5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Light in the Piazza Review


It’s time to look at a romance film from a long time ago. We get to spend most of it in Italy so it’s always fun to have another location at the ready. It’s definitely a very busy area with a lot of people running around throughout the film. The heroines even come close to getting hit by a car near the beginning of the film. I wouldn’t say it’s all that good, but the film has some unique twists. Ultimately it’s just hard to get behind the romance plots here and Meg has one scene near the end that is very suspect.

The film starts with Meg and Clara enjoying the sights in Italy. Clara ends up dropping her hat but fortunately a nice young man by the name of Fabrizio shows up to snatch it. He has some fun running with the hat before finally giving it back to Clara. He instantly confesses to being deeply in love with Clara but Meg tries to break this off right away. See, Clara effectively has the mental abilities of a child so she always speaks her mind instantly and throws tantrums. She also falls in love quite easily and ultimately has gotten rejected quite a few times once they find out. This is what happened even in the latest relationship before this one which is why they went to Italy. So, Clara is always rebounding with someone and that makes you doubt how serious the relationship itself is.

With this in mind Meg just wants to avert another disaster but Fabrizio is far too cunning. He is fairly wealthy so he pays everyone off so they say where the main characters are at all times. It’s pretty impressive in some respects since this was before the age of cell phones. That means the guy had to do a whole lot of legwork to keep up with them. He’s determined to be sure but can’t really take no for an answer. He works well for a movie but I don’t see this approach working out too well nowadays otherwise. At least he never doubts his love for Clara so even if it started out as purely superficial (Love at first sight can be nothing else as you know nothing about the person at the time) it’s fair to say that it was genuine shortly after. The language gap if anything was actually a good thing since it helped them connect. The film is consistent in portraying Fabrizio as a nice guy.

Now, Meg could have quickly just laid the cards out on the table and see if he still feels the same way. Ultimately she just isn’t able to work up the courage to do so. She bonds fairly well with Fabrizio’s father Signor although that guy is less reasonable. He gives us the worst scene in the film where he convinces Meg to briefly cheat with him and would have gone further if she hadn’t declined. Definitely not a classy guy in the slightest since he is supposed to be married as well. Why couldn’t this guy have stayed classy? He was handling himself rather well for most of the film but definitely messed up the landing there. The whole ID fiasco was also sketchy.

It’s effectively the film trying to throw a quick red herring into the mix. Now if this is a big cultural thing then I guess it could work, but I don’t buy Signor forgetting Fabrizio’s age. I figured there would be a twist about that but the film never really goes into it. When it comes to age, so long as both parties are over 18 a few years isn’t a big deal. I think you definitely can’t go over 10 though or at least I don’t see it going well. Ideally you should be within 2-3 years of each other but I don’t think a few more make much of a difference either. Eventually it becomes a bit relative. Signor seemed more interested in the money by the end though as he perks up when Meg lies about their giving them a bigger gift from the father.

The way the film ends, Fabrizio and his family don’t know much of anything yet. They’ll have to deal with the consequences of the money and Clara’s status at a later date. Perhaps they will never find out as Meg suspects since their days are mostly spent sitting and gossiping but the money will have to be addressed. I wouldn’t be surprised if Noel would just give it though. Now that he won’t have to pay for the school either way he will have extra money on hand so perhaps it won’t really matter. Either way Signor was definitely no good and as I recall his character he would have to be the worst one in the film.

The film’s writing isn’t bad. Again, I can’t buy into the romance because it all feels like a lot of rebounds but in general it is hard to write romances. You tend to see more misses than hits in that field. Otherwise it’s a fun enough script and it’s also interesting seeing the process of learning Italian. I find it to be a little difficult since I’m already a little familiar with Spanish so it just gets confusing with the slight changes. I’m sure if you learned it first then it would be a lot easier or for some it may be easier to learn it after since a lot of it would be the same.

As for Clara herself, she’s an ok character. She can definitely be pretty unreasonable at times like not wanting to listen to any worries about Fabrizio and getting a bit obsessive at times. She definitely put him as the top priority even though they just met which isn’t a good move. Romance shouldn’t be at your top of the list of priorities. It ends up wrecking her day more often than not since she can’t really enjoy any of the other activities on the trip. They all seemed pretty fun too like hanging out as fancy restaurants and visiting the landmarks.

Overall, Light in the Piazza is definitely one of those stories about how love triumphs over all. At the end of the day Fabrizio’s persistence was definitely rewarded. He never gave up and did everything he could in order to win over Clara’s heart. In truth he won it over very quickly and Meg was the only real obstacle in his path. It does show that you have to be careful since everyone can be bought though. Even the hotel manager wasn’t safe as he called right when they left the place. So, next time someone nonchalantly asks where you’re going you may want to think twice before giving out that information.

Overall 5/10

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

In This Our Life Review


It’s time to look at another retro drama film with a lot of twists and turns as things don’t always go in favor of the main character. It’s not nearly as strong as the last two though. The characters don’t make a lot of good decisions here which results in the antagonist getting away with quite a bit. The ending’s definitely solid though and does finish the film off on a good note. It’s not quite enough to me to say that this film was solid but it’s a plot that is pretty hard to execute as is. You’ve got rebounds and weak willed characters running around all over the place here.

The movie starts by introducing us to the two sisters. They couldn’t be any more different. Roy is a proper young lady who isn’t timid or anything but she doesn’t rock the boat. She aims to have a fulfilling life with her husband Peter. Meanwhile her sister Stanley is always driving well past the speed limit and likes to take risks with her life. It’s how she really begins to feel alive! Her uncle William is super rich so he’s always able to bribe people so that it slides. Well, one day Stanley takes things to the next level and runs off with Roy’s husband. Her fiance Craig then gets depressed as well. Is it possible for Roy and Craig to move on or our their lives pretty much sunk?

Right off the bat you can tell that Peter’s a pretty weak willed character. It’s not even like in most films where he was only the boy friend and got whisked away. In this case he was actually the husband already so he really has absolutely no excuse here. Definitely a pretty bad character the whole time. Naturally the main antagonist here is Stanley. She’s definitely the kind of character who likes to openly manipulate people. Unfortunately she tends to be pretty successful at it too. The other characters just can’t seem to say anything to her and tend to back off almost immediately. You’d like to think that they could hold their own but it just doesn’t happen. She continues to spiral more and more out of control while the other characters use kid gloves for her.

The main part of the film that was going a bit too far here was Roy visiting Stanley and allowing her to come back. It’s great that she is so understanding but you’ve also got to take actual precautions in the meantime. For starters, you forgive her but afar. Allowing her back into the house just runs the risk of more controversies and trouble. While it would have been hard for the heroes to guess that a certain event would happen at the end, I’m sure Stanley would have thought of something else. Mainly she was just trying her best to see how far she could break the rules.

So Roy is a solid main character even if she can be a bit too passive at times. The film consistently portrays her as a very nice character who wants to succeed the right way. She isn’t taking any shortcuts with her career and is just a good role model. She helps Parry out quite a bit by getting him a good job and fully supporting his dream to be a Lawyer. Confidence can go a long way and by supporting him she was able to underscore that anything was possible. At the time this town seemed to be quite racist as the film makes sure to depict with how Parry is treated. The characters all treat this as matter of fact except for Roy who didn’t seem to notice that this was such an issue. I suppose in her position she wouldn’t have seen much of this happening around her but once she did, Roy took a solid stand. Roy plays a large part in helping out during the climax as well.

Then you’ve got Craig who didn’t handle Stanley leaving nearly as well. The guy gets depressed for a while and he definitely wouldn’t have recovered nearly as quick as he did if not for Roy. I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of his, but at least he didn’t show up at the bar which was critical. Even if nothing happened, showing up at the bar would have been a terrible mistake. Sometimes you’ve got to resist the urge to rise to a challenge because nothing good can come out of it. You just can’t let yourself get manipulated like that. It’s simply not worth it so he got points for this. Then you’ve got Parry who is a solid supporting character. He’s a bright guy who works really hard. You can tell he put in the effort to get to where he is and that he’ll keep on doing it. Using your first check to buy materials to study is the kind of dedication that you just won’t see a lot of people with.

Unfortunately the romance is pretty weak in this film. Due to the nature of the film, the main romance here with Roy and Craig is a rebound. Roy was married and Craig was ready to be. Now they’re ready to move on with each other so quickly? It’s just hard to see this as anything but a rebound no matter how the film slices it. It doesn’t let you buy into this and the film would have been a whole lot more convincing if they had just stayed as friends. If they were supportive friends I dare say that it would have had a more effective impact on the film.

The writing is solid although Rich Uncle William ends up looking pretty gullible by the end. I like all the bluster with how he yells at everyone and brags a lot. That’s good and his confidence is probably what helped him become to obscenely rich. You have to have that attitude. That said, Stanley just defeats him way too easily. He lets her get away with everything so you can’t really take what he says seriously. She openly tries to finish him off at one point but fortunately his stomach ended up being as tough as he said. He was still the most entertaining character in the film but he didn’t end particularly strong this time.

Overall, Is This Our Life is a film with some pretty strong themes about moving on after a tragedy occurs. The film just slips up with the main premise of the romance rebound which sort of undermines everything here. I’d also argue that the scenario for Stanley coming back seemed rather forced. It’s all tragic on her end of course, but letting her come back after all of that? I don’t think so. At the very least I dare say that Roy should not have been the one to go over. She’s just a little too passive here. The film goes by pretty quick and definitely has a solid climax, but it doesn’t hold up nearly as well as the other recent retro films I’ve been watching. The guys are too weak willed and the one who has absolute confidence in William just isn’t up to the task. I’d recommend checking out the Heiress instead on how to properly defend yourself in the end and that one perfectly executes the theme of moving on.

Overall 4/10

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

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

To Each His Own Review


It’s time to look at an old school drama film. It shows how keeping secrets and making elaborate plans can really end up backfiring for you. Of course, it also sounds like being in a small town like this would backfire as well. I feel like there are many better ways Jody could have handled things. Still, it’s a pretty entertaining film and while it may be a pretty sad one for most of its run, it does have a happy ending at least to balance things out. Always good to end on a solid note.

The movie starts with Jody spending New Year’s Eve by herself once more. It definitely hasn’t been the best year for her but she’s used to being alone anyway. She ends up saving the life of another fellow by the name of Desham and he lays the situation out for her. They’re both rather old right now and don’t have anybody to live for which is why they are so lonely. They wasted their youth but at least now they can be friends. Jody reluctantly has to admit that he has a point but she’s too busy for that. She heads to the train station and then gets a flashback to explain how things got this far which ends up being most of the film.

Jody grew up in a small town where all of the guys were always after her. Particularly Mac and Alex who asked her out many times but she always refused. She just didn’t think she was actually in love with them. Well, eventually she met a pilot named Bart and had a connection with him. The guy got murdered shortly afterwards but Jody did end up having the kid. The problem is that having a kid without being married was a big taboo in this town so she arranged for the baby to be brought to her friend’s house and since they were so packed she would inevitably get to keep the baby right? Wrong, the lady gave the baby over to Jody’s “friend” Corrinne instead. Corinne refuses to give the baby back so now Jody needs to figure out a ways to reunite with Griggsy before it’s too late.

There’s a point where the film is really just an endless string of tragedies for Jody. Nothing goes right for her at all and of course growing up without her own kid is pretty haunting. She at least gets to hang out with him a lot at Corrinne’s place, but as the “aunt” so it’s just not quite the same. She wanted to have that true mother son relationship but Corrinne eventually forced her to stop visiting. I can’t say I really blame Corrinne in this respect as Jody was starting to go a little far in bonding with the kid. Of course from Jody’s perspective this makes sense but why would Corrinne want to put up with this right?

Jody has some pretty decent plans for getting control of Griggsy though. You have to give her a lot of points for determination and will power. She never quite gives up during the film. No matter how things keep on backfiring she gets right back on the saddle again and again. She’s a pretty solid character for sure. She didn’t give up on finding true love as opposed to settling and also didn’t rebound afterwards. Jody’s a solid main character who sacrifices quite a lot again and again. It’d be hard to find a nicer character here.

The best character would have to be Desham though. The guy is a really quick thinker and definitely comes up with a really solid plan to try and get everyone back together by the end. Without him Jody would definitely have been pretty doomed the whole time. The guy just comes across as a true gentleman and one who sees the big picture. He also does respect Jody’s wishes even if he thinks she is incorrect in at least one decision. For a while there I was wondering if we would get back to the present timeline but we do and it all makes for a complete ending. The film is rather long so there’s a lot of time for all of the plots to get a good amount of screen time.

Griggsy doesn’t get to appear a whole lot but at the same time he is a huge focus of the story. I can’t say he was very likable as a kid but at least he tried being nice during the scene when they went to the rodeo. As an adult he’s a whole lot more reasonable. He may change plans quite often on the spur of the moment but he does tend to mean well. He has 0 context on what’s going on around him so he’s just going about business as usual. He certainly seems like he’ll be a much more dependable guy than his peers from the older generation. Alex turned out to not be very good as he admitted to loving Jody more than his own wife. Not a great look even if everyone suspected this by how quickly he rebounded. I liked Mac, but dependable wouldn’t be the right word for him. He started out as a swindler but Jody helped show him the error of his ways and from there he only got better. Now he’s an upstanding businessman who is actually quite solid.

Then you’ve got Corrinne who is okay. She was a bit rude during her first scenes like questioning if Jody was actually happy but the scenes with Griggsy are much more understandable. No matter the origin of how the baby got there, Corrinne is the mother now so of course she wasn’t about to surrender the kid up without a fight. There’s no way anyone would do that so it just all makes sense. In general the writing here was pretty realistic with the characters. I do think Jody just overthought things with the plan though. The town would gossip either way so just come up with a shorter story and that could work pretty well.

As mentioned, there’s a lot going on here. It’s easy to forget that most of the adventure is a flashback at that because it’s so long before the present timeline shows itself up again. The present makes all the more sense thanks to this extra development though so it all works out quite nicely. That said, spending the holidays by yourself isn’t so bad if you go and grab some food. I think part of why Jody wasn’t too happy was because she wasn’t doing much of anything so she had too much time to think. Instead she should have made some kind of goal like visiting every diner and that would give her a great opportunity to stay distracted all the while.

Overall, To Each His Own is a pretty solid film. I’d say that it is a good one in all aspects. The writing is solid and the characters are on point. The pacing is good and since the ending is satisfying that goes a long way as well. The film can be quite sad for most of its run so how much you enjoy it will likely depend on how much you think the ending ultimately ends up canceling this out. The ending is really what you remember the most though so I would say it works out. All’s well that ends well right?

Overall 7/10

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

Soapdish Review


It’s time for a movie about a soap opera that ends up becoming a bit of a soap opera itself in real life. You can definitely see how there would be some irony in that. It’s an interesting angle but with all of these plot twists things don’t always work out pretty well. The romance is also particularly weak here which definitely doesn’t help matters. The best character is definitely the executive who is here to make sure that things don’t go wrong. He puts the pressure on quite a bit even if he’s completely out of the loop on things. I also feel like one of the villains got off rather easy. Still a happy ending for the cast I suppose.

The movie starts by introducing us to Celeste winning yet another award. She’s been with her show for many years at this point and has won a number of awards. The show is her very life and she could never take herself away from it. That being said, the rest of the actors and actresses in the show really don’t like her. In particular one girl named Montana wants to especially get rid of Celeste. She gets the director -David to agree to find a way to get her off the show. Unfortunately every tactic they try backfires. Finally they have an idea. They’ll bring in one of her old flings -Jeffrey back into the stage. Jeffrey’s certainly got an axe to grind with Celeste so things could get tricky. Meanwhile Celeste’s niece Lori shows up and wants to be in the show. She scores a role as an extra but aims to continue to rise higher and higher.

There’s definitely quite a lot of drama here. All of the characters have their own agendas and people have to take sides. Because of that in some ways it works out well for Celeste since they can’t just get rid of her. She has one friend in her writer Rose and that’s a good friend to have. Celeste doesn’t do much to show us why we should root for her though. She is a lot to handle on set and tends to be mean to everyone. She even comes close to getting her costume designer fired for no real reason. It’s things like this that really don’t help her case with the other characters. They say she’s spoiled and she really does fit that description. They certainly aren’t wrong and that’s pretty tragic in its own way. So later on when she has valid concerns it’s hard for the other characters to really help out.

Meanwhile Montana is definitely a pretty intense villain. Certainly a delusional one though who would have actually been in a pretty good position if she wasn’t so heavy handed. Her manipulating David was only going to work for so long before he grew tired of the game or the execs stepped in. Her last attempt was definitely a pretty bold one though that could have actually had a shot to work. I wonder what the real script was though. Meanwhile David looks downright terrible throughout the movie. The guy was manipulated with extreme ease throughout so it’s hard to have any real respect for the guy. His motivations are terrible. He may be quick with his wit but that’s about it.

Then you have Lori who I have to say was a little unreasonable at times. I thought that the same got to her head rather quickly. Does she really think the studio would go for her, someone who’s only been on the show for a few days vs someone who’s been there for over 20 years or a guy that just had a big comeback? She’s certainly setting herself up for disappointment if you ask me. She is right that Celeste should have mentioned the plot twist a lot sooner though. Waiting as long as she did almost caused irrevocable damage to the other characters.

Then you have Jeffrey who wants his shot at revenge against Celeste. The guy has pretty good reason for it since she intentionally sabotaged his career. When we find out the reasoning later on that doesn’t really help matters either. If anything it shows that Celeste just made the easy choice even if it meant ruining lives. Not exactly the kind of main character you were hoping to see right? If anything Jeffrey does a pretty good job for the most part although his constant retakes with Celeste was definitely crossing the line there. That’s a real petty way to try and get revenge so her kneeing him was well justified. As for Rose, she was pretty dependable. At the end of the day she did actually stick with Celeste throughout all of this so that was good of her. It makes a difference to at least have one ally at the ready.

Still, the movie definitely won’t bore you or anything. It’s a fairly interesting story with a lot going on. You can’t help but feel like it could have been even better if it tried a little harder though. Focus a little less on the romance and more on the inter office politics and you could have a winner here. I’d like to see the execs more because those guys are pretty good at riding the wave. The main exec kept overriding David on the decisions which worked really well since the studio was crashing before he stepped in.

Overall, Soapdish definitely gets very dramatic and hits a lot of the usual notes you would expect in a soap opera. The final big twist is like something out of a parody with how crazy it is. If you’re up for a lot of drama then this is definitely a film you’ll want to check out. That said, a drama is only as good as its romance and the romance here is really not good. It’s still hard to see why these two would come back together. There’s just too much deception for that so the happy ending may not last for too long. It does show that you gotta be careful in show business though. Can’t really trust anyone. Then again, that applies to any workplace really.

Overall 4/10

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All of Me Review


It’s time for an interesting body possession story. Think of it as something like Freaky Friday only this time the soul is going to a body that’s already filled which leads to its own share of troubles for the main character. The film does its best to not make him all that sympathetic though so unfortunately we’re left in a trick place. Unfortunately the film has too many iffy moments preventing this film from reaching its full potential as a solid comedy film. Always a shame when you see the potential right there.

The movie starts off with Roger being tired of being put in charge of small legal affairs that he feels aren’t particularly important. He asks his boss for a real assignment this time and is placed in charge of the Edwina estate. She is a rich lady who’s about to die and then the company gets the land. She is now trying to change her will so she gives the entire fortune to a girl who is related to a worker there. The reasoning is Edwina has found a guy who can transport her soul to this other person. Roger thinks this is all hooey and lets her know this which almost backfires but the boss doesn’t sweat it. The issue though is when Edwina dies her soul gets thrown into Roger by mistake. Now they each own half of his body. Can the two of them get along long enough to find their way back to the mystic to fix this? In the meanwhile that girl Terry will now be rich and that idea doesn’t sound bad to her.

So there’s a whole lot you can do with this concept. The idea of body hopping is definitely nothing new but since the situations are endless that gives you a lot of creativity. The two of them not getting along just adds to the dynamic. The film does deliver some fun scenes of course and both characters are reasonable for that purpose. Where things get tricky is with Roger who definitely doesn’t seem like a reliable guy. He is very quick to allow Terry to seduce him and that’s where things get dicey. She doesn’t just ensnare him once but even twice. If not for Edwina he would have really been doomed at times. Fortunately the mystic saved Roger the second time. It was a little convenient how the guy just appeared but I certainly won’t complain about that. These romance scenes are definitely no good though and really hurt Roger as a character.

Then of course you have the fact that he was willing to manipulate the court and help out someone he knows was guilty. It’s part of why I would never really want to be a lawyer. The possibility that you have to defend someone that you know is guilty doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. The boss was definitely not a good character and it’s a shame because he did have one good scene early on. When Roger blows up at Edwina and the boss dashes him to the back you expect Roger to be canned because of what Edwina was saying. No, the boss didn’t care in the slightest which is something I wasn’t expecting. Now that was a good humor scene. The film certainly has others as well so make no mistake, it has its moments. Some don’t land though like the whole zipper thing which was just downright painful to consider rather than being humorous.

So this is a film that would have benefited from a better main character or at least less of the affairs going on. Those scenes definitely don’t add anything to the story and just serve as padding for the film. Cut them out and not much changes at all. I dare say that the characters also should have ended things with Terry on their first attack attempt. They really looked sloppy there. The climax is still solid though as we get a fun chase scene. It was also fun seeing the characters stroll up to her mansion only to be greeted with a gun. Terry was certainly prepared, you have to give her that.

As a main villain Terry is definitely intense. She certainly played her part relatively well although there are definitely ways she could have played this a bit better. Her final plan was good enough though where you feel like it was a solid attempt. She was very close to getting away with the whole thing. Pretty easy for earning 23 million in one shot eh? Roger also has a friend named Tyrone who is probably the most dependable character in the film. He may not be able to help out much with the water in the climax but fortunately things worked out okay. He had some of the funnier scenes like giving the play by play during the climax. He had a lot of fun with the role.

As for Edwina, well it’s clear to see why she doesn’t have any friends. She’s certainly not a particularly nice person. Her backstory is fairly tragic though since she’s apparently been sickly her whole life. In a way that’s why she’s thrilled for everything to be all over. If the spell had worked out right away she would have been one very happy camper. That said, she loses a lot of her sympathy points as she actively sabotages Roger the whole time. I don’t blame her stepping in during the scenes with Terry or at the court house, but in general she talks a whole lot even when it’s obvious that Roger will get in trouble. By the same token, Roger also keeps forgetting that he can think out his responses instead of saying them which wouldn’t be quite as crazy. That’s why they’re a perfect pair here. They keep on making mistakes together as a team.

Overall, All of Me is a film that has an interesting set up but the execution isn’t quite up to task with helping out the plot. The movie will be good for some laughs but ultimately just can’t get past the whole Terry plot. It’s also a shame because Terry is a great name so I’d rather it doesn’t get associated with the main villain here. If Roger was a little stronger mentally to resist her influences then that would have helped the film out more. I also think the film could have done more with Roger falling asleep so Edwina takes over the body and runs around making a big mess. There’s a lot you can do with that. Finally, we do get another court scene here which is nice although you’d think Edwina would be able to act a little naturally than she did. I’d recommend checking out a different comedy like Christmas With the Kranks, the execution there is stronger.

Overall 4/10

2 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Bikini Beach Review


It’s time for another beach adventure. Unfortunately this one really doesn’t help the series. It’s basically the same as the last beach adventures and that’s an issue. There’s no real substance here and the movie basically brings in the same plot lines that it has been recycling over and over at this point. There’s not a lot of fresh content to be found and that’s a shame. I don’t think there’s a whole lot you could do with the premise anyway though. The beach just doesn’t make for a good backdrop in a film as it gets old pretty quick. It’s unfortunate but that’s just the way it goes.

The basic plot though is that a guy known as the Potato Bug has come into town. He wants to show everyone what true music is. Frankie still refuses to marry DeeDee so she decides to hang out with the Bug to make Frankie jealous. Meanwhile a local publisher known as Honeywagon has decided to prove that the teenagers are a menace to society. With his trained chimp he will make a monkey out of them yet. Much to the sadness of the main characters they are getting humiliated by this ape. He just seems to be smarter and faster than they are.

The film has a ton of weaknesses so let’s look at one of the few plots that actually was reasonably solid. That would be Honeywagon’s plot. He writes papers about how corrupt the teens are and you almost can’t help but root for him. The guy has a few legitimate points here because the teenagers aren’t really being all that productive. They’re just heading to the Beach and doing whatever they want for hours on end. They are always making jokes and messing with each other and they do this pretty loudly so it must be tough on the seniors. Honeywagon is proving that we have to get them off the beach and I had to agree. As the film goes on he naturally starts to weaken but even so I was rooting for the guy. I also thought he got a really good burn in when he explained that the teenagers weren’t even as smart as the monkey.

The rest of the plots aren’t very good though. For starters, the Potato Bug is portrayed to be pretty awful at just about everything. Even the singing seemed pretty bad and only half of the teenagers seemed to enjoy it. I don’t think he had much of a point in the film. He was only there to make Frankie jealous and either way that happens in pretty much every film. It’s not like it’s anything new at this point in the game. Frankie still won’t marry DeeDee no matter what tricks she pulls and she always goes back to him anyway. It’s not as tense since this always happens and Frankie has also proven that he doesn’t mind hanging out with someone while waiting for Deedee to come around.

In general I didn’t think the monkey scenes worked either. They tended to be rather boring most of the time. As always the film also suffers from a steady stream of fanservice as well. Pretty much no scene is safe from this and it ultimately takes away from the movie quite a lot. The movie starts off with a fanservice scene which sets the tone for the rest of the film. You can’t expect quality writing or pacing here either. This film feels quite long as it plays through and has virtually no replay value. There’s just not much good to be found in this film.

I guess I’ll give the climax some props here. At least we did get an extended fight scene with everyone. I could do without the chase scene but the fight itself was excellent. All of the characters got to contribute a bit with their haymaker and combos. Even Honeywagon got in on the action and seems to have some basic super strength which served him well here. Without Honeywagon the heroes may have been in trouble. The monkey also ended up helping even if that plot was always a bit cheesy. The whole film is meant to be cheesy though so that’s nothing new.

How much you enjoy the film just depends on how entertaining you find all of this. It’s got a lot of slapstick and is intentionally very over the top the whole time. The jokes are all recycled but meant to clearly still get their laughs. I like a good old fashioned comedy as much as the next guy but a film centered around the beach for laughs just idn’t going to work. What would have been interesting would have been if Honeywagon had taken the teens to court and we got some back and forth with the characters. Now that would have been pretty interesting and I dare say that it would have helped the film quite a bit. What we need is a winter version that takes place entirely in the courthouse. It would be a very different kind of film but that’s the point.

Overall. The main characters really prove Honeywagon right the whole time. All they can think about is hanging out and being at the beach. None of them are particularly serious or smart. Most of his burns land because the teens just can’t defend themselves. Some of them can’t even read because they’ve been at the beach too long fighting with gangs. If Honeywagon had ultimately won that would have been pretty cool and a great twist if you ask me. If you really love beach movies then I guess you can watch this. It’s pretty much the same as the rest of the beach films although with arguably a weaker plot than most. Really, that potato guy was just awful. Maybe that’s why the film has so many songs so you can try to forget about the story for a while. It doesn’t work though because the songs aren’t particularly good either. I’d definitely recommend taking a pass on this one.

Overall 2/10

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

5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Reviews

Little Women (1949) Review


It’s time to look at the next adaption of the classic Little Women story. While it will feel very familiar to the last one as they mainly tackle the same events, I’d say that it is executed better. Personally I found this one to be quite a bit more enjoyable than the last version. Some of the plots still aren’t the best and the final romance feels rushed but at least the film tries to address this since there are technically a few time skips. I’ll give the film some points for effort there even if ultimately it didn’t work.

The film follows a group of sisters who are currently having fun times. Their father has went off to war and so the family isn’t doing particularly well financially but they have each other which has always been enough for them. Jo is the main character and she is an aspiring writer. One day she aims to be featured in the papers and to have her books published. In the meantime she writes plays for the family to perform. One day a boy moves in next day and they hit it off but Jo is determined to stay as friends. She believes that none of the main characters should fall in love because then the dynamic will change. She’s not wrong, but can you actually say no to romance in a movie?

Jo’s idea isn’t all that bad. The idea of having a friend is a good one. You shouldn’t always feel pressured to take that to the next step. It’s not really her place to hold any of the other sisters back though. It may be a shame that the dynamic has to change but ultimately that was bound to happen one way or the other. Time is not stagnant and so eventually every dynamic ends up crumbling. You either adapt with it or you’ll spend your time relying too much on your memories of the past. The film’s pretty predictable on if Jo ends up succumbing to romance or not so be prepared for that.

There are quite a few subplot though as each sister gets her own plot. They meet people, one of them grows sick, etc. The film isn’t afraid to tackle some tough themes as well with one character dying. Each character has their own burden to bear whether it be physical or emotional. Part of what hurt in the previous version was that it was really hard to care much about the story. It was all just way too old and the writing came across as rather sluggish. This one does a better job with the writing and streamlining the plot. There also appeared to be a significant age gap in the final romance in the last film which is corrected here. It’s hard to see an age gap of more than 10 which I tend to consider as the cut off. Even that is already on the wider side.

Jo’s definitely the most entertaining character of the group. She’s got a lot of energy and tends to dismiss formalities and just be herself. It’s something that was quite rare back in the day so it really makes her stand out from the rest. Meg, Amy, and Beth are reasonable characters as well although there is less notable about them. While Beth is a lot younger than the others she always composes herself well with solid dignity. Meg and Amy mainly follow the standard path of falling in love right away. They’re solid characters even if one of them does end up rebounding with someone who liked Jo at one point which is a bit sketchy. You’d think that if someone likes the sister you would definitely not start a relationship there. It seems a bit like a betrayal even if the relationship was over. I just don’t think that’s something you should ever do.

There’s not a whole lot more to say that I didn’t already say in the first film. It’s pretty much the same movie only this one is newer. Due to the nature of the movie it’s also not like a whole lot happens. The runtime is fairly long though. I’d say that the writing is fine. It may not be winning any awards anytime soon, but it does the job and everyone feels like a real character which is important. It’s all fairly realistic for its time. That’s why I’d like the next Little Women adaption to get a little more out there. Have it take place in the future or something. I think that would end up being quite excellent as a change of scenery would end up helping quite a lot. It’s exactly the surge of new energy that the film could use and I think it would end up taking it quite far.

Overall, Little Women seems to be pretty faithful to the book based on how similar it is to the last one. It’s a classic slice of life story and if anything may be one of the most fitting installments in the genre. This is exactly what you would expect out of a slice of life if you ask me. There may not be any danger or villains but you do get to see the characters live out their lives and change as time goes on. It’s all quite dramatic in a social way. If this kind of plot really interests you then you should check it out. Personally I think slice of life films need a bit more comedy to really hit it home for me. If you play it too serious then it becomes a bit too close to real life and so I don’t really see the point of the film. A good film needs to be highly entertaining. This film isn’t, but it’s not boring either which is why I place it squarely in the middle. It’s not a bad film but I couldn’t imagine watching it a second time.

Overall 5/10

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

The Thrill of It All Review


It’s time to look at a pretty old rom-com with Doris Day. This is a film with a pretty fun plot although the ending doesn’t really work so well. I’d say the main character ended up making the wrong call. Still, the writing is pretty strong as always and the humor is consistent. It’s a film that you’ll have a fun time watching even if it doesn’t end up being one of the all time greats or anything like that.

The movie starts with introducing us to Gerald who delivers a lot of babies. It’s pretty fun work and he’s really well known in the neighborhood. People just like the guy. Meanwhile his wife Beverly runs the home and does a good job of looking after their two kids who are always getting into mischief. Well, one day the two of them attend a little gathering and watch a commercial for a new soap. Beverly ends up telling a story about how she used the soap and the boss of the company immediately wants her to do the commercials. Beverly is reluctant at first but they will offer her a ton of money so she accepts. Beverly quickly becomes a sensation and now the company’s products are all flying off the shelves.

The family is doing really well financially but it’s having a social toll. Beverly and Gerald both work rather difficult hours now so they are never home. Gerald starts to become jealous at this point and realizes that he will have to find a way for Beverly to leave her job. He tries quite a lot of tricks to get her out. Will Beverly be able to keep her job or will she ultimately need to go back to being a housewife and leaving this wealth on the table?

This film came out quite a long time ago, but even so it’s hard to really sympathize with Gerald all that much. He gets on her case about this almost right away so at that point the hours and such hadn’t been an issue yet. He just didn’t want her to leave the house for a job and seemed pretty proud of it. What hurt his case right out of the gate was when Beverly produced an article he wrote about how women should explore career opportunities to find fulfillment. He quickly says that it didn’t apply to her which isn’t really much of a counter argument. He really tries every trick in the book to get her back so Gerald looks bad throughout the whole movie. Particularly as a lot of the things he would get upset about weren’t even directly Beverly’s fault. The studio had a tendency to take things into their own hands which would ultimately backfire.

Gerald’s tricks could also get a bit dirty at times like pretending that he was cheating on Beverly. That’s certainly not something to do lightly and just makes him look pretty bad. Beverly was never doing anything like that. As a main character she’s pretty solid. The fame never even remotely goes to her head and she handles all of this like a class act. She still has to work with the kids throughout this at times so she’s busier than ever. Beverly may not always be able to make the times work for everyone but at least she tries. It’s also pretty honest work. It’s not like there’s anything remotely sketchy about her line of business. It’s advertising for a very reputable company.

The company also desperately needed Beverly. Their current commercials were really using quite desperate measures to try and sell the soap which would not work on most of the viewers. After all, the guys who would fall for these tactics aren’t likely to buy soap. It’s worth noting that this is another scene that makes Gerald look quite bad. Come to think of it, the guy definitely has a lot of unfortunate mishaps throughout which make me root for Beverly even further. I think the main things he could reasonably get upset about was the studio taking over his home and the big swimming pool destroying the backyard so he can’t golf anymore. Those are pretty sudden and hard to adapt too.

As this encompasses the main plot , Gerald’s jealousy is the only thing that holds the film back. From the start you already know how this is going to end which is unfortunate. The film could have definitely have had a better ending. It’s not an ending that wrecks the film though. Either way I thought it was pretty fun and the writing is on point as always. The cast of characters are fun and even if Gerald is on the wrong side, he has a lot of fun moments as well. The Thrill of It All as a very quick pace about it so something is always happening during the movie. That’s always been an important aspect for any film.

Overall, The Thrill of It All may be dated in many respects, but it’s a movie that is worth watching. It tackles some nice topics like how people are still quick to buy things if they see it in a commercial. For me commercials are mostly pointless for products but if it’s a food commercial then I’m in. I think everyone has something that they are willing to look into further if it’s on a commercial. The film also pokes fun at how some shows would use the same plots over and over again and the audience doesn’t catch on. It’s pretty exaggerated but definitely fun to see. I’m always up for a few good natured shots thrown in. If you’re up for a fun little film about getting rich overnight then this is a solid one to check out. Who hasn’t thought about suddenly being on TV like this?

Overall 6/10