The Vampire Bat Review


It’s time to look at a really old film about Vampires. This one definitely goes pretty bold with the premise of this vampire attacking while the main detective doesn’t believe in it. It’s always fun to see a lead who is super skeptical like this because it makes for a nice contrast to the rest of the townsfolk who have completely jumped head over heels for this superstition. They basically become hysterical in the very first scene. The movie may be short but I feel like it still captured a lot and was a pretty fun experience. It’s a good example of why you always gotta keep your guard up.

So as I mentioned the movie starts with the town telling Karl about the vampires running around. The reason why they believe that the vampire is running around bumping people off is because each of the victims have the classic 2 fangs mark on their neck. The villagers point out that only a vampire leaves this kind of mark, not to mention that all of the victims have been completely drained of their blood. Karl dismisses this theory and runs off. Unfortunately the bodies continue to pile up. There is currently only one suspect, a suspicious guy named Glieb who is completely obsessed with bats. Is this too obvious? The town is ready to condemn him but Karl doesn’t want to be too hasty. After all, a man’s life is at stake here.

A good chunk of the film is really about balancing the mystery angle of the movie along with watching people get bumped off one by one. There’s a decent body count here. As always it can be sad to see some of the heroes go down because they were handling things as best they could. Unfortunately it’s just hard for everyone to be able to walk away here. The villain is pretty tough after all. I won’t say if the villain actually turned out to be a vampire or not but I will say that the ending at least hints that something slightly supernatural was going on. That or someone had a very big change of heart which could be possible but I like to think that this was not something quite so explainable. The climax itself could be a little suspect at times though with how someone turned the tables.

Karl is definitely a solid lead. He really does a good job of not panicking like the others. Karl likes to look at things step by step until he gets to the right answer. It’s a slow but methodical approach that really helps him in not making any real mistakes. He may not have a ton of character but Karl has enough charisma to hold the film. He has a very solid scene at the end which really helped him as well. The heroine Ruth isn’t bad. She’s certainly a lot braver than Gussie who kept on fainting as the film went on. Ruth made sure to hold her own with the characters even if she didn’t really go to the front lines much. There’s just not a whole lot to say about her as a result.

Then you’ve got Dr. Otto who is here to try and make sure that justice is serves. He isn’t quite as dismissive of the supernatural element as Karl but still thinks it’s something practical as well. It’s always good to have a Doctor on board since things can get out of hand with how many people keep dying here. I do think his idea to keep the windows open doesn’t make a lot of sense when there is a murderer running around though. Seems like it’s better to just endure the stuffy air in that circumstance. Better than being bit right?

Then we have Glieb who is the big suspect. The guy doesn’t make things easy on himself. He always looks really suspicious and knows about the vampire rumors but still makes sure to run around playing with bats. He doesn’t have a whole lot of awareness here and going to each of the murder scenes wasn’t really a good look. The guy’s also not that subtle with how he was trying to steal the fruits away from the table. The worst part is that Gussie would have given him some so why try to steal them the whole time? I definitely wasn’t a fan of this guy but I suppose you always need the “obvious” suspect to keep us guessing.

The movie really flies by so all of the plot elements occur pretty seamlessly. There isn’t a whole lot of action as the final scene is the only real battle moment. Still, the mystery keeps you engaged. It’s a very simple story but one that is executed well so it all works out. The writing is on point and it doesn’t go for any real shock value type moments. It’s all just about the atmosphere and watching Karl try to piece things together while being ridiculed and distracted by Gussie. She certainly wasn’t making things easy on him.

Overall, The Vampire Bat is a pretty solid film. I suppose it’s probably one of the first big vampire type films since 1933 was so long ago. It definitely beats most vampire movies that I’ve seen. Of course it’s going for a pretty different feel than something like Dracula but I dare say that it nails this approach quite well so maybe more films should be like this. Mystery is a good genre that works well with most so it comes as no surprise that it would pair well with vampires as well. Right from the start you have to decide if you’re on Karl’s team or not and that will affect how you view the rest of the film. The important takeaway from the film is naturally that you should always lock the doors and definitely do not under any circumstances leave the windows open while a mass murderer is at large. Do those things correctly and you reduce the chance of being murdered. That or get a guard dog, the dog did very well in this movie. It only appeared for a scene but definitely took charge.

Overall 7/10

Le Samouraï Review


It’s time to look at a French thriller from a while back. The title may be a bit misleading though. I suppose it’s using the Samurai term more figuratively than anything but if Jef thinks of himself as a samurai then he’s quite mistaken. He’s just a common murderer trying to evade the cops long enough for the next job. This film was better than I had expected and gives a pretty satisfying case for you to watch unfold. We know that the main character is guilty so the suspense is in seeing how the cops will be able to arrest this guy.

The movie starts with Jef walking into a club. He nonchalantly walks all the way over to where the boss is and shoots him in front of everyone. He then returns to a Poker game with some of his associates. The cops quickly arrive and take him in as a suspect along with 99 other people. Jef manages to get out of there without being seen as guilty since most of the witnesses were unable to ID him. His bosses don’t like the fact that he was caught at all though and decide to put him down. Meanwhile the Policeman in charge of the investigation is confident that Jef is his man. He wasn’t able to prove it quit yet but he is determined to get the information so he has the Police tail Jef. Jef must now shake the mafia and the cops if he is to get out of this in one piece.

When your main character is actually the villain a film always has to walk a pretty fine line. It shouldn’t bother with trying to make the lead likable as it is far too late for that. The only option left is to have you root for the good guys here to take down the lead. You still need a lot of twists and turns involved here to keep things from being too easy though. It’s definitely interesting seeing this from the villain’s point of view and this movie makes the most of it. The police are given a lot of credit with the various tactics they use to try and catch him. Both sides look intelligent and have a lot of different plans at the ready. The excellent writing is part of what sells this film.

The Police chief instantly became the best character after just a few minutes with his character. He’s very sharp and has a good intuition. He plays things by the book and ultimately doesn’t cross any lines in trying to get his man. He just knows how to run an investigation and cover all of the bases. Tailing someone is pretty difficult, especially someone like Jef who is a professional but the unit here is quite good as well. Throughout the film the chief continues to pour on more and more pressure so that Jef will inevitably make a mistake and then they can slam him with everything they’ve got. Now that’s really high quality Policework.

As for Jef, he’s just your average hitman. He was paid to take someone out and he did. The piano player Valerie questions why he would do it and he even explains that his targets may or may not be good people. It doesn’t matter to him, he just wants the money. Valerie’s character is an interesting one since Jef has some theories on her but the film never goes out of its way to tell us if we should believe him or not. I’m inclined to think that he is right based upon the final mission of the film though. She seems to be a loose end which would support his theory but was definitely an interesting character either way.

Jef plays the situations rather well for the most part although the final scene wasn’t a good play. This is intentional as it seems he wanted to stop causing trouble for someone but after going through all of this that just doesn’t seem like the way to go about things. If anything it puts the heroine in some more trouble since this doesn’t really help her case. Jef’s character is very robotic in how he goes about his business. Even by the end of the film we really don’t know almost anything about his character and that’s good with me. The mystique behind everything going on is part of what makes the Noir genre so much fun.

The heroine Jane is also interesting. She’s definitely very loyal to Jef and that’s part of the tragic element here. It’s always a shame to see a character like that get in with the wrong crowd. That said, it’s not like she’s a good person either. It seems like she is playing the field and turns out to be as much of a crook as Jef. In a way that makes them perfect for each other and cuts the sympathy points down even further for both of them. There’s never any doubt on your side as to who you should be rooting for. So that’s a good thing, the writers knew what they were doing.

it’s also just a very fun movie to watch because you get a good understanding of the police procedures in France. It’s a little different and very methodical. I liked seeing them try different experiments like having the suspects switch clothing and line up. The chief definitely was very thorough in the measures he was using and it’s easy to see why he did so well. I do think the audio bug was a super longshot that was never going to work but I suppose he had to at least give it a try right? It’s not like there was much harm in the attempt since Jef was on guard anyway. There were also quite a lot of agents running around which was fun to see as they tried keeping tabs on him.

Overall, Le Samourai is definitely a solid film. It’s a low key thriller so don’t expect a lot of shots or anything like that. It’s more of a mental thriller as the characters play cat and mouse with each other. The police chief knows Jef is the guilty party but he does need solid evidence in order to convict him. That’s why Jef is able to be quite cocky about the whole thing since the alibi is so air tight. Then we’ve got his revenge trip on the mafia group. Their agent looks pretty naive the whole time so I assume he was new to the force. Otherwise he just looks awful in one scene that occurs. You may chuckle at that moment even if the rest of the film is super serious. The ending is also satisfying which is the right way to cap things off.

Overall 7/10

The Commuter Review


It’s time to take a look at a fairly recent thriller film. At least to me films from 2018 still feel very recent. I remember the trailer for this one looking pretty solid at least. I’m always up for quick thrillers with a mystery angle and having it on a train is always a good idea. This isn’t really anything you haven’t seen before but I still thought it was fairly great. There’s a good amount of replay value here and the writing is definitely up to par.

The movie starts by introducing us to Michael. He’s had a pretty good career and a solid life. He has a complete family and has gone on the same commute to work for so long that he even knows all the regulars on the train. One day he is suddenly fired with no real reason behind it. This comes at a pretty tough time since now he won’t be able to pay for his son’s school and the family were just skating by financially. He doesn’t tell his wife what happened yet and boards the train. That’s when a lady named Joanna shows up and insists on talking with Michael. She gives him an offer. There is 25000 dollars hidden in the bathroom that is Michael’s to keep as long as he finds someone on the train who doesn’t belong and puts a tracker on them. Additionally, he will be paid another 75000 after doing this. She dashes out at the next stop.

Michael ponders the offer a bit and decides to take the money while not doing the job. He is prevented from leaving the train though and warned not to tell anyone or it’ll be game over for him. Michael may be a regular but can he really identify one person in a train this large? One thing going in his favor is that the person he is after won’t be getting off until one of the last stops and he has until the stop before to get the job done. If he doesn’t then his family is forfeit but if he does this then does that mean that the person he tags will be doomed? Trading lives is not something that you’re supposed to do and Michael has gotten himself into a jam.

You can definitely fault the lead a bit here for entertaining the offer. If he wasn’t willing to commit this crime then he just should have left the train or stayed aboard and done nothing. (The latter may not sound smart but if you never go to check the bathroom you’d just assume the person was crazy right? He probably would have still been doomed with the latter option but he wouldn’t have done anything wrong) Trying to grab the money and leave is still pretty bad. At best you’re trying to cheat some criminals but at worse you’ve just become an accessory to murder. You don’t want to be accepting blood money right?

Most of Michael’s moves are pretty smart in the film otherwise. He does a good job of limiting the suspects while also trying to contact the cops and his family. He handles the situation like a pro after the opening act and it makes sense since he’s Ex NYPD. His only really sloppy scene though is how he tries to exit the train. So, what he does is he waits until the very end when everyone has already left and then tries to exit. Naturally the villains notice and stop him. My question is…why wait until everyone is already off? Wouldn’t it be better cover to exit along with everyone else? It would have effectively been impossible to stop him. I’m sure they could have still coerced him back in with a phone call of his family or something but it would have been difficult to do that in time. If he left with the crowd he would have gotten away completely and it was the one scene in the film where I raised an eyebrow at him. Otherwise he did well though.

It’s always interesting to see the main character get involved in fight scenes now since he’s so much older. The film is definitely playing it out as Michael being too old to really engage with someone in a 1 on 1 fight. He tries his best but is on the losing end of each encounter here. It makes sense that he wouldn’t be able to beat someone who’s probably around 20 years younger than he is. It would look worse for the young guy as opposed to being a really good thing for the lead. Still, that’s where creativity comes in and Michael did good in still putting the scanner on during one of his scuffles.

As for Joanna, I have to admit that I expected her to have a much bigger role. The circumstances of what is going on with her character remain a mystery to the end. She makes for a fun villain but I have to admit that keeping her on the train the whole time may have made for an even more enjoyable mechanic. Of course, it would be difficult to do that without writing yourself into a whole lot of trouble so I can understand why that did not happen. There isn’t much of a supporting cast otherwise. You’ve got the various guys on the train and Michael’s friend from the police. That guy is around for the occasional call. Otherwise Michael is effectively on his own here. The various train characters are pretty fun. The best one is probably the insurance agent. I liked his confidence and how openly antagonistic he was. Naturally he’s not the kind of guy you want to be sitting next to on such a ride though. He’s better in a film like this than in real life.

Overall, The Commuter is a pretty fun film. The movie makes the most of the limited environment. I’ve never been on a big train like this one and have never had any interest in doing so. I came close once but the train derailed before I got on so that’s one ride I’m fairly glad to have missed out on. The characters are good and the writing is on point. The film is a thriller with mystery elements thrown in which is a pretty great mix. That gives you all the elements you need in order to construct a solid story. The movie isn’t super action packed or anything but you do get the occasional fight scene here. The climax is pretty intense as well. You may question the likelihood of some things occurring or nobody noticing things in other moments but this film did a great job of covering its bases. It’s hard to be 100% at any point but this film comes really close and even if you have some questions, I don’t expect any would be major or actually feel like plot holes. You could put in a reasonable explanation for what goes on. I’d definitely recommend checking this one out.

Overall 8/10

Nancy Drew… Reporter Review


Nancy Drew is back in another installment. It’s been a while since I saw the first film but this one throws you right back into the fold so it’s like the series never left. It’s a pretty classic kind of mystery and keeps a calm vibe. You wouldn’t quite call this a thriller mystery but more of a slice of life one. Not to say that the stakes aren’t high though. The villains still do have guns and someone’s life is on the line but as it takes place in a little town where it seems like danger is more of a foreign concept it never feels too crazy for the heroes.

Nancy and her club have been chosen to be Newspaper reporters for a few days. They are each tasked with an assignment and the one who comes up with the best story gets a medal and $50 dollars. Unfortunately, they aren’t taken too seriously and are all given rather unimportant tasks. Most of the girls just accept this, but not Nancy. She quickly switches out the story for a murder case and it’s a good thing she did. The person in custody is close to the end of her rope and Nancy is sure that the lady is innocent. All of the evidence points the other way but Nancy has a chance to get the smoking gun of the case. It’s a disc that contains the fingerprints of whoever poisoned the victim. Nancy just needs to find it and she’ll have her friend assist. Will she be able to solve the case in time?

As always Nancy calls in her pal Ted to help her here. You gotta feel bad for the guy though because he’s just trying his hardest to mind his own business and improve his skills. He was taking tennis lessons and even knew how to dodge the ole traps around the community. Unfortunately he’s just too nice of a guy to say no to someone in trouble so he always ends up assisting Nancy with whatever task she needs. He does a good job of not shying away from danger though and actually proves to be smarter than Nancy. While that may sort of hurt the overall premise of Nancy being the detective in these movies, at least it gives Ted some hype I suppose. Makes for a solid dynamic there.

The case is a little on the basic side although it’s still enjoyable. From the start we learn that there is something that there is a disc with irrefutable evidence on it. Unfortunately nobody has gone to search for it which is where Nancy comes in. The mystery isn’t so much about whether the lady is guilty or not but if Nancy can find this piece of evidence before anyone else. There’s definitely a lot of dashing around here as everyone goes for the object. There are quite a few villains running around so the heroes have to be careful.

Nancy’s father doesn’t get a big role here though as he mainly just gives Nancy some advice once in a while. Having him be an attorney would be a pretty convenient way to loop him in but so far the films haven’t really taken advantage of that. I suppose they probably just don’t want to risk him overshadowing Nancy which would be a bit of a risk. Instead we get two new supporting characters here in the form of Ted’s little siblings. They’re really just here to cause some trouble for the heroes and tend to get in the way. At most they could be useful in helping the heroes remain undetected because people wouldn’t suspect two little kids, but as Nancy and Ted are already fairly young I think they have that covered.

The most tragic scene in the film was easily when the newspaper was giving out the awards. One girl ended up winning and she was quite thrilled, only for Nancy to show up and steal the prize. Nancy didn’t even do it legitimately as she lied about details of the case in order to buy time. I really think the other girl should have gotten to keep the prize. It was just all pretty tragic since she had already officially won the prize. Nancy doesn’t even seem to care. She gives the prize money away but that’s more because she didn’t care about it in the first place.

This isn’t Nancy’s best portrayal as a character. While I’m all for her switching assignments and doing what it takes to find a good story, she can be a little bit on the petty side as she manipulates Ted and guilt trips him the whole time. Ted’s still pretty solid though and if you think about it, he does all of the more dangerous tasks as it is. He even has to go up against a real boxer. The fight scene was pretty cool though. We got to have a real hand to hand fight here and even with some cheating tactics Ted was unable to win.

How much you enjoy this film will really depend on how much you like a good ole fashioned mystery. Do you need explosions and fight scenes to make it exciting or is the concept of a classic murder mystery enough to pique your interest? Nancy lives in a rather safe town without much crime so things were never going to get that explosive. The fact that there was a murder was already a bit more intense than I was expecting. In light of that, it also helps you understand why the town was so ready to convict someone even without big evidence. They probably aren’t used to this kind of thing and it impaired their judgment.

Overall, Nancy Drew…Reporter is a pretty solid movie. It can be a bit basic but the writing is strong and the pacing is pretty good. It’s a very low key type mystery from the old days. It may not have super high stakes the way a modern mystery would, but you won’t be bored during this adventure. It’s all handled quite well and I’m ready for some more Nancy Drew adventures. As long as she’s got Ted at the ready this duo is prepared for anything!

Overall 7/10

Keeper of the Flame Review


It’s time to look at an old conspiracy film. It’s a cautionary tale about how anyone can quickly be corrupted or coerced under the right circumstances. Always be careful of meeting your heroes because nobody is perfect so you’re likely going to be disappointed. The movie’s very well made. The cast is pretty small and the plot is rather direct so to an extent it can feel like not much is happening. That’s where the writing comes into play since the film needs to keep you interested until the final twist near the end of the movie. I thought it succeeded in this regard.

The movie starts with a legendary American hero dying in a car accident. The country is in mourning because this guy was a very prominent figure. His wife Christine is taking this especially hard and has been unwilling to see anyone. Famous reporter Stephen has arrived in town to get the scoop although his two reporter friends tell him he should give up. That’s not how Stephen operates though and he keeps on going until he finally meets Christine. Why is she so nervous and eager for him to go away? Stephen’s reporter instincts have kicked in and he senses a story!

The funny thing is that this is one of those movies where the villains really overthink things. The film would have been over in an instant if they hadn’t gone back after Stephen. Clive thinks that Christine’s decision not to meet with Stephen initially was pretty suspicious. He’s not wrong in this but suddenly appearing later on has the opposite effect. If they had left things alone Stephen may have had a feeling that something wasn’t right but he would have stopped there. It’s always interesting when the villains think too highly of the heroes because that’s pretty rare.

Nevertheless, Stephen’s definitely a solid character for the most part. He’s determined and doesn’t get intimidated when people threaten to beat him up or worse. You have to have nerves of steel to be a reporter and he’s definitely got that. In comparison the other two reporters look pretty bad as they give up with ease and don’t really do much of anything. They’re really just here for the banter although I can appreciate that since I’m always up for good banter. The main thing that holds Stephen back is the romance plot with Christine since her husband literally just died. Now, they weren’t actually all that close and there’s a lot going on with that relationship but you still can’t see this as anything but a rebound. I also thought that it didn’t really enhance the plot in any way.

The film has a solid ending that wraps things up as well so this is a really complete journey. The best part here is that the film had strong writing and was interesting from cover to cover. I liked the final twist and it’s not even unrealistic. It’s very easy to see something like this happening and the idea of playing groups against each other is something that is happening as we speak through every kind of media, social media, writing, and even in person. Division is a constant in life and one that always has the appearance of getting worse and worse with each passing year. The movie is just as timely now as when it came out with the relevant plotlines. In light of all of this, Christine did pretty good. It’s a shame that she couldn’t have gotten a little further from the situation but I don’t really see how she could have had a chance for any of that.

For the debate at the end where Christine and Stephen have differing views on how people handle these kinds of twists in real life, I’d say Stephen was right. At the end of the day, no matter how big a revelation or a twist there is, people will adapt and get used to it. Some will take it harder than others no doubt but it’s just not personal enough for most to be crushed by it. If it were that personal then it wouldn’t effect most of the others. Since you can never really know someone else, you can only get to hurt by learning something you didn’t already know. There are just limits to how you will feel and that’s why Stephen is right that the truth always has to come out. It may not be what everyone wanted to hear, but ultimately it’s what they needed to know. There’s one death that’s a little gratuitous at the ending as I don’t think it was really needed but you can see why the film went that route.

Overall, Keeper of the Flame is a pretty nice title. It is definitely a very relevant title as it has to do a whole lot with the movie. If you’re up for a mystery with quite a few twists and turns then this is up your alley. As mentioned, the only thing I could see holding this one back a little for some would just be the fact that the movie can feel a little slow at times. Not so much in a dragged out sense as it isn’t specific scenes, but the film has a very slow pace to it as it takes you through the story. The characters chat about life and hypotheticals as well. Everyone’s always got a speech. I’m always up for that though as the dialogue is pretty interesting to me. As long as you agree then you’ll enjoy the film.

Overall 7/10

Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy Deluxe Edition Review


It’s been a while but I finally managed to get a hold of the spinoff which concludes the Professor Layton series. Someday I hope we still get another Layton game though since I don’t want the franchise to end. It’s pretty interesting to be playing as a different character for once. The developers did a good job of making sure that this one also feels very different next to the main games with new mechanics and such. Ultimately the changes aren’t enough to help this game match up to the earlier ones but I did end up liking Katrielle well enough. She isn’t afraid to talk back to the other characters more than the polite Professor Layton would.

This game has more of an episodic plot compared to the main Layton games which had a core story. Still, there is an overarching plot in the background. Katrielle is the head of the Layton Detective Agency although not too many people know about her yet. She has a dedicated assistant named Ernest who is always ready to attend to her every whim. One day she bumps into a dog that she nicknames Sherl. Sherl isn’t pleased about this since he doesn’t think it’s a name for a guy, but Katrielle can’t be bothered with this. She also isn’t particularly impressed with the fact that he can talk. She’ll solve his case at some point but she’s more interested in helping the community with their issues as well as trying to find Layton who vanished many years ago. As Layton’s daughter, Katrielle has dedicated her life to finding him. She’ll have to put that on hold though as she solves various crimes fro theft to murder. Will Katrielle ultimately build an even bigger reputation than Professor Layton?

As with the rest of the series the main gameplay revolves around puzzles. As you go through the campaign the characters will often have various puzzles to challenge you with. There is a lot of variety with the missions as some will be solving a maze, math problems, logic questions, etc. It’s always a pretty fun way to test your mettle. There are well over 100 puzzles but to clear the game you only need to clear around 67. That leaves a lot of room for replay value after you complete the game. You are bale to warp between the various cases and the game even tells you exactly how many puzzles and hint coins are left in each section. I appreciate how thorough the game is in its reporting.

There is one thing that holds this game back compared to the other Layton titles aside from the story though. That’s the puzzles themselves. The movements in the puzzles ask you to be way too specific at times. That’s my main issue, the very first puzzle took me a while to complete as it is. I think they needed to allow for a bit more movements here. I think it may have been something about the transition from 3DS to Switch I imagine. The puzzles occasionally have an issue like that but for the most part the rest are all solid so I would hardly call this a big issue or anything like that.

Katrielle’s mission to find her father is probably the most engaging part of the story so the whole time you’ll be waiting for that to come back. It ties into the ending pretty well with a rather massive twist. It definitely makes you double think everything that has happened previously. If you’ve played River City Girls then you’ll understand the effect. She’s definitely a solid lead even if it feels like she may be taking advantage of Ernest quite a bit. They’re really close friends but she certainly must realize that Ernest doesn’t quite see it that way. I imagine that plot will likely move a bit if we ever get a sequel.

As for the talking dog Sherl, I’m not totally sure how that’ll work out. My personal theory is still that he is Layton because that would be pretty cool. His personality will certainly have changed quite a bit but memory loss will do that to you. Meanwhile Ernest is a solid side character. He’s a little older than Luke so you can take him a little more seriously but puzzles definitely isn’t quite his thing. He’s more helpful to Katrielle in daily tasks and such than with his puzzle skills. Another supporting character is Inspector Hastings who is pretty solid. You do feel like he should have more confidence in Katrielle after a while though since she’s always saving his career and reputation. Without her he would be quite doomed.

The various cases are pretty fun. In general the rest of the supporting cast is a bit on the weak side but since the core characters are good that’s the important thing for the cast. Meanwhile the graphics are definitely really good. I was glad to see the full anime cutscenes make a return here. Level 5 has been very consistent with including those. It always helps to give the game a bit more of a cinematic feel to it and I’m always going to give this kind of thing a thumbs up. The soundtrack has some new tunes and some returning ones. The music is pretty fitting with the game’s setting and keeps things rather peaceful.

The main campaign should take you around 15 hours or so and I think you could probably add another 6-7 in order to complete everything in the game. There’s definitely a lot of content here. Even outside the puzzles and main story experience you have a ton of different minigames. I didn’t really try them out but there are many options. I think there are more in this game than in any of the others which is pretty impressive. Every bit adds up after all.

Overall, This Mystery Journey makes for a pretty solid adventure. The title is a bit surprising since it gives you information on a plot point that you don’t otherwise learn about (or even hinted at) until the final chapter. I suppose it’s always good to have some foreshadowing though. At the end of the day this is a pretty pleasant story with solid characters and good gameplay. I’m not usually much of a fan of puzzles in games but I’ve found that games built around the premise tend to be better. You can’t even compare something like the Layton adventures to Flip’s Twisted World. Now all we need is a Katrielle and Professor Layton crossover and we’ll be set. If you haven’t gotten this game yet then you should definitely check it out.

Overall 7/10

The Lady Vanishes Review


It’s time to look at a very old school thriller mystery. It certainly goes down a few unexpected paths and makes for a pretty enjoyable experience. As with all movies where someone vanishes you do have to suspend a little disbelief with how this would have worked out at all. That said, the movie makes a better attempt to hide this than most do. At least we do have a few characters who saw things and for their own selfish reasons are just pretending that they didn’t. That’s more of a plot point that I can get behind.

The movie starts with some train delays so Iris and a lot of other people are forced to spend the night at a hotel. Iris is with two of her friends so it’s a nice enough stay but their upstairs neighbor is making a lot of noise. Iris complains and the guy (Gilbert) retaliates by breaking into her room and making a mess of things. Iris is pretty happy to leave but on the way to the train she is nearly murdered by a falling rock that was seemingly aimed at an old lady by the name of Ms. Froy. Froy is also taking the train to she gets on with Iris. Unfortunately after Iris takes a nap Froy is gone and everyone claims she was never there. Iris needs to find some proof and fast because this could all be a part of some kind of conspiracy.

Iris and Froy didn’t do a whole lot after they got on the train but enough where you’d expect a good amount of witnesses. They went to the cabin to have some tea and even had a brief polite spat with Charters and Caldicott so I’m sure some people would have noticed this. Again, we do have at least 4 characters who saw them but have motives for not saying. For reasons involving the twist we can’t count everyone in the car so it’s a limited pool. That’s why, while I don’t 100% buy this, the film put in a great effort compared to most. I can definitely respect the hustle there.

Speaking of twists, the film also did good by not letting you know who the true main character was for a while. In Act 1 Charters and Caldicott gets much more screen time than Iris. They’re too comedic characters who just want to know what’s going on with the cricket matches but nobody is able to assist them. It’s definitely not the most popular sport out there although I know a few big fans. As a result you expect these guys to be in the thick of it but when the situation comes to them, surprisingly they lie their way out of it. I was pretty shocked since that seemed primed to be their big moment where they jump in and take center stage. That was a solid flip the script kind of moment if I’ve ever seen one.

As the actual main character, Iris does a pretty good job of holding the movie pretty well. She’s a nice character and definitely a determined one as she doesn’t buy into the deceptions that Froy was never really there. I’m pretty glad about that because I always thought it was rather weak to believe the opposite of what you saw with your own eyes. Let’s bee real about this, if you see something then you shouldn’t be convinced otherwise. That’s one of those things I always have to shake my head at when it happens. Iris was also quick to get with the program when the climax occurs.

Some characters were not quite so lucky with this. When people are actually shooting at you then the time for talking is certainly past. You have to fire back and a few of the characters here were definitely super naive. That said, the climax was definitely a lot of fun. It was pretty high energy throughout and a lot was happening at any given time. The whole conspiracy was a bit bigger than I had suspected. The film was pretty low key for most of its run but I’ll never turn down a sequence of solid action scenes.

The main guy is a bit on the iffy side. Gilbert is pretty petty with breaking into Iris’ room the way that he did. It may have ended up turning out all right but it’s the kind of thing that would definitely not fly over very well if it actually happened. This leads us to a pretty rushed romance plot. Keep in mind that Iris already has a fiance so that’s pretty hard to buy into. She basically dumps him for no real reason. We barely even got to meet the guy which is pretty crazy. They could have just as easily written the film so that he didn’t exist and nothing would change. The romance is definitely not the best here but fortunately that plays a very small role.

I’d consider the writing in the film to generally be pretty solid. It has good pacing throughout and a nice set of characters. The film plays itself out a bit as an ensemble kind of movie with each character having his own plot and story to get back to. They all end up mixing together by the end of the experience so all of the characters feel pretty real. The movie doesn’t drag on and actually manages to capture quite a lot of story within the runtime. Mix that together with the explosive climax and you’ve got yourself a very satisfying ending.

Overall, The Lady Vanishes is a pretty solid movie. I’d definitely recommend it as this is a mystery film which has aged really well over the years.Some of the twists are still a bit unexpected which goes into how smooth the execution is. Gilbert does have a terrible final scene though as he ends up slipping on the most important assignment he was given. It’s one of those things that you just don’t do. You’ve got to at least make sure you get that right. Fortunately the real hero was ready to help as things could have gone badly otherwise.

Overall 7/10

The Third Day Review


It’s time to look at an old film that really starts to fall down towards the end. It’s a mystery film that tries to throw in a lot of twists and turns to the point where the red herrings start to not make any sense at all. The movie’s a little compelling at the start but gradually it gets less and less interesting which is really not a good thing for a mystery film. If anything it’s probably one of the worst things that could happen to a title in this genre. Quite unfortunate but not every mystery film is destined to be a winner.

The movie starts with Steve walking out of a car crash. It was a close shave for him but he’s alive which is what counts. Unfortunately he has no recollection of his life prior to waking up. The man has complete amnesia and that’s not good. It turns out that he’s rich and about to make a deal that will earn him and his company a ton of money but at the expense of all the jobs in the town. Effectively he is about to sell out to corporate and his wife is also upset at him. Nobody seems to like Steve and according to his mother in law it’s because Steve has been acting pretty terrible lately. His father in law is in a coma as well and Oliver despises Steve as well. Steve needs to find out what happened and also try to lead a better life, but is it too late?

Amnesia is definitely one of those things that is pretty scary to think about. Waking up and suddenly not knowing anything about yourself is intense. Even when people try to give you the full scoop there will always be some nagging doubts that they could be lying to you or something. This case of amnesia is pretty convenient as Steve remembers how to do everything. He has memories of everything not relating to his life, but I believe this does have some basis in fact as amnesia patients sometimes do remember lots of things due to muscle memory. It’s just the recollection that is gone. Films about amnesia can be pretty hit or miss. This one was handling the concept well until it wasn’t.

One random red herring is a scene with Alexandria and Oliver. Her dress was apparently a little too low so he helps her push it up. The whole scene seems way too familiar and at that point I figured perhaps they were both traitors and in on the conspiracy. I believe the film is actually trying to push that thought as well but in universe Alexandria has no reason to do this. At best you could say she is still upset at Steve and wanting to mess with him, but she also dislikes Oliver and so I can’t picture this chain of events happening at all. It’s a pure red herring.

Additionally what hurts the film is the annoying climax. So part of what was going on with Steve in the past had to due with Lester’s wife. The guy has sworn revenge and made this clear to Steve several times. He should definitely have let his wife know to watch out for him. The scene of him walking into the house and telling Alexandria to get in the car with him is pretty suspect. Most likely he would have just taken a gun out if she hadn’t gone with him, but going with the guy in the first place is a stretch. You just don’t hop into a car like that, even if this was the 60’s. Lester is also a character that we absolutely didn’t need. The film definitely wanted to have some kind of dramatic final showdown but it should have definitely skipped out on that. The whole climax is pretty bad and adds a darker layer to the film.

Unfortunately the flashbacks also hurt Steve quite a lot. He was definitely being pretty unfaithful there and the ole “he was feeling weak” excuse doesn’t cut it. Even in the present you can make the case that his moral compass isn’t great as he lets quite a few people kiss him. One of them does this multiple times and he just seems to find it amusing. Keep in mind that his wife is standing right next to him the entire time. No matter how you slice it Steve is just a pretty terrible character so I couldn’t even root for him. When you’ve got a film where the lead is bad like that it definitely hurts quite a bit.

Alexandria is a solid character. She definitely seems to have very valid reasons to be upset with him as the film goes on. If you ask me she appears to be totally justified and unlike Steve she wasn’t being unfaithful. Alexandria puts up with quite a lot throughout the film. Finally you have Oliver who gets a pretty big role in all of this. He certainly has a few twists. The guy definitely doesn’t like Steve but puts up with the lead so he can get his cut of the big pay day. The old Steve seemed to not have realized this although Oliver is pretty obvious about it from the start so it’s hard to see why.

One final issue I had with the film is how everyone is intentionally vague to prolong the plot. When Steve asks his mother-in-law to explain things she intentionally never says anything. She talks a lot without saying things of substance. Can’t she just quickly tell Steve what is going on? She’s cryptic and this is something that happens a lot in mysteries. People just don’t give you straight arrows and it’s particularly annoying in this film since the writing isn’t particularly amazing or anything like that. It’s decent writing I’d say, but not in a way that doesn’t make this feel forced. It’s probably the worst element you could do in an amnesia type film.

Overall, The Third Day isn’t a particularly good film. Usually you get more engaged as the mystery starts to be explained while this one did the opposite. At times the resolution of a mystery may not be as grand as you had hoped so I can see a slight dip, but this one just crashed. The film had a ton of potential and I feel like it was ultimately squandered here. The film could have been so much better but that was not to be. If you want to watch a good mystery film I recommend checking out one of the Sherlock Holmes films instead. Those are all much better than this one.

Overall 3/10

Doctor X Review


It’s time to look at a very old film. This is probably one of the oldest films I’ve seen at this point which is definitely saying something. Even though it’s from the 30’s it still feels pretty modern compared to some I’ve seen. It certainly has aged better in some respects than the original King Kong for example. The sound quality is definitely clear and the visuals work well enough. It’s definitely not going to remembered as one of the better murder mysteries but I would say that it was fairly decent. A little predictable in places to be sure though.

The movie starts off by introducing us to the Moon murders. Basically someone is going around and eating people in the dead of night. It happens whenever there is a Full Moon and unfortunately there seems to be a full Moon almost constantly in this town. The cops figure it has to be someone from Xavier’s institute since the murder weapon is there. Xavier is certain that none of his professors have done this but introduces them to the cops. All of the scientists are pretty quirky and have suspicious personas. Dr. Wells has often studied cannibalization and is fascinated by it. Another one doesn’t want the police around for some reason and the others range from rude to distant. The cops rule out Wells because the guy only has one hand and the victims were all strangled but are unable to further deduce who it could be. Xavier gets the cops to agree to give him 48 hours to run his own experiments and find out who the guilty party is. Will he really be able to crack the case.

Figuring out who the murderer is shouldn’t take you longer than 5 minutes once we’re introduced to all of the suspects. There are at least 2 big things that sell him out as the culprit. When you watch the film let me know if you spotted them. Still, the film keeps on going as the characters try to put the missing pieces together. Xavier’s idea to get everyone to a secluded place to find the killer is a good idea until you think about it. If one of these guys is the murderer then what’s he going to do about it? Most of the professors are quite old so it’s not like they could fight the guy off. This plan also has to hope that the murderer doesn’t make a move and agrees to strap himself to a chair. Additionally, the villain could also have the strength of will not to suddenly throw himself into a fit of rage after watching a play. The fact that everyone is convinced that the villain would expose himself like that is a bit much.

The main character here though is the reporter Lee. He gets a lot of screen time. He’s very earnest about his work but definitely is not the most skilled agent. He tends to bump into just about everything and makes a lot of noise in the process. He does show up when it counts though and the final fight is pretty fun. There’s a lot of back and forth as he gets thrown around but keeps on getting back up. His fire idea was also pretty good. I’m not sure about his rushed romance with the heroine Joan though. It always seems suspect when they get together after one of them just had their life saved. Almost feels like gratitude going too far. Movies tend to always have rushed romances like this though.

Joan was ahead of her time in some ways though. I like the fact that she actually had a gun with her when confronting Lee the first time though. You definitely should have a gun with you when confronting would be burglars. She also foils Lee from stealing some pictures for the newspaper as well which is definitely good. Keep in mind that even after this deceit and such she falls for him. On the flip side, she does panic quite a lot. Screaming upon finding the father in his own room was rather odd. The dialogue makes absolutely no sense in that scene. Then later on she is unable to move while the villain is getting ready to move. She was not tied up or anything so why wouldn’t she at least put up a fight or attempt to escape? Joan definitely froze up at the worst possible time.

Overall, Doctor X is definitely a slow boil horror film as they examine all of the possibilities. It’s a pretty interesting film at least even if you already know the answer. The suspense will really come from trying to figure out how many victims the villain will get before he is caught. Some of the characters can be a bit annoying though like the butler. He went quite overboard in trying to scare the maid the whole time and she certainly made it easy on him. You’d think that Xavier wouldn’t be tolerating any of this but he doesn’t do anything about this. If you’re up for a classic horror film then this one could be up your alley. It’s not the best but I’ve certainly seen worse and it does avoid the animal violence error. Even the actual murders are largely off screen or not really violent which is nice since you never know what to expect if a film’s old enough.

Overall 6/10