The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini Review

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The Ghost Bikini definitely takes the beach series in a fresh new direction. I can safely say that this is a good thing because the beach environment got stale the instant it was introduced. This film actually manages to stay classy for the most part. We still do have some random party moments but you can’t really compare it to the last few films. It’s not all there yet, but this movie makes some real progress.

The film starts off with a ghost heading over to a coffin and waking the inhabitant up. It’s a tragic day for him since the ghost who was his friend died young while he died as a senior. The only way they can live together in the afterlife at the same age will be if he can perform one good deed. The issue is that the guy can’t actually leave the room so he has to trust Cecily to carry out the deed for him. Fortunately the crew (aka, the beach gang) are heading over to his house for some reason. A bunch of other people will also be there including the lawyer Ripper who has to read the will to a select group in order to claim the money. He enlists the help of a bunch of villains in order to destroy the competition so he can take all of the money. It’s a very ambitious plan and while this may sound bold, I think Ripper may be able to claw out a win here.

I would definitely say that this is the best of the beach movies. Mainly this is because the beach itself doesn’t actually get to show up this time. At most the kids quickly run to the pool and that scene isn’t too long. The opening is actually like something out of a horror film as the two suspicious characters make their plans amidst a lot of spooky music. Since most of these films had horrible beginnings this was a welcome surprise. Naturally this was thrown out the window once the beach characters showed up to bring along all of the baggage that comes with such a setting. It never gets quite as bad as in the previous films which is why this film’s score is a little higher, but it still makes enough mistakes to keep it from being negative.

For starters, the film seemed to grow bored of its own plot and so it kept on adding a bunch of new ones. None of the plots are ever focused on in a satisfactory way at all so in the end you are left feeling betrayed by the movie. For example, what even was the good dead of the spirit? Okay, he’s stopping his lawyer from cheating on his will, but that directly benefits himself and shouldn’t count. He has fun watching the characters get scared and fall into his traps, but he doesn’t do anything beyond that. The whole plot felt absolutely directionless. Also, from the start Cecily is subtly mocking the old man and seems to have a sinister plan up her sleeve. Well, the ending arrives and the rather predictable twist occurs, but it felt like a rather underwhelming climax to what was a very long build up. It’s also worth noting that while Cecily appears quite a lot, she doesn’t actually do anything. Take her away from the film and very little changes. She mainly just gives people subliminal messages.

It seems like she can interact with both inanimate objects and people so Cecily could probably have done a little more here. It’s the kind of film where it seems like the writers wanted to incorporate the title into their film somehow, but didn’t actually think about it until the end. The whole ghosts angle ultimately just felt like a really big waste. Then we’ve got Ripper and his gang. He has quite a few henchmen. So many in fact that half of them never really get to do anything. Ripper is the only competent member of the group as he actually does stab someone and the film hints that the victim stayed dead. Ripper basically has to do everything himself so it is easy to feel bad for the poor guy. From his minions Sinistra gets the biggest role so it is safe to say that she looks the worst. She can’t see without her glasses and always tends to lose them. As a result she ends up murdering statues instead of the kid she was supposed to bump off. It’s a shame since she would have succeeded in her mission otherwise.

Speaking of which, the teenager subplot didn’t actually become much of a focus for a while ad just went into the same old directions. Surprisingly they didn’t pull a “Let’s make him/her jealous” angle or anything like that, but it still happened in a way as the main guy (Well, there are 2 leads here. The one with the inheritance and the son/nephew. Both get comparable amounts of screen time so you can really choose who the lead is.) goes for Sinistra over the girl he was already with just because she looked nice. Honestly, there is absolutely no sense of loyalty in any of these beach movies. The film barely even has time to touch on any of this stuff since it turns into more of an Abbott and Costello kind of dynamic as the ghosts keep picking on one of them while the other doesn’t notice. The ghosts were definitely having quite a bit of fun in this film and why not right? They have to do something to amuse themselves.

Then we also have Eric Von Zipper and his cronies in the final main plot. (At least the final one worth mentioning. We also have the heroine sulking in the pajama party segment where we get a song or two, but there’s not much point to that plot) Basically they want to get rich quick so breaking into the mansion just makes sense. They fight with a lot of the mechanical puppets and even end up face to face with a large gorilla. That part was rather random but definitely interesting I guess. It was like having a mini Kaiju show up in the film. Eric Von Zipper and the gang are basically the same as always so you’ll know right away if you like the characters or not. At the very least they keep everyone honest.

Overall, This film is definitely a very confused one. It’s not exactly sure what it wants to do with itself and that can be rather tragic at times. There is a whole lot of potential here and the movie just squanders it all. The characters are rather weak and you can’t say much for the story either. While parts of the film can be fun, it’s just not enough to carry the whole thing. If you find that you have to watch a beach movie of sorts at some point then I’d recommend this one. Otherwise I’d say it is in your best interests to just skip this movie. It’s a decent supernatural comedy but you can find better ones on the market.

Overall 4/10

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The Haunting Review

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The Haunting is a film adaption of a book I read recently called the Haunting on Hill House. I’m assuming they thought the title would be too long which is why they shortened it. I don’t really care too much or really at all about that change but the movie makes a lot of other changes during its run and pretty much all of those are pretty bad. Whole characters are cut and bits of their personalities couldn’t get a chance to shine either. A movie adaption is almost always an abridged version of the book as it’s just hard to fit everything into a movie unless you make it two parts or very long. Still, the film could have done a much better job of sticking to the script.

The film starts off with a montage of murders as Hill House decides to clean up and murders a bunch of people. We then skip ahead a few decades as a professor wants to rent the place out to see if it is really haunted or not. His request is accepted on the condition that he brings along the future heir to the house to make sure the Professor doesn’t try to pull anything. He also hand picks a few individuals who have a history with the occult but only two people show up. First is Nel, a poltergeist survivor. The other one is Theo, a master of esp. Can this brave bunch prove that the House is haunted or has one of these individuals already been turned? Either way, staying alive could be rather difficult.

One of the main aspects of the book that I kept mentioning in my review is how strange all of the dialogue was. Everyone sounded really crazy throughout so it was always hard to tell what was going on. Was the house affecting all of their mentalities or where the characters already crazy? The movie doesn’t keep most of that in and instead portrays Nel as really shady right from the get go which changes the whole dynamic of the story. It’s less of a mystery now. I can’t say that I’m a fan of Nel in either versions but this one certainly seems a lot more villainous. She is willing to bump off her rivals so she can chase after the scientist and that romance plays a bigger role here than in the book which naturally makes her less of a sympathetic character since she appears desperate.

The movie also toned Theo down a lot. In the book she appears to enjoy the more brutal aspects of the case and has a morbid sense of of humor. While the film keeps in her taunts against Nel, most of her other lines are nowhere to be found. She is certainly one of the most enjoyable characters though and in the movie she is the best one. The handles the situations pretty well for the most part. The scene of her being terrified of the noises honestly seems rather out of character for her but I guess it’s hard to stay fearless in Hill House.

The Professor is also a lot weaker than his book counterpart thanks to Abel’s attempted romance plot. While he didn’t completely crack he did skate on some thin ice by the end and he could have done a much better job of handling the situation. Luke was pretty true to fork the whole time though. He doesn’t buy into the ghost business and talks a pretty good game the whole time. The movie cheats him out of his big scene where he saves Nel of course but I think most of his scenes still seemed to be in tact. It’s always good to have at least one skeptic in the group or they will just get scared too easily and that would just hurt the dynamic.

That’s why cutting out the other tough character was such a bad move though. In the book the wife arrives with a companion who has a gun at the ready and believes he is too sophisticated to be scared of ghosts. He actually doesn’t even end up being scared so it was an interesting way for his character arc to end. The Wife also looked a lot better as the ghosts couldn’t lay a hand on her. Even the Dudley’s were given a greatly reduced role which was unfortunate since they were the best characters in the book. Well, Ms. Dudley was the best anyway, the other guy was okay. The film even cut out the moment were Theo nearly ran the guy over. I can understand cutting the coffee scene near the beginning though. All in all the book just handled everything a lot better.

While the book is the better version that’s not to say that the movie is bad. The review has been negative so far because I’ve been comparing it to the book. It’s a little disappointing that if couldn’t do a better job of adapting it. That being said, it avoids most of the pitfalls that horror movies fall into. For starters there is no animal violence so that is a good thing. There isn’t even much in the way of normal violence which is nice. The opening can be a little dark with how everyone keeps dying but I think it does a good job of not being really graphic or anything like that.

The writing is still pretty solid. The characters talk like actual people and the dialogue is strong. The film does a good job of always keeping the atmosphere tense even if the characters do seem to overreact. I do think the Professor and Luke would have had a better time if the other two hadn’t shown up. While Theo and Nel panicked a lot, the other two were usually as cool as a Cucumber. Even then they weren’t quite as relaxed in the book. That does lead to one area where the film may beat the book. The pacing feels a lot quicker in the movie as things tend to happen more regularly. In the book it sometimes feels like nothing is happening and even after finishing the book it’s like not much occurred. In the movie since you could see things shaking and all it worked a lot better. At least I can give the film some kudos there. It’s still a slow burner but one that is a little more action packed.

Overall, The Haunted is a good horror film from the olden days. This was back when making a horror film was about atmosphere instead of content. I’ve spoken enough about the book so I won’t even say you should just read it instead of watching the movie. What I will say though is that this movie is worth checking out. It’s not perfect but it does a good job of encompassing what a horror film should be like and doesn’t make many mistakes in the process. That’s always the end goal in a film so since it keeps you entertained while all the way through as well, it’s a good movie. Watch it before you read the book to appreciate it more.

Overall 7/10

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

The Uninvited Review

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This film was an interesting one. It’s another blend of horror and comedy which works pretty well. Surprisingly the late middle/early ending of the film is the part that starts to drag a bit. I thought that the beginning and ending were the strongest parts of the film, but in a way..maybe that’s how it should be. Films should hook you in and reel you out, the middle is the most expendable part I suppose.

Roderick and Pamela decide to buy a house. These siblings both have a use for it although Roderick is very skeptical the whole time. He doesn’t want to break the bank on this house, but the two of them are given a good price for it. Roderick can now work on his papers from here and Pamela can enjoy the forest life. Everything is going well, but then the daughter of the previous owner lets them know that they’ve made a grave mistake. The siblings find out that the house is actually haunted and this ghost doesn’t play by the rules. It will use any means necessary to drive the heroes out and with its mild, mild, mild telepathic abilities it keeps trying to get Stella to commit suicide. Can Roderick stop this?

Let’s quickly go over the weaknesses of the film. For one, the romanc- Hold it DReager1, this romance wasn’t all that bad was it? Actually, I’m afraid that it was. While the romance was more conservative and proper than the ones I tend to bash, it still happened way too suddenly and out of the blue. It came out of nowhere and a proper romance shouldn’t evolve after a few minutes like that. It also doesn’t really add anything to the film so it was hardly necessary in the end.

As I mentioned, the middle is a little uneventful. After the heroes learn that the place is haunted, they start going around and digging up clues. Ultimately they learn things like who the ghost actually is and why it is so upset, but I can’t really say that this plot went anywhere in a hurry. It certainly took its time. Of course, dragging on a little is not a big weakness and the film is still a solid adventure. On the whole, I enjoyed the atmosphere. The characters were good and the ghost made for a good villain. The film did a good job of balancing the two genres without going overboard at any point.

Dealing with the ghost was also well played at the end. It’s a strategy that more protagonists should try out in these kind of films. The spirits and ghosts always do seem rather strong, but are they really? Or are the humans making them that way. That’s the question that you’ve always got to ask yourself before tackling them in combat. This ghost was admittedly one of the weaker ones that I’ve seen though. It was good as wailing/laughing/crying during the night though and even unnerved Roderick quite a bit. I don’t think it would fare too well in an actual fight though.

From all of the characters, I have to say that Stella was probably the most annoying. Mainly because of her low will power as she nearly died twice. She should be able to resist the ghost’s calls a little better if you ask me. Not to mention that she was fairly unreasonable about the whole thing. Her plan to just hang out with everyone wasn’t terrible I suppose and you’d think that everyone would be home in the dead of night, but it wasn’t to be. At least it gave the fortune teller/rich lady a role. For a while there, I wasn’t sure where the film was going with her character arc. She almost seemed like filler for a bit.

Before I wrap up the review, I definitely have to disagree with anyone who finds this movie scary though. The movie is many things, but scary isn’t one of them. Making the top 11 scariest films of all time from one list is rather surprising. With all of the comedy undertones and good one liners from the main characters, I don’t see how it can really scare you that much. Ah well, different things scare different people. Back before I watched dozens of horror films and became immune to being scared, I did get the chills from a horror movie aimed at kids so everyone has to start off somewhere. This is the kind of film that probably wouldn’t do well as a remake so it should probably stay in our memories. It already has the honor of being one of the better horror films out there after all. That’s good enough for it!

Overall, The Invited is a charming relic from the past. There isn’t a whole lot to say about it though because the cast is small and the film gets to the point right away. It’s fun, but aside from briefly talking about the ghost and the characters, there’s nothing more to elaborate on. I may as well not drag this review out so let’s finish this one up. The Uninvited doesn’t particularly excel at anything, but it captures the charm and fun that an old horror/comedy film like this one can bring to the table. It’s not all that long so even if it has some mild pacing problems, it finishes rather quickly. The characters are all likable for the most part and this film doesn’t make a lot of big mistakes. It may not be remembered as the years go by, but at the very least, I will always remember the cool ending.

Overall 7/10

Poltergeist (2015) Review

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It’s time to take a look at the remake of the original Poltergeist film. I actually saw this film a while back, but the review has been rotting in my backlog for some time now. Surprisingly, I thought that the film was fairly decent and by all accounts…it is actually better than the original film. I know that critics wouldn’t agree and by all accounts…I’m talking about mine. This film doesn’t take itself quite as seriously as the original nor does it feel nearly as long and I almost consider it to be an abridged version. For some reason, I get that vibe from most horror films like I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and the latest The Fog. They all just go by so quickly that the villains barely even have time to hype themselves up a little.

A family moves into a new house…and weird things begin to happen. It’s sort of like Five Nights at Freddy’s if you ignore the plot of both items and just focus on the scary jump moments. The family must try to resist the ghosts, but the daughter is taken to the spirit world which certainly complicates matters. The family calls in a version of the Ghost Busters, but even that may not be enough to save them from imminent destruction and complete obliteration.

This film is a lot newer than the original so the effects are certainly more polished even if that means that they may not be as “scary” (Still don’t believe that films can actually be scary) There’s no family dog here, which was a big relief and the film is also toned down from the original. One guy’s face doesn’t start to peel off, which is a welcome improvement. There’s still a maggots/roach scene, which is pretty gross and unnecessary, but it could have been worse. As this is a horror film, the characters make as many mistakes as possible to fill their quotas. One guy nearly gets rammed through with a screwdriver/jackhammer but decides not to tell anyone about this. They couldn’t have done anything about it, but sharing is caring right?

When it’s not cutting out scenes from the original, this film follows the old plot very closely. As a result, you will know everything that is about to happen before it happens. It’s why such literal remakes are risky since it’s hard to scare anyone when they know what to expect. Honestly, I’m not sure what the film’s gameplan was for this since they didn’t seem to even try and escape from this issue. The film played it close to the cuff and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it also limited the movie’s opportunities.

Honestly, I’d say that the film was a little on the generic side although it was certainly more tasteful than the average Horror film. I didn’t mind the film all that much while watching it. It could even be fun at times like when the dad brought home pizza and chicken for dinner. The kids were rather ungrateful though and the situation got dicey, but it was neat. Adding in the rebellious teenage daughter was a little much though and one of those modern effects that makes you back up a little. The parents got to go to a fancy party and we actually saw it this time so that was neat I suppose.

It’s actually hard to find enough things to say about this movie to fill in the review. It’s the kind of flick that you will essentially forget after a little while because it furfills the cliches of horror 101, but doesn’t try to make a name for itself. Knowing horror films, this is probably a good thing though. Poltergeist actually ends up being the most positively received horror film by this blog in quite a while so it certainly did something right.

The actions scene where the heroes try to rescue the daughter from the portal using the rope is still classic. I felt like that plot was handled better than in the original. The clown was a lot weaker here though, but I can live with that since a toy clown should be no match right from the get go. As mentioned earlier, the film’s pacing is a lot quicker and I’d say that this is a good thing. The film doesn’t need to bother trying to develop the characters since they’re mainly here to be scared anyway. Just give them some basic personality and you should be all set for some action. The characters were actually pretty reasonable considering the genre and while the kids were annoying…how could they not be? I’d still take them over the kids in The Shining and Insidious any day of the week. I do like how casually people around the block take the whole house blowing up thing. This should have been filmed in New York, you really wouldn’t get a reaction from those tough blokes. They’ve seen it all and aren’t afraid to remind you of that from time to time. There’s a reason why New York City is known as the greatest place on the planet after all!

Now, I wonder if this film will get remade again someday. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised, but it’s a film that should be left alone for a little while. Then the writers can think about how they should improve it some more. This remake added to stars to the score so if they keep up at this pace, the series will be doing quite well! The next remake should be a little different though so surprise the audience a little.

Overall, Poltergeist is a decent horror film for what it’s worth, but that’s still not saying a whole lot. I couldn’t really recommend the film because I don’t know why you would be seeing it. If you want something that’s more intense, but less tasteful, then you’ve got the original film. If you want to watch something new and fancy, why are you in the horror genre? Poltergeist just doesn’t do anything within the genre and just becomes another horror film to be forgotten on the shelf. At least it had the nice portal effects though, I always like those.

Overall 4/10

Ghostbusters II Review

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Well, the Ghostbusters are back in town and they definitely mean business! They may have taken down the Marshmallow Man last time, but the new villains attack on a more personal level. The heroes are already down and out from the last film so this could get dangerous for them. Unfortunately, this film suffers from most of the flaws of the first film and is less funny. It’s definitely a mixed bag here.

So, The Ghostbusters have once again been branded as a group of guys who don’t know what they are doing. People don’t respect them anymore and that’s never a good thing. Peter is still flirting with Dana despite being gone for so long and the other Ghostbusters have been reduced to appearing at parties. These are dark times for the heroes, but they are forced to come together again when a mysterious incident puts Dana’s baby in danger. The heroes know that it’s probably the work of a ghost somewhere, but proving that will be difficult. Little do they know that the villain is close to home!

One of the problems with this film is that nothing really happens for the majority of the film. There is no sense of danger or plot as the heroes just walk around making jokes. The villain’s plan doesn’t make a whole lot of sense since he will be vulnerable for at least 10-20 years. See, the villain is currently inside of a painting and he wants to possess the baby’s body so that he can live again. The problem is that he’ll still be a baby….so it’s not a great plan. The villain doesn’t really have any character and he’s not a threat so we can safely ignore him.

The film also gives us a rather underwhelming minion in the form of Janosz. He can’t fight and he likes Dana so he is another flirt that we didn’t need. Anytime he is on screen is a time for you to go stretch your legs. This is actually one of those films where you can easily fall asleep if you aren’t careful so you’ll want to stay vigilant to stop this from happening.

The main characters are all still in character. Peter still spends too much time cracking jokes and mocking his teammates to actually be a good ghost buster and the other two main members don’t tend to take the initiative in a case. They will always be Peter’s subordinates even if they try to take charge. One of the Ghostbusters, Winston, tends to appear and disappear with no real reason. It’s like the writers weren’t sure whether they should keep him in the film or not so his appearances are rather sporadic. He tends to look good while on screen and he’s actually the best member of the 4, but he doesn’t feel as important to the plot as he could have been.

Unfortunately, we get a subplot with Louis and Janine as they continue to be two characters who are hard to watch. They add the romance plot to this film (Alongside Dana and Peter’s plot) and their scenes are all rather terrible. They definitely make it hard to really enjoy the film and taking them out altogether would have been a great move on the film’s part. They just don’t add anything to the adventure.

I still like the main Ghostbuster theme, but I’m not crazy about the other themes and remixes that are added to this film. They simply aren’t as catchy or entertaining. They’re not that bad I suppose, but I would have been content with the film just choosing to spam the main theme over and over. It’s almost as catchy as the Men in Black theme and that’s saying something!

Now, we looked at most of the negatives in the film so now let’s look at some positives aside from the soundtrack. One positive is the move that the Mayor’s right hand man made towards the end of the film. The Ghostbusters were threatening to tell the press about the ooze so the guy told them that he knew someone downtown who would be interested in the story. The Ghostbusters figured that they could spend a few minutes, but then they were quickly thrown into the psych ward and locked up in straight jackets. That was pretty rich and it was fun to see them taken down so quickly. I always like when someone pulls a fast one like that. Naturally, Peter quickly tried to convince the men there that the other Ghostbusters were crazy since his own safety must always come first.

Another fun scene is the court case. I always love those moments and this was no exception as the Judge was pretty biased against the heroes from the start. That’s what I like to see and the heroes put up a decent defense, but they were simply doomed from the start. Peter gets to almost turn the tides when he says the classic “Who you gonna call” line, but he is eventually shut down. Still, that was a pretty fun case.

Finally, it was cool to see how Peter had moved on from the Ghostbusters gig and now had his own show. That’s pretty impressive considering how he is not typically seen as a team player. He was able to put up a pretty good facade of interest as he listened to two people discuss how the Earth was going to end soon. Nothing fazes Peter and while he has many undesirable qualities, at least he is always ready with a witty one liner. This is why he can’t be stopped.

That’s about it for positives. The film can be funny at times, but it just feels like this film was rushed out without as much inspiration as the first one. They really should have brought back the Marshmallow Man so that we could have had more excitement. Speeding up the plot would have also been a good idea since nothing really happens until the very end of the film. Audiences don’t want to wait that long and neither do I.

Overall, I can’t say that I really recommend this Ghostbusters title. If you want to see the legendary franchise, just check out the first film. This one gets distracted by romance way too often and the villains are pretty bad. They certainly don’t strike fear into the hearts of many and they manage to be uninteresting as well, which is not a good mix. Their plan was even worse and the heroes didn’t look as noble as they should have. Yes, I highly recommend watching the original Men in Black instead.

Overall 5/10

Poltergeist Review

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It’s time for what many believe to be the ultimate horror film. Ultimate and Horror are two words that typically don’t belong next to each other and I definitely did not become one of the film’s many fans. I’m guessing that it probably did start a lot of the horror tropes, but it shows that the 80’s feel can’t work for everything. It certainly is better than A Haunting in Connecticut, but I can’t say much else for it.

A family moves into a new house and things start to get supernatural. Their chairs seem to move by themselves in the kitchen and they can even defy gravity as something seems to push them. Unfortunately, the disturbances begin to grow more and more violent as the days go by and the family begins to fear for their lives. They are still holding out of course, but then their daughter is kidnapped by these ghosts. The heroes reluctantly call in “The Experts” and now it’s all a matter of finding their daughter before they are destroyed.

Well, the plot certainly didn’t help this film’s case. In superhero flicks, I never like when innocent bystanders are dragged into the mess and it’s naturally worse when they are actually hurt. Even worse than that is when a kid is thrown into the mix and that’s what happens here. Like Insidious, the film decides to up the stakes by putting the children in peril and that’s just not a good idea. The little girl is stranded in the demon world for quite a long time and the situation is just way too grim. She doesn’t remember what happened in the demon world so that should keep her psyche from collapsing, but it’s still a fate that should not have happened.

A simple way to fix this problem would be to have the main hero be kidnapped. It would be a sad plight for him, but one that isn’t quite as bad since we know that he can fight. That being said, kidnappings are simply not the best plot device to use, but they can work if used effectively. The film just didn’t do this and they were trying a little too hard for an emotional feeling. Because of that, the main characters are feeling pretty gloomy for most of the film. There are no big speeches or heroic comments to be found for quite a while.

The experts who come in to help are naturally not that good. Then they call in the ultimate expert and she rubbed me the wrong way from the start. Her first big statement to the heroes is basically “You have to promise to do whatever I say even if it goes against your beliefs as a Christian!” “Lol no” is what I would have responded and they should have told her to skip the intro. Instead, they instantly agree and of course they do want her on their side, but she definitely seemed like a pretty terrible character right then and there. She never went back up for me from there and some of her actions just didn’t make sense. “Go to the light…go away from the light…back to the light” insert and repeat many times. She was better than the former leader of the experts though.

That lady decided to talk with the main heroes for way too long. It was the one part of the film that definitely dragged on a lot as you would wait for her to finish. Her two underlings weren’t great even if one of them was pretty confident. They let their mind wander far too often and they act like this is some kind of hobby for them instead of something that they take seriously. I don’t blame one of the underlings for running out of the house though since things were definitely getting pretty dangerous.

Naturally, I’m sure that we all remember the rating controversy from back in the day. After seeing the film, I can definitely say that the MPAA was correct in their initial response of an R rating. Since there was no PG 13 at the time, it was definitely the right move since this is much closer to R than PG. Spielberg and the others got them to bring it down to a PG later, but it’s one of those changes that I definitely don’t disagree with. The film is surprisingly intense for an 80’s film and it can feel like Alien at times.

I definitely wouldn’t say that the film is scary, but it compensates with violence and the gross factor. One guy’s face literally starts to peel away and it’s easily one of the worst scenes in the film. Another scene shows a piece of meat getting torn apart, but with extra effects to make it seem more like human meat if it was being ripped apart. Those two scenes alone make it unsuitable for PG. We also get to see how the humans look once they are spit out of the demon world and while it looks like jelly you can also easily mistake it for more violence. The ambiguous work makes you wonder if the effects just didn’t age well or if you’re misinterpreting it. Either way, it was definitely pretty gross.

The film also brings back the horror trope that I had actually manages to avoid for a while. The main heroine bath scene. You’ll feel like sighing when you see her turn on the faucet because you know that this scene was clearly not needed. There is literally no point as no ghost appears to attack her at all. It’s simply a very long, boring scene of her taking a bath. That’s another big shot against the film and we definitely did not need any more at this point!

Let’s quickly look at some of the positives. The ghosts are actually pretty tough and they do get designs. There’s a 4 legged creature that looks like Clover and he seems to be the main villain. His physical strength is underwhelming, but the design is what counts and he may have some kind of electrical ability at his disposal. The enemies can possess objects so they turn one of the clowns into a weapon of mass destruction. It still only has the strength of a toy though so it’s easy to overpower, but it’s great as a distraction. The tree scene was definitely one of the more intense ones since it really comes out of nowhere. At that point, you weren’t really expecting anything quite like that so it definitely popped out. The various monsters definitely added some action to the title.

The bystanders who are around can definitely raise a few questions though since nobody seems to really do anything. The neighbors notice that the spirits are messing with the heroes and they decide not to help. The house starts to explode along with the neighborhood and the onlookers only appear to be shocked. Some of them have enough energy to start running, but they all felt pretty hollow. This was more of a personal problem for the family though so I guess it’s all right. It’s not a huge idea.

All right, let’s quickly go back to the negatives. The film performs quite poorly when it comes to the animal life. A bird dies in one of the opening scenes and that should have been cut out. The main girl then buys two gold fish even though we know that they probably won’t survive the house exploding. The dog lives and I’m glad about that, but the film shouldn’t have introduced the other animals. It doesn’t serve a purpose and it feels like the film is just trying to get under your skin with how gritty it is instead of trying to be a quality film.

The main characters aren’t bad, but they’re not very m memorable either. The main guy seems to overreact with the boss considering that the guy seems to have been amiable to him in the past. Their teenage daughter isn’t that good though as she really overreacts with the neighborhood is hit and she almost jeapordizes their chances of escape. The other two kids are all right and don’t get a lot of character either way since they’re too young. One scene that will probably make you wince is when the main characters decide to go talk to their neighbor. They can barely talk because they’re laughing so much and it’s sad for them. I just figured that the ghosts were keeping them from talking, but their dialogue afterwards confirms that this simply isn’t the case. That just makes you wonder and while they were naturally embarassed, it was just too much of an overreaction on their part.

The best part of the film is easily at the beginning when the heroes are trying to watch a football game. The only problem is that they get the same feed as their next door neighbor so they quickly fight with the remote. A whole film could easily be made out of that concept and I have a feeling that it would be more fun. If the whole film was like that, I definitely would have had a blast with it.

There isn’t a twist ending this time, but we still do get one last climax after the film seems to have ended. I suppose that will have to do and we deserve a happy ending for the protagonists once in a while right? It works as a change of pace and we see that the ghosts definitely don’t go down without a fight. They tricked one of the “experts” so I give them kudos for that.

Overall, Poltergeist is not the ultimate horror film and I’d say that it’s not even a good one. Relatively speaking, it probably holds its own to most of the other horror films, but I didn’t dig it. The main reason is that everything’s happening to a little kid and the film just has too many gross scenes. The fanservice doesn’t help either and the film will definitely need to rethink a lot of its areas before trying to give us another big film. The scenery is good and you’ll like the son’s room, but the film tends to fall apart after that. If you want to see a film that’s nice and scary while still keeping it real, check out Scooby Doo Zombie Island!

Overall 2/10

Ghostbusters Review

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It’s time for a real classic in the form of Ghostbusters. This is one of those films that just about everyone has heard of and for good reason. It’s one of those 80’s films that had the right mix of intensity and comedy. It was about as good as I had hoped although some of the jokes go a little too far. If not for that, this is an easy 7 and maybe even a 8, but hey…we wouldn’t want this review to be too easy right?

There are three Ghostbusters and they make it their business to deal with all supernatural foes…for a price of course. The city of New York typically doesn’t need their help, but ghosts have been appearing more and more as the days go by. The heroes hadn’t gotten any calls at one point and now they were quickly becoming celebrities. One of the members begins to suspect that something is going to happen considering these circumstances, but the heroes don’t do anything about it. Will this be the cause of their downfall or will the Ghostbusters just vanquish whatever ends up appearing?

Ghostbusters is definitely a pretty fun film and it’s a memorable one. The main theme is iconic and it will likely still be remembered 20 years from now. It’s very catchy and while you can tell that it’s an 80’s song, that doesn’t stop it from appealing to today’s crowd. The actual theme is the main reason why I enjoy it and I could probably do with or without the lyrics. There aren’t many other themes to be found here or at least ones that I recall, but the main theme is the important one anyway.

Stay Puft, The Marshmallow Man, definitely deserves some credit here. He’s one of the most iconic villains from the 80’s and it’s easy to see why. He makes for a pretty incredible final boss. He may actually remind you of Pac Man for a while there since he’s always grinning and looking like he’s having a blast as he devastates the city. He glares at the heroes towards the end and you can tell that they’re finally feeling the fear, but they try to hold it together. I don’t see how the sequel will be able to top such a villain, but it’ll be interesting to see them try.

The CGI for the effects definitely looks dated, but it works in a comedy like this one. It’s mostly evident in the scenes with the Gargoyle running around the hotel and outside. If that happened in real life, you could definitely imagine everyone having a similar reaction to seeing such a stiff monster as in the film. These guys made business and they may not have looked realistic, but that may have made them even cooler. You weren’t about to mix them up with a real monster here, they were definitely here from the ghost world.

The weak point of the film is definitely that some of the jokes can be suggestive and unnecessary. An example of this is a ghost who hits on one of the main characters at one point and the fact that the two main ghosts have to make out to activate the final gate of oblivion. The rushed romance at the end is also not something that we needed since falling for someone just doesn’t happen that quickly. None of the scenes are downright terrible (Although they are pretty bad) but they add up and keep the film from achieving its ultimate potential to be one of the best 80’s films of all time. When you think of how the plot wrecked so many parts of the movie, it can be pretty sad. As it stands, I don’t know where it ranks, but still pretty high I’d presume.

Egon is definitely the best member from the Ghostbusters. He’s very smart and he’s a pretty serious figure. He never falls into the romance trap and he eats Cheese It when he feels like it. I was glad that they included the Cheese It in the film since it is still the best non sugar snack out there. There’s no reason not to like Egon and he’s the heart of the team.

Ray gets the least amount of character development from the main three and he’s a good character for the most part. He does have the dicey ghost scene though and he just doesn’t contribute all that much to the big battle against the ghosts. The team gets a new recruit at one point to help out and he seems like a decent character, although he’s not incredibly loyal. Winston is his name and he’s new at the game. Since he doesn’t know a whole lot about what goes on in the organization, he gets the nickel tour which is useful for the viewers. He seems like a nice guy and I guess we’ll see if he’s able to keep up with the others or not as the films go on.

Peter is the main character and he’s definitely all over the place. He’s typically a great character as he takes nothing serious and does whatever he wants whenever he wants to do it. He’s direct and brimming with confidence as he takes shots at all of the politicians who are around. That being said, he suffers from the romance angle as he lets the possessed heroine mess with him a little before he stops her and he’s constantly flirting with her right from the start. He never acts professionally, but it’s typically in a humorous way. I couldn’t approve of the romance and that hurts his character. Still, he does have the best acting here and his character as a whole is good. He’s just flawed like Gourry.

Dana doesn’t look great for many of the same reasons as Peter. She decides to accept Peter’s proposal for a date even though she didn’t seem interested at first. I don’t see how he could wear her down so quickly. She also got possessed pretty quickly which suggests a lack of willpower. At least she was polite enough to say that she would stop by the party on her floor when she got back. That’s good since the party actually looked like it would be a lot of fun. Considering that she noticed the supernatural occurrences in her apartment at the beginning, she didn’t seem too convinced in the possibility that supernatural forces were at work. The heroes definitely didn’t seem professional, but she should have given them more of a chance. She’s not a bad heroine, but she could have been better.

I do have to admit that Dana had one of the only jump moments in the film. It didn’t literally make anyone jump, but it was still something to think about. She was sitting in the chair when some hands suddenly reached out and pulled her into a portal. I did not see that coming and it was surprisingly serious for such a comedy. The ghosts also mean business so there are a few fight scenes. The main characters are mostly on the losing end as the fight goes on, but they get their second wind by the end. The big villain seems to be an all powerful being yet a quick blast was enough to take her down. That seems accurate as far as I am concerned.

The main characters’ weapons appear to be pretty useful. They’re like the laser weapons in Star Trek as you can set them to full power or to capture. When they’re in full power mode they are able to destroy overwhelmingly powerful ghosts and on capture mode they’re pretty harmless. It’s all in how you use it and I’m glad that it does have a full power mode. Its initial showing against the green ghost was not impressive to say the least.

The film is very long, but it never feels drawn out. From the scenic backgrounds to the good dialogue, this is really a complete film. It’s the kind of film that just wouldn’t work nowadays. There are good comedies now of course, but you can never perfectly recreate a film from these days. You can always yell that a good 80’s film is an 80’s film and a 2000’s homage to it will still feel more modern. It can be just as good, but in a 2000’s way. Times have changed and so have media. Each decade has its own greats and the Ghost Busters will always be an icon of the 80’s.

Overall, Ghostbusters is a pretty fun film to check out. The dialogue is pretty witty and the main characters are pretty likable. Peter definitely has his moments where he stops being likable so he’s a mixed bag, but the cast is definitely a good one. There are definitely more suggestive material included than is necessary, which drags it down a few notches. I recommend this to anyone who’s looking for a good time as it’s just a lot of fun. It’ll remind you of the happier days of Hollywood and who doesn’t like a good ghost fight right? I haven’t seen the sequel yet, but it’s going to have a tough time beating this one.

Overall 6/10

Pac Man World 3 Review

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It’s been years since I played Pac Man World 2 and this game has always been on my list. It just never made the cut and finally my bro ended up purchasing a copy. Does this game live up to the 10+ years of hype? Well, it’s tough for any game to do that and this one is a good game, but it’s not quite as enjoyable as the last installment…despite some fun additions. Time to see why it didn’t click!

The game takes place on Pac Man’s 25th Birthday. The festivities are cut short when Pac Man is whisked away into the Spectral Realm by Orson. Orson tells him that a new villain by the name off Erwin has kidnapped the four main ghosts and he’s wrecking both planets through his siphons. Once he has gained enough energy, then both planets will collide and the outcome will be devastating. Pac Man (extremely) reluctantly agrees to help, but he’s not too pleased about this scenario. Erwin is determined to stop him and he has the Spectral Fiend by his side to ensure success. In light of this, Pac Man gets some help from Clyde and Pinky.

Pac Man is the main hero in this game, but I’m sure that you expected that. He’s always the main hero in this series after all. He finally gets to talk in this game, which is a big gamble from the writers. We all come into the game with certain expectations of how cool Pac Man will be and this gives us less freedom for interpretation. He’s a little on the mean side and he believes in insulting first and fighting later. He’s an experienced veteran at this point, but he does complain a lot.

What might really get Pac Man fans is the ending. It’s not just Pac Man as Ms. Pac Man and Pac Man Jr look pretty mean as well. Let’s just say that if you’ve just been through a tough ordeal and you helped a hero save two worlds…don’t think that you’re invited to stay over. The situation ends up escalating very quickly and Pac Man decides to eat some people. Pac Man may have been a little on the mean side during the game, but that scene may have been overdoing it a little.

Pac Man did have his moments though and he gets a lot of witty comebacks. He typically outsmarts the villains and distracts them through discussion as they end up setting up their ultimate demise. Pac Man is definitely very crafty, but he arguably sacrifices his heroics in the process. I have to say that the character personality isn’t terrible, but it’s really not Pac Man. I’m sure that Mario fans would be outraged if he ever looked like this. Pac Man’s portrayal could have been worse though and we have a current example of that in the media…..

Orson is the helpful ghost who aids Pac Man throughout the game. “I’m sure there are many things that you don’t understand Pac Man” is one of his better lines as he insults Pac Man to his face. Usually, his insults aren’t quite that direct. He typically starts off every sentence by saying “Sorry Pac Man” right before stating what negative thing is happening this time. He typically teleports the hero into dangerous circumstances and you have to wonder whether it is intentional or not. The whole game he tells Pac Man that the worlds will be destroyed if they collide….and then the villain points out that this isn’t the case towards the end of the game. Orson quickly agrees and we find out that he knew this all along. Of course, most of that isn’t to be taken seriously as he’s a hero through and through, but his character was definitely interesting. He was a solid ally for Pac Man and he provided us with some necessary banter and epic lines.

Erwin is the main villain of the game and unfortunately, he’s not a very good one. He’s a comic relief scientist who is good at building robots and that’s about it for his character arc. Pac Man loves to humiliate him verbally whenever they meet. He’s supposed to be humorous through their chats, but while I do like Orson and Pac Man’s lines, Erwin’s aren’t really my style. They really needed a better villain to make the story more interesting. Erwin just isn’t very powerful and threats won’t be enough to stop the legendary Pac Man!

The Spectral Fiend doesn’t really get much of a name, but he’s a solid character. He’s tricky and he doesn’t mind a little deceit if it means that it will help him win the fight. He doesn’t seem to be much of a fighter as he talks a good game, but he quickly crumbles when things get dangerous. That being said, he was a fun villain and his voice is catchy. This is someone that I could root for and I wish that he could have been the main villain instead of Erwin. This guy’s design was also pretty great and he reminded me of a Sonic character.

The gameplay for Pac Man is your average 3D platformer. You walk and jump to the place where you need to be and solve puzzles along the way. Pac Man can ground pound and he can also punch in this game. Punching is pretty fun and it’s a great addition to the series. I definitely used it a lot at first, but ground pounding tends to be a lot more effective. There are also several orbs in the game that give him powers like thunder and circle explosions. They are pretty good and they can help to take out the villains a lot quicker than you could have otherwise. The gameplay itself is pretty fun and I just don’t care for the parts where you have to stop and fight a bunch of villains. There was something about the gameplay that made it a little less fun. It may have been the speed or something. That being said, it’s still a very good form of gameplay by any standard.

Once in a while, you have to enter the arcade and then the gameplay goes back to how it was in the original game. The only difference is that the gameplay isn’t quite as smooth and the levels are very small. You get 4 lives, but most of them are a cakewalk with one as you just grab a Power Pellet, regular pellets, and then repeat the formula. The ghosts will never even be able to recover and you’ll be set. If the levels were not so easy, then it could have been a challenge since the animation didn’t work well with the gameplay. It was hard to tell when you were being chased or not.

The gameplay itself shouldn’t be that bad, but it’s just not as great as it could have been. Each level is around 30 minutes and that’s not necessarily a bad thing although it is definitely a big threat when you are not a beat em up style game like Dynasty Warriors. Getting through a level can feel like a big challenge because the game typically leaves you to your own devices. I got lost or temporarily stuck several times because I was unsure of what to do next. Because of that, the game lasted for quite a while and I’d say that the game was around 7-8 hours long. It could have been a whole lot shorter though since 3 our of the 15 levels were very short. There are times where you get to play as the ghosts, but I can’t say that it really added a lot of depth to the game.

This game puts a lot of emphasis on fighting so there are many rooms where you simply have to stop and fight the enemies. Defeating the enemies isn’t really that fun because the gameplay simply wasn’t built for it. Beating an enemy can take a little too long at times and defeating the ghosts requires you to run to a power pellet and just eat them. The only problem is that they only come out 4 at a time instead of all at once so you have to keep running back to the power pellet.

There are also two levels where you get to play as Toc Man. His gameplay is fun although it’s a little too easy and simplistic. Just keep on punching away at the villains until they go down and then the level is over after a few minutes. I would have liked more of these levels since they were a pretty nice change of pace. They could have added in some more challenges and then I’d be set.

Pac Man’s graphics holds up pretty well. The ghosts can be a little hard to take seriously with their big mittens and all, but they don’t look bad. The level designs can be a little dark so it’s hard to see, but it’s not really an issue with the graphics. Older games just tend to come out dark on my TV. It’s good to see Pac Man have his classic design back as well. The graphics aren’t the next Super Smash Bros Melee, but they are very good.

I enjoyed the soundtrack in the game since it could be pretty catchy. Unfortunately, most of the good tracks aren’t in the actual gameplay, but around it. I like the theme that plays when you jump into the arcade and battle it out with the ghosts in a retro fashion. Losing always brings about a classic sound and the stages within the game were supported by the peaceful music. You’ll forget the in game music instantly, but the arcade one never fades.

The game has a decent amount of replay value to it. You can replay a level to get a higher score or to get more of the collectibles that are scattered across the stages. Doing all of this will take some time and you can always keep on playing the retro stages for points as well. The replay value is there, but there isn’t a whole lot of incentive to getting all of the collectibles.

The difficulty of the game is pretty low as you continue from where you were even if you lose a life. So, you can die during a boss fight and wake up in time to beat him. He won’t regain any health and building up lives is pretty easy. I had over 10 left when I completed the game. One area that separates this game from Pac Man World 2 is the boss fights. World 2 had several of them and they were all fairly interesting. This game only has two bosses and the second one is just a recoloring of the first. Since this game was more fight heavy, I was expecting a whole lot more in that department. When I saw the final boss, I couldn’t help, but feel like it was a wasted opportunity. We need a boss for Pac Man to punch!

Overall, This was a good Pac Man game, but it didn’t have the usual aura of fun that the classic game and World 2 had. World 3 had too many stop and fight moments and the stage designs weren’t that good or unique. You were typically locked inside a pretty small place and you wouldn’t get to see the sun in all its glory. There are a lot less levels in this game than World 2, but they are longer. I prefer a lot of short levels to a few long ones, but it’s a matter of preference I suppose. Pac Man’s portrayal was unique and he didn’t really feel like a hero or Pac Man anymore. His family wasn’t much better and the ghosts were all right, but Clyde is really the only one who got a big role. Orson is a good supporting character, but Erwin isn’t a great villain. The writing can be pretty cheesy at times, but I definitely liked all of the insults that were thrown around by the heroes and villains alike. The graphics and soundtrack are solid and it’s still a nice way to end the trilogy. There may not have been a lot of closure at the end, but there was enough. I recommend this to fans of the platforming genre and especially if you like challenging yourself to solving tough puzzles. They definitely gave me a run for my money at times. Considering that the price for the game is pretty low, this is definitely a worthwhile investment and a chance to see the classic Pac Man one last time.

Overall 6/10