All posts by raistlin0903

The Karate Kid part II, American movie (1986)

When I grew up as a kid there was a movie that always made me feel good. It is one of my favorite childhood movies and it’s called the Karate Kid. I watched this film at a time where attending school was a very dark place for me. I was bullied nearly every day, and here was a film where the same thing was happening to this young boy called Daniel. But guess what? He not only managed to gain respect and grow as a person, but he also beat his bullies in a brilliant way. It gave me hope that eventually everything can be beaten if you just put your mind to it. I will always be grateful to the movie for providing me a sense of relief and escapism in what was quite frankly a time in my life that I don’t like to look back on very often. Three years later the sequel came out. And it blew my young mind away again, but this time also for a few other reasons.

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FINISH HIM!!!!!!

The second part of the Karate Kid literally starts where the first part ended. Daniel has just won the All-Valley Karate Tournament and prepares to go home with his teacher mr. Miyagi. Once outside the pair see Daniel’s rival from the first movie being accosted by his own sensei John Kreese. Luckily Miyagi intervenes just in time, proving that you should never hold a grudge for too long. Six months later mr. Miyagi receives a letter from his lost love in Okinawa, Yukei, telling him his father is very ill. Daniel is eager to find out who Yukei is, and he soon hears the story behind the reason for his old master’s departure from Japan all those years ago. Yukei was apparently arranged to marry a man named Sato, who was mr. Miyagi’s best friend. But when he fell in love with her, Sato challenged him to a fight to the death. Unwilling to enter into such a duel, Miyagi left Japan, leaving behind a heartbroken Yukei. Having no choice now but to go to Okinawa and his dying father, he departs in all haste, with Daniel travelling with him. Upon their arrival though, both master and student are about to find out that some people can hold a grudge for a very long time……

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Honestly I would have included only pictures of Kumiko, but I guess I did not want to be too obvious.

This movie is very dear to me. It’s my number one go to movie whenever I feel down or depressed. Somehow it never fails to lift my spirits. There are two things this film did besides the general feel good atmosphere it manages to create. The first is that it introduced me to Asian culture, more specifically the culture of Japan. I loved the many customs we as an audience get to experience through this film. One of the scenes that really still brings a smile to my face is the tea ceremony between Daniel and his love interest in this movie: Kumiko. It is a wonderful custom to observe, and it is also incredibly romantic. With this movie my interest for Asian culture in general started to take shape, a fact that continues to this day. The second thing it did was give me my first movie crush. I was absolutely mesmerised by the beauty of Kumiko, played by a young Tamlyn Tomita. In my young mind she was the perfect woman, and I completely fell in love with her. Ah teenage love can be so strange at times.

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Ice, Ice, baby…..

From an acting point of view there are some great roles that I think are worth mentioning. First up is Pat Morita, as mr. Miyagi. I think his role in this second part was even better than in the first movie, as in this film the spotlight is somewhat more on his story instead of focussing all the attention on Daniel. It gives us a few wonderful scenes, most notably the ones between him and Sato and his love Yukei. Sato played by Danny Kamekona is the perfect adversary for Miyagi. His gravelly voice is terrific, and he also manages to create a humanity to his character in a great way. Lastly we have Sato’s nephew Chozen Toguchi, played by Yuji Okumoto, who eventually becomes Daniel’s opponent. He is a particular breed of nasty, and you will come to hate him over the course of this film. Some of the things he does still gets my blood boiling after all these years, and it is only a big compliment to Okumoto’s acting, that he manages to invoke such a feeling.

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Okay, sorry, just one more…..

Now some might argue how mediocre the fight scenes in this movie look. Certainly we are not watching a Jet Li or Jackie Chan movie here. The fights only serve to create some extra tension, in what is otherwise a really great and heartwarming film. I can’t express through words alone how much I still enjoy seeing this movie, even though it is now 31 years old. Both parts 1 and 2 are the ultimate feel good experience and are a perfect watch for whenever you just want to feel like you can take on the world again. It probably won’t please everyone, cynics might certainly point out the many flaws this film probably has, but I just love this movie to death. If you have never seen this one, I do recommend watching part 1 first. That movie establishes the relationship between mr. Miyagi and young Daniel, and to skip that would be to miss out on a lot of things. And remember to relax: wax on, wax off.

I give the Karate Kid part II a 10 out of 10 score.

 

The War for the Planet of the Apes, American movie (2017)

After reviewing Kong Skull Island earlier this week, I thought it would be fun to do another review that featured monkeys, or apes if you prefer. Honestly it is just a coincidence that these reviews are coming out in the same week, as I saw this film quite a while ago. It’s just one of those posts that for some reason I did not get around to earlier. In 1968 the original movie was first released starring Charlton Heston, and it is considered by many to be a science fiction cult classic. And of course it was inevitable that Hollywood at one point would remake this. The first attempt dates back to 2001, and was directed by Tim Burton. Starring Mark Wahlberg, it certainly wasn’t a bad film, but it also can’t be considered a very good one either. However in 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes was released. The first movie that would be the start of a new trilogy was a terrific film. It featured amazing special effects that for a change served in telling the story, instead of being the driving force of the movie.

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Hmm, I wonder who the human is in this picture. 

Three years later the sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes came out, and it was another amazing film. Again featuring ground breaking special effects, a heartwarming story, and plenty of action, it was a great follow up to the first movie. And now we have the War for the Planet of the Apes, which draws the trilogy to a close. In this third and final film, Caesar together with his family and the rest of his band of apes, tries to live peacefully in a secluded forest. This peace is shattered however when a ruthless human colonel attacks the camp of the apes. After suffering a terrible loss Caesar, together with a few of his most trusted friends, sets out on a path of revenge. In the middle of the quest they stumble across a young human girl who they eventually befriend and decide to bring along on their journey. Their path brings them ever closer to the colonel. Unbeknownst to them however this man has drawn his own plans, and they spell complete and utter doom for the remainder of the apes…..

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Kids these days like Teddy-apes more than Teddy-bears. 

Let me not keep you any further in suspense: War for the Planet of the Apes was a worthy end to a fantastic movie trilogy and then some. With a title that has the word war in it, you would expect a movie that has explosions, loads of action and other stuff like that in it. It’s all the more surprising however that this movie turned out very differently than I expected. This is not an action extravaganza, but more a very thoughtful drama set in a truly believable post apocalyptic science fiction world. We go along with Caesar and his friends on a journey that makes us question our own humanity at times. The apes were definitely possessed of more kindness, than the humans that were in this film. In fact, besides the young girl, there is not a single human character that you can relate to. Which is a good thing, because it’s the apes that you want to grow attached to in this movie. And they are brought to life in hyper realistic computer effects, that make the apes look completely real and lifelike.

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Haha, I am not worried you will miss me anyway. 

The main character Caesar is again played by Andy Serkis, who already did such amazing work playing as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings saga. Even though his face is completely hidden by computer effects, Caesar almost feels like a human, and that is mostly because of the amazing work of this actor. The colonel is played by veteran actor Woody Harrelson. His character is pretty much as far from being human as one can be, which is funny considering he is almost the only human being you get to see in this picture. At least as far as the bigger roles go that is. Harrelson creates a truly loathsome character, that you will grow to hate throughout this film. And that of course is a credit to the acting skills of Woody.

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Hey, come over here. Did you hear that joke about the monkey and the human? 

War for the Planet of the Apes is a movie that I label as a must see picture. I would even go so far as to call this closing installment the best part of the entire trilogy. Some people may at times feel the movie is moving along too slow. I was never bored for one second though. All the scenes that were in the film were created with a single purpose in mind: to make us truly feel for a group of apes and see them in the same light as normal human actors. And I would say the film certainly succeeded in that mission. The movie is a truly beautiful film to look at, with amazing special effects, and a heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful tale as well. I highly recommend this movie. Even if you don’t regularly like science fiction I think you might still enjoy watching this one. Only if you are expecting an action fest it might be wise to avoid this one, for this is most certainly not an action oriented film.

I give War for the Planet of the Apes a 9 out of 10 score.

Don’t Breathe, American movie (2016)

If there is one thing that I am afraid of losing, it is my eyesight. I can’t imagine living in a world of total darkness not being able to watch movies anymore or reading books anytime I want to. Or even more important: not being able to see the faces of friends and loved ones. If I were allowed to choose, I would rather lose my hearing. Not that I would ever want to mind you. Now, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a review for a horrormovie. The last time was more than a month ago, so it’s about time that I revisit one of my favorite moviegenres. So what was all that rambling about losing my eyesight you ask? Let’s just say it has everything to do with the movie that I am about to review. And not to get to far ahead of things, but it’s certainly one of the better horror/thriller movies that I have seen in quite a while.

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Shhhhh, did you hear something? 

For anyone who was ever in doubt that crime does not pay, he or she should really watch this movie. Don’t Breathe focusses on a trio of young burglars, Rocky, Money and Alex, who struggle to make a living. Money is the toughest of the threesome and someone who has pretty much no conscience. Rocky, his girlfriend, tries to make enough cash to get away with her younger sister from her horrible parents that are neglecting them. And then there is Alex the more sensible of the three, and who obviously has a crush on Rocky. When Money sells the goods from their latest heist, he doesn’t really get a fair price. Rocky is especially distraught by this, as she sees her dreams of a quick getaway evaporate into smoke. But then a golden opportunity arises. In an abandoned Detroit neighbourhood there is a house that is occupied by a retired US army veteran. He supposedly has a lot of cash in his house, and even better: he is blind. This seems almost to good to be true. But when the trio enter the man’s house at night, they soon find out that they might have taken on a little bit more than they can chew……

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Aww come on, don’t be scared. You do know a dog is man’s best friend right? 

Don’t Breathe is one of those movies that will have you on the edge of your seat throughout most of the film. It’s not without it’s flaws, but overall it’s a very effective thriller with a pretty cool concept. Stephen Lang, who most people might remember as the villain from Avatar, plays the retired blind army veteran. And boy is he a scary guy. You will truly be afraid of this man, despite his blindness, and Lang’s acting is superb. Rocky is played by the relatively unknown actress Jane Levy, and I was pretty impressed by her performance. She is not the damsel in distress you see in most horror movies, but a really tough chick that can hold her own in a very gruesome situation. Her acting was very natural and I hope we get to see more of her in the future.

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Hang on a second guys, I have an itch I have to scratch. 

As much fun as this movie is there are a couple of things that might turn some people off. For one thing this is a pretty violent movie. There is a scene near the end of the film, and trust me you will know which scene I mean when you see it, that really was pretty disgusting. It did not ruin the movie for me, but I did think that it went a bit too far in terms of violence. And then there are some actions that the characters do that make no sense, and are pretty dumb to say the least. But I guess that is nothing really unusual as we have countless examples in horror history where we have seen this sort of stuff before. Another not altogether small problem is that these characters are not very likeable. In fact they are criminals, and even though Rocky certainly seems to have a tough life, that doesn’t justify her going off on a crime spree.

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I’m not that fat, you can pass without any problems mr Blind Man. 

All in all though, this is a very decent thriller with some nailbiting scenes that will get your heart pounding. Coupled with Lang’s great performance, and some interesting plot twists, it’s a movie I recommend seeing. If you are turned off by violence though I think you had better pass on this one. As usual when a horrormovie becomes a succes, I hear a sequel is already in the works. I hope I am proven wrong, but this will probably mean that we get a product that throws away all the stuff that was so great in the original. And it will ramp up the violence. One only has to take a look at the Saw franchise to see how that turned out. And you really don’t have to be blind to see that.

I give Don’t Breathe a 8 out of 10 score.

Kong Skull Island, American movie (2017)

There are some Hollywood creations that have simply become icons in their own way. Never mind having never seen the movie it appeared in, everyone seems to know about it anyway. One of those icons is the legendary ape King Kong. It made it’s first onscreen appearance in the 1933 movie with the same name, and it has since then become the stuff of legend. One of it’s most famous scenes was King Kong being on top of the Empire State building and getting shot at by airplanes. Moviemaking certainly has come a long way since then, and when you look at that scene now it may look dated in terms of special effects. But it definitely still is every bit as powerful as when it was first shown to the public. These days we get a lot of movies that have terrific special effects, but fall short when it comes to showcasing any kind of emotions or story. That does not mean that a movie like that can’t be entertaining though.

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There was a sale on fresh tentacles, he just could not resist.

Kong Skull Island starts in the year 1944 when two fighter pilots, one American and one Japanese, parachute onto a mysterious island, after having lost both of their planes to each other. While continuing the fight on the ground, they are interrupted when a gigantic and monstrous ape appears. In the year 1973, 29 years later, we meet up with a US government agent called Bill Randa. He is trying to get approval to get an expedition formed to visit the island known as Skull Island. Eventually his superiors give in, and Bill hires skilled tracker James Conrad to help with the undertaking. Accompanied by a group of soldiers led by the tough Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard and a female photojournalist named Mason Weaver, the expedition takes off for the island. But once they arrive there, they are about to discover that mankind may not be on top of the food chain anymore. If they manage to survive the wrath of the King of Monsters that is…..

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Where is Thor when you need him?

This movie is a part of the Legendary film company’s attempt to create a new cinematic universe, with this film being the second offering. (The 2014 version of Godzilla was the first) And quite honestly I had a monster, pun intended, of a good time with this film. What it lacked in story it certainly made up for in entertainment value. Yes people, this is a special effects driven movie, I am not even going to deny that fact, but boy was it a lot of fun. The creatures infesting the island the group lands on are gloriously designed and the absolute highlight of the film. Kong of course will get to fight a few of them, and it is these scenes that impress the most. You can’t help but get a big grin on your face when the creatures start bashing each other’s skulls in. It never gets gory at any point, but it provides some solid fight scenes all realised through computer, and the effects are truly convincing to say the least.

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Smile, you are on Candid Camera.

The cast that was assembled for this film is quite impressive. John Goodman plays the role of Bill Randa, and it is a more serious role that you usually see him play. He is an actor that I always think is pretty underrated, and he did yet another fine job in this movie. Tom Hiddleston who most people probably know from playing the evil yet incredibly fun role of Loki in Thor, plays the character of James Conrad in this movie. His natural charisma makes him instantly likeable and the role of Conrad is certainly one that suits him. And then ofcourse we have Samuel L. Jackson as Lt. Col. Preston Packard. I always like Jackson’s performances, and the best way to describe his character is a new version of Captain Ahab from Moby Dick. He will stop at absolutely nothing to kill Kong, no matter what the cost might be. Even though the human factor in this film was minimal, all actors in this played very well and certainly contributed enough to the movie to make it a worthwhile experience.

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I love the smell of ape in the morning.

As I said in the beginning, this is a special effects driven movie, and that’s why the story isn’t really worth mentioning. It does get the job done though, and there is enough tension, occasional humor, and excitement that makes this movie a solid piece of entertainment. The after credits scene hints at the next installment for Legendary’s monsterverse, and I do honestly have to say that I am excited for it. There are pretty much no really bad things in this film that I can think off that are worth mentioning. It’s just two hours of mindless monsterbashing fun, and only if you don’t really like these sort of films will you be disappointed by it. So put on some popcorn, crank up the volume of your television and go sit down in your favorite chair to watch the King of Monsters back in action. Hail to the King, baby.

I give Kong Skull Island a 8 out of 10 score.

Corpse Princess, Anime tv series (2008/2009)

There is this old saying that there is one thing that is certain in life: death and taxes. While I don’t really care about taxes, I do care about not dying any time soon. I don’t consider myself to be very old yet (although some people might argue with that), but if I were to die now, I would certainly have a few regrets. There are still a lot of things that are on my bucket list and that I haven’t yet been able to do. Most of these are because of not having enough time, others are simply because I haven’t yet gathered up enough courage to do some of those things. And ofcourse I am being really cryptic here, but hey a guy has got to have a couple of secrets in his life right? Why all this talk about death in this post? Could I not find something more cheerful to talk to you about? Well I probably could have, but death and regret has everything to do with Corpse Princess, the Animeseries I am about to review.

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The new student at school really was not working out.

Corpse Princess, or Shikabane Hime as it is also known, is a 25 episode horror/action anime series. Makina Hoshimura was just a normal girl until she and her family were brutally murdered. But Makina did not die. At least not in the normal way that everyone is used to. No, she returned as a living Shikabane Hime (a Corpse Princess) and has one sole mission on her mind: to avenge the death of her family. In this series when a person dies but still has intense regrets, he or she returns as a Shikabane. The Shikabane at first look like the normal persons they were in real life, but eventually turn into horrible monsters that prey on the living. The Kougon Cult has been created to protect normal humans from these horrible creatures, using the Shikabane Hime as their weapons. After a Shikabane Hime has killed exactly 108 Shikabane, they are granted peace and allowed to enter heaven. Makina, armed with dual Mac-11 submachine guns, and assisted by Keisei Tagami a buddhist monk from the Kougon Cult, soon sets out on the path for revenge. But it will not be an easy task, especially since the Shikabane group known as The Seven Stars have a horrible plan in store for humanity. A plan that may very well end every single living human being…

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Well, I did mention there were monsters in this anime right? 

Corpse Princess was both a pleasant and a very unpleasant surprise. Now, I know this sounds very vague, but bear with me as I will explain soon enough. The thing that surprised me the most in this series was the storyline. I had expected this to be a pretty generic action packed horror series, but it was actually the story itself that I found to be the highlight. This anime has a lot of underlying subplots and a rich and well thought out worldbuilding concept, that I haven’t seen in quite a while. The Kougon Cult and their many rules and regulations slowly show their secrets throughout the episodes, and it was a delight and sometimes shock to discover them. This anime first starts off with Makina encountering the monster of the week, and dealing with it, but eventually turns into a rich and powerful storyline that gets better with every episode. This being a horrorseries, there are certainly enough gory moments in it that might turn off some viewers, though it never became the main focus of the show.

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Yes, I know this stance looks incredibly cool. 

The anime also has a pretty large cast of characters. Throughout the series more and more are added, and at times it became hard to keep track of everyone. Makina, being the main character, certainly was one of the best attractions the series had on offer. She is just seriously bad ass, can take a hell of a beating, but also has a humanity to her that is hardly found in someone who is, well, basically dead. Keisei the contracted monk assigned to Makina, is a pretty funny character at times. While he can certainly hold his own in a fight, he also has a pretty lecherous side to him, that provided some great comic relief. Another character that becomes very important in the series is a young boy who Keisei took in once as an orphan, called Ouri Kagami. He inadvertently stumbles across Makina one night, and soon becomes involved in the daily struggles that she faces. On the villain side there is a great character called Akasha Shishido, but to actually tell who he is, would spoil things for you. Suffice it to say that although he is evil, you really feel for him as well, and that’s what made him so fascinating.

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Some people take the phrase “I’ve got my eyes on you” a bit to literally.

Corpse Princess certainly also had a few fanservice moments. There were a couple of girls that had breast sizes that seemed to defy the rules of basic anatomy, but it luckily never became as bad as for instance in the anime Highschool of the Dead. Now in the beginning of my review I also told of an unpleasant surprise and that was unfortunately the final episode of this anime. Seriously, what were they thinking? It just….ends. There is no resolution, it just ends in the middle of a fight, and the viewers are left to wonder how it will turn out. Now, after having invested time in a series that ran for 25 episodes I certainly felt cheated. As such, it also becomes hard to recommend a series in this way. It definitely was a terrific watch, with plenty of action, horror and a great story. But without a real resolution to things, you do wonder what the point is in watching this. My score for this just had to reflect that. If the final episode had handled things better, I would have graded this much higher. A real shame, but sometimes in life you are just left with regrets. Now….where did I hear that before?

I give Corpse Princess a 7 out of 10 score.

Lethal Weapon 2, American movie (1989)

We all know what happens when a movie is succesful at the box office. When it brings on buckets full of money, the studios look for ways to increase that money. And than the word appears that movielovers both hate and love at the same time : sequel. Throughout movie history the sequel to a succesful movie has mostly got a track record of being a lesser product than the original. Luckily though, the sequel these days does seem to be improving to what it usually was in the old days: a cheap way to make more money. But there were certainly noteworthy exceptions. One thing that the 80’s did right was produce an incredible amount of highly entertaining action franchises. Rambo, Die Hard and ofcourse one of my personal favorites the Lethal Weapon series. I already did a review of part 1, which you can find here. Two years later the sequel saw the light of day, and it was every bit as fun as the original movie, if not more so.

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Hmm, you think we can eat this?

Lethal Weapon 2 starts off in the middle of a high speed pursuit. Our favorite crimefighting heroes Riggs and Murtaugh are hot on the tail of a suspect when the car chase ends abruptly with a crash. Inside the trunk of the car they were chasing, an enormous amount of gold Krugerrands is found. This soon leads them to a South African consul general called Arjen Rudd. Riggs is almost certain that this man is tied to a couple of highly illegal dealings, but because Rudd enjoys diplomatic immunity, they are not allowed to pursue the matter any further. What’s worse is that they get a new assignment and that is to protect a valuable federal witness called Leo Getz. This would not be so bad were it not for the fact that Getz is truly driving them completely crazy. But when an attempt is made on Leo’s life, Riggs and Murtaugh discover that the case of Getz might also be linked to the case they were ordered to stand down from. And when colleagues of them start to die, the two of them will have to pull out all the stops in order to solve the case, but also to escape with their lives still intact.

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Sorry miss, I am going to have to confiscate your groceries.

Man, oh man, oh man. What a joy it was to see this movie back again. I might have seen it way too many times already, but it just never get’s old. I was grinning like an idiot all throughout the film and still had to laugh at all the jokes this movie has on offer. Right from the very first opening scene this movie comes out guns blazing. I don’t care about the fact that we certainly have had a couple of great and memorable action movies in recent years: 80’s action just has a certain charm and atmosphere to it, that will never be recaptured on screen. And the action in this one just never let’s up. Highspeed car chases, gunbattles, fist fights, the action lover certainly get’s his or her fix in this film. And all this is mixed with a brilliant comedic blend, that takes the edge of some of the darker moments in the movie.

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No need to argue about this…..I am going to appear in the next two parts as well.

But once again it is the actors that make these movies, and praise most definitely goes out to both Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. The comedic banter between these two is even better than it was in the first film, and you can really tell that the both of them had a blast making this sequel. Another very welcome addition to the cast is Joe Pesci who plays the role of Leo Getz. It is not often that you get a character that is so obnoxious, but endearing at the same time. Some of the best moments from this film occur when he is around, and it’s a great thing that his character returned for parts 3 and 4. The villain Arjen Rudd is portrayed by actor Joss Ackland, and he manages to create a character that you will truly grow to hate throughout this movie. He is a really evil man, who does some loathsome things, and certainly is a handful for Riggs and Murtaugh to take down. Ackland’s acting is superb, and only adds more depth to the sinister character that Rudd is.

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Come on man you spent enough time on the toilet now, let me get you off.

The story of this movie ofcourse takes a backseat and pretty much serves only to propel the action and comedy forward. And it succeeds in doing that in a good way, while providing enough twists and turns to keep you entertained until the end of the film. Lethal Weapon 2 is a prime example of how a sequel can definitely work. It’s a great follow up to the original movie, and if you liked that one you don’t even have to think twice about watching this. It’s one of the greatest 80’s action flicks that has been made in that era, and still provides a fantastic experience even though the film is now nearing it’s 30 year anniversary. This movie definitely still isn’t too old for this sh*t.

I give Lethal Weapon 2 a 9 out of 10 score.

A Company Man, Korean movie (2012)

Yes everyone I am back, and my vacation has finally started. In the coming days, I will try and catch up with some of the posts I have missed out on, as well as write some reviews of my own. And what better way to kick off a vacation from work, with a movie about work. Well, sort of. Don’t get me wrong I don’t hate my job or anything like that, but it is not my lifelong ambition either so to speak. And I guess the same can be said for most people that have a day job. If you happen to be one of those lucky few that are an exception to this rule, congratulations on that great achievement. But before this post is turning into a job interview let me start by telling you what this movie is about.

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Just another day at the office. 

In A Company Man, we are introduced to Heyong-do, a man who seems to love his job. Wearing a suit and tie, he always turns up in time for his work at the seemingly normal company he is employed by. But the company is a front for an entirely different kind of business namely that of assassinations. Heyong-do is one of the hitmen, and one of the company’s best. Never before has he failed a mission, and it looks like he has no conscience whatsoever. But then he meets up with the single mother of one of his co-workers, and falls in love. This is the beginning of the end for him. Because of his intense feelings he really wants to change his ways, and quit being the stonecold assassin that he has been all his life. When he begins to spare certain people that he was supposed to kill, the company wants to get rid of him. But not by laying him off. No they have a much more permanent solution in mind….

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Hitman by day, houseman by night…gotta keep those shirts clean. 

This is one of those great Korean actionthrillers that I really love to watch. Although actionthriller seems to be too harsh a word for it. There certainly is action, I won’t deny that, but at the heart of it is also a pretty heartbreaking drama, and a truly great story to boot. A movie such as this stands or falls with the performance of it’s lead actor, and luckily the casting for this one was perfect. So Ji-sub portrays the role of Heyong-do in a terrific way. His natural charm makes sure that you instantly care for this character, even despite the horrific job he is carrying out. Both in the drama and action scenes So manages to deliver a believable role, and he is one of the best reasons for watching this film. But actress Lee Mi-yeon, who plays his love interest also does a great job. Their on screen chemistry works very well, and in scenes that could normally have turned into something very mushy, they both manage to avoid that altogether.

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So…tell me, what makes a good cup of tea? 

For the actionlovers out there this film offers just enough to satisfy. As mentioned even though you can classify this as an action thriller it isn’t the overall theme of the movie. So do not expect an action sequence every minute, as you will be really disappointed. The movie is shot and directed beautifully with a terrific final shoot out scene, that is one of the highlights of this movie. I have tried to find some things that I did not like about this film, but I honestly could not find them. This is just a solid Korean movie, that is truly worth seeing. With great performances by the cast, and a story that provides enough drama and action, I highly recommend this movie. So, as Heyong-do mentions at one point in the film: “The work day is over ” . And so is this review.

I give A Company Man a 9 out of 10 score.

Blog Update

Maybe a few of you have noticed, but the past few days I have been a little bit less active on my own blog, and commenting on posts from your blogs. Now, no worries, my blog is not going to shut down or anything like that. I have just been a bit busier than usual, (and a bit more stressful lol), as these are the final days before my three week vacation from work. As such I have a lot of things I need to finish before I can finally go on my break. This does mean that in the upcoming days I will in all likelyhood miss out on a few posts from you, for which I apologise in advance. The good news is that after the upcoming weekend I will have a lot more time on my hands. So I thought I would share some things that will be coming up in the next few weeks.

Upcoming Reviews

Movies

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I have seen quite a number of movies that I haven’t been able to write a review for yet. As you have come to expect from me, these movies are all from very different genres. Reviews that will be coming up are: Kong:Skull Island, The Wailing, Lethal Weapon 2, A Company Man, War for the Planet of the Apes, Don’t Breathe to name but a few.

Anime

imageI am really running behind on watching anime, something I hope to catch up with in my upcoming vacation. I am currently in the middle of watching Corpse Princess, which so far has proven itself to be highly entertaining. After that I am really looking forward to Ergo Proxy, and finishing Black Bullet, which is also a very interesting series. You can expect reviews from all these three shows, and probably a few others that I just need to find time for.

Boardgames

imageTwo boardgames that I have been dying to try out, are the ones that are pictured above. Scythe especially has been gathering dust on my shelf for ages now,and hopefully my vacation will turn that around. Salt Lands is one of my newer purchases and looks like awesome fun, especially since it’s setting is in a Mad Max type of wasteland. Hopefully both games will hit the table soon, and when they do you can expect reviews for both of them.

Books and tv series

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Ofcourse I can’t forget books and tv series here. I am currently reading the art and making of Alien Covenant, a beautifully illustrated book about the latest Alien movie. Speaking of Covenant, the fantasy epic The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever I finally plan to finish in the coming weeks as well. It is a massive 1100 page epic fantasy novel, which has been an amazing read so far. As far as television series go, the Korean drama Bad Guys I have almost finished and it has been a blast. Next on my to watch list is the spinoff series of The Walking Dead: Fear the Walking Dead, that cronicles the beginning of the zombie outbreak. All these and more will be reviewed in the coming weeks.

Final Thoughts

Now, as mentioned the coming days will definitely be very busy. In the weekend I will be hosting an Asian movie festival at my own home for my parents. It is a lot of fun to do, but also will need some planning from my part (that is selecting the movies and buying the food to get us through the weekend lol). And then there is ofcourse my work, which already is stressful to begin with, not only for these final few days. I will try and keep up with your blogs as best I can, but if I miss the occasional post, please do not bite my head off. I hope there are some things in this update that you are looking forward to. As always thank you for reading, and see you at the next post!

School-Live!, anime tv series (2015)

It’s been quite a while since I have been in school. And saying it like that, really does make me feel old lol. Would I ever want to go back to school though? No, I don’t think I do. There were certainly some things that I liked, but the negative aspects of school for me at least outweigh the positive ones. Let’s just leave it at that. Why am I rambling about this? Well, the anime show I am about to review deals with school a lot, but in a different way than we are used to. First off though, I want to thank the wonderful D, over at D Talks Anime. They featured this incredible anime over on their blog, with terrific posts covering every episode. So, if you are not yet following this truly amazing blog, go over there and do that first. I promise you this review won’t be caught up in a zombie apocalypse or something. Wait, where did that come from? Zombie apocalypse? We were talking about school right? Well…..

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Well, I guess that is one way to head down an escalator.

School-live opens up with the young girl Yuki getting woken up at school by a cute looking dog. Yes, Yuki sleeps at school because she is part of the “School living club”. This group consists of four other members including the young teacher Megumi Sakura, whom everyone adores. Yuki loves school. Every day she happily skips down the hallways of the school, always looking forward to the classes she attends. The other members of the group all look out for Yuki, and try to protect her in any way they can. But it’s just a school right? Besides maybe some bullies, there is nothing life threatening at school right? Wrong…..it soon becomes clear that something absolutely horrible has happened to the world. Through the windows of the school we see a courtyard full of shambling corpses. The happy world Yuki seems to be living in is apparently in her mind. It is up to the rest of the girls to make sure Yuki, and they themselves will remain alive in the middle of the ever increasing threat of the walking dead…..

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Demonstrations for gardening tools seem to become more lifelike by the minute.

So this series was an amazing surprise. I can honestly say that I would have skipped over this anime numerous times if I had not know the plot for this one. When the series starts, it seems like this will be a very goofy comedy, with some lighthearted and very happy young girls. Even the opening song, although very catchy, seems to support this. But then the series presents it’s twist, and it becomes a very different but also very unique show. Yes, this is another anime that deals with zombies, but I promise you that it really does so in one of the most unusual ways that I have seen. Although this series can definitely be classified as horror, it never becomes too gruesome or gory. Amidst all the darkness, there is always the happy go lucky spirit of Yuki, who lives in her own world, and who seems to be unaware of the horror around her.

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I am not lying….there really is a zombie apocalypse in this anime….honest.

The characters for this series are a bit of a mixed bunch. Yuki, who is pretty much the centre of the show, is a girl that everyone seems to like. She is sweet, kind, and always happy. She got on my nerves fairly quickly though, especially because of her grating voice. The three other girls, besides the teacher, are all pretty strong but in their own ways also have their flaws. The girl Miki for instance is trying to come to terms with the loss of one of her closest friends, and also has trouble with trying to maintain the delusions of Yuki. For me, I never felt any real attachment to any of them, except for the teacher Megumi, who certainly became my favorite. Strangely enough even though I never felt much for any of them, you still got scared when they got in danger. It is really something I can’t describe, nor have I ever had any kind of similar experience.

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Let me tell you a bedtime story” Once upon a time there was this beautiful zombie…”

The story of this anime is certainly it’s strongest selling point. It contains a lot of interesting and quite frankly jaw dropping twists, that I am ofcourse not going to spoil for you. Suffice it to say, that this is not your usual zombie apocalypse storyline, but I would almost call it a feel good horrorseries. That’s not to say that everything is good in this show. One of the later episodes in this anime I really could have done without, and was one of the show’s lowpoints. Some of the comedy in this series does at times feel forced, and even cringeworthy. But that could also just be me, since I am not a huge fan of comedy in the first place. That said though, I highly recommend this 12 episode anime. It is a really unusual series, that combines two totally different genres in a refreshing mix that really is worth your time. People who have always wanted to try out a zombieshow but always thought they were too gory, might want to have a go at this one.

I give School-live a 8 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Kenji Kawai, the God of Anime and Asian cinema soundtracks

This is going to be a bit of a different kind of post than you are used to reading on my blog. Because this is a post about music, or to be more precise soundtracks. A great movie soundtrack stays in your mind, and actually helps to increase the enjoyment of a particular movie. In the Western world we ofcourse have legends like Hans Zimmer or John Williams, that have produced a great many memorable soundtracks.  Who can forget the dark sounds of the Dark Knight trilogy, or the impressive Imperial March from the Star Wars franchise.

As much as I love the sounds of these, I have come across one composer throughout my many years of watching movies and anime, that has impressed me the most. And  that is Kenji Kawai from Japan. His soundtracks are simply speaking completely out of this world, and have given me goosebumps all over, every time I hear the sounds of them. Today I thought I would share a few of his impressive music compositions, from various anime and Asian films. I hope you will enjoy listening to them. Here they are in no particular order.

Ghost in the Shell: Opening Theme

This one is probably his best known composition. The opening theme to the brilliant anime movie Ghost in the Shell, is hauntingly beautiful. The video below is a live performance that is absolutely amazing.

 

The Battle of Wits

Taken from the soundtrack of the Chinese historical martial arts epic, A Battle of Wits, this is one of my favorite songs from Kenji Kawai. It starts off slow, but then at 2:10 it becomes this incredibly epic orchestral piece, that literally produces goosebumps whenever I hear it. If there is only one video you have time for, this is the one you should listen to. Absolutely breathtaking.

 

The Sky Crawlers: Opening Theme

Another song from an anime movie, this one is called Sky Crawlers. I have not yet seen this movie, but I bought it just for the soundtrack. Yes, I kid you not, I bought a film solely for the soundtrack, not even caring if it’s any good. Another hauntingly beautiful song, this is almost dreamlike.

 

Avalon: Log in

This song is taken from the highly underrated 2001 live action movie Avalon. It was a brilliant movie with a truly epic scope, made even more impressive by the score. This song is another epic masterpiece, that comes to life at the 0:30 mark, when a choir and orchestra explode and produce a song that is not of this Earth. Another live performance, that only increases the awesomeness of this song.

 

Ghost in the Shell: Nightstalker

To close things off, I give you another song from the Ghost in the Shell soundtrack. It is the shortest song on the list, lasting only 1 minute and 34 seconds, but it is truly amazing. My only regret is that it’s so very short, but luckily you can always push the repeat button. A completely unique, very bleak but also very atmospheric song.

 

Final thoughts

For me Kenji Kawai is the absolute master of movie soundtracks. His compositions are simply amazing, and I can never get enough of them. He has a very recognisable sound, and usually whenever I see a new movie or Animeseries that Kenji Kawai has made the music for, I manage to identify it immediately. If you are interested in hearing more of his work, I suggest heading over to YouTube where you can find more of his amazing sounds. As mentioned in the beginning, this is the first time I have made a post like this, so I would love to hear your thoughts on it. Did you enjoy this post? Have you heard of Kenji Kawai? What do you think of his music, do you love it or hate it? Let me know in the comments section below. As always thank you for reading, and see you at the next post!