Category Archives: Movie reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Spectral, American Movie (2016)

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

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What are you looking at? They are invisible remember? 

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

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

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

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Yep, this gun is big alright.

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

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You are seeing this right? 

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

I give Spectral a 8 out of 10 score.

Joe, American movie (2013)

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

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Why take a chair? Just use a car.

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

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What do you think he sees?

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

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Work can get you down sometimes.

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

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Never talk back to me….

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

I give Joe a 7 out 10 score.

Anaconda, American movie (1997)

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

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I am wondering who is more scared here.

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

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Now, that is one scary looking dude.

 

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

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Seriously man, no joke, look behind you. 

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

I give Anaconda a 8 out of 10 score.

Fast and Furious 8, American movie (2017)

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

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So….you think you are tough huh?

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

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Is it cold in here or what?

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

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Yup…..that really is a sub.

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

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What are you looking at?

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

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I think after this I need to make a pitstop.

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

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

 

Eliminators, American/UK movie (2016)

Straight to dvd movies are a category of films that don’t make it into cinemas for all kinds of different reasons. It could be due to a lack of budget, a limited interest, negative reviews, well….you get the idea. Especially in the horror and action moviegenres, these films are brought out on quite a regular basis. Being a fan of both genres, I buy a lot of these mostly B-movies as some of them are enjoyable enough. Scott Adkins is an action star that really has been making a lot of these movies, and pretty much never disappoints. One of his latest films is the one I am about to review.

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In Eliminators, Adkins plays the role of Thomas, a former federal agent who has been living in protective custody together with his young daughter. One night his house mistakenly gets invaded by a group of thugs. Thomas manages to fight them off, but in so doing gets seriously injured. When he wakes up in the hospital, he finds himself handcuffed and his daughter taken from him. The police accuse him of murder, and the local news media have extensive coverage of him on television. This eventually catches the attention of the man he has been hiding from. Soon, one of the most dangerous assassins in the world is sent to kill Thomas. But Thomas will stop at nothing to survive and find his daughter. The hunt is now on, and a dangerous game of cat and mouse begins in the streets of London….

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Anyone who has seen movies with Scott Adkins pretty much know what to expect. Some decent fight scenes, a few gunbattles, and a pretty entertaining ride along the way. In that regard Eliminators is basically the same. The story for this movie is ofcourse not an Oscar winning script, but has a nice twists that I at least did not expect. But ofcourse one watches these movies for the action, and Eliminators does not disappoint on that front. Adkins always manages to give a nice performance with his martial arts, and as an actor he certainly isn’t bad either.

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The rest of the cast does a pretty decent job as well. Former wrestler Stu Bennet plays the part of the menacing assassin and does so convincingly enough. This results in some highly entertaining fight sequences between him and Adkins. All in all this is a film that you will enjoy if you like movies in the style of the early Jean Claude van Damme flicks. If you keep your expectations low enough, and like B-grade action films, you will get enough of a kick out of this one, to satisfy your action fix.

I give Eliminators a 7 out of 10 score.

Akira, Japanese (Animated) movie (1988)

It has been called one of the most influential films of all time. A movie that many feel is responsible for causing Anime to become popular in the Western world. Based on the Manga of the same name that consisted of more than 2000 pages, a lot of people still find this one of the finest anime movies ever created. I am ofcourse talking about the masterpiece called Akira, directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, the man that also created and wrote the manga. So why is this movie so incredible, and still after all these years a classic that has withstood the test of time very, very well? I will get to that question shortly, but let me first start with describing what this movie is about, for those that are not yet familiar with it.

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In the year 1988 a strange psychic event occurs that completely obliterates the city of Tokyo. Soon after, World War Three starts, and Tokyo is rebuild into a new city called Neo Tokyo. The movie itself picks up the story right after these events. It is now the year 2019, and Neo-Tokyo has become a city with wide scale riots and motorcycle gangs that rule the streets. One of these gangs led by the young Kaneda, one night gets into a fight with another gang called the Clowns. During the fight one of Kaneda’s best friends, Tetsuo Shima, nearly runs over a strange boy who is right in the midde of the street. Crashing his motorcycle, Tetsuo is seriously injured and is taken to the hospital. Once there it soon becomes clear that the boy he nearly ran over, was no ordinary boy but someone who possessed strange psychic powers. And it appears that Tetsuo has now somehow also received these powers. Meanwhile Kaneda desperately searches for his friend, while being pursued by secret government forces. However Tetsuo’s powers soon begin to grow out of control, and the event that destroyed Tokyo so many years ago might repeat itself…..

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It had been a very long time since I had last seen this movie, but seeing it appear on Netflix was enough to make me rewatch this film. And it is still every bit as powerful as when I first saw it. The animation for this movie is simply amazing. In every scene there are so many things that are going on in the backgrounds, that you will probably see new ones every time you watch this movie. With so many details presented in each frame, the city of Neo-Tokyo truly feels like it is a character itself.

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And speaking of characters, that is one of the other highlights of this film. The young and somewhat cocky Kaneda, the hero of the movie, is someone that is incredibly hard not to like. He provides most of the comic relief in this film, something that is very much needed as this movie can at times be seriously depressing because of it’s dark themes. Kaneda’s quest to find his friend is at times heartbreaking, especially during the final parts of the movie where he is forced to make some really tough decisions. Tetsuo is a character a lot of people might relate to. A person who has always stood in the shadow of someone else, and now comes into possession of something truly incredible. The powers change him entirely and it comes down to that age old saying: “power corrupts”.

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The story of Akira is very dark, and it certainly is not a movie for everyone. There are some very brutal and graphic scenes throughout the film, and it definitely established at the time that animation certainly was not only for kids anymore. It is amazing that a film that was made almost thirty years ago now is still such an incredibly powerful movie. It’s fantastic animation, thought provoking storyline and dark and tense atmosphere make this an absolute must see for every anime fan out there. Akira is a timeless classic and will still be worth seeing even after another thirty years from now.

I give Akira a 10 out of 10 score.

 

Don’t Knock Twice, Uk movie (2016)

I think pretty much everyone as a child must have done some kind of prank. One of the most common ones of these are to either ring the doorbell or knock on someone’s door and run away. One has to wonder now what was so fun about something like that, but children seem to really have a barrel full of laughs while doing this. Why am I bringing something like this up? Is it some kind of misplaced sense of atonement for the pranks that I used to do as a kid that I am doing here? No, really no worries about that. The reason I am bringing this up, is that someone took this childhood prank and turned it into a horrormovie. Well…kind of a horrormovie anyway.

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Don’t knock twice focusses on mother Jess, who nine years ago had to give up her daughter Chloe to an orphanage. Now, she wants her back, but Chloe wants nothing to do with her anymore. One night Chloe and her boyfriend visit an old house, where according to legend a witch resides. They knock twice on her door, and then quickly leave. This seemingly innocent event, soon begins to have very dire consequences. Chloe begins to see strange things, and weird events force her to leave her own house. In desperation she flees to her mother, who at first though very happy to see her, does not believe her story. However it isn’t long before Jess has to face the fact that a demonic spirit is targeting her daughter. Will she be able to save her, or will Chloe end up as yet another victim of this ancient evil…..

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I have to say that the premise for this film was very original. Based in part on the legend of Baba Yaga (from Slavic folklore), it was the storyline that grabbed my attention for it. While there certainly are some horrorelements in this movie, I would classify this film more as a thriller. Unfortunately, it is not a very suspenseful one. The movie has a few interesting scenes, but it was not enough to keep me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire film. The acting in the movie was pretty decent, especially by Katee “Starbuck” Sackhoff, who played the role of Jess. She really plays a very convincing role as the desperate mother, who will stop at nothing to win back the love of her daughter.

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This movie isn’t terrible, but it is not great either. The film is at times pretty slow, and some of the twists you can definitely see coming from miles away. The movie obviously had a low budget, but still it managed to hide that fact pretty decently. All in all there are worse movies out there, and together with the original story and the acting, just manages to keep it’s score on the positive side.

I give Don’t knock twice a 6 out of 10 score.

Boiling Point, Japanese movie (1990)

Those of you that have been following my blog for a while now, know that my taste in movies and tv series is pretty diverse. As long as the film entertains I am willing to tackle any genre. Recently I received a movie on dvd for my birthday that I had heard much about, but have never actually seen. Directed by the infamous Takeshi Kitano,that was pretty much enough to get me excited for it. Recently he had a minor role in the new Ghost in the Shell movie (you can find my review for it Here ), but he is well known by all lovers of Asian cinema. He has starred in and also directed a lot of (at times pretty controversial) movies. Most of his movies contain acts of violence, but also some dark humor, and Boiling Point is definitely no exception to this rule.

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In the beginning of the movie we get to meet the rather simple man Masaki. He plays baseball for a local team, but is not very good at it. In fact the guy really comes across as someone who has definitely not got all of his marbles straight in his head. When his coach is threatened by a local Yakuza member, he travels to Okinawa together with a friend, to buy a gun. Once there they are befriended by a psychotic gangster called Uehara. Now this guy has his own score to settle with the Yakuza. Masaki soon realises that he is in way over his head. With Uehara going off on a rampage, the simple Masaki has to find a way to stay alive, while at the same trying to find a way to protect his coach. But the crazed Uehara is definitely not making this job easy….

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Now if I would get only one word to describe this movie, it would be the word weird. The movie starts off fairly normal, and at that point is pretty much a comedy. Masaki comes across as a complete idiot, and this supplies a couple of really funny scenes on the baseball field. As soon as the Yakuza enter the movie though, the tone of the movie shifts, and is beginning to descend into complete madness. Uehara, played by director Takeshi Kitano himself, is an absolute psycho, and a very chilling figure. His natural charm makes him only more terrifying. And that comes across in the movie itself. Some seriously disturbing scenes make this at times an uncomfortable watch, as you often wonder who comes up with stuff like this in his head.

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This movie has the word cultfilm written all over it. Even though the film has a pretty straightforward storyline, there are often strange jumps in time, and this really makes you question your own sanity at times. But ofcourse this is probably what Takeshi’s goal was in the first place. I did really enjoy Masaki’s journey however. It is always a really fun thing to see a local idiot turn into a hero, allthough even that fact is questionable by the end of the film. It is hard to recommend a movie such as this. The acting in the film is fantastic, but the sometimes weird imagery certainly won’t make this a movie that everyone will enjoy. I for one was definitely entertained by it, even though this certainly isn’t a perfect movie. If you like to watch the occasional cultmovie however, this one is certainly worth checking out.

I give Boiling Point a 7 out of 10 score.

Ghost in the Shell, American movie (2017)

So, it has finally arrived. A movie that has been covered in controversy ever since it was announced that the lead for it would be played by Scarlett Johansson. Accused of whitewashing, this movie was doomed right from the start. Most diehard fans  announced they would be avoiding it like the plague, and it has already received quite a few negative reviews. But the question one really needs to ask oneself is can you keep an open mind after a movie has received such a bad reputation before it even appears in theatres? Everybody is saying it, so it must be the truth right? Well….wrong. I think a movie of any kind is a personal experience. I always judge a movie for myself, no matter how many reviews say it is good…or bad. And so it was for this live action version for the anime classic Ghost in the Shell.

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The future. A young woman almost gets killed in a terrorist attack. Her original body is all but destroyed, but her brain survives and is transferred into a new high tech prostethic body. Henceforth she is known as the Major. Seeing the value of her and her new capabilities, the Major is transferred to the mysterious organisation called section Nine, by the people who rebuild her. Section Nine takes on a variety of missions to protect the society from dangerous individuals. It is not long before a new and mysterious cybercriminal appears known only as Kuze. It is up to the Major and the rest of section Nine to stop him. But just what does Kuze want? When a number of people get killed by him, Kuze soon begins to focus his attention on the Major. But she has her own struggles and is constantly questioning her humanity. When the truth comes out about Kuze’s real motivations, her whole world is turned upside down. A truth that is so horrible, that it might destroy her very soul….

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Now let me just state for the record that I am a massive Ghost in the Shell fan. The Major has been and always shall be my favorite alltime animecharacter. As such I was very anxious about this film. Did the movie succeed in capturing the ghost of the original? Or would it just be another empty shell? Well I can say that it definitely succeeded in the first. The first thing that I really enjoyed about this film were the visual aspects of it. Director Rupert Sanders has created a hightech world that in many ways borrows and improves upon the world created in the scifi classic Bladerunner. It all is a true visual feast for your eyes, and it is one of those films in which you will discover new aspects of the fantastic CGI world they made, every time you watch it.

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The original Ghost in the Shell anime had a multilayered storyline, with heavy underlying themes contained within it. This version has been stripped down and as such is easier to follow. It still has a few of the themes remaining, such as what really makes us human, but the best way to describe it is Ghost in the Shell light. Hardcore fans of the classic anime might be put off by this. I was not bothered by it in the least. I think it still manages to recreate the atmosphere of the original anime, while also putting a twist of it’s own in it. Many keyscenes of the animated version were recreated, and that was another thing that I really enjoyed.

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And now ofcourse to adress the issue that has made the film so controversial. Has the casting of Scarlett in the role of the Major damaged the film? First off I have to say that she did a fine job of recreating this beloved character. She manages to recapture a lot of the aspects of the Major that make it such a great character in the first place. I do think that if the part had been played by an Asian actress, it would have captured the essence of the character better. Even though the film tries it’s best to feel Asian, it’s American roots do shine through in the movie. But to simply call it a failure because of that is just too harsh. As for the rest of the cast I felt they were a bit underdeveloped. Most of the rest of section Nine had minor roles, except for Batou played by actor Pilou Asbæk. This was pretty much the Major’s movie, and I was fine with that.

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Needless to say I highly enjoyed this live action version of Ghost in the Shell. Was it perfect? No, there were definitely aspects to the film that might have been done better. But all in all this was a highly entertaining science fiction movie, that fans of the original anime will enjoy, except for maybe the real hardcore fans. The gorgeous visuals, a couple of truly spectacular action sequences, paired with a pretty good storyline make this a great movie for every science fiction lover out there.

I give Ghost in the Shell a 9 out of 10 score.