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Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Murder on the Orient Express (1974)


5/10


Starring

Albert Finney

Lauren Bacall

Martin Balsam

Ingrid Bergman



Directed by Sidney Lumet



Based on an Agatha Christie book of the same name, Murder on the Orient Express is supposed to be a classic, one of those movies which Agatha Christie herself loves. For me the movie did not age well and the whole feel of the 1930s, which the movie tried hard to pass across, kind of envelopes the whole movie itself. With conversations that were way too long to matter, and investigations that seem too over stretched this is a movie made for those who have insomnia. Even the star studded cast could not save this movie from casting the cloud of boredom on a plot that lacked the needed excitement to capture my interest. It reached a point that I did not care anymore and just wanted the movie to be over. That said, the movie then has a nice thirty minutes ending, which did not save the movie, but was interesting to see Poirot unravel the whole convoluted plot.

The plot has Poirot onboard the Orient Express by a certain chance. As his friend insisted for Poirot to join him on the train.

While there on the train a murder was committed. A man who had before approached Poirot before for protection was murdered, stabbed twelve times after being drugged.

The popular detective Hercule Poirot was tasked with solving the case. The challenge he faced was that everyone on the train seems to have been either sleeping or have a strange story as to why the person who committed this act was a stranger beyond everyone else on the carriage at that time. Poirot continues to dig further which made him to connect an act that happened five years ago to the murder that just happened.

Poirot here was played by Albert Finney, and he got an academy award for Best Actor for his acting.

In the end, the movie played to the regular stuff, of where Poirot was there seems to be a case near by. The movie’s cinematography is to be applauded. How they production managed to make this movie in such confinement and not bring about some sort of claustrophobia is worth noting.

The film was a commercial and critical success. It got six Academy Awards nominations. Of the six nominations Ingrid Bergman was the only winner of Best Supporting Actress. Her performance in this movie was worth it to be honest. I feel this movie would have been fantastic in the 1970s, but watching it now it is more of a bore and until the last thirty minutes did not matter much for the eyes.

Evil Under the Sun (1982)

 

Evil Under the Sun (1982)


6/10

Starring

Peter Ustinov

Jane Birkin

Colin Blakely

Nicholas Clay



Directed by Guy Hamilton



Evil Under the Sun is not as cool and good as the movie Death on the Nile (1978), which also starred Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot. The movie had a real problem, it took almost an hour for the murder to happen, which are not the most entertaining minutes. But then when the murder does happen we are thrown into the mix as we always are with Christie’s work. After the murder the movie does pick up and gets very very interesting, because you really want to know who has just helped rid the world of an awful person.

Here is a character which was so well placed in a situation that to be honest her death seemed like a relief to even you the viewer. Her personality was very annoying and her total disregard for her step-daughter made me dislike her more than I should.

The movie is based on the 1941 Agatha Christie’s book of the same name. The plot seems like every where Poirot goes, there is a character who is disliked by everybody and dies with everyone around them being a suspect. The movie also has Maggie Smith in another role. Smith played one of the suspects in the 1978 movie Death on the Nile with Peter Ustinov.

It starts with Hercule Poirot heading to take a holiday, but before then he meets a wealthy man who had just been scammed by a woman off a very expensive jewel. Poirot on this vacation meets the woman in question. She is a very flirtatious, young looking and attractive lady who seems hell bent on making a mockery of everyone and glorifying herself above others. So it is of no surprise that this woman is not liked by all, and her murder puts everyone on the top spot of the suspect list.

Poirot is drawn into investigating and solving a murder, which everyone has an alibi which seems to be confirmed by another party.

The movie has some serious issues, which I am not able to figure out. How did Patrick get Myra to accompany him. He seemed to want to deter her and she showed up from no where to ask to join him. Poirot did not explain that and the movie did not either.

The movie has a lot of name shuffling, and notable changes in comparison to the book. Which I feel did not make this movie just as good thanks to those changes.

What I liked the most about this movie when it finally takes off is the complexity of how every suspect seems to have an alibi, which was corroborated by someone else. Most of the times the person who corroborated their alibi has no idea that they have. The movie tries like the book, to make you a very inquisitive person to be searching through the incidents around. Think deep to see which thread to pull next to see whose alibi is not clean.

Nice movie to see, and I will advise you see if you can, taking the time to understand that you have to wait for almost an hour to get going.

Death on the Nile (1978)

Death on the Nile (1978)


8/10

Starring

Peter Ustinov

Jane Birkin

Lois Chiles

Bette Davis

Mia Farrow

Jon Finch



Directed by John Guillermin



Death on the Nile is a fantastic movie from a fantastic book of the same name by Agatha Christie in 1937. Worth noting is the changes in this movie adaptation, of this crime thriller. Some characters were removed and the second issue which Colonel Race was involved when he joined the steamboat, was not at all mentioned. In the book Race was on the boat looking for a murderer, who was on board the boat and while on it he stole.

The movie in question though is well jointed and I will say very well paced. There is no confinement to movement as you would have expected on a steamboat from the 1930s. The characters were able to commit their acts and put each and everyone on their toes, including you the viewer. We are left to wonder who the hell killed this heiress.

The fine crafting of the movie, the costumes and setting is so well done that for a moment I felt I was in the 1930s. This was honored as the movie won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design.

As you would expect after a brief intro to everyone involved we are tossed into a murder case, this time on a steamboat sailing on the Nile, during an Egyptian excursion. The murdered was a heiress and on board the boat were enough people who wanted her dead. One was her former best friend who was the former lover of her present husband, which she stole. Her maid, whom she has refused to give her the money she has promised because she does not approve on what she intended to do with the money. Two people who she has a legal or intend to have a legal battle with. Her not to be trusted lawyer who wants her to sign documents without reading to avoid getting persecuted. A woman who hates her family for what they did to hers. A kleptomaniac who craves her jewelry. All these people and more had reasons for seeing her dead and we are tossed between them lot wondering who did it.

Then things get complex, when two other deaths occur leading Poirot who was on board the boat with his friend Colonel Race to deduce that the murderer must have been known by the two other victims.

The movie ended with Poirot having everyone to come sit down as he begins to unravel the whole mystery based on the subtle clues which the movie did so well to remind us of with flashbacks. Then I really enjoyed how the production also used visuals to tell the stories so we can see how the things happened when Poirot was explaining it.

As usual with anything that has to do with Christie’s books, the murderer is not anyone you would have expected and the plot is deeper and well thought through than you would have anticipated.

This is a wonderful film and one which I would not mind seeing again, just to see how the clues aligned ever so nicely.



Tom and Jerry (2021)

Tom and Jerry (2021)

 



4/10


Starring

Chloë Grace Moretz

Michael Peña

Colin Jost

Rob Delaney

Ken Jeong



Directed by Tim Story



The main issues with this movie is the segregation of the main characters to the back of the story which on its own is not worth my time. Also, the directing is not well crafted and the pacing is all over the place, it will be a miracle to see this movie without dozing off.

Tom and Jerry were the supporting cast in their own movie. I have to say I was completely disappointed by this movie, sad thing was I was so geared up to see it and boy, what a let down.

Tom and Jerry are an iconic pair, which I grew up watching. Their animation was a tradition and I cannot count how many of their animated chases I have watched. The film is based on the cartoon characters and their numerous animated shorts. They pair were created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.

This is the second fully theatrical film adaptation of the characters following 1992's Tom and Jerry: The Movie. This movie is a mix of animation (for the animals) and live-action for the humans.

The plot features mostly the life of a lady Kayla (Chloë Grace Moretz) who seem to be some sort of crook who will do anything to get ahead of others. Like every family centered movie, she learned her lesson for this way of life and turned over a new leaf. Sad thing was, she learning her lesson hits you smack in the face from no where. It was in no way needed for her to do a u-turn she had gotten lucky and was coasting it through and the movie should have just left it there.

So Kayla, lies her way to get a job working in a hotel under the event manager Terrance (Michael Peña). Terrance happens to be planning a big wedding for the most popular couple on earth apparently. Do not ask me who they are, they looked like Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra.

On the side is Tom and Jerry, with Jerry wanting to make the hotel his new home and Tom wanting to get Jerry, Tom chases him into the hotel. You see, Jerry messed up Tom’s scam and Tom has had a biff.

Jerry happens to be on a normal mouse hunt and caused a stir, making the manager want to have Jerry exterminated, because this marital event will put the hotel on the map. But if the tale of a mouse mess up the marriage the hotel will be tanked. Kayla meets Tom who as we said is on a vendetta quest, and she was able to convince the manager to hire Tom to catch Jerry. Here is a point to note, cartoon animals in this movie are treated as minorities who have rights and whatnot.

With Tom on the hotel time we see the regular cartoon gimmicks of Tom trying to catch Jerry, while they are messing up the hotel as they do. How Kayla is going to be able to keep the wedding going and manage these two is what this movie is about, and I beg you save your time for something else.

Flora & Ulysses (2021)

Flora & Ulysses (2021)


6/10


Starring

Matilda Lawler

Alyson Hannigan

Ben Schwartz

Anna Deavere Smith


Directed by Lena Khan


Well Flora and Ulysses is one of those movies you can be sure would not have done magnificently well in the box office. So the movie fits the digital release on Disney+ and I enjoyed the movie regardless of the TV movie feel. The movie does not boast of a huge budget dedicated to CGI effect which can be felt when you see the weird feral cat, but not on Ulysses. Most of the CGI budget were focused on the squirrel.

What the movie does for me is the clumsy character it made of Flora’s dad George played by Ben Schwartz. His performance in this movie is funny, but it is nowhere as cool as that of the lead, Flora (Matilda Lawler). She on her own had the smile and the charisma to keep the movie going and I was thrilled seeing her on screen each time.

The movie plot introduces us to Flora, a very interesting young lady who is majorly into comics. We get to understand that her parents are separated with Flora living with her mum.

I do like the way the movie chose to handle this separation. We can see that Flora wanted her parents back together, but she was not losing sweat over it. The effects of the separation is mostly seen on the parents than the child. So we do not get the same old child acting out gets to meet a pet and it changes her outlook wave of movies like we are used to. Flora in this movie is full of life and she is focused on being real and trying to get to live her life with hope of everything working out well for her in the end.

On her way home one faithful day, she sees her neighbor struggling to keep an automatic vacuum device under control. She goes to help, and the vacuum device goes far much out of control and sucks up a squirrel believing it to be dirt that needs cleaning. Flora finally catches up to the runaway vacuum and saves this squirrel’s life. The squirrel’s experience gave it superpowers – It could fly, has super-strength, could understand humans and has a thing for poetry. Flora named the squirrel after the vacuum, Ulysses. The antagonist in this movie is the animal control man who was called in to capture the squirrel after Flora took Ulysses to an eatery and he got out.

Now Flora and her dad, with Flora’s not blind, but blind neighbor must find away to keep Ulysses safe from the animal control man, and from Flora’s mum.

The movie is based on a series of children’s book of the same name by Kate DiCamillo.

In the end, I feel this is a nice movie to see with your family. It is not one of those classics from Disney that you will want to see over and over again, but it is a good feel.

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)


8/10


Starring

Charles Laughton

Tyrone Power

Marlene Dietrich

Elsa Lanchester



Directed by Billy Wilder

This will be my first time seeing this movie, and I was amazed by the amount of twist and turns this movie holds. Until the very end everything you know about this movie or what really happened is up for grabs and nothing ever is certain. The movie’s plot is well crafted to make the viewer lost in either the suspicion of everyone except the defendant. The triumph of this movie is something I have to praise Billy Wilder for. His ability as director twirling this screen adaption here and there is so amazing to behold.

Praises also is due to the cast of Charles Laughton, Tyrone Power and Marlene Dietrich the three were so much in the controlling role of this film that there was no way this was not going to be a hit. The three gave performances that warrants them getting applauded and have awards thrown their way. Along with the three main cast is Laughton’s real life wife Elsa Lanchester who plays a supporting role as Sir Wilfrid’s nurse. A role which earned her a Golden Globe award.

The movie’s plot centers around a man named Leonard Vole (Power) who was being accused of murdering a wealthy elderly woman named Jane French. Vole’s solicitor toke him to a senior barrister named Sir Wilfrid (Laughton) a man who was just returning home from the hospital after being there for a lengthy period with heart trouble.

Leonard claims to not have been around when the murder was committed and his only witness is his wife Christine (Dietrich). Wilfrid at first handed the case to someone else in his firm, but changed his mind when he saw the weird threads tied around Leonard and this case. He decided to be the lead counsel and we watch as he tries to unravel the case and come to a final conclusion as to whether Leonard murdered Jane French or not.

The movie is based on an Agatha Christie’s short story which first had a play adaptation and this being the first film adaptation of the 1925 publication. The movie was both a critical and commercial success and it has been praised as one of the best adaptation of Christie’s works.

It has also been recognised by the AFI (American Film Institute) in the sixth spot in their AFI’s 10 top 10 Courtroom Drama. If not for the Covid-19 pandemic there was talk of Ben Affleck wanting to create a remake of this film in 2020. I do not know if such a desire will ever come to pass, I feel this movie is one of those classics that should just be left alone as it is.

Space Sweepers (2021)

Space Sweepers (2021)


7/10


Starring

Song Joong-ki

Kim Tae-ri

Jin Seon-kyu

Yoo Hae-jin



Directed by Jo Sung-hee



Space Sweepers is a totally entertaining film, a movie that is over two hours long, but it is so intense that you will not notice. The acting and the whole idea of the movie is not something you will see everyday. I like the way the movie takes all the cool ideas of a future from other movies and adds that one common theme from other popular space films, humans moving to the planet Mars.

The acting is very styled and the cast members are from all over. The way the movie then blends all these talents is something you have to watch yourself to appreciate.

Then comes the effects, these hit you from every side as class is dripping on your screen. The space chase scenes are something I think no other movie has been able to achieve in a while, then the intensity of the action itself is so engaging that you are captured in it. The movie plays like a book, I felt like I was reading a book and like every good book, things unravel every where and people come and go. I recall seeing a character and wondering what major role will this character play and later their gone.

Space Sweepers is a South Korean space opera set in the year 2092, where the earth has become almost uninhabitable and a cooperation has built a new orbiting home for humanity. The whole plan of the company is to turn Mars into the new earth and only a chosen few will get to go. Even the orbiting home built only houses a chosen few which the company CEO James Sullivan has chosen as worth.

Everyone else who have not been selected or cannot afford to live in this new orbiting home have to stay back on earth. Many have now found a new way of survival, they are called Space Sweepers. What they do is collect debris of fallen satellite and space junk and sell it for money to feed their family. These collection can be intense, as we see these people pilot their space ships trying their best to capture the largest junk of space debris they could find. They also have to survive the huge taxes and are given loans with ridiculous interest rates.

Our man focus is the Victory crew, which has Kim Tae-ho, Tiger Park, and Bubs (An Android), led by Captain Jang. There is something sinister about James Sullivan, and he is in search for a child and has many negative news about her spreading. Weirdly enough that child ends up in the Victory. Amazed by their find and more amazed when they discover that she is wanted by a terrorist group known as the Black Fox, they decided to cut a deal to sell the child from two million dollars. That deal did not go as plan and now the crew are on the run with this little girl and everyone is starting to get fond of her.

The movie seems to have cost a pretty penny, but it was made with less than $22 million, I guess what I get from this movie is that you do not have to spend over $100 million to make an eye pooping masterpiece.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018)

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018)


 6/10


Starring

Jack Black

Cate Blanchett

Owen Vaccaro



Directed by Eli Roth



The movie is based on the 1973 novel of the same name by John Bellairs. The book was the first of a series of twelve and I wonder if this movie had been more profitable maybe we would have seen a sequel. The movie is a dark fantasy with just enough comedy, but the gaps in between made way for boredom to set in as you watch. The movie does not strike me as something you must to see, but as one of those movies where the actors did their best, but the material was subpar.

Even the effects will come off as average, better than what you will see in B-movies, but not enough and for a dark fantasy movie. There seem to be less use of effects as I would have expected (except when magic was being done). The movie also had wasted casts which only served one purpose and that was that. Makes you wonder if the movie will not have gotten along fine if they were not there, example being the antagonist’s wife.

The plot is around the life of Lewis (Owen Vaccaro), a young boy who just lost his parents. All he had left of them was a Magic 8-ball they gave him and a picture. He was to now start living with his uncle Jonathan (Jack Black), who is as weird as they come. We also meet someone who seems to come in and out of the house when she wants, it is Jonathan’s neighbor and best friend Florence (Cate Blanchett).

After an odd night, the next night led Lewis to discover that there is something about Jonathan that he is not sharing. When he found Jonathan with an axe and having a go at a wall, his panic led Jonathan to open up to him a little.

We learn that Jonathan is a warlock and Florence too has magic. There is a clock in the house that they are trying to find. Lewis immediately wanted to learn magic and Jonathan started teaching him. There was, but one rule in the house Lewis was to stay away from a locked cabinet. It is not hard to guess that Lewis broke that rule and set all hell loose. We get to see Lewis as a child trying to impress other kids in school so they can hang with him. Then there is Jonathan who has never had any experience raising children, struggle to raise his sister’s.

Lewis’s blunder let loose a dangerous foe, which Jonathan feared will be bring the end of everything as we know it.

The House with a Clock in its walls is one of those forgettable movies that you will see and wonder some time after that happened in it.

Breaking News In Yuba County (2021)

Breaking News In Yuba County (2021)


6/10


Staring

Allison Janney

Mila Kunis

Awkwafina

Regina Hall

Wanda Sykes



Directed by Tate Taylor



I have to be honest the first five minutes of this movie is begging you to turn it off. Who starts a movie with a woman forcing down her own throat positive speech, have her sister (Nancy – Mila Kunis) treat her as insignificant. Add to that her husband Karl, is having an affair plus she books a cake for herself for her birthday and they got her name wrong. A three letter name Sue (Allison Janney) was written as Suc and the store did not give a damn. I myself did not give a damn to continue watching, but the rule of mine to give movies just twenty minutes to impress before turning them off, paid out. This a very overly violent movie that does not care who gets shot or why.

The acting in this movie well, is not bad as you would expect from the cast’s in this film and the plot for the crappy initial five minutes turned out to be very well thought out. The movie has a focus on what happens when a bunch of selfish people who are willing to do anything for attention are let loose.

You will also love the very different characters the movie have, we have Peter’s boss played by Wanda Sykes a woman who just wants to have the adrenaline rush of being a criminal.

Back to the plot, the movie took a turn when Sue catches Karl her husband banging another lady and gets an heart attack. You will think for me the movie would have taken off, when we discover that Karl and his brother Peter have been running a money laundering scheme through the bank where Karl works. The movie took off when, you discover that Sue is not completely well screwed in the brains.

Now the people Peter and Karl have been working for, want them to continue working for them. Peter and Karl on the other hand wanted to turn over a new leaf, but these people (led by Awkwafina) will not let them rest. So Karl takes the money, remember this is happening on the day of his wife’s birthday and takes off to meet his bit on the side.

Sue who actually goes to Karl’s office to confront him on not remembering his birthday, sees Karl drive off with flowers in his hand, and a suitcase (the one Karl filled with money and is taking off with) she follows him. This led to where she catches him.

The movie is very twisted and has all the twisted characters all trying their best to screw up things the more.

And Then There Were None (1945)

And Then There Were None (1945)


6/10


Starring

Barry Fitzgerald

Walter Huston

Louis Hayward



Directed by René Clair



I saw the 2015 BBC TV series adaptation first before seeing this and even though both kind of remixed the ending, the remix in this here 1945 version kind of messed up the book ending for me. The book’s ending is very masterly crafted to portray the killer as a sick man, whose aim to punish everyone who escaped the law was successful. Here in this movie, he was also sick man whose aim to punish everyone who escaped the law was unsuccessful.

Based on one of the most (if not the most) successful mystery thrillers written by Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None in 1939. The movie’s plot is framed on a counting nursery rhyme Ten Little Indians (Christie actually released the book as Ten Little Niggers).

The movie for me fails to tick off all the boxes of a masterpiece, the pacing at times lost me as there were moments of boredom in between. The acting was top notch, but in such a tense situation with your lives on the line, the romantic tension seemed forced. The cinematography was not one of the best I have seen, but it was cool enough to take this movie from start to finish.

The movie plot starts with eight people arriving by boat on an island based on an invitation by a certain Mr. Owen, which it so happens none of them has met or known. On getting to the island, they are being waited upon by a couple Mr. and Mrs. Rogers who were hired by the same Mr. Owen to care for the guest. Mr. Rogers was given instructions to play a record at a particular time and in doing so, the voice from the recorder, listed out the crimes of all the ten people in the room. It so happens there is no getting off the island until the boat which brought the eight comes back, and now we have these people who are accused for being part or perpetuating a plot which ended up getting someone killed.

The group sit around the dinning table and notices figurines which depicted ten little Indians, a counting nursery rhyme. One of the guest recited the rhyme, while the others just lazied about wondering why they are here and discovering that neither knows who Mr. Owen is. After one of the guest plays on the piano the Ten Little Indians via the sheet on the piano, he takes his drinks and dies of poisoning. They move him and soon discover that one of the figurines on the table is missing and this man’s death corresponds with how one of the little Indians in the rhyme dies. Soon, more start to die in accordance with the rhyme depicting how they would and the rest are left to wonder who was committing these crimes against them and how they are to survive.

This is a nice film, but the romantic attraction between two of the occupants and how the movie changed the end, made this not such a grand watch for me and made me prefer the BBC 2015 adaptation better.

Palmer (2021)

Palmer (2021)

 


7/10

Starring

Justin Timberlake

Alisha Wainwright

June Squibb

Juno Temple


Directed by Fisher Stevens


Palmer is a cool movie which played safe by putting the lead in an already made family – Palmer filled in a role already being done by his grandmother. The movie then takes off from there, even though you can already predict the end from the start it is the journey to that end that is the movie I enjoyed. Justin Timberlake gave a fantastic performance, leading the way in trying to make a young boy feel comfortable in his own skin. You get to watch these two characters struggle with the person each has chosen to be then and later permit each to be all they can be.

The whole movie is about second chances, and even though you may have seen enough of that – I feel Palmer for all its worth tried its best to pull tears from my eyes in some places. It is so that it is the most likely places that you will swell up inside and watch the movie finally take shape.

Palmer starts with the character, Palmer (Justin Timberlake) getting out of jail and move in with his grandmother. We can tell he did not have the traditional upbringing and it seemed set that his grandmother raised him.

She was happy to have him back and he had to turn over a new leaf now that he is out face the challenges of getting a job and always have to be careful not to mess up his parole. When he had to take his grandmother to church a young boy joined them named Sam. Sam we get lived with his mother who is a drug addict and goes off on some long trips living Sam to stay at times weeks with Palmer’s grandmother. Palmer was not much of a fan of Sam who wants to be a princess and likes dolls. Sam gets picked on a lot because he also likes things like dress-up, putting on makeup and all that. What was challenging to know in this film is that Sam gets picked on not only by children, even adults too.

When the grandmother passes Palmer is the one left to care for the boy and he did it grudgingly at first, tried to change Sam and soon we get to watch them bond. We watch the challenges of the system which claims it wants to give you a second chance, but will not to a convict. A mother who loves her son, but her drug addiction is making it hard to care for him.

I will say that what carries this film over the bar for me is the acting from everyone in it. They were able to convey the needed joy you get when watching a good film and make you forget that time is passing by.

You can watch Palmer on Apple TV+.

Ghost (1990)

Ghost (1990)


6/10


Starring

Patrick Swayze

Demi Moore

Whoopi Goldberg

Tony Goldwyn



Directed by Jerry Zucker



Ghost is our classic love story from the 90s. Which comes packed with drama, thriller, romance and some comedy. I recall seeing the movie so much and the joy of watching Sam (the late Patrick Swayze) and Molly (Demi Moore) mess up a clay mold. Seeing the movie now, after so many years it does not hold up much in the spiritual arena. I get to enjoy the fantastic acting from the leads with majority of my praises for Tony Goldwyn who plays Carl. I also got to enjoy the comedy, but not much in the romance or the spooky arena.

My critic mainly is on the whole idea of the other side and the movie’s two action scenes. If we are to go by this film’s logic no ghost is moving on then, because who does not have unfinished business. Lets not talk about the demons coming to pick up the bad guys which we do not know which criteria it uses. I can want to argue the whole ghost touching things stuff, but horror movies do it so.. Then the whole Sam taking over Oda Mae’s (Whoopi Goldbery) body scene, please. Then the action scenes, I was like, “people’s life were in danger can you stop with the hunting tactics and just stop these guys.”

The movie shows us Sam and Carl two friends who are bankers. Sam notices some irregularities in some bank accounts and Carl wanted to help, but Sam wanted to handle it himself. Later on Sam and Molly were returning home from an outing when a mugging went wrong and Sam got killed. His ghost did not leave, but stayed behind following Molly everywhere. When Sam sees the person that mugged him come back to his and Molly’s apartment looking for something. Sam realises that he was murdered and knows Molly is in trouble. While wandering about, thinking of what to do, he sees a psychic parlor and goes there hoping for some help. He then realises the psychic (Oda Mae) was a fake and while talking to himself, she actually hears him which freaks her out. It so happens the fake psychic was actually able to communicate with ghosts without her knowledge of she able to do so.

Soon Sam was able to convince her to help him she could hear him but not see him, so together they had to help Molly and stop the bad guys.

Ghost was a huge financial success, making more than twenty times its $22 million budget in the box office. And even though the film received mixed reviews from critics it earned itself five nominations at the Academy Awards, wining two for Best Supporting Actress (Whoopi Goldberg) and Best Screenplay.

Finding 'Ohana (2021)

 Finding 'Ohana (2021)


7/10


Starring

Kea Peahu
Alex Aiono
Lindsay Watson
Owen Vaccaro
Kelly Hu

Directed by Jude Weng


Finding ‘Ohana is one of those feel good movies we all need. The movie plays homage to all the fun adventure movies of the 80s and 90s, with a lot of ideas gotten from the 1985 adventure comedy The Goonies. Think of this movie like The Goonies remastered to fit into the time and it sure delivers the needed laugh, adventure, mystery and all round enjoyment needed during this pandemic times. Who would have thought in March 2020 when The Covid-19 outbreak became a pandemic that it will carry on until now most of 2021. Here is a feel good movie you can watch that will take your mind off the craziness outside and just warm your heart.

I have to give kudos to the child actors here in this movie. The two of them managed to convey the needed emotions for each scene, especially Owen Vaccaro who was the lead in The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018).

The movie is well written and the pacing is good, with some nice cinematography of the island of Hawaii. Even though the movie extends towards two-hours the editing and directing of the movie makes you either captivated with the current adventure, laughing at what is happening or amazed by your surroundings.

The movie starts with an intro to our lead a young adventure hunter girl around twelve named Pili (Kea Peahu) she and her brother (Ioane by Alex Aiono) with their widow mother (Leilana) travel to Hawaii. Theirs is no vacation, but to visit their grand-father who Leilana believes is not taking good care of himself. There Pili continues her exploring of the house and discovers a journal of a man named Monks who along with two other men, kept a treasure buried away in the mountains. Her discovery of this journal kept away by her grand-father also led her to meet Casper (Owen Vaccaro) another young person her age. She was able to convince Casper about her hunch on the treasure location and won his help to save her save her grand-father from financial woes.

They run off, and later Hana (Casper’s friend) and Ioane go searching for them. Soon the four are soaked deep into the mountains searching for the treasure and the way out.

This would have had a higher rating if they had removed two things which were just too cheesy to ignore and looked forced so it became annoying. The first was the grumpy old man. No need for this forced father to daughter not getting along dynamics. Or the mean old grandpa at first to then turn to sweet grandpa later to his grand-daughter. The second is the cheesy romantic zing they felt the movie needed. It was cheesy and became very much annoying watching Ioane try to catch Hana and she falling for him. Like nothing happened that would have prompted her liking him back, but they just had to force the romance.

I recommend this movie to anyone who liked The Goonies and to anyone who just love feel good movies.


The Little Things (2021)

The Little Things (2021)


4/10


Starring

Denzel Washington

Rami Malek

Jared Leto



Directed by John Lee Hancock



The Little Things is very unsatisfying. The movie reminds you of a lot of cool psychological thrillers, then you get to the new guy inviting the old guy to his house and you place that psychological thriller. This movie is a bad Seven (1995) wannabe. Seven stars Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt and this movie feels like someone saw Seven and wanted to make his own movie with the same dark feel.

In this here movie we have an old detective (Denzel Washington as Deke) leading the new guy (Rami Malek as Jim) around. The movie wastes so much time and mystery going over the old guys past than it does investigating. Hell, I got so tired of the flashbacks and references to what happened in the past that I wondered if the present situation mattered at all. For the sake of the time I had invested into this movie I had to stay attentive so I do not lose sight of the present situation.

Allow this amateur reviewer to speak more about this movie, you see in the end the movie just glazes over the needed investigating by these so called bad-ass detectives. Then it links up Deke’s past with Jim’s future, then the movie ends not satisfying any need of seeing it.

The movie starts with a lady getting away from a man we suspect is out to hurt her. Then we jump ahead to Deke trying to get some evidence in a situation that looks like everyone he speaks with wants him to leave. Soon Deke gets a running with the new detective filling the space he left behind, Jim. It so happens Deke used to be a detective a really good one, until a series of murders got him obsessed and ruined his life. He had to step down from the job and take another as a deputy sheriff elsewhere. He and Jim did not hit it off at first, but a string of murders similar to the one Deke was obsessing about in the past brought them to the same plate.

The movie then takes deeper dives into Deke’s past and we get to know why he is so obsessed with the case. Then they find a suspect a certain man named Sparma (Jared Leto) who is so weird and strange that he ticks all the box. The two become so glued on Sparma that it turns to something else, what that is, I will advise you read the spoiler and stop there.

One good thing the movie has are three lead characters who played to their strengths. Denzel played the old guy who has seen it all, Rami played the annoying new guy who is ready to work with anyone to get the job done. Then there is Leto who played the psycho who makes you feel creepy inside.

Written, produced and directed by John Lee Hancock this is a movie I will not be recommending to anyone to see, even die hard fans of Denzel or the other two.

The Princess and the Frog (2009)

The Princess and the Frog (2009)


8/10


 Starring the voices of

Anika Noni Rose

Bruno Campos

Keith David

Michael-Leon Wooley

Jim Cummings



Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker



I have to say, I enjoyed this animation more than I expected to and what I did recall when I saw it when it was released was how much I did not like it, but I must have been biased. My bias must have been towards wanting CGI instead of the traditional animation. That said this is one of the good animations which I will be seeing a second time. Their spin on the The Frog Princess story is beautiful. Another thing wonderful about this flick is the setting, this is set in New Orleans in America and we have numerous black folks everywhere.

This animated musical fantasy romantic comedy is Disney's 49th animated feature film. The film is loosely based on the novel The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker (which in turn is based of Brothers Grimm’s The Frog Prince). When the voodoo man sings, you will listen, because it is so good. It has been a long time since I have seen a Disney music have my attention and this one did with its, "I got friends from the other side." The movie has beautiful voice casting with singer actress Anika Noni Rose being the voice of Tiana and the movie is set in New Orleans with a lot of black casting.

The plot here has many people involved, we have the Prince who has been cut off by his parents because of his reckless living. He comes to New Orleans and there he meets the shadow man who promises to help him get what he wants, which is more money. The Shadow man on the other hand makes a deal with the Prince’s butler who wants to be a prince with money and influence. The Shadow man and the butler’s deal had the Prince turned to a frog, and they use his blood to turn the butler into an image of the Prince so he can marry a lady with money.

The lady with money in question Lottie, is a friend to Tiana and they have known each other since they were children. Tiana has a dream of opening her own restaurant and she has been working her butts off to raise money for it. It so happens Lottie’s father invited the prince to their home with Lottie’s plan was to woe and marry the Prince (who is the butler). The real prince who is a frog escapes his capture and finds his way to Tiana, she was freaked out by a talking frog, but he was able to get her to believe he was the prince and if she kisses him, he will become a prince back. She kisses him and she turns into a frog too. Now the duo must find a way to get themselves back to be humans. While the Shadow man is looking for the prince to capture him, as they need more of his blood to keep the butler’s transformation going.

The movie has some stolen elements from All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989) which is very obvious. Remember in All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989) when Charlie and the little girl Anne-Marie were to be eaten by a crocodile, but were saved when Charlie hit a high note? The crocodile could not bear to eat anything that could sing like Charlie. Well, they stole that.

The movie is written and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. These two have been working in Disney for years and they both worked on Disney classics like, The Fox and the Hound (1981), The Little Mermaid (1989), Aladdin (1992), Bolt (2008), Zootopia (2016) and many more.

The movie was a critical success and a mild box office hit, but it would have turned a profit with the home video sales. It is worth seeing and having the children by your side when you do.

Brother Bear (2003)

Brother Bear (2003)


6/10


Starring the voices of

Joaquin Phoenix

Jeremy Suarez

Rick Moranis

Dave Thomas



Directed by Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker



Brother Bear is one of those Disney animated movies, that is cool to see with a very nice soundtrack. The animation is a total emotional ride with a certain aim to get the viewer feeling they could do the same thing if there were in the shoes of the lead, which in reality – hell no.

The story is not bad and the animation is good, this is Disney’s 44th animated feature film and the genre is adventure comedy-drama. It is also the last huge theatrical success of the studio using traditional animation, before they finally moved to CGI for their productions. After this the other three traditional animations they did were not as successful. In fact Home on the Range (2004) and Winnie the Pooh (2011) were box office duds, the last traditional animation The Princess and the Frog (2009), more of broke even at the box office.

Alright, back to this flick. Seeing this for the second time after my viewing back in 2003, I have a less appreciation of it. The story is set in a post-ice age Alaska where the people believe that the great spirits are responsible for the creation of all creatures. Their believe is that the aurora is where the spirit lives.

In a festival the people in the town when they come of age are given totems which are supposed to help shape them into men. In a trio of brothers Kenai is the youngest, followed by Denahi and Sitka is the eldest Kenai got his totem as the brothers before him has. His totem is that of love symbolized as a bear. He was upset by it wondering how focusing on love will lead him to become a man and fulfill his calling. On getting back home, Kenai failed to keep their food out of reach of bears and a bear ran away with their food. Kenai decided to go get it back and faced up with a bear for no reason. This led to his brothers coming to his aid which led to the death of Sitka. Kenai was in rage and did not listen to Denahi who told him to let it go and not anger the spirits by pursuing revenge. Kenai went to seek and kill the bear which angered the spirits and he was turned into a bear.

Denahi went looking for his brother and sees a bear in his place with Kenai’s clothes ripped. Not knowing it was Kenai, but thinking the bear had killed Kenai – he was now in rage and also sort revenge. Now Kenai must get to the place where the aurora is at its brightest so he can get the spirits to change him back, but to aid him was a younger bear, Koda. Koda was also heading in that direction to seek his mother, as they lost one another a while back. A weird relationship develops as these two head towards their destination.

The musical soundtrack has Phil Collins on it, even though he did not sing all the songs like he did in Tarzan.

The animation is not bad and the story is captivating. The animation has a long singing scene which was just not needed. It is done well enough for children to watch anytime and enjoy. For an adult the movie will be classified as ok, but not exciting.

The movie got some mixed reviews and box office wise the movie budget $46 million, brought in over $250 million and like half of that more from home video sales. The movie was nominated for Best Animated Feature, but lost to Finding Nemo. A direct-to-DVD sequel Brother Bear 2 was released in 2006, not worth seeing.

Sword of the Stranger (2006)

Sword of the Stranger (2006)


8/10


Starring the voices

Tomoya Nagase

Yuri Chinen

Naoto Takenaka

Kōichi Yamadera



Directed by Masahiko Minami



Sword of the Stranger is one of those classy viewing experience that leaves you wondering why such a classy anime has not had a live action remake. This is a blood thirsty, sword wielding samurai action film that not only pleases with its action sequences, but also it’s story.

Here is a story that is easy to follow and does not waste time in some form of mystery. I like how the animation had many strings that you feel needed to be explored, but just left it. It felt like Bones the production studio/director was like – leave it who cares where all these lead.

No point trying to make a deep story of were Nanashi is from or why Kotaro’s fate which led him to be a chosen vessel to be sacrificed, instead they left all that for a succinct story with enough engaging action scenes.

The story takes place in Japan during I believe the Sengoku period where many warring factions are fighting for control. Well, that has nothing to do with this story, because our story starts with a young boy named Kataro and his dog who are being led away by a man as we come to realise they are being chased. The man tells Kataro to run and head to a temple, giving him a jewel and ask him to sell it in case he needs money.

We see the young boy some time later, stealing to feed as he journeys his way to the temple to which he was sent. We then meet some Chinese warriors being led by some Japanese who are looking for the boy. Out of the Chinese men one of them is a foreigner with blond hair and blue eyes, who was a bad ass as we see him kill a ton of men who attacked their party on his own.

We come to realise the Chinese crew have paid for land in Japan and are building some sort of thing, and the boy is needed for their structure to fulfill its intent. The young boy is now seen trying to cook the fish he just stole, when he sees a man (Nanashi) resting in his present hideout. He tells the man that he does not plan to share his food with him, but his dog took a liking to Nanashi and the two ate together. The two were attacked and Nanashi saved the boy from his attackers. The young boy promises his jewel if Nanashi helps him find the temple they were going.

Nanashi took the offer and their journey had many mishaps, fighting and some very insightful understanding of everything happening.

This animation was rated as one of the best animation at the time of its release and I for one believe regardless of when, this is one of the best things you can see.

Wicked City (1987)

Wicked City (1987)


7/10


Starring the voices of

Yūsaku Yara

Toshiko Fujita

Ichirō Nagai

Takeshi Aono



Directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri



Are you down for some neo-noir feel flick with some dark fantasy? Well, everything about this movie just boils the spirit in those genre. The art with its plot is somewhat deep at the start, but midway it gave way to some unneeded erotica. The anime is about a world where humans and demons exist together another sad thing about this flick is the ending, it is sort of lame and anticlimactic.

What you will love in this anime movie is the pellets of suspense it leaves behind as you watch. It is like the movie wants you to have a notepad to note down things or have in mind to give the film a re-watch. So you can catch where the pellets of suspense are, where they are pointed and to be sure you did not miss anything. The anime is written in a linear manner which makes it easy to follow and those suspense pellets soon add up.

There is but to note, the movie has a lot of erotica. It seems to have a misogynistic theme which is not subtle. Even though the lead's partner is supposed to be a bad-ass, she is not free of this sort of abuse, which to me were parts in the movie I felt it did not need.

The movie starts with the lead Taki kind of telling us a story, then the anime moves from him telling us a story to him explaining things as we watch. He does not get to talk often so don’t worry. Taki is a secret agent here in this world where the demon world and the human world has made a treaty. They will both live without fighting or causing harm to one another. Taki’s job is to keep the rogue demons under strong watch, which mostly include fighting and killing them.

The treaty that was signed was running out and needed to be resigned, Taki was told that a certain man is needed for the resigning and he is to guard the man. He was to get a partner a demon girl named Makie. The old man they were supposed to guard turns out to be a pervert, and the two had their job cut out for them as the demons were ready to do anything to kill the three of them.

In the end, I still say this is a good animation mostly because of the linear way the plot is set. Even though I liked this flick, I did not fancy the constant misogyny and believe this movie would have been better received if it wasn't present. So much unnecessary erotica that did not add up to anything.

Ninja Scroll (1993)

 Ninja Scroll (1993)


8/10 


Starring the voices of

Kōichi Yamadera
Emi Shinohara
Takeshi Aono
Daisuke Gōri

Directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri


Ninja Scroll is one of the first (if not the first) anime I saw when I was a child. It took an old friend to remind me of its existence before I can even recall that I saw an anime as such. This is one of those classics that live up to the hype. The story is very engaging and the mystery is held up so you have to be fully invested before you can get what is going on and why.

This anime does not play for the children, this is adult based with nudity, sexual molestation, killings, blood and some gore.

I want to believe done back in 1993, this is one of the few that made it easy for others to follow suits.

The animation is well crafted and the fight scenes are not overly glorified. This is a man (a ninja) with a girl trying to stop a whole team of ninjas known as demons where each has some sort of special powers.

The gap between the ninjas with special powers and the real people is much, but then the skill of the lead character Jubei made up for the distance between the demon ninjas and him. Then as you would expect the final battle was everything you would expect from such a movie as this.

The plot of Ninja Scroll starts with us meeting Jubei as he kills some men with skills that I felt were setup to show off the kind of person he is.

From there we see the powers of these demon ninjas, there are eight of them and they have killed everyone in a town and made it as so that these people were killed by a plague.

We see their ability to manipulate corpses, some have the ability of not being able to be pierced and some can even manipulate the surroundings before you.

Kagero is a lady ninja and part of a clan of ninjas that were sent to investigate what had happened in the city. On their way there, all of the ninjas were killed, except her. She was taken as a token of one of the eight demons. He took her to a place so he can rape her and he had already begun when Jubei showed up to interrupt.

The fight was brief and Jubei and Kagero were able to escape. The demon chased them still and got himself killed.

Jubei and Kagero part, with Kagero reporting the mater to her superiors who ask her to further investigate. Jubei was approached by an old man who tells him to work for him for a hundred pieces of gold. Jubei turns down the offer and soon he was attacked by another of the eight. This time this one wanted revenge, Jubei was able to escape thanks to the old man, who then went on to poison him. Now he had a problem, the old man had the antidote to the poison and was not willing to give it until Jubei helps him.

The man wants Jubei’s help to kill the remaining seven demons, while he investigates what happened to the people of that town. Their paths cross again with Kagero who then joins the group, as we see them fight their way with the remaining seven to get to the bottom of the case and Jubei faces up with a ghost from his past.

Ninja Scroll is one of the best things you can see when it comes to anime or animation.