Leave No Trace Review

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It’s time to look at a survival film which mainly takes place in a large forest. It definitely goes to show why it’s such a tough task to take care of these places since people are always trying to go in there and try to live on the land. The authorities in this film are actually super lenient all things considered as I could easily see the main characters getting jail time for what they try to do. At the very least, that’s what I would picture Will’s fate would be. It’s an interesting film that’s pretty low key and is more of a down to Earth story than many other movies. It can be a bit on the tragic side as well though.

The movie starts with Will and his daughter Tom living in the forest. At first you wonder why they are there. Has there been a zombie apocalypse? Vampires running loose? No. It turns out that Will doesn’t like humanity so he has decided that the only way to enjoy life is to live outside without any other souls around. Even if the characters are alone they can’t live in a house unless it is one that Will found first and no humans have lent him. This is a rough lifestyle for Tom, but she does her best to get by. The cops eventually catch the two and Tom gets a glimpse of what life would be like with a warm bed and food. Still, Will isn’t satisfied so he tells her that they have to evade the cops and head back to the forest. Tom is reluctant to do this. Can they really survive under such a lifestyle? Well, she’s about to find out!

While you might not mind Will for a few minutes, you’ll probably know almost right away that something is off about this scenario. Why are the main characters living in the woods? Before the film reveals that Will is basically crazy you assume that maybe the zombie apocalypse came early or something like that. No, Will just doesn’t like to live like the average person and that’s when the sympathy for his character ends. You’re just waiting for Tom to try and escape him the whole time. It still makes for a pretty mysterious beginning though. I’ve never been a fan of camping so living outside for any prolonged period of time would definitely be pretty rough. It also doesn’t make for the most engaging of films typically but fortunately this movie doesn’t let itself get bogged down in the details. We don’t see them eating insects or anything like that. That’s when the film would have crossed the line.

While I can’t say that I liked Will, Tom’s a good character. She is trying her best to adapt to the situations she is put in and does so without a fuss. She is young enough where it is believable that she is following Will’s bad advice as well. You can’t really fault her for not trying harder to distance herself since that’s not really an option. By the end of the film she also makes the right call. Without Tom doing her best to help Will get used to the new lifestyle the whole thing probably would have been even tougher on the main characters.

It’s also a pretty interesting look at how the rangers prevent people like this from living in the forest. It’s certainly not a job I would envy as it seems extremely difficult so I hope they are compensated well. The forests are huge so you can imagine how tough it is to constantly be surveying it. The guard dog certainly did good as well. I’m not sure if this is how it works in real life with how the organization tries to re-locate these people, but if so then it is a much more generous process then I would have ever imagined. Rather then go to jail they give Will and Tom a fairly nice house and a whole lot of freedom. They have so much freedom in fact that I’m not sure if this is even a good idea. Of course the characters aren’t bad people in this case, but I do think this could have gotten very wrong. Of course it still isn’t enough to make Will happy, but it was a nice attempt by the agency. Even the tests they gave the main characters weren’t invasive in the slightest while still being a little effective. I’m not really sure I buy into how they really think you can understand someone through vague questions, but I know there is some science to it.

The film is certainly a slow burner though so you’ll need to appreciate the landscapes and atmosphere here. A good chunk of the story is the characters walking through the forest and doing their best to come to terms with the elements. The landscapes look pretty nice though and it’s definitely a forest that I would be up for visiting. I’m still more of a “lounge by the hotel” kind of guy, but it’s a good change of pace. Basically all of the human characters who show up are nice which is fortunate for the main characters since the situation could have gone sideways pretty quick. Characters like the truck driver were pretty reasonable and all of the dogs in the film were a blast. Again, pretty much every character aside from Will is solid so that’s definitely a good thing.

Overall, Leave No Trace is a pretty decent film. It can definitely be a little tragic at times as you feel bad for the rescue workers who are just doing their best. Naturally it can also be pretty tough for Tom the whole time. Fortunately the film always stays pretty tame and doesn’t let the situation get too absurdly bad for the main characters. It’s never a film that’s hard to watch. At most you’ll probably just get frustrated with Will the whole time which is intentional on the film’s part. Beyond that, it’s a pretty unique film and one that is probably informative as I imagine it is likely pretty realistic. These kind of films usually have a good basis in fact with the writer doing some research before the film comes out. If you want to see a film about how you could possibly survive in the forest (As long as you have a ton of money. Will is conveniently loaded so he can constantly buy whatever they need) and why it is not as good as just living in a house then this is the one for you.

Overall 6/10

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A Fistful of Dollars 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.
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It’s time to look at an old Wild West film. I’ve never been a fan of the genre. It’s just not my thing as the scenery isn’t all that engaging and everyone always seems to be pretty unlikable here. Fortunately this one was actually pretty decent all things considered and I may go as far as to say that this is my favorite Wild West film. It’s just more enjoyable than the average one and there is quite a lot of strategy going on here which is always nice.

The film starts off with our nameless hero wandering into a corrupt town. There are two factions here which are always battling for control. They are the Baxters and the Rojos. The Baxters are technically the Sheriff group so you’d think they would be the heroes here but considering that they’re all bullies who like shooting everyone up then I guess that isn’t true. The hero decides to take both families down by pitting them against each other. In the process perhaps he will be able to save a couple who has been separated by the warring factions. (Not that they each joined a squad but that the Roja’s have split them up for their own amusement.

A good chunk of the film is about the main character lying to both sides and getting them into trouble. Naturally there is no reason to feel bad for any of the people that he is tricking because they are all bad hombres from the start. He grabs two dead Mexican cops and plants them in a grave yard which causes both groups to want to reach them in time. I can understand the Rojos wanting to silence them but I don’t really see how this would help the Baxters. They are hopelessly outmatched against the Rojos anyway. Why wouldn’t the Baxters go to the next village to grab some cops if they really needed backup? I feel like that would have helped out a little unless they were worried about being undermanned at the village for any amount of time.

One scene near the end of the film is a pretty big stretch though. The hero frames the Baxters again so the final 4 Rojos decide to go to their base and murder them all. The Baxters are supposed to be decent fighters in their own right…right? Well, they manage to somehow lose a 20+ vs 4 battle which is just shameful. They keep running out of the house without their guns or at the very least without any kind of aiming skills. At most you can see the first few members falling for this but we’re talking dozens here and the scene lasts for a very long time. They just keep running out of the house and getting shot. At least take one or two guys down before you die. Going out like that is just embarrassing. It would be tragic if the Baxters weren’t such bad characters.

Naturally there is no reason to like the Rojos either. The main villain is pretty much your stereotypical gang leader who is only concerned with getting money and messing everyone up. At least he is able to plan better than the Baxters though. Still, the only 3 good characters here are the main character and his two pals. The more minor of the two is the coffin maker. He doesn’t do a whole lot but ends up playing a pivotal role towards the end of the film. Then you’ve got the bar owner who helps the hero out a lot. Naturally this ends up being a pretty painful experience for him which is always the case when you ally yourself with the main character. He stays strong throughout though and is also a pretty good shot with his gun.

Finally there’s the main character although I think I’ve already mentioned that he’s pretty solid. This guy knows how to plan and he’s a very quick shot. He manages to take down multiple opponents quite a few times. Without his gun he can still put up a fight although at that point trying to fight a 1 v 4 is basically impossible. He also gets put through the wringer here as the scene where he is beaten by the group is quite intense and certainly lasts for a long while. The film can get pretty gruesome although that’s to be expected. It’s another Wild West thing. Still, it could have been worse.

Aside from the violence the only other aspect of the film that can hurt it is essentially how the villains are winning for 99% of the film and by the time they are defeated there isn’t much left to save. It always takes a bit of the triumph out of the victory because the villains got away with so much before finally being taken down. That’s just how it is sometimes I suppose, but it’s also fun to see the hero swoop in and save the day before all of the damage has been done.

Overall, A Fistful of Dollars is a Wild West film that manages to tick off the usual boxes without making too many mistakes. The film doesn’t particularly drag on and having a good lead is certainly important. It can be annoying to see the entire town corrupt as it is said early on that basically everyone else has already been murdered. Without the main character around things would have definitely gotten a lot worse. By the time the police actually get ready to show up as the film is ending you know that they were just way too late for it to even matter. I’d recommend checking this film out. You’ll see how to properly do a quick draw.

Overall 6/10

Phi Brain: Puzzle of God Review

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It’s time to look at a puzzle anime which is pretty unique. There are a few puzzle franchises out there, but if we’re strictly looking at shows the only one that I can think of is Layton and I haven’t seen that one yet. A puzzle is different from a mystery after all as you’re trying to find the way to complete it, not so much finding out who made it. The season’s definitely a lot of fun and basically handled everything flawlessly. It’s a show that you can certainly recommend to anyone and it has no weak points.

The show starts with Kaito Daimon (Get used to his full name as all of the characters like using it) beating the puzzle club’s best puzzles once again. Try as they might they can never defeat him and that’s because Kaito is a genius. His catch phrase is “There ain’t no puzzle I can’t solve” which is a triple negative so it basically turns into “I can solve all puzzles!” It’s definitely one of the best catchphrases I’ve heard in a while although “I’m not done yet!” still wins at the moment. His best friend Nonoha isn’t any good at puzzles but they still get along pretty well with how different they are. Kaito’s life gets a little more complicated though when an evil organization known as the POG shows up. They have begun setting up puzzles which are designed to take the life of those who challenge them.

This goes against what Kaito believes puzzles should be like. He plays them for fun after all. Now he is obligated to try out all of these puzzles so he can solve them before anyone gets hurt. He registers with the school as a genius with an official title so he can go after the POG and is also chosen by the Armlet of Orpheus which grants him super human intelligence for a time, but also completely exhausts him. He won’t be alone though as 3 other geniuses from the school, Gammon, Ana, and Cubik are also chosen. Together they have to stop the POG, but are these other guys just holding Kaito back? If so…how can he get them to back off?

A great deal of the season is shrouded in mystery as we only learn more about the POG in small steps. At first all you really know is that Kaito has to stop them. Gradually we see inside of the POG. Their motives, how the organization works, etc. Especially towards the end as we get a full flashback episode and you get all of the context. I’d say that the show does a good job of answering all of its questions. I still have to question how practical the POG is. Apparently they used to be more of a heroic organization but gradually they became more ruthless and were just hiring a bunch of murderers. However, from the start they were going around murdering people so it’s safe to say that this was all a front. If anything the disturbing element of the POG is how like most other cults they get a lot of people who seem like ordinary citizens to quickly be eager to destroy their fellow man. It’s definitely not what you would expect from a teacher at the local school for example. The POG also gets away with quite a lot to be honest, but I suppose one day the cops will learn of them and they’ll all do some time.

Back on target, as I mentioned the puzzles are one of the big selling points of the show. They certainly deliver. All of the puzzles in the show are properly explained. They are nice and complex without being hard to understand. For example, when you see the puzzle you will quickly know what to do even if you aren’t sure how to find the actual answer. The puzzles are just written really well. My favorite one is probably the Lightsaber duel. There’s a lot of strategy there while also being more of a physical test of skill since you also need to be able to move fast enough to pull off most of the moves. The same can be said for some of the other puzzles like the battle atop the construction building. If you can’t run from pillar to pillar fast enough then it’s really all over.

The animation is quite sharp. I like the effects that are used for the armlet and the glowing eyes that Kaito and Rook have. The energy effects are just very vibrant and same with all of the backgrounds. The show always looks sharp and you can tell that a good amount of effort was put into it. I also greatly enjoyed the soundtrack. It’s an interesting Brazilian/Portuguese type soundtrack with a lot of fast paced tunes that work well for the puzzles. The theme song is also really good which is definitely fortunate since the whole season just has one. iI still think that a theme song should change every 13 episodes, but I suppose that can get expensive. It’s definitely a memorable bundle of songs so that is reason enough to give this one a look.

Now lets look at the main cast. Kaito is our main character and he’s a good lead. He is very confident throughout the series and never even considers the fact that he might not win. He knows that he is a top notch solver and I do tend to enjoy characters like that quite a bit. He does have a few times where his confidence is shaken thanks to stuff that happened in his childhood which the villains love to use against him. Still, it never keeps him down for long and Kaito always bounces back. He has to work extra hard most of the time so he wins the puzzle while still saving his opponent. It’s definitely not an easy road, but it’s one that he can handle. The best character in the show is certainly him or Gammon.

Gammon is the rival here. He’s another very confident character who is convinced that he is the best. Initially he is a solver like Kaito but eventually he remembers that he used to be a Giver. (Givers create puzzles while solvers…..solve them) This leads to a rather iffy decision where Gammon joins the POG for a while. Now this is where it’s pretty complicated. See, the show doesn’t play it off as too serious a thing. He betrays the heroes and works for a bunch of murderers, but he never personally destroys anyone. The heroes also seem to think that he knew they would survive each time which is why he had no qualms about murdering Kaito. Still, it’s taken quite far so even if the heroes can forgive him I’m not sure if I can. At the very least he did drop from being my favorite character to going under Kaito. I suppose I’ll put him in 2nd for now, but it will be interesting to see where his character arc goes from here. His tale is tragic at times admittedly as he is quite good, but always gets overshadowed by Kaito. That’s why it was interesting to see him as an antagonist since he busts into the villain base and starts taking everyone down. The fact that he was able to beat everyone aside from the boss Rook (Who he never got to fight) is quite telling.

Nonoha is the main heroine and she’s a fun character to have around. She can actually fight unlike most of the cast which is certainly handy in case any of the villains decide to take matters into their own hands. I also like how she was helpful right from the start like in the very first episode where she helps Kaito during the maze. Yeah, she almost fell to her doom, but it was a good effort. She’s always around to cheer Kaito and the gang up. Even after all of Kaito’s friends start running scared she manages to stick with him the whole time. Definitely a quality character and even if she can’t solve puzzles hopefully she continues to get a big role in the next adventures.
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Cubik is one of Kaito’s less impressive friends. He tries to stop Kaito from solving puzzles several times. The worst instance of this was when he put something on Kaito that wouldn’t let him focus on puzzles and would give him shots of pain if he tried. It’s always tragic to see since those puzzles would have been easy for Kaito otherwise. Cubik also deserts Kaito when the lead needed him most. He has his reasons and at least he had one unlike the next character, but he could have handled the situation much better than he did. It was still rather tough for him to recover from what happened in the end. Cubik also isn’t one of the better solvers to be honest.

Then there is Ana who is the worse of the friends. For starters, when he deserts Kaito there is no good reason. He just couldn’t take the stress and thought that Kaito was going to die so he wanted no part of it. Even by the end of the series all he got to do was show Kaito a painting. Sure, that was Ana’s big moment, but it wasn’t nearly as emotional or impactful at the others. Ana just could have done a lot better and never taking anything seriously doesn’t help his case either. Sometimes you gotta take things seriously or overconfidence will be your downfall.

Jikukawa is the mysterious student counsel president who works directly for Principal Baron. He acts like a troll most of the time and is just around to give the heroes their orders. He keeps a lot of secrets from them, but at the end of the day he does try to help them out at times. He just has the dangerous attitude of letting them go to the death puzzles and deciding that if they can’t solve them then it was simply their time. He starts taking more initiative as the series goes on and gradually becomes a better character as a result. You should only listen to corrupt orders for so long after all. Then we have the Principal who never really became a good character.

Baron is one of the big members of the POG and he tries to get the heroes to solve the puzzles. The problem is that his end goal is to defy the POG but he does a really bad job of it. He’s in over his head and doesn’t even know what is happening half the time. He may as well be a villain since he does whatever they say without question. Don’t let his peaceful words fool you, the Baron is not someone that I would trust and the heroes should probably be less happy to see him each time. Then we have Jin who used to hang out with Kaito and Rook before vanishing. The way his plot goes may be a bit unsatisfying, but it was an original twist. Lets just say that the big showdown really didn’t go his way despite the guy’s confidence. Maybe he would have done a little better if he had kept the armlet.

Time to look at the villains. The leader/main villain of the series is Rook. He was Kaito’s friend back in the day before vanishing. Now he is focused on destroying Kaito because he wishes they could have been friends without anyone else. Of course, I don’t trust Rook much though and I think he would have made them go through the Puzzle of God anyway. I haven’t really talked about that part much, but basically the ultimate goal of the POG is to develop a talent strong enough to challenge the Puzzle of God. Here’s where it gets a bit confusing, you need 2 solvers to challenge the puzzle at the same time since it’s a battle puzzle. The loser dies while the winner receives the Book of God which can be used to destroy the world..somehow. I don’t think the show even knows how it would work, but it’s basically just an incentive to get everyone fighting. The actual book is never all that important. Fortunately since the two solvers in the past already solved it, the book is already out in the open. Back to Rook, he’s not the greatest villain. He seems pretty intense by the end with how he wants to be with Kaito, but still chooses to act as his enemy the whole time. He let his jealousy turn him mad which wrecks all of his composure. He has a cool design, but he’s probably one of the weaker villains personality-wise.

Then we have Bishop who is Rook’s right hand man. This guy was pretty cool and it’s too bad we couldn’t have seen him more. The guy’s a genius in his own right even if he is a considerable step below Rook. He always keeps his cool and helps the villains from behind the scenes. He believes in winning fair and square so he doesn’t use any cheap tactics. That definitely makes him an honorable fighter in my book. It’s certainly possible that he may return, but I just get the feeling that he probably won’t do much. Meanwhile, one of the other big villains is Elena. She’s a villain by night and an entertainer by day, but both roles involve puzzles. Her heart is never really in it compared to the others, but she still stays on the side of the POG. She may as well since she’s a celebrity and doesn’t have to fear them as much as the others. Elena is a fun character and pretty resourceful. The heroes definitely owe her for the insider information she gave them. I could definitely see her showing up again at some point. She got a lot of development so it’s time for her to challenge a puzzle as a hero.

That’s basically it for the relevant cast. I’ve also covered pretty much everything about the series so it’s almost time for the wrap up. It goes without saying but the writing is also pretty solid. I think you’ll be kept engaged from start to finish. The show has a lot of replay value given how you can also choose to pause the puzzle from the start and solve it yourself. Some of them can be a bit of a stretch to solve without clues, but others are laid out from the start with a solution. You’ll just need a paper and pen handy to see if you can crack it. It’ll definitely take you longer than the characters from the show though.
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Overall, Phi Brain is definitely a blast. It’s a series that I highly recommend. The puzzles are really well thought out and the cast of characters are all pretty interesting as well. I think the random episodes of the heroes beating puzzles of fools and POG traps may have beaten some of the more plot based episodes of the second half, but both have their strengths. You can be satisfied with knowing that season 1 is a complete package. It’s a story that has a beginning and an ending. There isn’t even a real cliffhanger for season 2 as long as you don’t watch the preview. I’m certainly glad that there are more adventures to be had with the main cast though. They can easily hold their own plots. Even without a main villain group the puzzles would be good enough, but we do actually have a fresh villain group coming up which will be cool. They have a lot of potential.

Overall 8/10

Rodan Review

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It’s time to look at one of the original giant monster films. Many believe that Godzilla is really what kicked off the Kaiju boom, but you have to consider the mass market appeal that Rodan brought with him. Rodan isn’t your average giant monster, he is one that can fly. In fact, if we took this version of Rodan unnerfed and put him up against the other giant monsters, he would crush them. Not even Godzilla would last long against such a threat. Rodan helped audiences finally take giant monsters seriously and still works very well as both a thriller and a Kaiju film. While the film does drop off quite a bit at the end, it’s not enough to negate the rest of the experience.

The film starts off with a group of miners heading to the caves. Unfortunately they are brutally murdered by a bunch of giant worms. The humans go for backup but none of their guns are all that effective. Fortunately that’s when Rodan shows up to eat all of the worms and claim dominion over the skies. Any jets that stay in the air are promptly destroyed. The humans realize that the only way to stop Rodan is to throw him into the volcano, but this task gets a little more dangerous once there are 2 Rodans on the field. What can they possibly do?

The short answer is nothing. There’s no way that the ending even could happen. What the film should have done was have the humans acknowledge that they can’t hope to stop Rodan. This would have been the signal for a very emotional scene to start as the humans team up to create a giant paper mache version of Rodan that they sail off to an uninhabited island. The Rodans would follow it and leave humanity alone for a little while. Even I may have teared up a little bit at such a spectacle. As it stands, the ending is emotional but in a sad way. I was rooting for Rodan the whole time and was looking forward to seeing him wipe out humanity. For that not to happen is simply tragic.

Enough dwelling on the ending though. I didn’t like it, but it wasn’t quite horrible enough to drag the film down too much. I have to give credit to the special effects here as they were handled a lot better than expected. I dare say that it even beats most of the modern films when it comes to depicting Rodan’s speed. In this version you actually can believe that he flies at super sonic speeds since we see him outmaneuvering a jet. Rodan may not have a fancy laser to shoot out, but with moves like that he doesn’t even need one! I also liked the size difference between Rodan and the worms. Since we already saw how massive the worms looked to the humans, it’s clear that Rodan is a colossal beast.

As for the humans…there’s not much to say about them. They’re around of course, but they don’t really contribute much to the story. The dub has fun with them as everyone gets in a few good one liners. It’s hard to tell if you’re supposed to take the characters seriously or not. On one hand, it’s not as if they’re making obviously bad decisions or anything like that, but on the other hand…they just don’t seem as invested into the situation as you would possibly expect. After all, having a giant monster around destroying everything is kind of a big deal right? I didn’t dislike the humans, but as with most of the old monster films I found them to be a tad forgettable. Granted, it’s probably because I’m focused on the monsters.

I will say that the writing was solid. These films definitely take place back in an era where scripts were actually handled with care and you didn’t have to cringe at every other line. The pacing of the film is good as well and it manages to cover quite a lot in a short amount of time. There’s not much that the film could have done to be much better in these areas as it was just solid. I can only imagine how impressive this movie must have looked back in the 50s. Whether you are currently a big Kaiju fan or just getting into the genre, this is a movie that I can definitely recommend checking out purely on a technical level in addition to being a monster film.

Overall, Rodan is a fun film. He’s always been a solid monster, but one who is probably a little over matched against the others. He’s simply too fast and strong so he tends to get nerfed quite heavily. I’m hoping that the upcoming American film has a good idea of how to use him, but I am going to be entering that film with a few reservations on the power levels department. No worries, it’s still going to be film of the year, but with all of these Kaiju running around I hope that corporate knows what they are doing. Still…when do they not?

Overall 7/10

Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle Review


It’s time to look at the new Godzilla film! While the last Netflix installment wasn’t great, it was still a pretty good film. We got to see a reasonable amount of Godzilla screen time and the action scenes were pretty intense. Unfortunately this one is even more focused on the humans to the point where it can barely be called a Godzilla film. This movie is definitely a mess and I blame most of it on the painfully low budget that this movie seems to be tied down with.

The film starts with Haruo waking up and realizing that humanity has survived after all as a girl tended to his injuries. The Earthlings have fused with Mothra dna to allow themselves to survive the reign of Godzilla. They also use Mecha Godzilla’s armor to create arrows with which to fight back. The problem is that nobody is able to even damage the King of the Monsters. The heroes decide to use the armored city to fight back but can a city which doesn’t even move hope to win this fight?

The sad thing about this film is that most of it would be impossible if this was a different version of Godzilla. A single blast would have done the trick if Godzilla didn’t wait to make a move until days pass by each time. Even when he does finally make a move Godzilla only fires a single shot. Apparently he knows that beams won’t work but in that case he ended up playing himself since we find out that it actually would have been an effective tactic. One blast melted all backup harpoons and various parts of the city. Why would you not fire again?

The film can’t seem to decide whether Godzilla is extremely powerful in this version or if he is actually one of the weaker more brittle versions. Either way he didn’t look impressive. He literally walks into every single trap and shows no signs of real intelligence. The film makes him look like a zombie the whole time. The design wouldn’t be bad either if it wasn’t for the lack of animation which makes him appear to be frozen the entire time.

Another thing that’s tricky about the film is that you don’t really have anyone to root for. The humans certainly aren’t going to win a vote since they are already pretty divided with a lot of factions that would betray each other at the blink of an eye. One group becomes a little more extreme here which is unfortunate since prior to that they had been reasonable. It’s true that the humans severely overreacted with the whole merging with machine thing when it was voluntary, but that shouldn’t have made everyone go off the deep end. There is also a bit of romance here but it’s so forced for extra drama later on that you won’t get emotional about it.

High command doesn’t do much here and they still seem at a loss for answers. They don’t have a choice but to help if you ask me since they are running out of fuel and won’t be able to make it to another planet anyway. Their only chance is Earth so even if it will be tough they should try to make do. It’s not like the world is uninhabitable since the insect people still live and as long as the humans can make more masks they would be okay. Honestly if they weren’t so determined to try and crush Godzilla they probably could have coexisted well enough. It takes him days to wake up from a nap so where is the risk? Just lie low and accept that humans are no longer at the top of the food chain.

I didn’t care much for the animation in the first film and that hasn’t changed here. It looks like a cutscene you would see in a 3DS Fire Emblem game. That may work for small scenes but if you’re making a whole movie then surely you have more budget than the cutscene development crew right? Yet, the animators are afraid to do much of anything so most of the film is just characters talking and walking around in circles. There is very rarely any real movement to speak of and that’s just a shame. It’s not a fun film to look at.

Most of the movie is also rather silent so prepare to focus on the dialogue I guess. The few scenes with music that we do get are quite solid though so it is just a shame hat it couldn’t have happened more often. It had a good sci-fi beat to it that was very fast paced and made you feel like you were suddenly in an energetic film.

As there is one more film in the trilogy we do get an after credits scene. Unfortunately it is also sloppily done and destroys any chance that the scene may have had of actually being really good. The whole thing is recycled footage and several scenes pop up more than once. It was just painfully bad especially since everyone already knew who the name was going to be well before the line since this monster had been rumored/semi confirmed ages ago. The execution just wasn’t there.

While there are a lot of negatives to the film lets at least look at some positives before concluding. When we do get music it’s pretty good so that’s solid. I do like the mech suits that the heroes wear. They feel pretty powerful and do move very quickly. They effectively can’t be hit as long as the heroes don’t make any obvious mistakes. The concept of a Mecha Godzilla city is pretty sound even if it’s not as cool as actually having Mecha Godzilla. It may have even been able to win if the heroes weren’t rushing it so much. Did they really need to force a fight with Godzilla right away? Waiting 2-3 days or more would have ensured their victory and I think that would have been worth it. Since they can communicate with the mother ship they could have come up with a plan.

Overall, This film was definitely very underwhelming. If it wasn’t called a Godzilla film then it would have been a little better but even then I doubt it would have been anything more than average. It technically makes no critical errors like animal violence, fanservice, or anything like that. Yet, the film is just rather boring the whole time and it’s hard to get engaged since the heroes never feel like they have much of a chance. There is no way their plan should have even been close to succeeding if we are being honest. I’d probably advise you to skip this film and watch one of the live action Godzilla films. As a longtime fan I can tell you that this one forgets what a true Godzilla film is. A battle of Kaiju that shakes the planet. That’s why if the directors didn’t want to do this they should have labeled it as a classic sci-fi indie film about overcoming a large monster. It’s just that when you put Godzilla in the title you get a certain set of expectations.

Overall 5/10

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Review

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It’s time to look at the new Jurassic World film. The franchise has typically received low scores from me as it ranges in the 3-4 star category, but maybe this one would be different. I can’t say that I had high hopes for it to be honest since the trailers were rather worrisome with the dinosaurs getting trapped and everything. Unfortunately the movie is as bad as I feared with this part being played up a lot. As always the humans seem to have the edge on the dinosaurs which defeats the entire point of the franchise. Definitely a film that you are going to want to give a pass this time around.

The film starts off with the world wondering what to do about the dinosaurs over on the island. It’s about to explode so all of the dinosaurs will die unless the government makes a move. The lobbiests don’t care much since they can’t make a quick buck so the government decides not to intervene. This is when Mills decides to save all of the dinosaurs and calls up Claire. Claire is certainly eager to help, but what she isn’t quite as enthusiastic about is having to call up her old friend, Owen. Owen doesn’t want to help and prefers to drink a quick beer, but ultimately he decides to go along since the movie would have been over otherwise. The heroes are double crossed and all of the dinosaurs are captured. The heroes decide to plan a rescue op, but are they really ready for this?

This movie makes quite a lot of mistakes and the first one is one that I already referenced. The dinosaurs spend the whole movie being captured and humbled by the humans. They are caged up and easily defeated by sedatives. Naturally this makes sense as humans will always win thanks to their tech, but it doesn’t make for an interesting movie. After all, how can you be scared of these creatures if they are always losing? That’s one thing that the original film did better than the sequels since there wasn’t much tech at the place so the dinosaurs had control from start to finish. By putting them at the bottom of the food chain, it just doesn’t feel like a true Jurassic film.

Any scene with the humans and dinosaurs is typically brutal for this reason. There’s just way too much animal violence here for the film to have ever stood a chance. Then the film tried to play up the tragic angle by having a ton of Dinosaurs die a slow death as they realize that there is no way to escape the island. We understand their fate from the start so why do we have to watch it? Even after the main characters have gone through their tough experiences they end up making the wrong call and don’t want to help the dinosaurs. It makes you wonder why we didn’t get a better main cast.

Owen is basically the same character from the last film. He’s always ready with sarcastic comebacks, but at the end of the day he is just looking out for himself. He takes a lot of convincing to go to the island to help out Claire and even then he only seems to do it for her and not because he actually cares about the dinosaurs. He makes it abundantly clear that humans win out in the end. He has a good action scene though and makes for an amusing character. He’s not a heroic character, but I suppose he has his moments.

Then we have Claire who has done her best to help the dinosaurs. She is certainly a lot more noble than Owen. It’s just a shame that she didn’t use the last few years to workout more to prepare for another skirmish with the dinosaurs. Her romance plot with Owen is still pretty iffy as well and could have been cut out entirely. She’s not a bad character and doesn’t panic all that much anymore, but it would be nice if she could have done a little more.

Mills is the main villain and he isn’t quite as fun as the last one. He’s your classic rich villain who just likes to see the profits at the end of a long business deal. He isn’t very smart and doesn’t do a great job of covering his tracks, but since none of the other characters are that smart is tends to work out. There’s just nothing to differentiate him from the rest of the corporate villains so he will be forgotten very quickly.

Franklin is the comic relief character in the film. You do always have to question if a comic relief character is needed when the film is already part comedy, but I suppose the writers wanted to cover all of the bases. None of his jokes land and they are all ones that we have already heard. Franklin is just out of his depth here and it’s hard to see how he has lasted so long anyway. He naturally has his big moment at the end, but you won’t be able to take it seriously.

Zia is the touch character of the group and is made to be a complete contrast to Franklin. She talks back to all of the villains and constantly gives everyone attitude. She is ready to help the dinosaurs and never gets scared. The character can be a bit obnoxious like throwing out random insults for no reason, but I’ll definitely take a fearless character like that over someone like Franklin.

Then we have Maisie who comes equipped with her own subplot and a plot twist that the sequel will probably delve into. She’s a decent enough kid who is smart during some moments and less so in others. Once she found out that the villain was doing something behind her grand father’s back she should have called the cops. Of course, he should have done the same thing but made the worst move in the film as he asked the main villain to call the cops. That’s certainly never going to happen when you’re dealing with a legitimate villain. Maisie wins back some points for making the right call at the end of the film though so I’ve definitely got to give her credit there.

As far as the new dinosaur goes, the design was fairly lazy. It just doesn’t have as much personality as the big dino from the last film as it just looks like a big raptor. There’s not much to say about it and while the dinosaur is very strong, I think the T Rex probably could have beaten it. Intelligence was its most potent weapon and that won’t help much when you’re being overwhelmed in a fight. Blue was a loyal dinosaur as always and looked pretty good. It’s just a shame that everyone is always after it and Owen isn’t strong enough to protect her. This is why Blue certainly made the right choice in the end.

The ending of the film is decent as we finally may get to spread things out a bit. Hopefully it doesn’t just lead to the cops shooting dinosaurs all around though as we get to a Transformers situation where the humans have once again gained the upper hand. Hopefully we get to see the water dinosaur again as it keeps on getting quick cameos but then the film is afraid to show it any longer. I get that the dinosaur is OP, but I would still like to see him be featured more. Due to the nature of Dinosaur films though, it’s unlikely that we will ever see a Jurassic World film that is actually good. At most we get glimpses of what it could be like with these two films when the dinosaurs aren’t around. It turns into a bit of a cheesy comedy with less than amazing characters, but at least it’s an enjoyable film. As soon as the dinosaurs come in they bring with them a whole slew of negatives that outweigh the positives.

The writing certainly isn’t good which goes without saying. Nobody knows how to act around dinosaurs and the characters are so busy trying to be funny that they don’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation. The film even throws in some crude humor in an attempt to be funny, but like everything else this film failed at that as well. Also, you may not want to bother sticking around for the after credits scene as it’s a little pointless since we already get the general idea of it from the normal ending. I was hoping for something with a little more impact like another super dinosaur running around. That would have been a little more exciting. At the very least, I would have liked to have seen NYC get involved.

Overall, Fallen Kingdom is possibly the weakest Jurassic Park film. Currently I believe I have the weakest one as either being the first or the 2nd. It’s a tough call though as those 2 and Jurassic World all got 3s if I recall correctly. This one just combines the weakest elements from the various films and pulls them all together. It brings back the annoying human characters from the last one, throws in the goat scene from the first film, and also brings in the government involvement from one of the other films, but adds it on quite a bit more than any of the others. It’s just a very mean film and one with no replay value. If you like Dinosaurs then this is a film that you will want to skip. I’d sooner recommend checking out an iconic Godzilla film like Final Wars. That movie will still give you big creature fights without any of the extra stuff.

Overall 2/10

The Mad Magician Review

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It’s time to look at the Mad Magician, a Vincent Price film that plays it by the numbers for better or worse. The instant you see him show up you know that things are going to be tragic for his character and that he will turn to a life a crime. This film does handle itself fairly well though and may be one of the better Price films. Most of the characters are not very smart as you would expect though.

The film starts off with Mr. Gallico getting ready to perform his first ever show. For years he has built the magic tricks behind the scenes that have allowed others to get famous. Well, this will happen no more! Gallico is determined to show that he can be a great showman too. Unfortunately his boss shuts the show down and informs Gallico that he will never be allowed to take any credit for as long as he lives. Gallico decides that this is acceptable and so begins his murder spree as he tries to stay off the radar but more and more people start realizing that he is guilty. Can Gallico ever find peace?

Naturally Gallico does dig his own grave with the first murder. Honestly he was doomed as soon as he let the heroine get away with the head during the opening scenes as it certainly did make him look suspicious. Otherwise he could have just not murdered anybody and could have acted innocent the whole time. This didn’t quite pan out but it shows how an early mistake can really have an impact.

At least you can feel a little sympathy for Gallico unlike the average villain. It’s always a shame when corporate takes someone hostage thanks to the contract. Apparently this one was unbreakable and basically the company owns Gallico for life. It’s definitely an extreme contract and I’m sure that Gallico is wishing that he had read the contract a little better now. As always Price makes his characters pretty interesting to watch as his voice is very charismatic. You always get the feeling that the character is up to something. He certainly was a great inventor here, just a mad one.

The supporting cast here was better than usual. First up is the cop who won’t take no for an answer. Alan certainly goes through a lot of work trying to prove his fingerprint theory. That being said, he is unfortunately very weak and not very smart. Even after Alan breaks into Gallico’s office and knows with a decent amount of confidence that the man is guilty, he allows himself to be caught by surprise. He goes down quite easily to Gallico’s impressive karate chops. So I can give the cop some props for his deductive skills and being pretty pro active but the climax didn’t help him all that much.

There is also the murder author who allows Gallico to stay over while he is disguised as his boss who he murdered. This buys him some time but certainly doesn’t help in the long run as she is very perceptive and has come up with some plots that involved a lot of murders. There is one odd scene where she almost seems nervous about Gallico’s crematorium but by then she may have started to piece the puzzle together so it makes sense. Unfortunately she also looks a little weak in the climax. While Gallico is beating the cop like a drum, the author and the main heroine don’t lift a finger to help and instead run to the window to yell for help. A little assistance would have been nice and they would have outnumbered Gallico 3-1 so I would have liked their odds.

As far as the meaner characters are concerned, Gallico’s boss was a fun character to watch. He was rather extreme the whole time but at least he acted with confidence. His end was certainly inevitable though. Likewise, Rinaldi was also doomed as he kept trying to rub it in to Gallico that the inventor would never be allowed to star in he show. Once he found out that Gallico had been murdering people you would have assumed that he would play it cautiously right? Instead he goes back to the house to brag when the two of them are all alone and doesn’t notice that Gallico has locked the door. At that point you knew that he didn’t stand a chance. The same goes for the ex wife of Gallico who left him for money. She doesn’t try to blackmail him for anything but seems like he type of character who would at some point. She also took a little too long to realize how dangerous he was.

As far as the deaths go, the film is fairly tame. Only the first death is rather violent and it is off screen so it’s really just the implied violence that makes the scene intense. The other deaths are totally off screen. The writing is pretty solid as you would expect from an old school film like this one. All of the characters are very confident and self assured as they talk with smug expressions on their faces. That’s why the characters can be charismatic whether they are heroes or villains.

The whole idea of using a realistic mask to make yourself appear to be someone else definitely is a bit of a stretch but I suppose none of the characters knew the magicians too well. Those who did were able to quickly see through the disguise so there is that. I think Gallico probably made a mistake in not giving his hand prints right away while disguised as Rinaldi. This is really what made the cops suspicious of him. If he had given his prints and they were seen to be the same as the guy who died, then perhaps the cops would have been forced to have forgotten about the finger print idea entirely. It was a gamble either way though, Gallico put himself in a bad spot.

Overall, The Mad Magician is a fun film that will keep you entertained. It may be part horror, but the film feels like it attempts to have quite a few moments of comedy that work well. Basically this involves any scene where Gallico is slowly walking towards his prey. The villains eventually drive Gallico mad but but at least he doesn’t start randomly taking it out on everyone and mainly sticks to his goals. The film doesn’t try to be extra gritty or anything and the pacing is pretty good all the way through. I’d recommend checking this film out and it’ll serve as a good reminder that signing a contract with corporate is always a risky endeavor at best.

Overall 7/10

Bedlam Review

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It’s time to take a look at an old asylum horror film. It’s not by the Asylum crew but it takes place in one and I can’t think of too many settings that are worse than this. Bedlam just isn’t the kind of place that you really want a film to take place in. The whole film is rather dreary and it can get rather dark for the inmates. While the film has a happy ending it does take a long while to get there and in the meantime there just aren’t many reasons to like this film. The characters can also be annoying and I’m basically spoiling my review here so lets get started.

The film starts with a prisoner trying to escape Bedlam, but quickly being murdered by the warden. His name is George and he runs a tight ship around here. He is called in by the rich to explain what happened and George responds by showing the world how enslaved his prisoners are. The corrupt laugh at this spectacle and decide not to press charges, but one rich lady decides to put a stop to this. Her name is Nell and she decides to remodel the prison. George can’t have that so he has her arrested under guise of insanity and through Nell’s poor choice of words at the event she is found guilty. Nell is thrown inside the prison and must now try to communicate with them or she may not make it out alive.

First of all, we have to look at how bad Nell is throughout the film. She doesn’t make a stand against the malicious practices of Bedlam until she is goaded into it by a Quaker. Once she does make a stand, she really doesn’t do a good job of it. She doesn’t enact any actual changes until she is in the prison. Before that she goes to court to prove that she isn’t crazy. You’d expect her to have a calm head on her shoulders as she answers questions without sass right? No, instead she is sarcastic to the council and insults them quite a few times. She refuses to answer their questions and admits to doing crazy things like eating money. Naturally the council banishes her. Sure, the council was definitely bribed here, but she made their job so easy. Why did she have to be so antagonistic right from the start?

Then, Nell doesn’t even give the prisoners a chance once she is in the cage as she asks the Quaker for a weapon to defend herself. She considers the prisoners to all be savages and you wonder what happened to her lofty goals. Gradually the prisoners get her to join them in a game of cards and she realizes that they can be good. From here she is a good character who does make things better for the prisoners but it sure took her a while. I don’t blame her for not getting in the cage with the violent prisoner as that really could have ended pretty badly, but otherwise George actually had a point that she was all talk for a while.

Naturally George isn’t a very likable main character as he plays the cruel villain role. He likes asserting his dominance over the criminally insane and as we saw with Nell, he basically chooses who he thinks is insane. A lot of these people may be innocent but apparently the whole town is rather corrupt. Everyone looks the other way when it comes to George but that does backfire on him in the end. His end definitely plays out as you would expect as there was no way that he was going to live through this. He had simply done too much by this point.

Then we’ve got the Quaker. Unfortunately he is a very annoying character the whole time. He wants George to stand trial instead of being murdered by the inmates. A noble sentiment, but since he owns the town we all know that he would have gotten away scot free and then he would have murdered the inmates. The Quaker refuses to lift a hand to help anybody since he is a complete pacifist so it’s not like he would have helped to protect them. He comes across as oblivious to the world and rather naive. He could have been a good character, but they took him to the extreme and anyone could do what they wanted to him. It’s a shame since otherwise he probably would have been the best character here.

The film never actually shows much so it isn’t all that violent or anything, but things definitely get rough for the characters. The prison implies as much violence as it can and the living conditions are certainly abysmal. There is also a parrot that gets arrested by the end and I don’t really like where that plot may have gone even if we didn’t see the conclusion. This just isn’t a good film and it drags on quite a lot. At the end of the day, the only way to fix the prison is to get rid of the head so if George wasn’t forcibly removed then it’s not like Nell would have actually fixed much. Given that he was going to experiment on her and nobody was going to stop him, it just shows how far gone the town is.

Overall, Bedlam definitely isn’t a fun watch. While it has a happy ending, that’s only the final minute or so as the rest of the film can be rather dark. The only happy scenes before the ending are when Nell is talking tough to George, but she never ends up with the last laugh there. George is always one step ahead of her which severely limits how entertaining the scenes can possibly be. Prison films in general don’t tend to be great as even the Naruto film that dealt with this was one of the weaker installments in that series. I suppose at least some of the prisoners like the ex judge were fun characters. If you want to watch a good film about overthrowing a corrupt person in power…then you better start looking as I can’t think of a good one off the top of my head. Still, I’m sure that there are more than a few out there, you just have to know where to look.

Overall 3/10

Cause for Alarm Review

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It’s time to look at a very old school thriller. This one may not have a bunch of explosions or guys running around in cool suits, but it does have a letter that could potentially destroy someone’s life. It’s a smaller scale thriller to keep you at the edge of your seat. It’s certainly aged quite a lot as the main heroine would likely act a whole lot different if this was made nowadays. I wouldn’t really call it a bad film, but it can make for an annoying watch and definitely doesn’t have a whole lot of replay value. This is one of those films that you only watch once for the suspense and then move on.

The plot follows a lady named Ellen. She used to go out with a doctor named Ranney but then she rebounded with George. They married very quickly but then George got injured and was forced into early retirement. He has now gone mad with paranoia that Ellen is cheating on him and that along with Ranney she plans to end his life. His only course of action is to try and deliver a letter to the mail man but he doesn’t have the strength to stand. He has to give her the letter to mail and then the government will come to protect him. Ellen doesn’t realize what danger she is about to get herself into if she delivers the letter. Who will win this battle of wits!?

The annoying aspect of the film is Ellen basically being at George’s beck and call the whole time. She has essentially made the wrong choice in getting together with him and has been paying for it ever since he was discharged from the army. As he grows meaner and meaner she still stands by him and tends to his every need. You just want her to throw him out or just ignore his various demands after a while. It doesn’t appear as if he can do a lot about it since he is supposedly bed ridden. That’s why a great plot twist would have been if she was actually trying to destroy him. That would have completely changed the dynamic of her character and turned her from a pushover to a tactician. It may have meant that she wouldn’t be as heroic, but at least she would have taken a stand against him. George couldn’t die soon enough.

Even in the flashback when George first appears he looks pretty bad. He basically tricks Ellen into being with him for a while as a lot of misunderstandings led her to believe that he was a sick man who needed cheering up. Either way she should have left the room the instant he started flirting since at the time she was with Ranney. Ranney didn’t seem to care much considering his stake in it so I can at least see why she left him. The guy definitely didn’t have much personality and didn’t seem to think about the situation much. Even in the present he doesn’t actually contribute much. It is more reassuring to have someone supporting you, but it’s barely better than nothing when this guy is involved. At least he did get Ellen to tell him what was going on rather than just taking what she was saying at face value.

George’s mother appears to also reinforce the notion that he was always a bad guy. She explains that he never really wants to see her and closes himself off from the world. All of this still makes me wonder how he got together with Ellen in the first place. Was it really just because he was an air force pilot and that’s supposed to be super impressive? You’ll just have to suspend your disbelief for the whole movie on that front. So, part 1 of the film drags on a bit as all of the George scenes will just have you rolling your eyes as you wait for him to die. I suppose this may be different if you didn’t know that he was going to die, but it was in the movie summary so you know that the plot can’t start moving until he does.

Part 2 of the film is significantly better as Ellen tries to challenge the postal service. The mailman is a stickler for the rules who refuses to give back mail after he has taken it, even if it is the same person who gave him the mail. He tries to spin it as company policy but I just think he had some beef against the main characters. I’ve never heard of such an outlandish policy and considering what a small town this is I hardly think he would have gotten in trouble. He has a legal leg to stand on I guess, but it doesn’t make the guy any more likable. Ellen doesn’t really do a good job of confronting his superior though. She does come across as really unreasonable from the guy’s point of view. She should have either tried to falsify the statement at home with the forms he gave her or just thrown in the towel and start to prepare a defense. Instead she keeps trying for the letter until the guy promises to put it through. You always have to be thinking of what tactic to use for discussions like this instead of just looking desperate.

Part of the irony in the film is that Ellen is making George’s job very easy. She runs around everywhere which looks suspicious and won’t even talk to the neighbors. It’s too bad since the neighbor seemed like a nice enough character who probably would have been able to help. The kid wouldn’t have been a very good witness though. He’s not a bad character, but who would believe a kid? He also seemed rather greedy with how many cookies he was trying to eat the whole time. You’d think he would have been satisfied with 1 or 2 when they were offered.

I have to finally question George’s plan one more time. He wanted Ellen to deliver the letter, but lets face it. If she really was going to murder him why would she possibly deliver the letter? She would have read or burned it instead because you wouldn’t take such a chance when the plan is so close to being complete. George’s plan only works if Ellen was innocent which really makes it a poor plan indeed. Fortunately for Ellen things work out all right. While there will probably still be some questions and inquiries they will be a lot easier without the letter. In this case destroying the evidence actually turned out to be a good thing.

Overall, Cause For Alarm isn’t the best thriller because it only works thanks to a lot of conveniences. The main character had to be a wall flower and also one who isn’t very intelligent for this to work at all. If she hadn’t been overreacting the whole time the letter may not have been very effective anyway since she would have been able to convince the world that George was crazy along with Ranney. Ranney was involved so him being a doctor wouldn’t end the discussion but it would still help. I have a feeling that a lot of George’s cohorts would have been able to have given supporting testimony as well. If you still like to see a tense film where it seems like the walls are closing in on the lead then I suppose this is a decent thriller to watch. At the very least the writing is fairly solid except for George’s cringy villainous rants. Otherwise, I’d say stick to other retro films. There have just been many that were better than this one.

Overall 5/10

Laura Review

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It’s time to look at a very retro mystery film. The cast is actually smaller than I thought it was as Wikipedia only lists 6 people in the film. Naturally, some of them may just not have been big enough to have their own section, but it goes to show that if the story is quick enough you won’t even notice this. It’s a solid movie that really does a good job of throwing in a lot of twists and turns without getting redundant. The cast is solid and this film really flies by. This review does have some big spoilers depending on what you count. It’s a big plot point that happens around halfway through the film so it’s pretty debatable.

The basic premise of the film is that a lady by the name of Laura has been murdered. She went up against a shotgun and didn’t exactly win the encounter. A private eye known as Mark shows up to get to the bottom of this. Waldo wants justice because Laura was a close business associate of his and he had been helping her rise up the business ranks until this happened. Mark continues his investigation which leads him to Shelby, a rather suspicious man who has many affairs and always seems to be after people with money. This mystery will be a piece of cake for this baseball master, but unfortunately Mark starts to realize that this case is quite personal. Can he put his feelings aside or has he always been on a path to destruction?

Ironically, the weakest character here may be Mark. Shelby is certainly more unlikable as he’s just a bad guy, but it’s incredibly difficult to sympathize with Mark’s plight. How can you possibly start to fall for a picture? If someone’s dead, they’re not exactly going to make for a very attractive prospect. What the film should have done was just doubled down on his tough demeanor to show that this guy was one detective who wouldn’t get pushed around by anyone. He would solve this case no matter how tough it got. By making him distracted it took away from his whole character. I did like his Baseball gimmick though. Right when he started taking out the game I knew that it would be the best part of his character.

At least the detective doesn’t look downright bad for the most part. His only unfortunate moment was at the very end of the film where he assures Laura that she will be safe and then runs out of the building so fast that you’ll think he’s a blur. This gives the culprit plenty of time to waltz in and finish the job. Laura is just lucky that the villain is such a poor shot or else this could have been the end.

Wait, why is Laura even being mentioned? Well, that’s one of the big plot points of the film. Laura isn’t actually dead and merely went to the forest for a while. Since these were the days before radio and internet nobody actually knew where she was and when they went to the house she had stepped out for a moment. Definitely some interesting logic there, but I can buy it to an extent as there wasn’t much else to do back in the day aside from walking so she may have just been adventuring all day. Laura isn’t a very likable character as she does lead everyone on and doesn’t even mind playing second fiddle after a while. It gets rather complicated, but she knows from the start that Shelby can’t be trusted and also allows Waldo to treat her to many meals. They may be platonic friends, but then she should pay the bill, otherwise things get dicey. She just seems rather easy and Mark should be careful what he’s getting himself into. Her web of deceit will continue to stretch farther and farther.

As for Waldo, he’s certainly the most amusing character in the film. He’s always got a snappy comeback at the ready and certainly doesn’t get intimidated by anyone. To think that he started out as a rather snobbish businessman before he got involved with Laura and changed quite a bit. You can’t deny that the guy does his homework though. He didn’t even need to make up lies about the people Laura hung out with, he just dug up the dirt that they left around the house. They made his job easy, but he always went the extra mile. Naturally a person this obsessive tends to be fairly dangerous in films like these but if the detective is going to make a move he better be careful about it.

Finally there is Shelby. It’s certainly different to see Vincent Price in a young role for a change. The character is fairly quick witted, but can never quite keep up with Waldo. He does make for a good rival though. He’s not exactly a man of principles, but isn’t ashamed to admit as much. Everyone knows what kind of a guy he is, but they don’t care because of his charisma. It’s definitely a credit to his character that he is able to deceive people so easily and he makes for a solid antagonist.

The only weak aspect of this film is naturally the romance. It’s just not handled very well at all. Laura basically plays everyone and they all fall for the game quite easily. It would have been nice if the same had been true for them and at the end they all admitted to just manipulating the others for personal gain. That’s practically what the situation was for most of them anyway. A film like this one should have everyone stay purely platonic as that would certainly add to the suspense and make the characters look a little tougher and more savvy on how things usually play out here.

Still, the writing was certainly great beyond that. The film did a good job of making everyone seem suspicious at times and having all of the characters stay on guard. The banter between all of the characters was on point as you would expect it to be. Dialogue is crucial for a noir film like this one and I’m happy to say that it did indeed deliver. It’s why its so hard to do a film like this one nowadays. The writing just isn’t up to par with the good ole days and it’s very rare that a film proves me wrong. There were just higher standards in the past and that’s why there were so many well written films like this one hiding in the cracks of time.

Overall, Laura is a really fun film. It’s a murder mystery that still has quite a bit of humor and solid pacing to go along with it. The romance is rather weak, but what else is new right? The twist of Laura being alive could have been rather disastrous if handled wrong, but since it rarely tends to happen the twist worked really well. I can definitely recommend this film to anyone who likes a little suspense and danger. There’s never a dull moment in this film so you’ll end up being on guard from start to finish. In a film like this one, you really can’t trust anyone.

Overall 8/10