7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Heiress Review


It’s time for an old school romance film. This one definitely serves to remind you that trust is something that needs to be earned. If you’re rich then you end up with a lot of advantages in life but also some unique disadvantages. One is that you never know if people are being straight with you anymore or if they’re just watching your pockets and trying to get some money. You need to be aware of this at all times. People say “More money more problems” which is probably a saying from someone who had a lot of money since I don’t buy into that, but being rich certainly doesn’t mean you’re problem free. Oh no, you’ll definitely have a lot of new worries so in a way it’s a trade off. You may have to live a bit more of a lonelier life if you’re rich so you’ve got to be clever and discrete. The main character was neither here.

The movie starts off by introducing us to the family of Catherine, her father Austin, and her aunt Lavinia. The three of them now live under one roof with Catherine feeling like the odd one out. Lavinia’s had a very social life and just has a lot of fun in day to day activities. Then you have Austin who has built an entire empire although he is now old and getting closer and closer to death. Catherine has an inheritance of 10,000 dollars a month and once Austin dies that will go to 30K. The only issue is that right now she has no suitors. Catherine hasn’t done a lot to really stand out in appearance or in manners. This created a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy where she has lost all confidence in herself and can’t hold up even the beginnings of a normal conversation.

Time after time she is taken to parties but nobody wishes to dance with her or anything like that. Then one day she meets a man named Morris who is incredibly interested in her. He claims this to be love at first sight and wants to marry her that same week. He quickly pressures her into agreeing to engage and then get married a few days later. Catherine’s father Austin is not thrilled at this. He claims that Morris is a bounty hunter just looking to take her money. He decides to try and prove this to Catherine but she simply won’t believe him. Is it really true that Morris is just using her or is he actually a good guy? The stakes are quite here as she might lose her one true love or prepare for a loveless life.

There’s definitely a lot to say on this matter. For starters, this is why you can’t just fall for someone so instantly. I’ve never believed in love at first sight. I believe people mix that up with infatuation or a crush. Those things can happen in an instant since it’s purely superficial attraction. Love is something you build up as you hang out with such a person and begin to admire their other traits. There’s a world of difference between a crush and love. So even if Morris is on the level with his feelings, they come across as quite shallow here. The only reason he has so much sway over Catherine is because she is so desperate for love after being turned down for so long. She is quite desperate to be in a relationship.

It’s why you have to be content with yourself first. If you’re not having a good time then getting into a relationship is hardly going to change things. At most it’ll just tide you over for a little while but you need internal happiness as well, you can’t just be happy when someone else is around. It’s also a fair point that Catherine didn’t put in a lot of effort if she really wanted to impress the men around. There’s a whole lot you can do with your appearance to try and catch someone’s eye. Assuming that she simply preferred this look which is fair, she could have learned some talents. Dance for example is something she could have definitely studied and I also question why she was so slow on the uptake with everything. Catherine never seems to understand what is going on even if it’s being done right in front of her face.

While the film sometimes uses this as dark humor, it doesn’t really hurt her case. Either way you’ll feel bad for Catherine regardless. The film can be quite tragic and even if she should have picked up on some of the things everyone was saying, you can’t help but empathize with her plight. It may not be all that relatable but she does get crushed quite a few times in this film. That’s not to say that other characters don’t make mistakes though. I liked Lavinia quite a bit and for a while she was the best character in the film. Then she starts to get played as a sucker towards the end which really hurts her. I suppose you could make the case that she knows how this will end but still feels like Catherine will be happier. I don’t see why she would believe that though. It’s just not a good look there. I did appreciate the energy and spunk she gave the film though.

The best character in the end would be Austin. Austin was looking at things scientifically right from the start. He may come across as rather cold and aggressive but at the end of the day he was still looking out for Catherine. He figures it’s better to stop things now even if it hurts her a bit rather than letting them go too far and then having her realize what is going on. As a result he has to play the bad guy for most of the film. He does go a bit far at times like not being able to see any qualities in Catherine. If she doesn’t currently possess any skills then it’s his job to help her acquire them. We know that he has made a reasonable attempt at this but he could surely do more. Even in terms of looks he has wealth and means so he could take her to beauty salons and such. If he were more helpful to her during all of this that would have been nice as well.

Finally we have Morris who certainly gets a pretty big role in the film. He’s certainly bold if nothing else like his final scenes. You’d have to be living under a rock to really accept what’s going on at the end there. If anything I’m not sure the jewels were needed, but I guess to build up the anticipation further so there’s a bigger fall to rock bottom. I get the concept at least. I can’t say that I was a big fan of Morris from the start though. You really should never come across as too desperate and he seemed desperate from the start.

The writing here is pretty solid. The movie does a good job of keeping a sad tone afloat the whole time for Catherine without going over the edge with it. You’ll definitely feel bad for her the whole time and you don’t even need a lot of sad music tunes to get that across. There’s one section in the film where she wears the Sith Lord cloak from Star Wars and that was pretty intense. Her character definitely started to change towards the end and it made for a very interesting character shift. I wouldn’t have minded if that had been her regular attire for more of the film. It has aged pretty well.

Overall, This film definitely reminds you to play things close to the vest. If someone tries to rush you into something then you should think twice about it. The film has a pretty satisfying conclusion so it makes this a very complete experience. At times you’ll definitely wish Catherine would be more active or at least a little smarter but it is what it is. If you like a good romance drama film then I’d recommend checking this one out. The pacing is good and quite a lot happens here. You also get a few verbal debates with solid back and forths like the scene with Austin vs Morris in the dining room. Now that’s the kind of scene I would definitely like to see more of.

Overall 7/10

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Mad Genius Review


It’s time to look a a film from a while back that shows why you’ve always gotta stand up for yourself. If you just allow yourself to be a tool you’ll always end up on the losing side. Part of why this film ultimately ends up failing on every level is that the main characters don’t handle the situations very well at all. They end up appearing to be quite gullible and have low will power. It’s never fun to see them get tricked by the villains so easily. They just were not ready for the real world and it shows.

The movie starts off with Ivan deciding to adopt a kid. Ivan was never able to be a world famous dancer but he will make sure that Fedor will succeed where Ivan had failed. Things are going quite well for many years as Fedor is shaping up nicely. Unfortunately that all changes when Fedor falls in love with one of the dancers named Nana. Falling in love with a co-worker is pretty dangerous and usually doesn’t end up working out but that’s just how it went in this case. Ivan is determined to break these two up even if he has to use trickery to do so. Will he be able to keep Fedor as his living puppet or will he ultimately be unable to truly control Fedor’s life to such a degree?

To start with, Fedor is a pretty terrible character. Ivan’s a villain so that goes without saying for him, but Fedor handles himself poorly in every regard. Once he finds out about Ivan’s deception he quickly runs off with Nana which is at least a good start to what’s going on. That’s the right approach but where things go wrong is he starts sounding like Ivan and even guilt tripping Nana a bit. This leads her to decide to sell herself off to one of Ivan’s friends. Fortunately that guy ends up being rather decent to her the whole time but it felt like we went to 0-100 in an instant. Why couldn’t they just have talked things out real quick? Why did Fedor suddenly change overnight? He is a large part of why Nana felt so desperate in those scenes.

Fedor was also quick to believe Ivan and go back to being on his side. You’ve got to be a real sucker to believe someone who has made a career out of tricking others. Whenever Fedor showed up you could count on him to make the wrong decision. While Nana was a nice character she makes a lot of the same mistakes as well. She makes massive assumptions throughout the film and is too quick to ride the waves or go along with what the others are saying. She shouldn’t have even gone to meet Ivan the second time around as there is no way that could have ended well. It’s not so much a case of Nana being too nice as just being overly naive the whole time.

As for Ivan, he’s definitely one of those guys who quickly abuses his power as soon as he gets it. He allows his dancers to move up the ranks by giving personal favors. It goes against his entire motivation of wanting to have the best ballet. You can’t take his goal seriously if he doesn’t. That’s one of those things a villain just can’t do. If he can’t stand by his goal then that means it wasn’t really much of one to start with. Ultimately things start to catch up to him by the end of the movie but it certainly took a while for this to occur.

The Mad Genius can be rather slow paced at times and the weak characters don’t help matters either. You’ll struggle to find the film all that entertaining or interesting. The title also gives Ivan more credit than he is due as the guy doesn’t seem particularly intelligent. He could have very easily allowed the two main characters to be together and then they would have stayed in the show. By getting rid of them he lost his two best dancers so of course the show wouldn’t be quite as good. Ivan really didn’t think anything over particularly well.

Overall, The Mad Genius is definitely a film that you can skip. The writing isn’t all that good and the film can be quite slow. It feels like not a whole lot happens during the movie and with the characters making so many illogical choices it’s hard to sympathize with them either. The film also loses track of time within the scenes. There’s one scene where one of the ladies tells Ivan she will be right back. We then get a very long scene of a drunk Ivan talking to his partner, listening to his ideas and having an argument. After the argument they go back and forth a bit and then the girl finally returns as Ivan is leaving. That was a whole lot of time to vanish and didn’t really make sense. The film doesn’t really dwell on this though so neither should you. If you want a more interesting piece of media about ballet I would advise you to check out Princess Tutu instead.

Overall 3/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Solomon’s Key Review


It’s time to look at a pretty big puzzle game for the NES. Solomon’s Key is one of the titles that looked pretty fun and I saved it for the end of my NES run. Outside of the more RPG type titles the NES collection is now done. Solomon’s Key is a pretty fun way to end off. There are a lot of puzzles here and it’s pretty fun to figure out a way to clear the level. Due to the nature of the game there are many different ways to clear the stages although I imagine that near the end of the game you’ll have to follow more of a set strategy. The game certainly does start to get pretty difficult towards the end.

The idea of each level is to make it to the key and then to go through the door. Both of these items are strategically placed somewhere in the level. Usually to taunt you the exit door will be right near the entrance so you know it’s super close but it doesn’t matter until you get the key. The way you navigate the level is by jumping and summoning boxes. You can make a box appear which you can then jump on and make more boxes appear. There does seem to be a limit to how many boxes you can create at a time, but it’s fairly high up and shouldn’t matter. Either way the enemies eat your boxes very quickly. In a lot of the levels you have to go very quickly but also try to take into account the fact that the enemies will definitely not let up as they try to take you down.

It’s a lot of fun trying to outwit the computers. You have to predict what they will do ahead of time. It’s a great brain teaser and I made it pretty far through the game. I didn’t quite beat all of the levels as I stopped around halfway but it would be a great conquest for someone to beat them all. The dificulty noticeably spikes as you go through the game. While the first few you could just power through with experienced platforming that just won’t cut it later on. One thing I would try to do is box the enemies in but that only works on the first kind of enemies. The rest of them slice through your blocks like butter so it’s almost pointless to even try. It can at least slow them down though.

The toughest level for me was one where a lot of statues are constantly shooting fireballs at you. It’s a straight forward level design wise as you just have to climb up around 12 stories without a ladder. Naturally this means you will be using your blocks but as they are getting destroyed right as you are creating them you have to keep using others as a shield. The difficult part is as you go up you can only make a shield on your level so they can shoot out the ground from under you. Ultimately what I did to get around this was to always create in sets of 2 and 3 so there would be enough ground for me to keep climbing up. It took a ton of tries along with different variations of the plan but ultimately I made it through. The game definitely feels very rewarding after pulling that off.

The graphics are definitely fun and pleasant. This is a game that has aged rather well. Part of this is because there aren’t a lot of assets or characters on the screen so the developers could really focus on the ones they did have. The core gameplay is also timeless since this is a logic puzzle game that anyone can get behind. The music is also decent although I dare say a little too peaceful. Throw in some electronic music or something a little more rock based and that would really help you begin to crack the code. If you ask me that would be the perfect way to give the game a little extra boost that it could use.

Overall, Solomon’s Key is pretty fun. It’s also longer than the average NES game with how many levels it has. You can really test your puzzle abilities and with the NES Access States so you can always save your progress and try more the next day. That’s something I’ve always really enjoyed about the online state. I look forward to more games being added at some point. I’m guessing we already have most of the games available but certainly there are some more out there right?

Overall 6/10

4 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Clu Clu Land Review


It’s time to take a look at an old NES game that I actually wasn’t really a fan of. The gameplay is unique so that is always nice to see. I haven’t played a game quite like this one. The closest would probably be DK King of Swing which has a similar concept just with a completely different gameplay style. That one succeeds a lot more than this one though. Clu Clu Land is ultimately okay in a small batch but beyond that you need to really enjoy the gameplay to stick with it. Considering all the other games on the NES I wouldn’t really be spending much time with it.

So here’s how the levels go. You play as a creature that automatically flies through the stage. The goal is to turn the stage into an image or something. As such, there are hidden coins around many of the turns. You have to bump into them all to complete the picture. Since you don’t know what the picture even looks like at first your opening strategy is really to bump into as many corners as possible. Once you’ve got the general idea of the shape then you can target the gates that you want to pass. You turn by sticking your hand out and grabbing a pole and use that momentum to go in a new direction. You can only reach out one hand at a time so try to plan your movements a few steps ahead of time. After all, each action will need another one.

Additionally you need to avoid the enemies. A single hit will take down your life so you want to live for as long as possible. The lives aren’t exactly easy to come by after all. I liked seeing the various shapes that would form. Clu Clu Land definitely has really nice visuals that have aged well. I can definitely appreciate the difficulty of making so many images using only coins. The stages remind me a bit of Pac Man with how they’re set up. It looks like a very similar style at least even if the gameplay is different. The music is less memorable, but fast enough where it’s pretty fitting while going through the levels.

So in the end the reason the gameplay didn’t click with me is that it just didn’t feel like enough was going on. Ultimately all you’re doing it turning. While you can probably break many games’ core gameplay down into a simple structure like that, you still feel like a lot is going on. This game doesn’t disguise that quite as well to me. I think a lot of the appeal will be from seeing the pictures that you create which are nice to look at, but I need more. Throwing in some physical movement would have been nice. Maybe allowing you to move the character back and forth and then you only need to use the hand feature when you want to turn. Ultimately that would still be very similar though so maybe that wouldn’t change very much at all.

In terms of replay value this game technically has quite a lot. You can keep on playing the levels over and over again to improve your score and move on to the next. I assume the game basically has unlimited levels although I imagine there will be a point where they start to loop. At that point you can really say that you conquered the experience and it really would be pretty impressive. These games were definitely not a walk in the park back when they came out and certainly not today either.

Overall, Clu Clu Land is the weakest NES game I’ve played in a bit. I definitely wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s the weakest NES game or anything like that but it just didn’t work out for me. If you like the general concept then I believe you’ll enjoy the execution. The gameplay is pretty smooth and I certainly didn’t notice any lag or anything like that. The gameplay’s also a bit familiar so I believe I probably played a demo at some point like in NES Remix or something. I think this game would be more enjoyable as a minigame.

Overall 4/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Doctor X Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 6/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Operation Logic Bomb Review


It’s time to look at a game that seems to have borrowed some inspiration from Wolverine. I don’t really know which one came first though so it’s possible that the reverse happened. Either way Logic Bomb is a pretty solid SNES game and one that has aged quite well. It’s a lot of fun and the bosses are pretty unique and challenging. If I had an SNES back in the day this is definitely a game I would have been glad to have owned. It’s got all of the solid gameplay that you could ever need.

The game starts with a lot of vague cutscenes but they seem to amount to a guy being fitted with metal into his bones. You are now a super soldier and you’re ready to save the world. Some scientists seem to have created powerful machine hybrids that naturally turned evil and are breaking the place down. You’re sent in to take these monsters down. As the game goes on you are able to access various computer terminals which give you a better understanding of what’s going on here. It’s definitely a dangerous place but you’ve got a lot of skills so you should definitely be okay. The key here is to destroy all of the monsters and advance to the end of the facilities.

The gameplay is that of an overhead shooter. Think of Centipede Infestation or Alien Syndrome and that’s the gameplay you have here. You have a standard gun with you but as the game progresses you unlock more like a flamethrower and a gun that bounces off walls. You have unlimited ammo so you never have to worry about finding any. I definitely liked that since it meant I could really go all in and not have to worry about anything. The gameplay is tough enough as is since the enemies deal out a whole lot of damage. At times you will need to pace yourself as you go in because the enemies will just completely overwhelm you due to sheer numbers. You have to hit them at an angle or trick them into approaching you one at a time.

One ability that you obtain later on is a shadow double and it is without a doubt the most useful ability you will learn. It tricks all of the minions and keeps them out of your hair as you take them out. That’s another positive about the game. I always like feeling as if the power ups are making an active difference. You should always feel like you’re at the next level with a new upgrade. If you get a weapon that’s weaker than your current one, then what’s the point right? That’s basically the same concept here and the game handles the situation well. That’s not to say that the game gets less challenging. It just has to offer up new enemies and such to try and slow you down. The final boss was certainly tough to deal with and took me quite a few tries.

If there’s something that can hold the game back it’s that it can be easy to get a little lost. The teleport pads take you to different places in a set loop but because of that you might stay in the wrong room for a while before finally trying the portal out. Once you’re free then it definitely feels satisfying to be out. A better map system would go a long way to helping out here. Still, it’s far better than something like Metroid in that regard so you still wouldn’t be lost for too long. The puzzles aren’t too crazy. The game is also a little longer than the other retro games I’ve been playing. It should last you for about 2 hours which really isn’t that bad.

The graphics definitely look pretty good here. The game handles the sci-fi backdrop rather well. The blasters are on point and the enemy designs are also good. The soundtrack also works really well and is fitting for the overall game experience. It’s all pretty ahead of its time. There is also a real story which is nice. There aren’t any text bubbles or anything like that though so you have to get the context from the little cutscenes and animations that go on. There’s more than enough context for you to put the pieces together and gets what’s going on though. Even if it may not be what the creators ultimately intended, you will still have a general story which is good.

Overall, Logic Bomb is a really fun game. It’s got solid gameplay, graphics, and a good soundtrack. The premise is really interesting as well and I’d like to see more games of this in the modern era. Nintendo’s been slowly feeding us more and more SNES games and this latest batch was definitely a very good one. I’d like to see more in the next few batches and hopefully we have more hidden gems like this one. After all, I definitely didn’t know this game existed before and now I’m glad that I got to check it out.

Overall 7/10