In the Line of Fire 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

In the Line of Fire is a fun thriller with a good amount of action in it. It’s not going to have a ton of fight scenes but the action is more about the chase scenes and the characters trying to stay one step ahead of the other. It’s a really solid back and forth and while the film has an exceptionally weak romance, the rest of the film manages to stay strong from start to finish. It’s a very consistent watch.

The movie starts off with Frank solving another case/beating the bad guy as he betrays the villains he was spying on and saves his partner. It should be time to relax now but then he is called in on what would usually be a routine inspection but it becomes much more than that. There’s a guy who calls himself Booth that is planning on taking down the president. It won’t be easy to take him down of course but this guy has such a confident air about him that Frank knows he is serious. After all, Frank knows people well and he was also the guy around when JFK got bumped off. He can’t let this happen a second time. If it comes down to it, will he be able to jump in front of the bullet?

Especially back then it feels like it was probably really easy to try and take a shot. I remember an old saying about how if someone is ready to trade lives to destroy the other person then it is almost impossible to stop him. At that point there are few security measures which can rule that out. It’s why suicide bombings are so hard to stop as well. This guy is clearly obsessed but it’s difficult for Frank to get that across to the execs. One reason is because the President is losing the battle right now and re-election is very close at hand. If he misses out on his appearances then he could lose everything.

There’s also the fact that they get a lot of threats to the president all the time and so it’s hard for most of them to believe that this is anything different. This was back in the days where you could call the FBI and ask for an agent by name. It was just a different time so even the guy having Frank’s number doesn’t put as much fear into them as you would expect. That said, you like to think they would do a little better at following up on the guy once they see him in person on multiple occasions. By that point he is an actual danger because he apparently has the means to follow the president anywhere. Also shows that he has a lot of money.

Their interactions are always fun. Booth likes to say that he and Frank are friends while Frank naturally says that he is crazy and tries to get to him. You can definitely tell that Booth is insane and none of his points hold up at all but since there’s no way to get to him, you can see how Frank is frustrated by the whole thing. Frank’s also a lot older at this point so he has a tough time being on the field and moving around a lot. This just isn’t his game anymore but he has to get back into it because nobody else will take this seriously. Also, Booth has specifically picked Frank as his opponent and might not play ball with anyone else.

In a way Booth’s like the Riddler. He keeps giving Frank clues so that he can “stay in the game” since Booth wants this to be a fair fight. He very easily could have said nothing and would have assassinated the President with ease. Sometimes you can use a villain’s insanity against them and that’s what paid off for Frank here. Booth was a strong opponent but he laid the seeds to his own demise.

As for Frank, he really gets to ask himself just how tough he is. Can he make the tough calls when it counts? Everyone knows Frank can shoot someone as needed but actually taking the bullet is the big question. Frank’s partner deserves a lot of credit in that arena as he’s willing to risk his life for Frank on several occasions. I thought the partner was the best character in the whole film to be honest.

For Frank, he’s a solid lead but he’s the kind of guy who likes to joke around and be rude to hide his feelings. So he tends to pick on Lilly quite a lot even though he likes her. So…it’s almost like school yard flirting where you’re mean to the person you like. The romance here is awful though as he’s just way too old and the whole thing is so cliched. She even mentions how this can’t possibly work but the whole time you know that it will. That’s probably the worst part because by all accounts she should be right. How can this possibly work? It makes no sense when you think about it and the whole thing is super rushed.

It hurts her character a bit too since you know that she will ultimately break down after saying no the whole time. As an agent she does well and at least takes everything seriously. The romance was just so out of place though. As a whole the writing was good. I thought the adventure was planned out well and there was never a dull moment. The script may not have been amazing as it seemed like the channel may have had to edit it a bit or it could just be poor sound mixing on the movie’s part. Either way I would expect Frank to talk like this since it definitely fits his character type.

Overall, In the Line of Fire is a solid film. The movie makes good use of how old Frank is to show that he’s not going to win this on brawns alone. He has to really use his wits to track Booth down and he’s playing catch up for most of the film. There’s one moment where someone is bumped off and the heroes don’t find out about it for an extremely long amount of time. It takes so long that you almost forget about this moment which shows what kind of a lead Booth had. The film gets points for not bumping off the dog also. When Booth looked at the picture of a dog in someone’s office I got worried, but the movie doesn’t go there. So if you want a solid thriller about an agent going up against an assassin in a battle of wits then this is the title for you.

Overall 7/10


Boomerang! is a rather odd name for this film. It’s certainly not one of the first names that you would guess when thinking about this one. That said, the film definitely gets a solid thumbs up all the way. The court scenes are handled very well and the story is a good one. With quality writing and a solid story backing it up, you can tell that a lot of heart was put into this film.

The story starts with a priest/minister being murdered and the assailant runs off into the night. Unfortunately it was late and nobody got a good look at the guy. He’s now on the run and the police are being put under a lot of heat in order to find him. The local government is getting involved as well and so nobody is happy. The current administration is trying to stay in business and this could be game over for them. Meanwhile the other side is naturally thrilled since this could be their chance to be in charge. Henry is right in the thick of it as the prosecutor in the case. He is being pressured every which way but has to decide to look at the case fairly.

It’s a very compelling story here and of course when there’s a lot of pressure put on you like this, it can make every decision feel very tough. Henry knows that his career could be over depending on how he goes about this and he is even threatened at gunpoint to make a certain decision. So he can’t forget that all eyes are on him here. The fact that it will be very difficult to get any tangible evidence on whoever committed the crime is really what will make this a tough battle to get around.

Throughout the film we see how the hysteria gradually reaches everyone. It starts out with some of the townsfolk being upset and before long everyone is watching the news real closely. At one point they are even ready to beat up the police to attack the main suspect in case the court system was going to let them off. By this point they’re no better than a mob of course and to think before now the town had been completely peaceful. It all changed within the span of a day. That’s how big this current case was.

As the main character, Henry is great from start to finish. He really does try to examine all of the evidence himself to make sure that he is doing the right thing. He isn’t afraid to look really closely into some of the evidence even if it could hurt his case as the prosecutor. Henry really wants to do the right thing even if it’ll hurt him politically and keeps his cool even when a gun is pointed on him. It’s hard to find a lead that’s much better than he is, Henry always made the right decisions when it counted.

Robinson is the police chief and I liked him as well. He makes sure to do a very thorough interrogation of the suspect John to make sure that he really is the criminal. Robinson is one of the last people to really buy into this guy being the crook and that’s established as one of his personality traits. He doesn’t change his mind easily which is very helpful at the start of the film and less so by the end. There is definitely a lot of tension between him and Henry later on in the film since they have two different ideas about how this situation should go. Definitely a good character though and the kind of guy you want as the police chief.

Then you have John who is the big suspect here. I would certainly make the case that John didn’t handle the situation very well but it probably wouldn’t have matter much to an extent. There was just too much circumstantial evidence here for him to have gone. He was in the town at the right time to commit the murder and even had a gun that is linked with the bullet. All signs pointed to him being the guilty party so it was difficult for him to not appear guilty.

John seemed really upset right from the jump but getting dragged in on murder charges will do that to you. Someone even comes in to give false testimony and mess him up just as a grudge which makes him even more upset. I feel like the lady was let off easy for completely showing up with a false statement to try and get rid of John but at least they warned her. John signing the document also made sense because after a few days of this kind of interrogation is seems likely that almost anyone would crack.

I tend to love court scenes so with a big part of this film taking place there, I knew this was going to be good. Henry does a great job of breaking down the case point by point in a way that’s easy to follow and that can get the jury on his side. He really dismantles every point that he tackles in a very systematic way. He was ready for some of the witnesses to give him a hard time and with ways to debunk everything. Some of these counters involved a lot of lengthy tests from before the trial which shows that he did his homework.

Henry was taking this case very seriously and it’s a flattering look at the justice system. It may not always work out but this town can certainly breathe easy when you have guys like Henry on the job. The corruption didn’t win this time as the politicians try messing around but they couldn’t break Henry. In part this is also thanks to one of the reporters who was around named Dave. This guy always knew when a story would strike and had quicker reaction times than the others. So he was the first to leave the room and the first to enter it. He’s also responsible for a lot of the snappy dialogue in the film which is always a blast. The banter here was top notch!

Overall, Boomerang! is a great film on all accounts. The writing and story are strong and the characters are just as solid to match that. The movie does a great job of showing how everyone just really wanted someone to pin the blame on regardless of how good the evidence was. A crowd can certainly be stirred up into a frenzy very quickly and that’s exactly what happened here. It was great to see the town get so engaged with what was going on but of course the obvious downside is how extreme they take this. The townsfolk sometimes end up being more of a hinderance than a help with how they try to get everyone arrested.

Clear and Present Danger Review

Jack Ryan returns with this big sequel. Clear and Present Danger throws a pretty good story in with some fun fight scenes and a whole lot of characters moving around. It’s a very interesting film and one that should keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. I would definitely recommend checking it out.

The movie starts with some of the usual embezzlement going on. The drug cartels are growing a lot bolder now and this time they even murdered a friend of the president. That was a mistake though as he decides to take a harder look at the situation. He orders one of the higher ups in the army to take drastic measures and wipe these guys out. Cutter gets the message and sends John and his team on a mission. They have to wipe out Escobedo and his drug dealers fast.

Meanwhile Jack’s direct boss gets sick with cancer so Jack has been promoted. Cutter and Ritter don’t like this because Jack’s more of a by the books kind of guy. He’s not going to participate in these shady dealings but as their equal now it will be very difficult to hide things from him. So they have to play it cool while Jack does some sleuthing on his own. Technically all of them want to take Escobedo down. The issue is that Cutter’s group are illegally sending troops into the country while Jack is trying to find hard proof and use surveillance footage.

I like all of the political intrigue going on here. Everyone’s got their own agendas after all while Jack is really the only one just trying to do his job. You also can’t blame Jack for anything here. A lot of times I might say a character was slow on the uptake or missed obvious clues but I can’t say that in this case. I don’t think Jack really made any mistakes. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know so there’s no way for him to act on this information. In a big government agency like this it’s also hard to see how he would possibly be able to find that out so it’s good that he knew the computer guy.

Once Jack does know what is going on he is quick to get in on the action and help John’s team. So that was good and overall he’s a great main character. He really did his best at all times and at the end of the series he steps up and does the right thing even though it’ll likely end up with a big punishment for him as well. You can’t ask for more out of the lead.

John’s character was also engaging with his adventures over in enemy territory. He leads the troops well and ultimately he fought hard. Considering how well versed he was in combat and planning he maybe should have expected the government to cut him loose the way they did, but it’s hard to prepare for every eventuality.

As for the government guys, well one of the big ones is certainly Ritter. He helps out with a lot of the deals behind the stage and is the main one hiding information from Jack. Ritter’s been in the game a long while and knows exactly what to prepare in order to stay ahead of the curve. He did quite well in that position as he even got a note from his boss in writing so nothing could really stop him. He’s certainly an antagonist, but a resourceful one.

Then you have his boss Cutter who is just as corrupt. The guy gets his orders from the President and carries them out. The guy even makes a deal with a terrorist which is going to very large extremes without a doubt. A lot of his decisions were definitely pretty bad like abandoning the troops behind enemy lines. As Ritter’s superior, the buck ultimately ended with Cutter so he should take the blame for that.

The President isn’t off for free either. He knew exactly what was going on with all of the messages that he gave to Cutter. The guy was definitely ruling with his emotions throughout and did not do justice to his station. As the President he really needed to keep on ruling with a fair hand and not let personal politics come into play. If he had just done that and attacked the drug dealers in a different way, while going through official channels then things could have gone over better. Sure, he got the results he was hoping for but at a much higher price and the ends don’t justify the means here.

For the drug dealers there were two main ones. First is Cortez who is the smart guy in the room who always tries to manipulate both sides. I liked his confidence and he has really been around a lot as we learn that he was also the informant for other guys in the past. He has a lot of power and came really close to ruling everything. The other guy is Escobedo who isn’t as smart but he does do some due diligence. Ultimately he’s smarter than your average mob boss but was getting outmaneuvered for most of the film. If anything he just got lucky in one scene as he was nearly taken out of the picture.

We get some in-fighting among the villains which always makes for a fun scene. Ultimately the film really goes by in a flash. The writing is on point and we have a whole lot of likable characters throughout. Even the antagonists are at least interesting. You’re not rooting for them or anything but there is a lot of good banter as well as back and forth dialogue among the two factions.

There isn’t a whole lot of action for a while but in the climax we do get some gun fights. Jack actually gets to go front and center against some of these villains as well and proves his stuff. You feel bad for the soldiers who didn’t make it out though as it was a pretty rough situation to be in. Particularly the ones who are captured since if anything you’d rather just go out in an instant during the fire fight. This probably helped Jack’s resolve quite a bit.

Overall, This was a solid follow up to the previous Jack Ryan film I saw. I would even say that this one defeats the first. The political fighting between the characters made for a good sub plot and it was also nice to see the old school hacking when Jack got to the computer. He may not have gotten a whole lot out of that before being caught but it was a good attempt. This is a very well rounded thriller film that will keep you engaged both with the explosions but also just with the good dialogue throughout. The main morale here is when you’re in the CIA, FBI, or any of those orgs you have to definitely watch your back at all times.

Overall 7/10

The Young Savages Review

The Young Savages is a film involving gang violence and ultimately trying to decide how this should be handled. When the culprits are minors it can muddy the waters. Do they know what they were doing and should be given the full punishment or should they be let off easy? It’s always a big debate even in modern settings as these kinds of things tend to keep on going. The film certainly doesn’t cop out as it has Hank pick a side, but did he pick the right one?

The movie starts with 3 gang members walking up to a blind kid who was playing his harmonica and stabbing him to death. They run out of there but the cops quickly pick them up. Hank is put in charge as the main prosecutor and aims to go for the death penalty on these guys. He has to make sure he has an airtight case though because two of them are minors and they allege that the blind kid had a knife so they were acting in defense. He’ll have to get to the bottom of this but there are parties on both sides putting pressure on him.

Hank’s boss wants a conviction here to help him when running for mayor. He feels that it will look really good. You have gangs from Irish and Puerto Rican groups who of course both want him to one way or the other. They even send people to his home to intimidate his wife as well as to beat him up. Both sides continue to grow more and more aggressive with their tactics and at the end of the day Hank has to decide what to do.

There are a number of twists here both involving the victim as well as the 3 murderers. This all leads up to the big court case that the film ends off with. I suppose I won’t say which side Hank ultimately helps out but here are the crucial facts. The victim was actually a high ranking member of the opposing gang. He hadn’t tried attacking or anything at this point but this was more about revenge than anything else. For the 3 murderers, one of them was pretty much evil from the jump. Another one isn’t all that intelligent and is easily manipulated by the other one. Then the third is someone who doesn’t like being in a gang and abusing people like this but does it to stay cool with the group. In the end he didn’t actually stab the kid but he didn’t try to stop it either so he was an accessory at bare minimum.

All 3 of these kids are old enough where they are completely responsible for what they are doing. You can give a pass to the third kid for not being mentally sane enough to be responsible. Sending him for treatment and rehabilitation is fine. The other two are certainly guilty though. One of them wanting to fit in with the crowd to this extent but not wanting to do it is immaterial. If you are going along with a gang and doing all of this then you absolutely have to be held accountable for that.

There should be major jail time for that. It also doesn’t matter that the victim was a gang member because then you’re just being a complete vigilante at that point. You can’t allow people to just go around murdering others like that whether the revenge is believed to be justified or not. I don’t believe there should be a true defense for either of those two.

The court scene to close things off is naturally pretty fun. The characters may not be going all out in this case so it turns into a pretty unique proceeding but I always like courtroom environments. They just make for very engaging scenes and set things off for a solid climax. In general the writing here was pretty solid. There are a whole lot of characters and motivations to go through but the movie never drags on with this. At most the ending may just be annoying depending on whose side you’re on. A big takeaway here is definitely that the area was super dangerous at this point in time. The police basically have to look the other way with the gangs because they are so extensive and have a lot of power.

Hank is a solid main character. You have to give him a lot of credit for always trying his best to find out the answers. Both sides accuse him a lot of just being someone who wants to see his version of the story but you don’t get that impression. Hank is doing his best to check every avenue out but it doesn’t help that the whole town is playing hardball. Nobody ever gives him a straight answer and then you have both gangs trying intimidation tactics on him. If anything it’s impressive that Hank made it so far particularly since he had 0 support. He did well in the Subway fight as well.

Meanwhile his wife Karin was doing her best to ridicule him and embarrass them at public parties. It was definitely not a great look. It took a while for her to start acting reasonably. For most of the film she’s just a little too exaggerated. It’s reasonable to take the other position that no matter what since the kids are minor they shouldn’t be seriously punished for murdering people or doing any kind of crime but you need to be prepared to have some real conversations about it rather than just making fun the whole time.

Overall, The Young Savages is a solid film. I’d say whether or not you agree with Hank’s decision and actions at the end of the film, he did do a good job of gathering a lot of intel. He also took a lot of serious risks such as visiting the turf of both gangs without any true backup. He came close to dying a few times as well. He says he grew up in the neighborhood and you believe it since the guy is plenty tough. In the background of the film you also get the impression that none of the characters here have had an easy time of things. They’ve been through a lot and will continue to do so while the gangs control the area instead of the police.

Overall 6/10

The Hunt for Red October Review

I remember seeing this film a very long time ago. It’s a pretty fun thriller featuring the classic match up of USA vs Russia. It makes for a pretty solid film and definitely an exciting one from start to finish. There’s a good amount of action here and the writing is solid. I’m also always up for thrillers revolving around the government. I like to see the tech in action and the more “Professional” approach rather than the main characters fumbling around. This is a movie that you should definitely check out as everything about it has aged quite well.

The film starts off by introducing us to Captain Ramius. He commands the Red October, a powerful Russian sub that is armed to the teeth with nukes. What makes it particularly dangerous is the fact that it is nearly impossible to detect by normal means. The new camouflage tech allows it to appear anywhere without warning. Ramius murders the Russian soldier in charge of watching over him. He has gone rogue and is approaching the United States. What are his intentions? The Russians aim to destroy him before he can do anything crazy. Meanwhile Jack figures that Ramius is trying to defect to the U.S. but it is a pretty dangerous gamble. If he’s wrong, then it could very well be the end of the country in an instant. There would be nothing they could do at that point since the enemy would be too close.

As you can probably guess there is quite a lot of strategy going into all of this. The heroes have to consider a lot of different angles here. They’re definitely reluctant to believe in the defecting angle and you can’t really blame them. It is a really risky endeavor and as much as Jack says he met Ramius once that doesn’t really mean anything. You can’t possibly grow to understand someone upon meeting them once. Everyone has many faces that they use in society and the man that Jack met was simply one face. His true intentions would still be a complete mystery.

While Jack’s approach may be a bit naive, he is certainly a qualified agent who came up with a solid theory he could back. Jack did a lot of work in finding out about this from the start. He may not be a big fighter, but he does whatever he needs to in order to claim victory. He’s a solid lead even if he’s not particularly exceptional. Not standing out probably helps in espionage anyway. Ramius is the main villain here and makes for a good counter. He’s clearly quite experienced in commanding a fleet and knows tactics well. Even when the rest of the crew are panicking Ramius always keeps his cool. He’s not the kind of guy to panic at every little thing the way that the rest do. He’s quite interesting.

Part of the film’s strength is in how smooth the writing is. It’s very good and keeps you interested throughout. There are a lot of moving pieces here and despite both countries being quite hostile with each other they have to keep up a pretense of kinship among them. That leads to a lot of layered conversations. In particular I liked the U.S. Embassy representative as he did a good job of keeping up the pretense while delivering some passive aggressive statements. He did a good job of not giving up any ground or giving up intel.

Aside from Jack’s deduction we also had another U.S. sub in the area which looked good. One of the workers there was able to accurately find a way of locating the Russian sub which was impressive. If Jack had not shown up at least that means the U.S. would have been able to take out the Russian sub before it made it to America. Of course there would have been quite a great deal more casualties if that had occurred so it wouldn’t have been the ideal outcome. I’m just glad the whole thing didn’t hinge on him stepping in. Either way America would not have gone down without a fight.

The final fight does come out of nowhere a bit but I was glad that the film wanted to give us a quick action scene. I’m always up for some action so this was a pretty good way to close out the film. It may not have been a very long fight but it was a way to give Jack a quick moment to shine and also delivers on making things pretty exciting. The film really made no mistakes and had a very solid opening act, middle, and climax.

Overall, The Hunt for Red October is definitely a really solid thriller. I’m always up for films about the tensions between U.S. and Russia. It makes for pretty intense story lines and I can definitely go for more thrillers about subs. I’m not a big fan of the water in general as a backdrop, but being underneath the water is a very different matter. It reminds me of the classic Battleship type game. There are only so many options you can use while in a sub so the thriller parts aren’t so much about the fights as the setups to them. You need to have good writing for that and this film certainly delivers. It’s a long film but one that doesn’t drag on.

Overall 7/10

Mr Smith Goes To Washington Review

It’s time to look at an old political film that shows one man’s fight against endless corruption. It can be a lost cause at times but if nobody takes a stand then the situation will never get better will it? It’s a pretty interesting movie even if the ending starts to stretch disbelief a bit. Still, the concept certainly isn’t hard to believe and sometimes things just work out this way.

The film starts off with the local mayor/governor worrying about which new senator to elect as the old one died. He gets pressure from his higher ups to bring in people who are corrupt or have skeletons in the closet so they can be blackmailed. The mayor is close to doing this until his kids guilt trip him into appointing a local ranger leader named Mr. Jeff Smith. Smith is a very down to earth guy who wants to uphold the original ideals of the US, but Mr. Taylor doesn’t like this. Taylor is the kingpin in the shadows who has been controlling the state for years. He decides to do whatever he can to stop this Mr. Smith.

I’m always up for a political film like this, especially when it’s in a court type setting. The senate meetings here are close enough. I remember hearing about how you could hold the floor indefinitely provided the circumstances were right so it was nice to see Smith use such a technique here. I’m sure there is probably a little more to it than this but it’s definitely fun to see. Smith has to talk for essentially an entire day which is pretty impressive for sure. That’s a lot of stamina.

Of course, the corruption was quite deep here so the effects weren’t as powerful as he would have liked. I can buy into Taylor blocking all of the radio channels and newspapers but where it starts to get a little fishy is when he hires a mob to go around and start beating up on the kids. That part’s definitely a little hard to believe. They ran into the kid’s car and actually knocked one to the ground. By the end even the grownups on Smith’s side are telling him to stop because too many kids are being injured.

Even if we are to assume that Taylor’s influence is so strong that all of these guys would be willing to fight kids, what about their parents or other resisters? We see in one scene a large group of adults running around with signs and such until the cops spray them, but then there should have been some adults to protect the kids as well. So while this part was dramatic I think it ends up getting a bit unrealistic by the end.

During the film, Smith’s mentor (Paine) talks to him about the rampant corruption. Paine explains that it isn’t everyone who is corrupt, just most of them. I thought this was foreshadowing for some senators agreeing with Smith by the end and the film would have ended with the Senate in full disagreement. In the end, it appears even he underestimated how corrupt the place was as everyone was involved. He’s definitely the worst character in the film but at least you do know that he’s a traitor from the start so it’s not like you were surprised at this turn of events.

While the writing is pretty solid and the film has good pacing, there is one plot that doesn’t work out well. It’s the comic relief one sided romance plot between Clarissa and a reporter. Their scenes don’t really add to the plot and the drunk bar one goes on for quite a while. I suppose it’s to show how she felt bad for Smith but you could already glean that information early on. Clarissa is a pretty reasonable character even if she does keep flipping from one side to the other. At first she thinks the situation is hopeless for Jeff so she just pretends to be on his side. Finally she does end up going to his side and to her credit she is indispensable by the end. Without her Jeff would have certainly been tricked or have lost the will to fight earlier.

Jeff’s a good character, but pretty gullible. While he ended up sticking to his core values and beliefs despite the overwhelming pressure he wouldn’t have gone far without help. If Clarissa hadn’t tipped him off he would have kept falling for that other girl’s tricks. The instant he let romance get above his duty I had to admit that this senator business may have been a little too much for him. He’s earnest, but to that end I’d figure that he would have done more reading up on what it means to be a senator. Sure, it was harder to get information back in the day but I’d like to have seen him be a bit more pro-active. These are more in-depth critiques of his character though, on the whole he was still pretty solid. It’s just that he could have been even better.

One character who stole the show quite a bit was the chairman for the senate. I like how the whole thing was basically one big joke to him. He’s a fair judge who doesn’t bend to the others. He knows his importance. Whether the right choice is made or not isn’t something he cares about so long as they follow the rules. It may not be heroic, but it is pretty enjoyable to see.

Overall, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a pretty solid film. It definitely shows how hard it is to get your point across when you’re up against corruption. Smith could have stood there all day without the senators reacting and that’s just what he did. Honestly I would have done more whistles to wake them up like he did in one scene, but I suppose he also didn’t want to be held in contempt of court or anything like that. That probably would have backfired. I’d definitely recommend checking this film out. It’s pretty original.

Overall 7/10

The Parrallax View 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 likely be a lot more negative.

It’s time to look at an old conspiracy film that will keep you guessing as it goes on. You can’t trust anyone and have to keep your guard up at all times. Naturally the main character couldn’t quite handle these tasks and throw in the fact that this film feels quite lazy at times and you have a decently good premise with very poor execution. Conspiracy films are hard to do well when that’s the main genre, but they do make for good twist endings. Oh yeah, this review will have spoilers btw.

The film starts off with a political figure giving a big speech when he is murdered. The cops catch the first guy while the second gets away. Years pass by and everyone eventually believes that there only ever was 1 murderer. Even the main character Joe believes this until he is visited by an old friend who was also at the place where the guy was shot and she dies soon after. This means that everyone who was at the plaza is being systematically eliminated. Only a handful of people still exist..including Joe. Joe must get to the bottom of this conspiracy and to do it he will have to try and get enlisted.

Here’s one problem with Joe’s plan right off the bat and it’s never addressed by him or any of the characters in the film. He was in the picture. I’ll discuss the ramifications of that in a second after we look at Joe’s plan again. So, Joe murders one of the members and fakes his death. Both weren’t actually part of Joe’s plan, but they happened so lets roll with it. He decides to go undercover by submitting an application as a new person and acting like he’s a little off the chains. The organization seems to buy it and gives him his first mission. I’m not exactly sure what that mission was, but Joe basically ends up being the scape goat for another murder and is quickly gunned down. So ends his brief stint as a detective. Do you see what was wrong with his plan?

He was never going to fool them into thinking that he was some random nut who wanted to join. He was on their most wanted list for years and never even put on a wig or did anything to change his look. He went in under the impression that the organization didn’t even care about him so they wouldn’t be able to tell. That’s like a guy who always goes to the local pizza store going in one day and pretending to be someone else without putting on a disguise. It just won’t work and Joe’s plan was doomed to fail. His friend also didn’t give him a great fake ID apparently since the villains saw through that as well and Joe had to make a second one. It was a terrible plan, but Joe never was much of a thinker I guess. His friend came to him for help and he basically just laughed at her and sent the girl back to her doom.

Finally, Joe compromised his safety even more by sending cassettes to his old newspaper boss and revealing that he was still alive. Lets put it this way, the more people that know, the more likely it is that the secret will gt out right? Joe even impacted events by telling Bill not to make any charges or allegations against the organization. Instead Bill stayed quiet and the villains probably thought that this was extremely suspicious. Then they were also probably watching Joe at all times so I’m sure that they saw him send in the audio every week to the boss. His plan was just full of holes and that’s why he plunged into the abyss.

There is also a long brainwashing video that is just brutal to watch. They could only afford a handful of pictures so they just keep replaying them over and over. You’ll get the point of the video a few seconds into it or more likely as Joe is heading over to the seat. This film isn’t exactly subtle. So, then we don’t need to see the entire video that feels like 5-10 minutes long. The Thor picture was fun, but the rest was all just gritty stuff to remind us that the organization is serious business. I also find it laughable how they expect that to brainwash everyone. You can’t show 1 video and expect it to work so easily or even have any kind of effect on the person it is on. If the film had said something like *10 hours later* then that would be better since it would have meant that Joe had been there for a long time.

There are also a lot of really drawn out scenes like Joe walking through the airplane. Watching everyone do nothing much gets old pretty quick. Everyone moves very slowly so you get to stare at them all. We even head to a crooked town where the Sheriff and Deputy go around beating everyone up. Of course, as we find out later they were fired ages ago, but I guess nobody in the town ever knew that. The cover ups here are hard to believe as well. Unless everyone who speaks up is getting instantly murdered I don’t see how word isn’t getting out. What was the cover up for Joe’s death at the end? The dialogue at the end basically says that Joe was the only killer so did nobody take fingerprints of the gun to find others on it? I don’t think Joe actually picked up the gun either so that should be easy, but I suppose the fingerprint guy was in on it as well. Conspiracy films definitely don’t tend to follow logic all that much and it’s not a big thing, but you will certainly find it hard to buy into any of this. Even the cops at the beginning of the film are corrupt just to reinforce the idea that everyone is evil here.

The second half of the film just feels uneventful. Joe is just following orders and slowly getting into the villain group but it basically takes him the whole film to get his first mission and then he is instantly murdered. He didn’t actually learn anything nor did he make any progress in stopping them. As a result, the entire film also feels pointless as well. It’s an interesting approach to effectively show a futile attempt at stopping them rather than the epic actin hero who defies all odds and takes dozens down. Still, it’s not necessarily a good approach or at least not this time. Joe just wasn’t smart at all and why would you just stand around by a gun for about 10 minutes? He really wasn’t thinking. The writing in the film isn’t particularly good either. The heroes aren’t smart as I mentioned and the villains have no real personality either. I do like the Illuminati though. You rarely actually get to see them appear in these films.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend checking out this film. You can find conspiracy theories anywhere so it’s not as if they’re rare, but I guess a whole film about one theory just couldn’t end up floating. The brainwashing video drags out much like the rest of this film. It loves going for zoomed out shots of people walking and running around. Joe couldn’t save anyone in the film and he couldn’t save the film itself. If you want to look at a real conspiracy, check out the whole Berenstein vs Berenstain Bears issue. That one has always peaked my interest and has a better climax/conclusion than this film since we are still living in the conclusion.

Overall 3/10

Hail to the Chimp Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 4h 56m
Squandered Teams 4%
Hazard deaths 13%
Falling deaths 44%
Curses taken per game .6
Clampaign chest 5895
Votes won 252230
Games Played 67
Attacks leveled 4806
Clammiest game 256
Clammiest teamup 27
Campaign Trail 22MI
Attacks Successful 37%
Victorious 52%
Teamups per game 2.0
Profitable teams 85%
Teleports per game 1.3
Curses landed per game 1.1
Switches per game 0.5
Invites Accepted 62%
Double Jumps 31%
Clams stolen per game 32
Clams recovered 3
Flair share 24%
Successful blocks 13%

Hail to the Chimp Review

Hail to the Chimp is like the roughest of waves. It looks fun to play from a distance but once you’re on it you start thinking about how much more fun the kiddie pool would have been. The game had a lot of potential since it is effectively a 4 player fighting game with various themes built in to make the gameplay diverse, but it ends up falling flat. This is because the controls aren’t all that well thought out and the gameplay wasn’t very polished. I’ll give it some props on the unique premise of the story, but the way it was executed wasn’t great.

So, the plot is that a bunch of animals are trying to be President. Each level has you play as one of them as you become President I suppose. It was hard to tell if it meant that you won the primaries and could be President now or if you actually became President. I’ll go with the latter I suppose. Either way, it was a pretty intense moment as each character got a commercial first and then an interview after completing the level. I like to think that this must have been some kind of political satire as all of the candidates were really bad. One of them couldn’t even talk in a way that we could understand since it only knew alien talk. I wonder how it won so many votes. Anyway, that’s the main campaign. The Monkey got the last level so I’ll assume that he is the President. It is called Hail to the Chimp after all. The story was fairly amusing even if getting to the cutscenes could be a drag.

There isn’t really a lot to do in the game. The story will last a little while, but after that the only thing to do is Vs. Mode. I did unlock various videos during the story so I suppose that replaying the stories could help you get more. The problem is that the game is super vague about how or why you unlocked the videos so you wouldn’t know exactly what you would need to do. Furthermore, this came out before trophies so those can’t help the replay value. Vs. Mode is nice in that regard, but I have a sinking feeling that you won’t be playing it for very long. The game is only a few bucks to purchase though so at least it won’t set you back all that much.

The graphics aren’t anything special. The colors actually make it difficult to see the characters at times. It certainly doesn’t look like a PS3 game at all and the PS2 titles from the good ole days had more heart. The soundtrack is pretty bad as well with no good themes. I can’t think of a single catchy one and that’s too bad. I’d expect nothing less from Hail to the Chimp though. In theory the gameplay can save it so lets talk about that now.

The actual gameplay style had a lot of potential. It’s an overhead 4 player brawler so it’s similar to TMNT Mutant Melee. You swing at each other with your standard attacks and can use parts of the environment to hurt other players as well like cranes. You can even decide to do a link attack with another player if both of you press the team up button. Use this move strategically though since another player can quickly steal your teammate by running in first and also pressing the team up button. It’s incredibly overpowered and will always net you a few KOs. One issue that you’ll notice from the get go is that the controls are very limited. Every character only has one combo…that’s it. That sort of limits your options quite a lot if you think about it. Furthermore, the game rarely has you actually fighting it out with your opponents in a Last Man Standing ruleset.

The game gives you a few different goals depending on the level. In some you have to rig the voting machines by destroying them and others have you paint the machines. The vast majority of the levels are in this style and that’s the problem for me. I only really liked the combat ones. The others are all heavily luck based since the opponents will team up and sometimes they won’t. If you fall in the wrong place then you’ll waste a lot of time or all of the computers will gang up on you. There really isn’t much to look forward to during these battles and the fact that you have to play them over and over again really doesn’t help. I wouldn’t have minded the gameplay as much if it stuck to being a fighter, but the problem is that it wanted to be a party fighting game. That blend only works for the best of titles and this one lacked the budget as well as the gameplay to complete such a move. As a result, the game grows tedious very quickly.

Multiplayer mode is the only reason this game should even deserve a glance. It fixes most of the game’s issues as you can simply limit yourself to playing the survival mode of combat and the luck/cheese factor is eliminated for the most part. You may still grow bored of doing the same combat for so long but it’s a slight improvement. Beyond that, I suppose the videos will give you some chuckles. There are quite a few of them after all and the game wasn’t too popular so you may have a hard time finding them on Youtube unless you just skip through a walkthrough to nab them all.

Overall, Hail to the Chimp is not a game that you’ll want to play for long. The story mode wasn’t thought out too well as each minigame is way too long so nobody wants to play a 7 round tournament. Losing at the very end is also devastating because then you have to do it all over again. It’s quite telling that you’ll be hoping there is no secret final level just so you can finish the game already. That’s just sad. Since the soundtrack and graphics aren’t quite up to snuff either, there’s not much holding this game afloat. If you see it for a few dollars then I suppose you can’t go wrong, but you should still question whether you should do such a thing or not. It’s not worth it if you ask me. Just go buy a Mario Party game instead.

Overall 4/10

Woman of the Year Review

I’m glad that the poster mentioned how this isn’t suitable for general viewing because it really isn’t. Yes, I’m talking about the content. It’s not violence or fanservice, but just a bad message that the film churns out which basically says that the heroine tried to step out of her designated gender line and so she was in the wrong. Lets delve into this film a little more, but it all feels like some kind of big scam considering that the title suggests that this will be a very empowering film.

The film starts off with a reporter drinking away his sorrows at a bar. He’s your stereotypical American. Sam like sports, has an over inflated ego, and drinks constantly. He hears a coworker by the name of Tess on the radio who says that sports are basically pointless and she wouldn’t mind if they were banned. He gets incredibly triggered and starts yelling a lot as everyone gently kicks him out of the bar. He writes a quick editorial back at her and the wars start. She’s completely destroying him in these written arguments and the boss begins to worry that it’s getting too personal. He tells them to knock it off and Sam realizes that he’ll have to “win” some other way. He invites Tess to a baseball game and they almost immediately decide to get married. Phase 1 of Sam’s plan is complete…time for phase 2!

Sam wants Tess to stop overshadowing him and making him feel bad. While they are co-workers in the magazine, they are on different levels. Sam writes pieces on sports and nobody really cares about him. Tess has connections within the army and ties to foreign ambassadors and people of very high stature. She speaks dozens of languages and is also rich and known as one of the most charitable individuals in the world. Sam is jealous and I suspect that he has been for some time now. He wants her to be a normal housewife or he’s going to embarrass her socially. He decides to skip out on her father’s wedding because he’s a jerk like that and does his best to destroy her legacy as such a pioneer for women’s rights. Can he succeed?

Short answer: Yes. Long Answer: He causes a lot of damage and does undermine her efforts at every turn. Towards the end of the film, Tess starts to get over dramatic to make Sam look good in comparison but it’s far, far too late. While the film doesn’t necessarily say this either, the whole thing seems like a plan of Sam’s from the beginning. I feel like he only married her so that he could try to get her to retire from being super successful and then he can finally feel superior. The whole thing felt like a way to put her down and the film never made this out to be a bad thing.

On the contrary, most of the climax is about Tess trying to make him a breakfast. Plot twist! Despite Tess being a super genius she has never been inside of a kitchen before. She doesn’t know how to make Toast or how to crack an egg. You’ve gotta be kidding right? That’s such an exaggeration and there is no way that she wouldn’t be able to do these things. I was getting triggered myself during the scenes as Sam is still being petty the whole time. He just sits there making mean facial expressions and mocking her efforts the whole time. She shouldn’t even have to be making it up to him since he was in the wrong the whole time.

Lets backtrack a bit though. When they first went out to the baseball game, Tess made an effort to learn it. Learning a sport and all the positions can be pretty tough if you’re not familiar with it, but she used her analytical experience from solving foreign matters of great delicacy and did it. She was then able to really get into the game and have a good time. Next, she invited him to one of her diplomatic meetings. Sam quickly found out that nobody there spoke English so he took the chance to make fun of someone since the guy couldn’t understand him and then Sam dashed out. He gets pretty full of himself from then on and tries to visit Tess in her office without talking to her secretary. Why would he be allowed in without an appointment? He has absolutely no respect for her position or duties and seems to think that he should be given priority over all of them. “Drop your appointment with the Prime Minister…I want to go to McDonalds tonight!” is essentially his attitude.

The only real mistake Tess made was to try manipulating Sam. She made him breakfast in bed for the first time and started talking about having a kid out of the blue. Sam was thrilled about this since having a kid would in theory mean that Tess would be focusing on her job next. She then lays the atom bomb on him by walking in a fully grown kid that she adopted from an unsafe environment. The kid’s a refuge. Sam’s immediately apprehensive, but you can be sympathetic to him. It’s like waking up on Christmas and your parents saying, “Remember that Nintendo Switch bundle that just came out with Mario Odyssey?” Me: Yeah! Them: “Well, we got you a Nintendo 64 and a used copy of Superman 64” Me: “Nooooooo!”

Superman 64 is actually a good game and adopting a kid is a really nice thing to do. They can easily turn his life from a very tragic one into a blessed one. The problem is that it’s not fair to just push this onto someone with no warning and even more so when you bring their hopes up only to smash it down. The kid can’t speak English either which makes the situation worse and the whole thing is unfair to Sam. This is the one part of the film where I don’t blame him for being upset and returning the kid to the orphanage was the right thing to do. The pair couldn’t handle the kid, but none of them really had a discussion with the other. This was also a pretty tricky moment since he did it as she was supposed to accept her Woman of the Year award. He naturally decided not to attend either although to his defense again, she claimed that he had no life so he should come. That’s kind of a mean thing to say.

You can tell by this point that the film was now trying to make her so exaggeratedly mean and insincere that we’re supposed to root for Sam. The problem is that I’d never do so in a million years. You really have to watch the film to see what a terrible character he is. At the very least, he does believe in getting even and tries to do so every time he is slighted.

It’s a shame that the film had to die in the writing department/plot because it could have been good otherwise. It’s part comedy and the humor is handled rather well. I liked one of Sam’s friends who is always talking about how well he fights. The guy came through when it counted and I always like the genuine friends like that who enjoy a good beer but are around when it counts. The scenes of Sam getting embarrassed are also pretty fun as you’d expect. It’s just all for naught in the end…such is the power of a bad ending.

Overall, I’m clearly not impartial in this film. I was on Team Tess the whole time. If you were rooting for Sam then I imagine that you would probably like this film quite a lot as he gets the last laugh time and time again. I never like seeing someone running around trying to please the other when it’s the mean character’s fault in the first place. It’s just unsavory and brings this film down quite a lot. I recommend avoiding it like an old Cheese stick and just watching something a little classier like The Magic School Bus. At least that show is educational and always leaves you with a heartfelt message.

Overall 3/10