Movie Reviews

Stalked by My Doctor: The Return (Review)

Stalked by My Doctor: The Return

Stalked by my Doctor The Return
2016
Written and directed by Doug Campbell
Stalked by my Doctor The Return
When last we left Dr. Beck, he was fleeing from unjust prosecution just because he kidnapped and faked the death of a teenager in order to rape her as part of an obsessed stalking spree. A simple misunderstanding, for sure, but for now he’s hiding out in Acapulco, Mexico under the name Dr. Victor Slauson and getting rejected by the visiting ladies his own age, as his lame pickup lines don’t work on them. Fate intervenes again and Dr. Beck is on the beach when an young girl almost drowns, and due to his doctor skills he is able to save her life. He also begins a new obsession, and we’re back on the Lifetime train!

Stalked By My Doctor was great lifetime fun that was full of twists and turns, punctuated by the amazing Eric Roberts bringing to life a character with obvious issues that becomes deadly obsessed with younger women. The fact that Roberts can make such a reprehensible character charismatic to the point where you feel sorry for him is a testament to the man’s acting chops and to the writing and directing from Doug Campbell.
Stalked by my Doctor The Return
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - September 24, 2018 at 6:59 am

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Animal World (Review)

Animal World

aka 动物世界 aka Dongwu Shijie
Animal World
2018
Based on the manga by Nobuyuki Fukumoto
Written and directed by Han Yan

Animal World
The trailer for Animal World featured a murder clown slicing and dicing his way through subway cars full of rejected alien designs from the Star Wars prequels. Also Michael Douglas was randomly in it. These things meant that of course I was going to go watch it if I got a chance, and thanks to the magic of it actually getting a release in America and MoviePass, I snagged me a seat as soon as humanly possible. It also meant that I saw two separate Michael Douglas movies in theaters in one week, as Ant-Man and the Wasp also dropped. This is what we call synchronicity, and further solidified the goal of seeing Animal World in theaters. While the trailers were almost entirely murder clown-focused, Animal World is actually a movie about high-stakes gambling, as in you play Rock/Paper/Scissors on a ship in international waters, and if you lose, you get experimented on until you die! Don’t worry, it’s even more weird than it sounds, yet I can’t say I was disappointed.

Zheng Kaisi (Li Yifeng) is your typical young guy with problems, in that his parents were brutally assaulted as a child, leaving his dad dead, his mom in a coma, and Kaisi imprinted with a cartoon of a murder clown that was playing on the television during the attack. Now, whenever he is stressed, he will start seeing images of the monsters and believes he is transforming into the murder clown himself and striking them down. While this leads to some ridiculous imagery, it doesn’t lead to a healthy mental life, which is why he’s working as a clown in an arcade and perpetually broke. He can’t even afford to marry his girl Liu Qing (Zhou Dongyu – This Is Not What I Expected), who works at a nurse at the facility his mom is kept at. This changes when his former childhood friend Li Jun (Cao Bingkun) reappears with a can’t miss opportunity to make money. We all know this will miss spectacularly, and now Kaisi is in massive debt. Big enough debt goons are following him. Goons working for Michael Douglas, who plays a bored bankster who has resorted to organizing death sports among people who have gigantic debts. I guess it’s more profitable than them dying in bankruptcy?
Animal World
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 7, 2018 at 7:52 pm

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Batman Ninja (Review)

Batman Ninja

aka ニンジャバットマン
Batman Ninja
2018
Written by Kazuki Nakashima
English version written by Leo Chu and Eric S. Garcia
Directed by Junpei Mizusaki

Batman Ninja
Batman Ninja, what the heck? You could have been so good, but you are just a beautiful mess that spends too much time being boring before getting to the good stuff. We are now in the reality where a film involving Batman villains piloting a giant combining mech is boring. This is truly the darkest timeline! Batman Ninja has two versions, one in Japanese with English subtitles, and one with an English dub. The English version has a bunch of extra dialogue not in the Japanese version (but since the original subtitles are just a transcript of the English version, there are subtitles that display when no character is speaking, and when they do talk some of what they say is different!) Most of the extra dialogue is just expository and explains things that are readily obvious to anyone paying the slightest attention.

Noted Batman villain Gorilla Grodd (wait, what???) builds a time machine device at Arkham Asylum and suddenly all the criminals of Gotham City are blasted to the past of ancient Japan. Batman soon pops up there as well, but what was seconds between jumps in his time turns out to be two years after the rest of the criminals arrived, and now Joker is a lord who controls a stable of samurai who wear his visage as masks. The rest of the criminals have also ran wild. It’s the warring states period and we get a bit of a history lesson as Catwoman explains to Batman which criminals are in charge of which states in their quests to unify Japan. Don’t worry, Alfred and the Batmobile are also back in time (okay, at this point things are so bonkers why didn’t they just make this an Elseworlds-style story set in Japan instead of this time travel stuff? At least with that we could get right to the story and have less setup!)
Batman Ninja
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - June 25, 2018 at 9:36 am

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Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (Review)

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight

Batman Gotham by Gaslight
2018
Written by Jim Krieg
Based on the graphic novel Gotham by Gaslight written by Brian Augustyn
Directed by Sam Liu

Batman Gotham by Gaslight
Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of 1880s Gotham City. As the murders pile up, the police are helpless to stop them. But there is a Batman in this world…

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is based on one of the original alternate reality tales that would eventually become the Elseworlds brand at DC, though the story has been altered to better reflect the animated movie format and some modern sensibilities. Overall, we get something that feels closer to what would be produced from the 90s animated series than what some of the recent DC animated films have come out with. That’s a good thing, as the series is a high-water mark that all too often these films are unable to attain, despite some notable exceptions.

Gotham is easily transformed in style to a 19th century British city, it is sort of interesting how easily the pieces slide together. Bruce Wayne is still a rich playboy, but he also has connection to his orphan roots via Sister Leslie and her orphanage. This gives him another connection to the victims of the killer, as they are largely poorer women, some of which have gone through the same orphanage. Public outcry is muted because the victims are largely lower class women (mostly prostitutes), but actress Selina Kyle’s voice is one of the loudest to try to get the police to do anything. They are limited by the investigative tools of the time and by distractions of a World’s Fair preparation. An element not really used from historical accounts is the press whipping this up into a frenzy, besides deserted streets there is often nothing really indicating people are afraid (and the deserted streets might just be saving some animation budget!) The police presence is also lacking until it factors into the plot, at which point there are more police than grains of sand on the beach.
Batman Gotham by Gaslight
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - June 18, 2018 at 9:21 am

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Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay (Review)

Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay

Suicide Squad Hell To Pay
2018
Written by Alan Burnett
Directed by Sam Liu

Suicide Squad Hell To Pay
Hot off the heels of the fantastic animated Batman: Assault on Arkham and the uneven but ultimately okay live action Suicide Squad, we got ourselves a new entry in the franchise with Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay! DC animated movies are notoriously hit or miss, but this time we got a relatively good one, buffed up by a core crew that has to deal with multiple parties interested in a magical card. Though not as superior as the original animated version, it is still good enough to deserve a watch.

Amanda Waller is still using task Force X to take care of dirty deeds and for her own personal projects, this time on a very personal mission. Deadshot (Christian Slater) is back, along with Harley Quinn (Tara Strong, naturally!) and Captain Boomerang (Liam McIntyre). They are joined by the freezing-powered Killer Frost (Kristin Bauer van Straten), ethical martial artist Bronze Tiger (Billy Brown), and body-modification enthusiast Copperhead (Gideon Emery) on their off the books mission where they are only given a name to track The mission is so off-books they have to drive around in a run down RV, though that does allow the characters to interact more and have conversations in a confined space.

Harley Quinn still gets many of the good lines, correctly toning her down as the stakes get raised. The down point is she’s basically a supporting character there to add flavor to the overall story, and doesn’t seem to have any sort of story arc. Captain Boomerang and Deadshot still hate each other, but have developed a working relationship by this point that doesn’t mean they won’t still insult each other. Boomerang at least gets to throw a bunch of boomerangs this time! The big wrench is Bronze Tiger, who aligns strongly on the side of morality (even though that’s just because he doesn’t want to kill innocent people!) and thus forces the other members of the team to stay on mission, sometimes by punching them until they comply. The film opens with a group lead by Deadshot and containing a few characters I had to look up (what can I say, I grew up on Marvel!) Count Vertigo, Punch, and Jewelee, all but Deadshot failing to come out of that one alive. Sorry, Punch and Jewelee fans, maybe next movie…
Suicide Squad Hell To Pay
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - June 11, 2018 at 9:40 am

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How Long Will I Love U (Review)

How Long Will I Love U

aka 超时空同居 aka Chao Shi Kong Tong Ju
How Long Will I Love U
2018
Written and directed by Su Lun
How Long Will I Love U
Time-displaced romantic comedy How Long Will I Love U succeeds entirely on the backs of the chemistry of the two leads, Tong Liya and Lei Jaiyin. Thanks to them, what would be a by the numbers film instead becomes an engaging exploration of people chasing dreams while being pressured by life and tempted to make unsatisfactory choices to further their own goals.

In 2018, Gu Xiao-Jiao (Tong Liya) works at jewelry store desperate to marry but mostly because she wants a husband to buy her a house. A very specific house, the house she grew up in before her father died. But she’s over 30 and also the target of scammers who soon manage to walk off with most of her savings, putting her even farther away from her dream. In 1999 Lu Ming (Lei Jia-yin) is a struggling architect who has no one to sponsor his designs for construction. He’s also broke and stumbles across a plot at work from his supervisor to steal from his boss. His supervisor offers to fund his projects if he looks the other way, giving Lu Ming a real moral dilemma. Both of them live in the very same apartment in the same building 21 years apart. Now it’s time for time travel! Due to the power of it’s what happens for the plot, their apartments merge together into a sort of hybrid apartment.

Upon awakening Gu immediately starts hitting Lu Ming and chasing him around the apartment with a cleaver, but both of them stop when they realize half of the apartment is not the one they know, and the weather is completely different out of the two different windows (one shows a sunny day, the other a torrential downpour!) The door has handles on both sides, they figure out that if Ming opens his side, they arrive in 1999, while if Gu opens her side, they are in 2018. They cannot open the other person’s door side, and if they try to open both sides at once, the apartments begin contracting more. It’s time’s way of keeping things in balance. We see this later as computers won’t allow network access to Google what happened to Lu Ming, nor will Ming’s phone allow Gu Xiao-Jiao to call her father. An attempt to buy lottery tickets in 1999 results in the ticket blanking out.
How Long Will I Love U
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - June 4, 2018 at 9:10 am

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