Special Features presents: A new hope??

For those of you know that know me, you probably also know that I am a huge Star Wars fan (okay and a fan of maybe a hundred or more other things, but that’s besides the point right now). When Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi came out in 2017 I was devastated. The movie completely ruined everything that I had ever liked about Star Wars. I hated the film with a vengeance and I did something that was completely out of character for me: I wrote a review in complete anger. In hindsight, that was something I should not have done. The post did become my most viewed one in the history of my blog and at the same time it gathered a huge amount of comments. Some people agreed with me, some did not. In the end it’s just a movie though. On the other hand the only reason why I was so passionate about it, is the fact that Star Wars films are MORE than movies for me. I have been a fan for over 30 years now and the saga of that galaxy far, far away has been a big part of my life. After the dust settled, and the fan base was divided, a lot of fans just wrote off Star Wars completely. The Solo movie for instance was a box office bomb because fans just didn’t believe in the Disney side of Star Wars anymore.

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I have a…..good…..feeling about this!

But…that’s not me. One bad movie doesn’t mean that I have all of a sudden stopped loving Star Wars. What I have become when it comes to this, is cautious. I don’t want to have another huge disappointment by becoming too enthusiastic about anything related to the continuation of the current trilogy. That said: HOLY FREAKING MOLY HAVE YOU GUYS SEEN THIS NEW TRAILER YET?!!? Erm…sorry…just my old enthusiasm creeping up on me. It won’t happen again. Seriously though, this teaser trailer that was released last night, certainly made me cautiously optimistic about the future, or should I say the end of this saga. Because Episode IX will be the final installment of the Skywalker story. It was a trailer that was made for fans, to restore the faith that some of them might have lost. And I say, already seeing some of the responses online to people that have watched the trailer, that they really managed to achieve their goal. So, let’s talk about it a bit. And if you don’t want to know anything for the upcoming film just skip the next paragraph.

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Be still my heart……

*Spoilers Begin* First off there is of course the title of the movie: The rise of Skywalker. But with Luke gone from the universe, there really is (at least so far as we know) only one Skywalker left: Kylo Ren. So, will this movie be about his redemption? Or is there something else going on? As far as nostalgia goes, it was of course great to see Lando in the cockpit of his old ship again. If you ask me he was only added to the film to bring back some of that old magic feeling, but hey I’m certainly not complaining about it. Leia hugging Rey was of course another of those goosebump inducing moments, especially considering the fact that the wonderful Carrie Fisher isn’t amongst us anymore. But the true surprise comes at the very end of the trailer where Luke in an overhead voice says: “ No one is ever really gone” and we hear the maniacal laugh of Emperor Palpatine. That was simply put, mindblowing, and one has to wonder what in blazes this will mean. Because really all bets are off now. *Spoilers End*

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That’s no moon, it’s a………

With this teaser trailer having now been released of course the fans are unleashing all their theories again on what they have seen, and what they predict may or may not happen. But, let’s not forget that the trailers for Episode VIII also looked amazing, and everyone was speculating wildly then as well. Until the film came out, and pretty much everything we had hoped for was thrown out the window. The Rise of Skywalker will be a very important movie. It will either reunite the fans again, or let a rift as big as the Sith and the Jedi rivalry forever stand between them. Episode IX has one huge advantage though: it has J.J. Abrams. I know some people really don’t like the guy. I do. Pretty much everything I have seen of him, whether it’s one of his tv shows, or his movies, I have enjoyed. I hope he can undo the damage that has been done with the previous film, and fix Star Wars again. And for those of you that loved The Last Jedi, as I said last time: no disrespect intended, I honestly think that’s great. Now of course down below, for your viewing pleasure a link to the trailer. May the Force be with you all: have a great weekend!

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Duel, American movie (1971)

When it comes to movies one often overlooked fact is the director. Sure, a movie can’t be made without good actors, and hell it also helps to of course have a bit of a decent script. But a truly skilled director can really turn a film into something legendary. Now the name Steven Spielberg should be familiar to almost anyone who at the very least has a rudimentary knowledge of movies. He was responsible for such classic films as Jaws, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, E.T. and Jurassic Park to name but a few. The man is simply put a juggernaut in Hollywood, and although not everyone might be a fan of all of his movies, one can’t deny that he certainly is one of the most succesful directors in movie history. A little known fact though is that before he really broke through in Hollywood with Jaws, he made his debut with a movie that was originally made for television. Later, because of the film’s succes it also appeared in movie theatres. Perceptive readers have already seen the title of the movie and the year in which this movie was made.

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And we still wonder why the environment is doing so bad…..

Yes, Duel was made in 1971. Yes, this movie is now 47 years old. Does that mean that this movie is now so dated, that it is probably considered by current standards a film that can’t hold the attention of the modern moviegoing audience? You will probably be very surprised by the answer: no, it totally isn’t. If this movie would be released in theatres today, and you had no knowledge of the fact that this film was made in 1971, you probably would not even notice it. Duel is a film that I saw for the first time when I was still a teenager. (Yes I know, don’t remind me of the fact that is now decades ago). And I was not prepared for the impact it would have on me. I was totally blown away by it, and I honestly lost count of how many times I have seen it after that. So what is it about this film that has me so spellbound? And why is it, that I still get that same adrenaline rush every time I see this film. Perhaps I should first start with telling you what this movie is about, before I get to the answers of those questions. You know me when I get enthusiastic about something, I can’t stop talking about it.

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Some people are just in a rush to get somewhere.

Right, okay. So Duel then. The title itself ofcourse is already giving a way a little bit of what this film is about: a duel. We are however not talking about a duel between knights, or two men that need to walk a few paces and then start shooting each other. No, this is an altogether entirely different duel. David Mann is an ordinary guy who has a job as a salesman. Eager to close a deal, he heads for the road in his car for a business trip. Once he enters the Mojave desert he comes across a tank truck that seems like it missed a trip to the scrap yard. David quickly passes the truck without even giving it a second thought. Because really, what could go wrong right? A few seconds later though, much to his surprise, the truck speeds up and overtakes him.  What at first starts off like a seemingly innocent game, soon turns into something very sinister and deadly. The truck driver is a psychopath that seems determined to end the life of David. A terrifying road duel between car and truck is about to begin……

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Yep, anyone would get a headache if something like this were to happen to them.

This is one of those films that has an incredibly simple premise, but still manages to glue you to the edge of your seat for the entire duration of the film. I have always loved films that feature a lone and ordinary guy or girl, who is put into a situation that soon grows beyond their control. It also takes an incredible amount of skill on the part of the actor who portrays that kind of character. In this case that actor is Dennis Weaver who plays David. Now for most of you that name probably won’t ring a bell, but some of you readers out there might recognise him from the highly succesful tv series McCloud. Suffice it to say that Weaver just knocks this role right out of the ball park. His character isn’t some kind of macho superhero. He is a normal guy just like you or me, who is thrust into a very deadly situation, that could happen to anyone. And simply put, you want him to win. His adversary though, except for shots of his arms and legs, is never shown. And that makes it only all the more creepy, because he could be anyone.

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One of the reasons we don’t have telephone booths anymore.

The truck this guy drives though is almost a character itself. As soon as you lay eyes on the rust bucket, a sense of dread enters your body. And this is only made more sinister by the way the movie is directed. Some truly terrific camera angles and shots, especially during some of the chase sequences, are absolutely breathtaking. Duel might be Spielbergs first movie, but I also still consider it one of his best films. This movie is a true nailbiter, with some incredible edge of your seat and very memorable scenes. Rest assured this is not a horror movie, that contains buckets of blood or something like that. It is a thriller in every sense of the word, and one that is completely timeless. If you have become interested in seeing this film, and are wondering where you can find it, I suggest you try YouTube. Just search for: “Duel full movie”, and you will find an incredibly high quality version of the movie there. It’s one and half hours of time very well spent, trust me on that. And it will also make you think twice the next time you pass a truck on the road….just saying….

I give Duel a 9 out of 10 score.

 

The Annual Bloggers Bash Awards 2019 Vote is LIVE! — VOTE beetleypete!

One of the most fun aspects about blogging, as well most of you know, is the fact that you come across a lot of cool blogs, but even better: the amazing people behind those blogs. I have been following Pete who runs the blog Beetleypete for quite a while now. And I can honestly say: he is one of the good ones. Pete has an incredibly varied blog, with posts that deal with movie reviews, every day life, and even his own (well written) stories. But above all Pete is an incredibly kind blogger, who always has a nice thing to say and is incredibly supportive. Pete has been nominated with his blog for the Annual bloggers bash. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure to run across Pete, press on the link above, and start following him already. And while you are doing that give him a vote as well on the post below. As for everyone else that already knows and loves him: show that same support he always gives you, and go vote already: I already did! Let’s all keep our fingers crossed and hope Pete wins, because he most certainly deserves it! As he always says himself: best wishes Pete! 😊

 

Originally posted on The Annual Bloggers Bash: It’s that time of year again… The 2019 Annual Bloggers Bash Awards are now open. As always, we had a huge number of nominations. So let me thank everyone who took the time to nominate their fellow bloggers. Without you guys nominating, there would be no bash awards.…

via The Annual Bloggers Bash Awards 2019 Vote is LIVE! — beetleypete

Kingdom Season 1, Korean drama series (2019)

Zombies. I can hear fatique all around when people hear that word nowadays. The zombie genre is quite honestly dead. (Oh come on, I had to use that pun at least once right?) Seriously though, it’s hard to find something original in that genre these days. Pretty much everything has been done to it, that can be done to it, and it takes as much effort to bring this genre back to life as it does to bring back a corpse. Okay, okay I’ll stop with the puns, I didn’t know you would get mad, jeezzz. But then again, as with everything there are always exceptions. The Walking Dead for instance is having a very strong comeback this season, and it seems there is still a lot of life in it despite the departure of Andrew Lincoln. For those of you that have been keeping tabs on it, two weeks or so ago, there was a shocking episode that many have called the best episode since the show started. I don’t know about that, but I do know it was good. Especially with the shock factor.

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I have heard some men become obsessed with women, but this is taking it to a new level. 

Now, when you see the title of this post, I can already hear you wondering why on Earth am I talking about zombies when I am about to review a Korean drama? Because really there must be some kind of error. A mix up of sorts. Erm….no there isn’t. The Korean drama Kingdom is a historical piece set in Korea’s Joseon period. And it features….zombies. When it comes to original ideas, I have to say the setting alone is enough to convince you that this is really something that hasn’t been done before. It’s also one of the show’s greatest strengths. Beautiful cinematography, exquisite costumes, and incredible sets bring the historical setting to the small screen in a very big way. In fact it’s done so well, one would almost forget that this is a tv series and not some kind of big budget movie. This is all good and well, but looks alone are of course not enough to make something fun to watch. No, for that you also need a decent story and characters that one can identify with. So what does Kingdom do on that front?

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In medieval times this was how they held a marathon. 

In Kingdom the story focusses on Yi-Chang a man who is next in line for the throne. With strange notices cropping up all over the country claiming that the King is dead, and the crown prince should be crowned immediately as the new King, that moment might be coming sooner than Yi-Chang had expected. But is the King really dead? One night Yi-Chang decides to investigate, and enters the palace in search of his father. But instead of the King, he encounters a dark shadow behind a curtain that looks like a terrifying monster. Fleeing the palace and accompanied by his trusty personal guard Moo-Young he sets out on a journey to find out the truth about what’s going on. Sinister forces are at work though, and an evil mastermind is behind a conspiracy to overthrow the throne, and bring darkness to the country. A horrible plague is slowly taking hold of the populace, and as more and more people become infected Yi-Chang becomes ever more desperate to find a solution to all of it. However that is by no means an easy feat…..

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Medical care has come a long way since then….

Kingdom takes the zombie genre in a new and fresh direction. It’s a story that isn’t only about flesh eating monsters, but also has many other things going for it like conspiracies at the royal court and politics. While this last bit might sound boring, I can assure you it isn’t. Having no real knowledge of Korea’s ancient history it’s nice to see some of the customs that were involved back in those days. While of course this is a totally fictional account, the historical aspects of it all certainly look very convincing. What’s also nice is the fact that the zombies in this show aren’t acting in the way that those shambling corpses usually do. They have their own set of unique rules, and at times even seem to share traits with one of those other legendary monsters: the vampires. This of course being a zombie show there is some blood and gore in it, but it comes nowhere close to the level of for instance the Walking Dead.

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Green Arrow’s ancient precursor: The Blue Arrow

It’s on the character department that the show doesn’t shine so bright. Most of them are (so far at least) pretty bland. Actor Ju Ji-hoon brings to life the crown prince, and while he does a decent job of it, I would have liked it if his character just had a little bit more background. His guard played by Kim Sang-ho was honestly my favorite. He acts pretty much as the comedic relief in what otherwise would have been a pretty dark show. There are many others introduced as well, most notably the physician Seo-Bi and the show’s bad guy minister Cho Hak-ju but all of them just fail to leave a very lasting impression. This doesn’t mean that this ruins the show though. With this being the first season of the series that sadly only lasts six episodes, this pretty much feels like the characters have now been set up on the board and the real game is about to begin. Kingdom is a really interesting and fun series to watch, especially if you are a fan of for instance Train to Busan , still my favorite zombie movie to date. It’s a unique take on the genre, that many feel like it might be walking towards it’s own death. Okay, that was really the last one.

I give Kingdom a 8 out of 10 score.