While You Wait: Game of Thrones

Hello there, and welcome to a new thing. Not sure it it’ll be a recurring series, but if this gets a good response, then it might. Any way, hello everyone. With the final season of HBO megahit “Game of Thrones” arriving in less than two weeks, fan are eagerly anticipating it. But until then, some might be asking themselves what they could watch to tide them over until then. Well, I’m here to perhaps help with that in some regard, by giving you some personal recommendations for things that could maybe fill that void in some respect. And if you don’t give a shit about “Game of Thrones”, then you’ll at least have a few recommendations for things to experience. So let’s go.

This is While You Wait: Game of Thrones edition.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy (New Line Cinema, 2001 – 2003)

This entry should come as no surprise in the slightest. Big, epic fantasy with a grandiose story, a stellar cast, and tons of detail in props and filmmaking. Look, I am aware that this and “Game of Thrones” are very different in tone… style… language… amount of tits, but still, can’t talk about relevant recommendations for a major fantasy thing without mentioning another one.

Westworld (HBO Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, 2016 – now)

While we’re talking about one major HBO series, we might as well talk about another one. “Westworld”, based on the 1973 film by Michael Crichton, is a series created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, and follows a theme park that is built up like a giant wild west world (Hence, “Westworld”). But as expected, things may or may not go awry (wouldn’t be a show otherwise). Let’s see, big sweeping story (check), A-list cast (check), Ramin Djawadi making music (check), budget higher than what any of us make in a year (check), violence (check), naked people (super check)… yeah, this has a shitload in common with “GoT”, so that’s why I recommend it.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Softworks, 2011)

That’s right, there be video games on this list too. Released in 2011, “Skyrim” was the fifth mainline game in the “Elder Scrolls” series. In times of great political turmoil, you play as a character that almost gets executed, but gets “saved” by a giant dragon attacking the city that you’re in. And it doesn’t take long for you to find out that you’re Dragonborn, a mighty warrior destined to slay dragons and steal their souls. Political tensions, various factions doing their own shit within the kingdoms, epic fantasy, DRAGONS. Need I say more as to why a “Thrones” fan might want to play this? It’s not one of my favorites, but I still feel like it’s a good recommendation for fans of “GoT” who might want to get some game time in.

Berserk (OLM Inc, 1997 – 1998)

And now we move into something a bit older, but is a bit more of a recent watch for me. “Berserk” is a 1997 anime series based on a manga series of the same name by Kentaro Miura. It follows a highly capable swordsman named Guts as he joins a mercenary group called the Band of the Hawk, after its leader, Griffith, defeats Guts in combat. And so Guts, along with Griffith, and the other members of the group fight their way through the kingdom of Midland. And we do also get to see how Guts and Griffith’s actions affects the political climate in the kingdom, as well as how their bond evolves over the series. So it has both the big battles and political element of “GoT”, and it has the brutality of it… come to think of it, “Berserk” is probably even more brutal (and the series is allegedly very toned down compared to the original manga). Just a few details first… Skip episode one. I’m not kidding, skip it. It’s not even related to anything going on in the show, as it’s set after everything that happens. Maybe come back to it after finishing the other 24 episodes. And secondly, the ending (which I won’t fully spoil) has been a bit polarizing for people… and that’s all. Other than that, “Berserk” is great.

The Expanse (Alcon entertainment, 2016 – now)

So how do we go from high fantasy to sci-fi? Well, like in “Game of Thrones”, you can find a lot of political tension and character development in “The Expanse”. Set hundreds of years into the future, we follow various characters as they try to deal with their various situations while navigating the very dangerous political tensions between Earth and Mars. Need even more proof that this show is the “Game of Thrones” of sci-fi? It has been called the “Game of Thrones” of sci-fi by a fair amount of people. And I thank Amazon for picking it up after SyFy cancelled it.

Gladiator (Scott Free Productions, Univeral Pictures, 2000)

Epic battles, political intrigue (again), charismatic cast, big budget… do I really need to explain why Ridley Scott’s epic Oscar winner is one of the recommendations on this list? You all know why it is here.

The Dark Souls trilogy (FromSoftware, 2011 – 2016)

More video game goodness, and oh god, the traumatic flashbacks are rolling in. Admittedly I’ve only played the third game in the series, but based on my “enjoyment” of that, and the critical acclaim of the rest of the series, I feel confident in recommending them all. You play as a silent (not counting offs and ahs) protagonist who goes on quests that lead you across dark world where you’ll encounter strange creatures, interesting people, and pain… lots and lots of pain. It’s dark fantasy at it’s most bird-flipping. People love these games for their difficulty, and I do kind of appreciate the challenge from my playthrough(s) of the third game. Funnily enough, as I recommend this for “Thrones” reasons, these games take heavy inspiration from another thing on this list… that thing being “Berserk”.

The Revenant (Regency Enterprises, 21st Century Fox, 2015)

Ah yes, the 2015 movie that finally gave Leo his Oscar… and all it took was dragging himself through the dirt after getting his shit kicked in by a bear. Betrayal, brutality, cold, stellar acting, a gritty tone, these are things that make this movie good and also help make some of the “GoT” comparison a bit more valid.

The Godfather trilogy (Paramount Pictures, 1972 – 1990)

Now, how can I compare possible the most prolific gangster series of all time to one of the biggest tv shows of all time? Well, both are grand, sweeping, epic stories about family, legacy, and ruling over a kingdom of sorts. Some from an uncomfortable and pointy chair, and some in dark rooms in the mid-century United States. And yes, I am recommending all of them. The third movie is a huge step down from the first two, but it still has its moments.

Castlevania (Powerhouse Animation, Netflix, 2017 – now)

And for our final entry, let’s go a bit lighter. Don’t get me wrong, this show is dark, but at least it is allowed to get a bit over the top with its action. Based on the hit video game series, “Castlevania” follows Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage), the last member of a long line of vampire hunters, as he reluctantly has to try to kill the king of all vampires… Dracula (Graham McTavish). Start with an epic fantasy, end with another. The animation is stellar, the plot engaging, and the characters very well realized. And to any stubborn people out there: This is a cartoon, not an anime. It may have some anime stylings, but it was entirely produced in the United States… so it’s a cartoon. But for those not stubborn: Watch this show, it’s great.

So those were some of my personal recommendations for those “Game of Thrones” fans wanting something to tide them over until April 14th, or maybe if something’s needed to fill the gap after the show ends. But I also ask of all of you, what other recommendations do you have that could fit this thing? Movie, show, book, game… any of them, I’m all ears.
Have a good one.

Movie Review: The Godfather Part III (1990)

Can’t believe it’s taken me this long to finish this damn trilogy. I watched and reviewed the first part all the way back in 2015. Then in April of last year I finally got to Part 2. And now, nearly four years after that first one, we wrap it all up. So here we fuckin’ go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Godfather Part III”.

The year is 1979. An aging Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) is working to fully go legitimate, after all the sins in his past. But that turns out to be more difficult than anticipated as he has to deal with the other families, as well as reluctantly take his nephew Vincent (Andy Garcia) under his wing. So now we have our third and final “Godfather” story. And god damn, is it a mixed bag. I was actually quite invested at first, as the story they present towards the first act of the film is reminiscent of the other films in the series, and presents a compelling narrative around lineage, atoning, and the various other themes one would expect from the franchise at this point. Then shit hits the fan and it all gets quite uninteresting for a while. It’s not awful, but it’s just kinda boring and mediocrely written. Then towards the end it kinda picks up again. The entire thing is kind of a mixed bag.

The characters in this are mostly quite good. There’s one or two that I just had trouble giving a shit about. I just went “Oh yeah, you’re here too, I guess” any time I saw one of them. First up we have Al Pacino reprising his role as Michael Corleone, head of the Corleone family. He’s a lot older now, getting tired of all the shit going on around him. And he’s still probably the most compelling character in this whole thing. And Pacino is great in the role. Next we have Andy Garcia as Vincent Mancini, Michael’s nephew and now protegé. He’s a bit of a hothead who often gets into trouble, but still wants to really impress his uncle, showing that he can be useful. And aside from one subplot that is just… wrong, he actually has a good arc here. And Garcia is great in the role. We also get Eli Wallach as Don Albotello, a fellow Godfather and generally interesting man with an interesting little plot of his own here. And Wallach is great in the role. Next we have Sofia Coppola as Mary Corleone, Michael’s daughter. She has a character arc in this that is weird, uncomfortable, and not the most well written, making her a character I didn’t care for that much. And Coppola isn’t very good in the role… at all. We also see the return of Talia Shire and Diane Keaton, both doing very well in their roles. We also get supporting work from people like Bridget Fonda, Joe Mantegna, George Hamilton, Raf Vallone, Franc, D’Ambrosio, and many more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Carmine Coppola, and it was quite good. IT has that intimate and emotional style of the previous “Godfather” scores without just sounding like the exact same thing being used. It has its own flourishes, and I liked most of them. What I don’t get is the frequent use of a mouth harp. Is this a movie about an Italian-American crime family, or is it about a wacky clan of hillbillies? Other than the weird use of a mouth harp, the music here is damn good.

“The Godfather Part III” is as expected from the title, the third part in the “Godfather” series based on Mario Puzo’s book of the same name. But unlike the last two, this had no real source material, so it was written from scratch by Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, and directed by Coppola. And while the writing leaves a bit to be desired at times, Coppola’s direction is still (mostly) as tight as ever, giving us an intimate, engaging, and suspenseful look into this world. And the cinematography by Gordon Willis is quite good too, giving us some real eye candy throughout.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 68% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 60/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10. The movie was nominated for seven Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best supporting actor (Garcia), Best Director, Best cinematography, Best set decoration, Best film editing, and Best original song.

“The Godfather Part III” is a bit of a disappointing end to this trilogy, but it’s overall an enjoyable crime-drama. It has an okay plot, okay characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. As previously mentioned, the movie suffers due to a large chunk of the plot being uninteresting, a few uninteresting characters, and one distractingly bad performance from a major player. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Godfather Part III” is a 7,87/10. So while heavily flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “The Godfather Part III” is now completed.

Sometimes the mighty fall. But then they give it one last push.

Movie Review: The Godfather Part II (1974)

I recently ran a poll on my twitter page where I asked which of four classics that I hadn’t seen yet people waned to see a review of. And at the end of it, this movie came out victorious. So let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Godfather Part II”.

We follow Michael (Al Pacino), the new head of the Corleone family as he ascends within the crime world, trying to hold on to his empire and his family. And throughout the movie we also get flashbacks to a young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro), from his arrival in New York during his childhood, to him rising in the mob world as an adult. What I liked about the first “Godfather” movie, and also this is that while it has this sweeping and epic gangster story, it also focuses on the smaller family drama, which gives it a lot more nuance. Yes, it is a very long movie (3 hours, 10 minutes), but it needs that runtime to be able to tell this big and impressive story. Emotional, suspenseful, intriguing, and well written, the plot in this movie is great.

The characters in this are layered and interesting. First up we have Al Pacino reprising his role as Michael Corleone, the current head of the Corleone family. In this movie we see a very conflicted Michael as he has to become the new Godfather, while being pulled in the “legitimate” direction by his wife. And it makes for an interesting character study. And Pacino is fantastic in the role. Then we have Robert De Niro as the young Vito Corleone. He’s a quiet man with a lot of emotion built up inside of him after some stuff that happened in his past. And it’s interesting to see him go through everything he goes through. And De Niro is fantastic in the role. Diane Keaton returns as Kay, the wife of Michael. She goes through some stuff in this movie, and seeing her try to deal with the shit that comes from her husband’s mob-life is quite fascinating and heartbreaking. And Keaton is of course great in the role. Then we have John Cazale (R.I.P) as Fredo, Michael’s older brother. In this movie you see that he’s a bit of a spineless man who does love his family, but some of his own agendas seem to come first, and it makes him an interesting foil for the other characters. And Cazale is great in the role. And in further returning roles we see people like Talia Shire, Robert Duvall, Richard Bright, Gianni Russo, and Morgana King (among others), all doing very well in their roles. Then we also got some new comers like Lee Strasberg, Michael V. Gazzo, G.D. Spradlin, Bruno Kirby, and many more. They also do very well in their respective roles. ’tis a very well acted movie.

The music for the movie was composed by Nino Rota & Carmine Coppola, and it’s fantastic. It’s a sweeping and emotional score that fits the world perfectly and helps elevate the scenes to the next level. What I also liked is that it’s not just super serious string tracks, but there are also a couple of more fun tracks for a few moments throughout the movie, and I think that works quite well. Yeah, the music’s great.

Like with the first movie, “Part II” was written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola (with some writing help from Mario Puzo), and once again he knocked it out of the park. His direction captures the sweeping nature of the crime syndicate plot, while also managing to really elevate and engage during the smaller family drama scenes. I really don’t think anyone could have captured it as well as Coppola.

This movie has been incredibly well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars and put it on his “Great Movies” list. And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,0/10 and is ranked #3 on the “Top 250” list. The movie also won 6 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best supporting actor (De Niro), Best director, Best adapted screenplay, Best set decoration, and Best original score. The movie was also nominated for an additional 5 Oscars in the categories of Best actor (Pacino), Best supporting actor (Gazzo), Best supporting actor (Strasberg), Best supporting actress (Shire), and Best costume design. Fuck, that’s a lot of awards and nominations.

Does “The Godfather Part II” live up to the hype? For me, it does. It has a great story, really good characters, fantastic performances, great music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Godfather Part II” is a 9,85/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Godfather Part II” is now completed.

And for those wondering, I do prefer the first one.

10 Great Movie Posters

Friends, I am here. Today we are taking a look at pictures, not discussing movies or reviewing anything, just looking. I just felt like sharing some of my favorite movie posters out there. Of course these aren’t really my strict favorites per se, but I really like them. And if there are any great movie posters you like, leave a comment and I’ll maybe include it some time.

Kickin’ it off we have this cool poster from my favorite movie, “Fight Club”.
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Here we have the classic black & white poster for the classic movie “The Godfather”.
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Here we have the ominous and haunting yet beautiful poster for the coming movie “In the Heart of the Sea”.
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Next we have the poster for imdb’s number 1 movie “The Shawshank Redemption”.
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Coming up next is the mysterious and stylish poster for the mysterious and stylish “Drive”.
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Here we have the beautiful poster for 2012’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”.
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Next is the awesome looking and cool poster for “Batman Begins”.
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Continuing with Christopher Nolan posters we have the poster for “Inception”.
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Coming up is the powerful poster for the amazing movie “American History X”.
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Wrapping it all up we once again turn to Mr. Nolan with the spectacular poster for 2014’s “Interstellar”.
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Now those were only some great movie posters, there are many more. I plan to make more of these, so please leave a comment about what movie posters you would like to see in future editions. I will probably add that poster in and I will give you a small mention.

Have a good one.

Movie Discussion: Could something really be called “the best”?

The Best

Hello people. Time for another little discussion (Sidenote: Technically it is more of an opinion piece, but “Discussion” sounds better). The last one I did was on action movies and how they have gotten tame and that there are fewer awesome ones these days. Now we will have a look at something that has been on my mind for quite some time; can you really call a movie “the best”? So let’s stop screwing around, time to discuss!

Let’s first get something straight, by best I mean either “Best of all time” or “Best of that genre” or something in a similar fashion. This is something that has been boggling my mind after seeing a lot of websites and critics call certain movies “The Best of all time” and similar. Now while a lot of cases these things are based on their personal opinions and that’s fine. It’s just really strange to me why they would call their favorite movie “The Best Movie”. I mean, could something really be the best? Or is it something that people came up with to basically flip the bird to everyone and say “Fuck you, my opinion is the only opinion that matters”. And has there ever been anyone who has been right about that?

We of course have several movies that by many have been called “The best movie ever” such as “The Godfather” and “Citizen Kane”. And when you have so many people agreeing about something like that, it has to be correct, right? Not really! What we have are a lot of people who share one opinion about something… but you still have a large group of individuals who don’t agree with them. Considering there are so many different opinions on movies, I don’t think there could ever really be a “BEST MOVIE EVER!!!”. Now I haven’t seen “Citizen Kane”, but I do imagine that it still could be a good movie… but best movie ever? Same with “The Godfather” which I have in fact seen, and I agree that it is a great movie. Problem with calling a movie the “best movie ever” is that there will be more people disagreeing with you than you could imagine.

Now I might have a small idea why people call it “Best Movie Ever” and not “My Favorite Movie”; they are afraid to get personal in all of it. By calling it “best movie ever” they look more professional and that is why people look at critics with a lot more positivity than the regular people who talk about movies… like me. The critics try to sneakily get their opinions in while still sounding somewhat objective. The only people who can properly be credited as critics who dared to get their personal opinions on movies into their reviews are Gene Siskel (R.I.P) and Roger Ebert (R.I.P). On their old show “Siskel & Ebert” they had banter about what they thought about the movies and they really got into it personally and that is why they worked so well and have earned my respect. Unlike most other “critics” who talk like they are a fucking robot who got no opinion about anything.

“Well, you gotta have an opinion” – Vincent Vega, “Pulp Fiction” 1994.
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So what the hell am I trying to say? There is no such thing as “Best Ever”. Example: The Oscars every year pick out their choice for “Best Picture”, and while I have agreed with them a few times… they are still wrong. What I mean by that is that there will always be a ton of people disagreeing with that Oscar committee of old, white men. You can never get a perfect choice for “Best Picture” or any other category without pissing some people off. The same goes for those of you who make lists like “Top 10 Best Movies of *Insert year here*”. You call it the wrong fucking thing. Call it “My Top 10 Favorite Movies of *Insert year here*”. Saying “Best” is what makes you look like assholes who give no shit about the opinions of other people. Movies are incredibly subjective… hell, most forms of media (TV, Books, Music, Video Games, etc.) are based all around subjectivity. There can NEVER be any definitive choice for “Best of something”… EVER!

To sum it up quickly. Everything is so subjective, you can never pin any label to anything. “Best of something” “Worst of something”. Since subjectivity is the definitive factor in all of this then there can never a way of knowing what is the best of something or not. But if you’re gonna continue being an asshole about it then I think Wolverine has something to say;
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What are your opinions on the subject? Leave a comment and let me know, I love discussions. Aaaaand that’s it for me.

Have a good one!

Movie Review: The Godfather (1972)

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Oh god, now I am gonna get it… big time. Not having seen one of the most popular and best reviewed movies of all time until now. So far I have gotten through it all without getting my ass bitten, but this is sure to piss people off. For the people who might be able to accept the fact, I am sorry. But for you who are dead set on murdering me, be gentle.

My friends… “The Godfather”.

This movie follows aging mob boss Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando, R.I.P) as he wants to try to hand over the empire to his reluctant son Michael (Al Pacino). We also get to see them try to take care of business and survive from the other “families” in the city. Now that is really all I can say about the plot for the few out there who haven’t seen the movie yet. But I can say that the long time that the story spans (circa 10 years) is one of the most intriguing and perfectly constructed plots I have ever laid my eyes upon. This movie is almost three hours long and I was never bored with any of it, that is evidence of a terrific and interesting story. It also features a few pretty neat twists and turns at times.

The characters are all very nuanced, unique and interesting. All of them had great writing behind them and I can safely say that there was not a single weak performance in this movie at all. Marlon Brando was fantastic as this deep, caring and humble mob boss. His performance was one of the best I have ever seen. Al Pacino was also great as his son Michael, a guy reluctant to take on the role of Godfather (Or Don as it is also called). But he also played the character with a lot of humanity and showed that the character put family above all else. It was also great seeing a bunch of other great actors such as Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton and James Caan in this movie playing all these great characters. Like I said before, there were on weak performances in this movie and the writing for all of them was excellent.

The score by Nino Rota was perfect. It managed to help build a lot of suspense, even in a lot of scenes where there was a regular conversation between two characters. The music also helped bring a lot of emotion to scenes that wouldn’t have been as powerful without it even though they would still have been great. And while I did love the original score for the movie, please listen to this cover of the song “Speak Softly, Love” by David Davidson, it is beautiful.

There is a reason Francis Ford Coppola is called one of the greatest directors ever and that is hwo this movie is shot. Sure, there is nothing special at first glance when it comes to the shot composition, but that is the greatness of it all. It is simple yet so magnificent. The shots look terrific, especially on the restoration DVD that I watched. Sure, the blu-ray is probably even better, but I don’t care. The movie looks fantastic.

Like I said in the beginning, this is one of the best reviewed movies of all time. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 99% (Holy shit) positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 100/100, one of the few movies with such a score. Roger Ebert gave this movie 4/4 stars and put it in his “Great Movies” list. And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,2/10 and is ranked #2 on the “Top 250” list (Sidenote: At #1 is “The Shawshank Redemption”). This movie also won 3 Oscars in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actor (Marlon Brando), Best screenplay based on previously published material. It was also nominated for an additional 8 Oscars (Holy shit) in the categories of Best Supporting Actors (James Caan), Best Supporting Actor (Robert Duvall), Best Supporting Actor (Al Pacino), Best Director, Best costume design, Best sound, Best film editing and best original score. 

I can’t deny it, “The Godfather” is one of the greatest movies ever made. The story is fantastic, the performances are fantastic, the score is amazing, the direction is great and the writing is terrific. The only problem I could see it having is that it would be a tad too slow for most modern audiences… but not for me! Time for my final score. Jeff, get me the envelope! No? Well how about this, I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse. Yeah? Thank you! My final score for “The Godfather” is a 9,89/10. There is nothing else to say other than it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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I have finally reviewed “The Godfather”.

This movie made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. And I am at least not sleeping with the fishes.