Maze Runner: The Death Cure Review

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It’s been quite a while since I saw the Scorch Trials but I knew that someday I would finish this series. That time is now and the Death Cure actually isn’t a bad film. For the most part it’s actually pretty solid but ends up losing a lot of steam by the time it reaches the ending. There really isn’t much of humanity left to save either.

The film starts with an almost humorous action scene where the main characters steal an entire train, knock out all of the guards and then fly out of there. They are lucky that the guards can’t shoot straight or that they had no cameras active to see the obvious traps that were set out for them. This sort of plot hax will be around for a while so now is a good time to get used to it. The characters have now freed over 100 kids and are ready to sail off to a better tomorrow. The problem is that one of their friends from the first film is still captured. Thomas, Newt, and Frypan head off to find him before also being joined by Jorge and Brenda. They will have to break into the enemy stronghold to free him and will have to risk everything one last time. Can they do it?

There is certainly a lot of action here. We have constant gun fights and miscellaneous explosions occurring off screen. There is even a hand to hand fight near the end. Naturally these kids aren’t exactly master martial arts so it’s really just both sides throwing a lot of punches as opposed to a lot of crispy choreography. The climax is really just one large war zone as the characters try to make it out in one piece.

The pacing isn’t bad either as things tend to move quickly. The heroes are rarely given a chance to rest and so the film is moving a lot as well. I can’t say the writing was all that good though as characters constantly sound like they are in a horror movie with all the needless yelling. The character cast also isn’t amazing and I had some issues with the ending. To explain why the ending is no ot that good without spoilers is a little tricky, but here goes. The whole film series is really about choosing a side. Is the government right for sacrificing around 50 kids to save the human population or should the kids simply escape but also soon humanity along with them? Well the choice was taken out of your hands early on as the government is unnecessarily cruel the whole time. They even go so far as to attempt to destroy one of the kids when harnessing his blood slowly would have been safer and could have saved more people. It’s also worth noting that their cures keep failing so they are gambling the kids lives on just a hunch. Then in the ending we basically realize that all hope is lost. Unless there is yet another lost city in the middle of nowhere but that would be super convenient. It means that the whole trilogy was ultimately pointless for most of the human race.

As I mentioned earlier there is also quite a lot of plot hax to be found here. The villains constantly seem to be on the losing side when they should have this in the bag. The amount of times they yell “freeze” is almost funny because the heroes absolutely never listen and it always results in the villains losing once again. The scene where the bus is surrounded is the worst part as they just watch one of the characters clip it to a construction crane and lift the bus out of there. They probably should have fired their guns.

Thomas is the main character and he is definitely no good. He is said to be a very forgiving character multiple times in the film to the point where he is ready to quickly forgive Teresa after she betrayed the heroes and took a role in torturing one of his friends. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that he forgives everyone but Thomas isn’t consistent about that. We’ve also got a kid who was mind controlled and forced into destroying another kid. The guy seemingly died but now he has returned and Thomas absolutely won’t forgive him. So really, it’s not that he is a forgiving person by nature, he just likes Teresa so he is willing to overlook her faults. He doesn’t handle the romance situation very well either and tends to not make very good commands as the leader. He’s just not a guy that you would want to follow into battle. Especially since he is always admitting that he has no idea what they are even doing.

Then we have Teresa who does not regret turning evil. That should mean she will be portrayed as a villain right? Well surprisingly the film actually tries to make her a little sympathetic with the classic the Ends Justify the Means line of thinking. That didn’t fly back in the day and it still doesn’t. She is on the wrong side and the film did a poor job of trying to show her switch sides or even making her cause look legitimate. As such the character was just pretty bad the whole time. The same goes for her Boss who spends the first two films capturing the kids and putting them in painful experiments. Now she is finally having second thoughts and it’s just way too late for that.

The only good villain is the main chief of security, Janson. He is sticking to his guns literally in this film as he shots quite a few characters and also knows how to fight. I mean, he’s not a great fighter as he can barely go even with Thomas but I suppose it’s a start at the very least. Janson also knows when it’s time to pull back and just win with a gun instead. His demise seems a little hard to buy since he would have known the room better than anyone and what it would take to break the glass though.

Newt was a solid character. He always does his best to support Thomas while also calling him out when the lead starts to act fishy. He has been infected for a while but manages to keep it quiet so as not to distract from the mission. Newt does have his typical blow up moment at Thomas which comes off as rather forced but that’s really his only iffy scene. Then we have the ex bully who still calls Thomas greeny. Honestly I barely remember the character at all so he may as well be a new character in this one. He is the commander of the resistance (How’d that happen?) aside from one old man who is consulted at times. He doesn’t tend to panic as much as the others and saves the leads quite a few times so at the very least he was really good in this film. More prepared than the others at the very least.

One scene that will really stick with you is when the main characters walk into a dark tunnel and are basically unarmed. Even if there wasn’t an army of zombies down there, what could they have possibly done against the villains in such a state? You have to bring a ton of ammo at the very least or some kind of plan. The heroes had neither and would have been doomed several times if they hadn’t kept getting saved. The whole film you are reminded of this as the heroes are just out of their depth for the majority of the movie.

Overall, The Death Cure isn’t a bad action film. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and the series ends on a fairly good note. The ending is a little more hopeless than I would have liked and a certain death didn’t really need to happen since things were so bad already. It also didn’t help Thomas much either since at the very end he writes someone’s name down which basically proves his allegiance once more. If you want to see a film with a lot of action scenes then this is the place to go, but don’t expect it to be the kind of film that you will never forget.

Overall 6/10

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20 Million Miles to Earth Review

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It’s time to look at a really old creature feature film. Unfortunately this isn’t one of the better ones and is in fact a particularly weak one. It resorts to bottom of the barrel tropes like animal violence and so the film quickly goes downhill. from there. You just can’t add in animal violence and expect to do well. Also, it doesn’t help that the monster didn’t really have a great design. He looked sort of like the gill man when he should have gone for a more authentic Godzilla design. I suppose you can’t win them all though.

The basic plot is that a group of local fishers are having a good time when they notice a rocket crash land into the water. They quickly head on over to investigate it and they are able to save one of the people inside. The others all died to a plague from Venus, but they still did take the time to take one of the animals over from there. Unfortunately a local boy named Pepe stole the animal and sold him (Keep in mind that the animal is till in egg form) to a local scientist for a pair of fake guns. The army doesn’t know this and is intent on finding the animal quickly. Turns out that they won’t have to look far though as the oxygen on Earth is having a peculiar effect on the creature and it is now growing very rapidly. If it keeps on going at this pace then thousands may perish. (Seems like hyperbole but one of the characters said so.)

It’s very by the books as far as the plot is concerned. The creature goes on a rampage and starts breaking stuff so the heroes have to put an end to it. The humans are all consumed by greed though and so they keep letting the creature get away. They want to contain it rather than destroy the beast because it can be useful for scientific study. This continues even when the monster is murdering people. One guy is literally getting bit to death while they just watch because they don’t want to hurt the monster. The big irony here is that bullets don’t work on the creature anyway so they were worried for nothing. It still makes you wonder about their principles though. The Italian government were the ones in the right here as the Americans just looked pretty bad the whole time. Even once they captured the beast to keep zapping him the whole time they let him break out and then a bunch of other people perished. So much for that eh?

Pepe is also a very annoying kid. In fact, he’s pretty much exactly what you expect whenever a kid shows up. They just tend to be rather annoying the whole time as they hide things from the grownups and keep trying for more and more money. He just holds everyone back. I’d say that the main fisher was probably the best character. He’s the only one who actually wanted to help the people from the crash while everyone else was too busy trying to escape. Certainly not the bravest thing to do in the middle of that. Of course, these characters aren’t here to be likable and they typically aren’t all that smart either.

Take Marisa, the doctor in training. She is in charge of looking after the 2 people from the crash, but one of them is unfortunately dying. The first guy, Calder quickly tries to wake up the second one to get answers, but she keeps telling him to leave the guy alone. Decent advice I guess, but since the guy is dying it isn’t like there is actually going to be a later. Then it makes sense to get all of the answers right away. She goes back and forth with Calder on this quite a lot until a random romance pops up and you wonder why once again romance was forced into a film for no real reason. It certainly didn’t add anything to the film and aside from a few very brief scenes it never actually goes anywhere. It’s just around for kicks.

The actual doctor isn’t very intelligent either. First he leaves the moving egg by itself as he goes to take a nap. Then after putting it in the cage he goes to sleep again and the monster has almost grown too large for his cage. What he does next is leave once again to go talk to Pepe and then decides to take a long trip to Rome. Did he really think that the monster would simply stop growing or that it would peacefully let them take it to Rome? Clearly this guy must be a self proclaimed doctor since I would expect him to be a lot smarter if his degree was actually legitimate.

The writing isn’t terrible, but it’s just nothing inspired. You could take some of the dialogue here and place it into almost any other monster film. It will work just fine because of how generic it is. Anyway, all of that could have been forgiven if not for the animal violence. As if once wasn’t bad enough they decide to go through with this twice. Perhaps it is the only way to show what a threat this monster is supposed to be, but picking on the humans would have been a better way of getting that across if you ask me.

Overall, I have to give this film a hard thumbs down. The creature isn’t very interesting and the characters are nothing special. Not only are they not quite as on the ball as a classic lead from other films, but their priorities are completely misplaced. The fact that they are okay with a bunch of people dying if it means that they get to study the monster just shows that these guys have no scruples. The whole situation makes it hard to root for the heroes, but you can’t root for the monster either so then what is there to do? Not much except to quickly shut off the movie. I’d certainly advise you to stick away from this one unless you want to get bored. If you need to see a film about a monster, go watch one of the Godzilla films. Those tend to deliver on the action front which this one could not. Also, who thought it would be a god idea to make the monster look really old and weak by giving him a mustache?

Overall 2/10

Mr. Sardonicus Review

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It’s time to look at an old horror film about torture and violence. If this doesn’t already sound like a one way ticket to Amityville then brace yourself because we’re in for a very slippery film that just keeps on falling down the tunnel. It’s often hard to say when a film like this one first ends up falling as it couldn’t even start on a high note. What I will say is that the film certainly is impressive in how poorly written it was for the 60s. That era usually had quite solid writing.

The film starts with Robert getting a mysterious letter from an old friend. He was close to Maude for a time but then she ended up marrying a rich baron so Robert traveled overseas to get rich by being a doctor. Well, she wants him to come to her manor to chat about old times and if he doesn’t come then she will surely die. Robert hurries over and is so excited to see her again that he ignores the torture and murder happening within the building. Still, there won’t be anyone left to save him if he dawdles too long. Sardonicus will release him and Maude if Robert cures his face. If he does not, then he shall die. Can Robert do this?

Robert isn’t a very heroic character. He is proud of his Knightly ways and cannot bring himself to harm even a villain. That’s why even though a lot of terrible things are happening in the castle he cannot make a move. To do so would be impolite and as a gentleman he must be courteous at all times. Even when he gives his word to protect one of the servants from any future violence he leaves her alone with the villains multiple times as he heads off to enjoy a meal. It’s hard to root for Robert at all since he isn’t even smart. After reading the letter and everything mentioned above, he is swayed by the sob story of Sardonicus. Maude even tells him upfront after this that her life is at stake and Robert jokes that as a wife of course she is worried for Sardonicus. You’d have to have gotten hit in the head really hard right before saying that to really believe such a thing. Robert is just as dense as a brick. Lets also not forget that he won’t even use any of the risky treatments on Sardonicus because he worries for the villain’s safety. Even though such a decision would result in Maude’s death. This is our main character?

Naturally Sardonicus isn’t a good villain either. His sob story amounts to him trying to rob a grave and getting his face defiled for his efforts. Karma occurred very quickly and now he will take it out on everyone else. I can’t say that I feel bad for him and it just reminds you even more that he is a rather petty villain. His excuse for all of the inhumane experiments is to find a cure, but half of them had no actual correlation to his affliction and he later admits that he just does it as punishment. The guy can’t even decide on why he does what he does.

Then we have Maude who definitely isn’t the smartest of characters. Lets just think about this again. Sardonicus is all alone in the castle except for his one attendant Krull. Krull is often sent on faraway missions like heading to the city to recruit Robert. At that point Maude could have easily escaped. Sardonicus is often locked away in his room as well. Now perhaps her father is still a hostage but then that character would have to be so inept that I can’t even comprehend it. Furthermore the film doesn’t even try to make sense with this. Before I get into it I should mention that the same thing applies to Krull. The film tells us a few times that he is a very strong man who obeys Sardonicus absolutely. But why though? He is strong enough to destroy his master and live a very comfortable life. Especially since nobody actually sees Sardonicus anyway so he could just keep on using his money. Instead he let Sardonicus punish him a few times without actually trying to fight back.

All right, time for the real plot hole here. So, Sardonicus is feared by everyone on the island. It’s to the point where the men of the island allow their daughters to be sacrificed to him every year. Why not move away? Why not storm the building? Again, this could make sense if Sardonicus had a lot of people under his influence like in most similar films of this genre. Here he is just a single man with a single attendant. It would be a simple matter for a mob to enter and liberate anyone still alive. At the very least they could easily destroy him. Instead for whatever reason the police refuse to do anything and people don’t even move away. At most this could make sense if Sardonicus had some kind of political clout, but the sob story showed that he was just an ordinary guy who happened to win the lottery and got rich. That doesn’t give him any kind of diplomatic immunity. The film just couldn’t even think its own plot all the way through.

Overall, This was a pretty terrible film. It’s just gritty to be gritty and none of the characters can think for themselves. They just go along with whatever Sardonicus has planned and never stop to question why they are doing this. The plot’s flimsy and the characters aren’t good. The film feels like it lasts for an eternity before it’s over and the whole time you will just be wondering how this got past pre production. The narrator who appears at the beginning and end of the film is also a chore to get through. His jokes don’t land at all and he takes forever to get to the point. I would highly recommend staying away from this film.

Overall 0/10

Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers Review

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It’s time to look at a really old alien film. This is the kind of flick that will remind you why aliens are so scary in the first place. They can’t be reasoned with and just want to take over every planet that gets in their way. You don’t want to mess with these guys and the humans have to desperately scramble to stop them. It’s an entertaining film that may not have the best lead, but still hits most of the right notes.

The film starts off with Russell sending another rocket into space. It’s been a futile mission as so far each missile has been sent right back down to Earth. At this point he is just wasting money and a general tells him this, but the lead refuses to listen. He will keep on sending the missiles into space and nobody can stop him! As he drives away with Carol, a UFO shows up which changes things a bit. They are now readying their invasion force to take over the Earth. Russell will have to build a super laser to shut them down, but can he really invent such a thing or is he already doomed?

As you can tell I thought Russell was rather slow on the uptake. If a bunch of missiles keep losing contact as soon as they are sent out, why would you send more without actually fixing anything about them? The main characters finally decide to add a camera to the last one so they can find out what is happening, but shouldn’t a camera have been there right from the start? It seems to me that for a mission of such importance you would want to document everything at all times.

Russell’s big slip up was in meeting up with the aliens privately. Carol and the army guy do manage to catch him so they all end up being threatened by the aliens as a team. I’ll give the army guy some credit for actually firing at the aliens while in the ship. They might as well go down swinging right? Russell is the one who puts the group in danger constantly. For example, he knew that a little energy orb had been spying on him for the last few weeks and that random lights would show up in the sky, but he thought nothing of them. It seems like nothing would cause him to show even a little bit of the usual alarm that you would expect from a reasonable main character. He may get to run the victory lap at the end, but he certainly put the Earth in quite the predicament.

Meanwhile I can’t say that I was a big fan of Carol. Mainly because she was quick to rat out Russell when he was trying to escape the base. Whether she agreed with him or not, such a call would probably have him arrested and it’s not like she had a better idea. When you make a call to betray someone like that, it’s a big decision. The characters forget about this pretty quick, but that could have been a very damaging moment for them.

I do have to give the army some props for shooting the aliens right away. Obviously that isn’t usually a good idea since the aliens hadn’t actually done anything yet, but we weren’t going to be pushed around this time. Usually when the army shoots first it turns out that the aliens were actually good guys so this was a good way of flipping that around real quick. Too bad their tech was so much better than ours as otherwise it could have been a pretty even fight. We didn’t hesitate to fire off our rockets and heavy armaments either so the world was ready.

There is some plot hax in the climax though. As I mentioned the aliens do have the superior tech here including ships that can run rings around ours. Their speed is so great that they can appear from nowhere to disintegrate us and then vanish again. How is it that they didn’t notice the humans plotting against them? At the very least you would expect them to have the main characters under surveillance until the invention was built. Leaving the humans alone (Even after they broke the alien spy probe) was just not a smart idea. Even once they knew that the humans were turning violent they sent in one robot instead of blasting the place to smithereens. The humans got lucky and they know it.

We do get some decent action sequences at the end though as we shoot down all of their UFOs. You’ll end up feeling bad for the landmarks though as the aliens make sure to crash into them every time one ship is shot down. By the end of the fight I feel like the city will look a whole lot different. I suppose some damage is expected when saving the world though. I also like to think that the aliens made sure to intentionally hit these spots just to at least get a little petty consolation victory. If only they had just tried destroying us all when they had the chance!

Overall, This was a fun movie. It’s a classic Alien Invasion story filled with suspense and action. The writing for the movie is certainly on point even if the main characters are annoying. The characters you will be rooting for the most will be the government agents. They don’t plan to go down without a fight and talk tough whenever they are on screen. That’s exactly what I like to see and even the Aliens admitted that in a battle for the Earth we would keep fighting til the last man. Humanity got its props here.

Overall 7/10

Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman Review

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It’s time to look at the next Sherlock Holmes case! This is definitely one of the better ones as we see Holmes match wits against a new adversary. Interestingly enough, he knows who the culprit is right away so the main objective in the film is gathering evidence. Whether you would consider this as more of a thriller than a mystery or not will be up to you. Nonetheless, I’m always up for seeing a villain walk right up to Holmes to make threats and that ended up being pretty entertaining.

The film starts with Holmes deciding to retire from the criminal business. He has been having headaches as of late and so he won’t be of much use to the Police. Watson protests this, but then Holmes accidentally murders himself by falling into the water. Watson mourns, but then Holmes shows up and lets Watson know that it was all part of the plan. Watson isn’t thrilled about being used like this, but he has no time to pout since the Pajama murders are still going strong. Holmes figures that the best way to get in contact with the murderer is to go undercover as someone who is down on his luck. He will have to be careful not to go too far into this disguise though or it could cost him his life!

The villainous Adrea makes for a fun villain with over confidence and smug personality throughout the film. Saving people from despair only to murder them after they get life insurance is certainly a clever play. She also isn’t afraid of anyone and that includes Sherlock Holmes. She sees through disguise pretty quick. It’s not even that it was a bad disguise but she is naturally wary of anyone who shows up and does what she can to prove whether the person is legit or not.

What really legitimized Adrea as a big threat was when she went to Sherlock Holmes’ office to file a missing report for the guy Holmes was pretending to be. It was a nice, subtle way to threaten him while Holmes fired back. Watson doesn’t seem to pick up on any of this, but he was busy reading so I guess it is to be expected. Adrea certainly wins this round as she gets her nephew to throw a poison wrapper into the fireplace which nearly finishes off Holmes and Watson. Admittedly I was a little surprised that Holmes didn’t see this coming. After all, a villain wouldn’t just go to his base to gloat right? Well, some might I suppose but with how suspicious the kid was I was certainly expecting something to happen. This just goes to show how important it is not to litter as getting the kid to throw the wrapper in the trash would have prevented this from occurring.

Even at the end she managed to outwit Holmes as she pretended to leave an opening which allows Holmes to follow her into a trap. He tries to save face by pointing out that if he didn’t take the bait she would have gotten away, but it just shows that she got him into an impossible situation. It’s only luck that allows Holmes to ultimately keep his life. Adrea was definitely the standout character here and while Holmes is still my favorite, she gives Moriarty some competition as far as the villains are concerned.

Holmes is still a fun lead as always. Once again he does appear to be on the losing side when it comes to fighting another genius. Perhaps even though Holmes is the most intelligent hero he still isn’t quite as smart as the villains. Granted, villains always have the edge in these battles since they get to make a move whenever they want while the heroes end up playing catch up at first. Holmes deciding to have a sudden retirement would have hurt his character but as long as it was just a ruse then it’s okay. I doubt he could resist the allure of a good mystery for very long.

Watson is a mixed bag as you would expect. He has some nice moments like when he gets some clever burns in or when he believes that a man is actually Sherlock Holmes. On the other hand, he is still a little too weak and bad at his job considering how long he has been with Holmes. Allowing the villain to knock the gun out of his hand was quite unfortunate since the heroes really had the upper hand there. I just don’t see how you can lose your gun so easily.

As a minor villain I also liked the fake Spider expert. He did a good job of pretending to be the genuine article and at least he had a gun at the ready. The little slip ups that he made while talking were fairly small ones so at least it wasn’t something that you could really blame him for. He got his revenge for losing to Holmes later on as well so this wasn’t your average 2 bit criminal. The rest of the usual supporting characters like Lestrade were around as well and looked about as good as you would expect. He’s always a fun guy to have tagging along.

Overall, This was definitely a fun Holmes adventure. I want to say that it’s Top 3 for sure. Once I finish the 14 films in the series perhaps I will do some kind of official rankings for all of them. Nonetheless, this is definitely a film that you will want to check if you are a Holmes fan or just like a good film with a lot of suspense. The writing is on point as always and the pacing is really good. The film is very short, but still manages to give a good amount of development to all of the characters involved. It doesn’t feel rushed which is important. It’s going to be tough for the next film to beat this one.

Overall 8/10

Abbott and Costello Go To Mars Review

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The next film to discuss is an Abbott and Costello film. It has certainly been a while since I reviewed the last one and this movie features aliens in it so how could it not be good? Unfortunately it is one of the weaker installments. Still a good film but one that definitely suffers from a weak climax. The whole time you can’t help but think that they should have stuck to Earth.

The film starts with Orville swinging a plane around. I suppose he is either a volunteer teacher with the orphanage or more likely, he is just a kid at heart and always comes over to play during recess. It is unfortunate for him though because the kids are all a lot smarter than he is and they love rubbing this fact in his face. This leads to Orville accidentally throwing the plane through a window. The cops manage to show up but Orville outruns them to a corporate office where he impersonates a distinguished rocket expert for as long as he can. This just doesn’t fly and right he real one tries to beat him up. They fight a while but then Orville jumps in the space ship and blasts away with the custodian. One thing’s for sure, he’s not on Earth anymore…right?

One thing that is always risky for a film is to use up the best scene early on but that’s exactly what this one did. The fight between Orville and the expert was really solid as the sound effect for each slap was as good as it gets. You felt the power and weight of each blow to the point where the final one actually knocked Orville through a wall. If that’s not power then I don’t know what is. I have to say that I was rooting for the old guy so I’m glad that he took the win.

A good chunk of the film is the two characters (A guy named Lester ends up coming along) running around and panicking at everything. They don’t really understand what a mask is but in their defense the masks seemed to be rather high quality. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the film’s budget went to them. Rather than pull off a bunch of quick jokes this film opts to just play a few of them for as long as possible. This isn’t really a sound strategy since if you don’t like the joke then the scene will last forever and even if you do like it you may find the joke starts to get repetitive. It’s definitely a rather tough balance but for the most part this series usually gets it right. This one was just a little less interesting.

It was still pretty good when the heroes were running away on Earth. It went off the deep end once they got to Venus. The planet is apparently an Amazonian paradise that has eradicated all of the men. Naturally Orville is able to charm them into letting him stay somehow. The whole plot is just sad as the characters convince him to cheat in order to convince the Queen to bring back the ban against men. While concocting such a plan is probably a good idea, they should have had a different strategy. Pretty much every scene on Venus was brutal and as you might expect the romance was terrible.

Then we have the random subplot where two crooks decide to impersonate the main characters until they can imprison them and head to space. Clearly these guys are rather fearless since they aren’t afraid of being blasted into dust for their arrogance. They don’t really add anything to the film though. It seems that the movie was trying to play them off as dark versions of the main characters but they just felt really redundant from the start.

None of the characters are smart of course which is the whole point of the series but you still can’t help but feel bad for the inventor of the rocket. He waited his whole life for such a chance only to have the main character steal it away. That’s just cruel and especially when you consider how much money it would have cost to build another one in those days. That’s probably the end for his career.

I also feel that I have to point out the stock footage that is used in this film. You wouldn’t really expect such a thing out of a big name title like the Abbott and Costello series right? The scene where the rocket enters the Lincoln Tunnel happens twice and maybe the film was pretty proud of that special effect but you never want to play a scene twice like that. (With a few exceptions I suppose)

Overall, This was probably the weakest in the Abbott and Costello films. The whole second half felt unorganized and rather pointless. The first half was good but it just didn’t last long enough. What we did see back on Earth just makes the whole film more tragic since you see all of the potential that it once had. If you are a big fan of the series then I would recommend checking it out. If you have not seen any films in this series then it probably isn’t a good idea to start with this one as it won’t necessarily give you the right idea if the series. It just doesn’t have that usual charm you would expect from this series.

Overall 6/10

Sherlock Holmes Faces Death Review

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It’s time to look at the next Holmes mystery. This one goes back to the more classic days of Holmes as there is a murder and various suspects. He has to find out which one is guilty after talking to them all and evaluating the evidence. The case is extra personal though as it occurred within Watson’s own professional workplace.

Watson gets some extra background in this film. He is always referred to as a doctor but we never actually get to see him at work. Here we find out that he has taken in quite a few patients who need some slight help. They are all rather eccentric but supposedly harmless. Their current home is that of a fairly wealthy jewel evaluator who doesn’t get along with anybody. He definitely likes to be the leader of the household. Well, he is murdered and since nobody liked the guy that doesn’t help Holmes narrow the list of subjects.

First we have the man’s younger brother. This guy seemed content to follow his senior’s orders and thought whatever he was told to think. This didn’t stop him from eavesdropping though and curious enough he also had a tendency to crack his knuckles when asking questions. That could be seen as a threat.

Then we have the Butler and the Maid. The Butler is always eavesdropping and as such he knows a little bit about everyone. He also likes to get very drunk and maybe this is just to throw Holmes off the case. Who can say for sure eh? The maid seems less suspicious at first glance but she keeps trying to convince the Butler not to say anything to Holmes. Does he know something that he shouldn’t?

We can’t forget the other two guests either. One is an old guest from out of town who threatens to beat up the latest member of the deceased. On the other hand, the cops grab him as the one they picked as the culprit so that gives him a huge chance of being innocent. There is also the heroine who is with him but her role isn’t all that large once he leaves the picture. With a colorful cast of suspects it looks as though we have quite the mystery on our hands.

As always Holmes is the best character here. He learns of the mystery and quickly gets to work on solving it. He wastes absolutely no time here and that’s what makes him so good at his job. He isn’t here to make friends so he is able to walk into any house with a lot of confidence and look for the clues. This time his plan actually involves having a fight with the main villain and pulling a gun on him. Holmes doesn’t get to fight very often but when he does it is always fun. He does seem to be quite proficient in hand to hand to the point where he is able to alter the battle to whatever direction he wants.

Then we have Watson who is back to his old self. He isn’t quite at Holmes level but he is earnest and always has a lot of confidence himself. Despite Holmes constantly hitting him with subtle insults Watson never lets it get him down. As this mystery takes place in his place of work he actually can move around like he owns the place. Although, Watson typically does anyway. He’s definitely a very good character and the films wouldn’t be the same without him.

We can’t forget the Police Chief Lestrade either. His rivalry with Watson continues as neither one of them cares much for the other. I do feel bad for the Chief since he always tries deductions of his own but they never seem to go very well. He just has no luck in finding the secret mystery that is underneath the obvious one. At least you can’t say that he doesn’t try hard though as Lestrade even heads into a dark tunnel on his own to catch the culprit.

As always the writing is on point. One of the strengths of this Holmes film series is that the dialogue is always fast and snappy. This is part of what has helped this Holmes become the definitive one. He just embodies the character so completely and faithfully. Every character does their best to contribute as well though. Then the humor is on point as well which usually comes in the form of some sarcasm. I find that this is consistently the best kind of humor.

Overall, This Sherlock Holmes film was pretty fun. It brought the series back to its roots and it will be nice if this style has been brought back for good. The thrillers are fun as well of course but the series certainly made its mark on the world through its mysteries. If you haven’t seen a Holmes film yet then this is as good a jumping on point as any. So far you never really need knowledge on previous films to get the gist of what’s happening. They do a good job of explaining the plot right away.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes in Washington Review

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It’s time to look at the next Sherlock Holmes film. This time he gets to take in the sights of America so that’s always cool. The movie made a point to show New York so I like to think that this was foreshadowing for a future film. That would definitely be a lot of fun. The Sherlock Holmes film series seems to be pretty consistent so far which is certainly a good thing. It’s an enjoyable film although one that also seems a tad darker than the last few Holmes titles as the heroes struggle to really protect anyone.

The film starts off with London sending in two agents to head to Washington in order to give a sensitive document to the Americans. Naturally they decided to be quite clever about this and so they didn’t bring any bodyguards in. Big mistake if you ask me. Well, there was a mole within the London ranks as always so they figure out which agent is actually holding the documents and murder him. Fortunately the agent saw that his end was at hand and gave the documents to another lady aboard the train without her even realizing it. Now Sherlock Holmes must find this lady before the villains do, but his opponent is fairly smart himself.

I always have to wonder why people would just casually go with the villains to their car. Lets be honest with ourselves, if a group of guys with guns ask you to come with them, it’s not going to end well. At the very least they will almost certainly murder you. The reason you are going with them in the first place is because you are worried that they will shoot you otherwise, but your fate will be the same either way so you may as well make a scene. They won’t have much time to mess with you in this situation so they’ll be forced to shoot you right there and then. A far less painful death than otherwise. Alas, characters in these films never quite understand this.

Sherlock Holmes looks very smart as always. He is definitely one step ahead of the villains most of the time. Once in a while he will trip up and make a questionable move like hiding behind the soda, but since he didn’t know where the secret door was it’s not something you can blame him on too much. He did call in for backup as well which was definitely a good move. I also like how Holmes makes sure to rub it in against the villains on how he was right. He may as well since they’re gonna be locked up for a very long time and this is his only chance to make them feel even worse about it. No sympathy for these murderers.

Watson unfortunately looks worse than usual here. I dare say that this was probably his worst appearance from any of the Holmes films and that is really saying something. I don’t know what was up with this, but he kept trying to talk about sports and such while everyone else was talking about the implications this kidnapping could have on the war. In the other films Watson may not have always realized the gravity of the situation right away, but he wouldn’t joke around about it either. It was a little forced, but at least Watson still destroyed one of the villains so he was still useful.

The supporting cast don’t get to do much. We have the American cop who tries to talk tough, but his team can’t seem to do anything right. They were holding the train car as evidence yet the place was broken into by the villains without them even realizing. I don’t see how this was possible unless the Americans actually didn’t think to guard the main exhibition of an active murder case. Not their best moment.

As for the main villain, he is all right. Definitely a big step down from Moriarty, but I’d say that he is better than the average crook. The film did make sure to point out several times that he is very intelligent and even Holmes knew of his reputation. That also speaks to how smart the dead agent was since his microfilm strategy was air tight enough that a villainous genius couldn’t guess it. Even Holmes would not have been able to reach this conclusion without consulting the witnesses of the event.

There is one part to this mystery that was a little too convenient though. At the very beginning the villains pull off the kidnapping by turning off the lights, knocking the guy out, and then kidnapping him into a car on the train until it departed. From there they forced him into pretending that he was with them. (Still should have ran once they were outside) How did the employees not know that the culprits were the guys who turned the lights off? I don’t really see how the villains pulled this off without completely tipping their hand. It would also be obvious if the staff quickly checked on the guy’s room to see if he was okay. Definitely some plot convenience here, but the rest of the film played it pretty straight.

Overall, It was nice to see Holmes get to work in America. To be honest, it’s not as if the scenery looks all that different in this film, but it’s still good to see him moving to a different place for a change. I also like how naturally the villains own a fake antique shop as nobody in America realized that they were buying fakes. Considering that the villain’s whole angle was built around him being the most trust worthy and reputable person in Washington I have to question why he took such a risk. If it was discovered that his whole store was full of fakes that would have really hurt his credibility don’t you think? I guess this guy just likes walking on the edge. If you haven’t seen a Sherlock Holmes film yet then I definitely would say that this is a fair jumping on point. It’s still in the WW II tie-in days so it’s not your standard Holmes case, but it’s a mystery nonetheless.

Overall 7/10

The Awful Truth Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

Cardfight Vanguard: Neon Messiah Review

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It’s time to look at a film that I’ve been waiting to watch for quite a while. I consider Cardfight Vanguard to be one of the greatest shows of all time and it was really at its height back when Aichi and the gang were the main characters. This film was the official wrap up for them before handing the baton over to a new cast. The trailer was really good and looked to include the first ever 2v1 fight in the series. While this movie is incredibly short that isn’t all that uncommon for an anime film. Until recently a lot of them seemed to be about 70 minutes and this one was a double feature as well. Still, it’s definitely a great ride while it lasts.

The film starts off with a mysterious new player challenging Ren. The skilled Cardfighter accepts the challenge but it soundly defeated and his tournament entry pass is stolen. Meanwhile Aichi is pretty psyched to finally get a chance to prove his mettle once more at this exclusive tournament. He is one of the lucky 16 to make the cut and heads to the arena with his friends. Unfortunately 7 combatants do not show up and Kouji declares that he has taken them down. He is allowed entry into the tournament and now all of the heroes should be worried. What is Kouji’s true aim in all of this?

I always like the movie trope of having a new villain show up and suddenly start beating up on the old hype characters. We had Frieza show up in Resurrection F as he took out Mystic Gohan in a single blow, the main villain from the Pyramid of Light who actually defeated Kaiba, and Mewtwo who took down Gary in the first Pokémon film. There’s just something nice about seeing a new villain show up and start taking names. Of course the other way around is also fun though like when a hype character actually manages to hold his own and claim the win but that’s super rare. Considering that by the movie the main cast are usually at their strongest, this cliche really helps make the villain appear to be a legitimate threat.

Neon Messiah does that well with Kouji. Taking out Ren is already impressive and then he also beat Leon. Those two were probably Aichi’s biggest rivals besides Kai and they lasted for quite a while back in Arc 3. Seeing them get absolutely wrecked (Leon losing off screen and Ren losing without getting his theme music) shows just how skilled Kouji is. Kouji is definitely an intense villain here and one that I can get behind. His motivation for destroying Cardfight does come across as really petty and hard to take seriously but considering that he had to master a game that he couldn’t stand it does show his resolve. He was able to become one of the best players in the world at the end. As a villain I would put him up there as one of Cardfight’s best. It’s too bad we couldn’t see him go up against Kai though. That would have definitely been a great fight and I’m still convinced that Kai would have been able to claim victory.

As for Kai, since he had some ties to Kouji from the past he gets a particularly large role in this film. Kai has experience being the main character, main villain, and rival in various seasons of the Cardfight show so one might say that he has the most well rounded resume of the bunch. As such it is no surprise that he can easily hold the plot on his own. I’d say that his portrayal was definitely really good since he doesn’t lose a duel in the whole movie. With his current skill level there are very few who can hope to challenge him.

Aichi also looks pretty good as always. He has certainly come a long way since the days where he was just a timid beginner. Even though he is unable to match up against Kouji, he still had his confidence throughout the duel. You could also make the case that he was a little distracted because Planet Cray was getting beat up for the 100th time in the last few months. Aichi was probably disappointed that the supposed embodiment of Cardfight is so weak. Aichi quickly regrouped in time for round 2. I’d argue that he should have let Kai finish off Kouji, but I suppose this was one duel that he didn’t want to miss.

The supporting characters are fun as always. Kamui probably gets the biggest role from them as his duel is reasonably long and he gives Kouji a good fight. It’s nice to see someone step up with Leon and Misaki couldn’t stay on screen long enough to help. For the record though, they made the right call in standing up to Kouji. If they aren’t strong enough to stop him then it doesn’t matter if they wait or fight now. On the other hand, if they are strong enough to stop him, then the sooner the better since the longer he lives the more chance there is of the monster planet being completely destroyed. The characters here are all confident in their skills and they should be. They’ve tangled with many strong opponents in the past.

I do think that Aichi should finally start using his Psyqualia more though. I know that he basically ditched the ability along with everyone else in season 2 because it was deemed unfair as it’s an auto victory, but shouldn’t that not apply when you’re fighting a villain who will destroy the world? I can respect an honor code, but it would be nice to see the return of Berserk Aichi. That would really be hype.

The animation is definitely really good as you would expect. The show already has a lot of vibrant colors and detail so for a movie this is amped up even more. As there wouldn’t be time to show the actual cardfights here as just 2-3 would be the whole length of the movie, this film opts to give us some visuals as it speeds through the fight in a montage style. The cynical side of me can’t help but notice that it is also a lot easier on the writers as they don’t have to actually think up the specifics of the duel. It would be extremely hard to notice some kind of error in this style and most wouldn’t even bother to try. Of course no matter the reason it is fun to see some real time action. It would soon be the norm in Cardfight G so I guess this was another bridge to that sequel. The film has 2 insert songs which is always cool. Some of the ingame music for the duels were also fairly solid but I can’t say that I really remember any of them. It worked well for the duels which is good enough.

Overall, Neon Messiah was definitely a great film. I would have certainly preferred it to be another 30 minutes longer at the very least but it still tells a complete story and gives us a lot of action so I’m satisfied. The action scenes have a really high budget and the film is always exciting with no dull moments to slow it down. It’s not enough to place it as the best card game movie or anything like that but it’s still a great movie all the same. I’d recommend it to fans of the series for sure or if you are a Yugioh fan as well. If you like action movies then you can potentially enjoy it even without any context as it’s very fast paced and engaging from start to finish.

Overall 8/10