Se7en Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

When you’ve got a film with the heroes trying to stop a mass murderer you can often come up against the rather tricky dilemma of establishing this plot while trying not to let things get too dark. Having a psycho be the main villain usually makes this quite impossible though and this film was not able to survive it. It definitely gets twisted for all parties involved and with no real winners here you’re going to want to skip this one.

The movie starts with William getting ready for retirement. He’s had a good career on the force but it’s time to call it a day. Unfortunately his plans are slowed when a mass murderer shows up and starts creating headlines. William is paired with a younger detective known as David who is eager to prove himself here while William just wants out. They do not get along at all with William constantly pushing David. Still, the two will have to get their act together and quickly or this John Doe will continue his murder spree. The only pattern so far is that he’s murdering people along the line of the 7 Deadly Sin. Each of his murders are then stylized based on that.

You feel bad for William because of course something like this had to happen right when he was about to retire. Couldn’t have waited just a few more days right? Now in a way he can’t walk out because if he does it’ll be like he ran away from the case and he’ll probably also be living with a lot of guilt. William is incredibly jaded by this point as well since he’s been working in such a corrupt city for so long. He sees awful crimes every day and at this point doesn’t see a lot of hope left for humanity. There’s nothing left here for him if he stays on the job.

Unfortunately he’s also the best detective around and he knows this very well. Part of why he’s so antagonistic to David at first seems to be to try to get him out of here. He’s concerned why David specifically volunteered to enlist here and the guy never really gives him a straight answer which doesn’t help matters. Meanwhile David’s more of an optimist who thinks he can make the world better one case at a time. He’s got a lot of energy and definitely wants to prove himself. He means well and makes for a good main character. I actually thought he was a little better than William here.

Sure, William is more talented but the fact that he is so jaded means that he just isn’t enthusiastic about anything anymore. At least David is doing his best at all times to make sure that things go well. Then you have David’s wife Tracy who is not happy about being here at all. She would rather be in just about any city but came along because she wanted to be supportive at all times. She’s definitely well meaning in that respect but it would have been best to have a full conversation with him about it. Even their apartment is in rough shape and shakes whenever a train approaches. It would be very difficult to live like that for very long.

The actual villain “John” is your average psycho so there’s not a lot to say about him. He wants to see the world burn and to bring everyone to his level. He has a whole methodology on how he murders everyone but also enjoys it quite a lot and gets called out by the main characters. At the end of the day he’s just a criminal who has to be stopped. The guy has a lot of plans and certainly gets around but you’re just hoping he’ll be caught pretty soon.

One common issue with these kind of films is how much the villain gets away with before being taken down though. There are 7 deadly sins so you would hope the heroes could stop him after maybe 3 right? Really show how they prevented a tragedy but no, you quickly realize that he’s going to get all the way down the list so by the time he’s stopped, he’s already won in a sense. The film is definitely going for a very tragic ending with how this all plays out. There’s definitely no happiness to be found here that’s for sure.

The film takes a little time out to show how crazy parts of the legal system can be though with the villain admitting that he’ll just plead insanity if they actually try him in court. Since recordings outside of the court room don’t count he can blatantly admit to being the murderer as often as he wants but it won’t count. The whole thing definitely feels really crazy and I feel like the film was trying to point out how absurd the whole thing is. It’s unfortunately realistic in that sense. Sure, there’s a chance the heroes could win in court but it would all be a gamble so even by the end they’re playing to the villain’s tune.

Throughout the movie you’ve got a very heavy atmosphere since each of the deaths are so tragic. Each person is murdered in increasingly disturbing ways so it’s not like the murders were even quick or anything like that. Most of the murders aren’t on screen which is good at least but you do always see the aftermath and know what went down. It’s definitely not a film you’ll want to check out if you prefer to avoid the darker elements like that.

In the end that’s why the film can’t succeed. You ideally want a film where the heroes win and save the day on a fun adventure or if you’re going the darker route, have a villain who wins but has interesting ideals or the murders are quick and matter of fact. The more deranged you make the villain, the less likely the film is to succeed because it’s just going way too far the whole time. You don’t have time to enjoy the film because you’re constantly getting hit with these moments.

Overall, Se7en is a film you’ll want to avoid. It’s a rather gritty film where there are no winning battles. You can easily see why Williams is so jaded because every time he solves a case and sees these horrors, he has to know that more atrocities are being committed at the same time. After a while you just feel like giving up and that’s pretty much what happened to him. If you want to see a murder mystery film that reigns it in a lot more you’ll want to check out something like Clue instead. You’ve still got a lot of those themes and elements but without all the extra details that you’d rather not see.

Overall 3/10

Bigger Than Life Review

It’s never a good thing when you become bigger than life because that means that your ego is probably something you haven’t kept in check. This film has something like that happen to the main character but it’s not ego in this case. Instead it comes through not following the proper dosage on a drug and things get a little dicey. It’s why following the instructions for anything is so crucial.

The movie starts with showing us how sick Ed is. He’s been having seizures and fainting spells as of late so he is taken to the hospital and the prognosis is not very good. Ed will be dead in short order unless he tries an experimental treatment which could bump him off as well. It’s his best and only option though so he goes through with it. At first things appear to be fine but slowly Ed begins to go more and more insane to the point where even his family barely recognize him. Will Ed be okay or was this one case where the cure is deadlier than the condition?

Now, I mentioned that the issue is with Ed taking too much Corazon but even before that he started going a bit off the deep end. Sure this sped it up but based on how it appeared, he would have gone crazy sooner or later while taking these. Nowadays it’s more of a mainstream drug and I know it’s used on a lot of things so at least the going crazy part isn’t happening now.

Ed’s wife Lou doesn’t handle this too well the whole time though. On one hand she is trying to back up her husband at every turn which is admirable but it goes too far when he starts becoming a danger to everyone around them and she doesn’t act. He becomes quite harsh with their kid and starts acting like a drill sergeant. He doesn’t treat her very kindly half the time either and by the time she is finally ready to acknowledge that he is crazy..he is completely off his rocket. Her final plan also wasn’t subtle enough which nearly cost her everything.

The story has a happy ending but she didn’t contribute to that too much. She also should have been a lot nicer to Wally who just did his best to keep her in the loop and offer advice. She was rarely if ever grateful at all. Its fortunate that he was around in the end or thing would not have gone very well at all. Wally was easily my favorite character here. No matter how many verbal shots he took, the guy just kept trying to help anyway. Now that’s a really good friend.

As for the kid Richie, he’s not old enough to be able to do much of anything in this scenario anyway. He’s not a very interesting character and eventually also gets to his breaking point but there’s just no way for him to really impact the story. I don’t think you even needed him in the film since it doesn’t change much. You could have Ed threaten someone else instead for the same effect.

As for Ed, well it’s hard to like him here since he was taken over so completely by the drug and cracked. It’s too bad there weren’t at least scenes of him trying to fight it or we could see in his mind as the two sides of him fought. Instead since the brain washing was so complete and immediate, the only thing you can assume here is that he didn’t have the willpower to resist this. Hopefully he is able to stay strong now but for the majority of the film he’s effectively the antagonist.

The movie doesn’t have a very fun feeling to it the whole time either because of this. It’s either the characters running away from Ed or he’s just acting off. There aren’t a lot of light hearted moments after the first few scenes. The ones we do get later on are almost always interrupted into a more tense moment.

If the character cast was better then it would help the movie for sure. Instead this just ends up being a movie that you will get through but you probably won’t be recommending very high. It doesn’t really have any replay value either. The writing is good but the characters aren’t so it’s not really able to take full advantage of that. Some of the drama can also be a bit forced like Ed not letting Lou know about his part time job. While he indicated that she wouldn’t be happy about it, that’s not consistent with her character at all. Seems to me like she would not have thought that it was a very big deal at all.

So Ed’s perception may have already been a little off here. He was adding on extra stress to himself that he just didn’t need. Once he turned crazy he would certainly start making a lot of scenes like at the school and when he started to read his Bible but before that it didn’t seem like he had enough trust in Lou. If he had confided in her earlier and more often then she may have been able to help him get around the side effects right from the start. It’s why you can’t always go it alone in these things or you may end up being down and out.

Overall, Bigger Than Life is an emotional film about losing control of your mind. It’s definitely going for a pretty serious vibe and succeeds at that but as a result the movie just doesn’t have a lot of charm to it. You can get by without charm if the story is just that epic and engaging but this isn’t even that kind of adventure. It’s more of a low key story as the characters try their best to get through this tough period and there’s just not a whole lot of reasons to watch this one. It’s not bad and if you’re up for a more somber film then it’s worth a shot but you can definitely find something else to check out.

Overall 5/10

Justice Society: World War II Review

The Justice Society is a group that has always been overshadowed by the Justice League in the past. They’re a group with a lot of heart but typically can’t keep up in the power levels department. Plus, they tend to only be around in the past so there aren’t a lot of opportunities to show them off. Well, they finally got their own film and it’s a pretty good one. I feel like the setting holds the film back a bit and I never quite warmed up to the group but in the end you will have a good time with this one.

The movie starts off with the Justice Society group getting formed in the past while the Flash helps Superman fight off Brainiac in the present. Superman’s having a tough time for once as Brainiac is kicking him around and nearly finishes the job before the Flash steps in. However, the Flash was so eager to help that he accidentally ended up going a little too fast and warps to the past. The Society needs some help to fight off the Nazi’s so Flash is eager to support but will they still stand a chance once the Atlanteans get involved?

Now I know what you’re thinking. The Flash can whoop all the villains in an instant and then run home right? Well, to make sure that didn’t happen, the film has Flash lose most of his speed. The idea here is that since there are now 2 Flashes at once, the Speed Force can’t quite handle it and so they’re both slower since they’re tapping into the Speed Force. I have to assume that the Force gets stronger later on since you have guys like Bart and Wally using the Speed Force at the same time as Barry. So it might feel a bit convenient but I can respect wanting to keep the power levels from being too crazy.

Even with that you might not buy into the Flash having a tough time with most of these situations and that’s valid. Part of the issue with having the film be set during World War II is that there aren’t many real threats to go up against the group. It’s a little harder to throw in tension when you’ve got superheroes fighting off random guys with guns. It’s naturally satisfying to see the Nazi’s get wrecked of course but by the same token you won’t feel very nervous for the heroes even when the stakes are high. The movie isn’t afraid to get rather serious about how not everyone will make it out of this one.

There’s also a really good twist the film has later on which completely helps to redefine what’s happening. I thought that was excellent and it allowed the film to really effectively use the setting. You could probably even take it farther but it may run the risk of the Justice Society being overshadowed in their own film so that could have been risky. As it was, adding Aquaman and his right hand man was a really good idea here because now Wonder woman had someone to fight. Obviously she is really the power hitter of the group and so you need someone who can actually fight her.

Aquaman vs Wonder Woman is absolutely the highlight of the film. Their fight has a lot of back and forth to it and can be surprisingly long. It’s not a one and done kind of deal which is great. Aquaman seemed to have the slight edge in their fights but it was fairly even so it would take him a while to win. Personally I’d consider Wonder Woman to be stronger in most continuities but she always did seem weaker in the older eras so I suppose I can see how Aquaman would win here.

Either way having super powered action is definitely the way to go. The present fight against Brainiac was also fun. Honestly it’s almost too good since that makes for a much more engaging story than what’s actually happening in the war. You already know most of the main storybeats of World War II after all even if they’re adding extra super villains and threats around. In the present it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s happening. That’s enough on the setting though.

For the animation, it’s using the style that the last few DC films have so it is definitely a keeper for this continuity. While it’s definitely a lot weaker than the more traditional DC films like Superman Doomsday and all the New 52 items, the fight scenes look good. While the colors may all be faded out in that New Frontier/Superfriends kind of look, the choreography shows up. Aquaman was swinging his staff around like he was Thor using Mjolnir. The battles are fast paced and definitely work well.

The soundtrack isn’t particularly memorable though as I couldn’t recall any main themes. The character designs are all on point with the exception of Wonder Woman. She reminded me of Rocketman for some reason with how her head was extremely sharp and seemed like the crown was on so tight that the whole shape changed. You’ll know what I mean as soon as you start the film. I never really got used to it and hopefully her appearances in the modern era wouldn’t have that issue. It was the only design that didn’t quite seem right.

As for the characters, it was a solid cast overall. Barry felt a bit more like Wally with how he was joking around the whole film. Barry’s personality does change a whole lot based on what continuity you’re in though so I wouldn’t say it’s out of character but a little different from the Barry I’m used to. He tends to sandbag in the fights a whole lot but does good in clutch situations. Superman naturally looks great in the present even if he still tends to make some rookie mistakes. In the past their version of Superman’s definitely not as good though. Definitely not someone who will have your back.

Then we have the Justice Society and their gang seems rather wound up as they yell a lot and are quick to move against Flash. I thought they were completely unreasonable during the first meetup and it took them a while to really get going. Surprisingly Hawkman seems to be the most levelheaded member of the group. He tries to get everyone to work together and also talks them through the tough moments. It’s definitely one of his best animated portrayals yet.

Wonder Woman has fun with the group and seems like a decent leader. She makes some questionable decisions (Leaving Black Canary to guard the Flash…really? but is ultimately the reason the group is still alive as she can deal with the threats that nobody else can. Hour Man still makes for an interesting hero with how his powers work but man is it a huge weakness. He just can’t stay active for very long and his powers are constantly running out as a result of that. Jay is the Flash from this team and I thought he was good. He seems to have not practiced with his powers as much as Barry so he doesn’t know how to do a lot of things but he also comes through with one trick that Barry didn’t know so that helps to even it out. He’s a nice enough guy and does tend to support Barry.

Black Canary gets a rather big role here as she gets some character development. She can be rather rude to Flash without provocation and we learn why that is later on. Her power is certainly very helpful that’s for sure. Finally there’s Steve Trevor who may not really be a member of the group but he’s always around to help and provide cover fire. You have to give him credit for jumping into all of these dangerous situations without hesitation. Takes a lot of guts to do that and he is definitely a great role model for all the heroes.

For the villains, Aquaman’s right hand man wasn’t particularly interesting. Mind control is definitely handy for many reasons but as a villain he barely had any real personality. He’s the kind of guy who plays all of the sides but can’t really fight on his own. As for Aquaman, he has no strength of will here and gets manipulated all of the time so it’s not a great look for him. He has great power but really needs to work on his mental defenses.

Overall, Justice Society is a very balanced movie. It’s got a lot of positives going for it without a doubt but ultimately doesn’t excel in any one area which is why it won’t go down as one of the more memorable ones. I’d like to see the Justice Society return in the present someday, now that could make for a pretty good battle movie. Still, if you’re looking for a solid movie to watch then you can’t go wrong here. The pacing is good and it’s an all around enjoyable experience.

Overall 7/10

The Sorcerers Review

This is definitely what I would consider to be one of the more mean spirited movies. It’s really just about someone getting absolutely crushed by another person’s mental abilities and you’re just thinking, “You have to fight!”. Whether that means talking into the mirror and saying the words fight over and over again or getting a pair of glasses since the lead is always grabbing his face, you have to find a way to resist the telepathic abilities of the enemy. If you don’t, then the game is already over before the match has even begun.

The movie starts off with Mike not being the nicest fellow as he ditches his girlfriend and best friend for no real reason. He decides to just hang around town to have a good time but gives up on this and ends up going to a bar. At this point he is approached by an old man named Marcus who guarantees he can give Mike a good time. Mike figures this doesn’t sound ominous at all and follows the guy to his flat where he is strapped into a chair and hypnotized. When he awakens from this he doesn’t feel any different and leaves but now it turns out that he can be mind controlled by Marcus and his wife Estelle. At first it’s innocent enough as they have him break an egg and they just enjoy feeling different sensations. Then things grow a little darker and Marcus starts to have second thoughts about this.

While Marcus seems like he would be the main antagonist here, he’s mostly just kicked around the whole time. He looks so weak in the film too that you have to shake your head. Like come on man, you can do much better than this can’t you? It feels like he is just not contributing much at all here. Surprisingly he still talks tough the whole time and while he ultimately makes a move at the very end, he just handled everything horribly. How do you get defeated so completely like this?

Meanwhile Estelle is definitely as cruel as can be. She isn’t afraid to push the envelope and do what she feels needs to be done. There’s nothing really interesting about her though. She gets drunk at one point and starts talking about making this a game so it seems like she just always wanted to prove that she was stronger than Marcus? Perhaps there is a good backstory in there somewhere but this film definitely didn’t have time for that.

As for Mike, like I said he’s basically got 0 agency in this film. He doesn’t remember what is happening to him while he is being mind controlled and has absolutely no way of stopping it. He has 0 defenses and just gets turned at the drop of a hat. Even when he isn’t being controlled he doesn’t seem like a nice character. The guy ditches his friends for no reason and is always very defensive. He’s not quite a murderer like what the villains turned him into but it’s clear that he’s not going to be much of a protagonist.

Alan and Nicole are the other two main characters I suppose but it’s not like they can do a whole lot about this. They suspect that something is going on with Mike but it doesn’t make sense since they’ve been friends for so long so they try to get more details. It does make sense why this whole thing does not make sense since of course mind control is involved but they would have no way of knowing that.

The only exciting part of the film is the climax where we get a whole car chase. The cops are mostly on the back foot here as they keep missing the turns but ultimately they still keep at it until the end. The heroes are really left with no answers but the ending is conclusive. It is just not a very satisfying fun. You’ll feel bad for the various victims who are attacked here. Ultimately they won’t get a whole lot of justice here with how things ended up.

It’s not at all rare to have a film like this where the villain has their fun until dying but the times it doesn’t work is when the heroes don’t get to do much. You can definitely say that this is true of this film because if you think about it, the heroes did almost nothing here. Ultimately the old man had to make a move himself and it certainly took him a long time to do this. The movie ends up dragging because you know how it’s going to end but the build up is just so crazy long. It feels like it never ends until the film is over.

At least I do still like the British way of speaking here. The various mannerisms like ending a sentence with “isn’t it?” as a rhetorical question is always nice. The script isn’t bad either and if the film was longer or the writing better then the movie could have capitalized on this with some strong dialogue. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be and so we didn’t get to fully experience this as much as we should have.

Overall, The Sorcerers is definitely a pretty weak film. It really just has the character get mind controlled over and over again without putting up any kind of defenses. That’s what really holds him back. I would have liked to have seen some restraint or at least being able to confront the villains in the end. It would be more interesting than just seeing him broken down over and over again. The whole film has a rather underground vibe to it as everything is dark and dreary even though it’s still day time. The idea of being able to share sensations is interesting enough but the downsides will always outweigh the positives. In a way you’re putting your life in someone else’s hands after all.

Overall 3/10

Gemini Man Review

I remember seeing the promotions for Gemini Man when it was first coming out. It definitely looked like a pretty interesting story with the main character having to go up against himself. You can’t really go wrong there right? Well, the movie delivers and while their confrontation may end up being a rather small part of the movie, it’s still a fun concept. The film delivers on having a good amount of action scenes and so in the end I was satisfied here. I’d be up for a sequel.

The movie starts with Henry taking someone out as per his job as an assassin but his shot is a little off the mark. He doesn’t shoot someone else by mistake or anything but he figures that it’s a sign he needs to retire. In this business you have to be 100% accurate after all and he’s done well for the government so they should let him go right? Well, not this time. He’s seen as a liability now who may know too much and so a bunch of assassins are sent after him. Henry takes most of them down no problem, but one of them looks just like him. Now Henry’s conflicted about just bumping this guy off and wants to learn more. Accompanied by agent Danny and his old friend Baron, Henry will have to travel the globe now.

I always like it when a movie picks up right away and that happens here. The assassins attack very early on in the movie. We get to see why Henry is known as the best because taking these guys out isn’t really a problem for him. The only reason he struggles at all in the movie is really because of the dilemma of having to beat his younger self. Otherwise it’s shown time and time again that nobody is going to beat Henry in a straight fight. The guy’s just too good at what he does.

So the fight scenes are interesting with how he’s fighting defensively and still having the upper hand. I thought he did a good job with the smoke bombs and in general did handle himself like a pro. Henry’s also just a likable character. He’s trying not to sink further into the darkness especially now that he knows the government may have had him bumping off some innocent people. His days of being an assassin are long gone but of course he still will take out almost anyone else who comes after him.

The villains need better armor though. I can’t tell you how many of these guys were wearing armored helmets and the shot ended up piercing right through them anyway. That’s definitely not a good look for those guys. There was only one exception to this for the final boss who actually had real solid armor. That was a great 2 v 1 fight too. The film pulled out all the stops here and this could have passed for a comic book fight with how fast everyone was moving. Now this opponent wasn’t exactly normal so I can’t praise the armor for everything but it stood up to a whole lot of punishment which is what a good armor should do. Especially since it’s from the government here.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the government was holding back to save on expenses with how corrupt they appeared to be here though. This was definitely not one of the more heroic versions. You had a few of them make a bunch of excuses throughout the whole film on how this was not their fault and how they couldn’t actually do anything about all of this but it just felt like excuses all the way through. At least the main villain Clay was straight forward about being a villain. He just wants to make as many clones as possible and he figures that will reduce the amount of lives that have to be lost in every war.

The whole premise revolves around the idea that these clones aren’t real people though which is problematic at best. Personally once a clone has been created I would say it’s a real person particularly since they can feel emotions and everything. You’d have to create a clone with no emotions or traces of a soul to even start to convince me otherwise and that would be a tough one. It’s an interesting motivation though and I did think Clay was a good villain.

As for the heroine Danny, she’s solid as well. She helps out a lot during the fights and never holds the main character back. I’m always glad when the characters are all doing their part as needed and Danny really proved herself by jumping in during the climax and getting some shots across. Her conversation with Junior was also good and so she showed why she is a full fledged agent.

Then you have Baron who is here as the comic relief sidekick to an extent. I mean, he’s not really a sidekick as he’s got his own thing going on. I guess it’s better to say that he’s a friend who shows up with his helicopter to help out but he doesn’t get to do a whole lot here. You never feel like he has the same expertise as the other characters. Props for coming in to help but that’s about it for him.

As for Junior, he makes for a solid villain here. Naturally he’s really kept out of the loop here on who the heroes and villains are so that makes the deck stacked against him right from the start but as the film goes on he gradually gets to learn more and more about what he should be doing. Junior doesn’t always make the right moves here but ultimately he’s a good kid that grew up in the wrong setting. Once he’s able to get past that then he’s all set for future adventures.

The ending to the movie is satisfying and so you’ve got a solid action movie right here. There aren’t any real memorable tunes here but the special effects are good and the battles are on point. The pacing is good and the writing is solid so this really does nail down the fundamentals. Surprisingly there is no stinger for a sequel or anything like that so this really seems to be a completely stand alone title.

Overall, Gemini Man is a pretty good movie and I’d definitely recommend it. At most I think the only negative you may have here is that the actual fight between the two main characters stops being the focus early on. We only get to see them have an all out fight where both are trying their best once and it’s clear that Henry could have won that match in an instant. Once he chooses not to go for the win, that’s when you realize that we aren’t going to get those big battles at least with these two. There is still a solid fight underground but Henry is never really trying to win. Still, we do get a lot of battles either way so it’s not something that would really hurt for the film for me.

Overall 7/10

Leviathan Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

It’s time for a monster movie but unfortunately not one that comes close to topping a bunch of the classic ones. This plays out more like Alien than Godzilla after all. Some interesting ideas here for sure and I liked every moment with corporate but in the end this could not become a winner. Instead it is doomed to be forgotten as one of the titles that just couldn’t keep up in the end.

The movie Steven and his team of underwater miners getting ready to finally leave the submarine. They’ve been down here for months and are eager to get back to dry land. They just have to grab some more materials and then they are set. Their group is slowly starting to crack up too so this was really good timing but one of the guys gets greedy and brings up a treasure chest. It’s not just any old chest either and contains a drink that implants a monster. This creature will not stop at anything in its quest to destroy them all. Can Steven and his group stop this thing or are they about to be completely eliminated?

Now with a movie like this it’s not a huge surprise that the cast is unlikable but it’s still disappointing. There is only so much that you can do when the cast is unlikable after all. I’ll get into each crew member in a second here but Steven did not have a lot to work with. Steven could be a little naïve as well with how he thinks corporate is looking after them so he’s not perfect but I suppose he probably wouldn’t have taken the job if he hadn’t thought that to some extent. Who would really think that corporate is absolutely leaving you to dry right?

The film is not subtle about how corporate is corrupt here. Every time Martin appears on the phone it’s to tell the heroes that there are some delays or not to worry about things. She says it all in a very fake voice the whole time though so you know that she never means it. It makes for a very satisfying scene at the end of the movie while also making her not look very smart though. Lets just say that by the end of the film she shouldn’t be expecting a warm reception and should have some kind of backup plan at the ready. Otherwise she’s just not putting herself in a good spot here.

Okay so lets talk about the rest of the characters. Sixpack is the worst member by far. He just wants to mess around with one of the ladies on the ship and doesn’t think about anything else. He defies orders all of the time and puts the whole crew’s safety in jeopardy. He’s absolutely not the guy that you want to have your back because odds are that he won’t have it. Doc is one of the main characters and while he’s not as bad as Sixpack, he’s certainly not very responsible himself.

Picture this, you’re underwater and end up damaging your suit. This is serious but you know that you have a doctor watching you so it’ll be okay. That’s when you get the call that the doctor stepped out. Really? Doc does this kind of thing a lot based on how the characters discuss this and it’s basically because he wants to drink. A character very nearly dies in the opening minutes because he wasn’t there and Doc does not care.

Doc then makes some horrible moves at the end like trusting corporate one last time and backstabbing his allies. From there I knew that he had absolutely no chance of making a comeback for me. There’s just no excuse for any of this when you’re the ship’s doctor and the one that everyone is depending on. That’s just an awful look all the way around.

Bowman was rather reasonable so she’s one of the few crewmembers that wasn’t annoying. Unfortunately there isn’t much of a place to escape to on this ship and her role ends up being rather small. Ultimately the experience was too much for her and she probably didn’t suffer as much as most of the others ultimately would. Justin was probably the most helpful member of the crew and did a lot to support Steven here. That’s why the ending feels like a bit much because of how things play out. This guy really put in a lot of work.

The movie doesn’t seem to be too sure of what it even wants to do in the end though. There is happy music playing throughout the climax even when it should be a very somber tone at the time because of how things went down and you know….almost everyone is dead. Still the happy music goes on and then we get the big punch at the end. The punch was hype at least, that’s definitely the way to end things even if I think corporate could have played that a little smarter. You don’t want corporate to win per say but just make it an interesting fight and I think that makes for a more interesting climax.

Sadly the monster doesn’t have a great design for most of this. It’s more of a Blob than anything as it controls the human hosts. Think of it like a symbiote that’s running around but instead of a cool Venom design, it’s just undead. It makes the human hosts rather warped and isn’t super fast but makes up for that with power. If it catches you then it’s game over. The shark that appears for a second for no reason had more intensity to it than the monster.

Monsters reanimating a person’s body will never be as threatening or scary because that means it’s bound by how a person can move. Switch that out for a creature that can zip around at super speeds and now you’ve got something more dangerous. It also makes for more gross scenes like when we come close to the Alien chestburst scene and just in general the humans begging to die as the alien walks around a bunch. (It’s basically an alien after all) This film very much wanted to redo the Alien story while underwater and I gotta say that it did not work. Going for an actual underwater creature would have been a whole lot better.

Overall, Leviathan is not a winner here. It starts off on the wrong foot by having a really rough main cast of characters and doesn’t get any better with that underwhelming monster. When you mix it all together, you’ve got a thriller that isn’t ready for prime time. I would say the movie for once would be better without a monster. Have them stuck down there and they have to figure out how to get up without corporate stopping them. Then you could have a good thriller story with a lot of mind games. Not sure the writing would be up to it but the premise would work a whole lot better if you ask me.

Overall 3/10

Jeepers Creepers Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Oh nooooo, you know when you start a film and quickly figure it’s not going to be a winner? That’s this one in a nutshell. It has some interesting moments and doesn’t always go in the way you would expect but at the end of the day it’s just another horror slasher kind of film with a rather grotesque villain. The movie plays up the creep factor on this guy and ultimately you’re not expecting much of a happy ending here. It’s not ultimately a winner in my book.

The movie starts with Trish and her brother Danny driving home. It’s been a while since they were there so they’re looking forward to having a blast. Then a random truck shows up which tries to blow them off the road. They barely manage to escape but it just keeps appearing which is odd. Eventually they see the owner of the truck throwing some bodies down a tube so Danny decides that they absolutely have to check this out although Trish is against the idea. They head over and Danny falls into the tube of course. He’s got to find a way out and fast because this guy is coming back soon and he’s going to be dangerous.

The film references horror movie tropes quite a bit at the beginning to try and be clever but the characters make the same mistakes anyway so part of you wonders if it was even necessary. If I point out that it’s a bad idea to split up but still split up in the next scene is that smart writing or just trying too hard? I would argue it’s the latter personally but that’s just me. These characters do not make the best moves, particularly Danny though. Heading back to the long tube was not the right idea. Call the cops or something once you get to a phone but stopping there won’t really help anyone.

Lets imagine there were people who were alive down there. It’s not like the car is very big so you couldn’t take more then 3-4 people with you at best and it’s assuming a lot of things like getting back out of the tunnel safely. Now in this kind of movie it’s safe to say that nothing they do matters since the Creeper can reality warp and do whatever he wants but they have to at least try and give themselves a fighting chance. This is really just slowing them down.

Initially I thought the whole film would be inside the tube but Danny does get out pretty quick. For a little while he’s completely traumatized so that he can’t even speak. I figured this meant he had been turned evil or something but he ultimately snaps out of it even if he might wish that he didn’t. There aren’t really any winners in a film like this and the longer you survive, the more odds you have of having a painful death. You want to go out quickly but that’s not an option for most of the characters here.

So for the Creeper, he’s got a grotesque design as you would expect. The guy is rather twisted and likes disposing of his victims in as vicious a way as possible. He even leaves them alive sometimes to suffer even further. This is a villain you don’t want to be captured by, it’s better to be blown up if you think things are trending in that direction. The film definitely would have done well to tone down a lot of these scenes like the tongue part when he takes out one of his first victims. It’s definitely not needed at all and is there for shock value. That’s really it, there’s no other reason for that.

The movie relishes in its shock value all the time like when Danny unwraps one of the bodies. Definitely a very tragic way to die, no doubt about that. The ending doesn’t hold back either with being very dark. In the end there usually isn’t much point to these supernatural horror films because there is really nothing that you can possibly do to take down the villain. I want to say that’s even more true than usual here as the characters even run him over numerous times at one point. Danny naturally made another wrong call when he said that the Creeper had enough. No he hasn’t?

Of course this probably wouldn’t have stopped him for long but yeah just keep pummeling him in the hopes that you can take the guy out for good. Unfortunately the Creeper has a regeneration factor, flight, and seems to be bullet proof. That definitely makes him very hard to take down. We do have a scene where the entire police force shows up to try their luck though. That actually made for a rather decent action scene and it’s rare to see so many cops around at the same time like that. Naturally most of them are doomed for having slow reaction times and just watching.

The Creeper also seems to be fairly smart as he went around burning the evidence. Not sure why he would even bother though since it’s not like he has anything to fear. He always wins in the end anyway but I guess this would make the heroes despair a little more the whole time. Jezelle is the only real supporting character and she’s not very helpful. She can see the future but never enough to actually help the characters out. Take her out of the film and absolutely nothing changes at all.

The characters don’t even try to let her help them though. They just keep yelling and at some points actively go against her. Early on in the film she tells them to get out of the area if they hear the Jeepers Creepers song. Instead when they hear it, Danny cranks up the volume as we see the Creeper murder a bunch of people. So when she said that Danny is trapped in a room with the song they should definitely bolt out of there together. Sure, you’re just delaying the inevitable but you have to try something right?

There’s also a crazy cat lady who shows up at one point. I at least liked that she had the shotgun at the ready though. She even gets a few shots out at the creature but naturally that won’t end up doing anything. He’s just way too powerful for any of that so resistance is futile. As always I give props for effort at least, she got like 4-5 shots off which is more than most horror characters.

But yeah the film is definitely quite violent the whole time. The script also isn’t great, the dialogue between Danny and Trish is rough. They’re constantly bickering and acting real petty the whole time. I would not say that the dynamic worked very well at all and got old fast. This is the kind of film where there isn’t really much positive to say about it at all. It’s relentless in how dark and depressing the whole thing is. The situation keeps growing worse and worse for them.

Overall, Jeepers Creepers is a film you’ll want to stay far away from. It’s just going through the motions of all the horror movie moments without any soul to it. For a film like this it would always be nice if the heroes had some way to fight. At least throw them a bone of some hope that there is even a way to defeat this guy. Otherwise it feels like Creeper is just toying with them the whole time. If there’s no chance at victory or of doing anything else then that’s a good sign to the writers that he is simply too strong. Gotta balance him out just a bit to give the hero some kind of hope.

Overall 1/10

Nosferatu Review

It’s time for a silent movie and I have to say that those can definitely be tricky. Now what do I mean by that? Well, here’s the score. A silent movie has access to almost none of the things I really like about movies. Solid dialogue, great sound effects, etc. That’s all gone here and so the movie’s a bit of a chore to get through and ends up being dragged on for a whole lot. This is one of the few films that gets a lot score not because the film is awful but because it is dreadfully boring. Has to be one of the least entertaining films I’ve seen in a while.

The movie starts off with Thomas getting ready to head out because he has found someone to buy the house next to him. This will be the rich Count Orlok who is not very well liked by the locals. Thomas isn’t scared but weird things begin to happen at the castle like when Orlok tries to drink his blood. Is this guy just very quirky or is he an actual danger? Thomas isn’t sure and isn’t really the smartest character in the film. His wife Ellen may need to be the one to help out but even if she has visions, what can she actually do about them?

From the start the movie just couldn’t grab my attention. The music isn’t very interesting. It’s pretty much one main track that plays for the whole movie and just goes into different phases to shake things up. It’s not a theme that has particularly aged well in any respect and is just too low key. Perhaps it beats not having any music at all but it really could have been so much better. I won’t say much about the visuals because it’s all so old though.

Additionally, I thought Count Orlok’s design was actually not that bad. It’s aged pretty decently. What hasn’t aged decently is how all of the other characters also look sinister at times. I don’t think this was intentional but Ellen and even Thomas fall into that a bit. Thomas looks half crazy and doesn’t seem to understand the situation the whole time. He is extremely slow on the uptake. You’d think Orlok trying to suck up his blood when he cut his thumb would have been enough, but no not quite. It takes more than that to really get to Thomas and he should have tried to escape sooner. He put himself in the worst possible place and it shows. By the end things work out but I wouldn’t say due to any great contributions by Thomas. He was just along for the ride half the time.

If he was a more interesting main character that could have helped the film a great deal. Then you have Ellen as the heroine who is nice enough. Her strength of will may not have been amazing here but I’ll chalk that up as being more impressive for Orlok rather than being a shot against her. Something tells me that no character in this film would have done great in that moment. As for Orlok, he definitely needs to have a better handle on his strengths and weaknesses. If he did then he probably would have done a whole lot better in this film. As it is, I wouldn’t say he did awful but there’s really no reason why he shouldn’t defeat everyone. The weapons in this time were not super advanced nor were there security cameras so if he played things well he could keep winning for all of eternity.

The ending is definitely not a particularly happy one even with Orlok gone. Ultimately humanity lost this round big time. It was interesting how there was a whole plot about how the town thought a plague was going around initially. Now that’s an element that could be a little interesting so naturally the film doesn’t have too much time for it. Becoming a vampire is like a plague in a sense and getting bit by one can seem like that too. Now you start to go into zombie territory if this was to continue too much but it’s a different take for sure.

Ultimately Orlok never felt like a huge threat to me but it would be difficult for the film to pull that off without any talking out loud. I watch anime subbed sometimes so I can’t say that’s a big issue but the big issue here really comes down to you not being able to get in on the action. Reading is all well and good but without a soundtrack you don’t have a chance at an emotional appeal. Without true dialogue you don’t get a lot of depth. Without solid effects you are left wanting a whole lot more than what you got.

Part of why the film is scored so low is it’s hard for me to know where to even start to try and improve this one. Particularly if I try within the confines of a silent film and the limitations it would have had at the time. Similar to how I don’t think I would be nearly as big a video game fan as I am now if I grew up back in the day, I don’t think I would have been a big fan of the cinema in the silent era. It’s just hard to see how you can make these films all that interesting.

It’s probably early to judge a whole genre/style of film off of one installment but that’s how discouraging this one was. I suppose the first step is to either have no music if it was going to sound like this or to find a way to have some better tracks in there. Either one would help things a great deal. Throw in a better story with no vampires and that can help as well. I’ve never been a vampire fan and I wouldn’t say this did anything to change my mind.

Overall, Nosferatu is a movie that feels like it’s 3 hours long. It really drags and drags as you wait for something to happen but it never does. Even the climax is really low key if you think about it. There was no climactic fight or even a chance for the cops to throw in a bunch of guns and take this guy down. The ending is almost a bit sudden if you think about it and doesn’t make Orlok look great. I suppose that’s just the way it had to be but yeah that’s a thumbs down from me. Stay far away from this film. While it doesn’t have the long string of negatives you would expect a 2 star movie to have, it has one of the big ones which is just that it’s really boring the whole time.

Overall 2/10

Parker Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Time for one of those classic revenge thriller films. Parker doesn’t really try to break out of the ordinary but the execution is strong enough where that’s not really a concern. It’s an entertaining film that’s rather solid and at the end of the day that’s all that you need. The ending reminds me of Blade and John Wick too. This could have become a pretty fun franchise but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

The movie starts with Parker completing another mission with a group of thieves. They’re rookies that made a lot of mistakes but at least they’re alive. That’s when one of them decides to change the terms of the deal and tells Parker he can either help them out on another caper and put all of his money in the pot or get shot. Parker decides to get shot so he’s wrecked and left for dead. Fortunately a passing family was able to nurse him back to health. Parker wants revenge now and he will do whatever it takes to track these guys down.

Meanwhile in the B plot you have Leslie who is really trying to sell houses and make a name for herself but it’s been tough. She’s been upstages by her coworkers for a while now and her current life just feels rather empty. Well, one day she notices Parker and what a shady fellow he is and figures this is her big chance to get rich. If she plays her cards right then a whole new life will open up for her but if she makes any mistakes this could be curtains. The two plots certainly feel very different and it’s a little while until she actually appears but of course the plots do line up.

Right off the bat I can tell you that the inevitable romance is not very good. One thing to consider here is that Parker already has a steady girlfriend in Claire. So as soon as Leslie appears you already know that Parker is taken so any romance that starts up will really make him look bad. Unfortunately he doesn’t stay totally strong and reject her so we do have a brief romance stint here which is completely unneeded. It’s really the definition of having this here to meet the romance quota when it would have been perfectly reasonable to have just had them stay as friends. Would have made a whole lot more sense too.

With the main plot being about chasing the mobsters, you do want to have more going on since this is rather basic. None of them stand a chance against Parker and they know it so all they can do is put enough annoyances in his way to try and slow the guy down. Every time Parker closes in on the mobster there’s a whole other level to this. The actual leader is hard to find even with Parker’s connections. They definitely move around a lot but the fights are good when they happen. Parker definitely knows how to fight when it’s time to rumble.

His only disappointing scene is at the very beginning when he gets into the car and seems to not have any real plan before getting shot. He really should have died there and is supremely lucky that things didn’t work out. It would have been a rather underwhelming way to go out and you feel like he should have been able to handle things a little better with how experienced he likely is by this point.

As for Claire, she has much more reason to make mistakes because this just isn’t her field. Just a day ago she was a normal real estate agent and now she’s in the field with all kinds of dangerous threats. You can absolutely excuse her not always knowing the right thing to do but I can’t afford the same to Parker. Leslie is ultimately a fun heroine. Her mother and dog also make for fairly decent supporting characters.

Claire doesn’t appear a whole lot but she gets some points for not nagging Parker the whole time and she is quick to come over and patch him up when the guy gets injured. She makes it clear that she is in his corner the whole time. Then you have Hurley who is definitely a solid character. As the experienced veteran in the room he is able to follow what Parker is saying the whole time and has a lot of connections of his own. He may not be young enough to get into the field nowadays but he does contribute a whole lot.

None of the villains are all that memorable though. Picture any random mobster and you’ve got these guys. From the start it was a bad idea to double cross Parker and move on to this mission. If they had just waited a while and suggested it peacefully then maybe he would have been on board. Either way why do a double cross there and add a huge risk to the operation. For all they knew the car could have crashed or Parker could have shot a few of them and that would wreck their entire plan.

I enjoyed the heist from the beginning of the film though. The villains may have messed it up but it’s cool to see all of what was going on. The costumes were good and Parker did have a solid disguise on which definitely made the scene a little funny even during the hold up. His Texas accent was also pretty good and that made for a lot of fun scenes. The film knew how to handle its humor for sure and those would be some of the best scenes.

The action moments still get tense of course and so this balances out into a good film. It’s not quite solid enough around the board for me to take it to the next level but it definitely never gets boring. It’s got a good amount of replay value and the writing is good enough. The fights are good and we really get to learn a good amount about the cast. So if they wanted to make a franchise out of this it would have been a good idea.

Overall, Parker is a good action movie. It’s very by the numbers for the most part but I wouldn’t say any part of the movie is phoned in. It’s still got a good amount of effort behind it at all times. It’s going in a lot of different directions are far as the tone is concerned and that could work well in a sequel too. Or if they want to go with one tone and stick to it that would work too since they were all solid. The film’s probably forgotten by most by now but give it a shot if you come across it.

Overall 6/10

WarGames Review

Wargames was a pretty decent film. It’s always fun to see an A.I. decide to go off the deep end and take everyone down for the count. What do you do when it has truly gone mad right? I do think the kids hold it back a bit though especially when they don’t think of basic solutions to some of these issues. For example, the whole time I was waiting for the main guy to just type in “I surrender” or “I forfeit” and the game could possibly end that way.

The movie starts with a surprisingly serious scene as it appears Russia has fired some nukes at the USA. We see two guys getting the codes ready but at the last second one of them is unable to pull the trigger. His partner even prepares to shoot him over it. We then see that this was all a test but of course they failed it so now the government wants to make things more automatic. They put an A.I. known as Joshua in charge of the nukes but its actual name is something so long they abbreviate it to the WOPR.

We then cut to the actual main character of this, David. David is a computer whiz who likes to keep testing his limits. He is now at the level where he can even hack into the school systems to change his grades which is fortunate because he’s a bit of a slacker and has been consistently failing in his classes. That definitely can’t be allowed to stand and so he is now going to get an A in these classes. He decides to show off to his friend Jennifer and improves her grades as well. One day he hears about a game store opening up so he decides to hack their computers to play some games.

Instead he ends up hacking the government by mistake and challenges Joshua to a game of nuclear war. Their battle will be epic but David doesn’t really understand the rules and quickly grows bored. Of course to Joshua this is very real and he starts causing chaos. This sinks in when David sees this on the news and now he is in danger of being captured by the government. Can he find a way to turn Joshua off/end the game or is it curtains for him? His one hope may be to find the creator of Joshua, the legendary Falken.

So like I said, at no point does David think to just tell Joshua that he surrenders once he finds out that this is real. I feel like that would have been the best thing to do instead of asking things like “Are we still playing?”. He wastes his opportunities spectacularly and this ultimately ends up making things worse for everyone. If he had just made a basic move before then the whole film could have ended early. I also thought he didn’t do a great job explaining the government.

Not to place all the blame on his side, they were barely listening to him too. I loved all the scenes with the government though because that kind of thing is always up my alley. I was glad that the army general got to feel validated in how he kept saying that automation was a bad idea because it does always turn out that way in these films. With something as serious as nuclear weapons I think it’s fair to say that this should stay a manual process. There are ways tech can help of course but don’t give it full control.

As for Jennifer, she was a solid character. She at least tried to resist the urge to cheat initially even if it overpowered her in the end. Jennifer also didn’t give up as easily like when she suggested swimming back to town, only it turned out that David couldn’t swim. She was definitely a much better protagonist from the two although I wouldn’t say any were great or anything. It would have been cool if she stuck to her guns and decided to take her grade fair and square.

Then we have Falken who has basically written humanity off to be exterminated. Nice guy eh? I’m impressed that he was able to resign from his fairly important job in the army without a hassle but this isn’t a conspiracy movie or something like that so I suppose it tracks. By the end he helps out a bit in at least keeping the government from making the wrong move but it’s quite telling that initially he was just going to watch as humanity was wiped out. I did agree with him on at least one thing though. If a nuclear war happens you want to be at a primary target location so you are obliterated immediately instead of slowly through nuclear fallout.

As for the A.I. Joshua, the computer was pretty neat. I thought he did a good job of staying one step ahead of the humans at all time. At the end of the day he just wanted to play something fun and did request Chess a few times. David is the one who made sure that wasn’t possible. I don’t blame Joshua for not liking Tic Tac Toe though. It’s definitely not a game that’s fun to play after you figure out how not to lose.

WarGames is a film that tries to balance being aimed at kids while still having a grown up vibe at times. I would say it handles this pretty well too. I still say the very first scene was surprising in just how serious it was relative to the rest of the movie. Because of that you do wish that it could have just focused on the grownups the whole time. Personally I do think this would have made it the better experience in the end. The kids just tend to hold the experience back with these things.

Overall, WarGames is a good film. I was definitely entertained while watching it. Yes, some scenes may be a little unbelievable like David actually sneaking off of a government compound but the movie never gets silly or anything like that. By and large I can also see how this hacking would be possible since back then people just weren’t super tech savvy and I’m sure there were back doors everywhere. Even now it feels like nothing is secure with how each company constantly gets hacked. It’s always easier to attack than to defend after all and it’s also a better call for why you want your nukes fairly isolated. Just have detailed plans and avenues to get contact to the people in the silos.

Overall 6/10