Goldfinger Review


Bond is at it again with this next installment but is the film going to go to the next level here or will this be about on the level as the first two. It’s definitely a movie that retains a lot of the same issues as the earlier titles. The action scenes are fun though but Bond certainly gets punked a whole lot. Again, how is this guy the best agent that M16 has got? It feels like he mostly just relies on luck in all of his appearances and that’s not a good strategy that’ll work long-term.

Well, the movie starts with Bond blowing up a facility and basically showing the audience that 007 is back! Bond heads to a resort for vacation but the worst fear of every person on vacation happens…his boss shows up. The agent tells Bond that he is to investigate and monitor an infamous villain known as Goldfinger. The guy stays at this very resort and loves cheating people out of their money. Bond is pretty confident that he can beat anyone up so he promptly begins trolling Goldfinger by stealing his girl, making fun of him, and then cheating the guy out of a bunch of money. Naturally this leads to Goldfinger murdering the girl and beating Bond up multiple times. Bond wants revenge now but will he be able to stop Goldfinger in this frenzied state or is he on a one way trip to oblivion?

This film really highlights the issue with Bond’s overconfidence. It just doesn’t feel earned since each time it causes him to lose or his friends to get murdered. The girl from the opening scene is a big example of this. Bond basically threw her life away by antagonizing Goldfinger and not giving her any kind of protection after that. What did he really expect was going to happen here? As a special agent you need to be confident in yourself. Absolutely, that’s a true statement but there are limits to this. It’s like how Iron Man dared Mandarin to try and attack him in Iron Man 3 and was surprised when the guy did or even a random thug mocking Accelerator and saying he wouldn’t dare shoot her only to find out that he actually would. If you’re going to test someone you should be prepared for retaliation.

So Bond is no better in this film than in the last few. Not only is he very weak but of course he is distracted by every lady in the film and has a number of affairs as normal. I’m okay with him getting extra emotional for this one. While some may say this isn’t very professional of him, he knows very well that the situation is his fault and should want to avenge the girl. It just makes all of his losses in this film sting all the more. He still has his more charismatic moments of course and can be a fun lead to follow but not a likable one.

Unfortunately Goldfinger is definitely the worst main villain so far. The guy can’t really fight all that well and just relies on the fact that he can always outwit Bond. His final plan only gets so far out of pure luck. I have a very hard time believing he would be able to shoot down over 10 Army fighters on his own and then escape for a third time. That whole sequence will have you shaking your head. Keep in mind that the army went in knowing that there had been a hostile takeover at this point. Should be on full alert….

His main minion Oddjob was really good though and definitely a standout character. He’s actually very skilled. First off, the steel hat is a genius invention because you can wear it very discreetly and then toss it when you need to take someone down. The villains clearly have their own Q who can make some solid items. He’s also not a one trick pony as he was able to fight really well even without the hat. I wasn’t surprised that he was a lot stronger than Bond either as we never see the agent training while this guy was clearly devoted to his craft. That’s a lot of shots at Bond eh? I’ll give him a break til the end now.

Galore is the main heroine in this film and I’ll give her some points for being able to fight. In fact she even defeated 007 on multiple occasions. It’s definitely nice to have hand to hand skills and even better to have that coupled with a gun. At that point there just isn’t much you can do if she has the proper angle. Galore does really well in this film even if ultimately you know that some romance will be appearing at some point.

As always this is where the Bond film falters. There’s a ton of random affairs in the film. Even the opening credits are pretty painful here as it focuses on a ton of suggestive imagery the whole time. From the posters and such you can see exactly how the film was advertising itself and this did not change with this film. It makes all of the usual mistakes here and just makes you shake your head at how predictable it is, but also at how much better it could have been without that.

The movie’s about on par with the last two. I would argue it’s a tad bit better than the opening 3 but not by enough to really make much of a difference. Hopefully as the films go on Bond will look a little better but at this point I’m rather doubtful. Usually you have the lead look his best in the opening films before having him lose more in the sequels since it shows how the villains are getting more powerful. So if he is already getting crushed here then that really does not bode well for him.

Overall, Goldfinger continues to show why the James Bond films aren’t in the same league as Mission Impossible or Jason Bourne. Those titles really focus on the special agent aspect of the plot as the primary focus while this one seems to have that as the backdrop at times while Bond’s charms are the main focus. He’s just thrown off his game so often it gets pretty crazy. The film does flow by as the pacing is good and I would also say the writing is on point. It’s mainly just held back by Bond himself and the fanservice. The fact that Goldfinger is not only a sub par villain but a flat out bad one doesn’t help matters either. We’ll see if the next film is able to overtake this one.

Overall 4/10

Time Lock Review


Time Lock is a very retro thriller that has aged quite well. The main danger here is trying to save a kid before a certain amount of time has elapsed so it’s a concept that you could easily apply to a modern movie as well. There’s a lot of solid dialogue here and a quality cast of characters so the movie goes by rather quickly. It’s got a good amount of replay value as well so I could easily recommend it.

The movie starts with the bankers getting ready to close shop for the long weekend. It had been a busy week so they were all glad to have some time off. They get ready to close the vault but there’s a traffic incident outside so the two men take a break to look outside. In the meanwhile the banker’s kid sneaks into the vault. The bankers don’t notice this as they close the vault only to find out right afterwards that he snuck in. The issue is that the vault is sealed with a Time Lock which was created for the sole purpose of making sure that nobody can get into the vault once it is closed. They must now find a way to get the boy out before he runs out of Oxygen and call in everyone they can think of to help. Their best bet is the expert known as Mr. Dawson but he is already on vacation so they’ll need to track him down.

Dawson doesn’t appear until we’re deep into the film but his presence is felt almost immediately. Right from the start the characters acknowledge that he is their best bet and he is portrayed really well as an expert who knows his stuff. He takes charge and makes all of the right moves. Initially my reaction was that he could have started giving instructions before he got to the bank but as this was the 50s I assume that wasn’t really an option at the time. Dawson’s easily the best character in the film for sure.

Still, there aren’t really any bad characters here. Everyone does their best to help the kid out and it’s nice to see the community come together like this. For example, at one point the main characters are effectively out of options so a local reporter offers to help out by getting alerts out on all their channels and even flying in Dawson. Then you’ve got all of the townsfolk who are ready to help break through the vault however they can. Everyone here is doing their part. If anything the bank gives the reporter a tough time despite being so helpful towards the end but they weren’t trying to squeeze in a random antagonist. I suppose in this film you didn’t need one although it would have been pretty interesting to have some bank robbers run in to cause chaos.

The main emotional plot here is with the kid’s parents since they aren’t taking this quite so well. The Dad blames himself for not noticing that the kid went into the vault in time while the Mom is stressed out since the kid may not make it. The Secretary was also slow to alert them that the kid went into the vault since she saw him run in and should have yelled out immediately. Then you have the boss who didn’t do a second check after turning his back to the vault. In a situation like this there is naturally a lot of collective blame that can be had. At the end of the day the characters were just a bit careless because it’s a task they’ve done so many times and so they got a bit complacent this time around. Human error is something that can happen so it was just about time.

I’ll give the kid some credit for not panicking here though. He actually takes the whole situation pretty well in stride. He doesn’t start crying or yelling once he’s stuck there and just calmly tries to follow orders. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to unlock the vault or the whole film would have ended a lot sooner. It was a good idea on their part to use the megaphone though and it was an interesting dilemma since there was no way for the kid to signal if he heard or not. So they would have to talk not knowing if they were receiving a response or not. Definitely not an easy spot to be in.

As for the solution to breaking through the vault, it was pretty interesting. I feel like one of the side characters had actually suggested going in through the side and the others had said it was a waste. Ultimately the idea seemed good although of course here they were going for the switch as opposed to going all through the side. So there is a difference there but at least the Welder deserves some credit there before Dawson came in to save the day. Most of the characters in this film were professionals and it was nice to see them be able to use their expertise to help out in the situation.

Overall, Time Lock is a solid film. It really has no weaknesses and performs well as a low key thriller. The stakes may not be something like a city at stake but any life in the balance makes for a very personal film. You’ve got a solid cast, solid writing, and an interesting plot. It all boils down to a movie that’s just entertaining from start to finish. You’re bound to have a good time with this one. It also shows how well designed the bank vault is as not just anyone could have broken into it without those resources. I’m sure that the manufacturers would probably build some extra precautions into the next version so this probably wouldn’t even work next time around. That said, I doubt the kid will be going anywhere close to a vault after this.

Overall 7/10

From Russia with Love Review


James Bond continues on another adventure with this second film. From Russia with Love is definitely a very well known film in the series and the title is certainly iconic. What’s better than seeing Bond have to go up against his Russian counterparts right? Well, while the action is dialed up and we have some interesting ideas here, I wouldn’t say that it’s a match for the original film. This is still not quite as the point where the James Bond films were epic to watch. I wouldn’t quite give this one a thumbs up.

The movie starts with SPECTRE returning to the forefront. After Bond messed up their plans last time they are not eager to see it happen again. The leader calls in a big chess master and the former head of Russia’s special agent program. They are to find a way to get a device over from Russia and then bump Bond off. Rosa decides to use special agent Tatiana for this mission, all the while pretending that she is still in the Russian program as an officer. Meanwhile M16 sends Bond in to obtain the device after Tatiana claims she wants to defect from Russia. (All part of the plan) Bond figures he’s walking into a trap but doesn’t really mind.

This film has a lot going on at all times and the plot is certainly crafted well. It’s quite hard to predict exactly how things will shake out all the time. I like the idea of SPECTRE trying to pit Russia and the US against each other from the shadows. As an international organization it makes sense that they would be messing with all of the countries. It’s also good to see the organization return since it does work as a nice ongoing plotline in the series. They have trained their fighters rather well.

Grant makes for a very impressive villain, although perhaps too impressive. Throughout the film he saved Bond and gets the upper hand on him. He’s shown to be more powerful and smarter. At that point, what’s left for Bond? His presence is felt throughout the movie and it makes Grant a fairly unforgettable character. His opening appearance was definitely impressive as well so from start to finish this guy made for a good villain.

On the hero side we had Ali this time who was a head of M16 for this division. He’s a pretty good agent who may not be the best at fieldwork but he is highly resourceful and has kept up a good system for many years. Naturally once Bond enters the picture these plans tend to go haywire since everyone is always targeting the agent. Ali did well in his screen time though. M and Moneypenny appear as well of course and they’re always fun supporting characters as well. M likes to shatter all of Bond’s plans all the time while Moneypenny likes to play along. It makes for a good dynamic at the office.

As for the main heroine of this film, I can’t say Tatiana was one of the better ones. She is put into a rather tough mission of course but I feel like she was tricked rather easily. This is definitely a weakness of being in a super secret organization if they never even told their members that the head had been let go. Does Tatiana have no contacts here she could have contacted? The organization itself is to blame for a lot of it but Tatiana should have done some more research as well or just defected for real once she was betrayed. The villains give her so much distance she would have had a lot of good opportunities to pull this off. At the end of the day she does manage to step up though.

Then that takes us to Bond and he takes so many Ls in this film that you wonder why the 007 title is so legendary. He gets beaten more times than you can count to the point where he isn’t even as cautious as he used to be in the first film. I suppose at this point he’s just decided that there’s no point and rolls with whatever the next challenge is. Due to this though, it’s hard to picture him looking really good in a movie. The guy’s just let his overconfidence run wild within himself. As long as he is unable to clear his missions without flirting or getting distracted I imagine that his potential will always be rather limited. He has his moments but on the whole I wouldn’t be able to call him a good lead.

Bond’s worst moment might be near the end where he notices Grant ordering a drink combination that doesn’t make sense. Bond had already been suspicious from the start but he still allows Grant to put something in Tatiana’s drink. Bond calls him out on it and buys the very suspect explanation that it would be easier this way. The whole thing makes him look like a rookie. I thought he was also incredibly harsh with Tatiana during the interrogation in the car afterwards. If Bond was unlikable before that moment then he was really doomed after that.

I’ll throw out a quick mention to Rosa who had a lot of fighting spirit for an old lady. She certainly knew that returning to base with no results would be a bad idea of course so that was good thinking on her part. Her main mistake is that she definitely should have fired right away rather than waiting so long. That’s the mistake most villains make here. With the amount of people who get Bond at gunpoint you’ll definitely always be surprised to see him still alive.

The main issue with the film naturally is its over reliance on fanservice and having Bond have an affair with every female character he runs into. The film always includes a lot of romance only since Bond is constantly jumping to the next character we know that it’s not actually a true romance anyway. The opening credits for the film are fairly painful to get through as well as the film’s artistic style here is really just to sell more tickets with fanservice once again.

At least the movie has a good soundtrack though. The Bond theme never gets old no matter how many times they play it. It’s just classic and I’m up for as many remixes as they’ve got. The action scenes are fun when they happen as well. We even get a train backdrop for a good chunk of the film which works out quite nicely. A change of scenery is always a good idea. I’d also say the writing is solid for the most part. There’s a lot of good banter here and the film handles the light hearted action tone rather well. The movie doesn’t drag on and at close to 2 hours that’s fairly impressive.

Overall, From Russia With Love is a very classic Bond film. It’s got the usual spy adventures along with a number of mysteries and intrigue that Bond must sift through in order to get to the heart of the problem. He takes every single stop on the journey that can be had though and is never in a hurry. His number 1 ability here is really just having a lot of luck and also is fortunate that the villains decide to show him mercy so often. I’d recommend watching a movie like Jason Bourne or Mission Impossible if you want a film that focuses more on the stealth aspects though. They operate at a much higher level.

Overall 4/10

Dr. No Review


Can it be? Yes, James Bond is back in the running! It’s been many, many years since I saw the original James Bond film. Well before my reviewing days at the very least. Well, now was the chance to re-watch it. It does a good job of establishing Bond’s character and setting the franchise up but at the same time makes a whole lot of errors that remind me why I was never a big fan of the Bond movies. It was only very recently where I would say they were very good. This one for example I would have to give a thumbs down although I do maintain that Sean is still the definitive James Bond.

The James Bond films always start off with an opening montage of fanservice with a random song to let you know that you’ve arrived at the right film. It’s a great way to kick things off on a low note. Fortunately after that we get to the actual movie. It opens up with 3 crooks pretending to be blind so they head on over and murder someone. Meanwhile Bond was winning at the casino when he is called in by M-16 Intelligence. They tell him about the murder and he is being sent over to investigate this. Bond heads off and as soon as he arrives the villains make their first move by having a fake car at the ready. Bond dispatches the agent real quick which establishes him as a skilled agent who won’t be going down easily. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the murder though. Bond’s only hint is that it may involve someone by the name of Dr. No. Time to go and explore his secret island.

So Bond is shown to be a capable agent. The film tries to suggest that he is a brilliant one but I am not convinced. For starters there is one scene in this film where the villain gives him a cup of coffee…and he drinks it. He’s then surprised to find out that it was drugged. On another occasion he follows a suspect to a secluded area knowing it’s a trap and falls for it anyway. He’s lucky that the group he thought were villains turned out to be okay. There’s also the scene where his partner and him go to fight the dragon tank and Bond basically just gives up. You’d think since he took one eye out that he might as well continue at that point. He was close to winning too, but just missed way too many shots. I’d consider that to be another loss though. I think what’s going on here is that Bond has absolute confidence in himself to the point where you could say it is also a weakness. He will jump into any trap without hesitation because he believes he can best it. The problem is that this just isn’t the case. Bond is tough but will still lose against a gun or with sheer numbers just like anyone else. The fact that he can’t control his confidence is his biggest issue.

He has a lot of solid moments as well of course like when he devised a method to find out if anyone had been in his room. He handled the opening car scene rather well too. I also like how his theme music appears almost every time Bond is on screen. It’s a nice little addition there and if anything it’s something I miss from nowadays. I always like the classic approach of having a hero’s theme play when he is around. It helps give the scenes a whole lot of impact. No matter how many times the theme plays though, I doubt it would have helped me like Bond. At the end of the day he’s a big flirt who has affairs with everyone and constantly gets distracted from the mission. No matter how skilled he is, it means that he could have done a lot better without all of that going on. That’s the tragic part of all this.

On the whole I wasn’t a big fan of the soundtrack though. The main theme sounded like something out of Beetlejuice which kept playing on the island. It’s just not really my cup of tea so mainly the only theme that I liked was the classic Bond theme. I suppose in this case it would have to do. The writing was solid though with a lot of good one liners here and snappy dialogue. Bond in particular definitely knows how to go back and forth with the villain rather well. His dinner discussions with Dr. no was certainly interesting to watch. Of course, Bond quit being friendly once Dr. No had Honey taken away. So at that point he just tried to antagonize the guy.

We get 3 different ladies who appear at different points in the film to have an affair with Bond. It’s why no matter who the final heroine is you always know that it’s not going to last. Bond doesn’t even care if the lady is a villain so long as he gets to have his fun first and then admits that he knew all along. I wouldn’t say that any of the 3 are all that good. At least the first one has no shady dealings or anything so she’s about as legit as possible. The second one’s a foreign spy and Honey who serves as the main heroine was illegally trespassing on a private island. I suppose she needed the money and a villain owns the island so it sort of equals out in the end. She certainly gets a needlessly tragic backstory that could have been avoided if you ask me.

Dr. No makes for an imposing villain though. I forgot that the SPECTRE organization was referenced so early in the Bond films so that was nice to see. No definitely commands respect as well as shown by the fear he put in his subordinates just by talking. None of them are going to cross him anytime soon that’s for sure. His robotic hands also make him a bit of a difficult opponent as otherwise he wouldn’t be able to fight much.

There’s a good amount of tension here for sure and whenever Bond catches one of the villains that’s always fun. He certainly gets to show off his skills in hand to hand, espionage, shooting, and even at wit. If not for his overconfidence issues and distractions you can see how Bond would be a really good agent. In a way he’s a lot like this film. This movie would have been really solid without all the affairs, fanservice, and scenes that just don’t further the plot in any way. This would then be a really solid spy thriller but instead it holds itself back which has always been something that the series struggles with.

Overall, Dr. No is definitely one of those films where you can tell that it had a good budget and a lot of effort put behind it. The effects look really good considering how old the film is and the plot definitely works well. The movie has a nice balance between action and light hearted humor so it’s also the kind of flick that should reach a large audience. James Bond just isn’t a particularly likable main character. He’s charismatic and you’ll have a lot of fun with him at times but he could stand to be a little more focused when carrying out his job. You feel bad for his boss who always has to put up with this. Bond definitely gives that guy a hard time. I’ll be reviewing the second film pretty soon so we’ll see if Bond does better in the second film or if it’s all over for him.

Overall 4/10

Black Christmas 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 to look at a true stinker. This film’s always had that reputation of being a pretty terrible film that has only shined a little more with the recent reboot coming out with the review I’ve seen. It definitely ends up even underperforming despite that. There’s really nothing positive to say about this film. The writing is terrible, the cast is awful, and the ending is sour. The whole thing just seals the deal as a film best left forgotten to history so I don’t see why it’s already been remade more than once. I can’t say I have high hopes for those films either.

The movie starts by introducing us to Jess and her friends. They are having a solid Christmas party and are just having a good end to the year in general. Or at least…that’s how it appears at first. Each of the characters are having their own share of issues. One of them is a chronic drunk, you’ve got Jess who ended up getting pregnant prematurely, and the main policeman who fields the calls doesn’t take them seriously if anything were to start happening. Well, one by one the girls are being bumped off and the murderer keeps calling in to gloat about this as he plays the deaths live. Will Jess be able to escape or is everyone in the house doomed?

When you’re making a bad film you’ve got to start with constructing a poor cast and this film accomplishes that with ease. The main villain never actually appears but he always calls himself Billy so we’ll go with that. He’s about as poor a villain as you can develop. The guy has no real motivation for destroying everyone beyond just causing chaos. He really relies on a lot of luck and all the characters handling things terribly in order to succeed. With a better cast he wouldn’t have lasted as long as he did. The ending is just insulting if anything because everyone was acting to half heartedly about checking the house.

Think about it, you know that there’s a murderer who was in the house and a bunch of fatalities resulted from this. There are still other people unaccounted for as well. Wouldn’t you actually check the attic or the other rooms in the house before leaving? Leaving the room unguarded is also very sloppy and I don’t know how the cop in the car at the front yard was taken down so easily. I’d also argue that staying in the car doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s good for making a quick communication but you’re barricading yourself inside a vehicle which limits your field of view.

The writing here is just terrible throughout. You’ll be rolling your eyes the whole time as you wait for the film to get interesting but it never happens. The TV broadcast had a field day having to censor everything because all of the characters are also obscene most of the time. Why would this house have paintings with people flashing the birdie? The characters look at dicey magazines and one of them coaxes a kid into drinking while he is under age. That scene is just painful because it goes on and on while someone else is on the phone. The movie goes out of its way to paint these characters as terrible role models and really as terrible people as they’re ruining Christmas for everyone else too.

Then the film also makes sure to be as gritty as possible as we learn that someone met with a cruel fate before being murdered in this town. Was that all really necessary? I suppose the idea is that if a Christmas movie is usually happy and well written then if you’re going to do the reverse it has to be very somber with poor writing throughout. The movie does succeed at this to be sure. It goes without saying that the rest of the film is also fairly violent anyway as each character is bumped off. All of the phone calls are pretty ugly as well and Jess is basically forced to listen to all of them so the cops can try to tap the phone. Even Jess who at least tries to be more responsible than some of the others does not seem to be since her affair with Peter went a little too far which leads to the drama of her wanting to abort the baby.

Peter looks terrible here as well as he quickly jumps into threatening her and really putting himself in a bad light. There’s no way to really get around the fact that he was seriously threatening her. Then at the police headquarters even after a kid is murdered and several girls vanish, the guy at the desk doesn’t take it seriously when Jess calls to report that they are being harassed by someone on the phone. After a while it just gets way too out of this world and not in a good sci-fi way. There’s just a whole lot of plot conveniences here in order to give the murderer a clean way to take everyone down.

Overall, Black Christmas is a movie that really drags on and on for the entirety of its run. Just when you think it’s going to end the film keeps on going. Horror films are basically required to have a twist ending but this one was pretty terrible. Aside from just being so obvious that it barely counts as a twist, it happens at the expense of every character’s ability to think rationally. There’s no replay value in this film and I would definitely recommend staying as far away from it as possible. I certainly wouldn’t consider it to be a true Christmas film and you’re better off checking out something like a Charlie Brown Christmas or the classic Jingle All The Way title.

Overall 0/10

Framed Review


Framed is an old noir film which is a very solid depiction of the genre as a whole. You’ve got every character keeping secrets and acting rather suspicious the whole time. They’ve definitely got a lot of attitude and smoking/drinking is what all of the characters turn to in a pinch. With solid writing and a good story at the ready this is certainly a good movie to check out. You don’t really see a low key Noir title like this nowadays and it’s a solid genre that has faded away.

The movie starts with Mike trying to drive a vehicle into town but the brakes gave way. He eventually makes it but not before crashing into Jeff’s car. The town refuses to pay for the damages even though it was their defective vehicle that caused Mike to bump into the guy’s car in the first place. Mike pays for the damages but gives the sheriff too much attitude so they prepare to arrest him. A waitress named Paula shows up to pay for his bail just in the nick of time though. She wants to be Mike’s friend but the whole thing seems a little odd to the lead. Mike wants to leave town as soon as possible and he may have a ticket out. Jeff’s starting up a silver mining company soon as long as he can get a loan from the bank.

We’ll see if that happens though. Paula is in cahoots with Steve, the vice president of the bank. They intend to steal a ton of money but they need a fall guy. Mike is exactly the guy they’ve been looking for so they intend to bump him off after setting the stage just right. Can Mike really see this trap coming or will he be far too distracted by Paula to do much of anything? There’s definitely a lot of tension as you watch him try to come out on top.

Now, with a premise like this there’s a lot going on. It’s also a reverse mystery to an extent since we know Paula and Steve are the villains from the start but nobody else does. So there isn’t any deductions being done on our side. It’s all about following Mike on his quest. He probably would have even done better with that if he wasn’t always getting drunk though. Keep in mind that he got himself into a lot of trouble early on in the film for drinking so much that he passed out and it happens to him again in the climax. Both times could have been absolutely fatal.

It also makes it a little harder to like Mike. He feels very out of his league in this mystery. He’ll make a decent deduction at times but he’ll handle the execution poorly. There’s one scene where he very nearly gets poisoned and instead of saving himself, someone else has to come through for him. It’s a fun moment in a sense because he had a plan of his own all set and he would not have been able to execute it if he had taken the drink. Things could have very quickly gone south for him. Mike talks tough a lot but he ends up being manipulated quite often and I dunno, I just couldn’t pull for the guy.

The only thing that I will say for him is at least he was quick to try and get Jeff out of a jam even if it meant confessing. He wasn’t just going to let Jeff rot and there was no hesitation there. That’s the only credit I’ll give Mike but at least his heart was in the right place there. Jeff’s also a fun character. The guy has a good business idea set up and you get the feeling that he is very on top of things. If not for the villains messing with him I think he would be in a very good spot to get rich. He takes everything in stride too so he’s an easy guy to root for.

As for the two villains, well they definitely don’t plan things out too well. First off is Steve who just doesn’t think things through. He goes through a cycle that he should have predicted. He cheated on his wife to get along with Paula and doesn’t suspect that she may do the same thing? He’s not the brightest guy out there that’s for sure. Then you have Paula who could have easily ended things without a hitch for herself but let her feelings get in the way which ended up ruining things for her. You can’t mix sentimentality with criminal affairs. That’s just not going to end well in any circumstance and she certainly learned that the hard way.

The movie has a fairly small cast as these 4 are the only characters or note. The heart of the film is really about the strong writing and character interactions between all of them. Most of the scenes feel like they’re taking place at night time, even the ones during the day. Even the bar always feels ominous as the characters walk in to get a drink. It’s always interesting to see how these things looked back in the day because it all feels so different in the present.

Overall, Framed is a pretty solid movie. I probably wouldn’t put it as a top Noir title but at the same time it is a very consistent one. It really gives you all of the elements that you would want to see in such a film from the characters to the backgrounds. The reverse mystery idea is a nice twist as well. Usually most of the film is about finding out exactly what is going on so this time we get to see Mike try to put the puzzle pieces together himself. He’s not the nicest guy so that works in his favor at times as he uses strong tactics. Sometimes just hiding out in front of the house is a good way to gather info as well which worked out nicely for him. He got off a little lucky being able to down someone with a single punch though but I suppose that guy wasn’t as big a fighter as he thought. The key takeaway from this film is that if you don’t want to get framed or be put in a tough situation, just don’t get drunk out of your mind. You should maybe avoid the drinks entirely but at the bare minimum you shouldn’t drink so much that you pass out….

Overall 7/10

Krampus Review


A Christmas film that’s actually a horror title is pretty interesting. It’s certainly not a blend you see very often. I can understand that though as ideally when you think of Christmas movies you’ll think of items like Jingle All The Way or Christmas With The Kranks. After that then you gear up for Halloween in October with the big spooky titles. Well, Krampus is a pretty interesting idea and the film executes it fairly well. The human characters tend to mostly be unlikable though so it’s easy to see why Krampus arrived.

The movie starts with Max getting ready for Christmas. He’s determined for it to be a good year but unfortunately it does not start out well. He gets into a fight at the school play and then when he gets home his parents start bickering a bit. Nothing serious but then his cousins arrive and they’re a bunch of the meanest characters you’ll see around. They torment him for a while until Max throws his letter to Santa out the window. This ends up summoning the demon known as Krampus. He is accompanied by the Elves, Gingerbread Man, A bear who is basically Freddy from Five Knights at Freddy’s, A Jack in the Box, and more. Can the family unite to take these guys down or are they ultimately all about to meet their end on Christmas?

The family is incredibly split apart right at the start so you can probably guess that they aren’t good at the whole teamwork thing. As mentioned, most of them are just pretty awful. Even by the end you aren’t going to like many of the characters. The kids from the cousin’s side are all pretty painful of course so I don’t even need to talk about them. Their entire purpose in the film is to just be annoying and get in the way the whole time. You know that they don’t truly stand a chance at any point in the game. It’s just the way that it goes.

For the real main characters, Max gets one of the biggest roles for sure. He at least believes in Santa a lot more than the others. Of course for Krampus it’s more about personal sacrifices and all with his understanding of what Christmas is. Regardless, he was not pleased with Max by the end and made sure this was known the whole time. The others were really on his hit list from the start but it’s interesting because in a way you’d be safe if you never believed in Santa from the start. He only shows up once you turn away. Then if you’re just an innocent bystander outside you’re really doomed. Those guys were just minding their own business and still got mixed up in all of this.

Tom and Sarah do a decent job trying to get things back on track the whole time. I wouldn’t say they do a superb job but at least they talk back to the cousins at times. Tom half heartedly defends himself a bit like with the whole scouts thing and at least he said Sarah’s cooking was done. He doesn’t really get to shine further until the villains arrive and he fights with his gun. He does last for a bit which is good although ultimately he is heavily outnumbered. The villains not being bullet proof at least gives the heroes some hope. Meanwhile Sarah also steps up when needed. She doesn’t fight with the axe as long as her sister Linda but everyone does get to contribute in the end.

I do think Max brings up a good point of why they had to invite the rest of the family if they don’t get along at all. It sounds like that’s just asking for trouble. Maybe have more of a quiet internal Christmas celebration especially if they’ll be inviting other members who were not invited. Tom didn’t really have a good counter to that question and I think it was worth bringing up. Inviting everyone simply out of tradition is a bit iffy.

Howard and Linda are definitely not meant to be all that likable either. Howard’s whole obsession about being a tough guy and having a lot of guns does come in handy though. At least it meant that the heroes would be properly armed for this scenario. Tom was surprised that Howard brought guns on Christmas but I wouldn’t blame him there. If you’re equipped with guns then the whole point is so you can have them if you really need them. Of course that should include road trips. Both of these characters have some really solid moments during the action segments but it isn’t enough to make you forget what went on earlier. That’ll still be fresh in your memory.

Dorothy is the crude aunt of the family who is always ready with a dicey line. She says what’s on her mind at all times no matter what kind of damage it could do to everyone. I definitely can’t say that there’s anything admirable about that though. Being honest is great but it’s no excuse to be rude either. Then you have Beth who is low key the most reasonable member of the family. At least she tries to stick up for Max at times although she should have just let him snatch the paper back and run interference. At least she was doing something though. Going out in a huge snowstorm is also pretty intense especially by herself.

Then we have Omi but she did not do very good here. She withholds the truth from the rest of the family for way too long until it’s basically too late. Then at the end she didn’t have much of a plan and didn’t look so good. She definitely could and should have played that situation a lot differently. That about wraps up the human cast. So it’s a pretty weak cast to be honest. That’s intentional of course because they try to not let you sympathize with the characters too much in horror titles like this where the villain is going to bump them all off anyway. At least this way it’s a little less emotional right?

One thing the film does really well is with how the snowy backdrop is handled. It’s definitely very eery to see everything covered in snow and so desolate. The place is a true ghost town. The most effective scenes are definitely when the heroes are outside in the cold. Beth’s first adventure out there was certainly intense that’s for sure. Throughout the whole movie there are a ton of solid effects and visuals though. The movie does a good job of that. Even all of the villain designs are on point. Krampus looks intense and his best minion has to be the Gingerbread Man. All of the minions show up from time to time to contribute though. One of the more intense moments was when the whole group attacked at once. I didn’t think I’d see a group vs group fight in a horror title like this so that was a pleasant surprise.

There are some pretty solid action scenes here. It’s a full horror movie from start to finish for sure but the movie has a lot of good atmosphere and isn’t relying on shock value and over the top violence. Most of the violence here is implied rather than shown. So all in all this would be one of the best modern horror films that I’ve seen. The execution was definitely on point. The only aspect of the film holding it back would be the writing. I can’t say that it was all that great or even very good. The characters are mostly all pretty bad of course so that also means a lot of terrible dialogue gets through as well. The characters are always hurling around insults and getting in the way. This is really all from the cousin’s side of the family but it makes for a very drawn out beginning.

Naturally the film does have a twist ending so make sure you watch all the way through. It’s a pretty hype one for sure. I do think there are a few ways you can interpret this one but I certainly know the one I’m going for. Lets just say it involves a loop and I think it’s a nice way to end things off. I could certainly see more Kampus titles just with different characters. It would make for a pretty hype film either way as long as it doesn’t jump the shark. With one like this you always imagine it going off the deep end since the film makers always have to be careful to get a solid thriller atmosphere without things going too crazy.

Overall, Krampus is certainly a different take on the classic Santa Claus kind of films that’s for sure. The idea of a Krampus who shows up to take everyone down is definitely something. If you’re looking for some good thrills and action scenes then this is a decent one to check out. The first act is a little on the painful side though with the characters being as awful as possible. So long as you can get past that then the rest is on point. There’s even a dog who helps out and the film avoids any animal violence so consider me impressed there. If you want to check out a horror Christmas movie then this is definitely the best one to start with.

Overall 6/10

Mr. Soft Touch Review


Mr. Soft Touch is a film about a guy deciding to get revenge on some gangsters for taking over his shop. It’s a different spin than usual though as he just wants his money back and isn’t going around shooting them all down. While the film has some pretty good writing humor, I ultimately wouldn’t give it a thumbs up because of some suspect characters and the main character just not being all that likable even by the end.

The movie starts by introducing us to Joe. He has stolen a ton of money and is trying to escape the country but unfortunately his friends were unable to find a boat that leaves before Christmas. He needs to survive for a night somewhere but that won’t be easy since the Mob is everywhere. Joe is able to masquerade as a criminal and get taken to a settlement home where a social worker named Jenny will look after him. Joe figures this will be a decent safehouse as a last resort since there is literally no alternative but when he sees how much help these people need, will he really be able to leave? Some tough choices will have to be made.

Soft Touch has some fun moments and good bits of humor throughout. One nice moment was when the tough guys at the home try to scam Joe out of some money with the dice. He takes them down and clearly has some kind of experience with these games from a while back. He knows a scam when he sees one but does a good job of playing dumb the whole time. This lets him claim the upper hand. It was a nice subversion where usually the main character would have gotten suckered. The main tough guy also reminded me a lot of Spider-Man from the recent movies so it was interesting to see him in more of a villainous role.

You can tell that the people at tis place all meant well. It was a nice cast of characters here. At first they weren’t all happy to see Joe and it was hard to blame them since he wasn’t playing ball but eventually they all formed a pretty good group. In particular I liked Rickle. He had a tendency to go off on long rants about everything but that’s the kind of character who is always good to add levity to the equation. It’ll help keep everyone’s spirits up there which is really important.

Then you have Jenny who is a solid heroine. She does a whole lot for her community and really tried to help Joe out when she thought he was someone else. I would make the case that she is far too lenient though. Her job is about mercy and it’s an important function but since the guy who was charged was an abusive drunk then it seems like he was already too far gone for any of this to help. Jenny also had a traumatic backstory as a kid which makes it all the more impressive that she is putting herself out on the front lines and helping out a bit. She may be a little extreme but I would definitely say that she is a good person.

Then we get to Joe. I just couldn’t find myself being able to root for him. I understand him taking the money back after the mobsters stole it. That makes perfect sense since it was his and the whole thing seems unfair. Why does he not help Clara get away from Victor though? That seems like a pretty toxic relationship that he just looks the other way with. The film would have been a lot better without those two characters since they just hurt Joe a whole lot by extension. Then you’ve got the fact that Joe doesn’t do anything to help out the people in the settlement house before it’s too late. Byrd offered him a rather decent deal at the time but Joe wouldn’t hear of it.

Joe tries to make things right by the end but it is far too late for that. Even the scene where he gives his jacket and the money to the little girl comes off as rather suspect. At first it seems like a nice gesture but then Jenny points out that it was also a way to take the risk off and it’s hard to see it any other way at that point. The girl’s life was in serious jeopardy with the mobsters finding that kind of cash on her. Joe just puts too many people in harm’s way. He has some good plans but they all end up putting people in more danger while he escapes. It’s not a very heroic approach at all.

As for Byrd, I thought he was a pretty solid reporter. The guy put the pieces together a lot quicker than you would have initially expected. He clearly has some bad history with Joe but the guy did make a good offer to call the cops in. He just wanted some intel. I wasn’t really sure why Joe wouldn’t tell him at this point since his partner is dead and the mobsters are everywhere. Maybe it was a pride thing or just because Byrd was partially responsible for his partner dying since he didn’t do anything. Byrd did save Joe’s life a few scenes earlier though which is hard to forget. Byrd surprisingly doesn’t take this all that personal later on when they meet up again.

At times the movie seems to move really fast with characters sort of going through a character arc off screen. One example is the romance between Jenny and Joe. It goes from nowhere to suddenly she’s begging him to stay and some of the big speeches you would expect if they had been together for a long time. It doesn’t always flow as organically as you would expect. I suppose the film just wanted to move straight on ahead to the next moment but some scenes would just happen really suddenly like that.

Overall, Mr. Soft Touch would have been better with a better main character. Someone who was actually standing up for justice to stop the mobsters, not just because they crossed him. I would have liked better reasons for why he didn’t accept Byrd’s help or also a scene of him helping Clara out of just confirming Victor’s innocence. From what we saw of Victor he just seems like a very bad guy and Joe not doing anything about it doesn’t help in the slightest. The film’s pretty light hearted for the most part I’d say and has a nice Christmas theme going. It mainly just gets serious at the end with the ending being a little surprising. Definitely not the smartest move on both Joe and Jenny’s part. I think they could have handled the whole thing a lot better. Either way you can do better than this if you’re looking for a good Christmas film to watch this year.

Overall 5/10

Sleeping With The Enemy 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.

When you see a title like this along with the general premise you will probably just walk right on past it to the next section of the store. It just doesn’t seem like a winner and your initial gut would be correct. It’s rather difficult to make a plot like this work in the first place so it’s no surprise that it didn’t but I’d say the film put in an effort. It just didn’t end up paying off this time around.

The movie opens up by introducing us to Laura, she’s certainly a tragic character married to the abusive Martin. One day she is able to escape by feigning her death and settling down in a small village. She meets up with her new neighbor Ben and prepares for a rebound romance. Unfortunately she made one critical mistake when escaping her old life. She threw her ring in the toilet and flushes but never actually checked to see if it went down. It did not and now Martin has reason to suspect that she isn’t actually dead. He sets off to find her. Will Laura be safe in this town or is it all over.

I would say the ring is her only mistake because while we do get a tricky call from someone that blows her cover, it’s not likely that she could have controlled that. You should only worry about what you can control which in this case is the ring. While that was an unfortunate slip, Laura did do a good job of seizing her opportunity when she needed to. Jumping into the ocean during such a storm is definitely not an easy thing to do that’s for sure. I would also make the case that Laura should have kept her wig on instead of going back to her classic hair. It would help with the disguise at least a bit and coupling that with a new name would help quite a bit in staying under the radar. It wasn’t quite to be though.

The film definitely sets Martin up as the big bad guy right from the start. He’s shown to be pretty crazy almost immediately and from there he only goes worse and worse. Unfortunately people tend to talk to him quite a lot so he finds out information on locating Laura pretty easily. You’d think there would be a lot of warning bells set off when this guy approaches you but people don’t seem to notice each time. The guys here aren’t the most perceptive that’s for sure. I was half expecting him to destroy the boat guy who showed up near the beginning but that guy got lucky this time.

Meanwhile Laura is a solid main character. As mentioned, she was pretty brave to come up with the plan to escape and does a good job of rebuilding her life. She contributes quite a bit towards the end of the film and doesn’t back down when it’s crunch time. She’s easily the best character here although there isn’t much of a cast to go against her. We’ve got Ben but he’s not all that great. The guy means well of course but he goes down real quick in the climax despite having the element of surprise and I wasn’t a big fan of the romance either. It definitely seems like a romance is the last thing Laura would want to deal with right now after seeing how the last one went. The way Ben handled the whole apples situation also wasn’t the greatest first appearance for him if he was trying to make a positive impression. The only thing I’ll give him credit for is noticing that something was wrong during the climax of the film.

Now having a plot like this one with an abusive character like Martin makes for easy tension in a film but it’s definitely not a plot that will help a movie. The first chunk of the movie is all pretty unbearable until Laura is able to get out of there. Of course you may wonder how she ended up with someone like this but of course she explains he wasn’t always like this and used to appear to be nice. It’s one of the dangerous things about relationships and why you can’t blame Laura here. At the end of the day it’s hard to ever really know someone else and this kind of thing could happen. It’s a very tragic plot point to be sure but definitely not one that makes for good film.

Overall, Sleeping With The Enemy is not a film I would recommend. The main plot isn’t good and since that’s the whole focus of the film it’s unable to get past that. The movie just would have needed something drastic to really get past this. At the end of the day the writing isn’t bad and the film moves pretty quickly but there’s just no way to really recommend it. At the end of the day the movie just isn’t really any fun. That said, you would expect that just based on the title and the synopsis. If you want a thriller to watch I would recommend the latest Mission Impossible instead. That one gives you a lot of tension and action but also has a pretty fun feel to it.

Overall 2/10

The Island Review


With a title like the Island you may be guessing that this is some kind of slice of life film or maybe even a romance film. Well, this one’s a little different from that. This one’s a thriller and deals with some pretty interesting themes. I wouldn’t say it lives up to its full potential but ends up being a pretty entertaining film I’d say. A lot happens here for sure and I like the general premise once you start getting into the twists.

The movie starts by introducing us to Lincoln who is the main character. He has grown up on an island where things are pretty strict. You’re not allowed to really go close to anyone or you’ll trigger proximity alerts to the authorities. Nobody is allowed off of the island because the rest of the world is completely poisoned after some kind of nuclear attack. Occasionally the authorities will find more survivors outside and bring them onto the island. Lincoln finds the whole thing to be pretty empty. He just feels like life isn’t fulfilling and has so many questions about why they have to be stuck on this island. Nobody is interested in really giving him any answers though. In fact, people aren’t even allowed to do so or they’ll be in trouble. Well, Lincoln is determined to find answers no matter what it takes.

The whole idea of the island will likely have you feeling a strong sense of skepticism. Has there ever been a chance where this actually was the truth in a film? The instant you find out that nobody is allowed to answer any questions you’ll know that something clearly isn’t right here. Then you’ve got the people who “win” the lottery and get to leave the island to another one on the outside world. Let me back up a bit, the title is referring to the island you make it to for winning the lottery. The home base is technically called something else but you’re living underground in case you were getting mixed up by all the island talk. Basically this is the only way to get back outside so people are always thrilled to get out there. It’s very suspect of course and lets just say that things don’t go well for the people who win.

The movie goes into a lot of other plot lines from there and it does all feel like a big adventure. Due to how the society is set up the main characters don’t know a whole lot though. They are intentionally kept in an environment like kids with not a whole lot of experience outside of their immediate environment. So in some ways they all act a bit like kids even though they’re technically older. The cast isn’t all that big as most of the focus is on Lincoln and Jordan. They are decent main characters although the romance seems to happen awful fast. This is definitely one of those films where I wouldn’t exactly give the romance a thumbs up. Feels like it’s more one of those things that has to happen but didn’t really need to.

Lincoln is very inquisitive about everything that’s going on which is good. Most of the characters are content to just wait and see what happens here so he’s got a leg up there. He’s good at rolling with the situation and adapting well. He looks good throughout the second half of the film and really makes a lot of the right decisions. Meanwhile Jordan is also solid and I like her competitive spirit. She is quite ready to jump into action. She may not have suspected what was going on the same way Lincoln did but she was quick to join his side.

Albert is one of the villains in the film and he definitely does a good job in his role. The guy is a dangerous opponent that you really don’t want to go up against. He’s got a plan for everything and clearly has a lot of experience. He’s the standout character of the movie. Then you’ve got Merrick who is a pretty solid character as well. He has a big role in the film and is pretty smart so he’s always got a lot of ideas as well. Merrick tends to notice things that nobody else does and that’s why he gets the big bucks. Meanwhile Lincoln also has a few friends who pop in every now and again. They’re pretty decent but none of them get a whole lot to do.

If there’s anything holding this film back I suppose it would be that at times the plot can move a bit slowly. Until you get to the main plot twists the characters spend a whole lot of time just at the base not really doing anything. I’m thinking the purpose here is to show just how repetitive life can be while at the base. Still, I think it could have been sped up a bit as well. Once we enter the second half of the movie and get a different backdrop then it really allows for a lot of new circumstances. Some people definitely look really bad for not figuring out that something was up though.

I don’t blame any of the people in the base because there’s no real way for them to have figured anything out but the other people separate from the project? I don’t see how none of them were able to find out about this. The film hints of course that most of these people would rather not know so they don’t search too hard but I’m still not quite able to buy that. Certainly not an operation this big, I don’t care quite how in the middle of nowhere it is located. Additionally, you’d think there would be more guards on the outskirts to stop people from getting away. I guess when you have bounty hunters at the ready though there is less pressure.

Overall, The Island is a good film. I think it could have been better especially with the great plots it has at the ready but it did well enough where I could recommend it. The writing’s decent and the main characters were good. It’s an ambitious title and has a solid climax. The less you know about the film the more you can have fun piecing together the different twists coming up since at the very least from the beginning you’ll definitely know that something isn’t quite adding up here. Of course the true twist would be if a film has this premise but actually plays it straight where the world is covered in radiation. When the main characters bust out they realize this and the film ends on that somber note. It would be extremely unexpected but a really interesting way to play around with the audience expectations.

Overall 6/10