Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

The Goddess of Spring Review


It’s time to look at a Disney short based on a very dark Greek myth. I remember having to read that myth over and over again as part of a deconstruction and it’s definitely super twisted the way most of those myths are. I never liked the Greek Myths because they all go way over the top on being gritty and unnecessarily mean spirited. Fortunately you can always count on Disney to shake things up and make the experience a lot more wholesome. That is exactly the case with The Goddess of Spring. It’s a fun little adventure you can just enjoy without any worry. The main character is a bit iffy though.

The special starts with the goddess singing as her creatures make her a crown. She’s ready to have a good day but this is interrupted when Hades shows up and kidnaps her. She doesn’t really put up much of a fight and her creatures get bullied by the demons. After being in the Underworld for a while Hades is upset that the goddess isn’t enjoying the scenery. He decides to grant her one wish. She wants to go home so he compromises and says that she can be home for 6 months and at his place for the other 6 months. She agrees to these terms and heads back home for more singing and cheer.

It’s definitely a little disappointing to see her creatures back away so quickly when Hades shows up. What happened to standard loyalty and defending your friends when the going gets tough? Now the goddess knows that she can’t count on these people for beans when it really counts. She didn’t do much better herself though. She should have tried to fight since she has godly abilities. Then once she is in the Underworld she doesn’t even try to say anything until Hades asks her what’s up. She didn’t really have a whole lot of agency in this special and was way too passive the whole time.

Meanwhile Hades is carrying this film as he belts out song after song and hatches plans. It’s quite fortunate for the goddess that Hades was a very reasonable character in this special. He’s not portrayed as a good guy since he still did kidnap her, but at least he is portrayed as someone who actually cares what she thinks. Relenting to her going home for half a year was certainly a surprising compromise.

This special is part musical so there are a lot of songs. I can’t say that any of them were quite my style. It’s going for a certain kind of style to which I’m not really a fan. The songs are more loud than engaging without any nice beats to accompany them. The animation holds up pretty well though considering how old this is. The animations are very fluid with nice backgrounds and it all looks very consistent.

Overall, The Goddess of Spring is a nice enough story. I don’t think you’ll end up re watching this one for a while but there’s no reason not to check it out. It’s only about 5 minutes and if you are ever curious about the old legends then getting introduced to them by Disney is the best way to do it. You get to the heart of the story without all of the extra details.

Overall 5/10

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

A Star is Born (1976) Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 3/10

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

Pitch Perfect 2 Review


It’s definitely been a while since I saw the first Pitch Perfect. The series definitely goes for a very “Bring it On” vibe throughout and this sequel is no exception. A film being about A Capella is definitely still pretty original since that’s not the most popular form of entertainment out there and the movies consistently make you aware of this fact as everyone comments on it. Unfortunately I can’t say that this film was a success, it makes pretty much all of the mistakes you would expect.

The movie starts with the Bellas performing on another grand stage. Unfortunately there ends up being a mishap involving Amy which shames the group and puts them in a global controversy. Their group is now about to be disbanded. Fortunately, due to some quick thinking on the group’s part they are going to get a second chance. If they want to keep the group alive then they are going to have to win the world tournament. The problem is that America has never won it before and the commentators mention that nobody likes the U.S. so it’ll never happen. Still, at least now they have something to fight for!

The group isn’t in perfect sync at the moment though. Beca still enjoys this competition, but she is ready to move on with her life and has begun an internship at a big music recording studio. She is actually having some success here, but keeping this big secret is threatening to ruin the group forever. Meanwhile a new girl named Emily has shown up and she really wants to be a Bella. Her Mom was one and always mentioned that it was the best time of her life. Emily is doing her best to fit in, but the only issue is that the others are giving her a hard time and the group may not even exist soon. Still, she is ready to give it her all. Can the girls find a way to win this tournament against the German favorites DSM?

Well, I guess we should get into the positives first because they are outnumbered. Some of the songs can still be catchy. I always like the idea of a Capella battle which is just really cool. One group starts a song and then when the judge gives the queue the next team has to immediately jump in with a different song, but tuned to the same beat. In a sense this means the first team will always have the advantage, but since they’re starting they need to pick a song that picks up right away. This film has a bigger song battle than the first film as it is around 4-5 groups all going at it. It’s easily the best part of the film and really should have been the climax.

I also liked Sammy. He’s Beca’s boss at the studio and is really a scene stealer. He’s definitely a bit on the rude side, but definitely does know what he is doing. He’s got a real quick wit when it comes to music even if he is considerably slower on the take when it comes to learning someone’s name. That’s one thing he couldn’t wrap his head around. His dynamic with one of the interns was also pretty fun as the guy kept on throwing ideas, but Sammy really didn’t like any of them. Honestly I didn’t think that the guy’s ideas were all that bad. At least he was trying right? This is exactly why some people don’t volunteer ideas because you don’t want to get shut down like that. I think part of what makes these scenes work though is the intern never loses his nerve and keeps trying to talk anyway. He certainly doesn’t take it personally and it takes a lot of fortitude to keep getting back up.

I thought Emily was also a reasonable character. She wasn’t as strong as Sammy, but at least she had a lot of enthusiasm and wanted to help make the Bellas better. It’s hard to excuse her for messing up in the music battle since that was a bit selfish, but otherwise I don’t think she made any mistakes. She felt more like the main character than Beca this time around with how much of a focus she got. Without her in the squad ironically not much may have really changed, but I’m sure her optimism helped the group out a lot off screen as well.

Now lets get into the bad parts of the film. First off, the writing is pretty terrible. Almost every line is someone making a dirty joke or just saying something super offensive for no real reason. The latter kind of humor can work if handled perfectly like in Airplane, but you really have to have talented writers to pull it off. Otherwise everyone just ends up being unlikable and you’re always getting ready to cringe at what’s about to be said next. There is really no safe point where you can just wait for it to all go away.

The romance plots in the film are all handled poorly as well. This is to be expected, but they all move very fast with no realistic development. You’ve got the magician who likes Emily but can’t even form a coherent sentence together. Then you have Amy and the other guy whose romance goes from being completely shut down to then they are back in biz. If I were the guy I’d be a little worried since Amy constantly hints that she will have a hard time sticking to one guy so that really does not bode well.

Meanwhile Beca isn’t quite as good as she used to be. Her keeping the massive internship secret was not a good idea. She also gets overly defensive about it when pushed which is just playing the blame game at this point. Beca also gets completely defeated by the leader of DSM in every single confrontation they have, which was not a good look. She may not be the leader of the team or anything, but she is a senior member so you would expect her to stay strong and at least have some kind of retort to the antagonists. By losing each time she really lost her chance of being a capable member.

Then you have Amy whose gimmick revolves around constantly using self deprecating humor on herself and also leads the charge for most of the iffy jokes. She’s the one who gets the group into trouble at the very beginning of the film and doesn’t really stop from there. Her character is definitely the most extreme from the group but it doesn’t always work out in a good way.

There are other characters on the Bellas and some of them have a good sized role but not to the same extent as the big 3. Mostly they’re just here for humor scenes and the leader is the only one who gets a role. She has good reason to be upset since none of the others seem to be taking the team seriously at times. She did invest multiple years on the team so to watch it go down like this is tragic.

The film did a good job of picking commentators who really sound like professional ones in real life. The humor there is supposed to be in how crude they are while announcing. I’ll grant the film that the voices are on point and sometimes they land a good joke but usually the guy goes a little too far. Both of them constantly walk into the insults and then throw some more of them out there.

As for the climax, that one was underwhelming. I didn’t mind the songs in general. Using a competition to end off the film is a good finale. It’s just that the film really gave the Bellas a bad song to end things off with. DSM’s song completely blew theirs out of the water so it’s hard to see how the heroes won that match. I suppose going for a brand new song is a pretty bold tactic, but not one that would win you the world championships. Of course music is completely subjective, but for me it was one of the weakest songs in the whole film so ending off with that was…interesting. It really didn’t have energy compared to DSM’s.

Overall, Pitch Perfect 2 is not a sequel that takes the series to new heights. It makes all the mistakes it possibly can. The plot makes sense for a sequel as you can’t get bigger than the world championships and adding a new main character was good since she was better than most of the established ones. That being said, she couldn’t help carry the film. More scenes with Sammy would have been great since he was definitely entertaining. This is the kind of film that may be fun as you are watching it, but ultimately falls well short of being a good title. If you want a better musical film you should check out Camp Rock or High School Musical.

Overall 3/10

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

West Side Story Review


It’s time to look at another popular musical from back in the day. This one has not aged nearly as well as Footloose and ends up being a pretty bad film. It has some interesting storylines and characters, but ultimately the movie falls apart because it is lacking in true heroes. There really isn’t anyone to root for by the end and while the film left the door open to a team up in the second half, it ultimately never happened. The ending isn’t really satisfying for any of the characters.

The movie starts by introducing us to two gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. These two do not get along and have been fighting over turf for a very long time. Both groups are roughly equal in power so nothing ever changes. One day the leaders of both gangs decide to end things once and for all with a big fight. Bernardo and Riff shake on it and prepare for battle. A wrinkle to this is that Tony has fallen in love with Maria and they are both in different gangs. Maria pleads with Tony to put an end to this fight and he decides to do so, but it won’t be so easy. In trying to stop this confrontation he may just end up making it worse.

I mentioned that there aren’t any characters to really root for. This is because they tend to be corrupt or make terrible decisions, but one solid character was Riff. He’s the leader of the Jets and seemed to be a lot more capable than the others. He was ready to fight at any time and always kept his cool. If not for Tony’s meddling he definitely had the win pretty decisively. He actually looked a lot like a younger captain Kirk and fought like him as well. His long skit which poked fun at the justice system was also solid and one of the best songs in the movie. It’s a shame that he didn’t get to appear more since I also think he would have kept his gang from crossing the line with Anita later on.

There’s little reason to root for the Jets because of that scene. There’s a moment later on in the film when Anita is sent by Maria to deliver a message to Tony. She is stopped by the gang though and while it is reasonable for them to stop her from meeting with him, they also decide to attack her. It’s basically 10 vs 1 and very quickly gets into downright villain territory with how they try to degrade her. There’s just no coming back from that especially since everyone was in on it. So, that means that not a single one of the remaining Jets was a decent human being.

The film also gives you reason to root for the Sharks if anything as the dialogue implies that the Jets started the fight with them just because the Sharks are outsiders. The cops are also more on the Jets side even if they just don’t like teens in general. The deck is stacked against the Sharks. Bernardo also seemed reasonable at times even if he definitely was not when Tony showed up. At that point he wasn’t helping matters and that’s why Riff had to step in. The rest of the gang doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time.

We’ve got Tony who is the pacifist, but he comes across as more annoying than anything else. I never liked the trope of the character holding back his ally from fighting while allowing the villain to get a cheap shot in. If you’re going to try and stop a fight then you’ve also got to make sure you stop the other side from attacking as well. Tony’s final move to try and get himself destroyed is also not a good one. You’d expect him to at least try and avenge Maria instead.

As for Maria, she was giving Tony a lot of pretty unreasonable demands the whole time. Ultimately she is the one who is getting him into all of this trouble. Why should it be his responsibility to stop two gangs single handily? That’s just very hard to do and so she definitely takes some of the blame for the ending as well. Anita was a more selfless character if anything as she put aside her feelings to help Maria time and time again despite knowing that this was a bad idea. Her character arc is definitely one of the most tragic ones as she ends up losing almost everything with nothing to gain.

There are quite a few songs here, but they aren’t very catchy in comparison to other musicals. The “Keep it cool” song was very surreal though and was fun in an ironic way. It was cool to see the characters dancing around silently in the garage. The dancing was handled pretty well in general. The opening scene might have been a little slow with all of the clicking and silent moving, but it did ultimately lead to a fun little confrontation. The film is at its best when it tries to throw a little humor around like with the skit that I mentioned earlier.

The serious moments don’t work nearly as well. This includes the romance which ends up being more annoying than anything. One such scene is when the characters are meeting by the balcony. Both of them make a lot of noise considering that they are supposed to be doing this in total secrecy. Then you have the ending which definitely doesn’t work for me either. At the very least you would expect Maria to take a shot. Knocking out both gangs would have been very interesting.

Really, this film wasn’t very good from start to finish, but what really made it cross the line into distasteful territory was the scene of the gang attacking Anita. It’s the straw that broke the film’s back so to speak. This is just a very mean spirited film which is almost surprising after you’ve seen the first few scenes since you would expect it to be fairly happy. The tone just shifts throughout which is impressive, but ultimately it did not work in the movie’s favor this time.

Overall, I would recommend staying away from West Side Story. Not only is it a fairly bad film, but it really drags on. The run time is incredibly long and that’s mainly because the pacing is so slow. You can go through long periods of the film with absolutely nothing happening and that’s never a good sign. If you want to go watch a good musical then I recommend watching Footloose. At least that one has the iconic hero song which works well to this day.

Overall 1/10

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

Footloose Review


It’s time to look at one of the most influential musicals of the old days. This film redefined the genre as we know it and brought in some good tunes. It’s a little better than I would have expected although it still does make enough wrong turns to keep it from being real solid. Fans of the musical genre should get a kick out of it and at the very least you will enjoy the soundtrack.

The film starts off with a kid named Ren who moves into a new town with his mother. This town is pretty well insulated from the rest of society as they have decided to come up with their own rules. One of them is that dancing is now banned within town limits and everyone must only do things that are deemed acceptable by the adults. The council is only made up of old adults so these limitations end up being quite strict on the town including a curfew although this is just a “suggestion” and not a law unlike the dancing one. Ren is quickly shown the fact that he is not wanted in the town as everyone bands against him and he decides that he can save the town with dancing. He will have to endure a lot of oppression both physically and emotionally as the town bands together against him, but he does have one friend in Willard and that will have to be enough.

The town definitely appears to be quite corrupt and unfair to Ren right from the start. I’m not too surprised at this though because I feel like a lot of towns probably would not have liked newcomers back in the day. It does get to be a bit much though when they start framing him for drugs, fights, broken property, etc. It seems like the teens were already rebellious before Ren showed up so I don’t see why his presence accelerated it so much. Take the early scene where Ariel and the other kids went to the fast food place and got caught by her father Shaw. They were all rebelling and dancing and this was completely without Ren’s influence. They always seemed a bit rowdy and Ren just took the fall for this.

I suppose they just wanted a scape goat though and in that sense this did work out. Ren’s a pretty reasonable character for the most part. One thing I do like a lot is the fact that he stands up for himself. A lot of other characters would have simply retreated or tried to move out, but Ren confronts the bullies directly. He doesn’t back down and I suppose it does help that he is physically fit which is why he can’t be intimidated so easily. He does really well in the final fight and he did ace the game of chicken even if the situation was forced on him. The guy’s a solid lead.

Then you have Shaw who is the main antagonist. He starts out as a preacher who seems to have the town’s best interests at heart, but slowly it seems to become more of an issue of pride, which his wife exposes. I like the idea of the character, but by the end you definitely won’t be on his side even a little bit. For the most part he keeps his emotions in check, but he does lose it with Ariel once and isn’t always all that open to dialogue. I would argue that a lot of this is also Ariel’s fault for the lack of communication, but she is the kid in this context so it is really up to Shaw to take the high road. Striking Ariel under any circumstance was not that right path.

Then you have Ariel who is the main heroine, but I can’t say that I liked her all that much. She seems to be playing the field with everyone in the village so right away she doesn’t seem very faithful. She is very quick to try to get together with various people and that’s why I’m glad Ren played hard to get for a little while at least. I don’t think they should have gotten together at all to be honest as that romance just didn’t work. By the end of the film Ariel starts to get a little better and this is all clearly rebellion against her father, but it does happen at the expense of her character. After a while your motivation becomes less important and you just have to consider how much damage you’re doing.

Her early scene was already a red flag as she nearly gets a few other teens murdered by pulling a really dumb stunt with a few cars. She definitely had no regard for their safety and I feel like their friendship should have ended after that. The characters never really appear again after that so maybe they did distance themselves a bit. It’s hard to say though.

Then you’ve got her current boyfriend who is the bully of the school. The guy’s just not a good person and relishes his various power trips. He definitely gets a beating by the end of the film in the solid action scene. Considering how skilled Ren appears to be it isn’t surprising that he claimed the win. Bullies usually spend a lot of time talking and likely don’t have the discipline to stick with a professional fighting style for long.

Willard is Ren’s main friend and he does pretty good. He may not know how to dance, but Ren works on fixing that pretty quick. He also does good to stick to his deal of no fighting for as long as possible, but depending on the situation that simply isn’t possible. If a group of guys are attacking you then you’ve simply got to make a move. Ren certainly didn’t hesitate and Willard quickly joined him there. Fights can be defensive and if the heroes didn’t fight back things would have gotten ugly.

There are quite a few songs here but the big one is definitely the “I need a hero” song. There are a ton of “Hero” songs out there and originally I thought that the skillet version was just a remix or vice verse as opposed to being totally different. It’s definitely got a retro vibe to it and the song she’s well to this day. It definitely makes the tractor scene a little more hype then it would have been otherwise. I do prefer the song selection here to Dirty Dancing and in general I would say that the film was a big improvement. I know these tend to be rivals and I’ve definitely got my pick here.

The film can be pretty surreal and the characters are fun, but ultimately the romance does hurt it quite a bit. It doesn’t help that I really didn’t like Ariel, but the whole town basically being villains was also annoying after a while. A missed opportunity here was not seeing more of the Mom. I imagine she was feeling a lot of the backlash as well and this is hinted at when she is fired from her job which was likely the latest instance of this. Surprisingly she has no presence in the film and I would have liked to have seen her defend Ren more. Why they even moved in with these other guys is beyond me. I think the film briefly touched on it at the beginning, but none of them seem particularly nice so it’s a rough situation.

I’m also not sold on the writing. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but it came across as a little cheesy in some areas, but half heartedly. It wasn’t exactly Adam West Batman or the old creature feature films. The character lines just felt like something nobody would say at times like when Ren tried to explain why he is doing this in the first place. It was all pretty vague.

Overall, Footloose has its moments and is definitely a powerful musical title. I did like some of the songs (particularly Hero) and it also had a solid character cast to back it up. The heroine and some of the supporting characters hold it back along with some missed opportunities on the film’s part, but if you like musicals a lot then this is for you. I’d be interesting to see a remake of this. I could see big improvements in some areas, but some would be hard to top. You don’t really see floaty fight scenes like these quite as much anymore. The film struck a good balance between being realistic and quick without being too gritty or drawn out. It was a dancing fight scene to an extent although not as dramatic as West Side Story which I will get onto pretty soon.

Overall 5/10

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

It’s A Bikini World Review


It’s time to look at another beach movie. These don’t tend to be all that good so I don’t think you’ll be surprised to hear that this one didn’t exactly hit it out of the park. Interesting the main plot is something that I’ve already seen twice recently so that didn’t really help matters either. I suppose it’s the kind of plot that all of the writers want to take a shot at during their careers, but you really don’t need to give it a try. Having the movie take place on the beach doesn’t help much either.

The film starts off with the characters hanging out on the beach as per usual. They’re surfing and all until a new girl arrives on the beach for a visit. Her name is Delilah and Mike decides that he wants to hang with her. She won’t give him the time of day though because he is generally not a great guy and is always going from one girl to the next. He’s currently with 5-6 different girls as it is. Mike won’t take no for an answer though and decides to pretend that he’s a kid named Herbert who happens to be Mike’s nerdy brother. In this form he gets along with Delilah, but things get complicated when Delilah decides to try and compete with Mike in a lot of big competitions. Can Mike manage to be in two places at once and also keep the deception up? It’ll be difficult, but the main thing is that we’ll be rooting against him.

That’s the tough part with these beach movies. How can the film work when you’re actively rooting against the main character? Mike is everything that’s wrong with the beach movies. He’s always going from girl to girl and has no sense of loyalty about him. Even by the end he starts a big montage about how he’s free once his secret is out and it seems like he’ll be going back to his old roots. Hopefully Delilah doesn’t actually fall for this and gets out as soon as possible. It’s just a bad idea to hang out with Mike for very long.

As for Delilah, she’s a nice character but you kind of know how her plot will end from the start which is a bit of a damper. Really Delilah should be able to stay by her lonesome without having to get a partner and it’d be nice if she could actually beat Mike. Unfortunately that never happens and Mike just keeps on winning throughout the film. It does make sense since a few days of training won’t be able to stop years of it, but you end up feeling bad for Delilah. Nobody seems all that sympathetic either since everyone else likes Mike. It is his home field court so that makes sense I suppose.

Then you’ve got Woody who is the exaggerated comic relief character. He’s basically around to keep getting Mike in trouble. The guy can’t pick up a hint, but at the same time I wonder why Mike would even be remotely surprised because he’s surely been living with this for years by now right? He’s got to know what kind of guy Woody is and I think he didn’t plan things out right. Meanwhile Woody’s friend doesn’t like that he keeps having her cook the meals and pay the bill, but the way their plot ends is pretty bad. Woody’s just not the kind of guy you want to have around and while his silly type of humor can be decent, in this case it ended up falling flat.

As per usual the film also loses a bunch of points due to the poor writing, bad romance, and fanservice throughout the film. As far as beach movies go it isn’t nearly as bad in the last area as some others, but I ultimately still gotta give it a thumbs down here. There’s not a whole lot of substance to the film so it can’t really hold its own for very long at all. The film could and should have ended way sooner than it did.

One such instance of this is seen in the final challenge exhibition. There are like 15 rounds and it’s the characters doing everything from driving to hitchhiking to swimming. There’s no rhyme or reason to the sports though and winning each individual segment doesn’t even seem to matter. It should at least give you a head start to the next event or something, but that didn’t seem to be the case. I don’t think the film thought that part through and probably should have done something else for the climax.

The subplot of the photographer and the editor helping in the event also didn’t really matter at all. They don’t impact the plot one way or the other and were likely just here to set up the final race. The grownups in these films are rarely all that good but I guess that’s not saying much since the whole cast is pretty suspect in general. What the film needs is a bunch of other supporting characters in a New York subplot far away from the Beach. Something to distract you from what’s actually happening.

Overall, It’s a Bikini World basically checks all of the boxes for a beach movie and that’s not a good thing in this case. There’s nothing particularly compelling about this movie nor is there any reason to actually stick around. It’s just a movie that feels very long and will remind you why people don’t go to the beach very often anymore. I’ve gone once, but opted not to go into the water because of that virus going around lately. Sometimes it’s best to just play it safe and dodge the risks much like you’ll want to dodge this film. I guarantee that you’ll have a better time with just about any other title.

Overall 2/10

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

A Star is Born (1954) Review


It’s time to look at the second adaption of A Star is Born. The film plays it pretty straight compared to the first movie so there aren’t a lot of changes. Mainly it’s the heroine’s backstory that has been altered for this one. In the first film she had a modest upbringing and wanted to follow her dreams of being a movie star. In this one she is already a pretty talented singer but is then given the opportunity to be a star thanks to being noticed by Norman Maine. She can’t turn down an opportunity like that right?

The basic plot revolves around both Norman and Esther. Norman used to be a very big star, but he became an alcoholic and ever since then his talents have suffered. Nobody wants to work with him at this point and even though he is under contract that may not be the case for long. One night he spots Esther and decides that she is someone who should be a part of Hollywood. He gets her the audition and her talents take her the rest of the way. They get married, but the problem is that Esther’s fame quickly eclipses Norman and his ego isn’t ready for this. He starts going back into his spiral of doom and threatens to destroy both of their careers once and for all.

This movie does try to make Norman a little less antagonistic although his being drunk is a crucial part of the movie. In the original he broke Esther’s Oscar statue while at least here is showed some restraint there. Still, he’s not a character that you are likely going to root for. He is simply too far gone and from the start he gets hurt too quickly when people don’t recognize him. Even in the first minutes of the film before Esther is introduced he is already getting himself into a lot of trouble. As the judge says later on, he got a lot of advantages that nobody else had and yet he squandered them all. Even at the end of the film he takes the easy way out. Sure, he was doing it for Esther’s sake so he wouldn’t sabotage her anymore, but at the same time that’s also saying that he couldn’t stop his bad habits.

As for Esther, she’s definitely a solid character. I’d say that she was more likable here than in the first film as well. As she was already a singer she was well equipped for Hollywood from the start. She never felt out of her depth or anything like that and dived right into the action. Even once the difficulties with Norman started to arise she always put it behind her and acted as always. Once it became obvious that her success wasn’t helping matters she was willing to throw it all away to help him. Esther’s definitely a selfless heroine and one that is easy to root for.

Libby serves as one of the antagonists here to an extent. He may be Norman’s agent, but he definitely doesn’t like the guy. He waits for the day it all catches up to Norman and seems to be bitter about all the times Norman threw him through windows or caused a general mess of things. He gloats a lot by the end. He’s a pretty fun character and definitely made sure Norman did not recover. Meanwhile Niles is a guy from Hollywood who actually was looking out for Norman. He did his best all things considered. While he was not quite able to help him in the end you can’t say that he didn’t try.

Then you have Danny who is probably in the most tragic situation. He helped Esther get a career but was then thrown away once she had this gig. He was always trying to help her, but got friend zoned in favor of Norman. Still, he never stopped being her friend so that was definitely nice of him. Even by the end he is the one who comes in with the speech to finally help her get a hold of the situation.

As for the musical aspect of the film, it was okay although I can’t really say that the songs were my thing. They sounded well enough but the beats weren’t fast enough and the singers were only okay. You’re not going to find anyone at the level of “Let It Go” here. Not every film needs to have a standout number like that though. The scene of Esther running about the house showing her latest number to Norman also was maybe a tad too long. The musical did show restraint with the number of songs though, at times you may not have even known this was a musical to be honest. Songs are featured, but it’s not quite as constant as something like High School Musical. Of course, it helps that this movie is about 3 hours so you have time for both the songs and the plot.

The writing is pretty solid as well. The characters are pretty quick witted. Norman’s sudden personality shifts from being aggressive to normal are very rapid which works well for how his character went. The romance between him and Esther is pretty weak though. It’s hard to see it escalating so quickly considering that he almost ruined her dancing number and then comes across as very over the top. She goes from treating him as a nuisance right away to quickly becoming more than friends. It all happens so quickly and I dare say that the original one made more sense. At least there you could also say that it was part gratitude since he helped her from nearly being penniless to being a star. Here? He forgot about her for several weeks after convincing her to quit her job. She shouldn’t be all that grateful after such a turn of events.

Overall, A Star is Born has its solid moments, but still does suffer from a pretty weak ending. It’s definitely not a very satisfactory way to end the movie as in a sense Norman lost. He proved everyone else right and while Esther’s legacy hasn’t been tarnished, it would have been good for both of them to have gotten their win. Esther ensured that Norman wouldn’t be forgotten with her final line in the film so as always she did a good job of making the best of the situation. As the movie is also very long there isn’t a whole lot of replay value here, but it’s not a bad movie. It’s good for a one time watch at least and as long as you can get around the fact that you can’t root for Norman then I’d recommend checking it out.

Overall 5/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

The Little Mermaid Review


It’s time to look at the classic story of The Little Mermaid. It’s definitely a very well known Disney film and for good reason. It’s got solid animation, a tight plot, and even good action scenes. This is a very complete Disney movie and one that holds up well to this day. One of these days I ought to do a ranking of the classic Disney titles, but this one would be pretty high. It beats Aladdin, Dumbo, Snow White, Cinderella, but isn’t quite ready for Mulan.

The film does a good job of showing off the underwater kingdom and really illustrating how much better it is than the human world. Ariel lives in pretty much a paradise, but unfortunately the grass always looks greener on the outside. She has always had a fascination with the human world and after saving a prince she realizes that she wants to be with him instead of the kingdom. Ariel makes a deal with Ursula that she can woo the prince in 3 days or she will obtain the mermaid’s immortal soul. The stakes are high, but Ariel is ready for action.

Right away you can tell that this title is a little more intense than the previous Disney films. Maybe they wanted to take advantage of the fact that is was a newer title, but it is noticeably more violent than the others. Now, when I say “violent” keep in mind that this is still G-PG. It’s nothing crazy, but the stab at the end is pretty brutal and then you have Ursula eating creatures that are still alive. Her lipstick seems to be quite nefarious and then there’s also the scenes of the cook chopping up the fish. It does raise the stakes a bit here as the heroes are in real danger most of the times. There isn’t all that much slapstick or humor during the chase scenes compared to some of the other titles. When the villains are after the heroes it is life or death.

The animation is also quite stunning. In that regard I can definitely say that this is the best Disney animated flick from this era. The colors are all very vibrant and yes, I did see it in Blu Ray, but I’m sure the film also deserves most of the credit here. Naturally the songs keep pace as well with quite a few excellent tunes in there. In particular Sebastian gets a really solid song “Under the Sea” which is rightfully as popular as it is right now. There really isn’t a weak song in the mix.

As expected the pacing is also pretty sound. There’s never a dull moment here and the story is always transitioning into something. We also get development for all of the characters. The Prince even has his own supporting characters like his attendant who wants him to settle down. This is usually where I’d bash Prince Eric for going for rebounds, but I guess he was being mind controlled so it isn’t quite as awful as it usually is. Once the control was gone he went back to being normal and seemed more or less loyal. I can see why he was interested in the voice, at first, but it’s good he tossed his instrument away when the going got tough. You’ll still feel bad for the attendant who has to get hit with all of these shenanigans the whole time. He just wants a peaceful day, but he isn’t likely to get one.

Sebastian is definitely the best character here though. He has the hype song of course and aside from that he is always the guy who stays calm and collected. He does try to stand up to the King for a while even if the other characters in the film don’t really give him credit for that. He gets put into a lot of difficult situations and I don’t think we can fairly blame him for most of those. Stuff happened and he made the best choices he could under the circumstances. Then we have Ariel’s friend Flounder. He isn’t quite as resourceful or interesting, but he’s a nice guy I suppose. He’s certainly got Ariel’s back and tries his best to help her.

The King is definitely not as reasonable as some of the other Kings. He definitely isn’t willing to hear Ariel out after all, but at the same time she probably should have approached him about it first. I think we can reasonably assume from the dialogue that she did in the past though so even though I’m going in a loop here I ultimately have to pass the verdict that he wasn’t too reasonable. He also gets played like a fiddle against Ursula. He should have aimed anywhere else but at the scroll if he wanted to stop her.

Ariel’s a charismatic character of course even if she is a little too desperate to get to the human world. Everyone warns her that this is a bad idea, but she just won’t listen. She did make the right choice in saving Eric regardless though. Just letting someone drown is never the right answer. From there she was doing a good job at fulfilling her end of the bargain if not for Ursula’s meddling. She just shouldn’t have accepted it in the first place. As for Ursula, she’s definitely a pretty solid villain. She’s ready to win at any price and is totally content with playing the long game. Who knows how long she was waiting until someone like Ariel was finally ready to make a deal? She’s clearly gotten other clients in the past as well so her business is booming.

Overall, there’s a whole lot to this story and that’s why Little Mermaid holds up to this day. The action is intense and the graphics are quite sound as well. Throw in an excellent soundtrack along with a solid cast and you’ve definitely got a winner. I imagine that it’ll be tough for the sequel to match up to this one, but naturally I’ll hope for the best. If you somehow have not seen this film yet then I’d recommend fixing that straightaway. It’s definitely a solid title that I’d recommend to any viewer. You can’t go wrong here and at the end of the day it’s just a fun movie.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movies

I Can Only Imagine


It’s time to look at a recent movie about the iconic song “I Can Only Imagine.” It’s definitely a pretty good song so I was up for having a film about how it was created. As you might expect it is also a bit of a tragic tale with a happy ending since it’s based on true events. It’s a good movie with quite a few songs which is good although I would have liked to have seen a few more tunes thrown in.

The movie follows Bart as he grows up in a rough household. He manages to get by, but the situation forces him to try and grow into the image his father wants him to be. He joins the Football team and it goes well for a while until he injures his leg and is forced to retire. I guess extra curricular activities are a necessity in this school so he is transferred to the music class where the teacher forces him to become a singer. Bart enjoys singing but the problem is that he knows Arthur (his father) won’t approve. His suspicions are correct and things boil over until Bart decides to run away from home and join a traveling band. In the process he breaks up with Shannon and prepares for his new life.

This life is tougher than Bart thought it would be though and he starts to have doubts. He tries to run back to Shannon, but that isn’t happening and his vocal skills are being doubted by the professionals. When all hope is lost he finally heads back to his home to confront Arthur who has seemingly been redeemed after becoming a Christian. Bart has to confront this fact by wondering if this is true and also if he will forgive Arthur regardless.

It’s a pretty emotional movie for sure. I think you’ll end up being a lot more invested in the musical scenes then the plot though. Partially this is because Bart just isn’t a very likable main character for the most part. It’s hard to blame him for all of the family stuff since that was pretty traumatic for him, but I’m talking about everything aside from that. First off is his relationship with Shannon. He had absolutely no reason to break up with her in that scene. It just didn’t really make any sense and I feel like it just happened to increase the dramatic tension. Of course it’s hard to say if that’s how it played out in real life as well. Then his attempt at getting back together with her was painful. He went to her house at midnight while pretending to be the police? That’s a prank that went way too far and she shouldn’t have even gone to the front door if you ask me. It’s no surprise that she didn’t go with him.

Then we have the scenes where the critics come to hear his band play. Their agent tells Bart that he’ll handle this and for the crew to wait in the back. They all listen except for Bart who runs to the stage and makes a mess out of everything. The film goes a little too far in making him super head strong and naive as far as the critics process goes. Surely he knows how these things go and that you can’t just yell at the critics to make them change their minds right? He just makes so many mistakes and then just saying that he’ll quit wasn’t very responsible either. Things could have really gone badly for his band mates at that point. Of course that’s when he chooses to take a long leave of absence from the band…great.

Still, if that’s exactly how it played out in real life then it’s good that the film played it straight there. Meanwhile Arthur is one of those characters who is so bad that it’s hard to buy into the redemption arc which is why you can understand Bart’s skepticism even if he doesn’t handle the situation well at all. (Why even show up at the house if you’re just going to guilt trip Arthur the whole time?) It’s definitely good that Arthur saw the light and ultimately found Christ. At the end of the day even if nobody believes that you have been truly redeemed it doesn’t matter. You know if you’ve become a Christian and that’s what counts.

Overall, I Can Only Imagine is a good film. While it can’t really be called a fun film for the most part as it can be pretty dark and dramatic, the songs are fun. It’s a quality movie and one that you’ll definitely want to see if you’re curious about the song’s origins. It’s not quite on the same level as God is Not Dead which is still quite excellent, but this movie doesn’t really make any big mistakes. It does manage to be a pretty realistic film without over embellishing the events.

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

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. Review


It’s time to look at an old school musical from Dr. Seuss. This film is definitely very strange and outlandish as you would expect from the famous writer. As always he does a good job of making a world so utterly bonkers yet with some sort of rhyme and reason behind it. It’s a fairly fun film with a lot of ideas, but one that does drag on a little more than it should have. Trim the length a bit and you would have a real winner here. Alas, the score does take a minor hit as a result, but this is still a film that I could easily recommend.

The film starts off with Bart having a dream where a bunch of people are running around. They have so many chances to catch Bart that you start to wonder if he’s misread the situation. Nonetheless, Bart continues to run and tumble until he is shaken awake by the best character in the film, Terwilliker. Terwilliker reminds Bart that he has to become a famous pianist and quickly. Bart tries to deflect the issue by learning a different instrument but Terwilliker reminds him that the Piano is the only good one. After he leaves Heloise, Bart’s mother reminds the kid that he should try harder. Bart’s response is to fall back asleep which triggers the dream that takes up the rest of the movie. If you were engaged with the real world plot, then you’ll be disappointed to know that it doesn’t show up again until the final minutes.

In the dream world Bart has been taken prisoner by Terwilliker who now rules the world. The villain intends to use the world’s greatest piano to get rich and famous. He has also mind controlled Bart’s mother with his telepathic abilities. Bart decides to put an end to this so he runs over to the local plumber, August. August is skeptical about the whole thing since the villain bought him some pickle wine. Can Bart convince this guy in time to save his mother? They’ll have to get past Terwilliker’s incredibly powerful army of villains so this will be no easy feat by any stretch of the imagination.

As expected I wasn’t a big fan of Bart. I won’t say that he is a bad character or anything, but at the end of the day he is just a kid so there is only so much that he can do. He tends to get shocked at just about everything and doesn’t react all that well. He could have been a lot worse I suppose, but he can’t hold his own movie. Unfortunately his mother doesn’t look much better as she spends the bulk of the film being mind controlled. Her willpower just wasn’t enough to block the villain’s influence and she never has a big moment where she overcomes this madness. Looks like it’s up to the main villain and August to hold this film up.

Terwilliker was a fun villain because for the most part he was rather reasonable. Not the marriage plot which was out of nowhere, but just wanting everyone to appreciate the Piano. While the Piano may not be the best instrument, I would argue that it may be the most effective if you could only choose one. The Piano has a wide range of sounds so it can be used for all kinds of music while others may have a little trouble there. Terwilliker isn’t afraid of getting into fights and holds his own rather well so he’s also not the kind of guy to hide behind his lackeys. I do wish we got to see him more in the real world though since he was definitely on point there.

Finally we have August who is skeptical of everything. He’s always lived his life with his nose to the grindstone so he doesn’t believe that kids are being kept captive at his workplace. He thinks this is all on the up and up, plus he’s getting overtime. Still, when he is convinced to check out the situation he goes in fists swinging. As soon as he enters the lair, Terwilliker tries hitting him with an energy blast that August quickly recovers from. I liked his fast reaction times there as other characters may have panicked or just wasted time asking questions like “What’s going on!?” August may have been suckered after that, but his response was good.

The writing is pretty solid for the film. As mentioned, I also did like the action scene where both fighters were using The Force even if it was a little long. Where the film suffers a bit is with how passive the heroes are. When the villain arrests them they don’t put up a struggle or even try to resist. August just blames Bart again while the kid just takes it. Fortunately they came up with an invention to stop the villain, but even then Bart has to rub it in the guy’s face. Couldn’t he just take the high road and claim the win? Well, I suppose he paid a price for this by the end.

As I mentioned, the film is super zany so while that is mostly a strength it doesn’t always work. I do appreciate the attempt though and it’s one of the better handled films with this level of abstract concepts. I liked the caps that everyone had to wear, those were pretty fun. It’s a shame that Terwilliker was on the wrong side since he had good design choices. You’ll have to suspend your disbelief quite a lot the whole time, but since it’s all a dream you can cut it a little more slack since the kid just imagines the scenario that’s most convenient for him. If it was all real then that would be a bit more of an issue.

Overall, This was a reasonable film. If you’ve wanted to see a film that was just absolutely crazy then this is the one for you. It is rather cheesy at times, but you probably won’t cringe except for possibly the invisible fishing scene. The over the top acting from all of the characters is probably part of its charm. Nobody involved in this film is actually taking it seriously. They’re just having fun and you will aim to do the same. It’s not the kind of film you’ll likely care to re watch but on your first time it’s definitely quite the trip. Just remember to use your imagination for all of the invisible scenes.

Overall 6/10