Tag Archives: Action

A D-mail conversation with Raistlin (part 4)

Hello everyone! It’s time to continue with the next installment of the collab post for Steins; Gate with the totally awesome Irina. We are on to part 4 already, time (pun intended) really does fly when you are having fun. Just in case you missed the previous part from last week over on Irina’s blog, here is a link to that third part. Right, all done reading? Than let’s get one with the next part: enjoy!

Inbox Gmail: Raistlin 0903, dated 2017/18/02

From: Irina

Good things take time

Hi guys! So are you all ready to continue with my review for Steins;Gate? Of course you are. Now, you all know that this is an important review, because as I mentioned before that this is an anime that is beloved by many. So if I mess this up in some way, I’m sure the backlash on this will be gigantic. Especially by this one very special blogger you all still have to meet called Irina. It’s like her favorite show, but I guess you all don’t know that yet, and this is all starting to sound way too confusing. Now don’t deny it, I can see all those frowns appearing on your foreheads. So, let’s get back to why we are all here: the review itself.

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What exactly is this guy rambling about?

In the last segment I spoke about the fact that the cast of characters is really amazing. But if that great cast has a script that doesn’t work, it kind of puts a damper on the whole thing doesn’t it? The first half of this series is slow. And slow can be boring when it’s not done right. Luckily that is not the case with this anime. This show is very dialogue driven. And the first half of this series establishes the relationships between all these characters that you will grow to love. The way it goes about doing this though is really terrific. A great example is the comedic banter between Okabe and Kurisu. As mentioned our “mad scientis” can at times be a little off, and it’s Kurisu that keeps him grounded. But this often results in some hilarious exchanges. It’s like having a conversation with a lifelong friend. You know how that is right? When these first start it almost seems as if the two don’t like each other. But…as the series progresses you will see how these conversations were very subtle in laying the groundwork for the bond that grows between these two.

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Ah…now THAT makes sense.

Even more important is establishing the friendship between Okabe and Mayuri. Rintaro might at times seem totally nuts, but when it comes to protecting this incredibly sweet girl he always changes his tune. When you first hear that Mayuri is supposedly his prisoner, you wonder what that exactly means. But as with most things in this show that also has a completely different side to it. I’m not going to say what that side is for that would spoil things for you. Suffice it to say though that you really get the feeling that there is nothing that can come between these two. Okabe is always there for her, and she for him. Even though at times through some of their conversations you might think that they both have a couple of screws loose in their heads.

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Some friendships last a lifetime.

Steins; Gates’ first half is full of these things. Sometimes there are moments during these episodes where you start to wonder where the show is going with this. Trust me, it all has a reason. For one thing it’s providing you, the viewer, with a great background to all of these characters. You know those shows where you simply don’t care about what happens to someone? In this anime that just simply doesn’t exist. Every time a new character is introduced it takes it’s time to let him or her fit into the scheme of things. And ofcourse Rintaro keeps adding them to his lab members (Yeah I know, he is not very good at keeping secrets, even though he himself thinks he is doing a great job). But another very important reason is the fact that when the show shifts into it’s darker second half, it will shock you to the core. Without going into spoiler territory, something happens that would have had less impact, if the show didn’t spent so much time with this great cast to begin with.

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Okay, thanks for clearing all this up…even though it did still sound like a bit of a ramble.

It’s at that precise moment that you truly appreciate what the series has done in the beginning. And you realise how clever it really is. It’s something you might not even discover the first time you watch this. It might depend on your mood, or maybe hearing about the fact that it’s a show about time travelling you expect it to go into that territory right away. Trust me though: it’s better this way. Steins;Gate takes it’s time but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable in that first half. I might even go so far as saying that I liked it’s first half even more. (But heck don’t get me wrong this entire anime is amazing). But what I loved about it is the fact that you almost feel like you are becoming a part of a family, or a wonderful group of friends. Because it focuses on things we can all relate to: laughter, insecurity, love, sadness, and a whole range of other emotions. It’s part of everyday life, and even though the story for this anime of course is science fiction, it never loses sight of one of the most important things to have in life: true friendship. So, keep all this in mind when you are watching that first part of the story.

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Game Of Thrones Season 6, American tv Series (2016)

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.

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Yes, she still looks like a queen for real.

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?

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So….I guess sometimes size does matter?

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*

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Ah yes, Cersei. Probably the most gentle soul you are ever likely to meet. Erm, not.

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).

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When you find out what Hodor really means, your mind will spin. Trust me on that.

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.

Special Features presents: Farewell……

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.

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Rick is definitely in trouble..then again they might just want to say hi to him!

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.

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Jack is always such a nice guy….really….

 

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.

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24 without me?! Over my dead body, damn it!!

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.

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Yes, I am leaving!! And there is nothing you can do to stop me!!

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…

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Let’s hope Rick just rides off into the…erm…well can’t really call this a sunset….

 

 

 

Angels of Death, anime tv series (2018)

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.

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Yes Rachel: Everybody hates you.

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…..

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He seems like such a nice guy doesn’t he? Newsflash: he really isn’t.

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.

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Stuck in an elevator….

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.

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Sorry Rachel, I’m immune to your innocent girl act. I still don’t like you.

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…

I give Angels of Death a 5 out of 10 score.

Joy Ride, American movie (2001)

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….

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You are in my parking space!!

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….

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That moment where you think you are dreaming, but it ends up being real.

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.

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Breaker, breaker…ten four….out and over…or was it over and out??

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.

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I wonder what the punchline of this joke was. All three of them seem to struggle with it.

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…..

I give Joy Ride a 8 out of 10 score.

Apostle, American/UK movie (2018)

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.

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I told you before: Stop looking at me! 

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…..

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Yep, this would make a great Halloween costume.

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.

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A little shaving never hurt anyone….

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.

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This is what a cinema looked like in 1905. 

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…..

I give Apostle a 8 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: My top 10 Solo Boardgames (part 2)

Hello everyone! As you might have noticed the past week my blog has been a little bit more quiet than the previous three weeks. In fact it’s gone deadly silent. I even did not comment as much as I normally do, for which I apologise. This pretty much means only one thing really: my vacation is over and I’m back at work. The first week has been especially bad and very busy, also considering the fact that I had to work on saturday. But enough complaining about that, it’s now sunday, and I finally have time to write again. So I thought it would be a good idea to complete the request made by Arthifis (You all still know him right? Great guy, and he started writing a book as well: that is so awesome!). Anyways in case you missed the first part, he requested I make a list of some of my favorite solo boardgames. Here in part two I’m going into my personal top five. Not only are these games great to play alone, they really are some of my alltime favorite games period.

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Just one more thing: again I would like to point out my favorite Youtube Boardgame Channel: The Vitruvian Gamer. This week he has also started a new feature on his channel as well, where in small 7-10 minute segments he talks about boardgames, the channel, and life in general. It really is a great place to visit. A few of the games listed below have been featured on his channel, and as I pointed out in part 1, he really is a great host as well. Always kind, and with very insigthful and fun to watch videos it’s a great way to spent some time on Youtube. And hey, you might even end up discovering a new game that you would like to try out as well, so how cool is that. Below is one of his videos for a game that I will talk about later on in this post. Okay, enough talking, let’s get cracking!

5: Ascension

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Ascension is a deckbuilding cardgame. Yes, that sounds like a really difficult term, but it truly isn’t. A player starts out with a relatively weak basic hand of cards. During the course of the game, you can buy new cards with the weaker ones and add them to your deck of existing cards. In this way you can make your deck more powerful. Ascension takes place in a fantasy world, and when you play the game solo you are basically fighting against an unseen opponent. By defeating monsters, and aquiring new cards you have to try and gain more points then your foe before the game ends. The fun thing about Ascension is that is a really simple game to learn (about 5 minutes), and there are now a lot of expansions as well. But, each set released stands on it’s own. In other words you can combine all the sets, or just play with one set. This offers a lot of choices, while at the same time it won’t overwhelm new players which is nice too.

4: Xenoshyft: Dreadmire

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This is another deckbuilding game, so it uses the same mechanics as above. But, this one comes with a neat twist. Set in a science fiction universe, and a quite horrible one at that, Xenoshyft Dreadmire allows you to play as the commander of a base from the Nortec Corporation. This company mines planets for a new and powerful energy source. However this energy source has a dangerous side effect as it turns the native animals into horrible monsters. During the course of nine rounds, that become ever more difficult, you have to defend the base from these creatures. This game is tough as nails, and very hard to win. But despite that fact it’s enormously fun to play. The artwork alone should be enough to sell you on buying it. If you like a good challenge this is the one to look into! More info on this game be found in my review.

3. Elder Sign

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Elder Sign is one of the best games that I have ever played. It’s a fusion between a dice and a cardgame and it’s an absolute joy to play. You take on the role of an investigator, that tries to stop an ancient evil from awakening and plunging the world into darkness. The base game takes place in an old museum, where you are desperately trying to find the so called elder signs. Depending on which Ancient One you are trying to defeat, you have to discover a set amount of these tokens, before time runs out. Using dice, you explore rooms in the museum, where you try to overcome traps, monsters, and other unspeakable horrors. By investigating rooms, you can find new weapons, spells, clues and other stuff to make you more powerful, as well as the elder signs themselves. As the game has an enormous amount of cards, and the set up is different each time, the game has tremendous replay value. With a lot of expansions having been released for it as well, you will not get bored by this game anytime soon.

2. Legendary (Encounters)

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Legendary and Legendary Encounters are all deckbuilders (yes again), but are also a blast to play. Legendary is probably best known for it’s Marvel sets. With a huge amount of available cards for these now, you put together your own superhero team in order to fight against one of the villains from the Marvel Universe. Ever wanted to have a team up between Wolverine and Iron Man? Well now you can achieve this. But Legendary has more to offer. In Legendary Encounters you can play through some of your favorite science fiction movies and television series. There are now sets for Aliens, Predator, Firefly and an upcoming one for The X-files. What differs these sets from their Legendary counterparts is that you actually play through scenarios from the movies and shows themselves, which is a lot of fun especially if you are a fan of these. Variety is the keyword here, as the normal Legendary has also games for cult movie Big Trouble in Little China as well as the television series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

1. Eldritch Horror

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So why is this game my number one? Well, the simple answer would be just read my Eldritch Horror review. But that would be cheating. This game is pretty much the bigger cousin of Elder Sign. Travelling around the entire world, you have to discover enough clues to find out what kind of ancient evil is trying to take over the world. You explore cities, ancient ruins, tombs and all kinds of other places. Narrative cards explain what exactly happens to you when you enter a certain place. And this is what makes the game so much fun to play. It sometimes feels like you are starring in your own adventure/horror movie. Every game is different, and has both strategy elements to it, as well as luck in the form of dice rolls. It’s by no means an easy game to win, and it takes a bit of time to set up. But other than that it’s always been the game that I have really enjoyed the most playing solo.

So, there we have it. Now this list is by no means complete, and there are games still lurking around in my collection that I haven’t even played yet. So maybe, there are other games that are even better than these. I certainly have a number of other suggestions too, that didn’t make the cut. So if you want even more options do take a look around at the boardgame section of my blog. As always thank you for reading!

 

Seasonal Anime: A first impression post!

Has the Raist finally gone mad? Is this really a first impression post on seasonal anime that is appearing on this blog? Does this mean that Raistlin0903 is turning in an anime blog? Let me put your minds at ease by saying that the answer to two of these questions is no. So which of these questions has another answer? Well, I have not gone mad, as I was already quite mad to start with. Right, so with all that out of the way why do a post like this? My blog has been and always shall be a multitopic blog. I have way too many hobbies, and I like talking about all of them here, so that’s not going to change. The reason I started watching seasonal anime at the beginning of this year is that I have really enjoyed the interaction with everyone talking about what happened in a new episode on a weekly basis. It was like we all sat down together in a big room, with our favorite snacks and drinks and watched an episode at the same time. Now I am sorry to say that I am not going to be writing weekly episode reviews on the new shows.

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Imagine that this is showing up in your local neighbourhood.

For one thing it would take up too much time that I don’t have. For another it would mean this blog really would be focussing too much on anime, and I have a lot of readers that also like to read about other things such as movies, Korean dramas and boardgames. But I thought it would be nice to write a post about the new shows that I have started watching since this weekend and let you know my thoughts on them. So this really is a first for my blog, but I hope you will like it nonetheless. Usually I try to keep up with about 4-5 shows. I already struggle with that amount, let alone any more. So that’s why I am now watching a total of six new shows. Erm…right. I’m as surprised as you are. No idea if I can stick with all of these, but I am going to try as so far all of them have been a blast. Well, let’s get cracking and reveal them!

Zombieland Saga

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Genre: Comedy, Horror   

Most of you know that I am not a huge fan of comedy. But sometimes there are exceptions and this anime is one of them. This show is completely insane, and that’s probably why I am enjoying it so much. Highschool girl Sakura Minamoto is tragically killed when she gets run over by a car. But her story doesn’t end there. Ten years later she finds herself resurrected as a zombie and together with a bunch of other girls that have also turned into the living dead, they have to save the so called Saga Prefecture…..as an idol group! Now if this plot doesn’t sound totally crazy wait till you see the show itself. I had tears in my eyes from laughing when these girls went up on stage, headbanging to death metal and it’s probably one of the craziest scenes I have ever seen in an anime. I have no idea where this show will go or if it will continue to be this much fun, but so far I am really enjoying it.

First Impression Score: 8 out of 10

Goblin Slayer

 

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Genre: Fantasy

As much as I love the fantasy genre, weirdly enough I have hardly seen any fantasy anime shows. Yeah, I know right, that is strange. So, with Goblin Slayer I hope to change that. A young and very inexperienced priestess, joins an adventuring party on a quest to fight a bunch of nasty goblins. But soon all hell breaks loose, and she finds herself in big trouble. Just when all hope seems lost a mysterious stranger who introduces himself as Goblin Slayer enters the field. This show felt like I was playing Dungeons and Dragons again. I was pretty surprised by the brutality on display here though. Blood flew everywhere, but it was especially the violence against some of the women here (there was even a rape scene) that kind of threw me off. That said though, I still thought this was a solid first episode and I especially like the look of what I assume to be the hero of this anime, Goblin Slayer. So, I’m going to see where this will go.

First Impression Score: 7 out of 10

SSSS. Gridman

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Genre: Science Fiction, Mecha

I already described this one on twitter as the anime version of Pacific Rim and I think that description is fairly accurate. Yūta Hibiki is a highschool boy who has lost his memory. On an old computersystem someone that introduces himself as Hyper Agent Gridman appears and tells the boy he has a mission to fullfill. Apperently he is the only one who can see Gridman too. When a huge monster appears in his city, Yūta has to step up to the call. This first episode was very enjoyable. I loved the fight sequence between the monster and the huge robot, and it kind of gave me this old school anime vibe. Can’t say much more about this one yet though. I do hope it won’t turn into one of those “monster of the week” type of shows which would be kind of a shame. Other than that I kind of enjoyed this for what it was, and look forward to next week’s episode.

First Impression Score: 8 out of 10

Rascal does not dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

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Genre: Romance, Highschool, Supernatural

This is a show I would probably have passed over had I not read about it over on Karandi’s blog. Because really, that title is just crazy. Surprisingly enough, this is the show that has left the biggest impression on me. Highschool boy Sakuta Azusagawa sees a mysterious girl in the school library wearing a bunny suit. If that wasn’t strange enough already he is the only one who can see her. The girl called Mai Sakurajima is a teenage actress who is on hiatus, and is now suffering from what they call “ Adolescence Syndrome”. More and more people are unable to see the girl, and this of course leads to all kinds of problems. How do you order food for instance when no one is able to see you? To say I loved this first episode is an understatement. The entire show just had a certain vibe to it, and I loved the dialogue between the two leads. Add to this the mystery element, as well as some pretty relatable themes and this for me has turned into my favorite show so far.

First Impression Score: 9 out of 10

Sword Art Online: Alicization

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Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Yes people Sword Art Online is back for it’s third season which of course will probably start up all the discussions again on how many people are going to hate on this. I don’t care and I’m proud to say it too: I freaking LOVE this show. The first episode of this new season was 47 minutes long and it was a very strong start of this new arc in my opinion. Kirito and Asuna, as well as a bunch of other fan favorite characters all make a welcome return, with an episode that felt a lot like we were back in the first season of this wonderful anime. Some great action sequences (Yay, we had dragons), a new and mysterious world, and a lot of questions is pretty much what I experienced while watching this opening episode. I do have to say that in all honesty there was a lot of information thrown at us, and some of it still hasn’t really registered with me. But I’m pretty sure with a whopping 50 episode count, there will be enough time to explain all this. Either way, I really had a good time watching it and can’t wait to see how the new season will progress.

First Impression Score: 8 out of 10

Last Impression

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I’m mad!!! Where is show number six!!!!!!

So, observant readers will probably notice that I mentioned I would be watching six shows. But I have only written about five of them. Where is number six? Well, it’s not a new show and it is only a continuation of last season. I’m of course talking about an anime that needs no introduction (and if it does, where have you been all this time): Attack on Titan. The third season so far, while having a totally different vibe than the previous two, has been a total joy to watch. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will stay that way, because right now, it’s slowly turning into my favorite season so far.Well this post is long enough now, so it’s time to put an end to this. I hope you like the choices that I have made (and feel free to let me know in the comments), and I look forward to discussing all these new shows in the upcoming weeks with you. I hope everyone will have a lot of fun watching this season. Thanks for reading and see you on the next post!

Venom, American movie (2018)

I think it’s a safe bet to say that even if you don’t like comic books, everyone has probably heard of the name Spiderman. One of the most popular comic book characters ever created, he has been webslinging his way throughout hundreds of comics as far back as 1962. Every superhero of course also needs some foes to fight, and Spiderman is definitely not an exception to that rule. Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus, Vulture are just a few of the names that our friendly neighbourhood spider has had to face over the years. However, there will always be an enemy that is just a little bit more memorable than all of the others combined. And for Spiderman that foe was introduced way back in 1988: Venom. This horrific looking character became an instant fan favorite, and fans were overjoyed to hear that he would be making an appearance in the Spiderman 3 movie from 2007 starring Tobey Maguire. Sadly the movie wasn’t very good and Venom himself was woefully underused. Okay, enough with the history lessons. This year Venom has finally gotten his own movie, weirdly enough with his nemesis Spiderman being absent. So can a movie like this work like that? Well, the short answer is: yes, it most certainly can.

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Sometimes you just need to have a civilised talk to work things out.

Eddie Brock is an investigative journalist that seems to have it made. He is soon to marry the love of his life Anne Weying, and he has a job that seems to be going very well for him. As is usally the case when things go well, it’s all about to come crashing down on him. The Life Foundation, a bio-engineering corporation that Anne works for, has been conducting experiments with something they have found in outer space. It’s CEO, a man named Carlton Drake seems to be a very benovelent man, but this is all a front. Eddie has become very suspicious of him especially when he is approached by one of the employees of the company, Dora Skirth. She tells Eddie about the experiments that have been going on and helps him enter the building one evening to find proof. However, while investigating, the hapless journalist inadvertently becomes infected by a parasitic lifeform. Not just any lifeform though, but one that gives him powers that have never before been seen on Earth. It has yet to be determined if the entity that calls itself Venom is a friend or a foe though. Meanwhile Carlton Drake will stop at nothing to get his lifeform back, no matter who will die in the process….

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This is exactly the reason why you should always wait for your turn at the counter.

I’m seriously beginning to hate the critics these days. This movie has been torn to shreds by pretty much every single one of them and I have to wonder if some of them have even seen the movie. I said it quite recently in a review for Skyscraper I think that in general the critics have made it a sport to trash films that only offer fun. The problem is though that when people start to read those “reviews” their mindset is already influenced and some might even avoid going to the film altogether. Which would be a real shame as Venom is simply put a really fun film.While it’s certainly not perfect, it doesn’t deserve all the bashing that is currently directed at it by the so called experts. Eddie Brock is played by one of my favorite actors from the current era, Tom Hardy. He is a man who can pretty much handle every role they throw at him. In this film, he plays a character that is a bit of a loser for lack of a better word, but still comes out on top by becoming a (anti-) hero. I wouldn’t say it’s his best performance if I’m honest, but still he looks like he had a lot of fun in playing the role.

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Honestly he really is a nice guy once you get to know him.

But besides playing the role of Eddie, he also performs the voice of the alien symbiote Venom. The scenes where he is having discussions with himself and his alien alter ego provided some of the funniest moments in this movie. I love it when Venom just wants to go all out and eat people, but Brock tries to reason with this monster. It was surprising to me that this film contained a lot of (dark) humor. I honestly did not expect to find that in this movie, but it really worked. The rest of the actors in this film just simply don’t have very memorable parts. Michelle Williams who is always an accomplished actress plays the love interest of Eddie. But her role was to small for her to be able to really shine. The relatively unknown actor Riz Ahmed was cast as the villain Carlton Drake but I honestly didn’t find his role very impressive. It was too flat to really have that evil edge so to speak. Then again that also could have something to do with the script which wasn’t one of the strongest ones I have seen in these type of films.

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Talk to the hand…..

However the action and CGI sequences more than made up for this. When you first see the full Venom suit make an appearance it is really an extraordinary sight. It serves as a welcome reminder to see how much computer generated special effects have really progressed. The film was a bit slow in the first half hour or so, but then kicks into full gear, and I really found myself entertained for most of it’s runtime. Another complaint I have heard a number of times is that this movie didn’t get an R-rating. Granted Venom’s character certainly is violent, and the film had most of that violence shown off screen, but that didn’t mean that the movie was any worse because of that. So in the end Venom is another example of how the critics again rather unfairly treated this film as total garbage. It’s not the best superhero movie ever made, nor is it perfect, but it’s still a thoroughly enjoyable film that’s well worth seeing in the theatres. In other words, don’t always believe everything people write (including this post). Just go and see it with an open mind, and form your own opinion on it. You might be very surprised…

I give Venom a 8 out of 10 score.

Hold the Dark, American Movie (2018)

I love this time of year. The days are getting shorter again, which means the sun is beginning to set earlier and it becomes darker more quickly in the evening. Yes, I know many of you are probably disagreeing with me at this point, but I love it. It’s perfect for watching horror movies, or just cozying up in bed with a good book. One would almost think that I am a vampire or something, however as far as I know that is not the case. But at certain points in the world the sun is hardly seen at all during winter time. Now that might be taking things a little bit too far I guess. Alaska for instance has some places where the darkness settles in after barely three to five hours of sunlight. Now just imagine that if you will. I think a lot of people might simply go nuts as it takes some getting used to. That said though, those barren winter landscapes makes for some amazing imagery. It also serves as a perfect backdrop for some great movies as we have seen for instance in The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Last week a new movie came out over on Netflix which also utilises this cold and harsh environment. Is it a good film though? Well, let me talk you through it.

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Hi honey, sorry I’m stuck in traffic. I will be late again….

Hold the Dark takes places in the year 2004 in a very small village called Keelut deep in the Alaskan wilderness. Something truly dreadful has been happening there lately. Three small children have disappeared and are presumably dead, as their captors seemed to have been a pack of wolves. Medora Slone, the mother of the last child that has gone missing, calls in the help of a retired naturalist called Russell Core. This man who is an expert in wolves heeds the call of the grieving mother and soon arrives in the village. Meanwhile Medora’s husband, Vernon, is serving a tour in Iraq and is having his own share of troubles. He is as yet unaware of his son’s disappearence and his wife has so far not been able to share the horrible news with him. Russell has set off in search of the boy and to track down the wolves that are responsible for his capture. However not all is at seems. Darker and more sinister secrets are about to be revealed, and Russel finds himself in the middle of something that he simply did not expect to find…

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Trick or treat came early this year.

Did you ever watch a movie and when it ended you did not quite know how you felt about it? This was one of those films. Well, at least for me it was. I’m not saying this was a bad film, because really it wasn’t. But it’s also a movie that I felt could have been more, although I can’t quite put a finger on it what that more might just be. But let’s first get into the positives. One of the main selling points of this movie is once again the majestic and very cold landscape. It’s all shot beautifully, and adds to the sense of dread that this film is trying to achieve, and at which it also partially succeeds. You can’t help but feel very uneasy during most of the run time of this two hour movie. Hauntingly bleak visuals combined with a melancholic score certainly seem to capture the effect of what this movie was aiming for. The pacing of the film though was uneven. It was at times a rather slow film, and setting the tone for a creepy atmosphere can only get you so far.

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Awwwwwwwwwwww.

The performances in this film though were also definitely worth seeing. Jeffrey Wright who played the role of the aging Russel managed to create a very sympathetic character. It’s nice to see someone who really isn’t this macho superhero, but a more subdued and normal guy, who gets caught in something that is way above his head. I always like the underdog types, and Russel could definitely be classified as such. The role of Vernon was fulfilled by Alexander Skarsgård, and he made that role into a very chilling and sinister man. It’s definitely clear that the war in Iraq hasn’t left him without a few mental scars, as Vernon was an emotionless and very, very dangerous individual. It was a terrific part, and Skarsgård played it to perfection. Lastly James Badge Dale, who had a relatively minor role as a police officer also left a lasting impression. Even though he isn’t a very well known actor, he really rises above himself with an impressive performance.

Jeffrey Wright in the new film Hold the Dark. Photo credit: Netflix
I don’t know but shouldn’t those goggles be on your face?

Hold the Dark is a bit of a strange movie which is also pretty hard to classify. The story certainly has a number of shocking twists, and for lack of a better term WTF moments. But at the same time it also has trouble in finding out where exactly it wants to go. Is it a thriller? Is it an action film? Or even a drama? It’s pretty hard to say to be honest. Some of the scenes, especially in the beginning of the film just dragged on for too long. And I feel that if the film would have had a bit of a shorter runtime it might have been a better movie. That said though, there is still enough in this dark film (pun intended) for me to recommend it to you. The story is very interesting and has some pretty gruesome moments. Add to this some great actors, a tense and foreboding atmosphere and the beautiful landscape and it’s a movie that I feel is still worth your time. If you are not a fan of slow movies though, you might want to skip this.

I give Hold the Dark a 7 out of 10 score.