Manga Update

Arisa Update


I now own all of the volumes to this series! It’s been around 8-9 year since I started this mystery title so I look forward to restarting it from scratch and blasting through to get that review up. It’ll probably be a little while before I actually get to do this marathon but it is definitely coming up so stay tuned!

Advertisements
Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Glass Bottom Boat Review


It’s time to look at an old spy parody that you may or may not have heard of from back in the day. It’s a pretty fun movie although perhaps one that goes a bit far with the romance at times. It’s pretty crucial to the plot of course, but none of the characters look particularly great by the time this is all over. It just goes to show that when spies are involved everyone tends to get a little crazy. America wasn’t ready for this subtle Russian invasion.

The plot starts with Jennifer acting as a mermaid in what should have been a normal day at work until she is accidentally reeled in my local fisherman Bruce. See, Bruce is a rich CEO inventor by day and a casual fisherman on the weekends. They don’t get off to the best of starts here, but they see each other again during their real jobs and they hit it off. Jennifer is glad to be a part of the office, but unfortunately some of Bruce’s co-workers seem to think that she is a Russian spy who is here to take his invention. Even Bruce starts to entertain this thought. Jennifer will have to decide how she plays this and meanwhile the real spy is still out there and getting ready to make his move.

Naturally with such a convoluted plot there’s a lot of good potential here. I do tend to like the parody genre. With such a large array of jokes at the ready sometimes they may fall off the deep end, but usually the films will at least be very entertaining even if they don’t end up getting a really high score. That’s the idea at the very least and I’d say this one succeeds with that as well. There are a lot of good humorous scenes throughout the movie. It’s very long so that gives the plot time to change over and over again. At first it’s a classic slice of life romance turned comedy and then by the end it’s a full spy operation with some fight scenes. It’s never all that serious of course, but the stakes do gradually get higher and higher. The film has changed quite a bit by the end from where it started.

Naturally most of the gags that involve the romance are the weaker ones. Jennifer is extremely oblivious to the point where she makes some big mistakes near the beginning. One of them involves getting intimate with the wrong person for quite a while before she notices. That’s….pretty iffy and if anything Bruce should take that personally since she somehow didn’t realize that it was him. Then you’ve got all of the American generals and army officers falling head over heels for her which is pretty iffy. It goes to show that none of them ever had the strength of will that you would hope they have. Maybe Russia really would win the Cold War based on this film. Their agent was certainly a lot more impressive than the US ones.

There’s a lot of slapstick humor here, but it’s all handled pretty well. The scene of Jennifer and the electrician getting stuck was pretty intense. Certainly not realistic in the slightest of course, but that kind of absurd humor can definitely work pretty well. It’s like Tom and Jerry to an extent. Whatever the heroes would do only kept on making the situation worse and worse for both of them. Then you’ve got the personal robot who does too good a job of making the place clean. Throwing in that sci-fi angle was pretty fun.

As far as the characters are concerned, I think your mileage will vary. Jennifer means well, but she definitely is a bit too oblivious. Once she finds out about the spy stuff her plan was pretty reasonable. Might as well humiliate everyone involved right? If she was a few steps quicker she would have really gotten out of the whole situation without anyone being any the wiser. Inevitably they would find out, but not until it was too late. Usually Jennifer ends up losing her meetings with Bruce as I’d say it was more embarrassing for her, but she always kept up a straight face so that’s good.

Bruce is pretty good in that he kept believing in Jennifer the whole time. He had his small momentary doubts, but for the most part he kept taking her side even when everyone else was against her. That being said, the romance did happen awful fast and I wouldn’t really say it worked well. There’s nothing really wrong with Bruce, he’s fairly generic, but a good character all around. Then you’ve got Axel who is Jennifer’s dad. He doesn’t get a particularly big role, but the scenes that he does get are definitely solid. Seeing him take down multiple agents was pretty intense.

Then you’ve got Homer who is the chief of police. For the most part he was a great character although even he fell for Jennifer’s charms by the end. Too bad since before that he was on point. Sure, he ended up being wrong, but at the same time he really did his due diligence. You almost can’t blame him for coming to that conclusion since all of the evidence pointed to it. It just so happened that he was seriously at the wrong place at the wrong time. It happens to the best of us. He was way better than the American general after all, that guy cracked fast.

Overall, Glass Bottom Boat is definitely a pretty fun film. The humor can get pretty crazy and wacky but all in all it’s a quality experience. A lot of the early gags end up playing a role later and small references become important by the end as well. It’s just a very well thought out movie. It’s a long parody to be sure, but it’s one that has time to do everything it wanted to accomplish. There are quite a few characters here and we also do get a real climax. By the end Jennifer and her dog are running away from real villains and there are some good stakes here. These villains don’t take prisoners after all so if the heroine doesn’t run she would be in trouble. Especially since the US officers are taking their sweet time. I definitely recommend watching this film if you haven’t seen it yet. You don’t really see too many big parodies anymore so you really want to check out as many of the classics as you can.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Detour Review


It’s time to take a look at a very old noir film. This one is definitely a movie that you likely haven’t heard of unless you are a really big fan of the genre. It’s pretty obscure and I certainly had not heard of it until after I had seen it. It’s a pretty fun film, although one that will likely cause you to have to suspend some disbelief here. There were a lot of ways for the main guy to get out of his predicament, but ultimately he didn’t choose any of them. That was definitely his big mistake.

The film starts off with Al and Sue getting ready to be married. At least, that’s what Al had in mind, but then Sue lets him know what is really going to happen. She’s heading off to Hollywood to become a famous star and so she’ll se him later. Al isn’t happy about this at all and heads back to his music gig to sulk. That’s when he decides that job or not he will head over to Sue’s place. The problem is that he’s in New York and only has ten dollars on him. He’ll have to travel a long way in order to reach her, but he is determined to hitch hike all the way. The problem is that the guy he is driving with ends up falling asleep after having a lot of pills. Al opens the door which causes the guy to hit his head on a rock and die. Al must now deal with his conscience as he heads to California.

That would already be a reasonably difficult drive for him, but then he notices a lady hitch hiking as well and decides to lend her a hand. The only problem is that she knew the previous owner of the car so now she is blackmailing him to do whatever she wants or she will get the police involved. Can Al satisfy Vera long enough to get to Sue or should he cut his losses and run now? Either way it is about to be one adventure that Al will not be forgetting anytime soon.

Al is the really annoying character here. He complains a lot about how life isn’t fair, but half of the time it’s because he isn’t making the smart calls. Even the first incident where he lets his co-driver die was a little suspect. How did he not see the rock? Also, he knew the guy wasn’t conscious so why would you open the door and then not prepare to catch the guy falling out of it? It’s all a bit iffy there which does reduce your sympathy levels for the guy. He also should have been pretty grateful to the guy for giving him a ride instead of grumbling inwardly the whole time. (Admittedly the guy seemed shady, but they wouldn’t be together for too long)

Then the last straw is when he meets up with Vera. Sure, giving her a ride is nice, but he’s on a deadline and is already mixed up in criminal business. Not letting her in the car is almost the nice thing to do if you think about it since you don’t want her to get messed up in all of this right? Keeping her out is one way to keep her safe. Instead he lets her in and then she starts blackmailing him. Now, he could have just walked out at any time, ditched his car like he was planning or something like that. He could have told her he was stopping at any point except where he was actually going. Where’s the benefit in telling her that he has to get to California?

As far as I’m concerned Al blew it 7 ways to Sunday. Again, there’s just no point in feeling bad for the guy because everything that happened was on him. There are a lot of unfortunate coincidences for him of course like the phone cord with Vera at the end, but beyond that he shouldn’t have even been in this situation that whole time. Al should have cut out early. Meanwhile Vera is the main antagonist here so you’re not really supposed to like her either. She definitely talks tough the whole time and does her best to get in Al’s way. Like he said though, she’s just greedy. Her final plan doesn’t even make a whole lot of sense because there’s no way it would work and she already could have gotten a whole lot of money otherwise. That’s why you end up losing everything when you try for too much.

Meanwhile Sue seems like a decent heroine, but I felt like the film was hinting that she didn’t care for Al all that much. She did leave at the drop of a hat and didn’t even bother calling him. If Al hadn’t called first she may have even forgotten all about him. As a result it makes his journey feel even more futile. I was half expecting him to finally make it only for Sue to tell him that she found someone else. Maybe that would have just been too tragic for Al since by that point he’d already been through the ringer. Still, if the movie had kept going I could see that happening.

The ending definitely works out pretty well though. It’s one of those solid endings that may not work out too well for Al, but after a while something had to end his journey. By this point he was already too far gone. I’ll give him credit for never cheating on Sue though. There was a brief moment where I thought he was going to weaken, but fortunately he did not. That’s a really good thing since it definitely would have crushed his character and probably would have hurt the film a bit as well.

Overall, Detour is a solid film. It’s surprisingly short so the film ends just when you think it’s getting to the second act. The ending is abrupt, but not bad. While there aren’t any real likable characters, I do like the premise/plot quite a bit and since the writing is solid it lets the film succeed even without a good cast. It’s not as if the cast is painful either, they all do well in their roles except for Al. He is maybe just a bit too annoying the whole time and I think the film should have just put him in a tougher situation so there would have been less ways for him to escape. That would have made his complaints a little more valid. Still, valid or not I did enjoy the inner monologue. That’s definitely a noir trope that I’ve always enjoyed. It’s nice to see exactly what the character is thinking the whole time.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Nancy Drew… Detective Review


It’s time to look at a really old Nancy Drew film. She’s definitely solved a lot of mysteries in the books and has gotten quite a few movies in her day as well. I saw the mid 2000s one a while back which was pretty fun. This one also makes for an engaging watch although I admit that Nancy herself does not look very good here. She tends to panic and not look at the big picture as much as you’d expect. It’s a pretty old film though so it’s not like anyone here is a super genius. Nancy and Ted mostly just bicker a lot as they try to foil the schemes.

The main plot starts with an old lady deciding to donate some money to Nancy’s school. The girls are excited because now they’ll finally be able to get that swimming pool they’ve always wanted. Unfortunately for them it doesn’t appear that it’ll be quite as easy as all that. Ms. Eldridge vanishes the next day before she can give the money and the students show their true colors as they believe the lady never meant her words. Nancy chooses to believe that it wasn’t all a lie though and believes that she has been kidnapped. Nancy is determined to solve the case, but it’ll be difficult as she’ll need to get past the cops and her father to accomplish this mission. Fortunately she has her friend Ted for backup.

This seems to be Nancy’s first big mission as nobody in the town seems to think of her as a detective, but it’s also possible that she just never gets the credit for it. Captain Tweedy certainly wouldn’t since he likes to take the credit for everything. He’s a pretty good police captain though as he does try his best. The guy may be a bit out of his league, but at the same time he did travel a great distance to help the heroes when Nancy thought she had corners the heroes. He just doesn’t like being wrong and takes it as an opportunity to humiliate anyone who is around.

Back to Nancy though, she is determined which is a good thing. No matter how many people tell her to give up she refuses to do so. Instead she continues to search for the truth. The downside to this is that her inexperience often leads everyone else into danger. One such moment is when she goes to ask questions from a witness and then leaves him with no protection. The guy is promptly beaten up in the next scene once she has left. She also doesn’t look great at the end where she has to close her eyes while shooting and panics quite a bit. Nancy even faints which is not something you’d expect from a detective. Long story short, she’s a nice enough protagonist, but one who has a long ways to go in order to be the next Sherlock Holmes.

Her friend Ted does his best to help out, but this does result in him taking a lot of shots as well. There is one scene where everyone proceeds to drop things on his foot and even he drops a wrench on himself. He’s not the smartest guy in the area as he stops the car when the villains tell him to. Sure, they had a gun, but if he had gunned it then he would have been long gone. It’s always safest to make a break for it instead of heading back to villain HQ. Ted also fumbles the ball when he forgets to look at the bird because his neck was hurting. It’s not that tiring to be looking up for a few hours the way he was. At least he came through when he tackled the villains though. He ends up putting a lot of the work in this case as well. You could say that Nancy comes up with the plans and he executes them.

Nancy’s father could learn a thing or two as he spends most of the film getting manipulated by everyone else. For starters, he doesn’t really seem to care that someone’s been kidnapped. It’s just not his problem and that’s the justification he has for most of the film. He turns a blind eye to what’s going on so then he will be able to get away safely. It’s not exactly a heroic attitude to have and he gets in Nancy’s way almost as much as the villains do which is really saying something. At one point he sends a telegram that sounds so defeated you’ll be sure the villains sent it. Well, it turns out that he is the one who sent it after all which is just sad. He’s tricked pretty easily as well. Basically, this isn’t the guy you want as your local detective.

The writing is pretty strong as expected. It allows the film to balance out the comedy and suspense pretty well. It’s also got a good cast of characters even if they can all be a bit mean at times. Nancy uses Ted quite a bit, but then on the other hand he’s always trampling on her flower bed. That’s pretty unreasonable of him to be honest. The villains are pretty reasonable except for one of them who chickens out pretty suddenly by the end. No point in going this far if you’re going to suddenly doubt the cause. I think they were a little too idealistic here as they wanted to try and win without hurting anybody but that was never going to happen and I think the boss of the crew knew it from the start. Maybe they all did except for one guy.

Overall, This is a good start to the Nancy Drew stories. It’s a bit of a stretch that the cops didn’t notice the extra pigeons in the guy’s house, but I guess in their defense they just wanted to go home by that point. The film’s pretty good both when it’s trying to solve a mystery or just the banter with Nancy and Ted. You’ll probably feel bad for Ted by the end since his vacation definitely got very sidetracked by the end. He’s definitely a good friend though who sticks by Nancy even when things are being crazy. If you like a good low key mystery then this is a nice one to check out. The stakes are rarely high, but there’s still that element of danger which always lurks around the corner. The heroes are held at gunpoint on multiple occasions after all.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Fear in the Night Review


It’s time to look at a really old murder mystery film. It’s definitely an interesting noir title, but one that is held back by some issues. The biggest of these issues is naturally the main character who is extremely annoying throughout the entire film. The guy just never knows when to man up and face the music. Still, while this one won’t be winning any film awards, I’d recommend checking it out. It does still have a pretty interesting premise.

So the film starts with Vince breaking into some lady’s house and murdering someone. He then runs home and “wakes” from his dream. The problem is that Vince has quite a few pieces of physical evidence that prove he was at the house. He then gets caught in a rainstorm with his brother in law who’s a detective, the detective’s wife, and a co-worker from his job. They have to take shelter in a nearby house which is the place from Vince’s dream. The pieces all fit together and it seems like Vince did commit murder. Why doesn’t he remember? Vince better think of something soon or he may be put in the chair.

As soon as Vince wakes up with the physical evidence you know that the dream was certainly true. The real mystery is just why he did it. Does Vince have a split personality or was he being manipulated? We find out the answer near the very end of the film, but it really makes Vince look worse and worse. If a strange guy busts into your room at night and starts talking nonsense about you being tired would you just roll back to sleep? That’s what Vince does as locking a door is a foreign concept to him. Then he also displays low will power as someone offers him a mysterious cough drop thing. He declines several times, but then breaks down and haves it. Clearly Vince isn’t all that smart or determined. It’s just hard to take him seriously.

At first I thought he had potential because upon appearing I immediately took note at his striking resemblance to Matt Damon. The guy looks just like him which was crazy. It’s sort of how Lon Chaney looks just like Bill Murray. Unfortunately he didn’t get any of the signature toughness that Matt usually has. He freaks out quite a lot and isn’t any good at acting innocent. When they get to the house he keeps on knowing things that he shouldn’t. Doesn’t Vince have the common sense not to make himself look so incredibly guilty? Probably not because he makes every mistake in the book. Even near the end he decides to try taking a shortcut by jumping out the window. He had been told numerous times that one of the ladies was having a kid so this was a bad time for stress and he was about to jump out while she was right there. Definitely selfish as well as being a terrible mistake. Vince singlehandily weakens the film.

Fortunately Cliff is a much more reasonable character. He really hopes that Vince is talking nonsense, but it is his duty to investigate so the more Vince goes over the edge the more he has to take this seriously. I can see why he’s pretty irritable about the whole thing. He does go off on Vince during one moment, but Vince had been acting so shifty earlier. I also liked the deputy who shows up at one point to aid Cliff. The cops are all on point here which is always nice to see. They may not have cracked the case, but it was a pretty tough one especially if you didn’t really have context for it.

Now, did the film do a good job with how it wrapped things up? I think it’s a bit iffy honestly. A lot of things had to happen conveniently for the villain’s plan to succeed. The first major point is that the main character had to be terribly weak for this to work in the first place. Also, Vince couldn’t even do that right as he would have lost if not for one of the victims giving him a weapon by mistake. Definitely a very sloppy move on her part as she should have just stabbed him directly. Still, this twist at the end did add a bit of a supernatural element to the film since I never bought into this particular technique. Every time I’ve seen it used in person it was complete hooey. Maybe it can work, but not this quickly and not with this particular method.

The film can be quite dramatic, but at the end of the day it’s still pretty interesting from cover to cover. You just have to get past the fact that Vince can’t seem to do anything right. Beyond that the rest of the characters are good and the writing is certainly on point. Even minor characters like the bank owner look pretty good here as they all scramble to do their jobs correctly. When Vince wasn’t home, I definitely agree with the manager checking his books just in case. Don’t want anyone running off with the money right? Fear in the Night plays the noir genre pretty straight. There aren’t a lot of twists and wrinkles, but there isn’t really anything bad about the film either. It’s just pretty low key.

Overall, I’d recommend checking out Fear in the Night. It’s a solid movie that you will enjoy so long as you like mysteries or old school thrillers. There isn’t any real action so the whole thing is built up using pure suspense. It’s definitely not the kind of film you could really expect to see nowadays. It’s a relic of the past, but one that has definitely aged well. How much you’ll enjoy it will likely depend on how many other noir titles you’ve seen over the years. If you haven’t seen a whole lot then you’ll really enjoy it. If you have seen a bunch then this one may feel a little more generic. Still, on the whole I don’t think you’ll regret watching it. Just remember that if a stranger shows up and starts acting shifty you should show him the door. That or just don’t be weak.

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Scooby Doo Team Up Volume 6 Review


It’s time for some more Scooby Doo adventures! These guys have helped quite a lot of people out by this point. They’ve aided heroes like Batman, Superman, and many more over the course of this series. It’s always fun to see how they interact with the other series and evidently many others must feel the same way for this title to have reached 6 trades. This volume is another solid one with a good array of stories.

The first issue has the team come over to aid the Atom in his fight against a ghost who exists on an atomic level. The gang is a little skeptical of a ghost showing up since usually they’re fake. That being said, how could someone put on a mask and then shrink to this size? The Atom gets a lot of hype here as he beats up on the enemies while also apologizing to the gang for not saving any for them. The Mystery Inc also keep their cool here (Aside from Shaggy and Scoob) as they realize what’s up. It’s definitely a pretty solid intro issue and the cool part is that it’s the only one that actually continues to the next.

The gang may have just escaped from their growing problems, but then they meet up with the Atomic Ant. I’m not familiar with the guy, but apparently his thing is that he has super strength and can fly thanks to a jet pack. It’s definitely a pretty handy thing to have up his sleeve. Still, he’s up against a group of monsters so Fred and the others have to think of a way to help them. This one isn’t really a mystery so much as just a team up battle. Daphne has learned how to fight thanks to a book she read during another issue which is a nice bit of character development that stuck. Together they end up having the edge in this fight.

Then we’ve got a team up issue with Huntress, Batgirl, and Black Canary. It’s tough for Huntress because she’s trying to get things done and just take out villains, but the rest of the group is busy dealing with the Mystery Inc comedy shenanigans. She is ultimately forced to play the straight man here as Huntress points out that this is no time for games. The rest of the gang apparently don’t really agree with that based on how they act. Still, the team will have to put their differences aside to save Gotham City, but can they do it? It’ll take all of their skills this time.

Then we’ve got a pretty fun comic with the Inferior Five. The story takes this moment to also bring in a lot of other infamous DC characters. I didn’t even know most of them so that was pretty neat. We finally have a group that is even more nervous than the Scooby Doo gang. There are a lot of other guest stars here as well and the whole thing takes place near a game show so that was pretty neat.

Following that we’ve also got an issue with the Legion of Superheroes. The Fatal Five have struck again and it also seems as though the ghost of Ferro Lad is here to haunt the heroes. He even has a twin brother who seems made up for the series and may have a grudge against the league. This one’s probably the closest case we have here to a full on mystery. It’s also one of the best comics in the collection as we get some fights and the gang looks reasonably good. It’s also cool to see Ferro Lad even if he is a ghost here because I remember reading the fateful issues where he ultimately paid the big price.

Finally we have Yogi Bear show up in another issue. He definitely steals the show here as he tricks the mystery gang into thinking that he is the police chief for a bit. In their defense, they’ve come across so many strange cases that it isn’t even unbelievable for that to be the case. Of course while he is guilty of many crimes it seems as if someone might be framing Yogi. Who would dare do such a thing? Furthermore, who would even want to frame Yogi? The bear seems like a nice guy and you have to make some pretty big enemies for this to happen.

Definitely a solid array of stories here as I mentioned. The art for the issues is also pretty good. The style lends itself well to team up adventures. All of the character designs are on point and it’s very easy to read through the adventures. 6 issues is also a reasonable length for a trade as I see a lot with only 4. You’re definitely getting some pretty good value for your dollar. The Mystery Inc are all in character as well. Naturally the two members who look the best here are Daphne and Fred. Daphne is the team’s best fighter by far and actually does contribute in quite a few of the fights against real villains. Then Fred always sticks up for the team and stands up to the others who try to talk down to them. Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby mostly just hold the team back which is why they should be glad that they have Fred and Daphne at the ready.

Overall, This is a solid collection to add to your pile. Whether you know a lot or a little about the Scooby Doo franchise and DC ones, the stories are very accessible. You can easily gather what is happening right away and then go from there. I definitely recommend checking it out and even more so if you are already a fan of these franchises. I definitely wonder if the series is still going. Hopefully so as there are always more heroes to cross over with. I don’t know when I’ll be reading another comic, but I’ll definitely be ready for whatever it is.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Lured Review


It’s time to look at an old school thriller film as the heroes try to find a mass murderer. The premise of having a lady sign up to be an officer and try to use her wiles to get to the villain is always a pretty iffy one. Fortunately this film manages to handle itself with a bit more care than most as she is being bait without having to go too far. It’s a pretty good film and the police actually look very competent this time around.

The movie starts off with Sandra making ends meet at a dance club. It’s a pretty tough job, but it pays the bills. She is then scouted by a talent manager for a more high end location. Before Sandra can properly go and interview one of her friends becomes the latest in a string of victims from a mass murderer. The only clue is tat he always sends a poem to the cops and he has been getting his victims by putting ads in the paper. The cops head to Sandra and enlist her help. She’s certainly eager to help apprehend this villain and agrees, but this task may prove to be even more dangerous than she had expected.

After all, Sandra ends up finding herself wrapped in not one, not two, but three different villainous plots. It seems like this is a pretty shady town as you have kidnappers and psychos running around who aren’t even related to the main murderer. They do make for good red herrings though. Fortunately Sandra is definitely a tough character so none of this scares her out of the game. She takes it all in stride and keeps on going. Sandra is one of those characters who will use a lot of wit to cover her emotions which works pretty effectively. I’m glad she’s not nearly as easy to get as many other heroines and ends up being one of the stronger characters here. I think the only time she slipped up a bit was in trying to hide the evidence from Fleming as confronting it directly might have helped speed up the climax a bit.

I mentioned earlier how the police actually look pretty good here and that is thanks in no small part to Harley and Barrett. Harley is the police chief and he continues to try and solve the case from the start to the end of the film. He comes pretty close to solving it quite a few times even if he ultimately fell short. Then we have Barrett who is Sandra’s bodyguard and usually manages to keep himself close enough to help. A lot of times the bodyguard just ends up vanishing so I’m glad that wasn’t the case here. He was a bit slow to the park so it’s not like he’s infallible or anything, but he definitely tries. If the police are going to use you as bait they had better have someone at the ready. Whenever they are supposed to be guarding the character and the villain gets to the witness anyway it can definitely be pretty iffy.

Then we have Fleming. He’s a rich guy who likes a good challenge and solid music. He does tend to flirt a lot though so he is another one of those characters where you can’t really trust his sincerity. As a result that does hurt the romance between him and Sandra. You just don’t think it’ll ultimately last so with them rushing so much towards marriage it seems like they will likely regret it at some point in the future. At least he can fight though, Fleming gets into a scuffle and comes out on top. He also does have a decent sense of humor like pretending to be the secretary for a while. As he said, Sandra started it so he may as well continue to play the game.

As is typical of these classic films the writing is also on point. Pretty much all of the characters are very tactical and always planning out their next move. The script has a lot of witty dialogue and solid moments for all of the characters. It’s also always nice to see the heroes and villains beating around the bush the whole time as they passively accuse each other. Makes for a fun dynamic. The film is a bit long and does tend to drag on towards the end, but still ends up being an enjoyable adventure.

Overall, Lured is a pretty good film. It’s a fun noir title that is well constructed. The police actually have a solid plan right from the start and while Sandra has to do a lot of work to make it succeed, they aren’t just callously throwing her away like in other operations. They are still all about protecting the people and agent or not, Sandra is one of them. They get the whole team on the case and there’s just a lot of good teamwork here. You’ll probably figure out the mystery before long, but there are enough suspects where the film doesn’t make it too easy for you either. You’ll have to at least connect a few dots in order to get to the right place. The romance is a bit weak, but if that’s the most negative thing I can say about the film then you know it’s still a winner. I’d recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

Manga

The Girl From The Other Side


This manga’s definitely got a unique premise. It starts you out in a world of mystery but things quickly begin to make sense. It’s an enjoyable read so far and it’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here. I’ll have a review for the series up when I’ve finished it.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Notorious Review


It’s time for a classic Alfred Hitchcock film. He’s made quite a few good mystery thrillers over the years and his writing skills are always consistent. That being said, this is definitely one of those plots that doesn’t really age well, or you could make the stronger case that it was never a good plot. As such, the very concept of it limits the execution quite a bit. It’s not a film that is nearly as enjoyable as his average flick, but still retains more dignity than other films of its nature would nowadays.

The movie starts off with someone being arrested as a Nazi spy. He is arrested and taken to the chair, but the government isn’t able to get a whole lot of useful information out of it. As such, Agent Devlin is instructed to locate the traitor’s daughter Alicia, as she has long been opposed to his betrayal. She is reluctant to do so, but Devlin gets her on board eventually. That’s when he learns the truth of her mission, Alicia is to marry the leader of the Nazi faction Alex and gain access to all of the secrets. Devlin has a tough choice to make. He can say no to the order and escape with Alicia or he can go through with the whole thing. Ultimately he is too scared to go with the former option so he ends up going with the latter. That’s where I lost all respect for Devlin and he never quite recovered from that. Alicia is proving to be successful at her role, but can she keep this up or will she ultimately be found out and bumped off?

It’s a mission with high stakes, but it’s such a dicey mission that there is no longer a side to root for. The only sympathetic character here is Alicia. She does a lot of stuff she did not want to do all to help Devlin out. It’s not even so much about helping the country, but just making sure that things go well for Devlin. He’s definitely not a very grateful recipient about this though and constantly treats her coldly. It’s too bad for Alicia, but at least her ending is fairly positive at least. She can be rather proud just like Devlin but you can’t blame her since otherwise she would just be caving in every time. I can’t really blame her for anything in this film, she’s at least doing her best. I don’t agree with her mission, but I blame the ones giving it to her more than her carrying it out.

That’s why Devlin was doomed. He basically spends the entire movie sulking and whining. The guy’s a terrible agent as he couldn’t even guess what the mission was until it was told to him plainly. We’re supposed to take this guy seriously as an elite agent? He’s a scrub and I’ll go more into that later on. Agents can’t let emotions sway them but they constantly do for Devlin to the point where he makes all of the wrong calls. If you’re going to be emotionally driven then at least let it help you out. It’s like Devlin can’t do anything right. It may be harsh, but he was an absolutely terrible character. If anything Alex was far better.

Alex is the main villain and we can’t forget that. However, at least he acts like a decent guy beyond that. He’s polite to Alicia and trusts her quite a bit. He gives her freedom and the benefit of the doubt quite a bit. It’s only once it becomes obvious that she is cheating on him that he turns. Even then he is able to stay in control and goes through with a pretty diabolical plan (Not of his origin but at least he followed it) rather than falling into a panic. He’s the antagonist, but he’s a well written one and just seems like a more quality character than Devlin.

Lets go back to Devlin. As I mentioned, Alex eventually starts piecing it together that Alicia is a traitor. Why was he able to do that? Well, the official plan is that Devlin and Alicia are to meet just about every day at a public park. They will be meeting there every day and could not be more obvious if they tried. Still, somehow they get away with it for a while so then they decide to escalate this. They meet up at the horse races where Alex and his mother are. Keep in mind that he’s the top ranking member of the organization so it would make sense that he has minions and generals watching his every move as well as watching her. Alicia and Devlin don’t take this into consideration and meet up for a while. They’re caught of course. As such, Alicia invites Devlin to the house where they can’t control themselves and are caught in the act once more.

They make so many crazy moves that you would be forgiven for mistaking this for a horror movie. Finally they make the worst decision of the film. It’s so huge that you could basically call it a plot hole if we assume that Devlin is even remotely intelligent but we won’t make that mistake. The mysterious dust is being kept in Wine bottles so Devlin has Alicia steal the key so he can check it out. Of course Devlin drops one of the bottles so it breaks. He sweeps it under the drawer and then puts another one in its place. He gives Alicia the key (Too late at this point) and runs away. So…Alicia forgets all about the key. Shouldn’t she have realized that Alex couldn’t get into the wine cellar without it and so he would realize that someone had swiped it? It becomes increasingly obvious that Alicia swiped it and the whole thing is just pretty sad for all parties involved.

You definitely won’t have a positive impression of the government in this film by the end. Their dangerous mission for Alicia proved to be basically pointless by the end. I also feel like they could have all just busted into the building since they knew where the base was and then they could have grabbed all of the bottles. Even having Alicia marry the villain showed that these government guys couldn’t care less what happens to her. That kind of ruthless government isn’t uncommon but it doesn’t make them any less antagonistic.

Overall, Notorious is definitely an engaging film, but one that proves to be more frustrating than enjoyable at times. It’s similar to the Mission Impossible 2 plot and if even that series couldn’t pull it off, what chance does this movie have? Whenever a plot involves an agent having to go all in with the villain the movie is probably doomed. It’s just not a plot that I can get behind, nor do I think that will ever change. If you can get past that then this is a reasonable suspense thriller, but otherwise you’re better off watching almost any of his other installments.

Overall 5/10