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: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)

Keanu fucking Reeves. Started out promisingly in comedies, dramas, and various action flicks. Then around 2008 he kind of dropped off the mainstream map after a few… less than critically well received movies. Then in 2014 he starred in “John Wick”, which gave his career the adrenaline boost it needed. And now he seems to be back on top. And I say, good for him. So let’s talk about his latest flick. Oh, and spoilers for the end of “John Wick: Chapter 2”, because that ties into this… sorry.

Ladies and gentlemen… “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum”.

After killing a member of the High Table, the ever tenacious John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is rendered excommunicado, with a 14 million dollar bounty on his head, and must fight for survival as he encounters trouble at every corner. So now we have our constantly moving action story. From a storytelling perspective, these movies aren’t what you’d call “high art”. But I don’t need that. It’s just our hero being relentlessly pursued in an interesting, very comic book-esque world. And that makes for a fun bit of garnish in-between all the shooty-bang-bangs and fisticuffs. The story is present enough that it adds something to the experience, but not so up its own ass that it distracts from everything else. It’s fun.

The characters in this are colorful and pretty interesting. Just like I mentioned with the plot, they feel very much like they’re ripped right out of a comic book. Keanu Reeves of course returns as title character John Wick. A man who lost everything, then is given a new chance, and then shit hits the fan again. He’s endured a lot, and I find him to be a strong and engaging action protagonist that I care about a fair bit. He even gets some decent development here too. And Reeves is really good in the role. And the supporting cast, which includes people like Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston, Asia Kate Dillon, and many more, is pretty fucking good.

As with the previous two movies, the score for “Parabellum” was composed by Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard. And like the previous two movies, this score is awesome. It once again takes the approach of mixing very electronic stuff with some sick rock beats and occasional guitar screeching to make a sound that is distinctly “John Wick”. And it’s just as tense, exciting, badass, and pleasing to my ears as the last two times.

Chad Stahelski returned to direct this third entry in the franchise he helped create. And dude’s direction just gets better with each iteration. A clear focus, wonderful long takes, and a great sense of energy. The cinematography by Dan Laustsen is absolutely breathtaking, with some beautiful use of colors. And let’s talk about the thing we all watch these movies for: The action. Fuck me, it is amazing. It’s real, it’s visceral, it’s fun, it’s violent, it’s clear… it just comes together beautifully. You can see everything that happens, which also let’s you see just how much work has gone into the fucking choreography. There are also some rather creative kills throughout the movie too, and they add even more to it. It’s very well crafted, this movie.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 90% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10.

“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” is one of the most impressive action movies of this decade, and I absolutely loved it. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography/action. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” is now completed.

You’d think the people constantly coming after John would take a hint that you don’t fuck with the Baba Yaga.

Movie Review: Wolf Creek (2005)

Month of Spooks is continuing. Really, I had nothing better to put there right now… MOVING ON!

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to… “Wolf Creek”.

A group of friends (Cassandra Magrath, Kestie Morassi, Nathan Phillips) have decided to do some backpacking in the Australian outback. But their nice vacation soon turns sour when a psychotic killer (John Jarratt) kidnaps them and starts turning their lives into a hellish nightmare. So now we have our outback horror movie plot. And it is actually pretty good. While it sounds like this could be your typical generic slasher plot, it actually subverts expectation a bit. The way they introduce the killer, the way everything happens throughout, it is familiar but still feels different from other movies of a similar style. I will say that it takes almost half the movie for the main plot to get going, but it didn’t bother me here because this is how you do build-up. It doesn’t feel too slow or too boring or too dumb, it feels like a natural progression from fun trip to fucking nightmare. And the way everything here played out I thought was good. Not saying that it’s one of the best horror plots ever, but it did exactly what it had to do.

What I like about the characters here is that I didn’t hate them. As a matter of fact I found myself actually caring about them… yeah, the horror movie meatbags that are propped up to probably get axed off are actually decent characters. While they don’t necessarily have the most distinct personalities (in that way they are quite interchangeable), I still enjoyed them. And I think that’s because the actors are good. Cassandra Magrath, Kestie Morassi, Nathan Phillips… good job, you three. Now, let’s talk about the main event here… John Jarratt as the psychotic Mick Taylor. He’s a charismatic, funny, and even likable man when you first meet him. Then he shows his true colors and he turns into quite the terrifying son of a bitch. And Jarratt is great in the role. Yeah, the performances here are good.

The score for the movie was composed by Frank Tétaz and it was really good. It was dark, eerie, and tense, often adding to the tension of a scene. While I wouldn’t exactly call it memorable, it still gets the job done quite well, it manages to set and then hold a mood pretty damn well. It even manages to add some good drama in certain moments, making me feel a little more invested in the situation.

This movie was written and directed by Greg McLean and I think he did a really good job. His directing is tight and tense, and shot on handheld more often than not, giving the movie a very gritty and documentary-esque feel that adds to the tension of the movie. I also have to mention that this shit is disturbing as fuck. Sure, some of it might be for the sake of having disturbing content in your horror movie, but I didn’t think any of it felt too out of place here. But you do get to see some violent/brutal shit throughout this movie which made me have some strong reactions to it, and I can usually handle violence in movies quite well. So if you’re squeamish in the slightest… yeah, you’ve been warned. As for overall scariness… I wouldn’t call it strictly scary, but it is quite tense and disturbing, which I think is what the movie was going for. And if that’s the case then the movie did it’s job.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 53% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 54/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie a thumbs down (ouch). And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,3/10.

While I wouldn’t call “Wolf Creek” a masterpiece, it still did a great job at being a disturbing little horror flick. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *G’day!*. My final score for “Wolf Creek” is a 9,50/10. Which means that it just managed to get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Wolf Creek” is now completed.

I feel dirty after watching that. I need a hug.

 

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: Stake Land (2011)

Vampires. Creatures that have been used in fiction more times than I can count. Sometimes they’re scary, sometimes they’re sexy, sometimes they suck (Looking at you “Twilight”, also, pun intended). What I’m trying to say is that vampires are very versatile things that you can utilize all kinds of ways in movies/TV/books/games.

Ladies and gents, welcome to… “Stake Land”.

After his family gets killed by a vicious vampire, Martin (Connor Paolo) finds himself teamed up with a mysterious man called Mister (Nick Damici). And these two set out to travel through the vampire infested United States to get to a potentially safe place called New Eden. I have to say that I was a bit surprised by the plot of this movie. While at first it just seems like a straightforward road trip movie featuring vampires, it soon shows it’s true colors. Seeing our main two work together trying to survive is really interesting, and I found myself really invested in their journey. This concept could’ve turned out really lazy and bad, but it was handled really well.

The characters in this movie are all very well fleshed out and I found them really interesting. Nick Damici was really good as Mister, playing him as the mostly silent badass. Connor Paolo was great as Martin, perfectly playing this damaged yet still somewhat hopeful young man. Kelly McGillis plays a nun that our heroes meets along the way and she was really good. Danielle Harrisplays a woman that Mister and Martin meets on their journey and she was really good in her role. Michael Cerveris plays a crazy cultist in the movie and he was really good. We also got Sean Nelson as another guy that our heroes meets in the movie and he was really good. All the performances were really good.

The score was composed by Jeff Grace and holy shit it was fantastic! It was haunting, it was dramatic, and it was quite eerie. Sure, at a few points it did sound like Nick Cave’s and Warren Ellis’ score for “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”, but I didn’t actually mind too much… probably because I fucking love the score for that movie. But those parts did still sounds different enough to not bother me too much. And the bits that didn’t sound like the score from that other movie, they were quite awesome.

This movie was directed by Jim Mickle and he did a pretty damn good job. The shots look great and his direction overall feels very tense and uneasy, which helps add to the already eerie atmosphere. It’s also quite impressive considering the small budget they had. Now, I can’t find any exact numbers, but considering it’s an independent horror movie made by a then pretty much unknown director I can only assume that the budget wasn’t that big. But despite that it manages to have some pretty badass makeup effects, props, and various other effects.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 75% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,5/10.

“Stake Land” is an extremely impressive indie vampire film. It has a great plot, good characters, really good performances, great music, great directing, and great effects. Time for my final score. *Stabs vampire in it’s heart*. My final score for “Stake Land” is a 9,56/10. This of course means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Stake Land” is now completed.

You could say that for the characters there was a lot… at stake…

Movie Review: Deadpool (2016)

deadpool

Yeah, yeah, talk shit about how I am a month late with seeing this movie… cause I don’t fucking care. I just haven’t been able to find anyone to go see it with until now. And at long last I have seen it so I can review it for you guys. So let’s get into this shit.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Deadpool”.

Once upon a time, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) was a Special Forces Operative. But then he became a mercenary who later took part in an experiment which fucked up his skin, but it also gave him super powers. Now he is a super soldier called Deadpool, looking for revenge against the man (Ed Skrein) who messed him up so badly. It’s a simple plot with so much more beneath the surface. I gotta say that I was surprisingly invested in the plot of the movie. Because when I heard they were making a “Deadpool” movie, I was interested in the project, but I did still have my reservations about it. But after seeing some of the trailers and then seeing the movie, I can safely say that this story is a perfect representation of what “Deadpool” is. Yes, the plot isn’t particularly deep. But what else did you expect from fuckin’ “Deadpool”? It’s an action comedy about a fourth-wall breaking mercenary in a red suit, not “Memento”. But really, this is a really good plot that displays what the character is all about, a sort of “day in the life” scenario. But a lot of elements of the plot really works, like the revenge story and the love story… all of that works. The plot’s great for what it set out to do.

The characters in this movie all add something to the (dead)pool. They all have something interesting to say and/or do within the story. Ryan Reynolds once upon a time played the character of Wade Wilson in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” but that movie wasn’t really any good and it completely buthcered the character. But I can safely say that Reynolds perfectly nailed the character in this movie, showing that he doesn’t just know how to play the character… but that he IS the character. Ed Skrein might not have been the most compelling villain ever, but he was perfect for the type of movie this was. Besides, after that apparently terrible movie “Transporter: Refueled”, I think he needed this. Morena Baccarin was great as the love interest, Vanessa. And every other actor in the movie were great too. Good job, everyone.

It seems like Tom Holkenborg/Junkie XL is taking over the movie soundtrack industry these days. Yes, he did the original score for this movie and I have to say that it was really good. Not the best ever made in the history of cinema, but it really did work for whenever it was used. There was also a big focus on hip-hop/rap music in this movie that I felt worked very well for the movie and the character. It was especially awesome for me to hear TeamHeadKick’s “Deadpool Rap” in this movie, only with some slight changes to fit the movie a little better.

This movie was directed by Tim Miller, a first time director, which is another thing I was kind of skeptic about at first. But that doubt disappeared pretty early on in the movie because this is a really well directed movie. Yes, a lot of shots look really damn standard, but I wouldn’t say that I found any shots to look bad at all. The action is remarkably in-camera and ooo boy… it is violent. And I don’t mean violent as in a few small blood quirts, this is as violent as it goes. Brains flying out of holes in heads, limbs getting chopped off… other kinds of violent violence. There is also a shit-ton of god damn motherfucking cursing. And some graphic nudity… so don’t take your kids to see this movie. If you take your kids to see this, you are a terrible parent… that goes for you trying to take your little siblings who are too young for the R rating. Seriously, at times I would almost say this movie borders on NC-17 with everything that happens… which is exactly what “Deadpool” is all about. Oh yeah, the writing is really crude and hilarious and fourth-wall breaking and the opening credits are some of the best ever. And the visual effects all look really great, despite the relatively low budget.

This movie has been really well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,5/10 and is ranked #80 on the “Top 250” list.

“Deadpool” is exactly what you would want in a movie about this character… but with a little more to it. The plot is surprisingly good, the characters are entertaining, the acting is great, the soundtrack is awesome, the directing is good, the action is great and the comedy is absolutely hilarious. Time for my final score. Chimi-fucking-chongas. My final score for “Deadpool” is a 9,89/10. It certainly gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“Deadpool” is at long last reviewed.

I definitely wore the appropriate colors for this movie.
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