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  1. Out of all the newer anime films I've watched so far this year, this has got to be the most aesthetically pleasing to my attention. When an ad for this movie in a Taipei train station was in my line of sight, it caught my interest and I was definitely wanting to go see this movie with my mother. And the moment I knew it was made by the likes of Studio Colorido, I knew it had to be some pretty good shit there. The plot of this movie is about penguins like the movie poster suggests, but it actually goes far beyond just ordinary penguins interacting with our main human characters, these penguins are seemingly mysterious creatures that can apparently transform into everyday objects as well as even cause what appears to be some sort of blatant distortion in the fabric of reality and the main character, a boy named Aoyama, as well as his two friends, one a girl named Hamamoto, all investigate where all these penguins originate from as they fill the streets and roads of a Japanese town with their presence as well as the nature behind a possible force of even greater mystery than the penguins themselves and in addition, a very cute and attractive woman who works at a dental clinic. And then we have a bully in the class of Aoyama and Hamamoto, named Suzuki, who happens to be a key character in all the chaos of these enigmatic creatures and events that surround the town as they find the truth behind them all. So what is my first impressions of the movie? Well the movie does start off rather dull and lowkey for me, but as the plot and characters progress further, the more this movie intrigued me, despite not understanding Japanese nor its Chinese subtitles shown, and I will say it does have a few savage moments of its own that will leave you feeling a bit scared and even shocked as well as some truly teary-eyed emotional scenes and it's interesting how this movie tries to show the contradiction of both the scientific and the supernatural when pit head to head against each other and I just love how truly surreal this film makes itself. It leaves so much to imagination and wonder. I could go on and on about this film, but I will just say that the art is absolutely stunning, beautiful, and gorgeous and the storytelling is smooth, but could have been better.

    I will give this movie a score of at least 9.5 out of 10.
  2. We all know and love the very mediums we like to call Anime and Manga. They're both inherent fabrics of Japanese entertainment and worldwide pop culture. And then we have their recent live-action Hollywood adaptations and one of these works is Alita. Now I don't really read manga but I have heard quite a lot about Alita on the Internet, though I have next to no knowledge of the series other than the main protagonist being some female combat cyborg who looks like a short-haired teenager. Now I'm not going to try to be long with this review, so I'll summarize the best I can from my own perspective of watching this particular film. The beginning opens up like a typical apocalyptic dystopian sci-fi film (why did I even feel the need to explain that one?). Some doctor named Doctor Dyson Iso (played by Christopher Waltz) goes to a junkyard of some sort and picks up some lost robot parts, which would turn out to be Alita's remaining body. And then she gets repaired and awakened as some cyborg with a forgotten past and such. We see Alita constantly try to uncover her past by going through some intense conflicts like fighting other cyborg assassins like Grewishka to trigger clues to them and she bonds with a human named Hugo and goes through shocking discoveries like the selling of robotic body parts as well as proving her worth to registering as a Hunter Warrior. The movie's plot feels like a typical mysterious protagonist trying to unearth her own nebulous past and going through every means to search the pieces for the entire puzzle and confronting an even bigger threat behind it all, Nova. Alita makes for a somewhat entertaining movie character with her own prodigal strength to match her softer interior personality and the film delivers spectacularly when it comes to its fight scenes, especially against the menacing brute Grewishka, and each encounter with that guy giving the audience a feeling of suspense, intensity, and twists reflected by the progression of both characters. The casting and dialogue were fine from start to finish. The pacing and development was decent. I am going to say that Alita as a movie did bore at times during the beginning, but as it moved further along, it gave me a lot of action and enjoyment to hope for, especially the Motorball scenes and while this is nowhere near the best movie I've seen, it's good enough to be a popcorn flick for me and it's great to see a movie based off a manga of how a robotic protagonist explores herself.

    I will grant this movie an overall score of about 7.9 out of 10.
  3. It's Christmas Day and truthfully, it's been ages since I've seen and enjoyed anything new worthy of note from Disney or Hollywood's animated film industry and what better ways to satisfy my experience for the threesome (no, not what you're thinking folks) between Disney characters (which apparently includes Marvel and Star Wars now), 80's arcade games, and Internet Apps, than this flick. I remember watching the first Wreck It Ralph and boy was that a fantastic animated film seeing as I was truly intrigued by the concept of a Disney film portraying a mish-mash of old arcade video game characters and their own original characters interacting with each other in a unusual story unlike any other in the modern world pop culture.

    So for the actual review, Wreck It Ralph 2 is obviously a sequel to a story centered about two resident arcade video characters who are living their lives inside of the machines doing their usual business in entertaining all the players coming into Litwak's Arcade Center, Ralph, whom is a big brute who's tired of being the "villain" in a game about wrecking buildings, and Venellope, a little cutesy princess girl (riddled with glitches) inside a candy-themed racing game and this time, the story focuses more on a newfangled technological medium known as the Internet as the primary setting for our main characters.

    It all starts off normal when Ralph and Venellope have been blossoming their newly forged friendship (for about six years) and just as Ralph is being a pretty merry dude with his own life, Venellope has quite a different sentiment about her own, feeling somewhat discontent with her own game Sugar Rush becoming repetitive for her tastes and wanting something new and exciting, which becomes the catalyst for the entire movie's greater plotline and a tale that goes from portraying a seemingly minor mishap where Sugar Rush's controller gets broken because of Ralph messing with the game and creating a new track for the player to an outright existential crisis when Venellope is faced with the utter realization that the world she knew is going to be lost and terminated for good after Litwak himself was about to sell the game upon knowing he couldn't afford the only spare part left on Ebay. And around this time, the denizens of Litwak's Arcade machines are getting a glimpse of a bigger newer world that is the Internet and the drive to obtain that spare part from Ebay is what brings our main heroes, Ralph and Venellope to a whole new dimension like no other and they both journey to seek what they obtain to save Sugar Rush and end up playing what they thought was some game to get a prize by shouting a higher number (which the practice of "bidding" is unfamiliar to them) and they win only to end up getting themselves into an even bigger predicament by having to find ways to acquire a ridiculously huge sum of money to pay for the part within 24 hours and Ralph and Venellope mets someone and goes into some very shady parts of the web such as an online racing game with a very dark and gritty atmosphere with dark and gritty characters called Slaughter Race where they unexpected met some new friends.

    And from there, you can see our protagonists Ralph and Venellope traverse through many places on the Internet and discovers new places they've never seen before, like a parody of YouTube and a place filled with Disney princesses, which brings new personalities for the characters to explore and express and along with many bumps and bruises along the way, Venellope's quest for searching and longing for a new world that fulfills her wishes and destiny also turns into a typical series of aesop's about friendships and betrayals in a time of impending disaster and destruction when Venellope is forced to choose between her old life and the new life that she found and when Ralph is forced to reflect upon his insecurities and take responsibility for his actions in a cruel world.

    So overall, what are my true feelings about this film? Well I enjoyed nearly every bit of it and it gave me a feeling of excitement and optimism on Christmas. The action and story of this movie is in every bit as fun and wacky as you'd expect with a lot of twist and turns of emotional drama with the characters and I see the things that Ralph and Venellope encounter for the first time in the Internet such as Pop-Up's and Viruses as fictionalized metaphors for the risks and dangers of getting yourself into the darker parts of the real world for whatever desires you have and the whole plot as a feeling of emptiness and hollowness and coming to terms with reality, no matter how bitter and shocking it is. I feel in some ways that the movie related to some certain feelings I've held in the past. And I enjoyed how the film transitions from being all lighthearted to being a dark tale for something that's straight out of Disney along with all the wonderful cameos and pop cultural references related to video games and Disney characters thrown into the mix. The cast is pretty well-rounded and the dialogue is funny and decent and the pacing and development is a bit long. Although I'm going to be pretty blunt, the movie started off exciting but got a bit anti-climactic towards the end and I still preferred the first Wreck It Ralph movie for its exclusively video arcade-based setting and the nostalgic excitement that went along with it over this sequel and while it's nowhere near the best animated film of all time for me, I'd certainly say it's one of the best I've seen in the past 6 years, but the lack of a Mario cameo is still well... lacking.

    Without further ado, I award this movie a score of approximately 9.4 out of 10.
  4. Been trying to look for that old history thread "German Stormtroopers Run A Gauntlet" thread that I created in the Battledome back at the end of 2011, but now it seems rather difficult and daunting to pinpoint the exact location of such old threads before 2014.

    Any suggestions?
  5. Alright, we have yet another sequel from the prequel series to the Harry Potter films known as "Fantastic Beasts" starring a British wizard dude, named Newt Scamander, who took a nice trip to New York City to find a whole bunch of magical beasts that have run amok in the 1920's American city and have retrieved and all the American wizards fight to keep their society and existence a secret from the public Muggle world. And ever since that crisis has seemingly passed, they now have apprehended the culprit mastermind behind it all, Grindelwald, and he is now in jail? Or is he?

    So the story this time revolves around Grindelwald, a notorious evil wizard played by Johnny Depp, who was on his way to Europe to be held accountable for his crimes, and manages to escape and run amok once more and our wizard Newt Scamander once more meets his old friend Jacob Kowalski, whose memories weren't completely wiped as only the bad aspects of his were forgotten and later on he has to buddy up with a young version of... you guessed it... Albus Dumbledore to track that old bastard down while the wizarding world has their share of internal conflicts brewing. Oh and one more thing, Newt Scamander is trying to get out of his own sticky situation which is his international travel ban by going to the Ministry of Magic and along the way, they search for Credence Barebone in France and we meet someone who is engaged to Newt's brother, Theseus, and it's Leta Lestrange. You find that chick trying to reveal her past about someone our heroes are hunting named Credence, something about her genealogy, while you see our heroes trying to uncover Credence's true identity. All this while they try to hunt down Grindelwald as well, who is trying to persuade a whole crowd of wizards to fight laws against their presence in the outside world and turn on the Muggle world and fight for their "supremacy". Okay, I'm real bad at trying to explain the plot of movies based on works from JK Howling in my own words, even as I watch the whole thing with my eyes wide open, so I'm just going to talk about how I viewed the movie in general and I won't make it too detailed, cause I don't have much to say.

    I will just start off by saying that I was watching the movie with not much expectations in mind. The movie shows us more of Grindelwald and his escapades and the brief bit of drama between Newt, Jacob, and Queenie amused me a bit. Crimes of Grindelwand kept me somewhat substantially entertained with all the cast's magic powers being demonstrated on screen and just as vividly as the first film itself and the creatures in another world stuffed inside Newt's suitcase being interesting as usual. The film gives a lot of flashbacks for certain characters like Lestrange and there is a nice plot twist at the end and you can just see the tensions between Grindelwald and the other wizards he's against just firing up. Honestly, while I don't hate the movie, I kinda slept a little in between. A decent film, but not the best for me, though I can't wait to see what happens next when a new movie gets released a few years later.

    I am just going to give this movie a score of 7.5 out of 10.
  6. What are you guys thankful for this year?
  7. Oh goody it took me some long enough years to go see a Horror Slasher film franchise from the 80's (though Halloween technically started in 1978) in theaters and this shall be considered my very first review on a horror movie of this monumental sub-genre, the Slasher. Now since two years ago, I have been getting into the Halloween franchise and progressively watching each film up to sometime earlier this year when I watched both Rob Zombie films (which were alright). I will just introduce my main point by asserting that Michael Myers is a film icon that has not only influenced horror cinema and left its impactful marks on pop culture giving rise to the modern archtype of a masked serial killer that's supernatural in origin and nature wreaking havoc in a humble town, but a character that I find some mildly great fascination with. Other than being a rather bad kid who murdered his sister on Halloween and grew up to be a cursed man going on a murdering spree as some sort of personification of Death to hunt down his own other sister Laurie Strode, Michael Myers is one character that doesn't need any lengthy introduction at all.

    As for the movie itself, I will just begin by stating that the movie proved itself to be a pretty suspenseful and even gorier one than its original 1978 movie and I can only say that the decision to make this film a direct sequel to the first one while make a point to ignore the continuity of the two timelines involving Laurie Strode and the Thorn and start a new one from scratch was a pretty good decision to take. 2018's Halloween starts off with a very intense beginning showing Michael Myers unmasked with his face staring away in a prison and it builds up the first blocks of tension and conflict portraying Michael's rise to Haddonfield and it depicts the traumatic life of a sister that has been preparing her whole life to confront and deal with the slasher to put a decisive end to him for good. Laurie Strode returning for the role was a satisfying one and does all the better to portray a woman who's plight is initially dismissed by those around her, even including her immediate family and this movie just sorta goes back to all of its roots in the first Halloween, only magnifying its suspense and violence even more and while I was watching the movie, I was honestly wondering along with the audience what would it truly take to finally bring down Michael for good? The casting was pretty fine and there's a lot of teen drama to pass through and the action and scariness truly shines as much as it should to capture Michael's authenticness and the ending just leaves you guessing for more. Overall this movie felt like a true blast from the past 40 years later and the fact that there's a high possibility of this movie getting a sequel just revitalized my interest in the franchise a little after it was simply growing stale as hell like an abandoned bread.

    It's been pleasure writing my first review on a movie from an established slasher horror franchise, so I am going to give this movie a score of at least 9.0 out of 10.
  8. Even as a nerd who doesn't frequent the world of comics, Venom is one anti-hero that needs no introduction among the Marvel fandom. This is one movie that my friend had been dying to go watch for quite some time as an avid Marvel fan himself because he is such a fan of the Venom character. The last time I remember seeing Venom on the big screen was a little over 10 years ago when I saw him in Sam Raimi's Spiderman 3. Now onto the review:

    Venom is a film that faithfully focuses on the revelation and exploration of the backstory of Eddie Brock in his native San Francisco and how he would unknowingly come to encounter and bond with the Venom symbiote for the first time. It does show us a nice intro scene of how the Symbiotes arrived to Earth on a spacecraft and visually depicts how their insidious spread and invasion upon Earth's human populations begins. The story does a good job of showing how the symbiotes were attempted to be harnessed and utilized for their chemical bonding properties by a man named Drake who owns the Life Corporation, wanting to carry on the next step of being a human. Tom Hardy played a really good role of portraying Venom and Eddie Brock and how each of their personalities contrast so greatly, with one being the sane one and the other one being the more brutal one, and the emotion and drama that goes behind Eddie Brock trying to control something that was powerful and mysterious to him while dealing with the loss of his job and a break-up is vivid. The movie has a lot of great action scenes demonstrating the capabilities of the Venom symbiote and the casting was not too bad itself.

    I will just conclude by saying that I definitely enjoyed this movie, though it's not the best superhero film ever. I'm glad to have seen it with my friend and Venom is a very interesting character to exhibit sadistic and maniacal traits in a comic story.

    I am going to give this movie a score of 8.2 out of 10.
  9. https://www.engadget.com/2018/10/08/google-shutting-down-google-plus/

    After all the times I've spent on there with friends and all the messages I've had a nice read over...

    First YouTube takes away its private messaging system. And now this bullshit...

  10. Predator. A legendary formidable race of extraterrestrial warriors for every sci-fi enthusiast to gawk at with their eyes in awe. We've all had great iconic sci-fi films with eponymous characters in the past like Aliens, Terminator, and Robocop, but here we are with the one and only... Predator. Now I'm a considerable fan of the Predator films (and the two AVP films) myself and this is the first time I will review a Predator movie. Cause let's face it, I wouldn't pass anything up in the world to talk about another new installment of a movie franchise featuring an alien fighter who has a cool mask, wristblades, shurikens, infrared vision, and plasma weapons going on to hunt other fighters it deems worthy of a challenge to them.

    The 2018 Predator's First Act starts off like what I would expect from any Predator film. We find a leading soldier of some sort, whose name is Quinn McKenna, going into an operation against a bunch of human baddies trying to take them all out but not without seeing an earlier scene of the Predator's ships flying out of a dimensional hole of some sort, and immediately we see a Predator's ship crash into the forest where the soldier was standing in his camoflauge some seconds after he snipes a cartel leader's head off. In terms of character exposition (in the Predator's case), the beginning scene of the movie felt like the first Predator movie sped up and wrapped under 15 minutes, plus we see the Predator's technology get stolen by McKenna and mailed to his son as the creature gets sent to a lab to be examined and tested and then we can imagine what happens from there.

    I am going to be blunt, despite the critic's ratings, I actually found this movie to be pretty good and enjoyable, but certainly not the best. The Ultimate Predator himself is yet another badass new type of Predator that is made to look and feel like everything the original Predator is about, but except with more brutality and advanced tech at his disposal. But the way he stalks and tracks down his victims kinda tempted me to make comparisons to the Creeper from Jeepers Creepers. I love how this version of the Predator is portrayed as a nightmarish brute who has fighting skills like some guy out of a kung fu movie and seeing him fight another smaller Predator added an air of tension to the mix and the Predator dogs were also a mildly interesting addition though it didn't add too much to the story. And the way the story progresses is how the Pred is trying to retrieve his stolen tech in the hands of the son of McKenna and how the main heroes find themselves going up against other human enemies of their own. The amount of infighting within two opposing civilizations does all the more to inject drama and suspense for our protagonists.

    Though on the flip side, I will be honest that the human cast was easily the lamest and most disappointing aspect of the whole film for me, McKenna and all the other ex-Marines he met on the prison bus just sounded like a bunch of grown-up children or teens making corny sex jokes and high school jabs at each other, especially during that scene after they rescued the only saving grace of the cast, Olivia Munn. If anything, the nationalized stereotypes of the main human characters of the 2010 Predators were far more fun and interesting than these guys. And the film misses some suspense of trying to find out who the mysterious Predator is and progressively learning the true horror of this extraterrestrial brute.

    Overall, this film was pretty enjoyable and was worth the watch, but some aspects of this film felt like a bit of a let-down and it prevented this from being close to being the best entry in the series. But it had some nice twists of its own and all the gratuitous blood and action you'd expect from a Predator.

    I will give this movie a score of at least 8.9 out of 10.
  11. It was a nice movie telling a universal coming-of-age story about a girl in Taiwan. Great animation and dream sequences and Betty was the most interesting character and a lot of political and historical themes and pop cultures references to old anime like Candy Candy and Gatchamen is not bad either.

    That's all I'm going to say, except that it was a bloody honor to meet the director of the film Seediq Bale Warriors of The Rainbow, Wei Te Sheng.
  12. It's Labor Day and my mother has chosen to go see the latest entry from Hollywood, this time it's a cinematic story about an Asian-American girl, Rachel, who happens to have a boyfriend named Nick whose family is of an extremely wealthy background and she goes to travel to Singapore to meet up with them as she gets invited to a friend's wedding. Along the way, our young American-born Chinese protagonist meets a colorful group of other Chinese fellows from all around places like Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai in a series of parties and throughout as Rachel and Nick are trying to get engaged with each other, Rachel and Nick are both about stumble upon some unpleasant secrets. The film also throws in a couple other relationships as a side-plot with Nick's cousin Astrid and her fiance Michael to add extra dynamics to this romantic story. Now I don't usually watch romantic movies in theaters, let alone write reviews on them, but I will just say that this movie has, as I heard from the critics online, all the typical tropes of a romantic comedy film but with an all-out Asian cast to give Asian-American more cinematic representation in Hollywood to set itself apart. There are a lot of twists and turns that go for Rachel and there are times where she tries to live up to the love of her life, but her secret past seems to hinder her from getting on the best terms with her boyfriend's mother Eleanor (played by Michelle Yeoh) and cultural opposites between an American-born Chinese and a British-born Chinese as well as the class gap between the middle-class and rich really does play a larger dynamic role in the tension and conflict at hand between the two families. The movie displays an abundance of American English and British English accents within the dialogue of the characters as well as the tongue-in-cheek humor that goes along with it does make for a few amusing moments in the film. I have nothing much else to say, except that the cast is very well-rounded especially with Michelle Yeoh being one of the biggest names in the cast and it's interesting that the cast utilizes many American-born and British-born as well as Australian-born Chinese actors and even a few non-Chinese Asian actors into the mix, which illustrates how a tale of romance is being seen and lived out from the Asian-American perspective.

    I will probably give this movie a score of 6.0 to 7.0 out of 10.
  13. Gotta say that this was the third movie that I got to go see with a best buddy in my hometown and because of his interest in shark movies, this film gave him the opportunity to express it and I went along with it. So yes, we all know that movies about sharks including the iconic Jaws have enthralled audiences in this nation and beyond and inspired the very name of terror to all those who dare tread near the seas. But none is as big, scary, menacing, or prehistoric in its name than the Megalodon. With that being said, although I will admit that this film couldn't be any more generic and typical in its nautical theme, it's still an extremely great and exciting one.

    For starters, the movie starts us off with Jason Statham finding out that a mysterious big shark from the old ages of Earth was about to wreak something fierce in the deep seas when his submarine crew had the misfortune of encountering such monstrosity. And years later, they meet up with some Chinese dudes as they both team up to observe and eventually battle the Megalodon. As largely predictable and plain as the plot may sound, the film did end up escalating the stakes by giving us a twist about how they really dealt with the Megalodon after learning what the beast really was made out of and that was truly the biggest redeeming point of the movie along with the later emotion and drama that seeps along with it. The cast was all-around superb and decent in its selection, especially with Jason Statham (the best actor in the movie) and LiBing Bing as well as the gorgeous Jessica McNamee. Despite its flaws of its plot based around a giant scary monster being generic and expectable, it has sufficient amount of thrill, suspense, and adrenaline to make up for it and the dialogue and casting.

    While it's nowhere near the best movie of its genre that I've seen, it's still one of the more interesting flicks to ever grace at least this year (though Alien: Convenant Jurassic World still holds a place in my heart among them) and the Megalodon proves itself to be one of the greatest attractions for legendary cinematic characters.

    I will gladly assign this movie a score of 8.2 out of 10.
  14. Well after nearly a whole month of currently having no other movies to go and see, I figured I had this one to stick with to conclude all of July. Mission Impossible: Fallout is the second movie in the franchise that I have seen in theaters and like I have said before in my review of this flick's predecessor, Rogue, I have never seen a single movie from the Mission Impossible film series at all until more recently in my life.

    So onto the review, I will begin by saying that Mission Impossible is your typical Hollywood spy action film much like the iconic Bond series. This movie's plot this time picks up from last time from when the main antagonist Solomon Lane is captured by IMF agent Ethan Hunt and his team and this time they are trying to search for Plutonium and retrieve it while Ethan is in pursuit of a wanted agent known as John Lark in the wake of the Apostles forming following Solomon Lane's detainment. And Ethan also teams up with a CIA agent named August Walker, played by Superman actor Henry Cavill, on the road to locating their target and unveiling a deep and surprising truth in the midst of their mission. As usual, the action and intensity of this film is fun and very typical of spy action films, but most of the fight scenes felt rather average for its particular genre (as far as I know) with the most decent and entertaining one I enjoyed, being the bathroom fight scene where both Ethan and Walker went toe-to-toe with this Asian dude who happens to be a suspicious agent they're tracking down. What truly seemed to stood out for me more in this movie more than its entire collection of pure gun-firing and fist-fighting among the characters was the ambiguous twists and turns within the plot in its essence and direction (though the "real villain being someone the hero fought alongside with at the beginning of the movie" trope has also become something of a little cliche itself) and some of the less serious moments of dialogue exchanged between the two characters, even in intense chase moments. The cast of this film was also a pretty great point to mention, with some of the returning actors like Rebecca Ferguson (who played Ilsa Faust) and Simon Pegg as well as new additions like Henry Cavill to boot, though the strange absence of Jeremy Renner was well... strange and left a bit to be desired. And the film has some philosophical and ethical messages primarily emanating from the main antagonist, Solomon Lane, whom is pretty preoccupied with wanting to do away with the Old World Order and apparently wanting to set the world in a different direction.

    Overall, Mission Impossible: Fallout is better than its predecessor, Rogue Nation, in many ways and is a nice action film for any casual fans of the genre to go watch for the sake of having something to do in the summer and while I'm by no means a die-hard fan of the franchise, I still thought it was a satisfying movie and until another possible sequel comes out in the future, I feel like giving the whole series a watch to relieve my boredom.

    I will rate this movie with a score of 8.7 out of 10.
  15. Tis The Day I Enter 27.