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

A Star is Born (2018) 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.

A Star Is Born has certainly had a lot of versions right? So far none of them have managed to grab a positive score. The first two both got a 5 while the third one got a 3. Can this film finally manage to get the movie into the right position for a win? Well, unfortunately that was not possible. It’s better than the third adaption to be sure but this one’s still just such a bad film through and through. I’m convinced that the premise just can’t work. If a film can’t win after 4 tries then I’d say that means it is time to give up.

The film introduces us to a famous singer named Jack. He’s really made a name for himself. The guy may be a huge alcoholic who has serious issues but so far he has not let it crush his career. He is determined to continue to go about things as always. One day Jack decides he really needs a drink and that’s when he bumps into Ally. She is convinced that she doesn’t look good enough to be famous but Jack eventually gets her on stage and she is a hit. The issue now is that she is quickly growing more popular than him and she doesn’t have the various off the field issues that he has like the alcohol and general mishaps. Can Jack manage to keep Ally down so he stays ahead or will he end up derailing both of their careers.

If you’ve seen any of the previous films then you basically know how this one will end. After all it’s really a remake through and through so it’s not trying to trick you or anything like that. It’s going for pure fundamentals here and telling the story with a modern style. It’s not going for quite as edgy a feel as the last one which I appreciate but still has a ton of scenes that drag on. Jack’s also still a completely unlikable character for me. He just ultimately doesn’t turn the corner to make me root for the guy. By the time he starts to clean up his act the film is basically over so that really hurts his chances of finally being good. The story of his life here is really too little too late.

Granted, Jack is not nearly as bad as in some other versions. Cheating with some random lady midway through the film, landing a blow on the heroine (Albeit accidentally) and things like that don’t happen here as it’s toned down. He still has a variation of the famous Oscars scene of course and most of the usual story moments like insulting Ally and constantly trying to undermine her though. So while he isn’t as bad as he could have been, I still didn’t like him in the slightest. It’s hard to sympathize with him because he should have been so proud of Ally when she got big. His ego proved to be bigger than how much he cared for her which is no good. Of course the addictions aren’t easy to get over so I’ll give him points for going to rehab but it still doesn’t excuse how he tries to hurt Ally’s legacy.

Then of course we have the usual ending for him which is no good. No matter how hopeless things get, taking that way out is never the move. It’s more of an escape to the current dilemmas than dealing with it. I don’t care what Ally’s producer was saying, Jack could have absolutely talked things out with Ally and I think they would have come out at a good space. Instead he took the decision out of both their hands and ultimately it’ll now be a life scarring moment for Ally.

As for Ally, she’s not bad. She does her best to be successful and also tries her best to support Jack as well. She doesn’t let the fame go to her head and at least at first wasn’t quick to just drop everything to take a plane with some guy she barely knew. I wouldn’t say she stands out a whole lot but she has a full character arc with a solid amount of depth. Ally also shows a lot of skill in being able to sing different genres of music.

In general I wouldn’t say any of the songs really stood out to me here. They were all fairly solid I suppose so I wouldn’t call it a bad soundtrack. For a concert film like this you absolutely need to have a strong assortment of songs in order to succeed and these were good enough to work out. The final song is suitably emotional to end the film with. The pacing is also fairly good as I wouldn’t say the film dragged on.

I would have to say the romance wasn’t all that good though. It still feels very rushed no matter how you slice it. Ally doesn’t exactly meet Jack under the greatest of circumstances and he asks her out so quickly that there’s no way to really believe this would last. Naturally he ends up not being quite the person she thought he would be for a while. While he does start to shift at the end, it’s one of those romances that just had a lot of red flags from the start. It all moves far too quickly.

There are a few more supporting characters here than in previous versions. First off we have Ally’s best friend. He’s a supportive guy who helps her out a lot throughout the film. I would say his role is ultimately minor but he really does come through for her whenever she is feeling down. Then you have her father who is a lot of fun. He often talks about how much singing talent he had in his prime and you like to see his confidence. He’s also quite proud of Ally and is always talking her up to his friends. He seems like a great guy and it was nice that Ally had some positive influences around her as opposed to having to deal with everything on her own.

Overall, This version of A Star Is Born is better than the last one but I still wouldn’t call it a good film. The ending isn’t all that great and changing the formula a bit there would have been cool. Additionally the romance is weak and I just didn’t like Jack as a main character. Even Ally is only okay (Great compared to Jack) so the character cast doesn’t do wonders for me either. The film doesn’t drag on but the first half does feel like it gives us more of the origin than we need as the main focus of the film is once the music gets going. At this point I don’t think we’ll be getting a definitive version of the story but I suppose the next version can still give it a good ole try. I would recommend watching one of the first two versions instead of this one though.

Overall 4/10

A Silent Voice Review


I remember reading the manga for this one a long time ago and definitely destroyed it. It was extremely mean spirited the whole time and even by the end a lot of characters got away with a whole bunch. Well, turning an entire series into a single film means there are going to need to be significant cuts around the board so maybe this adaption would be better. It does seem like in particular they cut out a lot of the pre time skip content to get to the modern day quicker. I would say its better than the manga.

The movie starts with a transfer student named Shoko entering Shoya’s class. She has difficulty hearing and as a result isn’t able to speak very well either. Shoya and the boys quickly decide to start bullying her and eventually the whole class gets in on this. They keep on breaking her hearing aids and talking behind her back. Eventually she transfers out of the class and everyone pins the blame on Shoya. He was the ringleader but everyone was in on it. We cut to a few years later where Shoya has decided to destroy himself but ultimately decides not to. He runs into Shoko again and decides that he needs to make things right and become her friend. Can he really do it though or is he too far gone?

Right away you can kind of tell how much you will like the film based on how much you can buy into Shoya’s arc. As mentioned, the film does a pretty good job of really cutting out a lot of the opening moments and kind of breezing through things. It’s appreciated but I definitely still didn’t like Shoya. He started out mild but very quickly began to escalate well past the point of no return. He is effectively a different character pre and post time skip, but even with that it was hard to like him.

He could have defended himself a lot better with the rest of the friends later on. When Miki was spreading rumors once again he should have quickly come clean and told his side of the story. Instead he retreated once more but not before taking shots at every character to make himself appear to be the bad guy again.

All in all, Shoya does his best to atone for his earlier mistakes. So you have to give him some props but it doesn’t mean you have to like the guy either. He would still be one of the weaker characters in the film. Unfortunately the best character from the manga (Satoshi) has a smaller role here. He still looks very good in his appearances though as he pressures Miki to do the right thing and just seems like a stand up guy. He feels like the most heroic member of the group to be sure. He’s just a lot of fun and I’d have liked to see more of him.

From all of the characters Miki is probably low key the most malicious one of the group. At least a character like Naoka is pretty upfront about how much she dislikes Shoko. Miki is always trying to play the victim card while constantly bringing up things from Shoya’s past. It’s impossible to ever sympathize with her and by the end you feel like she gets away with everything. That’s why she’s my least favorite character.

Lets talk about Naoka though. She used to be good friends with Shoya and his posse until Shoko entered the mix. Initially she did act friendly towards the girl but eventually it was just too challenging for her so she gave up and became a bully. A lot of things happened and after the time skip she is no longer friends with Shoya but she blames this on Shoko. It gets to the point where she even beats up on Shoko near the end of the film.

Naoka’s personality makes her a pretty fun character but it can’t disguise the fact that she is easily one of the meanest ones around. Her ability of cutting through all the passive aggressive comments of the others and saying it like it is really helps her character stand out. Definitely no excuse for physically attacking Shoko at the end though. It’s good Shoko’s Mom was there to fight back or things would have really gotten out of hand.

From the main characters Miyoko is easily one of the more minor ones. She was someone who at least tried to be Shoko’s friend but ultimately had to leave schools. I don’t believe it was her choice though so while she blames herself a bit later on, I don’t think she deserves any blame for that. She did the best she could while in school and at least gave Shoko some fond memories.

Then we have Tomohiro who ends up being Shoyo’s first friend after the timeskip. He’s a pretty nice guy and definitely gave a lot of solid emotional support when it was needed most. He’s just a stand up guy and is someone who actively sticks up for himself as well. I was also glad that he didn’t just turn on Shoyo after the main character’s last outburst and knew that he was just not having a good moment.

Yuzuru is Shoko’s younger sister and definitely a fun character as well. She certainly doesn’t mind trolling the other characters and next to Shoko/Shoya she probably has the biggest role here. Yuzuru gets a lot of quality character development throughout but started as a great character from the onset. She wanted to make sure that nobody was going to mess with Shoko again and went to great lengths to ensure that was the case. She made a lot of sacrifices to help out.

Finally we have Shoko as the main heroine. She’s definitely a very nice character but almost nice to a fault in some instances. She really makes sure to turn the other cheek when people are being mean to her and continues to try being friends with everyone to the point where she can be a bit oblivious. It’s the main aspect of her that Naoka has a problem with. Shoko always puts on a brave face even if it’s not 100% genuine.

I don’t think you can fault someone for wanting to look at things through a positive lens though. She could have been more self aware but at the same time she was still just a kid and one with far less social experience than the rest due to her hearing issues. It’s part of why the first act is a tough watch because she is doing her best while the entire classroom is just being tough on her.

You’d think at least the teacher would have stepped in but he didn’t do much here. In the manga he’s a lot more antagonistic though so at least they toned him down to just being someone who never actually acts. So Shoko’s definitely a very good character and one of the best ones. The film does a great job of having you sympathize with her situation. Her mother also looks very good. She may have a much smaller role but she is doing her best to help out like contacting the school and jumping into fights. She also went to great lengths to find Shoko when she went missing and in general just did all of the right things.

The animation is naturally solid here. It’s all pretty smooth. You’re not going to see a lot of striking colors for the most part as this takes place in a town where there aren’t a ton of electronics or things of that nature so it’s more about the character designs and such. The writing is also on point.

Ultimately what holds the film back from being one that I would solidly recommend is just how many aspects of the film are un-relentlessly tragic all the time. Just when you think Shoko is finally safe the bullying starts up again in the second half. As bad as Shoya was in picking on her early on, then you see him getting bullied extensively after that and of course he takes it out on her. We have a grandmother dying later on in the film just to heap onto the plate. There’s also the fact that both Shoya and Shoko are suicidal at different points in the film.

It has its happy moments but most of the film is fairly dreary with this. At least the ending is on a high note since a sad ending would have really been rough. As it stands, at least you do know that things are going to get better for the main characters and they are through the worst of it.

Overall, A Silent Voice makes for a better movie than manga. In this case cutting out some things just helped to at least dial back the mean spirited nature of the story. If you’re up for an emotional story of a bully turning over a new leaf and coming to terms with himself then this is probably about as good a story as you’ll find here. Alternately if you want a redemption story that is a little more upbeat, check out Final Fantasy VII Advent Children.

Overall 5/10

Marnie Review


Marnie is the kind of film that sneaks up on you. By all accounts it should be a pretty decent film as it was made a long time ago and has the classic writing/witty dialogue that you would expect to see here. Unfortunately it makes a number of key mistakes which ultimately doom it to not just being a bad film, but a horrible one all around. There’s certainly no reason to check this out so I would recommend giving it a hard skip.

The movie starts with Marnie swindling another business out of a lot of money. She enjoys going around and stealing money whenever she can which she then gives to her mother Bernice who suffered a major accident a while back and needs the support. Marnie’s next target is another big company led by Mark. What she doesn’t know is that he is one of the people who saw her at the last job so it isn’t hard for him to catch her. His terms are that he won’t report her to the police if she marries him so they get married but she is determined to make this difficult on him.

Everything goes straight down from there quite drastically. For starters we get a pretty random plot with her horse where it shows up but missed the jump and gets injured. Marnie has to put him down which shot a hole through the film’s chances of survival. The horse seems like he was added in just to be blown up which was a bad move. There was just no reason to do this. The film already had enough issues but at the end of the day this does tie into the film’s core problem which is trying to add too much information and backstory. We really don’t need to know any of this stuff for a solid mystery but the film insists on giving everyone an origin story or an extra detail.

Take Lil who is the main villain here. She’s trying to win Mark away from Marnie and it would be the usual love triangle except for one fact which changes everything. She’s Mark’s sister in law. So that basically throws the whole plot out because it’s just an awful storyline to even include in the film. Why did we need to add this extra information to her character? If she was the childhood friend or something it’s be cliché but at least would work a lot better than this variation. It’s too bad because she is easily the most entertaining character of the bunch and I dare say the smartest as well.

Then you have Beatrice and her whole backstory. Naturally it’s tragic to fit in with the rest of the film as she was in a dicey business and getting out took a lot of effort and turned into a whole conspiracy. Where the whole thing ends poorly is that suddenly she is unable to love her daughter anymore and I have a hard time buying into that. Does she sub consciously blame her for what happened or she’s just been completely traumatized from physical touch after the incident? Either way I don’t see how this would totally be blocking her from at least showing some more kindness towards Marnie.

Of course we can’t end there. Then you’ve got Marnie’s phobia of the color red as well as physical contact. This also transfers over to storms as well so she has a phobia of quite a lot of things by the time the film is through with her. We have a rather painful scene where she absolutely refuses to be touched but Mark had enough of this subplot by then and forced the issue. I don’t see why this part of the phobia had to be added and it couldn’t just stick to the color red. Having the phobia evolve with the film’s loose explanation of she was faking it all during the first act was definitely very weak.

Marnie gives Mark a tough time throughout the movie though as she struggles at every turn and never makes any effort to change. While the scenes can have good banter at times, the film never changes things up so a lot of the dialogue remains the same with slight variations. Then you have Mark who isn’t exactly a hero either as his main goal was to marry Marnie from the start so he effectively allowed her plans to progress until he could make use of them. He does what he can to rehabilitate her for most of the film but ultimately wasn’t able to stick the landing such as the boat scene.

This film does have some of the typical thriller aspects like having one person from Marnie’s past show up to start stirring up some trouble. I was glad for at least some quick stakes here because the film needed something. It’s just a shame that it couldn’t focus on this plot a little more and just throw the other ones out. That would have gone a long way towards improving the movie without a doubt. The main issue is really just the writing as it relies on a whole lot of shock value to keep the film going. That’s always a sign of poor writing because it means they were not confident enough in the script to get people watching towards the end without such big scenes.

Overall, Marnie is a film I would highly recommend staying away from. All of the plots are pretty bad here so the film never really gives you a chance to just sit down and enjoy the scenes at hand. It’s always throwing more shock value at you which definitely destroys any chance of the movie actually turning into a quality experience. It’s a shame because at the very least the premise of a thief going around robbing a bunch of people with the boss knowing about it could be fun. This just won’t be the title that actually puts that kind of storyline on the map.

Overall 0/10

Patriot’s Day

This write-up 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

The Boston Bombings was definitely a really big event. I remember Reddit had a lot of coverage on it and even got involved. Their investigation ended up not going so well but they did take steps that would ultimately force the authorities to move a bit quicker. Reddit still refers to this event when trying to solve other murders and such in the present. The movie seems to be a pretty accurate portrayal of events even if we do get a main character who isn’t really based on anyone who was there. I suppose the movie wanted someone to stitch things together.

The movie centers around Sergeant Tommy who has to work the marathon route this time. He’s not thrilled about the task because he doesn’t like the way the uniform looks. I dunno what’s so bad about it, the uniform seems nice and colorful to me. Still, Tommy’s requests to leave are denied so he’s stuck here. That’s when the bombs go off and throws the event into chaos. Once the dust clears the FBI are called in to investigate this. They need to track down who left the bombs at the event and track these people down. Tommy is an expert on navigating the immediate area so he is called in by the FBI to help get a lot of the key clues. Tommy even reminds them that they should probably check with the witnesses to see what’s going on here. The heroes have a plan but they need to hurry or the bombers will be long gone.

Of course as this is based on a real event you should know most of what’s coming depending on how much you know about the actual events at the time. Reddit isn’t mentioned even though you could say they were quite influential in this event but I suppose that part may have been a bit exaggerated from the site…possibly….maybe. The film also shows us the villains in their planning phase so while it’s a mystery to the heroes we know exactly who they are from the start. They’re definitely radical lunatics just trying to inflict damage on a lot of innocent people for no true reason. Fortunately the film doesn’t bother creating any sympathy for them. They’re portrayed as pretty bad people in general. One of them is a little more hesitant on this at the start but only offers half hearted resistance before going through with the plan.

The movie is definitely pretty intense given that the bombing scene is quite gruesome. Additionally we get some big fights with the two bombers as they had a lot of pipe bombs with them and in the event a cop was killed so that was kept in. It definitely does remind you how dangerous it is to be a police officer particularly when you have to deal with people waving guns around like this. Even when they have the bombers outnumbered it was hard for them to make any headway since their equipment just wasn’t as good.

It was nice to see the FBI looking good here. Of course it’s largely because this was based on real events but otherwise in the films the FBI tend to either look very shady or just not very good at handling their business. Here we see their vast resources and how they’re able to quickly set up a mobile base of operations. We also just see a lot of co-operation between them and the Police as well as the Governor who shows up to make some calls as well. There were definitely a ton of parties involved and the film also includes a speech or two from the President on the events as well. The Boston Bombings certainly effected a lot of people and was definitely one of the biggest terrorist acts in recent memory.

The heroes all look good here. Tommy also makes for a solid lead. I can see how people probably wouldn’t be thrilled with how he takes up a lot of the story. It’s similar to Chris from Sonic X as he took away a lot of screen time from other characters. Still, I thought Tommy was a solid character. In the context of the movie’s story he was definitely instrumental in helping solve the case and catch the bombers. He helped the FBI and also took a lot of risks of his own in surrounding the boat and trying to drag the guy out. There’s nothing particularly bad about his character. At worst he just doesn’t particularly standout at times, he’s portrayed as just an average guy doing his best to help out.

Overall, Patriot’s Day is a pretty solid film. If you aren’t familiar with the Boston Bombings then it’ll probably have some extra impact for you since you won’t know exactly what to expect. The film did a good job of balancing together a lot of different plots taken from real accounts at the time. There’s also an epilogue where you get to see a lot of the real people from the events and current status updates. It’s not like this was super long ago so there are some elements ongoing to this day. So if you’re up for a thriller on real events this would definitely be the one to check out.