Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Detour Review


It’s time to take a look at a very old noir film. This one is definitely a movie that you likely haven’t heard of unless you are a really big fan of the genre. It’s pretty obscure and I certainly had not heard of it until after I had seen it. It’s a pretty fun film, although one that will likely cause you to have to suspend some disbelief here. There were a lot of ways for the main guy to get out of his predicament, but ultimately he didn’t choose any of them. That was definitely his big mistake.

The film starts off with Al and Sue getting ready to be married. At least, that’s what Al had in mind, but then Sue lets him know what is really going to happen. She’s heading off to Hollywood to become a famous star and so she’ll se him later. Al isn’t happy about this at all and heads back to his music gig to sulk. That’s when he decides that job or not he will head over to Sue’s place. The problem is that he’s in New York and only has ten dollars on him. He’ll have to travel a long way in order to reach her, but he is determined to hitch hike all the way. The problem is that the guy he is driving with ends up falling asleep after having a lot of pills. Al opens the door which causes the guy to hit his head on a rock and die. Al must now deal with his conscience as he heads to California.

That would already be a reasonably difficult drive for him, but then he notices a lady hitch hiking as well and decides to lend her a hand. The only problem is that she knew the previous owner of the car so now she is blackmailing him to do whatever she wants or she will get the police involved. Can Al satisfy Vera long enough to get to Sue or should he cut his losses and run now? Either way it is about to be one adventure that Al will not be forgetting anytime soon.

Al is the really annoying character here. He complains a lot about how life isn’t fair, but half of the time it’s because he isn’t making the smart calls. Even the first incident where he lets his co-driver die was a little suspect. How did he not see the rock? Also, he knew the guy wasn’t conscious so why would you open the door and then not prepare to catch the guy falling out of it? It’s all a bit iffy there which does reduce your sympathy levels for the guy. He also should have been pretty grateful to the guy for giving him a ride instead of grumbling inwardly the whole time. (Admittedly the guy seemed shady, but they wouldn’t be together for too long)

Then the last straw is when he meets up with Vera. Sure, giving her a ride is nice, but he’s on a deadline and is already mixed up in criminal business. Not letting her in the car is almost the nice thing to do if you think about it since you don’t want her to get messed up in all of this right? Keeping her out is one way to keep her safe. Instead he lets her in and then she starts blackmailing him. Now, he could have just walked out at any time, ditched his car like he was planning or something like that. He could have told her he was stopping at any point except where he was actually going. Where’s the benefit in telling her that he has to get to California?

As far as I’m concerned Al blew it 7 ways to Sunday. Again, there’s just no point in feeling bad for the guy because everything that happened was on him. There are a lot of unfortunate coincidences for him of course like the phone cord with Vera at the end, but beyond that he shouldn’t have even been in this situation that whole time. Al should have cut out early. Meanwhile Vera is the main antagonist here so you’re not really supposed to like her either. She definitely talks tough the whole time and does her best to get in Al’s way. Like he said though, she’s just greedy. Her final plan doesn’t even make a whole lot of sense because there’s no way it would work and she already could have gotten a whole lot of money otherwise. That’s why you end up losing everything when you try for too much.

Meanwhile Sue seems like a decent heroine, but I felt like the film was hinting that she didn’t care for Al all that much. She did leave at the drop of a hat and didn’t even bother calling him. If Al hadn’t called first she may have even forgotten all about him. As a result it makes his journey feel even more futile. I was half expecting him to finally make it only for Sue to tell him that she found someone else. Maybe that would have just been too tragic for Al since by that point he’d already been through the ringer. Still, if the movie had kept going I could see that happening.

The ending definitely works out pretty well though. It’s one of those solid endings that may not work out too well for Al, but after a while something had to end his journey. By this point he was already too far gone. I’ll give him credit for never cheating on Sue though. There was a brief moment where I thought he was going to weaken, but fortunately he did not. That’s a really good thing since it definitely would have crushed his character and probably would have hurt the film a bit as well.

Overall, Detour is a solid film. It’s surprisingly short so the film ends just when you think it’s getting to the second act. The ending is abrupt, but not bad. While there aren’t any real likable characters, I do like the premise/plot quite a bit and since the writing is solid it lets the film succeed even without a good cast. It’s not as if the cast is painful either, they all do well in their roles except for Al. He is maybe just a bit too annoying the whole time and I think the film should have just put him in a tougher situation so there would have been less ways for him to escape. That would have made his complaints a little more valid. Still, valid or not I did enjoy the inner monologue. That’s definitely a noir trope that I’ve always enjoyed. It’s nice to see exactly what the character is thinking the whole time.

Overall 7/10

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Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Valley of The Dragons Review


It’s time to look at an old film with a pretty misleading title. The beginning had a good premise but once the time travel occurred it quickly fell out the window. Now, I do like time travel but I prefer to go forward in time rather than backwards. If you ask me it’s just a lot more fun that way. There’s not much in the past that interests me, at least not when you get into the caveman era.

The film starts with two guys about to have a duel to the death. Apparently, they seem to like the same maiden and naturally one of them has to die for this. They ready their guns and move a few paces to take their shot but that’s when an earthquake occurs and scatters them to the winds. When they get back up they appear to be on a new planet. They’ve done their first dimension jump and are in the distant past where “dragons” currently roam. Now, you can make the case that it’s past Earth or another planet but it doesn’t really matter. There’s a scene where they notice that the stars don’t match so it’s probably a new world. They each end up going to different cave factions that have been warring with each other for eons. Can they help the two teams make peace or will they all die against the monsters?

As far as the dragons are concerned you shouldn’t get your hopes too high. Their appearances are few and far between. If we’re being honest the big one doesn’t appear til the end. Most of the little creatures running around are the kimono dragons which are basically just lizards. They aren’t exactly all that scary. The big one is fun enough but definitely pretty mindless and lets the heroes attack him over and over again until they eventually take him down. If he had done just about anything else then he could have won. The monster still did rack up a decent body count I suppose.

One weakness with the film is definitely the whole caveman element. I’ve never cared much for the trope of having the main guy try to teach English to these guys. For one thing, Hector isn’t all that understanding and gets frustrated pretty quick. Does he really expect them to learn English overnight? His voice can also be a bit annoying but that part’s not bad as it fits the character. He’s supposed to be annoying.

The other guy (Michael) is a lot more patient with the cave people and becomes the leader real quick. I suppose I would probably say that he is the better character of the two as he had more personality. He also became a leader real quick and did most of the hard work in the climax. I wouldn’t say either character was all that great, but he got the job done.

The writing was reasonably solid I suppose. The scenes with the ancient people weren’t that good but the banter with the two leads was pretty decent. It’s always god to have a dynamic where the two characters initially want to destroy each other but are then forced to work together. It is a bit clichéd I’ll admit but as this was back in the 60s it pulls this off unironically.

Then it almost goes without saying that the romance element is very weak here. The cave women basically throw themselves at the main two guys since they dominate the pack so easily but it’s all so fast and doesn’t feel real. We even get jealousy plots and also see why the two factions are warring from the start. Without the main two guys keeping them in line it is pretty clear that the two factions can’t control themselves and would be picking fights constantly. Having one “strong but not smart” character is enough for most films, make that the majority of the cast and then the movie has really got a big problem to deal with.

I can’t really say that the pacing was all that good either. While it almost goes without saying that a boring plot will drag on, this one really goes as slowly as possible. One scene in particular that really takes forever is when the heroes are trying to stab the giant monster. It’s the same action over and over again for at least 10-20 minutes with no variation. After a point it just comes across as having no real meaning and the scenes are complete filler. The action isn’t filler, but redoing it over and over certainly is. You could tell that the writers had run out of material by the end.

Overall, Valley of the Dragons is a film that was pretty decent for the most part but the actual plot holds it back quite a bit. It should have been a film about the leads getting trapped in some kind of vicious world for sure, but not one this far back in the past. If it was more modern we could have gotten around all of the scenes of them trying to teach the people everything and more banter instead. Of course by this point I am describing an entirely different film, but you get the gist of what I’m saying. If you don’t mind the past element then I think you’ll reasonably like this movie since it’s the main thing holding it back. Just don’t go in expecting a lot of actual dragons.

Overall 4/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Pretty In Pink Review


It’s time to look at another one of those old school romance films. They haven’t been all that good so far and unfortunately this one doesn’t change the trend. The writing’s still bad and without any likable characters to back the film up it was doomed from the start. This is the kind of movie that will start to really drag on before you’re even halfway through the film. The movie needed some kind of angle to be entertaining and just couldn’t find it.

The movie starts with Duckie annoying Andie as usual. He’s always tagging around and making jokes, but Andie just wants to have a normal school life. One day she makes a fake love letter as part of a game but manages to drop it and a kid named Blane picks it up. Here’s the dilemma, Blane is one of the “cool” kids while Andie is part of the group that is always considered outcasts. As a result she is now ashamed, but then Blane shows up and decides they should be together. Can Andie risk believing him or is she going to get hurt once again?

Interestingly enough, I saw on Wikipedia that the film has an alternate ending which makes more sense than the one we got. Neither one is good to be honest, but at least it made narrative sense. There’s really no reason to root for Blane here because he’s a complete pushover. The guy isn’t very smart and doesn’t realize that bringing Andie to a house filled with rich kids wouldn’t be a good idea. Then by the end the mind games actually work on him and he basically deserts Andie in her time of need. Why would Andie give him the time of day after that?

The romance is handled very poorly here. On the other hand, there’s no reason for Andie to want to be with Ducky either. He’s always joking around and that’s why she has never taken him seriously before. His antics go pretty far at times like when he kept turning on the fire alarm at her job. She could have gotten in trouble for that if you think about it. Duckie also can’t be that serious since to make her jealous he gets together with someone else briefly and then possibly with a third person by the end. None of these characters seem mature enough to get into a serious relationship so that means there’s no way the romance can work.

Beyond that, as I mentioned the characters are not very likable. I’ve already explained for Duckie and Blane so what about Andie? Well, Andie is definitely the kind of character that everyone pushes around here. I think that considering what she knows of the cliques and school setting she should have been a lot more prepared for what ended up happening. She ends up taking everything pretty hard each time though. Then she also tends to snap at her father quite a bit even though he seemed to be doing his best for the film. He may not have been perfect, but I didn’t doubt that he was trying to find a job when she accused him of faking it. I don’t think the film tells you definitively if she was right or wrong, but it did seem to come out of nowhere.

The only reasonable character here is Andie’s friend from work. At least that girl was taking charge the whole time and never let things get to her. Too bad she wasn’t more of a main character since maybe she could have helped the film. Regardless it was probably too late to get a positive score though. Put it this way, 90% of the film is all about the dialogue since this is a slice of life, but the lines are all too cringy for this to work. I can’t think of any good scenes here. It may not go off the deep end the way a horror film would, but at the end of the day the film isn’t particularly entertaining and that is a problem that’s almost as big as just being bad.

It all goes back to the whole romance/drama vs romance/comedy films. If you’re going to do a good romance then typically throwing in some comedy helps. I don’t know if this film was supposed to be a comedy, but it definitely falls a lot more into the drama route. The film takes itself very seriously the whole time, but the situations aren’t realistic so it all ends up falling flat. Andie should have had Blane choose between her and his friends right from the start. Think about it, if you’re friends with someone who is constantly bullying the person you’re trying to spend time with then that doesn’t make any sense. You gotta choose sooner than later and since Blane was so indecisive and made the wrong choice as well, that should have been it. The ending just makes the film even worse because it also makes Andie look bad. Nobody walks out of this film with their rep intact except for the work friend.

Overall, Pretty in Pink is not a film that has aged well. I’d advise you to skip this one before you even start. If you like a classic school romance tale then I’d make the case that most of the sitcom shows would be able to do it better. They don’t take themselves as seriously and have whole seasons to give their characters development which naturally works a lot better. Pretty in Pink has to get these characters together, break em up, and get em together again in one film. There’s almost no way a film could pull that off even if everything was on point.

Overall 1/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

It Happened One Night Review


It’s time to look at an old romance comedy that I hadn’t heard of, but is apparently a pretty big deal. It’s definitely a fun film so it is a title where the reputation is certainly deserved. I’ve always said that the best romance films are the ones that are part comedy and this seems to reinforce that. The romance does still get a little dicey, but on the whole this is definitely a movie that I can recommend.

The film starts with Ellen having another argument with her father. He does not approve of the man that Ellen has chosen to marry. It’s hard to blame him as it sounds like she barely even knew the guy before they married. To clarify, they are already married although the father does not accept this. He has decided to take steps to annul the marriage and so Ellen decides to rebel by jumping off the ship. She is now determined to make it to New York where she can be safely united with her husband. Unfortunately this will be difficult since her father is so powerful that he controls the whole media as well as the police and a private task force. The only way she will be able to make it to New York in one piece is to team up with Peter.

Meanwhile, Peter is a reporter who hasn’t had a great string of lucky breaks lately. In fact, his luck has run out and he is fired. The guy gets drunk and decides to hop on a bus to put some distance between him and the old place. It just so happens that Ellen is on that bus. They bicker a bit, but before long he figures out her secret identity. Peter decides to help her get to New York in exchange for an exclusive story on her experience. Their personalities completely clash, but Peter is determined to make it all the way. Unfortunately, this sparks a forbidden romance between both characters and Peter must continuously remind himself that she is already married. No matter how their feelings may be, to do anything would be wrong so he must stay strong. Hopefully the film writers can control themselves here.

That does get to the heart of the issue here. No matter how much you may enjoy the romance here, Ellen is already married. That’s game set and match right there. It’s not like the Hallmark movies where it’s just a fiance. I mean, that’s still pretty dicey, but it hasn’t been set in stone yet. Here, she already made her choice so what if this is a “The grass is always greener” moment and she’s just running on instinct? How does Peter know this won’t happen again? Part of this goes back to the fact that she seemingly ran into King (the guy Ellen married) in a car and just decided to marry right away. This was partially to contest her father and so maybe her feelings for him were never all that deep. Throughout the movie Peter asks her several times why she likes King and Ellen evades the question every single time.

To their credit though, they don’t make a move until after the marriage has been annulled. At least that’s good so the cheating didn’t actually happen, but since it was premeditated that’s almost as bad. So I can’t get behind the romance. Honestly the film would have been amazing if they had stuck to being friends instead. It’s often been a debate on if two grown ups can manage to stay friends without wanting something more. If you listen to films then that’s basically impossible. It almost always leads to romance. Honestly, the only exception I can think of off the top of my head is Black Widow and Hawkeye who have a great bond but as allies and nothing more. Hawkeye went on to marry someone else and Widow is married to her job. Even that is different though as the films are usually ensemble casts. I’m talking about a 1 on 1 film like this one where the ending doesn’t suddenly lead into a romance. The romance here could have been worse, but I think this was a missed opportunity.

Ah well, both of them are solid leads. Ellen is definitely used to living the rich life so she needs some time to adapt, but she does manage to adapt right away. I was surprised at her eagerness to persevere and she didn’t really do any complaining. From the first scene you get the impression that she would be very spoiled, but I didn’t get that vibe during the actual adventure even if Peter says otherwise. After the initial good night’s sleep Ellen is almost like a completely different character as well. She’s super chipper and helpful throughout. I think she was just trying to make the best of it and if so that’s another credit to her character. There are some misunderstandings by the end of the film which lead to extra drama, but I’d actually place the blame on that with Peter and not Ellen.

As for Peter, he’s pretty solid but not as good as Ellen. For the positives, he’s always ready with the banter and has a lot of confidence. His first scene may even be his best one. His remarks are always pretty humorous and while he tries to keep up a tough act he is always looking out for Ellen. It’s not as if he likes her from the start either so at first he’s just being a nice guy in general. Where he weakens is once he actually starts to like her. He has some sudden outbursts, one of which was particularly out of line where he threatened her life. Even if he never actually meant it, it’s not something you can take back so easily. He’s a bit too controlling at times and so Peter definitely has a lot more weaknesses than Ellen does.

We’re also never given any reason to root against King so for all we know he might be the better character. The film hints that he isn’t super attracted to Ellen but it’s said by her father who has a grudge against the guy. There are no impartial accounts for him so it’s hardly a level playing field. Peter is also 100% responsible for the last misunderstanding they have as a simple note or something would have solved the whole issue. Honestly, he probably should have taken her along for where he was going or told her the plan up front. He was just being overconfident at that point as she hadn’t even said “Yes” yet as he hadn’t asked a question at that point.

The writing is solid as expected here. I’ve said it many times and I’ll probably say it many more times in the future, but I really like how the characters used to talk back in these olden days. Everyone is so professional and formal in their day to day language. It makes the whole experience more sophisticated. Aside from the main two I also liked the supporting characters. You’ve got the fast talking blackmail guy, the train officer who always likes talking back to the others, you’ve got Peter’s boss, and more. Even the cab driver who turned out to be a bit shady was fun. It’s just a colorful cast of characters.

Now, the film is quite long so there are a few pacing issues here that you might not see in the average film from back in the day. In particular the second half starts to drag on a bit. I much prefer the opening half before the characters have really bonded as it leads to a lot of the film’s main humor. Once they are getting along then we head into more drama territory with the misunderstandings and such. I think the last one could have been avoided as it’ll just make you feel bad for King if anything. The way in which things end for him is definitely last second. You know how the film is going to end as soon as it begins so nothing is particularly surprising, but I think speeding things along a little more probably would have been a good idea.

Overall, It Happened One Night is a pretty solid film. I do think it stretches on a little too long with some scenes being longer than necessary, but at its core it’s a movie with a solid premise and execution. The characters are written well and it won’t fail to keep your attention as it goes on. The romance holds it back to a degree, but it’s definitely handled a lot better than I imagine it would be in a more modern title. If you like rom-com films then this is a pretty good one to check out. There really aren’t any big negatives here so you’re in for a fun time.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movies

One Foot In Heaven


It’s time for a bio pic. It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of these and what better time than around Easter? This movie follows a man named William Spence who was close to becoming a doctor but at the very end he decided instead to become a pastor. He had been at a particularly moving Church service which caused him to have this turning point in his life. His bride to be Hope decided to support him in this although her parents were not thrilled. From there point of view he threw away what would have been a handsome salary for a position where he will be making pennies. Still, William’s mind is made up and so he heads to his first Church. Unfortunately he is about to meet with some unexpected opposition.

While the core values of Christianity have not changed nor will they, this film does show how differently you were expected to act back in the day. One such thing was that you were not allowed to play on the Sabbath. William made sure his kids just played Bible memorization all day on that day every week. They weren’t allowed to watch movies at all and could barely play with the others. William also allowed himself to be walked on by the members of the congregation for pretty much the entire film except at the end when they start attacking his son. At that point he mentions that he goes from being a pastor to a parent. So…one implication is also that if they had been attacking him he may not have fought back.

That’s where his character needed a little more nuance. It’s certainly not true that being a Christian means you have to be a pushover. Standing up for yourself is not breaking any commandments nor is it a sin. When the locals start bullying Hope and bring her to tears, William does nothing and just tells Hope that they mustn’t do anything to rock the boat. Even though it’s their house, Hope has absolutely no power within it which makes no sense. If she wants to move something she should be able too. Then the heads keep pushing William and Hope to different states where the houses are in worse and worse condition each time. The film also makes the congregation look terrible as most of them turn out to be the meanest characters in the film.

It’s not necessarily inaccurate as you will find those kind of people in any institution, church or not. Still, it would have been nice if William had more people he could count on. The only one who was nice to him was ironically the Doctor who wasn’t a Christian but got converted off screen during one of the time skips. Then William also does some pretty petty things like changing the name of their child even though Hope had really wanted a different one. Worst part of this is that he gave his word that he would be okay with hers and at the last second switched it when she didn’t have a chance to fight back. Hope just lives with this, but it just wasn’t a nice thing to do.

So at times the film could be pretty mean spirited. Even the ending is pretty iffy as William decides to move on again. Hope has a point that this tends to happen a lot and then they’re taken advantage of. If you’re going to be a travelling pastor then of course you’ll have to deal with a lot of trials, but it’s not unreasonable to at least be able to walk with pride and all. Having to tip toe around each community is pretty dicey. Still, his overall goal was sound so I can support that.

It’s a well meaning film for sure and it does take a lot of guts and courage to throw away all you’ve got to help someone else out. The film also does throw in some humor and the writing is solid. The film is well paced so it doesn’t drag out and the main cast is solid enough to hold the film. The best character certainly is the doctor. Without him I think William and Hope would have certainly be doomed. He gives them a voice of reason and also has the expertise that they really needed to go on with their plans. William brings the passion while the doctor brings the logic.

Overall, One Foot In Heaven is a solid film. I don’t agree with most of William’s decisions in the film, but at least his journey was a righteous one. You’ll definitely feel bad for Hope and the kids, but they do their best with what they have. One nice thing is that the kids don’t spend most of the film complaining the way you see them do in many other films. Typically the kids are super annoying while these were more tolerable. It’s a good film to watch if you want to take a look into how hard it was to be a pastor back in the days as well as realizing that it is still very difficult in the modern day. It’s not a dream profession if you’re thinking financially but at the same time it’s a very fulfilling one.

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf Review


It’s time to look at an old film with a pretty intriguing title. It’s a title that refers to a rather cringy joke in the film and that really sets the tone for what you’re about to experience. This film’s definitely got an interesting premise that could work out in some scenarios, but it takes itself too seriously to work. For this kind of plot the movie has really got to be a comedy of some sort. Making it into a drama takes away its potential entirely and the film ends up getting dragged out.

The film starts off with George and Martha finishing up a party they were at. They make it home and start bickering as usual. At this point their marriage has completely spoiled over, but neither one of them want to end things. This all escalates when Martha lets George know that another couple is coming over to hang out for a while. Their names are Nick and Honey. The two come over but with the older people being tired they decide to escalate their usual name calling. George and Martha begin to openly fight with each other while dragging in the incredibly gullible younger couple. Can these two allow their extremely fragile bond to be broken by complete strangers they’ve only known for a few minutes?

This plot only works if the characters have absolutely no intelligence left within them. Just think of how ludicrous this whole thing is. Why is Nick telling George super private info about his wife when they don’t even know each other? Worse, George is a co-worker so that’ll quickly become gossip. The whole plot is just so forced and contrived that you’ll need a second to catch your breath. Likewise Martha and Honey gossip a bunch. Breaking their bonds was so incredibly easy that it must have not been much of a bond at all.

Naturally all of the characters get pretty drunk as well. Too bad none of them learned how to drink responsibly right? That would have solved most of their issues in an instant. Then the two couples start trying to get each other jealous and it works surprisingly quick. Again, the young couple must not have had any confidence to be manipulated so easily. I thought they were better than that but I guess not.

There are no good characters here though. George is your classic timid guy who gets stepped on by Martha the whole time until he snaps at the end. Then naturally he has the upper hand while Martha suddenly loses all of her fire and gets stepped on the whole time. Each half of the film might as well be a different film with how different the characters act. I wouldn’t call it good writing either as it’s just trying too hard to be somber and dramatic. There’s no reason to like George because he’s just a bully by the end and by the same token there is no reason to like Martha since she is a bully at the beginning.

Then you’ve got Nick who’s pretty mean and standoffish at the beginning, but has absolutely no nerve. Every time George makes some kind of crack about his wife Nick doesn’t do anything except try to protest about it. He should have walked out with Honey early on. He just seems scared of George the whole time and that’s definitely no good. Meanwhile Honey is portrayed as being extremely limited in intelligence and really just gets in the way the whole time. Like I said, there are no good characters here.

The characters are all written to be super annoying as well. They all get drunk and so a lot of their dialogue doesn’t even make sense. They tend to talk in circles and because of that all of the conversations are a whole lot longer than they should be. This contributes to how long and drawn out the film is. Most of the situations should have ended far sooner than they did and the film just becomes annoying after a while. There doesn’t seem to be much of a point to the movie and the plot simply wasn’t large enough to last for such a long period of time.

You have to suspend all disbelief for this film. Why on earth are the younger couple so desperate to talk to someone that they’d stay here? Who thinks it’s a good idea to hang out with this older couple at about 2-3AM? Maybe that was a red flag that these guys were also pretty sketchy. I guess we can also reasonably assume that Nick just wanted to come over to get on Martha’s good graces. He certainly does since by the end it’s heavily implied that he even cheated with her on George. The film really went off the rails. The whole imaginary character didn’t help either. It’s a twist that I figured out early on, but partially because I already had certain expectations of the film. Once it fell apart after the first 5 minutes I would quickly just guess what the worst possible outcome would be for each scene and that’s a pretty accurate way to guess for this kind of film.

Overall, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is a very mean spirited film that runs out of logic early on. There’s not a whole lot connecting this story together and as a result it can only try to survive on dialogue. Since the dialogue isn’t particularly strong, actually it’s super weak especially considering how old this film is. Usually dialogue was pretty good in this era so that was disappointing. There’s not much going for the film and it certainly has 0 replay value. The insults get old after the first few minutes and partially because of how half hearted all of the characters are. None of them are really passionate and seem to be going through the motions. Both George and Martha can dish it out, but they can’t take it. They both appear to actually be really sensitive which will make you roll your eyes. I’d definitely recommend sticking away from this film.

Overall 2/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Wreck-It Ralph Review


It’s time to look at a Disney film that came out a while ago. 2012 feels pretty recent at times, but it has been 7 years since then so I think we can say that this film is starting to get old. Still, it’s a title that definitely holds up quite well on the re-watch. There’s only one aspect of the film that’s a bit weak and I’ll touch on that near the end. Otherwise it manages to hit all the right notes and naturally it’s fun to have so many cool cameos.

The plot follows a guy named Ralph. He’s the main villain in the Fix It Felix arcade game that people go to the arcade to play. It turns out that all of the arcade games actually have real characters in them and they all hang out after the arcade closes. The problem here is the fact that nobody likes Ralph. They don’t realize that without him there would be no game. Ralph’s a nice guy and tries to get along with the others, but they just won’t have it. They tell him to go get a medal and then they’ll finally treat him with respect. Ralph agrees to these terms and heads off, but getting a medal may be tougher than it seems.

You’ll definitely feel bad for Ralph since the whole thing is definitely pretty unfair. He’s got to follow the game script after all and that’s how Felix is able to fix his way to the end. it’s definitely petty that nobody tries to help Ralph out. Even Felix certainly isn’t heroic with how he completely ignores Ralph’s plight. Even by the end it’s hard to take him seriously as a hero, but I suppose he learned his lesson.

One really solid part of the film is naturally the fact that they were able to get a bunch of video game icons to show up here. We don’t get Mario, but pretty much everyone else from Sonic to Pac-Man is in this one which is pretty cool. Keep in mind that these are just cameos so don’t start getting your hopes up for them to get a bunch of lines or anything like that. That’s not the point of the movie although I admit it would have been awesome if that did happen. The film would have instantly risen even higher had that been the case.

Another reason why the film is solid is the fast paced nature of the title. A lot happens during the adventure so the film never stagnates. Ralph’s quest is always evolving as he tries to get the medal and everyone stands in his way. He’s also a pretty solid lead who can hold his own feature. He’s certainly sympathetic and for the most part Ralph makes the right calls. I do think he was way too quick to bust up her vehicle though. That definitely wasn’t a cool move on his part even if he thought it was for the right reasons. Then we have his counterpart Felix who isn’t a good character. Felix may believe that he is a true hero, but as he never risks his life for the others I just can’t call him that. He doesn’t keep his head in the game either as he gets distracted by Tamora real quick.

That leads us to the only weak point of the film. Naturally I’m talking about the rushed romance between Tamora and Felix. That plot really didn’t need to happen and it’s a shame because Tamora had been so solid before that. It just seemed like a waste for her development as it also made her move on from the original wedding too soon. Ignoring the Felix stuff though she was definitely good. Tamora took down quite a lot of the bugs and showed why she is a capable leader. Then rounding off the main supporting cast we have Vanellope who is the best character in the film. It’s easy to see why she is a fan favorite as the girl never gives up. She is always ready to try again until she is able to achieve her dream of getting in the big race. Her quick wit also makes for a lot of fun dialogue.

In general the writing for the film was definitely on point. We have a lot of good one liners and solid banter between the characters. We also have good foreshadowing for the final boss of the film. It was definitely good to see this character show up and it’s still a very satisfying twist when you already know about it. It just makes this character get even better. While Wreck-It Ralph isn’t an action film we do get a final fight with the villain and Ralph. Lets just say that strength isn’t always enough to overcome an opponent.

It’s a short sequence, but I’d say my favorite part of the film is the action level in a Hero’s Duty. I think a whole film could easily take place here and it would work really well. The setting and plot are perfect for an epic adventure. It’s like Halo meets Metroid. It’s too bad that Ralph wasn’t quite ready for this one, but coming from a very tame Nintendo type adventure it makes sense that he wouldn’t be able to immediately run in and start blasting aliens. I think he’d do better in the sequel if he gets in the same situation.

The animation here is pretty solid. They did a good job of keeping the video game aesthetic for the characters. In particular Sonic stands out, but I also really liked the effects for the Hero’s Duty game. It definitely felt very intense and was a nice contrast to the Sugar Rush game that most of the film took place in. The film’s definitely got no complaints from me in that regard. Again, the only real weak point of the film was the romance. Additionally, maybe I’d say that there was some forced drama at the end with Ralph getting tricked by the villains. I think he could have talked things over with Vanellope a little bit better.

Overall, This was and still is a pretty fun film. I’d recommend checking it out. It’s definitely quite a bit different from the average animated film and you’ll enjoy it whether you’re a big video game fan or not. The games here are so iconic that you’ll likely have heard of them whether you’ve actually been to an arcade or not. It’ll be interesting to see how the sequel goes. I feel like it won’t be able to beat the first film, but I really don’t know almost anything about the sequel so it’s hard to say. I’ll be seeing it very soon so you can expect a review for that one within the next few days.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

The Little Mermaid Review


It’s time to look at the classic story of The Little Mermaid. It’s definitely a very well known Disney film and for good reason. It’s got solid animation, a tight plot, and even good action scenes. This is a very complete Disney movie and one that holds up well to this day. One of these days I ought to do a ranking of the classic Disney titles, but this one would be pretty high. It beats Aladdin, Dumbo, Snow White, Cinderella, but isn’t quite ready for Mulan.

The film does a good job of showing off the underwater kingdom and really illustrating how much better it is than the human world. Ariel lives in pretty much a paradise, but unfortunately the grass always looks greener on the outside. She has always had a fascination with the human world and after saving a prince she realizes that she wants to be with him instead of the kingdom. Ariel makes a deal with Ursula that she can woo the prince in 3 days or she will obtain the mermaid’s immortal soul. The stakes are high, but Ariel is ready for action.

Right away you can tell that this title is a little more intense than the previous Disney films. Maybe they wanted to take advantage of the fact that is was a newer title, but it is noticeably more violent than the others. Now, when I say “violent” keep in mind that this is still G-PG. It’s nothing crazy, but the stab at the end is pretty brutal and then you have Ursula eating creatures that are still alive. Her lipstick seems to be quite nefarious and then there’s also the scenes of the cook chopping up the fish. It does raise the stakes a bit here as the heroes are in real danger most of the times. There isn’t all that much slapstick or humor during the chase scenes compared to some of the other titles. When the villains are after the heroes it is life or death.

The animation is also quite stunning. In that regard I can definitely say that this is the best Disney animated flick from this era. The colors are all very vibrant and yes, I did see it in Blu Ray, but I’m sure the film also deserves most of the credit here. Naturally the songs keep pace as well with quite a few excellent tunes in there. In particular Sebastian gets a really solid song “Under the Sea” which is rightfully as popular as it is right now. There really isn’t a weak song in the mix.

As expected the pacing is also pretty sound. There’s never a dull moment here and the story is always transitioning into something. We also get development for all of the characters. The Prince even has his own supporting characters like his attendant who wants him to settle down. This is usually where I’d bash Prince Eric for going for rebounds, but I guess he was being mind controlled so it isn’t quite as awful as it usually is. Once the control was gone he went back to being normal and seemed more or less loyal. I can see why he was interested in the voice, at first, but it’s good he tossed his instrument away when the going got tough. You’ll still feel bad for the attendant who has to get hit with all of these shenanigans the whole time. He just wants a peaceful day, but he isn’t likely to get one.

Sebastian is definitely the best character here though. He has the hype song of course and aside from that he is always the guy who stays calm and collected. He does try to stand up to the King for a while even if the other characters in the film don’t really give him credit for that. He gets put into a lot of difficult situations and I don’t think we can fairly blame him for most of those. Stuff happened and he made the best choices he could under the circumstances. Then we have Ariel’s friend Flounder. He isn’t quite as resourceful or interesting, but he’s a nice guy I suppose. He’s certainly got Ariel’s back and tries his best to help her.

The King is definitely not as reasonable as some of the other Kings. He definitely isn’t willing to hear Ariel out after all, but at the same time she probably should have approached him about it first. I think we can reasonably assume from the dialogue that she did in the past though so even though I’m going in a loop here I ultimately have to pass the verdict that he wasn’t too reasonable. He also gets played like a fiddle against Ursula. He should have aimed anywhere else but at the scroll if he wanted to stop her.

Ariel’s a charismatic character of course even if she is a little too desperate to get to the human world. Everyone warns her that this is a bad idea, but she just won’t listen. She did make the right choice in saving Eric regardless though. Just letting someone drown is never the right answer. From there she was doing a good job at fulfilling her end of the bargain if not for Ursula’s meddling. She just shouldn’t have accepted it in the first place. As for Ursula, she’s definitely a pretty solid villain. She’s ready to win at any price and is totally content with playing the long game. Who knows how long she was waiting until someone like Ariel was finally ready to make a deal? She’s clearly gotten other clients in the past as well so her business is booming.

Overall, there’s a whole lot to this story and that’s why Little Mermaid holds up to this day. The action is intense and the graphics are quite sound as well. Throw in an excellent soundtrack along with a solid cast and you’ve definitely got a winner. I imagine that it’ll be tough for the sequel to match up to this one, but naturally I’ll hope for the best. If you somehow have not seen this film yet then I’d recommend fixing that straightaway. It’s definitely a solid title that I’d recommend to any viewer. You can’t go wrong here and at the end of the day it’s just a fun movie.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Sixteen Candles Review


It’s time to look at one of those films that tries to do a lot of things and ends up not doing any of them well. The humor’s all a miss, the characters are weak, and the plot isn’t particularly interesting. That’s not a mix of elements that you want to have in your film and yet here we are. I’m afraid that this is a film that you will want to avoid, but it does remind you how rowdy school can get.

The film starts off by introducing us to Sam. She is ready to celebrate her 16th birthday, but unfortunate it has been completely overshadowed by the family wedding happening the next day. As a result nobody even remembered that it was such a big day for her. No worries though, the audience won’t forget because she whines about it for the duration of the movie. Sam runs off to school where she embarrasses herself by filling out a risky note and by mistake giving it to Jake. Sam then decides to at least go to the school dance, but this may not actually work out in her favor.

There’s not really anything good about this film and that’s always pretty unfortunate. Right from the start there’s quite a bit of language and so you can tell that the writing was not particularly good. It’s used as a crutch for the humor and the humor isn’t any good either. That’s already a pretty big strike against the film. Slice of life comedies/drama titles really depend on the writing to be good since otherwise there isn’t any other hook that the film brings to the table.

Then you’ve also got the annoying characters which doesn’t help matters. Samantha spends most of the film complaining and digging herself into bigger and bigger trouble as the film goes on. She seems a bit shallow as she only likes Jake for his looks. She literally knows nothing else about him. Then while she does fend off the advances of Ted for the most part, she doesn’t escape the interaction with her dignity intact.

The rest of the side characters are no better. Ted is definitely an awful character. He’s overly pushy and also isn’t afraid to take advantage of someone who isn’t in their right frame of mind. Any scene with him just drags on and on with no end in sight. Then you’ve got Jake who is the main guy. He’s not much better than the others as he basically gets ready to cheat on his current girlfriend. He is ready to move on from her as soon as the next person is available so he is hardly a very sincere guy. Hopefully Sam is ready for when things don’t go well.

There’s also a comedic subplot about the wedding going on, but there’s nothing funny about it. It’s all super exaggerated and a little on the gross side as well. The film tries to make both families look pretty bad throughout the exchange to the point where you are no longer sure if there is anyone to root for. It’s also definitely a little odd that the families didn’t meet until the day before the wedding or how the groom and bride didn’t know much about each other. I guess it’s convenient this way though.

Naturally there is a ton of romance here even if almost none of it appears to be genuine between the characters. It’s just everyone trying to increase their social standing by getting together with someone. It’s seen as a badge of honor in this film’s community and naturally that raises even more questions. Or it would if you actually cared about the film by that point. Most likely you will already have checked out by now. There isn’t anything to hold your interest here. You’ll just be waiting for the film to wrap its run time up so the disaster will have ended. I forgot what score I gave the breakfast club, but this one is definitely around that film’s level. In a lot of ways both films are pretty similar.

I suppose the only thing that works for the film is the crazy array of sound effects and strings of music. I figured it was just the channel trolling, but the movie decides to be bold with a lot of sudden sound effects everywhere. Characters constantly react literally (Like when a light bulb effect plays after a thought) and we even get some horror music. This part actually works a bit at least. If anything it’s a shame that the sound guy probably worked harder on the film than the rest of the staff.

Overall, I’d recommend staying away from Sixteen Candles. You’ll be cringing hard almost from the start of the film. I’d say that the premise was good, but it really wasn’t and the execution definitely didn’t do anything to help improve that film. Just stay far away from this film and you should be fine. If you want to watch a funnier film that still has some drama involved, I’d recommend checking out Groundhog Day. At least that one has a bunch of jokes that land and a time travel plot that holds up today.

Overall 1/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Attack of the Mushroom People Review


It’s time to take a look at a really old school Japanese horror film. I didn’t really know what to expect with this one, but it’s definitely a little different from what I could have ever guessed. It’s definitely a slow burner so fans of the atmosphere approach could enjoy it, but unfortunately a very weak cast filled with terrible characters holds this one all the way back. It ends up being a bad film instead of a decent one. There are some good ideas here, but ultimately they cannot capitalize on them.

The film starts off with a group of sailors trying to sail away from the rest of the world. Each one has a different reason for being on the ship, but ultimately they will be heading to another part of the world where they can really live out their lives. Unfortunately the ship crashes and they all land on a foreign island. They quickly learn that there is more to this island than simple wildlife as the mushrooms are deadly. Left with dwindling resources the characters begin to turn on each other and allow their primal instincts to take over. Can any of the crew survive or at this point have they already lost enough of their humanity for it to not matter anymore?

As I mentioned above, the main problem with the film is the fact that the characters are so bad. I understand that the point of the film is about how all of the characters slowly succumb to the situation, but it’s a very negative outlook. The view that all humans will eventually turn evil is a common one, but certainly not an accurate view nor is it a very entertaining one. The characters start to become corrupt almost immediately and the ones who haven’t turned yet aren’t strong enough to defy them. It makes for a pretty mean spirited film where you know everyone is doomed from the start.

That’s not a bad thing per say as it can be fun to have everyone bumped off. There are quite a few good retro films with a plot like that which works out pretty well. The reason why this one doesn’t work well is because we don’t have the mystery angle to work with and the characters aren’t written nearly well enough to pull this off. The writing isn’t terrible, but I wouldn’t call it good either. The film ends up dragging on quite a bit despite not being very long which is always a very troubling sign.

Then we have the fact that the mushroom people don’t appear much at all. When they finally do show up it’s not as if they are all that impressive in a fight. They aren’t bulletproof or anything like that and are quite slow. The only reason they are even able to put up a basic fight is because the main character, Kenji, isn’t very smart and likes to waste bullets. By the time he is surrounded it is naturally too late as well….or it would be if they weren’t so weak. Kenji manages to overcome 20-1 odds which tells you all you need to know about the mushroom people.

From the rest of the crew we have 3 flat out antagonists. One is a girl named Mami who likes having everyone fight over her so she manipulates the men on the crew. That shows how weak willed they are. Ultimately her plan is mainly to call on everyone’s bluff and she still manages to get the last laugh in the end. Then the other two villains like making threats about how they’ll assault the other crew mates. This is the kind of drama that the film goes for and it’s the low hanging fruit on any situation like this. It doesn’t help the film’s writing at all. If anything it just diminishes the experience greatly like here. When nobody challenges the villains initially after the first threat there is no way to regain respect for the characters either.

Then you’ve also got the villain with a gun who manages to get the heroes at gunpoint 2-3 times. Did they really think they could be safe after locking him inside when everyone else is crazy? Their food supply is stolen several times as everyone else gets really greedy while on the ship. The only one who stays strong is Kenji and even then he seems rather naïve the whole time. Some of the characters get brief backstories but there isn’t much time to explore them.

Aside from the villains who are just plain unlikable, the main heroine may be the worst character here. Akiko is extremely timid and lets everyone walk all over her. She does her best to bring down the mood and atmosphere aboard the ship. Getting seasick is no fun so I won’t blame her for all of that but if she doesn’t get along with everyone then getting on this boat was probably a mistake. Even by the end she ultimately ends up cracking with everyone else. It’s possible that she was forced to eat a mushroom so I won’t be too hard on her, but it doesn’t help her case either. Naturally the heroine who was actually outspoken and ready for action turned out to be evil.

Most of the film is a flashback so you already know that at least one guy will get out safely. That does hurt the tension in the scene where villains surround him since you know that he can’t die there or even be transformed. It’s always an odd tactic to have a flashback be most of the film because you already know the ending. It’s just a huge spoiler. Kenji tries to sound deep and moving by the end, but since he’s already mostly crazy you can’t blame the doctors for keeping a safe distance. They are just looking out for themselves after all.

Overall, I guess I have to say that the film was a little disappointing. The film’s set up just isn’t all that great. I don’t mind the idea of a group of characters being stuck on an island and trying to survive, but then you’ve at least got to have a great group of characters who have solid banter with each other. It should be the group surviving against monsters or dangerous elements. If most of the group is either evil or unlikable then that’s going to take everything away from its potential. You don’t want to watch a civil war between the islanders, especially not with the stakes this high. If you want to watch a classic Toho film then I highly suggest sticking to Dragon Ball Z or Godzilla. This one’s just too much of a slow burner and ultimately doesn’t manage to keep its quality levels up.

Overall 4/10