Creature from the Haunted Sea Review


When you have a film with a title like this you know you’re in for a treat. After all, films with monsters in them tend to be fun and this one is no exception. A whole lot happens throughout the movie so while it is fairly short, it doesn’t really feel that way. Roger Corman’s films tend to be rather sub par but this one surprised me as it was actually fairly good.

The movie starts out with Capetto making a deal with some resistance leaders. He will get their men onto safe land and will transport their treasure using his boat. He’ll get a nice commission of course. The general and his men agree to this deal but what they don’t know is that Capetto plans to backstab them and take the money for himself. His plan is simple, he’ll leave traces of a fake monster aboard the ship and bump the henchmen off one by one. Eventually they will all get scared and run off while Capetto keeps the money.

What Capetto doesn’t know is that an American agent known as Sparks as infiltrated his crew and is trying to find some proof of their wrongdoing. He intends to fight as hard as he can in part because he thinks Capetto’s main girl Mary-Belle needs saving. The guy is so hopelessly obsessed with her that no matter how many times she says she likes the life of crime he doesn’t believe her. What none of these characters know is that there is a true monster running around as well.

From the start you can tell that the film is having a lot of fun with this concept. It’s definitely not a serious creature feature as even for its time you’re not meant to take it seriously. The costume for the monster is really good though. His eyes kind of pop out at you that’s for sure. He also has good gripping strength so if he grabs you then it’s all over. There is just no escape at that point. It doesn’t do a whole lot in the film at first but by the end lets just say that the body count is pretty high here.

Capetto and his crew are to blame for a lot of it as well though since they bump off a lot of the resistance guys themselves. They want the treasure after all and bumping people is really the only way they know how to get it. Capetto is a smooth customer and works well as the main villain. He is able to gain people’s trust rather easily considering that he is openly a criminal. That takes a lot of skill and intelligence.

Then you have Mary-Belle who is a reasonable heroine. She certainly doesn’t mind insulting the rest of the characters quite a lot. In particular she definitely insults Sparks a lot but it’s certainly justified since the guy is way too obsessed. He has a lot of fun dialogue as the narrator but as the character himself he is clearly too distracted to do his job properly. The guy is always messing up and if he is America’s best agent then we are certainly in trouble.

Then you have Jack who falls for one of the island girls in a subplot that seems rather pointless. See, the characters crash land on an island where naturally they meet up with an island girl and her mother. Both of them get their own romantic subplots as Pete, the animal guy also falls for one of them. Pete’s gimmick is that he can mimic any animal cry with ease. He can sound like an elephant to suddenly a giant monster. Naturally you can see how this would help the plans that Capetto had in store for the others. It also leads to a rather odd sequence of Pete and the island girl communicating through the roars. One of them was also throwing a lot of insults constantly but these guys only understand English so they never picked up on it.

A comedy/parody like this really thrives on having a lot of fun moments and poking fun at a variety of story elements without dragging on. I would say this one definitely pulls that off without issue. For starters the film is pretty short as mentioned earlier and it is very entertaining. The writing is pretty solid with some good one liners and characters stating the obvious. It can all get quite dramatic like something out of a Noir title but without earning it the way most films would.

The ending is even a little unexpected I would say. There was one character that I didn’t think was going to die in the end who ultimately wasn’t able to survive. As mentioned, the body count here is high, perhaps a lot higher than the average creature feature. The ending is also pretty cool with the monster actually getting some personality in the final shot. Now that’s how you do it.

The voices for some of the characters was also something else. The voice imitation guy for example would sound really deep at some points and then would go back to normal. I would say this was true for a few characters but mainly his guy. I think the sound mixing guy was having some fun while getting this all ready. Ultimately I wouldn’t say this is a film you’ll never forget or some kind of amazing title but it was pretty good and a lot of fun. Ultimately that’s the proper foundations towards making a good movie.

Overall, Creature from the Haunted Sea was pretty good, definitely better than I had expected. It has a good mix of humor and suspense along with an interesting cast. While they are interesting, saying that they are fully likable may be a different ball game. Most of these guys are all either crooks of desperate flirts who may as well be crooks. None of them are meant to be all that likable but at the same time the film doesn’t go out of its way to paint them as terrible characters or anything. They do murder people but by and large they stick to knocking people off rather quickly. If you want to check out a film that’s rather outside the box then this one will be up your alley. Just watch out for the monster because he means business!

Overall 7/10

The Personal History of David Copperfield Review


Time for a film that I guess I would call a slice of life but it also has a decent amount of tragedy and drama for the main character. There’s a lot going on here as we go through Copperfield’s whole life and the visuals are interesting with how the past blends into reality. Ultimately I wasn’t really a fan of it though, quite a few of the characters kinda seemed nutty and Copperfield didn’t make for the most interesting character.

Copperfield started out as a kid who had trouble reading because the letters were always flying all over the page. By the the time he would track them down it was too late. His mother ended up remarrying to some other guy after his Dad passed and the Step Dad was not a fan. This results in David getting beat up quite a bit before finally managing to be sent off. He escapes and works at a bottle factory for a while but then he finds out his mother has died and he goes off to live with a crazed writer who thinks he is a dead King and a nice old lady who really doesn’t like having any animals on her porch. Perhaps now David can start a new life and even get people to think he is rich.

A lot of times what gets David into trouble is the fact that his web of lies grows too large. He continues to spin the truth around for the sake of his reputation to the point where he isn’t really able to keep it straight. He has to continue to double down in front of everyone over and over again until it catches up with him. His friends also aren’t the reliable sort. You have one guy who is on the run from all kinds of tax payers and then you have a fellow student who is not the nicest guy and serves as a bad influence.

Even the butler can’t be trusted as that guy evidently wants to be in a position of power so he can gain revenge on all of the people who weren’t nice to him back in the day. Instead of being a good person otherwise he grows completely corrupt. So it would seem that no matter where David goes, there is always trouble around the next corner.

So lets talk about these guys. For David there’s not a whole lot more to be said. He’s very busy trying to get everyone to like him as a scholar to the point where he has to make up stories about it. I wasn’t a big fan of his. He gets a romance plot later on in the film but I wouldn’t give that one a big thumbs up. Romance is the last thing he had time for considering everything that was going on.

Mr. Micawbar is the one being pursued by the taxpayers and it’s hard to sympathize with the guy since it does appear that he is willingly scamming everyone. Sure, tough times and all but he’s just digging the hall bigger and bigger. Then you have Mr. Dick who is the guy that is slowly going insane. The whole flying a kite idea was certainly interesting. I’m glad it worked but unfortunately it was only temporary which means they would have to continue doing that forever in order for it to work. Hopefully eventually he is able to just overcome the spirit of King Henry.

Betsey was a good supporting character. At least she was taking things in stride and seemed to know what was going on. It was a difficult situation but she was making the most of it which is the important thing. She even tried giving advice to Dora that the romance may not work out well with David but the heroine didn’t listen. Dora could have been better, the main issue with her is that she has a hard time keeping up a conversation because her mind tends to wander.

In a way there was a second romance plot at the accounting firm but David tended to not notice since he only had eyes for Dora. Of course the accounting area is where you had a lot of the main conflicts in the film since the dispute was over a great deal of money. Effectively the main villain was trying to swindle Copperfield and the others. The guy was completely succeeding to. Just goes to show you’ve always gotta stay alert.

The review’s a little all over the place but that’s because the film jumps around a lot as well. After all, this is the complete story of David Copperfield so you get to see the whole journey but with little flashbacks thrown in or meanwhile scenes that overlay over the present scene. It does look pretty cool as I mentioned earlier for sure. So on a visual level that was neat.

My only real issue with the film is that it could be a little on the boring side. Even by the end of the film you don’t feel like a whole lot happened. I think part of the issue lies with the characters as it’s hard to really get on board with any of them. There’s also the fact that some of the characters seem so obviously shady that when they leave and betray the others you aren’t surprised. Like David’s “friend” who decided to take off with one of the girls from the first village. He ditched her of course but she was also to blame there. How can you just leave your fiancé at the drop of a hat?

Later on she comes back since the relationship didn’t work out but why should the guy even want her back? It’s now clear that he was the second choice and she only returned as a last resort. So….yeah that’s not a good sign. The characters keep falling for tricks or get busted by someone else. Either way, I think adding in some more likable characters of changing the setting could have gone a long way.

Overall, I wasn’t a big fan of the stuff that happened when David was a kid. The Step Dad was pretty bad and his Mom didn’t do anything to help him out either which was annoying. His teen years weren’t bad though. The main issue is just that the film won’t keep your interest. There isn’t a lot of witty banter or comical scenes to break things up either. The film is mainly serious after all, although I wouldn’t say in a dark way. It’s just going about things in a matter of fact way so how interesting you find the film will depend on how interesting you find the lead to be. It’s sort of like the Henry or Ramona books, perhaps Huckleberry Finn and yet not as interesting as my memories of those books. Perhaps a sequel would be able to do this a little better if we could get some kind of big time skip that would be cool too so tings are a little more modern.

Overall 4/10

Tea for Two Review


Time to look at a classic Doris Day film. This one may not be as strong as most of her other titles but it’s still a pretty good movie all the same. It definitely goes to show that you have to be pretty careful when entering into a deal because you never know how things will turn out.

The movie introduces us to Uncle Max who is having a rather bad day. See, he’s a very rich man, however the stock market just crashed and he lost all of his money since he had placed it in stocks against the advice of his accountant. Now Max is utterly broke but he doesn’t know how to tell Nanette this so he stays quiet. Meanwhile Nanette is getting swindled by a corrupt talent show owner named Larry. Larry has fed her a sob story about Jimmy’s family being under some tough times so she needs to donate a few thousand to his failing show. She agrees to do it, however Nanette has to be the leading lady. Larry agrees while also promising the part to another girl.

Nanette asks Max to give her the money but he doesn’t want to. In part because he doesn’t have any money to give and in part because it’s Larry and everyone knows what a crook that guy is. This leads them to make a bet. If Nanette can resist saying the word yes for a full week then she will have won the money. If she loses then she won’t be able to buy anything crazy for a full year. The race is on!

Tea For Two embraces how crazy the plot is rather well. I would say the best gag in the entire film is when we find out that the accountant is effectively the one who bankrupt Max since he short sold all the stocks that Max owned. Rather than holding a grudge Max never even calls him out on it so you can’t help but think that he didn’t realize this or jus isn’t very smart. Either way the accountant had the last laugh there but is still right by Max’s side the rest of the film. I guess it’s nice that he wants to help now but the damage is already done.

The accountant has a bit of a rushed plot near the end that doesn’t make much sense though. It’s one of those romances that happens so fast you have to shake your head. It doesn’t feel like it was set up at all. Pauline is another side character in the film who is mainly here to help Nanette out. After all, Nanette tends to be fooled rather quickly so Pauline does her best to get the lead not to say yes very easily. Unfortunately Nanette is not easily stopped. It’s always fun to see Pauline throwing a lot of insults at the villain though.

Nanette does get fooled way too easily though especially considering how she already knows that Larry is no good. They constantly mention this and everyone mocks the guy. Why would she believe such a fantastic story from him without at least asking Jimmy straight up first? That would have been the best way to handle things. At least Nanette is quite persistent in trying to win the bet and never falters no matter how many sacrifices she has to make.

Jimmy is equally to blame though as the guy never clued Nanette in. He only does once he admits that he has fallen from her so he felt bad keeping the secret any longer but the translation to that is that unless he loves someone he has no qualms with keeping important secrets. That’s not a good sign in the slightest. As a result I couldn’t back this romance up either.

Larry is as much of a total villain as you can be here. The guy is extremely pushy, lies all the time, and isn’t even very smart so he makes a lot of mistakes. You’re not meant to sympathize with him in the slightest. He’s fooling around with multiple girls at once and of course nobody tries to stop him. Ultimately it seems like all of the main characters were rather weak and would rather look the other way than to try and set things right. It does make for some fun shenanigans but at other times it just backfires.

He gets away with a whole lot with Nanette like greeting her with a kiss and constantly grabbing onto her. She always breaks free and insults him but after the fact it feels a bit late. Stopping him first off should be the main goal and you’d think one of the other friends would help out but they’re always just twiddling their thumbs.

Max was definitely my favorite character. Sure, the stocks didn’t work out but it is hindsight. You can see why he went there instead of bonds as those don’t tend to grow a whole lot. They just stay in the same place over and over again but are safer. So it’s a tough call of course but Max means well. He brings a lot of fun humor to the film throughout. He doesn’t hold back when it comes to trying to win the deal but doesn’t cheat or do anything like that. He just goes all in.

At the end of the day the writing is good and the film really flows by so I wouldn’t say I had any real issues with the movie. At most it just feels like the plot is a bit forced because I don’t see why Nanette would believe Larry’s story for even a minute. Not after all the crazy scenes we see of him trying to trick everyone and generally acting as awfully as possible. The guy has no manners and somehow thinks he is still together with Nanette. You can’t reason with someone like that and so that part has not aged well in a logic sense. Somehow everyone still trusts the guy which is crazy but the ending for his character is done really well.

Overall, Tea For Two is weaker than the other Doris Day films in part due to the cast not being quite as solid as normal and both romances not being very good. Still, the movie excels with its humor and you are bound to have a good time. Even if the characters annoy you it’s not as if any of them are awful. You’ll be glad for the flashback to start though as the film begins with you thinking that the kids are going to be main characters and that would not have been good. If you like Doris Day films or just want to watch a fun little comedy then this is a good one to check out.

Overall 7/10

Goke, The Body Snatcher from Hell Review


I actually had some reasonable expectations for this film but ultimately it fell flat. Goke just wasn’t able to really live up to my expectations because the film decided to go the vampire route instead. Things got a little gritty and instead of cool hand to hand action scenes the humans were just bickering a lot. You can’t win like that, that’s for sure.

The movie starts with a bunch of people on an airplane. They’ve all got big plans for the rest of their lives and are enjoying the pleasant cruise when there is a bomb scare. Sugisaka along with attendant Kuzumi try to find out who has the bomb but then the plane crashes. The heroes are now isolated in a desert region and have no way to salvage the ship. They also must deal with the fact that one of the passengers may have a bomb. Additionally, they know that nobody is coming to save them after turning on the news and hearing the reporters confirm this. One of the passengers quickly breaks the radio though since it was being too helpful.

So that’s a fairly interesting story dynamic you’ve got there. These passengers who each have their own story and values must put aside their own differences in order to band together. There is just one problem and unfortunately it is a big one. There is also a body snatcher from hell that is here to destroy them all. The creature arrived in some kind of meteorite and quickly takes control of a passenger. The only way to know who is the alien is to look for someone with a huge scar on their face and the characters are too busy fighting with each other to put up much of a fight.

Goke started off on the wrong foot as the movie opens with a bunch of birds dying. See, Goke’s influence is able to stir up the wildlife around him which forces the birds to take down the plane. It’s hard to say what the exact purpose of this is. Is it merely the birds growing afraid or Goke mind controlling them because he wanted a vessel? If you think about it, there isn’t even much value in having a vessel since their spaceships are already strong enough to really do whatever they need to do.

Once we’re on the island, the film makes sure to show us that none of the characters are likable which leads to a Lord of the Flies kind of scenario. Sugisaka is easily the character with the strongest moral compass. Ultimately he wants to make sure everyone is able to walk out of here in one piece. I’ll give the guy props for trying to keep everyone together. I just disagreed with one of his decisions when he said nobody should even think about leaving the ship. Hehe…lets just say I’ll talk more about that later.

Kuzumi was also good. She did her best to help out and make sure things were going well. These are the only two reasonable characters. Next up you have Neal who is the sole American in the film so that’s always fun. She is very dramatic the whole time and cries a lot which unfortunately makes things easy on Goke. I ended up losing respect for her when she was on board with the plan of sacrificing some of the crew for her own personal survival. Yeah that’s the kind of thing that is not going to go over well in the slightest.

Mano is a senator who is really unreasonable throughout the film. He’s always telling people to hurry up and get him out of here when it’s clear as crystal that there isn’t anything anyone can do at the moment. Why is this such a foreign concept to him? The guy is also having an affair with Tokiyasu’s wife. Mano is also very quick to betray the others and does this numerous times throughout the film.

Then you have Tokiyasu who willingly threw his wife at Mano in order to try and secure a deal for his company. That tells you the level of ethics that this guy follows. Noriko is also content to go along with this plan which is unfortunate as well. In horror films being unfaithful usually ends up being disastrous for all parties involved and this movie is no exception.

There’s Momotake but he doesn’t last long. The guy is actually happy about the plane crash because he has a theory that humans will always devolve into their base instincts and he wants a chance to prove this. Yes, great for him…but that’s naturally going to only lead to one conclusion right? Momotake talks a big game but he still seems a little surprised by what he had predicted.

Finally there is Sagai who seemed to be reasonable for most of the movie but then he also decided they needed to start sacrificing people. So he went down the drain. It’s a common theme in the film that at the end of the day you can’t trust anyone. Ultimately everyone will betray you and it’s just a very cynical way of looking at things. It would have been nice if they weren’t all so corrupt.

The idea of the cast slowly all going mad as they’re trapped in a small plane with no water or food can definitely be interesting but it has to be handled really carefully. I saw a film sort of like that (I forget the title) where the characters are locked in a house by an invisible force and all start to go crazy. That one was handled better to be sure even if it had some issues.

Now you would think the alien plot would automatically fix things right? Well, I wouldn’t say that the process is automatic because these aliens are basically vampires. Yes, that’s one of the last things this film needed. The movie isn’t afraid to get rather violent with these interactions as the humans are slowly drained into oblivion. Each of these scenes certainly drags and the movie ends up falling into the classic horror hole of being violent for shock value. Throw in all of the animal deaths from earlier and this movie did not know what it was doing.

Even the design for when the aliens inhabit the human hosts is not very fun to look at. They have to make a giant incision in the person’s face which looks like an obvious weak point. The vampires also aren’t very fast so you know that they can be outrun if the humans would stop tripping and looking back. Just keep on going full speed and you’ll be okay. Why turn back like that? All you’re doing is speeding up your own demise!

Okay, so a lot happens by the end of the film and I won’t spoil the twist since it’s like something out of an M Shyamalan film. Of course the heroes crashed somewhere so a few of them suggest running outside for a while to get to the next town. This idea is slammed down but what if they had actually gone? The ending gives you a look at what would have happened and it does make the characters look pretty bad. From the start I thought it was a terrible idea to stay put. Sure the outdoors are dangerous but you have no water or food so isn’t it better to leave now while you have energy than later?

The one thing I will say for the film is that the ending is pretty hype. Things start accelerating a lot quicker than I ever would have suspected and really changes the whole context of what’s going on. I would actually be reasonably hyped for a sequel. The issue with this film…or at least one of them is that we were just focused on the wrong people. I want to see the rest of the planet now which should make for a much more interesting narrative.

Overall, Goke, Body Snatcher was disappointing. Honestly I was expecting it to be significantly better than how it turned out. The aliens being vampires is such an awful idea and making the characters this unlikable was not a good decision. Whenever any film decides to make the whole cast villains for some reason I have to shake my head because that will never work. It’s just not a good idea because you need someone to sympathize with and this completely removes the chances of that happening. If you want to watch an interesting alien film then you have much better options that you can take a look at. This one is best left to the remnants of history.

Overall 2/10

Dumbo (2019) Review


Dumbo is certainly a classic from the old days of Disney. I’m sure just about everyone is familiar at least with the concept of the character so a remake definitely had the deck stacked against it. Ultimately it’s a fun remake and it is quite different from the original which helps it stand out. That being said, it doesn’t quite have the charm of the original as it cuts out all of the more fantastical elements to make this a more grounded experience.

The movie starts with things looking hopeless for the heroes as Holt arrives back home from being in the army only to find that things are in disarray. His wife died and the circus they belong to has fallen under tough times. Holt lost an arm and his kids are also not doing so well as they have stopped enjoying their youth. Then the owner of the circus, Max ended up buying an Elephant with a kid but the kid has huge ears and is the iconic Dumbo. There are no refunds but Dumbo wows the audience with his flying. Are things finally on the up and up for the heroes or is the powerful Mr. Vandevere about to put an end to this?

Dumbo is a fairly light hearted film at its core but it does get serious at times like in the intro. Most of the characters outside of the main ones aren’t the nicest folks as seen with how they treat Dumbo and the others. They tend to meet rather intense ends though which was good to see since picking on Dumbo is quite mean spirited.

Dumbo is a fun character although he is always very nervous. You’d like to see Dumbo take charge and just start running around the place after a little bit but it’s not really until the film is ending that he finally gets brave. If we ever get a sequel then I like to think he will be able to use his new experience flying to become a true hero to the rest of the elephants. In a way he can be their champion.

As the main character, Holt does well. He struggles with some self doubt at times but for the most part I thought he handled the situations in stride. It’s not as if it’s easy to adjust to only having one arm but you won’t see him complain about it even once during the film. The most difficult part is really connecting with his two kids and that’s not something he is really able to do for most of the film. He doesn’t have quite as strong an attachment to Dumbo and mostly he’s focused on just trying to learn a new act.

So I liked him well enough but the only time I got a little nervous was when the film introduced Colette and started dancing around making that a potential romance subplot. That would have been horrible considering that his wife just died so this would be moving on way too quickly. Fortunately the film never really goes in that direction and so I like to think they remained as good friends. I’ll give the film a lot of credit for showing some restraint here since that can be pretty rare in these things.

Colette was a fun heroine as well. Initially when she appears in a crazy getup with Vandevere you sort of figure she’s going to be an antagonist as well. One of those villains who is quite smug about being rich but her character ends up being a lot more complex than that which was appreciated. She had a good arc and did try her best performing along with Dumbo. It was an unexpected character change after the initial scenes but a welcome one to be sure. They even had a team up near the end against Vandevere.

Vandevere certainly works as the main villain as well. The guy just wants as much money as possible and will do whatever he can to accomplish this goal. Max was a little naive to really think that partnering with this guy would be such a good idea. Particularly since the circus had been doing well. Vandevere certainly panics a lot towards the end so you can definitely say that plot line was resolved in a satisfying way.

As for the two kids Joe and Milly, I wouldn’t say they were all that good here. Even if they helped give a positive connotation to the word “Dumbo” I’m not sure about calling the elephant that. Seems like it would just be traumatic right? They (Milly in particular) do a good job of training Dumbo at least and are the ones who form a good bond with him but if anything I think that role could have been given to Holt. The issue with the kids is that they aren’t really ready to take on opponents like Vandevere.

They mean well but they don’t know how to banter yet and tend to say things at the wrong time which puts the other characters in a pickle. Finally you have Max who made for a fun captain. He brings in a lot of the humor type scenes and is fairly over the top as you would expect. The guy always wants to be on the winning side so if something earns money then he loves it. If not then don’t expect him to be a happy camper. At the end of the day he does step up though.

So by and large it’s a fun story. It’s one that feels considerably different from the original Dumbo movie but the story is solid all the same. The effects look nice enough but what really stands out here is the soundtrack. The movie has a lot of themes like something out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films or even Spider-Man 3. The themes have a very epic feel to them which may not always match the scenes but sound epic under any context. It was very surprising to see this film have such a great soundtrack but it absolutely amped up the experience. Dumbo’s writing was also good so that helps round things out nicely as well.

Overall, Dumbo is a good remake of the original. It really hits on the important aspects of the movie such as having a solid cast of characters and flowing pretty well. You won’t be bored here and while Dumbo gets bullied, the film doesn’t take it too far which is good. It would be annoying if Dumbo had to go through a lot. Like for instance there is one scene where it looks like the clowns are going to throw water on Dumbo which would have been awful but fortunately they didn’t do that as it was a different act. It’s little things like that which help the film from going too far. Mix in the great soundtrack and you’ve got a pretty solid movie here.

Overall 7/10

Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? Review


This film is certainly trippy that’s for sure but unfortunately it’s not in a good way. Sure, some scenes can be really good to be sure, but on the whole the film feels pointless a lot of the time and the ending doesn’t exactly help matters either. From start to finish you’re wondering if the film is leading up to something. Some kind of big twist that will change the way you look at the whole picture but it just never comes.

The movie starts out with Georgie jumping off a building but instead of exploding on the ground he wakes up at his therapist’s office. It turns out that it was just another delusion of his. Georgie has a tendency to imagine his own death quite a lot so you’ll see other kinds of scenes like that as the film goes on. He also has a wild imagination as he pictures the therapist breaking into song at one point as he tells Georgie to stop bothering him with his problems.

Georgie’s main issue is that he has completely lost his grip on reality prior to the film even beginning. Due to that, you really can’t trust him at all. Part of the main plot which you can guess from the title is that someone named Harry keeps telling everyone that Georgie’s a really bad guy. Most of them are even believing the guy which isn’t hard since Georgie hasn’t done well for himself.

He cheated on his first wife and was quick to have more affairs later on so you can’t trust him. He stole a magazine from a street vendor for no real reason and his best friend seems to have absolutely 0 morals. So right now Georgie isn’t exactly batting 1000, in fact you could say he is striking out repeatedly. So his reputation isn’t already all that good but why would it be when he calls his accountant to read him the books at 4:30AM and calls his friend at 3:30?

At least some of Georgie’s fantasies are pretty fun. The crazier they are the more it works. Towards the end of the film we get a serious revelation and then another intense scene that seems like it could be a dream. Due to what we have seen earlier you can make a lot of theories here. Did the dream start in the final cutaway or was the earlier bit part of the dream as well? See, personally I think it was a dream for the entirety of the climax. It fits in with his other self destructive dreams but with this guy you just never know. For all we know the whole film is something he’s imagining while falling off of the building from the opening scene.

Now, a film about constant delusions could be fun if handled right but this one isn’t quite going the distance there. The film likes to jump from the present to the past a lot and while Georgie is a little more sane there, he still doesn’t seem totally rational. Just look at his conversation with his wife when they both admit that they’ve been cheating on the other. The whole conversation is incredibly stilted and you’re just wondering what you’re watching.

In general the writing just isn’t good. The Psychiatrist is the only character who has a lot of good lines and continues to make his presence known. The scene of him bursting into song has to be the best moment of the film without a doubt. Beyond that the dialogue just won’t really capture your interest, especially when you factor in how the characters that are talking just aren’t likable. You’ve got the rebound characters for Georgie, his friend who basically dates everyone, and Harry but that guy never even appears. Part of the mystery is about finding out who Harry is but I think you’ll have that one solved by about halfway in.

Somewhere in this movie is probably a cool concept but it’s just buried far too deep underneath everything else for it to shine through. There’s one easy way to fix the film and that’s to make Georgie a likable character. That’s really it, if you do that then the whole film will end up being quite good or at the very least it improves in every area.

Think about it, the reason why we aren’t invested is because there’s no reason to really like Georgie. He’s an immoral cheat who doesn’t regret anything. Now, if he was a nice guy whose life was being wrecked by someone trying to tarnish his reputation, then I think we would have something here. It’s more of a relatable issue and one where you can feel how serious it is because a lot of times people will believe what they hear without even trying to hear your side of the story. So that would up the stakes of trying to find Harry.

Here, you don’t quite feel that. Additionally, it may be a big part of the plot but when does Georgie even try to find the guy? The problem is he really has no leads so almost 100% of the film he isn’t even trying to find the guy. He talks tough about wanting to get him but it’s all tough talk and bluster. None of it feels all that real which is an issue. There is no sense of urgency because Georgie isn’t urgent. He’s too busy thinking about having more one night stands than thinking about the mystery.

Overall, While the intent of the film is to be aimless as we sift through Georgie’s delusions, the movie doesn’t capitalize on this. To pull off such a plot the execution has to be flawless and I wouldn’t say this one nailed any of the core concepts. The characters were pretty bad, the story was shaky, and there isn’t really any concrete area that I can point to and say that the film did well. At best, I would give the film some props for the dream sequences. Those were good like the Skiing, falling off a building (twice when you consider the moment with the other heroine) and the sing along, but that’s about it. It can’t save the movie when the main story is this bad. Maybe it should have just made the whole film a dream, now that could have been a lot more interesting as the world keeps on forming different parts of his consciousness so we have to figure out what is going on in the real world. Maybe next time.

Overall 3/10

Field of Dreams Review


Time for a Baseball experience. There is a little less actual Baseball playing than you would expect though as it’s more focused on the drama. It’s a fun enough film to be sure and we have an emotional character arc for the lead. That said, I do think it would have amplified the experience if we had gotten an opposing team to fight or something though. Think Space Jam but the supernatural version.

So the movie starts with Ray feeling a little down because he just isn’t really sure what he has done with his life. His biggest fear is not getting to do anything super important or memorable before he dies. He has some issues with his father due to this when he was a kid because he thought that it had happened to him. One day, Ray hears a message saying to build it and he will come. His wife Annie pokes fun at the fact that the voice did not add any real details to that message so it’s hard to say what the mission even is.

Fortunately Ray continues to get more messages and visions. It turns out that he needs to build a Baseball stadium. That way Shoeless Joe Jackson and the rest of the team members who threw the World Series would finally be able to play again since they were banned for life and died a while back. Ray believes Joe didn’t actually participate in throwing the series despite taking the money since the guy played effectively a flawless game. I suppose it’s one of those things they’ll never know for sure but either way that was a long time ago and the whole team just wants to play ball.

Still, the visions haven’t ended. There is still more that Ray evidently needs to do. The only question is…what? This journey will take Ray many places such as visiting the jaded writer known as Terrence and even talking to a baseball player who became a doctor. That’s not even the biggest challenges he will face though. As Ray is traveling around the world and having a good ole time, his wife Annie is having to deal with the fact that their finances are running dry. The Baseball arena is certainly eating up a large chunk of income after all and the creditors are here to take the main characters down for good.

Field of Dreams is certainly a calming film as it’s really about Ray finally getting to make a difference in the world. He has a good time visiting the various players and trying to figure out what the messages are all about. It’s also good that things did work out because otherwise the characters were starting to get into a sticky situation. For example, even right up to the end of the film he didn’t really have any concrete plans on how to earn money. If not for his daughter stepping in, they were all about to get wrecked by the creditors.

Ray’s determined which is good but I would have liked him more if he had a concrete plan to deal with things. Meanwhile Annie was the one really holding down the fort the whole time. Without her stepping in and resisting the sell offers Ray would have been coming home to a rather empty place. It was also nice to see Annie taking up a position at the town hall meeting and going back and forth with the main speaker there. She was a protester along with Ray in the quick flashbacks we saw after all so this isn’t her first rodeo.

We don’t see a lot of the past but there’s just enough to introduce us to Ray since his feud with his father is a bit of a main plot point. From what we saw the issue was really entirely with Ray as he entered a rebellious phase due to the books he was reading by Terrence. It was a bad look for him to be sure but at least he got better as he grew up. It’s hard to hold his actions from many years prior to the film against him in the present but perhaps that’s part of why he never got all that good. He was even short with his daughter when she was trying to let him know that the first of the ghosts had shown up.

Then we have Mark who is one of the main villains here. While he acts concerned for Ray and Annie it doesn’t change the fact that he showed up to try and get rid of their home. No matter how you slice it he wasn’t exactly doing everything he could to help them out. From his perspective they did seem to be rather crazy of course but there are still better ways to handle that.

Finally you’ve got Terrence who makes for a fun character. His opening scenes of trying to terrorize Ray are quite intense. The guy clearly doesn’t want to be back in the spotlight after all and that’s fair. I think being famous can definitely take its toll on you if people are constantly asking you for autographs and such. Terrence has a good role here though and ends up having a fun dynamic with Ray.

As for the Baseball players, while they were all fun enough, you wish they would have done something to help Ray out. It’s an issue I sometimes have with these supernatural guys. All they want is to have a good time which is fair but they absolutely have to notice the struggled the main characters are having right? Can’t they at least offer up some advice or help out? By the end they start mind controlling the nearby townsfolk and even people across the country to give Ray money but for a while they were just ignoring his plight. Things could have easily gone sideways.

The best player was definitely the doctor. He was an emotional character and didn’t come in until near the end but I thought his plot was the most interesting. He’s effectively given the chance to change his past but decides that he’ll take the life he already has which I liked. The grass is always greener after all and he knows how many people he has helped as a doctor. If he had kept playing baseball then of course that would be different.

Overall, Field of Dreams is a pretty fun film. You do feel like the Baseball players could have helped out a little more though. They basically made Ray do everything and then looked the other way until the climax of the film. One way to give them more agency here would have definitely been to have introduced a team for them to fight. Maybe the winners get a lot of money or something. It would have the players have to face their temptations if the other team offers them money for throwing the game or something like that. The climax we do get is suitably emotional though and does tie in with the overall themes. It’s good that Ray effectively got to make up for some of the mistakes he made early on. If you want to watch a fun drama film then check this one out. As long as you know ahead of time that this isn’t really a sports film and is more about dealing with the past and following your dreams then you’re sure to enjoy it. Some parts are a bit cheesy like a certain antagonist losing the will to fight but sometimes that’s just the way it goes.

Overall 6/10

Bullitt Review


Bullitt is definitely a true noir film to its core but with a more modern aesthetic than the older ones. It’s a pretty good title with a lot going on at all times. It’s a bit on the longer side to be sure so that lets the movie really have a lot of characters the whole time. As I’ll mention below Frank doesn’t have to be a one man army this time as he actually has some good help.

The film starts on a really high energy note during the credits. We see the burglars taking a lot of guys out with hit and run tactics or just classic gunfire. It’s a pretty interesting start since we don’t yet know what’s going on but what better way to start a film like this right? The answers are all given slowly during the movie.

Frank is the main character here. He’s a detective who has been assigned to protect Ross, a mobster who is going to be a crucial witness against a big criminal organization. Frank is fairly confident that they can handle this so he and his two partners take shifts on who will protect the guy. Unfortunately his partner is not that smart and lets Ross get near the door. Not a great idea when you’re watching over someone and things are already getting suspicious…..Naturally both the partner and Ross get shot.

Well, now everybody’s in a whole lot of trouble. Chalmers, one of the higher ups is blaming Frank for this. Frank meanwhile thinks something is really fishy about the whole set up so he hides Ross’s body so nobody will know that he actually died from his injuries. In theory this will lead the hitmen out into the open. Of course this will put Frank at odds with both the cops as well as the villains.

It’s a classic revenge story here as Frank has gone off the reservation in order to get back at the guys who did this. Frank makes for a pretty good lead. He’s certainly not afraid to talk tough to anyone else, including his superiors. Even the plan to get the body tucked away was a risky one that not just any character would pull off. I wouldn’t say Frank is a spectacular character or anything but he does handle the situation well.

Then you have Chalmers who is one of the other main characters. He’s the guy who really wanted Ross for the court case and is the one who made the deal with the guy in the first place. Naturally he’s on Frank’s tail the whole film because he needs the body. The reason Frank doesn’t want to play ball is because this guy seems rather suspicious. His name was used for the burglers to break in and bump Ross off plus the guy seems really desperate to get Ross.

It doesn’t help that Chalmers is also a jerk the whole time such as a scene when he tries to effectively get one of the doctors fired by complaining about him for no other reason than he wanted the guy to give him a different answer. These elements add up to make him someone you don’t really want to partner with. He does make for a fun character because of how exaggerated he is the whole time though.

You’ve also got Frank’s direct boss who was very good. The guy was put in a rather tough spot with all the pressure coming down on him but he still held strong. The captain does have to make certain decisions as part of his job that don’t always align with Frank’s plans but he never turns tail and runs or anything like that. Frank also has another good partner who had a good interrogation at the cafe where he actually outdid Frank as the main guy was a little too much in a hurry. It was nice to see that Frank had some capable allies here.

There is a bit of an extended car chase we get midway through the film but it wasn’t as exciting as some of other classic chases you get in these films. I think part of the issue was the cars they were using couldn’t get up to great speeds so it’s a little less frantic. It’s probably the only scene that I would say dragged a bit here. Always fun to have an action scene though so that was neat.

As this is more a film about cat and mouse games, there aren’t a ton of action scenes. You affectively get 3, the opening shootout, the car chase, and then the climax. Each action scene is pretty solid though so it works out. The story is engaging too so you never really miss the action. After all in a mystery like this you’re most interested in figuring out who the villain really is.

The climax was a lot of fun though. We don’t get a whole lot of action scenes at the airport so it made for a good backdrop. The film even uses the overall layout of the airport to its advantage as it plays a role in dealing with the villain. All of the plots meet up in this section as the climax should.

The only plot here that felt like it didn’t really belong was some mild tension with Frank’s girlfriend Cathy. The case was dragging so she believes it’s taken a big toll on Frank and on them too. Now that’s not necessarily incorrect but considering the high stakes going on right now and multiple people dead as it is, it’s not like Frank can back out now. She also only appeared for maybe 2-3 scenes top in the whole film so it was easy to forget that she was even around.

Overall, Bullitt is a pretty good movie. It’s got a solid plot/premise and good execution all around. The soundtrack has some pretty good tunes thrown into the mix as well like the opening credits theme. If you’re looking for a pretty solid thriller to check out then this will definitely work out pretty well. It’s a strongly written film that doesn’t really have any weaknesses.

Overall 7/10

Le Mans Review


Le Mans is probably the closest I’ve seen to a film not really having much of a story since Cats. Fortunately unlike that film this one was still fun mainly because in general you can’t go wrong with racing. The film does have some issues with all the characters looking the same and that feeling like nothing is happening, but as long as you enjoy watching the cars go at it you should be fine.

The film starts with Michael getting ready for the big Le Mans race. It’s effectively a huge cross country race that spans an incredible amount of distance. It’s so long that the drivers even substitute out with others as the car goes on. I don’t know the specific rules here and the film isn’t about to tell them to you but effectively it seems like anyone can substitute for you as long as they have permission from the coach. Naturally it shouldn’t come to that since they already have the different guys lined up. Michael wants to win this but can he pull it off?

Meanwhile he has to deal with some drama involving the past. See, Lisa’s husband was in the last Le Mans and he ended up dying. It seems like she partially thinks Michael is responsible but more than anything she just doesn’t like racing anymore. We are given a flashback involving the crash briefly but when seeing it, it’s fair to say that it’s not really Michael’s fault. In fact, throughout the film we have quite a few crashes and it’s always tough because while you may spin out of control to dodge the first car, is it the first car’s fault?

It’s all relative when you’re out on the track. Nobody wants to crash after all and I can tell you up front that there isn’t some kind of big antagonist trying to take everyone out for the count. These are all professionals that are just trying to take the win but this isn’t exactly an easy track. Even the simplest of turns can become challenging when you’re going at such a high speed. You can’t slow down or you’ll fall behind as well.

Now, you could say that Lisa’s plot is the main story here. Part of the film is helping her see that maybe racing isn’t so bad. The plot could have been done a little better though as the scenes are spread out across the whole movie so there isn’t much to them. Part of her despises the races but she can’t help but keep showing up anyway. They just draw her in even as she tries to resist. All of the drivers seem to like her as well but you know that Michael’s the only one who may have a shot and even then you’re hoping that she friend zones them all considering that her husband didn’t die all that long ago. It was the last grand prix which I assume was a year ago unless this competition is held every 4 years or something like that.

It’s just not a super engaging plot but at least it does give us a chance for some dialogue and a change of pace. The rest of the film is really just the grand prix with a lot of different camera angles to keep things fresh. I always thought one of the most stressful moments in these things has to be when you have to go into the pit stop and let the crew maintain the car. Even if everyone has to do it at some point, it can be rough seeing the other cars getting out ahead of you.

There isn’t much to say about the soundtrack because I wouldn’t say there’s much of one here. The effects look good though, the movie shows how fragile the cars are. After all they’re built for speed so one wrong bump and that’s really it for the machine. It’s totaled before you can even give it a glance.

So Le Mans is a rather unique film I would say. Sure, it doesn’t have an interesting story compared to Speed Racer, Fast and the Furious, or even Need for Speed, but at the same time it’s a fairly safe film. Since pretty much the whole film is just a race, there isn’t any time to fall into any cinematic pot holes. The only negative that the film could even risk would be if it got downright boring. After all if you’re not really into cars or just moderately into them then you may get bored of seeing them turn the corner over and over again. That’s the only risk it takes, but since I enjoy a good race I wouldn’t say that’s the case here. I wouldn’t call the film boring, I would say it’s a little dragged out and could have benefited from a shorter run time but I was engaged enough to want to see it to the end.

Ironically as it’s built around being a real race that means it isn’t nearly as exciting to watch as virtually any other racing film since those (despite having slower, more traditional cars) feel like they have a lot more energy and substance. I think if I saw this in theaters I would be a lot more disappointed but watching it now, it just sort of flows by. I don’t imagine it’ll leave an impression after a while but it’s a consistent film and I’d say that’s enough to keep it at a positive level.

Overall, Le Mans is a film that makes no real mistakes but you do wish it could have added more of a plot. Sure, you have some rivals in the race, a small subplot with a guy hoping to win one last race before he retires, etc. At the same time you still don’t feel like there’s much of a story here which is in itself a bit of an experimental technique I suppose. I wouldn’t want this to become the standard but it’s a decently good film that does deliver on showing you the cars. Pick whichever car you want and root for it to go all the way!

Overall 6/10

Mr. and Mrs. Smith Review


Mr. and Mrs. Smith is one of those films that has a great premise and is followed by really solid execution. The idea of both characters being special agents and not knowing about the other just makes for a fun dynamic. It’s not one that is really explored all that often either so it’s a really fresh idea. I’d definitely be up for a sequel to this someday.

The movie starts with both characters trying to get their relationship back to normal after things have gone south. Their relationship coach asks a lot of questions but the characters are clearly having a tough time of it. We then cut back to the origin of how the two met each other. Fittingly enough, it’s during a big fire fight and they use each other as alibis. Presumably both of them probably had some role in the festivities. They got married real quick and that should have been their happily ever after but things have soured.

At least one of them is always away from home and their excuses aren’t the greatest. The reason for this of course is that both of them work as hitmen for big organizations. Mr. Smith is sort of like James Bond working for M16 and Mrs. Smith is the highest ranking agent of a Charlie’s Angels task force. Both of them terminate all their targets and have earned solid reputations. If someone is causing you trouble then you call their organizations in.

Well, things take a turn when they are both sent after the same target. Who will be able to complete the mission? Additionally, both Smiths keep growing more and more suspicious of each other so a mission like this is naturally going to have everything bubble to the surface. There’s a lot of quality tension there to be sure and the film is fairly long. This works to its benefit since it means that there is enough time to really work this plot over.

There’s a lot of positives here from the witty dialogue to the special effects and action scenes. A film like this wouldn’t be able to work if the writing was bad. You need to have quality interactions between the characters and we get that here. A lot of bluffs are thrown out and both of them get pretty serious about trying to take the other down at some points as well.

There is an interesting difference to their approaches though. Mr. Smith is constantly holding back and trying to take Mrs. Smith down without seriously hurting her. Mrs. Smith on the other hand has no such qualms and outright tries to murder him several times. It’s very interesting to look at because it does show their different styles. At the end of the day Mrs. Smith was willing to put her job above Mr. Smith while he was unable to do the same against her.

In the end I would say that’s part of why I preferred him as a character. Even if he’s not always great at showing it, he was consistent in putting his wife first. I don’t think there was any point where he really wavered in that. Mrs. Smith had more questionable scenes in that respect. You could say at one point with the guns they came close to taking each other out in a mutual sense although at that point things had already been escalated a whole lot.

Both of them had fun ways of storing their weapons inside the house as well. It’s too bad a lot of the weapons had to be destroyed by the end. A lot of the film deals with the mental game of chess between the two characters but we do get some solid action segments like the gun fight I just mentioned and the climax in general. There’s a lot going on here and while it’s a more light hearted adventure, you can still expect some plot twists as well.

Each character even has their own supporting cast even if they were a lot weaker than the main two. Eddie is Mr. Smith’s friend and the guy has some really fun moments. On the other hand he has some moments that drag on too and it’s clear that he’s not the greatest friend. Now would he put his job over Mr. Smith? Absolutely without a doubt, just in this case the money wasn’t all that high. Then for Mrs. Smith, none of her allies get as much screen time as Eddie but presumably they can fight pretty well too. They just don’t really get the chance to do it.

The best confrontation between the main two is likely the dinner scene as they try to gather data. There’s a lot of suspense since they really don’t know what’s about to happen. We even get a second of complete silence when the wine glass almost hits the floor. All of their confrontations are great but that one certainly stands out.

Of course while I said I prefer Mr. Smith, Mrs. Smith is still a solid character as well. She’s clearly prepped pretty well when it comes to fighting. Against anyone other than Mr. Smith you figure that she would probably have the edge. She hasn’t had any trouble before now after all and has vanquished enough targets to be considered the top officer in her field. Her style may be a lot more rigid than Mr. Smith’s play it by ear approach but it gets the job done.

If the film has any weaknesses it’s that of course in Mrs. Smith’s only solo mission at the beginning of the film she is using seductive tricks to take out the villain. I’d rather she just showed up guns blazing since it seems like this always happens to every heroine agent who shows up in the field. The film does have some fanservice here and there although it’s nothing too crazy. I would also say the interviews at the beginning and ending of the film were not quite as interesting as the rest. It’s there to really give the film a beginning and ending of course but I’d say there are other ways the movie could have done that.

I don’t really have any other negatives though because this is just a really solid all around movie. It’s hard to say what would be the primary genre between comedy, action, and thriller because it really tackles all 3 quite well. When the film wants to get serious it gets very serious but then you have the great cutaways where the film suddenly gets light hearted and it works very well. A good example of this is when the two main characters show up at their neighbor’s party right after completing life or death assignments on their end. It’s a great contrast. The movie’s style of humor is definitely very effective.

Overall, Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a fun film. The dynamic works really well especially when you consider that neither one of them are exactly heroes. If they were then there wouldn’t really be that sense of danger between them, it’s because they are vigilante hitmen working for shady organizations that you have to ask yourself if the other one is in danger after a point. The film really makes the most out of the premise but a sequel could still be a lot of fun just because it’s one of those ideas that you can absolutely pull off a few more times. As long as the writing stays solid then the rest will follow.

Overall 7/10