Gremlins Review


It’s time to look at a fairly old film which has become really well known. You’ll likely have heard of the Gremlins even if you haven’t seen the film before. Going into it you may think that this is going to be a pretty intense horror film, but it actually blends together some comedic aspects along with being part parody. It manages the blend fairly well which automatically makes it better than most horror films. It’s so convincing at being a horror movie that it’ll probably take you a while to really establish any kind of opinion on it, but by the end you’ll have to give it some thought. I doubt we’ll see another film blend two genres like this so smoothly again in the near future.

The film starts off with the best character, Randall trying to sell his crazy inventions to more people. The main problem he is having is that aside from none of his inventions working, the buyers just don’t seem interested. That’s when he finds a rare animal that is being kept in a shady shop in China Town. He buys it and brings the creature home. There are only 3 rules that must be kept with the creature. He must not make contact with water, he must not be fed after midnight, and he must not be exposed to bright lights or the sun as that can cause the monster to die. He gives Billy this bundle of responsibility, but can the kid handle it?

As I mentioned, Randall steals the show. He’s a perfect example of a comic relief character who is actually handled well. His humor scenes work quite well and he’s just a nice guy. Randall means well even if his actions don’t always lead to the positive outcomes that he was hoping for. Stuff happens right? He’s part of why the film was able to establish such a good balance. He keeps it from getting too dark or serious. The only downside is that in comparison the main characters just aren’t very good. Before that, we have the other parent who also looks great. Lynn ends up having to defend her house from multiple gremlins and she does a good job of it. She blends one, smashes another, and is basically taking names the whole time. This is where the parody elements really help the film. Typically you’d expect her to just be screaming and running away rather than fighting back. Here, Lynn isn’t playing around. She’s defending her house and doing a great job of it. She’s another scene stealer.

Then we have the actual lead, Billy. Billy can barely hold his own against one Gremlin so right away you know that he is pretty much doomed. He doesn’t do a good job of looking after Gizmo either. He constantly lets things happen to him. How can you mess up not letting Gizmo getting wet or keeping him near bright lights? Billy makes every mistake possible. Part of it can be blamed on his friend Pete who is super annoying the whole time, but you gotta be more responsible when you own mythical creatures like this.

Meanwhile you have Gizmo who is the most heroic of the gremlins, but naturally he is the weakest as well. It’s always an unfortunate trope as you’d like the heroic one to be able to defend himself right? Well, that just wasn’t the case this time. He’s not a bad character but I do admit that he would have been better if he had gotten to fight a little more. Mostly all he does he sit around and watch everyone else. Then we have the heroine, Kate who may not be quite as skilled as Lynn or Randall, but she does all right for herself. Choosing to serve the gremlins was definitely a smart move to extend her life. I didn’t get her whole blowing up at Christmas scene. I’m assuming it has to do with some kind of sob story so I’m glad the film didn’t really elaborate on it.

On that note, the romance with her and Billy was very weak. It doesn’t really have anything to do with anything and just felt rather tacked on. I think the film didn’t need it. What also hurts the film a bit is how the Gremlins go after the dog and Billy doesn’t do anything about it. It’s obvious who the culprit is as the film goes on but he doesn’t put the pieces together. I mean, the old lady is a slight suspect, but how could she pull this off without making a sound? Honestly, it should have been impossible for the Gremlins as well. It’s a pretty bad scene all in all, but at least the dog lived and made it through this film which helps a lot. That saved the film from getting a horrible score.

While the writing is fairly reasonable for the most part, I do think the film dropped the ball with the conspiracy guy. These kind of films love to have one guy who believes in aliens or monsters and is constantly acting crazy. You’d expect him to be prepared when the enemies finally show up since he called it from the start right? Instead he ends up panicking and dies in one of the worst ways possible. It’s a “funny” scene that ends up falling flat. They didn’t need to do him like that. The character could have contributed a lot. The soundtrack is definitely really good though. We get a lot of classic Christmas songs which is always what you want to listen to here. The classics have aged well and giving this film a Christmas backdrop is nice. It helps to make the film more memorable and gives it a nice backdrop.

Overall, Gremlins is an interesting film. It’s certainly not the kind of film you might expect going in. It’s just a very unique blend of horror and comedy. It works reasonably well but there are still enough weak points to probably keep you from coming back to this one. If you really want to see what this blend is like then it’s not a bad film to check out. Otherwise I’d suggest you watch something with a bit more flair and hype like RWBY. That one can pull off any genre and perfect it.

Overall 5/10

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Mad Love Review


It’s time to look at an old horror film with Peter Lorre. You may wonder what this is doing here when I’ve mainly been reviewing Christmas films lately right? Well, basically I saw this film a while back for Halloween and then just never got around to reviewing it. The film’s pretty bad, but it’s also just rather boring so I kept putting it off. Well, this is currently the last review on the backlog so I can hardly afford to keep putting it off now right? Brace yourself!

So the film starts with the ever famous Yvonne finishing another performance. An obsessed fan by the name of Gogol shows up to let her know that he has been watching all of her shows. Yvonne quickly flees the country to reunite with Stephen, but the latter was in a train accident after being in the same car as a legendary knife throwing crook. Stephen can no longer play the piano as he once did. Yvonne feels bad for him so she goes to Gogol who is the utmost authority on this. He is able to stitch together the murderer’s hands on Stephen but pretends that he just sewed them back on. Stephen is as hard of sight as he is lacking in common sense so he doesn’t notice that his hands are different. Things start to get dicey for him though as the hands appear to have a life of their own. Meanwhile Gogol uses the distraction to try to get to Yvonne.

Gogol’s only goal in this whole film is to get together with Yvonne. This does not make for a very compelling villain motivation. In fact, it isn’t interesting at all. He’s just a terrible villain and all of his scenes drag down the film. Yvonne also should have taken his advances more seriously and alerted the cops or Stephen. Gogol gets away with a whole lot as he stalks her during the film and even crashes her party to take advantage of some crazy games they were all playing. Stephen is around but too busy wallowing in self pity to be of any help. In his defense Yvonne should have mentioned something, but I won’t cut him too much slack because he’s just not a good character. He’s too quick to freak out and should try to master his hands rather than let them control him.

In a way it almost makes you think Gogol was right to not tell him where the hands came from since Stephen would not have taken it well at all. At least the knife throwing does come in handy by the end of the film though. By that point the film is just about over so he cut it awful close. Meanwhile you just have to question how Gogol got his license to practice when he is so clearly insane. The guy isn’t even subtle and you have to feel bad for his patients. He gets distracted quite easily after all. Adding to the creep factor is the fact that he also bought a life sized statue of Yvonne to put in his room. His care taker even has to do her hair and everything.

Ah yes, that brings me to the care taker and the local police guy. Both of these characters are very slow on the uptake and don’t contribute a whole lot. The care taker does a lot of grumbling and snitches on Gogol a lot, but doesn’t do it in a very safe way. She puts her head on the line so many times. Then we have the police guy who isn’t all that interested in doing much. His “sleuthing” if you can call it that basically revolves around chatting with the Gogol’s maid. When it comes time to check the room out he takes so long that the villain gets to return. I usually like the police/detective characters but this guy just wasn’t effective at all. Take him out of the movie and I don’t think a whole lot would change. It would effectively still be the same film and that’s an issue.

At least we can take solace in the fact that this film’s plot would be a little harder to do nowadays. Since Yvonne is a famous singer/performer I expect she would at least have some bodyguards so they would notice a stalker. Even if she does not, security should be a bit tighter at the events and someone should realize that this guy is always around. His only defense is that he’s a world class doctor and that wouldn’t hold much water next to a celebrity. Yeah, I’m sure this plot is still being done regardless, but it’ll be so contrived that maybe the film wouldn’t take itself seriously and it would still be better than this one…maybe. Also, Peter Lorre wouldn’t be in it and he’s probably one of the worst actors I’ve seen so that’s already a plus.

Overall, Mad Love isn’t a good film. The title is pretty much a tip off to that. Films about villains who eagerly want the main heroine to appreciate them are often doomed to fail. This one sided romance breaks the villain instantly. You just can’t take him/her seriously after that. Then you also get mad at the main character(s) for not calling in backup right away. They wait until it is too dangerous or too late to call for help before thinking of it. The film’s fairly short, but even so I would recommend giving this one a pass. There just isn’t much to be salvaged or learned from this film. If you want a good thriller, watch something with a little more pop like the Yugioh films. This movie is best left forgotten.

Overall 3/10

Bumblebee Review


It’s time to look at the new Transformers prequel/reboot that came out. I’ve never been a big fan of the live action Transformer films. The franchise is still awesome and the G1 animated film was excellent, but for some reason it just couldn’t make the jump to live action. A large part of this could likely be blamed on Michael Bay and the Transformers not getting enough the respect a franchise of its caliber should have. A good adaption should be amazing. This one isn’t quite there yet, but Bumblebee is certainly an improvement and is actually a good film overall.

The film starts with a really nice action scene on Cybertron as we see Optimus Prime and a lot of the classic Autobots dealing with a Decepticon invasion. They are being pushed back though and Prime decides that they have to fall back. He sends Bumblebee to Earth to protect it and ultimately they will all converge on the planet to set up a counter strike. Bumblebee manages to make it to Earth, but a Decepticon follows and breaks his voice box. He has also lost most of his memories. We then cut to the main heroine of the film, Charlie. Charlie’s going through a pretty tough time as her father died and was quickly replaced with a new one. She has yet to warm up to him and has started distancing herself from her family. Her life begins to change when she finds Bumblebee and he becomes her first friend. Can she help him protect Earth from incoming Decepticons or is this all too big for one person?

I can’t stress enough how awesome the first scene is. I would certainly watch a movie all about the Cybertron fights and I think it would very quickly go down as the best Transformers title. It would basically be a CGI film at that point but the human characters really aren’t necessary so that’s not a bad thing. There’s no reason why Transformers has to be live action, especially if it’s a prequel. It’s almost a bit of a tease since you know the bulk of this film will be on Earth, but a strong opener is always a good thing to have for any film so I think this was the right move.

Also, the action does stay at a high level even on Earth. The previous films didn’t really have any choreography. The characters would typically just slam each other with normal hits but there wasn’t much to the fight scenes beyond that. In this film you actually see a lot of good hand to hand combat. Bumblebee is a really small Autobot compared to most of the others so as you would expect he needs to fight with a lot of throws and judo combos. The film shows that to great effect and the fights here have so much more energy than previous films.

The special effects are also much better. The characters actually look like Autobots and Decepticons here as opposed to being generic robots in the last few films. The designs are very faithful to the source material. Cybertron itself looks amazing and all of the visuals are just top notch. The soundtrack is also quite good. A lot of big 80s songs pop up here. Sometimes back to back in the same scene. It’s always nostalgic to hear these tunes. I can’t say that I knew too many of them, but the style itself just feels very nostalgic right from the start. It helps make the human scenes more fun.

Jack steals the show here as far as the human characters are concerned. From the start he suspects that the Decepticons are up to no good and is pretty reasonable about it. As he explains….their name is the Deceptiocns! That should be the end of the story. Unfortunately he is outvoted by the top brass so he is forced to work with the Decepticons, but I like that he voices his displeasure over this constantly. He doesn’t even pretend to play ball with them which is good. If you’re that confident that they’re up to no good you can’t shake on it. I hope he will return for a sequel.

Charlie is the actual main character here and she’s pretty reasonable. Naturally she is going through a tough time so she isn’t in the best of moods, but she isn’t nearly as sour as other main characters who were in a similar predicament. She does a good job of doing what she needs to and even her inevitable blowup moment isn’t nearly as dramatic as you might expect. She also ends up helping during the climax. The only moment where Charlie doesn’t look particularly good involves a diving situation. Granted, she never agreed to anything but the way she handled the situation wasn’t amazing. Also, I probably would have kept the window closed in the next scene. Memo is the next door neighbor who shows up and acts as the comic relief here. He’s not nearly as bad as he could have been, but I can’t say that I was a big fan. He seemed a little too desperate to hang out with Charlie the whole time and I don’t think it was just so they could be friends considering how quickly he was going.

So the film had a lot of positives, but it certainly wasn’t perfect. I do think that some of the humor scenes could drag on a little too long. Bumblebee stumbling through the house and breaking everything is definitely an overdone trope. After breaking a bunch of stuff you’d think that he would learn and adapt quick enough to stop making things worse. That doesn’t happen and he almost completely totals the place. I also think Bumblebee being so scared during his first appearance was a little odd. That subplot seemed to stick around as he didn’t even put up a fight towards the climax. I suppose the damage from the opening scene may have also prevented him from fighting, but I was still a little puzzled the whole time. Other humor scenes worked fairly well though like the Ricky Roll theme getting a quick cameo.

Charlie’s family also wasn’t too bad. I can see why she wouldn’t get along with them, but I thought the parents did a reasonable job of being annoying while still feeling genuine about looking after her. They weren’t trying to be annoying and at the end of the day they were a little helpful. The new dad more than the Mom, she could be a bit much at times since she was more reluctant to help. The bullies were certainly dramatized, but I did like the fact that they didn’t recognize Charlie outside of her job. In movies a lot of time they seem to have perfect memory but realistically I doubt they would remember everyone they make fun of. The revenge against the bully was a bit drastic though and I think that scene could have been cut. I didn’t find it particularly funny.

Overall, Bumblebee was pretty good. It was certainly a lot better than I had expected it to be which helps its case quite a lot. I think it will hold up to repeat viewings as well even though I certainly don’t plan on re-watching it anytime soon. The pacing is on point with an action scene always being around the corner. The film can try a bit hard with the humor at times, but at least it never devolves into dirty jokes like the old film. Whether you find them funny or not, I wouldn’t say that any of them are terrible. If you are avoiding the film because you have had poor experiences with the previous installments don’t let that stop you from watching this one. Bumblebee really feels like a brand new start for the series and if the quality stays at this level then I can finally start looking forward to these Transformer films again.

Overall 7/10

The Princess Bride Review


The Princess Bride is definitely a classic film that I’m sure you have probably bumped into at least once or twice in the past. Still, I had never actually seen it until now so better late than never right? It’s definitely an interesting fantasy adventure even if the whole thing is just a story so it’s all fake from the get go. I’m cool with that kind of premise except for the fact that the kid can be annoying, but more on that later.

The film starts off with a grumpy kid getting sick again. He’s upset because his Grandpa is coming over to check on him and this kid is as ungrateful as they get. Well, the Grandpa decides to tell him a little story and the kid slowly finds himself getting sucked into the hype of this adventure. Never in his wildest dreams could he imagine that such a story would be so gripping. It’s about a girl whose fiancee was captured by pirates and murdered so now she’s going to marry a random prince because she has given up on life. Well, her fiancee has returned and they decide to escape from the Prince. They’ll have to get through a dangerous forest and 3 powerful fighters, but nothing can shatter their bond! Can they get a happily ever after?

This is definitely a very classic kind of adventure as the heroes talk like in the olden days. It may have one of the earlier instances of the villain string where you have to fight one opponent, then you go to the next room and fight villain #2, etc. Westley has to defeat each of them at their particular strengths so he has to be very quick, strong, and smart. As this was basically Westley’s introduction in the film I have to say that it was quite impressive. He really showed himself to be a very capable main character. I was not expecting him to be quite so tough. It’s almost sad when he takes off his mask as he loses most of his mystique and hype. He ends up just becoming another one of the guys, but after such a strong start he was already guaranteed to be the best character in the film.

I also think Westley had a point in regard to how easily Buttercup moved on from him. Sure, she didn’t like the Prince but she didn’t care enough to refuse him either since she had given up on life by then. She should have stayed strong and waited for Westley no matter how long it took. Of course he was presumed dead, but then you don’t go for a rebound and just stay alone. As it stands Buttercup just didn’t look all that great throughout this and was even kidnapped. It definitely wasn’t her day.

At first you think that the Prince may actually be heroic as he puts up a good front. If you were not aware of story telling 101 he could even potentially fool you. Still, he was ultimately destined to be evil and is essentially the main antagonist here. He’s certainly not my kind of villain as those with romantic motives never tend to rank. Still, I suppose he’s reasonable. I do think the Prince gets off way too easy by the end though. I mean, depending on how you look at it there are absolutely 0 repercussions for him as the film closes.

Now lets look at the trio of danger. Fezzik is the strong but not very smart member of the group. He’s one of those villains who doesn’t think much so it’s easy for him to join the heroes or villains depending on who his boss is. He’s definitely the least likable of the 3 though. He’s not bad, but just not very interesting. Meanwhile Montoya was a lot of fun. He’s a very quick fighter whose goal is to avenge his father someday. He’s trained all his life to accomplish this goal so it’s almost tragic that Westley is still a better fighter than he is. What makes Montoya a good villain is the fact that he has an honor code and actually seems like a reasonable guy. His motives are also quite sound.

Finally we have the leader, Vizzini. Now this guy is definitely really sharp. The scene where he insults a bunch of philosophers and explains why he is smarter than them is quite good. It’s at that exact moment where you realize that this guy is the real deal. He’s not going to back down to any fighter and has the wits to stay on top no matter what the situation is. His mind battle with Westley is exceptional and I wouldn’t have minded having him appear more. His brief role made the moment all the more powerful though.

Speaking of great scenes, I also greatly enjoyed the fight with Montoya and Westley. There was a lot of back and forth in that fight with both fighters being able to use their full skills. Each one starting with their weaker hand also worked as good twists to keep the fight going. It’s a lot better than I would have expected from such an old adventure film. It holds up extremely well and moments like these are what helps the film be so solid. It really is a very solid adventure film.

Really, the only downside to the film is the annoying kid in the present. He’s constantly interrupting and just being a terrible character all around. His character hasn’t aged well and if I was the Grandpa I would have left by the second interruption. The kid was constantly bashing the book and only got back on board once the romance played more of a focus. He kept pulling the whole “It’s not like I like the romance or anything” bit but certainly wasn’t believable about it. Of course having the film be in story mode is part of the point, but cutting that bit out would have worked well.

Of course, it works as the film’s automatic censor to the more violent moments though. I was not expecting the prince to get tortured the way that he was. That was surprisingly dark and some blood is spilled during Montoya’s final confrontation. Still, the story stays within all family friendly territory I’d say. It never feels particularly excessive and will only scare kids like the one in this film.

Overall, The Princess Bride is a pretty fun film. I do think that the first half ultimately ends up being a little more interesting and fast paced than the climax though. Perhaps that’s because the second half is a little more generic while the first half does a lot of fun stuff like giving us back to back battles and keeping the lead mysterious. The second half is still quite solid but naturally as a result it’s just slightly less impressive than the film’s quick start. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d definitely recommend checking it out. The writing is on point and the film’s pacing is solid.

Overall 7/10

The Death of Superman Review


It’s time to look at this recent DC movie. Doomsday already got an adaption a long time ago, but now the New 52 lineup can give it a whirl as well. The animation and fights here aren’t quite as solid as the ones in the original, but I do think Superman got to use his speed a little more which is always cool. It’s a solid re imagining overall and will definitely have a lot of replay value for future watches. However, adding in the League also adds in a bunch of scenarios for the writers to have to deal with which the film doesn’t always put to full use.

The film starts off with a meteor heading to Earth. It busts through a space ship and falls onto Earth. Doomsday walks out and begins his murdering spree. He wants to destroy everything on Earth and slowly makes his way to the cities. The Justice League begin to track him, but this could take a while. Meanwhile Superman is debating on if he should finally tell Lois the truth or not. He better hurry because based on the title he may not have a whole lot of time left to live. Could this be it for the Man of Steel?

Surprisingly the first 40 minutes are used to focus on the Clark and Lois dynamic rather than getting us to the big fight. I think the Lois and Superman stuff have already been done to death, but I wouldn’t fault the film for it too much since I’m sure every writer wants a crack at this. Unfortunately I thought the film made Lois look really bad here. Granted, Clark isn’t in the right at every turn either, but my main issue is that Lois is just rather rude the entire film. She just doesn’t seem like a nice person and given how Superman is all about being nice it just seems a little off.

Case in point, Lois has a co-worker named Grant who is always trying to dig up the dirt on Clark for her. She seems like a really nice friend even if she’s a bit nosy and is just looking out for Lois. She even buys Lois a coffee. I think you’re not supposed to like Grant, but honestly she was just a quality character. Look, the gossip mill at work will always be going. At least she lets Lois know what the others know and gives Lois the option to control the information a little. Lois just brushes her off along with the others in the hopes that nobody will find out but that door has already been slammed shut. She just isn’t very open to talking about it. I also think this is an unfortunate aspect of centering Lois’ character around the romance. It consumes all of her scenes when she is typically supposed to be busy being an ace reporter. It’s probably one of her weakest appearances in the continuity.

Meanwhile Superman is nervous about telling her the truth which makes sense I guess, but if he’s getting serious about her then he should absolutely drop the bomb before the wedding. Doing it afterwards would just be super irresponsible. He was also a little too much at the dinner where he kept trying to silence his parents. The guy’s gotta be able to take a few embarrassing stories better than that. In fact, that would have been a good time to tell Lois that he was Superman. Would have been perfect to be honest. Well, the whole romance stuff certainly wasn’t the best, but the meat and potatoes of this is the fights anyway.

Once the fights start they are definitely a lot of fun. It’s always cool to see Doomsday going up against the Justice League because that isn’t a matchup you get to see often. The fights with them and then Superman are basically nonstop action so the whole second half is just a lot of combat. It all looks really solid and the film doesn’t disappoint. While I did mention earlier that it’s not up to par with the previous adaption I think calling the animation anything less than great would be selling it short. It’s still excellent and the action is enough to recommend the film.

Of course, I do think the Justice League seemed heavily nerfed throughout to make the plot work. That’s why sometimes films just cut everyone else out to avoid this issue. It becomes a case of if you’d rather have the audience suspend disbelief for no other heroes coming to help or having the heroes come and then be completely ineffective. This film chose the latter while the previous chose the former. Some characters like Hawkman are pretty accurate or if anything look too strong. That’s fine, but when we get to the big shots it gets a little tricky.

Case in point, The Flash. We see early on that Hawkman was able to land 2 hits that really sent Doomsday flying. Then Flash comes in and his attacks aren’t leaving a dent. When Flash goes at super speeds his hits actually increase in power tremendously. I think that’s one aspect of the Flash that is constantly overlooked, but at super speed he does have incredible amounts of super strength. That along with the Mace should have done considerable damage to Doomsday. Showing Doomsday taking a pounding and then adapting would have been good to see. Doomsday’s durability along with his regeneration is incredible after all and that would have made the fight so much better.

Then Green Lantern comes in and basically just plays defense. He tries trapping Doomsday and then making a barrier. Both are poor options. Blasting him from the sky and flying around a ton would have been far better options. Then he is knocked out in one hit. Keep in mind that the fight starts off in the early afternoon and doesn’t conclude until late in the evening yet none of the Leaguers wake up. I think the most accurate member was Wonder Woman. She actually gives Doomsday a long back and forth fight where she dealt quite a lot of damage. She showed off her super strength and combat experience. Superman will always be the real power hitter of the League, but I think having the others contribute in a similar way to Wonder Woman would have been good.

Also, the League completely forgot about team work or even fighting at the same time. Every leaguer waits until the other member is down to start fighting. Hawkman comes in first, then loses. Green Lantern then shows up and loses. Then Flash shows up and loses, etc. Martian Manhunter, Cyborg, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, nobody ever teams up at all. They seem to insist on fighting Doomsday 1 on 1 which makes no real sense. It also doesn’t make sense that Hawkman and Green Lantern would both have time to fight Doomsday before Flash arrives on the scene. With his speed even after saving civilians he should have been the first one on the scene. I think the main issue was having Doomsday take down the League while staying believable. Depending on how he beats them you could argue that either Superman has no chance or he suddenly gets power scaled way above the others. I think doing the latter would work just fine. Superman has always been the strongest member of the League and I would argue that typically it is by a fantastically large margin. That doesn’t need to change.

Showing the League hitting Doomsday with a bunch of combo attacks and the beast just refusing to stay down would have been very powerful. The film doesn’t even need to hold back on having him get extremely weakened or losing a limb or two and regenerating. It would show off his healing factor as well as his “adaption” ability. It would work similar to Amazo as their attempts to defeat him would only make him stronger. It’s a unique situation where they could show off all of the League’s talents and skills while still having Doomsday stay on top. I think that would have worked out really well and made the fight more realistic.

Well, that’s enough on the power levels. It isn’t really anything that would hurt the film but always something I need to note. Also, the League took way too long in finding Doomsday. He started murdering people early on and even took out Atlanteans, but it took at least a day to find him. Really? They should have found him within an hour or so after that. Just put the Flash on his trail. By the time they find Doomsday he had already murdered quite a few people. Which the New 52 lineup could be a little off an on with how violent they are. The first installments are quite violent and after that they started to dial it down a bit. This one is a little more on the violent side I’d say. It’s certainly more violent than necessary as we see Doomsday crush quite a few people.

Unfortunately this leads the film into the animal violence territory which was really unnecessary and definitely did hurt the film. A poor bear gets attacked by Doomsday. The scene has no purpose even within the narrative as we can already reasonably assume that he is stronger than a bear. If the film is trying to show that the food chain has been altered, that is rather obvious as well. All a scene like this does is take a star away from the film and lower its replay value. It’s a shame that the film had to mess up here.

There are quite a few after credit scenes here to set up the sequel. Basically each of the Supermen get a scene. I think it would have worked better as one long scene than all of the various cuts though. Just one long scene that sets up the sequel. It’s less jarring than having a quick 3 second scene, cut, 3 second scene, etc. Still, it’s a good attempt though and the sequel should definitely be fun. I look forward to seeing the League deal with these guys. This time they’ll need to be more prepared for the fight though.

Overall, The Death of Superman was a pretty good film, but one that could have definitely been even better. You’ll surely enjoy the big fights with Doomsday and it is nice to have it as part of a longer continuity since you see cameos for the supporting characters like Damian and the Atlanteans. I do think the film may have brought too much baggage with it in the first half though and it should have been trimmed down to get us to the action a little sooner. I definitely still recommend checking this film out though. It’s a good action story with a lot of hype moments. The title basically spoils most of the movie, but I think it’s assumed that you know the plot going into this one.

Overall 7/10

Malone 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.

It’s time for a CIA type revenge thriller. Revenge films can always be tough since naturally the lead is getting revenge for something which means a tragic backstory. Some films take this as far as they can. What’s the saddest thing that can happen? Usually it involves family dying, sometimes it’s the film dying (By having the dog die) but there are many different versions. The film has to be careful not to make the scene too tragic/mean spirited or the movie is over before it has begun while still trying to make the scene reasonably emotional. It’s a tight rope act.

Richard used to work for the CIA, but lately he has a hard time murdering people. He wants out and decides to just walk away. Naturally you can’t just walk away from a job like this but he’s the best in the business so it’s reasonably easy to dodge his former subordinates. He finds himself in a small town that has been taken over by corrupt cops and thugs. They want to commit terrorist acts against the country and see Richard as a threat. They decide to destroy him and his newfound friends to teach the guy a lesson. Richard will have to either stop the enemies or avenge his friends.

This film has that gritty 80s vibe to it from the start. You never really feel like Richard’s friends have a shot here. They all mean well and are pretty nice but that’s exactly why they seem expendable. You have the kid who looks up to Richard, her father who refuses to sell his land to the villains (uh oh) and a CIA agent who has arrived to arrest Richard but decides to team up with him instead. Death flags will pop up for all 3 and the real question is who will live past this ordeal. Also since the cops are involved and corrupt this can lead to the frustrating scenario where they can and will arrest Richard for anything just so they can take his guns. They can even just handcuff him so the villains can beat him up without a fight.

When the cops are in on it the hero is put in a very bad spot. It’s pretty hard to overcome this because after a point the only option is to take down the cops and the villains which will lead you to becoming a fugitive across the country. It’s a tough spot for sure. The film does a good job of painting a bleak picture for Richard. It’s certainly a thriller with high stakes. I can’t say that Richard does a bad job against them as he reasonably does all he could, but I think he begins to falter with the romance angle in general and some of his decision making skills. He may not have had to go for revenge if he had planned things out better.

The romance angle here is definitely very weak though. The CIA agent coming over just to be swayed by Richard was certainly a bit much. There goes her professionalism. I can understand her not wanting to listen to the corrupt order to murder Malone, but there’s a fine line between that and getting together with him. Then the film also has the kid start to like Richard which makes for a very tricky plot. Especially since Richard is not nearly as firm as he should have been in declining her. He’s at least 30 years older than her, maybe more so. It was just a lousy plot. The film should have absolutely skipped the romance plots in this film and that would have been a really good idea. It’s all pretty unnecessary.

Naturally the film can also be a bit gritty. I wouldn’t say that it ever becomes over the top violent or anything but it’s definitely got that 80s vibe to it. The deaths can be pretty gruesome even if they aren’t all on screen. It’s basically what you would expect from the premise. Unfortunately the CIA part of it doesn’t get as much screen time as I would have liked. It would have been nice to see the CIA step in and start fighting with the villains. After all, while they want to cover all of this up you’d think that they would also be happy to take care of the local mob and cops right? Instead they also appear to be just as corrupt as the villains. The film tries to make it crystal clear that only Malone and the two people he’s living with can be trusted.

Overall, Malone isn’t a film that I would particularly recommend. It feels a lot like some of the wild west films like Hang em High and other such titles with the tough main character who shows up to take down the villains but simply isn’t nearly as engaging as those were. The main character isn’t quite as good and while the villains were reasonable I guess they don’t do anything to save the film. It’s not a very pleasant film either. Naturally it’s fun to see Malone go in and take down the villains, but by the time he does it feels like an empty victory.

Overall 4/10

The Gorgon Review


It’s time to look at a pretty old horror film. There aren’t too many films about the Gorgon since they tend to focus on Medusa so that’s a good change of pace. Considering how bad most of the Hammer films are this one was actually pretty decent. It even avoided the old animal violence trope. It’s still nothing great, but it’s a film that’s actually watchable and fairly entertaining. I was impressed.

The film starts off with a bunch of people being murdered in a small village. One day another girl dies and her fiancee decides to get to the bottom of this. He has no luck and is destroyed so his father comes along to see what he can dig up. The townspeople threaten him and the cops allow it because the whole town is corrupt. The father manages to see the Gorgon and uncovers the truth, but dies as soon as he writes a letter. Then his son Paul shows up to finish his legacy. He wants to find the truth behind these murders but is being hampered at every turn. He’s called in his old pal Karl to help him out and a nice heroine by the name of Carla is also eager to help in his discoveries. Will the 3 of them be able to take down the Gorgon or will she turn them to stone?

Right away I have to say that all the misdirects at the beginning were a blast. The main character switches like 3 different times until the actual lead shows up. The first two live long enough where you think that they actually would have made it through. Now that’s an unexpected death if I ever saw one. The town being corrupt was also done in less of an iffy way than usual although naturally they all still look pretty bad as you’d expect. Doesn’t the town realize that if they let the Gorgon run free it will mean the end of everything? They’re content to just murder anyone who tries to murder the threat that is after them, but that logic is just so bad.

The only one that has a valid reason to help Gorgon for spoiler reasons is Namaroff and even he can be pretty bad the whole time. He changes his tune quite drastically by the end which makes his whole journey pointless. The guy was basically around to fulfill the role as the corrupt doctor but his goals and aspirations just didn’t make any sense either. By being overly cryptic and curt he should have known what was ultimately going to happen. The guy just wasn’t very smart.

Now lets talk about the standout character- Karl. Karl is a hardened professor who has been to many corrupt towns like this one. He knows how to fight and is also the smartest character in the movie. He knows law like the back of his hand so the police aren’t able to bully him as they did with Paul. He outwits everyone and constantly digs up facts about the case. He even solves the mystery early on but naturally Paul won’t hear anything of it. Without Karl, Paul would have been doomed from the start. Effectively this professor is Sherlock Holmes and he completely stole the show. I was surprised to see a character this likable in this film.

Paul is the actual main character of the film and right away you’ll see what I mean when I say that the guy wouldn’t last long. He’s not all that smart. He always talks tough but can’t back it up so when it’s fight time he is doomed. He tries quite often to persuade the doctor to help in his cause but it’s futile from the start. He also starts to let his emotions get the best of him as he forgets logic by the end. It’s one of his many issues in the movie. In general the romance between him and Carla wasn’t particularly good. I think the film could have done without that. It also would have made the identity of the Gorgon a little less obvious. After all there’s only 1 female character in the film. I wonder who the Gorgon can be……

Carla is a reasonable character for the most part. I think she should have also suspected what was happening a little sooner, but it’s also reasonable to assume that she would have some memory issues. By the end of the film her will power wasn’t particularly strong though which hurt her character arc a bit. Willpower isn’t something you can train all that much, it’s just something that you have but she could have used it to a better extent.

The writing was actually pretty good here. I can’t say I had any complaints with it. I mean, the town could be super unreasonable but at this point I can’t even say that is an unrealistic thing to see. The film is quite short so it doesn’t drag on and is over in the blink of an eye. The film isn’t super violent or graphic compared to the average Hammer film either. At worst the film might just move a bit slowly at times, but I would argue that the film’s plot never comes to a halt either. There really isn’t much time for big filler scenes.

Overall, The Gorgon certainly is a film that you have seen many times before. Switch out the character names and this could work as any other retro horror film. Still, while it is generic the film doesn’t necessarily handle itself poorly. It’s still a big improvement over films like Dracula and the Werewolf titles. I’d recommend watching it if you want an old horror film like this one. It takes itself seriously and I’d say that it has aged well in the sense that it’s not campy or anything. That can actually be a tough thing to accomplish nowadays. It feels like most old films can be pretty cheesy when watched in the present.

Overall 6/10

M Review


It’s time to look at what I would have considered as a fairly obscure film but that doesn’t appear to be the case. I can certainly admit that I had never heard of M prior to watching it. It’s one of those films with a really dark premise where the less you see the better. The film’s main purpose is about the aftermath of the event after all. I’d say that the movie handles itself with class, but really drops the ball at the end. Drop might not be the right word, more like the film spiked it when they were nearing the goal. The ending practically writes itself. There are many ways that the film could have gone, but the ending we got was probably the most unsatisfying option of the bunch.

The film starts out with another child going missing. Unfortunately kids have been murdered all across the city and the number continues to grow. The public then receives a letter that the murderer isn’t done yet and intends to continue his streak of carnage. The citizens are growing uneasy with the knowledge that the cops have uncovered no leads and are starting to take the matter into their own hands. They’ll find the murderer even if they have to assault a lot of normal joes in the process. The cops also ramp up their efforts as a lot of heat is being directed at them. This leads the underworld to do their own investigating since the cops are going to be a nuisance until this is all cleared up. With everyone on the lookout for this elusive murderer can he possibly evade them all?

The film changes viewpoints quite often as we see what all 3 parties are thinking and how they plan on handling this. The cops certainly mean well, but naturally they are limited in what they can do during this case. They could use undercover cops but there are only so many of those. The cops in uniform won’t find anything since people can spot them a mile away. The criminal also has the advantage of being able to wait them out and attack when he feels like it. As such the stress on him is far less than that of the cops. I think the film did a good job of giving the cops credit as they do try their best. The situation simply was not in their favor, but it’s hard to say what they could be doing better.

Meanwhile the Underworld starts obtaining clues and such with almost comic ease compared to the cops. As soon as they decide to catch this guy we enter the climax of the film. Some parts can still be a bit of a stretch though like with how the murderer is somehow able to evade all of the guys they had after him. Even cornering him in the building takes forever. Still, they ultimately did get their man and then they bring him over to a court room of their own creation to be judged by fellow criminals. This is the only part of the film that starts to drag a bit. We have the villains grill him a bit and explain to the villain that he’s basically doomed. Even his defense counsel thinks he is doomed.

Now we get into the spoilers territory so this is your chance to back off now while you still can. Are you ready? Well, then the film goes sideways when the villain makes a long speech about how he’s insane and can’t fight his murderous urges. He wants them to take pity on him. The villains do not except for his defense counsel who suddenly takes his role seriously and starts yelling at everybody. We get a long back and forth at this point where he tries to seriously make the case that since the villain is insane he should be taken to an institution instead of paying for his crimes. The leader of the gang had just gone through this “plea” with how rigged it is and how the villain would simply be back on the streets again. Isn’t it convenient that this villain would make the same case after that?

Then the court is interrupted by the cops showing up and arresting everyone. The villain is put before another trial and then the film ends. You are left to wonder if the gang is right and the villain will get off on a plea of insanity or if he will have to pay his dues. I’m inclined to believe that it would be the latter but I think this wasn’t the right time for such an open ended final scene. It also makes a lot of the other scenes feel pretty much pointless. It’s why you have a sense of unease during the villain court scenes as you just get the feeling that something is going to happen to interrupt it. Call it a hunch, but the characters were not going to destroy the villains. That’s fine enough, but I’d like some assurance that he will at least go to jail.

Also, while realistic it can be annoying to see all of the gangsters suddenly arrested while the cops prepare to take all the credit. They didn’t do much here while the gangsters did all of the work. The gang members were crooks through and through so they can’t blame anyone but themselves but it’s ironic that the only time they are caught is when they try to help the cops restore order to the city. Their motives may not have been pure, but they got the job done. Again, after everything that happened throughout the film and how hard it was to catch the villain this just wasn’t a very satisfying ending.

Overall, M is definitely an interesting film. I believe it’s the only German dubbed film that I have seen so far. As I mentioned this film is pretty dark so don’t expect too many laughs out of it. Still, the film does try to inject some humor in from time to time to keep the film from being too broody. How well it works will depend on how into the plot you are. I’d say that the writing is sound and the film certainly could have been a lot worse given the premise. It’s not one that I’d recommend a film try to adapt but considering that it did I think this movie did a pretty reasonable job. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone but if you want to see a scenario where villains and heroes alike go after one guy this is definitely the film for you.

Overall 5/10

Creed II Review


It’s time to look at the new Creed film. While boxing movies may have never become a huge genre, it was always one where you could immediately think of 5 films. That’s because the Rocky series exists. It set a really high bar for the genre so then when it left you couldn’t help but miss it. When the first Creed film came out it worked as a nice sequel to the franchise. Now we could finally see a whole new generation of fights. While I believe the first film holds the slight edge, this movie does a good job of staying on the same level and certainly delivers with the fights.

The movie starts with Adonis claiming the heavyweight title from another guy. He is now the world champ and has begun to settle into his role as a master. He and Bianca are starting a family and things are going well until Viktor shows up. He is the son of Ivan Drago, the guy who murdered Adonis’ father. Naturally Adonis has a hard time trying to refuse Viktor’s challenge and decides to get into the ring once more. The problem is that Adonis is a quick fighter, but his hits don’t land a lot of damage. If he isn’t careful then it’s going to be all over. He has nothing to gain while Viktor has nothing to lose.

From the start of the film’s trailers and plot summaries I was a bit dubious about Adonis’ decision to fight. Of course it’s all very personal to him of course and he brings up the fact that Rocky essentially did the same thing, but it was a little different. In Rocky’s defense, Ivan murdered Apollo right in front of him so he had to get in there and avenge him. In this case, it’s all behind Adonis, but he just wants to prove that he can win where Apollo did not. Adonis can bring honor back into his family name. He trains and everything so it’s not like he walks into the match blind, but I do think it certainly wasn’t a great call on his part. If you gotta take the fight then take it, but don’t block everyone out in the mean time. Adonis even pushes Bianca away for a while during this period.

By the end of the film Adonis has realized once more what is really important and effectively ends his character arc..until the sequel. While he may have had a few rough patches I would still say that he is a pretty solid main character to root for. Meanwhile Bianca has her music plot although it doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time in this installment. From what is shown we can tell that Bianca is doing quite well though. I’m glad the film didn’t try to go for the “Adonis is jealous” route here as that would have been petty. Adonis is certainly not that kind of character. Bianca’s definitely a solid heroine and it looks like her career will keep going on in the next film as well. I don’t know how long the shelf life for a boxer is but there’s a good chance she will outlast him.

Viktor is the main villain here and he definitely looks a lot stronger than the guy from the last film. In fact, the film makes him look so powerful that you may have a tough time believing that Adonis can hold his own at all. The guy is just way too strong and Adonis’ hits don’t have nearly as much weight. There’s not much to Viktor aside from being the villain here, but I’d say that this works pretty well. All you really need to know about Viktor is that he wants to win to please his father so naturally his drive is very strong. At the same time he definitely fights dirty so I don’t think you will be forgetting that he is the villain anytime soon.

Rocky still serves as the main mentor role here and does a good job in it. His fighting days are certainly gone, but he’s still an excellent coach because of his experience both in and out of the ring. Since he overcame the health problems in the first film they aren’t a concern this time around. While it would be nice to see him fight as a homage to the old films it isn’t all that realistic because of how old he is. When Ivan shows up you get the feeling that the guy can still fight, but Rocky is certainly not in a condition to do so. He still gets the good one liners in though. Meanwhile Ivan is a pretty solid villain like Viktor. His only failing I’d say is that the guy puts way too much stock in trying to impress the Russians. He really shouldn’t care after they abandoned him. I suppose his national pride blinded the guy until the end.

Sort of a side note, but it was nice to see Max here. He’s always pretty fun on ESPN First Take so seeing him here was pretty surreal. If anything it made the boxing matches feel a lot more realistic and legit here compared to previous films. The movie does a good job of making you feel every blow. You can instantly tell which shots had glancing damage and which ones really made the character feel it. For the big comeback punches you’ll have the slow-mo feature at the ready. I’m sure that a big reason why you will be watching this film at the end of the day is for the fights so they do deliver.

As for the soundtrack, that one is definitely a step below the classic Rocky films. The new tracks just aren’t nearly as inspirational. They don’t make you feel like it’s time for the hero to take down the opponents and save the day. They may be fast paced tunes, but I can’t say that the lyrics seem all that great. Even the script can be a bit weaker than the old films as it has a bit more language. Nothing too bad, but still just enough that it can be a bit noticeable.

If there is any other weak aspect of the film it is definitely the romance. It did take up quite a bit of time and I think the first film already had that plot completed. The extra drama we got here could feel forced at times. It seems to be resolved though so I’m assuming that for the third film it won’t really be a factor. I’m still wondering what that film will be about, but I’m betting that somebody arrives to challenge Adonis. It would just make sense right?

Overall, Creed II is a solid boxing movie and works as a good sequel to the first Creed. It’s got everything you would want to see in this film. It’s reasonably long with solid pacing so it never feels like it is being dragged out. The main cast of characters are all rather solid. If the film intends to redeem Ivan and Viktor by the end I have to say that they still have a lot of work to do. I still consider both to be villains. While Adonis may not have looked quite as good as in the first film I think he’ll be back at his best for the third film. I hope they get Max to sign on for the third film as well since his insight is always appreciated. Of course, throwing in Skip Bayless or Stephen A. Smith would also be exciting. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I would definitely recommend doing so.

Overall 7/10

The Conjuring 2 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 likely be far more negative.

It’s time to take a look at the next Conjuring film. As far as horror titles go the Conjuring usually gets a lot of praise for being a step above the genre. It avoids having dozens of random jump scares or throwing in random fanservice romances. It’s a horror film that tries to go about its story in a more intellectual way which is nice. While it’s still not an amazing film or anything like that it is reasonably enjoyable and shows that you can craft a pretty decent horror film if you’re willing to give it a try.

The film starts with Lorraine and Ed solving another case. This one was particularly difficult though and now Lorraine has decided that she doesn’t want to do it anymore. She wants to just retire. Ed wants to know why, but she refuses to tell him. The truth is that in one of her visions she saw a mysterious Nun murder Ed. As long as she doesn’t enter the spirit world there is a chance to prevent this, but every time she has a vision it gets closer and closer to happening. This Nun is quite powerful and since the heroes don’t know her true identity it makes defeating this villain quite difficult indeed. Ed is fine with retiring but then a new case comes to their attention and Ed feels that they are obligated to take it.

We then cut to the case in question. Janet, the second eldest of a 4 child family raised by a single mom begins to see an old man in their house. He wants the family to leave and until they do he has decided to start haunting them. At first it is minor things like moving tables around or cutting out the power but he begins to get violent and starts to possess Janet into hurting her family. Leaving the house doesn’t seem to work and the family even tries to live at a neighbor’s place. The problem is that the old man has a partner known as the Crooked Man who is also bent on making the families’ lives as difficult as possible. Just when it seems all hope is lost the main two characters show up. The problem is that the Nun has followed them. Have they only made the problem even worse?

Right off the bat I have to say that the film did a pretty good job of introducing 3 big villains and giving each of them a good amount of screen time. Naturally the one with the biggest role is the old man. He seems pretty unreasonable and evil the whole time, but there is a twist about it. Honestly it’s probably one that you’ll expect. You’ll be hard pressed on whether you should feel bad for the guy or if he should have made a move earlier and really just got what was coming to him. Either way it does make you wonder just how much power you get in this film’s afterlife. The villains seem to be quite powerful but what about all of the heroic ghosts?

Then we have the Crooked Man who gets the smallest role out of the 3. He has a pretty distinct design though and his claws certainly look like they’d make him a threat to any fighter. He’s reasonably quick as well so you definitely don’t want to underestimate this guy. Finally we have the Nun who is naturally the strongest of the 3. This character has been hinted at since the first film so you knew that she was getting ready to make a move. The film repeatedly hints at her past with Ed which will likely be looked at in her prequel film. Unfortunately Ed doesn’t remember her, but fortunately Lorraine is ready. The ending may be a bit of a stretch given how strong the Nun was, but I suppose knowing a ghost’s real name is incredibly powerful here. I liked the Nun’s design. It was sufficiently intimidating without looking gross.

While no horror film’s effects will likely ever look as good as Insidious, The Conjuring certainly holds up. As I mentioned the monsters look pretty good and the film’s always got some dark lighting while you are still able to see what is happening. The music also helps fill out the atmosphere. It’s definitely well made technically and certainly isn’t a cash-in sequel.

As for the main characters they’re still pretty good. You can certainly understand why Lorraine wanted to retire although I think she should have told Ed what she saw. Whether she thinks she can change the future or not, giving him a heads up would certainly be helpful. At the end of the day Lorraine still got involved in the case to ensure no innocents would be hurt so she did a good job there. She ended up doing a large chunk of the work in the climax. Meanwhile Ed is a pretty good character as well. He broke into the house without waiting at the end which was important even if he wasn’t really winning by that point. He did make one big mistake though and I think Lorraine will have to be partially guilty here as well.

So towards the end of the film the main characters decide to leave the family because they think that it was all a ruse. It’s a pretty tough scene to swallow because they already saw mountains of proof that suggests otherwise. Seriously, for Ed and Lorraine to believe for a minute that it was all a hoax is just terrible. The neighbors were a lot more supportive than these guys. It is enough to almost eliminate how nice the duo was before this point. After all, the family could have easily been murdered as soon as Ed and Lorraine had left. It was simply not their best moment in time. The Church also doesn’t look good as once again they are worried about their image. That seems to always be the case in these films.

As for the family who were being attacked by the ghosts I’d say that they were good characters. The kids weren’t overly annoying and at least they were willing to help each other out. While the whole teamwork thing was not as effective as Ed suggested it would be, they didn’t back down. The boy did go in after Janet to see if she was okay even if that almost proved to be fatal. The Mom also did her best to help out and once she believed Janet she did everything she could to stop the spirits. Reaching out to professionals and getting TV coverage definitely couldn’t have been easy since it would hurt her reputation as well. The family ultimately felt like what the average family should be. They weren’t exaggerated for the sake of the movie or anything like that.

Overall, The Conjuring 2 is actually a good movie. The horror elements work pretty well and the film is careful not to cross the line into super edgy territory. I do think that the Nun was pretty much the strongest villain that the series could come up with though so I’m wondering where the series will go from here. A third film will need to do something to make sure it isn’t a rehash of the previous two. Still, the series seems to be doing pretty well so far so I suppose there’s no reason to worry at the moment. I’d recommend checking this film out. The main characters may annoy you a bit but they ultimately make the right decision.

Overall 6/10