Tag Archives: Review

Hold the Dark, American Movie (2018)

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

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

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

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Trick or treat came early this year.

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

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Awwwwwwwwwwww.

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

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

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

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

 

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Cells At Work, Anime tv series (2018)

I seriously hate being sick. My vacation this year started off with a very annoying flu bug which resulted in me wasting a lot of precious time feeling miserable in bed and trying to get rid of it. Well, not just me, I guess the real job is being done by that little army that’s inside me that tries to fight off those pesky germs. I have to admit though that it has been doing a bit of a lousy job this year, as I have been sick quite a lot. But then again I have always been pretty susceptible to flu. If someone so much as sneezes near me, I might already catch it. The thing is though, that it seems the older we get, the more terrible we can feel from something as simple as a flu. Or maybe that is just me, I don’t know. You are probably wondering where I am going with all of this, if you haven’t already zoned out in the first place. (Which I won’t hold against you I promise). Well, the thing is, in case you don’t know this already, but anime has a knack for coming up with some pretty unique stories at times. Usually these translate into high concept science fiction or fantasy series, but this season’s Cells At Work takes a completely different approach.

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I bet you never knew that this is what your body looks from the inside huh?

I usually go into a lengthy segment where I begin describing the plot of whatever it is I am about to review at this point, but in this case I won’t be doing that. Or I think a better phrase is: I can’t do that. Simply because I can sum up the plot of this anime series in pretty much one sentence. Cells at work takes a look inside the human body, at the cells that erm work there, whilst they are trying to fight off all kinds of things that get’s thrown at them. Yep, there really is nothing more to it than that. The first time I heard of this I think I had the same reaction that you might have right now in case you are not familiar with this anime: this sounds soooo boring. Well, that’s where you are wrong. Cells at work is a unique animeseries, that is guaranteed to make you smile. Having just finished the final episode for it this morning I immediately went to work on writing my review for this. While it’s not a series without flaws, it’s certainly one that has so many good things going for it, that only a very cynical or heartless person can’t find enjoyment in this.

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Red Bloodcell delivering the goods!

Let’s start with the world building this series does first. As mentioned it takes a look inside the human body, but not in the way you would think. Veins, organs, and all the other stuff that makes you tick are represented as a living, breathing cityscape. And it all looks so incredibly clever. Many times I found myself wondering at the ingenuity of all the ideas that were put into this little gem. It became even more fun when certain diseases or injuries occured. Yeah I know how that sounds, but bare with me. There was an episode for instance where the body found itself suffering from a heatstroke. The landscape changed to a scorching desert, with the sweat glands looking like water reservoirs that were drained. Things like these and many more like them, are just some of the many events that made me smile every time when I watched an episode. The series doesn’t shy away from going into dark places either, showing not only small diseases and minor injuries, but at one point it even adressed cancer. I really had not expected the series to go there, but it did, and it was done in a very tasteful way as well. It truly showed the horrible effects of that terrible disease without getting too dark.

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Yep, White Bloodcell does like to get messy sometimes!

But world building aside, it’s the characters that are the real shining stars in this anime. The main focus lies on a white and red blood cell, two characters that couldn’t be more different from each other. Red Blood Cell is a young girl that at the beginning of the series is always getting lost in trying to deliver oxygen to different places. She is insecure,  but at the same time still courageous as well and just someone who you can’t help but fall in love with right from the start. It’s nice to see her grow during the course of the series, and especially in the final two episodes she really steps up to the blood, erm plate. White Blood Cell however, is the completely opposite. Represented as a young male, he is the courageous hero that fights off all the germs and other horrible things that attack the body. And he often gets very bloody while doing that. But, at the same time he really has a heart and a soft spot for Red Blood Cell, which he always ends up having to rescue. There are many other characters who we meet during the course of the series, but it would go too far to mention them all.

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You do know that I had to at least add one picture of a platelet right?

However, it would be a horrible omission on my part if I were not to at least adress the platelets. If there is ever going to be an awards ceremony for cutest characters in a anime series, they would win it no question about it. They were absolutely loveable (and did I mention they were cute?) and maybe the best thing the series had to offer. You really wanted pretty much every episode to have at least one moment that we could spent with them. Well, now that we had all the positives there is something that this show does that if this had been any other series, might have let you drop the show before it ended. And that’s become repetitive. Basically nearly every episode dealt with the cells fighting off a new threat to the body. It’s the strength of this anime, that it didn’t become boring, but it was one of the things that I wished could have been handled in a different way. However, it has to be said, I just can’t find myself writing negatively about this series. It really was an incredibly fun anime, with a unique premise executed in a wonderful way. The next time I’m sick or injured I hope the cells will do their work again. So I guess the message is: treat your body well, and live healthy. Your cells will thank you for it!

I give Cells At Work a 8 out of 10 score.

 

Final Score, UK movie (2018)

“So, did you see the soccer game last night?” I can’t remember the number of times I have heard that line said in the place where I work. I have never understood the appeal of running around on a big green field chasing a ball. (But then again, I hate sports altogether, so I am probably not the best person to talk about this). It becomes even more “fun” for me when grown men and women go into these lengthy discussions about what their favorite teams did right or wrong in a particular match and they become all emotional about it as well. “That referee should let his eyes get checked out” or “ Jeez, that goal so and so made was so incredible”. Uggh, fun times indeed. Well, people probably think the same about me when I get emotional about a great movie or anime that I saw, so yeah it’s probably best that I just stop talking about how much I hate soccer and get to the real point of all this. Namely a review of this fun new action flick starring Dave “ Guardians of the Galaxy” Bautista. And yep, you might have guessed it from both the title and this little intro, it has something to do with soccer. But not in the way you might think though.

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My name is Bond, James Bond. Erm…no I guess it isn’t.

Michael Knox is a former soldier who still tries to come to terms with the loss of his brother in Afghanistan. He cares very much for his young niece, a rebellious teenager called Danni who has had her own struggles with accepting the death of her father. Michael decides to take her to a big soccer match in order for the both of them to spend some time together. Which would have been a very good idea, were it not for the fact that a bunch of Russian terrorists have targeted the match. An enormous amount of explosives are set to go off in the stadium, unless their demands are met. Michael soon finds himself right in the middle of this, and matters are not really helped when his niece disappears on him. With the aid of a nervous venue staffer called Faisal, the ex-soldier begins the search for his niece. But time is running out for Michael, as the clock ticks down to the end of the match and possibly the end of all the lives in the stadium….

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I love the fashion sense that these girls have.

Do you remember the 80’s action flicks? Where we had good old Stallone and Schwarzenegger lead the charge in over the top, totally not credible but oh so much fun action flicks? This one pretty much almost feels like it was made in that era. It has a B-movie vibe, but one that at least for me did not fail to really conjure up some stupid grins on my face during a couple of great action sequences. Yes it’s a cheesy movie and sometimes has some horrible lines in it too. One that especially made me cringe was when Michael was fighting with the lead terrorist in trying to obtain the trigger to the explosives. A police officer was shouting to him to not let him trigger the detonator. No, really? That’s so helpful indeed! Sorry, for my sarcasm but trust me when I say that I really did enjoy this movie a lot. It doesn’t try to pretend to be anything else but an action film and pretty much has all the cliches in it that we have seen before. Yes, it’s yet another Die Hard clone, but even so, it’s a very enjoyable one.

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He hates soccer so much that he decided to turn the match into a dirtbike event!

Dave Bautista carries this movie starring as the reluctant hero Michael. What he lacks in acting skills, he makes up for in charm. You can’t help but form a bond with this guy and you want nothing more than seeing him administer his own form of justice on the lowlife thugs. Speaking of them, they are just your basic stereotype villains. Ray Stevenson plays the role of the main terrorist, and does a good enough job in portraying a pretty loathsome individual. It’s interesting to see that it seems we are almost getting back to the time of the cold war. So many movies have Americans pitted against Russians  that it almost seems to me that World War III is imminent again. Let’s hope not, but it is a sign of the times we seem to be living in. One would almost forget that Pierce Brosnan is in this films as well. The former Bond actor, has a relatively minor role, but a very important one. And it seems that he had fun playing it too, not withholding the terrible Russian accent he has. (One often has to wonder why they bother with doing those accents in the first place).

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Don’t tell me: I’m late for dinner?

The script not surprisingly isn’t a highly original one. It borrows heavily from another similar action movie that you might recall, called Sudden Death starring the “ Muscles from Brussels”. But I wasn’t really bothered by that in the least. As a lover of action films, I just had a great time with this movie. My taste in films is very diverse, but sometimes I just need something simple and fun to reset my brain. This film pretty much served that purpose. Some nice fistfights, chase scenes and shoot-outs combined with a likeable lead, made this into an entertaining ride from start to finish. It would almost get me to like soccer. Well, no I didn’t believe that last one either. Anyways, this certainly won’t be a movie for everyone, but if you like simple but fun action movies, I highly recommend checking this one out. It won’t blow your mind, but it will in all likelyhood give you a great night off after a long hard day’s work. So, let’s see now, what’s my final score?

I give Final Score a 8 out of 10 score.

Suicide Squad, American movie (2016)

I don’t think that I am the only one when I say that I sometimes like a good bad guy even more than a hero. And if I am the only one that says that, well then I guess I must be weirder than I thought. Anyways all crazyness aside, I just love a good villain. And in comics we certainly have a host of those. Even better, we don’t just call them villains, some we even call SUPER-villains. But are all of these so called bad guys, really bad? While some certainly are pure evil and have no real redeeming qualities, there are also those that have a moral code that we might even identify with. Let’s also not forget those that are, pardon my french, just bat shit crazy. As I tend to sometimes be a little bit crazy myself, I usually enjoy those the most. So, at some point someone thought it would be a good idea to make a comic that teams up some of the major bad hombres in the DC comics universe and let them save the world. In the history of terrible ideas, that one really seems to be at the number one spot right? Well…no. Because it worked and of course it’s no surprise that at some point a movie was made too.

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I could make a really bad caption here, but I guess I’d better not.

Suicide Squad takes place after the events of Batman v Superman. The world is left without it’s greatest hero, and humans try to do what humans do best: they try to find a suitable replacement. Because really what if the next Superman/woman, turns out to be not such a benevolent being? Intelligence officer Amanda Waller has an idea that at first seems totally nuts, but might just be the key to protecting the Earth from new threats. Codenamed Task Force X, it’s a team comprised of some of the worst criminals that are contained in the Belle Reve Special Security Barracks. Chief amongst these are hitman Floyd Lawton also known as Deadshot and the totally insane Harley Quinn. But of course it wil not really come as a surprise that they are not jumping at a chance to become heroes. Nonetheless when an ancient threat appears in the form of the evil witch known as the Enchantress, the team is sent on it’s first mission. A mission where the stakes are very high. How high you say? Well how about the continued survival of the entire human race?

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I’ve been thinking of dying my hair green as well. It seems to be all the rage these days.

This movie is already almost two years old, and I have only just seen it. Yup. I know, that is just crazy, really what am I doing with my life. Okay enough jokers, erm jokes. Let’s dive into my thoughts on this film. It’s hard not to compare a movie like this to The Avengers. The only difference being that in this film we don’t have superheroes teaming up, but a bunch of bad guys. That we don’t know much about. And that is one of the biggest problems this movie has. When the first Avengers film came out, we already were introduced to the likes of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. Here though, we get  a bunch of characters that people who like comics might certainly be familiar with. But the regular audience probably doesn’t know much about them. And they are thrown at you with an incredible speed in the beginning of the film. That in itself would not necessarily be a bad thing. But some just had too little back story to really form an attachment to them. Sure, they look cool, but still it wouldn’t have hurt to maybe find out a little bit more about them.

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Why are you looking at me like that girl?

Luckily though, there are two characters that really carry the movie. It has to be said, Will Smith playing Deadshot does a phenomenal job with this role. He really steps up to the plate in bringing to life a character that is supposedly evil, but honestly really isn’t. It’s one of those truly anti-hero type of characters, who does everything for his daughter, and that you just want to see come out on top. And then there is Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie. She is absolutely amazing. Harley is portrayed as a seductive, sexy, complete whackjob of a woman. However she is probably the most human character out of this entire ensemble. Her love for the Joker (In this film played by a criminally underused Jared Leto), drives her forward. Don’t underestimate her though, because she is lethal as hell as she shows in many of the films most badass scenes. The rest of the squad is comprised out of a lot of cool characters that I would loved to have getten to know better, but alas, that was not to be.

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Yep…she is looking at you. Best not look back, that might not end well for ya.

Suicide Squad doesn’t really feel like a movie to me. It has some great ideas, and there are definitely a couple of scenes that were fun to see, but it just almost felt like I was watching a bunch of clips woven together. The storyline, such as it is, is just really thin. We have a threat that just doesn’t feel like much of one, simply because it lacks enough background to really feel dangerous. The film is mostly comprised of a two hour long, cgi filled, shoot-em up. The saving grace of this movie really are the terrific performances by Smith and Robbie. Those two alone make the movie still worthwhile to watch. This film really could have been gold. It has a great premise, with a bunch of fun characters, but it ultimately falls short. So, once again DC unfortunately fails to really go to war with their biggest rival Marvel. But then again, who is keeping score anyway. Ultimately, it’s still a movie worth seeing at least once. Just don’t expect to see anything earthshattering here.

I give Suicide Squad a 6 out of 10 score.

Aggravated Momentum, a novel by Didi Oviatt (2016)

I should this start this review off by making a huge apology. I have made a promise to the author of this book to write a review for it in what seems like ages ago. It’s strange that I love reading so very much, but always get drawn back into the worlds of movie magic and anime so much faster. It makes me feel guilty even more when I tell you who the author of this book is (Okay, I guess that was kind of hard to miss when you look at the title for this post). Yes this book was written by none other than our very own Didi Oviatt. If you have somehow not come across her blog yet, you would be missing out on one of the most supportive people that are in this wordpress community. Always kind, always offering words of encouragement to other people, she really is one of the driving forces of the wordpress community and a really amazing person. So press on that link and go follow her blog, if you haven’t already done so. But, she is also an author. And a damn good one at that, as this novel I just read is pretty much one of the best thrillers I have ever come across in my life. So Didi, I’m sorry it took me so long, but this post is for you!

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As you can pretty much see from the cover, Aggravated Momentum is not a novel that is telling a nice fluffy tale. But hey, as most of you know, I love the more darker and bloody stories anyway, and this one certainly is one of those. Markie is a woman who has recently lost her best friend Beth at the hands of a brutal serial killer. She has been trying to come to terms with that death as best she can. While she begins to pick up the pieces of her life again, her younger sister Kammie tries to support her in that. Urging her to go out more and just live life to the fullest. But it seems the unknown murderer’s work isn’t done yet. As a lot of horrific events are beginning to take place in Markie’s life, it is beginning to become clear to her that she seems to be at the centre of it all. With her unrelenting stalker coming ever closer, Markie’s world is beginning to unravel more and more around her. Fear and paranoia are taking control of her mind, and grip her like a vice. But the real nightmare has only just started….

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I started reading this book a few weeks ago, and in between a flu and some other real life events happening I finally was able to finish it today. Now I can hear you thinking already: well this probably means the book didn’t grab my attention. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. Because I finished this book in pretty much two days of reading when I finally came back to it. This book is simply put an incredible pageturner that grips you tight from the opening sentence, and never let’s go of you until the final page. It really is that good. It’s told from a first person perspective, but not only from the point of view of the main character, but also all the others that are featured in this book. I usually am not a huge fan of that style, but this book was a very noteworthy exception to that rule. How I loved the characters in this book! All of them were lifelike and the way that Didi described them made them pretty much appear in your mind as if they were people you might have known all your life.

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When an author is able to do that through his or her writing, that makes it all the more satisfying to me. But it’s not only the characters that are brought to life in such a great way. I never got bored for a single second. There usually is always some point in a book where your attention seems to waver or where the pacing feels a bit off. That never happened here. I loved the twists and shocks that the book offered. One of those was the reveal of the killer (yes, we also get his viewpoint in this book), and I think the loud bang of my jaw hitting the floor must have been heard pretty much all the way across the world. I at least did not see it coming, and there were many more of these wonderful twists that make your head spin. While the book was certainly bloody and at times very sexy as well, it never went overboard in any way. All of the scenes just felt right and weren’t just woven in the tale just for the sake of it all.

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So with all these high words of praise was there anything I didn’t like in this book? Well, honestly, no. I could go for being very petty and say there were a few typos in the book, but that would be reaching, and pretty much every novel has them. What we have here is a truly solid thriller that everyone who loves stories of serial killers, and novels that crank up the tension to the breaking point should definitely check out. It’s a bloody, steamy and at times horrific but oh so delicious tale of mayhem that you just have to check out. My only regret is that I didn’t start reading this book sooner, and I’m definitely going to be on the look out for the rest of Didi’s books in the future. That is pretty much a given, and hey I was already a fan of her so there is that. Oh, just so you know: it might seem that Didi asked me to write all this, but I can assure you she did not. This was my own undertaking, and my own opinion on the book as well. So, all I can say is don’t take my word for it, download/buy this novel today. You need this in your life.

I give Aggravated Momentum a 10 out of 10 score.

The Void, Canadian/American movie (2016)

God, I hate hospitals. I don’t know if I have ever said this to you all, but really I do. Then again I don’t think that there are many people out there that like hospitals in the first place. But seriously, the smell alone once you enter the place, is enough to make me turn on my feet and walk on out of there. I have so far had to experience a hospital only twice in my life, both times for nothing serious. But, that did mean I also had to stay there at night. And really things are even worse then you know? Honestly, I think they are some of the creepiest buildings created by men. Tell me that I am wrong? So why all this talk of hospitals? Am I making plans to go there soon? Hell to the no! Interesting that I should mention hell though. With Halloween creeping up on our doorsteps soon, I thought it was nice to once again turn back to one of my favorite moviegenres: horror. And after the rather gloomy review I wrote yesterday , it’s time for something a bit more lighthearted. Well, at least something a bit more uplifting? Though come to think of it, this film is anything but uplifting. Unless you can find comfort in a descent straight down into the bowels of hell….

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Some people really can’t read signs. Caution stand back? Duh…..

Police Deputy Daniel Carter is enjoying a nice and quiet night in his patrol car when a man comes stumbling out of the woods he is parked next to. Daniel at first thinks it’s some drunken teenager, but soon finds out that the man is covered in blood. Rushing the wounded man to his car, he screeches off intending to take the man to a hospital. The only one available is one that is a largely abandoned due to a fire. It also happens to be the place where his estranged wife works, Allison Fraser. Once he arrives there the man is quickly taken away to be helped by one of the doctors on duty a man called Richard. But it’s then when strange things are beginning to happen. A nurse brutally kills one of the patients and attacks Daniel. He barely manages to defend himself and escape the sudden attack. But when white robed people are beginning to surround the hospital, the true nightmare begins. It’s going to be a night that Daniel will never forget. A darkness, oh so evil has been awakened and the deputy soon finds himself in what can only be called a place taken straight from the most foulest places of hell itself….

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SOMEbody woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. 

It is no real secret that I am huge fan of The Thing, and if there is one movie that this one reminded me of, it’s that classic. This is one of those great, gory, a little bit gross, but oh so fun creature movies. It’s low budget, but it certainly doesn’t show that at all. Right from the very start of this film, the movie sets a very creepy and chilling tone and builds up the pace. I loved the way that this film did that. At first you don’t quite know yet what is going on. It seems there’s some kind of cult, maybe even something drugrelated things, but then when the first totally disgusting creature makes it’s appearance, the film goes into full on horror mode. The movie is gory, no hiding that fact. A lof of sickening, oozing and dripping fluids are spent in this movie but it gets nowhere near as bad as for instance Evil Dead. A creature feature stands or falls with the way the monsters are shown, and in this the movie doesn’t disappoint. A lot of designs are very unique (and suitably horrifying), and it also isn’t one of those films where you only see them as shadows in darkness. Still, this isn’t a blockbuster so don’t expect to see state of the art effects. But they are effective, no question about that.

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Nope…not creepy at all….

Another thing this movie has going for it, is it’s setting. As I mentioned, a hospital is a pretty scary place to begin with. But it has to be said that the sets in this film are really wonderfully created. As it’s a rundown building, it only adds to the atmosphere this film has. Most of the actors in this film are relatively unknowns, but I have to admit that the acting in this film is quite decent. The main hero of the movie, Daniel, is played by actor Aaron Poole. He manages to create a likeable character that tries to make the most out of a totally abnormal situation. He really carries most of the movie on his own, though his fellow supporting cast members do some admirable jobs themselves. None of the characters are very well worked out though, so don’t expect to grow really attached to them. That’s a little bit of a missed opportunity I think, as it would have made the film just a little bit better in my opinion. But honestly it doesn’t ruin the movie in any way for me, as there are enough scares and intense scenes that make this film very enjoyable.

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You know that things are bad when they start bringing out the axe!

I do think the film loses a little bit of momentum near the end. It’s luckily not enough to undo everything that came before it, but I do feel the ending could have been a little bit better. All in all though The Void was a very pleasant surprise. If you love low budget horror movies, or are a fan of the old Carpenter flicks, I urge you to try this one out. I think it’s one of the better horror movies that I have seen in a while. If you don’t like your horrormovies in the gory way though, this one is best avoided. So I guess this is it for this erm, did I mention in the beginning “uplifting” review? Okay, guess it didn’t really pan out that way after all. Well, can’t win them all I guess. Hope you still enjoyed reading this one though, and I will see you on the next one! Thanks for reading!

I give The Void a 8 out of 10 score.

A Silent Voice, Japanese (animated) Movie (2016)

Those of you that have been following me for a while now, and know me a little, probably recall the fact that I mentioned at times that I have been bullied for quite a while at school when I was young. Obviously it’s a past that I don’t like to recall often, as it was a very dark time in my life. But I never really talked about the after effects, and what it meant for the present. A couple of days ago I heard on national television that this year the stats for children being bullied at school were at an alltime low. I scoffed at that. Stats? Really? I think every child that has to go through that every day is one too many. Statistics be damned. Because bullying can have long time effects. For me it has meant a low self esteem and second guessing myself. Always having doubts. Like when someone doesn’t answer a text I sent. (Maybe I said something wrong and the person doesn’t like me anymore? Which obviously usually isn’t the case). But even worse is probably the fact that I have trouble connecting with people at times in real life. Especially when it comes to maybe falling in love. (Because really can someone fall in love with me?) All these dark thoughts aside….I have made progress over the years. Which is a good thing.

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How anyone can even remotely consider bullying this sweet girl is beyond me…..

At one point I was just done with it all. The self pity, or the fact that people might not like me. I began to think more along the lines of when people don’t like me, it’s their loss. And that certainly helped. While I will never fully lose those feelings, I do think it get’s better over time. But this all goes to show what bullying can really do to someone, and that the bullies themselves probably don’t even realise this (or couldn’t care less). The movie A Silent Voice deals with bullying, but it does this in a different way then one might expect. Shōya Ishida is a young and popular boy in his class which also means that a lot of the other children listen to what he has to say. One day a new girl called Shōko Nishimiya is introduced to the class. Well, she has to introduce herself but does this in a very unusual way. She pulls out a notepad, begins to write in it and then shows it to the classroom. It says that in order to get to know her, people can use the notepad. You see, Shōko is deaf. The class at first doesn’t really know how to deal with it. After a few days though, Shōya begins to set the tone, and starts to terrorise the poor girl. Even going so far as pulling out her hearing aids. Yeah…he is a real tough guy.

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I nearly went berserk during this scene. 

But when the principal eventually gets word of this and begins to ask questions about who is responsible, the rest of the class pulls away from Shōya. In fact the tables are turned and his classmates begin to bully him. Shōko eventually leaves the school, getting a transfer, and life moves on. Years later though Shōya begins to feel remorse. His own life is not really going well, and he decides to try and find out what has become of the the girl whose life he made miserable. But is she really willing to forgive him? Or an even better question would be should she even forgive him? I’m not going to lie here, A Silent Voice is not a happy go lucky film. It deals with a lot of things that might trigger unwanted feelings in quite a number of people. Heavy themes such as bullying and suicide all feature prominently in this movie. But it’s also a film that gives hope. There is a line in this anime that says even monsters have a heart. While I’m not so sure if that’s true for every monster, I’m definitely convinced that it’s true in a lot of cases. While there might certainly be children that bully simply because they enjoy it, there is usually more going on.

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X in this case doesn’t mark the spot. 

What I loved about this film is the fact that it shows that people can really change. When you first meet Shōya you begin to develop intense feelings of hate towards him. Especially because of the fact that the object of his reign of terror is one of the most innocent and sweet girls one is likely to meet. But as the movie progresses this changes. You really begin to believe the fact that the boy, now a young man, has changed, and really attempts to make the best of his earlier mistakes. It also helps when you see what has become of Shōya‘s own life. He has trouble talking to people (Which is represented by people having large X’s on their faces. Something I thought was really unique and clever). And his life really isn’t all that great either. Yes one could argue he had it coming. But without giving too much away, you will also see that friendship can sometimes come from the most unlikeliest places. And that’s where the hope lies within this film. It really emphasises how important friendship truly is. Certain people in your life can give you confidence, and I’m glad to say I have those in mine.

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Now, is it me or does the hairstyle of the second guy on the left remind you of a certain someone in a certain anime?

A Silent Voice also has a great animation style. It might not appeal to everyone, and it’s certainly not the best I’ve seen, but I really liked the way the characters were designed, and the way all the backgrounds blended together with these. This movie clocks in at a little over two hours, and I think my only gripe with it is that it might have been slightly too long. There were a few points in the film, where my attention started to waver. But, these moments were never very long, and certainly didn’t spoil the film in any way. This is simply one of those films that I think is very powerful, and deals with a pretty heavy subject matter in a beautiful way. It contains some very likeable characters, an amazing storyline, and ultimately ends up giving hope to people that have been on the receiving end of these kinds of experiences. At times it might make you a little melancholy, but when the credits start to role you will have a film to look back upon that you will be glad to have seen.

I give A Silent Voice a 9 out of 10 score.

Bleach, Japanese movie (2018)

There are times when I feel like I am a total noob when it comes to anime. Yes, I know that I need to give myself some credit and say that I still seem to watch it enough, and am maybe not a complete and utterly ignorant person when it comes to this medium. But, nonetheless there are still a lot of fan favorite shows that I have only heard of by name, but have never seen. I do like a challenge and still try to catch up with some shows. I have to say though, that nothing is more daunting than having some animes now have over 300 episodes (and some even reaching more staggering amounts). As much as I would love to watch some of those, I know that realistically I simply don’t have the time to see those kind of numbers. Bleach is one of those animes. Having done some research this series has now 366 episodes. I could finish this one maybe if I would watch one episode a day. But I know that I am deluding myself, and will simply admit defeat. Recently Netflix has released a live action movie for it that came recommended to me by Karandi.

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Why….so….serious!

Well, I assume a lot of you are probably already thinking that you will move on, and pass  on this one. I would not even blame you. When it comes to live action adaptations I often find myself wondering what the point of these are. The people that love anime, love exactly that: anime! So why turn an animation into a live action version? Probably to hopefully reach a bigger audience, and maybe get people interested in it more. But often they are just cash grabs, and are dowright mediocre, or even worse: total crap. However there are always exceptions to the rule, and Bleach seems to be one of them at least. Now, as I knew literally next to nothing about the anime (only the name and that a lot of people seem to think very highly of it), I also had the unique position that I had nothing to compare it too. Which also meant that I had no expectations for it. So if you are looking for a review that describes how well (or how badly) it holds up to the original anime, you are better off reading Karandi’s excellent post for it. I really enjoyed reading that one, and it also gave me a little insight in the anime. So what will I be doing here than in this post? Well, I’m just going to give you a review as if this were any other movie. I know, boring right? Hey, I never said that I wasn’t predictable.

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Pointing your sword that way is just asking for trouble these days….

Remember the phrase “ I see dead people” from the amazing film The Sixth Sense? No? Ugh, shame on you. Well anyways, Ichigo Kurosaki can see them too. Who is this guy you ask? Erm, okay I guess I am kind of jumping into this a little bit too fast. Ichigo Kurosaki is  a teenager and the hero of this movie. Now with that explanation given, lets move on. One day his ability to see ghosts, lets him meet up with Rukia Kuchiki. And she is not just a simple ghost, but has the badass job description of being a Soul Reaper. Now this means she has a mission to guide the souls of dead people to a place called the Soul Society. While this might not sound too bad, there is also a darker side to her mission. And that comes in the form of Hollows, absolutely horrific looking lost souls, that can both harm ghosts and the living. While in the middle of a fight with one of them, trying to defend Ichigo and his young sister, Rukia gets hurt pretty badly. She makes a decision to transfer her powers to Ichigo. But these new powers might just be more than the young man can handle. Not only does he have a fight on his hands with a monstrous Hollow called the Grand Fisher, but there also two Soul Reapers that have it in for him. And they don’t seem all that pleased that he now has Rukia’s powers…..

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Some people just have a big mouth!

Bleach is an action packed, sometimes funny, sometimes scary movie, that certainly was worth the watch. Not everything in this movie worked, but overall this movie definitely entertained. Let’s start with the cast first. The main hero is played by actor Sota Fukushi. He does a pretty adequate job in portraying a bit of a cynical teenager who while at times seems to be in way over his head, still manages to hold his own in the new situation he finds himself in. I do say adequate because quite honestly I didn’t think his acting abilities were too good. In the many action sequences the film contains however, he does come across as very convincing. I liked the character of Rukia more though. Played by actress Hana Sugisaki, she played a role that was quite endearing. The young Soul Reaper was one of those characters that tries to be tough, but really has a heart of gold. It was nice to see her try to avoid becoming a friend to Ichigo, but of course in the end failing to do so. The rest of the cast had far less screentime and as such was harder to form an attachment too. The two other Soul Reapers that had a score to settle with Ichigo I found to be overacting at times, but maybe that was the way their characters were supposed to be like.

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Seriously dude, you need to do something with that hair of yours. 

So how about the special effects then? I have to say that they were very convincing and quite good. I really loved the designs of the Hollows, and as far as monster designs go they were pretty horrific. Action wise, the film has some seriously cool swordfights, and ofcourse Ichigo trying to defeat the monstrous lost souls. All of these scenes looked top notch, and were quite enjoyable. The end fight sequence though was a little bit disappointing. It went pretty overboard and it even became laughable which is something I don’t think was what they intended it to be. Overall though, Bleach is quite the entertaining film. It contains some quirky but fun characters, a nice storyline and great action. Not knowing anything about the anime, I do find myself beginning to realise why this one has become such a fan favorite. Maybe I should set aside some time to go ahead and watch it anyway. It is after all only 366 episodes long. Yeah…right….like that will ever happen. Oh well, wishful thinking I guess.

I give Bleach a 7 out of 10 score.

Violet Evergarden, Anime tv Series (2018)

Love is beautiful. It can give you wings, and make you feel like you can take on the entire world by yourself. It’s one of the most powerful emotions we have access too, and when that sting of cupid’s arrow has found you, you might just be the luckiest man or woman alive. But love can also be a cruel mistress. It can hurt….an awful lot. You might at times feel as if your heart is literally ripped out from your chest whenever the one you loved leaves you. Because either the love has died, or even worse when that person has left the world of the living behind, never to return. It is at times like that you probably wish you would have a switch that can turn off your emotions just like that. But if only life were that easy. There are days when I can feel very melancholy. Because love has not yet entered my life, and because there are days that I feel it never will. Even though those days are hard, I try to not give up hope. And sometimes, just sometimes there is something that can give you a new boost of hope. I have always said that one of the highest achievements any kind of medium can achieve, is fill you with emotions. Violet Evergarden is an anime series that does just that, and than some….

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No this is not a remake of Mary Poppins.

Violet Evergarden is a breathtaking anime series that tells the tale of the “ Auto Memory Doll” with the same name. Violet used to be a soldier and was left behind on the battlefield badly injured whilst protecting her commanding officer Major Gilbert Bougainvillea. This resulted in the loss of both her arms. She did surive the ordeal, and her arms got replaced by metal prosthesis. After the war, Violet has a hard time trying to adjust to life. One day an old friend of Major Gilbert visits her and decides to show her the business he owns, the CH postal office. In that place Auto Memory Dolls write letters for people who have a hard time finding the correct words to say, and putting them to paper. Violet gets hired to work there, but at first it’s very hard to find her place. Especially since she has been trying to make sense of the very last words Major Gilbert told her: “ I love you” . As Violet has no real way of understanding emotions, it becomes increasingly more difficult for her to cope with all the feelings that are inside her. But as time progresses, and she encounters more and more people with feelings that rival her own, Violet begins to live again. But dark clouds of war seem to loom on the horizon, and the safe world that she has created around her, might just burst into flames again…..

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I did say that this anime looks breathtaking did I not?

Where do I start reviewing an anime that has left me literally in tears for quite a number of times during it’s run. I’m not even joking here. I cried, because the emotions in this series were so very, very real. An anime like this doesn’t come around very often. I have seen and read numerous reviews for this one, and those have been very mixed indeed. Some people loved it, some people hated it. As for me? I thought this was a masterpiece. Right from the very first opening scene this anime captured my heart, and did not let go of it until the very last episode. I must first mention the absolutely astounding level of detail that went into this anime. The wordbuilding, the characters, the amazing music, everything just looks and sounds top notch. It is a world that is utterly believable and that just makes you invested in this even more. The high quality level of animation that is presented here at numerous times takes your breath away. Beautifully drawn landscapes, cities, sunsets, it all looks absolutely amazing.

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Sometimes you just want to hit someone on the head.

But it’s the story that makes this anime so very worthwhile. I have heard people mention them really disliking the character of Violet. Because of her at times static responses and the way she repeats things like saying she wants to understand love. But one must not forget that she is not really human. She is a doll. And because of that her responses initially are static. But the farther the series progresses, the more I fell in love with this character. Her struggle with trying to become human, and trying to grasp the feeling of love that was in her all along but which she just didn’t know, was simply fascinating to watch. In one of the later episodes she has to write letters for a dying mother, who has a a very young daughter. It was during that episode that I really broke down at the end. I had to pause because the emotions on display during those 24 minutes were almost too much. And it was in that episode that I think Violet grew into an even more humane character than she already was.

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You always need to keep smiling, even if that means pulling your face off.

Violet Evergarden starts off quite slow. It takes a while for it to really get going, which is why it requires a little bit of patience as well. But the payoff is incredible, and I for one had no problem with the initial slower episodes. Despite the fact that this is a series that is at it’s heart a romance story, there are also episodes that focus on the war. Both the impending one, and the one in the past. Actionwise, this sometimes results in some cool fight sequences, but beware as this certainly is not an action series. While the main story is of course about Violet herself, there were also quite a number of very interesting supporting characters. It would go to far to name all of them, but suffice it to say that at her place of work there certainly are a number of coworkers who you will grow very fond of too. After 13 episodes I felt sad to be leaving this world behind. I was delighted to see however that a new project is in the works, and one can only hope that it will arrive very soon.

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And some of the other dolls…erm..litterally, not trying to offend here.

So in case it wasn’t clear yet, I absolutely loved this anime. It was a beautiful and very fascinating journey to behold, although I certainly would recommend to keep a few boxes of tissues close by. It gives us a good and often important lesson about emotions, especially one of the most powerful ones: Love. Where Violet struggles to grasp the meaning of the word altogether we often struggle to keep a hold of it. For we often fear the pain of loss, or heartbreak. But I would say after having seen this, never fear that feeling. For our lives are fleeting and might be over before you know it. If love does cross your path grasp it with both hands, and try to keep a hold of this as best you can, never letting go. And even if you might not always be able to exactly say what you might feel, this anime has a solution for that as well. Put your words in a letter, as that can be just as powerful as saying the words out loud. And I am sure that Violet would be willing to give you a helping hand with that…

I give Violet Evergarden a 10 out of 10 score.

Peppermint, American Movie (2018)

There is something extremely appealing to a strong female lead role in a film. Especially when that woman is also an action heroine. And before you all fall over me, I don’t mean that in a sexist way at all. I have always believed that women can pretty much do anything a man can do, and sometimes they do it even better. For the people that have been following my blog for a while now, you know that I have a particular love for revenge movies. It was only a short while ago that I reviewed the Korean revenge movie The Villainess which coincidentally also featured a lady that could seriously kick some  booty. So why are women in such roles so appealing? I don’t exactly have an answer to that question. But I do know it is great to see a woman pretty much beat the living daylights out of men that are so evil that they don’t even deserve to be alive in this world. This month we see Jennifer Garner finally make a very welcome return to the action genre. Looking back to quite a few years ago, some people might remember her playing the feisty agent Sydney Bristow in the hitseries Alias. In Peppermint though she seems to pay homage to that character, only this time she plays the completely psychotic and lethal version of it.

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Sometimes people seek a tougher challenge then decorating Christmas trees.

Riley North is a woman who struggles to make ends meet. She and her husband Chris have a lovely daughter and live a good life, but they do seem to have trouble keeping their heads above water financially. Chris almost went off to do something stupid and illegal but changed his mind at the last second. One night on their daughter’s birthday they head off as a family to the local carnival. They have the time of their lives, but that changes in the blink of an eye when a drive by shooting by local drug cartel members results in something absolutely horrible. Riley survives the incident and has the chance to appear in court, as she alone has managed to step up and identify the suspects. But a sleezeball lawyer and corrupt judge manage to turn the tables, and as a result the perpetrators get set free. But then something snaps in Riley. The once quiet and loving mother is determined to bring a justice of her own to the cartel and woe to anyone who will stand in her way. They say hell hath no fury to a woman scorned, and Riley North has become the living embodiment of that saying….

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Open wide!! Oh wait…it seems that you can’t!

Well, if this sounds like a story you might have seen and heard of a countless number of times in movies, you would be right. Yes this is a straight up good old fashioned revenge movie, and it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. What we have here is one of those films, that will probably leave your mind by the end of the week, but is still solidly entertaining and worth making a trip to the movie theatre for. One of the reasons for this  is most certainly Jennifer Garner. She is amazing as the grieving mother with a heart, and brings a cold determination to her character as she continues with her mission of vengeance. And what a mission it is. She is a one man erm woman army as she shoots, stabs and kicks all sorts of low life trash to the afterlife. It almost felt at times that I was  looking at an old 80’s Stallone or Schwarzenegger movie, but without the over the top and unrealistic action. (Althought I love those movies in case you were wondering). Garner is totally believable in this role, and it was nice to finally see her step out of her pretty mundane roles of late, and go into full on action mode again.

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Lasergaming still seems to be popular in some circles. 

Storywise this just isn’t an original tale, although there was a twist during the later half of the film that I did not see coming. And it’s always nice to see something like that happening. But in a movie like this it’s the action that counts, and in that way this film doesn’t let up for a second. We have a total adrenaline rush here, that sees you moving from one fight scene, to the next gunbattle and all of these are pretty brutal too. The director doesn’t have a problem with depicting violence, but it never get too gory. As mentioned though, the action certainly wasn’t unrealistic, and it was also refreshing to see that Riley isn’t an invulnerable superwoman but actually get’s wounded, and quite a lot too. The action sequences were choreagraphed very decently, and certainly won’t leave anyone who craves for action in their films feel slighted. The rest of the roles in this film weren’t very memorable to be honest, but this is pretty much a film that is carried by the role of Garner, and I was fine with that.

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Testing, testing..one, two, three….

I had fun with this film. It’s a movie that doesn’t reinvent the revenge genre, but I have to be honest that I’m not always looking for movies that feel the need to do that. Sometimes it’s nice to see just a solid entry into a familiar genre, and on that front this movie absolutely delivers. So do I recommend the film? Well, if you love oldschool action movies, with gunbattles, and energetic fight sequences with a solid female lead, I would say go for it. If that isn’t you usual cup of tea, this movie won’t convince you otherwise, and it’s best to avoid it then. What this movie does prove though is that it’s never a good idea to mess with a mother’s love for her child. Or women in general. Some can certainly turn into angels of vengeance, a lesson that one does best to not forget. And in case you might have forgotten it, I hope you won’t ever run into Riley North. Because I am pretty sure she won’t mind in helping you remember it…..

I give Peppermint a 7 out of 10 score.