Series Review: Castlevania – Season 2 (2018)

I am so excited to write about this. Partly because it’s another Month of Spooks review, and partly because I’ve been looking forward to season 2 of this show for over a year. And now we’re here, ready to talk about it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Castlevania” season 2!

Picking up very shortly after the end of season 1, we once again follow Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage) on his quest to find and take down Dracula (Graham McTavish). But this time he’s not alone, as he’s joined on this quest by sorceress Sypha Belnades (Alejandra Reynoso), as well as Dracula’s own son, Alucard (James Callis). So now we have our vampiric plot. And I thought the plot here was great. The first season already set up a good enough plot/foundation, but it was a bit on the short side with only four episodes. This time we have eight episodes, which means you can let things develop a bit more, which works very well for the show as I found this plot entertaining, compelling, exciting, and just overall really well told. It even managed to tug at my heartstrings a bit. Great stuff.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, really interesting, and also pretty entertaining. First up we have Richard Armitage returning as Trevor Belmont, the last member of the legendary Belmont clan. He’s kind of a sarcastic asshole, but not to a degree where I utterly dislike him, as you can tell that a lot of this comes from his broken life. Also, it’s just entertaining to see him play off of the other characters a bit. And Armitage does a great job with the role. Alejandra Reynoso returns as Sypha, a scholar and sorceress that has joined Trevor on his quest. She’s a tough-as-nails lady that is also smart, charming, and just generally interesting. And despite an accent that is weird and inconsistent, Reynoso does a really good job in the role. Next we have James Callis as Alucard, the half-vampire son of Dracula. He had a good life that then turned to shit after something happened that, and now years later he of course wants to take down his own father. Alucard is a clever, badass, fun, and just overall interesting character that I love seeing at the forefront like this. And Callis is great in the role. And finally have Graham McTavish returning as Dracula, this time having a much more prominent role than in season 1. He’s a tragic figure who has understandable motivations, but extreme methods, and I think he’s one of the most interesting villains in recent years. And McTavish is fantastic in the role. We also get some supporting performances from people like Theo James, Peter Stormare, Adetokumboh M’Cormack, Emily Swallow, Matt Frewer, Jaime Murray, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with season 1, the score here was composed by Trevor Morris, and it is utterly fantastic. It’s big and bombastic, but it’s also subtle and contemplative. Badass, but also emotional. His score, which utilizes brass, strings, choirs, and sometimes even synth, perfectly fits into each scene and elevates it all to a whole different level.

Based on the classic video game franchise of the same name, and written by Warren Ellis, this might be the most well crafted video game adaptation of all time. It has a lot of fun nods to the games, while still working on its own if you haven’t played them. The animation here is great. The designs look great, and everything just has a crisp quality to them that I like.  And holy shit, the action scenes in this are utterly fantastic, being fast-paced, fun, badass, and brutal as all hell… so much blood. What I was a bit surprised by this season is just how funny it was. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a comedy series in the slightest, but there’s a fair bit of humor spread throughout the season, and I found it all to be really funny without taking away from the darker and more dramatic parts of the show.

The season just came out, and doesn’t have so much data on my usual sites. It exists on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, but has no score as of writing this review. But on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10.

Season 2 of “Castlevania” takes what was good about the first season and ramps it up to fucking 11. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and fantastic writing/directing/animation. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Castlevania” season 2 is a 9,90/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Castlevania” season 2 is now completed.

Best video game adaptation ever? Damn right, it is.

Series Review: Castlevania – Season 1 (2017)

I’ve been anticipating the release of this show for a while. From when the teaser poster and such was released, to when the first trailer dropped, it all seemed like it could be good. Could Netflix bring us a good video game adaptation? Well, let’s find out.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Castlevania” season 1!

After his wife gets burned at the stake, Dracula (Graham McTavish) unleashes an army of dark creatures upon the city of Gresit. So when Trevor (Richard Armitage), the last surviving member of the Belmont clan, shows up in town he has to try and save the city from this evil. So now we have our medieval fantasy. And while it’s only four episodes long, they manage to develop the story pretty damn well. They manage to establish backstories without getting too heavy with the exposition. And it actually creates some solid drama at times, giving the world and plot a little extra weight without sacrificing the fun and interesting fantasy elements of the plot. There’s also time dedicated to showing what a bunch of dicks members of the Christian church was at the time. Sure, there were no actual demons back then, but a lot of the bullshit they’re up to here actually happened in real life. So yeah, it’s a surprisingly layered story that stays true to the source material while still making it feel fresh and different.

The characters here are all pretty interesting. Trevor Belmont as a character is kind of an arrogant asshole, but he’s actually given a good reason in the show, so he’s not just an ass for the sake of being an ass. And you can tell that despite his arrogant façade, he is a good person (and badass warrior). And Richard Armitage is great as the character. Dracula doesn’t appear much in the show, but his presence is always felt. I also like that he’s not just a generic evil-doer that just wants to kill people because he’s the villain. They give him good motivation for doing it, making him a much more interesting antagonist. And Graham McTavish (again, despite not showing up a lot) kills it in the role. We also get Matt Frewer as a bishop who’s a huge dick, and Frewer is great in the role. We also get Tony Amendola as an elder that Trevor runs into/befriends, and Amndola is really good in the role. Really, every actor heard in this show does a good job.

The score for the show was composed by Trevor Morris, who also did the score for “Iron Fist” (*cough* read my review *cough*). And while that was good, I think this score is even better. The music in “Castlevania” is dark, eerie, epic, badass, cool, and just overall fits the dark and haunting atmosphere of the show. Morris composed some really solid stuff here.

“Castlevania” was produced by Adi Shankar, animated by Powerhouse animation & Frederator studios, directed by Sam Deats, and written by acclaimed comic book writer Warren Ellis. And it’s, as I’ve made pretty clear, an adaptation of the “Castlevania” video game franchise from Konami. And in terms of animation/direction, this show is very well handled. The animation is beautiful in a dark and haunting way, perfectly helping to create a dark and often eerie atmosphere for this show. The show shines especially in the action scenes which are badass, intense, and quite brutal. And I really mean it when I say brutal, there’s blood and dismemberment in this show. So yeah, this show has some fucked up visuals throughout, which I do think works for the show. Still… don’t bring grandma.

Seeing as this is a pretty niche show that just came out, there’s not much in terms of reception on the sites I tend to use. Keep in mind, i only report the reception as it is at the time of review… I refuse to edit. Anyhow, it does exist on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, but it has no critic scores at the time of this review. But it does have a score on imdb.com (based on very few votes at the time), and it is an 8,7/10.

Season 1 of “Castlevania” is one of the best video game adaptations available out right now. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great direction/animation. The only minor flaw I have is that it is so short (four episodes), but it’s not a deal breaker for me. Time for my final score. *Stabs demon*. My final score for “Castlevania” season 1 is a 9,65/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Castlevania” season 1 is now completed.

There is a season 2 planned… for 2018… fuck.

Movie Review: The Voices (2015)

I’ve already talked about how important mental health is in the opening paragraph of my review of “The Accountant” (*cough* shameless plug *cough*), so I won’t go on about that for too long here. That said, MENTAL HEALTH IS FUCKING IMPORTANT.

Ladies and gentlemen, can you also hear… “The Voices”?

Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) is a troubled young man who just wants to live a normal life, but that is hard when his pets talk to him (yes, you read that right). And after his crush (Gemma Arterton) stands him up after he asked her out, things take a dark and weird turn. So now we have our weird thriller that is also a dark comedy. And I gotta say that I really enjoyed the plot of this movie. Now, it’s a very weird one because it goes in a couple of directions that I didn’t really expect, which I really liked. It managed to catch me off guard quite a lot, managing to create not only odd and funny moments, but also suspenseful and dramatic ones too. Now, the tone of this movie is a little all over the place with this movie which will put some people off, but for me it actually kind of work within the context of the story and the main character. So yeah, I really enjoyed the plot of this movie.

The characters in this movie are all unique, interesting, and quite fun. Jerry can seem like your average, likable guy at first, but as the plot moves along we get to know him a bit more, and we find out just how troubled he is. And Ryan Reynolds is fucking fantastic in the role, perfectly balancing the funny and the tense/dramatic aspects of the character. Gemma Arterton plays his workplace crush who basically helps get the main plot going, and she’s good in the role. Anna Kendrick plays another one of Jerry’s colleagues and she’s really good in the role. Jacki Weaver plays Jerry’s psychiatrist, Dr. Warren, and she’s great in the role. And let’s just get through this quickly: Ella Smith, Paul Chahidi, Stanley Townsend, Adi Shankar, and Sam Spruell all do very well here. Now, I wanted to rush through those guys because I wanted to talk about two of the most interesting characters in the movie: Jerry’s pets (yes, you read that right). I did already mention that they talk to him, and what I like about that is they’re given interesting personalities too. The dog, Bosco, is Jerry’s moral compass and always tries to talk Jerry into being a good boy. And the cat, Mr. Whiskers… well, he’s just a huge asshole, always trying to make Jerry be a bad guy. Really, this movie is filled with interesting characters and solid performances.

The score for the movie was composed by Olivier Bernet and it’s really good. Sure, a lot of it sounds similar to a lot of other horror/thriller scores, but I think it still works for the movie. There are of course also less serious tracks in here too for certain moments in the film, and they all work very well too. There’s also one licensed track that they use in the movie. I’m not gonna say what song it is or how they use it, but let’s just say that it’s very unexpected and just awesome.

This movie was directed by Marjane Satrapi and I think she did a great job here. She manages to create a lot of suspense here, while also managing to create a fun mood for the lighter scenes. Also, I didn’t expect a lot in terms of cinematography with this movie, but holy shit am I glad to have been proven wrong… this movie looks great! And since I’ve mentioned a few times how this is a dark comedy, how is the actual humor in the movie? Well, I thought it was hilarious… but that’s mainly because of my love for dark and off-kilter humor. I laughed a lot… maybe I’m just a bad person, who the fuck knows?

This movie has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,4/10.

“The Voices” isn’t for everyone, but as someone that likes dark, weird, and off-kilter comedies, I thought it was great. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, really good directing, and great humor. Time for my final score. *Meow*. My final score for “The Voices” is a 9,56/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Voices” is now completed.

SEE… I TOLD YOU CATS ARE ASSHOLES!

“Castlevania” trailer!

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen. Another interesting trailer has come out, so let’s talk about it.

So we finally have a trailer for Netflix’s “Castlevania”, an anime series based on the very popular video game franchise of the same name. Now, first things first, I honestly thought they’d make it a live action series, mainly because there was nothing (as far as I know) that said “This show will be animated”. I’m not complaining, just taken a little bit off guard. Anyway, so what’s this about? Well, it’s about a man named Belmont (that’s his last name, his first name’s unknown) who is going on a quest to kill Dracula… because Dracula’s a hugh dick. Simple plot that they could do som fun things with. So what do I think of this trailer? Holy fuck, I am excited! I haven’t really played the “Castlevania” games that much, but the few times I have, I’ve enjoyed them. And this looks like not only a good representation of the games, but it looks like it could be an overall fun show in itself. Like an animated “Game of Thrones” but with vampires. Funny thing about statement is that Richard Madden from “GoT” played a role in the last game, “Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2″… hmm. Anyway, speaking of the animation, wow, it is gorgeous! So yeah, I am really excited for this show! “Castlevania” is set to be released on July 7th, only on Netflix.

So what are your thoughts? Are you excited about “Castlevania”? And have you played any of the games? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments!
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!