All Dogs Go to Heaven Review


I definitely know this film pretty well from the title, but certainly not the movie. Now I could finally really experience this classic. It’s definitely a pretty fun film although without the ability to come back from Heaven it would be a pretty grim tale for these dogs. Who knew that even dogs have to deal with gang violence and all of these villains trying to mess with the system. This is definitely a quality film that I’d recommend.

The movie starts with Charlie and Itchy escaping from the Pound. This place means business as there are armed guards and a bunch of sirens. The heroes manage to just barely evade this rain of bullets, but their survival is very short lived as Carface shows up and murders Charlie. Charlie never did trust this guy. Well, now that Charlie is in heaven it would seem like his dreams of money are over, but he’s actually got one more chance. See, you can sneak out of Heaven and that’s exactly what Charlie does. He’s now safe from dying as long as he holds onto his watch. He then meets a little girl named Anne-Marie who has the ability to speak to animals. Charlie senses that some money can be made this way so he tricks her into a team up. She’ll get him rich and in exchange Charlie vows to find her parents. The scheme is working well, but can he keep it up or will she eventually see through him?

From that plot you can basically imagine how the rest of the film will go down. Eventually Charlie’s conscience starts to catch up with him and he also realizes that he thinks of Anne as a friend. By then it’s a little hard for him to make a comeback but it’s never too late to help a friend right? The film definitely has its share of emotional moments contained within. It goes for a balance of humor and emotion which I think works out pretty well. This is due in no small part to the fact that the writing is on point here. The character cast is strong and the plot is pretty nice.

As I mentioned earlier, the movie can also get surprisingly intense which is also handled well. One such scene is when the villains do a drive by and start shooting Charlie. If not for his lucky watch that would have been game over. These villains are clearly not messing around and that is actually pretty rare in these films. Usually they are content to just make threats from the sidelines and hide a lot. That’s definitely not how Carface and his team operate. It’s definitely one of those cases where the minions really only serve him out of fear though. Carface makes it obvious that he’ll take them all down when the time is right. He comes very close to sacrificing his general after all.

Charlie’s a solid lead even if he is pretty antagonistic for a while. I also think that he didn’t plan things too well as it should be obvious that Carface would come after him again once Charlie had amassed a lot of money. Why wouldn’t he make a second attempt at the lead’s life? Meanwhile, Itchy is a good second in command. He’s a loyal partner to the end. You can understand his frustration near the climax as well since it looks like he was beaten up quite a lot while Charlie was having fun singing songs. I feel like Charlie may have even forgotten about him completely a some points.

Anne is a nice enough kid even if she is a little on the gullible side. I’m still not a big fan of kids taking center stage in these things, but she could have been a lot worse. I’d prefer it if she didn’t take the whole thing so personally, but again, that is asking an awful lot out of the kid. At least she is trying to make Charlie a better person so that’s always good. Then you’ve got King Gator who is definitely a powerful ally to have. He doesn’t get a lot of scenes, but the ones that he does get are pretty critical. He’s not really my kind of character either, but he gets the job done.

I enjoyed the animation here. It’s definitely pretty sharp and the character designs are on point. It works well for the action scenes and the quick speed of the animations helps it keep up with the pace of the film. We also get some songs here. They aren’t quite on the level of Disney, but they’re catchy. Charlie probably got one of the better songs when he was getting the kids to share their pizza. I don’t blame the pups for being skeptical though, how do you share a single slice of pizza? That’s not going to be enough to fill anyone up.

Overall, All Dogs Go To Heaven is a pretty fun film and I’d definitely recommend it. This feels like a complete movie as it really has everything you’d need in a feature like this. It’s got danger, comedy, and suspense. The writing is good and there are no sections of the film that really drag on. It can be annoying to see Anne falling for all the tricks since you know she’s going to take it hard later on, but even if you know the story beats that are coming up the film doesn’t overplay them. There’s just nothing to really dislike about this movie and the replay value is pretty good. It’s the kind of film you could see a second time and still have a similar experience. I wonder if the sequels will end up being as good.

Overall 7/10

Advertisements

White Lightning Review


It’s time to look at one of those old films where you wonder who to root for because everyone is pretty corrupt. As you can expect this one wasn’t exactly a winner for me. It’s not an abysmal film or anything like that, but at the same time there isn’t much to it. It’s a pretty simple plot, but no part of it is really well executed. As a result you’ll find yourself feeling like something is missing.

The film starts off with two teens being murdered by the sheriff and some loyal minions. We then cut away to the main character, Gator. He’s currently doing hard time for distributing illegal drinks. Gator then learns that his brother is one of the teens who was murdered so he makes a deal with the cops. He gets to leave jail early but in exchange he’ll find some evidence on the corrupt sheriff so the cops can take him away. The cops like this deal and set him loose. While this mission should be easy, Gator starts to sympathize with the crooks and now he isn’t sure if he should put them away. Still, he’ll take down the Sheriff!

Gator is a really bad main character. Now, you can certainly understand why he wants to get revenge on the sheriff. That’s pretty reasonable, but Gator decides to go about doing this in the worst ways possible. For starters when he gets into town one of the first things he does is to confront the sheriff passive aggressively. By this, I mean that he drives up to the guy and just stares at him. Part of the point of this ordeal is to make his co-driver sweat it out since Gator is basically blackmailing him at this point and the sheriff could shoot them all on sight. What did this act accomplish though? All it did was put Gator on the guy’s and if not for his plot shield that would be it for Gator.

Gator does a lot of nonsensical things like this throughout the film. Then when you thought things couldn’t get worse he decides to cheat on one of the crooks with the guy’s girl. Again….why would he do that? Clearly Gator doesn’t respect the other guy at all. It’s an excuse for some quick romance which ultimately doesn’t add anything to the movie. Beyond Gator, the rest of the characters are all crooks so there are no other heroes. Even the cops who show up from time to time to blow Gator’s cover seem like bad apples. They come in with an attitude and then storm off when Gator talks to them. Nobody’s reasonable here.

Of course Connors (The sheriff) is your average bad guy so he just likes walking around and terrorizing everyone. Some senior citizens try to play dumb when he shows up and he doesn’t spare any mercy for them either. You’re either with Connors or you’re against him. It’s definitely interesting how the cops can’t do anything about him though. The guy doesn’t seem like he covers his tracks all that well and the whole town is pretty up front with their illegal activities. I think if the cops had tried a little harder they should have been able to crack this case without Gator.

There aren’t any nice visuals to distract you with either as the film takes place in an old town. Everything’s pretty grungy so you certainly won’t be seeing any technology running around. The film’s supposed to keep you engaged with Gator’s quest for evidence, but this doesn’t work either since the main character doesn’t want to find any evidence. He just wants to take Connors down for the count and I doubt that arresting him was ever really part of the goal. He’s just lucky that everyone kept on sparing him the whole time instead of shooting on sight. His final plan takes forever and a day to finally get started.

The final car chase is good at least though. We get to see the characters put the pedal to the mettle as they chase each other around for a while. You can probably guess how the chase will end, but it’s still an action scene at last. Before that we do get a full action scenes and even a fight, but this was the car chase that we needed. It’s not enough to save the film of course, but at least this way we don’t have to end on a sour note.

It’s a shame that the cops ignored the town because it seems like it was definitely pretty rough for everyone in it. They probably should have moved away, but of course that is never possible for everyone. At first you think that Connors and his gang are at least nice rulers to those who follow the rules, but based on how they act later on it seems like they also just like to terrorize people for kicks. They get away with a whole lot and even by the end of the film you wonder how much has really changed. Even without the head honcho we know that a bunch of other people were also corrupt so hopefully those guys were taken down too.

Overall, White Lightning is definitely a film where I’d recommend skipping it. The character cast is weak and the film does tend to drag on a bit. Not having a good main character definitely hurt this movie right from the start and it only gets weaker from there. Even the teens who died at the beginning don’t sound like they were all that smart. When you live in a town controlled by the villains it probably isn’t the best time to exercise your right to free speech. If you want to watch a grim tale of tragedy and revenge then this is the one for you. If you want a movie with a better main character then check out the original Mission Impossible instead.

Overall 3/10

Varan The Unbelievable Review


It’s time to look at an old classic in Varan The Unbelievable. Varan is a film that you’ve likely heard of if you’re a big Godzilla fan. On the other hand, if you’re not really into the Godzilla mythos then the odds of you knowing about this film are slim to none. It’s a very classic Kaiju film that plays it by the numbers. At its core the main point of the film is seeing Varan take on the humans, but I’d say that it’s a bit weaker than the average Kaiju film. The humans just aren’t that good.

The plot of the film revolves around a guy named Jim who heads to Japan to run some experiments. His tests involve potentially eroding the water supply of a nearby village so he tells them all they have to leave. Naturally the villagers don’t want to just pack up and go just like that so the army has to get involved. They send tanks and a lot of man power for this mission which increases tensions. Jim’s wife warns him that this is a bad idea, but he won’t listen to anyone. By this point his ideas are simply too important to him and anyone who says otherwise simply doesn’t understand his passion. There’s nothing that can stop him…nothing but Varan!

Varan is definitely a fun Kaiju. For some reason I always thought he looked a lot more like Titanosaurus, but his actual design is still pretty solid. Once he appears the film certainly becomes a lot more fun. He really takes it to the army and shows that he isn’t to be trifled with. Varan also lasts a very long time ad he doesn’t go down until the final minutes of the film. Even then it’s hard to say if they really destroyed him since that’s partially up to interpretation. He did lose though, which does mean he is one of the weaker Kaiju out there. Sure, the humans came up with their own special formula as per usual, but losing to the army is not something you want to do. Humans are pretty creative when they’re in a pack though so it’s no shame to lose to them.

What holds the film back is Jim. It’s impossible to root for him because his experiments were never justified. Why does he have to do them in this lake where a village is depending on the water source? Apparently there were other locations that he could have chosen so by the end it feels more like pride is the only thing keeping him there. He could have easily just picked a different spot when the inhabitants clearly told him to go away.

As the villagers escalate their attacks on Jim and Anna you’d think that Jim would finally consider leaving. Even Anna mentions that she is now scared of what may happen and the police chief hints that Jim should leave as well. Jim does nothing of the sort though so it becomes clear where his priorities are. Even though he manages to have a change of mind by the very end of the film it feels like it is too little too late. By then his character is already down for the count in my book.

The writing is pretty reasonable here. It’s not the best dialogue, but it’ll do. The film’s pretty quick and the pacing manages to keep up so the scenes don’t drag. I wouldn’t call the first 20-30 minutes without Varan boring, but I definitely would freely admit that they could have used a better cast. The action scenes are fun though. It’s pretty dusty in the climax so it can be hard to see, but it’s not like you need HD graphics to see that the government is firing a lot of shots at Varan. He shakes them off for a while, but every creature has its limit.

Overall, Varan The Unbelievable is a classic Kaiju film, but it doesn’t have the same level of charm as the others. It is interesting how different the plot seems to be between the sub and dub versions of the movie though. The character names are super different and the Wikipedia summary for the Japanese version seems like it might as well be a completely different film. I’d recommend checking out the English version if you want to see the impact that Jim has on the story. It may not be a positive one, but it’s an impact nonetheless. I’d recommend checking it out even if it wouldn’t be at the top of my list.

Overall 6/10

Detective Pikachu Review


It’s time to look at the new Detective Pikachu film. It is still an odd decision not to have gone with a traditional Pokemon film, but just having them on the big screen in some form is really cool either way. It’s a pretty solid film all around. I do think some scenes drag on a bit and the human characters are definitely on the weak side, but the movie has a good premise and the action scenes that we do get are definitely solid.

The film starts off by establishing how Tim isn’t a Pokemon trainer. He wants nothing to do with them and that’s because his Dad chose his job and Pokemon over Tim a while back. Well, Tim gets a call one day that his father has been murdered so Tim heads over to get some closure. What he doesn’t expect is that this will lead him to Pikachu and the ultimate mystery. He has to find out who axed his father and finish what the detective started. It won’t be easy, but he’s got this.

They say a film is only as good as its cast and that’s why it’s good that we’ve got Pikachu on board. He’s definitely the highlight here and his quick wit is definitely entertaining. It is a bit annoying that he doesn’t do any real fighting for the most part since he has amnesia as well, but I know the film was trying to avoid being an action title so to that end it makes sense to get Pikachu out of the equation. After all, he could easily wreck most of the cast if he was at full power. Pikachu also shows that he doesn’t need to be able to fight in order to be a quality character. I like his bravado even when outmatched.

Unfortunately, I can’t really say the same for Tim. He’s not my kind of character by a longshot. He spends most of the first half complaining and it’s hard to be all that sympathetic after a while. He doesn’t even have any interest in finding his father or solving the mystery for a while because he’s still sore about the past. Considering that the father isn’t evil or anything, I think he should be able to put that aside to save him at least temporarily. He also saw the poison gas so it’s not like he has no clue that this is going to be pretty serious. If you ask me he should have gotten with the program a lot sooner.

Also, his romance subplot definitely isn’t all that great. It’s pretty much shoehorned into the film for no real reason and naturally he fumbles this quite a bit as well. Lucy’s a good heroine though and she’s definitely a lot more proactive than Tim. Staking out the father’s place was a longshot at best and she must have been waiting up on the stairs for a very long time. That’s the kind of dedication you need if you want to be an expert reporter so she did a really good job. It’d be handy if she had a more powerful Pokemon than Psyduck though but he came in handy when it counted.

I don’t have much to say about the villain. I think it’s pretty obvious who the evil one is from the start just because it would have been too straightforward otherwise. He’s pretty generic and there’s not much to him though. He serves his purpose well enough, but I think Charizard made for the more imposing villain. It was definitely nice to see him get some action even if the battle was definitely very one sided.

As for the effects, they’re definitely quite good. Whether you like the realistic style or not, the Pokemon definitely all look like their game counterparts mostly. I thought Machamp and Mewtwo in particular came out really good. I think the only one I was skeptical of was Tauros since he looked more like a normal bison than the iconic Pokemon, but on the whole the film did a great job of giving them all live action designs. I think it would make for pretty excellent fight scenes and we got a tease of what that could be like early on. If we do get a spinoff or a sequel I definitely want to see some trainers get involved.

The soundtrack is pretty decent. You’ll notice some homages but for the most part the film is going for original tunes. There is a singalong with one of the best songs in the franchise though so that was pretty neat. I would have liked for the trailer theme to show up during the climax though. “I need a Hero” would have been really epic to hear in the theater.

Now if you were hoping that the cops would look good here, then I’m afraid you’re out of luck. Maybe there’s more to this that the games would have explained, but it seems to be like they did a really halfhearted job of looking into this mystery. Lets say Tim and Pikachu never got involved. The cops would have been absolutely doomed since they didn’t even suspect a thing. None of them thought to slow down the footage or investigate where the detective had been driving from. As the film goes on we learn that the villains don’t even bother to cover their tracks so the cops must have done absolutely no legwork. I was thinking maybe the main chief was in on it or just evil as well. Maybe he is……or maybe he’s just really bad at his job.

A big part of the film involves some smoke and while I won’t elaborate, at first I thought I was going to have to stretch some disbelief on why Pikachu was unaffected. By the end of the film I’d say it clears this up in a way that makes sense though so no issues there. On the whole the logic in the film was pretty sound. Sure, if you think about some things for too long then they start to break down (Like kids trying to catch Pokemon that can lethally injure them. That Cubone came really close with his retaliation explosion) but the film did good with the power scaling and with making the city make sense. Since there are no trainers here and the Pokemon are inherently good it makes sense how they could co-exist.

I think the main parts that can drag at times are when the film is throwing us exposition (like showing Mewtwo’s origin a bunch of times from different angles) and the heroes running across the mountain. It’s technically more of an action scene as the giant pokemon wake up, but it wasn’t all that exciting. There are bits and pieces like that around, but on the whole the film isn’t all that long so these moments aren’t that frequent.

Overall, Detective Pikachu is definitely a solid film that I would recommend. It’s far from perfect, but it does a good job of showing the Pokemon world and giving us some nice action scenes. The actual story is also good even if it’s held back a little by Tim. Even by the end I wasn’t sold on his character. It’ll be interesting to see where the films go from here assuming that it makes back enough money for them to roll the dice on another installment. If they do I’ll certainly be there.

Overall 7/10

Die Hard 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 far more negative.

It’s time to look at one of those action films that pretty much everyone has heard of at some point or another. Die Hard is a pretty big series at this point with many sequels after all. It’s definitely a pretty fun film and I can definitely see why it is remembered so well. It’ll be interesting to see how the sequels go though. Will they try to feel rehashed or will they try for another dynamic? I’m sure I’ll find out the answer to that at some point.

The film starts with John heading over to his wife’s workplace in time for a big party. Unfortunately Holly wasn’t exactly expecting him and they begin to bicker as per usual. The day suddenly becomes a lot more eventful than John had expected though as a group of terrorists show up and seize control of the tower. John manages to hide on one of the higher levels, but everyone else has been taken hostage. John will have to try and alert the police, but in the meantime he’ll also have to take all of these terrorists out. Fortunately he’s a cop from New York so he has some good experience here, but taking down a dozen+ terrorists with a single gun while trapped in a building isn’t easy no matter what experience you’ve got. He’s going to have to think fast here!

Die Hard definitely won’t disappoint you with the action scenes. There are a bunch of gun fights throughout the movie and some hand to hand brawls as well. There’s always something happening and it makes for a pretty tense environment since he is in enemy territory the whole time. John can never let his guard down or they’ll take the upper hand. It’s a pretty long film, but one that doesn’t feel stretched out. It just gives time for everyone to have a good role at one point or another. For example, the film does a good job with the cops who aren’t useless here. A lot of the time they look pretty iffy in these films, but at least they do try some good plans.

Al is the main cop here and he definitely looks good. At first you may be worried as he starts off by buying a bunch of Twinkies, but eventually he quickly becomes someone that John can count on. He is a little limited in how much he can help since it’s not like he has a high ranking title and getting in the building is tough to start with. At least he actually believes John though. The rest of the cops don’t take the threat as seriously and a bunch of them pay for it. Then the FBI also shows up and they are about as arrogant as you’d expect. I definitely like the confidence even if things don’t end up going too well for them. At least they tried right?

There’s also a decent amount of humor here and it works out pretty well for the most part. There’s definitely a lot of banter going on with the communicators. While they are plot important, I do feel like the writers forget that everyone is on the channel at times. John and Al will be chatting on the line and even mentioning things like the officers coming in, but the villains are presumably listening to this at all times as well. I feel like that should have been addressed a little more. Most likely the cops would have kept dying anyway since they didn’t care though.

John does a good job of not giving away his identity much although you get the feeling that the villains will find out from the start since several of the employees already know his identity. One of them even decides to negotiate with the villains which basically goes as you would expect. He definitely wasn’t the smartest guy in the building as the plan just wasn’t very good to start with. Holly did a much better job of playing it cool and not talking much at all. She did give a bit of info near the beginning, but after that she did good.

So the cast is pretty solid. John’s good and the other characters are likable enough. Then you’ve got his driver who gets a bit of an important role at different points in the film. He definitely earned his tip by the end so hopefully they set him up well after getting out of the car. From the villains the biggest two are definitely Hans and Karl. Karl spends most of the film wanting revenge for one of the other villains, but as a result that definitely clouds his judgment. As for Hans, his plan is definitely an interesting one. It was reasonably well thought out although I think his escape plan felt a little risky. I think a lot of things would have to go right for it to go as smoothly as he seemed to think it would. Still, he was a fun main villain to have. Hans had some decorum and was always polite to the characters even if it was pretty fake.

As you might expect the film can be pretty violent at times though. I wouldn’t say anything too crazy like Alien or anything like that, but enough to be noticeable. The writing is decent and fortunately the TV version helps with that. As I mentioned there definitely aren’t any big weak points for the film. It’s a pretty fun experience through and through. I think the length probably does limit the replay value that this one would have, but the plot is executed well so it is a good watch.

Overall, Die Hard is a film that I’d recommend. It’s a classic takeover plot and while it is always iffy to see the villains take over so quickly the bulk of the plot is always about getting the building back. Even if you stretch your disbelief at the beginning you’ll have ideally forgotten all about that by the time you’re at the end of the film. As such it shouldn’t hurt the film much, if at all unless it’s a really big deal. The film takes itself seriously but also has fun with some of the subplots like making the TV reporting a bit exaggerated. I do think that putting the kids on TV and giving the terrorists extra information is incredibly naive, but the sad part is that I could totally see this happening in real life if this made it on the news while the situation was being reported live. It totally shouldn’t but the channels want the ratings. If you haven’t watched this film yet then you should check it out.

Overall 7/10

Predator 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 a lot more negative.

It’s time to look at the 80s movie that started it all. I’m not the biggest fan of the Alien series but I always thought the Xenomorphs were cooler than the Predators. Their design just can’t be beat. Still, I hadn’t seen their solo movies before so it was time to change that. It basically plays out like you would expect. It’s a lot classier than Alien 3 but at the end of the day there are unavoidable errors that the film will bump into due to its nature.

The film starts off with Dutch and his group getting called back to base. The commander quickly explains that they have to go into enemy territory and free the hostages that were captured after they wandered past the border. Also, the group has to take local pencil pusher Dillon with them. Dutch isn’t happy about this but orders are orders. Unfortunately as the group gets deeper into the jungle they start to realize that this mission wasn’t what they were expecting and the real enemy may not even be human.

It takes them a long while to actually realize that there is a Predator around and even longer to realize that he is wearing a cloaking suit. While this is annoying it isn’t unreasonable considering how far fetched the whole thing would seem at face value. As a result the heroes don’t really stand a chance for a while there.

The Predator is fast and has a cool cannon, but he isn’t bullet proof so if you can get the shots off quick enough then you’ve still got a chance. Problem is that his cannon is basically automatic so it is hard to fire before he gets his shot. Also at night he absolutely has the advantage since he can see while the others have to fumble around.

The Predator definitely does have more character than I expected. Again, I saw him in the crossover but I don’t remember the Predators laughing there or copying voices. In this one they can do all of that which is pretty neat. In particular the laugh is definitely pretty fun. On the whole I definitely like the Predator more than I did from the crossover. I still prefer the Xenomorphs but these guys are worthy rivals.

Unfortunately the film does step into the unfortunate error of adding in a bit of animal violence. As always it is a very forced scene that should never have made the cut in the first place. The boar didn’t ask for this! It’s not a terribly long scene but it definitely doesn’t help matters. Also holding the film back is naturally how violent it is. With characters getting skinned and being mangled throughout you can expect a whole lot of violence. It’s fairly tame before the Predator shows up but then he starts it all with a bang.

The character cast isn’t too bad though. I definitely did like the main character Dutch. I never knew that the meme of the handshake was from this movie so that was pretty cool. Dutch was a good leader who could think on the fly and kept coming up with new plans over and over. He’s definitely the kind of guy you want to have around as he won’t desert you no matter the situation. It’s easy to see why he is known as one of the in the field. It’s clear that he and the group weren’t gonna lose to the other humans. He doesn’t get to let loose with too many puns and one liners this time around, but the ones that we do get are pretty good.

One of the more annoying characters is definitely the friend from the old days. Dillon definitely become just another government drone you can’t trust by this point. He also isn’t used to recon missions like this one so he is pretty sloppy at times. Even once Dillon finally decides to go for his hero move by the end it is simply too late for him to be likable. Better than nothing I suppose.

Predator definitely gets some respect for developing so many of Dutch’s squad here. Usually in these films you get the main character but then the rest are basically expendables. While Dillon wasn’t very likable he certainly did get his character arc. Likewise, Mac got a lot of screen time as he tries to avenge one of the other members of the group. He definitely did get a little overconfident in the end which cost him big time though. Never underestimate the Predators! Then there’s Billy who knows something isn’t right from the start but doesn’t do enough about it. In his defense, there is only so much you can really do. I do think he handled the ending pretty badly though. I’m thinking his rationale was to fight the Predator one on one without a gun so in close quarters he would have a chance, but that was never going to happen. It’s off screen so we don’t know if the Predator went the honorable route or not, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he just shot the guy.

Also the premise is just a lot of fun. It’s basically like the Hunger Games except it’s one guy against everyone else. You’ve got the numbers advantage but the person doing the chasing always has some advantages of their own. It’s easier to pick people off when they’re in a group. The whole survival aspect will keep you at the edge of your seat. It’s why it is a shame that the film is so violent since you could just keep all the murders off screen and that would help a lot. This could easily be the kind of horror film that actually ends up being really good. Even the writing isn’t as terrible as you’d expect although the TV version does make it look a lot better than it actually is since they block most of the iffy parts.

Overall, Predator makes for a fairly enjoyable watch at times but definitely is still not a film I would recommend. Even edited down for TV the violence is pretty over the top. It’s definitely a very brutal survival film and as long as you can get behind that then you’ll like it. I’m thinking that the next Predators film will probably have a tough time matching up to this one though since this one probably took the franchise as far as it could go. Still, it’s never over til it’s over!

Overall 2/10

Detour Review


It’s time to take a look at a very old noir film. This one is definitely a movie that you likely haven’t heard of unless you are a really big fan of the genre. It’s pretty obscure and I certainly had not heard of it until after I had seen it. It’s a pretty fun film, although one that will likely cause you to have to suspend some disbelief here. There were a lot of ways for the main guy to get out of his predicament, but ultimately he didn’t choose any of them. That was definitely his big mistake.

The film starts off with Al and Sue getting ready to be married. At least, that’s what Al had in mind, but then Sue lets him know what is really going to happen. She’s heading off to Hollywood to become a famous star and so she’ll se him later. Al isn’t happy about this at all and heads back to his music gig to sulk. That’s when he decides that job or not he will head over to Sue’s place. The problem is that he’s in New York and only has ten dollars on him. He’ll have to travel a long way in order to reach her, but he is determined to hitch hike all the way. The problem is that the guy he is driving with ends up falling asleep after having a lot of pills. Al opens the door which causes the guy to hit his head on a rock and die. Al must now deal with his conscience as he heads to California.

That would already be a reasonably difficult drive for him, but then he notices a lady hitch hiking as well and decides to lend her a hand. The only problem is that she knew the previous owner of the car so now she is blackmailing him to do whatever she wants or she will get the police involved. Can Al satisfy Vera long enough to get to Sue or should he cut his losses and run now? Either way it is about to be one adventure that Al will not be forgetting anytime soon.

Al is the really annoying character here. He complains a lot about how life isn’t fair, but half of the time it’s because he isn’t making the smart calls. Even the first incident where he lets his co-driver die was a little suspect. How did he not see the rock? Also, he knew the guy wasn’t conscious so why would you open the door and then not prepare to catch the guy falling out of it? It’s all a bit iffy there which does reduce your sympathy levels for the guy. He also should have been pretty grateful to the guy for giving him a ride instead of grumbling inwardly the whole time. (Admittedly the guy seemed shady, but they wouldn’t be together for too long)

Then the last straw is when he meets up with Vera. Sure, giving her a ride is nice, but he’s on a deadline and is already mixed up in criminal business. Not letting her in the car is almost the nice thing to do if you think about it since you don’t want her to get messed up in all of this right? Keeping her out is one way to keep her safe. Instead he lets her in and then she starts blackmailing him. Now, he could have just walked out at any time, ditched his car like he was planning or something like that. He could have told her he was stopping at any point except where he was actually going. Where’s the benefit in telling her that he has to get to California?

As far as I’m concerned Al blew it 7 ways to Sunday. Again, there’s just no point in feeling bad for the guy because everything that happened was on him. There are a lot of unfortunate coincidences for him of course like the phone cord with Vera at the end, but beyond that he shouldn’t have even been in this situation that whole time. Al should have cut out early. Meanwhile Vera is the main antagonist here so you’re not really supposed to like her either. She definitely talks tough the whole time and does her best to get in Al’s way. Like he said though, she’s just greedy. Her final plan doesn’t even make a whole lot of sense because there’s no way it would work and she already could have gotten a whole lot of money otherwise. That’s why you end up losing everything when you try for too much.

Meanwhile Sue seems like a decent heroine, but I felt like the film was hinting that she didn’t care for Al all that much. She did leave at the drop of a hat and didn’t even bother calling him. If Al hadn’t called first she may have even forgotten all about him. As a result it makes his journey feel even more futile. I was half expecting him to finally make it only for Sue to tell him that she found someone else. Maybe that would have just been too tragic for Al since by that point he’d already been through the ringer. Still, if the movie had kept going I could see that happening.

The ending definitely works out pretty well though. It’s one of those solid endings that may not work out too well for Al, but after a while something had to end his journey. By this point he was already too far gone. I’ll give him credit for never cheating on Sue though. There was a brief moment where I thought he was going to weaken, but fortunately he did not. That’s a really good thing since it definitely would have crushed his character and probably would have hurt the film a bit as well.

Overall, Detour is a solid film. It’s surprisingly short so the film ends just when you think it’s getting to the second act. The ending is abrupt, but not bad. While there aren’t any real likable characters, I do like the premise/plot quite a bit and since the writing is solid it lets the film succeed even without a good cast. It’s not as if the cast is painful either, they all do well in their roles except for Al. He is maybe just a bit too annoying the whole time and I think the film should have just put him in a tougher situation so there would have been less ways for him to escape. That would have made his complaints a little more valid. Still, valid or not I did enjoy the inner monologue. That’s definitely a noir trope that I’ve always enjoyed. It’s nice to see exactly what the character is thinking the whole time.

Overall 7/10

Gorgo Review


It’s time to take a look at one of those old giant monster films that you may have seen back when you were growing up. This monster also looks a whole lot like Godzilla which was pretty interesting. The red glowing eyes make him appear to b quite sinister and we’ve even got a lot of buildings being squashed. It could be thought of as a Godzilla spinoff of sorts and I’d say that the film holds up pretty well. It doesn’t really make any big mistakes.

The film starts with Joe and Sam crashing on an island where they decide to get some fuel and supplies so they can sail off again. Unfortunately, it won’t be easy as the villagers don’t take kindly to outsiders and won’t talk to them. Joe locates the village leader who also refuses to help, but it turns out that this is because he has a vested interest in keeping people away. Joe and Sam quickly blackmail the guy out of some of his valuables and also decide to take down the famed Gorgo while they’re at it. If they manage to beat him they’ll become rich!

I actually saw this one alongside another Kaiju film which I’ll be reviewing soon. They were both pretty similar although I’d say that this one was a little better as we got more monster action. Sometimes with these films you get worried because the monster doesn’t appear much, but fear not! Gorgo gets a lot of screen time and it felt like he got to show up almost right away. Once he does appear he is here to stay so you can look forward to a whole lot of nice monster carnage.

Now, it’s always a little dicey to see humans preparing to capture a Kaiju. For one thing, it shows that they don’t even remotely fear the monster which is definitely not good for the Kaiju’s confidence. Additionally, it should be pretty hard to take down a monster like this. I’m still a bit worried that in the new Godzilla film we actually might see the government take down Godzilla early on only to release him to fight the others once the danger is near. While Gorgo puts up a good fight, he ultimately isn’t able to stop the humans.

Now, in Gorgo’s defense, he’s a monster so it’s not like he knows strategy or anything like that. There is only so much he can do once the humans have a way past his size. Gorgo has a great design and a cool roar. He’s a fun Kaiju through and through so I wouldn’t call him a pushover despite losing. It would have been nice if he could have outsmarted the humans or something, but this isn’t really that kind of film. Not saying that it can’t happen, but that the scenario was pretty unlikely from the start. There is a cool twist involving Gorgo though as nobody ever said he was the only creature out there.

It’s always nice to see a Kaiju team up and this film actually gives us one. Lets just say that Gorgo knows people in high places. The humans probably should have quit while they were ahead. I feel like the movie never really wants you to root for the humans though because it never even tries to make them all that likable. They just want to get rich, that’s basically all there is to their characters. Take the one scene where the museum guy shows up and asks them to bring Gorgo to him. They pretend to do so in order to keep up appearances, but then they head to the circus instead for the big bucks. You don’t want to trust Joe or Sam, they just want to be rich. Admittedly the museum guy didn’t seem all that smart though. I can’t think of any actual reason why they would want to listen to him. He was going to pay them pocket change, nothing that could really help them and they don’t seem like the scholarly type.

Gorgo is a pretty short film and so even with a basic plot synopsis I’ve already told you a great deal. If you like the classic Kaiju films then I expect you’ll like this one. The writing is on point and Gorgo can hold his own as an antagonist. If there is any weakness here it is in the fact that there aren’t two opposing Kaiju so we don’t get to have a big fight scene between them. That would have been pretty awesome. Still, we did get to see Gorgo lay waste to the city and that’s always a staple of the genre.

Overall, Gorgo is a solid movie. I have nothing bad to say about it. It’s a bit straight forward in that you can probably guess most of the film right away. There aren’t a whole lot of twists and turns although there is one which I thought was executed really well. It’s a shame that Gorgo has basically vanished from the public eye. I feel like he had potential to be one of the next big Kaiju out there. He’d probably need some new abilities to hang with the more modern monsters, but that would be easy enough to accomplish. Ah well, odds are you haven’t seen this film yet so I’d recommend changing that ASAP!

Overall 7/10

Valley of The Dragons Review


It’s time to look at an old film with a pretty misleading title. The beginning had a good premise but once the time travel occurred it quickly fell out the window. Now, I do like time travel but I prefer to go forward in time rather than backwards. If you ask me it’s just a lot more fun that way. There’s not much in the past that interests me, at least not when you get into the caveman era.

The film starts with two guys about to have a duel to the death. Apparently, they seem to like the same maiden and naturally one of them has to die for this. They ready their guns and move a few paces to take their shot but that’s when an earthquake occurs and scatters them to the winds. When they get back up they appear to be on a new planet. They’ve done their first dimension jump and are in the distant past where “dragons” currently roam. Now, you can make the case that it’s past Earth or another planet but it doesn’t really matter. There’s a scene where they notice that the stars don’t match so it’s probably a new world. They each end up going to different cave factions that have been warring with each other for eons. Can they help the two teams make peace or will they all die against the monsters?

As far as the dragons are concerned you shouldn’t get your hopes too high. Their appearances are few and far between. If we’re being honest the big one doesn’t appear til the end. Most of the little creatures running around are the kimono dragons which are basically just lizards. They aren’t exactly all that scary. The big one is fun enough but definitely pretty mindless and lets the heroes attack him over and over again until they eventually take him down. If he had done just about anything else then he could have won. The monster still did rack up a decent body count I suppose.

One weakness with the film is definitely the whole caveman element. I’ve never cared much for the trope of having the main guy try to teach English to these guys. For one thing, Hector isn’t all that understanding and gets frustrated pretty quick. Does he really expect them to learn English overnight? His voice can also be a bit annoying but that part’s not bad as it fits the character. He’s supposed to be annoying.

The other guy (Michael) is a lot more patient with the cave people and becomes the leader real quick. I suppose I would probably say that he is the better character of the two as he had more personality. He also became a leader real quick and did most of the hard work in the climax. I wouldn’t say either character was all that great, but he got the job done.

The writing was reasonably solid I suppose. The scenes with the ancient people weren’t that good but the banter with the two leads was pretty decent. It’s always god to have a dynamic where the two characters initially want to destroy each other but are then forced to work together. It is a bit clichéd I’ll admit but as this was back in the 60s it pulls this off unironically.

Then it almost goes without saying that the romance element is very weak here. The cave women basically throw themselves at the main two guys since they dominate the pack so easily but it’s all so fast and doesn’t feel real. We even get jealousy plots and also see why the two factions are warring from the start. Without the main two guys keeping them in line it is pretty clear that the two factions can’t control themselves and would be picking fights constantly. Having one “strong but not smart” character is enough for most films, make that the majority of the cast and then the movie has really got a big problem to deal with.

I can’t really say that the pacing was all that good either. While it almost goes without saying that a boring plot will drag on, this one really goes as slowly as possible. One scene in particular that really takes forever is when the heroes are trying to stab the giant monster. It’s the same action over and over again for at least 10-20 minutes with no variation. After a point it just comes across as having no real meaning and the scenes are complete filler. The action isn’t filler, but redoing it over and over certainly is. You could tell that the writers had run out of material by the end.

Overall, Valley of the Dragons is a film that was pretty decent for the most part but the actual plot holds it back quite a bit. It should have been a film about the leads getting trapped in some kind of vicious world for sure, but not one this far back in the past. If it was more modern we could have gotten around all of the scenes of them trying to teach the people everything and more banter instead. Of course by this point I am describing an entirely different film, but you get the gist of what I’m saying. If you don’t mind the past element then I think you’ll reasonably like this movie since it’s the main thing holding it back. Just don’t go in expecting a lot of actual dragons.

Overall 4/10

Pet Sematary 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.

There are some films where you can reasonably tell if you’re going to like them just by the name. This is definitely one of those. You probably already know that animal violence is the quickest way to doom your film and this one has a whole plot built around it. Throw in your usual amount of horror violence and visuals to get a film that was never going to break even. I will admit that the ending is pretty hilarious in a grim way, but that’s not enough to actually make me recommend this title.

The film starts off with Louis and his family moving into a new town since he has been hired as a doctor. Unfortunately someone dies almost immediately and warns Louis that things aren’t right around here. Louis then has a lot to drink and sees the dead guy named Pascow show up. Pascow lets him know that he shouldn’t bring people back to life. Louis also meets up with his neighbor Jud who introduces him and the rest of the family to the Pet Sematary where many animals have been buried. If you go a little farther into the spooky part of the forest you can bury them and even bring these beings back to life. After the family cat is hit by a truck Louis brings him back. When his son is hit by another truck Louis decides to do this as well, but what if what comes back isn’t really the kid?

I’ll give the film credit for building a pretty good atmosphere at least. The scenery in the film all looks pretty good and likewise with the area beyond the graveyard. The lighting effects age pretty good as well. Pascow also makes for an entertaining ghost because he still keeps his sense of humor. Ultimately he only helps to an extent as I suppose he doesn’t want to get mixed up in all of this. Without him Louis probably would have been even more doomed, but granted, Louis isn’t the type of guy to listen to others. He goes with his gut for better or worse.

Louis isn’t the smartest character even if he does mean well. Messing with the regeneration thing right after being warned in a dream wasn’t particularly smart. Then the ending is the real kicker. I think it’s because the film handles the whole ending seriously and unironically but you can’t help but think of it as a parody. I suppose I won’t say anything about the ending specifically, but it’s almost hard to believe the character doing this. Even if just doing the act is fine, at least you’d expect this character to be prepared or ready for action. What Louis chooses to do is basically the worst option that he could have picked. Now, you could try making the case that he was prepared and just wanted to end like this, but then the yell at the end makes me doubt that.

Jud is definitely an odd character. I think he would have worked better as a villain. He seemed like he just wanted to sabotage everything for the group at times. Other times he appeared to be genuine I guess and that’s how the film played his role, but then why even tell Louis about the pit of regeneration? He must have known that things would ultimately escalate from there. He knew how his pet went crazy so once theirs did there was a good chance that someone would die and then they’d use the pit again. He also handled the climax pretty horribly.

Rachel is a nice enough character, but she also doesn’t do well in the climax. I’ll give her credit for figuring out something was wrong and heading back to the house, but she probably should have found some excuse to bring along some backup. As it stands she didn’t have much of a chance. Her parents weren’t much help of course, but they were pretty emotional the whole time and it’s hard to expect them to know anything about the supernatural. The thing is, you shouldn’t need any backup here. The villains are extremely weak.

You can probably put two and two together with the kid involving the climax. All I’ll say is that you better get ready to suspend a whole lot of disbelief. The climax would be funny if it wasn’t so violent. This is definitely a pretty intense horror film so get ready for a whole lot of over the top violence. The animal violence is surprisingly tame in comparison as the cat dies without too many visuals, but it still doesn’t really help matters. Then Rachel gets an origin story out of the blue where we find out that she had a dying relative and decided not to help her. We’ve just added some shade to her character for no reason. Now, the film introduced this so she could show up in the climax, but it definitely feels awfully convenient that this person’s spirit traveled all this way. I always wonder why the evil spirits are so strong and the happy ones always fade away so quickly. This subplot was completely unnecessary and was just here to make the film more gritty.

We get a pretty long speech by Jud with a ton of extra details that nobody wanted nor cared to hear. It’s just a bunch of tragic stories to explain the misspelled cemetery and to make the film extra dark. Louis probably should have noped out of there at that point instead of joining Jud for drinks. Of course, Louis was pretty arrogant for a good chunk of the film so he probably didn’t really care anyway. He never figured any of it would be enough to harm him.

Overall, Pet Sematary plays out exactly as you would expect it to. It’s certainly not my kind of movie and I’d advise steering clear of it. If you want a good horror film then check out Zombie Island instead. Any film built off of animals dying would never really have a future. This movie checks off all the typical horror cliches and never really tries to do anything more than that. You won’t be able to take the climax seriously and the only hype scene in the film is the ending. Ironically if the sequel were to take place right after this one then that would probably give it a chance at doing good since this could become more of a zombie invasion kind of film. Alas, it doesn’t look like it decided to go that way.

Overall 1/10