4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Legend of the Lone Ranger Review


It’s time to look at another adaption of the Lone Ranger. Unfortunately this movie was not good. In fact, I’d say it was a bad movie. I’ve certainly seen much worse and I wouldn’t say it’s terrible or anything like that but it’s just not that engaging, interesting, or fun. It really doesn’t do much to make you think of the Lone Ranger as a solid franchise or anything like that. Ultimately it just drives you away from the franchise entirely. Maybe someday they will make a good Lone Ranger film but perhaps the series just doesn’t translate well into cinema without mixing up the plot a bit. Throw in some sci-fi or something and that could help.

The movie has a whole lot of time jumps and origin stories thrown in. It starts off by showing us John as a kid though. His parents get murdered so he heads with Tonto into town. Another relative of John’s shows up though and takes him back to civilization. John then meets up with his brother and the rest of the Rangers. They’re betrayed by one of their own though and they all get slaughtered except for John who is saved by Tonto. John once again gets to be a part of the tribe and now he is determined to avenge his brother and the rangers by taking down the leader of the villains, Butch. Tonto agrees to come along so now the Lone Ranger won’t be alone this time. The two of them set off for an adventure filled with action and hype.

Right away one problem with the film is that John effectively has two origins/sob stories here. Why do you gotta murder his parents which causes him to join the tribe and then murder his brother and the rangers later on? It seems to be like they did this to give John a reason to go back to the tribe but why take him away from them in the first place? Didn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me and if anything it just drags on the film quite a bit. You really did not need to go down this route and if the film had just avoided that then I believe it would have had better pacing. There’s not a lot that would have saved the film from its next flaw though.

It’s just rather boring. It’s hard to find any really great characters here and the plot is as slow as molasses. It takes eons for anything to happen in this film to the point where you’re tired out by the climax. Considering that this is a wild west film where everyone is corrupt, there aren’t a ton of gunfights either. One of the longest action scenes is when John is on a wagon that is attacked by wagons. The other characters try to shoot at the bandits. What does John do? Nothing. He just stays seated until the others are bumped off at which point he goes to the front and surrenders. That’s a great way to ensure you survive of course but it’s not the kind of action you expect from the hero of the story. I had to do a double take on that because I was absolutely not expecting this. I suppose the Ranger does what he wants though.

The only character I’ll give major props to was Tonto. He was a very loyal friend who had John’s back at every turn. He’s someone you can count on and I appreciate the fact that he was always there. He may not have been a terrific fighter or anything like that but loyalty is ultimately worth more than skill. Tonto showed that John didn’t have to do everything on his own and that’s a good thing because John was not ready to handle this. I do like the mask though. It may not be a very inspired costume but it’s definitely an iconic one at this point. Who knew that putting on a mask could do so much to make you a hero right?

As for Butch, he’s your classic villain in a wild west setting like this. He wants to be rich and cause chaos. Taking out the President will certainly achieve both objectives. This guy has enough men to launch an attack on pretty much any location that he pleases. There’s really nothing to him beyond that. He’s just another guy for John to eventually mow down once he gets past all of the guards. The President was pretty fun too. I’m always up for getting the President involved. I would have liked to have seen him really mix it up with the villains though like something out of White House Down. That would have been a blast even if it would have maybe gone against the tone of the film a bit.

In general I’m not a big fan of wild west films but I’m sure you can do them well if you really try. We needed more humorous scenes at least like the one where the ranger talks about how it’s not the bullet that destroys you but the fall. Then he is promptly destroyed by a bullet and was at ground level so there is no fall to be had. It’s one of those visual irony scenes that works pretty well because of the timing. I mean, it may be tragic in part but I’m pretty sure this was played as a funny moment or at least the movie knew that it was being ironic. With more writing like that and a focused plot this film could have been good. It’s not even like it made any super big mistakes.

The movie just comes across as rather boring which is something that you never want to be. The last thing a movie wants to be known for is not being engaging. The songs this film had are pretty uninspired and it doesn’t sound like the singer was really into it either. That doesn’t help. Then you’ve got some scenes that go on for quite a long while like John trying to get used to the horse or getting knocked out yet again and having to be nursed back to health. The movie will probably be more engaging if you’re really into nature and just like seeing the backgrounds but for me I need to be having a lot of activity on screen.

Overall, The Legend of the Lone Ranger is a film that just didn’t work out. It forgot to actually include any thrills along with the plot. The backgrounds get very repetitive and the old setting doesn’t work either. The writing isn’t particularly impressive nor is the cast very memorable. The Lone Ranger may be a decent concept but this film definitely didn’t show me any of that. Don’t get me wrong, this still beats the newer Lone Ranger film but that’s really not saying a whole lot at all. I’m confident that the next Lone Ranger film will be able to beat this one. It has to….right?

Overall 4/10

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

Le Samouraï Review


It’s time to look at a French thriller from a while back. The title may be a bit misleading though. I suppose it’s using the Samurai term more figuratively than anything but if Jef thinks of himself as a samurai then he’s quite mistaken. He’s just a common murderer trying to evade the cops long enough for the next job. This film was better than I had expected and gives a pretty satisfying case for you to watch unfold. We know that the main character is guilty so the suspense is in seeing how the cops will be able to arrest this guy.

The movie starts with Jef walking into a club. He nonchalantly walks all the way over to where the boss is and shoots him in front of everyone. He then returns to a Poker game with some of his associates. The cops quickly arrive and take him in as a suspect along with 99 other people. Jef manages to get out of there without being seen as guilty since most of the witnesses were unable to ID him. His bosses don’t like the fact that he was caught at all though and decide to put him down. Meanwhile the Policeman in charge of the investigation is confident that Jef is his man. He wasn’t able to prove it quit yet but he is determined to get the information so he has the Police tail Jef. Jef must now shake the mafia and the cops if he is to get out of this in one piece.

When your main character is actually the villain a film always has to walk a pretty fine line. It shouldn’t bother with trying to make the lead likable as it is far too late for that. The only option left is to have you root for the good guys here to take down the lead. You still need a lot of twists and turns involved here to keep things from being too easy though. It’s definitely interesting seeing this from the villain’s point of view and this movie makes the most of it. The police are given a lot of credit with the various tactics they use to try and catch him. Both sides look intelligent and have a lot of different plans at the ready. The excellent writing is part of what sells this film.

The Police chief instantly became the best character after just a few minutes with his character. He’s very sharp and has a good intuition. He plays things by the book and ultimately doesn’t cross any lines in trying to get his man. He just knows how to run an investigation and cover all of the bases. Tailing someone is pretty difficult, especially someone like Jef who is a professional but the unit here is quite good as well. Throughout the film the chief continues to pour on more and more pressure so that Jef will inevitably make a mistake and then they can slam him with everything they’ve got. Now that’s really high quality Policework.

As for Jef, he’s just your average hitman. He was paid to take someone out and he did. The piano player Valerie questions why he would do it and he even explains that his targets may or may not be good people. It doesn’t matter to him, he just wants the money. Valerie’s character is an interesting one since Jef has some theories on her but the film never goes out of its way to tell us if we should believe him or not. I’m inclined to think that he is right based upon the final mission of the film though. She seems to be a loose end which would support his theory but was definitely an interesting character either way.

Jef plays the situations rather well for the most part although the final scene wasn’t a good play. This is intentional as it seems he wanted to stop causing trouble for someone but after going through all of this that just doesn’t seem like the way to go about things. If anything it puts the heroine in some more trouble since this doesn’t really help her case. Jef’s character is very robotic in how he goes about his business. Even by the end of the film we really don’t know almost anything about his character and that’s good with me. The mystique behind everything going on is part of what makes the Noir genre so much fun.

The heroine Jane is also interesting. She’s definitely very loyal to Jef and that’s part of the tragic element here. It’s always a shame to see a character like that get in with the wrong crowd. That said, it’s not like she’s a good person either. It seems like she is playing the field and turns out to be as much of a crook as Jef. In a way that makes them perfect for each other and cuts the sympathy points down even further for both of them. There’s never any doubt on your side as to who you should be rooting for. So that’s a good thing, the writers knew what they were doing.

it’s also just a very fun movie to watch because you get a good understanding of the police procedures in France. It’s a little different and very methodical. I liked seeing them try different experiments like having the suspects switch clothing and line up. The chief definitely was very thorough in the measures he was using and it’s easy to see why he did so well. I do think the audio bug was a super longshot that was never going to work but I suppose he had to at least give it a try right? It’s not like there was much harm in the attempt since Jef was on guard anyway. There were also quite a lot of agents running around which was fun to see as they tried keeping tabs on him.

Overall, Le Samourai is definitely a solid film. It’s a low key thriller so don’t expect a lot of shots or anything like that. It’s more of a mental thriller as the characters play cat and mouse with each other. The police chief knows Jef is the guilty party but he does need solid evidence in order to convict him. That’s why Jef is able to be quite cocky about the whole thing since the alibi is so air tight. Then we’ve got his revenge trip on the mafia group. Their agent looks pretty naive the whole time so I assume he was new to the force. Otherwise he just looks awful in one scene that occurs. You may chuckle at that moment even if the rest of the film is super serious. The ending is also satisfying which is the right way to cap things off.

Overall 7/10

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

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Review


It’s time to look at a comic book movie. It didn’t exactly get the same amount of fanfare as something like Spiderman or Superman, but then again..why would it? This film is based on a comic that isn’t super well known or anything. The poster’s pretty cool though and the concept is interesting. I wonder how many people would have really noticed its arrival though. The whole thing felt rather low key to me. It’s a fun film, one that certainly could have been better but it should hold your interest. It looks like a sequel is doubtful but if we ever do get something more in this series there’s a lot they could do with it.

The movie starts with the government approaching Quartermain and asking for his help. Someone is trying to start a World War by bombing different countries and blaming each other for it. Quartermain doesn’t want to get involved as he’s tired of fighting for the country but a group of gunmen show up and murder his friends so now it’s personal. He heads back to base where they have rounded up a group of the toughest fighters on the planet. This exclusive group is made up of Quartermain, the man who cannot die while in Africa; Captain Nemo, the greatest sailor who ever lived and who has access to boats that should not exist yet; Mina Harker, a vampire who possesses the ability to transform and also has regenerative abilities; Skinner, The legendary Invisible Man; Dorian Grey, A man cursed with complete immortality as long as he doesn’t look at his picture; Dr. Jekyll, A Man who can transform into the beast known as Hyde.

Together this group must team up to stop the villainous group led by Fantom. The tough part will be getting along with everyone as they aren’t exactly used to working as a team. Most of these guys are loners and have done a good job of saving the planet on their own. Why should they want to play second fiddle to someone now? It’s part of what I always love about crossovers. When you crossover characters who are from stand alone adventures it offers a lot of promise for various team dynamics because by nature they shouldn’t want to be on a team. This film doesn’t really go into that much though apart from some opening banter with Quartermain and Nemo. The rest of the group seem to just ignore each other for the most part and focus on the mission. That’s nice and all, but I would have liked some more banter. I think the film could have gone really far with that.

From the lore I’m familiar with most of the characters but not really with Mina Harker. We definitely needed someone from Dracula’s camp to fill in the ranks though so she made sense. Adding in a Mummy would have been nice too but as it is I suppose the team was pretty large. Let’s start with the positives here first. The action scenes are definitely pretty solid. The opening gunfight was pretty good as Quatermain had to deal with several enemies all at once. It’s a simple fight next to most of the others in the movie but did a good job of showcasing his skill with a gun. He’s definitely well ahead of Tom in that regard.

The effects are also pretty nice in general. The film uses a lot of darker environments like something out of Man of Steel or BVS. The solemn atmosphere works pretty well with this group as none of them are known for being particularly cheerful. At most maybe the Invisible Man and even then I wouldn’t say the guy is always laughing or anything like that. Everything is rather grayscale so there’s not much time for vibrant colors but none of the characters really have a moveset like that so the film’s not missing out on a whole lot this time. I also appreciated the city landscape.

One of the weaker parts of the film is Skinner though. Naturally he uses his invisibility to be a little cheap at times and I’m surprised Harker didn’t just rip him to shreds after his whole scene. He allows himself to be manipulated rather easily and vanishes for large parts of the film. Given how he was handled I think the character could have easily been cut out. Realistically he just should have been given a much better role though. As always, I wasn’t a huge fan of the vampire stuff though. The drinking blood scenes are always rather gruesome and not really my thing. The battle of regenerations with Dorian and Harker was also intense but not nearly as interesting as it could have been. I also feel like the last person you should ever turn your back to is someone who keeps on saying that they have the ability to regenerate wounds. You know….it just doesn’t make sense to do that.

At least Quatermain makes for a solid main character though. He’s got experience and seems like the perfect guy to lead this group into the fray. He may be rather normal next to the others but he’s a crack shot which is what counts. The film could have maybe picked people with different abilities though. Quatermain, Harker, and Dorian all have immortality. The only difference is that Quatermain’s only works in Africa, Harker can also transform, and Dorian’s regeneration is close to instant. In a fight Dorian would definitely demolish the other two to be honest. The weakest member of the group is Tom though. He’s an American Agent here to watch over everyone and help to stop the war. He crushes on Harker (Like almost everybody in the film) and that’s really the extent of his character. He was never all that interesting.

Nemo’s a good character. It is interesting to see him as a hero since apparently he was a villain for a while. He certainly doesn’t do anything villainous here though so I guess he has completely turned over the new leaf and is not looking back. Harker’s motivations in this mission seem a little smaller than some of the others to the point where you really have to assume that she is doing this out of the goodness of her heart. If that is true, well that’s definitely really nice of her. I can certainly say that not everyone would do that. That being said, she doesn’t seem super nice like that so it would have been interesting to have given her more of a plot.

I already talked about Skinner so lets move on to Dorian. He’s a pretty interesting character to be sure. He has a history with some of the other characters and never really looks all that concerned compared to the rest of the cast. Why should he be right? Dorian is effectively invincible. Nothing can harm him for very long. He has quite a large role in the film and it’s a pretty pivotal one. Finally, Dr. Jekyll rounds out the group. I’m not typically a fan of his character and this film didn’t really do anything to change that for me. He’s still the same ole scientist as always and his Hyde form is all brute strength. I guess I wouldn’t say he’s that bad, he’s far better than his film appearance at least. Still not my kind of character though.

Fantom is the big villain here and he looks good. He has a big twist at the end that I thought was brilliant and makes him more memorable You have to give the guy credit for always being at the right place at the right time. I was not expecting him to corner the heroes 20 minutes into the film. it feels like they barely leave the base before he’s already there and ready to mock them all. I suppose he expected things to play out a certain way based on scenes later on but otherwise it’s definitely an interesting moment to be sure. The plan is one of those convoluted ones where you feel like he could have done things in a much easier way but I suppose he got greedy and that is definitely a trademark for any villain.

Overall, A lot is definitely going on in this film. It can get pretty convoluted and messy but that will keep you engaged. It’s also a good way to mask the fact that the characters aren’t always very interested. By having everyone run around you can help disguise that. In the end this turned out to be a pretty good film. As I said it could and should have been a whole lot better than it was but I was still satisfied with the end product. At the very least it still delivered on giving us quality action scenes and that good crossover appeal. I like seeing various characters interact with each other and a crossover of iconic public domain characters is a good way to go about it. (At least I’d assume most are public domain at this point and Skinner was a good loophole on the Invisible Man) If you like action films and know these characters from your childhood it should at least be a nostalgic watch.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Commuter Review


It’s time to take a look at a fairly recent thriller film. At least to me films from 2018 still feel very recent. I remember the trailer for this one looking pretty solid at least. I’m always up for quick thrillers with a mystery angle and having it on a train is always a good idea. This isn’t really anything you haven’t seen before but I still thought it was fairly great. There’s a good amount of replay value here and the writing is definitely up to par.

The movie starts by introducing us to Michael. He’s had a pretty good career and a solid life. He has a complete family and has gone on the same commute to work for so long that he even knows all the regulars on the train. One day he is suddenly fired with no real reason behind it. This comes at a pretty tough time since now he won’t be able to pay for his son’s school and the family were just skating by financially. He doesn’t tell his wife what happened yet and boards the train. That’s when a lady named Joanna shows up and insists on talking with Michael. She gives him an offer. There is 25000 dollars hidden in the bathroom that is Michael’s to keep as long as he finds someone on the train who doesn’t belong and puts a tracker on them. Additionally, he will be paid another 75000 after doing this. She dashes out at the next stop.

Michael ponders the offer a bit and decides to take the money while not doing the job. He is prevented from leaving the train though and warned not to tell anyone or it’ll be game over for him. Michael may be a regular but can he really identify one person in a train this large? One thing going in his favor is that the person he is after won’t be getting off until one of the last stops and he has until the stop before to get the job done. If he doesn’t then his family is forfeit but if he does this then does that mean that the person he tags will be doomed? Trading lives is not something that you’re supposed to do and Michael has gotten himself into a jam.

You can definitely fault the lead a bit here for entertaining the offer. If he wasn’t willing to commit this crime then he just should have left the train or stayed aboard and done nothing. (The latter may not sound smart but if you never go to check the bathroom you’d just assume the person was crazy right? He probably would have still been doomed with the latter option but he wouldn’t have done anything wrong) Trying to grab the money and leave is still pretty bad. At best you’re trying to cheat some criminals but at worse you’ve just become an accessory to murder. You don’t want to be accepting blood money right?

Most of Michael’s moves are pretty smart in the film otherwise. He does a good job of limiting the suspects while also trying to contact the cops and his family. He handles the situation like a pro after the opening act and it makes sense since he’s Ex NYPD. His only really sloppy scene though is how he tries to exit the train. So, what he does is he waits until the very end when everyone has already left and then tries to exit. Naturally the villains notice and stop him. My question is…why wait until everyone is already off? Wouldn’t it be better cover to exit along with everyone else? It would have effectively been impossible to stop him. I’m sure they could have still coerced him back in with a phone call of his family or something but it would have been difficult to do that in time. If he left with the crowd he would have gotten away completely and it was the one scene in the film where I raised an eyebrow at him. Otherwise he did well though.

It’s always interesting to see the main character get involved in fight scenes now since he’s so much older. The film is definitely playing it out as Michael being too old to really engage with someone in a 1 on 1 fight. He tries his best but is on the losing end of each encounter here. It makes sense that he wouldn’t be able to beat someone who’s probably around 20 years younger than he is. It would look worse for the young guy as opposed to being a really good thing for the lead. Still, that’s where creativity comes in and Michael did good in still putting the scanner on during one of his scuffles.

As for Joanna, I have to admit that I expected her to have a much bigger role. The circumstances of what is going on with her character remain a mystery to the end. She makes for a fun villain but I have to admit that keeping her on the train the whole time may have made for an even more enjoyable mechanic. Of course, it would be difficult to do that without writing yourself into a whole lot of trouble so I can understand why that did not happen. There isn’t much of a supporting cast otherwise. You’ve got the various guys on the train and Michael’s friend from the police. That guy is around for the occasional call. Otherwise Michael is effectively on his own here. The various train characters are pretty fun. The best one is probably the insurance agent. I liked his confidence and how openly antagonistic he was. Naturally he’s not the kind of guy you want to be sitting next to on such a ride though. He’s better in a film like this than in real life.

Overall, The Commuter is a pretty fun film. The movie makes the most of the limited environment. I’ve never been on a big train like this one and have never had any interest in doing so. I came close once but the train derailed before I got on so that’s one ride I’m fairly glad to have missed out on. The characters are good and the writing is on point. The film is a thriller with mystery elements thrown in which is a pretty great mix. That gives you all the elements you need in order to construct a solid story. The movie isn’t super action packed or anything but you do get the occasional fight scene here. The climax is pretty intense as well. You may question the likelihood of some things occurring or nobody noticing things in other moments but this film did a great job of covering its bases. It’s hard to be 100% at any point but this film comes really close and even if you have some questions, I don’t expect any would be major or actually feel like plot holes. You could put in a reasonable explanation for what goes on. I’d definitely recommend checking this one out.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Tangled Review


It’s time to look at a pretty big Disney film from back in the day. Tangled may not have soared to quite the same heights as Frozen but it still made a name for itself in its own right. The tale of Rapunzel is definitely a classic to be sure so it’s nice to see a full fledged adaption. The movie has solid songs, strong writing, and pretty good animation so it’s a solid all around package. I’m definitely in the camp that says Frozen still wins the rivalry between the two but Tangled is certainly a solid film that doesn’t back down to anyone.

The movie starts by showing us the origin of Rapunzel. Her mother was gravely ill so the kingdom used the legendary flower to restore her health. This resulted in Rapunzel being born with incredible abilities. Her hair has the ability to heal injuries and even to dial a person’s age back. It must be used regularly though as it can only stall the age from occurring for so long. A lady named Gothel kidnaps Rapunzel one day and hides her in a tower not too far away from town. I do question to an extent how the kingdom never found her but realistically I suppose it is a long journey and you can’t catch everyone. Rapunzel grows up for many years trapped in the castle with Gothel who has tricked her into thinking that they are mother and daughter. One day a thief named Flynn tries to hide in the tower to avoid getting caught by the military and is promptly knocked out by Rapunzel. Since Gothel will never let Rapunzel go, the heroine has decided to force Flynn to escort her to the annual party in the kingdom. Flynn doesn’t want to do this but it’s not like he has much of a choice. Gothel will have to try and tear these two apart while keeping the facade up but it will be difficult.

You’ll recognize most of the usual story beats. The stories are all pretty popular so the goal is always to just execute the ideas well and I’d say that Tangled succeeds in this mission. As always there are a good amount of songs and the film is always doing something interesting visually so that you have something to watch while the songs are going on. That’s always low key been something Disney does way better than everyone else. Part of the fun in the live action Aladdin film was how many different special effects they could throw at you in a single song. You gotta admit, a lot of films don’t really go the extra mile there. There’s also so much you could do with Rapunzel’s hair that it would be a shame to miss the opportunity.

Rapunzel is a solid heroine. I like how independent she is and the fact that she knows self defense. She did actually take Flynn down for the count when he first appeared rather than panicking or anything of the sort. She also hatched a good plan and made herself a quality deal. Rapunzel’s hair having actual super powers is another feather in her cap so to speak. I suppose her powers merit more comparisons with Elsa and they are fairly close in how cool each character is. Rapunzel gets tricked perhaps 1 too many times but ultimately she makes the right move. I do have to question how she was taken out near the end of the film but I’ll assume it was a cheap attack.

Then we have her partner Flynn who is solid and gives us a lot of the comedic wit in the story. He’s certainly no hero when the film starts as he actively robs the capital. His overconfidence is also what leads him to get caught as he could have just stolen the crown but naturally had to make sure everyone knew he did it. Villains striving to get the credit they think they deserve is definitely nothing new and often sabotages them just as much as the heroes. He gets a solid character arc with Rapunzel though and it’s handled pretty well. One thing that will always elevate a film is good banter and this one certainly had that.

Gothel works as a solid villain. She may be a bit on the obvious side at times with how she doesn’t even pretend to be a nice mother to Rapunzel. I’m not sure what her rationale is, but it’s not unrealistic. I wouldn’t have minded a more nuanced take on her character but I think the film didn’t want to take a chance on her becoming sympathetic. At her core, Gothel is a petty thief who literally kidnapped a baby so that’s the end of that. She also earns extra points for actually stabbing someone. Gothel’s one of the more serious Disney villains we’ve seen. Maximus is the main animal character here and he’s definitely a lot of fun. The horse is incredibly determined to complete his mission of tracking down Flynn and you have to give him some major respect for following the thief for as long as he did. Maximus does a whole lot to complete this task and it’s really impressive. He was definitely a scene stealer if you ask me and the best character in the film. You just can’t top this guy.

With good writing and animation to back this film up it was definitely bound to be as good as it was. There’s really no weakpoints to the story and I would consider it to be one of Disney’s better ones. One of these days I ought to write an editorial ranking them all but there have been so many Disney princess stories that I’ll need to make sure I have them all straight. I’m still waiting for a big crossover film someday. They’d probably have to stick to adding maybe 6-10 in order to keep the story focused but I’d definitely be game for that.

Overall, Tangled is definitely a quality film and one worth watching. As always Disney has constructed a solid cast around Rapunzel and the film is enhanced by the solid song selection and good graphics. This is a nice story from start to finish with a good focus on the plot and solid pacing. Rapunzel herself may come across as a little slow on the uptake at times but since she has grown up in a super limited environment by a character who is known to be cunning then it does make a certain amount of sense. You can only do so much when put into a position like that. I’d definitely be up for a full sequel someday. There’s definitely more that you could do with this franchise.

Overall 7/10

9 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

His Girl Friday Review


It’s time to look at a comedy film from a while back and I have to say that it has aged exceptionally well. The dialogue is sharp and quick with a lot of great lines constantly thrown at you. The characters are solid and despite having a long runtime the film never lets up or loses your interest. That’s something that can be rather difficult and gets more difficult the longer your film is. That’s why I can say with great confidence that this is a pretty great film.

The movie starts with Hildy heading to Walter’s office to explain that she is about to marry someone. She had divorced Walter a while back although he keeps trying to win her over. She figures that now maybe he will finally stop in these attempts since it just didn’t work out. She also made sure not to give him a lot of time. She is moving to Ohio in a matter of hours. Walter knows he must move fast so he quickly decides to treat Hildy and her rebound Bruce to a quick dinner. During that dinner he sets his plans into motion. He’s got quite a complicated plan but if it works out then he will have gotten Bruce out of the picture and finally gotten back together with Hildy. Will Bruce stand for this or even realize what is going on?

The setup here is perfect from the start. The movie introduces Walter as a very fast talking guy who is used to getting what he wants. The opening banter with Hildy already establishes her as the only character who can really keep up with him. The rest either get slammed out of the office or tricked into doing what Walter wants. A big part of the film is really a battle of the minds between Walter and Hildy. Walter comes up with plans and Hildy uses her reporter skills to outwit him at every turn. The problem is that Walter is playing with a full deck of resources while Hildy only has Bruce as her backup and he is decidedly not one of the smartest characters here. More on him in a bit, but this just shows how well Hildy was doing to be able to keep up with Walter under these circumstances.

She was a reporter for many years and according to Walter, one of the best as well so this is no surprise. She shows her skills on many occasions as well as in some subtle moments. One good example of this is when the gunshots started going on outside. All of the reporters ran outside instantly while she stopped to set up the story and then left. The rest got back way before her but only with pieces of the story and some unrelated findings. Hildy made sure to get the complete story before returning. A lot of comedy hijinx would ensue but that was a quick way to clue in the viewers that she was clearly experienced and knew what she was doing. The whole thing is handled really well.

Once Walter arrives they also team up and pick up on each other’s plans rather quickly. It shows why they were perfect teammates in a story and why they are so deadlocked when they go up against each other in a battle. They’re both just very used to the usual games that go on. So the banter here was quite excellent throughout and the best part of the film. They really tear into each other although Walter always keeps up the appearance of being a super nice guy while Hildy keeps going for shot after shot. It’s a clever ruse on Walter’s part to make it look like he’s taking the high road the whole time.

The supporting cast is pretty solid as well. I can’t really say that there were any characters I disliked. The one that made the most impact was probably Louie. He’s a very loyal member of Walter’s team who is even willing to commit crimes in order to help out. Walter wouldn’t have made it nearly as far without him at the ready. Walter’s group is also quite diverse in how they handle his different crimes. Forget different reporting divisions, Walter has whole crime divisions set up! Now let’s talk about Bruce. So he’s the token “nice guy” who means well and does want to make Hildy happy. He’s not able to keep up with the quick banter or wit of the other characters but what should that matter as long as his intentions are good right? Some people just aren’t able to act in that wildly high speed interaction style. The main problem with him is that aside from that he’s not too smart. He isn’t able to see through any of Walter’s plans.

I wouldn’t blame him for this normally except that Hildy warned him from the start that Walter was no good. She told him time and time again and yet he kept believing Walter over her. Look, anyone can pretend to be a good guy on the outside for a while. I understand wanting to take that at face value which is a good thing but if your fiancee soon to be your wife in a day is telling you that her Ex is no good…shouldn’t you listen? I feel like that’s something that goes without saying so I kind of have to blame him for everything that happens. Even at the end he is very quick to run off without really listening to her. He could have waited til after the story but by this point he had been manipulated so much that you just can’t take him seriously. Still a nice guy, but unfortunately a very gullible one as well.

Walter and Hildy steal the show either way and are the best characters. Walter is one of the best main characters I’ve seen in a while and Hilda does the same for heroines. The film wouldn’t be nearly as impressive without them. I also liked the scene of Walter manipulating the sheriff into taking the desk away. It’s a classic case of reverse psychology and one that was being executed really well. I have to say that the Sheriff never really stood a chance here. He was completely outclassed in wit as soon as the round began and there was never a chance for him after that. There were a lot of corrupt guys walking around and by the end of the film the paper will have slammed most of them. You do have to recall the very first scene of the film where Walter sends the governor a letter though. That will become important for the final scene of the film which was a nice way to tie things together.

Overall, His Girl Friday is a great film. It really nails all the dialogue and plots running around. The film’s just a lot of fun. Some of these plots could have backfired if not executed exceptionally well like Walter’s sabotage efforts. The idea of the Ex trying to ruin a couple about to be married is something that can easily go sideways. The reason it works is because Walter may be corrupt and a trickster but at least he does actually seem like a very nice guy otherwise. He’s one of those “Nothing personal” guys. It’s a hard angle to do but the film got it. I’d highly recommend checking this out if you like a good comedy title. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Overall 9/10

7 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Pokemon: Twilight Wings Review


It’s time to look at a recent Pokemon web series that ended. It’s always nice to get some new animated material. Pokemon recently did something similar with Pokemon Generations although that one was way too ambitious in scope and ended up being rather disappointing. Twilight Wings from the start is going for a much more inspirational/somber feel to the shorts. These aren’t about big action scenes or colorful backgrounds. It’s actually all very subdued which is where the somber part comes from while also showing that everyone is trying hard to get ready for their futures. It’s a fun little collection of shorts.

There are 7 shorts in all and they’re all under 10 minutes. So if you merge them together this could be around a 40 minute OVA or something like that. Each short changes main character except for the first and last shorts which are about a kid who is rather sick but wants to be a Pokemon trainer. His friend’s definitely a good kid to have around as he tries his best to make sure that the main character is able to get closer to his friend. The rest of the shorts vary in plot and will always have an ending scene that teases the lead of the next main character. I’ll talk briefly about each short.

The first one I already went over. It’s one of the weaker ones in the collection but is fun enough. It’s always nice to see the kids have a happy ending especially when they’ve clearly been through a lot already. The second one is about Bea who is training for her next fight. She actually spars with her Pokemon which is pretty impressive. Unfortunately she gets stuck in a cave in, but this helps her remember that her strength is with her friends as a team and not by doing everything on her own. We get a little action here which is always pretty neat so this was a solid followup.

Then we have one about Hop who is admiring how great Leon is as per usual. His Wooloo feels bad about this and runs away though so now Hop has to find him. Sometimes it can be obvious that the main character is in the wrong but this time I think Wooloo was making a mountain out of a molehill. It showed that Hop was as close to Wooloo as ever though by having him chase after his friend. This was one of the shorts going for a more emotional angle and it worked well. Hop may have been one of the least impressive rivals in Pokemon but it doesn’t take away from him being a pretty good guy in general.

The 4th short is about Nessa as she tries to balance her career of being a model and a gym leader. People say that it can’t be done and she will have to choose one. Ultimately she chooses to keep going in both fields and will prove her doubters wrong. It’s part of why she is one of the better gym leaders as it takes a lot of drive to maintain two careers at once like this. I was glad she didn’t choose to sacrifice any of them.

Next one’s a slice of life short about Oleana as she tries to deal with Chairman Rose’s rather impromptu ideas. He tends to vanish or get sidetracked very easily. It’s clear that she’s got a tough job on her shoulders. Another good special but a lot more low key compared to most of the others. Then we have the short with Allister which is the weakest short in the series. Still not saying it’s bad or anything but the gym leader’s personality doesn’t work for me. The character doesn’t really talk and the kids don’t have enough snappy dialogue to really make the atmosphere work. It’s hard to hold your own episode after all.

Finally, we end with the kid finally getting to meet Leon. Leon helps him realize that his dream to simply meet Leon wasn’t what he was actually meant to do. The kid really wants to go out there and beat Leon and so the champion gives him a little hope that he can pull this off someday. It’s a fun way to end and while the gym leaders seem to not understand Leon (Some going as far as to say he was holding back or not taking the fight seriously) at least they all understand his strength. I like the idea of an unbeatable champion like Leon because it makes the fight with him feel all the more grand.

So those are the 7 specials. Due to the length of the specials the summaries of each special pretty much tell the whole story but I tried to keep them brief. The series is so short that you should really go ahead and check them out. Especially since it’s only 7 episodes in total. They’re all fun and it’s a nice, calm series to check out. The animation style is going for the washed out look which isn’t exactly my favorite but I think they were going for a look to try and resemble the games a bit more than the anime. Something like Generations is going a lot more traditional with vibrant colors but since this one is going for that somber atmosphere perhaps they thought it would be a little distracting. The brief fight scenes we get still look good though with a lot of shockwave effects to show the scale of the attacks.

This is more about the stories than the visuals or soundtrack though so it makes sense that this would be the focus. I can’t really recall any particular big themes either but we had no long fights that would have taken advantage of them anyway. Twilight Wings thrives on the fact that it makes no real mistakes. After watching each episode you’ll be satisfied with what you saw and can easily binge the rest of it or do one episode at a time. Hopefully we get more Pokemon web series like this in the future. I think these bite sized portions are always a good idea for any series. They help to expand the franchise and give each character more development. They could also work as brief character moments in a future game. Imagine the next Pokemon game having 5-7 minute cutscenes that play out showing a character’s origin. I think it would work rather well.


Overall, Pokemon: Twilight Wings is a solid series. I would definitely recommend it whether you are a Pokemon fan or just a general viewer of media. You don’t have to be a fan to appreciate the themes it’s going for. At the end of the day it’s about showing that you make your own path and to keep going when things are getting tough. None of the characters in the series give up and it ultimately ends up benefiting each and every one of them. The payoff may not always be as great as literally becoming champion of the world but you can still get some personal victories in the meantime. Of course aside from more mini series I would still like to have either a bug budget anime version of Pokemon Ruby (Or Omega Ruby so we get Zinnia) or Pokemon Adventures. It’s time we get more media and it’s Pokemon so it would sell really well.

Overall 7/10

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

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad Review


It’s time to look at a classic Sinbad film. Believe it or not but I’ve never really seen a Sinbad movie before. He’s one of those classic characters that I certainly know about but that’s about it. The guy’s effectively been a mystery to me. I’m also not typically a big fan of pirate films because I’m not a huge fan of the water. You typically can’t have great fight scenes there and while the ocean might look nice, it can get old. Fortunately this film is actually quite good though. I’d definitely say that it will keep your interest pretty well and has aged very well.

The film starts with Sinbad deciding to rest a bit on an island. His crew has been on a long voyage to get the princess Parisa back to the kingdom where she and Sinbad will be married. Their visit to the island is a short one as it turns out a Cyclops lives there. A magician known as Sokurah joins the crew but insists that they go back to the island because he clumsily dropped his magic lamp. How do you drop a lamp that is pretty much all powerful? The lamp has some limits like the fact that is can’t directly attack but its use is still only limited by your imagination. Sinbad says it would be foolish to go back to Sokurah has to think of a plan. His plan is to shrink Parisa down to the size of an apple. Sinbad must now go back to the island to reclaim the Lamp which will allow Sokurah to turn her back to normal. Can Sinbad really stop the Cyclops?

Pretty fun plot but I give Sinbad too much credit in it. Put it this way, Sinbad actually doesn’t realize that Sokurah shrunk her down. He seems to think it was some kind of crazy coincidence even though Sokurah was about as obvious as he could be. Seriously, it seems like he would have had to draw a huge sign or something given how slow on the uptake everyone is. This guy pits the two kingdoms against each other with ease. Part of the issue is that Parisa’s father is quite gullible indeed and thinks Sinbad’s kingdom is to blame. I get the kingdom rivalries and all but this was just too obvious.

I guess you had to get Sinbad back to the island somehow though. His portrayal here is a bit different than what I was expecting but not in a bad way. He’s actually not the kind of guy to take on any risk. He chooses his battles and that’s worth noting. It’s why he initially says that going back to the island is crazy. It’s not so much that he’s afraid of the Cyclops but why fight a battle that you don’t need too? There is wisdom in what he says.

I liked Sinbad. He’s a pretty good guy and a solid fighter. His best scene is probably when he has to take on the whole crew once they start a mutiny. I was expecting a few people to turn on him but just about everyone? That was intense and a great fight scene for sure. Sinbad had a few allies but they never really got much of a role so it’s hard to tell if that was a homage to his original crew or just some loyal fellows.

Parisa is also pretty solid. I did appreciate the fact that she tried helping despite her size. She was good with helping unlock the heroes while they were in the cage and any contribution is a good one if you ask me. She was much better than the two kings. Her maid was also pretty unreasonable so Parisa comes across as the voice of reason here. I’m not sure what they would do without her.

As for the villain Sokurah, it’s hard not to like that guy. He’s so obviously evil the whole time. You half expect him to start cackling at any given moment. Yet, his powers are very real. If he can do all of these things like altering someone’s shape and shrinking others, I feel like he could have taken down the Cyclops a lot easier than he did. Maybe he has a size limit but even so if he had hyped up his magical powers sooner the kingdoms may have actually helped him. Kingdoms love raw power so they would very quickly have him as an ally.
Finally we have Barani but he didn’t work so well as a Genie. I didn’t like the fact that he would always say that he would try to grant a wish. Don’t try….you’re a genie!! He should be able to just do it and in the end he always does so I question why it was so difficult. Barani is just underestimating himself at this point.

Ultimately a big reason as to why the film was so good is because the writing is on point and the pacing is solid. The script is quite solid and gets us a lot of good banter with all of the characters. As I mentioned, it’s also just aged really well in general. Sinbad has a lot of good fights like with the Skeleton or the crew. It’s all ahead of its time in that respect. It’s also a pretty surreal film like when the Ogre first shows up. It can be a bit sudden and unexpected if you aren’t familiar with Sinbad because of how realistic it all appeared to be at first. We even get a monster fight near the end which I was definitely not expecting.

Overall, I dare say that this is the definitive version of Sinbad. I haven’t seen any other Sinbad films so this might feel a little early to say but it’s just that good. It hits all the right beats of what a Sinbad film should contain. How can you go wrong right? The film is also over in a flash. It doesn’t drag on at all and its fairly close to getting an 8. There are some films like this where I’m tempted to give an 8 but I guess it would need a bit of an extra push. Still, there’s nothing wrong with being a 7 because that just means you were very fun. This title has a lot of replay value and I would recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Phantasy Star Universe Review


It’s time to look at the very first Phantasy Star game I’ve had the pleasure of playing all the way through. The series always looked pretty fun and after playing through this one I can definitely confirm it. The story may not be quite up to par with the bigger RPGs as there are less characters to really get involved with but it could be because this game was trying to be more of an action game than an RPG. It’s a close one because of course you can have action games that are still considered RPGs like Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy. At what point does the action game make the jump? It’s an interesting discussion.

The main character here is Ethan Waber. He’s someone who strongly dislikes the Guardians after his father died in the line of duty. One day he and his sister are caught up in an attack by the SEED, mindless aliens who go around taking down planets. He ends up ironically being saved by a Guardian and decides that he had the wrong idea about them. We get a time skip and now he is ready to be a full time member. He will have to pass some tests to get officially acknowledged though. In the meantime the SEED have amped up their attacks and the government groups are split on how to handle this issue. The Endrun Collective wants to simply eradicate the SEED and the planets they have invaded. Effectively destroy everything. The Allied Army wants to destroy the SEED and the areas they inhabit so a slightly less extreme version of the Collective. Finally, the Guardians want to purify the SEED so that we can save everything. With none of the groups agreeing on procedure the stakes continue to ramp up.

Ethan is a solid lead here. He’s definitely quite confident and is ready to pick a fight with anybody. I always appreciate a lead who isn’t afraid to get in there and do what needs to be done. He may mellow out a bit as a Guardian but at the end of the day he still makes all of the right moves which is good. At the end many of the characters start to be okay with allowing for some possible casualties except for Ethan who stands strong. He refuses to lose a single person and that’s really what it means to be a hero. A lot of people can sacrifice the few to save the many but saving everyone is what you should really be doing.

The story is solid even if it’s slightly underwhelming at times. The game lasts for over 20 hours which is a long time to get used to the cast. Despite this, I wouldn’t say that the cast ever really grows on you outside of Ethan and Karen. Everyone else can range from uninspired to a bit annoying. I still don’t get what the game was going for with the plot about Ethan’s sister. It ultimately didn’t amount to anything and just sort of got dropped. The game doesn’t think about this plot so much that you can’t forget how her wallet got stolen by the rogues and they never get it back. This is especially important because Ethan is paling around with them by the end of the game and they presumably still have her stuff. I would have liked a scene where he finally got it back. I lost hope of this happening after the first few chapters but the whole thing was rather odd.

You’re also kind of waiting for the SEED to either reveal that they have a leader or for the Collective to explain their plan a bit more. As it stands, I still don’t fully know what they were going for here. I suppose they just wanted to blow up the planet or something. Their leader definitely knows how to come back to life over and over again which is admirable. At the same time, coming back to life with no real plan isn’t a very smart thing to do. Ethan even takes him out in a cutscene instead of a boss battle which I found to be a bit humorous even if that may not have actually been intended.

The gameplay is solid though. This is a 3D action title where you can choose from a few different weapons. I went with the single bladed sword for my main weapon and a short saber/gun for the back-up. I highly recommend having the gun at least as the back-up. It has to worry about ammo while swords don’t but deals a good amount of damage. I maxed out my gravity bullet early on and it was very helpful. The game is like a beat em up to an extent as you have to beat all of the enemies in an area before you can proceed. Rinse and repeat until you get to the end of the area and trigger a cutscene. It’s fairly formulaic on that point.

Universe has a ton of options on how to fight. Your weapons are determined by your class and you can change your class at headquarters. You don’t unlock the ability to change for a while though so by the time I did I was already pretty comfortable with my current standing. It’s never too late to change though and I recommend training a lot for the final battle. The game makes it rather difficult to train at times. If you die in the middle of a dungeon watch out. I was able to barely squeak through at times but otherwise I would really be in trouble. There’s no way out of some dungeons and you can’t grind and then save. The save point gets shut down once you leave so if you find yourself in such a pickle the only thing to do is grind a ton and then hopefully you’re strong enough to beat the boss or you’ll lose that data each time. I think the game should have allowed for you to forfeit story missions so you could go train if needed. It didn’t quite happen to me but I can definitely tell you that I would be pretty nervous at times.

The graphics are pretty sharp. It’s got that fun PS2 feel about it. It’s a retro style that has aged really well. It has the proper amount of colors and styles throughout the game and makes for a visually unforgettable environment. The soundtrack is also fun enough even if it’s pretty limited. I’ll give the game extra props for actually having an opening like an anime, an ending for every chapter, and then a general opening. That’s quite a lot of cinematics and we get more during the levels. This title clearly had a pretty considerable budget. Mix that in with the vast amount of replay value here and you’ve got a game that will last quite a while. It’s a solid sci-fi game for sure and there’s a lot to like here.

Overall, I may not have been super impressed with the story but it’s still not bad. After 20 hours you tend to get used to what’s going on and will be more invested than you could be in a short game. I think other Phantasy Star games will likely surpass this one but it still doesn’t quite take away from this one either. It’s been sitting on my backlog for an incredibly long amount of time so it feels really good to complete it at long last. If you’ve got a PS2 then I’d definitely recommend playing this one. There aren’t a whole lot of RPGs that take place in space so it’s a pretty unique environment. There’s also so much to do here that you are unlikely to get bored. I personally recommend doing a good amount of training before the final few chapters though.

Overall 7/10

Games, 3 Star Games, Reviews, Game Reviews

The Immortal Review


It’s time to take a look at a recent game Nintendo added to the NES catalogue. I definitely was not familiar with this one before starting it but I’m always up for giving each game its fair share. Unfortunately I can’t say that this one is particularly good. It’s a title with so many gotcha traps that you don’t spend much time actually progressing through the game. Everything in the title is meant to take you out of the picture and while that is pretty fun for how creative it is, it does’t really let you play the game.

You wake up in a dark room with a note from your master explaining that he was bumped off and you have to stop some sorcerer or something. The mystery is that the letter was addressed to someone else, not you. Still, these are the answers you were looking for so you leave the room and head into the rest of the castle which is filled to the brim with traps. Everything in this castle is made for the sole purpose of blowing you to smithereens. Seriously, you can die with every step. Sometimes by walking you’ll trigger a sword that shoots up from the ground and stabs you to death. Other times there’s a trap door or even a random monster in the ground trying to eat you. You’ll be lucky to make it more than a few steps before death sometimes.

Then you’ve got flying energy balls that follow you to the end of your days. I couldn’t find any way to get rid of them and they are much faster than you are. Trying to stay out of their way is virtually impossible so you’ll keep dying. Then you have spears being thrown at you and also shurikens that home in on your general direction. Finally we can’t forget the minions wandering around who will challenge you to a fight. The gameplay style here is very unique. Most of the game is an overhead platformer as you run from room to room trying your best to stay one step ahead of the rest. In combat it turns into more of a guessing game. Both of you have swords and the idea is to take the other one out of the picture. You can stab straight or to the side. Additionally you can dodge to the side as well. Watch out because the opponent can do the same thing. The whole match gets very tactical or you can strike first and wing it. If you keep slashing sideways at full speed then you will always deal more damage than the enemy can. Keep it up and you’ll win the battle although it’ll cost you considerable damage.

There are also a lot of puzzles in the game which is naturally not really my thing as you know. You are given various items as enemies drop them and some have special uses. For example, you can light up a candle which opens up the passageway to the next floor. Enter carefully as if you fall into the hole instead of through the ladder then you instantly die. Also, don’t read the scrolls you pick up since they blow you up which takes out another life. There are also jello monsters running around which absorb you resulting in another instant death. The game really throws everything at you here with no time to catch your breath. In a way it is quite admirable I suppose as the game keeps on showing you that this is all quite serious business.

Fortunately these deaths don’t all take you back to the beginning. The game seems to save after every major floor. I only made it to floor 2 so I don’t know if it stays that way for the whole game. You seem to have 3 lives so if you die once you respawn in the same room. Lose all of your lives and then you respawn back at the beginning of the floor instead which is quite the difference. I’m glad that the game doesn’t set you all the way but it’s a small comfort. You’re just not given enough time to actually play the game and that’s a problem if you ask me. It kind of defeats the whole purpose of trying to explore this dungeon.

The graphics are pretty old and haven’t aged as well as some of the other games. There’s not a whole lot of detail here. While the game doesn’t look all that good, I think it deserves some credit for building such an elaborate level. That is something which is quite a bit less common than you would expect. Usually the NES games wouldn’t have a whole lot of areas to explore just due to the nature of the system. It would have to focus everything into the gameplay while also staying within the disc’s size limit. Once you’re able to get past that then you can worry about everything else.

Overall, The Immortal is definitely not a game that has a timeless feel about it. It’s not a particularly fun game and its only gimmick of constant death is not one that lends itself well to playing over and over again. You’ll have a hard time just beating this game through once to be honest with how many obstacles it puts in your way. Good luck is all I’d say to that because the game is absolutely going to make you work for it. I’m hoping Nintendo continues to add more NES and SNES games though. They’ve really helped me play a lot of titles that I absolutely wouldn’t have checked out otherwise.

Overall 3/10