Hi everyone! This is just going to be a very short post where I’m just letting you all know that I am not going to be around much on wordpress this week. As I have four days where I have activities planned right after work, and there are some plans for the weekend as well, I won’t be home a lot. As such I unfortunately won’t be able to keep up with reading all your posts and providing my usual comments on them. My apologies for that, but I thought I would at least let you all know, hence I wrote this post. There will be one scheduled post coming out on wednesday from me, which is the second part of my collab post with Irina. Other than that the Raist isn’t going to be around again until next week. That is unless the alien invaders from the galaxy of Andromeda finally decide to attack the Earth or the horrors from Dimension X get summoned. But I guess we all have bigger problems if that happens. I hope you will all have a great week, and I will talk to you all again soon!
One of the plus sides of having way too many hobbies is the fact that I am never bored. There is always something that I can do, whether it’s watching anime, going to the cinema to watch the latest movie, read a book, or play a boardgame. And that’s just the tip of the ice berg. But on the flipside of that is the fact that I am always behind on pretty much everything, especially when it comes down to watching televion series. People have often asked me how on Earth I can wait with something as good as Game of Thrones for instance. The answer is pretty much always the same. I have absolutely no idea. It brings me back to the opening sentence I guess: I just have way too many hobbies, and as such way too many things that I love to do. In this world of social media though, that really is becoming a bit of a problem. As much as you try to avoid things as spoilers, these days one only has to switch to something as simple as Youtube to find whole clips of pivotal moments of your favorite shows. Some even have bold capital letters proclaiming things like “ the death of so and so” or “ shocking scene of whatshername”. For some things I don’t mind spoilers, but when it comes down to Game of Thrones I have so far managed to avoid them.
Yes people, I have only now completed season 6 of Game of Thrones. I know, I should be flogged for committing such an atrocious act of negligence. I’m afraid to even admit it but I still have to start with the next one too. Yep, I know Winter is coming and all that. Be that as it may, I am of course not going to deprive you of my thoughts on this season. Even though they are two years late. Be warned this section does contain a few spoilers for the previous season , but as probably most of you have seen that one anyway, I don’t think there will be any real surprises here. But just to be on the safe side: *Spoilers Start* Jon Snow is dead. Well, really how could he not be right? Season 6 picks up right after the horrible moment when everybody’s favorite hero got stabbed multiple times and was killed. That was one heck of a shock ending last season, something this show always excells at any way. Season 6 is Jon’s season though, and then some. Erm, wait what do I mean by that? He’s dead right?
Well he was but by an act of magic by the Red Witch Melisandre, Jon is brought back from the dead to fight another day. As with every season of Game of Thrones, there are many things happening to all of our beloved (and sometimes hated) characters. Daenarys has been captured and is heading towards an uncertain fate. Tyrion tries to keep things together in the city of Mereen, where chaos seems to be ruling the day. Cersei has her own problems with her son Tommen, the King, who seems to be slowly turning against her. And then of course there is the ever present danger of the army of the dead, the unseen threat that marches ever onwards. But it’s Jon who is going to have the biggest challenges ahead of him. Especially when he has to try and retake Winterfell, from the horrific and sadistic Ramsay. Winter is coming alright….and it brings with a storm of epic proportions *Spoilers end*
Where previous seasons of Game of Thrones sometimes felt a bit slow, this season seemed like everything all of a sudden was put on some kind of speed trip. So many things happened this season that it’s hard to even know where to start. But that said, I think to date this might have been my favorite season. I have always thought of Game of Thrones being a show that comes the closest to a true cinematic experience. Everything from the sets, the lavish costumes, the special effects, all of those combined just leaves pretty much every other television series ever made biting in the dust. But let’s not forget one of the most important things that makes this show so highly enjoyable as well: the characters and the actors that portray them. Each season I am always astounded at pretty much all of the performances on this show, season 6 being no exception. You want highlights? Well, let’s say that episode 9 especially was maybe the most impressive episode of maybe the entire show. (Erm, keep in mind, I still have to watch season 7 lol).
But seriously though, that episode pretty much made my jaw drop to the proverbial floor. So many good and memorable scenes in that one single episode. Both in terms of action, but especially in terms of acting. As usual Game of Thrones isn’t shy to get rid of it’s cast members (seriously I would be scared to work as an actor on that show), and of course we get a few that kick the bucket in this season as well. The final episode of this season brings quite a few storylines to a close, as well as drawing battlelines and setting up things for season 7. So will I be waiting another two years to start on that one? Nope, not this time. In fact, I’m going to start on the next season this weekend. And even though I am not a Lannister I plan to keep my word on that. In closing, as if this wasn’t really clear yet: this season just rocked. I haven’t had a single episode where my mind drifted off, or I got bored in some way, which did happen occasionally in some of the previous seasons. If for some reason you have never watched this show, trust me check it out. It’s one of the best television shows ever made, and that is the total truth.
I give season 6 of Game of Thrones a 9 out of 10 score.
Hi everyone! Today I’m very pleased to present part one of a very special six part colab with the wonderful Irina. The kick-off for this has started just now over on her blog, so please press the link and check out the post below. Next week I will pick up the story over on my own blog. We both had a lot of fun writing this one, so hopefully you will have just as much enjoyment in reading it!
Hello Everyone, Raistlin and I have been looking for a project to do together for some time now and after I published my recent completely biased non reviews of Steins;Gate 0, he suggested we try to find something on that theme. Don’t let the good times end… Raistlin had a somewhat different opinion of the…
We have a new kind of trend that has been going around in Hollywood for the past few years. It seems that a lof of older actors are going back to the past to revisit some of the roles that made them famous. We have Arnold Schwarzenegger once again creeping into the role of the “ It absolutely will not stop….ever…until you are dead” Terminator. Sly Stallone is playing Rocky Balboa in Creed 2, and after that he will play his other iconic character John “ my war is over” Rambo. And of course we had Harrison Ford reprising his role as Han Solo in Star Wars Episode 7 as well as Rick Deckard in Bladerunner 2049. I have seen online arguments where people were asking the question if this is a good thing. If these actors are just not simply past their prime and should stop acting. I for one am not one of them. I loved Creed for instance and Stallone did an amazing job in reprising his role which even gave him an Oscar nomination. Blade Runner 2049 ended up becoming my favorite movie of last year. So no, as long as they keep making movies that are as good as these, they can keep making them in my opinion.
Jamie Lee Curtis was 19 years old when she played the role of Laurie Strode in the classic John Carpenter movie Halloween. It immediately made her famous, and the movie itself was of course a huge succes. Now exactly 40 years later, Jamie again plays the role of Laurie and as such she is also going down the road of the aforementioned trend. Now Halloween has been a franchise that has had it’s ups and downs. A lot of the sequels that were made weren’t very good (although there were a few that I did like like Halloween H20 for instance), and this new version just pretty much resets the timeline. Meaning it dismisses all the events from the previous installments, and just acts as the true sequel to the original movie. After the events from Halloween it appears that Michael Myers has been living out his life in a rehabilitation hospital for the last forty years. Laurie herself has not been doing well. She has had two failed marriages, a daughter that she hardly speaks to, and she has become kind of a recluse preparing for the potential day that Michael returns. Her daughter Karen ridicules her for that, and tries to keep her own family away from her mother as much as she can.
However when Michael is about to be transferred to a new facility the proverbial crap hits the fan. The bus he was being transferred on crashes, and the serial killer escapes heading for Haddonfield. The unsuspecting town has no idea what’s coming. Because on Halloween night, Michael comes home. But this time, Michael himself might also not really know what’s coming for him…..I was quite excited for this movie, especially since the film so far has been gathering mostly positive reviews. But at the same time, there is always this small warning voice in my head that tells me to not get too excited. And guess what, the voice was right. While I would not call this one a bad movie, that would really be taking it too far, I also don’t quite understand why there are so many positive reviews for this film. In keeping with the positive things first, I like the fact that there are quite a few nods to the original. Some of them are very subtle, and easy to miss if you have are not very familiar with the original. But for fans, it’s definitely fun to see those.
Another positive is Jamie Lee Curtis herself. She pulled a, what I would like to call Ellen Ripley in this movie. Meaning that she was just being a very tough bad ass chick, just like Sigourney Weaver was in Aliens. First being dismissed as a bit of a loon by most people (and something that I honestly don’t really blame them for) when the threat of Michael becomes real, she is the one that people turn to. Despite the fact that Laurie appears not to have all her marbles in working order, she definitely knows what she is doing. Jamie really seems like she has been having a lot of fun playing this part, and it’s definitely the one thing that keeps this movie just on the side of a positive score. What this movie really lacks though is the nailbiting tension. Except for maybe one scene, this film just never really got thrilling. And with a horrormovie that is always a bad thing in my opinion. We see Michael killing people but it never gets tense. Because we can see the kill coming from a mile away, and most of the people getting killed are just very stupid.
Which is another thing that is not done well in this film: the people. Except for Laurie herself, most of the characters in this film just lack any real substance. Even Laurie’s daughter and grand daughter hardly have any background to them, and just aren’t really persons that you can form any attachment too. You just don’t care about them, like at all. Which is also important in a movie like this. You want to be able to feel something for them, anything, when Michael is doing his hunting. It just never happened. Halloween felt like an empty movie to me. While not everything in it was bad, without Jamie Lee Curtis this film definitely would have gotten a negative grade from me. I have to say that I honestly liked Halloween H20 a whole lot more. Made 20 years after the original, it also featured Jamie Lee, but that one really had some good tense scenes, and very fun characters as well. As always though, don’t take my word for this. For the most part Halloween has so far been received very positively, and you know that means we will undoubtedly get yet another sequel. Probably won’t even have to wait another 40 years for it either.
Yes, that is a very dramatic title isn’t it? Farewell…. Am I saying goodbye to you all? Is this finally the end of Raistlin0903? Nope…it is not. This is going to be a little bit of a different post than you are used to seeing on my blog. It’s meant to hopefully become a bit of a discussion piece about a topic that I think is very interesting. Unless you are not really following the world of television series, I think it’s been very hard to miss that on sunday something very dramatic is going to happen on The Walking Dead. After nine seasons the show’s main star Andrew Lincoln, who played one of the most memorable characters in television history, is going to exit the show. Now let me be clear: I love The Walking Dead. It’s still my number one alltime favorite tv-series. Granted the show isn’t as good as it used to be anymore, but despite that fact I am still looking forward to new episodes every time. A big part of that reason is Andrew Lincoln, or more specifically the character he portrays: Rick Grimes. Over the course of more than a 100 episodes we have seen the world of the zombie apocalypse through Rick’s eyes.
And now on sunday that is going to end. We don’t yet know exactly how Rick is going to be exiting the show, but many think that it’s not going to be pretty. A lot of fans also have been announcing that after Rick’s departure, they will stop watching the show. Forever. Which pretty much gave me the idea for this blogpost. I was thinking today about how the world of television has changed. In the old days, it was very rare for important characters to leave a show, much less die on it. Good always thriumphed over evil, and while there could still be tension in a series, we were never worried too much. Because really, our heroes can’t die right? The first show that really made me change that point of view was 24. The show starring Kiefer Sutherland as special agent Jack Bauer, just did things that I had never seen before up until that point. A good example, and obvious spoiler warning, was the end of the first season: Jack’s wife which he had tried to protect during the entire season ended up getting killed. It was a gut wrenching ending to a roller coaster of a show.
After that, 24’s following seasons continued in this fashion. Important characters just kept getting killed in sometimes very unexpected ways, and in that way that feeling of safety you had from the older television shows was suddenly gone. These days, some of the big names in television especially Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead excel at unsettling viewers in horrific ways. It certainly makes for some compelling television, I won’t deny that. However some characters are just so important to a show, that it will never be the same without them. To again take 24 as an example, after nine seasons Kiefer Sutherland was done with the show. Fox tried to revive the series by doing a kind of reboot with a new character. Needless to say, that attempt failed. While certainly not bad, 24: Legacy just wasn’t as good without the iconic character of Jack Bauer in the lead.
Which brings me to the point of this post (Wait…there actually was a point to this post? ). With more and more series killing off characters left and right, is this actually a trend that is a good development? In the case of The Walking Dead, it’s Andrew who has decided to leave the show in order to spent more time with his family. But the show will continue without him. At least that’s what the creators want anyway. Is it actually going to work though? If I look at myself, I will stick with the show regardless. Having invested nine years of my life to it, I would not all of a sudden drop it. Besides, I do want to see how it’s eventually going to end. But even though I’m going to give it a fair chance, it just won’t be the same without Rick. Some characters are just so good, and have such a big impact, that when they aren’t around anymore, it feels like something completely different. Sometimes on very rare occasions that works out, but more often than not, a show fizzles, and then slowly dies out.
So that brings me to you guys. If an important character in a tv-series leaves a show, is that a reason for you to stop watching it? Or don’t you care about it either way? Are there any examples where you thought a television show didn’t change when a main character left? Or became better because of that character leaving? Yes, a lot of questions, and you don’t have to answer them all, or any at all. But, I would definitely be interested in hearing your opinions. Let me know in the comments! As for me, like most Walking Dead fans the upcoming sunday is probably going to be hard (living in Holland I will see it no sooner than on tuesday). So, that brings me back to the beginning of this post, and it’s title: Farewell…. Farewell Rick, thanks for all the great moments, you will be missed…
We all have a bucket list, or at least things that we want to do at some point in our lives. I don’t even think I have a really huge one, but one of the things on it shouldn’t be too hard to achieve. It’s making a cruise on a big ocean liner. I don’t even care about the destination to be honest. But just the experience of being on a huge and beautiful cruise ship crossing the ocean and gazing at the beauty of the sea, that alone would make it worth it for me. So why haven’t I already done this? Good question. I could go into all kinds of lame excuses but the fact of the matter is I totally could have done this a million times over already. Maybe it’s lazyness, maybe it’s simply me not taking a step in trying to do something really different with my life for a change. Whatever the reason, I still plan on doing it. It’s pretty ironic though that Day Four, the sequel to The Three a book that I recenly read and highly enjoyed, once again makes me wonder if making such a trip is a good idea. First she did it with planes, now she sets her sights on a cruise ship. I see a pattern emerging here….
The Beautiful Dreamer is huge cruiseship that has hundreds of passengers aboard, that are enjoying a trip across the ocean. For three days things have been going well and everyone seems to take pleasure in the many things the ship has to offer. Also aboard is acclaimed psychic medium Celine del Ray, who is able to commune with the dead and is able to bring closure to the family members of the deceased. Or so she claims. Madeline who is the assistant of Celine has her own knowledge of the things her boss can do. But ofcourse being her assistant and all she is not going to ruin things. However on day four of the cruise, disaster strikes. The electricity fails, stranding the ship with nowhere to go, and no way to call for help. If that wasn’t bad enough already, a mysterious ilness seems to have taken hold aboard the ocean liner, with more and more people falling victim to it. But then things become even worse when a body of a young woman is found who has apparently been murdered. Increasingly frightening events are happening aboard the ship, and fear and tension take hold of the passengers and crew. Madeline is beginning to get more and more convinced that someone, or something doesn’t want the ship to reach land…..ever again….
Day Four takes place after the events of the first book. But I do have to say that if you did not read that one, you could still enjoy this book as it stands pretty much on it’s own. There is the occasional reference to a name from The Three, but other than that you don’t really require any knowledge of the first book. For those who of you who read my review for the first novel you might recal that it was written in a very unique way. Using interviews, news paper clippings and skype conversations it spun it’s tale and showed very effectively what happens when fear and paranoia take hold of the world. Day Four is a more traditional book. Although near the end of the novel, the author again uses the same trick she used in the first one to uncover the final truth such as it is. We experience this novel switching between multiple characters. Each chapter spents time with one of them as they try to stay alive during the nightmare events that are unfolding before their eyes. We have a pretty diverse number of characters, ranging from a pair of elderly women that have plans to commit suicide, to the assistant of the medium, crewmembers, and even the killer who is aboard.
Each of them had their own little background story, some working better than others, but overall it was a nice diverse cast. I do have to admit that I would have liked a little bit more depth to some of them, which would have helped me form more of an attachment to a few of the characters. But just like in the first book it’s creating the oppressive atmosphere that Sarah Lotz excells in. As can be expected in situations such as these, tempers are beginning to run high. It starts of rather innocently with people just complaining about the fact that they are going to be late in catching a flight or not having enough towels in their cabins. As soon as it is beginning to become clear that rescue isn’t coming, and food is running short as well, people are slowly reverting to animal behaviour. Just like in the first novel, it’s again not exactly clear what is going on. Is it a supernatural force, aliens, something even more sinister? Whatever the case might be Lotz again manages to write a very engaging novel, that really is one of those books that is engaging your brain in trying to figure out the puzzle.
Is the book as good as The Three though? I would have to say no. But that’s mainly due in part to the fact that the style of the original novel was very unique and something that I had not really seen before. Here we have for the most part a traditional novel, that while still very good, isn’t really unique. I also had a bit of a problem with the ending. It was pretty abrupt, and although I do like open endings that leave you speculating what just happened, I would have liked a little bit more closure to the final events. Overall though this was still a great read that I highly enjoyed. There are some elements in the book that fall into the horror category, but it never gets gory in any way. This is more of mystery/supernatural story, and a great book to just curl up into bed with, while a storm is brewing outside. I definitely recommend this novel, and if you liked The Three, chances are that this one will be to your liking as well.
Let me just start off this post by saying that I really suck at dropping shows. When I start with something, whether it’s anime or a regular tv show, I have a really hard time just not finishing it. No matter how bad it gets. I always have that nagging voice in my head whenever something is starting to turn ugly that keeps saying “ But what if it turns really good later on?”. It’s crazy isn’t it? I’m sure I’m not the only one that does this either. So why do we put ourselves through this kind of torture? (Aside from maybe having some very masochistic tendencies?) I have had plenty of times where I finished a show and found myself wondering why I wasted so many hours of my life on a piece of crap. And I honestly still don’t have a real answer either. If you have a cure in some way for this sickness let me know alright? Well, of course there is a reason for me bringing this up right now, as the anime I am about to review is one of those type of shows. Angels of Death was dropped by a lot of people after the first few episodes. I stuck with it though and I was not alone as a few others did as well, most notably the wonderful Irina.
Irina wrote some terrific weekly posts on it (but then again everything she writes is terrific so if you are not yet following her yet, a fact I doubt very much, please do so now), and we had fun in exchanging thoughts on a weekly basis. Moreover we also were pretty much on the same page for most of the time. Now, I am writing this post on saturday, and her post for the final episode will come out tomorrow. As such I have yet to discover what her thoughts on the show’s finale will be. But I digress. Is Angels of Death really such a bad anime? Let’s first talk about what this show is about, before I will be answering that one question. In Angels of Death a young girl called Rachel wakes up in an unfamiliar building having no memories of who she really is. While exploring the building she runs into the scythe wielding psychopath known as Zack. He is covered from head to toe in bandages and he immediately tries to kill her. Eventually though a really strange bond begins to form between the two of them. And it becomes even stranger because of a promise that is made between the killer and the girl. But the building holds many secrets, and many strange and terrifying occupants. Will the two of them be able to escape this nightmare…..
The first episode of Angels of Death was good. I would not say great, but it really set up an anime that had some great potential. A creepy atmosphere, a few fun and over the top characters, and some nice tension. Though there were a few cringeworthy bits like some cheesy voice-acting overall it promised us an entertaining B-type horror anime. Now understand that I sometimes love watching “So bad it’s good horror movies/animes”. I enjoyed King’s Game for instance, and well most of you know how awful that one sometimes was. Angels of Death though, sadly did not fall into that category. After the first episode, the second one turned the show into something totally different. It went into a real weird comedy act, that just felt completely out of place, especially when compared to the way the show started. But it did not stay that way (luckily: else I really might have dropped it), but it also didn’t become much better. There were some episodes that showed a hint of what might have been. At the halfway point I genuinely thought that the show was about to redeem itself. There were even some real attempts at character development (gasp) and the story became more interesting too.
Now that we are talking about the characters let’s just take a little sidestep and explore the two leads. First up it’s Rachel. Young girl, blonde, doesn’t smile a lot and talks in a really monotone voice. (If you are beginning to feel like my writing is turning a bit into the sarcastic territory, you would be right). She was just a very uninteresting lead, and over the course of the show I just could not find any symphathy for her, like at all. Even when we got to learn a little bit more about her background and what exactly made her tick, I found that I could not care less about her. Strangely enough it was Zack that eventually kept me returning each week to watch this. At first I really thought he was quite the annoying guy, with a grating voice that would give Asta from Black Clover a run for his money. (Yeah, you are right…no one can beat Asta in the annoying voice department). But he grew on me, and eventually I really liked him, a lot. There was just something cool about him. He provided the best moments in the show in my opinion, and without him this anime would really have been a total loss.
Which is not to say that it wasn’t. Angels of Death is based on a videogame, and at times it felt like we were watching that. Progress from Room A to Room B, find a key, move on…repeat. While this is sounding a bit harsh, and the show certainly did have some good episodes later on, overall it’s an anime that was just too uneven to recommend it to you. I kept hoping for a final episode that might have, in some way, at least redeemed the show but even that was simply not to be. The ending was as lackluster as most of this anime was, and after spending 16 weeks with this, I’m honestly feeling a bit relieved that it’s over now. There are two things that I will miss: Zack, and Irina’s posts for this one. Other than that though, this is an anime that will slowly fade from my memory and I won’t regret that in any way. So have I now learned my lesson and will I start dropping shows like flies? Erm…probably not. I’m even considering returning to Black Clover. Okay…maybe not…
Who among you have ever pulled a prank on someone? Come on….don’t be shy now and speak up. I think it’s pretty much rather safe to say that we all have at some point, right? Whether it’s as a kid ringing the doorbell at a house and then quickly running away, or it’s as an adult thinking up something more elaborate. We all sometimes like to play a joke on someone. Sometimes when I have a lazy day, I like to go to YouTube and watch some truly crazy prank videos of people trying to scare the living daylights out of others. Some of them are really stupid, but there are also some that are amazingly brilliant. It’s always nice to see the response that people have to these pranks. A lot of people just laugh at the jokes, but there are also a few that really turn angry. For me those are the funniest ones to watch, but you also have to wonder at what point a joke isn’t really funny anymore. I draw the line at jokes that intentionally hurt people. I mean fun and games are all good, but if it ends up truly hurting someone, that for me isn’t a joke. But what if a prank gets turned around completely…and turns into something deadly? Funny (see what I did there) you should mention that….
Lewis Thomas is a university student who is on his summer break and is preparing to drive home on a cross country road trip. But before he heads home he has to make a stop to pick up his friend and crush Vena who has just ended her relationship. And of course this is a perfect time for Lewis to maybe make his move. However when he calls his mum announcing his plans he learns that his older brother Fuller has been arrested yet again. Not being happy about it, but having very little choice in the matter, Lewis bails Fuller out and he comes along for the ride. While at a gas station Fuller decides to install an old CB radio on the car of his brother. On the road the two of them listen in to truckers conversing with each other and eventually the two of them decide to do some talking as well. Fuller has always been a prankster and he wants his brother to impersonate a sultry woman on the radio waves. Lewis goes along and introducing himself as Candy Cane he seduces a truck driver called Rusty Nail that totally falls for it. However, the joke will soon be on them as Rusty Nail turns out to be a complete psychopath. Lewis and Fuller will soon be in for the ride of their lives….literally….
Halloween is almost upon us, and while I would not call this movie a horror movie, it’s certainly one that comes close to that genre. Joy Ride is erm a fun ride (okay enough with the puns already) that doesn’t takes itself to seriously but is still a joy to watch (okay…seriously quit now!). It’s always strange to see Paul Walker in a film knowing that he sadly isn’t alive anymore. He is definitely an actor that really went way before his time. In this film he plays the role of Lewis and as always he pulls it off with his natural charm. His character is just your typical highschool student, that you may have seen in countless other films. Still, it’s hard not to like him, as he is just someone that has been unwillingly put into a very dangerous situation and tries to make things right. Steve Zahn is the actor that was cast in the role of the older brother, and his character was the complete opposite of Paul’s. Fuller is a total prankster, and certainly serves as the comic relief in this film. Zahn simply excells in roles such as these, and this one was no exception.
The love interest, Vena, was played by actress Leelee Sobieski. Once hailed to be a very promising young actress she pretty much disappeared from the big screen. Which is a real shame as not only was she very pretty, she was also someone who could really act. Which she proves in this film. While she hasn’t a huge part in this movie, I still liked her role a lot. But it’s not the acting that you want to watch this movie for, it’s the thrills, and for the most part the film definitely succeeds in that. I like the way the tension is cranked up in this movie beginning almost as a bit of a comedy, and then, with every passing minute it becomes darker. For people who might be squeamish when it comes to blood, you will happy to know that this movie doesn’t contain any scenes like that. This is a pure thriller with some heartpounding and nailbiting scenes, especially in the later parts of the film. About halfway through the movie it does have a few moments where the tension slows down, and while I would not necessarily call this a bad thing, it occasionally slowed down a bit too much.
The truck driver who is voiced by an uncredited Ted Levine, is never seen fully which of course only makes it more enjoyable. For me at least. It’s the unseen terror that usually is just way more effective and that’s certainly achieved with this film. All in all there is very little not to like about this film. I do have to give you a small warning though. Joy Ride was followed by two sequels that went straight to video. If you were maybe thinking of giving them a watch after this one, just know that they are totally different movies. Instead of thrills, they rely more on blood and gore, and are simply a pale shadow of this one. The original though is just a great thriller, with some very decent performances, a whiff of humor thrown into the mix, and enough thrills to make your heart pump faster. It’s the perfect film to watch on Halloween, when you like your horror/thriller movies without blood. Just go along with the ride…..
Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I last posted so I guess you are wondering if this blog is still breathing. The short answer is: yes, it most certainly is. The longer answer is that this is exactly the reason why I don’t have a fixed schedule as I wouldn’t be able to stick with it. Things have been very busy again since I have returned to work, and as such there are days that I am just too tired to really write something. I have also had a little bit less time on my hands than normal to watch and read stuff. Since this blog mainly concerns itself with reviews, that means it’s hard to write a post without doing that. All in all it’s been a bit tough to keep up with everything. Yeah I know, it all seems like a lame excuse right?
But enough complaining as today I am happy and excited to bring you the first post for a new feature on my blog. The title I guess is pretty self explanatory: The Worst/Best Anime you (might) not have seen yet. What it comes down to is that I am going to be scrolling through the Crunchyroll line-up each month (for those not familiair with it, it’s basically Netflix for anime) and pick a title at random. I am going to be focussing on animes that I haven’t really seen on any other blogs and people might not be very familiar with (and that is including myself). But of course that means it could be a really good one, or a really bad one. To kick things off….I have a really good one for you all!
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom
Year of release: 2009
Number of episodes: 26
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
The gorgeous image that you see above is the one that instantly grabbed my attention while I was scrolling through the available shows. I mean, just look at it. There is just so much expression in that one picture that it really got me curious and it’s also what gave me the idea to start this feature. Because really, this show is an absolute must watch! Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom tells the story of a Japanese tourist who finds himself at the wrong place at the wrong time. He is a witness to a murder committed by the invincible and mysterious assassin called Phantom who works for a very powerful crime syndicate called Inferno. He manages to escape at first, but is soon captured and subsequently brainwashed. When he wakes up he has no memories of his former life, and is now the new puppet of Inferno. Under the name Zwei, he is trained by Phantom, who turns out to be a young woman called Einz. The former tourist soon becomes a powerful assassin himself, and enters a web of crime, deceit and betrayals. Is Zwei forever doomed to remain in this life, or will he regain his freedom….
I have so many things that I want to talk about for this show, that it’s almost impossible to fit them all in one post. Unless I turn this into a small novel, but I don’t think that anyone is likely to read that (and I am not that great a writer either so there is that). But I am going to do my best to convince you to put this anime at the top of your to watch list. You want a tense and gripping story, that has incredible twists and turns throughout it’s run? You got it. You want characters that grow and have actual depth to them? You got that too. This anime really has such a mature feel to it. I know that might sound strange, because of course we all know that anime is meant for a mature audience. But this series just takes it up another level. It feels like you are at times watching this great mafia saga that unfolds before your very eyes. Crime, heroic bloodshed, sexual tension, and an incredible sound track propel the story forward and you sometimes forget that you are watching an anime series. Most of the time is spent in America, which is also quite the unique setting and one that you don’t see often in animes.
But it’s the characters that really make this anime such an incredible watch. One of the most striking aspects of this show is the enormous amount of girlpower it contains. There are so many great female characters in this one, that it’s hard to pick a favorite. We have the tough as nails Einz, the lead assassin aka Phantom, and a woman that you simply don’t mess with. She reminded me a lot of The Major from Ghost in the Shell. Later on in the series a young girl is introduced called Cal who forms a special bond with Zwei. I loved the fact that Zwei became this kind of surrogate father to her, and she really is adorable….well, at first anyway. But my favorite female character would have to be Claudia mcCunnen. She was a very strong woman in the Inferno syndicate that was incredibly cunning, always plotting and scheming, and having this sexual power over men. Her only weakness was her crush on Zwei, a fact that she would probably deny herself.
But the real heart of this story is of course Zwei, and the incredibly complex relationship he has with Einz. While Einz hardly has any emotions at first, Zwei still has some aspects of his humanity intact. As the anime takes place over the course of several years, we actually see the characters undergo many changes. Including the bond between the two assassins. It’s a fascinating yourney to behold, and one that doesn’t become boring for a second. There are so many other great characters but it would take many more paragraphs to describe them, so I will leave you to discover the others for yourself. After all the praise I should mention that the finale of the series, while wrapping up most of the storylines does leave you with an open ending. It’s not terrible, but it could have been done a little better. This is a very minor issue however to what is otherwise an absolutely amazing anime and one that I just simply can’t recommend more to you. I will leave you with the OP to this anime, a song that is so very beautiful and captures the spirit of this anime incredibly well. Let me know what you all thought of this new feature in the comments, and of course if you might have seen the show! Thanks for reading!
I give Phantom-Requiem for the Phantom a 9 out of 10 score.
It’s October and that means all around it’s the season to be creepy. Erm, wait that isn’t how that song goes? Oh well, I guess I always get some things mixed up, so my apologies. Now in case you are wondering exactly what I am talking about here, it is of course nearly Halloween. Unless you haven’t really been paying attention lately on wordpress, a lot of bloggers are having fun writing posts that in some form or another that are related to this event. Well, as you know (or don’t know in case you have just started following me, in that case let me enlighten you), I have always held a soft spot for horror films. In fact it’s one of my favorite movie genres so to speak. So why haven’t I had a single horror movie post out this month? I seriously haven’t got a clue. I could either do two things right now: I could spent my time looking for the answer to that question, or I could finally write one. I chose to do the latter. So people buckle up, put on your favorite Halloween costume, grab some popcorn and let’s see if this film is worth checking out.
For a change we have a horrormovie that isn’t situated in modern times but we travel back in time to the year 1905. Thomas Richardson is on desperate mission to save his sister who has been kidnapped by a mysterious religious cult. She has been taken to a remote island, far from civilisation, and the people that have taken her are demanding a ransom for her release. Thomas arrives on the island pretending to be a believer in the self proclaimed prophet that is the leader of the cult, a man named Malcolm Howe. Malcolm is a former prisoner that escaped with two other convicts. He claims to speak for “The Goddess“ that supposedly inhabits the island and through her powers provides food for the cult. Lately though his people are dying of starvation, which is why he has resorted to kidnapping. Thomas slowly begins to infiltrate the cult and befriends a young teenager called Jeremy. While trying to find out the whereabouts of his sister he begins to encounter more and more terrifying things that are happening on the island. The true horror though, has yet to be revealed…..
Apostle was directed by Gareth Evans. Now for people who are familiar with martial arts movies, you might recall he directed the Raid and the Raid 2. Both of these were absolutely amazing and a true highlight when it comes to the world of action movies. It’s all the more interesting that this is an entirely different film he has sunk his teeth in. I honestly have to admit that I genuinely enjoyed this film. It’s fun to see a movie again that is not set in the present but in the past, and at times it reminded me of The Witch. But the only comparison I can make to that film is the atmosphere. Right from the very first scene you can feel this foreboding sense of doom come over you. It’s probably the remote location of a Welsh island that really contributes to this. The cinematograpy for this film is terrific, and some of the camera angles that were featured in this movie only made the movie even more creepy. As I said though, this is the only comparison I have to the Witch, because this movie could not be more different.
For one thing it’s incredibly gory at times. Just like in The Raid, we get some very bloody scenes shown, especially when the film goes into it’s second half. Some of these were truly unsettling. I’m not one to be very squeamish when it comes down to this, so it didn’t disturb me in the least. (Yes I guess that can be unsettling too when I think about it lol). It also features some heavy underlying religious themes, something that might put some people off. The film’s story is pretty good, and has some nice twists and turns. It gradually reveals it’s secrets, and there were a few moments in the middle of the film, where one might call it maybe a bit slow. I think if the movie would have been somewhat shorter, I might have added a point to the overall final score. But it never became boring in the least, and that is also due to the fact that the movie had some very good performances. Cult leader Malcolm was played by veteran actor Michael Sheen. He plays a truly troubled man, that even while he was downright creepy still managed to create sympathy for his character. Now there is a contradiction if you ever saw one.
Dan Stevens played the role of Thomas and he pretty much carries the movie on his shoulders. He creates an instant liking to his character, because he is very human. Being a former missionary that has lost hist faith and now has an addiction, Thomas certainly has his flaws. But that only makes you relate to him more. I always like it when someone isn’t one of those perfect heroes, but a real flesh and blood person. Next to these two actors, there are a lot of other high caliber performances in the film as well. So if you are a fan of good acting, this is another reason to go and see this movie. Apostle has turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. I knew next to nothing about this one, but this really is a very tense, well made, and at times truly thrilling and horrifying movie. The film is now available on Netflix and it’s the perfect month to go and check this one out. If you dare that is…..
"Consider, can the universe be justifiably called infinite? Doubtful. It may not have a discernible end, but it had a beginning and its component parts definitely have a limited cosmological shelf-life. Splitting hairs or not, if history tells us anything, it's that scientists often make very poor poets. We're all just a ship of fools chasing phantoms, heedless of what really underwrites natural law." - Okabe Rintaro