Windchill Review

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

This is one of those films where I can’t say I was super hyped for it but it still managed to go below my expectations. There are really two ways this film could go. The human villain route where the guy driving the main character is a creep or the supernatural route. I would pretty much always choose the supernatural route but this film shows that sometimes you can still mess that one up too.

Gotta admit that I didn’t even notice that none of the characters had names until I looked it up. It’s a pretty interesting tactic for sure since it lets you just jump right into the story. Would have been cool if I noticed this right away but it just be like that sometimes.

So the main girl is looking for a rideshare to save some money and fortunately there is a guy driving to her destination. This is about as lucky as she can get and so they get into the car but she rebuffs all of his efforts to talk to her. She wants to be an unruly passenger and even insults him while they’re driving so now he feels sad. Eventually they crash when trying to dodge another car and now they’re stranded in the middle of nowhere in sub zero conditions. Definitely not the way you want to go out. Can they survive the night if they stay in the car or should they take their chances and try going back to the gas station?

This film loves its red herrings and making everyone look suspicious. Trust me on that one, we’ve got everything except the villainous smirk that a lot of suspects tend to have. There is just a whole collection of issues here so it’s hard to know where to start. I guess I’ll start with the characters not being very likable at all.

First up there’s the girl who has a bad attitude from the jump. First of all she’s the one who is late to the meetup spot so I don’t see where she gets off being so upset at the guy. She insults his car for no real reason and is just extremely rude. The girl doesn’t really get better until the end and even then it’s a life or death situation by that point so just about anyone would be a little nicer when their life depends on it.

I totally get her being hostile once he took them off on a shady shortcut and crashed the car. From there on out it makes sense to treat him like an enemy 100%. He does nothing to make you feel like you can trust him and only actively makes himself look less and less honorable.

Now for the guy, yeah he’s pretty bad too. For starters, driving off the road to a shady shortcut with no good explanation is naturally going to turn the girl against him. He should have realized that, it’s just patently obvious. The road didn’t look good from the start either. So he was doing this to impress her but there are better ways of doing it.

Then there’s also the fact that he acts a bit like a stalker. He knows pretty much everything about her and followed her around so he would learn about her schedule and be there to be carpool buddies. It shouldn’t have even been hard to keep this a secret but naturally he says things that he shouldn’t know and so she gets tipped off. If this guy is trying to start off with a good impression then he absolutely failed here.

The tension of if the guy is a super crook is definitely intense even if it isn’t quite my favorite scenario here at all. So then we get to the supernatural elements but that’s where the film really falls off of a cliff. So you’ve got an early instance of this where the ghosts lock the girl in the bathroom and turn off the sound so she can’t yell for help. Or more specifically she yells but nobody can hear her.

This doesn’t have much to do with anything so you can write it off as the ghosts messing around. We do see a shady guy at one of the tables who looks a lot like the Patrolman though so maybe he was already making moves. Once the crash happened then they start to really go in.

It takes a while to get going but basically the Patrolman is an evil spirit of a guy who died a while back so now he goes around murdering everyone he can. He has the ability to lower your body temperature to the point of freezing and then you die. It’s difficult or impossible for a living person to stop him since he’s a specter and he can mildly mess with reality/cause hallucinations. I mean his car is clearly very real which is always the annoying thing about fighting guys like this.

They can become intangible when needed and then go physical just in time to land a hit. Unless you have super powers of your own then you’re really doomed. The most annoying thing here aside from the heroes just being doomed against this guy is the backstory is unnecessarily edgy. Basically as a corrupt Patrolman he would force people into his cars and then ultimately murder them.

It’s a pretty tragic circumstance and this guy has been running around unchecked for many, many years. What about all of the victims he murdered? Well they’re all specters as well but are basically powerless to keep on repeating the same actions over and over. They yell and beg to be avenged and all but why don’t they fight back? The guy is able to fight as a specter so what about all of the endless people who died here? They have the numbers advantage with ease so it shouldn’t be a question of power. They should be able to win against a single guy.

It’s just a case of the villain being stronger for no real reason. If you’re going to go supernatural then go all the way with a powerful demon or something but not a normal serial killer who was so angry at the world that he got powers? Eh that’s not a great explanation at all.

There also isn’t a whole lot of scenery over here as it’s just snowy everywhere. It can be a bit spooky with all the ghosts running around too and all but it just wasn’t enough. Nothing happens for a long time and once the flashbacks start to occur then you want to go back to the present already.

Now talking about red herrings, there is a suspicious scene where the guy walks away saying he will check out the gas station but then he returns almost immediately and says that it’s closed. The girl points out that he wasn’t gone long enough to actually check and why would it be closed so early? She almost calls his bluff to check it out but decides not to. My issue is…it was too far for him to check. So did he lie about it? Did the ghosts mess with her flow of time so she was walking around for a really long amount of time? The film doesn’t give you any indication of this so we have to assume that he’s lying and it’s yet another reason not to trust him.

The movie also gets dangerously close to trying to start a bit of a romance here and that’s really not going to work. Aside from the fact that they don’t get along at all, there are much bigger things to think about right now. The ole body heat technique also feels like it’s just around to force some relationship building for them when I don’t see that working very well and you’ll just end up freezing each other.

Overall, Wind Chill is a film that I would definitely recommend avoiding. It’s a fairly classic horror film that isn’t trying to do anything new but doesn’t really commit to the approach as much as it should. The whole time loop with the evil patrolman didn’t do the film any favors either. There are some things you can do with that if the flashback was more interesting or something but this guy was a pretty awful villain so no luck there. He’s also apparently been bumping people off every year since the 60s and nobody’s thought to start an investigation? Definitely give this one a skip.

Overall 1/10

Passengers Review

Passengers got a lot of posters back when it came out but they did a good job because I really didn’t know much about the film. It’s definitely not a big alien invasion sci-fi so don’t go in expecting that. It’ more of a quiet title about finding out if you can live by yourself or if you would go crazy. This is the kind of film where there’s a lot to say but ultimately I don’t think the execution was very good. The main character holds this one back a lot because he makes some massive mistakes and I wouldn’t say that the ending is very satisfying either.

The premise here is that a bunch of people decided to voluntarily go into stasis for close to 100 years so they could wake up on a new planet and start a new life for themselves. The spaceship they’re on is super safe so they’re guaranteed not to wake up early. Well Jim wakes up around 88 years early unfortunately. The ship has enough supplies to last him for the rest of his life so technically he can absolutely survive on his own but at the same time but now he’s lonely. So he wakes up another passenger named Aurora because he’s hoping to marry her but can’t let her know that he intentionally woke her up and pretends it was a glitch. Can he keep this pretense up and won’t it completely wreck the romance?

So right off the bat Jim looks really bad here. There’s just no excuse for waking someone up. You’ve just ended that person’s life because she won’t be able to reconnect with society now. She is doomed to only have this guy for company and it’s not like he has the most selfless of intentions. There’s just no excusing this and it massively hurts his character.

Jim did last a year or two on his own before waking her up but even then he should have kept on going. The ship has all kinds of entertainment like basketball and dancing, not to mention a sentient robot that can talk to you. I wouldn’t be surprised if it has books and other things as well. Will you get bored from time to time? Sure, absolutely that will happen without a doubt but at the same time that’s just how the ball bounces.

Now, there is one other option and that is to wake everyone up. Just explain that the pod opened up early so you woke everyone else up to help out. Jim wanted to wake up the pilot and the tech crew but unfortunately they are in a different room from the passengers and so far it’s been impossible to open. So way I see it you wake everyone up or nobody. At least with everyone up then you can all figure out a way to open up the door and teamwork can go a long way. With just two people you’re not going to go far and of course it’s just super selfish. Survive on your own if you can’t make that call.

There is one thing the film doesn’t touch on that feels important though. This ship was stocked with the expectation that the crew would be asleep for the entire journey so in theory there aren’t going to be a ton of food supplies here. Certainly not enough for everybody so that’s another thing to consider if everyone is woken up. At the same time, even for one person you’re probably going to run out.

The original plan was to wake everyone up 1 month before arrival. So that’s one month of food for 5200+ people. That’s 15,600 meals and you can assume that they would have stocked some extra so maybe 20,000? Now lets look at Jim. If he has to live out the rest of his life here and I dunno, he’s probably late twenty’s to early thirty’s? I’m sure they said his age but I forget. We’ll assume about 27 as a good middle ground and with no threats or bad food to worry about lets say he lives to 87 just go keep the numbers round. That’s 60 years of 3 meals a day. 365 X 3 X 60 = 65,7000 meals. Lets now say he dies early at 67 just because. Then that’s still 43,800 meals. If Jim even lives for twenty years he will exceed the amount of food prepared for the whole ship.

So now we’ve voided the only reason for waking everyone up because they’re all dead either way. You can’t survive a month on no food so if they wake up and no food is there then they’re a goner. So again you have to wake everyone up and keep it moving. Learn how to create your own food but in a ship like this I wonder how possible that is. We see a garden near the end so I guess that could work. I have my doubts though and it’s the one glaring hole that I felt the film didn’t dive into. It’s not like it’s the point of the film but it’s worth thinking about since a huge part of the film is about deciding to wake up Aurora or not.

Well, I’ve already talked about Jim enough so we can end it there. He’s just not a good character. Meanwhile Aurora was reasonable enough. At first she tries to come up with lots of ways to escape but Jim has given up so completely that he won’t help at all. You’d think he would at least be interested in hearing her out a bit in case she thinks of something. It’s not unheard of that someone could think of an idea that you couldn’t right?

Naturally the romance falls absolutely flat here though. You just can’t root for it at all since the whole thing is based on a lie. When she finds out the truth she is naturally upset but is basically told not to blame Jim much and there are no other options so you know they’ll end up together. It’s one of the annoying things about the film. I feel like you don’t forget a big lie like that so they should never get together. Make them friends or something and she takes the high road but a romance absolutely does not work. Easily the worst aspect of the film without a doubt.

The deception just can’t be walked back particularly because it’s possible he would have never told her if the robot didn’t rat him out. Even the scenes that should be charming and fun have a darker edge to them as a result since you’re rooting for Jim’s downfall. It’s why Arthur was a fun robot since I absolutely think he sabotaged Jim on purpose. That was my interpretation of the scene at least. That little smirk of his before talking told me everything that I needed to know. The fact that there is a robot here who can talk is yet another reason why Jim should have been satisfied. Their talks were reasonable.

We also get one of the crew named Gus who shows up briefly but he’s basically just here for some exposition and to open up the crew hangers. I would have cut him out of the film entirely to be honest because he really serves no purpose and doesn’t have great advice either. I would have been more upset with him if I was Aurora and his inclusion in the film ultimately doesn’t really change much.

We do get some danger and action at the end of the film so it’s not purely calm the whole time, just for most of it. The climax isn’t bad, there’s not a whole lot you can do in space to be honest but the visuals still look good. We even almost got a quick fight with Arthur going crazy and waving that knife of his.

Overall, Passengers is a film that really can’t survive the main character. I think there’s a lot of promise here if you just change up the story so the main two wake up. Yes, the romance would still be super cheesy but at least it wouldn’t be starting them off on the wrong foot so you have a better time believing in it. Romance is the main focus of this film so when that falls away then everything does along with it. Remake the film with that one change and you’re looking at a world of difference.

Overall 4/10

The Siege Review

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

It’s time for a film about the scary possibility of terrorists showing up to cause all kinds of terror on the city. It’s a pretty intense film to be sure although the heroes don’t make it any easier on themselves with all of the constant infighting. They seem to get in each other’s way as much as the villains do. It’s got a pretty solid premise even if I’d say it has some issues that keep it from being really solid. It’ll still keep your attention all the way through either way though.

The movie starts with FBI Agents Anthony and Frank trying to defuse a pretty intense terrorist situation with a bunch of people being stuck in a bus that has bombers in it. Anthony is able to at least get the kids out but everyone else dies. The most worrisome thing here is that there are apparently several other terrorist cells already active in Brooklyn so more of these disasters are going to happen. The tough part is how to pre-emptively stop these attacks before people end up dying. If you go too hard then you’re inevitably going to be hurting innocent people and if you stay reactive then innocent people are going to die in the explosions. So it’s a tough situation.

The film does a good job of showing that there are no easy solutions in a situation like this. You’ve got millions of people within the state and they are looking for less than 20 terrorists. Of course that’s just the number that they know but either way it is a very small percentage which does not work in their favor. People are not going to be happy with any option. Ultimately the president decides to call in the army once all other options fail and that brings General William to the forefront.

This guy is a pretty interesting character and I liked him. The whole film he is begging the president not to call him in because if that happens then they are going to be in a lot of trouble. As he says the army is like a blunt object. They will neutralize the threat but there will be a whole lot of collateral damage and it won’t be quiet or subtle. On the other hand the quiet ways with the FBI and CIA have not yielded any true results yet to the president pulls him in.

Thing is, William is very serious about succeeding even if it means that he does commit a lot of destruction. He treats Brooklyn as he would any warzone in which case he is kidnapping people and also resorting to torture right away. This guy is not holding back at all. As the film goes on he starts to look more and more unhinged but what adds to his character is the fact that he initially didn’t want to be called in. It was a real last resort so he knew that he would lose control. There’s a whole lot you could say about a character like this.

Meanwhile Anthony is doing his best here but it sure is tough. He’s trying to solve this case by staying within the rules but that means he has no time to make any true progress. He also has to deal with the CIA agent Elise who is not making this any easier by keeping a whole lot of secrets. She is working with a guy named Samir who is a big criminal himself but she figures he can lead them to the terrorists. Anthony is not comfortable with this plan at all but compromises because he has no real alternatives.

Anthony takes a lot of risks and is always in the front lines so you can definitely appreciate him here. He’s a really good main character. His partner Frank also gets a big role but tends to lose his cool a little too quickly. There’s the scene where he punches a suspect and has to be calmed down and then he really loses it when the army takes his son. It definitely is rough to be treated just like the rest of the suspects after all his years of faithful service. You can understand why all suspects have to be brought in even ones with government ties. It’s the only logical approach but because the army is committing a lot of human rights violations and treating people badly it’s just shining even more of a light on that.

I didn’t really care for Elise though. Sure as a CIA member she has to keep some secrets but I think she keeps too many of them and this ultimately comes at the expense of the other heroes at times. The whole way she handles Samir was not good. I never liked the trope of basically trying to seduce the enemy, it’s too heavy a price to move forward. Then you’d also have to acknowledge that the one you’re trying to manipulate could just be enjoying the benefits while not actually being manipulated.

Having informants itself is a controversial move to be sure since you’re basically allowing criminals to run free in the hopes of getting others. Perhaps it is necessary sometimes but choosing those moments and not crossing the line is not an easy task at all. I just thought her judgment was really off here the whole time. Meanwhile Samir is never portrayed as a good guy himself. He commits crimes and just keeps on moving. He has a lot of protection so he’s never really had to worry a whole lot and it’s sort of annoying to see him be to brazen the whole time.

While I think the heroes could have handled this all a lot better, it’s also easy to backseat coach after it’s all over. Ultimately the film delivers on having a lot of political intrigue the whole time and the characters debating what the right thing to do is. William goes a bit far by the end but it also leads to a really tense scene at the climax that is one of the highlight moments of the film.

Overall, The Siege is a film you won’t soon forget. They really did a good job of exploring what it could be like to have active terrorist cells in the city with the government trying to deal with it. It would certainly be a terrifying ordeal and deciding how far to go would be a big point of discussion. Especially with online discourse you know there would be a million opinions right away. I don’t see things ever escalating in quite the way they did in this film like calling out the army and shutting down a whole borough but at the same time you never really know.

Overall 6/10

The Devil Wears Prada Review

This film is a very well known romance/comedy title. Maybe drama would be appropriate to put in there as well but either way people know this one. It’s a classic story with a fun main villain and holds up fairly well in most respects. The romance itself has to be the weakest part of the film though. I’m not really into fashion so I could sympathize with the main character for a while because it all looks the same to me really. Just grab a good T shirt and you’re all set if you ask me.

The movie starts off with Andy showing up for an interview at a very prestigious fashion magazine. It’s not exactly her calling but she just needs something to pay the bills for a while so this will do. She surprisingly gets the job and now has to work for Miranda, the most infamous boss out there. Miranda is not afraid to put you on the spot and humiliate you for almost no reason just to remind you who the top dog is around here. Her demands are outrageous and she is impossible to please but Andy won’t be rattled so easily. Can she prove her own in this pseudo fight with Miranda and if she wins..will she have lost something important?

After all sometimes winning a fight means losing the war. You can win the fight to go to GameStop and buy every game but you’re going to lose when the credit card bill comes in and the IRS comes a knocking. In this case the cost is the respect of her friends as her boyfriend Nate and the crew are very judgmental about those who dress well and have a lot of sophistication. They’re basically the gossiping type and are quick to try and get Andy in trouble or make her feel bad when there’s a work obligation.

I should note now that I have 0 sympathy for these guys and Andy should cut ties real quick. They’re usually not willing to listen to her side of the story anyway and the friendship couldn’t have been so strong if they were so quick to turn on her. It’s just a really bad look for them and Nate deserves the lion’s share of the blame since they were together. Him pouting because she missed his birthday was absolutely the worst. Of course he claimed that he didn’t care…but didn’t act like it.

Now this was in 2006 so I forget how big cell phones were at the time but Andy had one so I assume Nate had something right? I could see him being a little upset that she didn’t text ahead of time but the problem is that they’ve been together for so long that he shouldn’t be causing such a scene over one little issue. Plus, she had even made the heroic call and decided not to go and meet the boss or stay late for drinks because she was hurrying home. It was only her normal job duties that caused her to be so late. So yeah there was no saving Nate and the friends here.

As for Andy, well she did good the whole time. The only instances you may use to go against her is when she goes to the big fashion event over Emily and when she starts hanging out with that desperate guy who was chasing after her. The first example isn’t a big deal if you ask me. Yes, Emily wanted to go but Andy was basically told by the boss directly that it wasn’t happening. Andy protested a bit but beyond that what is she supposed to do? Get fired just to prove a point? I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect her to do anything more than what she did.

For the latter, yeah that’s a big issue for sure. She was still with Nate when the guy started flirting and even afterwards they had just broken up so it’s way too early to be rebounding. That was a weakness on her part for sure but in the end she was one of the better characters here regardless. She put in the work and got really good at her job despite it being so extremely difficult. That’s talent and dedication right there. She earned every bit of her success.

As for Emily, she was more of an antagonist the whole time anyway. She was always taking shots at Andy for no real reason and just liked to feel superior. So when things don’t go well she starts complaining a lot. Ultimately Andy still takes the high road all the time which is another little thing I appreciated about the film. Andy never felt the need to get revenge or anything like that and so by the end she did win Emily over.

Then you have Nigel who was fun enough. He’s been waiting for a big promotion for a long time now and is finally close to the goal. He knows how Miranda works and so that puts him in a good position. He’s great at the job but he always has to be worried since one big mistake could be the end of him. His character arc goes down a more tragic path.

Finally we have Miranda who is fun because the film goes all in with making her the antagonist. There’s nothing half hearted about her. If she wants something done then you know that she is going to say that to your face directly. Additionally she is always on top of things and one step ahead of the competition. I may have seen too many Hallmark movies since for a minute there I actually thought she was going to turn good but then that didn’t happen and that was a good thing. She knew who she wanted to be and the film fleshes her character out so she’s still huma but will always put the job first. That’s just Miranda’s focus and it has turned out well for her. She is quite wealthy and powerful even if it came at the expense of having more time for family.

So the writing here is good and there’s a fun amount of humor as well. The fashion scenes can drag just a bit since fashion is like food. Usually the fancier you get, the more you lose sight of the main goal and don’t turn out as good. A lot of casual clothes easily top the more fancy attires you see in this film. A lot of Andy’s original clothes beat the ones that were made to look glamorous for example but fashion is in the eye of the beholder so at the end of the day you just have to dress in whichever way you think is best.

The film is at its best when we have some nice back and forth with Miranda giving orders and Andy trying to fulfill them. The scenes have a lot of impact and are just fun to follow along with. The film is at its weakest when the friends show up to try and slow Andy’s roll. If they just could have been supportive that would have been great but instead they are constantly in the way.

Overall, This was a good movie. I probably would have tweaked the ending just a bit for Andy and had her make a different choice. I feel like by this point so much has happened that she should see the path through or at least something similar. Still, the ending works out well enough and you will be satisfied by the time you finish the film. It’s a story that is tough to execute but this movie succeeded.

Overall 6/10

Chopping Mall Review

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

Chopping Mall is probably a film you’ve at least heard of even if you haven’t watched it yet. It’s a fairly well known slasher film and I will give it this, it’s better than the average one. Robots work really well as the main villains. I definitely still have a lot of issues with the film as you would expect like the constant violence and super unlikable main characters but a robot is just a fresher take than the serial killer angle.

The movie starts out with the mall showing off their new security system. Basically they will have robots patrolling the premises and they can stop any intruder. Naturally lethal force won’t be used and this is supposed to be totally safe because they can scan your ID. So that should be a load off of everyone’s mind. There are two critics in attendance though and they’re taking shots the whole time. You have to admire how bold these two are because they just could not care less. She are interrupting and talking about random things the whole time. It’s too bad that they didn’t return later but do a good job of setting up some humor in the film aside from all of the murders going on the whole time.

Meanwhile a bunch of juvenile delinquents decide to hold a party after closing hours. They fool the adult quickly enough and get to work but that’s when the robots wake up. None of these guys have a valid ID after all to show that they are supposed to be here so they start to get picked off one by one. Is there any way to stop the machines or are they absolutely doomed? Only time will tell here but they will certainly need to hurry and bring their A game!

Right away you can tell that the main characters aren’t likable at all but of course that should come as no surprise. Their whole introduction is them preparing to break the rules and hook up with each other after all. Even the two who weren’t together quickly hook up that night and so they’re all eager to be in a relationship even when some barely know each other. You know that most of these characters are doomed right from the jump and I didn’t like any of them.

Greg gets a special shoutout for being extra awful though. The stress gets to him and so he decides to go after the rest of the characters a bit and even points his gun at them. When everyone is trying to focus on stopping the deadly monsters there is really no time for infighting like this. It just makes him not look very smart at all. You’d expect a little better from this guy. Now maybe you shouldn’t expect anything better from him but it was still annoying to see.

Suzie also doesn’t handle things well by leaving the group early. Sure, it was getting hot in there so they couldn’t stay put forever but jumping out early just ended up putting her in trouble and lowering their numbers right away. It’s fortunate that the mall had a weapons store so they could suit up but these robots were durable and so half the time the bullets wouldn’t do anything. It seems like they just have a few weak points where if you hit them then you’re good but it’s hard to aim for those.

It’s a bit rough for Mike and Leslie because they didn’t really have any prep time here. Whenever the first ones are bumped off you can’t blame them as much for being unprepared since the whole situation is new. It’s everyone else that you will hold to a higher standard since they have time to prep and get ready. Allison is the main heroine here and so she holds up a little better but unlike a lot of other films where the main heroine is usually shown to be a much better person than the others, I wouldn’t say that is totally the case here. She goes along with this plan of everyone’s and still gets together with Ferdy quickly so she wouldn’t be left out. Likewise Ferdy feels like just another one of the guys.

Perhaps they aren’t being quite as out of control as the others but I would say the difference isn’t anything major. It would have been nice to have really had some characters to root for. I should mention that we do have the janitor here, some cops, and a tech guy but les just say that none of them are very much help here. The robots are already too powerful by this point and the adults have really bad reaction times so they can never help out at all. That seems to always be the adults role in these kinds of things. Only the teens can save the day and that’s why they’re doomed.

In terms of the murders it’s all fairly traditional stuff. When the robot shows up with their lasers you know the humans are doomed and they all get violently murdered. You can expect a lot of violence in a film like this. Also a lot of fanservice with all of the characters hooking up and the usual fake kinds of romances set up here. They all feel like quick one night stands just for kicks and don’t really do anything for the plot. So there isn’t any large period of time where you’re having a blast here.

I guess the intro to the film was the best part because at least I liked the critics. Those guys really seemed to be holding the mall to a high standard and were not going to just back down without getting their 2 cents in. I know the film is aiming to be part horror with the teens on their own but I do think it would be more entertaining if we had all of the adults in here as well. The robots would definitely have to be working overtime to take them all down but they’re equipped and ready to handle that. Their energy reserves are super high thanks to the lightning bolt as it is. It would change the flow of the film a bit and potentially give us at least some characters to root for. Trust me, this would be for the best, no doubt.

Overall, Chopping Mall isn’t really going to do anything for you beyond the usual slasher experience. The mall makes for a good backdrop though. It’s always nostalgic seeing it because I loved my local mall back before it closed all the foodstores. A mall just has such great variety so it always works really well to have that around. The robots were also a good idea and I would absolutely make more films with robotic villains if I were these writers. Just step away from the slasher genre and you should have a winning formula right there. We’ll see if that happens though.

Overall 2/10

Invisible Agent Review

It’s time for another film in the Invisible franchise although I doubt many people have heard of this one. Invisible Agent is a very different take on the Invisible Man approach but one where the concept is sound. With a more likable main character you could easily picture this being the guy’s superhero origin and being a great template to follow. If there was ever a way to show how the Invisible Man could be a superhero, this would be the path to take.

The film starts off by introducing us to Frank who is the grandson of the guy who created the Invisible Man formula. He has sworn to never give it to anyone but he is attacked by a group of fiends. He barely fends them off and escapes to the police but decides not to give the formula to America either. After that Pearl Harbor occurs and he decides that it’s time to finish off the opposition. He agrees to use the formula but the catch is that he only trusts himself with it. So Frank is to go undercover and another agent named Maria will help him out. Unfortunately Frank has fallen madly in love with her and is determined to be with her even if it means costing the mission and losing the war.

This is where Frank quickly begins to fall off. See, the issue with this guy is that he should be putting his country first but almost feels like he is intentionally sabotaging the war effort after a while. Anything that he can do wrong, he does. He gets in the way constantly when Maria is trying to get information out of a guy called Karl. Frank messes with the guy by eating his food, shoving him, and just being a general nuisance. The scenes may be played for humor but Frank is doing things that would appear to be impossible for a normal person. Naturally this means that the villains who are aware of the invisible serum immediately know it’s him.

With this kind of power the whole point is that you should never have to tip your hand so what happened? Frank just made a mess of everything and as a result you definitely aren’t supporting his romance with Maria. It just doesn’t make sense and she should be so mad with him that she wouldn’t be interested in being with the guy either. It’s all so fast and none of it makes a whole lot of sense. You’re just not going to buy these developments.

Maria had been doing just fine on her own up until that point. She still does her best with damage control the whole time but it’s pretty tough going after a while. Meanwhile Karl’s definitely one of those villains who isn’t very smart and is basically sabotaging the villains himself. He’s like their version of Frank so things start to balance out there. I actually thought Conrad and Karl made for two very solid villains though. The fact that they were from different countries involved in World War II made for some interesting tension. They’re both villains and have an alliance at the moment but it’s not like they can trust each other at all either. Such is the life of a villain right? You’re getting yourself into a very bad spot right out of the gate.

The script is good as you’d expect with a lot of fun dialogue from all the characters. The movie goes by really quickly too and I still love the concept of using the invisibility serum in a war setting. If you’d use it right it would just be such a broken ability to have. No base would be safe, no secret left unnoticed. You’d always have to watch out for someone being around. Sure with modern technology it would be easier in a lot of ways but even then there is a ton of damage that could be done. The first country to perfect invisible technology would have such a large leg up over the competition.

Now, if Frank was a better character then I would say that I don’t mind his decision to use the serum himself. Due to how dangerous it is you can absolutely see why he wouldn’t want anyone else to know how to use it and even if they win the war, once the formula leaves your hands you can bet that the government is going to hang onto the instructions just in case. That’s just how these things work. It would be needed for the future wars and then the enemies would eventually get it and then you’ve got an ever escalating war as always.

I did enjoy the scenes at the round table with the government discussing how to handle things. It’s the one thing that was missing from the film since we didn’t get a lot of planning and things like that. Really once Frank arrives it’s more about just getting intel and fighting the villains but he’s left to his own devices for the most part. The film’s short so they can’t let too many things be happening at once but I’d gladly extend the film another 20 minutes if it meant we could have more Mission Impossible type scenes of infiltration and planning. I mean with being invisible you would expect that to be a given right?

Overall, Invisible Agent is a pretty good movie. The romance as well as Frank himself are definitely the weak points here but the film has strong enough fundamentals to get past them. It’s got a solid amount of action and suspense throughout after all. The movie started out strong with the opening fight as the villains nearly get the better of Frank twice but ultimately he’s able to fend them off. It was a good fight and the film certainly showed that it could handle a solid fight scene when it wanted to that’s for sure. The action here was on point throughout the film and I would recommend checking it out. They should do more Invisible Man films with this kind of a plot. Maybe do one where he’s a villain on the opposing side.

Overall 7/10

The Leopard Man Review

I have to say that this movie would have been a bit more suspenseful with a different title. It sort of takes away from the mystery you know? Now in some ways maybe originally they weren’t sure what angle to take with the film but most of the film plays up the experience as a suspenseful mystery so calling it “The Leopard” would have been much more effective if you ask me.

So the movie starts with a leopard being brought in to spice up a rather boring nightclub scene. It certainly draws some attention but not what Jerry had planned as it ends up murdering a lady named Teresa and escapes into town. Now everyone is terrified that they could be next and the thing is…they could be. The bodies start piling up and so the heroes have to find this leopard but it’s proven to be difficult. It’s also odd that the leopard would hang around town for so long and not be seen.

So the mystery here of course is to find the leopard…but then that title is rather interesting now isn’t it? Hmm…really makes you think. Really….well yeah so there is a human villain running around too. It does stretch my disbelief a bit that each victim could be murdered in such a realistic way as to mimic a leopard without anyone noticing. Yes he would always wait until the women were alone but it seems like this would take time and cause a lot of noise so you’d think someone would be around. It’s pretty rough that there’s no night traffic in this city.

It’s definitely a rather grim movie with everyone getting bumped off by the serial killer. The leopard does work well as a solid red herring because he actually does claim a victim as well. If not for the title I don’t think you would assume that this is a human until rather deep in the film when one guy keeps on insisting that it wouldn’t be possible. This is where some characters start to get really annoying though.

First off is the leopard’s owner Charlie who defends his pet but then Dr. Galbraith starts to suggest that maybe Charlie is murdering people after he gets drunk at night. And Charlie actually starts to believe this. Look, if you’re drinking so much that you black out and seriously think you could be murdering people then that means you have drunk way too much. There’s just no way around that, it’s the only logical conclusion here. I would have preferred if Charlie was a little stronger than that.

Meanwhile Clo-Clo is warned by Maria that she is in danger and something dark is approaching. Considering that there have already been murders by this point you’d think this would be serious but instead she runs off in the dead of night to reclaim her $100 and things don’t go over very well. She wasn’t the nicest character so you were expecting her to die the whole time but it’s still really tragic. Cmon the fortune teller did her best!

Not that I would pay Maria much mind myself but I wouldn’t go out of my way to test out the fortunes either. Maria probably could have been more helpful instead of constantly hiding the results and asking for a redo but in the end it doesn’t seem like it would have done a whole lot of good. Jerry is okay I guess but kind of forgettable. I don’t blame him for bringing in the leopard since by all accounts this should have been fairly safe. I do blame him for pretending he doesn’t care much to keep up appearances while worrying later on. Just be frank with everyone that this is a pretty bad situation.

Kiki is the main heroine here and the whole thing is pretty rough on her as well. So much for being the next sensation at the disco club with everything going on. She does decide to take a bold approach in helping to find the murderer so that was brave of her. She seems like a good person all in all. As for the murderer, well he’s rather crazy so there isn’t a whole lot to say about him. He just went looney and used this as an excuse to start taking names. It feels like it’s inevitable that this would have happened at some point with how quickly he cracked though and he just would have had a different gimmick. You’re glad things don’t end up going well for him.

There’s really not a whole lot to this film being the murders. It’s really short so the film has to go fast and just start bumping everyone off. The most tragic murder is easily the first one since the girl’s family were just so over the top mean about the whole thing. You’d think they would open the door when she’s begging for her life and in clear terror. Even from the start sending her out in the dead of night when there is a beast on the loose is crazy. Yeah you don’t want to be in that household, that’s for sure.

I will say that the film has good writing though. I did enjoy the exchanges between all of the characters and the dialogue style is something that’s hard to recreate compared to these older films. They just had a very distinguished air about them that always worked really well. Mix that in with the short length and at least it is a silver lining here. It would be nice if the characters had more time to do some serious investigating as opposed to being spoonfed the information needed to solve the case though.

Overall, The Leopard Man is definitely a skip. It probably wouldn’t have gone much better if the leopard was the main villain either to be honest since the climax would probably get a bit sketchy in that case. This doesn’t make for a very fun film in large part due to how tragic the deaths are. They’re described in decent detail here and while it’s inevitable that a bunch of people will die in a film like this, there aren’t a lot of light moments to really help you enjoy the film despite them. It’s not super violent or anything but the villain gets away with a whole lot before being caught.

Overall 3/10

Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist Review

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

Wait we’re back to the Exorcist again? Not to be outdone by the third film, this one adds animal violence, nazi’s, and an evil tribe here to cause some trouble. Now I would say that the third film is nothing if not competitive when going to the bottom and still does end up surpassing this one as being worse but Dominion put up a good fight and nobody can take that away from it. There aren’t many exorcisms here at all as we’ve come to expect from the series since that was mainly focused on in the first but we still get a dramatic finish with a lot of yelling.

So the movie starts with the Nazi’s rushing in to terrorize a small village. First they make sure to break father Merrin by having him choose 10 sacrifices and it was all a cruel test to break his spirit and resolve. Merrin changed paths to being a travelling architect as he digs around in ruins that may have some religious ties. Well this time he is accompanied by Father Francis as the group is worried about Merrin. Turns out that they should have been worried about the whole village. See the temple was protecting them from the devil demon and now he’s here to destroy them all. He decides to inhabit Cheche, a guy who can’t really talk much and suffered a grave injury but is healing really quickly. The heroes are going to need to watch out now.

It’s hard to know where to begin with this one. Almost immediately when the film starts up we see a bunch of people torturing an animal to weaken him up for being a sacrifice and it reminds you of what a cruel practice that is. Any cruelty to animals is always awful and so right away you’re not really rooting for the village at all. Merrin and the translator Chuma try to defend the practice but to no avail. It’s definitely something that should be completely outlawed by force if necessary. There are animals dying and being injured throughout the film and that definitely serves to ensure that the film never gains any momentum. It is quickly stripped away whenever that may be close to happening.

There also aren’t many likable characters here at all. The only one who seemed decent was father francis but of course he is powerless to stop the demon. The holy water doesn’t do much and when he tries to read the scriptures he is promptly taken down. You would think that he would have moved faster with the water when the demon was waking up though. Just push his head into the water or something, don’t want and dramatically drop a few driplets on him. I always thought this is something the heroes should do more of, forget the small sprinkling and just chug a gallon of the stuff at him. It would be way more effective in theory.

Unfortunately a big part of the movie is about how the demon’s influence eventually catches up to everyone and that happens here as well. Basically just by existing the demon turns people evil and so the humans start to turn on each other. There’s this whole subplot where the British come in with an army and start shooting the tribe members to enact revenge on them. The divide between the two gets worse as the film goes on and then at one point a tribe member murders a bunch of kids so that they can’t learn from Father Francis anymore.

There aren’t really any winners here. By the end of the film everyone is really broken. There’s the main heroine Rachel who stays strong for a while but then also gets corrupted. One of the worst scenes for Merrin is when she shows up and effortlessly seduces him while he was on the trail of the demon. Not the best time to be tempted and you’d think that he would have held strong here. Well, actually I’m not sure how much confidence I really had in the guy to be honest but he still disappointed me there.

Merrin gets to sort of relive the past thanks to the demon and try some other things out but ultimately there was no easy way to get out of the situation. He definitely shouldn’t have sold the 10 people out though. It was a really bad situation but honestly the best thing to do there is make a play for the gun and hope for the best. Sometimes there are no perfect ways out of a scenario and you just have to try your best. By the end of the film Merrin gets his confidence back at least.

The character you probably feel the most sorry for here is Chuma the whole time. It’s rough being a translator because half the time you are having to translate messages that are no fun for anybody and as a result you’re in the line of fire now. If I was him I definitely would have gotten out of there real fast after a while. Unfortunately there probably aren’t many opportunities in the area so leaving is a risk all on its own but anything surely has to be better than staying there right? At least it feels like that would be the case.

This film does remember that it’s supernatural and isn’t trying to hide it most of the time like in III so we do get some decent visuals at times. The green light as everything got trippy near the end was pretty intense. I also liked the clock that appeared in one scene but I have to admit that the effects were so bad that the scene was unintentionally a bit funny. Just a bit mind you but I was starting to crack up. It just made for a really funny visual even if that was not the intent.

The demon’s final form was also the opposite of intimidating even when his face would turn pale like a true demon’s. It’s just not easy to take him seriously as a great villain but they never are in these films. If the characters would just grab some guns and rock the guy you feel like he would go down. Temporarily I suppose since you can never seem to truly get rid of them.

There just isn’t much to enjoy here as with the other Exorcist films. The whole thing is so dark, dreary, and relentless. The heroes don’t have much of a chance at stopping the demon for a while because they don’t even know that they’re fighting one. By the time they do there are so many dead bodies that the heart of the village is gone.

Overall, This is another film to avoid for sure. An exorcist prequel just didn’t need to exist, much less two of them. At least this one has a decent ending, in fact I would say it easily beats the rest since it’s actually happy if anything. I suppose that’s the benefit of being a prequel since you can’t just bump everyone off or ends things rather grimly. I suppose they could have and suddenly the film wouldn’t be canon but that’s a very risky move at best. In theory it’s all uphill from here but we’ll see if that’s actually the case or not for the series.

Overall 0/10

The Exorcist III Review

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

We’re back into the world of the Exorcist…oh nooooooo! Yeah that means we’re in for quite the ride here as the film mainly drags on endlessly with the villain giving a lot of ramblings about not much at all. You’ll quickly realize that the film’s not going to be a satisfying watch except the knowledge that it’s over. There are no more sequels….yet.

So the film kicks off with introducing us to Kinderman who will be the main character this time. He’s a police lieutenant and he’s seen a lot of things over the years. The world has fallen to ruin and evil seems to run rampant at this time. His friend Dyer tries to help him see that things aren’t so bad but fails completely due to a new serial murderer showing up. He claims to be the original Gemini killer from long ago and he is possessing the body of Damien. Not the same Damian from a certain other horror series but I had fun treating this as a bit of a crossover tbh. Kinderman knows this can’t be Gemini but at the same time how is this guy pulling off all of these murders from his cell? Is he getting someone to let him out at night? It’s time to crack this mystery!

Now if the film wasn’t called “The Exorcist” then you may figure the main character has a chance. Grab all of the clues and just find out whoever the main villain is. Find the method of attack and stop it. This had all the bearings of a cop case like that but because you see the title you know that it’s all a ruse and clearly something supernatural is going on here. Yeah that’s unfortunate because now he has absolutely no chance of claiming victory and you just have to watch a lot of grisly murders with no reason behind them.

Part of the issue with films like the Exorcist is that the heroes have no way of stopping this guy. They’re fighting an immortal demon who can possess anybody at will and will never truly die since he can just fly somewhere else. The whole thing seems incredibly futile and what’s worse is that there is no way to prove that the villain is a demon so at any point he can just hop into another body and frame the heroes. It’s all just so hopeless and that takes a lot of the fun away from the chase. Why bother getting invested here when victory is impossible?

It’s why even in action shows I much prefer when the hero or villain has at least a slim shot of putting up a fight. A one sided massacre on either side can become boring if it carries on for too long. Give me at least a glimmer of hope even if you’re going to yank it away. The reason there is none here is because in every film the heroes start yelling scriptures at the demons and taking out the cross but always die in the end. At best sometimes they can temporarily take the demon down with them but the human stays dead for good while the demon eventually regenerates.

While it’s not the best series, at least Blue Exorcist has clear rules on how you permanently destroy a spirit. Then you have the all stars like Twin Star Exorcists where you just need to destroy a villain with holy weapons and they stay dead. Give me clear rules for engagement and you’re set but otherwise you just turn into another Jeeper’s Creepers where the villain is completely invincible the whole time.

Another reason this film is so bad is because way too much time is spent on Damien’s ramblings. He just goes on and on and on and as the viewer you have absolutely no interest in anything that he has to say. It’s just a serial killer’s crazed ramblings and you’re constantly checking the clock to see if the speech is really as long as you think it is. It doesn’t service the plot because we know it is crazy and all this does is remind us of that. If I wanted to watch some crazed ramblings there are plenty of Youtube videos for it but to sit there and have to listen to that is mind boggling. Any scene with him in the cell is just awful.

It goes without saying that the film is super violent and disturbing the whole time as well. Everyone is getting murdered by this guy and to add some extra edge to the mix he makes sure to at least bump someone off while they are in a church. There is just no protection from the demon inhabiting Damien and as always the dark side seems way more powerful than the light. This is not a film you watch for the heroes to take the lead.

Kinderman is also portrayed as extremely old in this one. I’m not sure if the actor was sick during filming or something but he has a really hard time breathing during the film and it’s noticeable as he has to take a deep breath after every few lines which doesn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of the villains. Nobody is going to be scared of a guy like this, why should they be? The heroes are on the defensive the whole time and then you also have the doctors who appear corrupt at times. At least one of them was being blackmailed and another was being so unhelpful that she may as well have been in on it.

We do get the classic scene of someone crawling on the ceiling but there’s not much point to it at all. I mean in context I guess the demon is taunting Kinderman but that doesn’t work because the main guy doesn’t notice and all that would have done was alert him to the body hopping earlier. Yeah I’m telling you this is a big skip for sure. It’s not like this even adds all that much to the lore of the verse so skipping it won’t have you missing anything. I mean if you liked the first film than you may like this one as well but there just isn’t much to salvage here at all.

Overall, the only slight positive I can give here is that there was one catchy tune that played earlier. Yeah that’s about it. The film quickly drops off a cliff after that. It may succeed in trying to have a sinister atmosphere that basically feels evil the whole time but as a result there are no fun moments here or times where you can cheer along with the movie. This isn’t that kind of movie and any movie where you don’t smile at least once during it is one that didn’t understand the assignment. A good film should leave you feeling good afterwards and this one is just so cruel and mean spirited that it won’t succeed. It has the rare distinction of hitting rock bottom so you definitely need to avoid it.

Overall 0/10

Kill Bill Volume 2 Review

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

All right, it’s time for the next Kill Bill. It’s pretty similar to the last one but we have a bit less action this time around. The Bride is wrapping up her revenge tour after all and there are only a few targets left. Not to mention that these targets are mainly weaker than the last film’s so the movie has to throw in elements like her getting sloppy and being buried alive to buy time until the end. It does beat the first film because we don’t get anything quite as dreadful as the whole hospital part from the first film. It’s still way excessive on the violence which keeps it from really reaching its potential but any improvement is always good.

So a good chunk of the film is about Bride taking on Budd which lasts longer than you would expect. The guy can’t fight for beans but he does have a gun and she seems to underestimate him which is what makes things tricky. If not for the surprise attack then she would have definitely taken him out pretty quick. I suppose he deserves some credit for that. I’d say the other two big aspects of the film is finally seeing the truth of what happened that day in the chapel when everyone jumped her and then the climax where she finally gets to take on Bill.

The confrontation with Bill is what we’re all here for after all so I’ll leave that for the end. For the intro with the wedding, well it definitely makes Bill look really crazy. It’s clear that he planned to shoot everyone up from the start with the way his gang showed up. We learn that he’s the Bride’s father and yeah it’s really not a good look for him. The guy just seems super petty especially considering that the bride and groom seemed nice enough the whole time. Nobody was antagonizing him or anything. He just is the big villain and sometimes that’s all you need.

Now for the final villains, first up we have Budd and I can’t say that I liked him much at all. I guess he’s got brute strength but that’s about it and he wasn’t very smart in how he handled himself with the boss at his day job. He was almost making the argument that he didn’t need the job by saying that there is nobody around to bounce and I thought it was clever of the boss to bring that up. He really just gets lucky the whole time with the Bride being surprisingly clumsy with her approach and then he lets his guard down with the snake. It was definitely not a very smart move since he should know that all of these villains mean business.

We also have Elle who is sort of like a rival to Bride. She was definitely really jealous of her the whole time. Their skills are fairly close although I do think Bride has the decisive advantage here when you really think about it. She got to learn more from the master and just seems more experienced. Elle is still very good in combat though.

Now she did get a big moment where she takes down the master Pai Mei, but that guy was also an extreme jerk to the point of being a villain. I mean his training was so drastic that he did nearly murder Bride on a few occasions which I always think is way too excessive for any training. Sure, it always works out so you look the other way but you have to think about if it didn’t work out. Then you just murdered a pupil and while Pai Mei wouldn’t be broken up about it, it makes you double think everyone who actually allowed this to happen. It’s just not a smart play and so when Elle murders him you just aren’t too surprised. It seemed inevitable that he would push someone too far.

As in the last film the Bride is good here although she maybe holds back a little too much against Bill in the end. Look, you’ve come this far so I think you need to end him really quick. This isn’t one of those times where you can just talk things out and hope for the best. It worked with the neighbor in the first film because it wasn’t as personal and you still knew she was going to finish the job but with Bill it should have been time to take him out on sight. By waiting she put herself in a whole lot of danger the whole time.

Bill is also a very annoying character in part because I feel like the film isn’t really acknowledging just how evil he is. In a way it’s just part of the absurdness of it all as he just shows up trying to appear as a nice guy and calling Bride’s bluff but she should have just taken him out and then kept moving. I think there are a lot of ways she could have handled that better because this way could have really backfired.

In particular the moment where she falls down and closes her eyes to play dead while Bill is right in front of her. He easily could have gone for the shot for all she knows and then that would have been it. There just wouldn’t be any coming back from that. He also needs to own the fact that he put her in such a terrible position all these years and there is no coming back from that either. The whole climax with Bill was just rather odd and I didn’t think it landed nearly as well as the film thought it did. Mainly because it didn’t land at all. This was a fire and a miss. The climax may not be very satisfying as a whole but at least the very end is good and that’s what you will remember the most in the end.

The film keeps a lot of the fun technical elements that made the first one good like the music and choreography although there are much less chances to show that here since the film isn’t as action heavy. It’s not quite as dark as the first film but it’s still very over the top violent that’s for sure. Everyone is still getting slaughtered on all sides and taking away from the fun fights that you want to get to. It’s still as shocking and gruesome as ever.

Overall, Kill Bill ends here and while it’s a slight improvement over the first film because it doesn’t get as extreme, it’s relative when you think about how extreme it still is the whole time. This is not a fun popcorn film that you plug in and have a good time with. Instead this is a title where you turn it on but have to be ready to wince and shake your head whenever a villain shows up because you know that someone’s about to go down the hard way. You don’t really need a sequel to this but one more to finish the trilogy would be nice and if things keep improving a bit then who knows. Maybe the third will end up being the big one but until then you can stick to other revenge films like One Piece Film: Red or Dragon Ball: Super Broly the Movie.

Overall 2/10