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

Bugsy Malone Review


It’s time for a rather odd parody of the usual gangster film. Gangster films can be hit or miss as they all tend to be pretty similar but I haven’t watched enough of them to say that the whole genre is the same. That being said, a parody of one should have a lot of potential. This potential vanished when the kids showed up. The plot of this movie is that it’s kids who are acting like gangsters…and it doesn’t really work. The gimmick gets old after about 5 minutes and the rest of the film proceeds to drag on.

The film starts off with one of the gangsters getting iced by an opposing gang. He was supposedly one of the best in the biz but you would never guess it from the scene. He is murdered by whip cream bullets. His boss isn’t happy about this but he doesn’t have much time to worry since his other minions are pretty incompetent as well. He decides to start messing up the opposing gang in retaliation. Nobody crosses Bugsy Malone! There is actually a fairly large cast in this film which is a bit surprising. You do have to give the film props for effort. We’ve got 2 different romance plots, several of the gangsters have their own leads and it all results in a big meetup at the end of the film.

The whole film is a parody including the climax but if you take that away then the setting of the climax and the scale is pretty impressive. The film basically breaks the third wall here though as everyone survives the bullet shower and they all become friends. It’s a wholesome ending I suppose, but not the one you would be hoping for. It would have been fun if everyone just fainted from the whip cream and the narrator just says that this is why gangs are dying out. Eventually all of the gangs would always start fighting so there is no way to truly come out on top.

Here’s why the film didn’t work for me. I’m already not a big fan of most kid characters in these kinds of things. Kids can be pretty annoying and it’s hard to take them seriously. It’s rare to have a kid character who is really on the ball and talking with eloquent dialogue. That is not the case in this film. The gangster accents work pretty well as they are fairly realistic so I have to give a good amount of credit for that. Aside from that I just couldn’t take them seriously. The film would have ironically been far superior if the characters had all been adults. The way I see it, the kids part was a gimmick that the film was leaning on. It didn’t pan out. After the initial few minutes you’re over this “twist” and are ready to go back to the actual movie.

The movie also ends up being rather boring as a result. The characters go through the motions but kids have a really hard time being funny or engaging. I don’t think you’ll even crack a smile from start to finish while watching this movie. The romance plot is pretty terrible with the characters both being unreasonable. The gangsters are villains of course, but they’re not even charismatic so it’s not like you can really root for them. So the film didn’t have engaging characters, had fairly subpar writing and the pacing was pretty bad. There’s really not much left to salvage it.

It’s still not a 2 or lower because it’s not like there was any terrible content here. It’s still pretty kid friendly and as I mentioned the film tries to be ambitious, it just doesn’t work. Ah yes, did I mention this was a musical? We get quite a few songs here. There’s the one from the kid who wants people to recognize that he is a tap dancer so he goes on a long tangent about this. There’s a big one in the climax as all of the gang members sing around and try to have a good time, etc. None of the songs are all that good and certainly pale in comparison to the classic Disney songs.

Overall, Bugsy Malone was certainly an experimental film. You can always make the case that it’s good to try new things out even if it doesn’t work out. It’s a tough case but I understand the logic. Eventually you’ll hopefully find a formula that works out, but this isn’t it. Even if you’re a big fan of gangster films I would advise you to stay far away from this one. The fact that it goes through every typical gangster plot doesn’t really help its case because you could just watch one of those instead of this one. Bugsy Malone is not exciting or engaging and if anything it’ll just make you want to watch a real gangster film. Kids can’t hold their own films and if I ever need to give someone proof of that I’ll have them watch this film. It’s the easiest way to explain why this is the case.

Overall 3/10

2 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Review


It’s time to look at a fairly recent horror film. You’ll probably remember hearing the name from a while back even if the film was pretty quiet once it came out. I remember thinking the trailer didn’t look so good and the film follows suit. It does its best to be pretty edgy and give you some stories that are both dark and gross, but the end result is a mess that I can’t recommend. It’s not the worst horror film that I’ve seen, but it’s about average for the genre. Average for a horror film is not very good overall.

The film starts with a group of teens deciding to get revenge on the school bully. For years he has tormented them quite a lot and so this Halloween they are going to load their treat bucket with things other than treats. When Tommy steals it they realize that they didn’t have much of a plan beyond that. They meet up with a guy named Ramon and then the whole crew gets locked by the bully inside a haunted house. There Stella finds a mysterious book that was written by the girl who used to live here before everyone got murdered. Now the book is writing a new story every night and the person whose name is on the page dies a gruesome death. Can Stella break the curse or are all of her friends about to be destroyed?

It’s a pretty standard horror plot. When you awaken an evil being from the past she always tries to murder everyone. The nice ghosts never come out to play, but I suppose it’s because they are always willing to move on. The main characters definitely aren’t the most sympathetic figures around though. Their whole intro is about getting revenge on Tommy and two wrongs never make a right. Additionally the film does its best to make each character as unlikable as possible. Auggie is always insulting his sister and Chuck can’t help but stare at her through the window. Stella is ultra goth and loves talking about all these gruesome murders that used to occur. Naturally the group would awaken a monster by breaking into a house and reading a book they shouldn’t have. The whole thing started because they broke the law and busted in the house after all.

The characters never really improve. Chuck is pretty bad from start to finish. He panics quite a lot and quickly makes all of the wrong moves possible. Ditching the other main characters to run on his own is one of the worst things you can do when someone is bumping people off one at a time. If you’re with someone else then usually you’re at least a little safer. I’d make the case that his death did break the rule of each character being murdered at night though, but why should villains follow the rules right? His murder is probably the most interesting one though and easily had the best visuals. The monster who got him looked like a legitimate video game character and was also one of the toughest dilemmas to get out of. Since this villain controlled space and time there isn’t much you can do. Certainly one of the scariest hugs I’ve seen in a while.

Then we have Auggie who is also pretty bad. He’s shown to be way too desperate the whole time and only slightly more mature than Chuck. His death was pretty awful in part because Auggie was given every opportunity to escape. It’s one of those scenes that exposes the film’s writing and nothing in the scene makes sense. Auggie knows that the story is about eating a toe and the heroes keep telling him not to eat the stew, but he does anyway. He doesn’t even look before taking a bite. The scene was terrible in every way possible and it’s just hard to have more sympathy for him at this point because it’s like he wanted the monster to show up. How do you still eat the stew even when everyone told you not to do so at least a dozen times? He hides under the bed and closes his eyes so afterwards he doesn’t know where the villain is. Great…

Stella at least has an origin story to explain why she is so into murder. Something happened with her Mom a while back which messed her up and with these murders being activated by her she is not taking things so well. Still, she’s just not much of a fun character and is hanging out with a pretty bad crowd. Getting knocked into the parallel dimension didn’t do wonders for her. By virtue of being the main character she does get a lot to do and is better than her two sidekicks but never really made it into the next tier of being a solid lead.

The best character in the film is easily Ramon. He’s actually a quality character who is trying to get out of the town without getting into trouble. He’s in the wrong town for that though and you feel bad for him when the characters jump into his car and get him into trouble. Ramon can take care of himself pretty well but there’s not much you can do against super powered monsters. He still lasts for quite a while on his own though. His backstory is also pretty sympathetic since it’s hard to do something when there’s a good chance you’ll be murdered. At least his decisions actually made a lot of sense from start to finish.

While this movie isn’t an anthology you could say that the murders follow that style. Each murder is pretty different as everyone faces a different kind of threat. The hug one was pretty cool and the Scarecrow was also intense. The guy probably could have handled the situation a little better but it was another reality warping kind of threat so ultimately it would all be futile. You still shouldn’t trip so often though. The guy was drunk which didn’t help matters for him. The monster under the bed was pretty hype as well.

The spiders was definitely the worst one though. That one’s more gross than scary with spiders that defy logic. I’d argue that it was probably the most vicious way to go with the hug being the easiest since it didn’t look particularly painful or anything. The film did seem to like its more gross plots though like the toe and the bag or stuff that the heroes used early on. The scenes are brief but don’t really help its case. The film couldn’t resist and gets quite dark by the end with the backstory of the villain who is murdering everyone. We get a pretty long torture scene which is always a quick way to lose a lot of points. I feel like almost every horror film has a backstory for how the villain became all powerful and it’s always completely unnecessary. Keeping that out of things would have been good. The film should have focused on the old lady and the dog more although of course that’s always risky. The film actually did good in not letting the dog get destroyed in this film. I was pretty worried about that for a while there.

The film tries to have an emotional subplot with Stella’s Dad. He doesn’t get to appear much but he seems like a good guy. He gives her a lot of good advice throughout the film like not going outside after dark but she never listens. It’s a pretty tough situation for him too. He’s not handling it perfectly but he’s trying. It’s a plot that largely gets pushed to the side though as the movie has no real time for it. In theory a sequel would explore this more based on the ending although that doesn’t seem like it’s likely to happen. I also think a sequel wouldn’t be needed if Stella had just written a few more lines. I can’t say much more than that for spoiler reasons but if you watch the film you’ll see what I mean.

Overall, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is basically your average horror film. I’d say that it has above average graphics as some of the monsters were pretty good. It’s still held back by the usual elements though like some overly dark details and terrible writing. The characters really could have played things out a lot better than they did to the point where it was almost like a parody at times. It’s all played deadly serious though so hopefully the writers were self-aware but it’s really hard to say. If you like horror films then you’ll probably enjoy this one, otherwise I’d recommend going back and watching some Scooby Doo features instead.

Overall 2/10

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

The Tall Target Review


It’s time to look at an assassination plot and you don’t see a whole lot of these. It can be pretty fun to watch one guy try to stop the master plan on his own. It’s a similar plot to something like White House Down or Olympus Has Fallen. This film is a lot older so it isn’t quite as dramatized but you’ve got the core elements which is what makes this a pretty fun film to check out.

The movie starts with John bursting into the police office and asking if they’ve read his report. He works for the cops as well but is lower ranked and nobody really believes him. He is convinced that someone is going to try and murder Abe Lincoln before he is able to give his speech at Baltimore. The bosses laugh this off and the lead ends up throwing away his badge. He will now have to get on the train and save Lincoln on his own. Jerry’s ticket goes missing pretty quick so are the villains on to him or is his mind playing tricks on him and there is no assassination attempt?

I say that for suspense but it’s obvious that there is an attempt or there wouldn’t be a movie. Mainly the movie plays out as a mystery where you have to try and guess who the culprit is. It’s a big train that everyone is on after all so there are a ton of suspects to choose from. You’ve got Charlotte who is a writer and loves talking about politics. She doesn’t mind asking tough questions so it’s always possible that she wants to make a move and take Abe Lincoln down herself. Charlotte is a fun character and definitely makes the film interesting.

Then you’ve got Lance who is a soldier and is carrying a lot of guns on the train. Perhaps he has been paid off and wants to take one last shot to take Abe down for good. There’s his sister Ginny who is always quick to defend Lance. Perhaps she is using him to place attention away from her so that she can take the shot and win some kind of glory. Lance’s slave Rachel is also on the train. She may be forced to be an assassin if her family is hostage or for some kind of personal reasons. Finally you have Jeffers who is a general on the train. He gets along pretty well with John but that’s never a guarantee of anything. Perhaps he is trying to keep John close so he always knows where the main character is.

A large portion of the film is John trying to get intel but he has to do it slowly since he’s not in the best position. His biggest mistake was throwing away his badge in the opening scene. While it was good for dramatic effect it definitely crippled his ability to actually make a difference here. Nobody will actually believe that he is with the cops now and it’s not like he can legally arrest anyone either. This short sighted move aside John was still a pretty fun character. He certainly did lose a lot though. John definitely isn’t the best fighter out there.

In general the film had a pretty interesting cast. Jeffers made for a good assist and acted quite a bit like Watson. He’s a good shot and always has a lot of confidence. I liked the conductor as well and that’s another scene where John made a mistake. He should have let the conductor throw the fake John off the train. It really would have made things a little easier later on. Rachel was fun too. She made the right moves in the end and was a very reasonable character. The movie had high quality writing throughout and it’s part of what made the movie enjoyable. Everyone was trying to think two steps ahead of the next character and this made for a good blend of engaging characters who were all quite intelligent and knew what they were doing.

The twist at the end of the film was also pretty fun. It really adds another layer to the mystery. Everyone was getting messed with to some extent and that’s why it was such a good train ride. I really didn’t have any problems with it. Even John’s mistakes I wouldn’t count against the film because the lead doesn’t always have to be a super genius every time. Some of the mistakes he made I can easily see a person doing. If anything John was still really brave with a lot of the risks he was taking. Things could have easily backfired on him if things had gone sideways.

It’s also interesting to see the politics in this film. As the train had a lot of people from the south there were a lot of people there actively opposing Lincoln. You couldn’t find a single guy there who was actually happy about him becoming President or at least they would be too nervous to speak up about it. When you’re outnumbered politically and in a train with a ton of guns it’s probably a safe idea to just stay quiet. This also helps to prevent you from picking out the correct suspect too easily as everyone admits that they would love to shoot Lincoln. You just need to find out which one is actually serious about it while the others are all just bluffing and trying to talk a bit game.

Overall, The Tall Target is a pretty solid film. It is not a movie I was familiar with so I can definitely say that it is a hidden gem in cinema. It provides a suspenseful story and a good array of characters to back it up. The cast is almost surprisingly large with how many of these guys are well developed. The movie never overstays it’s welcome and I can whole heartedly recommend it to anyone who wants to check out a good thriller. You’ll be in for a lot of twists and turns.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Short Circuit 2 Review


It’s time to take a look at the sequel to the original Short Circuit. This time we get more of a focus on the sidekick Ben as the leads from the last film do not return. I actually thought this film was an improvement over the first one. I still wouldn’t call it great or anything, but it was pretty entertaining and I did like the climax. We get a fairly iconic song and a lot of tension.

So the film starts off by showing us that Ben is now selling tiny Johnnys down at the street. I don’t know how they let him sell government technology like this or even how nobody is buying them when they are clearly super sophisticated. There’s a lot of plot details that you just have to roll with right off the bat. Anyway, that aside he ends up meeting a girl named Sandy who is interested in the product. She wants 1000 of them within the month so she can finally have a good deal to show her boss. Her job is on the line because she has been unable to develop any good toys for the company. Ben is convinced he can’t do this, but he is stiff armed by Fred into doing so. Once Sandy leaves the two of them realize that they are in big trouble. Especially since some thugs keep showing up to their factory and beating everyone up. Luckily Johnny 5 shows up and decides that he is going to help these two.

Johnny 5 is incredibly advanced so making the 1000 is a piece of cake at this point. As a result the film needs to add some drama to make the film longer. We get that in a few different ways. First we have Fred who is trying to sell Johnny for big bucks which causes a trust issue between them. Then you have Ben who has fallen for Sandy immediately and keeps trying to ask her out but failing. Finally you have 3 comic relief villains who are trying to steal from the nearby bank. When intimidation doesn’t work it appears that they will have to use Johnny’s naivety against him. It’s an underhanded technique…which means it is perfect for these villains! Johnny also isn’t the smartest tool in the shed so it’s not like it’s a very difficult plan.

The main thing that holds this film back is the romance plot. It’s one of the worst ones that I’ve seen in a while. The point of the plot is to be rather cringey as Ben isn’t exactly used to dealing with girls, but that doesn’t make the plot any more tolerable. It’s all rather cheesy and forced the whole time. Even Ben should know better than to just read off the screen when it’s saying absurd things. The whole plot goes a bit too far. Ben is a lot better than he was in the first film, but he’s not yet a great character. He still gets in over his head and makes too many mistakes.

Fred is the far more entertaining character. He’s got a lot of street smarts so he isn’t about to get tricked or swindled by corporate. He does let greed go to his head though and it’s hard to simply wave off his betrayal of Johnny 5 in the climax. He really was going to sell the guy which is crazy since by then he knew that Johnny was alive. When it came time to fight off the thugs Fred also looked absolutely terrible. He is definitely the definition of a character who is all talk and no action. Still a fun character who elevates the movie though.

Then we have Sandy who is a big step up from the first heroine. Her journey to try and impress her boss is a lot more sympathetic than what they were going for with Stephanie. She is really desperate to do well this time and puts in the effort. The romance is pretty cheesy as I mentioned but at least Sandy was just ignoring that bit for as long as she could. The cast of the film isn’t all that big so the only other major character would be Oscar. Compared to most of these characters he is a genius so it’s pretty easy for him to get his plan across. The heroes just didn’t really know how to deal with a character like this. Johnny looked terrible in letting the comic relief villains sneak up on him in the end though.

That does take us to Johnny. He is much better than in the first film because he is no longer quite as new to the game. He still does act like a rookie at times like when people trick him into breaking into cars though. Johnny also tends to lose most of his battles by underestimating his opponents which isn’t a great trick either. I know this all sounds negative, but what helps is how he handles himself in the climax. Right when the “I Need a Hero” song starts to play you know that things are going to get good. Yes it’s a little over dramatic but this is a moment where a little cheese is fine. You’re not really meant to take this seriously but it’s still a powerful moment since Johnny is close to death at this point. It was a solid way to redeem his character right at the end and it also bumped up the movie’s soundtrack at the same time.

Overall, Short Circuit 2 was more fun than the first one. The writing was a little better with some more enjoyable jokes. Perhaps it is just that the New York style or humor works better for these guys. Fred was just a really good character to have some banter with Ben. Johnny also looked better and the climax was actually fun. It’s too bad we never got a third film since they were having this upward trend. Perhaps it will still come out at some point although it sounds like that isn’t very likely at this point. If you want to see a fun little film then this is a solid one to check out. It really doesn’t connect to the first almost at all so you can easily just jump into this one.

Overall 6/10

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

Short Circuit Review


It’s time to look at a film from a while back that I only began hearing about recently. Apparently it was a pretty big film back in the day. It’s a nice enough story and was more enjoyable than E.T. although I wouldn’t call it the most exciting flick out there. You should be reasonably entertained throughout the adventure although you’ll be shaking your head at how the characters keep making the worst decisions they can think of.

The film starts by showing off the robots through an exhibition to the army. These guys can take down opposing armies and seem to have quite a lot of potential. Unfortunately one of them becomes sentient and decides to live his own life. In the next film he’ll be known as Johnny so I may as well call him that here. Johnny meets up with a girl named Stephanie who believes he is an alien. Eventually she learns the truth and must now decide if she will help keep him safe or if she will deliver him to the feds. Can she trust them not to murder the poor guy?

Naturally in a film like this it will likely depend at least on part whether or not you think he is truly sentient. Would turning Johnny off really be the equivalent of murder? It gets pretty philosophical. Right now I don’t believe we are at the point where a robot could get sentient, but hypothetically if it was possible then naturally destroying a robot would still be the wrong thing to do. Here we have Johnny literally begging for his life so Stephanie is right in trying to keep him safe. That being said, she really doesn’t do a good job of it and gets them into a lot of sticky situations.

Johnny isn’t really my kind of character because he just doesn’t know enough about human culture. A good chunk of the film is him making a mess of Stephanie’s life and constantly missing the point. He ends up helping out more towards the end of the film as he kidnaps one of the villains and saves Stephanie’s life, but it takes him a long while to get to that point. He’s better than E.T. because that isn’t all that hard to be honest but I can’t really give him a lot more credit than that. In the end he can barely hold his own in a fight and usually has to rely on gimmicks despite having some pretty good armaments. That tells me that he still needs to work on his battle strategies.

As for Stephanie, she was trying a little too hard to be quirky. She wasn’t one of the more engaging main characters out there. She means well of course, but that’s not enough on its own. She does beat some of the other characters though. Ben is one of the scientists trying to locate Johnny and he’s easily the worst character in the film. The film takes the trope of the scientists not knowing much about human culture way too far. Almost all of his lines are pretty terrible and he’s really just good at ruining genuinely wholesome moments. He is a little better in the sequel but was written really terribly here.

Newton is the character who should be more reasonable. He’s a scientist who built his robot a little too well and Stephanie has to convince him that Johnny’s change is real. This is all well and good except that Newton is way too stubborn about the whole thing. It takes him an eternity to get with the program and his romance subplot with Stephanie is about as rushed as you could possibly imagine. Newton had potential to be a good character and has some decent scenes, but they weren’t nearly good enough.

The standout character here was actually Howard. He easily has the best scene in the film as he surprises everyone by whipping out a gun when the heroes were heading for the getaway car. It showed that he still had his old agent skills at the ready even though he no longer works in the field. That’s the kind of boss you want to have. He commanded respect and I would have liked to have sen more of him. He was also quick to fire another member for disobeying orders later on which is the right step. You can’t properly lead if you have someone undermining your authority.

The action scenes when they occur are pretty good. It was nice to see Johnny take down the other robots. They may be a bit clunky so the fights aren’t super big or anything, but they’re still solid all the same. While the film’s humor is usually missing the mark, it does have some solid scenes. The writing is pretty bad so the movie couldn’t deliver as well as it might have wanted. Short Circuit is an interesting title in that sense as I wouldn’t call it a bad film but it makes enough mistakes where I can’t call it a very good film either. That’s why it is square in the middle. It does enough right to hang in there.

Overall, Short Circuit is not the best film I’ve seen, but it will keep you entertained from start to finish. Think of it as a good film to watch once, but you won’t need to check it out again. If you like a wholesome story about a robot learning how to make friends then this is the one for you. It can get a little cheesy and the characters are pretty weak, but the core concept isn’t all that bad. It’s almost like Terminator except the robots simply aren’t a true threat at the moment. They hype up Johnny’s laser at the beginning but it never truly becomes all that powerful if you ask me. He still takes a lot of losses as the film goes on.

Overall 5/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego DC Batman: Family Matters Review


It’s time to look at one of the latest Lego adventures. DC has been particularly good at using this format and this movie is no exception. This time we’re back to focusing just on the Batman characters and it works out pretty well if you ask me. Batman steals the show and we get to adapt both the Red Hood and Omac sagas in one film. That’s pretty impressive.

The movie starts out with Batman really not liking the fact that he has to continue living as Bruce Wayne. It’s all just a big distraction from his true passion in life which is beating up enemies. It’s gotten to the point where Batman can’t even stay awake during a board meeting. Something’s got to give and he gets his chance when Wayne Enterprises develops the Brother Eye. In theory it can replace Bruce Wayne so Batman jumps on the idea and even decides to sell Wayne Enterprises entirely. Now he can be Batman 24/7. The only problem is that the city is as dangerous as ever. A mysterious figure is bumping off all of Batman’s allies one by one. If he doesn’t stop this guy soon then everyone is doomed. Additionally, Brother Eye may be deadlier than it appears to be. (Although it looks pretty deadly from the jump.)

One of the main reasons why this film works so well is because of how good Batman looks. He’s got that smug confidence that we’re all used to seeing at this point. Not only is Batman highly skilled but he knows it and it’s even gone to his head by this point. Only Alfred is really able to keep him in check. The others can just hope that Batman sees it their way. The voice actor has done a good job of becoming an iconic voice for the character as well. There doesn’t seem to be anything that Batman can’t do at this point. He beats Solomon Grundy with ease and always has a plan of action even if Brother Eye proves to be a formidable foe.

The rest of the Bat characters are also fun. Damian wants to prove himself as Robin but has to work pretty hard at this since Batman really doesn’t trust him yet. He does well enough when it counts and takes down a bunch of the robots with ease. Batwoman gets one of the larger roles from the allies though. She’s certainly got a lot of confidence and takes Killer Croc on with no hesitation. I like the concept of Batwoman since she’s more of a loner like Huntress. Batwoman doesn’t necessarily work under Batman since they usually have no affiliation. That being said, her skills do suffer a bit as a result since she doesn’t get that training. Here she has got that confidence that you always want to see in a hero.

Batgirl gets less to do as a result though. She holds a petty grudge against Nightwing for a good portion of the film. Her fight with Scarecrow was fun as she had to work her way through illusions and mirrors to get at him. The mind games definitely took their toll though which made Red Hood’s job pretty easy. Nightwing looks good and is the only one to not fall for the quick sucker hit. At least he gave Red Hood a good fight and that makes sense. From all of the Robins I do consider Dick Grayson to be the most skilled. After that I would put Jason Todd as number 2 and then Damian as 3. While I do think Tim Drake is a great character and a fun Robin, he’d have to round out the group almost by default. The Robins are just stacked when it comes to power.

Red Hood definitely looks really good here. He gets a lot of hype and seems to be the smartest character next to Batman. The film has no shortage of emotional moments like this plot line as well as the reason why Brother Eye is so sore. Red Hood’s identity may not be much of a secret and I don’t think it was supposed to be, but it’s still nice to have the reveal later on. It’s just a good arc in general whether it’s through a film or a Lego adventure. We didn’t even need the Omac subplot and the film would have still been great but it made for a solid climax.

It’s always good to round things out with some big action scenes and Family Matters didn’t forget about that part. I can’t really say that I had any issues with the film. As far as animation goes there isn’t really anything to say because it’s the same as always. Either you like the Lego style or you don’t. This film wouldn’t be changing your opinion one way or the other because it’s not trying anything different with that. I don’t think there is much you could try either. Legos will always look like Legos or it wouldn’t be a film in that style. That’s the way I see it at least.

A Lego film will usually live or die on the writing. If the writing is bad then the jokes won’t really land and the whole thing will fall flat. What the film is hoping for is that the jokes will be pretty funny and this one succeeds there. Right from the gate we get a lot of great lines. I wouldn’t even mind a whole film about Bruce Wayne just mocking everyone and trying to make it a whole film without people blowing his cover. Batman may not be as cautious when he’s Bruce Wayne like when he’s talking about his Batman job on the phone, but it goes hand in hand with his contempt for everyone. Batman doesn’t think it’s a security risk to be on the phone because nobody’s smart enough to stop him. The arrogance makes for a lot of comedic moments.

Overall, Family Matters is one of the stronger DC Lego specials. The dialogue is some of the best I’ve seen in the franchise and there’s a lot of action here. If you mentally switch the animation out this could legitimately be one of the big DC animated films. The fights are good and the pacing is tight. The film feels like it ends pretty quickly as a result. If you like Lego or at least don’t mind the format then I highly recommend checking this one out. You really can’t go wrong here and it’s always fun to see Batman getting his hype. Even if his scenes may not all be meant to be taken seriously they’re still hype.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

My Hero Academia: Heroes: Rising Review


It’s time to take a look at the new My Hero Academia film that came out. My Hero Academia (Although I usually just call it My Hero Academy) has become a really popular series and is now one of the big 3. Gone are the days when Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece were the 3 kings. While One Piece has remained in existence we’ve got a new generation of titles. My Hero Academia, Black Clover, and Demon Slayer are definitely those titles and MHA is the only one to currently have a film. Demon Slayer’s is coming up soon but now MHA has 2 so it has been on a nice roll. This one improves upon the first film and makes for another great experience.

The film takes place right after the Overhaul arc. The heroes are on high alert since the League of Villains now have bullets that can erase a person’s quirk. The Pros stop them from delivering more cargo but this results in a villain known as Nine escaping and joining back up with his friends. The 4 of them decide to take down the planet and since Nine can steal quirks he is a pretty big threat. In his first big scene he basically takes down a city in the span of a minute. The last quirk he needs is on an isolated island known as Nabu.

Meanwhile, Class 1A is currently on a vacation of sorts in Nabu. Calling it a vacation doesn’t really do their mission justice though. This is their chance to show that they can operate as real heroes. No pros or villains should be around so they work on smaller errands. The town loves them except for one girl named Mahoro. She wants to prove to her little brother Katsuma that heroes are all fake. Deku and the others will have to convince her otherwise, but it’ll be difficult because Nine and his partners won’t lose so easily. They are here to take names and their target is Katsuma. Can the students protect these two kids until back-up arrives?

I’m glad that the heroes have their provisional licenses now because it’s always annoying when the pros tell the students not to help. This time Deku and the others can go full blast from the start. Deku is stronger than most pros at this point anyway so it makes sense. The vast majority of the film takes place on the island with a lot of battles so that’s definitely pretty awesome. The opening scene is also a lot of fun though. We get a pretty quick skirmish with the League of Villains and Endeavor also gets in on the action. Dabi gets a good amount of hype here since he is able to block Endeavor’s first blow although he is ultimately defeated. We don’t get to see the pro heroes do anything after this so it was nice of them to get a solid scene here.

There are some brief interludes with Hawks and All Might during the movie but they never actually amount to anything. I suppose just seeing Hawks was hype for his fans but he really had no impact on the film so I don’t think he even needed to be here. If you cut him out than nothing changes. I was expecting him to get a mini fight at the end of something. Something sort of like Shigaraki’s role at the very end of the film. It was brief but pretty hype. Admittedly the other character in the scene looked pretty bad as I don’t know what he could have expected here, but his end was inevitable. This also served to help Shigaraki’s hype.

All right, let’s go back to the island. One fun thing about the set up here is that every hero gets to help out this time. Class 1-A all chip in even though not all of them are big fighters. At this point in the series there are some characters who have heavily surpassed the others like Deku and Bakugo then Todoroki, Kirishima, and Tokoyami. The rest aren’t necessarily combat types although they can fight when needed. There are 4 villains running around here and they’re all pro level which makes for some pretty tough battles. The fight scenes are pretty great. I’ll leave the best one for last. The guy with the puppets against Bakugo and the others was pretty fun. My only complaint there would be that Kirishima was heavily nerfed.

In this film Kirishima and Todoroki were given a lot of shade. Both of them are way stronger than how they looked here. Everything Todoroki tried was completely useless against the wolf’s attacks and Kirishima didn’t even get to put up a fight against anybody. His only good moment was blocking the energy blast at the end but he should have been using Red Riot from the start. Meanwhile Tokoyami looked pretty good here. While he ultimately did need some help against his opponent, he was the only student to hold his own even if briefly against one of the 4 big enemies. His quirk has a lot of room to grow and so I could see him becoming a pretty big fighter by the end of the series.

Uravity also looked really good here. We got to see her look a lot more determined than usual as she used her gravity powers quite a bit. As I mentioned, the class just got to shine here a lot more than usual. While Deku and Bakugo are clearly the power hitters, but the others are at least making contributions. From the villains Mummy gets the smallest role, but still has a good fight to himself. Then we have Slice who seems a lot more rational than the other villains and doesn’t panic very easily. Her hair abilities are quite lethal in a fight. Chimera is the most impressive as he was a beast in combat. He easily exceeded the kids in battle. Their plan to use the toxin to paralyze him was quite good but Chimera surpassed even that. He was probably a little too strong as this was the only battle where it was hard to see the heroes taking him down. It was still a clever move from Todoroki and Kirishima though. Chimera was my favorite villain next to Nine.

Nine is the standout villain here. He’s got a lot of determination and his reasons for wanting to change the world seem pretty personal. What I like is that we don’t really get to see much of a sob story though. Villains really don’t need one. All we need to know is that Nine has to be stopped, but that he won’t make it easy. The fact that he can absorb quirks through combat makes him scary tough and he gets more and more broken as the film goes on. By the end he’s clearly one of the strongest villains we’ve seen in the whole series. I dare say that only All For One would likely surpass him here. The villain from the first film would be close but I’d put him under Nine.

When you watch the film you get a really good look at how powerful the guy is. He keeps on getting up long after the point where you figure he would have been down for the count. He only has one weakness and his pure drive is able to help him get past it by the end. The final fight almost gets meta with how everyone’s fading out and moving across the terrain. Nine being able to comprehend and block such moves is totally crazy.

Bakugo is one of the main characters here and he definitely looks great. The guy’s as brutal as ever as he constantly talks about destroying the villains. Bakugo takes each fight seriously even if he doesn’t really see the value in the less exciting parts of the job. He’s always got a bit of a point behind his actions although he never bothers to share them. The film has a good Goku and Vegeta dynamic with the two of these characters. This film really seems to paint Bakugo as the more talented fighter while Deku’s sheer stats are higher. I’d say this seems pretty accurate since Bakugo trains on his fighting style so often.

Then you’ve got Deku who is still quite the contrast from Bakugo. He just loves being a hero and will take on any task no matter how small it may seem. Deku doesn’t take things personally and just rolls with each insult. This doesn’t mean he’s a pushover when it comes down to a fight though. Since he has One For All, Deku’s powers are always at a high level. He can only use 20% of this power and yet he is already a heavyweight. Once he gains 100% mastery he will really be impossible to defeat.

As you can probably tell from how I described the fights, the animation here is top tier. All of the energy attacks look fantastic and the animation is always moving. There are no shortcuts to be found here and it’s all very theatrical. The battles with 9 are particularly impressive as I liked how his energy barriers were used. Through dialogue we know that the characters can’t see these fields so they are animated for our benefit. It’s also a way to show us the contrasting styles between how Bakugo and Deku fights. The soundtrack is also a lot of fun. While I didn’t notice any new themes, the themes from the show work as well as they ever have. I probably would have chosen a song that’s a little faster than Eri’s for the final fight, but it’s a pretty emotional song so they were going for a different angle.

The film’s ending will vary for some. I’d say it was on the weaker side. The film comes close to making a pretty big decision and then cops out on it. I understand why the film backpedaled on that one, but they definitely should have just gone with it and lived with the consequences. That would have really made the film incredible and people would have lost their minds walking out of the theater. The ending slightly weakens the emotional impact of the film but it’s not something that ultimately limits the film much. We still had a great ride with terrific fights all the way through. Even the kids were pretty reasonable for a change. I thought the sister did a reasonable job in trying to turn her brother against the heroes without going overboard as the kids usually do in these kinds of films.

Overall, My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising is a pretty great film. The opening may take a little time to get to the good stuff but once the fighting starts there is really no turning back. The onslaught of nonstop fighting is great and this film will have a whole lot of replay value. The final fights with Nine are particularly impressive. The animation is stellar and no matter which student is your favorite you’ll have a good time. I can’t think of any other recent film that was able to juggle so many different characters at a time. The power levels may not always be perfect, but the film did a good job of keeping them pretty well balanced the whole time. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you should definitely check it out. It’s the kind of film that is definitely a lot of fun in theaters.

Overall 8/10

0 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

It’s Alive Review


It’s time to check out a film about a monster baby. This seems to have been quite the popular genre back in the day with a lot of terrible films that had a similar premise. I can’t say that this film is much better than those. It’s pretty much what you would expect as the monster slashes through everyone until eventually someone remembers how to fire a gun. The plot requires a lot of suspense of disbelief with how slow everyone is to react and how nobody acts realistically. It’s definitely a movie that you will want to avoid.

The movie starts with Frank and Lenore excited about their next baby. It’s about to show up so they head to the hospital. Unfortunately the baby jumps out and murders a bunch of people before escaping through the air ducts. The hospital asks Frank to keep this quiet so they can exterminate the monster in peace. Frank gives them his blessing and is promptly fired from his job as a PR guy. He takes Lenore home and they tell their kid Chris to stay at a different house while this all blows over. Unfortunately the hospital and the police have a hard time tracking down this baby so it goes on a murder spree as it gets closer and closer to where Frank lives. After it murders a few more people it is now ready to go home. Can Frank stop the monster and save the day or are they all about to get eaten?

There are a ton of problems with this film but lets start with the biggest one. The film squeezes in some animal violence for no discernible reason. The instant you see that Chris owns a cat you know that things are going to go south. It’s pretty much the film throwing in the white flag before it has even started. It naturally gets destroyed by the end of the film in a pretty gruesome fashion. It takes away from the film’s attempt to humanize the monster by the end by saying that it won’t murder family. The family pet is clearly family so I don’t think the writers were really looking at the right script. There’s no way to sympathize with the baby at this point.

It also makes Chris’ reaction feel rather off. He notices the cat right away, but then dismisses this as he tries to console the baby. That’s not really a proper reaction, it just makes you think Chris has gone nuts. Perhaps the experience broke his mind the way that it did for Lenore. She looks pretty bad the whole time too. At first she is pretty crazy when the experience first happens and seems to be on board with destroying the creature. Later on she grows attached to it after it’s already murdered tons of people. It’s simply too far gone by then and she should realize that storing it in the back will only delay the inevitable. Again I must also point out that the cat was taken down by this point which is no good.

Then the film is also quite violent. It’s one of those films where the director must have had many pots of paint at the ready because he tends to throw it at all of the characters right off the bat. Everyone dies as violently as possible. We rarely see the creature move so it’s hard to say how fast it is, but it’s the size of a baby. How is it destroying so many people? People never seem to use their guns in times and just stand there like sacks of potatoes as they get completely train wrecked. I’d have liked to see people at least put up some kind of fight. It’s like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. There’s no realistic way you should be losing to a tomato. This film’s all about shock value so that’s really the only point to all of this. I guess they figured it doesn’t have to make sense so long as it is entertaining. Unfortunately it wasn’t entertaining.

At least Frank is trying to end this although he also gets a little too obsessive on trying to put distance between himself and the creature. What he should have done was move out of town for the 3 weeks with Lenore and Chris and hope that the monster couldn’t follow them. It would allow them to get some new surroundings and hopefully help with the coping process. So long as that was accomplished perhaps they would all be able to move on. To be fair, he had no reason to assume the baby could follow him all the way home but in horror films like this the overall message is really that nobody is safe. Wherever you go there will always be the monster right around the corner.

One of the worst parts about the film is the fact that it’s just not interesting. An evil baby doesn’t make for a visually interesting villain nor are the characters good enough to keep you engaged. It’s a very bleak film the whole time where the heroes can’t trust anyone. Everyone seems to be out to get them and if you’re a remotely nice character then you’re gonna get bumped off. Ironically the nicest characters are the ones who end up paying the highest price. If you’re looking out for yourself then odds are that you’ll survive this experience which is pretty odd. That’s not exactly what you would have expected. The film could have been a little more decent if Lenore hadn’t gone crazy by the end but I don’t think the score could have been saved all that much if at all. This film was just beyond help.

Overall, It’s Alive is a pretty terrible film. There really isn’t anything redeemable about it as it checks off all the wrong boxes. The characters are pretty terrible and really make the worst decisions possible. The creature murders way too many people before being taken down to the point where you have to stretch your disbelief quite a lot because there is no way all of the humans should be losing like this. It’s just crazy to see everyone going down like dominoes. I’d highly recommend watching something a little more wholesome like Alvin and the Chipmunks. That one shows how you can bond with a nice creature as a child or sorts as opposed to an evil child in this film who doesn’t even appear to be human. Perhaps there was a good message here once but it’s all gone as the film goes on.

Overall 0/10

1 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Anaconda Review


It’s time to take a look at an old snake film. Whenever the main villain of a film is an animal that’s a pretty bad sign for the film since it’s going to be hard to defeat it without resorting to animal violence. Whether the animal is an antagonist or not, injuring an animal in a film will always lose you some points. At least if you’re a series like a comic strip of a television program you can have enough episodes to counter it. A single movie? That’s a tall order and this film wasn’t able to get around that. It’s a weak film with or without the animal element but it didn’t help matters.

The film starts with a quick murder. We then cut to Terri and her crew as they are filming a documentary about a tribe that lives nearby. Unfortunately none of them know where the tribe is so they’re basically just wandering aimlessly. Their boat runs across a man named Paul who says he used to be a pastor and now he’s a snake hunter. The heroes mostly find this guy suspicious but let him and his large bags come aboard without doing any kind of check. He then starts to give them a lot of directions and before they know it the group is now on a completely different course. Steven is injured so Paul has assumed control of the ship. Will he really take them to the nearest hospital or is he just leading them to their doom?

From the start you can tell this guy is probably a villain but you can understand why the heroes picked him up. What they should have done immediately after was check his bags though and at least held onto the guns. Why give a guy you just met 5 minutes ago access to all of your weapons and life supports? Seriously, they give this guy complete freedom on the ship after knowing him for a few hours. The guy can tell a catchy story but they really shouldn’t be so careless in the wild. The crew initially outnumbers him but slowly the crew starts shrinking and their odds grow worse and worse.

The most annoying part here is probably how many times Paul punks them as the film goes on. From heading to abandoned boats to getting others to leave for a bit, Paul plays everyone like a fiddle. He’s also pretty smug about it as he finds everyone’s deaths amusing and nobody even points a finger at him. By the time they give him the loaded gun you’re just shaking your heads at the leads. Even once they finally do have him down for the count you’ve always got that one crew member who manages to somehow lose a fight to a guy who is tied up and on the ground. The scene is hard to buy into. Surely you’d at least be able to stab the guy while you’re that close right? Paul gets way too much hype as a villain. The heroes probably should have beaten him up a bit more. Terri’s right that they shouldn’t murder him, but break the guy’s legs or something. At least tie him up better. In films I don’t get why they just tie the villain up with a quick strand of rope. Since their lives are in danger they should have used a ton of layers at the very least.

As for the characters, it’s not the strongest cast I’ve seen. Gary is annoying the whole time as he is quick to sell everyone out for some cash. You’d think he would have some more principals. Following a guy you just met isn’t a good idea. Meanwhile Denise means well but she looks terrible at the end of the film which destroys her character. She spends way too much time gloating and getting psyched out to be taken seriously. Steven does a good job of at least trusting his instincts over Paul’s, but he was one of the people who was quickest to believe Paul’s story so that loses him a bunch of points from me.

Mateo is a character who clearly had a past with Paul. He doesn’t bring it up and doesn’t clue anyone in. I can’t tell if it’s because he’s afraid of the guy or afraid that since he was illegally poaching the heroes would turn him in. Either way he makes the worst call of being the last one on the ship knowing that the place is super dangerous. He probably should have done….just about anything else. Warren’s got some character at least as he likes a good game of golf. Right away he threatens to murder Danny though and you realize why you would never want to go on a cruise with these guys. Warren was one of the most entertaining characters at least.

The best character was definitely Danny. He didn’t give up as quick as the others and was always ready for a fight. He comes up with some good plans at the end and steps up to the plate when the chips are down. He’s easily the highlight here. Terri’s the director of the film so she’s got a good amount of say as well. Unfortunately Paul definitely tricks her quite a bit as the film goes on and she usually makes the wrong decision. While her plan to nab Paul ended up working, it’s a plan I never like. I think you just need to go in and take him down. If Terri had let Danny go to finish off Paul early on then most of the film may not have even happened. That would have definitely been the easiest way to end things.

This film is pretty violent so definitely keep that in mind if you’re checking it out. The snakes aren’t playing around and there is a decent body count here. Since people are getting crunched it’s not quite as violent and the TV version I saw cut out most of the actual climaxes, but even so this can be an intense one. There is quite a bit of animal violence here as well with the snake taking a lot of hits and a monkey also being shot. As a result the film keeps on shooting itself in the foot. The writing is pretty terrible as well with a lot of plot convenience for things to get nearly as far as they did. Any reasonable crew would have bumped Paul off early on.

Overall, Anaconda is a film that drags on as it goes for a lot of quick thrills without much story to back it up. The characters are annoying and the pacing isn’t very good. The main Snake makes for some striking visuals as it busts through windows and doors while approaching its prey. It’s a good antagonist but at the same time there are only so many ways you can show off a snake so before long it gets into almost recycled footage territory. If the film had taken place in a city I think it would have been more interesting. Anaconda plays itself pretty straight so there’s no real humor or anything. I think it actually could have used some of that. As it stands, I’d recommend watching something else instead like Sonic The Hedgehog while it’s still in theaters.

Overall 1/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Review


It’s time to look at a fairly iconic film from back in the day. Just about everyone’s heard of Bueller’s Day Off from back in the day. How could you not? It was basically a game changer at the time with breaking the fourth wall and those parts have aged pretty well. It’s a fun film where the characters go all out in how crazy they can get although Ferris and Rooney are carrying this film from start to finish.

The film starts off with Ferris deciding to stay home from school this time. It’s a beautiful day out so he really doesn’t want to have to miss it. He fakes being sick and then once his parents leave he is ready to have fun. He calls up his best friend Cameron and also gets his girlfriend Sloane to leave school early. The 3 of them then decide to do everything they’d want to do in a day including going to a parade, a fancy restaurant, a pool, etc. They have quite a lot of time to really do whatever they want to do over the course of the day. The only thing that could possibly get in their way is Ferris’ old enemy…Mr. Rooney.

Mr. Rooney is definitely the best character in the film. He’s the only character who is actually able to see what’s going on right from the start. The others are just being manipulated and tricked, but not Mr. Rooney. The tough part is just that he’s pretty much outnumbered right from the start. Even when he gets hard proof through the computer it gets deleted because Ferris is apparently a top hacker on top of being a genius and everyone’s hero. Rooney has a lot of confidence though and goes all in when he’s sure that he’s got Ferris beat. He endures quite a lot of punishment from the cast by the end of the film. At one point he even gets kicked into an unconscious state. That being said, this part wasn’t his best plan. Even if he did bump into Ferris at his house…what would that prove? The whole point is that Ferris was supposed to be at home sick.

Rooney does end up giving us one of the most tense ending scenes I’ve seen in a while. He’s forced to choose between getting on a bus with some kids of trying to make it home in his beaten condition. The problem is that once he enters the bus it’s actually his group of students which makes things even worse. His rep is really never going to be the same after that but since the school would be gossiping anyway I wouldn’t take it too hard if I was him. It just means he’s really got to get Ferris now, but it’ll be tough since even the police force is on his side.

As I mentioned, Ferris is the other character who looks great throughout. He has plans for just about everything and things always do seem to go his way. Whatever Ferris tries ends up working and a good reason for that is that Ferris took the time to get to know everyone. Everyone already likes Ferris as a person so that makes it easier for him to get away with things. If he already had a bad rep then things would be a little more difficult. One of the more emotional moments is when a drug dealer explains how Ferris is a good guy to talk to and has a lot of advice on various things. It shows that Ferris is going around really doing his best to help everyone he comes across. Now that’a selfless character.

Meanwhile you’ve got his sister Jeanie doing her best to bust Ferris. She is jealous of the fact that things always go well for him and wants to get him in big trouble. It makes her appear as pretty petty the whole time. It really shouldn’t matter to her and she should just attend school. She even actively goes out of her way to hurt people trying to help Ferris like when she threw away all of the donations for him. That was definitely a very mean thing to do. Her character is just too far gone to redeem by the end and her quick affair with the drug guy didn’t help matters.

She wasn’t my least favorite character though. That would have to be Cameron. Cameron is Ferris’ best friend and he actually was sick at the beginning of the movie. He spends a lot of time complaining about this and telling Ferris he should have stayed home. It’s a little late for that once you’re actually outside so that just makes him a bit more annoying. He panics quite a lot and then when he has his big moment at the end all he really does is mess up the car and put everyone else in even bigger trouble. Even if Cameron’s trying to prove a point, wrecking a car that is worth so much money is just a bad idea. It really doesn’t help anything and he’s just annoying throughout. Ferris probably would have had more fun if it was just him and Sloane.

Sloane’s a reasonable character although despite appearing throughout the movie it’s hard to really gauge what her personality is. She seems to enjoy just tagging along with Ferris’ adventures but otherwise probably wouldn’t be quite as wild as him. It seems like this isn’t exactly a new occurrence as she plays along with his scheme pretty casually and doesn’t tend to panic much. That’s how it should be, you gotta just take things in stride so Sloane did good.

The film’s at its best with Ferris messing with the adults and just having a lot of fun. He’s certainly done a good job of getting his room all tricked out so that he can run this scam. The only thing is that when you think about it, he’s got so many things set up that he must have done it more than once. His parents act like it’s the first time and usually he just cuts out school the normal way. If Ferris did plan all of this out for one shot then he really did put in a ton of effort. You may feel bad for the parents here because they do their best to be really supportive of Ferris throughout.

Overall, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a fun film. The idea of taking a sick day off on a beautiful day makes sense. Typically I would always take one sick day per semester too for kicks although I didn’t have to pretend to be sick since you are allowed an unexcused absence. Part of what really makes the film work is the big rivalry between Ferris and Rooney. You need that kind of dynamic for the film to work and both of them fulfill their roles perfectly. Cameron and Jeanie’s roles could have been axed though and it wouldn’t have really changed much. At times the film can be a bit exaggerated with how badly Rooney is beat up, but this does go hand in hand with the tone the film is going for. It’s an extreme comedy so some slapstick like that is to be expected. If you haven’t watched this film yet and are in the mood for a good comedy then I’d recommend checking it out.

Overall 6/10