Seventh Son Review


It’s time to look at your classic fantasy adventure film. The chosen hero of legend who cannot be defeated has arrived to show the world his true power and end the reigning darkness. The story thinks it is a lot more emotional than it actually is and the problem here is that the main characters just don’t make for good leads. Ah well, I suppose the film tried its best, but it certainly won’t be surviving the test of time.

The film starts out with an evil Dragon witch by the name of Malkin wrecking everybody. She destroyed all of the famous knights and now Gregory is the only one left. He defeated her and she lay dormant for many years. Gregory used this time to go to his local bar and get drunk while his apprentice urged others not to fight him. Gregory has a history of murdering his opponents based on his apprentice’s desperation. A swordsman tries to get Gregory to save a little girl who is being possessed, but Gregory wants his beer instead and beats the guy up. It was definitely one of the saddest moments in the film since the guy was just trying to help. Gregory heads over and it turns out that Malkin is back. He defeats her again, but she murders his apprentice so Gregory heads over to a nearby shack and recruits Tom. Tom decides that he has to go since he’s been having dreams about this for a long time now and that means he can ignore logic. He heads out and is ready to take Malkin down.

Thing is, he meets up with another witch named Alice who claims that witches aren’t so bad. Tom agrees since he instantly sees the romantic implications of this and agrees to keep her a secret from Gregory. Knowing that this can’t go wrong and Gregory has been risking Tom’s life needlessly anyway, there’s no harm done. Will they be able to take Malkin and her army of hyped up generals down or is it all for naught? Time to find out!

So, as you can probably tell from the tone of the intro, I don’t like Gregory. He just comes off as a rather mean guy who is only a protagonist because he happens to be a decent fighter. He didn’t care about saving the girl and didn’t seem to care much when his old disciple died as his first line after that was to complain about the time he wasted on the kid. He’s also not very smart of just likes to lie as he constantly gives Tom the wrong advice (Like “Trolls are scared of water and won’t chase you to it”) throughout the movie. He’s also not even that strong as a classic net can beat him and once his scepter is gone he has no power. The guy is just very annoying throughout and also proves to be pretty gullible as he lets his feelings of love get in the way of his fighting. This works against him whenever Malkin shows up.

She likes to flirt with everyone and is quite successful at it. She ensnared Gregory and got his first disciple to lower his guard. Tom was too good for these tricks but since he was getting suckered by Alice the whole time, maybe the writers felt bad for him. I don’t really remember why Alice wants to rule the world, but I supose it’ll make things easier on witches since humans hunt them no matter where they go. She should have won the war pretty easily since the heroes can’t really fight and she can decimate whole cities. Her mistake was to recruit the only fighter capable of beating her as the 2nd in command and then targeting her daughter. I like to think that Malkin was trying to lose at this point. She had a cool costume and a pretty neat dragon form, but certainly lacked tactical awareness when on the battlefield. She should be overocnfident since she was supposed to be way stronger than the others, but I guess she wasn’t quite as powerful as we were all led to believe.

Tom isn’t a good main character. I knew this the second that he abandoned his family to join Gregory for no reason even after learning that all of Gregory’s understudies mysteriously die right after they join. Naturally, his Mom ended up dying after he left. She put up a pretty decent fight though and it was nice to see that she kept up her magical abilities. She actually took out the Kratos lookalike in one shot which was pretty impressive. A pity she couldn’t put up a better fight against the head honcho. Tom’s premonitions aren’t too useful either as they are always very vague and he ends up fainting after them. Even Gregory has to point this out. Tom has some basic skill with a sword, but he can’t hurt the villains with that so it’s all moot. His necklace is pretty handy since it can repel magical attacks and shoot out fire, but he never learns how to wield it. Honestly, he just can’t fight at this point so he’s very fortunate that the villains decide to destroy themselves.

Finally we have Alice, but she’s not a good heroine. Her romance with Tom is pretty bad from the start and despite all her tough bravado, she was almost murdered by random humans in her very first appearance. It wasn’t an impressive way to start out her career. She claimed to have visions as well but we never saw any so I’m not buying it. She is a littkle gullible as well to think that the villains would spare Tom if she asked nicely. She did good in grabbing the pendant back at one point when the villains were distracted, but quite a lot of luck had to be on her side to pull that off.

There were some other supporting characters like a troll that helped the main characters and Malkin’s army of monsters. The monster generals were actually pretty cool and had nice designs, but they were wasted. There was only about 30 minutes left in the film and they still hadn’t gotten to fight. As a result, most of them were effectively one shotted and the others lost to plot hax. One of them was a really powerful dragon hybrid who could use some good weapons, but he was goaded into turning human by Gregory and was then destroyed. Alice’s Mom was a pretty good villain, but the interactions between her and Alice felt weird the whole time. They didn’t interact like parent and child and more like strangers the whole time. The film tries to say that they are pretty close based on their actions and history though so it doesn’t add up. Alice’s Mom certainly came through when it counted though.

The fight scenes are definitely on point and hold up well. That’s one area where the film definitely doesn’t disappoint. I enjoyed Gregory’s fight with the Dragon and the clash of the two dragons as well. Mostly those were the only big fight scenes as the rest were chases and such. The special effects are pretty good. You can tell that the visual style is pretty engaging just from the posters. It’s quite telling that this film looked a whole lot more impressive than other titles like LOTR and World of Warcraft despite those being known as experts at the genre. I can’t say much for the soundtrack as it’s all fairly generic. I would have liked an extra good tune or two.

I think something that would have helped the film a lot would have been if the main characters were more likable. Gregory is consistently shown as borderline evil as he burns opponents alive and without remorse. He believes that you have to be as ruthless as they are to win and in the end he convinces Tom to follow suit. Tom even dresses in all black at the end to signify that he won’t show mercy anymore. It’s certainly not the typical message that you expect to see and it’s a tough world for all of the characters involved. If we ever got a sequel, I’m sure they would have to start reversing that a bit as I just don’t think it was the film’s intention to make Tom seem like a villain at the end. The lore around the film certainly has potential, it just needs to be crafted better.

The biggest negative here is certainly the romance. It’s pretty underdeveloped as expected and the characters just skip first base immediately. Fortunately, the film avoided animal violence, excessive violence/language, and the other tropes that you’d expect in a fantasy film. It did have one gross humor part where the characters eat some kind of squid thing, but it played it by the books for the most part. It’s because this film is more of a happy fantasy with lots of adventure than the more serious and dramatic style that others go for.

There aren’t any real deep messages about saving the environment or Oscar bait moments here. It’s just a classic fantasy adventure that tries to be a little cheesy and action packed throughout. I’d say that it succeeds for the most part. The characters all tend to act like jerks, but the fact that they’re so exaggerated just makes you want to root for the villains even more. It’s interesting how you find yourself rooting for the villains more in a film like this one than in those where the villains are the main characters. Either they’re just more convincing or since the film isn’t too violent, they don’t have a chance to go too far. The main villain destroys maybe 2 characters on screen. The body count isn’t as high as you’d expect despite the epic moment where all of the villains fly across the battlefield and attack Tom’s home. (Not it’s personal) The film just had enough epic moments like that to stay afloat. You can say that the film survives in spite of its characters as opposed to it being the other way around.

Overall, Seventh Son is one of those films that feels like it’s on 2X speed the whole time. The film rapidly goes from place to place and event to event without dwelling on the plot much. It seems like the writers wanted it to be a really long film, but were told they had a limited run time and then crammed everything in. Some scenes could have been explored more and we could have gotten more action scenes. Cutting out some of the romance would have definitely helped a great deal in that regard. The series borrows from pretty much every fantasy cliche in the book, but at least handles most of them reasonably well. It’s certainly an entertaining film as you’ll have fun mocking the characters quite a bit. It’s the kind of film you want to watch with friends to make wisecracks with. It had its faults, but I’d still call it a decently good film. It has a good degree of replay value since it avoided most of the usual negatives.

Overall 6/10

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Dreamgirls Review

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It’s time for the first musical that I’ve seen in quite a while. I don’t think it’ll ever get old seeing people debate and fire comebacks through song instead of talking about it. It’s just an interesting way to make your comeback you know? It’s definitely not my kind of film and suffers from the usual problems that come with being a musical, but the film gave it a good effort and I suppose that’s what counts.

Effie, Deena, and a third girl have been trying to make it big for a long time now. They just haven’t gotten the chance to show that their singing abilities are the real deal. This changes when a slick car dealsman named Curtis tells them that he can get them a gig as Jimmy’s backup singers. Effie is worried that they’ll stay backup forever, but Curtis knows a way to shove Jimmy out of the picture at some point. Soon he gets them their own gig, but decides to slowly phase Effie out. Eventually he phases the third girl out as well and makes it all about Deena. Thing is….will Curtis also phase her out once Deena starts to decline in popularity? She’s going to have to do something and fast!

Usually this is where you’d chat with your friends to try and think about what you should do next. The problem is that all of the main characters are too busy keeping secrets from each other and playing the rebound game. There’s a lot to keep up with as Jimmy tries to use the moves on the main characters. 2 of them don’t fall for it, but then Curtis gets together with Effie. After he’s had his fun, Curtis moves on to Deena and while all of the characters know about this merry go round, none of them really care since they all think that they’re the special one. It leads to quite a lot of drama the whole time and so I can’t say that the romance was handled well. It felt really fake on all sides. Lets face it, if someone is cheating to be with you, then they’re also probably cheating on you. It’s an iron clad rule that has been around for generations and it doesn’t just go away in a flash. It was also hard to sympathize with any of the characters when they were betrayed because it was just so expected. They were all a little too easy as well as they basically skipped the dating phase.

As a result, none of the characters are all that good. Jimmy was bad from the start as he immediately tried to fool around with the main characters. He ended up getting into drugs and hitting the Game Over moment in life. Curtis may have been a fast talker, but you always knew that about him. It helped the audience not get tricked by his shenanigans and it was just annoying that none of the others could figure it out. He went from being manipulative to totally being a villain by the end. Deena was an all right main character as she stuck up for Effie for a while, but got pretty naive by the end. It turned out to be true that she was cheating with Curtis for a while so that’s certainly not very heroic of her. Curtis even admitted at one point that he had always loved her and not Effie so that should have rang some warning bells since he still stuck around long enough to have a kid. Deena made the right move in the end, but it took her a little too long.

Effie was also not so good. She wasn’t exactly blameless in this affair as she didn’t take moving to the back row very well instead of being happy for her friend. It’s also pretty understandable that a replacement would be hired for her during the Vegas New Year’s Celebration since she abruptly vanished and skipped all of the rehearsals. You can see why she was bitter, but surely she can see how the others had to move on. She was causing a bunch of problems. The song recorder that helped the gang was all right I suppose. He was a little slow on the draw as well, but ended up pretty well off. He didn’t agree with how his music was used at times, but he did get the money. Deena’s Mom was pretty fun considering that she didn’t appear much. I wouldn’t have minded her as more of a main character since she seemed to suspect that something was off from the start.

This isn’t usually much of a problem outside of some old black and white films, but I had a tough time telling each character apart once in a while. They all kept switching their wigs and then the film would constantly jump into the future by a few months or even years at time. It just made it hard to keep them all straight and that’s why I never even learned the third girl’s name. She technically had a reasonably sized role, but the characters never said it all that much since the focus was on the other two. This is why instead of coordinated costumes where everyone wears the same thing, you should always have something different.

There are a lot of songs as you’d expect. The beet for them is usually pretty catchy, but I can’t say that the lyrics were very good. They aren’t exactly something I’d play while at home. I’m not really a big music person to be honest, but when I play music it’s typically extremely epic anime/video game songs. If I play the occasional lyrical song, it’s typically one from those mediums. Instrumental is still the best bet as you get the cool beats without having to worry about the lyrics, but both sides can be good. I think this soundtrack could have been a little better considering that it was a musical, but ironically the fact that it was a musical meant that the music was very mainstream and not quite as epic as it could have been. Look up the Attack on Titan themes and you’ll see what I mean.

I also can’t say that I care much for the competitive/professional dancing that usually accompanies the music. If anything it just makes the music feel more objectionable as they’re trying to hook the audience on them rather than the music. It doesn’t feel quite as legitimite which is why I never bought into music videos. The audience certainly ate it up, but that’s also why you’ll attract a specific crowd based on what you sing and how you sing it.

Overall, Dreamgirls may have tried its best to be an intense musical with a lot of drama, but it didn’t work too well for me. Without likable characters or a stronger plot, you just can’t sing your way out of the tough situations. I do like how the characters banter with songs though as it was extended more than in most films and they had whole conversations. It just wasn’t enough to block out all of the drama and rebounds. I can’t really say that I’ve ever loved a live action musical film though so it’s possibly just a really hard genre to succeed in. Hopefully they can pull it off someday. They just need to take some cues from Frozen. Get some better songs, cut out the dances, and build a better plot. If you can get those aspects of the film together, then I think you’ll end up with a winner on your hands. By the way, if you’re wondering who the standout character of the film was, it was certainly the lawyer. I like how he just showed up out of nowhere and took down the main villain. He probably cost a lot of money, but it was well worth it since a lawyer can save you millions!

Overall 3/10

The Running Man 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 likely be more negative.
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I wasn’t too familiar with The Running Man, but the plot definitely sounded like a lot of fun. A corrupt dystopian world has come up with a reality show where assassins chase convicts around. Seems messed up enough for this future. Then throwing in Arnold Schwarzenegger into the picture just makes the whole thing that much more epic. I can safely say that the film was pretty fun and is one that you won’t want to miss.

Ben used to work for the government, but when he defied their orders to murder a bunch of innocents, he was sent to prison. He helps some other convicts escape and decides that instead of trying to beat the system, he’ll simply find a way to survive it. He breaks into his friend’s home, but it is now owned by a lady named Amber. She doesn’t take kindly to being threatened so she gets the cops to lock Ben up. He is now going to be forced to be in The Running Man, where he will have to outrun several hunters who are each armed with deadly weapons. His two expendable “friends” (They aren’t, but the show thinks that they are so why not let them believe that right?) have also been thrown in though along with Amber. Can Ben take these guys down and figure out a way to shut the show down or is it simply too late for any last second heroics?

One thing you’ll notice about the film right away is that the soundtrack is on point. There are quite a lot of fun themes that play during the film and it certainly amplifies the experience. A good film gets that much better with a dynamic soundtrack and they really make the action scenes come alive. The visuals also look pretty good. Considering how old the film is, the effects have aged pretty well and I like how they envisioned 2017 to be. The city looks realistic enough even if it’s not quite so run down. I imagine that this film must have gotten a pretty decent budget back in the day.

The characters are also solid. Ben makes for a great lead. He’s heroic and dependable. Sure, he’s not quite willing to risk his life to join the rebellion at the beginning, but he doesn’t turn his back on others once he is forced into the game. He also doesn’t murder the villains once they are unarmed. If it’s the fastest way then he won’t hesitate to do so, but he won’t go out of his way just for revenge….for the most part. Ben’s a strong fighter and the heroes would have been doomed without his military expertise. I have to say that he pulled off the role quite perfectly as few actors can be as convincing.

The main villain, Killian is also pretty good. He knows how to work the crowd and does a good job of building up the suspense. He doesn’t even let Ben get to him as he knows that this will bring the ratings up. He talks a good game to everyone and while he is a ruthless boss, you’ll be okay as long as you stay on his good side. Mop the floors at your own peril since it can certainly get you into heaps of trouble. The sub villains were all right as well. The only bad one is Dynamo as he fulfills every overweight villain cliche in the book. He’s awful petty and also isn’t much of a fighter. Once you get past the suit, he’s the kind of villain who begs for mercy. The others at least had more dignity than that. Chainsaw put up a good fight before going down and I also liked Sub Zero. It was an interesting take on the guy compared to the Mortal Kombat version. Not as deadly, but fun all the same. The Fire villain was also pretty good since he got quite a bit of foreshadowing and hype. He probably should have moved a bit quicker though. Captain Freedom probably had the most personality from the minions and I like how he simply refused to get into the ring. Nobody was about to talk back to him.

Amber isn’t the best of heroines. She spends most of the film running and panicking. You have to give her some credit for getting away from Ben though. If you put yourself in her shoes, she totally did the right thing. Kidnappers always tell you stuff like “Don’t try to escape” and make a bunch of threats to keep you in line. She took a big risk by making a break for it and yelling and it paid off. While it didn’t work out well for Ben, at least she made a move. Too bad she couldn’t keep up that confidence for the rest of the film right.

If I had a minor nitpick for the film, it’s that the costume in the poster doesn’t really match the one in the film. At the very least I don’t recall the spikes being quite so big. It’s not really a negative just something that I noticed. The film’s camera work is pretty good. Sometimes it can be a little tough to see what’s going on in the background with the low lighting, but I feel like that was made to capture that CSI Miami kind of atmosphere as everything is a little grittier and more life like. Fortunately it was just in the camera work as the actual film isn’t really gritty at all. Some characters get stabbed and such, but at least in the version that I saw it wasn’t explicit or anything.

There is some unfortunate fanservice as we get a really long dance sequence. I suppose it’s a parody to the fact that if society did go downhill we’d be seeing that in every show. It’s fortunately not a huge deal though. The ending to the film is also pretty funny. I was personally expecting it to go down a slightly different path as the guy in the tube lands safely but then sees Captain Freedom and has to try and escape from him. How it was handled worked well enough as well though.

The writing is pretty solid with classic lines like “I’ll be back” and more than a few one liners from Ben. I love puns and one liners as you may know from my comic reviews and the film pulls it off well. It’s just another drop in the bucket to help this film reach “great” status. The climax is also pretty great even aside from the ending. The banter between Ben and Killian was really good and I liked seeing the heroes finally infiltrate the TV station. They were pretty well organized and it added some extra action and excitement to the ending. Even Amber got to win a fight on her own. The film carefully balanced the epic and funny moments with the serious atmosphere.

Overall, The Running Man is just a fun film. It really breezes by to be honest and the pacing was on point. It never dragged on and still managed to bring in a lot of content. We got to see Ben before the game, during it, and even become a resistance fighter afterwards. None of the pieces felt rushed either and it shows that you can still pull off quite a lot in under 2 hours. I certainly recommend watching this film. It’s not quite as well known as it could have been. It has all of the elements that you could want in a big action film.

Overall 8/10

This Island Earth Review

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It’s time for a retro Sci-Fi movie. This one definitely had an interesting plot so I was ready to see if it could make it all the way to the end. The movie takes a different direction than what I had been anticipating though and while that still could have worked, I believe that the film lost its direction. The second half doesn’t live up to the promising beginning even if there are a lot of interesting themes at work. It ends up being a movie that is crammed by a bunch of plots and probably would have worked better as a full TV series or movie series. Still, it’s a pretty engaging watch and definitely one of the original alien stories.

The plot follows a pilot named Meacham who is also a super genius. He has been studying Atomic energy along with his partner and together they will make the world a better place. One day, he receives a bead of immense power and a guy on a computer screen tells him to get on a plane. It’s purely optional, but the alien blows up the table and nearly destroys the main characters before Meacham disconnects the TV. Meacham ignores the act of violence and decides to board the plane. It turns out that the “aliens” are actually normal people who all work in a big government facility. They have obtained the best geniuses from around the world and simply want to achieve everlasting peace…through Atomic Energy. Meacham notices how this could build the world’s greatest nuke and also notices how everyone is acting oddly. Maybe this paradise isn’t quite as pleasant as it appears to be.

From the start there is a lot of tension here. Have the humans been replaced by alien shapeshifters? What are they planning to do witih all of the Atomic energy? Are they even aliens or is it possible that they are simply very advanced people? You’ll be wondering about all of this and more as Meacham subtly looks around. He actually does a pretty good job of gathering intel and not being too obvious with what he’s doing. He probably should have guessed that the aliens could see through the walls since their tech can do just about anything, but I suppose it was a worthy attempt. By this point, Meacham decides to get a little more bold with his plans.

It turns out that it is aliens who are running the operation and they have resorted to brainwashing humans. The same would have happened to Meacham, Ruth, and Steve but the alien in charge of this branch believes that brainwashing defeats the purpose of getting the help from the humans. The aliens need them to come up with new innovations because their own planet is dying and they need Atomic energy to protect themselves. His suspicions prove to be accurate as the brainwashed scientists are no longer useful. Still, Meacham and the others aren’t fools so they decide not to help. They try a good escape effort, but are kidnapped and brought to the alien planet.

This is where the film maybe adds too many elements. There is a big intergalactic war going on and both sides appear to be pure evil. They sling meteors at each other and take over planets to defend themselves. The alien race that is attacking Earth have powerful guard robots to protect them. Fortunately, they don’t stand up to well to a good human thrashing. The designs were pretty neat though. Again, Meacham and the others made the right move in not trusting these aliens. They would have certainly been used and then thrown away. As it is, they were very close to being brainwashed. Some satisfying punches are thrown. Letting the alien help at the end was a little cheesy and I definitely think he was too far gone, but it was a decent attempt by the film at trying to make him likable.

Besides Meacham stealing the show rather easily with his dynamic performance and intense voice, the supporting cast wasn’t so bad. Steve seemed like a reasonable fellow even if his role wasn’t too big. He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to help the others so that speaks volumes about his character. Ruth is all right as well as she helps Steve trust Meacham and helps the team stay active. Unfortunately, she doesn’t do much after that besides getting into trouble with the aliens a few times. It would have been nice to have seen her use some of her genius to take down the robot since she is also supposed to be very smart.

Back to the robot, I wasn’t too impressed with it. While it may look cool, is it really that deadly if a human can deal so much damage to it? I was a little skeptical the whole time. Still, the overall effects were very impressive considering that this came out in the 50s. Honestly, it would hold up fairly well by the 70s standards as well. It has elements from Star Trek (The ships and the fights are almost identical, but on a lower budget) and even Star Wars with the big battles going on. I definitely got a little invested in the universe and could have had quite a lot of potential as a franchise. There’s just so much that they can do here.

Alas, it was just one film so they really had to pick and choose what they wanted to do. The best part of the film is still the beginning as it’s all very strange. You don’t know what’s happening, only that the whole situation is eerie. It felt like a Twilight Zone with the atmosphere being this way and it was just handled really smoothly. It reminds you of why the Sci-Fi genre is so popular in the first place, it can give you some really intense plots.

I think what puts this film over the edge is the strong writing. I’ve said this many times over, but you simply don’t see this level of writing nowadays. In modern films you either have to deal with some language or characters having annoying/quirky gimmicks to differentiate them. These films don’t bother with that as everyone just speaks matter of factly. All of the threats are said very politely and everyone is passive aggressive. They all talk to each other with a lot of respect, but still show a lot of emphasis depending on the situation. They may be nice, but they are still making a point. As such, the dialogue is pretty strong throughout.

Overall, This film was actually really interesting. It may not have lived up to its full potential and scored a 9, but it still did a lot of things right and nothing wrong. An animal appeared and actually lived to tell the tale for a change. They really should have considered a sequel where the aliens got to attack Earth or maybe the other side since the main ones were defeated. With their advanced technology maybe it would seem like a blowout or something, but I definitely think it could have worked. It’s easy to see why this film is apparently so well known (I had never heard of it until I watched the film to be honest) and it’s aged really well. I definitely recommend checking it out as it shows you how an alien film should be crafted, even if perhaps it is a lesson on how you probably shouldn’t execute it. At the very least, not so many plots when your run time is only in the ball park of 90 minutes. With Star Wars coming up soon, I’ll be able to get my next Sci-Fi kick provided we don’t stick with Luke’s plot for too long.

Overall 8/10

The Brides of Dracula Review

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The Dracula movies have a pretty negative reputation and it is admittedly one that it has earned. They typically just aren’t all that fun and forget to be engaging. This one doesn’t even have Dracula in it. Now that could be a good sign, but it barely even matters since a new Dracula has surfaced in the town. It’s essentially the same story as always, but with a different cast for Van Helsing to deal with. He barely escaped from his last confrontation so does he even have a chance here?

It starts off with Marianne deciding to take a carriage through a forbidden part of town. She is going to become a school teacher and doesn’t want to be late so this is the quickest route. Unfortunately her driver leaves right away so she is forced to spend the night at a bar. The owners don’t want to take her in though and they seem pretty scared so she accepts a shady old lady’s offer to stay at her mansion. There she sees a guy being tied to his room so she frees him and then faints in the road. Van Helsing finds her and takes her to the school, but the vampires aren’t done with her yet. She has released the most powerful one yet and he aims to convert all of the people in the town. Can Helsing put an end to this?

The film’s very convenient a lot of the time and especially in the opening. It seems like the old couple knew something about the vampires or at least that the family couldn’t be trusted. I can understand that, but why were they so vague about it the whole time? Why did it take hours to rent a cot? If they know that the old lady has been kidnapping previous tenants then shouldn’t they tell the cops? The family owns the whole town so that’s a little iffy, but based on how isolated they are the whole time, I like to think that they don’t have complete dominion over the whole place. Ah well, this leads Marianne to go to the castle. Naturally, everyone keeps on lying to her so she decides to just pick one of them to trust and she picks the captive. Turns out that he couldn’t be trusted, but the old lady would have likely murdered Marianne anyway since she had been feeding sacrifices to the vampire anyway.

This is where Van Helsing should come in, but honestly it takes him a real long time to show up. When he finally does pop in he isn’t as impressive as you’d expect. He tends to go into battle unarmed except for a small cross which the vampires always overpower. After that he just looks shocked and dazed as they toss him around. Van Helsing really can’t hold his own against any of the villains and he certainly looks out of his league. Fortunately for him, the vampires basically end up destroying themselves by lighting the castle on fire and being too slow to escape it. One of them basically just falls down and dies. Van Helsing got lucky and this should increase his reputation, but his luck is bound to run out sooner or later.

He can be an annoying hero because it almost feels like he is helping the vampires at some points. For example, after one of the victims has been terminated by the vampires, he knows that she will rise at night. The plan is for him to be there in wait so he can stab her as soon as she wakes up. Unfortunately it seems like he forgot to set the alarm or something so he arrives there 20 minutes to late which gives her time to escape. The same thing happens again later on as another victim appears and Van Helsing decides to make a few stops first. By the time he gets there the situation had already been resolved in the vampire’s favor. You had to wonder what he was doing the whole time? Certainly this should have been his top priority right? He was probably posturing and stroking his ego though so I guess we’ll just have to let it slide.

Marianne isn’t likable because she’s rather gullible and oblivious to everything. That makes it really hard to root for her since she is practically begging to be bitten the whole time. The vampire isn’t any good either as he just seems like a guy who can’t control his own bloodlust. He just wants to drink and he would be your average “It’s Miller Time” Budlight character if he wasn’t a vampire. I did like how he was kidnapped early on though. I guess an old lady can put up more of a fight than Van Helsing sometimes.

The film gives a lot of time to various subplots and characters that are ultimately pointless as well. One really random scene introduces a doctor who likes to smell mystical water and use a lot of pills to keep himself from getting sick. He’s a comic relief character who likes money, but vanishes as soon as he appears. What was the point of the scene? I dunno and I guess you just have to leave that part to your imagination.

Beyond that, the film commits to all of the typical tropes of a Vampire film. They drink people’s blood and keep on building an army. Everyone is too stunned to do anything about it and the vampires take a lot of victims before they finally go down. Blood sucking has always been pretty wince worthy and certainly doesn’t get any better here. None of the villains are likable in the slightest and I didn’t like any of the heroes either. When you have a bad cast there is not much that can ultimately help the film. You need a likable cast.

Overall, This film is just like any other Dracula film. You could watch another version and swear that it was the same film. There is nothing even remotely original here and everyone seems to have a higher opinion of themselves than the reality. To keep things in perspective…Van Helsing lost to an old lady. She rushed him and stole the cross so that the vampires could take him down. That was just plain embarrassing and she was definitely an odd character. I’ll assume that she was mind controlled for most of the film and then got turned into a vampire because most of her behavior just doesn’t make sense otherwise. Unless she was just plain crazy I expect. I advise you to stay far away from this film. You’re better off watching a classic title like Scooby Doo or something. Even Batman vs Dracula is a big step up if you really need to see something with a vampire. This film will just leave you trying to fill in all of the holes in the writing to make the movie more interesting, but all you’ll be left with is pieces of ineligible paper.

Overall 2/10

Spider-Man Homecoming Review

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The Spider-Man films have always set a pretty high bar. My least favorite one is probably Spider-Man 2 and that one is still pretty cool because of all the memes it started. This one had a lot to live up to since we’re starting fresh with a new Peter Parker/Spider-Man once again, but the film handles it well. It doesn’t make any “real mistakes” (As in issues that would hurt the score) but I do have some minor issues involving power levels to get into. On the whole I’d definitely recommend checking this film out and preparing yourself for the sequel.

Peter Parker is your average kid with super powers who looks up to the Avengers. He wants to become one of the team, but Iron Man doesn’t think that he’s ready yet. Peter decides to prove himself by taking off his suit’s limitations which backfires horribly so he is forced to go back to his old costume. Nevertheless, Spider-Man has to go back out there to find the Vulture and take him down. Will he be able to do this or was Stark right and he is actually still too young for the job?

I’ve been pretty vocal about how I think Peter is a little too young in this version, but what honestly took more time to get used to was the hairstyle. It seemed to be at conflict with the rest of his personality but I got used to it over time. I don’t think he’s quite a match for the other two yet but as he appears in more and more films and grows into the role he should be able to place proudly in their company. Peter made most of the right choices in the film as he skipped the party to go stop the villains and was pretty persistent on that note. While Tony Stark may have kept telling him not to do that, I think Peter made the right move in sticking to hit gut and following the villains everywhere. It may not have always worked, but I agreed with the moves.

Peter Parker’s always been a little like Charlie Brown as things just don’t go his way and the film was pretty accurate with that. It was a really rough road for him as he got beat up several times but it’ll help his battle experience. Lets get this part over with now, this version of Spiderman seems not to have any Spider Sense. Either that or this film just forgot about that part. He gets blindsided many times and snuck up on by villains more often than he actually sees them coming. He can’t dodge for beans and gets beat up by everyone. I don’t think he wins a single fight not counting random henchmen. That’s…a little sad for his first showing. This is easily the weakest Spider-Man yet even if he had a good physical strength feat. Ideally he’ll learn about the Spider Sense soon so we can get that hype fight with Thanos. Of course, strength isn’t essential for a hero so even if he’s weak, Spider-Man is still a good character.

Spider-Man’s only unfavorable characteristic is that he’s maybe a little too infatuated with Liz the whole time. The staring scene in the cafeteria was a bit much. I can overlook the stuttering and barely being able to talk to her since it wasn’t as exaggerated as in some films (Still a bit exaggerated though) but the first scene is still a bit much. He can also act a little too impressed and astounded by the pro heroes considering that I think he could take most of them on, but I suppose it’s like how Deku still looks up to everyone in My Hero Academia even if he could beat most of them very quickly. Beyond that, he’s the Spider-Man we all know from the comics.

Liz is a decently good main heroine. She’s not as good as Gwen, but I’d say that she’s more likable than Mary Jane. Her connection with Peter definitely seems the most random especially since he hadn’t exactly earned a positive reputation at the school the whole time and there was the interesting chant at her party. Maybe she was just being nice by letting him take her to the dance or it was a genuine first step. Either way, at least we got to see a good chunk of her personality in this film and it’s cool that she got to be the captain of the trivia team. You definitely have to be really smart to make it on that level.

I also really liked the plot because the Teacher stole the movie. The moment he ran to Peter and brought him back into the fold was brilliant. Lets face it, if the school championship is on the line, you better bring in your star student. Even if he does ditch class randomly and has been becoming a bit of a delinquent, you gotta take the win. Think more on it after you’re holding the trophy. He was also very polite the whole time and understanding of the tricky history that makes up our buildings.

The sarcastic girl who is always hanging around is easily the best schoolmate. Honestly, she’s more likable than Peter Parker and comes in second behind the Teacher. I won’t say her name since it isn’t said until the final minutes of the film so it’s practically a spoiler, but she just gets a lot of great one liners and burns. She does kind of give herself away early on with the “I’m not obsessed or anything” moment, but always has a good excuse ready. She always happens to have a reason to be around which are constructed well. One scene in particular that was fun was the fact that she was even reading her book during exercise class where you’re supposed to be super serious about working out. Everyone else had a buddy, but she found a way to game the system. She does that a lot in the film and while I suppose she can come across as a little mean spirited, she never even came close to crossing the line. That’s Flash’s job. The sarcasm is never personal, it’s just how she treats life in general. It’ll be hard to top this film’s portrayal, especially if she gets a bigger role in the next film, but you never know.

Flash Thompson…is Flash Thompson. He’s the same bully that he always was, but he never physically attacks Peter or anything in this version so maybe he’s not as bad as some of the others. We’ll see if he ends up looking up to Spider-Man or not in this version since circumstances could make that a little tricky. Happy Hogan gets a decent role in this film as he’s Spider-Man’s go to guy for getting info on the Avengers. Of course, Happy only does this grudgingly and ignores Peter. The whole film could have basically been avoided if Happy had played ball, but he’s not that kind of guy. He does make for some fun scenes though and is just a good character to have around.

Tony Stark gets a good role here as well. I had been kind of hoping to see him take on the Vulture, but I suppose that could have been a lose-lose situation no matter what happened. If Tony loses there would be a riot and if he won, then Spider-Man winning later on may not have had as much impact. Not that Spider-Man ever actually won…but I can’t go into details on the technicalities as that would be a spoiler. We can chat in the comments if anything. I was satisfied with how Tony acted here. I mean, I definitely disagreed with him on various points like just letting Vulture get away every time, but I always disagree with the “By the books” characters. To think, Tony used to be the hot headed character on the team. I guess he has gotten older. It’s always nostalgic to have him appear since it reminds you of the beginnings of the MCU, back when it was still Iron-Man and his friends. While he has drifted away from being the center of the universe he is still the heart of it.

We’ve also got another main character in the form of Ned. I honestly can’t say that I’m a fan of his. He had some good scenes like where he saved Spider-Man from imminent destruction, but I really don’t think Peter needs a sidekick. I suppose the story would be even sadder for him if he had nobody to talk too, but it just feels out of place. I don’t think Ned handled the teacher walking in on him very well even if it was a very Reddit esque excuse that he made for not being at the dance. On the positive side, I do like that he was pretty understanding about Peter having a job and being busy all the time. He didn’t act petty about it and there wasn’t some kind of dramatic sideplot as a result. I’ll give him some kudos there. Now if he can only become a slightly more likable character, then I’ll be fine with him being the guy on the chair. It slightly takes away from Peter’s genius since he is usually the one hacking the computers and such, but we’ll live.

Aunt May is certainly very different from her usual self so she is worth mentioning. I think I’ll always prefer the old Aunt May as she’s such a staple and her intense distrust of Spider-Man added some extra tension to each issue. The comics would always start with Spider-Man winking at the screen as he wonders what would happen if Aunt May knew. It’s hard to see this one having much of a problem with it as she would likely support Spider-Man. She doesn’t want Peter to be in danger, but the conversation that they would have would certainly not be as difficult. I could do without everyone trying to flirt with her as the film tries to remind us of how young she is, but as long as it’s a very subtle running gag I suppose it’s not all that bad. Honestly I half expected her to get in on the action when a web showed up and stopped the Shocker. I figured she had somehow followed Peter to the dance and grabbed the web shooter. I know this would have killed Ned’s best scene in the film, but I think it actually could have been pretty hype.

That brings me back to other hot headed characters though. The film did a good job of capturing the high school atmosphere without getting too detailed. Most films have an issue here because either everyone is constantly making out or doing drugs, or they’re using a lot of language. Both are very accurate, but just because real life has these doesn’t mean that we have to be seeing them. The film gets in the atmosphere while keeping the students respectful and more likable as a result. The Teachers ignoring the students and just taking naps is realistic. Showing videos of Captain America even though he is now a criminal is also realistic and I especially liked how the detention room was set up. It was all pretty good.

As far as the villains are concerned, there are really two main ones to deal with. The Shocker was fun to see since he has always been one of my favorite Spider-Man villains. For a while he was my all time favorite. It’s a little hard to say nowadays, but he may still take the title as long as I’ve got a grip on my nostalgia goggles. This is a very different take on the character, but I can roll with it. He’s not exactly a heavyweight, but he works well as the side villain. The Vulture was the main “threat” and he was a lot of fun. This was a good villain where while you couldn’t really feel too sympathetic after a little while, at least it was nice to see him take on the government. I never liked Damage Control and this film reminded me of why that is the case. They just don’t have much charisma and seem to do whatever they want while earning a big paycheck. Back to the Vulture though, he has a lot of fun with the role in his human form and that’s where all of his best scenes are. Zapping one of his henchmen was pretty neat and the not so subtle threats at Spider-Man in the car scene was pretty good. I’m glad that he put 2 and 2 together unlike most villains.

I would say that the film was maybe a little light on action, but honestly Spider-Man movies usually are. This one probably had the most action in one of his films aside from Spider-Man 3 and Amazing Spider-Man 2. Not coincidentally, those are the two best Spider-Man films to date. This one beats the first Amazing Spider-Man for me and Spider-Man 2. It’s a little hard for me to say if it beats the first Spider-Man or not, but I think I may give it the edge here. The action scenes that we do get are fun. Just ignore the fact that Spider-Man is really getting beat up the whole time and enjoy the fun visuals. I still can’t really take Vulture all that seriously, but the film did its best to improve his design from the comics. He’s not much of a threat as far as power is concerned, but he’s never been a big villain like that.

As far as the soundtrack goes, it’s okay. I didn’t care for the token lyrical song that played twice. I dunno, it felt incredibly out of place and I was imagining something a little happier and with more cheer in the background. I think that would have made more sense. The classic MCU kind of themes were fun though and we had some nice Spider-Man homage themes as well. In the end it’s all just a little forgettable and you probably won’t remember any of it by the end, but few films go above and beyond on that.

There are two after credit scenes. As per usual, the first one is plot important while the second is for comedy purposes. The first one worked well at leading into the next film and while the villain may not be all that intimidating, Spider-Man films are more about the characters than the fights so that’s to be expected. The second scene was decently amusing, but I was expecting more. Like when the character asked if there was anything more then we would cut away to Spider-Man fighting Thanos or the Guardians falling off a cliff as they head to Earth. I would have liked something extra like that to really make me ready for the next films.

On a final note, the film did a good job of poking fun at some old Spider-Man cliches. Everyone knows how the famous hero likes to throw his clothes everywhere and ditch his backpack in a dark alley. Well, he tries it here and it doesn’t go over so well. It borderline went on parody at some points with him really just throwing his clothes with reckless abandon. It wasn’t in your face or anything, but a nice little touch. Hopefully he gets better at that part of the job, but as long as Karen is around he should be okay. For an A.I. Karen can be a little slow on the uptake at times, but it’s always fun to have a murder bot at the ready. Hopefully she’ll become sentient soon so Spider-Man can effectively have backup even if he’s knocked out. I definitely like his suit quite a bit so hopefully it stays for good. I honestly don’t want him to switch into any of those “fancy” upgrade suits like the Iron Spider or a Cosmic Spider-Man design. The classic is good enough for me.

Overall, Spider-Man Homecoming is a very fun film. It’s certainly one of the better Marvel Cinematic Universe films overall. The stakes may have been a lot less grounded, but it was just written well and the film had a lot of fun. One key thing was that it didn’t make any real mistakes like some of the last films and played to its strengths. It’s a different take on Spider-Man from the last two universes and that’s good since they’ve all danced to a different beat so far. The ending may have been a little iffy compared to what I would have hoped for. It was one of the most expected outcomes, but I imagined it playing out a little differently and with less edge. Perhaps it would have been seen as too much, but I would have liked the ending to be Peter walking through the kitchen while eating pizza turning on the lights and noticing the person there. “So….anything you’d like to share Peter?” “Er…..it’s a long story” and then the film ends with epicly loud music playing. Obviously this includes the circumstances that made the ending a “shock” ending without going into details. I mean, maybe this is borderline spoilerish but if you haven’t seen the ending yet then I hope I kept it vague enough to make a difference. Either way what are you waiting for? While this review is pretty long I’m sure there is plenty that I didn’t even touch on. It’s time for you to go check this movie out!

Overall 8/10

Dead Again 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 likely be a lot more negative
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Uh oh, it’s time for one of “Those” thrillers. This is a pretty bad film and honestly it sets the tone from the start as an actor struggles to sing, but quickly finds that he doesn’t have the talent for it. I like to think that the film was trying to confuse you from the start so you wouldn’t think about the plot much. Just in case they threw in a lot of red herrings though and scenes that didn’t actually happen for plot convenience. The film’s plot had more holes in it than the Colossal and Armored Titan’s plan to wipe out humanity.

So the film starts off with a lady who is unable to speak and has nightmares every night. She locks her door so that nobody can break in and murder her. You see, she had a dream where a guy runs in with scissors and murders her. This is validated by the fact that around 40 years ago there was a case of a guy murdering a lookalike to her with them. The intro spends a long time showing us newsclip after newsclip of this although they all basically just lead to the conclusion that he was guilty of the crime. The Church decides to call in Mike to dig into her past. Seeing as how their may be a crazed killer after her, Mike does what any reasonable person would do….he puts her picture in the newspaper along with his phone number so the world can know where he is….Uh oh!

As you’d expect, this attracts a lot of the kooks from their hiding places. The first guy to walk in is an old man who acts rather sinister and takes a little too much interest in everything. He immediately starts to get very touchy with the heroine (Amanda) so Mike tells him to back off. He responds by telling Mike to back off and hypnotizes Amanda so we find out that she is a reincarnated person. The trouble is that she used to be the guy from the past while Mike is actually the girl who was murdered. Funny how this all happens isn’t it? The film spends a lot of time on the whole reincarnation nonsense so try not to groan at the explanations. I’m sure they spent a lot of time on them.

Mike continues to let the guy hypnotize her and then he gets hypnotized as well. Surely the guy is okay though right? Nothing suspect here. Meanwhile, a random guy named Doug shows up and announces that Amanda is his. He begins to run off with her as Mike buys this story, but fortunately Mike realizes that the guy is a phony because he brought the wrong glove. This leads to the most random scene in the whole film. Doug is actually a professional fighter and beats the stuffing out of Mike as he unleashes a really cool Tekken 7 combo that ends with a jumping double kick. Honestly I almost fell out of my chair at the sheer hype of this. Doug…if that’s even his name, never appears again and simply vanishes into the night.

As much fun as this plot can be…why is this film so bad. Well, for starters it’s pretty mean spirited. An old lady is murdered by the main villain here and she only got to appear for about a minute. Mike coerced her into revealing who the murderer was and then she was murdered. There should really be a witness protection program for all of the one shot characters who help the main lead and are then murdered as soon as he leaves. This seems to happen quite frequently.

The original murder case is also rather dark as well and everyone looks pretty bad as you’d expect. The couple get into some fights because the lady allows a guy to get overly friendly with her. He was clearly flirting, but she didn’t seem to mind. Then the guy was just as bad as he invited a kid and a lady to stay with them in his house even after they started robbing the wife. It’s pretty obvious that they’re crooks, but they haven’t murdered anyone right? Well, actually they do murder someone and the guy doesn’t even try to avenge his wife. He decides to take the fall for them (Unless he actually bought into the suicide angle which if so…he’s even dumber than I thought) and gets hanged/electrocuted/whatever death the government gave him.

A big theme in the film though is the Karma Credit plan. See, if you murder someone in the past, they’ll be reincarnated in the future to murder you. It’s a never ending cycle of violence and one that a retired psychiatrist buys into quite eagerly. The kid is worried about this and that sets up the modern plot. By the way, there aren’t really any nice characters here either. Even the retired guy tells Mike to just shoot the main heroine because he’s too far into the conspiracy. Talk about bad advice eh?

I do have to give the film some props for being rather unique though. This has got to be the only time in a movie where a pizza delivery man showed up during the climax to take names. The guy shows up with a pizza box just as the main hero is about to take the villain down and then he grabs the gun. In that one second, he moved quicker than most leads do. Naturally, he tackled the wrong person, but he meant well. After that, the climax turns into a Youtube parody.

The camera shifts every other second as it turns full slow mo and every character starts to lunge for a weapon. It shifts so many times that the actors forget where they are at times and I felt like there were a few plot holes there with characters being in the wrong spots. There’s opera music and I was even expecting the screen to start spinning or the colors to invert. It was so bad that it was so good for a second there. It also gets rather dark for someone who ends with a rather painful end. That’s the way it goes there. The hero did a good job fighting with a bullet wound near the heart the whole time. Props for that.

Back to the film being rather iffy though, the romance is also handled horribly. It doesn’t matter whether you chose the past or the present. In the present, Amanda may not have her memories, but she decides that she can have a fling anyway. After that, some guy she doesn’t even know claims they do know each other so she moves to him as the rebound guy. Okay, that didn’t work since he was lying so back to the starter. There are a lot of shifts here and it’s all a little too sudden. They should at least wait until she has her memories or until they’ve known each other a little longer right? The film gives these scenes a lot of screen time to try and show how madly in love with each other they are, but it just makes them seem rather shallow the whole time.

This film’s just a little too dark and gritty the whole time. The characters aren’t likable and the plot is just poorly handled. In case you couldn’t tell, I just didn’t like the whole cast. Mike panics quite a lot and doesn’t actually put much effort into finding Amanda’s family. He lets his assistant do that while he slacks off and visits the ocean. Amanda panics a lot and is too trusting of everyone which leads her to make bad move after bad move. The two mental characters only know how to give bad advice and the old character who lives to the present time has a bad smoking problem. There really isn’t anyone to root for. Back to the plot though, that’s the final aspect that we need to tackle. So, Amanda lost her memory. This has nothing to do with reincarnation or destiny, she just happened to lose her memory and wander all the way to the Church where Mike found her. The villain found out through the newspaper and he was able to give her fake memories. Okay, how’d he do it? Mike was there the whole time. If the memories were real…then this is awfully convenient once again. Then the villain’s plan of giving her a gun only works if she actually buys into his story and she has even less reason to trust him than Mike. The fact that she had a dream where Mike is evil is just there so she’ll turn against him even though that dream really shouldn’t be happening. Everything was just really convenient and worked in the villain’s favor. He was one step ahead of Mike from the start somehow as he even knew that Mike would visit his Mother and when he would do it. I dunno, he got too much credit if you ask me. I also think the heroes should have considered an option although it is admittedly a very bold one for a horror protagonist to make…Call The Cops! I mean, as soon as Mike knew what was going to happen, that might not have been a bad idea. Of course, he leaves his front door open so strangers including the main villain just pop in whenever they want so I don’t think safety is the first thing on his mind.

One thing that the film did well was the soundtrack. I can at least give it some points for that as it was all extremely dramatic and hype. The music would have fit well in a comic book movie or something of that nature. It just didn’t work here since the rest of the film just wasn’t good. Ah well, at least it gave us something interesting to listen too as the chaos unfolded on screen.

Overall, Dead Again is an underwhelming film. It should have ended when the Pizza man showed up and told the cast that Amanda actually lived somewhere else and the whole story was fake. That was an epic scene and the film should have just ended there. It would have been amazing and one of the most legendary endings of all time. Unfortunately, the film just didn’t have the guts to go for that and resorted to sticking with the reincarnation gibberish for a little longer. At least all the characters fall for every trap in the book to ensure that the villain has a fighting chance. If you want a film with less forced drama and everyone dying along the way, I’d suggest you go for a more classic film. Something like the Mega Man X OVA, Day of Sigma. Look it up, it’s pretty hype. On a final note, this film reminds us that putting a chair in front of the door doesn’t do much. Amanda tries this and people just burst in with no effort anyway so what was even the point again?

Overall 2/10

The Time of Their Lives Review

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Looks like it’s time for another Abbott and Costello film. I dare say that this one makes a case for being the best one yet as the characters take part in an ambitious ghost story. The Supernatural elements are handled well even if the rules surrounding them are a little muddy. The plot can also be a little confusing at times as you try to remember who the traitors were and why everyone is so gun happy. It all makes for one chaotically fun adventure that you won’t want to miss!

The film starts off with Horatio returning from a big mission. Nora greets him happily and brags to the world that he is actually is a pretty great guy who never slacks off. What she doesn’t realize is that Horatio has an iconically low IQ and can’t understand anything for beans. Still, they’re together and that’s what counts. This is stopped when Horatio’s old enemy Cuthbert shows up and locks Horatio in a chest. He is freed by Melody who warns Horatio that they need to get out and warn George Washington of his impending doom. They are shot on the way over and cursed to be trapped in the land forever until they are proven innocent of being traitors. Fast forward to the modern day and some people live in the mansion. Horatio and Melody decide to play tricks on them to make themselves feel better, but then realize that if they can get the new owners to find the letter…they’ll be free. How can they do that when they’re ghosts though?

It was pretty ambitious to actually have the main characters murdered in the beginning. Nora was possibly offed as well. I can safely say that I was not expecting that in the slightest so the shock value was handled well. There’s also a lot that you can do with the ghost gimmick so that was fun. The rules confused me a bit though. So, people can’t hear the ghosts, but they can feel them…sometimes. The ghosts can make contact with each other…sometimes. What’s the point of going invisible when nobody can see you? The ghosts do that a lot with a cool spin move (That was admittedly handled very well) but I wondered what the point of it was. Horatio could do the spin move sometimes and sometimes he couldn’t. I thought that the rules were a little convoluted, but I suppose that’s part of the point right?

The humor is basically the same as it always is so you either like it or you don’t. Horatio spends the majority of the film sputtering and stammering as he takes everything literally and is the but of every joke. You have to admire the fact that he never lets any of this get to him though and always gets right back on the saddle. The guy has heart and charisma. It is admittedly the same array of jokes in every Abbott and Costello film so I can see how some would get tired of it, but it always works well if you ask me. The style is pretty nice and Horatio isn’t a bad character. Even though he is stuck with Melody for almost 200 years, he resists all of the flirting attempts as he thinks about how to get back to Nora. Melody felt a little more fake on that note as she was willing to rebound with Horatio until she could move on and be reunited with her original partner.

Ralph takes himself seriously as always. He gets picked on by the ghosts quite a bit so in a way it’s like Costello is finally getting his revenge for all of the other films. It works pretty well, but you have to admit that there wouldn’t be much of a movie without Horatio. I mean, it would be a decently serious mystery I suppose, but the comedy is what makes the film. Horatio may make a lot of mistakes but the fact that he is so petty makes him more endearing. The human characters get a fairly big role yet they are largely forgettable. They are mainly here to get picked on and scared on many occasions by Horatio. While they may not have much of a personality of their own, it’s still fun to see them slowly believe in the ghosts one by one. Stealing poor Ralph’s whiskey may have been a bit much, but it showed that the ghosts meant business this time around.

And to think that I was actually worried that we’d be stuck in the past for a little while there. Trust me, that wouldn’t have been nearly as engaging. It was rather painful for the lead as well since he ended up falling on a giant pitch fork there. No, he’s definitely glad that they’re in the present now even if he was stuck there for quite a long time. He may not be even remotely smart, but he still knows enough to try and stay away from gunfire. Now if he can just learn the difference between a recording a live voice, then he’d be golden!

Finally, I think what helps this film is that it feels like it’s always moving in a straight line. The plot is simple so it is always the focus. Every minute of the film is essentially trying to get to that goal. Because of that, a large intro isn’t needed or a bunch of twists and turns. After all, this isn’t really a mystery, it’s more of an adventure. It’s a pretty big change from the other films and it’s one that works well. I’m also getting slightly closer to watching them all so that’s pretty fun.

Overall, This film was just a lot of fun. It’s fairly short so the pacing is tight as each scene keeps on moving with quite a lot of speed. Horatio and Melody make for a pair of charismatic main characters. It was fun to see them enjoying their time as a ghost for the most part since most ghosts end up falling into self pity mode. They ultimately did enjoy their freedom, but at least they had fun in the process. I do think they could have stopped the cops a lot easier tough like by hitting the wheels or something. I suppose that as long as their methods worked it all ended up for the best though. The surprise ending was pretty intense though and a fitting way for the film to close out. Washington always gets the last laugh after all. I’d definitely recommend checking the film out and then you can decide for yourself if it’s one of the best Abbott and Costello films or not.

Overall 8/10

Bambi Review

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It’s time for a timeless classic. Unfortunately, being a classic doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be a good move. Bambi deals with one of the classic themes of cinema, death in the family. This theme can be handled pretty well, but mainly with humans. When it comes to animals it is a whole different story. If you’ve been reading my reviews, you’ll know that I always take off points for animal violence. Well, this film has a whole lot of that so you could say that it was doomed from the start. It’s quite tragic, but Bambi simply won’t be going places in the cinema world.

The film starts off with Bambi being born and making a lot of friends among the other animals. They call him Prince Bambi and they are all pretty friendly. The only real obstacle for him is that he has a tough time walking with his really long legs. He keeps on tripping and losing his balance, but Bambi presses on. He goes to a forest to meet his father but then poachers attack and things get sticky. Can Bambi survive or is this the end of the road for him?

I definitely had nothing against the first chunk of the movie. I liked the Rabbit who helped Bambi learn how to hop and use his legs. He may have unleashed a lot of burns but his Mother always called him out on them. Even then the Rabbit would really drag out the response to at least try and save some of his dignity. He was a good character to have around, that’s for sure. I also liked the Owl and his cool facial expressions as he would glare at the little animals while preventing them from eavesdropping on the heroes. He didn’t get to do much, but was still fun.

Unfortunately, Bambi isn’t really a great main character. He panics a lot and is a little too scared of the female Bambi for the most part. It takes him a long while to get used to her and he doesn’t really become a good main character until he learns how to fight and takes on a pack of dogs along with an evil Bambi. Those scenes were good as the hero finally learned to fight and everything, but it took him quite a while. As everyone kept pointing out as we were watching the film, he’s no Rudolph. I still remember Godzilla Meets Bambi the film and I guess I can see why people put those 2 in a fight. It’s not to say that Bambi is a bad character, but he is one of Disney’s worst leads.

Lets also quickly talk about the big bombshell in the film, the animal violence. All right, so you probably know the main strife from the Bambi film as Bambi’s Mom ends up biting the big one. Unfortunately, that isn’t the only scene that comes into play here. We also get scenes of poachers shooting down birds, rabbits, and other animals that are in the way. It’s a pretty brutal array of scenes to be honest and I was wincing the whole time. “Now that I think about it, the writer’s big plan had a lot of holes from the start. Wanna eradicate the animals? Maybe next time don’t make a film in the first place!” Now, I may have slightly borrowed that phrase which is why it may feel out of place, but it works here. If you really feel like you have to add animal violence to tell a story, then it’s clearly not a good story. The same goes for romance, fanservice, excessive violence and language. If you have to force those elements into a story to get the message across, then it’s a message that didn’t deserve to be told in the first place. These scenes just absolutely destroyed the film beyond recognition. The evil Bambi showing up was even a Guilty Crown or Sword Art Online esque moment and I wasn’t exactly expecting to see that in a Disney film. Good thing Bambi was around.

It kind of sours the whole film, but if we ignore that for a minute, the animation isn’t bad. The techniques they used were fairly original as the colors started shifting during Bambi’s big fight and there were a lot of epic zoom ins. The animation has aged pretty well over the years and that is definitely an area where Disney has been consistent through the years. Unfortunately, the soundtrack is rather underwhelming. None of the songs are good and the opening theme has to be one of the weakest. I just can’t think of any good tunes here which is unfortunate. That always makes the film go by a little faster.

To make up for that, Bambi has one thing that most films don’t have, a hype character. Bambi’s Dad gets a lot of hype in the forest and he actually looks pretty good the whole time. The animals can definitely use him since the rest appeared to be doomed the whole time. It’s a pretty sad message for them in the end as the humans continue to gain ground and there really isn’t anything that they can do about it. They are simply outranked and outgunned by these people. The humans never actually get to appear so you just have to focus on the bullets.

As a whole, Bambi just seemed to be a step down from all of the Disney films in just about every category. The characters weren’t very good, the writing wasn’t very on point, the music was lack luster, etc. The animation is really the only aspect where it felt like Disney put in a lot of effort. It got a sequel which I like to think is better than the first, but we’ll see if that actually means a whole lot or not. It’ll probably be a while before I see that one though.

Overall, Bambi is one of those films that you should absolutely avoid at all costs. It may seem like a happy little animal film at first glance, but it sure isn’t. The animal violence just doesn’t stop and it completely overshadows the rest of the film. By the end you’ll be wondering why Disney is always murdering their animals. I fear for the Lion King’s safety. I don’t remember this one having quite as many animal deaths as Bambi, but it has been a while. This film is just not in good taste and I don’t know what they were thinking. Bambi can keep its legacy, I’ll take something a little more intense like All Star Superman any day.

Overall 2/10

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Review

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It’s time for one of those iconic films that is supposed to make you super emotional. If you don’t cry during the ending then your emotions might be broken. That was my general understanding on what this film is truly like, but unfortunately I didn’t cry at the end. Honestly, I never even felt remotely sad and the only emotion that I had at the time was disappointment. The film’s actually rather boring and there are no good characters. The soundtrack is the only real upside of the film.

It starts off with Elliott having a tough time at home. His brother is playing cards with a bunch of his friends and nobody wants Elliott to play with them. They send him off to go get a pizza instead, but then Elliott sees an alien run into the shed and promptly drops the pizza. Gee Elliott, if everyone was giving you a tough time before, it’s only going to get worse from here on out. Everyone blames Elliott and naturally nobody notices the alien. A lot of personal insults are thrown and the insults are pretty intense. I prefer milder insults so the film loses some props in the writing department for this. How can Elliott possibly bounce back from this? Hint: He can’t.

Long story short, the alien is called E.T. by the kid (Very original) and he just wants to go home. His family of other aliens ditched him to escape from the humans since it was a “Every man for himself” kind of moment. E.T. doesn’t take it personally at least since he is barely intelligent at first and only gradually learns how to communicate. You can’t help but feel bad for the guy since he doesn’t realize that the aliens aren’t the most noble of creatures. E.T.’s design isn’t one that I personally like, but I suppose it’s distinct. Whenever he stretches his neck I can’t help but feel like he is challenging the main characters.

As with most aliens he can be rather annoying. He makes a mess of Elliott’s room and steals food from the fridge. We even have a long scene where he gets drunk on beer. Hopefully that works as a nice PSA for other kids who are tempted to drink. Nobody wants to get drunk after all…hopefully. E.T. can use his TK abilities to fly, but he rarely does so. He spends most of the film getting scared and then losing to the government. He felt more like a liability than an asset to the main characters which you wouldn’t expect from an alien. I just never got around to sympathizing with him all that much.

Elliott is annoying as well though. He brings up the Mom’s ex husband for no reason other than to just get his revenge. Dropping the pizza was completely unnecessary and he pretends to be sick just to skip school. He also has no will power so E.T. is able to control him to make a move on one of his classmates. It was a rather terrible scene and maybe the worst one in the film. Nobody stopped Elliott and naturally they played it off like it was a happy event for both of them. I couldn’t buy into it at all. Elliott also gets a little too emotional at times and panics quite a lot. He’s not quite ready for an adventure like this.

I can’t say that I trust the government much either. One guy claims that E.T. came to him once, but I don’t believe him. They do try to keep him alive at the end, but likely to serve their own purposes. Why are they chasing the aliens? Perhaps there is no reason and chasing the aliens just seems like a good move, but they certainly are bad at their job. How could they lose him when they were so close at the beginning? Also, pointing shotguns at the kids is rather extreme.

On the positive side of things, the soundtrack was definitely really good. You can really hear a lot of Star Wars in it at all times which helped convey a sense of danger. The rest of the film didn’t really contribute, but at least the music tried. While the writing wasn’t particularly good, the music helps it get a little more bearable. Some reactions really were over the top though. The Mom panicking every time Mexico was mentioned or her quick laugh after Elliott’s insult before telling him off. The laugh was incredibly out of place. A lot of the film also just feels like filler as we have happy times with the alien. One positive of modern blockbusters that this film could have used was more explosions. Have there be an evil E.T. or something. Apparently the sequel would have had evil aliens so I have a feeling that this would have been a whole lot more exciting.

I’ll give the film some props in another scene. During the frog dissections I was worried that the film was really going to shoot itself in the foot. It did in a way during the random scene with Elliott’s classmate, but the frogs all got to escape. That was great. I personally do think that it’s very inhumane for schools to have kids murder frogs just to learn about anatomy. That’s what we have books for and realistically close to 0% of those kids are going to work in that field so the frogs are dying for nothing. Saving them was probably the most heroic point of Elliott’s life even if he didn’t do it willingly and E.T. was controlling him from afar. The dog that was in the film was also cool even if his role was rather small.

Overall, E.T. isn’t a very fun film. It has very bad pacing and nothing really happens until the government shows up near the very end. The film is over 2 hours I believe so it drags on immensely in the meantime. Also the annoying cast hurts. Lets put this into perspective, all of the main characters are kids. That’s bad news. I’m not a fan of kids being the main characters so when all of the main cast are kids, we’ve got a problem. The bullies turning over a new leaf didn’t count since they just wanted to defy authority. Elliott never became all that likable and I wasn’t sold on his brother either. The sister was quick to betray the others whenever she thought she could rat them out about E.T. so she was rather annoying as well. The film even messed up the ending as it should have been E.T. peddling away on his bicycle. Imagine the cool visual that would have been. It could have saved the film and made the whole thing more emotional. Anyway, I don’t think this film has aged well and I’d avoid it. If you want a better alien story, check out Man of Steel.

Overall 4/10