Category Archives: Movie reviews

The Sky Crawlers, Japanese (animated) movie (2008)

In a little over two months I’m going to turn 42. Even though I don’t consider myself old in any way, it has been quite a while since I left my childhood behind me (although I still feel like a kid pretty much every day). While being an adult certainly has had it’s ups and downs, I could also say the same about when I was a kid. But I honestly have no real complaints about my childhood. In fact it was a time where I really had much less to worry about, then I sometimes do right now. But would I have wanted to stay a kid forever? Hell to the no. While the prospect of eternal life might sound appealing, in no way would I want to spent it as a teenager. So why am I talking about all this? Last year I bought a movie I have been wanting to see for quite a long time. Directed by Mamoru Oshii, the acclaimed director of the original Ghost in the Shell movie, The Sky Crawlers is a film that deals with the subject of kids. But kids that never age…

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Hmm…..drinking and smoking isn’t very good for your health, you know that right?

Exactly in which time frame The Sky Crawlers takes place is very hard to describe. Suffice it to say that it’s an alternate timeline where the world seems to be at peace, but as usual the human race can’t live completely without war. In order to release these tensions, private companies enlist fighter pilots that take to the skies and fight each other in real aerial combat engagements. The Rostock Corporation is one of these companies and has just lost three of their pilots at the hands of the ace pilot “The Teacher” that works for rival company Lautern. Shortly thereafter Yuichi Kannami arrives at the Rostock base having just been assigned there. Yuichi is a Kildren, a genetically engineered humanoid that will never grow beyond adolescence. The only thing he lives for is going up in his plane and fighting in these wars. It’s also just about the only thing that can get him killed. The base commander, Suito Kusanagi, herself also a Kildren, is shrouded in mystery. There are rumors flying around the base that she shot Yuichi’s predecessor. But no one knows what happened for sure. Yuichi’s own relationship with Suito is beginning to grow however. But the shadow of war, and the uncertainties of his own existence are beginning to take it’s toll on the mind of young Yuichi…

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I wish I owned a plane like that. It would beat walking to work.

The Sky Crawlers is a movie that is pretty hard to review. A challenge has never stopped me before though, so I am not about to do so now. This movie is a completely different movie than I expected it to be. If you think this is a full on action film, where the focus lies on aerial combat, you had better look someplace else. This two hour long movie has about 15 minutes of scenes like that, but that’s just about it. But it really has to be said, these scenes are breathtaking to look at. Brought in crystal clear 3D the dogfights between the incredibly beautifully designed fighter-planes are amazing to behold. They are tense, dangerous and the sounds that accompany them put you pretty much right in the middle of them, as if you were there yourself. But this being a Mamoru Oshii film, the story has many more layers to it than you might expect the first time that you see it. It’s one of those stories that really gets you to think about stuff, and those usually are the best kinds of tales.

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I think it might be a good idea to take cover. Just an idea, mind you.

This is, I’m not going to lie, a pretty bleak and depressing film. We are dealing with kids here that never grow old, and whose only purpose in life seems to be fighting wars. The time in between fights is spent in bars, or visiting prostitutes, but in no way do their lives ever seem to have a small spark of happyness. The two main characters, Yuichi and Suito are therefore very hard to grow attached to. Even though they seem to develop feelings for each other, that relationship is only causing grief, which is depicted in sometimes very sad scenes. I have always said that it’s hard to like a film, when you don’t care for what happens to the main characters. But here, it seems to really support the story and the vibe that the director is going for. This is also a very slow film. Most of the time is spent on the ground and trying to really bring the deeper underlying storylines to the front, but I can also understand that this might try the patience of some viewers.

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I did say the planes were very cool did I not?

A big reason for me to buy this movie, besides it being directed by Oshii, is that the music for it was composed by Kenji Kawaii. I wrote a post about this man’s brilliance last year (if you have missed that one you can find it right here), and he again manages to compose an absolutely breathtaking score. The main theme for the film is especially beautiful and I have included it below for your listening pleasure. So what did I think of this movie? As I mentioned in the beginning this is a very hard film to review. While I respect and also understand what Oshii is trying to do here, some moments in the movie felt pretty longwinded. It will also not make you a really happy camper so to speak. But I really can’t help but saying, this is still a very beautiful film. The story will keep you thinking long after the credits have rolled (and do keep watching, because there is a very important after credits scene), and both the animation and music are absolutely amazing. If you don’t mind slow films, and are able to handle movies that feature a quite depressing atmosphere, this one is worth checking out.

I give The Sky Crawlers a 8 out of 10 score.

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Underworld: Blood Wars, American movie (2016)

Some movie franchises just seem to go on and on without ever having an end in sight. No matter how bad some of the sequels to the original movie have become, they just keep pumping out new films. This seems to be especially true for horrormovies. There is a certain market for B-movie type films, that fans just can’t seem to get enough of. The Underworld franchise started way back in 2003. Underworld told the story of a great war between the Vampires and Lycans (Werewolves) that has raged for thousands of years. It was a very classy film, with some seriously cool fight sequences, lot’s of leather, and a great lead actress in the form of Kate Beckinsale that played the 1000 year old Death Dealer Vampire Selene. And just like that, fourteen years later we now have a fifth installment, that even leaves the door open for yet another sequel. Have these movies been entertaining though? Well, quite frankly, yes. Sure, the first film was definitely the best, but these follow up films all still had some nice things in them, that made them worthwhile watches. Especially if you like these kind of movies. So, what about this one? Is it any good, or do we just need to put it into the sunlight and let it burn up?

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I think you have got something stuck between your teeth. Here, let me help you. 

Underworld Blood Wars continues the storyline from the fourth film. The Vampires are on the verge of losing the war against their enemies the Lycans. Only the Eastern Coven still stands strong and one of their members, the beautiful Semira believes their salvation may lie with the Death Dealer Selene. But Selene has been outcast for years, and most of the other Vampires want to see her dead. She convinces Thomas, one of the Vampire elders, to go the council in order to try to persuade them to grant Selene clemency. In this way she hopes Selene can return to train a new generation of Death Dealers. Meanwhile the Lycans, now under the command of the powerful Marius, are also searching for Selene. They want to use her to find her daughter Eve, whose blood may contain the secrets of building an army of Lycan/Vampire hybrids. With all the players setting up their pieces on the board, Selene finds herself right in the middle of a very deadly game. With betrayal seeming to run rampant on both sides, Selene has to find a way to survive. But this is easier said than done, especially when she is set up for a crime which she did not commit…

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Enough with those Vampire puns already, come on!

Well, let’s put a stake through the heart of this review and get down to the most important aspect of it. This was Underworld’s weakest installment to date, and one really has to wonder if this franchise has not run out of steam. The story is basically non-existent. All we get is a long chase movie that moves from fight sequence to fight sequence, with little to no surprises. One of the things I did like is the fact that the story introduced a new coven of Vampires that live in the icy northern wastes. Without giving away spoilers, suffice it to say that they are entirely different from the Vampires we have come to known in Underworld. The action scenes in this movie were also not as good as in the previous films. But that said there is a seriously cool fight between Marius and Selene on the ice, that really is well worth seeing and one of the highlights of the film. Other than that the rest of the fights just lack that special wow factor which is a bit of a shame.

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If you mention that I played in Divergent, I will kill you. 

But the saving grace of this film is definitely actress Kate Beckinsale. Now playing the role of Selene for the fourth time, she is still every bit as strongwilled and fearsome as when she first started playing the character. And without sounding like a sexist pig, Kate is just incredibly sexy and feminine in the leather outfits she has always worn throughout these films. Selene’s character has really grown over the years and at the end of this movie, you will find yourself surprised in what she has become. (One of the few surprises this film has on offer). Something that you might not expect in a movie such as this is the high level of acting. Kate does a terrific job, but so does veteran actor Charles Dance reprising his role as Thomas. You can just see the fun he is having in playing this role. Semira is a deliciously wicked character that is brought to life in a splendid way by actress Lara Pulver. One of the more unpredictable characters of the film, I really enjoyed seeing her playing out her part, and I would have loved to have seen more of her.

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Sometimes no words are necessary, this picture pretty much speaks for itself. 

Underworld Blood Wars is a movie that ended up being a bit of a disappointment. I would not call the film a total disaster, there are obviously worse films out there. But having enjoyed all the other movies in this franchise, this one was really a bit of a letdown. As mentioned in the beginning, there is still room for a sequel to this one, and I would not be surprised if that is going to happen. But they would have to come up with a real good script to end Selene’s journey in a satisfactory way. If you are not a fan of Underworld, this movie is not going to change your mind. But if you are, despite it’s many flaws, I still think you should watch it. If only to see the lovely Kate in action for what might just be her final appearance as Selene. Just don’t set your expectation levels to the highest settings though.

I give Underworld Blood Wars a 6 out of 10 score.

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, American movie (2017)

I’m not a very happy man right now. In fact I’m pretty much at a loss for words and don’t even know where to start or how to write this post. This is probably going to be one of the hardest reviews that I have ever written since I started blogging. And it is all for a new movie in the science fiction franchise that I have loved for so many years. Today though, The Last Jedi, managed to really destroy the saga with a film that was destined to divide the Star Wars fan base community. I’m sorry to say that I am on the dark side here by stating that I really hated this movie. There…I have said it. I don’t think after all these years of watching movies, that I have ever been filled with more anger towards a film than for this one. I am also going to be breaking protocol here by writing a spoiler filled review for the first time in the history of this blog. It is really the only way to explain why I am feeling so much anger inside….and yes I know, I did hear Yoda’s words. Anger eventually leads to the Dark Side. Beware, this is a very different review by me than you are used to. It really is going to be a rant so if you are (force) sensitive to these sort of things, you can still turn away.

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Is it me, or do these things look like giant monkeys?

***!!!Spoilers Begin!!!***

So this movie pretty much picks up where The Force Awakens ended. The Rebellion is on the run and The First Order have somehow taken over the entire galaxy all of a sudden. (Which is kind of odd, seeing as they only had one base to begin with, which was destroyed in the last movie). But I’m willing to overlook that part. After episode VII fans were left with a lot of burning questions, chief amongst them being who is Snoke, and who are Rey’s parents? Let’s start with Snoke first. He is set up to be an extremely powerful villain, who has force powers that seem to be even stronger than those of The Emperor. So just who is this evil being? Well….who cares director Rian Johnson must have thought as he gets killed by Kylo Ren turning a lightsaber on him. I was completely stunned when this happened. Why introduce a seriously sinister and mysterious villain, that had fans speculating over his origins for months only to just kill him off in a single stroke? And without ever finding out who he was and how he came to be this all powerful figurehead?

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I know I look old to you, but really you don’t have to be rude about it and close your eyes.

Okay, right….so Rian is surely going to redeem himself by answering the question to who Rey’s parents were right? Erm…..wrong. Rey’s parents were, drumroll please: nobodies. Simply drunken scavengers that sold Rey off to slavers. Which means Rey herself is a nobody as well, and has no apparent bloodline to any famous force sensitive families. That’s what they came up with? Really? Great job, truly and utterly spectacular script writing. How on Earth is Rey able to do all the things that she is doing? It really makes no sense whatsoever. I had some hopes left, and those were centered on Luke and Leia. To be fair, both Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher played their parts beautifully. There is a truly heartbreaking scene near the end of the movie in which brother and sister are reunited, and that one really gave me some goosebumps. But the old heroic Luke we came to know and love as fans is gone for most of the film. In his place is a cynical and whiny old man that wants nothing to do with any of the Rebellion’s problems. And after everything he went through in Episodes IV-VI, his change in personality, despite the cause that triggered it, seems too far fetched for me. And of course just because he can, Rian decides to kill off Luke as well.

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Look, my lightsaber is still shiny and red!

Remember Yoda saying after Luke left before completing his training in Empire that there was another? We later learn that he was talking about Leia of course, but she never got Jedi training. But what happens in this movie? After getting blown into outer space, she survives in a cold hard vacuum, flies like Supergirl and pulls herself to safety by using the Force. A feat that to my knowledge not even the most powerful Jedi were able to do. I could go on but really, you get my drift. This movie is just so full of plotholes like these, that not even a Jedi mindtrick is able to save it. Are there no positive things in this movie? Well, that would be too harsh a judgement, and also not fair. Oscar Isaac, echoing his own character’s words is the fire that really shines in this film. Poe Dameron has a much bigger role in this movie than in the Force Awakens and he really has become one of my alltime favorite Star Wars characters. He truly is both a hero and rebel in the biggest sense of those words.

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Chewie and Porg, the new talkshow coming to you soon!

In true Star Wars fashion we get a couple of grand battle scenes, and the fight near the end of the film really is one of the best in the franchise. And then of course there is at least one villain in this film that still is every bit as interesting as he was in the first movie: Kylo Ren. Adam Driver portraying the character does an amazing job in bringing his conflict to life. The fun thing about Kylo is that you never really know what his next move will be. Is he truly evil, or is there still light in him? It is a question that I think he can’t even answer himself, and that is what makes him such a really fun and scary character. From a visual point of view the movie really looks amazing. The special effects are really top notch but never become too much like a few scenes that were in the prequels. Last but not least we get the Porgs, a new and quite loveable race of beings that provide some truly entertaining scenes that had me roaring with laughter.

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Yep, this face pretty much sums up how I felt after leaving the theatre yesterday.

***Spoilers End***

So, there we have it, the first true rant that I ever had on my blog and for a movie that I had been looking forward to for two years now. Ever since leaving the theatre yesterday afternoon I have been thinking that there is something that I have missed in some way. That I am somehow being too harsh. But then I looked over on IMDB and saw the responses and reviews the movie is getting and I know now that I am not alone in this. As all of you know, at least everyone that has been reading my blog for a while now, I always respect other people’s opinions. So if you loved the film, I think that is great. With this film though for me Star Wars has turned into a new direction that I just don’t like. It has ripped out the heart of what made Star Wars so much fun in the first place, and what is left into it’s place is something rather cold. I don’t know if the magic is completely snuffed out now. Only time will tell I guess. I also know that this review is maybe going to cause a great disturbance in the Force amongst some of you. For that I am sorry. Know that in no way I wish to offend anyone here, it is simply my take on the film. Never would I want to force (push) my opinion on you.

I give Star Wars Episode VIII a heartbroken 4 out 10 score.

 

 

 

 

Star Wars episode IV: A New Hope, American movie (1977)

There are some stories in this world that are kind of hard to believe. Take the Star Wars franchise for instance. No matter the fact if you love it or hate it, I think nobody can deny the fact that it’s incredibly popular and makes a ton of money. But did you know that director George Lucas had an incredibly hard time to even get a funding for the first movie in that galaxy far, far away? After writing a 13 page treatment for it, he went from studio to studio, but pretty much no one believed that this was a movie that would attract an audience. After getting declined numerous times, Lucas finally got a green light from 20th Century Fox. But he only got a very small budget with which to make the movie. After many hardships during filming, including suffering a near heart attack, Lucas managed to complete his film. When the movie was finally released in 1977 it blew everything that had come before it completely away and became a huge success. It never fails to make me smile when I think about this story, as it is proof that pretty much everything is possible as long as you keep believing in it.

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You seem to have trouble talking. Is it something I did?

Now 40 years later, Star Wars is still going strong with no end in sight. This week the eagerly awaited eight installment of the franchise will be released. I have already got my tickets, although I still have to wait a few days, as I will be seeing it on saturday morning. Which means that I have got to avoid social media the upcoming days in order to not come across spoilers. It’s only fitting to conclude my Countdown to the Last Jedi feature with the movie that started it all, Episode IV, A New Hope. Probably most of you know the story of this film by heart, but for the few unlucky souls that have never seen this one, let me break it down for you. In a galaxy far, far away an evil Empire has grown that holds everyone in an iron grip. With the creation of a new weapon, a planet killer called the Death Star, it seems the Empire is ready to snuff out the final rays of light. But there is always hope. A rebellion has grown that has managed to steal the technical plans of this new terrorweapon. The plans are currently in possession of Princess Leia, who is racing home to try and find a weakness in the Death Star. But the Empire’s brutal enforcer Darth Vader is in hot pursuit with the sole purpose of extinquishing the rebellion once and for all….

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That’s no moon, it’s erm…..I don’t really know actually.

I was one year old when this movie came out, so I never saw it in the theatres when it was released. I of course did see it at a later age, when the special editions came out and the movies were brought back to the cinema. But the experience could never rival what movie audiences at that time must have felt. These days we are not easily surprised anymore by special effects. But imagine the reaction people must have had when that Star Destroyer came into view for the first time in 1977. Movies that featured that level of special effects were completely unheard of at that time. And in that way it pretty much changed the movie industry overnight. Rival companies were trying to play catch up and released science fiction movies that tried to copy what Star Wars did. With a few exceptions, most of these attempts failed. So what exactly made this movie so special, and why has it captured the hearts and minds of so many people?

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Your hair looks really ridiculous you know that right?

Yes, the special effects were mind boggling, and even though they are now showing their age, they still hold up very well even today. But for me it’s the story and the characters that form the main reason why I love this movie so very much. It’s the ultimate epic tale of good versus evil. Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, and of course the classic actor Alec Guinness as Obi Wan Kenobi, all of them did such an amazing job in creating wonderful and heartwarming characters. When you look at this movie now, it’s amazing how young they all look. I don’t know if this makes me old or something, but it’s just incredible when you realise that time seriously is flying by faster than the Millenium Falcon on lightspeed. But let’s not get off track here. For another reason this movie is so memorable is it’s main villain: Darth Vader. The first time he enters the screen you can’t help but feel intimidated. He is the very personification of evil, and it oozes out from him in every way. For me he simply is the best villain in movie history.

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We are all going to be made into action figures? You are kidding me right?

When it comes to Star Wars it is really hard to stay objective. I have been a fan of this franchise ever since I saw that memorable opening crawl on my television screen for the first time. It is also hard to believe that after 40 years we will again see Mark Hamill reprise his role for which he has been famous all his life. No one yet knows what is in store for Luke, but I will be awaiting with anticipation that is bigger than a Womp Rat, I can tell you that. For those of you that have not seen this first film I can only say that I envy you. To experience a movie like this for the first time is something truly amazing. And yes, in case you were wondering this really is the movie you should start with first. I know it’s called Episode IV, but this was the very first installment. (Even though Episodes I-III were released much later, but that is a story for another time). A New Hope is an amazing piece of cinema, and a movie that you simply must see at least once in your life. And so we have reached the end of this feature. I leave you with the original trailer for the movie, and for those of you that are going to the cinema the coming days to see Episode VIII: May the Force be with you!

I give Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope a 10 out of 10 score.

Serenity, American movie (2005)

Joss Whedon is just one of those familiar household names in the world of geeks. And even if you never heard of him, something that must definitely ring a bell is the tv series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It dominated the television back in the days for seven seasons, and also served as the platform for the spinoff series Angel. The man responsible for it? You guessed it, Joss Whedon. But he also created a show that had an altogether different fate, namely the short lived Firefly. In, what has to be one of the stupidest decisions in the history of television, this terrific blend of western and science fiction got the axe after just 14 episodes. The ratings for it were given the blame, but they also conveniently forgot that it was shown in a very unfavorable timeslot. But despite all that, Firefly lived on through an incredibly loyal fanbase. And even today there are still new books, games and other merchandise being released for it. Three years after the series got cancelled, Joss Whedon sort of took revenge by making a pretty succesful movie based on the show called Serenity.

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Does anybody know any good jokes?

Serenity while being a continuation of the original series, can actually be enjoyed even if you have never seen or even heard of Firefly. It takes place in the 26th century where most of humanity has left Earth because of it being overpopulated.  With the colonisation of the Galaxy, there came the inevitable wars as well. In the end The Alliance was the faction that was left standing. But to say The Alliance is a friendly regime would be saying The Emperor from Star Wars is a fluffy teddy bear. River Tam is a young girl that is being conditioned by them to fight as an assassin and a psychic. This totally messes up her mind, but just before things get really bad her brother manages to rescue her. They both join a crew of outlaws and misfits lead by Captain Malcolm Reynolds, and have been on the run ever since. But The Alliance doesn’t give up River so easily as she knows secrets that she herself is not even aware of. A topsecret agent, known only as the Operative is tasked with bringing her back. Malcolm soon more than has his hands full with his ship The Serenity becoming the target of both the Alliance and the bloodthirsty cannibalistic Reavers. As people start dying around him he has to ask him self if one girl is worth all this trouble……

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I don’t know why. But I have a feeling nobody really likes him….

Serenity is a fun adventure filled science fiction romp. It’s a very unique take on your standard science fiction films, especially because of the setting. It really feels like a western at times which is something that really hasn’t been done much in the world of science fiction. But as usual it is the characters that make this film come alive, just like they did in the television series. Everyone from the original series reprises their roles, and it was great to see the beloved characters at work again. Malcolm played by Nathan “Castle” Fillion really steals the show. His character tries to act as tough as nails, but in between all that outward bluster, lies a heart of gold. Even though he doesn’t always show it, he really does care about all the people around him. River Tam, played by the lovely Summer Glau, is the most complex but also one of the most fun characters. I think it’s one of Summer’s best roles, as she manages to create a character that is downright scary, completely insane, but also very loveable, all at the same time.

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One has to love big fleets going head to head.

The rest of the original cast have somewhat smaller, but no less important parts to play. I was also impressed by The Operative, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. His character always remains calm, never gets angry no matter what happens, and this makes it a very creepy and chilling man. Ejiofor’s performance definitely is spot on, and is one of the best roles from the film. The special effects are also highly worth watching this movie for. There are some great sequences both in space and on the ground, that would give bigger blockbuster movies a run for their money. Everything in this movie just looks very shiny (pun intended). The story, while certainly not the strongest point of the film, is still good enough to not just serve setting up the action, but also adds some nice twists and turns. In fact I can find very little that is wrong with this movie. If I were a bit of nitpicking guy, I could say that the pace of the film was a little bit slow in the middle. But honestly that would really be stretching things.

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Psst…..bigger isn’t always better: show off!

If you like Firefly, this movie is definitely a worthy follow up to the original series, and also serves to bring some closure to a few plotlines that were left wide open after the show got cancelled. It contains much of the same humor as well, although it does have a bit of a darker tone to it. But also if you are a sci fi fan in general this movie is highly recommended. It isn’t very often that you see a mix of two completely different genres work so well together, but Serenity manages to pull it off. And that’s it for the fourth part of the Countdown to the Last Jedi. To bring this feature to a close next up will be the Star Wars movie that started it all so many years ago: Episode IV, A New Hope. As always, thank you for reading, and boy is it good to be back to blogging again. See you all on the next post, but I will leave you with the original trailer for Serenity. Enjoy!

I give Serenity a 9 out of 10 score.

Tron Legacy, American movie (2010)

Remember the 80’s? I’ve mentioned it quite a few times in the past that I am a fan of that particular era. It is famous for bringing us some great cartoons, wonderful and very memorable movies, but it also saw the rise of a completely new form of entertainment: the video game. People back in those days went to the arcades to play classic games such as Pac Man, Space Invaders and Centipede to name but a few examples. In the year 1982 Disney made a film that focussed on computergames in a way that had not yet been done before. Featuring groundbreaking special effects the name of that movie was Tron. It became a moderate succes back in those days, but it is now recognised by many as being lightyears ahead of it’s time and has gained the status of cult classic. Almost 30 years later a sequel was made to the original film. It was anticipated by a lot of people but unfortunately it did not become as succesful as many had hoped. Welcome everybody to part 3 of Countdown to the Last Jedi.

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Now tell me, was I lying about the visual aspects of this film?

In Tron Legacy we are introduced to the son of Kevin Flynn, a young boy called Sam. In the year 1989 his father disappeared without a trace just after he was promoted to CEO of the computer systems corporation Encom International. Ever since his disappearance, now over twenty years ago, nobody has heard anything from him. Sam has grown up, but has little to no interest in his father’s company, despite being the primary shareholder. He does like to play a prank on the board of directors every year. Kevin’s closest and oldest friend Alan Bradley one day checks in with Sam, but not without a reason. It seems that Alan has recieved a pager message that originated from Kevin’s old, but now sealed video arcade. At first Sam is very skeptical, but eventually he decides to investigate it anyway. Arriving at the arcade, he discovers a hidden basement, where he inadvertently gets transported to The Grid. This virtual reality world was created by his father, and it seems that something very sinister has been brewing there. A rogue and corrupt program called Clu and that closely resembles his father, has taken control of everything. But Clu has bigger plans than the virtual world….plans that threaten the real world and every living thing in it. Sam becomes the reluctant hero that has to save the world. But stranded in an unfamiliair place, will he be up to this task?

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Were you just talking about me?

Tron Legacy can be only by described as a visual masterpiece. It is a feast for your eyes in many ways. The virtual world of The Grid is created in an absolutely breathtaking way. The buildings, the vehicles, the world, all of them are simply put works of art. It is one of the most beautiful fantasy worlds that I have ever seen created for a movie. I unfortunately missed the opportunity to see this one on the big screen, something that I regret to this day. But not only the visual aspect of this film is worth mentioning. It is also the film’s soundtrack, created by Daft Punk that brings this movie to life. Heavy synthesizer sounds combined with some orchestral score create a truly unique sound, and one that fits this movie perfectly. I highly recommend listening to this one with a headset on, as it will give you the best experience. But for all it’s visual might and powerful sounds, this movie is not without it’s faults unfortunately.

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I want one of these bikes for Christmas.

One of the least interesting aspects of the film are it’s characters. Sam, played by Garett Hedlund is a rather boring guy. He tends to overact in certain scenes and just doesn’t really convince you as the hero. Olivia Wilde, in the role of Quorra is one of the key characters of the movie. An apprentice created by Sam’s father, Olivia’s role is decent, but ultimately also underused. Most of the film she spents her time fighting along Sam, but has just too few lines to really make an impact as a character. Luckily the film is saved by the solid performance of Jeff Bridges, who reprises his role as Kevin, but also plays a younger version of himself as the evil Clu. Now the younger version of Bridges is created mostly through the heavy usage of CGI effects, and is not really done in the best way I’m sorry to say. Still it get’s the job done, and both roles by Bridges are without a doubt the best parts of the movie. It was also fun to see Bruce Boxleitner, who played Tron in the original movie, return for a small cameo performance.

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Ahh…to be young again, well…sort of. 

And then there is the storyline. At times it is quite hard to follow, and there are a few parts of it that just don’t always add up. But honestly the same can be said of the original film. Tron Legacy is one of those movies that will not be appreciated by everyone. Even though it boasts some astonishing special effects and an incredible music score, it’s the story that will not sit well with most people. I for one though, really enjoyed the film. Yes it definitely has it’s flaws, I’m not going to deny that, but there was enough in the movie that made it a solid science fiction adventure. I’m going to leave you with a clip that showcases one of the best scenes from the film: the light cycle sequence. Worthy of mention is also the song by Daft Punk that accompanies this scene and that makes the it even more powerful. Next up for the countdown to the Last Jedi feature is Serenity. I hope you all enjoyed reading this post. End of line.

I give Tron Legacy a 8 out of 10 score.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, American movie (1982)

When it comes to science fiction franchises there are what you could call two major players. One is a series of movies that take place in a galaxy far, far away. Otherwise known as Star Wars, these science fiction movies are based on pure fantasy and have little or nothing to do with reality. The other player takes voyages across the galaxy to boldly go where no man has gone before. Now consisting of six television series and thirteen movies the science fiction phenomena Star Trek is known by pretty much everyone in the world. Where Star Wars as mentioned is pure fantasy, Star Trek has always tried to take a more realistic approach and predicts a positive future for all mankind. The fun thing is that Star Trek fans usually don’t like Star Wars and vice versa. There a lot of hilarious sketches on YouTube where the two camps take pot shots at each other. However, I love science fiction in general, and have always loved both franchises. So that’s why today I’m continuing the Countdown to the Last Jedi with what by many is considered the best Star trek movie to date, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

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Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!

The Federation starship USS Reliant is on a mission to find a suitable planet for a topsecret project called Genesis. If succesful the so called Genesis Device will be able to turn a lifeless planet into a fertile one, ready to be colonised. Arriving at a possible  planet that might qualify for the project, the Reliant’s captain, a man called Clark Terrel together with Commander Pavel Checkov beam down to the surface. To their astonishment they find what seems to be an abandoned cargo ship. Upon entering the wreck, Checkov sees a name that makes him stop dead in his tracks: Botany Bay. It brings back memories of his time aboard the starship Enterprise fifteen years earlier. The Botany Bay was the name of the ship that was commanded by the infamous Khan Noonien Sing, a genetically engineered tyrant. The Enterprise under the command of captain Kirk was barely able to defeat this criminal mastermind. In the end though, Kirk won, and marooned Khan together with his crew on the surface of the planet Ceti Alpha V. Checkov screams at Terrel that they must leave immediately. But just when they are about to, they get surrounded by a group of unknown assailants. When their leader reveals himself, Chekov is shocked to find out it is Khan. Still alive, and out for revenge against the man that took everything from him: Kirk. The captain of the Enterprise will soon find out that revenge is a dish best served cold…..

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She may be old, but she is still a terrific ship to look at.

After 25 years this movie is still just as awesome as when it was first released. There is so much cool stuff in this film, that it’s almost impossible to mention everything. I’m going to make an effort anyway. For one thing it’s the original crew that will always hold a special place in my heart. No matter what you say about William Shatner, I think nobody can deny how truly terrific his role as Kirk was. And in this film I think he did the best job out of all the movies and tv episodes. In the beginning of the film we see a Kirk that is feeling old and finds himself bereft of energy. Having accepted a promotion might have possibly been the worst decision of his career. It is only when he returns to the Enterprise, and is forced to take command, that he comes alive again. This change is remarkable and portrayed perfectly by Shatner. But it’s also the enormous rollercoaster of emotions that the captain goes through in this film, that makes it so fascinating. Laughter, anger but also sadness because of the death of a major character and close friend of Kirk, will absolutely strike a chord in you, I guarantee you that.

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Look! We are on television!

But Kirk is ofcourse nothing without his two close friends Spock and Bones. It’s the comedic banter between the three that always puts a smile on my face. There are so many great moments with them in this film, both heartbreaking but also very funny ones that will have you bursting out with laughter. But let us not forget there is also the villain Khan, played by Ricardo Montalban. Perhaps the best, but certainly the most interesting enemy that Kirk has ever faced. The natural charisma, and pure evil wickedness of this character are a joy to behold. As much as you grow to hate him, you also don’t want him to die, which is always the sign of a great bad guy. On a fun side note, we also see a very young Kirstie Alley play the role of Spock’s protege, Saavik. It’s always funny to see someone play a completely different character than what they are used to. She pulls it off very nicely though, and Saavik plays a pretty important role in the unfolding of the plot.

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Yep, that really is Kirstie Alley. Erm, just to make sure, she is the Vulcan on the left.

And what a great plot it is. Sure it is your basic revenge story, you will get no argument from me there. But it also contains so many layers and great lines, that it’s so much more. Above all it is a story about friendship. The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. That line really bears great weight in this film especially near the admittedly very heartbreaking end. Another recurring theme is the fact that you are only as old as you feel. Always continue doing what you love to do, for as long as you can. Before you know it, time will be up. This being a 25 year old movie, one might argue that the special effects do not hold up so well. But even those I think are still very good. All in all what we have here is a remarkable and solid science fiction adventure that can be enjoyed by everyone. You don’t even have to be very familiair with the franchise in general to watch this movie. I have been wracking my brain to find something negative about this film, but I really can’t find it. I’m going to leave you with the trailer from those days. Coming up next for this countdown feature will be Tron Legacy. Thank you for reading as always!

I give Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan a 10 out of 10 score.

Kill Command, Uk movie (2016)

I have always loved robots. My fascination with them started at a young age with a cartoon that for everyone that grew up in the 80’s should be very familiar: The Transformers. It was awesome and the toy of my childhood. I don’t even remember the number of Transformers toys I eventually ended up with, but I would not be surprised if they were more than a hundred. As I grew up, I discovered other metal monstrosities that I loved even more. By watching movies such as The Terminator, and anime shows that featured even more exotic variations, my love for walking (and sometimes even talking) metal only grew more and more. Anytime a movie or tv show appears that features robots in some way, I just have to check it out. Early this year I came across a pretty gripping trailer for a movie that I knew nothing about. But I was determined to see it because it featured, yes you guessed it: robots! Welcome people, to part 1 of Countdown to the Last Jedi.

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This thing is just so awesome…in a scary kind of way. 

Kill Command is set in the near future, but where technology has certainly made some big leaps. The Harbinger Corporation is developing military hardware in the form of sophisticated robots and A.I. systems to maybe replace soldiers on the battlefield. The cyborg Katherine Mills is an employee of this corporation, and accompanies a group of soldiers to a training island for a two day training mission. Captain Damien Bukes is the leader of the group and upon arrival issues his orders to his squad. At first everything seems to be going according to plan, and the excersise is progressing nicely. But when the first of his men dies, Damien soon realises that something is horribly wrong. Does Katherine know more about what is going on, or is she just an innocent bystander? Whatever the case, the soldiers are in for the fight of their lives. Because the robots they are up against are incredibly strong and are able to outsmart them at every corner. What began as a training excersise has now turned into a deadly fight for survival…..

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Don’t be afraid….I just want to give you a hug. 

Kill Command is a small budget movie that looks like a Hollywood blockbuster. Seriously, I have never seen special effects of this quality in a movie that has such relatively low costs. The stars of this film are the robots. All of them are realised through CGI, but if they would have told me that they build these for the film, I would have believed them. The lead unit of these advanced machines is incredibly menacing. There are a few scenes where this thing approaches through doorways, and you would think you were watching a horror movie. It really is an incredibly bad ass, but also terrifying monstrosity. Most of the scenes in this movie are filmed in a dark forrest, and on location, a fact that only enhances the experience of the film. Mixed with the special effects the fight scenes between the soldiers and the robots work incredibly well, and will have you on the edge of your seat.

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Say hello to my little friend…..

The human characters however are an altogether different aspect. They are just incredibly static, and at no point do you feel any attachment to them. That is not to say that they are realised by bad actors, but it’s the lines that are given to them in the script itself that don’t really give room for great acting performances. It almost at times feels as if the humans themselves are robots too. Katherine Mills is of course one, albeit a cyborg, and she is played by actress Vanessa Kirby. She does a pretty good job in her role under the circumstances, and the character she plays is one that you never quite know what to make of. Is she good or evil? She keeps you guessing and that is a good thing. The rest of the squad, including Captain Bukes, played by Thure Lindhardt, are just your typical soldier grunts and serve mainly as cannon fodder. None of them leave a lasting impression unfortunately, which is a shame as it could have elevated the movie to an even higher level.

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I don’t have a clue what to say here….

Usually when a movie doesn’t have a worthwhile script or interesting characters, it would be a turn off for me. But with this movie that’s somehow different. I enjoyed this film from start to finish. It’s tense, gripping and will leave you breathless at times. Yes, it’s certainly not perfect, and could have been an even better movie with a somewhat more interesting script. But despite that fact, if you love military science fiction movies, with some great special effects, and cool action sequences you had better check this one out. Down below you can find the trailer that got my interest for the film in the first place. If you want another review for this movie, you can find an awesome one over on mr. Bobinsky’s blog right here. (And while you are there I would definitely suggest you follow it, because it’s an amazing blog). That’s it for part 1 of this countdown. Next up is Star Trek II: The wrath of Khan. Hope you enjoyed this review, and as always thank you for reading!

I give Kill Command a 8 out of 10 score.

Christine, American movie (1983)

If you have never heard of the name Stephen King then you really should be pretty ashamed of yourself. Erm, no offense of course. Seriously though, he is awesome. One of the best known writers of our time, he has written so many classic horror novels that it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite. I do have one though, and my choice is not one of the obvious ones like for instance The Shining or The Stand. As much as I love those, for me it has so far always been the novel Christine that is my alltime number one King book. There is a very good reason behind my choice, but I will get to that later. However, as you might have noticed above, I’m not going to talk about the novel, but I will instead talk about the movie. Made by director John Carpenter (yes the same man who is behind Halloween), this is one of the better Stephen King adaptations and a film that I have seen more times than I can count. So what is it about this film that makes it such a compelling watch? Let’s hit the road and find out.

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Some people take losing weight to the extreme. 

Arnie Cunnigham is a highschool student who just isn’t one of the most popular guys around. In fact that is quite the understatement. Arnie is a bit of a nerd, a fact that is exploited by the school bully Buddy Repperton. There is one bright spot though and that his friendship with the football jock Dennis. His friend always stands up for him and protects Arnie whenever possible. After a particularly nasty confrontation with Buddy, Arnie is driven home by Dennis. But while driving along Arnie all of a sudden screams out at Dennis begging him to stop. Having no idea what’s going on, Dennis stops, and looks on in bewilderment when his friend rushes out of the car towards an old beat up vehicle that has a for sale sign on it. It becomes even crazier when Arnie tells him he’s going to buy it. The old wreck is a Plymouth Fury from 1957 that goes by the name Christine. Dennis just can’t believe what has gotten into Arnie, buying a car that looks like it won’t live past tomorrow. However after a few weeks Christine looks as if she just rolled off the assembly line. A fact that is almost impossible to believe. The scary thing is though, that the car seems to have a life of it’s own. Arnie’s personality also changes overnight, and when people start dying under suspicious circumstances, it soon becomes clear that Christine is no ordinary car….

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Seriously, how could you not fall in love with this car? 

Everyone who has ever been bullied at school must have once had thoughts of taking revenge on the people that mistreated them. I know I sure have. And that’s one of the things that I enjoyed about this story, and why it’s still my favorite King novel. Bullying has an impact on your life, it certainly did on mine, and it’s extremely satisfying to see the revenge Arnie (or more accurately Christine) takes on his nemesis Buddy Repperton and his lackeys. That’s not to say that this doesn’t take things to the extreme though. There is also an underlying tone of deep sadness to this film. Dennis asks his friend in the beginning what Arnie sees in that beat up old car. He answers by saying that he has finally found something that is more ugly than he is. That line gets me every time. It’s so powerful, and extremely sad. All this goes to show how people change after being bullied and start believing in things that aren’t there.

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One advice: don’t say this car is a piece of junk. Trust me on this.

But before this turns into a straight up sobfest, let us not forget that this movie is also a horror movie. And a very good one at that. One of the most fascinating things about this story is Arnie’s change in personality. While this is explored much better in the book, we still see it in the movie as well. In the beginning of the film he is a shy and nerdy young man, who is afraid to stand up for himself. But then, after buying Christine Arnie changes into a cocky, selfcentered and quite frankly obnoxious person, who even gets to date the most beautiful girl in the school. Of course with Christine’s influence becoming more and powerful, everything goes down hill faster and faster. It’s a scary journey to behold, but also one of the best things of the film.  The other being Christine of course. No matter what happens to her, getting smashed, burned, it all matters very little. Christine always comes back. Something that is brought to life in a wonderful way by the special effects.

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I’m going to be in Baywatch? Oh God….please tell me it isn’t so. 

Carpenter manages to create a tense atmosphere throughout the entire movie. The score for the film was made by him as well, and only adds to the experience. All the actors in the film, no matter how small their parts, played their roles to perfection. Strangely enough most of the cast never really made big progress in their careers after the release of this movie. A fun note is that Alexandra Paul, who would later appear in quite a few seasons of Baywatch, played Arnie’s girlfriend. She is almost unrecognisable here. So if it hasn’t already become clear, I love this film. For me it’s always been one of Carpenter’s best movies and even after all these years it’s lost none of it’s strength, nor is it in any way dated. Important to note is that the film is not gory at all, but more a very tense thriller. I highly recommend this movie and it can be enjoyed by pretty much everyone. So go and watch it, and don’t forget to put on your seatbelt. Always watch responsibly.

I give Christine a 9 out of 10 score.

Thor:Ragnarok, American movie (2017)

Well, I could of course start this review with saying how Marvel is on a roll, the enormous amount of movies they are releasing, blah blah blah….been there, done that. There have been enough discussions on those subjects, and quite frankly I am not going to be lured into them again. Erm…I guess I just did that anyway. Sorry. Let’s talk about Thor though. The God of Thunder was introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2011. Played by actor Chris Hemsworth, Thor for me personally was always a bit of a dull character. They tried to give him some funny lines, added a touch of humour in his movies, but ultimately he was just way too serious most of the time. That’s not to say that I did not enjoy his films, or in any way want to say that Hemsworth’s performance isn’t good, but so far he has been one of my least favorite Marvel characters. And now we have the third movie. With the subtitle Ragnarok, which in Norse mythology signals the end of the world, will this third film change my opinion of this guy? The answer to this question might come as a surprise….

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Seriously lady, get a haircut. Look at Thor, he did right?

Where has Thor been for the past two years? Well, let’s just say he has been out in the universe searching for some Infinity Stones, and finally ended up as a prisoner of a rather nasty demon called Surtur. Eventually Thor escapes and finds his way back to Asgard. Not a moment too soon it seems, as his brother Loki is up to his old tricks again, impersonating his father Odin and ruling over Asgard in his stead. But it seems Loki is the least of Thor’s problems. Unbeknownst to both brothers, Odin had a firstborn daughter called Hela. She is better known as the Goddess of Death though, and she is about to emerge from the prison she has been kept in for a very long time. Hellbent on revenge, the people of Asgard are about to face their greatest challenge yet. It would seem that Thor is greatly outmatched this time, and he will have to rely on some very unusual allies to take on Hela. One of them is his untrustworthy brother, but the other one is an Avenger that has been out of the game for quite a while. A lean, green and very mean fighting machine also known as The Hulk….

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And now for the weather report….rain with a slight chance of lightning.

I have never taken any drugs in my life, nor do I plan on doing that anytime soon thank you very much. But I could imagine that a few of the scenes in this film would certainly feel a bit like you have just been on one of the best psychedelic trips ever. Because really, there is so much weirdness in this film, that you have to wonder what kind of drugs they have been taking. And just in case that you might take this the wrong way, that is actually a good thing. This movie has a completely different tone than the previous two Thor movies. The serious settings of those are instead replaced by a fun filled extravaganza filled with all manner of colourful and bright scenes, humour and just well…fun. We have a Thor that really seems almost like a completely different character. He is cracking jokes like there is no tomorrow, and for the most part, they work as well. It obviously also takes a bit getting used to that, as you don’t expect that from him.

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Yes, we get to see Thor smiling in this film…it still needs a bit of work though.

This new movie introduces a couple of new characters. Let’s start with the villain first, because hey that’s always cool. Hela is played by actress Cate Blanchett, and she manages to create one of the best adversaries in the Marvel universe to date. It’s clear that Cate was having a blast playing this character. Blanchett is evil, seductive, and utterly convincing in her role as the Goddess of Death. Some of the best scenes in the movie were the ones with her and Thor. But the side of good also get’s a woman on their side in the form of a former Valkyrie. She is played by actress Tessa Thompson and is an absolute delight. It’s wonderful to see a lighthearted but at the same time tough as nails woman joining the established group, and she fits in perfectly. Lastly we have Jeff Goldblum, that portrays a rather dubious and shady Grandmaster who is in charge of the planet Thor eventually ends up on. Goldblum plays a very different role than what we are used to from him, and his character is deliciously evil but just in a very fun way.

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This is what therapy sessions for superheroes look like.

The movie has even more new characters than the ones I just described, but I don’t want to spoil everything here. And obviously I do not have to say how awesome Tom Hiddleston is as Loki, because you all already know that. The movie contains a ton of action, as you would expect and most of these scenes are pretty awesome. One of the highlights has got to be the gladiator fight between Thor and The Hulk. To say more about it would be a disservice, but suffice it to say it’s an incredibly fun scene. I have been using the word fun quite a number of times now in this review, and that is pretty much the one word that I would use to describe this movie: fun! Sure, one could argue that the movie is again pretty long, and could have used a bit of trimming. I could also say that not every joke works, and it’s also a pretty radical change that takes a bit to get used to if you prepared yourself for a movie more along the lines of the other two installments. At the end of the day though Thor Ragnarok is a great addition to the Marvel films, and one that definitely deserves a trip to the cinema.

I give Thor: Ragnarok a 8 out of 10 score.