The Exorcist 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 even more negative…literally.
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It’s time to tackle one of the most well known horror films of all time. I’ve never liked horror films and watching the classics hasn’t worked out so well thus far. I had pretty low expectations heading into this film, but The Exorcist managed to surprise me. It delivered a product that was so below expectations that I was slightly taken aback, but quickly realized how I had to respond. This film is one that you’ll want to avoid at all costs and will remind you that shock value isn’t as good as jump scares.

Chris is a popular actress and everything is going right for her at the moment. Life can’t get much better than it already is at the moment. Unfortunately, that changes when her daughter Regan is possessed by a vengeful spirit. It claims to be Lucifer himself and she has been unable to break free. Chris goes to many experts, but they are all unsuccessful in their attempts. Finally, she is forced to call in a pastor/psychologist to try and perform an exorcism, but he has yet to break his drinking/smoking habits. The Church realizes that this guy is out of his league so they bring in another priest who is experienced, but already very exhausted from another exorcism that he performed. Can the two save the day or will the body count continue to rise?

Some films like this one are a little overwhelming as it’s hard to know where to start. I suppose there are so many negatives that I should start with the positives first. The soundtrack isn’t bad. The iconic theme is definitely fun even if it only shows up for a few seconds. It actually felt like a remix since I’m used to a more battle ready version of the song. Still, it’s definitely withstood the test of time. The visuals are pretty advanced for their time as well although they typically go for grotesque imagery as opposed to cool sci-fi elements. Poltergeist III has definitely got it beat in this area. The film puts out a lot of effort….yeah now lets go to the negatives.

The film paints a pretty bleak picture on our struggle against demons. First of all, I’d like to give it props for giving the Church some credibility and having them go up against the demon. However…it acts as if the demons are far more powerful than any of our counters. Our Exorcism (This film’s old, but just in case I’ll give out a warning. Spoilers ahead, spoilers ahead. Proceed at your own peril!) fails miserably as the demon just overpowers the two pastors. The two pastors/priests give it their all as they use a lot of verses from the Bible, Holy Water, A Cross, and more. None of it is effective as the demon breaks one of the guys anyway and then possesses the other as it knocks him off. The spirit is then free to go and possess someone else.

There is no happy ending here at all. The demon won and murdered quite a few people in the process. It also vandalized the Church in the process with no repercussions. It’s a pretty sad message from the film in the end. Evil’s not supposed to conquer all. Now, demons are certainly real and they are powerful. That’s certainly true, but they still cannot ultimately resist when called out in the name of Jesus and God. The counter argument could be that the priests simply weren’t skilled or didn’t have enough faith, but at least one of them was supposed to be the best of the best. It’s hard to say whether or not Regan was a Christian or not in the film. She was still pretty young, but maybe she had put the Cross under her pillow since nobody could figure out how it got there. I don’t believe a Christian can be possessed. One could get tempted or put through trials and tribulations like Job, but I believe that we are given an immunity. Playing with the Ouja board wasn’t a smart idea, but it’s not as if playing with a thing like that can suddenly make you free domain. Especially since Regan clearly didn’t really know the ramifications of that thing.

She definitely got the short end of the stick here as the rest of the film’s pretty painful for her. It’s a really violent horror film and while you could clearly tell where the film cut away in the TV version, there was enough where you can tell that this was an intense experience. Regan got a lot of injuries and had to go through many operations during this period. Quite a few people were murdered as well. The film also goes for gross moments like having characters vomit and have to use the bathroom in public. Those moments certainly didn’t help the film at all either. In case you couldn’t tell, this film’s getting a pretty easy 0.

The only reasonable characters here are the Expert Priest and Chris. Chris can be annoying though like when she went to the various doctors and put Regan through a bunch of experiments. She should have known that it’d do no good since it clearly wasn’t a mental issue. The Expert Priest was good, it’s a shame that he couldn’t win. The main priest, Damien was pretty weak willed. He fell for the mind games rather easily and his subplot didn’t add anything to the film. It added more dark themes and grit of course, but the film was so full of that already that you wouldn’t miss it if it was gone. There was a police chief who liked to subtly imply that various people were murderers and did his best to solve the case. It was naturally futile though since it wasn’t a human opponent who he was up against. I suppose he did his best, but bribery definitely isn’t a very legitimate tactic. There weren’t a whole lot of other characters in the film as it was a pretty small cast. We have the demon of course, but it’s only character is that it is a demon. It’s pretty clever as it makes the ordeal or proving that it’s a demon very tricky for the heroes.

Overall, This isn’t exactly a “Feel good” film. You’re not going to be laughing and taking shots of Pepsi and Doritos during this film as you discuss the current state of the movie industry and Twinkie flavors. It’s very somber from start to finish and you’ll be ready for it to end after 15-20 minutes. Unfortunately, it’s a very long film so that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If the whole film had just been about Chris and her acting career, I have a feeling that it would certainly be a lot more enjoyable. Even just removing all of the cuts and slashes on Regan would help the film at least be watchable. You’re averting your gaze for most of the film otherwise since it’s pretty distasteful to have a kid be so violently injured for such a long time after all. Better to just look at the ceiling in the film and wonder when it was last painted. If you want a quality horror film, check out Poltergeist III as it’s one of the only good horror films out there. I can see why this one earned its reputation as it is pretty gritty, but that’s all the more reason why you should stay away from it. It’s just not worth it!

Overall 0/10

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Kong: Skull Island Review

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It’s time to take a look at the new King Kong film. I’m not a King Kong fan nor will I ever be at this rate, but this film got a lot of hype since it’s in the same continuity as Godzilla. Maybe the latter’s quality would rub off on King Kong and elevate the series to new heights. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. It’s still the same old King Kong with a fresh layer of paint. It makes the same mistakes although at least it doesn’t force any random romance plots into the film. Still, you can’t help but wish that the film had chosen a very different path.

The film is about two scientists convincing the government that they should head to Kaiju island to see what’s there. They are escorted by Preston and his team of commandos along with James, a skilled mercenary. They decide to bomb the island to scare everyone into submission, but this wakes up the mighty King Kong. The majority of the “heroes” are destroyed in the initial confrontation and the survivors have to find a way off the island. That’ll be tough since there are many monsters aside from King Kong. Preston also wants revenge on the big gorilla and he has some guns at the ready. Can he win this round?

One thing about King Kong is that a lot of people don’t find him to be all that scary. Why would they when falling off of a building is enough to destroy him? This version is a little bigger than most of the old film versions so that helps his case a little, but he is still injured by bullets here. A well placed fire blast does a lot of damage as well so I’m going to feel bad for him if he ever has to fight Godzilla. If ordinary fire can do that, imagine what ATOMIC breath will do to him. The poor guy would be incinerated in an instant. The only sad part is that King Kong is the heavy under dog in the fight so I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins as a result. Anyone remember Batman V Superman? The Godzilla angle is the main reason why you guys are watching this film so you should start to consider this angle. I am hyped for the big crossover even if it isn’t happening for quite a while. It’ll certainly be worth the wait. There is an after credits scene in this film so stick around.

Now, why am I disliking this film so much? There are a few reasons, but lets start with the obvious one. The animal violence is a problem here. We get a whole scene where we see Preston blow up a bird’s head. He’s the villain here so it’s to show us how mean he is, but it’s not helping the film’s case at all. There is a very thin line between monsters and animals and this film opted to have them be closer to animals than monsters. Bad move because the violence is a lot worse this way. It’s also sad when you consider that the humans are picking this fight. The monsters were just fine on their own until their island started to get blown up. They were simply defending themselves even if the film tries to get you to root for the humans. Not me, I was on the creatures side from day 1. It doesn’t help that all of the humans are just annoying the whole time. They weren’t all bad though, just not likable enough to be excused.

Preston was certainly not likable at all. The film gave him a ton of hype though so that was amusing. He is so out classed here so I couldn’t take that angle seriously. James is another hype character, but he never gets to do all that much. He has his big scene at the beginning, but he seems to panic just as much as the others and didn’t seem as tough and gritty as you’d expect. His “confrontation” with Mason on the bottom of the ship wasn’t as hype as the film thought it would be. They both talk tough and call each other’s bluff, but neither one actually gets anywhere. They were essentially fueling each other’s ego. James essentially never got any real character and the scene where he grabs a sword was just incredibly random. It also wasn’t a good scene since he was slashing a bunch of bats. Mason wasn’t a bad character either, but she really had no character either. At least she tried to help one of the monsters which was nice. She beats her counterpart from the earlier films. The rest of the cast were basically comic relief and didn’t do anything. A common trend here is that most of the characters weren’t bad, they just weren’t that interesting or likable either.

King Kong’s fight against the Skullcrawler was pretty good. The mini ones were pretty outmatched so they went down quickly, but I’ll definitely take that over the usual T Rex fight. These guys certainly had a better design after all and then the big one made for a nice villain as well. I was actually expecting a plot twist about these guys being the original Godzillas and the final one would return after the credits in his new Godzilla form. Maybe it’s for the best that it didn’t happen, but that would have been interesting. The King Kong vs human scenes are what you’d expect as they just get stomped the whole time. Preston puts up a fight of course, but once the gimmicks are gone, he doesn’t last all that long.

The film had some nice cuts like the spider claw stabbing a poor guy and King Kong rising up above the Sun. Those were probably the highlight as far as the visuals are concerned. I would still take Godzilla 2014 over this though with the awesome energy blasts and the fight against Muto was a lot more fun. What King Kong needs is his own energy blast or an opponent who has one. Of course, then King Kong would probably lose if it’s the latter so maybe he can get his own special attack in the sequel. This film probably took its special effects a little to seriously in some scenes as you’d see the characters load their guns rapid style. A Scooby Doo film used the same trick a while back and I actually don’t care for it. The sounds are distracting if anything and the visuals weren’t cool to look at. Maybe do it for something with a little more pop like a cool lightning blast or something. King Kong doesn’t have much options for that though so the technique is just wasted here.

None of the themes really stood out to me. It’s your standard action film stuff, but without the one stand out theme that is usually around. The end credits really pressed the point as they were eerily silent the whole time. The tune they picked for it really did not work. I’ll give the film some props for having the characters on the island the whole time. The film did start rather quickly and the action never stopped once they were on board. This was a double edged sword with all of the animal violence of course, but in theory it was a good move. I doubt the film would have been much better without the island anyway, maybe it could have scored a 6, but it would have been rather uneventful. You’d be taking the Skull Island out of Kong: Skull Island. New York City is a far superior backdrop, but I guess we can’t have every film take place there. Hopefully the crossover does though as that will really help with the visuals and intensity of the film.

The writing for this film wasn’t terrible. There isn’t constant panic with expletives this time around although they do artificially force the worst word in once just to get the crowd going. With the review just about done, lets briefly talk about what could be cool to see in a sequel. To make the sequel better, we need to have King Kong come to NYC. That’s step 1. Next would be to give King Kong a cool robot suit or a transformation where he grows wings and does battle with a true Kaiju. Next, ensure that the main humans are all red shirts so they can all die in the crossfire without any humans getting too much hype. We don’t want another fire damages King Kong scene after all. Throw in a cool techno theme and we’ll have the makings of a great movie.

Overall, Kong: Skull Island didn’t do it for me, but the odds of me liking the film were never great. You can’t take place on a retro island like this one that’s filled with animals and expect to be good. The odds of animal violence are simply too high and King Kong doesn’t have a great track record either. Also, it’s not like the film was subtle with the animal violence…a bird’s head was blown up…I’m not getting over that one. I don’t care much for apes and monkeys either so it would be very hard for me to really like Kong as a character. He did a good job of protecting his turf of course so I can respect that, but he’s still not all that “cool.” I’m excited for seeing where the cinematic universe goes from here though. We should be getting a lot of hype battles in the near future. Still, you don’t need to see this film to understand that though so I’d recommend checking out Pacific Rim or Godzilla (2014) instead. Both of those films do a better job of tackling the giant monster concept and have far better scenery and backdrops to grab your attention when the monsters aren’t around.

Overall 4/10

Speed 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 for a classic thriller film. With a title like Speed, you’re definitely expecting a lot of action and intensity throughout and the film delivers. While there may be a moment or two that will stretch your disbelief, the film did a good job of covering its tracks for the most part. One thing that these films typically have a problem with is making the villain too powerful. He is somehow everywhere, has plans for everything, and ends up performing feats that make you question the logic. That’s not an issue here as Howard’s (The main villain) twist covers all of the bases.

Jack is one of the best swat officers in the business. He likes to go on gut instincts and always makes the villains pay for their criminal deeds. It’s just another day at the office when he stops a crazed bomber from destroying an elevator full of people. Unfortunately, the criminal has been nursing a grudge about this and shows up one day to even the score. He has planted a bomb on a bus so if it ever dips below 60 (I believe it was 60) mils an hour, it’ll blow up. If someone tries to leave the bus, it’ll blow up. If anyone other than Jack tries to get onto the bus, it’ll blow up. Etc etc. Howard seems to be able to see into the bus at all times so the heroes have to be careful. The fuel won’t last forever so Jack is going to have to rely on his instincts one more time.

Howard definitely has a lot of tricks up his sleeve. He has planted cameras in multiple areas and can tap into the police communicators. This all makes sense given what we know later on. He’s definitely psychotic and the film never tries to make him sympathetic. (That’s good since I wouldn’t have bought into that) He does a pretty good job although the heroes should have been able to defeat him a little sooner. There are two main points where he should have been taken down. One was immediately after the elevator incident as Jack could have shot him. The other was when he first implemented his plan. A security officer walked over and instead of calling for backup, he proceeded to get one shotted. It wasn’t his best moment. So, Howard’s plan was definitely risky throughout and I’m also wondering how he got out of his bomb suit in time. He definitely did raise the body count by the end of the film though so he did some damage before going down for the count.

I was a little surprised that a certain death towards the middle/end of the film wasn’t played up more. It was essentially skimmed over, but given the circumstances, I suppose they didn’t have much time to dwell on it. Jack’s a solid main character as you’d expect. He’s really good at his job and while he’s seen as a hot shot, he does take the time to think things through. He’s just a very reasonable character and it’s good to see the main lead have as much confidence as he does. Annie made for a good main heroine. She always had the witty comebacks at the ready and wasn’t intimidated by all of the chaos around her. She also did a good job of getting away from the troublemakers on the bus very early on. Those guys certainly didn’t help matters at all with all of their bickering. One lady was particularly bad as she just cracked and decided to ignore the obvious bomb as she tried to escape. The cops were almost as bad there though as they were trying to help her. Not a good move.

As always, I do have to say that the romance in the film was a little rushed and cliche though. Jack and Annie quickly bond because of this emotional experience. Annie even points out that romances this sudden and nonsensical rarely last which will probably be the case. Even ICarly had an episode about this where the main lead’s life was saved by the guy so she mistakenly thought that she liked him for a little while. You always have to be careful not to mix up feelings of gratitude with love. It’s not like it took much time out of the film though since it was only a quick moment at the end, but Hollywood has to squeeze in its romance somewhere.

I did mention that I had to stretch my disbelief a little before. I’m referring to one scene in particular as a large part of the road is gone so Jack decides that they have to drive over it. He figures that if they drive fast enough, the momentum will allow them to make it. This definitely should have not worked in the slightest. The gap was way too big and the camera angles had to quickly switch all over the place to make it seem even slightly realistic. So, that part was a little iffy, but the rest of it was all on point. The cops all picking obvious hiding points may have been a little sketchy, but I don’t blame them for not noticing the hole under the trash because that was pretty clever. They should have had the tracker on from the start…but that’s how it goers I suppose.

The soundtrack was pretty solid. The themes definitely worked really well for the film and kept up the energetic atmosphere. The writing was reasonably good. The edited version cut out most of the iffyness. It’s nothing to write home about, but at least the characters weren’t constantly running around swearing. While they were annoying, the people on the bus were also pretty realistic because I can picture everyone being super petty like them even in such a dangerous situation. It’s just how people are on a bus…even the guy with a gun. Shooting the driver was pretty iffy though and I felt bad for the guy, he didn’t ask for this! It’s also not every day that you get a bus thriller instead of the usual car one. I like car chases as much as the next guy, but adding a bus certainly changes the dynamic quite a bit.

Overall, Speed is a pretty good film. Jack was a good lead and the film played out like a fun action blockbuster. It may not be something that you’ll remember as an all time great but it didn’t really have any big negatives. The villain was tough and it made for some good mind battles between the two, but the film never went out of its way to make him extremely psychotic or intimidating with super violent scenes. The film was actually fairly tame in that regard and it’s been a while since we had a villain who was just in it for the money. It’s probably still the most iconic goal for an antagonist. I recommend checking this out if you like a fast paced action and the film is pretty long so a lot happens along the way.

Overall 7/10

Sengoku Basara Review

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It’s time for an anime that is nostalgic in a sense. I played the original Devil Kings game a while back which is what this arc is based off of. Admittedly, I can see how the game would sell better with that title over Sengoku Basara as it just seems a little more intense. The anime did a great job of adapting it and was just about perfect. It was a really well done anime all around and I look forward to seeing how good the sequels are. This will be a tough season to follow though so I can’t say that I’m expecting it to be surpassed. I look forward to seeing it try to prove me wrong though.

The series takes place back in the really old days of warring nations of Samurai. There are many factions along the land and they feud over territory all the time. Despite this, many of them have fairly friendly relations with each other. They don’t hold grudges over destroying each other because it is simply their way of life. Whoever wins, there are no salty losers. That being said, it all changes when the Oda army descends onto the battlefield. They are led by the infamous Devil King who has no such compassion or morals on the battle field. His army doesn’t play by any set of rules and believes in winning at all costs. The heroes of each warring faction must either team up or face annihilation.

This is one of those series that has multiple protagonists through the different factions. Some of them are clearly evil while others are more heroic. You ultimately have to decide which group to root for. There are 3 main heroic factions to choose from with Yukimura’s getting the largest focus. That was where my allegiance was since he is easily the best character in the series. I did like Masamune a lot as a runner up though and the show did a good job of giving everyone a good amount of screen time.

Before talking about the show any further, lets delve into the characters. Yukimura is the headstrong protagonist whose fire abilities really enhance his fighting style. He has absolute confidence and never backs down from a fight. In fact, the moment that solidified him as the best character for me was when he didn’t even back down from the Devil King even when Masamune was frozen in fear. It was the deciding moment between the two and Yukimura passed the test. He may not have done too well against Mitsuhide, but you can’t win em all I suppose and the power levels were wonky by the end. More on that in a bit though. Having Ichigo’s English voice actor also helped a bit as well. Yukimura is one of the best main characters that I’ve seen in a while. He’s honorable, a great warrior, and he has fire abilities. Fire is the best element so that’s always a good sign.

Shingen is Yukimura’s boss and he’s a reasonable leader. He definitely gives Yukimura quite the beating over the series, but the main character is very tough so he can take it. I can’t say that I ever found him to be all that strong compared to Yukimura and Masamune since he is really lacking in speed, but he is still one powerful dude. It would have been nice if we could have seen him get a full fight as Shingen never really got the opportunity. Sasuke is the ninja in the fire squad and he gets a lot of subtle hype. He’s very quick and knows how to get out of a dangerous situation. He never gets into any danger or even ends up nearing a loss. Sasuke is essentially untouched during the whole season so I’d like to see him help out more next time.

Masamune is the big rival in the series and the second best character. His design is really good and his intense personality is fitting for Yukimura’s rival. He also enjoys combat quite a lot and it’s impressive that he’s the leader of his clan at a relatively young age. He gets a very large role during the course of the show. While Masamune may have overreacted at his first defeat and had to be snapped out of his stupor, he made a full recovery. I dare say that the show even hints that he may be slightly stronger than Yukimura. At the very least, he did look a little better against Mitsuhide, but Yukimura wasn’t in the right mindset for that one. Masamune’s 6 sword style was definitely unique even if it’s hard for me to imagine someone using it effectively. That’s a lot of swords after all, but it shows just how good he is.
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Kojuro is Masamune’s general and the two are pretty close. Kojuro will defy Masamune occasionally if he thinks that the leader is going down the right path. The leader may not like it at the time, but that’s exactly the kind of person that he wants as his second in command. Kojuro is also a pretty strong fighter in his own right. I don’t think he should really be a match for someone like Mitsuhide, but he’s probably the strongest secondary fighter in the series. His strategic knowledge is just as useful during this war even if Masamune does ignore it for a more direct plan.

Kenshin was another one of the leaders, but he was a little disappointing. He only got to very briefly fight for about a minute or so before being taken out of the equation and all he did was talk. His rivalry with Shingen even felt out of character with the rest of his personality. Honestly, the guy was just a little more on the annoying side and while he may not be a bad character per say, it did feel like he was stringing Kasuga on for a while. Kasuga is his 2nd in command and the head ninja. While she could have had potential as a strong mercenary like Nina Williams of Samus Aran (Bounty Hunter anyway) the show mainly just uses her for fanservice. She is out shined by Sasuke whenever the two characters meet and she also just ends up failing in all of her fights. As she is a professional ninja, you’d think that she could defeat the Devil King’s wife. Kasuga even got her in a choke hold, but then she allowed Nohime to get free and shoot Kenshin. Honestly, that was probably one of the most embarrassing moments in her career. The only moment that may have been worse was when she got one shotted by Nohime again while trying to avenge her master. Kasuga fans definitely won’t be pleased with her portrayal and rightly so. She’s usually a pretty strong character, but she wasn’t given any respect in this season.

Nobunaga or maybe I should say the Devil King, makes for a great villain in the series. He doesn’t appear right away, but still manages to make his presence known the instant that he appears. His theme is absolutely amazing and he is really a perfect villain. He’s absolutely ruthless as well as a brilliant tactician. He didn’t get to where he is by being naive and manages to double cross his lieutenant before he was back stabbed. It was a great moment because being outsmarted would have really hurt his character. I also like the fact that he actually has super powers of his own and that allows him to fight with his gun, cape, and a sword of course. A gun wouldn’t be very useful against most opponents, but since the Devil King is naturally powerful already, he can make it work. He’s one step ahead of the heroes for the bulk of the series and it was even a little surreal to finally see him take to the front lines at the end. Nohime is his wife and probably the only person that he can count on. She’s pretty skilled as she infiltrated one of the hero groups and took out the leader. She also managed to defeat Kasuga pretty easily and just did a really good job of backing up the Devil King overall. She only went down due to plot hax. Unfortunately, that meant that we could never see her get a full fight as her other battles were mere skirmishes.

Mitsuhide Ranmaru really got the shaft from the villains. He’s a kid who is working with the villains, but his backstory isn’t developed here. He can shoot arrows, but that’s about it so he is incredibly out of his depth here. I can’t say that I liked the kid at all so I was glad that the writers threw his character to the curb. Oichi is Nobunaga’s sister and he used her to entangle the clan leader Nagamasa into their ranks. As her husband, Nagamasa decides that he has to help the villains even if his whole shtick is that he fights for justice. It’s a shame since he is always talking about justice, but his honor gets in the way. That was pretty terrible to be honest and then when he finally decides to betray the Devil King, Oichi is used as a hostage. She puts up no resistance though and constantly makes things tough on him. I actually liked Nagamasa so his whole plot was pretty tragic.

Oichi’s a pretty terrible character though. She spends the majority of her screen time on the floor telling everyone to forgive her and asking the Devil King to turn into a good guy. Naturally that was not going to happen and he makes it clear several times that she is expendable. She almost dies a number of times as well. Oichi does have some Devil King abilities within her as well like when she destroys one of the main villains, but it quickly vanishes in time for her to be shot. Her character arc was very poorly developed and never went anywhere. Her powers were also odd as they just randomly appeared for a single scene and then never showed up again. It was as if the writers needed a way to take down one of the main villains and they decided to just make this up. If the powers had transformed Oichi into a good character then I’d be okay with it. As it stands, she basically got her husband murdered and then she went down shortly afterwards.
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Tokugawa is the worst clan leader. He can’t fight for beans and he continues to work for the Devil King even when he knows that the guy is evil. Naturally Tokugawa gets back stabbed and he would have lost the battle anyway if there wasn’t any interference. While Tokugawa may try to act as if he’s not a villain, he’s just as guilty as the others if you ask me since he’s working with the villains. He may use honor as a justification, but it’s just an excuse. His main general is Tadakatsu, a giant cyborg. This guy is physically very strong and Shingen even claims that Yukimura would not be able to defeat him. I don’t buy into that and I didn’t really believe the fight either, but the general seemed like a decent character.

There’s also the wandering warrior Keiji. He’s apparently extremely strong, but prefers to goof off and enjoy life while he can. This guy is critical to uniting the various factions to oppose the Devil King as they probably would not have worked together otherwise. He’s not really my kind of character, but the show portrayed him decently well. A lot of times this character trope ends up being a lot worse. There were some other minor characters in the show like a few clan leaders who showed up out of nowhere, but they’re really not all that important. They got a little bonus OVA episode that explains their involvement a little more, but it just shows that one of them is a villain and the other is another battle hungry leader. I actually liked that guy at least. It makes sense that there are more clans across the sea, but the show really didn’t need to add these guys.

While I have some issues with the show that are coming up, they don’t really hurt the show all that much. They’re just things that the writing could have worked on and some viewers may not even notice. The only one that was a little aggravating was the fanservice that would pop up once in a while. It was pretty mild and not too frequent at least, but Kasuga was basically used purely for fanservice. Her outfit is pretty outrageous and I can’t picture a ninja actually using it. I know Marvel’s reasoning for costumes like this for assassins is that they can distract the target which makes the job easier, but that seems more like an excuse than anything else. Whenever Kasuga talks to her boss she makes exaggerated poses as she exclaims her delight. It’s a pretty sad running gag and it’s the only part of the series that has fanservice in it. Take this away and that angle would have been perfect. So, that was definitely a little unfortunate, but I realize that it certainly could have been a lot worse. At the very least, the show never puts any real emphasis on her costume aside from these moments, which could have certainly been a disaster.

One thing that the show is comically bad at is the power levels. You get glimpses of this early on, but it gets worse and worse. All right, we know that Yukimura and Masamune are about equal since all of their skirmishes are completely deadlocked and have to be interrupted. They are seen as the absolute strongest warriors even if the leaders would beg to differ. Then we get Nagamasa who is also able to match up to Masamune. Then we get Mitsuhide who has the upper hand against Masamune (He was weakened though) and later on starts to beat Yukimura. The two of them team up and Mitsuhide is still holding his own. That’s when Kojuro shows up and says that he’ll take care of it. He beats Mitsuhide pretty easily, but that shouldn’t be possible since he’s weaker right? Keiji was also shown to be at around the same level and he also took down one of the big hyped leaders.

The problem here is that the show wanted to give everyone a bunch of hype which resulted in all of them being at the same level. It just didn’t make sense and as a result some characters would suddenly look weak for no reason. Yukimura losing to the cyborg for a while in the fight didn’t work for me and Shingen looked really bad against Mitsuhide. It reminded me of LBX, but that show’s probably The most extreme when it comes to power levels so we’re not quite there yet. You’ll also just be able to tell since the visuals are so exaggerated for the two main heroes. They’re making twisters with every hit to launch hundreds of soldiers away one second, but then they can’t dodge a bullet the next. The heroes are cornered by conventional weapons at some points and it makes you wonder how this is possible. Well, that’s because the visuals are more just for entertainment. They’re not actually jumping and staying in the air for whole minutes or cleaving mountains in two, it just feels like they are. At the same time, that’d be kinda sad and some scenes don’t support this as other characters see the battle and feel the tremors. The other explanation is that they can only awaken their powers at some points like in a video game and their normal mode is just really weak. My own theory is just that the power levels are inconsistent and the writers could have handled it better.

The show made some odd decisions towards the end. The story was really good and this isn’t necessarily a negative, but the ending had a lot of cop outs. At the beginning, characters were dying left and right, which kept amping up the stakes and it felt like a show where 90% of the cast would die off and there wouldn’t be any room for a second season. I’m inclined to think that the writers just wanted more money and season 2 would give them a chance of that. As such, a ton of characters just randomly survived at the end even when it felt like they should not have. Yukimura’s boss, the ice boss, Masamune’s henchmen, they all felt rather artificial when these characters survived. Allowing them to die would have made the ending a lot more impactful. So, I think this decision did hurt the tone of season 1 a bit, but it could help season 2 a lot since not having all of these characters could have been a little tough. Even Masamune may have died if there was no season 2. Fans of these characters should also be happy since they may get a chance to fight more thanks to this.

Finally, I have to point out that the characters in this show have a very distorted version of honor. It’s an old school kind of honor where if you make a deal, you have to stick to it even if nobody else is. An example is how several heroes made a pact with the Devil King and then had to stick to it even while he was murdering their allies and stabbing people in the back. At that point, I’d say that the honorful thing to do is to stop him yourself instead of standing back and aiding him. A lot of characters were confused about that, but at least Shingen and Masamune knew better. Honor like that just isn’t worth it, but you’ll be surprised at how many characters in this series are paralyzed by it.

Sengoku Basara definitely doesn’t disappoint with the epic soundtrack. The tunes are all very high octane and full of action which makes all of the scenes that much better. Nobunaga’s theme is absolutely the best one as you’d expect. It’s very atmospheric and perfect for all of his moments. That being said, the hero themes are also really good and the battle themes are exceptional. There are also some lyrical themes which occur during big fights. Basara’s animation was also the real deal. At times it could maybe be a little too stretched out with the attacks though. It’s like watching a 90’s Marvel comic in anime format at times as it’s all very Topsy Turvy. It may seem odd at times, but overall I’d say that it worked really well. The colors are very sharp and it felt like the anime got a pretty high budget overall. At the very least, you could tell that this was as video game adaption right from the start and I do think it should embrace that fact.
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Overall, Sengoku Basara is a pretty great anime. It has a lot of action nonstop and the pacing is really good. I’ve said this many times, but that’s one of the things that I love about 12-13 episode shows. They don’t have to bother with a lot of fillers (typically) or drawn out scenes to buy time. This show just goes all in and never gives you a break to relax. The only real negative here is the fanservice which is fairly limited and the fact that the heroes have horses that they ride into battle. I didn’t really get into it, but there is one scene in particular where a horse dies and that was unfortunate. If it had happened more often, that would have definitely been enough to have really hurt the score. It’s why I heavily advocate against heroes having animals in any capacity as it usually ends up being targeted. Kind of a downer to end the review on that note, but essentially just brace yourself for that scene and the Kasuga shenanigans. Beyond that, the show really hit all of the right notes and I look forward to the next season.

Overall 8/10

Deadline – U.S.A. Review

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It’s time for an old school mafia/gangster film. I haven’t seen too many of these yet so it’s nice to add another one to the list. It’s handled pretty well and makes for an interesting movie from start to finish. I think the main character could have been a little better to make it easier to root for him, but I suppose it was trying to show that he was just an ordinary joe who wanted to stick up for the paper. Bogart plays the role extremely well as always and it’s a film that has certainly aged well.

Hutcheson is a proud newspaper man. He’s never gone for sensational clickbait over the actual news. He goes for the facts and just that. Unfortunately this means that his paper is losing sales and a competitor wants to buy him out to crush it for good. There’s not much Hutcheson can do about it since the board of directors are okay with the sale. He has enough time for one last scoop though and decides to attack the vicious gangster Rienzi after one of his reporters is attacked for following the story. Nobody gets to take down one of his staff, not while Hutcheson is still on the case.

With all of the fake stories being spread around and alternative facts used instead of actual ones, this film is a good reminder that you have to be careful what you believe. All of the papers in this film were either paid off by Rienzi or were too scared to attack him. This meant that Hutcheson and his crew had to dig up all of the dirt on their own. Luckily, these guys are some of the best in the biz and were ready for such a challenge. Hutcheson is also a pretty confident and bold person himself so the villain’s threats never get to him. He defies the villains right up til the end and even if he is taken out of the picture, the facts have now been released for everyone.

The film has a very sudden ending, but one that works well. You can reasonably draw your own conclusions from it and they are positive ones. While we may not have gotten an epilogue, you can see how things will go from here. It may have all come together a little too well in some cases though. For example, Hutcheson’s one flaw is that he’s typically drunk and a little crazy. He forgot that he was divorced to his wife for a while because he had one too many beers and once he remembered, he wanted to call it off. It was a little late for that as she already found the rebound guy. It turns out that the guy didn’t have any dirt on him even though Hutcheson tried to find it. By the end, the ex-wife realizes that she doesn’t want a new man and comes back. It’s nice for the lead of course, but that part was maybe a little over the top. It was the one subplot where I couldn’t sympathize with Hutcheson at all. He’s a great newspaper man, but that was part of the problem for his social life. He had very clear priorities and his ex-wife was apparently not one of them.

As you’d expect from a newspaper film, the plot is very intricate and there are twists upon twists. More elements continue dug up by the reporters and then you get the full story at the end. It’s definitely a sad story all around, but one that will keep you guessing. It always seems like a fair mystery with my only issue being that some characters look really similar. For example, the rebound guy looked just like one of the gangsters so I was waiting for that twist. Rienzi is a decent main villain although he doesn’t get to appear all that much. He’s clearly a lot smarter than his minions, but it wasn’t enough as he gets outsmarted by the newspaper the whole time.

The court scenes were pretty fun. There wasn’t much that the heroes could do there since the paper’s owners had already given their consent, but it was still nice to see. The court rooms definitely haven’t changed much at all as it looks like an exact replica to the one I sat in a while back. The Judge made the right call since an appeal to emotion isn’t the right way to win a case. One of the executives did stand up in the end though so the paper got to have a happy ending thanks to that. Hopefully sales pick up so she can gain back her money.

Again, old films like this one are so good because of the dynamic writing and plot. The script is leagues ahead of anything you’ll see in the modern day. The characters all feel very real and professional. While this may not always help Hutcheson, it does work well with the film. The plot was good and handled well as we got to see how a lone newspaper can deal with a gangster threat. They may have fallen for the fake cops gambit, but they controlled the game otherwise. All of the reporters were very good at their jobs and everyone brought something to the table. The only plot that the film should have cut out was the drama with the ex-wife. It didn’t eat up too much screen time though so at least it wasn’t a huge issue, just a minor thing that would have made the whole experience even better.

Overall, Deadline USA is a good film. It’s certainly one that I hadn’t heard of before so it was a nice hidden gem to find. The film’s not very long so the pacing never slows down. As one of Bogart’s final films, I can safely say that it was a good decision to be a part of it. The film certainly would have lost some charm and charisma without his inclusion. It’d still be a film, but some leads were just made for the roll and he did a good job here. For once he didn’t even get knocked out despite getting in a car with the villains. You definitely have to love that confidence. I highly recommend checking this film out.

Overall 7/10

ATM 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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Ah man…it’s time for a modern indie thriller. Now, I try not to have anything against indie films as it’s nice for people to make their own films and get them out into the market. The problem is that 90% of the indie films that I’ve seen have all been rather terrible. This film is no exception as its aggravating characters and poorly thought out plot leave much to be desired. You’ll probably spend most of the film correcting the writers or pointing out how unrealistic the characters are. Most of the film relies on the assumption that the heroes aren’t smart at all and that all of the background characters have no common sense. These assumptions don’t lead to a smart movie.

There aren’t a lot of characters here since just about the whole film takes place in a portable ATM shelter. David and his beer buddies were enjoying themselves at an office party when he decides to drive Emily home. It’s her final day at the job so this is their last chance to talk about the weather. Unfortunately, Corey had one too many beer bottles and decided to tag along just to embarass the other two and prevent them from saying anything important. He forces them to pull over at an abandoned gas station, but then forgets that his card doesn’t work. David and Emily follow him inside, but then they see a mysterious fellow show up outside of the shelter. The heroes are instantly petrified and can only watch as the guy murders anyone who tries to get to the ATM. If they leave, they may face the same threat. Rather than exploit the 3 vs 1 advantage on a guy who’s standing in the cold and getting frost bite, the heroes decide that it’s in their best interest to freeze inside of the ATM shelter which is actually just as cold as the outside world. Did I mention that they didn’t bother to bring their phones?

You can argue that the last line destroyed the film’s credibility. I don’t think it had any to begin with, but there’s no way you wouldn’t bring your phone when heading to an ATM. People take their phones with them everywhere and this is no different. It was a rather lazy excuse to have the heroes be unable to call for help. To make things worse, David’s car has a broken lock so anyone can just open it and do what they want. The villain’s a master at hacking cars and getting them to work even without the keys so he’s really all set on his end. The heroes can just grin and endure this experience until they freeze over.

None of the characters are likable here, which is really bad for a film like this. David just lets Corey take advantage of him the whole time. He’s not very smart and makes all of the wrong decisions each and every time. Just hanging out with such a toxic crowd the whole time starts him off on the wrong foot. Emily’s not an interesting character either and it sure was convenient that she happened to already like David since otherwise his random flirting on the last day of her job would have just been awkward. I doubt anyone wants to hear a confession from someone you’ve worked with for years and never said anything to you in all that time. David comes across as desperate.

Finally, there’s Corey. He’s the miller time character of the group. He doesn’t really have respect for anyone but himself. He trolls a Domino’s pizza delivery guy for no reason other than to just make a scene and he refers to his fellow colleagues with a certain insult as opposed to using their actual names. He’s as bad as it gets for the drunk “friend” category and continues to put the characters in a bad spot throughout the film. He’s certainly someone that you cannot count on and someone that you wouldn’t even want on your side. He talks a good game, but his confidence vanishes pretty quickly.

Then there’s the Villain. Thing is, he doesn’t get any lines and we never really get to see him to save the budget a little more money. He just stays in the hoodie the whole time except for the opening and closing scenes of the film. He has no character and is just portrayed as a generic serial killer. There’s nothing engaging about him at all. This guy does still manage to bring the film down though. For starters, the film’s ending cemented the fact that this movie was terrible. Ready to hear the ending?

Basically, the serial killer wins. He frames David for murdering everyone else despite this being logically impossible and then heads off to murder some other people. It’s just a very mean spirited ending and one that almost comes across as an inspirational message to villains watching this movie. It tries to show that he succeeded because of his careful planning and that he’ll just continue going on like this. The villain winning in an ending can work if it’s handled with extreme care, but this film didn’t have any of that delicacy. It’s not like a Xenomorph showing up at the end and destroying the last hero or Godzilla blowing up the planet. A serial killer just getting in the way at the end is simply a lot darker and the kind of ending that you don’t want to see. At the very least, it’s an ending that guarantees I’ll be giving the film a terrible score.

The film was already at a very low point anyway. It would have gotten a 1 tops, but the ending is what ultimately pushed it over the edge. The writing is as terrible as it gets with language being used so much that you have to wonder how small their vocabulary is. Whether intentional or not, it doesn’t change the fact that all of the characters were bad. Plot points happen artificially to continue the plot. For example, the main villain did let one guy go into the ATM machine so the heroes could murder him and further incriminate themselves. The guy happened to be wearing the same coat and didn’t get to say anything before they took him down. That’s really hard to swallow.

Naturally, the film also squeezes in the trope of having the cop show up, but get taken down immediately. Naturally, none of the characters told him to watch out for the murderer approaching him and the cop took his time looking from side to side. Stuff like this keeps on happening. The camera also conveniently goes dead right at the end to make David look as guilty as possible. It’s not even so much that the villain planned things out well, but that luck was on his side. The heroes were not quite so fortunate, but then again..they weren’t exactly heroes either.

The film’s also pretty violent as you would expect since the villain just beats everyone to death. Nobody puts up a fight either and they keep on getting hit long after they’re dead for extra impact. Over the top violence adds another check to the list of weak points that this film had and another reason for you to avoid it all together. At least the dog lived as I was a little worried that it would come back and get taken out. I’ll give the film some credit for that, but not enough credit to actually win it back a star.

Overall, ATM is a poorly conceived film and the execution was as bad as could be. The ending is terrible and not only does it send the wrong message but it drags on as well. I don’t think anyone wanted to re watch a large part of the film via flashbacks, but the ending did it anyway. There’s no one to root for here and the film’s never any fun. It’s just a dark, violent story where the villain gets all of the first and last laughs. It’s hard to see how anyone thought this would be a good idea. With superb writing I suppose this maybe could have been a decent idea, but it would need drastic changes. It’s just hard to play this out with any sense of realism. The villain gave the heroes dozens of opportunities to escape as he did some drilling in the back and kept on giving them a lot of room. He’s fortunate that none of them were very athletic or brave. I highly recommend watching something a little more classy like Mission Impossible. Those films will remind you of what true quality is.

Overall 0/10

House of Wax Review

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It’s time to look at a remake of a film that I saw not too long ago. Unfortunately, this is one of those remakes that decides to play it very by the books and doesn’t change much. I find this to be a waste since a remake/reboot should always make drastic changes so you have a reason to see it over another version. You’re basically watching the same film, but without the classic black and white effect that makes it more tense or the solid writing of the old days. Well…prepare yourself!

The film starts off with Jarrod in good spirits. He has finally found someone who is willing to buy his partner’s share of the business. Burke had been pretty mean lately and Jarrod would be glad to have him out. Unfortunately, the rich fellow couldn’t buy the place right away so Burke decided to burn the place to the ground. Jarrod resisted a little, but he was outmatched. Burke was simply too strong and burned the place down along with Jarrod for good measure. No worries though, Jarrod survived and quickly went over to murder Burke and his fiancee. He then decided to open a museum where he could show off his murders and nobody would be any the wiser. Jarrod gets a little too overconfident though and decides that he wants Sue as his masterpiece. Can he get away with it?

The whole film’s premise relies on the police being inept and no reporters existing at all. Lets look at the facts. This is a Wax Museum so the models are so realistic that nobody can tell that they were real. I find this to be a stretch personally, but lets run with it. It starts to get a little more dicey when Jarrod murders someone and then immediately puts her in the museum. This is where we can’t deny reality any longer. The cops know that a body has been snatched and they also know that the museum just got a new exhibit. In fact, Sue is able to tell that it is her friend immediately.

Now, the cops don’t chat with Sue all that much, but they should have been looking for the body in as many locations as possible. A suspicious new wax museum should be one of the first places that they look, especially with the sculptures being so realistic. Likewise, Sue probably should have said something to the cops herself instead of prowling around after hours and getting kidnapped. At the very least, she couldn’t depend on the male lead. All he did in this film was get knocked left and right by every villain in the book. He was actually losing quite badly to one of the henchmen and considering that her life was on the line, I think Sue would have wanted him to put up some more resistance.

So, I don’t buy into the plot. Moving past that, I don’t see how Jarrod was so powerful all of a sudden. Even though he was badly injured by the fire, he can move with great speed and has a lot of power as well. He’s able to fight off a good number of cops and is strong enough to throw people around. He even has a super mask that can allow him to take blows to the head with no real effect. That part makes sense since he had a disguise the whole time, but he should absolutely be in no shape to fight at all. He is sitting in his chair all day and barely moves around, he should be fiercely out of shape.

None of the characters are very interesting either, which doesn’t do the film any favors. Sue is about as generic as you can get and isn’t all that smart. When confronting the big villain, you should try to have some kind of plan right? The male lead is even worse as he’s so mild that I couldn’t be bothered to remember his name. He gets suckered by the whole cast and then doesn’t even get to save Sue. He should be pretty ashamed of himself to be honest. Jarrod’s a two dimensional villain who could have gotten away with the whole thing if he hadn’t become so greedy and gone after more people. He’s just your average serial killer and the film didn’t do anything to distinguish him from the others. His minions were also not interesting as one couldn’t even talk which didn’t help his character development.

The only characters who were good here were the cops. Even then it took them forever to put the simple pieces together and watching a bunch of them get wrecked by an old guy was so sad that it was almost funny. I can’t stress enough just how sad it is to get beat by a guy with multiple third degree burns who has rarely ever gotten up from his wheel chair. It should go down in infamy as one of the worst moments of the Police Force. They got the results though…..fatal ones.

Overall, House of Wax is a dreadfully boring film. Nothing really happens and the characters may as well be reading lines off of a script for all the emotion that they show. The plot doesn’t make sense which means that the writers weren’t even paying attention when they made this film. Whatever semblance of heart the first film had is gone here and the film doesn’t even serve its purpose as a good remake. If the original is better than the remake, that’s a problem. (It’s to be expected, but it’s still a problem) This film should have taken more risks and changed things up to make it more interesting. It needed to do something rather than just ripping off the original film and hoping to make a few dollars. I’d recommend sticking away from this film, the House of Wax is just not good and the premise limited its options from the get go. I’ve seen three murder films about hiding the victims in Wax and none of them were good. That proves that the plot just can’t work.

Overall 3/10

Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City Review

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There are some series that can start out on a high note and keep that level of quality intact. Look at the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It has the super emotional song from the first film, but still managed to get by just fine in the sequels without it. That’s because the writing and characters were on point. Other titles like Skip Beat can start out decently interesting and go into the gutter. It’s not about how you start a race, but how you finish it. That’s true in life, cooking, platformers, pie eating contests, and anything else that is worth your while. This novel may have started out to be pretty good and a contender for best novel in the franchise, but crashed and burned in the second half. The title should have been a giveaway I suppose.

The plot of the book takes place in a small little town in the Titan World. The bridge collapsed so everyone is kinda sorta trapped in the town. They can go outside though so I guess they aren’t really trapped at all. I don’t know exactly how the layout is since it doesn’t make much sense, but essentially all of the other villages have left them for dead. All of Rita’s bosses end up getting bumped off so she is suddenly the leader of the military. She goes from being a really nice person to a corrupt dictator and decides that the only way to give the people peace is to murder them and anyone who falls out of line or looks at her the wrong way is subject to death. She will destroy anyone who defies her wish of a Utopia!

Meanwhile, Mathias is the other main character. He was a rich guy who never had to work for anything and was ignorant of the ways of the commoner. He was good friends with Rita, but he ended up murdering her other best friend so he had to go into hiding. He must now find a way to take her down and considers that he may have to use lethal methods. Friendship and camaraderie is thrown to the winds in this tale as everyone does what they feel they have too. Things get a lot worse before they get better and they never really get better so just focus on the first part.

This adventure is two novels long and the first one was actually pretty decent. It was a fun enough tale about Rita and Mathias and how they lived very different lives, but did their best to connect with each other. It wasn’t a bleak and gritty story the way that most Titan adventures were and it was cool to just have a happy scene for once. It figures that this wouldn’t last right? The story started to get a little more grim as Mathias made a deal with some bandits to rob his father in exchange for getting him to the town where Rita was trapped. It didn’t go very well so the bandits murder a bunch of soldiers and then Mathias panicked so he blew up one of the young workers who was helping Rita. He panicked again after that and ran off. This basically happened in the final pages of the first book so it was quite a downer.

The second novel is where it really goes off the rails though. Rita was apparently traumatized after seeing her best friend murder her other friend so she decided to go down a dark path. She forces people to get eaten by the Titan she planted in the city and tortures others until they get her some intel. Nobody is safe now and she murders her father and is prepared to do the same to Mathias if she can find him as well as her best friend Amanda. The novel shows us in great detail just how insane she has become. It gets about as bad as the main Titan series in that regard and there’s no way she can come back from this.

This is why the ending of the book is rather hard to swallow. The author suddenly tries to make her sympathetic as she was only trying to help and she’ll be a nicer person now. She has this 180 character development in the span of 2-3 pages as Titans attack the city and suddenly we’re supposed to see her as a nice person again. Mathias also forgives her for murdering everyone and putting the townspeople in jeopardy every day since it just doesn’t matter now. Never mind the fact that one of Mathias’ main allies was poisoned to death right in front of him on Rita’s orders. She may claim that it was for the greater good, but she stepped well over the line of vigilantism and became an evil villain during this book. It was far more extreme than the book and characters acknowledge afterwards and it was just puzzling the whole time. It was an even more drastic character arc than Shu’s from Guilty Crown and that’s pretty scary. It may not be in Black Butler levels quite yet, but Rita is easily one of the most evil main characters that I’ve ever seen.

It goes without saying that I didn’t like her. Regardless of how good she was in volume 1, she nullified it all in the sequel. I didn’t care for Mathias either as there is no way he should have panicked so much upon seeing the scout and he handled the situation as badly as possible. It was hard to take him seriously as the rebel leader since he was always terrified of everyone and got tricked so many times. He was just annoying to see. The rebels were also a bit much as they were all too overconfident and full of themselves even though they could never do all that much when it came time to fight. The super hyped leader of the Rebels went down in the worst way possible as his drinking habits finally got to him and poison ended his career. You’d think that he would have been a little smarter about something like that.

In the end, the only real good character was Amanda. Even she was a little fishy as she took forever to make a move and just allowed people to be tortured and eaten. At least she did something about it though. She also got a lot of hype as being the best fighter in the squad, but naturally once she turned good, Amanda was surpassed by Rita. So much for the hype eh? She still put up a good fight though and was probably the only character who actually stayed true to herself. Again, the book kind of glossed over the fact that Rita was so evil in the end as she gets Amanda back her gear and they team up again. It just shouldn’t be so smooth. If anything, I think the ending should have kept Rita as a villain, it certainly makes more sense than suddenly making her a hero again.

Even the ending doesn’t offer much hope though as the heroes lost their town to the Titans. Their plan is to head to the next town, but they already know for a fact that the Town doesn’t want them and will attempt to slay the group. It’ll come down to yet another fight and that should give the Titans an opening to move in and take them all down. It’s Attack on Titan though so you should never expect anything even remotely happy for the conclusion.

Overall, What started as potentially the best Titan novel ended up being the worst one. It’s why I always say that you can’t really tell these things ahead of time. A whole novel (or 2 in this case) is more than enough time for a story to turn rotten. You won’t even recognize the characters by the end as they could basically be other people. In the end, what really destroyed the book was that it was way too dark and violent. If you thought the other novels were gritty, this one is far more intense. The novel could have made Rita’s character transformation a little less drastic and it would have worked a lot better. There’s no good reason for her to become a full fledged mass murderer. She should have just gotten more obsessed about the rules and we could have had the town be under a curfew with a lot of punishments handed out every day. The situation didn’t need to jump all the way to 10 so suddenly. Had the book showed some restraint, it would have been a lot better and glossing it over so much at the end didn’t help either. If you want a good Attack on Titan novel, I suggest checking out Before The Fall. It’s the only good one at the moment and shows you what Titan novels should be like.

Overall 1/10

The Apparition Review

apparition
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

The Night Walker Review

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It’s time for another retro film. This one involves large leaps in logic though so don’t expect it to make much sense. While it’s an ambitious plot, the writers were clearly not up to the task. It’s unfortunate, but if every writer was really good then it would be hard to know who was actually good and who was just posing right? This isn’t really a bad film, but the plot will take you out of it.

After a verrrrry long intro where nothing really happens, we learn that Irene has been having dreams about an affair with another person. She’s married though so this is troublesome and her husband doesn’t like it. He panics quite a bit, but dies in an explosion so now Irene is able to enjoy her dreams…right? The problem is that they start to feel very real and she sees the dream man every day. She tries to just get involves with her business and forget about all of this nonsense, but it persists and she even ends up marrying the guy in the dream world. It all felt so real though…hmmmmm.

Lets not beat around the bush here. There is no way you wouldn’t notice someone breaking into your house every night and messing with you. Irene was taken on many trips, she went to clubs, a wedding, and had many adventures with her dream man. Do you really think there is any way she would not have realized that this was all real and not just some dream? If it was originally a dream, then the villains shouldn’t have been able to have created an exact duplicate with a quick wig. It’s the kind of plot twist that is supposed to be clever, but just doesn’t work at all. You have to either believe that Irene is one of the least intelligent protagonists out there or the writers were out of their depth. The plot makes 0 sense and just wouldn’t work.

I will give the film credit for trying to get intense at the end. It didn’t work and was actually chuckle worthy, but we got to see the main villain grab some dolls and start breaking them. He did it in the most dramatic way possible as he ripped them limb from limb and gradually grew more and more upset as the dolls wouldn’t break so he had to keep on trying. The scene lasts for a very long time and I didn’t actually think that the film was going to show us each doll one at a time. It’s fortunate that the villain had this much time on his hands since Irene walking in would have wrecked the entire thing.

While I may not have chosen the “Irene isn’t very smart” option, it doesn’t take away from the fact that she really isn’t all that bright. When she goes to the hair salon, Joyce tries to strangle her and Irene is barely able to break free. Does Joyce at least briefly consider that maybe Joyce is one of the villains? Nah, Irene buys the phony excuse that Joyce was just worried about her lack of sleep. I have no doubt that Joyce would have given Irene a nap, it just would have been a permanent one. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that something was a little screwy there. It does give the film a slight sense of humor though as this all gets so crazy that you expect the film to get self aware about it. The film never does so that’s a missed opportunity, it actually takes itself very seriously. Yes…even the “breaking the mannequins” scene.

Irene isn’t a likable protagonist. It is pretty sad that she dreams about a made up guy every night and while she is not actually doing anything, it’s still a betrayal in the sense that she wants to be with another man. She is still married at the moment so it’s not the kind of dream that you should be having. You may try to respond with the old “You can’t control your dreams” but lets face it, that was disproved years ago by me. Now, maybe it takes some practice for people who aren’t used to it, but I’ve controlled my dreams for years. I don’t even really get them anymore because my “dreams” are basically just my thoughts that continue to fly until I’m fully awake again. For example, I’ll relive my old 2016 set at Apex where I was up by over 100% against my opponent and he got a super lucky shot in. I’ll start my projection by imagining myself sidestepping the blow and winning the game. From then on, I win the next sets and go on to win EVO. Usually I fall asleep somewhere during my third buffet party and my next World Championship victory and the next thing I know…I’m awake again. I can never tell when exactly I fell asleep, but the point is that my “dreams” are always just continuations of what I’m thinking about. I have full control over them and even when the dreams start to get fantastic like demons show up and I’m some kind of Galactic Hero, I can always control what I’m actually doing. It’s not as if I’m watching someone else control my body, if I did then it would be an android or something.

TLDR, Irene isn’t very likable from the beginning of the film. It doesn’t help that she isn’t very smart either. Barry isn’t very good either. He talks a good game and only loses his mind a few times during the film, but he’s never very helpful and you’ll see through him right away. Joyce is easily the most compelling character in the film because you’ll keep wondering what her stake in all of this is. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get to do much once you find out the answer to this question since certain parties had to make a move. She really got the raw end of the deal in this film. Howard’s made to be a pretty unlikable guy as well. He’s overly paranoid about Irene betraying him someday so he just expedites the process. Also, who keeps an explosive facility in the attic? Not a very smart move. An even worse one is that there is apparently a switch inside that triggers a fake explosion. Smoke comes out along with a big bang, but aside from being very convenient to the villains, what purpose did this device have? It’s another question in a very long line of them.

Overall, There are a lot of coincidences in this film and even with all of them, the plot is riddled with holes. Clearly this plot was simply too ambitious and should have played out in a very different way to make sense. At least Irene has a fairly good time of it in the end since she got to have her fun and play the field while also getting to watch the villains wrestle around for a while. She didn’t ultimately have to do anything by the end except watch all of the villains shoot each other and die at the same time. Was it convenient? Yes. Was it a likely scenario? No. Does she care? Probably not. Irene got the happiest ending you could imagine and it just goes to show that if you’re ever in danger by multiple gunmen, buy some time and they’ll take care of the problem for you. I sort of recommend this film as a title to poke fun at and laugh for a while, but it’s not technically all that good so there are better movies for you to watch.

Overall 5/10