Tag Archives: Thriller

Special Features Presents: My favorite creature feature movies (part 1)

It has been quite a while since I did a special features post. A couple of weeks ago I was trading thoughts with Karandi from 100wordanime (and yes this is also a shameless plug to get you to follow her blog if you have not done so already), after she reviewed the movie Deep Blue Sea. I thought it might be interesting to write a post about my favorite movies that feature some kind of creature scaring the crap out of people. After having recently seen the movie Anaconda, I recalled this conversation, and now finally I have gotten around to writing this post. Sorry it has taken me a while to do so, but I still hope you will enjoy reading it. Why part 1? Well, in this post I will focus on movies that are at least somewhat realistic, and part 2 will focus on science fiction movies that feature terrible creatures from beyond. Well, enough small talk, let’s get on with it!

1. Jaws (1975)

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Hmmmmm….tasty……

To not include this classic Steven Spielberg movie, would simply be impossible. For maybe the only soul on this planet who has yet to see this film, I will give a short description of what it is about. The summer town of Amityville is all of a sudden being terrified by a great white shark, with a taste for human flesh. After a number of people have been attacked, it is up to the local sheriff, a marine biologist and a shark hunter to take care of the beast. A titanic struggle between man and shark soon begins. Yes, this movie is now 42 years old, but wow it is still one of the best monster movies ever. Even though the sharkeffects may, at times, feel a bit dated, the movie is still very effective in bringing up the scares and the tension. A classic film in every sense of the word, this is an absolute must see movie.

2. Alligator (1980)

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Did someone call the police?

After Jaws there were a lot of attempts to cash in on the success of that film. Most of these were very bad, but there were also a few movies that were quite entertaining. Alligator definitely fell into that last category. The premise for this film was pretty simple: a baby alligator was flushed down the toilet, but managed to survive and grow into a gigantic monstrosity. The beast eventually left the sewers and began attacking the local residents. This movie is a bit of a cult classic, but highly enjoyable. It does not take itself very seriously, but there are enough tense moments in this film, that will have you hang on to the edge of your seat. In no way will this one beat Jaws, but it is definitely not a bad movie.

3. Rogue (2007)

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Here’s Johny!!

Staying with reptiles, the 2007 Australian movie Rogue features a giant crocodile. An American journalist encounters a giant man eating crocodile while on assignment in the Australian outback. He is trapped on a small island that is beginning to flood. And with a hungry crocodile nearby, that is really not a good place to be. This movie starts of somewhat slow, but makes up for it in the second half of the film. The creature effects for this one are truly astonishing, and especially near the end of the film you start to wonder how on Earth they managed to accomplish that. This is a relatively small, but very tense and exciting movie.

4. Arachnophobia (1990)

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Itsy bitsy spider….

Now, I am not afraid of spiders, but after seeing this film, I could definitely develop a fear for them. A doctor discovers a new species of spider in the South American jungle. Travelling back to the States, the spider eventually manages to breed with a domestic species, and this is the beginning of a nightmare for the residents of a small town. Now, if you like movies with jumpscares, this one will give you more than you might have bargained for. I remember when I saw this film in the theatres for the first time. I had never seen an audience jump out of their seats so many times, myself included. It is a great and fun film, with a lot of tense moments, and some very decent special effects.

5. Cujo (1983)

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No worries, he doesn’t bite……

Cujo is a movie that is based on the novel by Stephen King. A friendly St.Bernard gets bitten by a bat and contracts rabies. A mother and her son are trapped in a car, while the dog stalks them. It is the middle of summer, so the heat is scorching and time is running out for the both of them. This is a truly tense movie, and one of the better Stephen King films out there. What is interesting to note, is that they used a real dog for this movie. You really wonder how they have managed to train an animal to do all the things you see in this film. It is all very convincing and very scary.

6. The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)

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Are you looking at us?

This movie is a very underrated gem. A bridge engineer while on assignment in Africa, has to enlist the help of an old hunter as his crew gets attacked by a pair of lions. It is not long though that the two of them discover that these are no ordinary lions. What is really interesting about this movie, is that this film is based on a true story. With veteran actors Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas cast for the two lead roles, this film really is a joy to watch from beginning to end. Filmed mostly in Africa, the scenery alone is one of the reasons to watch this movie.

7. Bait (2012)

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The things you can find in a supermarket these days..

After the release of Jaws there have been so many sharkmovies that I have really lost count. Amongst all these it is very hard to find something original, but Bait really tries to be different. A tsunami strikes at an Australian town, and a number of people become trapped inside a supermarket. To add to their problems a couple of great white sharks have become trapped with them….This was really a very unique sharkmovie, simply because of the truly original setting. It was simply a blast to see people taking the fight to the sharks with only supermarket appliances. The result was a fun and exciting film, that was a really enjoyable watch.

8. Burning Bright (2010)

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Here kitty, kitty, kitty…..

This small, and relatively unknown film was truly a surprise. A woman together with her autistic younger brother becomes trapped inside a house during a storm. This would not be so bad, except for the fact that a tiger has been let loose inside the house as well,  in order to kill them. This tense thriller really had some seriously scary scenes. Again filmed with a live animal, it served up some very realistic and horrifying moments. It is always nice when you don’t expect much from a film, and it turns into something totally awesome. Burning Bright is such a film, and I highly recommend seeking this one out.

Final Thoughts

Well, that just about does it for part 1 of this special features post. Ofcourse this list is by no means complete, as there are definitely a lot of other animal movies out there, that are every bit as enjoyable as the ones on this list. However for me, these movies were definitely my favorites. Coming up somewhere next week, will be part 2 of this post where I am going to focus on my favorite science fiction monsterfilms.

But now, it is over to you, my readers. What is your favorite animal monster movie? Are any of those movies perhaps included on my list? Let me know in the comments section below. As always thank you very much for reading, and see you at the next post!

 

 

 

Anaconda, American movie (1997)

I have always enjoyed watching horrormovies featuring some kind of animal that terrorises people. It all started ofcourse with the Steven Spielberg movie Jaws. A classic in every way, this film was responsible for spawning a whole range of movies that featured some type of animal vs man. Over the years, I think nearly every animal on Earth must have been in some kind of horror film. Ofcourse some of these were seriously bad and incredibly cringeworthy. However occasionally a movie comes along that seems to be a B-movie, but is so enjoyable that you take that for granted. The 1997 movie Anaconda definitely falls into that last category.

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I am wondering who is more scared here.

In Anaconda a documentary crew heads off down a tropical river in the Amazon, in search of a mystical tribe. While travelling down the river they come across a shady character who is trapped on a boat during a storm. The man introduces himself as Paul Serone and tells them he hunts snakes for a living. When the journey continues, the head of their team, dr. Cale, becomes seriously injured. Serone tells them he knows he a shortcut across the river, which will take them faster to a hospital in order to save their friend. While skeptical, the remaining members of the crew including filmmaker Terri Flores, agree to follow his advice. But soon it becomes apparent that Paul has ulterior motives. Not only does Terri have to face the increasingly more psychotic Paul, but she will also discover just what it is he is after. Soon they will have to face a monstrous snake, and the fight of their lives will begin in earnest. Will they all survive, or will they become snakefood….?

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Now, that is one scary looking dude.

 

Anaconda does little to to hide the fact that this is obviously a B-movie. Although the impressive cast that is involved in this movie would have you guessing otherwise. One of the reasons to watch this movie is veteran actor John Voight. He plays the role of snakehunter Paul Serrone, and it is obvious that he is having a blast playing him. The character he portrays is a seriously evil one, but he plays the role so well, that you can’t help but root for him at times. Also included amongst the cast is Jennifer Lopez, who plays the feisty Terri Flores who is more than a match for Serrone. Finally we have Eric Stolz who plays dr Cale in a small but important role, and Ice Cube who provides some comic relief.

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Seriously man, no joke, look behind you. 

The special effects in this film are a mix of animatronics and CGI and they are both a hit and miss in this movie. Some of the effects are pretty impressive, but there are also scenes that are seriously bad. But then again that is also part of the charm of this film. Anaconda serves up just enough thrills to make this movie exciting enough. It is a bit slow to get going, but in the second half of the film the tension begins to increase and we get a couple of fun scenes with the killer snake. There is no real gore or blood to speak of, so if you like your horrorfilms more in the style of a thriller this one is for you. Anaconda is a fun B-type horrormovie, that serves up an hour and a half of mindless creature filled fun. While this film certainly won’t win the award for Best Picture, it is entertaining enough all the same. And sometimes that is just all you need.

I give Anaconda a 8 out of 10 score.

Don’t Knock Twice, Uk movie (2016)

I think pretty much everyone as a child must have done some kind of prank. One of the most common ones of these are to either ring the doorbell or knock on someone’s door and run away. One has to wonder now what was so fun about something like that, but children seem to really have a barrel full of laughs while doing this. Why am I bringing something like this up? Is it some kind of misplaced sense of atonement for the pranks that I used to do as a kid that I am doing here? No, really no worries about that. The reason I am bringing this up, is that someone took this childhood prank and turned it into a horrormovie. Well…kind of a horrormovie anyway.

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Don’t knock twice focusses on mother Jess, who nine years ago had to give up her daughter Chloe to an orphanage. Now, she wants her back, but Chloe wants nothing to do with her anymore. One night Chloe and her boyfriend visit an old house, where according to legend a witch resides. They knock twice on her door, and then quickly leave. This seemingly innocent event, soon begins to have very dire consequences. Chloe begins to see strange things, and weird events force her to leave her own house. In desperation she flees to her mother, who at first though very happy to see her, does not believe her story. However it isn’t long before Jess has to face the fact that a demonic spirit is targeting her daughter. Will she be able to save her, or will Chloe end up as yet another victim of this ancient evil…..

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I have to say that the premise for this film was very original. Based in part on the legend of Baba Yaga (from Slavic folklore), it was the storyline that grabbed my attention for it. While there certainly are some horrorelements in this movie, I would classify this film more as a thriller. Unfortunately, it is not a very suspenseful one. The movie has a few interesting scenes, but it was not enough to keep me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire film. The acting in the movie was pretty decent, especially by Katee “Starbuck” Sackhoff, who played the role of Jess. She really plays a very convincing role as the desperate mother, who will stop at nothing to win back the love of her daughter.

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This movie isn’t terrible, but it is not great either. The film is at times pretty slow, and some of the twists you can definitely see coming from miles away. The movie obviously had a low budget, but still it managed to hide that fact pretty decently. All in all there are worse movies out there, and together with the original story and the acting, just manages to keep it’s score on the positive side.

I give Don’t knock twice a 6 out of 10 score.

Crimson Peak, American/Canadian movie (2015)

Director Guillermo del Toro has over the years given us a whole number of great movies in a lot of different genres. From the visually impressive superhero movie Hellboy, to the scifi action blockbuster Pacific Rim, he seems to be able to handle any genre he can lay his hands on. The horror movie is another type of film he usually excels at. That is why I was really looking forward to the movie Crimson Peak, which seemed to be a good oldfashioned ghost story.

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In Crimson Peak we meet the girl Edith Cushing, who is able to see ghosts. A gift she would rather do without, as at a very young age she gets a visit by the ghost of her dead mother. She warns Edith to beware of Crimson Peak. Years later, when Edith has grown up and has become an aspiring writer, she meets a mysterious stranger. The man introduces himself as Thomas Sharpe, and it is not long after that Edith finds herself falling in love with him. After a terrible tragedy, Edith travels together with Thomas to his family home. But the house is old, very old, and has some terrible secrets that should have remained buried. Edith is about to find out what the warning of her mother meant, but it may already be too late…..

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If I could name one thing that makes this movie worth watching it is the visual aspects of it. The cinematography, costumes and set designs are absolutely breathtaking. As this is a period piece, del Toro manages to capture the timeframe perfectly and in that regard the movie is a feast for your eyes. Unfortunately the movie itself was a bitter disappointment. Despite containing terrific actors such as Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston, I found this film to be utterly boring. The movie starts off very well, but after that just settles into a very slowpaced film, that failed to keep my attention.

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As this is a horrormovie I expect to be scared, well at least for a bit. Even though there were a couple of interesting scenes, they were just not enough and too far in between for me to become truly terrified. As far as acting goes, most of the actors did a fine job, most notably Jessica Chastain. She played the part of the sister of Thomas, a very chilling woman that at times truly gave me the creeps. The lead role of Edith, played by actress Mia Wasikowska was a character that was seriously boring. I really did not care what happened to her either way, and that ofcourse is usually not a very good sign. I honestly had expected more of this film. With a cast containing such good actors, and a director that can really do better, I had high hopes for this one. Alas, it was not to be. If you like haunted house movies, you can definitely find better ones out there.

I give Crimson Peak a 5 out of 10 score.

 

The Conjuring 2, American/Canadian movie (2016)

One of the questions that will probably always remain a mystery to us, is if there is life after death. Ghost, spirits and other supernatural beings have been sighted all over the world. Well….supposedly that is. While there is certainly enough documentation about paranormal occurences in the world, one really has to wonder if all of this is true. Honestly though, I do think there are things out there, that seriously can’t be explained. At least not by any normal means. The horrormovie the Conjuring, released in 2013, told the true story about a case witnessed by two experts on paranormal sightings. These experts, the couple Ed & Lorraine Warren, have given a lot of lectures on universities, about the cases they have come across throughout the years. With the original movie being such a succes, it was ofcourse inevitable that a sequel would be made. With the movie again based on one of the true stories from the famous couple, is this sequel as good as the original?

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In the Conjuring 2 Ed en Lorraine have trouble keeping up the energy to continue investigating paranormal cases. Not only that, but the media also makes them appear as a bunch of scam artists, which further takes it’s toll on the couple. Meanwhile in England, a single mother together with her four children begins to experience some horrible events. One of her daughters called Janet, soon becomes the focal point of the paranormal occurences. At first people think that she is making things up. However as things begin to get worse, it is clear that something terrible has invaded the home of this family. Even though the Warrens at first are reluctant to take on the case, eventually they relent, and head on over to England. When they finally arive there, what they are about to encounter is more terrifying than they could ever have imagined….

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The horrormovie has certainly a track record for releasing a lot of sequels, especially when the original film is succesful. Sadly though these sequels are often not as good, or even just quite simply put: absolutely awful. The Conjuring 2 however is certainly not bad. In fact it might be the best horrormovie sequel I have seen to date. The acting, especially by veteran actress Vera Farmiga as Lorraine, is done very well and makes the film truly convincing. The young actress Madison Wolfe, who plays the role of Janet, also does a superb job, and is at times seriously scary. And while on the subject of things that are scary, the Conjuring 2 definitely tries it’s best to deliver some seriously disturbing scenes. At some points it succeeds in that job, but there are also times that you just see the scare coming from a mile away.

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As far as horrormovies go, this one is long, very long. With a runningtime of over two hours, I dare say that it is simply too long. The film takes it’s time to set things up, and I felt that a few cuts here and there, would have resulted in a better balanced film. Director James Wan’s visual style certainly is effective yet again, as the movie has a few camera angles that really make the film more scary. This movie honestly speaking was pretty good. Sure the original is better, but even though it has a slow start, when the film picks up momentum it certainly becomes an entertaining horrormovie. If you liked the first film, you will probably like this one as well, as long as you don’t expect it to be as good as part one.

I give The Conjuring 2 a 7 out 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Action Movies of the 80’s

The other day I was sharing comments with fellow blogger Hermione Flavia from Wildfiremovies . Now before I get into that, I first want to give a big shout out to her blog. If you love movies as much as I do, then one thing you should do is check out her blog and subscribe. She is an award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter, and her movie reviews are seriously topnotch. From classics movies, to action films and horrormovies, there is almost no end to the movies featured on her blog. Not only that, she is also one of the kindest persons you will ever talk to, so really what are you waiting for: press on the link provided above and subscribe.

Now we were talking about how lately we spent a lot of time in the past and feeling nostalgic, and how so many great action movies were made in the 80’s. This is pretty much how the idea for this post came about. Now I have focussed myself only on the non-science fiction action movies of that era. I might at sometime in the future do a follow up for those kind of films, but right now I am simply going to stick to the good old fashioned normal 80’s action flicks. So grab a seat, take a drink and some popcorn, and let us travel back in time to the wonderful 80’s.

Rambo: First Blood (1982)

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I have seriously lost count on how many times I have seen this briljant action film. Starring Sylvester Stallone as Vietnam veteran John Rambo, this movie is simple in it’s story telling, but incredibly effective. When John returns home to visit an old friend, the local sheriff thinks off him as a drifter, and tries to force him to leave town. It is not long before things escalate into violence, and the small town becomes a warzone. Stallone is absolutely amazing in his role, and the movie eventually spawned three sequels. The original movie is still the best though, featuring terrific action sequences, a dark atmosphere and the brilliant score of Jerry Goldsmith.

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

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Beverly Hills Cop is one of the greatest action comedies ever made. Starring Eddie Murphy as the loudmouth cop Axel Foley, the numerous comedy scenes featured in this film, are even now still every bit as funny as back then. Axel is a cop in Detroit, but pursuing a murder case eventually ends up in Beverly Hills. Meeting two local cops, the three of them set out to find out the truth about the murder. Murphy steals the show in the leadrole, and could not have been cast any better. Featuring great action pieces mixed with perfectly timed comedy, this is also one of those movies that will never get old.

Missing in Action (1984)

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Now for every good movie, there usually also is a bad one. Missing in action is an action movie that is so bad, that it is actually good and fun to watch. Ofcourse cashing in on the succes of Rambo, this movie starred Chuck Norris in the role of James Braddock. Believing that there are still POW’s being held in a prisoner camp in Vietnam, Braddock returns to the jungle to try and free them. The movie is filled with cliches, bad acting and cheesy oneliners. But honestly that is what makes this B-movie so much fun to watch. Chuck would reprise his role two more times in the sequels that followed this one, and those are every bit as bad. Seriously, what is not to love about that?

Commando (1985)

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Now, not featuring any Schwarzenegger movies in this post would ofcourse be a big mistake. After the enormous succes of Conan and the Terminator, Arnold was definitely on a roll. In Commando he plays the role of John Matrix, a Black Ops Commando who is happily retired and now lives with his daughter (a very young Alyssa Milano). But when his daughter is kidnapped by criminals, John begins his personal war to bring his girl back safely. With an over the top bodycount, and such classic oneliners as ” Don’t disturb my friend, he is DEAD-tired” this is one of Arnold’s best. Yes, the action is completely crazy, and at times completely unrealistic, but man is this movie a lot of fun to watch.

Cobra (1986)

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Back in the 80’s Schwarzenegger and Stallone were not exactly the best of friends, and both tried to outdo each other with bringing out numerous films. Cobra is a brutal Stallone movie, where he plays the role of the tough as nails cop Marion Cobretti. In this film he has become the protector of a witness, who is being chased by a murderous cult in order to prevent her from testifying. Crime is a disease, and he is the cure was this movie’s tagline, so you pretty much know what to expect. Lots of shooting, chases and fight scenes, make this film a wonderful addition to Stallone’s already impressive action resumé.

Lethal Weapon (1987)

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This movie is one of my own personal favorites. This fantastic buddy cop movie, eventually resulted in three sequels which were every bit as fun as the original. Mel Gibson plays the role of the completely crazy cop Martin Riggs, who has to partner up with the close to retirement Roger Murtaugh played by Danny Glover. At first they hate each other’s guts, but eventually a close friendship develops, while they are on the hunt for a brutal gang of drug smugglers. With seriously fantastic action sequences combined with great humor, this movie is a roller coaster ride from start to finish. An absolute must see for every action junkie out there.

Bloodsport (1988)

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This movie pretty much introduced the world to the “Muscles from Brussels”, mister Jean Claude van Damme. This movie has a very simple storyline, where van Damme plays Frank Dux, a martial artist who has set off to compete in a lethal tournament in Hong Kong. The acting is terrible, but you take that for granted as the action choreagraphy for this film’s incredible fight sequences, is the reason why you need to watch this movie. Brutal martial arts fights, with deadly consequences result in a movie that is not for the faint of heart. One of Van Damme’s oldest, but also one of his best movies.

Above the Law (1988)

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In Above the Law another martial artist is introduced to the world, the man called Steven Seagal. Above the Law (also known as Nico), sees Seagal playing the role of a Vietnam veteran turned cop, that uncovers a sinister CIA conspiracy. Seagal is not known for his acting skills (I at times seriously wondered if this man had any facial expressions, no offense), but his martial arts skills were formidable. Sadly, these days Seagal is but a shadow of his former self, and plays mainly in (very bad) B-movies. Luckily we will always have his classic movies to look back on, and for an introductory film, this one was highly enjoyable.

Die Hard (1988)

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To not include this movie, would seriously be a sin. One of the best action movies ever made, it made Bruce Willis an action star overnight. In Die Hard he plays police officer John McClane, who accidentally is caught up in a hostage situation during a Christmas party in a huge skyscraper building called Nakatomi Plaza. His wife is amongst the hostages, and McClane take the fight single handedly to the terrorists. Not a good way to spend the holidays. This movie is simply put: brilliant. Great acting, wonderful oneliners, and very imaginative action sequences make this movie a must watch for any movie lover. The sequels that followed were also very enjoyable, except for part 5 which was absolute garbage.

Black Rain (1989)

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Black Rain is a movie that might not be known by everyone, but is definitely worth checking out. Directed by Ridley Scott (yes, that guy), it stars Michael Douglas in the role of New York City cop Nick Conlin. When he and his partner arrest a Yakuza member, they eventually end up in Japan. It is not long before they get caught up in the dark and criminal underworld of this unfamiliair country. Black Rain is a very dark but fantastic movie, and features a great storyline and incredible tension that is combined with spectacular action sequences. Michael Douglas pretty much never disappoints and also does a more than decent job in this movie.

Final Thoughts

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And that brings us to the end of this post, which I now realise has become my longest one to date. I know that this list is by no means complete. A lot of other great action movies were made back in the 80’s and maybe one day I will do a follow up to this post. I had a lot of fun writing this, and it was great to revisit a few of these classic films.

And now it is over to you guys and girls. Did any of your favorites make the list? Were any of them missing? Let me know in the comments section below. As always thank you very much for reading, and see you on the next post!

Hush, American movie (2016)

Isn’t it sometimes amazing how much we take things for granted? Take your eyesight and hearing for instance. Have you ever stopped to take a moment to think about what it would be like if you ever lost one of those senses? The other day I was having a discussion with a friend of mine if you would ever have to make a choice about losing one of them, which one would it be. I would take hearing, as when I would lose my eyesight I would not be able to read books or watch movies anymore. Now before you think that I might have lost all my senses (pun intended) talking about this, it actually is leading up to something. Because I think the heroine of the movie I am about to review, would really have liked to have been able to hear.

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In Hush we meet Maddie a writer who lives by herself in a secluded house in the woods. Having lost her hearing and the ability to speak when she was 13, she tries to make the most out of her life. But one day her life takes a turn for the worst. A deranged and masked individual suddenly shows up at her house, with the intent of killing her. With Maddie being deaf, the killer thinks of her as an easy prey, and begins to toy with her. But even though Maddie might have lost her hearing, she will soon show a remarkable will to live. A very dangerous game of cat and mouse begins between her and the psychopath….

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Now Hush is a movie that falls into a kind of subgenre that over the recent years has emerged: the home invasion movie. Even though this genre has become pretty predictable, Hush tries to do something new with it, and succeeds in that attempt for the most part. First off lead actress Kate Siegel does one hell of a job in playing the role of the deaf/mute Maddie. It is very hard to act without being able to utter a single sentence, but Kate manages to portray her character very well. Her sense of fear and at times desperation comes across admirably, something that is very important in a film such as this.

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The unique premise of the movie, with Maddie being deaf, creates a tense atmosphere. We as an audience can sometimes see and ofcourse hear the killer, but Maddie can’t, and at times I almost found myself screaming at the screen:”please turn around!”. You really get swept up in the moment, and it is very nice when a thriller is able to do that. Now I can ofcourse state that there are definitely a few situations in this film that come across as being all too familiair. But as far as thrillers go, this film is just a great watch. It has a cool female lead, some very tense and chilling scenes, and for once we also have a heroine who doesn’t act like she is stupid. All in all this is just a  fun ride for people who like good and decent thrillers.

I give Hush a 8 out of 10 score.

Blood Father, French movie (2016)

Throughout his career Mel Gibson has starred in so many of my favorite action movies, it is almost impossible to name all of them. Lethal Weapon is ofcourse a classic, as is the Mad Max trilogy. But where Mel Gibson can really shine is in the dark and gritty revenge films such as the briljant movie Payback. Unfortunately, Mel’s real life has caught up with him and his career has pretty much gone downhill because of it. When you are a fan of an actor it can at times be hard to separate things like that when a new movie from that star comes out. Still, things seem to be heading in the right direction again as Mel is definitely making a comeback. Ofcourse he is now nominated for the upcoming Oscar race as best director for the amazing movie Hacksaw Ridge. (You can find my review for it right Here ). And last year he has finally starred in a movie again that was well worth seeing, the action thriller Blood Father.

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In Blood Father he plays the role of ex-con John Link. Having served a sentence in prison for seven years, and putting behind a life of drugs and alcohol abuse, he now makes a living as a struggling tattoo artist. He has not seen his estranged 16 year old daughter Lydia for years, when all of a sudden the phone rings and she desperately begs him for help. Finally meeting up with her, it seems that she has had a run in with a bad crowd. A Mexican drug cartel is hunting her down, hellbent on killing her. It is not long before John and his daughter have to run for their lives. A dangerous game of cat and mouse is about to start, and John will have to try every trick in his book to save himself and his daughter. That is all easier said than done though….

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Blood Father is a by the book gritty and dark action thriller. This movie certainly does not reinvent the genre, but it really is a highly entertaining action movie. Mel Gibson plays one of his best roles since a long time as the father that tries to do everything to save his daughter. It was also nice to see William H. Macy again in a small, but crucial role as John’s sponsor. Their performances alone are the reason the watch this movie. Lovers of action certainly will get their fix as the movie contains enough action to satisfy any adrenaline junkie. Still, the movie also spents it’s time on the characters as well, and as such does not only provide non stop gunfights or carchases.

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A movie such as this only works if the chemistry between father and daughter is there, and that is certainly the case. Lydia, played by the young actress Erin Moriarty, performs her role very well, and the scenes between her and Mel are great to watch. Blood Father is not a masterpiece, but in no way does it  ever pretend to be that. If you like action thrillers with a decent enough plot, and some great performances and action, than I would certainly recommend this film. Hopefully Gibson will continue to make films like these and get his life (and career) back on track.

I give Blood Father a 8 out of 10 score.

Steins;Gate,Anime tv series (2011)

Timetravelling. From movies such as Back to the Future and The Terminator, it has always been a concept that is endlessly fascinating. And why not? Would it not be incredibly awesome if one day the concept would become a reality? And where would you go? Would you travel to the past and correct certain mistakes that you have made ? Or would you head into the future and see what your life would be like there? Whatever choice you make, it will never be entirely without consequences. Who is to say that correcting a past mistake might not end up resulting in a future that is even worse? And when you already know what might happen in the future, would that not take the fun out of living your life? A lot of movies that deal with timetravelling deal with questions such as these. The highly rated and fanfavorite Anime series Steins;Gate is definitely no exception to this rule.

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When Steins;Gate starts we meet up with the strange and pretty goofy character Rintaro Okabe. He sees himself as a “mad scientist” and pretty much can’t stop talking about that fact. Seeing conspiracies everywhere, he also runs a labarotory in his appartment together with his friends the loveable Mayuri Shiina and Itaru Hashida. One day Rintaro attends a conference about time travel, a subject that has become a complete obsession for him. A firm believer in the fact that this can really be achieved it is not long after that he and his fellow lab members find out by accident that there definitely is a truth to this fact. Unfortunately however, Rintaro and his friends are about to find out that playing with time has it’s consequences. Ironically enough the imagined conspiracies Okabe has been afraid of all his life, will soon become a reality. And the lives of everyone he loves, as well as the fate of the world itself will hang in the balance….

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Steins;Gate has been recommended to me be my so many people that is was a very hard show to resist. Featuring time travel, one of my favorite science fiction concepts, already had me interested in it. Seeing the very high ratings this show has received over the years, I expected a lot from this series. And…..I am sorry to say that these expectations were not met. The first half of this series is just incredibly slow. I don’t mind slow series at all, but with all the quirky and crazy things happening in the beginning it was at times hard to stick with it. But I already knew that, as everyone kept saying that the series would redeem itself in the second part. By the time I had reached episode 12 the series really did change. It became very dark, and it was almost as if you were watching an entirely different show.

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Although the second part certainly had a lot of amazing twists, and some very clever timetravelling concepts, I still could not get into it enough for me to truly enjoy the series. One thing I did enjoy though were the characters. Rintaro reminds me a lot of Mel Gibson’s character from the briljant movie Conspiracy Theory. Completely nuts at times, but still a lot of fun to watch. The same goes for his childhood friend Mayuri, who is simply adorable, and one of those characters that you just instantly care about. The animation style and music also really fit this series. Even though there are certainly shows out there that have a higher level of animation, it just seemed right for this show.

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The plot of this series is clever, but because of the sometimes weird humor in the series, I often had a hard time wondering what this series wanted itself to be. As a comedy it certainly worked at times, and there were also quite a few episodes in the second half of the series that had me on the edge of my seat. Overall though the series was a bit too slow for my tastes. I have no regrets watching this, and it really is one of those series that does keep sticking around in your mind, which I guess is a good thing . Maybe in a few months time I will rewatch this series and might even rate it somewhat higher. For now though I can not help but feel slightly disappointed by the show after the incredible amount of hype this has received. As with everything, this is just a matter of opinion, so certainly don’t take my word on it alone. Go and judge this series for yourself, but do take your TIME for it though…..

I give Steins;Gate a 7 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Things to look forward to in 2017 (Tv series)

As much excitement as there is in the cinema next year, there is just as much to enjoy (if not even more so) on the small screen next year. If I am being totally honest there are times when I can enjoy watching a television series more than a movie. Don’t get me wrong, I am an absolute movie addict: that will never change. But the television series that are being made in this day and age are sometimes better than a movie. For one thing it can develop characters better (as there are more episodes to explore a character’s motives). And as it takes longer, you can enjoy something even more than a movie, especially if it is a series that does things right. And with the budgets on tv series being almost as big as there big budget counterparts, the scale of certain shows is at times just off the charts. So following are 5 shows that I am looking forward to the most  for next year.

Voice (Korean drama series)

Korean drama series are fantastic. Just as in anime, there are so many series that you can choose from, ranging from romance, to historical drama, to action, there is a show out there for everyone. Voice is a series that will be released early next year, and promises to deliver a really good thriller. So far only small teasers have been released, but they already show the tense and gritty atmosphere of the series. Voice will deal with two detectives on the hunt for a brutal serial killer. The lives of the families of an emergency call center team are being threatened by this killer, and so the countdown is on to find him before it’s too late. I really enjoy movies about serial killers, and this one looks like it might take on the likes of films such as Seven and Silence of the Lambs.

 

Attack on Titan: season 2

Do I really need to explain what there is to be excited about for this one? Attack on Titan has become a juggernaut in the world of Anime and it is just simply put an amazing and exciting series. Fans have been waiting for ages for the release of season 2, and finally we now have confirmation that we will be able to see it next year in april. I usually watch shows after they have completed a full season, but I already know that I will make an exception for this one. The wait has been long enough. All I can say is that no matter his much I looking forward to this one, there is always this slight sense of unease that it might not be as good as season 1. With so many time to prepare for it though, I hope the creators have done their best to create an even better experience this time around.

 

24: Legacy

Before the Walking Dead became my number 1 alltime favorite tv series, there was 24. The realtime television series featuring Kiefer Sutherland as the hero Jack Bauer, has been a rollercoaster ride throughout it’s 9 seasons. Part of what made the show so exciting was Jack Bauer, the seemingly immortal but also very tragic anti-hero, that will always remain my favorite television character. (Not even the Walking Dead will change that). Next year 24 returns, but this time without Jack Bauer. One really has to wonder about the wisdom of that decision. Still, having seen the trailer of the new series, I do have to admit it looks good, and there are also some very good actors involved. Therefore I will give it a chance and keeping my fingers crossed that 24 will be able to live on without Jack Bauer.

 

Stranger Things: Season 2

Stranger Things was for me personally the best television series of 2016. It was a love letter to everything that I enjoyed about the 80’s. The music, the characters, the storyline, everything in this Netflix original series was just simply put: perfect. It has been a huge succes and therefore it came as no surprise the series would get a second season. With a series that was this good, one really has to wonder if they are able to maintain that high level for the second season. Whatever the case might be, I really can’t wait for this series to return. When it does I am seriously going to bingewatch it in one day. So far the only trailer that has been released for it, has in a truly original way, given us all the episode names for the second season.

 

Prisonbreak: Sequel

Prisonbreak ended it’s run after four seasons in a very satisfying way, and with what I found to be a touching and fitting end. Some people thought that the show went on too long, and getting more unbelievable with every season that followed. I personally loved it, even it’s fourth and final season. When I heard about the fact that the series would not only return, but also would feature a character who everyone believed to be dead, I could not help but wonder: How and why? Whatever the case, after having seen the first trailer for the new season, I found myself getting excited for it regardless. Prisonbreak has always been a personal favorite of mine, so hopefully this short follow up will do it justice.

So there you have it. The shows that I am looking forward to the most for next year. Are any of these shows that appear here on your list? Are there any other things you are looking forward to? Let me know in the comments section below. As always, thank you for reading!