0 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

September Review


It’s time to look at one of those films that is pretty terrible. The very premise should clue you in to this though so at least it won’t come as any surprise. The whole plot basically revolves around cheating with none of the characters being strong enough to leave the house. That would have been the best way to avoid the drama. It drags on and on so by the time you walk out of the theater (Or more realistically walking out of the TV room since nobody is seeing this in theaters right now) you’ll just be ready for a good meal and to act as if the film never happened.

The film starts with Lane and her friend Stephanie meeting up at Lane’s place. For some reason I thought they were sisters, but they’re just best friends. They’re joined by Lane’s parents Diane and Lloyd as well as a guy named Howard and Lane’s boyfriend Peter. Having this many people around the house definitely ensures that there will be drama, but things get a little worse than that. Peter decides that he wants to start going out with Stephanie even though she is currently married. Howard wants to be with Lane, but that plot is so pointless that the film doesn’t care about it either so it gets almost no screen time. Meanwhile Diane just wants to have her book written but everyone is too selfish to help her out with it. What cane Lane do about all of this?

Whenever a movie is all about cheating it’s just not going to be good. The whole premise is pretty mean spirited and none of the characters are good. Stephanie is pretty guilty for even giving Peter a moment of her time. She claims that she was trying to get him to notice her for a while so she started the whole thing even though she’s married. That’s already a pretty big strike against her character. There are some things you just don’t do and trying to have an affair once you are taken is a big one. She also gets pretty defensive at Lane afterwards for this even though she is the one in the wrong. It’s a common reaction and one that doesn’t help her case.

Meanwhile we have Peter who is also terrible. Whether he was encouraged or not it doesn’t change the fact that he knows Stephanie already has a man as well. He is also quick to ditch Lane and blames it on being overly emotional. That’s not even remotely a good excuse and short of being mind controlled I can’t think of any that would have saved him either way. The guy is just quick to use people.

Then there is Lane and she’s not a good lead either. For starters she is never around and doesn’t try to confront Peter all that much. She’s too cautious and keeps her emotions grounded which doesn’t let her face up to what is happening right under her nose. She doesn’t handle any of the situations in the film well. Her hand in life is definitely a tough one here since nothing goes her way, but it would have been nice if she could have done something earlier.

Diane is the most enjoyable character in the film although she still makes mistakes of her own. Her decision to move back into the house when Lane was going to sell it was pretty selfish. It was probably the only time in the film where she appeared to be super unreasonable. Her decision to have a book made isn’t quite so bad because it is still her life. At the end of the day if she wants her story to be told then I don’t really think the other characters can object all that much. Also lets face it, Peter wasn’t going to finish his novel anyway.

Then there’s Howard, but there’s still nothing to say about him. He is pointless in the film as his plot gets the least amount of screen time and it doesn’t amount to anything. He’s way too old for anyone to be going with him here and he seems to realize that as he just walks out pretty silently. If the other characters could have just walked out like that rather than sticking around then maybe the film would have ended up with a happier ending. As it stands I can’t see the group getting together for a nice dinner anytime soon. The whole business probably left them pretty sore with each other.

Beyond the fact that the plot is lousy with a terrible cast of characters, the film is also pretty boring. It all takes place in one setting at the house so there is no variety. The plot is small enough for a 30 minute special so it has to be stretched out quite a lot with random plots to be a full movie. Nothing eventful happens here and you’d probably learn more just watching the news for a little while. The film makers weren’t able to succeed in getting any kind of emotion from the audience with the scenes found here. It’s all just darkly lit possibly in the hopes of saving on the budget.

Another part of the problem is really how half heartedly the characters resist making the wrong choices. If they were villains then at least you’d expect them to travel down these dark roads without remorse. By half heartedly saying that they won’t do this thing and then cheat a few minutes later it makes the characters look even worse. They couldn’t have been very serious if the situation would flip so suddenly. The only sympathetic characters here are the ones trying to buy the house and after the way they were treated I’d be surprised if they still wanted to make the sale.

Overall, September is definitely a pretty terrible film. Whenever the main characters are involved in an affair like this it’s just not going to go well. It’s a pretty big betrayal to say the least and with none of the characters getting a satisfying ending except possibly for Diane you can’t end the movie on a high note either. There’s nothing particularly positive about this film so I’d suggest staying as far away as possible. Hopefully if they make a film called October someday it will be a lot more impressive.

Overall 0/10

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

The Misadventures of Merlin Jones Review


Time to look at a fairly old film about how being too smart in just one field can backfire. A lot of times we see films about scientists who are smart at making things but then don’t really understand the consequences of their actions and the whole thing blows up in their face. Merlin is no exception to this as he makes a lot of dangerous assumptions which get him into trouble. It’s a pretty entertaining movie and I could see this being a fun show to watch if it were on TV.

There are effectively two storylines in the film which don’t really have anything to do with each other. The first one starts off with Merlin working on another experiment of his. He ends up zapping himself and now he has the ability to read people’s minds. It’s an incredible ability to have so long as people don’t know you have it. Naturally that means the very first thing he does is try to tell people. Things get serious when he finds out through this mind trick that the judge plans to steal some gems and then murder someone. Can Merlin stop this guy?

The second story has Merlin get hypnotized. He figures that this is a pretty good trick and decides to hypnotize a chimpanzee into being tougher. Things begin to escalate when the judge convinces Merlin to hypnotize him and commit a crime. It’s all well and good at first but since the judge doesn’t remember the crime and Merlin was found at the scene things aren’t looking good for the kid. He may be in some real trouble now.

So those are the two stories. They’re definitely interesting but ultimately I can’t put Merlin in a very positive light. The guy makes too many mistakes and both stories would have ended a lot sooner if he had just made the rational decisions. He should have kept listening to the mind before jumping the gun and for the hypnosis he should have added a fail safe. He just didn’t think things through all that well. Particularly in the first story I would argue that he was guilty of contempt of court with how many crimes he was committing.

Merlin plays dumb half the time, but he was definitely being pretty annoying the whole time. He is always talking back to the judge and jumps to conclusions a lot. The worst part is that it’s so easy to prove you’re reading someone’s mind. Just do it the way he convinced Jennifer, have the person think of something or pick a number and then say it. There isn’t really a way for someone to not believe when you do that. Then it’s a matter of waiting, he should have just waited it out a bit more with the judge. It’s good that he was able to control what thoughts he could hear later on though because the only drawback of telepathy is that you can go crazy if you start hearing everyone’s thoughts and can’t turn it off.

Jennifer was definitely a lot of fun though and a great heroine. She was always jumping to Merlin’s defense and would declare his innocence to the world. She was super trust worthy and someone who had Merlin’s back no matter what. Without her he would have been doomed many times. If anything Jennifer sometimes cuts him too much slack like when he blows off their date to work on some more science projects. It’s not like it was for a class or anything, he just skipped their date for no reason. I can also see why she was upset about him going to another girl in the second short. He was mind controlled, but he should have at least had some will power there.

The best character throughout both specials was the judge though. He tells it like it is and always has a commanding presence. He’s a very reasonable guy considering how crazy the town is. I also like the fact that he has a double identity as an author that he hides from the world. It adds a little more depth to the character. He’s not just a judge. Since he deals with Merlin and Jennifer a lot they do get away with more than the others, but the judge does realize that they are sometimes in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The writing here is pretty fun. The characters are enjoyable and the laid back atmosphere of the town works well for a title like this one. It’s not the most exciting or thrilling story around, but it’s enjoyable. The time goes by quickly. The film isn’t without its weaknesses though. For starters the whole hypnosis scenes are iffy. I still don’t buy into hypnosis on command like this. It works so quickly that you have to assume that the characters have 0 will power. It was also iffy of the teacher to give Merlin a command to kiss someone and with the character half heartedly saying to stop the whole thing was a mess. It single handily ensured that the first story was more enjoyable.

There’s also the plot with the chimp that wasn’t great. The chimp definitely didn’t want to be with the bully and so Merlin was right on that one. We don’t see anything beyond the bully being curt as usual which is good since that’s not a plot that the film would have really benefited from. I think this film should have really stuck to the first short. It’s just a lot stronger than the second one and had more substance to it. I suppose neither side was all that bad though.

Overall, Merlin Jones would have made for a fun TV show. I think there would have been a good audience for it and back in the day when I watched a lot of other Disney shows I would have tuned into this one. The writers would need to think of a lot of different inventions and gimmicks, but it would have been doable. As a film there is just less to do and by trying to fit two stories into one film it is less focused. Both stories really have nothing to do with each other so it only serves to break the flow. If you want a fun little film to check out then this is a good one to watch. It’s one of those movies that is just fun to watch and will entertain you all the way through. Just don’t go in expecting any big hype moments.

Overall 6/10

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

Fruits Basket Review


It’s time to look at the recent Fruits Basket anime. I read the manga many years ago when I was a kid and didn’t really like it all that much. I actually put it down as one of my least favorite Shojo series so it was good to see it in a fresh setting. I actually liked the show so maybe I would like the manga more on a re-read or the show is just directed that well. Either way it’s a title I can definitely recommend. It’s an emotional slice of life title that manages to hit different tones in different episodes, but is careful not to go too far into being tragic.

The show is centered around a girl named Tohru. After her Mom passed away she went to move in with her other relatives, but it wasn’t ideal and so now she lives in the forest. She is found by the popular boy at school (Yuki) and he convinces her to stay at his place instead of the forest. To be exact, it’s Shigure’s place and soon after another kid by the name of Kyo stays there as well. Kyo and Yuki are constantly fighting like cat and mouse (heh) so Tohru quickly becomes the most mature member in the household. Tohru has decided to always have a positive attitude and to do her best to help everyone else out in respect to her mother’s memory.

There are no shortages of situations for her to help out here as everyone in the school has issues. The 3 people she lives with all of things to deal with and then the rest of the family. See, in a larger scale look at the plot there is the Sohma family. They were hit with a curse where if anyone from the opposite gender makes contact with them they turn into an animal. It is from the Chinese Zodiac legend which may be real and of course Kyo is the Cat and Yuki is the mouse so now things make sense. In the legend the rat didn’t send the cat the invite so he was shunned for life. Of course that was ages ago so we’re likely dealing with descendants, but the wound is still fresh.

Tohru is definitely a great main character. I mean she is pretty much portrayed as the perfect heroine. She’s super nice, does well academically, and is always ready to lend a hand. Tohru imparts wisdom whenever she can and even stands by her friends when they literally lose their minds. If Tohru has any issues it is just that she is a little too oblivious when other people are being downright mean to her. It’s great that she turns the other cheek but at least acknowledging this or telling them to stop would be a good idea.

We don’t see Tohru’s Mom much since she dies prior to the series but she appears through flashbacks a few times. She also seems really good and I’m glad that she still knows how to fight even though she is retired. The flashback where she helps Arisa was handled really well since it’s implied that she basically took down an entire gang.

Yuki is one of the main guys so he naturally gets a lot of screen time. He has a tough time showing his emotions except for when he’s upset at Kyo. Gradually Tohru helps get him out of his shell. We haven’t really seen his true origin but there is a lot of foreshadowing for it. From the main 2 I do prefer Kyo, but Yuki is good. He does step in to help Tohru at times and I do believe he would be able to conquer his fears and help even if Akito was involved. I really hope so at least. Yuki still gets hit with fear and isn’t perfect, but he does his best.

Then there is Kyo who is always ready for a fight. I dare say that Yuki picks the fight most of the time but that isn’t always the case. Kyo always tends to lose the fight, but at least he is enthusiastic. Kyo is not great around people but does his best to communicate with Tohru. He’s come a very long way from the first episode to the last one. His character arc already feels pretty complete and that may help in why he is one of if not the best character in the show. He’s probably the only character to not be openly scared of Akito. While part of him wants to be in the main family, I do think this is an advantage of not being there.

Then we have Shigure, but I can’t get behind him. He’s always trolling his editor to the point where he basically puts her job at stake. Then there’s the fact that he flirts a lot and rarely takes things seriously. He may be the adult in the house, but there is a reason why I said that Tohru is the most responsible. Shigure will have a moment or two where he steps up but that’s about it. The show is hinting that he is planning some kind of big revenge on Akito and is pretending to be a friend for now. He claims that he will avenge everyone else, but he’s sure taking his sweet time. Shigure better do something before the tables turn on him, but that is one of the more interesting plots right now.

Arisa is one of Tohru’s friends. She used to be a juvenile delinquent who hanged out with gangs and was generally on a rough path. Her origin is a bit similar to Tohru’s mom in some respects and that’s also why Arisa always wanted to meet her. Arisa was less thrilled to meet Tohru but along the way Tohru got to show her how to properly adapt to school life. Arisa had a tough road, but now she’s in a good place and has a solid group of supporting friends. Arisa is a nice ally to have. While she may not be as entertaining as some of the Sohma characters she is definitely a good character.

Then you have Saki who is Tohru’s other best friend. She has psychic powers which is cool. Mainly she just uses them for comic relief scenes against bullies and there is actually a story reason for this. She gets a backstory where we learn that her abilities nearly ended Saki. Saki’s origin story was definitely one of the toughest ones in the series, maybe the toughest because everyone was against her. I was glad that she had supportive parents who were there for her at least. It’s a reverse of most situations where you have a friend on your side but the family isn’t. Saki is fairly laidback and quiet so she can’t hold her own episodes the way that others can, but as a side character she’s good.

Kagura is a very persistent character and that’s a good thing since otherwise she probably would get pretty hurt with how Kyo is always ignoring her. Deep down she likely realizes that he isn’t interested in her but will keep on trying until he meets someone else. She’s a good side character. I’m also glad that the show didn’t go down the road of making her jealous of Tohru. That always gets old pretty fast and them being friends is a much better development. Momiji is one of my least favorite characters in the show though. He can be pretty annoying with how oblivious he pretends to act. He trolls Kyo and Yuki about Tohru quite a lot. She may be too oblivious to really take notice but it doesn’t do wonders for his character. I’m not even really interested in learning more about his backstory, but maybe it’ll help to make him more likable. Right now he’s just quirky and not really in a good way.

Ayame is also fairly eccentric, but he handles himself well and with style. Ayame throws himself into every situation and you can admire how bold he is. Even in real life it’s always an admirable trait to be so confident. Nothing throws Ayame and even when everyone is hurling insults he keeps his cool. Ayame and Yuki may never properly bond the way he hoped they would because of how different their personalities are, but at least they won’t be as antagonistic as they used to be. Ayame is a handful, but not in a problematic way. I can’t point to anything he did in the show that was downright bad. Perhaps inconvenient for the others, but that’s about it.

Hatori is a character that I definitely had some problems with. For starters he is very submissive to Akito to the point where he allows the guy to wreck his life. Hatori is basically a yes man and even threatens Tohru into meeting him. We learn that he is a nice guy for the most part, but since he is so weak that is barely a consolation since you won’t be able to trust him when it counts. His origin story is sad, but it’s hard to feel any sympathy for him because of how terribly he handles it. He met someone and they were to be together, but then Akito decided that he didn’t like this and throws a fit. Instead of stopping him Hatori lets Akito claim the win and then even erases the girl’s memories. From there on Hatori lost the will to resist, but he never had it to begin with. If he won’t stand up to Akito there then he never will. The whole origin was just really annoying, especially since Akito is so sickly to begin with. How is he going to threaten Hatori and the guy just takes it? I don’t really have any respect for this character.

Hatsuharu is another one of the Sohma and his dual personality is definitely unique among the others. One half of him is very edgy and definitely wants to be close with Yuki. Then the other half is calmer and more polite in comparison. He can shift gears at any moment and as a result tends to get involved in a lot of fights. It’s nice to have another fighter on the team, but it makes it more and more odd why everyone is so scared of Akito. I’ll get into that more later on. Anyway Hatsuharu would be near the middle of the pack. He’s nowhere near the best members but he’s better than someone like Hatori.

Kisa is one of the younger members. She’s a nice enough kid although she hasn’t gotten much of a role yet. I’m not sure if that’ll change or not later on, but so far she’s off to a good start. The same can’t be said for Hiro. That guy’s real petty and a jerk to Tohru for no reason. She overlooks all of it because she’s so nice, but it doesn’t do him any favors. He seems to be over that now so things will be looking up for him, but he’ll have to work hard to fully get past that terrible intro. Then we have Kazuma who was Kyo’s instructor. This guy seems reasonable. He lives on a mountain probably so he can get away from the main family. Forcing Kyo to transform was definitely a pretty iffy strategy since that could have easily backfired and really made life terrible for Kyo. It worked out in the end I suppose, but it’s hard to see them being quite as close after that. Kazuma seems like Hatori, but with more self-confidence.

Then we have the main villain of the series, Akito. He gets a lot of hype throughout as everyone is scared of him. Everyone shudders at the thought of even meeting him and they all freeze in terror. The guy’s super sick though and needs constant attention or he’ll die. How is anyone scared of him? I think this goes more into cultural impact and the fact that the family is so old. Traditions are strong here and maybe everyone is afraid because he would ruin their reputation. Since everyone else is afraid it becomes circular logic where everyone is afraid because of everyone else. All one person needs to do is stand up to him though and then everyone else could. Maybe the next season will go more into depth on this.

Regardless, Akito isn’t a good villain. The guy just seems really petty and self centered the whole time. I’m sure he’ll have a sad origin, but he’s taking it out on everyone else which is never good. Everyone in this series has had a tough background and I mean almost literally everyone. That means it’ll be very hard for Akito to try and stand there with a straight face and explain why he has to be mean to everyone. I just won’t be able to buy that very easily. Seriously, someone just needs to stand up to this guy and then the rest will quickly fall into place.

At the end of the day Fruits Basket is really about moving on from your past. That’s the main theme of the show and Tohru helps the characters come to terms with it and move forward. The origins are all sad and dark in different ways which allows her to give many different kinds of advice. It’s definitely a moving series in that regard and that’s why it’s a fun watch. You should always feel pretty good upon finishing up the episode. It can get heavy at times as well so make sure you are prepared. It’s worth noting that the romance here isn’t terrible so far. I still don’t think any romance should ultimately happen here since Tohru is just too heroic and oblivious to get into that, but it does feel inevitable that it’ll happen soon. We’ll see how the show handles that.

It’s also just plain fun most of the time. The cast can handle themselves pretty well and that’s extremely important for a slice of life show. There aren’t going to be big action scenes here so the show has to hold its own with pure writing and fundamentals. The pacing is on point and the writing is good so it’s all set there. The animation is pretty good as well. I wouldn’t say it’s anything particularly special, but it all looks smooth and vibrant. Then you’ve got a reasonable soundtrack here as well. It may not be the most memorable, but it does get the job done.

Overall, Fruits Basket season 1 is a pretty good show. It’s the kind of all around title that you can easily recommend to someone who doesn’t really watch a lot of anime. That’s because it touches on a lot of themes that a live action show would with regard to the origin stories and characters trying to find reasons to keep on living or to re-experience what it’s like to enjoy their day to day existence. The show can get pretty sad, but there is always a happy ending. I can’t think of any episode that ended on a low note. It’s not a perfect show and I’d say that a drama will always be limited in how high it can ultimately reach. That being said, the execution is basically ideal and we’ll see if season 2 can match it. I don’t know if season 2 intends to cover the rest of the series but you can already see how not everyone can get their perfect ending here. Multiple characters are interested in each other so someone will have to take a back seat. I also better see more people stand up to Akito because that’s the one part of the series that makes no sense so far.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Magical Dancing Review


Time to check out a dancing crossover manga. It’s always fun to look at a crossover in any media and this is one of those series that I had not heard of before now. It’s not an action series so don’t go in expecting Kingdom Hearts, but it’s nice to see the Disney characters weighing in with their thoughts and tips. It’s a fun mini series and one that I would recommend.

The story follows a girl named Rin who wants to be a great dancer. She is in the same class as the legendary duet Kai and Yuna so Rin gets good inspiration during every class. Unfortunately her dancing abilities aren’t quite on their level yet which puts her in a bit of a bind. Yuna also doesn’t seem to like Rin one bit and even tells her to quit the club. Rin nearly does but then Tinker Bell shows up with a magic book. This book summons random Disney mascots to aid Boo in her time of need. Whenever she is in trouble these are friends that Rin can rely on. Will they be enough to get her atop the winning stage?

At only 2 volumes the series has to move quickly but I must say that it makes a world of difference to have 2 volumes over 1. The extra volume allows for more character development in each of the characters and we also get more Disney stars which is always good. It is a fun story and while it could have certainly gone for a few more volumes you don’t feel cheated out of its potential. I’d consider it to be a page turner. It’s not like it’s got an end of the world plot but the writing is just really solid which makes the experience all the more pleasant. The art is also quite solid which is important. The pages are all very clear and none of the characters are drawn too similarly so you won’t be mixing anyone up here. That is also absolutely critical since some series like to draw a bunch of people the same way and that can get tricky.

As for the characters, the main cast is pretty small, but solid. First you have Rin who is given a pretty tough time at school because she isn’t very good at dancing. She has a lot of enthusiasm, but no matter how much she practices Rin has just never been able to get the hang of the sport. Even Kai is fairly down on her and he’s supposed to be the nice guy. Yuna and the other girls are a lot harsher which is what leads Rin to the book. Rin does admittedly use the book as a crutch quite often in order to save the day, but it’s not like you can become a great dancer overnight. This allows her to buy some time as her skills improve organically. My main complaint with Rin is just that she lets things get to her too easily. She doesn’t really fight back against the other characters and gets walked on quite a bit. I like to think that by the end of the series she has gotten a little tougher though.

I would say that she is a little gullible, but in this case I have to blame the whole class. There is one moment when a bunch of bullies show up to talk some smack. The heroes fire back but then still listen to what the bullies have to say. Why would you do that? They all walked into that trap and I was surprised because literally the entire team was fooled. Fortunately Rin was there to save the day, but otherwise that would have been an embarrassing way to go.

Next up you have Kai who is a little odd. As mentioned, he doesn’t seem all that nice at first in the series but by the end he is very supportive of Rin. I guess he was probably trying to keep up his image, but I don’t know if that’s the best defense. He also makes you feel bad for Yuna because he acts totally oblivious to her and seems to be falling for Rin. Yuna being a bully lowers the sympathy levels, but either way Kai is in a tricky spot. He’s not the best main guy in a Shojo series, but he could have been worse. Then you have Yuna who is considerably better than the average bully character. That’s because she’s not super petty and doesn’t constantly try to sabotage Rin. She may not like the main character much, but Yuna does give her a fair shake. More importantly, Yuna doesn’t go back on her word so when Rin clears the challenges Yuna lets her on the team. Not saying that Yuna is heroic by the end or anything like that, but she’s a quality character.

Naturally we have the Disney characters as well. I was actually surprised at how Mickey acted when he showed up though because he basically just “Noped” out of there as soon as he appeared. Helping Rin out of a tight spot wasn’t really his goal and he always used to strike me as one of the heroic leads. From all of the guest stars he was probably the least helpful. Still, things always tend to work out when the guest stars show up, but some took a more active role in making sure this did happen than others. They also did help Rin learn to take it easy and not always get caught up in the heat of the moment. It’s good advice no matter what profession you’re in.

The ending is pretty open so it’s the kind of title that could easily get a sequel if the author feels like it. Otherwise you can easily imagine how it’ll all play out. If we did get a sequel then I imagine that the rivalry between Yuna and Rin would heat up. Honestly I would prefer that they just stay friends, but that does seem pretty unlikely. That just rarely happens in these kinds of stories even though they have a lot of similarities. So long as Kai exists there will definitely be some tension.


Overall, Magical Dancing is a title that I definitely recommend. There aren’t a ton of dancing titles out there so it’s always nice to have more options. The Disney characters showing up is a nice bonus, but it’s just that, a bonus. The series would have been able to stand up on its own even without them. After all, they are surprisingly the weakest part of the story. They’re fun, but whenever the Disney characters show up the plot has to temporarily come to a halt. Without them the team would have been doomed in the tournament so they were critical in getting Rin to her goal though.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Monster Tamer Girls Review


It’s time to look at a very obscure manga. I’d definitely not heard of this one before and as it was only 2 volumes it’s definitely not one that you will likely see in stores much. It’s definitely an interesting take on the monster genre. It’s sort of a mix between Yotsuba and Go Go Monster. While I can’t say that this manga was all that interesting there was certainly nothing wrong with it either. It’s a good way to spend some time, but at the end of the day it’s a manga I would recommend reading for free at the library as opposed to buying it.

The manga takes place in a world where Kaiju are now commonplace. They are numerous and run around across the planet. Fortunately they are all basically mindless but the bad side of this is that they cause trouble without meaning to. As a result the world has started opening up schools for kids to train on how to tame these creatures. The Tamers will take the Kaiju to safe spaces where they can relax without disturbing people. That’s the way it’s always been and how it must remain in order to build a stable society. The manga follows the adventures of 2 girls who are tamers in training. They’ll soon learn that this job is easier than it looks.

There’s not really much of a plot once you get beyond the initial synopsis which I dare say is a problem. So many cool things you can do with a Kaiju defense force! Most of the manga is introducing you to the cast and then by that point the series is basically over. There are several main humans, but only one main Kaiju who is around for the whole adventure. His name is Blue and he’s a huge Kaiju who just wants a friend. The Monster tamers are fortunate to have him as he helps give them a boost when needed. He definitely makes travelling a lot more convenient for sure.

There are 4 main characters with 2 supporting ones thrown in there. One of these characters is Koto. She is a professional but doesn’t care much for the monsters. She thinks they’re all mindless and the job seems to bore her, but by the end she learns that the monsters have a little heart at least. Then there is Sora who is the co-main character along with Ion. Sora likes messing around and hitting people with the water horse while Ion is just focused on being the best tamer she can be. Tsukiko is the quiet one who doesn’t like to admit that she likes the Kaiju. She has a reputation to uphold after all and she’s always been proud of it. Still, pride comes before a fall and eventually she learns to play nice with the monsters.

None of the characters are bad, however there isn’t much to any of them. They’re all just going through the motions and enjoying their daily adventures, but nothing really comes of this. They get some basic character development like Tsukiko learning to be more open, but that’s about it. There’s really no time for anything else. Length isn’t an issue as you can have a great series in 2 volumes, but I think this is one title that could have used a bit more time. As it stands it is over before you can properly identify with any of the characters and that’s a bit of a problem.

The art is pretty solid, but the problem that the artist has is how similar all of the characters look. It’s easy to mix up Sora and Ion as well as Koto and another one of the characters. Some characters share the same hairstyles and others share the same personalities. Their ages are all pretty close as well so after a while you’ll just find yourself mixing them up. I had to dig up one of the volumes just to remind myself of their names.

I think one thing that could have added some more interesting elements to the story would have been to have some actual monster action in the series. I don’t think that would be unreasonable as surely some of the monsters would try attacking the planet right? The series hints at this and develops a world that should have many interesting elements, but we are stuck at the school with the nice monsters the whole time. You’ll very quickly find yourself wishing to see the outside world. The closest thing we get to these discussions is one kick from Blue to another Kaiju, a flashback where there’s some kind of battle going on and a Kaiju saves someone from a burning window, and a ghost. Beyond that the series is mainly just the kids learning how to feed animals and have fun.

Overall, Monster Tamer Girls isn’t exactly for me. I dare say that Yotsuba has a little more depth and excitement contained within. You really need some sort of gimmick to take the manga to the next level. A slice of life series can live on for quite some time with a good character cast, but you need them to have real personalities. You don’t really get that vibe from this series and even the monster designs aren’t all that great. This doesn’t leave you with a whole lot of options and as a result I’ve got to give this one a middle grade. I wouldn’t say to stick away from it, but I would hardly recommend it either. It’s a manga where you’ll finish it and not have much of an opinion on it. The series isn’t hurting anyone, but you could always find something else to read.

Overall 5/10

1 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Pretty In Pink Review


It’s time to look at another one of those old school romance films. They haven’t been all that good so far and unfortunately this one doesn’t change the trend. The writing’s still bad and without any likable characters to back the film up it was doomed from the start. This is the kind of movie that will start to really drag on before you’re even halfway through the film. The movie needed some kind of angle to be entertaining and just couldn’t find it.

The movie starts with Duckie annoying Andie as usual. He’s always tagging around and making jokes, but Andie just wants to have a normal school life. One day she makes a fake love letter as part of a game but manages to drop it and a kid named Blane picks it up. Here’s the dilemma, Blane is one of the “cool” kids while Andie is part of the group that is always considered outcasts. As a result she is now ashamed, but then Blane shows up and decides they should be together. Can Andie risk believing him or is she going to get hurt once again?

Interestingly enough, I saw on Wikipedia that the film has an alternate ending which makes more sense than the one we got. Neither one is good to be honest, but at least it made narrative sense. There’s really no reason to root for Blane here because he’s a complete pushover. The guy isn’t very smart and doesn’t realize that bringing Andie to a house filled with rich kids wouldn’t be a good idea. Then by the end the mind games actually work on him and he basically deserts Andie in her time of need. Why would Andie give him the time of day after that?

The romance is handled very poorly here. On the other hand, there’s no reason for Andie to want to be with Ducky either. He’s always joking around and that’s why she has never taken him seriously before. His antics go pretty far at times like when he kept turning on the fire alarm at her job. She could have gotten in trouble for that if you think about it. Duckie also can’t be that serious since to make her jealous he gets together with someone else briefly and then possibly with a third person by the end. None of these characters seem mature enough to get into a serious relationship so that means there’s no way the romance can work.

Beyond that, as I mentioned the characters are not very likable. I’ve already explained for Duckie and Blane so what about Andie? Well, Andie is definitely the kind of character that everyone pushes around here. I think that considering what she knows of the cliques and school setting she should have been a lot more prepared for what ended up happening. She ends up taking everything pretty hard each time though. Then she also tends to snap at her father quite a bit even though he seemed to be doing his best for the film. He may not have been perfect, but I didn’t doubt that he was trying to find a job when she accused him of faking it. I don’t think the film tells you definitively if she was right or wrong, but it did seem to come out of nowhere.

The only reasonable character here is Andie’s friend from work. At least that girl was taking charge the whole time and never let things get to her. Too bad she wasn’t more of a main character since maybe she could have helped the film. Regardless it was probably too late to get a positive score though. Put it this way, 90% of the film is all about the dialogue since this is a slice of life, but the lines are all too cringy for this to work. I can’t think of any good scenes here. It may not go off the deep end the way a horror film would, but at the end of the day the film isn’t particularly entertaining and that is a problem that’s almost as big as just being bad.

It all goes back to the whole romance/drama vs romance/comedy films. If you’re going to do a good romance then typically throwing in some comedy helps. I don’t know if this film was supposed to be a comedy, but it definitely falls a lot more into the drama route. The film takes itself very seriously the whole time, but the situations aren’t realistic so it all ends up falling flat. Andie should have had Blane choose between her and his friends right from the start. Think about it, if you’re friends with someone who is constantly bullying the person you’re trying to spend time with then that doesn’t make any sense. You gotta choose sooner than later and since Blane was so indecisive and made the wrong choice as well, that should have been it. The ending just makes the film even worse because it also makes Andie look bad. Nobody walks out of this film with their rep intact except for the work friend.

Overall, Pretty in Pink is not a film that has aged well. I’d advise you to skip this one before you even start. If you like a classic school romance tale then I’d make the case that most of the sitcom shows would be able to do it better. They don’t take themselves as seriously and have whole seasons to give their characters development which naturally works a lot better. Pretty in Pink has to get these characters together, break em up, and get em together again in one film. There’s almost no way a film could pull that off even if everything was on point.

Overall 1/10

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

It Happened One Night Review


It’s time to look at an old romance comedy that I hadn’t heard of, but is apparently a pretty big deal. It’s definitely a fun film so it is a title where the reputation is certainly deserved. I’ve always said that the best romance films are the ones that are part comedy and this seems to reinforce that. The romance does still get a little dicey, but on the whole this is definitely a movie that I can recommend.

The film starts with Ellen having another argument with her father. He does not approve of the man that Ellen has chosen to marry. It’s hard to blame him as it sounds like she barely even knew the guy before they married. To clarify, they are already married although the father does not accept this. He has decided to take steps to annul the marriage and so Ellen decides to rebel by jumping off the ship. She is now determined to make it to New York where she can be safely united with her husband. Unfortunately this will be difficult since her father is so powerful that he controls the whole media as well as the police and a private task force. The only way she will be able to make it to New York in one piece is to team up with Peter.

Meanwhile, Peter is a reporter who hasn’t had a great string of lucky breaks lately. In fact, his luck has run out and he is fired. The guy gets drunk and decides to hop on a bus to put some distance between him and the old place. It just so happens that Ellen is on that bus. They bicker a bit, but before long he figures out her secret identity. Peter decides to help her get to New York in exchange for an exclusive story on her experience. Their personalities completely clash, but Peter is determined to make it all the way. Unfortunately, this sparks a forbidden romance between both characters and Peter must continuously remind himself that she is already married. No matter how their feelings may be, to do anything would be wrong so he must stay strong. Hopefully the film writers can control themselves here.

That does get to the heart of the issue here. No matter how much you may enjoy the romance here, Ellen is already married. That’s game set and match right there. It’s not like the Hallmark movies where it’s just a fiance. I mean, that’s still pretty dicey, but it hasn’t been set in stone yet. Here, she already made her choice so what if this is a “The grass is always greener” moment and she’s just running on instinct? How does Peter know this won’t happen again? Part of this goes back to the fact that she seemingly ran into King (the guy Ellen married) in a car and just decided to marry right away. This was partially to contest her father and so maybe her feelings for him were never all that deep. Throughout the movie Peter asks her several times why she likes King and Ellen evades the question every single time.

To their credit though, they don’t make a move until after the marriage has been annulled. At least that’s good so the cheating didn’t actually happen, but since it was premeditated that’s almost as bad. So I can’t get behind the romance. Honestly the film would have been amazing if they had stuck to being friends instead. It’s often been a debate on if two grown ups can manage to stay friends without wanting something more. If you listen to films then that’s basically impossible. It almost always leads to romance. Honestly, the only exception I can think of off the top of my head is Black Widow and Hawkeye who have a great bond but as allies and nothing more. Hawkeye went on to marry someone else and Widow is married to her job. Even that is different though as the films are usually ensemble casts. I’m talking about a 1 on 1 film like this one where the ending doesn’t suddenly lead into a romance. The romance here could have been worse, but I think this was a missed opportunity.

Ah well, both of them are solid leads. Ellen is definitely used to living the rich life so she needs some time to adapt, but she does manage to adapt right away. I was surprised at her eagerness to persevere and she didn’t really do any complaining. From the first scene you get the impression that she would be very spoiled, but I didn’t get that vibe during the actual adventure even if Peter says otherwise. After the initial good night’s sleep Ellen is almost like a completely different character as well. She’s super chipper and helpful throughout. I think she was just trying to make the best of it and if so that’s another credit to her character. There are some misunderstandings by the end of the film which lead to extra drama, but I’d actually place the blame on that with Peter and not Ellen.

As for Peter, he’s pretty solid but not as good as Ellen. For the positives, he’s always ready with the banter and has a lot of confidence. His first scene may even be his best one. His remarks are always pretty humorous and while he tries to keep up a tough act he is always looking out for Ellen. It’s not as if he likes her from the start either so at first he’s just being a nice guy in general. Where he weakens is once he actually starts to like her. He has some sudden outbursts, one of which was particularly out of line where he threatened her life. Even if he never actually meant it, it’s not something you can take back so easily. He’s a bit too controlling at times and so Peter definitely has a lot more weaknesses than Ellen does.

We’re also never given any reason to root against King so for all we know he might be the better character. The film hints that he isn’t super attracted to Ellen but it’s said by her father who has a grudge against the guy. There are no impartial accounts for him so it’s hardly a level playing field. Peter is also 100% responsible for the last misunderstanding they have as a simple note or something would have solved the whole issue. Honestly, he probably should have taken her along for where he was going or told her the plan up front. He was just being overconfident at that point as she hadn’t even said “Yes” yet as he hadn’t asked a question at that point.

The writing is solid as expected here. I’ve said it many times and I’ll probably say it many more times in the future, but I really like how the characters used to talk back in these olden days. Everyone is so professional and formal in their day to day language. It makes the whole experience more sophisticated. Aside from the main two I also liked the supporting characters. You’ve got the fast talking blackmail guy, the train officer who always likes talking back to the others, you’ve got Peter’s boss, and more. Even the cab driver who turned out to be a bit shady was fun. It’s just a colorful cast of characters.

Now, the film is quite long so there are a few pacing issues here that you might not see in the average film from back in the day. In particular the second half starts to drag on a bit. I much prefer the opening half before the characters have really bonded as it leads to a lot of the film’s main humor. Once they are getting along then we head into more drama territory with the misunderstandings and such. I think the last one could have been avoided as it’ll just make you feel bad for King if anything. The way in which things end for him is definitely last second. You know how the film is going to end as soon as it begins so nothing is particularly surprising, but I think speeding things along a little more probably would have been a good idea.

Overall, It Happened One Night is a pretty solid film. I do think it stretches on a little too long with some scenes being longer than necessary, but at its core it’s a movie with a solid premise and execution. The characters are written well and it won’t fail to keep your attention as it goes on. The romance holds it back to a degree, but it’s definitely handled a lot better than I imagine it would be in a more modern title. If you like rom-com films then this is a pretty good one to check out. There really aren’t any big negatives here so you’re in for a fun time.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movies

One Foot In Heaven


It’s time for a bio pic. It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of these and what better time than around Easter? This movie follows a man named William Spence who was close to becoming a doctor but at the very end he decided instead to become a pastor. He had been at a particularly moving Church service which caused him to have this turning point in his life. His bride to be Hope decided to support him in this although her parents were not thrilled. From there point of view he threw away what would have been a handsome salary for a position where he will be making pennies. Still, William’s mind is made up and so he heads to his first Church. Unfortunately he is about to meet with some unexpected opposition.

While the core values of Christianity have not changed nor will they, this film does show how differently you were expected to act back in the day. One such thing was that you were not allowed to play on the Sabbath. William made sure his kids just played Bible memorization all day on that day every week. They weren’t allowed to watch movies at all and could barely play with the others. William also allowed himself to be walked on by the members of the congregation for pretty much the entire film except at the end when they start attacking his son. At that point he mentions that he goes from being a pastor to a parent. So…one implication is also that if they had been attacking him he may not have fought back.

That’s where his character needed a little more nuance. It’s certainly not true that being a Christian means you have to be a pushover. Standing up for yourself is not breaking any commandments nor is it a sin. When the locals start bullying Hope and bring her to tears, William does nothing and just tells Hope that they mustn’t do anything to rock the boat. Even though it’s their house, Hope has absolutely no power within it which makes no sense. If she wants to move something she should be able too. Then the heads keep pushing William and Hope to different states where the houses are in worse and worse condition each time. The film also makes the congregation look terrible as most of them turn out to be the meanest characters in the film.

It’s not necessarily inaccurate as you will find those kind of people in any institution, church or not. Still, it would have been nice if William had more people he could count on. The only one who was nice to him was ironically the Doctor who wasn’t a Christian but got converted off screen during one of the time skips. Then William also does some pretty petty things like changing the name of their child even though Hope had really wanted a different one. Worst part of this is that he gave his word that he would be okay with hers and at the last second switched it when she didn’t have a chance to fight back. Hope just lives with this, but it just wasn’t a nice thing to do.

So at times the film could be pretty mean spirited. Even the ending is pretty iffy as William decides to move on again. Hope has a point that this tends to happen a lot and then they’re taken advantage of. If you’re going to be a travelling pastor then of course you’ll have to deal with a lot of trials, but it’s not unreasonable to at least be able to walk with pride and all. Having to tip toe around each community is pretty dicey. Still, his overall goal was sound so I can support that.

It’s a well meaning film for sure and it does take a lot of guts and courage to throw away all you’ve got to help someone else out. The film also does throw in some humor and the writing is solid. The film is well paced so it doesn’t drag out and the main cast is solid enough to hold the film. The best character certainly is the doctor. Without him I think William and Hope would have certainly be doomed. He gives them a voice of reason and also has the expertise that they really needed to go on with their plans. William brings the passion while the doctor brings the logic.

Overall, One Foot In Heaven is a solid film. I don’t agree with most of William’s decisions in the film, but at least his journey was a righteous one. You’ll definitely feel bad for Hope and the kids, but they do their best with what they have. One nice thing is that the kids don’t spend most of the film complaining the way you see them do in many other films. Typically the kids are super annoying while these were more tolerable. It’s a good film to watch if you want to take a look into how hard it was to be a pastor back in the days as well as realizing that it is still very difficult in the modern day. It’s not a dream profession if you’re thinking financially but at the same time it’s a very fulfilling one.

1 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Sixteen Candles Review


It’s time to look at one of those films that tries to do a lot of things and ends up not doing any of them well. The humor’s all a miss, the characters are weak, and the plot isn’t particularly interesting. That’s not a mix of elements that you want to have in your film and yet here we are. I’m afraid that this is a film that you will want to avoid, but it does remind you how rowdy school can get.

The film starts off by introducing us to Sam. She is ready to celebrate her 16th birthday, but unfortunate it has been completely overshadowed by the family wedding happening the next day. As a result nobody even remembered that it was such a big day for her. No worries though, the audience won’t forget because she whines about it for the duration of the movie. Sam runs off to school where she embarrasses herself by filling out a risky note and by mistake giving it to Jake. Sam then decides to at least go to the school dance, but this may not actually work out in her favor.

There’s not really anything good about this film and that’s always pretty unfortunate. Right from the start there’s quite a bit of language and so you can tell that the writing was not particularly good. It’s used as a crutch for the humor and the humor isn’t any good either. That’s already a pretty big strike against the film. Slice of life comedies/drama titles really depend on the writing to be good since otherwise there isn’t any other hook that the film brings to the table.

Then you’ve also got the annoying characters which doesn’t help matters. Samantha spends most of the film complaining and digging herself into bigger and bigger trouble as the film goes on. She seems a bit shallow as she only likes Jake for his looks. She literally knows nothing else about him. Then while she does fend off the advances of Ted for the most part, she doesn’t escape the interaction with her dignity intact.

The rest of the side characters are no better. Ted is definitely an awful character. He’s overly pushy and also isn’t afraid to take advantage of someone who isn’t in their right frame of mind. Any scene with him just drags on and on with no end in sight. Then you’ve got Jake who is the main guy. He’s not much better than the others as he basically gets ready to cheat on his current girlfriend. He is ready to move on from her as soon as the next person is available so he is hardly a very sincere guy. Hopefully Sam is ready for when things don’t go well.

There’s also a comedic subplot about the wedding going on, but there’s nothing funny about it. It’s all super exaggerated and a little on the gross side as well. The film tries to make both families look pretty bad throughout the exchange to the point where you are no longer sure if there is anyone to root for. It’s also definitely a little odd that the families didn’t meet until the day before the wedding or how the groom and bride didn’t know much about each other. I guess it’s convenient this way though.

Naturally there is a ton of romance here even if almost none of it appears to be genuine between the characters. It’s just everyone trying to increase their social standing by getting together with someone. It’s seen as a badge of honor in this film’s community and naturally that raises even more questions. Or it would if you actually cared about the film by that point. Most likely you will already have checked out by now. There isn’t anything to hold your interest here. You’ll just be waiting for the film to wrap its run time up so the disaster will have ended. I forgot what score I gave the breakfast club, but this one is definitely around that film’s level. In a lot of ways both films are pretty similar.

I suppose the only thing that works for the film is the crazy array of sound effects and strings of music. I figured it was just the channel trolling, but the movie decides to be bold with a lot of sudden sound effects everywhere. Characters constantly react literally (Like when a light bulb effect plays after a thought) and we even get some horror music. This part actually works a bit at least. If anything it’s a shame that the sound guy probably worked harder on the film than the rest of the staff.

Overall, I’d recommend staying away from Sixteen Candles. You’ll be cringing hard almost from the start of the film. I’d say that the premise was good, but it really wasn’t and the execution definitely didn’t do anything to help improve that film. Just stay far away from this film and you should be fine. If you want to watch a funnier film that still has some drama involved, I’d recommend checking out Groundhog Day. At least that one has a bunch of jokes that land and a time travel plot that holds up today.

Overall 1/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Spring Breakdown Review


It’s time to look at the next big Equestria Girls special. One of the big things here was that the gang was finally going to head to Ponyville. Unfortunately this only happens for a few minutes so if you’re here for the crossover aspect then you probably won’t be too satisfied. It’s a solid adventure overall though and continues to show why Equestria Girls has been a solid spinoff. We don’t get any real fights here unfortunately but maybe next time.

The special starts with the gang going on a cruise to celebrate Spring Break. Twilight Sparkle is determined to make it a success, but unfortunately Rainbow Dash is making this difficult as she keeps looking for magical threats to stop. She believes that the main characters are destined to be fighting enemies forever, but the others don’t share this sentiment. Their patience grows thin as Rainbow keeps getting everyone in trouble and their vacation may be ruined at this rate. Still, what if Rainbow Dash is right and there is a threat over the horizon?

That’s the basic synopsis and as the special isn’t all that long you can pretty much glean all of the plot from this. Rainbow Dash’s antics are exaggerated a bit in order to move the plot. Still, I would say that she is the best character here aside from Sunset Shimmer. (Who is always the best anyway) Rainbow at least tries to prove that she is right and heads off for danger by her lonesome. She didn’t need to be so pushy, but at the end of the day that’s just her nature. You’ll feel bad for Twilight Sparkle here though since she’s trying her best to make this a success and it just isn’t working. She’s fairly low on confidence as it is so these events didn’t help.

Fortunately for everyone on board, Sunset Shimmer is on the case. She still isn’t afraid to tell it like it is and even Rainbow Dash gets her feelings hurt by Sunset’s direct nature. Sunset does take Twilight’s side initially but once the tables turn she is quick to help Rainbow out as well. She’s really the team leader here and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Her only dicey leadership move is when the gang heads to Ponyville and they chat with Princess Sparkle. Surely she would have remembered that the rest of the crew were still in danger right? This part is used for humor as the Mane 6 are panicking without their leader and the ship is sinking. It does further reinforce the point of how they’ve become so relient on Sunset to solve all of their problems. I could definitely see that being a plot for a special at some point down the line.

I will admit that Princess Sparkle doesn’t look so good here. As per usual she panics quite a bit even if it isn’t very warranted. Sure, the Storm King was kind of impressive for 5 minutes when he first appeared, but it’s just his leftover magic striking the ship. Since he isn’t there in person it’s hard to say that the gang was in serious trouble. If worst came to worst they could use their powers to do something. At least Rarity’s abilities would come in handy here since she can reflect things. Once they got to the island then they would have a bunch of other options.

For the other subplots, Rarity’s romance one is basically played for laughs so it wasn’t all that bad. Pinkie Pie trying to get her cake doesn’t work so well because she should have been able to snag it. I could do without Applejack getting sick since that tends to get old pretty quick. Fluttershy definitely has a rough time of it since the animals get scared off by Rainbow. It’s easy to see why they all got upset at Dash by the end. The only person Rainbow didn’t mess with was Sunset and you can probably guess why. Nobody messes with SS unless they want to get hurt. All of the plots were pretty entertaining. I could have used a bit more action, but no parts dragged on or anything so I’ll give the special some kudos there.

I think what would have taken this special to the next level would have been to have had Ponyville get more of a role. I’m still waiting for the big crossover battle where the Mane 6 take on the Mane 6 + Sunset. That would make for a fun special. Alas, with this generation coming to a close it is looking less and less likely. I suppose by having Rainbow Dash be obsessed with combat here it was the writers’ way of reminding us that we shouldn’t always go in expecting fights and such. We can dream though.

As always the animation is pretty solid. I can’t say that flash is the best style out there, but if you gotta go with flash then it’s not all that bad. At the very least the animations are always pretty smooth and easy to follow. It doesn’t really lend itself for fight scenes quite as well, but with none in sight here that isn’t exactly an issue. We only really get one song here, but it’s definitely a pretty solid one. It was nostalgic to see the group get back together as a band here.

Overall, Spring Breakdown is a solid special. It’s not nearly as ambitious as the movies, but does achieve what it set out to do with this special. It’s just a good excuse to see the gang again and watch them go on a trip. There may not be a whole lot of danger for the team to overcome, but the writing is on point and the special doesn’t really do anything wrong. I have no complaints so the special definitely ends up being pretty solid. I’d recommend it to all MLP fans as this could be one of the last times they ever get to see the Equestria Girls star in a special.

Overall 7/10