The Remains of the Day Review


It’s time to look at an old drama film. It’s definitely got a pretty unique premise although the film’s long run time does stretch it to the max at times. It’s definitely a unique movie nonetheless, but you probably won’t be on the main character’s side by the end. He made too many mistakes too many times. After a while you just gotta walk away.

The film starts off in the present, but only stays there briefly. Stevens is going to meet with Miss Kenton as he hopes to re-hire her for the mansion. There just aren’t enough people around to service the place and she was always one of the best. However, a lot of things have changed since they last met. Then we get a flashback which goes for about 95% of the film to back when they used to work for Darlington. See, Stevens is the head butler and he trains everyone else. Miss Kenton was hired as the main housekeeper. Then you have a bunch of other staff who show up as needed and Stevens’ father who is the under butler. At first all is well, but then the head of the house, Lord Darlington starts to seemingly side with the Nazi’s. Making matters even worse is the fact that Stevens’ father is too old to be working and keeps making mistakes. Will Stevens make the right call here?

Unfortunately he never does. Stevens is constantly making the wrong calls throughout the film. He’d rather overlook his father’s mistakes than call him out on it. Likewise, he rarely has regard for anyone else. He’s very quick to distance himself and takes everything Miss Kenton says super personally. While to an extent it’s not good to get caught up in the politics of the office, he ends up taking it too far here. When someone asks him a question he always pretends not to have any clue what they are talking about. Then when his boss Darlington starts to go over the edge with firing employees and such, he just watches and obeys. He even goes through with firing the girls even though they had been great workers.

You just can’t sympathize with the guy at all. All the scenes in the modern day just hurt Stevens further. He’s not a good lead and Miss Kenton made the right move in leaving. That romance angle wasn’t handled too well though. She hints that she was only marrying the other guy because Stevens wasn’t paying her any attention. If so, did she truly love the guy? That seems like a textbook rebound if you ask me. If that guy was second fiddle, then that doesn’t seem like it’ll be a great arrangement. Kenton was certainly great at her job but that was unlikely to be recognized in such a place.

Darlington seems reasonable for a while, but as the film goes on he starts to get pretty iffy. The scene where he has Stevens fire the two girls shows how far he was gone by that point. The new owner of the house is a lot more likable though. His name is Lewis and we also see him in the flashbacks. He was the only guy to stand up to this alliance from the start and warned that things wouldn’t be as rosy as they appeared. He ended up being quite right. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of him. The guy was definitely a fun character.

As I mentioned, the film is over 2 hours though. You’re probably wondering what else they could do in 2 hours and that’s just it…there’s not much more of a plot to talk about in this period of time. The rest is all about the drama and as you can imagine that is hard to hold a film with. The dialogue is good and the writing is solid, but the characters aren’t very likable. Right from the start they’re all warned not to start romance with the other employees, but nobody listens including the main characters. As a result they fall into the same dilemmas that they were warning against at the start.

The characters also play a very passive role in the film. As the events are transpiring they don’t actually do anything about them. To their defense, there is not much that they actually could do, but it does limit how exciting the film can get. As I mentioned, this one’s a pure drama so excitement isn’t one of the priorities. At least the film doesn’t really make any mistakes either. It just goes through the motions.

Overall, The Remains of the Day is a fundamentally sound movie. It makes no real errors and just proceeds to go through its plot without making any mistakes. At the same time, there is no real hook to the film either. It’s almost as if it’s on auto pilot. By the second half of the film you are either really invested in the characters or your interest will have completely died out. It will certainly end up being one of the two. Still, if you haven’t seen a film like this then it’s a good idea to. By “a film like this” I mean a movie that plays and it’s like you’re a spectator. There’s nothing good or bad about it. It’s just going through the motions. It’s like watching the medium in its purest form in a sense.

Overall 5/10

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Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost Review


It’s time to take a look at the movie sequel to the classic 13 ghosts show. This one finally shows us the 13th ghost and how he stacks up against the first 12. It’s a fun movie as they all tend to be although the writing was lacking somewhat here which does prevent it from being nearly as good as it could have been. It’s more or less what you’d expect but the lack of a supernatural twist does hurt it somewhat.

The film starts off with a flashback where Vincent and Mortifer are running away from some demons. Mortifer is unfortunately caught and destroyed (Someone dying in a Scooby Doo film? Immediate red flag) while Vincent escapes with the box. Together with the Mystery Inc he recaptured 12 ghosts. However, Scooby, Shaggy, and Daphne decided to pretend that they did not know who Vincent was and threw the magic ball in a closet somewhere. Well, in the present the gang are having a garage sale as they were forced to stop being detectives after messing up a case. They need some quick cash. Fortunately, that’s when the crystal ball pops up and Vincent begs their help in stopping the final ghost. Velma and Fred are confused so now Daphne will have to step up and lead the team. Is she ready for this?

Unfortunately this is where the film is at its weakest. Rather than make Daphne a good leader it chooses to make Fred a bad one. Suddenly he doesn’t know how to set up a trap and the film goes out of its way to make him look bad. Daphne has to set up the traps because he forgot how to do so. He also can’t drive stick for some reason so he has to let Daphne drive the whole time. She basically takes control of the team away from him and part of the moral is that she was always the better leader. Fred even admits in a rather heart warming scene that he was never a leader, that’s just what they had thought. He’s a Cheerleader and decides to start cheering for everyone. He just looks really bad the whole time and it must have been a rough time for his fans.

Meanwhile, Daphne looks hardcore of course. To make up for Fred she has to double down in how effective she is. Daphne does give up a bit easy, but for the most part I’d say that this is still one of her best appearances. At least she is ready for this fight. You can’t say the same for Velma. Naturally she is still sticking to her story that there are no such things as ghosts. The film does its best to make her fairly justified in this by the ending though. Who knows, maybe it was all mass hallucinations or something. It would have been better if she didn’t keep flipping back and forth though.

Shaggy and Scooby are the same as always. They constantly panic and eat so not much else to say there. The scene of them meditating with the villain goes on a little too long I’d say as well. No way he would actually buy into that I’d say. The rest of the humor is pretty good though. Vincent makes for a fun supporting character. He’s a bit more helpless than I had expected but I did like all of the puns he would make. If he actually can’t use magic either though, it does give Velma’s theory a little more weight. There’s also a local teenager around. I won’t say who he is, but I think you’ll know immediately who he is. This isn’t the kind of film that has a bunch of suspects so if a new character is introduced you can start narrowing down who he must be.

The animation looks pretty solid as always. The team has this franchise down to an art. It’s looked good all the way back from when it first started all the way through the current days. The animation could fool you into thinking this was a DC film at times. The animation styles always look really similar and I suppose that makes sense as well since Warner Bros is involved. There isn’t much of a soundtrack though, but the series isn’t exactly known for that. The movie’s fairly short, but the pacing is good so it never gets boring or anything like that.

Once the final twist occurs some things won’t seem particularly realistic though. Lets just say that one character has to be an absolutely fearless racer with superb driving skills. This villain shows up everywhere and has quite a few skills. I dunno, I’d like to have seen the heroes challenge the evil car a bit more rather than running away the whole time. I suppose that almost may have been out of character I guess, but the team’s been through a lot so they shouldn’t really fear anyone at this point.

Overall, Curse of the 13th Ghost is not a film that will leave a lasting impression on you. It’s just a lot weaker than some of the recent films like the Wrestling ones, Cooking challenge, the outer space one, blue falcon, etc. It’s not so much that this film is bad because it isn’t. It earns a pretty good score. It just feels more like an average adventure compared to the rest and part of the problem could be the fact that there is no actual mystery here. That’s sort of the main focus of the series. You can get around that at times with a compelling premise of course. This one had a good premise, but simply didn’t follow up on it. That’s what held the film back.

Overall 7/10

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rollercoaster of Friendship Review


It’s time to look at the next Equestria Girls special. This time it is centered around Rarity. Once of the Magic specials was also about her so she’s certainly getting around. Unfortunately this is definitely not her best appearance but she finally gets a big fight scene so that was cool. As always, this was a pretty fun special and since it is fairly short we got to the meat of the story right away.

Applejack and Rarity applied for a position a long time ago with a famous movie star. Unfortunately Applejack did not get the position while Rarity did. Rarity even got a promotion before starting. Vignette shows up to introduce herself and unfortunately she seems to be very self absorbed. Immediately Rarity begins gravitating to her more than the other characters and Applejack begins to feel left out. At first she thinks this may just be normal jealousy, but is it possible that Vignette is actually shadier than she appears?

Naturally you’ll be a little irritated at Rarity betraying her friends so quickly. It’s not out of character or anything as Rarity tends to do this a lot, but after all they’ve been through together you’d just expect her to do a little better. That’s why Rarity has never been one of the better members of the Mane 6. She’s probably the only one who doesn’t really fit her element all that much. Still, she does work to make amends for all of this during the film. Her fight with Vignette is fun as she can reflect energy while Vignette can project it. I would have liked to have seen Rarity fight a little more, but what we got was certainly sound so I can’t complain there.

Vignette makes for a solid villain. You always want to have a rich villain because it makes sense when they take the whole thing in stride. Vignette has always gotten what she wanted in the past so it makes sense that once she got such a cool weapon she would begin using it. She doesn’t owe society anything after all. The ending can maybe get a little cheesy with her, but she was never inherently evil I suppose. She was just super naive and possibly evil. She just needed to remember that social media friends are real friends. Once she accepts that then she will really be a better person.

Applejack looks reasonably good here even if she possibly does take Rarity’s betrayal a little too hard. She’s still friends with the rest of the girls so that should be a nice consolation. Even if Rarity were to leave she would have a bunch of friends. Still, it’s because she took the whole thing so seriously that she was able to find out Vignette’s real objective. Applejack may not have been able to win in their encounter, but it’s hard to deal with one hit KO attacks.

The other characters mainly get the shaft here as naturally not everyone can get a whole lot of screen time. Still, they all contribute here and there. Sunset once again showed that she has the greatest skills out of all the characters. She was able to win in a game that was made to be rigged. If that’s not talent then I don’t know what it is! Twilight did her best but playing by the book doesn’t always work. She needed to throw her ring with her heart instead of her mind.

There’s only one bad subplot here and that is the one with Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash. It’s an annoying trope that I can’t say I’m surprised to see. Rainbow Dash is usually the brave character so naturally the film thought it would be humorous if she got scared of the roller coaster while Fluttershy could handle it. I’m fine with Fluttershy not being scared for once even if that seems odd, but Rainbow Dash shouldn’t be nerfed. The whole thing feels super forced and as a result Rainbow Dash looked pretty bad here.

Naturally the animation is pretty consistent with the rest of the series. The character designs aren’t bad and the animation is pretty good. There aren’t really any memorable songs here this time, but the intro theme to the special is always fun. It does remind me that the main MLP show needs a theme song revamp at some point. Something with a cool techno/rock beat to it. I think that would take the music to the next level.

Overall, The Rollercoaster of Friendship was a good special. It’s not quite as good as any of the main movies, but with only about an hour to work with I think it did a good job of including everything it could. Take away that one subplot with Rainbow Dash and it would be even better. Still, this is definitely a title that I can recommend to anyone. It’s got a lot of heart and there’s nothing all that bad about it. With this I am basically caught up with all the big Equestria Girl stuff. All I have to do now is watch a bunch of the shorts and I can say with confidence that I have finished the world of MLP. (Until more stuff air)

Overall 7/10

The Meg Review


It’s time to look at a pretty recent shark film known as The Meg. This one definitely had an interesting trailer for the most part although it definitely seemed to shift in tone quite a bit. For the most part this film takes itself seriously but always keeps a light tone throughout. It makes enough mistakes to keep it from being a good film, but does avoid the critical error involving a dog that could have been tricky.

The film starts off with a group of divers heading lower than they’ve ever gone before. They’re in a submarine so at least they feel pretty safe against the elements. They are a part of a group that is being funded by a billionaire known as Jack. Unfortunately they are attacked by a giant shark known as Meg. There is now no way to bring them back up so the team is forced to call in former expert Jonas. Jonas quit because of an incident where he was attacked by a giant shark and was only able to save most of his team. Well, they want him to go back in the ocean again, but can Jonas really face the same beast twice?

Meg is one of those movies where the plot gradually changes as the film goes on. If you watch the trailer before seeing the movie you can guess what the final act will be as you are waiting for the scene to happen for a very long time. The movie is pretty fun. There’s good pacing and the plot is certainly engaging. While the cast isn’t amazing, they’re better than what I’d consider to be the average for this kind of film. I may as well say up front that the film did a great job in saving the dog. There’s a scene where you think it may be all over for the little guy and it was going to be over for the film’s score as well. Fortunately that didn’t end up happening which saved the film 2 stars I’d say. Now that could work as a jump scare, but I still think films should mainly avoid the animal angle.

Of course, it does put the film in a dicey predicament as the main villain is an animal. How do you stop Meg without injuring her? Well, the quick answer is that you can’t and that limits the film’s potential from the start. Naturally I’m rooting for Meg the whole time because she is just trying to live in a tough world. It’s the pesky humans who keep getting in her way all the time. Meg makes for a good antagonist. She’s pretty huge and certainly vicious. Meg puts up a great fight throughout the film.

While the film’s theme is nowhere near as hype as the classic Jaws tune, the movie does its best to give Meg a theme as well. It works reasonably well in setting up the tone for her scenes. The effects are solid as well. Now lets talk about the human characters. I thought Jack was a pretty solid character. The billionaires in these films are always a lot of fun. Of course, you get the feeling they’re gonna die as soon as they appear since that’s pretty much a staple for this character type. Well, at least his scenes are very memorable throughout. He’s constantly talking tough and for the most part thought things through well. He just got a little sloppy by the end. I also don’t see how you can trip in such a situation, but it felt like all the characters in this film were constantly tripping. I guess the boats can be slippery.

Jonas makes for a good lead. Contrary to Dr. Heller’s assessment, he made the right call when leaving the ship in the intro. I thought that should have been obvious when the whole thing exploded seconds later. They all would have died. Jonas still goes back to help everyone out even though he isn’t particularly thrilled at the prospect. He tackles all of the tough jobs including using himself as live bait. I do think the heroes started stretching their luck with some of the plans though like having him swim towards the shark and launching a tracker. From that close distance in all likelihood Jonas would have been doomed. It’s basically a suicide mission but the characters don’t act like it’s that dangerous.

So, the writing can be a bit dicey at times, but it isn’t terrible or anything. Another instance of bad writing it one of the side characters. He’s basically only around to crack dicey jokes and is one of the first guys to go. He’s another guy where you know he is doomed from the start. He doesn’t add anything to the film and that’s certainly worth noting. The main heroine is good though. Suyin is always ready to jump into danger and is the first one on the rescue mission to help the stranded divers. Her daughter also gets quite a bit of screen time. She can be a bit iffy when trying to play matchmaker but definitely knows a lot about the sub. It’s always good to start learning about tech and such at a young age.

Overall, The Meg is an action film that delivers on everything it promises. There are some films where you basically know exactly what you are getting into from the start. This is one of those movies and that’s not a bad thing. The film’s consistent. It still lost a lot of points for animal violence and a dicey script, but if you’re not someone who minds the animal violence part then you’ll probably enjoy the film. The action scenes are on point and Meg definitely lives up to her hype of being a huge shark.

Overall 3/10

Mr Smith Goes To Washington Review


It’s time to look at an old political film that shows one man’s fight against endless corruption. It can be a lost cause at times but if nobody takes a stand then the situation will never get better will it? It’s a pretty interesting movie even if the ending starts to stretch disbelief a bit. Still, the concept certainly isn’t hard to believe and sometimes things just work out this way.

The film starts off with the local mayor/governor worrying about which new senator to elect as the old one died. He gets pressure from his higher ups to bring in people who are corrupt or have skeletons in the closet so they can be blackmailed. The mayor is close to doing this until his kids guilt trip him into appointing a local ranger leader named Mr. Jeff Smith. Smith is a very down to earth guy who wants to uphold the original ideals of the US, but Mr. Taylor doesn’t like this. Taylor is the kingpin in the shadows who has been controlling the state for years. He decides to do whatever he can to stop this Mr. Smith.

I’m always up for a political film like this, especially when it’s in a court type setting. The senate meetings here are close enough. I remember hearing about how you could hold the floor indefinitely provided the circumstances were right so it was nice to see Smith use such a technique here. I’m sure there is probably a little more to it than this but it’s definitely fun to see. Smith has to talk for essentially an entire day which is pretty impressive for sure. That’s a lot of stamina.

Of course, the corruption was quite deep here so the effects weren’t as powerful as he would have liked. I can buy into Taylor blocking all of the radio channels and newspapers but where it starts to get a little fishy is when he hires a mob to go around and start beating up on the kids. That part’s definitely a little hard to believe. They ran into the kid’s car and actually knocked one to the ground. By the end even the grownups on Smith’s side are telling him to stop because too many kids are being injured.

Even if we are to assume that Taylor’s influence is so strong that all of these guys would be willing to fight kids, what about their parents or other resisters? We see in one scene a large group of adults running around with signs and such until the cops spray them, but then there should have been some adults to protect the kids as well. So while this part was dramatic I think it ends up getting a bit unrealistic by the end.

During the film, Smith’s mentor (Paine) talks to him about the rampant corruption. Paine explains that it isn’t everyone who is corrupt, just most of them. I thought this was foreshadowing for some senators agreeing with Smith by the end and the film would have ended with the Senate in full disagreement. In the end, it appears even he underestimated how corrupt the place was as everyone was involved. He’s definitely the worst character in the film but at least you do know that he’s a traitor from the start so it’s not like you were surprised at this turn of events.

While the writing is pretty solid and the film has good pacing, there is one plot that doesn’t work out well. It’s the comic relief one sided romance plot between Clarissa and a reporter. Their scenes don’t really add to the plot and the drunk bar one goes on for quite a while. I suppose it’s to show how she felt bad for Smith but you could already glean that information early on. Clarissa is a pretty reasonable character even if she does keep flipping from one side to the other. At first she thinks the situation is hopeless for Jeff so she just pretends to be on his side. Finally she does end up going to his side and to her credit she is indispensable by the end. Without her Jeff would have certainly been tricked or have lost the will to fight earlier.

Jeff’s a good character, but pretty gullible. While he ended up sticking to his core values and beliefs despite the overwhelming pressure he wouldn’t have gone far without help. If Clarissa hadn’t tipped him off he would have kept falling for that other girl’s tricks. The instant he let romance get above his duty I had to admit that this senator business may have been a little too much for him. He’s earnest, but to that end I’d figure that he would have done more reading up on what it means to be a senator. Sure, it was harder to get information back in the day but I’d like to have seen him be a bit more pro-active. These are more in-depth critiques of his character though, on the whole he was still pretty solid. It’s just that he could have been even better.

One character who stole the show quite a bit was the chairman for the senate. I like how the whole thing was basically one big joke to him. He’s a fair judge who doesn’t bend to the others. He knows his importance. Whether the right choice is made or not isn’t something he cares about so long as they follow the rules. It may not be heroic, but it is pretty enjoyable to see.

Overall, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a pretty solid film. It definitely shows how hard it is to get your point across when you’re up against corruption. Smith could have stood there all day without the senators reacting and that’s just what he did. Honestly I would have done more whistles to wake them up like he did in one scene, but I suppose he also didn’t want to be held in contempt of court or anything like that. That probably would have backfired. I’d definitely recommend checking this film out. It’s pretty original.

Overall 7/10

The Lion King Review


It’s time to look at a pretty well known film here. The Lion King is a movie that almost everyone has heard of and deservedly so. It’s a solid movie with good characters and it manages to be centered around animals while avoiding the animal violence angle pretty well. I’m definitely expecting a big remake of this film soon and we’ll see how that goes. It’ll be difficult to beat the original here.

The film starts off with Mufasa having a son. His name is Simba and he is destined to one day lead the Lions. Naturally, Mufasa’s brother Scar is not happy with this since it means that he will never get the throne. This inspires him to hatch a plan to destroy Mufasa once and for all while also tricking Simba into abandoning his village. The plan succeeds and Scar becomes king. Nothing can get in his way now or so he thinks. Simba grows up in the wild, but eventually heads back to his land to make things right. Can he stop Scar and his diabolical plans or is it all over?

Mufasa is definitely a fun character even if you know that he’s doomed from the start. He’s a very capable leader and one who clearly helped the lions quite a bit during his tenure. The sheer size of his kingdom is evidence of this. Everyone has a lot of food to eat and whenever there is trouble he is quick to resolve it. He’s basically the perfect leader. His bird sidekick also does a good job of always keeping an ear close to the ground. If anything I don’t think he gets enough respect as the bird does do his job well. He may not be too subtle at times, but he gets the job done.

Simba isn’t quite as good a lead. Of course he makes a lot of mistakes when he is a cub so we can’t be too harsh on him but even when he grows up he doesn’t always make the right calls. It takes a considerable amount of convincing to get him back into the village including a conversation with Mufasa. He was very close to just letting the rest of the lions die out so it’s hard to respect Simba as a leader. I just don’t think he has the same level of leadership that Mufasa had.

Nala is a solid heroine. She’s definitely a very proactive character who takes it upon herself to find some help for the village while the others simply become resigned to their fate. She was always a good fighter even in her youth so it makes sense that she would be pretty tough. Then we’ve got Scar who is effectively her polar opposite. He’s not all that tough in a fight but he’s all about being crafty in the background. He certainly knows how to manipulate everyone pretty well. Everyone leaves him alone so that leaves Scar free to really do whatever he wants tbh.

Timon and Pumbaa are more fun than I remember. Timon is your classic wisecracking character who always knows just what to say. He’s a good guy for Simba to have at his side. Pumbaa brings in the muscle and he is certainly a lot more heroic than Timon. They’re fun supporting characters who never get annoying and are pretty entertaining the whole time. They help round out the cast pretty well I’d say.

It’s definitely a pretty fast paced movie so you won’t get bored at any point during it. There really aren’t any big negatives to speak of. The scene of the main characters eating the insects can certainly be a little gross, but fortunately it’s a very quick moment and the film doesn’t choose to drag it out which is a good move. Solid films know when to breeze through a scene rather than extend it and it’s definitely a crucial skill to have.

The animation holds up really well here. The animation is as sharp as ever and the characters are very detailed. There was clearly a lot of care put into the movie and I suspect 20 years from now it’ll still look good. While the songs aren’t quite Frozen level they aren’t bad. I think they aren’t quite as good as the average Disney film, but so long as they are catchy and still solid then they’re good enough for me. As expected the writing is also pretty solid. Even if not all of the characters are super likable it’s not as if any of them are super annoying or unrealistic. Scar is nice and sarcastic without being super obvious for example.

Overall, The Lion King is definitely pretty good. I have to admit that I was a little worried that the film would step in some holes along the way, but it actually rode between the line of action and animal violence pretty well. I don’t remember the sequel being nearly as good, but maybe it’ll be better than I remember. If you haven’t seen the Lion King yet then I’d recommend changing that. it’s definitely a classic that really lives up to its reputation and that can be quite rare at times.

Overall 7/10

A Star is Born Review


It’s time to look at the original version of A Star is Born. It’s definitely a title that I’m sure just about everyone is familiar with thanks to all of the remakes. Does it really hold up to such an illustrious legacy though? It’s not a bad film, but the second half does ultimately end up hurting the movie. It’s an ending that isn’t particularly great and one character is pretty annoying the whole time.

The film starts off with a girl named Esther expressing her desire to be an actress. Her family almost literally laughs her out of the house so her grandmother tells her to pursue her dreams. Esther heads on the train to Hollywood and gets ready to be famous. The problem is that there are a lot of other people who want to be famous and so she has hit a dead end. She meets a guy named Danny who has some connections, but instead of a part in the picture she is relegated to maid service. Still, this works out as she is noticed by washed up actor Norman who still has a lot of influence within the company. He’s happy to help her get famous so that they can get married, but when she begins to exceed his popularity can he handle the pressure?

One thing I’ve noticed about a lot of the old school male leads is that most of them seem to be really insecure. The instant that the heroine passes them they start getting really whiny and petty. Unfortunately Norman is no exception. He crashes her party and sulks for the majority of the movie. It’s easy to forget that they’re together at times. I’d give him credit for retiring and all, but he then starts to get into fights and tarnishes her reputation. He even gets thrown into the asylum for his antics. Sure, Norman’s over the hill, but he was famous for a while so you’d think that he could at least enjoy that part. Of course, how famous he ever was is probably debatable since nobody seems to even know the poor guy.

Esther is certainly a much better character. Her only weakness is that she gets emotional very quickly as she cries if you insult her. Fortunately I’d say that showbiz went well for her and has toughened her up by the end. She is able to put up a strong front and her talent was shown to be the real deal. She didn’t just go to Hollywood, she excelled while she was there. It’s also good that her granny was around to keep her on the right track as she almost made a big mistake at the end of the film. So, Esther was solid, but I think if she was less emotional then she would have been even better.

Meanwhile we have Danny, who was an interesting character. His voice is incredibly memorable so odds are that it is the part about him that you will remember the most. I’m not sure if it was intentionally humorous or not, but it did make him fun. His first scene was a bit rough though as he starts yelling as Esther for no reason. That scene probably could have been cut out since it makes absolutely no sense. He pretty much gets written out once Norman shows up though. Norman’s pr agent makes for an intense, albeit mean spirited character. He’s good at his job and he can even fight so you can’t ask for much more than that. Meanwhile the owner of the company is a nice enough guy. He kept trying to help Norman even when the actor made that difficult.

As for the ending, while it was unexpected I can’t say that it was good. If anything it just makes Norman look a whole lot worse than he was looking already. Rather than accept the new status quo and turn his act together he figures that it’s time for desperate measures. His answer is never the proper answer to anything. It’s just a way to escape a problem, not a way to solve one. I wonder if the newer films will switch that ending. I hope they do since it will definitely help the character be a little more redeemable.

As for the writing, it’s pretty solid for the most part. When the film attempts some humor scenes they tend to work well like Norman’s beer with a touch of soda gag. The romance isn’t handled quite as well as it’s hard to take Norman seriously since it seems like he typically likes flirting with everyone. It doesn’t make him look all that genuine but I suppose we can give him the benefit of the doubt. Esther just seems a little too trusting and quick to romance as well. Given that her goal is to be the best, I feel like romance would just be a big distraction for her. Ah well. The film’s pacing is pretty solid and although the film is fairly long it never drags on which is always important.

Overall, A Star is Born is a reasonable film. I wouldn’t call it amazing, but it was passable. The idea of someone walking into Hollywood and then rising to the top is a classic, but consistent premise. If executed well it makes for a nice, uplifting story. If it’s cashed in then it ends up being super cheesy and you wonder what happened to the other actors for them to all be surpassed in such a short amount of time. I’ll probably see the remakes soon and I get the feeling that they may have the edge this time, but if you haven’t seen the original it’s probably worth checking out. It is a classic after all.

Overall 5/10

Days of Wine and Roses Review


It’s time to look at a film about drinking addiction. I can’t say that I had high hopes for the film going in and it looks like that feeling was certainly well warranted by the end. While it’s a concept that isn’t particularly fun as it is, the film manages to use some poor writing to make the film harder to get through than necessary. What do I mean? Stick around and you’ll find out!

The film starts off with Joe heading back to the office to get some work done. He hasn’t been sleeping too well but at least he’s been drinking so he’s ready for the day. He wants to be a PR agent but instead he’s a coordinator for some dicey activities. He wants to complain to his boss, but doesn’t have the heart to do so. That’s when he runs into a secretary named Kirsten. He immediately falls for her and shows his affection by asking her out. When she denies him, Joe begins making faces at her and throws around a lot of insults. He suggests that her skills aren’t what got her the job and makes a lot of mean remarks which Kirsten takes offense at. She runs off, but of course Joe stops her and gives a very fake apology. Immediately the two decide to get married.

Thing is, they got married so quickly that they don’t really know each other. Hoping to avoid ever having to do so, they fall into the land of liquor. Eventually they are drunk 24/7 all days of the week. This problem continues to snowball until Joe is out of a job and Kirsten starts burning the house down. Joe decides that he’ll stop drinking but Kirsten refuses. As a result Joe keeps falling back into the vice due to peer pressure. He’s going to have to choose what is more important, his marriage or staying sober. It’s going to be a tough struggle either way.

I think you can see where the dicey writing can in to play here. The romance makes absolutely no sense. There’s no reason why the two would have been paired after you see their opening scene. It’s just him being mean to her in petty retaliation for being declined until she does a 180 and accepts him. Then getting married a few days later is a bit much. There’s no real reason to root for these characters. Even before the drinks they don’t seem like particularly good people. Take a look at the scene where they visit Kirsten’s dad. They just drop the bomb on him that they’re married. It’s almost like they’re taunting him because he never even got to give his input. It’s a pretty mean thing to do.

So we already don’t like either character and they’re not even drunk yet. Throw in their drunk episodes and things get worse. You’d think they were taking hard drugs with how crazy they were acting. Of course, everyone has different effects when drunk, but man do both of them take it really poorly. Joe tries to get out at least, but he does manage to relapse a bunch of times. At least in the end he stayed strong. Then you have Kirsten who doesn’t even try and doesn’t get a particularly happy ending here. It is a shame since she used to not drunk and Joe got her into it, but even so she should have stuck away from the drinks. The first time she at least halfheartedly tried to say no, but then Joe brought some in after working in the forest at night. He’s such a bad character but she’s also pretty bad by the end.

The only good character here is Jim. Jim is the chairman for alcoholics anonymous and he does help out quite a bit. Without him it’s fair to say that Joe would have been doomed. Of course, it is true that with willpower you can do a whole lot, but you gotta know your limits. Groups and places like this exist to help those who know they can’t stop on their own. Things are always easier when you have people to support you and getting out of this addiction is no exception. Once Joe finally accepts this he is able to move forward. Him is very patient and supportive throughout. He’s probably seen this situation many times before, but he never makes Joe feel like he’s just another cog in the engine. He makes sure to help him every step of the way and that’s why Jim is the MVP here.

Overall, This still isn’t a good film though. The writing has major problems with the biggest one being the fact that the characters aren’t all that good even before they’re drunk. As a result it only gets worse once they do start drinking. The film is pretty long and it’s mainly the characters going in circles for quite a while before the situation finally changes. It’s definitely not my kind of movie but if you want a hard hitting movie with unlikable characters who try to be better than they were then maybe you’ll enjoy this film. I’d sooner recommend watching something like Man of Steel though. There we get a beacon of hope who doesn’t make these mistakes.

Overall 2/10

Cast Away Review


It’s time to look at a survival film. These are fairly hard to do. There are the easy ones where it’s a group of people stuck on an island inhabited by giant monsters or an enemy clan. Those can work because you’ve got a lot of dynamics at play. Then you’ve got a survival film like this one which is tricky because there is only one character on the island. As a result you run the risk of the film just being boring and unfortunately…that’s exactly what happens here. There is some spoilers for the ending of the movie below so you have been warned.

The film starts off pretty strong as we meet Chuck and see that he is a pretty fierce FedEx mail guy. He is pretty obsessed with his company being able to meet deadlines and wants them to achieve more. His advice seems to be working and so Chuck gets ready to make one last delivery/meeting before going back home for New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately the plane he is on crashes and now he is stuck on an island. He’ll have to try and survive for a long while as there is no way to get off this island and people may not find him for a long while. Can Chuck pull this off?

The film has a good beginning and an interesting ending. The problem here is the middle. As soon as the plane went down the movie basically went right along with it. There’s just not much to see or enjoy about Chuck’s isolated vacation on the island. There’s no one for him to talk to and not a whole lot for him to do either. As this is the bulk of the movie you can see how it gets old fast. It’s basically all of the usual survival tropes. He tries to make a fire, tries to make a boat, etc. Each attempt injures him further which makes all of his activities a lot harder than they would be otherwise. His attempts are pretty good for the most part and he’s definitely a creative guy so he is able to make things work out. You can respect that from his character, but again it doesn’t make for interesting viewing.

I’ll give the movie credit for not being nearly as gross as a recent film where a girl is stranded on a rock with a shark nearby, but it still does do some iffy things like having a crab get stabbed and eating raw fish. These scenes did the film no favor. It takes what could have been an easy 7/10 film and drops it a few stars until it’s under the baseline. If you want to do a survival film, you’ve got to have at least 2 characters. Yeah, you run the risk of adding romance to the movie but at least you can have some dialogue and maybe even throw some humor into the mix. With just one person there is no chance of that and it’s pretty much a waste for Tom Hanks since dialogue is his strong suit.

As I mentioned, the beginning of the film is pretty solid. It establishes Chuck as a pretty likable character. It’s a charismatic opening and the film has a lot of fun with the scenes. The writing is solid and a whole film could have been made about Chuck making the delivery times faster. Then once he gets off the island it’s like the film finally restarts. Of course now it isn’t quite as fun since everyone moved on without Chuck. His fiancee is gone and it’s like he has to start life over from scratch. At least he kept his job, losing that would have probably made the ending a little too grim. It speaks well to the company as FedEx just looks really good here. They even throw him a nice party and while part of that is for the PR, the guys in the office just seem like a lot of fun.

The movie does drop the ball with the climax though. As mentioned, the fiancee is with some other guy now and at first the movie is pretty tame here as Chuck accepts this and calmly tells her goodbye and wishes her well. Then she runs out of the house and cheats on her current husband one last (presumably) time. I think that scene didn’t need to be in the movie. She made her choice and now she needs to live with it. She makes it pretty clear that the new guy is just a rebound, but that doesn’t make the situation any better. Also, the fact that the other guy used to know Chuck just makes it worse. The fiancee moved on pretty quick after all since she already has a kid and it’s only been 4 years so that means she probably waited 2 years max. That’s a fairly quick rebound.

At least now Chuck will be able to focus on his job again. He’s definitely a solid employee as he gets right back into the field. The ending shows that he now has a passion for the work again and I expect he’ll be making a lot of deliveries. He also gets to meet the person who indirectly saved his life through the colorful package that he found on the island. I think that person could make for a good friend although I imagine that Chuck won’t be making a rebound anytime soon.

Overall, Cast Away is a film where the actual premise is really what held it back a bit. The characters are fun and all, but it feels like the film hits the pause button early on as we’re stuck on the island for an extremely long amount of time. Cutting part of that time out would have helped the film quite a lot. Being stuck on an island like that just limits the film’s opportunities. If you like films about experiencing nature and such then check this one out. If you’re hoping for a lot of fun dialogue and situations then you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Overall 4/10

The Prisoner of Second Avenue Review


It’s time to look at a fairly old black comedy film. It’s one of those films that has a pretty solid premise and starts out good. Then the film unfortunately falls off the deep end and never quite managed to recover. You sort of know where the movie is going with this before it gets there and it’s not the direction it should have gone. The film just isn’t all that satisfying and at the end of the day the characters do end up being prisoners of second avenue.

The film starts off with Mel losing his job. It had been a steady job that he had for many years, but that is all over now. Adding to his woes is the fact that someone broke into his house and stole all the clothes, money, and items. His wife Edna is distraught as well, but she manages to keep herself together. She even gets a job to support them while Mel looks for one. The problem is that Mel can’t seem to find a job anywhere and so naturally he gets jealous of Edna’s success. Mel decides to guilt trip Edna about this every waking minute and quickly loses his mind entirely. Edna will have to do what she can to bring him back from insanity, but can she pull this off?

Mel is really what drags the film down here. A lot of unfortunate stuff happen to him for sure, but his reaction to all of it certainly isn’t all that good. I think him losing his mind goes a little too far. It gets to the point where he starts swinging a knife around and yelling about global conspiracies. It stops being funny pretty quickly and just goes into being very tedious/annoying. I couldn’t wait for him to finally get past this. It happens when he mugs someone on the street and steals his wallet.

That’s when the film decides to double down by having Edna lose her mind. It’s the film’s way of trying to say that anyone can and will snap once they lose their job. It really undermines how hard Edna worked to keep the family stable the whole time. Couldn’t she have at least gotten her win here? By the end the message is that Mel will once again support them, but Edna had been doing pretty good on her own. A better ending would have been for her to have kept her job with Mel just learning to accept this. As it stands, he didn’t learn to accept anything. Things just finally went his way and he decided to stop sulking. Edna cracking the way she did felt extremely forced and unnecessary.

This movie is at its best when it’s just poking fun at everyone and embracing its comedic elements. For example, Mel’s relatives were handled pretty well. They naturally want to see him get well, but aren’t about to throw their life’s savings at him. In their defense, paying 20,000 to start a summer camp where he would be the head sounds like a terrible idea. This guy’s insane, how can he be around kids? I don’t think it would do him a whole lot of good either. Then the psychologist they got him seems like a scammer who rushes out of the room as soon as the paid hour is up. He doesn’t care about Mel’s problems in the slightest.

Maybe Mel’s plot would have been better if we were ever given a reason to care about him, but he has a sour attitude from the start. He complains about literally everything and just never stops. Rather than seeing the silver lining in a situation he always seeks out the small rip in what’s good. Nothing ever works out for him because he doesn’t see the good in things. Take his vacation to his brother’s place. Mel spends the whole time complaining and trying to leave. He never gave them a chance.

It’s almost ironic that you will probably be rooting for the neighbors in all of their encounters during this film. Mel picks fights with the guys above him and the girls next door. In both cases I would argue that they’re in the right while he’s in the wrong. The girls are just trying to have a good time and they weren’t all that loud as evidenced by the fact that Edna couldn’t hear them. You have to make an effort to be annoyed. Then the neighbors upstairs have little kids who are trying to sleep so having Mel yelling at the top of his lungs late at night is naturally upsetting. They were just trying to cool him off by dunking him with the ice water. It may be a bit drastic, but Mel certainly started it.

The fast paced dialogue is definitely the film’s strength. We do get a lot of witty moments and as I mentioned the humor is quite good when it is trying. Just the sheer fact that the apartment is so run down is a great source for many jokes and such. It’s also good to see New York City from back in the day and how so much has changed and yet so much is the same. It always makes for a good backdrop for any film.

Overall, This movie was pretty fun at times. For the most part it’s a humorous adventure. It just begins to take itself too seriously once Mel goes crazy and never truly recovers from that. Those scenes are just painful to watch and Edna should have been able to have gotten a win at the end. Instead she goes down with Mel and by the end none of them really have their dignity left. I was also expecting them to get more of a win with the shovel once it started snowing, but then the film ends abruptly. In my head canon the neighbors basically won this round since they did blast Mel twice.

Overall 5/10