Tag Archives: Movies

Girls und Panzer, Anime tv series (2012)

Have you ever found yourself wanting to write a post, but you just don’t quite know where to start? This is one of them. I always like to start my reviews with an introduction that in some way relates to whatever I am reviewing, but this one……I really am at a loss for words. I have promised to do a review for Girls und Panzer for a very long time, and now that the moment is finally there, I am stalling and buying time. And, not quite succeeding at that either, am I? So why is this so hard? Well….unless I am mistaking I don’t think there currently is a place in the world where the sport of Tankery is being held. What’s that: Raistlin writing a post on a sports anime? What kind of black sorcery is this?  As most of you might know: I absolutely hate sports, of any kind. I don’t practice sports, I don’t watch sports, and Ugh….I am rambling again. Anyways, if I could participate in a game of Tankery though: you can count me in. Phew. Well, I am finally past the starting point. Time to start the review in earnest….now, where do I start? Oh yeah, you would like to know what this show is about right?

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Yes, there really is a pink tank in this picture.

Girls und Panzer takes us to a world where World War II tanks are maintained to be used in the sporting event known as Tankery. In this brutal, but at the same time relatively safe competition, girls from different highschools fight each other on battlefields in order to reach the finals and claim victory. Miho Nishizumi is a girl that comes from a very prestigious family that has been practicing Tankery for many years. But in a previous competition something happened to Miho, that causes her to become traumatised and not wanting to continue practicing the sport. Having transferred to a new Academy school ship that she believes doesn’t have Tankery on their list of activities, Miho tries to pick up her life. On her first day at the new school she has already made some new friends, and really begins to believe that life is good again. But, little does she know that the school has added the sport she fears so much back on the roster. Eventually Miho, as the only one who has had any previous experience with Tankery, is pressured into helping the other school girls. Together with her new friends, Nishiszumi enters the competition where she will face a lot of new challenges. The biggest one being, coming to terms with the life she thought she had left behind….

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Sometimes it can be really hard to find a good parking space. 

There are times when you put on a show and literally after seeing the very first scene it just clicks for you. This is one of those shows. Girls und Panzer is a series that is just pure and simple fun. One of the things I love most about anime is the sometimes completely unique concepts it can come up with. I mean really, think about this for a second. How on Earth do you come up with a plot like this: cute highschool girls driving World War II tanks. But not only does it work, it is one of those animes that you can’t help but smile at. It’s really…well cute. And that’s weird for a series that has brutal tank battles in it. But let me just get that out of the way first. Girls und Panzer is a comedy series. In no way is all of this to be taken seriously. There is no blood, and nor are the girls ever in a real life or death battle. Ofcourse no sporting event comes without it’s risk of injury, and Tankery is no different. And yes people, you read that right, not only am I reviewing a sports anime, but it’s a comedy as well. Really, I must have been hit on the head or something.

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Let’s all join in dancing here! Because really that’s what you do in a battle!

Honestly though this is not a slapstick comedy. There are some really funny scenes, but it’s not the kind of humor that is cringeworthy. And that said, the highlight of this series is most certainly the sport of Tankery itself. The tank battles are seriously awesome to watch. Using computertechniques to bring them to life, they are the absolute highlight of this anime. You would think that at some point battles like that will become very tedious, but let me assure that is not the case. Every event is unique, and just like watching an exciting football match featuring your favorite team, you will really hold your breath each time Miho enters a new battle with her friends. You really want them to win, and when they do you will find yourself raising your fist in the air and shouting at the top of your lungs along with the fictional crowd. Erm, or maybe that is just me. Storywise, there really isn’t much more to it than the girls trying to reach the finals. There are a few subplots here and there, but overall the focus is on Tankery. In other animes that might get quite boring, but this anime never has that problem.

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Yes, military uniforms have certainly come a long way since the war. 

There is something that is a bit of a problem and that is the huge cast this series has. I am not kidding here, but this anime has over 50 different characters. While the focus is definitely on Miho and her friends, all the others make appearances in several episodes as well. It will probably not come as a very huge surprise to you that character development isn’t very high on the agenda. But to it’s credit, despite that fact, each character does have it’s own distinguishing marks. I, however did have some trouble in keeping some of the cast members apart from each other. With a cast this huge everyone will probably have a favorite, and for me that was Mako Reizei. It felt like she was continually sleeping through everything (well, she always had trouble getting up early in the morning), and her voice never gets excited even in the face of danger. This causes some very funny scenes, where for example the rest of the girls are going completely nuts, and she just keeps talking with her monotone voice.

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Some people take the order to fire a bit too literally. 

Another thing that is worth mentioning is the soundtrack. The background music at times sounds like the ones you had in old World War II movies, and it fits this anime perfectly. Together with the world that is created in this series, it manages to create a very unique experience. Girls und Panzer is an anime you need to watch when you want to take a break from all the heavy stuff. It is simply put a very charming show, that I pretty much dare you not to be entertained by. What it might lack in terms of storyline and character development, it more than makes up for in the excitement and fun factor. Unless you are a very cynical person that is completely devoid of any emotion, you will be put under it’s spell right from the beginning. Girls und Panzer has been a joy to watch, even though this is certainly a series that is miles away from the shows that I usually see. Panzer vor!

I give Girls und Panzer a 8 out of 10 score.

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February’s Theme Reveal: Science Fiction & Horror movies

Helly everyone! As we are about halfway through the month of January, it’s time to reveal the upcoming theme for next month. As mentioned in my plans for this year, every month my blog will be focussing on a different theme, that will get just a little bit more attention than all the other stuff. And as you can see above in the big black capital letters that are kind of hard to miss, next month the theme will be Science Fiction and Horrormovies. So why reveal this now, and not wait until the end of the month? Well, because this time I’m going to ask you for a bit of help. No it’s nothing serious, you don’t need to do any heavy lifting or homework. So what am I asking exactly?

The help question and the rules.

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There are rules for this? Are you kidding me here?

Next month I want to do at least four reviews for movies that are suggested by you the readers. Yes you! So how exactly does this work?

  • Leave a comment down below in this post for one or two movies that you would like me to watch and do a review for
  • It has to be a science fiction and/or horrormovie
  • It can be either an animated or live action movie, as long as it is in one of the categories that I mentioned
  • You can leave a comment with your suggestions until the 25th of January
  • I will then use a random number generator to pick four movies, two for each category
  • The movies that are going to be reviewed will be revealed on the first post for February
  • The bloggers whose choices got picked will get an honorable mention on my blog

Pretty simple and straightforward huh? I hope you will provide me with a few good suggestions, and of course thank you for the help. Looking forward to seeing what everyone is going to come up with!

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The official making of Big Trouble in Little China, a book written by Tara Bennet & Paul Terry (2016)

Director John Carpenter will always be one of my favorite alltime horror movie directors. Best known for movies such as The Thing and Halloween he has made an impact on this genre that is felt even today. One of his lesser known, but no less fun movies is Big Trouble in Little China. While this one technically can not really be called a horror movie, it’s one of those films that has gathered a real cult status amongst fans, myself included. Two years ago, the movie celebrated it’s 30th anniversary, and as often happens during events like that some cool products were released to help celebrate it. One of the things I always enjoy reading is books that detail how a certain film was made, especially if they contain some cool facts and nice artwork. To my delight, finally John Carpenter’s classic got a book like that as well. And as Kurt Russel’s character Jack Burton from the movie would say: “Great, a six demon bag. What’s in it?”

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“Son of a bitch must pay!!” 

Within the pages of this 176 page book you will find a lot of awesome never before seen photographs, that could definitely be called the highlight of this book. Included are promotional photographs, behind the scenes pictures, stills from the movie itself, and a lot of detailed artwork. All of these are printed in very high quality resolution, and every photograph no matter how small, get’s a description of what it shows. The latter might seem very obvious, but trust me when I say that there have also been making of books that did not include this information. That always annoys me to no end, because there have truly been some occasions where I would have loved to have found out what a certain picture depicted. The entire layout of the book, breathes the atmosphere of this great film, and the designers of this did a great job on that department. The book pretty much follows along with the story of the film, and so you will find yourself taking a trip down memory lane when you flip through the book.

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The good old Pork-Chop Express.

But besides the photographs there is of course also a lot of information about what went on during the making of the movie itself. It is written in a clear and concise way, that includes insights from the cast and crew itself. Some of the text was a bit dry, especially when they went into details about which type of cameras were being used, and stuff like that. But that luckily doesn’t happen very often. There were two things I really enjoyed finding out about and had never known before, prior to reading this book. The first was that the actress that played the character of Margo Litzenberg, Kate Burton, was the daughter of the legendary actor Richard Burton. The other is the fact that this movie was really helpful in the promotion and use of Asian American actors. As we all know, there has been a lot of controversy over the “whitewashing” affairs of the American movie industry. This movie was way ahead of it’s time in the fact that it used almost primarily Asian American actors/actresses for it’s leading roles. A fact that the cast was very thankful of and that really becomes kind of a focal point throughout this book.

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Some people just don’t look their best when they just woke up. 

The book is presented in pretty thick glossy pages that really give it the look of a high quality product. To round out the book we get a foreword written by the legendary director himself, and an afterword penned by it’s leading man Kurt Russell. This is a book that is written for the fans, there’s no question about that. If you have never seen the film, there is little to no point in picking this up. Unless you really like reading books about all the details and hard work that is put into making a film like this. However if you have been a fan of this cult classic as much as I have been, this one is well worth it to add to your collection. Overall it was a very enjoyable read, that contains a wealth of good background information, great interviews with cast and crew, and of course the visual aspects of it were a delight. You can almost hear the Pork-Chop Express driving up to your home with old Jack Burton on the CB saying: “It’s all in the reflexes”.

I give the Official Making of Big Trouble in Little China a 8 out of 10 score.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Underworld: Blood Wars, American movie (2016)

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

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

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

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Enough with those Vampire puns already, come on!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special Features Presents: Happy New Year & Blogging Resolutions

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first post of the new year. I wish each and every one of you that is reading this, especially all of you that are following my blog, a very happy new year. Last year was a rough year for a lot of people, and I truly hope that 2018 is going to bring only good and warm things for all of you and your loved ones. And of course a new year brings the inevitable New Year’s Resolutions. Well, I know a lot of people make these, but I never quite believed in them. So, I thought that this year I would call them Blogging Resolutions, as I will be spending a lot of time this year on my blog and all of your blogs as well. But let’s translate this into what this post is actually about: pretty much all the things you can look forward to (or at least I hope you will be looking forward to it lol), on my blog in this year. As I mentioned in my final post last year, I want to bring a bit more structure into my blog.

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Yup….a bit more structure can definitely be good at times 😅

That doesn’t mean I am going to be focussing on only one thing. This is still a multi-topic blog and that won’t change. What I do plan on doing is at least cover every main theme of my blog (Movies, Anime, Books, TV-series and Korean Dramaseries) with at least one post each month. In that way everyone should at least get coverage of one of the things they like viewing/reading the most. That said I also plan on having theme months. Which means that each month I will be focussing on one topic of my blog more than the others. Lastly, I have a few new features that I hope to add as well, but you can find more details about that below. As with all things in life, and as most of you also know, there is always the aspect of real life hiding in the shadows. Which means that plans can always change because of events that happen in the real world that are beyond your control. But that said, where would we be without any sort of plans? So without further ado, lets get cracking and see what 2018 is going to bring!

Movies

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Well, it goes without saying that my movie reviews will of course return for the next year. If there would ever come a year that I don’t watch any movies, I have probably been replaced with an evil clone body. In 2018 we will get an enormous amount of different films that I am looking forward to very much. One of the biggest events will of course be Marvel’s Avengers Infinity War. With the largest superhero cast ever created for the big screen, this movie is set to take over the box office by storm. But there are more things to look forward to. The inevitable sequels such as Jurrasic World Fallen Kingdom, Pacific Rim:Uprising, The Equalizer II and a new Predator movie will hopefully bring us more of the same goodness that we loved in the originals. But three films I’m particularly looking forward to seeing are Meg (Jason Statham taking on a huge pre-historic shark), Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg’s new film, that looks like a geek’s dream come true) and Alita Battle Angel (the live action version of my favorite manga). These, and probably many others, are all going to make an appearance at some point on my blog.

Anime

imageLast year I started for the first time with watching seasonal anime (I usually only watched shows that were already completed), and it was something I enjoyed very much. The main reason for this being I could exchange thoughts on episodes right after they showed. It goes without saying that I will continue that in this year. Attack on Titan season 3, and hopefully the third season for Sword Art Online are definitely the two shows that I’m looking forward to the most. But of course, as I am pretty much behind on almost every anime in existence, there are some older shows that will get their reviews as well here. First up is the long overdue Girls und Panzer (and what a wonderful surprise that turned out to be), but you can also expect reviews for  Ganz, Psycho Pass season 2, Tokyo Ghoul and many others both old and new. I also hope to attend Animecon 2018, where I will give you a full report of that incredibly wonderful event just like I did last year.

Books

imageLike anime I have a list of books that I still need to read that will probably be enough to build a skyscraper of a 1000 floors with. But I love reading, and I definitely want to get to that part of my many hobbies a lot more this year. I own every Karin Slaughter book that has been published to date, but have yet to read her final three offerings. She is just about the only writer that I read that doesn’t write about science fiction and fantasy. The Warhammer 40000 universe has always held me interest and I plan on reading the twelve part novel series The Beast Arises in it’s entirety this year. Besides fiction I also love reading making of books on movies, and you can expect reviews for a few of those as well, including Big Trouble in Little China, Ghost in the Shell and Bladerunner 2049. And then there are of course comics and manga, which I’m sure will also get hit with my hard hitting reviews (ahum….right…moving on).

Tv series

imageThe world of television changes each year. New shows keep being added and quite honestly it’s become pretty much impossible to follow every show. But I’m pretty sure that I will in all likelyhood be able to discover some new shows this year along the way. But that’s not to say the old favorites are going anywhere. One review you can definitely expect from me is the eight season of The Walking Dead, that no matter what anybody says I still love to death. The second season of the science fiction series The Expanse is also still on my review list as well as Homeland season 6, Lethal Weapon season 2, and 24 Legacy. If all goes well, and this is a big if, I also hope to revisit one of my favorite alltime science fiction series Babylon 5. An amazing and truly highly underrated gem that some of you might never have even heard of.

Korean dramas

imageI love watching Korean dramas but one of my biggest problems with them, is that so many of the cool ones aren’t available for me to watch. Luckily Netflix is beginning to get a few of these as well now, which is awesome. Two of the dramas that I failed to complete last year are Pinocchio and Missing Nine. I hope that if all goes well, these will be featured on my blog in january. Two of the dramas that Netflix have on offer are Black and Stranger. I have already progressed about halfway with Stranger, and I’m really looking forward to Black. The story for that about a grim reaper that tries to uncover a serial murder mystery while at the same time falling in love with a mortal woman, sounds intriguing to say the least. I can’t wait to get started on that one. But I’m pretty sure that new shows will also enter my to watch list, as just with regular tv series, Korean Dramas continue being developed as well.

The New Stuff

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Can you please stop talking now?

For those of you that have made it to the end of this post, I thank you for your patience. I know this post is pretty long, but I am almost done. (What do you mean you don’t believe me?) So, as I mentioned I also have a few new features planned for my blog. Curious about what they are? Well, here they come:

  • Bloggers in the spotlight: Last year the number of new bloggers I have met were astounding. Some of them have become great friends, not to mention the ones that I already knew. As I am running a multi-topic blog I plan on doing a monthly post that will cover 3-4 bloggers that either write about anime, movies or books in order to put them in the spotlight. I have always said that the most wonderful thing about blogging is exchanging thoughts and meeting new people, and this is my way of showing my appreciation for that.
  • Competition time: My blog is starting to creep slowly towards the magical number of 1000 followers. I honestly still can’t believe this, but I really could not have done this without all your terrific support and love. That’s why I want to give back some of that love to all of you. As soon as I will hit the 1000th follower I’m going to run a competition giving you a chance to win some (hopefully) amazing prices. More on that later in the year.
  • The monthly choice: Starting in February, depending on the theme of that particular month, I want to give you all a chance to present me with a suggestion for a review I should be doing. I will choose one of these suggestions completely at random and the blogger who “wins ” will of course get an honorable mention.

Phew…..this was one heck of a long post, and to think that the year has only just started! Hopefully, despite it’s length, you still enjoyed reading this one. Let me know what you think of all these plans and what you are excited about the most in the comments section (or if you don’t like anything that was mentioned here, feel free to let me know as well lol). As always, thank you for reading, and let’s make 2018 a wonderful year!

Special Features Presents: And now…the end is near!

Don’t worry, I am not going to be closing down my blog. This is just the final post that I am going to be writing. For this year that is. Everyone has been saying it: “Wow, has this year flown by”. And it certainly has. For me this year has had it’s ups and downs. More downs than ups if I am going to be honest, but I don’t want to write my final post of the year as a depressive one. In short I want to make this a cool and fun post to celebrate the end of this year. And what better way to do that, than in showing you all my favorite things that I read, watched and played in 2017. But before I start on that I also want to say that this first full year of blogging has been amazing. I have seen my blog grow in ways that I really did not expect. I have met an awful lot of new bloggers along the way, and some of them have turned into a couple of really amazing friends. Combined with the people I already knew I can really say that I could not live without my blog anymore. It’s become a part of me, and I want to thank each and every one of you that has ever read a post, left a comment or a like. You really are all amazing, and I hope the new year is going to bring you all only fun and good things. And now, let’s kick off this end of year post shall we?

Favorite movie of the year: Bladerunner 2049

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If someone would have told me a few years ago that Blade Runner 2049 would end up as my favorite movie of the year I would have flat out laughed out loud. As I really thought that this sequel to such a classic science fiction masterpiece would be doomed to fail. But I was proven wrong. This beautiful movie had everything in it. It expanded the story of the original film, and combined with breathtaking visual effects, some solid acting and a brilliant score this one is simply the reason why I love movies so much. I can’t wait to own this one on dvd, to watch it over and over again. My absolute number one film for this year.

Favorite anime of the year: Your Lie in April

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One of absolute highlights of 2017 was the watch-a-long with Weekend Otaku for the breathtaking animeseries Your lie in April. I know this one was released in 2014,  but for me it was the first time I saw it this year. What can I say about this beautiful show that has not already been said? It’s an emotional roller coaster that this show takes you on, but it’s one well worth taking. You would be wise to stock up on numerous boxes of tissues because I guarantee that you are going to cry multiple times. But this is a show that is simply put: perfect. I had never thought I would like a slice of life show as much as I ended up enjoying this one. It’s still my number one alltime anime series to date.

Favorite Korean Drama of the year: Goblin

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On the front of Korean dramas I have had a very disappointing year. As in: I saw way too few of them (Sorry about that Kay). I plan to really watch more of these next year, as there are quite a number of them that I still want to see. My favorite pick for this year was really easy though. Goblin was an amazing drama with high production values, a beautiful and heartwarming story but best of all were the characters. They really made this series into an incredible fun watch. I’m not one that usually likes comedies, but the humor in this drama was just hilarious. I really had to laugh at so many scenes. But this certainly wasn’t a comedy as there were also many exciting, tearful but also quite horrifying scenes. If you have never seen a K-drama before this might be a very good place to start.

Favorite Tv Series of the Year: Stranger Things 2

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When a first season for a series is highly succesful and a second season gets announced, fans look forward to it, but obviously are very anxious for it at the same time. What if it sucks? Stranger Things is a show that proves that a second season can be just as good, if not at times even better than the first one. While overall I did think the first season was just a tiny bit better, this second season was just a blast from start to finish. The entire 80’s vibe, the wonderful characters (both old and new), and the storyline combine to make this a show that you can’t stop watching until you have finished it. It was an absolutely amazing watch, and I am already looking forward to next year where season 3 will hopefully give us that same experience again. Stranger Things is simply put: awesome!

Favorite Book of the Year: Sisters of Battle

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Ugh, as with Korean Dramaseries, reading books this year has really been underwhelming. I have such a huge pile of books that I still need to read, and because of the wonderful Dani ,Kim and Didi my Good Reads to read list has completely exploded. (Thanks for that girls 😢 Just kidding, you know I love you 😊). And now there are the wonderful Lashaan and Trang that also keep adding books to this seemingly never ending list. But I did read some books this year, and my favorite was also one that I finished quite recently the Sisters of Battle Omnibus. This one was just a blast to read from start to finish. Great characters, explosive battlescenes and just a terrific science fiction setting are just a couple of the things that made this novel so much fun. But the girlpower is what gave this book it’s real edge. This was a pageturner and a book that I could hardly put down.

Favorite Boardgame of the Year: Eldritch Horror

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When it comes to boardgames it simply doesn’t get any better than this. Eldritch Horror is a fantastic horror/fantasy boardgame that I gave a well deserved perfect score. It’s a joy to play, even when playing it solo, because of the great narrative components it contains. You will find yourself racing across the world trying to prevent an ancient evil from awakening. In the meantime you will experience all sorts of adventures that are always different whenever you play this game. If you love reading books or watching adventure movies, this is a game you should definitely consider adding to your collection. Trust me when I say that you will not be disappointed by this in any way.

Final thoughts

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Well people: that’s it. Time for me to call it a day. At least for this year that is. I hope you will all enjoy the upcoming final day of the year. If you are going to be using fireworks please make sure you aren’t going to blow any of your hands off. I do want to see each and everyone of you back safely next year. Speaking of next year, I will continue to write about the things I love the most, but I do want to bring a little bit more structure into my blog, as it has sometimes been going all over the place. I have also been thinking of a few new features I want to add, but that is a story for later. As always thank you for reading this and for your amazing support the past few months. See you all next year! 😀😀

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Look, my lightsaber is still shiny and red!

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

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

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

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

***Spoilers End***

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Your hair looks really ridiculous you know that right?

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

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

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

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

Serenity, American movie (2005)

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

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Does anybody know any good jokes?

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

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

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

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One has to love big fleets going head to head.

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

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

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

I give Serenity a 9 out of 10 score.