Tag Archives: Review

Duel, American movie (1971)

When it comes to movies one often overlooked fact is the director. Sure, a movie can’t be made without good actors, and hell it also helps to of course have a bit of a decent script. But a truly skilled director can really turn a film into something legendary. Now the name Steven Spielberg should be familiar to almost anyone who at the very least has a rudimentary knowledge of movies. He was responsible for such classic films as Jaws, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, E.T. and Jurassic Park to name but a few. The man is simply put a juggernaut in Hollywood, and although not everyone might be a fan of all of his movies, one can’t deny that he certainly is one of the most succesful directors in movie history. A little known fact though is that before he really broke through in Hollywood with Jaws, he made his debut with a movie that was originally made for television. Later, because of the film’s succes it also appeared in movie theatres. Perceptive readers have already seen the title of the movie and the year in which this movie was made.

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And we still wonder why the environment is doing so bad…..

Yes, Duel was made in 1971. Yes, this movie is now 47 years old. Does that mean that this movie is now so dated, that it is probably considered by current standards a film that can’t hold the attention of the modern moviegoing audience? You will probably be very surprised by the answer: no, it totally isn’t. If this movie would be released in theatres today, and you had no knowledge of the fact that this film was made in 1971, you probably would not even notice it. Duel is a film that I saw for the first time when I was still a teenager. (Yes I know, don’t remind me of the fact that is now decades ago). And I was not prepared for the impact it would have on me. I was totally blown away by it, and I honestly lost count of how many times I have seen it after that. So what is it about this film that has me so spellbound? And why is it, that I still get that same adrenaline rush every time I see this film. Perhaps I should first start with telling you what this movie is about, before I get to the answers of those questions. You know me when I get enthusiastic about something, I can’t stop talking about it.

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Some people are just in a rush to get somewhere.

Right, okay. So Duel then. The title itself ofcourse is already giving a way a little bit of what this film is about: a duel. We are however not talking about a duel between knights, or two men that need to walk a few paces and then start shooting each other. No, this is an altogether entirely different duel. David Mann is an ordinary guy who has a job as a salesman. Eager to close a deal, he heads for the road in his car for a business trip. Once he enters the Mojave desert he comes across a tank truck that seems like it missed a trip to the scrap yard. David quickly passes the truck without even giving it a second thought. Because really, what could go wrong right? A few seconds later though, much to his surprise, the truck speeds up and overtakes him.  What at first starts off like a seemingly innocent game, soon turns into something very sinister and deadly. The truck driver is a psychopath that seems determined to end the life of David. A terrifying road duel between car and truck is about to begin……

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Yep, anyone would get a headache if something like this were to happen to them.

This is one of those films that has an incredibly simple premise, but still manages to glue you to the edge of your seat for the entire duration of the film. I have always loved films that feature a lone and ordinary guy or girl, who is put into a situation that soon grows beyond their control. It also takes an incredible amount of skill on the part of the actor who portrays that kind of character. In this case that actor is Dennis Weaver who plays David. Now for most of you that name probably won’t ring a bell, but some of you readers out there might recognise him from the highly succesful tv series McCloud. Suffice it to say that Weaver just knocks this role right out of the ball park. His character isn’t some kind of macho superhero. He is a normal guy just like you or me, who is thrust into a very deadly situation, that could happen to anyone. And simply put, you want him to win. His adversary though, except for shots of his arms and legs, is never shown. And that makes it only all the more creepy, because he could be anyone.

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One of the reasons we don’t have telephone booths anymore.

The truck this guy drives though is almost a character itself. As soon as you lay eyes on the rust bucket, a sense of dread enters your body. And this is only made more sinister by the way the movie is directed. Some truly terrific camera angles and shots, especially during some of the chase sequences, are absolutely breathtaking. Duel might be Spielbergs first movie, but I also still consider it one of his best films. This movie is a true nailbiter, with some incredible edge of your seat and very memorable scenes. Rest assured this is not a horror movie, that contains buckets of blood or something like that. It is a thriller in every sense of the word, and one that is completely timeless. If you have become interested in seeing this film, and are wondering where you can find it, I suggest you try YouTube. Just search for: “Duel full movie”, and you will find an incredibly high quality version of the movie there. It’s one and half hours of time very well spent, trust me on that. And it will also make you think twice the next time you pass a truck on the road….just saying….

I give Duel a 9 out of 10 score.

 

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Kingdom Season 1, Korean drama series (2019)

Zombies. I can hear fatique all around when people hear that word nowadays. The zombie genre is quite honestly dead. (Oh come on, I had to use that pun at least once right?) Seriously though, it’s hard to find something original in that genre these days. Pretty much everything has been done to it, that can be done to it, and it takes as much effort to bring this genre back to life as it does to bring back a corpse. Okay, okay I’ll stop with the puns, I didn’t know you would get mad, jeezzz. But then again, as with everything there are always exceptions. The Walking Dead for instance is having a very strong comeback this season, and it seems there is still a lot of life in it despite the departure of Andrew Lincoln. For those of you that have been keeping tabs on it, two weeks or so ago, there was a shocking episode that many have called the best episode since the show started. I don’t know about that, but I do know it was good. Especially with the shock factor.

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I have heard some men become obsessed with women, but this is taking it to a new level. 

Now, when you see the title of this post, I can already hear you wondering why on Earth am I talking about zombies when I am about to review a Korean drama? Because really there must be some kind of error. A mix up of sorts. Erm….no there isn’t. The Korean drama Kingdom is a historical piece set in Korea’s Joseon period. And it features….zombies. When it comes to original ideas, I have to say the setting alone is enough to convince you that this is really something that hasn’t been done before. It’s also one of the show’s greatest strengths. Beautiful cinematography, exquisite costumes, and incredible sets bring the historical setting to the small screen in a very big way. In fact it’s done so well, one would almost forget that this is a tv series and not some kind of big budget movie. This is all good and well, but looks alone are of course not enough to make something fun to watch. No, for that you also need a decent story and characters that one can identify with. So what does Kingdom do on that front?

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In medieval times this was how they held a marathon. 

In Kingdom the story focusses on Yi-Chang a man who is next in line for the throne. With strange notices cropping up all over the country claiming that the King is dead, and the crown prince should be crowned immediately as the new King, that moment might be coming sooner than Yi-Chang had expected. But is the King really dead? One night Yi-Chang decides to investigate, and enters the palace in search of his father. But instead of the King, he encounters a dark shadow behind a curtain that looks like a terrifying monster. Fleeing the palace and accompanied by his trusty personal guard Moo-Young he sets out on a journey to find out the truth about what’s going on. Sinister forces are at work though, and an evil mastermind is behind a conspiracy to overthrow the throne, and bring darkness to the country. A horrible plague is slowly taking hold of the populace, and as more and more people become infected Yi-Chang becomes ever more desperate to find a solution to all of it. However that is by no means an easy feat…..

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Medical care has come a long way since then….

Kingdom takes the zombie genre in a new and fresh direction. It’s a story that isn’t only about flesh eating monsters, but also has many other things going for it like conspiracies at the royal court and politics. While this last bit might sound boring, I can assure you it isn’t. Having no real knowledge of Korea’s ancient history it’s nice to see some of the customs that were involved back in those days. While of course this is a totally fictional account, the historical aspects of it all certainly look very convincing. What’s also nice is the fact that the zombies in this show aren’t acting in the way that those shambling corpses usually do. They have their own set of unique rules, and at times even seem to share traits with one of those other legendary monsters: the vampires. This of course being a zombie show there is some blood and gore in it, but it comes nowhere close to the level of for instance the Walking Dead.

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Green Arrow’s ancient precursor: The Blue Arrow

It’s on the character department that the show doesn’t shine so bright. Most of them are (so far at least) pretty bland. Actor Ju Ji-hoon brings to life the crown prince, and while he does a decent job of it, I would have liked it if his character just had a little bit more background. His guard played by Kim Sang-ho was honestly my favorite. He acts pretty much as the comedic relief in what otherwise would have been a pretty dark show. There are many others introduced as well, most notably the physician Seo-Bi and the show’s bad guy minister Cho Hak-ju but all of them just fail to leave a very lasting impression. This doesn’t mean that this ruins the show though. With this being the first season of the series that sadly only lasts six episodes, this pretty much feels like the characters have now been set up on the board and the real game is about to begin. Kingdom is a really interesting and fun series to watch, especially if you are a fan of for instance Train to Busan , still my favorite zombie movie to date. It’s a unique take on the genre, that many feel like it might be walking towards it’s own death. Okay, that was really the last one.

I give Kingdom a 8 out of 10 score.

 

 

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

One of the plus sides of having way too many hobbies is the fact that I am never bored. There is always something that I can do, whether it’s watching anime, going to the cinema to watch the latest movie, read a book, or play a boardgame. And that’s just the tip of the ice berg. But on the flipside of that is the fact that I am always behind on pretty much everything, especially when it comes down to watching televion series. People have often asked me how on Earth I can wait with something as good as Game of Thrones for instance. The answer is pretty much always the same. I have absolutely no idea. It brings me back to the opening sentence I guess: I just have way too many hobbies, and as such way too many things that I love to do. In this world of social media though, that really is becoming a bit of a problem. As much as you try to avoid things as spoilers, these days one only has to switch to something as simple as Youtube to find whole clips of pivotal moments of your favorite shows. Some even have bold capital letters proclaiming things like “ the death of so and so” or “ shocking scene of whatshername”. For some things I don’t mind spoilers, but when it comes down to Game of Thrones I have so far managed to avoid them.

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Yes, she still looks like a queen for real.

Yes people, I have only now completed season 6 of Game of Thrones. I know, I should be flogged for committing such an atrocious act of negligence. I’m afraid to even admit it but I still have to start with the next one too. Yep, I know Winter is coming and all that. Be that as it may, I am of course not going to deprive you of my thoughts on this season. Even though they are two years late. Be warned this section does contain a few spoilers for the previous season , but as probably most of you have seen that one anyway, I don’t think there will be any real surprises here. But just to be on the safe side: *Spoilers Start* Jon Snow is dead. Well, really how could he not be right? Season 6 picks up right after the horrible moment when everybody’s favorite hero got stabbed multiple times and was killed. That was one heck of a shock ending last season, something this show always excells at any way. Season 6 is Jon’s season though, and then some. Erm, wait what do I mean by that? He’s dead right?

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So….I guess sometimes size does matter?

Well he was but by an act of magic by the Red Witch Melisandre, Jon is brought back from the dead to fight another day. As with every season of Game of Thrones, there are many things happening to all of our beloved (and sometimes hated) characters. Daenarys has been captured and is heading towards an uncertain fate. Tyrion tries to keep things together in the city of Mereen, where chaos seems to be ruling the day. Cersei has her own problems with her son Tommen, the King, who seems to be slowly turning against her. And then of course there is the ever present danger of the army of the dead, the unseen threat that marches ever onwards. But it’s Jon who is going to have the biggest challenges ahead of him. Especially when he has to try and retake Winterfell, from the horrific and sadistic Ramsay. Winter is coming alright….and it brings with a storm of epic proportions *Spoilers end*

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

Where previous seasons of Game of Thrones sometimes felt a bit slow, this season seemed like everything all of a sudden was put on some kind of speed trip. So many things happened this season that it’s hard to even know where to start. But that said, I think to date this might have been my favorite season. I have always thought of Game of Thrones being a show that comes the closest to a true cinematic experience. Everything from the sets, the lavish costumes, the special effects, all of those combined just leaves pretty much every other television series ever made biting in the dust. But let’s not forget one of the most important things that makes this show so highly enjoyable as well: the characters and the actors that portray them. Each season I am always astounded at pretty much all of the performances on this show, season 6 being no exception. You want highlights? Well, let’s say that episode 9 especially was maybe the most impressive episode of maybe the entire show. (Erm, keep in mind, I still have to watch season 7 lol).

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

But seriously though, that episode pretty much made my jaw drop to the proverbial floor. So many good and memorable scenes in that one single episode. Both in terms of action, but especially in terms of acting. As usual Game of Thrones isn’t shy to get rid of it’s cast members (seriously I would be scared to work as an actor on that show), and of course we get a few that kick the bucket in this season as well. The final episode of this season brings quite a few storylines to a close, as well as drawing battlelines and setting up things for season 7. So will I be waiting another two years to start on that one? Nope, not this time. In fact, I’m going to start on the next season this weekend. And even though I am not a Lannister I plan to keep my word on that. In closing, as if this wasn’t really clear yet: this season just rocked. I haven’t had a single episode where my mind drifted off, or I got bored in some way, which did happen occasionally in some of the previous seasons. If for some reason you have never watched this show, trust me check it out. It’s one of the best television shows ever made, and that is the total truth.

I give season 6 of Game of Thrones a 9 out of 10 score.

Halloween, American movie (2018)

We have a new kind of trend that has been going around in Hollywood for the past few years. It seems that a lof of older actors are going back to the past to revisit some of the roles that made them famous. We have Arnold Schwarzenegger once again creeping into the role of the “ It absolutely will not stop….ever…until you are dead” Terminator. Sly Stallone is playing Rocky Balboa in Creed 2, and after that he will play his other iconic character John “ my war is over” Rambo. And of course we had Harrison Ford reprising his role as Han Solo in Star Wars Episode 7 as well as Rick Deckard in Bladerunner 2049. I have seen online arguments where people were asking the question if this is a good thing. If these actors are just not simply past their prime and should stop acting. I for one am not one of them. I loved Creed for instance and Stallone did an amazing job in reprising his role which even gave him an Oscar nomination. Blade Runner 2049 ended up becoming my favorite movie of last year. So no, as long as they keep making movies that are as good as these, they can keep making them in my opinion.

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The mask apparently hasn’t aged well either…..

Jamie Lee Curtis was 19 years old when she played the role of Laurie Strode in the classic John Carpenter movie Halloween. It immediately made her famous, and the movie itself was of course a huge succes. Now exactly 40 years later, Jamie again plays the role of Laurie and as such she is also going down the road of the aforementioned trend. Now Halloween has been a franchise that has had it’s ups and downs. A lot of the sequels that were made weren’t very good (although there were a few that I did like like Halloween H20 for instance), and this new version just pretty much resets the timeline. Meaning it dismisses all the events from the previous installments, and just acts as the true sequel to the original movie. After the events from Halloween it appears that Michael Myers has been living out his life in a rehabilitation hospital for the last forty years. Laurie herself has not been doing well. She has had two failed marriages, a daughter that she hardly speaks to, and she has become kind of a recluse preparing for the potential day that Michael returns. Her daughter Karen ridicules her for that, and tries to keep her own family away from her mother as much as she can.

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Fight night!

However when Michael is about to be transferred to a new facility the proverbial crap hits the fan. The bus he was being transferred on crashes, and the serial killer escapes heading for Haddonfield. The unsuspecting town has no idea what’s coming. Because on Halloween night, Michael comes home. But this time, Michael himself might also not really know what’s coming for him…..I was quite excited for this movie, especially since the film so far has been gathering mostly positive reviews. But at the same time, there is always this small warning voice in my head that tells me to not get too excited. And guess what, the voice was right. While I would not call this one a bad movie, that would really be taking it too far, I also don’t quite understand why there are so many positive reviews for this film. In keeping with the positive things first, I like the fact that there are quite a few nods to the original. Some of them are very subtle, and easy to miss if you have are not very familiar with the original. But for fans, it’s definitely fun to see those.

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This gives a whole new meaning to the term walk in closet.

Another positive is Jamie Lee Curtis herself. She pulled a, what I would like to call Ellen Ripley in this movie. Meaning that she was just being a very tough bad ass chick, just like Sigourney Weaver was in Aliens. First being dismissed as a bit of a loon by most people (and something that I honestly don’t really blame them for) when the threat of Michael becomes real, she is the one that people turn to. Despite the fact that Laurie appears not to have all her marbles in working order, she definitely knows what she is doing. Jamie really seems like she has been having a lot of fun playing this part, and it’s definitely the one thing that keeps this movie just on the side of a positive score. What this movie really lacks though is the nailbiting tension. Except for maybe one scene, this film just never really got thrilling. And with a horrormovie that is always a bad thing in my opinion. We see Michael killing people but it never gets tense. Because we can see the kill coming from a mile away, and most of the people getting killed are just very stupid.

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Hard to tell when you look at this picture who is the crazy one.

Which is another thing that is not done well in this film: the people. Except for Laurie herself, most of the characters in this film just lack any real substance. Even Laurie’s daughter and grand daughter hardly have any background to them, and just aren’t really persons that you can form any attachment too. You just don’t care about them, like at all.  Which is also important in a movie like this. You want to be able to feel something for them, anything, when Michael is doing his hunting. It just never happened. Halloween felt like an empty movie to me. While not everything in it was bad, without Jamie Lee Curtis this film definitely would have gotten a negative grade from me. I have to say that I honestly liked Halloween H20 a whole lot more. Made 20 years after the original, it also featured Jamie Lee, but that one really had some good tense scenes, and very fun characters as well. As always though, don’t take my word for this. For the most part Halloween has so far been received very positively, and you know that means we will undoubtedly get yet another sequel. Probably won’t even have to wait another 40 years for it either.

I give Halloween a 6 out of 10 score.

Day Four, a novel by Sarah Lotz (2015)

We all have a bucket list, or at least things that we want to do at some point in our lives. I don’t even think I have a really huge one, but one of the things on it shouldn’t be too hard to achieve. It’s making a cruise on a big ocean liner. I don’t even care about the destination to be honest. But just the experience of being on a huge and beautiful cruise ship crossing the ocean and gazing at the beauty of the sea, that alone would make it worth it for me. So why haven’t I already done this? Good question. I could go into all kinds of lame excuses but the fact of the matter is I totally could have done this a million times over already. Maybe it’s lazyness, maybe it’s simply me not taking a step in trying to do something really different with my life for a change. Whatever the reason, I still plan on doing it. It’s pretty ironic though that Day Four, the sequel to The Three a book that I recenly read and highly enjoyed, once again makes me wonder if making such a trip is a good idea. First she did it with planes, now she sets her sights on a cruise ship. I see a pattern emerging here….

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The Beautiful Dreamer is huge cruiseship that has hundreds of passengers aboard, that are enjoying a trip across the ocean. For three days things have been going well and everyone seems to take pleasure in the many things the ship has to offer. Also aboard is acclaimed psychic medium Celine del Ray, who is able to commune with the dead and is able to bring closure to the family members of the deceased. Or so she claims. Madeline who is the assistant of Celine has her own knowledge of the things her boss can do. But ofcourse being her assistant and all she is not going to ruin things. However on day four of the cruise, disaster strikes. The electricity fails, stranding the ship with nowhere to go, and no way to call for help. If that wasn’t bad enough already, a mysterious ilness seems to have taken hold aboard the ocean liner, with more and more people falling victim to it. But then things become even worse when a body of a young woman is found who has apparently been murdered. Increasingly frightening events are happening aboard the ship, and fear and tension take hold of the passengers and crew. Madeline is beginning to get more and more convinced that someone, or something doesn’t want the ship to reach land…..ever again….

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Day Four takes place after the events of the first book. But I do have to say that if you did not read that one, you could still enjoy this book as it stands pretty much on it’s own. There is the occasional reference to a name from The Three, but other than that you don’t really require any knowledge of the first book. For those who of you who read my review for the first novel you might recal that it was written in a very unique way. Using interviews, news paper clippings and skype conversations it spun it’s tale and showed very effectively what happens when fear and paranoia take hold of the world. Day Four is a more traditional book. Although near the end of the novel, the author again uses the same trick she used in the first one to uncover the final truth such as it is. We experience this novel switching between multiple characters. Each chapter spents time with one of them as they try to stay alive during the nightmare events that are unfolding before their eyes. We have a pretty diverse number of characters, ranging from a pair of elderly women that have plans to commit suicide, to the assistant of the medium, crewmembers, and even the killer who is aboard.

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Each of them had their own little background story, some working better than others, but overall it was a nice diverse cast. I do have to admit that I would have liked a little bit more depth to some of them, which would have helped me form more of an attachment to a few of the characters. But just like in the first book it’s creating the oppressive atmosphere that Sarah Lotz excells in. As can be expected in situations such as these, tempers are beginning to run high. It starts of rather innocently with people just complaining about the fact that they are going to be late in catching a flight or not having enough towels in their cabins. As soon as it is beginning to become clear that rescue isn’t coming, and food is running short as well, people are slowly reverting to animal behaviour. Just like in the first novel, it’s again not exactly clear what is going on. Is it a supernatural force, aliens, something even more sinister? Whatever the case might be Lotz again manages to write a very engaging novel, that really is one of those books that is engaging your brain in trying to figure out the puzzle.

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Is the book as good as The Three though? I would have to say no. But that’s mainly due in part to the fact that the style of the original novel was very unique and something that I had not really seen before. Here we have for the most part a traditional novel, that while still very good, isn’t really unique. I also had a bit of a problem with the ending. It was pretty abrupt, and although I do like open endings that leave you speculating what just happened, I would have liked a little bit more closure to the final events. Overall though this was still a great read that I highly enjoyed. There are some elements in the book that fall into the horror category, but it never gets gory in any way. This is more of mystery/supernatural story, and a great book to just curl up into bed with, while a storm is brewing outside. I definitely recommend this novel, and if you liked The Three, chances are that this one will be to your liking as well.

I give Day Four a 8 out of 10 score.

 

Angels of Death, anime tv series (2018)

Let me just start off this post by saying that I really suck at dropping shows. When I start with something, whether it’s anime or a regular tv show, I have a really hard time just not finishing it. No matter how bad it gets. I always have that nagging voice in my head whenever something is starting to turn ugly that keeps saying “ But what if it turns really good later on?”. It’s crazy isn’t it? I’m sure I’m not the only one that does this either. So why do we put ourselves through this kind of torture? (Aside from maybe having some very masochistic tendencies?) I have had plenty of times where I finished a show and found myself wondering why I wasted so many hours of my life on a piece of crap. And I honestly still don’t have a real answer either. If you have a cure in some way for this sickness let me know alright? Well, of course there is a reason for me bringing this up right now, as the anime I am about to review is one of those type of shows. Angels of Death was dropped by a lot of people after the first few episodes. I stuck with it though and I was not alone as a few others did as well, most notably the wonderful Irina.

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Yes Rachel: Everybody hates you.

Irina wrote some terrific weekly posts on it (but then again everything she writes is terrific so if you are not yet following her yet, a fact I doubt very much, please do so now), and we had fun in exchanging thoughts on a weekly basis. Moreover we also were pretty much on the same page for most of the time. Now, I am writing this post on saturday, and her post for the final episode will come out tomorrow. As such I have yet to discover what her thoughts on the show’s finale will be. But I digress. Is Angels of Death really such a bad anime? Let’s first talk about what this show is about, before I will be answering that one question. In Angels of Death a young girl called Rachel wakes up in an unfamiliar building having no memories of who she really is. While exploring the building she runs into the scythe wielding psychopath known as Zack. He is covered from head to toe in bandages and he immediately tries to kill her. Eventually though a really strange bond begins to form between the two of them. And it becomes even stranger because of a promise that is made between the killer and the girl. But the building holds many secrets, and many strange and terrifying occupants. Will the two of them be able to escape this nightmare…..

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

The first episode of Angels of Death was good. I would not say great, but it really set up an anime that had some great potential. A creepy atmosphere, a few fun and over the top characters, and some nice tension. Though there were a few cringeworthy bits like some cheesy voice-acting overall it promised us an entertaining B-type horror anime. Now understand that I sometimes love watching “So bad it’s good horror movies/animes”. I enjoyed King’s Game for instance, and well most of you know how awful that one sometimes was. Angels of Death though, sadly did not fall into that category. After the first episode, the second one turned the show into something totally different. It went into a real weird comedy act, that just felt completely out of place, especially when compared to the way the show started. But it did not stay that way (luckily: else I really might have dropped it), but it also didn’t become much better. There were some episodes that showed a hint of what might have been. At the halfway point I genuinely thought that the show was about to redeem itself. There were even some real attempts at character development (gasp) and the story became more interesting too.

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Stuck in an elevator….

Now that we are talking about the characters let’s just take a little sidestep and explore the two leads. First up it’s Rachel. Young girl, blonde, doesn’t smile a lot and talks in a really monotone voice. (If you are beginning to feel like my writing is turning a bit into the sarcastic territory, you would be right). She was just a very uninteresting lead, and over the course of the show I just could not find any symphathy for her, like at all. Even when we got to learn a little bit more about her background and what exactly made her tick, I found that I could not care less about her. Strangely enough it was Zack that eventually kept me returning each week to watch this. At first I really thought he was quite the annoying guy, with a grating voice that would give Asta from Black Clover a run for his money. (Yeah, you are right…no one can beat Asta in the annoying voice department). But he grew on me, and eventually I really liked him, a lot. There was just something cool about him. He provided the best moments in the show in my opinion, and without him this anime would really have been a total loss.

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

Which is not to say that it wasn’t. Angels of Death is based on a videogame, and at times it felt like we were watching that. Progress from Room A to Room B, find a key, move on…repeat. While this is sounding a bit harsh, and the show certainly did have some good episodes later on, overall it’s an anime that was just too uneven to recommend it to you. I kept hoping for a final episode that might have, in some way, at least redeemed the show but even that was simply not to be. The ending was as lackluster as most of this anime was, and after spending 16 weeks with this, I’m honestly feeling a bit relieved that it’s over now. There are two things that I will miss: Zack, and Irina’s posts for this one. Other than that though, this is an anime that will slowly fade from my memory and I won’t regret that in any way. So have I now learned my lesson and will I start dropping shows like flies? Erm…probably not. I’m even considering returning to Black Clover. Okay…maybe not…

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

Joy Ride, American movie (2001)

Who among you have ever pulled a prank on someone? Come on….don’t be shy now and speak up. I think it’s pretty much rather safe to say that we all have at some point, right? Whether it’s as a kid ringing the doorbell at a house and then quickly running away, or it’s as an adult thinking up something more elaborate. We all sometimes like to play a joke on someone. Sometimes when I have a lazy day, I like to go to YouTube and watch some truly crazy prank videos of people trying to scare the living daylights out of others. Some of them are really stupid, but there are also some that are amazingly brilliant. It’s always nice to see the response that people have to these pranks. A lot of people just laugh at the jokes, but there are also a few that really turn angry. For me those are the funniest ones to watch, but you also have to wonder at what point a joke isn’t really funny anymore. I draw the line at jokes that intentionally hurt people. I mean fun and games are all good, but if it ends up truly hurting someone, that for me isn’t a joke. But what if a prank gets turned around completely…and turns into something deadly? Funny (see what I did there) you should mention that….

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You are in my parking space!!

Lewis Thomas is a university student who is on his summer break and is preparing to drive home on a cross country road trip. But before he heads home he has to make a stop to pick up his friend and crush Vena who has just ended her relationship. And of course this is a perfect time for Lewis to maybe make his move. However when he calls his mum announcing his plans he learns that his older brother Fuller has been arrested yet again. Not being happy about it, but having very little choice in the matter, Lewis bails Fuller out and he comes along for the ride. While at a gas station Fuller decides to install an old CB radio on the car of his brother. On the road the two of them listen in to truckers conversing with each other and eventually the two of them decide to do some talking as well. Fuller has always been a prankster and he wants his brother to impersonate a sultry woman on the radio waves. Lewis goes along and introducing himself as Candy Cane he seduces a truck driver called Rusty Nail that totally falls for it. However, the joke will soon be on them as Rusty Nail turns out to be a complete psychopath. Lewis and Fuller will soon be in for the ride of their lives….literally….

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

Halloween is almost upon us, and while I would not call this movie a horror movie, it’s certainly one that comes close to that genre. Joy Ride is erm a fun ride (okay enough with the puns  already) that doesn’t takes itself to seriously but is still a joy to watch (okay…seriously quit now!). It’s always strange to see Paul Walker in a film knowing that he sadly isn’t alive anymore. He is definitely an actor that really went way before his time. In this film he plays the role of Lewis and as always he pulls it off with his natural charm. His character is just your typical highschool student, that you may have seen in countless other films. Still, it’s hard not to like him, as he is just someone that has been unwillingly put into a very dangerous situation and tries to make things right. Steve Zahn is the actor that was cast in the role of the older brother, and his character was the complete opposite of Paul’s. Fuller is a total prankster, and certainly serves as the comic relief in this film. Zahn simply excells in roles such as these, and this one was no exception.

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

The love interest, Vena, was played by actress Leelee Sobieski. Once hailed to be a very promising young actress she pretty much disappeared from the big screen. Which is a real shame as not only was she very pretty, she was also someone who could really act. Which she proves in this film. While she hasn’t a huge part in this movie, I still liked her role a lot. But it’s not the acting that you want to watch this movie for, it’s the thrills, and for the most part the film definitely succeeds in that. I like the way the tension is cranked up in this movie beginning almost as a bit of a comedy, and then, with every passing minute it becomes darker. For people who might be squeamish when it comes to blood, you will happy to know that this movie doesn’t contain any scenes like that. This is a pure thriller with some heartpounding and nailbiting scenes, especially in the later parts of the film. About halfway through the movie it does have a few moments where the tension slows down, and while I would not necessarily call this a bad thing, it occasionally slowed down a bit too much.

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

The truck driver who is voiced by an uncredited Ted Levine, is never seen fully which of course only makes it more enjoyable. For me at least. It’s the unseen terror that usually is just way more effective and that’s certainly achieved with this film. All in all there is very little not to like about this film. I do have to give you a small warning though. Joy Ride was followed by two sequels that went straight to video. If you were maybe thinking of giving them a watch after this one, just know that they are totally different movies. Instead of thrills, they rely more on blood and gore, and are simply a pale shadow of this one. The original though is just a great thriller, with some very decent performances, a whiff of humor thrown into the mix, and enough thrills to make your heart pump faster. It’s the perfect film to watch on Halloween, when you like your horror/thriller movies without blood. Just go along with the ride…..

I give Joy Ride a 8 out of 10 score.

Apostle, American/UK movie (2018)

It’s October and that means all around it’s the season to be creepy. Erm, wait that isn’t how that song goes? Oh well, I guess I always get some things mixed up, so my apologies. Now in case you are wondering exactly what I am talking about here, it is of course nearly Halloween. Unless you haven’t really been paying attention lately on wordpress, a lot of bloggers are having fun writing posts that in some form or another that are related to this event. Well, as you know (or don’t know in case you have just started following me, in that case let me enlighten you), I have always held a soft spot for horror films. In fact it’s one of my favorite movie genres so to speak. So why haven’t I had a single horror movie post out this month? I seriously haven’t got a clue. I could either do two things right now: I could spent my time looking for the answer to that question, or I could finally write one. I chose to do the latter. So people buckle up, put on your favorite Halloween costume, grab some popcorn and let’s see if this film is worth checking out.

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I told you before: Stop looking at me! 

For a change we have a horrormovie that isn’t situated in modern times but we travel back in time to the year 1905. Thomas Richardson is on desperate mission to save his sister who has been kidnapped by a mysterious religious cult. She has been taken to a remote island, far from civilisation, and the people that have taken her are demanding a ransom for her release. Thomas arrives on the island pretending to be a believer in the self proclaimed prophet that is the leader of the cult, a man named Malcolm Howe. Malcolm is a former prisoner that escaped with two other convicts. He claims to speak for “The Goddess“ that supposedly inhabits the island and through her powers provides food for the cult. Lately though his people are dying of starvation, which is why he has resorted to kidnapping. Thomas slowly begins to infiltrate the cult and befriends a young teenager called Jeremy. While trying to find out the whereabouts of his sister he begins to encounter more and more terrifying things that are happening on the island. The true horror though, has yet to be revealed…..

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Yep, this would make a great Halloween costume.

Apostle was directed by Gareth Evans. Now for people who are familiar with martial arts movies, you might recall he directed the Raid and the Raid 2. Both of these were absolutely amazing and a true highlight when it comes to the world of action movies. It’s all the more interesting that this is an entirely different film he has sunk his teeth in. I honestly have to admit that I genuinely enjoyed this film. It’s fun to see a movie again that is not set in the present but in the past, and at times it reminded me of The Witch. But the only comparison I can make to that film is the atmosphere. Right from the very first scene you can feel this foreboding sense of doom come over you. It’s probably the remote location of a Welsh island that really contributes to this. The cinematograpy for this film is terrific, and some of the camera angles that were featured in this movie only made the movie even more creepy. As I said though, this is the only comparison I have to the Witch, because this movie could not be more different.

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A little shaving never hurt anyone….

For one thing it’s incredibly gory at times. Just like in The Raid, we get some very bloody scenes shown, especially when the film goes into it’s second half. Some of these were truly unsettling. I’m not one to be very squeamish when it comes down to this, so it didn’t disturb me in the least. (Yes I guess that can be unsettling too when I think about it lol). It also features some heavy underlying religious themes, something that might put some people off. The film’s story is pretty good, and has some nice twists and turns. It gradually reveals it’s secrets, and there were a few moments in the middle of the film, where one might call it maybe a bit slow. I think if the movie would have been somewhat shorter, I might have added a point to the overall final score. But it never became boring in the least, and that is also due to the fact that the movie had some very good performances. Cult leader Malcolm was played by veteran actor Michael Sheen. He plays a truly troubled man, that even while he was downright creepy still managed to create sympathy for his character. Now there is a contradiction if you ever saw one.

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This is what a cinema looked like in 1905. 

Dan Stevens played the role of Thomas and he pretty much carries the movie on his shoulders. He creates an instant liking to his character, because he is very human. Being a former missionary that has lost hist faith and now has an addiction, Thomas certainly has his flaws. But that only makes you relate to him more. I always like it when someone isn’t one of those perfect heroes, but a real flesh and blood person. Next to these two actors, there are a lot of other high caliber performances in the film as well. So if you are a fan of good acting, this is another reason to go and see this movie. Apostle has turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. I knew next to nothing about this one, but this really is a very tense, well made, and at times truly thrilling and horrifying movie. The film is now available on Netflix and it’s the perfect month to go and check this one out. If you dare that is…..

I give Apostle a 8 out of 10 score.

Venom, American movie (2018)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Talk to the hand…..

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

I give Venom a 8 out of 10 score.

The Three, a novel by Sarah Lotz (2015)

We all have our own kinds of things that we fear. It might sometimes even be completely unfounded or irrational. Something that no matter how many people tell you to get over it, your mind still refuses to accept. For me it is the fear of flying. And it’s even more crazy when I tell you that I have never so much as set foot on a plane. I don’t even know why I have this particular phobia. Maybe it’s just the fact that when I am in a plane and it falls from the sky I pretty much end up dead. (Well, at least that’s usually the case). And yes I know it’s supposedly the safest way to travel and all that other stuff they keep telling me, but well my mind just doesn’t seem to listen. Still, I want to get over it. There are some places I really want to visit in my life, one in particular, and I won’t get there if I still refuse to go on a plane. So, next year’s goal is pretty much set. Now to work on getting there in the first place. What doesn’t help with this though is reading a book about planes falling from the sky. Yes…plural. Oh well, at least the novel was very good so there is that.

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Pamela May Donald, despite her husband’s plea not to go, decides to visit her daughter in Japan who she hasn’t seen in quite a while. Once the plane that is supposed to take her to her daughter is in the air, she is beginning to have some doubts about whether or not she is really doing the right thing by going. These doubts turn into horror, when the plane begins to rock and shake and crashes to the ground. But apparently three other passenger jets have also plumetted from the sky at almost the same time, just on different places across the world. This day of horror will go down in history as Black Thursday. It doesn’t just end with the planecrashes though. Three children have survived and don’t seem to be hurt in any way. Another survivor is Pamela, although she is minutes away from dying. With the time left to her she is still able to record a voice message. After her death the message is found and played back. It’s a warning….and a dire one at that. One that will have severe consequences and will change the world forever.

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This is actually the second time that I have read this novel. The first time was quite a while back. So why read it a second time? Well, because I finally want to get started on the sequel for this and I wanted to refresh my memory. Now let me start of by saying that this is not a normal novel. In fact it’s a very unique one. Except for the opening and closing chapters, this novel is a book within a book. Confused? Yeah I thought you might be, so let me explain. This book contains a novel written by a fictional character called Elspeth Martins. Now Elspeth has within her book collected interviews, newspaper articles, skype conversations, even text messages from all the events that occurred right after Black Thursday. For example we get to hear from rescue workers that arrived just after the crashes, but the most important interviews are the ones with the family members of the three children that survived. Because as might be expected there is something very strange going on.

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I loved the way this book was written. It is very unique, and it makes for a very interesting read. The family members that I just previously mentioned get the custody over these children. And through these interviews we get to hear how their lives as well as the lives of the children progress. But even more compelling is what is happening in the rest of the world. Some people think the end of the world is nigh, and that these three young survivors are the horsemen of the apocalypse. Others think that aliens have landed. The way this book deals with that is very realistically. You have various fanatical people that are trying to gain control and are causing more and more people to flock to their cause. Through radio broadcasts, and interviews with some of the people that are in the inner circle of these groups we get a good sense of the paronia that is slowly taking control of the world. It becomes ever more creepy, and one of the most intersting things is the fact that you are constantly trying to guess what is real, and what is not.

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I also realise that the style of this book won’t be for everyone. It’s not a traditional novel, and in that way you don’t really get to form a bond with the characters in this book in the way that you normally would. But what you do get to experience is how some of them turn from normal ordinary people into complete and utter madness. And that was one of the most chilling aspects that this novel offers. For me it was a truly compelling read and one that I liked even better now, than the first time that I read it. Sarah truly has a seriously cool style of writing that is very hard to put down. There were a few moments where the book slowed down a bit, but for the most part it was a real pageturner and one I highly recommend checking out if you want to read something that is different from the normal books that you read. I really enjoyed this novel and can’t wait to finally get started on the sequel: Day Four.

I give The Three a 9 out of 10 score.