Megaman Dash Review

Megaman Legends is probably the only part of the Mega Man series that I’m not much of an expert on. So it’s always interesting seeing more adventures in that verse but at the same time titles like this don’t really do it any favors. Megaman Dash is more of a comedy manga than a serious adaption and so it’s not going to reach the heights of NT Warrior of Gigamix. I’m glad that the series finally finished getting translated of course, that was definitely great. Because that means now I get to dive into this one and tell you why it didn’t quite work. I will give it this, the series does avoid throwing in a lot of crude humor or anything like that which I appreciate since so many comedic titles run right to those jokes.

The series is rather short with only 5 chapters so it’s really more of a one shot than a series. Basically Megaman Volnutt is a treasure hunter of sorts. He goes to different caves and mines minerals and resources. Despite his antics he seems to be reasonably good at this, enough so where he, Roll, and doctor Barrel can live a comfortable life at least. Well, he isn’t the only one after the treasure and also has to contend with the likes of Tron Bonne and her crew. They may not be all that formidable but the same can be said for Volnutt so he can’t let his guard down. Eventually he even meets a man named Megaman Juno who has plans for world domination. Can Volnutt really stop this guy?

It’s a fairly basic plot that we’ve got here. Volnutt is your classic explorer who likes having a lot of fun but also really enjoys goofing off the whole time as well. He’s definitely not the kind of guy who takes things all that seriously but he can be tough when needed. I’d like to see more bravery out of him though. I get that it’s a comedic title so that may not be in the cards but it would just do a world of good to see him talking tough and getting serious when the situation calls for it. It’s why he severely lags behind the other Megamen on all sides. It was fun recognizing some of his signature attacks from the Tatsunoko vs Capcom game though.

I can also give the manga this, the artwork is actually pretty good. You can see how the fights would actually be really solid if that was the intent of the manga. The choreography is on point and the character designs are good. Clearly this artist is really being misused having to work on a more gag manga type adventure like this one. It certainly makes for an easy read nonetheless. Particularly now that it’s all scanned you can blast through the whole thing really quick. Perhaps it will read better as a marathon although I have my doubts.

As the heroine Roll doesn’t actually do a whole lot here. She yells at Volnutt constantly since he’s always messing up but that’s really her only role here and he doesn’t really take her all that seriously. Doctor Barrell has even less to do here. You may forget that the guy exists at times. Then there’s Tron Bonne who is a comic relief villain but at least she is doing a lot of things. She builds robots to take Megaman out and is also instrumental in helping him out later on. If you were a fellow villain then you would probably be annoyed at how she changes sides and all but for the heroes it works out quite nicely.

The only character that I can say was solid all the way around was Megaman Juno, the final boss of the adventure. An evil Megaman is always a very intriguing prospect. Whether it’s Copy X from the Zero games or Dark Megaman from EXE, they tend to be standout characters. This one is certainly ambitious as well and he does put the heroes through the wringer. I think he’s probably a really cool character in the games as well, I just got that vibe from him.

I appreciated the series ending with a serious climax against this guy. While it may not keep that tone for long, I’ll take what I can get. Ultimately I don’t think Megaman always has to be super serious but you can do humor in a fun way where it’s less of a gag type approach. Megaman EXE and classic certainly have a lot of humor to them and it works well, I’d say the only thing holding this one back is that the jokes often aren’t funny. It just goes too far overboard with the characters yelling and making all kinds of faces. That kind of thing just isn’t funny when you spam it.

The kind of humor you’d like to see is with the script. Some kind of really great line that you remember or a particularly solid burn that leaves you with a big grin on your face. Things like that are what would leave more of an impact. Or if you have to do this, have it be a lot of gags during the normal scenes but when the fights happen you go all in. That would have worked a lot better as well. If you haven’t played the game you will probably be wondering just a bit what the actual game’s plot is like since you figure it’s probably way different than what we got here.

Overall, Megaman Dash makes for an interesting read. It’s certainly unique and I do think a good amount of effort was put into it, the style and direction it went in just wasn’t the right one. If the idea of a sillier Megaman adventure sounds right up your alley then you should enjoy this one. If you want something more intense then I would redirect you to just about any of the other Megaman adventures. Whether it’s X, classic, or exe you will have a better time straight up. One positive for this one is that it is very short though so it’s not like it’s a big time investment. You can finish this one within 20 minutes easy so what’s the harm right? I’d also say while I had my share of negatives with it, I still wouldn’t call this one bad per say. It’s right in the middle for me where it’s not particularly good but it’s not like I had a tough time reading it either. There’s a certain gag manga I’m reading right now that is actually painful. Just wait until that series ends!

Overall 5/10

Dick Review

The concept here isn’t bad since you could think of it like an alternate version of Bill and Ted. The real problem is really just that the movie isn’t too clever. It goes for the obvious jokes right away but after that there isn’t much left. Even the obvious joke doesn’t work since I know a Richard who still goes by the short version so the name isn’t dead yet. There was a good amount of potential here but right from the jump you get the feeling that it won’t live up to that.

The movie starts with a flashforward as a news guy tries to trick Woodward and Bernstein into revealing their source for the whole Watergate scandal but they don’t fall for it and then we find out what happened. The movie revolves around two teen girls, Betsy and Arlene. They aren’t very smart at all and can’t keep a secret for more than 5 minutes. One day they happen to be near a heist which ends up becoming a big deal and the White House staff has reason to believe that they know more than they should about Watergate. So President Nixon decides that the best way to keep them quiet is to keep them close and hires the two to be his official dog walkers. They have fun with that since who wouldn’t want to walk a dog in such a prestigious place right? Arlene even falls for Nixon but little do they realize that he is as corrupt as they come.

The film has fun making Nixon as big a bad guy as you can imagine. He is practically making evil plans in every scene that he is in. The guy is always planning something negative at the very least but the girls just never notice. It would take a whole lot to get them to realize that he is the villain so of course he keeps pushing the envelope further and further until they have to notice. If he would just pretend a little harder and not make obvious mistakes like leaving the tape recorder active then he would probably have gotten away really easily. Ultimately he wasn’t the smartest character either.

It’s always intense to see how the White House used to look though. It’s hard to imagine people just walking in and going upstairs like you see in this movie. It’s just all very lax and Betsy/Arlene really have the run of the place by the end. One unfortunate subplot for the whole staff is that they start making spiked cookies unintentionally and of course everyone loves them. This even helps with global peace so it shows what a strong meal can do.

From the main two I would say Arlene is the main weak link. She just gets crushes on people way too quickly as she already had another crush at the start of the movie. Just jumping from crush to crush like that in an instant is definitely a bad move. Then for Betsy she is a lot more outgoing and aggressive but that can be a detriment as well like when she has an affair with a random guy just to buy time for the tape to be stolen. It’s a really desperate plan that’s for sure and one that’s not worth it. Better to even try knocking him out but otherwise he seemed like the kind of guy who wouldn’t mind if the two just ran in and stole the tape. He probably wouldn’t even realize that was happening at that point.

The main focus of the film is how the two girls manage to have a massive effect on the president’s office and how every big decision actually went through them but it’s not a premise that can stand on its own without any backup. I don’t even think you need to make the two girls smarter necessarily because you can absolutely have a fun film with the characters not knowing anything. You just need a really clever script though and this film doesn’t have that.

Then you have the two reporters. I actually thought Woodward was solid and he did a good job of getting intel and always trying to be on top. I liked that guy but his partner was on the annoying side. Bernstein never really helped on his own and would only show up to steal the credit. Seems like an annoying guy to have around and I can see why Woodward was always upset. Here he is putting in a lot of work to grab the biggest story of the century and he’s only going to get 50% of the credit. That’s rough.

In a way it worked out that Nixon was the villain because if the president was a good guy then he may have been in trouble with how the main two immediately started spilling all of their secrets out to everyone. They did not hold the secret at all and that’s a shame. It’s another moment where they look really bad even if that is part of their characters. This is exactly why you need more than just the two off them wandering around and having stuff just happen. Maybe throw in a paranoid White House worker who starts following them or have the girls live at the White House instead of going there part time. They could keep hearing new confidential topics over and over which would cause more issues to keep occurring.

You need something to keep the film fresh for longer than it was. Without the writing improving it’s possible that this would just drag the film out instead of saving it but that’s really the best way to try and start working on making this one better. There is barely a plot here beyond the original premise so there isn’t really a whole lot to discuss here either. Either you will like the main dynamic the girls have or you won’t. That will make or break the film for you and it’s really that simple. There just aren’t a lot of other things going on here and the film can largely be aimless.

Overall, This movie isn’t all that good. It may give you a smile once in a while but there was just so many more things they could have done with the film. It wasn’t nearly as funny as it should have been and that’s really fatal for a comedy movie. There really isn’t much replay value to be found at all here. This movie could absolutely use a remake to see if they can do the premise a little more justice. I definitely think they would do better this time but we’ll see. It’s always a fun line of making things funny without making it too forced.

Overall 4/10

Ready or Not 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

Hide and Seek was always a lot of fun as a kid. The apartment’s not huge or anything but it was still fun finding a place to hide and seeing how long I could last. In a mansion I feel like the game would always take a very long amount of time, especially since you could keep moving around. Turns out that this makes for a very solid film premise. So much so that you forget this is a horror film half the time. I kind of thought of it as a comedy/thriller the whole time and I’d say that’s a complement to the film. This one ended up being better than I would have expected.

The movie starts with Alex getting ready to marry Grace. He’s super rich and so his family make a big deal about the whole thing. None of them seem to like Grace very much but she doesn’t mind. After all, she’s going to be marrying Alex so he’s the only one that matters now and he is super rich too so she’ll have a lot of things to keep her busy. That night there is one last tradition now that the two have been married. Grace just needs to play a little game with the family…hide and seek. The rules are simple. The family will try to murder her at all costs and she just has to survive until Dawn. Easy right?…..

Right away you can tell that this family is absolutely insane. It’s also a premise that’s very bonkers but also exciting. To add a bit more context here, it’s not like they try to murder the bride every time, or else they wouldn’t be such a big family. See, the tradition is that they have to play some kind of game and usually it’s one that is quite harmless like Old Maid. The only game that is life or death is Hide and Seek. Also, it’s a game that the family really doesn’t want to lose. Why? Because if they don’t murder her by Dawn then they will all die as foretold by the prophecy. Grace is initially at a disadvantage because she doesn’t know about these stakes but she quickly finds out the hard way.

Now your first question is probably why Alex didn’t tell her this right? The short answer is because he’s a chump and easily the worst character in the film. The long answer is that he was worried she wouldn’t marry him when she found out how insane this whole thing was and perhaps a small part of him believed the curse that they would all die if he didn’t show up with her. I’m sure the greedy part of him figured that a different game would be chosen and so her life wouldn’t be at risk anyway. In that case I wonder if he ever would have told her, or at leas the would have waited until it actually happened.

As Alex spits out these excuses in short order you can casually throw them all to the side. None of this blocks the fact that he’s an awful person and there’s no excuse for putting Grace in this mess. He looks absolutely dreadful throughout the movie and even if he’s not one of the active participants trying to murder her for most of the movie, he’s still the worst character here. So many excuses and so little time.

Grace does well to keep it together the whole time considering how unexpected this is. It takes her a little while to figure out what’s going on but once she does, Grace proves to be a very resilient fighter. She takes on a lot of injuries, including a particularly painful one with the screw, but keeps on going. By the end she’s nearly lost her voice with how frantic the whole thing has become. She thinks fast at the very ending too and also has a solid last line. Ultimately I don’t think she’ll be considering marriage again anytime soon but this experience will certainly have made her stronger.

The rest of the family are all insane. Don’t let some of their calm attitudes and personalities fool you. They may be joking around but they’re all trying to murder Grace so that means they are just cool about doing this. Not a very good look for them if you think about it. The first one here is Daniel and at least he has a bit more of a conscience than the others. He doesn’t actually want to murder Grace but at the same time he isn’t brave enough to openly go against it. So he just makes sure that he’s useless in the chase which indirectly does buy her some time. By the end I had him as one of the best characters.

He certainly puts in more of an effort than the rest of these guys and deserves some level of credit for that. All of these characters are guilty to an extent just for participating though. Then you have Charity who is the exact opposite of Daniel. She is eagerly doing her best in this hunt because she wants to stay in the family no matter once. She hints that she had a rather rough upbringing and so becoming rich was the best things that happened to her. She is more proactive about this than just about all of the other characters to be honest.

Tony is really one of the ringleaders here as the father. He believes they have to follow the rules absolutely although he does relent to using the security cameras to cheat once it’s been a while. So in that sense he is willing to break the rules once it’s convenient. Becky is a little more sympathetic to Grace’s plight but at the same time she is certainly aiming to murder her so it doesn’t mean much. That’s why to some extent you almost prefer the ones who are openly trying to get Grace because the ones who talk tough about how they feel bad aren’t doing anything about it. It doesn’t make them any better, just worse for being half hearted. Daniel’s really the only exception to this as he actually helps out with his meddling.

Helene is the oldest one here and definitely the most ruthless. She absolutely has no qualms about taking Grace down and even thinks they should get Alex to do it as it’ll help him see the light. It’s quite twisted logic but it shows how far down the rabbit hole she is. Helene definitely is insane by this point. Then you have Fitch who doesn’t even seem to take anything seriously. He is still trying to take Grace down though so he’s the perfect example of a character who seems nice enough but has no problem being a murderer so he’s just as bad as the others. You don’t get any points for acting nice.

Finally Emelie is the klutz of the group. She keeps on murdering other people by mistake even when aiming for Grace. It definitely makes for some humorous scenes. Emelie really has a hard time not murdering people by mistake which could be useful in some contexts but of course it isn’t very handy for the villains here. At least it gives them one weakness.

As a part comedy/parody the film has a whole lot of fun with this premise. After all, it’s just a game for the family and most of them treat it like that. Down to how nonchalant they are about the whole thing and people dying. We see a graveyard filled with bodies so while it’s apparently been a while, it’s still often enough for this to have all accumulated over time. It’s disturbing but also very interesting.

Now even if it is for laughs, the film can be quite violent. Some characters are lucky enough to die quickly while others get stuck in an elevator, get shot by an arrow but keep staying alive, etc. These guys can’t catch a break and Grace took some heavy injuries as I said. I think the tone helps it not feel so bad at times but the movie definitely was not afraid to get violent at times.

The mansion makes for a good backdrop during the hide and seek game. I rather enjoyed it and the place certainly does look fancy. There’s also a very catchy tune that plays when they start the hide and seek game. It helps to set the atmosphere here and when the song plays you know that something’s about to happen. Visually the film is also really impressive as every moment stands out. It just feels very professionally done. The film also has some twists near the end of the movie which should catch you on guard. It’s also possible that you’ll have seen through them but they were executed well either way.

Overall, Ready or Not is surprisingly a good film. The writing is on point and the film really keeps you engaged throughout the whole game of Hide and Seek. Towards the end we get so many “climax” moments that you really don’t know how things are going to end. It’ll keep you guessing that’s for sure and you probably won’t forget the hide and seek song anytime soon. This is the kind of film where a sequel would be different but as part of the parody angle I could see her trying to marry another rich guy and get thrown into a new scenario. Might come off as a bit forced though and I wonder if a sequel could match this one. I feel like the premise would be easy to mess up. Either way, if you don’t mind the violence then I would recommend checking this one out.

Overall 6/10

The Alphabet Murders Review

Time for a very different kind of Poirot film. Throw away everything you knew about the character beforehand as this one goes as far as to act like a parody the whole time. The movie even starts off with the lead breaking the third wall which is certainly something else. While I do like the film and will go into it in a second, I will say that the breaking the third wall gag felt flat as it often does. In very rare circumstances will I say that such a scene is good. It really just serves to take you out of the story in the same way as seeing the main character in the present talking about how he barely survived the events that we’re about to see. Fortunately the film didn’t go that far here.

So the movie starts with a poor clown getting murdered. He seemed to be shot by a mysterious woman. Then another victim takes their final dive and so Poirot will have to be the man to put a stop to this. Surely the world’s greatest detective can stop this criminal right? The only clue that the heroes have is that this villainous seems to be murdering people according to the alphabet. The first victim’s first and last names began with A, the second B, etc. Well, Poirot won’t have to search as hard as all that since the villainess confronts him straight up. She talks about how she doesn’t want to murder but that she must and other vague things as she beats the stuffing out of him and runs off

Prepare to see Poirot get beaten quite a bit in this film. He’s really not prepared for the kind of opponents that he is dealing with as this version is fairly weak and also not very intelligent. He has to rely on luck and physical ability in order to complete this case and I wouldn’t say that he is the toughest guy on the block either. Mix all of these things together and it doesn’t bode very well for him. The opening scene where he is getting choked by Amanda is also pretty odd. Perhaps intentionally and perhaps not but for me it didn’t even seem like she was seriously trying to murder him.

Or at least it was very half hearted with how they were tussling around. Poirot was calling for help the whole time but everyone would either misunderstand him or promptly get knocked out. It was crazy but I would say this was the best scene in the film partially because of how insane it all was. It can also be spooky, imagine calling out for help the whole time but nobody steps in because they think you’re all right? Now that will keep you up at night if you almost got choked to death. Poirot believes it was the lady’s way of asking for his help after it’s all over.

While Poirot is beaten and outsmarted throughout the film, he is a fun character. He does have some decent plans like pretending to choke himself to get Hastings to lower his guard. Poirot spends half the film trying to defeat the other good guys as opposed to going after the villains which is also meta in a sense. Fortunately for the heroes the villains don’t go around murdering too many people because they would have been in no position to stop these guys.

The hero is arrested and captured more than once. He’s not very good at being self aware like when he was chasing the girl. You’re actually rooting for the civilians to stop him since without context the whole thing that appear to be really crazy. It shows that these people aren’t just going to stand for this. The other main hero in the film is Hastings and he’s basically this film’s version of Watson. Hastings isn’t very smart and often gets outsmarted by Poirot but he means well.

What the man lacks in skill and bravery he makes up for in loyalty. You can always count on him to have your back and that’s a powerful thing. He even attempts to provide assistance during some of the more dangerous moments even if it doesn’t end up working out most of the time. I gained some respect for him when Poirot wasn’t able to outsmart him for once near the end of the film. It was almost like character development of sorts.

As for Amanda, well she’s a decent villain I guess. I think the whole plan was way more convoluted than it needs to be but granted, that could be due to the adaption. After all, in most cases it would be tough to murder Poirot or outsmart him so you can see villains coming up with all kinds of crazy plans to throw him off the scent. In this one though, well it would be extremely easy to bump him off. Poirot was being overpowered in the steam room after all and he was also chasing Amanda in the darkness with ease. Just set a trap for him at any time and I’m sure he would fall right into it. That’s absolutely the game plan the villains should have had without having to go with this whole ABC angle.

Amanda did a good job of completely tricking Poirot though so I have to give her some props there. All in all, the writing is good. It’s definitely not meant to be taken seriously in the slightest but you’ll get a good amount of witty dialogue. Some of the visual humor is nice too like when each character is snapping their finger at the other to grab a hat and other things. They had good coordination there and it made for a peaceful scene.

Ms. Marple also gets a little cameo here which was neat. It’s always good to establish a crossover continuity here and it also is a good way to show where Poirot ranks in comparison with Marple. In her one scene she was able to easily crack the case but presumably the cops didn’t believe her. Meanwhile Poirot “solves” the case by the very end and it took everything he had.

Overall, The Alphabet Murders is pretty good. It’s a shame that we didn’t get some kind of sequel. Who knows, maybe it’s better as a one off, but there’s a whole lot you can do with this concept. The bumbling detective and his witless sidekick is not something that’s done very often at all. I’d also have liked a full crossover with Ms. Marple. From what we saw of her, she would likely have the advantage in a fight but with both characters having such a strong ego, I’m sure this would be a lot of fun. This film goes by pretty fast and ultimately how much you enjoy it will be directly related to how funny you find the characters to be. Does the dialogue feel naturally comedic or does it all feel forced? This is the question that will determine it all.

Overall 7/10

Megaman Zero Review

Time to look at a manga I started a long time ago. It was time for the full revisit and to finish it off this time. Unfortunately the series still suffers from quite a few issues that end up limiting its overall potential. The Zero games have some of the best storylines in the whole franchise and could have become one of the best Megaman manga titles on the block. Instead this one decided to go for more of a comedy route which was passable in Arc 1 at best but went over the edge in the second half.

The story picks up with a group of kids heading to an abandoned factory where they see a deactivated Zero. It has been many years since the Megaman X series and we learn that there was a civil war that the humans managed to win and so all of the reploids were destroyed. There are some exceptions though and robots still work for the government. Unfortunately, the world is now run by a dictator and as a result there is no peace in the land. The kids accidentally awaken Zero who saved them from a nearby patrol. Unfortunately Zero is suffering from complete amnesia and can only activate his Zero mode once in a while.

He has a complete case of split personality now and in both forms he doesn’t retain his memories of the other. As Zero he is a merciless fighter who is excellent in combat but not all that compassionate. As his human form he is a complete scaredy-cat who gets beat up by the kids and doesn’t want to fight against anyone. He cries a whole lot as well. Will Zero really be able to help the resistance reclaim the world while he is in this state or is it just a lost cause?

Right away you can see how the manga is taking a lot of liberties from the game. Why give Zero amnesia and make him a complete comic relief character? It just doesn’t make a lot of sense and I don’t think it works as a great narrative move either. If I was the author I would have played the game straight and it would have made for a great story.

The tragic part about all of this is that the art is actually extremely good. The fight scenes that we do get are on point and I like the character designs. The humor can really get in your face though as the characters yell and cry a whole lot. Seeing Zero get picked on by Lito (The main kid) is a bit jarring as well. The villains are played seriously though and Ciel was a fun character. There are a number of good elements here but you feel like it all could have just been better

It’s like looking at a distorted view of the actual adventure. Still, this arc was pretty good and if it ended here I would have said that the title was different but still pretty good in the end. We then cut to the second arc which may as well be a completely different series.

So 50 years have passed since the events of the first arc. The main kid is now referred to as grandpa by everyone in the village and he is fairly well respected. Well one day Lito has finally finished rebuilding a brand new Zero to protect the village. This one doesn’t have amnesia of course and his personality is totally different. He’s like a kid and really just wants to impress grandpa. While he starts out as being rather weak, he gradually improved throughout the series. That’s good because the evil Dr. Weil is fast approaching and he wants to find the Dark Elf so that he can do something sinister. His main ally is a robot called Omega who may be the most powerful opponent yet. Can this Zero duplicate really claim victory?

The humor was already high in arc 1 but they double down on it in arc 2. There isn’t a serious Zero anymore to fight for the people and this time the villains aren’t played straight either. All of them are comic relief like Omega being scared of ghosts, getting kidnapped, etc. Even grandpa is a shadow of his former self as he willingly sells off one of the elves to the villains without hesitation. The only reason why he ends up helping is because the villains ended up cheating him on the money but otherwise he was perfectly content with the trade. Not a very heroic kind of guy now is he?

The arc also just doesn’t feel like it has anything to do with the Megaman Zero games. Sure we do have the dark elf but it isn’t really important to the plot. Even by the end we never actually find it and the villain just gets sent packing again as always. It’s really just an excuse to have some more fights which would be fun if they were actually taken seriously. Since they are all comedic moments now, the artist doesn’t get nearly as much to do this time around. The art is still on point whenever something serious is going on but there’s not as much big action as I’d like.

We do get a Christmas chapter though which is fun. It’s nice to see the gang celebrating even if the idea of drunk Zero is definitely pushing it a bit. Getting drunk on cola eh? Seems like a design flaw from Grandpa if you ask me. The final chapter doesn’t even feel like a big finale with how Zero and the gang just beat the villain up again.

We do get a final side story chapter of sorts where we get to see where the real Zero is. It’s a fun way to end things off but it almost makes things more tragic since this is really serious and intense so it makes you wonder why the series couldn’t have been this way the whole time. It’s pretty emotional as Ciel misses Zero the whole time and he’s nearly destroyed but he’s finally able to make it back home. It’s a wholesome way to end this whole we also know that the villains are still around.

The second arc ultimately ends up shaving the series down one star just because it really lost its way. The series went into full comedy land which can work with the right writing but that isn’t really the level of quality you would expect to see in this manga. Ultimately it wasn’t ready for this genre combo and that’s what ended up finishing it off in the end.

As for the characters, well I wasn’t a fan of Zero here. I liked the glimpses we got of him in his serious mode but they were few and far between. That’s effectively only half of the character in this series and the other half drags him down a lot. He has no courage and is always trying to run from his problems. That is really not the Zero that I know.

Then you have the kid who is rather annoying the whole time. Lito is always beating up Zero for every little thing and you feel like he should be giving him a break sometimes. He definitely doesn’t deserve all the hits that he gets. Additionally, the kid got worse as an old man like when he tried to sell the elf. There’s no real going back from that even if it was a gag.

Ciel was a good character though and it’s too bad she couldn’t have appeared more. I liked her personality here as she was quick to start blasting and a little more headstrong than you may have thought. The scene where she tells Zero that he’s in danger when she starts shouting was great. Despite being a central figure in the games you shouldn’t expect to see a lot of her here.

The 4 guardians like Pandora and the others are fun. As mentioned, the series does play them out to be very serious which is nice. I always thought their designs were real solid but then again, designs are an area where the game series really thrived in general. Copy X also gets to show up but that part was a bit anticlimactic. Let’s just say that he ultimately goes down in one hit which I don’t think makes any sense. It feels like more of a cameo than anything especially with how his origin is a lot different here. He shows up out of nowhere.

Arc 2 introduces a few new characters like Craft. Craft starts out as a serious character for 5 seconds before he falls in love with one of the girls in the village. From there he is a changed man as every scene with him is a gag of him stalking her or getting beaten up in one hit by Zero. At first he was shown to be really powerful but after that we knew the truth. This guy wasn’t very powerful at all and would he one of the first to get absolutely crushed in short order. I thought he had potential at first but didn’t like him in the end.

Then you have Omega who is as comic relief as you can get. He is scared of ghosts, cries a lot, and is shown to be much weaker than Zero. He is not even remotely a threat and Zero doesn’t respect the guy so why should the audience?  Ultimately that is what keeps him from being a quality character.

Dr. Weil doesn’t even have much of a personality either. The guy wants the Dark Elf but that’s really all he talks about. He threatens Omega a bit I suppose but I don’t think anyone is really taking that very seriously. This arc could have absolutely used some more quality characters. The reporter is okay I suppose. She is at least trying to get her story the right way and is a fun enough character but doesn’t really get to do much even after she decides to stay at the village. You’ve also got Roze but all he does is show why the village is filled with a bunch of ungrateful guys. They are quick to turn on Zero in an instant which is just awful.

Overall, Megaman Zero is a series that could and should have been great but instead I can only say that it was decently good. It’s a fine read and it’s short so you should blast through it. The comedy can be jarring and the characters aren’t great but the fight scenes are good and occasionally you will see a glimpse of brilliance. This is not how I would have created the series but if you’re a big fan of Megaman then it’s still worth checking this one out real quick.

Overall 6/10

The Man in the White Suit Review

This is the kind of film where you really can’t tell a whole lot by the title alone. This could be a spy film, a thriller, or something else. In this case it’s the latter as this is a comedic film about someone trying to enact real change. It’s got a good blend of humor and serious moments here. The climax even gets emotional enough where you may shed a tear. It’s a well balanced title that I could definitely recommend to any fan of the cinema.

The movie starts out by spoiling the entire ending of the film which I always thought is the worst way to start a movie. Seriously, don’t do this. It destroys all the tension straight off the bat and makes you shake your head. If at all possible I recommend skipping the first few minutes until we cut away to the flashback where the real film starts. Trust me, that is absolutely your best bet.

So the real start has corporate is talking over some deals with textiles and fabrics. See, this company is one of the biggest Mills in the world and they employ a lot of people who help insure that their fabrics are top notch. Unfortunately someone wasted a lot of money on some kind of music machine. This man (Sidney) is promptly fired and apparently this is not the first time it’s happened. The poor guy has been through a lot of jobs although to an extent it is his fault since he keeps stealing lab equipment and doing unauthorized purchases for his experiments.

Sidney manages to get hired at another mill and begins his experiments once again. Turns out it was not a music machine he was making but rather, an advanced fabric that will never stain or go bad. You could finally have a shirt that you can wear for eternity or a pair of jeans that will never wrinkle. Not a bad idea eh? Sidney pitches it to the company and is proud to say that he has changed the world but there is one…wrinkle to this. Nobody actually wants this invention.

Clothing manufacturers realize that this will incredibly reduce their profits since people won’t need them anymore. All the production/assembly workers at the Mills don’t like this since they won’t be needed anymore so they get in on the action too. The entire Worker’s Union is ready for some action. Sidney’s family, friends, and acquaintances are all after him now. It’s quite clear that if Sidney ends up making this invention that he will have alienated everyone he ever cared about. Can he still go through with it?

It’s definitely an emotional part of the story because Sidney’s motives were really not bad. He saw an issue and decided to fix it with science. The way he went about doing it was not the best but he ultimately came through on the product. Everyone turning on him felt like it came out of nowhere from his eyes since he had never even noticed the opposition. It was a rough blow to have to try and endure.

Now, for my two cents on it, I think it is a good invention. The film and the various characters in it all portray this as being a bad thing since it will erase so many jobs. The thing about that is, it will be true for any technological invention. Imagine the response when cell phones were created which hurt the landline companies or email which hurt the postal service. The thing is, any technical advancement will always hurt what came before it. It’s certainly not something fun to think about, but that’s just the way that it is. Ultimately it balances out as new kinds of jobs are created. Perhaps at some point there will be an invention so good that it doesn’t have a replacement but clean permanent shirts won’t be one of them.

In the movie you’re meant to root against Sidney but I couldn’t bring myself too. It was such a bold idea that you would hope he escapes and lives to fight another day. Either way you can bet that we have a really solid climax that is actually played pretty seriously.

While the review may make the whole movie sound serious, keep in mind that it is a comedy film first and foremost. The movie has a lot of fun with these concepts and making the characters a bit on the exaggerated side. The machine itself has a fun little music jingle that plays whenever it is on. You have to wonder how people didn’t notice it sooner with how loud the thing is. It also leads to a very hype ending to the movie that could even lead into a sequel should the writers ever want to bring that back into the mix.

The character cast is surprisingly big but that helps to add to the grand feel of the movie. You’ve got a lot of managers here, a big boss who is so old that he can barely move and of course a lot of middle management involved as well. There’s also a main heroine here who wants Sidney to succeed since it would mean her fiancé would have more time for her instead of always worrying about the job. Unfortunately he doesn’t turn out to be the best guy.

At one point the characters decide that the only way to get Sidney is to use the main heroine as bait. Effectively they want her to do whatever it takes in order to convince him and even her fiance agrees to this. You can tell that their bond was over at this very point. I wouldn’t consider any proper romance to develop with Sidney after this, but the scene of her pretending to try and get his interest was painful. It also makes Sidney look pretty shallow here since he allows everything to happen before telling her that he’s still going through with his invention. Nice guy….

That’s the only weak element of the film. The rest of its run is just very strong with a lot of excellent writing and dialogue. The humor is handled really well too with a lot of solid execution and throughout you will find the scenes quite funny. It’s less of an over the top humor style and more about subtle things that just don’t sit right. It’s all in the reactions or in the sound of the music. It’s also fun when corporate is running around trying to figure out where their money went.

Overall, The Man in the White Suit is a pretty original film. It’s got a solid story and great pacing throughout. I can’t say that I’ve seen a film quite like this one before. It’s unique in all the right ways and if you just want a low key film that’s pretty fun, this is the one to check out. You definitely won’t regret it that’s for sure.

Overall 7/10

Creature from the Haunted Sea Review

When you have a film with a title like this you know you’re in for a treat. After all, films with monsters in them tend to be fun and this one is no exception. A whole lot happens throughout the movie so while it is fairly short, it doesn’t really feel that way. Roger Corman’s films tend to be rather sub par but this one surprised me as it was actually fairly good.

The movie starts out with Capetto making a deal with some resistance leaders. He will get their men onto safe land and will transport their treasure using his boat. He’ll get a nice commission of course. The general and his men agree to this deal but what they don’t know is that Capetto plans to backstab them and take the money for himself. His plan is simple, he’ll leave traces of a fake monster aboard the ship and bump the henchmen off one by one. Eventually they will all get scared and run off while Capetto keeps the money.

What Capetto doesn’t know is that an American agent known as Sparks as infiltrated his crew and is trying to find some proof of their wrongdoing. He intends to fight as hard as he can in part because he thinks Capetto’s main girl Mary-Belle needs saving. The guy is so hopelessly obsessed with her that no matter how many times she says she likes the life of crime he doesn’t believe her. What none of these characters know is that there is a true monster running around as well.

From the start you can tell that the film is having a lot of fun with this concept. It’s definitely not a serious creature feature as even for its time you’re not meant to take it seriously. The costume for the monster is really good though. His eyes kind of pop out at you that’s for sure. He also has good gripping strength so if he grabs you then it’s all over. There is just no escape at that point. It doesn’t do a whole lot in the film at first but by the end lets just say that the body count is pretty high here.

Capetto and his crew are to blame for a lot of it as well though since they bump off a lot of the resistance guys themselves. They want the treasure after all and bumping people is really the only way they know how to get it. Capetto is a smooth customer and works well as the main villain. He is able to gain people’s trust rather easily considering that he is openly a criminal. That takes a lot of skill and intelligence.

Then you have Mary-Belle who is a reasonable heroine. She certainly doesn’t mind insulting the rest of the characters quite a lot. In particular she definitely insults Sparks a lot but it’s certainly justified since the guy is way too obsessed. He has a lot of fun dialogue as the narrator but as the character himself he is clearly too distracted to do his job properly. The guy is always messing up and if he is America’s best agent then we are certainly in trouble.

Then you have Jack who falls for one of the island girls in a subplot that seems rather pointless. See, the characters crash land on an island where naturally they meet up with an island girl and her mother. Both of them get their own romantic subplots as Pete, the animal guy also falls for one of them. Pete’s gimmick is that he can mimic any animal cry with ease. He can sound like an elephant to suddenly a giant monster. Naturally you can see how this would help the plans that Capetto had in store for the others. It also leads to a rather odd sequence of Pete and the island girl communicating through the roars. One of them was also throwing a lot of insults constantly but these guys only understand English so they never picked up on it.

A comedy/parody like this really thrives on having a lot of fun moments and poking fun at a variety of story elements without dragging on. I would say this one definitely pulls that off without issue. For starters the film is pretty short as mentioned earlier and it is very entertaining. The writing is pretty solid with some good one liners and characters stating the obvious. It can all get quite dramatic like something out of a Noir title but without earning it the way most films would.

The ending is even a little unexpected I would say. There was one character that I didn’t think was going to die in the end who ultimately wasn’t able to survive. As mentioned, the body count here is high, perhaps a lot higher than the average creature feature. The ending is also pretty cool with the monster actually getting some personality in the final shot. Now that’s how you do it.

The voices for some of the characters was also something else. The voice imitation guy for example would sound really deep at some points and then would go back to normal. I would say this was true for a few characters but mainly his guy. I think the sound mixing guy was having some fun while getting this all ready. Ultimately I wouldn’t say this is a film you’ll never forget or some kind of amazing title but it was pretty good and a lot of fun. Ultimately that’s the proper foundations towards making a good movie.

Overall, Creature from the Haunted Sea was pretty good, definitely better than I had expected. It has a good mix of humor and suspense along with an interesting cast. While they are interesting, saying that they are fully likable may be a different ball game. Most of these guys are all either crooks of desperate flirts who may as well be crooks. None of them are meant to be all that likable but at the same time the film doesn’t go out of its way to paint them as terrible characters or anything. They do murder people but by and large they stick to knocking people off rather quickly. If you want to check out a film that’s rather outside the box then this one will be up your alley. Just watch out for the monster because he means business!

Overall 7/10

Kaiju Girl Caramelise

Technically I started this series ages ago but forgot to put up the post. It’s definitely a pretty interesting concept since you’re grabbing Godzilla type creatures but making it a full romance. It’s off to a good start, the heroine isn’t standing out yet but there’s plenty of time. I’ll have a review up once I’ve finished the series.

Overall 6/10

Notting Hill review

Notting Hill is one of those films where you feel like the main guy allows himself to be used a little too much. Get ready for an adventure filled with cheating, betrayal, and in general a rather unhealthy relationship that is not likely going to go anywhere. It can make for a fun watch at times with some fun accents but at other times you’ll be shaking your head. Ultimately it may have done well to have reduced the length of the movie by a bit.

The movie starts off by introducing us to William at his humble book store. He has always done all right for himself but has no spectacular memories or events that he can talk about. Deep down he has always hoped that something fantastic would happen to him. Unfortunately that just has not yet been the case. One day, a famous actress known as Anna walks into the store and changes his life. They quickly begin to have an affair and everything is going well until he finds out that he was just the side man and she is already seeing someone.

Still, it’s not every day that you have an affair with a celebrity. Anna is willing to continue anyway but can William be satisfied with this arrangement? He will have to have some serious conversations with his family to see what to do. All along he has to wonder if this is really happening or if it’s all some kind of fantasy he has cooked up.

A lot of my issues with the film do come down to William. I would say Anna as well but primarily I’m looking at William since he is so passive here. First off, I will say he can be an entertaining character. He reminds me of the Dragons from Dragon’s Den with how he tends to speak his mind in a passive aggressive sort of way. He has a rather decent set up at home and his life isn’t bad. He may not have had that spectacular experience yet but do you need one if your life is consistently positive?

Once he meets Anna is when things start to sour for him. First off, she knows him for about 10 minutes and then suddenly on impulse decides to make a move. He’s thrilled of course but also mystified. She then calls him into her office to say that it didn’t mean anything only for them to have another affair moment shortly thereafter. They go out for a while before he catches her with the other guy.

William decides to take a step back since this may not be quite right. Still, Anna shows up again and William decides to give it another try. Only this time the reporters showed up and she blames him so they split up again. He decides that he won’t fall for this again but when she is filming in town he shows up to say hey and overhears her talking about him in a rather dismissive way. He leaves once again and then she returns. This cycle keeps on repeating over and over and over again.

Perhaps if the writing was utterly brilliant this could work but I wouldn’t say the script was that impressive here. It’s not bad mind you, but it’s rather standard stuff. You have some clever moments like one of William’s family trying to give Anna acting tips on how tough the profession is before he knows that she is an actress but then you have more cringe worthy stuff like William’s inferiority complex showing in full display as he asks Anna about famous actors.

That scene involving the ice cream drags on for a day and a half. So the film’s writing is okay but it would pale next to many comedies. It’s less of an up and down ride with laughs and jokes that fail but most of a steady cruise that you will rarely find super funny but shouldn’t get all that annoying either. It’s just the endless cycle that gets really annoying because you feel like William should eventually just stop falling for the bait.

Part of why I put the blame on him each time is that he’s the one who chooses to continue going on like this even though he ends up getting hurt each and every time. It’s not like Anna takes it as hard since to her it seems less personal. Well, I’ve slammed on William a lot for now so lets turn to Anna.

It’s hard to sympathize with Anna as well because she clearly had no problem being with two guys at once. She would have continued with that setup had she not been caught. That already speaks volumes about her character. Anna just doesn’t have a lot of class in that respect. She is completely unreasonable about the reporters showing up considering that William did not sell her out. She had no reason to speak ill of William to her co-star except to try and prop herself up.

All in all, I found it impossible to root for the romance. It has to be one of the weakest ones I’ve seen in a while. These two have been hurt way too many times over a single relationship in such a short time frame for all to be well. It’s also always hard to just overlook cheating when the relationship is just getting started because you will then always have the doubt in the back of your mind. What if the other person is still cheating at this very moment? You really can’t know for sure.

As for side characters, the main one would be Spike. He’s William’s roommate and a pretty bad character. He results in most of the worst humor moments because the guy just isn’t funny. His thing is that he’s a big slob who always lets William down when it counts the most. He forgets to remember who called, how to take notes, and even rats out on Anna for a few seconds of fame. It’s easy to forget how these two could even be friends in the first place. They certainly don’t seem to get along much but I suppose the argumentive dynamic may be what keeps them together. Spike doesn’t take anything personal and William vents a lot but doesn’t let it really affect him much.

The rest of the family shows up for a while too but I wouldn’t say they were that great. William’s sister is a little too obsessed with trying to be Anna’s friend. She comes off as rather odd the whole time and the “romance” with Spike near the end comes out of nowhere. The married couple was good at least as they had a solid dynamic going and the ex-wall street investor had a lot of confidence which was good. So I guess the supporting cast was decent.

Overall, What really holds Notting Hill back is that the romance is absolutely bonkers. The characters go through the cycle way too many times. It’s also a bit laid back for a comedy film so laughs are few and far between. The best sequence of moments was when William had to interview a lot of people on a film he knew nothing about. You’d think he could have done a little better on the spot with thinking up questions but at that point he was too obsessed with Anna to think of much else. If you want to check out a film where you live through the fantasy of a rich actress deciding to have an affair with you at first sight then I guess this is the right stop. If you want something a little more realistic like finding your future wife in a data world and being tasked as the savior of humanity then I would recommend checking out Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale instead.

Overall 4/10

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