Event Horizon, American/UK movie (1997)

Every movielover probably has their own favorite kind of films. While some might have a very broad taste in movies (and I certainly count myself as one of them), there are usually some genres that have a certain preference above all the others. For me those are science fiction and horrormovies. And of course it is even better when a movie combines both of those genres. Ever since I saw the first Alien movie directed by Ridley Scott, I have always been on the lookout for movies that could rival or even surpass that classic masterpiece. But let us be honest, that is a very hard task to achieve as that film is pretty much in a league of it’s own. Throughout the years a lot of attempts have been made, and most of these have resulted in films that were mediocre at best. But there is one film that came unnervingly close and is in my opinion a highly underrated gem that is still awaiting discovery by many people. The name of that movie is Event Horizon.

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This pretty much redefines the word meatgrinder. 

It is the year 2047. Seven years after the research ship Event Horizon vanished without a trace, it suddenly reappears near the planet of Neptune sending out a distress signal. Soon a rescue vessel, called the Lewis and Clark, is dispatched to find out if there are any survivors and of course what has happened to the ship during all those years that it was presumed lost. Headed by captain Miller, he and his crew are accompanied by the mysterious doctor Weir, who was the original builder of the Event Horizon. It soon becomes clear that the ship was one of a kind, and had an experimental drive system installed that allowed it to create an artificial black hole. With this drive it could travel farther than any human vessel ever went before. When the Lewis and Clark eventually arrives at the location of the lost ship, captain Miller and his crew are about to find out just how far the Event Horizon truly went. Because there are some places in the universe that are better left alone, and seem to resemble hell itself…….

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Sam Neill’s role in Jurassic Park left him a changed man. 

Event Horizon is a movie that still creeps me out after having seen it multiple times. It is truly a very disturbing and chilling film, that throughout the years has created a cult following. In still think it is one of the best science fiction horrormovies that I have ever seen. For starters the atmosphere in this movie is what sets the tone right from the very first second. It’s dark, scary and you constantly feel as if the bowels of hell are about to open and swallow you whole. The amazing setpieces that were created for this film only add to this feeling. This was a time when the use of CGI backgrounds was pretty much unheard of, and as such everything was build by hand. And then we have the music for the movie that seems to have been created by a madman and will make you feel even more creeped out than you probably already are.

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Yep, that really is the man known as Morpheus. Now where is Neo when you need him?

The cast for Event Horizon is headed by two very well known actors. First up is Laurence Fishburn who plays the role of the heroic captain Miller. It’s amazing how young he appears to be in this film, but his performance is as solid as ever. Miller’s character is truly the driving force for this one, and you really feel his desperation when the horror of what is happening around him keeps growing and growing, and almost threatens to send him over the edge. The other well known actor in this film is Sam Neill and he performs the role of doctor Weir. And it is a role that you have never seen him play before, and that only makes it that much scarier. Weir becomes increasingly more unstable throughout the movie, and his descent into madness is something only a very capable actor can pull off. Needless to say Sam definitely succeeds in that and then some. The rest of the cast for this movie also manages to shine, most notably Joely Richardson and Sean Pertwee. Every single actor in Event Horizon contributes to the film in his or her own way.

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Don’t let the ship’s beauty fool you. 

I’m not going to lie here, this movie contains some very, very disturbing imagery. It sometimes might remind you of Hellraiser, and if you have ever seen that film, you probably know what I mean. Yes people, this is a true horrorfilm in every sense of the word, and as such it certainly won’t be a movie that everyone will enjoy. If you have a strong stomache though, and like to be scared out of your mind, this film is definitely the one to watch. It will at times leave you breathless, and might even give you nightmares after you finished it. But I guess that is also part of it’s charm, if you can call it that. If you are interested in finding out more about the background for this movie you might want to check out this great post written by mr. Bobinsky. It contains not only a great review but also some great info about the making of the film that I myself did not know about. And while you are there, you might want to subscribe as well, as it is a really cool blog. So, all I can say is: watch this film, and I dare you not to be scared while you are at it.

I give Event Horizon a 9 out of 10 score.

 

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Castlevania, American (Animated) tv series (2017)

Some of you that have been following my blog for a while, know that in the distant past I used to be a very fanatical gamer. I played computergames pretty much non stop, and I did so with a lot of enthusiasm. All of that changed after a particularly nasty session of online Call of Duty. I will spare you the details, but let us just say that it involved a lot of cursing and broken controllers. Not one of my finest moments. After that night, I just stopped gaming altogether and went back to older hobbies including boardgames. The world of computergames is still a part of me however, and even though I haven’t played in ages, I still enjoy reading news and watching videos about new games that will hit the shelves. There are certain gameseries that are legendary and very well known by most people. A few examples are Doom, Resident Evil, Super Mario Brothers and Castlevania. Interestingly enough, for this last named series a four part animated show was released a few months back on Netflix.

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I think you might have something in your eye. Let me help you. 

The story of this animated series starts off in the year 1455 in Wallachia. A young woman doctor called Lisa is searching for the infamous Vlad Dracula Tepes, in order to enlist his help in acquiring scientific knowledge. Eventually the two meet up, and Dracula is pleasantly surprised by her great courage. He agrees to help her, and in turn Lisa tries to make him reconnect with his human self. Eventually they fall in love and are married. Twenty years later though, disaster strikes and Lisa is burned at the stake for witchcraft by an insane bishop of the holy church. Dracula is ofcourse furious and heartbroken, and he warns the people of Wallachia that they have exactly one year to make their peace. After that he will wipe out every single human being by his own hands. Dracula begins raising an army of terrible creatures to carry out his revenge. The only hope for the human race seems to lie in the hands of Trevor Belmont. He is the last remaining member of the disgraced noble Belmont family, who were experts in fighting monsters. However Trevor will first have to find back his faith in himself and decide if humanity is even worth saving…..

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Your hair smells lovely. What kind of shampoo are you using? 

I have always found the story of Dracula incredibly fascinating. Throughout the years there have been numerous adaptations of this classic tale in the form of movies and even tv series. The Castlevania gameseries has been around for quite a while and is very popular. I can’t say that I am very familiar with, having played only two or three installments of it, but I do know that it’s a gameseries with a pretty rich history. This animated show was a pleasant surprise. It drew me in right from the openingscene and did not let up for one second. The animation style is very good, but it’s also very graphic. This is certainly a series intended for a mature audience, as there are some incredibly gory scenes in it, especially in the first episode. The show is full of action and these scenes are brought to life by the animation in a great way, which certainly adds to the overall appeal of this series.

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Watch out you might get a whiplash from this…..get it? 

Another thing that is worth mentioning is the voice acting which is really topnotch. Richard Armitage brings to life the character of Trevor Belmont, and he seems to have a lot of fun in doing so. Trevor is a sometimes pretty sarcastic character, and some of the comedy relief in the show, that was a welcome reprieve from the pretty dark story, was provided by him. But the rest of the voice acting cast also did a fine job and included the likes of James Callis and Tony Amendola. These last two names should be familiar to most science fiction fans. Callis is of course best known for his role as doctor Gaius Baltar from the new Battlestar Galactica series, and Tony appeared in Stargate Sg-1 as master Bra’tac. It’s always important in animated series to have voices that act as if you are watching a live action tv show, and the cast for Castlevania certainly managed to accomplish that.

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Hi, I would like to make a purchase. 

The downside to Castlevania is that it’s only four episodes. This almost feels like you are watching a pilot and that it serves as the set up for the story that is yet to come. Luckily I can out your minds at ease and tell you that the series will indeed continue with 8 more episodes. Which in my opinion is very good news. I really enjoyed this first taste of what might develop into a pretty good animated show, if it continues along this path. If you like horror and vampire stories, or if you are a fan of the video game series, I highly recommend that you check this series out. It doesn’t take up a lot of time, as it is only four episodes of around 22 minutes each, but it’s time that is very well spent. I’m really looking forward to what the second season will bring, and I think it can only become even better than this first appetizer.

I give Castlevania a 8 out of 10 score.

Comments malfunction?

Hello everyone. Now this is a bit of an unusual post, but I have a question and a  request at the same time. As of this morning I have been experiencing problems with  giving comments on posts that I enjoyed reading. At first I thought it was just going into a moderation status, but the comments just seem to disappear into thin air. On some posts I even tried multiple times to place a comment, but every time it just vanishes after I press sent. So, my question is: ” Is anyone else experiencing these problems? “. So far I have succeeded on placing exactly one comment for a post for the entire day, which is seriously getting annoying.

The request I have is could you perhaps check your spamfilters if maybe any comments from me got lost in there? I certainly haven’t commented on every post from today, but I did do so on quite a few. I’m really sorry to be bothering you with this, but if there is one thing I like about blogging it is interacting with everyone. I have no idea what exactly is going on here, or if it’s maybe an error on the WordPress servers or something like that. Whatever it is, it is really annoying. Thanks in advance for checking, and of course let me know in the comments section (if that works that is), if maybe you have ever had a problem similar to this and if there is a solution for it.

The Expanse season 1, American/Canadian tv series (2015)

There was a time when science fiction on television was very popular, and there were a lot of tv series to choose from. Babylon 5, Stargate Sg-1, Farscape, Battlestar Galactica, Andromeda, are just a few examples of these shows that offered truly amazing future visions. But it seems that television these days had it’s focus on different things, and it is somewhat harder for sci-fi fans to get their fix. A few years ago I came across a novel called Leviathan Wakes written by James S.A. Correy. It was the start of a fantastic new science fiction saga called the Expanse, and has since then been followed up by 4 other books and a couple of novellas. (You can find a review for the second part in the series right here). To my absolute delight I learned that the novels now have been turned into a television series, but at the same time it filled me with dread. Turning books into movies or tv shows is always a risky business. So the question is: is the Expanse tv series any good? Well I can answer with a resounding: Hell yeah it is!

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Dude, seriously you need a haircut.

The Expanse takes place roughly 200 years into the future. The solar system is fully colonised and there are three major factions, Earth,Mars and the Belt, that have an uneasy peace between them. On a space station in the Asteroid Belt, police detective Miller is assigned a case to find a missing daughter of a wealthy businessman. Elsewhere, James Holden, the executive officer of the icehauler Canterbury is involved in a tragic incident. It soon becomes apparent that this incident is one of the first steps to destabilize the three factions and bring them to an all out war. But how exactly does the missing daughter fit into all this? Eventually the paths of Miller and Holden come together and they are about to uncover a very sinister conspiracy. A conspiracy that threatens the entire human race…..

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Man, lighten up. You are in a truly terrific show. At least put on a smile.

I’m going to make a pretty bold statement here by saying that the Expanse is one of the best science fiction series that I have seen in years. I was already a huge fan of the novels, and I can only say that this series really respects it’s source material. This first season of 10 episodes follows the story of the first part of Leviathan Wakes. One of the strongest points of this show is the story and the many different layers it contains. It has elements of politics, conspiracies, spacebattles and even horror all blended together in a truly amazing and wonderful script. It certainly isn’t a tale that was put together overnight, but really is very well written and has many surprises in store that will both delight and shock you. The visuals are also outstanding, both in terms of special effects, but also in costumes and setsdesigns. Everything looks really convincing, and this all adds to creating a very believable science fiction setting.

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Well, I did say that this series also contained some horror elements right?

But what is a world without memorable characters, and the Expanse also succeeds in creating those. Detective Miller played by veteran actor Thomas Jane, can almost be described as a kind of film noir character you would come across in old black and white movies. I love the fact that Miller also definitely has his flaws, and this creates a person that is very human and who you can relate to. The other main character, James Holden, who is portrayed by actor Steven Strait, is someone who tries to do the right thing, but eventually gets in way over his head because of this. It creates some great scenes between him and his crew, who don’t always agree with his decisions. There are also a lot of other supporting characters, and it would go too far to describe them all in this review. Suffice it to say though, that the cast for this show is truly wonderful and another very good reason to start watching this.

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Yep, what would the human race be without some big guns. 

Are there also negative things to mention? Well, honestly I have been wracking my brain for an answer to that question, but I would be hardpressed to find them. If I were to name one, it might be that the story is pretty complex and certainly not always the easiest to follow. This is not one of those shows you can watch while also texting with your best friend. But I never do that anyway, so I don’t really see this as a weak point. It is very nice to finally have a great science fiction series back on the small screen. The third season for this show was just announced, so there is luckily plenty more to come. For everyone that loves intelligent science fiction storytelling, I can’t recommend this series enough. And while you are at it, you might also want to try the novels that this show is based on. I’m almost certain that you will not be disappointed by this, but hey I could be wrong of course.

I give The Expanse season 1 a 9 out of 10 score.

 

 

 

Terminator 2 Judgment Day 3D, American movie (2017)

Okay, today I’m going to let you in on a little known secret about me. It will probably come as a shock to most of you. Are you ready? Okay here it comes: I love movies. Yes, I know this is a revelation about me that probably surprises most people that have been reading my blog for a while now. Seriously though, because I love films so much, I don’t think there is a better place to experience them than in a movie theatre. Sure, home entertainment has definitely come a long way, but watching a movie in theatres on a big screen with thundering sound is still the best way to enjoy a film. Well, at least for me it is. Having said that, there are certainly quite a number of movies that I would love to see in the theatres one day. Either I was too young to see them when they came out, or I just did not have the time to go there. Terminator 2 is a movie that I almost know by heart, but I had never seen it before on the big screen. And now director James Cameron is giving everyone that chance. Because yes people, Terminator 2 is back, and now in 3D.

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Look mom, I can hold this gun with one hand! 

Terminator 2 Judgment Day picks up the story almost 11 years after the end of the first movie. Things have not gone very well for the mother of the future, Sarah Connor. After having tried to blow up a computer factory in order to prevent the war with Skynet, she got arrested and was placed in a mental institute. Her son, John Connor, who is now a teenager, is living with foster parents, and is in the belief that his mother is a complete psycho. Ever since he was born she had been preparing him for the coming war against the machines, but John is now in complete disbelief of everything he has been told. Things are about to change though. Skynet has sent an advanced prototype Terminator called a T-1000 back through time with the mission to kill John. This deadly killing machine will stop at nothing to carry out it’s program. John is about to have his whole world turned upside down. Luckily he is not without help though, as a protector for John has also been sent from the future. A protector in a very unlikely form……a Terminator. The battle for the future is about to begin….

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What?! You haven’t seen this movie before? That’s a no no…..

A few months ago I reviewed the first Terminator  movie, and I stated in that review that I still think that first part is the best. Having now seen this second movie in the theatres, I haven’t changed my mind on that opinion. However I still absolutely love this film. As this movie has originally been made in 1991, the thing that truly amazed me the most was the fact how well it has withstood the test of time. If someone would have told me that this movie had been released for the first time this year, I would have believed that person. The special effects still look every bit as impressive and not even for a single second does the film look dated. The 3D effects did not add much to the experience though, but honestly that didn’t really bother me. James Cameron is not George Lucas, so except for a few minor technical details the movie appears in the same form as it’s 1991 version.

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If you say “I’ll be back” one more time, I am going to shoot you. 

Terminator 2 is not only a special effects marvel, but it’s also the characters that are featured in this movie, that are truly terrific. Schwarzenegger steals the show as the good Terminator, and the chemistry he has with young John Connor, played by Edward Furlong, is the heart of this movie. Even though he plays a machine, Arnold manages to add a layer of humanity to his role, that really makes you care about what is basically a robot. Erm, excuse me, cybernetic organism. Linda Hamilton returns in her role as Sarah Connor, but it’s almost as if she plays a completely different character. In the first film she was the one who needed protection, but here it’s people who need protection from her. This Sarah Connor is a tough chick that kicks ass and is at times truly frightening. Speaking of frightening, let’s not forget the chilling role of Robert Patrick as the T-1000. His cold portrayal of a machine that is totally without mercy, is really amazing, and he manages to create one of the best villains in movie history.

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Hey…I said it was a no no if you had not seen this movie. Don’t say I did not warn you.

I had an absolute blast seeing this film in the theatres for the first time. James Cameron has stated that if this release manages to perform well at the box office, he is going to focus on bringing his other masterpiece, Aliens, back to the big screen in the 3D format. If that were to happen, I would go absolutely nuts, as Aliens is my alltime favorite science fiction movie. We will just have to wait and see though. In the meantime everyone can enjoy this terrific classic in the way it was intended to be seen: in theatres. I cannot recommend this movie more than I have already let shine through in this review. If you have yet to see this amazing film I can only say that you are in for a treat. This is science fiction movie making at it’s best and a true classic that everyone who loves movies like this, should see at least once in his or her life.

I give Terminator 2 Judgment Day 3D a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Special Features Presents: Embracing the End of life as we know it.

A few weeks ago Karandi from 100wordanime held a contest to celebrate the fact that she had started her Facebook page for her blog. The price for this would be a post written by her on any topic the winner would like. To my big surprise I recieved a message from her telling me that I had won the price! 😀 Now I think most of you already know her as she is I think without a doubt one of the most active bloggers of us all. Pretty much everywhere that I look she manages to give a reaction to posts by other blogs, and also writes a ton of stuff every day for her own blog. She also is one of the kindest persons amongst us, always giving a nice response and needless to say I have the utmost respect for her. It was a great honor to have won this contest, and I asked her to write a post about one of my favorite topics, the post apocalyptic genre. She has made a terrific post for it, the result of which you can find below. All words below are written by her, so if you have yet to discover her wonderful blog, please head over there and subscribe now. I certainly have enjoyed this post, and because it can’t be said enough: thank you very much Karandi for this great price.

Embracing the End of Life as we know it.

This post is for Raistlin who won the 100 Word Anime on Facebook launch competition. Thanks as always Raistlin for your support and for the great topic.
What is the appeal of post-apocalyptic stories? Really, they are set after the end of civilisation as we know it so you could almost assume that any story worth telling was already done and finished. Why not go back and talk about that mutating virus, that war, those final days before the asteroid hit or before the aliens conquered humanity and wiped out everything else?
Well, because that’s hardly the end of the story.
As Ian Malcolm put it in Jurassic Park (or at least the script writers did): life finds a way.
The end of the world is fun and all and watching people try to survive the cataclysm can certainly be good for a few laughs, tears and gasps of surprise, but the more meaningful story, or at least I’ve always found, is in what happens next. What are the next steps for those who don’t disappear in a blaze of glory or have their candle snuffed out?

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As usual, anime has a plethora of examples to draw upon when thinking about any particular genre. And while I was very tempted to make this an Evangelion post when Raistlin first gave me the topic, I resisted temptation because I still haven’t actually gotten around to writing my review of that anime, and ultimately Evangelion is about an absolute refusal to embrace an unpleasant reality and about the many ways people escape or fight against a grim reality.
So where did I look instead?
I actually had to start with Trigun. While not set on Earth, the story takes place after humans for whatever reason have left Earth to colonise another planet, but due to a particular individual they end up crashing onto a desert planet where survival is quite the feat even before you throw in a certain lawless lifestyle. Despite this, and despite some clearly villainous characters, the main cast of Trigun are decidedly optimistic in their outlook on life. Sure, survival is hard, but while the overall situation can’t change, small steps can be taken each day to secure survival and to help others.
It’s really impossible to watch Trigun and not be infected by Vash’s positive outlook. He isn’t some young and naive child clinging to a dream or an illusion to escape the daily grind. He knows how bad things are and he even knows he is actually responsible for some of the issues, and yet he’ll still flash most people that cheeky smile of his and hit them with “Love and Peace”.

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No. 6 is another anime where a main character lives in a world that has been essentially destroyed and the only survivors are in the numbered cities. Privileges are quite restricted and as a child, owing to his intelligence, Shion was on track for a very good life. However, one act of compassion, helping a run-away child, had both Shion and his mother face hardships.
Now, in some stories this would be where the main character became bitter and twisted and would vow revenge against the regime, but Shion is mostly accepting of the situation. He continues to act in a way that doesn’t damage his personal integrity, while finding ways to compromise within the frame of the law. Ultimately his hand is forced and he does go into hiding and finds himself at odds with the city, but even then most of his actions are to save the city rather than to see it brought low.
Both of these characters demonstrate strength and perseverance in the face of inequality and injustice. They put the lives of others before themselves and they seek, in small ways, to make their worlds just a little bit brighter for those around them.

And for me, this is what I love about post apocalyptic stories. They give the best and worst characteristics that humanity carries with them a chance to shine.
Thanks,
Karandi
100wordanime.wordpress.com

Black Bullet, Anime tv series (2013)

You have to wonder what kind of fascination the Japanese seem to have with destroying Tokyo in increasingly inventive ways. We have seen earthquakes, tidal waves, supernatural disasters and even huge monsters laying waste to the city in countless anime and live action movies throughout the years. It provides great entertainment, I have to be honest in that, but it does make me want to know if there is just some kind of hate against this city. Whatever the reason is, in the animeseries I am about to review there is yet another threat against it. Although it is called the Tokyo area in this anime to be more specific.

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This guy certainly isn’t a likeable character in this series. 

It is the year 2021, and the human race has almost been destroyed by the parasitic virus known as Gastrea that turns it’s host into horrifying monsters. What’s left of mankind now lives in cities protected by huge stone Monolith walls that are made from a special material called Varanium, which is able to subdue them. Not long after, children were born that carried the virus within them, but did not turn into monsters. Instead they gained superhuman abilities which were incredibly useful in fighting the Gastrea. Known as the Cursed Children, they were only females. A special fighting force is formed, the Civil Securities, that pairs these children with a handler called a Promoter. The highschool student Rentaro Satomi is one of these Promoters who operates in the Tokyo Area. Rentaro is paired with the loveable Enju Aihara, who has a complete crush on him. But soon things become grim as the Gastrea are beginning to gain ground. Will the remainder of mankind finally fall into oblivion?

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What?! We are not getting a second season?!

Black Bullet is a 13 episode animeseries that for lack of a better term to describe it was just, well, fun. It isn’t the best thing that I have ever seen mind you, but quite honestly it’s one of those series that just doesn’t seem to do much wrong. From a story point of view I can’t say it will win the price for originality. A virus is ofcourse nothing new, although the way it is handled in this series is different from what you might be used to. Another thing that I found that was very cool was the use of the Cursed Children. Here we have young girls ranging from 10-13 years old that have all kinds of superpowers and act as though they are adults. Which ofcourse they are not. It provides both comedic but also at times very grim moments. The story unfolds  rather nicely, and has a few tricks up it’s sleeves along the way, although there were not a lot of surprises.

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If you have a fear of spiders I would definitely watch this….

The characters in the series are not it’s strongest point. The bond between Rentaro and Enju is pretty fun to watch at times. Although some people might also find some of the situations between them a little bit unsettling to watch, as Enju is of course still a child. I don’t think the series crosses any serious lines though, and for the most part it certainly gave a few laughs. During the later episodes a lot of new Cursed Children, also called Initiators are introduced together with their Promoters. And they just don’t get enough screentime to grow any real attachment to them. I felt the series could have used a bit more time to focus on it’s characters instead of throwing them at us without giving us time to get used to them.

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Do you really have to move so close to me? 

What the series may lack in character development it more than makes up for in the action department. If you like action featuring superpowered beings fighting huge and horrifying monsters, this is a show that will certainly give you that. Some of the bigger Gastrea monsters had very cool designs, and it was incredibly satisfying to watch them get taken down in some of the more spectacular fights the series has on offer. But it’s not all monster fighting though, as Rentaro and Enju get to deal with a lot of different situations including assassination attempts and prejudice against the Cursed Children. The animation of the show is pretty good as well, and together with the music serves up a nice and pleasurable viewing experience. All in all I really enjoyed this one. The story for a change gets wrapped up for the most part in the end, although there was certainly room for a second season. Seeing it’s been almost 4 years since the release of this one, I doubt that will happen though. Black Bullet may not be for everyone, but if you like a bit of action coupled with cool monsters and interesting fight scenes, you might give this one a shot.

I give Black Bullet a 8 out of 10 score.

Bad Guys, Korean Drama Series (2014)

I love watching Korean dramaseries, but for some reason I am always running behind with reviews for these. It usually takes me a bit of time to finish them too, and that is not because I don’t enjoy them. On the contrary I absolutely love them, but as always there are only so many hours in a day, and you can only watch one thing at a time. For people who might be unfamiliair with Korean dramas let me give a small introduction for you. (I have done this before so feel free to skip this part and continue to read the next paragraph). Still here? Okay then. Korean dramaseries are tv series that usually contain around 20 episodes and cover a wide range of topics. Romance, historical period pieces, crime, even science fiction is entering the range of titles on offer. The great thing is that these are selfcontained stories, so there is never the risk of a series getting cancelled and leaving unfinished threads. Although there are a few exceptions of dramas getting a second season if it is succesful. One of these is the 2014 crimedrama Bad Guys.

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Well, I did warn you that this series could get bloody right?

In Bad Guys we meet up with detective Oh Gu-tak who has a nickname: Mad Dog. He certainly seems to live up to his reputation as he doesn’t shy away from using pretty excessive measures to catch criminals. But you can’t really blame him as years back his only daughter was murdered by a brutal serial killer. Since then he has been living with guilt and certainly isn’t the same man that he used to be. When a series of new murders take place in his district, Oh Gu-tak comes up with an unorthodox plan to capture the killer. He enlists the help of three dangerous criminals that are currently residing in prison. One is a psychopath and serial killer himself, the other a former mob boss, and the final member of Oh Gu-tak’s new crimefighting squad is a hired hit-man that never made a mistake, but eventually turned himself in. The person who eventually ends up catching the criminal, will get his sentence reduced. Things are not as easy as it seems though. Everyone has a very hard time getting along, but there also seems to be a tie that connects these four people together. A tie rooted in a very dark past and that might have very dire consequences…..

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He did not get the nickname Mad Dog for nothing.

This crimedrama is a very dark and bloody show, and honestly that is how I like them. Where the series at first starts off as a show that seems to focus itself on catching a different criminal in each episode, we soon get a storyline that branches out and carries on throughout the course of the series. The plot is very clever and it’s nice to continually try to find new pieces of the story and figure out what is going on.  It also contains quite a bit of action, featuring carchases and impressive fight scenes that have a blockbuster movie quality to them. This being a crime story it contains some very dark material at times, and there are a few brutal scenes, but it never goes too far or becomes to explicit to watch.

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I am not kidding, this guy wears this expression the entire series. Even his hair seems to agree with him.

The real highlight of this show however are the actors. The level of performances that are given in this show are really off the charts, and truly worth the watch. Detective Oh Gu-tak is played by Kim Sang-joong and he is very impressive to say the least. This is the first time I have seem him in a show or movie, but the way he portrays this quite frankly frightening character is astonishing. His grief and trauma over the death of his daughter really come to the fore in his performance and makes him so fascinating to watch. Ma Dong-seok who people might recognise from Train to Busan, plays the former mobster Pak Un-seol. His character provides some of the much needed comic relief in what is otherwise a very dark series. He gives another solid performance and certainly became one of my favorite characters of the show.

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You would almost think that this guy is a vampire…..

The most human character and the one with the highest level of charisma is the hired hit-man Jung Tae-soo. He is pretty much the only one that really struggles with the deeds that he has done, and his background story is the one that got to me the most. Ofcourse I am not going to spoil things for you, but suffice it to say that it’s pretty touching. The last member of the band of misfits is psychopath Lee Jung-moon, played by Park Hae-jin. Quite frankly this guy gave me the creeps. His continually stoic expression throughout the series seriously was unnerving, but it was a terrific and very chilling role. We also have a female police detective called Yoo Mi-young played by Kang Ye-won. Quite frankly she is the only one that I did not really like in this series. I found her character to be pretty boring and not really fitting the rest of the high caliber acting that was done in this series.

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This is the Korean version of Spanish bullfighting.

This 11 episode series was a delight to watch. With the exception of a few moments in later episodes, this was a well paced series that had a really interesting plot, solid performances and a great atmosphere. Bad Guys is getting a second season, but sadly with an entirely different cast of characters. Which I think is a real shame as the cast for this show was simply put amazing. If you like crime dramas or serial killer stories and have yet to experience your first Korean dramaseries, this might be your perfect way to start. If you are looking for a way to watch this drama legally and for free you can check out the website Viki. This series together with scores of others can be found there in high quality, and there is a drama on that site for everyone.

I give Bad Guys a 8 out of 10 score.

Rambo: First Blood, American movie (1982)

Yes people, my 80’s bingewatch is continuing. I don’t know what it is these days, but I seem to be living more in the past than in the present. Maybe I am actually experiencing a severe case of midlife crisis. Either that, or I am just getting old. For all you animelovers out there, and yes I am still one of them, rest assured there will be some animecontent coming out later this week. But for now, it’s time to revisit one of the greatest action heroes of all time: John Rambo. Portrayed by Sylvester Stallone, who I still consider to be one of best action stars to walk the face of this planet, Rambo is an icon and became a part of our culture. Just think of all the times his name has been mentioned in other movies or tv series. Together with Rocky, Rambo is just a terrific character that has captured the hearts and minds of action movielovers everywhere.

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The things you find in Christmas trees these days.

First Blood tells the story of the former Vietnam veteran John Rambo. At the beginning of the movie he is trying to get in touch with a former army buddy of his, with which he served in ‘Nam. He is shocked to find out his friend has died from cancer. Stricken with grief, Rambo sets out on foot not really caring where he ends up. Soon he arrives in a small town called Hope and comes across the local sheriff a man called Will Teasle. Now he really doesn’t take kindly to a stranger entering his quiet town, and firmly tells him to hit the road again. When John refuses, he is taken into custody even though he hasn’t done anything. But Will is about to find out that a war is going to take place in his small town. A war caused by a man named John Rambo. And when he is done, you can certainly count on one thing that will definitely be needed: a good supply of body bags….

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Such a stupid move to take him in. You can see he is wearing green right? Ever hear of the Hulk?

Now if you have actually never heard of this movie, seriously where have you been? Just kidding here of course. Rambo is one of the 80’s best action films and I honestly can’t count the number of times that I have seen this movie. We could all argue about the amount of macho type characters and testosterone this movie contains (and it certainly does contain that, no argument there), but at the heart is a story about prejudice. Here we have a man that has been a credit to his country, awarded with countless awards, and he gets accosted by the local sheriff just because of the way he looks. Also it teaches us what war can really do to a man or a woman. I have never been in a war, nor do I hope to ever be in one, but only if you experienced those horrors can you really imagine what it must be like. There is a gutwrenching scene at the end of the movie where John cries his eyes out telling his former commanding officer about what happened to him in Vietnam. And it really is hard to watch this iron warrior break up like that. War, seriously what is it good for?

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Easy Rider: the Next Generation.

 

The performances in this film are excellent. Stallone was born to play this part, a role he would reprise three times after this movie. Even though he does some horrible things in this film, you get where his anger is coming from, and you certainly feel sympathy for his character. And that is all because of the humanity that Stallone brings with him through his acting. Sheriff Will Teasle is played by the highly underrated actor Brian Dennehy. Will is a dispacable man, but in the end you do feel for him, as through his ignorance he gets way more than he ever imagined would happen to his town. It’s a terrific role and one that Brian pulls off incredibly well. And last but not least we have Colonel Trautman, Rambo’s commanding officer in Vietnam, played by the sadly departed actor Richard Crenna. Trautman acts as Rambo’s father figure, and pretty much the only man that Rambo has respect for. Crenna does a terrific job in portraying this commanding role, and you would almost believe that he was a real soldier.

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Man, seriously who drives like that?

The review would not be complete without mentioning the amazing score of Jerry Goldsmith. It adds another layer to what is already a terrific movie, and the theme for Rambo is one that will stick in your head for the remainder of the day, whenever you hear it. This movie is now 35 years old, and you would think it was made yesterday. With some fabulous action scenes, great and very memorable characters, and a story that does also make you think about the futility of some things, this is 80’s action moviemaking at it’s best. It will probably not please everyone, but if you are an action adrenaline junkie and have yet to watch this one, you will be in for a treat. And otherwise it’s a great movie to revisit and to relive the golden 80’s.

I give Rambo:First Blood a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Transformers (1986) review

We all know what it’s like: you start a new blog, and are trying to get your bearings and ofcourse people trying to read your stuff. Today I wanted to share a post from a friend of mine who has just started blogging. And seeing as it is a review from one of my favorite cartoon movies (Transformers), and it’s in keeping with this whole nostalgic vibe I seem to have going, I thought I would share this with you all. Feel free to look around at her site, she has a great review for a series of graphic novels that I had never heard about, but that sound truly interesting. And ofcourse if you like her stuff, please subscribe 😀

Flowangelic

Transformers-movieposter-west

Even though I am a cartoon addict (well not addict, but I have seen way too many to be considered a “normal” viewer) and having seen Transformers as a youngster, I never saw the actual Transformer movie.

We started rewatching the transformers series (all ordered from Ebay) and when season 2 was finished we popped in the movie (also from Ebay).

Now the fact that te movie takes place in 2005 is hilarious, as its already a decade past that date and there are still no transformers in our world….(actually its not hilarious, its sad… boring world).

The movie is a complete bundle of sadness in itself. I do not mean that as the movie is bad, on the contrary the movie is great! But almost all the autobots die. ALMOST ALL OF THEM! Even Optimus Prime bites the dust. I can I enjoy this film when not one of…

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