All posts by raistlin0903

The girl who leapt through time, Japanese (animated) movie (2006)

I’m going to let you in on a little secret about me: I never sleep in. Not even in the weekends. I’m always up early, usually at around six in the morning, and I do this because time is precious and I don’t want to lose too much of it by sleeping. (It also helps that I don’t need much sleep, so there is that). As a result that means I am never late for things either. I always arrive way too early at my work, or at appointments. I’m always amazed at people that arrive 2 minutes before they have to be somewhere. I would go completely nuts if that were me. It all would be so much easier though if there was some way we could travel through time. We would literally have all the time in the world, and things would be so much easier. Or would they? Even though it might sound like a very nice thing to be able to travel through time, and maybe even correct mistakes you might have made, it always comes with a consequence. Something that the movie I am about to review is trying to make painfully clear.

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I would not recommend stepping of your bike like that. You might get hurt.

In The girl who leapt through time we meet the happy go lucky highschoolgirl Makoto Konno. She lives at home with her parents and her younger sister, and enjoys playing baseball. She is always in a rush though, racing on her bike to get to places in time, and nearly always arriving late at school. One day after class ends, while riding downhill on her bike, her brakes fail. She desperately tries to find a way to stop before hitting a railroad crossing, but fails and gets hit by an oncoming train. But then strange things start to happen. She all of a sudden finds herself back on her bike, just before the accident happens. This time events happen differently. She soon finds out she has the power to time-leap, essentially travelling back in time for short or longer distances. Makoto begins to enjoy her new found power and uses it for relatively small things such as getting perfect grades or arriving in time. Her two closest friends Chiaki and Kousuke are beginning to notice changes in her behaviour. Eventually time catches up with her, and she begins to realise that everything comes at a price. Especially since one of her friends might be in mortal danger…..

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It’s scenes like this that are simply breathtaking.

I have been wanting to see this movie for a very long time. To my delight I was finally able to obtain it on this year’s animecon and I have finally found some time (pun intended) to watch it. And I can tell you this movie did not disappoint. This was a really wonderful piece of animation both in terms of story as in art. At the heart of this one is the underlying message that every action we take or might not take, has a consequence. If for instance you might fear to admit you love someone, because you might lose his or her friendship, you might rob yourself from something even more beautiful. This last theme is something that is dealt with quite heavily in this movie, but before you start to think this is a mushy romantic film: it’s not. Though there is definitely some melancholy in this movie, it’s mostly a very uplifting and upbeat story. There were quite a number of times this film presented some heartwarming moments, that managed to put a smile on my face.

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Sometimes you just enter that fork in the road. 

From an animation point of view this film is really something. We are talking about a movie that is more than ten years old, but the animation presented in this one is breathtaking. There are numerous shots of a beautiful landscape, that coupled with the music, just gives you the feeling you want to stay in those scene forever. The main characters are great as well. Makoto is a great and fun character, which is important as you spent almost the entire movie at her side. You really sympathise with her, and the things she is going through. Her two friends Chiaki and Kousuke are for a change not your typical macho type boys, but two men that have their hearts in the right place. As the inevitable love triangle begins, it is luckily not one of those that will make you cringe (thank God for that). There are some other minor characters that also have some influence in the story, but the movie mainly revolves around the three characters I just mentioned.

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Take off your earphones when I am talking to you: that’s plain rude! 

The voice acting in the film (I watched the movie in the original Japanese language in case you were wondering) is very good, except for some of the scenes where Makoto has to cry or laugh. Those are always difficult emotions to pull off, but at a brief scene near the end it spoiled the emotional moment a little bit. But this is a minor thing in what is otherwise a truly terrific and beautiful movie. The girl who leapt through time is a film that I can definitely recommend. Especially if you like movies that feature time travelling elements. Sometimes films such as those can get very complicated, but in this one it’s handled very well, without it ever becoming hard to follow. So, they say time waits for no one. In other words, what are you waiting for? Go and see this movie.

I give The girl who leapt through time a 9 out of 10 score.

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Blogwarming Party!

Hello everyone, and especially you new anibloggers! Huh, what’s this I can hear you all thinking right now. Well this is a post directed especially at new anibloggers, but it’s also meant to give a bit of shameless promotion to one blogger in particular, but more on that later. For all you veteran bloggers out there, do you remember what it was like when you started your own blog, weeks, months, or maybe even years ago? I know that I do for sure. I had literally no idea what I was doing. One sunday morning I got this crazy idea to start a blog about one of my greatest passions: movies and television series. When I published my first post, I was amazed that there were people that even read it. What was even more fun, is that eventually people even started commenting on later posts. At first I felt a bit like the character above this post: shy as hell. But eventually I got over my fears and started commenting on other people’s posts and it was a lot of fun. Blogging has since then become one of my greatest hobbies, and it has grown into a part of my life that I can’t live without anymore.

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Let’s get this party started!

But before this turns into a post about me, let me tell you what the real point of this one is. Remember that shameless promotion I was talking about for a particular blogger? Well here it comes. Ever since I started blogging my love for anime has returned, and I keep stumbling across new blogs for this wonderful medium every week. Most recently I discovered Irina’s wonderful aniblog called I drink and watch anime (the title alone is just reason enough to start following her). Seriously though, her blog has skyrocketed for the past few weeks, and deservedly so. She has awesome reviews, but is also a very kind person to talk to, and always takes the time to respond to a comment you left for her.

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Really, no need to start blushing !

Today though, she came with an absolutely wonderful idea, that I just had to promote. She is reaching out to any aniblogger that has just started out by featuring some of their new posts. In other words she is creating a platform to showcase your work if you have just started blogging. Now if that isn’t awesome and enormously kind, I really don’t know what is. You can find out more about this by checking out her own post for this right here . Now if you haven’t already of course go and follow her blog as well, and I promise you won’t regret it. So on a personal note: I think it is an awesome and seriously cool idea you had here Irina, so I wish you all the best with the execution of it. If you ever need more help for this: let me know!. Well I guess that is enough shameless promotion for one post lol, but I definitely meant every word of it. Well, all you new anibloggers out there: best of luck, and remember this: blogging is awesome, as you will discover soon enough!

Halloween, American movie (1978)

They say there exists a form of evil in each and every one of us. Some people just have more darkness in them than others. Yes, I know how very ominous this sounds. But let’s face it, I think that when you look at it we all might have had a point in our lives, where we have done something in anger. And that clashes with your normal personality. Luckily these usually are very brief moments (at least I hope they are), and after your anger has subsided you try to make it up to the person or persons you might have hurt in the process. But what if you lack that capacity? What if you are a person that is completely devoid of human emotion? There is a certain moment in the classic 1978 film Halloween, in which doctor Loomis describes the villain from the movie, Michael Myers. And it almost mirrors exactly what I have just said. It is a chilling scene, one that creeps up your spine, when you begin to realise what kind of being Michael truly is. And how evil can sometimes take on human form….

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Not everyone can afford an expensive Halloween costume.

On a dark and stormy night a young girl brushes her hair in front of a mirror. She has just had sex with her boyfriend and she seems very content and happy. Her happiness soon turns to horror however, when her kid brother Michael Myers enters the scene with a big and very sharp knife. Without any emotion whatsoever he stabs her to death. What makes it all the more horrifying is that he is only six years old. Fifteen years later Michael escapes from the mental institute that he has been taken to, after committing the brutal murder. Doctor Loomis the psychiatrist, that has been treating him for the past few years is the only one that knows what he is capable of. And he also knows where he is going: Haddonfield the town where Myers grew up in. Wandering around his hometown, Michael soon stumbles upon the teenage girl Laurie Strode and her friends. At Halloween night his thirst for murder begins anew.  And young Laurie will soon discover that some Halloweens are much scarier than others. In the meantime doctor Loomis is desperately trying to find the escaped killer. But it may already be too late, for Michael has come home…..

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Sometimes you just have to admire your work. I can respect that. 

John Carpenter is a legend. He has certainly made a few of my alltime favorite horrormovies, and this certainly is one of them. When I rewatched this film I was actually amazed at how old this movie already is. But is it dated? Absolutely not. The opening scene of the film is still every bit as shocking as when I first saw it. And what surprised me even more is that there is little to no gore in this movie. It is technically a horrorfilm, but one that acts more as a thriller. And a very, very good one at that. The suspense and threat in this film is build up slowly, but in a extremely effective way. Subtle camera shots with Michael only standing in front of a house just ooze atmosphere and build up the tension to the extreme. It goes to show that you sometimes just need very little means to make a great film. Halloween went on to become one of the first real slasher movies, and of course created another legendary horror icon in the form of the relentless and unstoppable Michael Myers.

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Sigh….they never learn: hiding in a closet, how dumb is that.

This movie was the debut film of Jamie Lee Curtis, and also earned her the nickname Screamqueen. Because wow, when she opens up her mouth and fills her lungs to start screaming it’s almost enough to make every window in her vicinity shatter. Seriously though, as young as she was here, it already showed her acting potential. Another great role is performed by the late Donald Pleasence. He portrays the almost obsessed doctor Loomis, the man that will stop at nothing to put an end to Michael’s reign of terror. But there is a third character in this film, and one that is not performed by an actor. It is however equally important to making Halloween become so effective: the music. The score, made by John Carpenter himself is classic, especially the theme of the film. It is nervewracking and manages to get your bloodpressure up every time it appears during tense scenes.

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Don’t you just hate copycats? What, Michael has a knife, so you have one too? Lame.

The Franchise

Halloween would eventually be followed by seven sequels, and two remakes. Halloween 2 starts straight after the ending scene of the first film, and is a pretty good second act. While not as enjoyable as the original, it is still well worth the watch. With the exception of part 3, Michael would continue to wreak havoc in the rest of the follow up movies. Jamie Lee Curtis returned to reprise her role three more times, and of those Halloween H20 is certainly the best one. Made exactly 20 years after the first part, here we see a mature Laurie that pretty much thought the demon from her past was dead. Luckily for us of course he wasn’t and it resulted in a very decent installment in this franchise. The less that is said about the remake movies, the better it is. Directed by Rob Zombie the remakes are filled with gore and swearing and just result in movies that just simply don’t have any respect for it’s origins. Quite recently Jamie Lee Curtis announced that she would face her nemesis one final time next year, to mark the movie’s 40th anniversary. It will be interesting to see how that movie is going to turn out, and if she still has the same lung capacity she had all those years ago. Down below you can revisit the trailer for the original film.

The Verdict

Halloween is still a very effective horrorthriller that is every bit as good now as it was back in 1978. If you have never seen this film before, it’s best to watch this on Halloween night. Just lock the doors, grab some popcorn and make sure to have a blanket to hide behind. It will help you….a bit. And even if you have seen the movie, it’s still great to give it a rewatch on the night of terror. This review concludes my series of Countdown to Halloween posts. I hope you all enjoyed this feature. I had a blast rewatching all these classics and writing the posts for them. So, over to you now. Have you seen this film? Any favorite moments, or did you perhaps even hate it for some reason? Let me know in the comments section. Oh yeah, and before I forget: Happy Halloween! 🎃

I give Halloween a 9 out 10 score.

Plastic Memories, Anime tv series (2015)

For those of you that have been wondering if my love for anime has maybe disappeared, let me put your minds at ease: it has not. I admit it has been quite a while since I have last published a post for an animeseries, which is exactly the reason why I am doing one now. And don’t you just love it that it’s for a series that I just picked by pure chance and turned out to be something really quite special? I’m still in the middle of Ergo Proxy, and while I am so far truly enjoying it, it paints a picture of a very bleak future. The entire atmosphere it breathes is quite depressive and that is why I was looking for something to counter that and put me in a bit of a brighter mood. Looking through the Crunchyroll line up, I stumbled upon Plastic Memories. I found the premise for it quite promising, and I thought it would be a pretty bright and upbeat show. In parts it truly was just that, but I certainly did not expect that the final episode would bring me close to tears.

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This is a bit how I feel when I haven’t yet had my coffee in the morning.

Plastic Memories takes place in the future where humans live alongside androids that are all but indistinquishable from humans. The most advanced models, the so-called Giftias, have the most humanlike abilities, and have emotions and memory. Unfortunately all this comes at a price. A Giftia has a maximum lifespan. If it exceeds that limit, it results in a change in personality and memoryloss. In fact the best way to describe is that they turn into a very agressieve zombielike being. But there is an organisation that helps to retrieve the Giftias that are getting close to their expiration dates from their owners. The so called Terminal Service carries out that work in teams of two, a human called a Spotter and a Giftia that acts as the Marksman. A young man called Tsukasa has just started working at one of the offices of the Terminal Service. He is introduced to his beautiful partner Isla and together the pair start their job. Tsukasa is quickly developing feelings for Isla though and soon their relationship begins to become very complicated. Even more so as it seems Isla’s time is starting to run out……

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Don’t you just hate it that you have to prove to everyone who you are?

This is one of those animeseries that seems to have nearly every range of emotions contained within it. You will laugh, you will feel excitement, and you will cry. When the series first starts, it looks like the show will develop into a light hearted romantic comedy. There is nothing wrong with that, but a series like that is usually not really my cup of tea. For some reason I decided to stick with it though, and I am very glad that I did. This is an incredibly heartwarming series. As the series progresses there are an increasing amount of very beautiful moments between owners of Giftias that have a hard time letting go of their almost humanlike androids. A young boy for instance, has developed a very strong relationship with a Giftia that has been acting as a kind of mother figure, as his real mum died. There are several moments like these throughout the show, but at the heart of it all is the relationship between Tsukasa and Isla.

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I guess they both don’t like the food and drink on offer. I wonder why?

Tsukasa is a character that has his heart in the right place. At the start of the series he is very inexperienced and tries to do his job as best he can. Even though he certainly makes mistakes, his natural charisma helps him to get through these mistakes and get better. Isla has a lot of experience, but when it comes to human emotions she has a hard time coping with those. At first she feels awkward when Tsukasa seems to be developing feelings for her, even calling it an error. But as is usually the case, true love can’t really be denied, and the bond between the two turns into something truly beautiful. The rest of the characters are made up of their coworkers, and even though some of their roles are minor, they really become an integral part of the story as well. Both in providing comic relief, but also in adding to the many layers this series has. I especially liked the redhead Michiru that even though she denies this has fallen for Tsukasa. She really is a great character that provides some of the best comedy the series has on offer.

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Well, I told you the backgrounds were very beautiful.

The animation style of this anime is rather good, especially when it comes to the backgrounds. The future city this is taking place in, looks amazing and utterly believable. Another strong point and something of a rarity these days, is that the final episode brings the series to a close in a highly emotional and breathtaking way. I do advise you to keep a box of tissues nearby though. Are there any negatives to this one? Well I am hardpressed to find them. There is a very small moment of fanservice in a later episode that I found to be a little out of place. But that scene goes by so fast that you hardly even know it’s there. I highly recommend this series. It’s message throughout is very clear and so true: live live to the fullest and spend as much time as you can with the people you love. Before you know it, time is up. This series plays with that message in an incredible way. This anime shows how precious memories really are, and that you should cherish them as much as you can. Especially the good ones.

I give Plastic Memories a 9 out 10 score.

Blade Runner 2049, American/Uk/Canadian movie (2017)

The movie industry can sometimes be incredibly strange. In 1982 the original Blade Runner was released. A movie that many consider to be a groundbreaking piece of science fiction filmmaking. Throughout the years the film has become a cult classic, that has been gathering praise long after it’s release. Because when it was released 35 years ago, it did not perform very well, and even some critics did not give the movie very positive reviews. When the news was announced that a sequel was being made for this film, many people including myself, had to raise a few eyebrows. Why do you make sequel to a film that quite frankly doesn’t need one, and were there people really waiting for this at this point? When the first trailer was released for it, I became cautiously optimistic. For it really looked….good. With the release of the film now upon us, critics are giving the movie very high marks. With glowing reviews under it’s belt and cool trailers, one would think this film would become an overnight box office succes right?

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What do you mean this film isn’t doing well at the Box-office? 

Well, that’s where you would be wrong. Just like the original, the movie is currently under performing at the cinemas, so I guess in some cases history does repeat itself. This is going to be a bit of an unusual review for me, as I am not going to tell you much about the plot of the film. To do so, would be to rob of you of a lot of enjoyment as in this case the less you know about it, the more you will be surprised by it. What I can tell you is that this sequel takes place 30 years after the events of the first movie. The mighty Tyrell Corporation has gone bankrupt. Out of it’s ashes a new pioneer for the replicant technology, a man named Niander Wallace, arises. He has created a new type of replicant that is obedient and has been integrated into society to work as servants and slaves. The older types are still being hunted and retired by the cops known as Blade Runners. One of them, the Blade Runner known simply as K has stumbled on a secret that could shake the very foundations of society. Powerful forces will stop at nothing to prevent that secret from coming out…

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This is my response to that! 

It’s very hard to describe to you exactly what I thought of this movie. Perhaps it’s best to give you my state of mind as I left the theatre yesterday afternoon, after having sat there for almost three hours seeing the movie for the first time in IMAX. And that state of mind was very, very sad. Not because I hated the film, but because of the atmosphere that this movie manages to create. One of the things that I love in films is to escape in a make believe world for a few hours. What we have here however is a very bleak and depressing future, that seems to penetrate itself into the very core of your mind. Together with the brilliant music created by Hans Zimmer, and the incredible visual style, I don’t think I have ever seen a more depressing view of the future than what has been created in this film. It’s one of the main reasons why this has become a must see movie, but it’s not only the visuals that make the film so astounding.

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Hello little man. 

We also have a script here, that would not surprise me if it got nominated for an Oscar. There are so many layers in it, that it’s difficult to tell too much about it without heading into spoiler territory. Suffice it to say that one of the main things that I really liked about it, is something you might be surprised at: and that is the universal theme of love. K has a very unusual relationship, which is both beautiful and incredibly sad at the same time. But just like in the original it’s also the age old question of what it exactly means to be human, that makes it’s return. And even more than in the original 1982 classic, that question is even harder to answer in this sequel. Even though some of the trailers for the film would like you to believe this is an action movie, it really isn’t. It’s very slow moving, and while there is some action, the main part of the film is spent with K trying to figure out his place in the uncovering of the secret.

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I can see clearly now the rain is gone. 

Performance wise there is a lot to enjoy. Ryan Gosling plays K, and he manages to create a character that is both very human and at the same time also isn’t. This really is his journey, and for an audience to go along on that journey, you have to be able to create sympathy for your character. And Gosling certainly has excelled at that. The role of Niander Wallace is performed by Jared Leto. Though his character had a chilling aura, it certainly wasn’t a very memorable part. In fact it was his replicant enforcer Luv, played by Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks that made a much more lasting impression. She played a great villain, and pardon my French: a perfectly evil bitch. And of course there is Harrison Ford who reprises his role as Rick Deckard. Even though time might have catched up with him, he can still pull off the part. It was an absolute joy to seem him make an appearance again, and the movie just would not have been the same without him in it.

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The first person to make a remark about my age is going to get it! 

So, are there any negative points? Yes, there are. The film clocks in at almost three hours, and that was just too long overall. Some scenes felt unnecessary, and could have helped with the pacing of the movie had they been left out. At times the film is just a bit too slow. But then again, this really isn’t much different from it’s original counterpart. Now on to the hard part: do I recommend this film? I can honestly say that this is an incredible movie, with a fantastic script, a believable and utterly beautifully created world and some high caliber performances. At the same time, this movie also won’t be for everyone. If you can’t handle slow paced films, and expect an action spectacle you would be wise not to go this movie. For fans of the original though, this almost feels like coming home. It’s a sequel that pretty much rivals and at some points is even better than the classic. And that is a very hard thing to accomplish. I won’t lie to you though, it’s bleak vision of the future will take you a bit of time to let go of. Also be prepared to have the movie spinning around in your head for a while. But that usually is a good sign.

I give Blade Runner 2049 a 9 out of 10 score.

Final Destination, American Movie (2000)

Death comes in many forms. One thing is for sure: at one point your number will come up. I’m just glad I don’t know when that moment will arrive, nor would I ever want to know. There are people who believe that time is pretty much set, and you don’t have any influence on it whatsoever. I for one believe that’s partly true. I could go and try to jump out of a plane without using a parachute, but I guess than it’s pretty much a given that I would not survive the attempt. But that would mean I would have to get over my fear of flying, in order to enter a plane in the first place. So yeah, no chance of that ever happening. Okay, that’s enough of these morbid thoughts let’s get on to something more cheerful, shall we? How about a review for a horrormovie about death? Erm…wait….

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You did see that big fireball up in the air right?

What’s better than learning French in class? Well how about a schooltrip to Paris? And that’s exactly what highschool student Alex is about to do, together with the rest of his class. Arriving at the airport he boards the plane that will take him and his fellow classmates to the city of romance, flight 180. But then when he has just taken his seat, he experiences a terrifying vision. In this vision he sees the plane explode right after take off leaving no survivors. The experience was so real that he tries to leave the plane in horror. This ofcourse causes quite the commotion and eventually six other students together with a teacher exit the plane together with Alex. They are forced to stay behind by the airline, and flight 180 leaves for Paris. It doesn’t come very far however as the horrifying vision Alex had, becomes a reality and the plane explodes in mid air. Both relieved but also in total shock that they survived and basically cheated death, the survivors try to pick up their lives as best they can. But it seems death doesn’t take kindly to being cheated, as one by one they begin to die…….

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Erm, you do know that lipstick is supposed to on your lips, not on the rest of your face right?

I had a blast watching this movie again. Although it is not as big a classic as the other movies that I have so far been featuring in my Countdown to Halloween series, it’s still a highly enjoyable movie that will entertain most lovers of teen slasher films. I thought the concept of the film was pretty original. You sometimes hear about certain miracles that happen in real life with people surviving disasters or walking away from accidents, that under normal circumstances should have left them dead. Final Destination is of course taking things into the extreme zone, but that’s why we call this a movie in the first place. One of the things we watch films like these for, and please don’t deny that, is seeing these teens die in horrifying and inventive ways. And yes I do know how that sounds. Luckily Final Destination serves that up, and then some, but it is also pretty refreshing that it never gets really gory. The death scenes are certainly gruesome, but the red stuff doesn’t explode in fountains across your television screen.

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And erm, I’m also pretty sure that knives are not supposed to go in there either.

The cast of the movie is made up of your stereotype bunch of teens, or in other words actors and actresses that were much older at the time but still looked young enough to pass as teenagers. That said, the acting certainly isn’t bad, and a cut above the normal level for these kind of movies. Ali Larter is probably the best known actress from the film, as she has since gone on to play in several other horrormovies including the Resident Evil series. In Final Destination she plays Clear Rivers, the love interest for Alex, and she would also return for the second installment. She was the character in this film that I had the most sympathy for. The rest of the survivors were all pretty self centered but she at least had a bit of depth and some back story to her. Also worthy of note is a small, but highly entertaining role for veteran actor Tony “Candyman” Todd. His sinister voice and natural creepyness are always a joy to watch, and in this film that was no exception.

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Cleaning a bathtub can be a dangerous job.

The Franchise

From all the franchises that are featured in this special Halloween series of blog posts, this is the one with the least amount of parts. Final Destination went on to produce four more sequels until death finally called it quits. There have been rumors for a sixth installment for a while now, but nothing really concrete has so far emerged for that. The sequels all featured variations on the first film, with a big disaster occuring at the beginning of the movie, and a couple of teens escaping from that at the last second. I honestly have to say that the sequels were not bad. The fourth part for me was the overall weakest of the bunch, but the rest of them were actually quite entertaining. I especially liked the ending of part five, that featured a really cool twist. As usual though, the gorelevel rises a bit in the sequels, but it never reaches Saw-like levels thankfully. A trademark of the series is of course making you think twice about doing certain things, or exploiting a fear you might have had already. I am not a big fan of roller coasters for instance, but after seeing the opening scene of part three, I think most people will give them a pass. I have included the scene below for your viewing pleasure 😀

The Verdict

So there we have it. As they say, all good things must come to an end, and we have almost reached it for my Halloween series. But there is still one more movie to come, namely the John Carpenter classic Halloween. That one will be coming up next week. Let’s not forget the verdict for Final Destination though. As mentioned this movie may not be such a timeless classic, but it is actually quite a good horrormovie. With a fun storyline, pretty decent acting, and a couple of awesome deathscenes you could definitely find worse movies out there. If you like films such as Scream or I know what you did Last Summer, this one can be added blindly to that list. So over to you! Have you seen the movies from this franchise? Do you have any favorites? Or perhaps even a favorite deathscene? Let me know in the comments section below. As always, thank you for reading and see you at the next post!

I give Final Destination a 8 out of 10 score.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, American movie (2015)

Earlier this week a trailer was released for a very small movie that is coming out in december. You have probably never heard of this film, but why not, let me just throw it out there in case you have: Star Wars: The Last Jedi. See? Told you that this is a pretty much unknown movie. Okay, all kidding aside: how awesome was that trailer! I will go into that a little bit more in depth below, but after I had seen it, it put me into the mood to rewatch Episode VII again, The Force Awakens. This film was responsible for relighting the fire that is Star Wars, not that it had ever gone out completely. With expectations going through the roof weeks before it’s release, one of the things that everyone was looking forward to, was the appearance of the original cast. Yes, classic characters like Han and Leia were back again, and fans at times broke out in tears at watching the trailers. (Not me of course, I am a man and I never cry….blinks back tears). But was the Force Awakens a good film, or merely a rehash of old things?

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The first one who says my lightsaber looks like crap, is going to get it….

The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after the Return of the Jedi. The Empire has been defeated, but instead of peace returning to the galaxy, a new threat has emerged. The First Order has risen from the ashes of what the Empire left behind, and is threatening to snuff out the last peaces of light that are remaining. The Resistance is desperately trying to find Luke Skywalker who nobody has seen for decades, but who they think might turn the tide of war. They have send one of their best pilots, Poe Dameron, to track down a lead for information as to where Luke might be hiding. But the First Order has tracked Poe down, and one of their most sinister agents, Kylo Ren, succeeds in capturing him. All hope now lies with Poe’s droid BB-8, in which he has hidden the clue to finding the Jedi Master. While on the run BB-8 soon encounters a young scavenger girl that goes by the name of Rey. She reluctantly agrees to help the droid, and together with a former stormtrooper they set out on the mission to find the Resistance. But the First Order is hot on their heals and this time this new hope for the galaxy, might be lost…..

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Yeah, I know I look pretty good for an old nerfherder. 

The Force Awakens has been hated and loved in equal measures. The hate mostly came from people that said the movie was just a rewrite of the first original Star Wars movie. And I guess they do have a point. Just as in the first film, we have something hidden in a droid that becomes the focal point of the story. We have a Death Star like superweapon in the form of Star Killer Base, and of course we have an untrained person that is cast in the unlikely role of hero. So yes, there is certainly truth in that claim. But to dismiss it just based on that is pretty unfair. For there are also a lot of things that this movie did that were just plain awesome. The return of the old characters for instance. The first time you see Han Solo together with Chewie is just a goosebump inducing moment. And ofcourse that moment returns when you see Leia again, reunited with her scruffy looking love interest.

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I really can’t believe that you are not a CGI effect.

But the new characters are also not to be excluded. Kylo Ren is one of, if not, the most interesting villain from the entire saga. He is not just a Darth Vader wannabe, a fact that is only enforced when he removes his helmet. Here we have a person that is conflicted throughout the entire movie. And that conflict comes to the fore in that scene, which I am not going to spoil, but for anyone who has seen the movie it should be pretty clear to which scene I am referring. And then there are Rey, the scavenger girl, and Finn the former stormtrooper. Both great characters in their own way. It is still completely unclear who Rey’s parents are, despite all the theories floating around on the web. It is exactly this fact that defines her character though. The unknown, the fact that she really as of yet has no clue to who she truly is. But she tries her utmost to become the hero though. Finn is the true antihero however. Right from the start he stands up to the injustice that surrounds him, and he almost pays the ultimate price for that. I could probably write another 1000 words for how much I enjoyed this film, but I am not going to do that. My final verdict for the film will follow soon enough, but let’s talk a bit about the new trailer.

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I just had to include a picture that features the fastest hunt of junk in the galaxy. 

The Last Jedi trailer

Unless you have been captured by a Wampa this week, you must have seen the new trailer pop up somewhere on the web. Or a better word for it, is first trailer, as we had so far only seen a teaser for the new movie. And it was worth the wait. One thing this new trailer has been doing is messing with out heads. There are so many things going on that may or may not be true, that it almost makes your mind explode. Is Rey joining forces with Kylo? I myself doubt it. I believe, as a lot of people have said, that the scenes have been purposely blended together to make it look as if they are one scene. Or….it is real, and we are really in for a hell of a ride. One thing we can be sure of is that this film is going to be very hard on the forces of light. It all looks very spectacular, and I for one can’t wait for december. What are your thoughts on the new trailer? Let me know in the comments section below. And of course, just because I am a nice guy, I have included it below for your viewing pleasure.

The Verdict

But of course with the excitement building for Episode VIII let us not forget the movie that restarted this adventure in a galaxy far, far away. Yes, the film certainly may have lacked a bit of originality, you will not hear any argument from me for that. But this was a Star Wars film in every sense of the word, and a pretty damn good one at that. The terrific characters, the special effects that were mostly practical, and of course the return of the old favorites all made it a great adventure to be enjoyed by everyone. I for one loved it, and it truly made me feel like a kid again (although that feeling is pretty much a part of me anyway). So see this one again before the new one hits the theatres in december. To close with a Star Wars phrase: it is your destiny……

I give Star Wars: The Force Awakens a 9 out of 10 score.

Demon City Shinjuku, Japanese (animated) movie (1988)

When anime was first introduced in my country, it was done in a way that was completely wrong. Even though that has been a long time ago, when I was in my early teens, I remember watching a news item that mentioned kids were being introduced to a new Japanese artform that focussed on strong violence and sex. As usual the media saw this as an opportunity to sensationalise this, and parents were in an uproar. The anime videotapes that you could buy back in those days, only seemed to bring out movies that were either hentai or contained incredibly graphic violence. And of course the tapes sold like crazy. Not a good way to start my introduction to the wonderful world of Japanese animation. A movie that was featured a lot in the news item I spoke of earlier was Wicked City. In it’s opening scene a man is making love to a gorgeous looking woman, that eventually turns into a spiderlike demonic creature. I swear that every man who saw this scene must have given up on sex pretty much right away….well maybe.

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It might not look like it, but this is one of the most touching scenes in the entire movie.

 

Wicked City was a horrormovie, but a truly disgusting one, with over the top violence and sexscenes that could almost be considered porn. It certainly showed the darker side of anime and is a film that while very infamous, is one you should pretty much avoid seeing. This rather long introduction serves as a stepping stone to the film I am about to review. Demon City Shinjuku is strangely enough directed by the same man that was responsible for the aforementioned movie. But it is a much better film, and could almost be considered as a mild version of the atrocious Wicked City. So there is really no need for concern, or to think that my blog has suddenly turned into a platform for promoting movies that push all the wrong buttons. Are your minds set at ease? Right, let’s get on with the review then.

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This is the prototype version of what we call Starbucks these days. 

High atop the roof of a building in Tokyo two men are locked in mortal combat. With supernatural energy dancing around them, swords clash back and forth, until eventually one of the men is defeated and dies. With a triumphant roar the victor, a man named Rebi Ra, sees the entire city going doing down in a powerful earthquake. He has been possessed by very strong demonic forces and promises that soon the entire world will be enslaved by demons from another realm. Ten years later the moment Rebi Ra spoke of is almost at hand. The World President, that is on a mission of peace to bring together the human race, suddenly gets captured by Ra. This is all part of his plan to stop the only person that might put an end to him, a young man called Kyoya Izayo, the son of the man he killed on the rooftops all those years ago. Meanwhile the president’s daughter, the beautiful Sayaka Rama, tries to enlist the help of Kyoya. At first he wants nothing to do with her, but when she enters the ruins of Tokyo alone, he decides to follow her in. The city is but a former shadow of itself though, and the horrors they find inside might be enough to stop them from preventing Rebi Ra’s plans to enter the entire world in eternal darkness…..

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I wonder what is going through their minds…..

One of the things I love the most about this movie is the incredible atmosphere it breathes out. The ruins of the destroyed city of Tokyo are brought to life in a truly breathtaking way. With subtle touches like still working traffic lights, skyscrapers that have fallen against each other, and other things like that, the city has become an almost living entity. You feel a constant sense of fear and dread, that is just perfect for a horrormovie. The story of the film is one of it’s weaker points. It simply serves to bring our heroes from point a to b, and encounter a new and potentially horrifying creature. And that is another thing this movie does well, the plethora of monsters it serves up. It’s not called Demon City for nothing, as our young hero Kyoya certainly has his hands full at fighting a number of horrifying abominations , while at the same trying to protect the girl.

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No way in hell would I ever enter a place like this. 

The two main characters of the film, Kyoya and Sayaka, are not exactly what you would call well developped. Kyoya is your basic cocky and kind of macho type male, that at first is rather annoying. In fact you kind of wonder how a guy like that can save the world. This all changes of course when he meets Sayaka. She brings an innocence with her, that tempers his bravado, and turns him into a different person. While Sayaka is, for lack of a better term, rather dull, she is certainly brave although also rather stupid. For her to be entering a demon infested city alone without any kind of weapon borders on suicide. All in all though, even though the pair won’t be winning the award for best anime characters ever created, they work just well enough to grow on you. In fact a certain scene with Sayaka near the end of the film is quite beautiful and rather touching.

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That really is a bad way to go out. 

Demon City Shinjuku is a pretty good horror anime film. While the animation is now almost thirty years old, it still looks good enough to draw in people who usually don’t like oldschool anime. With a great atmosphere, some cool fight scenes and horror that never turns gory, what we have here is a film that can be enjoyed by most people that like horrormovies. The only thing worth mentioning on the negative side of things, is that the end of the movie feels a bit anti-climactic. Still though, it doesn’t ruin the movie itself, and I highly recommend the film all the same. If you have trouble tracking down this movie, you can find it on YouTube for free in both a subbed and dubbed version.

I give Demon City Shinjuku a 8 out of 10 score.

A Nightmare on Elmstreet, American movie (1984)

Sleep is overrated. I mean, seriously, with already way too little hours in a day to do stuff , why do we also have to spent some of our precious time unconscious? But there really is no escaping it, not if you want to continue being awake and not walk around as a zombie all day. But there also some positive notes to it. Sometimes you get a nice dream, which is almost as a good as seeing a movie in a big theatre. And I don’t mean an X-rated dream for all you perverted minds out there, but just a pleasant one that makes you happy. Unfortunately for every nice dream, there is also a dark one that lurks around the corner. Nightmares, in which you find yourself being surrounded by a swarm of killer wasps (sorry, those little bugs scare the crap out of me), or other dark places that you really don’t want to be spending time in. In 1984 a movie came out that created a character that became the very stuff of nightmares: one Freddy Krueger…….

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Jaws part VIII: terror in the bathtub.

The teenage girls Tina and Nancy are best friends and have been enjoying their lives the best way they can. That means hanging out together, spending time with their boyfriends, fooling around, in short everything teenagers should be doing. However Tina has lately been having a couple of terrifying nightmares. In them she is being chased by a horribly disfigured man, wearing a dirty sweater and that has knives for fingers. She is so incredibly upset by it, that she asks Nancy to stay with her during the night. But it appears that Nancy has been having the same dreams. Eventually though they both shrug it off, and Tina spents the night with her boyfriend. But when she finally goes to sleep after a night of passion, the nightmare returns. And in a terrible twist she gets killed in a brutal way, with the blame going to her boyfriend. With Tina out of the picture, Nancy has now become the next target. It turns out that some nightmares can become reality. Nancy is in for the fight of her life, as she has to face a brutal serial killer that supposedly died a couple of years ago. But how in the world do you fight against something out of a dream? Freddy is coming for her……

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Yep, that really is Johny Depp. 

A Nightmare on Elmstreet breathed life back into a genre that had become pretty stale at the time. Created by Wes Craven, the same guy that brought us the horrorclassic Scream, this film is a terrific movie for everyone that loves a good scare. One of the best things about the film is of course the iconic character of Freddy Krueger. Played by Robert Englund, Krueger is both terrifying and at the same time pretty funny as well, although that last quality would become more  apparent in the sequels. Freddy is a truly horrifying opponent in this first part though, and there are some seriously chilling scenes featuring him, that will have you screaming your lungs out. Where Friday the 13th looks pretty dated at this time, here we have a film that is still giving you plenty of scares and has managed to withstand the test of time very well. It is almost hard to imagine that this movie is almost 35 years old now.

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Who needs Wolverine? 

Another fun fact that some people might not even be aware of, is that this movie introduced the world to actor Johny Depp. He played the part of Nancy’s boyfriend, and even though this was his very first role, it hardly showed at all, as he pulled of the part with flying colours. The acting as a whole in this film, while not great, is certainly a lot better than for instance Friday the 13th. Nancy, who is played by actress Heather Langenkamp, is a very charming and innocent character, that most people will be rooting for. She is brave and manages to hold her own against everything Freddy throws at her. And believe me when I say that most people would find themselves turning completely nuts if they would be in that kind of situation. But it is Robert Englund who simply deserves the most credit as he is definitely the driving force in this film.

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Don’t you just hate prank calls? 

The Nightmare on Elmstreet franchise

As is usually the case with any movie that is succesful, we get the inevitable sequels. A Nightmare on Elmstreet eventually ended up with six movies that continued the terrors after the first part (eight if you count the remake and the spinoff Freddy vs. Jason). In these sequels Freddy continued to play his sick little games, while at the same time also providing a lot of (dark) comedy. Even though there were still plenty of scares and gruesome deaths, I always found them to be of a lighter tone than the original movie. The seventh part of the series is especially worth mentioning because the storyline for that one is pretty cool. Entitled New Nightmare, actress Heather Langenkamp returns to play herself, together with Robert Englund and director Wes Craven. They look back on their roles in the first part in a talkshow, but then the evil that is Krueger tries to enter the real world. It was a nice twist and a highly enjoyable movie. The other sequels, while entertaining, never reached the same level as the first film though. Still, there were plenty of memorable scenes, like for instance the “Soul pizza” that Freddy eats in part 4. I have included it below for your viewing pleasure, although I don’t know if that is the correct word for it.

The Verdict

And that is about it for this third part in my Countdown to Halloween series. A Nightmare on Elmstreet is a true classic that every fan of horror should see at least once. It created an equally terrifying as well as entertaining icon in the form of Freddy Krueger. The storyline is great, the deaths are gruesome, but never going into a truly gory territory, and it is a film that is still quite scary despite it’s age. There are talks of a reboot for the series, but those are so far only rumors. The remake that was released in 2010, was received very poorly, and deservedly so. It just did not have the same fun factor as the original film, and was just a very pale shadow. So honestly I am not really looking forward to another attempt. There are some classics that should simply not be remade. The next movie that will be coming up in this feature will be Final Destination, so I hope to see you all back again for that one. In the meantime thank you for reading, and let me know your thoughts on Krueger in the comments section below. Pleasant dreams……..

I give A Nightmare on Elmstreet a 8 out of 10 score.

A post called “D”

Helly everyone! When you come across the title for this post I can almost imagine the expressions on most of your faces. A post called “D”, what the heck is he talking about? Well….let me explain things, and hopefully it will become clear. I have been blogging for over a year now, and I almost can’t believe it’s been that long. It has been an incredible journey, that had it’s ups and downs, but there is one thing that has made it all worth it. And that is meeting a lot of cool people along the way. Some of them have become very good friends, even though we might never meet in real life. When I first started my blog I was incredibly shy, and also afraid to make a comment on someone else’s blog. (Why would someone be interested in anything that I have to say, right?). Well, I am glad I got over that initial fear, and started doing that, because that is the best thing about blogging: sharing thoughts with other people and becoming part of this community.

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And that brings me to the reason for this post: it is the 8th of October (Well, at least it is right now over here in Holland), and that means it is someone’s birthday today! Now, I know they hate me for writing this post (lol😂), but they are also worth it, so that is why I am doing it anyway. The person who’s birthday it is today should be familiair to most of you that write about anime. And that is “D” from Dtalksanime. ( So, that explains the title for this post: DUH ).And they are just simply put awesome! Not only are their reviews incredibly fun to read, but they are also very kind and always have a nice reply ready for anything you comment on. Not only that, but they also offer cool comments on posts that you write yourself, and it always amazes me that people take time from their busy lives to comment on anything that you write in the first place.

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So why this post? Well “D” has not only become a very good friend, but as some of you have read on their blog they have been going through a rough patch the past few weeks and are currently on hiatus. Life can sometimes be really tough, and make us feel like crap. So I thought it would be a nice idea to write this post, and to let the comment section serve as a happy birthday wishlist for them. In other words: use the comments section below to wish them a happy birthday, and let them know how much we miss their posts. And if you are not yet following their terrific blog, use the link above to subscribe to them! Let me kick this off with saying : “D, my friend, have a terrific day! I know you usually don’t like things like this, but I do hope that this has put a smile on your face. And if not, you can always sent Mei from Another to my house to scare the living daylights out of me! 😂😂 Happy Birthday! 🎉🎉🎉🎉 ”

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