5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Ghost Review


It’s time to look at a film dealing with the supernatural. It’s always interesting when the hero becomes a ghost as opposed to the villain for a change. Usually you see the villains messing with everyone like in the Grudge or something and the heroes are all bumped off. On the other hand, when a hero uses the power usually they aren’t quite as strong for some random reason so it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Ultimately I was glad Sam got some powers and it’s a reasonable movie, but there are things that hold it back a bit.

The movie starts with things going pretty well for Sam and Molly. Sam’s crunching the numbers at the bank and Molly’s doing pretty well with her pottery and sculpting. Sam’s noticed that some numbers aren’t adding up at his company, but he’ll figure out the issue soon. Time is on his side…or that’s what he thought until one day he is mugged in a dark alley and murdered. It all happened so suddenly that Sam’s soul is unable to move on and now he can only watch without interacting with anybody. That’s when he learns that the whole thing is a conspiracy. His murder wasn’t accidental and if he doesn’t do something quick then his wife Molly will be in trouble. Sam is forced to enlist the aid of a supernatural medium scammer named Oda. Can he convince her to work with him on this?

The concept here is pretty sound and a classic. The main character gets murdered so now he has to solve the case from beyond the grave and see to it that the villain doesn’t get away. It’s certainly frustrating for Sam at first since he can’t interact with anything, but gradually he gets used to his abilities which makes him more of a formidable threat to everyone involved. Sam’s power does go to his head a bit as he has a tendency to play with his food rather than finishing the job and goes for a quick hug even though it puts everyone in danger thanks to the side effects. He’s not perfect, but he’s still a pretty solid main character.

Unfortunately the heroine Molly ends up faltering here. She’s good at first and seems like a supportive character. Where she really ends up failing is when Sam’s friend Carl shows up and she rebounds with him even though Sam only died a few days ago. That’s so incredibly soon that it’s crazy. Even if you ignore the fact that she thought he may still be around as a ghost or that he was grisly murdered…it’s only been a few days since he was gone. No matter how sad she was there’s really no excuse for going with this guy. I thought that whole scene was pretty terrible and I have to say that it did end up hurting the score.

We had gotten quite a few romantic scenes with Sam and Molly earlier so it just made those feel hollow. In general the romance just wasn’t written well as a result and we could have just cut those scenes entirely and replaced with more supernatural hi-jinx. Maybe have Sam troll a bunch of people from beyond the grave by moving things around. It is entertaining to see him messing with Willie and Carl. He also annoys Oda quite a lot until she eventually agrees to help him. When you’ve got ghost abilities you may as well use them right?

Carl’s a pretty terrible character right away. The instant he starts going after Molly you know there’s no hope for him. It’s also fairly obvious where his character is going even before Sam dies with his line about how the numbers aren’t adding up after he gives away his account numbers. It’s definitely a good lesson on why you shouldn’t trust people too much. There are certain things you should never give someone else like your social security number or password to your office computer. Those are things that just always ring true and nobody ever needs to know those things either. The deadlines were quickly approaching but you’ve still got to not budge on this.

Oda is a pretty fun character. She’s definitely reluctant to help and has to be convinced quite a lot and at different points in the film. Oda also tends to mess up on things like writing out a check and pretending to be someone else, but at the end of the day at least she is an ally who is here to help Sam. Those were in short supply. Also, she’s just a lot of fun. All of her scenes are pretty entertaining and in part it’s because all of her reactions are pretty well justified and realistic. It’s incredibly hard for anyone to part with 4 million, especially when you’ve been taking life or death risks all day. You feel like you should at least get 1% of that which would still be a pretty good sum. Not everyone can get rich though and at least she kept the moral high ground.

One of the best scenes is when Sam goes into a train and is confronted by another ghost. It was cool because we hadn’t seen anyone else until then and it was also the first moment where Sam experienced real danger as a ghost because this guy could actually interact with him as if Sam was still alive. It was a shocking moment for the lead and he did his best to adjust. My issue with Sam here was just that he went down awfully quick without even landing a counter blow. I like to think that he would at least have done something.

Overall, Ghost is a decent movie. It’ll keep you entertained as you watch it even if you’ll question the characters at different points. Sam really should have been able to end things with the villains a lot sooner than he did. If anything the instant that one of them threatened to murder his wife at the end if Sam didn’t meet his demands, Sam should have taken him down. Waving a knife doesn’t do anything to someone who’s intangible and at the time Molly was still upstairs. Sam could have just reached over and ended the guy in many different ways. There are even hundreds of non lethal ways to take him down. My point here is really that Sam didn’t use his abilities nearly as well as he could have and was probably having too much fun with the villains when everyone could have already been safe by then. That was my main issue along with Molly not staying strong at least for a longer period of time, but even then if you go with anyone it should never be the best friend. If you want to see a movie with this interesting concept then I’d recommend checking it out. Otherwise I don’t think you’ll be missing a whole lot.

Overall 5/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Miracle on 34th Street (1994) Review


It’s time to look at another adaption of Miracle on 34th Street. It’s definitely a pretty well known story to have so many adaptions and it’s a story that doesn’t grow old so it’s always cool watching it again. This film does a good job of telling the story. There really isn’t a lot different from the others if you ask me, but it’s all executed well as expected. I dare say that it may even beat the original this time around. There are no real weaknesses here although Santa is a little more emotional than I’d expect.

The movie starts off with Kris (AKA, possibly the real Santa) noticing that the Santa who would be in the big parade is drunk. He’s pretty outraged about this and scolds the guy before going on his merry way. Dorey shows up and fires the guy before heading over to Kris and making him the new Santa. It all goes very well for a while with Kris helping the store’s reputation and making everyone happier. The villains don’t like this though so the rival store hires two thugs to bring the drunk Santa back and frame Kris. Kris will have to think quickly in order to turn things around or he may spend a long time in jail.

One change here I suppose is that corporate is more of an active villain. The CEO actually gets complete villain music accompanying him and his two lackeys are basically the villains from Home Alone. They’re not the brightest characters around and tend to make a mess of things, but they keep on trying. They actually do get some success in the end with their framing plan so I have to give them some props here.

I have to take props away from Kris though. He gets easily tricked and provoked by the villains pretty quickly as he takes his cane out and whirls it around like a weapon. It’s not very hard for the villains to make it look like he’s making an attack and the drunk follows him around outside to seal the deal. Didn’t anyone see this guy harassing an elderly citizen? It’s a shame that nobody on that block had the courage to defend him or to at least back up his story of being provoked. The thing is though, Santa shouldn’t have resorted to violence so quickly anyway. He needs to be the bigger man in this situation and in the end he just didn’t pull it off.

As for the other characters, we’ve got a good cast. Susan is better than the average kid character in most films. She is skeptical of Santa existing which is good because he is fake. I’m actually with Dorey here on not teaching her kid that Santa is real because it’s good to keep them honest from the start. Even if you let the kid choose for herself if she wants to believe in Santa or not, you shouldn’t be trying to convince her of something that’s not true. Dorey could let her be into more kid stuff, but she didn’t seem unreasonable and I dare say that Susan turned out pretty well from what we saw.

As a result I’m less on Bryan’s side here. He is really trying to push the Santa angle despite it not being what Dorey wants. He really shouldn’t be surprised when she turns down his proposal which also was a little bit out of the blue. He seems like a nice guy for sure, but given how long he’s been with Dorey he really shouldn’t have been quite as surprised as he was at her answer. It seemed to be pretty in character for her.

Then we have Dorey who is a pretty solid character. She is absolutely a facts person who has no time for Santa or things like that. She’s also handled the annual parade for so long that she doesn’t really care about it anymore. I suppose if I was doing the same parade year after year I probably wouldn’t care about watching it and would just take a nap too.

One of the best parts of any film with a court scene is the actual court scene and this movie was no different. It was a lot of fun to see Kris enter the stage and to have everyone making a ton of comments. Kris did almost ruin the whole thing again and proved himself to be a tough character to root for, but everyone else was ready to do the majority of the legwork. It’s a fun set of scenes and managed to stay entertaining all the way though.

Miracle on 34th Street has good pacing and is just a lot of fun. It’s a solid film to see on Christmas especially, but would hold up well at any time. The writing is sound and the character cast is good. Kris is weaker than in the previous adaption, but it countered by having a better kid and I do like how the villains were handled as well. It’s fine to have them get a little extra animated considering how much money is at stake. It’s reasonable for the villains to be trying anything they can.

Overall, What more needs to be said? This is a very fun film you can watch with the whole family and debate on if Santa is real in this film or not. The movie is fairly ambiguous on it and you could make the case that some things don’t make sense if he doesn’t have supernatural abilities. Personally I think that this version of Kris just was a bit insane. At the very least he seemed to take things literally a whole lot and didn’t notice when people were making fun of him or putting him in a bad spot. Being the real deal doesn’t mean he had to be smarter, but it would have helped his case. If he is a bit crazy then it’s fine for everyone to be tricking him the whole time.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movies

Chariots of Fire


It’s time to look at the well know Chariots of Fire film based on the real events of the 1924 Olympics and follows the two runners Harold and Eric. Both characters get a lot of screen time so you can say that this film really has 2 main characters as opposed to one. We see their motivations and both have a lot of trials to get through in order to perform at this event. It’s a pretty solid adaption.

Eric is a very talented runner who has had a lot of success over the years. He has now been selected to go to the Olympics and is thrilled about the opportunity. He does receive some push back from his sister Jennie though who believes that he should be focusing on his missionary work and that it is distracting him from God. Eric’s counter is that God gave him his speed for a reason and he honors him through running. Eric also does intend to do the missionary travels, he just wants to run this race first.

His main dilemma is that one of the big races in the Olympics is on the sabbath and so he can’t race. Eric gets a lot of pressure from the committee and basically everyone involved, but doesn’t budge on this. It’s definitely why he ended up being my favorite character in the film. Harold and the others are solid as well, but Eric to me had the strongest resolve. He did not waver or even seem hesitant about his decision at any point. From start to finish he was not going to race.

His actions also proved that he hadn’t put God behind racing and always had his priorities straight. Whether or not the other racers agreed with his decision or not was immaterial to him at that point. It was the right call. Meanwhile, I wasn’t a big fan of Jennie because I feel like she should have been more supportive throughout. Having someone there who has your back is very important rather than having to do everything on your own.

Then we have Harold who has always known himself to be the fastest runner. This changes when he is defeated by Eric and now he is desperate to claim victory in the re-match and prove himself once more. It’s easy to see why he was frustrated since he always used to win, but the guy isn’t quite as humble as Eric. Furthermore, I would make the case that Eric was more talented even after Harold improved through the training. Eric was just really gifted so there shouldn’t be any shame in losing to him.

An interesting parallel is that Harold had much more support throughout the film. His fiancee Sybil was around to knock him out of his depression from the first bout. While he wasn’t in the best place art the time, it was definitely important to have her there because otherwise he would have been too stubborn to change enough for the future rounds. Then you have his coach Sandy who was really solid. He helped Harold pick up his form and do little things that improved his overall speed. There is a point where being self taught will have its limits so having a coach is extremely handy.

That’s not to say that Harold had an easy time throughout though. The College did not like that Harold hired this coach trying to say that it’s just not done and making up various excuses, but there is nowhere in the rules that forbids it. There was a lot of passive aggressive talk in the room, but Harold stuck to his guns with his coach and ended up doing quite well.

As this is based on a true story the ending does get a bit sad for one of the characters. It is good that the movie chose to stay accurate rather than omitting things just to make it more uplifting. Either way you see the complete story for both characters and see all of the good they did. Both of them brought honor to God in their own ways and ran really good races.

Overall, Chariots of Fire is a pretty good film. You’ll definitely see a lot of running throughout with various montages and such as they hone their skills and race in bigger and bigger settings. I haven’t seen a whole lot of running based films so it was definitely engaging. A fun thing about the sport of running is how simple it is. Ultimately you just have to get faster and faster. Whether you win or lose will totally depend on how you perform. There are no random elements to consider or outside factors that start to appear. It just comes down to whether or not you’re fast.

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Coma Review


It’s time for an old school thriller dealing with a massive conspiracy. Conspiracy films like this are always pretty interesting because even though you know the heroes are most likely doomed you want to judge how realistic it is. Conspiracies have and continue to happen in real life. Not everything is a conspiracy though as much as it may seem like that if you stay online long enough. Conspiracy films have to feel at least a little believable and I have to say that this one passes the bill here. You could see this happening to an extent, the fact that it came out in the 70s helps a lot since there would be less cameras and such back then to actually be double checking everything.

The film starts with Dr. Susan working in the surgical wing of a big hospital. She is one of the place’s best workers and always gives each task her 100% effort. It has paid off quite well for her, but one day her best friend dies during what was supposed to be a normal operation. Everything in the chart looks perfectly normal so Susan is disturbed, but the doctors tell her that it was just a freak accident. This doesn’t calm her down and her boyfriend Mark, who is also a surgeon at the hospital, does not seem to believe her. As Susan tries to dip deeper into this she notices a lot of other identical cases and now there is an assassin trying to hunt her down. Who knows the truth about it and who can Susan trust? She’ll have to think about all of this very carefully.

This film is definitely a thriller and does a good job of it. You’ve got a nice heavy atmosphere from the jump with danger seemingly around every corner. You never really feel like Susan is all that safe because the people in the hospital know where she lives thanks to employment records and she still does have to show up to work or she’ll lose her job. She could move out of town, but running away isn’t in Susan’s playbook. She wants to solve this case no matter the danger. Fortunately Susan is a lot smarter and more resourceful than a lot of main characters. She’s always careful not to trust people too much.

Susan also doesn’t let her emotions get the better of her when her friend dies. She keeps a level head throughout and the only times she goes down is when she literally faints of exhaustion. By and large she is careful not to fall for any traps. You do have to wonder how Susan and Mark are together though because they don’t seem to get along at all throughout the whole movie. Even before the conspiracy they were having a lot of issues.

Mark doesn’t seem to believe Susan for most of the film. In his defense her story does seem far fetched and he still does help her out a lot of the time. Eventually he just starts to get in a little out of his depth and he also wants the big manager position so he has to try and keep her out of trouble in the meantime. Ultimately in the end he does make the right decision so that was good. The film’s ending is a lot better than I expected it to be. It still has that dark vibe where you don’t know who is safe, but it’s a lot less futile than others I’ve seen in this genre. The film lets you interpret everything however you’d like in the end. The two cops who were hanging around at the end? Maybe they’re legitimate cops or they could be silencers from “the company.” Both scenarios can be supported so you just have to decide what you think. Personally I definitely think it’s the latter.

So this sounds like a pretty great movie right? Well, it’s certainly very engaging, but it’s ultimately a film that wasn’t really going to get a very high score. The main reason for this is the various hospital scenes we get. We do get a lot of surgical operation moments which can be pretty grimacing. I’ve never been a fan of these kinds of things and while it may be a little unavoidable in a film that takes place in a hospital, it’s still hard to get around. There are a ton of these scenes and so they’re pretty violent even if it’s not in a combat scenario. It’s also pretty grim how they’re murdering all of these patients who are sedated.

We get to see one location with a lot of bodies in the middle of the film. It’s definitely a suspicious place with how it’s totally abandoned and nobody finds out about all the bodies there until Susan strolls through. It’s all a bit disturbing since everyone is naked of course and are being kept stable by some sci-fi robotic contraption. By this point in the film we’re definitely all the way inside the conspiracy. Money was always going to be at the root of something like this. Why do a conspiracy unless it’s going to make you rich right?

The romance in the film is a bit on the weak side. As I mentioned the pairing of Susan and Mark doesn’t really give itself time to make sense. We only have a quick beach adventure with them for the most part though. Usually the film is too busy with the thriller aspects to worry about the drama and I think that’s definitely a smart move. The action scenes are pretty solid here. You have the assassin going around bumping everyone off and he’s always one step behind Susan. When they’re playing cat and mouse it’s pretty tense as you wonder which room to pick. I always thought it’s an interesting backdrop to be in a big building because you could potentially pick the right door and the guy would never find you. On the other hand if you pick the wrong one then you’ve just boxed yourself in. There are pros and cons to switching rooms around.

Due to the nature of the film I can’t talk about the film’s story much further because a lot of the intrigue comes from going in blind. You want to start connecting the dots yourself while examining everything closely. Everyone and everything deserves a second look in this kind of movie because you just don’t know what’s going to happen next. It also reminds me why I’m glad I don’t work the midnight shift because I would probably start seeing ghosts everywhere. Give me the afternoon sun anytime!

Overall, Coma is a very interesting film. Films about conspiracies like this are almost guaranteed to be engaging and you should be at the edge of your seat throughout. You will need to have a high tolerance for looking at medical situations though as surgeries are being performed while the movie is on. If you can get past that then you should enjoy this film. While the film’s apparently PG please keep in mind that you’ll want to see a TV version which censors the naked bodies that show up in the second half of the film. Otherwise that could get a little dicey for viewers. So based on all of this you should be ready to make the decision on if you’re seeing the film or not.

Overall 3/10

4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Meet me in St. Louis Review


It’s time to look at a fairly old film about lots of romance and drama. It’s not one of those old classics that has aged really well with a compelling story. On the contrary the characters can be a bit on the annoying side and most of them tend to make the wrong choices time and time again. In particular you’ll feel bad for one character who just wants to move to New York where everything will be amazing, but is being guilt tripped by everyone. The film definitely had potential and could/should have been better, but ultimately was not able to step up to the plate.

The movie starts off by introducing us to the various characters. First off we have Rose who is the eldest daughter and she is expecting a phone call from her beloved with an offer for marriage. Well, he does call but doesn’t really have anything to say which ends up hurting her day. Perhaps everyone was just too hasty in assuming anything important was going to be in the call though. That’s what happens when you let the assumptions rise with no real basis. Well, at least there is a big dance coming up so she can look forward to that.

Then you have Esther who has fallen for the next door neighbor. She isn’t really sure how to approach him though which mostly leads to a lot of scenes of the two characters not knowing what to do. John seems to like Rose at first, but eventually comes around. Their relationship gets put to the test when Esther’s little sister Tootie tells her that John hit her. Family should always come first, but would her next door neighbor really do such a thing? Meanwhile her father ALonzo has received a promising job offer in New York and so he plans to leave and of course the whole family would have to go as well. Can Esther really start fresh?

I think one of the main problems for this film is the fact that it’s a romance film that has a lot of weak romances spread together. For starters Esther falls for John almost instantly without even meeting him when he moves in. It feels quite superficial from the start and at least in their first meeting with turning off the lights he doesn’t even seem that interested. Then after she assaults him in retaliation for allegedly hitting her sister he takes it in stride almost too well. He has that “Things happen” kind of attitude about it and so they stay together.

Hey, it’s nice that he’s so cool about it I suppose, but you’d think he’d at least he asking some more questions as to why she came over and beat him up without a word. She didn’t even explain it when she came back. Where John drops the ball is at the final dance though. At the last moment he shows up and explains to Esther that he can’t go with her because he lost track of time playing Basketball and didn’t pick up the suit. Really? That’s one of the worst excuses I’ve ever heard. Look, if you’re taking a girl to the dance then you’ve got to actually take her. Cancelling at the last second is completely terrible. If he doesn’t have a suit then he should still go with her even if he’s in more of an informal attire. Maybe he’ll be embarrassed, but it’s the least he could do since otherwise he’s just wrecked Esther’s night as well. It’s not her fault that he isn’t good at managing time. John’s just not a good character. Esther may not always be the best, but at least she definitely wouldn’t pull something like that.

Lon gets one of the smaller roles from the group of kids. He’s the only son in the family and likes a girl in the town, but that relationship is barely even referenced until it happens at the very end of the movie. You could cut Lon out and nothing really changes. Meanwhile Rose gets more of a role, but definitely does seem more stuck up than the others. I think part of it is that she just has a hard time talking to the others and doesn’t always mean to appear arrogant, but it’s just how she keeps her guard up. Her character isn’t nearly as interesting as Esther’s. Then there is the old grandpa in the house who looks good. He at least arrives to help Esther when John ends up completely failing.

All right, now we’ve got the best and the worst characters left to talk about. Who should go first? Let’s start with Tootie. She’s the youngest kid and a chronic liar. Lying is already pretty bad, but when you’re lying to get someone else in trouble then it’s even worse. She makes up a story about John hitting her and everyone believes Tootie since I guess most people don’t know she tends to lie. After they find out Tootie basically gets away scott free as everyone comments how funny it is. I don’t see what’s so funny about really hurting someone’s reputation by saying that they hit kids. Tootie should have definitely been punished for that. Throughout the movie she’s also just generally annoying as she likes to say edgy stuff for no good reason.

The whole night party in the neighborhood was also a scene that started to drag on for quite a while. Nothing was really happening except Tootie ended up throwing powder in an old man’s face as part of a dare. Again, she is definitely the worst character without a doubt and the film started to get pretty mean spirited here. Some of these scenes seem to have been supposed to be funny, but they were far from it. The humor did not land in this film and I’d question the writing as well.

Finally we have Alonzo who does his best to fix the film. From the start you feel bad for him since he arrives home after a long day at work and everyone wants him to skip his bath and eat dinner hours early. He’s pretty confused at this and asks why this is the case, but they all just lie to him. I’m glad he insisted on taking the bath and then came in later on. Likewise he gets the same treatment at the end as he gets a new job which will pay a lot more and comes home all excited…only for everyone to give him grief about this. Alonzo can’t catch a break throughout the whole film and it’s a shame because he just seems like a really nice guy who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time. He doesn’t hold it against the others, but it does make for a lot of pretty emotional scenes.

Overall, Meet me in St. Louis is a film that had a reasonable premise, but ended up dropping the ball. You really need to drop Tootie and then the film could rise up to at least a 5 or maybe even a 6. She just holds everyone back, but in general was just the biggest issue here. I’d say that the writing was really at fault with characters making questionable decisions and the pacing wasn’t very good. It’s a fairly long film that feels long. The ending should have also just had them all go to New York. It would have been the perfect ending and then at least Alonzo would have gotten some kind of win. He earned that much.

Overall 4/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis Review


It’s time to look at the next big LEGO adventure. This time Aquaman takes the center stage as he tries to prove himself. It’s a pretty fun LEGO adventure and while it can’t quite match up to the best ones out there, it holds its own pretty well. We get some decent fight scenes and it’s always fun to see the Justice League return no matter what format it is. So without further ado let’s dive into this.

The film starts off with the Justice League sending out a call for help to Aquaman. He is delighted to hear this, especially because the villain is attacking a river so he’ll be able to do some real damage. Unfortunately this area is just called a river but it’s totally dry so Lobo beats Aquaman up. Aquaman struggles to hold onto his confidence but even the Justice League can barely defend him in faqront of the media and Ocean Master has now taken over Atlantis. If Aquaman doesn’t regain his confidence really soon I’m afraid that it’s going to be too late for him.

DC’s been doing quite well with the Lego adventures and this one continues the run of solid titles in the franchise. While Aquaman can’t hold his own film nearly as well as the Flash, he’s a fun enough lead. We really hadn’t seen him in the other specials so this was a good way to give him some focus with the league. Naturally a lot of his scenes are played for laughs. Most of the characters land a lot of burns at his expense but Aquaman does his best not to let it get to him. He still keeps on trying to be the best and after he gets drunk Aquaman finally experiences some clarity on what he has to do next. It took him a while to get to the answer, but better late than never right?

The Lego animation is fairly consistent with how all of the others were. Lego in general still isn’t my favorite style but this one still gives us some pretty good fight scenes. Superman surprisingly (well maybe it’s not too surprising) doesn’t look great in the battles though. Lobo is just too powerful and really deals out the pain to everyone who goes up against him. It’s always nice to see him looking good though since Lobo is often one of my favorite DC villains. I like his biker theme and the fact that he actually can fight with the likes of Superman. His appearances in the DCAU is really what got me into being a fan.

Meanwhile the humor is pretty sound as you’d expect. My favorite humor scenes are admittedly the ones that are poking fun at Aquaman a lot. It’s the low hanging fruit of course, but you can’t help but smirk when Ocean Master shows his little compilation video of Aquaman getting wrecked. The humor scenes that don’t work quite so well are the more over the top ones like when Wonder Woman gets dazed/confused for a while. Damian trying to act like a kid also doesn’t work quite as well. I was surprised to see him and Batgirl since they basically come out of nowhere, but the more guest stars the better.

Ocean Master makes for a fun villain. He may not always be the biggest mastermind but he did convince Aquaman to give up the throne without a fight which does take a good degree of skill. A lot of villains would love to be able to say that they took over Atlantis without having to lift a finger. It’s usually just not that easy though. Things may not have worked out well for him in the end, but if not for the rest of the heroes being around he probably could have pulled the whole thing off. There’s also the slight sympathy angle that any story with Ocean Master comes equipped with because Aquaman tends to put him down without realizing it. “It’s good to be king!” was definitely something that Ocean Master doesn’t need to hear from Aquaman on a daily basis. Still doesn’t make him any less of a villain though.

The most tragic part for Ocean Master though is the fact that he starts to be overshadowed by the other villains here like the Red Lanterns. How can he really hope to compete with powerful foes like that? Dex-starr and Atrocitus both get fun roles and you don’t really doubt that either one of them would be able to clobber Ocean Master. It was a cool team up though because that’s one of those out of the box pairings that seems like it would be interesting.

Meanwhile we have a full subplot about Jessica Cruz working to find confidence in being a Green Lantern. It’s not as good as the main plot, but it’s decent. Most of it involves her ring giving her a lot of snark as it constantly mocks Jessica and makes things tough for her on purpose. Honestly Jessica has enough trouble trying to be a fighter, the ring doing its thing really doesn’t end up helping matters at all. It just ends up getting in the way and making trouble for both of them. I lost a lot of sympathy for Jessica when she started making fun of Batman’s utility belt though. The first time you can write off as an accident, but after that it has to be intentional. It may have been a humor plot, but it still hurt Jessica all the same. Especially since Batman was the best character in the special. One simply does not disrespect the Dark Knight like that.

Overall, Rage of Atlantis is a fun DC special. There’s not a lot more to say beyond what I’ve already mentioned. If you like Aquaman or the new Green Lantern Jessica then you should enjoy this one. Quite a lot of characters show up and so the special is able to make the most of its longer run time. I wonder which hero will get a lego special next. I dare say that Green Lantern has earned his, but I wouldn’t mind another Batman centered JL special either. Those are always fun.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit Review


It’s time to take a look at another Lego Jurassic World special. This time it’s a two part adventure so there is a little more content here as we get time for two little adventures although both parts are connected to the same plot. I’d still have to give the edge to the last special I saw in the series, but this is a good follow-up. I think you’ll have a very tough time trying to guess what the secret exhibit is so the movie did a good job of hiding that.

The movie starts with Owen flying in some dinosaurs for Claire who is working on new projects in Jurassic World. It’s pretty tough for Owen to land safely, but he pulls it off and prepares to get paid. Unfortunately Claire hits him with the technicality that he won’t get paid until the dinosaur is actually on the right section of the island. In all fairness, she does have a point that he only semi delivered the dinosaur but I think there was a breakdown in communication between them early on. Now Owen is going to have to help Claire get all the way through but with the deadline getting crunched and some dinosaurs on the loose, they may not be able to make it in time.

The main focus of the special is really the banter between Owen and Claire. The two of them are bickering and debating throughout so you get to choose whose side you’re on. Either way it is entertaining though which does help the film maintain a fun tone as the adventure goes on. The special really feels like it goes by in a flash even with two parts although I did watch one part as a time so it felt like a good miniseries.

I was with Owen for most of the film, but ultimately I had to side with Claire. What gave her the edge here in the end was the fact that she was so close to making it back to base in time, but then Owen had to take a shortcut and of course it didn’t work out and nearly sabotaged their entire adventure. That is completely 100% on Owen and it’s not the kind of thing where you could say it was a misunderstanding. He simply messed it all up and when the stakes are this high (Claire could be fired) he probably should have reigned it in a bit.

Beyond that he was definitely a fun lead though. I always like his confidence and how he just jumps into every adventure. You always want to have someone like that on your adventures even if he won’t necessarily think things through all that well. Meanwhile Claire is definitely the more practical member of the group. That means she isn’t always as entertaining, but she does have some gusto. She does her best to be a go-getter from the start and is always trying to accomplish the mission and impress the boss. Claire does use a little deception to get her way which is a bit tricky so I can’t defend that, but it’s still a fun move. At the end of the day her boss is pretty crazy so it’s probably the best way she could have handled that anyway. She also had a good line at the end to satisfy the boss while also technically not lying about anything.

Meanwhile the boss definitely looks pretty bad although it was certainly intentional. He’s the comic relief character who is very absent minded and doesn’t really think things through all that well. Giving the villain the password to his computer was definitely his biggest mess up. I liked the boss’ enthusiasm but he definitely isn’t doing a great job of running the park. He really needs to step up his game or that’s really going to be it for the place.

Finally, the reveal of what the secret exhibit was turned out to be pretty fun. It’s definitely not exactly what I was expecting but it worked all the same. It actually made sense with the other bits we knew about the boss such as the fact that he thought the dinosaur cookies would be a really good idea. The whole time he was aiming the park towards kids so this exhibit/ride made a lot of sense. It doesn’t seem like the safest option out there, but since they’re all made of Legos I wouldn’t say it was a huge risk either.

Overall, The Secret Exhibit is a good follow up to the first special. It’s always nice to see the characters trying to navigate through this dinosaur infested world and the dinosaurs even try to help Owen and Claire out this time which was very wholesome. If you enjoy the Lego specials in general then you’ll definitely like this one. It’s got good humor at the ready and there’s even a cliffhanger for the next one. I’m not sure how serious the cliffhanger is, but I’d definitely be up for some more adventures.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego Jurassic World: The Indominus Escape Review


It’s time to look at a quick lego adventure. I’ve seen quite a few back in my day, but I actually hadn’t seen the Jurassic World one yet. It’s a fun adventure and one of the better Lego adventures. Perhaps it’s because there hadn’t been a dino one before, but this special does a great job of bringing in some new humor and situations rather than going for the same old stuff. It’s also just nostalgic to see the events of the movie even if it’s a little different.

The special starts off with a fun scene as the pilot trolls Claire by intentionally driving quite erratically. It’s good she’s made of legos or she probably would have had a concussion out of that because she hits her head a ton. The pilot ends up paying for this quite a bit though as he eventually latches onto a cage and falls out of the sky. At least he was playing Tetris so maybe he had fun. Owen manages to round up his flying dinosaurs and saves Claire from her fall out of the sky. There’s no time to waste as she wants to make a new dinosaur, but Owen thinks this is a bad idea. Will this new dinosaur really save Jurassic World or doom it?

The special is around 30 minutes so it definitely goes by very quickly. It does do a good job of abridging all of the key scenes while having some fun. All of the characters here are a blast and the writing is a lot of fun. There are a lot of scenes that aren’t trying too hard to be funny and so end up being fairly humorous. Typically I tend to like the subtle background gags of the dinosaurs just wrecking the humans. After a while it’s not so subtle but it still works out pretty well. Additionally the heroes being pretty oblivious in putting the other workers in danger works out pretty well.

Lego animation may not be my favorite style but it works out well enough for this. This special is more of a comedy than the comedy/action mix you see in the superhero ones so they don’t have to worry about fight scenes. Lego can give good action scenes as well, but especially in a comedy movie you can just brush past the fact that they’re all legos. The level of detail in the lego pieces is quite solid. Mix that in with the solid writing and pacing and you’ve got a pretty fun way to spend 30 minutes.

The character cast is also strong which is always important. Owen checks all of the boxes for the confident lead you want to see in this kind of movie. He doesn’t bat an eye at having to work with a bunch of dangerous dinosaurs and even when he’s wrong Owen speaks with confidence. Then you have Claire who may be a little out of her depth at times, but all in all she just wants to make Jurassic World as fun as can be. If it means she has to make a dinosaur then that’s exactly what she’s going to do. On paper it’s a fairly decent idea……right? You’ve got to give her points for persistence.

One character in the special is a pushover though and that’s definitely the hot dog man. He lets the heroes put him in a dinosaur costume for a while, but then he nearly dies every time so then he puts on a hot dog costume and nearly gets eaten. It’s his job and at least he is getting paid for it, but the guy should have made sure that nobody would take advantage of him in this way. The guy is easily manipulated. The Dinosaurs are all fun as expected. They’ve got a lot of personality and brighten up every scene they’re in. The Dinosaurs are part of what makes the special so much fun.

Overall, There’s not a whole lot more to say about the special because it is pretty short. How much you enjoy it will really depend on how you enjoy the humor. I personally enjoyed it. They do a good job of making the funny scenes feel natural and not over the top. A lot of it is visual humor and dialogue based jokes which are solid. Quick wit can really make any phrase work quite well. I look forward to seeing some more Lego Dinosaur adventures to see how they stack up. This is a combo that is definitely working so I’d recommend checking this one out.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Batman: Hush Review


It’s time to look at the most recent Batman film to come out. It’s adapting what I consider to be one of the most well known Batman arcs out there. I’m still waiting for Battle for the Cowl, but it’s always nice to have more adaptions at the ready. I haven’t read Hush yet so it was interesting to go into it fresh. (Of course I already knew about the Superman fight though) It’s a good story although some parts of it were a bit weak which keeps this from being one of the best Batman films. It definitely gets obliterated by Bad Blood which is quickly becoming one of the definitive Batman titles.

The movie starts with Catwoman being back in town and back to her thieving ways. Batman is disappointed but he goes in to stop her only to be shot from behind and knocked out. A new villain named Hush is around and he has been following Batman for quite a while. Somehow he is getting a lot of the villains in Gotham to make a move so Batman is busier than he has ever been before. He still believes that Catwoman can be changed and so one part of the plot is that he’s hanging out with her both as Batman and as Bruce Wayne. Meanwhile you have Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Riddler, Joker, Bane, and a bunch of other Batman villains running around. Batman does have his support staff of Nightwing, Batgirl, Damian, and others but will they be enough to stop this new threat?

Well, let’s look at the good things first. As always the animation is great. Regardless of how the films have been in other areas at times, the animation has been consistently great for all of the main-line DC films. It’s quite top notch and the closest thing you’ll see to the classic DCAU animation. It’s really come into its own and all of the fight scenes are very good. The wind effects after each blow is swung are handled very well and the choreography is great. The character designs are all really good and same goes for the backgrounds.

The story is engaging as always. You’ll be eager to see what’s next at all times. This movie also feels like a crossover of sorts as you see guys like Superman and Lex Luthor show up as well as Nightwing, Batgirl, and Damian. While the latter 3 are Batman characters you still don’t see everyone show up like that all too often. Batgirl in particular feels like a bit of a guest star character as she shows up for one quick fight scene and then leaves again. Personally I feel like she should be able to defeat Catwoman, but typically that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Now I think where the film is at its weakest is with the romance here. Batman is borderline out of character for a good chunk of the movie. As always he lets his interest in Catwoman get personal but to a greater degree than usual. There’s quite a lot of romance in this film and it’s not like Batman to let such things distract him during such a dangerous time. He knows Hush is around so he has no time to be with Catwoman right now. Taking up time as both Bruce and Batman is also time he could be using to solve the case. He was even awfully close to letting her convince him to leave the city for a while even with the villain at large.

Batman also loses control of himself in the scene with Joker awfully quick. I get that it was a big moment, but I don’t see how it hit him quite so hard. Surely it’s not quite as traumatic as what happened to Jason Todd and Batman was able to control himself a lot better there. You could make the case that it’s how these situations keep piling up which pushed him over the edge, but I think it’s a bit of a stretch. Batman is portrayed as extremely emotional in this film compared to the others and I don’t think this was a good idea. He just doesn’t feel like Batman at times. Damian is the voice of reason instead and it’s too bad that he only got a cameo here.

Meanwhile Catwoman also looks pretty bad here. She does do a good job of trying to get past her thieving ways to an extent although it’s hard to really buy into it since she’s said this many times before. (Albeit, not in this continuity) The way her character arc ends doesn’t make any sense though. The way she acts at the end doesn’t make any sense because what happened shouldn’t have been new information for her. I’d understand if we saw something more drastic, but Batman didn’t do anything that you wouldn’t expect him to do. It makes Catwoman appear a bit shallow. She’s never been one of my favorite characters anyway but it’s still not great for her.

Then we’ve got Joker who looks downright terrible here. The guy is usually not a bit player that everyone has their way with, but you wouldn’t know that from this film. He’s completely overwhelmed and out of his depth from the start. He doesn’t even realize that he is walking into a trap. Usually the Joker is able to match wits with Batman so this was odd. I was expecting him to look more like how he did in Phantasm where he turned the tables pretty quick. Here all he did was get wrecked for a while and do a terrible job of trying to explain what was going on. Harley Quinn did better as she was at least doing something about the situation.

We get other villains but they don’t get as big of a role. Poison Ivy kept some of her hype here since Hush was worried enough about her abilities to have a bomb at the ready. Poison Ivy may not be one of the biggest Batman enemies, but she is definitely one of the most dangerous. Her plants are just really handy to have around. Bane and Clayface are just here for cameos but they are cool to see as well. Superman is the biggest guest appearance, but he looks pretty terrible as well. There’s no conceivable way that Poison Ivy should have been able to get the drop on him. I don’t care if she had Kryptonite make-up and a green suit, he should have been ready. The instant she got close he would have detected it but not been weak enough to faint. That’s when it’s time to dash out of there. I also wish he had more will power since he tends to get mind controlled in every other film. Lex looked good at least and he has a point that Batman should treat him with more respect since he is now a League member. Without him Batman would have been in trouble.

How about Hush? Well, he’s definitely a solid villain. It’s always nice to have a villain that can really test Batman’s deductive abilities. Hush does a good job of keeping everyone wary and he has a good design/voice. The guy is an intimidating villain and you’ll be interested in seeing who his true identity was. The movie did a good job of giving you a fair chance to make the connection without making it obvious. I wasn’t able to figure out who it was before the film ended so the movie did good there. He also gives us a solid fight scene at the end of the film.

Batman movies usually have some kind of mystery in it and that’s part of the draw. So having a solid mystery with Hush in it does help this movie stay interesting. Then you’ve also got a solid array of fight scenes which help support the movie. The pacing is solid and something is always happening here. It’s really just the romance and some of the characters being out of character that holds this film back. Put it this way, I’d put this movie above Son of Batman, Batman vs Robin, Batman Year One, Gotham Knights, and Mystery of the Batwomen, but I’d put it under Sub-Zero, Mask of the Phantasm, Bad Blood, Return of the Joker, and Red Hood. I’m probably missing a Batman film or two, but these are the ones I knew off the top of my head. It’s a reasonable ranking and that puts this movie around the middle of the pack which is pretty good.

Overall, While I had my issues with Batman Hush it is still a very good movie. It’s the kind of title where even if you know the outcome of the mystery it still works pretty well for re-watches. There is a lot of replay value to be found here and any Batman fan can quickly get into the film and enjoy it. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then you should definitely check it out. I can see why the arc is pretty well known as one of the big Batman arcs. Now I hope we can get a Battle for the Cowl arc soon. We’ve got all of the necessary characters introduced into the series already so it would definitely work and we’re running out of Batman arcs to use anyway. I think it’s the next logical step.

Overall 7/10

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

A Star is Born (1976) Review

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

It’s time to look at another take on the A Star is Born story. Unfortunately this is the weakest one and it’s not even close. This version tries to take things on a darker path with the characters not being nearly as good as in the old ones. There’s not a whole lot of fun to be had here and the movie relies on edge over substance. Sometimes you just shouldn’t remake a film over and over because you’re going to be tempted to change things. Well, this one definitely changed things all right, but they didn’t do it for the better.

The film starts off with a bunch of guys waiting for the main singer to arrive so they can start the concert off. Unfortunately he appears to be late as always and is holding everything up. He eventually shows up, but is drunk out of his mind as usual and messes things up. He decides to go to a club at night instead of practicing for the gig the next day and meets up with Esther. He convinces her to come along with him to the next show and eventually she starts to get some gigs of her own. Before he knows it more people want to hear Esther sing than him. As John’s career continues to slip hers continues to rise and he doesn’t take it well. Can John clean up his act long enough to be a reasonable character or will he just keep on sinking?

One of the main differences here compared to the other versions is that John actually was still pretty popular at the beginning of the film. In the others John had already started to be on the decline. I’d also argue that this version of him was more irresponsible than the others. John is already doing drugs in his first scene and spends over half of his screen time drunk. It’s really hard to come back from something like that and you can’t blame anyone but himself for his falling out of the limelight. Every scene John is in is pretty annoying especially because he never even tries to improve himself. The guy is given tons of opportunities to do just that until those chances are finally exhausted. He even had more of a solid network of friends compared to previous versions of the character and he still blew it. I couldn’t deal with him after that.

That’s not even taking into account that he randomly cheats on her near the end of the film. This really felt like the writers were trying to make the guy as unlikable as possible and that wasn’t needed with how bad he was. The whole scene was just very mean spirited and I feel like there should have been no coming back for him from there.

As for Esther, she’s a reasonable lead although not quite as nice as the first two. Part of why her character isn’t as good is how quick she is to get together with John when they don’t even know each other. If anything you’d think that he would have made a bad impression on her since his first appearance is wrecking her show and getting into a drunk fight with some random guy. He also very quickly tried to get into her house. She seems to dismiss this as just being quirky and then they get together, but the whole romance plot made no sense. The romance happens very quickly and without any build up. At least the older films tried in this area.

Esther tries to handle the situation as best she can so she doesn’t do a bad job there. If she was dealing with a reasonable man then I dare say that she would have been quite successful. Unfortunately John is anything but reasonable. If he could have tried to work with her at all then this all could have been avoided, but at this point I’m just re-hashing the same point. John’s terrible, we get it. Lets move on. Esther does her best to get through all of this to the point where she is too forgiving and takes away from her strength as a lead. If anything her manager/John’s old manager is a more balanced character as he isn’t afraid to call John out each time and doesn’t reward his bad behavior.

Unfortunately the writing is also pretty bad here which doesn’t help matters. There’s a ton of language since John’s pretty vulgar most of the time. The characters aren’t written in a way where you can root for them. Some of the songs aren’t bad, but overall they’re weaker than the older versions as well. You can really see why John fell out of favor here even aside from the off the stage issues because his songs aren’t that interesting. Esther easily had the best tunes here and comparing their songs were like night and day.

Overall, A Star Is Born is a story that has had some good adaptions, but this is not one of them. I’d recommend staying far away from this film as it’ll just wind up being a big disappointment if you liked the older ones. This film focuses too much on making the characters unlikable and not enough on actually telling a good story. Even the “little” things like everyone doing drugs sets the characters back quite a bit. It’s certainly trying for a gritty look at the story, but that combination doesn’t work. It’s a lot harder to try and forgive John when he is unlikable and gritty. I’d say that the film had potential but it didn’t even start off on a good note so that idea dried up pretty quick. Definitely just stick to watching the original adaptions instead, you’ll be glad that you did.

Overall 3/10