Lone Survivor, American Movie (2013)

Choices. In your life you will make quite a few of them. Most of these will be very small. For instance will I take the salad today, or am I going for the hamburger? But there are also choices that will have a lot more impact. A decision that you will look at from every angle in order to see what impact it might have on your life. If you are like me, hopefully those choices how ever hard they might be, will not involve life or death situations. Unfortunately though, there are also people in this world that come face to face with these kind of things on pretty much a daily basis. The movie Lone Survivor deals with the consequences of just such a life or death choice.

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Some people take Call of Duty just way too seriously.

Lone Survivor is based on a true story. A group of American soldiers is tasked with the capture or kill of the high profile Taliban leader Ahmed Shah. This man is responsible for the killing of a number of American soldiers, as well as local villagers that were aiding the American forces. A four man SEAL team including teamleader Michael Murphy is inserted in the region where Ahmed is supposed to reside. When the group is beginning to near their target, an old man and two children accidentally stumble across the soldiers. From this point on the SEALs are faced with a terrible choice: they either let them go and risk discovery, or kill them and make sure the mission can be accomplished. With the group divided on what to do, time is running out and with every second that passes they are in more danger. The ultimate decision lies with Michael, but whatever he finally chooses to do, it will be a choice that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

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The things you find in Christmas trees these days.

The strength of this film is definitely the story. Really, ask yourself the same question, what would you do when faced with a situation like this? Even if you make the choice that might be the morally correct one, it may end up costing you your life, and the lives of your team mates. It is a really terrible dilemma, and one that is presented in terrific way in this film. A movie like this could fall into the trap of becoming a commercial for the American warmachine, but it thankfully avoids doing that. It shows both sides of the conflict, without passing judgement on what is right or wrong. The fact that this movie is based on a true story, makes it only more powerful and realistic.

Lone Survivor
Sometimes you just want to take a break from it all.

The cast that was assembled for this movie does an awesome job. We have Mark Wahlberg, who plays the role of Marcus Luttrell, the soldier that feels the strongest about not killing the old man and children. Wahlberg is no stranger to action roles, and this movie certainly has plenty of action sequences, but he can also act. And that he certainly did in this movie, a role I found to be one of his best to date. Actor Ben Foster, who seems to have a different look for every movie he appears in, portrays the role of Matthew Axelson. Now Matthew has the exact opposite opinion of the situation, that Marcus has. This allows for a couple of great verbal exchanges between the two characters, and those serve as some of the best scenes from the movie. The two other team mates are played by Taylor Kitsch and Emile Hirsch, both of whom also do an excellent job. But it is both Wahlberg and Foster that really carry this movie.

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Okay…now you have made me mad: I’m calling Optimus Prime. 

This review would not be complete without the mention of the incredible action sequences that are featured in this movie. There is a gunfight scene that I found to be one of the best that I have ever seen put to film. I kid you not. The stuntwork that is carried out in this movie often had me wondering how on Earth they managed to achieve it without people getting hurt or killed. It is really impressive, and only makes the movie even better than it already is. But it is ultimately the story that makes this film so good. When the endcredits finally roll, it will remain in your mind, and have you thinking about the morality of certain things. Lone Survivor is an excellent movie and one I highly recommend for actionlovers that also enjoy watching a well written storyline.

I give Lone Survivor a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Wonder Woman, American movie (2017)

As a kid I loved comic books, even though I started reading them at a pretty late age. I think it was around the age of 12 or 13 that I was first introduced to the world of superheroes, when I bought a whole stack of those comics for a very low price. Pretty much all of these were from Marvel comics, and needless to say, because of that I am a Marvel fan at heart. Lately though I am also beginning to enjoy the DC universe. I think that unless you have been living on a completely different planet, almost everyone is aware that DC is playing catch up to Marvel when it comes to movies. DC’s latest effort to settle the score is Wonder Woman. The movie has been receiving very positive reviews everywhere, and some even say it is one of the best superhero movies ever made. What did I think of it? Let us first start at the beginning and find out what the film is about, before I share my thoughts on it.

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No, you are not watching season 7 of Game of Thrones.

On a hidden and mythical island called Themyscira, we meet up with the young girl Diana. Themyscira is home to a race of beautiful Amazon women warriors, created by the gods of Mount Olympus. Even at a very young age, Diana was always eager to learn how to fight, against the wishes of her mother the queen. Eventually though, her mother has no choice but to accept the fact that her daughter is destined for greatness and allows her to be trained to become a warrior. Years later, Diana has grown up as a fully trained fighter who possesses remarkable skills. One day, while out for a walk on the beach, she witnesses a warplane going down in the ocean. Without hesitation she jumps into the water and manages to rescue the pilot, a young man called Steve Trevor. It is not soon after that Diana learns about a great war that is taking place in the world. Steve describes it as “the war to end all wars”. Diana cannot help but be intrigued, but also because she feels that an ancient enemy of her people is behind this war. She decides to leave the island together with Steve, and offer her assistance. But Diana will soon find out that the world she leaves behind is far different from the one she is about to enter….

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And no this also isn’t the Good, the Bad, and the Wonder Woman.

Even though I try to not let myself be influenced by reviews, either positive or negative, I can’t help but get excited when a movie is generating a positive buzz. Wonder Woman was no exception. That is why I was all the more disappointed by the fact that I definitely expected more from this movie. Don’t get me wrong, this film wasn’t bad at all, and there were enough things in it to enjoy. But for a movie that was made out to be one of the best superhero movies ever made, I think I found myself watching a very different film. There were quite a few moments in the movie, where quite honestly, I was bored. I don’t mind the fact that they were slowly developing characters, in fact I welcome that even. But for a movie that lasts almost two and a half hours, I do expect to be entertained during the entire runtime. And that did not happen.

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No Chris, you are not playing Kirk here, so your manly charms won’t work on women.

Let’s get one thing straight though, the one thing that makes this movie well worth the watch, are actors Chris Pine who plays Steve, and Gal Gadot as Diana aka Wonder Woman. Their on screen chemistry is the true highlight of this film, and works incredibly well. Gal Gadot, already impressed in Batman V Superman, even though she had only a very small part in it. Here though she gets her chance to shine even more, and she truly carries this movie on her shoulders. But Chris Pine also does a great job in his role as the spy who wrestles also with some moral questions. I find Pine to be an actor that continues to improve with every role he portrays, and this movie was no exception. The rest of the supporting cast, that included the likes of Robin Wright and Danny Huston, were good, but had relatively minor roles. As such their characters were not really able to form a lasting impression.

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Yes….it is time to be afraid now.

The greater part of the film took place during World War I and that really was a unique setting for a superhero movie. The story took it’s time to develop however, and that, for me, was it’s greatest weakness. Even though I knew what the filmmakers were trying to achieve, in my opinion they did not succeed completely. In this digital age, you know a movie like this will feature CGI. The special effects in this film were at times stunning, but there were also moments that I found them to be utterly unconvincing. Maybe my expectations for this movie were just too high. As mentioned, it really was not a bad movie, and I still recommend seeing it in theatres. The only advice I can give though is to not expect to see the best superhero film ever made. Because that will cause some bitter disappointment. And not even a true wonder can change that fact.

I give Wonder Woman a 7 out of 10 score.

The Thing, American/Canadian movie (2011)

Now, I can hear you thinking : “The guy has finally lost it, he’s doing reviews now for movies that he has already reviewed before”. I admit, I’m getting older, and my mind may not be what it used to be, but no this is not the same film that I did a post for two weeks ago. No ladies and gentlemen, even though the movie bears the same name as the 1982 original, what he have here is a prequel. I am usually not really a fan of prequels. The thing is (yes here we go again with the puns), as you already know what happens in the film that comes after the prequel, sometimes that robs you of some excitement. That is especially true with characters that might appear in both movies. If someone is alive in the original film, you can’t very well kill him or her off in the prequel. But as always there are certain exceptions and this is definitely one of them.

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This is why I don’t go on blind dates anymore.

It is the year 1982 and in Antarctica a group of Norwegian researchers make a startling discovery. A gigantic alien spacecraft that has been buried for hundreds of years under the ice has been uncovered. As if this wasn’t enough, the sole occupant of the ship is found frozen in a block of ice nearby. One of the Norwegians, Dr. Sander Halvorson calls in the help of the American paleontologist Kate Lloyd, to assist with what is undoubtely the find of the century. When she arrives at the Norwegian base together with a group of Americans, she is stunned by what they have found. Soon however, the amazement turns into sheer horror. It appears that the thing that has been found frozen in the ice, isn’t dead. What’s more, it has escaped, and is now loose in the base able to take on any organic form it absorbs. Kate will have to fight in order to stay alive, but who can she trust…..?

Thing, The
Go Ripley…..erm Kate.

For the life of me I still don’t understand why this movie got so much negative press at the time of it’s release. Is it as good as the original 1982 film? No it isn’t. The original is a classic and it is hard to reach the same level as a movie that many consider to be one of the best horrorfilms ever made. Does it come close though? I would say: absolutely! One of the things that this film does incredibly well is pay attention to some of the details of the classic movie. Did you ever wonder how the axe that was found by Kurt Russell in the 1982 version got stuck in the wall? This movie gives you an answer to that. As an enormous fan of the original, I loved little details like that.

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Yes……this is definitely disturbing, I could not agree more. 

The characters for this prequel were not as interesting as the ones found in the 1982 movie. That said I absolutely loved the role of Kate played by actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead. If I were to make a comparison, she reminded me a lot of Ellen Ripley from the Alien franchise. Kate is a strong woman, able to keep a clear head in a truly horrifying situation. And what’s more she can really take of herself, which she demonstrates quite often throughout the film. Most of the other characters just did not have enough depth to grow real attached to, despite being played by some well known actors like Joel Edgerton and Ulrich Thomsen. But it was not something that bothered me as there were enough other things to enjoy in this movie.

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It’s really okay to be afraid Kate. 

As for the special effects, they were absolutely amazing. Where the original film did not always show the creature in all it’s horrifying glory, this movie did the exact opposite. Pretty much right from the start, we are shown a few truly terrifying versions of the monster. Lovers of creepy creatures definitely will get their fix in this film. The original only used practical effects, while the prequel also relied on CGI special effects. But these pretty much looked almost the same as the effects in the classic movie, something that I also loved about this film. Last but not least the end of this movie is simply put absolutely perfect, and the first time I saw it, I had goosebumps all over. It was a great homage to the original movie, and as a fan I could not have asked for a better ending.

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Even a good old fashioned autopsy isn’t what it used to be. 

If it has not already become clear, I really loved this film. While not as good as the original, this was a movie that really had respect for it’s source material which in my opinion it definitely showed. Being a huge fan of the original movie (if you haven’t yet read my review for that one you can find it here), I could not have wished for a better film. Yes it had characters that could have been handled a little better maybe, but other than that this movie is great entertainment for horror-and science fiction fans alike. I highly recommend this film to anyone who loves the original and is willing to at least keep an open mind for this one. I guarantee that this movie is a thrill ride from start to finish.

I give The Thing (2011) a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Kids on the slope, Anime tv series (2012)

One of the more fun things that I have experienced lately is doing watch-a-longs for animeseries that are featured on other blogs. It all started with the incredible Your lie in April, that I watched because of the rewatch feature over on Weekend Otaku’s blog. Not only was the series itself worth it, what made it an even better experience was sharing thoughts on each episode with Weekend Otaku and other bloggers. And so it was that I was delighted that another blog that I have always had a high respect for, started a watch-a-long as well. I’m talking about Hazelyn who has an absolutely wonderful blog called Archi Anime. If you are not yet following her, please stop reading, subscribe, and then come back here. Just kidding ofcourse, but trust me when I say that her blog is amazing, has seriously cool features on anime, and some truly unique things you don’t find on other blogs. All very good reasons to subscribe I would say. The watch-a-long she organised was for the delightful animeseries Kids on the slope.

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That is one way of getting someone to shut up. 

Kids on the slope tells the story of Kaoru Nishimi, a student and classical pianist that has never been fully confident in his own abilities. He has moved around quite a lot in his young life and as such has never really fitted in. Having just arrived at a new highschool, he fully expects to have yet another year in which he will experience lonelyness and being bullied. But then he meets the bad boy of the school Sentaro Kawabuchi. The two of them could not be more different, but still an unlikely friendship between the two of them begins to take shape. Even though Kaoru is mainly a classical musician, Sentaro introduces him to the world of jazz music. From this point forward things begin to change in Kaoru’s life. But when he falls in love with the beautiful class president Ritsuko Mukae, who is also a good friend of Sentaro, tensions begin to mount. Will his newly found first real friendship end in disaster?

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Stay way from me or these sticks will hurt you, I’m not kidding around. 

Kids on the slope is a beautiful and heartwarming anime, that I highly enjoyed. It is the story that really drives this series, and themes like friendship, love and music all blend together in a terrific cocktail. I’m not even a big fan of jazz music, but you can’t help but get excited when Kaoru and Sentaro play together. It has resulted in a few great scenes that for these alone make the series well worth the watch. But it are themes like friendship and lonelyness that are really handled incredibly well in this show. Even though there are some pretty dark moments in this anime, these are always alternated with some great feel good scenes. The animation style and setting for the series was quite unique. It was almost dreamlike, and at times even felt a bit like watching a very old but also highly modern animeseries. One only has to look at some of the screenshots that I have provided to see what I mean.

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I love watermelon as well, but this seems like overkill.

The characters of this series are kind of a mixed bunch. Kaoru, the main character, is someone you will have a love/hate relationship with. There are certain actions that he takes that will have you fuming with rage, and at other times you can’t help but feel sympathy for him. The kindhearted Ritsuko is definitely not without her flaws, but she is very important to the story. Sentaro however is the one that I liked the most. Pretty much every scene he appears in was fantastic. His at times very angry attitude, hides a truly kindhearted soul, that cares deeply for his friends. All in all it was wonderful to see the relationship develop between these three characters.

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Piano vs drums, not sure if that is such a good idea. 

This anime certainly won’t be for everyone. For one thing certain episodes did feel kind of slow, and there are a few moments in this series that were a bit confusing. But these events were definitely not enough to spoil the overall appeal of this one. The way the story is eventually wrapped up, is one of the best endings for an animeseries that I have seen to date. I really had a great time watching this rather unique anime and highly recommend it to anyone who loves a great feelgood story. Last but not least I want to thank Hazelyn for bringing Kids on the slope to everyone’s attention and organising this great watch-a-long.

I give Kids on the slope a 8 out of 10 score.

 

Manchester by the Sea, American movie (2017)

My hometown, and where I so far have lived my entire life, is by no means very large. It can’t be considered small either, but it’s kind of in between. This certainly means that although I sometimes come across people I might know or have at least seen a few times, I don’t know everyone that lives here. Which is just as well I guess. Consider living in a very small village were everybody knows you. I for one would not like that at all. Everybody has his or her secrets or things they might not want to become public knowledge. But what if something happened in your past that everyone in your town would know about? Something so horrible that it pretty much influenced your entire life? I think it would simply be impossible to remain in that place. This is one of the things that Casey Affleck’s character has to deal with in the heartbreaking movie Manchester by the Sea.

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Why did you win the Oscar and not me huh? Tell me…..

Lee Chandler works as a janitor and handyman, a job that can not exactly be called glamorous, but at least it pays the bills. Lee is good at his job, but he can’t be considered a real people’s person. He lives a pretty solitary life in a basement, and doesn’t really get along with anyone. One day, Lee gets word that his brother Joe has  had a heartattack. Lee rushes to the hospital, but unfortunately he arrives too late, as his brother has died. Joe had a son Patrick, a boy that Lee was very close with in the past. Patrick has now grown up and is a typical teenager. To Lee’s surprise and shock Joe has written in his will that he wants him to become Patrick’s guardian. This means for Lee to return to the town he grew up in, Manchester by the Sea, Massachusetts. But there is a reason why Lee left that town. Because something very traumatic happened in his past, something so shocking that to date he is still affected by it. Will Lee be able to confront his past and in doing so take care of Patrick, or will the sins of his past drive him over the edge?

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I can tell you now kid, that Oscar is mine, not yours. 

Manchester by the sea is a movie that is driven by two things: solid and decent acting and a heartbreaking story. Casey Affleck plays the role of Lee Chandler, a role which gave him his first Oscar and rightfully so. Affleck plays a character that is so human and wrapped up with guilt, that you can’t help but feel sorry for him. A movie such as this, depends on a performance by the actor, and Casey delivers one that can only be called astounding. But the role of Patrick, played by Lucas Hedges, is also one that definitely falls into that category. The onscreen chemistry between him and Casey, is also one of the reasons why this movie works so well. The rest of the cast, most notably Kyle Chandler who plays Joe, and Michelle Williams who plays Lee’s ex-wife also deliver powerhouse acting. Both Lucas Hedges and Michelle Williams received an Oscar nomination for their roles, but they sadly did not win.

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Are you talking to us? 

But no matter how good the performances by the actors are, if the movie has a bad script it fails. But it is also in this department that the movie shines. The story unfolds in the present, but also in the past through a number of flashbacks, that slowly bring to light what has happened to Lee Chandler. When that reveal finally comes you will definitely be shocked by it, I guarantee you that. The movie went on to also win the Oscar for best original screenplay which does not really come as a surprise. What we have here is a drama that relies heavily on dialogue and acting skills. It delivers a powerful story with solid performances and it is a movie that I highly recommend seeing. If you like your movies filled with explosions and carchases I would advise to stay away from it. But if you are someone who also likes to see movies that bring out the best in terms of story and acting, than this one is for you.

I give Manchester by the Sea a 9 out of 10 score.

Train to Busan, Korean movie (2016)

I guess pretty much everyone that loves movies knows that there are certain genres that have so many films in them, that it is hard to find something that stands out or is original. Take superheroes for instance. While the Marvel movies are still highly entertaining, I have to admit that the formula for these films is starting to get a little bit predictable. Supposedly the new Wonderwoman movie is a fresh wind (Yes I know this is a DC movie) and tries to do things in a different way. I will see that for myself in the coming weekend, when I will finally be able to see it in the theatre. Another moviegenre that has become highly saturated is the zombiefilm. But just when you think that you have seen everything, there comes a film that is so incredibly good, that you start to believe that luckily there is still originality left. And I am not talking about a Hollywood movie either. No, I am talking about a zombiemovie made in Korea, a country nor really known for making these kind of films. So all aboard? Then lets get started with the review shall we?

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Has nobody ever told these people that walking on the train tracks is dangerous? 

Seok-woo is a fund manager that takes his work very seriously. He is divorced and is taking care of his young daughter Soo-an. Because of his work though, he at times neglects his daughter, and for instance forgot about her singing recital. Soo-an’s birthday is coming up soon, and she wants him to take her to Busan to see her mother. At first Seok-woo declines, but feeling guilty about missing her recital, he eventually changes his mind and decides to take her anyway. Soon they board the train that is going to take the two of them to Busan. But when a strange woman enters the train at the last possible second, things take a horrible turn for the worse. The woman is infected with something that has turned her into a bloodthirsty zombie. Soon other people on the train become infected, and not before long everything slow starts to go straight to hell. For Seok-woo and his daughter Soo-an, the ride becomes a struggle for survival. Together with a few other passengers they are in for the fight of their lives…..

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Baseball practice these days is serious business. 

To say that this is just another horrormovie would be a grave injustice. Because this movie is so much more. One of the best things in this movie are it’s characters. Seok-woo played by Gong Yoo is a character who is not without it’s flaws, but that is what is making him so human. The role of his daughter, played by child actress Kim Su-an is the one that impressed me the most. For a child so young to be able to conjure up this much emotion and act so believable is a feat that few actors are able to achieve. She pulls it off though and then some. But the rest of the cast is equally good, most notably Jung Yu-mi who plays a pregnant wife, and Ma Dong-seok who plays her husband. Each and every character in this film has his or her own story, and that is why you really care about what happens to them, something that is very crucial in a movie such as this.

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I think there might be a sales event at the shopping mall, probably the reason why everybody is in a rush. 

This movie doesn’t waste any time in cranking up the tension. Right from the start the film is a rollercoaster ride, that doesn’t let up for one second. Action and horror lovers alike will get their fill, as there are plenty of scenes that will satisfy fans of both these genres. This being a zombie movie there is ofcourse some blood, but it doesn’t get incredibly gory like for instance in The Walking Dead. This movie is more about creating a tense and creepy atmosphere than spilling buckets of blood. But the main reason this movie works so well is the underlying story. It really shows what some people become if something like this were to happen for real. Some of them become brave, others cowards and still others just plain and simple very evil. And that’s what made this movie such a fascinating watch.

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Yep….getting out of there seems like a very good idea. 

As most of you that have been following my blog for a while now know, I am an enormous lover of Asian cinema, especially Korean films. Having seen quite a few of them I can honestly say that this movie is the best Korean movie that I have seen to date. With terrific and at times heartbreaking acting, a great story and equally fantastic action scenes and special effects, this movie is one you can’t afford to miss. If you love The Walking Dead, horror and action movies I highly recommend checking this movie out. Especially if you want to see a different kind of zombiefilm. It may not be the best zombiemovie ever made, but it comes pretty darn close.

I give Train to Busan a 10 out of 10 score.

 

Special Features Presents: Animecon 2017, part 2

Hello everyone, welcome to the second part of my report from Animecon 2017, which I attended this weekend. You can find the first part right Here. Without further ado let’s gets on with the second part.

The food

Ofcourse it would not be a good thing to go without food for three days, and luckily the con as well as the hotel had plenty of great things on offer. I especially enjoyed the tasty udon flavoured cup noodles. They were absolutely delicious, and I helped myself to these twice. There was a lot of variety to choose from, ranging from homemade ramen to hamburgers and vegan food. There was something tasty for everyone.

Too much stuff to buy

I knew going into this con that this would definitely not be good for my wallet. And it really wasn’t, lol. I bought way too much stuff, but it was all definitely worth it. Besides the entire manga series of Battle Angel Alita, I got a lot of Animeseries on dvd, some new, some old, but all of them pretty cool. Yes I know, as if I did not have too much stuff to watch already. I also got a great modelkit for a Mobile Suit Gundam Wing classic guntank, which will be great to put together. All in all I have really gotten soms terrific new stuff, and I could not be happier with it.

What I saw: movies

Besides anime there were also a lot of Asian movies to watch. Just as with the anime on offer I had to make a choice as to what to watch, and these three films were the ones I eventually ended up seeing.

imageTrain to Busan

This was the movie that I was looking forward to the most, and it did not disappoint. I had to stay up till three o’clock at night in order to see it, but wow was it worth it. This Korean zombie movie was a blockbuster back in it’s homeland, and it also became a huge succes worldwide. Suffice it say that for me it has been the best Korean movie that I have seen, and you can expect a review for this movie on my blog very soon.

 

 

 

imageGood Stripes!

The description for this movie said this was supposed to be a heartwarming  movie, that would leave no heart untouched. Well, I don’t know if whoever gave that description saw the same film that I did, but it was one of the most depressing movies that I have seen in quite a while. It tells the story of a couple that were about to break up, but end up staying together because the woman got pregnant. This film was really boring, and a great disappointment. Definitely wished I had avoided this one.

 

imageKen and Kazu!

The last movie I saw was Ken and Kazu! , which I highly enjoyed. This was a seriously brutal crime movie, but one that had a great storyline and some terrific acting. Ken and Kazu are lifelong friends, that make their living by drug smuggling for their boss. One day Kazu decides to start making money for himself, without their boss knowing this. This is the beginning of a violent spiral, that can only end in bloodshed. The two leadactors did a great job, and this film definitely stood out in the oversaturated Yakuza movie genre.

 

Final notes

To say that I had a great time this weekend is pretty much an understatement. I ended up seeing a lot of great films and anime, highly enjoyed all the things on offer, and the atmosphere was just terrific. My only regret was not attending any of the workshops that were organised. I decided to go for the movies and anime this year, but next year I’m probably going to turn this around and go to some of the workshops as well. My hats off to all the organisers of this con for making this such an entertaining weekend. I will leave you with a couple of pictures I took to give you an impression of this great weekend. As always thank you for reading and see you at the next post !

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Special Features Presents: Animecon 2017 Part 1

Hello everyone. As most of you that have been following my blog know, I have attended Animecon 2017 this weekend. To say that Animecon only focusses itself on anime would be selling it short. If I were to give a description for it, I would say it is more a celebration of all things Asian. Besides being able to watch a lot of anime, there are also all kinds of Asian movies to see, workshops to participate in, games to play, and a whole lot of other stuff. I have made this post to give you an impression of my weekend, and I hope you will enjoy reading it.

The Hotel

Animecon took place in The Hague, which is about a two hour drive from where I live. So in order to not travel back and forth the entire weekend, I decided to stay at a hotel. Normally this would be pretty expensive, but because of the con taking place, a special discount was granted. It was one of the most luxurious hotels that I have ever stayed at, and as you can see from the pictures above, the room itself as well as the view was pretty amazing.

Busy, busy, busy….

It was a very busy weekend with a lot of people attending. Checking in at the hotel took me almost 40 minutes, and getting in to the con itself also took me just about the same time. At least everyone was in very good spirits, and I got to admire a lot of cosplayers. The weather outside was luckily very good, so I honestly did not mind the wait.

What I saw: Anime

Ofcourse with a title like Animecon one should not be surprised that there was a lot of anime on offer. With four different movie theatres playing all kinds of different shows and movies at the same time, you had to make a selection. Down below is an overview of the anime that I chose to see.

imageMagic-Kyun Renaissance Episodes 1-4

This was a pretty fun series to start off with. For some reason it reminded me a bit of Harry Potter. It tells the story of a girl called Kohana who attends The Magical Arts High School. Upon her arrival she meets a number of people there, that throughout a variety of different arts can produce sparkles, a kind of magical effect. I don’t exactly know why, but I found this series to be quite enjoyable. It was beautifully animated, the characters looked great, and the story was pretty unique.

imageChaos;Child Episodes 1-5

This series seriously creeped me out. It was too bad they only showed the first 5 episodes because I could have continued watching this the entire evening. A massive earth quake destroys the city of Shibuya. Six years later the city has been rebuilt, and the survivors continue with their lives. But then a series of mysterious deaths begin to occur that happen to coincide with a string of murders that also happened six years ago. With genuinely disturbing imagery, and a very scary atmosphere, I absolutely loved this one.

imageThe Piano Forest

The Piano Forest was a very beautiful movie, that focussed on a young boy called Shuhei who moves from Tokyo to a smaller city. Shuhei’s dream is to become the best piano player in the world, but because of that he at first doesn’t fit in with his classmates at the local school. But then he comes in contact with the young boy Kai, who lives in the Red Light District. Kai also plays the piano, but in a nearby forest on a mysterious piano that only he seems to be able to get to work. A friendship is soon formed between the unlikely pair, but one that does not come easy. Although this movie was pretty slow, the story was very engaging, and just a great watch from beginning to end.

imageBubblegum Crisis OVA 1-3

This was old school anime at it’s best. A series that was made back in the 80’s, it has influences from classic movies like Blade Runner. It tells the story of four girls who make up the Knight Sabers, who fight crime in a future city in high powered exo suits. With blasting 80’s rockmusic, a great atmosphere, and a classic animation style, this was great to see back again after all these years.

 

 

And that’s it for the first part of this report. Join me again on the second part, where I will talk about the Asian films that I have seen this weekend. Also I will be showing you some of the great food on offer as well as the new things that I bought (and trust me when I say that my wallet was pretty empty after this weekend lol). As always thank you for reading, and I hope to see you back for part 2, that will be published later today.

 

Hundred, Anime tv series (2016)

I guess everyone can relate to the fact that for every good anime series that is out there, there is always a crappy counterpart as well. A series that you want to stop watching altogether, but still continue with anyway because you at least want to see how it ends. I usually watch Animeseries two at a time (though recently that has expanded to at least five or six simultaneously). At the same time that I was watching the beautiful series Yuri on Ice, I was watching this one as well. To say these series could not be more different from each other, is probably an understatement. But not only in terms of story, but also in terms of quality. Because wow, this series was seriously bad, even though it also had it’s moments. But let’s first see what is going on in this anime, before I start tearing it down.

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I guess I could make some kind of comment about this picture, but I am choosing not to.

In Hundred it’s that time again where the Earth is besieged by giant monsters, and a handful of brave souls have to counter the beasts in order to save the world. The monsters in this anime are called Savages. Nobody quite knows where they came from, but it is enough to know that they appeared out of nowhere and started laying waste to the Earth. But, oh joy of joys, there is a weapon that can counter these mysterious beings known as Hundred. This weapon is wielded by the so called Slayers, specialised men and women who are able to use the Hundred in a variety of ways. Hayato Kisaragi is one of the newest recruits that has enrolled in the marine academy ship Little Garden. But as everyone will soon find out, he is no ordinary recruit. And just who is his strange roommate Emile Crossford that seems to know him from somewhere? All these mysteries and more will be solved, well at least if Hayato can survive a duel that he has just been challenged to by the most powerful Slayer onboard: Claire Harvey. With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, the lives of these three entirely different characters will soon be threatened like never before….

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There he is, the innocent pervert Hayato Kisaragi.

Ooohhhh…..this sounds exciting doesn’t it? Mysterious weapons, cool monsters, interesting characters…..erm, wait that last one isn’t correct, and I will soon get to that. In case you haven’t yet noticed this has got to be one of the most sarcastic reviews that I have written since starting this blog. Because quite honestly I can’t believe how the creators of this series have managed to turn this pretty cool concept into a such a total mess. Trust me on this, there are some things that I really did like. The weapon, Hundred, for instance is seriously awesome. Each Slayer wields the weapon in a different way, and as such it can turn into all kinds of different forms. Huge energy weapons, chains, even entire armours are all things Hundred is able to change into. Some of the fights between the Savages and Slayers are very cool to watch, and even the animationstyle is not bad either.

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Emile Crossford the only character that was somewhat fun, shows his anger at being cast in this anime.

Where this series fails however is in it’s characters and the very immature boobjokes, that seem to be a part of pretty much every single episode. Yes you read that correctly: boobjokes. Jokes about boobs, to turn it around. In almost every episode we see main character Hayato accidentally fall over a woman and grab her breasts. If this would happen a single time, I could overlook it. But as this became a trademark of the series it quickly became very annoying to say the least. In one of the later episodes, we even spent about 5 minutes of an episode where Hayato is being urged by other girls to touch someone’s boobs. Seriously….what the f….no let’s not use that language here. The characters themselves also are almost complete airheads, with maybe the exception of Emile Crossford the only character that at least had somewhat interesting traits.

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Yep, that is a Savage, though technically it isn’t. Nope, not going to tell you why not, no spoilers.

To say that this series was a major disappointment, is putting it mildly. And it really is a shame, because the final 2 episodes of the series showed a glimmer of what the series could have been. But that was simply too little, too late. With some cool concepts, and a story that even though not very original, wasn’t overly bad either, this animeseries definitely could have been very good. Because of the shallow characters, and very childish pranks this series apparently found more important to showcase, we are unfortunately left with a very bad animeseries. And one that I think is best avoided no matter how much you like giant aliens crushing puny humans. Well, luckily I am already investing my time in two new animeseries that so far are well worth it. Rest assured that reviews for these will follow, but the titles for these I will keep secret for now. Hey, there has to be a little mystery at some point right? Meanwhile, you can enjoy this gem of a series. (Ahem)

I give Hundred a 3 out of 10 score.

 

Deep Star Six, American movie (1989)

Sometimes Hollywood goes through, what I would like to call “phases”. There are times when we all of a sudden get a number of movies that are released around a certain theme. I’m sure there are a lot of you out there that recognise this. In the 80’s people were getting tired of the standard science fiction movies that were being released one after the other. Movie studios were beginning to realise this, and began to look for other alternatives. And so it was that the action moved from outer space to the deep dark trenches of the ocean. In the year 1989 no less than six different underwater based movies were made. Of all of these James Cameron’s The Abyss is the only one that became a huge box office hit. The other ones were mostly forgotten B-movies. But that is not to say, that some of these were not entertaining. DeepStar Six definitely falls into this category, and can absolutely be called a B-movie, but certainly a fun one.

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A good and decent shotgun, never leave home without them

DeepStar Six is an experimental underwater base, that is tasked with a mission by the US Navy. Headed by dr. van Gelder, whose sole purpose in life seems to be his work, the base oversees the installation of a nuclear missile platform deep under the surface of the sea. But as usual things that at first seem like an easy job, eventually turn into something that is really ugly, real fast. Right under the site where the missiles are to be stored, a gigantic underwater cave system is discovered. Against better judgement van Gelder orders depthcharges to be used, in order to collapse the system. That this turns out not to be such a good idea soon becomes apparent. In the wake of the explosion a massive fissure is exposed, and part of the seabed collapses. As if this was not bad enough already, the cavesystem appears to be the home of a gigantic creature. With the monster now set free, it soon sets it’s sight on the crew of DeepStar Six, and it is out for blood…..

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If you ever lose your can opener, this guy is sure to help you out. No..really. 

Ah the wonderful 80’s. I cannot express enough how much I love to see movies from that era. For some reason there is just a certain charm that those films seem to have. DeepStar Six is not going to be winning any Oscars, but it certainly has some interesting features. The movie was directed by Sean S. Cunningham who was also responsible for directing the original Friday the 13th movie, that starred a very young Kevin Bacon. While there are no hockey mask wearing killers walking around in this film, Cunningham does manage to create a tense atmosphere, certainly in the second half of the movie.

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It’s almost as if she is going to start laughing here….but that won’t last for long. 

The characters of this film are your usual bunch of people that you expect to find in movies such as these. We have the hero of the movie, the submarine pilot mcBride, played by Greg Evigan. He is a bit of a macho kind of guy, but still just likeable enough to root for him in the end. Ofcourse we also have the coward and paranoid type of character in the form of Snyder, portrayed by actor Miguel Ferrer, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Snyder is a seriously annoying person who gets on everyone’s nerves, but you can still find sympathy for. And last but not least we have the love interest for mcBride, Joyce Collins, played by actress Nancy Everhard. She is a pretty tough woman, who can definitely take care of herself. The rest of the characters are pretty much cardboard, but do provide enough support for the main cast.

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I’m pretty sure you are not supposed to tie a necktie like this, but I could be wrong. 

The story of the film is pretty much non-existent, but ofcourse you watch a film like this for the monster. And I honestly have to say that the creature is pretty cool. Considering the era in which this was made, the monster looks convincing enough, especially since we are talking about practical special effects here. The sets of the underwaterbase are also rather awesome and certainly don’t look like they were made for a low budget movie. All in all we have a film here that is a fun ride throughout it’s runtime. I was not bored by the movie for a single moment, and what it may lack in budget, it more than makes up for in thrills and entertainment. Don’t expect wonders from this movie, but if you like low budget films that feature a good monster and some scares, this film might be worth your time.

I give DeepStar Six a 8 out 10 score.

 

Michels Book/Boardgame/Movie review Blog

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