish choices ultimately doom them all but that could have just been coincidental. After all the ending does try to stay vague to an extent….I just don’t quite buy it. You’ll want to stay far away from this film and if anything you should watch the Vincent Price film about being the Last Man on Earth instead. That one handles all of the themes way better than this film ever could.

Overall 1/10

7 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Fruits Basket Review


It’s time to look at the recent Fruits Basket anime. I read the manga many years ago when I was a kid and didn’t really like it all that much. I actually put it down as one of my least favorite Shojo series so it was good to see it in a fresh setting. I actually liked the show so maybe I would like the manga more on a re-read or the show is just directed that well. Either way it’s a title I can definitely recommend. It’s an emotional slice of life title that manages to hit different tones in different episodes, but is careful not to go too far into being tragic.

The show is centered around a girl named Tohru. After her Mom passed away she went to move in with her other relatives, but it wasn’t ideal and so now she lives in the forest. She is found by the popular boy at school (Yuki) and he convinces her to stay at his place instead of the forest. To be exact, it’s Shigure’s place and soon after another kid by the name of Kyo stays there as well. Kyo and Yuki are constantly fighting like cat and mouse (heh) so Tohru quickly becomes the most mature member in the household. Tohru has decided to always have a positive attitude and to do her best to help everyone else out in respect to her mother’s memory.

There are no shortages of situations for her to help out here as everyone in the school has issues. The 3 people she lives with all of things to deal with and then the rest of the family. See, in a larger scale look at the plot there is the Sohma family. They were hit with a curse where if anyone from the opposite gender makes contact with them they turn into an animal. It is from the Chinese Zodiac legend which may be real and of course Kyo is the Cat and Yuki is the mouse so now things make sense. In the legend the rat didn’t send the cat the invite so he was shunned for life. Of course that was ages ago so we’re likely dealing with descendants, but the wound is still fresh.

Tohru is definitely a great main character. I mean she is pretty much portrayed as the perfect heroine. She’s super nice, does well academically, and is always ready to lend a hand. Tohru imparts wisdom whenever she can and even stands by her friends when they literally lose their minds. If Tohru has any issues it is just that she is a little too oblivious when other people are being downright mean to her. It’s great that she turns the other cheek but at least acknowledging this or telling them to stop would be a good idea.

We don’t see Tohru’s Mom much since she dies prior to the series but she appears through flashbacks a few times. She also seems really good and I’m glad that she still knows how to fight even though she is retired. The flashback where she helps Arisa was handled really well since it’s implied that she basically took down an entire gang.

Yuki is one of the main guys so he naturally gets a lot of screen time. He has a tough time showing his emotions except for when he’s upset at Kyo. Gradually Tohru helps get him out of his shell. We haven’t really seen his true origin but there is a lot of foreshadowing for it. From the main 2 I do prefer Kyo, but Yuki is good. He does step in to help Tohru at times and I do believe he would be able to conquer his fears and help even if Akito was involved. I really hope so at least. Yuki still gets hit with fear and isn’t perfect, but he does his best.

Then there is Kyo who is always ready for a fight. I dare say that Yuki picks the fight most of the time but that isn’t always the case. Kyo always tends to lose the fight, but at least he is enthusiastic. Kyo is not great around people but does his best to communicate with Tohru. He’s come a very long way from the first episode to the last one. His character arc already feels pretty complete and that may help in why he is one of if not the best character in the show. He’s probably the only character to not be openly scared of Akito. While part of him wants to be in the main family, I do think this is an advantage of not being there.

Then we have Shigure, but I can’t get behind him. He’s always trolling his editor to the point where he basically puts her job at stake. Then there’s the fact that he flirts a lot and rarely takes things seriously. He may be the adult in the house, but there is a reason why I said that Tohru is the most responsible. Shigure will have a moment or two where he steps up but that’s about it. The show is hinting that he is planning some kind of big revenge on Akito and is pretending to be a friend for now. He claims that he will avenge everyone else, but he’s sure taking his sweet time. Shigure better do something before the tables turn on him, but that is one of the more interesting plots right now.

Arisa is one of Tohru’s friends. She used to be a juvenile delinquent who hanged out with gangs and was generally on a rough path. Her origin is a bit similar to Tohru’s mom in some respects and that’s also why Arisa always wanted to meet her. Arisa was less thrilled to meet Tohru but along the way Tohru got to show her how to properly adapt to school life. Arisa had a tough road, but now she’s in a good place and has a solid group of supporting friends. Arisa is a nice ally to have. While she may not be as entertaining as some of the Sohma characters she is definitely a good character.

Then you have Saki who is Tohru’s other best friend. She has psychic powers which is cool. Mainly she just uses them for comic relief scenes against bullies and there is actually a story reason for this. She gets a backstory where we learn that her abilities nearly ended Saki. Saki’s origin story was definitely one of the toughest ones in the series, maybe the toughest because everyone was against her. I was glad that she had supportive parents who were there for her at least. It’s a reverse of most situations where you have a friend on your side but the family isn’t. Saki is fairly laidback and quiet so she can’t hold her own episodes the way that others can, but as a side character she’s good.

Kagura is a very persistent character and that’s a good thing since otherwise she probably would get pretty hurt with how Kyo is always ignoring her. Deep down she likely realizes that he isn’t interested in her but will keep on trying until he meets someone else. She’s a good side character. I’m also glad that the show didn’t go down the road of making her jealous of Tohru. That always gets old pretty fast and them being friends is a much better development. Momiji is one of my least favorite characters in the show though. He can be pretty annoying with how oblivious he pretends to act. He trolls Kyo and Yuki about Tohru quite a lot. She may be too oblivious to really take notice but it doesn’t do wonders for his character. I’m not even really interested in learning more about his backstory, but maybe it’ll help to make him more likable. Right now he’s just quirky and not really in a good way.

Ayame is also fairly eccentric, but he handles himself well and with style. Ayame throws himself into every situation and you can admire how bold he is. Even in real life it’s always an admirable trait to be so confident. Nothing throws Ayame and even when everyone is hurling insults he keeps his cool. Ayame and Yuki may never properly bond the way he hoped they would because of how different their personalities are, but at least they won’t be as antagonistic as they used to be. Ayame is a handful, but not in a problematic way. I can’t point to anything he did in the show that was downright bad. Perhaps inconvenient for the others, but that’s about it.

Hatori is a character that I definitely had some problems with. For starters he is very submissive to Akito to the point where he allows the guy to wreck his life. Hatori is basically a yes man and even threatens Tohru into meeting him. We learn that he is a nice guy for the most part, but since he is so weak that is barely a consolation since you won’t be able to trust him when it counts. His origin story is sad, but it’s hard to feel any sympathy for him because of how terribly he handles it. He met someone and they were to be together, but then Akito decided that he didn’t like this and throws a fit. Instead of stopping him Hatori lets Akito claim the win and then even erases the girl’s memories. From there on Hatori lost the will to resist, but he never had it to begin with. If he won’t stand up to Akito there then he never will. The whole origin was just really annoying, especially since Akito is so sickly to begin with. How is he going to threaten Hatori and the guy just takes it? I don’t really have any respect for this character.

Hatsuharu is another one of the Sohma and his dual personality is definitely unique among the others. One half of him is very edgy and definitely wants to be close with Yuki. Then the other half is calmer and more polite in comparison. He can shift gears at any moment and as a result tends to get involved in a lot of fights. It’s nice to have another fighter on the team, but it makes it more and more odd why everyone is so scared of Akito. I’ll get into that more later on. Anyway Hatsuharu would be near the middle of the pack. He’s nowhere near the best members but he’s better than someone like Hatori.

Kisa is one of the younger members. She’s a nice enough kid although she hasn’t gotten much of a role yet. I’m not sure if that’ll change or not later on, but so far she’s off to a good start. The same can’t be said for Hiro. That guy’s real petty and a jerk to Tohru for no reason. She overlooks all of it because she’s so nice, but it doesn’t do him any favors. He seems to be over that now so things will be looking up for him, but he’ll have to work hard to fully get past that terrible intro. Then we have Kazuma who was Kyo’s instructor. This guy seems reasonable. He lives on a mountain probably so he can get away from the main family. Forcing Kyo to transform was definitely a pretty iffy strategy since that could have easily backfired and really made life terrible for Kyo. It worked out in the end I suppose, but it’s hard to see them being quite as close after that. Kazuma seems like Hatori, but with more self-confidence.

Then we have the main villain of the series, Akito. He gets a lot of hype throughout as everyone is scared of him. Everyone shudders at the thought of even meeting him and they all freeze in terror. The guy’s super sick though and needs constant attention or he’ll die. How is anyone scared of him? I think this goes more into cultural impact and the fact that the family is so old. Traditions are strong here and maybe everyone is afraid because he would ruin their reputation. Since everyone else is afraid it becomes circular logic where everyone is afraid because of everyone else. All one person needs to do is stand up to him though and then everyone else could. Maybe the next season will go more into depth on this.

Regardless, Akito isn’t a good villain. The guy just seems really petty and self centered the whole time. I’m sure he’ll have a sad origin, but he’s taking it out on everyone else which is never good. Everyone in this series has had a tough background and I mean almost literally everyone. That means it’ll be very hard for Akito to try and stand there with a straight face and explain why he has to be mean to everyone. I just won’t be able to buy that very easily. Seriously, someone just needs to stand up to this guy and then the rest will quickly fall into place.

At the end of the day Fruits Basket is really about moving on from your past. That’s the main theme of the show and Tohru helps the characters come to terms with it and move forward. The origins are all sad and dark in different ways which allows her to give many different kinds of advice. It’s definitely a moving series in that regard and that’s why it’s a fun watch. You should always feel pretty good upon finishing up the episode. It can get heavy at times as well so make sure you are prepared. It’s worth noting that the romance here isn’t terrible so far. I still don’t think any romance should ultimately happen here since Tohru is just too heroic and oblivious to get into that, but it does feel inevitable that it’ll happen soon. We’ll see how the show handles that.

It’s also just plain fun most of the time. The cast can handle themselves pretty well and that’s extremely important for a slice of life show. There aren’t going to be big action scenes here so the show has to hold its own with pure writing and fundamentals. The pacing is on point and the writing is good so it’s all set there. The animation is pretty good as well. I wouldn’t say it’s anything particularly special, but it all looks smooth and vibrant. Then you’ve got a reasonable soundtrack here as well. It may not be the most memorable, but it does get the job done.

Overall, Fruits Basket season 1 is a pretty good show. It’s the kind of all around title that you can easily recommend to someone who doesn’t really watch a lot of anime. That’s because it touches on a lot of themes that a live action show would with regard to the origin stories and characters trying to find reasons to keep on living or to re-experience what it’s like to enjoy their day to day existence. The show can get pretty sad, but there is always a happy ending. I can’t think of any episode that ended on a low note. It’s not a perfect show and I’d say that a drama will always be limited in how high it can ultimately reach. That being said, the execution is basically ideal and we’ll see if season 2 can match it. I don’t know if season 2 intends to cover the rest of the series but you can already see how not everyone can get their perfect ending here. Multiple characters are interested in each other so someone will have to take a back seat. I also better see more people stand up to Akito because that’s the one part of the series that makes no sense so far.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Arisa Review


To think, I started this manga all the way back in 2011. It’s been 9 years and so I decided to re-start the series from scratch and marathoned the series all the way to the end. It’s definitely a very solid mystery thriller as I remembered from my earlier visits. It does sputter a bit during the end though. It was close to getting a solid 8 but I just had to take away a star by the end because the cast were starting to all shoot themselves in the foot by the end. You’ll definitely be glued to each volume as you await the ending though.

The manga starts by introducing us to Tsubasa who is a pretty good fighter. She’s so strong that the guys think of her as one of the gang and the other classmates end up being scared of her. It’s a fun life though and Tsubasa is excited to finally be seeing her twin sister Arisa for the first time in years. After their parents split up Tsubasa stayed with her Dad while Arisa went with the Mom. Tsubasa and Arisa have a great time chatting with each other, but then the next morning Arisa jumps out the window and falls into a coma. Tsubasa decides to impersonate Arisa and find out what was going on at school. The only hint she has is that it has something to do with “King Time.”

King Time is a period every Friday where the class gets together and they all make a wish on their phones. A mysterious being known as the King will then grant one of those wishes. While it started out as harmless fun like granting a good test score or baking a cake, the wishes have become drastically more dangerous since then. With people being bumped off one by one, Tsubasa has to put a stop to this. As you can see there is a lot of plot going on.

Arisa does a good job of throwing a lot of red herrings at you so it’s hard to figure out just who the villain is. I’m thinking you’ll probably have it figured out by volume 4-5 but if you double guess yourself then maybe a little later. There are a lot of credible suspects here after all so you really have to think long and hard about who you want to pick. Part of why I was able to throw myself into the series so fullly and just blast through all of the volumes was because the story is just so good. As I mentioned earlier, it’s just a very engaging series and that’s one of the reasons why this is a terrific series. It’s easily one of the very best Shojo titles that I’ve read.

The art is very clear and the character designs are unique which is always a good thing. The twins look similar but that makes sense of course. There is only one panel in the series where I wasn’t sure exactly who was talking in the final volume. I think it was the mother, but it’s a little hard to say. Hopefully it wasn’t because the scene would make her look pretty bad to be honest. This is definitely top tier art all around though and the author does a good job of keeping the mystery fresh for 12 volumes. I was wondering how it would last all the way to 12 pretty early on because it always felt like the series was pretty close to wrapping up. Granted, the ending volumes did really hurt 2 volumes so they didn’t all get away without injury.

Lets talk about the character cast. First up is Tsubasa who is definitely a very solid main character. Without her determination in finding out what was going on things definitely would have gotten very dicey for the rest of the class. She has to do a lot of the groundwork on her own and in the process she puts her own academic career in jeopardy. Despite these real threats and knowing that she is in personal danger, Tsubasa never wavers. She really just makes one main mistake and the series missed the boat with her on one thing. For her mistake, it’s the fact that Tsubasa falls for Midori and doesn’t try to shut down these feelings for very long.

Keep in mind that Midori is dating her twin sister Arisa. Under no circumstances should she even entertain the thought of getting together with him. Look, you can’t stop yourself from falling for someone entirely if that person is simply your type. What you can do is stop yourself from actually pursuing such a desire though. Just accept that it will always be a one way crush and keep the feelings buried until you get over it. The instant Tsubasa lost sight of this she did in fact betray Arisa and someone even calls her out on this. Tsubasa is sorry for what she did, but it was a massive mistake all the same.

Where the series missed some opportunities here is in the fact that Tsubasa is a good fighter. She’s portrayed as being very strong and yet when it’s crunch time she ends up losing without much of a fight like any other Shojo heroine. She is defeated numerous times in the series and never fights back when it really counts. The series could have dropped the whole storyline of her being a fighter and nothing would really change. I would have liked to have seen her get out of some of these situations on her own without assistance. The only moment this was handled well was against Kudo. It’s not a huge deal, but it is noticeable and does limit Tsubasa’s character. This review is basically spoiler free, but the next paragraph may still hint at things that you would rather not know. If you want to be absolutely sure to avoid spoilers then skip the next 3 paragraphs. Then skip the next 2 paragraphs after that which are total spoilers. So skip 5 paragraphs total or just look for the next image. It’s safe to start reading right after that. I figured that by putting the spoiler warning at the end of this paragraph it would give you time to get out and not hit the spoiler by mistake. You out? Last chance…..here we go!

Then you have Arisa. Now she is a pretty complex character and after thinking about her opening scene again the ending does mesh to an extent. Arisa really has 3 personas. The first is the one we learn about from Tsubasa and through everyone else. She is a very nice character who always does her best to help everyone out. Arisa is nice to a fault to the point where everyone only has nice things to say about her. She just seems like the perfect character. Then you’ve got the Arisa we got to see for one chapter with Tsubasa. She seemed to live up to this image but then we get the scene where she throws herself out of the window to despair while saying that Tsubasa is the one who had the perfect life. This does hint at some resentment since she waited til Tsubasa was around to do this which would mentally mess Tsubasa up for life. Then we have Arisa from when she wakes up.

Arisa is a lot meaner than you may expect. She gives everyone the cold shoulder and sides with the King the whole time. Even after she explains herself later on it doesn’t really excuse her. She is complicit at the very least to putting Tsubasa’s life in danger by making the wish to get rid of her. She makes things very tough on someone who is already dying of a heart condition and is generally an obstacle getting in everyone’s way. I really didn’t like Arisa which was surprising and part of why I didn’t care for the last few volumes. She comes across as short sided and needlessly mean. Arisa doesn’t even have a plan to justify this so Tsubasa is forced to step up once again and fix things. It’s just a shame because Arisa seemed like such a great character in the flashbacks. At the end of each volume is a short story and I read pretty much all of em. In one of them Arisa ends up pretending to be Tsubasa for a day to help her sister’s school rep and saves the day. That’s the Arisa I was expecting to see and she never showed up.

It is clever from a writing standpoint as it does follow the theme of the series. We saw the part of Arisa that everyone else saw and were then hit with the rude awakening of her real personality. Again, part of it is to keep everyone else safe and Arisa is never portrayed as being a total villain, but she just makes a lot of bad decisions. Maybe the old Arisa was never truly real or maybe she was buried after meeting up with Midori. Either way I missed that version of Arisa and if I could change anything about the manga I would just make it so that she didn’t wake up until the final volume. Maybe have a few chapters with her explaining to Tsubasa that she tried to end King Time and after not being able to think of anything figured that by eliminating herself that would stop Midori’s plan. We could have at least salvaged her character that way. I just don’t think Arisa waking up so soon was a good move.

Then we have Midori who I definitely wasn’t a fan of. The guy has a sob story of his own which is pretty sad, but still not an excuse for turning into a total psycho. He wants to free Arisa from her mother since Arisa apparently would confide in him a lot about how she was feeling insecure. It’s too bad that he takes everything to the extreme. In the most zoomed out of lens point of view you can see how he had a good intent to protect her, but then it totally morphed into something evil. He openly manipulated her so I don’t buy any kind of justification that he was trying to help her. Then even if it was part of his plan he does flirt with Tsubasa and cheats on Arisa so you can’t cut him any more slack at that point.

The guy tries to murder people many, many times. There’s just no goodness in him so it’s hard to buy the ending of the series. He should be serving hard time for a very long time and Arisa shouldn’t be so quick to forgive him. It’s great that they can forgive him of course, but it’s easy to do so when they got out okay. What about all of the students who had their lives permanently crushed thanks to him? There were quite a few victims before Tsubasa was able to step in and they don’t have the fortune of being a main character with plot armor.

Along the journey of trying to solve the mystery Tsubasa ends up helping a few other characters through their plots. One such character is Mariko who is supposed to be Arisa’s best friend. It’s hard to imagine how they got together though since Mariko is an incredibly obsessive character who is not very heroic at all. Mariko enjoys tormenting others and I would argue that she goes so far down into villain territory that she never truly returns. I wasn’t able to buy into her redemption arc and just didn’t like her. As a villain you could make the case that she was more sinister than the others. Even in the bonus story that takes place after she was supposedly redeemed she ends up being rather menacing. Fortunately it was to another villain but otherwise things were going to get out of hand again.

Then you have Shizuka who blames Akira for the loss of her legs. Now this is a tragic backstory that I can buy into because she was viciously hazed and nobody helps her. I have to blame Akira and Arisa a lot on this one. This is a case where Arisa seems to be completely complicit in what was happening. Maybe she was also tricked or maybe not, but the fact remains that the outcome really sucked for Shizuka. She had to put up with more pain than anyone else in the series. Sure, she did get tricked but the circumstances were pretty believable compared to the others and I did feel bad for her. Shizuka fortunately gets a happy ending because she’s already been through enough.

Kudo is a transfer student who arrives later on in the series. Unfortunately he is one of the most gullible characters in the series. The guy believes whatever he is told and just obeys orders. I want to like the guy since he has a good character motivation and origin story but he really should have questioned what he was hearing a little more if you ask me. He’s also like Mariko in that he falls into the purely evil territory. The guy knew what he was doing and actually did try directly murdering Tsubasa so that’s that.

Then we have Tsubasa’s supporting characters who don’t get to appear all that much. It’s too bad because they all seemed to be solid characters. In particular Tsubasa’s best friend gets a very small role and I was expecting him to be a major player at some point. The other guys in Tsubasa’s gang are all very loyal and I was glad that she had some friends who could fight. If anything she should have leaned on them a little more to help her through the issues that were going on. We really only get to see them more in the bonus stories.

Then there is Akira who is the main guy here. He’s solid and isn’t a sucker like the rest of the class. He’s at least trying to solve the mystery of the King. He’s not perfect and I do blame him for Shizuka’s fate, but for the most part he makes the right choices. Unlike Tsubasa, he likes Arisa who is already taken but has enough resolve not to actually try and make a move. He ultimately learns to appreciate her as a friend which is the right thing to do. Having Akira along for the ride is really helpful since it makes it more difficult for the King to try and bump Tsubasa off. Akira still does get knocked out pretty easily but he’s probably the only character aside from Tsubasa who actually digs up some clues so that’s good.

While Arisa/Tsubasa’s Mom doesn’t get to appear all that much I have to say that she was a character who was really mis-handled. I always got the impression that she was a pretty nice person even if the manga never outright stated that. I guess the parents did get divorced so they may not have been the best people or they just didn’t mesh well. Still, everything we saw indicated that the parents were good and yet at the end she appears to be pretty defensive and distant. Arisa didn’t have as happy a life as we thought. Then there is one panel where she seems to be downright rude, but that’s a panel where I couldn’t be 100% sure that it was her. Regardless she didn’t believe her daughter when it counted so she loses points there. She’s another character who probably just shouldn’t have appeared at the end if this is how her plot was going to go down.

There’s a lot to talk about with this series and I think that’s due in part to the fact that this is a mystery series. There’s just a lot to unpack as a result. I think a good amount of credit also needs to be given to the writing in the series. It’s just so engaging that you want to talk about what you just read. I’d be down with a sequel series at some point, but this is really the kind of title where it’s really hard to make a sequel. Either it’ll have a new threat that feels a bit redundant or it’ll be more of a classic slice of life. The latter makes more sense and could be a lot of fun just to see the old characters, but I suppose it isn’t really necessary.

Overall, Arisa is a very solid series. I just questioned a lot of the final decisions in the manga. The ending isn’t too satisfying for me, but it’s always hard to make an ending that pleases everyone. You will also have to throw logic out the window to an extent for a lot of the series as the grown ups never find out what is happening or step in to stop the chaos. After a certain point you would just expect some kind of investigation or a way for things to move forward. Well, I’ve seen bigger leaps in logic. Definitely check this series out either way and be prepared for a fun time.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Star Wars: Lost Stars Review


It’s time to look at a recent Star Wars manga that had quite an abrupt end. I didn’t even realize that the manga had just ended after reaching the final chapter. In my defense there was no real closer page or a big “The End” to close things out. I suppose there couldn’t be too much of an ending since the films have to continue things, but I can’t help but feel like there should have been more here. I heard that there may be an epilogue floating around somewhere, but for now I’ll have to treat this as the ending.

The series follows a pair of characters Thane and Ciena. They both grew up on different planets, but eventually grow to know each other thanks to the time they serve in the Empire. Both of them rise up the ranks, but one day the Empire decides to destroy Ciena’s home world to prove a point. This is too much for Thane and he deserts the empire. Ciena stays but figures they can still meet up once in a blue moon as long as Thane doesn’t join the resistance or anything. Well…Thane joins the resistance and now the two who used to be close friends may end up being each other’s worst nightmare.

The series is mainly told from Thane’s point of view so for the most part we’re always seeing Ciena as the antagonist. That being said, he never stops seeing her as a friend so his goal is simply to convert or capture her in order to break Ciena’s tie to the empire. It won’t be easy, but he is one of the most talented fighters in the rebellion so that certainly helps.

It’s hard to deny that Thane is on the right side here. We know that the Empire is evil and they don’t really bother trying to hide that fact either. They’re just playing on the fact that everyone wants a ton of power and it works with Ciena. I don’t think there are any great reasons given as to why Ciena stands by them the whole time, but again this is mostly from Thane’s perspective. He’s a reasonable character with good goals. Thane won’t leave much of an impact on you but he’s not bad, the guy’s worst trait is simply that he’s generic.

Then you have Ciena who has essentially been brainwashed by the Empire. No matter how much they threaten her or commit evil acts she is on board to stop what she believes is the greater evil. By the time she is ready to pull out it is simply far too late to really make much of a move. Even to the end she is ready to go down with the ship. Hopefully the rebellion is as nice as they seem or the series doesn’t have a great ending for her. With Thane there I don’t think it’ll be a problem though.

The only other big character here is Nash. He was also friends with the other two characters, but he can be very fanatical about the Empire. They can do no wrong in his eyes and he just wants to climb the ranks. Interestingly he doesn’t waver from defending Ciena and would be a good friend if he was on a different side. It’s almost a shame that he grew up in the Empire environment since he doesn’t seem like a bad guy, he just made a lot of the wrong choices over the years. The ending sets him up to be a pretty big villain so if this ever gets a sequel that would be pretty interesting.

I enjoyed the artwork for Lost Stars. It is pretty detailed but manages to stay clear as well. You can always tell what is happening and makes for a pleasant read. There aren’t too many real fight scenes so the artwork doesn’t get to really test its hand there. Regardless this would be one of the positives in the series for sure.

There’s a lot of romance here and while it’s not terrible, it does have its off moments. One such time is when Ciena and Thane meet up again after being apart for a super long time and decide to hook up again. It’s basically the equivalent of a one night stand as they dash off again and the whole thing felt a little pointless. I think the story could have focused more on their friendship and it would have been a better dynamic than the romance angle. Stories of friends choosing different sides is always intense.

Regardless it is an interesting story and at the end of the day that’s the most important thing. It’s sort of like looking at how the war affected your average joe characters as opposed to focusing on the heroes each time. Despite having over 30 chapters I wouldn’t say that a ton happened here. Fortunately the writing was pretty strong so that’s not really an issue. You’ll have a good time as you read through it. It also does set up the potential sequel really well which is where we would get a nice payoff for all the character development here.

Overall, Lost Stars is a solid Star Wars title. I would have liked to have seen more Jedi and Sith getting some action scenes here. That would have really sealed the deal to make this a super solid Star Wars title. As it stands, it is pretty good and I would recommend checking it out. I’m not ready to say that it is the definitive manga experience though as it should likely be surpassed by other Star Wars titles. It’s definitely more of a drama/romance than what you would usually expect from the series, but it works out well or at least better than expected. We also do get the space ship fights so don’t worry about that. This review’s a little shorter than the average manga look through because there just isn’t a lot to talk about here. Doesn’t take away from the quality though.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Godzilla (1954) Review


It’s time to take a look at the original Godzilla film. I saw this one a very long time ago, but it’s time to dive back in. This time I saw it subbed and while the dub is always the definitive version for me, it’s interesting to see the original version. Godzilla is a solid film for sure and it’s for good reason that the series got so popular. You can’t really have a definitive experience without a second monster for him to fight so this is still one of the weakest films in the series, but a good launching point nevertheless. After all, this works to introduce the character.

The film starts off with a few boats burning up at sea. No matter how many the government sends they all end up meeting the same fate. Eventually it turns out that this is due to a new monster known as Godzilla. He may very well be the most fearsome monster of all time and the government is unsure what to do against him. All conventional weaponry has failed and the only chance for success may lie with Dr. Serizawa. He has a secret weapon which can seal the victory, but has decided to never use it. His only mistake was in confiding in someone else. Placing trust like that is always an incredible risk if you really don’t want something to get out. The problem for him is that deep down he wanted someone to know about his invention so it was inevitable I suppose.

The best part of the movie is naturally Godzilla himself. His roar is definitely a lot more villainous here compared to in the later Showa films where it just sounds a little more heroic. Here he sounds like a wild beast who can snap at any second. While the effects aren’t quite at the level they would be at in later films, it’s still nice to see him smashing the buildings and laying the world to flames. He is an intimidating Kaiju and the film is a reminder that Godzilla is not the kind of monster you want to make an enemy out of. You do have to decide who you root for here of course, the humans or Godzilla. It’s tough because Godzilla doesn’t have any malice towards the humans, but he is still destroying millions. Meanwhile the humans have started the fight, but now you have to count on them to finish it in order to save everyone. I’m on team Godzilla, but I can understand why one would want to pick humanity.

There are 3 main characters. First is Ogata who is not having the best last few days. First he is unable to get the approval of Emiko’s father since they get into a heated debate about Godzilla. Then he takes a head injury and is put into an awkward spot with Serizawa. I wasn’t a big fan of his. While Emiko’s father may not have been very reasonable, Ogata handled the whole situation pretty horribly if he really wanted the guy’s approval. They don’t have to agree on the Godzilla issue, but he didn’t have to bring it up. Meanwhile we have Emiko who I also didn’t like.

Her friendship with Serizawa is exploited by everyone as she is unfortunately not someone who deals well with pressure. A reporter asks her to set up a meeting with the doctor and she does even though Serizawa didn’t want to see the guy. Then he tells her the secret of the Oxygen Destroyer and she spills it very quickly. She should have just said that she would be unable to keep the secret as that would be preferable to just telling Ogata the whole thing. Keep in mind that Godzilla already existed at this point so she should have known that eventually there would be more casualties. Emiko’s reaction to the weapon is also really overblown as she shrieks and almost faints from witnessing a glimpse of it.

Part of why she is my least favorite character here is because of these reactions. After she betrays Serizawa she is quick to ask him to forgive her for doing this but it doesn’t feel sincere since she doesn’t regret asking. Then Serizawa has to fight Ogata off when the latter tries to steal the research. Serizawa was really the only reasonable main character here and he ultimately paid the price for it. There are points to be made against him like not inventing such a terrible weapon in the first place. His only real defense seemed to be that he couldn’t help himself and naturally that isn’t the greatest defense to be used. I suppose it’s better than nothing, but that’s not great. I’d also argue that he just shouldn’t have told Emiko in the first place.

The soundtrack is definitely top notch. A lot of the themes that we hear here will be used in future Godzilla films. It’s an array of songs that have really withstood the test of time. The heroic theme, the Godzilla theme, etc. They’re true staples and especially for a film as early as the 50s this was extremely rare. Most movies in this era either didn’t have a soundtrack or it was incredibly forgettable. I’m impressed with how much detail was in these tracks.

Overall, Godzilla is definitely a pretty fun film. It’s certainly one of the original creature feature films and you can never get tired of seeing Godzilla show up. He had more screen time than I had remembered and we even did get to see some of his Atomic Breath. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d recommend changing that. It’s got good action and pacing. While the cast of characters is pretty weak, they don’t hold the movie back. You also have the government characters and the reporters who hold on to their ideals throughout. The side characters all hold their own and everyone is fighting in what they believe are the best interests of Japan. None of them are acting selfishly so you at least have to give them some credit there.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movies

Breakthrough


It’s time to take a look at a movie based on true events. Such films always have to straddle the line of keeping everything accurate and true to its origin while also throwing in enough extra details to ensure that there is enough content for a full film. I’d say that this one did a good job, it doesn’t drag on and it doesn’t feel like they added too many dramatic moments. It’s a quality watch and a movie that will definitely age well.

The film starts off by introducing us to John and his adoptive parents. He’s going through a rebellious phase as he tries to find his place in the world. It doesn’t help that at school they’re supposed to do a presentation on their family tree and of course he doesn’t know his. Joyce does her best to connect with her son, but John is still being distant. He goes out with his friends to play in the ice and ends up falling in. While the rescuers were able to grab him, he went into a coma. Now Joyce must hold strong in her faith that John will get out of this in one piece.

Breakthrough has quality writing throughout that really keeps every piece of the movie operating at a high level. We’ve got a good cast which is important from the main characters to the supporting figures. John is one of the least likable characters almost by default because of the whole rebellion thing. He does come across as a little rude for the first half and while the guy is dealing with a lot of issues at the moment, it does feel pretty unwarranted. Not passing the ball at the end of the Basketball game was definitely an iffy moment, but by the end of the film he’s certainly learned his lesson and is more of a team player.

Joyce is the real star of the film and the only one who believed 100% from start to finish that John would get better. That level of devotion is always important in the healing process and she put her faith in God right from the start. I don’t blame some of the other characters for having doubts because it’s not as if it’s easy to do what Joyce did. Still, she deserves extra praise for being able to stand strong. She defends John whenever the Debbie Downers and never lets up on the intensity. I don’t really feel like she ever crosses the line with her outbursts except for one remark where she does put blame on Brian. She made a mistake on that moment, but quickly acknowledged it later.

Brian doesn’t take the situation as well as Joyce but is still supportive in his own way. While he can’t bring himself to go in the room for most of the film, he doesn’t leave the hospital either. He does his best so support Joyce and John from the sidelines. Then you’ve got Tommy who was instrumental in helping John out. He’s a good character to have around. Finally there’s Jason who is a bit of a mixed bag. I was actually expecting him to be more of an antagonist to an extent based on his first scene. He was surprisingly rude and obnoxious so when they said he was the pastor I was pretty surprised. After that we have the interesting rap intro to the sermon and a whole segment about the Bachelor.

I think the whole rap thing is an interesting gimmick. I don’t think I’d want to have that as a usual routine for Church, but since the guy was a guest I don’t have a problem with it. It was his contribution to the Church and a way to pay respect so I think the intent is good. The actual Bachelor sermon was a bit iffy. On it’s own I don’t think it would have been that bad either, but couple it with Jason’s other early scenes and that’s not the best first impression he could have had. He quickly shows that his heart is in the right place by the end of the film though. He was a great ally for Joyce.

Breakthrough is suitably emotional considering the serious plot it’s got. It’s a very traumatic experience for the family as well as everyone else in the neighborhood who knows John. I definitely don’t think anyone will be playing on the ice after this. I do think that the ending starts to get a little too mean spirited with people blaming John for surviving. That’s a quick way to make sure John gets hit with survivor guilt. At most I can see the kids acting like that, but the teacher? It definitely might be a good idea for the family to move away if things continue like that.

The soundtrack is definitely quite good here. There are quite a few Christian songs that play during the movie and they’re very catchy. You’ll likely recognize them if you listen to Christian music as these tunes are pretty popular. They help enhance the scenes that they play in and it’s always great to have some music in. I feel like music just makes a film feel more special and brings it to the next level. It’s also used well with the scenes so you won’t have happy music during a somber scene or sad music during a happy one. Context is always important.

Overall, Breakthrough is a solid movie and one that I definitely recommend checking out. It’s got a good message and a solid cast. The pacing is quick and the movie is able to go through a lot of events. There’s never a dull moment and since for films based on true events you already know the ending, the journey there is even more important than ever. As long as you continue to have faith there can always be miracles. Events like this are a great reminder that through God anything is possible. Sometimes it’s easy to say that without actually believing it, but know that this is one statement that you can take quite literally. We’ve been getting more Christian movies lately which is great, but don’t take that as a sign to stop checking them all out. The more we support these titles the more high quality experiences the companies will keep churning out. There’s no end to inspirational events like this one and the more that get adapted the better.

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

All About Eve Review


It’s time to look at an old film where Hollywood once again plays a major role. While it doesn’t actually appear as it did in A Star is Born, its mere presence is enough to shape many decisions in this title. It’s a story of betrayal and how you must always be careful not to let your guard down among outsiders. Anyone can put up a mask, you’ve got to either break through or just go about life imagining that everyone’s got it up. It’s very easy to keep your guard up while still being friendly. There’s no reason to throw in any deep dark secrets with a friend you’ve made, no matter how close. Only tell what you wouldn’t mind being told again in the future. That’s a lesson most of the characters in this film likely learned by the end.

The film starts off with Karen running into an obsessive fan outside. This fan has attended this Broadway show during every single one of its performances. Karen figures it’ll be nice to introduce this fan to the stars and invites her in. The fan’s name is Eve and she is thrilled to be meeting all of her icons. Eve quickly becomes Margo’s (Star of the show) attendant and seems to be loving the experience. However, while this initially appears to be innocent Eve slowly begins to start making moves without letting Margo know and may even have dreams of being the star herself. Will Margo be able to stay successful or is this the end for her?

I’d say that the movie does a good job of making Eve a fairly hard to read character. I dare say that if you did not know the plot of the film you could possibly be fooled for at least a good 30 minutes. Eve does seem genuine even if a bit over the top with the fake modesty. She always acts as if she isn’t ready even when she actually does think that she has something to offer. I suppose that definitely would qualify as a true red flag. Eve’s definitely a fun villain though. She does a good job of being pretty manipulative the whole time and playing everyone against each other. All told, her acting in-film is the real deal so at the very least you can’t say that she doesn’t have the talent for the position. Her whole plan wouldn’t have worked otherwise. She’s certainly underhanded, but somewhere along the way she actually did pick up some skills.

Then you’ve got Margo who is the actual main character here. She’s pretty sensitive about her age and it has gotten to the point where she is now very paranoid. Eve showing up doesn’t help matters and so she begins to have a lot of fights with Bill over the girl. Margo’s definitely a very dramatic lead, but one who has not yet cracked unlike the main guy from A Star is Born. At the very least while she is rather mean to some of her friends she never goes too far. I’m sure some definitely wouldn’t be her friend after her outbursts, but it does seem like most of the characters are used to it by this point. They’ve just grown used to Margo at this point, but as a result they don’t take her complaints against Eve very seriously. Margo’s fun, but she definitely could have had a much easier time of things if she had acted a little more professionally from the beginning. Then she could have really had the upper hand.

Karen’s a good friend even if she does make some mistakes along the way. I don’t think you can blame her for wanting to give Eve a shot to meet her idol, but I do think that she was probably a bit too quick to get Eve an inside track through the job and all. Of course everyone was trusted a lot more back in the day, but I still think it was a bit much to let this person into her house just like that. Everyone rolls with it so I suppose this was normal, but still tricky. Karen gets blackmailed at one point due to a particularly big mistake she made. Karen really dropped the ball there.

Meanwhile you have Bill who is portrayed as a pretty fair guy. He gives everyone a fair shake and as a result he does stick up for Eve quite a bit. At that point there is no reason for him not to do so though. Once he finds out the truth then he is in it with Margo for the long haul. The guy can be rather oblivious like when he gets home and spends 30 minutes talking to Eve rather than greeting Margo. That was definitely not his best moment, but at least he doesn’t even entertain the thought of betraying Margo.

Then you have Lloyd who is a little more gullible than Bill. He manages not to make the fatal mistake, but it’s extremely easy for Eve to manipulate him the entire time. You’d think that since he is a writer he would be careful not to fall for the classic traps. Ah well, he’s still a good character. There were times when it was hard not to mix him up with Bill though since the two look so similar. That was one thing I had to be careful about the whole time.

Finally you’ve also got Addison who is another powerful figure in the film. This guy is used to being the one in control so you can bet that he isn’t getting suckered by Eve like the others. He’s at least able to hold his own and gets a particularly big role in the end. The guy was definitely underestimated quite a bit. There’s also a very minor supporting character who shows up for a scene or two. She doesn’t get much to do, but is definitely a fun character. She’s straight forward compared to the others and doesn’t care about the drama. She just wants her drinks and shoots straight for the top. Her plot never gets any closure, but I don’t think it was ever supposed to have any.

As for the ending of the film, I have a hard time buying into what it seems to be selling. The movie is going for a full circle kind of ending as Eve is about to face the quick wrath of karma. I just don’t see her making the same mistakes as Margo because her character is already a lot more cynical. Eve invented the betrayal tactics so I really don’t think anyone will get to turn around and use them on her. Her last scene feels out of character if this is the implication but if you take it as her deciding to take advantage of another character then it fits in quite well.

Another aspect of the film that is pretty solid is the low key humor. This is a drama with a lot of characters who are being portrayed as dramatic so this leads to a lot of fun metaphors and back and forth conversations between the characters. At one point during a debate Bill just goes to bed to sleep for a while during the argument that the others have. All of the characters here can give as well as they take so the scenes never feel one sided. The only character who always shrinks away is Eve and of course that may not be what it seems.

Overall, this is a pretty fun film. It’s a solid drama with a lot of twists and turns. Margo really steals the show with how theatrical her character is. It really makes all the difference with how much it adds to the experience. Most of the difficulties she experiences in this film she can take at least half of the blame for even if someone was ultimately plotting her downfall in the background. You definitely need to have a fun lead/solid villain to make the drama all the better and this film really nails it. I’d definitely recommend checking it out and seeing what you think. The ending certainly gives you a lot of room to think up your own aftermath.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Postman Always Rings Twice Review


It’s time to look at a film where the whole concept is about being the rebound guy. As you can guess that means the romance was doomed from the start. Since this is mainly a romance film that did put this one in a tough spot from the start and it never quite recovered. I was just waiting for the Postman to show up and shock everyone to the core, but it never happens. Turns out that it isn’t one of those literal titles, but it really should have been to be honest.

The film starts off with the district attorney giving Frank a ride. Frank’s been in a tough spot lately and that’s due in part to the fact that he is a free spirit. He loves just going wherever the wind takes him and living life on the edge. Well, he’s finally found a job at a burger joint, but immediately warns the owner, Nick, that he may not stay long. His plans change when Nick’s wife Cora shows up and Frank immediately decides that they should be together. Despite Cora’s half hearted rejections Frank forces the issue and they decide that Nick has to be murdered. Can they really pull off such a feat?

With a plot like this there is nobody to root for. Of course, you would expect to be rooting for Nick but the film goes out of its way to make him hard to root for. He doesn’t pay Cora any attention and is way older than her so that was never going to work out anyway. He’s oblivious to the point where he basically pushes them together and at the end of the day sees Cora as more of a helper than an equal. He doesn’t even consult her when making his big decision at the end of the film. He also gets drunk and in general just doesn’t seem like a good person.

Of course, two wrongs don’t make a right. Frank knows that Cora is married from the start. It’s not as if they were hanging out for a long time before he figured this out, it was made clear as day to him immediately. He pressed on anyway and then cheats on her later on in the film anyway. It’s no surprise though because that’s just the kind of guy he is. Frank does everything half heartedly and never becomes a decent person. By the end of the film he basically goes insane.

Meanwhile Cora is shown to be very manipulative. There are large portions of the film where it doesn’t seem like she actually cares about Frank and is just using him to get to her own goals. It’s pretty easy for her to manipulate him so it’s not like it takes a lot of effort. She’ll go from being overly friendly to him to giving Frank the cold shoulder. None of the characters handle the various situations well but her main failing is that she wants to stay in the burger choice even if that’s where all of the cops will connect the dots. She had a lot of opportunities to simply leave, but never took them. That was simply too big of a mistake to come back from.

Then you’ve got Arthur who helps plead their case in one of the court sessions. He’s actually pretty good even if the guy seems pretty shady. He may not be helping out for the right reasons, but the guy definitely does have talent. He added a little intrigue to the situation. Then you’ve got the D.A., Kyle. He’s definitely not sympathetic to their cause, nor should he be. Even by the end of the film he whips out another trump card and you can see why he has such a strong reputation in the film. He always gets his man.

Of course the film couldn’t help but throw a cat into the mix for no real reason. The scene just comes out of nowhere and he doesn’t live through the scene. I suppose the film was just desperate to lose another star but with the lackluster plot it’s not like the film needed any help. The writing in general is decent, but with none of the characters being particularly intelligent some scenes can seem like bad writing as well. The film also drags on quite a bit. On one hand it is impressive just how far the plot changes from the beginning, but on the other hand it starts to outlive its welcome by the end. It’s around 30 minutes longer than it needs to be, especially since the plot is fairly basic.

I suppose the ending will be happy or sad depending on who you’re rooting for. Considering that the main characters are openly cheating I’d say that the D.A. and the long arm of the law is probably who you’d be rooting for. If you look at the ending with that lens then it does change things quite a bit. On a minor note, at least the burgers did look pretty good. I could definitely use one right about now and if we had more scenes of the characters preparing food for their restaurant perhaps it could have distracted from the weak story. Almost all of the film takes place at their restaurant after all and yet the scenes with real food are scarce and far apart.

Overall, The Postman Always Rings Twice is definitely a film that I’ve got to give a thumbs down. How can you like a film where the main character is so petty? He’s basically a crook the whole time and is super ungrateful considering that Nick was giving him a place to live and a decent salary. Also, even before Frank’s romance was starting he seemed like a rude person. When Cora dropped her lipstick he made her come to him to pick it up rather than just giving it to her. It’s the kind of petty power play that you would expect from someone like Frank. The ending is also completely his fault since he was the one at command. He should have realized that he didn’t have the skills to multi task.

Overall 4/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Move Over, Darling Review


It’s time to look at a fairly old romance comedy. This film shows why you shouldn’t be so quick to move on from your first bond. The phrase is “Til Death do us part” after all so you’d expect not to move on to someone else so easily. This is a pretty fun film, but definitely one where the guy ultimately gets off a bit easy. Fortunately we had the Judge to keep everyone on the straight and narrow.

The film starts with Nick and his wife Ellen being in a plane crash. Nick manages to survive and then meets up with a lady named Bianca. He decides to marry her, but the problem is that Ellen isn’t legally dead yet. Nick runs to court to expedite the process and once the judgment is made he quickly marries Bianca. The timing was rough though as Ellen has finally washed up ashore and it turns out that she was alive. The navy found her on a deserted island after these 5 years and she’s ready to get back to her family. Of course it turns out to be a pretty rude awakening when she finds out that Nick has re-married. She tells him to quickly end things with Bianca but he is unsure if that’s what he really wants to do.

So, they just married and are in some kind of elope phase where you can still cancel the marriage or something. That helps simplify things, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from Nick’s perspective. He does a pretty terrible job of trying to break up with Bianca. You can tell that he’s being half hearted about it, but that makes sense since he liked her enough to re-marry in the first place right? He seems to want to be able to keep his marriage to both of them, but of course that is completely out of the question. He also sets a bit of a double standard with this as he is unable to make a decision, but then gets super jealous when he finds out that Ellen was with another guy on the island. He cops out of every decision and doesn’t make a move until there is no escape at the end. Nick’s just not a great character.

Meanwhile Bianca is pretty reasonable. If anything she is the one trying to make this relationship work while Nick is running around. You’ll feel bad for her since she is pretty innocent in this whole affair. As far as she knows Ellen is dead, but the film does try to make you root against her by the end. It’s clear that she’s not an amazing person or anything like that, but at the same time she’s definitely way more sympathetic than Nick.

Meanwhile Ellen’s a solid protagonist. She does her best to force Nick into doing the right thing, but at the end of the day he still has to make the decision. She puts as much pressure as she can and the only possible “mistake” she may have made is in not mentioning Stephen. At the same time, I don’t think there was any need to tell him or at least not until this situation was over. It would have just complicated matters and you just know that he wouldn’t have taken it well at all. He never takes these things well.

Meanwhile I feel like the Stephen plot in general was completely unnecessary. I think it’s only here to do the whole “Nick wasn’t the only one keeping secrets” thing so both characters are at part to blame. This doesn’t work though because we find out that Stephen was just chasing her around the whole time while on the island. the plot doesn’t really add up though as Ellen shouldn’t be so content with Stephen in that case. Maybe things actually did happen although I don’t think it’s likely. This plot just had no place in this film and it feels really forced.

The best parts of the film are definitely when the characters head to court. The judge really steals the show here and commands a lot of respect in the court room. People definitely aren’t going to be messing with this guy. He definitely doesn’t know much about law and seems to have cheated his way to the top, but I suppose it worked out. He still comes to the right verdicts and has a sense of humor as well. I’d have been happy to have had even more court scenes. They were definitely the best part of the film and is a solid example of humor done right.

In general the writing is pretty solid in the film. I still say that Nick got off way too easy though. I was totally on Ellen’s side here and Nick really should have done a better job of not moving on from her so quickly. How I see it, 5 years is way too soon to move on to the next person if you seriously had a good marriage. If you move on sooner then how much did you really love your original partner? If it’s easy to find a replacement then that’s a serious problem. If the film was played more seriously that could have gotten dicey, but as a part comedy plot it works a lot better.

Overall, Move Over, Darling is a fun film. At the end of the day it’s definitely a quality watch and the good aspects definitely outweigh the bad. It may not have the most satisfying ending and the characters stretch out the story way more than it should have been, but the journey to the ending is fun. If you’re in the mood for a light hearted rom-com then this is the title for you. The good part about a dual genre film like this one is that even when the romance is pretty poor as we saw in this movie, the comedy can then keep it afloat. These retro films always had a really nice sense of humor so it’s usually a winning strategy. We’re nearing the end of the Doris Day marathon but it’s been a fun stretch of titles. The next one I’ll be reviewing is basically a remake of another Doris film I saw recently which is interesting.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Please Don’t Eat the Daisies Review


It’s time to look at a classic rom/dram/com title. It’s a pretty decent film and I have to give the main guy some extra credit here since he didn’t fall for the usual tricks. He’s definitely still not a great character as he makes some other iffy moves, but all in all the whole story was handled a lot more realistically than I would have otherwise expected. It also gives you some more insight into the mind of the critics.

So the film starts out with Lawrence being promoted to one of the big 8. He’s at a level where a review can make or break a show. Lawrence swears to use this power responsibly and to be an honest critic like he always was. Unfortunately the power does start to get to him and he enjoys ruining people’s careers for a good laugh. So long as he keeps getting his pay check he’s happy to put everyone out of business. His wife Kate suggests that he is losing himself and decides that it’s the perfect time to get a mansion in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately this just serves to widen the gap between them as Lawrence is slowly being turned to the dark side. Can Kate help him turn back into the noble man he once was or is he already too far gone?

The whole critic angle is pretty accurate except I’d usually say that it’s in the opposite side of the spectrum. You’re most likely going to get candid opinions from critics who are just starting out or aren’t at a super high level. The more influence and connections you get, the more likely you’ll have people influencing your reviews. After all, if you’re invited to a private screening or given an expenses paid trip to watch a title it’s definitely going to play on your mind. Do you give the film more leeway or attack it even more to try and cover your bias? While reviewers getting paid off is mainly a meme, the psychological attacks are usually pretty real. Most reviewers won’t even realize what is happening until it’s too late. Of course, nobody’s particularly exempt from that, but that’s why I never buy into reviews anyway. I mostly just like reading the ones that poke a lot of fun at the title or are just super negative. A hobby of mine is reading reviews that tear into things I like, but I digress.

Lawrence was on the escalator down from the start only he doesn’t even try to put up any resistance. I do agree with him giving Alfred’s play a negative review since at the time it was his obvious opinion. Did he have to use such extreme hyperbole in tearing the play down? No, but if that’s his writing style then it makes sense to keep going as normal. From there on out he just gets worse and worse to the point where he stops caring about the average joe. He gets quite obsessive by the end. So, even once Lawrence has had his character arc by the end he just isn’t a very likable character. Keep in mind that he didn’t even attend the play at the last second and I expected him to do so. So, I had no real sympathy for him.

I will give him credit for not being seduced by the actress Deborah though. In almost every kind of scenario like what happened in this film the guy would have cracked and he would have just been forgiven from it by the end. That didn’t happen here. Lawrence turned her down every time so I was glad he kept some morals even if he stopped being a hero. Cheating definitely would have really made his character too far gone. Meanwhile Deborah’s not a great antagonist. It’s good to see her taking a lot of Ls here, but ultimately her character arc wasn’t really needed for the experience.

Meanwhile Kate is the main heroine and she is a good character although she is way too naive. She knows from the start that Alfred is really upset at Lawrence and is actively trying to sabotage him. Why would she trust anything that he says from that point on? Just accepting his manuscript at face value didn’t really make any sense and they’re awful chummy all things considered. Fortunately the other people in the town had a backup plan ready, but all told she shouldn’t have fallen for the trick. It’s hard to get around that, but otherwise she is a good character. She’s definitely a lot more noble and down to earth than Lawrence. She doesn’t hang onto a mountain of pride the way that he does and ultimately she does her best to fit into the community and make sure that everyone comes out of this as a winner.

As for Alfred, he’s definitely a pretty spiteful guy. It’s why the film’s a bit tragic since he was right the whole time. He’s definitely a villain in the film who ultimately doesn’t get the last laugh though. If anything Lawrence is always one step ahead even when Alfred’s plans do go well. Hopefully after this he doesn’t stay as the god-father of the kids though because I’d say that he betrayed Lawrence one too many times. After a while you just gotta cut the guy out entirely. Who knows what else he may do to get back at the main characters.

The writing in the film is pretty good and the pacing is solid. Naturally I can’t say that the romance was all that great though. Kate and Lawrence both kept waiting for the other person to apologize and for the most part I was always on Kate’s side. I’m glad that she wouldn’t always run to him since it should be 50/50. The romance isn’t terrible though so it’s not like it holds the film back. The kids are a bit annoying though. The less said about them the better because they don’t serve any kind of purpose in the film. They just do their best to annoy the main characters and get in the way the whole time. They’re pretty young of course, but this is why I always say that kids can’t hold their own film as main characters or supporting characters. They just don’t really know how to interact on the same level as the others.

Overall, I’d recommend checking this film out if you want to see an old school romance about how power corrupts. It’ll remind you not to take reviews too seriously as they may have an agenda and how even if you go way up the corporate food chain you should never forget the civilians you used to be with. Stature never makes you a bigger person, it just inflates your ego if you don’t watch out. Lawrence didn’t keep himself grounded and it almost caught up to him. If not for Kate he likely would have been swallowed up entirely. Just watch out for the cab driver in the movie, he may ultimately be the one to change the theater landscape!

Overall 6/10