Toejam & Earl Back in The Groove Review


It’s time to look at a sequel to a game that came out quite a long time ago. I know the name of Toe Jam & Earl because of how crazy a title that sounds. Beyond that I can’t say that I know almost anything else about the franchise. You don’t really need to know much else though because the plot isn’t all that expansive. It doesn’t seem to matter whether or not you played the other games as you’ll quickly understand what is happening anyway. The gameplay is definitely pretty unique, I wouldn’t say that it’s all that good, but I suppose I can see the appeal if you’re playing with friends or something.

The basic plot of the game is that Jam and Earl are on a spaceship with the two heroines. They’re ready to finally head back to Earth, but by mistake they press the black hole button and end up sending themselves and the planet into another dimension. They must now recover all of their rocket parts in order to head back home, but that will not be an easy ordeal. No, if anything it may just be the hardest thing they’ve ever had to do, but the toughest choices require the strongest wills. They will have to be careful as the humans would like nothing better than to destroy the aliens who messed up Earth.

Now I’ll describe the gameplay so follow along as best you can. The game starts you off on a level with an overhead view. On the level you have a bunch of interact-able objects which include humans, demons, creatures, bushes, trees, houses, phones, etc. To get off of the level and onto the next one you have to hop in an elevator. It will take you to the next level. Also, keep in mind that the levels are used much like in the real world so by “Level 2” I’m saying that you are one floor higher. The game has 25 levels and the goal is to reach the end while obtaining 10 rocket parts. If you don’t have the 10 rocket parts by the time you reach the top then you have to go back down to find them. To get back to an earlier level just keep jumping off the level and one by one you’ll get down. You can also take an evil elevator to go down by one, but that’ll hurt your health a lot. Keep in mind that villains can also knock you back down floors so then you have to run to the elevators again.

The levels each have a map which automatically appears when you start, but it is all covered in fog until you move around. Every square of the map that you explore will give you 50 XP. When you level up you randomly get an increase to 3 of your stats from the local wiseman. These stats include speed, (Easily the most important stat) health, luck, present skill, and a few others. You get 300 XP every time you open a present, but they are always risky. One present is a bomb that will cause you to instantly lose a life. Another one is a thunder cloud that will follow you around for a long period of time until you lose a life, etc. Others are good as they give you a speed boost or some health back.

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the gameplay mechanics. It’s a lot easier to understand once you’re actually playing compared to when you hear about it. Basically the goal is to go through all of these levels and dodge the enemies. You can’t fight back except for when you have certain items so really it’s like a stealth game. Just dodge everyone and try not to get hit. Problem is that you’re slower than just about all of the enemies so you need to always be prepared to jump into the water to avoid them. Don’t drown though as your air meter goes down real quick.

There’s not a whole lot to do here though which is the big issue for the game. As I mentioned there are 25 levels, but that’s it. Some levels can take you seconds to beat while others are significantly longer. I managed to beat all of the levels in what’s considered the tutorial arrangement, made it to 13 in Fixed Mode and 15 in Random. Still, even as the names switch it is the same levels each time. It has the feel of an arcade game as you just play it over and over to get a high score. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the game feels a lot more like a free to play than a modern PS4 title that you would pay for. You can potentially finish this game in around an hour.

There’s no real replay value unless you really love the gameplay style. Your progress is always deleted once you get a game over so aside from remembering your level or how quickly you beat them all there isn’t even a record to try and break. That’s one of the things you would at least expect to have when you’re playing the same campaign over and over. After the opening cinematic the plot is also over so you won’t see anything else until you beat the game. You also won’t see the ending unless you beat the game in Fixed or Random mode. Basically, it would be fair to say that the game doesn’t really have a story.

Based on the trophies it does seem like the game is mostly geared for multiplayer though. You can play the levels online which allows randoms to join your game. That should make the levels a lot easier to beat even if it will make things more chaotic. I wonder how the screens would work there like if the 4 players have to stay on the same level or if you can divide and conquer. I’m sure that would add a little more flavor to the game, but multiplayer can theoretically do that with any game.

I think at the very least there are 3 main improvements I would have the game do to really make a difference. One it to get rid of the auto death from the presents. The presents shouldn’t have the risk of destroying you in one hit for using them. Why make the presents that risky? It’s very hard to live without them especially since they are your main source of XP, but completely dying from one seems unfair. (Yeah, I died from one…) Another part that is lacking a bit is the constant loading screens. This may be unavoidable depending on the budget, but every time you go inside the elevator you have to sit through a long loading screen as the elevator goes up and the hero makes some snarky comments about it. These are unskippable and while they aren’t quite Sonic 2006 level, they happen a lot more frequently. Put it this way, every playthrough you are guaranteed at least 25 loading screens minimum. That’s a bit much. For number 3, I would add actual save points. I don’t think dying should erase all of your progress. I understand that this is a game decision though, but it’s one that I would have changed.

As far as the graphics go, they look like the online computer games you would play as McAfee. (Probably spelled a little different) You could easily see these kind of graphics in online computer games form 10-15 years ago and definitely can’t compete with modern ones. To an extent the graphics are likely intentionally old to mirror the retro style the game is going for though. It’s extremely undetailed and looks more like a NES game than a PS4 title, but as an artistic choice it’s not terrible. It won’t take you out of the game or anything. The soundtrack is pretty limited, but the tunes aren’t bad. It definitely gives you the feel of the game right away.

Overall, Toe Jam & Earl is definitely a unique game as I mentioned. The name is still a little hard to actually say with a straight face so I’ll mostly be sticking to calling it Jam & Earl IRL. It feels more like an experience game or one of those really old arcade style titles but without the high scores. The gameplay is fun enough, but there wasn’t a lot of incentive to keep going. At least it’s not really my cup of tea but if you want a shot of nostalgia and grew up with the series then I’m sure you’ll like it. While there isn’t a whole lot of content the game can still last you for quite a long while if you just keep replaying it a lot. I’d sooner recommend Asdivine Hearts and Owlboy though. I’ll wait for the next re imagining of Jam & Earl to see if this franchise can really make its mark on the industry.

Overall 5/10

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Nancy Drew… Detective Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

Kid Icarus Review


It’s time to look at my next journey into the NES ONLINE collection. This time Kid Icarus was my next conquest and it’s definitely one of those games that is reasonably fun but held back by a lot of dated mechanics. Fortunately the save states do help make up for these aspects.

The basic plot is that Pit has to stop the ultimate evil known as Medusa from destroying his world. Lady Palutena has gifted him with many skills and now it’s up to him to put them to use. The gameplay is pretty basic as you jump from platform to platform as you deal with monsters by shooting your arrows. You can shoot your arrows in a straight line facing forward or up. Typically the levels will ask you to either climb very high or go all the way to the right. Each world has 4 levels and there are 3 full worlds with 1 final level. The 4th level in each world is the boss level which also serves as a huge maze.

The normal levels are pretty fun and will really test your platforming skills. A single misstep can mean the end of you. Your health also depletes quite rapidly so you’ll want to keep an eye on your health bar at all times. You do get a few lives so you won’t go all the way back but these levels are quite difficult so you would be wise not to underestimate them. You obtain hearts by defeating enemies which you can trade for health potions or temporary attack upgrades.

What holds the game back is the 4th level of these worlds. The mazes are quite frankly way too large. You’ll be lost with no end in sight here. It works like Metroid where if you don’t have a guide you will need to draw a map of your own. I can definitely acknowledge the time and dedication you would have had to spend to do such a thing back then. Games are really tricky back then…maybe too tricky. After all, this is more tedious than challenging after a point. You can easily waste hours going through this just as I used up a bunch of hours in Metroid. Some games just really haven’t aged well to be honest. Others have continued to excel though so that’s a good thing. Kid Icarus is kind of in the middle. It’s not bad, but this does prevent it from being truly good.

The final level is a nice look at what the game could have been like though. It’s an aerial level where you blast away at enemies in a level where the camera is constantly scrolling. It takes a lot of skill to blast your way to the end but it also doesn’t feel tedious. The final boss is also quite inventive as you have to blast at the enemy while blocking her attacks. You can only pick one option at a time so you have to constantly time your attacks just right. Mess up and then it’s all over for you. Definitely not a final boss to be taken lightly either. This whole game is one that is more challenging than it may appear at first glance.

As for the graphics, those are pretty good. The game uses the classic sprites as were the norm back then. The sprites do a good job of giving the characters clear designs. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is pretty basic but effective. The main theme has certainly become iconic over the years. I can’t say that I really recall any of the other themes off the top of my head, but it’s pretty soothing and fits in with the levels. After all, this game is a pretty calm platformer in the sense that there is no timer. You can take as long as you need to in order to fully process the enemy movement patterns. Slow and steady will win the race here.

A unique gimmick this game also has is the fact that a certain enemy can transform you into an eggplant. If you are hit with this curse then you need to try and find a healing station to cure you. Until that happens you can’t attack anymore which puts you in a very vulnerable spot. It can definitely be annoying when it hits you since that’s most likely it for that life, but it’s a fun little feature that’s just so random that it really works.

Overall, Kid Icarus has its fun moments, but its downsides as well. You gotta take the game as a mixed package and likewise I gave it a pretty mixed review. Honestly there isn’t much reason to play it as this point though. If you want to experience the Pit adventures then just check out Uprising. It’s an improvement in literally every way and is a very satisfying experience. The original Kid Icarus is a good title to play for the novelty, but you won’t be missing out on much by skipping it. I’m sure it was fun for its time, but there are just better platformers to play nowadays like CupHead or something like that. Of course if you already have the online Nintendo Switch membership then you may as well check the game out since it’s free. It’s only a few hours long and you can use the save states as much as needed in order to secure your win.

Overall 5/10

It Came From Beneath The Sea Review


It Came From Beneath The Sea is an old monster film that you’ve likely heard of even if you may not have seen it yet. The movie deals with a lot of classic monster themes like escaping from towering buildings and finally developing a weapon to stop the threat. It checks off all the right boxes even if there is little imagination in the film to differentiate it.

The film starts off with a giant octopus bringing the pain to a bunch of government agents who were in an underwater sub. In that sense the premise is a little similar to The Meg. The government brings in the two leading authorities on Marine life in the world to get cracking on this mystery. Despite their findings the government refuses to believe until things start to escalate. Is it already too late?

The movie has a pretty small cast and unfortunately not the strongest one. The main character, Pete is a little too into romance to focus on his job. He’s constantly going after the scientist named Joyce and gets jealous very quick. He’s quick to assume that she would want to be with him no matter what and needs more than a few reality checks. By the end he’s been set straight and of works out, but he definitely isn’t the most endearing main character. For the most part the film tries to portray him as you classic leader, charismatic, but a guy who knows how to get the job done. His character just can’t recover from the romance subplot.

Then you’ve got his rival who seems to be all over the place. At times he seems interested in Joyce as well and totally oblivious in other moments. By the end he seems to be trying to play matchmaker to an extent which is very odd considering his position. I guess it’s good that he’s taking this so well, but it’s almost too well. His name is Carter by the way and he is an expert in this monster research as well. As I said, he’s a nice guy, but I do think the writers were a bit confused with how to go about writing his character.

As for the heroine Joyce, she is good in some ways, but doesn’t age well in others. The good part is that she wants to be tough and independent. She rejects most of Pete’s advances and tries to concentrate on her work. That’s all good, but she does tend to fold a bit during the monster attacks which hurts her points. She’s the first one to scream when the monster shows up and is utterly terrified the whole time. After her speeches about how she doesn’t need anyone to protect her it just isn’t a good look. She also waffles back and forth a bit on the romance aspect as well.

So, this may be a classic film, but the writing isn’t quite as good as usual. Typically in a film like this the writing is pretty awesome and on point throughout. While most of the characters still work well, the main 3 aren’t that great which is a bit of an issue. The film just doesn’t really compare to most other monster films of its era. It’s a good film for sure, but one that could probably have been great if it wasn’t holding itself back the whole time.

As for the giant octopus, he has a reasonable design. It’s fun seeing him take down the civilians as he stomps through town. Nobody could stand up to this guy although they shouldn’t be expected to anyway. With a single swing of his tendrils he can lay waste to whole buildings and even sinks a ship. It always makes for some fun scenes. The army is a little slow to acknowledge its existence though. Even after there is proof beyond a shadow of a doubt they continue to be skeptical. Honestly the way the scientists presented the case wasn’t even all that far fetched so I’m a little surprised at all the doubt. Ah well, just goes to show that people don’t want to believe in giant monsters.

It’s fortunate for the monster that the humans didn’t believe in it for a while because this is one of the few ones that probably would have gone down pretty quickly to a full frontal assault. It’s not impervious to the stronger guns aboard the boats and while it can move in quick bursts it doesn’t like running. At one point the characters even comment on how it wants a fight. Once the fight starts it is really all over for the Octopus. I do question why the characters had such a poor plan where ultimately they are forced to go up close to end the battle. They just didn’t think things through and likewise a helicopter gets in way too close as well and gets squashed. You gotta give the monsters a wide berth or they’ll walk all over you.

Overall, It Came From Beneath The Sea is worth checking out. We do get some nice banter and of course you can’t go wrong with a classic creature feature flick right? The Giant Octopus is a fun villain to have around. The ending may be a bit sudden, but the flip side of that is that the Octopus gets to dominate for most of the movie. That’s definitely nice to see for my fellow monster fans reading this. It’s also a pretty short movie and doesn’t drag on at all. The pacing’s pretty tight. The movie doesn’t do anything particularly original, but it also doesn’t make any crucial mistakes so that’s a good balance if you ask me.

Overall 6/10

Village of the Giants Review


It’s time to look at an old film where giants came into being. I would say that it’s about how power corrupts, but these kids were already corrupt from the start so it’s more like they finally got to push people around. The film is pretty aimless for the most part though with many scenes being dedicated to dancing and singing in order to stall for time. It’s definitely a film that’s gonna get a thumbs down from me.

The film starts off with a group of teenagers crashing their car and they spill out into the rain. They’re all pretty rowdy so they start a mud fight and dance for a while. After that they figure they should try to find some shelter and head to a nearby village. In this village, Nancy and Mike have stumbled onto a new discovery courtesy of a kid named Genius. It’s a spongecake that turns you giant once you eat it. Mike is determined to get rich from this, but ends up giving some of the formula to a cat, 2 Geese, and a dog. Pretty soon the whole village knows about it and wants their hands on it. Mike tells them no, but the teens show up and eat it anyway. Now they’re all huge and they want to take over the town. Can Mike stop them?

This movie has quite a few problems so it’s hard to know where to begin. To start with, there is way too much singing and dancing here. That wouldn’t be a problem if they were good of course, but none are. The dances are the same motions over and over again. Each dance seems to last for an eternity and then the songs also tend to drag on. They never add onto the plot either so they’re definitely just here to drag out the film. The plot would barely have lasted 40 minutes otherwise.

Then the writing is consistently iffy. Mike ends up cheating on his girlfriend for a bit just to mess with the villains and fool them into thinking he was being tricked. Not a very nice partner to have eh? They tried the same trick on the girl only she didn’t even entertain it. (Although she was getting dangerously close) So you already can’t root for the heroes. Mike also doesn’t seem all that smart like when he tries to fight the leader of the teens. He’s luck that the hit didn’t completely destroy him. There’s also a scene where the town tries to tie up one of the giants and they actually succeed which was a scene that made no sense. With a single movement he could have knocked them all over, but instead the giant just seemed confused and almost mindless for a moment. It just didn’t make any sense.

Naturally the teens don’t make for good villains either. There’s a little friction between a few of the guys as they bicker a lot and for a wile there you think there’s going to be a power struggle. Surprisingly it never happens. The leader just folds every time the group wants to do something drastic. They definitely have a lot of fun making fun of the adults, but beyond that it’s not like they had much of a plan. Honestly they just would have gotten bored after a few days I expect. It all would have been routine by that point.

You can probably guess from the premise that this film isn’t really meant to be taken seriously. It’s definitely comedic for the most part but the film just isn’t quite as funny as it thinks it is. Take away the dancing scenes and that would have helped the film a bit for sure, but even without that there just isn’t much to the film. The dialogue is very weak and there are no likable characters. It would have been fun to have seen more of this from the adults perspective though. Maybe have a bunch of government guys walk in and start making demands or something. Instead the adults seem a bit slow on the uptake like when they order the teens back into the theater. I mean…they could have just squashed the cop so he got lucky. Also, how did nobody notice that they kidnapped the sheriff’s daughter? That seemed a bit iffy. It would be easy to grab her of course, but surely the town should have known about it.

Part of the problem throughout the film with the humans putting up a resistance is that the giants are way too strong. They could have easily ended the whole match in an instant if they do desired. The fact that they did not is really just plot hax. The film is riddled with plot hax. The characters should have had no chance until the formula wore off. Of course, the villains should never have gotten the formula if Mike was a little smarter and didn’t leave the key right next to the safe it was guarding. That defeats the purpose of the safe.

Overall, Village of the Giants is definitely a film you’ll want to skip. It’s pretty over the top but not in a good way. The Giants don’t actually alter the plot much at all. The film would have been better if it was just about the potion going out of control and making everyone giant. They would have had to learn how to cope with this smaller world now that they were giants. Instead we had to see Mike take down a giant spider which certainly wasn’t good. The film’s very cheesy and in some ways that’s good, but it makes too many errors to really stay afloat. Cut out the fanservice and this film could have had a shot. As it stands, you should stick to Godzilla for real movies about a giant creature.

Overall 3/10

Mad Love Review


It’s time to look at an old horror film with Peter Lorre. You may wonder what this is doing here when I’ve mainly been reviewing Christmas films lately right? Well, basically I saw this film a while back for Halloween and then just never got around to reviewing it. The film’s pretty bad, but it’s also just rather boring so I kept putting it off. Well, this is currently the last review on the backlog so I can hardly afford to keep putting it off now right? Brace yourself!

So the film starts with the ever famous Yvonne finishing another performance. An obsessed fan by the name of Gogol shows up to let her know that he has been watching all of her shows. Yvonne quickly flees the country to reunite with Stephen, but the latter was in a train accident after being in the same car as a legendary knife throwing crook. Stephen can no longer play the piano as he once did. Yvonne feels bad for him so she goes to Gogol who is the utmost authority on this. He is able to stitch together the murderer’s hands on Stephen but pretends that he just sewed them back on. Stephen is as hard of sight as he is lacking in common sense so he doesn’t notice that his hands are different. Things start to get dicey for him though as the hands appear to have a life of their own. Meanwhile Gogol uses the distraction to try to get to Yvonne.

Gogol’s only goal in this whole film is to get together with Yvonne. This does not make for a very compelling villain motivation. In fact, it isn’t interesting at all. He’s just a terrible villain and all of his scenes drag down the film. Yvonne also should have taken his advances more seriously and alerted the cops or Stephen. Gogol gets away with a whole lot as he stalks her during the film and even crashes her party to take advantage of some crazy games they were all playing. Stephen is around but too busy wallowing in self pity to be of any help. In his defense Yvonne should have mentioned something, but I won’t cut him too much slack because he’s just not a good character. He’s too quick to freak out and should try to master his hands rather than let them control him.

In a way it almost makes you think Gogol was right to not tell him where the hands came from since Stephen would not have taken it well at all. At least the knife throwing does come in handy by the end of the film though. By that point the film is just about over so he cut it awful close. Meanwhile you just have to question how Gogol got his license to practice when he is so clearly insane. The guy isn’t even subtle and you have to feel bad for his patients. He gets distracted quite easily after all. Adding to the creep factor is the fact that he also bought a life sized statue of Yvonne to put in his room. His care taker even has to do her hair and everything.

Ah yes, that brings me to the care taker and the local police guy. Both of these characters are very slow on the uptake and don’t contribute a whole lot. The care taker does a lot of grumbling and snitches on Gogol a lot, but doesn’t do it in a very safe way. She puts her head on the line so many times. Then we have the police guy who isn’t all that interested in doing much. His “sleuthing” if you can call it that basically revolves around chatting with the Gogol’s maid. When it comes time to check the room out he takes so long that the villain gets to return. I usually like the police/detective characters but this guy just wasn’t effective at all. Take him out of the movie and I don’t think a whole lot would change. It would effectively still be the same film and that’s an issue.

At least we can take solace in the fact that this film’s plot would be a little harder to do nowadays. Since Yvonne is a famous singer/performer I expect she would at least have some bodyguards so they would notice a stalker. Even if she does not, security should be a bit tighter at the events and someone should realize that this guy is always around. His only defense is that he’s a world class doctor and that wouldn’t hold much water next to a celebrity. Yeah, I’m sure this plot is still being done regardless, but it’ll be so contrived that maybe the film wouldn’t take itself seriously and it would still be better than this one…maybe. Also, Peter Lorre wouldn’t be in it and he’s probably one of the worst actors I’ve seen so that’s already a plus.

Overall, Mad Love isn’t a good film. The title is pretty much a tip off to that. Films about villains who eagerly want the main heroine to appreciate them are often doomed to fail. This one sided romance breaks the villain instantly. You just can’t take him/her seriously after that. Then you also get mad at the main character(s) for not calling in backup right away. They wait until it is too dangerous or too late to call for help before thinking of it. The film’s fairly short, but even so I would recommend giving this one a pass. There just isn’t much to be salvaged or learned from this film. If you want a good thriller, watch something with a little more pop like the Yugioh films. This movie is best left forgotten.

Overall 3/10

The Princess Bride Review


The Princess Bride is definitely a classic film that I’m sure you have probably bumped into at least once or twice in the past. Still, I had never actually seen it until now so better late than never right? It’s definitely an interesting fantasy adventure even if the whole thing is just a story so it’s all fake from the get go. I’m cool with that kind of premise except for the fact that the kid can be annoying, but more on that later.

The film starts off with a grumpy kid getting sick again. He’s upset because his Grandpa is coming over to check on him and this kid is as ungrateful as they get. Well, the Grandpa decides to tell him a little story and the kid slowly finds himself getting sucked into the hype of this adventure. Never in his wildest dreams could he imagine that such a story would be so gripping. It’s about a girl whose fiancee was captured by pirates and murdered so now she’s going to marry a random prince because she has given up on life. Well, her fiancee has returned and they decide to escape from the Prince. They’ll have to get through a dangerous forest and 3 powerful fighters, but nothing can shatter their bond! Can they get a happily ever after?

This is definitely a very classic kind of adventure as the heroes talk like in the olden days. It may have one of the earlier instances of the villain string where you have to fight one opponent, then you go to the next room and fight villain #2, etc. Westley has to defeat each of them at their particular strengths so he has to be very quick, strong, and smart. As this was basically Westley’s introduction in the film I have to say that it was quite impressive. He really showed himself to be a very capable main character. I was not expecting him to be quite so tough. It’s almost sad when he takes off his mask as he loses most of his mystique and hype. He ends up just becoming another one of the guys, but after such a strong start he was already guaranteed to be the best character in the film.

I also think Westley had a point in regard to how easily Buttercup moved on from him. Sure, she didn’t like the Prince but she didn’t care enough to refuse him either since she had given up on life by then. She should have stayed strong and waited for Westley no matter how long it took. Of course he was presumed dead, but then you don’t go for a rebound and just stay alone. As it stands Buttercup just didn’t look all that great throughout this and was even kidnapped. It definitely wasn’t her day.

At first you think that the Prince may actually be heroic as he puts up a good front. If you were not aware of story telling 101 he could even potentially fool you. Still, he was ultimately destined to be evil and is essentially the main antagonist here. He’s certainly not my kind of villain as those with romantic motives never tend to rank. Still, I suppose he’s reasonable. I do think the Prince gets off way too easy by the end though. I mean, depending on how you look at it there are absolutely 0 repercussions for him as the film closes.

Now lets look at the trio of danger. Fezzik is the strong but not very smart member of the group. He’s one of those villains who doesn’t think much so it’s easy for him to join the heroes or villains depending on who his boss is. He’s definitely the least likable of the 3 though. He’s not bad, but just not very interesting. Meanwhile Montoya was a lot of fun. He’s a very quick fighter whose goal is to avenge his father someday. He’s trained all his life to accomplish this goal so it’s almost tragic that Westley is still a better fighter than he is. What makes Montoya a good villain is the fact that he has an honor code and actually seems like a reasonable guy. His motives are also quite sound.

Finally we have the leader, Vizzini. Now this guy is definitely really sharp. The scene where he insults a bunch of philosophers and explains why he is smarter than them is quite good. It’s at that exact moment where you realize that this guy is the real deal. He’s not going to back down to any fighter and has the wits to stay on top no matter what the situation is. His mind battle with Westley is exceptional and I wouldn’t have minded having him appear more. His brief role made the moment all the more powerful though.

Speaking of great scenes, I also greatly enjoyed the fight with Montoya and Westley. There was a lot of back and forth in that fight with both fighters being able to use their full skills. Each one starting with their weaker hand also worked as good twists to keep the fight going. It’s a lot better than I would have expected from such an old adventure film. It holds up extremely well and moments like these are what helps the film be so solid. It really is a very solid adventure film.

Really, the only downside to the film is the annoying kid in the present. He’s constantly interrupting and just being a terrible character all around. His character hasn’t aged well and if I was the Grandpa I would have left by the second interruption. The kid was constantly bashing the book and only got back on board once the romance played more of a focus. He kept pulling the whole “It’s not like I like the romance or anything” bit but certainly wasn’t believable about it. Of course having the film be in story mode is part of the point, but cutting that bit out would have worked well.

Of course, it works as the film’s automatic censor to the more violent moments though. I was not expecting the prince to get tortured the way that he was. That was surprisingly dark and some blood is spilled during Montoya’s final confrontation. Still, the story stays within all family friendly territory I’d say. It never feels particularly excessive and will only scare kids like the one in this film.

Overall, The Princess Bride is a pretty fun film. I do think that the first half ultimately ends up being a little more interesting and fast paced than the climax though. Perhaps that’s because the second half is a little more generic while the first half does a lot of fun stuff like giving us back to back battles and keeping the lead mysterious. The second half is still quite solid but naturally as a result it’s just slightly less impressive than the film’s quick start. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d definitely recommend checking it out. The writing is on point and the film’s pacing is solid.

Overall 7/10

The Apartment Review


The Apartment is one of those films where it’s hard to guess the plot from the title. It could really go in just about any direction. Well, this one plays out as a retro comedy with the main character getting pushed around by everyone. It reminds you why apartments are so handy and why they can ultimately backfire at times as well. It’s a film that has aged pretty well even if the main characters probably will get on your nerves the more the film goes on.

The film starts off with Bud going another light with low sleep. At first you may sympathize with him but then you realize that the lead has a side gig of questionable ethics going. He loans his apartment out to his co-workers so they can use it for parties. Not particularly smart of him and the characters quickly take advantage of his offer. They stay later then they are supposed to and put him in a bad spot. Still, Bud does get the promotion so it’s all good. The problem now is the fact that he likes the employee who is already with his boss. How can he get her to change her mind?

This is one of those romance films where the characters are going to flip flop quite a lot. Let’s take Fran who is the main heroine here. She is with Sheldrake initially but then she leaves him since the guy is already married and seems to be using her. That’s fine, but then she entertains his offer of returning to being together again even though he’s still married. Bud also asks her out and she accepts but that already means that he is simply the rebound guy. She plays the field for a while and along the way attempts to destroy herself while still not falling away from Sheldrake. When the expected ending finally arrives it doesn’t feel very sincere.

I have to say that the romance in general gets a thumbs down. It’s just not all that engaging and holds the rest of the film back a bit. I also can’t say that I was a big fan of Fran. She was reasonable for a while with her reputation of being a solo act, but then the twists start coming and her character is ruined. It’s fine that she found someone, but choosing someone who is married does not help her case. Even if he was sincere she is getting him to cheat on his wife. It’s a lose-lose situation all around.

Of course you can’t really like Sheldrake as the guy is pretty manipulative. He’s a fun villain for sure as he pushes Bud around, but he’s not a particularly nice guy. He’s one of those “allies” who has your back while it’s convenient for him and then he’ll ditch you at the next corner. All 4 of the bosses were like that once Bud stopped giving them extra favors. Bud certainly should have known what would happen though as they were only his friends because of the apartment.

As for Bud himself, he’s entertaining like the rest of the cast. That doesn’t make him particularly likable though. He shouldn’t let the group push him around the whole time. Starting the apartment deal was fine and all but without proper time boundaries it will just cave in on itself. Sure enough, he just kept on digging himself in deeper and deeper holes. Bud could be slow on the uptake as well. He’s a nice guy through it all of course, but he needs to be a little more prepared than how he was in this film.

This also sums up the movie pretty well. While I can’t say that I really liked any of the characters, the film was still a lot of fun. It’s the kind of movie where the characters don’t have to be that good. Comedies can still be enjoyable because the jokes aren’t necessarily ties to the character’s status. A bad character can still have good comedic traits. I’d say that the writers did a very good job with this movie. Nobody feels exaggerated or super unrealistic. To an extent what happens in this film could easily happen in real life. Just take out a few of the dramatic elements and you’re all set.

The cast is pretty small, but we have a few supporting characters like the doctor next door who really came in handy during the climax. Without him it’s safe to say that the heroes wouldn’t have done very well. The slapping could definitely seem pretty crazy but it’s in a lot of these old films so I guess people used to think that it really worked. Pain is certainly a strong stimulus to I suppose to prevent someone from fainting it seems to make sense…even if it was a little excessive.

One trend that I’ve noticed with romance films as well as comedy ones is that they tend to have a better first half than the rest of the film. It’s because for the climax the film inevitably has to get a little serious. The degree to which this is notable will vary of course and some films like Airplane manage to almost completely sidestep this. This film is no exception as it starts to become a little more serious by the end. Not a bad thing per say, but with unlikable characters and no humor then you don’t have the best combo. Bud didn’t seem to handle most of the situations in the climax well as all and I’d say the same for Fran. These characters don’t think their options through enough so by the end both characters are basically settling for each other. Bud was totally ready to get together with someone else before Fran showed up in the second half. I think that says all that you need to know about how serious they were.

Overall, The Apartment is a lot of fun. Prepare yourself for a comedy-romance film where the only way for Bud to rise up the ranks is to give out favors to his superiors. The realism of this will really hit you hard and the film’s humorous ways of showing this are solid. While the romance may not have been very inspired it’s not as if it would make this a bad movie. It’s a good movie that falters a bit during the second half but ends up being one that I would recommend regardless. Especially if you consider this to be a romance film it is one of the few titles that I would recommend presently.

Overall 6/10

Strait-Jacket Review


It’s time to look at an old horror film by the name of strait jacket and like the Tingler it is ready with a few twists and turn in the plot. It’s always good when a film throws in a few misdirects to keep you busy as long as they make sense and have some kind of purpose. I do think this film pulled off the twist but it still couldn’t save itself from falling into a few holes.

The basic plot is that Lucy was away from home on a business trip. During her absence the husband decided to cheat on her with someone else. What he didn’t realize was that Lucy had caught the early train back home so she arrived in time to see this. The guy didn’t notice her arrival until it was too late and she managed to destroy both of them. She was sent away for 30 years but now she is back and hoping to live a normal life once more. Her daughter, Carol, wants everything to go back to how they once were, but is that even possible?

There are a bunch of other characters wandering around and are ready to muddle the plot as well. This includes the fiance to the daughter who just so happens to be rich and his parents. They don’t want the main two to get married and are ready to stop this relationship in its tracks. Then you’ve got the nice maid who helps out around the house and a mean Gardner who makes it clear that he doesn’t take orders from anyone. People start to get axed just like how the mother got rid of the competition. Has Lucy descended into madness or is someone setting her up?

Now, how well the twist works may depend on how you feel about the mother’s opening scene. After all, she was betrayed and so she fought back. The context is a whole lot different than most other murderers in these kinds of films. She was never actually crazy and just wasn’t gonna let the guy get away with it. It will probably feel very far fetched to see her going back to getting anyone else. Of course, as a horror film that is always a possibility. Meanwhile you will be suspecting someone from the main cast. I’d say that there are only 3 reasonable suspects among them but I’ll stop there.

Unfortunately the film does make the big mistake of throwing in animal violence. See, the main character’s own a farm and they believe in caging their chickens. Naturally we also have to see them chop one and the whole thing is pretty bad. Cutting out that scene/pointless subplot would have really gone a long way. I suppose that all of this does help to tip you off to the fact that something definitely isn’t right here.

The final action scene is definitely pretty intense though as the villain has a cool design. The whole thing is basically perfect even if it’s a little plot convenient. Getting into the house is way too easy for all parties involved. I get that this was back in the old days where everyone was a friend, but just leaving your door open throughout the night is asking for trouble. In particular you will feel bad for the father who just wanted to drink his milk. Sure, the guy probably should have gotten a little more involved with the marriage situation but at least he wasn’t actively opposed to it. He should have been less of a target than the wife. Of course, if you’re planning on bumping them both off then I suppose it makes sense to take him out first.

We’ve also got the corrupt butcher guy who was hired on for some reason. I never get why the main characters hire some super shady guy and then put up with how he acts throughout. They are the ones with the power here, just fire the guy and be done with it. Instead he throws around some threats and the main characters basically just have to shake in their boots. The fiance character wasn’t much better honestly. That’s because he is treated like a normal main character and yet he comes very close to cheating on Carol which is what Lucy was afraid of. The guy has no self control at all.

While the film does perform some of the plot twists pretty well, there are also some obnoxious red herrings that don’t need to be here. The first of which is certainly the scene with Lucy trying to act younger. The music takes her over and suddenly she becomes a huge flirt who can’t control herself. That’s a very big 180. Couldn’t she have dressed younger while staying mature? It defeats the whole purpose of getting a second chance at youth if you also lose the knowledge of being older along with it. This plot never really plays into the film in a realistic way. At times she just acts a little too crazy…so maybe Lucy always was insane.

Then we have the psych guy show up to basically tell Lucy that she’s crazy and has got to go. He’s not the smartest guy for a plethora of reasons. One of which is that he should have his guard up since he is dealing with someone who has murdered in the past. Even if the rehabilitation is complete you’d think that he would at least be prepared for anything right? Well, that’s not the case here and it certainly ended up coming back to haunt him. Then we’ve got the brother Bill who doesn’t really get much of a role here. He’s mostly just around as a sound board for the other characters.

Overall, Strait Jacket is a pretty interesting thriller. It makes it share of mistakes so I won’t call it a good film, but I will say that it does put in an effort. The film at least goes through the motions of forcing you to think a little. I also did like the ending with how happy it got all of a sudden compared to the sad scene that had just played. It’s time to try to make things all right again and it’s good that the character isn’t going to take the situation too hard. Who knows, with a few years of patience and talking maybe they’ll all get their happily ever after. In the mean time I would recommend getting some tickets for the Broly film coming out this year (In Japan) if you want a spooky, but epic film. That one’s going to be intense!

Overall 3/10