Archive | April 2020

Predator: Hunting Grounds Game Review

By: Justin Hopkins

When this game was announced was very much on the fence about whether or not I wanted to bother with it. Was a fan of Friday The 13th and then Dead By Daylight. Enjoying Asymmetrical Games, but wasn’t real enthusiastic about what I was seeing from this. Which changed after I played their demo. Having a great time as both Fireteam and playing as the Predator. So much so that I ended up pre-ordering the game. Looking forward to seeing what the full game had to offer and now with an extra day to play. Does it still hold on to its charm. Let’s devein and check it out shall we.

Being an online multiplayer, it doesn’t have much of a story to it. You either play the role of Fireteam, where you work with 3 other soldiers (As long as nothing goes wrong in loading) attempting top complete missions and take down AI. While at the same time, another player is hunting you as the Predator. You win by either escaping on the chopper, downing the Predator while escaping their explosion, or defending it’s body for extraction; you may or may not have to defuse its bomb.

A simple story that works just find. Puts you in the jungle just like Arnie and his men were in the first movie. They make the most of one short map with various different missions. For starting out, works just fine, with room to grow. Hope we get more like a artic temple like from AVP or something off planet.

Breaking down the sides more, we will start with the Fireteam and you got four different Soldiers to pick from; Assault, Recon, Scout and than Support. Each having their own skills and attributes. Assault being your balanced. Recon and Scouts being a little more speedy, but Scout being faster but has less health and can’t carry as much. Support being more armored but slower. You have various perks to play with that can boast your speed, strength, reload and even how much damage you can inflict on the Predator. Wide range of weapons, Assault rifles to shotguns and if you pre-ordered you get the mini gun that I have yet to use, because I like the others a little more, but none of it will help if you aren’t team oriented. The key to playing as Fireteam is working together. Making sure you all keep an eye out on one another and if all four of you are swarming together. Then you’re going to clean up. Stealth can be a thing, especially if you are down members and need to call for reinforcements, but as long as you are working together. Probably won’t get to that point.

Alright, on to the headliner and the one most people, myself included, were looking forward to play; The Predator, or Yautja of you prefer. They come in three classes; Hunter, Scout, and Berserker.  Hunter is balanced, Scout if fast and has very little health ( I have not played this class and probably never will. Ever) and Berserker is your tank. The customization is a lot of fun. Picking between male and female and what masks and predlocks you can put on them. Various weapons and traps and I am clearly avoiding gameplay.

I don’t want to seem like I am trashing it isn’t terrible. They are very challenging to learn how to play, because you have to be patient. Mess with the tight group. Try to force them to split up and pick off stragglers or catch the right time to charge them and I think that is where it loses me a little. The wait times are so long, to get into a game, to attempt to break the group up in some chance you even can and don’t have to settle for a yolo play at the end. Meanwhile, their health is atrociously low. It does not take much to be gunned down. The reason I won’t even touch scout. Not when Berserker can be taken out with ease. Not even just playing as the Predator. Don’t even really feel intimated when I go against them. I don’t want them to be walking tanks who eat bullets, but something has to be done to make them a bit of a threat, and I think that a single player mode can help out.

I think a big help can be a place where you can practice playing as the Predator. Learning how to play him more effectively and how everything works against harder AI then people who have been playing shooters for ten plus years. Can practice movements, trap placements and be a better player before going to face others. Not to mention you give people a chance to just play the game, instead of waiting ten plus  minutes to play a five minute round.

I know a complaint I have seen is how thick the forest can be and it can be hard to see incoming AI, but I personally like that. Makes them a bit of a bit of a challenge. Adding to their ability to be a threat and they can be. Especially, if you get swarmed and Predator is pressuring with them. All making for more of a fun experience.

With all of that said, Predator: Hunting Grounds is still a pretty fun game to play. Got a fun little shooter with the Fireteam and despite my personal complaints. There is fun to be had with the Predator. You just got to be patient when playing the role and see a lot of potential going forward.

As always, I hope you enjoyed and…

Thank You For Reading.

Saturday Sequel Presents BulletProof 2

By Paul Anthony

You ever come a cross a sequel that you never knew was a round or even imagine that there would be one regardless of how it was released? Yeah that is exactly what happen to me. So lets start from the beginning to explain everything a little better here. The film I am reviewing here is Bulletproof 2. Which is the sequel to 1996 flop that starred Damon Wayans and Adam Sandler in which the film was a buddy cop movie that was just a waste of time. The film manage to gross 22 million dollars in 1996 but their rotten tomato score was only 8 percent, which means no one liked it. Now here we are 24 years later talking about the sequel which came out earlier this year but a direct to video release. Before I talk about the plot for this film I have to say it took me a minute to realize that the two main characters from the first film are in this film as well just not played by Wayans and Sandler instead they are replaced by Faizon Love and Kirk Fox. To the film’s credit they recast the people with two people that would match up with the previous actors in the sense of comedians and so forth. Usually I start with saying if this film has the magic of the first film but the problem here is the first film didn’t have magic, so could this film be any worse? You said yes then you would be somewhat right and let me explain in just a second.

The plot was pretty much on point with the first film. Carter has to go undercover to solve a case which he uses his old pal Archie Moses name but then things get a little crazy and he actually needs Moses to join him. Things go according to plan except when there is a crack in the foundation and Moses rats them both out thinking he would be saved but instead the bad guys or bad women won’t no loose ends. Nevertheless the film has Carter getting shot in the head again but this time Moses sticks by his side until he awakes from his coma which was just a month and Moses departs wishing his friend the best.

Pretty simple plot like I said, well the actor was okay at best but the comedy really wasn’t there. They were trying too hard to be funny and the laughs weren’t there much like the first film. One of the bigger issues  I had was the nudity in the film. It took direct to video back a step. This isn’t the late 90’s where these films had to that to get the attention of audience. In the end I am actually giving this film a F for failure because it was pointless to even make this film and if you were going to make this film then the point was make it better than first film which wasn’t hard but in this case I must rather watch the first film then this.

Freddy ten years ago!

By Paul Anthony

Ten years ago a horror legend returned to the big screen and at first it seemed like everyone was happy but sad that Robert Englund was no longer going to play the league character a role that he played from 1984 to 2003. The film had Jackie Earle Haley play Freddy. Up to this point Haley has been around in Hollywood since the 70s but mostly in roles you may have forgotten about, now by all accounts he made for the right person to take on the role of Freddy. With the cast locked up and the film only cost 35 million and with the previous year having a new Jason film that which the fan base was happy with, it only seem natural that we would strike oil again and have another hit on our hands. In truth the film did become a hit and made 116 million from the 35 million dollar budget. However the fanbase decided to start turning on the film for a few reasons.

One reason was because fans didn’t like the use of CGI for the face of Freddy even though it actually made it look more real then the cartoon make up that he had for a face before. Sure maybe there could have been a mixture of both but to me there was nothing to that really. I started to hear about people complain about how there wasn’t any humor like the previous films now this is use true but the producers made it clear that they were going with a darker tone, a more scarier Freddy. To me that was the only way to go in today’s horror genre. The comedy of Freddy was no longer carrying the franchise just look at the numbers they began to drop once the story pretty much ended. Sure Jason vs Freddy was a modest hit mostly because people been craving to see these two go at it since the early 90s, on top of that you had two fanbases coming together. The final reason was many people blamed Jackie who in my mind was the best part of the film, fans came out and wanted Robert Englund back but here is the thing when producers said reboot at that point you knew Englund was done and trust me it was time to move on.

The film itself overall wasn’t bad by any means, sure it wasn’t biggest hit for a horror film but still good. The truth is many people wanted fresh stuff and Freddy is a legend there is a place for him and always will be but that is in the past. I am sad to see Jackie be one and done, we know the studio wants to reboot the film again and after ten years its a good gap to do so. The biggest rumor that Kevin Bacon is being eyed to play Freddy, which is a good choice he has the talent to honestly mix the two Freddies but we will see in the near future if this comes to be. In my final words I do say this enjoy the 2010 reboot and see the good that the film with making Freddy scary and not making him a joke!!

Bad Week for the Employees of Vince! Part 2

By Paul Anthony

Last week I did a blog on the XFL shutting down and everyone basically got fired. At this point it was clear Vince was never invested in that league as much as he was suppose to be but in this blog we are going to talk about the employees that he is truly invested in. Last week WWE laid off more than 30 people from the producers to on screen talent in order to cut cost and by that you would think that this outbreak is killing WWE. However that isn’t actually true, yes with the live events being canceled they aren’t bringing in as much money but they are like any other league and that they are still in great shape but there was reason for the cuts which we will talk about in a second.

It has been reported that WWE does have 500 million in the bank at this point to keep the company float if it ever faced some real hard times. I am guessing Vince learned this from the issues WWE faced in 90’s. So they have reserve money basically. Now Vince we all know some times can sign people and over pay them for example and Brock and Bill Goldberg contracts pay them several million dollars combine for their thirty second matches that they do for a few times a year instead of building stars and that would actually increase profits and would actually cut cost but not people that work hard for him and give up their home lives to make him money.

Now the amount of money they saved by cutting people that they did would have only used up a few percent of their reserve money for a few months and they could have easily refunded their bank account once everything returned to normal. Charts showed that even with this shutdown going, they would have still made a profit for the year yet was there something behind this more than what we are to believe? Most likely this was a move to please the investors who want keep making more and more money and Vince who wanted to please them and not touch the reserve and cater to their needs. Down right shame if you ask me that in these hard times, people who have money still want make more money.

There have been rumors that some of the people that they let go would return. Sadly everyone that was on screen still had a 90 days no complete clause in their contract. Which leaves WWE their only option for the next few months. In which WWE would bring them back. Now When things return to normal I have to wonder if wrestlers will truly want to wrestle for Vince after they saw how the hard working employees got treated through these tough times. I hope AEW continues but there also other promotions as well that will treat these wrestlers better than this. In the end of this two blogs about Vince I have to say even if you the money, you can’t trust him.

Remake Vs Original: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers The Finale

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

  And here we are. The end of the Invasion Of The Body Snatcher movies. It has been a fun ride throughout. While the 1978 version has been clinging to its number one spot. There hasn’t been a bad movie in the bunch. Both the 1956 version and Body Snatchers from 1993 were both really good films with plenty of their own ideas and spins on the ball. So, much so I was looking forward to see what the 2007 The Invasion brought to the table. Much like I did in part 2 in this run; I won’t be covering the 1978 version here, since I already did it in Part 1 and would just be a copy and paste deal. So, if you want to check out my review for that, hop back a run and check out my Part 1. As a bonus, at the very end, will have all four listed from the least to most liked. Alright, with that said, let’s dive into The Invasion shall we.

  The Invasion 2007

We start off with flashing lights and the main character going through a pharmacy. Telling herself to not go asleep. Looking for pills and drinks to keep herself awake. Seeing a door shaking. People pounding on the other side. Trying to get inside. When we jump back in time to see a space ship crashing down to Earth. Breaking to pieces on re-entry to Earth. News Reports are describing how wide spread the wreckage is. Pieces are being found from Dallas to D.C. Some people were wisely staying away. While other have touched it. CDC Agent Tucker is checking out one of the crash sites. Finding their is an unknown Alien Life Form on them. On his way out, a woman brings a piece that had fallen on her roof, and he cuts himself on it, before leaving and while he is asleep that night. Begins to change. We then jump to Carol. Being awaken her son screaming, from a nightmare. We find out that she is a single Mom who was having custody issues with the Father, and that he would be getting Oliver later that night. The Father turns out to be Tucker, the infected CDC Agent from the night before and there is a lot of animosity between them. We meet her friend Ben, who is worked up by the news, who she confides in over what is going on with Tucker, and he calms her down by pointing out how much Oliver loves her and such and she goes off to work. She is a psychiatrist, whose first patient is a woman who normally is abused by her husband, claiming that he was not her husband. Telling her that he doesn’t even get mad. The dog knew and tried to attack, but he broke the dogs neck and tossed it in the trash. Not showing any signs of emotion through the assault. Carol gives her a new prescription and tells her to call if anything happens. Later that night while her and a friend had their kids trick or treating. A dog attacks one of the kids. Who doesn’t even react. Easily powering the dogs muzzle shut before they get the dog off him.  Acting very strangely when the kids or going through their candy. When Oliver yells they find a strange bit of skin on his hand. They assume that it was from someone’s house but she takes it with her. On her way to taking Oliver to his Dad’s. A woman attacks the car inside a tunnel. Yelling about how they are coming, before she gets rundown by a jeep. She gets out to try and help and offers to be a witness, but the cop doesn’t want to hear it and ushers her out. Meanwhile, we see a meeting at Congress. Discussing a new strand of flu and a questionable new vaccine, but pretty much forces the one to question it to take it seriously or lose out. In the back we see infected spitting up into the drinks before serving it to them Going back to Carol.  After an awkward exchange, between her and Tucker. She goes off on her “date” with Ben and has an interesting conversation with one of the people there, about how people don’t change who they are unless the people part is removed and she disagrees with him by pointing out how far we had come, and I will leave it with that.

Yet, again, they did try to change the story a bit. Which even I was wondering how they could. Having an even bigger hill to climb being the fourth telling of the tale, but they did alright.  Again, they were very intense and aggressive. Wanting to get everyone infected as fast as possible. Loved their tests, like when the two jumped off the bridge and swarmed the people below who had an emotional response. Adding an immunity was really neat as well. Never seeing that before and was an avenue we hadn’t seen before. They did change the way people were converted and while it was creative, going to talk more on that later.

They did an alright job building a bit of tense with the drinks. When they spit up into the drinks, and took a moment to pan over the drinks during the dinner. Created a bit of an atmosphere of not knowing if they were spiked or not, but didn’t go beyond that scene. With us knowing the score it was a fun way to create a bit of paranoia that we wouldn’t get from whose infected and not, because we already know what to look for.  This gave us something new, but didn’t last long enough.

I enjoyed the ending they had here. They found the cure and were beating the alien virus, but the good news that was coming through during the invasion. North Korea agreeing to disarmament and countries that never work together finally coming together, reverts back to the horrible mass deaths happening again and a piece of the argument over nothing changes as long as people remain playing over top. Asking the question of would it had been better had the alien virus won. Something they always said, but was kind of proven in one news article. Good way to close without going back to the well of.. or is it?

I don’t have much to say on the casting. Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig were excellent. Kind of wish we got more of an infected Craig, but each played the roles perfectly. They did a great job at building the friendship that was starting to blossom into more. So, when things start happening and story starts going. You feel more inclined to get behind them. Jeremy Northam was a chilling Tucker Kaufman. Had a fun little return of Veronica Cartwright who played Nancy in the 1978 version. A good job from everyone involved.

Alright, onto the negatives and there were a few. For starters, I don’t like to point out logic issues, but this one was blatantly dumb, and that was at the start. Tucker, A CDC Agent, gets cut by a piece of the debris, that he was just informed was contaminated with an unknown spore, and does nothing but goes home. I get that he has to leave infected, but this was a dumb way to do it. He wouldn’t just leave and no one would let him leave and just a dumb way to go.

As I said they changed the transformation, from going away from pods to them just needing to spit up into a person’s mouth or drink and when they sleep they cocoon and shed into the alien version of themselves. Which was interesting, but doesn’t really cut it for me. It loses the disturbing visuals and feels more like an infection then something extraterrestrial. And the dream sequence of her attacking the alien version to wake up was weak.

While, one of my issues of Body Snatchers was that they needed more time to build the characters, this one did that, but the pacing was an issue. By panning away to show the meeting with them spitting in tea and scenes that could have kick started things off just kind of ends. An entire subway scene set up to inform her that she has to act calm so they can’t tell she is human then a whole other stop to add the sweating aspect. None of these scenes were inherently bad, but really slow things down.  Final Grade: B

Winner: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1978

Don’t let the low grade fool you. It was still enjoyable, but wasn’t enough to take down 1978. None of them are bad movie. Each being enjoyable in there own ways and have loved doing this series. As promised, my official list is;

4. The Invasion

3. Body Snatchers

2. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1956

1. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1978

As always, I hope you enjoyed reading and..

Thank You For Reading.

Super Mario Bros. Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

I suppose I only have myself to blame for this. Plenty of warnings about how mad of a movie this is. Kind of what it is known for in fact, but I am trying to cross movies off the list, and Super Mario Bros. has been on it for quite some time and who knows. I have found enjoyment with movies people despise on more then on occasion. Maybe there was some fun to be had here as well.. there wasn’t but the hope was there. With that said, lets dive in and discuss shall we.

The movie starts us off with a short animated scene of two dinosaurs talking with New York Accents. They are in Brooklyn 65 million years ago and down comes the meteor, taking them out, or did it. Posing the question of what if some survived, and are trying to come back to the world. We then jump to a women racing through the rain. Dropping a metal case outside the door of a church. After pacing a stone in a slot. She pounded on the door and took off. Getting caught by Koopa in the sewers and causes the shaft to cave in. Meanwhile the Nuns bring the case inside and find an egg inside. That hatches into a human. Then we jump to today and to Mario’s plumbing. Mario is taking an emergency call, while Luigi is watching a show on people saying they have been to alternate universes. He is a big believer in stuff like that while Mario is the realist. Even making them late to their call and missing out to a competitor because Luigi takes them on a detour because his instincts tell him to go that way. Meanwhile, at a delayed job sight due to an archaeological find.  We meet Daisy, who is wearing the stone from the beginning, and she is getting threatened by Mob Boss Scapelli. Not to shyly reminding her of all the women going missing. She leaves to call the university for more security and runs into Mario and more specifically Luigi. Who took an instant liking to her and when he can’t ask her out, Mario does it for him and the whole run is more awful than you can imagine. At the double date that night. We learn that while she was left at the church. Luigi was left with Mario who raised him as a kid. They separate, Mario takes his dates home, with the numskulls from earlier follow and kidnap her after he leaves. While Luigi  goes back to the sight with Daisy to see the dinosaur bones. Where they find guys sabotaging the pipes, with the help of a determined Mario, determined by his hatred of Scapelli, race down to stop the flooding and the numskulls return. This time kidnapping Daisy and take her through the wall, with the brothers hot on their heels and this movie gets so much worse from here and already pretty bad to begin with and really have to get away from it now.

I don’t really want to jump onto the hate bandwagon. The story was creative with the idea of this world run by people who evolved from dinosaurs. Being knocked there by the meteor. There is resemblances of a story there; not a Mario one in the slightest, but if you did a bit of stripping of the fat. Could have a fun little B Movie in there. I get what they are going for here. Wanting to bring the world of Mario and what it would look like in the real world, but by doing so. Lost all the magic and bright color that we love, and made it dark, grungy and disgusting.

A positive for sure is the dinosaur they tried to call Yoshi. It wasn’t, but he did look amazing. The robotics team that made him did a spectacular job on him. Same with the looks of the “Goombas”. Creative ways to improve their jumping and Ba-Bombs. Misguided, but creative.

They kind of had something going with Luigi. Being the awkward and skittish partner of Mario. Set up a big redemption, hero story for him, but dropped the ball entirely by the end. Even setting up as Daisy as the damsel in distress instead of Peach. This could have saved itself a little bit, had Luigi squared off with Koopa at the end. I get why they had Mario be the one, but they didn’t set up for the fight between them. They had gone so far out of their way to set the story around Luigi and Daisy and by not giving him the final fight. He started as a bumbling idiot and finished with no character growth to speak of.

The scary thing is, the cast was pretty good. Made the absolute most of what they were given. Bob Hoskins does have the look of a good Mario and stands up for himself and everyone around him, even Toad when he was getting arrested. Had really good chemistry with the likes of John Leguizamo and Dennis Hooper. Both of which could have knocked it out of the park as Luigi and Koopa. Hooper has that menacing presence and John had the enthusiasm and made a believable partnership for Hoskins. Samantha Mathis was alright as Daisy. Playing up the sweetness of the character good enough. If they has a better script could have made something special with the cast they had.

This is a D and I am almost already feeling that is to generous of a grade. I can make it through which is something I suppose and had some wild ideas Had some hopes that it would be so bad that it is good, but didn’t even hit that. Script is just to dysfunctional and too many missed opportunities. It was a mistake to watch and if you haven’t, save yourself the time for other bad movies that at least contain some levels of entertainment. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…

Thank You For Reading.

Saturday Sequel presents A Bad Moms Christmas

By Paul Anthony

Welcome to another edition of Sequel Saturday and this week I wanted to review a film that the moms could enjoy well a sequel that a moms could enjoy and only one  film came to mind and that was Bad Moms 2 or better known as A Bad Moms Christmas. First let’s go back to the summer of 2016 when the first film was released. It had a small budget of 22 million, which is pretty cool when you think of summer movies, anyway the film was a hit for STX and was their first film to gross over 100 million at the domestic box office. Now with that being said, we knew a sequel was going to happen but did we expect the sequel to come out in less than 2 years in a time where hit sequels come out every 2 to 3 years and it became a Christmas comedy and it went up against the best Thor film in Thor: Ragnarok.

I want people to understand why this film came close to matching the first film success and yet failing at the same time. For starters the budget was about the same, the first film had a budget of 22 million and the film went on to gross 180 million worldwide. This film had a little increase of 28 million but only grossed 130 million. There are a few factors that may have played into the failure of this film from being better than the first in the sense of money. Bad Moms was a hit because it was something new to see how this generation of moms are, when the sequel came out it touch us in a soft spot because it was a Christmas which seems like we want to keep that tradition more family friendly, even though it did tone down the raunchiness, when they did that it tore the fanbase in half and it hurt the numbers, something we saw in Daddy’s Home 2 which came out a week later. So in one week’s time we saw two movies use the new age parent storyline with Christmas involved and it didn’t work as plan. If you have a idea you really have to plan when is the good time to come out because both of these movies came out at the same time as Thor and Thor killed it at the box office.

The plot was thin as we expected it would be because one it is a comedy and most comedies stories are thin. The moms wan to have a simple Christmas but their moms come into town and with so many personalities, a simple Christmas is no longer that. especially with Amy’s mom who must be rich and old school with Christmas. She becomes the main problem of the film but like any film the issues get resolve by the end and the families in return finally have a simple Christmas like they wanted. Told you it was a thin story.

Overall with the laughs the movie failed in that department, once again the magic wasn’t there, sure we got some laughs but with them aiming to be a Christmas movie the jokes weren’t fully there. Then you add in the thin story which was much different than the first film and the finished product becomes this a shell of the first film. Its not horrible to watch but just wasn’t enjoyable as the first in the end I am giving this film a high C for the efforts and that is about it!

Bad Week for the Employees of Vince!Part 1

By Paul Anthony

When you work for Vince McMahon one thing is certain and that is your job might not be safe even when times are good which we know they aren’t currently but who could have seen this coming! this week we learn that the XFL is done after just five games into their season, this happen because of the virus that is going around. Everyone knew that part was coming because before that every league was shutting down, so it was only natural and legal that they had to shut down but then just short time after they shut down, the league filed for bankruptcy now we know the league is no more. Once again the league is gone for the second time.

The league was actually doing good for a start up league, they had the money to pay everyone a decent wage, sure it wasn’t NFL money but it was still more than most us make in a years time. The league was ran as whole instead of having single team owners and the average attendance was around 10 to 15,000, which once again wasn’t bad and even in two cities, the attendance was even higher. In St Louis they were pushing over 30,000 fans to the point, they were going to open the upper levels of the stadium, which was a smart move and good signed that the league could grow because even Seattle was going to do the same.

The league wasn’t like the NFL or the AAF that was around a year before. They played football but made it safer and added a way to get more points and make the game that much more interesting. For an example in the NFL if a team is down by 9 points and the game was down to the final seconds, you knew the team that was down was pretty much going to lose because the most they could get was 8 points. In the XFL you can tie a 9 point game. I have watched a few of these games and honestly I thought it could stick around and even grow but in the end its Vince’s fault. Rumors are coming out that the league would have been fine if he was fully committed to the product.

Vince is a business man who wants to see the returns to be good soon as they start the company and I am guessing they weren’t growing fast enough, so in the end he pulled the plug and left hundreds out work with a very little warning. It was truly a sad day for the people who loved and love to play football.

Now Just recently I started to read that the NFL could buy the XFL and make it into a minor league system much like what the other leagues have. This wouldn’t be a bad move on the NFL’s part because they will continue their dominance and prove that there can only be one football league in America but in the end it was and always will be poor ownership and we will see how bad Vince again in part 2!

To Your Last Death Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

  So, I sat back. Thumbing through various streaming services looking for something a little different. Having the desire to watch an animated movie, since it has been a while since I watched one, and came across quite a selection to select from. Stumbling upon To Your Last Breath. With a short synopsis and a trailer, knew I couldn’t pass it up. Let’s not waste time and dive right into this animated horror film.

We open up with a cityscape and zoom in to a blood soaked woman brandishing an axe. A bit of comic book style with panel jumps as she walks a long. Two people are talking about if this was good enough, while the woman is being confronted and arrested by the police. Screaming that he killed her family. We get a bit of narration about the vast space between stars, and a game beginning, and to Miriam. That she saw true horror, but the only way back to the light, was through the abyss. Currently, Miriam is in a hospital bed. Telling her story to a detective who isn’t really believing her story. That is she knew her Dad was such a bad person, why would she come back and we flashback three days previously. Where she is talking to a group about Worldreach on her group, PANAC (Peace And Non-Violence Action Committee.) Who are not interested in what she has to say, and her group is hemorrhaging money. Her Father Cyrus is trying to get ahold of her, but she doesn’t answer right away. Calling him a war profiteer and extremely abusive to her mother. We find out that he is inviting her to a family reunion and thanks to her significant other, Wally, she goes to see what he wants. Meeting her two Brothers and Sister in the lobby and they are clearly estranged. After giving up their phones, they are taken upstairs where Cyrus awaits. Informing them that he has inoperable brain tumor, and has six months at the most, and situation turns bad. Sentencing them all to death for his perceived offensive, and the fact they stopped him from being Vice-President. She manages to get the jump on her capturer, by knocking him down the elevator shaft, and we jump back to the hospital room. The Detective informs her that her Father says that he did call a Family Reunion, but Miriam is the one who attacked them. To collect his money and off her meds. Detective leaves and a women appears. Giving her a chance to go back and fix it. That she would give her the ability to go back in time, with the foreknowledge of what will happen and see if she can get a new outcome. Laying out the three rules. Rule 1: Must keep it amusing. Rule 2: Her Associates can stop and ask for a replay or foul, but she has the final say. Rule 3: She can interfere if she is not satisfied with how things are occuring. Making it clear that she is not on anyone’s side. Leaving her with a mark on her hand, that will take her back when she slides her finger across it, if she decides to play the game. After Miriam tries and fails to escape. She engages the mark and travels back to her entering her Dad’s Building, starting the game and where I will leave off.

This is such a great story. This takes a lot of great elements from horror genres and welds them together in a wonderfully, blood soaked fashion. Cyrus is a brutal villain, concocting torture traps that you aren’t getting out of. They are made to torture each sibling till they die. Never knowing what side the Gamemaster stands on, but keeps you in suspense, because just because Miriam gets a win, doesn’t mean it’ll stand and constant change in not only directions, but people’s moods change as well due to the  changing of situations. Writers, Jim Cirile and Tanya C. Klein and Director, Jason Axinn,  weaved a great story. Blending horror and heart and when it was time. Change everything on its head in a smart way.

I loved the 2-D Animation style they used here. Utilizing it to its fullest. Starting with the gory deaths and dismemberments that would look cheezy in a live action film. Bringing the characters to life in their facials and body language. Highlighting Miriam’s fear and sadness to when she finally had enough and went on the attack. Showing how evil Cyrus is at almost every moment he is on the screen. Enjoyed the black and white style they used here and there. A spectacular job from the animators.

The characters of Miriam and the Gamemaster are some really strong, great characters in each of their own ways. Miriam starts out as a woman living on the a thin line, who so desperately wants to be this great activists but her group is spiraling out of control. She wants to be a good sister, but so much bad in her past and doesn’t know how to make that better and than you get everything she is facing. You root her on and want her to see her pull off the miracle and cheer her on when she finally snaps. Then the Gamemaster was handled so well. Keeping her impartial was the perfect way to go. Would be so easy to have her swing her favor toward Miriam at the end, but she doesn’t. Said it at the start, that she wasn’t on anyone’s side and meant it and was better off for it.

A major plus for the fact that they also kept her and her Associates a secret. Don’t know anything except she is an All-Powerful being that can seemingly do anything. Leaves you guessing and wanting more, and with how it ended. Would love to see more from this world. Even Miriam.

Voice Actors all did great. If anyone is off, could throw an entire scene off, but they all did a great job at bringing the characters to life. Morena Baccarin was a tremendous as the powerful, mysterious Gamemaster. Dani Lennon was perfect as Miriam. Bringing out every once of emotion she can get. Ray Wise did great at building Cyrus as this monstrous foil that we want Miriam to kill by the end.  Got a bit of a chuckle when I heard William Shatner doing narration, but he did a good job at it. Keeping a steady pace and kept them short and sweet.

This was a thrilling ride of horror film. Loaded with gore and tense moments throughout. You have a strong female lead, well planned villain, and mysterious puppeteers that genuinely keep you guessing throughout, because of her constant changes and meddling. Giving this an S Grade, and strongly suggest giving this one a watch.

As always, hope you enjoyed reading and as always…

Thank You For Reading.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

By: Justin  Hopkins

 **SPOILER WARNING**

  When sat down to look for a classic to review this month, wasn’t exactly sure which way to go. Obviously, a fair number of movies jump to mind, but with what is going on in the world. Wanted to go with something a little more light hearted, and while I am not much of a fan of comedy movie. When I spotted this classic, knew I couldn’t pass it up. A favorite growing up that  hadn’t seen I was a kid, and what better time to relive it then now. So, lets dive back to 1988 and see what made this live action hybrid so memorable.

The movie starts out with a cartoon, of Roger Rabbit failing to watch a baby. Trying hard to save the child from dangerous situations and ending up worse off for it, but a refrigerator hits him and he see birds. Which causes the director to yell cut, and berate him for not seeing stars. While the baby turns out to be man, who storms off for his trailer and we meet Eddie Valiant. Who is there to meet the head of Maroon Toons, R.K. Maroon. Tells him Roger’s mistakes are from a broken heart. Due to rumors his wife, Jessica Rabbit may be cheating on him, and he wants Eddie to follow her, take pictures and bring them to Roger to see. After a bit of haggling, due to his reluctance on working a toon job. He agrees to work the case for a hundred dollars and fact he doesn’t have to work ToonTown.  After hitchhiking a ride back on the back of the Red Car, and some smokes from kids. Returns to his office, but goes to the bar across the street. Getting a camera from Dolares, who wants the money he owes the bar. After an altercation with one of the patron who was heckling him for working a toon job and he storms off. We learn a Toon killed his brother by dropping a piano on his head. We go to the club Jessica sings at. A swank club where Toons work at as either hired hands or entertainers. Such as Daffy Duck and Donald doing dueling pianos. He meets Mr. Acme. A prankster who sprays him with invisible ink, and according to Betty Boop. Never misses a Jessica Performance. Who turns out not to be a rabbit like he assumed, but a thin waisted, busty cartoon woman. Who draws everyone’s attention. After she finishes, Eddie follows Acme to the back, and gets the pictures he needs. Which is them playing Patty Cake. After seeing the, Roger goes from sadness to anger. Yelling that she was the one for him and that they would be happy again, before jumping out of the window. The next morning, Eddie wakes to the news that he killed Acme during the night. With a Maniacal Judge and pack of weasels tracking him down. Only Roger shows up at his office, proclaiming his innocence… and that is where I will leave it for now.

This was a wonderful story that reaches a lot of layers. You had the silly, slap-stock zaniness that Roger and the Toons provided. Had the redemption of one Eddie Valiant, from drunk who hated toons to finding what made him the detective Toons could rely on for help. Truly terrifying moments with Judge Doom, especially when he is revealed to be a Toon himself and everything that is Jessica Rabbit. Had jokes that pay off later, like the portal black holes, the punching bag hammer, and the you’ll die laughing. Foreshadowing with the invisible ink and the missing will. While, it ain’t much of mystery. Kind of just spell it out for you. A story that stays with you long after it’s over.

The characters they got were as diverse as they come. From Bugs and Daffy. Goofy and Mickey. Keeping Betty Boop in her black and white form was a great touch and a load others. Can spend an entire watch just trying to name them all, but they blended so well together. Not only that, they blended well with the characters they made for the movie. Roger feeling like the perfect cross blend of the big cartoonists at the time, and Jessica Rabbit is still popular all these years later. Maybe even one of the things remembered most.

Despite being over thirty years old now. The animaton still holds up pretty well. It does have some moments that have not aged to well. Particularly when one of the toons are in the background, and may be being a bit lenient on it, but stills looks good to me, and unfortunately see much worse in some movies far newer. The cartoonist and animators who worked on this film deserve a lot of praise for the work they did here.

The cast was tremendous here. Bob Hoskins was delightful. Straight faced, down on his luck Eddie was perfect balance to Roger, and he did so well playing off to characters who were not there to work with. Christopher Lloyd was great as the villain. Just terrifying in his ways. His movements and posture were perfect and made himself known every chance he had. Memorable performances from Charles Fleischer and Kathleen Turner for Roger and Jessica.

The only negative really is the fact we only got one of these movies. We’ve had a lot of hybrid movies since, with their own varying degrees of success, but never a return to ToonTown. Despite having plenty of stories they could tell. From what was transpiring in ToonTown now that they ran the town or just a new mystery for Valiant to solve. Way to much time has passed and some dearly missed cast members, including Bob Hoskins. Which would leave a remake, but not even sure that would work. From having to get all of the owners to agree to share their characters and agree to ignore the vocal minority, because they would have to stick to the fact it was not only cartoon enough for kids, but mature humor for the adults. This came out just in the right time to have all that and avoid the MPAA. So, until the winds change. This may be the only trip to ToonTown we get. Which is unfortunate.

Times may be rough right now and while we wait for them to pass. It’s great to have movies like Who Framed Roger Rabbit to kick back and laugh along with. Final Grade is A+. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…

Thank You For Reading.

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