Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem Review

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It’s time to look at the next Batman Unlimited film! The first one was pretty solid so I would expect nothing less from the sequel. It’s nice to have a Batman film that feels more like the classic days. It’s a bit of a cross between something like Brave and the Bold and The Batman in terms of atmosphere and character designs. It all works pretty well and the film delivers on what it promises, a lot of action with a good story behind it.

The film kicks things off with a new character who has joined the fray. Gogo is a genius who likes building VR games. Unfortunately he is confronted by his co-worker who tries to destroy him. Gogo quickly figures out that she is actually a robot who is pretending to be his friend, but this knowledge is not enough to turn the tables. Even Batman is unable to save him from this menace. It turns out that the robot is working for Joker along with other villains like the Scarecrow, Solomon Grundy, and Silver Banshee. For once Batman realizes that he can’t defeat all of these foes on his own so he decides to call in Green Arrow, Red Robin, and Nightwing. Together these heroes will have to save the world!

In a subplot, Cyborg is still adjusting to his new boosters. Unfortunately he doesn’t have much time to do so because a virus has infected the city and as Cyborg doesn’t have too many security firewalls he is quickly taken over. I’ve already talked at length about how Cyborg is a Teen Titan and not a Justice League member so I won’t go into that here, but this movie doesn’t help his case. I figured that the whole point of being half human and half machine was that the human side could help him fight against viruses and such. That never seems to be the case so he might as well be all robot then right? Technically Cyborg is very strong, but none of that matters if villains can just hack into him every day.

This film is naturally pretty light hearted as you may expect although it does get some serious scenes. The intro where the robot tries to murder Gogo is actually played pretty seriously. Likewise, the film isn’t afraid to have some real fights thrown in and the animation is pretty solid. It doesn’t really have any choreography and the fights do tend to get paused for quick one liners and such, but the film looks good when it actually tries. It’s a nice animation style and works well enough for the film. Unfortunately the soundtrack is basically nonexistent so don’t expect to remember any of the tunes by the end. This just isn’t quite that kind of film. The humor isn’t bad for the most part. It can feel a little forced, but it could be a lot worse. I’d give the writing a pass.

Then we have a nice Matrix homage near the end as Batman and Joker fight in the Cyber World where they each have to corrupt the other. It’s a battle of wills so naturally you’re never too worried for Batman. He’s not going to lose when it boils down to a fight of resolve. The pacing is pretty good for the film as well which makes sense since it’s so short. At most you may find it a bit redundant how the heroes keep beating the villains, only to have them escape for another round. I feel like this happened at least 3 times. The villains just wouldn’t quit which is admirable but then there’s no reason to think that the rematch would go any differently. Joker’s robot at the end was pretty cool though. If not for a serious amount of plot hax he definitely would have won in the end. All he had to do was actually try moving so Cyborg couldn’t hit him and then it would have been all over. Maybe deep down Joker actually wanted to lose. That would be quite the twist eh?

The movie also decided to go with a pretty interesting set of characters here. Batman is an obvious pick of course and likewise for putting in Tim Drake as Red Robin. While the latter is treated as comic relief a little too much, he still gets the job done. For Batman, while I mentioned that the animation is solid I have to admit that Bruce Wayne looks very off. It’s something about his human design that makes him look like a character out of Space Dandy or that crazy future 90’s aesthetic. Not a bad thing, it’s just different. Nightwing is another good teammate to have around and while there’s not much in particular to say about him, I do like how the film turned his trope of self doubt on its head. When Scarecrow tries playing the mindgames Nightwing doesn’t fall for it. As he said, he got over that a long time ago.

Then we have Green Arrow who does his best but as always he seems to be a step behind the others. After all, he’s just as rich as Batman, but doesn’t have the hand to hand skills or large array of gadgets that the Dark Knight possesses. As for Cyborg, he was getting mind controlled the whole time so while he is a nice guy there isn’t much to say about him either. As for the villains, Silver Banshee was fun. Her ability is always pretty lethal against most opponents since they will actually get older which can’t really be undone. Solomon Grundy is still the power hitter, but he’s never the most enjoyable villain since he isn’t too smart. The film did a reasonable job of not making him too annoying though and dressing up as the pizza man was smart. Scarecrow was pretty good here. He was a legitimate threat and kept the heroes on their toes throughout. This was also one of Joker’s better outings easy. He balanced out the humor and serious traits of his character well and as always his plan took Batman to the edge.

Overall, Batman Unlimited continues to be a solid series. I look forward to seeing how the third film fares. If you like action films or just want to see some light hearted fun then I would recommend this film. What you see is what you get so there are no real surprises here, but the plot is executed well. You’ll be kept entertained all the way through and since this is one of your only chances to see Red Robin in action, how could you miss it? With a solid blend of writing and animation, this is definitely a complete film.

Overall 7/10

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Digimon Adventure Tri: Loss Review

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It’s time to look at the 4th film in the Digimon Tri series. This one finally has the gang head to the Digital World, but what does this mean for all of the ongoing plot lines so far? Well, they’re basically gonna get dropped for this film so we can focus on character introductions. This was a bit of a dicey call and I can certainly see how this would be the weakest installment yet. It basically just feels like filler for the most part and choosing to lead with a grainy low budget intro was…interesting to say the least. The scenes in the intro were interesting, but I wanted my high budget animation!

So the film starts off by showing us the school agent back when she was a kid. Apparently she had been one of the chosen ones (Or not chosen depending on how you interpret the speech) along with the teacher guy and she had to watch the elders appear for the first time as they sacrificed her friend to save the world. Well, now she has found a way to bring him back, the reboot! Meanwhile Tai and the others are in the Digital World, but their Digimon haven’t gotten their memories back as expected. It’s no big deal since they all get along…with the exception of Sora and her Digimon. Can they reconnect in the middle of this crisis? They better get their act together soon because Mega level Digimon are after them!

Sora is the main focus here as she goes through her personal dilemma. Was I on her side or not? Well, here’s the situation. The gang has arrived in the Digital World but their partners do not recognize them. The humans knew that beforehand but they held out hope that the Digimon would just remember somehow. Sora is no exception and since her Digimon wants nothing to do with her she takes it pretty hard.

I’d say that part of the problem on her end was that she was rushing the whole thing too much. You can’t expect to become friends with someone again over night like that. Granted, part of the reason why she got such expectations was because the others did the same thing so quickly. Naturally she gets a little jealous about the whole thing and since she is used to bottling her feelings up, Sora doesn’t do a great job of handling the situation. Naturally this is all leading up to the fact that I was not on her side. Not only should she not blame Tai and Matt at all, but her issue doesn’t even seem as big as the others. If she didn’t get emotional every time Biyumon yelled at her she would be in a far better position.

Now lets talk about more serious dilemmas. Unfortunately this is the first film to really get wonky when it comes to the power levels. It is quite noticeable even if you don’t usually focus on things like that. Gabumon is able to cancel out an energy blast from a Mega level Digimon despite being only a rookie. Then another rookie is able to stun the Mega. At that difference in power the attacks shouldn’t even be noticed. Rookies can rarely even damage champions, a mega is too much of a stretch.

This is definitely an issue that I would say falls with the writing. The film appeared to be trying to create a sense of danger and suspense for the heroes and figured that putting them in such a dangerous position was the way to go. That was not actually the case though because the writers went too far so when the heroes make a comeback or delay the inevitable like in those scenes it just doesn’t work. The film should have just not used a Mega right off the bat or the heroes should have kept their ultimates. That would have made a difference.

As far as the soundtrack goes, it’s only natural that this film could not top the last 3. That’s because this is the first installment not to feature the excellent danger theme that I always like to see. You can’t just cut out the best theme in the series like that. We also don’t have the techno intro but we have other insert songs at the ready here so it seemed like a fair trade. It’s still a reasonable soundtrack but one that is now missing a little impact. The animation continues to be consistent here. If you liked it in the first 3 parts then I don’t believe that this would change here. The fights are solid and the landscapes are on point. The character designs/animations may still be a little pale but as they don’t have their iconic costumes I suppose that it can’t be helped.

As far as Dark Jedi goes, the film does its best to make him as unlikable as possible. He goes through the trope of licking one of the heroes for shock value and to make sure you know that this guy is batty. So much for being the calm and collected mastermind right? The FBI agent is also going downhill fast as her final scene already negates her sob story. The other agent is certainly taking his time figuring this all out as well. I’m just ready for Alphamon to show up and start wrecking everyone again. Having the King of Digimon show up soon would also be a lot of fun.

Unfortunately this movie didn’t bode well for Meiko and Meicoomon either. Both of them panicked under pressure when the going got tough and made the villain’s job quite easy. The other Digidestined should also be blamed to an extent as they totally ditched her without any good reason. The whole point of the mission was to protect her and yet they left to go on their victory lap. Really? That also seemed very plot convenient. Also, the heroes had many chances to attack Dark Jedi (They even knew to call him Dark Jedi pretty quickly) but they kept just not doing so. At some point you have to step up and make an attack. Only Joe actually tried here and naturally it didn’t go well. I appreciated the attempt though. If the heroes had knocked him out that could have helped the situation quite a bit.

So while this film could have certainly be handled better, you’ve still got to give it credit for building a compelling story. The universe around the characters still feels nice and mysterious the whole time. The villains operate in the shadows so most of the residents in the world don’t even know what is happening. While certain scenes can be frustrating, at least you do care about what is going on. I’ll give a more thorough breakdown of the various plot lines and such in the final film so hopefully it is able to tie everything together.

Overall, This installment seemed to be buying for time to an extent. If you didn’t know any better you would almost assume that there was some kind of change in writers behind the scenes as the story definitely seems to be changing directions. That’s not a bad thing per say, but hopefully they do have an end goal in mind as I still have quite a few questions that need to be answered. Even if there may be some missed opportunities by the end of this series at least the plot is still engaging and I don’t expect that will change. Naturally if you saw the first 3 films then I’d recommend checking out this one. If you have not, then maybe you could jump on here and still enjoy the film as it’s a reasonable jumping on point but you will be missing some context which will make the scenes less emotional.

Overall 7/10

Swamp Thing Review

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It’s time to look at an old school DC film. This movie doesn’t really feel like your average comic book film and could easily be mistaken for just being another horror film. That would probably be the best outcome for all parties involved since I doubt anyone wants to take credit for this movie. It just isn’t good and does so many things wrong that you’ll end up wondering what the film was thinking. The characters aren’t very smart and so it’s hard to root for anyone.

The film starts off with the main character, Alice heading over to the Swamp. She is here to fix some sensors, but the broken sensors were sabotaged by terrorists so she isn’t allowed to go near them. Since she has nothing else to do she hangs around the pair of scientists who are trying to make some breakthroughs and insults them the whole time. The main guy is married, but seems to forget this all the time so all scenes with him are cringe worthy. That’s when the villains come in and murder the two scientists in the hopes of getting their research. Alice managed to snatch one book though so their collection won’t be complete. The villains don’t like that and decide to give chase, but they have one more obstacle to try and get past, The Swamp Thing!

The film doesn’t exactly hide the Swamp Thing’s identity, but I won’t allude to it in case you need that reveal. Needless to say, The Swamp Thing is here to help. “This is My Swamp!” should have been his opening line but he’s a creature of action as opposed to words. As the film goes on he does start to get a little more chatty though so I guess that’s a good thing? Unfortunately, he isn’t quite as intimidating as the average creature. In most of these horror films you see the monsters just destroying everybody until they die in the end. Since the Swamp Thing is a heroic creature, he doesn’t get the same treatment. He gets captured and beaten by the crooks. He doesn’t do a good job of taking the villains out of the equation so they always pop right back up to give him some more grief. He isn’t opposed to murder as we see him do it several times, he is always in just too much of a hurry to get away. He’s just not a very likable character. His abilities also don’t seem all that impressive in this film. He was nerfed all the way into the ground.

Alice isn’t a bad main character although she can also be a little iffy at times. For the positives, she is a fighter. Alice does put up a struggle whenever she appears and even lands in some good hits. On the other hand, she is rather slow on the uptake. Even when seeing the Swamp Thing mowing down her opponents she keeps telling him to back off. She’s certainly safer with him than without. She also has an unfortunate tendency to trip over just about everything. She probably hit the ground at least ten times. Cmon Alice, you can do better than that!

Then I have to quickly rewind to the beginning of the film to explain why the normal joe characters always fall below expectations. So you have a guy running through the swamp when a few guys with guns walk up to him. He quickly lets them disarm him and then runs. What’s the point? They’ll just shoot him down. He’s dead either way so he may as well have held on to his gun and taken one of them down with him. This is preferable for many reasons. One of which is that by firing right away you at least have the slimmest of chances to survive. Second, at least they’ll be forced to gun you down right there which is a far less painful death than the alternative. Third, you get to die with some dignity. Trying to run away in a swamp when you’re outnumbered like that won’t work. Even if it was just one guy he could shoot you once your back was turned. These hostage situations always drive me batty.

This film is a little on the violent side with people getting snapped and crunched. The main villain’s transformation scene was also shown to be as grotesque and violent as possible which is a little on the rare side for transformations. Usually you expect those to at least be a little pleasant right? The violence isn’t extremely over the top but certainly is high enough that it’s noticeable. There isn’t really animal violence if you look at the film casually, but it’s there when you drill into the specifics. The unlikable main characters were running experiments on the animals which is a no go. These animals don’t care about the science so why should they have to be used like this? The animal certainly didn’t look like it was having fun being all wet like that.

Swamp Thing also goes out of its way to make the villains unlikable. A good villain should command respect but also be fun to root for/against. None of that is here with these villains. At the most the main villain isn’t bad. He’s one of those random rich guys who wants to see the world burn. The main villain is really one of his subordinates though who chases Alice around quite a lot. Naturally he is shown to be rather depraved and of course he couldn’t just be a professional trying to earn a paycheck. I get that guys like him will typically end up being the villains since it makes sense, but it doesn’t make any of his scenes work any better.

The best character in the film is definitely the kid who owned the gas station. He was on point and could sniff out danger a mile away. It’s a shame that his gun was defective but there’s no way he could have known that. Even though he was just a kid he did a lot of work and helped get Alice to a safe place. He brought the film a level of charm and wonder that it didn’t have previously. Not enough to save the film or anything like that, but it was still neat.

Overall, Swamp Thing is definitely not a film that I would recommend. The characters aren’t all that smart and Swamp Thing himself looks quite weak. I’m glad he kept in his healing powers, but being able to fight a little more would have been great too. The film drags on a bit and the only good character got a really small amount of screen time. This is definitely one of those movies that you should skip and I’d advise you to check out some of the classic Godzilla films instead if you want to see how a creature should be portrayed. I can guarantee you that at the very least he wouldn’t go down easy like the Swamp Thing.

Overall 3/10

Digimon Adventure Tri: Confession Review

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It’s time to look at the third film in the Tri series. We have no reached the halfway point folks. This one focuses more on TK as he tries to find a way to make sure Patamon is okay without the rest of the Digidestined getting in his way. It’ll be tough but he’s been through worse. Meanwhile the rest of the team needs to figure out what to do about Meiko and the trouble that the Digital World is facing.

This one picks off where the second ended and everyone is panicking. The infection is spreading rapidly and even the chosen Digimon may not be immune. The heroes may have to pull the plug on the Digital World as a whole to save it, but is it worth saving the planet if everyone has to be wiped away? The Digimon are all data at the end of the day, but they have been shown to be able to generate souls within them so isn’t resetting their data just like destroying them? Hard questions will be asked here.

While the last film focused on Joe and Mimi this one has Izzy and TK be the focus so I’ll concentrate on those two. First is TK and his controversial choice is to keep the fact that Patamon is infected from the other Digidestined since they may try to run experiments on Patamon or even delete him. The “heroes” have discussed this in the past so it’s not too far fetched. TK also does make sure to take Patamon away from the others so he is being careful not to spread the infection. Naturally the characters aren’t thrilled about this, but TK absolutely made the right choice here. I wouldn’t trust the other Digidestined as far as I can throw them. Patamon is TK’s best friend as well so that bond’s more important than letting the others down. Especially since TK and Kairi have crests that work like friendship he should be able to overcome the dark impulses that are plaguing Patamon. So, I’m on TK’s side 100%.

As for Izzy, I’m basically in the opposite boat here. He’s always the character who ends up panicking and cracking under pressure. It’s a trait that is usually associated with the smart member of the group and unfortunately he was no exception. The computer simulations start to get to him so he pushes everyone away and snaps at them. It just doesn’t do his character any favors, especially since he never sincerely apologizes about the whole thing. His mindset is the opposite of TK’s as he would likely not mind sacrificing the one to save the rest while TK sides with his partner. Different methods for trying to do the right thing, but I certainly have my preference.

This film definitely has one of the better fight scenes. I’m not sure that I would put it ahead of the epic Alphamon entrance just yet but it was great to finally see all of the Digidestined team up. It’s the first time since the show at this point and it’s definitely nostalgic. A shame they were all so outgunned though, but it’s really the heroes’ fault for not going into their ultimate forms though. They just refuse to do so and I know that they like a good fight, but the fate of the planet is at stake so they gotta take this just a little more seriously. I definitely enjoyed seeing Meicoomon in action. He is definitely a solid fighter and the design for the Digimon is definitely on point.

The animation continues to look fairly solid. The film got to show off its effects a little more here with the climax and all. The colors in the Digital World are always nice and it’s fun to finally be away from Earth. Naturally the stinger is certainly not quite as epic as the last film’s, but it’s a pretty good reveal for the villain. It’ll be interesting to see what the whole master plan is. Right now we don’t know a whole lot so the motives could be just about anything honestly. World domination, conquest, or just a desire to see everything get wiped out and reset. That seems to be a common cyber goal so I wouldn’t put it past this guy. The soundtrack is essentially the same as the last 2 films so it’s still pretty solid. As always the danger theme in the climax is the best one, but the insert song is also catchy

The writing is solid as you would expect. The mystery continues and all of the characters continue to stress each other out. I feel like Tai is definitely getting closer to regaining his fighting spirit. I think one more good talking to will likely convert him. That’s definitely a good thing because we really need the old Tai back if we want to win. Matt mentions how having the other Mega level Digimon being awakened will help since they may not need Alphamon, but at the end of the day he is still their best weapon. Normal Mega level Digimon aren’t even close to as strong as Alphamon. Also, the heroes never even use their Mega except for at the very end so I doubt we will be seeing them all that much. This film was longer than the first 2 which is good since it was able to fit so much in that way. The pacing is solid all the way through so don’t worry about it dragging on or anything like that.

I would like to see the DigiDestined take a more active role against the government though. So far they just accept everything they are told and aren’t actively trying to fight off the infection. (Aside from Izzy who is trying to find a cure) The heroes should be shaking people down and finding out answers. Starting with the people monitoring them makes sense since the government is currently keeping a whole lot of information from them. I suppose this won’t be an issue going forward since the heroes are finally back in the Digital World. They should have a lot of experience here so I’m looking forward to seeing them really make a dent in the villain’s plans and also figuring out the answers to all of their questions. Also, Tai seriously can’t complain about city destruction now that he’s off Earth right?

Overall, Confession does a good job of continuing the adventure. It makes a good case for possibly topping the first film. Those two are pretty neck and neck at the moment. The first film has an edge in having the single best sequence out of all the films when Alphamon arrives, but the third film got to jump into the plot a lot faster without needing to take time for introductions. It’s a tough call of course and I look forward to the next 3 films making that decision even tougher by keeping up the quality. It’s definitely been nice to have the Adventure cast back for so long with these 6 films and they aren’t going anywhere for a while.

Overall 8/10

Digimon Adventure Tri: Determination Review

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It’s time to look at the next Digimon Tri adventure. It’s been quite a while since we saw Alphamon handle Omnimon. Naturally this volume has a little tension between the main cast which is liable to stick around for the duration of the series. This one focuses on Joe and Mimi’s struggles while the others try to just have a good time without worrying about the fate of the planet for a little while.

After Tai held back against Alphamon and caused the heroes to almost be destroyed he has lost his competitive spirit altogether. He doesn’t even want to confront Matt about this since he isn’t even sure how to word his argument. The Digidestined decide to distract themselves by throwing a party at school. Still, ready or not the Digimon aren’t about to wait for the heroes. Ogremon surfaces and the infection rate in the Digimon World is growing rapidly. What was thought to be a natural disease may in fact be all part of a master plan.

As I mentioned Mimi and Joe are the main characters here so let’s talk about them. First we have Mimi. She’s always been very outgoing and while she used to be more fashionable than practical she has also developed a tough personality. That said, she has started to intimidate her classmates who decide to sabotage her school party idea by not participating. Mimi’s teammates also reprimand her for trying to fight off one of the evil Digimon on her own.

For the first issue, I wasn’t a fan of the costume that Mimi wanted to use for the dances and it’s reasonable to assume that not every student would be comfortable wearing it either. We find out that Mimi never asked anyone about wearing it beforehand either so she was a little short sighted there. Of course, the students didn’t have to immediately turn this into a fight so they were being confrontational for no apparent reason. Mimi maybe took it a little harder than she she should have but she did cause that issue.

As for fighting on her own, she definitely made the right call there. The others told her to wait for backup but what about in the meantime? Ogremon wasn’t going to wait and he could have caused a lot of damage on the meantime. Also, backup never even came since the cops stopped the kids before they could get through. The chopper getting hit by the needles was just being careless. Mimi probably should have seen it but I wouldn’t put any blame on her then. If a villain is attacking you definitely don’t have time to wait for backup. That’s when you’ve gotta step up and show why you are a hero. Long story short, Mimi’s obstacle here is that she is very confident and impulsive which are both fine traits and she is certainly doing well.

As for Joe, I can’t say that things are going very well for him. Throughout the film he decides to ignore everyone being in danger so he can keep on studying. There usually isn’t anything wrong with hitting the books but when it comes at the expense of putting your friends in danger then that’s when it has definitely gone too far. He may not like the hand that he was dealt but the fact remains that Joe is one of the only people who can defend the world from the infected. He has to step up to the plate. He finally does by the end which is good since I had enough of his moping. Debatably the worst part is that he knows he is to blame for most of the film but keeps on making the wrong choices anyway.

The film ends with a pretty solid cliffhanger to get you hyped for the 3rd film. It’s gonna be hard for any of the films to top the ending was it was just perfect. It helps establish the threat and leaves the heroes in a bad spot. Considering that this series is a 6 part epic, it’s always good to have a stinger like that. I didn’t elaborate on most of the other characters, but they’ll all get their moments coming up in the future films so I’ll look at them in more detail when it’s their turn. Naturally the final review in the series will likely be the biggest as I’ll wait until then to discuss the route the series went and if it addressed all of its different plot lines. I do like how mysterious the series is acting right now, but we are certainly going to need a solid payoff to keep up with that.

As expected the animation is pretty solid. The fight scenes are on point and it’s always nice to see the Digimon cut loose at the end since for the most part they don’t get too much action here. Once in a while the human characters tend to have a derpy look on their face when chatting but that’s likely a stylistic choice. I’ll still take the bold and colorful art style of the actual show over it but I have no real faults with this style.

The soundtrack is mainly the same as the first one and is as solid now as it was then. The danger theme that pops up in the climax of this film as well as the last one is still the best one in the film. It does a good job of making the atmosphere more tense and epic. I also still do like the Tri into theme which is a techno version of the original. The Digievolution theme is iconic and I’m sure fans are glad they kept the original but I’d sure love to see the English version here. That theme was awesome!

Digimon Tri is more about the plot and drama than the action so as mentioned earlier there isn’t much fighting here. Fortunately the writing is on point so that isn’t really a concern. I do think it may make the film a tad bit trickier on re-watches, but for initial viewing you’re definitely going to be caught up on the suspense. At the end of the day most of the main characters are likable which is also helpful. Currently Tai, Joe, and Izzy are probably having the toughest time of it, but they’ll have their time to get more screen time. Well, Tai and Izzy at least. Joe already got his moment, but it seems to have ended the part of his character arc that I didn’t like so he can only go up from here. I’m definitely ready to see the heroes take on Alphamon again now that they have their fighting spirit back.

Overall, Tri part 2 is pretty solid. It’s a fun movie that doesn’t really do anything wrong. I may disagree to an extent with how the characters judge some of their decisions (It was good Mimi jumped in) but the film never gets heavy handed with trying to get you to agree. You’re left to decide for yourself if the character made the right call and I’m certainly all for that. I’d definitely recommend checking this movie out. Of course, you should probably watch the first film to get a better handle on what’s happening here. As this is a direct sequel there really isn’t any way around that. In this film it is literally a part 2 that starts off right after part 1 soooo…go watch part 1 first.

Overall 8/10

Phone Call from a Stranger Review

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It’s time to look at an old film that you may or may not be familiar with. It’s a story with the highest of stakes and the most personal of characters. A fun movie all around even if the mistakes that some of the characters make are too big to be easily overlooked. It’s got a good message at the end though and you’ve always got to hope for the best.

The film starts off with the main character running away from home because his wife cheated on him. She says that it was just a moment of weakness but Trask can’t live with that and takes a train far away. As he heads to the plane he runs into a few other characters dealing with their own hardships. They may be a bit loud or overzealous at times but they make the trip go smoother. That’s when the plane crash occurs and now it’s up to David to finalize everyone’s situations so they can move on. However, will the families want to hear anything that a stranger has to say?

The film is pretty long which is what helps it put in the first half purely so we can learn about the other characters. They’ve all got their own journeys and such going on which the main character learns gradually. You may not even suspect the second half’s plot if you didn’t know it beforehand. It’s a rather drastic change in the direction of the film but the fact that it happens so quickly is what helps it succeed. It’s a little tough to have things occur unexpectedly nowadays but this film pulled it off.

The writing is pretty solid as you would expect. The characters all sound reasonable and that’s part of how the film was able to be as engaging as it was. The pacing is also good so the film doesn’t drag on. The long length was definitely a good thing in this case since it allowed the movie to give us a few scenes with each of the characters before the second act. Had the film been shorter like most old movies, then they would have had to axe most of the first half.

For the characters, it’ll really depend on which ones you sympathize with. I certainly couldn’t root for the doctor as drunk or not, he went way too far off the deep end. Especially if it was a recurring issue with him then he should have not even let himself near a drink. His issue also affected a lot of other people besides himself so even after he apologized it was a little iffy. Better late than never though and at least he did regret it. His son definitely didn’t take any of it well though and was the biggest ingrate in the film.

Then we have the aspiring actress who was good at reading people. Her story was probably the most entertaining despite being tragic as her husband’s mother kept trying to sabotage her at every corner. We even get a flashback from the mother’s point of view where we see a twisted version of the past. I did like the heroic outfit she had on and the over the top theatrics of the scene are part of why it was so fun. If you’re going to show us a make believe story you may as well make it completely crazy to ensure that it’s super amusing. In this case, the husband has to be blamed for most of it since he comes across as incredibly gullible. He just looks so bad here and in the end the mother basically won. She may have been the antagonist with malicious intent, but the husband is still the worse character.

In the final plot we had the flirt who was always laughing. Some of those laughs felt so sudden that you could swear that the channel added them but I don’t suspect that TCM would do such a thing. They’re usually on the up and up to be honest. This guy always jokes around but apparently he is a devoted husband otherwise. Definitely not the best of tropes and I can’t say that I ever liked him. Then we have the wife who was cheating on him until the rebound guy ran away. It’s hard to sympathize with anyone here so it makes sense that their plot was left for last and seemed to be the shortest. If the guy hadn’t ducked out on her then the wife wouldn’t have even gone back to the guy. The guy still flirts behind her back as well so it just seems pretty bad for both parties involved.

As the film ends you’ll keep on waiting for a twist involving the 2 survivors, but it never comes up. I suppose in a way that in itself is a twist. After all, what are the odds that the other two survivors would be anyone important? Technically it makes sense that they would have nothing to do with the movie. I suppose it would have been nice to have seen them, but it certainly wasn’t of any real consequence. It’s not something that will likely hurt your enjoyment of the film at any rate. Only the flip side can possibly do that as some of the characters who die could have been more likable than the ones who lived in which case you, the viewer may not take it as well.

Overall, This was definitely an interesting movie. It had a lot of twists and turns within it. I definitely don’t think I’d be thrilled to have a random stranger show up to give some last words but it’s still a thoughtful gesture regardless. I’d recommend checking this film out. As long as you enjoy a good story I think you’ll like this movie. There aren’t any big explosions or danger in general, but it does a good job of being a drama film without having to rely on anything extra. It’s all about the dialogue and the film does a good job of selling itself.

Overall 7/10

Space Amoeba Review

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It’s time to look at an old Kaiju film that not too many people know about. However, once you see the title you know that this is a film to check out. The monsters are huge which is really what you are looking for at the end of the day. It’s a pretty fun film that may start to lose a little steam as it goes on but manages to be a solid product through and through. Naturally you will be rooting for the monsters of course.

The film starts off with a reporter being mocked for claiming that our satellites aren’t making it into space and are being shot down. He is determined to prove that he isn’t wrong and is given the chance when a lady shows up and asks him to take photos of an island where she is building a resort. His pride won’t let him do such a thing at first but then another guy shows up and explains that giant monsters may have been seen in the area. The lead quickly realizes that it is all linked and jumps into action. Is he in over his head?

One thing you will enjoy right away is the writing for this film. It’s one of those old school scripts where the characters are all having a lot of run right off the bat. Sure, maybe they should be taking this whole thing a little more seriously to be honest, but at the end of the day you have to appreciate the fact that they can still make one liners. The voice acting is on point and the characters are reasonably likable. Kudo may have a little too much pride as he initially doesn’t want to take pictures of landscapes even when paid, but I guess that’s just not his thing. He is quick to jump into action when necessary on the island. We also have the corporate spy who comes in to try and get rich, but things don’t go too well for him. From that point on you already knew he was doomed though. We also have the main heroine who tries to help one of the heroes get away from the mind control that he is under with her yells. I suppose it is fairly effective. You’ve also got the tour guides but some of the locals do tend to panic when the Kaiju come knocking. Never a good move since these monsters are as fast as they are large.

So as you can see I definitely had no problem with the characters. It was a fun enough bunch even if none of them are all that memorable. Now we get to the Kaiju. They were all pretty solid. The best one would probably be the main one. That squid packed a punch and was even able to move on land. I definitely was glad to see him pop up and his scenes were certainly the closest to something out of a Godzilla movie. Then we have the big turtle that was neat. While the ability to stretch out your head isn’t very useful or practical, it was visually interesting so I’ll give it some props there. The monsters were definitely fun so this title earned its creature feature status.

As I mentioned, the film does slow down a bit during the second half though. That’s because the humans start to take up a bit more of a focus at that point so the monsters are secondary. I can tell you now that this is never a good idea since we are all here for the Kaiju of course. The humans are just the added bonus. It never gets boring or anything like that though. I also think the monsters should have maybe been a bit stronger as well since one of them was getting absolutely wrecked by the humans and their guns. If you’re not bullet proof but are huge like these monsters then you’re just going to end up being an easy target.

I do think Kudo’s boss will likely go down as one of the more underrated characters among the Kaiju community though. I like how he doubted Kudo from the start and never changed his mind from that. After all, why should he? When you think about it, Kudo’s story doesn’t make any sense so sending him off on a wild goose chase makes a lot of sense. He’s a one shot character but is a perfect example of this film’s humor that meshes well with the story.

Overall, Space Amoeba is a solid film. It’s definitely a retro Kaiju movie that is worth checking out and you will never look at the giant monsters the same way again. Don’t worry, we’ve also got aliens in the mix which really helps as well since those guys should always be included in such an adventure. Kaiju and Aliens go hand in hand after all. It would be cool to see these monsters go up against Godzilla one day although they would probably be destroyed very quickly. The Amoeba may not be one of the strongest fighters out there, but he’s a fun one.

Overall 7/10

A.I. Artificial Intelligence Review

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It’s time to look at a rather unique Sci-Fi film that balances a bunch of genres, but mainly focuses on the drama aspect. Unfortunately it suffers from being an overly long, melodramatic film that makes quite a few mistakes. It doesn’t make for a particularly engaging watch and the whole time you will just be wondering where Skynet is. When you watch films with humans worrying about the robots becoming a threat, you look forward to seeing the robots take over. Instead the film is mainly just the humans picking on the robots for a long while with no real payoff of any kind.

The film starts with a couple deciding to adopt a robot kid in place of their real son who is in a coma. This definitely didn’t seem like a reasonable move right from the start. At first you think that this might make sense because you presume their son is dead. (Still a terrible decision as the wife even mentions that it’s like trying to replace their original kid since they bought a robot that looks exactly like the son) but when you find out that he’s alive then the whole thing gets real messy. The worst part is that the husband is the one who decided to get him and once the son gets back he immediately turns on the robot. Breeding robotic kids already seems like a super sketchy business to be honest. Well, the family abandons David so he goes on a journey to find out how to return home, but it could be difficult.

In this world robots aren’t able to fight back against their human oppressors so the humans use this as an excuse to beat them up as much as possible. The robots hopefully can’t really feel pain, but it’s still pretty dark and gruesome to be honest, much like the rest of the film. The whole film just comes across as rather disturbing and very dreary. There is never really a moment where the film feels hopeful or even fun. It’s just a very dull experience where the characters are stuck in a dystopia that they can’t hope to escape. You’ll definitely feel bad for David, but the problem is that he isn’t even an enjoyable character.

David may be an A.I. but he still isn’t very smart. Since he was programmed to be a kid that may serve as an explanation for this, but he doesn’t even know his robotic limitations. He He attempts to eat food when dared to which causes him to shut down and then he doesn’t even know common sense. He shouldn’t even be able to lift a pair of scissors since you’d think that it would register as a weapon and his self defense mechanism doesn’t seem very great to be honest. He also comes across as very ungrateful at the end of the film as he is mean to the beings who find him and is always sulky. Kids can’t really hold their own film and I suppose this still applies even when the kid is robotic.

David meets up with another robot who helps him learn the ways of the world, but that guy isn’t great. His character gimmick is that he is a robot who provides pleasure for the Earthlings, but that doesn’t work out well either. Naturally some other humans don’t like this so they frame him for murder and send him to the robot circus where they are all blown up. David doesn’t even feel bad about ditching this guy which tells you all that you need to know about him. There are no good characters in this film, that’s something you’ll learn very quickly. If you count inanimate objects, which you probably should because once you go into robotics the distinction starts to get a little tricky, then the Teddy Bear is reasonable. He’s another rather dark character with a morbid sense of humor but at least he won’t be backstabbing anyone like the other characters. He seems like a really random character at the start, but by the end he fits in well enough.

The end of the film gets really crazy. I won’t go into detail, but the jump does take us 20K years in the future to see how the Earth ultimately turned out. It’s definitely the optimal timeline if you ask me even if it does seem like the inhabitants probably aren’t having too much fun at this point. I guess you can’t win em all right? At least there shouldn’t be much crime at all anymore. It’s not a great ending or anything, but I guess I can appreciate how out there it all is. Throw in some big fight scenes and maybe the film could have been saved.

At the end of the day, this movie could have been better if it wasn’t so disturbing and creepy the whole time. If you’re going to do a story about Androids and what it means to be human, you need to do it in a better way. I don’t think it works very well if the main android is a kid because then it isn’t able to really handle the themes properly. It just doesn’t work at all and the alternative is to have a film like Terminator where the robots decide to take over the world. Having a twist like that during the second half of the film would have been absolutely amazing. A shame that it didn’t go that way right?

Overall, I would not recommend A.I. While it is a step up from complete flops like 2001: A Space Odyssey, it reminds you why the Sci-Fi genre is best when it doesn’t try to hard to be super deep and emotional. Mixing those two genres just doesn’t work very well so you need to focus on the action aspect or just being a light hearted adventure in the future. Emotional films like this one would likely fail either way, with or without the Sci-Fi angle though. If you want to see a film that just tries to be a Debbie Downer at all times then by all means go for it. Otherwise, I’d suggest just watching Terminator Genysis instead and reminding yourself why these robots can be dangerous and will eventually wipe out humanity.

Overall 1/10

Two on a Guillotine Review

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It’s time to look at another old film from back in the day. This one is probably one of the oldest haunted house type films that I’ve seen not counting some comedies like the Abbot and Costello films. (If those were older) It’s not a particularly good one though as the film makes a few mistakes and I can’t say that Val makes for a very good main hero. He trolls Cassie quite a lot to the point where you sympathize with her a whole lot more than you do him. Val may have turned out to be a good guy, but from her point of view there’s no reason to trust him. Anyway I’m getting ahead of myself a little so lets talk about the plot.

A magician known as John used to be quite popular until one of his tricks went wrong and his wife ended up dying. John went crazy with grief and died as well. After everyone attended his burial and saw his body close up, his will was read and Cassie got his riches. The only condition was she had to stay in his manor for 7 days in a row without leaving. In his will he promised that his ghost would show up to meet her. Reporter Val decides to get the inside scoop and pretends to be a random guy looking to be friendly so Cassie will let him in. The two hit it off and now Val just needs to figure out what John’s trick is. After all, he doesn’t believe in ghosts!

The house does have a lot of tricks and such that keep on scaring Cassie out of her mind. Honestly she is way too jumpy all things considered. If she was by herself then I could understand that, but with Val she shouldn’t be so exaggerated the whole time. When you’re with someone you’re never quite as scared as when you’re by yourself. Val isn’t the most understanding guy either so he keeps trying to scare her as well. You’d think that since he wants to stay as her guest he would be a bit more tactful but that isn’t the case at all. Honestly during the entire film he just doesn’t act the way you would expect him to. I guess that’s because in part during this experience he started to grow attached to her and stopped being a reporter which caused his brain to melt. Only possible explanation I guess.

In case you haven’t guessed this I was not a big fan of Val at all. He was just really annoying the whole time. As I mentioned he kept on trolling Cassie for no real reason. Even at the end once he comes in to try and help her fight off the magician he fails quite epicly. Not only should he absolutely be winning this fight, but he should be well aware of where the switch for triggering the axe is. He literally triggers it himself which by all accounts should have destroyed Cassie. Fortunately she lived, but he came too close to destroying her himself and as far as I’m concerned she should tell him to pack his bags at that point.

Cassie isn’t all that good either though. As I mentioned she gets scared way too easily. Furthermore, I think she is way too easy on Val. Even after she finds out he has been lying to her she quickly takes him back since Cassie gets scared again. I suppose using him for that purpose is fine, but afterwards she should quickly distance herself again. Val just doesn’t seem like a great guy. Cassie also doesn’t put up any kind of struggle at the end of the film and just faints again so that didn’t help her either. The house maid had more grit and she was only around for 2-3 minutes. Dolly is one of the red herrings in the film who Val is suspicious of, but ultimately doesn’t do much in the film. She does try to hold Val back when the villain shows up so at least she is good for aiding the villain. Of course the characters don’t acknowledge that since they aren’t brave enough and Val should have just shoved her aside if he was really trying to protect Cassie.

All right, it’s spoiler time folks. Skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know the ending. It involves the main villain. It’s a big plot hole that I can’t overlook since the film couldn’t be bothered to address it. As I mentioned earlier, the magician had a very public funeral where everyone saw the body. In that case, how can he have avoided his fate? At the end of the film we learn that he was alive the whole time and merely faked his death. He was living upstairs the whole time and must have brought a lot of snacks with him. I’m cool with him being able to hide for a few days because the mansion is big and he just locked the door he was in. The problem is that someone had to have noticed that the body was fake. This isn’t a CIA film where the villains have access to a bunch of duplicate bodies and this magician is hardly a criminal mastermind. I just don’t believe that he had another body at the ready to fool everyone. At best he murdered someone else, but then why didn’t the town know that someone was missing? The whole thing was just rather unbelievable and the writers clearly just wanted the twist without thinking about it too much.

Overall, I can’t say that this film was all that good. It’s not a terrible film or anything, but at the same time there isn’t much to keep you engaged either. As I mentioned it is very by the books without anything particularly strong to make it stand out. It’s just another film that will fade in your memory eventually. It probably would have gone a little better had the cast been better. At least I can say that the writing wasn’t bad. I mean, the twist was bad and that is a part of the writing, but the script was solid. I also liked the reporter’s friend who quickly showed up just to spoil his cover. The guy was so oblivious that he stole the movie in one scene.

Overall 4/10

The Deadly Bees Review

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It’s time to look at one of those films. I’m talking about the kind of film that will make you cringe and wonder what the point of all this is. It’s tough from the start to make a horror film about Bees since the writers will wonder how to make them a threat without using any animal violence or destroying a bunch of bees in the process. So what did the film do? It opted to go with both options and as a result this is one film that has not aged well. Of course, that implies that the film was ever good which would be a mistake.

The film starts with a famous actress having a bit of a melt down. She’s been under a lot of stress so her doctor recommends that she go live in the country for a while. He gets his old friend Ralph to take care of Vicki. At first she is content, but gradually notices that everyone is acting rather oddly. Ralph is a bee keeper so there are always bees around but they’ve started murdering people lately. Ralph’s neighbor Manfred lets Vicki know that Ralph is crazy. Apparently he just wants to murder everyone with his bees. Vicki decides to help Manfred find proof of this before she goes back home where it’s safe. She also decides not to question the fact that Manfred also has a bunch of bees. Who is guilty and will Vicki be able to live through this experience?

This is the kind of film where you can’t trust anyone because they all act suspiciously in one way or another. In Ralph’s case, he’s always rather rude to everyone. He tells Vicki to stop snooping around the Bees but doesn’t give her any reason. He quarrels with his wife constantly and doesn’t give you any reason to trust him. Then you have Manfred who is extremely shady and doesn’t get along with Ralph. He throws around a lot of accusations but only does so when Ralph isn’t around so the guy doesn’t come across as the bravest individual around. Perhaps he is just jealous of the other guy’s bee skills. Then you have Vicki who feels rather naive the whole time. She just believes whatever she is told and is convinced into doing the most dangerous tasks. She should have immediately tried leaving the island and letting the cops try to get to the bottom of this. Even though things work out pretty well for her, it felt more coincidental than anything else.

As mentioned earlier, there is some animal violence here which dooms the film. Ralph naturally has a dog and this doesn’t end well as the dog decides to go after the bees. Lets face it, the only reason why the dog was added in the first place was so we could get this scene which is rather mean spirited. The Dog just shouldn’t have been included in the film at all. We also have a lot of Bees dying which is certainly less emotional but it all ends up hurting in the end. Nobody wants to die on account of bee stings, it’s a rather brutal way to go out. As a result, each death just comes across as more painful and needless than it ought to have been. It’s a disadvantage of being a film about Bees so the instant you choose that as the film’s focus you have already dug a little hole for yourself.

I won’t say which person is actually the evil one, but I will say that it doesn’t matter for this next criticism. The innocent party knew that the other one was guilty so why did he not do anything about it? As a result multiple people die including Ralph’s wife, the Dog, and even the neighbor down the road who came over to help. Yeah, the girl seemed to be trying to get the title of mistress and seemed shady, but she still didn’t need to get such a violent end. The innocent guy decides to just copy the villain and starts breeding murderous bees of his own. Of course the villain finds out about that and decides to shut him up. The plan felt like it wasn’t thought out very well. Of course the police wouldn’t have believed him either way, but he should have just tried to burn down the neighbor’s bees when he had the chance. Both men live right next to each other so it should be a very easy feat. The innocent party just stayed very passive the whole time and would have certainly been bumped off at some point or another.

It’s too bad we didn’t see more of the Agent in this film. He seemed like he would have made for a more enjoyable character than any of the others. I like how he was only worried about the island because it meant that he wouldn’t be getting any more money from the actress for a little while. It may not be the most noble reason, but the guy was very straight forward and you have to admire his earnest nature if nothing else. A film taking place back in Hollywood with the rest of the cast scrambling for opportunities while the actress was gone would have also just been more entertaining than what we got.

Overall, Deadly Bees is definitely not a film that I would recommend very highly. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it at all and you should actively avoid it. There is nothing redeeming about the film. Bees don’t make for good antagonists and the film takes all of the bad routes that it can. There isn’t a single scene that feels inspired or well shot to the point where you would get a look of amazement. It just does everything by the book and does so in a way that will make you shake your head. Needless to say, this doesn’t bode well for any future Bee films either. Maybe what we need is a film about robot bees instead, that could work.

Overall 0/10