Eldritch Horror, a boardgame for 1-8 players by Fantasy Flight Games (2013)

Now, this review is long overdue. I have had this game for quite a while now, but because of a lot reasons it has taken me a while to finally make this post. Before I get started I want to say that I dedicate this review to Kurt aka the Vitruvian Gamer. If you like boardgames, and also enjoy seeing them in action, I highly recommend to check out the boardgame channel of the Vitruvian Gamer. Not only is this one of the best boardgame channels out there, Kurt is a really kind person who always takes the time to answer any comments you post on his videos. And all of his videos are a lot of fun to see, and really help you to learn the rules of a certain game. I have included a Link to a playthrough series of his of this game, so you can watch the game in action, and ofcourse subscribe to his channel. (Which is pretty much a no-brainer). And now on with the review of this great game, which really has become on of my alltime favorite boardgames.

Components

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This being a Fantasy Flight game, the components are absolutely top notch. Contained within the box is a lot of awesome stuff. The gameboard looks simply amazing, and depicts a map of the world across which you are going to be travelling in order to stop an ancient evil from rising. Also included are an enormous amount of cards that are used in a lot of different situations that will arise throughout the game. We get cards for spells, artifacts, assets, and encounters to name but a few. In total there over 200 cards that can be used in the game. Ofcourse there are also a lot of tokens included, that will be placed on the board in a variety of situations. Rounding out the game are 12 investigator sheets with matching tokens and plastic stands, which are the roles that the players will take upon themselves, and 4 standard dice. Last but not least we get two rules booklets, one to help you quickly get started, and the other a reference guide to be used when the more difficult situations creep up during a game. The rulebook is well written, and because of this system with the usage of a reference guide, it will not take you very long to set up the board and start your first game.

Game overview

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In a game of Eldritch Horror players take on the roles of investigators, who are in a race against time to stop a being of immense power. This so called Ancient One is intent on bringing about an age of darkness, and possibly even end the entire world. Eldritch Horror is played in a series of gamerounds. Each round has three phases, that are resolved in the same order every time.

First off the players will spent some time to take actions. These range from moving across the board, gain assets that might help them during the game, or even rest in order to regain some strength. Next up is the heart of the game, the encounter phase. During this phase pretty much anything can happen. Players might get attacked, become cursed, gain clues which might help them to stop the Ancient One, or any other number of exciting things. This phase is really a lot of fun, and because of the number of cards that are included within the box, you never quite know what might happen. Finally the Ancient One takes it’s action, which is resolved by drawing a card and play out what happens. This usually means something bad, that will hamper the investigators, and sometimes turns the entire game upside down.

As this game is a cooperative game, either everyone wins, or everyone loses. To win the game, players need to find enough clues to resolve a number of mystery cards that put an end to the rise of the Ancient One. If they can’t do that before the Ancient One awakens (depicted on the board by a timer called the doom track), this usually means the players lose immediately or it becomes incredibly hard to win. Sometimes certain cards can also bring about the end of the game. This creates a tense atmosphere with players racing across the world to put a stop to the rise of the Ancient One.

Difficulty

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Now one would expect that a game with this many cards and tokens to keep track of, will be quite hard to learn. Honestly, you might be really surprised by this when I say that is not the case. Reading the rulebook takes you about half an hour, and after that it will be not much longer and you are off to playing your very first game. The great thing is that when a certain situation arises throughout the game, you take out the reference guide and will quickly find the rule you are looking for. This works extremely  well, and because of that it will really not take you very long to learn the game.

Winning the game is a whole different matter though. Because of the sheer amount of situations that can arise in Eldritch Horror, no game is ever the same. There are a lot of ways you can lose though, and this does depend a lot of times on luck as well, I will not lie to you there. Sometimes getting a bad dice result on a very important test might cost you the game. I have so far only played this one solo (and really this is one of the best sologames out there), and have not yet managed to win. That said, this game is so much fun, that quite frankly I have not even cared about losing the game.

The Verdict

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I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect game. Every game has it’s own flaws, but this one most certainly comes very close. Ever since I have bought this game, I have been enjoying it more and more with every session. Having recently bought a few expansions for it, it has become an even better game. The fun thing about this one, is the enormous amount of situations that can arise. One moment you are in a city being chased by evil cultists, and then you might find yourself in a icy cave tracking down an ancient artifact. One might argue that the amount of encounter cards for the cities in the basegame, should have been more. But that really is a minor note, to an otherwise splendid game. If you like adventure movies with a small touch of horror, this game is most definitely for you. I highly recommend it, and if you don’t always have friends to play a game with, this game provides a very satisfying solo experience as well.

I give Eldritch Horror a 10 out of 10 score.

 

 

 

 

Agent Carter Season One Declassified,Marvel tv series book (2015)

The character of Agent Carter was first introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in Captain America: the first Avenger. Played by actress Haley Atwell, Peggy Carter was a female who had no special powers, but who could stand on her own nonetheless.   Being a woman in the late 40’s where everything was dominated by men, was no easy task. But Peggy was not in any way hampered by the fact that she was a woman, in fact she pretty much outsmarted every living man in those days. And I guess you could say it is a character that I have developed a small crush on, ever since I first saw her in action in that movie. And I was not the only one, the character became so popular that she eventually got her own tv series. Agent Carter ran for two seasons, and after that was cancelled, mainly because the costs for the show were incredibly high.

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Agent Carter was a tv series set after the second world war, and continued the story of Peggy after losing the love of her life Captain America. It was a really fun show, with a lot of cool things on offer for people who are fans of the Marvel Universe. Even though this show is not a superhero series, it contains so many little easter eggs for Marvel fans, that it is easy to miss things. Luckily we now have a book that features the entire first season of Agent Carter in all it’s glory : Agent Carter Season One Declassified.

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If you are a fan of this series,  this book is an absolute must buy. The book comes in a very sturdy slipcase, and the first thing you will notice is the very pleasing layout of the book. Contained within the book are an enormous amount of high quality pictures, featuring both images of the series as well as a lot of behind the scenes images. For this alone, the book is well worth the buy. You will spent a lot of time looking at the photographs, and you will probably look back into them even when you have finished reading this tome. The book itself is divided into four chapters, and also includes a foreword by Haley Atwell herself.

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The book deals with everything from how the series came into being, episode guides, and ofcourse some insightful things about the making of the series. The book is well written, although the chapter that tells the story of how the series was made I found the least interesting. A lot of the time that dealt with a lot of technical aspects, that I usually tend to find pretty boring. Another thing that I found at times a bit lacking was information about the photographs themselves. I would have liked to have had some info about exactly what was in a certain picture, but this is a minor issue.

All in all though, this is a very cool book, and if you are interested in the show I highly recommend tracking this one down. Even though the series has unfortunately come to the end of the road, this book let’s you relive the entire first season again.

I give Agent Carter: Season One Declassified a 8 out of 10 score.

Lion, Australian/American/Uk movie (2016)

When you are growing up, your personality will usually be formed in a large part by your parents. I have the good fortune to be blessed with two very loving parents (one could at times even say too loving parents). All jokes aside, this really is something you should definitely cherish. But what happens if you never know who your parents are? Or even worse, you know who they are, but you somehow lose them not knowing where they are?

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Lion tells the incredible true story of the young Indian boy Saroo. At the age of five Saroo, while out with his brother, accidentally finds himself stuck in a train which takes him miles away from home. Eventually he ends up on the dark streets of Calcutta, where he tries to survive as best he can. While wandering across the streets, Saroo gets taken in by an orphanage, where a loving Australian couple finally adopts him. At the age of 25, Saroo begins to wonder who he is and where he came from. As is so often the case with adopted children, eventually you want to find out who your real parents are, no matter how well you have been raised. In the case of Saroo however, that seems like an impossible task, and the old saying “needle in a haystack” is the understatement of the year…..

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This movie really has everything you want to see in a film. From the very first scenes you get swept up in a story that at times really takes your breath away. I said it yesterday to my best friend with whom I saw this movie, I sometimes find it incredible that there are so many stories out there that you have never even heard of. Where to begin? Lets start with the acting. The true star of this film is the 8 year old actor Sunny Pawar, who plays Saroo at the age of 5. The moment you first see him appear on the screen, you get taken in by his charm. You just forget that he is acting really, and to be able to do that at so young an age is really amazing. But then again, Dev Patel who plays Saroo at an older age, also does an incredible job, and got a very deserved Oscar nomination for this role.

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The cinematography is another thing that is worth mentioning. The incredible landscapes of both India and Australia are captured on film in an amazing way, and that alone is one of the reasons this movie is well worth seeing. But it is the story itself, what makes this film so special. It makes you realise, that even though there may be some things in your life that you might not like, there is always enough to be  grateful for. The richness we have here, when compared to the incredible poverty you at times find in India, is truly very sobering. But in the end though, it also shows that you should never abondon hope. No matter how hard something might seem, if you really believe and put your mind to it, you can honestly achieve anything.

Lion is an incredible movie, and one that I highly recommend. It is a film that will stay with you in your mind, a long time after you exit the movie theatre. Only truly great movies are able to do that, and with the amount of special effects driven films these days (no matter how much fun those are at times), it is also nice to see a film that does  not need those in order to impress.

I give Lion a 10 out of 10 score.

Blood-C, Anime tv series (2011)

I think horror can roughly be categorised into two parts: psychological horror, and the often not very subtle gory horror. I like both genres, it often depends a bit on my mood, but I do have to say that I am more of psychological horror fan myself. It is usually more scary as well, and I do love the jumpscares that are almost always included within those movies. That said, there are also a lot of horrorfilms out there, that have buckets of blood in them, and are very enjoyable in their own way. In Anime enough examples can be found that contain enormous amounts of graphic violence and gore. But I don’t think there has ever been a title that described better what the show is about than Blood-C.

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Blood-C tells the story of the young girl Saya. At first glance she seems like a pretty normal girl who lives with her father in a shrine in the woods. She goes to school during the day, and occasionally visits the small town located near her home. But as is so often the case, things are not always what they seem. Because during the night, Saya transforms into a fearsome monster slayer. Fighting creatures called Elder Bairns, the only one who knows about this side of Saya is her father. But when the attacks become more frequent, and the lives of everyone in town are threatened, Saya’s secret is becoming increasingly harder to protect. But just who is Saya? With strange memories beginning to surface in her mind, Saya is beginning to wonder if everything that she had been told is really the truth. The real horror might be more than Saya can handle….

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To say that Blood-C is gory, is an understatement. This series contains more blood than 10 horrorfilms mixed together. Literally entire fountains of the red substance are shown in every episode. It contains absolutely incredibly graphic and violent death sequences, and as such is not for the faint of heart. Blood-C is a follow up to the (pretty amazing) anime movie Blood: the last Vampire, which in turn was followed by the series Blood+. Now as you might have guessed, this series is not very subtle. Every episode is basically Saya fighting some kind of new creature, and as such a storyline is almost non-existent. I do say almost, because a very interesting twist in the story that occurs during episode 11, saves it from becoming a really predictable show.

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As for the characters in the series, they are very forgettable. Except for Saya, the rest of the cast in this series is very dull, and contain little to no depth at all. This also makes it hard to become attached to characters, and even when they die (and there are a lot of deaths in this anime), you could not care less. The animation style is very good though. The fight sequences, which are the highlights of the show, are cool and amazing to look at. The last thing worth mentioning is the musical score, which sounds epic, especially during the many fights that Saya gets into.

Now, I don’t know exactly why, but there was something about this series that I liked. Yes, it is bloody, and basically every episode is more or less the same, but the series is just very easy to get into and highly enjoyable to look at. If you get put off easily by graphic violence or squeamish at the sight of one drop of blood, you had best avoid this series. When you like action, gory horror, and don’t care if the story is almost not here, you might give this one a try. There will be blood though….oh yes…

I give Blood-C a 7 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Childhood Cartoons

A few months ago I published a post about Childhood Movies (you can find it here). It featured a lot of my favorite movies from my own childhood, and that I really enjoyed back in those days (and to be perfectly honest, I still enjoy watching them). But one of the really great things of the 80’s were the fantastic cartoons. I remember getting up early on saturday morning, switching on the television, and just sitting back watching all of your favorite cartoons back to back. So I thought it would be nice to make a post that brings us back to those days, and feature some of my alltime favorite 80’s cartoons. Most of these are now available on dvd boxed sets, to relive your childhood. The thing that may surprise you the most when you rewatch these great cartoons, is the amount of stuff you still remember from certain episodes. Even though most of these are almost 30 years old now. So without further ado, here they are counting down to number one.

8. Gi-Joe

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Gi-Joe was my least favorite cartoon. The story about a special group of soldiers fighting against the evil forces of Cobra, was for me never as much fun as the other series on this list. It was a highly popular show though, and the toyline also made a lot of money. Still, I did watch the series, when nothing else was on, and kind of enjoyed it at times. It certainly featured some great characters, and a cool villain in the form of Cobra Commander.

7. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

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One of the cartoons that probably everyone who grew up in the 80’s remembers. From the powerful theme song, to the fantastic characters, this cartoon is a true gem. Taking place in a fantasy world called Eternia, the most powerful man in the universe has to protect the planet from the evil Skeletor. This series was incredibly popular, and even spawned a live action movie featuring Dolph Lundgren in the role of He-man.

6. She-ra Princess of Power

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Because of the success of He-man a spinoff series was made which featured his sister She-ra. And honestly I liked this series even better than He-man. Also taking place in a fantasy world, She-ra had a great nemesis in the form of Hordak, who actually was once the mentor of Skeletor. The series was a bit lighter than He-man, and featured some great humour as well. There were, ofcourse, also a lot of guest appearances by her brother He-man.

5. M.A.S.K.

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Mask was a truly terrific cartoon. Matt Tracker who always lead the mission and the hero of the show had assembled a team of men to fight against the evil organisation of Venom. Equipped with special masks that gave them all kinds of powers, and transformable vehicles, every episode was packed with action and featured some memorable characters and some great storylines. Unfortunately in the second season of the series, the storylines were gone, and instead it became a pretty weird series where the heroes had to race against Venom in order to win the day. Still, I have fond memories of this great cartoon, and I still enjoy watching it to this day.

4. Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors

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I think this series is one of the first truly great science fiction epics I have seen in my life. Even though most of the episodes could be watched on their own, it had a storyline that progressed throughout the series. The hero of the show Jayce, went in search for his missing father Audric together with his friends. Opposing them were terrible monsters that were mistakenly created by his father in an experiment that could have prevented starvation, called the Monster Minds. Led by the terrifying Saw Boss, the creatures stopped at nothing to prevent Jayce from finding his father. A very underrated and in my opinion still utterly fantastic cartoon.

3. Inhumanoids

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Now this was a very shortlived cartoon, which, when looking back on it today I still find very strange how this could ever have been found suitable for children. The series featured truly terrifying monsters that preyed on the human race. Opposing them were the Earth Corps and a few benovelent creatures. With a narrative that progressed from episode to episode, this was one of the more unusual cartoons from the 80’s. This series is still very enjoyable to watch, even though it has only a few episodes.

2. Transformers

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One of the most popular cartoon series of the 80’s it will always be one of my alltime favorites. The story about the two robotic races, the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons, is one of the few franchises that is even today still very well known. And ofcourse the toys that the series was based on are still incredible to look at, and are highly coveted by collectors. When the cartoon was cancelled in America, the show continued in Japan. Also known as the Takara series, it continued the storyline,and went in a very different (but no less enjoyable) direction. Transformers will always be a fun watch, and one of the true highlights from my childhood.

1. Robotech

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My number one series, and one I have been a fan of for more than 30 years now, is called Robotech. An Americanised version of three totally unrelated Japanese animeseries, it featured three generations of humans that had to deal with the threat of an alien race. With main characters dying, a storyline that was truly powerful (especially the first segment of the show: the Macross saga), it was a unique series. Robotech has a very strong and loyal fanbase, and that is the reason that Robotech still lives after all these years. This year will see the release of a new comic book series, and a live action movie is supposedly still in the works. If you have yet to see this magnificent series, try to track it down in any way you can. It is an awesome cartoon, especially if you like Mecha anime shows.

Final thoughts

And that brings us to the end of this post and this trip down memorylane. Now ofcourse this list is not complete. There are a lot of cartoons from the 80’s that I have not featured, such as Visionaries and Inspector Gadget to name a few. That is not to say that those were not fun to watch, but I did not find them good enough to include in my personal top 8 shows. These are the series that I enjoyed the most, and the rest just fell short.

So that brings me to you. What childhood cartoons did you watch? Are any of these included on the list above? Are there any others you might have enjoyed, or maybe you have never heard of a few that are included above. Let me know in the comments section. As always thank you for reading, see you on the next post!

 

 

 

Forrest Gump, American Movie (1994)

We live in a society where most of the people we meet will always form an opinion on  someone by his or her appearance. That a first impression can be wrong doesn’t seem to matter. It is a simple case of how you can’t always judge a book by it’s cover. Unfortunately that isn’t how the world works. All too often we form an impression of someone simply by the way he or she looks. It is a real shame, because sometimes when you truly invest time in getting to know someone, it may turn out to be a person that in the end will become a very good friend or even more. Even though you might never have imagined even in your wildest dreams to become friends with him or her. The classic movie Forrest Gump shows how a first impression can be seriously wrong indeed.

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Forrest Gump tells the story of how a simple and at first glance pretty retarded man, turns out to be someone who has done quite extraordinary things. When Forrest is still a young boy, his mother tries to to get him into a normal school even though his I.Q. is below the school’s acceptance requirements. Regarderd by his schoolmates as a retard, his only friend is a girl named Jenny. Always protective of him, she tells him often to run away from anyone who tries to do him harm. And as it turns out, this is a thing that he excels at. As the years pass by, his talent for running eventually gets him into the school football team where he begins to slowly be accepted by everyone (even though most of them still regard him as the local idiot). But then the war in Vietnam starts, and Forrest like so many other men at the time, is caught up in that war. He loses touch with the girl he loves, but it is also the start of a fantastic journey. A journey that shows that even simple men can do great things… Forrest never gives up on his girl however, but Jenny has her own problems in life. Some bonds though are so powerful, that they are never meant to be broken. But before they get reunited, they will both have to go through many hardships…

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You know how they say that some movies are timeless? This is one of those films. Everything in this movie is just simply put, perfect. I had the great pleasure to see this movie in the theatres again today, and what a treat this was. I had not seen the film in years and had almost forgotten how fantastic this film truly is. Tom Hanks, who got an Oscar for his role, is absolutely amazing. The character he portrays is instantly likeable, and I dare you not to feel any sympathy for Forrest. But it is not only the acting that is great. From the very first scene in this movie, you get this sense that you are about to see one of those films that will stick with you forever.

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At it’s heart is a story of how you can pretty much achieve anything, if only you put your mind to it. No matter how tough life gets, how you eventually deal with it, is something you yourself are in control of the most. It also shows to never give up on someone you love, even though at times that person might be going through things that make it hard to stay in love with them. I can go on about all the other things that make this movie so great, the music, the cinematography, but I guess I have pretty much made my point. Anyone who has even a remote interest in film, should see this movie once in his or her life. After all, life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna get.

I give Forrest Gump a 10 out of 10 score.

Blood Father, French movie (2016)

Throughout his career Mel Gibson has starred in so many of my favorite action movies, it is almost impossible to name all of them. Lethal Weapon is ofcourse a classic, as is the Mad Max trilogy. But where Mel Gibson can really shine is in the dark and gritty revenge films such as the briljant movie Payback. Unfortunately, Mel’s real life has caught up with him and his career has pretty much gone downhill because of it. When you are a fan of an actor it can at times be hard to separate things like that when a new movie from that star comes out. Still, things seem to be heading in the right direction again as Mel is definitely making a comeback. Ofcourse he is now nominated for the upcoming Oscar race as best director for the amazing movie Hacksaw Ridge. (You can find my review for it right Here ). And last year he has finally starred in a movie again that was well worth seeing, the action thriller Blood Father.

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In Blood Father he plays the role of ex-con John Link. Having served a sentence in prison for seven years, and putting behind a life of drugs and alcohol abuse, he now makes a living as a struggling tattoo artist. He has not seen his estranged 16 year old daughter Lydia for years, when all of a sudden the phone rings and she desperately begs him for help. Finally meeting up with her, it seems that she has had a run in with a bad crowd. A Mexican drug cartel is hunting her down, hellbent on killing her. It is not long before John and his daughter have to run for their lives. A dangerous game of cat and mouse is about to start, and John will have to try every trick in his book to save himself and his daughter. That is all easier said than done though….

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Blood Father is a by the book gritty and dark action thriller. This movie certainly does not reinvent the genre, but it really is a highly entertaining action movie. Mel Gibson plays one of his best roles since a long time as the father that tries to do everything to save his daughter. It was also nice to see William H. Macy again in a small, but crucial role as John’s sponsor. Their performances alone are the reason the watch this movie. Lovers of action certainly will get their fix as the movie contains enough action to satisfy any adrenaline junkie. Still, the movie also spents it’s time on the characters as well, and as such does not only provide non stop gunfights or carchases.

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A movie such as this only works if the chemistry between father and daughter is there, and that is certainly the case. Lydia, played by the young actress Erin Moriarty, performs her role very well, and the scenes between her and Mel are great to watch. Blood Father is not a masterpiece, but in no way does it  ever pretend to be that. If you like action thrillers with a decent enough plot, and some great performances and action, than I would certainly recommend this film. Hopefully Gibson will continue to make films like these and get his life (and career) back on track.

I give Blood Father a 8 out of 10 score.

Steins;Gate,Anime tv series (2011)

Timetravelling. From movies such as Back to the Future and The Terminator, it has always been a concept that is endlessly fascinating. And why not? Would it not be incredibly awesome if one day the concept would become a reality? And where would you go? Would you travel to the past and correct certain mistakes that you have made ? Or would you head into the future and see what your life would be like there? Whatever choice you make, it will never be entirely without consequences. Who is to say that correcting a past mistake might not end up resulting in a future that is even worse? And when you already know what might happen in the future, would that not take the fun out of living your life? A lot of movies that deal with timetravelling deal with questions such as these. The highly rated and fanfavorite Anime series Steins;Gate is definitely no exception to this rule.

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When Steins;Gate starts we meet up with the strange and pretty goofy character Rintaro Okabe. He sees himself as a “mad scientist” and pretty much can’t stop talking about that fact. Seeing conspiracies everywhere, he also runs a labarotory in his appartment together with his friends the loveable Mayuri Shiina and Itaru Hashida. One day Rintaro attends a conference about time travel, a subject that has become a complete obsession for him. A firm believer in the fact that this can really be achieved it is not long after that he and his fellow lab members find out by accident that there definitely is a truth to this fact. Unfortunately however, Rintaro and his friends are about to find out that playing with time has it’s consequences. Ironically enough the imagined conspiracies Okabe has been afraid of all his life, will soon become a reality. And the lives of everyone he loves, as well as the fate of the world itself will hang in the balance….

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Steins;Gate has been recommended to me be my so many people that is was a very hard show to resist. Featuring time travel, one of my favorite science fiction concepts, already had me interested in it. Seeing the very high ratings this show has received over the years, I expected a lot from this series. And…..I am sorry to say that these expectations were not met. The first half of this series is just incredibly slow. I don’t mind slow series at all, but with all the quirky and crazy things happening in the beginning it was at times hard to stick with it. But I already knew that, as everyone kept saying that the series would redeem itself in the second part. By the time I had reached episode 12 the series really did change. It became very dark, and it was almost as if you were watching an entirely different show.

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Although the second part certainly had a lot of amazing twists, and some very clever timetravelling concepts, I still could not get into it enough for me to truly enjoy the series. One thing I did enjoy though were the characters. Rintaro reminds me a lot of Mel Gibson’s character from the briljant movie Conspiracy Theory. Completely nuts at times, but still a lot of fun to watch. The same goes for his childhood friend Mayuri, who is simply adorable, and one of those characters that you just instantly care about. The animation style and music also really fit this series. Even though there are certainly shows out there that have a higher level of animation, it just seemed right for this show.

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The plot of this series is clever, but because of the sometimes weird humor in the series, I often had a hard time wondering what this series wanted itself to be. As a comedy it certainly worked at times, and there were also quite a few episodes in the second half of the series that had me on the edge of my seat. Overall though the series was a bit too slow for my tastes. I have no regrets watching this, and it really is one of those series that does keep sticking around in your mind, which I guess is a good thing . Maybe in a few months time I will rewatch this series and might even rate it somewhat higher. For now though I can not help but feel slightly disappointed by the show after the incredible amount of hype this has received. As with everything, this is just a matter of opinion, so certainly don’t take my word on it alone. Go and judge this series for yourself, but do take your TIME for it though…..

I give Steins;Gate a 7 out of 10 score.

Howl, UK movie (2015)

Throughout movie history there have been three monsters that have always captured the imagination of film makers and moviegoing audiences. And every time it seems that they are in a popularity contest of some kind. I am ofcourse talking about Zombies, Vampires and Werewolves. Currently the zombie is on top, which ofcourse has a lot to do with the success of the Walking Dead tv series. The vampire is somewhat less popular at the moment, but I would not be surprised if that changed again. And then ofcourse there is the werewolf who also seems to be having a blast with tv shows such as Teen Wolf and Bitten. The fun thing is that although certain rules seem to remain more or less the same, every movie or series does it’s own take on the established mythology. Last year a small English movie that featured werewolves was released, and it generated some buzz amongst horrorfans. Let’s find out if this movie is worth your time, or that you might be better off howling at the moon for a while.

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In Howl we meet a young man called Joe who is a guard on trains. Having just heard the news that he got turned down for a promotion, he thinks his life can’t get any worse. Unfortunately it does. At the end of his dayshift, he gets the news that one of his colleagues has fallen ill, and that he has to report for a nightshift. Reluctantly he agrees, and he and an assortment of different passengers, head of into the night onboard a pretty filthy looking train. Then all of a sudden the train breaks down in the middle of nowhere, and Joe and the passengers get stranded. With a full Moon above them their only light it soon appears they are not alone. When strange creatures begin to attack them, getting stranded seems to be the least of their problems. Soon it becomes a question of who will survive the night….

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Howl is obviously a low budget B-movie. That in itself is not necessarily always a bad thing. Some of these movies can at times be highly enjoyable if done well. This movie kind of falls in between. This is supposed to be a horrormovie, but it really wasn’t scary at all, which kind of means it is missing the point of a horrorfilm. Instead the film focusses on delivering gore, and in that category it succeeds. There are some pretty gruesome deathscenes, and admittedly the creatures look pretty cool. As far as werewolves go, they are certainly convincing enough, and look pretty unique.

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The acting in this film is a bit of a mixed bunch. Ed Speleers, who plays the role of Joe, does a pretty good job in making you root for him in the end. Elliot Cowan, who plays the role of a very annoying, but entertaining passenger also manages to play the role convincingly. The rest of the actors and their respective roles are pretty much forgettable. Mostly they serve as cannonfodder for the wolves, or are just pretty mediocre actors. As far as the story goes, it is not very original, as this brings back memories of movies such as Dawn of the Dead or Assault on Precinct 13.

In the end though it depends if you are a horrorfan or not. If you are, than you might want to try this one out. It is not all bad, and the creatures themselves might be a reason for you to watch this film. If you are not a horrorfan though, there is not really much of a reason to go and watch this film.

I give Howl a 6 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: My five favorite Superbowl trailers (2017)

Earlier this week one of America’s biggest events was held: The Superbowl. Now I pretty much don’t care about sports. Yes I admit it, I am lazy that way. I at times get tired just by thinking about sports. For me the Superbowl is just about one thing: the release of some cool new trailers for upcoming movies and tv series. Following below, counting down from number five to one, are the trailers that I was excited about the most this year. Enjoy!

5) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Now, actually I was pretty surprised that this one ended up on my list. The movies for this franchise went downhill pretty fast after the first one was released, but admittedly this trailer looks like the films might finally be heading in the right direction again. The trailer features some very cool looking stuff, and honestly I am cautiously optimistic for it.

 

4) Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2

The first Guardians of the Galaxy was one of those movies I went to not knowing what to expect from it. And in the end I was completely blown away by it. It was fun, pure and simple fun. This new trailer promises more of that same fun, and I can’t wait for it’s release later this year.

 

3) The Fate of the Furious

Yes, I know, the Fast and the furious franchise is getting crazier with each installment that is being released. The action is so over the top though, that I can’t help but enjoy these movies for what they are: big budget popcorn movies. And there is nothing wrong with that. This new trailer shows that the action will be even more insane this time around.

 

2) Ghost in the Shell

From all the trailers featured in this post, this movie is the closest to being released. And I can’t help it, but I think it looks awesome. The trailer really captures the spirit of the Anime in so many ways. Ofcourse I have no idea if the movie itself will do the same, but I do know that I am looking forward to it immensely. Keeping my fingers crossed for it.

 

1) Stranger Things Season 2

This was the trailer I was looking forward to the most, and it did not disappoint. For those of you who have yet to see this series, you can read my review for it right here . This was the best tv series I have seen last year, and this short teaser let me have goosebumps all over again. It will be very hard to even reach the same level as the incredible first season, but this teaser already has me excited that they might actually pull this off. The only downside? We have to wait until Halloween for the release.

 

So there you have them, my five picks for the best trailers of the Superbowl. Ofcourse there were numerous other trailers released. So let me know in the comments section below what your favorite trailers were. Thank you for reading, and see you at the next post!

Michels Book/Boardgame/Movie review Blog

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