Your lie in April, Anime tv series (2014)

Sometimes you come across something that is so special, that it is almost impossible to put it into words. Your lie in April is just that. To simply call this an anime series, is almost to do it an injustice. Because it is so much more than that. I have seen quite a lot of anime (but trust me when I say that I am still a newbie to this wonderful  medium), but this is without a doubt the best and most emotional series that I have ever had the pleasure of watching. I am so excited to share my thoughts with you on this, that I can barely contain myself. But I am getting ahead on things.

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Yes, riding a bike like this can be very dangerous. 

Before I begin my loveletter to this anime, I have to thank someone namely Weekendotaku. Now I have been following his blog for quite a few months now (and seriously if you are not yet subscribed to it, please do so now. I promise you won’t regret it.) and he has always had very insightful reviews which have been a blast to read. On the 2nd of April he started a new feature on his blog, namely a rewatch of this series. I joined in and every day a new episode would be watched and reviewed on which we and everyone else who had joined could exchange thoughts. It was great, it was emotional, it was fun, and I would not have wanted to miss this for the world. So once again: thank you!

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So beautiful……

In Your lie in April we meet up with the promising pianist Kousei Arima. Well, at least he was promising, but because of a traumatic event in his childhood, he can’t hear the notes anymore while playing. Just to clarify, Kousei is not deaf, in fact his hearing is perfectly fine. Kousei has two very good friends, Tsubaki and Watari, who have been with him since childhood. Even though Kousei has very little colour in his life, he has resigned himself to that. One day though, everything changes when he meets up with a girl called Kaori. Kaori plays the violin, has a sparkling personality and is almost the opposite of Kousei in every way. Still, she slowly begins to draw Kousei back into the world of music. But Kaori also has a secret, and when that secret will be revealed, it might be too much for Kousei to bear……

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Erm…..you were going to say something?

Now I am a man, and there seems to be a general rule, that a real man does not cry. But recently I heard something else as well, a real man is not afraid to show his feelings. Well, let me tell you this, I have literally had tears in my eyes so many times while I watched this, that it took me completely by surprise. Anyone who says that anime is just shallow, and only for kids should maybe start watching this series. To tell too much about this anime would be to do you a disservice. It is something that you have to discover for yourself. But I will attempt to at least make you understand why this series is so very special.

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I did not know that pounding on someone’s head could make them laugh. 

First off it is the characters. Never before have I had such an attachment to characters in an animated series. When you first lay eyes on Kaori, you will fall in love with her. Her personality, strength, and everything she does in this series is so incredible, that she feels completely lifelike. And no, I am not turning crazy, I still know we are talking about an anime, but once you have seen this, you will know what I am talking about. But it was not only Kaori. So many characters, both with smaller and bigger parts in the series, were absolutely amazing. I could especially relate to Tsubaki, as the role she plays came so close to my personal life, that at times  it was hard to watch.

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Yep, even the fireflies agree that you need to watch this series.

But it is the story itself, filled with so many touching and heartbreaking moments, that really takes this anime to another level. Especially during the later episodes, this series will take you on an emotional rollercoaster that simply does not stop. I really recommend having a box of tissues standing by, because you are going to need them. The animation is breath taking. There are so many scenes that are presented so beautifully, that it is not possible to pick a favorite. And nor would I want to. Lastly there is the music. Even if you are not a fan of classical music, it fits this anime so perfectly, that you will be spellbound by it. There are numerous scenes on stage with various different performances, each one more beautiful than the other.

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This picture pretty much sums up how I feel about this anime. 

So is there nothing negative to report about this series? Well, maybe just one small thing. There can be very abrupt changes in tone. Sometimes you are in the middle of a very emotional scene, to have that turn into slapstick comedy two seconds later. This was especially so in the beginning of the series, but trust me when I say that this will grow on you. And with so many moments in which this anime does not hold back it’s punches in emotion, it is also nice to have some comedy to relief the tension. Well if everything you have read here so far has not already made it clear, let me spell it out for you. I loved this show. It is by far the best anime that I have ever seen in my life, and it has been an experience that I will remember forever. If you have yet to watch this series, go do so right now. Be prepared to become hooked and fall in love with everything this show has to offer. And that really is not a lie…..

I give Your lie in April a 10 out of 10 score.

 

 

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Special Features Presents: My favorite creature feature movies (part 2)

Last week, on part 1 of this special feature, I presented my favorite monster movies that had at least a bit of a realistic feel to it. For those of you that might have missed this post, you can find it here. Now though, all hell breaks loose, as I am now going to feature the terrible creatures that are not of this world. And some of these are so incredible frightening, that at times you wonder what on Earth must have gone through the mind of the person that thought these things up in the first place. Anyways, sit back, grab a cold drink, and prepare to scream.

1. The Thing (1982)

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I sure have a headache today, I really wonder why?

John Carpenter’s remake of the 1951 classic movie The Thing from another world, is one of the best monster movies ever made. In The Thing members of a research facility in Antarctica are under attack by a creature that can take on the same shape as anything it touches. As nobody is able to trust one another, paranoia soon grows rampant. The creature effects in this movie are stunning and absolutely disgusting. Even to this day, they are very impressive to say the least. But the true strength in this film, lies in the concept itself. With literally anyone who could be the monster, who can you trust? Great stuff, and in my opinion this is an absolute must see movie.

2. Tremors (1990)

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Did anyone order fried snakes?

This movie has fun written all over it. Starring a young Kevin Bacon, a small town is threatened by a group of gigantic worms that live under ground and are attracted by noise. This movie has a lot of funny and scary scenes at the same time, and with great creature effects, this is just another highly enjoyable movie. This film has spawned four sequels and even a tv series. Supposedly a second tv series is currently under development, with Kevin Bacon reprising his role. The original movie is still the best though, and after 27 years it has withstood the test of time very well.

3. The Relic (1997)

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I really wonder what his dentist has to say about his teeth.

This is a pretty underrated movie, that might not even be known to a lot of people. Based on the novel of the same name, the Relic tells the story of a frightening creature that has unknowingly been transported to the basement of a Chicago museum. When people start to die, a homicide detective joins forces with a anthropologist to find out the truth. I honestly have to admit that the novel was better than the movie, but still this is a very enjoyable monster romp. The creature itself, designed by legend Stan Winston is amazing, and the dark atmosphere and unique setting ensure that you will definitely be entertained throughout this movie.

4. The Host (2006)

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The things you find in the river these days.

The Korean movie The Host, is one of the more unusual monstermovies on this list. In Seoul’s Han river a truly repulsive monster resides, that suddenly emerges and begins to attack people on the shore. A father fights to protect his family from the creature at all cost. Usually, in a film such as this, we get to see the monster later on in the film. But here the creature is shown right from the start and in full daylight. With a story that is part comedy, part horrormovie, and also part drama this really is a very unique monster film, and one that I was highly impressed by.

5. Cloverfield (2008)

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Hey…no need to run away, he really doesn’t bite, trust me.

Cloverfield was steeped in secrecy before it was released. Nobody quite knew what to expect from this film, as the trailers showed very little of what was going on. This was a movie in the found footage category. A group of friends in New York get caught up right in the middle of what at first is presumed to be a natural disaster. However it turns out that a gigantic monster has invaded the Big Apple and is on a rampage. We get a lot of shaky cam shots, that actually made people ill while watching it in theatres. I had no such problems however, and found it to be a fantastic experience with a very well designed creature.

6. Virus (1999)

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Hey, who are you calling ugly?

Virus tells the tale of the crew of the salvage ship “Sea Star”, that during a storm comes across a Russian vessel seemingly abandoned at sea. However it soon becomes clear that a terrible evil has invaded the ship. This movie features some great actors including Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Sutherland. But the real stars for this film are the very well designed robotic/organic creatures. This is a highly underrated gem of a movie, with some terrific performances by the cast, and a truly frightening atmosphere. This is one of those films where you wonder why it received so many negative reviews at the time.

7. Aliens (1986)

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Why the hell do they make these ceilings so low?

I have featured this movie a couple of times on my blog, on all kinds of different posts. But if I were to leave this one out of this list, I would really be doing something wrong. Yes the original alien movie was great, but this sequel was superior in every way. When a group of marines travel to the newly established colony on planet LV 426, they encounter a breed of deadly alien xenomorphs. Together with Ripley, the sole survivor of the spaceship Nostromo, and who has encountered the creatures before, they must find a way off planet before it’s too late. I have seen this movie too many times that I can count, and I am honestly still in awe of the incredible creature effects that are featured in this film. This movie is just simply put an alltime classic.

8. The Descent (2005)

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A candle light dinner sure isn’t what it used to be.

The small British horrormovie the Descent is a truly frightening and claustrophobic experience. A group of girls travel down into an unexplored cavesystem, but encounter a horrifying breed of creatures. A struggle for survival begins, but with the way back pretty much cut off, their chances of getting out alive are slim. This movie is definitely the most terrifying one of this list, and that is in part because of the truly tense atmosphere that this movie has. Even though this film had a pretty low budget, it does not show that in the least. If you like to be truly scared this movie is definitely for you.

Final thoughts

And that as they say, is that. Now is this list complete, and does it feature all of my favorite creature feature movies? I would have to answer that one with a big and resounding no. Predator, King Kong, Godzilla to name but a few, are also favorites of mine. But as this post is already pretty long, I have decided to stick with the 8 movies that are featured on this post. Maybe in the future I will do another one of these, as I really had some fun writing this.

But these are my favorites, and as always I am looking forward to the “out of this world monster films” that you like the most. Are any of them featured above? Are there any others you like? Let me know in the comments section below. Thank you for reading this one, and I will see you all at the next post!

 

Steins;Gate:Fuka ryouiki no déjà vu, Japanese (animated) movie (2013)

A few months ago I reviewed the anime series Steins;Gate. (You can find it right here). This series is considered by many to be one of the greatest animes ever created. I myself however was less enthusiastic about it. Even though the characters in the series were great, and I highly enjoyed all of their antics, I found the series itself very slow. The storyline was quite clever, and did really stick in my mind well after I finished it, but for some reason I could not really get into it. What I am going to do is give this series another try later this year, to see if my opinion for it changes. Browsing through Netflix, I came across the Steins;Gate series as well, or so I thought. Actually it was a movie that was made two years later, and chronicles the further adventures of Rintaro Okabe.

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Hey! I am talking to you, it is not polite to turn your back on me. 

Steins;Gate: fuka ryouiki no déjà vu (which roughly translated means Load Region of Deja Vu), picks up the events after the animeseries. Rintaro believes himself to be safe, seeing as the time machine and the threat of SERN is gone. But is that really true? Lately he has been getting strange flashbacks to the terrible things that have happened to him in the past. As he is the only one that knows these things, the rest of the members of the Future Gadget Laboratory have no real clue what is going on with him. When Kurisu arrives in Japan for a press conference, after having been gone for a year, she ofcourse reunites with her friends. Kurisu is beginning to notice Rintaro’s strange behaviour, but when she is right in the middle of a conversation with him, he disappears before her eyes. Even more disturbing is the fact that nobody seems to remember who Rintaro was. Kurisu will have to find a way to get Rintaro back, but in order to do so, she might have to pay a very high price……

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Sorry, just have to scratch my ear for a second. 

So a few of you might have already noticed the grade I gave this one below my review. I’m probably going to be hated on, seeing as so many people enjoyed this movie. But I am sorry to say that I was not one of them. Let me start off by saying that I really understood what the goal was that they set out to do with this film. The story for this was heartbreaking and it really shows what someone who really cares for another will go through in order to save that person. So that was really a good thing. But seriously, I thought the series was slow, but this movie took it to a whole new level. It started off okay, with the funny and enjoyable banter between Rintaro and the rest of his labcrew.

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Trust me, this scene is not what you might think. 

But the last hour of the movie was just too slow for me to appreciate it. As I stated in my review for the series, I really enjoyed the characters, and thought that was the best thing of the series. But in this movie, except for the first half hour, the entire mood was very dark and quite depressing. And that also affected the behaviour of the characters themselves. Yes ofcourse the second part of the series had a very dark atmosphere as well, but this movie went more down the line of being very sad. But this is how I feel about it, and seeing as so many viewers have enjoyed this movie and the show in general, this might just be me. As stated in the beginning, later this year I will give the animeseries a second watch, and see if I might have a change of heart for it. So, probably if you have liked the animeseries, you will enjoy this movie (even though it’s tone is different). But if you are like me, and were not too impressed by the series, you had best avoid this one.

I give Steins;Gate fuka ryouiki no déjà vu a 5 out of 10 score.

 

Spectral, American Movie (2016)

Throughout history there has sadly been one constant factor that has kept mankind occupied: war. No matter what century you would choose to look at, there has always been some kind of war that was being waged at some place on the planet. There is a quote from Albert Einstein that also appears in the movie I am about to review : ” I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”. A truly chilling prospect if you ask me. Warfare has also changed a lot over the past decades. These days people can be killed by the push of a button from a million miles away. There has yet to develop a situation that our modern weapons can’t deal with. But what if something like that were to happen? What if you were to fight an enemy that could not be killed by normal weapons…..?

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What are you looking at? They are invisible remember? 

Spectral takes place in the not too distant future. When a soldier gets killed by an unseen force on a battlefield in Moldavia, help is requested by the military. That help comes in the form of dr. Clyne, who is the designer of the so called hyperspectral imaging goggles, that allow soldiers to see things on the battlefield that they would normally not be able to. Together with a bunch of Special Ops soldiers, he gets sent into the city , in order to investigate this unknown enemy. It soon becomes clear though that they are not dealing with a conventional force. Weapons are useless against them, they move through walls like they are not even there, are invisible to the naked eye and are able to kill with a single touch. Soon the squad comes under siege, and when people are beginning to die, their only hope might rest with a bunch of children who seem to have found a way to stop them. However with so little people left, their task seems almost impossible…

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The annual Call of Duty conventions are getting more realistic each year. 

The first thing that springs to mind when you see this movie are videogames. Some of the scenery for this film, seems to have come straight from the highly succesful Gears of War games. And that’s not all. At times the way the action is shot, and the situations that arise, you really get the feeling that you are watching someone that is playing a videogame. Luckily though, it is a very good videogame. The special effects for this film, as well as the action are definitely the reason to watch this one. The spectral enemies the soldiers are facing, look really cool, as well as all the hightech weapons and gadgets the soldiers are using.

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Yep, this gun is big alright.

The group of soldiers are being played by couple of familiar faces, as well as a few unknowns. Max Martini plays the commander of the special forces unit, and one wonders at times if the guy really is from the military, seeing how many soldiers he has played throughout his career. Still, he always plays the role well, and in this movie that is no exception. James Badge Dale who portrays dr. Clyne, also does very little wrong. Most of the other characters though are pretty underdeveloped, and the same can be said for the story. It is all pretty straightforward, with little surprises, although the true nature of the enemy was pretty original.

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You are seeing this right? 

That said I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It has plenty of action, some seriously cool setpieces, and if you like military science fiction movies I highly recommend this film. Ofcourse it won’t win the price for most original movie of the year, but if you can look past that, this movie has entertainment written all over it. This being a Netflix Original movie, I can honestly say that they are definitely on a roll with producing some very well made movies.

I give Spectral a 8 out of 10 score.

Joe, American movie (2013)

There are certain actors that can deliver an outstanding performance one minute, and a truly horrible one the next. Nicolas Cage is such an actor. I have seen movies with him, in which his acting is so completely over the top, that you almost want to turn it off in order to watch something else. But then again, when he really gets into a role, seriously this man can act. Unfortunately these days he pretty much grabs any role he can get his hands on, and he has starred in a couple of really atrocious movies. Which is a real shame, as I myself honestly think that he is a terrific actor, at least when he puts his mind to it. In the movie Joe he definitely did that.

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Why take a chair? Just use a car.

Gary is a 15 year old boy whose life truly needs some improvement. His alcoholic dad pretty much beats the life out of him, and his mother is so far out of it, that she could not care less. One day while out looking for work, Gary meets up with Joe who is an ex-con. Joe has a rather dubious job poisoning trees with a group of other workers, in order to get them ready to get cut down. Eventually Gary is accepted into the group, and an unlikely bond begins to develop between Joe and the boy. However, Joe has a very dark past, and has daily struggles with his inner demons. He is beginning to see Gary as a younger version of himself, and he wants to prevent him from making the same mistakes that he did. Unfortunately this won’t be too easy, especially considering the fact that Gary’s dad certainly doesn’t accept the friendship that has grown between the two of them. It seems that the only way out might be through violence….

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What do you think he sees?

Joe is a very dark and depressing movie. I won’t lie to you there. I also don’t think I will rewatch this one any time soon. The overall atmosphere and darkness in this film, is truly horrific, and that is why this certainly won’t be a movie for everyone. This is not an action film, but purely a movie that is driven by dialogue, even though there certainly are a few scenes in it that could be considered action. That said there is one single reason why I still highly recommend this film, and that is the acting. All the performances in this movie are absolutely outstanding.

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Work can get you down sometimes.

First off Cage does a terrific job in playing the role of Joe. As a character Joe certainly isn’t a man you would immediately respect, but because of Cage’s intense performance you truly want him to succeed in whatever he does. The chemistry he has with upcoming young actor Tye Sheridan, is another of the highlights of this film. All the scenes between them are truly terrific, and it is not hard to imagine the friendship that has developed between Joe and Gary. And then we have Gary’s dad who was played by a real homeless man picked of the streets by the director of the movie. This man, called Gary Poulter sadly died a few months after filming on the streets of Austin. A real shame as the way he played the young boy’s dad you would think he was a veteran actor.

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Never talk back to me….

It is hard to recommend a movie such as this. The really depressing mood and sadness contained within this one, absolutely do not make this an easy watch. However the performances given in this film, almost beg for you to see this movie at least for one time. I can’t say that I have enjoyed this film, because that truly would be a strange word to use for it. But I can say that I most definitely did not find this movie a waste of my time, and certainly from an acting point of view this movie is terrific.

I give Joe a 7 out 10 score.

Macross Zero, Anime tv series (2002)

Prequels. It is a concept that the past few years has been introduced in novels, movies, and tv series. The question I have always asked myself is what is precisely the point of a prequel ? Sure it is nice to find out some backstory about certain characters, or some kind of clarification about events that were not fully explained in whatever the prequel is based on. But because a prequel can ofcourse not change the events of the established story, I always find that it lacks excitement. You know the story of what comes after, and ofcourse which characters will be in the original so they can’t be killed off in the prequel. If done well however, it can occasionally be fun to find out what led up to certain events happening in the original story. Honestly though, I am not a big fan of prequels. I do watch them,especially for franchises that I really enjoy like for instance the anime series Macross. Just like Gundam Wing it has now had so many different shows, that it is hard to keep track of it all. I might do a post for the entire Macross saga in the future. For now, all you need to know for this one, is that Macross Zero is a prequel to the series that started it all.

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I believe I can fly….

It is the year 1999 and a gigantic alien spacecraft crashlands on Earth. At the time the world is engulfed in a global war, but with the realisation that mankind is not alone, an uneasy peace is established. Nine years later, a lot of new technology has been realised with the help of what is found within the bowels of the alien ship. Most notably the transformable Valkyrie fighters. Even though the war has pretty much died down, there are still a lot of skirmishes between the new U.N.Spacy and Anti-Un forces. During one of these fights, we meet up with the young pilot Shin Kudo, who gets shot down by a strange alien craft. Crashlanding on a Mayan island he manages to survive. When he meets up with the inhabitants of the island, he soon realises that they have a secret that ties them to the alien ship. Deep under the ocean there resides an alien weapon that has been buried for over 10.000 years. A weapon that may result in the end of mankind when released……

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Nothing can keep us apart, except maybe a pink bubbly thing.

One thing that Macross has always been good at, is showcasing transformable fighter planes that beat the crap out of each other. And in that regard Macross Zero certainly does not disappoint. This 5 part series showcases some of the coolest Mecha fight sequences in this franchise to date. This being a prequel it was nice to see a lot of the old craft from the original series returning, most notably the Skull One. But there were also some new Mecha that we did not yet see in any of the other series. These fights were definitely the highlight of the show.

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Kind of gives a new dimension to the word overkill.

Another thing that has always been a trademark for this series is the love triangle arc. This time it is between the hero of the story Shin, and two sisters from the island on which he crashlands, Sara and Mao Nome. The characters in this franchise are usually one of the strong points, but in this prequel I found them to be rather dull. I did not establish any kind of attachment to them whatsoever, and that usually is a bad thing. What I did like was the return of the tragic hero from the original series Roy Focker. Even though he played he a small part in the events for this series, it was an important one. As Roy has always been a fan favorite character, many will enjoy seeing his return.

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Yep, that really is Roy Focker.

The story for this prequel was rather confusing. It contained a lot of mythical mumbo jumbo, that I at times could not make heads nor tails of. This being a prequel it does ofcourse contain some interesting ties to the original series, and I guess that makes it somewhat worth it. Has it changed my view on prequels though? Nope, I can honestly say that it did not. Macross Zero is worth the watch for the incredible Mecha fights that are contained within these five episodes, but ultimately I found it to be a rather disappointing entry into the Macross mythology. If you like Macross though, this is one you at least want to watch once, if only to see a few classic things make a reappearance. If you have yet to discover Macross, I would recommend starting with the original tv series from 1982, which is still every bit as groundbreaking as when it was first shown on television.

I give Macross Zero a 6 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: My favorite creature feature movies (part 1)

It has been quite a while since I did a special features post. A couple of weeks ago I was trading thoughts with Karandi from 100wordanime (and yes this is also a shameless plug to get you to follow her blog if you have not done so already), after she reviewed the movie Deep Blue Sea. I thought it might be interesting to write a post about my favorite movies that feature some kind of creature scaring the crap out of people. After having recently seen the movie Anaconda, I recalled this conversation, and now finally I have gotten around to writing this post. Sorry it has taken me a while to do so, but I still hope you will enjoy reading it. Why part 1? Well, in this post I will focus on movies that are at least somewhat realistic, and part 2 will focus on science fiction movies that feature terrible creatures from beyond. Well, enough small talk, let’s get on with it!

1. Jaws (1975)

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Hmmmmm….tasty……

To not include this classic Steven Spielberg movie, would simply be impossible. For maybe the only soul on this planet who has yet to see this film, I will give a short description of what it is about. The summer town of Amityville is all of a sudden being terrified by a great white shark, with a taste for human flesh. After a number of people have been attacked, it is up to the local sheriff, a marine biologist and a shark hunter to take care of the beast. A titanic struggle between man and shark soon begins. Yes, this movie is now 42 years old, but wow it is still one of the best monster movies ever. Even though the sharkeffects may, at times, feel a bit dated, the movie is still very effective in bringing up the scares and the tension. A classic film in every sense of the word, this is an absolute must see movie.

2. Alligator (1980)

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Did someone call the police?

After Jaws there were a lot of attempts to cash in on the success of that film. Most of these were very bad, but there were also a few movies that were quite entertaining. Alligator definitely fell into that last category. The premise for this film was pretty simple: a baby alligator was flushed down the toilet, but managed to survive and grow into a gigantic monstrosity. The beast eventually left the sewers and began attacking the local residents. This movie is a bit of a cult classic, but highly enjoyable. It does not take itself very seriously, but there are enough tense moments in this film, that will have you hang on to the edge of your seat. In no way will this one beat Jaws, but it is definitely not a bad movie.

3. Rogue (2007)

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Here’s Johny!!

Staying with reptiles, the 2007 Australian movie Rogue features a giant crocodile. An American journalist encounters a giant man eating crocodile while on assignment in the Australian outback. He is trapped on a small island that is beginning to flood. And with a hungry crocodile nearby, that is really not a good place to be. This movie starts of somewhat slow, but makes up for it in the second half of the film. The creature effects for this one are truly astonishing, and especially near the end of the film you start to wonder how on Earth they managed to accomplish that. This is a relatively small, but very tense and exciting movie.

4. Arachnophobia (1990)

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Itsy bitsy spider….

Now, I am not afraid of spiders, but after seeing this film, I could definitely develop a fear for them. A doctor discovers a new species of spider in the South American jungle. Travelling back to the States, the spider eventually manages to breed with a domestic species, and this is the beginning of a nightmare for the residents of a small town. Now, if you like movies with jumpscares, this one will give you more than you might have bargained for. I remember when I saw this film in the theatres for the first time. I had never seen an audience jump out of their seats so many times, myself included. It is a great and fun film, with a lot of tense moments, and some very decent special effects.

5. Cujo (1983)

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No worries, he doesn’t bite……

Cujo is a movie that is based on the novel by Stephen King. A friendly St.Bernard gets bitten by a bat and contracts rabies. A mother and her son are trapped in a car, while the dog stalks them. It is the middle of summer, so the heat is scorching and time is running out for the both of them. This is a truly tense movie, and one of the better Stephen King films out there. What is interesting to note, is that they used a real dog for this movie. You really wonder how they have managed to train an animal to do all the things you see in this film. It is all very convincing and very scary.

6. The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)

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Are you looking at us?

This movie is a very underrated gem. A bridge engineer while on assignment in Africa, has to enlist the help of an old hunter as his crew gets attacked by a pair of lions. It is not long though that the two of them discover that these are no ordinary lions. What is really interesting about this movie, is that this film is based on a true story. With veteran actors Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas cast for the two lead roles, this film really is a joy to watch from beginning to end. Filmed mostly in Africa, the scenery alone is one of the reasons to watch this movie.

7. Bait (2012)

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The things you can find in a supermarket these days..

After the release of Jaws there have been so many sharkmovies that I have really lost count. Amongst all these it is very hard to find something original, but Bait really tries to be different. A tsunami strikes at an Australian town, and a number of people become trapped inside a supermarket. To add to their problems a couple of great white sharks have become trapped with them….This was really a very unique sharkmovie, simply because of the truly original setting. It was simply a blast to see people taking the fight to the sharks with only supermarket appliances. The result was a fun and exciting film, that was a really enjoyable watch.

8. Burning Bright (2010)

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Here kitty, kitty, kitty…..

This small, and relatively unknown film was truly a surprise. A woman together with her autistic younger brother becomes trapped inside a house during a storm. This would not be so bad, except for the fact that a tiger has been let loose inside the house as well,  in order to kill them. This tense thriller really had some seriously scary scenes. Again filmed with a live animal, it served up some very realistic and horrifying moments. It is always nice when you don’t expect much from a film, and it turns into something totally awesome. Burning Bright is such a film, and I highly recommend seeking this one out.

Final Thoughts

Well, that just about does it for part 1 of this special features post. Ofcourse this list is by no means complete, as there are definitely a lot of other animal movies out there, that are every bit as enjoyable as the ones on this list. However for me, these movies were definitely my favorites. Coming up somewhere next week, will be part 2 of this post where I am going to focus on my favorite science fiction monsterfilms.

But now, it is over to you, my readers. What is your favorite animal monster movie? Are any of those movies perhaps included on my list? Let me know in the comments section below. As always thank you very much for reading, and see you at the next post!

 

 

 

Deadpool Omnibus volume 1, a Marvel Comics Book (2012)

Last year’s Deadpool movie was seriously one of the funniest superhero movies that has ever graced the cinemas. The real kicker is that even though I really like superheroes a lot, I had never even heard of the character before the movie (and if Deadpool were here, he would probably dismember me for saying so). Even though he is now one of the most popular Marvel characters I really had to play catch up with a lot of comics in order to find out more about him. Last year I had received a very cool collection of the 2012 version of this briljant comic for my birthday. (And thank you again for giving me this wonderful gift, you know who you are). Collecting issues 1-12 from the 2012 Deadpool series, this one has been a blast from start to finish.

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Never accuse Deadpool of taking half measures. 

In the first half of this book Deadpool has to deal with the dead Presidents of the United States of America. Yes, you read that correctly, that really is the plot of this insane story. Some of America’s greatest Presidents have been brought back to life, and are hellbent on bringing death and destruction throughout the world. All that stands in their way is Deadpool who has been enlisted by S.H.I.E.L.D. to stop them. After this crazy story, the second half of the book deals with the aftermath of this, and has Deadpool trying to stop the demon Vetis from trying to take over hell. At the same time he is also trying to save a friend who has been accidentally trapped inside his head. Yup, this really is every bit as nuts as it sounds.

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Yep, Thor also makes a brief appearance.

This book was seriously enjoyable. Everyone who has seen last year’s movie, knows that Deadpool is completely insane. And in the comic book he is even worse. Talking to readers, talking to himself, and pretty much never shutting up will at times bring tears to your eyes from laughing. Most of the art for this book comes from the hands of artists Tony Moore and Mike Hawthorne. Both of them do a great job of bringing this book to life. The art looks great, although this one is definitely not for the faint at heart. Some of the panels contain some very bloody and gory scenes with Deadpool slicing up his enemies (or getting sliced up himself).

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Hmm, that hole in his head definitely looks painful. 

Needless to say I loved this book. Both the art and storylines were great, and my only regret is that the last issue ends with the dreaded sentence: “to be continued….”. Besides that, there is simply nothing here that I disliked. Everyone who enjoyed the Deadpool film, and wants to find out more about “The Merc with a mouth”, should consider buying this book. It is a highly enjoyable read, and will have you thirsting for more by the time you have finished it.

I give Deadpool Omnibus 1 a 9 out of 10 score.

Anaconda, American movie (1997)

I have always enjoyed watching horrormovies featuring some kind of animal that terrorises people. It all started ofcourse with the Steven Spielberg movie Jaws. A classic in every way, this film was responsible for spawning a whole range of movies that featured some type of animal vs man. Over the years, I think nearly every animal on Earth must have been in some kind of horror film. Ofcourse some of these were seriously bad and incredibly cringeworthy. However occasionally a movie comes along that seems to be a B-movie, but is so enjoyable that you take that for granted. The 1997 movie Anaconda definitely falls into that last category.

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I am wondering who is more scared here.

In Anaconda a documentary crew heads off down a tropical river in the Amazon, in search of a mystical tribe. While travelling down the river they come across a shady character who is trapped on a boat during a storm. The man introduces himself as Paul Serone and tells them he hunts snakes for a living. When the journey continues, the head of their team, dr. Cale, becomes seriously injured. Serone tells them he knows he a shortcut across the river, which will take them faster to a hospital in order to save their friend. While skeptical, the remaining members of the crew including filmmaker Terri Flores, agree to follow his advice. But soon it becomes apparent that Paul has ulterior motives. Not only does Terri have to face the increasingly more psychotic Paul, but she will also discover just what it is he is after. Soon they will have to face a monstrous snake, and the fight of their lives will begin in earnest. Will they all survive, or will they become snakefood….?

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Now, that is one scary looking dude.

 

Anaconda does little to to hide the fact that this is obviously a B-movie. Although the impressive cast that is involved in this movie would have you guessing otherwise. One of the reasons to watch this movie is veteran actor John Voight. He plays the role of snakehunter Paul Serrone, and it is obvious that he is having a blast playing him. The character he portrays is a seriously evil one, but he plays the role so well, that you can’t help but root for him at times. Also included amongst the cast is Jennifer Lopez, who plays the feisty Terri Flores who is more than a match for Serrone. Finally we have Eric Stolz who plays dr Cale in a small but important role, and Ice Cube who provides some comic relief.

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Seriously man, no joke, look behind you. 

The special effects in this film are a mix of animatronics and CGI and they are both a hit and miss in this movie. Some of the effects are pretty impressive, but there are also scenes that are seriously bad. But then again that is also part of the charm of this film. Anaconda serves up just enough thrills to make this movie exciting enough. It is a bit slow to get going, but in the second half of the film the tension begins to increase and we get a couple of fun scenes with the killer snake. There is no real gore or blood to speak of, so if you like your horrorfilms more in the style of a thriller this one is for you. Anaconda is a fun B-type horrormovie, that serves up an hour and a half of mindless creature filled fun. While this film certainly won’t win the award for Best Picture, it is entertaining enough all the same. And sometimes that is just all you need.

I give Anaconda a 8 out of 10 score.

Fast and Furious 8, American movie (2017)

In the year 2013 the world was shocked by the tragic death of actor Paul Walker, myself included. I remember it vividly, like it was yesterday. It is strange that with events like those, you still remember what you were doing at the time. I had just finished eating breakfast and put on the television to check the news, and then I read it: Paul Walker killed in car accident. I literally screamed out loud at the television screen. I was shocked and devastated that such a young and promising actor was killed in such a way. The filming of part 7 of the franchise he was so well known for, the Fast and the Furious, was already well under way. The way they eventually dealt with his death was done in a very respectful way. And now, this year we have the release of part 8, where we get to see how the franchise will continue without Paul.

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So….you think you are tough huh?

The Fast & Furious 8 starts off in Cuba where Dom is enjoying his honeymoon together with his girl Letty. All seems well for a change, but as usual this is very shortlived. Dom gets a call from his old buddy Hobbs to help steal a device, that in the wrong hands could end up hurting a lot of people. It is not long before the team gets put back together and the heist begins. However, just when they make their escape, a very unexpected thing happens: Dom betrays everyone, and ends up with the device firmly in his possession. Later Dom is seen together with a mysterious woman who has very sinister plans. This is the beginning of a test to see just how strong the bonds of family really are….

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Is it cold in here or what?

While I am writing this, there are already reports that this movie has made a record world wide opening of $532.5 million dollars. If that isn’t crazy, I don’t know what is. I don’t think anyone would have predicted this when part 1 was released way back in 2001. But is part 8 a worthy addition to the franchise? Well…yes and no. Let us start with the good stuff first. One thing this franchise has always been good at, is action, and on that front the movie does not disappoint. There are some absolutely crazy action scenes in this one, and as usual they are completely over the top and unrealistic. But it really is hard not to smile when a bunch of cars on an icefield get followed by a huge submarine, just to describe a scene.

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Yup…..that really is a sub.

The story, which ofcourse is always put in second place in movies such as these, was this time around given some more layers. It seems that this year we get a new trend that good characters seem to turn to the dark side. Even though the movie had plenty of action, there were still a few scenes that were only dialogue driven. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but with this being the longest Fast and the Furious to date I felt it would have been better that a few of those scenes were cut. The movie did feel too long in the end.

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What are you looking at?

One of the best things in this movie was definitely actress Charlize Theron in her role as the villain Cypher. I would even go so far as to say that she was the most interesting villain from the entire franchise. Other high marks must go to Jason Statham, who has some of the coolest scenes in the movie. The rest of the cast were fine, but occasionally it deed feel as if they were all acting on autopilot. And that was a recurring theme in this movie. Yes it was a lot of fun, and I really did enjoy it enough to warrant the price for the ticket. But I did feel that this time around there was just something missing. Maybe it’s just that it doesn’t feel as fresh anymore as all the previous installments. With a part 9 and 10 already confirmed, one has to wonder where they are going next and if too much of a good thing is….well…too much.

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I think after this I need to make a pitstop.

However this was still a, if you pardon the pun, fun ride all around. Even though Paul Walker’s presence is definitely missed, Fast 8 delivers enough thrills and fun to make a trip to the cinema worth your time. With a lot of great and spectacular action sequences, comedic banter and a great villain, The Fast and the Furious has not yet run out of fuel. One has to wonder though how long it will be until they are going to run on empty….

I give the Fast and the Furious 8 a 8 out of 10 score.