Special Features Presents: Action Movies of the 90’s

Last year I wrote a post about some of my favorite action movies of the 80’s. (In case you missed that one, you can still find it right here). It was a fun one to write, and I had a blast collecting some of my favorites and trying to fit them in one post. Of course I failed miserably and had to skip a few in order to not end up making a feature that would cause all of you to end up getting a sore arm from all that scrolling. For me nothing will ever beat the 80’s as I still think that some of the best action films I have ever seen were made in that era. But that’s not to say that after the 80’s the action genre became stale. Far from it even. So I thought it would be fun to do a follow up to that post and this time focus on the 90’s. It was a timeperiod where I was trying to survive my schooldays, and actually did not go to the theatres much to watch movies. Instead I saw a lot of them on rental. Just like in the original post, I am focussing on non-science fiction action movies (So in case you are wondering why Terminator 2 is missing, that’s why). So lets go: full speed ahead…erm, yeah I guess that’s pun intended.

Speed (1994)

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Always keep your eyes on the road.

Popquiz hotshot! Speed was the movie that pretty much propelled the careers of Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock into overdrive. A mad man put a bomb on a bus, and if the speed of the vehicle would ever drop below 80 kilometers per hour, it would detonate. The movie featured a great performance by the late Dennis Hopper, and the chemistry between Reeves and Bullock made it a very enjoyable watch. The action sequences were incredible with one of the highlights being a scene where the bus would have to make a big jump in order to continue driving. Of course there was the inevitable sequel, sadly without Reeves, but that one was hardly worth the effort. The original though is a terrific film and one that is always worth another rewatch.

Cliffhanger (1993)

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Don’t worry: I won’t leave you hanging!

This was a very different action movie from Stallone then the ones we were used too, and for me it worked. It was also a tour de force for the actor as he put himself on some very high ledges and mountains despite his enormous fear of heights. Stallone plays the role of an experienced mountain climber that tries to come to terms with an event from his past that has left him a broken man. When he gets a call to rescue some stranded climbers he gets more than he bargained for, when it turns out the people he needs to save are a bunch of ruthless criminals. John Lithgow’s performance as the lead villain is one of those truly fun roles you can’t help but enjoy. The film contains a few truly nailbiting scenes and to date it is one of my favorite Stallone movies.

Under Siege (1992)

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On today’s menu: broken bones, corpses and a lot of bullets.

Steven Seagal’s career lately has gone so far downhill that you would almost forget that he did make some real good films as well, back at the start of his career. This one, Under Siege, has been his most succesful one. Seagal plays Casey Ryback a cook who is aboard the USS Missouri when it gets overtaken by a bunch of mercenaries who plan to use the ship to wreak havoc. It’s pretty much Die Hard on a ship, but it’s still a lot of fun. Seagal demonstrates his martial arts prowess, and there is a very cool knife fight near the end between him and the leader played by Tommy Lee Jones. Seagal would reprise his role one more time in the sequel to this one: Dark Territory where the action takes place aboard a train. Quite honestly I liked that one a lot as well, and thought it was one of the better action sequels.

Heat (1995)

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Traffic can be such a b*tch sometimes.

Why do I not eloborate further on this movie? Because I have a review coming up for this film, and I don’t want to spoil anything yet. So I will just leave it at: Pacino, DeNiro, cops/robbers, best shoot out ever, and this being my number two favorite movie of all time. Enough said.

Executive Decision (1996)

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Hi, can I please order a large pepperoni pizza with extra cheese?

This film takes the action to the skies where a group of terrorists have hijacked a passenger plane and put a bomb on board. It’s up to an unlikely group of heroes to save the day. What I liked the most about this one, is the fact that Kurt Russel’s lead character, dr David Grant isn’t a testostorone fueled action hero. He is an average day man, who gets put into an impossible situtation and depends more on his brain than his brawn. That was really refreshing to see. It also featured a great role by a young Halle Berry who plays a heroic stewardess that must try to keep her wits about her. One of the memorable scenes of this movie was the docking of a stealth bomber to the passenger plane. This is a smart and very tense action thriller and an absolute must watch movie.

The Rock (1996)

The Rock (1996) Directed by Michael Bay Shown: Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage
You have a lot of balls looking at me like that.

Yes, it’s a Michael Bay movie. Yes it features his trademark action and yes it is at times completely over the top. But it is also one of the best action films made in the 90’s. Nicolas Cage (in his often completely insane acting mode) and Sean (Bond, James Bond) Connery star in this action fest where they have to stop a bunch of former US soldiers that have taken over Alcatraz and threaten to launch rockets filled with a deadly nerve agent on American soil. Despite this being an action oriented film (very much so) it also has a pretty deep underlying storyline about the way American soldiers are being treated by the US government. In the end though it’s all about the action, and this one delivers that in scores.

Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)

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Don’t look now, but you have something stuck on your cheek.

People who might have thought that both Mel Gibson and Danny Glover were really getting to old for this sh*t probably changed their minds after seeing this rollercoaster. With the addition of Hong Kong action superstar Jet Li starring as the villain, this fourth installment of the popular Lethal Weapon franchise was just a great watch from start to finish. This time the two cops have to take an Asian crime syndicate and it contains some of the best action sequences out of all four films. Jet Li certainly shows his stuff, and proves why he is one of the best martial artists ever. With some wonderful comedy and the terrific chemistry between Gibson and Glover this is one of those rare sequels that is still almost as good as the original movie. Having already reviewed parts one and two you can expect a review for the final two films somewhere in the future.

Eraser (1996)

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I AM A TERMINATOR…..

Of course I have to add at least one Schwarzenegger film to this list, else it would not be complete. In Eraser Arnold plays a US Marshall for the Witness Security Protection Program. He specialises in giving people a new identity and he has to pull out all the stops to save a woman who has important information about an illegal arms deal for a new high tech type of weapon. While certainly not one of the best movies he has ever made, the story, classic one-liners and some very inventive action sequences still make this a very enjoyable film to watch. It’s also not every day that you see someone fighting bear handed against a crocodile….

Face/Off (1997)

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Psst…hey Cage, did you know I played in Grease? I’ve still got the moves….

Legendary Hong Kong action director John Woo set his sights on Hollywood, and with Face/Off he delivered an incredibly well made action extravaganza. Nicolas Cage plays the psychotic murderer Castor Troy and John Travolta is the FBI agent Sean Archer who is hellbent on stopping him. Eventually Troy is knocked into a coma, but they then learn that there is a bomb set to go off in a few days and Castor is the only one who knows the location. Using a revolutionary faceplant technique, Archer takes on Troy’s face, in order to contact some of the psychopath’s former associates that might help him find where the bomb is located. But of course Troy wakes up and then takes on Archer’s face. It’s a really cool movie, where Cage and Travolta switch roles perfectly and very convincingly as well. Woo is a director who knows his stuff, and the film is full of shootouts, highspeed chases and those kind of things, while at the same time never losing track of the story itself.

Mission Impossible (1996)

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Must…not…touch…the….ground.

I don’t care what everyboy says about Tom Cruise (and yes no worries I still respect your opinions) I just think he is a terrific and very hardworking actor. To not include this film in the list would be missing out on a very fun movie and one that has so far spawned a total of 5 highly succesful sequels. Based on the televison series of the 60’s , Cruise plays agent Ethan Hunt who gets framed for the murder of his team mates of the Impossible Mission Force. It’s a movie that is full of fun gadgets (especially the face masks), over the top and totally unbelievable stunts (but hey this is a movie after all), and Cruise just excells in this role. It’s hard to believe that this film is now over 20 years old, and Cruise almost looks exactly the same now as he did back then.

In closing….

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So…is this list complete? Duh…of course it isn’t. I had to leave out a lot of films, because this post is already way too long and you know what they say: Too much of a good thing is well…too much. Just like the 80’s post though it was fun to put this list together, and it makes me want to revisit a lot of these films. But times are wasting, and with August being a very busy month for me (you will soon find out why), I’m going to spend my time with watching some new stuff instead of being stuck in the past (as much fun as that is).

What did you think of this list? Are any of your favorite movies included? Which are some of your favorite 90’s action films? Let me know in the comments section below. Thank you all for reading this very lengthy post: I hope you enjoyed the read!

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Training Day, American Movie (2001)

I have talked a lot on this blog about some of my favorite movies. But I haven’t often talked about the one thing that’s one of the most important ingredients in a film. No I am not talking about special effects. I am talking about the actors and actresses that bring movie characters to life. While I love a good B-movie from time to time, and can find a lot of enjoyment in that, it is a good performance in a film that I love just so much more. In fact, a memorable role in a film can turn something mediocre into something absolutely extraordinary. It takes a special kind of actor or actress to pull that off. And on that note  I do have quite a number of Hollywood greats that are my favorites. One of them is Denzel Washington. I have been following this actor for years now and seen most of his movies. He is known for usually playing the role of a hero, or at the very least a character that has some good traits or redeeming qualities in it. It is all the more ironic that he won an Oscar for a role that has none of these elements in it. To describe the character of Alonzo Harris as a demon made flesh, is not very far of the mark….

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Some people can get very obsessive about their parking spaces.

Police officer Jake Hoyt is feeling very good. He has a beautiful wife, a lovely baby girl and he has just been assigned to a post where he finally hopes to make detective. In order to do this he has to survive an evaluation by the notorious and decorated narcotics officer Alonzo Harris. Jake is very eager and can’t wait to finally get started on what he expects to be his dreamjob. His first encounter with Harris doesn’t go too well though. Meeting up in a diner, Hoyt finds Alonzo reading a newspaper. As he takes a seat right across from him, trying to introduce himself, Harris tells Hoyt to be quiet as he is reading his paper and the rookie is interrupting his routine. In total disbelief Jake tries to again start up a conversation, which is about the worst thing he could have done. Irritated by these very annoying interruptions, Alonze asks Hoyt to tell him a story as he doesn’t seem to get the peace and quiet he asked for. Jake awkwardly tries to come up with a good tale, but obviously he fails to satisfy his new training officer. This is the start of a day in which Jake will soon find out that not everyone in the police department is there to protect and serve….

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Just because I got an Oscar doesn’t mean that you should get one too….

Training Day is a movie that I have seen so many times now, and it still manages to impress me with each viewing. The story of the film is not even a very original one. We have seen countless movies about police corruption as it’s a very popular subject. Clint Eastwood had to fight against crooked cops as Dirty Harry in Magnum Force. And a young Al Pacino was on his own in the classic movie Serpico where he was the only good cop in a whole department gone rogue. So it’s not the story here that brings me back to see this film, although admittedly it’s a tense tale, that doesn’t let up and has plenty of twists and turns to keep it exciting. No, what brings this movie to life is one man namely Denzel Washington. When the film first starts, although he has some unorthodox methods, you can still symphatise with Alonzo. Some of the things he says actually make sense, and you are captivated by the charm with which he tells his experiences as a narcotics officer.

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I’m going to enjoy watching my fellow actor not win the Oscar!

But that is only a false sense of calm. Soon you are beginning to get that creepy feeling that something is off and not quite right. Denzel plays Alonzo to perfection and turns his  role into an experience that few actors can pull off. Yes, you read that right his role is an experience. The character of Alonzo Harris is a being that is truly and utterly evil. All he cares about is his own well being, and damn anyone who gets in his way. And despite all of that, despite all the hate you feel for him and you truly want to see him die for all the things he has done, you don’t want that to happen. Because you want to see more of Denzel’s Oscar winning performance. In fact I would not have objected to the film being four hours longer if that would have meant seeing more of  the scenes like the one below (please note that this clip does contain a couple of F-bombs, so if you are offended by things like that, don’t watch it).

One would almost forget though that there is a perfect counter to the dirty cop, which is officer Jake Hoyt played by Ethan Hawke. Ethan got an Oscar nomination for his role but sadly did not bring home the price. A shame really, because his performance is totally different than his co-actor, but every bit as important. To not only hold out against a juggernaut like Denzel but to almost achieve the same level of acting greatness is something that I have utter respect for. I really love Hoyt. He is a rookie that is caught in an absolutely impossible situation where most people would lose their own integrity. He doesn’t and because of that you really feel and care what happens to him. And you want to see him win. Big time! Training Day is dark, gritty and dirty. It creates an atmosphere that is tense and could even be called claustrophobic at times. It’s not a happy fillm, in fact one could even call it depressive at times. But…in the end though, there is a silver lining and an important lesson as well. This movie is a perfect example of how actors can really make or break a movie. And in this case, if you haven’t caught on yet, they certainly make it. Watch this film if you haven’t already. And if you have…rewatch it. It’s one hell of a good investment of your time.

I give Training Day a 9 out of 10 score.

Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online, Anime tv series (2018)

It is early sunday morning and raining outside, when I enter my darkened room. An eerie sense of calm enters my body when I switch on my xbox 360 and television, take up my controller and place my headset on my ears. The screen shows the logo of the game, Unreal Tournament 3, and I scroll through the menu to select the gametype: Deathmatch. The word alone causes fear amongst players. Not to me though. I press enter and after a small loading screen I get taken to the arena where the match is about to start. Three, two, one…..play! I move slowly trying to get my bearings and then the first opponent appears. I make a show as if I am trying to raise my weapon: Bammm…I’m dead! Five minutes into the game and I haven’t made a single kill yet. I can hear players laughing and calling out my name: “ Haha…this Raistlin guy is such a noob! He must have just bought the game, what a fool!” With five more minutes left a grin of mischief appears on my face. Like a demon I start playing the game in earnest. My opponents are dropping like flies, and the overhead voice thunders” Massacre……” A thirty plus kill streak without dying…in just a few short minutes I have completely taken over the lead and win the game…….

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You can almost hear Arnold Schwarzenegger screaming: BILLY!!!!

So you are probably wondering what the hell you just read. Or if I am just making up a story. Well….no. During my gaming days there was one game I was good at: and that was Unreal Tournament 3, an online first person shooter where I at one point was number 10 on the worldwide Xbox 360 ranking lists. The scene I just described was something I did a lot in that game. Pretend I was a total klutz, only to turn the tables on every one later. So why bring this up now? Well the anime I am about to review is about a shooting game as well, though much more advanced then the ones we are used to playing right now. You might recall that in the second season of Sword Art Online Kirito entered a new virtual reality game called Gun Gale Online that used guns instead of swords (although that did not stop Kirito from using one anyway). In this spinoff series we again enter that dark gameworld, but instead of focussing on the main cast we get introduced to a new group of characters.

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Peek-a-boo!!

Karen Kohiruimaki is a university student who is abnormally tall for a woman, a fact that she has never really come to terms with. But then she discovers the Gun Gale Online game which allows her to create a character that is the exact opposite of what she is in real life. Her alter ego, or avatar called Llenn is a very small and cute girl, dressed in pink. Yes, not exactly someone you would find in a brutal shooter game. But Llenn is someone who should not be underestimated. After playing for a while Karen gets better at the game, and Llenn gets a reputation and the nickname “Pink Devil” .Soon she meets up with a mysterious woman called Pitohui, who apparently is an ace in the game. The two of them team up, and also make a promise: if Llenn ever manages to defeat Pito they will meet each other in real life. The warriorwoman introduces Llenn to the squad jam game type where groups of players will try to defeat each other. But it soon becomes clear that Pitohui might have a completely different agenda….

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Let me teach you to play with the stick…erm…wait that just sounded weird….

Well let’s get this out of the way first: This show is not as good as Sword Art Online. There, I have said it. Is that a bad thing though? Nope, not in the case of this anime anyway. What we have here is very light show that focusses more on action than on the story itself. Which is not to say that there isn’t a message hidden inside this one if you look hard enough. Karen manages to overcome her complex of being tall by playing the game. And I for one could very much relate to that kind of story. I was never very good at sports, but by playing games such as Unreal Tournament I managed to create a kind of confidence in myself that I was good at other things. We all probably have things in real life that we have a problem with and might even cause us to lose faith in ourselves at times. But sometimes it’s nice to just disappear for a while in a make believe world and in that way discover things inside yourself you might never have thought you possessed.

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If soldiers looked like this in real life I don’t think there would ever be any kind of wars.

As I said, the story does take a backseat in this anime, but the action more than makes up for that. There are some really cool gunfights in this show, and one battle in particual where Pitohui takes on a enormous group of enemies pretty much by herself is truly memorable. As far as the characters go they just aren’t as interesting as the ones in the original series. Llenn is a very cute character, and a good fighter and you do grow to love her over the course of the series. But..she really hasn’t got much depth to her. Then there is M, a sidekick of Pitohui that reminded me of Billy in the movie Predator. He had an interesting kind of background but they could really have done much more with him. It was Pitohui however, that definitely was the driving force of the show. I just loved her (except when she started laughing hysterically, that just grated on my nerves). In a way her character arc was pretty tragic especially when the series progresses and you find out more about her motivations.

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This is an outtake..somehow they forgot to draw her eyes.

All in all this 12 part spinoff series was a pretty pleasant surprise. The animation itself, while not groundbreaking was good enough, and the numerous action sequences offer some truly edge of your seat moments. If you are a fan of Sword Art Online, it’s hard to say if you are going to like this. There are a few very small references made to the second season arc of the show, which are also kind of fun to discover, but otherwise this series stands on it’s own. As I am a fan myself and enjoyed the entire SAO series I would say that if you did not have a problem with it’s second season, you might want to give this one a try. Don’t expect this to be a third season of the main show though but keep your expectations low. And if you are not a fan, it all depends on whether you like action heavy animes. For me this show worked, but I can also understand people that gave this one a pass or stopped wathing it.

I give Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online a 7 out of 10 score.

Special Features presents: Girls X Battle (or how I spent part of my hiatus)

Well, hello there. This is going to be a completely different and probably highly unusual post for something that I never thought I would be doing here. Okay hang on, I can already hear you asking this: “What are you talking about, this is just another post about anime right? There is nothing unusual about that right? “ Well…erm…no. While it is partly about anime, this is actually a post about a videogame. Hello? Is everyone still there? No I have not gone completely mad, and I also haven’t been replaced by my evil twin clone brother (though I admit that is what an evil twin clone brother would actually say). No worries, it’s still me, but allow me to explain for just a few seconds how I came to write this completely insane post. Well most of you know by now that I went off on a two month hiatus and just came back a few weeks ago. It was a necessary choice, and one that I did not make lightly.

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Oh no, not this hiatus crap again. I am out of here!

During that time while waiting for my father to get his surgery, most of the time I felt sad, down and pretty much without energy. There were days I only spent time watching videos on YouTube and doing nothing else. One day though, while I was browsing through the appstore on my Ipad, I came across a game that was called Girls X Battle. (For all of you thinking pervy thoughts right now, no it’s not that kind of game…ughhh). What drew my attention to it was the fact that it seemed to have an anime feel to it..a lot in fact. So, as I had nothing better to do anyway I decided to download this free game and see what it was about. And I am glad that I did. This may sound strange but when you are in such a dark place, sometimes really simple things can at least help you pass the time. As this game did for me. I became completely addicted to this one, with it’s simple while at the same time pretty cool looking graphics, awesome gameplay and the enormous amount of content it contains.

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This girl is called Javelin. She is my number one girl, and she is lethal!

So what exactly is this game about? Well if you are looking for a deep storydriven game, I would advise you to skip this post and go check something else out. There is a campaign mode, where you follow a storyline, but basically this game is about collecting animegirls  powering them up and using them in battles. (Wow..I wonder why the game is called Girls X Battle). When the game first begins you will gain your first battlegirl and she takes you trough a small tutorial explaining the basics of the game and granting you access to the so called academy. As much fun as that part is (there really is a huge number of girls, and you will cross paths with new ones every week), what I really like about this game is the enormous number of features it contains and that open up when your academy grows stronger.

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The main menu. It’s from here you can start all the action: no…not that kind of action, sigh….

Just when you think you have seen everything something new appears which you can explore. There is a player vs player mode, where you can battle agains other players with your own team of girls. A study where you can read stories, visit your girls (and eventually even marry them..erm in the game that is) and which you can customise to your heart’s content. You can join a guild where you can help out other players and of course fight guild battles. There is a workshop where you can create items that make your girls stronger. The list goes on and on. The biggest draw to the game however is powering up your girls, and of course discovering new ones. Every time you gain a new one it takes shape in the form of a cool looking card that you can add to your collection. I currently have 81 of them, and there are supposedly over 150 of them right now, with new ones being added to the roster nearly every month. While this game looks super easy (and it is), there is actually a very deep strategy element to it.

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My team, fighting the good fight!

And that comes in the form of finding out which girls work best with each other. Some teams are stronger than others, and can defeat players that have a much higher level. It takes a lot of experimenting and fine tuning, but that really is part of what makes this game so much fun. So are there any downsides to this game? Well…yes. This game is free to play, but ofcourse as with many of these games you can also spent money on this one that allows you to progress easier and buy more girls. Sometimes you will encounter players that are simply unbeatable because they must have spent a small fortune on the game. But, I do have to say this game really can be played without ever spending a single coin on it. There are always weekly events that offer gifts in some form or other that are free for everyone. Girls X Battle is a game that you will enjoy especially if you love anime. There are a lot of easter eggs hidden in the game that refer to well known anime series. The girls themselves are very cool as well, and even though there is a very small element of fan service no one will be offended by it as that really isn’t the focus of the game and it really is totally harmless.

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I just had to throw in yet another picture of Javelin 🙂

So, if this post is not enough to convince you to try this game out, just download it and see for yourself. I am not responsible for getting you addicted to it though. If you do decide to give it a whirl, be sure to look me up. Use my invite code: 1142b349989ef, while you are at it. I am called Dorine Ivy in the game (sadly Raistlin was already taken and this is a totally random name) and I am playing on server 142. Well if there was something I had never ever thought would happen it’s me writing a post about a videogame. But, well there you have it. What’s that? You still believe I am Raistlin’s evil twin clone? Well I guess I now have to get back to writing “normal” posts again to convince you of the truth. Then again…I don’t think I ever was very normal in the first place. Thank you for reading, and see you soon!

 

 

Skyscraper, American Movie (2018)

With the summer season now in full swing, and temperatures reaching at times very uncomfortable heights (seriously living on the 12th floor of an apartment building does have it’s downsides), Hollywood bring us the usual popcorn summer movies. I love movies, a fact that many of you know very well. I can watch classics, b-movies, action movies, dramas and many others with equal enthusiasm. Lately though it seems that people in general (and mind you this is not meant as criticism) just have forgotten how to have fun at the movies. These days I read a lot of reviews saying that certain films are not original any more, full of cliches, not have a decent storyline and of these kind of remarks. And while of course there is definitely truth in some of those statements, I wonder if that is necessarily a bad thing all the time. Ask yourself the question why we watch movies in the first place? If you answered: “To be entertained”, you answered correctly. So why then if a movie does entertain, but doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, are critics so fast to slam it into the ground? A perfect example of this is the new Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) movie Skyscraper.

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Hmm…I guess it can sometimes be hard to find a decent toilet.

The Rock plays former FBI hostage team leader Will Sawyer who lost his leg after a horrible incident. He has managed to pick up the pieces of his life though, and now has a lovely wife and two adorable children and a new job as a security inspector for skyscrapers. One day one of his former FBI team mates introduces him to a wealthy Asian financer, who has just overseen the construction of the tallest building in the world. Called “ The Pearl” and build in Hong Kong it’s a remarkable feat of engineering, and Will gets offered the job to overlook it’s security. After Will leaves the building, later that day a group of terrorists, under the command of a man named Botha, enter it and start an enormous blaze on one of the middle floors. Sawyer’s family who at that time is also present in the Pearl become trapped with the fire creeping ever closer. Will has to find away to enter the burning skycraper and rescue his wife and kids before it’s too late. Things become even more difficult when the police think that he might also be a part of the villains. But Sawyer is determined, and not about to be slowed down…by anyone….

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I know some couples like it hot, but this is taking things a bit too far right?

So if this story sounds somewhat familiar to you, you would be right. Of course one can’t help but think of Die Hard or the brilliant Towering Inferno when watching this. But let’s first start with the good stuff here. This movie once again proves why The Rock is currently the highest paid actor in the business. His natural charisma, acting abilities and physical prowess just seem to win you over in pretty much every role he plays. This one is no exception to that rule. Wil Sawyer is just the kind of hero type that you can’t help but root for. He has a disability in the form of his prosthetic leg, but manages to overcome this and emerge as someone who rises above himself. It was also a pleasant surprise to see Neve “Scream” Campbell again on the bigscreen who played his wife Sarah. She was once one of the most promising young actresses of Hollywood, but sadly her career never took off. Which is a true shame as she really is a terrific actress and in this film that once again became apparent. The on screen chemistry between The Rock and her also worked quite well which is important in a film such as this.

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I guess The Rock did not want to do any rockclimbing because of his name

But of course you go to a movie like this to see action, and in that regard the movie serves you well. As expected you will get a couple of great scenes where Will must overcome dizzying heights in order to get his family to safety. And of course this being a Die Hard type of film there are also plenty of fight scenes, gun battles in short all of the good stuff. The film hardly ever has a point where you get to relax, and thunders along like a rollercoaster, never leaving you bored for a single second. After all the postives there are of course also a few negatives. One of these was the ending of the film. It felt a bit anticlimactic to be honest, especially after the build up that came before it. While it luckily did not ruin the film for me, it was slightly disappointing. The film’s main villain Botha, played by actor Roland Møller, was not particularly menacing and pretty much a stereo type kind of evil guy. And then of course it is inevitable to not mention that the movie lacks in orginality and is pretty much a by the book summer blockbuster.

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Yup…that’s a tall building all right.

But again I ask the question: “ Is this really such a bad thing? “. In the case of this film I can only answer with no. During the entire playtime of this movie I was entertained, except for the conclusion of the film which could have been better. It’s becoming common practice to automatically give a movie a bad grade just because it doesn’t do anything new. And that to me at least isn’t fair. I don’t always need a film that brings me an original script, or Oscar worthy performances. Sometimes I just like to go to the movies and watch a film where I can turn off my mind for 2 hours or so and just enjoy it for what it is: a nice, well made and solidly entertaining action romp. Skycraper is just that: nothing more, nothing less. Chances are that if you like these type of films, you are going to pretty much enjoy this one. This film is just simply solid as a rock, pun of course totally intended.

I give Skyscraper a 8 out of 10 score.

Blogger(s) in the Spotlight, Volume 3 (Special Edition)

Hello everyone! As you know I am pretty much back from my hiatus and am slowly resuming my regular blogging activities. For those of you that have been following me for a while you might recall that this year I have started a new feature on my blog called Bloggers in the Spotlight. But as it has been a while since I last did a post like this, and there are also quite a number of new bloggers that have joined my cult blog since then, let me explain again what this feature is about. Bloggers in the spotlight is my attempt to shed some light on blogs that are seriously cool, and you might not have found about (yet). As I have a multitopic blog (yes that is definitely a mouthful I agree), I also follow quite a number of different blogs. Usually I point out around 3-5 blogs to you on this feature so you can check them out for yourself and of course follow them (that is kind of the point of this: duh). This is the first time though that I am going to feature only one blog. Huh? What? Are you freaking kidding me here?!? Nope…I am not. I’m only going to feature this one blogger here because A: I wanted to achieve the maximum effect with this post and B: this guy deserves this post. So without further ado let me introduce you to:

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What do you mean only one blogger? What about the rest of us?!?!

Weekend Otaku

imageSo, why put the spotlight on this single blogger ? Well, honestly the trigger for this came when I read another excellent post from Irina (see how I shamelessly put another link to Irina’s blog in this post?). There was a comment left by Weekend on that post, that really got to me, and quite frankly it is something that has always baffled me in the first place. Why on Earth does this guy not have more followers than he currently has? If you have never read a post by him before let me just explain why they are so awesome. The reviews he writes are almost like small works of art. They are often very expansive (though he lately also writes shorter ones, which are equally cool), offering multiple insights in a particular anime. It points out the strengths and weaknesses of a show, but in a way that really is very convincing, with multiple explanations on the subject. Another thing that I really enjoyed is his watch-a- long for the animeseries Your Lie in April. (And from what I understand during my hiatus this was done a second time). It introduced me to one of the most beautiful animeseries that I have ever seen, but it also felt as if I was sitting in the living room with him discussing this show. Every comment left on his site, always gets an answer, and not a short one either.

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I still don’t see the point of featuring only one blogger….

Lately though, especially after reading his comment on Irina’s post, it seems Weekend is getting a little bit discouraged by the lack of new followers/views on his blog. I guess there are times when we all feel like that. A post you wrote, which you think was pretty awesome hardly gets any views/likes, and you begin to wonder if you should continue. So before this happens to Weekend Otaku I decided to take some action and bring his blog into the spotlight. Not only because the blog deserves it, but because he is just a great guy, who always offers support to others and has been a very active part of the anime community in some form or other. So, in other words: head on over to his blog, read some of his posts, and you will soon see what I am talking about. And if you are not following him yet, go ahead and do so right now!

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Just tell me already, or I will put you to the sword: You are getting paid by this guy to do this! Am I right??

As for Weekend Otaku, my friend, I hope this post will encourage to get back in the saddle and start writing some of those awesome posts again. I for one can’t wait to read them 😊 Bloggers in the spotlight will return…next time though with more than one blogger featured. Thanks for reading, see you next time 😀

Tunnel, Korean drama series (2017)

People have always held a kind of  morbid fascination when it comes to serial killers. One has to wonder why on Earth that is. There is nothing romantic about it. In fact when you look at all the serial killers from the past and present all you see is a lot of sadness and pain. Especially for the families of the victims of these often loathsome individuals. What drives one to become one? Some of them are just born that way, and have an evil inside them from a very young age. But it also happens that something triggers it. Choosing the wrong friends, an abusive childhood, a traumatic experience, all of these might be the cause of turning someone into a murderous psychopath. But they also say that each and every one of us has a dark side. Which brings me back to my original question, why are we so obsessed with them. Is it because of that inner darkness that we all have inside and that we have to satisfy it in some way? You think I am overreacting? Well, look at the sheer amount of movies and books about serial killers. Got you there didn’t I? Getting creeped out already by this post? Am I getting under your skin? Insert evil grin. No worries…this introduction only served to set the tone for the thrilling Korean drama series Tunnel. Which of course features a serial killer, and time travel. Say what?!?

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Why are you looking at me with such a dumb face?

It is the year 1986 when we meet up with Park Gwang Ho a police detective who is always very determined, enthusiastic and takes his job very seriously. One a day a horrific series of killings shakes up his police district. Women are found dead, having been strangled with their own stockings, and strange dots are left behind on their ankles. Purely by chance the detective stumbles on the culprit and gives chase on foot. Eventually the killer and Park Gwang Ho end up in a tunnel where a fight between them begins. Unfortunately the killer gets the upper hand and strikes our hero on the head leaving him unconscious. When he wakes up and exits the tunnel, he gets the shock of his life. Apparently Park Gwang Ho has been transported thirty years into the future leaving him stranded in the year 2016. Determined to find his way back home and to his wife he left behind, he assumes the identity of a police detective who carries the same name as himself. Together with a new (and in the beginning very reluctant) partner named Kim Sun Jae, and a beautiful but mysterious criminal profiler and psychology professor Shin Jae Yi, he tries to fit into this new and unfamiliar world. But when it seems the murders that he tried to stop 30 years ago are starting up again, things become very grim indeed. The serial killer is still at large and will stop at nothing to continue with his killing spree……

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Who are you calling a cold fish?!?!

Time travel and a serial killer blended into one single series? That is pretty much a match made in heaven. While this 16 episode series wasn’t perfect, it was very enjoyable and I bingewatched the hell out of it finishing it in about 3 days. One of the best things in this Korean drama is once again it’s characters. The three leads had a very good chemistry between them, which helped make this series a cut above the rest. Actor Choi Jin-huyk brings to life the hero time travelling cop and he just had a vibrant energy to his role that worked very well. He seems to be able to handle a wide range of emotions, from heartbreak to comedy, and he is able to switch between them in the blink of an eye. His future partner played by actor Yoon Hyun-min is more serious, but the chemistry between both actors is terrific. I really enjoyed some of their comedic banter that hardly ever failed to bring a smile to my face and a lot of their scenes together were certainly the highlight of this series. And then there was actress Lee Yoo-young who played the role of Shin Jae Yi. She was a bit of a cold fish at the start of this series, and I did not really know what to make of her. But when the series progressed her character began to grow, and at the end I really ended up liking her very much. She was very heroic and a verbal exchange between her and the killer in one of the show’s final episodes gave me goosebumps. She played that scene so incredibly well and lifelike.

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This guy had such a fun role (yeah I know he looks like he doesn’t have much humor)

Speaking of the role of the killer, and I am not going to mention the actor’s name in fear of spoilers, I can only say one thing: WOW! What a loathsome, terrifying and incredibly evil monster did this actor give birth too. It is an incredible performance and out of the many serial killer roles that I have seen in my life, he certainly is in the top three. That’s for sure. Over the course of the 16 episodes that this series has, we get a story that has some nice shocks and tension, some comedy (mainly because of a few side characters that I haven’t named here, but really help to relieve some of the darker aspects of the show), and heartbreak as well. That said, there were also some moments during the middle of the drama where I felt it began to feel a bit slow. But luckily those moment did not carry on and the final episodes really made you forget those moments very quickly. Another element that I was a bit dissappointed by was the use of the timetravel aspect of this series. I had expected it to be used more, with maybe some clever jumps in between the timelines, but sadly that did not really happen.

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See? I rest my case 🙂

Still, this Korean drama was a wonderful show. Even though it had some dark events happening in it, it never became too depressing. Most serial killing movies/series always seem to go to for the shocks or the horror, and while there were certainly scenes like that in it, there was also enough room for other more lighthearted things which was very refreshing. Tunnel is well worth checking out and also a series that for me at least seems like a good one to watch if you have never entered the world of the Korean dramas before. With memorable characters, a great, gripping and often tense story, this drama will leave a lasting impression in your mind. Well, that wasn’t too bad was it? I know the beginning of this review might have creeped you out, but hey it had to be done. Even I have a dark side…..

I give Tunnel a 8 out of 10 score.

 

It’s a Blogging Anniversary….but not mine!!

We all know that blogging is hard. And if you don’t yet, you only have to read this week’s absolutely amazing post about that subject by the wonderful Arthifis to see what I mean. (Just press on the link…come on you know you want to). I have been blogging for almost two years now (Yes time does fly when you are having fun), and I have seen many new bloggers come, but sadly also go. Blogging takes commitment, it takes time, and it takes energy. But the rewards…oh the rewards they are so amazing, I can’t even describe them.  And one of the best rewards, if not the best award is meeting all kinds of wonderful people on this journey. But sometimes, just sometimes…you meet someone in this community that has something special, that is just even more extraordinary than everyone else (and trust me there are many individuals like that here). But….today…I want this post to be about someone that I not only think is an amazing blogger, but also someone that should begin to realise by now that she is a person that inspires people here. It’s also someone who today celebrates her blogging anniversary of one year. I’m talking of course about *drumroll please* ….the wonderful Irina.

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Oh come on Irina, you knew  I would do something like this right??

Now….the first thing you might notice right now is the fact that this post is published at the exact moment the clock strikes midnight in Irina’s country. In other words the exact moment when sunday starts for her, and the day her blog turns one year old. (That is I hope I did my research correctly, no pressure……). But that is just a technicality. Irina, this is my way to show how much I look up to you, but most importantly how greatly I value your friendship. When I was on my hiatus I at times was feeling very down and sad. But the thing that always brought a smile to me, was just a small word of encouragement from you on Twitter saying something like happy sunday, or just checking in on how I was doing. See my point? That is the kind of person Irina is, always there for others, and always helping out. Today though: we should be there for her: let’s all band together here and show her how much we appreciate her. Leave a comment on this post to wish her well, congratulate her or whatever else you want to say. And not only that: let’s all head over to her blog, leave likes, and in short let us all totally explode her blog stats to give her the best day ever!

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No need to start blushing, everything I said here is true!

On the small chance that you might not have yet discovered her blog, go there now, and see what I am talking about. It’s good isn’t it? Of course it is..so go ahead and follow! Irina on a personal note I truly want to thank you for all that you have done for me, and for being such an amazing friend. The blog you have is something to be enormously proud of and I pretty much know right now that next year by this time: you will have reached 2000 followers. Don’t believe me? Want to place a small bet on it? Seriously though: I hope you will continue to have as much fun writing all those great posts, as I have when reading them. I was really worried I would not be able to complete this post as since friday evening I had enormous WordPress issues that eventually turned out to be Ipad issues. Luckily though I was able to come back just in time. I hope you are going to enjoy this day, because you really should. Be proud of all that you have achieved. I know I am totally proud of you! To close this off: this is me taking a deep bow and saying: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!

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CALLING ALL ANIME BLOGGERS AND FANS! WE WANT YOU!

I love collab posts, but you would probably be very surprised that I haven’t done many of them. Weird isn’t it? But….no worries, now that I am finally back from my hiatus, I’m working on some pretty cool ones. This one though, takes things to a new level and I am very excited about it to say the least. I was having a very interesting discussion with Ayano from KawaiPaperpandas and as a result well….I will let Ayano do the talking here, as she can explain it even better than I can. In fact she already has, just click on the post below to see what this is all about. So….I can’t wait to see how this is all going to work out: but in short: This is going to be so much fun!! Hopefully you are all as excited about it as both Ayano and I am 😊 And please spread the word as much as you can if you would be so kind. It is very much appreciated 😀

 

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Gooood morning my pandas! It is currently 11:00 am in the lovely state of Oregon and I am ready to go!!!

Y’all are probably wondering what the heck I’m up to huh? Well I’ll tell you! Raistlin and I were having a little chat the other day and we came up with a pretty extensive project…but we need YOUR help! As most of you guys in the blogging community know the Crunchyroll Anime Awards for 2017 were pretty fucking garbage. To say I was disappointed by the results is an understatement.

Some time ago Raistlin and I thought, “Hey…why not make an awards panel of our own?” We played around with the idea for a bit after the results for the Crunchyroll Awards made an appearance but I didn’t think anything of it…UNTIL NOW.

Now I am reaching out to you my pandas! We are holding a so called…

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No comment…..

And….this is going to be a very short post. If you wondered today why I did not leave a comment on a particular post but only a like it’s because wordpress is once again deleting my comments and sending them to spam filters. Yes…the issue that has plagued me in the past is back. So incredibly wonderful…NOT!!

Mind you, I did not comment on every post today, but I did leave a comment on quite a few, so it will probably be lurking somewhere in your spamfilters. Ughh…so annoying. Anyways I thought I would let you know by this small post. Hope everything will be back to normal tomorrow, which is what usually happens. Sorry for the inconvenience. Have a great evening…I’m now going to be smashing some computers…..

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Michels Book/Boardgame/Movie review Blog

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