Yes people, it’s a new month, and it promises to be a very good one at that. There are lots of exciting things that are going to be happening in March. First off, I am absolutely delighted to have the theme for March be anime. Ever since I started blogging, I rediscovered my love for this fantastic medium. But I have to give credit to this by naming one of the most inspiring anime bloggers out there, the wonderful Karandi . I had not watched anime for about 7-8 years before I started my blog. In the early days of my “blogging career” I ran across Karandi’s blog purely by chance and needless to say I absolutely loved it. Because of her I began watching anime again, and now, just like blogging it really has become quite a big part of my life. Just like I did for last month’s theme I asked for your help in what I should review, and you can find the results below. Another thing that will be happening this month is the results of the competition. I know you are looking forward to seeing if you might be one of the winners. Well only 8 more days, and the final results will be revealed…and of course that coincides together with my birthday. Lastly I hope there will be two collab posts coming out as well in this month, but I am not going to reveal any details for that just yet. Gotta keep some secrets right??
My Hero Academia
Well, before I get into who the two bloggers are that won for My Hero Academia (yes there were two) I want to say another thank you to Stilzel, who has made it possible for me to finally be able to see this anime (I can’t provide a link to a blog, because as far as I know Stilzel isn’t on WordPress (yet), but you can find them on Twitter at @_Stilzel).
Now My Hero Acedemia is a very, very popular anime about a society where 80% of the population has superhero powers. Imagine that! Just like last month I used the random numbers generator to select which reviews I would be taking on, and the funny thing is that this one got selected twice in a row, but with two different bloggers that asked for it, one being Jiraiyan and the other Merlin . As I did want to take on two different animes, I decided to just give both bloggers a shout out for this one when I write the final review, and went on to select a third number.
The second anime that was chosen by the random numbers generator was requested by Adam and is called Baccano! Weirdly enough this anime was on Netflix and today has all of a sudden disappeared. But I have found another way to watch it anyway, so no worries. Baccano! sounds like a deliciously weird and interesting show, that involves fantasy elements, outlaws and gangsters, and seemingly takes place over several decades.
Well, that’s it! Don’t like anime? No worries, I have still got you covered. There are going to be some movie reviews, as well as another Korean drama that I am currently watching and am very excited for. So there is still other stuff heading your way this month as well. As mentioned, I am currently on a short blogging hiatus, but I had already finished this post and it was scheduled to go out today. Rest assured though, next week I will be back in full swing, and respond to all the comments you left for me (You already have my thanks for all the kind words and support). I hope all of you are doing well, and look forward to talking with you again next week. Bye for now!
I have talked a lot about sequels on my blog in the past. Some people love them, some people hate them. One can’t deny that in the current movie climate sequels are coming out of the woodwork. Not a year goes by that we don’t get some kind of sequel to a movie that has been successful in the theatres. Usually for the sole reason to obviously make more money. But there are certain films that were so good, so incredible, that you don’t even want a second part. Huh? What’s that? Why would you not want a sequel to a movie that you loved? Well how on Earth could it ever surpass a film that left you in total amazement after you have seen it for the first time? So why tarnish that film with a follow up that can never be as good? I’m sure that is what the moviegoing audience must have thought when Aliens was released, seven years after Ridley Scott’s original Alien. That classic movie is a masterpiece. So how did, at the time relatively unknown director James Cameron, even dare to touch such a sacred work of art. Total blashphemy right? Wrong… People, stop your grinnin and drop your linen: LET’S ROOOOOCCCCKKKKKK!!!
At the start of Alien a small shuttlecraft is found by a salvageteam. Aboard is the sole survivor of the spacecraft Nostromo, Ellen Ripley. After her rescue she is shocked to learn that she has been in cryosleep for 57 years. When she tells the story of what happened to her and her crew, to a bunch of executives of The Company, no one really believes her. Especially since the planet where the Nostromo first encountered the terrifying alien species is now terraformed and has been occupied by a human colony for several years. In all that time no one ever reported anything out of the ordinary. Ripley is being dismissed and left to deal with her demons alone. Waking up in a cold sweat every night, Ellen feels like she is slowly losing it. But then she is contacted by Company man Burke, who tells her that all contact has been lost with the colony on LV 426, and that they need her help in finding out what is going on. At first Ripley is very reluctant to do so, but eventually she relents and together with Burke and a group of Colonial Marines she heads back towards the planet of her nightmares. But the nightmare is even worse than she imagined and not even a group of the toughest hombres of the galaxy might be enough to save the galaxy. This time it’s war….
Let me make one thing really clear to you before I am beginning this review. I almost know this film by heart. I can pretty much recount every single line of dialogue from this film. I could have written this review without even rewatching the movie itself. But the only reason I did watch it again anyway is because I am in complete and utter love with this film. You might even call it a small obsession. This is my alltime number 2 favorite movie, and the best science fiction film that I have ever seen in my entire life. (So Karandi I guess your question has been answered now). To compare Alien and Aliens is almost impossible as they are two completely different films. Where the first Alien is true horror, this second movie is an action film. While of course there are still horror elements in it (it would almost be impossible not to include those, I mean just look at the creatures themselves), it is not as claustrophobic as that first masterpiece. But that doesn’t matter as this film has an intensity and thrill level that more than compensates for that. This film is an express elevator to hell, and it doesn’t let up until the final credits.
A big part of what makes this film so memorable is the incredible cast of characters. Let’s start with the heroic Corporal Hicks, played by the in my opinion highly underrated actor Michael Biehn. He is just one of those men that has this natural charisma that you instantly like. In a very tense situation, Hicks is the one that stays frosty and inspires the troops with his calm and motivating presence. His on screen chemistry with Ripley works incredibly well, and there is an underlying romance that is never acted upon, but definitely there. The opposite of Hicks is Hudson played by the late Bill Paxton. Also serving as a bit of much needed comic relief, he has some of the best lines in the film, especially when he keeps losing his cool. In the end though he is every bit the hero that Hicks is. On the sleezeball side is the character of Burke, portrayed by actor Paul Reiser. It’s funny to see him play a role that is quite unusual for him as he normally portrays gentle characters that have a real sense of innate goodness in them. Burke though, is a slimy and utterly loathsome man that only has substantial dollar values in his mind, and has his own secret agenda for coming on this mission.
But, ultimately it is once again Sigourney Weaver who returns as Ripley, that is the driving force of this film. She got an Oscar nomination for her role and deservedly so. Even more than in the first movie, Ripley is a lean, mean fighting machine. But her love for the young child Newt, the sole survivor of the doomed colony is what makes you like her even more. The bond that forms between the two of them, is a mother and daughter kind of relationship and ultimately gives this film a true heart. And that is an incredible thing to pull off amidst all the action and incredible special effects. Because really let’s talk about that for a second. There is a fight sequence between Ripley driving a power loader and the Alien Queen that to date I am still in awe of. The way they filmed that sequence is just absolutely astounding, and in spite of it being a film that is now 32 years old, it doesn’t look fake at all. In fact you just have to wonder if the government somehow kept these aliens a secret from us. That’s how incredible this looks. And that scene contains one of the greatest lines ever in a movie. Don’t know what I am talking about? Just look at the clip down below.
I haven’t even talked about some of the other characters like Vasquez, or the android Bishop, but if you let me I could write a review that could possibly go on forever. And as that might become bit too boring I’m going to call it a day here. As this review contains not a single negative word from me about it, I can hear you wonder if I am being objective here. Quite possibly I am not. But for the life of me I really can’t think of anything that was bad in this film. This for me has been and always shall be the greatest single piece of science fiction moviemaking that I have ever had the pleasure of watching. A gripping, powerful and utterly moving film, that is accompanied by the terrific score of composer James Horner, you just have to see this movie at least once in your life. It is in my opinion the best sequel to a film that has ever been made, and I don’t think that there will ever be a greater sequel in movie history. Then again, I have been wrong before. So in the words of Hudson: Game over man! Game over!
Although the official part of my science fiction and horror theme month might be over (the requested reviews), the month it self definitely isn’t yet. And this is well, not a real request, but more something that came up in a conversation. I was talking to Lina the other day (No,not going to be doing a promo here again, you already all know how awesome she is. And if you don’t just press on the link and go follow her already. Whoops…still did a promo, sorry!) and at one point the conversation came to science fiction films. And how cool the movie that I am about to do a review for still is even after so many years. So, seeing as this is one of my all time favorites, and I was planning on writing this one anyway at some point, I figured I might as well do it now. And Lina wanted me to write this too, so there is that. It was the late 70’s when this film came out, and remember this was around the time when the first Star Wars movie had become an overnight success. Science fiction was a very hot property to have and movie studios had certainly discovered that. But audiences just weren’t prepared for the terrifying vision that director Ridley Scott had on this genre. In space no one might hear you scream….but in the movietheatres everyone could hear you scream!
In the darkness of space a large spaceship slowly comes into view. The camera moves inside the craft where lights and machinery is being turned on by the ship’s computer. Not only the ship is coming alive though, but also it’s human crew, that is being awakened from their cryosleep. The ship is called the Nostromo, and after having been in space for a very long time, it’s crew that includes Captain Dallas and Warrant Officer Ripley, were looking forward to finally heading back to Earth. But unfortunately they are not anywhere near their homeplanet. A transmission of some kind, maybe even a distress signal, has been picked up from the nearby planet designated LV-426. As per their company’s policy they are obligated to investigate any unknown signals. Using a shuttlecraft they descent towards the surface of the planet. When they finally make it to the ground a small team, under the command of captain Dallas, is leaving the shuttle behind to find out where the signal originated from. Meanwhile Ripley stays on board the ship trying to decipher the transmission. When she finally manages to uncover at least a part of it, she finds out it was not a distress signal, but a warning. However, that warning has probably come to late. For what they find on the desolate planet is something that has come straight out of the darkest pits of hell itself….
It doesn’t matter that this film is now almost 40 years old. Because it is still every bit as terrifying as when this was first released all those years ago. What we have here is a movie that might very well be one of the most claustrophobic horror films ever made. Right from the very start of the movie, when the letters of the word Alien begin to slowly make an appearance, the atmosphere for this film is pretty much set. It is a dark film, both in tone, but also in subject matter. One of the most memorable sequences ever created for film, and maybe even one of the most horrifying ones, is where the alien’s first form emerges in all it’s bloody glory on the screen. The reactions that you see at that point from the terrified cast were real. Ridley Scott never told them exactly what would happen at that scene when they filmed it. And even if he would have told them, I think they would still all have been shocked at the way it looked. Even today it is still horrible. The only reason I’m not going into any more details is because I don’t want to give away spoilers in case you might have not seen this one yet.
The alien itself, designed by H.R.Giger, an artist from Switzerland that has sadly passed away, is a vision that seems to have been born straight out of the mind of a complete madman. It’s dark and sleek form, that can even be called very sexual in a disturbing kind of way, is one of the best movie monsters ever created. Director Ridley Scott has done a great job in not showing the monster right away, but just taking his time, building up to the reveal. It works perfectly. But when talking about Alien, it is not enough to only mention the cool set designs, the terrifying creature and terrific special effects. No…there is one other element that makes this film so great, and that is actress Sigourney Weaver. In her role as Ripley she created the most iconic female character to ever make an appearance in a science fiction movie. She is totally bad ass. Ripley is not only a strong figurehead for women all over the world, she is a character that personifies the word girlpower. Yes she is scared, who wouldn’t be when faced with such a terrifying creature. But she doesn’t cower in a corner: she takes the lead, and does something about it. And by doing that she more than gives the men in this film a run for their money.
The rest of the cast of characters in this film also do a great job in their respective roles, especially actor Ian Holm who plays the sinister character of Ash. And yes, trust me when I say that he becomes very sinister indeed. I could go on talking about this film all day. Don’t worry I won’t be doing that as this review is already getting pretty long. Alien is simply one of those rare films that, just like the Xenomorph itself, is simply the perfect organism. It’s a timeless film, that doesn’t feel dated even for a single second. Okay, maybe the spaceship scenes don’t look as great anymore as they did back in the days. But seriously I’m really nitpicking now. Well..and now there is a question that needs to be answered, right Karandi? Is this film better than it’s sequel? Sorry…I’m not going to answer that one just yet. I will though….soon…in the review for Aliens that will be coming up somewhere next week (yes…I am evil that way). As for this film: see it! That’s pretty much all I can say about it. It is one of the most powerful science fiction horrormovies ever made, and I absolutely love it!
When your day starts you never quite know what you can expect from it. I mean sure, you might have a general outline of things, but there might also be some events that you have absolutely no influence over whatsoever. Some of these might be very normal like a flat tire on your bike. But there are also events that you hope to never encounter in your life. Like a terrible accident or a hostage situation. And when things like that occur there are always people that rise up above themselves. That can become a hero. But you will never know what you might do yourself until that moment arises. Will you cower in fright or will you do everything in your power to conquer your fears and meet the situation head on? It can be quite easy to say that someone was a coward when you weren’t there. How you might have knocked over that armed gunman or pulled that victim out of that burning car. The truth is you don’t know and you can’t know. I truly hope to never be in such a dilemma myself though. A fact that one of the characters in this film might have wished for as well.
In The Ritual a group of four friends are trying to come to terms with the loss of their friend Rob who got killed in a horrible way six months earlier. To honor him, they decide to go hiking in Sweden, which is one of the things that Rob had wanted to do. The four of them, Dom, Luke, Phil and Hutch have just about completed their trek when Dom falls and hurts his knee in a bad way. Checking their map they are trying to decide how best to continue. Eventually they think their only course of action is to head of the path and straight into a nearby forest hoping they can save a few hours this way and make it back sooner. I don’t think that I really have to explain that this turns out to be a very bad decision on their part. Soon, they are beginning to encounter very strange phenomena in the darkened woods. Weird symbols carved on trees and gutted animals strung up high above them are just the start. It seems that a strange and ancient force calls the forest it’s home. And it doesn’t take very kindly to strangers….as the four friends are about to find out……
The Ritual is one of those movies that you might all have seen before in some form or another and it has a lot of familiar things in it. I often hear people say that a movie needs to be original in order for them to enjoy it. If that is the case than I can tell you right now, step away from this film. This one has a lot of well known clichés in it, that you will often find in these “lost in the woods” kind of movies. But does that necessarily make this a bad film? No way. What the movie lacks in originality it makes up for in suspense. I did not experience a single moment in this movie where I felt bored. Right from the opening of the film, it has a pretty nice pace that doesn’t let up until the end of the credits. The creepy wood is creating a tense and chilling atmosphere, and it also one of those movies that really depends on sounds. I was watching this late last night, in the dark and in a very silent house and trust me when I say that I jumped up quite a few times during certain scenes.
The actors, all of them pretty much unknown to me, did a great job in portraying their characters. The film’s focus lies primarily on the character of Luke, and as such he is the most fleshed out of the bunch. Played expertly by actor Rafe Spall, Luke is someone that you can definitely feel for. His trauma from the past, is one that weighs on him heavily throughout the film. Especially when his other friends are slowly beginning to lay extra guilt on him. The group dynamics and their conversations under pressure are well written and utterly convincing. When it is beginning to become clear that they may never find their way out of the terrifying forest, the tensions between the four men are beginning to rise. It puts their friendship to the test until the breaking point, and it’s done so in a very realistic way. Also, because the film spent it’s time in letting us get to know all the characters, we form an attachment to them, which is important when it comes to films such as these.
Ultimately The Ritual was a very pleasant surprise. This Netflix original, might not be very original, but for it’s intended audience it works. The movie is based on a, from what I have read, pretty succesful novel written by author Adam Nevill. Having seen this film now, it was entertaining enough for me to try and track this book down. If you are in need for a quick fix of late night horror, this one is definitely worth checking out. Atmospheric, tense, and definitely creepy at times, the Ritual is a well acted and quite entertaining little horrorfilm. I recommend seeing this one with all the lights out, and cranking up the stereo. It will only add to the experience trust me on that (and really who cares if you wake up the neigbours in the process right?). I do know one thing though. After having seen this film, I’m going to be avoiding the woods for a while. Just in case……
Today it’s Valentine’s Day. You know that special day where you are doing extra sweet things for the one you love, making him or her feel extra warm and fuzzy inside. Where you go out for that romantic boatride, that lovely candle light dinner or that extra cuddle. In short it’s the day that is filled with romance. Yes people I am a romantic guy at heart. But for us singles it’s that one day that comes back every year and makes that feeling of still being alone extra tough. (Yes, let’s hear those sad violins now). Seriously people, don’t feel bad for me or show any kind of pity. It’s all right. I’m happy for everyone that is lucky enough to spent this day with their soulmate. So what better way for me to bring that feeling of romance right to you, by giving you this special Valentine’s Day review. And it just can’t get any more romantic than this. What we have here is a movie that is about a man who will do anything for the woman he loves. Including slicing and dicing up people that stand in his way when he wants to achieve that goal. Erm….yes this is a romance movie, I guarantee it.
Meet Wade Wilson. He is a dishonarably discharged ex-special forces operative that now works in New York as a mercenary. But then it happens. He meets the escort Vanessa, and sparks begin to fly. Romance blossoms, clothes come off and go flying in all kinds of different directions, and generally it seems like they are a match made in heaven. But just when they are about to tie the knot, tragedy strikes. Wade gets diagnosed with terminal cancer, and their lives are turned upside down. Eventually Wilson decides he doesn’t want to expose Vanessa to see him slowly dying, and leaves. When a mysterious recruiter approaches him and tells him there might be a way to cure his disease, Wade is at first very skeptical. But in the end he relents, especially as this might be a chance for him to be with his true love again. He meets up with a man named Ajax, who has an experimental serum that can awaken latent mutant genes. But there is a catch to this. In order to make it work, Wade has to undergo truly horrible and very sadistic forms of torture.
Every day it becomes worse, but eventually while nearly getting asphyxiated, an incredible healing power is activated. Now he is able to cure any kind of wound, even loss of limbs. It leaves him horribly disfigured however and almost completely unrecognisable. Now, Wade is out for revenge, and wants to get back at the man who did all this to him. And thus Deadpool is born, the “Merc with a mouth”. Wade’s only mission is to find a way to reverse the process, and get back to Vanessa. But this is easier said than done, especially as the man known as Ajax is not only hard to catch, but also has his own plans for Deadpool. And those plans are to completely destroy him, no questions asked…..Yes people, this may sound like it’s just another superhero movie. But I can assure you that it’s not. It’s so much more. Deadpool is absolutely freaking hilarious. It is a brutal R-rated movie that has more F-bombs in it than one might hear in a single week. But oh my god is this movie a lot of fun.
One only has to take a look at the marketing campaign for this movie before it came out to see how different this one is. The movie banner that is above this post, made it look like a Valentine’s movie, and just the perfect love story to enjoy with your loved one on that special day. And I imagine that a lot of people even fell for it. To tell you the truth though, it really is a romance story at it’s core. Deadpool even says so in the beginning of the film. (But then later he changes his mind by saying it’s a horror). Wade’s love for Vanessa is real, and their relationship is definitely at the heart of this film. But that’s where it pretty much stops. This movie really deserves it’s R-rating. Body parts that go flying all over the place, blood, gore, nudity, foul language, it’s all included in here for your viewing pleasure. And I do say pleasure, because everything is just so completely over the top, that it’s pretty much impossible not to laugh at this. It completely rewrites the superhero genre, and gives us an anti-superhero by making Deadpool one of the most hilarious comic book characters ever created.
All credits for this have to go to actor Ryan Reynolds. He already played the character once before in the first X-men origins movie: Wolverine. That however was a completely different take on the character, and could not be more dissimilar from what we see in this film. Ryan lives and breathes this character. His often completely crazy one liners, lewd comments and even moments when he talks to us as a movie audience are worth it alone to see this film for. But on the action front it’s a joy to watch as well. Gory fight sequences, gunbattles and chase scenes are all executed to perfection. The film did not even have a very huge budget, but they made it look as if it did. So was there anything negative to report about this film? Well honestly, I don’t know. Not every joke works I guess, but that is something that is very common to comedy. That’s always personal. But other than that, I would have to go do some nitpicking which I am not going to do.
Deadpool is a film that is so unique in the superhero genre, that it just simply doesn’t feel like a superhero movie. If you are easily offended by cursing or gore, than I guess you had best not watch this. But if you don’t mind that, this is a film that is just a hilarious rollercoaster ride from start to finish. And of course a perfect film to watch on Valentine’s Day. And I say: why not? It always seems that it is automatically assumed that every girl loves chickflicks or cheesy romance films. And before you start accusing me, of course there is nothing wrong with that (remember you are talking to the guy who watched Titanic nine times in the cinema). But if you like to see a different and quite hilarious take on a romantic film, this is the one you want to check out. For all of you that are in love, I wish you a heartfelt beautiful Valentine’s Day. And for all of you that are single, hey…don’t give up. True love can be found everywhere….just ask Deadpool.
Can you believe it? This is already the final requested review for my Science Fiction & Horror theme month. But that doesn’t mean that this is the end of the month itself though. There are still some reviews coming up, one that is kind of a request as well, but I don’t want to give that one away yet. (Although there is probably one person reading this that knows what I am talking about). Now, this review was requested by someone that I really think the world of and is truly special. I am talking about the astonishing Dani who has a blog that focusses on books. Even if you don’t like books, I still urge you to follow her anyway though. You know how some people can have a rough time in their lives, but still triumph in the end? Dani pretty much wrote the book on that. She is a powerhouse of a woman, that just spreads so much happyness and joy around with her reviews and comments, that you cannot help but smile. And considering all that she has been through, that is something that still amazes me to no end. My respect for her is enormous. Her positive attitude is something inspiring and if this hasn’t convinced you to follow her now, go and check out her amazing blog and you will know what I mean. Dani, my amazing and kindhearted beautiful friend, as you are so fond of saying: you rock! This review is for you!
Yes, we humans are at it again. In the 23rd century we begin colonizing new planets and wouldn’t you know it, we of course encounter a hostile alien species. Well, at least we know that we humans are always very peaceloving beings right? So what do we do when we encounter something that is hostile? We of course squash it. And in this case that term is pretty relevant as this hostile alien race are a bunch of bugs. Only not the kind that you can trample underfoot. No, I’m talking about big giant bugs that are as big as houses, and a few that are even bigger than that. These Arachnids, as they become known, are hellbent on destroying our beautiful planet, and so we go to war! But for a war one usually needs soldiers. The Federation is the organisation that governs the Earth and in order to gain citizenship that grants special privileges one can for instance, enlist in the military. John “Johny” Rico decides to become a soldier against his parents wishes. His girlfriend Carmen Ibanez and one of his best friends, Carl Jenkins soon join him in the Federal Service, together with Isabelle Flores (who secretly has a crush on Rico….awwwww). One of their first missions will sent them to the heart of the Arachnid race, their homeplanet Klendathu. And this is ofcourse going to be a peace of cake right? Erm…wrong. Soon John is about to find out that the human invasion force might have bitten of more than they can chew……
Starship Troopers was directed by Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, who is responsible for such science fiction classics as Total Recall and Robocop. And most people that know his style will probably also know that he really isn’t one to handle things in a very subtle way so to speak. Extensive use of gore and sex/nudity are certainly some of his trademarks. One only has to watch Basic Instinct and you will get the picture. And this movie definitely isn’t an exception. In a pretty controversial scene we get a number of the male and female soldiers all taking a shower together, and yes they are naked. One has to wonder if this was a scene that was purely added to shock audiences or if it served any kind of purpose. But we have a film here that also is meant, in part at least, as a satire. The “benovelent” Federation, is little more than an institution that sends young people into a meatgrinder. But the way that is done, the propaganda it uses in for instance television commercials, is at times quite hilarious.
Another thing that one has to note is the actors that are being used in the roles of soldiers. Casper van Dien, Denise Richards and Patrick Muldoon are all way to pretty to be playing at Gi-Joe/Gi-Jane. But this was also clearly the intention of Paul Verhoeven. The acting in this film is quite atrocious. It’s so wooden at times that there are some scenes that become unintentionally funny. But in amongst the youngsters are luckily a few veterans such as Michael Ironside and Clancy Brown. Both of them have some fun parts in playing veteran soldiers that work as drill instructors, that try to get the new men and women into shape. Casper van Dien plays the hero of the movie, John “Johny” Rico (seriously who came up with that name), and he is just likeable enough to carry you through the film. Actress Dina Meyer’s character Isabelle, is one of the characters that you will like the most. She plays the tough woman soldier that kind of kicks ass, but also has a weakness, her love for Johny.
But where this movie excells at is the fights against the Arachnids. While I am not quite convinced by the special effects they used for the shots in space , they more than make up for this in the way they depict the bugs. Usually with films like these you see the monsters in total darkness. Here though, we get fight sequences in full daylight, that not only look enormously convincing, but are also highly entertaining. The multiple different species of Arachnids are definitely the highlight of this film. The fights are bloody and very gory, and we get to see people that literally get torn apart by these nasty critters. As such it is definitely not a movie that is for the faint of heart, or when you are easily shocked by violence. But, it has to be said, this is a war movie. And even though we are of course talking about a fictional war against an inhuman species, it’s still a war. And war is never pretty, no matter which way you look at it. And this comes across perfectly as Starship Troopers doesn’t pull any punches on that front.
So is Starship Troopers a film that is worth seeing? Well…..hell yes! I’m not going to lie here, this won’t be a film that pleases everyone. There is enough stuff in this film that probably will have some people raise their eyebrows, especially considering the acting involved and the extensive use of excessive gore and violence. But if one is willing to look beyond that, and enjoy the film for what it is, you will have a blast. This is just a solid peace of sciencefiction action film making, with cool creatures and some incredibly well made special effects fight sequences. Considering this film is now over 20 years old (seriously where does the time go), it is one of those nice and cool cultclassics, that will always be fun to watch. And I also like the fact that this movie doesn’t take itself too seriously either. Now if you will excuse me, I’m off to go find me some bugs to squash. Naw….not really. Unless they are wasps that is…..
Beep, beep, people! Beep, beep! No, I haven’t turned completely insane here by beginning this post in this way. For it has pretty much everything to do with the film that I am about to review. And let me assure you that it’s a scary one at that. This movie is the third request I have had for February’s theme, this one made by Shadowcat99. Now, I think all of you will have a few blogs that you somehow ended up following rather late, and you wonder why you did not discover them any sooner? Shadowcat99’s blog is one of mine. All I can say is don’t make that same mistake as well and go follow her blog right now. Why? Because her posts are awesome! She writes mainly about manga and anime, and her posts are written with great skill and are thoroughly entertaining from start to finish. If you don’t believe me just press the link above and discover her wonderful blog. The 1990 version of It was technically a miniseries, but I allowed it anyway as most people see this as a film. And quite a number of people still fear it…..you see how I did that pun right? Enough talk: let’s get started with the review!
I think nobody can deny the fact that when we were young, we all had our own fears. There might have been simple things like an irrational fear of spiders (or in my case wasps, and no I don’t want to talk about that lol), but it might also be fears that run much deeper. Leave it up to writer Stephen King though, to turn those fears into something truly sinister. It, takes place in the town of Derry where something really awful seems to be happening. Young children are being murdered in horrible ways, but nobody seems to really care about it. Not even the police. All except for one person, and that is the man called Mike Hanlon, who works in Derry as a librarian. Mike has experienced a very traumatic event in his past that is linked to the string of murders that is currently taking place. Thirty years ago a similar spree of killings occurred. But contrary to what you might believe this was no ordinary serial killer that was responsible for these murders. As Mike unfortunately knows all too well. He, and a group of his best friends encountered the being responsible all those years ago. They thought they had dealt with it. They were wrong. With unpleasant memories from the past rising up, Mike begins rounding up his friends to deal with it once and for all. But will they be able to confront their fears, or will the being known as Pennywise have the final laugh……
Last year a remake of It was released in the theatres. It was well received, but many claimed that the new version wasn’t really scary enough. I can not yet say if I agree with that statement as I still have to see the new version. Yes, I know…how terrible of me. However, it was a delight to relive this one though, as it has been many years since I last saw this film. The strength that this movie has, is how well it plays with themes that we can all relate to, combined with some genuinely scary moments. How many of you remember your friends from school? Did you stay in touch with them? Do you even know what they look like these days? That for me was one of the things I loved the most about this film: the fact that real friends, no matter how long they have been seperated from each other, will always stick together. The first half of the film mainly focusses on the past, and through flashbacks we can see how the main characters lives were when they were still children. I loved the fact that each one of them had their own things to deal with. And most of these were not pretty. An abusive father, being bullied at school, stuttering, are just a few examples of how tough their lives were.
But those weaknesses are the things that would ultimately draw these children together. That, and ofcourse their common adversary: the sadistic clown Pennywise. I know there are a lot of people that hate and fear clowns. I am not one of them, but really….if Pennywise were ever to become a rolemodel for the common circus clown we would be in some serious trouble. From the very first moment he makes an appearance you are getting the chills and really you have every right to feel that way. Masterfully played by actor Tim Curry, Pennywise is a force to be reckoned with. He tortures these kids with mindgames and shows them stuff that every sane person would lose their minds over. But it’s the strength of these character’s friendship that ultimately let’s them triumph….well at least for a short while that is. The childactors were very good in their roles. It sometimes surprises me how well some children can act, but at times I also think it’s quite disturbing how they don’t end up getting traumatised by the horrific scenes forced upon them.
It’s the films second act where the movie, or miniseries if you prefer, is losing some of it’s strength. The reunion of the group is heartfelt, and brings that feeling of genuine friendship back. The adult actors unfortunately do not give such strong performances as their child counterparts. Some of them overact a few times, but luckily this doesn’t really go so far that it ruins the experience. The late John Ritter is the one that honestly was the actor that impressed the most, and really had a character that I could relate to a lot. And it was nice to see him win back his childhood love. It’s the movies ending though that really hasn’t aged well. When Pennywise appears in his true form, we get a creature that you almost have to laugh at in the way it looks. Having seen this film quite a while back, I knew there was some type of monster that would make an appearance near the end. But I did not remember that it was made with some really crappy special effects. It’s a shame though, as this really does have an impact on the overall way you feel when the film’s end credits begin to roll.
The 1990 version of It is a film that, having revisited it has left me with some mixed feelings. There are still quite a number of things in it that really work well, especially Pennywise and same genuinely scary scenes. However the weaker second act of the movie, did diminish the much stronger first half of the film. So whether or not you are going to enjoy this movie in the end all depends on the way you feel overall to watching older horror movies. I have always said that sometimes horror is more effective when you are showing less, especially when it comes down to special effects. That said, despite the letdown in the end, this is still quite the effective horrormovie, that is a lot of fun to watch for the most part. And you can add another point to the grade that I gave this film, if you are scared of clowns. That’s it for this review….beep, beep!
Hello everyone, it’s time to get things kicking into high gear with another movie review. This one will be the first science fiction film review for the current Theme month and it was requested by Bizarre Brunette. Now, if you don’t know who she is yet, I suggest you quickly take a trip over to her blog as I am pretty sure she will appreciate it. I came across her blog somewhere last year and I really love the content it contains. She covers a very diverse amount of topics with posts about boardgames, novels, comic books, real life, tv-series, and the list just goes on and on. Needless to say, it is a blog that is well worth checking out, as it has something in it for everyone. And just like most bloggers, she is also a very kind person who always responds to your comments. So head on over there and start reading her posts! Bizarre Brunette has requested a review for the awesome blockbuster Pacific Rim that was directed by the talented director Guillermo del Toro. It is a movie that I myself love very much as well, and when I rewatched it for this review I think it must now be the fourth or fifth time that I have seen the film. So, all systems go: let’s get started on the review!
One day an enormous and monstrous creature arises from the ocean depths and begins to wreak havoc on humanity. After a long and bloody struggle that left thousands dead, the monster, that gets nicknamed Kaiju, is finally defeated. But just when everyone thinks it’s over, another Kaiju arrives, and then another, and another….With every passing day the human race struggles to stay upright against these monsters. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Former differences are set aside and everyone in the world bands together to create a new weapon system: The Jaegers. These giant robots that are piloted by two people, are finally beginning to turn the tide and humanity is slowly starting to win the war. Or so they think. The terrible aliens are quick to adapt and more powerful and deadly Kaiju’s start appearing, and slowly but surely the Jaegers are beginning to lose ground. Twelve years after the first monster appeared, the funding for the Jaeger program has stopped and instead money has been put into building giant walls. But this plan seems pretty futile. Meanwhile in Hong Kong, Marshal Stacker Pentecost is in command of the final four remaining robots. He has a plan that might put an end to the alien threat once and for all. But he will need the help of the former Jaeger pilot called Raleigh. But Raleigh has a severe trauma from his past, and is very reluctant to help out. And with the attacks of the Kaiju becoming ever more frequent, humanity’s dusk seems close at hand……
Okay, I’m not going to be very subtle in this review so let me just come out and say it right here and right now: I freaking love this movie. It has the word “geek” written all over it, and as I am geek myself and very proud to be one, it is hard to be objective for a film like this. I often hear people say that films such as these are trash and are not even worthy of the name movie. As you all know I love films, but I also have a very open mind when it comes to the type of movies that I watch. I can find enjoyment in arthouse movies, classic films and yes blockbusters such as these. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a movie that isn’t overly complicated but has enormous entertainment value. And this one has just that. It certainly isn’t without it’s flaws, that’s for sure. But before I get to that let me first focus on the things that I love in this movie. For one thing it has giant robots that make the very ground shake, beat the crap out of gigantic alien monstrosities. It is Del Toro’s loveletter to the anime genre known as mecha, that usually features robots piloted by humans fighting either each other or some kind of other threat.
And boy or boy are these fights fun to watch. In one of my favorite scenes from the film, we have the giant lead robot known as Gypsy Danger fight a Kaiju using a ship as a club. It doesn’t get much better than that. The special effects in this film are astounding and the absolute highlight of this film. But how about the actors? We have a pretty impressive cast that amongst others, features the always charming Idris Elba and Charlie ” Sons of Anarchy” Hunnam in the lead roles. Idris plays the charismatic Marshal Pentecost and is the driving force in this film. He is calm under fire, has a really commanding presence, and is very protective of the young Japanese woman called Mako. His bond with her is very touching, especially when you learn exactly why he is so protective of her. Charlie plays the brash pilot Raleigh, and while I certainly would not call it on Oscar winning performance it gets the job done. Just like Elba he has a very natural charisma in the way he acts, and that’s why it’s hard not to grow attached to his character. Also be on the lookout for a very hilarious appearance by actor Ron Perlman, who in this film has the best pair of shoes ever seen in a motion picture.
But yes, I did promise to at least try and stay objective in this review. So, I guess I now have to adress the fact that as mentioned the film also has it’s flaws. There at times is some cringeworthy humor in the movie. Humor is of course a very personal thing, but there were times I just had to roll my eyes at certain scenes. But on a good note, it luckily is nowhere near as bad as in the Michael Bay Transformers movies. Then again if there is anything even worse than the “humor” in those movies, I really don’t want to know. The script of the film admittedly does have a few holes in it. The storyline such as it is, pretty much comes down to having the film move forward from fight sequence to fight sequence. But to be fair, there is also a human element in this film, that definitely creates a kind of heartwarming atmosphere so to speak. Which is saying something as it at certain points is also a very bleak and dark movie.
But, despite all that, at the end of the day this is just a fun filled movie. The Jaegers and Kaiju beating the living daylights out of each other is pretty much the sole reason why you should see this film. The other one being the fun characters that really also create a heart in this movie that goes along with all the special effects. If you like your films to have a deeply layered storyline, it is probably very wise to avoid this one. If you are like me though, and you want to keep your inner child alive, this is the movie to do that with. Later this year the sequel for this film will be arriving in theatres. Having seen the trailer for it I honestly have to admit I don’t get the same vibe from it as this one. It looks like it’s going to be more of the same, only a little bit less impressive. But then again I could be wrong. You can definitely expect a review from me for part 2 later this year. For now though I hope you enjoyed this one!
Hello fellow creatures that go bump in the night! (Erm…sorry got carried away there for a moment). This is the first review to kick things off for the Science Fiction & Horror movie theme month, and it was requested by the amazing blogger Vinnieh. Now Vinnieh stumbled across my blog first, and said a few simple words on my about page ” I really dig your blog”. This was the start of a true friendship that continues to this day. If you don’t know Vinnieh or his blog yet, you are really missing out on something. His knowledge of movies is incredible, and he writes reviews for both modern and classic movies in pretty much any genre. Not just any reviews though, but with a skill that far surpasses my own. They are always a delight to read, and it’s been a blast exchanging comments with him about our mutual love of movies. So, please if you haven’t already do go and check out his blog and leave a comment. I know he will appreciate it. Vinnieh my friend, this review is for you!
With this review of The Haunting I am heading into some uncharted territory as this film is now the oldest movie to date, that I am writing a review for on my blog. Moviemaking has changed so much over the past few decades. Where modern films these days are filled with special effects, in the old days most of these things were simply not available. And that’s why a lot of people of the modern moviegoing generation, are quick to dismiss a classic movie. They either don’t enjoy the lack of color or find the style of filming and acting just not that interesting. It all comes down to one basic thing: giving something an honest chance. Because really people, some of the films of the golden days of cinema so to speak, may lack special effects, but more than make up for this by their charm, incredible stories and amazing actors. In short just because something may be old, doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. Having never seen the original The Haunting (I only saw the seriously bad remake of 1999), this film certainly falls into the category of enjoyable. More than that even.
There have been rumors about the 90-year old Hill House for years. Some say it is the focal point of all evil, some say it is haunted. One thing is for sure, there have been an incredible amount of disturbing events that happened in or near the house for years. The original creator of the huge mansion, Hugh Crain, built it for his first wife, but before she could even enter it she died under mysterious circumstances. He eventually remarried, but only to have his second wife die as well. His daughter Abigail lived out the remainder of her life in the house, never leaving the nursery until her death. After Abigail’s passing, the house has stood empty for years. Doctor John Markham now wishes to investigate the house, to see if the paranormal events that are supposedly floating around it are true. After securing permission from mrs. Sanderson who has inherited the house, John travels to the mysterious mansion. He is soon joined there by the heir of mrs. Sanderson a young man called Luke and two women that have their own connection to the world of the supernatural, Theodora and Eleanor. When darkness slowly falls, a nightmare not of this world is about to rear up it’s ugly head. John and those with him are about to find out, that some things are not worth discovering…..if they can keep their sanity intact that is…..
Ah nostalgia. This is classic movie making at it’s best. Right from the start of this movie there is one thing that this film does incredibly well: it creates an utterly bone chilling atmosphere that does not let up right until the end. From the first opening shot where you see the mansion covered in shadows and John is beginning his narrative, you feel this sense of unease. As if someone is looking at you with an intense and menacing stare, but when you turn around no one is there. The brilliant atmosphere is accompanied by some truly disturbing camera angles that at times seriously give you the creeps. There is a shot of Eleanor walking up a spiral staircase in an almost trance state and the way it was shot was just incredibly chilling. One has to take into account that this is a movie that is now 55 years old, which is why it is even more impressive that there are effects in this film that are highly effective. Not to mention that sounds, like for instance an adrenaline inducing thumping, play quite an important role in adding to the eerie atmosphere this film has.
But a film of course stands or falls with good performances, and on that from the film also doesn’t disappoint. I was most impressed by Julie Harris who played the role of Eleanor. Upon entering the house she is this somewhat uncertain, and nervous woman. But when the film progresses her mind is becoming increasingly unstable, and it is very terrifying to see that unfolding. In fact I would say her performance is almost as creepy as the film itself. Richard Johnson is the voice of reason in this movie, in his role as John Markham. He really has this calm and totally charismatic demeanor in the film and it’s quite easy to see how Julie’s character falls for him. It was also fun to see Russ Tamblyn in this movie, who most people will probably remember for his role as the gangleader Riff from the West Side Story. In The Haunting he provides a bit of the comedic relief, playing the character of Luke. He is pretty much the only one who doesn’t believe in all the supernatural stuff and tries to explain everything that’s happening in a rational way.
The Haunting is a movie that is tense and gripping right up to it’s dramatic conclusion. If you were to compare the film to today’s standards of the modern horrorfilm, it might fall short. But I do say might, because we still have a highly effective psychological horror movie here, that is incredibly well made. This is one of those horrorfilms that relies more on not showing things, than revealing stuff. And in my opinion, especially in horrormovies, that is usually much more chilling. There is no blood or gore in this film at any point, so if you only like horrorfilms that fall into the ketchup variety, this one is not for you. However if you enjoy watching classic cinema, or want to try out a film like that, this is one I definitely recommend checking out. Just a warning though: don’t be surprised if you jump up in fright every time you might here a small noise in your own house after watching this one.
With the movie the Return of the Jedi that was released in 1983, the first Star Wars trilogy was finished. And many people at the time thought that would be the end of things. The popularity of the franchise started to wane, and slowly but surely people began to lose interest. But then nine years later Star Wars got noticed again, this time not because of a new movie, but by a novel written by Timothy Zahn called Heir to the Empire. It would be the first of a new trilogy of books that chronicled events that took place after Return of the Jedi. It became a huge succes. Not only was it an amazing story, but it also introduced a couple of new characters that became fan favorites, even though they had never been seen before in a movie. The most notorious of these was Grand Admiral Thrawn. The blue skinned alien Chiss, was a military genius that almost brought the New Republic to it’s knees. After this first trilogy a huge range of novels were made that took the story even further. This became known as the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
This was all before the Dark Times…before the Empi…erm, Disney. When they took over Lucasfilm, and revealed plans to make a new trilogy of movies taking place after Episode VI, something had to be done about the Expanded Universe. And something was done to it: it was declared non-canon. In other words all the characters, worlds and events created within those books were no longer part of the official Star Wars timeline. A lot of fans, including me, were not very happy with that. But two years ago, something happened that brought a smile to the faces of many people that loved those books: Thrawn was brought back. This time he was reintroduced as a new adversary in the Star Wars cartoonseries Rebels. And just like that Thrawn was canon again. Last year the original creator of Thrawn, writer Timothy Zahn, wrote a new book about the legendary character. It was, needless to say, highly anticipated. But as with most things that you look forward to, it very rarely lives up to all the things you expect.
This novel explores the origin of Thrawn and tells the tale of his quick rise to power through the ranks of the Empire. Thrawn is first found as a young man, seemingly abandoned by his people. An Imperial team is impressed by his cunning and tactical genius, and decide to give him a chance to prove himself. Thrawn takes on the young ensign Eli Vanto as a translator and together with him, begins his training. But a lot of high ranked people don’t take kindly to having an alien in their ranks and would like to see him fail. Meanwhile on the planet Lothal a ruthless administrator called Arihnda Pryce is also making plans to expand her power. Eventually the two will cross paths. Where Thrawn is skilled in military tactics, Pryce is more than his match on the battlefield of politics. But when threats against the still unstable Empire begin to appear all over the galaxy, Thrawn faces a new adversary that might become his downfall. Especially when this opponent seems to be two steps ahead of him at every turn…..
Thrawn became a very different novel than I expected it to be. I had hoped for a very tense and exciting book, with an interesting origin story of the Grand Admiral. In part it delivers this, but the other part was well, quite frankly a bit boring. We get a story that focusses a lot on internal politics. As I am not a huge fan of politics in the first place, I felt that these chapters slowed the story down to a crawl. We also get a lot of secondary characters thrown into the mix, that just get introduced but then, at least most of them, don’t really do anything. But what of Thrawn himself? The character that many loved so much in the brilliant original trilogy of books that introduced him feels…different. It’s still Thrawn, that can’t be denied, but at the same time it’s not. Of course Zahn had to reinvent the character and as such has had to make some changes. But still, this is not the same Thrawn that was such an amazing villain. And that is the part that disappointed me the most.
Still, it is not a bad novel. There is small cameo appearance of a major character that will have most Star Wars fans whopping with joy. I also really liked the backstory of Arihnda Pryce who was at times even more cunning then Thrawn. Whether or not you will like this novel depends on a few things. If you like your Star Wars books to be full of action, big space battles and lots of tension, then I don’t think this is a novel you would enjoy. There are a few scenes like that, but mostly we get a book that focusses more on backstabbing officials and internal politics. As mentioned Thrawn is also not quite the character you are used to, but there are still flashes of his original brilliance throughout the book. Maybe the sequel to this novel, Thrawn: Alliances, that will be published this year, more of those flashes will make an appearance. All in all, Thrawn is an okay novel if you don’t expect too much from it.