Dark of the Sun Review


Dark of the Sun is a pretty terrible movie and you want to get that out in front as soon as possible. It goes for the ultra dark/gritty vibe right out of the gate and it succeeds but at the expense of being a solid movie. Early on you figure this could be a rather classic adventure film with a group of guys being recruited to do a solid job. There are some red flags but it seems all right. Then the film gradually begins to fall off of the rails before self destructing entirely.

The movie starts with President Ubi of the Congo hiring Bruce as a mercenary to get a bunch of diamonds that are currently stranded in a town behind enemy lines. Of course officially the mission is to save the people there but unofficially they all know that the diamonds are what is important. They need them in order to get more weapons and back-up to fight off the other side. This mission must be completed within 3 days or the Congo will fall. Bruce and his friend Ruffo will have to grab some of the best people for the job but options are limited. So they end up with a drunk doctor Wreid and the nazi Henlein. Will they be able to get the diamonds and save the town?

So remember I was talking about those red flags? Yeah the biggest one was the fact that a Nazi would be on the team. One who still proudly wears the insignia and all that so he is clearly evil and insane. Why even let this guy on? I feel like they should have taken him out early on or something because this could only possibly come back to haunt them. In no way would this ever end up working out and sure enough he causes a lot of problems down the road.

It certainly works as shock value to have a character like this in the mix but I’d rather they have just bypassed this guy altogether. As I mentioned though, the first half isn’t bad. It’s like the Magnificent Seven as Bruce rounds up his team only this time we only have a few real characters and the rest are mostly unnamed soldiers. They need a full battalion to fight off the enemy after all and even use a train to get to the town. It’s rather defenseless against planes though and they lose a lot of men just trying to fight one off. It seemed like a rather petty move by the UN since Bruce explained their mission but they wouldn’t hear of it.

There is some decent banter here and the characters keep it moving but then they run into a lady named Claire who is one of the only survivors from another attack. She is let on the ship so she can be safe there but naturally Henlein is still around and trying to make things difficult. He keeps on trying to attack her and fortunately Bruce was around to stop him but the guy still gets off easy.

Heinlein is actually the one who attacks Bruce and very nearly murders him but when Bruce finally turns the tables he is interrupted by his friend Ruffo right before he can finish the job. Of course murdering the guy is going too far but they should at least have arrested him or tied him to a tree until they got back. Not sure if they have handcuffs so tying him up would be best. We now know that he is willing to murder and assault his comrades so why keep him free at all? There’s no way he will actually be someone that you can trust and the argument that they need him is outweighed by these facts.

Every scene with Henlein is annoying and the characters just give him way too much freedom. This really comes back to bite them too. It’s not even a hindsight thing because even in the moment you feel like they’re making a massive mistake. This just ends up getting worse and worse as the film goes on. Sure none of these guys are big heroes but there’s a big difference between being rough around the edges and actually trying to murder everybody.

It’s too bad we didn’t focus more on the political part because President Ubi seemed like a quality character. A lot of the best dialogue was between him, Bruce, and the rich guy. I could have a lot of fun with that being the main plot and there’s a lot of ways to keep that interesting all the way through. Instead we cut to the adventure and all the grit. The film really goes overboard when the heroes are unable to save the village and we see them all get tormented to death. The whole scene is definitely very disturbing and goes on for quite a while. Some people off themselves to escape this before it happens while others don’t get off so quickly.

While you understand the gravity of being caught by the enemy side and the suffering that it entails, you never want to actually have that on screen. If anything you don’t want it to be implied either since you already know it. The film is all about its shock value and being rather violent but all it does is weaken the movie as a whole. Even to the end the final fights here are really brutal. You can definitely see why Bruce did what he did, but it could have been handled in a lot of ways to have been less savage.

Bruce is a solid lead for the most part who knows how to command a crew and stay alive but he definitely didn’t handle this situation as well as possible. Likewise Ruffo is a good friend and ally the whole time but he also should have handled the Henlein situation a lot better. Some things shouldn’t be waved away especially when you don’t know the context like how he handled Henlein. I didn’t care for the doctor much though. Wreid was always drunk and while his big moment helped try to make him heroic, it also felt like it was too little too late. Hopefully things worked out for him but he put himself in a rough spot too.

Claire is good and you feel bad for her because she went from one life threatening situation to another. She’s really had a rough time of it but does her best and doesn’t complain. There’s a bit of a romance that the film starts to set up there but there isn’t really any time for that so the movie puts it on hold. I would have actually preferred we get a romance plot instead of how it all unfolded. This could have been a classic adventure film which may have been a bit generic but still executed well.

Overall, This film is just way too gruesome the whole time. The second half destroys all the goodwill that the first half brought. The characters also aren’t smart at all in letting a Nazi join the group. Full stop. If they had not done that then the film could have been completely different so they only have themselves to blame for that one. Next time you command a team you want to make sure you don’t have any clearly evil guys on your squad from the start. Sure there could be traitors but at least reduce your odds of that being the case from the jump. Either way you definitely want to stay far away from this film. It’s got a lot going on, but a lot that you can afford to miss.

Overall 1/10

Toys in the Attic Review


This film doesn’t actually have a bunch of toys running around so if you thought that was going to happen then you can dispel that notion right now. It’s definitely a rather serious drama film with a bunch of characters making the wrong decisions all the time. The ending isn’t very satisfying and so while this movie could have ended up being good otherwise, it wasn’t quite able to make it across the finish line.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Carrie and Anna who have received word that their brother Julian is heading home along with his wife Lily. They are a bit concerned since Julian only ever seems to come home when he is in serious financial troubles. Carrie seems to almost be happy about this though while Anna figures she’ll play it by ear and see what happens. Well, Julian seems to be rich somehow as he starts spending a ton of money and getting them all kinds of new things. He is rather dodgy about how he got this money too. Should the sisters be concerned or maybe this is actually a good thing?

It’s no surprise that the characters are concerned with the amount of money that Julian has. After all even his wife Lily doesn’t know anything about it, but she has her own suspicions. Her parents are rich and so she has had this feeling in the back of her mind that Julian only married her because her parents paid him off. This feeling now starts to get a lot more serious with how much money he has. Her lack of self confidence really gets her into a lot of trouble time and time again. Ultimately you have to press on and believe in yourself because if you don’t then other characters will take advantage.

As a result I can’t say that I liked Lily. She was portrayed as not being very smart and this backfired on her several times. If she had just thought things through then it would have helped out a lot. Meanwhile I didn’t care for Julian much either. There are so many ways he could have made the situation easier on everybody. For example, letting Lily know what he was up to would have been a whole lot better than constantly holding secrets. If he felt that he couldn’t trust her then that’s a massive issue since you have to be able to trust your wife.

I also thought he was out of bounds in getting his sisters fired since he didn’t want them to work anymore. That’s absolutely their choice and it should remain that way. Even I thought Julian was going to be the big villain here for a while because of how he was acting. The guy just didn’t think anything through and when you mix that in with the suspicious circumstances of becoming rich then it’s hard not to connect the dots.

Carrie is a pretty bad character all the way through too. She really wants Julian to be dependent on her to the point where she is basically rooting for him to fail at every turn. No matter how you slice it, that’s not something that a truly supportive person would think. We also find out that she is rather twisted and crazy by the end of the film with her warped desires and so there’s no way to like her. She is just around to get in everyone’s way the whole time.

While most may like Anna as the more reasonable character, I didn’t care for her either. The big tipping point for me is how she is not brave enough to take a stand near the end. She knows the truth of a certain incident and then opts not to make a single move. Fortunately one character figures it out at the end but she was just going to stay silent all the way through to the ending. I thought that was very regrettable because someone was almost let off scot free. Now that would have been a true tragedy and it’s hard to just let a scene like that go.

In a way that means I didn’t really like any of the characters here. Well, I liked some of the supporting characters. Lily’s parents seemed reasonable. You could tell they meant well even if they weren’t very great at explaining their feelings. It seems clear that they just aren’t used to having to discuss things and explain what they mean since they’re so rich. At the very least they tried setting Lily straight but ultimately they weren’t convincing enough for her.

For the most part this is a very mild mannered slice of life kind of drama but there is one surprisingly violent scene near the end. The stakes definitely rose quite a bit in an instant and the whole thing is rather tragic. You’d almost think this turned into a different film for a minute there. The actual act itself isn’t surprising as the heroes were worried about a gang leader for a while but you just figure it’s not going to happen or it’ll be more of an off screen moment. It makes things all the more annoying with how passive some of the characters were.

While the ending tries to go for a satisfying conclusion where everyone has a good ending, I feel like it’s a little too late. It’s definitely not going to be a very happy ending no matter how it plays out. It could certainly have been worse for them no doubt and they’ll be grateful to get this far but it just wasn’t the ending I had in mind. The film in general wasn’t nearly as good as it could have been. The writing is good and some of the story ideas are interesting but the villain gets away with way too much. The villain’s motivation is also extremely weak and I’d take almost any other motivation over that one.

Overall, Toys in the Attic is not a film that I would recommend. To be a good film you really need at least one likable character but all of the main characters had big character faults that hold them back. Julian at least could have been a good character but he handled the situation poorly at almost every step of the way. The film doesn’t go into this but once we learn how he got all of this money, it makes him look even worse. He really should not be flaunting it everywhere and acting like he’s super rich since evidently that would put someone else in big trouble. It’s definitely a good reminder to be careful on how you act once you become rich all of a sudden.

Overall 4/10

God Eater Review


God Eater is a series that very much feels like Attack on Titan. It’s got a pretty interesting premise and fun concepts but it ultimately focuses too much on the tragedy and horror surrounding the characters. They’re all put through the wringer quite a bit and this only escalates as the series gets closer to the end. Ultimately the series goes way too far into this and ends up shooting itself in the foot so it can’t end up taking advantage of the interesting art style.

God Eater is effectively divided up into two stories that are being told at the same time. The present where Fenrir trains fighters known as God Eaters to fight the Aragami and defend the Earth and the past where we see how the Aragami first appeared on the Earth and how the scientists reacted. The past is told in a black and white art style while the present is full in color. Each story gives new information and context to the other so they end up bouncing back and forth on that.

The main character is a boy named Lenka. His goal is to destroy all of the Aragami and it’s his motivation for being a God Eater. He is one of the new types but unfortunately he doesn’t know what that means or much about the world. His only focus has been on destroying the monsters so he never really bothered to find out more about the world than that. Well when the defense force is low on fighters, Lenka takes that chance to run out of the base and fight. Unfortunately he gets crushed rather quickly and has to be saved by the First Unit. This happens again in the next episode so it’s rough for him but ultimately he is allowed to enter their squad. Can he make a difference or will he learn that aspirations alone are not enough to win?

God Eater is one of those titles that is tragic in a way because I do think this could have been an absolute top tier if it could just tone down the edge a bit. So lets get the negatives out of the way here because those are pretty easy to go through. First off, the series is just incredibly violent. You have a character who gets eaten alive in a really disturbing way. People are chomped, blown up, and very few characters get a happy ending here. Whenever you have a flashback to a character’s past you now that things are going to get crazy.

Like with Attack on Titan there is a lot of focus on how despair is all that most of these guys have to look forward to. These monsters are just too numerous and keep on coming. Aside from a select few top tier fighters, the rest can only hope to defend themselves for a few minutes before getting eaten. While this is the case throughout the series, Lenka’s backstory definitely gets the most drastic about it.

God Eater is just unrelenting on this. Soma’s backstory also gets rather tragic with a birth going wrong and you probably wont go more than an episode or 2 without something twisted happening. The crazy thing is that the show didn’t start out quite so violent. I felt like the first 2-3 episodes seemed normal. Perhaps a little intense but nothing crazy. Then the show just dialed everything up to 11 all of a sudden. Even in other ways like the scenes with Lenka’s sister got rather crazy by the end even outside of the violence. Don’t think we needed that kind of subplot there.

This is why I said it was easy to go through the negatives pretty quick though. Really it boils down to the show being way too extremely edgy the whole time. With this kind of premise it could be expected to an extent (Even the opening starts off on a rather dark note) but there’s so many possibilities here. If you focused more on the story and less on the violence this could have been really great.

Now for the animation, it’s a little different as I mentioned earlier. The style is heavily shaded and it’s hard to describe but it feels like there’s a ton of detail in the shots. Some scenes almost feel like an illustration. It takes a little getting used to because it is so different. It’s certainly not touching Ufotable’s big hand drawn titles like Demon Slayer or Fate but I would say it’s still a high tier production in its own right. Then the animation randomly seems to change later on.

I felt like the first episodes looked a lot more high budget than the latter ones at first but that’s when it dawned on me that it was just a very different style. It didn’t necessarily get worse, just different. The deep illustration style was gone and it looked more hand drawn I’d say or at least trying to emulate that style. It threw me for a bit of a loop because both styles are good but just different. So this was a roundabout way of saying that I liked the animation style. Once you get used to it, it holds up well and it’s the kind of style that looks really good even when you pause at any point. It works well for the dark atmosphere the show is going for as well.

The show starts to fall into the fanservice trap a little more during the second half though. It was virtually nonexistent in the first half outside of Alisa’s impractical costume but the show never really puts any attention on it so that’s easy to overlook. The fanservice in the second half just feels out of nowhere and just added in for kicks. Too bad on that, it’s enough to be noticeable but not excessive enough where I would deduct big points or anything.

As for the soundtrack, I thought that was excellent. There are quite a few lyrical songs that show up and they all have a fun electronic feeling to them. They really get the hype going in each scene like when Lenka’s escaping the base to go and try to save the day or when the heroes finally fight as a unit. There are quite a few different songs too so it’s not like they’re just spamming the same lyrical song either. You’ve got battle ones, somber ones, and montage types. There’s a good variety here. They all have the same feel but work well. I also like how the opening starts with that great rock beat although I feel like the rest of the opening falters a bit after that. Either way, this is definitely a 5 star soundtrack that I would recommend without a doubt. You can just listen to the music without context and get how it would work really well in the show.

Now lets talk about the characters real quick. It took a little time to really learn the main guy’s name since it’s so similar to the captain. Lenka is really like Eren Yeager. He wants to save the day and destroy all of the Aragami but as the series goes on he starts to learn what that really means. It’s really not as easy as it sounds and while the first unit makes it look easy, every monster can be a threat under the right circumstances.

Lenka quickly gains a lot of development from being someone who wants to jump into the action each time to becoming more of a strategist. For a minute there I actually thought the show was going to totally have him shift roles so I’m glad that he still stayed in an action arrangement. It would have been a shame if he didn’t get to fight again. Lenka goes through a lot but always gets up no matter how grisly the injury. He also hasn’t abandoned his morals and will try to help people as long as he can even if it means going against orders. I always like main characters who prioritize doing the right thing over following orders like that so in the end I did like him quite a bit. He would be the second best character here.

The best is captain Lindow and that guy earns every bit of it. He really knows how to lead a team and has the right amount of discipline while still being a hothead. He doesn’t just accept how Fenrir does things and has his own plans to save the day. This does mean that he’s always in a dangerous position though and doesn’t really let his teammates on it. The guy prefers to do things on his own. He’s also not a new type but has strong enough abilities to compete with them. By the end it’s fair to say that he is still one of the strongest characters in the series. It was always fun to have him around and Lenka owes a lot of his development to this guy.

Sakuya is the right hand woman on the 1st Unit and she is always there to provide backup to Lindow. She specializes in strategy and also helps a lot with making sure that the plans are good. Her sniper skills come in handy when training Lenka as well and you could say that she’s the heart of the team. She doesn’t want to be the leader and is always satisfied just being there to support the team. She’s another good character and I feel like Lindow could have trusted her a bit more and told her what was going on. I’m sure she could have helped out.

Soma is another one of the core members of the team and he’s quite powerful. He can shoot out a giant energy blast that takes down a lot of monsters. I wonder why more characters don’t have a cool finisher like that but I suppose it ties into his backstory. The guy certainly had a rough time of it as a kid and so now he just tries to avoid everyone as much as possible. You can’t blame him because that does seem like the safest bet at this point. Things never work out when he’s around others so at this point it makes sense to go in solo. He’s not afraid of dying and even puts himself in positions where that’s likely.

Lenka is able to give Soma a little hope which was good. The guy was certainly drowning in his despair by this point so it was nearly too late. I like his cool demeanor although I wish he could have done a little more. I suppose he would have a larger role in season 2 if that ever came out. Then there’s Kota who feels a little out of place next to the others because of how weak he is. I suppose that’s the fate of being the old friend of the main character, you’re not one of the hype characters nor do you have a lot of power ups coming into play. I like to think he’ll do better soon but as it is the guy just didn’t stand out to me. I thought he was okay I guess but not too impressive in any way.

Alisa is interesting because initially I thought she was going to be one of the best characters. She has a dynamic intro where she is shredding the Aragami and shows Lenka what a real new type looks like. She has absolute confidence and even makes sure to save everyone on the plane even if it meant that she wouldn’t get out alive. So she has top notch skills while still looking out for the innocent. All right, count me in! That’s a great start for any character and she still keeps up her tough personality after that.

Unfortunately she falters once we start seeing more of her past. There is one Aragami that is stronger than all others and he takes a real pleasure in destroying humans. You can probably imagine that her family didn’t have a good time here. This traumatized Alisa to the point where she needed serious therapy. It worked for a while but unfortunately during the course of the show she relapses and from there she’s just never the same. She spends whole episodes hiding and letting everyone get eaten around her because she can’t move. It lasts for way too long and it’s always just sad to see everyone dying when a character could have prevented it.

If Alisa had been able to help at all in the village then things would have been over really quick. A single new type is a game changer in any battle so having her off the board like that was unfortunate. I’ll give her some credit for not going too far in the end and being able to resist her brainwashing and trauma. Alisa does eventually get over it all but it just takes way too long and it did hurt her character a lot. It shouldn’t be an issue for a sequel but at least in this season she dropped hard from temporarily being around the top.

Back at the base you also have Tsubaki who is head of operations. She is also doing her best to look into the darkness plaguing the world but I tend to disagree with most of her decisions. While she does have a tough job of trying to balance being careful with going on the attack, she is too quick to give up and let the areas plunge into chaos. She should have just let Lenka jump in each time. Sure, he’s untrained but you have to take a risk to save a lot of lives right? Even if he did die, the risk would have been worth it because everyone would have died otherwise.

Then you have Johannes who has a big role in both stories. In the past he is the head researcher studying this Aragami threat and the origins of how that appeared. He ends up hiding some research and acting shady but everyone is shady here. In the present he is the head of Fenrir so you can directly blame him for some of their policies like not letting any nonpowered individuals in. The guy is incredibly shady and you always have to wonder if he is really a hero or a villain. I’ll talk more about this later on.

There are some parts of the show where you feel like they are missing something from the game though. For example, we see that Lenka can boost his speed somehow and presumably this is a feature from the God Arc weapon he wields. How come he only uses it once or twice in the whole season? It would be really helpful in a combat scenario. In fact, he should be able to absolutely crush the Aragami with this but ends up getting wrecked by basic types early on. Soma has that cool energy attack I mentioned, why don’t the other characters have something like that? I bet every character has a super attack in the game so I’m wondering why they aren’t here. Either way I think the show could have gone more into detail on how the powers work.

Getting some exposition and lore is good in cases like this. They went more into detail on how the Aragami work inside the weapons at least which is good. I thought that was a very interesting idea and as we saw it in action, it was an effective one as well. I dare say the heroes should use them right off the bat instead of waiting towards the end. Seems like it’s a one hit KO in most instances so why not use it sooner right? Would save the team a lot of heartache that’s for sure.

Okay time for some spoilers so skip this paragraph and the next 2 if you haven’t seen the show yet. You’ve been warned so proceed at your own peril. Lets gooooooo. Begin Spoilers So near the end of the show we find out that the Aragami can’t be destroyed because they are produced from the very planet. Meaning no matter how many you destroy, they will keep on coming endlessly. The members who have found this out either retired in despair or left the combat role. It’s hard to find out that your efforts seem to be completely futile. As a result there are a few different plans here on how to deal with it. The first is to build an arc. It will take hundreds of thousands of monster cores but in a few decades this goal may be achievable. Humanity will be able to move in there and be protected from monsters forever because none can break through it.

That’s the idea but you should be very skeptical about that. No dome is unbreakable and we see some really powerful monsters in this series. It feels unlikely that this would work and Johannes agrees with this. So his idea is he believes that the monsters are some kind of way the universe keeps the balance. The monsters will destroy the planet and reset everything. So his plan is to get a bunch of people into space and then blow up the Earth himself to speed up the process. The obvious downside here is that the rocket can’t carry everyone so a whole lot of people will be left behind to die by the monsters or get blown up by Fenrir. So it’s a plan that has a better chance of success than the dome but it is also giving up in a sense. He also went full villain by the end with how he’s intentionally sabotaging the characters and undermining their efforts. When you’re trying to injure some of your best fighters, you have to wonder at what point you’re just helping the Aragami out. You need someone to guard and launch the rocket right? I think he needs to think this through a bit more.

Finally, the rival doctor’s plan is to have humans coexist with the Aragami. He figures if they keep on evolving then it will be possible to coexist. We already have one case where the monster evolved enough to develop emotions and feelings. Of course the downside is that this monster ended up turning evil as he enjoyed all of the negative emotions. This plan feels really far fetched. Imagine if this guy is actually intentionally evolving monster and we find out that he created the big one? That will cause a lot of drama within the ranks for sure. We don’t yet know what route Lenka will take but I think he would lean towards the dome. That said, he may not be able to see it since his death is being accelerated. I feel like the ending ends up confirming that he has surpassed the illness and won’t die anymore but it is open to interpretation for sure. End Spoilers

By the end of the series you probably won’t like Fenrir though. As with many titles involving the end of the world against a common threat, the lone government group left is as corrupt as can be. Seraph of the End, Attack on Titan, Resident Evil, etc. This is how it always happens and God Eater is no exception. As mentioned before, Fenrir doesn’t even let you go within the walls unless you are compatible with a God Arc or have family who are. Everyone else is left outside to fend for themselves against the monsters.

Now, we do have several instances of monsters getting within the borders anyway (As early as episode 1) so maybe there’s not a huge difference but it does make the group come off as cold. On a practical sense you can see how they can’t possibly house everyone but at least try to do more against these monsters right? Provide some support or slowly keep on extending the walls to get more people in. It is a little idealistic and since I was with Ironwood to an extent in RWBY I should be with Fenrir right? The difference is that Ironwood’s plan actually seems to have a chance and isn’t actively sacrificing everyone while Fenrir seems to just be delaying the inevitable by locking people outside. Surely you could come up with more weapons or ways for the outsiders to fight. At least give them mechs and some better guns to work with. It’s why I was glad that Lindow and Lenka helped out.

Finally, I’ve mentioned him a few times but Pita is the big monster who gets a lot of hype here. The guy is evolved to an extremely high level and has no problems slaughtering both humans and Aragami. It makes him a real mystery as well as for why he enjoys murdering people so much. The monster toys with his prey and also has a good memory as he remembers his victims. The show really makes sure that you know this guy is a threat. Even if there was just one more of him then I don’t think the heroes would have a chance. It took everything they had to just take one on. There are other fighters around the world but it doesn’t seem like there are a ton of them and even with reinforcements it wouldn’t change a lot since most would be taken down in an instant.

While I did think some aspects should have explored more, I do want to say the writing was still pretty solid. When the show wasn’t going for max edge, it did take time to really establish each character’s personalities, motivations, and why they are here. There are a few different factions running around and you get just enough details to keep you interested while also making you feel like you want to know more about what’s going on. The dialogue between the characters is also strong as they wrestle with the situation they’re in and discuss things like what they could have done differently. In each case where Lenka had to fight without a God Arc, I agreed with him that he had to do something. Abandoning others because you didn’t have the right equipment just won’t fly.

Overall, God Eater is a series with a very interesting world and a whole lot of world building. There’s a lot going on here and a whole lot to discuss and theorize. It’s the kind of title where you will leave with a lot of questions and the ending has so many sudden twists and cliffhangers that you’re ready for season 2. Whether the sequel could capitalize on that is another question. The game had several sequels but it looks like the show may not get there. That’s why it’s too bad they couldn’t just tone down the darker aspects. A lot of times the shows with the most interesting premises are the ones that jump off the deep end like Attack on Titan, Fate Zero, and a bunch of others. The dark atmosphere plays a part in why these get so interesting but you can absolutely keep that without all of the extra content. Madoka Magica certainly pulled that off, Digimon Tamers got rather dark at times and there are more as you go down the list. Madoka would be my top recommendation if you’re looking for a show where things get dark and the heroes seem to be up against impossible odds.

Overall 3/10

I Still Believe


I Still Believe is one of those films where you probably already know about the true story. Due to that you know you’re going to be in for quite the emotional experience. I’m definitely more a fan of happy films from the jump so that puts this one at a disadvantage. Still, it seems to be faithful enough to the actual events which is good, at least as far as I know the real ones. There’s a lot of good music and solid writing here so you should be good, but again if you’re not up for a sad movie then you’ll want to skip this one.

The movie starts with Jeremy heading out to College to begin a new chapter in his life. He’s very interested in music and is quickly able to get backstage at a concert. He meets the lead singer Jean-Luc who quickly becomes Jeremy’s mentor. Jeremy also meets a girl named Melissa and immediately likes her. The issue is that Jean-Luc does as well. Jeremy is determined to win this round though and he’s in luck as Melissa likes him back but doesn’t want Jean-Luc to know about this since it would crush him. They have to try and keep the relationship secret but is this possible at such a small town? Additionally, Melissa may not be as healthy as she appears. Will she really be okay with all of this stress going on?

The romance comes in pretty fast and it’s rare to see a love triangle in a film based on true events. It adds an extra layer of tragedy from the start since you assume Jean-Luc is doomed from the start. I have to say that I didn’t like Jeremy and Melissa really beginning this relationship right in the sound testing room when they knew Jean-Luc was right there. There have to be hundreds of better places to have started that. I blame Jeremy for calling her over but Melissa takes some blame as well for not shutting him down there.

It is a little hard to root for the romance all things considered since someone has to lose out here. Now it’s not like Melissa was actually together with Jean-Luc so I don’t have an issue with Jeremy going after her. It’s all fair game at that point when both are available. The keeping is a secret part was a bad idea on Melissa’s part from the jump though. She never liked him either so it isn’t a rebound but they definitely should have just told him everything right away instead of just dragging this out.

The movie gets a lot darker in the second half as we find out more about Melissa’s condition and what’s going on. There aren’t a lot of points where things are ever happy in this film. Every brief happy moment is immediately met with a setback or something else happening which negatively effects the characters. I would usually pile on the movie by this point for doing this but it all happened os I can’t say the film should have changed events. That said, I would have absolutely cut out the ending. It involves a rebound and because of how quickly the ending has to move, it just feels like its in bad taste. Now that’s a romance that’s really impossible for me to root for at least based on how it appears in the movie.

Jeremy’s a good lead. He can be a bit awkward when interacting and has to deal with a lot here but ultimately he does a good job. Jean-Luc is a good rival and really did try to help Jeremy out a whole lot. He took the betrayal of trust really hard but it’s easy to see why he would. It’s not easy to get over the fact that your best friend just took your love away. Then Melissa rounds out the main cast as a good heroine. There was certainly a lot of trials that she had to go through as well.

The cast is good here and the writing is on point. The film is able to get across that this is going to be a tough challenge for everyone. I would have liked to have had some happy scenes to grab onto for the second half but I guess it wasn’t in the cards. We do get some solid music during the film though. The famous “I Still Believe” song is here of course and a few other really good Christian worship songs. The film shows that you can’t always have everything your way and not every prayer will be answered the way that you want it too. Many have become shaken in their path when their prayers aren’t answered but it’s why prayer isn’t a simple wish list to Santa. The answer won’t always appear the way that you want it.

After all, you have billions of people praying and so naturally there are countless instances of two people praying for the exact opposite things. Naturally that means one person will get their wish and one won’t. You have to accept that everything happens for a reason and everything has a good purpose. Even if it is negative for you, the outcome may help a bunch of others in some way. Just keep up the faith and the ultimate reward of Heaven is worth any measure of strife.

Overall, I Still Believe reminds you that adversity will always appear no matter how calm your life may appear to be. In those times you need to pray and seek God’s help so that you aren’t crushed beneath all of your issues. This is certainly not a feel good movie so don’t expect to have a good time here but if you need a film to help teach someone about always getting up after a tough moment and never losing faith, then this will at least help you to show an example of true loss. It’s a good way to prepare someone for the future.

Joker Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film below. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version may be more negative

Making a movie with the villain as the main character is always a rather tricky thing to try and accomplish. You either go the route of trying to make the villain sympathetic so you can root for him or you go all in on just making him evil. It’s such a tough balance that it’s usually not even worth making the attempt. With the Joker of all characters you already know him as one of the most evil villains in the Batman series so this is certainly a very different portrayal. Ultimately it doesn’t work as the film just seems to be a never ending story of bad things happening to everyone.

The movie starts by introducing us to the Joker who is an aspiring comedian. Currently he works as a clowns but it’s a rough city and things don’t work out from the start. His sign is stolen and then he’s beaten up in an alley. The job threatens to fire him for losing the sign and then Joker makes the big mistake of taking a gun to a children’s hospital by mistake. It does come in handy when he is attacked on the subway as he murders the three attackers but now his life is in a tailspin. He begins to learn things about his origin that he never knew and funding is cut off for social services so he no longer has pills to keep his laughing condition in check. Now it’s time for him to become a full villain and take down the city.

Right away I can tell you the film’s biggest weakness is how hopeless it all is. The movie is really just about how bad a place Gotham is. Bad things happen to Joker and everyone else at pretty much all moments in the film. Joker, Thomas Wayne, Murray, Randall, Penny, two random detectives, everyone gets a bad hand in the film. There’s no one who walks away from this with a really happy ending except for Sophie and even then I wouldn’t say it’s super happy either since she’s probably going to have to move or may just feel terrified for a while assuming she made it out of the film.

Joker starts off as a sympathetic character since he is trying hard to be a comedian but it never works out for him. People mock him and his laughing condition makes it hard to hold a conversation at times since it can get triggered at any time. The first two people he murdered were certainly in self defense so I wouldn’t hold those against him at all. You definitely need to fight back in such a scenario and if anything it would have been nice if he had gotten up to defend the lady rather than the situation ultimately happening because he stayed back. The third guy who ran away is definitely more on the iffy side since he was no longer a threat and was running away. It makes sense to bump him off in case he could ID Joker later on but at that point it’s more to protect his own skin.

The rest of the murders in this film are completely on Joker and show how deranged he is. Joker definitely had a complete decent into being a psychotic villain by the end. You know it’s coming the whole time since this is a film about the Joker but the issue with having a villain who is so unrelentingly evil as the lead is that there is nobody to root for. If you look at some of the best villains out there like Eren Yeager, Light Yagami, Venom, or Thanos, they worked well as leads or co-leads because their goals at least made a lot of sense. In a way Light and Thanos even had good goals of saving people in a broad sense but went the wrong way about trying to improve the world and as such became complete villains.

You’re rooting for them to be stopped but at least you understand why they are doing all of this. With Joker he pretty much admits that he is just seeking out revenge against everyone who has wronged him and is just enjoys the insanity of it all. You’re not rooting for him to win at all here and his scenes can just be painful to watch. Ultimately while he blames all of the other characters for everything, some moments are his fault as well like bringing the gun to the hospital and letting Murray rile him up. The guy was clearly mocking him so Joker could have either decided not to go or to use that opportunity to prove himself anyway rather than trying to become a symbol and start a movement even if he claimed that is not what he wanted to do.

Joker was just an awful lead here and I don’t see this Joker being one of the better versions even down the road. I much prefer the classic Joker origin where he was a random bank robber who fell into the acid and became Joker. He just went from villain to super villain rather than it being Gotham which broke him down and sped up his descent into madness. As for the other characters, well Randall is a mean colleague who makes fun of his co-workers height and is generally a rather toxic person. He is quick to lie and manipulate others. You know he’s not going to make it out of this the instant that he appears.

Then you have Murray who loves making jokes at other people’s expense. He has created a whole career out of it. Joker was even a big fan of his until the jokes began to be about him. Again this is where Joker loses more sympathy points because of course he doesn’t mind others getting mocked but when it’s about him then it’s a whole lot different. Next on the list of characters is Thomas Wayne who wants to be mayor but has a complete disconnect with the people of Gotham.

I have to assume that he is planning to buy the election because otherwise he is doing absolutely nothing to win new votes. He makes fun of these guys and calls them clowns as well as goes out of his way to antagonize them at every corner. The movie presents him as a rather arrogant man who is so full of himself that he doesn’t see what’s right in front of him. I forgot we were going to squeeze in the origin here so that was unexpected. This version of Thomas appears quite unsympathetic compared to most but of course as we’re only seeing some instances from Joker’s perspective here, it’s likely not the full story.

Joker’s mother Penny also gets a decent sized role. Like Joker she has her own issues which seem to due with memory loss at first but later on we see that she is also quite crazy. Joker doesn’t see the complete irony of trying to get revenge on her later on since she likely doesn’t even remember the past and seems to believe her own delusions here. Also, she is completely powerless when they have their final confrontation and it’s got to be the worst scene in the movie. Her backstory is really gritty of course as the film continues to pile on.

The only decent character in the whole movie outside of quick cameos is Sophie. She’s Joker’s neighbor and they have a brief meeting in the elevator where she tries to be friendly but Joker doesn’t talk back at all. I guess he was worried about the laughing starting up so he kept his distance but she gave him the benefit of the doubt on a second occasion when she noticed him following her. Considering we’re in Gotham that’s a scary feeling but she didn’t immediately call the cops or get people to beat him up. She really did her best and so I’m glad she at least made it out of this. I would have interpreted her as losing her life to be honest but I remember it was a huge deal when the film came out and the director or writer had to come out and confirm she was okay. I don’t see the point of having the ambulance whizz by after the scene though. It’s only purpose is to hint at that but I’m guessing they may want her around for the sequel if we get one.

Either way it’s a good decision because the film is mainly about Joker getting revenge on everyone and she would not be deserving of that considering that she was in his corner. Not as often as he thought given how his delusions work but in her real scenes she was on point. There’s not much to say about effects as this is a more down to Earth film but I did enjoy the jingle from the game show that Murray’s on. It had a catchy beat and the happy tone really made for a great contrast to the rest of the depressing scenes.

Otherwise, prepare for the film to really drag on. There’s no real happy scenes here as the film sets the tone early. From the kids beating Joker up in the intro to the asylum in the end, there is never a scene for you to smile. There’s always something bad happening or about to happen. It’s almost impressive how unrelenting the film is with this approach as you would expect things to start working out even for a little while before the next fall but that’s really never the case. The closest is when Joker’s act starts to succeed and then this is taken away in the next scene.

The film keeps trying to balance whether it’s Gotham that turned an innocent person into the world’s greatest criminal or if he was just unstable and psychotic from the start. It’s hard to say since we’ve just got a small picture into his life but by the end it seems to be leaning towards the latter. His excessive punishment towards everyone who wronged him backs that up at least even if the crime was a long time ago. The city didn’t help of course as Gotham will be Gotham and keeps on sinking. I don’t even see how the custody angle would have worked out after everything in the file to be honest. If there is a Metropolis in this continuity then you should definitely try to get out. Being homeless in Metropolis is likely better than trying to survive in Gotham.

Overall, Joker is really an awful movie that’s extremely mean spirited. This is exactly the kind of scenario you try to avoid when doing a film based on a villain. In fact, this can be the poster film for what I’m talking about when I say how risky it is. You end up having a main character you can’t root for and so you’re rooting for him to be taken down already but since the film is about this villain, you know that’s not happening until the very end if you’re lucky. We see that the Joker is evil throughout but with no real goals or big ideas. He has an awful speech at the end where he blames society and this and that, but at the end of the day it’s all excuses on his part. This was just the origin for Batman’s villain but unfortunately in a world where they are unlikely to do battle. There were no silver linings I could find in this film so I’d definitely say to skip this one.

Overall 0/10

The Sea of Grass Review


It’s time for a very dramatic romance film where quite a lot of tragedies occur. Sea of Grass isn’t what I would call an uplifting movie but it is well written. You’ll be invested in what is going on from start to finish so even though the film is long, I wouldn’t say that it really drags on. If anything it’s impressive how the journey keeps changing as the characters grow older to the point where it’s like there are multiple movies squeezed into this one.

The movie starts with Lutie getting ready to meet up with her fiance Brewton. He’s the owner of a whole lot of property but she discovers that he isn’t very well liked within the land. See, he refuses to let anyone else go onto the land to build houses and such as he believes that it will destroy the environment. As a result he seemingly attacks and drives off anyone who attempts this. The law can’t do much of anything about it at the moment and so most people resent him. Lutie is confident that she can change this though and that Brewton will at least let her friends hang out there. Well, this is going to be a much tougher ordeal than she had planned.

That’s at least the plot of the first act I’d say but of course it changes a whole lot as the film goes on. Lutie certainly was warned about Brewton early on but as they are already engaged when the film starts, I imagine she had already known him rather well so it makes sense that she wasn’t buying these rumors. It’s why you do want to know your partner rather well before making the lifelong commitment though as learning things the hard way like in this film is definitely not fun.

Right off the bat you can see how Brewton is an antagonist here. He talks in a way that makes his goals and ambitions sound noble but at the end of the day he’s breaking the law so he can keep his vast fortune. It turns out that he was correct about the new settlers destroying all of the land with their houses when they move in but it’s not his place to block them all out. Unfortunately nobody is really strong enough to stop him. As the film goes on he gets more and more desperate and it’s just hard to sympathize with him. He doesn’t listen to the counsel of his best friends and basically drives Lutie away.

Then you have Lutie herself who starts out as a real idealist who thinks she can make everything go well but by the end she is painfully made aware of how difficult this will really be. For the most part she was good but there’s one point in the film when Lutie makes the ultimate mistake and it hurts her character a whole lot. See there’s this guy named Chamberlain who was openly flirting with her from the start. She tries to defuse the situation by openly talking about this with him but he’s not the type to take no for an answer.

Ultimately she relents and has an affair with him. While she breaks it off in the end it takes too long and this causes some more issues due to her having another kid. It causes a whole lot of drama in the second half and it’s the only angle where Brewton does get a lot of sympathy here. It’s going to be really hard to ever trust his wife again after something like that and in a way it’ll also feel like Chamberlain “won” now that he will have permanent proof of their affair. It makes Brewton’s life in the town even worse and of course Lutie has to deal with severe feelings of guilt after this.

So the movie made sure that the two leads were deeply flawed by the end of this. Naturally I didn’t like Chamberlain as the guy knew Lutie was already married but kept going after her regardless. I never like that kind of character and he clearly did not have much respect for her to be going with such tactics. He just put on pressure until he won but that only serves to hurt his character even more.

Brock is Chamberlain’s kid and he gets a big role in the second half. He’s a very rebellious kid who is always a little out of control and nobody really tries to reign him in. In a wild west town like this one with guns everywhere, that ends up being a very dangerous situation to be in. Then you have Brewton’s kid Sara who was nice. She looked out for Brock as best she could before being shipped off to school and did her best to protect Brewton as well when she found out Lutie was coming to town. Sara may not have given Lutie much of a chance but from her position it made sense even as Jeff did his best to talk positively about Lutie.

Jeff was easily the standout character of the movie though. He helped Lutie fit in with the crew at the ranch right away and always had her back. He did his best to make sure she was okay at all times and was really the only person she could count on for the full duration of the movie. The guy had a lot of fun moments and really helped give the movie some light hearted moments. At the end of the day he really took a lot of risks in helping her out like this as well.

So as a very somber romance film with the two leads being completely unlikable after a point you may wonder if the film itself is any good. Well, I would still say this is a good movie. I may not have liked most of the characters all that much but the story is strong and I was engaged with what was going on. It’s quite sad a lot of the time but without trying too hard. You don’t have sad music playing on loop or things going too wrong for the characters. It’s just sad enough where the whole thing is emotional without feeling forced. The script is solid and the pacing is on point. The film can feel long at times but not really in a bad way, it just feels like you’ve gone through a lot by the end with how many time skips we get.

Overall, The Sea of Grass is a film that may not sound all that exciting on paper but it’s a good movie. I would have just changed the brock subplot so it’s more like Brewton suspected that Lutie cheated while she denies it. That way with Lutie saying that she didn’t go all the way with Chamberlain you can believe her and the character isn’t really hurt in the same way. Cheating’s just a really tough thing to get past for a character, especially in one movie. Otherwise you did have Jeff to carry the film and this was a very complete adventure so you’ll be satisfied with the ending.

Overall 6/10

What a Way to Go! Review


It’s very hard to make you sympathize with a main character who doesn’t want to be rich but this film is going to have a go at it. It’s a fun comedy film that embraces how crazy this concept is. I thought the film may have let their foot off the pedal for a bit in the second half and eased up too much but in the end you’ll definitely have a good time.

The film opens up with some guys dropping a coffin and realizing that they may get sued for all of their dollars. We then see Louisa running to the IRS and trying to give away her vast wealth to the government. They definitely can’t have that and instead take her to a psychologist: Steffanson. Steffanson wants her to explain why she would possibly want to give away her millions of dollars like this. Well, she doesn’t want the money because it always results in the death of her husbands. The rest of the film is effectively an anthology of stories styled after different kinds of romance films.

The first story introduces us to Louisa who really despises money. The reason for this is because her mother is obsessed with it and that has always left a bad impression with Louisa. The richest man in town is in love with her and the Mom is thrilled because their family will finally be rich. Louisa doesn’t like this though so she decides to instead get married to the poorest guy in town, a man named Hopper. Hopper is a man of strong character and family values who refuses to sell his house to the rich tycoon. Crawley (The rich guy) doesn’t take kindly to this and wants to bring Hopper down no matter what it takes.

This was a good way to kick things off. It was my favorite story of the bunch and I also thought the film was at its craziest here. Between Louisa’s mom referring to her as a product and Hopper not noticing when Crawley intentionally splashed him with mud you had a lot going on here. Hopper is really portrayed as someone who is as oblivious as possible but part of why I liked the guy is that he does step up when he realizes that this is hurting his wife’s reputation as well.

Naturally the moral of the film is that money itself is evil so this naturally corrupts Hopper. He starts working unlimited overtime and is never home when it counts. He becomes a millionaire and takes over the city quickly but it comes at the expense of hanging out with Louisa which is a shame. Hopper ends up dying of overwork but at least he did leave Louisa well off and still seemed like a good guy. He ended up letting work become his priority which was a grave error but he meant well. In this story there’s not a whole lot that Louisa could have done differently so I don’t think she should have any regrets.

Next up Louisa moves to France where she falls in love with a poor painter named Larry. All right, this time nothing could possibly make him turn rich right? The two have a pretty happy marriage for a while until one day Louisa suggests that maybe Larry should use some music for his painting machines instead of random noises. (He paints with a pretty genius style whereby sound vibrations power his machines and perform the artwork) Unfortunately the music works too well and Larry becomes rich almost instantly. Like with Hopper, Larry has no time for Louisa anymore and is promptly crushed by his own robots who decided to turn evil.

Ignoring the Sci-Fi ramifications of this, it was a pretty intense way to go out. Louisa didn’t stay in France to stop these would be terminators but I’m sure she wishes she hadn’t mentioned something about the music. Still, it’s hardly her fault to throw in a constructive idea, particularly as it was the first time. It is iffy that we’re on the second marriage so soon…but more on that later. Now she is even richer but still has nobody to share it with so Louisa realized it was time to move on.

Next up, Louisa married a guy called Rod who is already rich. Since the guy is so rich, her deadly curse should not affect him right? After all, before death occurs you have to get money in order to activate it. Unfortunately she is not so lucky. His assets still manage to multiply multiple times over and not even trying to get away from the money is enough to save him. This is probably the weakest of the segments mainly because the film doesn’t even try to give a reason for her to like him. It seems like she only married him to test the curse to be honest and of course this backfired. They knew each other for a matter of minutes before they got together. (Slight exaggeration I suppose but a few days at most)

Finally, we get closer to the opening scene as she meets up with a struggling dancer named Pinky. I suppose “Performer” might be more accurate as he does a lot of routines. Things are going well with their marriage until Louisa says he should try performing without all of that crazy face paint he wears. Pinky obliges and becomes a worldwide hit. Oh the shame. Now this is probably the only case where you could blame Louisa because you’d think she would have recognized the curse being in effect at this point right? Still, it’s a hard way to live when you have to watch your every comment or else you may end up becoming rich.

It was a fun segment and all but by now you could definitely guess how things would play out. The climax in the present is pretty intense though. I actually ended up liking the Psychiatrist as the main villain since he clearly had a plan going. That said, how the actual movie ends could have been a little different. I would have ended about 1 minute sooner from where it did which would have been a funny way to close things out.

So on the whole, the humor lands pretty well. It was fun to see the quick segments during each part where Louisa describes the kind of film each marriage was like. It was a nice tribute to the various films although the French one would get a little dicey. If that is an accurate picture of what those romance films are like then I can say those would probably lose out to the others on average. The writing is solid even outside of the humor so the characters are fairly well rounded and memorable. I would have changed the ending but what we got was still decently good.

It’s a comedy film so you don’t want to take things too seriously but at the same time, Louisa did marry like 4-6 times in one movie. That’s an awful lot of relationships over the course of a lifetime right? It just seems to go way too fast if you ask me. In fact, what that tells me is that they were all rebounds and these relationships weren’t all that genuine. I would say the only person she may have truly loved was Hopper and even then that was in part to spite her family so it’s hard to say. Marrying this many times just seems crazy even if there was no curse.

Also, despite all these crazy happenings, I still can’t imagine just trying to toss all your millions like that to the government. At least find some charities or businesses that you want to donate to but have some kind of a plan. If you just throw it away like nothing then that seems like an awful waste to me. Particularly since Hopper literally died to try and give her a better life. Surely throwing the money away would be a disservice to his memory.

Beyond that Louisa is a fun character. She has a good disposition and does her best to have fun. She was content even without any money in each scenario so it’s not like she’s very high maintenance. She has a lot of bad luck though which is definitely unfortunate. Things just don’t end up going her way which is most unfortunate.

Overall, What a Way to Go is a pretty interesting idea for a film. It’s certainly hard to frame being rich as a bad thing but I suppose if your husband is going to die immediately after you get rich each time then I can see why that would be an inconvenience. It’s just not worth it if you have to have the money by yourself. The film would be even better without the rebounds but then you would have a totally different film. I do think that it starts to lose steam towards the end as it just doesn’t shake things up as much as the opening half. It should have gone a little crazier and had the characters be more exaggerated in order to end on a high note. Still, this is a good film and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good rom-com.

Overall 6/10

The Unfinished Dance Review


Ballet’s definitely not my thing. I’ve just never been a fan of it as a style of dance. It’s not particularly entertaining to watch and I don’t care much for the uniforms. It works more in a combat sense like in Sailor Moon I suppose but even then I’ll take something a little more combat ready. For dances ballet also tends to be a bit slower and I like something fast paced and with a lot of action. If you can get past the actual ballet then the film is good though.

The movie starts by introducing us to Meg. Meg is a spoiled kid who wants to be a great ballet dancer but isn’t willing to put in the work. She always skips her lessons to spy on Ariane and basically use up the professional’s time. If anyone says something negative about Ariane Meg is ready to throw hands and give someone the fade. She’s not a kid who is shy about taking someone on. This continues to get her into a lot of trouble though and her Mom/Aunt (I forget which) is super distant so the only parental figure in her life is the kind Mr. Paneros.

Mr. Paneros does his best to contain the damage but it’s often tricky. One day the ballet hires Anna, one of the greatest ballerinas in the world. Ariane knows that her lack of skill will be exposed compared to this person and runs off in a huff. Everyone agrees that Anna is better so Meg decides to put a stop to this. She opens up a trap door and cripples Anna so that Ariane will have the center stage again. The main issue is that her conscience is eating her alive and her “friend” knows about what is happening so there’s now a loose end in the mix. Can Meg make things right?

Now to Meg’s very slight defense it was an accident or at least the film tells us this. She meant to switch the lights off and only happened to turn on the trap door. Sure……lets roll with that. It’s not very convincing though as she could have done any number of things instead of watching the whole time. It was not a good look to say the least. Meg is very extreme throughout the film as she casually talks about death and such. It’s unfortunate but nobody ends up helping her out of her obsessions here.

Mr. Paneros is a good character who means well but does often choose the wrong course of action. He tries to console Meg but ends up lying about everything all the time. It’s like he can’t help it because the guy just keeps on doubling down. It’s a bad habit that he certainly needs to break. At least he’s there for Meg though as her family is never around to do anything. It makes his one sided romance more on the tragic side since he is permanently stuck in the friend zone with the aunt.

As for Ariane, I didn’t like her. I thought the film was low key portraying her as a villain the whole time. It makes sense when you think about it with how petty she was. Anna was very polite the whole time while Ariane didn’t want her picture taken and kept squirming. Initially I thought Anna would end up being a villain but the film never actually went down that road. As a result it just made Ariane look even worse in comparison. She is quick to give up her dream as well which is all well and good but then it makes her jealousy look even worse since she was never that serious about her dream.

Meanwhile Anna is definitely the best character in the film. She suffers a rather bad break but doesn’t let it get to her. I’ll also give a lot of kudos to her assistant/coach who was with her every step of the rehabilitation. She was always there to lend a helping hand to Anna and to try and keep her spirits up throughout everything that was happening. They thought of the coaching idea together and at least Anna now had a sense of normalcy. Anna consistently took the high road as well while the other characters were treading water.

I was glad her ending didn’t get too sad as it would have ended things on a rather unfortunate note. Meanwhile the other kids are mostly left to bicker by the end as you’d expect. Meg now knows that she can’t trust her “friend” and also that the class bully is still around. There’s not a whole lot that they can do at this point and proving anything would be difficult so Meg has nothing to worry about. I like to think they will have an employee by the trap door machine at all times now though. No reason for that to be left unattended.

As mentioned earlier, the only weakness for me would be the actual Ballet scenes. They just weren’t all that entertaining at all if you ask me. I was always just ready for those scenes to move on so we could get on with the story. Especially when Meg tried to dance as she just isn’t ready for the ballet scene yet. Additionally, she was an annoying character so you were never quite looking forward to her getting some screen time.

Overall, The Unfinished Dance is a pretty emotional movie that manages to capture the balance between drama and uplifting moments rather well. The movie gets sad at times but also has happy moments sprinkled in as well. Ultimately that’s a good mix to strive for. Mr. Paneros reminded me of Panera Bread with the name but it’s unique so you won’t forget him and he was clearly a good cook. His origin story where he wastes his last dime was definitely sad but you also can’t help but feel like you shouldn’t be playing around with your last dime right? Seems to me that would be really important to keep safe in your pocket.

Overall 6/10

Night Must Fall Review


When I saw the remake of this film I remember thinking that the whole thing was definitely quite bad. Still, the original ought to be a little better right since it usually gets a bump for having better writing? Well, that wasn’t quite the case here or at least it wasn’t enough to make a tangible difference. It’s the story itself that’s pretty bad so I suppose there is no saving that.

The movie starts with Mrs. Bramson getting ready to fire her maid Dora. Dora has been getting a little sloppy around the house but pleads for mercy as she tells Mrs. Bramson that she wants to marry a guy called Danny. Bramson meets him and is quickly won over so she hires him as a servant. Danny quickly begins to take over the house though as he and Bramson get quite close. Bramson’s nice Olivia isn’t thrilled about this as she’s pushed further and further out of the picture. The true threat here may be more serious than that though. Olivia suspects that Danny may have murdered a girl who went missing recently.

The characters all make a lot of really questionable decisions throughout the film in order to help Danny get ahead. For starters, Mrs. Bramson falls for his tricks way too quickly. Within minutes he’s got her completely suckered. Based on how tough she was talking at first you would think she would have done better than that right? She is harsh with everyone else but can’t bring herself to stand up to Danny. What’s worse is the fact that by the end she is panicking just for being alone which causes her to lower her guard immediately to the point where she nearly dies of a heart attack.

Dora is another pretty bad character. Danny manages to trick her with ease by continuing to promise that he will marry her but not doing anything about it. You’d think that Dora would pick up on the context clues and several characters even try to put her on the right track but she won’t hear of it. Considering that she’s the main reason why he got the job that makes her a little responsible for everything going on too.

We mustn’t forget Olivia either who is practically an accomplice by the end. She really thinks Danny committed the murder and as the film goes on this becomes plainer and plainer. Surely she will tip off the authorities or get out of there right? Instead she actively disrupts the investigation such as when she took the bag away that probably had the victim’s head in it. Why do that? There’s no good reason for it except that she wanted to help Danny.

Her character is certainly an odd one throughout. At times she tries to talk tough about how she will never like Danny but then she caves rather quickly. She doubts herself a lot and always ends up running back to the mansion. Each time she won’t actually tell Bramson anything. Olivia quickly ended up becoming the worst character in the series. She just wouldn’t stop putting everyone in danger. Her long speech about how the first lady may have been murdered was also rather disturbing. There was something a little off about her all the way through.

Then you have Justin who seems like a nice enough guy but he’ll certainly have a tough time of things with Olivia. Hopefully she should be okay now that the main adventure is over though. Finally we have the main villain Danny who’s just awful the whole way through. He certainly talks fast but I wouldn’t even call him a smooth talker. The guy makes a ton of rookie mistakes. He leaves out details with the cops that they quickly track down later on. He keeps incriminating evidence with him at all times and makes other mistakes like that.

He’s really quite lucky that he hasn’t been caught yet despite how tough he talks the whole time. Danny randomly fainting in the middle of the room was also a scene that showed he wasn’t quite ready for this level of excitement. If not for Olivia constantly covering for him the guy would have been in some pretty steep trouble.

I should mention he’s also not very pleasant to the cat like in one scene where he basically throws her. I wouldn’t even say the writing is all that good here because everything is so convenient in order for Danny to have a chance. Why are all of the characters living in this house so insane? His plan revolves around so many things to work out just perfectly that you really can’t believe it when it all lines up.

The film also drags on as a result. A whole lot of the scenes are just him complimenting Bramson over and over again as she falls for each comment. If you’ve seen one of their scenes then you’ve seen them all. Since Olivia’s not even remotely a good character it’s not like her scenes help to balance things out either. Of course after that you have the maids but they tend to vanish for large parts of the film so you even forget they are there. Dora also looks pretty bad since she also falls for his tricks.

Overall, Night Must Fall is a fairly annoying movie filled with bad characters. The main plot is just so preposterous as each character falls for Danny which lets him continue with his plans. The only good character would be the police officer and even he didn’t exactly do anything big until the end. A film like this will usually live or die on the intrigue of seeing how the heroes manage to solve the clues and figure out that Danny is the crook. The issue is that this never gets started since Olivia finds out very quickly and still chooses to do nothing. When that’s the case…it’s like the film gave up. Danny was even able to psycho analyze Olivia a few times which didn’t help her case.

Overall 2/10

Inside Daisy Clover Review


This film I technically saw almost a month ago but it’s time to finally look at one of those films that tries to tell you not to become a famous actress. At the very least it reminds you not to trust random people who may not have your best interests at heart. Inside Daisy Clover is an annoying film where the main character makes every mistake possible so there’s a rather depressing atmosphere around at all times. The film never really gets any better either…so you can tell this is not one I would recommend.

The movie starts by showing us that Daisy’s got a pretty rough life at the moment. Her father ran off a long time ago and her sister quickly escaped as well. Her mother lives in a broken down trailer but doesn’t really want to change her lifestyle. As a result Daisy works at a little record company where she is constantly harassed by one of her supposed friends. When she is able to potentially get work as an actress she quickly ditches this place as fast as possible. Raymond will be her boss now and he only has 3 rules, 1. Nobody must ever find out about Daisy’s past, 2. No affairs with local actor Wade, and 3. She must do whatever he says in order to make the films a masterpiece. Can Daisy do this?

Well, right away Daisy begins to have an affair with Wade who convinces her to go visit her mother at the asylum and then they skip a conference so the rules are out the window. Part of the problem with Daisy is she is portrayed as a little naïve most of the time. She is very quick to believe that Wade actually cares for her despite the guy’s rep as a flirt who has an affair with everyone. Here’s my problem, why would you think that you’re different? If someone’s already betrayed 6-10 people, why not mess with one more?

He pulls this off more than once and each time Daisy thinks that things might be different. Deciding to get married was also one of those scenes where you just shake your head. Then she rebounds into a romance with Raymond who we find out is definitely not a good guy. He even starts to get violent when she is sick in bed with some trauma over the whole thing. The end of the film is in theory trying to put Daisy in a happier spot after hitting rock bottom but things are definitely not going to be easy for her considering all of the burned bridges everywhere.

The issue is that Daisy just isn’t likable right from the start. She didn’t have the best upbringing so you’re not surprised to see her acting out but you kind of hopes that during the film she would have been able to change herself. Unfortunately that just wasn’t to be. It goes without saying that all of the other characters are bad though. Yes, you won’t find a single good character here which is really unfortunate.

Her childhood friend basically just wants to fool around with her and can’t keep his mind on anything else. Wade is much the same way as he goes around the country having affairs. Raymond is completely focused on making a lot of money and will use anyone to get it such as poor Daisy. His wife is a drunk who knows what is going on but can’t do anything about it so she just keeps on drinking. Daisy’s mother burns her house down and always acts irresponsibly. I guess you could say Daisy’s sister was reasonable but even for her the film hinted she was only around for the money.

A film can only be as good as its cast and this cast as abysmal. The writing is also not that impressive as the film just tries to make things as depressing as possible throughout. Daisy never manages to catch a break or she just keeps on digging a deeper hole for herself. Even the film bits aren’t particularly interesting. The only scene that I thought was at least a little effective was when she was in the studio and had to keep on doing a retake for the same song over and over again.

Raymond didn’t look very smart here since he should have known that she was close to a breakdown but decided to continue anyway. Well, that’s why he ended up with this result. We kept changing camera perspectives from inside the recording booth to outside where it is completely sound proof so it was an interesting parallel. It’s almost directed like a bit of a horror scene which was pretty cool. Not the kind of scene that can save a film of course but at least it’s one that I certainly remembered.

One of the general morals here seems to be that being an actress is never worth it. You’ll inevitably end up in a bad setting with people trying to trick you and the money drying up right away. That seems to be how all of these films end at least although you hope if Daisy had at least not fallen for Wade then maybe she would have been able to succeed on her own. It’s unlikely but you never know.

Overall, Inside Daisy Clover was a pretty bad film. The movie is going for a rather gritty vibe from the start with how her town seems rather town down and even the glitzy world of Hollywood seems rather darker than usual. Just take a look at the place she auditions when you watch the movie. It’s a dark hole in the wall with only one functioning light. Everything seems shady and run down in this world so good luck finding any place that looks okay except for Raymond’s mansion which is spooky in itself. I think doing a film about how horrible a career acting is will always be a difficult task because you have to make everything seem as dark and unpleasant as possible but then that means you probably won’t have any likable characters or you would have to bump them off. I’m sure some would do a better job than Inside Daisy Clover though so definitely pass this one by and look for something better. Maybe check out Singing in the Rain for how this should be done but in a more positive light.

Overall 3/10