12 Films of Christmas 2019 (Part 11)

We’re already at the penultimate part of this series. Wowzer. Time flies when you contrive silly reasons for why things are something they’re not. So let’s get into into the main chunk of the post.

So as you can probably tell from the image above, we’re actually talking about an animated feature. It’s “Berserk: Golden Age Arc 1 – The Egg of the King”. Mouthful title aside, the movie is an adaptation of a specific part of Kentaro Miura’s legendary manga series “Berserk”. It tells the story of Guts, a lone wolf swordsman who lives only for the mercenary lifestyle. That is until he meets Griffith, the leader of a mercenary group called the Band of the Hawk. And early on, Griffith convinces Guts to join the Band, which leads in to character development, friendship, and plot. So what does a hyper violent medieval fantasy anime movie have to do with christmas? Well, let me tell you.

When we meet Guts, he’s a lone wolf, traveling all by himself. He doesn’t have friends, aside from maybe his over-sized sword. But as previously mentioned, that starts to slowly change after he meets and joins Griffith. While he’s reluctant to be part of the band at first, he learns to live with these people… like a family. And as we’ve mentioned in previous posts in this series, family is a pretty important aspect of christmas. So that is my reasoning for “Berserk: Golden Age Arc 1 – The Egg of the King” is a christmas movie… that familial bond that Guts forms with Griffith and the Band.

And even without the holiday stuff, this is still a decent movie that starts off an interesting arc. Though I can also recommend the 1997 animated tv series if you want something a bit better.

Have a good one.

Movie Review: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2001)

Well this is a first for the Month of Spooks… animation. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust”.

When a girl (Wendee Lee) is kidnapped by a vampire, her family hires a legendary bounty hunter (Andrew Phlipot) to get her back. The setup is an old school one, but the way they handle it feels fresh. For one, it’s set in the distant future… but it also looks like the old west. This blend of different styles makes for a fun and unique universe. But it’s not just the world building that works about this movie. “Bloodlust” really takes time to weave a surprising amount of nuance throughout, making me really care about what really happens throughout the story, be it larger, epic moments or smaller, intimate drama.

Like with story before them, the characters in this movie have a bit more nuance than expected. At first they can seem like stereotypes. Broody, stern, Hannibal from “A-Team”, asshat. But if one sticks around, the characters get fleshed out quite a bit, making them a hell of a lot more compelling. First up we have D(E,F,G), the titular character at the center of the story. He’s the broody fucker I mentioned before… but he’s also a compassionate, strong-willed, and endearing guy who works to stay on the side of good. And I think Andrew Philpot does a great job with the voice work. Next we have Leila (cue Derek and the Dominos), another bounty hunter searching for the kidnapped girl. Tough, determined, stern, and also has a good heart. And she grows quite a fun rapport with D. She’s voiced by Pamela Adlon, who I think does a damn fine job with it. Wendee Lee does a good job as the kidnapped girl, who we meet multiple times throughout. And the vampire that did said kidnapping, played wonderfully by John Rafter Lee, is quite an interesting antagonist. Again, all the characters are pretty interesting. And the supporting cast is great.

The score for the movie was composed by Marco D’Ambrosio, who did a wonderful job with it. It’s moody and atmospheric, but also big and epic, as well as emotionally charged. It perfectly helps create the vibe the movie is going for, which is has a familiar sense of gothic brood, while still feeling fresh and unique for this movie.

Based on a manga series by Hideyuki Kikuchi, “Bloodlust” was directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, who I think did a wonderful job with it. His direction manages to keep the energy and pacing up throughout, without making it feel like he’s rushing things. He will let quiet moments simmer a bit, but without accidentally slipping into boredom. And holy fucking shit, the animation is stunning, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering the fact that Madhouse was the studio behind it (they make well animated stuff, yo). Combining Kawajiri’s meticulous direction with the animation talents at Madhouse was clever, as it makes for not only some gorgeously detailed wide shots, but also some insanely entertaining action scenes. It also makes it so the few pure horror bits we get become genuinely creepy. So well done, crew.

This movie has been generally well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 72% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

“Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” isn’t just a highly entertaining vampire action movie, but it’s also a surprisingly nuance movie that subverts a fair bit of expectations. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/animation. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” is a 9,67/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” is now completed.

Any time you have a character with single-letter names, I just wanna continue the alphabet after referring to them.
“So what’s the character’s name?”
“D”
“Interesting”
“E, F, G, H, I… “

Movie Review: Batman Ninja (2018)

I like Batman. I like anime. I like DC animated features (if you didn’t already know that from all the DC animation reviews I’ve done). So hopefully this’ll be something pretty good. Let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Batman Ninja”.

After he tries to stop an experiment by the villainous Gorilla Grodd (Fred Tatasciore), Batman (Roger Craig Smith) finds himself transported to feudal Japan. He soon finds also finds out that multiple of his allies and enemies have been transported there too. So we follow him as he tries to find a way back home, while also having to deal with the villains who infest Japan. So this plot is batshit (pun intended) insane. I’m okay with doing different things with established characters, it can lead to some really cool stuff. And at first I thought the ninja Batman thing sounded kind neat. And at times it is. But the plot has a really weird pace, often feeling very start-stop in it’s approach. When a part of it gains momentum, we cut into the next part, with no natural transition. It’s not a bad plot, as it has some fun ideas to it, but overall it’s kinda messy.

The characters in this I will not rally go into, as they are all just as you know them. There’s established Batman heroes/villains here, and only like one new character. And the already established ones act as you would expect ’em too. Roger Craig Smith plays the caped crusader. It’s his second time in the role after the underrated “Arkham Origins” video game, and I think he’s a great Batman. He does sound a bit like a younger version of Kevin Conroy, and that is just awesome. And the fact that he still makes the role his own is even cooler. So yeah, he’s great. Next up we have Tony Hale as the Joker… yes, really. At first I was unsure about him, as he just sounded like some high-pitched goofball. But as the movie went on something happened. I started enjoying his performance, which starting sounding a bit more sinister and more like the god damn Joker. So yeah… he’s pretty good. Then we have Grey Griffin as Catwoman, doing the same sexy and confident performance she has given the character in other things. And she’s great. Then in other roles we get people like Eric Bauza, Adam Croasdell, Will Friedle, Fred Tatasciore, Tara Strong, Yuri Lowenthal, and Matthew Yang King, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Yugo Kanno and it was good. I like how it blends the typical superhero brass with some more Japanese sounds to create something that gives the movie a more unique feel. Not gonna say that it’s one of the best scores I’ve ever heard, and it’s not one of the most memorable, but it certainly works well for the movie.

The movie was directed by Junpei Mizusaki and I have mixed feelings. The movie takes on a cel-shaded 3D animation style, and I don’t like that style. It looked bad in “Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters”, it looked bad in the trailer for this, and in this finished product it’s a mixed bag. When it’s mostly talking or slow walking or just generally “calm”, it doesn’t look great. It’s a weird style that doesn’t quite work, especially since it is quite jittery. But when we get to the action scenes, it looks kinda cool. Fast-paced fights between characters in this look interesting and they are are fairly enjoyable. Then there’s a scene with a sudden and weird shift in art style that I didn’t like too much. So I’m not sure what to say… Good action, meh everything else? Sure, let’s go with that.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception (based on the limited data I go by). On Rotten Tomatoes it has no critic rating, but the audience score is at 55%. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist at all. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,9/10.

“Batman Ninja” is a fucking weird movie that has a few good things going for it. It has a meh plot, okay characters, really good performances, good music, mixed direction/animation, and good action. Flaws (as previously mentioned) come in the form of a messy plot and the animation being weird. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Batman Ninja” is a 6,45/10. So while very flawed, I’d say that it’s worth renting.

My review of “Batman Ninja” is now completed.

Why do they keep insisting that they should use cel-shaded CGI? Stop it.

Movie Review: Death Note (2006)

With the recent release of the American Netflix movie adaptation of “Death Note”, I thought it was time for me to check out the first live action adaptation of Tsugumi Ohba’s manga. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Death Note”.

Light Yagami (Tatsuya Fujiwara) is a highly intelligent young man with a bright future ahead of him. And one day he finds a notebook that just fell from the sky. And it turns out that Light can kill pretty much anyone he wants by writing the person’s name in the notebook. So he uses this opportunity to become a mysterious vigilante simply know as Kira, killing criminals and fugitives left and right. This attracts the attention of mysterious investigator L (Ken’ichi Matsuyama), triggering a game of cat and mouse where they try to figure out each other’s identities to eliminate the other one. So now we have our plot. And is it any good? For the most part, sure. And I say that because it’s not without it’s flaws. The basic premise is great, and a lot of the developments in the story are good. Problem is that the plot at times also manages to drag, rush, and feel disjointed… all at once. This happens of course happens because they try to cram about nine episodes of anime into a two hour long movie. So some scenes feel like they’re rushed through, and some parts don’t have the smoothest transition which is the reason for some bits feeling a bit disjointed. And the dragging is because some scenes are just a bit slow, and not in a good way. But there’s still enough intrigue in the plot to keep it from being all out bad. It’s fine.

The characters here are pretty interesting. Light (like I said) is a highly intelligent young man, top of his class. So what happens when you give such a person a notebook that can kill people with the stroke of a pen? A really fascinating, smug, and slightly scary guy. I was rooting for him, but I also felt that he was a bit of a smug ass… which is what makes him so interesting. And Tatsuya Fujiwara is really good in the role. L, the eccentric and highly skilled detective that is hunting for Kira. He’s weird, he’s funny, and he’s just an interesting character. And Ken’ichi Matsuyama is really good in the role. Then we have Ryuk, the apple-loving god of death following Light around. He’s as cartoonishly hyper as he should be without sacrificing any of the creepy aspects of the character, which is great. He’s voiced by Shidô Nakamura, and he does a really good job capturing the feel of Ryuk. Then there’s a whole bunch of supporting characters/performances that I won’t go over in detail because I don’t have the time or will to do so, but let’s just say that they do a good job.

The score was composed by Kenji Kawai and I think he did a good job. The score is pretty eerie and helps create a feeling of unease in the movie. And it’s just overall well composed. Now, mild spoiler I guess, though it isn’t about a story scene, but rather the end credits. During the end credits they play the Red Hot Chili Peppers song “Dani Calfornia”. I have nothing against it (it’s a great song), but it felt a bit random and I just had to bring it up. I have no opinion about it being used other than… weird. Oh well.

This movie was directed by Shûsuke Kaneko and he did an okay job. His directing feels a bit bland for the most part, though at a couple points he uses some pretty nifty camera tricks elevating those moments. But for the most part his directing was pretty bland. Also, can we talk about Ryuk? Not as a character, but his look in this movie. They decided to make him a fully CG character, and while his design is spot-on from the manga and anime, it doesn’t look very good. It’s like bringing a cartoon into a serious live action set… bit jarring. It’s not the biggest problem for me, but I did feel like it was worth noting.

While this movie doesn’t have too much of a presence on the sites I use, it does exist to some extent. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 78% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist at all. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“Death Note” is a pretty good live action adaptation of the manga/anime. It has an okay plot, good characters, really good performances, good music, and okay directing. My only flaws with it comes from the plot feeling a bit messy (as I explained earlier), and Ryuk looking a bit… meh. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Death Note” is a 7,77/10. So while flawed, it is worth a rental.

My review of “Death Note” is now completed.

Don’t expect a review of the sequel. Maybe expect a review of the Netflix movie… maybe.

 

“Dragon Ball FighterZ” E3 trailer

Hello there, my friends. More E3 shit comin’ your way… so here we go!

Here we have a trailer for “Dragon Ball FighterZ”, a 1v1 fighting game based on the popular “Dragon Ball” franchise, which was created by Akira Toriyama in 1984. I wasn’t really gonna talk about this trailer, but my best friend (RasmusTerra on twitter) said that it looked badass, so I decided to at least check it out. And now we’re talking about it because DAMN, it is badass. It looks like an anime but in game form, and I like that because it gives it a cool and unique look. And while 1v1 fighers isn’t my main thing when it comes to games, I do play ’em from time to time (“Injustice: Gods Among Us” being one of my favorites). And this looks like fun. Taking control of the “Dragon Ball” characters, and then having them beat the shit out of each other. Sure, it’s been done before, but I don’t think it has looked this extreme. So yeah, this could be fun. “Dragon Ball FighterZ” has no specific release date, but it’s at some point in 2018.

What are your thoughts? Are excited for “Dragon Ball FighterZ”? And are you a fan of “Dragon Ball” in any way? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy!

“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!

We now have a trailer for the “Death Note” movie.

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen! As you know, sometimes certain trailers come out and I then talk about them. Well, it happened again, so here we fucking go!

So as the title of this post suggests, we have now gotten a trailer for the American live action adaptation of “Death Note”. For anyone that is unaware, “Death Note” is a Manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. It follows Japanese high school student Light Yagami who one day finds a mysterious notebook called “Death Note”. And very soon he finds out that he can use this notebook to kill people. An he starts using this to kill criminals. And what follows is a supernatural thriller that really is an exporation of morality and unchecked power. As with most mangas, it got turned into an animated series by Japanese animation studio Madhouse. And if you’re wondering, yes I’ve seen the series, and I think it’s great. Alright that’s kind of the backstory of this franchise. We good? Great! So now let’s talk about this trailer. So the basic premise seems to be the same, only now it’s set in the United States. So now his name is Light Turner (Nat Wolff) instead of Light Yagami. And what do I think of this trailer? Uhm… yeah, it’s not great. One of the worst parts was towards the end of the trailer where a fucking ferris wheel start falling apart and you see Light hanging on for dear life. Yeah, that’s just dumb. I’m all for re-imagining characters and stories in various settings, but I don’t like the “let’s add stupid action to it” angle. “Death Note” is a psychological thriller with a supernatural twist, and that’s what made it compelling. No big and stupid action set pieces… just suspenseful situations. Sure, the show had some action scenes, but nothing as big and dumb as a fucking ferris wheel crumbling. They seem to overall put a bit more of an action-thriller spin on it, which could be fine if they didn’t try so hard to make it… dumbed down and bloated. The best part of the trailer is at the end when you see the silhouette of Ryuk (Willem Dafoe) and he says “Shall we begin?”. For one, Dafoe is the perfect choice for the character. And secondly, I love Ryuk, he’s a really great character. What’s also interesting to note (pun intended) is that this movie is directed by Adam Wingard, the man behind the awesomely awesome “The Guest”. I don’t have much else to say on that, I just thought it was worth noting (pun intended). So am I excited about this? I don’t know… I am VERY skeptical about this, but who knows… it MIGHT be okay. “Death Note” (the rebootification) is set to come out on August 25th this year, only on Netflix.

So what are your thoughts? Are you excited about “Death Note” (the rebootification)? And are you a fan of the manga/anime/Japanese live action movies? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments!
Have a good one and enjoy.

My Favorite Scenes: Cowboy Bebop: The Movie – Opening Scene

How’s it going, guys? So this little series of mine has been dead for quite a while now. I mean the last one was in… Holy shit, February. So I thought it was time to bring it back. For any new(ish) people here, let me explain. On this “series” as I call it, I share a scene that I like from a movie or TV-show and I explain why I enjoy it. There, now let’s move on to the scene in question.

In this edition of “My Favorite Scenes” we are taking a look at the opening scene for “Cowboy Bebop: The Movie”… Also known as “Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” in some cases, but I digress. First off, a little backstory. This movie is a sequel/tie-in for the anime series “Cowboy Bebop”, which is a series I absolutely fucking love. If you have not seen the show or the movie I recommend you to do this: Watch the show (English dub, the superior version) and then watch the movie (Same as with the show). Now, let’s move on to the scene. So in this scene we get to see two of our main protagonists, Spike (Steve Blum) and Jet (Beau Billingslea), just doing their job. What is their job exactly? Well, they’re bounty hunters and they are going after some guys who are worth some cash. And I will not say more because it is such a great scene that it should simply be witnessed. What I like about the scene is that it is a simple opening to a movie that will escalate everything later on while also being pretty much everything that “Cowboy Bebop” incorporates. Funny, action-packed, badass, cool… it’s just “Cowboy Bebop”. The animation is beautiful, the voice acting fantastic, and everything is just perfect. It’s a great scene from a great movie.
Enjoy!

My Favorite Scenes: Code Geass opening 1

Hello my friends! Today I am back with another scene I really like. This time it is the opening credits for the first 13(ish) episodes of the anime series “Code geass” which I did a half-assed review for a while back. The opening credits not only has some great music, but also features some top-notch animation by studio Sunrise (Who also made “Cowboy Bebop” and the “Gundam” franchise). I love this opening. Hell, I love the series!

Enjoy!

Code Geass – Opening 1

Go here!

Hello again! I don’t 100% understand all this stuff so if you wanna go and see my favorite scenes you will have to go to the following link: https://themarckoguy.wordpress.com/my-favorite-scenes/

I have started it by adding in 2 of my favorite scenes/opening credits from movies/tv/anime. These are the fight between Shizuo and Izaya in the third episode of the anime series Durarara and then the second one is the opening credits from my favorite movie, Fight Club.

Enjoy!