The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini Review

The Ghost Bikini definitely takes the beach series in a fresh new direction. I can safely say that this is a good thing because the beach environment got stale the instant it was introduced. This film actually manages to stay classy for the most part. We still do have some random party moments but you can’t really compare it to the last few films. It’s not all there yet, but this movie makes some real progress.

The film starts off with a ghost heading over to a coffin and waking the inhabitant up. It’s a tragic day for him since the ghost who was his friend died young while he died as a senior. The only way they can live together in the afterlife at the same age will be if he can perform one good deed. The issue is that the guy can’t actually leave the room so he has to trust Cecily to carry out the deed for him. Fortunately the crew (aka, the beach gang) are heading over to his house for some reason. A bunch of other people will also be there including the lawyer Ripper who has to read the will to a select group in order to claim the money. He enlists the help of a bunch of villains in order to destroy the competition so he can take all of the money. It’s a very ambitious plan and while this may sound bold, I think Ripper may be able to claw out a win here.

I would definitely say that this is the best of the beach movies. Mainly this is because the beach itself doesn’t actually get to show up this time. At most the kids quickly run to the pool and that scene isn’t too long. The opening is actually like something out of a horror film as the two suspicious characters make their plans amidst a lot of spooky music. Since most of these films had horrible beginnings this was a welcome surprise. Naturally this was thrown out the window once the beach characters showed up to bring along all of the baggage that comes with such a setting. It never gets quite as bad as in the previous films which is why this film’s score is a little higher, but it still makes enough mistakes to keep it from being negative.

For starters, the film seemed to grow bored of its own plot and so it kept on adding a bunch of new ones. None of the plots are ever focused on in a satisfactory way at all so in the end you are left feeling betrayed by the movie. For example, what even was the good dead of the spirit? Okay, he’s stopping his lawyer from cheating on his will, but that directly benefits himself and shouldn’t count. He has fun watching the characters get scared and fall into his traps, but he doesn’t do anything beyond that. The whole plot felt absolutely directionless. Also, from the start Cecily is subtly mocking the old man and seems to have a sinister plan up her sleeve. Well, the ending arrives and the rather predictable twist occurs, but it felt like a rather underwhelming climax to what was a very long build up. It’s also worth noting that while Cecily appears quite a lot, she doesn’t actually do anything. Take her away from the film and very little changes. She mainly just gives people subliminal messages.

It seems like she can interact with both inanimate objects and people so Cecily could probably have done a little more here. It’s the kind of film where it seems like the writers wanted to incorporate the title into their film somehow, but didn’t actually think about it until the end. The whole ghosts angle ultimately just felt like a really big waste. Then we’ve got Ripper and his gang. He has quite a few henchmen. So many in fact that half of them never really get to do anything. Ripper is the only competent member of the group as he actually does stab someone and the film hints that the victim stayed dead. Ripper basically has to do everything himself so it is easy to feel bad for the poor guy. From his minions Sinistra gets the biggest role so it is safe to say that she looks the worst. She can’t see without her glasses and always tends to lose them. As a result she ends up murdering statues instead of the kid she was supposed to bump off. It’s a shame since she would have succeeded in her mission otherwise.

Speaking of which, the teenager subplot didn’t actually become much of a focus for a while ad just went into the same old directions. Surprisingly they didn’t pull a “Let’s make him/her jealous” angle or anything like that, but it still happened in a way as the main guy (Well, there are 2 leads here. The one with the inheritance and the son/nephew. Both get comparable amounts of screen time so you can really choose who the lead is.) goes for Sinistra over the girl he was already with just because she looked nice. Honestly, there is absolutely no sense of loyalty in any of these beach movies. The film barely even has time to touch on any of this stuff since it turns into more of an Abbott and Costello kind of dynamic as the ghosts keep picking on one of them while the other doesn’t notice. The ghosts were definitely having quite a bit of fun in this film and why not right? They have to do something to amuse themselves.

Then we also have Eric Von Zipper and his cronies in the final main plot. (At least the final one worth mentioning. We also have the heroine sulking in the pajama party segment where we get a song or two, but there’s not much point to that plot) Basically they want to get rich quick so breaking into the mansion just makes sense. They fight with a lot of the mechanical puppets and even end up face to face with a large gorilla. That part was rather random but definitely interesting I guess. It was like having a mini Kaiju show up in the film. Eric Von Zipper and the gang are basically the same as always so you’ll know right away if you like the characters or not. At the very least they keep everyone honest.

Overall, This film is definitely a very confused one. It’s not exactly sure what it wants to do with itself and that can be rather tragic at times. There is a whole lot of potential here and the movie just squanders it all. The characters are rather weak and you can’t say much for the story either. While parts of the film can be fun, it’s just not enough to carry the whole thing. If you find that you have to watch a beach movie of sorts at some point then I’d recommend this one. Otherwise I’d say it is in your best interests to just skip this movie. It’s a decent supernatural comedy but you can find better ones on the market.

Overall 4/10

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron Review

I remember hearing about how Spirit was the “King of his herd” a while back on the blog and this film had been hyped up for quite a while. I can see why people enjoyed this film so much. It’s a pleasant enough movie and while the silence caught me off guard for a second, I quickly adjusted to what was happening. The film handled the plots pretty well and it’s a title that I can recommend to all viewers.

Spirit grew up in a nice crew of horses and grew up to be a strong stallion. He became the leader of the pack and protected it from wild cats and all other threats. Unfortunately, that’s when the settlers came and Spirit distracted them long enough for his family to get away. The army tried their best to break Spirit, but he wasn’t having any of that. He would have his freedom and then one day he would find his family. He meets another horse along the way along with an Indian and together they try to stop the oppressors.

The cast here is pretty small since the film mostly focuses on the main horse. Spirit is as good a lead as you are likely to find anywhere. He absolutely refuses to be tamed by the villains and never stops trying to get home. He helps out as many people as he can along the way and comes across as very noble. He is quite mischievous as well and likes to mess with Little Creek, but always gets serious when the need arises. He is able to communicate his actions rather well considering that he never speaks and is also quite resilient. Spirit doesn’t lose his nerve even after being kept without food and water for 3 days. He defeats the Colonel in the end and shows why he really is the King of his herd.

Little Creek helped Spirit escape from the army and that’s how the two became friends. He seems like a nice enough guy. Little Creek doesn’t mind Spirit’s antics all that much and just goes with the flow. His tribe gives the horses a lot of freedom so it’s a great improvement from the army conditions. Rain is a horse that Spirit meets during his time with the tribe and they get along pretty well. At first, she doesn’t want to leave with Spirit, but after he helps save the tribe, she decides that it is time to go. She’s a pretty tough horse herself and has personality, making her a solid fighter to have in the pack. Finally, there’s the Colonel. He has a lot of self confidence and believes that he can tame any horse. Well, he soon realizes that this is not really the case. He’s described as a snake although he’s not nearly as bad as you would expect from that. He’s certainly more drastic than the other soldiers though since most of them were being as nice as they could be under the circumstances. In a way, you could say that Spirit tamed the Colonel in the end. I’m sure that the guy will be a lot more careful when he meets another horse.

The animation was pretty good and holds up well to this day. The character designs for the Horses look really good. They come across as strong and athletic which is certainly very important in a design. The environments and backdrops all look good as well and the flame effects were handled well. There are a lot of songs in this movie as well. They may not be the most catchy themes out there, but they get the job done. It adds some more emotional value to the film, which is always appreciated.

I also have to give the film some props for avoiding any major animal violence. Lets face it, you sort of expect some dicey moments to occur in any film about animals. When Rain was injured, it was a little concerning although I figured she would be okay. Luckily, none of the Horses got shot and Spirit did a good job of stopping all of the Army attacks. A lesser film would have had the hot iron actually hit Spirit and I’m glad that didn’t happen. I can’t give the whole army montage enough credit, it was really handled to perfection with how Spirit persevered. Since the whole film’s point is about how Spirit is a stallion who cannot be tamed, it was necessary to get the point across. Agent Carter could learn a thing or two from this.

It’s also impressive that the film was so good without almost any dialogue at all. I was fully expecting the Horses to talk the whole time, but they never did so it gradually sunk in that they weren’t going to. It was a rather bold move and one that could have easily backfired, but the film was able to handle it really well. It also had a very good ending, the kind of uplifting climax that I would like to see more often. You don’t need an ending that is kind of sad or mellow to try and win some Oscars. A very happy, satisfying ending will work every time and that’s what happens here. The film had its tension and dangerous situations, but managed to wrap them all up in time for the ending. It’s the gold standard for animal films and if they were all like this, I’d actually be glad to have more. It’s just that for ever Spirit, there are 100 Lassie or Watership Down kind of titles.

It was interesting to see the U.S. appear as the villains this time around. They ran around destroying Indian villages and enslaving Horses and the film never portrayed them as anything but antagonists. I prefer to see America taking the limelight as the heroes of history, but I suppose it’s good to see things from the other side once in a while. After all, not even America can be the good guys every single time right? I was definitely rooting for them to lose this time since they didn’t give the Horses the freedom that they deserved. It’s hard to say what the best part of the film was here. I liked the beginning with Spirit protecting the herd and just wandering around, but I also liked seeing him humiliate the army. No parts of the film are actually bad though and they just range from good to very good. It’s a pretty good sign in a film.

Overall, Spirit was a very solid film and maybe even a little better than I was expecting it to be. It’s a fundamentally sound film from top to bottom. The writing was good, the characters were likable, the pacing was solid, and it had a good ending. It is really filled with only positives around the board and I certainly enjoyed it a lot. It may not be a film for everyone, but if you like Horses or enjoy a good adventure, then you should check it out. It has some action and wit to coincide with the good plot and that’s a winning formula. I was even tempted to give this an 8, but while it doesn’t make any mistakes, it’s just hard to get quite that high without some extra kick of some sort. It’s a very fun film of course, but an 8 is usually something that I could instantly re watch. Usually that is due to cool fight scenes or something or that nature and I’d want to wait a little while before re watching this film. If I allowed half numbers like a 7.5, then this would probably have earned that extra spot. Regardless, this is definitely a solid film to check out. With Netflix getting a sequel series soon, it’ll be interesting to see if it can compete with this movie. It’ll be tough to do, but there’s always a chance.

Overall 7/10

The Apparition Review

This film is the ultimate example of why you shouldn’t hang out with sketchy characters. The main heroine is put in the most unfair position possible as she is surrounded by people who know that an all powerful entity is coming to slay them all, but they all lie to her face about it. By the time she figures it out…it’s too late. The Apparition is just a film that’s not very fair and doesn’t mind letting you know this.

Kelly is living an ordinary life with Ben. They talk about the future and life is full of possibilities and fun. That starts to change when they find weird mold in the house and suspicious things start to happen. It almost seems as if something is in the house with them, but that can’t be right? Kelly knows how this works and a monster shouldn’t be after them if there’s no reason for it to be angry right? Well, Ben doesn’t know exactly how to tell her this, but he was with a very shifty cult a while back and they decided to awaken an evil spirit for kicks. The chant worked and the spirit murdered his old girlfriend. It has been hunting down all of the members one by one, but Ben doesn’t believe it’ll ever happen to him.

This is for 2 reasons. 1. Ben’s not very smart. 2. Ben doesn’t believe in spirits even though he saw one murder one of the group members in front of his eyes and has repressed all knowledge of the event since then. He has also conveniently ignored his email and phone messages til now. As the situation gets more and more our of hand, Ben decides to look at his email and sees over 20 warnings from the only other member still alive, Patrick. Patrick warns him that the monster is getting stronger and stronger so he should probably get out of there. Ben doesn’t let Kelly know of course, but luckily she is actually pretty smart and breaks into his Laptop to find out what’s going on.

Naturally, the two of them don’t get along much after this and I’m certainly on Kelly’s side with this. Once again, it’s just too late though. Just by association to Ben, the monster wants her now. It has reality warping, teleportation, super strength, telekinesis, and a bunch of other super abilities. Needless to say, the heroes do not stand a single chance. It also likes to mess with the heroes so it toys with them for the duration of the film. It likes to wait until the heroes are too weak to resist or have completely given up, then it moves in for the kill. If you don’t get weak and have a strong will then the monster loses patience and will just murder you so it’s as I said. You were doomed from the start.

Ben never does anything to make you find him even semi likable here. Even once it’s night out and he decides to camp with Kelly outside, he doesn’t take his job seriously. He falls asleep right away and when he wakes up, he leaves Kelly all by herself to investigate a noise he heard on the other side of the house. Shockingly, nothing attacked Kelly in the mean time, but it continues to show why Ben just isn’t very reliable or the kind of guy you want to have your back. You just don’t know how long he’ll have your back so it’s best to just fend for yourself.

Patrick was a reasonable character to an extent. He was a lot more likable than Ben, but that’s where the buck stops. It was his idea in the first place to wake up the spirit and then he wanted to do the experiment again. With modern technology, surely it wouldn’t fail again and make things worse right? Well, I’m afraid that it does and you’ll feel like rolling your eyes when they’re surprised about this. He built himself a little hut behind an electric fence and trapped himself in a cage so that the monster couldn’t get him. Yeah…that didn’t work too well. The heroes try to go in the cage too since if it didn’t work the first time, maybe it’d work next time right? It ended up failing again. That’s when Kelly had the amazing idea to head to her local Costco. After all, you can’t keep running on an empty stomach right? Unfortunately, she went to the tent section and that was her final, fatal mistake.

You can barely call it a mistake though I guess since her end was inevitable. The film plays out like a classic horror so that means there are a lot of negatives here. For starters, the next door neighbor has a dog. This is a bad sign and all experienced movie goers will likely realize this. The Dog always dies, so much so that there is a whole website devoted to warning you ahead of times which films have a dog death in them. This one is no exception as the Dog tries to fight the Apparition and is defeated. The film was doomed either way, but taking out a dog is the icing on the cake. There’s no going back from that. We even had some fake jump scares afterwards with a little girl warning them that she’s on the Spirit’s side and a lot of other iffy moments. While it may have been a nice gesture for Kelly to give the neighbors a new dog, I think it was misguided. If your Dog was murdered, would you suddenly want to get a new Dog the next day? Not only are you putting another Dog in danger, but it’s hard to just “move on” like that. It wasn’t handled very delicately.

I actually can’t recall the obligatory shower scene so I’ll give the film some credit for that, but take it lightly as I may have just forgotten about it. I could fact check that, but I’d rather not so if it is there, just feel free to deduct another star from this review or half a star. The film’s not overly violent at least as it prefers to just have a tense atmosphere and some spooooky visuals. The scene where a character is crumpled up like a piece of paper is done well and likewise with them being thrown around the room.

The Apparition’s signature attack is similar to Robin’s from One Piece. It will materialize hands around you as they choke you to death or just bring on the fear. She is even able to materialize from your clothes to bring you into the Underworld. Once you’re in its grip, it is exceptionally hard to break out. It’s a pretty strong monster and it can hold its own against the other big ones in Hollywood. That being said, they all tend to have the same powers and personality so it’s not as if this is surprising.

Overall, The Apparition plays it by the book. It doesn’t really do anything new or unique in the Horror genre and just uses the same old jump scares and creepy visuals. It falls into the animal violence trap and also has a very annoying main character in the form of Ben. Kelly wasn’t bad, but I would have gotten as far away from Ben as possible. It’s too bad since they got along well, but being put in the death list for a supernatural entity is a pretty inconsiderate thing for Ben to do to her. There’s nothing really good to say about the film at all and the heroes make the wrong moves so often that you’ll be shaking your head. It seems like there is always an excuse not to leave the house and considering that Ben was making most of the excuses, it just makes you more and more irritated the whole time. If you just like watching horror films in general, then you should enjoy this one. It has all of your usual cliches and such, but if you want a film with more heart, check out Poltergeist 3. It doesn’t play by the usual rules and that’s what made it so good.

Overall 2/10