Murder Most Foul Review


Marple returns for another adventure in my little marathon but this time she really has a time limit since an innocent man will die if she doesn’t solve the case in time. Unless of course she is mistaken and the cops did grab the right fella in this case. Only time will tell but Marple is also going to have to become an actress for a little while if she is to succeed.

The movie starts out with someone getting attacked and murdered but unfortunately the police officer who was passing by did not notice. A trial is held with the primary suspect who was found near the lady who was murdered. Everyone including the police think it is an open and shut case but fortunately Miss Marple was there as one of the jurors and prevented the case from being concluded. She believes that he has been framed and intends to prove it but the Inspector shows up and reminds her not to interfere with police business. She is going to have to be on her own this time along with some help from Springer.

The first thing she will have to do is join a local acting circuit and while she is initially turned down for being too old, her money has a clear voice and alters the outcome. She must figure out which member of the troupe committed this foul deed and bring him or her to justice. It’ll be difficult though because all of these guys are rather young and fairly quick on their feet. Underestimating them would not be a good idea. Can she crack the case?

Marple is about as solid as always here. She makes sure to have the upper hand against the villains at all times and even reminds us that she has her gun skills at the ready. She isn’t afraid of anyone and takes all kinds of risks in order to get close to the case. Her confidence never wavers and you could go on and on about what a quality character she is. The overall point is that since she can fight as well, that elevates her character since she now has ways to defend herself.

As for the Inspector, well by now he’s starting to play a really central role in these films. He’s also starting to take the whole battle with Marple a lot more personally or at least that’s how I see it. At first he may not have believed her but he didn’t seem upset about it. Now he throws fits and even tries to arrest her. He’s really not happy to see her at all and you’d think he would be since she is always solving cases and putting murderers beyond bars. The Inspector starts to appear very unreasonable but he’s still fun as an antagonist.

He may mean well but since the guy is constantly trying to get in her way it’s hard to call him a protagonist at all. It’s a shame since he does want to be a defender of justice. Springer is helpful here as well as he always gets orders from Marple to head to various places and gather intel. In some ways his missions are very dangerous as well since he’s really going places to find out information that the villains don’t want to get out.

As for the actors/actresses, some of them do seem a bit unhinged so you can definitely see how things would get a bit crazy. One of them tries to strangle another only to say that it was all a joke at the end. Then you have a girl who hears voices and talks about spirits as she loses her mind every night. She comes close to even stabbing Marple which is crazy and shows that there may not be just 1 villain around. The director of the troupe is desperate for money so he at least makes a show of trying to be helpful but you don’t buy it. He’s more obsessed with having a good show than with actually aiding the police which is not a good look for him.

All of the usual musical tracks are here along with the quality writing you would expect from the series. The case is interesting and the characters are good which is all that you need. The suspects may not be the most likable bunch but as they are suspects, this works well enough for me. That said, I would consider this to be the weakest film in the series.

For starters, having the court case be almost completely off screen was disappointing. There’s a lot you could do with Miss Marple in a court setting. It would be an interesting dynamic to have had her solve the case while in the room with the jurors. Maybe it would have been difficult to turn that into a whole movie but I think the idea has potential.

Then you have Marple’s tryout scene which I thought was rather dragged out and not too interesting. It’s easy to see why she was initially denied entry since she just wouldn’t work very well in the play. None of the actual acting scenes were particularly exciting though as you just want to get in on the action. Near the end you have the main plot going on at the same time which works better since there is a point to it. The Inspector’s right hand man looks pretty bad in the process though since he really left his post completely. When you’ve got one task and there are life and death stakes you definitely need to take everything rather seriously if you ask me.

Overall, Murder Most Foul is still another quality title overall. I would have played things out a little differently but at the end it’s a murder mystery that does deliver on both aspects. You shouldn’t have any serious issues with this one as stay engaged with the case. With the inspector even getting a promotion at the end you like to think that maybe he will be a little nicer to Marple going forward and can even help her out in her cases right? Well, we’ll see in the final installment in the series.

Overall 7/10

Murder at the Gallop Review


Miss Marple is back in action once more to stop the upcoming murders. We once again deal with a will and a bunch of very suspicious family members. This time though Marple will have to make sure that her horse riding skills are still on point because otherwise this could get a little tricky. It’s a solid follow up and continues with most of the positives that you would have enjoyed from the first film.

The movie starts with Marple and Springer collecting some funds for charity when they visit the house of someone who notoriously never gives his money. He won’t be given the chance this time though as he is dead. His family shows up for the will and they each get a nice chunk of real estate but one of them says that he was murdered. Before Marple can properly check with her, this lady is murdered as well. Now this definitely seems like it can’t be a natural death so Marple joins the horse club as she explains that she was a bit of an expert back in her day. She will have to do this without the aid of the police since they believe the earlier deaths were due to natural causes. Marple may be on her own but she isn’t dissuaded and will fight hard until she can get the proof that she needs.

It’s a pretty good change of scenery here at the horse club. It’s pretty much a fancy hotel out in the country side after all and there are a lot of rooms where murder can happen. Marple spends a lot of time trying to find the right boot since her main clue is something that fits into the boot. I forget what term they used for it but it looks like Styrofoam and she has to try matching it each time she gets an opportunity. Not necessarily an easy thing in a high speed place like this.

The Inspector returns of course and he’s fun as always. This time you’d think he would cut her some more slack but he doesn’t believe Marple as always. At least they hint that she calls on them a lot and we only see the successful attempts but it would still be nice for him to be on her side this time. He does try his best but the guy is completely out of his depth in these cases.

Part of why he’s still a great character though is because he does try really hard. No matter how many times he is proven wrong or outshined by Marple, he continues doing his best to try and serve out some justice. Now that’s the kind of attitude you need to have as an inspector or else you will quickly fall behind.

As always Marple is a solid character as well. She is good at getting right into the thick of the action and also doing so in a way where the police can’t just remove her. Like here for example where she is a proud member of the hotel right now. They can’t just boot her out and it’s a very clever way of also pressuring the criminal into making a move.

I should also mention there is a bit of a running gag from the first film that continues here where someone falls in love with Marple at the very end. That happens here as well and it shows that while she makes a considerable amount of enemies in each film, people just tend to like her by the end. It is impressive to find an older lady who is still good at so many things but that’s just how good Marple is.

It goes without saying but the writing is solid here as well. The mystery is put together in a very solid way and the script is on point. The pacing is good and you’ll always enjoy the witty exchanges between the characters. Part of the fun in mysteries like this is seeing all of the characters quickly affirm their innocence as they grow more and more insistent on the fact. You know that one character is lying out of his or her mind but you just don’t know who yet.

The soundtrack also continues to be high energy as the main Marple theme plays whenever she is on the go. The fact that the soundtrack is memorable at all is impressive since a lot of films just don’t have a whole lot of music to keep you entertained.

It is nice how for once nobody has a proper alibi when the police show up. It makes sense though because in a hotel like this you would often be by yourself. 9/10 times in a movie like this I would have no alibi because I probably would have just been playing video games or eating somewhere. Of course some of the characters are quite happy to say they have no alibi but it’s hard to say if that makes then more suspicious or just bigger jerks.

Marple’s final plan involving a dance is a good way to get the villain to lower their guard even if it’s extremely risky. One thing you’ll notice about Marple is that her plans are as dangerous as they come. This one for example involves her pretending to be asleep and all alone in her room. It all tends to work out but in several cases you feel like she would have been murdered before anyone is even able to get close enough to save her. That’s my main critique of her strategy since I don’t think the results mean that the plan itself was sound.

Overall, This was a nice follow up to the series. Looks like the murder mystery series is on the right trail and Marple can hold her own with the rest. I’m slowly getting to learn more about her which is nice because if I ever watch Murder by Death again I’ll have an even better understanding of each detective. You can expect the third movie in the series to be reviewed in the very near future.

Overall 7/10

Murder, She Said Review


It’s time for my first Miss Marple film. I definitely am not too knowledgeable about her compared to the other detectives around but the film was quite solid. It has really high quality writing as you would expect from these retro mysteries and I also thought it took a rather unique take on the genre. As an elderly woman, Marple has to be careful when solving these mysteries that she isn’t put in imminent danger.

The movie starts out with Marple noticing someone get strangled on a train. She reports this to the conductor but he doesn’t believe her and the cops don’t but it either. What are the odds that she could have truly seen such a murder from a different train at high speeds? Making matters worse is the fact that she was reading a murder mystery so everyone figures she lost her mind. Her only friend Stringer believes her but what can they do about it?

Well, the two of them do some poking around the train site and manage to figure out that the main suspicious location is a nearby manor. Marple gets herself hired as a maid and now she will be able to do some sleuthing with plenty of time to spare. There was a recent death in the family so now everyone is getting ready to get the money so you can probably guess who the suspects are. Every person in this family is absolutely a suspect so Marple will have to do her best to find the right person before she is murdered. Fortunately she will have the aid of a very inquisitive kid.

Another difference with the Marple series compared to most is that she will always get herself hired or involved in the location itself. This requires actually getting a job in several instances like this so she has to find clues between shifts. As a maid she is kept quite busy but does really well even considering that she is older at this point and not very fit either.

Miss Marple is not running low on confidence though and gets a lot of good lines throughout. She isn’t intimidated by these suspects in the slightest and just keeps on going as she normally would. She’s very methodical about getting the clues as well and does a good job of slowly tightening the noose around the villains.

Then there’s the kid although I can’t find his name anywhere. Needless to say, I was quite impressed with him as the kid was actually not annoying for a change. This is very rare for a kid since they tend to drag each scene down. This guy actually had some wit about him though and also didn’t desert Marple when they were nearly caught. He’s fairly brave as well and even knows how to scare people off. This is exactly the way I’d like to see all the kids look and it’s certainly a credit to the film’s writing.

While the Inspector would go on to get much bigger roles in the next few films, this was a good debut appearance for him. He certainly doesn’t believe Marple theories much but it isn’t yet personal in this film. He just has his own way of doing things and doesn’t want to be slowed down all the time. As long as he learns his lesson in the next films then he won’t look bad but….we’ll see how that goes. He’s always entertaining to have around though.

As for Springer, he’s a lot more cautious than Marple. She really ends up causing him a lot of stress throughout because of her dangerous tasks. It’s not like he can just walk in and help her out if anything happens either so that wears him down. I like his enthusiasm though as he will always try to help out even if he has absolutely no idea what is going on. He had a fairly good job at the library too but is ready to drop everything when she needs help.

As for the actual case, it goes pretty well. There are just enough family members/suspects that it’s hard to remember just about any of their names but they’re all suitably suspicious. You could close your eyes and just pick any with how incriminating all of their dialogue is. It makes for a strong opening case to start the series out. I would say there are enough clues where you can try to complete the case on your own as well.

There are always a few extra wrinkles thrown in to trick the police so you’ll have to watch out for those as well. In a way it’s a good chance to see if your theory is right because if the inspector says that this is what happened…you know that it did not. A shame certainly but that’s just how it goes since you know Marple will be the one to bring out the right theory.

Mysteries can come in many shapes and forms. You can have a very serious one, a fast paced thriller, etc. This one is more of a slow boil mystery that’s quite light hearted and it works well. Marple wants to help make the world a better place and sure there are murders and everything so this is serious but the movie has a lot of happy music throughout which is why I’d consider it fairly cheerful. Marple even has her own theme which will continue to play in the next few films as well.

You also get to see her life around the town a bit. She sips some tea while discussing the case with her friend and it’s all rather peaceful. It’s s calming environment which likely helps her focus and collect her thoughts. You’d barely believe that a murder just happened but it’s this hybrid of serious and calm moments that really makes the series work. I wouldn’t say it matches up to Sherlock Holmes or Poirot but I would take it above Nancy Drew and most iterations of the Hardy Boys.

Overall, Murder, She Said is a good way to start things off. It’s always fun to see the opening movie in a series so you can see which characters and running gags will continue. The writing is definitely on point and the films have good pacing. You won’t be bored while this is going on and it all moves in a very brisk manner. I’ll have a review up for the first sequel shortly.

Overall 7/10

Curse of the Fly Review


Curse of the Fly is interesting with how it mixes together a ton of different plot threads that don’t have much connection to each other. First off, it’s called Curse of the Fly but there is almost nothing to do with the actual Fly movie. The enemies don’t even look like Flies. You have the main heroine who has escaped from an insane asylum but she doesn’t seem crazy at all. Is this place actually a criminal organization? Then you have the actual mansion of criminals performing human experiments. It does make for an interesting combo even if it’s really mixed up the whole time.

The film starts with Patricia escaping from the Asylum and meeting up with a passing driver named Martin. Martin figures she can use some help since she seems distressed and takes her over to a hotel. She has a mysterious past that she won’t talk about and Martin doesn’t want to dig his own skeletons out of the closet so he asks if she wants to be married. She agrees and they head over to his place. He’s fairly well off but nobody in the house seems happy to see Patricia. Has she just stepped into a more dangerous situation than she had expected?

Now the opening scene of the movie definitely does drag considerably. It’s a long montage of Patricia running away from the house which just seems to be there for fanservice. The whole prologue of her getting married to Martin is also more low key as you’re just waiting for the characters to get to the house. Will Martin’s allegiance be to his father and the experiments or to his new wife? Unfortunately it’s the former and he really puts her in a ton of danger. There is so much happening it’s hard to even put the review in order but lets take it piece by piece.

The secret Martin is hiding is that he and his father are still conducting human experiments including teleportation and a drug that will allow Martin to stay human. See if he doesn’t have the serum in time then he starts turning into a Fly. I guess you can say that’s the true connection to the Fly film but even this isn’t really treated like a big deal half the time. It only happens maybe 2-3 times in the film.

Now this wouldn’t be all that bad on its face. If anything there would be no reason to keep it a secret. Well, maybe the Fly part but not the experiments. Where things really go wrong is when we find out that they are also running experiments on humans and keeping them locked up in cages. Among them is Martin’s real wife. So…the guy is married and yet he went on to marry someone else? That’s an instant game over for Martin. Not only is this a rebound but hiding the fact that he is actually married is a huge deal.

Martin’s definitely the antagonist around here. Even when Patricia nearly gets attacked by these creatures the guy doesn’t do much. In fact he does worse than nothing since he tries to convince her that she is crazy. Keep in mind that at this point he knows she is from the asylum so he is intentionally using that as leverage to try and make her doubt herself. It’s a pretty low blow.

Now, it should not have worked though. It’s always annoying when someone sees something and just gets talked out of it. At least Patricia has more of an excuse than most characters because of the asylum background but her self doubt should not have been enough to overwhelm her own senses. She saw everything clear as crystal. That should have been the end of it, she forces Martin to come clean and now they’re on even ground. It’s too bad that didn’t quite work out.

Also, we do have a brief subplot where the inspector from the Asylum is coming around to try and figure out what’s going around. He talks to a colleague who knew Martin from a while back. They try to make some headway on this case but as you can probably guess they don’t really do anything until the climax. I did like the inspector’s confidence though. Initially Martin refuses to see him but the guy calls his bluff with a warrant and gets in. Martin doesn’t want the press around due to his shady experiments and the institution doesn’t want them either so both of their goals align in that respect.

Not to worry, we’ve got more plots around. So Martin’s brother Albert who was also in on the experiments a while back but he did the smart thing and ran out of there. He completely got out of the business but where he made the mistake is when he decides to come back and help out after getting some pressure on him from the father. He absolutely should have stayed far away and that would have really ended up helping him a lot. Going back to the scene of the crime could only end badly.

You also have the rest of the staff doing their best to mess with Patricia the whole time. She probably wouldn’t have caught on so fast if the maid wasn’t letting the old wife run around the house or putting pictures of her by Patricia’s bed to mess with her. There’s a lot of mind games going around and it’s clear that the main staff wanted Patricia out of there. Ironically they’re the ones who bolt out of there pretty quickly.

Patricia is one of the more reasonable characters compared to these guys. At the same time, it shows why you shouldn’t marry someone you’ve only known super briefly because it’s not going to end well. Since she had her own secrets she was more open to letting Martin keep his, but that definitely didn’t go over very well. I’d say she should have bolted the moment she saw the inhuman monster running around the place.

Martin’s father is much more open about being a villain and that’s why he beats Martin. The guy puts science above everything including other lives. He’s very up front about this and is always giving lectures to the other characters with how many risks they take. He reminds me of Lou Chaney with how he sounds and talks as well. The guy’s just very charismatic. Not charismatic enough where he should have been able to convince everyone to go along with his crazy schemes though so Albert and Martin are not off the hook. They’re all mass murderers at the end of the day.

The writing is pretty solid though. It’s got that old Universal type writing style where the characters are all sophisticated and talk like mad scientists. The creature designs are fairly memorable. Really this film should have just not called itself anything having to do with the Fly and I think it would have gone over a lot better. Even with Martin becoming a fly for some reason, there isn’t enough of a connection for this to really make any sense. The movie’s only a little over an hour so it was really cramming a lot of content into it.

That said, it’s for that reason that the film stays interesting I suppose so I can’t dock too many points from it. The characters aren’t too smart but I wouldn’t say that’s a writing thing though and just the characters meant to be that way. Like when the maid antagonizes one of the villains. Doing so can only end one way so you’d think it would be better not to say anything….but I guess that’s how it goes. The film ends on a bang and so by the end you feel like you really had a complete adventure here.

Overall, Curse of the Fly does hold up pretty well as a suspense film. There’s a lot of dramatic music throughout which holds up pretty well. The core story may be basic but it’s pretty engaging at the same time. The body count is surprisingly high for an old film and it really shows how crazy some people will get while still thinking they’re on the right side. Meanwhile, the idea of switching around who the main antagonist may be is something that wasn’t used a whole lot back in the day so that’s different. Initially you think Patricia may be suspicious since she refuses to talk about why she is at the Asylum (We never find out why even as the film ends) and she had to break out which is a red flag since she doesn’t quite tell Martin about this. Yet when she enters the house we find out that Martin is the real villain here. (even if the film doesn’t always treat him like the antagonist) If you’re looking for an old school thriller to check out, this is a good one to pick up and you don’t even need to bother checking out the first film since they really aren’t connected.

Overall 7/10

The Man Who Knew Too Much Review


Whenever you know too much it can be tricky. Knowledge is hidden away for a reason after all and when you find out what it is, you’ve just put yourself in a whole lot of danger. It’s something that the lead characters learn quickly here although it’s not knowledge that they tried to learn so you can’t blame them. It’s a pretty solid suspense thriller with a surprisingly action packed climax.

The movie starts with Bob and Jill enjoying a nice vacation with their daughter Betty. Unfortunately Betty does wreck Jill’s chances of winning a shootout though by causing a lot of noise and distractions. She was goaded on by another character but it was still a tragic way to start the day. Bob and Jill head back in to have a good time but then a mysterious person they didn’t know very well hands Bob a letter and quickly gets murdered. Bob is about to tell the police about this when he reads the letter and sees that it’s a threat. If he tells anyone what he knows then Betty will die.

Bob confirms that Betty is gone and so this threat cannot be taken lightly. Bob needs to find these guys and fast so he heads out with Clive. The reason for urgency is that the cops are slowly gaining ground on the villains as well and if they do catch them, the antagonists may believe that Bob spilled the beans and take out Betty. The heroes will have to go to some dangerous places and dark alleys to find them. Meanwhile Jill has to do her best to stop another assassination attempt from taking place.

There’s a lot going on here which is something you always want to be able to stay about a thriller. Bob goes to different places from street corners to dentists to corrupt churches. In the dentist scene I was impressed with how he turned the situation around. Usually when the villain grabs their tube and starts to hit you with the knockout gas, the character will immediately fall to the ground and have no tolerance for the stuff. It’s not a very impressive look for them but Bob was able to rip it off and take the villain down. Now that was impressive.

In general I thought Bob was very good. He did a lot of the legwork in trying to find Betty and put himself in peril many times. He didn’t crumble under the pressure and kept a cool head about everything. His partner Clive also deserves a lot of credit for sticking with him on the adventures. He had a particularly rough time at the dentist’s office and was still able to keep it moving. He was certainly a loyal companion.

Meanwhile you also have Jill doing her best to handle this. We saw in the opening scene that she is good with a gun so the whole time you’re waiting for the payoff on this. Fortunately it does arrive and as the film’s climax is a giant shootout, that makes sense. This way each character got to contribute which was good. Only Betty didn’t I suppose but as a kid there’s not a whole lot she could do. The villains treated her pretty well at least so the experience wasn’t too traumatic.

The climax was extremely explosive though which is still surprising. The villains decide that they won’t go out without a fight and the nonstop shooting between the heroes and villains commences. The police didn’t look very impressive with their counter strategies though. If you see that your guys are going down one after the other you should probably rethink your strategy of plunging forward. They don’t and so by the end of the film a few villains have managed to take down almost 2 dozen cops. That was pretty crazy and I wish we had seen more tactics.

The main villain here is Abbott who looks shifty from the start. I think it’s safe to say that you’ll figure he is the villain almost as soon as he appears. You have the sinister music/atmosphere when he shows up and there aren’t a whole lot of other suspects anyway. Abbott does make for a good villain though. He seems a little insane but that’s not surprising for a villain like this. He’s the brains of the operation and the rest of the villains are fairly expendable to him. He made it pretty far in this plan.

The only character who didn’t seem to have much of a clue the whole time was Louis. I dunno, I suppose the whole thing wasn’t his fault since he had a mission to achieve but it felt like he didn’t act too cautiously. You’d never know that he was a professional agent with the risks he took. The guy thought he was James Bond with how he would party and hang out. I’m mixed on him since a decent amount of that may have been his cover. If he could have taken a few villains down before going out that would have helped.

The film is very strong all around though. The characters are good and the script is really solid. I’ve probably said this a thousand times but I love the good banter in the old school titles with the heroes and villains. There’s always a very fake polite type dialogue going on between them. If you read the text through an emotionless machine you could think the characters were friends but it’s all in how they talk to each other. The pacing is on point as well.

Overall, The Man Who Knew Too Much is a solid thriller. It is pretty tense with the child being kidnapped and all. We also get some rather atmospheric locations like the fake church. The characters balancing their attempts to save their kid while also being subtle or they will put her in more danger was effective. The cops also looked decent here as they were beginning to find Abbott, I just wish they had looked better in the climax. There’s no scenario where running into a stronghold filled with guns is a good idea without some kind of cover. You gotta be ready to adjust and then fight back.

Overall 7/10

Suspicion Review


Suspicion is a good reminder that you never want to take things too quickly. If you meet someone you probably shouldn’t get married the next week because you still don’t truly know the person. You have to give yourself some time or else you’ll be starring in your own Hitchcock thriller as you get stressed out at all times.

The movie starts with a drunk Johnnie getting on a train. Unfortunately he went to the first class section despite only having a third class ticket. He manages to save himself from disaster by snatching a stamp from the girl sitting across from him. Her name is Lina and while she wasn’t thrilled about this, she allows it to happen. She figures they’ll never meet again at least.

Unfortunately their paths do cross again. Johnnie convinces her to skip Church which shows what kind of example he is setting already and teases/insults her a bunch. She finds this charming though but then he vanishes again. She waits a while and eventually he turns up and asks her to marry him. She agrees…of course. Well, now things should be on the up and up but after they’re married he drops the biggest bombshell. He is broke without a penny to his name. He hopes they can live off of her inheritance but she explains that it still won’t be enough to afford this big house.

Their marriage continues to get bumpier and bumpier as she finds out that he has been lying about everything. He sells her chairs without permission, goes gambling and even steals some money. All of these acts add up but Lina decides to allow them because she’ll allow just about anything. The only issue is…she begins to think that he may be out to murder her. Can Lina escape this situation?

Suspicion does a good job of gradually raising the stakes throughout the film. At first Johnnie is just a playful bully who messes with her hair. Gradually he moves on to breaking and entering, but he does it in a charismatic way where it’s supposed to be quirky as opposed to dangerous. Then he starts lying constantly but each time it is seemingly to Lina’s benefit in the end or so he claims. Then we go to theft and that’s starting to get more serious. Even the cops may have to show up. Finally when you reach the murder tier, it looks insane that Lina is still around but because this all happened gradually, to her it never felt like a sudden rise.

As with many Hitchcock films there is also a lot that is left to your imagination here. You can really read the ending in a two main ways and a lot of sub paths from that branch. The first is that Johnnie is still lying. Certain incidents to which he should not have had a part in involving brandy and a sudden accident would have been his doings. If this is the path you believe happened then he is definitely an extremely dangerous character and Lina is not out of the woods.

If you’re on the second path and do think he was at least genuine at the end then that means Lina isn’t in danger and Johnnie at least had some lines he wouldn’t cross. I’m inclined to believe the second path is what happened, it at least feels that way but I dunno. I wouldn’t say it with a lot of confidence, it’s my pick but you could make rather strong cases for both. Naturally it would change the atmosphere of the ending. If Hitchcock wanted to make it obvious the final scene would be Johnnie offering Lina a glass of milk but that would be rather on the nose.

Suspicion’s greatest strength is how engaging the story is. The extra details also give it a good amount of replay value. There’s a lot to think about here. The writing is good as always and the movie is reasonably long so a lot of things get to happen during the run time. Nothing is rushed in the slightest and the ending is satisfying either way.

It’s a credit to the film that it succeeded despite my not liking either of the two protagonists. I didn’t like Lina because she gets pushed around way too easily. She fell in love with Johnnie right away but it’s hard to see how since both of her first impressions with him weren’t great. In the first he basically steals money from her and in the next he tricks her out of not going to Church and then tries to pull a fast one on her in the garden. He suckers her so many times and she doesn’t seem to care.

She even gets upset at Beaky despite his story making complete sense the whole time. I didn’t like the way she handled some of these moments that’s for sure. Then we have Johnnie as the lead. Well, there’s not much to like about him. He’s a playboy who’s apparently been in numerous affairs already. He is completely untrustworthy and you can’t have a true relationship without trust. It just doesn’t work and would always be doomed to fail.

The whole reason why Lina gets these suspicions about Johnnie is because she knows that she can’t trust him. He is directly responsible for every bad thing that happens in the film. There’s just no excusing the lying all the time. Selling the chairs without telling Lina was also really bad since she kept explaining that they were family heirlooms and could not be replaced. Then you have his whole stealing 2000 pounds from his employer. The list goes on and on and he gets rather terse with Lina for no good reason.

So in a way both main characters made quite the match here but I really didn’t like either one of them. The only good character here was Beaky. He added a lot of fun to the adventure and kept the characters on their toes. He was not smart in the slightest though considering his allergy to drinking. A single sip causes him to have seizures to the point where he nearly dies. In that case why does he continue to drink? You’d think that he would give it a rest then and not put himself in those situations. It’s a shame that he didn’t think things through.

Overall, Suspicion is definitely a very solid film. I would certainly recommend checking it out and see how you interpret the ending. There’s a lot to think about so pay attention to each detail as this goes through to the end. You may find it hard to like or sympathize with the two main characters but just hang in there until Beaky arrives and he shows them what’s up.

Overall 7/10

What are the Top 20 best Manga Series?


Originally this was just going to be a Top 10 list but there are so many great titles that I ended up expanding this to 20. Sure, you could just keep expanding it until it’s a Top 100 but that’s a lot tougher to pull off although it would make for a fun article. In this list I’m really just thinking about series so you have to be at least 2 volumes long. One Shots don’t count although I doubt I would have any this far up either way.

I’ve read close to 500 different manga titles but of course hidden among those are a bunch of one shots. In terms of series I’m not sure how many I have read although I expect it should be around 300 or so. My favorite manga genre tends to be action, but I’ll enjoy a great sport or mystery title as well. There’s usually something to be enjoyed in most titles. Most being the key word of course because when you have a series called Go Go Monster that bores you to tears then you have a problem….

Before getting into the Top 20 titles I’m going to give out some honorary mentions.

Best Harem: Nisekoi They say there is a gem in every genre and I suppose that is true. The very concept of a Harem usually leads to disaster so I wouldn’t say there’s a great track record here but Nisekoi pulled it off. In part I would say this is due to the fact that the main character actually has a backbone and isn’t just playing the field the whole time. Ultimately he has to make a choice and does this without any fake outs or cop outs. The art is really solid and I would say almost every character got a satisfying resolution.

Start of the Road: Dragon Drive

This is here simply for being one of the very first manga titles I ever read. I would say it was the first long running title I read for a series I was unfamiliar with. In a lot of ways you could say this is the title that really got me into manga as a medium so it will always be a very fun manga title to read. It’s nowhere close to the top 20 to be honest but still worth putting some respect on its name.

Best Mystery: Detective Conan

Spiral is right up there though and if you count Death Note then that is technically above Conan but I consider it to be more of a thriller since we know who the villain is. Conan’s had a very impressive run over the years as it’s even longer than One Piece. While it would be nice if the plot could move forward a bit quicker, each mystery is always a blast so you can’t really fault it. This one couldn’t crack the top 20 but as King of its genre it’s definitely worth a mention.

Generally strong titles that missed out
Kuroko’s Basketball
Beelzebub
Medaka Box
Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan


These three don’t own their categories or anything but they were the 3 titles left over when I was constructing my Top 20. I guess that’s not to say they are necessarily numbers 21-24 but at least they were top of mind. Kuroko’s Basketball brought a new intensity to the sport genre that was only previously seen in Prince of Tennis. The story arcs were excellent and if anything it’s just a shame that it couldn’t be longer. From all of the sport titles it probably has the most complete cast on a team. Yes, that’s even including Prince of Tennis.

Beelzebub is one of those titles that had a very shaky beginning but only kept getting better and better as it went on. I could have done without some of the crude humor with the baby and that’s really what keeps it from being a little higher. Still, it was a tremendous action series that had a very impressive run. Nothing can ever take that away from it.

Then you have Medaka Box. It’s only issue is that the fanservice could be a bit excessive at times, otherwise this would be a lock for the Top 20. It had a very colorful cast of characters and strategies in the fights that could even match Hunter X Hunter. The power scaling of the series was also very unique with how it would go up and down with the gifted and the unlucky. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages. It’s a shame that it never got a full anime version.


Nura was really impressive when reading it. The main character’s journey is similar to Yugi/Tsuna’s in many respects and he also has to deal with living in a demon gang. There’s a lot of great action here and all of the super forms are really done right. The fact that you have 3 generations of Nura fighting out here made for a great climax so this was a really high ranking action title.

Now these are honorary mentions for titles that are still going and could realistically make the Top 20. After all, as long as you live you have a shot right? That said, some are more realistic than others. Take Black Butler for example.

The only top ranking this horrific series has a chance of reaching is the title of worst manga of all time and Black Bird would have a lot to say on that. Birds of a feather flock together and all that right? Ah man, those titles are so bad….

sooooo…baaaaaadddddddd-Anyway lets go on to the ongoings that are quite solid and should have a bright future ahead of them.

Dragon Ball Super

The original Dragon Ball Z made it to the top 20 so there is already a precident for this. Ultimately since the manga would fall behind the show at times, Super hasn’t been as consistent as it could have been with arcs like the Tournament of Power being abridged. That said, the Moro arc was quite solid and the Granola arc is off to a great start. If this one can just keep going on a consistent level it’s certainly possible for it to achieve such a high status. I don’t see it ending anytime soon either so it will have a lot of opportunities.

Boruto

I wouldn’t say Boruto’s chances are as good as Dragon Ball Super’s since it will need a little more time and has more ground to cover. That said, when we do have action scenes they have held up quite well. Bortuo is starting to get quite high tier with the power scaling so we definitely can’t count it out. What would really be nice is if Sasuke and Naruto could de age or something but even without that there is a lot that the series can do.

Twin Star Exorcist

I hesitated about putting this one in because the series seems to be in its final arc. If so, there is really no time to jump high enough to make it to the top 20. I would say what it has going for it is that it might be one of the very closest to make it to the top. The artwork is one of the best for any ongoing series right now and I continue to be impressed at those fight scenes. If it can survive for another arc it could really pull this off but unfortunately I do see the end goal in sight.

Jujutsu Kaisen

Jujutsu Kaisen is the next big Shounen Jump title. As this point it is quickly gaining ground on its seniors within the magazine and you could say as soon as one of the Big 3 end, (Black Clover, My Hero Academia, and One Piece) that it will automatically assume the vacant spot. It’s a lot newer than the others though so it’s really just a matter of time for this one to start climbing up the ranks. This series shouldn’t be anywhere near its end so there’s no rush.

My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia is certainly a big title and it’s just entered a critical arc. Right now the forest arc is still my favorite in the series but this one is hitting the right notes. I am certainly on board with Deku’s character arc as I would say he is easily at the best he has ever been. While there are theories that this could be the final arc of the series I’m going to bank on this being the end of “Part 1” as the next part follows Deku as the world’s number 1 Hero. There’s a lot of ways this can go though so we just have to watch out.

One Piece

I know this one’s a long shot but the fact that One Piece is so long just means you really need to put it here. After all, I would say on average One Piece is a very good series that has had its moments of greatness. It was never able to be as consistent as Naruto or Bleach but it is still going which is a feat in itself. Additionally, if it’s true that we’ve barely just passed the halfway point of Wano then it doesn’t matter that the series may only have 1-2 arcs left because it’ll still be on going for years.

With the honorary mentions out of the way it’s finally time to stop and take a look at the Top 20. These are the cream of the crop. The ultimate titles that reign atop the food chain of the entire manga Kingdom. Out of the 20 on the list, 6 are still ongoing so who knows how much higher they can rise. Or of course they can do the unthinkable and crash but that’s fairly rare. Most series I would say end on a high note or at the very least even if it’s not the best arc, it’s one that is comparable to the rest. So lets dive in!

20. Saint Seiya

Saint Seiya is a manga as old as time and you can tell that to an extent. The art has an old look to it and the arcs tend to have the same story beats over and over like a classic superhero comic. (Check out the ole JL Archives and you’ll see how each story has them split up into 5 teams to beat their enemies and return) Saint Seiya doesn’t change things up a whole lot but it doesn’t really need to. The core premise is exceptional and the fights never hold back. Why change something if it isn’t broken right? That’s Saint Seiya’s methodology and it works.
19. Hunter X Hunter

It’s always crazy to think that without hiatuses Hunter X Hunter could be around One Piece’s length right now. Well, no time for What Ifs, when the manga exited we were in the middle of a great arc. The boat trip could even become the best arc in the series due to how almost literally every big character has found their way onto it. Hopefully this series returns someday because things were going really well.
18. Naruto

Naruto is one of those series where I mostly remember Part 1 through the anime as I didn’t get serious on the manga until Part 2. It’s a very nostalgic series and one that really brought the hear ton the Big 3. (One Piece had the popularity, Bleach had the skill, and Naruto brought the emotional punch) It’s just a very solid all around series that makes for a great first recommendation to any manga fan.
17. Death Note

Now this series takes me back. Light was easily one of the most ambitious main characters of all time. A mass murderer psychopath as the main character? It was very interesting and made you ask a lot of tough questions. It was the first big battle of wits manga that I read and it holds up extremely well. Light’s battle against L had to be one of the most impactful moments across just about any series.
16. Rurouni Kenshin

Kenshin made for a fairly unique main character as he was already older when the series first starts. He doesn’t take a lot of joy in fighting the way that most characters do and really does it out of necessity. The art here was top notch and while I usually do not care for the past as a time setting, this series pulled it off.
15. Prince of Tennis

Okay so the image is from the sequel but it was too cool not to pick. Prince of Tennis is the definitive sports title across all of manga and has never relinquished the throne. Part of why I got into Tennis is likely due to this manga’s influence. It’s a shame that the sequel hasn’t gotten big in America yet but this is a title I could easily recommend to anyone.
14. Kaguya-Sama Love is War

Kaguya-Sama may look out of place next to the others here since it’s a psychological romantic comedy. It’s quite unique and I still recall thinking it was a series about vampires after seeing the iconic volume 1 cover. Still, it’s ended up being one of the ultimate manga titles out there and has continued to rise. It’s one of only 3 series that have ever caused me to binge into the wee hours of the night when I would usually be asleep. (Tower of God and RWBY the animated series are the only other two) What really makes this title stand apart is the fantastic writing and its unique look into the power dynamics of a romance.
13. Beet

Beet is in a similar boat to Hunter X Hunter where it would be even bigger if not for the hiatuses. The artwork was stunning and the series was preparing for a DBZ type adventure. I would still consider it an elite but due to how abruptly it stopped I can see why a lot of people would avoid it. Hopefully the continuation gets big soon so everyone can really relive the adventure.
12. Black Cat

Black Cat was at one point in my literal #1 position for all of manga. Of course I read it a long time ago before most of the other titles so it was natural that others would show up. Still, Black Cat is still notable for having one of the best romances in the entire medium as well as having a top tier main character. Train Heartnet has a lot of style and the manga did a good job of always ramping up the stakes.
11. Yu Yu Hakusho

This one was very close to making the top 10. It was a tough fight but it just barely loses out to the next one. Yu Yu Hakusho has a ton of amazing action and characters. It ended up getting an anime that was so amazing that even the manga couldn’t keep up. Hakusho will always be known as a top tier contender regardless though and if any series above it end up slipping this one will be right there to take their spot.
10. Gamaran

Gamaran was never formally licensed in America so it was unable to get as popular as it should. Think of it like Kenshin only with whole schools of swordsmen fighting each other. The fights are crazy and while the abilities are mainly grounded the manga isn’t afraid to give them superhuman feats all the time. It has a certain intensity that very few titles can match.
9. Black Clover

At this point it’s easy to see why a lot of people call it GOAT Clover. Black Clover is just amazing in that it burst out of the gate as an amazing series. A lot of titles need some time to pick up but this one was superb from Volume 1. A good amount of credit for that goes to Asta as he is such a likable guy. Part of what makes him shine is the fact that he never gave up on working out and training his body even though he didn’t get magic. He didn’t let the unfairness of the world drag him down and just kept on fighting until he became a member of the Black Bulls. Hopefully this title doesn’t end any time soon.
8. Liar Game

I had to debate with myself a while on if this should really be ahead of Black Clover. It’s close but I would give it the slight edge. Mainly what helps it win out is that I just love analytical series like this. Each game causes you to think a lot on what the right strategy is. The best part is that the series never cheats. You can really get the answers yourself but it is incredibly difficult. The writing here is phenomenal so you will be sucked in to each event.
7. Reborn!

Reborn probably has some of the best fight scenes in all of manga. That’s a good part of why the series is ranked so highly. It’s also versatile as the manga initially started out as a full comedy which was very humorous and then seamlessly turned into a battle manga. This showed that the author was able to handle each genre which is very impressive. This is a series you do not want to forget.
6. Dragon Ball Z

The original Shounen Jump legend! Dragon Ball Z is one of those huge franchises that everyone knows about and that’s because it is just so good. The series has no weaknesses and the art style is simple but extremely effective. The fights are easy to follow and the story is a lot of fun. It really came into its own during the Android Saga and never looked back. The series also has a ton of replay value since it’s so easy to read.
5. Bleach

Bleach is one of the most intense action series I’ve ever read. While a lot of people didn’t like the final arc I was definitely on board with it. The series just kept escalating everything higher and higher until it just ended. Now I will say that parts of the ending are a little on the rushed side but there was definitely a lot to wrap up. All in all I would say it did a fantastic job and Ichigo is such an awesome main character. The experience wouldn’t be the same without him.
4. Yugioh Duelist

Out of all the Yugioh titles this one stands head and shoulders above the rest. The Battle City Arc is iconic because it brought in the best duelists in the world and made for a lot of great duels. Kaiba and Yami’s rivalry can hold its own with any other pairing out there. Both of them will never surrender or give up. Mix that in with the sheer enjoyment of Duel Monsters as well as the excellent art and you have a top contender.
3. Tower of God

Yeah technically this is a Manhua but that’s close enough. Besides which I haven’t read enough of those for it to be a different category. Now this was fun to marathon though as there are around 500 chapters in the series and each one is monthly sized. If it ever got a physical release I wonder how many volumes that would be. Seems to be like it would possibly even reach 100 already. Everything about this title is just absolutely top tier. The artwork is amazing and the cast of characters is next level. You’ll be sucked into the various story lines and the general lore that surrounds it. I just couldn’t put this down and just kept going from chapter to chapter. If you like action and adventure then this is an absolute must read.
2. One Punch Man

One Punch Man has hands down the greatest artwork of all time. It’s incredible how realistic everything looks and not in an overly detailed/gritty kind of vibe. I’m talking in a detailed approach where it still feels like DBZ but with a ton of extra elements. Each page you can pause and use as a background because of how HD it is. Every 2 weeks you really look forward to seeing what the next update will bring.
1. Megaman NT Warrior

Now we’re at the ultimate manga. The appearance of Bass EXE, the greatest character of all time. It’s no secret how incredible I’d say this guy is. The series has top tier art as well with all of the fights and the author had a clear understanding of what makes for a good action series. Each story arc kept on getting more and more interesting with all of the characters mixing things up and getting in on the action. If you think Megaman is for kids or isn’t a strong verse then you definitely need to check this one out.

And there you have it, that’s my Top 20 manga of all time! With so many ongoing series and tons of completed ones I have yet to read, I’m sure the list will remain rather dynamic. Some more than others of course as the Top 10 likely wouldn’t change much but titles beyond that would probably move a lot more. Nothing beats the feeling of discovering a new manga title that is top tier after all. We’ll see which is the next one to break out! Who knows, maybe it’ll be that Kaiju No. 8 everyone’s talking about.

The Big Heat Review


The Big Heat is definitely a true noir thriller through and through. There are a lot of mysteries for the main character to sift through and pretty much everyone is lying so it’s always hard to get to the heart of the matter. The film does a good job of keeping you engaged the whole way through. There are certainly a lot of tragic elements in the movie as well. Through it all, the lead is determined to keep on moving forward.

Dave is Sergeant who works in the homicide business. He’s always done a good job of solving each case and certainly isn’t the kind of guy who backs down. Well, this time he’s gotten himself involved in a very big case. A fellow cop committed suicide and while it initially appears to be a shut case, a lady named Lucy approaches Dave and gives him info to suggest that this wasn’t the case. He was having an affair with her at the time and had just planned to divorce Mrs. Duncan.

Mrs. Duncan doesn’t want to talk about this and then the top brass at the police tell Dave to stop bothering her. Some thugs even call his home and threaten Dave’s wife Katie. Well, now Dave knows that there is something to this case and he doesn’t intend to leave until he’s solved it all. This will be his most difficult case yet though as he will have to do it without the help of the police. Can he take on the powerful underworld?

There are quite a few characters running around here. First up we have the main villain Mike Lagana. He runs the underworld and seems to run the police as well. Naturally this is why Dave suspects him of having a hand on this. Supposedly no criminal acts without this guy giving his okay first. If they try to make a move solo then they may not end up being in a position to act any further. Mike makes for an intense villain to be sure. He’s the kind of guy who prefers to let his underlings do the dirty work though.

Mike tries to stay clean as a whistle but of course giving the orders doesn’t make you any less of a villain than the ones doing the deed. Then you have his right hand man Stone who is the most twisted of the villains. He’s into torture and such so you’re always ready for Dave to eventually take him down. There’s nothing redeeming about this villain.

Another big villain here is Mrs. Duncan. After all, she’s one of the mastermind’s here. As a side note, I also liked how this film had more than just the usual 2 factions. For example, she is working with Mike but not for him. In fact, she has contingency plans of her own. Mrs. Duncan is a great strategist and always makes sure to hold a great hand. It’s part of what makes the end of her plot really interesting.

The film takes a few different turns than I had expected and I thought it was played out excellently. A lot of times you expect Dave to basically be doing all of the work on his own without help but in this one that’s not quite the case. He has some allies and then you’ve also just got separate characters who have their own plans and agendas.

Back to the heroes, Dave’s wife Katie was a great character. She was certainly on top of things and was just good natured in general. She was someone he could always count on and she had a good sense of humor as well. Then you have Dave’s army friends who show up more in the second half. These guys are all ready to stand with him to the end which is a really good display of loyalty. Without them it would have been a lot more difficult for Dave to move around.

Then you have Debby who is Stone’s girlfriend so she is around for a lot of the villain scenes. It’s clear that she has more of a heart than the others but of course it’s not easy to just leave a villain setup. Once you’re in you are effectively stuck and have to remain that way. She does end up contributing a whole lot though. Debby goes through a lot during the movie but ultimately stays strong during the various trials.

As for Dave, he’s certainly a solid character. He takes his job very seriously and does whatever he can to crack the case. He’s not able to just look the other way which is difficult in this line of work since the town is basically owned by the villains. At one point the main villain is even playing a game of cards with some elected officials and a cop as they all sit down and have a good game while someone is being injured in the background. Dave can be short with just about everyone but he has good reason to be in a foul mood for most of the film.

Dave really can’t catch a break and as the main character you already know that the people he meets will always be in danger. He also succeeds as a main character with the great dialogue he gets. Dave always has a solid one liner ready for the various characters and doesn’t hold back with the insults. He just calls it like he sees it and doesn’t care who is listening.

The script is definitely top notch and holds up extremely well. The writing is on point as it balances the various plots. Again, I like how it threw a lot of curveballs into the climax of the film with each character getting to contribute. It made the film ultimately feel even more like a grand adventure.

If there’s anything weak about the film, it’s that it can go a bit far with being rather dark. In a noir film characters die all of the time which is normal but this one delves much more into the torture kind of deaths. The opening victim dies in a rather brutal way and we see how Stone treats various characters close up. The attack on Debby was also pretty brutal. I prefer when the villains just murder the heroes quick and easy as opposed to going the extra mile. At least with the first death it isn’t shown but a quick explosion would have definitely been preferable.

Overall, The Big Heat is a really good thriller film. It’s easy to get invested into the story and also hard to predict exactly how it will go. Even the fact that we know who the crime lord is makes things pretty interesting since that doesn’t necessarily mean he has his hand in this affair. Also, you have to decide whether you believe Dave or not when he talks about all of the characters being bought out by the guy. If you like a good mystery or thriller then this is definitely a good title to check out.

Overall 7/10

Game Night Review

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

Game Night is one of those films doing its best to have a nice balance of being a parody while also having serious thriller moments. On the whole it’s definitely quite a bit of fun. Sub par writing does keep this film from being fantastic though and lowers it to just being a good movie. It has enough solid moments where I would say they overpower the bad ones but you can’t help thinking that it left a lot on the table.

The movie starts with showing us how competitive both Max and Annie are when playing games. Sabotaging the other team is just one of the many ways to win and they study for ages so that they are prepared for anything that comes their way. Eventually they end up getting married and continue the tradition of having their friends over for Game Night. They stopped inviting Gary over once he had a divorce though so they try to be low key now. Things all change when Max’s brother Brooks arrives.

Brooks basically exists to antagonize Max and try to shame him in front of everyone whenever they meet. He intentionally causes a disturbance and even shows up in Max’s favorite car. Brooks takes over Game Night and announces that the stakes are higher. Someone is going to be kidnapped and whoever finds that person before the others will get the car for free. This is Max’s turn to prove himself, can he find the car first?

The film definitely plays up the parody elements in right from the start where you can see how exaggerated everything is. Game Night goes all in on making the situation as crazy as possible like the scene where Brooks is attacked and nobody can tell that it’s for real. Then you have Annie running around with a live gun throughout the film but since she thinks it’s a toy she keeps pointing it at people and even puts it in her mouth at one point. One character gets shot and has to have the bullet torn out only for the whole thing to go in a different direction.

These moments are all pretty fun. When the film is embracing the wacky nature of the premise and all the twists it is at its absolute best. The film throws you a whole lot of curve balls throughout. There’s even a moment sort of like the Dark Knight where you think the film has ended only for it to keep on going. There are even two scenes after the credits as if this was a serious film. The actual ending to the movie is excellent though. Whether we get a sequel or not that’s definitely a great way to end it.

As mentioned though, the only thing holding this film back is the writing. Brooks is just way too over the top in how he messes with Max. The guy throws his board games away, steals his friends/car, tells an embarrassing story, etc. The film half heartedly tries to help redeem him by the end but he’s so far gone that it’s just hard to buy into. It also gets so extreme that I wouldn’t even say that these moments are funny. The board game throw? Sure that’s funny although Max should have absolutely retaliated or just left at that point. The embarrassing story? Not even remotely funny and the gag drags on.

Game Night is also fairly confident in its jokes so it tends to keep on calling back to them. For the better gags this works like Gary ominously appearing in the background many times. It’s hard…or meant to be hard to tell if he’s a red herring or not. This backfires for the more annoying moments though like Kevin’s plot where he is jealous about his wife Michelle having an affair at some point which gets brought up over and over again.

As for the characters, Max is a good lead. He has a lot of funny lines and gives the film a solid atmosphere throughout. I would argue again he lefts Brooks get away with way too much though. Then you have Annie who I would say is the standout character of the film. She was able to match Max blow for blow when it came to coming up with plans. She was very proactive and even participated in the fights quite a bit. Annie was quick to take every situation in stride and I can’t really think of any bad scenes she had. She may speak her mind rather quickly even if it means putting Max in a bad spot but at the end of the day they made a great team.

I’ve already talked about Brooks so nothing much more to be said there. He’s the kind of character who is supremely confident which can be entertaining but you can’t let it distract you from the fact that he’s practically the main villain in this film. At least I will say he put up a good fight against the two intruders in the opening scene.

Then you have Ryan who has to be the weakest character in the film. His gimmick is that he’s really not smart at all so he’s always saying things at the worst possible times. He serves as the comic relief character but you don’t need one of those in a parody/comedy film since everyone ideally will have a lot of humorous lines of their own. As a result he feels rather forced the whole time.

The date he brought to the main game night is Sarah who’s meant to contrast his character with how intelligent she is. She has some fun moments as well but in general their subplot wasn’t very strong. Next up is Kevin and Michelle who probably had the weakest plot. As mentioned, Michelle had an affair while they were on a break from each other and he also did but still says she should have not done it or at least come clean about it years ago. Super sloppy of her to mess up during the game though I have to say.

The problem with this gag is it just keeps being brought up over and over so Kevin comes off as super insecure the whole time. I’d also say they did the worst in the game and really could not keep up with the other teams. As for supporting characters, well we have Gary who has a rather tragic plot for the most part since nobody wants to hang out with him anymore. He does come across as rather odd but lying to his face and excluding him from everything is absolutely not the way to go. The film doesn’t give you enough reason to see why the main characters would treat him so poorly so you feel bad for him. It gets worse when something happens to his house. The film never addresses the aftermath of this but it’s definitely not something you would forgive very easily.

Overall, Game Night is a very high energy film. It really embraces the nature of being a sort of “Clue” type adventure but focused heavily on being a parody. It takes many shots at classic action movie tropes as the heroes try a lot of plans but they never work. The conveyer plan for example was really clever as well as the homages to the Die Hard series. The movie is certainly at its best during these moments and I also liked the actual game scenes. There’s a certain music track that plays during these moments which is really good. That said, considering the title you will find there are less scenes of the heroes playing the games than expected. It may have enough of a weak script where I wouldn’t call it a great movie or anything but if you’re looking for a fun film to check out this one’s a good way to spend an evening.

Overall 6/10

Inside Man Review

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

The Inside Man is a classic bank heist kind of film but with it taking place around Wall Street that’s a pretty fun twist. You’ve got everyone trying to make a move so there are a lot of plans and counter plans going on. Effectively this is exactly my kind of film because I like to see how the debates play out as each side tries to take the lead. Most of the film keeps you wrapped up in the suspense so you won’t get to see the answers until near the end.

The movie starts with everything being rather normal at a bank until a few people show up and take the whole place hostage. They do it rather quickly, so quickly in fact that nobody even dies. Clearly these guys are professionals so Detective Keith is called in since the usual guy is on vacation. Keith tries to discuss terms with this guy but Dalton, the leader of the criminals, isn’t talking. He is sticking to his demands and does not want to change his terms. He wants a jet, and a lot of assurances before he does anything. Keith can only do so much on his end but time is not on his side. After all, the hostages currently hang in the balance. Which side will give in first?

And that’s really the tone the movie is going for here. Both players are effectively facing off against each other in a game of poker. They each have an ace or two up their sleeve and a whole lot of bluffs to work with but at the end of the day one of them is going to have to make a move sooner or later. There are also a few other players in the arena though since you can’t have the film go so linearly.

First up, we have the owner of the bank Arthur. He is hiding something important in the bank and is worried that the robbers may end up leaving with it. He is forced to call in the mysterious Madeleine. She is willing to help him out since that’s basically what she does. She doesn’t concern herself with the moral implications of what is going on so long as she is paid. There are some good back and forth conversations with these two characters though as she does also make it clear that if he is hiding anything relevant to her mission then the deal is off. She does need to know a certain amount in order to claim victory here after all. It’s not as if this will be an easy or safe job for her either since she has to deal directly with the bank robbers.

For Keith this is also pretty stressful since it is effectively his first big case. There’s a whole lot riding on this one and he is given a tempting offer from Madeleine involving how this plays out. Can you in good conscience take a bribe like that? The film opens up with an exchange where Keith basically says that if you’re doing your job most of the time and take a bribe at some point, you still did a net good for society so it works out. Foreshadowing or something to subvert? It’s just something extra to think about.

The film always gives you a whole lot to think about in each scene which is part of why the film is so good. There are many different plots and storylines going on here at once and all of the characters are quite solid. It makes for a very engaging film from start to finish and one that does not have any weaknesses. The climax does not disappoint and the actual journey is also a lot of fun. There’s a lot of replay value to be had here just because the writing is so good. It’s properly engaging and all of the characters are pretty reasonable. Even the random hostages all have a good amount of personality between them so you aren’t likely to mix them up at all.

Throughout the movie, we get flash forwards where we see Keith and his partner talking to the hostages and trying to figure out if any of them were in on it. It’s a dangerous tactic because for one thing, it means that we know some details about the case. Clearly the hostages survived and the thieves were not stopped or at least the heroes suspect they weren’t. In some cases it could wreck the suspense like a certain George Clooney film I saw a while back but in this case the execution was good enough where this worked out.

The standout character here would probably be Madeleine. Her confidence is just a lot of fun and I like wild card characters like her who come out of nowhere to shake things up. The villains were also pretty solid. Dalton’s definitely a thinker and has some pretty good plans throughout the movie. He was clearly one step ahead of the other characters the whole time. There are a lot of twists involved of course so I can’t really go into the motivations of the robbers but lets say that Arthur’s secret is indeed a big one.

The film certainly paints him as a pretty bad guy relating to what’s in the box. It’s not the kind of mistake you can really just walk away from. Keeping the proof of this was also a horrible mistake on this part. Even if a part of him wanted to keep this in order to atone for it…it definitely didn’t pay off this time. It’s also hard to really feel if the guy is sincere or not. Personally I assume he probably is not. Even the shady mayor in this film seems to be a lot more trust worthy. Just about everyone is hiding a few skeletons in their closet in this film though so they all fit in rather well together.

Overall, Inside Man is a great film. It really tells a complete story with a lot of compelling elements and characters along the way. The writing is fantastic with all of the various exchanges between the heroes and villains being quite compelling. The movie even throws in a decent amount of humor here and there that works well within the scene like the debate about the trains. As I mentioned, the film has no weaknesses which is a big deal for a mystery like this. It means you can just watch straight through and really have a blast here. Even something like the hold up itself which can usually be rather vanilla was handled really well as we saw exactly how much the robbers had already planned like the scene where they split everyone up. It’s like something out of Liar Game, only the heroes don’t have a genius of their own to counter these guys. The ending to the movie is satisfying so if you like mysteries or heist films I highly recommend checking this one out.

Overall 8/10