Confession Review


Confession is an interesting trial film that shows us different perspectives as we learn more about the case along with the jury. It starts out a bit on the slow side but once we cut to the court room then the race is on. It ends up being a pretty solid film with good pacing and writing throughout. Definitely a nice title to check out.

The film starts out with Lisa getting a letter from the guy who seems to be stalking her. Inside the letter are 2 tickets to a play and Lisa’s friend who has all the bad advice says they should go and see what this is about. Turns out that one of the lead performers in the musical is a man named Michael who wants to be with Lisa. Lisa refuses him but the guy continues to follow her around and even tricks the school Lisa is at into allowing him in. Ultimately they have a brief affair but before things can go much farther, Michael is shot dead by a lady named Vera. This ends up going into trial. Can the Jury figure out what possible reason Vera could have for murdering this guy or will it all be a mystery all the way through to the end?

The second half of the film takes us back to the events leading up to the shooting from Vera’s point of view. We already knew that Michael was not a good guy and these scenes serve to further illustrate that. He really just thinks he can get away with anything and the main issue is that he always seems to since nobody actually holds him accountable.

Take the first girl Lisa. Part of the annoyance here is that she tells him several times not to call or write to her but he does so anyway. She then ultimately agrees to see him so in a sense his pestering actually paid off. He just keeps on going and she keeps on letting him. He even pulls the whole “I have to see you because I’m moving away” card and I don’t buy it for a minute. Seems awfully convenient if you ask me. If he hadn’t been shot by Vera then it seems like the affair would have actually continued.

Then you have round 1 with Vera. So she ended up choosing Leonide over him and got married. Michael doesn’t let this deter him though and still keeps on writing her which is then something that she tries to hide from Leonide. She should have just told Leonide herself the instant she received the letter what had happened so that he would at least hear the truth before the gossip. Running over to Michael was not the right move.

Additionally, I don’t think it was smart to go to this party either. It was quite clear that the main villain still liked Vera as he flirted with her openly so getting drunk out of her mind was not a great plan. If Vera had to go to the party because she was bored, then at least don’t indulge in all of the drinks. It just ended up putting her in a very vulnerable spot which did not end well.

I mean, the villain’s the villain. He’s a pretty terrible character of course so that goes without saying. The heroes are the ones who needed to be better judges of character and just keep their distance the whole time. That would have really gone a long way here.

As for Leonide, he was very quick to believe the worst about Vera. She didn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence but you would hope that he could have heard her out a bit. As for splitting up, well it’s easy to see how that would happen. Once you’ve lost trust it is incredibly difficult to the point of being near impossible to get it back again. So once the doubt was there, you could say the marriage was already all but finished at that moment.

The best part of the film would be the actual trial for me though. I always like a good case and this one was really on point. You had all of the players talking tough from different sides. Vera certainly wasn’t helping her case by staying silent for so long but her defense attorney was really trying his best anyway.

The main prosecutor was a tough but fair man. He actually did allow himself to be lenient when needed while also staying tough on the case. One of his best lines is when he yells that the courtroom cannot be blackmailed by the accused and demands that the suitcase be opened up. Now, the judge is the one who ultimately makes that call but I loved his conviction. This guy was definitely not going to be pushed around and he made that quite clear.

The judge was also a compassionate man who did his best to make sure that the proper justice was served in this case. He wouldn’t allow for any incomplete ruling to make a mess of things. If you’re ever in court, this is the kind of guy you would want to be judge over the case. To an extent you could say the courtroom part even overshadows the actual flashbacks that we get because it is easily the most compelling part.

Confession is a strongly well rounded film. The writing is good and the movie moves at a decent pace once the court scenes start. My main issue with the film is mainly in the slow first half. The scenes with Lucy right through to the villain getting shot feel rather slow and uneventful. You’re waiting for something to happen the whole time. After that is when the film really gets going.

The other issue is that the two heroines just allow themselves to be pushed around far too much. Lisa didn’t want to get into a relationship but lets herself get strong armed into one while Vera was married but still ends up attending a party and getting super drunk in the presence of someone who has threatened her marriage several times. The characters really needed to stand their ground more.

Overall, Confession is a good film. It ends on a high note which is always important and the writing is on point. You’ll be engaged as you watch the film. Even if the intro slows you down a bit, just hang in there until we get into the courtroom and it’ll have been worth the wait. We definitely need more films that take place during a trial since it’s always such a blast.

Overall 7/10

Cocktail Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

All right, it’s time for a romance drama film. Usually romance pairs better with comedy than drama so this one was already starting on a tricky note and unfortunately it gets weaker as the film goes on. The main cast is just unlikable and by the end you’re certainly not rooting for the lead. When that happens, usually that means the film has lost you.

So the movie starts with Brian deciding that he wants to be rich some day. His uncle owns a bar and offers Brian a job but being a bartender is off the menu. Unfortunately Brian bombs out at every job he applies to since he doesn’t have a college degree and ultimately the only place he can find is work as a bartender in another location. The head bartender here is a guy called Doug and he quickly starts to train Brian on how to serve up the drinks while also making a show of it. Brian quickly learns the ropes and figures if he can do this much right now, maybe they should just open up a big bar in Jamaica and get rich. Will the two be able to get along once big money is involved?

There’s a lot of issues here but it’s safe to say that the weakest angle here is the romance. Mainly because Brian proves himself to be the kind of guy who goes on a lot of affairs. Early on in the film he has a one night stand with a girl from the bar and thinks it’s serious until Doug points out that she isn’t loyal and has his own stand. Doug then finds a girl names Jordan who who is nice enough but cheats on her with another random girl from the bar. He also starts cheating with another person in the climax but just barely breaks it off and runs back.

The issue here is that you know the film is going to bring Brian and Jordan back together but she should want nothing to do with him. No matter how often you see Brian apologize, you don’t buy into it. He betrayed her for $50 bucks which is just awful. Jordan’s father is right the whole time when he says that Brian’s no good and to just move on. Brian makes a big show on saying it’s not about the money or anything but of course at this point he knows Jordan’s rich so do you actually believe him?

Clearly the film wants us to believe that this is all genuine but I have a hard time buying it. I don’t see the relationship lasting because Brian’s track record is just too extensive. The next time someone makes him a bet or someone flirts at the bar room you feel like it’ll all be over. Jordan effectively will need to keep tabs on him at all times which will be really exhausting.

If Brian had not cheated at all then maybe this could work but as it stands there’s no way you can root for him. Jordan’s father appears as an antagonist but I’d definitely see him on the hero’s side here. The whole climax is really just not satisfying at all.

I also didn’t like Doug. The guy has a lot of confidence but he is always giving Brian the worst advice possible. Ultimately he is one of those guys who makes it seem like he has all of the answers but in the end he’s struggling just to stay afloat. Brian isn’t going to learn much from him and the way the guy goes out is brutal. To waste that much money is insanity and shows just what kind of guy he is. I was expecting better from Doug.

As for Jordan, she ultimately has to lose some points for sticking by Doug as well. The romance just moves too fast and ultimately that’s why you need to take it slow so you can see if the other person is actually good. Now there were presumably some time skips thrown in since we got a montage and all so it’s hard to say exactly how long the time frame was, but clearly it should have been even longer.

It’s a shame too because if you take that second half out then the film actually had some promise. The first half is really where all of the fun is had. You have Brian and Doug showing off while serving drinks which is pretty cool. It looks very difficult to flip the drinks the way that they did and they made it look easy. The actual bartending gig is the most interesting part of the movie and yet it gets ditched so quickly.

You could say that the film goes off the rocks when the gang breaks up and Brian heads to Jamaica. Early on there was so much potential like when the two were working at the more glitzy bar and Brian had to drum up some business. The actual rhyming may have been a little cringe but the story felt very focused. Then Brian leaves for a year and Doug returns to sabotage the whole operation. If Brian’s ego were not so big he might have made it past the provocations but ultimately he was not able to stay strong and sunk.

What we needed were more scenes showing Brian trying to achieve his real dream of being in marketing and things like that. I enjoyed the scene of him at school after all although he was quite thorough in burning all of his bridges there. It definitely did not help him find a non bar position that’s for sure. There just isn’t a lot more development for Brian’s character there even though you were expecting some kind of character arc where he’s no longer a hot head.

Overall, There isn’t a ton to say about Cocktail because there isn’t a lot happening. It’s a film that doesn’t have a whole lot of plot going for it so after the first half it vanishes entirely and we get a full romantic adventure. It’s just an issue that the romance itself isn’t very good. The writing is only okay. You have some good banter between Brian and Doug whenever they aren’t drinking but that’s about it. The fun dialogue can be good but when the film tries to get serious is when it falters. Ultimately the main character looks too bad to be redeemed at the end. If you want to check out a romance film, you can skip this one and look elsewhere.

Overall 4/10

Fruits Basket Season 3 Review


Fruits Basket has finally reached its conclusion. The anime certainly did a great job of adapting and improving upon the source material. Who knows, it may also have the reverse effect of making the manga more fun if I were to ever revisit it some day. That said, I would say the first two seasons still defeat this final one. It’s pretty inevitable that in any rom-com the final arc will have to get serious and tie up all the loose ends. Well, this one certainly does but it doesn’t allow itself to have as much fun as in the earlier seasons and one villain gets off a bit too easy.

Shigure and Akito really have the biggest roles in this season to the point where you could make the case that Tohru is not the main character. Still, Tohru is still wondering about how to break the curse and what needs to be done. Meanwhile Akito is getting ready to end Kyo’s freedom once and for all. The promised time is nearly upon them after all. There is one thing that could destroy Akito’s plans though and that is the fact that the curse is starting to weaken. Is it finally time for the final banquet?

An interesting part about how Fruits Basket ends is that Tohru doesn’t end up stopping the curse. In fact, nobody does. It’s just an old one that is naturally decaying so characters break free from it randomly. It’s a bit of a twist because the whole series some characters have tried rather hard to break it but it turns out that it was futile all the time. There really was no way to break the curse and you just had to wait it out. That’s also a bit depressing in its own way too.

My main issue here is that Akito was never stopped. She pushed someone out the window and inflicted a lot of mental torture on all the main characters. She drew blood from Tohru in season 2 and landed physical hits on a lot of characters. In this season she goes as far as to grab a knife and actually stab 2 characters as well. Akito is as unhinged as she ever was so by the time you get to her origin story you’re already skeptical.

That won’t change after watching it. This is Fruits Basket, every character has had a rough upbringing but they’ve learned to deal with it. Akito’s isn’t even as bad as some of the others. I would argue that Kyo and Tohru had it worse. It’s maybe on par with Yuki’s but ranking origin stories is pretty sad since they’re all so tragic. Either way the point is that Akito can’t use it as the big slam dunk that she thinks she can.

Akito also hasn’t limited the suffering to herself and has really been forcing everyone else to stay in misery alongside her. If she wasn’t actively attacking the rest of the cast then I definitely wouldn’t have had as much of an issue with her. So all of her scenes would still make me shake my head here. I still say that the characters should have fought back or defended themselves. The curse may turn them into animals but I don’t buy their not being able to fight back. Even here Hatsu comes close to attacking Akito but ultimately stops and just runs off. The characters really let Akito get the better of them.

Yuki had the majority of his character development earlier so he doesn’t do much in this season. Still he has his quick rebound with the student council member Machi. This was definitely one of the more rushed romances since she didn’t get to appear a whole lot but in real time I think they knew each other for a whole semester so at least there was 3 months there. Machi is another character who went through a lot of trauma and definitely still goes through some tough times but she’s handled it pretty well for the most part. This wrapped up that plot in a very resolute way.

Now you could make the case that this is less of a rebound since Yuki took himself out of the competition for Tohru before she made a decision. There’s a fair case for that so while this feels sudden, perhaps you could say it was not a secondary pick. I think Machi probably could have been introduced earlier to set this up but either way she was fun. Yuki’s always been considerate so they’ll get along just fine. Machi’s another character who I would say had a worse origin story to survive through than Akito. Getting framed as a kid will definitely leave you with a lot of trauma after all.

We can’t forget about Kyo of course as he had one of the big plots here. Since Akito plans to lock him up soon, Kyo’s coming to terms with the end of the era for him. He’s pretty much resigned to his fate so he’s still in the phase of trying to push everyone away during this season. Unfortunately by now he has pretty much accepted his fate and is no longer fighting with the same passion he once had.

We get to see his full origin story for the first time. Quite a lot happened to Kyo over the years and unfortunately most of the Zodiac spirits are quite passive so nobody would really help him. Tohru’s mom was probably the first person to really care about him until the Dojo guy stepped up. Even in the present we see that this hasn’t changed. Everyone knows he will be locked up soon but nobody’s doing anything about it.

Aside from Shigure who confirms he would not lift a finger to help, I won’t blame the others yet. For all I know, many of them had plans they would enact on the day of. So in case that is what would happen, I can’t really dock any points there. I’d like to see what kind of legal right the Sohma family would have to lock him up though. I feel like if Kyo went to the cops or something then things would play out pretty differently. I get that the Sohma is a rich family with a lot of power but even they should have their limits.

Of course the romance with Kyo and Tohru wraps up here. It’s not rushed or anything since this has been going on for 3 seasons at least. Fruits Basket is known as one of the Top Shojo’s after all and while I’m not sure I would go that far, the romance is done in the correct style. It’s built up over many episodes to the inevitable conclusion instead of all happening very quickly. At most you may just have to shake your head as how Kyo brings in the drama by suddenly running off again in this season. There’s a lot of running between both characters that’s for sure.

From all of the romances in this series, this is easily the best one without a doubt so it deserves some props there. As for Tohru, she may not get a particularly large role here as I mentioned, but she is still officially the lead and as such, gets a good send off. As a character she is solid as always. She actually does some detective work and tries to talk to as many characters as possible. By the end she does give Kyo a solid answer in response to his origin story while still choosing to believe in her Mother to the end. It was a good way to wrap things up while also staying true to her ideals. So that was a solid way to wrap things up.

Then we have Shigure who is a pretty bad character. He’s not as bad as Akito but I would definitely put him in the bottom 3. The guy is every bit as shady as Akito but always tries to play the fool and act innocent about it. He loves to play both sides and mess with Akito while also pretending to be a friend. The thing is, he is like that to everyone. I don’t see how any character can trust the guy. He’s also rather mean to his editor for no reason as he causes her as much stress as possible. It’s nice to see a Zodiac spirit who isn’t terrified of Akito but there’s really nothing to like about the guy.

Akito’s mother also shows up here. I like the idea of having a character that even Akito can’t mess with, but ultimately she doesn’t do a whole lot. She adds some drama as she is easily able to corrupt Shigure and sets up another character but that’s about it. If you were to remove her from the story it really wouldn’t change much. Especially given that Akito’s origin story doesn’t really end up making the villain more sympathetic.

As for Akito’s right hand man Kureno, I didn’t care for him either. In a way this guy caused a whole lot of the problems that would end up infecting the rest of the characters. If he had come clean about breaking the curse then it would have saved everyone a lot of heartache. The guy also allows himself to effectively be used out of pity by Akito which is a high price for this affair. He should have just stayed strong and been a friend but not go beyond that. Instead he lets himself get abused constantly.

Next up is Rin who was doing a lot of sleuthing of her own. She definitely takes a lot of risks but in this season she just didn’t look very smart. Why believe some random person who is extremely shady when she says that she knows how to break the curse? That’s just ultra convenient and if it requires breaking into the main villain’s room then that is definitely not going to end well. Rin really walked right into that trap and of course she ended up freezing so she couldn’t fight back.

It’s one of those scenes that will make you shake your head. I was glad Rin wasn’t as quick to just forgive and forget with Akito later on. As for Haru, he’s not bad but I definitely think he should have stepped in sooner. He didn’t know about Akito pushing Rin off a building but he did know that she was missing for a while. I’d expect him to have been poking around and Akito’s building should have been suspect number 1. His whole split personality and Dark Haru element isn’t that great if it never shows up when it counts.

Tohru’s two friends from school show up a bit as well in this season but I wouldn’t say their roles are too big. In some respects they have never had as much importance to the story as the various Sohma members but they do remain more relevant than the school friends in a lot of other Shojo titles like this. They’re not bad but they don’t usually tend to have scenes that are quite as interesting as the main cast.

Hiro and Kisa definitely don’t do much here either but at least now that he’s a bit older Hiro isn’t as unreasonable the whole time as he used to be. It was always annoying how he would insult Tohru for no real reason and nobody would really defend her. In his current state that wouldn’t really be much of an issue. Kisa is also here for moral support. She hasn’t really had to deal with as many tragedies as the others and that’s good. It’s nice that at least one character isn’t having to deal with a dark past.

Momiji doesn’t do much but it is odd how he appears to be a lot meaner and more sinister after the time skip. Maybe part of him realizes that he should have protected Tohru when Akito attacked in the last season. Either way, this would be an interesting new wrinkle to his character provided that he is actually able to be tough when it counts. Only time will tell on that front.

There are more characters of course but this really tackles all of the big ones I would say. The cast itself is large so there will always be a few more hanging around the bends. With 3 seasons I would expect no less. Even some of the Sohma clan members don’t really get to do a whole lot here which shows just how many characters have to be juggled.

The animation is solid as always. It’s not like there are any big action scenes to really test the series but the characters always look on model and everything’s pretty clear. It’s a very consistent show and delivers on that front. The soundtrack can be a little bland though. I wouldn’t say that any of the tunes really pop out at you and the theme song could have definitely been a whole lot more exciting if you ask me. It just feels too basic.

Now time for some final thoughts on the series. Season 3 is shorter than the first 2 so it definitely goes by really quickly. At the end of the day I definitely consider the anime to be a huge improvement over the manga. You’re given a lot of time to get used to the characters and root for them. I’d say the strength of the series is that it does a good job of showing the various emotions of the characters.

The writing is pretty solid as well with each character having to deal with a different issue as they grew up. There are a ton of sob stories and yet I would not say that any two are the same. Most of them are sad without being overly gritty either. This show goes through a lot of different tones but manages to achieve them all pretty well. You definitely won’t be bored.

There is naturally a lot of romances here as well. I would say most of them miss the mark as per the course for most romance titles but at least Kyo and Tohru was a strong one so that’s good since it is the main romance in the series. I wouldn’t say the romance ever really takes over as well so if you’re here for the plot then you should still be okay in the end.

On the flip side, one issue I have is with how passive all of the characters are. I’ve already beaten the point about everyone bowing to Akito into the ground so I’ll sidestep that one this time. Even just with how they obey the formalities and everything feels like they aren’t trying though. So Kyo is going to be locked up in a cave right? Have him decide to move out of town or something. He would certainly be able to leave if he wanted and good luck trying to bring him back. The guy can turn into a monster after all so he could repel any attackers.

The same is true for the rest of the Sohma family who feel like prisoners in the estate. Just get out of there and things will be better. Now granted, the curse is still annoying but it’s not like Akito would ever help you cure it anyway so I’d say your best bet is still high tailing it out of there while you still can. It would have been cool if Tohru brought that up.

As for her mother’s death, I do think part of the scenario was a little forced just to scar Kyo further. The whole “I won’t forgive you” part being spoken out loud out of the whole speech is just hard to buy. It’s the only way you could misinterpret the speech to be something negative so of course that’s what happened. Given how solid her character has been throughout the series, it doesn’t really work as a fake out to the audience and to Kyo it’s just a bit on the contrived side.

Overall, Fruits Basket had a pretty good run. There are definitely a lot of different events that occurred here. The 13 episodes did a good job of really packing themselves in with a lot of content. If you watched the first two seasons then you owe it to yourself to watch this one as well. There aren’t a whole lot of light hearted moments or happy events for the characters this time, but they all finally confront their inner demons so in that sense you get an uplifting feeling there. You know it’ll be all uphill for everyone going forward. Throw Akito out of the show and this would probably be bumped up even further but of course it would be a different show at that point. Time to see what the franchise brings to the table next.

Overall 6/10

Two Weeks Notice Review


Next up in the rom-com adventures sees what happens when a member of Team Corporate falls for an Environmentally conscious person. Can he stop burning down trees long enough to get her to his side or will she convince him to be a better person? With a dynamic like this the romance is going to be rather unbelievable right from the start but the film doesn’t really try to make it any more realistic either.

The movie starts with Lucy convincing her friends to try and lie down in front of a wrecking ball so they can stop the latest demolition. Her friends are brave but losing your life is pretty high stakes. Ultimately they are all pushed to the side and Lucy meets the leader of this company. His name is George and he figures they can make some kind of deal. He really needs an assistant and maybe this way it’ll also distract her from all the protesting. This way she can’t get in the way of corporate. So he ends up hiring her and Lucy is thrilled because she can now make a difference across the world….or can she?

It might have been a bit idealistic of Lucy to assume she could really change the corporate ways but you can’t blame her for trying. It’s good to at least make the attempt but my issue is that she didn’t get his word about saving the community center in writing. A big part of why she agrees to help is that he agrees to spare the community center as part of their deal. Sadly Lucy is satisfied with a verbal promise which becomes an issue near the end of the film since corporate won’t have any of that.

Lucy’s a solid heroine who is fighting to protect the small towns and individual businesses. She does a good job with trying to slow the company down but as the film points out, at the end of the day you can’t really stop corporate. Slowing them down is really at the extent of what she can freely do here. By going inside the company she can make a bigger difference so while her parents (Who are also really involved with the protesting) are skeptical, I’d say she made the right call.

Unfortunately it doesn’t feel like she has done a ton of good within the company by the end. The fact that the community center was not formally saved was a big blow. Lucy does realize early on that this whole adventure isn’t as useful as she expected it to be but when she tries to quit, George blocks her. More on this when I go to the romance front but things don’t always go well for her. I have to take some more points from Lucy based on the ending of the film.

Then you have George who definitely isn’t likable. I’m cool with him being on team corporate since someone has to be but the guy can’t do anything on his own. He has to call Lucy to decide what shirt he wants to wear and even to know what to eat. He’s shown to be completely incapable of making a decision on his own and naturally he falls for any girl he meets. So this guy has no strength of character, he is definitely not romance material.

That’s really where the film falters. A rom-com is half romance after all so you need that part to still hold up with the rest but it really doesn’t here. There is really nothing to connect Lucy and George. Sure, the idea of opposites attracting and all is pretty popular but this guy is literally tearing buildings down and living the corporate life. Lucy has been protesting against him and the company for years so that really shouldn’t change just because they work together.

It gets worse when you consider that he was immediately attracted to June and trying to pull some moves with her as soon as she joined the company. Lucy even caught him at a very suspect moment with her at one point. Finally, you have his decision near the end to destroy the center. By this point Lucy has been burned way too many times for this romance to ever even have a chance of leaving the ground. There should just be no way that this would ever work out.

Also, remember how I said he blocked her from taking any other jobs? Lucy does get fed up with all of this at one point and tried to leave but we find out that George personally called every company and threatened them so they wouldn’t hire her. It worked perfectly and this should have further destroyed his image with her. Again, there’s just no way the relationship should work.

While Lucy and George are the only main characters, you also have Lucy’s rival June. She is really only added to the film to add in some drama and show why George can’t be trusted. She is very quick to try and jump into the romance as well and talks awfully tough to Lucy considering she just got into the company. As a result I wasn’t really a fan of hers. I preferred Lucy’s other subordinate who may have been super nervous all the time but at least he did his best.

I’ll give the film props for also not making the company just look super sinister the whole time. The place actually had a pretty good work culture the whole time and when she left, Lucy had made some friends. They may have disagreements on how to conduct business but in most companies the average worker is just trying to get through the day so it would have been a bit much if they were all gung ho about tearing the city down.

On the whole the humor is okay. There aren’t really any laugh out loud moments which is unfortunate. It’s all fairly low key so you’ll have a few good lines here and there and then a lot of cringe moments like when Lucy catches George and has to try and bluff her way out of the place. The writing is passable so this film really ends up being pretty much in the middle. It’s not bad but I wouldn’t say it’s that good either.

Overall, Two Weeks Notice is very by the books. The story gives you the quick dynamic between Lucy and George and then the rest of the film is them quickly learning that in any movie it’s impossible to just have a professional business relationship. They can’t escape each other no matter what happens. I’ve seen quite a few rom coms in my day and I would recommend most of them over this one. It just doesn’t leave much of an impact and maybe that’s why it took so long to watch this review since I saw it about a month ago.

Overall 5/10

What a Way to Go! Review


It’s very hard to make you sympathize with a main character who doesn’t want to be rich but this film is going to have a go at it. It’s a fun comedy film that embraces how crazy this concept is. I thought the film may have let their foot off the pedal for a bit in the second half and eased up too much but in the end you’ll definitely have a good time.

The film opens up with some guys dropping a coffin and realizing that they may get sued for all of their dollars. We then see Louisa running to the IRS and trying to give away her vast wealth to the government. They definitely can’t have that and instead take her to a psychologist: Steffanson. Steffanson wants her to explain why she would possibly want to give away her millions of dollars like this. Well, she doesn’t want the money because it always results in the death of her husbands. The rest of the film is effectively an anthology of stories styled after different kinds of romance films.

The first story introduces us to Louisa who really despises money. The reason for this is because her mother is obsessed with it and that has always left a bad impression with Louisa. The richest man in town is in love with her and the Mom is thrilled because their family will finally be rich. Louisa doesn’t like this though so she decides to instead get married to the poorest guy in town, a man named Hopper. Hopper is a man of strong character and family values who refuses to sell his house to the rich tycoon. Crawley (The rich guy) doesn’t take kindly to this and wants to bring Hopper down no matter what it takes.

This was a good way to kick things off. It was my favorite story of the bunch and I also thought the film was at its craziest here. Between Louisa’s mom referring to her as a product and Hopper not noticing when Crawley intentionally splashed him with mud you had a lot going on here. Hopper is really portrayed as someone who is as oblivious as possible but part of why I liked the guy is that he does step up when he realizes that this is hurting his wife’s reputation as well.

Naturally the moral of the film is that money itself is evil so this naturally corrupts Hopper. He starts working unlimited overtime and is never home when it counts. He becomes a millionaire and takes over the city quickly but it comes at the expense of hanging out with Louisa which is a shame. Hopper ends up dying of overwork but at least he did leave Louisa well off and still seemed like a good guy. He ended up letting work become his priority which was a grave error but he meant well. In this story there’s not a whole lot that Louisa could have done differently so I don’t think she should have any regrets.

Next up Louisa moves to France where she falls in love with a poor painter named Larry. All right, this time nothing could possibly make him turn rich right? The two have a pretty happy marriage for a while until one day Louisa suggests that maybe Larry should use some music for his painting machines instead of random noises. (He paints with a pretty genius style whereby sound vibrations power his machines and perform the artwork) Unfortunately the music works too well and Larry becomes rich almost instantly. Like with Hopper, Larry has no time for Louisa anymore and is promptly crushed by his own robots who decided to turn evil.

Ignoring the Sci-Fi ramifications of this, it was a pretty intense way to go out. Louisa didn’t stay in France to stop these would be terminators but I’m sure she wishes she hadn’t mentioned something about the music. Still, it’s hardly her fault to throw in a constructive idea, particularly as it was the first time. It is iffy that we’re on the second marriage so soon…but more on that later. Now she is even richer but still has nobody to share it with so Louisa realized it was time to move on.

Next up, Louisa married a guy called Rod who is already rich. Since the guy is so rich, her deadly curse should not affect him right? After all, before death occurs you have to get money in order to activate it. Unfortunately she is not so lucky. His assets still manage to multiply multiple times over and not even trying to get away from the money is enough to save him. This is probably the weakest of the segments mainly because the film doesn’t even try to give a reason for her to like him. It seems like she only married him to test the curse to be honest and of course this backfired. They knew each other for a matter of minutes before they got together. (Slight exaggeration I suppose but a few days at most)

Finally, we get closer to the opening scene as she meets up with a struggling dancer named Pinky. I suppose “Performer” might be more accurate as he does a lot of routines. Things are going well with their marriage until Louisa says he should try performing without all of that crazy face paint he wears. Pinky obliges and becomes a worldwide hit. Oh the shame. Now this is probably the only case where you could blame Louisa because you’d think she would have recognized the curse being in effect at this point right? Still, it’s a hard way to live when you have to watch your every comment or else you may end up becoming rich.

It was a fun segment and all but by now you could definitely guess how things would play out. The climax in the present is pretty intense though. I actually ended up liking the Psychiatrist as the main villain since he clearly had a plan going. That said, how the actual movie ends could have been a little different. I would have ended about 1 minute sooner from where it did which would have been a funny way to close things out.

So on the whole, the humor lands pretty well. It was fun to see the quick segments during each part where Louisa describes the kind of film each marriage was like. It was a nice tribute to the various films although the French one would get a little dicey. If that is an accurate picture of what those romance films are like then I can say those would probably lose out to the others on average. The writing is solid even outside of the humor so the characters are fairly well rounded and memorable. I would have changed the ending but what we got was still decently good.

It’s a comedy film so you don’t want to take things too seriously but at the same time, Louisa did marry like 4-6 times in one movie. That’s an awful lot of relationships over the course of a lifetime right? It just seems to go way too fast if you ask me. In fact, what that tells me is that they were all rebounds and these relationships weren’t all that genuine. I would say the only person she may have truly loved was Hopper and even then that was in part to spite her family so it’s hard to say. Marrying this many times just seems crazy even if there was no curse.

Also, despite all these crazy happenings, I still can’t imagine just trying to toss all your millions like that to the government. At least find some charities or businesses that you want to donate to but have some kind of a plan. If you just throw it away like nothing then that seems like an awful waste to me. Particularly since Hopper literally died to try and give her a better life. Surely throwing the money away would be a disservice to his memory.

Beyond that Louisa is a fun character. She has a good disposition and does her best to have fun. She was content even without any money in each scenario so it’s not like she’s very high maintenance. She has a lot of bad luck though which is definitely unfortunate. Things just don’t end up going her way which is most unfortunate.

Overall, What a Way to Go is a pretty interesting idea for a film. It’s certainly hard to frame being rich as a bad thing but I suppose if your husband is going to die immediately after you get rich each time then I can see why that would be an inconvenience. It’s just not worth it if you have to have the money by yourself. The film would be even better without the rebounds but then you would have a totally different film. I do think that it starts to lose steam towards the end as it just doesn’t shake things up as much as the opening half. It should have gone a little crazier and had the characters be more exaggerated in order to end on a high note. Still, this is a good film and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good rom-com.

Overall 6/10

Overboard Review


Whenever a main character has amnesia in an action series it can be pretty annoying since you have to wait a long time for them to gain their old abilities back. In a comedy angle it definitely works a lot better though. There’s a lot of interesting things you can do with the premise but unfortunately Overboard misses the boat on this one. It ends up being fairly mean spirited for a while so by the time the characters are all getting along it just feels a little too late.

The movie starts by introducing us to Joanna who is incredibly rich. She enjoys living the high society life on board her huge yacht. Joanna isn’t a very nice person to be around though and is rude to everybody. One day she hires Dean to put in a new bookcase but then complains about it after he’s done. She even goes as far as saying she will not pay for the job and throws him as well as his toolkit overboard. Dean’s upset but there’s no real way for him to get revenge.

Joanna has that covered though as she sets the roots for her own demise. Late at night she heads back upstairs to grab her ring but slips and falls off the boat. She suffers amnesia as a result and winds up in a hospital. Her husband realizes this but is rather happy at the outcome since he now has riches of his own he can squander in her name. So he heads off to have a bunch of affairs. Dean happens to see a news broadcast of Joanna in the hospital and figures he will have a little fun with this. His master plan is to convince Joanna that they are married and make her do all the chores. Once she has paid him back for the lost tools though this grunt work, he will tell her the truth. Will things really play out like that?

Now this is a comedic romance so this is all portrayed in a rather light manner. Dean’s pretty selfish here but at least you know he’s not a bad guy so things won’t get crazy. My main issue here is really just that he takes the whole prank too far. Is it really still a prank when he is actually making her do everything and making fun of her in the process? He has a blast making her feel pretty bad about her past throughout and doesn’t make her job any easier. Dean also likes to troll her about their sleeping arrangements.

It would have been nice to have seen Dean at least help out a bit. As Joanna gets used to the role and performs more tasks, it feels like Dean does less and less. When his kids are having a tough time in school and flunking, he refuses to help her out and even says it’s none of her business. So he comes close to messing up his own cover story several times and is actively neglecting the kids.

Now, we know Dean has a golf course to work on and has two jobs but you’d think he would at least listen to Joanna a bit. She turned their home from a dump into a rather respectable place. Joanna even got the kids to be a lot more reasonable compared to their opening appearances. The fact of the matter is that even as someone with no memory or practical experience (It’s made clear that she has never cooked or done common chores in her life) she was doing a much better job than Dean ever did. She was really trying hard and he wasn’t supportive.

As brainwashed Joanna, she was a pretty solid character. She did her share of whining but ultimately got the job done. In her normal self she’s certainly not a likable character but you don’t see her in that form for very long. As for Dean…yeah I didn’t like him. Even as a gag, manipulating someone who is currently suffering from amnesia is very sketchy to say the least. He lost more and more points for neglecting the kids as well. Dean even chooses the absolute worst time to try and come clean with Joanna about what’s going on here. It’s like he couldn’t really get a lot right. He’s a good carpenter but that’s about all I could say for him.

As for Billy, he’s Dean’s best friend and gets a decent sized role. He’s usually the voice of reason here and keeps Dean from making any mistakes that are too large to walk back from. I didn’t care for the guy though, he’s not exactly good about keeping his eyes to himself. The only thing I’ll give him credit for is at least not letting Dean self destruct in the climax but that’s about it.

The humor in the film can be decent at times but not nearly as much as you would expect with this being a comedy film. Quite a few of the jokes don’t land nearly as much and any scene with the kids can usually be more on the annoying side. They may get a little better by the end but have a lot of screen time before that as well. For a good supporting character, Joanna’s mother is at least determined. She was the only one who even seemed to care that the heroine was missing and did everything she could to track her down. We do see that the mom is as rude as Joanna (So we know where she got these traits) but I’ll give her credit for actually going on an adventure personally.

Really, fixing this film would be fairly easy. I think you just tone down the extent to which Dean is pranking her. You still keep in the premise of him tricking Joanna and going home with her since that’s the whole point of the movie but have him actually contribute. His cover story is that he wanted her to pay him back for the tools/installation so her doing the dishes, laundry and such is all helping pay this back.

Fine you keep that and then stick with it as the baseline. Dean should still be hanging out with his kids and at least not actively making a mess. Surely he can help out around the house as well. It would give a real reason for a romance to actually develop since they would get along better. Joanna may even like the home environment compared to the yacht and Dean would also see her true character shine through like when she defended the kids. That would make for a much more organic experience.

I haven’t touched on the romance but as you can probably guess, it really doesn’t work. It’s about as shallow as you would expect. Now, I can’t say it comes out of nowhere since they are together for a pretty long time throughout the course of the film but when Joanna inevitably gets her memories back you can’t possibly imagine this working out. Imagine finding out that someone’s been playing you for weeks/months? Nah, that’s definitely not going to end up being a romantic ending no matter how you slice it.

Overall, Overboard has some potential but ultimately doesn’t live up to it. The writing’s okay and the general idea is interesting but the execution should have been handled better. Make the characters more likable and then you’ve really got something here. Dean should have stuck to his goal of just trying to get a fair shake with the money he lost as opposed to just trolling her for the fun of it. He just takes the joke too far to the point where it isn’t a joke anymore. If you want a good comedic experience, you’ve got better options than this one.

Overall 4/10

Pride and Prejudice Review


Now this is a pretty famous movie. At the very least you will have heard of the book at least at some point in your life. These old school romance titles certainly took the world by storm but I haven’t had the best experiences with these in the past. Would this film be any different? Fortunately I would say yes. While it still does have some issues, there are enough strengths where I would call this a good film. It’s fairly long but does have at least some replay value thanks to the strong dialogue. That’s absolutely the film’s biggest strength.

The film follows Mrs. Bennet and her various kids. She has a bunch of kids that’s for sure and they’ve all grown up into young ladies. The main issue is that none of them have found a husband yet. Bennet is convinced that they need to marry fast before they get older. She also wants them to marry someone who is fairly wealthy since they need some cash and quick. Part of the incentive is also the status boost. Bennet is always gossiping with the other ladies and this would help her out quite a bit.

The situation grows brighter as two rich men move into town. One of them is a man named Wickham (Gee…think this guy might be a villain??) and then you have Darcy. Both of them are immediately rushed by all of the women in town. This town has quite a lot of ladies who want to secure a bachelor. While Wickham loves the attention, Darcy isn’t too interested. He doesn’t want to marry a commoner and believes that only rich people are interesting. He likes talking smack about the other characters behind their back and just seems like a rather unlikable guy.

Darcy does try to keep the pretense up but Elizabeth heard his words. Now whenever he tries to make a move on her, she insults him and declines. This quickly turns into the main plot of the film as it’s a cat and mouse game between the two of them. The more she insults him, the more Darcy grows interested in her. She wants nothing to do with him…but this is a romance movie so we’ll see if she can stick the landing.

This was the strongest part of the film though because as I mentioned, the dialogue is quite good. Elizabeth gets a great amount of insults directed at him and they are cleverly worded. She always says things that could technically be seen as polite and nice if read on paper, but the lines are spoken with a rather obvious inflection. She wants him to know that he’s being insulted and he gets the message loud and clear. Darcy doesn’t realize that Elizabeth overheard him either so he’s puzzled at why she is so rude to him.

I’m glad that Elizabeth didn’t spill the beans on this since it would have made things too easy. It’s not like there are any misunderstandings like in a modern rom-com either. Darcy really doesn’t like poor people and that’s a pretty legitimate reason for Elizabeth not to want to be with him. Of course she doesn’t need a reason to reject him but it works well. So I’ve spent a lot of time talking about this main romance but that is the core of the film. My only issue is with how the plot resolves. You probably know how it will end 5 minutes into their dynamic and I suppose the odds of the guess being wrong was pretty slim.

Meanwhile Lydia looks pretty bad. Unfortunately she does not have Elizabeth’s cunning nature, nor her skills at keeping the guys in line. Lydia is purely in it for the money and as such is completely oblivious to everything that is happening around her. It’s pretty tragic because things could have really gone south if not for several characters intervening. I wish someone would have told her what a situation she was in. The reason for not doing so is likely that it’s already late now and telling her would only add to potential troubles. She probably still should have been informed though.

Then you have Mr. Collins who exists to worship the rich Lady Catherine. The guy really seems to have no self respect and doesn’t mind groveling the entire time. It’s definitely not a good look for him and you’ll be shaking your head the whole time. Does he really realize what he is doing? The sad answer is yes. He is also not a very loyal fellow I would expect with how he moves on from love to love with ease. When he ends up selecting one of the ladies in town you just have to shake your head because it doesn’t seem like it’ll be a very happy marriage.

Lady Catherine was good though. She is a very extreme character to be sure as she is ultra rich and also has complete disdain for people without money. She has taught Darcy all that he knows after all. Still, she gets a lot of solid lines as well and makes for a good antagonist. Her role is memorable that’s for sure.

In a big way that’s also what helps this film out a lot. The characters are actually pretty memorable and get enhanced by the script. While a lot of other old romance films like this had forgettable characters, you will at least remember Catherine, Elizabeth, and even the more unlikable characters like Darcy and Collins. On the whole the cast isn’t likable but I doubt the film was even trying to get you to sympathize with them.

Effectively it’s like the world of Black Clover where the nobles are extremely arrogant and don’t like the commoners at all. It’s part of why the romance doesn’t work here though as it’s still hard to see Elizabeth falling for Darcy. He was helpful in the end for sure but that means he should get a thank you, not the full marriage. I think if you take out some of the romance or at least change the ending then the film would be an even stronger appearance. It would fully stick the landing which is important.

Overall, Pride and Prejudice beats out most of its rivals from the era. It’s an old school romance film that has better writing than I expected. Outside of Elizabeth most of the characters may not have been all that likable but they had a lot of good lines. Some of the humor may not have aged as well like the talk of drowning the main characters but you also have a lot of lines that do live up to the day like basically any insult Elizabeth gives to Darcy. If you’re looking for an old school romance film and don’t mind it being super long, then this is a good one to check out.

Overall 6/10

Wicked Stepmother Review


When you have a film about a wicked witch who joins the family you know that things are about to get rocky for the whole household. Unfortunately the witch tends to take everyone down pretty quickly so you don’t expect a lot of likable characters. I would say that’s true for this one as well. By the end of the film most of these characters just don’t stay strong. It’s a film that will give you a good amount of laughs but doesn’t overcome its negatives.

The movie starts with Jenny and Steve finally heading to her father’s home. He had been pretty quiet lately so they want to make sure he’s okay. Well, it turns out that he married an old lady named Miranda and she has completely changed him. Sam loves watching TV all day now and has stopped being a vegetarian so he could go back to meat. The two of them seem pretty content but Jenny doesn’t like this one bit. She wants her father back to his old self but to her dismay even her husband Steve is getting along with her just fine. Making matters worse is that Miranda’s daughter Priscilla has shown up as well and may try to break their marriage apart.

I’ll give the movie this, the opening scene is legitimately filmed as if this was a horror title. You have a lot of suspenseful music the whole time as an inspector walks in a house and we learn that the tenants have vanished. Apparently someone has been going around bumping people off across the country. We then find out that the family was shrunk into tiny dolls and nearly died since they could have easily been stepped on. At this point we learn that Miranda really does have super powers so this doesn’t bode well for the heroes.

Now, this is a comedy film so don’t think that the whole movie is going to be suspenseful though. It’s because this is a comedy film that they can effectively use horror scenes like that. It’s a great amount of contrast. There’s probably a name for this kind of scene but it’s a scene that’s so serious you can’t help but find it funny since you know the film as a whole isn’t a horror.

The scene with Inspector MacIntosh trying to find the culprit among a group of old ladies made for a fun scene as well. These ladies were really tough as they were beating people up and did not act their age. On the whole I would say the film had a lot of its best gags in the first half. You also have a scene where an old lady throws Priscilla out of the phone booth since she had dibs on the next call.

There’s a fun scene where Priscilla pretends that she is melting as well before revealing that the Wizard of Oz made that up and it doesn’t work on witches. MacIntosh actually going to a school for wizards was genius as well. Honestly, if I found out that witches were for real then it wouldn’t be a bad idea since all the things that I thought were hogwash would suddenly have some merit. It’s just a shame that he didn’t actually learn anything but I would say he had to be the best character in the film by far.

So we’re off to a good start but once we get to the actual film that’s where it falters. So with an evil step mother throwing a hex onto Sam you already know she is going to try this again. She messes with Steve as well. Honestly you expect that he’s going to cheat on his wife with her early on in the film since even as an old lady Miranda seemed to be flirting with him. With Priscilla around…well Steve never stood a chance. The guy faltered quicker than the poor guy in the Cinnamon Toast Crunch parody commercial. Steve didn’t seem devoted to Jenny for more than a few minutes.

The film plays up the fanservice angle with Priscilla quite a lot. Outside of the affair with Steve she gets a very random dance where she also seduces the private investigator that Jenny hired. So much for will power right? Priscilla is able to dominate any man that she sees in moments since as a witch she also has absolute hypnosis in addition to her other abilities. The heroes have no shot right from the jump.

Let me quickly explain the Miranda and Priscilla situation. So, they are mother and daughter, however they can’t inhabit the same body so one of them always jumps into a cat. The body seems to change around the soul so they still look different. It’s a little odd and you’d think that with their magical abilities Miranda could just make herself look young anyway though. If not for the issue of needing another actress in the first place the plot would have made more sense to just have said that Miranda was shape shifting.

Actually…that would have made more sense anyway. Just say she is constantly shape shifting to make it easier to seduce everyone. It also removes some of the plot holes from later on. Alas, the film didn’t go that route. Neither Miranda or Priscilla are all that likable or even logical. With the kind of abilities they have, there is no reason for them to even go through with the theatrics. They could have taken Sam’s money at any point. They could probably conjure it up, but if that’s not possible just mind control him to sign something giving her the money. With witch abilities this would be easy.

Well, we’ve established why Steve’s a pretty bad character and Sam’s in the same boat. He is mind controlled by Miranda rather easily. That leaves Jenny but I didn’t like her either. She really doesn’t give Miranda a fair chance. Yes, we know that Miranda is the villain from the opening scene but she has no reason to believe anything negative about the old lady. Yet from the start Jenny is antagonistic towards her and acts rather rude. It’s hard to find any scene where Jenny isn’t being mean to her.

The film has a lot of fun at Jenny’s expense that’s for sure. It’s all just done so drastically that she ends up being royally unlikable. I liked the investigator she hired except for when he suddenly fell for Miranda’s tricks. That was a low moment for him. At least he got the last laugh in the end I suppose.

We do actually get a real climax for the film though so that was pretty hype. There’s an actual magical battle filled with a building blowing up and both sides actually using their abilities. I wasn’t really expecting much action at all so I’ll certainly take this. The ending even leaves room for a sequel which would certainly be interesting. There’s always potential with witches and magical attacks, the film just needs to focus more on that and less on the homewrecking aspect next time.

Overall, Wicked Stepmother is a film that really does have a lot of good jokes but it’s not enough to distract you from the unlikable cast. Seeing Miranda/Priscilla seduce all of these guys without effort can be a bit much. Tone down the romance/affairs/fanservice and focus more on the actual comedy part of the film. More scenes with McIntosh would have done wonders for the film since he was actually on top of things. The scene of him quitting was pretty powerful and seeing more supporting characters would have been nice. There’s a lot of potential for interesting dynamics here but none of them ended up appearing. Maybe a reboot would have better luck.

Overall 4/10

Suspicion Review


Suspicion is a good reminder that you never want to take things too quickly. If you meet someone you probably shouldn’t get married the next week because you still don’t truly know the person. You have to give yourself some time or else you’ll be starring in your own Hitchcock thriller as you get stressed out at all times.

The movie starts with a drunk Johnnie getting on a train. Unfortunately he went to the first class section despite only having a third class ticket. He manages to save himself from disaster by snatching a stamp from the girl sitting across from him. Her name is Lina and while she wasn’t thrilled about this, she allows it to happen. She figures they’ll never meet again at least.

Unfortunately their paths do cross again. Johnnie convinces her to skip Church which shows what kind of example he is setting already and teases/insults her a bunch. She finds this charming though but then he vanishes again. She waits a while and eventually he turns up and asks her to marry him. She agrees…of course. Well, now things should be on the up and up but after they’re married he drops the biggest bombshell. He is broke without a penny to his name. He hopes they can live off of her inheritance but she explains that it still won’t be enough to afford this big house.

Their marriage continues to get bumpier and bumpier as she finds out that he has been lying about everything. He sells her chairs without permission, goes gambling and even steals some money. All of these acts add up but Lina decides to allow them because she’ll allow just about anything. The only issue is…she begins to think that he may be out to murder her. Can Lina escape this situation?

Suspicion does a good job of gradually raising the stakes throughout the film. At first Johnnie is just a playful bully who messes with her hair. Gradually he moves on to breaking and entering, but he does it in a charismatic way where it’s supposed to be quirky as opposed to dangerous. Then he starts lying constantly but each time it is seemingly to Lina’s benefit in the end or so he claims. Then we go to theft and that’s starting to get more serious. Even the cops may have to show up. Finally when you reach the murder tier, it looks insane that Lina is still around but because this all happened gradually, to her it never felt like a sudden rise.

As with many Hitchcock films there is also a lot that is left to your imagination here. You can really read the ending in a two main ways and a lot of sub paths from that branch. The first is that Johnnie is still lying. Certain incidents to which he should not have had a part in involving brandy and a sudden accident would have been his doings. If this is the path you believe happened then he is definitely an extremely dangerous character and Lina is not out of the woods.

If you’re on the second path and do think he was at least genuine at the end then that means Lina isn’t in danger and Johnnie at least had some lines he wouldn’t cross. I’m inclined to believe the second path is what happened, it at least feels that way but I dunno. I wouldn’t say it with a lot of confidence, it’s my pick but you could make rather strong cases for both. Naturally it would change the atmosphere of the ending. If Hitchcock wanted to make it obvious the final scene would be Johnnie offering Lina a glass of milk but that would be rather on the nose.

Suspicion’s greatest strength is how engaging the story is. The extra details also give it a good amount of replay value. There’s a lot to think about here. The writing is good as always and the movie is reasonably long so a lot of things get to happen during the run time. Nothing is rushed in the slightest and the ending is satisfying either way.

It’s a credit to the film that it succeeded despite my not liking either of the two protagonists. I didn’t like Lina because she gets pushed around way too easily. She fell in love with Johnnie right away but it’s hard to see how since both of her first impressions with him weren’t great. In the first he basically steals money from her and in the next he tricks her out of not going to Church and then tries to pull a fast one on her in the garden. He suckers her so many times and she doesn’t seem to care.

She even gets upset at Beaky despite his story making complete sense the whole time. I didn’t like the way she handled some of these moments that’s for sure. Then we have Johnnie as the lead. Well, there’s not much to like about him. He’s a playboy who’s apparently been in numerous affairs already. He is completely untrustworthy and you can’t have a true relationship without trust. It just doesn’t work and would always be doomed to fail.

The whole reason why Lina gets these suspicions about Johnnie is because she knows that she can’t trust him. He is directly responsible for every bad thing that happens in the film. There’s just no excusing the lying all the time. Selling the chairs without telling Lina was also really bad since she kept explaining that they were family heirlooms and could not be replaced. Then you have his whole stealing 2000 pounds from his employer. The list goes on and on and he gets rather terse with Lina for no good reason.

So in a way both main characters made quite the match here but I really didn’t like either one of them. The only good character here was Beaky. He added a lot of fun to the adventure and kept the characters on their toes. He was not smart in the slightest though considering his allergy to drinking. A single sip causes him to have seizures to the point where he nearly dies. In that case why does he continue to drink? You’d think that he would give it a rest then and not put himself in those situations. It’s a shame that he didn’t think things through.

Overall, Suspicion is definitely a very solid film. I would certainly recommend checking it out and see how you interpret the ending. There’s a lot to think about so pay attention to each detail as this goes through to the end. You may find it hard to like or sympathize with the two main characters but just hang in there until Beaky arrives and he shows them what’s up.

Overall 7/10

Anonymous Noise Review


It’s been a little while since I reviewed the Anonymous Noise anime so it’s time to take a look at the manga. The events between the two titles are pretty much the same except that the anime stops a whole lot earlier while the manga throws in all of the extra drama. Anonymous Noise is one of those titles that’s surprisingly long so prepare for a whole lot of rebounds and constant romances. Nobody ever ends up with their original pick.

I’ll never not find it a little humorous how Nino effectively has two origin stories here. So first she has a next door neighbor named Momo as a kid and together they sing songs and hang out. He is always ready to stick up for her when the bullies show up and enjoys her company. Well, one day he just vanishes out of the blue and Nino gets depressed. Fortunately she meets a boy named Yuzuriha who starts writing music for her. Perhaps if she sings loud enough she will be able to reach Momo some day. Unfortunately one day Yuzuriha vanishes as well so Nino gets depressed all over again.

Fast forward a bunch of years and Nino is now a teenager who always wears a face mask since it contains her need to scream. She has been psychologically scarred by her childhood at this point and so that’s her last safety measure. At her new high school there is a music club so naturally she intends on joining. It turns out that this group is also the secret metal band that has been taking the world by storm. Nino will need a disguise as well and shall be called Alice while performing.

Both of her old friends have really come a long way over the years. Momo is a super successful music writer who works with another band and is acknowledged as a prodigy considering that he’s also still in High School. He no longer wants anything to do with Nino though and treats her quite harshly. Then you have Yuzuriha who also tries avoiding Nino but to no avail as they attend some of the same classes and are in the same club. Nino needs to find out why they are avoiding her and in the meantime she will have to improve her singing voice. Ultimately that is how she will reach the top. She wants Momo to be with her but is it possible that she may like Yuzuriha as well?

The classic love triangle is a plot as old as time. Momo is the mean guy who’s always insulting Nino and yet you know that he has a great chance of winning in the end as a result. Then you have Yuzuriha who is the nice guy in comparison and who gets to spend the most time with Nino. As a result you feel like he is doomed from the start. Who knows maybe the series will surprise you in the end with who Nino chooses….

As a main character I would say Nino is decent. One part of her character that is fairly unique is how she completely ignores the other characters even when they’re talking to her. Deflecting is her chief conversation tactic so if things are starting to get serious she’ll bring up some nonsense to throw the conversation to the side. While you may think this is coincidental, I think it’s far too exaggerated for this to be anything but intentional. Nino knows exactly what she is doing the whole time.

She gets quite a bit of character development as the series goes on. For starters, while she always had a lot of volume, her actual singing ability wasn’t all that great until we got to near the end of the series. She had to approve a lot with different coaches but always put in the work. Where she falters though is in the romance. You really need to be decisive in this kind of thing. Can’t have two guys fighting over you forever. While she does make a choice at the end of the series, it feels like both guys are in the mix for way too long.

She has moments and affairs with both of them at times and while Momo is the only guy she’s ever serious about, she is never fast enough to stop Yuzuriha when he makes a move. He manages to get her while her guard is down several times and it’ll just make you shake your head. Nino always does her best to try and act normal afterwards but she really should have shut the guy down a lot earlier. It’s something that deducts points from all 3 characters throughout the series. It’s one of the reasons why some of the supporting characters tend to be the real hype members.

As for Yuzuriha, well you’ve already heard why I don’t like that guy. The ole Shojo trope of stealing a kiss from the heroine and playing it off like it’s no big deal definitely doesn’t work. He pulls this several times even when he knows that Nino already likes someone else. Sure, you can keep trying to win someone over until they actually start dating someone else but it’s got to be with good discussions, not with just making a move like that.

Yuzuriha also handled their initial reunion rather poorly. I don’t think he or Momo had good reasons for avoiding Nino and being so antagonistic at first. Yuzuriha has an extended plot with his mother as well which at least gives him something to do besides chasing after Nino. Their father died in a crash a long time ago but his mother never truly accepted that fact. So the home situation is a little rough and they’re still trying to battle through that. It’s a pretty serious plot to be sure.

Then you have Momo who is basically an antagonist most of the time. He goes really far with insulting Nino as well as her music. There’s no way to actually sympathize with the guy even after we learn his origin. He also has a situation with his mother but in this case she doesn’t oppose music the way that Yuzuriha’s does. She enjoys it because she wants the money. Basically she uses Momo as her piggy bank to get rich. This doesn’t really cover the Nino aspect though. Effectively Momo wanted to keep her at a distance so his Mom wouldn’t try anything but that always seemed like an overreaction at best.

Momo is also quite successful in his own right and is supposed to be some kind of genius. If he really wanted to then he definitely could have found a way to talk with Nino and explain things. He also chooses the worst possible moments to throw big twists at her like a certain break up scene during the concert. His rivalry with Yuzuriha with Nino thrown in the middle can be a bit much as well.

They fight over her throughout as they keep bragging that they will be the one to claim her voice. It’s certainly a unique dynamic as they both want her to only sing for them. It’s different than the usual fights you would have for the heroine but at the same time I wouldn’t say it puts either one of them in a positive light. I should say this isn’t in a literal sense as they still want her to do concerts and such but they want her to only think of them during the songs. That’s a rather tough order to fulfill though.

Technically the three characters are actually friendly with each other at times by the middle-end of the series but you can never think of it as a true friendship. How can it be when both characters have already told Nino that they don’t see her as a friend? As a result they are quite envious of each other as well so it ends up being more toxic than anything.

Miou is one of the main supporting characters and while her role was greatly diminished in the show, she does a whole lot in the manga. She originally liked Yuzuriha but of course that didn’t quite work out so well for her. Miou ends up rebounding with Haruyoshi with the added twist being that they both acknowledge this is a rebound. Haruyoshi is just confident that he can eventually get her to like him for real.

So they go along with this as an experiment but despite Haruyoshi’s tough talk he is soon not satisfied with being the rebound which causes him to be upset a lot. I didn’t care for his character in the end. He likes goofing off and messing with Miou a lot while hiding his true feelings inside. The guy is often a lot more serious than he appears but the contrast just didn’t work for him. I may have liked him more if he had more patience with Miou but considering that they both knew the terms of the deal, I didn’t think he was very consistent.

Back to Miou, one aspect of her character that was particularly strong is how she would tutor and assist Nino throughout the series despite knowing that Nino was effectively taking over her spot on the team and even stealing her man. It proved that Miou was really a good person as not many people would have been able to do that. She always took the high road and had a very consistent character arc. I wasn’t on board with the rebound plot at all to be honest but at least she was someone you could root for.

Kuro is another member of the band but he definitely has the worst plot out of the whole group. So basically he and his brother both liked the same girl back in the day. Kuro was slow to make his move though so his brother confessed and they got married. Fine, good show. Well played by the bro. Kuro should now move on since the girl is no longer an option right? Wrong and that’s the cringe part. Kuro still likes her and even asks her out at one point and confesses his feelings.

That’s a big no no. One of the most basic rules of romance is that as soon as someone is married that’s game over. Honestly, even while dating that person should be off your radar but even more so when marriage has occurred. This was easily the worst romance in the entire series and I couldn’t wait for it to be gone. Of course that inevitably means it had to be replaced with a rebound story arc.

A new girl joins the band near the very end of the series who ends up liking Kuro. It’s certainly convenient for the guy since he needed a rebound at this point. She doesn’t have a lot of character beyond just being added in to finish the romance plots. Her personality is that she tends to play things very cool and not show much emotion but bottling it in like that ends up hurting her on quite a few occasions. A running theme in the series is definitely not to hold everything in and to cry as needed otherwise the characters always end up breaking down.

There are also two adult characters who get a decent sized role here. First is Yana who is the manager for the main band. He’s definitely very good at his job and is always busy booking lots of different gigs for the heroes. Without him they would definitely be quite lost. He’s also got a competitive streak against him and always responds when Momo’s team challenges him. Then you have Kuze who effectively has the same role for Momo’s team. She’s always ready to psychoanalyze him and stay one step ahead of Momo. She’s the only one who consistently flusters him because everyone else is too scared of the guy to talk tough.

There are a few side characters as well like a group of up and coming music stars who also get involved. They made for decent rivals even if I wouldn’t say I was a huge fan of them. We did have a fun duel between Nino and one of the singers near the end of the series as she tries to keep up with them in a pretty meta battle about proving that she could sing with the best. She has the volume for it but this is in more of a tempo sense. She can’t just sing loud but has to be able to create an opening and take the lead.

Anonymous Noise definitely treats its music very seriously. It was fun to hear the actual songs in the anime while of course the manga is limited by trying to visually show what it would sound like. You can picture the metal aspect though based on the costumes and how her voice is always supposed to be eat splitting. Quite a few times her voice ends up breaking down so she is simply shouting into the audience but the fans seem to love this so it works out.

Now while the series is very serious, I should mention there can still be light hearted moments and some humor now and again. These scenes are just easy to forget with all the drama going on but this is still a light hearted series at its core. The main characters laugh a lot and get to really enjoy their youth. They make the most of their experiences abroad with the singing careers and even develop solid bonds with each other. By the end of the series everyone is really on good terms with each other.

The series probably could have just lost a few volumes in order to cut out some of the extra drama though. Some characters seem to go back and forth a whole lot before settling down so you could easily cut out a few of the fake outs and that would get things to the point quicker. A certain break up involving the main heroine always comes to mind since it still feels like that was completely unnecessary. So the weakest element in the series is the romance itself.

Now you may be wondering, was this a good series overall though? I would still say yes, the writing is on point and you are engaged with what is going on. While I wasn’t on board with the romance, it also wasn’t bad enough where I would deduct serious points away or anything like that. Kuro’s plot is the only one that would be enough to shave a star off because that was just crazy. You’ll still be blasting through each volume as you arrive at the end of the series. The competitions are always a blast and if anything you wish we could have had more of those. Battle of the Bands is always worth the wait. So in the end, Anonymous Noise is a journey that is worth experiencing. It isn’t the best Shojo or anything like that but it holds its own.

The artwork is also pretty solid. The artist is good at giving everyone a lot of expressions and from letting the characters look too similar. The only time it can be hard to recognize the characters is when they’re in the disguises since a lot of those look so similar. It’s part of the point of having the disguises in the first place though so I’ll cut the series some slack there. I would say the art does the job.

Overall, Anonymous Noise is a good series that gets bogged down by some unnecessary plot lines. We really didn’t need nearly as many romances as what we got. There were rebounds all around so I wouldn’t trust any of the characters. You would never know if you were the first choice or just the runner up. Just about every character in the series had to settle for their second option which is not a very satisfying place to be in. I will say that the final pages of the series were solid though. At least one character dynamic was really solid there and it’s the kind of closing relationship I’d like to see more of in these titles.

Overall 6/10